Blog Resolutions 2011

December 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

 

Happy-New-Year-2011-1

 

I started this blog in Oct of 2010 and I’m happy with what I’ve done so far. I love the book blogging community and the wonderful people I’ve met in just this short amount of time. I look forward to being even more involved in 2011 and have made my own list of blog resolutions for the new year.

1. Comment more. I read so many of your blogs in my reader every day, but due to work, family, and time constraints, I never seem to have enough time to comment as much as I would like. So I want to commit to commenting on at least 5 posts a day that I find interesting.

2. More reviews. Those same time constraints significantly hinder how much reading I can do in a week, but I still want to commit to at least 1-2 reviews per week. I’d love to know how some of you bloggers juggle work, family, reading, and blogging so well. Maybe I have more of an organization problem than a time issue lol.

3. Write more. I’m not in any way a writer, nor do I have the way with words that some of you wonderful reviewers do but I do want to start adding more of my own personal touch to my blog. I want to commit to writing at least one post a week about whatever it occurs to me to write about that day. Book related of course.

4. Choose one meme that I enjoy and participate regularly. There are such great memes every week, from Story Siren’s IMM to Parajunkee’s Follow Friday. I’ve participated in several a couple times, but I would like to commit to one meme that I do every week.

5. Read something outside my preferred genre. I LOVE fantasy, and have been reading primarily fantasy only for a couple years now. But in 2010, I read a couple books completely outside of that genre that I really enjoyed. One being

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

So this year, I’d like to read at least 5 books that are completely outside the fantasy genres.

What about you? Any changes coming up for your blogs, reading goals etc. in the new year?

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Review: Matched by Ally Condie

December 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Matched – Ally Condie

Goodreads synopsis: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a world with no worries? Where there are no bills, disease, dating, divorce, crime, no reason to struggle for anything at all? Its tempting isn’t it? I thought so, which is what intrigued me so much about Matched. In this world, even the smallest details are handled by the Society and the Officials in charge. Everything from the type of food you eat to the person you marry is determined by the scientific data gathered about you throughout your life. People are healthy and content in their controlled sterile world, where nothing is created, there is no art, no passion, no pain. And all they give up to gain this “utopia” is the right to choose, question, or complain. There are some harsh consequences in this Society for even the smallest infractions, all to keep the Society running smoothly for the benefit of the citizens of course. There are some places outside of the Society’s controlled rule, the Outer Provinces, which are mentioned a few times but only enough to pique your interest.

 

What made the world building so wonderful was that it was presented in such a matter of fact way that made it so believable coming from Cassia. This is all she has known so these these things were all normal to her, there was no reason to feel oppressed when she had no concept of freedom. In the beginning, she felt like a robotic, naive, and passionless character because that’s what she was. And it made sense. When things happen that shows the Society in a bad light,  she made the excuses, believed the reasons she was given, and tried to go on fitting in and following the rules she had always followed.

 (Spoilers)

I even understand her falling so hard for Ky, it was almost as if this is the first time she had actually felt some real emotion, and as with any teenager, it was an all or nothing kind of thing. Even then though, she had a hard time going against what was expected of her. This wasn’t one of those typical YA “My life can’t go on without you” obsessive things though, Cassia wanted Ky, and it was a powerful thing for her because she had never really wanted anyone or anything before. She just always accepted what she was given without question. And we see the relationship between them build gradually into something meaningful. Cassia finds out, like her Grandfather told her, that she has words and a voice of her own. She uses those forbidden words of the poet Dylan Thomas that was her Grandfather’s final gift to her as a sort of mantra to motivate her to persevere. I can’t wait to see the continued growth of Cassia’s character in the rest of this series.

I loved the slow, tension building plot. The way the story was slowly presented, kind of like the world itself, giving just enough to keep you involved.  There were a few unexpected surprises, but no major plot twists.

I think the only aspect of Matched I didn’t enjoy as much is that Xander seems a little “too good to be true” But it could just be that his character was written that way for a reason and his lack of personality just a reflection of the bland world he is a part of.

I read this book in just 2 days, which is really quickly for me. All day while I was working, I kept thinking how eager I was to get back it, to find out what happens next. I completely understand all the hype surrounding this book. This is one of my favorite reads of the year, which truly surprises me as it has no magic, elves, fairies, witches, or any other supernatural elements! I think this absolutely deserves a 5 star rating. More soon please Ally Condie!

Rating 5 – Absolutely Wonderful! Recommended for any and everyone.

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Review: Human Blend by Lori Pescatore

December 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Human Blend (9781453765135): Lori Pescatore: Books

ISBN: 1453765131
ISBN-13: 9781453765135

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (June 10, 2010)
  • Language: English

Goodreads synopsis: Marion, Virginia seemed like a nice place to live a normal life, but she is not a normal girl. Laney has special abilities that keep her looking over her shoulder as she makes her escape from the men who had kidnapped her. A young doctor’s interest is piqued when he witnesses her mysteriously curing a young child’s illness. He befriends her due to his growing fascination with uncovering the true nature of her abilities, but not without harboring secrets of his own. Laney’s budding relationship with a local boy puts both of them in danger when the men she was hiding from find her. All of their lives will change forever as ancient secrets become unearthed.


Human Blend was a little more sci-fi than I usually read. However, it caught my attention from the very beginning and there was never a point where my attention was lost.
Laney/Julie, the heroine, is being hunted by the “bad guys” who kidnapped her as a child and used her special abilities for their own ends. She makes her way to small town Marion, VA where she meets some strange yet interesting characters, Eli, a doctor without a heartbeat, Marcus, another doctor who seems to be just like her and may hold they key to who and what she is, and Austin, another man who seems to be normal, at first. There was, of course, a love triangle, made more entertaining by Laney/Julie’s siren like abilities.
Her powers/abilities are very interesting, she uses her ability to heal in a very unique way and she has an affinity for numbers that would come in handy when playing the lottery. Marcus, her doctor “friend”, helps her to hone her healing ability, guiding her in a way. The plot of this story was fast paced, with thrilling moments and original, surprising twists that made Human Blend a page turner. Laney/Julie is a likable heroine, but its really the guys who were the stars of this book for me. Especially Marcus, with his sarcasm and attitude.
The only complaint I have about Human Blend is that it ended in a way that left me with questions, so I’m hoping to see a second book from this author. I am intrigued by several of the supernatural elements introduced in this novel, and by a mischievous character introduced late in the book that I just wanted more of.
Overall, this was a quick, exciting read that I would recommend to anyone who wants to read something completely outside the ordinary.
I would rate this a 4 1/2, I loved it and really hope there is another. I received my copy of Human Blend from the author for review.
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Review: Beautiful Creatures

December 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Goodreads synopsis: There were no surprises in GatlinCounty.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that’s what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I’ll start with the positive. The story was very unique and compelling, there were a lot of wonderful background characters, the setting was great. My favorite aspect of Beautiful Creatures was the dark and mysterious southern gothic feel to it, the scenery, the overall “feel” of the south was beautifully expressed in every chapter. Both the mysterious air of the cypress and magnolia filled landscape as well as the small town snobbish nature of some places in the deep south were presented in a way that really makes the reader feel a part of the story.

The magic of the casters was also really interesting, each caster having their own individual powers that each used in their own unique way. Some of my favorite characters were Lena’s Uncle Macon who I couldn’t decide whether I actually liked him or not through more than half of the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading about him. Amma, Ethan’s housekeeper/surrogate mother, who is a force to be reckoned with, was so entertaining. Quick to defend Ethan, she was just as quick to put him in his place when he didn’t do as she said. Amma was as quick with her words as she was with her actions when she felt her boy was threatened. And Ethan’s 3 great aunts were wonderful. They were quirky and dramatic, and altogether entertaining.

Where Beautiful Creature missed with me is that I felt like there were some inconsistencies in some of the characters actions as well as in the flow of the plot. Its hard for me to explain without giving away key plot points but there were several points where I felt the actions and decisions a character made didn’t fit with their personality as it was presented up to that time. Sometimes I felt the plot jumped around a bit and it took me a minute to understand what was going on and why. Also, there was a bit much on the teen angsty “I can’t go on living without you” thing. The relationship between Ethan and Lena reminded me of a reverse kind of Twilight, where the guy was obsessively in love for no apparent reason right from the beginning.

All of that being said, I enjoyed the story overall. I think that most fans of YA would also enjoy this novel and anyone who, like me, likes fiction based in the south will appreciate the southern gothic nature of Beautiful Creatures. 

Rating 3: I liked it

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Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

 

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From my home to yours, I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas! I’ll be spending mine with my crazy, awesome family. I hope that your Christmas is spent with the ones you love and in your own crazy-awesome way!

Donna

Winners!! Congratulations!

December 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

midwinter

Random.org has spoken, and after more entries than I ever imagined, the winners are:

Haves: Linda H

Have Nots: Jennifer @ Book Noise

Both have been contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond. Congratulations to both of you, I hope you enjoy the books!

I really want to thank everyone who entered, followed, commented, and participated in this Giveaway Hop. And I especially want to thank Kathy @ I Am A Reader Not A Writer for hosting this and all the other wonderful hops! I look forward to participating in more!

Midwinters Eve Giveaway Hop & My Have/Have not Giveaway

December 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Thanks for stopping by my blog for the Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader Not A Writer
Christmas is such a busy time here at my house that I haven’t been spending half as much time reading as I would like. My TBR stack seems to keep growing and growing though, there are so many wonderful books to choose from in the fantasy genre. I wasn’t sure which ones to choose for the lucky followers that win, some of the books I’ve read and loved, or some of the books I want to read? So I decided to do a little of both, hence my “Have/Have not” giveaway. 
One lucky follower will win four of my favorites that I HAVE read this year. Not all of these were released in 2010, but books that I read and loved this year. 

And one lucky follower will win 4 of the books I HAVE NOT read yet but am looking forward to. Wintercraft, Kneebone Boy, and The Familiars are books that I plan to read with my son Damian as we kick off our new blog, where he and I will read and review Middle Grade fantasy books together, called Read With Me, Mom. Andrea from Loud Words and Sounds is designing our layout now and we should be up and running and posting reviews as of Jan 1st!! I’m so excited to be sharing these two things that I love so much with my son, reading and blogging. 

Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw

How to enter? Simply fill out the form below. I love your comments but they do not count as entries for this giveaway. Giveaway ends at 11:59PM on Wednesday 12/22. Winners will be chosen by Random.org Books will be shipped to the winners from The Book Depository.  Please make sure before entering that The Book Depository ships to your country. Extra entries for following my blog via GFC, Networked Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or subscribing by email or in a reader.

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