Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July's Photo A Day Pictures 22-30

And here's the last of my pictures for the month. Phew! With everything going on this month I'm glad I kept up. It was fun, but I don't think I'll be doing it again in August.

Upside down


A Stranger



On the road


Last thing you bought (yep, a vacuum filter)

Calm (I love this painting, it's the epitome of calm)


Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Unbreak My Heart

Title Unbreak My Heart
By Melissa Walker
Genre YA Contemporary
Pages 240
Recommended by Lorren 

First sentence "Sit on it," I say.

Heading into the summer as an outcast for from her friends for falling for her best friend's boyfriend, Clem has nothing to look forward to but weeks on a tiny sailboat with her family. Maybe the cute red head that's sailing the same route as her family can help Clem forgive herself and unbreak her heart.

What it has going for it
On the back of this book it says something about a dual love story. I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. We have the current love story between Clem and the happy go lucky James, and flashbacks to the romance between Clem and her best friend's boyfriend, Ethan. Both developing romances invoke emotions. I'm not sure that's ever happened to me before,I really enjoyed it. I also liked all the boat talk. I'm fairly certain I would get sea sick but it still made me want to go on a similar trip. Clem was a sympathetic character. Sure, she could be a little mean to her family sometimes but compared to the way I'd act if I had to spend that much time on a tiny boat with my family she was a saint! I also like contemporary books that feel real. They should feel real but often don't. This one did, though, and I could believe it.

What's lacking
The neatness with which everything ended...sort of, was a little annoying and I'm not sure this one will stick with me. You know? Not really memorable. I also thought the romance between Ethan and Clem was more steamy than the one between James and Clem. Probably not what the author was going for.

Favorite moment
The banana conversation between James and Clem. It had me giggling.

Yea or Nay?
Yeah, it was a fun trip.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: Circle Spinner

Title Circle Spinner And  Other Tales
By Elizabeth Baxter
Genre Scifi Fantasy
Pages 101
Recommended by Elizabeth Baxter

First sentence The circle spinner reached out with trembling hands and flipped the body onto its back.

A collection of short stories about other worlds, altered worlds, and future worlds.

What it has going for it
I've followed Elizabeth's blog for sometime and read about her journey of self publishing. From formatting to editing to picking a cover. So when the book was finally published and available to buy, I promptly downloaded it onto my phone. Unfortunately I didn't read it as promptly. I did finally get to it, though and rather enjoyed it. This surprised me. Not because I had low expectations for Elizabeth's writing but because I'm not a huge fan of the short story. You're introduced into this world, you meet characters and just as you're getting into things it ends. I think if you're going to write short stories you have to be very talented at seamlessly introducing character and worlds without getting too detailed that you lose the story. Luckily Elizabeth is that talented. I won't go into details about every story but I will tell you what my favorite were. There was, One of Those Days which was just plain fun. I think it appealed to me the most because I love urban fantasy and this one had that feel for sure. I really liked, The Blessing of Silence. It was a very unique fantasy world with a immediately likable character that invoked your sympathy. The last story, Fallen Angel, was not at all what you'd expect from the title. It was dark and rather violent and very mysterious. Think cyborgs meet angels. So good! And the ending blew me away.

What's lacking
I repeat. I'm not a huge short story fan. Sometimes a quick look into a character and their world is all we need. But mostly I'm left wanting more. With The Blessing of Silence I really want more. I want the whole long story. You know?

Favorite moment
The ending of Fallen Angel for sure. That one will stick with me in all its disturbing creepiness.

Yea or Nay?
For lovers of short stories I'd say yes, definitely. For the rest of you...hey, it's free on Amazon today. What are you waiting for?    

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: Emma

Title Emma
By Jane Austen
Genre Classic
Pages 432
Recommended by Me

First sentence Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and a happy disposition seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

Emma Woodhouse considers herself a matchmaker, but love is complicated and in a small town there's not much room for meddling.

What it has going for it
This is the only Jane Austen that I've yet to read. My book club wasn't going to meet this month but me and another member decided we couldn't go a month without meeting to discuss books. So we decided to read an Austen novel that we hadn't read yet. As it turned out she hadn't read Emma either and so we embarked on our reading adventure. I have to say I have quite the feeling of accomplishment to have finally finished all the Austen books. Emma is an Austen book and as such gets points just for being so. I love Austen's ability to make a seemingly boring conversation intriguing; the ability to make the mundane exciting.

What's lacking
I have to admit this wasn't my favorite Austen. The whole class thing might very well have been how it was but in this book it came off making the main characters seem pretentious and arrogant. That makes it hard to really like a book. If I can't like at least one character I have a hard time getting invested. I also have always loved Mr. Knightly in the movies I've seen but in the book I wanted to punch him. What a hypocritical jerk! Telling Emma how wrong she was to act one way and then acting that way himself. So annoying. He sort of redeems himself in the end when everything is explained but still.

Favorite moment
I loved the conversation about Jane Fairfax going to get the mail everyday. I knew from the movies what was  going on, and that may have helped, but I loved how much was behind such a seemingly boring conversation.

Yea or Nay
Um, yes. Everyone should read all the Jane Austen books at least once. Agreed?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In My Thoughts This Fine Day #4

Yeah, the new job seems to be going OK but it isn't leaving a whole lot of time. My last job allowed me to read on the job, it was glorious. This one however is a little more like the picture above. So either I get home and catch up on blog reading and commenting and don't have time to read, or I read and don't have time to blog...oh what to do? I just hope I figure it out soon. I'm feeling so overwhelmed!

I haven't seen the new Batman yet but I'm going this weekend...I was super excited but am I the only one who feels like the horrible tragedy in Colorado sort of tainted the movie? So sad. Plus I'm hearing some not so good things about it... :(

I keep seeing reviews on other's blogs about books and book series I have had sitting on my shelf forever. I want to read them but I keep putting them off. Maybe my expectations are too high so I'm scared. Maybe there are other books I'd rather read first, or maybe there's just too many dang books in the world! Am I the only one who just can't seem to pick up that certain book?

Well have a great week and happy reading!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July's Photo A Day Pictures 15-21



My Addiction




9 O'clock

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Artemis Fowl

Title Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl 1)
By Eoin Colfer
Genre MG Urban fantasy
Pages 280
Recommended by Me

First Sentence Ho Chi Minh in the summer.

Artemis Fowl is a 12 year old genius determined to return his family to the wealth and status they once had. Holly Short is a elf and a member of the LEP. Their two worlds are about to collide.

What it has going for it
It's been far too long since I read a MG that wasn't dumbed down in its simplicity. I know it's written for a younger audience but do they always have to be so stingy on vocabulary? Anywho, it was a relief to read this one. I read this one because the author was coming to my local library and I wanted to have at least read one of the books in the series. The author, btw, was absolutely hilarious! Seriously, it was like seeing a stand up comedian...a really funny one! The book was clever and fast paced and both Artemis and Holly, though on opposite ends of a "small" disagreement were both worth rooting for. I wanted both to win and I think the conclusion was satisfying.

What's lacking
Artemis Fowl isn't a likable character. That's OK, he isn't exactly supposed to be. However I felt like the whole thing with his mother was thrown in there to gain our sympathy.
*Side Note*  It might have been a mood thing or just the type of story this was but I struggled to really get into this one and don't particularly want to read the rest of the series. But that's not really the book's fault. 

Favorite moment
A few hilariously written lines during the fight between Butler and the troll. So funny! 

Yea or Nay?
Yeah, it if sounds like your sort of book I think you'll really enjoy it.   

Monday, July 16, 2012

Do You Want The Good News Or The Bad?

I've been waiting all my time blogging to write this post. You ready?


That's the good news. The great news! I've been looking and looking and being rejected and rejected...not fun. I finally got a job and it's a huge relief off the old bank account! Phew! And what did I do to celebrate the happy occasion?

Yep, I went book shopping! Full price, hard covers aside, no coupons, book shopping! It was glorious. I was in there 10 minutes and managed all of these. 

The bad news? 

Yeah, there's always bad news, isn't there? Now that I have this full time job I wont have nearly as much time to read, blog and blog visit. Oh, don't worry, I love this blogging community way too much to just fall of the radar, it'll just be much harder to find time. So, if I'm not around as much for a while, don't worry, I still love you. I'm guessing it'll just be a matter of learning some time management before things seem normal around here. 

Happy Reading! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

July's Photo A Day Pictures 8-14

Lunch (I ate some cookies too but they didn't look good in the picture)

Big (The Sky)

Favorite color (I have several favorites but deep purple will do) 

Letter (That was a bike rack! Awesome, huh?) 

Texture (I had way too much fun with this one. I took tons of pics and finally chose this one)

Open (Thanks to my nephew)
Building (My church building in a rushed attempt to get a picture for this prompt) 

Photo a day hosted my Fat Mum Slim

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Now YOU Can Appreciate A Soccer Post #2

I've read it in two days. I didn't watch the movie but the book is great! Next one! 

I didn't actually intend to make this a thing but as long as "my boys" keep Tweeting stuff like this I have no choice, right? Go ahead and click on the link in his Tweet. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to see what book he's talking about.

This is "The Vampire" by the way. I guess he's not all bad.

Nope, not too bad at all. ;)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Vanish

Title Vanish (Firelight 2)
By Sophie Jordan
Genre YA supernatural/paranormal romance
Pages 294
Recommended by Me

First sentence Sometimes I dream of falling.

Jacinda has returned to the pride. She thought being away from it was bad but being away from Will is worse. It doesn't help that she's having feelings for Cassian or that her mother has sunk into depression. Not to mention the punishment her and her family have received for trying to run away.

What it has going for it
Oh the pain! I read the first book in this series about a year ago and found it rather ridiculous and, yet, I ended up enjoying it. It's one of those books that are stupid but you love anyway. Then my sister read this one and had me convinced that it was good. I knew I shouldn't have trusted her. But, um I'm supposed to be talking about the good things....Hmmm, I really like the cover???

What's lacking
Gotta bullet point the faults.

  • Why the heck does every guy in the book LOVE Jacinda? Really? That's so unrealistic. Especially when she has a twin sister...an identical twin sister. Ugh! 
  • The writing...oh my gosh the author has  tons of paragraphs that have like five sentences that say the same thing with only slight differences. Kill me now! Sheesh, if the book didn't have all those repeat sentences it would be like 20 pages long.
  • Jacinda! Oh my heck! Seriously, girl, get a freaking life! You're way,WAY, to dependent on guys. First it's Will then it's Cassian. Good grief. Can you say daddy issues?! 
  • Oh, and, sweetie, you can breathe fire! Why are you just sitting there letting this "cult" control you. Burn them! Burn them all! 
  • The bad guys aren't even good bad buys. They're just there because, well, gee I guess there needs to be some opposition for our MC. Stupid pointless characters.
  • The romance...oh my gosh. All I could think of while reading this was...

Favorite moment
Ha Ha Ha! You didn't actually think I had one, did you? 

Yea or Nay?
Please, just do yourself a favor and don't read this one! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review Readers Anonymous

Welcome. Come sit in the circle. This is a safe place. No judgement here. It's time for some confessing. ;) Alright, alright, I'm not trying to scare you off. You don't have to nervously click away. I'm just rambling again. What about this time? Well, I'm glad you asked. Today I wanted to confess a little something about reading book reviews on other blogs.

Having a book blog is a way for all of us book lovers to share books we love. What ever the reason we started it, whatever the reason we keep going, whatever memes we participate in, whatever else we talk about, all of us book bloggers write reviews. We all read. Some a ridiculous amount and some as many as we can squeeze in, but read we do and when we're done, we plop ourselves down in front of the computer and begin to write up a review. Sometimes we rave, sometimes we rant. Sometimes we can't find the words and sometimes the words won't stop. But why? Why do we do this? Why do we pour a great deal of time and effort into these reviews? Well, I would guess we're actually assuming and hoping others will read our thoughts. Sure, there's the wonderfully humble souls out there who just want a place to jot down their thoughts on a book and really don't care if others read what they have to say. To those people I tip my hat. Well done for not being an attention whore. The door's right over there. Off you go. ;) I tease, I tease. I really am impressed with these people. But for me there's nothing quite so wonderful as sharing my thoughts on a book and knowing other people are reading those thoughts.

And that's where I finally get around to my real topic of the day. I don't put a whole lot of effort into writing my reviews. And, yes, I know it shows, but that's not the point. The point is, it still takes me a good 15-20 minutes (on a good day) to write a review. Just gathering my thoughts and condensing them into something understandable and hopefully entertaining is rather difficult. I imagine this is true for you too. Yet, we all do it anyway. Sit and write out these thoughtful and time consuming reviews and then...And here it FINALLY is...people come to our blog and skim our reviews. How dare they?! Where do they get off only sparing a cursory glance at our hard work?!

Um, what do you mean "how do I know they only skimmed my review?" Uh, no I don't skim reviews, I'm not talking from personal experience...Oh, fine, you're right! Happy? I sometime skim reviews!  *hangs head in shame*  Why do I do this? Well firstly there's the whole time thing. I may be a jobless loser with no life to speak of and rarely anything better to do but I do actually DO other things and don't always have the time to donate to countless reviews.

Which brings me to the different types of reviews. Please don't be angry with me. As I said, this is a safe place, right? Right?!

The college essay review
Oh, for the love of all that is purple, people! Unless you're actually writing up a book report that must have a required amount of words, please keep the reviews to a readable size. Whether you're raving or ranting does it really need to be THAT long?!  Really?!

The I just discovered the thesaurus review
Yes, adjectives and adverbs are glorious. I use them all the time. But if a book is good just tell me the book is good. You don't need use ten different words that mean "good" so that I get the point. I got it!

The first graders "what I did for my summer vacation" review
These ones, at least, are blessedly short. Unfortunately they sound exactly like a child wrote it. For example, (this book was so good. I really liked it. It was so exciting. I can't wait for the next one. The mystery was great. The characters were likable. I loved so and so the best. They made me laugh a lot.) See what I mean? I can only take so much of that before my eyes glaze over and I click away.

Now before you crush your mouse in outrage at my audacity, I'll quickly confess I'm guilty of every single one of these types of reviews. I've written ones that are painfully too long. I'm a horrible adverb junkie and I sometimes just can't form a sentence longer than six or seven words. I'm not condemning anyone for their review writing skills. I'm just confessing that, yes, sometimes I just can't take it and I skim reviews. Hey, at least I'm admitting it right?

Sometimes it has nothing to do with the reviewer's writing so much as what they're reviewing.

There are reviews of books we've never heard of. Sometimes this is a great thing. We're introduced to a new book. The Synopsis has intrigued us, the cover dazzled us, the reviewer has raved. Oh, how glorious are these moments. But for all the books that sound good, are the ones that don't. And then we have to read a review about a book we just don't care to know anything about. Ugh, the torture! The skimming that takes place. The guilty chin duck as we just click away from the site; not even courteously leaving a comment.

Then there are the books we hated. Geeze! It was bad enough reading the dang thing all 200-300 + pages of it and then we have to read what others think of it too?!  Hey, if they agree with us that the book was complete and utter crap it can be fun, but if they loved it...What can we do but sit and wonder what on earth is wrong with us?

The book we're eagerly awaiting. To be honest these are the ones I struggle with. Sometimes I'm not that bothered with spoilers or gushing or ranting. If I want to read the book I'm going to read it and your opinion, trusted as it is, will hardly dissuade me, but sometimes I don't want to read your review! I'm sorry but I don't want to hear a thing, good or bad, about the book. I don't want anything "ruining" it for me. You know?

And speaking of going on too long...

Please tell me I'm not alone. Tell me you skim once in awhile too. And if so, why? What types of reviews make you want to gouge your eyes out? Which ones do you just avoid? Come on, go ahead. This is a safe place. We're all friends here.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: Struck

Title Struck (Struck 1)
By Jennifer Bosworth
Genre YA supernatural/paranormal romance
Pages 373
Recommended by Me

First sentence I don't sleep much.

Mia is a lightning addict. She's been struck too many times to count. Moving to Los Angeles where lighting rarely strikes seems like a good idea. That is until a massive storm causes an earthquake that destroys the city. In the aftermath Rance Ridley has set himself up as Prophet and is claiming the end of the world is at hand. His interest in Mia is rivaled by that of a group of people known as the Seekers. With everyone taking interest in her, Mia struggles to cope. It isn't easy when the handsome Jeremy suddenly shows up at her school and warns her to stay away from both groups.

What is has going for it
I'll admit the premise for this one sucked me in. The book trailer also helped. I mean, a story with supernatural elements involving lightning? Sign me up.  The writing was fine and the ending exciting. Here,  watch the trailer. For me it was the best part of the book.

What's lacking Sigh! See? Far too often I'm fooled into thinking a book is going to be awesome based on its synopsis. This one sounded really good. Unique even. Is that even possible anymore?  My biggest problem with this one was the characters. Not one was worth investing emotion in. Mia was supposed to be all determined to have nothing to do with the two cults fighting over her and yet, you know right from the beginning she's going to get involved. Even when she protests and protests. So tiresome! I felt like the big message of the book was the choices we make. Mia had three choices to choose between and, quite frankly, it was between three evils. Maybe I'm just being too hard on the book and Mia but when there's nothing good to root for who the heck cares?! You know? I was also trying to figure out why the heck, when only LA was destroyed, did people stay there? Seriously, people, there's a psycho guy camping out on the beach claiming you're all going to die unless you join him. People are going hungry and camping out on the beach in tents and you're staying there because???? Yeah. Favorite moment Despite my dislike of this one and the romance. I did enjoy the kissing. The author sure could write a steamy kiss. Yea or Nay? My opinion probably can't be trusted. The book really wasn't bad. It and I just didn't get along.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July's Photo A Day Pictures 1-7

Well, here's my first week of photos. Yeah, I know they're really boring. I'm just NOT a picture taker. Ah well.

Self Portrait

Busy (my tree has been "busy" dropping these all over!)

Best part of your day (Mmmm, dessert)

Fun (4th of July pool party)

On the ground (my rug)

Chair (and my cute nephew telling me to talk to the hand)

See? Boring. I'll try to be more inventive next week.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Review: The Scorpio Races

Title The Scorpio Races
By Maggie Stiefvater
Genre YA fantasy
Pages 409
Recommended by Angie and Steph

First sentence It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.

On an island where racing wild, man eating horses that come from the sea is the norm, Puck is about as abnormal as can be. To keep her brother from leaving the island she enters the race. Not only do girls never run in the race, but she doesn't won't even be riding one of the sea horses.

What it has going for it
The only Stiefvater book I've ever read in Shiver and, well, to put it mildly, it wasn't my favorite book. So, you can imagine my hesitancy to read this one, even if it did sound awesome. I saw so many people raving about it and even had a dream about it at some point so, finally, I decided to read it. And I LOVED it! Wow, seriously, guys, this was the most unique story I've read in a long time! The beautiful, poetic, writing meshes so well with the careful build up to the crescendo of the story. I was so invested in the characters. With both Sean and Puck having a reason to win, very good reasons, I was trying to figure out how it would all work out. And, oh, how desperately I wanted it to just work out.  The romance was so beautiful. No insta-love, no bossy, overprotective guy, no lust in the guise of love. No, this was a realistic and beautifully developed relationship. The setting and the plot were so vivid. Just pages into the book and you feel like you're there. Argh! I just can't describe to you how much I loved this book.  In a word. Breathtaking.

I seriously never imagine movie stars as characters in books. I don't know why it just doesn't happen, but I could not get this guy... 
...out of my head for the role of Sean. I'm sure tons of people will disagree with me because Sean is much more serious than lighthearted Joseph but, well, there you have it. He stuck in my head and I can't get him out.

What's lacking
The only thing that bothered me about this book was how young Puck acted. I get that the death of her parents might have left her a little wild but one would think that all her responsibilities would make her act older not younger. She seriously came off sounding like 13-14 tops. SHE didn't bug me, I just kept forgetting she wasn't a really young kid.

Favorite moment
Oh, good heavens! How am I supposed to choose just one?...Nope, I don't think I can.

Yea or Nay?
Yes, oh my goodness, yes! Read this one.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: Song of the Sparrow

Title Song of the Sparrow
By Lisa Ann Sandell
Genre YA fantasy
Pages 394
Recommended by Me

First sentence Motherless.

This verse novel tells the story of Elaine of Ascalot, or as most people know her, The Lady of Shalott.

What it has going for it
I really truly love verse novels. Not only are they incredibly quick to read, but they say only what needs saying in the most beautiful way possible. The flow of this one was lovely. I'm going to go ahead and admit, right here, that the only King Arthur story I've ever read and enjoyed was The Mists of Avalon. It occurs to me, that it's the only "Arthur" book I've read that's from a girl's perspective. Hmmm, that might have something to do with it. And now that I've read this one, from a girl's perspective as well, I think I can safely say that it probably does determine whether I'll like a book about Arthur. But I'm totally getting off track here. I liked Elaine in this one because she wasn't portrayed as the simpering, rather worthless woman she usually is. She was tough and useful and smart. She was a friend to all the men she'd grown up with and they valued her opinion. And best of all, she doesn't freaking kill herself over stupid Lancelot! Sorry, maybe I shouldn't have spoiled that for you but, come on, this book is from Elaine's perspective. She's not going to die at the end!

What's lacking
I'm going to rant for a minute here. Bear with me. I really, REALLY hate Lancelot! I can't stand him. No matter the book or movie that portrays him, he's always the same narcissistic, melancholy, poor picked on me asshole! Anywho, I only mention it because he was the same in this one and, yes, it bothered me. I also thought the ending was very rushed. It probably only felt that way because the first part of the book was a completely different pace and then suddenly everything happens and ends. It was sort of like going through an art museum in a race car.

Favorite moment
Tristan. Sigh! Any part with him.

Yea or Nay?
Um, yes, even if King Arthur stories aren't your thing. It's a verse novel and a beautiful one at that.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review: The Hollow City

Title The Hollow City
By Dan Wells
Genre Adult suspense
Pages 336
Recommended by Me

First sentence "Who are you?"

Michael Shipman is a paranoid schizophrenic. He suffers from hallucinations; the worst being the faceless men. The doctors tell him it's not real. It shouldn't be real. It couldn't be real. It isn't real......or is it?

What is has going for it
I love having Suey as a friend! Not only do I have someone awesome to go to bookish events with but she works at a library and got this little book way back in March. So, lucky me, I got to share in the wealth. I consumed this book in two sittings, which would have been one had it not been for my priorities telling me sleep wins over reading an amazing book. First off, I love Dan Wells’ books and I adore his writing even more. You know how picky I am about books and especially about writing so when I say this guy can write, I mean this guy can write. In this book, my favorite so far, he proves how amazingly well he can write by capturing what it might be like to be schizophrenic, and not only that, but writes it so well he makes you think you’re going crazy. The insanity and desperation that the MC Michael feels bleeds from the pages and makes you relate so well. Which, let’s face it, is freaky because, unless you have schizophrenia you should not be relating to this character, but you do! The story was very unique and while some may think it’s too far out there I thought it was just perfect. I loved the way the whole thing ended as well. It left just enough open for more books but it can stand on its own, and, honestly, I hope that it does just that. The ending was satisfyingly disturbing. What more could you ask for?

What's lacking
Nothing! There’s nothing about this book that I didn’t like. If I had to complain, absolutely had to, I’d say that while I’ll never forget the crazy story or Michael…I might not remember some of the other characters. They just not might me memorable enough.

Favorite moment
The very ending. Startling and satisfying all at once.

Yea or Nay? 
Don't tell me this isn't you're type of book because there is NO other book out there like this! It comes out today. Go buy it! Seriously!