Wednesday, January 28, 2009

6 Things I Love



I was tagged, supposedly, by TheBookworm from Au Courant for this meme. Thank you for mentioning me!

Rules of the tag:
- Link to the person who tagged you
- List 6 things that make you happy
- Post the rules, tag six others and let them know you did so
- Then tell the person who tagged you your entry is finished!



6 Things That Make Me Happy!

  • My mailbox; the deliverer of joy. Books make me excited (especially when I get them in the mail).
  • Music and singing. They help me get through the bad days.
  • Writing! To sit down and write gives me a warm feeling inside.
  • My family... sometimes.
  • Going to church.
  • Opening my Bible.

I am going and tagging everyone! So that means whoever wants to do it, go ahead. Can't wait to see your answers! :)

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is where I share with you a book that I am looking forward to reading when it is released.

(idea by Jill from Breaking the Spine)

TMI
by Sarah Quigley

Publication date: April 2009

Friends call Becca the Overshare Queen, but her tendency for TMI never seemed like a problem to her until she blabs about her sweet band-geek boyfriend’s sloppy kisses—and gets dumped! Realizing it may be better to resist the temptation to overshare face-to-face, Becca decides to blog anonymously about everything instead. On her blog, Too Much Information, Becca unleashes her alter ego, Bella. Bella tells it like it is . . . though perhaps with a bit more drama. After all, no one’s going to read it, right?

(I was thinking about asking Penguin for a review copy of this book because it sounds reallly awesome! But maybe I'll just wait until it comes out.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Which Harry Potter character are you?



You are Hagrid. You're an outcast with a heart of gold. Despite your own problems, you always find time to help those in need.

Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

Monday, January 26, 2009

Poll Winner

The poll for last week was (unfortunately I'm only get to this now)...

Which one?

Pepsi
Mountain Dew
Diet Coke
Dr. Pepper
a mixture



I am actually very suprised that no one likes Diet Coke the best. It's my mother's favorite. So I guess only old people like it (haha, just kiddin').

And the winner is....

Mountain Dew!



Congrats, Dew! A lot of people love you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Messenger


Messenger
By Lois Lowry
5 out of 5 stars

ALL AGES


Matty, six years after leaving his life of mischief and stealing, was living with the blind man in Village, a town where the handicapped and misfits have a place to stay. Matty had grown to be a fine young man, found love with the schoolteacher’s daughter, and was a devout messenger. When the town decided that no more wanderers would be allowed to live in Village, Leader sent Matty on a journey. To deliver the messages that Leader gave him and to get to the blind man’s daughter, Matty had to walk through Forest, the deadly forest that had killed so many people. Matty wasn’t afraid, but now Forest is changing…

Messenger was … beautiful. Matty “gave himself willingly, traded for all that he loved and valued.” I adore this book so much that it will never collect dust, for I will be taking it off my shelf and reading it all the time. The characters from Gathering Blue and The Giver meet in this wonderful read. Author Lois Lowry has astounded me once more with her likable characters and the fast pace of the storyline. I actually did cry at the end of this book, which makes this the second fictional book I have ever cried over. Readers of all genres will enjoy reading this tale of love, adventure, and loss.



*book copy traded from PaperbackSwap

To read the first two chapters online, click here.



Saturday, January 24, 2009

The City of Ember on DVD!


The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau became a movie in October. If you didn't get to watch the movie in theaters, borrow it from your local movie gallery, because, guess what,


IT'S ON DVD!



The Substitute Kid

The Substitute Kid
by Joseph K. Smith
4 out of 5 stars



Michaela Davis is an impatient ten-year-old girl and is always getting into trouble, though it’s not always her fault. When her scientist father introduces Michaela to a robot he created, she feels like she is looking into a mirror. Could she possibly use this replica of herself to her advantage? Constantly receiving detentions, bad grades, and getting grounded, Michaela decides to take the robot for a test drive. Maybe her life would be easier if she had a twin to do everything for her. With failing attempts, an annoying older brother, bad habits, and a demanding mother, having a successful plan is hard.


The Substitute Kid was a nice, short read. The characters were quirky and original. I really enjoyed all the dialogue. It was very realistic. It got a little annoying that certain sentences were repeated. The writing seems like a fifth grade wrote it; it’s simple and explains everything to the reader but it doesn’t seem revised.


This book has a great moral lesson that both younger and older people can understand. The meaning of this story is clear once you read it and it will stay in your mind.



*book copy received from BookDivas


Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
By E. Lockhart
4 out of 5 stars



Alabaster Prep is a widely-known boarding school with rich kids roaming the halls. Alabaster students don’t give a second thought to the mysterious all-male society, the Basset Hounds. Some of them don’t even know who they are. Then a mildy geeky, curvaceous young woman, Frankie Landau-Banks, wants to take the Basset Hounds farther than just quiet beer parties and lame pumpkin pranks. But she can’t become a member because, obviously, she is a girl and her boyfriend would certainly not let her join (though he, himself, is a member). In a world of goofballs and wannabes, Frankie must show the Bassets how it’s done.

The story itself was original and fun. The writing was phenomenal and put other books to shame. I tried really hard, though, to like Frankie, the main character, but I didn’t not achieve my goal. The only character I did like was looked down upon by everyone else in the book. Once I got to the middle, I was a little drawn away from it. There was a lot of feminism.

The quirky pranks were hilarious so I got a kick out of reading it. I also learned a lot of new words that I will try to remember in the future and use in my everyday vocabulary. Though I had a lot of back-and-forth admiration for this book, it is definitely worth checking out at your local library.

(Another left-down, but there are some sexual references within the pages of this book.)



*book copy borrowed from my library

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Interview Meme

Questions recieved generously from Priya.

The Rules of the Interview
1. Leave me a comment saying you want to be interviewed.
2. I'll email you five questions, of my determination not yours!
3. You update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Okay, then, here we go:

Q&A

1. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Jesus Loves Me.


2. Twilight or Harry Potter?

Harry Potter, of course. Twilight is up there, though.

3. You just won the lottery. Where are you going to build your mansion?

Where I live now. My dad would be so happy and I think my mom would actually cry.



4. If you had the chance to meet one actor/actress, who would you choose?

I would love to meet David Henrie from Wizards of Waverly Place!


5. Favorite animal?

Flamingo.

___

If you want interview questions from me, just comment below this post and say that you want to be interviewed. I would be totally happy to ask questions to anyone!

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is where I share with you a book that I am looking forward to reading when it is released.

(idea by Jill from Breaking the Spine)

The Anatomy of Wings
by by Karen Foxlee
(publication date: February 10, 2009)


Ten-year-old Jennifer Day lives in a small mining town full of secrets. Trying to make sense of the sudden death of her teenage sister, Beth, she looks to the adult world around her for answers.

As she recounts the final months of Beth’s life, Jennifer sifts through the lies and the truth, but what she finds are mysteries, miracles, and more questions. Was Beth’s death an accident? Why couldn’t Jennifer—or anyone else—save her?

Through Jennifer’s eyes, we see one girl’s failure to cross the threshold into adulthood as her family slowly falls apart.

(I am getting an ARC of this book in the mail from RandomBuzz and I can't wait to read it!)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Poll Winner

This week's poll was...



What animal is the coolest?

a snapping turtle
a pony
a goldfish
a flamingo



And the winner is:

a snapping turtle and a pony!


Poor little goldfish didn't get any votes. (I agree with you, EmilyRuth!)

The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes

The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes
By Marlane Kennedy
5 out of 5 stars


Beauregard is a big, drooling, slobbery mess of a Saint Bernard and Charlotte is sick of taking care of him. But she knows she has to, because no one else will. Her father brought him home a few months ago but no one will look after him. Charlotte dreams that Beauregard will go to a good family, one that lets him come inside the house and that will love him. Plans fail and Charlotte is about to give up. Then she heard about the Saint Bernard Rescue Foundation. The problem is, her father doesn’t agree with what Charlotte has planned out. Then again, what if Charlotte doesn’t either?


The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes was exactly what I was hoping for. It was simply cute. The storyline was steady and the plot grew deeper with each chapter. I became entranced with Charlotte’s life. It was fun to read and I enjoyed every bit of it. The word choice was simple but it easily explained everything. The friendships formed helped each character grow in their own way, especially Charlotte. The synopsis on the back cover summarizes the story perfectly. I can’t put it better myself.

*book copy provided by HarperCollin's Children's First Look



Presenting Lenore's Contest

Presenting Lenore is having a big contest that is ending on February 8th where you can win 5 books that are going to get published in 2009 by Penguin.

Click here to check it out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is where I share with you a book that I am looking forward to reading when it is released.

(idea by Jill from Breaking the Spine)




Chasing Lincoln's Killer
by James L. Swanson
Publication date: February 2009

Based on rare archival material, obscure trial manuscripts, and interviews with relatives of the conspirators and the manhunters, CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER is a fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth: a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia.

"This story is true. All the characters are real and were alive during the great manhunt of April 1865. Their words are authentic and come from original sources: letters, manuscripts, trial transcripts, newspapers, government reports, pamphlets, books and other documents. What happened in Washington, D.C., that spring, and in the swamps and rivers, forests and fields of Maryland and Virginia during the next twelve days, is far too incredible to have been made up."

So begins this fast-paced thriller that tells the story of the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth and gives a day-by-day account of the wild chase to find this killer and his accomplices. Based on James Swanson's bestselling adult book MANHUNT: THE 12-DAY CHASE FOR LINCOLN'S KILLER, this young people's version is an accessible look at the assassination of a president, and shows readers Abraham Lincoln the man, the father, the husband, the friend, and how his death impacted those closest to him.

(I have always been interested in historical books. When I saw this book, I just had to add it to my to-read list.)

The Bomb That Followed Me Home

The Bomb That Followed Me Home
by Cevin Soling
3 out of 5 stars

A little boy was walking home when he found a bomb stalking him. It was just the “cutest bomb” he’d ever seen. He asked his mother if he could keep it but she didn’t give in. “Why, some crazed anarchist is probably worried sick wondering where is bomb is!” When his father came home, he asked him the same thing. Of course, it was the same answer. What are the going to do with the bomb? They asked the Department of Defense, the National Guard, and the Weathermen, but no one wanted it. Then they remembered the mean neighbors next door. Would they like the bomb? KABOOM!

The Bomb That Followed Me Home was totally twisted. It was a mockery of a children’s book and my dad got a kick out of it. I didn’t think it was that funny but I have learned some new words even though I don’t think I’ll ever use them.

This book was sick and disturbing, especially the ending. I was completely unaware that books like this were out there. I read about the first book and almost threw up. It sounded disgusting! But, then again, kind of funny. My little brother said, “I want to read it!”

This story was weird and I don’t think I’ll ever read it again. The book sits on my shelf collecting dust.

*reviewed for the publisher



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Waiting for Normal

Waiting for Normal
by Leslie Connor
4 out of 5 stars

Addie has taken many twists and turns in her lifetime. Her mother and stepfather divorced a few years ago and now she is living in a trailer with her mother. Her stepfather, Dwight, lives hours away with her two sisters and his new girlfriend. Addie makes friends, lands a part in the school symphony, and misses her sisters deeply even though she sees them every weekend. She loves them and cares about them but she can’t pretend anymore. They aren’t her family now. All Addie really wants is normal; to know what’s going to happen next. But living with her unpredictable mother, that is a big challenge.

Waiting for Normal was a wonderful written novel. Each character introduced was perfect for the story. Dwight was a loving father and in the end, I almost cried. The storyline was excellent and I didn’t even see the events coming. Being inside of Addie’s mind is truly exciting and reading about the way she interprets the world around her is fascinating.

The pages inside the book tell the story of a girl wanting to be normal but I am fully convinced that Addie didn’t really wanted to be. ‘Normal’ was the word she used but I think she just wanted to be ‘happy’. If her mother had acted like an actual mother, I think she would have wanted to stay exactly where she was.

(For me it ruined parts of the story, but be aware that there is a homosexual minor character.)

*book copy borrowed from the library


Monday, January 12, 2009

The Tomorrow Code

The Tomorrow Code
By Brian Falkner
4 out of 5 stars


Teenagers Tane and Rebecca have been friends since anyone could remember. Rebecca has the highest grades in the class, always looks her rock-star best, and everyone admires her. But sometimes Rebecca feels no one can understand her. Her father’s dead and her mother is wasting away in front of the television. Tane begins to have more-than-a-friend feelings about her, but Rebecca doesn’t notice a thing. One day, Rebecca comes home to a note on her door from the government saying they are taking away the house because the bills haven’t been paid for months. Out of pure curiosity, Tane and Rebecca start thinking about time travel. What are the likes that it could really happen? Then they start receiving coded messaged from the future. With Tane’s boy scout experience and Rebecca’s intelligence, they decipher the messages and are not happy to see what they have found: it’s an SOS from… themselves?

The Tomorrow Code was brilliant and fascinating at first because of the character’s uniqueness and the quality of the author’s writing. The place and events were vivid and fun to read about but then it drew away from the characters’ personalities that they had in the beginning. I started not to like Rebecca because she turned know-it-all and snotty. She wasn’t herself. The events going on and the news reports that were brought into the story added so much more appeal to the book. Then, unfortunately, even the main plot began to get boring. I set this book down five times, so I read five different books between the pages of this one. I might have strolled away from the plot, I don’t know for sure, but this book just didn’t make it on my Recommended List.

Reviewing for Beginners

After reading a book:
-Digest it and really think about what you’ve read. Was it good? Was it bad?

Writing a review:
-The way most reviews are set up is like this:

(book title)
(author)
First paragraph –the first half-: (the summary of the book)
Second paragraph –the second half-: (what you thought of it)

Some people combine the summary of the book while they are writing about what they thought of it. Whatever you feel is best for your reviews, go for it.

*example of a "combined" review here, example of a two-paragraph review here.

-The main things to remember while writing a review is:

keeping your voice (You don’t have to sound professional. Your audience is a wide range of ages. What about that 10-year-old who wants to read a 600-page book? Don’t let him or her down. Write simply so that everyone can understand it.)

the cons (I know hurting feelings isn’t something that you may look forward to as a reviewer, but if there are cons in the book that you’ve read, you have to mention them. It’s not the author you are writing against so don’t worry about hurting any feelings.)

the pros (If there are pros in the book that you’ve read, make sure to describe them, pinpoint them. Your readers are looking for reasons to read the book that you are suggesting to them. Make it worth their while!)

the length of the review (Be extra careful with the length of your review. If it’s too long, let’s say 500-words, people won’t read it. But, the main thing is: the summary of the book and what you thought of it should be the same length! I have seen in far too many reviews that the summary is always longer. Readers can read the summary anywhere! What they really want to know is if it’s good or if they should skip out on it. Make it clear!)

Q: How many words is a review?
There is no specific word amount for writing reviews. But I think they should always be at least 200 words long with 100 words in the first paragraph and 100 in the second.

Q: What do I do with my review when I am done writing it?
There are special websites that you can become a member of so that you may post your own reviews. Good sites to check out are GoodReads and LibraryThing.

Q: I heard that you could get free books to review. How does that work?
Publishers want feedback and readers want books. The easiest way for publishers to get publicity is through websites. That’s why they give away free books. They want people to talk about their books so that more people become interested and buy them. Most of time, you have to return the favor with a review of the book. It’s not so hard really! HarperCollin’s Children’s First Look Program only wants a 20-word review so that means you get to keep your free ARC!

Q: What are some sites that have free books that I can review?
See these posts: Part One and Part Two. There are always extra opportunities around the web so keep an eye out.

Q: I’ve been a little hesitant to ask, but… what is an ARC?
An ARC is uncorrected proof of a book that is not yet published, which means it’s a draft of the actual book. ARC stands for “Advanced Reader’s Copy”. An ARE is the same thing but stands for “Advanced Reader’s Edition”. When my sister became a reviewer, she got a free ARC in the mail to review. I asked her what an ARC was and was so embarrassed. But there is no need to be. You have to begin at the starting line before you can reach the finish line.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is where I share with you the books I've gotten in the mail or the library. Maybe you'll find a book you want to read along the way!

(idea by TheStorySiren)



The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes
by Marlane Kennedy
(Release date: March 17, 2009)


A few months ago, Charlotte’s dad brought home a Saint Bernard puppy he got for a song. Unfortunately, now Charlotte’s the only one in the family who takes care of the poor dog. And she doesn’t even like dogs—she just hates to see him neglected. The puppy is so gentle and loving that he deserves a family that truly appreciates him. With a lot of determination and some sneakiness, Charlotte gets him one, and much to her surprise, she becomes a dog person along the way.

(I signed up for this book because it sounds really cute and I think my little sibling will enjoy it.)

(received from HarperCollin's Children's First Look)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Counter Clockwise




Counterclockwise
By Jason Cockcroft
5 out of 5 stars


Nathan Cobb lived with his mother in London, England. His parents had divorced a few years before but Nathan’s dad, Henry, was still a small part of his life. One day, Henry came to see Nathan at school. He explained that Nathan’s mother had died in a bus accident. From then on, Henry and Nathan’s lives change forever. One year after the accident, Nathan meets a curious yeomen warder (Beefeater) that goes around switching files and untying people’s shoes. The Beefeater states that he is changing peoples’ futures to good. The Beefeater has a quest for Nathan: Nathan needs to stop Henry from returning to the past. While Nathan is on this journey, he discovers the secrets that had been hidden from him since the crash … and changes the present day his father and himself live in.

Counterclockwise was quite unique. It wasn’t the usual “build a time machine” stuff and then you can go to the future. It was different and only the book can explain how exactly it worked, for I have no idea how to put it in words. Each page in this book was developing the story one way or another. It was quite exciting to see how Nathan’s life changed from day to day and I was very eager to read how everything worked out in the end. I wasn’t disappointed! Every sentence was so exhilarating that I literally couldn’t wait to read more. This book is more for younger children (ages 9 or 10) but that didn’t stop me from liking it. Once again, 5 stars to a good read!



Release date: February 03, 2009

*book copy provided by HarperCollin's Children's First Look Program

Poll Winner

This week's poll was...


What is your favorite genre?

action and adventure
romance
mystery
whatever sounds good



And the winner is...

whatever sounds good!

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Blind Faith Hotel


The Blind Faith Hotel
by Pamela Todd
5 out of 5 stars

All of her life, Zoe has never had a real home. One year after the other, her family packs up their things and moves on. Her father had always been her role model by being a fisherman. He knew and explained things differently then others did, but when the family is separated by divorce, Zoe starts doubting everyone. Zoe, her older sister, younger brother, and mother move away once again, to a run down house they plan to fix up to become a bed-n-breakfast. While there, Zoe goes through puberty and becomes self-conscious of her body. She tries to live up to her age and as a result, gets in trouble by the police. As punishment, she has to work at a nature preserve. While she is there, she falls in love with a boy working by her side. Throughout her new life and surroundings, Zoe becomes aware that she has a real home… with her family.

The Blind Faith Hotel was anything but normal. It had a meaning. It was wild, exotic, and explained life and home differently than other books. Everything was laid out clearly among the pages. I don’t know any other book that had such a vivid description as to what family really is. I am very impressed. Yes, it was more than I bargained for, but I certainly needed it. This book will rub off on anyone who reads it, I am certain, for it did for me. It made me want to get my Bible out from my dresser drawer and start reading once more. I sound quite dramatic at the moment, but you will surely understand once you get a copy of the book in your own hands. Girls who are in their teenage years will appreciate everything that Author Pamela Todd has to offer through this one-of-a-kind read.

*book copy provided by BookDivas

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is where I share with you a book that I am looking forward to reading when it is released.

(idea by Jill from Breaking the Spine)


The Last Straw (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #3)
by Jeff Kinney

Let’s face it: Greg Heffley will never change his wimpy ways. Somebody just needs to explain that to Greg’s father. You see, Frank Heffley actually thinks he can get his son to toughen up, and he enlists Greg in organized sports and other “manly” endeavors. Of course, Greg is able to easily sidestep his father’s efforts to change him. But when Greg’s dad threatens to send him to military academy, Greg realizes he has to shape up . . . or get shipped out.

Greg and his family and friends, who make the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books a must-read for middle school readers, are back and at their best in this hilarious new installment of the series, which is sure to please current fans while attracting new ones.

Publication date: January 13, 2009

(I can't wait to read this book! I have been counting down the days for months. The first two books were hiliarious and are in my favorite books list. I hope everyone enjoys them too!)

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm special.

There I was, laying on my bed looking at my bookcase on the far wall. It is dinky and I have no room left for new books, so I have stacks of ARCs, library books, and new books sitting everywhere in my bedroom.

I thought. I can't read a book with small print (believe me, that's one of the dull reasons why I can't read classics). I need the right light to read, or less my eyes start to hurt. Sometimes at night, I can't read because I start getting dizzy when I open the book.

We had my eyes checked. Nothing was wrong. So what is it? Is it only me? Do you need special conditions when you sit down to read a book?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is where I share with you the books I've gotten in the mail, the library, et cetera. Maybe you'll find a book you want to read along the way!

(idea by TheStorySiren)



The Given Day, by Dennis Lehane
(originally published in 2006)
published by HarperCollin's in 2008


Filled with a cast of unforgettable characters more richly drawn than any Lehane has ever created, The Given Day tells the story of two families—one black, one white—swept up in a maelstrom of revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants and ward bosses, Brahmins and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and power. Beat cop Danny Coughlin, the son of one of the city's most beloved and powerful police captains, joins a burgeoning union movement and the hunt for violent radicals. Luther Laurence, on the run after a deadly confrontation with a crime boss in Tulsa, works for the Coughlin family and tries desperately to find his way home to his pregnant wife.


(won from GoodReads)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ratha's Creature (The Named Series #1)

Ratha’s Creature
by Clare Bell
3 out of 5 stars

The Named, a group of prehistoric cats, herd packs of various animals including dapplebacks and three-horns. Ratha, a yearling, was getting trained to be a herder by Thakur. But he is hiding something about the mysterious Unnamed pack. Ratha can smell it. All of the Named have been taught that the Unnamed are stupid; they don’t know how to talk. Ratha swears she heard one speak. Then the forest is devoured by the “Red Tongue”-fire. Ratha discovers that fire can be used to their advantage and not be an enemy. Thakur is not convinced and why would Meoran, the pack leader, listen to only a yearling?

Ratha’s Creature was a bit odd at first, considering that they are talking cats. Once I got into the story, though, their speech fascinated me; they had manners. The idea for the Named series is unique and the characters that are used in the story each have their own personality. The descriptions were vivid and brought a lot of detail to the book. Yes, it was unique indeed but it just wasn’t my kind of book. I know a few friends that would take a great interest in this book so I will definitely recommend it to them.

*book copy provided by BookDivas

Poll winner

This week's poll was...



What color do you prefer?


pink, all the way
green
sky blue
plaid

And the winner is...

sky blue AND green

I have to agree. Each of them are pretty cool.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"It's 2009."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

So.... yeah.