Saturday, July 30, 2011


Thank you all who entered into my 1 year Blogoversary/50 follower giveaway!!  I'm now fifty followers stronger (at 104 followers!!).  What a great Blogoversary "present"...ha!  Thanks so much! :)

The winner of the International giveaway is Kaylie B.! :)

The winner of the U.S. giveaway is Meredith Miller!

The books will be sent out as soon as possible!  Thanks again for all the entries and blog love!  You guys are the best! :)

- Sierra

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Buys 7/23/11 - 7/29/11

So.  This week was the week that I discovered that the library store about ten minutes north of my house had restocked and was having a half off sale.  Yes, indeed.  And I must say that I bought out the whole store.  Ok, well, maybe not, but it felt like it, considering that I came home 10 books heavier.  Plus the day before I had bought two books really cheap at the library a mile from my house, AND I had received an ARC in the mail.  So.  Here goes.

Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
I received this book for review the other day and I'm soooo excited to start reading it! :D

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
I keep hearing great things about this book.  I've never read any of Levine's novels but I have two of them and am so excited to read both!
Bought used but in good condition for 50 cents.

The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit
Ahhhh, Nesbit...  I now own three of her books and I'm dying to read at least one.  Maybe I'll read all three and then do a combined review?  We shall see...  But I sure loved the movie for "Five Children and It", all its cheesy moments and unrealistic happenings.  That's sometimes what fairy tales are made of. ;)
Almost brand new for $1.00.

My little sister bought this book and the one below for $1.00 (for both).  Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan and The Good Dog by Avi.  I mention them because I'll probably end up reading Swordbird (I enjoyed the writing that I read) and I might read The Good Dog.  I doubt it, though.  I don't normally like books all about animals.

Daughter of Venice by Donna Jo Napoli
This book looks SO good.  Like, really really really good!!!  I'm so looking forward to reading it...and soon!
$1.00 in great condition.

 These next three are books 2-4 of the Keys to the Kingdom series.  I have Mister Monday, and want to read the series.  So when I found Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, and Sir Thursday for 75 cents to $1.25 each in almost perfect condition, I couldn't pass it up.

Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller
I am SOOOO stoked to read this one.  It's the story of Helen Keller, told from her tutor Annie's perspective. I'd heard about this book from my mom, but never thought about it again after until I saw it at the bookstore...I had to buy it.  I'm really looking forward to reading/reviewing this one.
$2.50 for a brand new hardcover.

Maximum Ride, books 1-3, hardcover, perfect condition.  Never been read.  $2.50 for all three of them.  Yes, you read right.  No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you.  Trust me, this is not a fantasy.  It really happened.  I now own The Angel Experiment, School's Out - Forever, and Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports.  Brand new.  Hardcover.  For DIRT cheap.  YESSSSSSSSSS!  (Napoleon Dynamite style...)

Here's the pile. :D  I'd say this was a good week, wouldn't you?  I keep wanting to write a smiley face after every sentence.  I'm sooooo excited. :D
(These pictures were taken inside of a cute little drawer we are repainting.  It was the perfect spot since the rest of my house is covered in ugly!)
Total money spent on 13 books in one week - $11.00.  Booyah!

Oh, and I must share...  The other day some of my friends were over, helping us pack and clean up our old house.  We were all piled in my room, which was an absolute disaster.  I had just packed my favorites shelf and was in dismay (I'd kept them out just because I love to look at!).  Then they started making fun of me, and all of a sudden they were like, "Hey! You're like that lady from that movie...the one about books...  Like the old lady from Inkheart!  That's what it is!"  I just about died of laughter!!  It was a great book moment...  I mean, who doesn't love being compared to a grumpy old fart who lives alone and collects thousand dollar books? HA. HA. ;P

Happy reading!! :D

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens - Did Not Finish

Magical books, a wicked Countess, three lonely orphans, funny characters, a strange wizard, and a hidden land.

What's not to like?
Well, those things can be wonderful.  But whether or not they're that depends on how the story is put together.

For me, this one didn't quite cut it.  It was fascinating for a good 100 pages, funny and intense and sweet.  Then it started fluctuating between interesting and boring, until around 220 pages I had had enough.  I didn't care enough about the characters; one had just been seriously injured and I didn't even really care very much. The Countess turned out to be very different from her original creepiness, which actually took away the creepy in her character and, to me, made her like every other evil witch in stories.  There were actually dwarves (!) which shouldn't surprise me but for some reason it did and I didn't like it.  And then there was a strange time-warp that I didn't feel was properly explained.

Now, this this an entirely bad book?  Most definitely not.  A lot of what I read was great, and even the un-awesome parts were written well.  I just lost patience with it, having read only 220 pages in a whole week...  (I can normally finish a book the size of The Emerald Atlas, about 400 pages, in less than four days...)  Sorry, time to move on.

Should you read this book?  That most certainly depends on you, as the reader.
Do I recommend it?  Not necessarily, but I won't say I don't, either.  There are just others I would rather see someone reading.  (Such as:  100 Cupboards, Leepike RidgeThe Roar, The Clockwork Three, The Legend of Holly Claus, or Museum of Thieves.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling (book #4)

Harry, Ron, and Hermione are about to start their 4th year at Hogwarts.  For the remainder of the summer, Harry has (barely) been given permission to go watch the Quidditch World Cup, which Mr. Weasley (barely) got tickets for.  The night of the World Cup, You-Know-Who's Dark Mark is sent up into the sky by an unknown person, and then Death Eaters (Voldemort's old followers) wreak havoc on the camp grounds.  All this could signify Voldemort's possible rise to power.  At Hogwarts at the start of the school year, the students discover there is going to be a change to their normal routine.  The Triwizard Tournament will take place at Hogwarts over the school year.  Three wizards will be chosen, one from Hogwarts, and one each from the visiting schools, Durmstrang and Beauxbaton.  But when, with an unforseen turn of events, Harry is thrown into the middle of it all, the situation becomes stickier with each new task, and the mess could end up being bigger than anyone ever imagined.


My thoughts -
YES!  What an incredible book!  Number 4, by far the best book yet.  I was thoroughly impressed with every word.  I was surprised, excited, saddened, shocked, freaked out, and totally happy.  Seriously, I am one happy reader having finished this book.  Not only was I even more in love with the characters and story, but also with the writing.  Golly goodness I loved the writing so much more this time.  I've always liked it, but it never seemed a strong point in the books for me.  But this time, wow.  Just, wow.

Character notes -
Again, lovely characters.  Harry - he grows more and more wonderful with every book.  Hermione - I respected her a TON and loved her role in the story.  Ron - he cracks me up with his typical Weasley sarcasm and wit.  Fred and George - they surpassed my expectations with their hilarious antics.  I'd visit their joke shop!!  They are some of my favorite characters in the series!  Moody - he creeped me out.  Dumbledore - he is one lovable old wizard!  Bagman and Crouch - interesting additions to the story.  Percy "Weatherby" Weasley - HA!!!!  Sirius - Great to see him again!  Snape - who is he really?  Diggory - I love him. :(

And while I love and cherish all these characters, something was other favorite...  Lupin.  Next book? :)

Story notes -
I enjoyed every aspect of this story!  It's a whirlwind of adventure, fun, danger, and, of course, magic!  Harry learns so much through the course of it all and all the events came together in one highly shocking turn for the worst.  I was sucked in by the fast pace - I was sad when it was over...  Thank God there's more to be read!

One word/phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) -
Eventful.  (Yes, pun intended...)  What a great 4th book!!  The first book in the series I've given five stars to - and it's well deserved.  Can't wait to keep reading and enjoying the wonderful adventures of Harry Potter!  These books are treasures!

For the parents -
This book contains a much higher intensity level, especially at the end.  Personally, I wouldn't want my child of 14 reading it.  A character rises from the "dead", in a manner of speaking, and in a very gruesome way.  It's a spooky scene with dark incantations.  A character cuts off his own hand for the magic to work and then writhes in pain; description of what the "dead" person looks like - a very disgusting and dark creature.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Buys 6/25/11 - 7/22/11

I've had to slow down and not buy any books.  I just got my driver's license and now have to pay insurance now I've been out of work.  So what I've bought has been SUPER cheap...which is fine by me, as usual. ;)

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
I'd heard of this book before, and definitely of this author (I bought her two books, Wildwood Dancing and Cybelle's Secret used as well).  This book showed up for 50 cents at my library bookstore, and I kept seeing it every time I was in there. So then, when I read an awesome post by Small Review, I decided I was going to just buy it.  50 cents can't hurt me. ;)

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
This one was about $4.00 at this awesome bookstore I found about a mile from my house.  The store is used paperbacks, but honestly, this one looks brand new.  I actually got it for $1.00 because I traded in another book for it.

Magyk by Angie Sage
LOVE these books!  This one's a bit beat up but it's still readable....and it was only 50 cents!! :D  I only spent $2.00 on books this month and I'm proud of it!!  (Read my review for Magyk.)

Sorry the picture's are dark...didn't have time to edit.  It's the photographer in me that's being!

Happy reading!!! :D

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Story About A Story

"Lunchtime," I yell into the hallway.  Loud squeals erupt from the bedroom at the end, before the children burst from behind the door and rush to get their food.  "Eat up, kiddos, while I read to you from one of my favorite books."

"What is it?"  The oldest boy has piercing eyes, but for some reason I can never figure out their true color.  His skin is dark - inherently tan - and his brown hair flops over his forehead.

"It's called The City of Ember."  I pull out the worn book, its brown cover beaten and stained with love.  "My daddy read it to me when I was your age," I say, looking at the middle child, a girl.  She has her brother's deeply colored skin, but with green eyes.  She leans over her food and smiles at me.

The youngest of the three, a boy, looks like a skinnier, mini version of his brother, except his eyes are always brown and his hair has been buzzed.  He is sitting across from me at the dining room table, his shoulders level with the edge of the table.  He's small and skinny for five years old, but he's got a lion's heart.

I hear a satisfactory amount of forks banging against their plates as they stuff food into their mouths.  But I'm not really paying attention.  I'm about to start the book I've read four times, the book I love more than most books.  The book I will always cherish as a favorite.  As I settle myself into my chair, I begin to read - and I am lost in the story.

What a world! I think to myself fondly, as the Mayor of the city forgets to pass down the secret box.  This story is pure genius! I think, as the box clicks open, lost in the back of a stuffed closet.  Oh, how could a story be better than this? I think, absently taking a sip from my water as I read about Assignment Day.  Will Lina get the Messenger slip?  Will she trade with Doon?  My eyes are grasping at the words, my mouth forming each sound, my tongue tasting the story like it would a dessert.  I know what's going to happen, but with each and every word my mind begins to race, my heart pumping - and I forget I've heard this story more than once.  I forget that it's old news, published "long ago", that the cover is faded and has a rounded cup stain on the front.

It is silence that startles me back into reality.  There is a lack of feet shuffling against the ground, of chewing and of forks scraping against the plates.  The silence is pure, captivating, encompassing.  What has happened?  I ask, willing myself away from the story.

What do I find?  I find three sets of eyes staring intently at my face.  They sparkle with joy and fascination.  The oldest has his fork poised above his plate, as if to take another bite, but he hasn't moved in a while.  His sister hasn't touched her food in a while either, her hands folded in her lap, her expression dreamy.  Even the youngest, though five years old, has his eyes fixed on me, completely ignoring his cold food and his brown eyes sparkling. They are wide and full of wonder.

They see that I have noticed the silence.  They notice it, too.  In one swift jerk back into reality, they shake their heads from the dream of the world of the city of Ember and pick up their forks.  But their wheels are turning, their little eyes still wider than I've seen them yet.  And because of that, I keep on reading...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - A "For the Classics" Guest Post

Ahh...friends...I'm so excited to present this lovely guest post by Mira.  She read Great Expectations and liked it enough to want to do a For the Classics guest post...and I'm so excited!!  Charles Dickens is one of my favorite classics writers...indeed, one of my favorite all time.  So enjoy this lovely post and sign up if you'd like to participate! :D  And please, follow this girl's beautiful reviews on Goodreads and look at her beautiful pictures on Picasa!! :D


Key facts

Reviewer- Mira
Book reviewed- Great Expectations
Author- Charles Dickens
Book’s genres- Bildungsroman, social criticism
Rating ***** (A-must-read!!)
You can find me at:
Picasa Web Albums


Hello classics lovers! My name is Mira, and I’m from Jerusalem-Palestine. To tell you a bit about me, I’m a passionate reader, always looking for something new, I, too, enjoy writing and believe words to be the most perfect communication means, and the most powerful among all weapons. Away from books, art occupies a huge part of my time and interests, as I draw, paint, and do different types of crafts. And above all I have a great love for cameras, and enjoy photography as a refreshing hobby! From my perspective life is an experience full of new faces, places and lessons, and the only thing that would make it into a most beautiful, useful one is to hold tight to your own beliefs and, in their company, try new things, and seek new moments. 

It’s really wonderful how internet connects people from different parts of the world and hopefully erases those stereotypes they might have in mind, and replace them with the correct founded facts. We may differ in our ideas, beliefs, cultural backgrounds, but after all we share humanity and an eternal love for life.

Charles Dickens

Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, and he remains popular, responsible for some of English literature's most iconic characters. 

Many of his novels, with their recurrent concern for social reform, first appeared in magazines in serialised form, a popular format at the time. Unlike other authors who completed entire novels before serialisation, Dickens often created the episodes as they were being serialised. The practice lent his stories a particular rhythm, punctuated by cliffhangers to keep the public looking forward to the next installment. The continuing popularity of his novels and short stories is such that they have never gone out of print. 

His work has been praised for its realism, mastery of prose, comic genius and unique personalities by writers such as George Gissing, Leo Tolstoy, and G. K. Chesterton; though others, such as Henry James and Virginia Woolf, criticised it for sentimentality and implausibility.


In most of my readings, it’s generally the end of the book which makes the greatest impression on me and frames my complete opinion of it. Great Expectations proved itself to be an exception. Reading this wonderful novel seemed more like an infinite journey through which one meets hope besides disappointment, love united with hatred, and above all an endeavour to find one’s self and road to the ever-dreamt-of future. It’s the beautiful language of Dickens, the powerful emotions he pours into the heart of this eventful novel, and the sarcasm he presents many of the characters and their attitudes with, which makes Great Expectations a novel I love for its very essence. 

It is hard not to describe this novel as rich. It sets an example of a well-written, profound, full of satire book by a far-sighted novelist. And it feels almost impossible not to notice every progress or drawback connected with the protagonist’s character. You can feel the regret when he feels it, laugh at his simple thoughts, and sympathize with his faults and the reproaches he has to bear. I enjoyed the characters Dickens filled the pages with, as I went on reading. I found that some of these were called implausible by critics and somehow that was how they appeared to me at some points, but as I kept on exploring, this implausibility was the very thing that nourished my anxiety to go on, know more, and understand what is hidden behind each of these characters. It feels awkward to actually write about Great Expectations, as you cannot be that comprehensive to do every word, theme, and motif justice, but one tries, and in my case will keep trying till he could touch the heart of Great Expectations. 


As it is considered a bildungsroman, a novel which charts the progress of its protagonist from childhood, it follows the details of Pip’s life, an orphan country boy raised up by his reproachful sister and her good-hearted husband Joe. All through the way Pip encounters many trying circumstances which leave plain effects on his future character. The story starts with Pip visiting his parents’ tombstones at the marshes where he meets an escaped convict. As the convict orders him to bring him some food, Pip fearfully obeys, till the convict is finally captured with another man in Pip’s presence. The convict protects Pip by saying that he stole the food. 

Pip later begins to make continuous visits to an old wealthy lady called Miss Havisham in order to “play” as he’s asked to. He gets struck at the strange place she lives in, where all the clocks have stopped at a particular hour, and her wearing a wedding dress in a deserted room with everything telling of a once-prepared-for wedding. He later knows that long ago she was jilted at the altar and since then never changed anything around the house. At Miss Havisham’s he meets Estella, a beautiful but proud young lady who treats him coldly, and despite that Pip starts falling for her. He later stops his visits to start an apprenticeship with Joe, but is surprised later when a mysterious benefactor bestows a fortune upon him and provides for his going to London to become a gentleman. Pip says goodbye to his family and friends including Biddy, a faithful friend of his, and leaves to London. 

In London he first meets Mr. Jaggers, a lawyer who is considered Pip’s guardian, and then meets Herbert, his roommate and Miss Havisham’s cousin’s son who soon becomes Pip’s best friend. There, he expresses disdain for his former friends and loved ones, especially Joe, but he continues to pine after Estella. He also starts to spend way too much money, so his debts just keep piling up. Occasionally, he takes a break from his London life and goes back home to visit Miss Havisham. Pip also returns home to attend his sister’s funeral. Meanwhile Estella comes to London after some educational tours, and is more beautiful and sought by men than ever. She surprises everyone by marrying a man, one considered to be Pip’s enemy, which leaves him heartbroken. 

Things get worse for Pip as he is visited by the convict! He discovers that this convict, called Abel Magwitch, is the founder of his fortune, as he has dedicated his life to make Pip into a gentleman, motivated by gratitude to Pip’s kindness in the past towards him. Pip no longer is comfortable with the idea of his fortune, and is anxious to get Magwitch out of England. With Herbert’s help he forms a plan, which proves unsuccessful as they are seen by Magwitch’s enemy and coincidentally, Miss Havisham’s ex-lover. Consequently, Magwitch is arrested. Pip eventually finds out that Magwitch is Estella’s father, he tells him so, and that he’s in love with her. 

Pip gets really sick, and Joe comes to the rescue. For a while, it’s like old times when Pip and Joe would hang out. As soon as Pip recovers, however, Joe leaves him in the middle of the night, having paid off all of Pip’s debts. 

A few days later, Pip returns home, intending to ask for Joe’s forgiveness and to propose marriage to Biddy. Upon arriving home, however, he finds that Joe and Biddy have just married. He begs for their forgiveness at having neglected them for long, and then he moves to Cairo, where he works with Herbert for eleven years. He returns home after all these years to visit his old friends and pay them back and he finds them as well as ever with their son Pip who is called after him. 

As we come to the ending of the novel, we meet with two different ones, the original and the revised. When I reached this stage of the novel I was surprised by my own indifference to the way Dickens chose to end this journey. I was taken by, by all the complications, the laughs, the heart squeezes I felt reading Great Expectations that I knew I would love it no matter how it ends. In the original ending Pip meets Estella on the streets and is informed that her abusive husband has died and that she has remarried. Estella proves to have changed from the proud unfeeling girl she once was into a more understanding forgiving young woman, which is the only consolation to Pip who could not have her after all. . The novel ends with Pip saying he could see that "suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham's teaching and had given her a heart to understand what my heart used to be." 

In the revised one, the more cheerful ending, they meet at Miss Havisham’s house or what is left of it. Pip feels that he has reached the final stage of his expectations as he is after all reunited with the woman he loves as he says “I saw no shadow of another parting from her”. 

Favorite Quotations 

"Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.” 

"Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day." 

I actually PAUSED at these two paragraphs. In these two Dickens mentions feelings one hardly thinks of : the value of one’s tears, and the value of events whether pleasant or unpleasant which by accumulation form this golden chain of one’s life. Though taken from different parts of the books I can feel the integration between the two, as they both take an inner glance into the soul and heart of your very life and ask you to stop, ponder, and value every moment, every laugh and every tear. 

A few words more.. 

It’s a long summary I know, but I could not resist the desire of mentioning those little details which, while reading, seemed just to make my day! This kind of novels simply deserves to be listed among the finest works of English Literature. In other words I LOVED it! It is different from many books I read, perhaps unique is a more fitting word. Therefore, I would ,proudly, do Mr. Dickens the honor and recommend it to my reading-fellows and anyone who enjoys spending his time in company with a good classic! :)


Thank you so so so much Mira for joining us today and posting such a lovely review! :D

Would you like to read the last two posts? Click here for April. Click here for May.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Emerald Atlas (Quotes)

The tall man had moved into the glow of a streetlamp and was clearly visible for the first time.  To a casual passerby, his appearance would not have inspired much confidence.  His overcoat was patched in spots and frayed at the cuffs, he wore an old tweed suit that was missing a button, his white shirt was stained with ink and tobacco, and his tie - this was perhaps the strangest of all - was knotted not once but twice, as if he'd forgotten whether he's tied it and, rather than glancing down to check, had simply tied it again for good measure.  His white hair poked out from beneath his hat, and his eyebrows rose from his forehead like great snowy horns, curling over a pair of bent and patched tortoiseshell glasses.  All in all, he looked like someone who had gotten dressed int he midst of a whirlwind and, thinking he still looked too presentable, had thrown himself down a flight of stairs.
-  Prologue, pages 3-4

Loved this description so so so much! :D  Unfortunately, I put the book down because it became tedious to read.  How sad! :(

Monday, July 11, 2011

Maximum Ride: School's Out - Forever (book 2) by James Patterson

Read my review for book #1 - The Angel Experiment

Max and the gang are on the run.  Again.  They always are.  They run from Jeb, the Erasers, and the School - plus anyone who might want to make them into some freak show exhibit.  But now there are flying Erasers - yup, you heard right - and Max's mission to save the world is becoming clearer as they figure out who they need to save the world from.  They also have to deal with a mommy-ing FBI agent, Anne, who puts them into school and slowly becomes attached to them.  How much more could go wrong for this winged family?  Well...lots.

My thoughts -
While this book didn't quite make it as awesome as book #1, The Angel Experiment, it was still extremely gripping, full of great characters, and easy to read due to a TON of action.  What did I not like?  Ari.  And...ahem...the entrance of a double of one of the Flock.  But more on that...

Character notes -
I love the Flock. LOVE them.  They are so realistic, each one sporting his/her own personality.  Each one is consistent.  Perfect for the story.  Spot on.  I love it.  I never realized how consistent they are until the double entered.  She acted so unlike the real deal, and the Flock immediately realized it's not her because everything was all wrong.  I was so grateful to the author for this when I recognized it.

The Flock interacts so well together...I just love them and their adventures.  (Have I said it enough yet?  Ha!) And Fang.  Fang gets double love.  Iggy shot up on my favorites list because he was just so sweet and sad the whole time.  And Angel...she just cracks me up!  (There's laugh out loud humor through this book, by the way.  Be up for funny stuff the whole book - it really set me in a good mood!)

So.  The double.  Now that I look back on those scenes with her, I realize that they were needed, but when I was actually reading the scenes, they felt a bit rushed.  Maybe that's just a personal opinion?  I felt like since she was introduced at the beginning she should have taken the place of the real character earlier in the book; instead, they "switch" when the book's almost over.

And Ari.  Just weird.  I'm all for creepy weird mutant villain who can fly and looks like Wolverine...  but when it's an 8-year-old boy stuck in such a body...I dunno - it felt weird and slightly stupid.  The scene where he steals the gameboy actually make me laugh.  Not, "Haha this is so funny!"  But, "Seriously?  This is soooo ridiculous."  Plus, what's all this coming back from the dead crap?  Bring on the new villains!

Story notes -
Woah!  Seriously - I love how non-stop these books are!  Even in the scenes where the Flock aren't being chased by Erasers, there's an unbearable tension and you just have to keep reading!

I felt like there were less twists in the story line this time, but that didn't make the book any less exciting.  The twists that were there were great!

One word/phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) -
Undeniably exciting!  I get one serious kick out of this series (so far) and I'm looking forward to book #3, Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports.

For the parents -  A few minor cuss words and some short references to cuss words.  (Max jokes, "Let's get the Flock outta here!" and then later throws Fang "the bird" as another joke.)  Two kisses - Max to a boy she gets to know at school and goes on a date with;  Fang to a girl who's totally in love with him.  Good for ages 12 and up.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

June Summary

Things have been chill over here lately...especially June.  I definitely lacked in the review department  (sorry!)  but I read three (yes, only three) really good books and I'm glad I was able to soak them in...

Here are my reviews:

Read the full review!

Well, I must say - I'm intensely impressed.  Really truly!  Anne Osterlund knows her trade.  She works her words to her advantage:  everything is so neat and precise, but also leaves room for the imagination to work.

I don't read very many sci-fi, futuristic, space travel, or watch many of those movies.  But when I do I love them.  So when I discovered that fantasy author Osterlund, who writes about princesses and frontiers and frilly dresses and horses, had written a futuristic sci-fi that takes place on multiple planets...I had no idea what to expect.  Now that I'm done with it, however, all I can think is, "Dang!  This girl can write it all!!!"

For the majority of the book, all I could think was "Five star!  Five star!  Five star!"  It was seriously such an epicly strange and original tale...I was so hooked.  I loved everything about the story, the characters, their hurts and struggles and joys, the conflicts that arose, the beauty of the world Elizabeth Bunce had created....

...Within the first 15 pages I knew everything I needed to know about all of the introduced characters, their pasts, the world they lived in, and the direction the story was going.  The first paragraph is one of my favorite paragraphs...ever.  It is one incredible example of what kind of information should be in a paragraph, plus how you can grip your readers from sentence #1.

I shared a few quotes:

Here are my pages:

Read a little bit about me.  (I finally fixed the picture...)

Happy July everybody! :D

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke (Inkheart #3)

This is the review for the third book in the Inktrilogy.  It will contain spoilers for the 2nd book.  Here are my reviews on the other two books.

Mo was never a killer - until Fenoglio fashioned a robber after him.  Now everyone thinks Mo is the Bluejay.  This world need a hero, so why shouldn't he be that for it?  Dustfinger, the fire-eater, is dead, and Farid is working tirelessly for the newly-arrived Orpheus, hoping that the moon-faced man will bring Dustfinger back from the dead using his voice.  Meggie misses Farid terribly - he won't just come visit her!), and she's worried about her father.  And her mother, for that matter, who is now expecting a child.  The Adderhead is rotting away in his castle, due to the faulty book Mo bound.  If only Mo could write those three words in the book and be over with the Adderhead...
When Orpheus writes words to bring back the man they all miss most, and the Piper becomes more and more treacherous in the name of The Silver Prince, Mo might just have his chance.  He'll need help, of course, and the right words.  Or else all will fail and both he and Meggie - and many, many others - will lose their lives to Death.


My thoughts -
Prepare for my inner fangirl to come out:

There are an infinite number of reasons why I freaking LOVE this book.
Dustfinger.  The writing. Dustfinger.  The story.  The action.  The robbers. Dustfinger.  The writers inside the story.  Dustfinger.  All the characters.  The passion.  Dustfinger.  The love.  The danger.  The incredible amazingness.  Dustfinger.  (Plus about a few hundred more Dustfingers.)

Catch my drift?  Haha!  I'm pretty sure this looks mighty similar to my review of Inkspell.  Notice any similarities?  I'll get to him in a minute...

For now let me just say, This book reminded me with every page WHY I LOVE this series SO much.  Why I will ALWAYS love this series.  I've read it 3 times - and each time it gets better.

Character notes -
I love all the characters in this story, even if I have an intense loathing for them.  Funke's villains (Adderhead, Piper, Milksop, Sootbird, Orpheus) are REALLY BAD.  Her heroes and heriones, likewise, are REALLY GOOD.  And all her supporting characters added to the story exactly how they should, so even if I don't like them, I respect their roles in the story and can't see the story without them.  One such case is Farid.  GOSH that kid irritates me in Inkdeath.  But he belongs in it.  He's a part of it and adds ot it perfectly, good or bad.

I love robbers.  Heroic robbers.  And when you make that into "unlikeliest of heroic robbers", I love them even more.  Well, the Bluejay, Mo, Silvertongue...he is the unlikeliest - and he's so perfect!  I loved his role even more this time around...  His change in character, but still being Mo from Inkheart, gave me butterflies.  I loved how his fears, worries, and loves played into the story; how it was so unexpected.  His character is real and beautiful and I loved his so much more this time around.  He was so sacrificial.  Again, butterflies. ;)

Meggie becomes quite the young lady in Inkdeath.  Her bravery and love for others is evident.  She grows into a lovely young lady who may more may not have more than one suitor.  She inspired me.

And Dustfinger.  Does it get any better than HIM?!  He's so incredibly wonderful.  I won't say much about him because of certain spoilers that I don't want to, well..spoil.  However, I can say that if I were to ever exchange places with a fictional character, it would be with his wife Roxanne.  (Grins sheepishly.)  His promises are always the best - especially those he makes to his wife.  Promises can be so romatic - and his are the epitome of romantic promises!

Story notes -
Cornelia Funke was born and raised in Germany, where fairy tales are developed in the most incredible manner.  She obviously has influenced from them - her books are all written in fashion after the Grimm brothers, or maybe the Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson.  She often alludes to German/European works, and includes qotes at the beginning of each chapter, most of which are from foreign literature.  This influence helps create the perfect fairy tale atmosphere for the book.  It is dark, cruel, beautiful, strong, outlandish, and tragic.  It helps pull the story along because it resembles the fairytales of old that everyone loves.  THe story itself is full of sword fights, castles, fairies, and other, stranger creatures, scenes of sadness and desperation, scenes of joy and love, scenes of theivery, manipulation, and deceitfulness.  It is rich, full, and lovely.  It holds deep secrets and intense terrors.  And, in the end, the love, passion, and sacrifice of the heroes in this story triumph over evil.

One word/phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) -
There are WAY to many single words/phrases I could use to describe this beautiful story.  I'm not going to try - just go read it.  Really.  And if you haven't read the others, start with Inkheart and work your way up!  You won't be sorry!!!

For the parents -
This is definitely for older teens, no matter what the bookstores and stupid age banding say.  The subject matter and intensity level are for teens, 15 and up.  Some scenes involve mild cases of torture.  Cuss words sprinkled throughout.  A gross character fondles this maids and it could be implied that he's sleeping with them.  References to a young girl who was sleeping with her lover; he has died and she is now heart broken.  Farid kisses multiple girls when they do him favors...

Read a quote from this book!

Read my other reviews!

Monday, July 4, 2011

GIVEAWAY!!! - 1 year blogoversary/50 followers 7/4/11 - 7/25/11

This giveaway is no longer open to entries!!  Winners will be announced in a few days - thank you so much to everyone who participated!! :D

The time has come, ladies and gentlemen!!  Let the festivities begin!!!

Here are the prizes:

Prize #1 - International!
Prize pack of 100 Cupboards, Dandelion Fire, and The Chestnut King by N. D. Wilson
These books are seriously some of my all time favorites...ever!!!  They make me laugh hysterically, they give me chills, they keep me fascinated with their world, they grip me.  How can I not share this with the rest of the world?!  They are good for young readers (11 and up), as well as for adults.  My dad, 40 something, just read them and LOVED them.  Around the house, we call this author, "The Genius".  They're a little like Harry Potter in the fact that while the first book has a younger feel, they grow with the characters and get more intense as they go on.
If I could give everyone in the world a copy of every book this guy has written, I would.  Let that be the measure of how much I love these books - and how much I think YOU should read them.  That's right - YOU!  ;)
(I make this a big deal because I haven't written reviews.  I want to do it justice, but there's really no way to do that except for you to read it for yourself!)

One winner will receive one paperback copy of each book, delivered from The Book Depository.  If they ship to your country, you may enter into the contest!  Check here before you enter.

Prize #2 - US Only!
The second prize is a very lightly used, almost brand-new, practically still on the shelf copy of Timeless by Alexander Monir.  (Click on the title for my review.)

One winner will receive this hardcover copy!! :D

Here are the rules:

  1. You must be 13 or older to enter.
  2. Because this is a follower giveaway, you must be a GFC follower.
  3. If you live in the US you can enter into both giveaways.
  4. Any extra entries into the giveaway will be deleted.
  5. I must receive a reply email within 48 hours or a new winner(s) will be selected!
  6. Giveaway ends at midnight on July 25th!!
  7. All entries in the form of comments will be deleted!
  8. Have fun!  :D
How can you earn extra entries?

  1. One automatic entry for following and leaving your name and email.
  2. If you followed me through GFC before 7/4/11, you will receive +2 entries.
  3. If you follow by email you will receive +2 entries.
  4. If you are my friend on Goodreads, you will receive +1 entry.
  5. If you comment on one of my reviews (a thoughtful comment that lets me know you actually read it!), you will receive +2 entries.
  6. If you do a whole blogpost on my giveaway, I'll throw in +5 entries.
  7. +1 to add up all your entries!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Maximum Ride: School's Out - Forever (Quotes)

This was my favorite quote from School's Out - Forever.  Such a great example of the way Max interacts with the Flock and, in general, how awesome they are. :D

Fang took off, bu thte flock stayed nearby, hovering. The police sirens were getting closer.

I leaned down. "Listen, Iggy," I said tensely. "I'm sorry about tonight. I know how disappointed you are. We're all disappointed. And I'm sorry you're blind. I remember when you weren't, and I can't even imagine what it's like to lose that. I'm sorry we're mutant bird kids, I'm sorry we don't have parents, I'm sorry we have Erases and people trying to kill us all the time.

But if you think I'm going to let you give up on us now, you've got another think coming. yes, you're a blind mutant freak, but you're my blind mutant freak, and you're coming with me, now, you're coming with us right now, or I sear I will kick your skinny white ass from here to the middle of next week."

Iggy raised his head. Flashes of light told me the cops were almost on top of us.

"Iggy, I need you," I said urgently. "I love you. I need all of you, all five of you, to feel whole myself. Now get up, before I kill you."

Iggy stood. "Well, when you put it that way…"
- Chapter 37, page 108-109

Happy reading! :D