Jun 30, 2011

Welcome to the Freedom Giveaway Hop!!


This giveaway hop runs from July 1st-July 7th and is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Simply Stacie.


I am giving away a finished and unread copy of Chime by Franny Billingsley. I will ship either to the US or Canada.


There are a couple of SIMPLE ways to earn extra entries. I believe in making giveaways as simple as possible because I absolutely hate jumping through hoops when I enter them!


To enter please fill out the form HERE!


And that's all! Hop on to the next! And have a lovely July 4th! I love you all!


Jun 29, 2011

Book Review of Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April 1st, 2010
Pages: 315
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
*I bought this book for my Kindle.


Inside Out (Insider, #1)Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


Keep Your Head Down.

Don't Get Noticed.

Or Else.


I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.


My Review:


Interesting summary up there. I have to be honest. I put off reading this book for awhile because of that summary. I'm not exactly sure why, but maybe it's because I prefer a little more information than what was given. That's just my preference and I know not everyone feels the same way. Either way, I finally got around to reading it and I'm glad I did. Inside Out was friggin amazing.


There is something about Maria V. Snyder's writing that I absolutely adore. I loved the Study series, and if it's even possible, I might have loved this book more. The characters were impeccably written. The story was fantastic and suspenseful. The setting was out of this world. Snyder's writing is perhaps a perfect balance of all the things that matter. Everything that makes a book special was there. She makes you care about her characters and her plots are like a movie on paper.


I think I like the settings of dystopian novels the best. They are always fantastic and special. There is great world building to be found in them. The hiding in the pipes and the Pop Cops. And then there was the rebelling of the scrubs and Trella sneaking into the upper-levels. The setting and the events that took place in it were just so vivid and compelling.


If I have one complaint, it's that I think Trella and the other scrubs got out of sticky situations too easily. Just when you thought something was over for them, they would get saved in an all too convenient way. This happened more towards the end and I found myself thinking, "too easy!" on several occasions. But it is what it is. It was still a fantastic book. I totally want to read the next one, and I will as soon as I can get my hands on it.


If you like dystopian novels, I'm pretty sure this will be satisfying. I thought it was pretty special, and it is one I will likely read again in the future if I ever have time to re-read another book. Unlikely.








View all my reviews

If you want to read Inside Out, you probably have to order it from a site like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It is hard to find in stores and usually has to be ordered. You can get it from Amazon by following the link: Inside Out (Harlequin Teen)

I'm not going to post the book trailer on my blog as I found it stupid and lame. If you really want to see it, you can go toYoutube and search for it. It's not hard to find.

**If you click on that Amazon link and order anything, I will earn a small commission which I use for site upkeep and giveaways.


Waiting on Wednesday #2

I haven't done a Waiting on Wednesday in a while and I'm in a really ticked off mood right now and I feel like blogging. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I am waiting on The Apothecary by Maile Meloy.

Summary from Goodreads: It's 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows - a fascinating boy who's not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin's father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary's sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies - Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.
And The Lantern: A Novel by Deborah Lawrenson.

Summary from Goodreads:When Eve falls for the secretive, charming Dom, their whirlwind relationship leads them to purchase Les Genevriers, an abandoned house in a rural hamlet in the south of France. As the beautiful Provence summer turns to autumn, Eve finds it impossible to ignore the mysteries that haunt both her lover and the run-down old house, in particular the mysterious disappearance of his beautiful first wife, Rachel. Whilst Eve tries to untangle the secrets surrounding Rachel's last recorded days, Les Genevriers itself seems to come alive. As strange events begin to occur with frightening regularity, Eve's voice becomes intertwined with that of Benedicte Lincel, a girl who lived in the house decades before. As the tangled skeins of the house's history begin to unravel, the tension grows between Dom and Eve. In a page-turning race, Eve must fight to discover the fates of both Benedicte and Rachel, before Les Genevriers' dark history has a chance to repeat itself. 

Those are the books I am waiting on this week. And I really reallllllly want these. 

Jun 27, 2011

Dystopian Challenge? I am so in!!


0/15 books




So a dystopian challenge just started today. You all know how much I love reading dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels. I totally want to participate in this challenge, even though I just got done reading a bunch of dystopian novels. So I guess I will have to find some more!! This challenge is hosted by Books Ahoy and if you want to sign up go to that link!!

The challenge runs from June 27, 2011 until June 27, 2012. During this time period you have to read 15 dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels. 15 in a year? Sounds pretty easy to me. And since I was just thinking about the fact that I'm not participating in any challenges this year, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity.

Now all I have to do is go link up with the site and post the challenge button in my sidebar. Come participate with me!

ARC Review of The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto

Publisher: Melville House
Release Date: May 3rd, 2011
Pages: 208
Genre: Adult Contemporary
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Goodreads Summary:


A major literary sensation is back with a quietly stunning tour de force about a young woman who falls for a cult escapee. 


While The Lake shows off many of the features that have made Banana Yoshimoto famous—a cast of vivid and quirky characters, simple yet nuanced prose, a tight plot with an upbeat pace—it’s also one of the most darkly mysterious books she’s ever written. 

It tells the tale of a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to get over her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. She finds herself spending too much time staring out her window, though ... until she realizes she’s gotten used to seeing a young man across the street staring out his window, too. 

They eventually embark on a hesitant romance, until she learns that he has been the victim of some form of childhood trauma. Visiting two of his friends who live a monastic life beside a beautiful lake, she begins to piece together a series of clues that lead her to suspect his experience may have had something to do with a bizarre religious cult. . . . 

With its echoes of the infamous, real-life Aum Shinrikyo cult (the group that released poison gas in the Tokyo subway system), The Lake unfolds as the most powerful novel Banana Yoshimoto has written. And as the two young lovers overcome their troubled past to discover hope in the beautiful solitude of the lake in the country- side, it’s also one of her most moving.


My Review:


Alright..this is another review I have been dreading, truthfully because I don't have a lot to say. And it's hard, because I hate when that happens. I feel like I'm doing the author a disservice. But here's the thing. This was a fairly short novel and to me it read more like a short story. Which would have been fine if I had been prepared for that going in. But I wasn't. This also the first Yoshimoto I have ever read and I did like it, but not as much as I thought I would. I'm going to try and articulate why.


I like a certain amount of detail in my reading and I felt like that was lacking in The Lake. There were hardly any place descriptions and it was very hard to picture exactly what was going on. I know that doesn't matter to some people, but it matters to me. 


I also felt that there was an emotional disconnect. I didn't particularly care what happened to the characters, especially Nikajima, who I think the author intended me to have a lot of sympathy for. I just felt a complete lack of emotion for anything that was going on, and I found that to be a shame because the story had a great deal of potential.


The idea of the plot and the summary of the story really drew me in and was what initially made me want to read the book. It sounded a bit scary and mysterious. Plus the cover is absolutely mesmerizing. I wish it had been as good as i thought it was going to be. 


The reason why I gave it three stars? I really enjoyed the writing style. I just wish it had been a little more detailed. She really does write beautifully. It's a very simple writing style, but manages to be quite poetic. And like I said, I really loved the plotline. I just feel the story would have been so much more if I felt emotionally invested in the characters, even if it was just a little bit. 


I am very interested in reading another Banana Yoshimoto though, and I have added a few of her books to my TBR list. Maybe I will have better luck with another book. I hope so, because I really appreciate what she was trying to do here.


Giveaway Time!!

Who doesn't? Well, guess what? I've got another one for you! 

Up for grabs are 3 ebooks of Bridger by Megan Curd!!

Winners will be gifted a copy either by Amazon(Kindle) or through Smashwords. It's your choice. Contest starts NOW!
And it ends on June 27th!

No google forms this time. Just leave a comment with your email address. If you're a GFC follower add +2 and your GFC name. 

Winners will be chosen by random.org. Here's the info on Bridger if you want to read the synopsis.

Summary: Ashlyn McVean doesn't believe in fairy tales. That is, until Ashlyn is thrown into the crosshairs of grudges her grandmother created long ago. After finding out she is one of two people able to cross between faerie realms, Ashlyn is faced with trying to understand her abilities, along with navigating a new relationship with her boyfriend, Liam. As if being on a centuries old hit list and dealing with crazed pixies isn't enough, her new abilities mean trouble for Liam. Knowing her new life puts everyone she loves in danger, Ashlyn must decide what's most important in her life between friends, family, love, and ultimately, realms.


And that's the cover. What are you waiting for? Enter! Oh and you must be 13 or older. You can see my review for Bridger here!

Jun 26, 2011

Book Review of The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: October 6th, 2009
Pages: 379
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Received, Won, or Bought: I bought a copy of this book.

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)The Maze Runner by James Dashner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You're in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids -- the Runners -- venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines.


Thomas is the newest arrival to the Glade in this Truman-meets-Lord of the Flies tale. A motley crew of half a dozen kids is all he has to guide him in this strange world. As soon as he arrives, unusual things begin to happen, and the others grow suspicious of him. Though the Maze seems somehow familiar to Thomas, he's unable to make sense of the place, despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. What is this place, and does Thomas hold the key to finding a way out?


In The Maze Runner, Dashner has crafted a creative and engaging novel that's both mysterious and thought provoking.


My Review:


Yeah. I know. That is one heck of a summary, huh? I put off reading this book for awhile. You know why? Because I was afraid to read it. I wanted it to be soooo good because of that summary and other reviews I had read. And it alllmmmoooosst met all my expectations. Don't hate me. There's a reason why there is a star missing. I'll get to that in a minute and I promise I have valid reasons. But first I want to talk about what I loved!


Geez. The setting. It was out of this world and met every expectation I could possibly have for a setting hog like I am. It was vivid and lush and took on a life of its own. I could rave about the setting forever. The maze, the glade, the homestead, and the forest. And the grievers! Holy crap! They were so frightening and I freaked out when I was reading about them. That whole scene where Thomas gets trapped out in the maze at night. I'm lucky I didn't have nightmares from reading that!


The author is a pro at writing suspense and the book was fantastic in that aspect. The action never stopped and it kept building and building. It was awesome. And I hear the next book may be even better than this one. I can't wait to read it, but I'm going to wait a little bit because I don't want to freak out waiting for book 3 to be released. That's another thing that was great about The Maze Runner. It is going to be stuck in my mind for a long time. The details will stay because the book and the events that took place were so darn memorable.


Things I didn't care for. The stupid lingo. Was it seriously necessary to put in fake swear words to make the kids sound tough? I understand why he wanted to leave the swearing out, but I would have preferred he not use the fake language device either. Just have them not swear, because honestly, it took me out of the story a little bit. And for me it interrupted the flow.


I'm also going to hate on the character development too. There wasn't enough of it. I understand there were a lot of characters, but I felt that by the end of the book, some of them were pretty interchangeable. They all felt like the same person with different names. Except for Chuck and Teresa. For obvious reasons. Chuck was a little kid and Teresa was the only girl. I  just felt like the personalities could have gone in different directions instead of having them all kind of appear as one entity.


But I cannot rave enough about the plot and suspense. What a fantastic story. And the conclusion was magical. I was afraid it wasn't going to be able to surpass the story itself, but it wrapped up even better than it possibl could have. Fantastic read. And I have a lot of love for that cover too, because it is exactly how I pictured the maze would be. And now I hear they are making a movie. I can't wait to see how that turns out and I will most definitely be one of the first in line to see it. I can't wait to see the grievers in all their special-effect movie glory. Read it!


View all my reviews

Check out The Maze Runner on Amazon here: The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1)

**If you click on that Amazon link and order anything, I will earn a small commission which I use for site upkeep and giveaways.

June Classic Review- The Great Gatsby

The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**Warning, warning!! Review has some spoilers!**




Goodreads Summary:


In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning--" Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.

It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.


My Review:


I guess it's not so much of a review, but more of a commentary and line of thinking into what I thought.


My track record with reading classics clearly has not been great. Unfortunately this has upset some people as the classics are apparently never EVER to be criticized. Don't think I believe that for one second. I'm just spouting back what has been written to me as hate mail and negative comments left on my blog. The classics are not untouchable. Unfortunately the pretentious people that think they are literary aficionados and God's gift to books will say otherwise. This really has nothing to do with my review of The Great Gatsby but it's something I needed to get off my chest. Just because I loved this classic does not mean I will love the next one. Be prepared, because my complete honesty will continue backlash be damned.


Fortunately for me, I truly did enjoy The Great Gatsby. In fact, this may be my favorite classic read thus far. And I'm also probably the last person to have read it. For some reason I never did have to read a lot of classics in school, or if I did I don't remember them. But I am 100% positive that I did not read this one. And truthfully, I'm kind of glad. I think waiting until I was a full grown adult helped me to appreciate the story, themes, and subtle nuances more. I think I would have missed these in high school and college. I wasn't as passionate about books then as I am now. Besides, making reading required is a necessary but sucky venture. Most students will never appreciate a book they were forced to read. So when I made the choice to attempt to read all the classics on my own, I think this was the best decision I ever made.


I don't think there ever has been or ever will be again a writer like F. Scott Fitzgerald. I have never seen words so beautifully and eloquently put down on paper. I suppose The Great Gatsby is his most famous work, but I intend to read everything that he has written at some point. I have Tender is the Night sitting in my reading stack.


What do I truly want to say about The Great Gatsby? It is truly one of the saddest books I have ever read. I don't believe I have ever felt as sorry for a character as I did for Jay Gatsby. I can't imagine devoting my entire life to one dream and then having it all fall to pieces because everything I believed in was an illusion. I felt that every character was unlikable except for Gatsby. Even Nick Carraway. But I think what I enjoyed even more than the events of the story were the subtle nuances and themes that were there if you had the patience and intelligence to look hard enough.


F. Scott Fitzgerald must have hated New York. I'm basing this on the way the book was written. NYC destroyed everything around it and so did the people that lived there. East Egg vs. West Egg. Daisy and Tom were just disgusting and pathetic individuals. And then there was Gatsby himself. He WAS the epitome of the American Dream and what can happen to it if you let yourself get sidetracked. How easily it can all be taken away. He let his love for Daisy dictate his entire life and everything he did ever since he lost her revolved around his love for her and this pedestal he had put her on. He started to believe he could live in the past and make things as special as they once were. But the problem with that was that Daisy was never the person he thought she was. She was kind of a shallow jerk. No wait. Not kind of. She was an AWFUL person. She married an awful person. And poor Gatsby never could get over his love for her. But that was kind of his own fault wasn't it?


And then there's this billboard on the outskirts of town that symbolizes the eyes of God watching his disciples make a mess of the entire world they have been given. Now I don't believe in God, but I thought the symbolism was magnificent.


And oh my God the ending. I saw it coming from a mile away, but still! That was pure insanity. Which is why I classify this book as an extremely depressing read. I was shocked. Shocked! But it was oh so good at the same time. Simply put, the people in this book were shallow, selfish, and psychotic.


I know most of what I said here didn't make a whole lot of sense, or maybe it did but I don't know the proper way to tie it all together, but I thought this novel was supremely divine. It is the true definition of a classic and deserves to be loved and cherished as much as it has been. But what do I know? I'm just a reader that loves reading. But at least I won't get any hate mail over this review.


View all my reviews

Jun 25, 2011

In My Mailbox #4

I have another Epic IMM post for you this week. I'm pretty excited actually!! In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Here we go!

Won:

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenThe Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume 1: Meeting and Mating
Thanks to Kirby Reed for Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
Thanks to Andrea at the Bookish Babes for The Vampire Relationship Guide

Received For Review:

FuryThe UnwantedsTunnel VisionWitchlanders

 Fury by Elizabeth Miles
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
Tunnel Vision by Susan Shaw
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

I received all those from Galley Grab  in exchange for an honest review.

The Evil Inside (Krewe of Hunters)The LakeAshes (Ashes (Hardcover - Trilogy))The Mephisto Covenant: The Redemption of AjaxSweet Invention: A History of Dessert

The Evil Inside by Heather Graham
Lake by Banana Yoshimoto (currently reading)
Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen
Sweet Invention: A History of Desserts by Michael Krondl

I received all those from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Bought:

AngelFixing DelilahA Touch MortalHaunting VioletSpoiledA Need So BeautifulVicious Little DarlingsWitches of East End (The Beauchamp Family)Shade (Shade, Book 1)

Angel by L.A. Weatherly
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Spoiled by Heather Cocks
A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer
Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
Shade by Jeri-Smith Ready

Clearly it was a pretty big week. There will be no purchases at all next week. Actually there will probably be no purchases for a few weeks at least until I get caught up. But I'm excited. My luck with books hasn't been to great lately. I'm hoping for a turn around soon. What's in your mailbox?
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