Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

I saw this a few months ago and I've been meaning to participate for a while now and today I finally remembered on the right day of the week. The Book Blogger Hop is a way for bloggers to connect with each other. It's hosted by Crazy For Books and every week there is a different question to answer. You can look around and see how other bloggers answered. It's a weekly even but you don't have to participate every week.

This weeks question is:

"Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?"

No, definitely not. I played around with a bunch of different names when I first started. Then I remembered this junk shop near a pizza place by my college called Cosmic Debris. Every once in a while I would go in and look around and find the most random collection of awesome, the kind of stuff that you know someone totally forgot they owned and you can't imagine them getting rid of it.

When I first started my blog I kind of felt like my brain was cluttered with junk. I read like crazy and sometimes I would just forget what I had read or remember a piece of a plot but not what book it was from. It would drive me nuts. Then I started the blog and it was a place to collect and organize all the debris which was awesome and helpful.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

This was another one of this years Printz Honor books, so it's another check off on my list. It also fits into the YA historical fiction challenge that I am participating in on Goodreads.

Sig finds his father frozen to death on the ice. The same day while his sister and step mother go for help a man he's met before as a child that he has no memory of appears in their cabin in Giron. Gunther Wolff claims to have been Einar's business partner and that he and Wolff were cheating prospectors and that Sig and his family ran off with Wolff's half. Sig must figure out what the truth is and whether he should get his father's revolver and try and get out. The story alternates between Sig and Wolff and what really happened ten years ago between Einar and Wolff.

This story felt like it was all about the mood. The tension just built and built as Sig tried to figure out how to escape, what he should do and what could possibly have happened ten years ago. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat wondering what Sig would do. I really liked how the Sig chose to handle the situation in the end. He was true to himself by finding a mid ground between his mother and father and their feelings on the revolver.

I also thought that learning about how Einar and the family survived in Nome in 1900 was interesting. I also liked the quotes between sections; they were interesting and gave both an interesting idea of how the colt revolver has been perceived and a few other interesting elements of the story. I also liked the very ending of the story, which I wont discuss to avoid spoilers. I felt like it gave an interesting sense of realism to the story.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Season by Sarah MacLean

Alexandra and her two best friends Ella and Vivi are beginning their first London season. None of the girls are entirely behind this whole meat market arranged marriage type thing. Alexandra is the most uncomfortable with it going so far as to stating she will never be married. Then she starts looking at her brother's friend Gavin,who just became Lord Blackmoor upon his father's untimely death in a whole new light.

This was a cute, light fluffy little read which was really nice during what is becoming a very stressful time in my life. This book really reminds me of some of the Victoria Holt books I used to get from my mother sometimes, which also made it a very nostalgic read for me. Alexandra, her friends and her brother's are all extremely likable. I felt like I could imagine living a big family and having my siblings be wonderful, drive me nuts and then be wonderful again. Some of my favorite parts were Alexandra with her brothers, Blackmoor and other childhood friends. It just felt very comfortable and reminded me of hanging out with my friends.

I think the mystery is what keeps this book from going too light and fluffy. There is a mystery regarding death of the elder Lord Blackmoor and how it intersects with Napolean's attempts at conquering Europe. I had lots of guesses as to who it could be and while I wasn't entirely surprised by the reveal I still really enjoyed the book.

I also want to mention that I was super excited about a reference to novels published by "A Lady". It was an awesome historically accurate reference to Jane Austen that made me smile.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

This is another former Printz book. I'm slowly working my way through them and it's making me super excited. So far this year I have been pretty good at sticking to my goals.

Mattie has big dreams. She wants to go to college and become a writer, but when her mother was dying she made a promise to stay and raise her sisters. Mattie lives a hard life as the daughter of a farmer, and her relationship with her father has become more and more strained. She takes a job at the Glenmore Hotel to help earn money, and a guest Grace Brown dies. Grace gave Mattie her letters to burn and now Mattie again finds herself caught between a promise and what she thinks she should do.

This novel was amazing. It was heartbreaking and moving and lovely. Mattie's voice is very true and I really felt tangled up in her emotions. You can really feel how torn she is between staying and taking care of her family and leaving to go to school. I also thought her infatuation with Royal Loomis was pretty accurate for how teens can get sometimes. It's the kind of relationship you see from the sidelines and in your head your going "noooooo, not him, he's a jerk." He isn't really awful I suppose, more like a product of his circumstance and times but you just know he isn't going to let her be herself.

The details in this book are phenomenal. Everything feels historically accurate and the nothing here is hidden or cleaned up. The horrors of child birth, starvation, people's cruelty and hatred are all shown in minute detail. There is an honesty to the writing that I think everyone should appreciate.

The characters in this book were just phenomenal. I loved Ms. Wilcox, Weaver, and I really liked learning about her father and how his relationship with her mother and his brother were formed. Honestly there is almost too much to talk about with this book. I could really go on and on about all the thinks I liked, but really you should just go read it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford

I just got the sequel to this today through inter library loan and I figured since after I read it I will post a review it might be good to look at my previous review and post it as a refresher of the first book.

This is by far one of the silliest, funniest, most enjoyable books I have read in a while. Jane Austen is alive and well living as a vampire in upstate New York. She owns a book store and has finally succeeeded in getting her last book published (all it took was 200 years).

This book is totally over the top in everyway. Many things happen that are just a little too convenient and there is some triteness, but honestly it is just so rediculously funny that it is totally worth it. The reader can expect cameos from Lord Byron and Charlotte Bronte and the biggest and best laughs of the book come from Charlotte's jealousy of Jane's success. This is not for you if you expect any kind of depth of character or a serious plot. It is a quick read that is good for a laugh and is highly enjoyable. I can't wait for the sequel.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Maggie and Jason's grandfather Gee, a famous photographer passes away. He leaves them each a legacy, a box of sea shells for Maggie and an envelope of signed photos of famous sports stars for Jason. The box and the photos lead Jason and Maggie on adventures and to grow into their own. They also lead to learning more about Gee.

Each of the chapters in this book is written by a different author. At first I was frustrated with it. The jump to the story in the second chapter threw me off, I couldn't figure out where it was going (I think that some of the chapters should have been ordered a little bit differently, it would have made it a little bit smoother). And an age inconsistency between the first and third chapter really annoyed me.

However, all of the stories, inconsistencies and all are beautiful pieces. Each author uses their own style to evoke beauty and emotion. There are stories about when and where the pictures were taken, how the shells were collected and the box made; in addition to stories following Maggie and Jason into adult hood and old age.

Overall I really enjoyed the book but I think that it takes a little while to get into because of all the different styles of writing and the jumpiness felt in the first few stories.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Secret Society by Tom Dolby

I hate it when you spend all this time working on a review and then the internet decides it hates you and you lose everything. (Although I am going to keep telling myself that this review is better then my original.)

The Society follows four students from Chadwick Prep, Pheobe, Lauren, Nick and Patch. Phoebe, Laren and Nick are all invited to join the Society, a secret society in New York City that only the fifteen elite are invited to each year. At first the Society seems innocent enough but as time passes things become more and more sinister.

The book opens with a death and then moves back to the beginning of the teens initiation in the society. I was dying to know who had died and I have to tell you, it was not at all who I expected. The pace of the book moves quickly as narration jumps back and forth between each of the four teens. Each of the characters has their own distinct voice even when they sometimes share the same feelings as Lauren and Phoebe sometimes seem to.

My only complaint about the book is that we never really find out much about the Society itself. We just get a few generalities but nothing concrete. I wanted to know more about how the Society worked, especially since it was implied that this beginning was supposed to be the easy part where the initiates were supposed to simply be reaping benefits before the real work began. It sounds like there are even more sinister things going on and this beginning part was fairly sinister. There were also some unanswered questions regarding Patch and his family that are bugging me a little bit. I have heard that the author is writing a sequel and I am hoping that these questions will be answered there.

(Since I wrote this I found out that the sequel came out this month and it's called the Trust. In an effort to keep my checking things out of the library under control I am not requesting it until I return the two library books that I have out.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

At the start of this volume of the Inside Out series, the rebellion is over and the committee has been reformed to help govern inside. Trella is trying to quietly step into the background and allow the committee to do it's job. Unfortunately, the committee isn't quite working out the way it was planned and there is unrest among everyone which gives Outsiders a foot hold in.

In the first book the revolution comes about quickly and with minimal blood shed. I was really glad that in this book the transfer to a new government wasn't smoothed over. I was afraid that it was going to be a book where after the rebellion everything was going to be perfect until the Outsiders came. I was very happy to that author showed how hard it was to bring everyone together and to find a good way to govern inside.

The pacing of the book is quick with action on almost every page. There is one incident after another and it seems impossible to figure out who is doing what. If I hadn't known about the Outsiders from the goodreads blurb, I don't think I would have figured it out.

Trella's temprement adds to the action because she often doesn't stop and think about things but just continues to do what she deems is necessary. Trella is a character that I have grown to love and I really enjoyed reading about her development. She could see the problems caused by the committee and slowly came to the realization that her involvement was important because she was able to help bridge the gap between Uppers and Lowers, both because of who she was and how she saw things.

There are two things that I really wished I had gotten to see though. I would have loved to have gotten some more of the history of Inside when Logan found it and I would have liked to have followed Riley a little bit. I'm not going to explain why because I don't want to give away any spoilers but it would have been interesting to see things from his perspective. However these are really minor issues for me and overall I really enjoyed the read.

(The version I read was ebook provided to me by netgalley for review)

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

This meme is hosted by Shiela at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. The point is basically to share what you've reading, what you're reading and what you think you're going to read.

Read This Week:
Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Secret Society by Tom Dolby
Click by Nick Hornby
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Currently Reading:
The Season by Sarah MacLean

To Be Read:
Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick
Vixen by Jillian Larkin

The big move is on Sunday and most of my books are already packed. I did leave myself a few things out thought. I also got behind posting reviews because of the packing so pretty much every review except one is forth coming. (I was only able to read so much because I haven't been able to sleep at night, but that's a whole other story.)

It's my fiances birthday today and I'm trying to throw him a party. Fortunately we have fabulous friends who have pretty much done all the work for me. He's having a rough week so I wanted to do something nice for him. Unfortunately UPS has informed me his present wont arrive til Wednesday (he's a tech geek so I got him an irregular IQ cube (like a rubix cube but not square) and a Universal Gadget wrist charger) and I packed a lot of my baking things already so no bacon cupcakes like I thought. I can't wait til we are in our new apartment and everything is settled down....

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

This book was not what I expected at all. I had read a lot of reviews about it on some blogs I followed and it sounded so interesting but I was totally caught off guard, in a good way.

Hanna's father passed away and she has been living with an aunt. After a big blow out with her aunt, Hanna hitchhikes to Portero, Texas where Rosalee, the mother who abandonned her lives. When Hanna arrives in Portero she finds a hostile town riddled with monster where outsiders are unwelcome. Hanna strikes a bargain with Rosalee, if she can fit in, she can stay.

This book is exactly the kind of character driven work I like Hanna is an interesting protagonist to say the least. She's diagnosed as a manic depressive and she does have some bouts of depression in the book, I found myself wondering if her hallucinations were really hallucinations or a manifestation of her relation to Rosalee and the town of Portero. Especially since these hallucinations allowed her to do things many of the locals couldn't even do. I also loved that Hanna was half white, half black and she owned it. It wasn't a major issue but it was acknowledged and refered to when appropriate. She was also dating a hispanic local, and while Hanna was not loved by his family, her race had nothing to do with it.

The town of Portero was a character into and of itself. It was ominous and hostile and sometimes it was just plain weird. A lot of the time it felt like the town was it's own entity.

The whole book is strange and weird. It's also very violent and graphic, so if that kind of thing bothers you it's best to steer clear. Normally this isn't the kind of thing I comment on but with all the other strangeness in the book it just felt like it was worth mentioning.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey

The third volume of the Drake Chronicles revolves around Quinn, another Drake brother and Hunter Wild a student at the Helios Ra High School. Because of her friendship with the Kieran Black she is invited to Helena's coronation and so she begins her involvement with the Drakes.

This book made me the happiest by far, because not only do we get to see the start of another relationship, we also get a close look at the inner workings of Helios Ra and got to do a little bit of catch up with Kieran and Solange, and Lucy and Nick; which is what I was missing from the last Drake Chronicles book. (Although we didn't hear as much from Logan and Isabeau, I wonder if that's a trend, each Drake couple gets a book of privacy?)

There was a ton of mystery and twists and turns in this book and the ending definitely implied that there is more to come because not every issue was resolved, so I am hoping that we will get another book soonish, because I can't wait to see what happens to the Drake family next or to learn more about their world.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Harry's father dies and she is sent to Daria. Once in Daria she begins to love the country although she does find herself a bit bored. Then she is abducted by the local king and grows to become a strong commander and legend among his people in her own right.

I finished this book last night and it was completely amazing. This is another book that I wasn't sure what to think about because I had heard that a lot of people weren't happy when it was awarded the Newberry and I think that's because it's high fantasy which doesn't appeal to everyone but I still think people should give it a chance.

The world building in this book was just amazing. From the depictions of the dry, windy desert of Damaria, to the stark differences between the Homelanders' very proper and polite society to Corlath's people's more equal and almost Arabian society, and the haunting descriptions of the evil northerners and their demonic mounts I just felt like I could picture everything that was going on, and imagine it as a place I might want to visit someday.

Reading about how Harry grows from someone who considers herself a misfit for being a bright girl who likes to keep busy to a both physically and mentally strong young woman but becomes a leader in her own right. She is willing to risk anything and everything to do what she thinks is right. Many of the minor characters are fully fleshed out as well, with both Harry's horse and a cat that adopts her having very strong personalities even though they aren't anthropomorphized in any way.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January in Review

January has been kicking my butt so far this year on a personal level, especially these last two weeks, so I'm hoping that February will mellow out a little. I've started packing (moving in two weeks, yay), been sick, had various car issues with multiple cars (it's giving me a complex) and all this snow has me wondering how exactly I'm going to get my furniture out of my apartment.

Reading wise January has been a great month I think. So far this year I think I'm doing a pretty good job sticking to my goals and I'm super excited. I've read 20 books this month and half of them were from my book shelf. (Last year I read 10 books off my bookshelf for the entire year so this is hopefully on it's way to a huge improvement, since it's the end of January and I've already gotten that.)

I've also read one book so far for the YA historical fiction challenge and one book for my self mandated Printz Award challenge.

Here's a list of what I've read this month and where it came from, everything is linked to goodreads so you can add it to your to be read shelf. Some of the reviews are forthcoming and some I wont post because they are from before I decided to get back on track with my blog. I am hoping that this year I wont get overwhelmed by summer reading and stop posting in June, if so it might be time to stop:

1. Birds of Prey Vol. 12: Platinum Flats by Tony Bedard (library book)
2.Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate 2) by Gail Cariger (library book, recommended by my boss)
3. Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate 3) by Gail Cariger (library book, recommended by my boss)
4. Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn (library book, Read a review on Steph Su Reads and decided I needed to read it)
5. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (audiobook, library, watch the show so I wanted to see how the book was)
6. The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley (off my shelf, think I got this from someone at work)
7. Red Spikes by Margo Lanagan (off my shelf, I think I also got this from someone at work)
8. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (off my shelf, my director brought this back for me from ALA last year, I should not have waited so long to read it)
9. Dream Life by Lauren Mechling (off my shelf, another mysterious one from work)
10. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King (off my shelf, got at an SCLA training in November)
11. Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix (off my shelf, bought at library book sale last year)
12. The Mermaid's Madness (Princess #2) by Jim C. Hines (off my shelf, bought at Barnes and Noble don't want to admit to how long I let this languish on the shelf)
13. Devoured by Amanda Marrone (off my shelf, got at an SCLA training in November)
14. Insatiable by Meg Cabot (library book)
15. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder (library book)
16. Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts (off the shelf, bought at the Strand last April)
17. Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell(off the shelf, bought while the movie was still in theaters...)
18. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (off the shelf, bought at library book sale)
19. Out for Blood by Alexyndra Harvey (library book)
20. Outside In by Maria V. Snyder (e-book from netgalley books, for review)