30 January 2014

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta.  She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection.  So she's not too pleased when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.  But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new friends, including the handsome Etienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend.  Unfortunately, he's taken -- and Anna might be, too.  Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she's been waiting for?

27 January 2014

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into ten languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

23 January 2014

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

20 January 2014

The Woman Who Rides Like A Man by Tamora Pierce

Alanna Alone
A knight at last, Alanna of Trebond heads out to seek adventure in the desert of Tortall.  Captured by desert tribesmen, she is forced to prove herself in a magical duel to the death.  But her real challenge doesn't come until after she wins.  As the first female shaman, Alanna must fight to change the ancient traditions of the stubborn desert tribes -- for their own sake and the sake of all Tortall.

This third book in the Song of the Lioness quartet continues Alanna's saga as she strikes out alone and discovers herself anew.

16 January 2014

In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce

Fate Awaits
Disguised as a boy, Alanna of Trebond becomes a squire -- to none other than the prince of the realm.  But Prince Jonathan is much more to Alanna; he is her ally, her best friend, and one of the few who knows that she's really a girl.  Now it will take all of Alanna's awesome skill, strength, and growing magical powers to protect him from the mysterious evil sorcerer who is bent on his destruction -- and hers!

Here continues the story of Alanna, a young woman bound for glory who is willing to fight against enormous odds for what she believes in.

13 January 2014

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Knight Vision
Alanna of Trebond is no ordinary girl -- her dream is to become a knight.  So she disguises herself as a boy and begins training at the palace of King Roald.  Alanna quickly finds out that the road to knighthood is not an easy one, but her skills and stubbornness help her become friends with Prince Jonathan and his followers.  At the same time, Alanna makes an enemy of the prince's uncle, the overly charming Duke Roger.

Here begins Alanna's first adventure -- one that will lead not only to the fulfillment of her dreams but to a magical destiny that will make her a legend.

12 January 2014

In My Mailbox (115)

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
I just got this same edition from the library.  Read it.  Loved it.  Reviewed it.  Now I own it.

First Test & Page by Tamora Pierce
I'm slowly collecting Tamora Pierce's books but I've been struggling with getting her series in the same edition.  I saw both of these at Half Price Books, and I already have Lady Knight in the same mass market paperback edition, and so.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
I'm also trying to collect the Harry Potter books in American paperback (the original covers, not the new ones, though that will come eventually, I reckon) and also in British hardcover.  British hardcovers sometimes make their way into my bargain bookstore and I already have Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows so when I saw number 3, I had to grab it.

Spirit Animals: Wild Born by Brandon Mull
From the library - It's really good so far.  I bought the second book first (Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater) but I don't read series out of order.  So I had to grab the first one before I cracked the second.

Unremembered by Jessica Brody
From the library - I remember seeing this one all over the place when I first came out.  And it was on my list of books to check out, so I went ahead and grabbed it.  I'm not overly enthusiastic at this point; just curious.

The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
From the library - Anything by Cinda Chima is excellent.  I'm just waiting for this one to come out in paperback to buy it.

09 January 2014

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

06 January 2014

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice,until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.

Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.

05 January 2014

The Abundance of Irrelevant Physical Descriptions

Last night, I realized I was in a reading slump.  In an act of desperation and sheer, bloody boredom, I picked up a book from my shelf that had been there a while, a book I had every intention of reading when I bought it, but one that I had lost a lot of my enthusiasm for since.

The prologue was good. Well-written, if lacking a true edginess that I was craving, and intriguing enough to get me to keep going.  It looked promising.

Until it wasn't.

I hit upon the first physical description of another character within the first page or two of the first chapter -- of a guy character.  I immediately dropped the book.  (I actually did drop it. *wince*  Luckily I was sitting on the floor so there wasn't significant damage.)

I am so tired of brown gold eyes that burn under a dark tangle of hair, skin tanned by the sun (no really? the sun? go figure), and arms cut with muscles and scars.  So tired of it.

I curse whatever trendsetter got this rolling: describing a character's appearance ad nauseam.

My deal with describing a character's appearance is this:

If it holds no significance to the plot, it needs to go away.  Just *swoosh* delete it.

04 January 2014

2014 Jane Austen Challenge

I admit I am a bit ashamed of myself.  I am a huge fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries web series, have memorized the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice with Kiera Knightley, and own three of Jane Austen's novels, and yet have never read any of them.

That is, until this year.

I found a challenge posted at Reading is Fun Again.  The goal is simple: to complete a Jane Austen novel every two months.

Two months?  I should totally be able to do that.


Really.  I should.

So, if you're interested, the timeline is thus:
  • Jan-Feb - Sense & Sensibility
  • March-April - Pride & Prejudice
  • May-June - Mansfield Park
  • July-Aug - Emma
  • Sept-Oct - Northanger Abbey
  • Nov-Dec - Persuasion
Luckily I won't have to go buying a Jane Austen novel until May.  Not that I'm suggesting I don't look forward to getting new books but spending money since I got into college, even on books, has gotten harder and harder.  Fortunately, Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice are both already nestled on my shelves.

03 January 2014

2014 Debut Author Challenge List

Well isn't this exciting?  I'm not even a few weeks back into blogging after my infinity of an hiatus and I'm signing up for the Debut Author Challenge.  This is one of those things that I think is a fantastic idea but I never really got into it.  Don't know why.  I'm lame like that, I guess.

This year, though, it sounds exciting to me.  (I really am weird.)

I've been out of the blogosphere so long that I'm pretty out of what's coming out this year.  Luckily, someone very smart created something very useful called Goodreads and it is the reason I still exist today.  Truly.

I haven't the fainted idea when these books come out in the year.  All I know is that they will be coming out this year, and that's what matters.

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
Nil by Lynne Matson
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Muehrlen
All That Glows by Ryan Graudin
Burn Out by Kristi Helvig
The Eighth Guardian by Meredith McCardle
The Skinwalker's Apprentice by Claribel Ortega
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke
Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee
No Surrender Solider by Christine Kohler
A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
Camelot Burning by Kathryn Rose

01 January 2014

Some 2014 Goals

I know I'm going to feel left out if I don't do a 2014 post, so here's mine.

I say "goals" because "resolutions" has always sounded so intimidating to me and that may be why I almost never keep them.  That, and I always forget about them.

So here we go.  Here are some goals I have for my blogging life:
  • Catch up on all reviews I'm behind on.  (List in the sidebar.  Eek!  Isn't it scary looking?)
  • Post at least one new review a month.  (And realize that this is possible and the only reason it didn't happen last year when I said it would was because of my own laziness.)
  • Don't be lazy.
  • Keep up with Twitter.  There are many friends out there I have yet to discover, and should, because friends are nice, shiny things.
  • Keep up with designing custom templates.  Even if it's just $10 every time, that's $10 I can put towards studying abroad.
So there's some blogging related goals.  Here are some for my personal life:
  • Be healthy.  Keep in mind what it is I'm putting into my body.  (Yes, Barq's Root Beer may taste like the nectar of the gods, but in the long run, water is better.  Yes, it is.  It is.)
  • Exercise also makes me feel better.  I should do more of it.  Why?  Because I can.  I know I can.
  • Keep on top of things this year.  Now I have an excuse to -- it's a solid goal sworn in at the New Year.  I will not let small things get the better of me this year.
  • If I do become an RA in the fall, be the best damn RA ever.
  • Keep writing.  It doesn't have to be good, it doesn't have to be a lot, but it should be everyday.

What about some goals you have?  If you've posted resolutions for your blog, I'd like to see them!  Just share the link in a comment or on Twitter. :-)