Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway NEW WINNER!

I never heard back from the original winner of the $15 Amazon email gift card. It's been well over 72 hours at this point, so I had to pick a new winner.

According to random.org, the NEW winner for the gift card is entry #14, Jessi E.!


I've emailed the new winner; please respond within 48 hours or I will pick another winner.

My FCSS giveaway for a gently used copy of
Something Blue by Emily Giffin
will run until December 30.
CLICK HERE to enter!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Random Acts of Senseless Kindness

Author Graham Parke is back, this time with an excerpt from A Gomessy Christmas!




"Sadly, my socks are like snowflakes;
no two are exactly alike."-- Gomez



Blog entry: Arrived at the store late, found a homeless guy sleeping in the doorway. Hicks was already inside but gave no indication he’d noticed. I nudged the homeless guy and asked him, “How are you doing down there, fellow? You okay?”

The homeless guy grumbled something in his sleep.

“It’s getting pretty cold,” I said. “Don’t you want to come inside?”

“Inside?” He coughed and opened his eyes.

I pointed out the store, not convinced he’d actually noticed where he’d crashed the night before. “This is my antiques store,” I told him. “We’ve got the heating on inside, shame to waste it on just two people. And it looks like it might start to snow soon.”

The homeless guy gave me a suspicious look. “You want me to come inside? With you?”

“Sure, if you’d like.”

“Is that because you think that if I come inside with you, I’ll let you touch me?”

“What? No!”

“Okay, because I can tell you right now, that’s not gonna happen.”

“Well, I suppose it is good to get those kinds of things clear beforehand. But no, I was just thinking you might enjoy the warmth, maybe a cup of coco.”

“A cup of coco you say…” He scratched his stubble. “And you’ll be charging me for this cup of coco?”

“No, the coco is free.”

“I see. So, are you operating under the assumption that if I come inside with you, and I drink your free coco, that I will touch you?”

“What? No!”

“Okay, because I can tell you right now, that’s not gonna happen either. Just because a guy is down on his luck, that doesn’t mean he goes around touching people in exchange for cups of coco.”

“I understand completely. And thanks again for pointing that out. But no, my friend and I noticed that you were sleeping in our doorway and, well, we’d like to invite you inside.”

The homeless guy turned and peered through the window in the door. He made eye-contact with Hicks, who panicked and went looking for his broom. “That your friend?”

I followed his gaze. “Yeah, that’s Hicks. He’s a bit peculiar, but he’s okay.”

“I see.” The homeless guy pulled on his collar. “And this friend of yours, will he be drinking coco also?”

“I suppose. I’m not entirely sure, but it seems likely.”

“I see.” The homeless guy considered this. “So,” he said, after a long moment, “will this friend of yours be expecting me to touch him?”

“No! There is no touching involved in any of this!”

“Okay, calm down,” the homeless guy said. “There’s no need to get all homophobic!”

“I wasn’t!”

“You sounded homophobic to me.”

“Me? You’re the one who can’t stop talking about touching people!”

I noticed people stopping in the street to stare at us. This made me very uncomfortable.

Continued here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to pop in quick and wish all of my bloggy friends a very merry Christmas and happy holidays! I hope everyone stays warm and safe and healthy this season.

I'll leave you with a photo of me and a friend when we were kids.



Peace and love to everyone! ♥

Friday, December 24, 2010

Guest Post: Graham Parke




It's the age-old tale:
Boy meets girl.
Boy stalks girl.
Girl already has a stalker.
Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.”



“No Hope for Gomez!” is the award winning comedy novel that has already wrecked thousands of reasonably useful minds. To end the year with a twist, you get the Geeky eNovel “A Gomessy Xmas: Random acts of senseless kindness” with your copy of No Hope. Simply send your Amazon receipt to nohopeforgomez@gmail.com before January 15th.

As a bonus, and for a limited time only, reading “No Hope for Gomez!” will also make you more attractive to the opposite sex, and it will increase your random luck by about 9.5%
(These statements have not been evaluated by anyone of consequence.)

Read a free chapter here. , and get more details on this offer here.



"Extremely witty and clever writing that contains keen insights into human nature." California Chronicles

"The antics in this book will leave the reader laughing. Graham Parke is a genius." Readers Favorite

"A quick and unputdownable read that flies in the face of reason and smashes against the wall of detective novels. It's a Coens Brothers' film formatted in book form." BookReview.com


_____________________________________________


Many thanks to Graham Parke, author of No Hope for Gomez, for stopping here at i heart reading! I wish him luck as his book climbs the charts.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway WINNER!

The Midwinter's Eve Giveaway is closed and a winner has been drawn. There were 240 entries, WOW! Thanks to everyone who entered, and WELCOME to my new followers! I hope you'll like what I have to offer and you'll stick around.

Okay, the winner. I used random.org to pick a winner.



The 3rd comment was left by Hafsah @ IceyBooks!! Congrats to you!

I've emailed the winner, who has 72 hours (because of the holiday) to respond. If I don't hear back within 72 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

My FCSS giveaway for a gently used copy of
Something Blue by Emily Giffin
will run until December 30.
CLICK HERE to enter!

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway CLOSED

The Midwinter's Eve Giveaway is now closed.
Please stay tuned, as I will post the winner tonight!
Good luck to everyone who entered.


My FCSS giveaway for a gently used copy of
Something Blue by Emily Giffin
will run until December 30.
CLICK HERE to enter!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway!

I am participating in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop being run by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.



I am going to be giving away a $15 Amazon email gift card.

This is a very fast giveaway, as it is only 2 days long - December 21 and 22. That's it!

Any entries after midnight on December 22 will NOT be counted. So hurry up and enter now!

How to enter: Comment on THIS POST ONLY with your email address.

Extra entry: (not required)
Enter my giveaway for a gently used copy of Something Blue by Emily Giffin.

(You must leave an additional comment at that post to enter that giveaway.)
Please leave an extra comment with email address saying you have done this.

Winners will be chosen on December 23 using random.org.

Good luck, and be sure to check out some of the other 125 blogs that are participating.

Monday, December 13, 2010

FCSS Giveaway!

Today, I am offering a giveaway to celebrate First Come, Second Served, is a month-long event being hosted by Amber over at Down the Rabbit Hole.



I am giving away a gently used copy of Emily Giffin's chick lit book, Something Blue, which is the sequel to Something Borrowed.



I had bought both books at a used bookstore, on a friend's recommendation. Unfortunately, I did not finish Borrowed as I couldn't relate to it and I just wasn't interested anymore. I passed it on to a friend, and left Blue on my TBR shelf, hoping I'd return to it later on. It has sat on my shelf for long enough now that I KNOW I will never read it. I'd much rather pass it on to someone who WILL read it!

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment with your name and email address. That's all! *US only.

Giveaway ends December 31.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Read For Your Future

Having a degree in Literacy means that I am a huge advocate for fighting childhood illiteracy. Recently, I was able to assist one blogger in her own ongoing battle.

Last month, I offered a giveaway of a book, and the blogger who won, Lora, told me that she is going to donate the book to her local high school. She often donates books to local schools and to the public library. Lora is an inspiration to book bloggers and we should all try to be as generous as she is.

Check out Lora's blog -Read For Your Future- to help support her cause!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

First Come, Second Served STARTS TODAY!

Today is the first day of First Come, Second Served, which is a month-long event being hosted by Amber over at Down the Rabbit Hole.



This challenge is all about reading sequels (or any book that is not first in a series) from your TBR shelf. I've got 2 books that I am planning on reading. First, I am going to read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C. S. Lewis, which is the 5th book (in chronological order) of the Chronicles of Narnia. Then, I am going to read Son of A Witch, by Gregory Maguire, which is the sequel to Wicked. Wicked took me wicked long to read because I struggled through the political parts, so I am allowing myself at least 2 weeks to read Son of A Witch, in case it has the same issue.

I will also be taking part in this event by offering a giveaway on December 13. CLICK HERE to go the master list of events.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

I have to give a BIG shoutout to Julia over at That Hapa Chick. She awarded my little book blog here with its first award - the Versatile Blogger Award!


Thanks so much, Julia!


I used to go through the accepting and regifting of awards over at my main blog, Artistically Amy. Rather than waste time and effort and blog posts on that, I won't be passing this on to any specific bloggers. Instead, I am offering this award to all of my readers! Please feel free to take this award for yourself and pass it on!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway NEW WINNER!

I never heard back from the original winner of the $15 Amazon email gift card. It's been well over 48 hours at this point, so I had to pick a new winner.

According to random.org, the NEW winner for the gift card is entry #55, Cathy M!


I've emailed the new winner; please respond within 48 hours or I will pick another winner.

Stick around this month for at least 3 more giveaways, one of which is a part of the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop that starts December 21.

Etsy... All the Cool Kids are Doing It

Back in August, I started tossing around the idea of possibly establishing myself as a photographer in business. I developed some vague long-term goals, I had a plan for how much I would charge, and I knew how many shoots I wanted to do per weekend. I even started putting together an small portfolio using photos of family and friends.

The idea has stayed somewhere in the middle of my mind (not my first priority, but something I still thought about daily) for the past 2 months. It had been working its way up on my to-do list as the holidays drew closer. Partially because I'd love some extra Christmas cash, but partially because I thought I could offer a better deal than the photo places in the mall.

Then, Rachel Durik posted an article on i heart faces about how hard it is to start a photography business. Her emphasis on the word 'business' stopped me dead in my tracks.

Who am I kidding?! I am not business-minded, not one smidge. I've never had a way with money or a hunger for enterprise. I'm lazy and content and, honestly, a little slow when it come to things like economics or statistics. (The only reason I passed my high school economics course was because every single test was open book.)

Well, there goes THAT idea.

Now what?

One of my steps to kick-start my photography business had been opening an Etsy shop. I was waiting to open a shop until I was closer to starting the business.

However, now that the business bubble has been burst, selling prints of my photos has become my new intent. I've had people offer to buy them before, and I'm pretty confident. I know I have a unique style of shooting and processing, and I know that my photos look good on a wall. (I know because I have them hanging all over the condo.)

Thus, I have now officially opened a shop on Etsy:

Artistically Amy
Providing unique prints for every room in your home!

Affordable, artistic photos printed in a variety of sizes. Get some for yourself, and for your friends.

All photos are unmatted, unless requested for an additional fee. Framing is not available at this time.

Order by December 15 to receive your prints by Christmas. Order 5+ prints and get free shipping!

Click on the banner to head on over to my shop.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway WINNERS!

The Gratitude Giveaway has ended, thanks to everyone who entered! There were 142 entries for 2 different prizes. I did have to delete anyone who either didn't leave their email address (or tell me where to find it) or didn't tell me which prize they wanted.

The 2 prizes are a $15 Amazon email gift card and an ARC of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.

According to random.org, the winner for the gift card is entry #95, Ronda!


According to random.org, the winner for the ARC of Incarceron is entry #60, Lora1967!


I've emailed both winners; please respond within 48 hours or I will pick 2 more winners.

To the other 140 people who entered but didn't win:

Stick around in December for at least 3 more giveaways, one of which is a part of the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop that starts December 21.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway is CLOSED

My Gratitude Giveaway to thank all of my fabulous followers is now OVER. The winners for both prizes will be drawn and announced on Tuesday, November 30.

Stick around in December for at least 3 more giveaways, one of which is a part of the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop that starts December 21.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

First Come, Second Served

I am super-excited to announce that I will be taking part in the December event First Come, Second Served that is being hosted by Down the Rabbit Hole.



I will be doing a giveaway, in addition to the guest posts and other giveaways that are already planned. This is a great opportunity to whittle down your TBR pile/shelf by reading all the sequels.

CLICK HERE for more information!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge

I have decided to take part in the 2011 YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge that is being hosted by The Book Vixen. This will be my first extended challenge on this blog.

YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge
Isn't that button just ADORABLE?! I ♥ it.


Basically, this challenge is all about reading YA novels from the 1980's and 1990's. Simple enough. I was a baby of the 80's and a child of the 90's, so a lot of the books I am planning to read, I am somewhat familiar with.

I am thinking that my goal will be at least 50 books for this specific challenge. That's one per week, but I know that I won't be taking any classes, so I won't be reading any educational texts or articles. It should also leave me enough time to read other books for tours and for fun.

I probably won't be reviewing these books at all, but I will keep a list here and on Goodreads (add me!). Stay tuned for the list!

If you want to sign up for this challenge, click here to go The Book Vixen's blog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway!

I am participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop being run by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. This giveaway hop is designated "for our fabulous followers." There are a whopping 175 (approximately) blogs participating in this hop! CRAZINESS!



For this giveaway, I am giving 2 different prizes, meaning that 2 winners will be drawn using random.org.

Prize #1 - $15 Amazon email gift card.

Prize #2 - An ARC of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.


How to enter: Comment on THIS POST ONLY with your email address and which prize you want, either the gift card or the book. You MUST be a follower, either through email or GFC, so please specify your means of following.




REMEMBER, your comment must include 3 things - email address, which prize you want, and how you follow.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2nd place!

a few weeks ago, i posted a photo of my best friend Caitlin on my main blog and entered it into a photography contest hosted by Allie and Amy. the contest was The Window to The Soul and the theme was Eyes....



i got 2nd place!!




i am going to be guest posting on Allie's blog (http://alliereid.blogspot.com/) soon, so stay tuned!

Friday, November 12, 2010

november 12 - csn gift card giveaway

Brandileigh over at Blkosiner's Book Blog is having a giveaway for a $35 csn gift card giveaway!

Blkosiner's Book blog


everyone knows how awesome csn is. you should definitely go over to her blog and enter! all you have to do is look at their HUGE selection of coffee tables and pick the one you like best.

my favorite is this one:



i can definitely imagine filling the side shelves with books of all sizes!

Book Review: Red Moon Rising


Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore
Teen Wolf meets True Blood in this fun, boy-friendly story.

Being only half-vamp in a high school like Carpathia Night makes you a whole loser. But Danny Gray manages to escape the worst of the specists at his school. Thanks to the genetic treatments he had as an infant, most people assume Danny's other half is human. Which is a good thing.

Ever since the development of synthetic blood – SynHeme – vamps have become society’s elite, while wulves like his father work menial jobs and live in bad neighborhoods. Wulves are less than second class citizens; once a month they become inmates, forced to undergo their Change in dangerous government compounds.

For Danny, living with his vamp mother and going to a school with a nearly all-vamp student body, it’s best to pretend his wulf half doesn’t even exist.

But lately Danny's been having some weird symptoms -- fantastic night vision; a keener-than-usual sense of smell; and headaches, right around the full moon.

Even though it's tempting to live in denial, it's hard to ignore evidence. There's only a month until the next full moon, and Danny's time is running out.

Peter Moore speaks to adolescents in a voice that will have them laughing, set in a world that will get them thinking..[Source]

I received this book for review through 1 ARC Tours. I chose to join this tour because I love fantasy novels and I love YA novels; plus, the theme of the novel seemed cool. Half vamp and half wulf? I figured, it's gotta be full of conflict.

And boy, was I right about that! Danny's got conflict with his mother and stepfather, and with his sisters, and with a cold-hearted teen vamp at school, not to mention the internal battles he fights as his symptoms get weirder and weirder. Any teen, male or female, will be able to relate to Danny. He's a great lead character, funny and honest, that I would love to see featured in more novels.

There was another major conflict: wulves vs vamps. This novel seems unique in that the wulves are considered criminals; they can only get low-paying jobs as laborers or servants. They are segregated in schools and in society. Besides the fact that they get sent to dangerous compounds once a month, this turmoil reminded me much of the 60's here in America, with the civil rights battles.

What I didn't like about this novel: Granted it was an ARC, but there was A LOT of grammar mistakes. The flow of the story worked for me, but the author seemed to put all of his creativity into the main plot, and none into character development, or even character names. Very few of the names were original or even pertinent.

I was also very disappointed by the ending. Gunther disappeared too easily, and there was no closure at all with Danny's situation (unless it was set up for a sequel). I also would have like to see a resolution between Danny and Julia.

Rating:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Review: Losing Faith


Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
A terrible secret. A terrible fate.

When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don't know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.

As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith's final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.[Source]

I bought my own copy of this novel. I was nervous to read this book because I had read a review that included the word cult. I knew my whole opinion of the book would be forever tainted. Going into the book with just one word at the center of my mind meant that I was searching for the clues, just waiting for the cult to pop out. I think, at one point, I was trying to force the cult to form. I was seeing murder suspects in everyone, even Brie’s history teacher. It was sorta anticlimactic when the truth was revealed.

I liked Tessa a LOT. I think she is one of my favorite supporting characters in a YA adult novel. She was more developed as character than Brie was, and I was actually more interested in her than the truth about Faith. I could see a whole novel around Tessa… I would definitely read it!

I have to admit, I did not like Alis at all. He was so shady and secretive, and incredibly emotional. SO not my type. And not what I had imagined Brie’s type to be either. I guess that would be because Brie was a very confused teenager. Nonetheless, I could have done without him.

I have to give it to Denise Jaden for turning a NaNo novel into a YA bestseller. This trend is quickly catching on, and she did well to do it early on.

Rating:

Teaser Tuesday - November 9


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme,
hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


I am currently reading Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.

Here are my sentences:

"Ten to thirty percent," I corrected. "And I already told you - it cured Sam. It killed Jack."

"Jack is your brother?"

"Was, yeah."

Book Review: Hush Hush


Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.[Source]


I bought my own copy of this novel.

This is the classic story of a boy and a girl who shouldn’t be in love, but they are. Add in the fact that the boy is a mythological creature and the girl is “different than other humans.” Stick them in a high school setting, take the girl’s parents away, and you’re done. Recipe for a YA bestseller.

I liked the fallen angel aspect, because that’s a true bad boy. Different than the vampires and werewolves that are popular lately. I didn’t get Patch’s motivations, ever. First, he wanted to kill Nora. Then, he wanted to save her. He didn’t want to save her, but he loved her, so he did anyway. Make up your mind, boy!

Nora was a great female lead. Strong, independent, albeit a bit stupid. The truth about Patch being a fallen angel was right there the whole time, but it took her WAY too long to figure it out. Open your eyes, girl!

Bit of a twist there at the end… Jules was in the background for the entire book. Without giving away the ending, I’ll just say that I just never expected what happened. Especially with Elliot.

I wish the conflict with Dabria had been played up a little more. I didn’t like how Patch just settled the whole issue and the reader gets left out of any struggle between the two. That’s one reason why I prefer third person point of view, even though first person brings you right into the action. See, the action in this book was a little lacking. I loved the whole “hide and seek in the school” bit, but the gym scene was a little boring.

Regardless, a great YA novel, and I am looking forward to reading the next one!

Rating:

Monday, November 8, 2010

upcoming events!!

i just wanted to remind everyone that i have 4 giveaways coming up in the next 4 months. they are all blog hops, which means that you get the opportunity to enter many giveaways all at the same time. check my right sidebar to see when the giveaways will start. you can click on each image to get more information, to see who is running the hop, and to sign up to host a giveaway.

here is a quick rundown of what's to come:

11/17 - Gratitude Giveaways
12/21 - Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop
1/3/11 - New Year's Reading Resolutions
2/14/11 - Books With Love Hop

Thursday, November 4, 2010

november 4 - csn & book pack giveaway

TV and Book Addict is having a big giveaway to celebrate her second blogoversary! the grand prize is a $75 gift card for csn. 3 other winners will get their choice of a book pack. CLICK HERE to enter!

Monday, November 1, 2010

In My Mailbox (103)


In My Mailbox is a meme run by The Story Siren. this is my first time linking up, but i just had to this week. i got a great little package in the mail from Lisa over at A Life Bound by Books.

i was the second winner of her ARC giveaway, so i got to pick 4 ARC's, and she also sent me some cute swag!

check it out:



i am UBER excited about reading Linger, because I don't like hardcover books, so i had resigned myself to waiting months for it to come out in paperback.

i am waiting for several more books to come in the mail, so that's all for today. but i hope i can link up to IMM more often!

Spooktacular Giveaway WINNER

the spooktacular giveaway has ended, thanks to everyone who entered! there were 216 comments, which equals 216 entries. i did have to delete anyone who commented but didn't leave their email address, with the exception of a select few who did have the common sense to tell me where to find their email address.

i'm sure you all want me to just shut up and say who won, right?

first, i want to remind you all of what you entered to win! that's pretty important.

it's a $15 amazon email gift card!

sweet.

okay, here's the winner.

according to random.org, comment #85 is the winner!



comment #85 was left by Pixel Berry Pie Designs! congrats to you! you've won a $15 amazon email gift card. i've emailed you; please respond within 48 hours or i will pick another winner.

to the other 215 people who didn't win, i'm sorry! i wish i could give you all gift cards, but then i wouldn't be able to afford my wedding next year.

i am participating in 2 more blog hop giveaways within the next few weeks, plus i am starting a little stack of books and swag to give away randomly. so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween

this is me on halloween when i was about 3 years old (i think).


how cute was i?!?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

too bad

i didn't reach 200 followers in 48 hours, like i had hoped. but i got pretty darn close with 180+ followers! thanks to everyone who has passed on the word and followed me. i'm sticking with the $15 amazon email gift card, and i have more giveaways coming up soon, so stick around! :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

3 more hours...

if i reach 200 followers in the next 3 hours, i will be increasing my giveaway to a $20 amazon email gift card!

click here for more details

Thursday, October 28, 2010

october 28 - btt

haven't done this in awhile...

here's today's question from booking through thursday:

In honor of Halloween this weekend:

What reading skeletons do you have in your closet? Books you’d be ashamed to let people know you love? Addiction to the worst kind of (fill in cheesy genre here)? Your old collection of Bobbsey Twin Mysteries lovingly stored behind your “grown-up” books? You get the picture … come on, confess!


here's the thing: i love children's lit. since i have an MSEd in Literacy B-6, i've spent the past 7+ years of my life reading and analyzing children's lit. i'm (almost) 25 years old and i can easily curl up in a chair to enjoy Septimus Heap or Dear America.

i also read some inspirational novels, but only by select authors. in college, i used to hate reading those out in the open. i would actually hide them inside a textbook.

what are your reading skeletons?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spooktacular Giveaway UPDATE

UPDATE: i am writing this now at 4 pm on thursday and i have hit 150 followers! the amazon email gift card is now $15. if i gain 50 more followers in 25 hours, i'll increase it to $20!!



never in my WILDEST dreams would i have imagined that my little book blog here would gain 130+ followers in just over 2 days. all because of one little giveaway for a $10 amazon email gift card.

well, now that my follower list is getting bigger, i'm thinking that my giveaway should get a little bigger.

it's currently shortly after 5:30 pm EST on wednesday. if i get 150 followers by this time tomorrow, which is 5:30 pm EST on thursday, i'll increase the gc amount to $15.


it gets better... if i get 200 followers by this time in 2 days, which is 5:30 pm EST on friday, i'll increase the gc amount to $20.

just IMAGINE all the books you could get from amazon with $20. *drools*

so, yea, go tell your friends to enter. you don't have to have a book blog to enter. heck, you don't even have to HAVE a blog, any blog at all. the ONLY requirement is that you follow this blog and have a valid email address.


what are you waiting for?!?!




please note that this is NOT the giveaway post.
CLICK HERE to enter the giveaway.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spooktacular Giveaway!

i am participating in the Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop that is being run by Kathy over at i am a reader, not a writer.



For my first book blog giveaway, i am starting small:

a $10 email gift card from Amazon!

like i said, i'm starting small. but still, $10 can go a long way! my fiance and i used a $10 amazon card to get 2 used books for him and a wedding planning book for me. not too shabby!

how to enter:
i don't want to make this difficult for you. to enter, simply follow me and then leave a comment with your email address. if you follow me, but don't leave a comment, how will i know you want to enter?!

so that's it, 2 steps.

step 1: follow me (gfc or blogger)
step 2: leave a comment with your email address.


DONE!

okay, go click follow. it's over there, to the left.

this was supposed to be US only, but it's through email. so international bloggers can enter, too!

oh, and don't forget to check out all of the other blogs that are giving away fun stuff. (but first, make sure you follow me and comment here!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spider Bow giveaway

I am having another giveaway
on my main blog, Artistically Amy.
It is for a spider bow
from the Avery Bowtique.
CLICK HERE
to read more details and enter!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Book Review: Prisoners in the Palace


Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl

London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza's dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady's maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servant's world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen?

Meticulously based on newly discovered information, this riveting novel is as rich in historical detail as Catherine, Called Birdy, and as sizzling with intrigue as The Luxe.[Source]


I received this book for review from the publisher through 1 ARC Tours. I chose to join this tour because I love historical fiction and I love royalty novels.

The book starts off shortly after Liza's parents have died, so it jumped right into the conflict. An up-and-coming debutante has been left penniless, with no family or friends to turn to. Luckily, Liza has been raised to be independent and quick-thinking...

Or so I thought. This girl is witty enough to negotiate with the hotel owner and prevent him from selling her possessions, but she's too naive to hold her tongue when addressing a potential employer.

Liza smartened up over the course of the book, and formed some vital friendships. Most obvious, of course, is her friendship with Princess Victoria. But there was also Boy and Will, and the unexpected alliance with Lehzen. Without those friendships, Liza surely would have ended up like Annie.

As for Simon, well, I did NOT see that coming! When I did a quick reread, I saw the signs, although only because I knew what to read for. I don't want to ruin the ending for anyone, but I will warn you to read all the dialogue VERY CAREFULLY.

I liked that this book jumps right in with conflict and struggles, so no pages are wasted on developing problems for characters to solve. The problems are presented almost immediately. I also loved the theme of the unexpected friendships. However, overall, I felt the book was lacking something. It doesn't jump out as a romance, or a mystery, and the historical fiction aspect needs something else to back it up.

Rating:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"urban fantasy is hot"

have you noticed the obsession with vampires and werewolves? are you confused as to why readers are becoming more and more obsessed with fantasy and paranormal novels? carolina over at carol's prints wrote up a little post on her opinion as to why this trend is increasing in popularity, appropriately titled "urban fantasy is hot."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book Review: Shiver


Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human—and Grace must fight to keep him—even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future. [Source]


I was a little late to jump on this bandwagon – The Werewolves of Mercy Falls. I knew it was hugely popular, so I decided to buy and read the first one to see what the fuss was all about.

Oh, I am so glad I did! Shiver is, by and far, the best YA book I have read in a LONG time.

I was hooked right from the very first page. Each chapter is either from Grace or Sam’s point of view. There is a hint of foreshadowing right on the first page of each chapter, as there is a little number under each chapter title. The numbers tell you the temperature, which gives you an idea of how Sam is feeling. Of course, this creates a lot of suspense for the reader, which means the reader never wants to put the book down.

I was reading so fast that I got confused by all the different werewolves. Several times, I had to force myself to slow down and reread so I wouldn’t miss anything important.

When I got to the accident, I can only imagine how my face must have looked – eyes wide, mouthing, “No, no, please, no!” I was bawling like a baby by the end of that chapter. I had to put the book down and go grab a box of tissues so I could keep reading. I was so in love with Sam that Grace’s pain became my own. And what she did to the guitar – ohmigosh, it made me cry even harder.

I was left with several questions when the book ended, but I expected that to happen, since I knew that this is Book 1 in a trilogy. I can’t wait to find out what happened with Olivia… And the new recruits. If I had read this before publication of the other books, I would have said that the trilogy looks very promising. It’s a good thing Book 2 has already been published – I am going to go get it right away!

Rating: 5 hearts!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

upcoming events!!

great news! i'll be taking part in two giveaway blog hops in the next 2 months, one for Halloween and one for Thanksgiving.

the first one is the Spooktacular book blog giveaway hop.
that'll be 10/25 - 10/31.


the next one is the Gratitude Giveaway,
which is a follower appreciation hop.
that'll be 11/17 - 11/27.


both of them are being hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. both of these giveaways will require you to be a public follower of my blog through GFC/blogger. subscribe now so you don't miss out!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

banned book list

in honor of banned books week, bloggers all over the world are writing posts and doing giveaways. i'm not doing either of those, however; i am just going to do exactly what the not-really-southern vamp chick did.

although, before i get to that, i'll say that i did see a GREAT school library display to celebrate this week. they had several banned books on a circular display, and they had wrapped the display with bright yellow CAUTION: DO NOT ENTER tape. i couldn't get close enough to take a picture, but i loved the idea of it. if i ever have my own classroom, or work in a library, i'm borrowing their idea!

on to the list.

the bolded & italicized books below are the ones i've read.

Top 100 banned/challenged books: 2000-2009:

1. Harry Potter (series). J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War. Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three. Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men. John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series). Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series). Philip Pullman
9. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series). Myracle, Lauren
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels. Walter Dean Meyers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal. Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series). Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye. Toni Morrison
16. Forever. Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple. Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice. Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye. J.D. Salinger

20. King and King. Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird. Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series). Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver. Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen. Maurice Sendak

25. Killing Mr. Griffen. Lois Duncan
26. Beloved. Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead. James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia. Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton. Caroline B. Cooney

30. We All Fall Down. Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know. Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima. Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars. David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things. Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging. Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World. Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing. Robie Harris
38. Arming America. Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy. Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny. E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk. Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground. Avi
43. Blubber. Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts. Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady. Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48. Rainboy Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner. Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve. Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins. Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me? Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves. Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier. Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom. Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate. Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World. K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean. Kevin Henkes
60. Speak. Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star,. Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series). Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist. Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here. Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried. Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill. John Grisham
68. Always Running. Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me. Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series). Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon. Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book. Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones. Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series). Lois Lowry

76. A Prayer for Owen Meany. John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel. Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex. Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room. Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die. Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Bo. Richard Wright
82. Deal With It! Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy. Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove. Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. Chris Crutcher
86. Cut. Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes. Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale. Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights. H.G.Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time. Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves. Jean Graighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face. Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night. Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series). R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children. Garth Nix
96. Grendel. John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits,. Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau. Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel. Frank, E.R.

Monday, September 27, 2010

new design

remember when i had posted about a giveaway of a free blog makeover from Ashley?

well, i won the giveaway! i got a free blog overhaul courtesy of Ashley, and let me tell you, she was great to work with! i gave her some ideas of what i wanted, including a photo of my own. she took all of my random ideas and turned them into a consistent theme, including a button, a custom header with avatar, and a rating system. it's so perfectly ME, based on what she figured of my personality. i just love my new design from Ashley!

if you are reading this blog in a reader, you should click over NOW and see my new design. and then, since i know you'll really love it, you should head to Ashley's blog to check out her designs and pricing. my blog makeover was free from a giveaway, but she is very affordable, compared to some other blog designers i have seen out there. she is accommodating, creative, and fast, all for a low price. go check her out! and if you decide to use Ashley for your own blog overhaul, let her know that i sent you.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Book Review: Incarceron


Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons.

A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists.

But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born.
[Source]


I received a free ARC of this book for completing a read-a-thon back in August. I didn't rush to read it, as I wasn't reviewing it for the publisher. I started off being really excited to read this book, which wore off a bit as time went on and I still hadn't read it. Luckily, I ended up liking it a lot!

Age recommendation: 13+

I love the way this book started. The action, the mystery, the foreshadowing... Right away, secrets are hinted at and Finn is introduced as the main character. I had to go back and reread several parts twice, because of all the secrets and double meanings. I figured out the biggest secret (Finn) easily enough, but I didn't get the Warden's secret (Claudia) until shortly before he revealed it. And as for Sapphique, that had me guessing up until the end.

There were two major things I didn't like about this book: First, it took forever for Claudia to actually DO something to try to save Finn. She was all talk, no action. I like Attia much more than Claudia. And second, the ending was so weak! So incredibly anti-climatic. I mean, the Queen just walked away. No way in hell I would have let that happen if I had written the book. Finding out that there is going to be a sequel only comforts me a slight bit. A sequel wouldn't be needed if there had been a better ending.

Rating:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain


The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoƫ at his side.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life...as only a dog could tell it. [Source]
I borrowed this book from the library and read it because it was highly recommended by several colleagues of mine. There are several of us that all trade books often, and I trust them when they say that I'll enjoy a book. I was told that this particular book is both funny and sad. Funny, I like. But I can't handle sad. I don't like crying over books. In the end, I decided that it was more amusing than funny, and more aggravating than sad. But I don't want to give away the ending.

Quick summary: Enzo is the narrator of this story, and he is a dog. He has a great owner, but he's not too keen on his owner's love interest. Until they make a baby, that is. Enzo becomes the baby's protector, but there is only so much he can when he is not allowed to follow her everywhere she goes. And there is the impending end; dogs don't live forever. It's up to Enzo to keep his owner true to himself, and to help him fight for what's right.

Age recommendation: 17+

Yea, I loved this book. Enzo is SUCH a lovable character, despite the fact that he's a dog. I think he is so lovable because he's a dog. I liked seeing life through his eyes, experiencing life in a dog's body. And it's a very honest book view. Enzo doesn't sugarcoat life or shy away from embarrassing topics. His perspective is refreshing; it's one that more people should adopt. It's a shame that the other characters in this book aren't more like Enzo. They are more like real people - pushy, greedy Americans who refuse to see that their way isn't necessarily the best way. That part aggravated me to no end.

The only part that I didn't like about this book is the constant racing analogies. Enzo's owner is a car racer, so Enzo is a racing aficionado, so to speak. Throughout the book, he relates life to racing. At first, it was clever and amusing, but after several chapters, I got sick of it. I couldn't keep up with the racing lingo, and I had to resort to skimming the pages to get to the end of the wordy comparisons. I would have finished the book a lot faster if I hadn't been struggling to understand every other chapter.

Rating:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

september 9 - btt

Booking Through Thursday is a blog about questions. Once a week, a question is posted, and we answer it. That's all!

this week's question is: You’ve just dropped your favorite, out-of-print book into a bathtub, ruining it completely … What do you do now?

oh gosh... cry?? i would probably run to my laptop, hit up b&n and amazon, and maybe even ebay, to try to find it again. if that didn't work, i would definitely start my used bookstore loop to search for it by hand.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

september 8 - blog redesign giveaway

Ashley over at Ashley's Bookshelf has opened her etsy shop and giving away a FULL BLOG REDESIGN! pretty cool, eh?! you should CLICK HERE to read more about it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

september 2 - HUGE giveaway

meg from in which a girl reads has a stack of 25 books that she is giving away. and i want 13 of them. here's the full list:

1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
2. The Duff by Kody Keplinger (ARC)
3. You by Charles Benoit
3. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
4. Linger by Maggie Steivafater
5. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
6. Candor by Pam Bachorz
7. Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon
8. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
9. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
10. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
11. Hold Still be Nina De LaCour
12. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
13. Sea by Heidi R. Kling
14. Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan
15. Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
16. Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce
17. You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
18. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
19. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
20. Paper Towns by John Green
21. Need by Carrie Jones
22. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
23. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
24. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
25. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

there are some hugely popular titles in there!

first winner gets to pick 3 books, second winner gets to choose 1 book, and third winner gets to choose 1 book.

CLICK HERE to enter... or don't... because if you do, then i have less chances of winning.

september 2 - btt

Booking Through Thursday is a blog about questions. Once a week, a question is posted, and we answer it. That's all!

this week's question is: do movies made out of books make you want to read the original?

yes! usually, if i am excited about a movie based on a book, i try to read the book first. but if i don't have time, then i definitely add the book to my TBR list, whether or not i enjoyed the movie.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book Review: Dead Until Dark


Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris


I bought and read this book and wrote the review for Book of the Month over at Ashley's Bookshelf. If you read the book and write a review today, you can be entered into the giveaway!

I have never watched True Blood on HBO and I was a little skeptical about this book. A romance between a human girl and a vampire guy, one of whom can read minds, but curiously can't read the mind of his/her significant other. Sound familiar?! I don't know who had the idea first, and I don't particularly care. I just wasn't sure if I wanted to read the same plot again.

But I read it anyway. And let me tell you, this is NOT the same plot. What I said above, that is the ONLY similarity between Dead Until Dark and Twilight. This one takes place in Louisiana, so it is written in a Southern style tone. It was difficult for me to get used to the tone and the language, but once I did, it was much easier to read.

Quick summary: Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in a small town. She minds her own business and sticks to herself, mostly to hide the fact that she can hear people's thoughts. When Bill Compton comes to town, Sookie is delighted to discover 2 things: a, he is a vampire, and b, she can't hear his thoughts. She willingly dates him, based on the mental silence when they are together. But when girls start dying, specifically girls who date vampires, she has to decide whether love is enough to sacrifice her safety, and her dreams.

Age recommendation: 18+

The whole time I was reading this book, I was so torn between thinking that Bill is a jerk, and thinking that he is the man of every girl's dreams. I guess every main male character is like that. They can't be relatable unless they act like jerks occasionally. However, speaking of relatable, Sookie was such a flimsy character until the second half of the book. She was tough and independent, and she wasn't physically affected by Bill's looks or sexiness. I didn't really bond with her until she began to battle internally over love and dreams. Should she give up the distant dream of having her own family, just to stay with Bill? On the other hand, she had never even wanted that dream until she realized that she wouldn't be able to have it with Bill... I guess the bottom line is that yes, I am going to keep reading this series because I love vampires and I love series.

Rating:

Friday, August 27, 2010

rating system

i am finally adding a rating system to my blog! purple hearts, because purple is my favorite color and i heart reading.



1 heart = the book was horrible!
2 hearts = the book was okay.
3 hearts = not horrible, but not awesome.
4 hearts = the book was pretty good.
5 hearts = the book was awesome!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

55 quirky questions for readers



I found 55 quirky questions for readers on another blog, and traced back through the links to find the original blogger that posted it. It turns out that the original was posted by Lydia over The Literary Lollipop. So it's my turn to join in!


1. Favourite childhood book: Reach for Tomorrow by Lurlene McDaniels, as well as the SVH series and Babysitters' Club series.

2. What are you reading right now? Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

3. What books do you have on request at the library? I don't go to the library anymore.

4. Bad book habit: I hate lending books out, even though I know that I should share the wealth.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? See #3

6. Do you have an e-reader? Nope... Idk if I'll ever get one.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? One at a time.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? I used to be an avid reader, but I was too busy during grad school, so I took a break for a few months. Now, I am back into reading constantly and my TBR list has gotten much longer!

9.Least favourite book you read this year: My brother and fiance both tried to get me to read the WoW books, but I could barely get through one chapter.

10. Favourite book I’ve read this year: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? Not often, but I am kinda starting to do it more often.

12. What is your reading comfort zone? Fantasy and series.

13. Can you read on the bus? Yes.

14. Favourite place to read: Curled up under a blanket with some snacks.

15. What’s your policy on book lending? See #4.

16. Do you dogear your books? Never!

17. Do you write notes in the margins of your books? Nope.

18. Do you break/crack the spine of your books? I try really hard not to.

19. What is your favourite language to read? English.

20. What makes you love a book? The characters are relatable and the story doesn't drag. Also, a hot guy works nicely. ;)

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? Basically, same as above.

22. Favourite genre: Historical fiction and fantasy.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did): Contemporary fiction.

24. Favourite Biography: Shadow Life by Barry Denenberg - it's about the Frank sisters, Anne and Margot. I know it's kinda half biography and half fiction, but I love it anyway.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book? (And, was it actually helpful?) I started reading Emotionally Engaged by Allison Moir-Smith, but I stopped about halfway through. It was helpful, to an extent. But then I got nervous that I was trying to force myself to feel how she felt.

26. Favourite Cookbook: I can't remember the title, but it's something to do with beef. Different meals and ways to cook it.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction): Choice Words by Peter Johnston. It's all about the little nuances in adult language and what they mean to children. It includes lots of great techniques to change a few simple words

28. Favourite reading snack: Twizzlers Rainbow Twists or cereal

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience: The House of Night series. I loved the first 3 or 4, I think, despite the horrendous lack of editing and the rushed timeline. It had such great potential, and it was so freakin' popular. But when I read the 5th book, I got very turned off. I felt like the authors were just grasping at straws, trying to force a story.

30. How often do you agree with the critics about about a book? Hardly ever.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? I try to be truthful, no matter what.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? Italian.

33. Most intimidating book I’ve read: Dante's Inferno. I read it for extra credit in senior year of high school.

34. Most intimidating book I’m too nervous to begin: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

35. Favourite Poet: Emily Dickinson

36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at any given time?I used to get 8-10 every week.

37. How often do you return books to the library unread? I never did.

38. Favourite fictional character: The little mermaid from the original fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen.

39. Favourite fictional villain: Victoria from the Twilight series. She was well-developed and had motive for all her actions. She was also very clever and cunning.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation: Beach books.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading: Maybe 6 months?

42. Name a book you could/would not finish: Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I tried to read it several times in high school, but I just couldn't get any further than the first chapter.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? The tv.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel: Where the Heart Is.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation: This is a toss-up between New Moon and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

46. Most money I’ve ever spent in a bookstore at one time: Probably about $100.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? I never do.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through? If I just get disinterested, or if I can't relate to the characters.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? I try to, but sometimes they just get so chaotic.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they’ve been read? I am so selfish! I keep all of them, but I need to try to give them away more, or at least lend them out.

51. Are there any books that you’ve been avoiding? The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons, both by Dan Brown. I am just nervous that I will try to compare them to the movies.

52. Name a book that made you angry: Push by Sapphire.

53. A book I didn’t expect to like but did: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

54. A book I expected to like but didn’t: Hunted by PC Cast and Kristin Cast

55. Favourite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading: Chick lit. Everyone's reading it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Artistically Amy giveaway

I am doing a giveaway on my main blog. You have a choice among 6 printed photos and there will be 2 winners. CLICK HERE to enter!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - August 24


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme,
hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


I am currently reading Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris.

Here are my teaser sentences:

"Just then Bill came in, and there was a moment of sheer silence as those who hadn't seen him before adjusted to his presence. If you've never been in the company of a vampire before, it's a thing you really have to get used to."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review: The Host


The Host by Stephenie Meyer

"Science fiction for people who don't like science fiction." (Source)

Several people recommended this book to me after it came out. Regardless of the fact that some of them were Twi-haters, I was very wary. Without getting into a Twilight debate, I'll just say that the saga was poorly written and poorly edited. Hence, I had very low expectations for The Host. And I don't even like science fiction! It just happened to be on sale at B0rders for club members, and I needed a book for the plane ride 2 weeks ago, so I bought it anyway.

Quick summary: There are aliens taking over the Earth, inserting themselves into human bodies and essentially taking over their minds. Most humans, after being taken over, simply give up their minds and go to sleep, forever. But when Melanie's body is taken over, she refuses to give up. She holds on to her mind, refusing to let the alien take complete control. As Melanie bombards the alien with memories and thoughts of her family, the alien starts to love them as her own family. 2 minds in 1 body can never work.

My age recommendation: 17+

From the first chapter, the first page, I was hooked. This book was so thrilling! It held my interest from start to finish; I never wanted to stop reading. As the author's website claims, this really IS "science fiction for people who don't like science fiction." (source) It was easy to understand, exciting, and even had a little love triangle thrown in. There were no mushy parts, the descriptions weren't droll, and the dialogue was intriguing. I loved the internal battle between Melanie and Wanderer, as well as Wanderer's motivation for her decisions. Sometimes, altruistic characters seem underdeveloped, or overdone, but she was consistent enough that she was just as relatable as Melanie, the main human character. Also, technically-speaking, SM's editor finally did her job. The story flowed without disruptions or disconnections, and there were no grammar errors (that I could find).

Rating:
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