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.


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).


august 23 - Extraordinary giveaway

Jessica over at Confessions of a Bookaholic is giving away 3 signed copies of Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin. CLICK HERE to enter!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

august 19 - saradise ARC extravaganza giveaway

i didn't get to win Sara's last Saradise giveaway, so i am really hoping to win this one! she has some GREAT books up for grabs, including a SIGNED copy of Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness.

pure awesomeness.

click here to go enter!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - August 17

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 almost done reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer.

I did this wrong last time I did it. I chose 2 random sentences from the page, but I noticed that everyone else chose 2 sentences, one right after the other. So, that's what I am going to do now.

Here are my teaser sentences:

"You know I love you, too."

So sharp, so piercing, the emotions of this planet.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Philippa Gregory

i found this great post by Lizzie over at Historically Obsessed on why Philippa Gregory is AWESOME. click here to read her thoughts (which happen to mirror my own).

Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Review: The Constant Princess

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

It's been a couple weeks since I read this book, but I have been putting off the review. For no good reason. Anyway, I bought this book because I love PG's books! I've read several, and I was also interested in reading more about Katherine of Aragon. I know that PG often gets criticized for embellishing details or throwing in fictional bits, but isn't that the point of historical fiction?? It's what I love about her writing!

Quick summary: This book follows Katherine of Aragon from a young child of 3 years, growing up knowing that she is already betrothed to the Prince of Wales. Split between first person and third person, most of the book is from her point of view. She is careful to always watch what she says and constantly present herself as a princess, and later as a Queen. No matter what her English family throws at her, and despite the betrayals and manipulations of her own Spanish family, she must play along with their plans and still try to stay true to her own dreams.

My age recommendation: 16+

Honestly, it took me a few chapters to get into the book. When Katherine finally moved to England and developed a relationship with her new husband, I got hooked. I was devastated when Arthur died, even though I knew it was coming. The period when Katherine was a penniless princess-in-waiting was hard to get through, but I was rewarded for my persistence, as was Katherine, when she married Harry and started a new life.


august 6 - lazy hazy crazy days of summer giveaway

3 great book bloggers are running the LAZY HAZY CRAZY DAYS OF SUMMER giveaway! you can enter on all 3 of their sites, and there will be 2 winners from each blog. go enter at all 3:

pure imagination
candace's book blog
reading angel

Thursday, August 5, 2010

august 5 - summer saradise extension

i already told you about the Summer Saradise giveaway from Sara over at Babbling Flow.

great news: she is opening the contest up to international participants and she has extended the ending date! she has a whole stack of great books that she is giving away. you should go enter. now!

Monday, August 2, 2010

august 2 - Choose Your Genre giveaway

this is a fun giveaway! Ashley over at Books Obsession is offering 4 different packs, and you get to choose which one you want! paranormal, historical fiction, romance, or suspense. i personally am going for the paranormal pack. check it out:

CLICK HERE to read all about it and enter for yourself!
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