Saturday, December 27, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I was tagged by The Book Vault's Dominique. Here are my 3 New Year's Resolution's in no particular order:

1. Stop rereading Harry Potter for a while. I have read them so much, I'm afraid that they will stop being magical and wonderful and filled with so many memories - so I am going to STAY AWAY even as I get "Potter Fever" every few months or so. There are plenty other, good books to read in the meantime.

2. Continue to ignore the idea that a Bibliophile can't also be a TV Addict, as the media and public as a whole seems to embrace. Either I am an exception to that rule, or there are many other hidden TV Addicts among our many book review blogs. But I refuse to hide it! My name is MrsRonWeasley and I am a TV Addict.

3. Stop wishing I hadn't watched "X-Men 3: The Last Stand" and forget the whole, tragic thing. As an isanely obsessed fan of the first two movies, I nearly fainted at the complete mess of a movie the last one was. Everyone was different, everything sucked, and I refuse to believe any of it happened. As far as I'm concerned, the whole thing ended at the conclusion of the second movie - I'll come up with my own ending. (Side note: If you're reading this and liked the movie, I'm sorry. No personal offense at all - I just really, really didn't like it.)

Anyone wanna share theirs?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Counter Clockwise



Jason Cockcroft’s first novel is a mind-bender, to say the least.

One year ago, Nathan’s mother died in an accident, leaving him to be raised by his constantly worrying father, Henry. Though he loves his dad, he isn’t the most reliable. He shows up late, forgets things, and is always distracted. Neither of them has fully gotten over Nathan’s mother’s death.

But when, somehow, Henry goes back in time to try desperately to stop Nathan’s mother from ever dying, Nathan is left alone – that is, except for the gigantic beefeater (British slang for a guard of decorative purposes) named Bartleby who seems to know far more than he lets on but does tell Nathan one thing explicitly – Nathan’s father will destroy the world by doing what he’s doing – and Nathan has to stop him. Nathan has to make sure his mother is not saved.

There begins a luxuriously strange and bizarre story. I say both things in a good way, believe me. Jason Cockcroft wrote a book that makes you feel a little off-kilter, a little confused, but happy to go along for the ride because it is just so fascinating. And I mean, fascinating.

I got truly involved with Nathan, and cared about what was happening between him and his dad. The choices he has to make are difficult ones. It’s a journey not unlike Alice’s in Wonderland, in that the clues and repetitive nature of certain portions of the book are, as I said before, mind-bending.



I found it highly entertaining, yet bittersweet. I was left feeling satisfied and excited to see what else Jason Cockcroft has for us in the future.

Keep your eyes open for it around February 3rd.




In the meantime, Happy Holidays! I hope you all get lots of books under the tree!




See you in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

After the Train


Peter Leibig is not much different from us, despite living in post-WWII Germany, in Gloria Whelan's new historical fiction novel coming out in February.

He's bored to death in school, thinks his teacher is a bit long-winded, and is starting to take notice of a certain girl. But amongst his fun with his friends and going to movies, the tensions of the social climate can't help but show its face here and there. There is the heavily guarded wall that separates them from communist East Germany, the Jews that are slowly moving back to the area, the area they used to call home, and the people who still don't want them there.

But it's not until Peter uncovers a secret that he truly begins to take notice. A secret no one was ever supposed to find out, most especially him.

After the Train is a short book (about 160 pages) but surprisingly suspenseful for its lack of length. It's a quiet, yet tense, character study and history lesson all in one. I don't say "history lesson" in a bad way, either. Gloria Whelan weaves tidbits of real people and facts in her narrative, making us care about Peter in the meantime.

It's a sweet, realistic, page-turner that ends up being a more than just a coming-of-age story.

Am I jumping up and down shouting how much I loved it? No, not really. But I did like it. I found it enjoyable and a fast read. And I found it interesting to see the time period in the view of a single person, a different viewpoint than usual, the son of a German soldier, someone who had been too young to experience it at the time but still had no choice but to deal with the aftermath.

Check it out February 3rd!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm Still Alive

Hey!

Sorry for being so sporadic in my posting lately. I will be reviewing another book within this week.

Hope you're all having a Happy Holiday season so far!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Detective Jermain


Jermain is a little bit Veronica Mars and a little bit Nancy Drew in this brand new Manga series by Misako Rocks!

Having grown up aggressively pursuing the role of being her father's daughter (he was a famous detective, murdered when she was young - still unsolved) - Jermain manages to find a mystery where others see nothing.

When a teacher and model student die in a car crash, Jermain believes it is somehow linked to the strange, vacant ways students and teachers are beginning to act and the shadowy chemistry teacher. But it's kind of hard to focus on solving it all when Mom is insisting on more college-oriented goals and your two best guy friends are suddenly declaring their more-than-friends feelings. But what else can she expect being a Manga heroine?

I thought it was very fun and breezy. To be honest, I was more interested in the love triangle than the actual mystery - but I thought the whole thing was definitely entertaining. It was a quick read - only took me a day to read it (but I used to blaze through my Archie comics, so maybe that's just me).

Thing is, at the end - I wanted more. Yep. The whole love triangle thing has sucked me in. No big surprise there, I guess. I was always obsessed with Archie-Betty-Veronica (I always rooted for Betty).


However, I did have some problems following along here and there with the way the picture squares (or whatever you call them) were set up. And I kind of wish there had been more story involving the mystery so I could kind of care about it...

But Jermain managed to win me over by the end, despite her bordering-on-annoying-perkiness and her being so clueless over her hot friends. She became more likable, and the story really just flew off the page in a rapid-fast, delightful manner.

So, despite the couple of minor complaints - count me in when it comes to Volume 2. I'll be there.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Down to a Sunless Sea


Mathias B. Freese's Down to a Sunless Sea is a collection of highly acclaimed short stories ranging from a slice of life look at a young Jewish boy's upbringing to the edgier and darker glance at a suicidal, deformed man's struggle.

Every character is expertly drawn and vivid. Freese obviously knows how to write about completely and totally different characters, each one being loudly distinct and bold in their own right, though admittedly sometimes a bit too disturbing for my taste. Each story is written in such a way as to never be boring or even slightly dull.

However, am I a big fan of short stories? No. And it's nothing against this collection in particular, it is more the genre in general. I like to follow characters for as many pages as possible and really get involved deeply in their lives, and I never feel I can with short stories. I'm sure there are many, many reader's who disagree with this and are able to have strong connections with short story characters but I'm afraid I'm not one of them. To me, it's kind of like being introduced to a fascinating person and then never seeing them again. Your interest is sparked, but you don't get the payoff or satisfaction that a novel (in my opinion) brings.

Plus, there is the feeling of profound confusion I get when the story seems to abruptly end. Again, this is probably my own lack of understanding and appreciation of the overall idea of a short story - so don't take this so much as a critique of Down to a Sunless Sea but more a general assessment of my take on it. My thirst was not quenched, so to speak.

BUT, as I said, the writing is crisp and daring - sometimes shockingly so - and I would easily recommend this to any fan of short stories. Especially readers who enjoy deciphering the puzzling, abstract, sudden end of each foray into these character's lives.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Update

Just wanted to let anyone reading this blog know why I haven't been posting any reviews lately.

My Mom has been having some health problems. Nothing life threatening, but lots of pain and an ER visit have made me pretty distracted and not really feeling up to posting.

But as soon as things start clearing up and getting better, I'll be posting reviews again. Though with all the working I'm doing it may be a bit more sporadic than I'd like.

To anyone kind enough to frequent this blog: thanks for your understanding.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Series of Unfortunate Events


Still reading Harry Potter (it sure is harder to whip through the series when you have to work 5 days a week, I’ll tell ya that) with absolute glee.


Another excerpt from the Weasley Files of Past Reviews -

I thought I better tell anyone that does not know, that A Series of Unfortunate Events ROCKS! I’m talking Book One to Book Thirteen.

It's hilarious in its ludicrousness. There’s a truly interesting mystery involving the letters VFD that links the books, there’s the fact that despite how crazy and insanely funny the plots are you still truly care about the Baudelaire orphans.


Wait.


Maybe I need to summarize the plot for those of you who have never heard of the books (where have you been, may I ask?) or don't know what they're about.


Three siblings: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, are at the beach one day when they get the horrifying news that their parents have died in a fire that has engulfed and destroyed their entire home. They get shipped off to their new guardian only to find out he is a terrible actor named Count Olaf who ends up being cruel, cunning, and ridiculous all at the same time – not to mention he has a wee bit of an obsession with their inheritance. Though they continually ruin his dastardly plans with their sharp minds and strong bond, he always manages to escape and is on their tails yet again.


That’s a very generic way to summarize the novels – but let me just tell you, there is nothing, and I mean nothing generic about these books. They are a breath of fresh air among novels. They are more than just amusing – they bring about a fanciful, almost fairy-tale aspect to the story – soaked in maximum entertainment. Meanwhile, your vocabulary is constantly being enlarged by Mr. Snicket’s outrageous words and dictionary-like lessons.


They are laced with a satirical humor that is absolutely impossible not to enjoy – and I mean by any age. So ignore the little age appropriate label on the back. I’m sure children like them immensely – but I can’t help but believe that when you’re a bit older (of any age, really) you can catch jokes you’d miss when you’re younger.


So, in conclusion, you have absolutely no reason to not pick them up and join the bandwagon.


Seriously, DO NOT DEPRIVE YOURSELF!!!


The Order of the Series for your Convenience:
The Bad Beginning
The Reptile Room
The Wide Window
The Miserable Mill
The Austere Academy
The Ersatz Elevator
The Vile Village
The Hostile Hospital
The Carnivorous Carnival
The Slippery Slope
The Grim Grotto
The Penultimate Peril

The End

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oops

Well, I reworked another review from the Weasley Files of Past Reviews (since I am still happily reading Harry Potter) - but guess what? My computer froze and bye-bye went my review (which I stupidly had yet to save on Word). Sadly I don't have time to rewrite it so I must leave you with my apologies this week. I'll reopen the poll so y'all can do something once you so kindly visit my blog. I really don't like polls ending with tied results. Must be a Weasley family trait.

In the meantime, butterbeer is on me!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pirates!


I’m still feeding my insatiable desire that is Harry Potter so here is yet another review from times past (past reviews from reader review programs, reworked book reports, etc., but still a new book review for you all the same!).

Written by Celia Rees, these 380 pages didn’t take long at all to devour. Imagine being sixteen years old and a female in 1722. Your life is really not much about more than fashion and finding a good husband. And what is there to do once that is settled? Well, have many children and do everything your husband desires, of course!

Nancy Kington is to be yet another victim to this boring, monotonous life. She is the only daughter of a widowed, remarried, wealthy merchant and though she is in love with her childhood friend, William, she is soon being linked to a rich Brazilian man who is not only much older than her but also very, um, unlikable and controlling. He is disgustingly interested in Nancy, which makes her father happy since he has a sudden debt in his business, and sees only the money that can be made out of this marriage. Don'tcha wish we could’ve lived in those cheery times? Well, at least the dresses were gorgeous.

Anyway, before Nancy can even really come to terms with this knowledge, she’s sent to one of her father’s plantations in Jamaica to start making herself at home – since it soon will be. It is there, as she tries to submit to her fate, that she sees with her own eyes the cruelty of slavery, and through a harrowing event finds herself bonded in friendship with Minerva, a black girl her own age. They have to run (I won’t tell you why, that would ruin it!) and find themselves immersed in a foreign world. A foreign, outlaw world of pirates.

Raw emotion shines through Celia Rees’ excellent writing. And the character depth is outstanding. You feel for these characters strongly and become a part of their lives. Their personalities are distinct and dynamic. Pirates! was highly entertaining, full of adventure and a little romance, as well as being touching and electrifying in it’s honest portrayal of the worst – and best – of human nature.

I definitely recommend it. This is a book for anyone and everyone, as it’s about being accepted without regard to your race, gender, or social status in the world. It’s about looking behind the scenes at what is called “wrong” and seeing that it might be more right than the one’s who judge it. It really isn’t so much about pirates (though we all love pirate stories, right?!) but about these two young women who dare to do more than sew in the sitting room (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) but manage to become two of the most notorious pirates in the (fictitious) world.

Check it out!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jericho Walls


Okay, listen, I am officially back off the wagon, relapsing violently with a maniacal reread of the entire Harry Potter series (I'm on Prisoner of Azkaban already). I figured y'all already understand my obsession with those books and might not appreciate a review of each individual novel in the series. So, I delved into some past reviews I'd written (on other sites, Amazon, B&N, etc.) and reworded them a bit for your reading enjoyment. First, sadly is a negative review - but I just can't bring myself to just post positive reviews. I love some books (ahem, I point your attention to the post directly beneath this one) and I, uh, don't like others. And it's nothing personal to the authors, it's just my opinion.

Kristi Collier's Jericho Walls is a look at life in the South during the 1957 Civil Rights Movement centers around young Jo Clawson, the daughter of a preacher. She's new and town and doesn't seem to meet up to anyone's standards. She's not enough of a lady. She can't make friends.

She meets a young black boy and becomes friends - though he doesn't seem to want to at first. And she starts to realize what racism truly is and thus begins her coming-of-age story.

Sadly, I’d have to say that as much as I found the concept compelling, nothing specific in the book enthralled me enough to point out. Each character was nicely, and quietly, nuanced but there was nothing to keep me glued to the pages. I couldn't really relate to Jo or get involved in her life.

Actually, I didn't even finish the book. I hate doing that, but as I've said before - there are so many great books out there that I don't think I should force myself to finish something I'm not enjoying.

I made it to page 87 before I realized it was becoming too much of a chore for me to read it. There was nothing particularly entertaining about the book. I liked the idea, as I said, and it did have a sweetness to it, but it was very slow-moving and… I became very bored.

I do plan on trying it again in the future and finishing it. But for now, with my busy schedule and lots of books calling to me from my shelf, it was too hard to stay devoted to a book that I considered dull and sluggish.

I guess a big problem I had with the book as well was that it seemed to be trying real hard to be To Kill a Mockingbird, but far inferior. Nothing seemed extremely original or interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. But I think it was an admirable effort.

My personal taste tends to expect a lot from a coming-of-age story. They don't have the plot of a thriller, of an adventure, of a fantasy - so I feel the writing and the characters have to come to life vividly and force you to care so much about them that their every day life actually means something to you. This was not the case in Jericho Walls.

But maybe you'll disagree!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Hunger Games


Exciting. Heart-wrenching. Thrilling. Horrifying. Breathtaking. Suspenseful.

Just a few words I can use to describe the insanely addictive, page-turning first volume in a new trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

Katniss, a sixteen-year-old, tough, and already world-weary girl, lives in a futuristic version of North America - a cruel dictatorship separated into lonely, hungry districts. It's science fiction at it's absolute best. You know, where it kind of scares you? Yeah, this does.

See, the tyrant that is the Capitol has a certain way of keeping their firm grip on the people. Apparently there was a rebellion in the past - so they try to stave that off with the "Games". It's almost like a raffle, only your life is at stake.

Every child 12 to 18 is entered from each district, and two from each district are chosen (one male, one female) to compete and kill each other in order to be the last one standing in an arena of the Capitol's choosing (frozen wasteland, dangerous jungle, burning desert, etc.). And not only do the families have to know that their child (if chosen) will most likely die - but they have to watch. That's right - it's shown on live television all day. And made out to be a ton of fun.

Suddenly, Katniss finds herself the female "contender" for her district. And in order to survive? She needs to kill 23 other kids, some possibly only 12 years old. And all of whom want to kill her, too.

But I can't say more than that - every twist and turn of this novel is like a crazy, but wonderful, roller-coaster ride.

Not only does this book make you care immensely for Katniss and every other character - but it offers up searing romance, touching loyalty, and plain and simple thrills.

Let me just tell you, the atmosphere is vivid, the adventure is scary, and the overall novel? Fantastic! The intricate details of the opening ceremonies, interviews, and general strangeness of this reality TV "competition" is altogether impressive. I take my hat off to you, Ms. Collins. You caused me some pretty gory, bizarre dreams. And it was worth it.

Honestly. You'll be crying with relief there's two more to come. I know I was.

(It's coming out on Sept. 14th.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Bibliophile's Confession

Hello!

I've been really busy and tired this week and I'm unable to get a new book review posted. But I should get one up next week (on the thrilling The Hunger Games). Unless I am maimed by a hippogriff or invited onto the Hogwarts Express between now and then.

I'm sorry! I hope you take the opportunity to look at some of my reviews you may not have read yet in the archives.

No worries. The therapy will continue soon enough! :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Anatomy of a Boyfriend


Daria Snadowsky's first novel is about a goal-oriented, hopeful med-student, high school senior, Dominique. Despite her best friend being boy-crazy, she hasn't been all that tempted to enter the dating world. She has heard enough vulgar and/or idiotic things out of guys mouths to detract far too much from their attractive appearance to really ever become interested (haven't we all?). But during an eventful (and not in a good way) trip to the port-a-potty during a school event she meets Wes, a boy with the brightest blue eyes she's ever seen and a shy smile that wins her over in an instant. For the first time ever, Dominique is interested.

Daria's story is an in-depth look at a girl's first serious relationship - the ups, the downs, and the mistakes. She really shows the way we of the female persuasion can (we don't have to) lose ourselves, desperately melding into the guy's identity and maybe going too far too fast. But she never makes it glamorous or pretentious - it's brutally honest and bold-faced. I considered it a cautionary tale.

I'll admit I didn't love Dominique straight away. And I got frustrated with her character as the book continued. But it was never boring. I was always interested and hopeful for a brighter future for Dom. You couldn't help but root for her.

This isn't exactly my type of book, exactly. Character study, plot-light books can be beautiful and poignant but I tend to like a little extra oomph (sci-fi, fantasy, and suspense being some of my favorite genres).

Some of the details did get to be a bit much for me, but I understood their place and why Daria meant to portray them. I do wish that I got to know all the characters better, on a deeper level. I'd especially have liked to know Dominique more before she met Wes. No one ever seemed as fully fleshed out as I feel they could have been. But there is obviously talent in Snadowsky's writing technique when you find yourself cheering on the main character, as I was. I couldn't help but be desperate for her to find her independence again (and independence doesn't necessarily mean being out of a relationship - more so how you treat yourself, so that is not a spoiler!) - and I was semi-satisfied with the results.

Did I think it was a perfect book? No. But I certainly think there are many readers out there who will disagree with me - so don't let my opinion discourage you!

Thing is, I'm not not recommending it either. It's an acquired taste, a raw story. But it also promised me even better things to come from this highly acclaimed and extremely praised brand new author: Daria Snadowsky.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Audrey, Wait!


Robin Benway's first novel has been, so far, a critics darling. I was super excited to read it because it sounded like such an interesting premise - Audrey breaks up with her wannabe rocker boyfriend who then writes a great song about the breakup, becomes a huge superstar and ends up pulling her into the spotlight in the meantime - and it is.

But (you knew that was coming, right?) I wasn't sold. Well, not right off anyway.

Audrey's character was neither likable, nor relatable to me personally. In fact, I kind of felt that if I knew Audrey personally - we wouldn't really mesh. Not that I'd hate her, I just wouldn't be in her group. She declares early on that if you you don't like your music so loud the neighbors move out and the speakers blow that you probably won't be her friend.

See, I don't like the neighbors moving out (living in an apartment I know how stressful and horrible it can be to have a neighbor that plays their music too loud) and the speakers blowing out (um, hasn't anyone told Audrey about hearing loss?).

But even more so than any of these probably superficial and ridiculous complaints (I know, I sound like a bore, right?) - I didn't like Victoria, Audrey's best friend. She seemed unrealistic to me and, again, not someone I could imagine meshing well with.

HOWEVER, if you've been paying attention - there IS a reason why I am using the past tense.

About halfway through the book (which took a good bit of patience and a little bit of faith, mind you), I got it.

Audrey's personality started to shine more when all the crazy paparazzi stuff starts happening and her faux interviews and pictures start popping up in familiar celebrity magazines. Not to mention the fact that I felt like something was really starting to happen. Where I felt the first half was blah and lifeless, I found the second half to be fun, insightful, and romantic.

That's right - romance!

Things really started looking up when her extremely slow moving crush on Scooper Dooper (a rather alarming name for an ice cream shop, if you ask me) co-worker James got going. Ideal boyfriend alert!

And, overall, I saw how the progression of the novel (including the rocky beginning) did add to the satisfaction of the conclusion. Audrey (and even the cantankerous Victoria) became much more relatable and enjoyable as characters and by the time I turned the last page there was one word in my mind -

Sequel.
P.S. Because of the overwhelming percentage going to Tibby in the poll on the right, I've decided to go ahead and open it back up, for curiosity's sake, to see if that continues or if things even up a bit more. I've always considered myself to be a cross between Lena and Carmen.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

Okay, did it take me long enough?

The Book Vault's Dominique tagged me in the comments of my review for The Shining and I'm just NOW getting to it. Oops.
Here goes:

What was I doing 10 years ago?
Getting my first-year Hogwarts supplies in Diagon Alley and taking a roam through Eelops Owl Emporium.

Okay, for real? Well, it was the end of the summer before 5th grade (if that's the grade I was in when I was 10 - I'm not willing to take out the calculator right now), so probably devouring more Babysitter's Club, Nancy Drew, and Girl Talk books in my room.
What are five things on my to-do list today?
Degnome the garden and visit my old celebrity crush Gilderoy Lockhart at St. Mungos.

Do you really want the honest truth? It's actually my day off today (whoo-hoo!) so nothing on my to do list today but my favorite things. Watch my recorded TV shows (yay Burn Notice! yay The Closer!), the Olympics later (which can be a chore with all those commercials, even fast-forwarding!), and other various leisure activities.
Snacks I enjoy:
Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Pumpkin Pasties, Chocolate Frogs, um...
Okay, okay! A true Harry Potter fan am I. Forgive me.
I wish I could say carrots with raw dip or celery with peanut butter or something, but I'm afraid I'm not a healthy girl.
So my list would more consist of:
Chips
Candy (currently Whoppers and Peanut Butter M&Ms)
Cookies
I know, I know. Spare me the lecture on heart disease or whatever. Us Weasleys like our food!
Places I've lived:
Washington State.
Born, raised, and staying put.
Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
I'll try to keep it simple.
New computer (current one is pretty elderly)
Buy my three kitty cats the best kitty toys ever
Buy all the books on my Amazon.com wish list
Buy everything on my Amazon.com wish list
Design a beautiful house, including my own personal library - closely resembling the one the Beast gifted Belle
Take lessons in: Spanish, French, Italian, Guitar, and Singing
Create some sort of writing grant program where struggling writers can have some start-up money to give them a better chance at getting that first novel written (my current problem)
Start a huge animal shelter that'd I'd be personally involved in
Go to the Harry Potter theme park the first day it opens
No, scratch that! Build my OWN Harry Potter theme park exactly as described in the book (okay, maybe SLIGHTLY impossible, but hey)
And the people I'm tagging (maybe tomorrow or something, not quite yet):
Okay, yeah they both authors - but wouldn't it be awesome if they did it?
Here's hoping!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Book Vault’s Birthday Contest Riddle

What does every fellow bibliophile love? A contest of course! This is the next leg of The Book Vault’s birthday book riddle contest!

Don’t even try to tell me that you don’t want a free book!

For more information on the contest, go here: http://the-book-vault.blogspot.com/2008/08/birthday-contest.html.

Each correct answer counts as an entry into the drawing on August 29th!

Here ya go, for your therapeutic usage:

Riddle: A community of genetically blind (they chose to be that way) exists harmoniously—or so it seems. Not long after a young boy in the community turns 13, he realizes that for some miraculous reason, has regained his sight. The community is not as peaceful as it seems—there are thieves, hypocrites, and other wrong doers. Now he must decide what to do, now that he has a gift that separates himself from the rest of his community.
Which book is this?

Know the answer? Send Dominique an email at bookvault@yahoo.com with:

“BDAY CONTEST” in the subject line and:
Name:
The Riddle: A community of genetically blind (they chose to be that way) exists harmoniously—or so it seems. Not long after a young boy in the community turns 13, he realizes that for some miraculous reason, has regained his sight. The community is not as peaceful as it seems—there are thieves, hypocrites, and other wrong doers. Now he must decide what to do, now that he has a gift that separates himself from the rest of his community.
Which book is this?
Answer: (full book title + author)
The name of the site where you found the riddle: Bibliophile Support Group
Your site’s URL: (if you have one)

Dominique asks that you send a separate email for each riddle you answer!

Hope you win!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Shining


As someone who has watched the movie adaption of this Stephen King novel, The Shining, well, I admit I wasn't gung-ho about reading the book. Why? Well, the movie always kind of freaked me out. I was kind of worried how much more the book would freak me out.

But for all of you who have watched the movie, I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say that it just didn't make any sense. At all. The end is a head scratcher that never seems to be resolved. A puzzle piece trying to be shoved into a puzzle that still has way too many pieces missing.

So - I wanted to read the book. To see if it made more sense. Maybe answer my questions. I took a deep breath and went for it.

For those of you who haven't watched the movie (you should, it's a classic), the general synopsis of the story is that Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic who has recently lost his job, is hired as the caretaker for a huge hotel up in the mountains of Colorado. The hotel has to be shut down every winter (for about 5 months or so) because it's impossible to drive up and down the roads, but someone needs to stay there to take care of the boiler and everything. His wife Wendy and his son (who has special abilities at the very young age of five) come with him and they find out that the Overlook Hotel's bad reputation might have some substance.

Now for how I felt about all 684 pages: Wow. Now, I can't put it up there with my top tier books (books I read over and over again, like, ahem, Harry Potter) but I was surprised to find Stephen King's writing style more patient and character developing than gory. Not that it isn't creepy. It's very creepy. But in a slow moving, suspenseful way. I did feel like the ending was a little rushed and I was left slightly confused. But only slightly. Nothing really worth criticizing. In fact, it just makes me want to read it again and figure it out.

And A LOT is different than the movie. I can't give anything away, but don't expect it to be the same AT ALL. I do recommend it as an expertly woven tale of horror, but more so a story of a broken family that loves each other and the bravery of a little boy.

There are a lot of "adult" scenes and some frightening, weird stuff in it nearer the end, so depending on your age, wait until you feel ready. Oh and if you do read it, and you're like me and like to read right before bed? Yeah, don't do that. I place my freaky, crazy dreams at your feet as evidence. Seriously.

All I can say is that I am interested in reading more Stephen King now. His character development and buildup is phenomenal.

And even though the movie is good (scary Jack Nicholson!), the book is better.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The New Girl


Meg Cabot’s second installment in her middle-grade level series Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls is just as fun, sweet, and reminiscent of my own fourth grade experience as the first one.

Not that it’s a retread, of course. Not in the slightest.

Since Allie, her parents, and her little brothers have made the BIG MOVE, that was such a huge part of the plot of the first book, Moving Day, now it’s time for her first day at her new school as (say it with me now) The New Girl.

Thankfully I never had to deal with that dilemma as a fourth grader – but even more thankfully, I didn’t have a big, scary girl in my class tell me she was going to beat me up after class like Allie does.

My childhood was mostly peaceful.

Sadly, poor Allie’s isn’t. Not to mention that things aren’t looking so peachy for getting her promised kitten.

Once again (remember how I mentioned the “satisfaction guaranteed” sticker in an earlier review?) Meg Cabot’s book whisks the reader away to pure entertainment – even if in this case there are less (okay, no) hot guys and kissing.

Allie is so relatable and cute, not to mention so smart and kind, she is a great role model for young girls – without being obvious about it. She’s an animal rescuer/veterinarian in training, which I love. And one of the best things so far in Meg’s series is that she doesn’t shy away from some of the less cheery subjects (such as the girl who wants to beat Allie up, or tension between her Mom and Grandma).

But I can’t forget to mention the most important, vital part of this book: It’s HILARIOUS.

Allie’s antics, her family’s discussions, the general situations Ms. Cabot puts her characters in – be ready to laugh. Seriously.

So, hats off to yet another success to Meg Cabot. Let the books keep coming.

Because there’s no doubt I’ll keep reading.

How about you?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Space Between Us


Have you ever read a bestselling or highly acclaimed book (usually written for adults, since YAs are usually so woefully underappreciated) and just not got it? You know - it's depressing, disturbing, or just plain boring?

Well, The Space Between Us is NOT one of those!

I'll admit that I went into it thinking it was... I've been burned before by so-called "Women's Literature", but Thrity Umrigar's bold, yet gentle, foray was a force to reckoned with. I simply could not dislike it.

Taking place in modern day India, the setting is unique and intriguing but anyone who has read as many books as I have knows that beautiful or different settings do not make a book interesting in the slightest. It's like a person looking great on the exterior, but what's on the inside? The characters are the heart and soul of a book.

And The Space Between Us lavishes the reader with honest, flawed, empathetic characters that pull at your heart strings while still making you cringe during their worst moments.

Bhima is a harried housekeeper and has been for many, many years. She has swam through the bitter waters of life and come up to the surface just that - bitter. Her once happy life has dissolved into an existence based on work, going home to a slum where people go to the bathroom in the same place, where the smell drifts to the streets, and the privacy is at a minimum. And now, the one person that had made her life glimmer with hope again - her college attending granddaughter - is unwed and pregnant and refusing to say who the father is.

Sera is a tired woman herself. After years of mental and physical abuse, she is now free of her husband (deceased) but feels empty. All she has is her beloved daughter and her charming son-in-law who are about to bring a little grandchild into the world. Things are looking up for her, but she is still troubled by her past. A past only Bhima truly knows, having been her housekeeper for years and having witnessed the evidence of Sera's injuries and bruises.

To give too much more would be to disservice the journey the reader goes on with these remarkable women. It is a story with no clearcut answers, but enough to keep the pages turning lightening fast. I was surprised by just how entertaining the book was, in terms of not wanting to put it down. You wish for the best, but you fear for the worst.

Thrity Umrigar writes with an elegant style, letting us delve into our heroine's memories first hand - instead of just telling us. I enjoyed it thoroughly and found it be refreshing in it's honesty. But I will divulge one disappointment - without giving too much away - I felt that one of the character's story deserved a bit more of a conclusion. I understand the position Thrity left it in, and I appreciate it's poignancy, but I did put it down wanting just a bit more. If anyone reading this review has read this beautiful book, let me know what you thought of the end. You'll know what I'm talking about, I think.

But I definitely recommend it. It was a stunning piece of work. And proof that with a wonderful writing style and excellent character development a simple story (in premise) can become much more.

P.S. What do you guys think of the final results of the Hottest Harry Potter Character poll? A tie (Ron and Harry both got 37% of the votes)! And Neville (12%, a tie with "Other") got a vote! I'll get up a new poll as soon as I can think of one.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sweet and Vicious


I received this book, Claudia Gabel's third installment of the In or Out series, from an awesome contest site, teensreadtoo.com. Honestly, though, I would recommend others to start from the beginning of the series rather than to jump right into the third book like I did. Which I usually don't do. But, ya know, I wasn't gonna go buy the others JUST because I won the third.

I can't help but feel that this book (and the others in the series) have suffered from Bad Cover Syndrome. This is just a personal opinion, and nothing against the girls on the cover or the people who designed it - but it just looks marketed way too young. Even though the two main characters are 14, they seem much older - and I wouldn't classify it anywhere near a Babysitter's Club book, which is what the cover kind of made me think of.

Okay - besides the cover now.

Shy Marnie and social-climbing Nola used to be best friends, but after some wild and hurtful accusations, that is all in the past. Now they are enemies. Marnie has moved on to a top-tier boyfriend, popular friends, and parties in her honor. Nola, in the meantime, is left in the dust to deal with her unrequited (it seems) crush on her friend Matt, a meddling 17 year old babysitter for her little brothers that seems to think he needs to watch over her too, and no best friend to talk to it all about.

But then Nola finds a mean, vengeful streak that releases some of her anger onto Marnie and Marnie starts to realize her picture-perfect new life, yeah well, between the secret meeting between her new best friend and boyfriend and her ever so tension-filled cling to the thin string connecting her to the clique, it ain't as great as she thought it would be.

I actually enjoyed it quite thoroughly. I was thrown by the fact that Marnie and Nola are only supposed to be 14, when I'd guess them more around 16 or 17, but maybe I'm just getting older and 14 seems so much younger now (I'm 20, if you were wondering, not 40, lol). At first I was kind of bored, but then it really started to pick up with all the twists involving the two main characters.

Not to mention all the HOT guys.

Seriously. Is this Poughkeepsie place (where the book takes place) real? Because maybe I want to move there! There were five, yes count them - FIVE incredibly hot guys in this one book alone. Sure, one was sleazy enough to be kicked off the list - but STILL. How is that POSSIBLE? Lol. Anyway, it was a fun read that did make me interested in reading more of the series and see what happens next!

But I'd recommend starting with the first novel - In or Out. Go for it.

And let's go book our tickets to Poughkeepsie! Who's with me?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Relapse

Oops. Why no new book review?

Well, I've suffered a bibliophile relapse. I tried to fight it. I was unsuccessful.

I'm rereading.

Yep. And I'm not rereading something I can post on here as I usually would (shame on me!) - because I already have reviewed it on here.

Seriously. I just read it.

That's right. I'm rereading The Summoning. It's that good.

And I guess the release date has been moved up. Buy it now! Here's a link to the bibliophile's ultimate dealer (at least the bibliophile who really needs the extra savings, like me), directly to this frakktastic book: http://www.amazon.com/Summoning-Darkest-Powers-Book/dp/0061662690/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214956135&sr=1-1

I promise to quickly finish it up, and return to my duties. It might be a review of Ann Brashares' adult novel The Last Summer (of You & Me). It might not.

I'm fickle that way.

Anyway, keep the faith! I WILL post again soon!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Summoning


Wow. All I can say is: wow.

Okay, I can say more. But I was practically speechless when I finished this thrilling, exciting, out-of-my-mind suspenseful book!

This is Kelley Armstrong’s first foray into the wonderful world of young adult fiction. She is a best-selling author of an adult series (I guess some of which take place in the same world as this killer, so I think I’ll be checking them out sooner than later).

Fifteen-year-old Chloe Saunders is a relatable, sweet, sort of ordinary girl – often mistaken for much younger (I can relate). She’s not hated or loved by her peers. She’s not popular, but she’s not really unpopular either. But when an event that she has waited a long time to happen does happen at school – things start to happen. She’s never been that fond of the dark in the first place, especially after a nightmare that might be more truth than dream, but when an unfamiliar janitor starts running after her down the school halls, his face turning into a melting, waxy looking horror movie – well, she’s lost her mind.

Or has she?

That is the million-dollar question in the air when she is sent to Lyle House, a place of healing for disturbed teens. Because there are more mysteries than therapy going on. And some people seem to think that she’s seeing ghosts instead of hallucinations.

And that is how this frakktastic books gets in gear in a MAJOR way. To be honest, I think it’s in gear from the first sentence.

INSANELY good, spooky, suspenseful, and spectacular! Plus there’s this whole thing about me thinking there’s an epic romance going on in it – that maybe isn’t real obvious yet but my heart is depending upon and I think would be awesome.

To say that The Summoning is hugely entertaining is simply not enough. I don't know if there ARE enough words to describe it, but I'll try. Creepy. Thrilling. Suspenseful (did I say that already? Oops!). Creative. Unique. Exciting. Twisty. Shocking. Fun. Action-packed. Supernatural. Awesome (it deserves to be used twice, I promise!). Hmm. Still not enough! Get it? I LOVED this book!!! The execution of the characters, plot, and overall package is PERFECT!

When I’m excited, my writing skill diminish by about 100% in case you’ve noticed.

Plain and simple, THANK YOU Kelley Armstrong!!! I just can’t WAIT for the next one (it is a planned trilogy). It’ll be a long wait! In the meantime, I plan on rereading. And rereading. And … well, you get my point.

I implore anyone who read this to check it out in August when it hits the shelves. It is MORE than worth it!!!!!

The Humming of Numbers


As much as I hate to give any bad or lukewarm reviews, I started this blog with the idea in mind that I would review books as I read them (meaning whether it myself just reading something for pleasure, rereading, or even getting a book to review from a reader review program) – and honestly state my opinion of them.

Well, my honest opinion of The Humming of Numbers by Joni Sensel (who is a Washington resident, which is awesome!)… isn’t great. Actually, I didn’t even finish it.

I know! I know! I hate not finishing a book. But there is always that principle that there are SO many fantastic books (like the one I’ll be reviewing next) out there that to force yourself to keep turning the pages of a book you are finding pretty darn dull is a disservice to yourself and the industry.

Here’s the thing: Aiden is a monk in training in the 10th century. He lives a sheltered life with monks. I’ll admit the setting is rather off-putting. But the author is simply presenting the time period as it was. I guess I just didn’t find it the most entertaining or interesting of locations.

Aiden can hear the “humming of numbers”. A sort of energy scale that every living creature, plant, etc. gives off. He meets a girl named Lana who gives off the highest number he’s ever heard from a human: an eleven.

This, I thought, would be an appealing, subtle fantasy that would maybe have poetic wording or something. But it didn’t really turn out that way – for me, at least. I got to page 88 before setting it aside, and up to that point I really had expected Lana’s eleven to show itself in some way. But she didn’t seem extraordinary in any way to me. There were no hints of special powers or knowledge or even just an extreme humanity or something. Nothing.

And even by the time the Vikings attack (around the time I stopped reading) – I just didn’t care. I didn’t care enough about the characters to care. They fell flat.

BUT – I don’t want to bash the author or the book, really. If it sounded like something you’d be interested in before or after this review still read it!!! I hate it when people say, “Oh, I thought I’d like that but now that I’ve read your review I’ll just pass I guess.” Everybody has a different opinion! I mean, there are people out there who don’t even like Harry Potter (I know, crazy, right?! Lol).

I do intend on giving it another chance in the future. Maybe I’ll find out that it was just a weird mood I was in, or I was missing the entire point or something. Anyway, this was just my honest opinion of the book as I read it and why I put it down.
And if there’s a chance Joni Sensel reads this, I really do want to apologize if I sound too harsh. As someone who wants to write myself – I certainly do not want to bash your work. I think it simply comes down to the book maybe not being my particular cup of tea.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Princess Diaries


I firmly believe that older books are just as important to blog about as newer ones. There is always going to be someone who missed the boat the first time around. That's why, after reading Meg Cabot's first in the bestselling series for the fourth time (yes, you read that right) - I decided to put it on here.

I was one of those stuck up girls (not Lana, no worries - maybe a little Lilly) that saw the cover (at the time it was bright pink with a sparkly tiara) and scoffed. I didn't want to read a book that had "Princess" or "Diaires" in the title. Thing is, I loved the Mediator series by a certain Jenny Carroll, and when I realized Jenny Carroll and Meg Cabot were one and the same - I had to read it. And if you are one of those people that didn't read it because of the cover, title, etc. - THINK AGAIN!

Hilarious (I mean, laugh-out-loud funny) and extremely entertaining, The Princess Diaries is the type of book you devour in less than a day because it just so much fun.

Mia is a relatable girl. She's unhappy with her appearance, likes a guy that doesn't know she exists, and maybe a bit of a wallflower (at least at first) but when she gets the news that she's a princess (I'm assuming that everyone knows this twist, which makes it no longer a spoiler) everything changes. From her twenty-five pound cat Fat Louie (I am the proud kitty caretaker of two fluffy twenty-five pounders myself - and a teeny ten pound model kitty), to her bossy and outgoing best friend - every detail of Mia's life is clearly defined and enjoyable. It's realistic, with a fantastical twist.

I'm actually rereading the whole series all over again - and I just have to recommend it to anyone who thought they wouldn't be into it or it sounds cheesy - I WAS YOU! If you have ANY sense of humor, The Princess Diaries (and every book in the series thereafter) will become one of your favorites!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Prom Dates from Hell


Are you a fan of supernatural thrillers (with a dose of humor, that is) like Meg Cabot's "Mediator" series? How about "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"? If your answer is yes to either question (and really even if it isn't), you should check out Rosemary Clement-Moore's new book.


Her main character, Maggie Quinn, is one of those relatable characters that is a bit of an outcast, smart but not overwhelmingly in love with school, and has a razor sharp wit (think Veronica Mars) that we all wish we possessed. However, she also has another facet of her personality. She hates to admit it, but she senses something wrong about the fire and brimstone scent that seems to everywhere. She doesn't want to have a special "gift" - but she does. And when her classmates start to have, ahem, "accidents", she suspects more than mortal foul play is at works.


Every character (from her slightly off kilter friend Lisa to the hottie college student who is willing to believe her) manages to be both believable and extraordinarily entertaining in their depiction. The supernatural showdowns lend a creepy air that gives actual suspense (not just laughs) to the book - and the dose of subtle, but highly involving, romance gives the book a fiery charisma. Pun intended. I actually was truly surprised by the revelations and conclusion. Which is awesome when, as a bibliophile, you start to think you can guess pretty easily. Not here.


I honestly hated putting the book down, and I am SO happy it is but just the first book in a series called, aptly, "Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil".


I'm sure I won't be the only one lining up to buy the sequel, "Hell Week" in the fall. Will you be there?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sucks to Be Me


Kimberly Pauley's first novel manages to have an irresistible mix of hilarity and originality, throwing all the vampire cliches out the window and providing readers (like me) a fresh, energizing novel. Instead of the shadowy, rogue sort of vampires we usually get in literature (which there is nothing wrong with of course - I love me some hot vampires), Sucks to Be Me introduces an unfamiliar type: accountants. Not to mention the fact that there are rules and regulations and a Ministry of Magic sort of government for the blood drinking species.

Pauley's fun, entertaining novel doesn't try to compete with other types of vampire books - her's is on a different level. And the level is full of laughs! Mina is a teenager with a great sarcastic wit (but never mean spirited) who finds out that her parents weren't exactly supposed to have let her in on their immortal secret (she's known since forever), and she's suddenly faced with a decision: would she like to join their blood drinking ways or forget she's ever known?

My favorite thing about the book is that it continually throws you curveballs. Pauley has a clear idea of vampirism and it isn't what we expect, which is what makes it so exciting and refreshing. It's an unique idea. Plus, it has three hot guys in it. Yep. That helps.

Mina and the cast of supporting players are all likeable and interesting. Her friendships are believable and happily angst free (on the most part, at least). The prose keeps you turning the pages swiftly (I finished in less than a day and a half) - and if I didn't know that Kimberly Pauley has a sequel planned, I would be sad indeed. I'll be buying the next one the minute it's out, especially with the way this one ended (and no, I won't tell you!)!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bewitching Season


Marissa Doyle's debut novel is an entertainng mixture of the social scene of the 1837 London season and Harry Potter esque magical mischief. Now, right there, you're already intrigued right? So was I.

The main character, Persephone, and her twin sister Penelope, both have a magical gift that must be kept under wraps since witches were burnt at the stake less than a century ago - but just because they can't make a huge fanfare out of it doesn't mean that they can't hone their skills for private use, right? Right. So they're longtime governess, Ally, does just that. Persephone is the more studious and shy, and is not in the least bit happy about her coming-out season. It means talking and dancing and (gulp!) boys. And when a childhood friend, whose quite the handsome gentleman now, returns to the fold, her nerves are even more frayed.

At first Persephone and Penelope's characters felt a little off for me. I didn't love Persy's awkwardness right away - but I fell into it later. All the characters became more fleshed out and likable with time and patience.

What really made this book a fast-paced read was the plot. Once some devious doings on behalf of the crown start to happen, the novel becomes a lot more than a book about a couple nice girls being introduced as the years most eligible wives. But I'll be the first to admit, that was fun too.

With all the romantic intrigue, spying, and flat out fun this book brings to the table, I definitely recommend it. In fact, after some patience I fell in love enough with these characters to want a sequel!

What say you, Ms. Doyle?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Airhead


Meg Cabot's new winner is just as awesome as her other books. From the beginning she sets the tone of, Em, the main character: nice, shy, tomboyish, and awkward. Loveable? Of course she is! There's her unrequited crush on her best friend Christopher, her younger sister Frieda who lives on a different planet than her personality-wise, and the fact that she is ridiculed by her classmates. Regular, relatable Emerson Watts. Then something happens.


The novel's great twist is reminscent of Meg's Mediator series (which I adore), though it's still completely different, makes the whole book turn on its head and start dancing the tango. Perfectly.



I can't give away what happens in this twist because it would be literally causing a huge chunk of the plot to not be as exciting to you and it was to me. All I can say is: Frakktastic!!!



Once again, Meg creates a likable character in an out-of-this-world experience that still manages to be fun, hilarious, and page-turningly suspenseful all at the same time. It seems there is never a clunker from her. That's why she is one of my favorite authors. She comes with a giant "Satisfaction Guaranteed" sticker.

Bibliophile Support Group: Mission

The mission of this support group is to provide a place of healing and understanding to those of us who are so woefully misunderstood in modern life: the booklovers. It is also a place that I intend to review books, good or bad, to my fellow booklovers.

And have some fun doing it.

So, welcome to Bibliphiles Anonymous. Let's start with honesty -

My name is MrsRonWeasley (okay, not THAT honest), and I am a bibliophile. The last time I read a book was 3 hours, 23 minutes ago (or so).