Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Book Boyfriend #1: I Love Australia

I have been following My Book Boyfriend by Missie on The Unread Reader for several months and I love going through everyone's picks. Now that I have my own blog, I have been looking forward to participating! So in honor of my very first MBB, I have a double dose of Australian love for you all :) This year began my love for Melina Marchetta and Australian authors. Two books that have blown my mind were On the Jellicoe Road (by Marchetta) and A Little Wanting Song (by Cath Crowley), luckily they also happen to have two boys that I would love to call my book boyfriends~ Jonah Griggs and Dave Robbie. 

Jonah Griggs

  • In year eleven 
  • A captain of the cadets
  • A tank with a blunt face a cropped hair
  • "A state of mind"
  • "Being a part of him isn't just anything. It's kind of everything"
“He stops and looks at me. 'I'm here because of you. You're my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned in to mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it any other way? Hell, yes, but I don't think that will be happening in my lifetime.” 
“When I turn around, he cups my face in his hands and he kisses me so deeply that I don't know who is breathing for who, but his mouth and tongue taste like warm honey. I don't know how long it lasts, but when I let go of him, I miss it already.” 
“If you weren't driving, I'd kiss you senseless," I tell him. He swerves to the side of the road and stops the car abruptly."Not driving any more.” 
“No," I say, looking up at Griggs. "It's actually because my heart belongs to someone else." And if I could bottle the look on his face, I'd keep it by my bedside for the rest of my life.” 

(I dunno about you, but Sam Worthington definitely could be a grown up Griggs plus he's actually Australian)

I could go on with Jonah quotes all day, but I'm super excited to move on to...

Dave Robbie

  • Hair that hangs around his face and in his eyes
  • Wears blank singlets
  • Has a tattoo of a bird on his wrist
  • Not afraid to be goofy
  • Loves cars
"If Dave Robbie's a song, he's written in major chords. He's got this way of smiling that makes me want to throw him down and kiss him."
He hangs behind Luke and Rose like the backbeat to a song. They need him there, though; he fits, and he knows it."
"'He (Charlie's dad) says he was a country boy like you once. He knows what you're thinking,' 'Nah, he doesn't.' Dave looks at the ground and grins. 'I'd be dead.'"

"And we're at that moment where you both go and get what you want or you both go back. The moment when you say, Stuff being scared; what's on the other side is better. That moment when you inch closer to each other little by little, till your skin starts and ends in the same place. till your faces get so close your lips start and end in the same place, too. Till you taste milk shake and salt and sugar days and the world spins and the stars sound like harmonicas. 'Boy's are easy,' I say after my first kiss. 'They're kinda like guitars, without the stings. ' 'If I compared you to a car right now, Rose'd say I was insensitive.' 'I think it's time we said whatever it is we want.' He leans in and the bird on his wrist flaps against my neck and his mouth is warm and the inside of me goes harmonic this time and the whole thing is a million time better than what I imagined. And I imagined it pretty good."

(My Dave is played by Jared Padelecki, he has the perfect floppy hair and boy can rock a singlet)

If you want to fall more in love with Griggs or Dave, go pick up Marchetta's On the Jellicoe Road or Crowley's A Little Wanting Song. I promise, they won't let you down!

So what do you think of these awesome Aussie's?  Would they be your book boyfriends?

Review: Shiver

Shiver (The Mercy Falls Series)

by Maggie Stiefvater

My Rating: 3.5 peaches

Grace and Sam share a kinship so close they could be lovers or siblings. But they also share a problem. When the temperature slips towards freezing, Sam reverts to his wolf identity and must retreat into the woods to protect his pack. He worries that eventually his human side will fade away and he will be left howling alone at the lonely moon. A stirring supernatural teen romance. (Goodreads description)

One of my soccer players passed this book on to me, saying I just had to read it. I was so excited because this had been on my to read list for awhile but I hadn't been able to get my hands on it, yay soccer girl! 

The Juicy 

Aww, Sam. I love your love of books and secondhand book stores. I love the way your brain thinks in music and lyrics. I love the way you think before you act and translate german poetry. I bet I would even love your wet dog wolf smell after the rain ;) 
What an excellent twist on the "werewolf" genre. Everything related to the pack, the shifting and the mythology/scientific background to Sam and the other wolves of Mercy Falls was enthralling. I also liked the idea of a possible cure being the complete opposite to what causes the shift. 
I actually really enjoyed the character of Isabel of all the female characters. She is strong and independent so I wish she hadn't also been typecast as the snobby queen bee  of the school. I think she could have been so much more. That being said...

The Pits

Grace, I just did not like her voice in this story. For starters,  she didn't seem very consistent personality wise and some of her decisions and reactions didn't seem to match how she had been portrayed so far. Her parents I sort of understood because their total disregard for their daughter played into the plot and why Grace is the way she was supposed to be but still, I'm getting tired of all the sucky parents in YA books. The rest of the characters seemed sort of superfluous, especially Grace's friends. I wish there had been a stronger bond of friendship but again, maybe this was supposed to reinforce Grace's aloofness? I mean, Grace didn't seem to care at all when Olivia drops out of sight or when she found out what had happened to Olivia. 
This book was slow. There were some really good descriptions at points but instead of enhancing the book, a lot of times it dragged it down and ruined the sense of tension that was building. Also, I found the timeline very confusing. I would think a week had passed but then we find out it's only the next day, or vice versa. 

Awkward Fuzz

So, while I'm kinda iffy on this book, my soccer girl has already given me the second so I'm working up the motivation to enter Mercy Falls a second time. 

Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset

The Girl in the Steel Corset

By Kady Cross

My Rating: 3 Peaches

In 1897 England, 16-year-old Finley Jayne is convinced she's a freak. No normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch. Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special . . . that she's one of "them." (Goodreads description)

I actually read the short story "The Strange Case of Finley Jayne" first  and I much preferred the short story to this longer book.  I do love this cover though.  

The Juicy 

While this series is called The Steampunk Chronicles it is more steampunk light, a perfect intro to the world of steampunk. Cross creates a fascinating world that is almost a mix of steampunk and the supernatural and there are some interesting descriptions of machinery and the Organites that are the driving force behind it all. Finley herself has an interesting dilemma with her whole Jekyll/Hyde personality and her, of course, love triangle with Griffin and Jack Dandy (who I wish there was a little more of). I enjoyed Emily but I wished she had slightly more of a backbone. 

The Pits

This was a whole lotta book for what really amounted to very little in character development and it took me a while to get into it. I think I must have started and stopped reading this book at least 4 times before I finally powered through. There was so much potential in some of the characters, especially Finley with her dual personalities, but she always remained flat in my opinion. There were some really great character interactions and some really dry. I could tell I was supposed to feel something for and about the characters and the relationships because the book kept telling me too but I never actually felt it, especially the connections between most of the characters. I guess my biggest issue was I just never connected with the characters or came to care about what they cared about. Maybe in the next book, if I pick it up. 

Awkward Fuzz

Some violence, mostly against machines... some days, when my computer is being a pain, I wish it was an automaton I could beat the gears out of...

Review: Pandemonium


by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 4.5 peaches

I’m pushing aside
the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana
and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame. (goodreads description)

I read Delirium in the end of 2011 and waited impatiently for this sequel. It did not disappoint! 

The Juicy

Action!! So much more happened in this book that kept me on my toes and without sacrificing the beauty of description from the first book. It was a perfect mix of daring and danger with the poetry of Oliver's words. 
Lena! I love the growth in her character as she begins to fully accept herself and what she is coming to believe is true about her world and her life. She becomes more decisive as she changes to become like the wilds she now lives in. 
Gotta admit, the switching between "now" and "then" threw me for the first few chapters but as the book progressed it became a welcome change. When things got too intense in the "now" we switched into the relative calmness of learning what happened in the "then". Of course, eventually the "then
 and the "now" both became relatively intense until I couldn't put the book down until the end! Very suspenseful and hard on my sleeping schedule. 
The world building just continued to blow my mind. Introducing several different factions, some that opposed the "cure" and others who are against it in different levels of revolt, added more intrigue and  upped the tension. 

The Pits

Without being spoiler-y, I subtracted a half a point for a love triangle, boo. Why YA books, oh why do you keep subjecting me to love triangles :( But only a half a point because this one actually, somewhat, works...

Awkward Fuzz

Uh oh, some swearing in this one but very, very minor 
Some violence

Monday, April 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish for those of us that love books and love lists! Go check them out!!

Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters in a Book
Oh goodness this was hard, it's like trying to choose my favorite friends of all time, soooo I may have cheated a bit towards the end ;)

1. Alanna from the Song of the Lioness Quartet ~ So many fierce and fantastic heroines in young adult literature these days but Alanna opened the door for all of them. Pierce has written some awesome, inspiring women along with Alanna, so if you like kick-butt females, get reading in the world of Tortall. 

2. Matthias Mouse from Redwall ~ The bravest mouse I know! His growth from a clumsy, timid mouse to a warrior with a heart of gold has endeared him to my heart forever. 

3. Skulduggery Pleasant from the Skulduggery series ~ My favorite skeleton detective ends up on the list for his wicked sense of humor. He literally causes me to laugh out loud during our silent reading time in class!

4. Alvin Ho from the Alvin Ho series ~ I don't know if I love Alvin because he would be the only quiet kid in my classroom or because of the way he swears in Shakespearean or because of the way his eyes speak to you or because his dad is teaching him to be a gentleman but I suspect it has to with all of the above. 

5. Jonah Griggs from On the Jellicoe Road ~ I'm pretty sure if Jonah Griggs was real, I would pack up my bags, hop a plan to Australia and track him down and the rest should probably remain unsaid...

6/7.  Percy Jackson and Leo from the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series ~ Percy is the perfect mix of sarcasm and sweetness, just a little more sarcastic than sweet. Leo's humor and underdog demeanor have endeared him to me. 

8. Cinna from the Hunger Games ~ So many great characters in this series but Cinna has always stood out to me. Even though he seems only a small part, he was a driving force and huge inspiration for Katniss. The books would not have been the same without him.  

9. The boys of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices ~ I can't help myself, I swear I never fall for the bad boy, but there is just something about Clare's tortured heroes Will and Jace that keep me bringing me back. Then you add in sweet Jem and poor Simon and I am a goner...

10. The characters of Harry Potter ~ I thought long and hard about this one and I can't just pick one character. Harry, Ron and Hermione are inseparable,  all the other students - Neville, Luna, Ginny, the twins, and so on. Then you have the fantastic or horrific teachers from Hogwarts - Hagrid, Dumbledore, Snape, Lupin, McGonagall, Umbridge, etc. The bad and not so bad guys ~ Voldemort, Draco, Krum, Sirius, the Dursley's. The non-humans like Hedgewig and Dobby. I could keep going but I'd much rather go pick up Harry Potter and get reading...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books in a Day

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Broke and the Bookish! Tons of great lists all centered around BOOKS! This week's theme is :

Top Ten Books To Read in A Day

Usually I don't have enough time to sit and read straight through a book, but all of these are books that have been worth it!

1. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I could not put this book down. Every time I started a new chapter I promised it would be the last for the night but I was wrong. Catching Fire was similar but it took me two days. 

2. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
I read this book while my students were reading, while they were eating lunch, when they went to recess, while they were working on group projects, when they went to gym and while my soccer players were  warming. I couldn't wait to get home to finish it. Check my review below, it's an awesome read!

3. Dealing With Dragons by Patricia Wrede
A go to re-read of mine. It's quick, hilarious and let's your mind escape to a magical world.

By far my favorite read aloud of the year! We usually stretch it out in the classroom over a week but I read each new installment in the series in a sitting. My personal goal is to swear as fluently in Shakespearean as Alvin does...

5. Divergent by Veronica Roth
This was my last book of the summer, woke up and started reading and finished around lunchtime. This may not be a day read for everyone but I have had several high schoolers finish it the night I give it to them, crazy!

6. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
One of my favorite Cinderella retellings! I love adventuring with Ella and saving the day in a night's reading :)

7. Alanna by Tamora Pierce
I remember the first time I read this book. I was in middle school and instead of doing my math homework, I stayed up and read this book. I got extra homework the next day in class but I have always felt it was worthwhile, Alanna has never let me down.

8. The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
I love Maximum Ride, especially the first books. The chapters are bite-sized chunks of action, sass and fun! They may seem long but are really quick reads!

9. Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
Hmm, I am sensing a pattern with these action packed books being fast reads! Alex Rider is by far my favorite teenaged super spy and first book is so non-stop, it is definitely a day read!

10. Hanazakari No Kimitachi (Hana Kimi) by Hisayo Nakajo
So I totally believe graphic novels and manga count as books and this is by far my favorite series. If I'm in a bad mood, I'll go grab one or two off my shelf and lose myself in Ashiya's troubles as the only girl at an all boy's school...

Review: Rampant

By Diana Peterfreund

My Rating: 4 Peaches

Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns... Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years. Or not. Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries. However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student ... an attraction that could jeopardize everything. (goodreads description)

I picked up this book after reading a short story Peterfreund in the Zombie vs Unicorn's anthology.  (I loved that book btw, in fact I think unicorns might have the upper hand) 

The Juicy
I love the plot and mythology- unicorns are vicious, carnivorous beasts hunted by girls descended from long lines of ancient hunters. Peterfreund builds up an amazing world of unicorns and hunters inside our modern world. The history and glimpses into ancient hunter life is fascinating and creative! 
I also enjoyed the character's and their relationships. From Astrid, our MC, and her cousin Phil, to the other girls that show up for training. They are all different, which is often cause for conflict. I hope we get to learn more about the girls in the sequel. 
Some great action sequences happen during the training and of course, different unicorn battles!
Finally, I love the setting and one day I will experience Italy myself, even if I have to kayak there! 

The Pits
I wasn't feeling the romance most of the time and Astrid starts out pretty whiny always looking for a way out. She definitely starts to buck up towards the end though. Part of the basis of this story is that only virgins can be hunters, so sex definitely plays into the story making it not for middle grade readers. 

Awkward Fuzz
~Sex and rape
~ Violence