Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Wrap-up & In My Mailbox & March TBR

FEBRUARY WRAP-UP

READ: 
The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez
Entwined by Heather Dixon
A Million Suns by Beth Revis
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

REVIEWS: 

CHALLENGE PROGRESS: 
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

IN MY MAILBOX!

LIBRARY
Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier (audiobook)
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton (audiobook)
 Nobody's Princess by Esther M. Friesner
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pure by Julianna Baggot (DNF! The reason why is coming soon!)

I got some good ones! Usually my library has horrible selection, but not this time!

PURCHASED
The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
Once by Cameron Dokey  
Stork by Wendy Delsol
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

I'm really looking forward to these. I've heard nothing but good things about them!



GIFTED
Matched by Ally Condie 
The Hunger Games Trilogy Box Set by Suzanne Collins

I already owned Matched and the Hunger Games, so my mother really just purchased these for herself.
 She's already read Matched and doesn't like Ky, and is currently reading Catching Fire and doesn't like Gale.


FOR REVIEW
 An eGalley of Renegade Magic! I loved Kat, Incorrigible, so I went ahead and requested this. And it worked! Yay! My first review book. It may only be an eGalley, but it's still something!







 TBR IN MARCH

Here's a look at my rather tall TBR pile. As you can see in the upper left corner it's as tall as my bedside lamp. I know that's probably tiny compared to other TBR piles, but this is still pretty big!
Out of all that, here's what I'm planning on reading: 

Nobody’s Princess by Esther M. Friesner
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton (audiobook)
Renegade Magic by Stephaine Burgis
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Hunger Games (reread)
Catching Fire (reread)
Mockingjay (reread)
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
So that's what I've got to show you this month!

Book Review: Cinder



Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl... Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

This is my new favorite Cinderella retelling (sorry Ella Enchanted!)
It felt fresh. With all this dark, creepy dystopia on the market today, here's a lighter dystopian book with just as much adventure, romance, and all-around awesomeness! It really didn't feel dystopian at all. There were still the big problems of war and incurable disease, but the characters still had hope, which made the biggest difference.

I LOVED all the characters! The good guys were good, the bad guys were bad, and the stepmother remained in the middle of the two. I don't want to say that they felt unrealistic, but they weren't completely realistic either. Except for Cinder, all the characters felt like they were slight caricatures of their true selves. This wasn't a bad thing, though. It just made it kind of easier to point out "Oh, he's prince charming! And that's the evil person! Oh, and don't forget the fairy god-droid!"

I know everyone's been talking about that really predictable plot twist. Yeah--it was predictable. And knowing beforehand that there was a predictable twist like that meant that the first time it was even mentioned I totally figured it out.
Luckily, that didn't take away from the story at all! The plot never lost excitement, and kept me on my toes throughout it all!

I would recommend this book to ANYONE in a heartbeat! It's a fairy tale for the girly girls, with a strong willed cyborg heroine for the not-so-girly girls, and it's got robots and mind-controlling moon people for all the boys!


 Read as part of the Fairy Tales Retold challenge!

And My Fair Book Date!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Update on my life, the read-a-thon, and everything else

Umm...yeah... I kind of chickened out of the read-a-thon... I've maybe read 100 pages in the past week? That's not really read-a-thon behavior. And this morning I was COMPLETELY free to do nothing but read, so what did I do? I watched 5 episodes of Glee. 
I know. I'm pathetic. 
Glee is my guilty pleasure show. My family thinks it's a waste of time, so whenever I have so free time I break out the Netflix and start singing along! 
I promise this will change in March! I will read more and watch Glee less. My goal is to read 10 books in March. If I can accomplish that, I will be back on track with that irritating Goodreads challenge widget!
And speaking of challenges, I'm dropping the Shakespeare challenge. I was looking forward to getting to know Shakespeare and his works, but time and time again, I just couldn't connect with his plays and dropped them after the first act. I would love to watch or listen to his works, the way they were supposed to be experienced, but I can't read it. I just don't have the patience to read poetry like that. 
Oh! How could I forget? I also have a blogoversary coming up in a little while! I'm still trying to sort this all out, but I'm hoping to make it lots of fun! I'm planning games and giveaways galore!

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? & MiaMM #1

I signed up for a read-a-thon, so you'd assume that I've done tons of reading, right?
Wrong! The beginning of last week was okay, but then on Wednesday I was asked to sing 3 completely unfamiliar songs in a church program the following Wednesday. Basically, I've been devoting all my free time (which is practically nonexistent) to practicing these songs. 
Don't worry, though! Once this Wednesday is over, I'll be reading like normal again!


Finished This Week
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Pure by Julianna Baggot (DNF! I'll explain later...)


Currently Reading
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier (audiobook)


To Read
Nobody's Princess by Esther M. Friesner
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Wither by Lauren DeStefano

~~~

And, against my better judgment, I've joined another meme! But I'm going to say that it's okay because it's something I was going to start doing on this blog anyway. 

I'm going to do this in the form of video slideshows, so you can hop on over to my brand new Youtube Channel and subscribe there. I might not always manage to get the video onto this blog every Monday, but I'll do my best to have new ones up on Youtube every Monday!

This week...

Matched!


 (Sorry there's no sound! I really only listen to Show Tunes, and I couldn't think of a song from Les Miserables or Mary Poppins that might fit Matched...)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Goodreads Catch-up-a-thon!

GoodReads Readathon Button
I was scanning through my Google Reader today and I serendipitously found this challenge!

You lovely blog readers only get the pretty little thing that says:
Debz has read 8 books toward her goal of 80 books.

While I'm stuck with this ugly creature: 
You have read 8 books toward your goal of 80 books.
At your current pace, you're 3 books (5%) behind.
I've been in need of a read-a-thon, but was too lazy to host one myself...
But the lovely Stephanie at Once Upon a Chapter wasn't! 


~~~


Details:
*Will run from 2/24 (12:01 AM) to 3/1 (11:59 PM).
*If you are a blogger, please do a post announcing your participation. If you want to do all of your updating from one post, that is completely fine by me. (You can also grab the smaller button below.)
*I will be having mini-challenges throughout the week. Two for US residents and one for my international friends!
*I can’t stress this enough: HAVE FUN with the read-a-thon! :)


~~~


I'm a little late joining in, but that's okay.

My goal is to read 4 books (5 if I'm lucky)
*Delirium by Lauren Oliver
*Macbeth by William Shakespeare
*Nobody's Princess by Esther M. Friesner
*Blood Red Road by Moira Young
*Wither by Lauren DeStefano

In addition to those, I have 2 audiobooks to get through!

*Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier
*The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

And here's my fancy little tracky thingy:

Total Books Read: 0
Total Pages Read: 0
Currently Reading: Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Books Read Since Last Update: 0
Pages Read since last update: 0
Total time read: 0 minutes
How I'm currently feeling: Ready to read!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Review: A Million Suns






Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

AMAZING!

WOW! From the moment I opened the book, I knew it would be hard to stop--and boy was I right! In just the first couple of pages, exciting secrets are being revealed. Beth Revis is a plot-making master. She knows how to lead the reader through a labyrinth full of twists and turns, with the reader never knowing what will happen next.
I loved the whole goose chase going on, with one clue leading her to the next. I especially enjoyed the way some classic literature played its way into the clues. The best part of this: Harry Potter managed to make it's way onto Godspeed, being counted as a classic piece of literature worthy of being transported to another planet! (Sadly, it doesn't work it's way into the plot. It's just a brief mention of JK Rowling, but that's enough to make me happy =D)

In this book, as well as the first, you really feel trapped. I find that feeling in most, if not all, dystopia books because they ARE trapped in some way or another. But this series is different, because they're trapped both more so and less so. They are trapped in a giant spaceship, where everything feels claustrophobic and there's no real escape; but at the same time they know they'll reach Centauri-Earth eventually, and will be forever free. 
I was completely in shock from the big reveal in the middle. I was literally yelling "WWWHHHAAAAAATTT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?". The other big secret at the end was kind of a let down, though, mostly because it's something I'd already considered after reading the first chapter of the first book, so I wasn't very surprised. (Well, I was, but it wasn't the same kind of giant shock)


As far as "mature" stuff goes, it's really cleaned up from the first one, as there's no mating season going on (THANK GOODNESS!)
There is a lot of death and gore, though. And there remains a large amount of made up curse words.

I would tell you to go read it now, but I want to spare you the pain of waiting 11 months for the last book like I now have to. Read it at your own risk. Some side-effects may include crying out in pain, yanking your hair out, and slapping your face with the book. 
You have been warned!



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: Entwined




Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

This book was just so...lush. It was so soft and smooth and clear and just perfect! I love historical fantasy, when a completely fantastical adventure is placed in an actual time and place. This book takes place sometime in the Victorian Era, and captures that world so beautifully.
I have to say my favorite character was Lord Teddy. I want my own Lord Teddy! He was so kind and funny and loyal and caring and smart and just an all around amazing guy! Mr. Bradford was great, too, but no one can replace Lord Teddy!
This is the first retelling of the 12 dancing princesses where I could keep all the princesses straight, because of their uniquely lovely names. Some of the middle ones personalities got jumbled in my brain, but most of the times I could sort them out.
The writing was flawless. It vividly brought to life this fairy tale in a whole new way.
This is my new favorite retelling of the 12 dancing princesses (and I've read quite a few to compare it to!)
If you enjoy magic, mystery, and romance, then you better start reading this right now!


Read as part of the Fairy Tales Retold Challenge


February Fairy Tale Link Up


February's almost over! I hope you guys have been having lots of fun reading fairy tales!
Share your links here!





Have you signed up for the Fairy Tales Retold Challenge?

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (2)


It's been an okay week as far as reading goes. 
I'm looking forward to doing lots of reading this week!

Finished This Week
Entwined by Heather Dixon (AMAZING!!!)
A Million Suns by Beth Revis (AMAZINGER!!!)

Currently Reading
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Macbeth by William Shakespeare

To Read
Pure by Julianna Baggot
Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier (audiobook)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Loves Role in Fairy Tales

Seeing as how Valentine's Day has just passed, I thought a good topic for the "Discussion" post would be love and how it plays into fairy tales. It might seem fairly obvious at first--a prince and a princess fall in love and get married and live happily ever after. But fairy tales are much more than that. 
My opinion on the matter is that love plays a large part in how many fairy tales turn out, but it isn't genuine love. More often it's just desperate. 
I mean honestly, if you think a princess who's been dead for 100 years is beautiful enough to kiss and marry, despite the 100 years worth of dust, dirt, and spider webs, then you really must be desperate. 
And what about in Cinderella, where all the prince knows about her is that she's a good dancer and has expensive shoes, yet he decides that's enough to make her his bride, and absolutely no one else can compare. 
My point is that I think that love is quite often confused with blind desperation. 
Now there are some other fairy tales where this isn't quite the case. There are some where the heroine and her beau get to know each other for a while, such as Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel. In Beauty and the Beast, they don't really hit it off at first, but they finally end up falling in love. Rapunzel and the prince, on the other hand, fall in love instantly. But I don't think it's genuine love in these stories, either. In both these cases, the heroine is trapped, and the only living being around happens to be the one they fall in love with. "Love without choice isn't love at all." (Gotta love Beth Revis!)
This is one reason why I love retellings. They elaborate on the story, and twist the romance into something a little less twisted than the original. Here are some of my favorite retellings with this beautiful, REAL fairy tale love: 


 
What are your thoughts on loves role in fairy tales? 
Do you think there's real love in fairy tales? 
What are your favorite retellings with strong romance?



Have you signed up for the Fairy Tales Retold Challenge?

Book Review: The Pregnancy Project




It started as a school project…but turned into so much more.

Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom. After all, her mother and her older sisters had gotten pregnant as teenagers; from an outsider’s perspective, it was practically a family tradition. Gaby had ambitions that didn’t include teen motherhood. But she wondered: how would she be treated if she “lived down” to others' expectations? Would everyone ignore the years she put into being a good student and see her as just another pregnant teen statistic with no future? These questions sparked Gaby’s school project: faking her own pregnancy as a high school senior to see how her family, friends, and community would react. What she learned changed her life forever, and made international headlines in the process.

In The Pregnancy Project, Gaby details how she was able to fake her own pregnancy—hiding the truth from even her siblings and boyfriend’s parents—and reveals all that she learned from the experience. But more than that, Gaby’s story is about fighting stereotypes, and how one girl found the strength to come out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future for herself.

This was such an interesting read. Definitely not the type of book I'd normally pick up. It's non-fiction and it's about teen pregnancy--not my kind of book at all! I'm really glad that I read it, though. It shares that story of a normal teenage girl who came from a family of poverty and teen pregnancy, who wanted to break the pattern and rise above the stereotype. It really helped me appreciate what others go through, and taught me to be less judgmental.
The writing wasn't perfect, but it did it's job and told the story that needed to be told. There was a lot of narrative, which really helped me understand her.
I think this would be a wonderful book for anyone to read. It isn't as much about teen pregnancy as it is about rising above the stereotypes and statistics and being all that you can be.


(Read this through the Pulse It program for teens by Simon & Schuster)



Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: The Giver


 

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
This was a very powerful story. It just a short, simple story about a boy discovering the world he lives in, but it has so much depth, symbolism, and just plain coolness that make it such a classic piece of literature.
Jonas' world seems like a perfect world that we'd all want to live in, but after Jonas becomes the Receiver, his world changes. He learns that the world used the be filled with so much happiness and pain, love and sorrow, which have all but disappeared from the bland world he resides in.
This has been a huge influence in dystopian literature. I think almost every dystopian book I've read has held some element of the Giver. It talks a lot about choices, and whether people should be able to make choices for themselves, or if the society and government should control everything. This is a question that is becoming more and more prominent in our world today, and I'll just say that I hope we don't end up living in some kind of freaky dystopian world!


This book was read as part of the Read Dystopia and Award Winning Reads Challenges



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Guess what today is...

It's my birthday! I'm officially older! I think I might even celebrate with a giveaway later this month! I've celebrated so far by shopping, dancing, and making cheesecake like a maniac!
It's also almost my blogoversary, so prepare for something epic =D
Thanks to all my followers for being so cool! I'm giving out free birthday love to all of you!



Have you signed up for the Fairy Tales Retold Challenge?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review: Possession








Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.
Interesting...

I can't say I loved this book, but I didn't really dislike it, either. I have pretty neutral feelings towards it.
I couldn't really get a good sense of the society that they lived it, and that's one of the things that pulls me into dystopia the most is the society. I really wish there had been more description. 


I wasn't lovin' Jag or Zenn as boyfriends. Jag has some serious commitment issues, as he'll just walk of randomly and come back a couple days later to apologize insincerely. I think I could grow to like Zenn, but for the majority of his screen time, he was being brainwashed by the not-so-good-after-all guys. I think the biggest reason I didn't like either of them as boyfriends was because Vi seems like the kind of strong character who doesn't need a boyfriend. 


It certainly wasn't lacking in excitement! Every page had another adventure waiting on it. 
Another thing I was had been explained more thoroughly were these super powers (if that's what I should call them). They were so intriguing, and I wish I'd been able to understand them better.  

MATURE CONTENT:
Medium-low in the sensuality department. I don't recall any really bad stuff, but there's certainly a bit. More profanity than I would've liked. Before I was even 100 pages through I was sick of hearing h*** and d*** over and over again! 

All in all, it was a good book, but not one of my favorites.



Read as part of the Read Dystopia Challenge, hosted by Book Journey

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