Friday, August 31, 2012

Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon Sign Ups!

fairytale-a-thon

Hey, look at that! We have a button! I know it isn’t perfect, but it’s a heck-of-a-lot better than it’s predecessors! But even more importantly, you can now sign up!

The Read-a-Thon will start at 12:01AM on October 17th and end at 11:59PM on October 22nd. The goal of this Read-a-Thon is to read as many fairy tale themed books as possible. Whether you’ve got some recent releases that you’re dying to read (Cinder, Enchanted, Tiger Lily) or some old classics you want to reread (Goose Girl, Beauty, Ella Enchanted) I’m sure you can find something to read.

And if you can’t think of any fairy tale books off the top of your head, don’t worry—I’ve got you covered! Head on over to my fairy tale shelf on Goodreads, and you’ll find over 150 fairy tale themed books. Not all are retellings, but they include fairy tale themes and have a very fairy tale-ish feel to them, so I think they can count.

And for those of you willing to go the extra mile, please fill out these forms if you’re interested in hosting a mini-challenge or giveaway. We still have plenty of spots open!

And now it’s time for you to sign up using the linky below! (And preferably tell all your friends to sign up, too!) Leave a link to your blog, goodreads, twitter, or wherever you’ll be updating!

August Wrap-Up

This was my busiest month of the whole year, and I also happened to get more reading done than I have all year! Also, you’re gonna see a bunch of collages of cool stuff because I’ve recently grown fond of book collages!

Highlights 

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Well, it was Utah Book Month, and we did lots to celebrate! I reviewed (I think) 10 books by Utah authors (half of which were by Shannon Hale), did a couple interviews, and hosted an epic mini-challenge!

I’m also hosting a giveaway for Enna Isilee’s Birthday Bash, in which you can win a signed copy of Incarnate by Jodi Meadows! (You should enter—Incarnate is awesome!)

I also did a bunch of read-a-thons. I didn’t read much during the Summer Wrap-Up Read-a-Thon, but I was killing it during the Back to School Read-a-Thon, and now there’s the Labor Day Read-a-Thon starting today!

Books Read

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I tackled a whoppin’ 13 (and a half) books this month! Now I just have to catch up on review writing…

Received This Month

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I got lots of goodies this month! Now I just have to read faster!

To Read

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Since I reached 13 1/2 this month, I think 15 is a decent number to shoot for (although school is coming up, and even homeschoolers have school!)

Coming This Month

Lots and lots of reviews! I’ll (hopefully) be posting reviews everyday or two. And then there’s prep for the Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon (sign-ups for which are open tomorrow!)

How was your month?

Labor Day Read-a-Thon Starting Line

Letters Inside Out button

I signed up last minute for this last minute read-a-thon, hosted by Letters Inside Out because I’ve hit a little bump in my reading, and was hoping to get that solved!

My goal is to read 4 books, but honestly, I’ll be happy if I reach 2.

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Are you read-a-thoning? What are you reading?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

{Utah Book Month} Book Review: Forest Born by Shannon Hale

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Rin is sure that something is wrong with her…something really bad. Something that is keeping her from feeling at home in the Forest homestead where she’s lived all her life. Something that is keeping her from trusting herself with anyone at all. When her brother Razo returns from the city for a visit, she accompanies him to the palace, hoping that she can find peace away from home. But war has come to Bayern again, and Rin is compelled to join the queen and her closest allies—magical girls Rin thinks of as the Fire Sisters—as they venture into the Forest toward Kel, the land where someone seems to want them all dead. Many beloved Bayern characters reappear in this story, but it is Rin’s own journey of discovering how to balance the good and the bad in herself that drives this compelling adventure.

Once again, Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale brings readers to a world where great friendships, unexpected plot twists, and a little dose of magic make for incredible storytelling.

I have a little secret. The first time I read this book, I hated Rin! She was so selfish and insecure, and just so irritating! But this second time around, I realized that I have so much in common with Rin. It’s almost like Shannon Hale was in my head. So this time around I could really relate to her.

All the other characters were as wonderful as ever. It was refreshing to see these old, familiar characters through a set of new eyes. And Tusken! He’s hands down my favorite character! He is exactly like my 2 year old brother, only he’s relate to Isi, which makes him even better!

One thing I really enjoy is that there isn’t a romance going on. Rin still has to figure herself out without a cute teenage boy (or Conrad) being thrown into the mix. But all the other romances going on in the background were so sweet.

The writing was just as beautiful as ever. Rin is very quiet, but also very observant. She’ll notice the smallest details, and that definitely added a new layer of depth. There would sometimes be page after page of nothing but Rin’s thoughts, and it was such a pleasure to read. I would reread passages (something I never do) and reflect on them.

This book is a wonderful close to the Books of Bayern (for now), but hopefully it isn’t the end—what will I do without my Razo?

Monday, August 27, 2012

{Utah Book Month} Book Review: River Secrets by Shannon Hale

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Razo has never been anything but ordinary. He's not very fast or tall or strong, so when he's invited to join an elite mission escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern's great enemy, he's sure it's only out of pity. But as Razo finds potential allies among the Tiran, including the beautiful Lady Dasha, he realizes it may be up to him to stop a murderer and get the Bayern army safely home again.

Dear Razo,

I love you. You are hilariously perfect! You are the guy everyone wants to be friends with because they’re secretly hoping your awesomeness will rub off on them, and in the mean time, you’re pretty cool anyway. I’m not joking.

When I first finished reading the Books of Bayern, I decided I would name a puppy after you and move to Alaska with it. No joke. Because you are worthy of having a puppy named after you. My parents think I’m crazy, but we both know better.

You remind me of my very first favorite literary character, Ron Weasley. You are so goofy and weird and we all love you for it!

Sincerely, Your Biggest Fan

P. S. Your hair is pretty awesome, too ;)

And Razo is only the beginning. The rest of this book is amazing, too. The plot, the supporting characters, the writing, the pacing, the setting, the everything! That is all I will say. Go forth and read.

Writing: 25 Characters: 25 Romance: 25 Plot: 25

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up (16)

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Overview
My grandma was in town all week, and she bade me to assist her in doing laundry all day everyday. The good news is you can see part of the laundry room floor again. The bad news is I didn’t get very much reading done.
Posts
Books Read
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Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
River Secrets by Shannon Hale
Forest Born by Shannon Hale
Received This Week
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Library
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Purchased
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
Won
Across the Universe by Beth Revis (SIGNED—Thanks Beth!)
NetGalley
Eve and Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate
To Read
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The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Coming This Week
I have a couple more Utah reviews before the end of the month, and there’s also the Jellicoe Road Read-a-Thon hosted by Nina Reads which I’ll be participating in!
Other News
The Fairytale Read-a-Thon is coming! Look for official news by next week, or fill out the form (link can be found under site header) if you want to learn more, and possibly host an event!
How was your week?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

{Utah Book Month} Author Interview: Mette Ivie Harrison

344618Today to celebrate Utah Book Month we have Mette Ivie Harrison on the blog. I recently reviewed her book The Princess and the Hound and am looking forward to any other encounters I may have with her books. Let’s give her a warm welcome!

Where do your ideas come from?

Authors get asked this question a lot, but I'm not sure I have a good answer for it. The truth is, I'm not always sure where the ideas come from, and I'm not sure that I want to investigate too deeply. I'd prefer for the process to feel more organic and inspired rather than analytical. There are certainly times when I am watching a TV show or reading a book and think--I want to do something like this. Then the idea sits for a while before I figure out how to do it. I think that me sitting down and writing every day encourages the ideas to come to me. But there are honestly a lot of times when I wish ideas would stop coming to me. Most authors I know have a far longer list of books they want to write than they will ever be able to get to in a lifetime, and it can feel like a burden.

Who inspires you to write?

I have five children and four are teens right now. Some of them read more than others, but when they are excited about a book idea and want to read each day's output, that is very encouraging to me. I also have literary crushes on certain authors who I wish someday I could be as good as, including Jane Austen, Robin McKinley, Lois McMaster Bujold, Kate Elliott, and Megan Whalen Turner. I reread favorite books often, but sometimes this can be discouraging as well, comparing my unfinished book to their finished one. In the end, I simply like writing and that's what keeps me doing it. I enjoy the Zen state I get into and I enjoy the made up worlds and people that I get to write about.

What’s the first story you can remember writing?

I still have a story I dictated to my teacher in Kindergarten, on that huge butcher paper. I'd drawn a rainbow dragon and I remember the teacher saying to me, "this looks like a dragon who has a story." So I told her the story. She said, "What a great story. I'll bet you're going to grow up to be a writer." And from that point on, I knew what I wanted to do. I lost courage a little in late high school and during college, but it was still what I wanted to be, even if it wasn't what I said I was going to be.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read a lot. If you're not reading 200 books a year, I think you should stop writing and spend the next two years reading everything you can get your hands on that is being published in the field you want to write in in the last two years. I say this because after many years of giving advice about sending queries and getting in the habit of writing, I have realized that so many people are thinking to get into publishing based on what they know about children's books from when they were children themselves. This is good background information, but it isn't enough.

You get to choose any of your characters to go out to lunch with. Who do you pick, where do you go, and what do they order?

Chala, definitely. And we don't go out to eat. She treats me to a very unvegetarian forest meal with the meat dripping blood over a fire.

If you could meet any author (living or dead), who would it be?

I'd say Jane Austen, but I'm pretty sure she would have no interest in meeting me and would be unlikely to actually talk to me. So I will say instead, Stephen King, since I think he would be interesting. But I should put in here that one of the most wonderful things about being an author is meeting other authors and realizing that they think of me as a peer. Some of the authors on the list of incredible people who actually think I'm one of them are: Orson Scott Card, Brian Selznick, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Shannon Hale, Libba Bray, Holly Black, Kathleen Duey, Justine Larbelestier, Sarah Beth Durst, Janni Lee Simner, Robin Wasserman, Lauren Myracle, Jo Knowles, Cecil Castelucci, Nancy Werlin, Kate Elliott, and on and on. I love that part of the business!

What are 3 words that best describe your personality?

compulsive, intense, determined

You are trapped on a desert island, with no way to escape. What 3 books would you bring?

Pride and Prejudice, Shards of Honor, The Queen of Attolia (I choose these three because they are the books I have read over and over most often over the last several years).

If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

bread, preferably from Kneaders.

What is your all-time favorite fairy tale?

When I was a kid, my mother used to play a record of fairy tales for us as entertainment. I remember distinctly listening to this tale about a brother and sister. The brother ends up getting killed with the lid of a chest and then buried under a tree. The sister has to figure out who did it and bring him back to life. I think. There were birds involved. There are always birds, aren't there? I don't remember the name of the fairy tale, though. I remember spinning out in my head different endings to it. I think I liked that the sister was the active one, and also that it wasn't a fairy tale that was well-known.

Friday, August 24, 2012

{Utah Book Month} Book Review: The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Princess and the Hound (Princess, #1) 

 

 

He is a prince, heir to a kingdom threatened on all sides, possessor of the animal magic, which is forbidden by death in the land he'll rule.
She is a princess from a rival kingdom, the daughter her father never wanted, isolated from true human friendship but inseparable from her hound.

Though they think they have little in common, each possesses a secret that must be hidden at all costs. Proud, stubborn, bound to marry for the good of their kingdoms, this prince and princess will steal your heart, but will they fall in love?

Interesting is probably the best way to describe this book. The premise is interesting. The characters are interesting. The writing was interesting. Everything about it is interesting, but is it more?

I think the idea of the princess being the beast is really unique, but I could never connect with Beatrice. She was a very different character than most heroines I’ve run into, and very intriguing, but I just couldn’t click with her.

I found myself confused at times (and obviously that had nothing to do with speed-reading on 3 hours of sleep in a loud, bouncy car—right?), and asking myself what had just happened. Luckily by the end I had put together most of the pieces and everything made sense at last!

The writing was beautiful and descriptive. It fit the mood of the story and complimented to voice of narrator Prince George. It was thick, but not heavy (if that makes sense). It flowed carefully off the page and took it’s time to make things just right. It is the thing that makes me look forward to reading much more from the endlessly talented Mette!

stars

Writing: 25 Characters: 15 Romance: 15 Plot: 15

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Squeaky Books Birthday Bash: Incarnate Giveaway!


I'm hosting a contest as part of
Enna Isilee's Birthday Bash 2012
Presented by Squeaky Books

From August 22nd until September 22nd Enna Isilee at Squeaky Books is having a HUGE bash to celebrate her birthday! There’s a giveaway nearly EVERY DAY, tons of author interviews, and guest posts from some YA book bloggers. And I get to host a giveaway!

I get to give away a SIGNED copy of Incarnate by Jodi Meadows! Entering is simple, just fill out the rafflecopter. THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN TO US ONLY! You have until September 21st at 11:59pm EST to enter. All winners will be announced on Enna Isilee's birthday (September 22nd) on Enna Isilee's blog (Squeaky Books). And today, Ennalee interviewed Jodi Meadows at Squeaky Books. You should totally go check it out.

Without further ado, enter to win! Click below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What’s Next? #4

What’s Next? is a weekly meme hosted by Icey Books

 

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Why I want to read it:

  • Look at that title!
  • Look at that cover!
  • I’m in the mood for some MG fairy tale goodness!

 

 

 

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Stork by Wendy Delsol

Why I want to read it:

  • Teenage storks?
  • Flock comes out next month
  • YA Mythology Reading Challenge

 

 

 

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Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

Why I want to read it:

  • Awesome synopsis
  • Cute cover!
  • Fairy Slayer! (I’ve never liked fairies…)

 

 

 

What should I read?

{Utah Book Month} Book Review: Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

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Enna and Princess Isi became fast friends in The Goose Girl, but after Isi married Prince Geric, Enna returned to the forest. Enna's simple life changes forever when she learns to wield fire and burn anything at will. Enna is convinced that she can use her ability for good--to fight Tira, the kingdom threatening the Bayern borders--and goes on secret raids to set fire to the Tiran camps and villages. But as the power of the fire grows stronger, she is less able to control her need to burn. In her recklessness she is captured by the Tiran army and held captive by a handsome, manipulative young captain who drugs her to keep her under his influence. Can Isi and her old friends Finn and Razo rescue her without sacrificing themselves? And with the fire still consuming her, will Enna find a way to manage the gift that threatens to destroy her?

I love this book with a deep, burning passion (pun intended). In many ways it’s even better than the Goose Girl. I love that we get to see beyond the happily ever after ending, and find out what happens next!

Enna is a feisty, strong-willed heroine, which is why I love her so much, but I also love the fact that we get to see her weak side. But she stays strong throughout it all which I think makes her so admirable.

I love how this book focuses on Enna and Isi’s friendship. They would give anything for the other, even if their life was at stake. And I think that it’s beautiful. The way they interact and work together makes me smile.

And who could forget about old Finn and Razo? Finn’s such a sweetheart. He and Enna are complete opposites, which is why they go together so well. And then Razo is as funny as ever, always there for some comic relief!

This book is just so amazing on so many levels. It’s something you could read over and over again and never get tired of. It’s something you can never forget.

Writing: 25 Characters: 25 Romance: 25 Plot: 25

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School Read-a-Thon Finish Line!

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I was killlin’ it the first three days, and then things cooled down a little bit. Luckily, I still got a huge amount of reading done! I finished five books, and started a sixth! I read a total of 1398 pages in 14 hours, so my average reading speed was 100 pages an hour, double my old average!

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Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

How did you do?

Monday, August 20, 2012

{Utah Book Month} Blogger Interview: Enna Isilee @ Squeaky Books

Today I have the pleasure of hosting one of my favorite bloggers here in honor of Utah Book Month! Can you guess who it is? That’s right…Enna Isilee!

What are you doing when you aren’t reading or blogging?

Hm... well, this summer the answer would be working. And during the school year the answer is homework. BUT, excluding both of those I also love TV and video games. I just bought Age of Empires 3 and I love it! It's taking up most of my free time. I'm also a huge Zelda fan. Ooh, and I love to play tennis, though I don't get to do it very often since it requires another person to play with you, and people are always busy. :P

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what 3 books would you bring?

I'm going to exclude any religious texts... and say... The Night Circus, Life of Pi, and... the dictionary. A big dictionary. The Night Circus and Life of Pi have so much stuff in them that you could read them over and over and over, and I love them. And the dictionary would allow me to build my vocabulary during the dull times.

What are 3 words that describe your personality?

That's a tricky question because I would use different words to describe who Enna is and who my alter ego (meaning my real-life self) is. I would describe my Enna-self as energetic, enthusiastic, and crazy. I like to be the life of the party. I would describe my real-life self as pragmatic, sarcastic, and bossy. I like to be in charge all the time. That's why Enna and I are such a great pair! We temper each other out. (P.S. I know this makes me sound schizo. There are not two people in my head. It's just me.)

What's the first book you can remember reading?

Oh, wow. There are a few books that I remember as my first books, but I can't remember which one was very first. There was A Bargain for Francis,and Lily and the Wooden Bowl. Those are the two I remember the most.

If you had to pick one author to meet, who would it be?

One I haven't met yet? Because my favorite author to just kill some time with would be Ally Condie. She's so easy to talk to! But someone I haven't yet met... I don't know. I really wouldn't care too much to meet JK Rowling... I've already met Markus Zusak... OOH! I know! Laini Taylor. I've never met her in person and I REALLY REALLY want to.

Who are some of your favorite Utah Authors?

Well, Ally Condie (as aforementioned), and Shannon Hale (duh). But I also love Bree Despain, Brodi Ashton, Emily Wing Smith, Julie Wright, and so many more! Seriously, I could list pretty much every Utah author here, but I'm running out of time so I'll have to stop there.

Thanks for interviewing me!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up (15)

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Overview
My week hasn’t been too crazy, and so I’ve gotten some reading done! I’m on track for the read-a-thon right now. And you may have noticed a theme among many of the books. That’s right, fairy tales! Because I’m in a fairy tale mood, and so I decided completely on a whim to host a Fairytale-a-Thon! You can learn more here, and look for more news in the very near future!
Posts
Books Read
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Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell

Received This Week
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Purchased:
The Brothers Grimm: 101 Fairy Tales (This edition doesn’t come out until September, but some store was putting it out early (and half-priced)!)
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
NetGalley
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente

To Read
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The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
Coming This Week
This week is going to be exciting! I’ve nicknamed it “Enna Week”, because in addition to reviewing the Books of Bayern, I’ll have Enna Isilee of Squeaky Books stopping by not once, but twice! Once for an interview, and once for her Birthday Bash!
Other News
Oh, I probably haven’t mentioned before that my mom was pregnant. And on August 16th, I became a big sister to the 6th power. Which practically guarantees that I will never get a quiet moment to read again. Wish me luck!
How was your week?
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