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Archive for April, 2013

TSS: Congrats to all Readathoners!

Posted by Caitie F on April 28, 2013

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I hope all those that participated in Dewey’s Read-a-thon had a wonderful time. I visited several blogs yesterday and it looked like it was a great event again!

I am disappointed that I didn’t participate, but we had plans and I am not one to cancel on people. I didn’t even read much – just finished the last 50 pages of a book late last night.

Where I failed, there were over 200 participants, raising money for many different organizations.

Again, congrats to everyone involved from the readers to the cheerleaders, and especially the organizers. I look forward to reading the wrap up posts!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzinni

Posted by Caitie F on April 25, 2013

Title: House of Secrets 13380221
Author: Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini
Hardcover: 496 pages
Pub Date: April 23, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

The Walker kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . but everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by Denver Kristoff, a troubled writer with a penchant for the occult.

Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Walker family’s secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world

Review:

Books written for middle grade are interesting. There are some that branch into young adult and above and there are others that just fit perfectly for the 9-14 year-old range with little cross over. This book is the latter, but it is perfect for those 9-14 year olds of both genders!

If you are looking for a fantasy adventure look no further. This book has everything from witches to pirate to giants to horses and so much more. Every reader will see aspects of fantasy that they love.

There isn’t much character development in the first 150 pages of the book, but after that you see the characters start to grow and change. The three siblings are so different from each other, but it really works They range from 8-15, so readers are able to relate to the ages of the characters and the personality of at least one. It was great to see how different types of people react in situations. There was not ever one sibling that was always right or always wrong. I love the oldest sibling the most (and I think many bloggers would agree) because she is a bookworm and loves to learn. I loved her journey and growth throughout the book. The middle kid added some much needed humor, he had me laughing out loud several times. The youngest sister was great at expressing exactly what I was thinking while reading some of the scenes.

That said, this is a plot driven novel. There were times that I felt scenes were included just to get them in a movie, and with Chris Columbus attached to this, a movie is very possible. This is a big reason I think the crossover appeal isn’t there. Sure everything is easy to picture, but there is much less room for imagination.

I know kids don’t tend to read books for the lessons in them, but if you care about that there are good lessons about family, teamwork, and courage. Books also play a large part within the book and that was just a fun and great idea. It gave some foreshadowing and kept me at the edge of my seat.

I would agree with the quote that the brilliant J.K Rowling gave:

“A breakneck, jam-packed roller coaster of an adventure about the secret power of books, HOUSE OF SECRETS comes complete with three resourceful sibling heroes, a seriously creepy villainess, and barrel loads of fantasy and fear.”

– J.K. Rowling

I do recommend this book to readers in the age group or anyone who is looking for a fun, fast middle grade read. As long as you know what you are getting into, you won’t be disappointed.

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

World Book Night 2013

Posted by Caitie F on April 24, 2013

Last night was World Book Night in the United States. If you are not sure what World Book Night is, here is what the official website says:

“World Book Night U.S. is a celebration of books and reading held on April 23, when 25,000 passionate volunteers across America give a total of half a million books within their communities to those who don’t regularly read. In 2012, World Book Night was celebrated in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, and Germany and saw over 80,000 people gift more than 2.5 million books.”

Giving out a great book to people in your community who are non-readers or light readers, yeah that sounds pretty awesome. I signed up and was super excited when I got accepted and I got to give away one of my favorite books Looking for Alaska by John Green.

I kind of forgot how I hate talking to strangers in public. But I was determined to get over it!

My amazing and wonderful husband and I first went to Rtia’s Italian Ice. I asked the people working there if it was okay if we gave out the books. They said sure and one of them is a light reader, so I gave her a book. It was a little cold, so there wasn’t much traffic and we only stayed there for a little bit.

We then headed to a new frozen yogurt place. This one is inside, is really new, and has been pretty crowded the couple of Tuesdays we have gone. On my way in to ask, I saw a group of four people and asked if they read. The mom saw John Green’s name and turned to her daughter and said “you really like him!” She had already read it. But her friend is not a reader and we convinced her she would like it. Score!

I went in and asked and they said yes, in fact, they had another World Book Night book by the register – I was not the first one there that night! I wish I had met this other local, but oh well. The young woman I talked to also didn’t read much, but thought Looking for Alaska sounded good.   Jason came in with the rest of the books and got frozen yogurt and I got to work.

People were really nice! I just approached them, asked if they read much and told them about World Book Night. They all wanted the book! A lot asked what to do with it when they were done and I told them to pass it on to other nonreaders or light readers. Everyone I talked to was so nice!

I talked to another teenage boy who had read the book already and flashed me the nerdfighter symbol. but he convinced his girlfriend that she would love the book!

It slowed down so we headed to the library and gave out a couple books there. We didn’t run out completely, but I know someone who works with teens who don’t read much and he is giving the last copies to them tonight – he has been trying to nudge them to read for months and thinks an event and book like this might really help.

It was a great experience. Would i do it again? Maybe. A Tuesday night in April made it hard to find places in my area – not many people were out. Maybe I will do it in New York – I actually saw another giver when I was heading home last night. I would encourage anyone who is interested to sign up for the newsletter and be a giver next year!

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Posted by Caitie F on April 21, 2013

TItle: Gone GirlGone Girl
Author: GIllian Flynn
Hardcover: 416 pages
Pub Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Crown
Rating: ++++

Summary from publisher:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Review:

It took me a while to read this book and it feels like everyone had recommended  it  – from friends and family to fellow bloggers to all of my favorite authors. It may be the most recommended book in the past year!  I will be passing it on to someone else because it really is that good.

But it is not for those who are easily disturbed because the book is quite disturbing. The main characters are terrible, horrible people. I mean they are probably sociopaths. At times, you feel sympathy for one of the other, but they are just both so terrible that you hope bad things happen to them.

Yet somehow, even with hating them, I loved the book because Flynn makes it so suspenseful and intriguing. Her writing is phenomenal and blew me away. I don’t know how she got into these characters heads, but it is really a great journey.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the ending is disappointing. It would have been a five star book, but the ending changed that.

If you haven’t read this book yet, you really should. it is a fantastic thriller and I look forward to reading Flynn’s other two books.

Posted in Review | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Posted by Caitie F on April 17, 2013

Title:Persuasion Persuasion
Author: Jane Austen
Hardcover: 272 pages
Pub Year: 1817
Rating: +++

Summary:

Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s  family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Review:

I have only read one other Austen book, Sense and Sensibility, and have read/watched retellings of Pride and Prejudice so I wasn’t completely sure what to expect.

It was…okay. I did really like Anne. She is smart, forward-thinking, and a really good person. She made some mistakes in her life, but she learns from it and grows as a person. Her personality was great.

I just couldn’t care about most of the other characters in the book. Her family were all either mean or needy, whiny brats. Her mentor is judgmental and while she is looking out for what she thinks is best for others, but doesn’t always seem to listen to what they have to say.

Wentworth was also a just okay leading man. I didn’t get what everyone saw in him and they were falling all over him.. At the very end he got a little more personality, but until then it was hard to see.

I didn’t dislike the book, i did finish it and like Austen’s style a lot more than when I originally read her years ago. I just hope i like the others I plan to read more!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

TSS: BEA Plans

Posted by Caitie F on April 14, 2013

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I hope you are all having a better weekend than we are! Jason got the stomach flu last night so all our plans for the weekend were cancelled and I ma trying to take care of him and make him feel better. I hate seeing him so sick! I really hope I don’t get it, and have been disinfecting everything!

To more fun things: Book Expo America, which is in NCY May 30-June 1st this year! As of now, I have a three day pass. While I would love to go to the Blogger Convention, I can’t afford it this year and also have my vacation days taken up. As long as I am at my current job still, I will be there either Thursday or Friday. I am disappointed to miss the Blogger Convention because several bloggers I adore and respect are on panels this year! I am also not going to any breakfasts this year as of now, That may change, but as of now, that is not in my plan.

I am really looking forward to seeing some author events and meet up with many other bloggers and publicists I have worked with. There are a couple ARCs I want to get, but if I don’t I won’t really care this year. I will be mostly looking for things for work that we may have missed and some international fiction.

I will be talking more specifically about BEA plans as we get closer, but I hope to go to some parties and the many great bookish events that are happening around the great event!

Are you going? What are you looking forward to the most?

Posted in BEA | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Happy Birthday The Great Gatsby!

Posted by Caitie F on April 10, 2013

88 years ago today, what many call the great american novel was published. Some people love it, and some people hate it. 

I am in the love it category. I read it in school and that did not ruin it at all – but i also had a fantastic teacher that year. It is one of my favorite books. Are the character likable? Not at all, but when the writing is that good and it says that much about our country and society, that doesn’t really matter.

Not convinced? I recommend you check out the Great Gatsby episodes of Crash Course English Literature with John Green. That link is a link to the entire Crash Course which is great, but the Great Gatsby episodes really resonated with me. And this youtube channel got me to rethink Cather in the Rye, one of my most hated books read in school…so that is really saying something!

I hope the upcoming movie does it justice. I always liked that there wasn’t a movie of it, but thought one could be made very well without ruining the book. I am hopeful and will go see it within the first couple weeks of opening. 

What side do you land on for the Great Gatsby debate? Do you love it? Hate it? Did you have a teacher that ruined it? Are you going to see the movie? Let me know!

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TSS: A Wonderful Weekend and Books

Posted by Caitie F on April 7, 2013

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I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! My birthday was on Friday, so we celebrated all weekend long. My husband is a fantastic cook and he made me a special dinner. We celebrated with friends last night and just had a wonderful time overall. The only thing that could make it better is if my parents could celebrate with me, but they will be here in a couple months!

I have read some amazing books this week for work. They don’t come out for a while, so the posts are all scheduled, but there are a lot of great middle grade coming soon. So if you like middle grade books or know some 9-12 year olds who are looking for great books, I will be featuring them more. There are mysteries, fantasy books, and science fiction. I think this fall is the year for middle grade books.

There are several books on my soon-to-read list that I am very excited about! The next book i am reading from the 1001 Books list is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I have heard it is challenging, but is one of the great American novels. I really hope I like it. I also am on the list for The Clockwork Princess at my library. I also am finally reading Gone Girl this week!

If you read this on the blog and not in a feed, you will notice that there is no longer a link to goodreads. Once Amazon bought goodreads, i transfered all my books over to LibraryThing. I am also looking at Bookish, but I have used LibraryThing before and think it is worth it for a lifetime membership. The owner is very open and they are constantly working to make it even better.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Posted in Misc | 3 Comments »

Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French

Posted by Caitie F on April 5, 2013

Title: Tuesday’s Gone
Author: Nicci French
Hardcover: 384 pages
Pub Date: April 4, 2013
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books (Penguin)
Rating: ++++

Summary:

In Tuesday’s Gone, a London social worker makes a routine home visit only to discover her client, Michelle Doyce, serving afternoon tea to a naked, decomposing corpse. With no clues as to the dead man’s identity, Chief Inspector Karlsson again calls upon Frieda for help. She discovers that the body belongs to Robert Poole, con man extraordinaire. But Frieda can’t shake the feeling that the past isn’t done with her yet. Did someone kill Poole to embroil her in the investigation? And if so, is Frieda herself the next victim?

Review:

I didn’t read the first book in this series, but this was recommended to me by a colleague  It was a really good mystery and you didn’t have to read the first one! Everything that mattered in this book was explained quickly while moving the story forward at the same time, which is something that doesn’t often happen.

This was everything you want in a good mystery. The mystery kept me guessing for the most part, i was able to pick a couple clues up which just shows that the writing was good and it was a great set-up. It will keep you guessing until the end, but it is very satisfying!

Frieda is really interesting since she isn’t a cop, and works as a different kind of consultant . She is smart, but her flaws are obvious and make her sometimes frustrating, but in a way that just makes her well-developed. Looking at crimes from a psychological perspective was different nad made it better than the average mystery.

If you are looking for a good mystery, I highly recommend this and I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

Posted in Review | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Posted by Caitie F on April 3, 2013

Title: The Madness UnderneathMadness Under
Author: Maureen Johnson
Hardcover: 304 pages
Pub Date: Feb 26, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Rating: ++++

Summary from publisher:

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

Review:

I loved the first book in the series, so I was really excited to read more of Rory’s story. While it was good, I much prefered the first book. That isn’t to say I won’t read the next one, Rory is a great character and ghosts are awesome. It just wasn’t as good.

I did love that everything that happened in the first book still affected her. Not only physically because of the scar (which mentioned often as a teenaged girl would think of it often), but also her mental state. It was hard for her to be certain places or think about what happened. It made her trauma feel more real and made her feel more real too.

I can’t say too much about the parts that bothered me because I don’t want to spoil anything for you is you haven’t read it yet, but what it comes down to is that I think the book was too short. Things felt rushed. I wanted to know more about Jane and those around her. I wanted more with the Shades. I wanted more with her schoolmates.

And I wanted her to do her homework. That was VERY stressful for me. I hated getting behind when I was in school and watching her get behind really bothered me. I wanted to yell into the book and tell her to just write that paper and read those chapters already! I am sure that won’t bother that many other people though.

Overall, it was another great book and I look forward to the next book in the series!

 

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