Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: The Season

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
The Season
"Alex did walk in the gardens that evening - alone.
She snuck out not long after the debacle with Blackmoor, shaking with fury. She was furious with him for being so boorish, furious with herself for being so quick to rise, and furious with Freddie for seeming to understand everything that was happening - when she didn't even know what was happening at any given moment." - pg. 171, The Season by Sara MacLean

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Let the Battle Begin!

Today marks the beginning of the YA Bloggers' Book Battle from The Shady Glade. I am partnered with The Book Vixen, and we are judging two titles in the first round. The two books that we are judging together are as follows:

The Season
by Sarah MacLean
Published March 1, 2009
"Seventeen year old Lady Alexandra is strong-willed and sharp-tongued -- in a house full of older brothers and their friends, she had to learn to hold her own. Not the best makings for an aristocratic lady in Regency London. Yet her mother still dreams of marrying Alex off to someone safe, respectable, and wealthy. But between ball gown fittings, dances, and dinner parties, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get herself into what may be her biggest scrape yet.

When the Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. But will Alex's heart be stolen in the process? In an adventure brimming with espionage, murder, and other clandestine affairs, who could possibly have time to worry about finding a husband? Romance abounds as this year's season begins!"

by Malinda Lo
Published September 1, 2009
"In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.
Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief."
We won't be announcing our choice between the two titles to go on to the next round until after May 8th, so stay tuned!

What do you think of these two books?

My Partner, The Book Vixen!

The Book Vixen
As my partner for The Shady Glade's YA Bloggers Book Battle, I thought a feature of The Book Vixen would make a good blog topic just for fun.

The layout of her blog is similar to mine, with 3 columns and a cute, artistic header, and her rating system features adorable, little green frogs. She prefers to read Young Adult and Romance books, though she's been known to stray into suspense, mystery, and true crime novels. She fell in love with reading thanks to the Harry Potter series and Twilight series. She is currently hosting a U.S. only giveaway for the title Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber and a $25 VISA gift card, as well as currently reading Playground: A Childhood Lost Inside the Playboy Mansion by Jennifer Saginor. She also has a few Reading Challenges going, though not nearly as many as myself. So if you're looking for another blog to check out, take a peak at The Book Vixen!

And while you're at it, check the YA Bloggers Book Battle, too!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

To E-read or Not to E-read...

I have seen the topic of ebooks and ereaders come up on many blogs, especially with the pricing wars on Amazon, so I thought I would throw my own two cents into the mix for the sake of a conversation piece. When I first heard of ereaders with the Kindle Wireless Reading Device, I admit I truly thought it was just a fad that would fall by the wayside for lack of interest. When I realized that was not the case, I decided I would be a die-hard paperbook fan to the bitter end, nevermind how big the fad got. Then a few weeks ago I saw a commercial on television for the Apple IPad, and the computer geek in me became green with envy. So in the interest of at least appearing fair-minded, I will compare and contrast my beloved paperbooks with the much-detested ebooks.

1. Even with all of the pricing wars occuring right now with Amazon and others, paperbooks are still cheaper, provided a person avoids buying hardbacks.
2. Paperbooks require no extraneous source of power to operate.
3. Paperbooks are by far more easily obtainable, as not every book published comes in an ebook format.
4. Paperbooks are easily portable, both by weight and by size.
5. Paperbooks provide a better format for textbooks and other large-format books.
6. Paperbooks make better photo and picture books than ebooks.
7. Paperbooks do not cause any significant eye-strain that an ebook could cause, either from blurry letters, screen glares, etc.
8. Paperbooks can be read anywhere that provides sufficient lighting.

1. Paperbooks must have a light source to be read.
2. Paperbooks can be bulky and heavy, depending on the book.
3. Traveling with more than 2 to 3 paperbooks at a time can be difficult.
4. Any notes written onto the pages of paperbooks are permanent to some degree.

1. Ebooks are not dependent on lighting conditions to be read, as the ereader comes with its own light source.
2. Ebooks are more environmentally-friendly, as they do not consume paper, ink, etc.
3. Multiple ebooks are easily portable in a single ereader.
4. Readability is much improved with the computer technology of zoom functions, letter resizing, etc.
5. Ebooks can be easily converted to audio books with a simple computer program.
6. Ebooks are more conducive to note-taking, with functions such as referencing, easy deletion, etc.

1. Ebooks must be on an ereader to be read.
2. Ebooks are not readily available for just any title.
3. Conflicting formats of ebooks to ereaders is a common problem.
4. The prices of ereaders are not cheap.
5. Power consumption and battery life are concerns when using an ereader.
6. Eye strain, RSI, and generally sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time are all unhealthy aspects of using an ereader.
7. Pricing discrepancies with ebooks are a problem in the publishing industry.
8. Ereaders suffer from the same typical problems of any computer, such as software bugs, freezing, data loss, etc. (Imagine losing your entire library from a malfunction!)
9. Ereaders are more likely to be stolen than paperbooks.
10. The disposal of ereaders that can no longer be used pose a problem for the environment.

Another thing that I think should be said for this ongoing debate in the bookish community is the fact that much of the world simply cannot afford to spend money on the gathering of information. Ereaders and ebooks will remain forever a luxury reserved for the modern world until they can be made available free of charge for anyone, much in the same way that libraries are meant to serve the community. If for no other reason than this, I will always remain an avid supporter of the production, distribution, and availability of paperbooks.

I have given my opinion on the debate of paperbooks versus ebooks, what is yours?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Review: Between Two Kingdoms by Joe Boyd

Between Two Kingdoms
Book Details:
Between Two Kingdoms
By Joe Boyd
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published 2010, Standard Publishing
Paperback, 191 pages
ISBN: 9780784723586

"In this work of allegorical fantasy, author Joe Boyd takes us on a pilgrimage to a land of two kingdoms, but only one true King. An ancient land, where children never grow old. A living land, where foundations grow in trees and rivers sing and breathe. But also a dying land, where the darkness of a false prince threatens to swallow everything in its shadow.
Enter the adventure with Tommy, a child of the Great King, as he and his friends accept the challenge to live as grown men and women in the Lower Kingdom—where hope is hidden, vision is clouded, and pride twists truth into a beautiful yet deadly deception."

This book was such a unique read for me that I can't recall reading anything of this nature, with the one exception of The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, which is also allegorical in nature. The story in Between Two Kingdoms is told as a story that I think young children could appreciate just as well as adults because of the simplistic nature of the text. What intrigued me about this book was trying to figure out what each element of the story represented in reference to the Bible. Some things were obvious, such as the King being God, the Good Prince being Jesus Christ, and the River being the Holy Spirit. The interpretation of many elements though are biased according to how the author, Joe Boyd, interprets Bibical scripture, such as making the River female in nature, which would indicate Boyd's interpretation that the Holy Spirit is also female, which I do not agree with. Another interpretation that I found questionable was the Dark Prince and his true name, Adam. I could be wrong, but that tells me that the author interprets the origin of the Devil as the first man, Adam. I was completely baffled by the language that the Phantom Messengers spoke and what it was supposed to represent.
Many elements of the story were quite imaginative and fascinating, such as the behavior of the River, which was as playful and joyous as it could be peaceful and comforting. I love how the children could use such a simple thing as mirrors to destroy the Phantom Messengers by showing them their true selves. The Long Night was rife with metaphor, and I love good metaphors.
On the whole, I think this story is a great conversation piece for anyone interested in puzzling out the meanings behind the allegory.

The Cover: The cover is quite creative and original, using the title of the novel as part of the wrought-iron gate that separates the Upper and Lower Kingdoms from each other. The shadows in the background must represent the Lower Kingdom, by my understanding of the storyline.

First Line: "Mount Basilea pierced the highest clouds in the sky, rising up sharply from the center of a large island in the middle of a vast ocean."
The name of the mountain is the only part of this opening line that could be intriguing enough to entice the reader to keep reading. Ironically, this is also the only time that I recall the name of the mountain being mentioned in the entire book.

Favorite Quote: "The palace marked the heart of this mountain kingdom - the Upper Kingdom, which had no beginning, but always was. The Great King, whose name was ancient and unpronounceable, ruled the entire expanse of the Upper Kingdom - every tree and animal, every stream and pathway. His son, the Good Prince, faithfully served his father with eternal devotion. The King and Prince had justly and lovingly ruled their subjects for as long as anyone could remember."


Read For: Pages Read Challenge, New Authors Challenge, Twenty-Ten Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review: Tempted by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Tempted (House of Night, Book 6)
Book Details:
Tempted (House of Night, Book 6)
by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published 2009, St. Martin's
Hardback, 319 pages
ISBN: 9780312567484

"So…you’d think after banishing an immortal being and a fallen High Priestess, saving Stark’s life, biting Heath, getting a headache from Erik, and almost dying, Zoey Redbird would catch a break. Sadly, a break is not in the House of Night school forecast for the High Priestess in training and her gang. Juggling three guys is anything but a stress reliever, especially when one of them is a sexy Warrior who is so into protecting Zoey that he can sense her emotions. Speaking of stress, the dark force lurking in the tunnels under the Tulsa Depot is spreading, and Zoey is beginning to believe Stevie Rae could be responsible for a lot more than a group of misfit red fledglings. Aphrodite’s visions warn Zoey to stay away from Kalona and his dark allure, but they also show that it is Zoey who has the power to stop the evil immortal. Soon it becomes obvious that Zoey has no choice: if she doesn’t go to Kalona he will exact a fiery vengeance on those closest to her. Will Zoey have the courage to chance losing her life, her heart, and her soul? Find out in the next spectacular installment in the House of Night Series, Tempted."

In terms of plot, I would say this is the worst book of the series. Loose ends are left dangling all over the place, more questions are formed than answered, and (spoiler!) the main character, Zoey escapes into the afterlife "Otherworld." The last page is like a huge "To Be Continued..." and I just hate so-called endings like that. Most of the book is spent making plans regarding Kalona and Neferet, the red fledglings, and the House of Night school, but very little is actually accomplished. I appreciate that the series seems to move in real-time, but at the same time, things need to move a bit faster for anything to actually happen. The most exciting thing was Stevie Rae's near-death experience, which isn't saying much. I was greatly antipating the group's trip to Venice, but their meeting with the High Council was strangely short and anti-climactic. I think that at least one vampyre on the council should have disagreed with Neferet's lies, since Kalona's hypnotic powers are supposed to rely on choice.
The things I did like about the book are what I've like about the entire series. I love how the characters all strive for normalcy, even when everything around them is completely paranormal. I love the dialogue and how it is very typically teenager-ish. I also love how Zoey makes tons of mistakes, even though she has the favor of the Goddess. The one "loose end" that did seem to get taken care of in a way was the Imprint between Aphrodite and Stevie Rae being broken, though it just formed another loose end with Stevie Rae hiding the Raven Mocker Rephaim from everyone else.
I will likely stay loyal to the series in the hopes that the plot improves with the next book, Burned.

The Cover: I always like the covers for the House of Night series because they give different angles of Zoey Redbird's tattoo markings, this one included. This cover is a bit different from the rest, in that two other people are pictured on the cover with Zoey Redbird. One is obviously Stark, Zoey's sworn Warrior, but the second guy is in the shadows, which I think means that it is Kalona, though he does not have his trademark black wings. It wouldn't make sense for it to be Heath, otherwise.

First Line: "The night sky over Tulsa was alight with a magical crescent moon."
So this is a good first line if the reader is already familiar with the House of Night series, since it mentions the moon. Otherwise, the sentence is bland and boring and very unenticing.

Favorite Quote: "Nerd herd, focus. You're here to help the fledglings. Dour One and Dour Two aren't important," said Aphrodite.
"Dr. Seuss reference. I like it," Stark said, giving me a check-me-out-I've-always-read-books hottie grin.

Read For: Pages Read Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Tempted

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
Tempted (House of Night, Book 6)
"Look, what I'm saying is you need to be one hundred percent, and not drained like an extra-dry martini during brunch at my mom's country club."
 "Your mom really drinks martinis at brunch?"
"Of course she does." Aphrodite shook her head and looked utterly disgusted. "Try not to be so naive. Anyways, just don't do something stupid because you're feeling all Lifetime Movie of the Week and in love with Stark." - pg. 87, Tempted by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

What are you reading this week?

YA Bloggers Book Battle

The Shady Glade is hosting a Young Adult Bloggers Book Battle, and I look forward to participating as a judge. Twenty-Four titles are in the competition this time, and a book trailer was even made to promote the competition. The titles are as follows:

1. Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
2. A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
3. A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
4. Ash by Malinda Lo
5. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
6. Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
7. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
8. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
9. Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
10. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
11. Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
12. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
13. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
14. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
15. Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
16. Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
17. Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
18. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
19. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
20. The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
21. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
22. The Season by Sarah MacLean
23. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
24. You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...