Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Persuasion: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

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:
          I can't deny it anymore. I'm in love with Neil Wentworth. I don't know quite how to explain everything I'm feeling. I just know that being with Neil is right for me. He makes me a better person. It's not just an emotional feeling. It's spiritual too. I know Heavenly Father approves it.
The fact that my mother disapproves still worries me. I think she's wrong about Neil -- I think he has plenty of ambition. I just have to convince him to give up this whole police officer idea. He's so smart, he could be anything he wants. - pg. 114, Persuasion: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

What are you reading this week?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Rugged and Relentless by Kelly Eileen Hake

Book Details:
Rugged and Relentless
By Kelly Eileen Hake
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published 2011, Barbour Publishing
Paperback, 317 pages
ISBN: 9781602607606

          Roll into Hope Falls, Colorado, where three women are seeking mates to help them establish a sawmill. Evelyn Thompson never dreamed their husbands-for-hire ad would bring so many bachelors to their tiny town. How will she ever figure out which feller to choose? Jacob Granger, a logger-turned-bounty hunter, is hot on the trail of his brothers unexpected adoration of this sweet cook prompt him to speak vows before getting vengeance?
This book had quite an intriguing premise -- four women decide to place an ad for husbands in order to revive a dead mining town and turn it into a sawmill town. Their good intentions did not account for the reality of the kind of men who would be showing up for such a curious promise, and the likelihood of their being able to maintain control of a town full of men. I also found it a bit ironic that the book is marketed as a Christian fiction book, though the four women have made themselves heads over the men and are anything but submissive -- even Cora, the one woman actually engaged. Still, the scenario presents some humorous situations as the women interact with the various men of many colorful backgrounds.
The major issue of control is a point of contention for the women throughout the book, as it is obvious that food and lodging won't be enough to corral the men into subservience, even food as delicious as Evie's. Jake is one of the men that steps in to act as bodyguard to the women and leader over the men, since he conveniently has a  background in running a sawmill. Jake's presence in Hope Falls is an accident, though, as he had no previous interest in obtaining a wife and was more interested in pursuing revenge for the murder of his brother. He adopts the name Jacob Creed to hide his identity, and uses the husband ad as a cover for his true intentions, but his attraction to Evie is obvious to all but Evie herself.
Evie's self-esteem issues regularly get in the way of her being able to build a relationship with any of the men, especially the one man who gets under her skin, Jacob. She covers her low self-esteem with a bossy pride that annoyed me throughout the book, as her main obstacle seemed to be herself. But Jacob's approach to her low self-image will have any woman with "heft" cheering, especially when he almost force-fed her cookies.
This book was a fun and humorous read, with an original concept that I found refreshing.

The Cover: The cover alludes to both of the main characters, Evie and Jake, without being too ostentatious.

First Line: "You don't have to do this, Jacob!"
Possibly melodramatic for a beginning line, but it nonetheless interests me.

Favorite Quote: "Razzlefrass," Evie muttered.

Read For: Read Your Own Name Challenge, TBR Pile Challenge, Read Your Own Books Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from a random draw.*

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Book Details:
By Richelle Mead
Genre: Fantasy
Published 2011, Razorbill
hardback, 421 pages
ISBN: 9781595143174

          The first book in Richelle Mead's brand-new teen fiction series - set in the same world as Vampire Academy.
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.
As a huge fan of the Vampire Academy series, I anxiously awaited this book. What little I knew of the Alchemists fascinated me, and I felt like Adrian got the short stick in the final book of the series, Last Sacrifice. Richelle Mead does not disappoint in this book, and she keeps just enough mystery in the plot to keep me engrossed to the last page. Rose and Dimitri even make a few appearances, which was neat to see how other characters viewed them.
Sydney is the central character, and at first glance she seems to be the antithesis of Rose's personality. She wants to be obedient and cooperative with her bosses, and she had no interest in rebelling against the system. Unfortunately, her innate desire to do good and root out evil forces her into some rough situations. Her extreme phobia of magic also creates some interesting conflicts and a very promising revelation that I can't wait to see play out in further books.
Adrian's role is at first a secret, but with a few clues from the previous series allowed me to figure it out before Mead revealed it. Gone is the Adrian that Rose brought out -- instead he is back to as much smoking and drinking as at the beginning of the previous series, back when I did not like his character. BUT, this all seems to be a facade after awhile, when Adrian shows an avid interest in painting.
Jill is the one that Sydney is protecting, along with a collection of other new and old characters. As a fifteen-year-old girl also striving to have some semblance of normal life, Jill gets mixed up in problems of her own as she strives to define who she is. While her character could have had more development, as the first book in the series, there is plenty of room for growth.
I could not get through this book fast enough, and I can't wait for the second book, Golden Lily.

The Cover: I'm not crazy about the way the design seems to be cut off -- from the swirls around the title to only half of Adrian's face. I do like having a visual for the golden lily, though.

First Line: "I couldn't breathe."
While not particularly enlightening, because I am familiar with some of the characters from the Vampire Academy series, I still want to know what is happening.

Favorite Quote: "You know, you can be scary as hell sometimes."

Read For: Young Adult Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from a random draw.*

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Rugged and Relentless by Kelly Eileen Hake

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:
          Aside from those first few moments when she first spotted him, Evie made special effort to ignore the stranger from Charleston. Well, he'd been a stranger in Charleston instead of a regular, but he'd visited her cafe, so that's the only way she could think of him for now. I need to stop thinking about him!
Then Dodger showed the nerve to try to oust the one man she knew she wanted to stay. Evie didn't know why she wanted the tall, rangy stranger with his easy smile to stick around. She didn't have to. All she knew was that the weasely man who'd dared snatch a biscuit and think she wouldn't notice also dared to act like he owned Hope Falls. Her eyes narrowed in preparation to set the upstart in his place -- the men needed to know who ran things and respect it. From the very beginning. - pg. 100, Rugged and Relentless by Kelly Eileen Hake
What are you reading this week?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Books Read in 2012

1. Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey

2. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

3. Rugged and Relentless by Kelly Eileen Hake

4. The Elephant Mountains by Scott Ely

5. Persuasion: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

6. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

7. Last Breath by Rachel Caine

8. A Cold Creek Secret by RaeAnne Thayne

9. Summer of Secrets by Charlotte Hubbard

10. Insatiable by Meg Cabot

11. Abby Finds Her Calling by Naomi King

12. Forever by  Maggie Stiefvater

13. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

14. Overbite by Meg Cabot

15. Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee

16. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

17. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

18. Candyfreak by Steve Almond

19. Hurry Less, Worry Less for Moms by Judy Christie

20. A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

21. Divergent by Veronica Roth

22. Destined by P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast

23. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

24. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

25. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

26. Fever by Lauren DeStefano

27. The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Kevin & Alex Malarkey

28. A Million Suns by Beth Revis

29. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

30. Storm Born by Richelle Mead

31. Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder

32. Destined For an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost

33. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

34. Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

35. Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead

36. The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

37. Enclave by Ann Aguirre

38. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

39. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

40. Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

41. Autumn Winds by Charlotte Hubbard

Review: Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey

Book Details:
Beauty and the Werewolf
By Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Fantasy
Published 2011, LUNA
Hardback, 329 pages
ISBN: 9780373803286

          The eldest daughter is often doomed in fairy tales. But Bella— Isabella Beauchamps, daughter of a wealthy merchant—vows to escape the usual pitfalls. Anxious to avoid the Traditional path, Bella dons a red cloak and ventures into the forbidden forest to consult with "Granny," the local wisewoman.
But on the way home she's attacked by a wolf—who turns out to be a cursed nobleman! Secluded in his castle, Bella is torn between her family and this strange man who creates marvelous inventions and makes her laugh—when he isn't howling at the moon.
Breaking spells is never easy. But a determined beauty, a wizard (after all, he's only an occasional werewolf) and a little godmotherly interference might just be able to bring about a happy ending.…
I have enjoyed every book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey, and I eagerly waited for her to cover my favorite fairy tale, that of Beauty and the Beast. This book combines my favorite fairy tale with Little Red Riding Hood and a dash of Cinderella, all with its own unique twist characteristic of the series. While I had the ending predicted quite early in my reading, I still enjoyed following the character development and watching it all play out.
Bella is very much the modernized damsel in distress, as she finds a way to do her own saving, and chooses who she would rather fall in love with, rather than let the Tradition dictate her actions. As she learns about the manipulations of the Tradition, she also realizes her own way of unconsciously dealing with it and the power she has over it. I loved her intelligence and creativity in solving the daily problems that riddled her life, especially with the invisible servants at the Duke's residence.
Duke Sebastian is an interesting character -- a wizard werewolf with hermit-like habits -- he is the direct opposite of the type of character I expected to play the role of "Beast" in this fairy tale, but I like him all the same. His devotion to his craft makes him absentminded about everything else in his life, and except for when he is a werewolf, he likely would not hurt a fly. Bella's interactions with him draw him out and show him that he can have so much more in his life.
I also enjoyed Godmother Elena's part in the book, along with her mirror servant, as they cemented this book into the series and reminded me of some of the details that I had forgotten from previous books.

The Cover: I like the cover, but it has one major error -- the main character Bella is actually a blonde.

First Line: "The door opened, spilling out light and heat and laughter and a snatch of music into the darkened street."
This is beautiful imagery to open with, beginning the book on a lighthearted note.

Favorite Quote: "I must say, though, this may be the first time in history when the Royal gift to the bride and groom is going to include the Royal crest on a big leather collar, a leash and fleabane --"

Read For: Just for Fun Challenge, Finishing the Series Challenge

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Free Excerpt of Ride With Me by Ruthie Knox

Loveswept, a digital imprint of Ballantine Bantam Dell at Random House is offering a free inside sneak peak of one of their Loveswept Original ebooks that releases on February 13, 2012,  Ride With Me by debut author, Ruthie Knox.

Here are some of the quotes coming out from those who have reviewed the book:

  • “A sweet yet sultry, honest and heart-tugging ride. Everything a love story should be!” Carly Phillips, New York Times Bestselling Author
  • A fantastic, sexy, and fun story! Ruthie Knox’s, RIDE WITH ME, was a delight to read.
    Jill Shalvis, NYT Best Selling Author
  • Ride With Me, is a unique kind of road trip with the best kind of bumps and curves!”
    Sandra Hill, New York Times Best Selling Author
  • “Smart, sexy, and downright fun–I loved every moment of the ride!”
    Julie James, National Bestselling Author
  • “Ruthie Knox writes a devil of a good book! Ride With Me is one wild and fun ride you’ll enjoy from the first page to the last!”
    Christie Craig, award winning author of romances with heart, humor and suspense.

Here is the free excerpt from Ride With Me:

Scribd.Ride With Me Excerpt - by author Ruthie Knox

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey

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:
          'I don't know if enthralled is the word I would use,' he said, making a sour face. Unlike Eric, who seemed to have two expressions, arrogant and sullen, Sabastian practically radiated everything he was feeling. 'It's not very pleasant reading. It's about accidental Transformations, times when something went wrong and a person or object got transformed that wasn't supposed to be. I thought I would see if there were any were-creatures that had ever been created that way, and if there were, if they were infectious afterward. It's just not fair for you to be locked up here for three months if there's no need, and before I can say 'there's no need' I have to have evidence. So since no one knows how I got this way, it seems reasonable that the same rules would apply.'
Good heavens, he is taking his responsibility to me seriously! This was somewhat unexpected. She'd thought she would have to keep at him about it. - pg. 144, Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey
What are you reading this week?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Challenge Failed: Black Dagger Brotherhood Challenge

This challenge was hosted by Reading with Tequila, and the goal was to read the 9 books of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward by the end of January 2012. I was only able to read the first two books in the series, as I just had too many other books to read to keep up with the series. I will finish the series eventually, but for now, it is not a main goal for me. The books I have read I did enjoy, though, so I look forward to having the time to continue with them. Here are the reviews for the first two books in the series:

1. Dark Lover
2. Lover Eternal

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review: The Lost Angel by Javier Sierra

Book Details:
The Lost Angel
By Javier Sierra, Translated by Carlos Frias
Genre: Fiction
Published October 2011, Atria Books
Paperback, 378 pages
ISBN: 9781451632798

          New York Times bestselling author Javier Sierra returns with a heartpounding, apocalyptic thriller about mankind’s most ancient desire—and the modern evil some will unleash to obtain it. Every religion has a story for how our species came to mix with yours and was doomed to this planet. We are the sons of exiles. Cursed. Even man condemned us, blaming us for all the evils of the world. On the one hand you worshiped us, these beings who brought knowledge from the heavens. But you also feared us for what we might want in return. . . .”
In approximately seventy-two hours, a little-known Middle Eastern terrorist group plans to bring about the end of the world. Convinced that they are the descendants of angels, they believe they are on the verge of at last being returned to heaven. Central to their plan is the kidnapping of Martin Faber, an undercover American scientist whose research has led him to an extraordinary secret.
Martin’s only hope for survival is his young wife, Julia Alvarez—a woman born with a rare psychic gift. But she must find the courage to save her husband, all while running from religious extremists and clandestine government agencies.
Sierra takes readers on an adventure across the world, from the summit of Mount Ararat to the high desert of New Mexico, from the monuments of Washington, DC, to the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Sierra spent years investigating scientific and historical mysteries related to mankind’s efforts to engage directly with the Almighty.
The Lost Angel bears all the hallmarks of Sierra’s erudite yet fast-paced brand of storytelling, combining historical fact and fiction with dazzling narrative feats.
This book had almost too much going on, with an extensive glossary in the beginning pages - complete with color photos - that I needed to read beforehand to keep up with the plot. Javier Sierra made a point of mixing fact with fiction in this novel, and the book reads like an extensive 'conspiracy theory.' My husband is much more familiar with many aspects of the plot, and I often asked him if what I was reading about was really true or not. The book opens with a quotation of Genesis 6: 2-3, which states "...the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the Lord said, 'My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.'" This is followed by a quote from John Dee, who figures prominently in the plot, though I did not find the quote to be especially inspiring.
The main focus of the book is about a group of people who consider themselves descendants of those angels that joined with "the daughters of man," and want to find a way to get back into heaven. They will use any means necessary to accomplish this -- murder, deceit, even putting the whole planet in jeopardy.
The main character, Julia Alvarez, is a psychic who is completely duped by their antics. I understand that the author means for the reader to feel sympathy for the angelic descendants through Julia's narration, but the way that Julia allows herself to be used and deceived by even her own husband disgusts me. She believes whatever they tell her and does not question anything. In fact, anyone that does question this main family is characterized as foolish and forgettable, such as Ellen Watson and Inspector Figueiras.
There was one main problem I had with the plot, which is that in the Bible, the angels that mate with human women are 'fallen' because they disobeyed God, which is never addressed. What is also never addressed is any scriptural substantiation for what they believed about Noah and the ark. They believed they could force God to take them back into heaven with their thrown-together mish-mash of technology. How is that believable?  God kicked the angels out - they certainly can't force their way back in! Not to mention, this family does not back up their belief that they are descendants of angels with actual scientific proof, such as DNA tests, even though they all claim to be men (and woman) of science.
Overall, the book twists a blasphemous tale of Biblical scripture, using factual information to support a fictitious plot. It has suspense, intrigue, and even a bit of romance, but the end is neither believable nor enjoyable. While books of this nature became popular thanks to the works of Dan Brown, (yes, I've read his stuff, too), I found this book to be merely an okay read.

The Cover: The cover works well with the book, as it contains several hints of the plot, such as the shadow of a symbol that shows on the floor, the black suitcase, the architecture, and the explosion in the background.

First Line: "The glow from an enormous flat-screen monitor illuminated the National Security Agency director's office just as the electric blinds obscured the adjacent waiting room with a whispered hum."
There is not much here to entice the reader to continue, though it does hint at the plot with the reference to the NSA.

Read For: Outdo Yourself Challenge, Twenty-Eleven Challenge

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

English Pronunciation

As a lover of the written word, I just had to post this poem that I came across on the internet. The poem is all about pronunciation in the English language, and after reading this poem, you have to admit that the English language is pretty messed up sometimes!

If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world.
After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud.

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Fe0ffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: The Lost Angel by Javier Sierra

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 young man with the tattoo on his cheek looked worried.
'Sheikh, do you know this man?'
His leader, the one with the thick mustache, nodded absentmindedly. He felt like the walls of the narrow cafe were closing in on him. It was clear he was trying to hold back a torrent of emotions and memories that came rushing to the surface even as he merely stood next to the enormous man collapsed on the floor in front of him. Waasfi was right when he said that 'they' -- their ancient enemies -- were in the city.
'His name is Nicholas Allen, brother,' he whispered. 'For years, each of us has been chasing the adamantas.'
Waasfi looked down again at the fallen soldier. The amrak's electromagnetic pulse had left him in a catatonic state that could very well be irreversible. - pg. 101, The Lost Angel by Javier Sierra

What are you reading this week?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Challenge Completed: I Am a Reading Challenge Addict

This challenge was simply about keeping track of my other reading challenges for the year, so it's okay that I did not complete the list. Eight out of Nine is good enough anyways. I am still a Reading Challenge Addict.

1. Off The Shelf Reading Challenge (30 books)

2. Read-A-Myth Reading Challenge (8 books)

3. Strong Heroine Reading Challenge (12 books)

4.  Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge (75 books for the year)

5. I Want More Reading Challenge (8 books)

6. What's In A Name Reading Challenge (6 books)

7. Foodie Reading Challenge (6 books)

8. Twenty-Eleven Reading Challenge (20 books)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Details:
The Scorpio Races
By Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2011, Scholastic Press
Hardback, 407 pages
ISBN: 9780545224901

          It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
I loved this book right from the beginning. Though I am familiar with Maggie Stiefvater's writing style from other books, reading it in this one still felt fresh and new. I loved her imagery and witticism and how she described people and situations in new ways to me.
There is a major emphasis on all aspects of horses, and not just because of the existence of the water horses. Though the author pulls the water horses from mythology, much of their origins and abilities are cloaked in mystery. Sean Kendrick is one of the few on the island that understands the water horses -- both how to control them and respect them, as well as how to care for them properly -- though he does not share his knowledge with anyone. The fantastical elements of the water horses are understated, as they are more of a catalyst for the budding romance between Sean and Puck.
Sean is as much of a mystery as the water horses. The other inhabitants of the island respect him, but keep their distance. As a regular winner of the Scorpio Races, sean is the expected winner, but his attraction to Puck makes things unpredictable and unprecedented.
Puck is easy to like. She loves her horse, she loves her brothers, and she loves the island. She likes life simple and her motivations are not for wealth, but to keep her home and her family just as it is. Of course, life never stays stagnant, and her spontaneous entry into the Scorpio Races sparks enough conflict and controversy to change her life forever.
While I learned much more about horses than I would ever seek to learn otherwise, the book is more of a love story than a horse myth come to life, and I loved every word of it.

The Cover: I love the mysteriousness of the cover, with an image of a girl on a horse. It is both simple and powerful.

First Line: "It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die."
What a strong opening line - she gets right to the point and pulls me in immediately.

Favorite Quote: "It's easy to convince men to love you, Puck. All you have to do is be a mountain they have to climb or a poem they don't understand. Something that makes them feel strong or clever. It's why they love the ocean."

Read For: Outdo Yourself Challenge

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

So it's New Year's Resolution time. Does it freak anybody else out that it's 2012? Anyways, I thought I would keep my blogging resolutions simple this year, as I have big plans in my regular life that will likely take me away from book blogging at some point this year. I kept my Goodreads goal the same as last year, to read 75 books for the year. I would actually like to top that goal, but as I struggled to get to the end in 2011 with that goal, I kept it the same.
My blog design also needs a refresher, which I wanted to do last summer, but failed miserably at. I know there are sites out there that will do it all for a price, but I like to do my own designs. Plus, it forces me to get better with my Photoshop program.
I also cut down on the number of reading challenges to eight, with a focus on reading the books that I already own. I feel guilty that I have all of these books stacking up from various sources -- prizes, gifts, review requests, library discards -- and I am not reading them fast enough, so hopefully this will be motivation enough to read them.
I also want to read more classic literature. I only read one book in 2011 that is considered a classic, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, and that is just unacceptable. Hubby wants me to read Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, plus I own Emma by Jane Austen, so that's a good start.

Do you have any Resolutions for the New Year?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Reading Challenge: Read Your Own Name

This is the last challenge I will pick for the new year. The Read Your Name Challenge is all about reading book titles that start with the letters in your name, nickname, etc., in the order they fall in your name. I had to be sure I actually knew enough titles to fit my name, but I succeeded, so I'm joining this challenge. I made it a bit more difficult for myself by using my entire name. Hopefully, I can still manage it at 14 titles total.

Here are the titles I have read for this challenge:

R: Rugged & Relentless by Kelly Eileen Hake
A: Across the Universe by Beth Revis
C: A Cold Creek Secret by RaeAnne Thayne
H: Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee
E: Enclave by Ann Aguirre



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