Thursday, September 30, 2010

Booking Through Thursday (21)

Booking Through Thursday asks:

If you read series, do you ever find a series “jumping the shark?” How do you feel about that?

And, do you keep reading anyway?

That seems to happen a lot.  The worst is when it happens after the second book.  Examples I can think of include The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner and The Immortals series by Alyson Noël.

And if a series "jumps the shark", no, I do not keep reading.  Once a series loses my interest, I move on to other things.  There are too many books to get through; I don't want to spend time reading something I don't enjoy, just for the sake of finishing a series.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wishful Wednesdays (3)

Wishful Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

I just read The Hunger Games.  I thought I could wait a while before I read Catching Fire and Mockingjay, but... I just can't.  I have to find out what happens next!  So, this Wednesday, I'm wishing for:

I couldn't stop thinking about The Hunger Games after I finished reading it.  I really want to know what happens next!

Review - Ever

by Gail Carson Levine

Kezi is a talented weaver and dancer, living in the city of Hyte.  She lives happily with her mother and father, wanting for little except to marry a good man and grow old with him.

Olus is the Akkan god of the winds.  Out of loneliness, he leaves the company of his parents on Enshi Rock and goes to live among the mortals.  The beautiful mortal girl, Kezi, catches his eye... but he dares not reveal himself to her.

But when Kezi's mother falls ill, her father makes a dangerous bargain with the all-powerful god, Admat.  When her mother recovers, Kezi must be sacrificed.

In an attempt to save Kezi's life, she and Olus join forces to undertake a series of tasks.  As they do, they find themselves falling in love.  The stakes couldn't be higher... for, if they fail, Kezi will be lost forever.

I've wanted to read this book ever since reading (and enjoying) three of the author's other middle grade books: Ella Enchanted, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and Fairest (I gushed about them here).  While I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the others, I liked it enough to read most of it in one sitting.

Ever is classed as a middle grade book (ages 10 and up, actually), but the romance and the deeper themes about questioning blind faith and obedience make this book suitable for young adults as well.  Olus sounds absolutely dreamy; like many guys in YA fiction, he's depicted as god-like... but in this case, he actually is a god!  The story was told in alternating points of view, switching back and forth between Kezi and Olus.  I liked both main characters.  Olus might've been fairly one-dimensional in the hands of a less-skilled author, but he had some interesting traits that you wouldn't necessarily expect to find in a god.  Kezi was also a good character, more innocent and ignorant, but trusting and loving.  These are characters you can actually root for.

I must say, though, that I realized how much of my mind is in the gutter (much like that of a prepubescent boy) when I was reading this book.  I'm sure it was unintentionally funny, but I couldn't help suppressing some giggles whenever Olus referred to "my wind".  Especially the reference to his "wet" and "dangerous" winds.  This is not really a book for boys, though, so I'm sure most female readers are probably more mature than I am.  Wet and dangerous wind...  *snicker*  (Double entendres aside, being a god of the winds is actually pretty cool.  I don't think the story would have been quite the same had Olus been the god of something entirely different.)

All in all, this is a very enjoyable story.  Although it had a bit less of a fairytale feel (and more of a mythology feel) than some of Levine's other books, it might still appeal to the same audience.  I'd probably recommend it to kids over 12, though (I don't think I would have been thrilled with the kissing bits when I was 10).

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Overall: 3.8 out of 5

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review - The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
by Suzanne Collins
Date: 2008
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 374
Format: paperback
Source: Indigo

Katniss Everdeen has had to be a survivor, living as she does in the gritty District 12 of Panem, a country that rose out of what used to be North America.  She spends her days hunting with her friend, making sure that she and her family have enough food to make it through another day.  She's not too concerned about The Hunger Games, an annual event where 24 randomly selected teenagers are sent to an arena to fight to the death, and where the victor can bring prosperity and security to his or her family.  That is, she isn't that concerned... until her younger sister's name is drawn.

Katniss makes the decision to volunteer for the Games in her sister's place, even knowing it means almost certain death.  The Games are brutal, but if she can win, her family's lives will change forever.  There's just one thing she didn't count on... and it may be her ultimate downfall.

I put off reading this book for a long time, for a couple of reasons.  The first was that I'd heard it wasn't that original (borrowing heavily from Battle Royale... which I've never read, by the way, so I don't know why I had such a problem with that).  The second was that it was written with the first-person, present-tense point of view -- my least favourite point of view (well, after second-person... but, honestly, how many books are written with that?).  But I kept hearing so much about The Hunger Games (and the sequels) that I couldn't put off diving into the trilogy any longer.

I will say that, at first, I wasn't that into it.  I kept wondering why everything was happening.  I just found it a little difficult to believe that people who had everything (i.e., those in the Capitol) would feel the need to do what they did against people who posed little threat (i.e., those in the Districts).  After a few dozen pages of mentally snarking, "This is so stupid!" I finally just gave up and went with it.  And when you suspend disbelief, you actually get quite a riveting story.

I was really impressed with the pace.  I was a little worried in spots, thinking that we'd get bogged down in details about preparations, when what I really wanted to know about were the Games themselves.  Luckily, though, the story just flies along.  I was never bored.  (I actually read about the last 3/4 of the book in one sitting!)  I got used to the present-tense point of view after a while and, though I still don't like it, I understand why the author might have chosen it (along with choosing to throw in a lot of sentence fragments and grammar weirdness; after all, Katniss is a hunter... not a scholar).

By the time I was nearing the last few pages, I was getting a little antsy... and now I need to read the sequels!  Darn it.  But after all is said and done, I will admit, The Hunger Games is a pretty good adventure.  I can't wait to find out what happens next!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Pace: 5/5
Writing: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

In My Mailbox (20)

The Other Side of the Island
by Allegra Goodman

Honor and her parents have been reassigned to live on Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Life is peaceful there — the color of the sky is regulated by Earth Mother, a corporation that controls New Weather, and it almost never rains. Everyone fits into their rightful and predictable place...

Except Honor. She doesn’t fit in, but then she meets Helix, a boy with a big heart and a keen sense for the world around them. Slowly, Honor and Helix begin to uncover a terrible truth about life on the Island: Sooner or later, those who are unpredictable disappear... and they don’t ever come back.

Darn bargain books! Well, at least this one was actually on my wishlist. I'm not going to pass up a wishlist book in hardcover for under $6.

What was in your "mailbox" this week?

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (3)

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!

This week's question comes from:
Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews

When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?

I write my reviews as I'm reading the book... but only in my head.  I generally don't write anything down until I'm actually finished.  Occasionally, I'll jot down some short notes if there's something I really want to remember... but otherwise, I write my full reviews the day after I've finished the book.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Meme

I saw this over at YABOOKNERD and, because I am so utterly bored at the moment, I decided to do it.

5 Books I’ve Read Recently

1. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
2. Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis
3. My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares
4. Prophecy of Days - Book One: The Daykeeper's Grimoire by Christy Raedeke
5. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

5 Books I’m Planning to Read (in the near future)

1. Ever by Gail Carson Levine
2. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
3. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
4. The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
5. Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

5 of My Favorite Books

1. Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
2. Trader by Charles de Lint
3. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
4. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
5. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

5 of My Least Favorite Books

1. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
2. Blue Moon by Alyson Noël
3. Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding
4. Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
5. Basajaun by Rosemary Van Deuren

5 of My Favorite Book-to-Film Adaptations

1. The Secret Garden (1993)
2. Sense and Sensibility (2008)
3. Jane Eyre (2006)
4. The Princess Bride (1987)
5. Jurassic Park (1993)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review - The Gargoyle

The Gargoyle
by Andrew Davidson

The story begins with the book's unnamed narrator surviving a horrific and fiery car crash that leaves him permanently scarred. In the hospital, he is visited by a sculptor of gargoyles and grotesques named Marianne Engel, a mentally ill woman who claims that they were lovers in Germany... 700 years ago.

The narrator is eventually released into Marianne's care, where she tends to his healing wounds and continues to weave stories about love in Italy, England, Japan, Iceland, and Germany. But Marianne also believes that she has been assigned a task from God... and when that task is finished, so will be her time on earth.

I've had this book sitting on my bedside table for ages. It had been on my wishlist and I found the hardcover for an incredible bargain (less than $3). However, I'd read some reviews that said that the beginning was so horrifyingly graphic that it was traumatic. I was then afraid to pick up the book, for fear I'd have nightmares. Without getting into too much detail, I suspect that those reviews were written by men. I'll just leave it at that (but I will say that I've actually read more graphic scenes in some YA books).

It states on the book jacket that the author spent seven years researching this book. It shows. The depiction of life (and death) in the burn unit was compelling, fascinating, and unnerving. At the end of it all, you have a new respect for anyone who has had to go through such an ordeal. There were also a great deal of historical tidbits woven through Marianne's stories. I can only imagine how much research was required to get everything right.

The story pulled me along, and I loved watching the main character change. He started out as a drug-addicted pornographer so, really, the only place to go was up. But watching him get there was amazing, and his relationships with the other characters really helped with the journey.

Ultimately, I liked the book... but I wasn't crazy about the ending. As I was reading the book, I had a few theories as to what was actually going on (all of which would have pushed the book into the contemporary fantasy category instead of... contemporary romance?). But because of the narrator's beliefs (or lack thereof... he was a self-described atheist), those elements were never really explored, and he never asked the right questions of Marianne. As a result, I found the ending to be much less satisfying than it could have been; certain things were hinted at which would explain some of the unasked questions, but they were never spelled out. I got the feeling that we were supposed to draw our own conclusions... but I'm really not a fan of books that do that. If it's that important to the story, we shouldn't have to guess.

The writing was good, the story was intriguing, the characters were well developed, and the book certainly made me think. So, overall, I would recommend it to others. I just wish I had gotten a little more satisfaction from the ending, after that amazing journey.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Pace: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Overall: 3.8 out of 5

Monday, September 20, 2010

Musing Mondays (22)

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

What makes you love / hate a character in a book?

Character development is a big issue for me. If the main character doesn't change (or at least learn something important), I'm left wondering what the point of the story was.

A book with a main character I loved was Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. By the end of the story, Sam Kingston was not the same person she'd started out as. Watching her change made me care about her.

A book (series) with a character I hated was Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Bella Swan was essentially the same all the way through (personality-wise, anyway). After four books, I really hadn't formed any attachment to her and was actually rooting for the villain to do away with her. The author couldn't make me care.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


There's a buzz in the blogosphere about this article by Dr. Wesley Scroggins. I can't say that I've actually read any of the books in question, but I support teens' right to do so. Censorship has no place in our schools (unless we're talking about outright pornography, which we're not; there's a difference between including sex in order to teach and including sex in order to titillate).

It's unfortunate that the books that are so often targeted for bans are the ones about important subjects such as racism, sexism, sexuality, rape, violence, and tolerance. Scroggins claims that "children at the middle school are being introduced to concepts such as homosexuality, oral sex, anal sex and specific instructions on how to use a condom and have sex". He's incredibly naive if he thinks that eighth-grade kids (13- and 14-year olds) are just being introduced to these concepts. My question to him would be, "When is it appropriate to teach kids about these things?" After they've bullied other kids for years because of their (or their parents') sexuality? After they've been pressured into a situation they know little about? After they've gotten (or gotten someone) pregnant?

A few years ago, there was a local book banning case that caught everybody's attention. The Surrey School District tried to ban three children's books from the classroom. The teacher, James Chamberlain, wanted to use the books to teach his young pupils about diversity and tolerance. The fight went on for years, cost over $1.2 million in taxpayer dollars, and made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Luckily, the judge presiding over the case was much more open-minded than the intolerant board members of S.D. 36. In making her ruling, Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin found that "Tolerance is always age-appropriate, children cannot learn unless they are exposed to views that differ from those they are taught at home."

The books in question were Asha's Mums by Rosamund Elwin and Michele Paulse; Belinda's Bouquet by Leslea Newman; and One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads by Johnny Valentine. Hardly offensive (in my opinion), but keep in mind that the people involved in trying to ban these books had also tried to keep books about Halloween, Wicca, and native-Indian spirituality (and in the culturally rich Pacific Northwest, no less!) out of the schools, as well as preventing students from watching An Inconvenient Truth because the views in it might not actually be the truth. So much for the possibility of open discussion and debate.

We need more books about tough subjects, we need kids to read them, and we need to get kids talking about them. Understanding leads to tolerance and tolerance leads to a better world for all of us. Schools need to be encouraging students to read books about difficult issues, especially since so much bigotry and intolerance are learned at home. Why should we be reinforcing those things by trying to ban certain books in the schools?

Teaching kids about drugs, sex, and where babies come from isn't going to make them run out and smoke a joint, have sex, and get knocked up. On the other hand, if you keep them ignorant for too long, they might just want to see what all the fuss is about. The same goes for the books in question; I'm now far more curious about them than I've ever been before... and I'm sure I'm not the only one. By trying to ban these books, Dr. Scroggins is actually encouraging more teenagers to read them. I don't think that's the effect he was going for!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

In My Mailbox (19)

100 Cupboards
by N. D. Wilson

Twelve-year-old Henry York wakes up one night to find bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall above his bed and one of them is slowly turning... Henry scrapes the plaster off the wall and discovers cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he can hear the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room – with a man pacing back and forth! Henry soon understands that these are not just cupboards, but portals to other worlds.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox
by Mary Pearson

Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year-long coma—so she’s been told—and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. But what happened before that? She’s been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why won’t anyone in her family talk about the accident? Jenna is becoming more curious. But she is also afraid of what she might find out if she ever gets up the courage to ask her questions. What happened to Jenna Fox? And who is she really?

by Gail Carson Levine

Falling in love is easy...

... for Kezi, a beautiful mortal, dancer, and rug weaver, and for Olus, Akkan god of the winds. Their love brings Kezi the strength to fight her fate, and it gives Olus the strength to confront his fears. Together -- and apart -- they encounter spiders with webs of iron, the cruel lord of the land of the dead, the mysterious god of destiny, and the tests of the Akkan gods. If they succeed, they will be together; but if they fail, Olus will have to endure the ultimate loss, and Kezi will have to make the supreme sacrifice.

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

The Lost Hours
by Karen White

When Piper Mills was twelve, she helped her grandfather bury a box that belonged to her grandmother in the backyard. For twelve years, it remained untouched.

Now a near fatal riding accident has shattered Piper's dreams of Olympic glory. After her grandfather's death, she inherits the house and all its secrets, including a key to a room that doesn't exist — or does it? And after her grandmother is sent away to a nursing home, she remembers the box buried in the backyard. In it are torn pages from a scrapbook, a charm necklace — and a newspaper article from 1939 about the body of an infant found floating in the Savannah River. The necklace's charms tell the story of three friends during the 1930s — each charm added during the three months each friend had the necklace and recorded her life in the scrapbook. Piper always dismissed her grandmother as not having had a story to tell. And now, too late, Piper finds she might have been wrong.

The Patron Saint of Butterflies
by Cecilia Galante

Agnes and Honey have been best friends for as long as they can remember. But everything is about to change, from their friendship to the only home they’ve ever known: a religious commune called Mount Blessing. Agnes loves being a believer and following the rules of the commune, but Honey has started to rebel. Then, when Agnes and Honey experience the outside world (on the run, no less), their friendship is tested further. After all, when everything you’ve ever known turns out to be a lie, how do you find the truth? A powerful story of faith, doubt, abuse, and above all, friendship.

The Puzzle Ring
by Kate Forsyth

Hannah Rose Brown is twelve years old when she finds out that her family is cursed. Desperate to find the truth about her father's disappearance, she travels to her ancestral home in Scotland, and discover a chain of dark secrets that plunge her into different worlds, timeframes and dangers...

This week's weird mish-mash of genres is the result of finding some fabulous bargains (Ever and The Patron Saint of Butterflies in hardcover for less than $5 each!) and needing to add some more books to my order to get free shipping. So I turned to my wish list. I'm really excited to read some of these!

What was in your "mailbox" this week?

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What should I read next?

My TBR pile is getting too big! Darn the bookstores and their fabulous deals on bargain books (and darn me for not being able to turn down a bargain)! I need to get through some of these books, but I want to read a book I'm going to enjoy, too. Maybe you can help me out! Here's what I've got in the pile right now:

100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Ever by Gail Carson Levine
Evil? by Timothy Carter
The Faerie Door by B. E. Maxwell

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
The Lost Hours by Karen White
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

Salt by Maurice Gee
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Sovay by Celia Rees
Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Voices by Ursula K. Le Guin
Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Okay, so maybe 21 books isn't that big of a TBR pile. But still... have you ever tried to store 21 books when you have no room on your bookshelves?

Any recommendations? I mean, they wouldn't be in my TBR pile if I didn't think they looked good. But are there any that I just have to read right away?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Word verification Balderdash (30)

This fun meme was started by Sheila over at One Persons Journey through a world of Books, and is now hosted by Ryan G of Wordsmithonia.
This is the weekly meme where anyone who wishes to play along can take those crazy word verifications they have had over the past week and apply a fake definition to them (much like how you play the board game Balderdash).

Here are this week's tasty words:

barsmeta - noun - a tangy, herbed goat cheese that comes in a 12-inch log

bedscon - noun - a type of biscuit that is cooked in a modified bed warmer, using the sleeper's bodyheat to cook the dough; bedscons take eight hours to cook, so a good night's sleep is required

carawaxe - noun - a type of food wax derived from caraway seeds; it can be used as a vegan shellac

coakid - noun - a root beer-flavoured insect that looks like a cricket; coakids are often coated in chocolate and sold as a treat

cuprosi - noun - an Italian rosé wine that is traditionally drunk out of a wooden cup

flivatio - noun - a sweet-and-sour carbonated beverage that traditionally has a dead fly suspended in the liquid (much like mezcal has a worm)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Affiliates Advice

I've been thinking about joining one of the affiliates programs through an online bookstore. I'm not really sure which way to go, though. I'm looking at two options:'s Associates program and's Affiliate program.

Both seem to have their advantages. Does anybody have any experience with either? Are they worth signing up for? Do you ever buy anything through affiliate links and, if so, which stores?

I wish I could do both, but I'm sure the companies in question would take a dim view of that...

Musing Mondays (21)

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Where do you buy / get most of your books?

Recently, I've been getting most of my books online from Chapters (it's roughly the Canadian equivalent of Barnes & Noble, right down to the in-store Starbucks).

The only time I don't buy online from Chapters is when they don't carry what I'm looking for (as was the case with Basajaun) or if I want some in-person advice on what to read. In the first case, I'll probably go to; they seem to have everything. In the second case, I'll go to Kidsbooks.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (2)

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!

This week's question comes from:
Anne @ My Head Is Full of Books

Post a link to a favorite post or book review that you have written in the past three months.

I'm going to post the link to the review of the last book I read. That book was Tiger Moon. It was really good (4.8 out of 5 ladybugs!), but I don't know if anybody even saw the review because nobody left any comments.

Blog Makeover!

I was tired of the old grey, black, and red theme. When I first made it, I thought it was kind of elegant. But after a while, I started to feel it was a little dark... and depressing. And I was afraid it might suggest that the only books I ever read are emo vampire novels...

I tried a few times to pretty up this blog, but I never really got anywhere. I was even starting to regret choosing a name with "ladybug" in it, because it felt like it was limiting the design possibilities. But all I really needed was some inspiration... and some pretty pictures to work with. So I found some graphics that I liked and made myself a new layout. (The credits can all be found on my About page.)

I feel like this represents me better; I'm really not a black-and-grey sort of person. Plus, I had a lot of fun making it. Collage (even digital collage) can keep a person occupied for hours...

How do you like the new look?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's Tuesday... Where are you? (4)

I am in a hospital burn ward with a former pornographer and an artistic woman who may be more than just creative (she may be insane).

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

This meme is hosted by raidergirl3 at an adventure in reading.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Musing Mondays (20)

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

If you knew you only had 30 days left to live, would books and reading still hold such a great priority in your life? Or, would you set aside your reading to do something else, spend more of your time elsewhere? What would you do, instead?

Well, since I only read before bedtime (and I'd still have to go to bed, even if I only had 30 days left to live), I'd probably still read. I would at least want to finish the book I was currently reading. I don't think I'd make a point of trying to read all the books I could, though.

Instead, I'd want to be out experiencing things. I've spent most of my life reading about things rather than experiencing them. Knowing I only had 30 days left might give me the push I need to get out and actually do something.

Monday's Question of the Day (19)

Monday's Question of the Day is hosted by Eleni at /-LA FEMME READERS-/

How do you feel about edgy Young Adult books? Do you mind when there is cursing or sexual moments? If you do mind, why do you feel it's inappropriate?

My Answer:
To be honest, I don't really mind if there's cursing or sexual moments. I'm over 30, after all; I think I can handle it.

When I come across overt sexuality or gratuitous cursing in young adult books, though, it does give me pause. I find myself wondering how I would have felt if I'd read that book when I was a teenager. I don't remember a lot of sex, violence, or bad language in the books I read back then. I'm not sure if those things were in YA fiction at all or if I just wasn't reading those particular books.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

In My Mailbox (18)

I got four new books this week. I found a great deal on Sovay (less than $5 for the hardcover!), and I wanted to get free shipping... so I had to buy some more books. My wishlist just got smaller... but my TBR pile got bigger!

Here's what I got:

The Reckoning
by Kelley Armstrong

My name is Chloe Saunders. I'm fifteen, and I would love to be normal. But normal is one thing I'm not. For one thing, I'm having these feelings for a certain antisocial werewolf and his sweet-tempered brother—who just happens to be a sorcerer—but, between you and me, I'm leaning toward the werewolf. Not normal. My friends and I are also on the run from an evil corporation that wants to get rid of us—permanently. Definitely not normal. And finally, I'm a genetically altered necromancer who can raise the dead, rotting corpses and all, without even trying. As far away from normal as it gets.

by Maurice Gee

When his father Tarl is captured and enslaved to work in Deep Salt, Hari vows to rescue him. This is a forbidding task: no one returns from Deep Salt. But Hari was born and raised in Blood Burrow. He's tough and smart -- and he has a secret gift: he can communicate with animals. The beautiful Pearl, born into the privileged world of the ruling class known as Company, has learned forbidden things from her mysteriously gifted maid Tealeaf. Now her father has promised her in marriage to the powerful and ambitious Ottmar. But Pearl will never submit to a subordinate life, so she and Tealeaf must flee. When their paths cross, Hari and Pearl realize that together they must discover the secrets of Deep Salt. Their long journey through the badlands becomes far more than a quest to save Tarl -- their world is on the brink of unspeakable terror.

Ship Breaker
by Paolo Bacigalupi

In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.

by Celia Rees

In 1794 England, the beautiful Sovay dons a man's cloak and holds up stagecoaches in broad daylight. Posing as a highway robber began as a lark to test a suitor's devotion. But when she lifts the wallet of one of England's most dangerous men, Sovay begins to unravel a web of deceit and duplicity.

What was in your "mailbox" this week?

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (1)

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!

This week's question comes from:
Sarah @ SarahReadsTooMuch

Do you judge a book by its cover?

I must admit that I often do judge a book by its cover. I think a lot of people do. A cover is part of the overall package. If it's good, it can entice you to pick up the book. If it's bad, it can turn you right off.

Some covers are works of art that you want to have sitting on your bookshelf, which makes me disinclined to believe those who say that the popularity of e-books will soon mean the demise of printed books.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Booking Through Thursday (20)

Booking Through Thursday asks:

Even though it’s usually a mistake (grin) … do movies made out of books make you want to read the original?

Actually, yes. But I will admit that I don't always get around to reading the books.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review - Tiger Moon

Tiger Moon
by Antonia Michaelis
translated from the German by Anthea Bell

Never heard of Tiger Moon? I hadn't, either. After finding myself thoroughly frustrated by listening to glowing online reviews (only to find that I didn't agree with the reviewers' conclusions at all), I went to our local children's bookstore to see if the salespeople there could recommend anything I might enjoy. I specifically asked for something that was well written. One of the women working there handed me this book and said it was one of her favourites. I'd never even heard the title before, but after hearing what it was about, I was intrigued.

An Indian girl named Raka finds herself sold to Ahmed Mudhi, a wealthy merchant, to be his eighth wife. The problem is, she's not a virgin, and when Ahmed Mudhi finds out, he will surely kill her. Raka spends her remaining nights telling a story to a friendly eunuch named Lalit, a fairy tale about a young thief and his white tiger on a journey to rescue a princess from her demon captor. Fantasy and reality slowly intertwine to create a tale about heroes, courage, love, and the power of stories.

I have to admit, I was a little wary going into this one because it was a translation. I'd tried reading Cornelia Funke's Inkheart years ago, and couldn't really get into it. I thought that might be because of the translation. This book was translated by the same person, so you can understand my trepidation. But perhaps it was Funke's storytelling that wasn't for me, because I didn't have any problems with the language in Tiger Moon. It didn't feel like it hadn't been written in English in the first place. The writing was beautiful and very evocative, bringing India in the early 1900s to life. I felt so immersed in the setting... the smells, the sights, the sounds. Reading this book was almost like taking a trip to another time and place (and that hasn't happened to me for a while).

The pace was excellent. The book never dragged. I wasn't as interested in Raka and Lalit's story at first, but those bits were shorter and to the point. Raka's Scheherazade-like storytelling chapters were far more interesting. That was probably due to the characters. I loved the characters in this book. They were interesting, unique, and totally different from anything I've come across in YA fiction lately. My favourite character was probably Nitish, the sacred white tiger with the talking blue eyes. Many heroes have a white horse... but Farhad got to ride a great white cat. Nitish was Farhad's constant companion throughout their journey to rescue the princess, and his observations (and insecurities) about the world were delightfully entertaining.

I have to mention the book design here. It is a beautiful book, even in paperback. The girl on the cover accurately reflects the girl in the story (no whitewashing here). The inside pages are also very pretty. The page numbers are ornamented and are placed halfway down the page, and the section breaks are decorated with Indian-themed designs. So lovely!

There were some mature themes in Tiger Moon, such as virginity and sex, so this definitely falls squarely in the young adult category. This book might also not be for the squeamish, as there are some vivid descriptions of Hindu funeral rites and cremation. But, overall, it was a great story that was well written, with characters you won't soon forget, and with just enough unanswered questions to make you keep thinking about the story long after you've finished.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Pace: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Originality: 5/5

Overall: 4.8 out of 5