Sunday, November 30, 2008

Made To Last...The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - chapters 1 through 3

And so it begins...

"Inside the snow globe on my father's desk, there was a penguin wearina red-and-white striped scarf. When I was little my father would pull me into his lap and reach for the snow globe. He would turn it over, letting all the snow collect on the top, then quickly invert it. The two of us watched the snow fall gently around the penguin. The penguin was alone in there, I thought, and I worried for him. When I told my father this, he said, 'Don't worry, Susie; he has a nice life. He's trapped in a perfect world.'" 

What a way to start out a book, eh? 
In school right now, we're reading Fahrenheit 451 which kind of also deals with the whole "perfect world" theme. Is knowledge power? Or is it better to live a life in blissful ignorance without knowing the bad things that surround you?

Chapter one:
-We get introduced to Susie Salmon, murdered and raped on December 6, 1973. At first sight, she doesn't seem like much of a personality. She's very frank and blunt though which is refreshing. Reading the book through her eyes will be nice, I think. 
-Mr. Harvey is a complete whack-job. Who would dig an enormous hole in the ground and put that much effort into it if it was only going to be used once? To murder one fourteen-year-old girl? Maybe later in the story he'll do more than that?
-I was kind of relieved that the whole rape scene wasn't very graphic. You got the facts and nothing else. After reading Living Dead Girl, I think I can read anything now. That book was much more chilling and horrific than this one will turn out to be. At least from what I can gather so far.
-Although Mr. Harvey seems much like Living Dead Girl's Ray, now that I think about it. With the forcing the girl to tell him she loves him part. That whole needing to feel powerful vibe is present in both stories.
-And I'm uber glad that the killing part wasn't very graphic either. 

Chapter two:
-Heaven...I like it. The idea that you get whatever you desire is cool. You can make your world whatever you want. 
-Although why is Susie's heaven so simplistic? A high school, a sports complex, a duplex with another girl. If I were able to live in a world of my own creation, I would probably make it much more extravagant than hers. Maybe in some exotic country. With pretty scenery and good shopping. Although it does say that wishes have to be reasonable. Darn.
-I like the idea that you interact with people whose heaven's closely resemble yours. Kind of like a family.
-Susie's wish that she wants to watch the living is rather striking. That a girl who has everything she could want, instead of enjoying herself, wants to watch humans live their lives the way she never could is kind of bittersweet. 
-I really hope we get to know more about Franny and Holly. They seem like they could turn out to be really interesting characters.

-Can you imagine your oldest child missing? I really feel for Susie's parents. That would definitely not be a fun thing to live through. And then to have to break it to your other children...yuck.
-What did Mr. Harvey do with Susie's body after he killed her? Did he take it up out of the hole? Because in order for a dog to be able to find her elbow, and for there to have been a lot of blood in the dirt she must have been out in the field. Maybe killed out there? I don't even want to think about it. :(
-Poor Ray Singh. It's horrible to think that he liked Susie, wrote her a letter, and then she was murdered before she even read it. And then he gets accused of doing it, ruining his entire social life, let alone scarring him emotionally.
-It's so brutal to give Susie's family some amount of hope that she's still alive and then shatter that by presenting them with the hat her own mother made, after it had been used to gag her. And then to hear the words "murder case".

-Lindsey's whole encounter with the principal is rather funny and yet sad at the same time. If my sister had been murdered, I wouldn't go back to school for a looong time. And I think I'd have the same attitude as Lindsey. 
-I think she has more of a personality than Susie does. She talks back to Mr. Caden, barfs on cue, and does sit-ups and push-ups to cope with Susie's death. Wow.

-The scene at the end of this chapter really struck me.

"Mrs. Bethel Utemeyer, the oldest resident of my heaven, would brin gout her violin. Holly trod lightly on her horn. They would do a duet. One woman old and silent, one woman not past girl yet. Back and forth, a crazy schizoid solace they'd create.
All the dancers would slowly go inside. The song reverberated until Holly, for a final time, passed the tune over, and Mrs. Utemeyer, quiet, upright, historical, finished with a jig.
The house asleep by then; this way my Evensong."

Beautiful, right? I'd want to live in that heaven.

Chapter three:
-When we hear Ruth's story it illustrates just how many people can be affected by death. Not even people that were connected to the person in their living times. Anyone. We all read about deaths in the newspaper or hear about it from friends or family. An event like that is tragic and it really brings people together in a way. 
-And we all cope with that news in a different way. Clarissa turned to a guy. Ruth smoked pot and drew into herself.
-I can see where the smell of skunk might be found comforting...I guess...

"I felt the moist air lace its way up along my legs and arms, lifting, ever so slightly, the ends of my hair. I thought of spider webs in the morning, how they held small jewels of dew, how, with a light movement of the wrist, I used to destroy them without thinking."

-I kind of think of that passage as an illustration of how fragile, precious, and delicate life is. How maybe Susie is coming to discover new things about her life and the whole idea of existence. 
-When Susie sees her mother in the morning and sees her without any mask on, you can tell she was really changed. Seeing someone you look up to and trust faced with their own worries and fears would be an eye-opener for anyone.
-Susie's dad is the first in her family to really express his grief. He's finally realized that his daughter really isn't coming back and all the holes that she left in his day to day life will never be filled by her presence ever again. 
-In this last chapter, I enjoyed getting to look at the family more closely. It's hard to know what family dynamics would actually be like in a situation like this one so this book has been kind of like a little peek into a normally personal and concealed environment. 

So far I'm really liking the book. It's definitely different than anything else I've read as it doesn't focus so much on what's in heaven but instead focuses on the aftermath. It's really interesting and emotional and I think Alice Sebold has pulled it off nicely so far.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg

When their families randomly switch houses for the summer, retro-chic LA fashionista Molly Hill and laid back granola boy Charlie Richards find themselves living in totally unfamiliar rooms for three long hot months. Soon they become gradually entwined in each other's secret, relationships, and dreams. Day by day, they grow closer...even though they have never met face-to-face.
Can perfect strangers be perfect for each other?
Will Molly and Charlie make it through a summer of seductions, missed connections, and the thousand miles between them to find out?
(Summary from back of book)

Cute. That one word sums up this entire book. Not much substance or excitement, but plenty of fluff, romance, and CUTE-NESS! That might not have been such a good thing in certain aspects, but it was exactly what I was looking for and needing when I started reading this book. A kind of light-hearted retreat. And what better serves that purpose than a novel about a slutty, manly boy falling for the quiet, reserved, and perfect girl? We all wish we were that lucky faultless girl, which was actually very easy to imagine. Molly was a very relatable character who had the same doubts and fears and reservations as many of us have and I found it very easy to put myself in her shoes to see where she was coming from. Although she also did assert herself as an individual with her goals and dreams in the fashion industry. Her best friend Celeste, though, annoyed me completely. I felt like she was really out of control and was forgiven for everything she did with no lasting effects or anything like that. When Molly wasn't present she acted like a total...ahem, witch. :( And the other character who didn't really make sense to me was Charlie. Apparently he was this sleazy man slut who'd had more girlfriends than he could count and suddenly, when he met Molly, had a complete turnaround. First of all, Charlie does not come across as a slutty guy. He's a guy I'd want to date! I couldn't believe that the character we became familiar with in the story is the guy who'd had as shady a past as described. I just didn't buy that. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy! So some of the characters didn't seemed as well planned out or developed as they could have been which brought the book down a little bit. But the general tone of the story made up for it. While the plot might have been entirely predictable and the ending picture perfect, I think that's what made it so good...if that makes sense. I loved the whole idea of getting to know someone from living in their room. Just thinking about building a relationship that way is a really novel idea. And Molly and Charlie's Facebook messages were as innocent and adorable as it gets. The only thing I would change, besides the character development, is the length. The book definitely could've benefited from having 50 more pages! That way we could see more of the characters, more of the plot, and more of Molly and Charlie's relationship. But as it was, it was just a fun little book that you could get lost in for a while. So when you pick up In Your Room, don't look for a life changing read. Instead, expect a little pick-me-up and fluff, and it won't disappoint.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Booking Through Thursday/Saturday #13: Thankful

On Saturday

Today is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. 
Now, you may have noticed that the global economy isn’t exactly doing well. There’s war. Starvation. All sorts of bad, scary things going on.
So–just for today–how about sharing 7 things that you’re thankful for?
This can be about books, sure–authors you appreciate, books you love, an ode to your public library–but also, how about other things, too? Because in times like these, with bills piling up and disaster seemingly lurking around every corner, it’s more important than ever to stop and take stock of the things we’re grateful for. Family. Friends. Good health (I hope). Coffee and tea. Turkey. Sunshine. Wagging tails. Curling up with a good book.
So, how about it? Spread a little positive thinking and tell the world what there is to be thankful for.

7 things I am thankful for (may not be the most important or in order or anything like that):
1. The fact that I live four blocks away from my school and can walk every day. It's nice to choose for yourself when you wake up and what time to leave the house. And I'm not contributing to global warming either.
2. My old geezer of a dog. He's great. Big, furry, happy, and always smiling.
3. The comforter on my bed. It's white, covered in pretty black flowers and it's nice to have a hint of summer in my room.
4. Books/the library/my blog/literary things. All of that stuff helps to keep me occupied and passionate. I really LOVE books and I'm glad that I've found something to focus on. And something that's beneficial and helps me become a more rounded person; unlike video games or TV.
5. Chai tea. I love coffee, but I don't think I could deal with having that bitter stuff every day and so instead I drink chai which is like the drink of the gods. Vanilla, cinnamon, spices, cream. YUM.
6. My family. <3
7. Music. I hate silence. It bugs me to no end. I always have to have something to listen to. Right now it's "The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs," with Ingrid Michaelson, KT Tunstall, Sara Bareilles, Meiko, Fiona Apple, Colbie Caillat, Lenka, and more. Now that Thanksgiving's come and gone, I have to get into my Christmas mode. :)

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and took some time to think about what you're thankful for! 
And now the countdown to Christmas begins...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Made To Last...The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - intro and schedule

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973." 
So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her - her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, and even joy.
(synopsis from back of book)

Thank you to the 31 people who voted about what book I should read. It was a tie between Judy Blundell's What I Saw And How I Lied and Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, and since I actually own a copy of The Lovely Bones, I thought it would be best to start with that one. What I Saw And How I Lied is next on the list though because I definitely want to read that one too and it won the National Book Award for young adult literature making it a must-read.
The name I've come up with for this feature is "Made To Last" as I'll be reading books that are renowned for being intelligent, enjoyable, and have made it through the trials and triumphs of the literary world
The way I've decided to have this work is that I'll be reading a chapter a day and posting about every three days on what I've read. If you'd like to join me in reading, that would be AMAZING. Kind of like a fun little internet read-along? Would anyone be interested in that?
If so, here's the schedule that I'm going to try to stick to, posting-wise:
Nov 30: Chapters 1-3
Dec 3: Chapters 4-6
Dec 6: Chapters 7-9
Dec 9: Chapters 10-12
Dec 12: Chapters 13-15
Dec 15: Chapters 16-18
Dec 18: Chapters 19-21
Dec 19: Chapters 21-23 
Look for my first post in a few days! And if you might possibly be reading the book along with me, let me know in the comments. :) 


Thanksgiving has finally arrived. It's really a true American tradition. 
Spend time with family, eat food, be thankful, eat food, watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade, eat food. That's the way it happens at my house. And truthfully, it's one of my favorite holidays because it signals the start of the entire winter holiday season; and I'm a holiday fanatic. This is my absolute favorite time of year. 
So on that note, I hope you all enjoy your turkey-filled day! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Waiting on Wednesday #1

I'm really just completely changing my whole blog around aren't I? 
I've decided to start participating in the viral meme thing called Waiting on Wednesday because it's way cool to see what new books are coming out and what people think about them. Don't you think so? 
But you always have your "Bits 'n Pieces" feature on Wednesday, Liv! 
Why yes I do, and we will still have that. Only WoW and BnP will alternate weeks so there's no super feature overload thing happening. That way we're all satisfied. :)
Is this an okay change? Possibly? 

And first choice is:
Waiting For You by Susane Colasanti
Friendly and popular
Style: Cali surfer boy
Awesome at flirting
Future career: landscape architect
Boyfriend potential: high

Shy but sweet
Style: totally geeked out
Only talks to girls when absolutely necessary
Future career: robotics engineer
Boyfriend potential: none

Derek is clearly the boy Marisa's been waiting for, but there's just one problem. He has a girlfriend. Nash is wrong for Marisa, but he wants to take care of her. As if life wasn't complicated enough, Marisa's also dealing with overcoming a major problem from her past, a family that's acting totally bizarre, and a secret crush on a guy whose identity is a mystery - even to her.

Sophomore year is going to be intense.

I've read one of Susane Colasanti's books before, When It Happens, and loved it. Her other book, Take Me There, is high on my list of books to read. She just writes such great light fluffy novels that surprisingly have a hidden hint of depth to them. Perfect for a warm summer day, sitting in the sun with your girlfriends, eh? 
And the characters in this book seem like they'll be pretty amazing. I love a classic underdog story and I also have a secret thing for nerdy guys so Nash looks like my kind of character, exactly. I'm hoping that this jock-ish Derek guy doesn't ruin his chances. :P
Then you have the little surprise at the end of the summary which tells of a mysterious guy who's captured Marisa's heart before she even knows who he is. Three guys now! Yikes! But that should make for good juice and drama, right? Yes!
Even the cover is great. So simple, pretty, romantic, and peaceful.
I'm uber excited for this book to come out...on July 9, 2009. That's waaaay too far away. But I shall sit and wait patiently because Waiting For You promises to be amazing. :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


So I've decided that I AM going to add a new feature described in the previous post. And since no one really responded with opinions on a book I should read, I made a poll so that it's THAT much easier for you. :)
Also, if you come up with a fun and quirky name for this feature leave it in the comments and I'll be forever indebted to you.
Vote away!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Possible New Feature?

Over at Bookshelves of Doom (a blog that I idolize) there's a completely awesome "Big Read" feature where you get to read her reactions to a certain book section by section. It's a cool way to look at a book and I'm thinking that it might be fun to do something along those lines on my blog. Read a modern classic or currently hyped book and post section by section reactions? Does that sound interesting to any of you? Possible book options:
Marley and Me by John Grogan
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
All of these are books I haven't read but want to. I think they could each make for some interesting reading. Does this seem like a fun idea to you? Would you read the posts? And if so, which book do you think I should read? Any suggestions other than the ones I listed? Give me some feedback!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Amor and Summer Secrets by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

All she never wanted...
For fiteen-year-old Mariana Ruiz, it's not so much an unexpected vacation as a literal "guilt trip" - her father's way of atoning for ignoring his Puerto Rican roots. But freedom from her parents is little compensation for being forced to spend two moths with complete strangers rather than with her best friends in Philadelphia
Once on "vacation," her worst fears come true. The heat is merciless, the food is spicy, and her great aunt and uncle's mountain house teems with relatives, only one of whom - her distant cousin Lilly - speaks English. Bored, and hoping to make up for missing her best friend's star-studded Sweet 16, Mariana offers to help in the planning of Lilly's Quinceanera. Soon, despite herself, Mariana clicks with new friends who open doors to romance and long-hidden secrets. Suddenly the summer she dreaded is ending way too quickly. It might turn out that the last place she ever wanted to go is the one place she truly finds herself. 
(summary from back of book)

Well it certainly took me long enough to finish this book didn't it? 
There have been a plethora of reviews of this series lately and most of them are glowing and positive. And while the book was a nice and fluffy read, I did have a list of issues with it. For one, the real meat of the plot didn't start until you were about two thirds of the way through it. I was rather bored for the first half because it basically consists of your stereotypical teenage girl complaining and whining about trivial things. The heat, the food, her friends, boredom, you can imagine the rest. Truthfully, Mariana was an annoying character to begin with. 
The real action of the story starts with Lilly's Quinceanera when we get introduced to the handsome Alex. It's at this point that Mariana becomes a little easier to deal with since she isn't wailing about how horrible Puerto Rico is anymore. She develops and grows some which makes her a teensy bit easier to read about. 
The last section of the book is the best by far. You get to read about the drama with Alex, Lilly's lies, the hidden family secret, and most exciting of all, Mariana getting drunk, which might have been my favorite part of the book as it was the scene that struck me as the most real event in the book. 
If I had my way, I would've drawn out the Alex-Lilly-Mariana thing longer and not wrapped it up as cleanly. It seemed like a sort of random subplot which only served to add a little more scandal into the story. I'd have loved for it to be more juicy and naughty. 
When the family secret gets revealed towards the end, that's where the book really picks up for me. You get to the whole "summer secret" part of the book which hadn't been addressed since then. 
Besides Mariana's hangover, I also enjoyed reading about the Puerto Rican culture. The descriptions are very detailed and precise and it kind of makes me want to go and visit even though I don't know an ounce of Spanish. 
Towards the end of the book, you come to love Mariana's family, flaws, drama, and all. I'm looking forward to reading the second book, Amigas and School Scandal as the ending of this first novel perfectly set the reader up for reading the sequel. Mariana is definitely a character I want to visit again because despite the issues I had with Amor and Summer Secrets, it's a rather endearing book and it makes for some nice light fluff on a dreary day.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Winner of Bliss

Thank you to everyone who entered to win a copy of Bliss by Lauren Myracle and spreading the wonderful-ness that is the trailer around. :) The winner of a signed copy of the book is 
The Book Fanatic 101
Congrats! Look for an email from Lauren soon and enjoy reading the book! 

Booking Through Thursday/Saturday #12: Honesty

On Saturday
I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.
Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?

This is so hard. I've received many a review copy over the months that I've run this blog and I'm always uber grateful to the author for being willing to send me a copy of their book. But despite the fact that I got a book for free and the author is looking out for a review of it, I try to stick with the truth about what I feel about books that I read. I think I'd lose a huge amount of credibility as a reviewer if I let my opinions be swayed. If a book's bad, I'll definitely state that and give reasons to support my thoughts but I'll also point out some positive points that the book might have had. I dislike reading reviews that are all gushing or all negativity so I try my hardest to write reviews that have both in them. 
I recently read a comment left on a review of a book, by the author himself. In it he seemed rather accusatory and disappointed as the review was a highly negative one. I think that while reviewers need to keep their opinions unbiased, authors need to do their part and accept the criticism that might come with that. I think sometimes authors expect reviews to be good but they need to realize that we can't always give them what they want. 
It runs both ways...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight the Movie

Yeah, I went to Twilight at midnight this morning/last night. I felt obliged to to do it because if you think about it, this whole series is the book-ish sensation of my generation. Harry Potter was a teensy bit before my time but I am right smack dab in the middle of the Twilight audience, age-wise. Us teen girls get excited easily...
When I first read the book, I think it was 2 or 3 years ago, before all the hype happened. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book mainly because of the fact that no one knew about it. I kept reading and the second and third books didn't disappoint, but the fourth book seriously dampened my love of the series. The screaming girls are getting a little old, Stephenie Meyer's annoying me a bit, and with all the excitement and build up, I thought the movie was going to be somewhat of a let-down. And I know that I just sounded incredibly pessimistic there but that was to build up to my saying that I actually did enjoy the movie. Quite a lot.
It's been a while since I've reread Twilight so I wasn't really looking out for how closely in paralleled the book's plot, but from what I remember of it, it was pretty decent. I think they had some exact lines in there and some of the events were made to be identical to the book. That was probably quite a feat for the writer because if you think about it, Twilight is one of the cheesiest books out there. And I personally think that Bella is a relatively weak female character and in the movie they succeeded in giving her a touch of attitude and snark. 
Character wise, I think the choices were good. My favorites were Billy Black, Charlie, Angela, and Rosalie. Kristen Stewart also did a nice job as Bella, sticking pretty close to her description in the book. I was a little disappointed with Robert Pattinson though. When he was first cast, I was in love with the decision because he's quite the cutie. Don't get me wrong, he did a nice job, but the only scene in which he radiated Edward-ness was when he was wearing his black sunglasses and making snarky comments about the students at the school. That was my favorite scene by far. I think he was a little overly broody for me. And the little fairy dust sound effect that accompanied his sparkling made me gag. He is hot though. Which makes up for it a little bit. :P 
The special effects in general were a little bit cheesy...I wish they would've worked more on making the fast running actually look realistic. And the jumping/flying looked completely fake. The sparkly skin thing wasn't as ridiculous as I thought it was going to be which is amazing because I think a lot of us were wondering how in the world they were going to pull that off. And I actually kind of liked that part. Although you only get to see him partially shirtless. :( Disappointing eh?
Overall, I think the movie is pretty good. Definitely worth a watch. Lovers of the book will like it a lot and I'm excited to see what the sequels turn out to be like. I think they'll be good if this first movie is any indicator. :)
Did you guys like it? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bits 'n Pieces - Linda Gerber

Linda Gerber is the fantastic author of the YA novels Death By Bikini and Death by Latte. I'm sure many of you have read and enjoyed her books and I'm hoping to join your ranks in the near future! It's impossible for me to avoid books that have mystery, romance, bikinis, and coffee. They just call out to me! :P You can visit Linda's site here to learn many cool things about her and her books and even take a peak at her fantastic blog! I hope you all enjoy her fun answers!

This or that:
Rain or shine? 
Depends on my mood. I love days at the beach or pool -
sun. But I also love thunderstorms as long as I don't have to go out
anywhere and can just curl up with a good book!
iPod or mp3 player? 
Movies or TV? 
I don't get to watch much TV, but the shows I do see, I
get pretty passionate about. (LOST, Heroes, Mad Men, The Office, etc.) I
love the big screen, too, and wish I had time to see more movies than I do!
City or country? 
I'm a combo girl. Love the quiet and open spaces of the
country, but want the shopping and entertainment of a city.
Mountains or beaches? 
BOTH! I grew up at the base of the Wasatch
Mountains, so love for that kind of majesty is in my blood, but my idea of
a dream vacation includes lounging on a beach with a good book - and maybe
a very attentive cabana boy serving Diet Cokes with lime!
Dots or stripes? 
Am I seeing them or wearing them?
Dogs or cats? 
Cooking or eating out? 
I love to cook, but I don't like the cleanup. Eating out has its advantages.
Coffee or tea? 
Neither. See Diet Coke above.
Books or magazines? 

This changes all the time, depending on what I'm reading at the
time. And since I'm rereading Beast by Donna Jo Napoli, I'm going to go
with that one. She is such a beautiful writer.
Book store- 
Barnes and Noble at Polaris. Their staff is great! I love and
support indies, but sadly, there are none close to me.
So many! One of my all-time favorites to quote is Princess Bride.
Music artist- 
I'm in a Andrea Bocceli phase right now.
My dear friend Barb Aeschliman of
Coffee chain- 
Guilty pleasure- 
Good dark chocolate
Hyde Park in Dublin Ohio = fabulous
No clear favorite

Have you ever:
Lived abroad? 
Yes. I've lived in Finland and Japan.
Gotten a tattoo? 
No. Too scared of needles!
Stayed up for the midnight release of a movie or book? 
Absolutely! And I'm ready to do it again November 21st! [tomorrow! I'm with you there, Linda]
Disliked your job? 
Yes. I was less than thrilled with my teen job at a
family restaurant in Provo. Of course, the experience made me a good
tipper. Waitressing and bussing tables is hard work!
Cried during a movie? 
All the time!
Sang karaoke? 
Yes! One of our favorite things to do when I lived in Tokyo.
If you were on a desert island, what 5 things would you bring with you? 
A trunk of books, sunscreen, a Chipotle chef, my computer - souped up with mad wireless capability (and really long battery life...), plenty of Diet Coke.
What’s on the list of things you have to do during your life? 
I believe with all my heart that being involved with service is the way to go. Helping other people puts your own problems into perspective, and nothing beats the feeling of knowing that you've done something worthwhile. So tops on my list right now is keep watching for ways to reach out, and then to do it.
If you could have one super power what would it be? 
I'd love to have super-knowledge. I don't want to know everything - there are some things I
would rather not have in my head, but I'd love it if when I wanted to know
about or understand a certain concept, I could just call it up in my brain
and it would be right there. If knowledge is power, imagine how crazy-powerful that would make me!
What’s your perfect music playlist? 
A real eclectic mix of genres and styles. I love exploring new music and discovering new artists.
What’s the one food you could eat day after day and not get sick of? 
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? 
Next on my wish list is Greece.
What moment in history do you wish you could’ve experienced? 
So many of them! I'm looking for ways to be part of this moment in history as well.
We're on the brink of so many changes and innovations. This is an exciting
time to live.
What does your dream library look like? 
It's HUGE with floor-to-ceiling books lining the walls, plenty of overstuffed chairs to curl up in, a fireplace in the corner and an enormous window looking out over an ocean,
mountain, lake or forest.
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first? 
The YA section.
If everyone had to read one book, what would you have it be? 
I could never limit it to one book!
Thank you so much, Linda! 
Want to win a signed copy of Linda's newest book, Death by Latte? To enter, leave a comment with your answer to "City or Country" by next Wednesday. For an extra entry, follow my blog by clicking "follow" on the sidebar. ---> 
If you are already a follower, let me know that and you'll get that entry. :)
Also, the winner of a signed copy of Lauren Myracle's Bliss will be chosen this Saturday. If you haven't entered yet, click here for details. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I swear to you that this will be the last non book related post for a while because I have a feeling you guys are getting annoyed with my complete inability to read and blog on relevant topics. I'm getting annoyed with myself. But before I completely swear off posting about random and irrevelant things, I just wanted to post a few quick pics of the concert I went to last night. It was super fun; Ingrid Michaelson was headlining and David Ford and Newton Faulkner opened for her. It was a night of great music and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. :) 

And that is officially the end of my excessive and boring posts. Look for some reviews soon though! Hopefully...

Sunday, November 16, 2008


The holiday season has been slowly creeping up on us for the past month or so. The chain stores have begun to carry decorations, ornaments, stockings, and winter themed clothes. The Christmas music has been playing nonstop on your favorite radio stations. And in the midst of it all the literary industry is struggling to survive. As a reviewer and a penny pincher, I get most of my books for free, either through the library or because of review copies. I haven't purchased a book in quite a while, which I have started to feel rather guilty about. I love books, I love this whole industry and yet I haven't made a contribution. And for that reason I will be buying books for people these holidays. I'm going to go out to my local indie and do all my present shopping in the form of books. It not only serves to give the publishers a little extra boost but it also helps to spread the love of reading around. What could be better? 
If you want help with suggestions for what books to get people or want to sign up for the cause, visit this blog
Also, I'm having a little trouble thinking of adult books to get my family members. If you guys have read any good adult lit lately, feel free to leave me a few suggestions in comments. Anything goes; I'll be buying for an enormous variety of people and I want to find something for everyone. :) 
Buy book for the holidays!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Booking Through Thursday/Saturday #11: Why Buy?

On Saturday

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?
If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

I am one of those die-hard fans of the public library. It doesn't hurt that my local branch recently was renovated and is now sleek and modern and packed with even more books than before. I usually use the library because I can't justify using my hard earned money to buy something I might not even like. And being as big of a reader as I am, it would cost me a TON of moolah to satisfy my habit. It's also nice because my room isn't as packed with books as it could be. My bookshelf is pretty under control. I do have a nice collection of books though and for the most part, they are signed copies, review copies, or gifts. I've just started using Bookmooch though so that might change in the near future as I already have 3 books on their way to me. I hope that doesn't escalate too much... :P 

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I hate myspace, I love facebook. And so I decided to make a facebook for my blog. Friend me! 
EDIT: New Link Does this one work?

Bits 'n Pieces - Lauren Myracle

So I'm sure you've all heard many things about the marvelous Lauren Myracle. She is the author of the recently released suspense novel, Bliss as well as a number of other books. I have yet to read Bliss but doesn't it look just amazing? Look for a review super soon because I don't think I'll be able to keep my greedy little hands away from this book. And if you don't have a copy immediately with you, you can visit Lauren's site and read up about her and her books. I hope you enjoy the interview!

This or that:
Rain or shine? 
Dude. Shine FO SHO. Now, I love me a rainy day, too, but I am a sunshine girl all the way.
iPod or mp3 player?
iPod--and a bit snobby about it as I go with Macs on every stand (shame on me!)
Movies or TV? 
Both! Though sadly not enough of either...
City or country? 
Oh Lord. Both. I like to *think* of myself as a downhome country gal, but I actually get really energized by the hustle and bustle of a city. You know what? I'm going to go with SMALL TOWN. Yes, a delightful small college town would be my pick...
Mountains or beaches? 
Beach! Beach! But it has to be on the Atlantic. Pacific = waaaaay too cold.
Dots or stripes? 
Dots. More whimsical.
Dogs or cats? 
CATS. (I think dogs are very sweet, but I'm not good with slobber.)
Cooking or eating out? 
Uh...ordering in.
Coffee or tea? 
Ew. Gross. Dr. Pepper, please.
Books or magazines? 
BOOKS, you crazy goose!!!!!

yeah, right, like I can pick just one
Book store-
Oxford Books in Atlanta, now defunct. Sigh.
Harold and Maude. Or The Graduate. Or Mary Poppins. Or The Parent Trap, original version. Or Dr. Strangelove. Ack! You're making me want to go watch all of these again!!!!
Music artist-
Today? That guy with two J's...what's his name? Jack Johnson? +smiles hopefully+
Plop. I have no idea. I don't think I have one.
+laughs at the idea of being that hip+
Coffee chain-
Aye-yai-yai. Starbucks. +ducks to avoid tomatoes thrown by anti-Starbucks peeps+
Guilty pleasure-
Mo's Bacon Bar: applewood smoked bacon + yummy milk chocolate, all mixed together in one delish candy bar! Mmmm!
Hrm. This really swanky Thai place in Atlanta that my parents take me to when I'm in town. Can't remember the name. But the servers all wear gorgeous Thai dresses!
sea mist green. Also, sparkly pink. Also, warm brown.

Have you ever:
Lived abroad?
Yep. Japan.
Gotten a tattoo? 
Yep. Two.
Stayed up for the midnight release of a movie or book? 
No--lame, eh?
Disliked your job? 
PAST jobs, sure. I once worked at a mental hospital for the criminally insane and got pee poured on me (not mine). But I feel amazingly lucky to get to write and be paid for it!
Cried during a movie? 
Oh, honey-babe. ALL THE TIME.
Sang karaoke? 
No! But I will if you take me out...

If you were on a desert island, what 5 things would you bring with you? 
My husband, my son, my other son, my daughter, and a loaded-to-the-max Kindle.
What’s on the list of things you have to do during your life? 
Be in the moment. Embrace and enjoy. ;)
What’s the one food you could eat day after day and not get sick of? 
Peanut butter M&Ms. And I do, and I don't.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? 
Africa! Safari, baby!
What moment in history do you wish you could’ve experienced? 
Ack. Too deep for me. Sorry!
What does your dream library look like? 
Gleaming wooden bookshelves that magically fill themselves with every book I want PLUS bonus books that I don't know I want, but do, and that will make me stretch as a human.
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first? 
Der. Young adult/kids section! ;)
If everyone had to read one book, what would you have it be? 
Well, I'd want them to love it. I'd want it to be a gateway drug, heh heh heh, so they felt compelled to read more! And more! And more! It would have to be accessible and fun and good for both sexes, and it couldn't be off-putting at all. So with that in mind...ack. I'm stressing now. This isn't good. I'm going to go with...Don't Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus by Mo Willems. Gateway drug!!!!!
Thanks so much, Lauren! Those were some seriously awesome answers. 
And yes, you can win a signed copy of Bliss and a Mo's Bacon Bar this week! But there's a catch. This little giveaway is going to require some work. 
1. Post the trailer of Bliss on your blog with a linky back to this interview. Or if you don't have a blog, spread the trailer around to your friends. Force them to watch it, post it on message boards, facebook, twitter, etc.
2. Leave a comment on this post with a link to your spread-age of the trailer or a very detailed account of how you spread it outside of the internet world. Also in that comment, give your opinion on "movies or TV". 
And if you follow those simple guidelines you will be entered! And because this is such an awesome giveaway we're going to have it run until next Saturday the 22nd instead of having it end on Wednesday. Enter away!

I suck!

I promise I will get the Bits 'n Pieces interview up ASAP. I am becoming such a loser and for that I am truly sorry. I swear this will not happen again. :P 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Two Weeks in Hawaii

VACATION!!! hehe. I wish. 

Instead, Kelsey tagged me for a very musical meme. It was quite fun. Enjoy reading my bizarre answers!
1. Put Your iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Put the artist after a dash following the song name.
5. Put any comments in brackets.
6. Tag some lucky people to spread the disease.

How would you describe yourself?
Crush - David Archuleta [that sounds a little egocentric...]

How do you feel today?
Another Place to Fall - KT Tunstall 

What is your life's purpose?
Fidelity - Regina Spektor
What is your motto?
I Don't Dance - High School Musical 2 [no I don't dance, and yes I do have the HSM soundtracks...]

What do you think about very often?
Intuition - Feist

What is your life story?
Carrying Cathy - Ben Folds [o_O]

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Fever - Michael Buble [why yes, I love making people sick]

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Even So - Rachael Yamagata

What will they play at your funeral?
Between the Lines - Sara Bareilles [except for the fact that this is a love song...]

What is your hobby/interest?
Seasons of Love - Rent
If you could do anything right now, what would it be?
Stay Beautiful - Taylor Swift [haha. yet another egocentric sounding answer]

What do you want most of all?
Amnesia - MoZella [actually no, I really wouldn't want this]

What is your greatest fear?
Keep Breathing - Ingrid Michaelson

What is your darkest secret?
Since You Been Gone - Aretha Franklin

What is your favorite thing in the world?
Over the Rainbow - Ingrid Michaelson

If you could have one wish, what would you wish for?
Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson [HA!]

What is your theme song?
Lions Roar - The Hush Sound

The next time you hear this song (aside from now, that is), you must dance.
Near to You - A Fine Frenzy

What will you post this as?
Two Weeks in Hawaii - Hellogoodbye

and I tag whoever wants to do it...!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends - her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over. 
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.
This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.
(summary from jacket flap)

Oh. My. Gosh. I started this book one night and finished it the next morning. Now you all are aware of how slowly I've been reading as of late, and so this was quite the feat for me. But I seriously could not put this book down. And that's not a good thing either. Living Dead Girl covers such a morose and disturbing topic that I'm not surprised that it wasn't until now that a book has been written about it. I don't think any other author was brave enough or tough enough. I really have no idea how Elizabeth Scott did it. To have to come up with this story, write it, and take months to go through revisions and editing, would be enough to throw me into a serious depression. It's an amazing, moving, and poignant book, that gave me chills while I was reading. While there were some parts that left me unsatisfied, after thinking back, I don't think they could have been written any other way. The author clearly put a lot of thought into how she was going to write it, what tone she was going to take, and how she was going to execute the plot. And it really all paid off. Alice's character is disturbing and beautiful and all the twists are inserted and written in a very concise manner. The thing that really gets the story across to you is the dynamic of it. Elizabeth adapted just the right tone of voice to make the book come alive and scare the living daylights out of you. Now I'll probably be having nightmares for a week, but all for good reason. Living Dead Girl really opened my eyes and made me think about our world in a whole different way. But beware, this is not a light read in any way. Not at all.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I'm sure you've all heard of it, but I've waited until now to actually join in. Seeing as I never buy books, I didn't really think there was a point to me using Bookmooch. But then I realized that there are many books out there that are too obscure for my library to have. Or maybe I read a book and want to own a copy for myself. And so with those thoughts in mind, I set up a Bookmooch account. 
The sad thing is that I have almost no books to give away. And those that I do have are old and crappy. Grrr. 
So if you'd like to see my humble little profile, click here. Nothin' much there though...

Booking Through Thursday/Saturday #10: Presents!

On Saturday

What, if any, memorable or special book have you ever gotten as a present? Birthday or otherwise. What made it so notable? The person who gave it? The book itself? The “gift aura”

I never really get books as presents because my family knows that I'm super choosy with what I read and they don't want to risk picking the wrong thing! They'd rather stick with B&N giftcards. I did get signed copies of Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange for my birthday this year, though. I pointed the site where you could get them out to my parents so it wasn't exactly their own idea, but it was nice that they knew that getting those books would be one of the best presents I could ask for. I'm a huge fan of Melissa Marr and so both the books themselves, and the "gift aura" that they have, make them infinitely valuable to me. Another book that I've received was the seventh Harry Potter book for Christmas from one of my friends which was really cool. I love Harry Potter so being able to own my own copy is great. :) Other than that, I've never really received presents in the form of books...maybe I should make up a very specific list this year. :P 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Freefall by Anna Levine

Aggie is eighteen and getting ready to do her service for the Israeli Army. She could get a cushy assignment - maybe pushing paper somewhere - or she could just take her chances. Only, Aggie isn't like that. Despite her small size and the fact that she needs to gain weights to even make the grade, and despite the total disbelief of her entire family (except her grandmother, who is an old freedom fighter and don't you forget it), Aggie is trying out for an elite combat unit.
Ben - Aggie's crush of the moment - isn't at all convinced that she's making the right choice. Shira, Aggie's best friend forever, is bewildered (and perhaps a bit too interested in Ben). Then there's Noah. And the serendipitous snow. And a good-bye kiss that turns into, well, a real kiss.
Luckily for Aggie, her backbreaking, sand-in-mouth, completely-lost-in-the-desert training produces an unlikely dividend: friends. The kind she never imagined she could have. The kind you'd go to war with - and for.
(summary from jacket flap)

I have mixed feelings about this book. It was definitely an interesting read. I had never read  anything remotely related to it so in that respect it was a breath of fresh air. I have never actually read very much that's based outside of the US at all. Israel is a very prominent country and it has a culture that's so unique and different from my own, that while I was reading I was also receiving a lesson in world culture. You could tell the author knew what she was talking about on that basis. Also, Aggie was a wonderful character. She is spunky, energetic, and never gives up. Throughout the novel you can watch her grow and come to realize that she can be anything she wants to be. I also liked Lily a lot because she had so much life in her despite all of the troubles and problems she was dealing with. You have to admire someone who can keep a strong and positive attitude in the face of misfortune. Also, her and Aggie's relationship was one of the high points in the book for me. I could never really predict what would happen next with them! There were a few things about the book that didn't really click with me, though. One of my main problems was that there was too much going on. I found it hard to keep all of the characters and names straight. I think it would have been better if the book had been made a little longer so that the author could go more in depth with all of the characters and plot events. Also, I think the writing was just mediocre. While it got the story across, it wasn't exactly beautiful or flowing. In my mind, I think it was because Anna was rushed to get all of the story packed into a small amount of pages so she didn't have enough time to elaborate and focus more on the writing style. I definitely think that if the book had been maybe 100 pages longer, it could have been way better. And that's not saying that it isn't good already. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Aggie's pursuit to follow her dreams and stay true to her friends and family. The story was a unique one for sure and I'd recommend it to people who'd like to read something outside of the stereotypical "American teenager" books.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bits 'n Pieces - Ben Furman

 Ben Furman is the author of Sam's Quest for the Crimson Crystal and Sam's Quest for the Royal Trident; both of which are on my reading pile. I hope to review them soon! I hope you enjoy his answers. :)

This or that:
Rain or shine? 
iPod or mp3 player? 
Movies or TV? 
City or country? 
Mountains or beaches? 
Dots or stripes? 
Dogs or cats? 
Cooking or eating out? 
Coffee or tea?
Books or magazines? 

The Civil War, by Shelby Foote
Book store- 
Park Road Books, an independent
Music artist- 
Whoever designs Wrangers
Coffee chain- 
Guilty pleasure- 
Anything chocolate
The Palm

Have you ever:
Lived abroad? 
Gotten a tattoo? 
Stayed up for the midnight release of a movie or book? 
Disliked your job? 
No. I’d have to hate myself since I own the business. Boy do I love this job.
Cried during a movie? 
Sang karaoke? 

If you were on a desert island, what 5 things would you bring with you?
The family and survival gear are given. Other than that: My dogs, Jack & Jake; oil paints and canvas; my favorite music; books that I can read time and again; the world’s best hammock.
What’s on the list of things you have to do during your life?
Nothing out of the ordinary. Stay involved with family, friends, church and community.
If you could have one super power what would it be?
Healing power.
What’s your perfect music playlist? 
Classical: Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, Litz, and others, depending on my mood.
What’s the one food you could eat day after day and not get sick of?
Ice cream
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
New Zealand. Haven’t been there.
What moment in history do you wish you could’ve experienced?
The signing of the Declaration of Independence
What does your dream library look like?
A miniature of the NYC main library that hosts innumerable first editions of all genres.
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?
The fiction section to see if my books are there
If everyone had to read one book, what would you have it be?
The Bible
Thanks so much, Ben! 
Sorry this post is rather late. My week's been quite hectic and I'm struggling to stay caught up. I'm hoping to have two reviews posted by the end of the week! Yay! And finally... :P
Authors; want to be featured in a Bits 'n Pieces interview? Email me at and we'll make it happen!