Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday { 13 }

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Want to participate?

  •  Head on over to Breaking the Spine.
  • Grab the logo, or make your own!
  • Post your WoW entry on your blog.
  • Sign the Mr. Linky.
  • Visit all the other linked blogs, and watch your TBR pile grow to ginormous proportions!


 The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature
by Jeff VanderMeer
(May 1, 2011 -- Abrams Image)
Steampunk—a grafting of Victorian aesthetic and punk rock attitude onto various forms of science-fiction culture—is a phenomenon that has come to influence film, literature, art, music, fashion, and more. The Steampunk Bible is the first compendium about the movement, tracing its roots in the works of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells through its most recent expression in movies such as Sherlock Holmes. Its adherents celebrate the inventor as an artist and hero, re-envisioning and crafting retro technologies including antiquated airships and robots. A burgeoning DIY community has brought a distinctive Victorian-fantasy style to their crafts and art. Steampunk evokes a sense of adventure and discovery, and embraces extinct technologies as a way of talking about the future. This ultimate manual will appeal to aficionados and novices alike as author Jeff VanderMeer takes the reader on a wild ride through the clockwork corridors of Steampunk history.

How have I not known about this?! There are few things in the world I love more than steampunk, so this is probably going to be a must-buy for me. I'm already salivating over the pictures and illustrations that must be inside, and I haven't even seen them yet. Luckily, I only have to wait until May 1st!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In My Mailbox { 12 }

It feels like I haven't done one of these in forever! But I got some really, really awesome things this week in the mail, so there was no way I wasn't going to share. But it seems to be a reoccurring theme right now that I just don't have enough time in the day, so there is no editing done to this video at all. I'm a little bummed, because I love playing around with it, but with only a limited amount of time at home this morning, what are ya gonna do? Oh, and I apologize for my uber frizzy just-washed hair. ;D

  • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (coming out May 10, 2011)  




And if you haven't checked out R.A.K. yet, head over to Book Soulmates and sign up immediately! It's so much fun, and you definitely won't regret it. Again, thank you so much to the people who have sent me books! You guys are totally awesome. ;D

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hop, Follow, & TGIF { 13 }

This week, I'm participating in three different Friday memes! Crazy for Books hosts the Book Blogger Hop. Parajunkee's View hosts Follow Friday. And a new Friday question to the block, TGIF at Greads! These are all wonderful opportunities for bloggers to get to know each other.

Today's question from the Hop...
Coming soon...

Today's question from Follow Friday...
Do you have anyone you can discuss books with in real life? Tell us about him.her.
Total in depth discussions? Nah. But I can always have a casual conversation about my latest read with either one of my coworkers or my mom.My coworker, if you can believe it, is really the only other person that reads, and we work in a library! My mom is the whole reason I'm such an avid reader to begin with. :D

Today's question from TGIF...
If you could visit any fictional setting in a story, where would you go?
So, somehow, I think Harry Potter has to be an answer in some sort of question on Friday no matter what. He just keeps popping up at least once a week, lol! My top places would definitely be anywhere from the Wizarding World. Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade - whatever. I'd go anywhere in that world.

But, really, there are a bunch of settings in various books that would be fun to visit. Fairy tales, fantasy worlds...everyone has its appeal. But HP will always take the top spot in my heart. ;D

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday { 12 }

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Want to participate?

  •  Head on over to Breaking the Spine.
  • Grab the logo, or make your own!
  • Post your WoW entry on your blog.
  • Sign the Mr. Linky.
  • Visit all the other linked blogs, and watch your TBR pile grow to ginormous proportions!


by Meg Cabot
(April 26, 2011 -- Scholastic Inc.)
New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.
Really, who isn't waiting for this book to come out? I'm just so freakin' excited it's finally coming out this month that I couldn't resist picking it this week! I am definitely loving this new trend of Greek mythology influencing YA, and who better to do it than Meg Cabot. This is a must-have for me this month.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: The Iron Witch

Title: The Iron Witch
Author: Karen Mahoney
Publisher: Flux
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 290 
Release Date: February 8, 2011
Series: The Iron Witch #1
Source: Library
Challenge: 2011 DAC 
Quick Rating: 3/5
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed Donna Underwood’s father and drove her mother mad. Her own nearly fatal injuries were fixed by alchemy - the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. Now seventeen, Donna feels like a freak, doomed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. Only her relationship with her best friend, Navin, is keeping her sane.

But when vicious wood elves abduct Navin, Donna is forced to accept her role in the centuries-old war between human alchemists and these darkest outcasts of Faerie. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous guy with faery blood running through his veins and secrets of his own, Donna races to save Navin - even if it means betraying everything her parents fought to the death to protect.
I really thought I would love this one. From the gorgeous covers, to hot faery boys, to alchemy, I thought this would be the book for me. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it by any means, but I didn’t necessarily enjoy it either. It was just…incredibly average.

Really, I think my main problem with The Iron Witch was that it was too short. It felt underdeveloped. And as much as I’ve been lamenting the fact that everything is a series now, I was actually glad to hear that there would be more. The world is very interesting, and I’d definitely like a more in-depth look into it all.

I loved the use of alchemy - probably my favorite feature of the entire book. While it’s made it appearances in other books, it’s still not commonly used, and I absolutely love the subject. The little tidbits scattered throughout were really intriguing, and it actually had to googling things to see what all the instruments Donna mentions actually were and what they looked like. I only wish we had seen more of it - but I’m hoping it will be a little more prevalent in later books.

I also found the Faerie realm fantastic too. The queen? Creeeepy. The wood elves were very twisted and dark, and not to mention the Skriker. The scene at the end with the Skriker, though short, was pretty B.A.  But again, I just felt like we didn’t see enough of it. There’s no scope on the Faerie.

But if I’m being perfectly honest, the reason I didn’t like the book so much was actually the main character, Miss Donna Underwood. I just…couldn’t like her. Her voice wasn’t particularly irritating or anything, but she just felt so blank. I mean, her arms are covered in iron/silver tattoos, she has super strength, her father died defending her, her mother’s crazy, and she’s been taken out of school for “the Incident”. I was expecting feisty, angry, and maybe a little bent on vengeance. I mean, I’d want to learn everything I could about battling the dark fey that tore my family apart and almost killed me, wouldn’t you? But no, she mopes and whines about not having a normal life, and only occasionally visits her mentally addled mom. The only spark we get from her is when confronted the high school queen bee, and at the very end.

And while Xan, her main love interest, is definitely a swoon-worthy half-faerie with a dark past the scars to prove it, I didn’t really understand their draw. Donna is an alchemists, and alchemists do not like anything from Faerie is how I took it. Yet she just instantly trusts this boy above her own people, and says nothing to her superiors, or even her remaining family member. While I can see that there is maybe something a little shady going on with the alchemists, I didn’t understand her choice to not tell them anything when she finds out that (spoiler here!) the wood elves have been snatching people and taking their places all over town. Even taking the place of their best inventor! This means powerful wood elf magic - something the alchemists definitely should know about.

And seriously, can we give Donna the worst friend award? Navin (who is so obviously in love with her it’s ridiculous) is kidnapped by the elves, and on their way to go rescue him, she can’t stop daydreaming about Xan. Her best friend for most of her entire life has been kidnapped by nasty elves, held hostage, and may be undergoing unspeakable torture. But she’s daydreaming about kissing Xan, and has to snap herself back into concentrating on the emergency at hand. I’m not exactly sure if I’d like Donna watching my back in a crisis…

The Final Word: Overall, it was really the lack of depth and some silly choices on the main character’s behalf that really turned this book into an average read for me. While I’m not going to be rushing to read the sequel, I do plan to read it at some point. The premise is unique, but I’d just like to see a little more development.


Cover Thoughts: The first thing that drew me in, to be honest! It’s so dark and dramatic, and those silver spirals on her arms are beautiful.

Tea: I couldn’t resist once I found this one. Faerie Tea from White Magick Alchemy is beyond perfect for this. It’s a faerie tea, made by alchemists. Ha! (Ok, so maybe a little cliché and/or corny, but it was just too good to pass up when I found it. ;D)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Timeless

Title: Timeless
Author: Alexandra Monir
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 304 
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Series:  Timeless #1
Source: Library
Challenge: 2011 DAC 
Quick Rating: 3/5
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s family, she is forced to move from Los Angeles to New York City to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she has never met. In their historic Fifth Avenue mansion, filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers the biggest family secret of all - an ancestor’s diary that, amazingly, has the power to send her back in time to 1910, the year it was written. There, at a glamorous high-society masquerade ball, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life. And she finds herself falling for him, and into an otherworldly romance.

Soon Michele is leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves - and to complete a quest that will determine their fate.
Where do I begin with Timeless? It was like a mountainous hike you get talked into going on, but really didn’t want to go on, but were kind of excited about it. At first, I was pumped and ready to go. A little ways in, I started rolling my eyes and wondering exactly why I was doing this. Halfway through, I was begging for mercy. But, you know, by the very end, with the goal in site, it was actually a pretty satisfying accomplishment.

What I’m trying to say is, the last 60 pages or so are the best part of the book. It was an absolute struggle for me to get to those 60 pages, but it made this book go from a 2 to a 3 for me. It even made me consider maybe picking up the sequel - mostly because there are a lot of questions I still have, and it’s going to bug me if I don’t figure them out. But then again, I could always hire someone to read it for me and give me details afterwards…

My problem with Timeless was mainly my lack of connection. Michele kind of bugged me, her friends (besides maybe Caissie - though how exactly are you even supposed to pronounce that?) annoyed me, her grandparents were overly mysterious, and Philip, the love interest, felt flat. To be honest, the snippets involving Michele’s ancestors were way more entertaining than Michele herself.

First off, the romance. Oh geeze. Usually, the romance is the best part in a, well, time-travel romance. Not so here. I actually dropped the book in the middle of their first kiss to go check on something in the kitchen. The first kiss, guys. The scene that’s supposed to make me squee. Nothing. I felt absolutely nothing. The romance between them felt forced and emotionless - like it was only a plot device. I get that he composes, and she write lyrics, and she’s dreamt about him all her life, so they’re perfect for each other, but there was no passion, no sense of an epic love story. Just boring. Even their initial breakup was boring.

The time traveling was also a little weird to me. It was never explained exactly what makes her time travel, besides the mysterious key and the revelation about her parentage at the end. But maybe that will be solved in the sequel. Not to mention it’s never explained why Philip is the only non-blood relative that can see her.

I also have a constant problem with specific brand names being mentioned a lot in novels. It dates the book like crazy. I also do not like detailed outfit descriptions most of the time. Unless you are Anna Godbersen and describing epically beautiful dresses from the 19th century, I do not care that you are wearing a tank top, Aeropostle jeans, and black ballet flats. However, these pet peeves of mine thankfully tapered off and vanished entirely by halfway through the book. I don’t think I could have dealt with a whole book of it.

And all that sounds really negative, I know. But really, the whole worth of this book is in the last 60 pages. Things shift from being so focused on Philip to helping her ancestors. Sure, Michele is trying to send a message to Philip through her yet-to-be-famous ancestor, Lily Windsor, but he’s not physically there. And, honestly, when he does appear again, their interaction behind the stage of Lily’s performance is more emotionally wrought than anything throughout the rest of the book. And then the discoveries -  one after the other about her father, and about why she time travels, and the surprising appearance of two important people right in the last 4 pages…it all left me wondering what’s going to happen. Though, with just a couple more details, this really could have been a decent standalone, and not a series. I don’t think Timeless necessarily needs a sequel. I don’t see how it’ll be interesting, unless more time-traveling is involved. Otherwise, it might just morph into a plain ole high school romance. 

The Final Word: While definitely slow going, and difficult to get through, the last 60 pages are a huge redeeming factor. If I could, I’d probably rate it 2 ½ stars rather than 3. While there are a lot of cool concepts, it felt a little amateur. Maybe the writing will improve with the next installment.


Cover Thoughts: I hate to say it, by probably my favorite part of the novel! The cover is stunning. The model is gorgeous, and the key around her neck is absolutely perfect.

Tea: I would chose Teavana’s Tranquil Dream Herbal Tea. Not only is chamomile mentioned in the book, but I figured something called ‘Tranquil Dream’ is definitely appropriate, since Michele has dreamt about Philip her whole life.

I’d also like to note, in case you’re interested, the two songs composed and written by Philip and Michele in the novel are real songs! Visit iTunes to listen to the songs, sung by the author herself!

Kat, Incorrigible Giveaway Winner!

Using, the winner selected was:

Jennifer K.


Note: The e-mail has been sent, and if the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Hop & Follow Friday (12)

This week, I'm participating in three different Friday memes! Crazy for Books hosts the Book Blogger Hop. Parajunkee's View hosts Follow Friday. And a new Friday question to the block, TGIF at Greads! These are all wonderful opportunities for bloggers to get to know each other.

Today's question from the Hop...
"Coming soon..."

Today's question from Follow Friday...
"Do you judge a book by it's cover?"
YES! I am so guilty of being a cover junkie, it's ridiculous. I've bought books from the library book sale just because of their book covers, and not even looked inside to see if the story is even good. I tend to just pass over books if they have a really horrendous cover, but I have been pleasantly surprised every now and then if I just give the book a chance.

Today's question from TGIF...
"Book Tears: Do you get emotional when you read? Which books had you in tears?"
I am a very, very emotional reader. I'll get teary all the time if I'm really connected to a book, and something tragic happens. I remember my first real cry over a book was in middle school when I finished The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. At that time, I couldn't comprehend a less-than-perfect ending, so it was devastating. My biggest cry was probably over the 5th - 7th Harry Potter books. Especially the 7th. Snape being my favorite character...yeah. That wasn't a pretty night.

Those are my most memorable cries, though there have been countless books that have gotten a sniffle or two out of me. ;D

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 372 
Release Date: December 2, 2011
Series: n/a
Source: Library
Challenge: none 
Quick Rating: 5/5
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etinne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension cracking and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.
 K, so lemme get this out of the way: SQUEEEEEEOMMMGAAAAAHHH!

Guys, I do not like contemporary fiction. I just don’t. It’s a genre I avoid a lot of the time. And Anna was so hyped, it’s been sitting in the bottom of my library bag for a month because I was terrified I was going to hate it.

I was so wrong, and I’m kicking myself that I hadn’t read this earlier. In fact, I’m probably going to buy my own copy, and then force everyone I know to read it. It’s just that good. I even cried (well, maybe more like a sniffle, but still). Happy tears of joy. I’ve never done that before. I’m usually bawling my eyes out because someone died and ending is devastatingly tragic - not because it’s happy!

This cast of characters is one of the best I’ve seen in a young adult novel  recently. I liked everyone, and I’d totally want to hang out in their group. In Paris. I wish I’d been sent to boarding school in a foreign country. *sigh*

Anna, the main character, is quirky and sweet, strong and compassionate. She tries desperately to do what’s right and keep her feelings to herself, but somehow it just never seems to work out quite right. I loved her little tidbits of film descriptions, and appreciated them fully, because I am a total TCM black and white movie junkie. She also gets props for having a Hello Kitty umbrella, because I have a Chococat umbrella. We totally match.

And St. Clair? Cue gushing. I pictured him as Heath Ledge ala 10 Things I Hate About You the whole time. So sweet, but snarky and hilarious. I understood Anna’s confusion and confliction, but I can see what St. Clair was going through as well. And his heights phobia was adorable.

As for the rest of the group, Rashmi is amazing. She wants an Egyptology degree, and that’s my secret dream job. Meredith collects crazy jewelry and keeps them in teacups. Josh is a quirky artist. Where were these people when I was in high school?!

But, really, on a less gushy note, I felt Anna was very real. They all sounded like teenagers without being cheesy, or sounding like an adult’s impression of how teenagers talk. The banter between them all, especially Anna and St. Clair had me snorting and giggling right along with them. I loved that they cursed and they drank, because, you know, that’s what a lot of teens do. My heart was absolutely pounding during certain scenes (sleepovers and birthday celebrations anyone?). The sweet, clumsy awkwardness of the romance was absolutely endearing and believable. I was totally nervous right along with Anna, because I still remember that feeling of the high school crush. I was in awe of the beautiful buildings in Paris, and my stomach was in knots every time St. Clair tried to climb stairs. There was not one flaw with this book that I can find. Others surely can, but Stephanie Perkins has definitely mad me a raving mad fangirl.

And I have to add, did anyone else get the impression that Anna’s dad was a thinly-veiled, funny little stab at Nicholas Sparks? Because that’s all I could think about every time he or one of his books were mentioned!

Please, please, please, Hollywood, make a wonderful movie out of this one day so I can swoon visually as well as mentally? 

The Final Word:
I could probably gush for hours on end about this book, and I really can’t even come up with a coherent review that I’m happy with. Regardless, if you haven’t read this yet, do it now. Immediately. It’s a refreshing, toe-curling, goosebump-inducing romance that takes place in one of the most romantic cities in the world. Paris! Boarding schools! Cute boys! What isn’t to love?


Cover Thoughts:
I’m sorry, but this is the one thing I can’t stand! The cover is so cheesy! And Anna doesn’t even have her bleached streak, which is definitely important. And the man hand looks like an alien. It’s like a facehugger, creeping along, getting ready to suck Anna’s poor face, and it creeps me out. But, really, the cover just does not do this book justice at all. It was one of the main factors I put off reading it for so long. Maybe the paperback will redeem itself?

Tea: Normally I don’t do this, but this time I’m saying screw it. You’re reading a book about Paris. Tea will just not do. Grab a cup of your favorite coffee, put on your beret, and get lost in the City of Light with Anna and St. Clair. Plus, you’ll need the caffeine. You’ll be up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this, I guarantee it.

Memorable Quote:

“Who sends their kid to boarding school? It’s so Hogwarts. Only mine doesn’t have cute boy wizards or magic candy or flying lessons.” pg. 5

(I just had to share it - my favorite quote in the whole book!)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday {11}

 "Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Want to participate?
  • Head on over to Breaking the Spine.
  • Grab the logo, or make your own!
  • Post your WoW entry on your blog.
  • Sign the Mr. Linky.
  • Visit all the other linked blogs, and watch your TBR pile grow to ginormous proportions!


by Jennifer Bradbury
(May 24, 2011 -- Atheneum)
Agnes Wilkins is standing in front of an Egyptian mummy, about to make the first cut into the wrappings, about to unlock ancient (and not-so-ancient) history. Maybe you think this girl is wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her.
Maybe you think she is a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback.
Maybe she would like to think that too. Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown and standing on the verdant lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.
This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options: home, husband, and high society. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy. It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing mystery, an international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.
Get wrapped up in the adventure . . . but keep your wits about you, dear Agnes. (from Goodreads)
So I may have a tiny obsession with all things Egyptian. I may also have an obsession with Egyptian archaeology in the nineteenth-century. I may also be suffering withdrawal from the amazing Amelia Peabody series, one of the few murder mystery series I am completely addicted to - especially when it comes to Emerson. ;D 
But, seriously, from the delightful artwork on the cover, to the setting, to the mummy, I am going to be all over this book come the end of May.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Review: Kat, Incorrigible

Title: Kat, Incorrigible
Author: Stephanie Burgis
Publisher: Atheneum
Category: Middle Grade
Page Count: 304
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Series: The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson #1
Source: ARC from publisher
Challenge: 2011 DAC, 2011 A-Z Challenge
Quick Rating: 5/5

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Take one part magic, two parts adventure, an a dash of cross-dressing; add two unwed sisters, a bumbling father, and a stepmother with her petticoats in a twist, and you’re in for an unlikely adventure through nineteenth-century England like Jane Austen never dreamed of.

Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she’s inherited her mother’s magical talents, and despite Stepmama’s stern objections, she’s determined to learn how to use them. But with her eldest sister Elissa’s intended fiance, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat’s magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, even Kat’s reckless heroism will be tested to the utmost. If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true loves?
Described as Jane Austen meets Harry Potter, Kat, Incorrigible is one of the most enchanting middle grade fiction titles I’ve ever come across. Set in Regency Era England, it’s a whimsical story about a brave little girl, and the family she’s willing to do anything for to save.

Kat is a remarkably clever and mature twelve-year-old heroine, and I absolutely fell in love with her stubborn feistiness. There’s nothing more I love reading about than sisters (probably because I have none of my own), and Kat’s undying devotion to making sure her sisters are happy is one of her most endearing traits. Despite feeling left out by the older two, and despite being totally confused by that whole silly “love” thing, Kat works relentlessly to make sure her sisters end up with their true loves in the end.

And as for the sisters themselves? I loved them too! They each have their own distinct personality. Elissa, the eldest, is obsessed with her romantic gothic novels, and would like nothing more than to be a martyr for her family. Angeline, the middle sister, is a vivacious, sarcastic girl, who is following in their deceased mother’s footsteps and dabbling in witchcraft. The girls also have a brother, Charles, who only makes grunts of irritation from the next room, and bangs on the wall when the girls are rambunctious and noisy. I’m hoping we see more of Charles later in the series. Of course, their bumbling father is an absolute dear, lost in his own world, and Stepmama is strict and obsessed with Society, but comes through in the end for her stepdaughters.

The story itself was refreshing and fast-paced, and it almost seemed to go by too quickly. There was not a slow moment to be found: from Kat discovering her powers as a Guardian, disappearing through magic golden mirrors, Angeline’s disastrous love spell results, and the dark and sinister Sir Neville, it was a roller-coaster ride until the very end, and I was left absolutely salivating for more.

I don’t often read middle grade books, so I’d forgotten how refreshing they can be. Given that Kat is only twelve, all the romance focuses on her older sisters, leaving Kat free to do as she pleases. In young adult, where the focus is almost always some kind of romance, it was definitely nice to take a break, and just feel like a kid again, right along with Kat.

I’m so excited to see that this is a planned series as well. I can’t wait to find out more about the Order, and about Kat’s powers as a Guardian. She’s just so delightfully unladylike, I know she’s going to get into a bunch of trouble and fantastic adventures.

The Final Word:
If you love the era of Jane Austen, mixed with a little magic and witchcraft, then this book is a must-read. Kat is a wonderful main character, and the story is quick and not over-complicated. A fast, perfectly enjoyable read.


Cover Thoughts: While the scene featured on the cover never takes place, the art style, the colors, and the expressions on the girls’ faces are beyond perfect.

Tea: Twining’s makes one of my favorite English Breakfast teas, and surely a tea so traditional would be perfect for a book set in nineteenth-century England. Since our heroine is only twelve, be sure to add plenty of milk and sugar!

Win a copy of "Kat, Incorrigible" !

I just so happen to have an extra ARC copy of "Kat, Incorrigible", and I've decided it has to be given away! Kat's wit and charm must be spread all around! 
  • U. S. entries only please! I'd love to do international, but I can't afford the shipping right now.
  • You must be 13 years of age or older to enter.
  • No emails will be sold or given away to third parties. I will always respect your privacy.
  • Winners will be chosen using
  • The giveaway will run from April 4th, 2011, to midnight (EST) April 10th, 2011.
  • Following is not required for this giveaway, but it will earn you one extra entry.
  • Reblogging or tweeting is not required, but it is definitely appreciated.
Click here to enter!
*Contest Over! Winner Here!* 

And even if you don't win, "Kat, Incorrigible" comes out tomorrow, so be sure to pick up a copy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Movie Review: Red Riding Hood

Title: Red Riding Hood
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Studio: Warner Bros.
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Rating: PG-13
Length: 100 min. 
Release Date: March 11th, 2011
Notable Actors: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons
Quick Rating: 2/5
Valerie (Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider, Peter (Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Irons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie's older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life. Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon (Oldman), to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon's arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon... (from Warner Bros.)
So I thought I’d try something a little different and try reviewing a movie - specifically a movie with a book companion. I haven’t actually read the book version of Red Riding Hood yet, but I plan to soon, so I can’t compare the two, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the film itself. Especially now that its been out for several weeks, and anyone who planned to see it has seen it, and I can maybe get away with a couple of spoilers! ;D

And where do I begin with that? The trailer has been absolutely everywhere for months now. The excitement has been building, and everyone’s been saying how awesome this film must be, because look at that stunning trailer! Boy, was I wrong. I actually felt a little bad about spending the money to go see this.

I will start off by saying that visually, this movie is gorgeous. Amanda Seyfried is beautiful and angelic as always. Shiloh Fernandez was appropriately dark and appealing, and well, Max Irons looks like Prince William imo. (And as a side note, if he were a couple of years younger, he would so fit the bill for Peeta from The Hunger Games.)

Who didn’t fall in love with the image of the long red cloak on the side of the mountain? The dark allure of the of the love triangle, the terror of the wolf. This film held so much promise, and it just fell flat.

The characters lacked depth. There was no chemistry between either of the “couples” for me, and even the “steamy” hay-rolling scene wasn’t even…steamy. There was no tension, no terror, no claustrophobic feeling of a small village in the throes of disaster and panic. I wanted bloodshed and undeniable romance and to bite my fingernails off by the time the movie was over! Instead, I just left the theater mildly confused, under whelmed, and sadfacing.

And don’t even get me started on that werewolf. I’ve seen better graphics in tv-only release sci-fi movies. I felt like they were trying to copy the Twilight wolves, but failed miserably. The fur looked like plastic shards and the anatomy went all wonky on several scenes. It did have nice eyes though…

I will give it this, though. I never saw the ending coming. Looking back at one specific scene, there was a pretty big clue dropped, but I didn’t notice it at all, which I liked. I also liked all the homage to the original fairytale - specifically the nightmare with the grandmother. That was probably the creepiest scene in the entire movie. But I was kind of going ‘wtf?!’ for the last fifteen minutes of the movie.

Oh, and the soundtrack? Amazing! I may not be buying the movie when it comes out, and I may have regretted paying to see it on the big screen, but I came home and immediately bought the soundtrack.

The Final Word: Only go if you really, really, really like to see things on a big theater screen. Or if you have a free ticket. Or something. Maybe just wait until it comes on HBO for free? Or Redbox it and only pay a dollar. Either way, pay the least amount possible to see this. While not the worst movie ever, and containing a few redeemable factors, it’s pretty much flat and emotionless. With such an amazing premise, I think Catherine Hardwicke really dropped the ball on this one.


Tea: Grab a bottle of Firefly and the shot glasses, because we’re gonna need to make a drinking game out of this!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A couple of fun things...

Just thought I'd make a little post about two really awesome things I'm definitely going to have a lot of fun with over the next coming weeks.

Show me your R.A.K., and I'll show you mine... ;D

Book Soulmates

This is the first month I'm going to participate in R.A.K.! I found out about it last month, but March was almost over, so I put off joining up until April. This is such an amazing idea, and I'm really, really looking forward to sending off some mailbox surprises this month. ;D

If you're interested in signing up, here's the rules:

• Sign up each month you'd like to participate in.
• Show off your participation! Grab one of the buttons available :)
• Create a wish list and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.
{Post on your blog, Amazon, where ever as long as there's a link to it.}
• If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wish list and contact that blogger for their address.
• At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K!
Make a post saying 'Thank You' to whoever granted one of your wishes and share it with us :)

Let's keep our International bloggers in mind and in our hearts.
Remember, there's always the Book Depository and they offer FREE shipping!

My wishlist is here, over at Goodreads!

Do you iClue?

So, this sounds way beyond awesome. Solving mysteries, and a chance to win amazing signed books and an iTouch? Yeah, I'm definitely going to be participating.

Here's how it works:

* Starting on April 4th a new author will be featured on the iClue Site each week.
* The author will post their mystery on the site on Monday.
* On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we will post links to The Reading Room and two book bloggers who will be posting a special clue to help you solve the mystery.
* Once you've solved the mystery you send us the correct solution using a form on the website.
* If you enter the correct solution you get one entry into the contest.
* Solve all 6 mysteries you get 6 entries to win the iTouch.

Click the banner to the left to find out more!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Book Hop & Follow Friday (11)

This week, I'm participating in three different Friday memes! Crazy for Books hosts the Book Blogger Hop. Parajunkee's View hots Folly Friday. And a new Friday question to the block, TGIF at Greads! These are all wonderful opportunities for bloggers to get to know each other better.

Today's question from the Hop...

"Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone, OR that someone has played on you?"
Is it weird that I can't think of a single thing...? I scare really easily, so my boyfriend is constantly playing little tiny tricks on me, but I actually can't think of any huge prank. Sorry, lol!
Today's question from Follow Friday...
"What is the book that you really don't want to admit to loving?"
Honestly, it's probably still Twilight. Online it's not so hard to admit, since there are a bunch of fans out there, but in real life? Ugh. I used to keep the set in the bedroom, where only I could see it. But recently, I've actually reorganized by shelves, and it's out in the living room loud and proud. I still squirm a little whenever friends cover over and just hope they don't notice it, though. 
Today's question from TGIF...
"Characters We Love: Which male and/or female character have your found yourself connected to the most?"
Wow, what a loaded question. I think I honestly get more attached to the story and world than feel connected to a specific character. But if I had to choose the most, it would probably be Harry from the Harry Potter series. I grew up with the books, and I've grown up with the actors in the movies (I'm the same age as Dan!). I can't imagine being more connected to anything literary than that.
Though Katniss from The Hunger Games or Clary from The Mortal Instruments could probably be close seconds. 

100 Follower Giveaway!

It's finally here! My 100 Follower Giveaway! *happy dance*
I've been planning this for a while, since I hit 100 followers a bit ago, but with everything else going on, it got pushed back further than I originally wanted. 
But, whatever. It's here now, right? And I really thought I wouldn't have one of these for a while yet! I want to thank all of you for following my little tiny blog, and making this whole thing just seem amazingly fun. But that's enough speech, let's get to the fun prizes!

Grand Prize
The "Grand Prize" includes:

2010 Top Picks
The "2010 Top Picks" prize includes top-selling titles from 2010:

Girls That Don't Fit In
The "Girls That Don't Fit In" prize includes titles featuring girls that just...don't really fit it:

Edgy Girls
The "Edgy Girls" prize features strong heroines and intense situations:

2011 Releases
The "2011 Releases" prize includes new titles for 2011:

Edgy, Dark, & Possibly Violent
The "Edgy, Dark, & Possibly Violent" prize includes a few darker titles:

Oh, and yeah...these guys:
Every winner will get a random monster with their prize. ;D Just because they're really freakin' adorable.

There are only a few rules and regulations:
  • U. S. entries only please! I'd love to do international, but I can't afford the shipping right now.
  • You must be 13 years of age or older to enter.
  • Specifically for this giveaway, you must be a follower of the blog. There is a place for your Google Friend Connect name on the entry form.
  • No emails will be sold or given away to third parties. I will always respect your privacy.
  • Winners will be chosen using
  • The giveaway will run from April 1st, 2011, to midnight (EST) April 30th, 2011.
  • There are no extra entries this time around. Keeping it straightforward and simple.
  • Reblogging or tweeting is not required, but it is definitely appreciated.
Contest Over! Click HERE to see the winners!

One winner will be chosen for each prize pack. In the provided box, please list prize packs in the order of preference. Each winner will receive the top pack off their list until all prizes are gone.