Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Header & Domain

Hello hello hello!

I got a new domain and a new header! There was a little glitch and it took a while to fix it but now it works! The header is thanks to my friend PeriLynn Harris Glasner who took this picture and showed it to me! I knew I had found what I wanted! A LOT of tweaking followed. And we have what we have!

What do you think of it?
Do you like it? Or have a problem with it? Let me know your thoughts!

Until next time,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Adele of Persnickety Snark fame Sheds Some Light

Hey all,

Today, I am so excited to bring to you Adele of Persnickety Snark fame. She is one of the few bloggers I look upto. I'm so glad she agreed to write this guest post.

ADDITIONALLY: Its Adele's BIRTHDAY TODAY!

Happy Birthday Adele! >

I cannot wait to meet you in August!

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A big hug and a thank you for inviting me to be part of your blogoversary celebration. You are a valued friend and I am beyond excited to meet you in New York in August.

***

It says a lot about a person, what their immediate thought is about a topic.

When I think of Hunger Games, I think of Gale.

When I think of Vampire Diaries, I think of Damon.

If you haven’t figured it out already, I am into the dark, mysterious and douchey guys. While you may be cheering (or jeering) my choices there are bigger concerns at play. Why don’t I think of the strong, female protagonists?

I empathise with both of the protagonists. Katniss is a strong, capable girl who does everything to keep her family going. Elena is terminally conflicted by her man, her friends and her family. I understand them, I really do. But I don’t like them all that much. Katniss definitely has the edge. Elena is simply someone who bares a lot of cleavage, annoys me with her stupidity and talks from a weird place in her throat. Plus side...she’s not played by Miley Cyrus and her mouth acting. Boob acting I can live with, mouth acting I cannot. Katniss doesn’t do any of these things. Thank goodness.

What do they have in common?

In my opinion they both choose the wrong guys. Not for the pure reasons of love or being soul mates but for entertainment value. I think that Gale and Damon are vastly more entertaining than their counterparts as they are quite unpredictable and have a tendency to be arseholes when necessary. What can I say? I like guys in books and on television that I would never pick for myself in real life.

Nice guys bore me. In the entire time I have been blogging young adult literature reviews I have only found myself siding with the nice guy around three times – LM Montgomery’s Gilbert Blythe (the ultimate nice guy), Robin Benway’s ginger haired James (Audrey, Wait) and Melina Marchetta’s Jonah Griggs (Jellicoe Road). There are a few that live in my grey area but I err on the side of douche baggery.

It reflects society in some ways. We tend to be much harder on females than we are on males. There is expected behaviour attached to being respectful and step outside those lines and a girl can very quickly become a whore or bitch with the snap of the fingers. A guy does these things and not only is it okay, it’s pretty hot. I am a traitor to my gender.

What I would like to point out is that Gale and Damon would not hold as much charm for me if their counterparts weren’t equally fleshed out (if not as charismatic). Peeta and Stefan are white knights in shining armour. Chivalrous, kind and built – yummy, scrummy, cheeseboard abs built. They are beyond delectable. But even these guys wouldn’t hold any attraction if Katniss and Elena didn’t provide a strong central role in the storytelling.

That’s the message here. While the abs and the banter are bliss, it is the sum of the parts that make both The Hunger Games and The Vampire Diaries so good. That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to lust after my fictional hotties, and neither should you!

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Once again, THANK YOU SO MUCH Adele! Don't forget to look at and comment on the other guest posts about the Hunger Games & Vampire Diaries as a part of my blogoversary celebration!

Until next time,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

NIGHTSHADE (October 19, 2010, Philomel)

Synopsis: (From Andrea Cremer's website)

While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies’ throats. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth-birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves. But Calla’s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy’s secret will turn the young pack's world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches' War that surrounds them all.

Click Here to visit the Nightshade website.

About the Author:

Andrea Cremer spent her childhood daydreaming while roaming the forests and lakeshores of Northern Wisconsin. She now lives in Minnesota, but she thinks of her homeland as the “Canadian Shield” rather than the Midwest.
Andrea has always loved writing and has never stopped writing, but she only recently plunged into the deep end of the pool that is professional writing. When she’s not writing, Andrea teaches history at a very nice liberal arts college in St. Paul.

In the little spare time she can find, Andrea stares up at trees, rescues infant rabbits from predatory cats, and invents names for pug puppies with her husband. She has an unfortunate tendency to spill things – white carpets beware!

Her debut novel, NIGHTSHADE, the first of a YA fantasy series, will be published in fall 2010 by Penguin (Philomel).

Reasons I want to read Nightshade:
  1. Totally out of my comfort zone.
  2. It literally screams POTENTIALLY MINDBLOWING (potentially being optional).
  3. I FEEL compelled to read it.
  4. Inexplicable impulse to drop everything (even studying for finals) to read it.
  5. It just sounds so darn amazing!
Words are not enough to convey how excited I am to read Nightshade!


Until next time,

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Book Review: The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer

The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer

About the Author:

ELIOT SCHREFER is a resident of New York City and a graduate of Harvard College. A contributor to The Huffington Post and a reviewer for USAToday, Eliot has been profiled in Newsweek, New York Magazine, theNew York Post, WWD, and NPR's "Leonard Lopate Show." He was selected as one of the 2007 "Out 100," and as a fellow to the Sewanee Writers' Conference. His first novel, Glamorous Disasters (Simon & Schuster), became an international bestseller. His second novel,The New Kid (Simon & Schuster), was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award.

Synopsis (From Borders.com)

Abby Goodwin has always covered for her sister. Maya's screw ups started out ordinary enough: Broken curfews. Failed classes. Hanging out with the wrong crowd.

But now Maya's been accused of murder. And Abby's not sure she'll be able to cover for her anymore. Abby's certain of Maya's innocence--but she's the only one.

With the police closing in, Abby helps Maya escape...and then starts investigating, hoping to clear her sister's name. What she finds, though, shows that you can't trust anyone - not even the people you think you know.

From the author of The School for Dangerous Girls comes a page-turning thriller about the things we do for family--and the limits we can reach.


Review:

This book first caught my attention when I attend a panel discussion during The NYC Teen Author Festival in March where the author, Mr. Schrefer was a panelist. The excerpt he read of The Deadly Sister was quite gripping. I wrote down the name of the book and made a note to look it up later.

A few weeks later, much to my surprise I received The Deadly Sister in the mail from Scholastic and I was pretty excited to read it. And now that I have, boy did I enjoy it! The Deadly Sister is one those books that when you’re done reading them , you need a minute to process all that had happened and what you take away from the book is not just momentary but rather long-lasting. It stays with you at weird times of the day and night and makes you question some of your own actions and makes you rather pensive. The Deadly Sister is classified under Mysteries & Detective Stories and Family/Siblings according to Scholastic and there is not one page in this book that does not make you stop and analyze YOURSELF and your family/siblings and your behavior/attitude towards them. TDS was one horrendous rollercoaster ride, at the end of which the reader is left aghast. I won’t go too much into detail but until pg 250 the reader doesn’t have ANY inkling of what’s coming next.

The Deadly Sister is a fast paced, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat kind of book. I’ve always liked a good mystery and The Deadly Sister is definitely one I would pick up again. Schrefer portrays the damaged relationship between the Goodwin family in way that makes it believable AND relatable. The relationship between the two sisters- the protector and the protectee is complicated albeit one that many teens can relate to. The first page sets the tone for the novel where Abby is firmly set into her role of Maya’s protector. The book follows a chain of intricately intertwined events that at the end culminate into a shocking discovery that will leave the readers minds reeling but at the same time absolutely and thoroughly entertained.

What I especially liked about this book: Cheyenne, the best friend. Despite her flaws, she stood by Abby. Not to say that Cheyenne wasn’t flawed either, but she was definitely the better person of the two. Readers will enjoy this book immensely as Schrefer’s writing style is very simplistic not throwing too many tricks into the story. Although sometimes things jump out at you without the reader realizing it was coming. This is the first book I’ve read by Mr. Schrefer although I have to say I am definitely looking forward to reading his backlist.

Plot: 5/5

Characters: 4/5

Writing: 4/5

Believability: 5/5

Ending: 15/5

Overall: 92/100 = A

GIVEAWAY! I'm giving away my copy of The Deadly Sister.

To enter fill out this from HERE.


Until next time,

Friday, May 7, 2010

Librarian Alyson Beecher weighs in on The Hunger Games

In honor of Alley of Books blogoversary celebration, I am writing a guest post on THE HUNGER GAMES more specifically:

What do you think will happen to Peeta? Will he & Katniss have their happily ever after? Or do you think she will go with Gale? Who will survive?

Peeta? Katniss? Happily ever after? Together? Ummm, I don’t think so. I realize that there are a ton of Team Peeta folks out there, but I think this is somewhat unfair to Gale. Frankly, he has not been given an equal or even equitable amount of page time for anyone to properly to rule him out. Despite my personal preferences that Katniss end up with Gale and have their own happily ever after, here are some of my thoughts about what will happen in MOCKINGJAY (THE HUNGER GAME #3).

Suzanne Collins’ HUNGER GAMES has been a series of surprises from the beginning. In book three, I believe that we will be seeing “the real” Hunger Games being played out. Not that the stakes weren’t high enough in the first two books, but this time, the battle is being played out for the lives and freedom of millions of people in the various districts.

*********************SPOILERS**************************

When we last saw our protagonist, Katniss had awoken on an aircraft and was being taken to District 13, which supposedly had been destroyed or no longer existed. She found herself in the presence of Haymitch, Finnick, Beetee and Gale. Katniss was then told that Peeta and several others were captured by the Capitol. Finally, Gale informed her that though he was able to rescue her family District 12 no longer exists.

One thing that has continued to nag at me as I wonder about Katniss and who she might end up with is “What if she ends up with no one?” For some reason, I would not be surprised or disappointed by this outcome. Please don’t see this as a cop-out ending. Personally, I think nicely wrapped up endings or the happily ever after endings can be the true cop-outs. But let’s think about this one….

First, Katniss is still basically a teenager. She was 16 at the time of her first Hunger Games and the second book was basically a year later which would make her 17. The third book is likely to pick up where book two left off and I don’t anticipate that the book will cover several years, more likely several weeks or months. This would still leave her at 17. It may be nice to think you have found your soulmate at 17, but in reality not so likely.

Second, her life circumstances have never really allowed her the luxury to think about a relationship. Since her father’s death, she has had the responsibility of helping her family survive. Even her connections with both Gale and Peeta have had a role in accomplishing the goal of survival.


Third, her relationship with Peeta has primarily been focused on creating an image that plays on the emotions of an audience or fueled by the adrenalin of the Games. Not truly conducive to building a long-term loving stable relationship.

Finally, surviving a revolution where you are the unwitting poster child for rebellion, I would imagine would leave a person with a lot of stuff to sort through emotionally. Personally, I wouldn’t trust my judgment at that point to make a life choice like that.

So really, I like the ending that she ends up without either one of them. But what might be the endings for Peeta and Gale:

For Peeta – I do believe that the Capitol will find ways to torture him and to use him against Katniss and the revolution. I do not believe that they will turn him into an Avox. I can see where that may be the standard protocol for dissenters, especially one that has the potential to vocally influence people. However, Peeta has already lost a leg in the first Hunger Games and I cannot see Collins subjecting Peeta to this especially if she does have plans to reunite him with Katniss. This would be odd and wrong on so many levels. And even if she doesn’t plan to reunite the two, I still find it illogical. I believe that more likely Peeta will become part of the voice of the new leadership or new government in the end.

For Gale – I imagine him more as the “young general”. He does not come across to me as the voice of the movement but literally more as the muscle of the movement. Less one of words and more one of action. In some ways, I wonder more about his surviving the revolution. However, if he does survive, I see him being part of the “military” of the new government. And to answer a question that I have seen posted out there – No I don’t see him falling in love with Madge. Personally that feels more like an awkward attempt to wrap up endings so that everyone has someone (i.e. Katniss/Peeta and Gale/Madge).

In conclusion, though I am Team Gale and will greatly applaud an ending where Katniss and Gale end up together, I still am going more with the scenario where Katniss chooses neither and figures out her future.

So what do you think will be happening in MOCKINGJAY?!

Thank you Alley of Books for letting me guest post and a very Happy Blogoversary!!

- Alybee930

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard


Synopsis (GoodReads):

It's hard to find beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming. Fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances and pickup trucks adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild girl Mandarin Ramey: seventeen, shameless and utterly carefree.

Grace would give ANYTHING to be like Mandarin.

When the two misfits are united for a project, they embark on an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and constantly searching for someplace magic. Grace even plays along when Mandarin suggests they make a pact to run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds that plague their badlands town.

But all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, even the best friendships can't withstand betrayal.

I'm doing a friendship week soon, and I've been reading some great books that have been exploring the themes of relationships, be it siblings, strangers, or even family. This sounds like a great book that could be added to my existing list. Pity it's not out until March 2011~!

P.S. Love the cover! Especially the colors!

Until next time,