Thursday, June 28, 2012

Friday Buys 6/33-29/12

Such a fun buying week! :D


Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
Thank you thank you thank you Tor Teen!! :D  I requested this a while ago and when I found this on my front porch (after hearing the mailman leave and thinking, Oh dear, he didn't come to the door...  but he did! He did!).  Anyways.  When I found this, I was giggling for like, a half hour!! SO awesome! :D  Reading it soon, for sure. :D

Stories by Washington Irving  -  $2
'60's vintage paperback - to die for!

The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf - $2
About time I read some of Miss Woolf's stories!  :D  Can't wait!

City of Masks by Mary Hoffman - $2
Is this not the most gorgeous cover you've ever ever seen?!?!?!  I'm in love, and can't wait to devour this!! :D

Some swag from the adorable Miss Howard, author of the upcoming novel Splintered! :D

Jane Eyre for $.50
Another copy to cut up and put on my wall...

The Iliad by Homer - $.50
Awesome vintage paperback! :D

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers - $5
BRAND NEW!  And I loved this book, so it was well worth it.  It's the kind of book that you love so much that you don't put it down the entire time, except maybe to throw it against the wall or kiss it - or attempt to do both at the same time.  You all know those kinds of books...sometimes, they're the best. ;)

John Adams by David McCullough - $.50
Yeah, you read right. FIFTY CENTS.  And this baby is EXTREMELY long.  And I'm SO excited to read it!!! :D  EEEEEK!

It was, indeed, a pretty week. :D  $12 is definitely worth these paper wonders! :D

Happy reading, my friends!!  Enjoy enjoy enjoy! :D

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor
Pages: 326
Release Date:  April 30th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, May 6th-7th
Received:  ARC from NetGalley
Rating:  4/5 stars
Recommended to:  16+





SUMMARY -
Jake is not the type of kid who would get drunk on homecoming night with his friends...or drive with them afterward.  But one choice - one simple mistake - changes everything when Jake's friend crashes...and a t-post through Jake's neck takes away one of life's most important tools - the gift of speech.  Now Jake has to reevaluate everything:  his life, his passions, love - everything - and find a way to tell the girl he loves, "I love you" before she, too, is taken away.

MY THOUGHTS -
While I'm not typically a contemporary girl, I have recently been drawn to a few titles.  This one, at the very very top of my list.  When I was accepted to review this on NetGalley, I was ecstatic, and the book did not disappoint!

Maybe there could have been more editing.  Things could have changed to make the story better.  Sometimes the pace felt a bit too fast, when I wanted to revel in the moment.  These, however, are minor flaws.

Because, really.  This story is beautiful.

CHARACTER NOTES -
I loved Jake from page one and on.  I still look back at my experience of living through his perspective, and I think, "What a guy!"  His reactions to the accident, his recovery - it's all realistic and so moving.  He really inspired me.  He made a stupid decision, but what he makes of the consequences is so respectable.

Samantha is an intriguing character.  She has secrets, a hidden life, and she has a lot of love to give, even if she doesn't know it yet.  She adds a strange and very neat dynamic to the story.  While not a favorite character, I still wanted her to succeed and really loved the change wrought in her through Jake's friendship and care and love.

Jake's parents, I must say, are rad.  They are so supportive, filled with faith, and loving even when things are really hard.  Their awesome relationship with their kids, especially Jake, is so nice to see, especially in YA lit.  Plus, there are all of Jake's siblings, who really bring a lot to the table and definitely made me laugh a few times.

STORY NOTES -
I stayed up so late reading this and finished it the next morning.  Fast-paced, intense, and totally engrossing.

The accident and the first part of Jake's recovery hardly take up any of the story...  The rest is full of romance, hardship and healing (in other areas of Jake's life).  His journey is just stunningly beautiful.

I love what Jake's school does for him and what the students choose to do.  Jake's accident inspires them to take action in their own homes and to stay away from underage/illegal activities.  I love this small-town/one-bit-family aspect of the story.

The romance develops very nicely, to insta-love here!  Jake and Sam's love develops so sweetly; Jake's longing to be able to speak Sam and tell her how he loves her translates into him having to show her.  Sam, who doesn't believe in love, is fascinated by this devotion.  I ached for Jake, though...  Not being able to say the important things.  Wow.  Just - hard.

I loved how everyone had a part in speaking into Jake's life.  Again - his parents were AWESOME.

The climax of the story is beautiful, realistic, and gut-wrenching.  I loved it.  Everything fell together and brought What I Didn't Say to a magnificent close.

SUMMING IT UP -
Delightful.  Real.  i'm going to read more of Keary Taylor now I know how awesome she is.  And you should, too - you will be moved!

For the Parents -
A few intense make out scenes...  I think one or two almost lead to sex.  It is mentioned that both want to.  Some details...the scenes are definitely very passionate.  Sam buys lingerie and models for Jake.  I'd say 16+  (My sister is 15, so I'm gauging based on that it wouldn't be the most appropriate for her right now.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

2 YEAR BLOGOVERSARY GIVEAWAY! (Pt. 1)

Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen.  Here it is - the fantastic 1st part to my amazing BLOGOVERSARY CELEBRATION!! :D

Since I wrote my thank you already (Read it here!), I'm going to get STRAIGHT to the point!! ONTO AWESOMENESS!!!!

The Prize:
It's a beauty, right?  Hardcover, signed (by Brodi herself!  I was there!), and also with a bookmark and an Everneath guitar pick (with the cover of Everneath on it).
I know you want this.  You know you want this.  Come and get this.


First, the rules (because rules can be awesome TOO!):
1.  You must be a follower of Yearning to Read through GFC (look to the right).  New followers are, of course, ALWAYS welcome!
2.  You must live either in the US, Canada, or Mexico to enter this giveaway.  (INT giveaway coming soon!! :D)
3.You must be 13 years or older to enter this giveaway.
4.  I will be checking all this info - so if you cheat, you're out of the giveaway - which is NOT awesome.  Be fair or be square!
5.  HAVE FUN!!!  

Enter the rafflecopter below!! :D



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Buys 6/15-22/12 - the Tower of Books

Since I'm totally magical like that, I emptied my wallet and my pockets this week when I found some extraordinary deals too good to pass up.

Seriously.  This week was the glory of all book-buying weeks.

So, my friend has been begging me for two whole years to read these Wheel of Time books...I bought the first one a long time ago but haven't read it.  I'm assuming that now that I own the first six, I'll be getting to the first one soon.  Yes?  I bought these 5 books for a grand total of $2.50...and they're practically brand new.

A Love to Last Forever by Tracie Peterson - $3
This looks so good!  I'm looking forward to reading Peterson in the near future! :D

Wings by Aprilynne Pike - $1
Yeah, another hardcover without a jacket, and a book I've been wanting to read!! :D  I think someone had a bunch of books they just dropped off at the Friends Bookstore and they all just happen to be practically brand new and books I want to read! :D
Oh!  And I'm going to a signing and Pike is going to be there - perfect timing, right?! :D

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman - $4
Brand spankin' new, gorgeous UK cover (WAYYYY better than the US cover...)...  What's not to love?

Inside Out and Outside In by Maria V. Snyder - $2 total
Good condition paperbacks, Snyder - I mean, I could never pass this up!


Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher - $.50
Excellent book, I read it a few years ago, and now I can't wait to read it again! :D

The Idiot by Dostoevsky - $2
Already read this book, has been in my top 5 favorite books of all time for almost 5 years...not much can top it.  This copy?  I'm going to cover my wall with its pages.  Literally. ;)

Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer - $.25
Having read The Bad Queen, another Young Royals book, I'm totally ecstatic to read this book!  Meyer is a fantastic writer!

See??  I wasn't joking when I said "Tower of Books".  So much fun, right?!  This is not including the $2 copy of Delirium that I sent to my bestie and the $1 copy of I Am Number Four that I'm going to give to another reader friend.
Calculations conclude that I spent $19 on 15 books.  I'd say that's flipping amaaaaazing! :D

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
Pages: 336
Release Date:  April 10th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, April 8th-10th
Received:  ARC from NetGalley
Rating:  3.5/5 stars
Recommended to:  16+







SUMMARY -
Mirabelle has lived a sheltered life since her parents died in a fire - the fire that had interrupted Mira's christening and swallowed them alive. Now Mira lives with her godmothers, Elsa and Bliss.  They've protected her from harm - and from every day life, like boyfriends and parties and getting her ears pierced.  She's never resented them - she knows they mean well.  But if she's going to get answers about her parents and who they were, she's going to have to travel to the one place her godmothers have absolutely forbidden her to go: Beau Rivage, the city where she was born.  After nine months of planning, Mira makes her escape...and finds herself lost in a world where storybooks are real, heroes take the stage, villains destroy, fairy tale endings are determined by a special mark, and there is no way of getting out.

MY THOUGHTS -
This book is a page-turner if I ever saw (read) one!  The first chapter or so sets up the story nicely, without an info-dump, and then it's off - mercilessly dragging you along until the ride is over.  And by golly, it's a wild one!

I enjoyed myself immensely while reading Kill Me Softly.  It's an excellent read.  However, I did take issue with how carnal it was at times...  I know that fairy tales are dark, and sometimes carnal, but this book went further than that.  (Read the For the Parents section below for more info.)  Besides that, I just adore this book.  Sarah Cross's writing delivers clear and crisp images.  It didn't blow me away, but at times it really stood out to me the way she worded things.  I plan on reading whatever else she publishes!

CHARACTER NOTES -
This book proves everything I believe about good looks and falling in love.  Admittedly, when I first read Blue's description, all I could think was, "...Seriously?"  But my my my...  By the end of the book, I had decided that blue hair, blue eyebrows and facial piercings are the hottest things ever!
Blue. Is. AWESOME!  I totally fell for him, loved his character SO MUCH.  And because of that, looks don't matter. I'm quite sure a few other Kill Me Softly fans can attest to this same exact thing.
The mystery that is Blue... Ahhh...  He was a breath of fresh air.  As his character, his past, and what lies in his future slowly become apparent, I could not help falling for him with every new word he spoke, every action he made.  True love?  Yes, please!

Mira is the kind of girl who is determined, not rebellious.  I love and respect this about her.  She didn't run away to spite her godmothers or get drunk or sleep around.  She ran away because of the calling she felt in Beau Rivage.  I heard that some readers were annoyed by her, but I definitely wasn't.  She didn't always make the right decisions and often couldn't see what was RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER.  But that leads to the great part about her - she comes around, sees for cryin' out loud, and doubly makes up for her bad decisions with her bravery, love, and selfless nature.

Felix - ach!  He had me wondering from the moment he was introduced.  I guessed some of his story before but honestly I had no idea I was right so I didn't really hold onto it...  But holy gracious it was intense!!

The others are also amazing. I love this cast and still think about it to this day.  Every individual was unique and pulled his or her own weight in the story. And they made me laugh, which is always a bonus.

STORY NOTES -
So,  you always hear of love triangles... Every heard of a love "square"?  1 girl, 3 guys?  Haha!  Cheesy, I know.  Well, in this book, you will experience this, possibly (probably?) for the first time.  I was so skeptical at first of the love triangle, and then the third guy was introduced and I was like, "Hey, this actually works!"  Sarah Cross mastered it!  I can't said who the three guys are but...trust me, you'll love them all.  Also trust me in that you'll have your favorite from the moment he's introduced!

My my, what an intense story-line we have here!  Dark and sinister, like any good Grimm, but also with a touch of Sarah Cross.  She rocked these stories, lemme tell you.  She made the world of Wilhelm and Jacob Grim her own.  The interwoven stories and intense scene sequences....WOW.

The climax was really really great, although I felt it could have been drawn out a bit longer.  A little more detail, maybe in the actual event, maybe in the rescue, I don't know.  But the point is - it was awesome no matter what.  And the end...the end!!!  Blue!! *faints*

SUMMING IT UP -
Grimmly beautiful! ;)  I truly enjoyed this story and hope to see more of Sarah Cross in the realm of literature!

For the Parents -
Some scattered language (briefly strong).  Some sexual content.  The details were what bothered me.  Mira is an innocent girl who decides randomly she doesn't mind sleeping with men she just met- and even buys lingerie for he occasion.  They don't actually have sex, but there are 3 or 4 very steamy kisses, and 2 almost lead to sex - and Cross goes into too much detail for me to just let it pass by.  Later in the story, two girls kiss.  (If I remember correctly, one girl spits diamonds out of her mouth after the kiss as payment for letting her use a facility for a concert.)
So, no, not happy with the content.  That's the reason for the lower rating.
Recommended 16+

Monday, June 18, 2012

An Interview With Sarah Cross

All righty everyone - look who I have over today....the wonderful Sarah Cross! :D


You can find Sarah at the following places:

Why she's here:















To start off, can you give us five fun facts about yourself?
1. My favorite animal is the Pallas' cat.
2. When I lived in Japan, I got to dress up as a maiko (apprentice geisha) in Kyoto.
3. I'm obsessed with fairy-tale art.
4. I love books & TV but have a really short attention span for movies.
5. I wrote a Wolverine comic for Marvel Comics ("The Adamantium Diaries" --> http://www.sarahcross.com/books/wolverine1000/)



Wow!  What a neat story to carry on about dressing up as a maiko!
What are five books you think everyone should read?
I don't know about "everyone" (because not everyone likes the same books), but here are five books I love & wholeheartedly recommend:
1. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
2. Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac
3. 
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
4. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
5. The Way Some People Die by Ross McDonald


Sadness - I've never heard of any of those books.  Goodreads, here I come! ;)
How has writing and being published affected your life?
I've always written, so that hasn't changed. Being published means that it's not awkward to tell people I'm a writer, because when you do that, the next question is inevitably "Are you published?"


Oh yes, that question...it always gets me!  I can't wait to finally be published so I can actually answer that question how I want to!
Who is your favorite character that you have created and why?
I don't think I have an overall favorite. Is that weird? Maybe I spend too much time with my characters to have favorites. A lot of the time the characters I like best are the ones who don't get much page time ... I guess because they're full of unrealized potential.


Not weird at all!  And that's a very interesting observation - almost every character does have unrealized potential.
If you could choose your own fairy tale mark, what would it be?  How would that play into your destiny?
I think I'd want to be Gretel from "Hansel and Gretel." My younger brother was the type of kid who would eat someone's candy house, and I was totally the protective big sister who would save him, so that would be natural for me. Bonus factor: I'd get my curse out of the way early.


I love "Hansel and Gretel"!
Did you specifically choose fairy tales you wanted to be prominent in the story or did they come about in another, more roundabout way?
There were two fairy tales in particular that I wanted to twist together and retell (Blue's and Mira's); I knew that from the beginning. For the side characters, I knew I wanted to use mostly well-known fairy tales, because if I picked less familiar tales, I could drop a hundred hints and very few readers would pick up on them. Most people know "Snow White," but not "The Queen Bee" or "Prince Lindworm," etc.


That's so fascinating.  I've never heard of "The Queen Bee" or "Prince Lindworm", but I will most definitely read them now!
When creating Blue's character, did he always have blue hair and eyebrows?  (Which I grew to love with a passion...) ;)
Of course! I love fairy tale imagery, so I definitely wanted to use that. Glad you liked his blue hair. :)


:D  Of course.  It was brilliant, in my opinion.
What is your favorite character trait in Mira?  In Blue?
I love that Mira believes in people. She's naive about a lot of things, but she also has a hopefulness that makes her less resigned than some of the other Cursed. My favorite trait in Blue is his laziness. That's probably not what most people like about him, but the ability to relax is a virtue, in my opinion.

I love both those things about Mira and Blue.  Blue's laziness - totally attractive. ;)
While Kill Me Softly totally works as a "single" book...do you have a mate in mind for it?  :D
I would love to write companion novels about some of the other fairy tale characters. I don't know yet whether any of that will come to fruition. Cross your fingers for me!

Oh this is such good news!!  Totally have my fingers crossed!! :D
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Sure! If you'd like to visit (or re-visit) the world of Kill Me Softly, there's a Cinderella story on my website (with lovely illustrations by artist Oona Pohjolainen) -->http://www.sarahcross.com/stories/aftertheball/ And if you're a fairy tale fan, you should definitely stop by my tumblr Fairy Tale Mood (http://fairytalemood.tumblr.com/) for a daily dose of fairy tale inspiration.

Thanks for having me, Sierra!



______________________________________________________


Sarah, you really gave some awesome answers and totally inspired me in my own stories!  I'm sure my readers and yours can say the same!


Come back tomorrow for my review of Kill Me Softly!! :D

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Buys 5/25/12 - 6/15/12

This has kind of been an awesome last few weeks of buying books.  They've been (mostly) suuuper cheap and really really awesome books I've been wanting!

Divergent by Veronica Roth - $11
I read this one a few months ago and of course it's one of my all-time favorites. :D And since I'm most likely going to meet Veronica in July I HAD to buy it for her to sign.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - $1
Booyah!  Hardcover for a doller!  Perfect condition, too, except without the dust jacket.  No matter, I won't be needing it.  Excited to read this!

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - $1
I haven't read this, but I saw the last half of the movie and really enjoyed it, and thought, heck, I'll give it a go!

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle - ARC!
Whooohooo!!!  Those publishers are all of a sudden deciding to send me ARC's.  I keep getting them and it's making me so happy.  This one looks soooo good! :D  And look at that stunning cover...swoon!

Pickwick Papers by Dickens - $1
Isn't it so adorable?  I think it's year is 1954, but I could be wrong.  Somewhere around there, anyway.  I love vintage paperbacks!

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr - $1
Another hardcover (jacketless) for a dollar.  And I really really really want to read this!  It looks super awesome!

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - $1
I won't read this, because it's a vintage, but it's so beautiful I couldn't pass it up!  Someday you'll see that I've bought a brand new copy to read...but for now, I'll just enjoy how pretty this one is!

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud - $.50
Looking forward to this!  It's a bit beat up but I've been looking for a used copy for soooo long that I couldn't pass it up.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo - $15
LOOK!  LOOOOKKK!!!  Look at its magnificent beauty!!!  I have yet to read it but HOLY graciousness it's so stunning!  And the prologue?  I mean, hello!  This girl can write like none other!  And look - I got it signed!  Read it sooooon!


I also got my copy of Cinder signed, and had a fantastic conversation with Marissa about how she was the first author to comment on my blog, how I have the UK copy and it's rare in the US, and how the story of Rapunzel should be retold more often. ;)

Aren't they beauties?  They're sitting on my shelf, happy happy happy! :D
(Total:  9 books, about $32.  Deal?  I think yes.)

Oh!  A lady was handing out For Darkness Shows the Stars bookmarks, which I totalllly accepted, and Emmy Laybourne signed a bookmark for me, because I recognized her from this movie.  She said I'm awesome.  I love this. :D

And last but not least I got this awesome Fierce Reads poster signed by all the authors at the signing!  Wonderful! :D


Happy reading, friends! :D

Kill Me Softly (Quotes)



"You like sad endings?" he asked.
"Maybe."  Mira swallowed.  She hadn't thought of it like that, but maybe it was true.  SHe didn't love the romance int he story; she loved the yearning, the despair, the mermaid's noble sacrifice.  It stabbed her heart and made her feel in a way that happy endings didn't.
Because if you love someone, and keep loving them, without being loved back...then that love had to be read.  It hurt too much to be anything else.
"Sad endings are what I know," she said.

- Chapter 5, Page 68


Come back on Monday for an Interview with Sarah Cross, and on Tuesday for a review of this awesome retelling! :D

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pint-Size Review: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Neilson



The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson (#1)
Pages:  342
Release Date:  April 1st, 2012
Date Read:  2012, April 27th-May 1st
Received:  Library
Rating:  4/5 stars
Recommended to:  11+


SUMMARY -
Sage - orphan, thief, troublemaker.  Rebellious.  Never taking orders.  But when his antics get him noticed, Sage is in for something bigger than anyone could have guessed.  He and three other boys have been taken in, forced into a game of deceit, a plan full of lies.  Who will win the prize?  Who will live and who will die?  Sage finds himself caught int he middle of a huge conspiracy, and he is the only one who can stop it.

MY THOUGHTS -
Boy, I enjoyed this book one heck of a lot!  Written beautifully, masterfully crafted...Nielson has some new talent that everyone should read and love.  Intrigue!  Romance!  Conspiracy!  Princes!  Secret passageways!  Secrets - lots of secrets!  (And I hear Alan Tudyk saying, "Pain!  Lots of pain!")

I had my ideas about the plot from the very beginning (which I usually avoid).  A lot of them came to pass, which normally does not happen, those very few times I venture to guess, and which is why it felt a bit too predictable.  Some things never happened and a few I ended up discarding because, no, there's no way that could be the case!  Well, at least I was surprised where it counts, right?  Beautifully twisted.  My gosh!  I just sat there with my mouth hung open.  I laughed, incredulous.  It's amazing.

Sage is quite a catch.  He's 14(ish), totally cocky, and beyond a doubt brilliant.  He is without a doubt one of the most original MC's I've ever come across.
BUT.
(Yes, there is a "but".)
He broke my trust, and my heart.  When I meet a character as vivid and personal as Sage, I throw my very hart and soul into the mix.  So while that one very spoilery twist shocked me and amazed me, I couldn't help feeling a bit betrayed.  It goes along with Sage's character in a way, but still!  After that, I didn't trust him like before and found myself pulling away from the story a bit.
Besides that, I loved Sage, the story, the shocking twist that once seemed impossible, and the rest of the cast.  I can't wait for more of Sage's story and to see what affect Roden, Tobias and Imogen will have on the story!

This book reminds me of...
Gold crowns (the kind you wear on your head...you know, take a look at that gorgeous cover)
Rascal boys
Oliver Twist, The Prince and the Pauper, Scaramouche, and The Count of Monte Cristo (of which the latter two just happen to be two of the most brilliant books ever written)
Young love
Brillian boys who are undeniably attractive
Quick speed read

For the Parents -
Nothing!  Recommended 11+

Monday, June 11, 2012

2 year Blogoversary!!!

Oh, how the years fly by.  It's kind of crazy, actually.  Looking back, I seriously sometimes cannot believe that it was two years ago that I decided I was going to sit down and create my blog.  I spent quite some time mulling over the right name, the right look, the right font...

And now, I'm doing author interviews, writing two different kinds of reviews (full-size and pint-size), hosting giveaways, and am fully engrossed in the blogging community.  It's crazy, it's busy, sometimes it sucks me in WAY too much, but oh my gosh it's worth every single darn second.

I. LOVE. THIS. HOBBY.

So what can I say?  Well, a lot of things.  But that would mainly just bore you to pieces.  So.  Instead, I'll say thank you.  First to my readers - you guys are fantastical!  48 email subscribers and 248 (whooohooo so close to 250!!) GFC followers - and some lovely commenters who make my day!!  You guys really really are the best!

And then there are those bloggers...the ones who make you laugh and love the books and want to read them RIGHT NOW or NEVER EVER and who inspire you to write better reviews with every book you read.  There are also those bloggers who are your friends, who you get to know and wish you could hang out with every single flipping day even though they live all the way in Australia... (NOT KIDDING!)

So, here's to a few wonderful bloggers:



So, Laura, you know this could get really really long, 'cause, you know, you're my bff, so I'll just keep it simple and say: THANK YOU!!  For inspiring me, for making me laugh, for being super witty and suspiciously Wonder-Woman-like.  For being the bestest friend ever and for living in Australia so I have a place to stay when I come visit (mwahahaha!), even though I really want you to live next door.  You write the greatest reviews that are so perfectly perfect.  Don't ever stop, my dear. :D

Small Review

Small...Oh Small...thanks for being super duper awesome.  Not only are your reviews amazing, but so are your memes, your interviews, and your giveaways.  And your blog?  Cutest blog on the block!  But I must say - you were the first "big blogger" (translation in my new blogger mind: blogger with many many followers) to take interest in Yearning to Read and comment and link me on your blog.  It was also on your blog that I started exploring other blogs!  So really, you were the start of it all.



Mimi Valentine


I know you all follow and love Mimi, and comment on her every post because she's super duper cool and is the best reply commenter EVER!  Mimi, you write faaaaantastic reviews that make me smile and just DIE to get my hands on the books you review RIGHT THAT VERY SECOND!  I love your fangirliness, and how nice you are even when you don't particularly like a book. ;)  You are a generous commenter and read through every one of my posts like a champ, making me feel like the greatest blogger ever.  So thanks for your confidence booster - you are fantastic! :D


These awesome ladies are just three of the amaaaazing bloggers who I follow and read every day and love and adore and am TOTALLY inspired by!!  It's such an amazing community to be a part of, don't you agree?  I'm definitely super duper blessed to be able to have a blog and to readdddd!!!  I thank God for this every day and cannot wait for more years in the future. :D

So, you're probably thinking, "Erm, 2 years, celebration, you know...giveaway?"  Yep, you're thinking correctly.  I just have to sort out my finances when it comes to my new job (WHOOHOO!  I'm a preschool teacher - so insanely amazing, right?!), and I will have one sorted out VERY soon!!  I promise, really.  Because didn't I promise one for you all back in April, but never hosted one?  I'm so sorry - my bad - won't happen again!  But trust me, what I'm hoping I can afford will make up for my lack of April giveaway! :D

So anyways...thanks again for being so fantastical!  I'm so so so so blessed!! :D

Happy reading!! :D

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pint-Size Review: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter (#1)


I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter (#1)
Pages:  284
Release Date:  April 25th, 2006
Date Read:  2012, April 8th-14th
Received:  Finish Copy via NetGalley
Rating:  4/5 stars
Recommended to:  12+




SUMMARY -
Cammie Morgan is totally normal.  Except, she's a genius.  Okay, and she goes to a private all-girl's boarding school.  Okay, and she's a spy, too.  But that doesn't stop her from at least trying.  (Trust Cammie when she tells you it's harder than it looks!)  When adorable Josh Abrams befriends Cammie during a CoveOps mission, Cammie must go undercover and live a normal life if she wants to see Josh again - and she might even find he's her soul mate.

MY THOUGHTS -
Yep, this book was radical.  A little slow at first, but it picked up the pace like crazy and swept me away.  I'm love struck, for sure!

So, can I have Cammie for a BFF?  Oh, wait, I think I already do.  Seriously, she reminds me of one of my dearest friends (you really should check out her blog...).  She's got the wit, the sarcasm, the drama (I mean this in a totally and completely endearing way, of course).  I can't get enough of Cammie!

The story lacked a bit at the beginning, but when they went on that CoveOps and Cammie met Josh - whooohooo!!  Talk about fast!  :)  Josh is charming, lovable, and totally sweet - and perfect for Cammie.  And he shares my last name.  How cool is that, right?

I think this series has a lot to offer; it's fun, sharp-witted, and heartfelt.  The end was happy, but not in a perfect-ending kind of way.  I really appreciate that.  It made it more realistic and has me wanting more - and very very soon!

This book reminds me of...
Best friends (seriously, click here, because you want to check out this blog)
The color blue
Really cool (last) names
Innocent romance
Overall cuteness
Witty jokes
The best kind of dates (burgers and a movie)
Spires
And a smokin' hot teacher who I pictured as something like Josh Duhamal ;)

For the Parents -
Nothing!  Such a fun tween-teen book! :D  Recommended 12+


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mythology VS Fairy Tales

So, after quite a bit of indecision and a poll and lots of people voting, the decision was made:  This week, I will discuss the two different retellings we come across most often - mythology and fairy tales.

Mythology
If you know me, you know how I looooove mythology retellings.  Percy Jackson, much?  I could marry that guy.  I absolutely LOVE Greek Mythology to the core.  "Troy" recently became one of my favorite movies.  The Iliad is one of my favorite books ever.  Every Rick Riordan book I've ever read has blown me away with its awesomeness.  Everneath = purely amazing.

For one, you have the element of the many contesting gods and goddesses, who always bring something to the table.  They're always fighting and arguing...or sleeping around. HA!  But whatever they're doing, it pretty much means they're wreaking havoc some way or another, which always makes for a good story, right?

On top of the gods and goddesses, you have the heroes.  Mmmm gotta love those heroes!  I mean, really - who didn't cry when Hector was slain and whoop with triumph when Odysseus escaped the cyclops Polyphemus?  These are what stories are made of: heroes and their glorious, sad, wondrous accomplishments.

Plus, with mythology, not only do you have these two extremely amazing elements, but you also have the strange magic...  No, not magic.  Definitely powers.  Like the gods turning their daughters into trees, and heroes having massive strength.  It's amazing.  Purely, definitely amazing.

Really.  What's not to love?

Fairy Tales
While they may sound very similar, they are actually quite different.  Fairy tales are different from mythology because they represent creatures such as fairies and witches and wizards and forests.  While mythology consists more of gods, heroes, and mere men, fairy tales have a greater sense of the "good guy/bad guy" concept, and make much more out of villains.  I mean, who doesn't remember Maleficent and the evil stepmother and cower in fear?

But they're not all villains.  There are many many wonderful heroes and heroines who have inspired many readers for centuries.  Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, our friend "the servant" who ate the White Snake - they all have a story, a way of overcoming obstacles, no matter what.  They have courage (for the most part).  They rise above.  And I really really like that.

But what makes these tales special?  What sets them apart from your average contemporary or dystopian?  I'd say - Magic.  King Triton, the king of the mer people, and his opponent Ursula, both possess magic (well, in the Disney version they do...I actually haven't read the original story!).  When characters like these are put up against each other, the fights, the terror, the magnificence, the triumph - it's all quite terrific.  It's exciting and it makes you believe that somehow, some way, this all might be possible...that someday you'll meet the mermaid in the sea or discover a tower with a length of hair that has fallen from the window and stretches into the wind.

If this doesn't excite you, I don't know what will...

Retellings
Retellings are pretty much 24/7 awesome.  They have all the elements of the original tales we all know and love, but with new twists.  And every one of them (well, almost every one of them) has something new to bring, because every mind is different and interprets things differently.  Whether it be that Elphaba was actually a misunderstood heroine or that Snow White kicked butt, something new is bound to come of each retelling.

So which one do I choose?  Which one do you choose?
I hadn't actually put much thought into this before this theme was chosen by my dear readers.  It was an idea, something to chew on, but I didn't actually chew on it until I sat down to write this.  I'd never thought about which type of retelling I preferred, so before today I could never have told you.

But today, I actually have discovered:  I have a preference.  And that is:  Mythology.  Now, don't get my wrong, I looooove a good fairy tale retelling.  Some are my favorite books ever.  But when I really look back at the fairy tale retellings I've read, I realize I prefer darker fairy tales.  I like the ones with lots of heartbreak (like the Inkbooks) and maybe a more depressing undertone (Everneath possibly falls into this category).  And mythology - well, it's pretty much always dark.  Whether you're looking at it from the "Troy" angle, The Iliad angle, or the Percy Jackson angle, there's usually something darkly intense going on.  And that, my friends, is what I prefer.

But what about you?  Which would you pick over the other?  Would you pick one over the other?  Share your thoughts in the comments!  I love to hear them!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: Tiger's Voyage by Colleen Houck (Tiger's Saga #3)

Tiger's Voyage by Colleen Houck (#3)
Pages:  560
Release Date:  November 1st, 2011
Date Read:  2011, December 12th-17th
Received:  Library
Rating:  4/5 stars
Recommended to:  16+

These books are awesome, and therefore you should read them.  But this review has spoilers to the first two books.  If you haven't read Tiger's Curse and Tiger's Quest, you should check out my reviews for them:


SUMMARY -
Kelsey Hayes is back at Mr. Kadam's - both Tigers safe.  Kishan is happy and healthy, but Ren, on the other hand, is still healing - and he still doesn't remember Kelsey.  Worse, he feels physically ill when he's around her.  Still, he pushes through, eventually admitting he has feelings for her, despite the pain.

As they embark on the third quest, they discover they must uncover Durga's necklace, come face-to-face with Dragons, and possibly something much worse.  And all the while Kelsey must decide between the Tiger's - who will she love?  And what will trigger the memories Ren is missing?

As Kelsey and her Tiger's come closer than ever before to finishing the Quests, they also discover more behind Lokesh's plans.  Will they be able to stop him before he tears them apart?

MY THOUGHTS -
Oh, this book made me SO sad.  Not like bawl my head off sad, but the kind of sad that's mixed with slight frustration and tons of anticipation - and love.  A lot of it.

Colleen's writing still sin't my favorite, when she's describing things happening in the real world.  However, when Kelsey, Ren and Kishan step into magical realms...that is when her talent shows.  She writes with fantastic imagery and with a style that reminds me of fairy tales by the Grimm brothers and other fantastic story tellers.  Colleen becomes stronger and stronger with every book she writes and I'm so excited to see how she improves in the next book!

CHARACTER NOTES -
I really really respect what Colleen did here: where things could have gotten extremely complicated, she made it worth the read and gave her readers more respect for the characters.

Kelsey continues to be the heroine I want to read about.  I feel like I know her well and would totally hang out with her if she was...well...real.  I understand what a tough place she's in with trying to break the curse and decide between two amaaaaazing men.  She made some choices that...man, I could never imagine making.  She's brave, a heroine through and through, and I just canNOT wait for more from her perspective!

Now - onto the boys.  Yum yum yum!  I'll have one of each, please?  ;)  Actually, I'm still extremely partial to Ren.  So, I'll take an order of Ren with a side of a wedding ring and a few beautiful Indian children. Haha!

In any case.  When I said before that these boys are amazing, what I really meant was extremely beyond fantastically incredibly gorgeous and wonderfully amazing super incredible manly men.  (Translation...well, there isn't one.  You get the picture.)  They are both worthy of Kelsey's attentions, for different reasons.  But I'm 100% all for Ren.  In Tiger's Quest I became drawn to Kishan - but Tiger's Voyage just pulled me right back to Ren.  He's got his flaws, like Kishan, and Kelsey, but that doesn't change anything for me.  You all know how much I love perfectly imperfect characters.  Ren is that.  Kishan, in Tiger's Voyage, seemed a bit more on the perfect side (surprisingly) and this is one of the things that made Ren stand out even more. While Kishan is a bit heartbroken because of is love for Kells, Ren's heartbreak seems, to me, much more intense and for an incredibly good reason.

I really enjoy Mr. Kadam and Nilima as well, but Wes annoyed the crap out of me.  Let's just leave it at that.  He's not important enough to add more.

Now - the dragons.  WOWZERS!  Colleen has totally done something extraordinary here.  Each one was so perfectly described; each had his own amazing personality.  Each made his mark on the story, whether for good or for bad.  I would name them if I had the book with me.  But, as I don't, I'll have to rely on their attributes to say:  My favorite is between the star dragon and the hunting dragon.  The elements they brought to the table were incredible - especially since they revolved around the passion between Ren and Kells.

STORY NOTES -
Colleen's stories are just in your face awesome!  And what I love about them is that each one is completely different from the last.  Each has its own feel and beauty and hook.

This time around, Colleen stuns her readers by taking them yet again to lands beyond our own - to the stars, to the deepest oceans, to underwater castles and fantastic islands.  There is no end to how cool this story is. I mean, who doesn't want to travel to an underwater treasure trove, or fix the fading glow of a star, or any of the other fantastic journeys within this book?

So basically, I'm amazing.  I'm totally dying, because of course there's a cliff-hanger and of course someone's still in mortal danger.  I know Colleen's working as fast as she can, but - HURRY UP!!!

SUMMING IT UP -
Gorgeous.  Seriously gorgeous.  I'm so looking forward to Tiger's Destiny, coming out later this year!

For the Parents -
The boys, both trying to get the lead in Kelsey's affections, are quite a bit more, ummm, bold this time around. Some suggestive comments and gazes, some admiring.  Kelsey's "power" is fueled by her passion for Ren, which is definitely written in a suggestive way.  Lots of passionate kissing, some detail.  Recommended to 16+