Sunday, February 28, 2010

IMM (11)

In My Mailbox awesomeness is brought to you by Kristi at the Story Siren!!!!

So, I've been away for the weekend (the Friday and Saturday posts were pre-scheduled posts), and I JUST got back- way later than expected. And I am DEAD tired, as my weekend was full of LOTS of walking (most of which was uphill, which for me means that it also included lots of falling).
So, in other words, this will be quick, and I'll try to do comments in the AM. :-)

This week, I got three books.

For Review:

-Postcards from a Dead Girl by Kirk Farber
-The Bird Room by Chris Killen
-Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb

Not a single YA in the bunch, which I'm actually kind of excited about. I've been reading so much YA lately that it's starting to get overwhelming! I think all three of these look great, but especially the Bird Room.

I also got a ton of super cool swag from Keith at Strident Publishing.

Thank you, Keith!

And that's all, folks! What did you get this week?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Build Your Own Book Boyfriend

I was tagged by Cindy from Tynga's Reviews to build my own book boyfriend! I'm unfortunately a little disgusted by the picture that goes along with it, but I like the idea so here goes!

From the Gutter Girls: We all have our favourite book boyfriends and now you have the chance to create one just for yourself and your fantasies! How do you play? Fill out the quiz bellow, post a picture of sexy man and tag five (5) other book addicts to do the same. Don't forget to pop to their blogs as let them know they have been tagged! Once tagged... you have do do the same, grab the button, answer the questions, and keep it rolling! But don't forget the picture of the sexy man! It doesn't have to match your fantasy man, just a little eye candy for the rest of us... heheheee!

1- Hair colour and style
Super dark almost black hair, kept short and maybe even slightly spiky. I'd also be happy with a sort of dirty blond color.

2- Eye colour and facial features
I'm all about the steel grey eyes, though captivating grey-green is also hot. He's got to have perfect, straight, normal sized white teeth, a to die for smile, and a defined-ish jaw. Ideally, he doesn't wear glasses but looks great with them on. A slightly nerdish/dorkish look is ideal.

3- Height and body type
Skinny with just the right amount of tone. It would be awesome if he could somehow have a mixture of nicely toned abs and soft cuddlability. I don't like to have to look up or down to kiss, and I don't wear heels, so about 5'9" or 5'10" is good - just a little bit taller than me, as I'm almost 5'9". 5'11" could be okay, too. I would want him to have pretty much no body hair and long, skinny, almost elegant fingers. And he looks great in pink!

4- Visible age
He should be in his late 20s/ early 30s but look as if he is early or mid-20s.

5- Bangability ie: kinky/bi/size
Okay, I am way too much of a prude to even think about this.

6- Human or other
Some sort of mystique about him would be fun, but still, I think I'd like for him to be human. Maybe he could just be a warlock or something.

7- Paranormal skills
Ooh, maybe he can fly! That could be cool.

8- Interests
Well, first and foremost, ME!!!! After that, veganism and books and martial arts and music and DOGS. And after that, he should be mega interested in something that doesn't interest me at all, so that he won't be too overbearing. Oh, and he also likes the very weird, bizarre names that I might come up with as potential names for our children.

9- Habitat
He's a country man. He wants to live in a big house surrounded by forest and animals. In the beautiful countryside not TOO far from a bigger city where vegan options are available, but far enough that the air is clean and there is a ton of space.

10 Special skills
He should love to cook vegan food and do the dishes! He's also got to be smart and good at math. He'll be a great dog walker as well. :-) He'll also be a super star cuddler.

I think I might just be in love with Justin Hartley. Shhhh. . .don't tell my boyfriend.

Some other hotties:

Ian Somerhalder - first off, he's from Louisiana. Second, just LOOK at those amazing eyes!

Channing Tatum - MAN, this boy is HOT!

Well, this was fun. Now, the bloggers I tag for this:
(please note: some of the bloggers I am tagging are very YA, and I thought this would be fun. As such, it is totally unnecessary to pass on the racy [and perhaps inappropriate] picture at the top. Also, question 5 can totally be eliminated. I'm thinking of going back and eliminating it myself.)

Becky from the Bookette
Charlotte from the Book on the Hill
Juju from Tales of Whimsy. . .
Lori from Pure Imagination
Liz from Cleverly Inked

Have fun!

Friday, February 26, 2010

French Friday (15)

French Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Charlotte at the Book on the Hill. We both live in France, so French Friday is a meme to write about Frenchy bookish things.

So, when I was very first starting to learn French back in college, I had this Quebecois boyfriend who said to me one day "You should read Empire of the Ants" by Bernard Werber. So I did. And it was amazing. It immediately jumped right up to become a part of my top 10 books of all time. And I decided that, one day, I would read it in French.

So this week I present to you Bernard Werber, one of my favorite French authors, who is absolutely a major part of what inspired me to keep going and really learn French.

If you speak French, you can check out his website. If you don't speak French, you can check out his English website, but it's got a ton less information than his French one.

This could be because "the Empire of the Ants" is his only book to have been translated into English. Since most of you don't read French, I'm going to give you an abridged version of his bio from the French site.

About Bernard Werber: Bernard Werber was born in January 1961. In 1968, he wrote his first short story, called "The adventures of a Flea." After writing several short stories, in 1978, he started a journal at his high school, called "Euphoria." When he finished high school, also in 1978, he began work on "the Empire of the Ants." In 1979, he studied law in Toulouse. In 1980, he studied criminology in Toulouse. In 1982, he moved to Paris to study journalism. After being a journalist and then being unemployed, "the Empire of the Ants" was published in March 1991.
He continued to write, became well known, and now has a TON of books to his name, along with 2 graphic novels (which are awesome).

That was very abridged, as the summary was long.
I won't talk to you about the books that you can't read (which, I should mention, are AWESOME, and I hope for your English-speaking sake, that they will someday be translated into English).
Instead, I will talk to you about Empire of the Ants.

Summary from Good Reads:In the early 21st century, in a Paris rapidly turning tropical thanks to global warming, Jonathan Wells tries to get to the bottom (as it turns out, quite literally) of his Uncle Edmond's obsession with ants. Jonathan and his family have been left Edmond's basement apartment; their benefactor's sole request is, "ABOVE ALL, NEVER GO DOWN INTO THE CELLAR." Meanwhile, in the great city of Bel-o-kan, a reproductive ant, the 327th male, is fighting for survival, having had his olfactory Identikit stripped by traitors of his own tribe.

Both males--human and ant--are determined to solve their separate quandaries, and Bernard Werber cleverly juxtaposes their adventures and those of their survivors. Their stories must somehow be linked, but it will be hundreds of imaginative and educational pages before we come upon the solution. Empire of the Ants was first published in France in 1991 and eventually in England in 1996 in Margaret Rocques's spryly formal translation. ("Ants are not especially well-known for their conviviality, especially when advancing in formation, armed to the antennae.") Werber has studied formic civilization for 15 years, and his observations more than pay off. We knew they were industrious little things, but why did no one ever tell us about their powers of invention, accommodation (in both senses of the word!), communication, and above all determination?

In fact, as the narrative makes increasingly clear, ants seem to have a lot more going on than the pale pink things stomping around above them, who seem doltish in comparison. Of course, as far as the creepy crawlies are concerned, humans are "so strange you could neither see nor smell them. They appeared suddenly out of the sky and everyone died." Empire of the Ants is by turns frightening and very funny. As more and more humans disappear down the cellar of 3, rue des Sybarites, we come to identify with the six-legged of the world. Werber, too, must have tired of his Homo sapiens, since the ant sections increase in length as the human ones decrease. No matter. Who would miss the perils of the young queen who tries to found her colony on a strange impervious hill--which turns out to be a tortoise--or the hilarious scene in which a spider swathes the 56th female in inescapable silk, only to be distracted first by a mayfly (they have shorter shelf lives than ants, who can be eaten slowly alive over an entire week) and then by a younger arachnid: "Her way of vibrating was the most erotic thing the male had ever felt. Tap tap taptaptap tap tap taptap. Ah, he could no longer resist her charms and ran to his beloved (a mere slip of a thing only four moults old, whereas he was already twelve). She was three times as big as he, but then he liked his females big."

I read this book a LONG time ago in French and an even LONGER time ago in English, so I'm not going to try to give a review. Let's just say - this book is AMAZING! This may sound weird, but it's one of those books that just makes you want to go out and be an entomologist. This may not sound like a good thing, but it is. Because, in the beginning of the book, it's possible you could care less about ants. By the end, ants will be all that matter. And years later, when you see an ant, you will look at it and wonder what it's thinking. What "they" are thinking. Because you will STILL be thinking about it years later. It's just that good.
Werber creates this AMAZING world that you can't even dream of being a part of, because you're not an ant. But if you were, oh. . .this world is radical and amazing and different and violent and scary and oh so creative.
I think this book will go down in history as being one of the greatest sci-fi books of all time. Several thousand years from now, Bernard Werber will still be remembered, and the future inhabitants of our planet will wonder about, of all things - ANTS.
It's so hard to explain just how marvelous this book was, as it was about ants. But I promise, if you like sci-fi, READ THIS BOOK! It will make you want to learn French so that you can read Werber's other books.
Werber's creativity knows no bounds.

For those of you out there that might be beginner's in French, he has also written a really short, easy read called "Nos Amis, Les Humains." It's the perfect read for those just learning French and wanting to feel able to read in a new language!

Anyhow, so I know this post is very long, but I hope I've convinced you to give Bernard Werber a try, if you're into sci-fi.

In the meantime, don't forget to check out Charlotte's French Friday at The Book on the Hill.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

IBBMP Review: Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

I'm so excited because I was chosen this month for the International Book Blogger Mentor Program by Lenore from Presenting Lenore. She sent me three absolutely FANTASTIC books, and this is my first review of one of those books. THANK YOU, LENORE!!!!

Title: Magic Under Glass

Author: Jaclyn Dolamore

Rating: 1/2

Who Should Read It?

What I Have to Say: I finished this book 2 days ago, and I'm still sort-of in awe. Magic Under Glass was a stunning, beautifully written, uniquely nontraditional debut novel. It left me breathless.

Right from the start, I knew that Nimira was going to be the type of narrator that I love - gutsy and ballsy and totally identifiable. She keeps a good attitude and a strong composure despite all of the hardships she has suffered, and even if she has trouble admitting it, she continues to let herself dream.

When Mr. Parry, a fancy magician, comes along and wants to hire her to sing with his automaton, she believes that her dreams have come true. What actually happens, though, is unlike anything she had ever even thought to dream of. The secrets Nimira uncovers when she moves into Mr. Parry's house send her on a wild journey of magic and love and deceit and friendship and betrayal.

Dolamore has done an amazing job of giving Nimira a distinct voice, that leaves the reader believing they are reading something that takes place in the past while at the same time taking place in a creative, believable fantasy world, rife with magic and faeries and racism and politics. She has peopled this world with interesting, unique, believable characters and hard-hitting problems.

In the end, though, "Magic Under Glass" is, in essence, a love story like no other, and I have always been a sap for forbidden, strange love. Nim, a lowly trouser girl, and Erris, a fairy prince, are so different, and yet their circumstances are so similar that it is easy to see how their friendship, as it develops, easily turned into love. I fell hard for them both, and I couldn't stop turning the pages, practically praying that things would work out for them.

Magic Under Glass is fast-paced and enchanting, with an ending that will leave you shocked and wanting more. No, make that needing more. Dolamore has written her debut novel with such beauty and grace that I couldn't help but wonder if it really is a debut novel or if there's something she's not telling us.

Summary:Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies to an audience of leering drunks. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act - singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumours abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry's involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton's stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril.

Cover Story: There was quite a bit of controversy about the US cover of this book, and so they changed it. After reading the book, I understand why this was so necessary, as Nim's race is such a major part of who she is and what she has to go through in a new country. Unfortunately, I think the new cover is attrocious, and it gives me no desire whatsoever to read this book. The British cover, however, is quite lovely.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blog Tour Review: Double Trouble by Susan May Warren

Title: Double Trouble

Author: Susan May Warren


Who Should Read It? Do you like Meg Cabot myseries? Did you read and love Truly, Madly? Are you a fan of fun, fluffy chick lit mysteries? Then this book is oh so totally for you!

What I Have to Say: So, I haven't read the first book in the PJ Sugar series - it was supposed to be sent to me to read before this blog tour, but it wasn't, so I ended up not reading it. As such, it took me a while to get into this second book in the series. I felt confused through the beginning, not understanding what was present and what was a flashback. In the end, everything was explained, and this could theoretically be a stand alone novel, but I think you're probably better off if you read the first one first. You'll enjoy this one more.

Anyhow, once I did finally lose the confusion and get into the book, I was glad that I had persevered, as this book was so much fun! PJ Sugar will, without a doubt, charm you away from your problems one laugh at a time. In Double Trouble, the reader follows PJ through her trials and tribulations en route to becoming a trained Private Investigator after she has returned home, after what seems to be a 10 year hiatus. "Double Trouble" is a very apt name for this book, as that is what PJ is - double trouble. No matter what she does, she always just seems to create more and more trouble for herself.

And yet, she is a very identifiable character. The random things that happen to her and the trouble she gets into will have you laughing your pants off - not just because it's so ridiculous and ludicrous, but because it's so easy to understand how some of the things that happen to her MIGHT happen. It's so easy to relate when different versions of the same things have most likely happened in your life. And PJ herself is so fun and funny and likable and gutsy and goofy that you almost just want to pat her on the back and say "Ohhh, PJ!" when bad things happen to her.

The love triangle was also sort of fabulous. With love triangles, I almost always find myself rooting for the boy with whom the girl does not end up, but in this case, well, I just can't decide. I love them both so much, and I love PJ with them, and well, let's just say I thought this love triangle was done in a fresh, fun way, and I'm still curious to see how it's going to turn out.

Double Trouble was an adorably fun mystery that I would recommend to anyone who loves chick lit or girlie mysteries. It's a great book with which to escape from your daily life for a few hours!

Summary (from Goodreads!): With one solved case under her belt, PJ Sugar is ready to dive into her career as a private investigator. Or at least a PI’s assistant until she can prove herself to Jeremy Kane, her new boss. Suddenly PJ’s seeing crime everywhere. But is it just in her head, or can she trust her instincts? When she takes on her first official case—house-sitting for a witness in protective custody—Jeremy assures her there’s no danger involved. But it soon becomes clear that there is someone after the witness . . . and now they’re after PJ, too.

Cover Story: It's quite cute! It's kind of sneaky, with the way she is lifting her eyes and you only see half of her face. Her eye also really gives me the impression that she is trying to figure something out - I want to know what she's thinking. I also think the colors are cool. So, I like it!

Disclosure: This book was sent to me by Stephanie at LitFuse in exchange for a review. This in no way affected my review.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben Winters

Title:Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Author: Jane Austen and Ben Winters


Who Should Read It? People that enjoy mash-ups and don't mind changes to already great literature will most likely find this laugh-out-loud funny. This is a great intro to Jane Austen for those that might find her stories lacking in action.

What I Have to Say: I'm a HUGE Jane Austen fan. I've read and loved everything she ever wrote. I'm also a huge fan of monsters. I love reading books that are, in a sense, rendered ludicrous by their total lack of believability and by the overwhelming amount of monsters they contain. I was therefore sure that Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters was going to be a winner. Sense and Sensibility is a beautifully written masterpiece - add some sea monsters and that can do nothing but augment the awesomeness, right?

Unfortunately, wrong. It stayed just the same amount of awesome. I should have remembered that I don't normally like parodies. The sea monsters did absolutely NOTHING, in my opinion, to add to the story. Luckily, the story stuck pretty closely to the original, so I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience, as if I was reading Sense and Sensibility all over again. The monsters, I found, just got in the way of the actual story. The biggest change for me was that I was disgusted throughout the entire thing by Colonel Brandon, whereas in Sense and Sensibility I was just slightly annoyed by him.

I also found myself getting bored with the bits that were devoted to the monsters, wishing they would hurry along so that I could get back to the actual story line of Sense and Sensibility. The added stories about Margaret and Lucy Steele were also both totally uninteresting to me, and it just seemed too obvious that they had been someone's attempt to add something unnecessary to an already fantastic story.

Still, I'm one of those crazy people that has been known to get bored from too much action, and I am sure that those that find Austen's original stories lacking in action will love these added changes and find that they help speed up the pace of the story while adding humor. I will say this for Ben Winter's added sea monsters - they did make me laugh. I enjoyed his lack of boundaries with the sea monsters he added. It seemed like anything and everything, as long as it involved water, was fair game, and this added spirit.

So, if you enjoy Jane Austen, chances are, you'll enjoy this, as I did. Whether or not you will appreciate the added sea monsters, I think, totally depends on your enjoyment of superfluous action and your sense of humor.

Summary: From the publisher of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes a new tale of romance, heartbreak, and tentacled mayhem. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters expands the original text of the beloved Jane Austen novel with all-new scenes of giant lobsters, rampaging octopi, two-headed sea serpents, and other biological monstrosities. As our story opens, the Dashwood sisters are evicted from their childhood home and sent to live on a mysterious island full of savage creatures and dark secrets. While sensible Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars, her romantic sister Marianne is courted by both the handsome Willoughby and the hideous man-monster Colonel Brandon. Can the Dashwood sisters triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels? This masterful portrait of Regency England blends Jane Austen’s biting social commentary with ultraviolent depictions of sea monsters biting. It’s survival of the fittest—and only the swiftest swimmers will find true love!

Cover Story: It mixes the two aspects of the book quite well, although I have to admit that it also slightly disgusts me when I look at it too closely.

Disclosure: Thanks to Anna at FSB Media for sending me a copy of this book to give an honest review.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Review: Kissing Coffins by Ellen Schreiber

Title: Vampire Kisses

Author: Ellen Schreiber

Rating: 1/2

Who Should Read It? Tweens and early teens wanting to read about vampires!

What I Have to Say: Can you say CLICHE? Take every cliche or stereotype you have ever heard about vampires and goths, put them all together in one book, and what do you get? Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber.
WHO refers to their boyfriend as their "gothic mate?"
I don't know - it was all just a little bit too cheesy for me. There were times when I really felt like I just couldn't take the cheesiness or the cliches anymore without my head exploding.

And yet, in a way, I can see the apppeal. It was fun and quite to read, and it never once bored me. And I can see how a middle grade student trying to be strong and develop their own identity might find a kindred spirit in Raven, with her predicaments and desires and "gothic clothes."

Raven is much more her age in this book than she was in the first one of the series, and as such, she is far more likable. She is spunky and straightforward and, in a way, a good role-model for younger teens going through a rebellious stage. I was once one of those teens, and, while I am not anymore, I think my old self would have easily related to Raven on so many levels.

The story itself, while utterly predictable, was quite fun (when it wasn't annoying me). There were quite a few strings left untied, though, and this frustrated me, especially as they seemed like things that were just looked over, not to be addressed in the next installment. I think, though, that if all the issues had been addressed, it would have been too much for your typical middle grade reader. I also think most of the issues are things most younger readers wouldn't even notice.

So once again, I think this book will have large appeal within its target audience - middle grade vampire fans, but it doesn't reach much further than that. Check here for my review of Vampire Kisses, the first in the series.

Summary: Not far from Dullsville, someone's lurking in the dark. . . .

After meeting the handsome and shadowy Alexander Sterling, goth-girl Raven's dark world has a bright, new glow. But as in her favorite movie, Kissing Coffins, Raven knows that love always has its complications, especially when Alexander has a big secret to guard.

When Alexander suddenly disappears, Raven leaves Dullsville to begin a dangerous search to find him. Can she stay safe, no matter who—or what—she encounters on the way?

Cover Story: This is my favorite cover of the bunch. Raven looks so cool, and the coloring and the coffin all give it a sort of creepy feel!

Friday, February 19, 2010

French Friday (14)

French Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Charlotte at the Book on the Hill. We both live in France, so French Friday is a meme to write about Frenchy bookish things.

So, I am SUPER excited about the upcoming release of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (although I will admit to being a tad bit skeptic about some of the actor choices - ahem! Helena Bonham Carter as the White Queen, for example). As such, I've decided to dedicate this French Friday to FRENCH covers of this timeless classic!

In French, the title is translated Alice au Pays des Merveilles, which pretty much translates directly. I think it has a nice ring to it in French. :-)

My absolute favorite of the French covers I've seen is this one:

I love the fun way all of the elements of the story are combined on this cover. I wouldn't be surprised if this were also the cover of an English edition, but I've only seen it in France.

This is the one that I find the oddest:

Who is that girl on the cover supposed to be? It can't be Alice, as I'm pretty sure her description is nothing like that. It's very weird to me why they would have this image on the cover. It just seems to in no way whatsoever give a feel for the book.

Then there's this one:

Am I wrong, or is Alice portrayed as a sort-of oversized baby on this cover? I guess it's really trying to target a much younger audience.

This one seems to be going for the middle grade readers:

"Actually, I didn't know that cats could smile" is the translation of the phrase on this cover. I don't know why, but this cover to me sort of epitomizes the story.

And last:

This is actually an abridged version used to help teach English to French children and to introduce them to English culture at the same time. I personally have used it several times, and the kids absolutely adore it! I have converted many a child to Alice in Wonderland love, especially via private lessons.

I always used to love going through and looking at all of the American and British covers, so that was fun going and seeing some of the French illustrations. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Now, don't forget to go check out Charlotte's French Friday at the Book on the Hill!

A vendredi prochain!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: the Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler

Title: the Cupcake Queen

Author: Heather Hepler


Who Should Read It? Despite Penny's age, I would recommend this more for a middle grade audience than a YA audience.

What I Have to Say: When her parents separate, Penny moves with her mother to the small town in which her mother grew up. Her mother opens a cupcake bakery, and Penny works in the bakery, mostly decorating cupcakes. It SOUNDS like a book that I should have absolutely loved. My parents are divorced, I ADORE small towns (and wish fervently that I lived in one), cupcakes are one of my favorite desserts, and I would LOVE to be able to decorate cupcakes anywhere nearly as awesome as Penny. Oh, and I love the Beatles, and Penny Lane was, of course, named after the Beatles song. So yes, all this said, I SHOULD have loved this book.

And yet, I didn't. Don't get me wrong, I really did enjoy reading it, and I smiled quite a few times throughout the book, maybe even laughing once or twice. And the story itself is definitely solid. And yet there was absolutely nothing special about it, nothing whatsoever to make me sit back and say "wow, that was great." It attempts to deal with issues such as loneliness, grief, separation, death and bullying, but really it mostly just ends up brushing over them. Penny is supposed to suffer, and she does, but I found her running back and forth from one issue another to another so much that I never really got a feeling as to what she was actually feeling and how she was dealing.

There's also the small issue of description. Even at the end of the book, I never had a clear idea as to what Penny and Tally and Blake and Marcus looked like. I spent the majority of the book wondering if Tally and Blake were actually dating, as it was never said explicitly, and there were minimal clues. And at the end, I did manage to understand why Penny and Marcus might fall for each other, but none of those reasons were actually there in the beginning when they knew nothing about each other, and I am still confused as to how they fell for each other (and why Marcus acted the way he did) when there was nothing evident about their attraction.

Already this review is getting slightly long, and I have done nothing but complain about this book, but I must give credit where credit is due. There were quite a few enjoyable scenes throughout the book, and as such, it was a very easy and enjoyable read. Also, her descriptions of the cupcakes and of Penny at the beach were vivid and beautiful.

If you've got some free time, and this book happens to be lying around, I say pick it up. You'll probably enjoy it. At the same time, I wouldn't go out of my way to try to obtain a copy. :-) I can also see, though, how this might more easily appeal to a middle grade reader than an older YA or "adult that loves YA" reader.

Summary: A confection of a novel, combining big city sophistication with small town charm.

When her mother moves them from the city to a small town to open up a cupcake bakery, Penny’s life isn’t what she expected. Her father has stayed behind, and Mom isn’t talking about what the future holds for their family. And then there’s Charity, the girl who plays mean pranks almost daily. There are also bright spots in Hog’s Hollow—like Tally, an expert in Rock Paper Scissors, and Marcus, the boy who is always running on the beach. But just when it looks as though Penny is settling in, her parents ask her to make a choice that will turn everything upside down again. A sweet novel about love, creativity, and accepting life’s unexpected turns.

Cover Story: I love this cover! It's the reason I read the book. It makes me want to eat delicious princessy cupcakes! Yum! And the fact that they look like they are about to fall into a disaster - well, it's perfect for the book.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Review: Truly, Madly by Heather Weber

Title: Truly, Madly

Author: Heather Weber


Who Should Read It? Lovers of chick-lit and cutesy YA, especially those in the mood for a fun, fresh mystery!

What I Have to Say: CUTE! One concise word says it all in the case of Lucy Valentine. She is adorable, her friends are adorable, super hot Sean is adorable, the mystery is adorable, and Lucy and her family's agency is adorable. So, really, cute just says it all.

Lucy Valentine has a problem - When her parents leave town, she finds herself working in the place of her father, making matches, which she doesn't know how to do. You see, instead of being blessed with the gift of matchmaking, like the rest of her family, she is psychic. But not cool, helpful psychic. She can find THINGS that have been lost. That's it, that's all. She wishes she could at least be the kind of psychic that could help out humanity in some way, but she's just not. Does she let this get her down? Absolutely not. Through her matchmaking, she finds herself caught up in her very first mystery. She hires the super hot private investigator (aka Sean) upstairs to help her with her matches and the mystery, and hilariousness and romance ensue.

Lucy Valentine is funny and caring and slightly sassy, and there is no way you can read this book without thinking at least once that you might like her as your friend. As she and Sean work together to solve "the mystery," we meet the cast of characters surrounding Lucy, and every single one of them brought a smile to my face. Sure, Lucy is wonderful, but on of the things that made this book so much fun is that so are the quirky, funny, interesting secondaries - the over-bearing, desperate grandmother, the infidel father, the animal-loving confused best friends, the sarcastic mother,. . .

All in all, this is a light, fun read that will easily keep you turning pages. It's just the right amount of humour mixed with just the right amount of suspense and just the right amount of romance. Oh, and I can't forget to mention - just the right amount of paranormal! I'm so excited that it's a series, and that I will therefore be able to read about Lucy's next adventure is Deeply, Desperately, which I'm sure will also be CUTE! I know I'll be reading it!

Summary: Meet Lucy Valentine; sassy, fabulously original…and psychic.

Lucy hails from a long line of matchmakers known as Valentine INC. According to family legend, the Valentines have been blessed by Cupid with the ability to help couples find true love. Trouble is Lucy’s powers were zapped away by an electrical surge and now all she can find are lost objects.

But what good is that in the matchmaking world?

Lucy is about to find out when she tries to solve a murder and winds up falling into a romance of her own.

Cover Story: I think it's quite adorable. I like the flashyish purple color with the vines and the cute little heart. Although I have to admit that I don't really know what that door is all about. Still, I think the feel of the cover really fits the feel of the book appropriately.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Review: The Dresskeeper by Mary Naylus

Title: The Dresskeeper

Author: Mary Naylus


Who Should Read It: Anyone and everyone, really, as long as they are over the age of 12. It's great for its target audience, middle age girls, but I can also see it having a HUGE appeal in the YA or even adult market.

What I Have to Say: This creative, quirky story was an absolute JOY to read! Penelope aka Picky is absolutely HILARIOUS! She has no shame. She's a fat (or, as is said in the book, hefty), acne covered thirteen year old who doesn't even know what a Nazi is (I personally would have been embarrassed at 13 to not know about Nazis), and she is totally okay with it. More than okay with it. I couldn't help but laugh basically every time she reflected on something. And her brother, Ollie, whose role is very small, is also hilarious.

The premise of this book was fantastic. Picky tries on colorful, smelly, poofy (and hideous in her mind) old dresses and is miraculously transported back to the 17th century as the girl who wore the dresses. While there, she has to try to solve (and possibly stop) a murder. Naylus plays the time travel aspect expertly, and it is fun learning about the 17th century through the eyes of our shameless protagonist. The poo-covered streets, the people dying of smallpox, the hot slave boys,. . . Through Picky's eyes, we were able to see humour while at the same time understand the tragedy that was life back then. I was also kept guessing up until the very end; when the reveal came about, I was actually surprised, and that very rarely happens for me!

My only real problem with this book was all of the "Britishisms." I can't help but wonder if some of that will be changed for when the book is released in the US. There were times when I had trouble understanding some things because the expressions were totally foreign to me.

Naylus' approach to a time-traveling murder mystery was unique and fun, and the narrative itself was completely absorbing. I couldn't put this book down, and I actually had FUN reading it!

Summary (from GoodReads): This title is suitable for children of ages 12 years & over. When 13-year-old Picky's Mum forces her to look after Gran, who has dementia, she is accidentally locked in Gran's dusty old attic. There she finds a chest full of old clothes, and tomboy Picky is forced to don what appears to be a ball-gown when the freezing night temperatures hit. As soon as the dress is pinned together, Picky is transported back to the year 1700, where a man who appears to know her as Amelia is trying to kill her. Managing to get the dress off just in time, Picky returns to the present with the dress covered in blood. Did the man kill the girl called Amelia? Will wearing the other dresses in the chest take her back in time too? And will she be in danger again should she try it? "The Dresskeeper" uses a contemporary 13-year-old viewpoint to explore this murder mystery, set in the early 18th Century.

Cover Story: I like it. It's cool and creepy with the black and then the colorful poofy dresses sweeping across it. I feel like it fits the story well.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

IMM (9)

In My Mailbox awesomeness is brought to you by Kristi at the Story Siren!!!!

Last week I mentioned I might be catching up with my tbr pile. Yeah - not happening! As mentioned in the last post, I went home for the superbowl, and I had a quite a few books waiting for me! I also made the mistake of hopping on over to Books-A-Million, where there were tons of books on sale for $1 or $2. I couldn't help but buy some.

So this is what I got this week:

For review:

-No Mad by Sam Moffie
-Double Trouble by Susan May Warren
-The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni


-Explorer X - Alpha by LM Preston (from the Book Scout)
-A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer(from Sheere Dry)
-Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Graham-Smithe(from Nikola's Book Blog)
-Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben Winters(from Nikola's Book Blog)


-the Wanderer's Tale by David Bilsborough
-Nice Girls Do by Sarah Duncan
-A Tale of Two Sisters by Anna Maxted
-Sayonara Bar by Susan Barker

I'm especially psyched about the House of Tomorrow! Yay! What did you guys get this week?

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My Contests

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