Friday, August 26, 2011

Goodbye, Summer!

Wow, where has the time gone?! It feels like just yesterday I was updating here regularly, enjoying my summer reading, and then... nothing. For those who have been looking for something here, I apologize for the disappearing act! But, in my defense, my thesis and master's comprehensive exams (which I passed!!) sort of crept up on me and everything else fell by the wayside. I spent the whole summer studying and writing, and everything else sort of took a hit. Including this blog, which had at the early part of the summer truly been my refuge.

All that said, it would be a bit hard to update at the moment because I haven't had much time to read anything you would be interested in hearing about. I will be posting a review for the classic Gothic novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, but it will probably be done in parts. There's no way I can talk about a 700 pages novel of that caliber in one sitting. So, look for that in the near future.

Oh, I'm also reading the Twilight Saga this summer, as master's thesis research, and you can believe I have something to say about that. I'll probably be posting a review for Stephanie Meyer's Twilight, soon, as well. I cannot believe I didn't read these books before, but let me say, there are moments I really felt let down. I'll get to that in the reviews, which might also come in parts, because I have quite a lot to say, and that series is a lot of pages.

For now, I'm on the lookout for anything and everything having to do with the Hunger Games movie, as I adored that series. I may also look for a moment or two to re-read it, but there're so many great books on my reading list that I'm not sure where the time would come from. Otherwise, I'm working on a great romance novel, review forthcoming.

Finally, a new semester is about to begin Monday and with it comes a totally new experience for me. My first semester as GTA, rather than just GA begins, and that "T" in GTA means I'll be teaching. While I taught basic writing last semester, this semester I'm jumping into Introduction to College Composition with two sections and 50 students! It's going to be a blast, and while I'm a little bit scared, I'm also really thrilled to be getting this opportunity. So, my chances to read might be limited by the overabundance of grading that comes along with having 50 students!

I'll be sure to update this blog at every opportunity. Thanks for hanging in there with me, hiatus and all!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Notorious

NotoriousAuthor: Nicola Cornick {site}
Genre: Historical, Romance
Format: Kindle
Published: 19 July 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Disclosure: Acquired via NetGalley
Series: Yes


When I reached the end of this book, I couldn't help but smile and to say I enjoyed it would be something of an understatement. As a fan of regency romance, I enjoy a well told story that brings the period to life. Cornick certainly succeeds on that stage, this story's quite well told. I will admit to some small degree of discomfort reading this book as it's the fourth book in a series, the first three of which I've not had a chance to read yet. I didn't know when I started it that I was reading out of order, which is generally an issue for me. This series, however, includes a number of stand alone novels revolving around the same family/group. After reading this novel, I'll definitely be seeking out the first three.

Truly, there was very little about Notorious that I didn't like. The characters, James Devlin--or "Dev"--and Susanna Burney are very likable personalities. Dev is dead sexy, as the male lead of a romance should be, and Susanna is enormously sympathetic.  As a couple, they've got sparks and I loved their chemistry from the start. The secondary characters are sweet and terrible, at intervals, and you feel as sorry for some of them as you dislike others. Overall, the people in this book, including Lord Alex and his lovely bride, stars of the first novel in the series, are well devised and unique. Of course, some of them should be, she's been writing about them for four books now.

The plot was well played and quite interesting. I felt the turmoil the characters were feeling, and Susanna's situation is a unique one. I don't think I've come upon anything quite like it. There are moments when I felt an immense sympathy for her, and others when I adored her fire. The one thing I will say that I didn't much care for was the stuff about the children, but even that was sparse enough that it didn't detract from the plot much at all. It was just sprinkled in there, without getting in the way, though children in a romance novel aren't my ideal reading and do nothing to feed my enjoyment. Cornic does it well, however, leading to a situation that is sympathetic without being distracting.

Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis: {via amazon}
When the ton's most notorious heartbreaker…

Dangerously seductive and sinfully beautiful, Susanna Burney is society's most sought after matchbreaker. Paid by wealthy parents to part unsuitable couples, she's never yet failed to accomplish her mission of diverting a groom-to-be. Until her final assignment brings her face-to-face with the man who'd once taught her an intimate lesson in heartache….

Meets London's most disreputable rake…

James Devlin has everything he's always wanted: a title, a rich fiancĂ©e and a place in society. But the woman who's just met his eyes across a crowded ballroom threatens it all. Not because she'd once claimed his heart, or that every sinuous swirl of her ball gown takes his breath away. But because the secrets she carries could cost him everything. To put the past to rest once and for all, Dev just might have to play Susanna at her own wicked game….

Let the seduction begin!
**Review copy acquired free from Harlequin at NetGalley. The review copy was Kindle format and, as an eARC, is subject to change before publication.**

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WWW Wednesday: No. 2

I am having an amazingly slow week. Everything seems to be coming along just after I'd like it to be. Blog posts at mid-afternoon, rather than mid-morning, for example! So, I thought a meme might be a fun way to spend the afternoon, and as always MizB at Should Be Reading has one to offer. So, here's my contribution to WWW Wednesday...

What are you currently reading?
My current read is The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe (published in 1794). Okay, I wouldn't say I'm currently reading it, more like I just moved it to the top of my to-be-read pile and will start it this afternoon. It's one of the books upon which I intend to base my thesis, so I need to get after it! Today's as good a day as any.
I'm also going to start reading The Harlot by Saskia Walker, for those times when I really need a break from the dense academic reading involved in digesting something like Udolpho. Besides, I love the cover!
What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished Kasey Michaels' The Taming of the Rake.  I really quite liked it, the review is coming soon. I will say, if you really enjoy regency, and you've read and enjoyed Kasey Michaels novels, you'll like this book. The expected publication date for this book is July 26th, but you can read an excerpt at Kasey Michaels' website if you're interested.
clermontxl What do you think you'll read next?
Next up is definitely Clermont by Regina Maria Roche (published 1798).  One of the horrid novels suggested by Isabella Thorpe in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Clermont is both one of the classical gothic novels, and was written by a contemporary of Ann Radcliffe, the first female Gothic. If you hadn't guessed already, this book is also on of the novels for my thesis.
collidecover Also...
I don't normally read contemporary romance--I normally stick to regency romance--but I couldn't resist this one. I love, love, love the cover! So, on the weight of the cover and the description on NetGalley, I'm going to give this one a go. This is going to be my reading vacation from Clermont, should I need one. Sometimes, I just need a fun read to break away with.
All right, so there it is. Better late than never, I suppose. I really need to step it up. I don't know what's going on this week, but maybe next week will be better. No, next week will be better since I'm going to a book signing! For now, adieu!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: No. 6

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
It's summer and I'm participating in the 2011 Summer Romance Challenge, so like last week, this week's teaser will be coming from a romance novel! I'm currently reading The Taming of the Rake* by Kasey Michaels and I'm enjoying it. I've not had as much time to read lately as usual, or at least not my usual reading, as I'm embarking this week on researching and writing my thesis introduction, as well as studying for my comprehensive exams. Ah grad school, can't even escape it in the summer! So, without further ado...


"I'll take that as a yes," Beau said, looking longingly at the wine decanter. "How long before he misses you and comes racing hotfoot over here, brandishing a pistol, and demanding I present myself?"

Chelsea glanced assessingly at the mantel clock. "We should probably be going."
*Expected publication date for this novel is July 26th. This tiny excerpt comes from the eARC and is subject to change before publication. Review forthcoming.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

On My Wishlist: No. 5

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. Post the books you're dying to have but haven't gotten yet, head over to Book Chick City, add your name to the linky and you're off!

There are so many books on my wishlist, it's not funny. If I managed to have them all, my TBR list would be even more unmanageable than it is right now. Last week, I had a series on my wishlist. This week, another series! Since I'm a sucker for a good romance, particular regency, here's this week's On My Wishlist...




I saw these three books on I'm Loving Books and Sarah seemed to enjoy them, so I put them on my wishlist. I love the titles and the covers, and the plots seem like something right up my alley.  I'm going to be looking to get them in the next few weeks for my Kindle. Can't wait to read them!

So tell me, what's on your wishlist?!

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Cute Little Book for Girls Who Game

While out and about with my husband today, we dropped into the Hastings. For those who might not know, a Hastings is a media store--books, movies, music, etc. It's not exactly a book store, but it suffices in the absence of one. While we were there, we wandered over to the gaming books and while my husband browsed books for Dungeons & Dragons, and World of Darkness, I happened upon this...


Given that I've been a gamer for upwards of 12 years, a beginner's guide isn't really something I need anymore, but this book is so cute that I couldn't resist! It's a short guide for girls who game, particularly those who play Dungeons & Dragons, as it was published by Wizards of the Coast, the producers of D&D. The inside is white, black, and pink and has little tidbits of advice for girls playing in a world ruled by boys. This picture really doesn't do the cover justice, but it's the best one I could find. If you're a girl who games, you might find this cute little book to be worth a look!

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday - June 3

Book Blogger Hop
It's Friday and that means blog hops!  Until now, I've only been participating in Follow Friday, but seeing the Book Blogger Hop buttons all over the web has inspired me to join the fun! Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy-for-Books and is a way to meet new people and get to know everyone a bit better. Just go to her site, get the button, answer the question, and put your info in the linky, easy as that!

This week's question: Share your favorite post from the last month and tell us why it’s close to your heart!
I think my favorite post from May was my Reflection: YA Lit post. I enjoyed discussing the evolution of YA lit, which has become something quite close to my heart as I read a heck of a lot of YA lit now a days, even though I'm in my early thirties. If you haven't read it, go check it out and tell me what you think, I'm quite proud of it!

Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee's View, as most of you know. The object is to follow the weekly blogger, answer the weekly question, and link up with others through the linky on Parajunkee's site.

This week's featured blogger is Amy from Backseat Reader. Go, check her out and say hello!

This week's question: What are you doing to prepare for an upcoming zombie apocalypse and/or the return of Mel Gibson to the silver screen? (Both of which could be terrifying.)
Let's see, to prepare for the zombie apocalypse I'm stocking up on Twinkies! I have it on good authority (does Woody Harrelson count as "good authority"?) that Twinkies can survive anything, and really, who can resist that spongy golden cake and cream filling? So, yes, Twinkies.  Oh, and I've just learned from this week's featured blogger, Amy, that the CDC has guidelines, so I'm taking them under advisement... but definitely Twinkies.
As for Mel Gibson... there is no way to prepare for that. There just isn't.  I think I'd prefer the zombies!
This week's questions were particularly fun and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's responses. Have a lovely Friday!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: Dangerous Lord, Innocent Governess

DLIGAuthor: Christine Merrill {site}
Genre: Regency Romance
Format: Kindle
Published: 1 July 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Disclosure: Acquired via NetGalley
Series: No

Synopsis: {via harlequin}
Daphne Collingham is masquerading as a governess in Lord Timothy Colton's home— determined to discover if he is responsible for her beloved cousin's death. She's prepared to uncover secrets and scandal, but the biggest revelation is the way she feels under the lord's dark gaze….

Lord Colton is suspicious of the alluring new governess—and with the furor surrounding him he must control his passion. But a man has his limits, and the delectable Miss Collingham is pure temptation….

I'm a sucker for regency romance, so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. I love the title, which speaks quite well to what happens to be happening in the book... perhaps a little too well. I was also drawn in  by the cover, which is quite lovely. I'm a sucker for a good cover and Harlequin seems to know exactly what they're doing with their quite compelling covers! I mean, who wouldn't want to go to work for him?! The story, however, didn't completely draw me in for quite a long time. So, here's what I liked and what I didn't so much like.

The Pros:

Lord Timothy Colton. When I couldn't connect with this book at first, I kept reading because I could connect with him. I really liked him. I'm a sucker for the brooding, dark, tormented soul male leads and he's got those things. He's also got quite a good reason to be so moody, yet he's more than he seems at first and I liked that. He has depth and is charming despite himself. Some of the gestures he makes in the book, I won't say what they are and give them away, are really sweet and thoughtful. He's a man women want, certainly.

The resolution. I thought the book worked itself out well. The end was appropriate without going overboard. All of the loose ends were tied up neatly and this story worked out just the way I like my regency romance to work out. It fit the formula, which is exactly what I want in a regency romance. Go away from the formula too much and you've jumped the rails on regency.

The Cons:

The pacing. This story was quite awkwardly paced. It dragged on and on until anything of consequence happened. Once she finally got to something really interesting, I was about about 50%. A book needs to take off much quicker than that to keep me reading, yet I stuck with this one for reasons stated above. Once things started happening, and the book picked up, they kept moving at a reasonable pace and kept my interest. I only wish that it could have done so since the beginning.

The frame. By this, I mean I didn't much care for the way Daphne found her way into the household. There was too much time being a governess and not enough time working out the mystery. For me, a governess tale can be a governess tale without spending 50% of the book talking about children studying. This book did just that, it talked overly much about children studying and how bad a governess Daphne is. I don't see that it was all that significant, except where little Sophie is concerned. Also, when you spend too much time talking about children in a romance novel, it sort of shatters the sexy factor. I'm sorry, but it does!

The Verdict:

It was okay. Not fantastic, not horrible... just okay. By the end, I was smiling, but I spent a lot of time wondering when this story was going to go somewhere and doing so got my mind to wandering away from what was happening in the book, which for a long time was nothing. The characters were all unique and Merrill clearly has a strong voice. Unfortunately, the use of too many coordinating conjunctions (and, but) at the beginning of sentences was distracting at best. Sometimes, it's fine to start a sentence with and, but it shouldn't be done regularly, as it's a way to produce emphasis. Emphasis too frequently emphasized fails to be emphasis anymore. It quite bothered the English major in me.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Reading Challenge 2011

I've been reading quite a lot of romance lately, so when I saw that one of my favorite blogs, Book Chick City, was hosing a Summer Romance challenge, I couldn't resist signing-up. If you're looking for a new challenge, go check it out and sign-up. The goal is to read 8 books over the summer, or 16, if you're looking for a challenge!

I've just gotten a whole bunch of Galley's from Harlequin at NetGalley (Thanks Lisa!), so this challenge's perfect. Here's my summer romance challenge reading list, in no particular order:

  • Dangerous Lord, Innocent Governess by Christine Merrill
  • The Taming of the Rake by Kasey Michaels
  • The Harlot by Saskia Walker
  • Collide by Megan Hart
  • Tell Me More by Janet Mullany
  • Notorious by Nicola Cornick
  • Seduction and Scandal by Charlotte Featherstone
  • By His Majesty's Grace by Jennifer Blake
Wow, I just noticed that most of them are regency romance. I do so love a good regency romance!! Anyhow, once the books are read, I'll post reviews. Oh and did I mention there're prizes? You can post your reviews at Book Chick City's site for a chance to win prizes. Looking forward to seeing your list of summer romance reads!

Cover Love: May

I' Cover Love

As much as I love covers, I couldn't resist this. Cover Love is a monthly meme hosted by Sarah at I'm Loving Books. It's easy to play along, just go to her site, grab the button, make a post discussing your favorite covers from the previous month, then link your post to her site with the linky. Simple as that.

corsetcoverEasily my first and favorite pick of May's covers is Kady Cross's The Girl in the Steel Corset. I loved it from the moment I saw it. Love at first sight, really! It's so beautiful and elegant, and speaks to the book perfectly--which I enjoyed by the way. The girl is quite pretty and it's easy to imagine Finley looking like that. The dress and the way it spreads to the bottom of the page is just fantastic, and I love the peek at the steel corset at her back. Perfect! I even like the faint gears in the backdrop. Lovely!

Check out my review!

narcise This cover for Colleen Gleason's The Vampire Narcise is not only one of my favorites from the books I reviewed during May, it's one of my favorites period. I love it. I think it's probably the cover with the elegant floral swirls that got me. The woman on the cover is remarkably beautiful and very much the way Narcise might appear. Anyhow, the story was fantastic and I loved it. Next to Dimitri, it was my favorite of the trilogy and worth a read.

Check out my review!


This cover is so pretty, how could you not love it?! I really enjoyed the book and feel like the cover did a quite adequate job of representing what happens within. Most of all, I really like the greenery, the girl's gown and sandals, and the typography. The greek look to the letters is a lovely touch. Overall, it has a very mythic feel.  If I wrote a book playing on a greek myth, I would love for it to have this cover! It's beautiful without being distracting or overwhelming, as some cover's can be.

Check out my review!

So now that you've seen mine, go get the button and show us what your favorite covers were from May!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: No. 5

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This week, without shame, I bring you a teaser from a romance novel. I think you'll come to see that I am an absolute sucker for regency romance. I can't resist it. If it even hints at regency romance, I'm on it. That said, this is a recent passion of mine, so I'm far from an expert. So, without further ado, here's my teaser this week. And yes, yes I did pick this one because I love the cover!  Look at that man, he's quite dashing...

'Miss Collins.' He did not move. And although she had not through him a particularly large man, he seemed to fill the stairwell in front of her, blocking her progress. 'What a surprise to find you creeping about the house so late at night.'
So far, I'm enjoying the book okay.  Lots and lots of sentences start with coordinating conjunctions and it distracts me. Small things, but there you have it. This teaser comes from the Kindle edition, from NetGalley, location 613-19. Now, I'm off to say hello to some of my blogging friends and then get back to the book!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Musing Mondays: No. 1

Musing Mondays is one of the awesome weekly events hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Go, check out her blog and participate in the weekly fun.

Wow, it's late. I meant to get to this all day, but other things kept coming up. It's nearly time for Teaser Tuesday and here I am writing a post for Musing Mondays. I suppose as long as it's still Monday, it still counts! :) So, without further adieu, here's this week's topic: Describe the last time you were stumped for something to read, and you took measures to remedy that — either by going to the bookstore, the library, or shopping elsewhere. What book did you choose? Did it get you out of your slump?

I would say that I go through a small slump every single time I finish a really good book. If it's been a trilogy or series, the slump is somewhat greater. While I always get over them and find something new to read, it usually involves sacrificing a book to my malaise before it ends. Here's what I mean: When I finished, say, the Hunger Games series, I had to read a book to get over the feeling of loss I suffered at the end of Mockingjay. This involved understanding that I wouldn't enjoy said book as much as I maybe could because it followed, and therefore stood in the shadow, of something amazing. In the case of the Hunger Games, I followed it up with The Girl in the Steel Corset and, as a result, I didn't quite find the fulfillment I might have.

Otherwise, when I'm trying to overcome a slump, I do one of three things: read book blogs, browse Amazon, or haunt GoodReads. It might also be any combination of the three. I'm not very particular, I just need to be inspired to overcome it. Looking at book covers, reading reviews, and buffing up my wishlist is a good medicine for what ails me.  I don't spend much time at the library because the one where I live is tiny and filled with old books. They don't have much of anything, which is very disappointing. I enjoy going to B&N or Half-Price Books, but there isn't one in the town where I live, so I have to be happy with Hastings, which is not the same thing by far.

So there you have it!  I hope to get around and see some of the other answers to this week's query. I hope you've had an amazing, productive Monday. Oh, before I go, I should add that I would have a review coming because I just finished Nicola Cornick's Notorious but the review won't come for a few weeks because the book's not out until mid-July. So, I'm reading Dangerous Lord, Innocent Governess instead. Review forthcoming. Good night!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

On My Wishlist: No. 4

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. Post the books you're dying to have but haven't gotten yet, head over to Book Chick City, add your name to the linky and you're off!

This week, there's a series on my wishlist. I usually pick three books I can't wait for, and put them here, but there's not normally a theme. This week, a theme! These books look so good and their covers are so beautiful. I cannot believe I haven't had the opportunity to get them sooner.

So simply and yet, hauntingly beautiful. I love it. I'm a sucker for a good cover and this whole series, so far, has remarkably beautiful covers. This book's been out since September 2010 and has, somehow, slipped my attention. The only thing better than a good cover is a great story, so I'm looking forward to getting my paws on this one.
There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.
I actually saw this one before Fallen, wanted to get it, but realized it's the second in a series. I can't read a series out of order, it's not in me, so I went looking for Fallen. Now, I want both of them!
Hell on earth. That's what it's like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts - immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students -Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn't told her everything. He's hiding something - something dangerous. What if Daniel's version of the past isn't actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else? The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.
Bet you weren't surprised to see this one! It won't be out until June, so I've got a small wait, but I'm thinking that gives me more than enough time to get the first two and read them before this one hits shelves.
"Every single lifetime, I'll choose you. Just as you have chosen me. Forever."

Luce would die for Daniel. And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . . .

Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last.

Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history.

Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever.
I hope you're having a good Saturday. I'm off to check out some other wishlists and then I'm going to snuggle down with my Kindle and work on my current read, Notorious by Nicola Cornick!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Armchair BEA: Day 5

It's the last day of Armchair BEA. It's been a blast, even though I didn't get around to meeting as many people as I would have liked. So then, onto the final topic, shall we?

Today's topic: Blogging about blogging!

There's so much to say about blogging, I'm not sure where to start. I haven't been book blogging for very long, but I have been personal blogging for about the last 8 years (wow, has it been that long?) and it's been an experience. I will say, book blogging is quite different than personal blogging.  It has a structure, a built in topic, where personal blogging really doesn't, which makes this a totally unique experience. So, rather than rambling on and on, I'm going to address a few of the questions for today's topic at Armchair BEA.

How do you utilize social networking in relation to your blog? What may be the pros and cons of doing so?

Because I'm still feeling my way around, and it's been a somewhat slow process for me because this blog sat dormant for a long time over at WordPress before I moved it here and started to really engage with it, I don't use a lot of social networking so far. I don't have a facebook page for my blog, but may do so at some point in the future. I do have a twitter account for this blog (@aturnofpage) where I share my posts, books I'm reading, etc. Oh, and I'm on GoodReads and would love to connect with other book bloggers there. I would love to hear any suggestions for social networking others have!

Share some of your favorite blogging technical tips.

This is a hard one for me. I feel like, technically speaking, that reviews should be kept to a manageable read. Here's the problem, I don't feel like I keep mine manageable. They're very long, but it's something I'm working on and have tried to account for with sub-headers. They're still really, really long and it's something I need to work on. Concise isn't my best talent by far. One of my professors told me I write really long, beautiful sentences, but I really should try to be more concise. It's never a skill I've mastered. On the HTML, technical side, I can't share anything because, well, I'm not terribly adept. I do okay, but most of it goes well over my head. Oh, I should add that I installed the LinkWithin widget to this blog on the suggestion of another blogger's post for todays Armchair BEA, so I've already learned something new!

Create a "rule list" of things you should and shouldn't be doing on a book blog.

Hmm... okay, one rule: Write what you're passionate about. We all blog because we love books. We're passionate about lit, or we wouldn't have gone to the trouble to start a blog to talk about it. So, carry that passion forward in every entry. I really try to make my reviews, for example, as meaningful as I can... which is why they're so long. I love blogging, I love reading, this blog is the natural evolution of those passions.

What are your tips for balance life and blogging?

I am 100% the wrong person to ask about this. I'm a graduate student, I work teaching classes, and I have a husband, which means there are a lot of people/things vying for my attention and I'm not terribly good at keeping all the ball in the air. I blog when I have time, to let down from the stress, in between classes, assignments, spending time with my husband, grading papers... the list goes on. I do it when I have time and something to say. Right now, I'm on summer break, and while I should be studying for the comps and working on my master's thesis, I still have more time right now than usual. When school starts back in August, we'll see.

What genre do you blog about and why?

I try not to restrict it to any one particular genre because I love all books. There're some genre's I don't read (memoir, western, Christian romance, technical, etc), so I don't talk about them. For the most part, what you'll find here is YA, romance, paranormal, historical, fantasy, dystopia, mythological, and horror. I love romance novels, for many reasons, so I'll probably start a feature for "Steamy page turners" which I'll label with some sort of banner or button so they're distinguishable as 18+.

How do you keep your blog fresh and interesting to your readers & yourself?

This is another thing I'm still working on. I do a lot of memes and hops, which are fun but I think I need more than that. I do reviews, and have been doing "reflection" posts where I talk about different things (so far I've done the evolution of YA and The Hunger Games casting), which I might make a weekly feature. Otherwise, I may try a contest here and there, but I don't know, they seem like a lot to coordinate. I welcome suggestions from others about how I might achieve this!

There are quite a few book blogging events out there. Which are your favorites and why? How do they affect your blog directly?

I do a lot of weekly meme's and hops, including:
  • On My Wishlist (Saturday)
  • In My Mailbox
  • Teaser Tuesday
  • WWW Wednesdays
  • Follow Friday
I think, however, that I'm going to have to narrow it down to only a few of them, maybe three, I just can't decide which three. Probably On My Wishlist, Teaser Tuesday, and Follow Friday. That opens the week for reflection posts and reviews. I just don't get enough books to do In My Mailbox regularly. 

So there you have it. I had a really good time doing Armchair BEA. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by and said hello!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: The Goddess Test

1921goddess_coverAuthor: Aimee Carter {site}
Genre: YA, Romance, Mythology
Format: Kindle
Published: 19 April 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Disclosure: Acquired via NetGalley
Series: Yes (trilogy)

Synopsis: {via amazon}
It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

I should preface this review with the admission that I'm a huge Greek Mythology fan. I've been reading and enjoying it for quite a few years, and studying Classical Greek literature while in college only strengthened my adoration for all things Greek! Truth be told, it's not the only mythology I enjoy, I also really like Norse, but the Greeks are my favorite by far. So, when I read the synopsis for this book, I knew I had to have it. Not wanted it, but had to have it.

The Characters:

Now that I'm done with it, I'm happy to say that it doesn't disappoint. The characters are all quite believable and the main character, Kate, is quite sympathetic. Given that the book is about Kate undertaking the seven tests to become an immortal, the first person narration was not only appropriate but very well done. Other than Kate, my favorite character was Henry, by far. I tend to fall for the dark, brooding, tortured soul male leads and Henry's got that. He's a good character, he comes across dark and filled with pain and loneliness--he also comes across as someone not quite connected to life, which is appropriate considering that he, well, Hades. How could I not fall for that?!

Ava and James were also really good characters, though they weren't as present as either Kate or Henry. Considering it was Kate and Henry's story, though, I didn't expect them to be. Ava could be quite annoying and impish at times, but by the end of the book it becomes clear why she behaves the way she does (let's just say it's not out of character for her to behave like this). James starts out a cheerful guy and, over the course of the story, evolves into something much more serious.

The Plot:

The plot was well paced and quite sad at parts. Any story that involves a teenager whose mother is dying of cancer is bound to have it's heartbreaking moments. I felt like Carter dealt with the emotion in this story in such a way that it's accessible to readers.  There was never a moment I thought I might cry, or was so touched I had to put the book done, but the emotion is still there. I think, for me, the problem is that I tend to be very skeptical of emotional elements, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. This book really spans the spectrum of emotion with everything from pain to passion, loss to love. I really enjoyed that aspect.

The tests were well placed and when you learn what they are, you start to see not only how she's done on some of them that have passed, but also the traps laid ahead of her. The "bad guy" who really isn't a bad guy, so much as someone driven by selfish motivations, wasn't too apparent and it took me a while to figure out who it was. As a matter of fact, I figured it out only shortly before the book spills it. I tend to catch these things, so I was pleasantly surprised. By the end of the book, when you get to the legend that says who each god is, I had it pretty much figured out. They're quite well portrayed, I must say, each with the characteristics appropriate to his or her god or goddess.

The Verdict:

Rating: 4/5
In all, I'd say this book holds up to its promise. As the first book by a debut author, The Goddess Test is a winner. If you're considering it and you enjoy YA, romance, and mythology I'd say this book is for you. While it got some mixed reviews, I think Carter made a good start with this trilogy. I'm definitely waiting for the next two books, which are slated for February 2012 and November 2012.

Armchair BEA: Day 4

Hi there! I just realized that I skipped right over Armchair BEA day three. No idea where the day went--it's not as though I didn't blog, I just managed to miss the Armchair BEA. But, today I'm back on track today and ready to discuss blogging relationships.

Today's Topic: Relationship you’ve formed with a particular publisher, author, blogger, or bookstore.

I've been contemplating what I'd say here, over the last hour. I'm really new to blogging (the year my blog sat dormant over on WordPress not withstanding), so I haven't formed a lot of relationships with publishers, bookstores, etc. That doesn't mean I don't have anything to say here, I'm quite talkative, you'd have to search long and hard to find a topic I didn't have something to say about!

There have been several blogs that have been quite inspirational or helpful to my starting this blog. I think this was actually part of yesterday's topic, but I managed to miss it, so I'm putting it here instead. Anyhow, I would have to say that the one blog that had the most influence over my decision to start blogging was Parajunkee's View. Her Blogging101 Series has been more helpful to me than anything I've read on blogging so far and I've been able to use many of her tips and suggestions along the way. Without them, I would have been quite lost. Also, she introduced me to NetGalley (via her Blogging101 stuff) and for that I'll be forever in her debt.

Since I started blogging, I've met a lot of amazing bloggers... too many to name here. I think the community, as a whole, is the most inclusive and helpful blogging community on the web. It helps that we all share a mutual love of books and reading, and without the book blogosphere, there's no way I would have met so many great people who share one of my greatest passions, books!

I don't think I can end this post without mentioning NetGalley. Of all of the things I love about book blogging, NetGalley is at the top of the list--Who doesn't love them?! I adore them, their service is amazing. They've shared so many amazing books with me, many of which I have yet to get around to reviewing. Harlequin, in particular, is my favorite publisher on NetGalley. I've had the opportunity to communicate with Lisa at Harlequin, through NetGalley (and I follow her on Twitter), and she's been very nice! They've been so gracious about approving me for Galley's. Thank you, NetGalley!

I hope everyone's having a nice Thursday!  If you're here from Armchair BEA, say hello, I don't bite! I enjoy meeting new people, and saying hello to those I already know.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reflection: Hunger Games Casting

Yes, like everyone else who has read this series, I'm madly in love with all things Hunger Games! That means the books, the swag (I am dying to have a Mockingjay pin), and, perhaps most of all, the movie. I am dying to see it. I can't wait until 2012... I want it now! For the time being, we all have to sit tight and wait for pictures and trailers to be released, now that casting seems to be done. Ah yes, casting. The only definitive thing I think can be said about the casting is that it's not uniformly appreciated. Everyone has an opinion about it, including me, and since it has come up a few times, I thought I'd share my thoughts.

This Entertainment Weekly cover is what dragged me into the fan frenzy. I was resisting, I was trying to ignore all the talk about the movie because once I'm in, I'm in full-on fangirl mode. I saw a few of the casting choices and, honestly, I wasn't terribly pleased, which only helped me to ignore all the talk. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, I thought, really?  She's so beautiful, so blonde, so... everything Katniss isn't.  Not that she's not attractive, but she's not glamorous. Jennifer Lawrence is glamorous! Bleh.

Then this cover came out and I swooned. Almost literally, swooned. I love it, I think they really captured the essence of who Katniss is. She looks just like that in my mind and seeing it on paper (well, the screen, really) I was completely drawn in. After that, it was almost impossible not to give in to my feelings about the rest of the casting, particularly that of Peeta and Gale. If you read my reviews, you know I loved them, and the whole love triangle thing. I live for love triangles! So, when I saw the casting for Peeta and Gale, I had seriously mixed feelings.

First, Peeta. There's no doubt that Josh Hutcherson is quite good looking. He's adorable, really, and every time I see his smile I just want to hug him. That reaction, I think, is why he was chosen for this role. It took me a while to realize that he was the bad vamp kid in the Cirque du Freak movie. But, his appearance is all wrong for Peeta as far as coloring. He's dark, both hair and eyes, but I'm trying to reserve serious judgement because I didn't think Jennifer Lawrence could pull of Katniss, either, and look how wrong I was on that call. I'm sure he'll make a great Peeta and, best of all, he can actually act. It's going to take monumental acting talent to pull off Peeta convincingly, especially considering that Peeta is so charismatic. I think he can do it and I don't think you have to strain your brain to guess which "team" I'm on here. I loved Peeta from the first, loved him, and I always rooted for him and Katniss. Always.

As for Gale, well, Liam Hemsworth is just gorgeous! Look at his eyes, he's crazy good looking (never mind that his older brother is Thor!).  I have zero problems with this casting. He looks just like I'd imagine Gale to look and I'm sure he'll pull it off. I've never seen him in anything, but even if he's a terrible actor it doesn't really matter all that much because Gale strikes me as the strong silent type. Still, I'm sure he'll be great. I have tremendous confidence in the pick.

As for all the others, I really like the rest of the casting, particularly Haymitch, Prim, and Rue. I think they really did a good job capturing the essence of all of the characters. I'll be interested to see how the movie comes together. More than the casting, I'm concerned about the script. It's going to take a genius script to do this book justice. I hope Hollywood's doesn't extend to casting and make-up and stop short of the script. If so, this will be the biggest disappointment ever. Until we know for sure, here's hoping that our faith is not misplaced.

Quick update to what I've said here. Check out this pic I found on a few minutes ago. It's a fan-made pic of Josh Hutcherson as Peeta...

Goodbye doubt! If I had it before (and I did, really), this seals the deal. I know it's not official, but it helps to see what he may look like as a blond. Love it!