Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Finds [8]

Friday Finds are books that you've heard about during the past week. For me, I'm taking it a step further: these are books I heard about and may potentially read. Friday Finds is hosted by MizB @ Should be Reading.

Forgive My Fins - Tera Lyn Childs; released May 19, 2010

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush. Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life. When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

This one looks interesting, and so I'll probably walk my happy little self to the bookstore on the 19th and pick it up... there's something cool about mermaids, and honestly I don't know of that many other good'ol mermaid books (SUGGESTIONS?) And the cover design looks cool...that's always a plus! I'm not sure, though - this book looks a little "cutesy" and that seems to be a style of Childs'...I'm kinda staying away from Oh My Gods because of that (and because Rick Riordan PWNS the greek-myth-in-modern-culture scenario! BOOM!)

and this one won't come out until the fall :(

Tyger, Tyger (Goblin Wars, #1) by Kersten Hamilton

Teagan Wyllston grew up hearing about Celtic mythology, night crawlers and banshees, and how the Irish Travelers have been at war with goblin kind since before time. One of her favorite stories is the legend of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, the great hero who defended his people and was cursed by the goblin god for all eternity. It's a good one, full of powerful beings and romance, but it is just that . . . a story, and nothing more. That is, until eighteen-year-old Finn comes unexpectedly into her life. Then, suddenly, the stuff of Irish legend doesn't seem quite so fantastical. Could Finn be her hero, like his namesake in the stories? Or is Teagan destined to fight the forces of evil herself?

Myth in the modern world - that's so Percy Jackson! I seriously love this formula and I'm excited to see what it'll be like with Celtic mythology this time. Usually authors who do Celtic stuff concentrate only on faeries and even then they kind of "play around with the facts." So I can't wait for this one! It's slated to be released November 15.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (incredibly early)

I just keep doing this earlier and earlier, hahaha...

it's time for another Book Blogger Hop! For those fellow hoppers, welcome to Imagination in Focus! The idea of the Hop is to network and find cool blogs you might not have found otherwise. Check it out at Crazy-for-Books and join in the fun!

Last week, I found a lot of other amazing blogs...some of them include:

Miel Abielle @ Bon Vivants
Felicia @ Bits n Bytes of a Geeky Blogger (love that title!)
Susan Quinn @ Ink-Spells
S.A. Larsen @ Writer's Ally

Okay, now I'm off to go check out MORE awesome blogs :)


Enna Burning - Shannon Hale
Genre: MG/YA Fantasy
# of pages: 317 pages (Bloomsbury pb)
Amelia's Age-Level Suggestion: 11/12< (6th grade up)

At this moment, I'm still debating whether I like this book better than The Goose Girl ... I certainly love them both, but I'm thinking that I might like this one a little bit more. The Goose Girl was mostly a fairytale retelling; this book is a continuation of Bayern, but it does not revolve around a specific fairytale, and I think that enabled Shannon Hale to write with more artistic and creative freedom. Yes, this is still a "fairytale" book: as in, characters are complex and well-rounded, but not vice-like as you may find in "grown up fiction" or a lot of other YA-books out there. So once again, if you wrinkle your nose at love stories or happy endings, go find something else, because you may not like this story.

Have we rooted out all the anti-happy people? Okay, good, on with the review! So there's a whole lot of what I would call "natural magic" in this series: powers of wind, fire, water, etc., and the ability to communicate with them. The main character of The Goose Girl, Ani/Isi, switches out with Enna, who becomes the main (and titular) character in this story. Central to the plot is Enna's firespeaking ability, a gift/curse that threatens to destroy her if she cannot learn to master it. I really thought that was such an interesting premise, and one that has an obvious theme we readers can take away and apply to our own lives. There are actually many themes that are so easily spotted in Shannon's writing, and I think that is one of the many things I admire about her. She's not one of these authors who spends the whole book trying to point a finger at some societal issue, and she never goes "after school special" either; instead, her story and characters reinforce themes: messages we as the readers can take away and apply to our own lives.

And yes, I agree with other reviews: this book is "darker" than the first one. Enna has an urge to burn. The fire has a life of its own, and it starts to feed off of Enna's life (reminds me very much of the Ring!!!! Remember how the Ring had seemed to be "alive"? Remember how the Ring "wanted to be found"?!?! It's just like that!) The story was intense, in my opinion, but not inappropriate. I'll expand on that later. But one thing I want to ask all the criticizers: have you ever heard of siege warfare? Well, thoughout history (as in, REAL LIFE: not the stuff of fairytales) armies used fire at their enemies: fireballs, flamethrowers, Greek fire, lighted arrows... In other words, people got set on fire in real life...that is not something Shannon Hale just thought up. But I mean, from some of these reviews you'd mistake Enna for Bellatrix Lestrange! She's not particularly happy about setting people on fire... it stinks and everything, but yes, that happens. It's not presented in a graphic way: if anything, it's presented in a blunt, dull way. I kept thinking, "umm, these people are on fire, why is she not *screaming*?" But anyway... Okay and Sileph... wow. I have to admit, I really didnt think he'd be Book #2's "Designated Bad Guy." Yeah, he has one those cocky personalities, and he's a bit on the manipulative side, but I kept waiting for him to redeem himself, somehow... but then...well, I wont say anything. I just didnt expect him to actually be bad. So that was a shocker. Oh, back to why Shannon Hale is Not Inappropriate: she's pretty much the only author I can think of who can take an otherwise provacative situation and make it perfectly tame. Here's a scenario: a girl and a guy sleeping next to each other in a tent. And. Nothing. Happens. At. All. I just want to fax her scenes to some of these other YA authors out there, goodness gracious! Parents, Shannon Hale does not need to be on your Hit List. She's okay. And when two characters who are *actually* in love with each other camp together at night, nothing happens either. Don't you just love that? Nice, sweet romances with no content issues. In fact, the only content issues in this book relate to scenes of war. I didnt find them that disturbing, actually, but in my opinion this should probably be a Middle School and Older series (YA). But I found book so much harder to put down than the first one...and I really loved the first one, too :D I like the conflict in this book: Enna's a great character: strong and spunky, yet still human enough to need others. And I loved the struggles she endured: she was relatable and human, but never self-pitying.

Final Rating: 5/5. I said I liked it as much as The Goose Girl, so I think I have to give it a 5!
Go read the Books of Bayern - they're great!


The Goose Girl - Shannon Hale (Books of Bayern, #1)

Genre: MG/YA Fantasy (depending on which bookstore you visit)
# of pages: 400 (Bloomsbury pb)
Amelia's Age-Level Suggestion: 10< (great for upper elementary and beyond!)

Another old review that I haven't posted over here yet :) Counting down the days until Friday, when fun-reading begins again!

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny.

My thoughts:
As of right now, 6,990 fans have given The Goose Girl the top 5-star rating, and only 62 have given it a 1-star. I guess I'm going to be #6,991, because I obviously have found a new treasure!

This was the first book I had read since finishing the epic saga The Bridei Chronicles in December 2009 (adult historical fantasy by Juliet Marillier - which I also highly recommend!), and I was relieved to have something less perplexing. I generally love fairy-tale retellings, as long as they dont go too "realistic," which is pretty much the modern euphemism for "trashy." I'd actually forgotten about the "Goose Girl" tale, as it never stuck out to me as one of the Grimms' major stories, but I found this book to be a fun but substantial read.

I will say, I could have used more character development. I like my villains to be explained, and I kept wondering as to why the villains in this story (including a backstabbing "frenemy" who could very well be Regina George's ancestor) went to the trouble of doing their deeds. Jealousy? Is that it? The perspective followed the main character, Ani/Isi, all throughout and I could have done with a shift to some other characters, just so I could get a better understanding of what they were going through. I really liked Shannon Hale's characters, but I didn't really feel that they were as developed as they could have been. I especially liked Geric, and I agree with lots of other reviewers that he should have had more scenes! But Shannon Hale deserves a pat-on-the-back just for writing a clean, sweet romance (note, that's my thing: I really like clean, sweet romances...that may just be me, though!)

So if you like YA books where both characters have vice-like behavior, this book is NOT for you, haha! Okay I'm kidding...but seriously, this was a great book! Oh and the other books in the series - Enna Burning and River Secrets, are also incredible as well!

Final Rating: 5/5. Even with the sometimes lackluster character development, all the other elements of the story came together nicely, and The Goose Girl gets extra points for just being so enjoyable--so that bumps it to as perfect a rating as I can give it! Try the Books of Bayern sometime - they're pretty fast reads and you'll be glad you did!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Do you have READING RULES?

I was just daydreaming in class today (something I do very, very well) about how my reading system has changed over the year. I had this rule, you see, that I wouldn't read a series until all the books were out (like reading the Twilight series right after Breaking Dawn was published), or until the second-to-last book was out (reading the Percy Jackson series with just the last book to go).

The reason? Pretty much the anticipation... if I got started reading a series and I had to wait like over a year for the next book to be published, I seriously would go slowly out of my mind. I can't let the story go! I will seriously stay awake at night wondering "what's going to happen next? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?!?"
But now...I'm kind of going back on my own rules. There are several "first books" that I have in my TBR pile

Now, I've kind of moved away from waiting around for all the books in a series to come out before I start reading... although I still try and hold off as much as I can. I'm trying to wait to read the Hunger Games series until closer to August just because I heard through the grapevine there's a CLIFFHANGER! At this point, the only reason I won't read a book (and I do have to "Just Say No" to a couple of them) is if there are content issues I've heard about, or if they're a genre that doesn't excite me.

Also, this may be really stupid, and/or it may reflect the inner "teacher" in me and the need to make lesson plans, but I actually set up a reading schedule - for the month of May, I have like 4 or 5 books blocked off that I'm going to read in a certain order.... c R a Z y ?

Do you set up any "rules" or guidelines when you read? Is there a procedure you follow when you pick what book you're going to read, or what you'll read next...?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week in Review...

Books Reviewed

My Posts
Friday Finds [7]: The Dark Divine & Brightly Woven
Cover Wars [9]: Wings & Spells

  • Note: Sapphique will not be published in the United States until December - here's your chance to READ IT EARLY!
This week wasn't that bad. It wasn't spectacular, but not bad. This week coming up is going to be a GOOD WEEK - why? - because it's the last week of class @ my school. No stupid school=more time for reading & blogging! I have one more paper to finish by the 30th, and then I'm done, baby!

What I'm looking forward to...
as soon as I turn in my paper, I'm high-tailing it back to the house where I have a date with...

that's right! Fun-reading is back with a vengeance!
What book will you be dating this weekend?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Finds [7]

Friday Finds are books that you've heard about during the past week. For me, I'm taking it a step further: these are books I heard about and may potentially read. Friday Finds is hosted by MizB @ Should be Reading

I seem to be on a pattern lately:

1) I either find/read books that no one's ever heard of/read yet or
2) I find out about books that have been out for awhile and that everybody has already read/reviewed!

But yep, this week's Friday Finds have actually been garnering lots of publicity, and I bet many of you have already read them.

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away. As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel's dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.

And hey, apparently it's the first in a series! The sequel, The Lost Saint, comes out in December :) So I've added this one to my TBR after some of my close beta reviewers on GR gave this a good rating. And Bree Despain seems like a really level-headed person...that's always a plus.

And Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him. In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers. Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

Dude, she's only 23 and she wrote this in college! Oh my gosh, she must a genius! I can barely manage a few pages a week... :( Anyway, this one sounds good, too and even better, Alexandra Bracken answered my email! Yay!

So I would like to know... who has read these books? What did you think?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book Blogger Hop! (early)

For those fellow hoppers, welcome to Imagination in Focus!

The idea of the Hop is to network and find cool blogs you might not have found otherwise. Check it out at Crazy-for-Books and join in the fun!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


**It's another week of no-fun-reading, so I'm posting a review from a pre-blog read...

The Red Necklace - Sally Gardner
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
# of pages: 416 (pb)
Amelia's Age-Level Suggestion: 13+

My Thoughts
I usually am a very big fan of historical fiction---if it is done right. Ann Rinaldi is probably my top historical fiction writer--she happens to write stuff geared more towards kids, and to me that is an awesome balance. Sally Gardner is perhaps just a hair under her, but throughout the entire story (and it is quite a lengthy story) I was completely captivated.

The setting is 1789-1792 France, with a brief switch over to England. I saw similarites to The Scarlet Pimpernel and A Tale of Two Cities both, not only in the setting and plot but also in the story's more intricate details. Sally Gardner is a perfect author for young readers because she has such a natural gift for using literary elements-- The Red Necklace is full of clever metaphors, allusions and personifications as 18th century France is brought to life.
The two main villains of the novel--a foppish (that's my word of the day, I guess) Marquis and the sinister Count Kalliovski --are entertainingly one-sided. JUST BECAUSE A CHARACTER IS ONE-SIDED DOES NOT MEAN HE IS FLAT! Sometimes the best villains - especially in childrens/YA literature - are the ones who are just downright bad. That being said, the narration didnt really show Kalliovski's POV until the very last of the story, and I would have liked more of a window into his behavior throughout the story. I'm totally okay with evil characters doing evil things, but I'd like to know why they do evil things or what their purpose is for doing evil things. I'm still a bit confused, in fact, about Kalliovski's reasons for doing anything.

While I love the story's two protagonists - a mysterious gypsy boy named Yann and a longsuffering aristocrat-with-a-heart-of-gold Sido, I feel a bit disappointed by their relationship. I was under the impression that the book would spend a great deal of time - or at least SOME time - on their romantic development, but actually, they only have a few conversations together. Yes, they're in love and all that, but why? Sally Gardner is such a talented author and she really has a gift for words, so I wish she could have given their relationship a bit more detail.

- My one main criticism of the book comes out of this: Her beginning and end segments are clearly the strength of the book, and the middle drags. That being said, the last half of the book, I'd say (beginning when the book flashes forward to 1792) at times feels really rushed, and her once descriptive narrative voice gets choppy and sloppy. For example, when Yann first sees Sido after a 3-year-absence, they just start talking like "oh, whatever. there you are." And then ending...? It should have been better explained. I knew it was coming, but still... an author really needs to expand on the great "WHY's" of their books. And one more nitpicky thing: In historical fiction (particularly kids/YA) you cant just throw out characters without taking the time to explain who they are. The "Big Three" of the Revolution--Robespierre, Marat, and Danton-- are all mentioned, but in a very random "name-dropping" sort of way. I will admit that my little issue could stem totally from the fact that I am a college-age history major. MS and HS kids will love this, and I certainly see this as a book I could read aloud to my future students.

Amelialand Rating
V: It's a book about the French Revolution, so yeah, it's pretty violent...but not really in a "disturbing" way - I would definitely recommend this to middle school and up
S: Some pretty blunt innuendos, which surprised/annoyed me. Completely unnecessary, but
Gardner probably thought she was being witty or something.
L: pretty 'PG'-level

Final Rating: 4/5. If you're into historical fiction, this should definitely be on your to-read list :)

Cover Wars [9]

This week I'm going to do a quick Cover Wars - the Wings series by Aprilynne Pike

* I have yet to read these...are they any good?

Here are the US covers for Wings and Spells

vs the UK covers...

And I want to know what Enchantments looks like!!

Personally, I like the UK ones better - they seem cuter and the US ones seem kind of bland :)

Have a good rest of the week

Monday, April 19, 2010

My LAST OLYMPIAN anniversary giveaway!

Zac & Corbin couldn't be here today, so I got another piece of eye candy to announce my next giveaway! Well, actually, I agreed to stop following him if he's announce my without further adoo, here is:

That's right! In just a few weeks it will be May 4, the 1-year anniversary of The Last Olympian's release. To celebrate (and it indeed is worth celebrating - long live the PJ series!) I'm going to be giving away one copy from The Book Depository--and you know what that means: INTERNATIONAL!

this one really is the best in the series!

  • Oh, and if I hit 215 followers by May 3, I'll give away 2 copies - two is better than one, right?!

Real quick, here's the fine print:

1. You must be a follower to enter - and I do check. Please, please be sure you click the "Follow" button on the right-hand side. :)

2. You need to fill out my little form in order for the entry to count.

3. If you are a blogger and you win, please post a review of this book once you're finished reading. Yes, the series is hugely popular, but it's always good to spread the word!

This contest will run through May 3, at 11:59 PM (central time).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Almost-200 Giveaway!

Hello, everybody! It's time for another contest!

My buddy Zac was so kind to reschedule his waxing so he could announce my next contest! And look, he brought Corbin along, too!

2 winners will have a chance to win...
  • My slightly used UK edition of Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher!
  • My slightly used UK edition of Sapphique, the sequel to Incarceron - For US/Canada folks, this won't be out in the US until December '10!
My sweet little grandparents have agreed to ship these for me, so I'm sorry but THIS CONTEST is for US & Canada only (my other contest will be int'l!)

Okay, here are some things to know:

1. You must be a follower - and I do check :) Just click on the "Follow" button which is on the right-hand side

2. When you fill out the form, there is a question that asks if you are entering to win Incarceron or Sapphique or both. So really, you're entering 2 contests: there will be a winner from the Incarceron/Both category, and there will be a winner from the Sapphique/Both category.

3. Remember, these are UK covers, so they look like THIS:

4. I always love comments (they're like fudge brownies to me) but in this case, they won't count as an entry.

5. If you are a blogger and you win, please agree to read & review these titles (ESPECIALLY SAPPHIQUE) so we can spread the word on these exciting books!
THIS CONTEST will run through May 2, 2010 at 11:00 PM (Central Time)

My second contest will be up TOMORROW - so check back for that, too!

Friday, April 16, 2010


The Hollow Kingdom - Clare Dunkle
Genre: YA Fantasy
# of pages: 240 (pb)
Publisher: Henry Holt, Macmillan
Age-Level Suggestion: 13&up

In nineteenth-century England, a powerful sorcerer and King of the Goblins chooses Kate, the elder of two orphan girls recently arrived at their ancestral home, Hallow Hill, to be his bride and queen.

I just read this book again last night, and I have to say, I love it *MORE* than the first time!! The Hollow Kingdom is absolutely one of my all-time favorite books!! WAY TO GO, CLARE DUNKLE!!!! Thanks for writing such an amazing story :)
Original Review: Wow! I started this at 7 at night and finished at 2something in the morning! It was that engrossing! The fact that Clare Dunkle's writing was praised by Lloyd Alexander (one of my favorite authors of all time) really impressed me, and I see why. Though published within the last 5 years, she writes with a lyrical narrative not seen among today's more "urban fantasy/modern" authors. I can't really describe it, but it sounded reminiscent of Alexander's own work: simple yet elegant. And I have to say, I was and still am almost entirely in love with the story! Although the story's order of events were...unconventional (certainly like nothing I've ever read before) I was not bothered or uneasy in the least. If you've read the story, you may know what I mean: there are some things in fantasy stories that you just don't expect to happen, and when they do, it's very surprising, to say the least! And in fact, the sometimes shocking plotline is what I remember most about this story - the things you'd never expect to happen actually do - and from those shocking twists and turns comes an amazing, beautiful story that will stay with you forever. At least, this story will definitely stay with me forever.
This is a simple enough love story, and I found myself found it a little similar to the Phantom of the Opera scenario...but it is still different... It doesn't take an English professor to crack the major themes and the overall message of the story. Typical YA: sometimes those "messages" tend to be a little "after-school-special" for my taste, but still... great story, very well-developed characters, and an extremely talented

PS... he's totally not described this way, but I couldn't help but picture the Goblin King as the one played by David Bowie in Labyrinth! I *LOVE* Labyrinth and you all need to watch this movie after you read the book!

book blogger hop!

This Friday, I think I'll head on over to the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Crazy for Books!

I've seen this a lot and just had to join in!

The Hop is a weekly event where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read. It's a great way to network with other bloggers and make new friends!

So hop on over to Crazy for Books and sign up today! It's FUN!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm Back!

Hey buddies, I’m back! This week has been crazy, but it’s nearly over!
I do have some quick announcements:

First of all:
THANK YOU for all your sweet comments! Comments literally made my day – I love them like Skittles

Second of all:
I want to apologize in advance for the lack of reading and reviewing. It’s been 2 weeks without fun-reading, and that may extend into the next 2 weeks… BUUUT I will still be posting reviews, mainly of books I read before I started blogging.

And last:
Stay tuned, because I’m about to start 2 - not 1, but 2(two) – new contests! We all love contest! More info this weekend!

Hope all of you (grownups) had a good Tax Day! I’ve been daydreaming all day of how I’m going to spend my $2 refund :S

Have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

taking a short break...

It's getting down to the wire for a lot of us school folks! Those papers that have been only occasionally worked on are now sneering, "You'd better finish me or else!"

If my research papers had voices, they'd most definitely sound like Lord Voldemort...or Gollum...

So for the next week, I'm going to attempt to get my stuff together but unfortunately that means taking a wee little break from blogging. I may be able to comment, but I won't be making any new posts. This will also be Week #2 of no-fun-reading :(

Hopefully I'll be back in a week. Until then, I'll miss all of you! It's always a great part of my day to "hang out" with all of you awesome blog buddies :)
See you next week!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Amelia's Authorquarium!

(Because I like creating really weird new words!)

Down in the left-hand column is my Authorquarium, where all my little favorite authors live!
In the Harry Potter universe, old headmasters live in their portraits; in my fantastical world, I'd have little miniature authors living in their very own Authorquarium...

I always have meant to say something about this and then I’d forget.

Here are just a few of the authors who live in my Authorquarium:

Frank Beddor James Dashner Shannon Hale

Rick Riordan Maggie Stiefvater Scott Westerfeld

- Most of these authors are active bloggers too, and in Maggie Stiefvater's case, she's got a livejournal and a blogspot! What a gal!
There seems to be something extra cool about authors who blog…maybe it’s because most of us are bloggers, but I just love thinking that these extremely busy people take part in something that I take part in as well. I don’t know, it just seems neat!

From now on, I won’t neglect my Authorquarium. Every other week or so, I’ll find one of my little authors to feature – I’ll give a little bio, talk about his/her major works, any interesting facts, website/blog information, and if anything particularly cool is going on.

Quick! Who are your favorite authors? If you had an authorquarium, who would you put inside it
(in a completely imaginative and not-at-all-weird sort of way)?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Friday Finds [6]

Friday Finds are books that you've heard about during the past week. For me, I'm taking it a step further: these are books I heard about and may potentially read. Friday Finds is hosted by MizB @ Should be Reading

I seem to be on a pattern lately: 1) I either find/read books that no one's ever heard of/read yet (like Sapphique, for example) or 2) I find out about books that have been out for awhile and that everybody has already read/reviewed!

Wow, this is probably the boringest blog in the blogosphere!

But yep, this week's Friday Find has actually been out since 2008...and I'm just now hearing about it.

Impossible - Nancy Werlin

Inspired by the ballad “Scarborough Fair,” this riveting novel combines suspense, fantasy, and romance for an intensely page-turning and masterfully original tale. Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child’s birth. But Lucy is the first girl who won’t be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents and her childhood friend Zach beside her. Do they have love and strength enough to overcome an age-old evil?

There's actually a bit of a funny story behind my finding this book. My roommate and I are in this class called Literature for Young Adults, and there's this girl in class with us who is (like us) an avid reader, but whose reading tastes...are not like ours. And so a couple weeks ago, she was talking to my roommate, Lindsey, about how she had just read this book called Impossible, and she just went on an on and on about how awful it was, how she hated it, how she thought it degraded women or whatever...and she had the book with her. Well, my snide little roommate, who has just as much empathy as a cat, was like, "awww, that's too bad...FREE BOOK!" And so she got it and later was telling me, "Well if So-and-So didn't like it...I bet I will!"

(Note: do you have friends like that? They're your friends, and you love 'em, but you just have totally different reading styles?)

So Lindsey read the book and just finished it, and she marched into my room the other day and pronounced that she looooooved Impossible and thought it was interesting, romantic, and all kinds of awesome, and so naturally, I'm curious.

Has anybody else read this book? What did you think?
Previous Finds:
Last time: Lesley Livingston's Wondrous Strange & Darklight; Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It
Friday Finds 4: Beth Fantaskey's Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement, Lisa Mantchev's Eyes Like Stars
Friday Finds 3: Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, James Dashner's Maze Runner
Friday Finds 2: Katherine Langrish's Troll Trilogy
Friday Finds 1: Catherine Fisher's Incarceron & Sapphique, Sarah Addison Allen's The Sugar Queen
What did you "Find" this week?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Sapphique - Catherine Fisher

Genre: YA Sci/fi-Fantasy
# of pages: 480 pages (UK paperback)
Amelia's Age-Level Suggestion: 14< (probably better suited for 8th/9th grade level and up)

Disclaimer: For those who have read Incarceron, or for those who are planning to read Incarceron: I've altered my usual review style and made it a little more vague just to be absolutely sure that I don't include any spoilers... so feel free to read this and maybe get a good idea of what is in store in this book.

This book was pretty good. I think I enjoyed it more than Incarceron, pretty much because I was familiar enough with the basic storyline and didn’t have to spend so much time figuring everything out. The pacing was pretty good, but the last 100 pages really, REALLY dragged…and it got to the point where I came dangerously close to not caring anymore…that’s not usually a good sign.

And yet… I don’t want to make it sound like I didn’t like the book, because I did…but Catherine Fisher is not the greatest author on the planet, and her writing style actually aggravated me. You know the phrase “show, don’t tell”? Well, she pretty much tells how characters feel/act, she doesn’t show. Characterization is definitely not her strong suit in this series – everybody was pretty wooden and it was hard for me to relate to them because they didn’t seem very real. There was just this hollow, shell-like feel to her characters and that was a major distraction. Claudia, in particular, was just incredibly frustrating. She was easier to relate to in Incarceron because you understood *why* she acted like such a conceited brat. In Sapphique, pretty much all of her conflicts have been resolved, so why is she still so MEAN?! It was stuff like this that made reading Sapphique a bit cumbersome. I didn’t really like Keiro, either, because to me he seems like the embodiment of Evil: he’s an individual with pretty much no conscience – he doesn’t know compassion or remorse, and according some of my teachers (and the Harry Potter series), true evil is that which is excessively vain and devoid of compassion or remorse for one's actions. I’ll admit it: I like it when characters “get their comeuppance” and he didn’t get any comeuppance!

Also, the ending…very mediocre and a bit bizarre. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the ending just really didn’t make sense if you take into account the overall story. It seems like Catherine Fisher spent so much time creating this really intense situation, and then the ending comes and it’s “ta da! We’re finished now! The end!” I think the first thing I said when I finished Sapphique was, “ohhhkay…I’m hungry.” Let’s compare that to another book…oh, say…The Last Olympian. I finished that book and was like, “OMG!!! WHAT AM I GOING TO READ NOW?!?!?!” *hyperventilates*

It was a pretty engrossing read, most of the way through. Catherine’s exceptionally imaginative, and the Incarceron series is one of the most thoroughly original books I’ve ever read in my life. However, her books aren’t the best books I’ve ever read.

Strengths: creativity and action.
Weaknesses: very wooden and shallow characters and a spiraling last 100 pages…and a lackluster ending.

Amelialand Rating:
V: this book was “darker” than Incarceron, I think, and so there was more action-violence and scary images; about a PG-13 level
S: a few innuendos, nothing major, but parents of >12 should be cautioned
L: swearing present, nothing ‘major’ but still present. My age recommendation: 13/14+ (great for older middle schoolers/high schoolers…oh and grown-ups too!)

Final Rating: 3.9/5. Almost a 4, but just a little under.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Outrageous TBR!

Pretty much since December, my TBR pile has grown steadily...not a lot of change, relatively manageable. Well then I went on a freakout at the bookstore and now by TBR pile is an enormous bundle of King Kong proportions.

Still to read:

- Poor Warrior Heir and Wizard Heir, they're practically Trustees of the TBR pile! I keep pushing them back in favor of newer stuff. Hunger Games and Catching Fire I'm really waiting on, because a little birdie told me there's a CLIFFHANGER at the end of CF! Ahhhh, pesky cliffhangers! I think I may read Jessica's Guide... next, but does anybody have any suggestions as to what to read next?

No more books for a month!

Have you all had to set "limits" on buying/checking out books? How to you avoid the clutter and a "larger than life" TBR pile?

Monday, April 5, 2010

In My Mailbox [8]

It was Easter weekend, and I went a little crazy on books...

- Wondrous Strange and
- Darklight by Lesley Livingston (bought)
- The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig (bought)
- The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig (bought)
- Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw (bought)

Funny story on Anxious Hearts: it was definitely one of those "on a whim" buys...I remember seeing some of you featuring it as your "Waiting on Wednesday," but I'm not sure what it's about or anything! All I know is that the cover design is beautiful and it has something to do with love- - cute!

And these are my History books:

- Ancient Greece by Thomas Martin (bought for class)

- The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans (bought for class)

- The Time-Traveler's Guide to Medieval England (bought because I'm a nerd)

And now...




Because I don't want to go bankrupt (let's save that fun for paying off student loans), I am not going to buy any more books until 10 May 2010. We'll see how that goes!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Quote of the Week!

Nothing to do with reading, or life in general, but it's lovey-dovey and cute!
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