Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - July 31st




Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...


  • 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!
"There are rose petals everywhere. Jane and Elizabeth Bennet have been married to Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy on a shining Autumn day, and everyone is smiling with the joy of sharing in their happiness."

The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Doorknob Society

When I was given the opportunity to read The Doorknob Society I wasn't sure if I'd pick up the book or not. I had been overwhelmed by reviews, work, looking for a permanent job, family stuff, and so much more. Was I alright with putting more on my plate? I didn't know, but the plot of this book looked interesting enough that I threw caution to the wind and said, "Why not?"

Unfortunately, I think residual stress effected my experience with this book. I don't believe I enjoyed it quite as much as I could have because there are endlessly positive reviews for the book but I found myself to be struggling to get through it.

This book reminds me of two things: Harry Potter, by JK Rowling, and Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. You're introduced to the main character who discovers her parents were a part of an entirely secretive world, much like our own but different, and then is sent to a school to work on her abilities for this secret world. There is danger, of course, and something vaguely dangerous involving her parents. All of this reminds me of Harry Potter. What brings to mind Neverwhere is that many of the characters have a certain magic ability to touch doorknobs and make the doors open to... well, where ever. In Neverwhere, one of the main characters has the ability to open doors, so to find a book that brought to mind Rowling and Gaiman had me initially excited.

The premise is interesting, the characters are as well, and the main characters is a female character who is willing to take charge, stick up for what she believes in, and fight. This is all wonderful and I applaud. The details of the house near the beach made me happy, the detail overall was wonderful. I just found that I, unfortunately, could not get very emotionally involved in the book.

The grammatical and spelling errors weren't overwhelming in the publication although I did spot mix ups of than and then. There was also a tendency for questions marks being used when inappropriate for the sentence structure. However, these little issues didn't mar the reading itself or set the reader up for confusion. They're little and could be easily fixed.

The cover art is great and exactly something that would catch my eye as a teen. I'd swoop right in for this book and probably share it with my friends.

There are times where I'll read a book and simply dislike it, don't take this as being one of those times. As I mentioned, I think it was residual stress of things going on that warped my opinion of it. There are so many wonderful reviews about this book that I honestly feel I missed the broader picture. I'm keeping the book with full intentions of trying to read it once more in the future. Overall, the concept is great and it will hit on the interests of many. It should have the opportunity for more growth and development with readers who appreciate the tale that is being told.

Interested in picking up the book yourself? Check out the following links:
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising*

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Flurry of Summer

Summertime is always an extremely period of time for me. Finally the weather is nice and I can be outside doing the type of things I like to do but am unable to during the winter months. So I have swimming, biking, running, walking, just sitting in the sun, touring, road trips and so much more that I can enjoy. Not to mention the job I've been doing for the past two months that has sucked up 40 hours a week, 50-60 hours if you count my commute. Basically, what I'm getting at is that my blog is suffering due to the lack of books I've read and updates being made.

But hey, at least I have pretty pictures to share with you to make up for it. The first week of July typically is a busy one - as it is for most people in the US who celebrate the 4th of July. The 3rd of July I rushed home so that I could go to my town's firework show. It almost got rained out as a huge and very threatening thunderstorm hit the area.



But the skies cleared, the rain stopped, and the fireworks took off for the skies to give a really beautiful show. I love fireworks and could probably watch them every night if I was able to.



However, I also celebrate my birthday on the 6th. This year I celebrated the Fourth of July on the lawn of the Capitol in Washington, DC.



My roommate and a friend came into the District at 1:30 in the afternoon for the 8pm National Symphony Orchestra concert and filming of the PBS show, A Capitol Fourth. I was able to see a live tribute to the wonderful Gene Kelly (Happy 100th Birthday!) and listen to the orchestra perform one of my favorite pieces: the 1812 Overture, accompanied by fireworks!





The 6th of July, my 26th birthday, I went to work and then walked two blocks to Jazz in the Garden - a free jazz concert that is held every Fridays in DC at a sculpture garden. My friends and I had a picnic blanket thrown down, snacks of fruits, cheese, crackers and pitchers of sangria while we listened to some lovely music. Afterwards we went out for dinner and dined on the most delicious oysters I've had in my life.

The 7th consisted of a huge family bbq and the 8th was the day I celebrated my birthday on my own. Every year I try to get myself something special for my birthday and for Christmas. Something completely unneeded which I really don't need to be spending money on. Generally I try to have all of my cash go to necessities but for those two points in the year I can go wild. Do I want to go on a shopping spree for books? Cool, I can do that on my birthday! Do I want to buy a random piece of jewelry? Of course I can, Merry Christmas.

This year when I found out that the Paris Opera Ballet was going to be performing at the Kennedy Center I nearly squealed. I've been a long time lover of ballet and yet have never seen a professional troupe perform a ballet live. What luck did I have that the Paris Opera Ballet was going to be doing a show at the Kennedy Center the weekend of my birthday? With that, I splurged and got myself a ticket for the Sunday matinee which also happened to be the final day the ballet was there.


So I went into DC early Sunday afternoon, had sushi for lunch, then headed to the Kennedy Center. It was a breathtaking and beautiful experience which I intend to experience again (with just about every single other ballet show that's coming through the Kennedy Center). Afterwards I stopped in at a store, picked up a bunch of yellow flowers for myself, then walked through a rain shower to the metro station for home. It was beyond a doubt an awesome birthday (week)!

The following week I ended up with a cold which I quickly squashed and then my roommates birthday was there to celebrate! We went out for dinner and then back to the Kennedy Center to see the Addams Family musical. But the craziness doesn't stop there. I have every weekend booked up until September so I'm still going to be quite busy.

With that, please excuse my tardiness. I'm still getting a hang of my insane schedule and the comings and goings of working in DC! My blog may fall silent for a few days here or there but I'm still around.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Musing Mondays - July 23rd


Hosted by Should Be Reading, this week's musing asks...
Do you read magazines? If so, which ones? If not, why not?

My Answer:
I'm not an avid magazine reader. While in High School and college I had subscriptions to fashion magazines - Seventeen and Glamour - but have since not paid for a magazine subscription because I am not consistently interested in magazines to make it worth the subscription. Sometimes, I'll pick up a fashion magazine just for something "brainless" to read. Not to say that all fashion magazines are brainless but for me, personally, I will typically use a fashion magazine to flip through while on a road trip or at an airport. They're quick and easy reads.  
However, if I were to say I read magazines I would have to say it's whatever strikes my fancy and typically I buy most of my magazines during the late summer and early fall. What magazines? Ones with Victorian homes, crafts, or cooking recipies. If the cover strikes my fancy I'll snag it and devour accordingly. They're also the magazines that I most typically keep, rather than recycle. I still use the recipies from a Halloween magazine by Martha Stewart from two years ago! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blog Hop - July 20th

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop


This Weeks Question:
What’s the ONE super-hyped book you’ll NEVER read?


My Answer:
The Fifty Shades books. Seriously. I've read better smut through teenager's fanfiction. The book, from what little I have seen through excerpts and the likes, looks horribly written. The relationship within it seems abusive, at best, and it's just... just so bad. The fact that it was originally Twilight fanfiction (was that what it was? It's what I've been hearing but I don't want to precious moments of my life looking for an answer) makes it pretty bad. The fact that all I've been seeing on my facebook have been updates of people squealing over how "romantic" it is leaves me disturbed. But, these are the same people who found the relationships in Twilight to be a loving bond, while much of it was controlling and manipulative. I don't want to read the book, not even to make an angry or witty review about it. But I have caught up on some awesome reviews. My favorite review is by Katrina Lumsden who added gifs to bring an entirely new level of awesome to her review.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Revolution

I've heard decent things about Jennifer Donnelly's book A Northern Light and years (literally, it's been about two years) ago while working in a book store I was given an ARC of her book Revolution. Obviously it sat collecting dust for quite some time since I only just got around to reading the book. In all actuality, I began reading the book in May. But then I was taken on as a temp at a job and things got a little crazy (it's also called Summer in my life, summer is always crazy). But I finally finished the book in a whirlwind burst of reading speed last week and can finally properly discuss it.

This book is pretty long, let's make that clear. The copy I had was just under 500 pages and I really feel the size could have been cut down drastically. At first, when I began reading the book, I felt it was moving along nicely. Andi, the main character, is very obviously in a fit of depression and developing an addiction to prescribed medication. There is a lot of vague information in the beginning as to why Andi is the way she is. You're introduced to her mother who seems to have lost her mind completely and her father is vacant, then there are the snippits of information that Andi's little brother is dead and that is likely the cause for everyone to be acting the way they are. 

Great, excellent, you've got my attention. But nearly right away there are a slew of cultural, musical references that I felt could be completely confusing for some. A lot of musical talents of the past thirty years that, say, if someone were to be reading this book in another 30 years they very well could be lost. I feel there are two ways to handle a lot of current-day-references in books: you either blabber on expecting the reader to fully understand what you're talking about or you write it in such a way that the reader doesn't need to know what you're talking about because you explain just enough - without giving full definitions - that the reader can still get the idea. I feel that Donnelly certainly switched between the two. For musical references that I didn't understand I sometimes got what she was talking about and other times felt like I would have to turn to YouTube and Google to fully understand. And yet, for what Donnelly discusses of the French Revolution - as someone who doesn't understand a whole lot about it - I found myself completely engrossed in the storyline and able to follow the events. 

Donnelly does a wonderful job in switching between the POV of Andi and Alexandria - a girl who lived during the French Revolution whose diary is being read by Andi during the 21st Century. The parallels between their two lives, both girls ultimately losing a little boy they've come to love, is touching and understandable. At times I felt that Donnelly dragged out the angst of Andi a little too much - again, this book could have been much shorter than it was. At times I felt that her angst was being repeated and certainly not moving anywhere, not getting worse, not getting better, and while in real life when someone is depressed there can be long periods of time where there is no change in the emotions of the sufferer, in a book there needs to be some progress to keep the reader entertained. 

I think that's partially why it took me so long to read this book. The very beginning was good but then it bottomed out. Andi is depressed, Andi takes meds, Andi is in a drug haze, Andi tries to get information about her paper. Rinse and repeat. The only thing that broke up the center of the book, the only progress in the plot that was made, was that Andi would read Alex's diary and you would see Alex's life moving along. The last 200 pages of the book things began to pick up. Andi was still depressed and drugged but now she was interacting with more people, reacting to events around her, and starting to work through her issues. Once I got to the end of the book where things were moving along I flew through the rest of the book and it was annoying to have to put it down in favor of things like work, cleaning, and motion sickness on my commute to and from work. If the center of the book was cut out I feel the entire novel would have been better. It would have moved faster and there probably would have been less negative reviews for it on Goodreads. 

Once finished with a book I tend to figure out how much I enjoyed it by asking myself if I would keep the book. The answer is no. Problem is that the copy I have is an ARC and therefore cannot be sold so I have no where to send it. Well then, I think I'll recycle the pages of the book to do this craft project with it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays - July 17th




Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...


  • 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!
"The floor was varnished wood, with stripes and circles painted on it, for the games that were formerly played there; the hoops for the basketball nets were still in place, though the nets were gone. A balcony ran around the room, for the spectators, and I thought I could smell, faintly like an afterimage, the pungent scent of sweat, shot through with the sweet taint of chewing gum and perfume from the watching girls, felt-skirted as I knew from pictures, later in miniskirts, then pants, then in one earring, spiky green-streaked hair."

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Friday, July 13, 2012

Blog Hop - July 13th

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop


This Weeks Question:
How long does it take you to read a book?


My Answer:
It really depends on the book. Some books just grab my attention and I can read them in a day (Harry Potter, The Vampire Chronicles, The Vampire Diaries, Peter Pan, etc) but other books will take me near a century to read. There are various reasons as to why it may take me a long time to read some books. I could just be too busy and my time to read has been taken away (which is somewhat the case right now), the book may be forever long (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc) or I may just be struggling to get into the book and therefore may be reading it at a much slower pace than books that I obsess over. I can say this, I marvel at people who maintain fulltime jobs, socialize, do an assortment of activities and still manage to read multiple books in a week. At the rate I'm going, I'm lucky if I can read one book a week.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - July 12th


Brought to you by the site Booking Through Thursday, each Thursday readers are asked a question (mainly book related) and answers are shared.


This weeks question is: 

What book(s) have you read that you’re secretly ashamed to admit?

My Answer:

The Twilight series.


No, really, I read all of the books in like... a day. And I enjoyed them that initial day. Then I went back to reread them and I thought, "What the hell is this?" and proceeded to box them up and send them to my friend in Iraq. If you like the books, cool for you but I personally try to avoid all conversation of Twilight because I don't like going into details about my reading adventures of the books.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Intangible

When receiving this book for review I was finding myself beginning to feel burned out by YA fiction. I've been reading a lot of YA books recently because a typical rule of thumb is that they are quick reads and it's what I need with my hectic schedule if I ever intend on finishing a book. However, the synopsis of this book caught my attention and I figured I'd give it a try. Who knew, maybe it would capture my attention.

I found myself quickly wrapped up in the plot of this book and enjoying it fully. We're introduced to a list of characters who drive this story forward and is incredibly focused on them. Luke and Sera, twins, have a wonderful bond. As an only child I've always been both fascinated and jealous of these type of relationships. I've always wanted a sibling so when I find a book where there is a great sibling bond I kind of eat it up. But the twins don't only have a close sibling bond but a secret which they keep well hidden - they have powers. Luke can See and Sera can Heal and both have found it best to just keep this information between themselves. Their parents don't know nor does their best friend Fae know of these gifts they've had all of their lives.

However, when Luke Sees that his sister will be killed he wants to take control of his powers and see if he can change the future - something he's never been able to do. Now the siblings find themselves in a fight for their lives, not just Sera, where all of their realities are shattered and everyone they care for is involved.

This book does have the supernatural flair that so many YA books have had in recent years. I feel that when it comes to YA people think of one thing: supernatural (or, paranormal). When they think of that they think of another word: vampires. Yes, yes, Intangible has vampires in it but there are also Elves - which totally gets my little Tolkien fangirl heart fluttering. There are mentions of other creatures that apparently exist as well and I found myself yearning to learn about them all. I wouldn't say that this book is vampire fiction. Vampire fiction raises the hackles of some readers, that or it makes others melt. There are vampires, as I said, but this book isn't centered around vampires. It isn't some love story about vampires. It is a book about two siblings who have a whole lot of love for one another and will do anything to protect each other, even if they are going into unknown territory and finding themselves in a world that they know very little about.

One thing? I love that the characters didn't just accept that vampires exist. They had a whole love of disbelief for a very good chunk of time about their existence. This seemed more realistic to me than most books offer. You know, that whole "I'm a vampire!" followed by the character oh-no-ing and then they accept it by the next page.

Interested in learning more? Check out the author's website.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fahrenheit 451

With the recent loss of the famous author Ray Bradbury I wanted to read Fahrenheit 451 and write a review. Confession: I've never read the book. I could spit out quotes and tell you what the novel was about but I had never read the novel. So, one morning before work I broke my personal vow not to buy anymore books (until I finish all the ones I have to read) and downloaded Fahrenheit 451 on my Kindle.

Luckily, I had a lot of commuting by train to and from work that week (for some reason, I get motion sickness when in a bus but not on a train) and devoured the book as much as I could. At times, the book was poetic, and many times it was sad. But the one thing I clearly felt was disappointment in myself, how could I have surpassed this book for so long? It was refreshing with its use of words and emotional pull and I was left breathless with creative wonder once I had completed my reading of it.

Guy Montag, a fireman whose job is to set fire to homes rather than put them out, breaks free of social expectancies and becomes a rebel in his own right. While books are burned, destroyed, and often times forgotten, television prevails and has become a driving force for creative - or lack of creative - thought in the land. Maybe the spark of breaking free from what has become the norm has always been in Montag but it's certain that when he meets a lively seventeen-year-old girl she helps him to open his eyes and look at the world from a different point of view than what is normal.

Montag begins to think and act dangerously. The books he sets out to burn he now collects, adding them to a pile that had already been growing, which is a direct threat to the established mindset of many. People are completely brainwashed by The Family, otherwise known as the televisions that play and it isn't quite so far from the present day truth. With all of the news about publishing and books dying, doesn't it seem a little accurate?

Many people proclaim this book to be strictly about censorship however Ray Bradbury was once quoted to say that it was more so about television destroying interest in literature.

“Television gives you the dates of Napoleon, but not who he was,” Bradbury says, summarizing TV’s content with a single word that he spits out as an epithet: “factoids.” As quoted from the article Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 Misinterpreted

It's easy to see how television has influenced the characters in the book but it's also very plain to see what a lack of education and reading has done to people. The book has been a topic of debate due to challenges for its banning from schools and has been listed as required reading for many high schools and colleges. Later this year I hope to write a post strictly about the challenges this book has faced during my Banned Books Week. For now? Remember a talented author and read this book (or any of his other published materials)!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - July 3rd




Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...


  • 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!
His eyes have a glazy, unfocused look. He looks around, then pulls a bone out of his jacket.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (yes I am still working on this)