Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 2013 wrap-up

January 2013 wrap-up

It's a brand new year, so thought I'd try some new things on the blog. My theme for the year is Discipline, so hoping that monthly wrap up posts will help keep me on track!

Books read

In order to meet my Goodreads goal of 100 books, I'll need to read 8.33 books per month. The year started off strong, as I read 6 books in the first half of January! Sadly, my momentum petered out and I only managed to read one more, for a total of 7 books. Am behind already, which is never a good sign, but I have 11 months to catch up!

Blog Goals

Managed to cross a few more things off of my perpetual To-Do list! I've caught up with cross-posting my reviews on Goodreads and Amazon! So I don't fall behind again, I've added this to my Google calendar as a monthly task. Am loving my Google calendar, as I finally feel organized!

Finally caught up on my unwritten reviews! Now I'm trying to write my reviews almost immediately after finishing the book. A few times, I managed to start the review as I was reading, because I totally stink at taking notes. I don't know if I'll be able to review every book read, but am giving it the old college try!

Have also worked on my Goodreads shelves, so it's not such a huge catch-all mess. I have a review copy shelf now, so hoping that helps me keep track. Also have a wishlist shelf, but thinking about getting rid of that one because I already have a wishlist on Amazon. I'm not consistent with where I put titles I eventually want to buy, so it can be a little confusing.

Still working on scheduling my posts two weeks in advance, as I only managed to do that once. Now I'm keeping one week ahead, but I think that two weeks gives me more breathing room. Not going to cross this one off my list until I become more consistent.


The past few years, I got into the habit of reading posts in my Google Reader and hardly ever actually visited blogs or left comments. I've gotten better at this thanks to the Google Next Button! Even if I don't leave a comment, the blogger still gets the all-important visitor credit. I'm experimenting with visiting different blogger groups on different days, as it takes time to read posts and try to leave a halfway decent comment. :)

Does anyone know of any memes or hops for commenting? I've been doing the Saturday Situation link-up over at Candace's Book Blog, but it doesn't seem to generate much traffic or comments for me. I had a review request declined by a publisher because of my stats, so want to work on getting more traffic and comments this year.

Fun with keyword searches

It's been awhile since I checked my stats, but I started checking them more often after that publisher rejection. Forgot about the funny ways that people find my blog, so thought I'd share some of the more unusual keyword searches:

*parker young shirtless*
*zero escape sigma shirtless*
*alexia behairy*
*hairy alexia*
*hairy italian dominate men shirtless*

Have to admit that these had me scratching my head...but unfortunately, the results weren't that exciting. They all led to archived snapshots of my blog, where it pulled one word out of different posts. For instance, "parker young shirtless" led to a page showing a book review mentioning a character named Parker and one of my BEA posts mentioning a couple of "young, shirtless" guys working at a booth. Now the searches for "alexia behairy" or "hairy alexia", and "hairy italian dominate men shirtless".... well, I have to admit that those are more than a little disturbing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review: The Different Girl

The Different Girl by Gordon Dahlquist

Publisher:  Dutton Juvenile

Rating:  4/5

Expected publication: February 21, 2013

Four nearly identical girls on a desert island. An unexpected new arrival. A gently warped near future where nothing is quite as it seems. 

Sly and unsettling, Gordon Dahlquist’s timeless and evocative storytelling blurs the lines between contemporary and sci-fi with a story that is sure to linger in readers’ minds long after the final page has been turned. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts

This is a hard review for me to write, because I was left with so many questions after finishing the book. Who exactly were the girls? Who were Irene and Robbert? Why were they on the island? Who sent the supplies every month?

The book blurb was right, as the story did linger in my mind after finishing. While I was satisfied overall, I was left with an awful lot of questions. I know that there's sort of an explanation in the story, but I was hungry for more details.

As for the story itself, we have four almost identical girls on an island with their two adult guardians/teachers. Veronika, the redhead, is the narrator of the story. I really liked her, as she seemed to be coming into her own and showed flashes of spunk. While a good girl overall, every now and again she would stretch her wings and think for herself. This sometimes thrilled, but sometimes annoyed her teachers.

We aren't sure exactly who/what the girls are at first, but the author weaves clues throughout the narrative. I really enjoy it when an author doesn't spoon feed us information, but lets us discover things ourselves!

Their perfect little paradise is disrupted after another girl is washed up on the island. May is different than the four girls, and her arrival is the beginning of a whole new chapter in their lives.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story! The author is a talented writer who created an interesting new world. I'm hoping that there will be a sequel, as I'd love to learn more about this world and find out what happens to the characters. I really liked Veronika, and even May grew on me by the end of the book!

ARC received from the publisher at NYCC 2012

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Book Haul (13)

My Book Haul (13)

My Book Haul seems like a good way of giving my books a little special attention, as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Have seen this one around the blogosphere and, in a moment of weakness, requested a copy from Amazon Vine. Love the idea of seeing the future!

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. (Goodreads)

Contest Wins:

So excited to find out that I was one of the winners for Allison's swagtastic giveaway over at Alli's World! I'm a sucker for swag, and look at all the awesome loot I received!

Received bookmarks, temporary tattoos, postcards, and stickers. Thanks Allison!


Have seen this book on several blogs, but didn't download it to my nook until Carrie at In The Hammock gave the head's up that it was available for free! 

Double Crossed by Ally Carter

The worlds of Heist Society and the Gallagher Girls collide in Ally Carter’s fast-paced, high-stakes and tantalizing new story. Get a behind the scenes glimpse as Ally delivers an irresistible thriller that is full of her signature style and savvy twists. (Goodreads)

What did you receive this week?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Challenge - A Month of Letters

Time flies when you're having fun, and it's time once again for the 

I took part in this challenge last year and had a blast! 

Debated whether or not I should take part this year because we're moving into our new home soon, so February will be pretty busy with unpacking and all. Decided that writing one letter or postcard every day won't take too much time, so I'll use it as an incentive to myself. Sort of a reward for unpacking X number of boxes or something.

Here's where you come in. Do you love receiving mail as much as I do? If so, I'd love to send you some! I need more people to write, so who better than my blogging buddies? I promise not to use your address for evil, but only for the goodness of receiving mail. 

No restrictions! So long as you can receive mail, I can send it! 
If interested, please fill out the below form:

Update:  there's no obligation to send a letter back!

Thank you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #3 - The Rules for Disappearing

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's a way to highlight eagerly anticipated hot, new titles.

As soon as I saw this book reviewed over on Karen's Addictions, I knew I had to have it and it immediately went on my wishlist! It's not my usual urban fantasy read, but I've always been fascinated with the idea of changing your identity and becoming someone new. 

When I was in high school, I even bought some books on how to create a new identity! Unfortunately, they were pretty lame and my dreams of becoming a brand new person went unfulfilled. :(

The Witness Protection program is also fascinating for me. I know it's nothing like My Blue Heaven, Goodfellas, or Madea's Witness Protection, but I still like reading or watching movies about it.

So without any further ado, here's my latest WoW title:

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do - or see - that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules - and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters - survival. (Goodreads)

Doesn't that sound awesome? Not only is Meg having to adjust to life in the Witness Protection program, but  there's a possible love interest as well as the mystery thriller aspect! Sounds like a must read to me!

Expected publication: May 14, 2013 by Disney Hyperion

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions: Ever want to throw in the towel?

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that allows book bloggers to discuss issues unique to what we encounter in the blogging world. Hosted by Karen at For What It's Worth and Pam at Midnyte Reader,  a new question is posted the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month to answer, comment on, and discuss. 

This week's question:

We've discussed blogging slumps before but have you ever seriously considered throwing in the towel and quitting blogging? If so, what changed your mind? Did you discuss it with other bloggers?

Good question! To tell the truth, I'm more than a little surprised that I'm still here. I tend to get bored and move on to the next obsession after a few months, so didn't think blogging would be any different. Yet here I am, almost four years later! Am amazed...

I've taken a few blogging breaks, both intentional and unintentional, but I've always come back. That being said, I did think about throwing in the towel and quitting last year.

In a nasty reading slump, it just felt like too much work. So I went on a break, but didn't think I would come back. I was really tired, and reading was no longer fun and felt like yet another chore. Then, if I did finish a book, there was pressure to review it. I'm the type of person who doesn't like being told what to do, so it was even worse when the deadlines were something I had agreed to!

During my last blogging break, I found that I missed discussing books with others who shared my reading obsession love affair enthusiasm. I didn't discuss it with anyone, but read several posts by bloggers who were going through the same slump. Knowing that I wasn't alone really helped!

Decided that I missed it too much to quit, so I thought about what I loved about blogging and decided to try a few new things to take some of the pressure off. Blogging is supposed to be a fun way to share our love of reading!

I'm cutting back on the number of review books I accept and am trying my best to stay away from NetGalley. Am scheduling posts ahead of time, and that seems to help with feeling pressured to post. Trying to comment more on other blogs, as I love interacting with other bloggers!

So far, this seems to be working for me. If I ever start getting stressed again or feeling burnt out, I know that I have enough posts already scheduled that I can step away for a breather every now and again. Hoping I can stick around, as I really love the book blogging community!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Guest Post by Patrick W. Carr for A Cast of Stones Blog Tour & Giveaway

 Patrick W. Carr's newest book, A Cast of Stones, has a tagline that states it is An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers Will Love!  The synopsis certainly sounds good, but I found myself curious why the author chose to set his book in medieval times? He was kind enough to explain...

Why Medieval?

When I first started “A Cast of Stones” under a different title, I had actually toyed with the idea of approaching it as an alternative European history kind of work. There had never been any other choice but Medieval, which for me meant sometime between 500 – 1500. Prior to that and I was dealing with the vestiges of the Roman Empire and after that, I would have to take in to account the effects of the Renaissance. At last I settled on 14th century Europe. But at the same time, I also wanted to build a mythos that was unique to my world, which meant I had to drop in the back story here and there. One of my favorite chapters in the book, because it ends with a really high creep factor is “Conger’s Tale.” So, I guess the truth is there are certain inspirations that come from the real world, but it’s definitely not what you would call historical fiction in any way.

Now I started sweating the details so that I had a fantasy that was believable as well as fun. This might seem strange for a fantasy, after all, many authors have written great fantasy without a discernible time frame or even mixing time frames. For example, if you were to read “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” by Stephen R. Donaldson, you would be hard pressed to identify a matching period in history. There simply isn’t one. There’s one castle in the story, but it’s called a keep and it was carved, not built, out of solid rock by giants. On the other hand, if you read “The Belgariad” by David Eddings, he seems intent on mixing as many time periods as possible. There are equivalents to knights in armor, roman legions, Vikings, English longbows, and others. Yet he manages to blend them all into a ripping good story.

I placed my story in the medieval time period, not just because it fit the military aspects I needed, but because it lent itself to the religious aspects. I needed to depict a church that worked mechanistically, ergo, I needed to place my story sometime before the reformation. Once I had done that I chose a more exact time frame. My story had war in it, in both naval and land battles, but I didn’t want to deal with the complications posed by cannon. I wasn’t opposed to cannon, but with the recent popularity of “Pirates of the Caribbean” I wanted to ensure I avoided comparison.

So I chose the 13th – 14th century. It fit the bill and didn’t pose the plotting problems of later time frames. It’s important, I think, to keep from ascribing too much weight to this choice. After all, I was writing a fantasy. The purpose of the time period was to serve more as a receptacle for ideas of magic and setting and character. It would have been a mistake to allow the historical reality of 14th century Europe to dictate the book even though I tried to stay true as much as possible to that period.

I think the most important thing for a fantasy writer to remember is consistency within the story. Eddings and Donaldson taught me that almost anything would work, but I had to stay internally consistent. I’ve read stories where the author disobeys his own rules. The temptation is there for all of us, especially when we write ourselves into a corner, but fantasy readers are at once a forgiving and demanding bunch. We can handle dragons in New York City and time travel to King Arthur’s Court, but we won’t tolerate the author making up the rules on the fly.

About the author:

Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release date: February 1, 2013

Blog Tour Giveaway

$10 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/31/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
Thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for arranging this tour!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Short Story Review: Annabel by Lauren Oliver

Annabel by Lauren Oliver

Lena's mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery - a ghost in Lena's past. Until now.

Discover her secrets in Lauren Oliver's brilliant original digital story set in the world of New York Times bestsellers Delirium and Pandemonium. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
Really enjoy Lauren Oliver's books, so was excited to find this short story about Lena's mother, Annabel! It's a quick read at only 55 pages, but well worth it!

Alternating between past and present, we learn how Lena's parents first met and how Annabel escaped prison. We get to learn a little more about Annabel as a person, who has always been a bit rebellious. For instance, I never knew (or don't remember) that she had run away as a teenager. While I would have loved the story to be longer, I appreciated all the tidbits!

The author is incredibly talented and proves that she's able to handle short stories as well as full-length novels. Highly recommend this one for anyone who is reading the Delirium series!

eBook from my personal library

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Excerpt of We Are Savages by Jessie Atkin

Today I am pleased to present an excerpt from an exciting debut author! Her first book came out in 2012, and I was hooked as soon as I read the synopsis! I'll be posting my review next month, but didn't want to keep you in suspense until then, so the author was kind enough to provide the below excerpt to whet your appetite. Enjoy! 

We Are Savages by Jessie Atkin

We Are Savages is the story of 12 year old Tris and what she finds when she runs from the responsibility of her household and descends through a rain grate into the child run world of Nowhere. "You go to bed angry or sad enough you can wake up just about anywhere," the Savages tell her. Nowhere is a brick utopia hidden in the sewers; made up of sweets, sports, hammocks, and fireflies. But even this haven, free of parents and protocol, is not everything it seems. (Goodreads)


Tiptoeing, as only children seem capable of doing, Tris placed the collection of dolls, accessories, and magazines at the threshold of her parents’ room at the other end of the hall. She couldn’t face them, but she would leave her mark. To further emphasize the statement she intended the pile to make, Tris pulled off her name bracelet, a gift from her mother a long time before Tris would have any memory of being given it, and placed it atop the pile. Perhaps if her mother returned it to whatever store she’d bought it from, she could then use that money to pay for the light in the hallway she so desperately wanted repaired.

Mars neither barked nor begged as the pair made their well-practiced way down the stairs. The hallway was once again empty and free of glass. Nighttime excursions were no novelty where Tris and Mars were concerned. Spies work better in the dark, and, if you set the volume right, you can watch whatever you like on TV. It was the front door that the pair had never needed to work with before, and Tris struggled to find the right key on her father’s ring. But Mr. Simon only had so many keys, and eventually the door had to click.

Tris let Mars out first and followed without so much as a second glance at the hallway behind her. The door snapped shut. It didn’t sound loud or disturbing, but resolute and final. The air outside was still as death, and silent as it too. The rain hovered above, unable at this late hour to free itself once more. There was not a star in sight. The ground remained slick underfoot as Tris and Mars headed together toward the end of the driveway, Mars stopping every few paces to make sure Tris was still behind him.

The neighborhood was dark, as any obedient suburban street should be at such an hour. There wasn’t a lighted window or car in sight. It was only by the streetlight that Tris could be sure to step on every crack in the sidewalk as she went along. Every good memory Tris possessed seemed to have taken place within five miles of her home address. Her first day of school, bike riding, learning to swim, birthday parties, finding Mars - everything existed in the bubble that was five miles around. Outside of that bubble lurked Mr. Simon’s bank, Mrs. Simon’s lunches, the doctor’s office, and the department store. Tris could tell the bubble was slowly beginning to burst, and she was prepared to move both herself and Mars out of its path.

Tris turned onto the main road leading toward her school, continuing to stretch for each sidewalk break. Mars seemed to be stretching for every puddle. Tris could feel the tops of her socks slowly soaking through to her skin. The splash of the puddles and the click of Tris’s sneakers created a comforting rhythm among the dead night air, so it was a few moments before Tris heard the trickling of water clearly.

Spotlighted in the streetlight ahead was a large drainage grate that sparkled and gurgled through its round, covered mouth. Mars trotted ahead to take a sniff. His fur seemed to glow in the spotlight and the watery mist that hung in the air. Tris stood mesmerized by the great breaks in the lid, opening purposefully into the gutter below. She began to skip toward her target.
“Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s -”

Tris pounced for ultimate effect and felt the ground disappear. There was nothing but air around her feet, no solid substance of any kind. The grate had given way beneath her, seeming to swallow the street and the lamppost with it.

Tris gave a yell and found herself in true darkness, snaking down a huge, wet pipe, Mars barking at her heels. Tris struggled around her backpack in an attempt to reach Mars behind her, but the drain snaked again throwing her hard on her side. She couldn’t see her own hand in front of her face and could not tell where and when another turn would whip her sideways again.

The water rushed beneath her, soaking her to the skin. Mars barked again, but he did not sound scared. The rushing of the water grew louder as Tris descended the slime-covered slide, until a roar of water engulfed her ears and she found herself soaring through the air once again before splashing down into a great surging river below.

Tris worked her way up to the surface, struggling against her sodden clothes and backpack before breaking through and gulping greedily for air. “Mars!” she called, straining to keep her head above water. Her sneakers and pack kept attempting to drag her down again.

The dog barked and Tris turned quickly to her right. Tris reached and grabbed Mars tightly about the neck and held on for both their lives. The current was bearing them forcefully forward - to where, Tris could only imagine.

*excerpt provided by the author

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Croak

Book Review: Croak
Croak by Gina Damico

Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape.

But Uncle Mort's true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach Lex the family business. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
Lex is an angry young woman, but doesn't know why. She changed from good girl to raging delinquent and is out of control. Turns out that she is a grim reaper and her destiny is to help collect souls at the time of death. Sent to spend the summer with her uncle (who she's pretty sure is crazy), Lex is partnered with the obnoxious Driggs and has to learn fast!

Lex does learn fast, and quickly becomes one of the best reapers in the junior program. And for the first time ever, Lex is popular. She loves what she does and all of her new friends, but the one downside is that she can't tell her family anything about her new job. It really hurts that she can't tell her twin sister, so she takes the easy way out and doesn't answer any of her sister's emails.

Then Lex and Driggs notice a strange death that can't be explained. Someone seems to be killing people who aren't meant to die. The other junior reapers confirm the odd deaths, and they try to figure out how and why this is happening.

Really enjoyed this one! I liked Lex and how she found herself enjoying her new life. Didn't understand why she was so out of control at first, but it turns out that all reapers are like that until they're brought into the fold. Even enjoyed the mystery, and I don't usually like mysteries. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series, as the author has come up with a great new series with great characters!

Book from my personal library

Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Review: Zombie Generation

Drake Vaughn

Warner is the sole survivor of a deathscape dominated by hordes of the undead. Years of isolation and lack of any human contact has driven him to the brink of insanity. Plagued with vivid hallucinations and shocking nightmares, he scours the deadlands for any signs of life. While discovering a temporary cure for his creeping mental illness, Warner is attacked and infected with the deadly disease. Switching between man and beast, he must decide on risking a desperate cure or attempting a suicidal quest to rescue a group of stranded survivors. Worse, these survivors may only be a figment of his crumbling sanity. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
Due to my schedule, I read this one in bits and pieces and it took me much longer to finish than it would have normally. This may have contributed to my confusion over the ending, which I had to reread. Then I went back and reread the beginning and a few other parts. The reread helped, but the story was still a little confusing. I'm sure there will be several debates about the ending, but I'm still on the fence.

Warner was an interesting character and this was an interesting premise, but I wasn't always sure what was and wasn't real. Warner suffers from hallucinations and, since the story is from his point of view, at times neither one of us is sure what's real.

Not your typical zombie book, this one did have an interesting theory behind what caused a human to turn. The creatures do exhibit some zombie-like behavior, but seem to be a different breed entirely. I'm no zombie expert, but tend to prefer the old-school shambling zombies that you can easily outrun. Without giving anything away, there were a couple of twists during the tale, as well as the ending. 

Gave this one a 3/5 as I liked the story better after my reread. Don't know if it was the slow pace of my original reading or simple holiday distraction, but I did need a reread to understand certain aspects of the story. I did like Warner and sympathized with him, as I have no idea how I would behave if I were the last human around. Think it's worth a read as it's not a typical zombie tale.

eBook received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book Review: Revision 7: DNA

Terry Persun

Time traveling robots, a walking medical experiment turned detective genius, and a kidnapped psychic combine in a story that will tear at your heart and get your adrenaline pumping. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
Usually, I enjoy it when the author trusts us enough to throw us in the deep end of the pool and let us figure things out for ourselves. Not this time.

The first three chapters left me scratching my head, as they were three different POVs and plots. Started to get in the swing of things over the next few chapters, but the back and forth between stories did give me a little whiplash!

There are two main storylines: one with Dr. Smedley Klein and his robot Fenny, and the other with Neil investigating the theft of a secret government project. 

Of the two stories, I enjoyed the one with the doctor and his illegal upgrades on Fenny a little more. Fenny had his own personality and was starting to think for himself, which made him a little harder to control. Got a kick out of the doctor reading the book Raising the Difficult Child! And Fenny would read while the doctor slept at night. How could you not love a robot that read fiction and studied philosophy?

Neil was an interesting character too. His parents had severed the two halves of his brain when he was a baby, so he was incredibly intelligent and could use both sides of his brain independently. He was sort of robot-like at times, but his wife kept him human.

Think that this one was a little too science fictiony for my tastes, and had a little too much detail for me. I tend to get a little bored if too much information is thrown at me, but did like the idea of someone logical like Nick being married to a psychic. I think science fiction fans would enjoy this one more than urban fantasy fans like me.

Review copy courtesy of Booktrope, in exchange for an honest review

Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions: Happy New Year!

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that allows book bloggers to discuss issues unique to what we encounter in the blogging world. Hosted by Karen at For What It's Worth and Pam at Midnyte Reader,  a new question is posted the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month to answer, comment on, and discuss. 

This week's question:

Happy 2013! What are your blogging goals for the new year? Are you making any changes or testing out new ideas for reviews or organization? Have you joined any challenges?
What are the trends you noticed in blogging from 2012 and what do you hope to see for the blogging community in 2013?

Every year, I make New Year's Resolutions and every year, I somehow fail to keep them. Despite my best intentions, something always seems to get in the way.

Because of my history of Resolution Fail, decided to try something a little different. Will continue to work on the blog goals that I started during Bloggiesta instead of proclaiming lofty goals that I'll never be able to meet. It will be a work in progress throughout the year, so that should take some of the pressure off.

I'm also going to cut back on the number of review copies I accept, as I'm putting too much pressure on myself. I have bookshelves full of unread books that keep getting pushed to the back burner because of the bright and shiny and new. Plus, I don't really like some of the blog tours out there, with their excerpt and book blast and author interview requirements. I just want to read/review the books I want, when I want.

For the review books I do accept (I know I won't be able to resist all of the requests), I'm going to schedule them using Google Calendar. I've been doing this for a few weeks now and seems to work better for me than any other method I've tried.

How about you? Did you make any New Year's Resolutions? If so, are you able to keep them? Would love to hear your secret!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Future's So Dark, I Can't Wear Shades!

Recently, I finished a book set in an unknown future. It was pretty grim, so I'm assuming that it would fall under the category of dystopia (even though it wasn't marketed that way). 

According to several online dictionaries, the definition of dystopia is:  An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. Yep. That sums it up pretty well.

They sheer misery of this future really got to me for some reason. I started thinking about several other dystopian stories I've read the past few years and, according to them, our future looks pretty bleak. 

My response? Blech!

Why does the future have to be so full of despair? I'm certainly no Pollyanna, but one thing I could never understand was why anyone would allow society to deteriorate to this miserable level. Didn't anyone ever stand up and proclaim that it was wrong to allow children to fight to the death? That it wasn't okay for 16 year old girls to be used as sexual toys? That maybe burning all the books was a little foolish? That no, forced polygamy wasn't okay? Aren't people better than that?

Yes, life will be tough after the zombie apocalypse or plague or war or whatever caused society to fall, but still.... 

I don't think I've read any futuristic stories that didn't have a miserably bleak setting. Why? The Jetsons was set in the future and they weren't miserable. They had cool flying cars, a great house, and even a robot maid! Nothing bleak there! And Star Trek! Star Trek was always optimistic about discovering new civilizations and that we would all get along. What happened to those futures?

I seem to be in a funk, but maybe I'm just getting tired of dystopia with their predictions of misery and despair. Our present has more than enough of that to go around, so why not dream of a better future? Books are my escape, and no one has ever wanted to escape to someplace worse than where they already were.

Anyone know of any good books that aren't so miserable? I'm really tired of it being okay for children to fight to the death, being forced to procreate, or be used as chattel. *sigh*  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Book Review: Two and Twenty Dark Tales

In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
Anthologies are one of my favorites, as they're a great way to discover new authors but doesn't require a huge investment in time. If you don't like one of the stories, it's short and you know that the next one will probably be better. All in all, I think they're a win-win!

Something unique about this collection is that its the first in a series of annual charity anthologies from Month9Books, and proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to YALITCHAT. What a fantastic idea! It's available in both physical and ebook format, so another win-win!

This collection has an unusual premise in that the stories are all retellings of old Mother Goose nursery rhymes. Have to admit that I've never heard of some of the rhymes, so was glad that the original verse was at the beginning of each story. Some worked better than others, and some of the stories had only the slightest resemblance to the original. Think that's always the danger with retellings.

Some of the standouts for me were Clockwork (Hickory dickory dock), Life in a Shoe (The old woman who lived in a shoe), Candlelight (How many miles to Babylon), The Well (Jack and Jill), and A Ribbon of Blue (Bunch of blue ribbons). The rest of the stories were okay, but these are the ones that stuck with me.

Really appreciated that the writing for all of the stories was well done. All of the authors are talented, it's just that not every story was to my taste. It's nice when everything in a collection is balanced, so all in all I think it's definitely worth adding to your collection!

eBook provided by the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Challenges 2013

Wasn't going to sign up for any challenges this year, as I wind up not finishing most of them and then feel like a giant failure. Too much pressure all around. a known sufferer of challenge-acceptitis, I simply can't resist! Managed to keep it down to three, which isn't bad (for me)!

What's In A Name 6
Didn't complete this one last year, but it's such an original and creative challenge that I couldn't resist signing up again this year. Here's my original sign-up post.

eBook Challenge
Hosted by Workaday Reads, I actually completed this one last year. By the skin of my teeth, on the very last day, but hey...I finished! I love my nook and the convenience of carrying around an entire library with me wherever I go! And being able to accept eGalleys has led to some great review opportunities! My goal on this one will be 50 eBooks.

Challenge Guidelines:

  • This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013.
  • Anyone can join, you don’t need to be a blogger. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to sign-up in the comments. You can post reviews to any book site (i.e. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc).
  • Any genre or length of book counts, as long as it is in ebook format.
  • You can plan your books in advance or as you read them.
  • You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  • Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2013, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.

Goodreads Reading Challenge
This is more a way for me to keep track of my books, but it's labeled as a challenge, so I'm counting it! I didn't make my 2012 goal, but I have high hopes for 2013! Shooting for 100 again, but secretly hope to read more.

Good luck to everyone who signed up for challenges this year!
I have a hunch that 2013 is going to be awesome!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wait....where did 2012 go?

It's 2013 already?

This started off an okay year, but ended on a sour note thanks to all the trouble we had with selling our house, dealing with drama llamas at work, leaving town the day Superstorm Sandy hit, and then trying to find a new home.

Feel like we're currently in limbo, staying in a rental with all of our things in storage. I miss my books. I miss all my stuff, but miss my books the most. I also miss having furbabies and have made DH promise that once we're settled, we'll visit the local shelters to find a new member (or two) for our family.

Happy New Year everyone!

I know that 2013 will be better!