Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Picture 2Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Bk 1) by Richelle Mead

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

I’ve heard that this series was good for a while and have had the first book for about a month, but honestly, I’m getting a little tired of all the vampires in YA books.  I think Twilight and House of Night burned me out and left me uninterested.  I’ve started the Morganville Vampire series and thought it was alright, but I couldn’t bring myself to start this series.

So after much prompting from my friend Nicole, I started it.  I’m so glad I did!  This book is so different from any of the other vampire books I’ve read recently.  I really liked Rose.  I like that she’s strong and a fighter.  She’s willing to put “normal teenage things” on hold to be better a better guardian.  There were a couple times when Lissa annoyed me, but for the most part, I liked her.  I love Dimitri, too.  I am excited to read the rest of the series!

Richelle Mead is one of the authors I should get to meet at the Decatur Book Festival.

In My Mailbox 8/29/09

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Click here to learn more about it.

These are all the books I acquired this week:

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From PaperBackSwap:

  • Hollywood is Like High School With Money
  • So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow
  • Troy High by Shana Norris
  • Beauty by Robin McKinley
  • The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

From Barnes & Noble:

  • Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
  • As You Wish by Jackson Pearce

Two crazy things this week: 1) The two books I thought were lost last week actually showed up this week!  I don’t regret getting a PO Box, but I feel like I should wait by the mailboxes and hug my carrier this morning.   2) I cheated on Borders with Barnes and Noble twice this week.   Borders isn’t selling As You Wish yet, so I had to get that one at B&N and I got Sea Change there because I needed to go to Target and Petco and B&N is in the same shopping center.  And if I’m going to drink uppity coffee, I’d rather have Starbucks than Seattle’s Best.

And a last minute addition! While running errands this morning, I stopped by my PO Box and found The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Picture 5The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games.” The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat’s sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

Well, if you’ve been reading my blog at all, you know I love this book.  I just read it for the second time so I am refreshed on everything and ready for Catching Fire.  Reading the book again, I liked it just as much as I did the first time.  The book is fantastic in my opinion.  It has a little of everything – survival, grief, hope, family, romance, action, adventure, complexity…  So good!  Katniss is strong, smart, resourceful, and very likable.

I recently found a fan forum for the book and it has been very interesting reading others opinions of various characters.  It has really gotten me thinking.  The book is in Katniss’ point of view, so everything we know is tempered by her feelings.  Many people on the forum mentioned not liking a certain character because Katniss doesn’t like the character.  It just seems so odd to me because I feel there are many clues in the book that this character’s actions are not motivated by the things Katniss thinks they are.  (I know that sentence was vague, but I don’t want to give away anything.)  On the flip side, there is a character that Katniss likes a lot that I don’t care for.   I don’t really know what point I’m trying to make, just that it is interesting how a character’s opinions can shade our feelings about the people and events in books.

Anyway!  Can’t wait for Tuesday!

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce

Picture 1As You Wish by Jackson Pearce

Ever since Viola’s boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing—to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again—until one day she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes.

Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can’t deny that he’s falling for Viola. But it’s only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she’s in love with Jinn as well . . . and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life—and her world—forever.

Jackson Pearce spins a magical tale about star-crossed lovers, what it means to belong . . . and how important it is to be careful what you wish for.

This book is adorable.  First of all, the spine is pink.  I am a sucker for pink.  If it is pink, I will love it.  My friends  laugh at me when I can’t find stuff in my purse because the inside of my purse is pink, as is my wallet, iPhone cover, and iPod cover.  It’s all a blur.  Much like I was predisposed to like A Little Bit Wicked by Kristen Chenoweth, just looking at the cover (sans dust jacket, though I like that too) makes me happy.

But anyway!  What’s inside is fantastic too!  The characters are sweet and realistic.  I loved switching between Jinn’s POV and Viola’s POV.  I wouldn’t have minded throwing a chapter or two from Lawrence’s POV in, either.  The all of the characters were really easy to read about and very likeable.  I loved Viola’s journey and how strong she was to not take the easy way out.  The dialogue is realistic and funny too.  I want to be friends with Jinn, Viola, and Lawrence (not to mention Ollie and Xander!).

There were things in the book that really could have been very cliche, but I felt that the book came off as very original.  It could have been very Aladdin, but it really wasn’t, though I may have thrown in my own “Ixnay on the wishing for more wishes!”

In other pop culture references, this quote kept popping in my head while I was reading the book: “That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying “As you wish”, what he meant was, “I love you.” And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.”

http://www.asyouwishthebook.com/ <~ Funny stuff here

Jackson Pearce is one of the authors I should get to meet at the Decatur Book Festival.

And the winner is…

Before I announce the winner, I just want to say thank you to everyone that entered!  I really love this book and I hope that even if you didn’t win, you find a copy somewhere and read it.  Thanks to everyone that promoted it on their blog and sidebar as well.  Thank you also for all the book suggestions!  Now I have more books to add to my ever growing To Be Read list. Just what I need, right?

So without further ado, the winner of a brand spanking new copy of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is….

(drum roll, please)

Erica!

Congrats, Erica!  I’ll e-mail you for your address today and get the book on its way to you asap!

Stay tuned!  Hopefully I’ll have more contests going on soon!

Waiting on Wednesday 8/26/09

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The book I am eagerly anticipating this week is Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

catchingfireAgainst all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Just thinking about this book makes me giddy with excitement.  I am as excited for it as I was for the last few Harry Potters.  (That’s saying a lot!)   If Borders would stay open until midnight on 8/31, I would be first in line to pick up the book and would read all night even though I have to work that day.  Since they aren’t planning on doing this, I’ll be heading to the Borders by work at lunch to pick up my copy.  If they don’t have it, there will be blood.  Well, probably not blood, but definitely tears.  Everything I’ve heard about Catching Fire is that it is just as good as The Hunger Games.  Squeeee!

Check back in a little while for the winner of The Hunger Games giveaway!

Teaser Tuesdays 8/25/09

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
  • Share the title and author, too, so others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they want

My teaser:

“Katniss, the girl who was on fire.”

It crosses my mind that Cinna’s calm and normal demeanor masks a complete madman.

~The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, page 67

Yep, I’m rereading The Hunger Games before Catching Fire comes out.

Don’t forget today is the last day to enter to win The Hunger Games in this post!

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

Picture 1 Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

16-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science…and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she’s happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother’s estate.

There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can’t make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship…and reality.

Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

I really wanted to like this book more than I did.  I loved the idea.  A big house on the beach, a mysterious island (off the coast of Georgia!), merfolk and other mythological creatures… it sounds fantastic.  There were parts that I really did like, but there were things I didn’t like as well.  The book just seemed to be lacking something.  I felt the end wrapped up to quickly and it left me feeling a big unresolved.  I turned the page at the end and thought, “Wait, that’s it?”

The “romance” happened too fast – from “I don’t know you” to “I love you” in like a day.  The summer people were cliche and kind of annoying.  I didn’t understand or like Miranda’s mother.  Her behavior seems so out of character from what Miranda explains at the beginning of the book and I didn’t feel like it was explained why she suddenly behaved differently because she was on the island.

Maybe there will be a sequel because I liked it well enough, but I’d like to know what happens next.

Aimee Friedman is one of the authors I should get to meet at the Decatur Book Festival.

In My Mailbox 8/21/09

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Click here to learn more about it.

These are all the books I acquired this week:

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From PaperBackSwap:

  • The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer
  • My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
  • A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
  • Dead Girls’ Dance (Morganville Vampires, Bk 2) by Rachel Caine

From Borders:

  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Bk 1) by Kelley Armstrong

From the Library (not pictured):

  • Pure by Terra Elan McVoy
  • Paper Towns by John Green

Should have been in my mailbox but USPS sucks:

  • Troy High by Shanna Norris
  • So Punk Rock: And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother by Micol and David Ostow

Since I moved in June, I’ve had problems with getting mail and packages from UPS.  My apartment isn’t that hard to find, but it involves using your brain a little and actually walking around the building.  My regular mail carrier took Wednesday off.  Despite the fact that my address is written ON my mailbox, the fill-in carrier marked the books as Undeliverable as Addressed, so the books are (hopefully) on their way back to the senders.  I finally gave up and got a PO Box, so maybe getting mail won’t be an issue any more.

Anyway, to leave this on a happier note, this guy wasn’t in my mailbox, but he was so darn cute while I was trying to take a picture of my books that I had to take a picture of him!

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The Book of Luke by Jenny O’Connell

Picture 4The Book of Luke by Jenny O’Connell

Emily Abbott has always been considered the Girl Most Likely to Be Nice — but lately being nice hasn’t done her any good. Her parents have decided to move the family from Chicago back to their hometown of Boston in the middle of Emily’s senior year. Only Emily’s first real boyfriend, Sean, is in Chicago, and so is her shot at class valedictorian and early admission to the Ivy League. What’s a nice girl to do?

Then Sean dumps Emily on moving day and her father announces he’s staying behind in Chicago “to tie up loose ends,” and Emily decides that what a nice girl needs to do is to stop being nice.

She reconnects with her best friends in Boston, Josie and Lucy, only to discover that they too have been on the receiving end of some glaring Guy Don’ts. So when the girls have to come up with something to put in the senior class time capsule, they know exactly what to do. They’ll create a not-so-nice reference guide for future generations of guys — an instruction book that teaches them the right way to treat girls.

But when her friends draft Emily to test out their tips on Luke Preston — the hottest, most popular guy in school, who just broke up with Josie by email — Emily soon finds that Luke is the trickiest of test subjects . . . and that even a nice girl like Emily has a few things to learn about love.

I had a really hard time getting into this book and almost gave up on it.  Emily was really whiny for the first 50 pages.  But I stuck with it and ended up liking it more than I expected.  I ended up liking Emily and Luke and their story.  The book wasn’t overly memorable or anything, but it was cute and an easy read.  I liked the “lessons” at the beginning of each chapter.  Some of them are so true!