In My Mailbox 11/28/09

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 Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler
  • The Debs by Susan McBride
  • It Takes More Than Balls by Deidre Silva and Jackie Koney

I ordered It Takes More Than Balls on a whim from PBS and I have a feeling I am going to hate it, but the title was too funny to resist.  I’m a girl that loves sports more than most guys I know, so I hate the implication that being female means you need sports dumbed down for you.  But we’ll see.  Maybe it will be interesting. :)

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Picture 1The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, Bk 1) by James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is black. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.
The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl springs up—the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might be able to find their way home . . . wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.
And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers—if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

This book was fantastic!  If I didn’t read it over Thanksgiving with a lot of family and football around, I would have finished it in one sitting.  I wanted to keep reading and when I wasn’t reading, I kept thinking about the book.  The book was intriguing – there were so many mysteries introduced.  Of course, since this is the first of a series, many of those questions weren’t answered, which is driving me crazy now.  I want to know what happens next!

I really liked Thomas and the people around him.  The setting was really interesting with the civilization inside the Glade and the Maze with the Grievers.  There was very little about this book that was predictable, which is great in my opinion!  I definitely recommend this book, though I wish there wasn’t a wait to find out what happens next!

Demon Princess: Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen

Picture 2Demon Princess: Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen

As if trying to fit in at a new school isn’t stressful enough, sixteen-year-old Nikki Donovan just found out that her long-lost father is, in fact, the demon king of the Shadowlands—the world that separates and protects us from the Underworld. When she is brought there by the mysterious—and surprisingly cute—messenger Michael, she learns that her father is dying, and he wants her to assume the throne. To complicate matters, a war is brewing between the Shadowlands and the Underworld, her half-demon qualities are manifesting, and her growing feelings for Michael are completely forbidden. Ruling a kingdom, navigating a secret crush, and still making it home by curfew—what’s a teenage demon princess to do?

This was a pretty fun book.  It was kind of predictable, but enjoyable.  Nikki and Michael are good characters and I liked reading their story.  I think this will an interesting series and am looking forward to the next book!

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Picture 1If I Stay by Gayle Forman

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeenyear- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she fi nds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

I liked this book, but I have reservations about it as well.  I was disturbed by page 14.  I knew what it was about, but I didn’t expect the descriptions at the beginning.

The flashbacks were interesting, but sometimes Mia’s family and friends seemed too perfect to the point of being a little annoying.  Mia also annoyed me sometimes.  I wouldn’t say it is necessarily the character’s fault, but her perspective on music was so different than mine.  I was extremely involved in music growing up.  I did solos and such, but I really enjoyed being part of a group – an ensemble or the band.  To Mia, playing was always a solo experience and that was just hard for me to understand.  I expected to like her musicality, but in the end I couldn’t relate to her.

In My Mailbox 11/21/09

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 Brothers Torres by Coert Voorhees
  • Another Faust by Daniel Nayeri and Dina Nayeri
  • Crash Into Me by Albert Borris
  • Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
  • Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz
  • Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
  • About a Boy by Nick Hornby
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters by Gail Giles
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

I keep saying I’m trying to make my TBR pile smaller, but obviously that isn’t happening!  The good thing about this week is that all the books came from PBS so I didn’t have to pay for anything.  Yay!

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Picture 1Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, Bk 4) by Richelle Mead

How far will Rose go to keep her promise?

The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them. . . including Dimitri.

He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?

I’m going to try to say what I thought about this book without being too spoilery.  I really liked the first three books in the series.  I’ve always thought Rose was a fantastic female character.  But in this book, I found myself extremely annoyed with her many times.  One section of the book had me saying “You’ve got to be kidding me!” every time I turned the page.  Not a good thing.

I thought the first 400 pages of the book were kind of tedious and occasionally boring.  Liking the series is the only thing that kept me going.  I did like parts of it, but many times I just wanted the book to get on with the action.  I also really missed the characters from the first books.  Rose’s trips to Lissa’s mind didn’t really take the place of interactions with these characters.  Lissa is a character I struggle to like occasionally anyway, but in this book she just pissed me off.  I know the explanation for it, but I still didn’t like it.

All that said, I did really like the last 100 pages.  Things finally happened and there were revelations and such.  I’ll definitely read the next book, but I’m hoping it’s back to the standards of the first three books.

The Ex Games by Jennifer Echols

exgamesThe Ex Games by Jennifer Echols

Brace yourself for the battle of the exes…
Hayden and Nick used to be a hot item, but their brief affair ended with a highly publicized breakup. Now the two are “just friends,” excluding the occasional flirtation.
When Hayden wins the girls’ division of a local snowboarding competition, Nick is unimpressed, claiming that Hayden wouldn’t have a chance against a guy. Hayden calls Nick’s bluff and challenges him to a head-to-head boarding contest. Their mutual friends quickly take sides, the girls on Hayden’s and the boys on Nick’s, making for an all-out battle of the sexes.
This friendly competition is bound to get heated – and they might end up igniting some old flames.

Before I tell you what I thought about the book, I have to admit something: In my head, I am a professional snowboarder.  Seriously.  I love watching the X Games and the snowboarding events in the Olympics.  In reality, all my snowboarding experience has taken place on my Wii Balance Board, but I am determine to one day actually take snowboarding lessons on real snow!

That said, I have to admit I am predisposed to liking a book about snowboarding.  I loved the parts of the book that were about snowboarding!  This was a great book to read as we approach winter.  (Not that it snows in GA much, but a girl can dream, right?)  I want to live in Snowfall. :)

And beyond that, I really liked Hayden and Nick.  They were both pretty realistic and I liked their story.  I liked that there was more to them than just “fall in love, live happily ever after.”  The secondary characters were a little one dimensional, but I loved Hayden’s brother and his friends.

This was a really fun read.  I really like Jennifer Echols.

In My Mailbox 11/15/09

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:

  • Alphas by Lisi Harrison
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu, translated by Ralph D. Sawyer

From Amazon:

  • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

From Borders:

  • Learning Flash CS4 Professional by Rich Shupe

That last one is for the work project I mentioned in my last post!

Out With the Old Challenge – Week 4 Recap

The challenge is over!  I didn’t get to read as much this week because I have a big project for work that is taking up a lot of my time, but I still feel I did pretty okay.  Short books helped! :)  I can’t wait for my project to be over so I can read some of the exciting 2009 books I’ve been putting off for most of this challenge!

Number of Books Read: 7
Number of Books Not Finished: 0
Total Points: 3100
Books Read:

  1. Angels Watching Over Me by Lurlene McDaniel (1996) – 500 pts
  2. Lifted Up By Angels by Lurlene McDaniel (1997) – 500 pts
  3. Until Angels Close My Eyes by Lurlene McDaniel (1999) – 500 pts
  4. Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (2006) – 250 pts
  5. Little Men by Louisa May Scott (1871) – 1000 pts
  6. Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess (2007) – 250 pts
  7. The Ex-Games by Jennifer Echols (2009) – 100 pts

Hopefully I’ll have good new tomorrow when I come back to update my placement!

I do have good news!  I ended up in 5th out of 34.  I won two PBS credits!  (I don’t exactly need those, but hey – I won something!)

Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

Picture 3Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

They promised Meredith nine years of safety, but only gave her three.

Her father was supposed to be locked up until Meredith turned eighteen. She thought she had time to grow up, get out, and start a new life. But Meredith is only fifteen, and today her father is coming home from prison.

Today her time has run out.

This book was really disturbing, but hard to put down. It’s about a girl who was molested by her father and now he is back out of jail.  Her mother doesn’t understand why Meredith is upset by her father being back around.  I thought all the characters were interesting and I liked that we learned of almost everyone’s motivations for their actions even when their reasoning was terrible.

I liked that Meredith was vulnerable but still a strong character. Andy and his mother frustrated me because they chose to hide instead of fight back, but I get their reasons for that.

Overall, I’m glad I read this book, but based on the subject matter, I can’t really say I enjoyed it.  Too disturbing.