Monday, November 29, 2010

100 Followers Giveaway Part II

First, I would like to thank everyone who is currently following my blog. I can't tell you how much your support means to me. In recognition of that support, and of the recent spike in followers, I have a couple more prize packs for you!

Prize Pack #4
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
The Snowball Effect Bookmark (signed)
The Pace Bookmark (signed)
Guardian of the Gate Bookmark
Ruin Temporary Tattoos
Beautiful Darkness Button

Prize Pack #5

A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Rain Postcard
The Pace Bookmark
Fairy Tale Bookmark (signed)
Shade Bookmark (signed)
We hear the Dead Poster (signed)

The Rules
  • you must be 13 years of age or older
  • this contest is for residents of the US only (sorry, I don't have money to ship this stuff internationally right now)
  • you MUST be a follower
  • you can earn extra entries by spreading the word
  • the contest ends on December 1, 2010
*People who have already entered this contest do not need to re-enter. As long as you selected "Please enter me in any other prize packs that you post!", you will be entered to win these prizes as well.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

"Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?"
            First of all, I have to say that the cover of this book makes me really, really happy. Not the look of it, the feel of it. It isn't made of that super shiny material that makes you squirm cuz you're so afraid of leaving finger prints on it and it isn't that dull, lifeless cardboard cover either. It has this amazing texture that practically made me do a happy dance. Not to mention the page edges. Usually I don't like that rough-edged, jagged paper, but it just works on this book.  The only down side to this book: the smell. I like the smell of almost every book, but his one, ahhh not so much... Enough of my blabbering and on to what you really want to hear about.
            Nightshade is a good book. It's exciting, has a bit of character development (exponentially more than Twilight, if you want a comparison), and certainly grabs your attention, but overall I was a bit let down. This book has been building and building hype for so long that I expected more of it. The beginning of the novel makes it seem like it is going to maintain a fast pace, but it really doesn't. Some events were abrupt and didn't make sense. Also, I don't understand Calla's attraction to Ren... at all. Even worse, the ending is an abrupt cliffhanger. (On a side rant - why does every book end in a cliffhanger nowadays? Don't any authors know that books in a series are supposed to be able to stand alone?)
            While I certainly have some (a lot) of issues with this book. I do have to say that I like Calla Tor. I am a HUGE fan of strong female leads, and even though Calla doesn't always take initiative, she certainly qualifies. I like Calla's leadership skills, her curiosity, loyalty, honor, and drive. And even though it may annoy me at some points, I like the way she puts others before herself. However, it isn't until Shay Doran shows up that she begins to think for herself. Shay teaches her independence and gives her the strength to stand up for something.  
            This book does delve a little bit into some deeper meaning. It speaks to the way that people blindly follow leaders and traditions without question. I'm not trying to say that all leaders and traditions are bad, or that people always follow them without question. On the contrary, many traditions are beneficial, and the people of our fair country certainly question their leaders. And the book also addresses this.
            Too many mixed messages? Well, here is the bottom line. Nightshade is worth a read, simply as that. However, if you want a book about wolves, I recommend Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. If you want a book with a similar (but better) plot to Nightshade, try Firelight by Sophie Jordan. You can read my review here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

"Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising."

          Please Ignore Vera Dietz has not received even half the praise it deserves. This book is smart, funny, and all around wonderful. I've never read a novel that combined so much life and laughter with death and sorrow. A.S. King is sharp as a tack and has a wicked sense of humor. This book was such as pleasant surprise. It isn't just your basic run of the mill realistic fiction. It has elements of the supernatural, not wizards, vampires, or werewolves, but subtle references and occurrences (watch out for the pickles).Please DON'T Ignore Vera Dietz. She is so wonderful, so quirky, so lovable and relatable, that she will worm her way into your heart on the very first page.
            Vera loves her best friend Charlie, and she also hates him. The only problem is that he's dead, and Vera is the only one who may know the truth about why. This book combines the perspectives of Vera, her father Ken, Charlie, and the Pagoda (the Pagoda may be my favorite character, sorry Vera). Each view point helps build the story up and make it special. As a reader, you get to really explore every characters' thoughts, feelings, and motivations. Even though the characters act really stupid sometimes (or a lot of the time) you can understand why they do (for the most part).
            This novel is heartwarming and heartbreaking. It makes you want to laugh and cry and scream (believe me, you will laugh out loud). At some points I got so frustrated that I didn't want to read any farther, and at others I couldn't put the book down. In short, this book is everything a book should be. It is captivating, character-driven, and combines the past and the present in a plot that will capture your heart and mind.
            Once again, Please Don't Ignore Vera Dietz. (By the way, A.S. King is not a pseudonym, isn't that so cool!)