31 March 2011

Hop & Follow Friday! (4)

Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books.  Have you checked out her blog? No? WHY NOT? Do so now. :-)

This week's question: "Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you?"

To be quite honest, I'm not much a prankster.  Last year a friend of my husband's told everyone that she was pregnant as an April Fool's joke and people freaked out.  It was HILARIOUS.  (I totally guessed it...but my husband totally fell for it and so did his other friends).  I've had a couple of different friends pretend to have broken up with their serious boyfriends, which actually, isn't generally all that funny! 
"Follow My Book Blog Friday" is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View. Check out her site for guidelines for participating and join in the fun!

This week's question...

What is the book that you that your really don't want to admit to loving?

Well, I'm kind of a big believer in not being ashamed of anything I read (i.e. I <3 the Reader's Bill of Rights).  But...let's just get this out in the open:  I especially like the Riley Jensen Guardian series by Keri Arthur, but when I check them out from the public library, I always use the self-checkout... (*blush*)  Actually, ummm....I kind of also love the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurel K. Hamilton...another self-checkout type of series.  Oh! But probably most embarrassingly...I like the MacCarrick Brothers trilogy by Kresley Cole, despite the terrible Scottish dialect that she attempts to write into the books.  SO...I guess what I'm saying...is that smutty romance novels have a special place in my heart...

Guess I'm kind of lame in the April Fool's department, and *shhhhh* don't tell that I read smutty romance novels!  Can't wait to read your stories!  Leave me your link!


Review: Where She Went

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Publication Date: 5 April 2011
Publisher: Penguin
Buy it!: Amazon | BookDepository | B&N

Goodreads description:
It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
My Thoughts:

I was a little nervous going into this one because I loved the first book so much.  If I Stay is one of the only books I’ve read in a long time that I can guarantee I will read again and again.  It’s also the first one to make a move for Lovely Bones’ spot as my favorite book in years.  I knew that Adam instead of Mia as the narrator would also bring a new perspective to the story, and I guess I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that.

When the book started out, I had a bit of a hard time getting into the new POV.  It’s not that I didn’t like Adam’s story.  I actually think that I was, for some subconscious reason, ANGRY with him.  I’m not sure why, exactly, but I so wanted him and Mia to be together and I couldn’t understand why his life was in such shambles if he was basically living his dream.  I had so many questions at the beginning when I realized they weren’t together and he was living on this celebrity image with the celebrity girlfriend and everything.  I think it broke my heart more than a little to see how Adam was living because I loved him in the first book.  However, the book really takes you through his story in his flashbacks and everything really starts to come together.  

I eventually really did fall in love with Adam as the narrator.  His flashbacks on Mia’s coma and recovery were so eye-opening and, well, heart-breaking.  

I loved how the author brought Mia back into Adam’s life and the way they spent what little time they each had together.  There isn’t an unrealistic, instant “I forgive you for everything because I love you” moment when they first meet again, which was good because I would have put the book down right then and there. These characters are real people with real issues to work through.  I mean, they haven’t seen each other for three years! 

Well, I think I should stop my ramblings before I start giving away the story~!  I really, really enjoyed this book.  It left me satisfied and with a smile on my face. I plan on buying this one when it comes out in paperback (because I bought the first one in paperback and I’m (a) OCD like that and (b) kind of broke right now).  Thanks a bunch to NetGalley and Tarah from Penguin Young Readers group for access to an eGalley of this book!

30 March 2011

"Waiting on..." Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are patiently eagerly awaiting.

The upcoming book that's I'm looking forward to this week is...

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Publication Date: 3 May 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

Goodreads description: 
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Sounds awesome, right?  I don't even remember how I stumbled upon this one at first, but I think it sounds like a great read.  It has a lot of competition in the genre, no doubt, so we'll have to see how it holds up.  I already have it on hold at the public library for when it comes in.

What are you waiting for this week? 

29 March 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Publication Date: 22 March 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Goodreads description:
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left
My Thoughts:

I was worried when I picked this one up.  There was so much hype about it and I'd heard so many good things...and a pretty large handful of bad things.

But this book didn't let me down. No matter what anyone else says, I loved this book.

Wither's opening scene pulled me right in a Rhine described being in the van, not knowing up from down, then being unloaded, chosen, and herded into a limo while the other girls are killed.  It was the kind of opening that kept me turning the page.  As the story unfolds, I found myself diving right into this future world and getting lost in its complications and twists and turns.  Why did someone kill Rhine's parents?  If they cured cancer, why can't they stop this life-ending disease?  I hated Housemaster Vaughn so much, but I still wanted him to find the darn cure!

Rhine was a great character for me.  So many YA novels that I've read lately have had these clumsy, oblivious female leads and while I've still enjoyed some of those novels, I have craved strong females who try to get something done (hence, my love for Gaia in Birthmarked and Katniss in the Hunger Games). Rhine falls into this category of strong female.  She knows what she wants (to escape and find her brother) and what she'll need to do to get it (deceive her husband to win favor).  I loved that she sometimes forgot that she was "pretending" to be in love with Linden because that sort of questioning of her feelings made her more human.

Linden was a character that struck such conflict in me while I was reading. I wanted to hate him--I really, really did.  However, as his oblivion is slowly revealed bit-by-bit (and you realize that everything is Vaughn running the show), I couldn't help but feel sorry for the guy.  He was no less a pawn in his father's game than the girls.   There were definitely points in the book where I was rooting for him to steal Rhine's heart and I would catch myself and be like "What about Gabriel?!"  

There were some things about this story that were difficult to believe.  For one, the emphasis on procreation (especially by the young men_ when there doesn't seem to be any kind of push/brainwashing by the "first generations" to convince the younger generations. If this type of emphasis was being pushed, then these girls would ALL be like Cecily with her desire for a husband and children...but they aren't. Also, killing teenage girls when they are apparently vital to the next generation? Especially ordered dead by a man desperate for the cure? 

Despite any minor qualms I may have had with this book, my opinion remains: I loved this book and I cannot wait for the next one. (When does it come out?! What is it called?! I want to know so bad!)

28 March 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Release: April 6, 2010 (Paperback edition)
Publisher: Speak (Paperback)
Buy this: Amazon | BookDepository
Available formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Nookbook

Goodreads description:
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-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 finds 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.

My Thoughts: (**ALERT: minor spoiler ahead!**)

This is a painfully beautiful story. The car accident that kills Mia's family happens only about 15 pages into the story, but I felt like Forman ripped my heart out and stomped on it.  In those 15 pages, I was already in love with Kat, Denny, Teddy, and Mia. Despite every description about this book available on the internet, I held on to this shred of hope that Teddy was still alive--all because Mia thought it was so.  It has been a long time since I connected with a character and a book in this way and I was truly blown away by Forman's writing.

When reading a story that is mainly told in memories and recollections, I've often felt less connected with the characters (besides the main characters).  This was not the case with this book.  Through Mia's memories and the flashbacks Forman writes in, I felt myself connected and drawn to Mia's whole family. There were points when she was telling a flashback that I would forget that Mia's parents were dead because the words and stories made them really come to life.

And Mia.  Mia was such a dynamic, well-written character.  Between watching her struggle with her decision and reading through her memories, I felt like I knew her.  I could have sat down and had a conversation with her.  I wanted her to stay and live (largely for Adam, whom I was practically in love with) but I SO understood her hesitation.  When her grandfather tells her he'd understand if she leaves, I just about lost it.  (And all I could think was--"You still have 50 pages to read. Don't start bawling now!")

One last thing: I loved Adam.  I loved him because he seemed fabulous is Mia's memories.  I loved him because they didn't have some perfect romance.  I loved him for trying to break into ICU to see her.  I loved him because of this quote:

"If you stay, I'll do whatever you want.  I'll quit the band, go with you to New York.  But if you need me to go away, I'll do that too.  I was talking to Liz and she said maybe coming back to your old life would just be too painful, that maybe it'd be easier for you to erase us.  And that would suck, but I'd do it.  I can lose you like that if I don't lose you today. I'll let you go.  If you stay."

I'll leave it there for now because I'm on the verge of spilling too many spoilers.  I loved this book--not everyone will.  I'd recommend it without any reservations for fans of Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. 

27 March 2011

In My Mailbox (1)

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

I don't usually do these posts, largely because I've been on a bit of a book buying/borrowing hiatus.  This week proved to be a tad different however and I'm SO excited about my new reading material that I just had to share.


A Modern Witch by Debora Geary

I won this one on LibraryThing! I was SO EXCITED because I never win ANYTHING and I thought that this book looked like an interesting story.  

For Review:
(my first books from NetGalley!)

(Did I mention I was pretty sure I'd get declined again so I requested a bunch? And I'm already behind on my reading list because I gave up reading for Lent!)

Bite Me by Parker Blue
Heir to the Everlasting by Janice Daugharty
Shine by Lauren Myracle
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Lost in Dreams by Roger Bruner
The Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin


Sovay be Celia Rees
If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Sovay I fell in love with when I stumbled upon it while shelving at the local public library.  The cover drew me in at first, but then the story just caught my attention.  I've wanted to check it out from the library for awhile, but I found I couldn't put it back down after I found it at the bookstore. So, home it came.
If I Stay has been on my to read list basically since it came out. The other day I saw the sequel available on NetGalley and decided I'd request it (even though I figured I'd get declined...). Then I found the paperback of this one while wondering around the bookstore (the same trip that I picked up Sovay) and it ended up coming home as well.  I couldn't help it! 


OHMYGOODNESSI'VEBEENSOEXCITEDABOUTTHIS!!!  I pre-ordered this book for my NookColor so that I could download it the morning it came out.  Not that I will be able to read it for a could of weeks yet, but just to have it! I am THAT excited to read this.  (And I'm seriously worried that it has been over-hyped and I'll hate it...)

(Did I mention I also have an order from The Book Depository coming my way? More details next week!)

What's new in your book world this week?

Happy Reading!

25 March 2011

Hop & Follow Friday! (3)

"Follow My Book Blog" Friday is a fun Friday meme hosted by Parajunkee's View.  Want to join in the fun?  Check out her blog for details on how! On to this week's "question!"


Q. Inspired by the inane twitter trend of #100factsaboutme, give us five BOOK RELATED silly facts about you. 

  1. I am a compulsive book buyer.  This problem has gotten increasingly worse since my acquisition of a NookColor.  I make deals with my husband that he can buy beer-related things (he's a brewer) if I can buy books of the same value. 

  2. Visiting a bookstore or the library is my number one stress relief.  I like to wander through the rows of books and pick up books that catch my eye.  It's seriously like therapy.  (I often take breaks at my office job in a library just to wander the stacks.

  3. I almost always read the last few pages of a book so I know how it ends. This makes audio books very frustrating to me. (And I've found that I don't do it as often with eBooks)

  4. My absolute favorite exercise activity is riding the recumbent stationary bike at the gym solely because I can read while I do it.  If they didn't have time limits, I probably could sit there and bike for a LONG TIME with a good book.

  5. I ALWAYS have a book with me.  This way, I can read during any possible downtime I have.  I read while walking between destinations, while waiting for people to arrive at meetings, while eating lunch...I even keep audiobooks in my car for my half-hour each way commute.

Book Blogger Hop
 The "Book Blogger Hop" is a weekly book party hosted by Crazy-for-Books.  Hop on over and check out their blog to participate! This week's question comes from Mina who blogs at Mina Burrows:

 "If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?"

Ooo...that's a tough question! The first one that pops to mind is the Aurora Teagarden mysteries by Charlaine Harris.  They're cute, quirky mysteries...and the main character is a librarian! I haven't even read all of the books in the series...maybe only the first four or so.  
What are your silly book quirks? Leave me links to check out your Hop and/or Follow Friday answers! I love checking out new blogs (and I always try to follow back!
Happy Friday!

22 March 2011

"Waiting on..." Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  The focus is on upcoming releases that we are patiently eagerly awaiting.

Has anyone else noticed that the more book blogs you follow, the more books you add to your "TBR" list?  Maybe it's just me, but ever since I really started working on this blog to fill my time (hahahaha--that makes it sound like I have EXTRA time), I have encountered book after book that I've said "Ooo! Hey! I want to read that too!"  My once daunting but possibly manageable TBR list has grown in to the realm of "I know I'll never read them all."  Anyone else?

But I digress.  This week I've chosen two books with fabulous covers that I'm "waiting on..." Take a look!

Passion (Fallen #3) by Lauren Kate
Pub Date: 14 June 2011

Before Luce and Daniel met at Sword & Cross and fought immortals at Shoreline, they lived many lives. . . 

I adore the dresses on these covers. (Who doesn't?)  Since the "descriptions" fall a tad short, let me share a little from the author herself, Lauren Kate:

"This chase backwards through time, with each chapter set in a different country and a different century across five thousand years is undoubtedly the most romantic, most intense, most…passionate book I’ve ever written"

Die for Me by Amy Plum
Pub Date:  10 May 2011

DIE FOR ME is the first of three books about Kate, a sixteen-year-old American who moves to Paris after the death of her parents. It introduces a new version of the undead with revenants, beings who are fated to sacrifice themselves over and over again to save others’ lives. Kate finds herself falling for Vincent, who she discovers is not the typical French teenager he appears: he is something else entirely.

DIE FOR ME presents a new supernatural mythology presented in a city where dreams are sometimes the same as reality.

So...maybe I just like covers with gorgeous dresses?

I am clearly entranced by the covers of these and many other upcoming books.   What about you? What are you waiting on this week?  Leave me a link. I'd love to check it out!

21 March 2011

Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly
Candlewick Press; 24 May 2011; 464 pages 

Goodreads synopsis:

Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed, romantic trilogy, L..A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill-ride of a road trip — and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.

Angel Burn was a refreshing addition to my reading shelf.  I have started to be a tad apprehensive about reading these types of books because at this point I've read so many and some are definitely disappointing.  This one, however, delivered!  The storyline started out a bit slow and I wasn't at all sure I was going to enjoy the book.  The prologue and first chapter left me wanting a little something more.  However, as soon as Willow and Alex team up, the story turns into a non-stop adventure that I couldn't put down.  I found myself turning page after page just to see what would happen next. 

Willow and Alex were unique characters with strong personalities.  Willow especially was a breath of fresh air in a genre where so many female leads are written as weak or flaky.  Willow was strong and independent (no Bella syndrome here--this girl can fix cars and everything!).  The romantic interest between the two develops throughout the story, which I really appreciated.  It wasn't an instant happening that came out of nowhere and I really appreciated that.

The one thing that bothered me with this one was the use of first-person narrative from Willow's perspective but third person for anyone else (e.g. Alex).  The switching back and forth caught me off-guard a couple of times but did not deter from my overall enjoyment of this book.

I think this is a great read for other who enjoy a little paranormal romance paired with a good amount of adventure. I'm really interested in the reading the next book in the trilogy (although sadly I don't think the US release is until December!!)

(Many thanks to Candlewick Press and NetGalley for providing this book for my review!) 

What do you think of the current angel/were/vampire craze in YA fiction?  What have you read lately that fits in this category? What did you think of it?

17 March 2011

Hop & Follow Friday! (2)

It's that time again...

"Follow My Book Blog" Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View. Check her blog out!
Question of the Week: How did you come up with your blog name?

Well, that's an interesting question to be sure.  It took me quite awhile to come up with something that I like and I still think about changing in on a fairly regular basis!  My username in public library catalog is ReadingFanatic (which also applies to my LibraryThing account and my Goodreads account). I considered using that, but it just didn't sound right.  For awhile the title was "Musings of Things Neither Here Nor There," which was better but still not what I felt like I was looking for.  

What I'm trying to say...I don't have a really good idea of how I got the title!  It was just me trying to mash together book-related words and phrases and viola!  We'll see if it sticks!

Book Blogger Hop

"Book Blogger Hop" is a weekly hop hosted by Crazy for Books

This week's question comes from Somer who blogs at A Bird's Eye Review:
 "Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?"

I almost always have several going at once.  However, I find that means I'm not generally as "in to" the ones I leave aside to read little bits at a time. One thing I will say is that since I got my NookColor, I almost ALWAYS have more than one going at a time.  Call it ADD or whatever you may...but I can have so many books with me ALL THE TIME.  Hence, I usually have a couple going on my NC at the same time plus a "real" book too.  Currently, I have 2 going on my NC and 1 physical book....although I'm planning on reading an entirely different book on my NC this coming Sunday when I get to read!
    Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to read your answers to these questions! Where'd you get your blog name? One book or many? Leave a note and I'll hit you back!!

    Hunger Games Casting: Take 1

    I don't know about you, but I'm SUPER excited for the Hunger Games trilogy to be made into movies.  However, I'm also SO NERVOUS about it! I mean, how many books has Hollywood really screwed up when they made them into movies? I'm sure we can all name a few.  There have been so many rumors about the casting of Katniss and Peeta...

    The first casting has officially taken place!  It was announced today that Jennifer Lawrence will play the much-coveted role of Katniss!
    There's a lot of controversy surrounding this casting.  What are your thoughts?  Personally, I don't know a lot about Jennifer's acting.  A lot of complaints are that she's blonde and pale, but let's be honest: hair dye and makeup can do A LOT in Hollywood.  The other complaint is that she's too old (she's 20), but again: makeup and costumes.  I think it all comes down to acting ability, something no amount of hair dye, makeup, costuming, and lighting can change.  If Lionsgate thinks she's got it, then for now, I'm gonna reserve judgment.  Over all, I'm not all that riled up about the choice.  From all the snip-its of Winter's Bone that I've seen, the girl can definitely pull off the gritty-but-sensitive role.

    I think now the bigger question turns to Peeta.  They can't cast too young on this one or they'll make Jennifer's age obvious.  So many rumors abound on who will win the role.  I'm strongly in the "not-Alex-Pettyfer" camp (I don't think he fits). 

    What are your thoughts? Was Jennifer the right Katniss choice?  Who is your pick for Peeta?  Any thoughts on your other favorite characters?

    (I'll start: A long time ago I heard a rumor that Hugh Laurie of House fame might have a stab at the part of Haymitch.  Perfect, right? Now it's your turn...)

    16 March 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday

    "Waiting On..." Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Check it out! 

    Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

    By Heather Dixon
    Publisher: Greenwillow Books
    Release Date: 29 March 2011

    Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.  The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.  Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest. But there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

    Lover Unleashed
    By J.R. Ward
    Publisher:  NAL Hardcover
    Release Date: 29 March 2011

    Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.  When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

    Ah, well, now that I've totally revealed my guilty pleasure...what are you waiting on this week? Leave me your link. I'd love to hear about some new books!

    15 March 2011

    A Blogoversary Carnival!

    Not my blogoversary, mind you. I haven't been doing this that long!  However, I did want to share this "carnival" with you because there are some great giveaways and you'll find some really great book blogs to follow!  Enjoy!

    14 March 2011

    Monday Musings: The Unfortunate 27th Patron

    Since I'm only reading reading for fun on Sundays (see my Lenten Reading post), I obviously don't have as many book reviews pouring out. So, in lieu of book musings and such today, I thought I'd write a little on my thoughts regarding the recent HarperCollins ebook/library "fiasco."

    [Disclaimer: None of the thoughts contained here are endorsed specifically by the libraries in which I am employed.  They are simply my own thoughts on the subject.]

    Let's start with the basics.  In case you haven't heard, HarperCollins proposed to put a limit on the number of times that an ebook owned by a library can be loaned out: 26.  After the mythical 26th patron has read the book (or let it sit unread on the computer), the ebook will disappear from the library's collection. You can read the letter that HaperCollins issued in response to increasing outcries against the policy here.

    Now, I'm not a librarian (yet) and I have a ways to go before I can even claim above a basic understanding of DRM.  As readers, we should take an interest in these types of issues.  Attempts such as this to take away freedom to read are mind-blowing to me. I mean, yes, from a financial standpoint I understand (sort of) where the publisher is coming from. They claim to be looking out the financial interests of their authors and the integrity of their books.  I get it. (Again, kind of)  A major part of what I don't understand is the seemingly arbitrary "26 checkouts" before implosion. Paperbooks often circulate WAY more than that. Exhibit A:

    You can check out the text that accompanies this video here)

    As someone whose public library recently started offering this service, I think that this whole thing incredibly unfortunate.  My public library just started offering this service in January and it took off big time!  Hundreds of books checked out in the first week.  How awesome is that?! If technology is promoting reading, I'm all ready to get behind it.  What I'm not for is restricting that access to the first lucky 26 people who check out the book (and might not even have the time to read it during their loan period). This technology still has a long way to go and I realize there are going to be some bumps in the road along the way. However, there should be better ongoing conversation between libraries and publishers and the middle-men (in this case, OverDrive)

    I'm not going to wade through much more on this topic here (for now).  However, I did want to post the "Readers Bill of Rights for Digital Books" here for those who are interested.
    1. Ability to retain, archive and transfer purchased materials
    2. Ability to create a paper copy of the item in its entirety
    3. Digital Books should be in an open format (e.g. you could read on a computer, not just a device)
    4. Choice of hardware to access books (e.g. in 3 years when your device has broken, you can still read your book on other hardware)
    5. Reader information will remain private (what, when and how we read will not be stored, sold or marketed)
    What are your thoughts on DRM and HarperCollins' restrictions? Do you own an ereader and get books through your public library? I'd love to read your thoughts!

    (Want to read more? Check out this blog! Librarian in Black)


    13 March 2011

    Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

    Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
    327 pages, HarperCollins, 2009

    Goodreads synopsis:

    17 year-old Kelley Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: onstage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what she thinks... In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelley's off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a nighttime trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye.

    Have I mentioned lately how many gorgeous covers there have been lately?  I mean, really, I feel like there are so many books on my TBR list that I feel compelled to read simply because they have a beautiful cover. This one is definitely no exception.  I found this blog where Lesley Livingston spoke about this cover and it was pretty cool.  Check it out if...you're interested.

    I've had this one sitting on my "maybe purchase" shelf on my NookColor for awhile now. Fortuitously, my advisor plucked the three books in the series from her shelf and handed them to me during my last advising session. Woohoo! Now, onto my musings about this book.

    Kelley is your average seventeen year old. Well, with the exception that she graduated high school early, dropped out of her theater program, and moved to NYC to try to make it as an actress...at the age of seventeen.  Oh, did I mention that she's not quite human? No? Well, I suppose I should have.

    In Wondrous Strange, Kelley has just been promoted from backstage-lackey/understudy to the lead role of Queen Titania when the lead breaks her ankle.  In a moment, Kelley's world changes...little does she know it's about to get stranger.  Practicing her lines in Central Park one evening, she is approached by a handsome stranger, who gives her a beautiful flower and then vanishes before she can even say thank you. Meet Sonny Flannery, a changeling who is part of the Unseelie Court's Janus Guard, a group of thirteen slated to protect the mortal realm from faeries attempting to escape into their world.  Sonny knows that something is different about Kelley...something he can't quite figure out.  When Kelley attempts to rescue a drowning horse in Central Park and then is stunned to find it in her bathtub at home...well...I bet you can imagine that things only get crazier from there.

    I really enjoyed Livingston's writing.  She introduced a compelling story and beautifully wove in elements of Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream.  It was really beautiful.  This was such a compelling book--the kind the pulls you in and then knocks you out of your reverie only when you've finished.  Reading the last page was like being pulled out of another world.  Kelley is a strong female lead.  I enjoyed her a bit more than many of the other slightly clueless females who have dominated YA fantasy lately.  While she may have accepted the truth of her heritage a bit more easily than one would expect, I felt like she was willing to take the reigns of her own destiny and work with it.  The romantic story between Kelley and Sonny is beautiful (quick to develop but beautifully real regardless), but I can't wait to read the other books in the story to watch it develop (hopefully!).

    Have you read this book? Comment and let me know what you thought of it!

    12 March 2011

    Breathless Reads Giveaway!

    I stumbled upon this little giveaway and I HAD to share with other book lovers.  Not that I should...I mean, I want to win, right? Well, regardless, check it out!! (See banner above) These are some of my most wanted books from my wish list! I've totally wanted to read Across the Universe, The Replacement, and Nightshade.  How cool would signed copies be?!

    Lenten Reading #1

    As I mentioned in my Friday post, I gave up "reading for pleasure" for Lent. Let me start by making a few things clear:

    1. I'm not Catholic, so my "version" (if you want to call it that) of Lent may be slightly different.
    2. I plan to embrace the fact that Lent does not technically include Sundays.  So, I will be reading to my hearts content on Sundays (unless my homework isn't completed, in which case, it takes priority).
    3. I'm taking this as an opportunity to read different types of things (i.e. readings of a more religious nature) because I feel that if you're going to give up something for Lent, you should replace it with something of a more spiritual nature.
    That being said, I chose to give up my pleasure reading largely because I knew it would be HARD for me. I could have given up chocolate or soda or sweets, but honestly, since I started trying to lead a healthier lifestyle a little over a year ago, those things don't hold nearly as much appeal to me.  Reading, however, is like a sort of lifeblood.  I live for the hours that I get to spend immersed in a world that is not my own and connect with characters and their struggles, loves, choices, etc. My reaction to my husband's suggestion that I give up reading while he gives up beer was quite violent. That pretty much sealed the deal.

    Now that I have explained the heck out of my decision, I'll move right along to the first book that I read for Lent:

    Amazon Description:

    The story of how a church dying for more than two decades found its soul - and a new identity. In the foreword to this book, Tex Sample says: "The Christ who is Lord of the Church stands at the margins of the world. To forget either Christ as Lord or the Christ at the margins is to lose our ways as the church...In this faith-inspiring book, John Flowers and Karen Vannoy call the church again to the Christ who is Lord who appears at the margins of established, respectable life." Not Just a One-Night Stand is based on the ministry experience at Travis Park United Methodist Church in San Antonio, Texas. When you read the chapter titled "You're Under Arrest," you'll gain insight into the personality of Flowers and the ways in which he and Vannoy engage in ministry. Far more than a memoir, Not Just a One-Night Stand offers creative approaches to ministry with those who are marginalized.

    In this nonfiction work, the reader is basically presented with a conundrum: what is the best way to conduct a successful ministry with the homeless?  John and Karen take the reader through the transformation of a church as it strives to conduct such a ministry.  The intricacies of such a task are not what those involved first imagined--not as easy as they thought it would be.  The seeming simplicity of offering a group of people some food here and clothing there expands into a true ministry that goes further than providing one-time needs.  John and Karen take the reader on a harrowing journey of transformation, where it is necessary for all-involved to change.  It can't just be about fixing or transforming the less fortunate.  Transformation must occur for the "giver" as well.  A true ministry, as presented by John and Karen, cannot be a ministry TO or FOR the homeless but must be a ministry WITH the homeless if any real progress/success is to be achieved.

    I found this book to be a real heart-clenching/eye-opening read.  I think that so often those of us to live in relative comfort and prosperity have no real grasp of the difficulties of living on the streets and how hard it is to get back on your feet.  A few dollars here or a one-night volunteering session at a soup kitchen can help us shake our "middle-class guilt" for awhile, but are we simply conducting "drive by charity?"  The kind of ministry pursued by John and Karen's churches isn't one that every church is going to be able to pursue.  For example, my church, situated in a rural town of 220 people, isn't going to address issues of poverty and/or homelessness in the same manner that a church located in an urban area can/will.  However, I think that the point comes across just the same.  For a truly successful, ministry with the less fortunate in our community, we need to see those we are helping as on an equal plane with use--we are all addicted to SOMETHING (money, busy-ness, clothes, leadership, etc.) and we all have some kind of transformation to undertake to achieve a spiritual high-ground.  The message is clear: leave your judgment at the door.  Get to know those you're seeking to aid. Leave behind prejudices and stereotypes. And most importantly, listen.

    10 March 2011

    Hop & Follow Friday!

    I'm pretty new to blogging in general (especially for an audience beyond my parents and in-laws), but I'm loving finding new blogs to read all the time!  The list of blogs that I follow seems to grow hourly!  I've just started looking for ways to do post that go beyond my literary musings, starting with the "Waiting on..." Wednesdays and now premiering...

    "Follow My Book Blog" Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View. Check her blog out!
    Q: Who are You the Girl/Boy, instead of You the Blogger?

    Who am I? Let me tell you!

    Name: Jessi
    Age: 24
    : BA in History and Secondary Education (minor in Political Science); currently pursuing an MA in Library Science
    What do I do?: I am currently employed as a "Fiscal Assistant" for an academic library and I work at the local public library every other weekend in the Public Services department. Oh, I'm also a part-time student in library science (focusing in youth services, hopefully).  I'm also involved with my church women's group and, as of recently, the back-up pianist for the church.
    Where am I?: I currently live with my husband and our two spoiled cats in a tiny town of 220 people in Missouri.  However, we commute to Columbia, MO for work/school every day.  Both my husband and I are originally from Central Illinois.
    And in all the spare time...: I read! It (obviously) tops the charts, followed closely by cooking, playing my piano, reading blogs (on books and food), and snuggling (with my husband and kitties).
    Random Fact: I gave up "reading for pleasure" for Lent, but managed to make it a caveat that I could still read for church. So, (a) look for some different musings to appear between now and Easter and (b) I can't wait for Sundays (since I get to read and all)!!

    Book Blogger Hop

    "Book Blogger Hop" is a weekly hop hosted by Crazy for Books.  Definitely check out her blog and the other blogs you can find through the hop!

    This week's question comes from Ellie who blogs at Musings of a Bookshop Girl:
     "If I gave you £50 (or $80) and sent you into a bookshop right now, what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till?"

    Oooo...book money! I never have any of that! Here's what I think I would buy:
    • The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
    • The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
    • Delirium by Lauren Oliver
    • The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
    • Wither by Lauren DeStefano (pre-order)
    •  Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (pre-order)
    • Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler (ebook)
    • My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent (ebook) 
    Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment! I'd love to check out your blog!

    09 March 2011

    "Waiting on..." Wednesday: Wither

    "Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly post hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

    This week, the pre-publication book that I'm getting excited and anxious to read is...

    (Chemical Garden Trilogy, #1)
    By Lauren DeStephano
    Publication Date: 22 March 2011

    From Simon & Schuster:
    By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

    When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

    How can you see this absolutely beautiful cover and NOT want to pick up this book?!  Not to mention a compelling story that fits well within my current adoration of well-written dystopian novels.  I have a coworker who managed to snag an ARC and LOVED this.  She said is is fabulously written.

    Here's the hitch: I decided to give up reading for Lent.  Obviously not ALL reading--I am in school after all and giving up church-related reading would seem to defeat the purpose a tad.  I'll be giving up my nightly YA reading in favor of more time spent with my husband (or my homework...semester is getting tough).  Soooo....while this book comes out in mere weeks, I won't be able to read it until the END OF APRIL. Sad, right?


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