Tag Archives: Fiction

Upcoming Week Long Feature with YA dystopia/fantasy authors!!!

I am very, very excited to announce a very special WEEK LONG FEATURE, chock full of author interviews and giveaways coming up in the end of July!!! I was hoping to get a couple of up-and-coming authors, specifically YA authors and even more specifically in the sci-fi/dystopia/fantasy genres. I put a few requests out there and got an overwhelmingly positive response! So many more people agreed to participate than I had possibly anticipated and I am very excited that I can now make a full seven day feature with a separate author interview each day. Here are the wonderful authors who have agreed to be a part of this very exciting feature!

Melissa Wright: Author of the Frey Series
Melissa’s GoodReads page
Melissa’s Amazon collection

 

 

Melyssa Williams: Author of Shadows Gray
Shadows Gray on GoodReads
Shadows Gray on Amazon

 

 

Lisa M Stasse: Author of The Forsaken
The Forsaken on GoodReads
The Forsaken on Amazon

 

 

Sangu Mandanna: Author of The Lost Girl
The Lost Girl on GoodReads
The Lost Girl on Amazon

 

 

Kat Zhang: Author of What’s Left Of Me
What’s Left of Me on GoodReads
What’s Left of Me on Amazon

 

 

C.J. Redwine: Author of Defiance
Defiance on GoodReads
Defiance on Amazon 

 

 

Meagan Spooner: Author of Skylark ** This will also be an official part of the Skylark blog tour!!
Skylark on GoodReads
Skylark on Amazon
Skylark Official Blog Tour 

 

I am SO excited to work with all of these awesome authors! Please check back in the end of July to hear from them as well as entering in some really great giveaways for books and/or swag!! It’s gonna be a lot of fun 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – June 19, 2012: Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR list

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR list.

Let me tell you, my TBR list is HUGE. But since we’re all pretty much obsessed with books here as bloggers, I’m sure the same goes for almost everyone! I’m really excited about this list though because I get to narrow it down and almost kind of make a goal list for myself. I’m sticking to ONLY books that I have in my possession right now. If I made up a list of books I want to read but don’t have yet, it would literally be hundreds of books! So here we go:

1. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth: I guess this one is cheating since I’m already two thirds done, but to be fair, it was already summer when I started it so I’m still counting it! She was one of the ladies I was fortunate enough to meet on the Fierce Reads tour and it made me all the more excited to read her book. Always extremely interested to hear what the author has to say about the book as well as the creative process behind the writing!

2. Midnight In Death (In Death #7.5) by JD Robb: The “In Death” series quickly became one of my favorites. This is an “in between the books” short story, but I’m determined to read them all in order! Should be a very quick read since it’s not a full novel, but I bet it’ll still be jam packed full of action.

3. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne: Emmy was another one of the awesome ladies on the Fierce Reads tour and she was so much fun to hear from! I had seen some reviews around before I actually picked up her book and when I read about the Fierce Reads tour and I had an opportunity to meet her, I couldn’t pass it up! Very excited to read it.

4. Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner: When I read the Maze Trials last year (last year? I think… Regardless…) I wasn’t too sure about it when I started. Then there came a certain point where I was racing through to see how this book ended! Somehow I got hooked. I’ve been anticipating picking up the sequel to continue on in this story, but so far haven’t actually made it along to starting it, so hoping to do that this summer!

5. Shades of Grey (Shades of Grey #1) by Jasper Fforde: NO, this is not Fifty Shades of Grey (I refuse to read it). This Shades of Grey is a fantasy/dystopia/post-apocalyptic novel where the ability to see different spectrums of color determines your social standing. I came across this in my suggestions from GoodReads and thought it sounded really interesting! I just got the book from Book Mooch the other day and I’m pretty excited about reading it.

6. Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews: First off, summer is the in the title. So it only makes sense. It’s about three best friends who all went to Catholic grade school together and now find themselves at a crossroads in their 30s. Since I happen to have spent 10 years in Catholic grade school and I happen to have two best friends who I still talk to from that school, this book seemed like it was screaming at me to read it!

7. Glitch by Heather Anastasiu:  I have also seen reviews for this one around the blogisphere and when I saw I could request a copy for review on NetGalley, I was excited that they approved my request! Hoping to read this one within the next month or two, depending on how my book schedule goes.

8. Beauty to Die For by Kim Alexis: Another request from NetGalley – Should be a cute little cozy mystery written by former Supermodel Kim Alexis, and it looks like she uses a lot of her knowledge of the modeling world to create her characters. I always get nervous when celebrities write books, but so far so good. I just started a couple pages and haven’t had time to get much further yet.

9. Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot: This is coming out in July!!! This is book #4 in the Heather Wells series which has always been one of my favorite, so this is probably one of the rare times I’ll actually buy the book brand new.

10. A Killing in Antiques by Mary Moody: Another nice little cozy mystery that I think I’ll pick up soon. I got a whole bunch of cozies at the same time and I’m selecting this one as the next one to read.

Top Ten Tuesday – June 12, 2012: Top Ten Beach Reads

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Beach Reads. Seems like a lot of people are excited for this topic!!

Ahh, being a Chicago suburbanite, I don’t often get to see the gorgeous beach. The closest I usually get is Lake Michigan unless I take some real vacations. But nonetheless, beach reads are always fun!

Top Ten Beach Reads

1. Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella: I just went to this one first because this is the book I took with me when we went to Gulf Shores, Alabama for spring break in college. This was truly a beach read for me!

2. One Moment by Kristina McBride: So it’s not a happy summer story, but I liked it all the same! Liked it quite a bit actually. It starts on Memorial Day and wraps up at the end of summer, so it’s fitting for the time!

3. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich: Stephanie’s a good read anytime, anywhere. Seems especially good for fun in the sun!

4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Okay, so it’s not really a beachy kind of book. But I brought it with to the beach in North Carolina so it makes my list on the fact that it actually saw the beach!

5. What Looks Like Crazy by Charlotte Hughes: This was a super cute and easy to read chick book. I had a lot of fun reading it and perfect for a day of relaxing at the beach!

6. Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen: A much hyped book, but one I really enjoyed.

7. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris: Sookie’s always fun to read, and while there’s a lot of paranormal going on in these books, still light and quick reads!

8. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares: Super cute series and just seems beach appropriate.

9. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella: While it’s not my favorite series of all time, still very enjoyable. And it was way better than the movie, by the way.

10. Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot: I love Meg, and I especially love this series! Chick lit, romance, and mystery all tied in one!

The Princess Bride – William Goldman

The Princess Bride – William GoldmanTitle: The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Publishing Info: January 12, 1974 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Adult, Comedy/Satire, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 5, 2012

    What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be...well...a lot less than the man of her dreams?
As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad's recitation, and only the "good parts" reached his ears.
Now Goldman does Dad one better. He's reconstructed the "Good Parts Version" to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.
What's it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.
In short, it's about everything.
 

Breaking It Down Further: William Goldberg retells the abridged version of his favorite book THE PRINCESS BRIDE, cutting out unnecessary parts and adding in a little commentary here and there. It tells the story of former milkmaid Buttercup who has been chosen by Prince Humperdink to be his new bride as she is rightfully the most beautiful woman in the world. She agrees because she thinks her one true love from back on the farm — her farm boy — Westley has died as a prison of the Dread Pirate Roberts’ ship Revenge. Along the way, she is kidnapped by a gang of thieves and then reclaimed by “the man in black” while Humperdink tries to recapture the Princess in order to marry her. Trickery, fencing, fighting, true love, chaos, death, and of course pure satire and comedy round out the book’s charm.

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Well, seeing as The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies of all time, I had a lot of expectations for the book. And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised!

I felt like the movie followed the book remarkably well. The only differences between the movie and the book were very minor and didn’t really affect the story line. We just got a little more background on some of the characters and obviously some scenes were truncated to shorten movie time. Good news for me since I loved the movie!

I wasn’t really a fan of the first section of the book which I felt was a little bit of unnecessary details about Goldman’s life at the time. It mainly dealt with his family and a trip out to California, but had no relevance to the story or the anecdotes interspersed in the book.

Overall, I loved it! I was actually really surprised at how closely the movie script followed the book. I figured since it was a Rob Reiner movie, most of the satire, quick-witted jabs and silly scenes were a product of the movie. Nope, that all came from the book. I spotted several of my favorite quotes almost word for word and it really made me like the movie that much more as well. Definitely stayed true to the whole tone and plot of the book.

And was there ever a real version by S. Morgenstern? I’m not quite sure, but I think that was all made up for the book. I think… Pretty sure this is just Goldman’s story and that was all part of the plot, but they’re so convincing! What do I know.

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Read it!

If you’re a fan of the movie (or haven’t read/watched either yet), you should definitely read the book!

Chain Gang Elementary – Jonathan Grant

Chain Gang Elementary – Jonathan GrantTitle: Chain Gang Elementary by Jonathan Grant
Publishing Info: July 14, 2011 by Independent
Genres: Adult, Comedy/Satire
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 3, 2012

    "In the first place, God created idiots. This was for practice. Then he created School Boards." -Mark Twain
After a murder at Bonaire Elementary, Richard and Anna Lee Gray seek a good school for their son Nick in a safe neighborhood. Their search leads them to Malliford, a "school of excellence." When redistricting sends scores of minority students to Malliford, iron-willed Principal Estelle Rutherford declares war on kids to raise test scores and save her reputation. Dissident parents revolt, electing Richard to head the Parent-Teacher Organization, and tensions explode. Welcome to Chain Gang Elementary, home to vast right-wing conspiracies, 3rd-grade gangsters, and bake sale embezzlers-where toxic childhood secrets boil over, reformers go stark raving mad, and culture wars escalate into armed conflict. A tale of war that is poignant, timely, and brutally funny, Chain Gang Elementary is a One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest for the K-6 world. First Sentence: In the twelfth year of his marriage, sixteen months before the shooting, twenty-one shopping days until Christmas, and eight hours before he reckoned for the tenth time that his wife didn't love him, Richard Gray met a woman who would have roughly the same effect on his life a tornado has on a trailer park.  

Breaking It Down Further: Newly  established PTO president Richard Grey has big shoes to fill and big wars to win. Convinced to commit to the position, he begins the biggest battle — taking down the tyrannical principal, Miz Rutherford. The principal has only her own agenda, which is her personal gain, maintaining her status of power, and maintaining the picture-perfect status of the school. When the school’s district is rezoned to incorporate a *gasp* apartment complex with primarily African-American and Latino families, things at the school begin to go haywire. Under the administration’s direction, these new students — which should have added to the diversity of the school — are clearly treated differently, such as being forced to do manual labor (or the working’ on the “chain gang”) as a punishment or being put into the classroom with the only black teacher. While most parents look the other way, Richard begins to actively campaign for the removal of Principal Rutherford while also trying to keep his family from crumbling.

bookreview1

There were so many things I enjoyed about this book. Jonathan Grant has an excellent way with words and it’s apparently throughout the whole novel. He has a fantastic vocabulary and an extremely creative way in manipulating them. He has such a great way in which he creates a play on words or a play on names. There was such creativity in double meanings of a word or phrase and he was just downright clever.

I also really enjoyed how dynamic the characters became. You can see the growth of Richard’s son Nick and how he changes throughout the school years featured in the book. Richard himself goes through several changes during the course of the book.

The story itself of such school corruption, the sensitivity of the racism issue that sadly still exists in many places today — It was a very bittersweet story and there are so many thought-provoking elements of the plot.

BUT — The book was just entirely too long. There were quite a few times where I did want to give up. I really enjoyed so many aspects of the book! Why was it so hard for me to keep reading? The plot just didn’t really pick up until closer to the end when Richard got some real progress as far as his stand against the principal and he finally figures out how he wants to sort out his family life. From the beginning through the middle, I felt like the story just dragged on. It was filled with clever dialogue and witty banter which I couldn’t get enough of! But it was just an extremely slow pace in which not much happened in what should have been the meaty parts of the book. I really wanted to power through and finish so I could really get a full grip of the story.

Another problem I feel here is that since I received the copy as a courtesy from the author in exchange for a review, I really wanted to give it a good review. This is always my problem when I am given a book from an author or publisher — I really want to give a good review because they were so kind as to give me a copy of their book. No one wants to see a bad review, but the whole point of reviewing is to be honest. That is also why I felt like it was so important to point out how many good things I liked about the book!

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Skip it

It was just the slow plot that really dragged me down. I considered stopping a couple of times, but since this was so generously given to me to review, I really did need to finish and given a true review.