Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Characters I'd Like to Be Best Friends With

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Top Ten Characters I'd Like to Be Best Friends With:

10. Fred from The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman

9. Ramona from the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary

8. Mibs from Savvy by Ingrid Law

7. Sabriel from Sabriel by Garth Nix

6. Farhad from Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis

5. Elinor from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

4. Sonny from Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

3. Emily from Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery

2. Cassandra from I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

1. Gen from The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Teaser Tuesdays (15)


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Today's Teaser:

I could introduce myself properly, but it's not really necessary. You will know me well enough and soon enough, depending on a diverse range of variables. It suffices to say that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. Your soul will be in my arms.

~ page 5 - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Off The Shelf Challenge

Off The Shelf! 


Are your books multiplying like rabbits before you even get a chance to read them? Trying to keep up with them, but can't stop buying new ones?


Maybe this challenge is for you. I know what it's like. There's so many titles and so many beautiful books out there sometimes it's hard to keep that TBR shelf under control, but if you really want to try why not challenge yourself?

Challenge Levels

   1. Tempted –  Choose 5 books to read
   2. Trying – Choose 15 books to read
   3. Making A Dint – Choose 30 books to read
   4. On A Roll – Choose 50 books to read
   5. Flying Off – Choose 75 books to read

For extra hard challenges

   1. Hoarder – Choose 75 - 125 books to read
   2. Buried – Choose 125 - 200 books to read

Well, since I don't have that big of a TBR pile, I think I'm going to go with Trying.  Here are the 15 books that I read for the challenge:

1. Room by Emma Donoghue
2. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
3. Evil? by Timothy Carter
4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
5. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
6. Salt by Maurice Gee
7. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
8. The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman
9. Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
10. Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
11. A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd
12. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
13.
14.
15.

12 / 15 books. 80% done!

YA Historical Fiction Challenge 2011


This interesting challenge is being hosted here at Books Are A Girl's Best Friend.

I'm going to do the Inquisitive level and read 1-3 young adult historical fiction books in 2011.

Here are the books I read for this challenge:

1. Eli the Good by Silas House
2. Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
3. The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller

3 / 3 books. 100% done!

In My Mailbox (28)


From the library:
The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery....

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

This is the first library book I've downloaded onto my e-reader.  I only get three weeks with it, though, so I'd better get reading!


What was in your "mailbox" this week?


In My Mailbox was started by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Weekly Recap - November 21-27, 2010

Here's what I blogged about over the last seven days:

Sunday - I shared the two books I got In My Mailbox.

Monday - I shared my thoughts on truancy and reading in Monday's Question of the Day.  I also reviewed Here Lies Bridget.

Tuesday - The Top Ten Tuesday meme asked about our top ten books for the holidays.  Making this list brought back a lot of fond memories...

Wednesday - In WWW Wednesdays, I shared my current, recent, and upcoming reads.

Friday - I mused about my most popular blog post (according to Blogger Stats).

Saturday - I shared one of my favourite middle-grade series as part of Share-A-Book Saturday.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Share-A-Book Saturday (28)

This is something I found over on Just Another Book Addict =), and I thought I'd do my own. There are so many great books out there that get overlooked (especially if they've been out for a while)!

Every Saturday, you share (recommend) a book, preferably one that you haven't reviewed yet. It's just a way to get other books out into the blogging world. This is NOT a review.

Today I'm going to recommend the five-book Aviva Granger series by Jeanne Betancourt.

When ten-year-old Aviva comes home from camp to find her parents have separated, she is afraid that instead of being a two-family child, she'll be a two-bedroom, no-family child.

When I was about eight or nine, I read the first book in this series about a girl named Aviva who was a child of divorce.  I guess I found it fascinating because it was a totally foreign concept to me.  My parents weren't divorced.  I didn't even know of any kids whose parents were divorced!  So the idea of shared custody, where the child spends time at each parent's house, seemed fascinating.

The series begins with The Rainbow Kid.  The book is so titled because Aviva likes rainbows and has them on all her stuff -- not because one or both of her parents is gay (that would explain the divorce, I guess... but that's not the case here!).  She loves animals, and throughout the series she takes care of a number of pets: her sheepdog, Mop (in The Rainbow Kid); her friend's turtle (in Turtle Time); and a new puppy (in Puppy Love).

I really liked the way the characters were written, and I liked her friend Josh (this was about at the time when I started getting crushes on boys).  The series takes place over a few years, and Aviva is in eighth grade (I think) by the events in Puppy Love.

I could not find pictures of all of these books (how frustrating!).  In case you decide to search these out, either at the library or at the used-book store, here's what to look for:

The Rainbow Kid (purple cover featuring Aviva and Mop)
Turtle Time (pink cover featuring a sad-looking Aviva and the turtle)
Puppy Love (blue cover featuring Aviva, Josh, and a puppy)
Crazy Christmas (red cover featuring Aviva and Josh ice-skating)
Valentine Blues (blue cover featuring Aviva and a boy... Josh?)

The only one I can't vouch for is Valentine Blues, since it came out when I was too old for the series.  I never even knew it existed until this past year.  But I really enjoyed all the others, and they're some great middle-grade reads... if you can find them!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Apparently, she's everybody's favourite!

Blogger Stats can provide some interesting information, like the fact that I've had 128 pageviews from Russia in the past month.  Spasibo!

What's really interesting, though, is the post that comes out on top nearly all the time.  It's one of my Favorite Fictional Character meme posts.  The character in question is Ramona Quimby.  I had no idea she was such a popular Google search.  Go figure!

Did you read the Ramona books as a child (or as an adult)?  If so, which were your favourite Ramona-related incidents?  Some of my favourites include the heart-shaped haircut, the egg incident, the time she wore her pajamas to school, and the fall through her friend's ceiling.

What about you?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WWW Wednesdays (6)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted at Should Be Reading.
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?
My answers:
What are you currently reading?

I'm reading The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair and The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas.
What did you recently finish reading?

I recently finished Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison.
What do you think you’ll read next?

I honestly don't know.  Maybe Room.  Maybe Crescendo.  Or maybe something entirely different.  All I know is that I'm not going to start a new book until I've finished both The Girl in the Garden and The Magic Thief.  I need to go back to reading just one book at a time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Holiday Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Top Ten Holiday Books:

10. "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (aka "The Night Before Christmas") by Clement Clarke Moore - Not actually a book (it's a poem), but a classic nevertheless.

9. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum - This book is an interesting take on the legend of Santa Claus.

8. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder - In tough economic times, we could all learn a thing or two about celebrating frugally... and about what's truly important.

7. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams - I chose this one because the eponymous rabbit was a Christmas gift, but also because it's such a cute story.

6. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg - A beautiful story about the power of belief.

5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - Family and friendship are celebrated by the March sisters in this classic.

4. The Olden Days Coat by Margaret Laurence - My parents gave me a beautiful hardcover edition of this book when I was a child.  It's a story about magic and family that takes place at Christmas.

3. A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd - The short stories that ended up in the movie of the same name (one of my favourite Christmas movies of all time!) are collected in one volume.

2. Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary - I love all the Ramona books, but this one takes place during the autumn after Mr. Quimby has lost his job and details the family's celebrations of Halloween and Christmas.

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss - I was never a big fan of this one until high school.  Then I got to experience our high school's tradition of one of the teachers (who, being British, had the perfect English accent) read this book to the whole school.  There's really nothing more amazing than realizing you're sitting amongst about a thousand teenagers who are all sitting, completely rapt, listening to a teacher read a picture book.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Review - Here Lies Bridget

Here Lies Bridget
by Paige Harbison
Date: 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Reading level: YA
Source: NetGalley

Spoiled and selfish Bridget Duke, the daughter of a local celebrity, thinks that the whole world has turned against her. In a fit of self-pity, she crashes her car. But instead of a bright light and heaven, she finds herself in what looks like a boardroom. It's a strange sort of limbo where she is to be judged for her actions in life by the people she's wronged. Forced to step into the shoes of others, Bridget finally gets to see the effects her actions have had on the people around her. But will she be able to do anything about the past, especially if her apologies fall on deaf ears?

I chose to read this book because, at only 219 pages, I thought it would be a quick read.  In fact, it turned out to be way too long.

Bridget Duke is an entirely unpleasant character.  219 pages inside her head is 219 pages too many.  The author wrote her as such a horrible person that I could not relate to the girl at all.  She was cruel to everybody, including the people who were supposed to be her friends.  And she was so clueless about the effect she had on others that I wondered if there was something seriously wrong with her (she almost seems to have a raging case of narcissistic personality disorder, which Wikipedia describes as "being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, and prestige"; that fits Bridget exactly).

I guess we're supposed to believe that Bridget is the way she is because she lost a parent.  But what I don't buy is that a person can act like the über-bitch from hell for 10 years and then suddenly decide to turn it all around.  And, to be fair, I never really felt like she was apologizing out of the goodness of her heart; she still seemed to be thinking about everything in a selfish way.

The plot was pretty basic, with Bridget dying, ending up before a "jury", and then stepping into the shoes of others (literally) to learn some basic lessons in empathy.  Even odder was the fact that the author seemed to be turning the story into Cinderella by the end.  I don't know where that came from, really.  Most of the surprises in the plot weren't surprises (well, not to the reader, anyway; Bridget was so oblivious to anything that didn't directly concern her that I felt like smacking her).  And the reason why Bridget was so horrible was never satisfactorily explained.  Many children suffer the loss of a parent, but they don't all end up acting like sociopaths.

When I started this book, I was struck by the similarities with Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall.  But in that story, at least Sam Kingston wasn't completely beyond redemption.  Characters -- even if they're antiheroes -- need to have at least some sympathetic qualities; otherwise, the character development and changes (if they come) won't ring true.

All in all, Here Lies Bridget was a quick read. I'm glad I didn't spend any more time on it than I did. For a much better book with a similar theme, read Before I Fall.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 1/5
Writing: 4/5
Originality: 2/5
Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 2.2 out of 5

Monday's Question of the Day (23)


Monday's Question of the Day is hosted by Eleni at /-LA FEMME READERS-/

Question:
Did you ever call out of work or miss a day of school because you were so invested in a book?

My Answer:
No, I don't think I ever have.  I used to read on the bus on the way to work.  Sometimes I wished the ride was a bit longer... but I never missed my stop on purpose.

I would feel too guilty to skip school or work just to read a book.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (27)


Bought:
The Spiral Draw Book
by Doug Stillinger

A fresh, new spin on a classic drawing activity!  Our specially engineered drawing wheels make it remarkably easy for kids to create the perfect spiral designs right on the pages of the book.  Colour-changing gel pens add depth to the patterns, giving them a nifty 3-D look.  Packed with tons of drawing ideas and super-swirly craft projects.  Spiral Draw spins a retro cool classic into an imaginative new orbit.

From NetGalley:
Here Lies Bridget
by Paige Harbison

What do you do when the five people you meet in limbo all want you to go to hell?

Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don’t worship as attentively, teachers don’t fall for her wide-eyed “who me?” look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she’s always loved — Liam Ward — can barely even look at her anymore.

When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she’s wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she’s inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.

And Bridget’s about to learn that, sometimes, saying you’re sorry just isn’t enough....

I haven't really reviewed any activity-type books yet. I saw The Spiral Draw Book (it's one of those cool Klutz titles) and just had to get it.  I'll be reviewing it as soon as I get around to actually trying it out.  As for Here Lies Bridget... well, I thought it looked like an interesting story.  I haven't read anything published by Harlequin yet; this will be my first!


What was in your "mailbox" this week?


In My Mailbox was started by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Weekly Recap - November 14-20, 2010

Here's what I wrote about over the last seven days:

Sunday - I shared the book I got In My Mailbox.  I also reviewed The Dark Divine (even though I couldn't finish it).

Monday - I blogged about James Frey's new business venture and the way he preys on aspiring writers in this post.

Tuesday - I shared a teaser for The Magic Thief as part of Teaser Tuesdays.

Wednesday - The 2011 E-Book Reading Challenge is coming!  I announced it here.  Get ready to sign up on December 1st.  I also shared one of the books on my wish list as part of Wishful Wednesdays.

Thursday - I participated in Booking Through Thursday and answered a very hypothetical (in my case, anyway) question about borrowing books from friends.

Friday - It's the Book Blogger Hop, and this week's question focused on Thanksgiving.

Saturday - I shared one of my all-time favourite books, The Thief, as part of Share-A-Book Saturday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Share-A-Book Saturday (27)

This is something I found over on Just Another Book Addict =), and I thought I'd do my own. There are so many great books out there that get overlooked (especially if they've been out for a while)!

Every Saturday, you share (recommend) a book, preferably one that you haven't reviewed yet. It's just a way to get other books out into the blogging world. This is NOT a review.

Today I'm going to recommend The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner.

"I can steal anything."

After Gen's bragging lands him in the king's prison, the chances of escape look slim. Then the king's scholar, the magus, needs the thief's skill for a seemingly impossible task -- to steal a hidden treasure from another land.

To the magus, Gen is just a tool. But Gen is a trickster and a survivor with a plan of his own.


I was looking at my list of Share-A-Book Saturdays, and I realized that I hadn't yet recommended one of my very favourite books!

The Thief is an adventure novel at heart.  There's no romance to speak of; no vampires, werewolves, or other supernatural creatures; and no high school drama.  Instead, it's a story about a group of guys who go on a quest to find a hidden treasure.  Motivations aren't always what they seem, which makes the character dynamics rather interesting.

This is one of those books for young readers that would probably appeal to boys as much as to girls (if not more).  Gen is the narrator, the eponymous thief of the story.  He's a braggart, cocky and cheeky, but lovably human.  His voice is really what makes this story as great as it is; I don't think it would have worked any other way.

The Thief is the first installment in a four-book series, the subsequent books being The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings.  None of these are told from Gen's colourful first-person point of view.  I tried to read The Queen of Attolia, but I just couldn't get into it.  If nothing else, at least read The Thief.  You won't be sorry you did.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (11)

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!

"Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let's use this week's Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!"

I'm thankful that I'm Canadian (and only partly because our Thanksgiving comes earlier in the year and helps to break up the autumn with a bit of a celebration).  Canadian Thanksgiving is pretty much the same as American Thanksgiving, except that we did it first (in 1578!) and we don't go shopping at midnight after stuffing ourselves silly with turkey and potatoes.  We do stuff ourselves silly with turkey and potatoes, though; some things transcend national boundaries.

This year I'm thankful for having enough food to eat and having enough (more than enough!) books to read.  I'm thankful for my family and for having a roof over my head (especially since the weather has turned cold and it's now snowing).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Booking Through Thursday (24)



Booking Through Thursday asks:

Who would you rather borrow from? Your library? Or a Friend?

(Or don’t your friends trust you to return their books?)

And, DO you return books you borrow?

I guess I'd prefer to borrow from a friend.  But I don't have any friends nearby that I could borrow books from.  And of course I would return their books if I borrowed them!  I've had people not return books they've borrowed from me, so I know how annoying that is.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wishful Wednesdays (5)

Wishful Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

This week, I'm wishing for a delicious-looking book called Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

I have the authors' first yummy dessert book, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  I got it for Christmas a few years ago.  The recipes are tasty and very creative.  Sometimes, though, all you want is a cookie... so that's why I'd love to have this book in my cookbook library.

What are you wishing for this Wednesday?

Get ready for the 2011 E-Book Reading Challenge!


I'm going to be taking over the E-Book Reading Challenge for 2011.  It was previously hosted by Alaine at Queen of Happy Endings.

The sign-up sheet will go up on December 1st (two weeks from today), so watch for it!

I hope you'll participate in this fun challenge.  Break out your e-reader (or computer) and get ready to read...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (14)


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Today's Teaser:

Except for me, the room was empty.  I wriggled out of the blanket and headed for the door.  Benet and Nevery were probably in the chophouse eating all the bacon.

~ page 23 - The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas

Monday, November 15, 2010

James Frey Wants Your Money

Yes, again.  Ripping off unsuspecting consumers by trying to pass off A Million Little Pieces as a memoir wasn't enough.  And getting chewed out by Oprah in front of millions doesn't seem to have had much of an effect on this guy's greed and disrespect for the reading public, either.  Now he wants to be the next J. K. Rowling and drag the YA genre into new depths of commercialism.  In reading this article, I can't help but think that Frey seems more than a little narcissistic.  His disdain for truth and integrity shines through with a blinding glare that makes anyone with a sense of right and wrong want to look away... except that his obvious pathology is so fascinating.

Basically, he had an idea for a YA story, but couldn't be bothered to write it himself.  Actually writing would be too tedious an occupation for a writer of his caliber, I suppose.  So he started a production company called Full Fathom Five, signed up a bunch of writers to write his books for him, and (one can only assume) sat back and laughed at the wannabe writers desperate enough to break into the world of publishing that they would agree to write a novel for $250 and not even get credit for it.  Now Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, and Will Smith have already come knocking on the door; HarperCollins is publishing his movie tie-in (what else do you call a book that was edited to fall in line with the screenplay?); and Frey's ego is bigger than ever.

I am appalled.  I'm sure Frey is loving all of it, since he seems to thrive on any kind of attention, good or bad.  But I'm not about to accept this sort of nonsense, and I won't keep quiet about it, either.  People need to know how books like I Am Number Four came to be.  People need to be aware this is going on, so they can make the choice to support (or not support) these scummy business practices.

Obviously, James Frey never wanted to be a writer.  He wanted to get attention and make money.  There's not much we can do about the former now; that ship has sailed.  But by spreading the word about what he's doing, maybe he won't be able to make quite so many millions by taking advantage of others.

For more opinions on this issue, see Stephanie's post entitled A YA Reader and Writer's Perspective on James Frey's Writing Assembly Line and Catherine's post about The Fiction Factory.  Enna Isilee also weighed in with Some things are just WRONG!

You can check out the full article that inspired this blog post at New York Magazine, called "James Frey's Fiction Factory".

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekly Recap - November 7-13, 2010

I've been a busy blogger this week!  Here's what I wrote about over the last seven days:

Monday - Monday's Question of the Day post looked at whether or not I would rebel if faced with a controlling society (such as the one portrayed in Ally Condie's Matched).

Tuesday - The Top Ten Tuesday meme looked at the most unfortunate character names in fiction. I can honestly say that I'm glad I didn't get saddled with one of these!

Wednesday - I participated in the WWW Wednesdays meme.

Thursday - I posted an important piece of information that's a must for anyone with a Kobo eReader.

Friday - I participated in the Book Blogger Hop (for the tenth time). I also mused on the line between censorship and common sense in a post regarding Amazon's decision to pull a manual for pedophiles from its catalogue.

Saturday - In this edition of Share-A-Book Saturday, I shared one of my favourite middle grade novels from my childhood.

Review - The Dark Divine (DNF)

The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine #1)
by Bree Despain
Date: 2009
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 372
Format: e-book
Source: bought from Amazon

The unsubtly named Grace Divine, an anorexic (if the cover is anything to go by) pastor's daughter, bumbles cluelessly about, disobeying her overly protective parents and older brother by befriending her former next-door neighbour, Daniel.

Daniel, for his part, is keeping secrets... but not very well. From the moment he steps onto the page, it's all the reader can do not to shout at the heroine and her complete cluelessness about Daniel's condition. Can Grace start being a little more observant in time to convince the reader that she's not completely oblivious to everything going on around her?

I just couldn't get into this one.  And for $2.39, I'm not going to stress about finishing it.  I didn't get very far (only 20%... the stupid Kindle format doesn't give you page numbers), but even that far was enough to convince me that I didn't need to read any more.  Grace suffers from SNS in the worst way.  I couldn't believe how clueless she was!  Going into this book, I knew we'd be dealing with paranormal creatures of some sort, but I wasn't exactly sure which ones.  But it soon became glaringly obvious that we were dealing with werewolves.  Well, glaringly obvious to everyone except Grace.  For crying out loud...  The first time we saw the weird dog, I knew.  Then there were the scratches on the walls in Daniel's apartment, as if "someone had been keeping a large dog" in the room.  And then there was the time when Grace was recounting an episode of abuse in Daniel's family, and she heard someone get hit and then "a whimpering, doglike cry".  Grace may be stupid, but please... give the reader a little more credit.  The hints don't need to be that obvious.

Is it too much to ask, in this day and age of YA books, for a heroine who isn't completely in the dark?  It's as if all of these heroines exist in some parallel universe where YA paranormal fiction doesn't even exist.  Because if Grace had read as many of these books as real teenagers do, she wouldn't have been so frustratingly clueless.

The final straw for me, though, was the casual use of a clinomorphism for OCD.  For someone like me, who truly suffers from the condition, I found it completely offensive.  Very few things anger me more than someone who casually throws out the term without stopping to consider what it really means.  For someone who actually has the disorder (because that's what the third letter in the acronym stands for), seeing the word so casually thrown about is akin to a character calling someone a "retard" and not getting called on it.  Now you know.  Please stop using "OCD" as a synonym for tidiness or being anal about having your socks in a row.  It's not the same thing.

Based on what I did read, here are my ratings.  The writing itself wasn't the worst I've seen, but it wasn't a literary masterpiece, either.  Maybe the pace and the characters got better... but I don't care at this point.  For me, it was completely unoriginal and the foreshadowing was too heavy-handed for the story to be enjoyable.

Plot: 1/5
Characters: 1/5
Pace: 1/5
Writing: 3/5
Originality: 0/5

Overall: 1.2 out of 5

In My Mailbox (26)


From NetGalley:
The Girl in the Garden
by Kamala Nair

The redemptive journey of a young woman unsure of her engagement, who revisits in memory the events of one scorching childhood summer when her beautiful yet troubled mother spirits her away from her home to an Indian village untouched by time, where she discovers in the jungle behind her ancestral house a spellbinding garden that harbors a terrifying secret.

This is a bit different from the stuff I usually read, but it looked intriguing. I need to branch out a little bit, because I'm not getting the satisfaction from reading that I would like.


What was in your "mailbox" this week?


In My Mailbox was started by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Share-A-Book Saturday (26)

This is something I found over on Just Another Book Addict =), and I thought I'd do my own. There are so many great books out there that get overlooked (especially if they've been out for a while)!

Every Saturday, you share (recommend) a book, preferably one that you haven't reviewed yet. It's just a way to get other books out into the blogging world. This is NOT a review.

Today I'm going to recommend Good-Bye Pink Pig by C. S. Adler.

Amanda would rather live in a fantasy world of her imagination than go to her new middle school, where the custodian is the grandmother she has never met.

If you had asked me back around 1985 or 1986 about my favourite books, this one would have been near the top of the list. Amanda's life felt so lonely... and as someone who felt as though she didn't have many friends, I could relate. Oh, how I longed for a Pink Pig of my own!

Unfortunately, this book is out of print (and seems to have been for a while). There's also a sequel, but it was published a few years later (so I probably would have thought it was too young for me at that time).

These books are firmly in the middle-grade category, but from what I can remember, Good-Bye Pink Pig was a beautiful story about a girl who, accompanied by her friend, Pink Pig (who is a miniature porcine figurine come to life), escapes into a fantasy world when she feels like she doesn't belong in the real one.  One of these days, I'll have to see if I can find a copy to read again.  I have such fond memories of this one from my childhood; I want to see if it's as good as I remember!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Censorship or Common Sense?

Have you heard about the recent kerfuffle involving Amazon's decision to pull a pedophilia manual from its catalogue?  You can read about it here.  The linked article ends with the following:

In a statement issued Wednesday, Amazon said it "believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable."

Personally, I'm glad Amazon decided not to sell the book (despite what they've said about censorship).  When businesses start protecting the rights of pedophiles under the guise of "free speech", I think they've gone too far.  And it just seems somehow wrong that a site that caters (partially) to children, with its children's book and toy departments, would also be selling books with instructions on how to victimize those same kids.

What do you think?  Does this fall under the category of censorship?  Or is Amazon's decision not to sell this disgusting book just plain old common sense?

Book Blogger Hop (10)

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!

This week's question comes from Christina @ The Paperback Princesses:

"If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?"

Of course I do!  I hate coming into anything in the middle: TV shows, movies, books, etc.  That's probably the reason I haven't read Ursula K. Le Guin's Voices yet.  I found the hardcover at a great price, but I didn't realize that it was book #2 in a trilogy.  Apparently, you can get away with reading it on its own, but I'd prefer to start from the beginning.  I don't want to feel lost.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Important Information for Kobo Users!

This has been bothering me for a couple of weeks now, and I only just sorted out the problem today.  I thought I should mention it, in case others are having the same issue.

My Kobo had not been displaying the proper format in my EPUB books.  There were no paragraph indents, no bold text, no italics, etc.  The paragraphs had blank lines between them, which just looked weird.  I had no idea what the problem was, and my first e-mail to tech support went unanswered.  When I called the store (Indigo), I was told that there is no provision for italics or formatting.

As I found out this afternoon, that is, quite simply, wrong.

My second e-mail to tech support was answered today, and the problem has been resolved.

For whatever reason, you can't download your Kobo books from the Kobo store onto your Kobo eReader using the Kobo software.  You have to use Adobe Digital Editions to download the books onto your Kobo eReader, or you'll lose all the formatting and other goodies that come with the EPUB format.  I just tried this with my current read, The Magic Thief.  Before, the book had no paragraph indents, no italics, and no pictures (the map at the beginning was just a blank page that said "MAP"... how helpful).  Now, after downloading the book with ADE, I've got all of those goodies, along with illustrations interspersed throughout the text.  I'm almost giddy.  I thought that PDFs (which don't fit that well on the screen) were the only way to have pictures on the Kobo.  It turns out that the EPUB format supports pictures, too.

So the problem is fixed.  But I am somewhat confused.  Why make people download your software if it's only going to mess up the formatting of the books that you are selling?  Why not tell people how to get the optimal experience out of their e-reader?  This seems like a fairly big oversight on the part of the company, and a bad marketing boo-boo.  I was actually considering trying to get myself a Nook because I was annoyed by this formatting issue.  Luckily, I won't have to.

Kobo folks: Either fix the problem with your software or print this important piece of information in the QuickStart Guide.  And educate the people who are selling the product in their stores (because they obviously don't know about this issue)!  The information may be buried somewhere in the instruction manual on the e-book itself... but since there's no search function on this e-reader, it's not realistic to expect people to read the whole thing to solve one small problem!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WWW Wednesdays (5)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted at Should Be Reading.
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?
My answers:
What are you currently reading?

I'm reading The Dark Divine by Bree Despain and The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas.
What did you recently finish reading?

I recently finished The Power by Rhonda Byrne and The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell.
What do you think you’ll read next?

I'm going to read The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Most Unfortunate Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Top Ten Most Unfortunate Character Names:

10. St. John Rivers from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë - It doesn't look that bad in print.  But it's pronounced "sin-jin", which always made me think of the villainous Injun Joe from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  Plus, I had to read Jane Eyre for an English class... and when the teacher started talking about this person named "Sinjin", I had no idea what she was going on about!

9. Americus Nation from Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts - When your name is so patriotic it's nauseating, your mother has gone too far.

8. Sookie Stackhouse from Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris - Does it rhyme with "cookie" or "kooky"?  And who the heck would name their kid that, anyway?

7. Po from Graceling by Kristin Cashore - It sounds like the way some people refer to poverty ("I was so po'!).  It's also creeping toward "poo", which is not great, either...

6. Beezus from Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary - Yes, it was a nickname for "Beatrice".  But that didn't stop the boys at school from making fun of her by rhyming her name with "Jesus".

5. Gale from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Gail and Gayle are girls' names.  That's what I had in my head as I was reading this.  I never could wrap my brain around this one as a name for a guy!

4. Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - It does sound much like "catnip", as Gale said.

3. Peeta from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I still can't figure out if this is a bastardization of "Peter" (much like Haymitch may have been a variation on "Hamish"); in any case, it makes me think of pita bread.

2. Pooh from Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne - What's worse than being named after a turd?

1. Renesmee from Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer - What's worse than being named after a turd?  Being saddled with this monstrosity, that's what!  Even the nickname -- "Nessie" -- is messed up.  Unfortunately, Renesmee is not the only child out there who was given a ridiculous name by a Mormon parent who was trying to be creative.  Check out this list at the Utah Baby Namer.  Once you've seen what some people in real life named their kids, these ten fictional names actually don't look so bad.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday's Question of the Day (22)


Monday's Question of the Day is hosted by Eleni at /-LA FEMME READERS-/

Question:
Inspired by Ally Condie's Matched, if you were in a controlled society that decided your every move in life, would you follow rules or rebel against them?

My Answer:
I'm kind of a stickler for rules and afraid of confrontation (especially with authority), so I'd probably follow them.  But that doesn't mean I'd be happy about it.  I'd probably seethe in private and wish for someone braver than myself to start a revolution.