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Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: "Earwig and the Witch" by Diana Wynne Jones

Just a quick review today of a very adorable and very wonderful children's chapter book by Diana Wynne Jones.

If you haven't introduced yourself to Ms. Jones' books yet... it's about time you did.






Title: Earwig and the Witch

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Genre: Young Readers Fiction

Pages: 464

Publication: June 9, 2011

Synopsis:

In this enchanting introduction to Diana Wynne Jones's magical and funny work, Earwig is a fearless young orphan. When she finds herself in a house of dark magic, she does whatever she can to adapt—especially if it means that she'll learn a little magic herself! A young middle grade novel by World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement‒winner Diana Wynne Jones, beautifully illustrated in black and white by Caldecott Medalist Paul O. Zelinsky.
Not every orphan would love living at St. Morwald's Home for Children, but Earwig does. She gets whatever she wants, whenever she wants it, and it's been that way since she was dropped on the orphanage doorstep as a baby. But all that changes the day Bella Yaga and the Mandrake come to St. Morwald's, disguised as foster parents. Earwig is whisked off to their mysterious house full of invisible rooms, potions, and spell books, with magic around every corner. Most children would run in terror from a house like that . . . but not Earwig. Using her own cleverness—with a lot of help from a talking cat—she decides to show the witch who's boss.





Earwig has just been adopted by a cranky witch and her peculiar partner "The Mandrake", who is incessantly grumpy and a bit scary to boot. Cunningly Earwig makes it a point to tell the witch she'll work as an assistant for magic lessons. Though the witch agrees the promise isn't kept, which means Earwig will just have to teach herself!

This book is absolute fun! It's a great introduction to Diana Wynne Jones for young readers who are still making their way through chapter books. Full of smelly spells, creaky cauldrons, curious demons who fetch ones breakfast in the morning, and "oops, that wasn't supposed to happen" shenanigans! It's certainly not a bad read for the adults either if you'd like a quick and cute story about a spunky little witch-to-be with a strong will and a sharp mind.

Earwig and the Witch reads like a prologue to a much bigger story, a story that Ms. Jones leaves to the imagination of her readers.



This is a real gem and I highly recommend.

Until Next Blog,

Read On!

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

BoB 11 Day 6 Updates

We're Nearing the end of BoB 11!

It's time for the second wind!


Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team.


Day 6 of BoB 11 was a LAZY day filled with a BoB Chat, unreasonable amounts of coffee, and maybe even some icecream pie.

I've been scoping out the local libraries (there seem to be somewhere around a million) and found one with a treasure trove of books I'd been looking to read so I stockpiled. I've got 1 more day of BoB and one more week to meet my goals for the Summer Reading Challenge. So I've got to READ READ READ!



GOALS 



My goal is to read 2, 000 pages before the end of the week.

Read 1,341 of 2,000 Pages


Books Read or Reading

Read
7875327

10551253

13596828

11777864

Reading


9004758

34288



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Review: "Dead Beautiful" by Yvonne Woon




7875327





Title: Dead Beautiful

Author: Yvonne Woon

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Pages: 464

Publication: September 21, 2010

Synopsis:

On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Renée Winters was still an ordinary girl. She spent her summers at the beach, had the perfect best friend, and had just started dating the cutest guy at school. No one she'd ever known had died. But all that changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest, in what appears to be a strange double murder.

After the funeral Renée’s wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious boarding school in Maine, where she finds herself studying subjects like Philosophy, Latin, and the “Crude Sciences.”

It’s there that she meets Dante Berlin, a handsome and elusive boy to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they grow closer, unexplainable things begin to happen, but Renée can’t stop herself from falling in love. It’s only when she discovers a dark tragedy in Gottfried’s past that she begins to wonder if the Academy is everything it seems.

Little does she know, Dante is the one hiding a dangerous secret, one that has him fearing for her life.

Dead Beautiful is both a compelling romance and thought-provoking read, bringing shocking new meaning to life, death, love, and the nature of the soul.



Bit surprised over this one. I picked it up because it happened to be sitting on the the "return" cart behind the circulation desk.  Curiosity got the best of me and I checked it out.

Read it all that very same night. Now I can't say that it was one of the most amazing books I've ever read but it was most definitely entertaining and pretty intelligent too, which is something one can't always say about YA books with focuses on boarding schools.

This school, this adventure, it was DIFFERENT. There was a beautiful concentration on LANGUAGE and, actually, one of my favorites. Latin. The author managed to construct a world where Latin was suddenly necessary again, for a very specific purpose. She did this without making the work feel either too texty-booky or show-offy.

Not to mention we've got the philosophy of death and an entirely NEW idea about what really happens to the soul when you die.


Throughout this book I was constantly "Oooh"ing and "Ahhh"ing at the creative twists the author was throwing in to the mix of a general story of coming-of-age, falling-in-love, and trying-not-to-die. You know. Same old same old.

Pretty predictable love-story, but I liked Dante (our main incredibly handsome love interest) and Renee enough to appreciate their love for each other. I also REALLY appreciated the fact that Dante actually wasn't present through that much of the book. Renee was truly the focus. Thumbs up there.

This one missed a 5/5 for me because it started to drag on and towards the end became somewhat predictable.  Oh... and because the COVER ART DOES NOT EVEN REMOTELY RESEMBLE WHAT OUR MAIN CHARACTER IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE.

Our "Brown wavy hair, sunkissed skin with freckles" main character  is not your Lilly white skinned, freckle free, "I've never seen the sun a day in my life", cover model with stick straight hair. In further books the cover even drops the brown hair part (she miraculously becomes blonde).

Oops. Off topic!

At any rate it's definitely a nice book to pick up, especially if you're into dark YA and fun new ways of looking at Philosophy and Dead Languages.

Until Next Blog,


POST DIVIDER

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Masquerade Crew's Blogger Banter!

Good evening, book babes!

I got to participate in a fun interview for "Blogger Banter" hosted by Masquerade Crew.  Woo!

Go check out the interview and their magnificent blog!

http://masqueradecrew.blogspot.com/2014/08/blogger-banter-23-auggie-odrah-from.html
 


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Review by Tori: "Obsidian" by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The lovely and ever so wonderful contributor Tori has another review for us today on a series that she is OVER THE MOON about. Check it!

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Title: Obsidian

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Pages: 335

Publication: May 8 2012

Synopsis:
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.




 



I expected the draw of a story about aliens hiding in West Virginia to be miniscule at best. But I eventually was forced to swallow those words with a loud and audible “gulp” after I met Daemon Black, the hot (alien) boy next door.

One scene between the two main characters was all it took for me to be reeled in beyond belief. Obsidian was my first Jennifer L. Armentrout book and I was not disappointed. She has created two characters with such insane chemistry together and continuously intriguing evolution singularly that I was beyond impressed.

Obsidian is the story of Katy Swartz, a normal teen with an exceptional aptitude of getting herself into trouble. Enter Daemon Black, “trouble” wrapped up in a sinful package of devastating good looks and an infuriatingly arrogant way of baiting Katy until she is just about ready to stab him…or kiss him, she never can really decide.

After an exceedingly prickly introduction, Katy can’t imagine that Daemon would ever think twice about her. But after his bubbly and contagiously happy sister, Dee, becomes determined that she and Katy will be fast friends…well all bets are so off.

Daemon is determined to stay away from the fiery human that could wreck his entire world. Good intentions and all that jazz, until one night Katy stumbles out in front of a seven-ton truck and her neighbor has no choice but to freeze…everything. His true nature is revealed and his antics light Katy up like a supernova and guarantee that Katy’s life will never be the same.

I enjoyed Armentrout’s take on the alien dynamic. It was fresh and “hot” and enough to make me want to learn more about the Luxen. However, the story is very much so one of those “new girl moves to town and falls in with the group of non-humans after she falls for the haughty bad boy leader.” But alas, I just don’t care. I fell for the characters again and again throughout the book. They are snarky and sweet and altogether iconic of what young love should encompass.

I give Obsidian a very enthusiastic 5 quills. Since of course I had to wait until the next day to dash to the book store and buy the rest of the series, I made sure to flaunt Daemon in front of as many book-loving friends as possible. I am diving head first into the second installment of the Lux series, Onyx so please do not disturb. The world will just have to wait.

~Tori
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BoB Day 3 Updates!

Everyone is ROCKIN' BoB this year!

Keep reading, my bibliosiblings!


Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team.


Update on day 3. Today was a sick-day, spent curled up on the couch feeling like, well, poo. You know how it is. At least I had the books! I managed to catch up with my goal (as well as catch a Z or two) and am now close to target.

There's only one wee little problemo. That would be that I can't seem to find my kindle chargers. THAT means I have zip-zero-nada access to the eBooks I was hoping to get read for this BoB. Hopefully I'll find them (sneaky little things) in the next few days. So I'm having to substitute a few books that weren't originally on my TBR for the challenge. OH WELL. Do whatcha gotta do, roll how you gotta roll, or something.





GOALS 



My goal is to read 2, 000 pages before the end of the week.

Read 1,222 of 2,000 Pages


Books Read or Reading

Read
7875327

10551253

13596828

Reading

9591398









Until Next Blog,

POST DIVIDER

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BoB 11 Update!

How are you doing this BoB?

I'm cheering you on! 


Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team.


First official update on the 2nd day of the read a thon. I say FIRST official update because I didn't post on the first day, because I didn't exactly read a whole lot, because, well, I got my hands on the "Sims University" the other night and have been dividing my time between getting a totally pretend Communications degree and reading kick-butt books.


*sigh* I am a dweeb.


That's okay! I got my SIMS fix for now so I can concentrate on my reading pile. Wootily doo!

GOALS 



My goal is to read 2, 000 pages before the end of the week.

Read 864 of 2,000 Pages


Books Read or Reading

Read
7875327
10551253

Reading
13596828








Until Next Blog,
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