Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Resolve to Read in 2013


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted by one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. Everyone is welcome to join, just make sure to link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so everyone can check out other blogger lists. Have fun!

Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2013
(I'll probably make sure to read these first thing in the new year!)

(So many great YA titles, so little time!)
1) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
2) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
3) Cinder by Marissa Meyer
4) Soulbound: Legacy of Tril by Heather Brewer
5) Defiance by C.J. Redwine

(It's about time I started reading more adult fiction from my shelves.)
6) Masques by Patricia Briggs
7) Kiss of Fire by Deborah Cooke
8) Goddess of the Rose by P.C. Cast
9) Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey
10) Wolfsangel by M.D. Lachlan

Honorable Mentions to be Published in 2013

Awaken by Meg Cabot (Abandon #3)
Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012: An Amazing Year

At this time of year in the season of giving, I look back on 2012 and realize just how blessed I have been throughout the year.  So much has happened that I can't help being overfilled with happiness and the need to share it with my readers.

I feel that this year I was really able to come into my own as a blogger because of all of the wonderful people I've met.  The local blogging community is such a boon for this librarian, and I'm always excited to attend different bookish events to see more of the amazing bloggers around my city.  Below are just some of the most awesome bookish people I've met this year:

Photobucket
Christin of Portrait of a Book

KristinCreative
Kristin of Kristin Creative


Kate of Ex Libris Kate

BlookGirl
Katie of Blook Girl


Maria of Cari's Book Blog



Kristina of Ladybug Storytime

I Read Banned Books
Jen Bigheart of I Read Banned Books (<--Not local, but still a kickin' Texas librarian/blogger)

Trust me when I say there are more because you don't need to have a book reviewing blog to be an awesome bookish person. ^_^

I've also had the chance to meet some pretty fabulous authors this year including Houston authors Mary Lindsey, Joy Preble, C.C. Hunter, Lynne Kelley, and Christina Mandelski.  Before blogging, I didn't realize how many authors are located in Texas especially Houston.  We're very fortunate!

2012 has been a very good year for me, and I hope that will continue on into 2013.  ^_^

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, Dear Readers!

(Image Found at http://on.fb.me/V5lUye)

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday spent with loved ones and receive some shiny new titles under your Christmas tree or in your stocking.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Everbound


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly eventhosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday selection is:

Everbound
By Brodi Ashton
Publish Date: January 22, 2013 by Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins

**Warning: Goodreads summary contains spoilers from the first book, Everneath, so please refrain from reading if you haven't read it yet!**

From Goodreads~
Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should've been hers. She's living a borrowed life, and she doesn't know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about NIkki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they'd anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we'll go to for the ones we love.

Eep! I'm so ready to see what Nikki will have to do in order to return Jack to the world of the living.  Especially with having to turn to Cole of all people to help her!  I'm already on the edge of my seat, so January 22nd cannot get here soon enough.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (58): Books I Read in 2012


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted by one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. Everyone is welcome to join, just make sure to link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so everyone can check out other blogger lists. Have fun!

Top Ten Books I Read in 2012
(Disclaimer: I'm only including books I reviewed in 2012 and in no particular order.)

1) Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr (Review) - This book only inspired me to check out more books by Melissa Marr.
2) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Review) - I think Maggie has another winning series with The Raven Cycle.
3) The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Review) - Such a wonderful surprise, I loved this book so much and reminded me of my love of fantasy books.
4) The List by Siobhan Vivian (Review) - Writing from eight different POVs, this was an impressive example of what high school can be like.
5) Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Review) - Science fiction in everyday life.  What's not to love?

6) Underworld by Meg Cabot (Review) - Happily, this book didn't have any "second book syndrome" for me, and I'm eager to read the conclusion next year!
7) Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey (Review) - Exciting and unique story that takes place in my hometown.
8) Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs (Review) - Hilarious and winning concept on Greek mythology with a great and fun implementation.
9) Anew by Chelsea Fine (Review) - How immortality can really be a curse and how far love will go to break that curse.
10) Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble (Review) - Russian folklore at its finest, this is one story that offers readers something outside of the box.

Manga Mondays: Love Master A Volume 1

Following in Alison from Alison Can Read's footsteps, I decided that since I love reading it so much, I'll be reviewing manga series that I come across whether in my library or in the bookstore.  

Love Master A Vol. 1 - Kyoko Hashimoto

Summary: 

Determined to start a new life away from all the rumors and nicknames, Aria transfers to a new school - only to find that thanks to the nosey boys of the student council, her reputation preceded her.  Ironically nicknamed "The Love Master" due to her bad luck with romance, Aria nevertheless decides to turn over a new life - helping other couples overcome their problems, whether they like it or not.

**Warning: Review may contain some story spoilers.**

The Dish: 

Very cute if a bit extreme on the energy.  After being rejected by 50 boys to whom she confessed her love, Aria has decided to forsake love and make a fresh start at a new high school where she hopes her nickname as the "Love Master" won't follow her.  

Much to her surprise, on her first day Aria is chosen as the first years' student council president by the other first year student council members: Jin Kadomatsu, the health and safety coordinator who literally sweeps Aria off her feet, secretary Mizuki Tachibana who hides in the student council room to avoid other girls, treasurer Kurusu Umezono who spends most of his time utilizing the budget on technological means of monitoring the school, and vice president Chikayasu Takebayashi who is practically the reincarnation of a benevolent and loyal samurai.  And much to her dismay, the other student council members know about her reputation, but Aria manages to bounce back with energy to take the wheel of the first years' student council.

The art style is quite unique despite its similarities to most shoujo romance manga with the large eyes of main characters on otherwise fairly minimalist faces.  What I really appreciate are the unique characteristics of all of the main characters and even of side characters.  With some manga series, it can be difficult to distinguish between characters due to physical qualities that are too similar.  Readers will have no trouble knowing who is who in Hashimoto's adorable romance story.

In the way of the story, the first volume is told in a series of short vignettes and experiences involving the first year student council as Aria tries to find her footing as president.  Most readers will enjoy the pacing of the stories and the hilarious situations endured by the student council.  Personally, I found Mizuki's quirk of being afraid of other girls so endearing, and when readers see Mizuki, I think they'll understand her fears.  The last vignette starts the first of an over-arcing story which involves the second year student council trying to unify all the student councils together.  This story also involves the second year student council president, Takara Sakakiyama, wanting to make Aria his girlfriend.  While Aria is in debate over her feelings for a member of her own student council, she's unsure what to do to refuse Sakakiyama's advances.  What will she do?  Find out in the final volume.

While the story and art are fairly tame, this series is recommended for teen readers and above.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Review: The Raven Boys

Title:  The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1)
Author:  Maggie Stiefvater
Pages:  408
Genre:  Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Obtained:  Book Signing
Summary:  "There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve," Neeve said. "Either you're his true love...or you killed him."

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them--not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He has it all--family money, good looks, devoted friends--but he's looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

The Dish:  I cannot always put into words how I feel after reading one of Maggie Stiefvater's books.  They always leave an impression on me once I close the cover and mull over what I thought about the story.  While I loved Shiver and The Scorpio Races, there is something entirely different about the writing in The Raven Boys.  And I think I loved it even more because it shows how much Stiefvater's writing has grown.

As with most books, what I really enjoyed was meeting the characters and watching their development.  Blue is one of those girls that I'm sure most people knew in school as the "odd girl" but rather than let her "oddness" get her down, she lets it define her.  Given her family's peculiar set of skills as psychics, particularly her own mother Maura, her worries when she isn't thought of as odd seem justified.  I would have liked having her as a friend when I was a teen. 

What I found most intriguing was the unique medley of Raven Boys that Blue comes into contact with by what some would call sheer chance though her family would disagree.  Hot-blooded and alcoholic Ronan, studious yet resentful Adam, calm and soft-spoken Noah, and obliviously condescending Gansey.  By all normal rights, these boys would have no reason to be seen with each other, but they are friends because of Gansey and his ambition.  Fortunately, like Blue, the reader is treated to a small unraveling portion of the enigma that is Gansey's group, and that really drove me further in my reading. 

The going felt a little slow at first when I started reading the book, but after about one-third of the book, it began to pick up gradually.  With all of the introductions needing to be made within Blue's household and then with the Raven Boys, the slow reading felt real.  The reader needs time to learn about each character and their background, and I appreciated the time Stiefvater took with each person and even when describing 300 Fox Way (Blue's home), Monmouth Manufacturing (Gansey's apartment), and the Pig (Gansey's 1973 Camaro).

Readers should definitely look at The Raven Boys as a beginning to a greater story, and while a few questions are answered by the last page, there are many that remain a mystery.  And personally, I'm looking forward to the journey Stiefvater will take her readers on in order to solve those mysteries.

Purchase your own copy from:  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Festive Five: Christmas Movies

I love the Christmas season so much!  You can't help but smile when you see the lights on people's houses, the various wreaths and lit trees decorating the shopping areas, and of course the many MANY holiday movies and specials.  There are a few that I consider essential to the season, some of which are guilty pleasures of mine.  So here are my Festive Five movies of Christmas that I watch around this time of year. 

1) A Smoky Mountain Christmas - This might just be a southern thing, but I simply love Dolly's Christmas movie.  The scenery, the story, the music, I have to find a copy of this movie to own!  For now, I contend with viewing it on either Hallmark or Lifetime Network.

2) Beauty and the Beast: An Enchanted Christmas - It's Belle and the Beast at Christmas!  How can you not enjoy that fact?  This has become a tradition for me ever since my beau bought a copy one Christmas.

3) A Christmas Story - You can't have Christmas without this movie, and this year, I'll have to watch it with my beau since he's never seen it!


4) The Grinch - Ever since this remake came about, I've heard so many complaints about it.  And while I can agree with some of them... I can't help but watch it at Christmas.  It's like a train-wreck, and I'm a "looky-loo" that has to see what's going on.  Plus, I do enjoy Faith Hill's rendition of "Where Are You, Christmas?"

5) Home Alone 2 - Yeah, I know it's a sequel, but I just love New York City during the Christmas season.  Granted, I've never been there, but it has more of a Christmas feel than the first one.

Honorable Mention:

Memoirs of a Geisha - I know this one has nothing to do with Christmas, BUT I saw it in the theater on Christmas Day.  It's just become part of the tradition to watch at Christmastime.  Plus, gorgeous setting and beautiful cinematography equals a win for me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

In Celebration of December 12, 2012


Welcome to the final triple date digits, everyone!  This is the last year of this century that we will ever see the same digit in all three slots of the date, namely 12/12/12.  In 2007, this was really big especially for brides wanting to get married on 07/07/07.  Can you imagine the total amount of weddings scheduled for that day?  Holy schnikies! 

Anyway, in honor of 12/12/12, I'm giving away an ARC copy of:


The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

And what makes this copy extra-special?  It's signed!  This contest will run until the day after Christmas, 12/26/2012, so good luck everyone!

Rules:

- Must be 13 years or older to enter
- Must live in the US
- Winner must respond to confirm their win within 72 hours

Monday, December 3, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (57): Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted by one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. Everyone is welcome to join, just make sure to link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so everyone can check out other blogger lists. Have fun!

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

1) Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder - If there's one thing Maria knows, it's how to create a fantasy world, and I've heard nothing but good things about her latest trilogy.
2) Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier - Still wanting to continue Gwen's story, especially with where it left off in the church!
3) The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien - This edition is illustrated, and I know these images merely enhance the story that Tolkien told.
4) Luminosity by Stephanie Thomas - I've been eagerly awaiting this debut, so hopefully Santa will deliver under the tree.
5) Krabat by Otfried Preu├čler - After watching the thrilling German film, I'm eager to see the written story of The Satanic Mill (original name).

6) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle and Renae DeLiz (Deluxe Graphic Novel) - With all of the additional artwork inside this edition, it's any wonder I want to add it to my graphic novel collection.
7) D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths by Ingri D'Aulaire & Edgar D'Aulaire - I couldn't help reading over and over again from my school library, and I'd love to have my own copy.
8) D'Aulaire's Book of Norse Myths by Ingri D'Aulaire & Edgar D'Aulaire - Because I loved their Greek Myths so much, I couldn't help but want their book of Norse Myths, too.
9) The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams - Because every Christmas tree needs a fun contemporary novel under it.
10) Wolf Blood by N.M. Browne - And what holiday would it be without a werewolf novel under the tree, too?  

Sweet Cake Pops! Bakerella's Coming to Town!

Y'all know that I have a sweet tooth, especially with my DJL Dishes Dessert posts. Well, if any of you have a sweet tooth like mine, you might know who Bakerella is. If not, please allow me to introduce you to the delightful cake pop bloggess that is Angie Dudley! 

(Image from Bakerella)

And if you don't know what cake pops are... well you'll just have to go visit this page on Bakerella's website! There's no one better who can describe the adorableness that is cake pops than the delightful dame of dessert herself. (And I highly recommend visiting her other dessert pages, too! She's got some creative ideas and the eye of an artist.)

Now that I have all of you eager to either nom on some adorable little cake pops or perhaps to try making them yourself, I have excellent news for those in the Houston area. Angie Dudley is going to be here... on Friday, December 7th! It's in celebration and promotion of her latest book, Cake Pops Holidays

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

This would be a great present for that baker in your life or anyone who just likes to collect cute cookbooks filled with beautiful and colorful photographs of a remarkable little sweet. 

When & Where: 
Friday, December 7th at 7:00 pm
Houston, Texas
Barnes & Noble
12850 Memorial Drive

For my north Texas friends:
Sunday, December 9th at 2:00 pm
Dallas, Texas
Barnes & Noble
7700 West Northwest Hwy

If you can't make it to either of these events, you can find Cake Pops Holidays online:

Hope to see some of my Houston friends on Friday! Happy Baking!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (10)


We are all book lovers and the need to share our enthusiasm is sometimes overwhelming. Stacking the Shelves, created and hosted at Tynga's Reviews, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!

It's been awhile since I've done a Stacking the Shelves post (mostly because I've been buying more for others than myself), but this past week I found some lovely Middle Grade books I just HAD to borrow from my library plus a graphic novel I'd been anticipating the release of for quite awhile.  

Bought:

Soulless: The Manga, Volume 2 by Gail Garriger, drawn by Rem

Library:

Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Dork Diaries 4: Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess by Rachel Renee Russell

That's all for me this week.  What did you stack on your shelves?
 
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