In My Mailbox (4)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that talks about books that have been bought, swapped, received for review, or borrowed from the library. It is hosted by Kristy at The Story Siren.

In the world of Middle School Swimming, the Conference meet is the biggest meet of the year. It also signifies the end of the season, so after this week’s meet, I am done coaching for the year! Hopefully things will slow down now and I can tackle my gigantic TBR pile. Because said TBR pile is taking over my room, I didn’t get much this week.

I won (from the Story Siren):

Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
(Finding this on the front porch Wednesday was an awesome surprise during a busy week!)

I got from the library:
Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

I bought:
New Moon the movie (I know it isn’t a book, but it’s book related)

I also cut off about a foot of my hair to donate to
Locks of Love this weekend! I had pictures to post, but my camera is being dumb and won’t turn on, even with new batteries. Maybe later this week?

This is what has been going on for me . . . feel free to leave suggestions for what should move to the top of the stack!

In My Mailbox (3)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that talks about books that have been bought, swapped, received for review, or borrowed from the library. It is hosted by Kristy at The Story Siren.

The last two weeks have been crazy, so I haven’t had time for much in the way of library/bookstore trips or blog posts. However, on Friday, I made time and spent some time at the library (as you can tell by the library stickers on my books’ spines).

Here is what I found:
Dance with a Vampire (Vampire Kisses #4) – Ellen Schreiber The Coffin Club (Vampire Kisses #5) – Ellen Schreiber
Royal Blood (Vampire Kisses #6) – Ellen Schreiber
The Secret Year – Jennifer R. Hubbard
Age Before Beauty – Virginia Smith
Raven – Allison Van Diepen
The Tear Collector – Patrick Jones **
Kisses and Lies – Lauren Henderson
(which actually comes after Kiss Me Kill Me)
Kiss Me Kill Me – Lauren Henderson

** This book is especially fun for me to get because Patrick Jones is my absolute favorite librarian ever! He worked in my city when I was younger and made a huge impact on my life as a reader and as a collector of autographed books, so I’m excited to read his story.

In addition to finally catching up on getting books, I also have 3 new reviews:
The Espressologist – Kristina Springer
The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading – Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance
Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott

This is what has been going on for me . . . feel free to leave suggestions for what should move to the top of the stack!

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

author’s website: Elizabeth Scott
release date: September 2, 2008
appeals to: ages 16 and up (grades 10 and up)
genre: Contemporary
length: 176 pages
overall rating: 5 stars
Content Warning: The author points out that this book is for ages 16 and up.

*the inside flap*
Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.
Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time, I didn’t know how lucky I was.

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friend – her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.
This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

*my review*
I feel awkward saying that I loved this story, because of the terrifyingly horrible things that happen in it, but this is an incredible book. Without being graphic or explicit, you are able to understand the terrible experiences that Alice goes through on a daily basis. Short chapters and intense writing move this story along at a pace that was difficult to put down. It is easily read in one sitting, but at the same time, it is a difficult story to get out of your mind.

The topics of kidnapping, sexual abuse, powerlessness, and total mind control are apparent on every page, but there are no detailed descriptions of any of them. (*Not a spoiler) I think the ending for me was difficult, because you aren’t really sure about what is happening, and then it is just over. It is a striking ending, but at the same time, you are thinking, “But what now?!?!”

Gripping, horrifying, and absolutely amazing!

*short and snappy*
writing: short chapters, fragmented thoughts, and short memory scenes create a striking story
plot: fast moving, but in a pieced-together way that makes you get a better feel for Alice’s reality
characters: fascinating – both Alice and Ray are incredibly developed, but at the same time, nothing is spelled out. You get everything from Alice’s thoughts and from the interactions between the two.
judging by the cover: I prefer the hardback cover (which I used in this post). I think it gives more of a picture of the actually story than the paperback cover which can be seen here.
miscellaneous: The idea for this book came to Scott in a recurring dream. This interview is incredible, but it is very spoilery!! Good to read after you’ve read the book (or if you don’t mind spoilers, I guess)

The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance

The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading
by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance

author’s website:
release date: May 19, 2009
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Contemporary
length: 352 pages
overall rating: 4 Stars

*the back cover*
When Bethany – self-proclaimed geek girl – makes the varsity cheerleading squad, she realizes that there’s one thing worse than blending in with the lockers: getting noticed. She always felt comfortable as part of the nerd herd, but being a member of the most scrutinized group in her school is weighing her down like a ton of textbooks. Even her varsity cheerleading guide can’t answer the really tough questions, like: How do you maintain some semblance of dignity while wearing an insanely short skirt? What do you do when the head cheerleader spills her beer on you at your first in-crowd party”? And how do you know if your crush likes you for your mind . . . or your pom-poms?
One thing’s for sure: It’s going to take more than brains for this girl genius to cheer her way to the top of the pyramid.

*my review*
I really enjoyed this story – much more than I thought I would! I love the idea of breaking down the high-school clique stereotypes, and this novel did just that. Even better, it was realistically done – a girl who is a geek one day will not just be accepted as queen of the school the next day, and this novel makes that point. I like that Bethany and Moni weren’t just automatically popular because of cheerleading. Even more, I liked that their geeky friends weren’t hugely accepting of the change to cheerleader. Overall, I thought the book was a realistic look at what might happen if the geeky girl made the cheer squad.

*short and snappy*
writing: casual – reading this story felt like a conversation with Bethany over a cup of coffee, which made it fun to read
plot: simple, but realistic – there are ups, downs, and the occasional twist
characters: varied – Bethany was well developed, but I would have liked to learn more about Jack and even Moni.
judging by the cover: cute cover – it is what actually got me to pick up the book – I hadn’t heard of it before seeing it on the library shelf

The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

author’s website: Kristina Springer
release date: October 27, 2009
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Contemporary Fiction
length: 192 pages
overall rating: 4 Stars

*the inside flap*
What’s your drink of choice?
Is it a small pumpkin spice latte? Then you’re lots of fun and a bit sassy. Or a medium Americano? You must prefer simplicity in life. Or perhaps it’s a small decaf soy sugar-free hazelnut caffe latte? Some might call you a yuppie.
Seventeen-year-old barista Jane Turner has this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by their regular coffee drink. She scribbles it all down in a notebook and calls it Espressology. So it’s not a totally crazy idea when Jane starts hooking up some of her friends based on their drink orders. Like her best friend, Em, a medium hot chocolate, and Cam, a toffee nut latte. But when her boss, Derek, gets wind of Jane’s Espressology, he makes it an in-store holiday promotion, promising customers their perfect matches for the price of their favorite coffee. Things are going better than Derek could ever have hoped, so why is Jane so freaked out? Does it have anything to do with Em dating Cam? She’s the one who set them up! She should be happy for them, right?

*my review*
This was a cute, fun, and quick read. I loved the descriptions of personalities that matched the drinks in this story, and the concept of match-making based on drink preference was very cute! The characters in the story weren’t especially developed, but did have their own quirks which helped to make them more real. I especially liked some of the minor characters that came in to be matched by the Espressologist! I would like to have seen more in terms of Jane/Cam interaction. I felt like there could have been a lot more developed in that area. But, overall, the story was a great choice for a stress-free afternoon.

*short and snappy*
writing: easy-going --- I especially enjoyed the personality that came out in the narration and the dialogue in the story
plot: quick and fun
characters: quirky enough to seem realistic, but a little underdeveloped
judging by the cover: I love the cover – I think it was very cleverly designed!
miscellaneous: Her second book, My Fake Boyfriend is Better than Yours, is due out September 1, 2010.
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