Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review: Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Title: Bunheads
Author: Sophie Flack
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Perfect for: anyone who took dance as a kid and dreamed of it being more than a hobby!
Star Rating: 3/5 stars


Taken from Goodreads, "As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet. But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?" 


I took dance class for many years as a kid and young adult. Never did I think about becoming a professional dancer nor was I ever good enough to consider it, but still once a dancer, always a dancer. I'm not a reader of contemporary YA, but 'Bunheads' had me interested in it right from the get go. First off, the last book I read about a ballet school, 'Red Shoes Will Kill You' by Dorian Cirrone, entertained me quite a bit. It's few and far between that I see YA novels set in the traditional dance world, so I try to read them when they hit the shelves. Second, the cover is actually quite nice. It's eye catching and fits with the story well. (It also helps that I recently watched an Australian TV show about kids at a prestige's dance academy and have since had dance on the brain!)


'Bunheads' isn't a romance so much as a coming of age book with some romance. It's odd for me to describe it as a 'coming of age' kind of book, being that the characters are close to or over 20 years old, but in reality, they (specifically main character Hannah) have been secluded in the dance studio most of their life and haven't yet really grown into who they are supposed to be. Hence the coming of age theme! 'Bunheads' follows Hannah, already a professional dancer by the age of 19, as she slowly ventures out into the world and sees that while she may love dancing, it may not be her one and only.


I found the character of Hannah to be very relateable, almost too relatable! I can understand her point of view, striving to reach a goal, keeping her eye on the prize, while missing out on a whole world of things. Trust me when I say, I did that throughout most of my college days and it isn't the best way to go through life! Hannah isn't the most personable of YA leads (she's a bit Meredith Grey), but her reasons make sense and her point of view is clear. Anyone who has ever wanted something so bad that they blocked out everything else will understand her. The secondary characters are engaging, though the male leads could have had a bit more personality.


As far as plot is concerned, I found 'Bunheads' to flow well. I've been in a reading rut recently, where books are just not sticking, but 'Bunheads' didn't have that feel at all. If anything, I was excited to finally get to dive into the professional world of dancing. While non dancers might think some of the issues in this novel are bizarre (ie: instructors telling characters to lose weight-- in their chest-- as to not break their body's line), dancers will hear a ring of truth in the situations Hannah and her friends find themselves in.


Is this an awe inspiring, life changing read? No. Is it an enjoyable view into the world of professional dancing and into the life of a girl who thought she had found her place, but may need to go just a little further to find where she truly needs to be? Yes! 'Bunheads' gets 3 out of 5 stars and can be found on bookshelves everywhere.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Update

Hi guys,


I just wanted to apologize for my lack of updates.  I didn't mean to drop off the face of the earth!!!  Why the sudden disappearance?  Mainly, my day job has been giving me more hours and on top of that, I'm working on a side project that will (fingers crossed) let me cut loose from the before mentioned day job, so I've had less time to 'chill'.  Needless to say, it's been hard to find the time to really get into a book!  


I recently started reading 'Tempest' by Julie Cross.  So far, I'm really enjoying it!  'Tempest' is a time travel story that has already been optioned by a motion picture company. It hits store shelves in January.  I'll be sure to leave a review here on the site when I finish this read!  


Also, be on the lookout for a review of 'A Beautiful Friendship' by David Weber.  This book was sent to me via the publisher. I've never read Weber before, so I'm looking forward to reading his first YA novel.  


So, don't worry.  I'll be a back and updating.  It just maybe a little less frequent!!!


~Brooke

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Follow Friday





The Question of the Week is:  If you could pick one character in a book, movie or television show to swap places with, who would it be?


Answer: There are so many characters I love reading, but would I want their lives?  Hmmm...  I would say Bella from 'Twilight', but becoming a vampire is *so* not on my bucket list.  Then there is Anna from 'Anna and the French Kiss'.  I mean,  √Čtienne and France?!  Two definite perks, but on the other hand, Anna has a bit of a screwed up family life.  If only I could take bits and pieces of many books and mash them into one.

Maybe it will be easier to switch to TV shows?  I could be Elena from The Vampire Diaries.  She gets to make out with lots of hot men and lives in an adorable town.  But then again, her life isn't always peachy.  

Movies?  I think being Beauty from Beauty and the Beast (ie: Disney version) might be the best choice. She can sing, has a library handed to her, and falls for a handsome prince.  Just being a Disney Princess in general would be neat.  Maybe I'll just choose that answer?  Or a mixture of all of the above?

Review: Rip Tide by Kat Falls

Title: Rip Tide
Author: Kat Falls
Genre: juvi, ya, dystopian, action, adventure, 2nd in series
Perfect for: those who read the original, 'Dark Life'
Star Rating: 4/5 Stars


Taken from Goodreads, "Return to the subsea frontier with Ty and Gemma! The mysteries of the deep are deadlier than ever when Ty'With time running out for his parents, Ty's desperation leads the two teenagers to the underwater underworld...and into an alliance with the outlaws of the Seablite Gang. But one mystery soon leads to another. How has an entire township disappered? Why is the local sealife suddenly so aggressive? And can the Seablite Gang be trusted...or are Ty and Gemma in deeper water than they realize?"


It's only been a few months since my last trip under the sea with Kat Falls and 'Dark Life' and, boy, am I happy I got to return so soon with 'Rip Tide'. 'Rip Tide' is a 'rip roaring adventure'! 


Just like the original, 'Rip Tide' starts with a bang.  Readers are thrust into an undersea adventure that doesn't let up.  The story is paced well and addictive in nature.  This book is truly one that will keep you reading hours on end.  Kat makes a smart decision with 'Rip Tide' and takes the story into a totally new setting.  Because of this choice, 'Rip Tide' is still a very fresh and almost standalone story.  I wouldn't read it before reading 'Dark Life', but it is nice that 'Rip Tide' has its own story, as opposed to just being a 'middle book'.


The banter between the two on again off again leads, Ty and Gemma,  is spot on and the secondary characters are interesting to read.  Gemma has some nice character development. I'm looking forward to seeing what might happen next in the series!


'Rip Tide' is an addictive, action, adventure set in a cool underwater world.  You won't regret reading this series!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday

Book Blogger Hop
Book Blogger Hop: 
The Question of the Week is: 
In honor of Banned Books Week, what is your favorite “banned or frequently challenged book”? 


Answer: Of the 2010-2011 banned reads, the only one I've read is 'Hunger Games'. They banned the book for supposedly giving children nightmares and numbing readers to violent acts. I may be in the minority here, but I didn't find Hunger Games to be violent. It was depressing and some dark things did happen, but we never really saw the heroes of the novel do many violent things, just saw their reaction to the violence around them. 


Plus, the news is filled with far more violent acts, so I don't see why parents choose to blame this book for 'numbing' their children's reaction to violent acts. (A good movie to see if you liked Hunger Games is Battle Royale. It's a Japanese flick that I found similar and just as entertaining as 'Hunger Games'!) 




The Question of the Week is: 
What book that hasn't been turned into a movie (yet) would you most like to see make it to the big screen, and who would you like cast as your favorite character? 


Answer: I'd like to see the 'Stravaganza' series (by Mary Hoffman) made into a movie. The books take place in the contemporary world, as well as Talia, a fantastical version of Italy. I'd love to see the 'Stravaganza' series come to life on film! I don't know who'd I cast as the main characters... That is sure something to think about!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink

Title: Circle of Fire 
Author: Michelle Zink 
Genre: YA, Historical, Romance, Supernatural 
Perfect for: Readers of the original two novels-- don't start with this one!!! 
Star Rating: 4/5 stars


Taken from Goodreads, "With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince her sister Alice to help--or risk her life trying. Lia has her beloved Dimitri by her side, but Alice has James, the man who once loved her sister--and maybe still does. James doesn't know the truth about either sister, or the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way. There are some secrets sisters aren't meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them." 


 As this is the third and final book in a series, this review is going to be short and sweet. 'Circle of Fire' is a fitting ending to the 'Prophecy of the Sisters' trilogy, regardless of its faults. While the pacing of the story felt off, I sped through the pages. Lia and Dimitri had some cute moments, the interaction between Lia and Alice came as a welcome shock, and, overall, the story's end felt right. 


I didn't like all the elements of the story-- it was a little dark at the end (though I probably should have expected that!). Also, some of this story felt like it would have been better placed in the second book. Along the same lines, I didn't feel that we learned enough about the new keys to really care about them. 


If you've read the first two novels, you'll want to read 'Circle of Fire'. This is one ending that definitely brings closure to the story. 'Circle of Fire' gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Follow Friday/TGIF


TGIF is hosted by GReads!


Question of the week: Reading Challenges: Did you sign up for any this year? How has your progression been?


Answer: I fail miserably at challenges so I am not participating in any. When I really aim to sit down and read tons of books, that is when things come up or get in the way! I do much better when I don't have a time table or list that I feel I 'need' to read. :-)



Question of the week: Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it? 

Answer: Series? Not really. I've found there's always a book that I don't care to reread in each series. Books within a series? Here are a few of my favorites: Twilight (Stephenie Meyer), The Grey King (Susan Cooper), Greenwitch (Susan Cooper) and Goblet of Fire (JK Rowling)... I try to re-read the entire 'Dark is Rising Sequence' every now and then, as well as 'The Chronicles of Narnia'.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Updates/Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday

Hello again to all my friends, I'm glad you came to play, fun and learning never ends-- oops, sorry channeled Barney there for a moment!  Thanks for stopping by the blog.  This past week was pretty centered on 'Divergent'.  


New This Week:
Divergent Fantasy Cast
Divergent Review


And the hops...
The Book Blogger Hop: 
Book Blogger Hop

The Question of the Week is: As a book blogger, how do you introduce yourself in your profile? 


Answer: Do I have a profile? Hmm. Not so much.. I may have to work on that. In my soon to be updated profile, I'm sure I'll mention my love of reading, my goal to work in television or at least get a script or two produced, and my other hobbies (ie: doll collecting).  Maybe all in Q and A style?  I'll probably have some silly little quote in there from Doctor Who. I think that it's important for people to know who the writer is on blogs. That's why I do these hops and why I do the fantasy casts. Those two things give a little more insight into me, I think. I'll have to make my profile reflect that, too. 


Follow Friday:
The Question of the Week is: It's that pesky magic book fairy again! She has another wish: What imaginary book world would you like to make a reality? 

Answer: Does 'The Neverending Story' count? I've always wanted to hold a book with the Auryn on the cover and the whole idea of being part of the book while reading it? One word-- Awesome!

Thanks for stopping by this week. See you again soon!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fantasy Cast: Divergent

Back in March, it was announced that Summit acquired the film rights to 'Divergent' by Veronica Roth. Since speed reading it this past week, I thought I'd put together another fantasy cast-- this time on 'Divergent'


Matthew Lewis (Harry Potter films) as Four: 
(Runner Up: Drew Roy)

No one can deny that Matthew Lewis has grown up into a nice looking guy! Why choose Matthew Lewis for Four? First, he has a unique look to him. He's not your typical cookie cutter male lead, he has some uniqueness to his physical looks. Second, we've really only seen Matthew play minor characters. I think it's about time this boy was given a lead role! He could totally pull off Fours conflicting emotional states and the humor his character surprisingly has a knack for!



Malese Jow (The Vampire Dairies, Big Time Rush) as Tris: 
(Runner Up: Dakota Fanning)
Yes, I know this choice doesn't fit the physical description of Tris exactly, but Malese has a unique look to her (like Tris) and has the petite body type associated heavily with Tris. From what I've seen of her in Vampire Diaries, she could pull off both the frigid, insecure side of Tris, as well as the tough, confident Tris that shows emotion.



Jake Abel (Supernatural, Percy Jackson) as Eric:
I'm not typecasting Jake, but he does play troubled characters well. I could totally see him striking fear into young Dauntless hearts!!! 



Tommy Knight (The Sarah Jane Adventures) as Al:
Yes, Al is supposed to be this larger than life sort of fellow physically, but it's really hard to find an actor that plays young, but is that much of a brick wall. Tommy Knight is an actor who I see having a great future. With a little time in the gym, I'm sure he could buff up a bit to become a believable Al AND still pull off the emotional bits that are necessary to get Al right.



Will Poulter (Voyage of the Dawn Treader) as Will:
I think I've used Will in these posts before and possibly for yet another character with his actual name, but I stand by this choice. Going totally off looks, he strikes me as a fellow who would, if we had a society like Roth's, come from a class of intellectuals. Plus, I think this kid can act! 


??? as Christina: Actually, I'm not sure who I'd cast as Christina... Any thoughts on who you'd like to see? 


??? As Caleb: Again, I'm not sure who I'd go with here, either. Any thoughts on who you'd like to see?


So, there's my fantasy cast... Who's on yours?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: YA, dystopian, action, romance
Perfect for: older YA readers who like dark dystopian reads
Star Rating: 3/5 stars



Taken from Goodreads, "Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger."


Oh, 'Divergent'... What do I say about you? 'Divergent' delivered in terms of being an addictive, thought provoking debut. It's one of the better 'present tense' books that I've read-- up there with the 'Uglies' trilogy. I can see why people have been hyping the title, because it is overall a well rounded, entertaining dystopian novel. However, there are a few things that bugged me about 'Divergent', too, that stand out too much to skip over.


'Divergent' has one of the better 'present tense' voices that I've read-- and I don't usually get into books written in 'present tense'. Tris has a specific voice that comes across well, making this quite an addicting read. 


At over 400 pages, 'Divergent' is a long read. Normally, a book that is 400 pages takes me three or four days, but 'Divergent'? I felt compelled to finish it in two. Be warned now that 'Divergent' is one of those books that will keep you thinking about it even when you're not reading (like, when you're supposed to be shelving books at work and you're instead thinking about the crazy factions and their values!!!).


Debut Author Veronica Roth clearly defines her dystopian world and does a good job of making it stand out among other dystopian worlds. I can't say I didn't find any (whats the word?) issues with the world, but in terms of getting what it felt like across to readers, Roth did well. I wish Roth would have gone further into the setting outside of Chicago or, if it is the same system everywhere, mentioned that somewhere. 


Also, the factions never made sense to me-- I never understood why Chicago (or the entire world) separated people as they did. Yes, Roth had a line or two about it in the book, but more would have been nice. Usually I can pick out a trait about whatever dystopian society I'm reading that makes sense or seems to fit an aspect of our lifestyle, but this dystopian Chicago just seems wrong to me.  Granted, for all I know, we could be getting more of this in the sequels.


One other thing that didn't come across to me-- why do people fear being faction-less when being faction-less seems to be the best option? I can't believe that all the faction-less people in the streets of Chicago are sad, depressed, shadows of people. There must be some factor-less (like Divergent factor-less) that see the lack of one specific cast as a lifesaver. As I mentioned before, Roth might address something like this in future books, so maybe she is just saving this morsel for later, but as far as 'Divergent' is concerned, I just couldn't wrap my head around the factor-less.


The characters in 'Divergent'? I liked *most* of them. Four, Will, and Christina were great characters that really helped bring me into Roth's world. Four, in particular, really stole the show for me.  The character I had the most trouble with was, ironically enough, the main character Tris. I didn't hate Tris-- I mean, how can you hate the main character in a novel told in first person-- but she got on my nerves. The best way I can describe it is that while reading Tris, I was reminded of reading Tally from the 'Uglies' trilogy. Tally was hardly a like-able character in the beginning of the novels (and the sequels, for that matter), but even so, the novels ended up on my list of favorites. Some of Tris' characteristics, especially when it came to violent/mean spirited tendencies frustrated me. You can shrug it off by saying 'well, that's her factor', but for a Divergent, I would think that she would have acted differently. Don't get me wrong-- I liked Tris as a character, but I would be lying if I said she didn't irritate me, too.


The pacing of the novel was done well and I think you'll find yourself hard pressed to not make a marathon of reading 'Divergent'. I enjoyed Roth's romantic storyline in the novel between the two leads. It wasn't exactly the typical 'lust' at first sight thing that we're seeing now a days. The romance had time to develop. The best part of the romance was that, unlike other novels, the characters in this novel weren't blinded by love, but they had the typical concerns, doubts, fears that couples in real life tend to have. It was nice to read. The action was paced well and, I'm happy to say I didn't get bored or feel the need to skim over it! The ending was a little quick for me and I was worried that it was going to be one of those 'stop in mid thought' cliffhangers at first, but it turned out to have a proper (fast) ending. Thank goodness!


'Divergent' gets 3 out of 5 stars. I'll be recommending this read to fans of darker, slightly more violent dystopian novels. Even with the problems I had with the novel, none of which are deal breakers, I am looking forward to seeing what happens next in Roth's world. 'Divergent' is available in stores now!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Updates/Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday

Hello friends! Down a laptop, I haven't been able to post my usual three posts a week here. Apologies. It didn't help that my reading schedule has been off this past month. You know when you're in a reading rut? Yep, that was me. :-) 


Now, I'm back. I have two book reviews 'in the wings' and am going to start another book tomorrow. 


As far as the reality TV show front, things are looking good!!! Keep your fingers crossed for me. I think I made a good choice to stay behind the camera in television. I've read recently reality 'stars' don't get very much money compared to the creative team. 


Anyone watching Falling Skies? I think that wins for my new favorite show of the summer. 


See you all next week!


Book Blogger Hop


The Question of the Week is:  What are you most looking forward to this fall/autumn season – A particular book release? Halloween? The leaves changing color? Cooler temperatures? A vacation? (If your next season is other than fall/autumn, tell us about it and what you are most looking forward to in your part of the world!) 

Answer: I really enjoy Halloween. I'm a ham at heart, so dressing up and pretending to be something new and exciting for an evening, even if I'm too old for trick or treating, always makes me happy!



The Question of the Week is: If you could change the ending of any book (or series), which book would you choose? And, why? 

Answer: There are a few, actually! 

I would have told Stephenie Meyer to stop at 'Twilight', first off! There are bits of the sequels I like, but it would have been fine as a standalone! 

I'd probably have to go to K.A Applegate and get her to make a happy ending for the 'Animorphs' series. (Wiki to synopsis of the final book) I remember really disliking the negative vibe the last books in the series had. So not the way to end it!

I'd also like to knock on George Lucas' door and tell him that he needs to find a way to get Chewie back from the dead and to redeem Jacen from his dark downfall (I'm thinking, we can do JR and call it all a dream!) in the EU Star Wars novels! There was no reason for Star Wars to get so darn dark, in my opinion.

Review: Dark Life by Kat Falls

Title: Dark Life 
Author: Kat Falls 
Genre: Juvi, YA, Dystopian, slight romance, action, adventure
Perfect for: readers across the board-- younger YA readers and older YA readers! (first book in series) 
Star Rating: 4/5 stars


Taken from Goodreads, "Dive deep into the vivid underwater world of Dark Life! The oceans rose, swallowing the lowlands. Earthquakes shattered the continents, toppling entire regions into the rising water. Now, humans live packed into stack cities. The only ones with any space of their own are those who live on the ocean floor: the Dark Life. Ty has spent his whole life living deep undersea. When outlaws attack his homestead, he finds himself in a fight to save the only home he has ever known. Joined by Gemma, a girl from Topside, Ty ventures into the frontier's rough underworld and discovers some dark secrets to Dark Life. Secrets that threaten to destroy everything." 


You know the awesome feeling you get when you pick up a book thinking you'll read it to kill a little time, only to then look up and see you've spent half the day sucked into a fantastically, addictive story? That was my experience with 'Dark Life' by Kat Falls. It was recommended that I take a look at the debut novel. I put it off, as juvi fiction is somewhat hit or miss for me and the cover wasn't as appetizing to my palette as I would have liked, but after reading it, I must say, 'Dark Life' rocked. 


As far as cons go, the few I found were pretty minuscule. While the dystopian world is described well, small details about the characters took a while to be mentioned. For example, I didn't know for sure how old the characters were until two-thirds of the way into 'Dark Life' when Ty mentioned how far he was away from getting his own bit of land. I had assumed that they were around 15 because of the voice, but it was a bit annoying not knowing! Another reader I spoke to was unsure of the gender of Ty, the main male character, until a few chapters in. Little details like gender and age can be forgotten so easily, so I understand, but it did bother me a bit! 


While this isn't all together a con, the ending of the novel did feel a bit rushed. I think that came from the fact that so much happened in 'Dark Life' that the slow down was bound to feel abrupt. The ending wasn't bad by any means, it was just quicker than I would have liked. 


Now, on to the good stuff-- and there was plenty! I loved the world Falls set up. It was one of the more unique dystopian worlds I've read. It seems that YA is full of novels set in underground tunnels or dark city streets, but I haven't read one set in an underwater environment like Falls created. She created a world that was simple to understand, but was pretty complex at the same time. 


The story played out like a movie, which might be the reason Disney picked up the film rights prior to the books release. 'Dark Life' is definitely a novel that can be described as an action/adventure. It didn't lag and just when you thought you'd figured something out, something new happened! The story should entertain middle grade readers, as well as older YA readers. 


For those romance readers, there was a very small bit of romance in the novel.  Most of the 'romantic' bits were very first love/school yard romance-esc.  The story was more concentrated on the action and the slight (very slight) bit of romance there was never crossed into 'teen only' territory!


The best thing about this novel? Even though it has a sequel, 'Rip Tide', it has a complete beginning, middle, and end. You're not left on a huge cliff hanger, like many series that have come out in the last year. It could have even been a standalone, if Falls had wanted it to be! 


If you haven't read 'Dark Life', I suggest giving it a try. I think you'll like it! Both 'Dark Life' and 'Rip Tide' are available everywhere books are sold!  'Dark Life' gets 4 out of 5 stars!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hello Again!

I just wanted to pop in and apologize for my absence this past week.  I've been in a bit of a dry spell when it comes to reading.  Thankfully, I think that's over with.  I'm currently reading the final book in the 'Prophecy of the Sisters' series.  So far, it's pretty good.


Also, if you won a prize during the Summer Giveaway, those went out this week.  Sorry for the delay!!!

So, look out for the usual updates starting back again this week!  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thank You!

A big thank you to all who entered the 'Summer' contest! I'm sending out e-mails to the winners tonight. If you get an e-mail, please confirm your information within 48 hours. :-) When I have everyone confirmed, I'll go ahead and set up a congratulations post! 


For an extra point, entrants had the option to answer a question 'What does summer mean to you?' A good chunk of you mentioned that you love summer because you get to read more books. 


Here are a few of my favorite responses: 
AmyS: To me summer means we are that much closer to winter. I love snow! 
The Happy Booker: Just one thing? I'm not that decisive! Summer for me is hurricane season, flip flops, spaghetti straps, and my hubby looking hot in his apron showing of his grillin skills! 
Ann: Hot weather means summer to me, and boy, we got it this year! 
LolaWid: Summer to me is having my kiddos home, and all schedules go out the windows... 
Shahira: Summer = Falling in love. :] 


You can find all the response in the comment section of the 'Contest' post! 


As a consolation prize, I've embedded some clips of my favorite things! Enjoy!


   
If you haven't seen Newsies, you really should. It is my favorite movie. Seriously, how can you not love it? A cast of hot guys? Kenny Ortega? Lots of song and dance numbers? Great acting? This movie as it all!


   
Another favorite of mine is the Sister Act series. This clip is from the finale of Sister Act 2.


 
Two Doctors=awesome. I love the 'You were my Doctor' part. It always gets me. 


And that's it for now. Thanks for entering the contest. See you next time!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Updates/Contest Reminder/Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday

It's another weekly hop already? Wow. This week flew by! Be sure to check out the happening's on the blog this week. Lots of fun stuff happened!  


I'd like to thank Stacey Kade for taking the time to fill out the author interview! Thanks!


This Week on the Blog:
Review: Passion by Lauren Kate
Author Interview: Stacey Kade
Contest Info: Win 'Queen of the Dead' by Stacey Kade


Reminder: Are you a follower of the blog? Enter to win Stacey Kade's 'Queen of the Dead' or a handful of promotional keychains! All the details can be found in the contest post! Enter soon-- the contest ends on the 7th!


And onto the hops...


Book Blogger Hop
Book Blogger Hop
The Question of the Week is:
What is the one ARC you would love to get your hands on right now?


Answer: I was JUST talking to my mom about a book that I wished I had received! Very timely question! 'Darkness Falls' is my pick. It's by author Cate Tiernan and is the sequel to the wonderful 'Immortal Beloved'. I'm really looking forward to stepping back into that world!  


While this isn't an ARC, I would love to get my hands on 'Immortal War' (final book in 'Vampirates' series) by Justin Somper. It was released by Simon and Schuster UK in June, but we don't get it in the States until January. Do I think I'll make it to January to read this? Not a chance. I'll be placing my order on Amazon.uk soon!!!  It's just so irritating knowing that it can be found on bookstore shelves now, just not in my country!!!


Follow Friday:




The Question of the Week is:
Talk about the book that most changed or influenced your life (was it a book that turned you from an average to avid reader, did it help you deal with a particularly difficult situation, does it bring you comfort every time you read it?).


Answer: While I can't think of a book that really changed my life drastically, I have a few 'comfort' reads. If I'm feeling down, I usually pick up 'Twilight', 'The Host', or 'The Grey King'. They always seem to get me through tough times. It helps that they are some of my favorite reads. 'Twilight' is pure popcorn-- corny in a good way. 'The Host' has the cutest love story. 'The Grey King' has some great settings-- mostly Welsh locations that have some connection to King Arthur. After reading one of these books, I'm usually out of whatever funk I was in!


Thanks for hopping by this week!  See you next time!

Review: Passion by Lauren Kate

Title: Passion
Author: Lauren Kate
Genre: YA, Supernatural, Romance, 3rd in a series
Perfect for: those who have read the first two in the series. This does not work as a standalone.
Star Rating: 3/5 stars



Taken from Goodreads, "Luce would die for Daniel.

And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . . .

Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last.

Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history.

Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever."



I can't help it. When it comes to this series, I'm addicted. I can't help but enjoy stepping into the world Lauren Kate has crafted, but to be completely honest, I always finish these books (well, 'Torment' and the newest novel, 'Passion') with gripes. The best way to describe my thoughts about the Fallen series is that I want to love it so much that I hold it up to higher standards that it never seems to reach. I know I shouldn't, but I really liked 'Fallen'. The sequels.... There have been great parts and then not so great parts. But on to the topic at hand-- 'Passion'.


'Passion' is the third book in the Fallen series. It continues exactly where 'Torment' ended. Much of the storyline is centered around Luce learning about her and Daniel's past lives together in a search to find out why she loves him and why their cursed. I think anyone who's read the series has wondered about the past, so all in all, the concept sounds pretty good, right? Well, sort of.


At 430 some pages, 85% (ish) of the book showcased Luce and Daniel playing 'catch me if you can' back in time. While it was nice jumping into the past lives for a while, mid way through, I found myself wondering when we'd get on with the story. The time jumping was all fine and good, but there was just too much of it.


We got to see very little of the secondary characters in this novel, but Daniel, Miles, and Shelby had a good scene together and we did get a small peek into Cam's background, which was nice. 'Passion' will please those readers who can't get enough of Luce and Daniel's tragic love, but doesn't progress the story very much.


The best way to describe 'Passion' is that it reads like the middle of a story. It doesn't have a standalone intertwined into the big storyline. It's very 'Empire Strikes Back' in that way. The last 15% of the story is where most of the action happens and is a major set up for the fourth installment.


For me, 'Passion' read a whole lot like 'Torment'. It was a quick, addictive read, but left me wondering why it had to be so long. The more I think about it, 'Passion' would have been so much better as a novella. It's 400+ pages just seemed a bit repetitive and didn't move the story along as much as I expected.


Even though I had my gripes, I am not giving up on the series. The last 15% of the novel (where the plot really kicked in) caught my attention enough to make me look forward to the release of the final novel in the series. 'Passion' gets 3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Author Interview: Stacey Kade, author of 'The Ghost and the Goth' series

One of my favorite things about blogging about books? Author interviews. I love reading them and I love hosting them! This month, Stacey Kade was gracious enough to stop by and answer a few questions. Stacey is the author of 'The Ghost and the Goth' and its sequel 'Queen of the Dead', with more to come, I'm sure!


Make sure to stop by my most recent contest post where you can enter to win a copy of 'Queen of the Dead'!


A Bit About Stacey Kade...
As an award-winning corporate copywriter, Stacey Kade has written about everything from backhoe loaders to breast pumps. But she prefers to make things up instead.


From her first childhood scribbles about a magical necklace that would turn people into cats, Stacey has long been fascinated with what happens when the “ordinary” bumps up against “out of this world.” What if aliens landed on Earth? What if the afterlife is really just another dimension?


She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Greg, and their three retired racing greyhounds, Joezooka (Joe), Tall Walker (Walker) and SheWearsThePants (Pansy). When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll likely find her parked in front of the television with her Roswell DVDs, staring rapturously at Jason Behr.


The Q and A Session:


Q: Probably the hardest question of all, who are you? Tell us a bit about yourself!
A: You're right! This probably is the hardest question... How about this? A writer, a reader, a hopeless romantic, a wife, a big sister, an aunt,a greyhound rescue devotee, and a firm believer that freshly baked cookies and/or a McDonald's Coke can solve just about any ill. :)


Q: Every writer has their writing 'quirks' (ie: writing at night, while drinking tea, in the wee hours of the morning, etc). What are yours?
A: Hmm. I've learned that pretty much whatever I've set up as a quirk, I knock down when I'm desperate to get something done, on deadline, or traveling. :) But if I have my preference, I love having music playing while I write. My Pandora stations usually. And I like to have a cup of Earl Grey tea when I can!


Q: What inspired you to start writing 'The Ghost and the Goth'? Was it your first foray into the publishing world? Had you imagined that 'The Ghost and the Goth' would have sequels while writing the original manuscript or did that idea come about later?
A: I often hear bits of dialogue or snippets of character thoughts in my head to start off a story and with Alona, it was something like, "Staring up at the undercarriage of a bus is a sucky way to spend your afterlife." I had published three novels for adults through a small press prior to The Ghost and the Goth. I was hoping there would be an opportunity for sequels to G&G. The big twist, so to speak, in the middle of Queen of the Dead was something I knew I wanted to do even while I was writing G&G.


Q: 'Queen of the Dead' came out recently. What can fans (who may not have read it yet) expect?
A: More kissing, more bickering, a few new people (alive and dead) and some pretty hefty complications. :) Will and Alona...it's never going to be easy for them, unfortunately.


Q: Now, onto a bit more fun... Have you ever experienced something supernatural or unexplainable? Please explain! If you haven't, do you believe in ghosts, aliens, psychics, etc?
A: No, I've never experienced anything supernatural, not really. But I'm actually pretty happy about that. I'd much prefer the ghosts haunt other people! I'd be too freaked out. And yes, I believe that there are things, phenomena, that we don't readily understand and try to explain away. I think there likely is a rational explanation but perhaps not one science has figured out yet. :)


Q: If you could choose to live in one genre (ie: supernatural, romance, musical, etc), which would you choose?
A: Romance. Hands down. Gotta have that happily ever after. But I'd rather have a blend of paranormal AND romance, lol.


Q: I'm a huge tv nut. What is on your DVR right now? What are your all time favorite TV Shows?
A: Oooh, new favorite show is Awkward. on MTV. Loving that one. What else is on my DVR? Um, Falling Skies, Alphas, Necessary Roughness, Suits, True Blood...and too many more to mention. I adore TV, watch way too much of it for my own good probably!


All time favorites:
Supernatural
Veronica Mars
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The O.C. (Season one)
Roswell


Q: You're going on vacation and can only take one of your favorite books with you to read on the plane. What book do you choose? Why?
A: Ack! You realize this is my nightmare scenario, right? I ALWAYS take a minimum of three books with me on a plane, just in case we're delayed or I'm not in the mood for a particular kind of book once I'm in my seat or whatever. So...probably Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I've read it countless times and I find something new to love about it each time.


Q: In the same sort of scenario, if you could choose any literary character to entertain you on a vacation, who would you choose? Why?
A: Probably Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. We'd have fun reading books--my favorite vacation activity--and I'd get to enjoy her sarcastic but funny commentary on everyone around us. :)


Q: If you were to cast 'The Ghost and the Goth', who would you cast as the two leads, Will and Alona? If your life were being filmed, what actress would play you?
A: Oh, dear. Casting is so tricky, even the imaginary variety! I love the models they found for the covers and think they are pretty close to perfect. So, people who look very similar to those models, I guess. I think Landon Liboiron would make a great Will. Don't have any specific suggestions for Alona, unfortunately. A movie of my life? Oh, let's hope not! :)


Q: And last, but not least, any words for your fans?
A: A huge THANK YOU! Telling stories is such a privilege and I'm so honored and grateful that you guys have given me a chance to do just that. It's truly a dream come true.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Giveaway Hop- Contest: Win 'Queen of the Dead' by Stacey Kade, plus extra's!


Come one, come all to the 'Summer Giveaway Hop'! The blog hop is being hosted by Bookhounds. As a thank you to all the followers who have stopped by, commented, or passed on links, I thought that it was about time to surprise you all with a giveaway!!!! Details are below!


What can you win? I'm giving away (at random) a single ARC of 'Queen of the Dead' and 5 promotional light up 'Queen of the Dead' keychains. If I get over 100 entries for this contest, I will give out another keychain per each additional 15 entries. (Example: 100 entries or below- total of 5 keychains, 115 entries- total of 6 keychains, 130 entries- total of 7 keychains, and so on!). Note: I reserve the right to cap the extra keychains if I run out of extras!
How can you enter?
1- Because this is a thank you for all your support, being a follower is required.
2- Fill out this form below.
3- Extra point: Leave a comment on THIS blog post answering the question, "What one thing means 'summer' to you?"  Check the comments for my answer to this question!


Don't forget, the hop runs Aug. 1st-7th, so get your entries in! Feel free to spread the word, too, b/c the more entries, the more prizes!


THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.  Winners will be announced later this week.  I'll contact you by e-mail if you won!


Win more at the other participating blogs!  Links under the cut!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Updates/Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday

Hello, my friends. How are you all this week? I've been in a Doctor Who'y sort of mood, myself. It's my own fault. I ordered the 10th Doctor doll (made by Tonner) and it arrived this week. Which then made me have to watch 'The End of Time Parts 1 +2' (aka the final two episodes of David Tennant as The Doctor). Do you want to see the doll that started me in this mood? You do? Okay, let me pull up a picture....
The 10th Doctor- Tonner
The factory version of this doll looks different than this one. Tonner styled his hair really funky right out of the box. I bought this from a kind seller who was willing to fix his hair. It really helps in seeing the resemblance between this face mold and David Tennant's face, I think.


And keeping on this Whovian tangent, if you have watched the entire David Tennant era, watch the video below. It's quite funny!



And This Week on the Blog...
SDCC 2011: Merlin, Being Human
SDCC 2011: Avatar: Legend of Korra
SDCC 2011: Doctor Who, Supernatural
Review: Illusions
SDCC 2011: Vampire Diaries
SDCC 2011: Breaking Dawn
Friday Five Favorites


And the Hops...
Book Blogger Hop:
Book Blogger Hop


The Question of the Week is:
Highlight one book you have received this week (for review, from the library, purchased at the store, etc.) that you can’t wait to dig into!


Answer: Well, I just borrowed 'Wolfsbane', sequel to 'Nightshade'. While I highly doubt I'll be able to start it anytime soon, it's good to *finally* have it in my hands!


Follow Friday:

The Question of the Week is:
Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?


Answer: Well, I've always liked the t-shirt that says, 'I used to be schizophrenic, but we're okay now'. While I'm not schizophrenic, I do have a tendency to talk to myself and you could say that writers themselves have their fair share of schizophrenic tendencies. :-)

See you all next week!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

SDCC 2011: Being Human, Merlin Panel

And the US reboot of the 'Being Human' panel is up live on youtube in one long piece!
Find it HERE.


And 'Merlin had a panel, too!
Complete Panel
I apologize for making these all separate posts, but hopefully you all don't mind!!!  I don't want to lose any of the links!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SDCC 2011: Avatar: The Last Airbender: Legend of Kora

I'm a huge Avatar fan and would have totally loved to see this panel in person!  Korra's airtime is still so far away!!!!
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Upon watching this panel, I have to say it is one of the more informative ones I've sampled thus far!  Totally something you'll want to watch!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SDCC 2011: Doctor Who, Supernatural Panel

As you may know already, I'm a huge Doctor Who Fan.  A high quality video of the Doctor Who panel (with Matt and Karen) has popped on youtube!  You can find the whole long thing in one part HERE!


Supernatural's panel is also on Youtube.  Shot by the same guy who did Doctor Who, you can find it HERE!


The poster, Gonturan74, has many other panels on his youtube page, so check them out, too!

Review: Illusions by Aprilynn Pike

Title: Illusions (US), Wild (elsewhere)
Author: Aprilynn Pike
Genre: YA, Supernatural, Romance, 3rd in series
Perfect for: Readers who have read the first two books. This is *not* a standalone!
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars



Taken from Goodreads, "Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail."



Being as this is the third in the series, this review will be short and sweet. I don't want to spoil anything for readers who might have stumbled upon this review and have not yet read the first two books, 'Wings' and 'Spells'. It is essential to read the first two novels in this series to get anything out of 'Illusions'. It's not a series book that could stand alone.


Just like the Fallen series, I find these books infuriating sometimes. They're addicting and really easy to get sucked into, but because of that, I always get frustrated by the characters actions and plot points. While the plot is executed much better than 'Spells', 'Illusions' still made me just as frustrated.


What did I like about 'Illusions'? I really enjoyed seeing Tamani and David in scenes with Laurel *together*. It always bugged me how Laurel was either with one or the other, but in this novel, we saw the whole crew interacting and I loved it. Adding Chelsea to the mix was a great idea. Her sarcasm was spot on and a nice break from the boys rivalries and Laurel's worrying.


The introduction of Yuki was a welcome plot point, too. While I still don't know enough about her to know if she's good or bad, she helped round out the group in 'Illusions'. I am looking forward to seeing what she brings to the table.


What bothered me about 'Illusions'? My main problem with 'Illusions' is that aside from Laurel taking an active interest in really figuring out her love life, not much more happens. Yes, we meet Yuki, but we don't learn anything about her. Yes, we see a troll, but we don't learn anything about it. The book suffered from 'Empire Strikes Back' syndrome-- it sets up the next book in the series, but on its own, it has no standalone story. Questions aren't answered. I finished the book trying to figure out why Pike couldn't have just created a trilogy.


'Illusions' gets 3 out of 5 stars. The scenes with Laurel and Tam were great, but not enough to really sell me on this book.  Still, I'm looking forward to the final book in the series!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

SDCC 2011 Vampire Diaries Panel

The Vampire Diaries Panel
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


The audio isn't fantastic, but Ian and Paul look great!

SDCC 2011: Twilight- Breaking Dawn Part 1 Panel (links!)

Being the dork I am, I would have loved to be at San Diego Comic Con this year.  SDCC is one of the largest entertainment/comic/media conventions in the States.  (And is SO Much fun to attend!)  I even made a fantasy panel list. With the con just ending, I'm sure more videos will come up soon.  For right now, here's clips to the Breaking Dawn panels from this year!


'Breaking Dawn: Part 1' Press Conference:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


It's nice to see them all smile. Hopefully, they brought that into the movie....


'Breaking Dawn: Part 1' Panel:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


You can't see them in the video very well, but the audio is good. Rob and Taylor are funny people!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Five Favorites

I stumbled upon this new meme and thought I'd try it out. I love meme's that let us talk a little more about who we are and not just book related facts. Friday Five Favorites can be found at Living like the Kings blog.  Join in on the fun!

Favorite cuisine: I am very addicted to perogies (with cheesy mashed potato's inside) and Pepperoni Pizza. Yum Yum! Other than that, I eat a lot of deli sandwiches.


Favorite vacation: Florence, Italy. I studied there for a month and LOVED it. Florence is such a beautiful city. It's located in a perfect place because you can venture out to so many adorable Tuscany towns, including Siena. Siena is my favorite place in the world.  If you can go there, go there!


Favorite hobby: I love taking photos and, oddly enough, re-rooting doll heads. Check out last weeks FollowFriday/Book Blogger Hop meme for links to my doll collection/photography. :-)


Favorite Holiday tradition: Christmas Specials. There are a select few specials that I need to watch prior to Christmas for it to really feel like the holiday. The Muppet Family Christmas is a must watch every holiday season!


Favorite “the-baby’s-asleep-the-chores-are-done-now-what-shall-I-do” pastime: Well, I don't have a baby or a husband yet, but as far as past-times, I am prone to turning on the TV or hopping on the internet.  I tend to obsess about certain shows, one being Doctor Who. If there is a marathon, I am there.