Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review of Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)

Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive. A dystopian fantasy series starter with wings.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:   2 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Dystopian readers looking for something different
High point:  The fresh concept
Low point:  The unbelievable characters
Reader maturity: 15+

I was really looking forward to Wither (I'm a sucker for a gorgeous cover), but the premise made me so uncomfortable, I had a hard time focusing on anything else.

The idea of humanity sentencing itself to an early death through genetic engineering is an interesting one, and I appreciated the exploration of the reaction and subsequent crumbling of society through the eyes of Rhine, a middle class daughter, and Linden, a wealthy and privileged son. However, due to his wealth and privilege and lack of knowledge about anything beyond his doorstep, I had a hard time believing that he would keep his hands off of Rhine (or that his father wouldn't force Linden on her).

I'm not sure exactly what all to say...I found the characters to be unbelievable and somewhat cliche, yet at the close of the book, I found myself wanting to find out what happens to Rhine and Gabriel and even Cecily and the baby. Essentially, my own review is as mixed as the ones I saw before I read Wither. The concept is interesting and since the parts that made me uncomfortable have a high chance of being localized to the first novel, I'm going to try and pick up Fever, the second in the series. I believe that the concept and the writing have potential, and I'd like to give the series another shot.

Title:  Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)
Author:  Lauren DeStefano
Genre:   Fiction - Dystopian
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Won an ARC from Misfit Salon

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Supernatural Saturday Review: After Obsession

Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her.

[from Goodreads]
Rating:   2 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Paranormal YA fans
High point:  The scene with Aimee searching on the river
Low point:  It didn't pull me in
Reader maturity: 15+

I thought (and was hoping) that After Obsession would scare the daylights out of me, like Nancy Holder's Possessions. Mostly though, I was bored and more than a little irritated. The novel held so much promise, from the angry/scary river...thing and the supernatural storms, but it all fell flat to me. I almost didn't finish, but I did want to find out what happened so I guess it hooked me at least a little bit.

Part of my dislike, I'm sure stems from Alan as the narrator. The POV switches between Aimee and Alan, and I definitely liked Aimee's portions better. As a character, though, Aimee didn't have much of a personality to me; she's too perfect and perky and pensive at the same time. The supporting characters also felt more like props rather than actual family and friends.

On the plus side, there's one scene in particular that stands out in my memory as being awesome. Aimee's in the river, searching for a missing person. There's a lot of great physical and emotional tension that really comes through, and Aimee's father finally shows some feeling.

Basically, this wasn't the book for me, but if you like paranormal YA, it might be worth your while to check it out.

Title:  After Obsession
Author:   Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel
Genre:   Fiction - Supernatural
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Won an ARC from Babbling Flow

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winners of the Bookish 2nd Blogoversary Giveaway

Wondering who won these ARCs?

Here are the prizes:

 And here are the winners:
1st:  Chey!
2nd:  Leslie!
3rd:  Christina!
4th:  Susanna!   

Congratulations! All winners have responded to my emails, and I shipped the books this morning. :-)

To everyone who entered, thank you so much for entering, following and spreading the word. Keep reading!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: The Beginning of After

Anyone who’s had something truly crappy happen to them will tell you: It’s all about Before and After. What I’m talking about here is the ka-pow, shake-you-to-your-core-and-turn-your-bones-to-plastic kind of crappy.

Sixteen-year-old Laurel’s world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel’s life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss—a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways.

[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review of The Looking Glass Wars

Alyss Heart can't stand that "master of fantasy" bunk; she knows that Lewis Carroll was nothing more than an incompetent reporter. After she generously shared her Wonderland experiences with this fledgling author, he totally botched the retelling, even mangling her name. Alyss, however, refuses to merely grouse; she and royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan decide to make another emergency excursion down the rabbit hole, opening our eyes to parallel realms that prim Rev. Dodgson never imagined.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:   3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Grown-up fairytale readers
High point:  The quality of the re-imagining
Low point:  Adult Alyss' bland personality
Reader maturity: 13+

I enjoy a well executed fairytale retelling, and The Looking Glass Wars is certainly that. It imaginatively ties the life of Alice Liddell--supposedly Charles Dodgson's (aka Lewis Carroll) inspiration for his classic stories of Wonderland. Alyss' story on its own would be sufficient entertainment, but the details of Alyss' unintentional exile and her time spent here on Earth made the book so much richer, as if Wonderland really could be found through any looking glass.

I found adult Alyss to be somewhat bland, but that could be a result of her time spent acting like a proper young lady in Victorian England. Her 7 year old personality was much more vibrant and mischievous; I hope that side of her reappears in the subsequent chronicles of Wonderland (Seeing Redd and ArchEnemy). The supporting characters in The Looking Glass Wars bring the story to life. There are many, and they all have an important role to play. Imagination runs wild in Wonderland, and some of the creations, both fun (tarty tarts) and foul (the card soldiers), amazed me. I'll admit that I had a tough time imagining some of Redd's inventions and the Alyssians' weapons, but that could easily be due to the fact that I was reading so quickly, caught up in the action rather than the details.

One of the best things about The Looking Glass Wars is that it's a grown-up version of the original Alice story that still feels true to its roots. It's not a "modern take" or "update" on the original tale. The spirit of creativity and Alice's personality quirks remain to give an air of comfort and familiarity to this reworking.

Title:  The Looking Glass Wars
Author:  Frank Beddor
Genre:   Fiction - Fairytale
Year:   2006
Book Source:  Purchased

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Supernatural Saturday Review: Unearthly

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

[from Goodreads]
Rating:   4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Paranormal readers
High point:  Tuck and Clara's mom
Low point:  Why did it have to be angels?
Reader maturity: 13+

I know I'm not the only blogger to be pleasantly surprised by this book. I've never been a huge fan of angel books, but one of my more recent reads burned me. When I picked up Unearthly, I fully expected to be offended again, but instead, I really enjoyed it.

Clara's character wasn't anything special to me; she's an everygirl so the reader can put herself in Clara's shoes. Clara's mother, on the other hand, and Tuck are two of the best YA characters I've stumbled across in a long time. Clara's mother is both present and supportive, and even though she provides a source of conflict in the novel, her love for Clara is apparent.

I was dreading the inclusion of Tuck due to my hatred of love triangles, but he won me over about the same time as he did Clara. He's so laid-back and amazing, and even though he flips out a time or two, his heart is in the right place. He's a genuinely good guy, and YA could use a few more of those.

As for the story, I loved the mystery surrounding Clara's vision and her Purpose and thought that Clara's confusion over the event was appropriately explored, both in the months leading up to it and the actual event.

The character of Angela is a mystery too, and I expect great (and possibly terrible) things from her in the next two novels. The ending was a bit of a jaw-dropper, and I can't wait to see what happens.

Title:  Unearthly
Author:  Cynthia Hand
Genre:   Fiction - Paranormal
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Won an ARC from Writer Musings

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: The Survival Kit

When Rose’s mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose’s Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a  paper kite, for letting go.

As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to an unexpected source of comfort. Will is her family’s gardener, the school hockey star, and the only person who really understands what she’s going through. Can loss lead to love?

[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review of Ruthless (Pretty Little Liars #10)

For years scandal has rocked Rosewood, Pennsylvania—and high school seniors Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer have always been at the center of the drama. They’ve lost friends, been targeted by a ruthless stalker named A, and narrowly escaped death. And it’s not over yet.
Aria’s love life is on the fritz. Emily’s exploring her wild side. Hanna’s kissing the enemy. And someone from Spencer’s past—someone she never thought she’d see again—is back to haunt her.
But none of that compares to what happened last spring break. It’s their darkest secret yet and guess who found out? Now A is determined to make them pay for their crime, and the only thing scarier than A is the fear that maybe, just maybe, they deserve what’s coming to them.

[from Goodreads]

Rating:   2.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Contemporary YA readers
High point: The mysterious A
Low point:  The change in character personalities
Reader maturity: 15+

The title of Sara Shepard's 10th Pretty Little Liars book is Ruthless--and wow, are they ever!! Aria, Emily, Hanna, Spencer, A and a few other people have their claws out for this one!

As I noted in my review for Twisted, the Pretty Little Liars series is getting darker. The girls have moved from innocent mistakes and embarrassing scenarios to murder and false incrimination. And they still haven't learned to keep their mouths shut (Hanna, I'm looking at you) or who to trust (Emily, Aria...) or to stop getting themselves into trouble (Spencer!). But while I wish the girls would grow up a little and start acting like the high school seniors they're supposed to me, I was still flipping pages pretty quickly in my eagerness to discover more clues about the New A's identity. Sara Shepard may write some crazy, soap-opera-worthy plot lines, but she's also really good at getting and keeping my attention. I appreciated that she delved into how the girls were dealing with the infamy of their saga, as well as their guilt over what happened in Jamaica. In addition to brutal self-preservation, the girls are starting to show a sense of responsibility.

Similar to the format of the earlier books, Ruthless unveils the Pretty Little Liars' dirty little secrets and placing them not just at the mercy of A but of their own paranoia as well. In this installment, especially, the girls do a spectacular job of weaving their own tangled webs. Ruthless aims both to entertain and intrigue, ambitions it fulfills with ease.

Title:  Ruthless (Pretty Little Liars #10)
Author:  Sara Shepard
Genre:   Fiction - Contemporary
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Received for review from HarperTeen

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Review of The Obsidian Blade

The first time his father disappeared, Tucker Feye had just turned thirteen. The Reverend Feye simply climbed on the roof to fix a shingle, let out a scream, and vanished - only to walk up the driveway an hour later, looking older and worn, with a strange girl named Lahlia in tow. In the months that followed, Tucker watched his father grow distant and his once loving mother slide into madness. But then both of his parents disappear. Now in the care of his wild Uncle Kosh, Tucker begins to suspect that the disks of shimmering air he keeps seeing - one right on top of the roof - hold the answer to restoring his family. And when he dares to step into one, he's launched on a time-twisting journey
- from a small Midwestern town to a futuristic hospital run by digitally augmented healers, from the death of an ancient prophet to a forest at the end of time. Inevitably, Tucker's actions alter the past and future, changing his world forever.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:   3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Light sci-fi and fantasy fans
High point: 
Low point: 
Reader maturity:  13+

When I finished this book, I paused for a moment and then flipped back through to make sure I hadn't missed a few pages at the end. "What? That's it? No! I need more!" flashed through my mind, mostly because The Obsidian Blade is so gripping but partially--and I have to be honest--because the conclusion felt like the end of a chapter, not the end of a book. Talk about leaving me hanging!

As you may know by now, I'm not a huge fan of male narrators, but I actually didn't mind Tucker (and coming from me, that's high praise). As for the storyline, I was intrigued. I may be totally off base here, but I think this is the literary version of the game Portals, with diskos that transport the user to another time and location. The Obsidian Blade is a nice mix of sci-fi and fantasy with a little bit of historical fiction and suspense thrown in for good measure. It's all blended together nicely to form a cohesive plot.

I wish we had seen a little more of Kosh (I'm not convinced that he is who seems...yet) and Lahlia, but I think this is a great set-up for adventures to come. This is definitely an action and suspense filled novel, and I sped through it, eager to discover the secrets of Iyl Rayne and the Klaatu and maybe something about Tucker...

The ending really surprised me; I wasn't expecting the events that unfolded at the revival. There's more, but I'm afraid that I'll ruin something so I'll leave it at that. The Obsidian Blade is a fast-paced mind puzzle that's perfect for sci-fi and fantasy YA fans who like their reality a little warped.

Title:  The Obsidian Blade
Author:   Pete Hautman
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Science Fiction
Year:   2012
Book Source:  Received an ARC for review from Candlewick Press

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: The Sharp Time

Sandinista Jones is a high school senior with a punk rock name and a broken heart. The death of her single mother has left Sandinista alone in the world, subject to the random vulnerability of everyday life. When the school system lets her down, her grief and instability intensify, and she ponders a violent act of revenge.
Still, in the midst of her crisis, she gets a job at The Pale Circus, a funky vintage clothing shop, and finds friendship and camaraderie with her coworker, a boy struggling with his own secrets.
Even as Sandinista sees the failures of those with power and authority, she's offered the chance to survive through the redemptive power of friendship. Now she must choose between faith and forgiveness or violence and vengeance.

[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

100+ Books in a Year Reading Challenge

I'm planning on participating in the Book Chick City 100+ Books in a Year Reading Challenge.

I think I read about 60 last year so we'll see how it ends up this year. That's less than 2 a week so surely I can do that, right?

  1. Untamed (House of Night #4) by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast 
  2. The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman 
  3. Ruthless (Pretty Little Liars #10) by Sara Shepard 
  4. Unearthly by Cynthis Hand 
  5. The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor 
  6. After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel 
  7. Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano 
  8. Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) by Becca Fitzpatrick 
  9. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore 
  10. Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5) by Richelle Mead
  11. A Golden Web by Barbara Quick 
  12. Passion (Fallen #3) by Lauren Kate 
  13. The Clearing by Heather Davis 
  14. My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers #1) by Rachel Vincent 
  15. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen 
  16. Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon 
  17. The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina 
  18. My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers #2) by Rachel Vincent 
  19. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  20. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  21. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  22. Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery
  23. Scribbler of Dreams by Mary E. Pearson
  24. My Soul to Keep (Soul Screamers #3) by Rachel Vincent 
  25. Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery
  26. Inside Out (Insider #1) by Maria V. Snyder
  27. Girl Parts by John M. Cusick
  28. Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
  29. All These Things I've Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin
  30. Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery 
  31. Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
  32. The Agency:  The Traitor in the Tunnel (The Agency #3) by Y. S. Lee
  33. Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver
  34. The Eternal Sea (Everlasting #2) by Angie Frazier
  35. Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
  36. The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine #2) by Bree Despain 
  37. The Dark and Hollow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth #3) by Carrie Ryan
  38. Cinderella:  Ninja Warrior (Twisted Tales #1) by Maureen McGowan
  39. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  40. Sphinx's Queen (Sphinx's Princess #2) by Esther Friesner 
  41. Winter Town by Stephen Emond 
  42. Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
  43. Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams
  44. The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey #2) by Julie Kagawa
  45. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
  46. Changelings & Other Stories by Leah Cypess 
  47. The Messenger by Siri Mitchell
  48. Chime by Franny Billingsley
  49. Stunning (Pretty Little Liars #11) by Sara Shepard
  50. Embrace (The Violet Eden Chapters #1) by Jessica Shirvington
  51. Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
  52. Hereafter by Tara Hudson
  53. Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren
  54. Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
  55. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  56. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
  57. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  58. Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
  59. Being Nikki by Meg Cabot
  60. Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
  61. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale 
  62. Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
  63. The Princess Bride by William Goldman 
  64. Seeing Redd (The Looking Glass Wars #2) by Frank Beddor
  65. Nailed by Jennifer Laurens
  66. The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins' War #3) by Philippa Gregory
  67. Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Heather Wells #4) by Meg Cabot

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Supernatural Saturday Review: Untamed (House of Night #4)

Life [stinks] when your friends are [mad] at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird... In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a close group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead and unMarked. And Neferet has declared war on humans, which Zoey knows in her heart is wrong. But will anyone listen to her?  Zoey's adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened in PC and Kristin Cast's spellbinding fourth House of Night novel.
[adapted from Goodreads]

Rating:  1 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Teen girls, vampire aficionados
High point:  Slightly different take on the classic vampire tale
Low point:  The pervasive crudeness and immaturity
Reader maturity: 17+

Unfortunately, the best thing I can say about Untamed is that I'm glad it's the last one in the set that I bought. I'm disappointed because the story had potential (vampires acknowledged/accepted by the public, vampire vs. vampire, mean girl turned ally, vampires turned bad vampires turned okay-but-unpredictable vampires), but the plot is buried beneath so many layers of crude language, selfish actions and bad attitudes that I can't enjoy what good there is in the series.

My thoughts on Untamed are essentially the same as they are about the previous House of Night novels. I've reviewed Marked, Betrayed and Chosen if you'd like a more in depth review of the series.

Title:  Untamed
Author:  P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Genre:  Young Adult Horror and Suspense
Year:  2008
Book Source:  Received as gift

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's a Bookish 2nd Blogoversary Giveaway!

Wednesday marked my 2nd blogoversary, and to celebrate, I'm giving away the ARCs I've been unintentionally hoarding. I want them to find loving new homes!

There will be (at least) 3 winners. The 1st winner will get their choice of 3 books (maybe 4 if I can fit them into the package), 2nd winner will get to choose 3 books from what's left and the 3rd winner will get 3 of the remaining books.

And I really, really, really want to clear my shelves so I may even add a 4th winner!

Sound good? Here's what's up for grabs!

Fateful by Claudia Gray (ARC)
Undercurrent (Siren #2) by Tricia Rayburn (ARC)
The Shadowing:  Hunted by Adam Slater (ARC)

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (ARC)
Illusions by Aprilynne Pike (ARC)
Divergent by Veronica Roth (ARC)

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain (ARC)
Grace by Elizabeth Scott (ARC)
Vixen (Flappers #1) by Jillian Larkin (ARC)

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood (ARC)
Wither by Lauren DeStefano (ARC)
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (ARC)
After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel (ARC)

FYI, these have all been read at least once (by me, except for The Lost Saint) and all but 3 of them have been read more than that. So while they're in decent shape, they're not pristine.

Rules in a Box:
  1. You must be 13 or older to enter. 
  2. You must be a follower.
  3. The giveaway is US only since I'm handling shipping. No P.O. Boxes.
  4. Ends at 11:59 pm CST January 23, 2012.
  5. Winners will be contacted by email and will have 72 hours to respond before I pick a new winner.
  6. Entries will only be accepted using the FORM, and you MUST include your email address so I can contact you. No email = no books.
  7. Winner will be chosen using a spreadsheet random number generator. 
I reserve the right to amend the rules as needed. (Hopefully this won't happen, but just in case...)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Want to Read Wednesday: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

[from Goodreads]

With Want to Read Wednesday, I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Winner of Frost

Wondering who won the ARC of Frost?

 The winner of Stork is...Rebecca Greene!

Congratulations! Check your email, and I'll have your book ordered ASAP. :-)

To everyone who entered, thank you so much for entering, following and spreading the word. Keep a lookout for another mega giveaway in the next few days!

Mini-Reviews of Harry Potter-verse Tomes

I finished my Harry Potter Hiatus a few days early and was feeling a bit sad about leaving Harry Potter and Hogwarts behind when I remembered that I had these textbooks and fairytales tucked away.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander is so cute (though he might not appreciate my use of such an effeminate word). I love how some of the text has popped up in the main Potter books. Harry and Ron and Hermione also left notes in the margins that are a neat glimpse into everyday life at Hogwarts, as well as a fleeting tie-in to the other novels. I can just imagine Hermione frantically flipping its pages in her search for the basilisk. [Goodreads]

Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp was instrumental in my understanding of the Quidditch scenes. Before I read it, the tense Quidditch matches of the first two HP novels meant very little to me. As well as the history of Quidditch, it contains funny bits of humor and a few good-hearted jabs at American readers. Quidditch Through the Ages also includes a decent section on why brooms are the wizards' flying vehicle of choice. I only wish I had remembered that last week when I got into a debate with some of my cousins over why British wizards didn't use carpets like their counterparts from the middle east... [Goodreads]

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by Beedle the Bard, translated by Hermione Granger and with commentary by Albus Dumbledore, is amusing with its ability to immerse Muggles in the wizarding world for a little while. Albus Dumbledore's commentary on each story is also quite insightful as to his true nature and that of Britain's other foremost wizarding minds. I'm sure Harry would've found this bit of parchment helpful before he ran all over Britain hunting for Hallows and Horcruxes. [Goodreads]