Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 3, no 4, no 5 of 2010 according to us.

So Curlypow and I have been chatting a bit about how many great books we've read in 2010. We've compiled a little list of our top 3 favorites. What were your favourite top 3 books of 2010?

These are Christinabean's top 3 of 2010



You know what though? It is still 2010 (December 27th) and I just finished reading Nightshade last night. It was incredible! I know we said top 3 but I'm going to have to add this onto my list. I was so impressed with this book!!

These are Curlypow's top 3


I know that Beautiful Creatures isn't technically 2010, but I read it early in 2010 and it really has been my favourite that I have read for the year, so in it goes. Rot and Ruin was a very close second. Paranormalcy was great fun, and a little different. Truthfully, there were so many good books, it was really hard to choose. Christinabean's choices were also high on my list as were many others, but the three above won out in the end.



Sorry, just had to add these last two, they were too good to leave off my list! May'be we should just go for our top 50. I'm sure we could come up with that many quite easily!

Which were your top 3 favourites of 2010?

Christinabean's Friday Finds - December 31st

Our regularly scheduled Friday Blog Hop will return next week...

Can you believe it?  It is the last day of 2010.  You know to be honest, it has been a rough year and I have to admit that I'm happy that it will be done.  A new, fresh start in the morning!  So here's what I've got for you this Friday...

Heeellllloooo Mr. Lautner!!  (I imagine Curlypow is swooning at this picture right now...).  Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my keyboard....
So have you heard that Taylor is going to star in the movie adaptation of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher?  Unfortunately, it is scheduled for release in 2013...

Have you seen this beauty?  It is the cover of Cassandra Clare's 4th book in the Mortal Instruments series.  Unfortunately we'll have to wait until April 5th to get our hands on it!





MY SOUL TO STEAL IS COMING....
If you haven't noticed, we have a wee little countdown widget to the left side of the page and My Soul To Steal is coming out on January 4th. Check out the video below...


YOU WANT MY SOUL AND MY BOYFRIEND?

Trying to work things out with
Nash—her maybe boyfriend—is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can’t just
pretend nothing happened. But “complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe their
relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to
take Nash back.

See, Sabine isn’t just an ordinary girl. She’s a mara,
the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people’s fears—and craft
them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she
survives.

And Sabine isn’t above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to
death to get whatever—and whoever—she wants.

I DON'T THINK SO.

Pre-order your copy on Amazon or via The Book Depository today!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Elixir by Hilary Duff


Published: October 2010
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 327
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:

Clea Raymond lives an extraordinary life. The daughter of renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC figure, she has been in the spotlight her entire life. Followed by the paparazzi, she resents the attention that is lavished on her for her looks alone because she has so much more to offer.p

Clea Raymond has a unique gift. A proficient photographer, in all her pictures, there is little something extra, and it's not just a result of her talented eye. There is always an extra photo that she didn't take. And, as she discovered at a young age, those photos always lead to a place where some tragedy is about to occur that Clea can prevent.p

Two years ago, her father disappeared while on a humanitarian mission and is presumed dead, but that doesn't stop Clea and her mother from continuing to do good throughout the world. On one such trip to Columbia, she meets Race, the guide for the trip. She feels a connection to him but cannot explain why. Was it something in their past or possibly in their past lives? Whatever has brought them together is threatning to tear them apart forever. As the mystery of her father's disappearance unravels, Clea discover that she has powers that are bigger than anything she could have anticipated.

Review:
So, you know how there are some books that grab your attention and you just can't let go? Unfortunately, this was not one of those for me. I really had a hard time getting into this book. After about 50 pages, I still didn't really know the characters, no one was particularly interesting and I was still waiting for it to take me somewhere. So where did it take me? Back to the return box and onto another book. Sadly, I didn't finish the novel. I really do hate to stop in the middle of book but like we've said before, there are so many great titles out there, why waste your time reading something you simply aren't enjoying? Hilary, I like your acting, and your singing but I'll have to pass on your writing. Elixir, I'm just not into you.

I would love to hear from those of you who did read this book though. What did you think of the story? I believe it is set up for a sequel from what I've heard. Will you read #2? I would love to hear both positive and negative comments. Feel free to dish! :D


Curlypow's take: My daughter read this book, or tried to anyway. She got about 1/2 way through it and gave up on it - her comment to me was 'don't bother Mum!' So I took her at her word - we usually like or dislike the same things. But what is interesting to me is that if you check the rating on Goodreads, 'Elixir' has 4 stars. Which just goes to show that there must be a lot of you out there who enjoyed this. Please tell us what you thought about it - should Christinabean and I try again?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Awakened by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (January 5th)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile. This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is
Published: January 2011
Publisher: ATOM
Pages: 253
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
At the start of Awakened, the pulse-pounding eighth installment of the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey has returned, mostly whole, from the Otherworld to her rightful place as High Priestess at the House of Night. Her friends are just glad to have her back, but after losing her human consort, Heath, will Zoey - or her relationship with her super-hot Warrior, Stark - ever be the same? Stevie Rae is drawn even closer to Rephaim, the Raven Mocker with whom she shares a mysterious and powerful Imprint, but he is a dangerous secret that isolates her from her school, her red fledglings, and even her best friends. When the dark threat of Neferet - who is coming closer and closer to achieving her twisted goal of immortality - and Kalona returns, what will it take to keep the House of Night from being lost forever, and what will one desperate girl do to keep her heart from being irreparably broken?

Have you ever been addicted to something? Like watching a movie series that starts out great but as the series progresses, it has it's ups and downs. Yet, you still hang on and you can't seem to let yourself miss an episode? I feel like that with the House of Night series. Sometimes (most of the time) I want to smack Zoe upside the head and yell in her ear - What were you thinking??? She drives me insane...but I still continue to want to read about her. Sometimes I think it is a sick joke....but I will be reading this one as well. Hey, I think once you hit book #4, there is no turning back. Sign me up for the hold list. 
Curlypow here: I know what you mean, I kind of feel the same way myself. I still enjoy the series, but it's not at the top of my list anymore. In fact, I still haven't read 'Burned' yet. I guess I'd better get a move on before the new one comes out. At least the story will be fresh in my mind.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Giveaway update

Are you broke from Christmas but still hungry for some free bookish items?  Well look no further...I'm here to help.  Or rather share some of my recent finds on giveaways....




Sparkling Reviews

Sparkling Reviews is giving away a Color Nook and the giveaway is international.  She will give it away when she reaches 1100 followers.  What are you waiting for???  There are tons of ways to get extra entries!!




Miss Page Turners is giving away some awesome 2011 titles and doing the draw on January 3rd.  You still have time to enter!!

Musings by Knitwits - Bags in Bloom by Susan Cariello



Published: July 2010
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications
# pages: 144
Summary: Goodreads



A perfect bag for every occasion, in every season! Each season has its own palette of floral colors, from vivid poppies to hardy wildflowers, from autumn leaves to winter roses—and now you can have a bag to match every outfit in every season. In Bags In Bloom, with just 6 simple patterns and 12 easy embroidery stitches, you’ll learn how to make 20 different purse designs. From a clear overview of embroidery, including a primer on fabrics and different fiber elements you can use to great effect, to detailed instructions on sewing and assembly, and even how to get inspired to design your own, accessories designer Susan Cariello takes you step-by-step through making purses that complement each season’s wardrobe perfectly. A fresh twist on classic embroidery, Bags in Bloom ensures your purse will be as colorful and vibrant as the world aroud you—all year long!


Review:

I was in Chapters the other day, wandering around the craft section, when I glanced down and saw the cover for 'Bags in Bloom'. I was thrilled to bits, because here was a book that combined two of my favourite things - making bags and embroidery. What's not to love?

There are 6 basic bag styles and instructions for 20 different designs using those basic templates. One of my favourite things about this book is the simple stitches using non-traditional embroidery threads. There are flowers made with lace ribbon, knitted ribbon, buttons, sequins and beads. I love it.

I think this book is an amazing starting point for budding bag makers. Take the patterns and embellish the bags in your own way. The instructions for the stitches are nice and clear and the stitches themselves are not too complex, so are great for beginners. I love to hear of anyone out there who shares my love of making bags. May'be this book would be for you?

Monday, December 27, 2010

In My Mailbox - December 27th

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers post about the books they have received for the week. Books may be won, taken out from the library or bought from a store.





These two are from the library this week. I've been waiting for them for a while and I'm looking forward to both of them.



This one I hadn't heard of until I received it for review. Ms Knobbe is an ex-pat Canadian now living in California, and the book is set around Washington and Vancouver. Looks really interesting - I'll let you know what it's like.
That's it for this week. What's in your mailbox? Did you get any good books for Christmas?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent



Published: December 28, 2010
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 352
e-arc provided by: Netgalley and publisher
Summary: Goodreads

Trying to work things out with Nash—her maybe boyfriend—is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can’t just pretend nothing happened. But “complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back. See, Sabine isn’t just an ordinary girl. She’s a mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people’s fears—and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives. And Sabine isn’t above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever—and whoever—she wants. I DON’T THINK SO.


I really enjoyed the three books in the Soul Screamers series prior to this one, and I really enoyed this one too.


The story line had me hooked again, with some serious mystery going on that kept me guessing right to the end. (Possible spoiler here )One thing I didn't like tho' was the way that Kaylee wouldn't come to a decision about Nash. It seemed so unfair to keep him in suspense. I've never been a fan of keeping people hanging on. Make a decision why don't you! If you keep being indecisive, you deserve to lose him. - Sorry, had to get that off my chest.


Ms Vincent has maintained the high standard that she set early on, and continues to develop her characters. All the old friends were there, Kaylee, Nash, Tod, Emma, Alec and then there is Sabine. What a girl she is. I actually loved her character, she was fun, confident (on the surface anyway) and absolutely determined to get what she wanted. The interaction between Kaylee and Sabine was spot on. I even found myself rooting for Sabine occasionally (see above!).


At about the 300 page mark, I was beginning to get a bit aprehensive. Only 50 pages to go and the mystery hadn't been solved yet, which only meant an explosive ending. - I really want to make another comment here, but it would be an even bigger spoiler, so I'll keep quiet. - For fans of the series, you won't be disappointed. If you haven't read any of them yet, I suggest you start at the beginning - they'll make much more sense. Well done Ms Vincent, another good one
.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, from Christinabean and Curlypow


Hey Everyone!

So Curlypow and I have only been blogging for a few months but it has been so much fun and we have enjoyed it immensely. Thank you so much for making this such a great experience and we hope you'll stick around for more to come in 2011.



Dear Santa,

It took some time but I think I managed to clean out the coal you mistakenly left in my stocking from last year. I've been a good girl in 2010 and managed to read more than 5 books, contributed considerably to the stats at our library and also donated a large portion of my income to the library purchasing budget (aka 'fines'). All I'd really like for Christmas is the ability to manifest some of the characters from my books so we can do (ahem) character interviews. For instance, Nick from The Demon's Covenant, Patch from Hush Hush, Damon from the Immortals and Jace from the Mortal Instruments....

Happy Holidays! Oh and by the way, there are extra homemade cookies in it for you if you can grant Curlypow's Christmas wish as well!

Hey Santa,
I would really appreciate it if you would pay close attention to Christinabean's list, especially the bits that refer to me! Could you please find a way for me to listen to one book and read another at the same time, I'm sure you and the elves could manage that, no? I'd also like to manifest a couple of characters myself, namely Prince Po from Graceling and Ethan from Beautiful Creatures, if I think of any more, I'll send the list airmail. I've been remiss in contributing to the library purchasing budget, please forgive me, I'll try harder next year. If all the books I've ordered come in, that shouldn't be a problem. Please remember to put a book in the elves' stockings, they'll need some downtime pretty soon and what's better than relaxing with a good book? You could give them some of Christinabean's cookies too.

Happy holidays to all, and to all a happy holiday.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christinabean Friday Finds

Kody Keplinger, author of The Duff is going to come out with another new book in 2011 entitled Luststruck - A contemporary reimagining of the Greek play, "Lysistrata," in which high school senior Lissa decides it's time to end her school's ridiculous sports rivalry once and for all by starting a hook-up strike. (Goodreads.com)


Did you know that Melissa Marr, author of the Wicked Lovely series, is coming out with an adult title this spring?  Wicked.  BTW, she really is awesome in person.


Still looking for some great baking and cooking ideas for Christmas? Check out http://allrecipes.com/

Something rather nice for the Christmas season...if you can recall, there was a little novella published earlier this year entitled The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.   Little Brown Books and Stephenie Meyer had pledged to donate $1 from every sale of this book (first printing) to the American Red Cross. They donated 1.5 million. Yay for authors, publishers and philanthrophy! (Thanks to Shelf Awareness for this info).



That's all I've got for you this week kids.  Wishing you all the best this Christmas Eve!  Don't forget to leave cookies and milk for Santa tonight!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Graceling by Kristin Cashore


Audio edition published: June 2009
Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Copy provided by: Library and Overdrive
Summary: Goodreads


Graceling takes readers inside the world of Katsa, a warrior-girl in her late teens with one blue eye and one green eye. This gives her haunting beauty, but also marks her as a Graceling. Gracelings are beings with special talents—swimming, storytelling, dancing. Katsa's Grace is considered more useful: her ability to fight (and kill, if she wanted to) is unequaled in the seven kingdoms. Forced to act as a henchman for a manipulative king, Katsa channels her guilt by forming a secret council of like-minded citizens who carry out secret missions to promote justice over cruelty and abuses of power.

Combining elements of fantasy and romance, Cashore skillfully portrays the confusion, discovery, and angst that smart, strong-willed girls experience as they creep toward adulthood. Katsa wrestles with questions of freedom, truth, and knowing when to rely on a friend for help. This is no small task for an angry girl who had eschewed friendships (with the exception of one cousin that she trusts) for her more ready skills of self-reliance, hunting, and fighting. Katsa also comes to know the real power of her Grace and the nature of Graces in general: they are not always what they appear to be.

Graceling is the first book in a series, and Kristin Cashore’s first work of fiction. It sets up a vivid world with engaging characters that readers will certainly look forward to following beyond the last chapter of this book. (Ages 14 and up)


Ok, here I go again, waxing lyrical about audio books. This was no exception. I have to admit I had already read Graceling in early 2009 and I absolutely loved it. So I was wondering what to listen to the other week and I noticed 'Graceling' was available on Overdrive. I know some of you will wonder why I bother listening to something I have already read, but it is a completely different experience listening to it.

Anyway, this version of the story was first class. The story was narrated by David Baker, but the voices of all the different characters are read by different people. What fun! None of the voices seemed wrong to me and this was a bonus.

The story itself is one that I enjoyed very much. Katsa is justifiably angry after the way she has been taken advantage of for years and she has a hard time relating to and trusting people. Prince Po was incredibly patient with her and while occasionally I wanted to slap them both, for being so self sacrificing, their relationship worked well for me. There is lots of careening about the countryside, rescues, fights and hardships, but the whole story worked for me. There is some sexual content, so if you are a younger teen - maybe not - but it is handled very nicely and is not crude in any way. I suggest 14 and up. (which I now notice is what the publisher recommends, duh! Honestly I didn't see it.)

All in all, another great book to listen to, so if I have convinced any of you to try audio books, here's another one to add to your list.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Water Wars by Cameron Stracher (Dec 29)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine , that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile. This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is

Published: January 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 304
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
Vera and her brother Will live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations. Timely and eerily familiar, acclaimed author Cameron Stracher makes a stunning YA debut that's impossible to forget.

Curlypow and I first heard about Water Wars when it came out on Teen Fire, a message board. They had asked us to vote on the cover for this book. I didn't vote on this cover but I think it was my 2nd or 3rd choice. Interesting way to create buzz. Hope it meets up to my expectations!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fantastic Fairytales - Andrew Lang




I have already mentioned the 'coloured' fairy books by Andrew Lang at least a couple of times on the blog, so imagine my delight when I found a site that has all of the books available. The covers above are from my two favourites, 'The Blue Fairy Book' and 'The Red Fairy Book'. Some of the stories in these include 'Little Red Riding Hood', 'Sleeping Beauty', 'Hansel and Grettel', 'Rapunzel' and The Twelve Dancing Princesses'.

Here is the link for the site. If you are at all interested in the older versions of the tales, this is worth a visit. Remember these books were published the late 19th and early 20th century, so they are not the sanitized versions that we are familiar with today. How many of you are aware that the little mermaid actually commits suicide in the original, because the prince chooses to marry someone else instead of her? For fairytale lovers, these are a must, so if you haven't come across them before, try them out.

Monday, December 20, 2010

In My Mailbox - December 20th




In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers post about the books they have received for the week. Books may be won, taken out from the library or bought from a store.

It must be my week of "Nights" because that's what I ended up getting from the library on the hold shelf this week -
and I also received


So the question is, with Christmas looming, will I actually be able to finish these before I have to return them to the library? (I've already started Night Star...) What's in your mailbox this week?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff


Published: Sept 2010
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 352
Copy Provided by: Bought
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

I LOVED this story. Brenna's writing was such a refreshing surprise! She has woven an intricate interesting storyline, different from anything else that I have read. The Replacement has been getting lots of buzz since it was first released a few months ago but I was never 100% sure of what it was about. Of course, the cover totally drew me in. Old style carriage with a scissors mobile. Creepy....and I have to admit, I'm all for creepy stories. However, it was not scary like I was originally anticipating. Less than 100 pages in and I the town was feeling a bit like Stepford Wives. Ms. Yovanoff is a brilliant writer giving the Replacement depth and the 'monster', wasn't even a monster at all. He was just trying to find his place in this world and where he belonged.

Here are my favourite lines

Page 40
'The simple truth is that you can understand a town. You can know and love and hate it. You can blame it, resent it, and nothing changes. In the end, you're just another part of it.'

Page 72
' "You believed me today. You believed me and it scared you, and now you're just too much of a pussy to man up and say it."...."Why won't you just say it?" ' Totally unrelated but after reading this, does anyone else want to complete this phrase and say - You're ashamed to be seen with me. You're ashamed to go out with me. You're terrified that your g**** rich friends won't approve. (Are you child of the 80s? Hands up if you know what movie this is from!!)

Page 220
' "You are massively unqualified to tell me what I deserve..." '

This was the beginning of a lovely girl fight starring Alice and Tate. Loved the character of Tate. She kicks ass!! The fight scene with her and Alice was awesome. Go weird girls! Alice TOTALLY deserved that....


So let's recap. If you're looking for an interesting storyline, girl fights, strange things happening in a small town and weird family dynamics, you have come to choose the right book. If you are one of our librarian followers and reading our blog to advise YA readers, I should mention that there is some language in this book. Not tons but enough to make a note of if you have a much younger audience that's just not ready for the language.

On another totally unrelated note, if you've already read The Replacement, do you think Nick (The Demon's Covenant and the Demon's Lexicon) and Mackie could be friends? They both seem to have some serious internal issues with their origins. Personally, I think they'd hit it off just fine. :D

Note from Curlypow: I know, I know, I know which movie it's from! It's one of my favourites.
Christinabean response - I LOVE this movie....Andrew ****** was so nice to look at.....sigh....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Give up the Ghost by Megan Crewe and Mini-Giveaway



Published: September 2009
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
# pages: 256
Copy provided by: Bought
Summary: Goodreads


Cass McKenna much prefers ghosts over “breathers.” Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody…and Cass loves dirt. She’s on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.

But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass’s whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.

As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim’s life, she’s surprised to realize he’s not so bad and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it’s time to give the living another chance….

'Give up the Ghost' was a rather enjoyable read. A little different from the usual ghost stories, as the ghost are non-malevolent and are most definitely memory-challenged. Two of them, Norris and Bertie were lots of fun and helped Cass dish up the dirt on her fellow students. Puts a whole new spin on peeping toms, don't you think?

The main protagonist, Cass is lonely and confused and her best friend is a ghost - her sister's ghost to be precise. Cass has developed a hard shell around her heart and the story chronicles the cracking of that shell. Tim is another character who is struggling, and his relationship with Cass is both heartbreaking and realistic. Both of these characters are trying to deal with the after-effects of a death in the family - each in their own unsuccessful ways. You'll have to read the book to find out how they empower each other. I rather liked the ending - it was nothing definative, but held lots of promise, not for a second book, but for a second chance for the characters. Sorry, I hope that wasn't a spoiler!


I was lucky enough to meet the author, Megan Crewe, a few weeks ago when I visited Darklit Fest in Oshawa, Ontario. We chatted for a short while and Megan signed my copy of the book and very kindly gave me some signed bookmarks to give away.


So...drumroll..... Here is our little mini giveaway. The first 5 Canadians to leave a comment and email address will get a free bookmark in the mail. We're restricting it to Canadians (I really hope there are at least 5 Canadians who follow us, or I'm going to look pretty silly here!) because Megan is Canadian and since it's almost Xmas, money is a bit tight. Now if you're in the US and you'd really like one - if I don't get 5 Canadians, I'll send you one - how about that? There's no deadline on this, just the first five - since that's all I've got.

Good luck.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Blog Hop - December 17th

Book Blogger Hop


In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!

Each week, participating blogs are asked questions to post and answer on their websites.

This week’s question –

"What do you consider the most important in a story: the plot or the characters?"

Christinabean's take - I personally consider them to have equal importance. I can't keep reading the story if the plot isn't appealing and if I can't identify with the characters, I won't continue reading either.
Curlypow's take - I agree with Christinabean that both the characters and the plot are equally important, but it depends on how well the story is written.
Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past. Happy hopping!

.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Soulstice by Simon Holt


Published: Sept 2009
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Pages: 266
Copy provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:

The terrifying, nail-biting, and grossly intriguing sequel toThe Devouring.



It's been six months since Reggie first discovered and fought against the Vours, malicious and demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on the eve of the Winter Solstice.

The Vours still haunt Reggie, but only in her dreams-until one night, when an unexpected visitor turns her nightmares into reality.

Review:
Soulstice is the second book in The Devouring series. It is creepy, freaky and very scary but oh so enjoyable. Reggie is back and once again she is faced with finding a way to defeat those awful Vours. You can read my initial review of The Devouring here.

Look for an interesting twist in this book. I was reading the summary for book #3 before I had finished Soulstice and it revealed that someone died in book 2. Soulstice took an interesting twist and I was pleasantly surprised at how it all worked out and set up nicely for Book 3 - Fearscape. I'm looking forward to reading the last in the series.

I still believe that the scariest part about the Vours is that they have no real physical shape except for the person they possess. The thing that makes this series so frightening is entering the Fearscapes. Like a dream, anything is possible and some of these scenes are so disturbing! One Fearscape in particular involved a carnival and clowns. Now, when I was younger, I used to enjoy the carnival/fairs/Exhibition but I do find them to be too stimulation for my senses in the evening now. I MUST be getting older...

My favorite quote
Page 68

'We can only enter a human's body on Sorry Night. One night a year. It's a hell of a traffic jam getting out of our world and into this one.'


I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys scary movies and has an active imagination but definitely an older teen....think of this as a PG 13 rating.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Grace by Elizabeth Scott (Dec 22)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile. This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is

Published: Sept 2010
Published by: Dutton
Pages: 208
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.

Told in spare, powerful prose by acclaimed author Elizabeth Scott, this tale of a dystopian near future will haunt readers long after they've reached the final page.

I read Living Dead Girl one evening and was shocked by topic and depth of understanding in this author's writing. She took a very short book and pulled at my heartstrings so quickly. I felt like I was gasping for air. Crying, screaming and praying for the protagonist in the story. I can't wait to see what Grace will hold for me...(Elizabeth Scott rocks).

Curlypow here: 'Living Dead Girl' was one of the best and worst books I have read. If 'Grace' is even half as compelling, it will be worth the read.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let's Hear It for the Boys






Published: April 2005
Publisher: Miramax
Graphic novel publisher: Puffin - 2008
Summary: Goodreads
What does it take to become the greatest secret agent the world has ever known? In this thrilling prequel to the adventure of James Bond, 007, readers meet a young boy whose inquisitive mind and determination set him on a path that will someday take him across the globe, in pursuit of the most dangerous criminals of all time.
Thirteen year-old James Bond cannot wait to get away from Eton, his stuffy boarding school, and visit his aunt and uncle in the Highlands of Scotland. Upon arriving, he learns that a local boy, Alfie Kelly, has gone missing. James teams up with the boy's cousin, Red, to investigate the disappearance. The clues lead them to the castle of Lord Hellebore, a madman with a thirst for power. Despite unknown dangers, James is determined to find the lost boy. But what he discovers in the dark basement of Hellebore's estate will forever change his life.
Ever wondered what it would be like to be James Bond? Well here is the answer to that question. Full of exciting, improbable situations, this book is jam-packed with the fun that we have come to expect from James Bond movies, but scaled down to a teen level. If you prefer graphic novels, there is even a graphic version for you. Mr Higson has expanded the series to five books starting with Silverfin; Bloodfever; Double or Die; Hurricane Gold and By Royal Command. The series seems to have stopped at 5, but there is a companion book called Danger Society: The Young Bond Dossier, which looks to be full of background information about the characters, cars and weapons, and much more. Try it and see if you could hack it as a secret agent.

Monday, December 13, 2010

In My Mailbox - December 13

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers post about the books they have received for the week. Books may be won, taken out from the library or bought from a store
Published: September 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Summary: Goodreads

When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.
As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.



I haven't had much new stuff in my mailbox lately. I've been trying to catch up on some arcs and titles in my tbr pile. This one looks interesting tho'. I'm looking forward to it.

Christinabean here.  I had a few books in my mailbox this week worth talking about.  Two of them are by Canadian authors - Haunted and The Agency.  Looking forward to sinking my teeth into them as well as Slayed by Amanda Marrone. 


Curlypow posted her review earlier this month on this one.  I guess I was further down the hold list.  :D  What's in your mailbox this week?  Or are you too busy Christmas shopping to get any reading done.  (Sadly, our house still needs to be decorated....)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pegasus by Robin McKinley


Published:November 2010
Publisher:Putnum Juvenile
# pages: 404
Copy provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pagasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own Pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.

But its different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close-so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo-and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.

New York Times bestselling Robin McKinley weaves an unforgettable tale of unbreakable friendship, mythical creatures and courtly drama destined to become a classic.

I have been a fan of Robin McKinley for many years and I look forward to all of her books. She did not disappoint me with this one.

When I started reading I was a little surprised because the writing felt a little stilted, but I quickly got past that, and started enjoying the story. The main protagonist, Sylvi, is only twelve at the beginning of the book and I wondered if the whole thing might be for younger readers - but no. It is suitable for younger readers as well tho'. This is a fantasy story and there is no sex, violence or language in it, but as the story progresses the majority of it has our heroine at 15 or 16 years old.

Sylvi's growth as a character is very well done. She has doubts and fears, as most of us do, but is prepared to work past them. I loved that she didn't let her height - or lack of it - act as a real handicap. Her father, Corone, was a lovely character. A just and respectful King and amazingly insightful person. I liked him. Ebon was fascinating and it was very easy to forget that he was not, in fact, human. The connection between Ebon and Silvi was strong and real and very convincing.

As I was reading I felt a sense of anticipation and excitement for Sylvie - can't say why or I'd give you a huge spoiler - but then that sense of anticipation became tension. There was a vague undercurrent of 'wrong' as I was reading. That tension quickly changed to a sense of foreboding and the ending was unexpected and startling.

I'm not sure when I realised that this story was way too complex to finish in one volume, but it was both a relief and a disappointment. Relief that there was so much more to come in the story and disappointing that I now have to wait months and months to find out what is going to happen to Sylvi and Ebon. This was well worth waiting for and I look forward with great anticipation to the continuation of the story. Ms McKinley, an arc would be really apreciated, thank you, then I won't have to wait so long!
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