Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book Review- Dead Until Dark

I finally read the first Sookie book-- Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris.

From Goodreads:

Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana, but she keeps to herself and doesn't date much because of her "disability" to read minds. When she meets Bill, Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's the type of guy she's waited for all of her life, but he has a disability, too--he's a vampire with a bad reputation. When one of Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears she's next.

I have heard so much hype about the Sookie Stackhouse books so I went about collecting all of them and I finally got around to reading the first one.  And maybe because there was so much hype about them and my expectations were so high, but it just wasn't that spectacular to me.  Don't get me wrong--I enjoyed it.  But I didn't fall in love with it.

I'm not sure how I feel about Sookie.  I didn't really like her all that much.  Maybe she's too "hard" or "tough" for me.  I don't know.  But I did like Bill, the vampire, and Sam the bar owner. 

The plot definitely got me though.  Often, I can peg who the killer is but not in this book.  I had several guesses, but none of them were correct.  I love books like that!

I look forward to reading Living Dead in Dallas next!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
Stookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge: Dead Until Dark
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 17
TwentyTen Reading Challenge: T.B.R. #1

*FTC Disclosure: I traded this book with a friend.

The Sunday Salon- January 31, 2010

The Sunday Salon

This was another uneventful week.  I can't believe it's already the last day of January.  The first month of the year went by so fast!

I finished and reviewed the following books this week:
Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I fulfilled items in the following challenges this week:
A to Z Challenge: C, O
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 14, 15, 16
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 13, 14
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 12, 13, 14
2010 Chick Lit Challenge: 1
2010 Debut Author Challenge: 6
I am currently reading O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell and up next is City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Contests- January 25- February 1

Steph Su Reads is having a huge blogoversary contest!  Check it out before February 28!

The Undercover Book Lover is giving away a copy of Darklight by Lesley Livingston.  The contest ends on February 14.

The Book Butterfly is giving away a copy of Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison.  The contest ends on February 25.

Presenting Lenore is giving away a copy of either Dream Girl or Dream Life, both by Lauren Mechling.  The contest ends on February 10.

Contest Winner- Explorer X-Alpha---UPDATE

I never heard back from Bethie or Tea in time, so I re-drew a winner again and

According to


has won a copy of Explorer X-Alpha by LM Preston, a poster, and 2 magnets!  Please email your address to me at belle2211(at)yahoo(dot)com by Monday at 2pm and I'll have your goodies mailed out to you!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Review- Before I Fall

I just finished reading Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver for an Around the World Tour.

From Goodreads:
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.
When I read the summary of Before I Fall awhile back, I  knew instantly that I wanted to read it.  And once I got the book, I couldn't wait to start.  But I quickly started thinking that I made a mistake.  I didn't like Sam, the main character, AT ALL!  I thought she and her friends were self-centered, and annoying, and not at all what high school was like.  I was about to stop reading the book, which I never do, when I decided to go read other reviews online.  And I'm so glad I did!  Many of the other reviewers mentioned how the didn't care for Sam either, but continued on and loved it.  So I decided to continue reading.  And thank goodness I did!
Throughout the story, we see Sam do a complete one-eighty and turn from an annoying, selfish, immature teenager into a young lady who realizes that she can help change someone's life.  I loved how each day, Sam figured out how just one small action would cause a completely different reaction.  And I really liked Kent.   He seemed so sweet and so there for Sam. 
The ending of the story really pulls at your heartstrings.  It's sad but in a happy way, if that makes any sense.  This novel makes you realize that life is short, and your actions on yourself and others have consequences that you might never imagine.
I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

Before I Fall will be released on March 2, 2010.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
A to Z Challenge: O
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 16
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 14
2010 Debut Author Challenge: 6
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 14

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Friday Firsts- January 29, 2010

The first line can make or break a reader’s interest. Just how well did the author pull you in to the story with their first sentence? To participate in this weekly book meme is extremely easy.
~Grab the book you are currently reading and open to the first page.
~Write down the first sentence in the first paragraph.
~Create a blog post with this information. (Make sure to include the title & author of the book you are using. Even an ISBN helps!)

"They say that before you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that's not how it happened for me."
~Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (ISBN 978-0-06-1726804)

Friday Fill-In- January 29, 2010

Friday Fill-In

1. Wouldn't it be easy to never have to pay any bills?!?
2. The newest gadget is always better than ever!
3. I love the taste of flavored popcorn!
4. At my parents house, we don't really ever go in the living room.
5. The first thing we're going to do is go on a trip around the world (when we win the lottery, of course).
6. When I hear drip, drip, drip; I know its raining again.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing, tomorrow my plans include going to the temporary breakfast at the Liberty Tree Tavern at Magic Kindgom with Kory and Sunday, I want to read!

Friday Finds- January 29, 2010

Here are my finds for the week:

Brava, Valentine- Adriana Trigiani
Trigiani's sequel to Very Valentine is a sweet second act for shoemaker and designer Valentine Roncalli. Val takes over the New York family-run shoe business with feet-of-clay older brother, Alfred; falls for the dashing, older Gianluca in Italy; and takes a business risk in South America, where she unearths a dusty chapter of family history. There are plenty of picturesque globe-trotting adventures in Tuscany, Manhattan, and Buenos Aires, and, for artistic and independent Val, a grown-up commitment evolves. There is no art without love. Only love can open someone up to the possibilities of living and creating art, Val writes to the wary Gianluca. And the startling twist of family history finally challenges an old-fashioned, insular clan to join the modern world. But it's always the endearing, unnerving and rowdy Roncallis who steal the show. Look for a heartbreaking exit of one beloved character, and a cliffhanger breakup in this charming valentine to love, forgiveness, and family. (From

Zombie vs Unicorns- Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, this tongue-in-cheek teen anthology asks the question: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? (From


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book Review- Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart

I finished reading Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo last last night.

From Goodreads:

Claire Prescott is a sensible woman who believes in facts and figures, not fairy tales. But when she agrees to present a paper to a summer symposium at Oxford on her ailing sister's behalf, Claire finds herself thrown into an adventure with a gaggle of Jane Austen-loving women all on the lookout for their Mr. Darcy. Claire isn't looking for Mr. Anyone. She's been dating Neil -- a nice if a bit negligent -- sports fanatic. But when a tall, dark and dashing stranger crosses her path, will the staid Claire suddenly discover her inner romantic heroine? Her chance meeting with a mysterious woman who claims to have an early version of Austen's Pride and Prejudice -- in which Lizzie ends up with someone other than Fitzwilliam Darcy -- leads to an astounding discovery about the venerated author's own struggle to find the right hero for Lizzie Bennett. Neil's unexpected arrival in Oxford complicates Claire's journey to finding her own romantic lead. Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart is the story of a woman who finds that love isn't logical and that a true hero can appear in the most unexpected of places.

It's been a while since I've read a chick-lit story and I forgot how much I enjoyed them!  Right off the bat, let me say that I'm not a Jane Austen fan.  Not that I dislike her, just that I'm not crazy about her like I know some people are, and honestly I don't remember much about the books (or the movies for that matter).  But that didn't stop me from enjoying this story.

Yes, some parts I was a little lost in since I didn't remember much from the Jane Austen novels.  But take that part out and I really liked the love story part of the book.  I liked how Claire had a struggle between two men and her feelings for them.  And I liked how she was finding herself.  There was a small towards then end that was a definite surprise to me and I really liked the ending.  I thought it would go a different way, but I am glad that it ended the way that it did.  I like happily ever afters!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 14
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 12
2010 Chick Lit Challenge: 1

*FTC Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publicist for an honest review.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Wordle- January 27, 2010

Here is a screen shot of my Wordle for the week (Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from words that is seen on my blog)

Waiting on Wednesday- January 27, 2010

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Forgive My Fins
by Tera Lynn Childs
Publication Release Date: June 1, 2010

From Tera Lynn Childs' website:

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book Review- Give Up the Ghost

I finished reading Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe last night for a 1 ARC tour.

From 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...
This was an interesting paranormal story by Megan Crewe.  I enjoyed the plot of the story in both the way that Cass interacted with the ghosts and that the way that she was up front about the gossip that she found about.
I'm not too sure about the characters though.  I didn't really connect with Cass at all.  I wanted to feel sympathetic for her, but I just couldn't.  I did however like Paige, Cass's sister who is a ghost, and Tim.  I thought Paige had a fun personality and I really felt Tim's pain. 
Overall, a great debut novel and I look forward to reading more by Megan Crewe.
I gave this book a rating of 3/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
A to Z Challenge: C
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 15
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 13
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 13

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free by Harmony from 1 ARC Tours for an honest review.

Teaser Tuesday- January 26, 2010

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

My two teasers:

"Add in all of the boring family vacations, pointless algebra classes, period cramps, and bad kissees I barely lived through the first time around...  The truth is, I wouldn't have minded reliving my greatest hits: when Rob Cokran and I first hooked up in the middle of the dance floor at homecoming, so everyone saw and knew we were together; when Lindsay, Elody, Ally, and I got drunk and tried to make snow angels in May, leaving person-sized imprints in Ally's lawn; my sweet-sixteen party, when we set out a hundred tea lights and danced on the table in the backyard; the time Lindsay and I pranked Clara Seuse on Halloween, got chased by the cops, laughed so hard we almost threw up."
~pg 1, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mailbox Monday- January 25, 2010

Mailbox Monday: Here's what came in my mailbox this week

101 Glam Girl Ways to an Ultra Chic Lifestyle- Dawn Del Russo--from the author

In a Heartbeat- Loretta Ellsworth—Around the World Tour
Give Up The Ghost- Megan Crewe—1 ARC Tour
O, Juliet- Robin Maxwell--from publisher per my request
Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side- Beth Fantaskey--bought

The Glamorous (Double) Life of Isabel Bookbinder- Holly McQueen--Book Ring
Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4)- Richelle Mead--traded with a friend
Fairy Lust- Cyn Balog (now called Fairy Tale)--traded with a friend
Geektastic: An Anthology of Geeky Stories- Holly Black & Cecil Castellucci--traded with a friend
Ravish: The Awakening of Sleeping Beauty- Cathy Yardley--traded with a friend
Commencement- J. Courtney Sullivan--Book Ring
Prospect Park West- Amy Sohn-- Book Ring

Unbound- Kim Harrison, Vicki Pettersson, Melissa Marr, Jeaniene Frost, Jocelynn Drake--PaperbackSwap

Break- Hannah Moskowitz--contest win from Authors Now

The Maze Runner- James Dashner--Bookmooch
Wish- Alexandra Bullen--for review from publisher

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Sunday Salon- January 24, 2010

The Sunday Salon

Thankfully, this week was a short one at school.  We had Monday off for Martin Luther King Jr Day and then Friday was a teacher workday (we  had a presentation to go to in the morning and then we were supposed to work a half day in our classroom but my friend and I snuck out early).  Then today my best friend and I went to The Wine Room.  I love this place!  You put money on a card and then you go find the wine you want (there are hundreds) and stick your card in the slot and choose if you want a taste, half glass, or full glass and then it fills it up for you.  And we always get blue cheese chips and a cheese plate.  Yum!

I finished and reviewed the following books this week:

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth

I fulfilled items in the following challenges this week:
 2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 9, 11, 12, 13
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 10, 11, 12
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 8, 10, 11
A to Z Challenge: B, E
TwentyTen Reading Challenge: Bad Blogger's #2, Who Are You Again? #1

I am currently reading Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe and up next is O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Review- 101 Glam Girl Ways to an Ultra Chic Lifestyle

101 Glam Girl Ways to an Ultra Chic Lifestyle by Dawn Del Russo is adorable!    Each page has a tip on how to have a chic lifestyle and has a cute image to go with it. 

My favorite was tip #16--"Pick Up a Book: Knowledge is power and power is chic."

This is a charming little book that would be a great gift for a trendy friend!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Friday 56- January 22, 2010

1. Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
2. Turn to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like).
5. Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.

"For a tony Oxford college, the decor left something to be desired.  Then again it was a room primarily used by eighteen-to-twenty-year-olds."
From Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo

Friday Fill-In- January 22, 2010

Friday Fill-In

1. You have a chance to make things right.
2. I am so sleepy right now!
3. There is a bed in the other room that is calling my name.
4. I try not to buy too much now and pay later.
5. It's time to finish catching up on reading blogs.
6. What we are doing tomorrow is up in the air but I do know that I have to get some cleaning done.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching Ice Age 3 with Kory (well, its so late that we already did it), tomorrow my plans include finish cleaning the condo and Sunday, I want to go to the Wine Room with my best friend for good wine, good cheese, and good conversation!

Friday Finds- January 22, 2010

Here are my finds for the week:

Keep Sweet- Michele Dominguez Greene
Alva Jane has never questioned her parents, never questioned her faith, never questioned her future. She is content with the strict rules that define her life in Pineridge, the walled community where she lives with her father, his seven wives, and her twenty-eight siblings. This is the only world Alva has ever known, and she has never thought to challenge it.

But everything changes when Alva is caught giving her long-time crush an innocent first kiss. Beaten, scorned, and now facing a forced marriage to a violent, fifty-year old man, Alva suddenly realizes how much she has to lose--and how impossible it will be to escape. (From
Succubus Shadows- Richelle Mead
Georgina Kincaid has formidable powers. Immortality, seduction, shape-shifting into any human form she desires, walking in heels that would cripple mere mortals—all child’s play to a succubus like her.

Helping to plan her ex-boyfriend’s wedding is a different story. Georgina isn’t sure which is worse—that Seth is marrying another woman, or that Georgina has to run all over Seattle trying on bridesmaid dresses. Still, there are distractions. Georgina’s roommate, Roman, is cluttering her apartment with sexual tension. Then there’s Simone, the new succubus in town, who’s intent on corrupting Seth.

But the real danger lies in the mysterious force that’s visiting her thoughts, trying to draw her into a dark, otherworldly realm. Sooner or later, Georgina knows she’ll be too weak to resist. And when that happens, she’ll discover who she can trust, who she can’t—and that Hell is far from the worst place to spend eternity… (From Richelle Mead's website)