Thursday, September 30, 2010

Library Loot: September 29 - October 5

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted alternatively by Marg and Claire that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky (at Claire's this week) any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
No books this week just music!

En concert by Jack Johnson
The Moldy Peaches by The Moldy Peaches
If you've seen Juno you'll recognize The Moldy Peaches because they comprised a majority of the soundtrack!

The following lists give you an idea of the fates of my past library loot: read, unread, and returned! (Links are to my reviews!)


Clash of the Titans
An Education
My Most Excellent Year - Steve Kluger
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage - Jennifer Ashley

Returned Unread/Unwatched:

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else - Erin McCahan ( I won this so I returned my library copy)
The Name of The Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
Infamous - Suzanne Brockmann (Did Not Finish)
I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore (Could not renew)
Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead (Book fell apart)
Forget-Her-Nots - Amy Brecount White
The World that Made New Orleans: From Spanish Sliver to Congo Square - Ned Sublette
The Last Madam: A life in the New Orleans Underworld - Christine Wiltz
Leaving Paradise - Simone Elkeles (Bought a copy at the UBS)
Glimpse -Carol Lynch Williams
Green Zone
Sister's Red - Jackson Pearce (Returned based on negative review)
It's Not Summer Without You - Jenny Han (Could not renew)
Beastly - Alex Flinn (Could not renew)
Birthmarked - Caragh M. O'Brien (Returned based on negative review)
Endless Summer - Jennifer Echols (Returned based on reveiw)
Faithful - Janet Fox(Returned based on negative review)
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Whew! That's a whole lotta unread loot. *shiftyeyes*
For the most part I either couldn't renew the books or I'd read a negative review and decided to return it. However, Jennifer Echol's says returned based on review. However, the reveiw wasn't negative per se but I'd finished one of Echols other books and didn't care much for the main character and the review basically convinced me I'd like the main character even less. So I figured I wouldn't even bother!
Several of the books I returned I will eventually check out again but I realized I wouldn't be reading them anytime soon so I just returned them!
This list doesn't even include the...twenty-two books I currently have checked out! *moreshiftyeyes*

Virgnia Bound!

I'll be MIA for a few days again. This time I'm visiting my friend in Charlottesville, Virgina. On Saturday we'll be touring several of the vineyards in the area!

I have a review of Jane by April Lindner scheduled to post tomorrow, I've never done that before so we'll see if I did it right! I'm also testing the scheduling with my Library Loot post that will be up soon!

Until next week folks! Happy Reading!

Barboursville Vineyards

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review: Trial by Desire by Courtney Milan

She cannot forget the fire he ignited…

In the three years since her husband left her, Lady Kathleen Carhart has managed to forge a fulfilling life for herself. But when Ned Carhart unexpectedly returns, she finds her tranquility uprooted—and her deepest secrets threatened. Though she has no intention of falling for Ned’s charms, Kate can no longer deny the desire that still burns in her heart.

Or the promise of his love…

Ned is determined to regain his wife’s trust by using unbridled seduction. But just as Kate surrenders to Ned’s passion, her carefully guarded past threatens to destroy her. Now Kate must place her faith in the only man she’s ever loved, and the only one who has ever betrayed her…
I was first turned on (pun intended) to Courtney Milan thanks to Stacey's review of Proof by Seduction. Which I also ended up loving and have been eagerly anticipating this sequel for some time now!
I wasn't sure if Trial by Desire could live up to Proof by Seduction. Especially because in Poof by Seduction Ned was kind of a fuck-up. Sure, I liked him and felt sorry for him but I was wondering how Milan was going to turn Ned into hero material. But hero material he turned out to be!

Ned, determined to prove his self worth, has spent the last three years working in China to sort out his cousin's business issues overseas.In the process, he has transformed from the joking, bumbling screw-up to a man this in strict control of all his emotions.

During his absence, his wife Kate has spend her time shopping and gossiping, or so she's lead all of society to believe. When, in fact, she has been fighting off a number of would be 'suitors' vying to win the attentions of the woman abandoned by her husband. In additon, Kate has been taking on monumental tasks like hiding her best friend from her abusive husband, hardly the acts of the oblivious socialite she's accused of being. And, in a time, when women were still considered property, helping her friend could put Kate in a great deal of danger.

When Ned and Kate reunite a battle of wits and seduction ensues. However, Kate is still hurt by Ned's abandonment and Ned is determined not to let his emotional guard down, especially where his wife is concerned. She is the one person who could unravel it all.

I have to say I think the book's description is a bit misleading. It says that "Ned is determined to regain his wife’s trust by using unbridled seduction." However, Kate is the one that is pushing for both physical and emotional intimacy but Ned is afraid of losing his grip on his hard won control.

I love how Milan manages to balance a slew of intense topics: abuse, betrayal, and depression with romance without having it feel like some historical soap opera. Instead she weaves a tale of strength, redemption, forgiveness, and love. Courtney Milan is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.

If you haven't already, I'd highly recommend reading Proof by Seduction before picking up Trial by Desire, but it's not necessary to read them in order. Trial by Desire is out now, what are you waiting for?! Go get it!


The series in order:

Disclosure: I received this as a digital ARC through NetGalley. I did not receive any compensation for this review.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

I really don't know how to write a review that will do this book justice. All I know is that I laughed, I cried, then I laughed some more. And this review will be my feeble attempt to convey the genius of Sherman Alexie's writing. While this is my first Alexie book, it most certainly will not be my last.

Junior is a Spokane Indian living on a reservation who takes a huge risk by transferring to the white high school twenty-two miles away from the "rez." This takes a lot of courage for a boy, who is already known around the rez as a "retard" and a "faggot". Most of that has to do with the brain damage that he endured as a child, the subsequent seizures that would often plague him, and his general awkwardness. So already he's an outcast. When he transfers to the new school he isolates himself even further because his tribe views him as a traitor. Add to that alcoholic parents and a best friend turned frienemy and Junior is about the loneliest soul you could imagine. But he keeps trucking on.

Through it all, the good and the bad, Junior never loses his sense of humor. I find that heartening and hopeful. When faced with poverty, death, prejudice, and bullying Junior still manages to find humor in such tragic circumstances. Junior even verbalizes this saying:
". . . I realized that, sure, Indians were drunk and sad and displaced and crazy and mean, but dang, we knew how to laugh. When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing."
As a white person, I cannot say whether or not The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian accurately portrays the Native American experience however, Debbie Reese, a Nambe Pueblo Indian woman and assistant professor in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, whose blog discusses "Critical perspectives of indigenous peoples in children's and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society-at-large", praises the book stating:

"There's a lot in the book that I really like because I connect with the character, the setting, the experiences... It is real and brutally honest.
If Debbie finds it a valid representation of the Native American experience, I'm certainly going to believe her considering her heritage and her educational background. I encourage you to check out Debbie's blog if you're at all interested in the representation of Native Americans in YA (or Children's) lit. Her blog is a wonderful place to get recommendations for accurate portrayals of Native Americans.

A lot of the tragedy that befalls Junior is, in some way, related to one of the harsh realities of life on the rez: alcoholism. As I understand, this is a huge problem among Native Americans. It was interesting the way Junior described having an alcoholic father and how that compared to his white classmates' fathers:

"I mean, yeah, my dad would sometimes go on a drinking binge and be gone for a week, but those white dads can completely disappear without ever leaving the living room. They can just BLEND into their chairs. They become their chairs. . . There are white parents, especially fathers, who never come to school. They don't come for their kids' games, concerts, plays, or carnivals." " I realize my parents are pretty good. . . they make sacrifices for me. They worry about me. They talk to me. And best of all, they listen to me."
So while his parent's aren't perfect and as much as Junior may envy some of the advantages of his white classmates, he still understands, appreciates, and values his family and his community.

It's really difficult for me to articulate how amazing this book is. On one hand it's heartbreakingly sad, on the other it is humorous and uplifting. It just goes to show that we're not all just one thing. Junior, isn't just an Indian, this isn't just another YA book. This is something special.

I realized that, sure, I was a Spokane Indian. I belonged to that tribe. But I also belonged to the tribe of American immigrants.
And to the tribe of basketball players.
And to the tribe of bookworms.

And the tribe of cartoonists.
And the tribe of chronic masturbators.
And the tribe of teenage boys.
And the tribe of small-town kids.
And the tribe of Pacific Northwesterners.
And the tribe of tortilla chips-and-salsa lovers.
And the tribe of poverty.
And the tribe of funeral-goers.
And the tribe of beloved sons.
And the tribe of boys who really miss their best friends.
It was a huge realization.

This review is in celebration of Banned Books Week. This book has been banned from many schools most recently by a school in Missouri. Check out the story here. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

And the signed copy of Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie goes to......

*drumroll please*


Congrats Katy, I've also emailed you! Thanks to everyone who entered and spread the word!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Library Loot: September 22 - 28

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted alternatively by Marg and Claire that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky (at Marg's this week) any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
Well I thought I'd have a pretty small haul this time around. However, I did something I normally don't do: I browsed. I usually just pick up my reserves and try not to glance at the shelves. Well I didn't have anything to pick up on my last trip; I was just returning some books. So I wandered around and this is what I found:
I love Elizabeth Scott's contemporaries and this is her first paranormal under a pen name. I've seen mixed reviews but I'm going to give it a go!
The cover on this one caught my eye and the description sounded interesting!  

Both of these looked interesting. I've never heard of these authors or anything about either of these fantasy series. Anyone read them?

Lastly, I got an email notification that my copy of The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff came in! I've been eagerly awaiting this one and it will count toward my 2010 Debut Author Challenge!

This was a pretty horrible movie. But it has Sam Worthington!
I also had to renew a bunch of books I hadn't gotten around to reading yet:
  • It's Not Summer Without You by Jennifer Han
  • The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
  • Nothing Like You by Laura Strasnick
That's all for this week!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
A Clockwork Angel is the first book in Clare's new Infernal Devices series. Now, it's been awhile since I've read the Mortal Instruments series. So I had a bit of trouble trying to recall all of the background on the Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Because the characters in A Clockwork Angel are the ancestors to Clary, Jace, etc. I kept trying to relate them back to the Mortal Instruments series. However, I have a horrible memory when it comes to recalling books. I read so many and I just don't retain a lot of the details that other readers seem to be able to recall. It's such a pain! I was kind of frustrating myself trying to remember all the stuff from the Mortal Instruments series that it was hampering my enjoyment of the story. So when I decided to just stop trying recollect everything and enjoy this as a stand alone title and not how it related to the Mortal Instruments series, I was able to immerse myself and enjoy the book. And enjoy it I did! I LOVED this book. I think I'm going to end up liking this series more than the Mortal Instruments series. I think the world that Clare has created works so well in the historical context. I think that is part of why I enjoyed this book so much!

The characters Clare has created with Tessa, Will, and Jem are complex. Tessa, clearly holds traditional views of women in her society. I think these views will be tested and eventually altered as the series progresses. In this book we already saw Tessa growing more independent and stronger. Doing things I don't think she ever imagined she could do.

I love Will. He's clearly a tortured hero, which is one of my literary weaknesses. I love his self deprecating, sarcastic sense of humor. I love the banter between Tessa and Will. I cannot wait to discover what his deep dark secret is!

Jem is the antithesis of Will. While I didn't love him as much as Will. I think he's an interesting character especially with his "handicap". I don't see him as a love interest for Tessa; I think it's all about Will for her. But I think Jem is and will become a great friend to Tessa. But I am decidedly Team Will, no doubt!

I loved the idea of the clockwork army, so creepy and the whole book has that Victorian horror novel kind of feel to it. I mentioned before but I really think Clare's world works really well in this historical setting. This was an excellent start to what promises to be another excellent YA fantasy series!
Be sure to check out the website for The Infernal Devices series. There's background information and even character sketches!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review: Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, twenty-eight-year-old Justin Halpern found himself living at home with his seventy-three-year-old dad. Sam Halpern, who is "like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair," has never minced words, and when Justin moved back home, he began to record all the ridiculous things his dad said to him.
More than a million people now follow Mr. Halpern's philosophical musings on Twitter, and in this book, his son weaves a brilliantly funny, touching coming-of-age memoir around the best of his quotes. An all-American story that unfolds on the Little League field, in Denny's, during excruciating family road trips, and, most frequently, in the Halperns' kitchen over bowls of Grape-Nuts.

I first heard about Shit My Dad Says via the @shitmydadsays Twitter account. The first time I stumbled upon it I read through every tweet available. Bascially, Justin Halpern, after his girlfriend dumped him and he had no place to live, moved back home with his parents. He began leaving the outrageous one-liners from his 70 year old cantankereous father on his AIM away messages. Someone suggested to him that he create a Twitter account and, a million followers later, he has a book offer and a pending television show based on his father's one liners.

After reading some of the tweets, one might get the sense that Halpern's father is gruff and uncouth, both of which appear to be true but somehow I equeated that with not being a good dad? I don't know why. But after reading Sh*t My Dad Says, it is apparent that Mr. Halpern clearly loves his son. Sprinkled in among the obscenities are stories with real heart and,ultimately, the story is a classic father/son tale. With a lot of swear words thrown in! 

It is a quick read that literally had me laughing out loud. If you're interested in the book but not quite sure, you can check out the twitter page or this article to get a sense of the writing. 

I'll leave you with some of Mr. Halpern's pearls of wisdom:
"Don't ask for my opinion then. I said congrats on the car, just saying nobody's panties are getting wet from a fucking Honda Accord."
"There's a word for people like that...No, I'm saying, there's a word and I don't know what it is. I'm not being fucking poetic."
"You look just like Stephen Hawking...Relax, I meant like a non-paralyzed version of him. Feel better?... Fine. Forget I said it."
"That woman was sexy...Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don't do it for them."
"Sometimes life leaves a hundred dollar bill on your dresser, and you don't realize until later that it's because it fucked you."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review & Giveaway: Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiancee and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her before they go their separate ways forever. A very distant cousin of his has died and left North as the guardian of two orphans who have driven out three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs a very special person to take care of the situation and he knows Andie can handle anything.

When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children, Carter and Alice, aren’t your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. What’s worse, Andie’s fiancee thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back, and he may be right. Andie’s dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that’s not the only haunting.

What follows is a hilarious adventure in exorcism, including a self-doubting parapsychologist, an annoyed medium, her Tarot-card reading mother, an avenging ex-mother-in law, and, of course, her jealous fiancee. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get more complicated, North shows up on the doorstep making her wonder if maybe this time things could be different between them.

If Andie can just get rid of all the guests and ghosts, she’s pretty sure she can save the kids, and herself, from the past. But fate might just have another thing in mind…
Finally, a solo title from Ms. Crusie! I've read some of her co-authored works, the only one I liked was Agnes and the Hitman which was excellent but I was glad to see Crusie doing her own thing again.

Maybe This Time is Crusie's re-telling of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I don't know this because I've read The Turn of the Screw, or because I was an English major, or a librarian. I know this only because Jenny told me. Well, not me specifically but the group of us that were at her book signing last night. It was pretty cool to hear how James had inspired Crusie but there were things about the story that she could not relate to (twenty year old virgin!) so she decided to write her own version and wha-la! We have Maybe This Time.

Jenny also said that Maybe This Time was a ghost story and not a romance. Wait! Romance folks, don't stop reading! While this is an excellent ghost story, it is also "classic Crusie." Long-time fans, you'll know what that means; newcomers, it means quirky heroines, hilarious hijinx, and a sexy hero. The only thing missing from this Crusie was a furry four legged character. This time around she's replaced (wo)man's best friend!

Confession: I'm not a kid person. Sure I like some kids, usually a friend's kid. But I don't really enjoy kids. No offense to my lovely readers with little ones...I love seeing pictures of your cutiepies but am glad I don't have any or have to deal with kids on a regular basis. Wow, guess it's a good thing I didn't become a teacher eh?! So, when I see romance novels with kids in them I usually groan. But this was a Crusie so I didn't even think twice and Crusie, fantabulous writer that she is, totally sold me on the book's two kids, Alice and Carter. Although Carter is quite and withdrawn. I kept expecting to learn more about him. Especially after Andie, our heroine, had a discussion with her ex-mother-in-law about him. But nothing ever came of it. That was one of the only things the irked me about this book. Alice definitely gets the most attention. And, according to Ms. Crusie herself, we're going to get to see Alice star in her own book in the future!

Anyway, as far as the romance goes Andie and North are obviously still not over each other despite the ten years since their divorce. There's not as much interaction between Andie and North as I might have liked. The focus seemed more on Andie's relationship with the kids and trying to deal with those pesky ghosts. However, there's enough romance to keep those of us, who NEED romance, going!

Lastly, I have to say Crusie did a great job of building suspense where the ghosts and supernatural aspects were concerned. As I was reading I was thinking, "Wow, this is actually a little creepy." Which was something I wasn't expecting from a Crusie novel. But it's not nightmare worthy so those of you who don't care for scary stuff, it's not THAT scary!

Overall an excellent addition to my keeper shelf. Crusie, left to her own devices, never fails. If you haven't read any Crusie before, what the heck are you waiting for?!


Giveaway time, my first! I have one SIGNED copy of Maybe This Time for a lucky reader!

To enter simply fill out the following form. Contest is open to US and Canada residents only. Contest will close on Wednesday, September 22nd!
You can earn two extras entries by 1) Tweeting or 2) Posting on your blog for a total of 3 entries. Please provide a link to your extra entries on the form. You do not have to be a follower to enter.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Library Loot: September 8 - 14

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted alternatively by Marg and Claire that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky (at Marg's this week) any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
Marg and Claire chose one of my badge entries to be the new Library Loot badge! Yes! It was one of my favorites too! Check it out:

Thanks ladies for finding my submission worthy of the Library Loot meme!

On to my loot for the week:

I saw this on Linda's loot last week and thought it looked interesting, especially after my trip to NOLA. So I reserved it from my library!

I saw the follow up to this, The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group, on NetGalley and thought I'd get the first book. Seems like a nice change of pace from all the other teen vamp novels out there!

I love Crusie and was sooo excited she finally had a solo book out!  
Be sure to check out my review of Maybe This Time and enter to win a signed copy!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face. 
But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone
I was interested in The DUFF for two reasons 1) the positive reviews I'd seen so far 2) The DUFF is Keplinger's debut title and thus qualifies for the 2010 Debut Author Challenge. I'm really glad I gave this one a go! The DUFF falls into one of my favorite genres, realistic YA fiction and Keplinger should know a little something about the genre seeing how she still IS a teen!

To understand the book you have to understand the theory behind being the DUFF. The DUFF is that one girl in a group of friends who, in comparison to her friends, is the "ugly" one. As Wesley, The DUFF's unlikely hero, explains that the DUFF isn't necessarily hideous, she just happens to be the least attractive among her friends.

When I first read about the premise I was kind of taken aback. How, I wondered, would the author redeem a man-whoring guy calling girls DUFFs? How would the author manage not to offend all of us DUFFs?! Easy, pretty much everyone thinks they're a DUFF. When Bianca explains the theory behind the DUFF to her gorgeous BFF, Casey, she refutes Bianca's status as the DUFF insisting that she is the DUFF. Citing her height as her major flaw and insisting that guys are not interested in her because of her Amazonian stature.

Keplinger realistically navigates the inner workings of female friendships and insecurities. I think a lot of girls (and women) can relate to Bianca. How many of us belong to a group of friends where we feel like the "ugly" one? Chances are, one or more of your friends are feeling the exact same thing.

Another reason I liked Bianca is because of her snarkyness. If this book were an episode of Sex and the City Bianca would definitely be Miranda. The smart ass, cynic who doesn't take shit from anyone. Perhaps, I enjoyed this book so much because I see a lot of myself reflected in Bianca. Now, if I can just find my own Wesley....

Speaking of the devil, Wesley was a really decent guy. Sure he started off on the wrong foot, calling her a DUFF and all, that certainly was a shitty move. But throughout the novel he proved to be much more than the self absorbed man-whore Bianca had pigeonholed him as. I think he genuinely had no idea that calling Bianca "Duffy" was so hurtful to her. Boys. Sigh. As the reader though we notice, at least I did, Wesley's lack of man-whoring when he's with Bianca. Sure we see him flirting with another girl. But I think Wesley fell for Bianca earlier than she could have imagined. Even from the first kamikaze kiss, he's like... "Wow." I really enjoyed Wesley and Bianca's bantering. It made me laugh and I really enjoyed their interactions.

I didn't always like Bianca. She's going through a tough time,what with her parents divorce and her Dad's falling off the wagon, but there are several instances when she knows she's being a shitty friend. She even says thing a long the lines of "Wow, I'm being a bitch" and "I'm a shitty friend." But she doesn't really even attempt to do anything about it.

So, on one hand I like that she recognizes that she's failing at her friend duties. On the other hand, I was somewhat annoyed that she didn't make more of an effort to be a better friend. But I totally understand where she's coming from. Sometimes you have so much shit going on in your own life that you recognized you're neglecting another aspect of your life but you don't have the time or energy to deal with it.

Lastly, I enjoyed the amount of cussing, snarkyness, and sex in this novel. I hope Keplinger is prepared for her book to be challenged. I can see that in this book's future. None of it bothered me, I found it realistic but not over the top, however I'm sure there are going to be some parents complaining. And for those of you who don't read YA because of the lack of sexy bits, this book might be for you! There's enough sex without crossing the line into too much detail.

Overall, The DUFF was smart, funny, sexy and realistic. I would put Keplinger in the ranks of Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott and I'm looking forward to more books from this author!
Disclosure: I received this ARC from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for this review.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reading Recap: August 2010

So I only read 6 books this month. I read the entire Downside Ghost series by Stacia Kane and I re-read both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire before reading Mockingjay. Just a so-so month. Although I LOVED the Downside series. I rated the series as a whole instead of individually. Here were my reads:

The Downside Ghost series by Stacia Kane -5 Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins -5 Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - 4 Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - 4 Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann - DNF

I don't know why I can't get through Infamous. I love Brockmann but I was halfway through the book when I went to New Orleans and didn't get anything read during my traveling. Then when I returned I re-read Hunger Games and Catching Fire followed by Mockingjay so when I picked Infamous back up I just couldn't get back into it. I had been enjoying up to that point but I figured I'd just mark it as DNF. I may revisit it again in the future!

September is starting off well, I'm almost finished with The DUFF by Kody Keplinger then I plan on picking up Cassandra Clare's A Clockwork Angel, my second most anticipated book of the year after Mockingjay!

How was your August? What are your reading plans for September?!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NOLA in Pictures

Here are some of my favorite pictures from my New Orleans trip!

Gator on our tour of Honey Island Swamp

 Gator know as "Stumpy" because of his missing tail

Honey Island Swamp

 Saint Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square

 Window on Pirate's Alley. Notice the Mardi Gras beads. They're everywhere. They don't even bother trying to clean them up. This was noticable on St.Charles Street which is part of the parade route. The beads were strung on the telephone lines, electrical lines, haning in trees, etc.

 The Anne Rice house in the historic Garden District. Love the Tim Burton-esque tree limb.

View from the front porch of the slave's quarters at the Laura Creole Plantation

So dear readers, have you ever been to New Orleans? Pre or post Katrina? What did you think? If you haven't been do you have any desire to visit?

Library Loot: September 1 -7

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted alternatively by Marg and Claire that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky (at Claire's this week) any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!


Because I love his twitter: @shitmydadsays

Read rave reviews from The Book Smugglers and Kmont!


Nope I hadn't seen this yet. Didn't wanna pay to see a more elaborate version of Ferngully (or Dances with Wolves, or Pocahontas, etc.). I did end up enjoying it. Especially with Sam Worthington. I love him!

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