Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sugar Queen, The - Review

Title: The Sugar Queen

Author: Sarah Addison Allen

Synopsis: “Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night… Until she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis – and two parts fairy godmother. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey’s narrow existence quickly expands. She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them – and who has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush. Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons. And that’s just for starters.”

Review: Everyone needs a little magic in their lives. I know I do. My first experience with the novels of Sarah Addison Allen was when I read Garden Spells last year. I loved it. So when I saw that she had two other novels out I had to buy them both. Of course, after a novel as good as Garden Spells I was expecting The Sugar Queen to be a bit disappointing. Imagine my surprise to find this novel as enchanting as her first. I love the way that Allen writes, and I savored every word of this novel. My favorite part is when Adam first realizes that he’s falling in love with Josey.

“She looked over her shoulder at him and smiled slightly. His breath caught.

“He felt a strange stirring, something he hadn’t felt in a very long time. It felt a little like when a limb falls asleep but then slowly, surely, there’s a tingling, an almost uncomfortable sensation… of waking up" (page 153)

I think I liked this description because I had a similar experience about a year and half ago, and until now I didn’t have a good way to explain what that “waking up” felt like. (My reaction was a bit different from Adam’s however; I got scared and ran away from the situation. It was a reflex that I regret now, but one that it’s too late to change.)

I like Sarah Addison Allen’s novels because her characters are real people who are fortunate enough to have a little magic in their lives. If you could use a little magic in your life you should read this book!

Publisher: Bantam Dell a division of Random House, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0553384840

If you like this book you may want to read:

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (ISBN: 978-0553590326)

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (ISBN: 978-0425190371)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday #1

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

BookGirl's Teaser:

"She'd found the door between the two closets by accident, when she would sit in her closet and eat candy she hid in her pockets when she was young. Back then she used to hide from her mother in the secret space just to worry her, but now she stocked it with magazines, paperback romances and sweets." ---from The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

Versatile Blogger Award

First I have to say "THANK YOU" to my new friend Lou at Reader Recommended for sending me this award. If you haven't checked out her truly awesome blog you should.

I'm actually having trouble believing that she gave this award to me. I guess you could say it hasn't truly sunk in yet.

The conditions of this award are that all recipients must:

1. Thank and link back to the person that gave this award
2. Write 7 things about yourself
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked to let them know about the award

7 Things About Myself

1. I love books. It's not just the stories, it's the books themselves. The smell of the paper and the glue combined with a good story is intoxicating.

2. I'm allergic to cats.

3. I have a cat named Tempest. I know, I know, you're wondering: "How can you have a cat if you're allergic?" I have to vacuum almost everyday and I should buy stock in febreeze because I use the allergen reducer one on everything. But she's worth it.

4. I'm a full-time student & part-time pharmacy technician.

5. I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek TNG.

6. I love computer games almost as much as I love books. Specifically Sims 3, Civ 5, Zoo Tycoon 2 and World of Warcraft.

7. I wish I could read and write for a living instead of trying to squeeze it in after school and work. (I sorta stole that one from Lou. :) Thanks Lou.)

Now, for the 15 wonderful bloggers that I am sending this award along too. I started my blog after reading many of these because I decided that they made it look so great that I wanted to do it too. Some of these are also new bloggers like me, so check them out and give them some love and support. (This was actually harder than it looks because I'm trying not to send the award to the same people as Lou!)

Angus and Robertson Edwardstown

Babbling about Books and More

Bewitched Bookworms

Splash of Our Worlds

Panic in the Lingerie

Read All Over Reviews

My Overstuffed Bookshelf

Magic Faerie's Paranormal Review

Home Girl's Book Blog

Good Books And Good Wine

Falcata Times

Escape Between the Pages

Book Lovers Den

Book Chick City

Babbling Flow

Congratulations to these 15 wonderful blogs and thank you to everyone for being my inspiration. And thank you again to Lou at Reader Recommended for sending this award my way!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

To Be Read #1

To Be Read is a weekly meme that I'll try to post every Sunday listing the books I bought/received that week. This meme was started by The Story Siren as: In My Mailbox. Check it out here

Here are the books that I got this week:

Unless otherwise mentioned you can assume that I either bought or borrowed the books mentioned in To Be Read. I am not important yet so I have to buy the books I review.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Title: Beastly

Author: Alex Flinn

Synopsis: “I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature with fangs, claws, and hair springing from every pore. I am a walking monster.
“You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. And I’ll stay this way forever – unless I can break the spell.
“Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, the perfect girl, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly… beastly.”

Review: Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale. Out of all the familiar childhood tales this is the only one where the woman saves the day. However, this is not so in Beastly. Flinn has neglected the best part of Beauty and the Beast. That being said, this was still a pretty good book. I liked how Flinn used a YA book to teach a lesson without being overly preachy about it. Kyle, the main character has to learn that life is not all about good looks and money. A witch decides to teach him that lesson by turning him into a beast, but because of a small kindness he had done she gives him two years to find someone to love who can love him back in spite of the way he looks.
The format of this book is cool and different. Separating the parts of the book are sections that look like a print-out of a chat room. This is an online conversation that Kyle (BeastNYC) is having with others who have been transformed, generally against their will. I thought this was refreshing and certainly something that readers of YA fiction can relate too.
I also wanted to mention that Beastly is being made into movie currently set to be released March 2011. Here is a trailer for the movie:

Publisher: Harper Teen
ISBN: 978-0061998669
If you like this book you may want to read:

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn (ISBN: 978-0060874216)

Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley (ISBN: 978-0441005833)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Civilization V

So... I haven't been doing much of anything since yesterday morning. Yesterday one of the video games I have been anxiously awaiting was released. Civilization V has been occupying the vast majority of my time. I haven't been doing any homework. I go to work and then I come home and veg in front of the computer. I went to class today and barely paid any attention, watching the clock until I could speed home to veg in front of the computer. I'll be back to blogging and paying attention and, ahem, showering in a couple of days. I promise.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Mondays are cruel. I dread Mondays, and not only because I have an 8:30am French class. I have that same class on Wednesday and Friday and I don't dread them nearly as much as I do Monday. I've tried to figure out why I hate Mondays so terribly. Is it because I work all weekend and am then extra tired on Monday? Is it because I try to cram too much into my "extra" time after work on the weekend? No, I have decided that, like Garfield, Mondays are just out to get me.

Take today for instance, this morning when leaving my apartment I fell. I'm not talking a little stumble here, no. I'm sure it was hilarious to watch and I would not have blamed anyone for laughing. Somehow I half stepped off of the paved path and turned my weak ankle. This led to a drunken looking stagger sideways across the path. It is there that I fell, arms windmilling, into the mud. (Only my pride was seriously wounded, although I did scrape my left palm and right elbow.) Then, in my English class I choked. I wasn't eating, I wasn't drinking. I just choked on my own spit. This caused me to cough loudly and repeatedly and when I tried to stifle the coughing I looked and sounded like a cat getting ready to bring up a hairball. My soda wasn't helping to soothe the coughing so I decided to get up and go into the hall and find a water fountain. Of course, I was sitting in the back corner of the classroom the farthest from the door. Needless to say, my trip out of the classroom disrupted the entire class, all eyes were on me as I managed to escape into the hall.

So now, after the worlds worst Monday I am going to hibernate in bed with a book, and I'm not coming out until it's not Monday anymore!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kraken - Review

Title: Kraken

Author: China Mieville

Synopsis: “Deep in the research wing of London’s Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid. But what does it mean when the creature suddenly and impossibly disappears?
“For curator Billy Harrow it’s the start of a headlong pitch into a London of warring cults, surreal magic, apostates, and assassins. It might just be that the creature he’s been preserving is more than a biological rarity: there are those who are sure it’s a god.
“A God that someone is hoping will end the world.”

Review: I want to like Mieville’s books. I really do. I love his ideas, and I would like to poke around in his brain with a stick to figure out where these awe-inspiring ideas are coming from. It’s his writing however that leaves a bit to be desired. Kraken is full of brilliant paragraphs of description and thought, without the benefit of a character. Take this section for instance: “There is no knowing beyond that membrane, the meniscus of death. What can be seen from here is distorted, refracted. All we can know are those untrustworthy glimpses – that and rumour.” While this is beautiful language, I am confused and suddenly removed from the story. Who is the “we” he is talking about? The book is not written in first person, so these aren’t the main character’s thoughts. The other two books by Mieville that I’ve read, The Scar and Perdido Street Station (gorgeous stories) are also plagued by these descriptive paragraphs that are characterless and confusing. I read his books, and I enjoy them. Mieville’s stories are rich and complex if you are able to get past a few writing glitches.

Publisher: Del Rey

ISBN: 978-0345497499

If you like this book you may want to read:

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (ISBN: 978-0345459404)

Scar Night by by Alan Campbell (ISBN: 978-0553589313)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Feed - Review

Title: Feed

Author: Mira Grant (also writes as Seanan McGuire)

Series: The Newsflesh Trilogy #1

Synopsis: “The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we had created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.
“Now, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives --- the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.”

Review: I loved this book, even if it did scare the shit out of me. The idea of people having to live in constant readiness for a zombie invasion freaked me out. I realized that I would be more than likely to die within the first day of a zombie uprising, due to my amazing ability to ignore bad and scary things until it’s too late to do anything about them.
I absolutely loved the opening line of Feed: “Our story opens where countless stories have ended in the last twenty-six years: with an idiot – in this case, my brother Shaun – deciding it would be a good idea to go out and poke a zombie with a stick to see what happens.” A normal zombie story (is there such a thing?) would have ended with Shaun poking the zombie with a stick. This zombie story starts with that. After that first line I knew that this was going to be a thrill ride of a novel.
Even though I loved this story I did see Georgia’s frequent reflections about the Rising and how the zombies came to be slightly disruptive to the flow of the first person narrative. It was information that we, as readers need but is extremely difficult for the author to work in seamlessly.
I loved Georgia and Shaun and I saw a lot of myself in Buffy, the techno genius/fiction writer. The zombies terrified me. Many of you who know me know that, as a rule, I stay away from horror. I feel that I’ve had enough horror in my life. I don’t need to add more fuel for the nightmares. Every once in awhile there is a story good enough to make me bend this rule. Although I’m not sure that I’ll be buying the sequel when it comes out, I’ve had enough trouble sleeping the last few nights, terrified that zombies are going to break through my windows and feast on my flesh while I sleep.

Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-0316081054

If you like this book you may want to read:

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (ISBN: 978-0756405717)

Monster Island
by David Wellington (ISBN: 978-1560258506)
See my review of Monster Island here.