Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books Read in 2009

I thought I should compile a list of all the books I've read this year. So, here it is.

January
1. Teen, Inc. by Stefan Petrucha
2. Darkside by Tom Becker

February
3. Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
4. Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski
5. How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

March
6. Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer
7. Maximum Ride Manga, vol. 1 by James Patterson and NaRae Lee
8. Frogs and French Kisses by Sarah Mlynowski
9. Me, the Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine
10. The Compound by S.A. Bodeen
11. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
12. Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

April
13. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
14. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
15. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
16. Rhymes with Witches by Lauren Myracle
17. Max by James Patterson

May
18. The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson

June
19. Dead Is the New Black by Marlene Perez
20. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
21. Dead Is a State of Mind by Marlene Perez
22. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
23. Necropolis by Anthony Horowitz
24. Shattered Mirror by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
25. Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

July
26. So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld
27. Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
28. The Finnish Line by Linda Gerber

August
29. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
30. Daniel X: Watch the Skies by James Patterson and Ned Rust

September
31. Death Note vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
32. Among the Hidden byb Margeret Peterson Haddix
33. Vampire Knight vol. 1 Matsuri Hino
34. Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
35. Fruits Basket vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya
36. Dull Boy by Sarah Cross

October
37. Among the Imposters by Margeret Peterson Haddix
38. Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
39. Fruits Basket vol. 2 by Natsuki Takaya
40. Ouran HIgh School Host Club vol. 1 by Bisco Hatori
41. Fruits Basket vol. 3 by Natsuki Takaya
42. .Hack: Legend of the Twilight vol. 1 by Rei Izumi and Tatsuya Hamazaki
43. Fruits Basket vol. 4 by Natsuki Takaya
44. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

November
45. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
46. Dramarama by E. Lockhart
47. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
48. Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel

December
49. Everlost by Neal Shusterman
50. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
51. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
52. Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber
53. Epic by Conor Kostick

And those are all the books I've read this year. I really hope to read more in 2010.

Eclectically yours,
Dahlia

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

POV

Some of you might have noticed the lack of progress for Not Another Vampire Book on the right sidebar, and might be wondering, "What has she been doing all this time?!"

Well, I'll tell you.

I've been trying to figure out the next scene. I found myself a little stuck near the end of NaNo, and haven't been able to get passed the block. I've been thinking about the last scene a lot, trying to come up with something to follow it, but to no avail.

I think it's the narration that's getting me. The tone of the book has changed from light and funny to (hopefully) dark and slightly serious. Problem is, short chapters and lots of narrators, to me, doesn't work for a book like that, especially with the number of characters Not Another Vampire Book has (17). I've been thinking about it a lot over the last few weeks, and I think I need to go back and change everything to third person. The prologue was written in third person, and I really like the prologue. I hate everything else.
I just feel like it's missing something. Like every time I change narrators, a huge part of the story is lost. And that saddens me.

So now, out of curiousity, I must ask: Do you prefer first person or third person narration? Personally, I think it depends on the story, or more accurately, the cast. If it's a book with lots of key characters, I say third person. It it's about one to four people, I say first person. For Not Another Vampire Book, I'm afraid it migh be third person (I really wish I'd realized this before I getting past the prologue!).

Eclectically yours,
Dahlia

Wish List Wednesday 8

What?


My Soul to Take

by Rachel Vincent

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Everlost by Neal Shusterman


"Nick and Allie don't survive the car accident...

...but their souls don't exactly get where they're supposed to get either. Instead, they're caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no onger exist. It's a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.
When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he he's found a home, but allie isn't satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the "Criminal Art" of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.
In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between."

I found Everlost to be a bit strange. Good, but strange. I guess it was because it was a mid-grade book about fourteen(?) year olds who'd died, which is depressing. But then, it wasn't depressing. I don't know, maybe it was just weird because it was a depressing topic that was approached in a semi-fun, lighthearted way.
The characters in this book were okay. I found both Nick and Allie to be a little annoying at times, but otherwise alright. Lief, on the other hand, annoyed me from beginning to end. I don't know why, I just didn't like him.
I also didn't like Mary Hightower, or Mary, Queen of Snots as some called her. I knew from the start that she couldn't be trusted. And her books? Can you say propaganda? She was twisted insanity hidden under a green velvet dress and a kind smile. It made for an interesting character, but not a very likable one in my opinion.
I found the McGill to be a little disappointing as a villain. Yeah, he was gross and scary looking, but that's really all he was. He mostly just threatened people, but in the time he was in the book, he rarely (if ever) followed through. His way of torturing the Afterlights, however, was hilarious! I laughed every time chiming was mentioned after it was explained. It was just sooo funny!
Story wise, this book was kinda mediocre. The characters just seemed to wander for a long time, skipping over weeks and months without doing anything. Allie had a goal, but she often got distracted from it, which made it easily forgettable. And when it finally came back into play at the end, I was a little thrown off. Nick's afterlife was just kinda lame. First it was all about being with Mary and pleasing her, then he kinda faded out of the story for a while, then his afterlife was all about fighting Mary? Though, I must admit, his new rivalry with Mary was quite interesting. I didn't realize she was so diabolical!
I knew who the McGill really was as soon as a bit of his past was revealed. It was annoying that it was so predictable, but also not. Maybe because I rarely guess things right in books.
Anyway, I found the end to be okay. Creepy on Mary's part, so-so on Nick's part, and just a tad confusing on Allie and the McGill' part. This book isn't very high on my list, but I do plan to read the sequel. If you like non-scary ghost stories, I recommend Everlost.

I give Everlost three Fists of Rock.

Eclectically yours,
Dahlia

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas + In My Mailbox 19

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

Borrowed

Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber
Pub. date: August 03
"In her small town, dubbed "Dullsville," sixteen-year-old Raven — a vampire-crazed goth-girl — is an outcast. But not for long...
The intriguing and rumored-to-be haunted mansion on top of Benson Hill has stood vacant and boarded-up for years. That is, until its mysteriously strange new occupants move in. Who are these creepy people — especially the handsome, dark, and elusive Alexander Sterling? Or rather, what are they? Could the town prattle actually ring true? Are they vampires? Raven, who secretly covets a vampire kiss, both at the risk of her own mortality and Alexander's loving trust, is dying to uncover the truth.
Ellen Schreiber's spooky and stirring romance tells the story of two outsiders who fall in love in a town where conformity reigns, and ends with a shocking surprise."
I requested this at the library a while ago and wasn't expecting it in for a while (like, until January). I got to the library a minute before closing to pick it up. Good thing too, my hold expired the day the library re-opened after the holidays, I might not have be able to get there on time.

Christmas Gifts!

Snap by Carol Snow (ARC)
Pub. date: August 09
"Madison Sabatini thought she knew who she was: an almost-sophomore with a bright future. The newest photographer on her school paper. A shopaholic with great hair and a fabulous wardrobe. Then, in a flash, everything changed.

Now she's stuck in Sandyland, a gloomy beach town in the middle of nowhere, living with her parents in a crappy hotel "suite." Instead of spending the summer with her friends at home, she's hanging out with pink-haired Delilah, an artist who works in a shop called Psychic Photo, and a skater boy named Duncan who's totally not her type. Except, maybe he is . . .

Determined to make the best of things, Madison throws herself into her one passion: photography. But when strange figures start appearing in her pictures—people who weren't there when she snapped the shots, people who are later reported dead—she begins to question everything about who she is . . . and who she wishes she could be."

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe (ARC)
Pub. date: August 09
"Principal Taft's 3 Simple Rules for Surviving a Zombie Uprising:

Rule #1: While in the halls, walk slowly and wear a vacant expression on your face. Zombies won't attack other zombies.
Rule #2: Never travel alone. Move in packs. Follow the crowd. Zombies detest blatant displays of individuality.
Rule #3: If a zombie should attack, do not run. Instead, throw raw steak at to him. Zombies love raw meat. This display of kindness will go a long way.

On the night of her middle school graduation, Margot Jean Johnson wrote a high school manifesto detailing her goals for what she was sure would be a most excellent high school career. She and her best friend, Sybil, would be popular and, most important, have boyfriends. Three years later, they haven't accomplished a thing!

Then Margot and Sybil arrive at school one day to find that most of the student body has been turned into flesh-eating zombies. When kooky Principal Taft asks the girls to coexist with the zombies until the end of the semester, they realize that this is the perfect opportunity to live out their high school dreams. All they have to do is stay alive...."
I got this and Snap from Zombie Girrrl. They both sound really good! Thanks so much, ZG! ^_^

Candor by Pam Bachorz
Pub. date: September 09
"In the model community of Candor, Florida, every teen wants to be like Oscar Banks. The son of the town's founder, Oscar earns straight As, is student-body president, and is in demand for every club and cause.

But Oscar has a secret. He knows that parents bring their teens to Candor to make them respectful, compliant–perfect–through subliminal Messages that carefully correct and control their behavior. And Oscar' s built a business sabotaging his father's scheme with Messages of his own, getting his clients out before they're turned. After all, who would ever suspect the perfect Oscar Banks?
Then he meets Nia, the girl he can't stand to see changed. Saving Nia means losing her forever. Keeping her in Candor, Oscar risks exposure . . . and more."
This one is from my aunt and uncle, who also gave me Muse's newest cd, The Resistance. Thanks so much! I can't wait to read it!

Witch and Wizard by James Patterson
Pub. date: December 09
"EVERYTHING. CHANGES. NOW.

Imagine you wake up and the world around you-life as you know it-has changed in an instant. That's what has happened to Whit Allgood and his sister, Whisty. They went to sleep as normal teenagers, and woke up as wanted criminals. Accused of holding incredible powers they'd never dreamed possible. And now, just how different they are-special, even-if just beginning to be revealed in a strange new world.
It begins...now."
I got this from my parents. I've been waiting for it for months and can't wait to start it! I've been dying to read it since I finished Daniel X: Watch the Skies, which had the first chapter of it. Thanks a bunch, Mom and Dad! ^_^

Gosh, I don't know A) where I'm going to put these (my shelves are kinda full), and B) what I'm going to read first! They all sound sooo good!!! Decisions, decisions...

Happy Holidays, everyone! Hope you had a good... whatever you celebrate!

Eclectically yours,
Dahlia


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sherlock Holmes (the movie)


One word: AWESOME!!!
I expected this movie to be good, and it exceded my expectations. It was great! As with most movies, I didn't really know what it was about before I saw it, only that it was about Sherlock Holmes. Now, I'm not a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, in fact, I'm not a big fan of mysteries at all. That, however, did not matter at all. This movie is almost unhatable (I say "almost" because someone is bound to hate it).
I found the casting rather good, even though I've never read anything about Sherlock Holmes. Holland, who went to see the movie with me, said the characters were really different from the books (which she actually read, unlike me). If that is in fact true, then I'm glad they were different. The movie likely would have been boring any other way.
The fight scenes were really good! Very action-y! It was cool how Sherlock would play out the fight in his head, planning every move, then it would all go as he thought it would.

Anyway, this movie was awesome. I recommend you see it if you get the chance, whether you're a fan of Sherlock Holmes or not. Sherlock Holmes is rated PG-13, opens Christmas day.

Sherlock Holmes was Too Much Rock for One Hand!




Eclectically yours,
Dahlia

Wish List Wednesday 7

What?


House of Dark Shadows

by Robert Liparulo

Monday, December 21, 2009

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

"Meet Skulduggery Pleasant

Ace Detective
Snappy Dresser
Razor–tongued Wit
Crackerjack Sorcerer
and
Walking, Talking,
Fire-throwing Skeleton

—as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old.
These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.
The end of the world?
Over his dead body."

I loved Skulduggery Pleasant! It was sooo funny! The characters, writing, and story were really good.
I found the beginning to be a tad slow, but as soon as Skulduggery was introduced, things picked up. I loved the interaction between Stephanie and Skulduggery! The way they talked, all sarcastic and cocky and witty, reminded me of my friends a bit (but about ten times more amusing). They were almost always joking, and when they weren't it still sounded like they were. They were quite hilarious.
The synopsis didn't offer much info, so I really didn't know what was supposed to happen. As it turned out, it was about a very excellent villain trying to find something called the Sceptor of the Ancients, a very powerful weapon that you did not want to fall into the wrong hands. The quest for the Sceptor and all the fights surrounding it were quite interesting.
The best part of the book by far were the characters. Skulduggery, Stephanie, the hideous tailor Ghastly Bespoke, the extremely awesome Tanith Low, the mysterious and interesting China Sorrows, and the evil beyond reason Nefarian Serpine. Not only were they just interesting and fun to read about, but they had the coolest names! I wish I had a taken name (no, Frankie Barlow and Dahlia don't count), but I can't think of anything that would work. There was something really funny about how to pick your taken name: Don't pick something cool. There were a few examples of people who had picked "cool" names (like Razor and Jett) who were not cool. It was hilarious!
I recommend this book to everyone. It's hard to put into words how much I enjoyed it, which is why this review is kinda short. If you see it, read it, that's all I can say.

Skulduggery Pleasant was Too Much Rock for One Hand.


Eclectically yours,
Dahlia

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Among the Imposters by Margaret Peterson Haddix


"OUT OF HIDING. INTO DANGER.

Luke Garner is an illegal third child. All his life has been spent in hiding. Now, for the first time, Luke is living among others. He has assumed a deceased boy's identity and is attending Hendricks School for Boys, a windowless building with cruel classmates and oblivious teachers. Luke knows he has to blend in, but he lives in constant fear that his behavior will betray him.
Then one day Luke discovers a door to the outside. He knows that beyond the walls of Hendricks lie the secrets he is desperate to uncover. What he doesn't know is whom he can trust — and where the answers to his questions may lead him..."

I think I liked Among the Imposters more than Among the Hidden. There was more going on, and it was just generally more interesting.
Like I said in my review of Among the Hidden, I didn't find Luke's reaction to meeting Jen very believable. The way he acted and felt when he was sent to a boarding school under another name, surrounded for the first time in his life by people he didn't know, was much more realistic.
I suspected that something was strange about the group of kids he met in the woods the moment they appeared. [Spoiler] I never trusted Jason. From the very beginning I knew there was something off about him. He was just too... something, I don't know what (I wish I hadn't forgotten this review for so long, it's been ages since I've read the book, so I can't remember what it was about him that was so untrustworthy).
Once again, I felt bad for Luke. For weeks he was lost in the school, often forgetting the way back to his room, and not even knowing his class schedule, just going along with the herd of students, never ending up in the same place twice. It was kinda sad.
I was a little annoyed by Mr. Talbot's note to Luke. I was just as frustrated as Luke was when the message was finally revealed. It was the most obvious advice ever! I would have shredded the note too.
All in all, this book was okay. I won't read it again (I rarely reread things), but I do plan on finishing the series eventually.

I give Among the Imposters three Fists of Rock.

Eclectically yours,
Dahlia

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In My Mailbox 18

IMM was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

Bought

The Game by Diana Wynn Jones
Pub. date: March 07
"Hayley's parents disappeared when she was a baby. Since then, she has been raised and homeschooled by her grandparents. Grandad is overworked and travels a lot; Grandma is much too strict and never lets her meet any children her own age. When Hayley does something wrong—she is not quite sure what—they pack her off to her aunts in Ireland. To Hayley's shock, her family is much bigger than she thought; to her delight, the children all play what they call "the game," where they visit a place called "the mythosphere." And while she plays the game, Hayley learns more about her own place in the world than she had ever expected. This original novella by Diana Wynne Jones is sharply funny, fast-paced, and surprising until its very end—like all of this acclaimed author's work."
Saw this at the used bookstore, and thought it sounded good. The cover is really pretty (but don't think I'm judging the book by it). ;)

Borrowed

Epic by Conor Kostick
Pub. date: April 07
"Welcome to a society governed through computer games!

On New Earth, society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. If you win, you have the chance to fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing. When teenage Erik dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends must face the Committee. If Erik and his friends win, they may have the key to destroying the Committee's tyranny. But if they lose . . . "
I've been wanting t read this one for a while, but only recently found out it was in my library system. It sounds really good, I'll definitely be starting it soon.

I also borrowed The Summoning and The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong from Zombie Girrrl, which I've already finished. Thanks for lending them to me, ZG! They were really good! ^_^


Eclectically yours,
Dahlia

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Look

Notice anything different? I sure hope you do, I spent a lot of time picking and setting up this new layout and would hate for all that work to go to waste. ;)
It didn't take long to decide I needed a new look for my blog. The plain black background and jellyfish header just weren't working for me anymore. I really like the new layout. I was a little torn between this and two others. Perhaps I'll use them when I innevitably change my background again.
So, what do you think?

EDIT: I'd like to thank Kate of Neverending Shelf for helping me with the blog button (on the left sidebar). You rock, Kate! ^_^

Eclectically yours,
Dahlia

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Big Holiday Contest at Katie's Book Blog

Katie is having a huge contest called The 12 Books of Christmas. Here are the books she'd giving away:

-Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White (ARC)
-Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore (ARC)
-The Girl With The Mermaid Hair by Delia Ephron (ARC)
-Captivate by Carrie Jones (ARC)
-Hearts At Stake by Alyxandra Harvey (ARC)
-The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg (ARC)
-Pastworld by Ian Beck (ARC)
-How To Say Goodbye In Robot by Natalie Standiford (ARC)
-The Maze Runner by James Dashner (HC)
-Same Difference by Siobahn Vivian (HC)
-Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson (PB)
-Oblivion Road by Alex McAulay (PB)

One winner will get all that, plus fun Christmas swag. Contest open to US and Canada only, ends December 26.

Eclectically yours,
Dahlia

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

"When Phoebe's mom returns from Greece with a new husband and moves them to an island in the Aegean, Phoebe's plans for her senior year and track season are ancient history. Now she must attend the uberexclusive academy, where admission depends on pedigree, namely, ancestry from Zeus, Hera, and other Greek gods. That's right, they're real, not myth, and their teen descendants are like the classical heroes—supersmart and superbeautiful with a few superpowers. And now they're on her track team! Armed only with her Nikes and the will to win, Phoebe races to find her place among the gods."

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this, but I liked what I got.
Phoebe was an okay character for the first half of the book: She had goals and was determined to reach them. But somewhere along the line, she lost sight of all that, which really annoyed me. I was also very upset over how everything played out with her and Griffin. I wanted to hit her (and him)!
Anyway, on to story. The story was good, but there are a few things I wish the author had done differently. Like the decendents' powers. I wish they'd been different based on what god they were related to. Yeah, they all had different skills, but they all had the same powers, which were too limitless if you ask me.
I felt like all their problems were solved too quickly. Like when Phoebe almost gave away the secret of Serfopoula, or the ten year feud between Nicole and Griffin. Every time an issue came up, I got the feeling that Childs wimped out a little.
I didn't like how easily everyone accepted the news that the Greek gods were real. Yes, Phoebe fainted when she found out, and had a bit of visual evidense to back up the story, but I still think she accepted it too quickly. SPOILERS! Her friends accepted it waaay too easily. They didn't even really have anything to prove it.
Anyway, I liked this book. There were a few things I think could have been done a little better, but it was still good.

I give Oh. My. Gods. three Fists of Rock.


Eclectically yours,
Dahlia