Saturday, July 31, 2010

Taking a Short Break

I've been kind of busy lately (and also feeling kind of blog lazy), so I don't have any posts prepared for the next week. Rather than try to throw together a bunch of posts (which I still don't really have time to do), I'm going to be taking a short blog break. I'll be back on August 9 or 10 with a much overdo PEA and some pics of my birthday cake (fun fact: the Montage of Cakes post from last year is my most visited post ever).

Eclectically yours,

In My Mailbox 32

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

Won

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
Pub. date: May 2010
"Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she's been hiding all these years, that the one-night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father's too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he has only six weeks to prove he's not a hero in any way, or else he's stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first.
To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad's "flying lessons" that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city—despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights—thwarting the eccentric teen scientist who insists she's his sidekick, and keeping his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero."
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH! I'm sooo excited about this book! I've been wanting it for ages, so of course I had to get it when I won $25 to Book Depository from Eating YA Books during Book Extravaganza. Thank you so much for hosting the contest, Jan! I can't wait to read this!

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
Pub. date: April 2010
"Keep Your Head Down.

Don't Get Noticed.
Or Else.
I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution."
This is the other book I got with my prize from Eating YA Books. I've never read anything by Maria V. Snyder, so I don't know what to expect. It was really hard to choose what my other book would be, I finally settled on this (after making a list and consulting a randomizer), I hope it's good!
 
The Unwritten Rule (signed!) by Elizabeth Scott
Pub. date: March 2010
"Everyone know the unwritten rule: You don't like your best friend's boyfriend.
Sarah has has a crush on Ryan for years. He's easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally getd her. Lately it even seems like he's paying extra attnetion to her. Everything would be perfect except for two tiny details: Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend.
Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herseld not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants to do is hurt her best friend. But when she is thrown together with Etan one night, something happens between them. It's wonderful... and awful. Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can't stop herself from wanting more..."
I won this during the Once Upon a Read-A-Thon hosted by Lori, Candace, and Angela. All the email said was a signed Elizabeth Scott book, so what I actually got was a complete surprise. I just have to say, I'm so glad it wasn't Living Dead Girl! That book sounds kind of terrifying, so it probably would have gone straight to a trade pile or contest. Thanks to the lovely hosts of the read-a-thon! I look forward to reading this!

A pretty good pre-birthday book week, if I do say so myself. I can't wait to read all of these! BIG THANKS to all the contest hosts!

Eclectically yours,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rating Reads: Back and Better Than Ever!

Rating Reads: Back and Better Than Ever!: "Rating Reads is back! And it really is better than ever! There are lots of new things that will (hopefully) improve the blog. First off, w..."

Check out the rest of the post to learn about all the new features over at Rating Reads!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 4

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply 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!
Currently reading: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
"So you can't live in Manhattan?" she asked.
Amos's brow furrowed as he looked across at the Empire State Building. "Manhattan has other problems. Other gods. It's best we stay separate."
Page 52
Eclectically yours,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pants on Fire by Meg Cabot

"Liar, liar.
Katie Ellison is not a liar.
It's just that telling the truth is so . . . tricky. She knows she shouldn't be making out with a drama club hottie behind her football- player boyfriend's back. She should probably admit that she can't stand eating quahogs (clams), especially since she's running for Quahog Princess in her hometown's annual Quahog Festival. And it would be a relief to finally tell someone what really happened the night Tommy Sullivan is a freak was spray-painted on the new wall outside the junior high school gymnasium-in neon orange, which still hasn't been sandblasted off. After all, everyone knows that's what drove Tommy out of town four years ago.
But now Tommy Sullivan has come back. Katie is sure he's out for revenge, and she'll do anything to hang on to her perfect (if slightly dishonest) existence. Even if it means telling more lies than ever. Even if, now that Tommy's around, she's actually-no lie- having the time of her life."

Pants on Fire was a really quick read. I finished it in a couple of hours. It was a fairly amusing book, but I found some of the characters hard to like and the plot to be a little cliche. The writing was excellent. The mystery of what happened four years ago unfolded at just the right pace to keep me interested throughout the entire book.
I found Katie incredibly difficult to like, or even tolerate. For one thing, she was a horrible liar, and she had a serious problem when it came to guys (which she admitted to. I can't count the number of times she said "What's wrong with me?" or "Something's wrong with me."). Her guy problem made her seem really pathetic. I also found it annoying how hard she tried to please everyone, even if it meant sacrificing her own happiness and telling endless lies.
As for Katie's friends, they were as bad as her, but in different ways. There was Seth, her boyfriend, who hated Tommy Sullivan for something he did to his brother, even though it was the right thing to do. Sidney was just so shallow and snobby, and liked herself way too much.
My least favorite characters were definitely the football coach and Liam, Katie's brother. Liam really did drink the Kool-Aid when he joined the football team! The coach was horrible, the way he made it seem like non-Quahogs were inferior because they weren't on the stupid football team. The whole town was annoying in that way, giving the Quahogs special treatment and acting like anyone that said anything against the team was committing some kind of blasphemy. I mean, it was just football!
Tommy was one of the few decent characters (the other waitresses at the Gull 'N Gulp weren't bad either) because he didn't worship the Quahogs. I felt kind of bad because everyone hated him for doing the right thing. Books with that theme really irritate me.
All in all, this was an okay book. A little cliche, and very predictable, but not a waste of time. I recommend it to fans of chick-lit and anyone looking for a light read.

Pants of Fire gets three Roller Skates.
Eclectically yours,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wish List Wednesday 22

What?

Gone

by Michael Grant

Monday, July 19, 2010

Giveaway at Jennifer Laurens' Blog

Jennifer Laurens is giving away copies of Heavenly and A Season of Eden, plus notebooks and shirts for both books. Visit her blog to enter. Ends Saturday.

Eclectically yours,

Saturday, July 17, 2010

In My Mailbox 31

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

Borrowed

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Pub. date: May 10
"Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.


One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs."
This sounds really good, I'm so glad my library had it. Sadly I'll have to wait until I finish some of the books I'm reading now before I can start it.

Eclectically yours,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wish List Wednesday 21

What?

Only the Good Spy Young


by Ally Carter

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Once Upon a Read-A-Thon

Once Upon A Read-A-Thon

Read-A-Thon, Day One

I got a late start (didn't start reading until after dinner), so I didn't make much progress yesterday. I also kind of forgot about the read-a-thon until the last minute, so I was really unprepaired.

Day One Progress:
3 chapters of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Read-A-Thon, Day Two

I got a much earlier start today, and spent a short amount of time reading.

Progress so far:
5 chapters of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
2 chapters of What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook

I'm hoping to finish What Would Emma Do? by tonight, but it's kind of slow so far so it might not happen.
Eclectically yours,

Teaser Tuesday 3

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply 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!
Currently reading: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
In a second of frozen horror the Maestra screamed and he gasped, "No!" staggering one step toward her. Then Keiro had hold of him and was shouting and something was cracking and as if the pain in his head had slowed them down he saw the chains and rivets that held the bridge snapping and jerking out, heard Jormanric's great howl of laughter and knew this was treachery.
page 92
Eclectically yours,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Affiliate News

Sorry, no Previously on Eclectic Affiliates today. The feature is undergoing a slight makeover (plain link list wasn't working for me), and it should be back next week, much better than before.



On another affiliate related note, Dahlia of The Book Shopaholic is now an Eclectic Affiliate. Whoo! That brings me up to 3 affiliates, which means there are only 2 spots left. If you're interested in becoming my affiliate, check out this post and fill out the form. :)

Eclectically yours,

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Big Contest at The Bodacious Pen

Head on over to The Bodacious Pen for your chance to win some fabulous books! Tara is hosting an excellent contest, with three winners, one big prize pack, and a bunch of books to choose from. This contest is open anywhere the Book Depository ships, ends July 26.
Some of the books you could win:
Clockwork Angel ARC
Crescendo
Nightshade
Paranormalcy
Beautiful Darkness
Mockingjay
Those are only a few of the options. Click here to see the rest and enter for your chance to win!

Eclectically yours

In My Mailbox 30

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

Borrowed

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Pub. date: July 10
"Incarceron is a prison unlike any other: Its inmates live not only in cells, but also in metal forests, dilapidated cities, and unbounded wilderness. The prison has been sealed for centuries, and only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.


Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, can’t remember his childhood and believes he came from Outside Incarceron. He’s going to escape, even though most inmates don’t believe that Outside even exists. And then Finn finds a crystal key and through it, a girl named Claudia.

Claudia claims to live Outside—her father is the Warden of Incarceron and she’s doomed to an arranged marriage. If she helps Finn escape, she will need his help in return. But they don’t realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost far more than they know.

Because Incarceron is alive."
Started this the other day, so far it's really good!

Random Gifting

Night Runner by Max Turner
Pub. date: September 09
"For Zack Thomson, living in the Nicholls Ward isn't so bad. After his parents died, he developed strange and severe allergies, and the mental institution was the only place where he could be properly looked after. As strange as it was, it was home. He could watch as much television as he wanted; his best friend Charlie visited him often enough; and Nurse Ophelia--the prettiest no-nonsense nurse ever--sometimes took him bowling. Of course, that didn't mean he had it easy. His allergies restricted his diet to strawberry smoothies, and being the only kid at the hospital could get lonely. But it never once crossed Zack's mind to leave...until the night someone crashed through the front doors and told him to run. Now he's on a race for answers--about his past, his parents, and his strange sickness--even as every step takes him closer to the darkest of truths."
This wasn't Zombie Girrrl's cup of tea, so she let me have it. Thanks so much, ZG! I can't wait to read it! :)

That's all I got this week.

Eclectically yours,

Friday, July 9, 2010

Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler

"Ashlyn Woods has just transferred to one of the most beautiful campuses on the west coast, where she can't wait to start her life over as a normal college student. But her plans take an unexpected turn when she discovers that she is a Soterian: a person who develops special powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil's favor.

Soon she and the other Soterians are studying martial arts and learning to use their powers to prevent California from being plunged into chaos. But they quickly discover that they're up against a much more dangerous enemy than they anticipated.
And when Ashlyn meets Kai, a devastatingly gorgeous guitar player, she realizes she must sacrifice more than she ever imagined."
 
I got Rising Shadow as part of a tour, and was really excited to read it. It had an interesting premise—people gaining powers when the balance of good and evil shifted too much in evil's favor, and losing them when things were balanced out again—but the plot wasn't quite up to par with it, and the characters seemed a bit unrealistic at times. There was also a heavy-handed lesson—don't drink (which, seriously, is a sad lesson to have to teach when the demographic you're aiming at is under 21)—that I think could have been left out/more subtle.

I had a really hard time getting into this book. The pace was, for me, incredibly slow. It started out with the end of the book, then skipped to four months earlier. So, in a way, it started out at a run, tripped, took its time getting up, moseyed along until nearly the end, at which point it started jogging, then slowed down to a walk.
I had a hard time liking Ashlyn. She had serious self esteem issues that got old and annoying early on in the book. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's someone that says they're not good enough for their boyfriend/girlfriend. Not only that, but when Ashlyn and Kai were together, they were nauseating, and they were just as bad apart, but in a different way. I can't recall ever rolling my eyes at a book before, but many an eye was rolled while I read this, for a number of reasons.
Other than making me slightly ill (I'm talking multiple occasions of them saying "I love you more than life itself" or something to that effect), I felt like their relationship was a little rushed.
SPOILER ALERT
I was kind of annoyed when another group of Soterians was brought in out of nowhere, about halfway through the book. Even more so when, in the beginning of the last quarter of the book, Ashlyn got the powers of all the Soterians. There was only a teensy bit of lead up and hinting about this. I think the Alchemist thing could have been mentioned earlier on, it came across as an afterthought.
SPOILER OVER
The twist at the end might have come a little late to be resolved like it was. I feel like, even though the book seemed too long to me, it could have used another chapter between discovering the big twist and the big twist being wrapped up.
The writing was good, very descriptive. I'm a big fan of descriptive writing, and this book had plenty of it. Wheeler did an excellent job of painting a vivid picture, making each scene clearly visible to the reader.
So, all in all, it just wasn't my kind of book. Had I read it at another time, without the pressure of a deadline, I might have enjoyed it more. The premise was interesting, the writing excellent, but the plot and characters fell a little flat. As for whether you should read it, I'll leave that up to you.
I give Rising Shadow 2 1/2 out of 5 Roller Skates.
Eclectically yours,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dark Divine Giveaway at Squeaky Books

Enna Isilee over at Squeaky Books is having a contest giving away Bree Despain's The Dark Divine! Head on over to Ennalee's blog (Click Here) to find out how to win. In the meantime, check out this awesome trailer for the book!





Eclectically yours,

Giveaway at Just Another Book Addict

My affiliate Lindsay over at Just Another Book Addict is having an 81 Hour Giveaway for a $40 gift certificate to CSN Stores! Head on over to her blog to enter.
Better hurry, time is running out.


Eclectically yours,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wish List Wednesday 20

What?

Give Up the Ghost

by Megan Crewe

Dark Divine Trailer

Check out the trailer for The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. Seriously, watch it. Don't like book trailers? Watch it anyway. Why? Because Bree is hosting an awesome contest on her blog, and the more views the trailer gets, the better the prize. So what are you waiting for?! Click play already! And when you're done, visit Bree's blog to enter Bree's Book-Bag Blowout Celebration!



Eclectically yours,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2010

I have decided to register for BBAW 2010. I doubt I'll win any of the awards (I'll be up against some great blogs), but it sounds like fun. And who knows, maybe I will win something (that would be a huge shock!).
I'll be entering for Best Young Adult Book Blog and Best Written Book Blog.

My 5 posts
Wish me luck!

Eclectically yours,

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Read Your Name Challenge 2010

I have decided to join another challenge, the Read Your Name Challenge hosted by Phantom Inkheart.
I will update my list here, as well as in a widget at the bottom of my blog (with all the other challenge stuff).

Daykeeper's Grimoire by Christy Raedeke
Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri
House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo
Love*Com vol. 1 by Aya Nakahara
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Awakening by Michael Carroll

COMPLETED OCTOBER 14, 2010

Eclectically yours,

Friday, July 2, 2010

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter

"When Cammie “The Chameleon” Morgan visits her roommate Macey in Boston, she thinks she’s in for an exciting end to her summer break. After all, she’s there to watch Macey’s father accept the nomination for vice president of the United States. But when you go to the world’s best school (for spies), “exciting” and “deadly” are never far apart. Cammie and Macey soon find themselves trapped in a kidnappers’ plot, with only their espionage skills to save them.
As her junior year begins, Cammie can’t shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn’t feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion’s corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe?
Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey’s private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer and closer to the shocking truth. . . ."
 
I’m not quite sure where to start, there are a lot of things I liked about this book. The writing was excellent, the pace good. It was an exciting edition to a series I already loved, and by far the best.
One of the things I liked the most about Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover in comparison to its predecessors, was that it wasn’t centered around boys and Cammie’s problems with them. There was a lot more action, and the mystery kept me guessing until the very end. Every time it seemed like the characters had solved the mystery, something happened that changed their whole view of it, and mine. It made it an addictive read that I couldn’t put down.
Another thing I really liked was that the scary, traumatizing events actually changed them. There are some books, one of which I read recently, where a character will walk away from some near-death experience without being affected the way they should have. I liked the paranoia and flashbacks Cammie and Macey got from almost being kidnapped.
There are only two things I didn’t like about this book.
  1. Cammie mentioned being a spy, being related to spies, going to a spy school, and not being an average, non-lethal 16 year old girl too much. In every other spy book I’ve ever read (and trust me, there are a lot), they never talked about being spies. They just were. In future books, it would be nice for the word “spy” not to come up quite so much.
  2. Instead of wondering why she always ran into Zach in unexpected places, usually breaching security, she was more concerned with the fact that he didn’t kiss her. It was really annoying, and made Cammie hard to like in those moments.
All in all, an excellent read. I highly recommend this series, and really look forward to the fourth book, Only the Good Spy Young.

I give Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover four Roller Skates.

Eclectically yours,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Be My Affiliate

I've been thinking about blog affiliates for a long time, flip-flopping between liking the idea and not liking it. I've finally decided, after quite a bit of thinking, that I like the idea of affiliates. So, now I'm looking to get some.

What kind of affiliates am I looking for? Nothing complex, just bloggers
  • That post at least twice a week, but I'm not super strict about this because I know it can sometimes be hard to find time to blog. Just make sure your blog is relatively active.
  • Whose main focus is YA or mid-grade books. Because I don't read adult books, and it wouldn't make sense to be affiliates with someone who blogs about something I'm not involved/interested in.
  • If you're a writer, all the better! Perhaps we could turn our blog affiliation into a critique group.
See, simple.

What do you get for being my affiliate?
  • Your button on my sidebar.
  • Your blog on a special Affiliates Only blogroll.
  • Your latest posts featured in a weekly update on my blog.
  • Optional monthy review swap
  • Optional book-related guest posts on my blog, whenever you like (please note that I have the right to edit/reject any guest post if I don't agree with the content)
I may add other features in the future, but for now, that's all I can think of. Feel free to share any ideas you have.

I'm kind of hoping that whoever I affiliate with will become a group, and that all my affiliates will be affiliated with each other, and they'll affiliate with the other people their affiliates are affiliated with. That make sense?

So, anyone interested in becoming my affiliate, fill out THIS FORM, and I'll email you if you get picked. By the way, I'm looking for about 5 or 6 affiliates, so there's a good chance everyone that fills out the form will get picked (because honestly, I don't expect that huge of a turnout).

On a different note, I'll be adding a new page soon with all the blog buttons I used to have displayed on my sidebar. The slideshow widget doesn't work with my new layout for some reason, but I still want to display all the buttons somewhere. So, if you'd like me to add you to my blogroll page, just leave the link to you blog or your button code in a comment (whichever you want on the page).

Eclectically yours,