Monday, December 21, 2009

Review: The Victor by Marlayne Giron

the victorThe Victor

By: Marlayne Giron

Published by: Tate Publishing

ISBN: 9781607991847

276 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Christian/Fantasy

Product Description (from the back cover):

A benevolent King; …his sword of power; …a ruthless traitor bent on revenge; …and the faithful son who stands in his way with the woman destined to share his throne.

Who shall emerge as the victor in this epic struggle between good and evil to govern the lives of hapless men?

The General Review: The Victor is a fantastically written story about how good triumphs over evil. Filled with conflict, despair and heartache, this novel depicts that love conquers all and to not lose hope.

Likes: The medieval world that Giron creates is captivating, and after the first few chapters (see below) I was sucked in. Her descriptions are brilliant; I did not want to put the book down.

Dislikes: The Prologue and 1st chapter are long and a little slow. I almost lost interest. I think the author should have broken up the prologue into a few chapters.

Closing Comments: Though The Victor is an allegory of major Bible events, you do not have to be religious to appreciate the fantasy world that the author has created.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Review: The Bringer of War by Dylan Birtolo

The Bringer of War is the sequel to The Shadow Chaser. You can see my review of The Shadow Chaser here.

Bringer of WarThe Bringer of War

By: Dylan Birtolo

Published by

ISBN: 1435729374 (isbn13: 9781435729377)

234 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Urban Fantasy

Product Description (from the back cover): The stand-alone sequel to The Shadow Chaser, an urban fantasy novel.

Three months have passed since Darien Yost learned that the world was not all he believed it to be – that underneath the surface of the world he knew, people exist with the ability to shift between human and animal form at will. These people, who have waged a secret war for centuries, now struggle for control over Darien’s destiny. Even among the shifters, he has a special power – one that they believe could tip the scales of balance.

Now, Darien and his friends are hunting the organization of shifters that tried to enslave him three months ago. Meanwhile, a renegade shifter with secrets tries to pull him away from his friends. She believes that together they could rule over all. Alone, their fates could be madness.

The General Review: Darien and friends are back again in The Bringer of War, a fast paced, suspenseful addition to The Shadow Chaser. The fantastical world of shape-shifting is explored deeper and friendships are tested while Darien learns what it really means to embrace his destiny.

Likes: Each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view. I enjoyed the different perspectives, it gives the story more depth and brings out characters personalities.

Like its predecessor, The Shadow Chaser, I really liked the descriptions and the flow of the novel. This author is an excellent writer, his words easily creating vivid mental pictures.

Dislikes: There are a few holes in the story. For example, a few times in the book Richard wanders off on his own and comes back with information or items needed, but the author never shares any details of his errands. I would have liked to read about what Richard was doing while away from the main characters and who he was meeting with.

Closing Comments: Although The Bringer of War was written as a stand-alone sequel, I recommend reading The Shadow Chaser first to understand the journey the protagonist has experienced.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

hush, hush







Hush, Hush

By Becca Fitzpatrick

Published by: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

ISBN: 1416989412    (isbn13: 9781416989417)

400 Pages

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Paranormal Romance


Product Description: For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

General Review: Hush, Hush is a sexy, mysterious, action-packed novel that will keep you turning the pages well into the night. Full of complex characters and twists and turns; Hush, Hush will keep you guessing who is the enemy (or enemies?) is until the reveal.

Likes: I really liked the “fallen angel” story line. I haven’t read anything about fallen angels. It seems like everything right now is about vampires, werewolves and faeries.

I also thought that Fitzpatrick did a great job describing the complexity of Nora’s emotions. One minute she’s captivated by Patch, the next she’s scared of him. Add in the attention of another teenage boy and you have some great teenage angst.

Dislikes: Nora’s BFF Vee drove me crazy!! At first I thought it was her immaturity that I didn’t like, but then I realized that every other teenager in the book acted way more mature then their age and she acted like a normal teenage girl. But still, I thought the author could have given Vee’s character a few more brain cells.

Judging a Book by its Cover: I was very fascinated by the cover art of this novel. I didn’t get the interpretation of it until I was well into the story.

Closing Comments: I’m usually skeptical when a book is overly hyped, but in my opinion, Hush, Hush lived up to all the talk. I was rather impressed that Hush, Hush is Becca Fitzpatrick’s first novel and there’s going to be a sequel, Crescendo. I can’t wait!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Movie Review: New Moon

New Moon



I went to the 12:01am showing of New Moon this morning. My friend and I got to the movie theatre 2.5 hours early to get seats. To stay awake, because I worked all day at my job and didn’t get a nap before going to the theatre, I watched Twilight on my iPod.

I was a little leery going to the Midnight showing of New Moon because I was disappointed in the movie Twilight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad The Twilight Saga is being made into a movie, but I thought Twilight was done very poorly. But I went to the the Midnight showing anyways because my best friend was going and I thought the experience would be fun.

Here are some of my thoughts about New Moon:

The special effects were well done. Edward’s “sparkling” was way better than in Twilight. It doesn’t look like he’s sweating. The Quileute's shifting into wolves was flawless. It didn’t look choppy at all. The CGI wolves were a little on the unrealistic side, but it didn’t ruin the movie for me. The special effects in Twilight really disappointed me. I thought the running and climbing of trees looked extremely fake.

The quality of the film was much better. New Moon didn’t have the shaky, indie feel that Twilight did. It looked like a well done Hollywood blockbuster. I think having a much bigger budget and a different director definitely helped.

The dialogue was a lot lighter and funnier. I found myself laughing out loud a lot throughout the movie. The script for New Moon wasn’t as moody as Twilight. The secondary characters were very witty. I especially loved Charlie, Bella’s dad and the Quileute boys.

The story line for the movie stayed very close to the book. Obviously when Hollywood turns a book into a movie, they embellish it. I thought the parts where the movie strayed from the book were appropriate and added to the plot.

The action scenes were intense. From the wolf fights (Paul and Jake), to the Volturi throw down (not in the book, but I thought it was pretty cool), the action sequences were really well choreographed. Not very realistic, but keep in mind that the wolves and the vampires are supernatural creatures. 

There was very little about the movie I didn’t like. I might even go see it again, because the teenage girls kept applauding and screaming at the beginning when Edward or Jacob came on scene. That was very annoying.

I recommend The Twilight Saga: New Moon to anyone who is a fan of the series and to those who are skeptical. In my opinion, New Moon was so well done, you don’t even need to be familiar with the books or watch Twilight first to know what’s going on.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An Update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. Besides working crazy long hours at work, let’s see what I’ve been up to, shall we?

On Sunday I went to the Seahawks game!!! I got tickets from a co-worker. I’ve been to a ton of Mariner games, but I’ve never seen the Seahawks live. My friend and I had a lot of fun and the Seahawks even won!! Here are a few pictures taken from my iPhone from my seat:





I’ve recently joined the gym. Usually I walk or ride my bike on a trail near my house, but it’s dark when I wake up and dark when I get home from work. Yesterday, I met with a personal trainer, who went over a fitness plan for me and showed my how to use the machines without looking like an idiot. Now I’m sore, but it’s the good kind of pain that produces results.

Now here’s what I haven’t been up to:

I haven’t updated my blog lately with any book review, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading! I have a stack of books anxiously waiting to be reviewed. Here’s a little preview, listed in no particular review order:

stealing death

Stealing Death by Janet Lee Carey

I went to the Launch Party for this book a few months ago, where I picked up an autographed copy of this book.



hush, hush

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

This is the debut book by Becca Fitzpatrick. Will it live up to all the hype? Checked out from my local library.



Bringer of War

The Bringer of War by Dylan Birtolo

How will this stand alone sequel compare to its predecessor, The Shadow Chaser? Purchased from the author.



the victorThe Victor by Marlayne Giron

The author contacted me from a comment I left on someone else’s review of this book! I never turn down a review copy.




Sanctuary by N.E. Julian

I received a review copy of this book from the author.




Dreamer by Philip L. Davidson

I received a review copy from the author.




I also have not started my novel for NaNoWriMo yet. Yes, I am officially freaking out. I have been thinking (ok, stressing!!) about this since before November 1. I have a 4-day weekend this weekend, so guess what I’m gonna start right after I post this?

In other news, I won a Radiohead CD from Shelley at Layers of Thought!! Yay!! I love free stuff and surprisingly I don’t already own this CD.

If you don’t already, I highly recommend you check out Logan’s Writing Wednesdays on his blog, Rememorandom. Each Wednesday, Logan posts a new segment of his various writing projects. He recently finished Part 1 of a serial story and has moved onto an epic poem that I found very impressive.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Review: Embellish by R.L. Sloan



By R.L. Sloan

Published by Outskirts Press, Inc.

ISBN: 1432740326    (ISBN13: 9781432740320)

244 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Paranormal Romance

Received review copy of Embellish from the author, R.L. Sloan


Book Description (from the back cover): Revenge has never tasted so sweet…

As a young girl, Solis Burkes is raped at the hands of ruthless school bullies – an incident that haunts her into young adulthood. Then she meets Nacio, a strikingly handsome man who seems to know everything about her – including the painful past Solis hasn’t told anyone about. But what Solis doesn’t know is that Nacio has been with her every step of the way, protecting her ever since that fateful episode.

It’s a destiny he’s been working up to for the last 257 years.

Now, as Solis enters a dark world of vampires, voodoo, and passion, she’ll need all the protection she can get. Unbeknownst to her, those responsible for Solis’s rape have returned. Connected to the evil voodoo Priestess Aldicia, they’ll stop at nothing in their plans to spew violence and mayhem throughout the city. And an old family feud dating back centuries puts Solis first on their list of targets. But not is Solis can unravel the clues fast enough, and inflict her own brand of revenge.

Embellish mixes sexy romance with high-stakes paranormal intrigue for a keeps-you-guessing, fast-paced and savvy thriller, right up until the shocking finale.

General Review: Bringing a fresh twist to the popular vampire love story, Embellish is a vivid paranormal romance. Filled with creative twists and turns, Embellish will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment to this saga.

Likes: I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Each character is very unique and memorable.

Dislikes: This book has a lot of grammar and punctuation imperfections and there are a few inconsistencies throughout the story.

Judging a Book by its Cover: I like the Mardi Gras mask. It’s simple and classy.

Closing Comments: If you can look past the inconsistencies and errors, Embellish is a great addition to the vampire trend. I’m looking forward to more from this author and the sequel to this book - Embellish 2: Justice Served.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My vacation so far, NaNoWriMo, and contests

Sigh, only a few more days left in my vacation. Where does the time go? I feel like I haven’t done anything productive. I caught a nasty cold and have been sick for a few days now. I’ve been sleeping a lot and I haven’t read near as much as I was hoping to.

On Saturday I picked up my car from the mechanic (it runs AWESOME!!) and took my nieces Ali and Hailey to Penumbra – a fantasy faire. It’s an event put on by the Seattle Knights. There were pirates and knights jousting and faeries and more!! We had a lot of fun and Dave Matthews was even among the crowd!! If you ever have a chance to go to one of their events, I highly recommend you do. You will not be disappointed. I wish I had some pics to post to show you the awesomeness of their performances.

On Monday, I signed up to participate in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short. For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s basically a personal challenge to write a 50,000 (or more!) word novel from scratch between November 1 thru the 30th. There are no promises of a book deal or any other contest winnings, just the satisfaction of completing the task. I heard about this challenge back in 2005, but this is the first year I’ve actually committed to it. I almost forgot about it but Dave mentioned it a few days ago on his blog.

It’s been a life-long dream to write a novel. I participated in my first writing contest at the age of 11, but I’ve put my writing passion on the back burner since high school ended and I pursued accounting for a career. It’s only been just recently that I started writing again and began this blog. My writing skills are a little rusty, but you can’t sharpen your skills without practice, right? So, during the month of November, my faithful readers will get the privilege of seeing me post updates on my status in NaNoWriMo and if you’re lucky, I MIGHT post my story here if I finish it. If you’re a writer looking for a fresh challenge or a spark to light the stories bouncing around inside your head, I recommend you sign up to participate in NaNoWriMo.

If you get a chance, don’t forget to check out Shellie’s blog tomorrow and participate in her book giveaway!!

That’s all the excitement I have to share. I think I’ll take a nap now…

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater



By Maggie Stiefvater

Published by Scholastic Press

ISBN: 0545123267   ISBN13: 9780545123266

392 Pages

Genre: YA Fiction/Paranormal Romance


Book Description (from the publisher): For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

The General Review: Shiver is a haunting and lovely paranormal romance between Sam, a shape shifting wolf and Grace, the human he loves. Up against personal tragedy and supernatural circumstances, the two protagonists tell their story in a poetic beauty that is enchanting.

Likes: I liked the alternating perspectives for each chapter. I think by reciprocating the viewpoint, the reader discovers more the the characters personalities. Also, the transition between the two perspectives are seamless.

Dislikes: There were a few shape shifting facts that were a little unbelievable or weren’t explained in detail. I don’t want to give examples because I don’t want to blow it for those of you that haven’t read the book yet.

Judging a Book by its Cover: I like the simplicity of this cover. Excellent design.

Closing Comments: This one of the better YA novels I’ve read in a while (besides Catching Fire by Susanne Collins, which is in its own category of awesomeness). I did expect the story to be more suspenseful, but I was not disappointed. I recommend Shiver to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance and shape shifting.

Blog Discussion: If you could shape shift into any animal, what would it be and why?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Where have I been?

I know, I know, my faithful fans are missing my posts and reviews. I have been really busy with a couple of work projects. I've been putting in a lot of hours at the office. By the time I get home, I'm exhausted and do not want to spend any more time staring at a monitor. But, my vacation starts Friday!!! Yay!!!

If you get a free moment, check out Shellie's contest here. She's giving away a Radiohead CD. All you have to do is EMAIL her your top 5 favorite albums and explain why your top one is your favorite. This was a very hard choice for me. I own over 700 albums, so I consulted my faithful friend, iTunes. I sorted my library by play count and here are the top 5 albums I listen to:

1. Some Mad Hope by Matt Nathanson

2. All Sides by O.A.R.

3. The Fray by The Fray

4. Busted Stuff by Dave Matthews Band

5. The Glass Passenger by Jack's Mannequin

In other news, some of you know my beloved 2002 Volkswagon Jetta has been acting up. It's been running weird and the front end was shaking when I go above 35 mph. Then it started dying on me. So I finally took it to my mechanic. Basically, my problems were a combination of a cracked drive axel, my transmission going out and 3 out of the 4 ignition coils were really bad and the 4th one was only kinda bad. Luckily, I still have 2400 miles left on my warranty so they are footing the bill to repair everything!! Sadly, I have been without a car because of diagnotics and the warranty company taking their sweet time to inspect the damage so they can approve the claim so my mechanic can do the work. I have my car back for now, but my new transmission will be ready to be installed on Wednesday, so I will have to be without my car again for a few more day. But when I get it back, no more shaking and dying!!

As for book related news, I was recently given a Barnes & Noble giftcard. I have over 200 books on my to-read list, so choosing books to purchase at Barnes & Noble was very hard. I decided to buy a couple of books that I've been waiting for from the library for a while and a new release that I really wanted to read. The new release is Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I recently read Lament: A Faerie Queen's Deception by Stiefvater and really liked it. The other 2 books I got are Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris (the book HBO's True Blood is based off of) and Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Dave, Logan, Krista and Shellie (their blogs are all awesome! If you don't follow them, you really should!!) all have been talking about Mistborn and how awesome it is. I didn't want to feel left out, so I jumped on the Mistborn bandwagon. I'm excited to read them all.

Review: Lonestar Secrets

This is the first book I’m reviewing for Thomas Nelson.

Lonestar Secrets

By Colleen Coble

Published by Thomas Nelson

320 Pages

ISBN: 1595544879 (isbn13: 9781595544872)

Genre: Fiction/Christian Romance

Book Description: Shannon Astor returns to southwest Texas to serve as the town's veterinarian, believing she's finally found the space to get her life back on track.

Then she catches a glimpse of Jack MacGowan, the man who ruined her life years before. But even more shocking is the sight of Jack's five-year-old daughter Faith, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Shannon's own daughter Kylie. Is it possible that their similarities could be more than just coincidence? Could Faith be the daughter that Shannon has believed to be dead for all these years?

As the truth emerges, everyone is forced to take sides--in a story with a heart as big as Texas.

A Quick Synopsis: Trying to put her life back together, Shannon returns to her hometown to become the town veterinary. But shortly after her arrival to the farmhouse her uncle bequeathed her in his will, the puzzle pieces to her life become even more mixed up.

Likes: The pace of the story is well done. The author didn’t spend too much time on any one conflict.

Dislikes: The plot is very unrealistic. The storyline read like a soap opera. There are way too many twists and coincidences. The interpersonal conflicts and mysteries that the author meant to be suspenseful are very predictable.

Closing Comments: I didn't really care for this book. If you like a quick, light, christian romance read, you will enjoy this book.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Review: Along for the Ride

Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors. Her work mainly appeals to teenage girls, but as a 28 year old, I find her work intelligent and timeless.

Along for the Ride

By Sarah Dessen

Published by Viking Juvenile

383 Pages

ISBN: 0670011940 (isbn13: 9780670011940)

Book Description: It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.
A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.
In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.

A Quick Synopsis: Studious Auden goes to live with her father, his new wife and brand new baby sister for the summer before starting her first year of college. Breaking free from her academically demanding mother and the expectations of others, Auden learns to enjoy and live life to the fullest and learns how to be herself.

The General Review: A well written, coming of age story about a girl learning who she really is. Overcoming family, personal and social conflicts, the protagonist experiences a summer of new experiences with the most unlikely of friends. Sarah Dessen captivates her audience again with a story of self-discovery.

Likes: The author has a way with words that suck you in to the story. Her descriptions are very detailed. Sarah Dessen is an amazing story teller and has a talent for capturing teenage emotions.

Dislikes: My only dislike is that the storyline is very similar to other Sarah Dessen novels. But there is enough of a difference to keep the reader intrigued.

Judging a Book by its Cover: I’m not a big fan of the cover. I think its too cutesy to accurately portray the storyline.

The Cast: The characters are complex and believable. Even minor characters are memorable and well developed. If you’re familiar with Dessen’s other books, characters from other books usually make cameo’s. This book is no exception.

Closing Comments: Overall I enjoyed this book. I recommend Along for the Ride for anyone looking for a light, fun easy read.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Launch Party and other news

On Saturday, my niece Ali and I went to Janet Lee Carey's launch party for her newest release, Stealing Death. It was a lot of fun! There was a Marimba Band and the food was good. Met some cool people, including Janet. I heard afterwards that Deb Caletti was there. I wish I would have recognized her. She's one of my favorite authors and she lives in the Seattle area. It would have made my month to talk to her. My niece got to talk to Janet about publishing her own work and she asked a lot of good questions. Janet is super nice and if you get a chance, check out her books. I will be posting a review of Stealing Death in the near future. Here's a few pictures that I took. They're not the greatest, because they were taken with my iPhone.

The Marimba Band

Janet reading an excerpt from Stealing Death

In other news, I mentioned that I was going on vacation starting today. Plans have changed, and I'm now going on vacation next month. My vacation plans are still the same though; read books and write reviews. Ah, if only I made money reading.

Speaking of reading, if you live in the Seattle area, The Half Price Books Warehouse in Seattle is having a clearance sale this Saturday and Sunday. They are selling everything for $1 or less!!! Those of you who don't live near Seattle, if you want me to keep my eyes out for something in particular, send me an email or leave a comment and I will look for it and mail it to you.

I know that some of my faithful readers have been waiting for another word definition provided by my awesome Word of the Day desk calendar. Lately the words have been pretty ordinary. But I will share with you yesterdays word because it annoyed me.

Improvident - an adjective meaning:

  • not provident
  • not foreseeing and providing for the future

The word itself isn't what annoyed me, it was one of the definitions. What kind of definition is "not provident"? It drives me crazy when a word is defined by the word.

Finally, I want to wish my awesome niece, Ali a Happy 17th Birthday!!! You're going to love your present!! (hehehe)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Awards and Launch Parties

I won my first award!!!! YAY!! Thanks to Jessica at A Book Lovers Diary for nominating me for:

Sweet! Somebody thinks my blog is cool!! I want to thank Shellie at Layers of Thought for all her help and advice for my blog. If you're not already following her, I highly recommend you do. Her blog is awesome.

If you're in the Seattle area on Saturday, there is a launch party for Janet Lee Carey's newest book, Stealing Death. Janet is one of the founders of ReaderGirlz. I love supporting local authors, so stop by if you can. I'll be there, picking up my own copy of Stealing Death and meeting Janet. Keep an eye out for my review of Stealing Death coming very soon.

Speaking of reviews, I haven't had a chance to read and write any reviews with my brother in town and a crazy work schedule. But don't fret! I'm on vacation starting September 16th. My husband and I normally go to the Florida Keys, but both of us had to take pay cuts this year, so the vacation budget got cut. But, this means more time to read the growing pile of books. So, stay tuned.......

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Yep, I went to PAX this weekend

Those who know me are probably surprised that I would go to an event like PAX. It’s a video game convention and I don’t even own a video game console (Please don’t hold that against me!!). But those who know me well are not surprised by my attendance to PAX. I love doing things that seem “out of character” for me and I like to experience new things. That, and my brother travels to Seattle every year to attend the 3 day event. For the last 3 years, he has invited me to go with him. PAX is always Labor Day weekend, and the Dave Matthews Band always plays at the Gorge Labor Day weekend as well. However, this year I could not afford the yearly pilgrimage to the DMB Mecca to see my favorite band perform, so I thought I would spend some time with my brother in his element. I had a lot of fun. I watched my brother play a bunch of games and I saw some interesting things:

dragon age Dragon Age Booth Guy


Yes, it appears that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a short bus…

Bull Ride

I can’t remember which game this was for, but I thought it was pretty cool to watch some dude ride an evil looking horse.


This is about the only thing I recognized :)


Where else can you go dressed like this and not be considered strange?

(Pics courtesy of my rockin’ brother, Cliff)


In other news this weekend, I read Catching Fire, book 2 in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Here’s my official review:


If you’ve read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire is as good if not better. It definitely lives up to all the hype. I HIGHLY recommend reading both books. You will not be disappointed. I’m not going to post a review on my blog, because it seems like everyone else is reviewing it and I don’t have anything else to add that hasn’t already been covered.

Also, today I received my first email from an author who wants me to review his book!!! Yay!!! I’m very excited and can’t wait to get it in the mail.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Review: Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott

love you hate you miss you

Love You Hate You Miss You

By Elizabeth Scott

Published by Harperteen

ISBN: 0061122831

288 pages

A Quick Synopsis: Love You Hate You Miss You is a story about Amy and how she deals with her friend, Julia’s tragic and untimely death by writing letters to her as a form of therapy.

The General Review: Love You Hate You Miss You is a very real view of a sardonic teenager dealing with the confusing feelings of a best friend dying and feeling like you had a hand in the death. Raw emotions are captured and communicated to the reader thru simple yet profound statements and conversations. The revealing of the storyline is varied between the present and recalling events from the past, up to and including the accident that killed Julia.

Likes: This book is very raw and honest. The author holds nothing back. I think the reactions and conversations are realistic. Also, all of Amy’s problems weren’t resolved by the end of the book.

I also like how most chapters begin with Amy writing a letter to Julia. Although the book is written from Amy’s perspective, I like it when an author mixes it up and changes the flow of the storyline.

Dislikes: There isn’t a whole lot I didn’t like about this book. Although I thought Amy’s parent were realistic, they kinda got on my nerves.

Judging a Book by its Cover: I had this book sitting on my desk at work and my co-worker made this comment:

She looks really sad, like someone died our something and she doesn’t know how to deal with it”-M.A.

Hmmm… good interpretation, M, and I hadn’t even told her about the book yet!

Closing Comments: It didn’t take me very long to read this book, but it’s not an easy read emotionally (although it’s not as disturbing as Living Dead Girl, also by Elizabeth Scott). I recommend this book for anyone who has ever lost someone tragically or who is a fan of Young Adult Fiction in general.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Random thoughts for today

My niece tells me I'm the queen of random. Whatever that means. But I do find I stumble upon really weird, random things quite often. The ones I find amusing I will share here on my blog.

For example:

I just walked out of my department at work into the foyer, where I saw a guy from the landscaping crew watering the plants. You may think this is not strange, and I agree; plants need to be watered. But the weird thing was he was watering the plants with a gas can!!! Yes, a gas can. I must of had a shocked look on my face as I walked by because he said "There's water in there, I swear!!" I quickly rearranged the look on my face and said, "Hey, you would know better than me what a plant needs to grow", and continued on my way.

I think this is the same guy who, last fall, was using a leaf blower to clean up the leaves in the parking lot. This also is not an unusual task in itself, but he was actually standing below a tree aiming the leaf blower so that it blew the leafs off of the branches. Appartantly he was in a race with Mother Nature and really wanted to win. My co-workers and I were taking bets to see if he was going to climb the tree and start plucking the leafs off.

And while I'm on the topic of random things, I am a huge fan of word definitions, especially obsolete or "out of style" words. I have a Word Of The Day desk calendar on my desk at work and every once in a while an interesting word presents itself.

For example:

September 1, 2009 - nomenclator - a noun meaning;

  1. a book containing collections or lists of words

  2. one who gives names to or invents names for things

I found this word fascinating for a few reasons. One, I have a book obsession, so anything book related is of interest to me. Secondly, the same niece who dubed me the queen of random also accuses me of making up words and inventing names for things. I wonder if I can use nomenclator on a resume? Hmmmm......

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Shadow Chaser by Dylan Birtolo

the shadow chaser

The Shadow Chaser

By Dylan Birtolo

Published by Inkwater Press

ISBN: 1592990746

278 pages

A Quick Synopsis: Darien Yost is a normal guy, just learning after a series of strange black outs that he has the gift of shapeshifting. While coming to terms with his new power, he finds himself the focus of interest to a number of different people who want to use his talent for various reasons.

The General Review: The Shadow Chaser is a great urban fantasy suspense story. From the first chapter, the author draws you in to the life of Darien Yost and keeps you captivated until the last sentence. Each chapter ends with a sentence that made you want to keep reading because you have to know what’s going to happen next. The natural, supernatural and dream worlds are blended together to create a fantasy realm that is intriguing.

Likes: The word imagery is vivid and detailed, while pulling the reader into the story with descriptions that are realistic and captivating. I had a really hard time putting the book down.

I also really liked the shapeshifting concept. It was interesting to see how those who shift into animals had the characteristics of the animal they become.

Dislikes: Since this book is independently published, there are imperfections such as spelling and grammatical errors. I thought some areas of the story could have been a little more polished with some of sentences rewritten to better convey what the author wanted to express. I also thought that the last few chapters were rushed and not as fully developed as the rest of the book.

Judging a Book by its Cover: I really like the cover art for this book. I think that this cover is a really good snapshot of the personal journey the protagonist goes through in the pages of the story.

In The Beginning-Chapter 1: I think the author did a great job describing the setting and portraying the confusion Darien experiences after recovering from one of his blackouts. It definitely kept my interest.

The Cast: There are a lot of characters in this book and with only one exception, I thought their development was well done. The timing of the entry for each character is written in such a way that the reader doesn’t get confused. For the most part, each character is unique and easy to tell which team they play for.

The only thing that bothered me was I felt that the development of Ellen’s character was lacking. It is assumed that she is Darien’s girlfriend, she made a few appearances in the book, but very little is revealed about her purpose in the story.

Closing Comments: Overall, I enjoyed reading The Shadow Chaser and as mentioned above, I had a hard time putting it down. I recommend The Shadow Chaser for anyone looking to read something different and unique.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yay! My first blog!!!

Welcome to The Crystal Perspective!! I’m Crystal and here’s my perspective……

The main point to this blog is to write reviews for the many books I read. I’m not a big fan of the “rating system” that is popular with so many other book reviewers. If you’re looking for a quick opinion of something I've read, you’re going to be disappointed. I view reading a book kind of like enjoying a multiple course dinner. Each course is unique and completely different from each other and meant to be digested. If I used the rating system to give a grade to the dinner, you miss out on the likes, dislikes and details of each course. My goal here is to digest the book and describe the different aspects of the books. These aspects will change based on the uniqueness of the book. I hope you find my views entertaining and informative.

I also will share with my readers other random observations, ponderings and epiphanies. I have a been told I have a unique perspective and I want to share it with others. I also like to meet new people and hear their views on various topics, so your comments are greatly appreciated.