Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Liebster Award

A while ago, our wonderful friends at Oops...Wrong Cookie awarded Bookish with the Liebster Award, a blog award meant to highlight some really great blogs with less than 200 subscribers. Thanks so much to Patti and Joanna!

The award requirements:
  • Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  • Reveal your 5 picks on your blog with links.
  • Let the winners know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Post the reward on your blog.
Blogs I enjoy:
  • Megan's Book Blog- I have to award Megan; even though she doesn't blog very often, I always read her posts. I love the way she communicates and writes about books as well as the reasons she started reading and blogging.
  • Picture a Day- Rachel's project is coming along really well and I want to share the work she's doing. :)
  • Nonsequiturtle- While this isn't a book blog at all (except maybe when books enter a fandom), this is my main stop every morning for my random Sherlock fangirl news. :P
  • Read it Ribbit- This blog is a great place to keep up on all types of book news.
  • Writer's Block- I just started following this blog, but I love the idea!
So that's it! I'll let all winner's know right away!

    Friday, December 30, 2011

    New Years Giveaway Hop 2012

         Hey guys! It's almost time for the New Year! Let's giveaway books in celebration!
    I'm going to give away two prizepacks today.
    1. A copy of I am a Taxi by Deborah Ellis and a copy of Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements
    2. A copy of The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder and a copy of Shoulder the Sky by Lesley Choyce

         These are all really great books. I hope you guys enjoy! Links to other giveaways can be found at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!


    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Thursday, December 29, 2011

    The New Phenomenon by Chris Raabe (Review)

    "Every teenager wants to fit in, and Christian Pearson is no different. He is a phenomenon on the athletic field and in the classroom, but a terrifying accident on a fishing trip with his grandfather changes Christian's life forever. As he enters his freshman year of high school, Christian hides a secret that he plans to take to his grave. When the Pearson family moved from the city to the sleepy town of Red Oak, Iowa, before his freshman year of high school, Christian hoped for a smooth transition to small town life. Being the new kid in school has been a blessing and a curse. Most of the boys in Christian's class view him as a threat, so Christian struggles to fit it, but as an outcast, his secret is safe. When three freshmen, all from the same family, start school a week late, Christian senses something different about these new students. He reaches out to "The Three" seeking some semblance of friendship in his new hometown. When "The Three" confront Christian about the secret he hides, Christian is faced with a huge problem. Will this secret cost Christian his friends, his family, his freedom, and even his life?"

    I give it: 3/5 stars
    *I received this book for review; however, all opinions in this review are solely my own. 

         When I received this book for review, I was a little surprised. The New Phenomenon is by far the lengthiest review book I've had so far. I pushed it back on my list of review books because I feared getting stuck in the middle of the novel and being unable to get to the huge pile of books I needed to review. Thankfully, that was not a problem. I was able to finish the New Phenomenon quickly and enjoy it. I would recommend this novel to many people. 
         I loved the plot and characters in the novel. Although there were parts were the book strongly resembled other storylines I'd read, I loved the unique twist to this novel. Similarly, some parts of the novel were lightly predictable but the storyline wasn't relying on the few predictable events to carry the story.
         There were, however, some parts of the novel that I didn't enjoy. The first forth of the novel was very reliant on small town social structures and football. I had very, very little idea what was going on in the scenes relating to football because my knowledge of the sport is so limited. In contrast, I grew up in a small town and felt that the protagonist's musings of the social structure of his school was exaggerated and a little unrealistic. The descriptions in the novel were very extensive and I felt like the storyline could have been easily condensed then re-expanded to focus on some events and draw out the storyline in a more even way. 
         Despite the flaws I've expansively outlined above, I really loved this novel. The characters were all fun, witty, and interesting. The plotline was extremely drawing and unique and I will doubtlessly read the next book that comes out to expand on this story (what a cliffhanger!). I suggest this novel for readers looking for a new type of book to read. The novel is lengthy but a very easy and fun read. It will leave you gripping your seat waiting for more!

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    (Review) Ugly to Start With by John Michael Cummings

    "Jason Stevens is growing up in picturesque, historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in the 1970s. Back when the roads are smaller, the cars slower, the people more colorful, and Washington, D.C. is way across the mountains—a winding sixty-five miles away.

    "Jason dreams of going to art school in the city, but he must first survive his teenage years. He witnesses a street artist from Italy charm his mother from the backseat of the family car. He stands up to an abusive husband—and then feels sorry for the jerk. He puts up with his father’s hard-skulled backwoods ways, his grandfather’s showy younger wife, and the fist-throwing schoolmates and eccentric mountain characters that make up Harpers Ferry—all topped off by a basement art project with a girl from the poor side of town.

    "Ugly to Start With punctuates the exuberant highs, bewildering midpoints, and painful lows of growing up, and affirms that adolescent dreams and desires are often fulfilled in surprising ways."
    I give it: 3.8/5 stars
    *I received this book for review from the publisher. All opinions from this point are strictly my own.

         When I received a review request for this novel, I was ecstatic; I'd seen some very positive reviews from some of my close blogging friends. Ugly to Start With met the high expectations I set; I highly recommend this novel.
         Ugly to Start With was a collection of short stories from the perspective of one boy. The stories were told extremely well. The novel managed to narrate a difficult storyline believably without being offensive about the sensitive topics it covered. There was no transition from one story to the next and many of the stories didn't attach themselves to a place chronologically. However, rather than taking away from the overall storyline it added to it's thoughtfulness. 
         The stories chronically harder moments of Jason's life as he grew up. Rather than being offensive or upsetting, the stories had a tendency to provoke a lot of thought about what the author was trying to tell us about Jason and his life. Each story was complex, interesting, and thought-provoking. 
          I grew up in a small town, but much later than Jason and in a much more loving community. Ugly to Start With was not a novel I related to but it was an interesting read. I'd suggest this novel for thoughtful people and those who are looking for a thin but involved novel. 

    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    An unplanned hiatus

         Hey guys! I just wanted to give you all a quick apology for the unplanned blogging hiatus. Finals week, family, and Christmas stuff managed to overwhelm me. All content that should have been provided should be avalible and up by the end of the weekend.
         Additionally, there's been an awkward transition from being a co-hosted blog to becoming an independent book blog. I wish there had been a smoother transition, but I hope you'll all stand by for the changes Bookish is undergoing.
        There will be no content on December 26-28 unless otherwise noted. As a high-schooler, it's difficult for me to control my internet situation over the holidays.
         Merry Christmas Everyone!! -Caressa

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Sleepers by Megg Jenson (Cover reveal)

    Megg Jenson has asked Bookish to help reveal the new cover for Sleepers; I hope you enjoy!



    Introducing the new artwork for Megg Jensen’s bestselling novel SLEEPERS
    To celebrate the re-launch of SLEEPERS in January of 2012, Megg is giving it a new cover with artwork from the incredible PhatPuppy.
    Synopsis: An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she's filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.
    Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?
     
    On sale now for only 99 cents!
    Goodreads has some great reviews for this novel. You should check it out! ;)

    Megg on the web:
    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/meggjensen

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Chill Run by Russell Brooks (Review)

    Summery from Goodreads:
    "You know a publicity stunt has backfired when someone dies.
    Starving author Eddie Barrow, Jr., will do anything to get a book deal with a NYC publisher. Even if it means getting caught by the media while engaging in S&M with a female celebrity as a publicity stunt. What Eddie gets instead are details of a billion dollar fraud scheme from a suicidal client who's fatally shot minutes later. Now on the run from the law and the killers, Eddie seeks help from two unlikely friends—an alcoholic and a dominatrix.
    "With few resources, Eddie races to clear his name, unveil the fraud scheme, and expose the killers before he becomes their next victim."

    Reviewed by: Caressa
    I give it: 3/5 stars
    *Note: I was sent a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are solely my own.

         When I received this novel, I was unsure of what to expect. When offered the novel, I accepted quickly as it was one of the first books I was ever to be offered for review. It was a thriller- a very good thriller. Sadly, I'm not an ideal audience for the novel. I have to really, really enjoy a thriller to enjoy it personally. The characters were fun and the plot was short but intense. This essence of the novel was fantastic.
         However, there were several proofing errors in the text and the dialect was often confusing. I enjoyed the incorporation of French for the Canadian culture but because the story was told in a perspective similar to third person limited, I found it difficult to follow the storyline itself. The dialogue and feelings the main character emitted was likewise improbable from my perspective.
         I recommend this novel for readers who enjoy an occasional thriller and an interesting story. After getting past the surface, the novel can be a really interesting read. I regret I was unable to delve deeper into the novel's positives. 

    Want to win my copy? 

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    In My Mailbox (12/14)


    IMM is a book meme brought to us from The Story Siren. It's a really great activity to share the books we review on the blog and point out some really good titles. -Caressa
    I didn't get any books for review this week but I've almost caught up on those I have. :)
    From giveaway:

    Remembrance by Michelle Madow (from Kathy @ I write, I read, I review) I'm so, so, so excited about every piece on my list this week. Each one has been on my TBR list for quite a while!

    Bought:

    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    Avalon High by Meg Cabot

    Christmas present:

    Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (from Elizabeth!)

    I hope you had a fabulous book week. What did you get in your mailbox? ;)

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Essay contest for aspiring writers...

    Logan Kleinwaks ask us to share this information on an essay contest for aspiring writers. Enjoy!
    Win a literary agent or acclaimed author's feedback on your unpublished manuscript for young adult or middle grade readers. This rare opportunity is being offered to the six winners of an essay contest recently announced by the literacy charity Book Wish Foundation. See http://bookwish.org/contest for full details.

    You could win a manuscript critique from:

    * Laura Langlie, literary agent for Meg Cabot

    * Nancy Gallt, literary agent for Jeanne DuPrau

    * Brenda Bowen, literary agent and editor of Karen Hesse's Newbery Medal winner Out of the Dust

    * Ann M. Martin, winner of the Newbery Honor for A Corner of the Universe

    * Francisco X. Stork, winner of the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award for The Last Summer of the Death Warriors

    * Cynthia Voigt, winner of the Newbery Medal for Dicey's Song and the Newbery Honor for A Solitary Blue


    All that separates you from this prize is a 500-word essay about a short story in Book Wish Foundation's new anthology, What You Wish For. Essays are due Feb. 1, 2012 and winners will be announced around Mar. 1, 2012. If you win, you will have six months to submit the first 50 pages of your manuscript for critique (which means you can enter the contest even if you haven't finished, or started, your manuscript). You can even enter multiple times, with essays about more than one of the contest stories, for a chance to win up to six critiques.

    If you dream of being a published author, this is an opportunity you should not miss. To enter, follow the instructions at http://bookwish.org/contest.

    Good luck and best wishes,

    Logan Kleinwaks
    President, Book Wish Foundation

    What You Wish For (ISBN 9780399254543, Putnam Juvenile, Sep. 15, 2011) is a collection of short stories and poems about wishes from 18 all-star writers: Meg Cabot, Jeanne DuPrau, Cornelia Funke, Nikki Giovanni, John Green, Karen Hesse, Ann M. Martin, Alexander McCall Smith, Marilyn Nelson, Naomi Shihab Nye, Joyce Carol Oates, Nate Powell, Sofia Quintero, Gary Soto, R.L. Stine, Francisco X. Stork, Cynthia Voigt, Jane Yolen. With a Foreword by Mia Farrow. Book Wish Foundation is donating 100% of its proceeds from the book to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, to fund the development of libraries in Darfuri refugee camps in eastern Chad.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    The Realmsic Conquest by A. Demethius Jackson (Review) (Blog tour)

    Summery from Amazon:
    "Throughout its history, the kingdom known as the Realm has never known peace. From its establishment, it has possessed the gift of magic, which is a treasure that exists no other place in the world! As a result, the Realm has endlessly defended itself against conquerors, but now faces its greatest peril. As our heroes battle the wicked and unlock mysteries, they must also face overwhelming circumstances as they are guided by ancient lore on a quest to find the greatest treasure their kingdom will ever know... peace."
    Reviewed by: Caressa
    I give it: 5/5 stars
         Disclaimer: I was able to secure a copy of this novel for blog tour; all opinions, however, are my own. 

         When I got a copy of this novel in my mailbox, I didn't know what to expect. I added it to the collection of books I needed to review without much investigation. It wasn't until after I opened up the book to start reading that I noticed the entire novel was written in verse! While I've read several novels in verse, most of them where formatted like Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder's novels.The Realmsic Conquest was told more like an epic. I actually, in my reading career, have never read an epic, but I loved this novel and feel like it could be my bridge into that realm of literature.
         The cover on this novel is beautiful and very expressive of the book. The characters were interesting and you were thrown right into the middle of a busy and fast plot. I've always been a fan of the sci-fi genre, although I haven't gotten to read much of it lately. This was a very good, short, science fiction novella. I recommend it to fans of poetry, science fiction, and gripping short reads. It fit my tastes perfectly.

    For more stops on the tour, click the image below!

    Loveswept Holiday Hop!

    It's time for another giveaway! Thanks for being great followers and enjoy!
    Rules:
    Happy Holidays to everyone - Romance At Random is celebrating their Loveswept line with a random e-book Giveaway to 25 winners plus an opportunity to win one Grand Prize from www.romanceatrandom.com. Enter here to be included in the FREE random e-book drawing (25 winners will pick up their FREE book from Net Galley) and then stop on by www.romanceatrandom.com and comment to enter the drawing to be the ''ONE Grand Prize winner, to win a selection of great books! Good Luck & Happy Holidays to all!
    INCREASE your chances to win by visiting all of the participating 'Loveswept - Holiday Hop' sites! Winners will be contacted after 1/10/12.

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Changes and upcoming events and giveaways...

         Hey guys! This is Caressa. Bookish has a had a really busy start of the month! Between catching up from National Novel Writing Month and Rae's computer breaking down, it's been hard getting caught up; I'm almost up to date now on the blog and blog email, but I still have a few things to share with you!
         Thank you all so much! Because of the busyness of November, Bookish missed it's monthly hop/giveaway. I've signed up for both the Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop (12/21-12/27) and Happy New Years Giveaway Hop (12/30-1/3) to thank you guys for your support and time. In addition, there will be another giveaway, Loveswept Holiday Hop (12/12-1/8) sponsored by Romance at Random. We finally reached 100 followers!
          Between running the blog on my own for a while and starting a planner to manage review books and other upcoming events, it's come to my attention that Bookish has a lot of requests for book reviews and post that aren't book reviews. While the schedule we have now is consistent, it's no longer fitting to the content we're providing. Additionally, it's chaotic to have multiple posts on one day and none on another. As a solution, we've decided to abandon our previous schedule. Readers can still expect to see posts every evening on Mondays through Fridays, with occasional Saturday and Sunday posts. However, we'll now be reviewing books and posting reviews as we finish them. Readers can still expect two or more reviews a week, although this allows us at Bookish to read lengthy books that may take four or more days to read (such as finishing the Harry Potter series). Memes will be available on days when we don't have content to post and In My Mailbox will remain a consistent weekly meme (on Wednesdays).
         If you have some time, please vote for Bookish on Book Blogs! We're falling behind!

         Thanks so much for remaining readers at Bookish! We really appreciate you!

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Crossed by Ally Condie (Review)

    Summery from Goodreads:
    "The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy

    "In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

    "Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever."
     Reviewed by: Caressa
    I give it: 4/5 stars
         *This review is kinda soilery so turn back now if you haven't read the book! I recommend Crossed if you've already read Matched, but I wouldn't recommend reading Matched to read Crossed or reading Crossed as a stand-alone. 

         I read Matched last year when it came out, a Christmas present from Rachel, and this year I was itching to get my fingers on the sequel to add it to my collection. Right before I pre-ordered it, Rachel told me she was getting me a copy for Christmas this year. Thanks Rachel!
         I didn't particularly enjoy Matched, although it was okay, because of the ending. My review can be seen here. Although Crossed ended in a similar cliffhanger, I really, really enjoyed the ending. Although I've seen lots of negative reviews for Crossed, I felt mostly different towards it. The perspective change was great to read, although (as I've been spoiled by co-authored books) very similar. Even though Ky was similar to Cassia, it was interesting, as a reader, to hear the stories he had to tell or captured in his brain.
         Matched presented a very interesting society and Crossed showed the journey of personal rebellions. I particularly enjoyed the part, towards the end, where Cassia realized she wasn't a special member of society, though she was an unusual, interesting one.
         That being said, I enjoyed Ky's story so much more than Cassia's journey. Cassia, as we know, defies all bounds and limits. Ky's internal struggle was more captivating because he was fighting against himself, which really captured the rebellion essence of the story better.
         There were so, so many moments where we got a piece of information that seemed to fall from the sky and was swatted away by the characters. There was a lot of potential in this book and it was good (in my own opinion, better than Matched). Still, I can see where this story could have burned it's brilliance into my brain and it didn't. Matched and Crossed are very good reads, but they don't really stand out to me.
         I am very much on the side of Ky in this story (romantically); to me, it seems almost like a no-brainer. What about you- Ky or Xander?

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    In My Mailbox (12/7)


    IMM is a book meme brought to us from The Story Siren. It's a really great activity to share the books we review on the blog and point out some really good titles. -Caressa


    For Review:
    Ugly to Start With by John Michael Cummings
    I'm super excited about reviewing this one; it sounds great and I've heard some great reviews!
    Chill Run by Russell Brooks
    Also very excited- hopefully, this one will be up sometime this week.

    Bought:
    City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare - I had to finish my collection!
    A planner (!) specifically for the blog; things were getting out of hand, but this makes managing the whole thing much easier. ;)

    Giveaways:
    Dead Alert by Bianca D'Arc (won from Goodreads)
    The Daughters Join the Party by Joanna Philbin (won from the wonderful Mary over at Bookhounds YA {I love blogger business cards!})

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    (Review) Bedtime Stories for Dogs/ Bedtime Stories for Cats: Combined Edition

    Bedtime Stories for Dogs/ Bedtime Stories for Cats: Combined Edition by Amy Neftzger

    I give it: 3/5 stars 
    Reviewed by: Caressa

         I received a print copy of this novel from the author and all following thoughts are purely my own. Thanks Amy!
         This is another novel I didn't really know what to expect. As a kid, I'd been one of the few to read my pup a story or two if I was having trouble sleeping. This story was different from what I expected in that aspect, being a little darker in the beginning than many of the fairy tales we tell today. As the story continued, the plot became much lighter and carefree, although many were an interesting slant on the 'human world' we think we live in today.
         I am very, very allergic to cats and to my surprise, I found I couldn't read the cat version comfortably, because many represented dogs as chaos makers. I skimmed it, but this review is primarily focused on the dogs version. Many of the stories between the two were very similar.
         There were a few poems and stories a little unusual or unconventional (like the poem about eating rabbit) but all in all, it was a fun, short read. The twists on ideas and perspective was very cute and at times absolutely mind blowing. As the title suggests, it was a collection of short stories. Some stories I recognized from legends and storyteller's stories but there was almost always a funny twist to them. I recommend this book to younger friends looking for a fun read but mature enough to chose which stories they'd like to read and primarily, believe.

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Musing Monday (12/5)

    This week’s musing asks…
    How many books do you read in a week? Month? Year?
         This is a great but tricky question! I'm still in high school, so most of my reading schedule revolves around my homework and dance schedule (not to mention socializing). I can read a novel in a day, and many times do. Right now, I read a book in a day or two maximum once I actually start it. 
         That being said, I'm averaging around two to three novels a week. I no longer read on the weekends (due to the busy blog schedule and catching up on emails and homework) and try to keep my reading after school to a minimum so I can spend time with my family. 
         My monthly and yearly averages are really fuzzy because I participate in so many activities, like NaNoWriMo. But I would guess I read at least 100 novels a year (I'm a big fan of the library) even when you take NaNoWriMo and my spontaneous research projects into account! I love to read! 
         As with anything, that's not an extremely reliable number because I have so few of my years I can actually use to average my reading. What about you? -Caressa

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Friday Finds (12/2)

    Friday Finds is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be reading. What great finds did you discover this week?

         I've been really lucky in the past month or so to keep my TBR list size to a minimum and tackling those already on the list. These are a couple titles I just couldn't resist:

       

         

    -Caressa

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    (Review) Scary School by Derek the Ghost

    Summery from Goodreads:
    You think your school's scary? Get a load of these teachers:
    Ms. Fang, an 850-year-old vampire
    Dr. Dragonbreath, who just might eat you before recess
    Mr. Snakeskin—science class is so much more fun when it's taught by someone who's half zombie
    Mrs. T—break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry Tyrannosaurus rex!
    Plus
    Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein's monster on the loose The world's most frighteningly delicious school lunch
    And
    The narrator's an eleven-year-old ghost!
    Join Charles "New Kid" Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends—including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf—and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky!
    4.5/5 stars/zombies/monsters

          When I received this copy of the novel for review (sent by the author, thank you Derek!) I had little idea what to expect, though I'd known it was a middle grade novel. Disclaimer: all opinions from here on are my own. I really enjoyed the read. It was a thick book (for middle grade) but all the chapters were relatively short and ended resolved. The illustrations were the perfect touch, covering many of the pages with characters and events. Because of the placement of the pictures, I was able to quickly attach the words to the image without spoiling myself or feeling the pictures misrepresented the words.
         The novel did remind me, in structure and format, of Classroom at the End of the Hall by Douglas Evans (which I read in fifth grade and loved), but it had a unique twist and voice I've not seen in other novels I've read. The narration was generally very fun although I occasionally forgot the narrator existed and had a difficult time overlooking the occasional 'more on that later'. I do think, however, that the repetition would be good for younger readers.
         I, personally, am definitely passing this on to a great friend of mine whose younger brother is just getting into reading. I think it's a great novel to read aloud at night, perhaps one chapter a night, because it's so fun (and not scary, though it does mention lots of things generally considered scary). I recommend this book to new, young readers or readers look for a light, fun, easy read. It was a great way to get back to reading in December! -Caressa