Tuesday, January 31, 2012

(Review) The Ocean and the Hourglass by Dan O'Brien

Summery from Goodreads:
"Dreams are not for the faint of heart,
they are for the brave to follow.


"A Book, an Hourglass.

"An adventure into the mind.
Nicholas had always dreamt of faraway places, distant lands beyond imagination. Wandering into the library on a cold day, he finds an adventure that he had not been looking for. Transported to a distant world, Nicholas finds himself involved in sweeping adventures of a broken and lost kingdom. Filled with sea giants and ancient cities, the young man soon finds that the adventure was greater than he could have ever imagined."

4/5 stars
     When I was offered this book for review I was really interested in the summery and couldn't wait to start reading into the book. The novel drew me in quickly- being verbose, well-presented, and adventurous. I really loved the potential of this novel overall but at times I felt the story got carried away with being well-written rather than having a phenomenal plot. 
     The novel, however, was extremely clever by presenting a story were the main character got stuck in a story of his own creation. It's difficult to differentiate the flaws necessary in the story (as a young boy created it to fit himself) and any overall critiques on the novel itself. I did, regardless, really enjoy the story. Many of the characters were fun and fairly realistic for adventure stories although usually not examined to their full potential.
     The book was fantastic and I really recommend it for readers who are interested in the idea of intellectual adventures and metaphors. It was extensive in it's examination of several philosophies and the idea of right, wrong, perception, and justification of death. 
     I'd also suggest it for readers who enjoy finishing stories in their minds. While the story did conclude as he conquered the world he had created, it never examined the way he lived his life afterwards.

What are your thoughts on the novel? :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

(Review) The Meerkat Wars

Summery from Goodreads:
"It's all very well helping a young meerkat who's been poisoned by a scorpion. But when you've made friends with the whole Duwara tribe of meerkats, and you discover that they're at war with the Utongo, you may find yourself involved in that too, even if you're only a little black-and-white cat. And when you realize that the two tribes are fighting because each one believes it lives under The One True Sun, then you may have to undertake a very dangerous journey to help them see things differently. You may have to go through The Gorge."
4/5 stars

     The Meerkat Wars was a fun and easy-to-read middle grade novel. The novel is one of a series of books with the same protagonist, but the book has little mention of Sheena's previous or later adventures until the last section. Although I was initially unsure about reading it, I highly suggest it to early middle or late elementary school students.
     The Meerkat Wars had a fun and developed plot. The characters were thoroughly loveable and highly developed. At times, I felt the novel was young (although it did encompass some topics like war) although well fit for an ambitious late elementary school student. The story resolved well and did have an ending and beginning where it would be appropriate to continue the series. 
     Additionally, The Meerkat Wars really explored the concept of accepting others beliefs (although after a certain and adequate amount of proof). It also explored strategies over action and really promoted teamwork. I completely recommend this novel for younger children and suggest it as a gift for that special holiday. 

In fact, the publishers were kind enough to send me an extra copy of this novel to give away to you. To enter, just leave a comment below and fill out the rafflecopter form afterwards with your username and email. Thanks guys!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hey guys

Due to a couple of unplanned events, I didn't have time to run by the mailbox today. IMM should definitely be up on either Friday or next Wednesday. Rather than succumbing you all to a post about what I'm reading, I wanted to take this time to highlight my goodreads profile (link in the side bar). It'll keep you up to date on everything I'm reading and thinking about reviewing. I love hearing suggestions from you guys! Drop by and leave a message! I hope everyone's having a great week!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

(Review) The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Summary from goodreads:
 "Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

"Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

"Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind."

5/5 stars
     As a fellow nerdfighter, John Green's books are always something to look forward to reading; I simply cannot give his work enough praise. John Green's books encompass main characters filled with feeling, nerdiness, and a definite realism. The Fault in our Stars was, so far, the best of his novels yet.
     Despite the main characters being cancer victims (or perhaps because of it), the novel had a really infinite number of ever important themes. I cried, I laughed, I smiled, and when I set down the book, I spent a long time reflecting on it. The characters were fun, realistic, and complex and the chemistry between the many characters was brilliant and interesting. The plot, although disorganized and arguably absent from identification until finishing the book, was really touching.
     I suggest everyone read this book (assuming one enjoys reading heavy topics, is the appropriate age, and  enjoys general nerdiness).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Musing Monday (1/23)

This week’s musing asks…
Why do you think that the Young Adult genre is so popular with even the adult readers? Do you read YA books, yourself?
     I've always felt that YA was a very unique genre. It tends to be more imaginative and open (because teens are generally more open than any other age group). And it approaches more adult topics without necessarily being a straightforward topic; it's kinda like reading a book and knowing it's going to be your favorite book before you finish reading. It's before a full-on fandom but definitely after being told it's a good book and seeing it in your hands.
     I definitely read YA (I try to review almost exclusively YA on my blog), but, then again, I am a young adult. I enjoy other genres as well and I definitely don't read exclusively in any one genre. 

What about you?

Friday, January 20, 2012

In My Mailbox (1/20)


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. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

(Review) Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble by D. Robert Pease


Summery from Goodreads:
"Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth’s animals from extinction. Life couldn’t be better. However, the twelve-year-old time traveler soon learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is abducted and taken to thirty-first century Mars; his dad becomes stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying a newly habitable, post-apocalyptic Earth.

"Traveling through time in the family’s immense spaceship, Noah, a paraplegic from birth, must somehow care for the thousands of animals on board, while finding a way to rescue his parents. Along the way, he discovers his mother and father aren’t who he thought they were, and there is strength inside him he didn’t know he had."
4/5 stars
     I  was overly excited about reading and reviewing this book; the cover and synopsis are appealing and it's difficult to find a negative review of this novel. When I started reading it, I appreciated the simple presentation of difficult concepts, like time and space travel (I would, however, suggest that younger readers read A Wrinkle in Time to explore those concepts more extensively before diving into this novel). The characters were diverse and fun, the plot was intriguing, and the writing was very good. I would, overall, say this was a fantastic and fun middle grade novel.
     There were parts of this novel that were very geared towards younger readers. Parts of the novel were predictable (for an extensive reader), rushed, or not pursued to its full potential. The mindset, however, of younger Noah was fairly accurate and fun to explore.
     I would definitely suggest this novel for younger readers with a taste for sy-fy, robots, space, animals, etc. The novel was realistic and fun to read though long enough to deter most younger students without an explicit taste for reading. If I was an elementary teacher, I would definitely add this title to my shelf.

Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com (available in paperback or as an eBook) or the online retailer of your choice.
CASH PRIZES
Guess what? You could win a $50 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $50 too by having the most comments. So tell your friends to stop by and comment on this post too!
GIVEAWAY
Win 1 of 5 copies of the paperback version of Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble by entering the giveaway on GoodReads.
D. Robert PeaseTHE AUTHOR
D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn't been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer's Sirens. It's not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters.
Discover ways to connect with the author by visiting his site at www.drobertpease.com

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Protesting Internet Censorship

Today, all across the United States, people are getting together and protesting new internet censorship bills proposed in the senate. Because censorship is a topic extremely close to literature and my heart, I thought I'd share some information on those bills and ways to protest. An IMM will be up on Friday.
(Information from Google)
Millions of Americans oppose SOPA and PIPA because these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.

Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.

The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late. 

More about SOPA and PIPA

Members of Congress are trying to do the right thing by going after pirates and counterfeiters but SOPA and PIPA are the wrong way to do it.

1. SOPA and PIPA would censor the Web

The U.S. government could order the blocking of sites using methods similar to those employed by China. Among other things, search engines could be forced to delete entire websites from their search results. That’s why 41 human rights organizations and 110 prominent law professors have expressed grave concerns about the bills.

2. SOPA and PIPA would be job-killers because they would create a new era of uncertainty for American business

Law-abiding U.S. internet companies would have to monitor everything users link to or upload or face the risk of time-consuming litigation. That’s why AOL, EBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga wrote a letter to Congress saying these bills “pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job-creation.” It’s also why 55 of America’s most successful venture capitalists expressed concern that PIPA “would stifle investment in Internet services, throttle innovation, and hurt American competitiveness”. More than 204 entrepreneurs told Congress that PIPA and SOPA would “hurt economic growth and chill innovation”.

3. SOPA and PIPA wouldn’t stop piracy

To make matters worse, SOPA and PIPA won’t even work. The censorship regulations written into these bills won’t shut down pirate sites. These sites will just change their addresses and continue their criminal activities, while law-abiding companies will suffer high penalties for breaches they can’t possibly control.
There are effective ways to combat foreign “rogue” websites dedicated to copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting, while preserving the innovation and dynamism that have made the Internet such an important driver of American economic growth and job creation. Congress should consider alternatives like the OPEN Act, which takes targeted and focused steps to cut off the money supply from foreign pirate sites without making US companies censor the Web.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

(Review) Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Summary from Goodreads:
"Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

"Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

"Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming."
     When I won this novel in Beth Revis's giveaway, I was overly excited. I've been longing to read Beth's novels since I finished reading Anna and the French Kiss; Beth's work is a huge hit among fellow YA bloggers. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this novel as much.
     Across the Universe was expertly written. With each twist and turn I could envision and share the character's thoughts and feelings. Similarly, the premise and background of the novel was fantastic and well portrayed. There were, however, very few developed characters and many undeveloped story lines. Furthermore, there was a very clear "good guy" and "bad guy" in this story and Amy, as a main protagonist, was a very angry character.
     Across the Universe was a fantastic piece that left me asking questions and celebrating that I already owned the second book in the trilogy while still remaining remote to my usual book selections. I recommend this book for YA readers but not very serious science fiction readers. Similarly, I recommend this novel for readers who enjoy being engulfed in a story but not those who, like me, are even the slightest bit claustrophobic. Beth Revis has a very fantastic skill of writing imagery and creates a very realistic tale in her novel.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Upcoming Challenges

This year I've decided to pick a few challenges to try to participate in this year. I wanted to give everyone a heads-up on upcoming posts about these challenges. I'm sorry there's no IMM today (I didn't have time to check the mail) but you'll definitely see one next week.
     The Dusty Bookshelf Challenge asks participants to try to read some of the many unread books on their bookshelves that have been waiting to be read for a while. I'm super excited about this challenge. I'm participating at the Cobwebs level to try and read a few of the following and several unnamed novels:
1. Peter Pan
2.The Hobbit
3. Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
5. The Lord of the Rings
6. The Princess Bride
7. Son of a Witch
8. Paper Towns (by John Green)
9. An abundance of Katherines (by John Green)
10. The Giver
My Goodreads TBR list is massive and I can't wait to tackle it!
The goal of this challenge is to read 12 or more 2012 debut author's novels. I'm also really excited about this one and the opportunity to find and discover new author's work. If you have any suggestions, leave them below!


Are you participating in any reading challenges this year? :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

(Review) Cyberlife by W. H. Buxton


Summery from Goodreads:
"The year is 2069 and Jim Murphy thinks he has the world pretty much figured out, as a Knowledge Management Consultant (whatever that is!) muddling through various technology consulting jobs. That is, until his company, SciPop Inc., assigns him to work a particularly unusual project involving the acquisition of a small backpacking and hiking services business owned by techno-hater Laura Meyers. Jim, however, never works alone. He, like everyone else in the world, is armed with the ultimate technology super-support tool: a personalized, artificially intelligent, holographic Virtual Life form, more commonly known as a Vertal, named Jasper. Just as Jim lives, works and socializes in the physical world; Jasper lives, works, and socializes in the Cybersphere, coexisting and coordinating on behalf of Jim with other Vertals as both navigate the world of the Cybersphere; a 24/7 on-line computer world connecting everyone to everything. Everyone uses it, but in order to use it, you need a Vertal. Somehow, Laura Meyers has learned to exist in the Cybersphere without a Vertal, unfathomable to Jim, Jasper or anyone else at SciPop. But as Jim works the project, he soon discovers there is much more going on in the Cybersphere than SciPop's acquisition of this small, unassuming business when Jasper suddenly goes missing. Jim discovers SciPop has a much bigger and darker plan for "Laura's Hikes" than just a simple acquisition of one of the few non-technical companies left in existence. Much more. Welcome to CyberLife: A weeklong initiation into the cybercentric universe of techno-biologic symbiosis which is considered by all to be perfectly organized, functional, efficient, and effective. As long as Jim, Laura and Jasper follow the rules and regulations of SciPop. Which, so far, they have tended not to do very well."
4.7/5 stars
        I am a huge fan of science fiction and futuristic novels. Cyberlife is one of my favorite science fictions novels of the past year. It presented an entirely new perspective to a futuristic world I've never envisioned or read about without being totally unrealistic. 
      The writing in this novel was superb and adequate. While a little overly descriptive, the writing style was perfectly fitted to the type of world the novel was presenting and describing. Similarly, I really enjoyed both the personalities and characters in the story. I became attached and intrigued by the appliance attitudes (particularly, I believe, because they developed that way almost independently) and really enjoyed the realistic attitudes of the Physicals and Vertals.
     I would definitely say this novel is a must read for the science fiction and futuristic novel fan. The literary and idealistic components of the novels were fantastic and appealing. I hope to keep up with W. H. Buxton's future works in the future!

Monday, January 9, 2012

(Review) Avalon High by Meg Cabot

Goodreads summery:
"To newcomer Ellie, Avalon High seems like a typical American high school, complete with jocks, nerds, cheerleaders, and even the obligatory senior class president, quarterback, and all-around good guy. But it doesn't take Ellie long to suspect that something weird is going on beneath the glossy surface of this tranquil hall of learning. As she pieces together the meaning of this unfolding drama, she begins to recognize some haunting Arthurian echoes, causing her to worry that she has become just a pawn in mythic history. A powerful novel by the author of The Princess Diaries. Has been made into a full length film by Disney on Disney Channel."
4/5 stars
     I had a teacher several years ago who read Avalon High aloud during DEAR time. Being the book nerd I was and having several novels of my own to read, I rarely listened full-heartedly to her storytelling. When I found a copy of this novel for sale at a used bookstore, I couldn't resist the chance to reread and evaluate it. The novel was, however, almost exactly as I remembered it.
     Avalon High is slightly predictable but really enjoyable. The plot was fun and new and the writing was fantastic. The ended was unexpected and I enjoyed reading this as a light read to get back into the habit of reading.
     I suggest this novel for middle school students and younger high school students looking for a fun, easy read.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

(Review) Remembrance by Michelle Madows

Goodreads' summery:
"New Hampshire high school junior Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England ... but she doesn't know it yet.

"Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she seem to get him out of her mind?

"Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, the pair of them soon find that fighting fate isn't going to be easy."
4.5/5 stars
     I have been looking forward to reading this book for a long time; the idea of a novel based on an artist's songs drew me in immediately. When I won it in a giveaway, I was ecstatic. I hadn't really done an extreme amount of research on the plot and admittedly, I was completely blown away by the quality and content of the work.
     I really enjoyed this novel. The cover was beautiful and connected with the story, the idea and basis was great, and the story was written well. I enjoyed the characters. Even though Remembrance isn't a book I would normally read (more romance focused than plot focused) I liked and would recommend it to other readers. I do, however, wish there had been more transition between Lizzie before she started researching reincarnation and Lizzie reliving her life.
     Overall, I definitely recommend this book to other readers. I would suggest other readers read it with an open mind or do more research on the plot content before diving in with expectations. I read this book as my first book after my week-long reading hiatus and managed to place it on a type of pedestal.

Happy 2012 everyone!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In My Mailbox (1/4)


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. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues

Busting the Newbie Blues is a collection of posts from new bloggers answering blogging questions. It's designed to help new bloggers come out of their shells and connect with other bloggers. ;)

1. When did you start your blog?
     I started Bookish in late August of 2011.
2. Why did you start your blog?
     I'd recently come across some amazing book bloggers via sites like Goodreads and decided that starting a book blog would be a great way to share my thoughts on books without ranting to my friends as heavily.
3. What has been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
     When I started book blogging, everything progressed really quickly after the first few weeks. It's been difficult to keep the scheduling straight.
4. What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
     I've had a pretty encouraging and good experience so far. Having recently lost a co-blogger, however, it's been more difficult to remember I'm accountable for providing content for my viewers daily.
5. What do you find most encouraging?
     I'm really grateful for the established authors, publishers, bloggers, and readers who have contacted us and left approval.
6. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
     I really enjoy reading blogs from bloggers who are very friendly to and aware of their audience without being unprofessional. I try to maintain a good relationship with my readers but I'm not positive I'm always successful.
7. What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?
    I dislike bloggers who are detached from or unprofessional to their audience.  I do try to avoid this as well and I feel like I'm mostly successful in that endeavor.
8. Any advice for other new bloggers?
     Find ways to get connected with other bloggers and don't be afraid to be yourself with your blog. Some of my favorite blogs are from friendly bloggers who have very few followers.
9. Any questions you'd like to ask newbie or established bloggers?
     As always, I'd love feedback on ways to improve and maintain my blog. I'm also interested in the other outlets they use for connecting with other bloggers. 
10. Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog? Feel free to link a few of your favorite posts or posts you wish had more comments.
     I can't really think of anything. Much to my dismay, I've yet to develop a unique asset to my blog other than my voice. I'd love suggestions or thoughts!

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Interview with Shelli Wells, the author of Untraceable

         Shelli Wells, the author of Untraceable, was kind enough to answer a few questions to share on Bookish. I hope you enjoy!


    1.    What inspired you to write Untraceable?

    My hubby came home from camping one weekend and talked about how far he hiked into the wilderness. He talked about how remote it was – only just 30 min to an hour away from people. And, how anyone could do anything and get away with it. That’s when the idea was planted.

    2.    How does it feel to have your first novel published?

    Awesome. It’s been a long, hard road. But it was worth the wait.

    3.    Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?

    Don’t give up. Be creative. Focus on Writing. And follow your heart.

    4.    What did you most enjoy about writing Untraceable?

    Getting back to nature. Creating a strong girl character in the real world without special powers. And touching on a topic like poaching that still happens today.

    5.     What can we look forward to in your writing career?

    I have a tween paranormal book coming out Jan 31st.

    I am part of an Anthology called In His Eyes written from a boy’s perspectives
    about girls. It is coming out Feb 14 on Valentines Day.

    And Uncontrollable (the sequel to Untraceable) comes out summer 2012

         S.R. Johannes lives in Atlanta Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. After earning an MBA and working in corporate america, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. You can find her hanging out online and visit her at srjohannes.com