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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Review: Man Made Boy

 photo manmadeboy.jpgMan Made Boy by Jon Skovron

Love can be a real monster.

Sixteen-year-old Boy’s never left home. When you’re the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride, it’s tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it’s important they maintain a low profile.

Boy’s only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can’t escape his demons - both literal and figurative - until he faces his family once more.

This hilarious, romantic, and wildly imaginative tale redefines what it means to be a monster - and a man. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

We first meet Boy at home, where he lives with his parents in a NYC theater. Working in a production called "The Show" with other legendary non-humans, this is the only life Boy has ever known. But Boy is restless and wants more out of life. Told of his parent's plan to ship him off to Geneva to attend college and live with the Frankenstein family, Boy is appalled and runs away.

At first, life is hard for someone with no ID and his "unusual" looks, but he finally finds a job and things start to look up. Things look up even more when the girl of his dreams runs away from The Show to join him! Then his luck turns when one of the computer programs he created goes viral (in a very bad way) and he has to go on the run again.

After a couple of old friends from The Show catch up with them, one of them takes girlfriend home while the other decides to show Boy that life on the road can be fun. Introducing him to the granddaughter of Jekyll and Hyde, the two (three?) of them set off on the adventure of a lifetime! 

Really enjoyed this story, and got a kick out of Frankenstein and his Bride making a son of their own! The Show made sense too, as legendary monsters do need a safe place in today's world. The discovery that there was more than one safe haven made sense too, and I liked how they differed.

Boy was a unique character and he really grew on me. A cross between a typical teenage boy obsessed with computers and the ultimate outsider, I really liked getting to know him and watching as he dealt with various challenges during his adventure. And I really liked the granddaughter(s), Claire and Sophie. For two people sharing the same body, they're both totally unique characters!

Skovron is a very talented author, who created a clever storyline that was well-paced, had interesting characters, and left me wanting more. Would love to see a sequel down the road so we can find out what happens next for Boy, his family & friends, and especially The Show!


Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Book Haul (34)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

I read and enjoyed the first two books in this series, so was happy to take part in a blog tour for the next two books! My tour stop is in January, but don't think I'll be able to wait until then as I want to find out what happened next for Jenny!

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Dark Prelude by EJ Wesley

Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. Unfortunately, a lot of on-the-job training is required to be a monster hunter, and unlike her computer repair business, this gig could literally kill her.

***

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Dragon's Game by EJ Wesley

Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. She has already faced a werewolf, witches, and a troll. But nothing could prepare her for her latest confrontation...

Purchased:

This is the latest pick for my book club, and we're going to an author signing next month. While I haven't read any of Celia's other books, I do read her newspaper column and she's pretty funny!

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Rude Bitches Make Me Tired by Celia Rivenbark

In this always sensible and mildly profane etiquette manual for the modern age Celia Rivenbark addresses real-life quandaries ranging from how to deal with braggy playground moms to wondering if you can have sex in your aunt's bed on vacation to correctly grieving the dearly departed (hint: it doesn't include tattoos or truck decals). (Goodreads)


What did you receive this week?



Saturday, November 23, 2013

Monster Review-a-Thon Wrap-up

Monster reviewathon

Now that the Monster Review-a-thon is over, let's see how I did. 

Out of 14 books that needed reviewing, I only managed to write 1 review from the below list and 1 review from a title that wasn't even listed. Another review-a-thon fail.

To Be Reviewed:

  • How to be Alone
  • Hunted
  • She's the Boss
  • TaleSpins
  • Spider
  • The Curiosity
  • Through the Zombie Glass
  • Same Kind of Different As Me
  • Pawn
  • Machine of Death
  • Taken
  • Indelible
  • Once We Were
  • Carniepunk

Goals

  1. Set up posts for reviews, with book cover and synopsis so all I have to do is write my thoughts - done! 
  2. Complete at least one challenge for the review-a-thon - no challenges this time
  3. Write and schedule at least 4 reviews - major fail! :(
  4. Visit and cheer on other participants - visited a few, but will try to check in with everyone's wrap up posts to see how they all did.

So even though I didn't manage to write reviews for every book, I didn't really expect to. I have a horrible track record with review-a-thons, but am happy that I did manage to prepare posts for all of my to-be-reviewed titles! And now I have a list to work from that I'm determined to finish before the end of the month!



Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Review: How to Be Alone

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How to Be Alone by Tanya Davis, illustrated by Andrea Dorfman

A charming and deeply poignant illustrated poem based on the popular viral Internet video that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide

If you are, at first, lonely be patient. If you've not been alone much or if, when you were, you weren't okay with it then just wait...

Since its debut on YouTube, Tanya Davis's beautiful and perceptive poem, How to Be Alone, visually realized by artist and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, has become an international sensation. Her wise and perceptive words, vivid in their evocation of solitude's beauty and calm, have touched millions. Now her poem's deep eloquence and compelling illustrations have been adapted for the page in this beautiful, meditative volume, a keepsake to treasure and to share.

From a solitary walk in the woods to sitting unaccompanied on a city park bench to eating a meal and even dancing alone, Tanya reveals the possibilities and joys waiting to be discovered when we engage in activities on our own. As she soothes the disquietude that accompanies the fear of aloneness, and celebrates the power of solitude to change how we see ourselves and the world, Tanya revels how, removed from the noise and distractions of other lives, we can find acceptance and grace within.

For those who have never been by themselves and those who feel lost or lonely on their own, this moving work encourages us to recognize and embrace the possibilities of being alone-and reminds us of a universe of joy, peace, and discovery waiting to unfold. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

While I don't usually read poetry, I was intrigued by the thought of an illustrated poem. I hadn't heard of it, but this was apparently a YouTube sensation with over 6 million views. Wow! Guess I'm out of the YouTube loop.

As an introvert, I enjoy being alone and was curious to see what the poet and illustrator had to say about my favorite state of being. Some of the suggestions, like the library and movie theater, are tried and true favorites. Others, like a coffee shop or lunch counter, I still haven't worked up the courage to try. 

The illustrations that accompany the poem are charming. I especially enjoyed the artistic comparison of being alone to a single sock. We all have a single sock or two hanging around, but it doesn't have to be a sad thing if embraced as lovely and unique. 

The description I keep coming back to is charming. I don't know if I would have purchased this book for myself, but think it would make a lovely stocking stuffer for the holidays. 

About:

Tanya Davis is a Canadian singer-songwriter and poet. Since bursting onto the Halifax music scene in 2006 with her debut, Make A List, Tanya has garnered praise from industry, audience, and peers, as well as multiple award nominations, including one for her sophomore release, Gorgeous Morning, for the 2009 ECMA Female Recording of the Year.

Andrea Dorfman works as a filmmaker, animator, cinematographer, and artist. A graduate of McGill University and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, she has made numerous experimental and dramatic short films as well as two feature films, Parsley Days and Love That Boy. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Review copy provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Monster Review-a-thon starting goals

Monster reviewathon

Today is the start date for the Monster Review-a-thon, so thought I would list a few goals to keep myself motivated and on track. 

Here are some of my books that still need reviewing:
  • How to be Alone
  • Hunted
  • She's the Boss
  • TaleSpins
  • Spider
  • The Curiosity
  • Through the Zombie Glass
  • Same Kind of Different As Me
  • Pawn
  • Machine of Death
  • Taken
  • Indelible
  • Once We Were
  • Carniepunk

Goals

  1. Set up posts for reviews, with book cover and synopsis so all I have to do is write my thoughts. Pre-review? Pre-post? Does this process have a name?
  2. Complete at least one challenge for the review-a-thon
  3. Write and schedule at least 4 reviews
  4. Visit and cheer on other participants

I know that I won't be able to review them all, but at least I have a fighting chance on getting some of them done. Wish me luck!



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Book Review: Princess in the Opal Mask

Princess in the Opal MaskPrincess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist

Every Fairy-Tale Ending Has a Price....

Orphaned as a child in the crumbling village of Tulan, Elara is determined to learn her true identity, even if it means wielding a dagger. Meanwhile, in Galandria's royal capital, Princess Wilha stands out as someone to either worship or fear. Though no one knows why the king has always made her conceal her face - including Wilha herself.

When an assassination attempt threatens the peace of neighboring kingdoms, Elara and Wilha are brought face to face . . . with a chance at claiming new identities. However, with dark revelations now surfacing, both girls will need to decide if brighter futures are worth the binding risks. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Elara is an orphan, raised by a family who doesn't love her and treats her like a slave. Princess Wilha has been raised as royalty, but also feels unloved and doesn't understand why she is required to wear a mask at all times. These two girls are our narrators, and both are fascinating characters. 

Just like Cinderella, Elara gets a chance to go to a royal ball! The ball is in celebration of Wilha's birthday, but she's not very happy at being put on display yet again. It's tough being stared at all of the time because of her mask, and the rumors about why she has to wear it can be hurtful to a sheltered princess.

Brought together after an assassination attempt on the royal family, both girls find out startling information about their pasts. Sent together to a neighboring kingdom, Wilha and Elera both discover hidden strengths.

Of the two, I found myself relating to Wilha more so than Elera, as Elera seemed somewhat harder and less sympathetic. Of course, Elera had a much tougher childhood than the princess, but I just didn't connect with her like I thought I would. And I was surprised by how much I came to like Wilha, as I found her weak and uninteresting at first. She really grew on me!

Found this to be a good start to a new series, with interesting characters and a good storyline. While I found a few plot points a little odd, everything came together well and I'm looking forward to seeing where the author takes the story next!


Review copy provided by Running Press Publicity in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Book Haul (33)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the book.

For Review:

I've read Laura Lippman books before, so couldn't resist requesting this one. Sounds intriguing, so don't think I can wait until February to read it!

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After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman

When Felix Brewer meets nineteen-year-old Bernadette "Bambi" Gottschalk at a Valentine's Dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative - if not all legal - businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July, 1976, Bambi's comfortable world implodes when Felix, newly convicted and facing prison, mysteriously vanishes. (Goodreads)


What did you receive this week?


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

4th annual Broke & Bookish Secret Santa!

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So excited that The Broke and the Bookish are planning a Secret Santa exchange again! Had a blast with my Secret Santa exchange last year and have been keeping an eye out for another one. It's a low key and fun Secret Santa that doesn't put too much of a damper on your wallet. My kind of exchange!
  • sign up before November 17th
  • your gift should have 1 or 2 books + some sort of little goodie or two (candy, bookmarks, something bookish) & a card or note.
  • mail gift no later than December 10th
  • open internationally!
I signed up almost immediately, and am really looking forward to getting my Secret Santa's information so I can start shopping! If you're interested, you can find out more information here.

So excited!



Monday, November 4, 2013

October Wrap Up

library-6

Trying to get back in the groove, so hoping a monthly wrap up will help!

Books read

In order to meet my Goodreads goal of 100 books, I'll need to read 8.33 books per month. According to Goodreads, I've read 11 books this month. Sure, two of them were short stories and two were anthologies, but they totally count!

  1. Thankless in Death by JD Robb
  2. Pawn by Aimee Carter
  3. The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
  4. Mirror, Mirror anthology
  5. Raven by Lauren Oliver
  6. Grimoire of the Lamb by Kevin Hearne
  7. Same Kind of Different Like Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore
  8. Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter
  9. TailSpins by Michael Mullin
  10. The Spider by Jennifer Estep
  11. How To Be Alone by Tamya Davis

Blog Updates

Having noticed that some of the pictures on my older reviews have disappeared, probably because of my PC crashing awhile ago, I've started using Photobucket. It's a stable platform for photos, so hoping the book covers won't disappear anymore. It takes a little longer to upload them to photobucket and then link the picture to my post, but I think it's worth it. Now if I was really ambitious, I'd go back and fix the missing covers. Too bad I'm not overly ambitious... *L*

Read an interesting post over at On Starships and Dragonwings about NetGalley and their new feedback ratio. I've now updated my bio to include more stats (like Twitter followers and number of Amazon reviews). I also plan on sending them my reviews earlier, even if I don't schedule them until closer to the publication date. My goal is to get my approval rating up to 80% (was at 69% and am currently at 72.2%).

Commenting

Getting used to Bloglovin' and think I'm doing better with reading and commenting on blogs. Also trying to do better with visiting bloggers who leave comments on my posts. Want to give a special shout-out to Petty Witter (aka Tracy), who has been a valued blogger friend who stuck with me during my many slumps! Appreciate that more than you can know, PW!

Fun with keyword searches

Sad to discover that Google Analytics no longer provides the results of keyword searches. Something about privacy, but all I know is that once again, Google has rained on my parade. First they get rid of my Reader, then my fun keyword searches. Boo Google! :(

Overall

I am cautiously optimistic that my reading/blogging slump is almost over. Reading is becoming fun again, I'm starting to visit my blogging friends again, and I'm slowly getting back into reviewing. Hope I don't hit another slump, as they're totally depressing!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Book Haul (32)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

As an introvert, I was curious to read this poem on how to be alone. Poems are tricky things, but I liked the idea of an internet video being turned into an illustrated book.

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How To Be Alone by Tanya Davis

A charming and deeply poignant illustrated poem based on the popular viral Internet video that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide. (Goodreads)

Purchased:

This is one of those series that are an auto-read for me. I absolutely love Atticus, Granuaile, and Oberon! Can't wait to see what happens next!

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Hunted by Kevin Hearne

For a two-thousand-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt - Artemis and Diana - for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, Granuaile, and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide-and-seek, the game plan is . . . run like hell. (Goodreads)



What did you receive this week?


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