Aug 30, 2010

Tyger Tyger Review and Author Kersten Hamilton Guest Post





Tyger Tyger
Author:  Kersten Hamilton
Publish Date: November 15, 2010
 

From Goodreads

 Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.



Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.

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Right off the bat..I loved Tyger Tyger.  I was somewhat hesitant because I wasn't sure if I wanted to read about goblins, and such, but I'm so glad I gave it a chance.

Teagan's life  has been a ordinary one until Finn Mac Cumhaill shows up.  Things aren't quite right about him especially the way he's making her feel.  Teagan is a great character.  I really liked her because I felt she was scared but stayed strong.  I'm a sucker for a strong independent female protogonist.  What can I say about Finn?  I loved, loved him.  I like my male characters kind of rough around the edges, and boy does that describe Finn perfectly.  His survival skills, and street smarts give him that bad boy image. 

Tyger Tyger grabs your interest in the beginning and never lets go.  I loved the Irish Folklore that pushes Tyger Tyger along.  Goblins, and all the other creepy evil things really worked.  How did I think I didn't want to read about Goblins?  Bring on the Goblins!!  The story of the Mac Cumhaill's is so fascinating.  Everything really worked in Tyger Tyger, nothing felt rushed, pushed or shoved down our throats. 

I'm definitely a new fan of Ms. Hamilton.  Can't wait to read more from her.  I highly recommend Tyger Tyger

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Kersten Hamilton Guest Post

Aristotle, Feminism, and Female Protagonists


Hi, Melissa! Thank you for hosting a stop on my blog tour! Today, I would like to talk about feminism, female protagonists in YA books, and one old dead philosopher.
There are so many understandings of the word ‘feminist’ that I think I should explain exactly what I mean by it in this post: I mean that I believe that women and men, men and women are completely equal.

I was born a feminist, and never strayed from it. Which is odd, because I had no strong female role model when I was growing up. No female role model at all, in fact. I was raised by a father who believed that women are less worthy than men.

I simply disagreed with him. From birth.

Women are not better than men; men are not better than women. All of us are human and all humans are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We are equal, but not the same. And in the tension of that statement stereotypes are born. I blame Aristotle. Yes, a two-thousand-four-hundred-year-old philosopher is dabbling his skeletal fingers in our books, our culture, and our lives. The man was a brilliant thinker; he helped form Western Civilization. But his views on women were wrong. I will paraphrase three of Aristotle’s teachings:

1. The male is better and more divine (godlike) than the female.

2. A female is a deformed male.

3. Since the male is by nature superior, he must rule and the woman be ruled.

These ideas in various forms have been thundered from pulpits, written into law, and absorbed by people who don’t even realize we are steeped in them.

They have create literary clich├ęs: a girl who must always be rescued OR the reverse, a girl who fights and kills as efficiently as a man. The latter started showing up in the sixties, I think, when culture was reacting to the idea that girls were weak by making them just like boys and just as good as boys at everything. Instead of empowering girls, we simply fixed Aristotle’s deformed males.

The only way to avoid this is to make sure our characters—male or female—are fearfully and wonderfully made. Human.

One writer who has given female characters wings is Hayao Miyazaki. His female protagonists might win because they are kick-butt warriors—or because they have the strength to love even the ugliest of creatures—but there is always a distinctly female strength about them.

I would love to hear your readers’ thoughts on this!

Kersten


**Great post, Ms. Hamilton!  I've always been curious about what YA authors feel about female protogonist.  I have a feeling in this day, Aristotle would need bodyguards! 








I want to thank Kersten Hamilton for stopping by, and letting me be part of this tour. 
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Aug 26, 2010

Mini's!

Time for my mini roundup!




Summer's Child

Summer's Child
Author:  Diane Chamberlain

I'm a huge fan of Diane Chamberlain, and yet again, she  has managed to give me another great read.   In the usual Chamberlain way, Summer's Child is a very interesting, and captivating read.   The story is wrapped around a newborn baby left on the beach.  The beginning chapter tells us how and who found the baby, and then jumps to the future, with the now adult wanting to find out who her mom is, and why she left her. Summer's Child is a very good book!




You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, Their Films, and Their Impact on a Generation

You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried
Author:  Susannah Gora


If you are a huge fan of 80's teen films and the brat pack, then you will love this book.  Susannah Gora dives deep into the process of how these beloved teen movies came to be, from the writing, and casting, to the filming.  Along the way there are chapters on how the soundtracks came to be, and quite a bit of information on the members of the so called brat pack.  I really enjoyed this book, because I'm a huge fan of Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles. 





Crazy Love

Crazy Love
Author:  Leslie Morgan Steiner


Crazy Love is a great compelling memoir about a women's abusive relationship. In Crazy Love Ms. Steiner really opens up about her life with her boyfriend then husband who happen to be physically and emotionally abusive.  I was able to comprehend how women rationalize their abusive relationships, and continue to think that their love can fix the problem.  Very interesting quick read.


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Aug 13, 2010

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Nevermore
Author:  Kelly Creagh
Publisher: Atheneum
Date Published:  August 31st 2010


From Goodreads:

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.


Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.


As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.


His life depends on it.

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Fantastic read!  I was blown away by Nevermore.  I thought it was so unique, and bringing in the whole Edgar Allen Poe element added such a dark, bizarre, and creepy element. 

I have never read Edgar Allen Poe (I know, I know), but I have a very close friend that is a huge fan of his.  In high school she constantly carried around a book of his complete works.  Because of her I knew what kinds of stories, and poems Mr. Poe wrote, so I wasn't surprised how out there the whole dream/alternate world  that Varen, and soon after Isobel found themselves in.  This alternate world really fascinated me, yet left me totally perplexed.  What the heck was going on?  At times I would get slightly confused, but then isn't that the way of Edgar Allen Poe.  Were we suppose to walk away knowing exactly what was going on...I think not.  It was too bizarre to make perfect sense.  I was so involved in the story from the beginning, and I found that I couldn't stop reading. I got pulled into this vortex of insanity that Ms. Creagh created.   It was great!  Obviously with the ending Nevermore had, there will be a second book.  Frustrating when the ending is left open, but what the hell, it is the way of the YA genre.

Varen and Isobel are great finished characters.  They are opposites in every way, so you definitely think what is there common denominator, but when they start to peel off that protective cover they both have, you realize how much they do have in common.  Outside appearance is the first clue Ms. Creagh gives us about how different they are.  For instance, Isobel is a cheerleader with the typical bully jock boyfriend, and Varen is a pale skinned, black eyeliner wearing kind of guy...how more can they be dissimilar.  I was much more intrigued by Varen. 

I really liked Nevermore, and I'm looking forward to book two.  What the heck happens to Varen?!

Book received from Star Book Tours.




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Aug 8, 2010

Summertime Blogging Blues

I've come upon quite a few posts about what I'm calling the "blogging blues".  Seems like a lot of us enjoy blogging, but are missing the enjoyment of being able to pick up what we want when we want.  Everytime I come upon one of those posts, I'm like "thats me"! 

Lately,  I haven't even wanted to read.  I almost feel like I've lost my giddiness over reading.  I have a book that needs to be read for a swap game on PBS, and today, after not picking up a book in a week, I decided I needed to read it (needs to be mailed by tomorrow). I read one chapter, and then quickly skimmed the rest, and read the last chapter...done!  That is so not me.  I've been reading Await Your Reply for awhile now, and it also has to be sent out for a swap, luckily my local library has a copy.  It's good, but I guess because I have to read it, I don't want to read it.

I really do enjoy blogging, but I need it to be secondary to my love of reading like it was when I first started this blog.  To get past the "blogging blues" I've decided no more swaps, and no more signing up for tours for awhile.  I do have two books coming from tours soon, but not a problem, because I really, really want to read those..lol!

I have so many great books in my TBR that have been waiting for me read for years.  I'm thinking for the rest of the year I'm going to focus on reading.  I going to still blog of course, but it will take the backburner.  I'll be able to start the new blogging year, nice and refreshed.












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Book of Love (Knight Angels, Bk 1) by Abra Ebner


Book of Love (Knight Angels, Bk 1)
Author:  Abra Ebner
Publisher:  Crimson Oak Publishing LLC
Publication Date:  April 26th 2010

From Goodreads:

When seventeen-year-old Jane Taylor witnessed her father's death at age seven, something happened to her. Ever since, her thoughts have been consumed by death, going so far as to foresee the ever-changing deaths of those around her.



Sixteen-year-old Emily Taylor always resented her sister’s closeness with their father, who died when she was only six. Ever since she can remember, she’s had the strange ability to read minds, something her father held the key to. Left helpless, she drowns herself in a world of prescription drugs, sending her responsible older sister Jane – who acted as the mother her real mother refused to be – over the edge.


Seventeen-year-old Wes Green was adopted as a baby, left carelessly by parents that clearly did not love him. He moved in next door to Jane, sharing an alleyway window and finding in her a childhood friend that soon turned into his high-school crush. All summer, though, the pain that’s been wracking his body seemed to come with no explanation. He was done growing, was plenty healthy, and worked out regularly as a member of the wrestling team. When senior year starts, though, and the pain gets worse, the changes ahead of him are anything but what he expected, and far to animal for his taste.


When Max Gordon, doomed to be a teenager for the next thousand years, found himself standing above her dying body, he saw in her bright eyes something he hadn’t seen in the nearly one-hundred-years he’d spent roaming Earth. Her father was already dead, but there was a chance he could still save her from the wreck. Jane was her name, and she was only seven, but already she was all he ever wanted. It was his job to bring her back, but it was an act that could have been the biggest mistake of his life.


When four teens enter Glenwood High on an unseasonably cool day in September, no one but Max could understand the future that was ahead of them. Drawn together by blood and friendship, they each hide a dark secret that will soon help to bind them even closer.


When the one face Max hoped to never see again shows up on school grounds – his evil twin brother, Greg – he knows that coming back for Jane was the wrong thing to do. Finding that Greg already knows about Max’s attraction for Jane, Max finds he can no longer hope to leave again, afraid of what Greg will do.


Max has to protect Jane, Jane wants to be normal, Wes wants Jane to love him, and Emily just wants the voices to stop…


And Greg… he just wants everyone dead.

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I'm gonna get straight to the point, Book of Love didn't do it for me.  I had a really hard time getting into the story, and in the end, well, it never did pull me in. 

I thought the story had a lot of promise with the guardian angel angle, but the characters were really lackluster, in my opinion.  Book of Love  really had a bit of everything, mind readers, angels, and shapeshifters.  I was able to finish the book, and I think it was because of the plot. 

What didn't work for me were the characters.  I didn't care about any of them, and actually disliked most.  The bit of good in Book of Love was distracted by my dislike of the characters.  My problem with Jane was she seemed so selfish.  I couldn't get past her me, me, me mentality, and Max was too much Donnie Osmond for me.  Those two being the two main characters I knew this wasn't going to be a hit for me.


I think that Book of Love is a book many will love, because of the whole paranormal aspect.  Sadly, it wasn't for me.  It is a series, but I won't be continuing on.





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Aug 4, 2010

Great article about the Kindle

I received a email directing me to a great article, "50 Awesome Blog Posts for the Kindle Addict".  If you have a kindle, or are considering buying one this is a absolutely must read.

Thanks to Carrie for the email!


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Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman

Arcadia Falls
Author:  Carol Goodman
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Publication Date:  March 9, 2010

From Goodreads

Meg Rosenthal is driving toward the next chapter in her life. Winding along a wooded roadway, her car moves through a dense forest setting not unlike one in the bedtime stories Meg used to read to her daughter, Sally. But the girl riding beside Meg is a teenager now, and has exchanged the land of make-believe for an iPod and some personal space. Too much space, it seems, as the chasm between them has grown since the sudden, unexpected death of Meg’s husband.



Dire financial straits and a desire for a fresh start take Meg and Sally from a comfortable life on Long Island to a tucked-away hamlet in upstate New York: Arcadia Falls, where Meg has accepted a teaching position at a boarding school. The creaky, neglected cottage Meg and Sally are to call home feels like an ill portent of things to come, but Meg is determined to make the best of it—and to make a good impression on the school’s dean, the diminutive, elegant Ivy St. Clare.


St. Claire, however, is distracted by a shocking crisis: During Arcadia’s First Night bonfire, one of Meg’s folklore students, Isabel Cheney, plunges to her death in a campus gorge. Sheriff Callum Reade finds Isabel’s death suspicious, but then, he is a man with secrets and a dark past himself.


Meg is unnerved by Reade’s interest in the girl’s death, and as long-buried secrets emerge, she must face down her own demons and the danger threatening to envelop Sally. As the past clings tight to the present, the shadows, as if in a terrifying fairy tale, grow longer and deadlier.

In Arcadia Falls, award-winning author Carol Goodman deftly weaves a mesmerizing narrative of passion: for revenge, for art, for love.



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I'm a big fan of Carol Goodman, so I was really excited to get to read Arcadia Falls.  Like most of Ms. Goodman's books,  Arcada Falls take place at a boarding school. I am not at all surprised how quickly I fell into the story.

Meg just lost her husband,  she decides the best option for both her and her daughter is to take a teaching position at a boarding school in Arcadia Falls.  Meg quickly notices something isn't quite right at the school.  Wierd rituals, and a mysterious death of a student has Meg wondering what is going on at Arcadia.  She realizes the rituals, and wierdness somehow link back to the past of Arcadia, and the founding members of the boarding school.

I really enjoyed how things started coming to light.  The plot is interesting, and keeps you reading to find out what happens in present Arcadia, and past Arcadia.  The pagan rituals are eery, and the students are very strange.  The story goes back and forth between what is happening in the now, and what was happening in the then at Arcadia.  We are learning about the past through a journal of one of the artist who helped start the boarding school.  

Arcadia Falls is a great gothic mystery.  Carol Goodman is one of my go to authors.  She has yet to fail me.

Book recieved from Crazy Book Tours for review
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