Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Signed Insurgent Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to the lucky winner of the signed copy of Insurgent: 

Book Ninja!

The winner has been notified, and her book will ship today.

For those of you dying to get your hands on a signed copy of Insurgent
 and who are unable to go to a Veronica Roth signing, you can go to: 
They still have signed copies of Insurgent in stock. 
The shipping is fast and the staff is very courteous. 
Signed copies of Divergent are also available! 

Thank you to all who entered! 
 I have another awesome giveaway going up tomorrow!
Hope to see you then!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Katertot's Review of A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

Title: A Greyhound of a Girl
Author: Roddy Doyle
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2012

AmazonBarnes&Noble | Goodreads

Katertot's Rating:


Mary O’Hara is a sharp and cheeky 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl who is bravely facing the fact that her beloved Granny is dying. But Granny can’t let go of life, and when a mysterious young woman turns up in Mary’s street with a message for her Granny, Mary gets pulled into an unlikely adventure. The woman is the ghost of Granny’s own mother, who has come to help her daughter say good-bye to her loved ones and guide her safely out of this world. She needs the help of Mary and her mother, Scarlett, who embark on a road trip to the past. Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out.

Katertot's Review:

Mary O’Hara is a twelve-year-old girl living in Dublin, Ireland. Unfortunately, things haven't been going very well for Mary lately. Not only has her best friend just moved away, but her grandmother, Emer, is extremely sick and has been admitted to the hospital. To add to that, a strange woman keeps appearing in Mary’s neighborhood. Mary assumes she is a new neighbor, but finds out later that that is not true at all. The woman, Tansey, short for Anastasia, is a ghost. A ghost of Mary’s grandmother’s mother. She’d heard of Tansey plenty of times in stories, but, of course, had never met her in person. Now, Tansey is asking Mary and her mother (who, oddly enough, are not all that shocked about a ghost in front of them) to help her reach Emer again so she can talk to her. Mary and her mother agree to help Tansey and take her to the hospital to see her daughter, and that’s where the adventure begins.

This book was so fun and interesting to read. And set in Ireland? Even better! A lot of Irish references and words throughout the story had me laughing out loud, along with several other parts, but then, there were parts that had me on the verge of tears, as well. I’ve never read any books by Roddy Doyle before, and, though A Greyhound of a Girl may be my first, it definitely won’t be my last! The writing style was unique and captivating, and I was hooked from beginning to end. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, exciting read. Also, the cover and pages are beautiful, and that is always a plus!

Now, for my favorite characters!
~ Scarlett: Scarlett, Mary’s mother, was so hilarious and eccentric that I couldn’t help but love her. Though my mother is not eccentric by any means, she is also hilarious and always in good spirits, and Scarlett reminded me of her. She was always shouting things and ending sentences with !!!s, as Mary said.

~ Tansey: Tansey’s story, though sad, was enjoyable to read about. I loved reading about her and what happened, how she died, and how she was able to stay on earth as a ghost. Tansey and Emer had a beautiful mother/daughter relationship, and I could really relate to that, as well.

~ Dommo and Killer (Dominic and Kevin): Though these two boys (Mary’s older brothers) did not appear in the story often, it was interesting, to say the least, when they did. They were usually very funny, and a lot of parts involving these two had me cracking up. Like this (also an example of Mary’s hilarious, overly-excited mother):
. . . the boys charged into the kitchen, in a race to the fridge that Killer was winning.
The boys stopped when they saw Tansey.
“We’re talking about death, boys!” said Scarlett.

“Cool,” said Dommo.

This was an amazing story, and, after reading in the back of the book where some of Roddy Doyle’s books have become movies, I hope this is made into a film, also. I have a feeling it will - such a wonderful book deserves to be on the big screen! I hope to read more of Roddy Doyle’s fabulous work… and soon!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity

Title:  Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Expected Publication: May 15, 2012

Amazon |  Barnes&Noble | The Book Depository

My Rating:

From Goodreads: 

Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.
My Review:

“It's like being in love, discovering your best friend.”

Code Name Verity is the story of two friends fighting for survival in 1943.  This story was given high ratings by reviewers I deeply respect, as well as one of my favorite authors, so I was incredibly saddened that I wasn’t able to appreciate the story the way they did.

The details that Elizabeth Wein provides will captivate most readers - just not this particular reader. I realize this is not the fault of the book, nor the fault of the author who wrote it. I can’t imagine how much research went into this story. The author writes this era so flawlessly that I am easily impressed by her talent. The problem really lies with me. I am simply not the target audience for this type of book or time period. I struggled with the first person narrative that changed to third person narrative, along with the switch in POV’s.

I feel as though I’m being transported back to the 9th grade, when I had to tell the boy who wanted to go steady with me that I just didn’t feel the same way. So, I say to this book: You didn’t do anything wrong. You are a perfectly nice book. I like you, but I’m just not in love with you.

There are some twists and turns that were very surprising and equally intriguing - enough to make me want to see the story through to the end, which speaks volumes when you’re reading something that isn’t your cup of tea. I don't want to give away any spoilers, and talking more about the plot of this book would surely do so.  As it is often repeated in the book:  Careless talk costs lives!

I think readers who enjoy historical fiction and/or have a love for piloting and different types of aircrafts should definitely give this book a go. I myself would be very open minded to reading more of this author’s work, as I believe she can tell quite a story.

Thank you to Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Birthday and an early Happy Mother's Day

Today, my beautiful, sweet mother is 76 years young. She is my hero and my rock. She gave me my love for reading and if I can be half the mother that she has been, my daughter will be very blessed.  I thought I would share my favorite childhood memory with you in her honor:

I was four years old. Every Thursday was what my parents referred to as grocery day. They still call it that, though it has since moved to Wednesdays. Before we would get our groceries at the Air Force Base Commissary, we would always stop by the BX, which was the base exchange. On this particular Thursday, as we turned down an aisle, I saw her. She was the most beautiful baby doll I had ever seen. Chestnut brown curls, big brown eyes that really blinked, and rosy cheeks. I was smitten. Even though she was in a huge box, I picked her up and showed my mother my own big, blinking brown eyes. Mom agreed the doll was beautiful and looked her over, but she faltered when she saw the price. $26.00 for a doll in the 70’s was outrageous and way more than my blue collar parents, who had a budget to adhere to, could afford. I was raised to know better than to ask, especially when it wasn’t my birthday or Christmas, so I understood owning this doll wasn’t a reality. I did, however, ask if I could just carry her in her box while we shopped. So I lugged that box down every single aisle while Mom loaded our buggy with the usual weekly necessities. When it was time to check out, I put the dolly back on the aisle she belonged on, bid her goodbye, and told her I would see her next week.

And I did. Actually, for many weeks. Every Thursday, it became routine. I would rush to her aisle, pick her up, and carry her while we shopped. At four years old, I had no idea I was breaking my mother’s heart. I didn’t know that she longed to buy me that doll more than anything else in the world. I was just happy to have my weekly visits. The next Thursday, after my visit with the baby doll, whose name was Puddin’(which I thought was the BEST name in the world for reasons only a four-year-old could explain), we finished our grocery day and headed home. While my parents unloaded the grocery bags and shared some hushed whispering, I became lost in a favorite cartoon. A half-hour later, I heard a car pull up. Excited over unexpected company, I raced to the door… but it was my mom’s car pulling up. Where had she gone? And why didn’t she tell me she was leaving? I instantly became terrified that something was wrong. My dad opened the door and told me to go see if she needed help with anything. As I approached the car, my fears were alleviated when I saw her beaming. I reached the car door as she opened it, and then, she placed the most wonderful doll in the world in my arms. I burst into tears. I may have only been a little child, but I knew the enormity of the gift I had been given, and it was more than just a doll… it was a symbol of my parents’ love and a preview of what they were willing to sacrifice for me, their little girl.

I was twenty-three years old. I was renting my very first house on the other side of town. On my own for the first time in my life, I felt so grown-up and so independent. I loved that little house, and decorating it became my number one priority and a bit of an obsession. An older lady that I worked with, who only lived a few streets away, asked to come by and see my new house. She brought her friend with her, and, to my delight, they ooooed and aaaahed their way through my little home, complimenting every arrangement of furniture or d├ęcor we passed. When we came to my extra bedroom that held my childhood furniture, a few stuffed animals, and, of course, the most wonderful baby doll in the world, I told them the story of Puddin’ just as I have told you. My friend’s friend asked if she could hold her - see her more closely. I obliged, and she immediately turned her over and checked the back of my doll’s neck. Before I could ask, she remarked, “I thought so!” She then informed me that what I had in my possession was a Madame Alexander doll. I nodded like I knew exactly what that meant - I had no clue. She offered me a very large sum of money right then and there. I was only twenty-three. Every penny I earned went towards my new rent, utilities, and gas money. At that moment, I had exactly eighty-three cents in my bank account. I beamed at this woman and told her, “No, thank you. This doll is priceless.”

I am now in my thirties. I have been happily married for fifteen years. Fortunately, I have more than eighty-three cents in my checking account, and I have long ago put away childish things. Except for one: the most wonderful doll in the world now belongs to the most wonderful little girl in the world. My daughter adores Puddin’ and only gently handles her on rare occasions. Puddin’ is missing a bit of hair from too many brushings, and she has a few scars from too much cuddling, but, when I look at her, I don't see an old childhood toy... I only see one thing: a mother’s love for her little girl.

My doll-themed 7th birthday party (that's me and Puddin' in the front). All the little girls brought their favorite dolls, and everyone was given awards, like Best Dressed, Most Popular, Newest, Oldest, etc. Want to take a wild guess whose doll won Most Loved?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ascend (Trylle Trilogy #3) by Amanda Hocking

Title: Ascend (Trylle Trilogy#3)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication: April 24, 2012

Amazon | Barnes&Noble | The Book Depository |

My Rating:

From Goodreads: 

The final book in the Trylle Trilogy..

With a war looming on the horizon, Wendy's fate seems sealed.But everything she sacrificed might be in vain if she can't save the ones she loves. Her whole life has been leading up to this, and it's all coming to an end.

                  This is a young adult paranormal romance with some
                          mild language and mild sexual situations.

My Review:

This is a difficult review to write. Not because I’m at a loss for words - because I have too many! I’m about to burst at the seams needing to vent to someone about everything that went down in the final installment of The Trylle Trilogy. What are you trying to do to me, Amanda Hocking? How am I going to express any of my opinions here without giving anything away from the book? I suppose I will stick to safe topics, and this review may go down as one of the shortest in my little blogging history.

Normally, I like to gush about the yummy male characters, but I think I did enough of that in my last two reviews. I’m actually excited to talk about Wendy this time. I’ve had definite issues with her in the last two books, but talk about character development! Wendy really grew into a likeable heroine who worked hard to earn the respect of not only her peers, but the respect of the readers. She showed strength and compassion in Ascend, and, while I didn’t agree with everything she did or certain choices she made, I am very pleased with how Wendy matured and the young woman she grew into. She’s no Remy, but she definitely wins most improved.

Another shocker was that I, albeit begrudgingly, changed my opinion about Elora. Oh, I fought it, believe me... but, when all was revealed, I certainly saw things from a different point of view.

I will miss these characters, and, even though it ended a lot differently than I would have thought, I enjoyed everyone’s happily-ever-after. The glimpse into their future lives was very satisfying and gave some closure no matter what “team” you were on. I will hold out hope that Finn will get his own book one day - he is not a character that I am ready to say goodbye to.

“‘It’s what’s best for you.’ He paused. ‘But I want you for myself, too.’”

“‘Tomorrow, you will belong to someone else. But tonight, you’re with me.’”

“‘Can’t we just sit here and look longingly into each other’s eyes until we fall into each
other’s arms, kissing passionately?’”

“‘Everything I went through,’ he said. ‘For you. It was worth it.’”

“‘I don't want only one night. I want all the nights. I want all of you, forever.’”

Note:  This is a young adult paranormal romance with some mild language and mild sexual situations.