All good things must come to an end . . .

Even the 50K Giveaway Bonanza.

On December 6, 2010 the blog hit 50,000 views. Because of you, dear readers. Since then, to celebrate I’ve been giving away one book each week. Until now.

I can no longer afford the postage to host the weekly giveaways.

I had a great time hosting the giveaways and reading all of the lovely comments for each of them. It was really the perfect way to celebrate this amazing milestone for me and the blog. Thank you for helping me come so far and sharing the celebration with me.

Things at the blog will continue running normally–just without weekly giveaways.

If you are a member of Goodreads I will be listing books there through their bookswap feature. It’s easier for me to manage since I don’t have to pay shipping and it’s easier for people looking for books because you can search by title. (Each book costs the requester $3.50 to $4.50) The book swapping is a fun, clever feature on a fun, clever site and I recommend all of you check it out for books at a fair price. And also, of course, to share some of your own books.

It’s been great and it will continue to be great. Thank you, dear readers, for being so very, very awesome.

Hush, Hush: A (Rapid Fire) Review

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (2009)

Hush, Hush by Becca FitzpatrickI just couldn’t get into this book, I wanted to but it just wasn’t happening.

Mostly it’s my fault: I’m burnt out on paranormal romances and I have my own problems with angel stories.

But it’s also a little bit the books fault because I’m tired of books with smart, generally reasonable, heroines who seem to completely lose their minds and fall for not only a dangerous guy who spells trouble with a capital T (no, really, Nora says that in the book; his smile spells trouble), but a dangerous guy who spells trouble and starts off by acting like a complete jerk to her. The idea of a girl not being attracted to any of the local boys only to become attracted to an outsider jerk is troubling and problematic on many levels outside of the realm of this actual story. But getting back to Hush, Hush it was just kind of annoying.

Aside from that, and again this is something I should have known already, books about angels are necessarily religious because they borrow (duh) from biblical mythology and lore. Which is fine. But when you are not religious and don’t have that foundation it tends to make for a problematic reading experience. I had similar problems with Halo by Alexandra Adornetto.

Problems aside, the writing here feels solid. There’s suspense, action, romance (obviously and albeit problematically). Nora isn’t completely annoying (except for the whole falling for a jerk thing), the book will have appeal–just not for me.

The book design (aptly done by Lucy Ruth Cummins is also worth mentioning. I don’t love the cover art because it’s a bit, well, scary. But the fonts on the cover and in the book are very attractive*. The book pages feature a reverse design with the title and author name at the bottom with the page numbers instead of the top which also made things interesting.

*I have no idea which is which but if anyone cares the fonts used in the book are Seria, Lunix and Aviano.

Wicked Appetite: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Wicked Appetite by Janey EvanovichLizzy Tucker’s life finally seems to be back on track. She has a cute nose, a job she loves baking cupcakes, and she just inherited a lovely new house in Marblehead near Salem, Massachusetts. Sure, the house is all saggy and needs a new foundation and no one is eager to publish her cookbook. But things are normal. And normal is good.

Normal is good while it lasts, anyway.

Things go sideways when a man named Gerwulf Grimooire shows up at Lizzy’s work and burns her skin. With his bare hand.

Turns out her encounter with Wulf is just the beginning.

Before she can say “buttercream icing” another man with weird abilities (and really good looks) named Diesel has wandered into Lizzy’s life and enlisted her to help find a a magical stone before Wulf can get his hands on it. Then she also acquires a one eyed cat. And a monkey.

Lizzy’s normal life has suddenly turned into chaos, most of which she can handle–except maybe for Diesel in Wicked Appetite (2010) by Janet Evanovich.

Wicked Appetite is the first book in Evanovich’s new Unmentionable series. Diesel was previously seen in the author’s “Between the Numbers” novels alongside Stephanie Plum.

My mom is a huge fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books. I like them but I stopped reading after the latest one*. When I heard she had a new series out, I got the book immediately for my mom. She enjoyed Wicked Appetite but thought it might be more my kind of book. She was right.

Wicked Appetite has all of the things readers loved from the Stephanie Plum books including humor, romance, wacky situations, and a clever story. But it also has fantasy elements. The premise isn’t the best (I cracked up every time the word SALIGIA appeared in the story) but it’s pretty good. So far there’s not an annoying love triangle although there is a massive amount of tension between Lizzy and Diesel. The side characters are funny and not quite as cartoon-y as the crew from the Stephanie Plum books. It feels strange to say it about a fantasy but in a lot of ways Wicked Appetite felt like a subtler, somewhat more plausible (except for the magic parts) premise.

If you don’t like Stephanie Plum, you won’t like this book. If you don’t like “soft” fantasy where magic bleeds into an otherwise normal world, you won’t like this book. If you don’t like snappy writing that is all about the story and less about coming off as literary prose, you won’t like this book.


If you want an exciting story with fun characters, you might like it. If you want a book that will leave you not just smiling but laughing out loud, you might really like it. If you want a book that does all of that and is a good bridge into the wider world of fantasy books, you might love Wicked Appetite.

*I was also rendered apopleptic after hearing that Morelli–the Italianest Italian in New Jersey–is being played by an Irish-from-Dublin actor. But that’s another story.

Blog Book Giveaway: Swoon at Your Own Risk[CLOSED]

This giveaway is for one advanced reader copy (ARC) of Swoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter.

Want to know more? Read my review.

The giveaway is open to US readers only (sorry!) and will end January 30. The winner will be notified via email on January 30 .

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below (with a valid email in the form area) saying why you would like to read the book.


The winner will be selected via random number generator by Maple the Palm Pre.

Congratulations to the winner!

Coming Soon: Rapid Fire Reviews

I’m completely backed up with books to read and review. I have books that have, literally, been on my shelves for two years. It’s driving me nuts.

In an effort to get this back under control you might see some reviews that I am calling “rapid fire” reviews which instead of being complete reviews will feature my immediate thoughts and . . . nothing else (no summary, no pairings, nothing). Because I’m trying to write them quickly. Also because most of the books are so old that the plots are already common knowledge.

Some of the reviews will be unpolished. Some will not have anything nice to say. But they will be honest. The rapid fire ones are books I literally must review but also need to get out of my house for my own sanity. And, of course, I will continue with regularly scheduled reviews.

The Boy Book: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Boy Book by E. LockhartSince the end of her disastrous sophomore year at Tate Prep Ruby Oliver has:

  • Continued going to therapy
  • Befriended fellow Tate Prep misfits Noel, Hutch and Meghan
  • Lost all of her other friends and her first ever boyfriend

Although the panic attacks are in check and the wounds sting a little less, Ruby’s reputation is still in tatters. Her former best friends all still hate her (except maybe Nora . . . or maybe not). She still has panic attacks.

It’s not the best situation but Ruby is prepared to do her best to deal with it all including: getting a job, scamming, deciphering the many secrets of boys (including Noel, Angelo, and her ex, Jackson), and even going on a school trip that might not be a total disaster (although from past experience Ruby isn’t getting her hopes up) in The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them (2006) by E. Lockhart.

Find it on Bookshop.

The Boy Book is the second book in Lockhart’s Ruby Oliver series (preceeded by The Boyfriend List). The book could stand alone but honestly since they’re so short it’s worth just reading them all in order.

The Boy Book is a slim, fun book. Ruby’s life is not glamorous, or perfect, but it is real. Lockhart blends humor, wit, and a bit of mayhem to deal with weighty matters and rescuing hooters in need alike. As  the title suggests there are boys in The Boy Book but what really sets this book apart (like The Boyfriend List) is Lockhart’s treatment of friendships. Friends aren’t forever, no matter what we might hope, and Ruby deals with that sadness and the process of moving on (but she calls it Reginald) throughout the story.

This series is fun because it’s hysterical but Lockhart stays true to her exemplary literary standards. Readers can observe the growth of Ruby’s character over the course of the books. Interestingly, having read both The Boy Book and Lockhart’s Printz honor book The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. (Isn’t Ruby kind of like Frankie before Frankie turns criminal mastermind? Maybe after as well. The similarities between Jackson and Frankie’s boyfriend, or even maybe Alpha, are also striking.)

At the end of the day The Boy Book is a funny, light-hearted read. It is authentic and marvelous and, even when Ruby is at her lowest, The Boy Book is optimistic and hopeful.

Ruby’s (mis)adventures continue in The Treasure Map of Boys.

Possible Pairings: A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody, Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti, Boys Don’t Knit by T. S. Easton, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu, Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson, Alice, I Think by Susan Juby, It Sounded Better In My Head by Nina Kenwood, The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder, When We Collided by Emery Lord, Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty, Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan, Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan, The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott, Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop WINNER: War for the Oaks

Thanks to everyone for entering my Dreaming of Books Giveaway for War for the Oaks.

Congratulations to the winner *drum roll* Alyssa!

Old Tales, New Twists: A Book List

The premises might sound familiar but these books all take traditional story elements and turn them upside down.

  1. Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart: For Gretchen Yee life as an artificial red head is anything but glamorous, especially when she feels too ordinary to fit in at her artsy high school. But it turns out life as a vermin, specifically as a fly on the wall of the boys locker room, is even worse. After a week maybe Gretchen will have learned enough to live life as a superhero instead.
  2. Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore: Nimira came to Lorinar to seek her fortune but instead she finds seedy music halls and natives who treat her like foreign trash. When a handsome sorcerer offers Nimira work singing with a mysterious automaton he may also be giving her the key to her happiness if only she can discover the automaton’s secrets.
  3. Liar by Justine Larbalestier: One of the only true things Micah will tell you about herself is that she’s a liar. But Micah doesn’t want to lie anymore. Especially not to you–the one person she hasn’t lied to. Yet. When her secret boyfriend dies, Micah’s carefully crafted lies begin to peel away. One by one. Until all Micah is left with is the cold, hard truth. Or is she?
  4. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner: Gen can steal anything. At least he can when he isn’t locked in the king’s prison. It’s a terrible risk but if Gen can steal a hidden artifact he might be able to win his freedom and something more.
  5. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier: Each full moon Jena and her sisters cross the wildwood to visit the enchanted glade of the Other Realm for a night of dancing and revelry. Everyone knows the wildwood is a dangerous place filled with witches, ghosts and all manner of other worldly creatures–and the lake that claimed Jena’s cousin years ago. But no harm can come from dancing. Or can it?
  6. Sabriel by Garth Nix: When her father, the Abhorsen, becomes trapped in Death Sabriel has to assume her rightful duties as the next Abhorsen and save him, and perhaps many others, from the dead that would keep him and claim the world of the living for themselves.
  7. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher: Nothing leaves Incarceron and nothing enters. No one knows where the prison is or how to get to it. So why does Finn suspect he has a life Outside the Prison? And why does Claudia have a key that seems to let her talk to Finn–a prisoner Inside?
  8. Peeps by Scott Westerfeld: Cal Thompson lives in a world where vampires are real, well sort of real. Parasite positives, “Peeps” for short, start to hate sunlight and everything they once loved. And they crave human blood. Cal is a carrier for the parasite and part of an organization dedicated to hunting Peeps down.
  9. How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier: Living in New Avalon and having your own personal fairy should be awesome. But for Charlie it totally sucks. Charlie doesn’t have a cool fairy to help her find nice clothes, or one to improve her grades, or make boys like her. Charlie is too young to drive, but she has a parking fairy. And she is going to get rid of it if it’s the last thing she does.
  10. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones: In the land of Ingary, where seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility exist, Sophie Hatter is resigned to be a stunning failure. After all, she is the eldest of three sisters. Except that this is not a traditional fairy tale and events soon intervene to set Sophie on a very unexpected course indeed for an eldest daughter.

Zombies Vs. Unicorns: A Review

Forget about pirates and ninjas. Vampires and Werewolves is so 2008. Don’t even talk to me about salty vs sweet or angels and demons.

There is something far more important to debate.

Even more important that Edward/Jacob, Will/Jem, Puck/Ash debates.*

No, seriously.

Which is better: the zombie or the unicorn?

This heated debate has raged for centuries** and now, at last, two authors have sought to settle the matter once and for all in Zombies vs. Unicorns (2010).

This anthology was edited by Holly Black (leading Team Unicorn) and Justine Larbalestier (leading Team Zombie). Each team is comprised of six young adult authors including most of the big names you’d expect to have an opinion on the matter.

As editors Black and Larbalestier also include an introduction to each story with a bit about the origins of the mythology and the inspiration or appeal of the story. Then the opposing editor (Larbalestier if it’s a Unicorn story or vice versa) will put in a few ribs about why the story (and the creature in general) is totally lame. The introductions are funny but after going through twelve of them they started to become ever so slightly grating.

The book design also includes a handy icon to identify each story as pro-zombie or pro-unicorn.

I’m not actually much of a short story reader but I picked this collection up because there was a lot of hype and a small chance it would be shortlisted for the Cybils which would mean I had to read it anyway (it wasn’t and actually that decision makes perfect sense–if you were wondering).

As with any collection, some of the stories in Zombies vs. Unicorns were quite good. Garth Nix’s opening story “The Highest Justice” sets up the story nicely with a creepy zombie and a severe unicorn. Stories by Meg Cabot, Diana Peterfreund, Naomi Novik, Cassandra Clare, and Libba Bray were all lots of fun.

Unfortunately this review isn’t about individual stories.*** It’s about the anthology as a whole.

Again this might be because I don’t read a lot of short stories, but a few stories in the whole reading process because a struggle. The fact that I am solidly on Team Unicorn also probably helped. Almost all of the zombie stories felt too long. They were too creepy, too icky and just too much for me in one concentrated book.****

Zombies vs. Unicorns is a breezy book sure to entertain anyone with an interest in zombies or unicorns. Some of it is fun. Some of it is, honestly, kind of gross. Some of the stories were excellent. Some of them were not. At the end of the day Zombies vs. Unicorns had its moments but the stories were too divergent (in terms of quality, style and content) to really feel like a cohesive collection.

*I’m actually the only one on Team Puck but that’s okay.

**Or, you know, since February 2007 when our intrepid editors began discussing the merits of each supernatural creature.

***And even if it was that only amounts to six stories I truly liked. Frankly fifty per cent is a great stat for a book.

****Proof: I had a dream last night that I couldn’t leave my house because the yard was infested with zombies that wanted to eat me. I might never read a zombie story ever again. To be fair Margo Lanagan’s unicorn story was also truly awful in terms of gore. If nothing else I learned that I should probably skip her books since the style of her story just didn’t work for me.

Possible Pairings: I was going to do pairings, honest. But truthfully there are too many to name. If you want something to read after loving this anthology I’d suggest going through and picking up some of the other works by writers whose stories you enjoyed.

Exclusive Bonus Content: The title of this book is never actually written in words. Instead a picture of a shambling zombie and a majestic zombie face off on the cover cut out from a black dust jacket. Underneath the book binding is printed with a painting by Josh Cochran (who also did the hand lettering in the book) that shows zombies and unicorns . . . tearing each other to shreds. The cover is reminiscent of The Garden of Earthly Delights a famous Renaissance era triptych (three-paneled painting) by Hieronymous Bosch. The endpapers feature enlarged drawings of the scenery from the cover in black and white instead of the color paintings on the exterior.

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop: War for the Oaks[CLOSED]

This giveaway is for one former library copy of War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Want to know more? Read my review.

This giveaway is part of the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop. It will end on January 17 at 11:59 PM. The winner will be announced and notified via email on January 18. US only, sorry.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below (with a valid email in the form area) saying you want a chance to win.

The winner will be selected via random number generator by Maple the Palm Pre.