Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway Winner Announced!

Wow, may I say wow and thank you to everyone who entered my Gratitude Giveaway!  The response was incredible - over 124 old and new followers entered, and with extra entries added in, I had over 434 entries!  That's a lot of verifying!  I put the numbers into Random.org, and a big 1-4-7 came up!

With that being said, the winner of the $15 Book Depository Gift Certificate is. . . .  .


Congratulations, Hope!  I will be emailing you shortly!

Top Ten Characters I'd Like to Be Best Friends With

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. Participators in this meme love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND sign Mister Linky at the bottom to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Don't worry if you can't come up with ten every time.. just post what you can!

So, on to the main event then, shall we?  Here's my Top Ten Characters I'd Like to Be Best Friends With.  Well, friends with, anyway - I have a best friend whom I wouldn't trade for the world, but these are the kind I would love to be buddies with on the RealSide or in their worlds.

1. Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
Both are intelligent and loyal with no stuck-up about them.  What more could I really ask for in two chick friends?

2. Sirius Black, Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
Yeah, I know same series, but I adore Sirius.  I love having male friends - they're (mostly) uncomplicated and don't whine because I don't like to go dancing that much.  I enjoy knocking back a few drinks over the course of the evening, eating wings and throwing darts.  It's a fav thing for this girl.  I also have a minor obsession with motorcycles, so Sirius could completely give me a ride. 

4. Francie Nolan, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
The girl tried to read her away through the library.  I bet we'd have some really excellent conversations.

5. Amelia Broadway, Southern Vampire Mysteries, Charlaine Harris
Hahaha, oh boy!  Could you imagine the hijinks and shenanigans you could get up to with her?  A night out with her has 'inside joke' written all over it!  Loyal and brave, too - can't beat that combo.

6. Little Bee, Little Bee, Chris Cleave
I'd want to be her friend so I could hide her and figure out how to save her.  What happened to her, it killed me,

7. Carly, Raw Blue, Kirsty Eagar
I'd want to be her friend just because she needed a good one, one who would also smack the friggin s#@% out of her other 'friends' for leaving her behind.  LADIES, you don't leave your buds behind!  Ever.

8. Dicey Tillerman, The Tillerman Family Series, Cynthia Voight
She might be prickly as hell, but once you had her trust, you had it for life.  Dicey was no-nonsense and had friends because they were true friends, not because she needed someone to go out with on the weekends.  Absolutely no vanity with this girl - what you see is what you get.  Love that.

9. Cat, Night Huntress Series, Jeaniene Frost
Again, she doesn't have many friends, but the ones she does have she is fiercely loyal to, and they to her.  I bet she has really good stores to tell over drinks, too, she with her gin and tonic, and I with my Jack and gingerale.  Superb.

10. Katniss, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins
I've never been good with thumb-rubbing authority. I hate injustice.  I'd be down as a beta to a revolution leader.  She and I would make a killer team, eh?

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Life is Good Award - My First Ever!

The lovely Amy at A Simple Love of Reading passed this award on to me - it's my first, and I thank her so much for giving it to me!

Here is what they've asked after receiving this Award:
1. Thank and Link back to the person that gave this award.
2. Answer the survey questions mentioned below.
3. Pass it on to another 15 Blogs that are fairly new and interesting to you.
4. Contact the bloggers so they know they've been chosen.

This is a great refreshing idea that will be useful and fun for blogs mentioned and blogs just beginning. The questions are a neat way to find out more about fellow blogs and discover their likes and dislikes. So without further adieu, let's continue the ongoing extravaganza!

1. If you blog anonymously are you happy doing it that way? If you are not anonymous do you wish you had started out anonymously so you could be anonymous now?

Hmmm, I guess you could say I blog semi-anonymously.  I use a shortened version of my first name, but 'bibliophile brouhaha' is what I use on everything.  People only get my last name when they are sending me something in the mail.  I am very happy that I did it this way.  I love my blog, and it's a personal part of me, but it's separate from my family and friends.  I prefer to keep it that way.

2. Describe one incident that shows your inner stubborn side:

Oh, ummmm. hmmmm.  My fiance and I have recently been going through his townhouse and deciding how we will organize it after we marry and I move in.  I absolutely put my foot down about bringing my IKEA Paong chair that I use to read.  He claimed that there was no room for it.  I got a wee tad upset.  He figured out a way to rework the room and now says there is probably room.  That darling man.  I am a 'pick and choose your battles' kind of girl, but when I dig in me heels about something, I am quite recalcitrant! 

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?

A very fortunate person.  I think I grew up with the normal amount of insecurities that a lot of young women have.  I'm not a perfect person, but I am a very good 'me'.  It took a while, but I am very happy with who I am.  Now I just need more hours in the day to read and sleep.

4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?

Iced tea, preferably with bourbon.  Cheers!

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?

Read!  If I get stuck on what to read, I pop in a movie and try to get organized.  Occasionally, I will give myself a mani or pedi (very un-Linds-like behavior).

6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it?

You know, I am sure this is something that we book bloggers all dream of, but I would love to be a published author.  I also currently am doing research on a personal, non-profit project.  If I ever get it up and running, I would be very proud.

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching?

One-part clown, one-part overachiever (in certain areas), another part bad attitude with a hatred of team sports and group projects.

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment of your life what would you see?

This is kind of sad, but I remember the moment at a very young age when I realized that there was a strong likelihood that my parents would one day divorce.  I was right. 

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?

I can do both, but I only share a bit about myslef when I am doing something like this or writing a review.  I don't feel that I've really connected with a book unless I somehow relate a character's emotions and/or experiences with my own.  Reading is a very personal thing for me, and so it is very easy for me to incorporate myself into my reviews. 

I am new to blogging, so every blog is new to me.  My list below is of bloggers who are not only new to me, but also new bloggers themselves (within the last six months).  I've also added in some veteran bloggers whose amazing advice has really helped me develop my own blog!  In no particular order, I’m passing this award on to:

 Tahleen's Mixed-Up Files 
Lost in the Library
Books with Bite
My Head is Full of Books
Parajunkee's View
The Story Siren
The Unread Reader
I Read Banned Books

Saturday, November 27, 2010

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by The Story Siren with inspiration from Pop Culture Junkie

From Madam Siren: "The idea behind IMM was not only to put new books on your radar but to also encourage blogger interaction. IMM explores the weekly contents of my mailbox & books bought. And sometimes other fun goodies.  Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library."

Please join us in getting to know one another and sharing great reads! 

Here are the books I picked up this week:

The Iron Duke (Library)
by Maljean Brook


First in an all-new series where seductive danger and steampunk adventure abound in the gritty world of the Iron Seas.

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power-and fear-of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.
But when Mina uncovers the victim's identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans-and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

Bumped (ARC)
by Megan McCafferty


When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

Hush (Library)
by Eishes Chayil


Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands of years before down to the last detail—and abuse has never been a part of it. But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe.

A richly detailed and nuanced book, one of both humor and depth, understanding and horror, this story explains a complex world that remains an echo of its past, and illuminates the conflict between yesterday's traditions and today's reality.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday! Let's Polka!

The hop is hosted by Crazy-for-Books. Check out Jennifer's blog to sign up and start hopping!  This week's question: 

This week's question comes from Sarah who blogs at Writer, Reader, Dreamer:
 "What is your favorite book cover?"
Uh, well, hmmmmm.  You know the old say, "You can't judge a book by its cover."  I guess I take that literally.  I always notice when a cover is particularly bad, but I've never ranked my favorite covers, and I don't think a cover ever has convinced me to buy or reject a book.  If I am anticipating a book, then I get really excited about the cover unveiling - I do that with the Sookie Stackhouse and Night Huntress series, the Gayle Forman books, etc.  I really love when a reprint of an old book goes retro. 

Also, today is Follow Friday with Rachel's blog, Parajunkee's ViewThis week's question: 
Not sure if there is a question this week, but I will tell you that I finished my Thanksgiving with a late showing of HP 7 - how perfect is that?  Now, I am off to read the day away.  Black Friday can do its dance without me! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Books I Am Thankful For - Happy Thanksgiving!

Special thanks to Karissa's Reading Review and Angieville for inspiring me to write up a list of the books I am most thankful for.  These are the books without and for which I would not be the bibliophile and word-a-holic that I am today.  More than that, they have helped shape the individual I strive to be.  I hope you enjoy, and please, don't be shy!  Leave a comment letting me know about your favorites! 


1. The BabySitters-Little Sister Series by Ann. M. Martin
Okay, don't laugh.  This series holds a special place in my heart because I was a struggling reader when I was little.  Seriously, I cried my heart out in Kindergarten because I couldn't for the life of me spell 'cat', 'hat and 'bat' on a test.  About a year later, I connected with Karen & Co., and became a voracious reader and read my way to the top the class in reading skills.  

2. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Have you ever read this book?  The movie versions are lovely, but they can't compare with the book.  It has a totally different ending.  I love the beauty of this story.  It's a wonderful tale full of Victorian England, it's gentility and its hardships, with the heart of the story being a little girl's courage and hope in the face of severe trials and abuse.  My mother gave me the Tasha Tudor edition years ago, and it has a treasured place on my bookshelf. 

3. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Need I explain why?  This series transcends age and holds a special place in the hearts of millions who grew up with it.  Thanks, Jo, for giving us this beautiful tale of good vs. evil, and for letting us watch The Boy Who Lived grow up and become an honorable man before our eyes. 

4. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
This is the first book that made me cry.  I couldn't get over the injustice and the resilience of the Logan family.  I purchased this book in December of 1990 when I was 10 years old.  I still have my worn out, much read and loved copy on bookshelf today. It was my first lesson in empathy.

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry
If the above book was my first lesson in empathy, then this book was my first in political policy.  I actually hated it the first time I read it.  I picked it back up a few years later and fell in love.  It was a great lesson in the importance of free will, and the delicate balancing act between that and the public good.

6. The Tillerman Family Series by Cynthia Voight
I adore this family, and I still have not encountered better characterization by any other author, except for the book below.  The Tillermans are people who get under your skin and teach you about what's really important.  My favorite is Jeff's story, A Solitary Blue.

7.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Some books simply touch your soul.  Like Harry, the reader gets to watch Francie grow up from cradle to young adulthood.  She has a fine temper, a superb intellect and most important of all, hope.  A not-to-be-missed book for any young girl or woman, and my favorite book of all time.  The movie from the 1940s directed by Elia Kazan is wonderful, too.

****HOLY CRAP!****  Right before I was going to post this, my fiancee came in for Thanksgiving.  Today also happens to be my birthday.  My gift from him?  He ordered my recent WoW for me: You Against Me by Jenny Downham.  He ordered it from flipping ENGLAND!  BEST FIANCEE EVER!

Oh, and he also got us tickets for Verdi's Requiem next weekend, but seriously, he paid international shipping!!  Whoopee!!  Especially thankful for the man in my life who supports my book habit!

The Thursday Literary News Roundup (3)

The Thursday Literary News Roundup 

Blog Posts of Note:

I just loved this post by Amanda Rutter on tor.com on the accessibility of authors vs. 10, 15 or twenty years ago: The Ivory Tower meets Social Networking.  Does anybody else remember the days of writing an actually fan letter and hoping for a response?
Sarah from That Bookish Girl read and reviewed Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer - gave it five stars!

Have you ever checked out Cynthia and Kayla's blog You're Killing Me?  It's quite possibly one of the most entertaining and shoots-from-the-hip blogs that I follow - I love these girls!  Anywho, they just read and reviewed Like Clockwork by Bonnie Dee.  I love these snarky reviews.  Warning: if you have issues with swearing and Very Blunt and Unedited talk, don't click.  You may be offended.  I, however, loves it. 

Okay, have you ever read anything at the blog Forever YA?  If not, well, where you have beeeeeen?  These snarky lovelies crack my a#@ up every single time.  Loves them.  Loves.  Head on over and read their recent review on Disney's Avalon High adaptation.  Hilar(ious).  Again, like the ladies at You're Killing Me, do not read this blog if you are easily offended by language and Very Blunt and Unedited talk.

Oh, again with Forever YA - Meghan gave a lovely review of Threads by Sophia Bennett.  Very favorable, and you must read the comments!  And I quote,
"i am SERIOUSLY impressed that this book turned out to be good, because that cover? it looks like the sisterhood of the traveling pants threw up on it." 

Kristina over at the Frazzled Book Nommer wrote a grand review of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.


Awww, love this - take a look at Karissa's Book Review - in honor of Turkey Day, she wrote  down the books she is most thankful for - now, how do you like that?

Rachel at Parajunkee's View gave an abfab review of  Sin's Daughter by Eve Silver.  PJ says this one is an 18+ read.


Go check out Allison's review of Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky at The Allure of Books - I'm adding this to my TBR pile now!

Missie at the Unread Read gave a solid review on Heist Society by Ally Carter - first book in a new series! 

Articles to Read:

Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay and the upcoming Where She Went, wrote a great article for NPR - check it out: "Oh, To Be Young: The Year's Best Teen Reads"

CBC Book Club just interviewed Sarah at ForverYA and Melissa of YABookshelf.  Kudos to them - great job!

Great article from Publishers Weekly on adult romance authors writing YA novels: "Romance Authors Go PG With YA

ABC Aussie reports that Dymocks Booksellers might move operations offshore due to competition from online sales: "Book battle: Dymocks considers offshore option"

Oh. My. Geeodd.  Check out this New York Times article on what might be the freaking raddest bookstore I've ever seen!!! 

The UK's Guardian reports on a fantastical new storefront/outreach effort by author Nick Hornby aimed at encouraging and increasing children's interest in reading and writing - you have to check this out - it's wonderful!

Absolutely wonderful interview from the Wall Street Journal with Stuart Craig, the wonderful man who created the amazing set of the Harry Potter movies - you'll never guess what's his favorite scene from DH part one: "Bringing a Wizard's Dark World to Life"

The New York Times announced its "100 Notable Books of 2010".  How many have you read?

Buzz: Books & Otherwise

Ahhhhh!!!  Biggest news ever!  The cover for the new Sookie Stackhouse book was just released yesterday!  Love it!  For more, go to Charlaine Harris' website.  I can see how the title was almost Dead Letters!  Think she'll release a Christmas time first chapter like she's done before?

 If you live under a rock like I do, then you may not have heard that the book trailer highly anticipated Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton was released - check it out!

Amazon Book Trailer: Tyger Tyger from chris loope on Vimeo.

The book cover for the third installment in Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry trilogy was released - what do you think?

Heard some noise on a March 2011 offering - Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.  Laurie Halse Anderson's has a good quote on the website, which is enough to attract my interest. 

That's it for this week, kids!  More news and fun stuff to come next week!

If you have any thoughts or suggestions for The Thursday Literary New Roundup, feel free to comment or email me at bibliophile.brouhaha@gmail.com.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.  I highly encourage you to get to know your fellow bloggers and see what's new and upcoming in the book world!

Here's what I'm waiting on: 

Published December 2nd 2010 by David Fickling Books


If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.

Sigh.  This is another book that's being released in the U.K., but I can't find any information yet on its release in the States.  I will just sit here until then, oh-so-patiently waiting.  Kind of.  Not really.  At all

So, what are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top Ten Holiday Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. Participators in this meme love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND sign Mister Linky at the bottom to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Don't worry if you can't come up with ten every time.. just post what you can!

1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Classics are classics for a reason, no?

2. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Adore this.  I swear, I can still hear the bell. 

3. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus by Francis Church
Technically not a book, but an actual letter that was written by New York City newspaper man in response to a little girl's question in 1897.  It endures until this day as a cherished part of the U.S. collective holiday memory.

4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
This is my favorite book of all time, but there are some beautifully poignant holiday scenes that I love to read at this time of year - the sort of book that makes you reflect and count your blessings.

5. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson

It breaks my heart every time I read it, but I love it this beautiful story.

 6. A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
"It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."  Cracks me up, every single time.

7. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
Because the holidays can be stressful - unwind with a good laugh and a stiff drink with this one. 

8. A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote
Beautiful - helps with the true meaning of Christmas.  

9. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry 

Ditto for this one - an enduring classic. 

10. (Luke 2:1-20), The Holy Bible
I'm Christian, so for me, Christmas is not complete without this.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

REVIEW: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

by Jennifer Donnelly
Hardcover, 472 pages
Published October 12th 2010
Delacorte Books for Young Readers


BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

REVIEW: First, let me say that this is the first book by Jennifer Donnelly that I have read.  So, I was able to read it with a fresh mind, no expectations and not compare it her previous YA offering, A Northern Light

That being said, I can say that I pretty much loved almost everything about this book. I mean that.  Revolution has angst, rebellion, a fabulous mystery, solid scholarly research and the most fantastic playlist I’ve ever read in any book.  The main protagonist, Andi, is still dealing with her brother’s death that happened two years earlier.  Her mom has gone a bit crazy, and her dad couldn’t deal and basically left Andi and her mom.  Andi starts doing what a lot of angry teenagers do when they are depressed: she starts ditching school and ignoring her schoolwork.  Big Papa finds out, comes in, stamps out some quick decisions, and makes Andi come with him to Paris so she can get away and catch up on schoolwork while he conducts some heavy duty scientific research.  That is a very basic introduction to the story – it is a lot more involved, but this story is so beautifully written, I truly don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone. 

Andi might be one of the most intelligent characters I’ve ever read.  Also one of the most tormented.  She's brutal and makes the most sarcastic, clever, but caustic observations I’ve read in quite a while.  Consider:

“Orla McBride is a cancer survivor and wrote about it for her college apps and got into Harvard early admission.  Chemo and hair loss and throwing up pieces of your stomach beat the usual extracurricular hands down.  Vijay only got waitlisted, so he still has to go to class.”
Pg. 6

This might make me a sick puppy, but it was her comments like this that made me simultaneously laugh out loud and make my jaw drop.  I’ve read a few reviews that said this was teenaged angst on overload.  I most firmly disagree.  We’re mot talking about normal adolescent pain.  We’re talking traveling-up-your-spine, splicing-your-soul, you-can-only-see-one-way-out pain.  It ain’t pretty.  Some people do notice and try to help, but really, Andi only wants her mom, and that lady is too busy trying to have an emotional connection with two dimensional versions of her deceased son to notice her living daughter.  If you have no frame-of-reference for Andi’s anguished mental state, then yes, it might be easy to dismiss her anger, depression and suicidal wishes as melodramatic moodiness.  However, if you ever have been affected by depression or watched someone you love go through it, you might be more sympathetic to Andi’s attitude and issues.  Being a teenager has nothing to do with it.  Andi has been through some serious stuff, and its taken its toll.

Andi also comes from a background that has produced a worldly, cynical and extremely well-educated person.  Some people may find this pretentious.  I didn’t.  Any comments she made about her and her classmates' superiority were dripping with sarcasm.  She certainly knows that she and her cohorts have the best of everything.  Again, Andi has a very sharp-tongued and caustic observation style regarding her family, peers and overall place in the U.S. social and wealth hierarchy.  It’s really not referenced much in the story by Andi, but just the mere fact of where she goes to school, that she simply jets off to Paris with her father. . . you are very aware that she is a ‘rich girl’ and an extraordinarily privileged individual.  Trust me, Donnelly meant for you to be aware of this.

I don’t want to go through the book in detail.  I will say that Andi stumbles onto a mystery in Paris when she finds the diary of a poor girl named Alexandrine Paradis, who lived during the French Revolution.  Andi becomes obsessed with what happened to her, and their pain parallels the other’s, regardless of their very different backgrounds.  Alexandrine’s fate becomes intertwined in Andi’s own, and you become as interested in what becomes of Alexandrine as you do Andi – I particularly liked that Andi found herself wrapped up in this character of history as she read her diary while I was doing the same with Andi.  At some point, you do start wondering if both Andi and Alexandrine are going mad, or if each's conscience is speaking to them through subconscious, uncanny ways.  More than a few times, I wondered if Alex and Andi were/are the same person. 

There is so much layering in this book that I could not possibly go through it all without ruining some things for you.  I will say that is there is a significant amount of debate about whether history is fact or narrative, and about what makes people what they are.  The way the history is woven through the modern story is absolutely marvelous and at no point did I feel jarred from one setting to the other – it felt like a smooth road in and out of two different times.  The only thing part I had trouble getting into is a part I can’t mention – it’s too pivotal a part of the story!  It borders on the supernatural, and you are never quite sure if it really happened or not.  It works, but it took a moment to accept.  You’ll know what I mean when you get there. 

Other points about the story I liked: the entire story is absolutely steeped in music – the history of it, the structure of it and the listening to it.  It’s amazing, and I am sorely tempted to keep the book for a few days extra and pay the library fines just so I can go through it, collect all the songs and make a Revolution playlist.  I also appreciated how much work went into establishing the historical context of the French Revolution – I’ve read a few recent histories of that time, and Donnelly’s writing is spot on.  Also included in the story are references to the feelings of marginalization being felt by the same French communities that Virgil is from. 

I recommend this book.  It was a brutal, take-no-prisoners sort of read.  I wish I could go into more detail as I normally do, but that would be cheating you out the experience of reading this book and discovering all its layers yourself.  The mystery, the music, the history, the family tension, the developing romance, the question over what is truth and the personal battle that Andi fights with her own grief. .  . this story is simply a lovely, living thing.

Overall: A

Favorite Quotes:

She’s got a big belt around her hips.  It has a shiny buckle with PRADA on it, which is Italian for insecure.
Pg. 33

I’m wishing he could see that music lives.  Forever.  That it’s stronger than death.  Stronger than time.  And that its strength holds you together when nothing else can.
Pg. 87

Poor Ophelia.  She was the smartest of them all, worth more than her toadying father, her dupe of a brother, and Prince Dither put together.  She alone knew that one must meet the world’s madness with more madness.
Pg. 199, excerpt from Alexandrine’s diary

On those nights, the words were for me alone.  They came up unbidden from my heart.  They slipped over my tongue and spilled from my mouth.  And because of them I, who was nothing and nobody, was a prince of Denmark, a maid of Verona, a queen of Egypt.
Pg. 220, excerpt from Alexandrine’s diary

It was my soul I thought to barter with, yes, and gladly I’d have given it, for it is a small thing and of no value to me. But it was not my soul that was taken, no.
It was my heart.
Pf. 287, excerpt from Alexandrine’s diary

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by The Story Siren with inspiration from Pop Culture Junkie

From Madam Siren: "The idea behind IMM was not only to put new books on your radar but to also encourage blogger interaction. IMM explores the weekly contents of my mailbox & books bought. And sometimes other fun goodies.  Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library."

Please join us in getting to know one another and sharing great reads! 

Here are the books I picked up this week:

Raw Blue
by Kirsty Eager
Penguin Books Australia


Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing ... and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago. Then she meets Ryan and Carly has to decide ... Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?

I waited for two weeks for this book to get to my house from Australia.  I haven't seen a bad review on it yet.  Welcome to the States, my anticipated friend!  Any guess as to what I will be doing over Thanksgiving break? 

by Helen Hollick
Sourcebook Landbooks


Married to a king incompetent both on the throne and in bed, Emma does not love her husband. But she does love England. Even as her husband fails, Emma vows to protect her people-no matter what. For five decades, through love and loss, prosperity and exile, Emma fights for England, becoming the only woman to have been anointed, crowned, and reigning queen to two different kings, the mother of two more, and the great aunt of William the Conqueror.
Got this one from the library.  This is my first historical fiction - hope I like it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday! Dip, Baby, Dip!

The hop is hosted by http://www.crazy-for-books.com/. Check out Jennifer's blog to sign up and start hopping!  This week's question: 
This week's question comes from Christina who blogs at All About YA Books:

 "Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let's use this week's Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!"

I am very thankful that I am about to marry a wonderful man.  He let's me be me, I let him be him, and we come together in the middle.  I come from a family that is not together, and I am very thankful that his family puts an emphasis on togetherness.  I am very lucky, indeed.

He tolerates the book obsession, too! 

As for family traditions, eh?  Eat and open presents?  Oh, and I read, of course!  A full week of reading - holla!

Also, today is Follow Friday with Rachel's blog, Parajunkee's ViewThis week's question: 
 How long have you been book blogging??
Actually, my one month mark was this past Monday!  I've had a wonderful experience thus far!  It's so, so good to see a community of book lovers coming together from across the globe.  My blog has made me more informed and better disciplined about reading!  Many thanks to all of you for sharing the experience with me!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Thursday Literary News Roundup (2)

The Thursday Literary News Roundup 

 Blog Posts of Note:

Broede over at Listening to the Ants Scream and Meg at Literary Life both scored  awesome interviews with Australian author Kirsty Eagar, author of huge Aussie hits Raw Blue and Saltwater Vampires.  Check their blogs out and learn more about this promising YA writer!

YA bibliophile posted her thoughts and opinions on illegal downloads that's prevalent on the net today.  Definitely worth a read: Since when is stealing okay?

Nightshade author Andrea Cremer added her commentary to the James Frey controversy over his reportedly mass market, book/movie/merchandise hopeful approach to signing young authors.  She begs unsigned authors to believe in their art and know their worth in a recent blog post.  P.S. Andrea just gave a FANTASTIC interview to the Huffington Post - gives great insights into Nightshade - check it out: "Totalitarianism, Enlightenment Philosophy and Werewolves with Andrea Cremer"

Jenny from Forever Young Adult posted an awesome interview with Ally Condie, author of soon-to-be-released Matched (can't wait)!  Go over and check it out: Between Two Lockers with Ally Condie

The Mad Scientist over at Steampunkery and Book Reviews needs help with a 2011 challenge!  MS is proposing a Bucket List Challenge and is looking for any suggestions.  She has an amazing list going already - check it out!

Anna over at Anna Reads read and gave a fab review of Fire by Kristin Cashore.  Sounds like a great read, but note that Kristin has suggestions for whom this book is appropriate. 


Danny over at Bewitched Bookworm gave a glowing review of The Lying Game by Sara Shepherd.  She calls it mysterious and enthralling!


James from Book Chic reviewed Freefall by Mindi Scott, calling it,"really wonderful, well-written debut and is definitely a book to check out."  Love the cover, don't you? 

Swimmer over at Breaking the Bookshelf reviewed Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler - I'm excited for this one!

Emma Michaels read and reviewed the first book in a new series: Meridian by  Amber Kizer

Nic @ Irresistible Reads read and reviewed The Duff by Kody Keplinger.

Articles to Read:

A real-life invisibility coat? Yes, please!  British scientists think they've done it!  Check out The Telegraph's article "Harry Potter-style 'invisibility cloak' designed by scientists".

* * * * 
It's the beginning of the end as the Harry Potter generation prepares for the first installment of the last movie.  Check out these two articles from The Guardian (UK) and the Journal & Courier.
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NPR has a weekly 'Three Books to. . ." series.  Last Thursday's "Three Books In Unflinching, Unforgettable Voices" featured Sold by Patricia McCormick and Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief

* * * *

Great article on the one YAer's opinion on the current state of teen lit: "Choices in young adult fiction really bite".  I'm still into paranormal, but it's good to hear opinions from elsewhere - there's room for us all, right?

* * * * 
The Amazon controversy continues.  PCWorld put out this piece: "5 Things to Learn From Amazon's Latest PR Disaster"

* * * *

The Lonely Planet just posted its list of the world's greatest bookstores!  Looks amazing!  Roadtrip, anyone?

Buzz: Books & Otherwise

There is a young adult book that is getting significant reviews, but very little buzz.  I suspect it's because it deals with sexual abuse within a not-so-well-known community, but I wanted to share this amazing review of a book called Hush by Eishes Chayil.  I plan on picking up this book now that I have found out about it.  Big thumbs up to Marjorie Ingall at The Tablet for spreading the word about this work.

Kirkus Reviews just released its 2010 Best Books for Teens List.   Among them are Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, Forge by  Laurie Halse Anderson, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King and many more.  Reading challenge, anyone?

Hungary for more dystopian reads?  Kevin Beach wrote up a great selection for the Bradenton Herald on books that can fill the void since The Hunger Games ended.  They are not all new, but they may be new to you!

September release Pluto's Ghost by Sheree Fitch just an amazing write-up in The Chronicle Herald.  I read some more reviews on GoodReads - just added this one to my 'to-read' list - sounds stupendous! 

And, hey, did you know that the second annual Steampunk convention is coming up this weekend in Seattle?  It's called 'Steamcon II' - hoobah!

Whitney at She is Too Found of Books just announced a YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge on her blog - check it out!


The lovely, wonderful, exquisite Jen at I Read Banned Books has lost her mind is holding a giveaway for her ARC of Matched by Ally Condie.  I think you all should know that I've spoken with the fates, and they say that this book is mine.  However, if you want to take a shot at it, please visit her blog before Nov. 24 :)  Stunning generosity, my dear Jen!

Reading Between the Wines Book Club is giving away a signed copy of Jeaniene Frost's Eternal Kiss of Death.  Oh, I loooooove me some Jeaniene Frost vamps! 

Escape in a Book is giving away a copy of Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  I've hear amazing things about this book!

And, oh wow, perhaps you've heard of this little thing going on called the Gratitude Giveaway?  Amazing!  It's being hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer, and over 170 book bloggers have joined up to offer giveaways to their fabulous readers - hey, that's you!  Thanks so much, IAAR, NAW, for organizing this amazing event!

That's it for this week, kids!  More news and fun stuff to come next week!