Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I like books. I am the terror of libraries and book stores near and far because I will enter empty handed and leave with a stack half my size. And nothing makes me happier than buying books. And today I'm feeling especially happy because I got 3 brand new books for only $20!! Squee!! The books I bought were:

The Fool's Girl, by Celia Rees

The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen

 Entwined, by Heather Dixson 

Awesome, right? I'm just waiting now to finish the stack of library books, and then I can get onto these. Squee!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: Heist Society

Title: Heist Society
Sequel? Yes, followed by Uncommon Criminals 
Author: Ally Carter
Genres: Thieves, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Age Level: YA (12-18)
Summary: When you're born into a family of thieves, you can never leave the life, even if you tried. That's what Katarina Bishop finds out when her best friend W.W. Hale The Fifth commits a crime, frames her, and so springs her from her prep school. Because her father is in trouble, and she's the only one that might be able to save him.
Five of the most priceless paintings in the world were stolen, and the owner believes that Kat's dad did it. To clear his name and prevent his death, Kat must rely on a group of seven teenage thieves and one butler to rob the art museum with the greatest security in the world: the Henley. Well, so maybe they're not stealing. They're restealing, taking back paintings that no one even knows are there - besides Kat and her crew.
Can this group of teenage thieves manage to rob the Henley, return the paintings to their rightful owners, and save Kat's dad?
That's a Shame (it's over)

Review: If you've read Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, I would recommend cracking open Heist Society, because this book has it all: the funny mixed with the dramatic, a kick-butt heroine, and just a little bit of romance for good measure. A book that will steal your time away. (Pun intended. Hehe.) I thought there was also some really good, thoughtful things in here that made you think (that was redundant...) : why you do something, what you do it for, if everything really comes down to choice, or sometimes things are required of you.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Review: Just Listen

Title: Just Listen
Sequel? No
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genres: Hard topics, Romance, Realistic Fiction 
Age Level: YA (12-18)
Summary: Annabel Greene has done everything in her life to avoid conflict. She stays with modeling to make her mother happy, stays friends with the meanest girl in school so she won't be next to get hurt by her. Annabel is used to keeping everything in, to being nice, to telling little white lies so no one gets hurt.
But something happened last spring. Something that caused her to lose her friends. Something that everyone thinks they know what happened, when it reality, they've got it all wrong. But she doesn't tell anyone, because it would only create more conflict... and she's not sure if people will believe her.
Owen Armstrong has been in and out of jail, has gotten into fights, and has had to go through anger management and his parents' messy divorce. To get through it, he's turned to music, even starting his own radio show. He has made an oath to never lie, always tell the truth, no matter how it hurts.
Can Annabel learn to trust Owen enough to talk to him, to tell him what really happened that spring? Does Owen have the ability to listen?
A Pinch of This (would make it better)

Review: Let me tell you, I love Sarah Dessen. Her novel This Lullaby ranks among my favorite novels of all time. This is the fifth book of hers I have read, and for some reason... it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. 
I don't know why. Maybe I've just grown to expect much more of her than she's actually delivering. But if you want to read good Sarah Dessen, I would not recommend this novel. It was harder to get into than the others, and I didn't feel the characters nearly as much as I have in the past.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Book Review: Sleepless

Title: Sleepless
Sequel? No
Author: Cyn Balog
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age Level: YA (12-18)
Eron is a Sandman: an inhuman creature who seduces his human charges to sleep every night. His 100 year tenure as a Sandman is drawing to a close, and his replacement is a young recently deceased man named Griffin Colburn, killed in a car crash.
Julia was the girlfriend of the recently deceased Griffin Colburn, and is a charge of Eron's. She is grieving Griffin's death, yes, but how she believes her joker boyfriend would want her to: taking it in stride, not crying, trading jabs with Griffin's best friend Bret - now the one who she considers her best friend as well. But Bret may want to be more than best friends - and Griffin, watching invisibly as a Sandman, doesn't like what his former best friend has in mind.
Eron is ready to be free of his Sandman duties, to return to a human life, but how can he when his replacement isn't ready to let go of his human life? And Eron is getting strange feelings for Julia - feelings that he knows may be dangerous in the long run, but just can't ignore...

Review: Maybe it's my love of paranormal romance, but I really enjoyed this book. It's a plotline I have never encountered before, outside the realm of normal paranormal categories (mythology, angels, fairies/faeries, witch/wizard). The characters were fresh, the plot line was new I would have loved to read more of this world!

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Hilarious" Coincidences That I Do Not Find Funny in the Slightest

Ever heard of Murphy's Law? Well, there are several of them, but let me tell you the one that essentially sums up the rest of them: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. And I was seriously feeling that today. Let me tell you why.
So, near where I live, there is this museum which specializes in photography. They have these HUGE gallerys, filled with photo after photo. You can't go ANYWHERE (yes, even the bathrooms) without there being a photo or two. Or two hundred. I have been wanting to go there for, oh, the past two years or so to look at the pictures. So I finally get to go there today with this cute little black Snoopy notebook of mine. Yes, I have an obsession with a cartoon beagle, but that's beside the point. In this little notebook, I write all my short stories and poems.
I'm not sure about you other writers out there, but I find that truly, a picture is worth a thousand words. They are great inspiration for me; I can take a simple picture and craft a short story or poem around it. Or sometimes, even a novel.
But that's a different story. The point is, I go to this museum of photography expecting to find photos, right?
Except, there were no photos. All the galleries were closed. Every single one. Not a single photograph in that entire place. The ONE day I FINALLY get to go there, and what I am there for is NOT THERE. The person I was going with, who is not actually a writer and didn't really have an interest in the galleries like I did, found this simply, HILARIOUS. Except it WASN'T. Because I was (and still kinda am) SERIOUSLY annoyed.
That Murphy was one smart guy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Review: The Way We Fall

Title: The Way We Fall
Sequel? Unknown
Author: Megan Crewe
Genres: Realistic Fiction, Disease, Romance
Age Level: YA (12-18)
Summary: "It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they're old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in. And then you're dead." - The Way We Fall
Kaelyn is back on the island, after being moved out to Toronto, where she did not fit in. The thing is, she doesn't really fit in in her hometown either. Not since she came back. Not since she had a fight with her best friends Leo, whose gone as well. 
But her microbiologist father had to come back to work at the research center on the island, and so Kaelyn, her brother Drew, and her mom had to come back with him. And even though Kaelyn doesn't fit in at school, she's doing all right coping. That is, until the virus strikes, wiping out almost everyone. The government quarantines them to the island: no one can leave, but no one can come back either. 
How can you survive living constant fear that the person that seemed friendly enough yesterday, talking to you, may be dead in a few more days, leaving you to follow in their footsteps? How can you live with no one you love left? 
Rude Awakening

Review: Let me tell you, this book scared the heck outta me. I was reading it at night, before I went to bed. I closed  it, turned off my light and tried to fall asleep. The problem was, I had an itch. An itch that, no matter how hard I scratched it, would not go away. It took me ten minutes just to convince myself: "Ana, that is a book. It is not real. You are not going to catch some creepy virus. It is NOT real." ... except, even now, I'm not to sure. Because I'm still feeling kinda itchy. Needless to say, if you get scared easily, do not read it. Because, like the virus itself, this book creeps into the very edges of your brain, making you think of the very things you'd rather forget. That being said, it is still a very interesting read. If you don't mind hard topics, then I would recommend it to you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: Ashes, Ashes

Title: Ashes, Ashes
Sequel? Unknown
Author: Jo Treggiari
Genres: scifi, post-apocalyptic, dystopian
Age Level: YA (12-18)
Summary: Warning: this book is not for the faint of heart. Or anyone with a weak stomach. 
 The apocalypse started exactly how scientists said it would:tsunamis, earthquakes, flash floods, droughts. But then, even after all that, the plague came. The plague that wiped out almost everyone - except the very young, and the very old. Everyone with it died - that is, except the S'ans, but they went insane, with blackened skin and red eyes.
Sixteen-year-old Lucy is one of the few left. Living alone in the Wilds that used to be Central Park, she dos what she needs to survive.
But when  her home is destroyed, she is saved by a peer, and fellow survivor, Aidan, who brings her  to a survivor camp with food and water.
But her problems aren't over yet. Because the camp isn't safe. The Sweepers, those that took away the infected in the days the plague ran rampant, are coming back for survivors, infecting them with the plague to try and fins a cure. A cure that Lucy may carry in her very blood.
Rude Awakening

Review: The stuff in red pretty much says it all. This book is a fast-paced, nail-biting adventure, and the action never stops. It will leave you lying awake at night, trying to figure out what happens next. And even once you finish, the thoughts and events of this book don't really leave you. Highly recommended to fans of The Hunger Games series.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book Review: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

Title: I'd Tell You I'd Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You
Series? The first book in the Gallagher Girls series, followed by the novel Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy.
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Romance, Humor, Spies
Age Level: YA (12-18)
 "... technically, the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a school for geniuses... but when a school tells you that and then teaches you things like advanced encryption and fourteen different languages, it's kind of like a big tobacco telling kids not to smoke."
 Cammie Morgan is girl that nobody notices - but in a family of spies, that's a good thing. Being nicknamed "The Chameleon" is fine, because it sure helps for surveillance-based CoveOps assignments. But what happens to the girl nobody sees when out on a CoveOps assignment in town - a completely normal small town - a very cute, very normal small town boy happens to see her? Is she willing to risk everything to try for a relationship that is against all rules?
              That's a Shame (it's over).

Review: I put Humor in the Genre column for a reason. This book is incredibly funny, if the quote above (written in blue) from the first page does not make that obvious. This book meshes butt-kicking-spies-ness with OMG-high-school-girl-ness. The result is hilarity to the extreme. Think a female-James-Bond goes to high school. If you want a laugh, with a little bit of AWWW!-ness, and a good amount of undercover BA-ness, I would highly recommend this book to you.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Modern Day Chivalry

Maybe I've been reading to much YA paranormal romance, but I've been thinking a lot about how no guys anymore understand chivalry. Or maybe they know what it is, and just choose, for some reason unknown to me, to not act chivalrous. Which is incredibly annoying, stupid, and maybe just a little bit sad. Because I'm not sure about you other girls out there, but I firmly believe that men should employ chivalry.

Okay, sure, I'm not looking for some guy to lay down his cape over a puddle for me (A, because no one wears capes on a daily basis anymore and B, because if I came across a puddle, I would just go around), but there are still ways for guys to be chivalrous. Which is why I have compiled the following list which, in my opinion, outlines Modern Day Chivalry:

Modern Day Chivalry
When you are sick, he'll come over and make you chicken noodle soup.

When you fall asleep on the couch, he'll cover you up with a blanket

When you are sad, he'll tickle you until you laugh again

When it's your birthday, he'll remember

When you are tired, he'll carry you upstairs to your bedroom

When you cry, he will let you ruin his shirt with salt water, until you're okay again

When you don't want to do anything... physical, he'll respect that

When you call him at one am, crying, he'll drive over and won't leave until you're better again

When you're mad at him, he'll throw pebbles at your window until you come down to talk to him

When it starts raining out, he'll take you in his arms and dance with you, until you're both soaked through

So, yeah, maybe I've been reading to many romance novels. But I still think the idea is sweet and can't wait to find the boy that actually knows that chivalry can get you far when it comes to girls. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's in a Name?

So, as mentioned, I like to write. So I was writing in a new character to a book series I'm working on, and I was thinking 'What should I name her?'

That got me thinking. In books, some of the time the people have really weird names, especially if they're fantasy books. (Vladimir is a classic vampire name, and names such as Mab or Titania are often found in faery books.) But why do some authors name their characters specific things? Are they named that for a reason? The name 'Norbert' means 'brilliant hero', but I can not name a single hero in any book I've read named Norbert. Similarly, the female name 'Jezebel' means 'Wicked one', but I have not seen a female villain named Jezebel. So why do authors choose the names they do?

In the aforementioned book series I'm writing, one of the characters in named 'Felix'. He's a very happy, sunshiny type of person, ready to brighten the main character's day. The name 'Felix' means 'happy or fortunate one'. Not that I knew this when I started writing his character, but it seemed to fit, for some reason. Do authors intend to make a statement by the character's name or name meaning? Or do they just like that name and think it fits for the character?

When I'm writing and trying to name a character, I normally think of some names I like, then see what they mean or think about the character and see which of the names I thought of fits them. I do, however, make a point of looking up what each of their names mean, to see if that could change or enhance their character in any way.

So, fellow writers, am I alone in all this name searching? Am I the only one that spends as much time and energy trying to find the perfect name for a character?

And readers alike, what do you think about name choice in a novel or short story? Does it really matter that much to you what each of the characters is named?

Ah, the great mysteries of life ;)

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