Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hot Topic

Today Bestie and I made our debut at Hot Topic.  Neither of us had been there before, but we had heard some rumors about Hunger Games merchandise (and a unicorn backpack).  After scoping out the website last night (and being intrigued/somewhat disturbed) we decided that we should broaden our cultural horizons, put on our big girl pants, and check it out.  There were a lot of things that I expected: fingerless lace gloves and studded business and big plastic-y jewelry with skulls, but also some really fun stuff.  So here's my loot.

Hunger Games buttons!  I'll be taking the pin part off the back and gluing on magnets.  I'm not much of a pin-wearing person.

Another Mockingjay pin...I'm sorry..."brooch".  Yes, I already have two of these, but the others are a tiny bit different and, obviously, I need a backup.

Down with the capitol t-shirt.  Please ignore the paint on my pants, I've spent all night refinishing cabinets (not in my new HG shirt of course).  Apparently Hot Topic sells clothes in baby doll sizes.  The first thing I'll be doing when I cut the tag off is to use sharpie to mark out the baby doll clothes size and write in a grown woman size.

Please note my thuggin' pose.  I'm hip y'all.  I bought my shirt at Hot Topic!  I'm relevant and angsty!  Also I have paint from my work on the cabinets in my unwashed hair. 

I'm really not sure that the Hot Topic guy knew what to think when I came to the counter in my "liberry lady" clothes (goal this quarter: teach at least one student to say library).  I was dressed like a very old lady, but buying items intended for preteen girls.  Combine that with my baby face and the poor guy was as confused as he could be.

Oh and, while I did not find a unicorn backpack (cue the world's smallest violin to play the world's saddest song), I did find a unicorn water bottle.
So, in summary, if you are coming to DBF this weekend (and everyone who is anyone will be there), look for me!  I'll be the girl in the nerd shirt (still a toss-up between HG and Dr. Who) drinking water out of the bright pink unicorn bottle.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Book Review: Miss Hildreth Wore Brown

I was especially excited to receive this book for review because I'll be meeting the author in just a few days!  She's going to be at Decatur Book Festival, appearing with Amanda Gable, and I was anxious to finish the book before meeting Ms. Byrd.  I've already emailed her and told her that I plan to stop by and I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to meet her.  Her book reminds me so much of my family, especially my dad's sisters. 

I don't know that I'd classify it as humor the same way I would books by Laurie Notaro or Jen Lancaster.  It's more subdued in tone and...very Southern.  It's exactly what you'd expect from a belle.  I really want to read this book with photos.  You know those books where they take a subject like Spanish moss or sisters or whatever and there are beautiful pictures combined with short essays on the topic?  Does anyone else read those?  Cause I love them and I really felt like I would have loved to see pictures of the characters in this one. 

Definitely give this one a try if you enjoy the Southern anecdote type thing.  If you don't know what that is, there are some others that I'd recommend you start off with to get you going.  This one is a little bit slower and quieter than others I've read, but I enjoyed it for what it is.  It fit the author perfectly and is a sweet read.  I'm thinking my mom, aunts, and grandmother would probably enjoy this one - maybe Christmas presents?

FTC: This book was provided for me to review by Ms. DeBelle Byrd and Bostick Communications.

CD Winner!

The winner of my original mix CD for The Hunger Games (now including bonus tracks) is...
Michelle Ball!   Michelle, if you'll send me an email with your address, I'll get your CD in the mail this week!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In My Mailbox (6) + Puppies

Time again for In My Mailbox, hosted by The Story Siren.  One day I'm going to get my web cam fixed so I can vlog these, but for now you're stuck with pictures.  For review this week I received:

Precious and Fragile by Megan Hart
Little Princes
Me, Myself, and Paris

Thank you!

The Mosts by Melissa Senate

I bought:
Quite a few from The Book Company - my favorite used book store

Sly couldn't handle the attention I was giving the books, so he inserted himself into a few shots:

And into the bag the books came in:

Maybe I should change his name from Boominabob Cat In The Box Geico Direct Sly  to Boominabob Cat In The Bag Geico Direct Sly.  This is what happens when a four year old names a cat.  Can you believe that my 18 year old brother was four when we got Sly?

And as promised, a few puppy shots from the dog park this weekend

Chief is on the left and Dexter on the right.  Don't they look like they could have been littermates?

Me and Chiefy

And my favorite:

Awwww...so cute...Bestie's husband (who just happens to be my husband's bestie) with the pups.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Making of The Hunger Games + Out Takes

Remember that time we had the nerdiest/best day every and made our own Hunger Games in the back yard?  I thought now that I've finished the last book I'd go ahead and post our making of pictures as well as our out takes.  Just an FYI - as much as some of us (mostly me and Honey Bear) look like little children, no actual children were involved in our drama - we are all consenting adults and no animals were harmed (although Dexter really didn't like wearing a tank top).

PS - I'm drawing a name for my Hunger Games mix CD on Monday - if you want to enter, just go back to that post and leave a comment!  I'm putting some bonus tracks on there - including my HG theme song "Breakfast at Tiffany's".  Seriously.

If you ever do this at home (ok no one else is as nerdy as we are, I know) make sure you get the job of blood splatterer.  Throwing fake blood on your friends = lots of fun.

I could possibly pick a better spot to wipe blood on people I don't know very well.  R is totally freaked out by my groping.

I mean business, can you tell?  Also, look, you can tell in this one that I have one green eye!  No lie.

Dexter gets into character for his role as muttation.  Vicious.

Covering my husband with blood and getting our puppy to eat him - the picture of marital bliss.

Do I have to eat daddy?

Cutest picture ever - if only they weren't covered in fake blood.

Luke's "I'm sad that I'm dead" face - notice the pouty lip.

We've got about a million more pictures, but those are my favorites.  The Dexter pictures just can't get any cuter.  We took both puppies to the dog park today, so look for those pictures tomorrow!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Blog Hop

Time for the blog hop again!  Check out Crazy For Books to join the fun!  If this is your first time here, take a look around and let me know what you think.  I review a wide range of genres, from literary fiction to memoir to non-fiction to young adult to chick lit.  I also post a few times a week on issues in the book industry - publishing, authors, librarianship, etc.

Our question for today is "Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?"
I am really wishy washy with my rating system.  I have done the five star system like on Goodreads, but I find it difficult to rank books on a number scale.  There are times that I really personally dislike a book, but think that the writing is amazing or the issue needs to be addressed.  It's just hard for me to place a number value on a book.  How can I say a book that I hated, but is well written gets one star, when I also give one star to a book that I hated and wasn't well written?  So I typically try to just stick with "recommend" or "don't recommend" and give my reasons why.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Franzen v. Picoult

After Time Magazine and the NY Times made a big fuss over Franzen's new book, Freedom, Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner and a few other authors posted on Twitter about their own experiences (or non-experiences) with the Times.  Basically, they feel that the Times is being run by white males who are focusing their positive reviews (and pretty much all of their reviews) on other white males.  Picoult's books have been given poor reviews in the past by the NYT.

Picoult wrote "NYT raved about Franzen's new book. Is anyone shocked? Would love to see the NYT rave about authors who aren't white male literary darlings."

And Weiner added "Carl Hiaasan doesn't have to choose between getting a Times review and being a bestseller. Why should I? Oh right #girlparts."

You can check out an interview with Picoult and Weiner here.

The question I'd like to discuss is not whether or not the NYT or Time Magazine or anyone else shows preference to white males.  That is being discussed EVERYWHERE right now, and there are people who are much more knowledgable to lead those debates.  My question is whether or not it is in bad form for authors to complain about other authors getting good reviews.  Honestly my first thought when reading all this was that whether or not the NYT is right or wrong, Picoult and Weiner aren't doing themselves any good publicity favors by publicly posting their sour grapes.  What do you think?  Is it tacky for an author to put down another author's good review?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lovely Little Shelf Interview

Today I'm featuring one of my all time favorite bloggers, Jacki, from Lovely Little Shelf.  Her blog is not only adorable, but so interesting and a pleasure to read.  She posts about a wide variety of books and includes lots of book-related pictures, like awesome book shelves and libraries.  Love!  She also recently became a mommy, but has resisted the lure of the mommy blog (which I understand to be a major feat for a new mother).  Please go give her blog a look - I can basically guarantee you will love it.  Enjoy her interview below:
**Update: Now that I've actually included a link to her site, check her out!

1. What made you decide to start blogging?

Honestly, I was just bored. I had a time when we had just moved to Akron and I couldn't find a job that I was reading a book a day most days. I was also reading my fair share of book blogs and realized that I could do this and really have fun with it. A few months later, I did land a job but was in love with blogging and decided to continue. I recently quit my job to be a stay-at-home-mom and am so glad that I have my blog for daily outside stimulus and a creative outlet.
2. Who designed your super cute blog?

My super cute husband, that's who! He is a designer/programmer, and he is just so darn talented! I told him that I wanted to blog and he was totally supportive and helped me brainstorm names and ideas. One night, I crashed on the couch and when I woke up, he had designed the whole thing, top to bottom. I was totally in awe. I'm not really sure how I'd function without him.
3. You have a great book collection – and I love the picture you posted of your new bookcases several weeks ago. How do you typically acquire books? (used book stores, chain stores, independents, etc )

I get almost all of my books used. I scour used book stores, library sales, thrift stores and garage sales. My friends and family know that a good book is the way to my heart, so I get a lot of books as gifts and has hand-me-downs from my bookworm of a mother. Every once in a great while (maybe three or fourtimes a year), I'll go to a bookstore and buy a book that I can't wait for, but honestly not very often. When that happens, I'd say that I generally split my buying between box stores (B&N, Target) and an independent store here in Akron.

4. Do you consider yourself a book collector? If so, what is your motivation for collecting and what book are you most proud of owning?

This is a hard one. I do have a great collection of books, but again, it's all just stuff that I've stumbled across. I don't really seek out collectable books, so I would say that no, I'm not a collector. I just have a collection. Make sense? :)

Last year, my uncle passed away. He was really into books and his wife passed the majority of his book collection on to my mom and I. He had been a big Stephen King fan since Carrie came out and he had a mound of first edition Stephen King books. They have been well loved & read, so they aren't in great shape, but I love them. He also had a great set of Lord of the Rings books that I ended up with. The older Stephen King books and the Lord of the Rings books are probably my books that I'm the most proud of and hold the most sentiment to me.

5. What is your most recent purchase and what is the oldest book you own?

Once, at an antique store, I was going through a pile of books and pulled out one called "How to Write Good Business Letters," which I thought may be full of funny, outdated advice. I flipped it open and the middle had been cut out in a perfect little square for hiding things. It was published in 1929, so I like to imagine that some housewife or college kid kept their flask in there. I bought it immediately and it's on my shelf, but I haven't thought of anything great to hide in it. Not sure if that is my very, very oldest, but it has to be up there and it has the best story without a doubt.

As far as my most recent purchase, I know it sounds silly, but I don't even know. I've been on a big library kick and haven't really bought too many lately. I got a pile of books at a library sale recently, but nothing remarkable and I've already read most of them. Sorry for the boring answer!

6. Your host a fun meme on Fridays. What is your personal favorite “flashback” book?

I could talk about my "flashback" books all day long. My favorite non-series "flashback" book is Matilda. It was the first book that I truly identified with and I probably read it 50 times when I was younger, no exaggeration. I love it. My favorite series growing up was The Baby-Sitter's Club. To say that I was obsessed is an understatement. I can't talk about it or I will start to gush.

7. How do you think being a new mom will change your reading and blogging habits?

Good question! I have literally no idea. I know that I will continue to read and blog, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep my frequency up like I do now. Right now, I'm reading book every other dayish and blogging at least once a day. It seems like at least for awhile, I'll have to slow it down a little. I'm fine with that. I saw my mom raise 3 of us and still be forever reading a book, so I know that it's doable. My other thought has been to get more audiobooks from the library. Right now I almost never listen to them, but it seems like that would be a solution. I'm really hoping I'll be able to figure out a way to read while I nurse, so if anyone has a good strategy for this, let me know! All this to say: I'll let you know when I know. It seems like a mystery right now!

8. What book are you most looking forward to sharing with your new baby?

I have gotten so many books as gifts since I've known that I had one on the way that it's been overwhelming. I loved being read to when I was young and it is one of the things I am most looking forward to in having children of my own. I love Dr. Seuss books and books that are sing-songy like that, so I'm sure I'll have a good collection of those. I also love children's books that don't have words. I think that they encourage interaction and a real level of imagination so that's something else I'm stocking up on!
9. Do you do any of your own creative writing or do you stick to reviews?

You know, one morning last year, I woke up with a story idea. I wrote about 2000 words and then sat it aside. One day my husband saw it on the computer and read it and has been encouraging me to continue it ever since. I haven't. I think that I have a creative writer inside of me, but I haven't developed that in anyway at all. It isn't something I'm discounting for the future, but for now I'm all blog.

10. What book/publishing issue is most important to you? (such as literacy, book banning, cover whitewashing, etc)

I remember being in my junior English class and everyone having to take reading competency tests on the computer. One of the guys that I had been in school with since we were in kindergarden found out that he had a 5th grade reading level. He was a star athlete and had a great, fun personality and his whole school career, he was just allowed to skate by on that. It was sad because he was shocked. He knew that he never had enjoyed reading and didn't understand how anyone could like it, but he didn't know that the reason he didn't enjoy it is because he... well... couldn't read. Even then I was totally blown away that he made it all those years without any teacher noticing that maybe that was an issue. I can get myself all wound up about reading and literacy and education in general... that and teachers force feeding kids crappy books and making them think that they hate reading, when really the just hate crappy books.

So what now?

It's plain to see we're over
And I hate when things are over
With so much left undone
Yes, I spent all night singing Breakfast at Tiffany's to my copy of Mockingjay.  I'm so sad that the series is over - I already miss the characters.  I have to admit though, this was not my favorite of the trilogy.  I'm not going to review it because there's no way to do that without spoilers, but I'll just tell you to have your tissues handy - for happy and sad crying.
Luke took a sad "Mockingjay is finished" picture of me.  Notice my puffy eyes.  And the fact that I'm laughing.  This book made me temporarily bi-polar.

And my final Mockingjay moment:
Someone did this to my car in the school parking lot last night, which meant I had to call the police, fill out a report, etc, etc AND get Luke to come because originally that huge missing section of the bumper was wrapped around my back tire.  I realize this isn't directly MJ related, but it made me over AN HOUR LATE getting home.  Seriously? You are messing with my Mockingjay.  I was livid. 

If you hit a car in a parking lot hard enough to rip half of the bumper off, you notice.  Here is what you should not do: just drive away and hope no one notices.  I noticed.  And you made me late for Mockingjay.  Just hope I don't find out who you are because I might go all Katniss on you.  My reading time, especially related to Hunger Games is not something to play around with.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review: Stash by David Klein

I feel like after all the drama last week I need to give a bad review, but Stash by David Klein just won't let me.  The story centers around a suburban mother who is involved in a car accident where the other driver is killed.  Although the wreck was caused by the other driver, the mother had just picked up a small amount of pot to smoke on vacation that week with her husband, which she does occasionally to unwind.  The police find the pot and throw the book at her, trying to make her an example.  The rest of the story deals with the various ethical dilemmas faced to the main character, her husband, and the effects of their choices on the people around them.

The back of my ARC described the book as a "psychological thriller" and I'm not sure that's really spot on with how I'd classify it.  I was certainly hooked from the first page.  And I felt the tension of the characters and was sucked into their world and really cared about what happened to them - but I'm not sure that "thriller" is the word I would use, since that usually conjures images of a psycho serial killer stalking a victim or something.  While you are desperate to know the outcomes of the book, it's not in an "are they going to make it" kind of way. 

I liked this one so much that I actually made some notes while I was reading of things I wanted to mention in the review.

The main theme of the book seemed to me to be the ripple effect of even small decisions.  Each character in the book, at some point, makes a poor choice.  They aren't terrible people - each one is very sympathetic, but the make bad choices.  And, as the reader, we get to see how those choices affect the lives of so many people, even people the characters don't know.  So that was pretty cool.  I also really liked the ambiguity of the character.  Sometimes you wanted to hate them, but they were also likable at times - they could be your neighbors, or your family, or even you.

The happy marriage between the main character and her husband, contrasted with the temptation of an affair faced by each.  I really appreciated first of all seeing a happily married couple in a book.  Usually in literary fiction no one is truly happy (Revolutionary Road anyone?) and there's all this marriage angst.  I liked reading about a couple that still loved each other.  AND I really appreciated the image of a happy, loving couple, both of whom face temptation.  It was just very real to me that you can be so in love with your spouse, but still be drawn to attention from another person.

This one is a definite recommend.  I also have to mention, the author has a list of his favorite movies on his website - one of which is The Return of Martin Guerre.  I almost died.  I watched this movie in French during high school ( Le Retourn de Martin Guerre) and have never forgotten it.  I don't really remember anything about it other than a very wild party with villagers dressed in animal costumes - but it stuck with me forever.  Good choice, David Klein!  If you're interested, the first chapter is posted online here.

Thanks to Broadway Books for sending me a review copy!  I loved it!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In My Mailbox (5)

I really planned to post more this weekend.  I promise.  But Luke went out of town and I decided to paint our bathroom cabinets and refinish a dresser and then we had friends over and oh yeah we got another puppy.  So my weekend was pretty busy.  I'm participating in IMM hosted by the Story Siren, which is a weekly meme showing off the books (and puppies) that I scored this week.  Yes - puppy pictures are included after the book pictures!

For Review:

Dewey's Nine Lives
Health Scare
Saving Max
Girl Stolen
You Don't Look Like Anyone I know
Everything Is Going To Be Great

A great series of three books - Why We Fight, Why Our Decisions Don't Matter, and Why We Need Love.

And a grocery sack of books I bought and haven't unloaded yet.  I'll save those for next week and go ahead and post what you really want to see.  Our new Great Dane puppy (yep, that makes two), Chief.

In this one, Dexter is pulling on Chief's ear.  They are having way too much fun wrestling, and Dexter loves his new little brother.

Awwww.  My boys (minus Sly, who refuses to be near the dogs).  Dexter is on the left and Chief is on the right - and that would be Luke in the middle!  Sweet babies.

One last picture - take a look at the elephant art I made for my soon to be nephew.  I'm already obsessed with this baby!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hey Look!

It's me!  Being featured on All-Consuming Books!  Tiger has a great blog (obviously, she is profiling me!) that is certainly worth your time (especially today, where, did I mention, you can read all about me).

PS - Someone really needs to get me and Luke under control.  His boss has a 10 week old Dane puppy and his wife was going to take it to the pound.  Long story short, we now have two Danes.  Puppy frolicking pictures coming this weekend.

Blog Hop

It's Friday, which means it's time for the hop, hosted by Crazy-for-Books!  If this is your first visit to my blog, thank you so much for stopping by.  I review a huge variety of books, book-related events, and occasionally post my DIY book crafts.  Take a look around and let me know what you think!

Today's blog hop question is "How many blogs do you follow"?

I have 313 on my Google Reader.  I do actually read them all, too.  There are times when I get way behind, but I try to at least glimpse at each one, even if I don't go to the blog site itself.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Censorship in Texas

I'm sure all of you have heard by now about the scandal (and it is scandalous) regarding Ellen Hopkins and the Teen Lit Festival in Texas.  If you haven't, check out  School Library Journal's article here.  Basically a librarian questioned the appearance and the author's suitability for her students and the festival un-invited her.  In response, many of the other authors appearing have pulled out of the festival.

Censorship is unacceptable and they are right to refuse to support any body, in this case the Humble School Distric, that would allow it.  It's the responsibility of parents to monitor what their children have access to, not librarians or teachers or anyone else.  If you don't want your teenager reading a certain book, then it's up to you as a parent to enforce that.  It is not a decision that should be made by anyone else (hence the "Think for yourself and let others do the same" slogan for Banned Books Week this year). 

Still I couldn't help but think of the upcoming festivals I'm going to (Decatur Book Festival in two weeks, National Book Festival in September, and Southern Festival of Books in October).  If something like this were to happen at one of them and the other authors pulled out I would be devastated.  I would understand their decision and support their stand, but I have to say I would be so disappointed to miss out on the opportunity to hear them and meet them and get my books signed.  The selfish part of me would feel like I as a fan was being punished for a bad decision made by the festival hosts.

The bad publicity being generated by the press coverage and the statement being made (that censorship will not be tolerated) is surely good for the cause.  And while I think their decision is the right one to make,I feel for the teen readers (and adult readers) who are disappointed to hear that those they were excited to see won't be there.  I would also love to see all of the authors show up at the festival and use their time as an opportunity to denounce censorship to those in attendance.  Wouldn't that be something to hear?  I'm sure there are reasons that are much better thought out for why this isn't possible.  But I still want to hear it.

The good news for me is that these authors aren't just pulling out of the festival - they are making a statement through their blogs.  Take some time to read them and Ellen Hopkins herself on this issue.  And if you've blogged about it, I'd love to link to your post as well.  Leave a comment or drop me an email!

Ellen Hopkins who also addresses the disappointment of the teens here
Melissa de la Cruz
Pete Hautman (I like his article, but I don't appreciate his opening comments.  In a post on censorship, it's awkward to open with "nasty" ideas and beliefs you wish would "go away".  Being against censorship means making all information and ideas available to the public, not just the ones you like or that are PC)
Tera Lynn Childs (who makes an excellent argument against everything I wrote about disappointing the teens)
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How do you handle bad books, Part Deux

So I'm sure you all saw my blog post yesterday and then saw me take it down and I had plenty of ensuing conversation with friends regarding the decision.  It's something I've thought a lot about and considered and I want to make sure you all know that I am willing to admit when I make mistakes.  I'm still learning about this whole blogging thing and trying my best to maintain my personal integrity through it.  So today let's discuss blog integrity and review policies.

Yesterday I gave a book a bad review.  In the past when I've not liked a book I was sent for review, I gave the sender (publicist, author, publisher, etc) the option of my not posting at all as opposed to posting a negative review.  This is not to say that I don't give negative reviews, I've just tried to give authors and publishers the chance not to get a review if they sent the book to me on my request.  I gave this option to the publisher yesterday and the post was ok'd. 

I don't feel that my post was unnecessarily harsh or inappropriate.  When I review a book, I review the book not the author.  I don't comment on an author's abilities as a parent, employee, person, etc.  I comment on the book and the author's ability to write well.  What I wrote described what I felt were flaws in the writing and had nothing personal to say about the writer.  However, the publicist later let me know about some issues that surrounding the publication and asked me to remove the blog.

Since I had offered earlier to not post, I decided the right thing to do would be to comply with the publicist and take the post down.  Here's the part where I tell you how I think I messed up.  I shouldn't offer to not post a negative review, even if the book was sent to me by request.  I don't like to be mean, and I don't like to hurt people's feelings.  But offering not to publish a review at all if I didn't enjoy the book can damage the integrity of my blog in the long run.  The purpose of my blog is to tell my friends honestly what I think about books I read, regardless of where they come from. 

Please know that my thought behind not posting negative reviews at an author's request wasn't motivated by anything other a desire to be kind and courteous.  So, if you haven't had enough of them already, here are some of my other thoughts on book reviews and integrity:
  • I still believe that the professional and courteous thing to do is to finish books that are sent to me for review by my request.  Should I be unable to finish a book, I will not review it.  This rarely ever happens, as I finish almost everything I start.  In fact, this was the first time in almost a year that I have put a book down without finishing.  But if it does, I will not review the book at all.
  • I will place my blog's integrity and my integrity as a reviewer over my desire to be liked and make people happy.  I will stick to my original review policy, which is that books will be reviewed honestly.
  • I will continue to respect authors and review books based solely on their content and not on the author's personality, home life, or personal choices.
Can you think of anything I'm leaving out?  I do apologize if my removal of the post seems to lack the integrity I work hard to maintain.  Like I said, I'm still a newish blogger and I'm learning a lot about things as I go along.  I maintain that the right thing to do was honor what I had told the publicist, and in this case, I understand why the publicist requested that the post be removed.  Regardless of reasons, however, it won't happen again.  I love you, readers! 

Please leave me some comments letting me know about your blogging standards.  I'd love to have a great discussion on this.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How do you handle bad books?

My earlier review has been removed at the request of the publicist. 

Let's continue the discussion on what happens when you don't like a book you requested for review though.

My question to other bloggers is, what are your opinions and stories about books that weren't for you?  Do you finish every single book you specifically request for review?  Or do you save yourself time and quit books you've been sent for review, even if you've requested them?  What about negative reviews?  Do you give the person you reviewed the book for the option of not posting the negative review?  Any negative review horror stories?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review: A Friend In The Storm

Guess what?  This post is not about the Hunger Games.  I've actually kind of Hunger Games'ed myself out.  Just on the blog, not for realsies, Suzanne.  You and I are MFEO and still future BFFs.  Don't worry. 

But I think I have oversaturated my blog with Hunger Games posts lately, so I'm taking a break from that this week.  I do have out-takes from our death match yesterday, but I'm waiting to post those until next week. 

On to other things!  A Friend In The Storm, by Cheryl Ricker, is such a great gift book.  I normally really don't like gift books, with all the saccharine sweetness and lovey dovey quotes about friends or teddy bears or whatever.  Ok, fine, you caught me, I love quotes about friends and teddy bears.  Just not in gift book form.

But this one is actually different.  If you are like me, then you are a librarian/un-trained therapist who hears about various student issues ranging from the bizarre (I had a psychic vision of my dog dying) to the very very sad (homelessness, domestic violence, etc).  If you are like me you are also the most awkward person ever and have no clue what to say to people you barely know who have just told you something shocking/horrifying/heartbreaking. 

So I'm planning on picking up a few copies of this just to have on hand to give to students who are truly suffering.  First of all, the book itself is just beautiful.  The cover is so sweet and simple, it's printed on high quality paper and bound nicely, and even has one of those ribbon bookmarks.  In college, I put together my own little journal of quotes and Bible verses that I still read through when I'm down - and this reminds me of that, but prettier and published.

My one issue - the poetry contained is very Hallmark-y.  Which is great if you're a fan of that kind of thing, but unfortunately I'm not.  It's pretty much exclusively iambic tetrameter, which can really really start to grate on me after a while.  To be perfectly honest, I skipped a lot of the poetry.  For those who aren't huge fans of poetry, or who enjoy a more simple style, I don't think this would be a big deal. 

One last recommendation: Don't put this book on the edge of your full bathtub while your huge orange cat tries to walk around the edges and catch bubbles.  You will wind up with a very wet book and cat.

Thank you Zondervan for the beautiful book!  Sorry I let the kitty knock it in the bathtub - search and rescue was successful and the book only suffered minimal water damage.

Death Match part 2

Ok, I've got a few free minutes before I leave for work, so I'm going to try to wrap this up so I can post some reviews this afternoon.  Oh and to clear up confusion, Bestie and I are actually playing the warring sides of Katniss's psyche (does she love Gale or Peeta?)

Gale and Peeta face off

Things are not looking good for poor Peeta

Sneak attack from Cato (foreshadowing in the lower left corner!)

Cato and Gale go at it unarmed (except for the bow)

The muttation is released!
Cato begs for mercy

Gale puts Cato out of his misery

No more Cato

Final Gale/Peeta showdown

Gale doesn't make it.

Peeta gloats

The victor and her pile of bodies.  Minus Cato and the muttation, who needed a bath.

There you have it.  Best weekend ever.  Also, later this week I'm going to post out-takes, which are actually even funnier than the ones that made the cut.