Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dystopian Giveaway Hop

Dystopian Giveaway Hop
November 1st to 7th

Winner will receive a choice of one of the following Dystopian novels:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Signed R.L. Stine Book Giveaway

So I am having this awesome giveaway on my other blog as part of a giveaway hop hosted by MamaNYC. I thought perhaps some of you might like to enter too so here it is.

I'm giving away a Leaves scented candle, a large ad space, and this Goosebumps book that I got R. L. Stine to sign!

. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Time Pullers (Book Review)

Title: Time Pullers
Author: Horton Deakins
Publisher: 4RV Publishing
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
Time Pullers may forever change the way people think about UFOs, but here, readers will find no reference to alien craft of any kind.What do Napoleon Bonaparte, an Osage Indian dancing and singing to the stars on a lonely hill on a dark night, and a semi-trailer truck trying to run a gate on a US Air Force Base have in common? Only Time Pullers will tell.

This book starts off very slowly and with a lot of technical physics words. In some ways this helps to make this science fiction idea seem more real, but it is a bit excessive at times. However, once I discovered that the story makes just as much sense if I simply skimmed over these sections instead of trying to read the whole thing, I began to really enjoy the story.
It is not the kind of novel that I usually enjoy: the story is more developed than the characters and I usually prefer the opposite tilt, but this story was so creative and engaging that I couldn't help but enjoy it.
The idea is very unique and is presented in a very realistic fashion. You really could almost imagine this story being true. 
The only major complaint I have, and I hate to say this because I know you should never judge a book by its cover, but the cover is horrible. Obviously, if you are reading this than you have already seen it. It looks to me as if a five-year-old did the design work. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this could really hurt the book as it is so intelligently written but you would never guess that from looking at it.
I would definitely recommend this book and suggest that if you are getting lost in the beginning, stick with it because it is definitely worth your time.

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween

Top Ten Books to Get in the Halloween Spirit

Goosebumps by R. L. Stine. 
(Come back on the 25th for the chance to win a Goosebumps book that I had personally signed by R. L. Stine)!

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling.

Carrie by Stephen King

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwart

The Complete Tales and Poems by Edgar Allen Poe

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

The Corridors of the Dead by Jonathan Allen

The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfield

Teaser Tuesday: Time Pullers by Horton Deakins

undefinedTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"Williams, how is it that you heard all this and I didn't?"
"Well, since you asked, maybe it's because I was paying attention to Mr. G, while you were concentrating on a certain someone."

Time Pullers by Horton Deakins

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wizards, Wardrobes and Wookies (Book Review)

 Title: Wizards, Wardrobes and Wookiees: Navigating Good and Evil in Harry Potter, Narnia and Star Wars
Author: Connie Neal
Publisher: IVP Books
Source: From author for review

Goodreads Summary:
Luke Skywalker. Lucy Pevensie. Harry Potter. For millions of children and adults alike, these names and stories are as familiar as those of close friends and family. We read and watch their adventures over and over again. We feel their fears and betrayals. We are inspired by their courage. And perhaps we wish we could live in their worlds, fight important battles and have our chance to become heroes.In these pages Connie Neal shows that we too--in our seemingly ordinary world--have a call on our life that's just as powerful, just as adventurous. While we won't run into Darth Vader or the White Witch on the street, we face villains as formidable as they. And though we don't have Obi Wan Kenobi or Dumbledore to mentor us, Wizards, Wardrobes and Wookiees reminds us of the Helper who teaches and guides as we walk through each day. By highlighting adventures from Star Wars, Narnia and Harry Potter, as well as true stories from Scripture and her own life, Neal shows us the way to victory over evil in the battles we face.This hope-filled, encouraging book takes us into mythical worlds we love in order to help us live wisely and well in our own so that our stories, in turn, can inspire all who see and hear.

This is an interesting book that brings together Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Harry Potter in order to talk about the Bible and the hero journey in our own lives. I was definitely skeptical going into it because so much as already been said about Harry Potter and the hero's journey as well as Harry Potter and Christianity. (I know the same is true for Star Wars and Narnia as well but I haven't personally read anything like that about these works before). However I think that this book has a very good take on the subject.
There are a few things that bothered me a bit about this book. The first is that there are a few times when the author compares being a Democrat to being evil. Now, I certainly think that there are plenty of relevant topics if you want to compare these works to politics. But the author states that not believing in the non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and not believing that Voldemort had returned to power are the same and that that implies that those who didn't think we should have gone to war in Iraq are sinners. That argument doesn't follow.
There are also quite a few inaccuracies in the book. There are many little things I noticed about Harry Potter specifically, but as I know more details to Harry Potter than the average person, I was able to over look most of these since they didn't take away from the message of the work. There were some time-related discrepancies that did bother me. For example, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets can't be a reflection of life after September 11, 2001 because it was published well before then.
Having said all that, I think this book did a very good job of making the Bible more exciting and interesting by relating it well to pop culture. And as this is the main aim of the book, I would say that overall this book is a great success.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reviewers Wanted: Influenster

A friend of mine recently told me about this really cool site that allows good reviewers to try out a bunch of really cool products and share their reviews with others. Since I know many of you who read this blog love to review, I thought I would let you know about it. It's called Influenster. It's become really popular and is now invite only. I still have a few invites left if you're interested! Just send me an e-mail at katherinehschneider at gmail dot com.

(Note: I am not being compensated for this post, I just thought I would share this cool site)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Schooled (Book Review)

Title: Schooled
Author: Tali Nay
Publisher: Corner Chapter Press
Source: From author for review

Goodreads Summary:
"Do you have to have sex to have a baby?" It's a question that ten-year-old Tali Nay asked the office assistant at her elementary school after the woman had done her best to explain how it all happened to a roomful of confused girls. Or maybe Tali was the only one who was confused. It's entirely possible, for if there's anything she knew at this point in her schooling, it was that she—without fail—was the last to know about anything interesting. Take her first day of kindergarten, where it turned out that every other kid already knew which letters were the vowels. Her first lesson as a student was consequently one of humiliation, and her second—only slightly less important—was that puking in a classroom tends to start a chain reaction. A refreshingly honest deep-dive into what we actually take away from a public education, this hilarious and heartfelt memoir captures the things we learn in school that are never part of any lesson plan yet somehow have the biggest impact upon the shaping of our perceptions over the years we spend in a classroom. Things like competition, failure, scandal, popularity, disillusionment, triumph, guilt, and, of course, throwing up in public. From the glorious to the gloriously awkward, this everyman tale is a story of growing up, one semester at a time.

My Thoughts:
Warning: Mild Spoilers
I really struggled coming up with a rating for this book. In some ways, I really loved this book and in some ways, I just couldn't stand it. I'll start with the good points. Tali Nay is a very talented writer and I really loved her writing style and it kept me wanting to read more. I would definitely buy any other book she wrote. Her writing is funny and fun and very enjoyable to read. Each little story was worth reading and helped to add bit by bit to the story and I really liked the structure of the novel.
However, I didn't much care for the story itself. While often describing her life in words like tragic, humiliating, and unpopular, it's kind of hard to hear these words describing a schooling which I can only think of as just about perfect. As the valedictorian, prize-winning writer, lead actress, lead singer, prom queen, and class officer who is almost angelically perfect and naive, I really fail to view her life as anything close to tragic. I just got frustrated listening to the complaints for a student who really couldn't have asked for much more.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Menthol Kisses (Book Review)

Title: Menthol Kisses
Author: Abby Stewart
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: From Author for Review

Goodreads Summary:
When Logan’s sister, and closest confidant, moves off to college, Logan must get used to her new life. A solitary high school student in a small town, Logan embarks on a journey to follow in her sister’s footsteps and do something that will allow her to escape, forever. 

Logan’s new friends bring weekends of alcohol and drug fueled pasture parties -- but friendship turns to betrayal when Logan is raped by a boy she trusts. Lost and desperate, she seeks comfort in drugs. Logan struggles with her faltering friendships, alcoholic father, and complicated feelings for an older guy who promises her the world. As Logan loses herself in a false reality, her escape from small town life becomes less and less likely. 

Menthol Kisses’ sweepingly dramatic plot will remind us of the human capacity for redemption, forgiveness, and our persistent will to live. 

My Thoughts:
I couldn't put this book down. I have been so busy this week but I have been squeezing in reading time everywhere to make room for this book. It's a fantastic read. The characters in this book feel so real and the pain that Logan goes through becomes very tangible. She is terrific character; perfectly flawed and searching for a better life that she doesn't know how to find. It's a dark story but one that shows how people are capable of overcoming so much. I highly recommend this book.

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hex Hall (Book Review)

Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall Book 1
Publisher: Hyperion Book
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
My Thoughts:
I loved this book. Sophie is one of my new favorite main characters ever.  The story is incredibly told and keeps you guessing right up until the very end. The characters are very real and believable. And I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, but all I really want to do is wait for my paycheck so that I can buy book 2!

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Having A Drink With John Green

Sorry I've sort of disappeared with no explanation for a little while. I probably should have explained that I'd be going out of town for the week.
I've been having the time of life here though! I just got back from having drinks with John Green, Lev Grossman, Stephanie Perkins, and Maureen Johnson! I'll be back to reviewing soon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Freakonomics (Book Review)

Title: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Authors: Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime?

These may not sound like typical questions for an econo-mist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.

Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics.

Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Klu Klux Klan.

What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and—if the right questions are asked—is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking.

Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.

My Thoughts:
I have been wanting to read this book since it was recommended to me four years ago but I just finally got around to finally reading it. And I am so glad that I did. I love this kind of stuff. I found myself wishing the book was longer so that I could read more of cool discoveries. I can't wait to read the next book because this one was fantastic. It used science to prove crazy theories in a reader-friendly manner. Nothing was confusing and yet everything was backed up by research. It was so interesting.

Rating: 5/5 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pale (Early Review)

Title: Pale
Author: Chris Wooding
Publisher: Stoke Books
Publication Date: September 10, 2012
Source: Net Galley

Goodreads Summary:
The Lazarus Serum can bring you back from the dead. Only thing is, it turns you into a Pale. Jed can't imagine anything worse, but then the choice is taken out of his hands...

My Thoughts:
I really like the idea behind this novel. I felt like the story was too short to really do the tale justice though. There is so much potential in these characters and in this plot, but for me it all ended up feeling a bit cheesy and forced. However, I think this book could lead to some very interesting discussions.

Rating: 2.5/5

Skybound (Early Book Review)

Title: Skybound
Author: Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: August 20, 2012
Source: Net Galley

Goodreads Summary:
Germany, 1945. The Third Reich is on its knees as Allied forces bomb Berlin to break the last resistance. Yet on an airfield near Berlin, the battle is far from over for a young mechanic, Felix, who’s attached to a squadron of fighter pilots. He’s especially attached to fighter ace Baldur Vogt, a man he admires and secretly loves. But there’s no room for love at the end of the world, never mind in Nazi Germany.

When Baldur narrowly cheats death, Felix pulls him from his plane, and the pilot makes his riskiest move yet. He takes a few days’ leave to recover, and he takes Felix with him. Away from the pressures of the airfield, their bond deepens, and Baldur shows Felix the kind of brotherhood he’d only ever dreamed of before.

But there’s no escaping the war, and when they return, Baldur joins the fray again in the skies over Berlin. As the Allies close in on the airfield where Felix waits for his lover, Baldur must face the truth that he is no longer the only one in mortal danger.

My thoughts:
This is a heartwarming and heartbreaking tale of a squadron of Germans at the end of the second World War. The novel is short but it pulls you right in so that by the end you feel as though you really are a part of this group. It's a story of love and loss and live and death. It's a story of war that is so real and tragic and wonderful as to bring it fully life. It is a story that proves that love can overcome all even in the worst of situations.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lord of the Flies (Book Review)

Title: Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Publisher: Perigee Trade
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition.

My Thoughts:
I'm aware that this book is a classic and is very popular but it just didn't do it for me. Maybe I am too much of an optimist but I really can't see a group of boys turning into killing machines that quickly just because they are trapped on an island. Fighting, of course; stabbing and attacking, not so much. Like I said, maybe I just think to highly of people, but this book just seemed so unrealistic to me that it lost all of the chilling effect that it is supposed to evoke. However, it was a fun read and I really liked the ending.

Rating: 2.5/5

Friday, July 20, 2012

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Book Review)

Title: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Author: Philip K. Dick
Publisher: Random House
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
A final, apocalyptic, world war has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending the majority of mankind off-planet. Those who remain, venerate all remaining examples of life, and owning an animal of your own is both a symbol of status and a necessity. For those who can't afford an authentic animal, companies build incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep . . . even humans.

My Thoughts:
First off, I would like to say that I have not seen Bladerunner and my review will not in anyway be related to that movie.
This book started off really slow for me. I had trouble getting into it and relating to the characters or really even understanding and caring what was going on in the plot. However after about 50 pages, the story really picks up and the characters become more real. I was sure from the beginning that I was not going to enjoy this book, but in end I have to say that it was definitely worth the read. I am glad I pushed through the beginning to get to the end because it was well worth it.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Revenge of the Witch (Book Review)

Title: Revenge of the Witch
Series: The Last Apprentice #1
Author: Joseph Delaney
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end, but who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried--some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive. Only Thomas Ward is left. He's the last hope--the last apprentice.

My Thoughts:
I loved this book. I know that it was written for children, but that didn't even matter. It held my attention the whole time. It was exciting and fun. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series. It truly was a great read that I would recommend to any young adult fantasy lovers. The story is well-told and it left me wanting more. Thomas Ward is a very believable character that I just can't help but root for and Alice and the Spook are some of the most interesting characters I've come across all year. Fantastic!

Rating: 5/5