Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Teaser Tuesday- 6/30/09

I haven't done one of these in a very long time so I thought I would share a bit of the book I am currently reading. A very sad and depressing look into the life a NY party girl. Makes me very happy and content in the life I chose for myself.

"Like I said, we only visited him once. He didn't know where we lived, and I doubt he ever left his house, but I think he visited my mother all the time." page 51. Here Kitty Kitty by Jardine Libaire.

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Book Review- The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Mary lives in a small village surrounded by a fence that keeps the villagers in and the Unconsecrated out. There is always the fear of a breech and getting infected and becoming one of the undead or becoming their food. This has always been her way of life but it was not always so. Her mom has told her stories about a vast ocean and cities with buildings that reach the sky.

I had heard such great things about this book that I was expecting to be blown away. I was left a little disappointed. I did like the simplicity of the storytelling despite it being in first person. It fit with the lives the villagers lead. The premise was interesting and had really great potential.

The beginning started off slow and got me a little worried. I kept imagining the movie The Village and what is on the other side of the fence on that one. I must say that is what I was expecting here. In fact once Mary is with the Sisters and starts finding out that they are keeping secrets, I was really expecting some revelations to come. Unfortunately not many did.

There is a lot of nothing that happens for quite awhile in the middle of the story and the ending wasn't as exciting as I was hoping. I would have liked more answers to what caused the Unconsecrated spread, what the Sisters secrets were, etc..

It was good, but it could have been great.



Saturday, June 27, 2009

Book Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion Persuasion by Jane Austen

Another wonderful novel by Jane Austen and yet different from the others I have read because this is not about finding love for the first time. This is about finding love and giving it up and then getting a second chance.

Anne Elliot is a very endearing character. I liked her from the very beginning. She puts up with so much from her family and friends and does it with great patience and always with a smile. She is also vulnerable and a little sad. I was always rooting for a happy ending for her.

Absolutely beautiful prose. I loved getting to read Anne's feelings on everything. It is so real and relevant even today. I can imagine women today having the exact same reaction to seeing the one that got away and dissecting every encounter to determine if he still has feelings.


Classics Challenge


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Book Review- Royal Bood by Rona Sharon

Royal Blood Royal Blood by Rona Sharon

Two new arrivals at King Henry VIII's court with no knowledge of the other find themselves thrown together while searching for the Ancient for very different reasons.

This book was heading to a three star review until it turned into a trashy romance novel with 20 pages spent on one love scene that included some very cheesy lines. My husband and I were laughing so hard at some of them. The language used was just too reminiscent of a cheap romance novel and that is not what I was expecting when I began this novel. It is advertised as historical fiction when it should be labeled as romance. Even Historical Romance would be okay.

The plot line was interesting, however, and the mix of vampire lore with the Tudor history was not bad. I did finish the book but I did almost put it down a few times. I probably should have because the ending was not as good as the beginning. After the 20 pages mentioned above it went downhill from there.



Monday, June 22, 2009

Hello from California

I can't believe it is already Monday. On Friday, we flew out here to California to visit the familias. We will be here until next Tuesday so once again it is going to be a slow week here on MariReads.

I have finished three books in the past week, so I am hoping to get the reviews posted soon. So keep a lookout for reviews of the following:

Royal Blood by Rona Sharon
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

I have just started reading The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. So far it is pretty good.

Hope you all have a good week and I will try to get on here again soon.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I feel like I have been completely neglecting the blog this week. So sorry to be so absent but I am taking a training this week, technology training that has me on the computer all day. When I get home the last thing I want to do is get on my computer. I fear next week won't be much better since I will be out of town. I am finishing up a couple books, though, and taking a few more with me this coming trip to CA so I am hoping to have a little more content on here soon.

Hope you are all having a great week!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Winner of Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

My great haul of books from Half Price Books was just under $30.00. Which makes our winner,


She was closest to the total with her guess of $25. Congratulations! Email me your address and I will have your audiobook of Impulse in the mail to you.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Sister's Baby's Dress

Ribbon Detail

Pattern: Little Sister's Dress by Tora Frøseth
Source: knittingalot
Yarn: Jaeger Sienna
Needles: US3
[ravelry link]

What a cute little dress! I absolutely love this little thing and the pattern was really easy to follow and just came out great. I can't wait to see the look on my sister's face when she sees it. I am also making some itty bitty booties to go along with it. Hopefully they will be done in time. They are little, they shouldn't take too long. I need to find some little brown buttons for them.

Only changes I made was leaving off the buttons on the collar and using a ribbon instead. Also, only two garter sections on the hem due to yarn running out. I made the 6 mos. old size dress instead of the three month in the hope that the dress will get more use that way. We shall see.

Click on my ravelry link to see more details and pictures.

Mailbox Monday-06/15/09

Two books in the mail this week. No shopping after the previous week's haul from Half Price Books.

Here is what I got:


The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (GoodRead's First Reads Program)
The Texicans by Nina VIda (from the author)

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page


***Current Giveaway: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins. Ends today at 12:00am CST.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Salon (6/14/09)

Happy Sunday.

It has been a bit of a quiet week around here. Our internet has been out since Friday and just came back on late last night. I have been spending today going through hundreds of your posts in my Reader. It takes up a lot of time, doesn't it?

My reading has slowed down this week, not being sick anymore and the fact that the book I am reading is over 400 pages. I have made it through more than half, though, so expect a review of Royal Blood by Rona Sharon before the end of the week. I am also just a couple chapters away from the end of Persuasion. My first book for the Classics Challenge!

There is a giveaway going on that ends tomorrow. Check it out! The link is below.


***Current Giveaway: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins. Open until Monday, June 15th at 12:00am CST.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Book Review- Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Book 1) The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Max and her family have to return to the school they escaped from when the youngest, Angel, is taken from them. It is not a place they want to return to. The kids at the school are experimented on and turned into freaks of nature by uncaring scientists who only see them as test subjects and not as people.

So what makes Max, Nudge, Angel, Fang, Iggy and Gasman different?

They have wings.

Absolutely enjoyable book. Typical James Patterson style - short chapters, non-stop action right from the beginning, likable and interesting characters. This was a hard book to put down once I got started. Very fun, highly entertaining. I can see why it is liked by so many. This will make a great series for me to read this summer.

I know a lot of people have a problem with James Patterson's writing, feel that it is not good enough to warrant all the success his books get. I read classics, literary fiction, young adult fiction, and mass market popular fiction, all for different reasons. I know what I am going to get when I read one of his books- entertainment. It is all I am asking for when I buy a James Patterson book.

Once again, I have been entertained.


Serial Readers Challenge


***Current Giveaway: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins. Open until Monday, June 15th at 12:00am CST.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

YA Quick Reviews (Second Helpings and Charmed Thirds)

Second Helpings Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

I liked this book so much more than Sloppy Firsts. It had much more angst and story surrounding Jessica rather than her take on the others in her high school. I liked the focus of this one much more- the challenge of seeing but not talking to Marcus, the confusion of deciding on a college, discovering friends and supporters you never knew you had.

It was hard not to pick up Charmed Thirds right after finishing this one. Well, I waited a few hours at least.


Charmed Thirds Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty

Perhaps its Jessica's lack of direction or the book's lack of Marcus (I am not completely sure) that made me not enjoy it as much as the previous book. The social commentary is still there, the humour and quick-wit, but I just didn't find myself caring as much for Jessica. I just couldn't relate to her choices and/or experiences this time around.

I would really love to read what Marcus wrote in his journals during these two years, though!


Alright, bring on the next books. I need to continue this Jessica Darling marathon of mine. Two more books to go!

Serial Readers Challenge


***Current Giveaway: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins. Open until Monday, June 15th at 12:00am CST.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Winners of The Strain

The Strain
Help me in congratulating the 2 winners of The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

Gaby and Lu

Hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. Congratulations!
A big thank you to Katrina of Wiredset for providing the books.


***Current Giveaway: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins. Open until Monday, June 15th at 12:00am CST.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bad Knitter

I am a bad, bad knitter. I have not picked up my sticks in what feels like forever. It's not like I have nothing to knit. I have tons of projects I want to do, unfinished stuff that needs finishing and gifts to knit before I go to CA in 2 weeks. 

What is wrong with my motivation?

I found a baby cardigan in one of my books to make for my sister's baby that is due in August. Must get started on that. It looks nothing like the photo of one she saw in a store, though. One she wants me to make despite having told her it is crochet not knit.

Here is a picture:
Do you all have any idea of a pattern that is similar to this?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summer Reading List

I have some new books for this summer! Yay!

I love being a teacher for many reasons, but one is definitely getting my summers off. I truly enjoy my summer breaks. They give me time to travel to far off lands, visit my family back in California and read.

So, lots of books are a good thing, right? There is no need for a book ban. Tell the hubby!

I am going to be flying through these like crazy. 

So, here is what I got this week:

The Castaways: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand (for review). Thanks to Miriam at Hachette.
Back Creek by Leslie Goetsch (for review). Thanks to Harrison at Bancroft Press.

I also treated myself with an end of the year gift. I went to Half-Price Books. (Dangerous, I know.) Look at all I came home with!

Second Helpings and Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty 
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld
The Alchemist by Michael Scott
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Someone Like You and That Summer by Sarah Dessen

How much do you think I spent on all that? 

The closest to guessing the right amount will get a prize. I have an audiobook of Impulse by Ellen Hopkins that has been listened to once by yours truly.

Good luck! 

Giveaway Rules:
  • Leave me a comment with your guess and an email address.
  • Ends Monday, June 15th at 12am CST.
  • Open to everyone no matter where you are located.

HINT: They are all paperback copies-some trade, some mass-market. 


Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page


***Giveaway for The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan ends tomorrow! Have you entered yet?

Sunday Salon (6/7/09)

The first weekend of my summer vacation and I am sick. Full on cold-stuck in bed with a stuffed up head and snot-rags strewn about. Absolutely no fun at all. I should be out and about enjoying the freedom that comes after the last day of school, not holed up in my bedroom with fever and chills. 

Well, the only good thing about this is that I have all the time in the world to read. I have managed to finish three books in the past 48 hours. I have also consumed a whole lot of OJ and watched an entire season of Arrested Development on DVD. I am being quite productive. :)-

Well, that is about all for today. 

The StrainDo check out my current giveaway for 2 copies of The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. It ends on Tuesday. It is amazingly not as popular as I thought it would be. My theories: everyone who reads this blog either (1) already has a copy, (2) is not a fan of scary vampire books, (3) does not live in the US.  I am not the one sending out the books, so unfortunately it is only open to those of you who live here. 

One more thing, actually, I wanted to thank Rebecca of Lost in Books for awarding me the One Lovely Blog Award.  Rebecca has One Lovely Blog herself, so go and visit.

Happy Sunday. Hope you are all having a better one than me. 


***Current Giveaway: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Open until Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00pm CST.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Book Review- Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine

Midnight Alley (The Morganville Vampires, #3) Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine

Claire continues to figure out how to go to school, have a boyfriend and stay alive in Morganville amongst all the vampires who make her college town home. She thought making a deal with the Founder would keep her and her friends safe but what is required of her turns out to be even more dangerous.

This third book in the series was an improvement on the second. I had a lot of problems with Dead Girl's Dance, but this one managed to get rid of what annoyed me before. Claire got to show her smarts and resourcefulness, gone were her girlie asides and the story was much more interesting. The ending is quite the cliff hanger, as well, and completely unexpected.

I don't think I will wait as long to read the next book in the series.


Serial Readers Challenge
eBook Challenge


***Current Giveaway: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Open until Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00pm CST.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Book Review- Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Sloppy Firsts Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

The Jessica Darling series has been much touted as a must read by many fellow readers, so I had to finally get myself a copy.

Jessica Darling is dealing with high school now that her best friend, Hope, has moved away. It's hard when her social group annoys her, the boy she likes doesn't know she exists, and the "Dreg" that was a friend of Hope's deceased brother is all of a sudden taking an interest in her.

For the first book in the series it was a bit of a slow start for me. I had a hard time getting interested in Jessica Darling's pretty normal high school experience, that is until Marcus Flutie makes an entrance. I absolutely loved his character and attitude and how it changed Jessica into a much more interesting person. Pretty quickly I realized that I didn't want it to end. I want to go right out and buy the next book.


Serial Readers Challenge


***Current Giveaway: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Open until Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00pm CST.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Booking Through Thursday-06/04/09

“This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes."

1. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
4. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
5. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
6. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
7. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
9. Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone by JK Rowling
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
11. An Obsolete Honor by Helena P. Schrader
12. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
13. It by Stephen King
14. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
15. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

All for very different reasons.


***Current Giveaway: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Open until Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00pm CST.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book Review- Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel by Joe Hill

An aging rocker and a known collector of the morbid and grotesque, Judas Coyne can't pass up bidding on a ghost and his funeral suit that his assistant shows to him on an online auction site. His winning bid on the randomly found item (that just so happens to be a ghost) turns out not to be so random. The seller and the ghost have every intention of getting into Jude's home for the sole purpose of haunting him to death.

This was quite the ghost story. It was one I had trouble putting down. The visuals that Joe Hill presents are truly frightening. The scribbled over eyes of the dead really freaked me out. Hill definitely has some of the horror writing talent of his dad, Stephen King. The reason behind the haunting is surprising and horrible. 

An absolutely scary, under the covers, with all the lights on read. 

This one is now getting passed on to my Stephen King loving friend. I can't wait to get her reaction to it, see if she likes it just as much.



***Current Giveaway: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Open until Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00pm CST.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Giveaway: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The Strain The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan was released today! To celebrate its release lets have a giveaway! I have two copies available thanks to Kat at WiredSet

Want more info about The Strain? Check out my review here and my post from yesterday has lots of great info and the really cool trailers.

Giveaway Details:

* 2 copies available
* Open to US Residents Only
* Leave a comment and an email address
* Contest ends Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00pm CST

Now closed,  go here and buy a copy!


Monday, June 1, 2009

New Moon Trailer

Better than Twilight you think? Hmm, I hope so. 
This one just may make me a fan of Jacob over Edward. He looks good. :)

June 2nd New Release: The Strain

The StrainThe Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan comes out tomorrow, June 2nd! I was lucky enough to get the book through Library Thing's Early Reviewers Program. You can find my review here

You need to check out these trailers! I usually am not a fan of book trailers but these are AWESOME. So good they make me want to read the book all over again now that I know what these vamps are supposed to look like. Very scary! Take a look.

(You might want to lower the volume at the beginning of this next one if you are at work or kids are around. There is the use of an expletive.)

Learn more at
 and go
here for a Sneak Peak inside the book.

Book Description:

The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan's Labyrinth and a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event.

The Strain
They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come.
In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.
In two months—the world.

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing…
So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city—a city that includes his wife and son—before it is too late.

About the Authors:

Guillermo del Toro

Born and raised in Guadalajara , Mexico , Guillermo del Toro made his feature directorial debut in 1993 with the film Cronos, and has since gone on to direct Mimic, The Devil's Backbone, Blade II, Hellboy I, Hellboy II, and Pan's Labyrinth, which garnered enormous critical praise worldwide and won three Academy Awards. He will direct two films based on The Hobbit, to be produced by Peter Jackson.


Chuck Hogan

Chuck Hogan is the author of several acclaimed novels, including The Standoff and Prince of Thieves, which won the 2005 Hammett Award and was called one of the 10 best novels of the year by Stephen King. Prince of Thieves will soon be a major motion picture.