Tag Archives: pile of shame

Rewind and Review: March

2 Mar

Rewind & Review is an AMAZING new meme hosted jointly by two fabulous ladies, Ginger from Greads! and Lisa from Lisa Is Busy Nerding. This meme is all about mining your TBR piles and finding some long-lost gems (from 2010 or earlier) that you meant to read and somehow passed over. I KNOW, but it happens. Each month, each participant picks a few oldies but hopefully goodies to read, reviews ’em, and spreads the word. Huzzah!

We’re on to month #2 of this awesome meme, friends, and I can’t wait to keep on keepin’ on! In case you missed my Rewind and Review books from February, you can check out my reviews of VAMPIRE ACADEMY and THE SWORD OF THE RIGHTFUL KING by clicking on the links!

Alas, I had wanted to review a THIRD book in February that I didn’t get to (curse you, shortest month of the year!), so it got bumped to March. THE DEMON KING IS HAPPENING. Plus two more. I WILL read three books a month!

The Demon King, Seven Realms, Cinda Williams Chima, Fantasy, Fantasy YA, Young Adult, Series, High FantasyJohn Green, Contemporary, Contemporary YA, Young Adult, RelationshipsJennifer Roberson, Sherwood, Sherwood Series, Historical Fiction, Robin Hood, Legend, British history, Maid Marian, Nottingham, folk hero

Game on, March! Game. On.


Rewind and Review (2): Vampire Academy

9 Feb

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)

by Richelle Mead

(First published August 16, 2007 by Razorbill)

I think one of the reasons that I hesitated to read VAMPIRE ACADEMY is because the Twilight series managed to burn me out on vampires, and the backlash from those books made me wary of other vampy books. So I kept putting these books off because I felt like it would just be reading Twilight all over again. This turned out to be a great lesson in not making assumptions. YOU WERE SO WRONG, AMY. In my opinion, now that I’ve read books from both series, the Vampire Academy series is better for a lot of reasons, and I’m mad at myself that I waited this long to jump in. Also, NOT becoming addicted to these books is as impossible as, like, time travel. THEY ARE BOOK CRACK AND I LOVE THEM. Ahem. So. Let’s discuss, shall we?

There were a few things that I noticed right away about VAMPIRE ACADEMY that I really appreciated, and one is that the world is sophisticated. There’s no silly, cheesy vampires here. The way the different breeds of vampires exist is complex and dangerous and full of drama. I’m digging the impending political/ideological crisis vibe that’s going on between the various Moroi and their dhampirs, and the Strigoi seem badass and creepy. Also, I love me a good rebellion, y’all, and the seeds of one are being sown.

The characters are also FANTASTIC, and are one of my favorite things about VAMPIRE ACADEMY. Generally speaking, I always love it when teens in books act in a realistic way. The kids at St. Vlad’s curse, have sex, get into trouble, and drink. That always gets a thumbs up from me. And the secondary characters are fleshed out and have great personalities. I loved Lissa and Christian, and Mia is deliciously malicious.

But really, the centerpiece is Rose, and she’s a BAMF. Rose is AWESOME, and I think a kind of rarer character in YA in that she isn’t your typical wallflower kind of girl.  She’s sassy, impulsive, brash, and confident. When it comes to Lissa, her best friend with whom she shares a very rare, almost psychic bond, she’s fiercely loyal and determined to protect her at any cost. But let me just say that it was refreshing to read about a character who was both aware and unashamed of her physicality. She likes hooking up and flirting and flaunting what she’s got, and I LOVED it. Granted, she’s unashamed of her body because it sounds like she’s basically a 10, but the idea still applies. I loved her confidence. She totally jumps off the page with her fieriness, and I felt all of her feelings almost right away. I LOVE THIS.

Obviously another cornerstone of not only this book but the series itself is the relationship between Rose and Dimitri, her mentor and fellow dhampir. Their relationship has the potential to be tricky, but in the end, I thought it was AWESOME.  I recall reading something about how some readers perceived their relationship as weird and inappropriate because Dimitri is 7 years older than Rose and basically, although not technically, her teacher. And those things are true, and they would have bothered me to no end if they had gone unaddressed. But they didn’t. In fact, I think those things are handled pretty well here. Their age difference–both in literal number and in emotional maturity–is a HUGE sticking point in their being together. Don’t mistake me: they have CRAZY chemistry, and a hot little interlude, but their chemistry is something they struggle with, and their interlude has a catch. I’m totally rooting for them.

Guys, I can’t say enough about how glad I am that you all lit a fire under my ass to get me to read these books IMMEDIATELY. Because now that I started them, I literally can’t stop (I’m reading book 3, SHADOW KISS, right now. I literally couldn’t wait long enough to write my review of the first book before I plowed through the second and half of the third). I really can’t think of many negative things about these books: they’re engaging, fun, humorous, fraught with drama and danger, have an interesting mythology, and characters who are unique and fabulous. Are they the most thought-provoking or emotional books I’ve ever read? No, but they’re certainly some of the most flat-out enjoyable. They give vampire books a good name. Now, pardon me, but I must dash. I seriously had to force myself to stop reading these books to write this review. HOLLA!


Rewind & Review is an AMAZING new meme hosted jointly by two fabulous ladies, Ginger from Greads! and Lisa from Lisa Is Busy Nerding. This meme is all about mining your TBR piles and finding some long-lost gems (from 2010 or earlier) that you meant to read and somehow passed over. I KNOW, but it happens. Each month, each participant picks a few oldies but hopefully goodies to read, reviews ’em, and spreads the word. Huzzah!

Rewind and Review (1): The Sword of the Rightful King

2 Feb

Sword of the Rightful King

by Jane Yolen

(First published August 1, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin)

Perhaps it’s not too much of a secret that I LOVE all things Arthurian. I read books about Camelot and the Arthurian legends, I’m PLANNING on reading MORE books about it, and I fangirl the TV show, Merlin. I love how Arthurian stories straddle the line between historical fiction and fantasy with their elements of magic and politics, and I’m on a mission to find a book about this world that knocks my socks right off my feet. I had high hopes for SWORD OF THE RIGHTFUL KING, and while it was fun and scratched my Arthur-nerd itch, it kind of let me down, and left me a little confused about what little I DO know of the Arthurian legends.

So this book is basically the story of how Arthur, newly crowned King of Britain, must somehow gain the love of his people, who are still hesitant to accept him (although we never really see this, we are only told), possibly because another man has an equally legitimate claim to the throne: his knight, Gawaine. PROBLEM, though, because Gawaine’s mother is the nasty witch Morgause, who will scheme and kill her son’s way to the throne of England so that she may exert power over the realm herself. Merlinnus–her sworn magical enemy–is determined to see that no one take the throne from Arthur, and so he devises some shenanigans involving a sword and a stone to solidify Arthur’s rightful place (with the shenanigans referred to in the book as “legerdemain.” Without question, this is the most I’ve ever encountered this word EVER.) Alllll of this takes place under a cloud of suspicion over Gawaine and his brothers (including Agravaine, who I did not realize was related to Gawaine in any of the Arthurian tales) because everyone knows that Morgause has sent a spy to Arthur’s court, and he must be uncovered before TREACHERY STRIKES. *Gasp!*

I’ll start with the good things about this book. It really was fun to read. I’m currently REALLY nerding out over Merlin, so it was incredibly enjoyable to see lots of those characters in a different light. (Also, because who would not want to picture Arthur like this, or Gawaine like this?) But I love the characters in this story: Arthur and his brave chivalry, Merlinnus (Although, why the extra “nus”? This drove me a little batty) and his sneaky, secretive magic. We meet Gwen but not in the way you might think. Morgause is vindictive and power-hungry, which makes for great drama. In fact, she was probably my favorite character because she seemed the most fleshed out. All very good things.

Also, the story moved quickly. Things happened without much lagging at all, and the whole sword in the stone “legerdemain” (UGH!) was actually really great, probably because it was the storyline that seemed to be the most developed, what with Arthur demanding that all of his knights attempt to pull out the sword before he does. PLUS, we get to see some of the actual business of the knights meeting at the Round Table, and that was very cool. That’s such a foundational part of the whole Arthurian legend, and it was fun to imagine it in action.

But despite those things–or maybe BECAUSE of those things–the story also felt a little scattered to me, like hopping from one thing to the next without much smoothness. The reveals of certain things were kind of predictable, like the deelio with Gwen and the identity of the spy. (Speaking of Gwen, an aspect of her storyline here felt incredibly rushed, and I wished that we could have seen it fleshed out a little more.) And I was slightly confused about the ages of people, although this could certainly come from my perception of these characters as their Merlin counterparts: Arthur is a young man, but Merlinnus is VERY old. Gwen is young also, but Lancelot is described as having some gray hair. I don’t know. I’m not an expert, but some of the details like this didn’t jive with the way I thought the legends went.

We are also introduced to some things that would have been REALLY interesting to pursue (for example, when Lancelot goes to attempt to remove the sword, he actually kind of pulls it out a little bit. With magic? Don’t know. But I think that could have been a juicy little plotline), but are kind of just left hanging, leaving us hoping for a little more detail. This happens quite a bit, actually, although I have to say that the legends themselves are so rich and so varied that you could write HUGE books about Arthur and Camelot (called Cadbury here. Not sure why, but I dig it because it reminds me of Cadbury chocolate) and still not delve into every detail or examine every thread of the story. It’s something good AND bad about Arthurian legend.

In the end, because I find this topic endlessly interesting, I liked reading SWORD OF THE RIGHTFUL KING. It reminded me of why I love these stories in the first place. But the book left me wondering how much more awesome it could have been had it been a 100 pages longer, with more room to explore some of the plotlines. *SIGH*

Rewind and Review: February

1 Feb

Rewind & Review is an AMAZING new meme hosted jointly by two fabulous ladies, Ginger from Greads! and Lisa from Lisa Is Busy Nerding. This meme is all about mining your TBR piles and finding some long-lost gems (from 2010 or earlier) that you meant to read and somehow passed over. I KNOW, but it happens. Each month, each participant picks a few oldies but hopefully goodies to read, reviews ’em, and spreads the word. Huzzah!

I’m so excited for this meme, guys! I love that it’s kind of loosey goosey with the rules. Like I can post my reviews–however many I choose–when they fit my schedule. PLUS, it’s a great way to make some headway on my own personal challenge of 2012 to conquer my Pile of Shame, which, sadly, continues to grow. But I can’t wait to get started!! Thanks SO MUCH, Ginger and Lisa, for such a killer idea!

Sooooo…without further ado, for the month of February, I’m going to be rewinding and reviewing:

Let’s get on it, guys!! My first review (for Sword of the Rightful King) will be up lickety-split!

2012 Challenge: Amy’s Pile of SHAME

17 Dec

Amy’s Pile of SHAME Challenge

I know that I already posted the details of the actual, official challenges I’m taking part in next year. (Check out the Challenges tab up there on the menu for updates, my dears!) BUT because I’m crazy and also a slacker I have decided to create a personal challenge just for me to complete and YOU GUYS? I’m going to DO IT (she says with her fingers crossed).

Some quick background on what caused this masochistic insanity: a couple of weeks ago, I posted a Top Ten Tuesday about the 10 most embarrassing books STILL on my TBR pile. I had some doozies on there. Appropriately, and with some affection I have to say, I called it my “pile of shame.” But because shame is NO FUN, I’ve decided to go after my PoS like I’m cutting through jungle underbrush with a machete. IT’S GOING DOWN. (Hopefully.) I’m not really making any rules for myself, although I can tell you right now that this is probably the worst idea. That might change. Until then, though, here’s my list as it stands right now. Some of the books on there are EGREGIOUS and others are just books that I’ve had for awhile and want to read. Basically, this challenge is an excuse to read books that are slightly past their prime in terms of currency.

I would ask you, friends, to PLEASE try and refrain from the hurling of rotten fruits and veg at me because I really need ENCOURAGEMENT. Ok? Thanks guys. LOVES YOU SO MUCH.

Without further ado, in no particular order…*hears JAWS theme*…


*gasps from the crowd* *babies crying* *women screaming* *civilians running for their lives*

1. Across the Universe

2. Demon’s Lexicon

3. Need

4. Nightshade

5. Revoution

6. Rampant

7. Hunger

8. Beauty

9. Beast

10. An Echo in the Bone

11. Jellicoe Road

12. The Book Thief

13. The Golden Compass

14. The Hobbit

Wish me luck!!