Saturday, January 16, 2010

Good-bye and Good Luck!

After almost three years in the blogging community, I'm officially closing the blog. I've loved this experience, interviewing so many fabulous authors, emailing such promising teen writers and reviewing the books that gracious publicists have sent my way. I'm not ending my time at Innovative because of lack of subject matter, but for lack of time. College is a new kind of adventure and one to which I need to devote all of my energy.

There are too many people to thank: my family and friends who supported the blog when it was an email attachment, the blogging community who helped me get started with ideas and reviews and links, Maria Schneider for spotlighting the blog during her time at Writer's Digest, the teens who were the reason I blogged. I thank Kent Healy for giving me the opportunity to share my story in Chicken Soup: Extraordinary Teens and for expanding the Innovative community.

I'll let you know if I attempt any other blog adventures, but otherwise, thanks and good-bye!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Meeting Shannon Hale

So I have read her blog for four or five years, devoured her books, preached her gospel of fantastic fantasy, spread her good literature like a virus... and finally got to meet her. Shannon Hale, authoress extraordinaire, winner of the Newbery Honor, best-selling writer and wonderful person.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Brief Aside: Marley and Me

What college students do in their nonexistent free time (and you think I'm kidding) is read five-year-old bestsellers that everyone else read before it was popular and quotes on a daily basis.

Marley and Me: The Collegiate Perspective

I can't review a book that's been made into a movie. It's impossible. But I told myself that I would not cry during this book and found myself devastating the one Kleenex box I packed. John's story of his home life, his kids, his writing and above all his dog was just too heart-breaking for this first-year, however free from homesickness.

When in South Florida, John Grogan missed trees and hills and beautiful places. I have trees and hills and beautiful places, but I miss dogs and kids. Not even my dogs and kids. I miss seeing little runny noses and "MOM! I WANT THAT!" and dogs urinating on city property and running up with the most intelligent looks on their faces. There is a world outside of eighteen-year-old scholars; I think I've read about it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Bell at Sealey Head: A Review

The Bell at Sealey Head
by Patricia A. McKillip

In this 2008 release by a World Fantasy Award winner, the inhabitants of sleepy Sealey Head are shaken when a mysterious stranger arrives to inspect the mystical bell that rings every night. His arrival sets off a chain of romances, adventures, discoveries and unravelled secrets full of magic and mayhem.

The best quality of this book is its sense of place. McKillip does a superb job of adding details and story tidbits to make you feel like Sealey Head exists. It's a British-esque town in an unnamed magical land, just enough removed from history to make it fantasy. Her style of writing-- halfway between formality and casual banter-- suits the telling, reminding me of Victorian fairy tales. I quibbled a little with the character developement: none of her protagonists seemed to change. They may get lost or get married or free themselves from an overlord, but inwardly they remained the same. Some of the romantic sections seemed a bit childish.

Overall, this is a stunning fantasy and suited for readers of every age. Don't miss Sealey Head, and don't be put off by the "small town" mindset.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Attention Publicists and Authors!

I have moved from my home in Virginia to college and therefore have a new mailing address. If you are sending me books or had planned to send me copies, I will still be reviewing but need to give you my new address. Send me an email at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Carpe Corpus: A Review

Carpe Corpus
by Rachel Caine

This is my second attempt into the Morganville Vampire mysteries, and my second failure to finish one. The series is about the very life-and-death struggles featuring Claire, a human, and her vampire and nonvamp friends. Bishop is the Dr. Evil and Shane is the Uber Hottie. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The books aren't horribly written, but the author errs in assuming that their characters are likeable (even Nora Ephron has been faulted for this) and in having a heavy action-based plot. I don't like Claire. I don't care about Amelie and the fate of Morganville. Their behavior is so angst-ridden and tortured that I'm much happier watching Bishop devour them all. The second fault, the action, isn't a real problem for readers looking for a movie-as-book. I hate action movies (how many times can you tear off a leg, race over a roof?) and their only redeeming quality is a loveable hero to keep you interested (Bourne, Bond).

If you prefer books with lots of running around and breath-stopping action, try Rachel Caine. If you liked the last fifth of Twilight, don't miss it. I, however, will be sitting this one out. 


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Once a Witch: A Review

Once a Witch
by Carolyn MacCullough

Tamsin is the witch that should have been. Proclaimed to be the Be-All Witch-All at birth, she has shown no sign of greatness, magical or otherwise. She's content (or pretending to be content) to practice normality at a NYC boarding school while waiting for her perfect older sister to steal the family glory... until a mysterious professor shows up at her grandmother's store and challenges Tamsin to change her future by changing herself.

I liked this book. Tamsin is gutsy enough to keep the book interesting, and the reader interested in her. Her old friend Gideon pops up, hot and gentlemanly, and his only fault is that he has none. While I would have liked him to have shown more foibles to balance the other characters, Tamsin and Gideon have fun chemistry. The adventures Tamsin has get a little overdramatic at the end, but are otherwise very enjoyable. MacCullough knows how to pace her book, and how to create a climax. 

Fans of modern-day Tamera Pierce and all fans of Patricia C. Wrede should look this one up.