June 28, 2012


I found this on Pinterest. I enjoyed it so much that I had to post it on my blog. :)

June 27, 2012

Library Loot #1

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

My Library Loot 

The Big Burn by: Jeanette Ingold

This one I just found sitting on the shelf and it intrigued me. It is based of a true story of the forest fires in 1910. 

Demonglass by: Rachel Hawkins

I read the first book in this series and it was a pretty good light read so I figured I would finally give the sequel a shot.

The Marriage Plot by: Jeffrey Eugenides

I have heard many great things about this book.

The Submission by: Amy Waldman

This book takes place two years after 9/11. A contest is being held to figure out what the memorial should be for the towers.

Summer Sisters by: Judy Blume

I decided to take a chance and see how her adult books are.

Fifty Shades of Grey by: E. L. James (e-book from the library)

I wasn't going to read this book because it doesn't sound like my cup tea, but I have either heard amazing or horrible things about this book and I want to find out for myself.

June 25, 2012

Review: Basket Case by: Carl Hiaasen

Basket Case by: Carl Hiaasen (2002)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
378 pages
Genre: Mystery/Comedy

Summary:  Jack Tagger writes obituaries for a Florida daily. He comes across the death of Jimmy, a well-known singer from the band Jimmy and the Slut Puppies. Jack believes there was foul play involved in his death. In an attempt to get out of writing obituaries and to have his name on the front page of the newspaper again he investigates Jimmy’s death. Crazy characters and adventures ensue.

Review: I currently edit obituaries at the local daily paper and as a joke a friend of mine gave me this book to read. I have never read anything by Carl Hiaasen before so I was a little unsure about the book. As it turns out, the book was a good read.

Hiaasen writes a good mystery filled with humor. I was laughing throughout the entire book. It reminded me of the books about Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich, which are some of my favorite books. The characters in this book are full of clever one-liners. Jack is an unforgettable main character. His time writing obits has made him overly cautious about death. He is always comparing his age to different famous people that passed away at his age and how they died.

The overall plot at times seemed a little bit ridiculous, but it made the book all that more funny. I read it as more of a comedy with a little bit of a murder mystery thrown in. At times I felt like it took a while for the plot to move forward, spending too much time on the characters and not enough on the death of the famous Jimmy.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book was the information given about the politics of newspapers. It does a good job at giving the reader some insight on how much newspapers have changed in the past few years. I think Hiaasen did a good job at describing how the newspaper industry works.

 If you are a journalism major or a fan of the Stephenie Plum novels then I recommend this book to you. It is a quick read, will give you many laughs, and makes you think.

Rating: 3.5/5
June 21, 2012

Four Common Editing Mistakes

Over the last several years I have written numerous papers, had an internship where I edited books, read and edited many of my friends’ papers for class, and I currently work at a newspaper where I edit milestones and obituaries.

Yesterday my maid of honor sent me my bridal shower invitations to read over before she ordered them. Sure enough I found a couple of errors and realized that perhaps my first blog post about writing advice should be about the common editing errors I have seen over the years. I have included the top four mistakes that I continually see being made over and over again and how you can fix them. (Yes I make these mistakes too.) You never want to send someone a book to look over that is riddled with errors or turn in a college term paper with spelling mistakes. Take the time and make sure your writing is error free.

Spelling Errors

One of the most common mistakes I see when editing are spelling errors. I believe that most of these mistakes come from the use of Spell Check. It is a great tool to have and cuts down on some editing time, but Spell Check doesn’t know the context of what you are writing and may steer you in the wrong direction.
If you spell a word correctly bur perhaps it isn’t the correct word to use in the context of what you are writing about, Spell Check won’t pick up on that.

Example: I defiantly remember putting my keys on the counter. Correct word: definitely (I spell this word incorrect a lot and for some reason spell check always wants me to use defiantly instead of definitely and unless you are paying close attention you won’t notice the difference.)

Example: I need to by a new pair of shoes. Correct word: buy (If you type a simple error like that Spell Check isn’t going to catch it because by is also a word.)

Advice: Don’t just use Spell Check. Make sure you re-read your paper after you have used Spell Check. Spell Check is a great tool, but only when it accompanies a real person looking over your paper. It is even better if you have someone else look at your paper too. You may miss something because you are familiar with the work. A fresh pair of eyes may catch something you have missed. Also, don’t just have your friend look for spelling errors, any of these mistakes in this blog post will have a better chance at getting caught if someone else reads over your paper/book.

There vs. Their vs. They’re

Okay, I now you are all probably thinking that you learned which “there” to use in grade school, but I see this mistake a lot, even when reading over college papers. So here is a quick reference guide if you ever need it.

Use there when referring to a place and to indicate the existence of something.

The grocery store is over there.
I live right there in that house.
There are a lot of cars in the parking lot today.

Use their to indicate possession.

We should go over to Tom and Jane’s house. Their house is always so clean.
Their book collection is extensive.

They’re is a contraction of the words they and are, so use they’re when you are saying they are.

They’re having a picnic today at the park. We should join them.

Advice: If you are using any of these words in your paper read through the sentence one more time. This error is something that shouldn’t be happening. We all slip up occasionally, but remember, we learned this in grade school.
*Also be aware of using the words your and you’re.

Apostrophe Misuse
Apostrophes are used for contractions and possessives. I see most apostrophe errors in possessives but I see the biggest one in the contraction it’s.

Form the possessive of a singular noun by adding ‘s
Example: Mike’s bike, the child’s coloring book

Form the possessive of a plural noun by adding an apostrophe after the final letter if it is an s or by adding ‘s if the final letter is not an s.
Example: The students’ desks, the children’s toys

The apostrophe is used to indicate the omitted letters in a contraction. The problem I see most in this instance is it’s/its confusion.
It’s is a contraction for it is, it is NOT a possessive. Its is the possessive for it.
Example: “It’s a wise dog that scratches its own fleas.”

Advice: When in doubt use it is instead of the contraction and read the sentence carefully.

A fragment is an incomplete sentence because it can’t stand by itself. These can get complicated so I’m just going to give you the basics.
Luckily Word usually points out if you have a fragment in your paper, but not a lot of people know why it is a fragment or how to fix it. Here are three easy components to look for.
  1.      Subject: person, place, or thing performing or doing the action,
  2.       Verb: the action 
  3.    A complete idea: the reader isn’t left waiting for another word.
     Example: Paper thrown everywhere. Correct: Paper was thrown everywhere.
     Example: During the stressful chemistry test. Correct: She cried during the stressful chemistry test.
     Advice: Always ask yourself if you think you have a fragment, “Is this a complete idea?”
     For more information on fragments and other grammar issues visit http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/sentence-fragments-grammar.aspx
     I use this website if I have a grammar question. I find it very helpful.

June 14, 2012

Review: The Book Thief by: Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by: Markus Zusak (2005)
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
550 pages
Genre: YA 

Summary:  Liesel is a book thief in a very dangerous time, Nazi Germany, 1939. It all began when her brother died and she stole her first book. She falls in love with books and the power of words. The novel will guide you through her time as a child and the challenges she faces growing up in Nazi Germany. One of the biggest challenges, Liesel’s foster family decides to hide a Jew in their basement.

Review: Read it. This book is all around an amazing read. It pulls on your heart strings and won’t let go even after you have finished reading. I know this book came out a few years ago, but because it got so much hype in the media I was nervous to give it a try. Just because a lot of people are buying a book and it is popular, doesn’t mean it is all that good. So when I started up this blog I decided that it was about time I read this book and then I will be able to share my opinion about it just like everyone else. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Let’s start with the narrator. The narrator is not Liesel, but Death. I don’t think I have ever really read a book before where Death is the narrator. At first I was a little concerned, but then I realized that what other narrator could you have besides Death for this story? There was so much death during World War II.  I find this book different from all of the other ones out there about World War II because of the narrator. You get to see the war from a different side, one that is creative and really shines light on the number of deaths because of World War II. To say the very least, Death’s narration was interesting.

Every character in this book was intriguing. I wanted to know what happened to them, and the author does a great job at bringing the reader a sense of closure once you get to the end of the book. I don’t think I can ever forget these characters from Liesel to Rudy, it is almost as if they are real and a part of my life, that is how much this book connects with your emotions.

This book is unique, breathtaking, intriguing, happy, sad, and everything in between. This review is not even  doing this book justice. If you haven’t read this book yet because you are skeptical like I was, don’t, just pick it up and take a chance. The worst thing that could happen, you hate it and waste a few hours of your life. The best thing that could happen, you read an amazing book that makes you see things differently and understand the power of words.

Rating: 5/5

June 11, 2012

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by: Robin Wasserman

The Book of Blood and Shadow by: Robin Wasserman (2012)
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
448 pages
Genre: YA

Summary:  Nora, a senior in high school, along with her boyfriend and two best friends, get caught up in a tangle of death, lies, mystery, and history. While translating centuries old letters from Latin to English Nora uncovers secrets that bring nothing but trouble. Everything in her life is turned upside down when her best friend, Chris, is murdered. Her boyfriend, Max, goes missing and is the prime suspect in the murder. Her other best friend, Adriane, gets put away in a mental institution. Time is against Nora, but she goes on a quest to find her boyfriend and bring justice to Chris. The question is: Can she save herself?

Review: This book started off slow and rocky but once the pace picked up I couldn’t put it down.
It takes a long time for Wasserman to really start getting into the action of the story, but that wasn’t my main problem with the beginning. It was hard to read, period. The sentence wording, timeline, and sentence structure just seemed off. Some of the sentences I had to go back and reread because I didn’t quite understand what I was reading. After the convoluted mess at the beginning it became not only easier to read and follow, but a really great mystery/action young adult book. Just power through those first few chapters and bear with Nora when she is translating the texts from Latin into English (sometimes that gets long since it is in Latin first and then is shown to us in English) and you will be greatly rewarded.

The page turning action devoured my attention. It keeps the reader on his/her toes and makes you think. There are so many twist and turns that I never saw coming, and I read so much that I can usually figure out the plot twist in a book way before it ever happens. This alone made the book worth reading. The characters are complex and interesting. Nora is a strong female lead and I enjoyed her telling of the story.  The other characters you will either love or hate and you will probably change your feelings toward them as you read, just like Nora, you will never know who to trust.

 I you liked the Da Vinci Code and National Treasure then you will probably enjoy this book. I know I said the beginning was a little rough, but I guarantee it will be worth your while to give this book a chance.

Just as a heads up, if you don’t like any stories that take place in “real time” but don’t seem like it could really happen, then be cautious when reading this book, it can get a little strange.

Rating 4/5
June 7, 2012

Review: Pandemonium by: Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium by: Lauren Oliver (2012) 
The Delirium Trilogy, Book 2
375 pages
Genre: YA
Publisher: HARPER

Warning: This review may contain spoilers for the first book in the trilogy, Delirium.

Summary:  Lena has escaped the harsh confines of her society where love is considered to be a disease, and has made it into The Wilds. Without Alex, Lena has no idea where she is headed except that she has to keep running. As soon as she seems to lose hope and life, Raven, the leader of the homestead she becomes a part of, saves her life. Lena learns how to survive and finds out more about the resistance.

Review: Pandemonium starts off exactly where Delirium left, thrusting the reader right into the story with a lot of action. This is a wonderful way to captivate the reader and gives the book a good start.

This novel is told in two time periods, the “then” and the “now.” The “then” time period gives the reader information about Lena’s life in The Wilds after she escaped her oppressive society. The “now” time period gives us glimpses of her life once she has filtrated back into that society. Although at times reading these two time periods simultaneously became frustrating, in reality it made the book that much better; it made it a page turner. These time jumps also give us a chance to really see the difference between the Lena today and the Lena who just escaped into the wilds. We get to see Lena grow and continue to try to figure out who she really is.

The only issue I have with this book is Lena and her idea of love. Obviously because of her age and the society she was raised in, it makes sense that Lena would act like a love struck teenager, but I think it is just a little too much. I don’t want to give anything away, but I just want to warn you that although we all enjoy a good love story in our coming of age dystopian young adult novels, sometimes too much teenage love angst is just too much. However, when you read a good book it makes you feel a whole range of emotions, and this one did just that. I was fuming, shocked, sad, and more with every turn of the page.

In the end Pandemonium does exactly what it should do, makes the reader impossibly impatient for the last installment of the trilogy. (I still think I enjoyed the first book better) If you are a Delirium and Lauren Oliver fan you will enjoy this book. Be warned, once you pick it up you won’t be able to put it down until it is finished. 

Rating: 3.5/5 
June 6, 2012

My First Post

Hello, and welcome to my new blog. I have never had a blog before but I finally decided that I read so many books and keep giving my friends suggestions on what to read next that maybe I should be sharing my ideas with the rest of the world.

I am a recent college graduate and I have a bachelor's degree in publishing and journalism. Although I currently work two jobs (still trying to find that full time big kid job after college) and I am trying to plan my wedding (I am getting married in September) I still manage to find time to read. I'm really excited about starting this blog and I hope you all enjoy it. I will make sure to update it, at the very least, once a week.

Check out the different pages to see what I am currently reading or get other book suggestions that I may not have written reviews on yet. I want to help you find that next book that will make you stay up all night trying to finish it.

Although I am just starting out, soon I will be able to review  books that you may have written. I will post more about that later once I get the blog up and running and prove to you that I am a credible book reviewer.

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