Friday, August 30, 2013

Forty Nights (Neima's Ark #2)
Release Date: September 2013
Cover Designed by: 
Najla Qamber Designs

Summary from Goodreads:
Neima, her family, and her grandfather Noah have found themselves trapped aboard an ark as a great flood destroys all life in the world. As their time aboard the ark lengthens, food begins to run out, wild animals grow restless, and family tensions become as much of a threat as the flood outside. In the second and final installment of Neima’s Ark, the stakes are higher, the conflicts are greater, and Neima finds herself facing a choice as impossible as the destruction all around her.

Forty Nights is a continuation of the story begun in Forty Days, and it’s recommended that you read Forty Days first for the best experience. Forty Nights does, however, contain a character guide to refresh readers’ memories. The Neima’s Ark series is a historical, feminist reimagining of the story of Noah’s Ark rather than a religiously oriented one, and the novels are best suited for readers who are comfortable with new interpretations of biblical stories.

Book One:
(Linked to Goodreads)
Forty Days is currently FREE!  Get your copy!
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About the Author
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.

***Author Links***

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

{} School Assigned Reading

Thursday, August 29, 2013 with 3 comments

It seems that I only sporadically participate in book chats, as my last one was so long ago, but here I am again! This week's chat is about school reading assignments, so I'm going to break it into three parts:

- Favorite Assigned Books
- Assigned Books I Never Finished
- Books I Think Should Be Required Reading

Looking back, I really am grateful for assigned reading, because I discovered some great books that I would have probably never read otherwise. Here are some of the ones I am most grateful to have read:

Favorite Assigned Books

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I was assigned this book during 12th grade for AP English, and again during a college British Lit. class. I absolutely LOVE this story, and will probably be reading it again in the near future.
The Cobra Event by Richard Preston
I had a really cool English teacher in 10th grade, and he decided to assign us this cool medical thriller since we were part of a medical magnet program.
Amazonia by James Rollins
This was assigned as extra-credit from one of my favorite teachers - I had her for both Geography and Psychology, so I don't remember 100% what class the credit was for, but I'm thinking it was Geography. It was very cool, with mutated creatures and a guy that got beheaded.


Hamlet by William Shakespeare
My 12th grade teacher was the one to introduce me to Shakespeare, and even took us to see a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I enjoyed reading Hamlet so much, I purchased a ticket to see it performed by David Tennant during a study-abroad trip to London! 
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I will forever be grateful for my 8th grade teacher for converting our entire class into Tolkien fans - she wanted to be 100% certain we actually read this book, so she had us read along with an audiobook version of it during class-time. Then, she showed us the 1st LOTR film in class, and took us on a field trip to see the 2nd one in theaters. She rocked!
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Now my favorite book - my 12th grade English teacher was amazing! Thank you Ms. Ross!

Wow, so many great assigned reading books! I really had some cool teachers over the years....I think that part of why I enjoyed these books so much was that we got some really cool field trips or class discussions because of them. It's great to be able to connect with your peers because of what you're reading!

Assigned Books I Never Finished

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I lost interest somewhere down the line, but I still have my copy and I plan on trying it again.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
I honestly never even started this one. I think I had too much work at the time (it was senior year), so I just never got around to it. I must have BS'd the assignments for it...

I really can't think of any others at the moment, but I'm sure there are others that I either didn't finish, or didn't start in the first place. I'm not proud of it, but I have been making a mental note to try reading these books again. There's a reason they're considered classics. Maybe they'll go on my list for next year, as I'm hoping to join a classic literature-related year-long reading challenge in January. 

Books That Should Be Required

Looking For Alaska by John Green
Because it gets you truly gets you thinking about both life and loss.
feed by M.T. Anderson
I feel this sends a strong message about environmentalism, as well as consumerism, and really gets you thinking about the path that this planet is taking.
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
This isn't just about LGBT acceptance, but also about learning to be true to yourself and embrace what makes you different, which is something every student faces.

There are a lot of great books out there that should probably be read by students everywhere, but this is what I narrowed it down to, as the above three books can be considered relate-able to almost anyone. What do you think?

If you're interested in participating in this week's book chat, feel free to link-up with Jessica @ Sweet Green Tangerine. I'm curious to see your choices!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Amazon | Goodreads

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the heartbreaking story of the journey from childhood to adulthood, with an intriguing science fictional twist.

There’s never been anyone - or anything - quite like Finn.

He looks, and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is to tutor Cat.

When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Not just a love story between a human and a robot - let me tell you, that synopsis does not give this book justice in any way. This story was utterly amazing....I had no idea that it would be as complex as it was. I loved how I got to see Cat grow up, from a carefree and curious young child, to a young woman who struggled with and tried to ignore her feelings, to an adult who finally chose to face the mistakes of her past.

I especially enjoyed seeing the relationship between Cat and Finn develop and evolve. It was hard, seeing Finn through Cat's eyes - she always believed him to be an actual person, but kept denying to herself that there was any possibility that he could feel as humans could, since he was an android. She tried so hard to live her life the way she felt she should have been, without realizing that she was never really living at all. Cat also went so long denying herself any form of happiness, distancing herself from not only Finn, but everyone around her.

This novel truly got me thinking about many different things - not only about Cat and Finn's relationship, but about what it means to be happy, and the choices that people make in their efforts to try and achieve that happiness, especially when they struggle with trying to live up to society's expectations. 

I'm going to stop now because I'm still trying to take it all in, but all I can say is that I highly recommend this novel to anyone and everyone.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

{Bout of Books 8.0} I Spy....A Challenge

Thursday, August 22, 2013 with 3 comments

Bout of Books
Paperback Daydreamer is hosting a fun challenge over at her blog - it's a book cover scavenger hunt! She posted a list of objects, and the challenge was to find books you own that feature those books on the cover. Books can be in print or eBook form.

I've seen a few scavenger hunt-themed memes floating around, but I've never actually participated in one before now! It was a bit difficult, but I was surprised that I was actually able to find them all. Here's my results:


How I Came To Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren (ARC Paperback)
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Paperback)
A City Skyline
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Paperback)


The Moon
My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison (Paperback)
A Sword
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Paperback)
A Wedding Dress
Alien In The Family by Gini Koch (Kindle eBook)


High Heels
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Kindle eBook)
More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz (Paperback)
A Christmas Tree
Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber (Kindle eBook)


As The World Dies: Untold Tales Vol. 3 by Rhiannon Frater (Kindle eBook)
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Kindle eBook)
A Tattoo
Rites of Spring (Break) by Diana Peterfreund (Paperback)

Combat Boots
That Which Bites by Celis T. Rono (Paperback)
Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (Kindle eBook)
A Road
Sabbath Creek by Judson Mitcham (Paperback)

I'm so glad that eBooks were accepted in this challenge, because otherwise I would definitely not have completed this challenge. It was fun going through my books and trying to find everything! Oh, and it was hard to tell if More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz had clouds or fog on the cover, but then I noticed it overlapped one of the trees, so I'm guessing it's fog since it's so low. :)

Bout of Books Stephanie @ In Wonderland came up with a fun idea for a challenge - a book road trip! The idea is to come up with a list of five to ten places that you'd like to visit, and find books that take place in those locations. If there's one thing I love more than reading, it's traveling, so of course I jumped at the chance to participate in this challenge! Too bad the list is limited to only ten locations - for that reason, I'm not listing any places I've been to already, despite the fact that I'd really like to go back (especially London!)

The Places I'd Like To Visit

San Francisco: The Nine Lives of Chloe King by Liz Braswell 
Seattle: The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
New York City: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead 
Washington DC: All-American Girl by Meg Cabot
Japan: Ink by Amanda Sun 
China: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Taiwan: The Third Son by Julie Wu
South Korea: When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park
India: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowd

★ = Books I've Read
Everything else is on my TBR list

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.

To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.

But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside.

When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

This Is Not A Test is certainly not your typical zombie novel. Yes, you get all of the drama that you normally would get when reading about a group of people who are thrust together, trying to survive a zombie apocalypse, but this book is so much more than that. Rather than just about surviving an apocalypse, the main character in This Is Not A Test, Sloan Price, is just trying to cope with being alive.

Sloan grew up in a broken home. After her mother passed away, Sloan and her older sister, Lily, were left in the care of their physically and mentally abusive father. The story starts with Sloan wanting to commit suicide after Lily runs away, leaving her alone with their dad. Her initial plan falls through when she realizes that her sister must have taken the sleeping pills with her, and soon enough, zombies make their appearance in the story, leaving Sloan to put her suicidal plans on hiatus.

Sure, Sloan constantly thinks about letting the zombies eat her, but since she ends up with a group of other kids who end up barricading themselves in the high school, she has a hard time deciding how to do it, as she doesn't want to create problems for anyone else by dying. She chooses instead to hold off until the moment is right.

I'm normally used to reading zombie novels about surviving zombies, so to read one in which the main character is just trying to survive the pain of being left behind by her sister is highly unique to me. In this novel, the zombies were secondary. The writing was excellent, though I admit that I did find myself highly annoyed by many of the characters (mainly Sloan.) They had such vastly different personalities that it seems they were purposely written that way to represent the various high school stereotypes - the stoner, the class president, the nerd, the jock, the bad boy, and the loner. It was like a zombified version of The Breakfast Club.

There were a few moments when the pacing of the novel slowed a bit, but the plot always managed to hold my interest. I also really liked how Sloan's internal struggles were written out. This was my first Courtney Summers novel, and although it's her only zombie novel, it piqued my interest enough that I may end up checking out her other books in the future. 4/5 Stars!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

{Bout of Books 8.0} Goals + Progress

Saturday, August 17, 2013 with 13 comments

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
My Goals
Read at least 4 books
Participate in at least 4 challenges
Comment on at least 3 blogs per day
Books To Read

Books Completed:
Currently Reading:
American Gypsy by Oksana Marafioti (on page 257 of 368)
Challenges Completed Today:
I didn't read as much as I had hoped to read today, but I had to babysit my niece, so there isn't much time to focus on reading when watching a 2-year-old. Still, I'm really enjoying this book, & I hope to finish it tomorrow.
Books Completed:
American Gypsy by Oksana Marafioti
Currently Reading:
Alien Proliferation by Gini Koch (at 8%)
Challenges Completed Today:
Wow, American Gypsy was sooo good! There was only one challenge today, but I never got around to participating in it - couldn't think of a better title, anyway. And I'm so glad to finally be reading the 4th book in the Katherine Katt series - I read the 3rd one in the beginning of June, but that feels so long ago...
Books Completed:
American Gypsy by Oksana Marafioti
Currently Reading:
Alien Proliferation by Gini Koch (at 45%)
Challenges Completed Today:
Alien Proliferation is good, but like all the other books in the Katherine Katt series, it's seriously cheesy, as the main character is a total Mary Sue. Still, I'm enjoying it - I'm too attached to the characters and the dorky humor.
Books Completed:
American Gypsy by Oksana Marafioti
Alien Proliferation by Gini Koch
Currently Reading:
Poison by Bridget Zinn (barely started)
Challenges Completed Today:
Wow, I completed two challenges today, which means I've already reached my goal of completing at least four. It's been fun - I look forward to completing some more! I'm glad to finally be done with Alien Proliferation - I liked it okay, but it was unnecessarily lengthy.
Books Completed:
American Gypsy by Oksana Marafioti
Alien Proliferation by Gini Koch
Poison by Bridget Zinn
Currently Reading:
The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke (barely started)
Challenges Completed Today:
I am so glad I finally got around to reading Poison! I enjoyed it, and it was a very quick read! Thank goodness for read-a-thons and challenges that motivate my reading! Makes me wonder what other books I've been missing...
Books Completed:
American Gypsy by Oksana Marafioti
Alien Proliferation by Gini Koch
Poison by Bridget Zinn
Currently Reading:
The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke (8%)
Challenges Completed Today:
Man, I really don't know what happened today....I only read 8% of a book sad. At least it's my fourth book of the read-a-thon, which means that if I can manage to sit down and read it tomorrow, then I'll have met my goal of completing four books! Hopefully tomorrow goes better, as today was a complete waste of time....I didn't even do anything but go to Wal-Mart.
Books Completed:
American Gypsy by Oksana Marafioti
Alien Proliferation by Gini Koch
Poison by Bridget Zinn
Currently Reading:
The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke (8%)
Challenges Completed Today:
I did not read today. I started out the week well enough, but on my fourth book, it seems I'd given up. Actually, to be honest, I finally started watching the end of Supernatural season six on Netflix after a super long hiatus, and I COULD NOT STOP! So there was no chance of reading anymore after that, heehee. I'll finish these books eventually, just on my own time. At least Bout of Books helped me finish three of them. And I DID surpass my goal of completing four challenges - I finished six of them. I also discovered some new blogs to follow. I had fun!

Books Completed