Archive for May, 2011

REVIEW! Playing Hurt. +GIVEAWAY!


5 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book reviews, Five Stars

*Provided by the Playing Hurt blog tour!
Playing Hurt
Holly Schindler
Star basketball player Chelsea “Nitro” Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college – and everyone’s admiration in her hometown.  But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.
As a graduation present, Chelsea’s dad springs for a three-week summer “boot camp” program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she’s immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who’s haunted by his own traumatic past. As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home. Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain – or finally heal their heartbreak?
My rating: 5 stars.
Finally, a YA book that doesn’t shy away from mature themes! Where have you been, Ms. Schindler, and why hadn’t I read your books yet?
Yes, Playing Hurt deals with mature themes, specifically those of the sexual kind – in this instance, it’s both sex and the act of cheating.  Which is not your typical YA storyline in which the main character searches for the “one” or his/her soulmate.  Instead, it’s about discovering new love through rather unnacceptable means. And while I certainly don’t condone cheating, neither does the book. Playing Hurt offers a gritty, but realistic, portrayal of a different kind of self-discovery journey. 
Chelsea actually grows as a character.  So does Clint.  They’re neither monotonous nor stationary. Aside from their cliché appearances – totally gorgeous, tall and tan – they really do mesh well together.  Sure, it’s insta-love. But there’s more to it. There’s depth – something that usually gets overlooked.  Their problems are entirely different from one another’s, yet they’re able to come together in more ways than one. 
My only gripe is that the sports take a bit of a backseat within the plot. The story is about both Chelsea and Clint going through this boot camp program, but there’s hardly anything boot camp about it. And considering Chelsea’s self-discovery revolves around life after basketball, and Clint’s after hockey, I came to expect more of an inclusion of sports.  Unfortunately, the expectation falls short. There are sports, of course, just not as much as you may think.
Other than that, Schindler’s writing is very fluid with beautiful descriptions that aren’t overdone. The pace keeps steady and the minor characters get just enough “air time.” Playing Hurt is a great rollercoaster of emotions, all neatly packaged and presented to its readers.
Love it!

As the last stop on the Playing Hurt blog tour, I have the honor of giving a copy to one lucky winner! (** Paperback, slightly worn from previous travels.)

* ENDS at midnight, 6/13/11.
* Winner will be chosen by and e-mailed.
* Do not have to be a follower, but it’s much appreciated!

You can fill out the form HERE.

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In My Mailbox (11).


3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler.
Finally got my copy from the Playing Hurt blog tour and I’m already more than halfway through it and loving it! Never read anything by her before, but I’m probably going to have to go out and get her other book, A Blue So Dark.

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Armchair BEA: Blogging about blogging.


2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

An at-home convention for bloggers
who can’t attend BEA in NYC.

Blogging about blogging
If it wasn’t already apparent, I blog about YA literature.  You know – faeries, vampires, mythological beings, angels, ghosts, werewolves, pirates… and normal teens, struggling to talk to their crushes and dealing with totally annoying parents.  It’s a coming-of-age (and coming-of-species?) genre.  And it takes a lot of flack. But I read it anyway. I’m the twenty-something perusing the shelves beside the tweens and teens.
I read it because it’s what I know and what I can relate to. I may not get captured by faeries or seduced by vampires, but I can empathize with the school, dating, and parental issues in a general manner. I’ve been twelve, thirteen…seventeen, eighteen.  So I get it more than I do if I’m reading about a forty-year-old. I know that’s no excuse, and I do read adult literature occasionally, but I’m most comfortable reading within YA.
There’s something about that first kiss and prom and learning to drive and hating school and self discovery that pulls me in and keeps me there. It’s like each story is refreshing, no matter the consequences or danger present (for example, Speak).  I like the feeling of thinking your life is over one day and then coming out on top the next. It’s simple but it works.

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TGIF! (5)


4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

TGIF is brought to us by Ginger at GReads!

It’s a way for bloggers to celebrate the end of the week with a nice re-cap of their weekly posts and to answer a random question.

Author Love: In 2011, which new/old authors have you discovered & loved?
I think one of my new favorites has to be Sarah Ockler, author of Twenty Boy Summer. I absolutely loved that novel. I’m also coming around to Julie Kagawa (author of the Iron fey series) and her writing style, while I fell in love with Amanda Grace’s (author of But I Love Him) style. 

Coming up this week:
REVIEW for Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler!

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Armchair BEA: Nurturing Blogging Relationships.


6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

An at-home convention for bloggers
who can’t attend BEA in NYC.

Nurturing Blogging Relationships
?Maintaining a book blog is difficult, no question about it. Keeping up with the tours, trendy books, Twitter parties, giveaways and post ratios can be more than time consuming and headache-inducing. It almost becomes a cycle: one post leads to the second post, one tweet leads to retweets, and so on. It’s mechanical, technological, and takes up a good majority of your time.
But you do it because you love it, because you love what you’re talking about: books. But it’s not just the topic.  It’s not just the books.  It’s the people you meet and/or get to know through those books, whether they’re other bloggers, authors, publishers.
What would blogging be without them?
I approached book blogging in the wrong way. When I first started The Grammarian’s Reviews, I wanted to be nothing but professional, offering clean-cut reviews. I wouldn’t mention “I think” or “Well, to me…” because I didn’t want to mix personal with professional.
But after getting to know so many different blogs, I’ve realized that I can blog being both personal and professional. It’s okay to mix the two.  If I get excited about a book, then I should sound excited. If I wasn’t so thrilled, I can say why.  I don’t need, or want, to sound like a robotic book blogger.
So I reach out. I do my best to return comments, and to comment on others’ posts. I’m still learning the ways of Twitter, but I attempt communication through there, too. I join blog tours and contact authors for interviews – which, as a side note, is totally awesome and I encourage you to not be shy and get yourself out there; authors are pretty awesome and willing to work with bloggers!
But I tend to nurture my blog more than my blogger relationships, which is stupid on my part because I love getting to know other bloggers and getting in on book discussions. But as a new-ish blogger, there’s always that hesitation, that feeling of Oh they’ve been doing this for a while – look at all of the followers they have – I’m just a number to them. So I tend to shy away, even though I know I shouldn’t, and even though that’s so unnatural for me.
I guess the point of this was to say that I don’t really have a set way to nurture my blogging relationships because I’m still figuring out who I am as a blogger and how I want to be that way. But I love all of the authors I’ve had the pleasure of coming in contact with, and all of the bloggers I’ve talked to!
I really appreciate the book blogging community.
So thanks, you guys!

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Armchair BEA: Top 2011 Reads.


4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

An at-home convention for bloggers
who can’t attend BEA in NYC.

Top 2011 Reads:
(Because I’ve read barely any new releases for the year, I’m including older releases.)

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Who wants a Kindle?


0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

That’s right. A Kindle.
Alice Marvels, the daily newsletter about YA fiction and entertainment, is having a giveaway!
Enter now to try for your own e-reader!

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REVIEW! What Happened to Goodbye.


3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book reviews, Three Stars

What Happened to Goodbye
Sarah Dessen

SUMMARY (from B&N):

Since her parents’ bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move – four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother’s new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, Mclean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself – whoever that is. Perhaps her neighbor Dave, an academic superstar trying to be just a regular guy, can help her find out.

My rating: 3 stars.
If you’re looking for romance, walk away. You won’t find it in here. The typical cutesy formation of relationships in Dessen’s novels does not shine through in What Happened to Goodbye. At all.
That being said, without the romance the book is actually very stale, anticlimactic, boring.  Perhaps the story drags because it totals 416 pages.  But it drags – horrendously – if only because there is no action or suspense whatsoever.  Nothing really adds up – not Mclean’s wanting to stay in the quirky town (how is it different than any of the others?), not her friendships (with characters that outshine her in every scene), and not her dad’s job at the restaurant.
The book has all these elements of a great story, particularly great narration, but does nothing with them.  It remains flat.  The characters are nothing special; they’re all very – dare I say it? – stock-like.  I didn’t even really click with Dave, Mclean’s love interest, because I had no reason to.  There’s no reason to like any of the characters because they don’t do anything.
The writing itself is heavy on repetition.  It feels like Mclean narrates a scene, then reiterates it before narrating the next.  As such, there’s a building block feel to the structure.  But unless you’re forgetting things that quickly, there’s no need for it and it slows the pace.
On the upside, it’s very heartfelt and real – like Dessen’s other novels.  Unfortunately the lack of direction gives the story little purpose.

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Wither & Fever – let’s win!


1 COMMENT • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Lauren DeStefano is hosting an amazing giveaway on her blog: she’s giving away an ARC of Wither and Fever (the unreleased sequel)!

How can you possibly pass that up?

Head on over and enter!

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Armchair BEA: Who am I again?


7 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

An at-home convention for bloggers
who can’t attend BEA in NYC.

Who am I??
I think THIS post sums it up about right.?
Of course, there’s always more to say. So for those that can’t be bothered to click the link –
Hello! I’m Alissa. A 20-something, full-time English major working her way to becoming an editor. If the blog name didn’t tip you off, I’m a stickler for grammar.  I take it very seriously.  Knowing how to speak a language, and why you’re speaking it that way, is what interests me. As such, I occassionally slip into español, just for fun. But for the blog I introduced Grammar Bits (the tab can be seen above), which are little bits of grammar covering a specific topic; I think they’re nifty because you can look at whichever bit you may need help with and quickly be on your way again.
Aside from reading, I enjoy frequently visiting Starbucks and trying new coffee creations.  I’m quite the coffee addict. It’s just so good.  I also enjoy shopping and playing video games.
?I think that’s the general gist of me.
So how about you? I love getting to know other bloggers!


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