Saturday, October 31, 2009

Selling Used Books?

I am trying to do some de-cluttering to make room for this new baby, so I went through some books this morning. Yikes! I have SO MANY!! I'm making some piles and need to figure out my plan of action.

Does anyone know of good places to sell used books? A lot of my books are popular ones that are in great condition. It sounds like most used books stores prefer to give store credit. I could also do swapping online, but I really just need to get rid of a lot of them to save the space.

I don't expect to make a TON of money, but a little cash wouldn't hurt! It's kind of hurting my head to think of how much money I spent on them all in the first place!!

Let me know if you have any advice! I could donate some of them to the library also, but I'd like to check out some ideas for making cash first!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Take is the first book in a new young adult series by Rachel Vincent.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
She doesn't see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next...

This was an interesting paranormal novel...different than most of the others out there right now. I was not blown away, but did enjoy it. I'll read the rest of the series. I thought some of it was pretty predictable, but there were a few surprises. It was a pretty quick read too.

Rated: 3.5-4/5

Review: Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz

Blue Bloods is the first book in a young adult series by Melissa De La Cruz.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America. But not all the Pilgrims were pure of heart; they were not all escaping religious persecution. Indeed, some were not human: they were vampires.

In present-day New York City, Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious New York private school. On her fifteenth birthday, her veins turn a bright blue and she begins to crave raw meat. Suddenly she is part of an exclusive secret society ruled by The Committee, a group of honored Blue Bloods. One of the popular girls at her school is found dead, and Schuyler decides to find out the secrets of the mysterious Blue Bloods. But is she putting herself in danger?

I've been wanting to start this series for awhile. It's another young adult vampire series, and I've enjoyed a lot of those. I liked this one too. It was an interesting take on vampires and how they have been around for so long. Schuyler's family history was interesting also, and there are still some questions that need to be answered. There are already four books out in this series, so I'll need to catch up!

The one thing that bugged me about the book was the way the main characters name was spelled. I knew how to pronounce it, but I still kind of 'tripped' over it while reading because it just never looked right to me. By the end I was more used to it.

Rated: 4/5

Review: Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

Moonlight is the first book in the young adult Dark Guardian series by Rachel Hawthorne.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Kayla is the nature lover, the all-American beauty who can't understand why she's so drawn to distant, brooding Lucas. Adopted as a young child, she has no way of knowing that she's inherited a terrifying—and thrilling—gene that will change her life forever.

Lucas is dangerous, gorgeous . . . and a werewolf. As leader of the Dark Guardians, shape-shifters who gather deep within the state park, he has sworn to protect his pack. But when Lucas finds his true soul mate, his love could put them all in harm's way.

As Lucas and Kayla struggle with their feelings for each other, a greater danger lurks: Humans have discovered the Dark Guardians and are planning their destruction. Kayla must choose between the life she knows and the love she feels certain is her destiny.

I wasn't sure how much I would like this book, but actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The setting is different than many young adult books, even paranormal ones. This book takes place almost entirely in the woods. It was a very quick read, and I thought the characters were interesting. Some if it was a little dramatic, but it seemed to work. You know before reading it that Lucas was a werewolf, so you were just waiting to find out how it would be revealed. Looking forward to the other books in this series, it seems like the next one focuses more on some of the other supporting characters.

The only thing that bugged me a little about the story was that even though Kayla clearly liked Lucas, she kept going off with Mason, who was quite obviously a jerk.

Rated: 4/5

Review: Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
It's been five years since 17-year-old Hannah has had any contact with her father, a Hugh Hefner manqué in his 70s who has a reality TV show and Web site that chronicles his comings and goings with his "special girls." Hannah's mother, one of those "girls" before Hannah's birth, now runs a Web site that features her in live chat wearing only lingerie. Although Hannah strives for invisibility, she finds herself attracting attention from two male classmates and co-workers at her afterschool job: Josh, who seems to be politically aware and sensitive, and Finn, who seems to be a football-playing clod. Readers will quickly clue into the truth, that Josh is a jerk and Finn is a gem, but Scott's spot-on dialogue and deft feel for teen angst will keep them entertained. The unusual family dynamics allow the author to explore familiar themes from a fresh angle. This is a satisfying, romantic coming-of-age story.

I've really liked Elizabeth Scott's other YA books, and this one was cute too. Of course, you know right away who the 'right' guy is, but it was interesting to see Hannah figure it out over time. Finn was such a sweet guy, a typical shy teenage boy who used humor to talk to the girl he liked. Some of the storyline with Hannah's parents was a little...different, but I guess it all worked together in the story. A cute, quick book.

Rated: 4/5

Review: Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

I'd heard good things about this book, and it didn't disappoint. It's a young adult novel, and I thought it was written really well from the point of view of a teenage girl who isn't sure how to move on with her life after her boyfriend opens fire on students from a list she helped create of people they hate. It was heartbreaking at times, and felt very honest. The characters had flaws, the situations were things that a lot of teenagers face - divorce, bullying, not feeling like they fit in, trying to figure out who they are. The book was emotionally draining. I always think about my daughter growing up in situations like these, or how I would have handled something like this in my own life. Lots of tears as I finished this one. A very good read, definitely recommended!

Rated: 4.5/5

Friday, October 16, 2009

Review: The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
"When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily."

So begins The Almost Moon, Alice Sebold's astonishing, brilliant, and daring new novel. A woman steps over the line into the unthinkable in this unforgettable work by the author of The Lovely Bones and Lucky.
For years Helen Knightly has given her life to others: to her haunted mother, to her enigmatic father, to her husband and now grown children. When she finally crosses a terrible boundary, her life comes rushing in at her in a way she never could have imagined.

Unfolding over the next twenty-four hours, this searing, fast-paced novel explores the complex ties between mothers and daughters, wives and lovers; the meaning of devotion; and the line between love and hate. It is a challenging, moving, gripping story, written with the fluidity and strength of voice that only Alice Sebold can bring to the page.

This book was very depressing. At first I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get into it. It moved a little slow, and I just wasn't sure I could handle the plot. But I kept reading, and did end up liking the book. Even though there was never any relief from the depression.

Alice Sebold wrote two other books that I loved. Her books are very intense and sometimes hard to read. I guess this one was no different, although I didn't feel quite as connected to the main character of Helen. I guess because I really couldn't relate to her situation. It was well-written though. And I liked the ending.

Rated: 3.5/5 (just not as good as her other books, and I can't help but compare them!)

Review: The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Stonewood Heights is the perfect place to raise children: it’s got good schools, solid values and a healthy real estate market. Parents in the town are involved in their children’s lives, and often in other children’s lives, too—coaching sports, driving carpool, focusing on enriching experiences. Ruth Ramsey is the high school human sexuality teacher whose openness is not appreciated by all her students—or their parents. Her daughter’s soccer coach is Tim Mason, a former stoner and rocker whose response to hitting rock bottom was to reach out and be saved. Tim’s introduction of Christianity on the playing field horrifies Ruth, while his evangelical church sees a useful target in the loose-lipped sex ed teacher. But when these two adversaries in a small-town culture war actually talk to each other, a surprising friendship begins to develop.

I really like Tom Perrotta's books. His characters are always very real and believable, and this book definitely had that. It wasn't my favorite that he's written, but he always has a way of sucking the reader in. I enjoyed the story and the characters, even though you weren't always sure you should like all of them.

I would be interested to see what happened to them after the story ended...

Rated: 3.5/5 (I probably would have rated it higher if I hadn't compared it to how much I liked some of his other books).

100 Books!

I have reached my goal of reading 100 books in 2009! And I still have 2.5 months to go!!

Since 9 of the 100 books were re-reads, I do still want to make sure I read 100 NEW books this year. So I will work towards that goal next. I don't think it will be a problem though!

I have read some pretty fantastic books this year. Lots of genres, lots of things I wouldn't have thought to pick up before, lots of new authors (for me). And I still have tons in my "to be read" stack and on my Barnes and Noble wishlist, so I don't think I'll run out of good books anytime soon!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Review: The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

(I'm attempting to review some of the books I've read recently, they will not all be in the order that I read them!)

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
When forty-seven-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Three Rivers, Connecticut, to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a carefully premeditated, murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm in Three Rivers. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of old diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom of his family's house. The colorful and intriguing story they recount spans five generations of Quirk family ancestors, from the Civil War era to Caelum's own troubled childhood. Piece by piece, Caelum reconstructs the lives of the women and men whose legacy he bears. Unimaginable secrets emerge; long-buried fear, anger, guilt, and grief rise to the surface.

As Caelum grapples with unexpected and confounding revelations from the past, he also struggles to fashion a future out of the ashes of tragedy. His personal quest for meaning and faith becomes a mythic journey that is at the same time quintessentially contemporary -- and American.

I've read Lamb's other books, but was never as blown away by them as other readers seem to be, but I liked them. They were solid, good books though. This one I think is my favorite of his books. It was long (700+ pages) and there were several storylines going on, but it all came together. There were a few slow spots for me, but overall it was good. Some parts were very heavy and difficult to read (emotionally). It was interesting how he had the fiction mixed in with actual events of the present and past.

Overall, a good book that I would recommend.

Reading about the Columbine shootings was hard for me, I guess because it is real, and picturing being there was just scary. I think he wrote it well though.

The ending was very bittersweet. I was hoping he and Maureen would come back together, and I guess they did, but it was still upsetting that she died. Interesting how things came full circle with Velvet, and he finally seemed to have the child that he had never known he really wanted.

Rated: 4/5

Friday, October 2, 2009

September in Review

I read a bit more in September than I had in past months. Of course, I haven't gotten around to reviewing any of the books yet, but I still hope to do it!

I read eight books. Two of them were re-reads. Two were new (to me) authors. Six different authors total. Four of the books were stand-alones and four were a part of a series.

My favorite was Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the second book in The Hunger Games series. I was so looking forward to it, and it didn't disappoint. I'm not ready to wait a year for the third (and final) book!!

Harry, A History was much better than I expected. It really just made me love Harry Potter and the whole phenomenon even more!

Overall, a good month with a lot of variety. Hope to keep it up in October!