20 February 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

As someone who has not picked up a paranormal book since Twilight, I was wary of reading Kiersten White's Paranormalcy at first.  I received a copy of this book from Georgia White of YA Lit Chat, however, and since it was highly recommended by other members of YA Lit Chat, I decided to give it a go even amidst my skepticism.

I'm so glad I decided to read Paranormalcy- I LOVED it!  The characters were well-developed and each had such an individual personality that I kept finding myself unable to put the book down.  I was afraid of becoming confused by all of the different paranormal species, but White did a great job of explaining what each character is capable of, in a way that lets the reader know what is necessary without distracting too much from the overarching plot.  Because I have never read paranormal before, I found this to be helpful in terms of understanding everything that was happening around Evie.

Warning:  Minor spoilers may follow.

White was able to make the characters so believable that I found myself experiencing the same emotions that Evie must have been feeling.  Reth annoyed me so much!  =]

While I am not usually a fan of huge endings like there was in Paranormalcy, I found myself okay with the outcome here.  While a lot of what happened at the end (which I'm not going to reveal) was brand new material that was not predictable at all, it did make sense.  So while I was not entirely happy with so much thrown at me as the reader so suddenly, I was not disappointed beyond that.  And, I was very happy with who Evie ended up with!

This is a must-read for any YA fan- even those who are not typically fans of paranormal.

The second book in the Paranormalcy series, Supernaturally, is scheduled to be released on August 30, 2011.

14 February 2011

It's been a while...

Now that the semester is finally rolling here, I've suddenly found myself with no time at all =[  Exams have already started taking place, as have a number of papers, presentations, and rehearsals... So as much as I am trying to budget my time, I'm still insanely busy with all of this.  As such, while I am trying to keep up with posting here a few times a week, I'm not going to guarantee that it's going to happen that often.

I announced yesterday that Lisa was the winner of the free Coffee-mate coupon!  So congratulations to her!

I have some posts planned for this week- at the very least, a review of Paranormalcy, another free samples post, and a Waiting on Wednesday =)

So thanks for bearing with me :)  And keep reading!

13 February 2011

Congratulations to...


Lisa won a coupon good for one FREE bottle of Coffee-mate creamer!  Congratulations, Lisa!  I will be sending your prize out this upcoming week.

08 February 2011

Coffee Cupcakes w/ Vanilla Caramel Buttercream Icing

I was inspired by all the Coffee-mate stuff I got last week and decided to use the idea of coffee and some of my free creamer to make these delicious cupcakes.  According to one of my friends who tried one, "It tastes like you're eating a latte!"  Yum!  I think that's a perfect description of these delicious cupcakes- and I don't even drink coffee!

Coffee Cupcakes

1 c white sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp coffee extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 c milk

Cream together sugar and butter.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Combine flour and baking powder, add to sugar mixture and combine until wet.  Add milk, stir until large lumps are gone.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min or until cake feels springy.

*For plain (white) cupcakes, increase vanilla to 2 tsp and remove coffee extract.

Buttercream Icing

1/2 c butter, softened
3 1/2 c confectioners sugar
4 tbsp vanilla caramel Coffee-mate
5 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Beat all ingredients together with mixer until smooth.  Add additional sugar if too thin; add additional milk (NOT Coffee-mate) if too thick.

*You can substitute in any flavor Coffee-mate you want into this icing to make a variety of flavors!

So even if you don't drink coffee, you can still enjoy these cupcakes!  And don't forget to enter to win yourself some FREE Coffee-mate until TONIGHT!

07 February 2011

Meet Me on Monday #1!

Meet Me On Monday is a meme hosted by Java at Never Growing Old.  Each week, she posts five "get to know you" questions so that bloggers can get to know each other better.  It sounds like fun, so I'm going to give it a try this week!

Did you watch the Superbowl?

I watched it for all of about ten minutes...only to check the score and see if it might go into overtime so that I can get my free Papa John's Pizza =P  But no- I watched part of the SVU marathon and part of the Toddlers in Tiaras marathon instead.

2) What is the last book you read?

I just finished Kiersten White's Paranormalcy.  I loved it!  (Check out my review, coming later this week.)

3) What is your favorite kind of cake?

Red velvet for sure!  Mmmmm :)

4) Do you snore?

I don't think so!  At least, nobody has ever told me that I have!

5) Do you play an instrument?

Why yes I do!  I play the trumpet in the Rutgers marching, pep, and concert bands.  My entire schedule pretty much revolves around band...so playing an instrument takes up the majority of my "free" time!

05 February 2011

Book Blogger Hop (2/4-2/7/11)!

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted at Crazy For Books.  Each week, a question is posted for bloggers to answer.  This week's question is:

What are you reading now and why are you reading it?

Well, if I had answered this yesterday, my answer would have been Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.  I won it from Georgia McBride during YA Lit Chat about a month ago and finally got around to starting it this week.  While I normally don't read paranormal, I do try my best to read every book I get.  Well, Paranormalcy was just so good that I finished it yesterday!  (Look for my review coming this week.)

So now I have a couple books waiting to be read, and I'm debating which to read next.  XVI by Julia Carr and The Eagle by Rosemary Sutcliff are up on the list- I bought XVI and received The Eagle from InGroup.  But I also have Dreams of Significant Girls waiting in the post office (can't get packages until Monday...) for an ARC tour, so I might wait until then to pick up a new book.

Until I decide, I'll probably continue reading My Favorite Band Does Not Exist by Robert T Jeschonek, which I got from NetGalley to review, and have downloaded onto my computer.  I just am not a big fan of reading off of my laptop, so I always like to have a "real" book that I'm reading, too.

Whew, that was long!  What are you reading?

04 February 2011

CONTEST TIME! Win Coffee-mate Creamer this Flavor Friday!

Coffee-mate is hosting Flavor Friday today in order to promote their new Café Collection of creamers.  I was lucky enough to receive one of their party packs so that I can share their product with my friends and family.  (I discussed my party pack in this post.)

Whether you're one who needs coffee to just get moving in the morning, or if you grab a cup of joe when you're exhausted but just need to get through that last chapter of a book you're reading, Coffee-mate allows you to personalize your drink with over 25 flavors of creamer!

I couldn't get such a great promo and not share it with my awesome blog readers.  That's right- one lucky reader will win a coupon for a FREE bottle of Coffee-mate Creamer!

Mandatory entry:  Check out Coffee-mate's website, and then leave a comment on this post with which flavor of creamer you'd most like to try in your morning coffee.

Additional entries (leave a comment for each extra entry):
~Follow my blog (visibly) with Google Friend Connect (+1)- If you're already a follower, that's okay, too- just let me know that in your comment!
~Follow me on Twitter (@DesAbsurdites) (+1)- Make sure to leave your Twitter handle in your comment.
~Blog about this giveaway on your blog (+3)- make sure to link to the blog post in your comment.
~Tweet about this giveaway and link to Des Absurdités or this post in your tweet (+1)- make sure to leave a direct link to your tweet in your comment.  One tweet per day the contest is running.

BUT WAIT!  If I get ten new followers to my blog over the course of this contest, I will give away a SECOND free coupon!  That's right- two winners!  So spread the word about Des Absurdités, earn yourself some contest entries, and increase your chances of winning all at the same time!

This contest runs from Friday, 2/4 at 12:00 am EST until Tuesday, 2/8 at 10:00 pm EST.  I'll notify the winner by e-mail within one week of the contest ending.  The winner then has 72 hours to reply to me with their address before a new winner is chosen.

Good luck!

Coffee-mate provided me with coupons and samples to promote their Free Flavor Friday.  I am not receiving any compensation for this post, and the giveaway is sponsored by Des Absurdités.

03 February 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

Caragh O'Brien's Birthmarked was a refreshing twist on the typical dystopian novel.  Unlike most, which create a completely fictional futuristic society, O'Brien incorporates things that affect real lives today into the story to create a very plausible story.

Warning:  Plot spoilers may follow.

At first, it surprised me a bit that hemophilia was such a major component of the plot.  In my past experiences, authors that try to include a scientific twist tend to botch the actual facts of the disease.  However, O'Brien obviously did her research, because both the genetic and physical components of the disease were described accurately and succinctly in the text.  Enough information was given about hemophilia to explain to the reader why certain other events were taking place, but on the other hand, the reader was not overwhelmed with scientific data.  I thought it was a nice balance, and enough to convince me that this future is possible for our society.

I thought Gaia was a believable protagonist.  While there were some points in the book where I could accurately predict what would happen next, I understood that Gaia might not be able to because of her limited knowledge of the world inside the Enclave.  In that sense, the reader must be able to separate herself from the main character at times in order to appreciate the story more. While you might be able to figure something out, Gaia might not.  And while the POV is third person limited, just as an educated reader in 2011, some things become obvious.

I have to say that the ending of Birthmarked was very reminiscent of the ending of The Giver.  (If you've read The Giver- the same thing happens.)  While I found that ending to be perfectly suitable for The Giver, in the case of Birthmarked, I thought it was really just an easy way to create a cliffhanger.  I thought that there could have been other feasible endings, and O'Brien just chose the most extreme.  But I guess I'll have to wait for the sequel and see if I'm less disappointed with this ending based on the plot of that book.

The sequel to Birthmarked, Prized, is expected to be released in November 2011.

02 February 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Prized by Caragh O'Brien

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a meme hosted weekly by Breaking The Spine to highlight upcoming book releases and spread the word about them.  This week, I'm featuring Prized by Caragh O'Brien.

If you've heard of Caragh O'Brien recently, it's because her first book, Birthmarked, made a big splash when it hit the YA market last March.  Prized is the sequel to Birthmarked, and it's due to be published in November, 2011.

(My review of Birthmarked is coming tomorrow!)

No synopsis has been released yet for Prized, but currently, it is known that it will pick up Gaia's story about two weeks after the end of Birthmarked.

Have you read Birthmarked?  What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

01 February 2011

FREE THINGS version 2.0

Anyone who knows me or has read my blog/Twitter for long enough has easily noticed my obsession with FREE THINGS =D  (If you've forgotten, check out this post.)

Since then, I've gotten a couple more fun free items that I want to share with you- like my free Nescafé Dolce Gusto Piccolo machine from Coffee Mate!  They're hosting an event called Flavor Friday this Friday, 2/4 in order to promote their new Café Collection of creamers!

They sent me a generous pack including capsules for my Dolce Gusto machine, Free Coffee-Mate coupons for myself and to share with friends, and some instant coffee and creamer packets to share as well.  My co-workers at the research lab I work at will be very happy this Friday!  And...SO WILL MY BLOG READERS!  That's right- check back here on Friday, February 4 for my very first blog contest!!  I'm super excited for this, and you should be, too!

I also got, in a very roundabout way, a free pair of moccasins from Payless!  Last semester, my university's food services department had a survey that if you completed it, you got money added to your university "debit card".  I used my money for a Payless gift card, and ordered a pair of black moccasins, which came today.  They are very comfortable and warm- perfect for this icky weather we've been having all winter.

Last, but not least (and maybe the most exciting thing for those readers of mine who are book bloggers) is a copy of The Eagle by Rosemary Sutcliff.  The story was originally published in 1954 under the title The Eagle of the Ninth, but was rereleased with this new title in November 2010.  I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book from InGroup, a faction of MacTeen (Macmillan Publishing).

So as you can see, I've been having some fun with my free products recently!  Make sure to stop by again this Friday, 2/4, to win some free stuff for yourself!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...