Friday, December 31, 2010

An Open Letter to 2010....

Dear 2010,

Hi there. You and I have truly had a love/hate relationship, haven't we? Yes, I think we both know that we have. A lot has happened this year and though we had 365 days together, I feel like it flew by in the blink of a frickin' eye. Seriously, I have felt like a zombie this entire year.

2010 brought a lot of frustration to me. I began working second shift full-time in order to go to nursing school full time, resulting in me only seeing my husband on
the weekends. This pissed me off to no end, especially considering that we had just been married 3 months when this stupid schedule change occurred. Nursing school is the hardest thing I've ever done in my almost 26 years of existence. I guess they're not kidding when they say they want you to know your sh*t when taking care of people's lives. Not that I blame them. Though I struggled, I can leave 2010 knowing that I've made it 50% of the way and by this time next year, I'll be a registered nurse. THAT IS INSANE. I'm happy I finally got my act together and stopped being a dunce when it comes to school. Though, as you can see to the side, there are still times I'd like to launch watermelons at my instructors. (Hey, I had to stay sane somehow. I doodle. It's what I do.)

Though working and going to school was frustrating, stressful, and seemingly impossible (and I did it without the help of any medicinal coping mechanisms!), 2010 was also a fabulous year. My husband and I got settled into our new house, which is still coming together a year down the road. For my birthday, we got two cats: Bo and Bella, who I love more than life itself. Seriously, at this point in my life, cats are so much better than babies.

2010, you've also brought me close to some fantabulous people in the bookish world. I'm a fairly outgoing person (with people that I know) and I love, love, love to talk. But I had no one with whom to discuss books. I do have a bookish friend who is getting back into reading, but she lives 300 miles away and we have very different schedules, so it's hard for us to chat books effectively.

Then came Twitter.

2010, I am thankful that you brought Twitter and me together. Without Twitter, I wouldn't have "met" a fraction of the people that I talk to even more than I talk to my own family. Without Twitter, those boring nights at work would be unbearable. Without Twitter, I wouldn't be able to let my alter-ego, Geraldine, rant with YOU, or talk Jessica Darling and !!!! and CAPS LOCK with YOU and YOU. I couldn't learn to play the Ocarina and talk Legend of Zelda and sing via e-mail with YOU. I wouldn't be able to shoot job offers at YOU to come be my live in cook (free access to my bookshelf!) And YOU and I couldn't talk about our cats and how they're so much cooler than people. Without YOU, I would have no one with whom to swoon over Irial. I wouldn't have the AMAZING opportunity to talk to my blogging celebs like YOU, YOU, YOU and YOU. And I wouldn't have discovered Bloodstream by Stateless without YOU, my musical BFFL. And without YOU, YOU, and YOU, my blogging/Twitter experience would flat out suck. For real. I told you I've met the most amazing people this year. Be jealous, because I would be :)

And 2010 also brought me a Nook. A freaking e-reader. I finally sold out, even though I promised myself I never would. I love that new book smell way too much. But we're in a brand-new, healthy relationship and I wouldn't change that for anything. It's much easier to carry around at work, instead of having 3 or 4 books spilling out of my purse.

All in all, I guess 2010 wasn't so terrible. I'm not looking forward to going back to school in a little over a week, but I think I'll be okay. I've got books to look forward to (AND HOLY CRAP THERE ARE SOME AMAZING 2011 RELEASES!), friends to chat with, and many, many, MANY reviews to write. Somehow that makes life exceptionally more manageable <3

Farewell, 2010. Thanks for keeping it real. I'll see you all next year for a phenomenal 2011. Be safe!


Best of Book Blogging in 2010!

Again, credit goes to Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner for this survey :)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2010?
I've been lurking book blogs since very early in 2010 and I had a list of favorites. I finally worked up the nerve to start my own in 2010, and discovered a million more amazing people. Because it's impossible to list every single person that I have mad love for, I'll list you folks that I have been following since forever (or circa January. Whatev.): The Story Siren, Good Books and Good Wine, Steph Su Reads, Wastepaper Prose, The Page Flipper, La Femme Readers, Presenting Lenore (and Emmy, Kaia, and Lu!).

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010?
Most likely my review for Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready. I have massive amounts of love for this book. It impacted me pretty largely. It's also the only book for which I've done a Sound of the Story post. (Even if you haven't read Shade, you should totally go listen to this song anyway. Click HERE!)

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
That would definitely have to be the post on Blogger Voices. I was super happy and surprised when I saw all the comments other bloggers were leaving. I guess it's something that we all kind of struggle with. Not that I want you guys to struggle, but it's nice to know that I'm not the only one with some bloggish uncertainty! <3

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog? First off, I LOVE The Perpetual Page Turner's Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down posts. Always thought provoking, Jamie isn't afraid to let her topics get a little controversial (in a good way.) I love reading all the comments on each of these posts, not only because it give a good look at what to do/what not to do, but because it shows how seriously different we all are.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
MEETING KELLY CREAGH! I fangirled to the umpteenth power over Nevermore. I got even more excited when I found out that Kelly resides in the same general vicinity as me and was having fairly frequent signings at my local B&N. I was so nervous to meet her, but she's so....NORMAL. Obviously I don't mean that in the boring sense of the word, because no one who can think up a world as delicious as Kelly's is "boring" normal. I mean she's sweet, so grateful to meet her fans, and she was willing to sit there and talk Varen with me. Not to mention she has crazy awesome hair. It was an indescribable experience and I will never forget my first (and only, so far) author signing :) I am hoping to go to many more in 2011.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2010?
Again, I've only been blogging a few short months. I'd say, first off, that discovering book blogs PERIOD is amazing. Without this place, I'd still be spewing out nonsensical ramblings and "reviews" to friends and my poor husband. They definitely fell on deaf ears. When I decided to start up my own blog, I never imagined anyone would give a damn what I had to say about anything. I'm thankful for every single follower I have, because you guys rock my face off. And I'm extra super especially thankful for the AMAZING friends I've made. You guys make a bookish gal feel not-so-lonely anymore. LOVE.

7. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
HALF PRICE BOOKS! I didn't technically discover them this year, because my husband and I used to shop there for music and such. But I'm lucky enough to live near TWO stores that usually have fabulous YA selections. I really don't even want to think about the money I've spent there. Also, since I have a Nook now, NETGALLEY is freaking amazing. Oh, and BOOK CLOSEOUTS?!? It's usually a treasure hunt with them and takes time, but HOLY CRAP have I gotten some amazing books from them as well. And for a very small fraction of the list price.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best of Books 2010!

Edit: This survey was created by my awesome friend Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner. (I'm sorry I forgot to credit you. I just realized it this morning! ARGH.)

1. Best book of 2010?
I have different categories for this one. If we're talking about best YA paranormal, I'd say Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. I love the world she's created and I love Varen! (Runners up are Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.) If we're talking about "best YA book that has been out for a couple of years, but I just read it recently," that'd be Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr. If we're talking about "best YA-to-adult book that I should've known about earlier and I'm pissed off that I didn't," that'd be the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty, more specifically Second Comings.

2. Worst book of 2010?
Tempted by PC & Kristen Cast. I couldn't even finish it and I will never pick up a HoN book again. Not sure how or why I continued to book six in the first place. Perhaps I just had faith that it would magically redeem itself, but that didn't happen. I give up.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010?
Fallen by Lauren Kate. I was hoping that the story, characters, all of it would match the beautiful cover. Unfortunately, I almost DNFed this one because I could hardly keep my eyes open. I was sad because there was so much hype surrounding this book. Another reason I am a hype-o-phobic. Also, the first three Black Dagger Brotherhood books by JR Ward. I swear to you, I am the ONLY person in existence who didn't enjoy these books. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for them.

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010?
I know I keep referring to series in these questions, but whatever. The most surprising books for me were the four Dark Guardian books by Rachel Hawthorne. They looked cheesy and short (and honestly, they were) but in a positive fashion. If you're in the mood for mushy, soulmatey kind of goo, read these books! I loved them.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010?
Probably A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler. This book is heartbreaking and glimpses into the life of a teenager trying to cope with a schizophrenic mother. Holly's writing is gorgeous and really makes you see what she sees. Very enlightening and terrifying book. Also, Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready. FABULOUS BOOK.

6. Best series you discovered in 2010?
The Hunger Games trilogy.

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010? Jeri Smith-Ready, Kelly Creagh, Julie Kagawa, Holly Schindler. I will now read anything by them.

8. Most hilarious read of 2010? Definitely Second Comings by Megan McCafferty. I've never laughed so much at a book before. EVAR. My husband had to stop me frequently and ask me to read the line that was so hysterical.

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010?
Definitely Mockingjay. I raced ahead, I cried, I shook the bed with sobs at 3am.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010?
Even though they were the first in a series, definitely Nevermore by Kelly Creagh and Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. As far as books that were already in a series, Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead.

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010?
Nightshade, for sure! SO PRETTYYYYY.

12. Most memorable character in 2010?
Jessica Darling, hands down. Do you see a pattern? DO YOU? Rose Hathaway, as a runner-up. And as far as a male character: IRIAL from the Wicked Lovely series. Oh, le swoon.

13. Most beautifully written book in 2010?
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler. Her words are like poetry.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010?
This is a tough one. If you're referring to the book that made me most emotional this year, it was Mockingjay. I cried SO hard. I couldn't even read another book for a few days after that one. If you're referring to the book that hit home (per se), then it'd be A Blue So Dark because I worked closely with paranoid schizophrenic patients this year. If you're referring to the book that caused the most turning over and over in my head, it'd be Shade, because that book broke my little ol' heart.

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read? Again, the Jessica Darling series. You guys, read these books. Please.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blogging Resolutions for 2011

I am terrible at keeping New Year's Resolutions. My goal for the past 5 years or so is to get a six-pack by the end of the year. This never happens, except for perhaps a six-pack of beer or a fistful of Slim Jims. But it's always nice to verbalize those goals, even if you don't fully follow through. At least you made them known to the universe, right?

1. BE (relatively) STRESS FREE.
Book blogging is supposed to be fun. It IS fun. It's not something where you should find yourself stressed out to the point of heart palpitations if you don't post for a few days (or, in my case, A WEEK due to the holidays!) I have a ton of other obligations. I have a full-time job and full-time classes, both of which drive me insane. I never want blogging to become an obligation. I have far too much love for reading, writing about reading, and this community in general for it to be something that burns me out. It's not all about ARCs or followers (and I mean that.) It's having a bunch of awesome people with whom I can discuss YA books and who won't tell me to read a grown-up book.

People don't like negativity. It repels others and makes you look like a Debbie Downer. I know I complain about school/work a lot, and I'm going to try and cut that out. Oh, and the cryptic tweets. It's totally a pet peeve of mine on Facebook when people post cryptic statuses that cause an onslaught of "WHAT'S WRONG!?!" and "ARE YOU OKAY?!?!" Yet I am a hypocrite, because I find myself doing that on Twitter sometimes. If you're going to say something, SAY IT. I will definitely try to NOT post things on Twitter that are cryptic and vague.

I've gotten a lot better at DNFing books that just weren't working for me. I think there were 3 or 4 for this year. A problem I have is differentiating between boredom with a book and impatience with finishing a book. I set a goal of 100 books this year and I fell short by five. I feel that the reading experience was hindered due to the fact that I had set a goal that I was desperately trying to achieve. Reading shouldn't be rushed. It should be a relaxing, leisurely activity. No goal for me next year! I'll read as many as I can and that is that.

I write fangirly reviews. Duh. Upon re-reading some that I've posted, I don't feel like I accurately and efficiently conveyed the reason WHY I liked something about this character or that plot. To make my reviews a little more quality, I'm going to try and elaborate on why I felt a certain way about whatever it is that I read.

I have fallen into the habit of writing reviews in bulk. 5 reviews here, 3 reviews there. I am going to try and write a review within mere days of finishing the book, giving the plot and my feelings for the book time to sink in and marinate, but not months after when I have to re-read the summary to remember what happened. I'll also try to keep a better review journal, complete with highlights, post it nost, page numbers, quotes, etc. Because not only does it help with the review writing process and remembering events/characters, but it makes me feel organized and gives me reason to buy pretty pens and highlighters.

I have between 120 - 140 books on my shelf that I've bought and forgotten. I'd really like to read 20% of the ones I currently have on my shelf in 2011, which is 30books. I think it's doable. I realize this is basically setting a goal, but 30 isn't bad. Also, I realize that with the books I'll buy in 2011 (which are a bunch of amazing titles, by the way) I'll likely be more in reading debt at this time next year. Meh, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.



So those are my blogger resolutions for next year. I will do my darndest to achieve these goals. If not? Well, I tried. And they say the road to HEAVEN is paved with good intentions. Right? RIGHT!?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

GoodReads Summary: “Knowing that I’ve just done something that will take decades off my parents’ lives with worry, you’ll excuse me for not getting into the fa-la-la-la-la Yuletide spirit this year. . . . The only difference between Christmas 2001 and Christmas 2000 is that I don’t have a visit from Hope to look forward to. And Bethany has already packed on some major fetal flab. Oh, and now Gladdie doesn’t need to ask a bizillion questions about my boyfriend, because she’s already gotten the dirt from you know who.”

Jessica Darling is up in arms again in this much-anticipated, hilarious sequel to Sloppy Firsts. This time, the hyperobservant, angst-ridden teenager is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her senior year at Pineville High. Not only does the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continue to distract Jessica, but her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and she can’t seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends. To top it off, Jessica’s parents won’t get off her butt about choosing a college, and her sister Bethany’s pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household.

With keen intelligence, sardonic wit, and ingenious comedic timing, Megan McCafferty again re-creates the tumultuous world of today’s fast-moving and sophisticated teens. Fans of Sloppy Firsts will be reunited with their favorite characters and also introduced to the fresh new faces that have entered Jess’s life, including the hot creative writing teacher at her summer college prep program and her feisty, tell-it-like-it-is grandmother Gladdie. But most of all, readers will finally have the answers to all of their burgeoning questions, and then some: Will Jessica crack under the pressure of senioritis? Will her unresolved feelings for Marcus wreak havoc on her love life? Will Hope ever come back to Pineville? Fall in love with saucy, irreverent Jessica all over again in this wonderful sequel to a book that critics and readers alike hailed as the best high school novel in years.

My Thoughts: So this book is obviously the best of the series. No, I haven't read them all yet... but it's just obvious. If it was 1998 and the Jessica Darling series was N*SYNC, Second Helpings would be Justin Timberlake, in all his curly-haired, bleach blond glory. I really can't put my love for this book into words. I felt like my heart was exploding when it ended, in both a good and a not-so-good way.

Jessica is obviously growing up. That was one of the main factors the allure of this series. Most books--and series, for that matter--you get a glimpse into a small fragment of the character's life, perhaps spanned out over 4 or 5 books. With Jessica, we get to read about her teen years through her twenties. I love that. I love seeing the growth and progression of a character.

Jessica is still doing her own, crazy thing in Second Helpings. She teeters between mature/immature and I love it. She does stupid things and says things that cause facepalms. Is that not all part of growing up?! I love that Meg Mc lets her main character make mistakes and pay for them. I am pretty positive I said something similar about Natalie in Not That Kind of Girl. I think Jess, Nat, and I should all hang out, because I've been down that road as well.

And holy &*(&)W% MARCUS. Their relationship is so painful and wonderful all at the same time. It's PAINDERFUL. The almost/kinda-love triangle was almost nonsensical at times, but Meg Mc drew my sympathy for each of the parties involved. Gosh, if only all love triangles could be this redonkulous and well-done.

When I closed this book, the way I felt can only be described as the equivalent of drinking a glass of 4 of bad, boxed wine while flying on a magic carpet: I was a little queasy, but MAN DID I FEEL GOOD.

Also... (minor spoiler that doesn't actually mean anything at all until you read it in context) YOU. YES, YOU melted my heart. That is all.

Rating: 5/5

Series: Second Helpings is the second book in a five book series.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Three Rivers Press, 349 pages (April 22, 2003)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blogger "Voices:" Is There a Right and Wrong Kind?

yes, i realize i haven't read harry potter yet. don't judge!

I've read TONS of blogging advice posts by bloggers for whom I hold the utmost respect. The piece of advice I stumble upon most frequently is this:


It's as simple and as difficult as that, right?

I had no freaking idea what that meant, at first. When I started out writing reviews on GoodReads, I felt like I had to give an intricate, professional mapping out of why I liked the book or why I didn't like it. And I did it using a voice that wasn't my own, but rather what I thought a book review was SUPPOSED to sound like. This honestly became tedious after awhile. This isn't how I speak in real life. This isn't an English paper I'm writing or an article for the New York Times. This is just me, giving my opinion of a book in the best damn way I know how.

If I were to talk to one of my friends over coffee and gush about a book with which I've recently become enamored, I'm not going to explain how deeply moved I was by the perfect placement of that semi-colon. Heck no. I'm going to nonsensibly delight in the "OH NO SHE DIDN'T" and "PERFECTEST COUPLE EVARRR!" with arm flailing and crazy eyes.

If you've ever read a review by me, you know the following: I am, if nothing else, enthusiastic about the books I love and I want you to love them, too.

If I read a book that I love, you'll know about it. I'll shout it from the rooftops. I will tweet 5x times a day and nag EVERY ONE of my real life and blogger friends until they purchase said book and ultimately agree with me. My reviews mostly consist of gushing. Seriously. I'm quite long-winded with the gush factor, too. I don't write well-structured reviews and they're hardly professional. I prefer to type up my reviews in a conversational fashion. The words I spew from my fingertips are things I'd say to my friends over the phone after I just closed an amazing book that had a ridiculous impact on me.

But I can't help but wonder if this helps me or if it hurts me.

It's been drilled into my head: FIND YOUR VOICE. Well, I think I've found it. But am I ultimately hindering my potential as a blogger if I avoid the more professional route? Do authors, publishers, other bloggers, readers prefer the professional, well-structured reviews to the incessant fangirling?

Disclaimer: By no means do I plan on changing the way I review. Structure and professionalism are my mortal enemies! This is the easiest way for me to get my point across. Take me or leave me! ;)

So what do you guys think? Have you had any experiences where you have been turned down or overlooked because of the particular structure (or lack thereof!) of your reviewing style? Do you prefer professional, formal reviews or are you down with the hardcore raving?

Inquiring minds must know!

EDIT: This is not to say that I don't enjoy deep, analytical reviews. I freaking love them. Because you guys are doing something I don't quite know how to do. I don't think there's any "right" or "wrong" kind of review, personally, because your reviews are YOU and that's what's important, is it not?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

GoodReads Summary: “My parents suck ass. Banning me from the phone and restricting my computer privileges are the most tyrannical parental gestures I can think of. Don’t they realize that Hope’s the only one who keeps me sane? . . . I don’t see how things could get any worse.”

When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?

A fresh, funny, utterly compelling fiction debut by first-time novelist Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts is an insightful, true-to-life look at Jessica’s predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment--from the dark days of Hope’s departure through her months as a type-A personality turned insomniac to her completely mixed-up feelings about Marcus Flutie, the intelligent and mysterious “Dreg” who works his way into her heart. Like a John Hughes for the twenty-first century, Megan McCafferty taps into the inherent humor and drama of the teen experience. This poignant, hilarious novel is sure to appeal to readers who are still going through it, as well as those who are grateful that they don’t have to go back and grow up all over again.

My Thoughts: Yep. This is potentially the hardest review I've ever written.


Because all I really want to do is vigorously pound on my keyboard with glee and happytears and EEEEEEE.

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I've found the Holy Grail of YA writing. The kicker? It isn't even YA! And yet it is. It's everything. It's Jessica Darling.

I've put off writing my review for Sloppy Firsts for a long time. I don't even know what to say without falling so incredibly short of what this book deserves. I hadn't even heard of this series prior to starting my blog. I figured that it couldn't be THAT good if I hadn't even heard anything about it. My friends, this series is a diamond in the rough.

The characters are so very distinct in all their own ways and mannerisms. I'm convinced that Megan Mc has fashioned Jessica from a real person. Or perhaps she wrote her right off the pages. Yes, that's it! Jessica is so imperfectly perfectly written, that the words and paragraphs came together to form cells and skin and organs and hair and acne and she has jumped right out of the book and exists in our world today. No one can just think of someone SO AWESOME and not have her walk amongst us. I need this to be true so I can find her and make her my BFF. Because we'd get along that well.

I loved everything about every character. Even the ones I hated. Because Ms. McCafferty has taken the time to develop each and every one of them. And each of them had an individual voice that was easily recognizable. Sara with her annoying "quote/unquote" abuse and Len with his "um" and Scotty with his...whatever it is that he does.

And Marcus. Yes, Marcus. I couldn't see what the hype about him was at first. But I have seen the light. Oh yes. And it glitters like Mariah.

The journal-style writing makes it easy to become completely immersed into Jessica's internal cynicism and outlook on life. Having been a cynical teenager (ahem, and having never grown out of it), this speaks volumes to me. There are so many quotes that have caused me to burst into laughter--this never happens--or made me write down a quote or 352 in my review journal. And perhaps I've contemplated getting one tattooed on me somewhere.

This is a series I think everyone should read. It's a beautiful, hilarious, amazinngggg piece of work that has become my golden standard. I'm taking my time with this series, because I don't want it to ever, ever end. Megan McCafferty is my hero.

Rating: 5/5

Series: Sloppy Firsts is the first book in a five book series.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Three Rivers Press, 280 pages (August 28, 2001)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winterlong Tour Stop: Random Magic Casting

I have to thank Sasha Soren for asking me to be a part of the Random Magic Winterlong Blog Tour. Sasha is one of my favorite people to talk to and incredibly personable. We had discussed a couple different avenues to take as far as my stop in the tour and, ultimately, it came down to casting or soundtrack. Casting, being something I do naturally whenever I read a book, was the option I chose. (Perhaps I'm just that unoriginal!)

Most of the characters in RM have come rather easily to me. Here's how I picture them in my mind's eye. (Descriptions/book quotes courtesy of Eleni @ La Femme Readers.)

Camilla Belle as Winnie

Book Quote: "A girl. Rather an interesting girl, with big green eyes and dark hair in messy pigtails spilling over her shoulders. Her dusty patchwork tunic was torn."
More details: Dark hair, green eyes, pointy chin, wearing red. Strong character, spirited and determined, older than her years.

The choice of Winnie was probably the easiest I could make. Once I read the description, I immediately thought of Camilla Belle. I do wish she had brighter green eyes, but they can do wonders with contact lenses these days. I love Winnie's character, and I think Camilla would do an excellent job being slightly off-beat, yet quick-witted and rambunctious.

Lucas Till as Henry

Book Quote: "Black Jack stared in disgust at what the crew of King of the Storm had managed to dredge up; a gangly blond with enormous blue eyes, who looked like a puff of wind would knock him over..."
More details: Dark blonde hair, blue eyes, wearing blue.

Blond guys aren't my strong suit. I tend to prefer the dark haired guys. But I saw this one in Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" video and thought he'd be perfect for Henry. Cute enough, slightly gangly, again, he'd need contact lenses...but I can definitely see Henry potential in Lucas Till.

Amy Adams as Callie

Book Quote: "Her gold-woven drape was a sodden mess, she’d lost a jeweled sandal and her hair streamed limply over the porcelain, like dark red seaweed. But she’d managed to hang on to her sombrero."
More details: Muse of Writing. Golden or shimmering dress in ancient style, vivid red hair, hazel eyes, dazzling smile and sparkle in her eyes, hair is ankle-length and floats all around her.

I love Amy Adams, and I love Callie. She has the dazzling smile. She has the ridiculous amount of red hair (at least she did in Enchanted.) And she SPARKLES. No, seriously, that's the first word I think of when I see Amy. I didn't need to think twice about casting her as Callie.

Arthur Malet as Professor Random

Book Quote: "In a cobwebbery corner of the room was a man who looked a bit like Einstein, only with less fashion sense. He’d forgotten what he was doing there.
More details: Vague, rumpled.

If you don't remember Tootles, the man who lost his marbles, from Hook.. I don't think we should be friends anymore. Granted, this movie is nearly 20 years old and Tootles probably doesn't look like he used to, but this is my casting and Tootles it is. Prof. Random still has a couple marbles left, but BARELY. Another ridiculously easy casting choice. I love this character's train of thought, or lack thereof.

Robert Downey Jr. as Count De Morgue

Book Quote: "The count smiled, his heavy-lidded hazel eyes gleaming with the prospect of unexpected diversion…Fresh blood was exactly what they required..."
More details: Topaz or hazel eyes, dark hair (casual, long or styled in old-fashioned style), wearing dark brown, elegant smoking jacket.

Well, he definitely has the heavy-lidded gaze down pat. I can see RDJr playing this particular, um, type of being. Charming, a tad eccentric and generally weird, and ultimately a pretty handsome guy.

Angelina Jolie as Countess De Morgue(s)

Book Quote: "Like a set of matching funereal angels, Lady De Morgue was as beautiful to look at as the count, and doubly gloomy."
More details: Pale, chic, wearing green velvet gown. Delicate features. Romantic and dreamy.

I love picturing Angelina Jolie as the Countess. AGAIN, she's a shoo-in for this particular creature. She's beautiful, obviously, and can pull both menacing, creepy, gloomy, and dreamy. And there's a certain morbidity to Angelina, just like with Lady De Morgue.

Kate Walsh as The Red Queen

Book Quote: "Her dark red hair snaked into a twisted coil of interwoven links, and cut through the air like a pair of horns. The snowflakes falling gently onto her hair sizzled as they landed."
More details: Dark red hair, angular face, bold and fiery energy, on borderline of rage. Fur accents on dress, likely wearing red or battle armor.

There is absolutely no other actress that could be The Red Queen to me. I remember first seeing her as Addison Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy and thinking she was scary, menacing, beautiful and evil at the same time. Her features are incredibly sharp and unmistakable.


Again, I'd like to thank Sasha Soren for asking me to be a part of this awesome tour and allowing me to read her book. She and I have a similar tangential way of thinking, so this book is perfect for me. Can't wait to visit all the other tour stops to see what the Winterlong Random Magic tour has in store!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox (14)... In Which I Attempt a Vlog for the First Time.

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I'm probably going to live to regret this, but here goes. I am visiting my parents this weekend for a friend's wedding and also for a little early Christmas. I got some freaking awesome gifts.

I also decided to be ballsy and vlog for the first time. Um, awkward. But because you all asked so sweetly, I'm gonna go ahead and forget about the fact that I'm socially (virtually?) inept and take a crack at it.

Bought (and not pictured, because I didn't bring them.)
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
- There are two others that I can't remember because I left them at home. Oh, dear. This is the most disorganized IMM ever.

For Christmas
Nook light
Gift card to Borders
Twilight Saga with the white covers <3


I realize it's incredibly delayed and kinda blurry and the lighting changes. Also, I'm aware of the A.D.D. I had some distractions. I'm also technologically inept, so I don't know how to edit or make it UN-delayed. Sorry guys. If there's a next time, I promise it'll be better :D

Yep. That's it. Be gentle.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (9) or "An Abundance of '!'"

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

There is no official cover for this particular book yet, so I've taken the liberty of making my own. She's not smiling, because she's unsure and has a lot of difficult decisions to make in book six.

Disclaimer: I'm very sorry, but I'm not available for any sort of cover design for your book, nor can I design anything for your website. My design services are highly sought after, and I just don't have that kind of time. Thank you for your understanding.


Anyway. I think I love this series more than that Vampire Academy series. THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID IT. It's not a YA novel by any means, due to the fact that Georgina is a succubus. Succubi happen to drain people of life via sexytimes. I don't think a YA novel can have this premise and still by YA. If you pull this off, please let me know because I'd like to see it!

I never thought I'd love this series as much as I do. I figured it'd be all a-ravin' and a-rompin' and a-sinnin'. Get this though: GEORGINA HAS A HEART! She has a cat that she loves and cares for! She doesn't enjoy her succubus status! All she really wants is a yummy introverted author who wears screen tees and hates coffee! Who has messy hair! And she wants to do the right thing! This is a deep, emotional series that has stolen my heart and I cannot believe Mead is making us wait until frickin' August 30 of 2011 when there hasn't been a book released since March 2010! FRICK!

I know the covers are cheesy (save for mine... I think this could be my new calling?)
I know that the idea of a succubus with a heart is strange (as is most paranormal, in general?)
But I'm serious, you guys. This is a fabulously good series. I'd highly recommend getting it on your e-reader, if you don't want to be seen in public with these hardcore cheese-tastic covers. (btw, isn't that Lacey from Rock of Love on THIS cover? And I've never understood the red hair, since G is a light brunette.) Perhaps you want to pick up the mass-market paperback, which is significantly less embarassing.

Whatever you do, just read these!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books of 2011

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by one of my most blogs in the WHOLE. ENTIRE. WORLD., The Broke and Bookish.

I could not even wait to wake up this morning in order to type up this post. There are so many books I'm looking forward to in 2011. I think I'm going to put myself into deep financial strain, but as long as I've got all these pretty spines decorating my shelves, consider the blow softened.

1. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr.
Anyone who knows me knows that this is my automatic answer to any question regarding which book I'd throw some elbows to get my hands on. I have been completely enraptured by Melissa Marr's world and her beautiful, versatile characters. Irial was in the #2 spot on my "Top Ten Literary Crushes" list awhile back, and with GOOD REASON. I could gush about this series forever, but perhaps you'll be less bored if you just go out and pick it up yourself, no?

2. Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready.
Another "if you know me, you know" given. Jeri is awesome because she's an emotional writer. Also, she has impeccable taste in music. She's written a beautiful, heartbreaking love story (complete with a believable triangle! YAY!) in SHADE. We were left hanging with that ending and I cannot wait to find out what happens to Logan/Aura/Zachary. Did I mention Zachary has a Scottish accent and Logan is (was?) a tortured musician? NOM.

3. Wither by Lauren DeStefano.
Everyone wants to get their hands on this one. That cover. That dress. The reviews which have sung the book's praises that I've come across, like, everyday. I am buzzing with anticipation for this one. I previously did a WoW for it and there was a debate about who the cover model resembles: Mandy Moore or Mila Kunis (with dyed hair, of course.) You guys, I am sticking with Mila. Her nose turns up too much to be Mandy and her face is too small. Mila, ftw! At any rate, *tantrum* I want Witherrrrrr.

4. Bumped by Megan McCafferty.
I'm still in the middle of the Jessica Darling series, but Meg Mc is one of my favorite authors. I decided this after the hootin' and hollerin' from this quote finally died down, "Yes, the particular musculature of your ass does feel familiar. I remember you now!" on page 14 of Second Helpings. Anyway, when I saw Meg Mc has written her YA debut, I programmed myself to mentally count down the weeks, days, minutes, until this is released. It's definitely a far cry from the JD subject matter, but I am expecting nothing short of amaze balls from this lady.

5. Delirium by Lauren Oliver.
I read Oliver's debut, Before I Fall, and was completely taken aback. I thought it would be about some bitchy girls making stupid decisions without remorse. Turns out, it was about bitchy girls making stupid decisions with increasing remorse as time went on. But oh, it was so much more than that. Melanie from Reclusive Bibliophile has written a beautiful review of Delirium (so articulate and eloquent, that Melanie is!) and since reading it, I can't wait to get it! In fact, I get a Nook this weekend so NETGALLEY, WATCH OUT!

6. Across the Universe by Beth Revis.
I'd be lying (and so would you!) if I said that I wasn't first drawn in by that redonkulously sexy cover. I really enjoy the fact that this is set on a spaceship. And it's in the future. And judging by the two silhouettes, THERE WILL BE ROMANCE! This sounds pretty different from anything I've read, so I need this book.

7. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand.
I super duper crazy omg seriously love this cover. It's bluey-purpley-greyey and I enjoy that. I do enjoy the Hush, Hush series and I think angels are pretty swell. I'm hoping this book lives up to my expectations. I'm also wanting to read this for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge, so I'm hoping that once I get my Nook, I can stay away from this title on NetGalley until 2011. Gahhhhhh... I don't want to, though. Also, it comes out on my husband's 26th birthday. I'll have to buy it for him....for me.

8. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton.
BATTLE SCENES! I've heard about some seriously awesome fight scenes in this book and that makes me do a happy dance. I love it when female protags kick a hefty amount of butt. Also, the chick on the cover reminds me of a Gerudo chick from The Legend of Zelda. I'm wearing my nerd hat today, can you see it?

9. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford.
Again, we have fallen angels. This book sounds really good. Last night, the author was putting some small teasers on Twitter. From what I read, this one's gonna be a little edgy-ish. There may or may not have been an F-bomb. I'm excited to see if this book lives up to my expectations! Another one I'm reading for the Debut Author Challenge.

10. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney.
FEY! I LOVE THE FEY! I'm especially intrigued because the summary on GoodReads has the phrase "vicious wood elves" in it. Usually I think of "wood elves" as the nice little Keebler elves who make those delicious E.L. Fudge cookies. How can they be vicious when they bring such delight to the tastebuds? I have super crazy high hopes for this one and I CANNOT WAIT FOR 2011.

I'll tell ya... I spend much of my life wishing it away for books. But I digress. Looking forward to reading everyone else's awesome lists!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Hola, fabulous readers. I have some fantastic news, which won't really make you as happy as I am, but I'd like to say it anyway: MY SEMESTER IS OVER!!! And I didn't fail like I anticipated. (Like I ALWAYS anticipate.) Hopefully this means a LOT more reading and a LOT more Mr. Jen time. He works during the day and I work second shift, so we literally only see each other (awake) on weekends. But for two blissful weeks, once he's off for Christmas vacation, I get to see him EVERY SINGLE DAY. This makes me happy and inexplicably jealous all at once, because he's a teacher and works half the days that I work. GRR.

Anyway, slow week. Next week will be better because my family's Christmas party is next weekend. I will be out of town, so I'll try to post as much as possible, but family time takes priority. sorry I've been seemingly MIA, guys. I promise I'm still around. I've just got a lot going on right now. It's the holiday season, after all.

Onto the books!

For Review
Random Magic by Sasha Soren (Thank you, Sasha!)

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Sweep (Vol II) by Cate Tiernan - I still have to buy Volume I, but this is the only one I could find. Thanks, Tara, for the recommendation :)

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

GoodReads Summary:
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

My Thoughts: I do not enjoy writing negative reviews. Especially about books for which I had such high expectations and there was so much hype around them. I'm so confused by my feelings for this book. Like I said, I had high hopes for it at first, what with the beautifully descriptive setting and deep-thinking protagonist. I wanted so badly to love it like everyone else did.

Eventually, Ethan's thoughts got annoying. I wanted to be out of his head ASAP. I got so incredibly sick of hearing about how he was going to fix Lena's problems. How, dude? You have no idea what the heck is wrong with her. She doesn't even know how to fix what's wrong with her. Ethan acted like he could halt Lena's inevitable fate. Oh, mortals and their superiority complex. Yet, Lena totally bought into his mindless reassurances of "it'll be okay. I'm not going to lose you." I didn't understand what he saw in Lena anyway, nor what Lena saw in Ethan.

I grew tired of reading about Ethan and Lena doing seemingly endless research, yet coming up with nothing. I was lost further when Lena's hoards of family members were introduced with all their different powers. I seriously felt like I had just walked into some Swahili-spoken lecture on bio-Chem and was expected to retain all the information for a pop quiz that would take place in 10 minutes. The term "Caster" seems pretty vague and, though I'm interested to learn more about them, I don't know if I am interested enough. I didn't like Amma, either. The only truly intriguing character in this book was Macon.

However, The Stohl/Garcia duo did succeed at setting the mood for this ominous book. While reading it, I constantly felt like something was going to jump out from behind a bush or corner. It was a genuinely creepy atmosphere and in my mind, I could see Macon's unsturdy, crumbling stairs leading up to his doorway. The authors did a great job at instilling a sense of impending doom and I wish this book would've been shorter. The concept is interesting and it would've have lost me the way it did if they'd have gotten to the point earlier on.

I'm contemplating whether or not it'd be worth it to read the sequel.

Rating: 2/5

Series: Yes. The Caster Chronicles Book 2, Beautiful Darkness, was released October 12, 2010.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published:Little, Brown, 563 pages (December 1, 2009)

Here are some positive reviews for Beautiful Creatures:
April (Good Books and Good Wine)
Steph Su (Steph Su Reads)
Tara (Fiction Folio)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (8)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Goodreads Summary: When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

Thanks to forgivable amounts of ridicule and peer pressure from Anna from Anna Reads and Carla from The Crooked Shelf, I finally dove into the Jessica Darling series within the last month. I hadn't heard of Jessica Darling at all prior to Anna/Carla, so I thought to myself, "uh, how good could this be if I haven't heard the hype?"

Apparently I've been living under a noise-cancelling rock because I can imagine I'd hear the gleeful screams of women all over the world rejoicing at this amazing series.

Anyway, this post is not about Jessica Darling, though I could merrily talk about her all day. This post is about Megan McCafferty's YA debut, Bumped. I really don't even feel like I need to say much about anything that this woman writes except for "Where is it?" "I want it," "I can has it?" and "GIVE IT NOW!!!" because she's that much of a genius. GENIUS. Every word she writes turns to diamonds that I wish I could wear on my fingers and toes (and my grill. Why the heck not?) because they're be way more precious than regular diamonds. No, these are SNARK-INFUSED diamonds, cut with sharp wit and intellect. (Ba dum tssss... anyone?) I know that I'm going to love Bumped. Is there a way to pre-order everything that Megan McCafferty writes? Even the stuff she hasn't thought up yet? If anyone finds out, let me know because I'll be all over that like dreads (formerly) on Marcus Flutie.

Bumped will be released on April 26, 2011.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: The Candidates (Delcroix Academy #1) by Inara Scott

Goodreads Summary: Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that's not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia's mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just...happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, belieiving this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden.

But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia's days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats' kids and child geniuses--not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. So why are they treating Dancia like she's special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome.

And then there's her mysterious new friend Jack, who can't stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what. But Dancia isn't convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her "gift" than they're letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it...But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.

My Thoughts: The Candidates and I united recently. I'm kind of a cover whore, so I had a crush on this book prior to even knowing what it was about. I hadn't ever heard of Inara Scott prior to seeing The Story Siren's IMM where she got Delcroix Academy's first book and a t-shirt. "Hmmmm," I internally murmured. "I need to find out what this book is about, because if that cover is any indication of the book's quality, count me in!" Not to mention I had chatted with Ms. Scott on Twitter a couple times, and she's incredibly nice. So, I'd heard wonderful things about The Candidates, loved the cover, and thought the author was supa dupa fly. Henceforth, The Candidates took the throne of my ever monumental TBR pile.

Upon meeting 14-year-old Dancia Lewis, I was slightly concerned. She referred to herself in third person on more than one occasion, which reminded me of Smash from Friday Night Lights. Only I was confused, because Dancia is nothing like Smash. She's purposely ostracized herself because she has a secret ability that could potetially kill a fool. Most people would take that and run with it, but Dancia feels completely alone. I had lots of empathy for Dancia. She lost her parents and her grandma is slowly slipping into sporadic senility. (That doesn't keep Grams from being AWESOME, though!) She's quite selfless and loves others, but she is so deathly afraid that she's gonna end lives that she just withdraws completely from society. Then she gets recruited to Delcroix by electrifying manly man, Cam, and meets Jack, the wounded outcast boy who happens to be smokin' fiiiiine and seems to "get" Dancia. Cue the unleashing of hell and hormones.

I was suspicious of "the good guys" the whole time and tended to side with the conspiracy theorist, Jack. I'd also probably have a crush on him if he wasn't 10 years my junior, which is sick and twisted. I seriously wanted to reach into the pages and push Jack and Dancia together like an evil puppetmaster. Except that wouldn't be doing them a disservice, because THEY'RE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER. And I wanted to verbally spar with Dancia to make her see that. Then again, she is only 14, so I can't expect too much from her. And there's also the fact that she could probably send me to the moon without second thought, literally.

The last 100 pages totally made this book for me. I had an inkling of an idea what Dancia's talent was but I predicted the end would take an entirely different route. I'm impressed with this book, even though it was a little slow for me in the beginning. But finding out exactly what the candidates were and what they're REALLY doing at Delcroix made my eyes sing with joy and fervor. The story totally pulled together and rocked my face off in the end. I have so many questions, still. I really need the Watchers to come out so I can jump back into this world. And to find out about Jack.... sigh.

Rating: 3.5/5

Series: The Watchers, book two, will be released August 2, 2011.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Hyperion, 293 pages (August 24, 2010)

Learn more about Inara: Website | Blog | Twitter | GoodReads

Monday, December 6, 2010

Random Magic Tour: Winterlong (December 10 - 23, 2010)

I am so excited to be participating in Sasha Soren's Random Magic tour this winter! Sasha is a wonderfully delightful person and I am very much looking forward to reading everyone's posts and features. The tour schedule is as follows:

Random Magic Tour: Winterlong
Dec. 10-23, 2010
About: Random Magic
Tour organization: Lyrika Publicis
Tour prize coordinator: @LaFemmeReaders
Contact the tour: @RandomMagicTour

Win something wonderful: Tour Prizes
Random Magic (Gift-wrapped, first edition)
Fairy tale mini-dolls (Madame Alexander series, complete set)

Magical Covers art event: Prize pack
Beautiful art journal
This Book Belongs To bookplates set
2011 ARC (pre-pub.) YA winter-themed novel

Dec. 10
Winterlong: Musical Blog Hop
Come sit by the fire and enjoy
some lovely winter tunes…

#1 of 10: Spellbound by Books (@Meeka_21)
Themes: Buoyancy - Good Cheer

#2 of 10: Geeky Blogger (@thehistorychic)
Themes: Reflection - Spirituality

#3 of 10: Ecstatic Reviews (@EcstaticReviews)
Themes: Fortitude - Quirkiness

#4 of 10: Elbit Blog (@Merigreenleaf)
Themes: Tenderness - Devotion

#5 of 10: The Reading Lassie (@readinglassie)
Themes: Magic - Mystery

#6 of 10: A Reader’s Adventure (@ReaderAdventure)
Theme: Celebration - Humor

#7 of 10: vvb32 Reads (@vvb32reads)
Themes: Love - Geniality

#8 of 10: About Happy Books(@abouthappybooks)
Themes: Comedy - Creativity

#9 of 10: The True Book Addict (@truebookaddict)
Themes: Hope - Light

#10 of 10: The Fluidity of Time
Themes: Art - Beauty - Inspiration

(Blog Hop Summary – via vvb32)
Notes: Songs on the blog hop are nice songs for winter,
and they also reflect themes found in Random Magic.

Bonus: Free winter song for every stop
on the hop, feel free to visit all blogs to find them all.

Dec. 11
La Femme Readers
Twitter: @lafemmereaders
Magical Covers: Reimagining the cover of Random Magic
Welcome and prizes info
Voting: Dec. 18 - Winner revealed: Dec. 20

Dec. 12
My Love Affair With Books
Twitter: @Misha_1989
Review Feat.: ‘Winter Dancers’

and – just for fun!

Unabridged Chick
Twitter: @unabridgedchick
Feat.: Elf Yourself (winter widget)

Dec. 13
Oodles of Books
Twitter: @oodlesofbooks


Books, Sweets and other Treats
Twitter: @lindsiking
Feat.: ‘Winter Drinks’

Dec. 14
Stories and Sweeties
Twitter: @storiesweeties
Feat.: ‘Sweets for the Sweet’

Dec. 15
vvb32 Reads
Twitter: @vvb32reads
Feat.: ‘Dandy Fellows’
Related event: Dandies and Delectables (Dec. 10-23)

Dec. 16
Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Twitter: @blodeuedd83


Chick Loves Lit
Twitter: @shanynlee
Feat.: ‘The Secrets of Random Magic

Dec. 17
This Miss Loves To Read
Twitter: @MissIrenne
Feat. ‘Fairy Tale Top 10: Random Magic

Dec. 18
Booklover - Book Chicks
Twitter: @LexieVmp666
Feat.: Video review of Random Magic
More: The Booklover - Book Chicks video channel


La Femme Readers
Twitter: @lafemmereaders
Magical Covers: Reimagining the cover of Random Magic
Voting on cover entries
Winning cover revealed on Dec. 20

Dec. 19
The Fluidity of Time
Feat.: ‘Subtle Magic: A discussion of Random Magic themes’


Mundie Moms
Twitter: @MundieMoms
Twitter: @katiebmundiemom
Review (book chat format)

Dec. 20
Makeshift Bookmark
Twitter: @makeshiftjen
Feat.: ‘Casting Random Magic

La Femme Readers
Twitter: @lafemmereaders
Magical Covers: Reimagining Random Magic
Finale: Cover winner revealed

Dec. 21
The Bushwick Book Club (Seattle chapter)
Feat.: Songs inspired by Random Magic
Details: Video performances, two different singer-songwriters.
More: The Bushwick Book Club (Seattle) video channel

Dec. 22
Girls in the Stacks
Twitter: @girlsinthestack
Feat.: Bookshelf Theater: Random Magic
Details: Video performance, cute scene from the book.
More: The Girls in the Stacks video channel

Dec. 23
Winter Reading Circle: Tales for a Winter Night
Find some nice and cozy – or dark and spooky –
reads perfect for wintertime, on this fun blog hop.

#1 of 6: What Book Is That?
Twitter: @heynocupcake

#2 of 6: Willowdust Reviews – Tina’s Book Reviews
Twitter: @BooksatTinas

#3 of 6: Diary of a Bookworm
Twitter: n/a

#4 of 6: A Reader’s Adventure
Twitter: @ReaderAdventure

#5 of 6: vvb32 Reads
Twitter: @vvb32reads

#6 of 6 La Femme Readers
Twitter: @lafemmereaders
Completing the reading circle -- and the Winterlong tour.

Thank you for coming along with us, and happy reading!

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Hello, all! So I'm a little late again. After all, yesterday was Sunday and my husband decided to monopolize the laptop on account of Fantasy Football. Additionally, I was studying for the majority of the day (when I wasn't tweeting, of course.) Yes, you're right. I DO need to brush up on my study habits.

And did I mention it snowed a good 4" on Friday night? BECAUSE IT DID!

Anywho, it was a pretty slow book week for me as far as purchases go. I'm not really sure why, other than I was too lazy to go anywhere. Plus, bookstores during the holidays are treacherous. Usually I go to Borders before work at 2:30pm and I'll have the YA section all to myself for browsing. THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE. And while I'm happy that others are partaking in the joys of YA, I miss the days when I didn't have to wait for someone to get the heck out of my way so I could flip through a book or two.

But I did happen to win a GoodReads contest that made my heart sing!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (SD:AJR!!OA*R*#!~!)
The Forbidden Game by LJ Smith (For some reason, I remember reading that this trilogy was amazing. I hope I agree! I liked the first couple Vampire Diaries books and the first Nightworld bind up.)

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes (Debut Author Challenge book YES YES YES! This cover is so stinking pretty, I can't wait to see the finished version!)


This week was made especially amazing by the fact that I get to opportunity to go see my favorite band, My Chemical Romance, next year. In concert. You guys, I don't think you understand how much I want to jump out of my skin due to this fact. If I could have anyone sing the soundtrack to my life, it'd be Gerard Way (though I might have to up the angst a little. My life isn't very angsty.) I seriously danced around my house all day yesterday. My husband probably thought I was high, but whatever. I AM GOING TO SEE MCR!!!1!

Have a great week, you guys!

PS. I'm thinking of potentially doing an IMM vlog in the near future. Everyone else has and I am a sucka for bookish peer pressure. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy (here'savideotomakeyourdaybetter) Friday!

It's really cold out. I didn't even want to get out of bed today.
So I thought everyone could use a little of this today.


(video credit to anitram12345 on YouTube)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Not Such a Bright YA, Were Ya?

I've seen these posts strewn about the blogosphere here and there for awhile, with bloggers stating the reasons that they prefer to read YA even though we're not teenagers anymore. I've always nodded thoughtfully along with these posts and gone through my reasons within my brain. Never given it much more thought than that. But Anna at Anna Reads has posted THIS today and explained how she was a fabulous student, super focused on "ruling the world," and her school-related goals. A couple of my other blogger friends weighed in with comments and I realized that I'm totally the odd one out.

Usually, you assume bookish folk to be good people. Intelligent, reasonably level-headed, knowledgable. At least those are the adjectives that flash through my mind when I think of my fellow bookworms. I was not like this at all in high school.

My outlook on school was lax. In elementary school, everything came naturally. It was ELEMENTARY school, after all. Once I got into middle school, the Cs made their debut thanks to Algebra. The Cs stayed constant in my math classes throughout high school. I even got a D once. I didn't have concrete long-term goals. The obligatory aspirations of "I want to be a veterinarian" or "meteorologist" came up in conversation, but I never believed I'd do that.

I never studied. I copied my homework from the smart kids a few minutes prior to class in order to get credit. I never showed my work. Heck, I never had work to show! I believe I had a grand total of 20 something tardies for my senior year and ditched all the time. I graduated with a 3.1 GPA and I was totally fine with it. I stayed out late. I wore WAY too much make up. I hated my parents at the time for "ruining my fun." I never listened and I had a horrible potty mouth. I cheated on tests.

Extra curriculars? Heck naw. I was in show choir because I loved to sing, but that's it. Another factor was that I was in a pretty unhealthy relationship. I somehow got brainwashed that it was normal to be in a relationship where the guy determines who you can/cannot hang out with or talk to and what you're allowed to do. I had some good friends, but pushed them away because the guy didn't like them. Thankfully, I got out of that mess. My husband is freaking awesome and I've seen how BADAZZ real love can, and is supposed to, be.

I read YA because I didn't have a packed social life with BFFs & awesome parties. I seldom went to sleepovers and gossiped about clothes or weekend plans or cute boys. I get happy when I read that girls dump their overbearing boyfriends and choose the best friend over the jerkface loser. I smile when I read about protags who are freaking out about their grades or their college acceptance letters. And, OH! How I love reading about those picture perfect romances. But I get sad/pissed off when I think about how I didn't read YA at all during high school. I think I could've learned a lot from some of the strong, fierce ladies that lead my favorite books.

This isn't supposed to be a "feel sorry for me" post, because I don't feel sorry for me. I'm a good student now and I never miss class, but I had to learn from my own mistakes. Just giving an honest point of view from somewhere closer to the other end of the spectrum. But I have absolutely no problem catching up on some of life's lessons at 25, when I can look back and shake my head at my younger self. Better late than never, yes?

So, fellow adult book nerds, why do you read YA? I'd especially love to hear from those who suffered from scholastic nonchalance, like myself!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Goodreads Summary: Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection ofher past life - or her actual death - she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existense. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowing in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow even closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world...forever.

Ghost story? Check.
Romance in a dire situation? Check.
Spooky premise with death mystery? Check.
Evil spirit threatening to foil the romance? Check.
Beautiful cover? Double check.

Seriously though, isn't that cover spookily frickin' sweet? You see her head and her hair and then your eyes travel down and... WHERE THE EFF DID SHE GO?! If that's not indicative of a ghost story, I don't know what is. The cover is vaguely familiar, like a lovechild of THIS and THIS. Whatever, guys. You know I can't resist a gorgeous cover.

I just recently heard about Hereafter, but I do love my YA ghost stories (you saw my review of SHADE, didn't you? Oh, you didn't? Well click HERE to get with the times!)Can you imagine how miserable and terrifying it'd be to wake up... in a river... not knowing how or why you're there, other than the fact that you lack a pulse, body, and heartbeat? Those are some pretty damaging realizations. I'm hoping that this book as as good as it sounds, though I'm a bit confused about ghost's powers to "will someone to live."

Great premise and I hope the execution is equally fabulous.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Goodreads Summary: Natalie Sterling wants to be in control. She wants her friends to be loyal. She wants her classmates to elect her student council president. She wants to find the right guy, not the usual jerk her school has to offer. She wants a good reputation, because she believes that will lead to good things.
But life is messy, and it's very hard to be in control of it. Not when there are freshman girls running around in a pack, trying to get senior guys to sleep with them. Not when your friends have secrets they're no longer comfortable sharing. Not when the boy you once dismissed ends up being the boy you want to sleep with yourself - but only in secret, with nobody ever finding out.

Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.

My Thoughts: I've been dying to read "Not That Kind of Girl" for the longest freaking time. I have no idea why it took me so long to actually BUY the book. I am one of those people who actually likes covers with PDA. Not the whole bodice-ripper kind with the castles in the background and hiked up dresses, but the simple, straightforward message: YOUNG LURVE.

And that's precisely what I got with NTKoG. But not without a struggle.

Natalie's character is the girl I wish I could've been in high school. Determined, self-assured in my schoolwork, "eyes on the prize" kind of chick who is Ivy League-bound. Natalie and I are polar opposites. She tended to grind my gears at times, because she was a little too maternal and overbearing in her friendships. Her intentions were good, but ultimately, no one wants a friend who hovers like a mother hen. I did love that Natalie wasn't an unrealistic character. She internally acknowledged her jealousy over her best friend bonding with another girl from school and she knew she was being redonkulous with Connor. That's just her personality. She's self-aware! LOVE IT! I also enjoyed the interaction between Spencer and Natalie. Even though I didn't agree with everything (or much of ANYTHING) Spencer did, I did enjoy the fact that she called Natalie out on her neuroses, telling her to forget what everyone else thinks of her. Life-changing lessons, ahoy!

And can I also say that I don't think anything that Natalie did qualified her as a "slut?" AT ALL. I thought that was a bit ridiculous.

I seriously loved Connor. Love. Love. Love. I loved the way he talked to Natalie, the way he handled her craziness, even their fights. I only wish the book was longer so we could've gotten a better glimpse at Connor. The romance in this book was delightfully believable. I can picture someone like Natalie playing "who's got more power" games, even though she's head over heels in crush for the guy. We've all done it. GUILTY AS CHARGED. I may have to go back and re-read my favorite parts. Nom.

And FAVORITE part of NTKoG: CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT! *round of applause & whistles from the audience* THANK YOU, SIOBHAN. Not only do you have an awesome name that is fun to say, but you also know that your characters aren't perfect and you make them learn lessons. YES! I do love epiphanies that result in the bettering of my YA MCs.

Siobhan. Siobhan. Siobhan. Gosh, her name is fun. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go hunt down the other novels that Siobhan has written.

Rating: 4/5

Series: standalone.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Push, 336 pages (September 1, 2010)

Learn more about Siobhan: Website | Blog | Twitter

Hai Fiev!

The winnahhh of the signed, finished copy of Nevermore (+ a signed bookmark and TEMPORARY TATS OMGZZZ!!!!!) is.............


I will be emailing you shortly for confirmation and should be getting that out in the mail today. I've already got your address. Congratulations!

Monday, November 29, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

I am so excited to participate in the Debut Author Challenge for 2011, which is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren.

(credit to Lindsi at Books, Sweets, & Other Treats for this delicious Ian Somerhalder button!)

I'm going to challenge myself to read 16 books this year by Debut Authors. I figure it's doable, not to mention I am DYINNNNGGGGGGGGGG to read all of these titles. I totally would've posted the delicious covers, but I cannot figure out how to do this in a perfectly symmetrical way.

Without further delay, here are the books I'm going to attempt to tackle for 2011. This list, of course, is subject to change as far as adding books for later on in the year.

Italics = read.
* = reviewed.

Choker by Elizabeth Woods (4th)
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (4th)
Across the Universe by Beth Revis (11th)

So Shelly by Ty Roth (8th)
Rival by Sara Bennett-Wheeler (15th)
Angelfire by C.A. Moulton (15th)
A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford (22nd)

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes (1st)
Wither by Lauren DeStefano (22nd)
Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys (22nd)
Entwined by Heather Dixon (29th)

Bumped by Megan McCafferty (26th)

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby (3rd)
Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky (23rd)

Hereafter by Tara Hudson (7th)

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter (4th)
Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris (12th)

Head on over to The Story Siren right now to sign up for the challenge!