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 finally...my 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!

In my Mailbox (11)

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

Hello, all you beautiful bookish folk! I've sincerely missed you. This long holiday weekend was amazing. I loved spending time with my family and I got some REALLY awesome books this week. I'm so happy to be back and hopefully posting regularly. My semester is over, so that is awesome. Just one final left, on December 7th. CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS ONE TO END!

Also, if I owe you a package, it's being put in the mail tomorrow. Sorry for the delay! Holiday weeks are crazy.

I'll also be announcing the winner of the NEVERMORE contest tomorrow!

Anyway, onto the books (and Bella, who is obviously incredibly intrigued.)

For Review
Blue by Lou Aronica

From Other Bloggers
Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston (THANK YOU, Eleni from La Femme Readers!)
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (THANK YOU, Tara from Fiction Folio!)

Being Nikki by Meg Cabot
Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian (finished it last night. Loved it.)
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block
Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block

Mom Bought For Me <3
The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys by My Chemical Romance (not pictured)

So that's me this week! Hope everyone had a great book week :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble, Gobble, You Guys.

I know I said that I wouldn't be posting until next week, but I had to take time out of my holiday to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
It is my absolute favorite holiday of the entire year.
A holiday that I celebrate with the most amazing family, only to fall into a deep, utopian slumber after pumping my digestive system with illegal amounts of turkey and potatoes. And gravy. NEVER FORGET THE GRAVY.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy celebrating in whichever way you do. I'm really thankful for all of the amazing bloggers and people I've met in the past couple months. You guys seriously have improved my quality of life and procrastination skills. And my priorities are screwed up forever. And I probably won't ever get to working out regularly like I should, because I'll be blogging or reading instead. But hey, that is all okay. It's all worth it. YOU GUYS ROCK.

Seriously, enjoy your day. I can't wait to be back to my regularly scheduled posting.

Monday, November 22, 2010

In My Mailbox (10)

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

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Airhead by Meg Cabot (this spine is all jacked. Bought it for a buck at HPB. Probably gonna buy a new one, because broken spines are fug.)
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
The Earth, My Butt, & Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Hate List by Jennifer Brown

So IMM is a little late this week. That's basically the story of my life for the next 0.5 months. After that, I will be free for a little over a month. I am so stoked for this, you guys, you have no idea! This has without a doubt been the craziest, most stressful semester of my liiiiiiieeeeefe and I need it to be over before all my teeth fall out from griding them so much at night.

Basically, what I'm trying to get at, is that for the next week, I'm gonna take a little hiatus. I've got one test on Tuesday, the 23rd, which I've been killing myself to study for. Then I've got my EVIL, DIABOLICAL FINAL FROM HELL on December 7th (ironically, the same day that "Last Sacrifice" hits shelves.) I'm also going out of town to visit family for Thanksgiving. WOOHOO FOUR DAY WEEKEND! So I'll be super incredibly busy with traveling, visiting loved ones, and stuffing my face until I double my weight.

I will be back on November 29th, in full force. I'll miss you guys, and I'll be sure to drown my sorrows in copious amounts of turkey. Make sure you all wearing your Thanksgiving pants!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Me + Wine + Tryptophan = Best Friends Fo' Life

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books . Head over to her site and start a-hoppin'!

This Week's Question: "Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let's use this week's Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!"

My Answer: There are so many things I'm thankful for. I'll just go ahead and rattle them out without much emphasis. My wonderful husband. My amazing family on both sides. My cats. My job (even though I hate it.) The opportunity to go to school (even though I hate it.) The fact that I live healthily and comfortably and free. As for bloggish things, I'm thankful for the amazing friends I've made while blogging, especially the very first 5 or 6, with whom I still talk to every single day. I am not mentioning names, because I don't want to forget anyone (I'm ever so forgetful, you guys) but you know who you are <3 I'm also incredibly thankful for all the authors that I've had the privilege of talking to. It's truly a surreal experience to be able to chat aimlessly with those who are brilliant enough to create entire worlds through words.

As far as holiday traditions, the Thanksgiving plans have been different every single year for the past five years. But this year is the first time I'm spending it with my family since I moved. I'm so excited, because it's also the first time I'm getting a four day weekend for five years! WOOHOO!! The plan is, visit family, have a great time, fall into a tryptophan coma, drink some wine (which won't help with the coma), and just be happy. That's the best thing about family. No matter where we are, if they're there, I'm happy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Songs I Think You Should Know

So my reading expectancy isn't up to par. It totally stinks. I cannot wait til finals are over and I can resume my happy submersion into written words out of leisure, not obligation.

Anywho, I always love recommending music to people, because I rock out to them often. I've got a pretty eclectic musical taste, so I pretty much listen to everything. There's really not much more to it than that. And hey, maybe you know them already and love them. Even better! Tell me how much you love them. Or how much you hate them.

I'll start out with pop, since I'm kind of needing to get a little pumped up this morning.

Seriously, I love Ashlee Simpson's pre-nose job stuff. Sure, there was that whole lip-synching fiasco that "blew everyone's mind," but did anyone really consider for a moment that she didn't lip-synch at least a little bit? I know I'd want to, especially if you're moving around a stage like a maniac. I cannot deny that she made a fabulously awesome studio album with Autobiography.

"Love Me For Me" was my favorite song off that album.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

First off, I need to know what Mila Kunis is doing on the cover of this book. (Unless you ask ShabbyGeek of That Cover Girl. She'll tell you it's Mandy Moore.) What would possess you to dye your hair, Mila? I rather liked your pretty brunette-ness.

Second, what's with the emphatic circles?! Is there some divine mystery to which we must find the answer!? I see a bird, a ring, and some Kelly Kapowski hair, sans the feathered bangs. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!

I need this book in my life something fierce. I also need that dress. Due to a serious decrease in life expectancy, young girls are forced to marry. You know that Beach Boys' song that has the lyric "two girls for every boy?" Well, think of it like that...except more than two. Just how many other wives? That remains to be seen.

P.S. Sorry for all the pop culture references in this WoW.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano will be released 3/22/11 and is the first in a series. Here's the GoodReads summary, which is much more eloquent than I:

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

GoodReads Summary: Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew—just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road—diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards—this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

My Thoughts: I hate driving. I despise being couped up in a tiny little car for 60 minutes to drive to/from work everyday. I could never pull an Amy and Roger and trek across the entire United States. I just don't have the patience and I'd have to get out and stretch every hour or so. HOWEVER, I no longer need to! Because Morgan Matson has shown me everything I needed to see in A&R's Epic Detour! (And HECK YES for the Kentucky mention.) YAY! Thank you, Morgan, for saving my nerves, circulation, and my bank account from utter destruction.

I had seen rave reviews scattered about the blogosphere for this book. They mentioned "playlist" and I was all over this book. Music makes my ears dance. Books make my eyes dance. Music and books together is a straight up sensory ho-down. BRING IT ON. A&R was fabulous because Roger's playlists included some seriously awesome tunes from: The Weepies, The Spill Canvas (YES YES YES!), R.E.M, The Rocket Summer, Damien Rice, The Format...and some stuff I haven't heard of. I love music, so this book made my eyes twinkle with treble clefs.

Matson's innovative book style totally appealed to me. I love seeing little photos, receipts, and "handwritten notes," because it really drives home the book's personable-ness (which probably isn't a word.) It offers a more intimate glimpse at the characters and the more I can fall in love with a character, the better.

Amy, Amy, Amy...could she be anymore beautifully written? Her grief over the death of her father had my heart in a vice and waterfalls of tears from my eyes. Death, in general, is hard to read about. Death of a parent, being one of my biggest fears, is devastating. The way that Amy reminisced about her father and her family made me think about my father and my family. More eye waterfalls. I can't explain it any better than it absolutely broke my heart. All of the characters were so delightfully raw, it was an privilege to suffer along with them.

A&R's slow-building romance was perfect. I can't tell you how tired I've grown of the automatic "OMG ILY! 143!" I am. Gradual growth of a literary romance = deeper investment in a storyline, because it shows that the author truly loves her characters and isn't just writing lovey-dovey mush for the sake of writing mush. Even the small roles were memorable (e.g. Roger's friend who hacked "Honor Quest" to be able to alter the Princesses name to reflect his crush of the day. WIN!)

This is absolutely a Top Ten Books of 2010 for me. I'm not at all surprised that I'm absolutely enamored with this book. Morgan Matson = auto-buy.

Rating: 5/5

Series: standalone.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 344 pages (May 4, 2010)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. If you haven't heard of her, you're living under a rock! She is super cool :)

I had a pretty awesome week, I won't lie. I think I'm going to have to put a book buying ban into effect again. No promises on the upholding of that notion. My Half Price Books is magical, I think because I tend to find new releases within mere weeks of their release dates. I'm looking at you, Jane and The Mockingbirds!!

My little sister is in town visiting from college (YAY!) and she helped me rearrange my bookshelf. There's no particular order to it, I just needed something a little less cluttered. She then proceeded to raid my bookcase and pulled out the entire Pretty Little Liars series to take back to IU with her. Naturally, I made her sign a legally binding contract to ensure that the books return to me in their original near-perfect condition. But the point is: she's reading YA. She hardly ever reads. Yay for setting a good example :) She's actually lying on the floor of my office/cat room/book room reading the first one. She refused to let me take a picture...spoilsport.

Onto the books....


The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Jane by April Lindner
Mistwood by Leah Cypress
The Candidates by Inara Scott
Charmed Thirds and Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty

Not Pictured (because it's in my bedroom and my husband is sleeping)

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty


At any rate, a seriously great book week for me.

Thank you to all of my readers and blogger friends who responded to yesterday's Jessie Spano post. You all are right: blogging is supposed to be fun and not stressful. I really haven't been stressed about it so far, but I think starting out posting every single day kind of set a standard for me.

Just wanted to let you know that I seriously heart and appreciate you guys. Thanks so much for reading, even if what I have to say is ridiculous and makes no sense. I have no idea why I have ANY followers at all :)

Also, don't forget to enter to win a signed, finished copy of NEVERMORE by Kelly Creagh. It's my favorite book of 2010 and I highly recommend it. Click HERE to enter!

"No Time! There's Never Any Time!"

We all remember that tumultuous episode of Saved By the Bell where Jessie Spano is desperately trying to keep herself awake to study, or else she won't get into Stanford. Not only that, she was also in a girls' group with Kelly and Lisa (it always surprised me that EVERYONE in that circle of friends could sing and dance. Hmm.) I always felt bad for Jessie, because I, myself, have never taken school seriously. I don't remember really ever putting any effort into homework or studying. EVER. I wasn't an A student by any means, but at that time, my standards/expectations for myself were fairly average. My parents kept pushing me to try, try, try... but I was content with As, Bs, and the occasional C (CURSE YOU, MATHEMATICS OF ANY VARIETY!)

Boy, do I regret that now. They (whoever they are) say hindsight is 20/20, and THEY are right. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would. And, being the tangential person that I am, this post really doesn't really have any direct involvement with Jessie Spano or my high school report cards. What it DOES address, however, is posting frequency.

You guys, I'm not trying to go on a "woe is me" tirade because everyone has busy lives, but I'm going to give you a little taste of my weekly schedule, which isn't quite conducive to blogging/reading as much as I'd like.

Monday: Wake up around 9:00, make coffee, compile and schedule blog posts for Monday through Thursday. Shower and go to work 2:30 - 11pm.
Tuesday: Class from 8:30 - 2:30pm; work 4:30 - 11pm (not gonna lie, usually book shopping between these two obligations.)
Wednesday: Wake up, do laundry, work 1:30 - 11:00pm.
Thursday: Clinical from 7:00am - 7:00pm. Come home, study.
Friday: Wake up, schedule blog posts for Friday and Saturday, finish up laundry, work 1:30 - 11:00pm.
Saturday/Sunday: I spend time with my husband (I don't see him throughout the week, because I work second shift and he works first) and this is when I get most of my reading done, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, as well as additional studying...because nursing school sucks.

What I'm trying to say is, sometimes life gets in the way and it's difficult to write reviews and posts and read books in a timely fashion in order to pump out new reviews and posts. Is that acceptable? So far, I've been trying to post at least once a day for everyday in the month, but I'm beginning to feel the strain. I'm beginning to slow down on the books I'm reading, because finals are rapidly approaching. I feel like I have NO TIME. It's causing a constant sadface, and Jessie taught me that caffeine pills are NOT the way to go.

Bloggers, how many times per week do you aim to post?
Is it okay to only post a few times per week?

Readers, if a blog you follow doesn't post for a few days, is this off-putting to you?
Do you lose interest?

I'm looking forward to reading everyone's thoughts on the matter!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (9)

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy for Books.

This Week's Question: "If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?"

My Answer: Yes, yes, yes. There's no way I can read a series without reading the entire set of books. That would basically be shafting yourself out of the full-bodied experience. I'm not cool with that. Plus, let's face it: I have a book addiction and not only do I like reading books, but I like collecting them. Sure, I've got over 100 books that I've bought and haven't read yet. "SO WHAT?" I ask you, because they look so pretty causing my book shelf to buckle. Seriously, I buy a lot of books. It's sick(ly awesome.)

Off to hop, people. Have a FABULOUS Friday! Is it your payday? Because it's mine. And I'm gonna go utilize a Half Price Books coupon. OH YES.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Do You Know When to Let Go?

Guys, I has the guilt and the frustration right now.

I'm conflicted on when is the precise moment when to decide that a book is just not for me. It really feels like back in high school, breaking up with that really cute, really nice boy who turned out to be kind of predictable and doesn't have any standout qualities...

But could POTENTIALLY make you happy...

BUT you're just so unsure that you don't want to waste anymore time on it...

(I've never actually gone through this hypothetical, analogical scenerio, but I've read about it!)

It's so hard for me to put down a book in which I've already invested time and money. It's equally hard to continue turning pages when your eyes glaze over and it's been 15 minutes and you've looked at the same sentence 20 times. Giving up, to me, feels like I'm not being fair to the author. What if they have something special in store several pages down the line? I know that I could pick up a book I'd be more interested in, but what if something MINDBLOWINGLY AMAZING happens within the next 200 pages?! And I miss out on it? And then all my friends are talking about "OMG can you BELIEVE that one part of Said Book?! It changed my life! I can solve ALL the world's problems now!"

I realize this is highly unlikely. But that's how my mind works. I'm super enthusiastic about books, as are we all, and I love to pick out the good things in the books I read. So how do you know when to say goodbye? I've only DNFed 3 books in 2010.

I asked a couple other bloggers via Twitter and here's what they had to say:

Tara from Fiction Folio
"I have only stopped reading one book. If I start it, I have to finish it.

Tara from Hobbitsies
"I hate giving up. If I don't like a book, I'll put it down and come back to it. Usually my mood affects how I like what I read."

Kristi from The Story Siren
"I have a 100 page rule. I used to feel more guilty [about giving up]."

Kate from Literary Explorations
"I've rarely given up on a book, but I think if I wasn't liking it halfway through then I'd give up and read something better."

Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner
"I have such a hard time not finishing a book.. but lately I give it about 100 pages, depending on how long the book is."

Jami from YA Addict
"I have a 5 chapter rule."

Melanie from Reclusive Bibliophile
"I usually give it a few chapters, say 50 pages-ish, and then I give up if I'm not into it. I feel a little guilty jumping ship, but then I glance over at my TBR pile. I just try to remind myself that not every book is for every reader and then move on to one that hopefully will be for me."

Annette from Annette's Book Spot
"Usually 50 or so. But if it's a longer book, or one I THINK I should like, I give it longer."

So there it is. It's good to hear what other readers think, but it doesn't lessen the guilt for me. I think the more that the TBR pile grows (and it will, that wily minx!) the less guilty I will feel about letting go and moving on.

Melanie said it best when she told me: "You'll just have to decide what feels worse: guilt or boredom."

So what do you guys think? Do you have a hard time giving up on a book? Do you feel guilty about doing so? Or is giving up not even an option?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

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

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stay by my side. Drag me into the core of a conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

Well, this is just going to take way too long. I mean, it's not even December yet and The Iron Queen ARCs have already begun to show up on various IMMs. Which means that my eyes will flicker green flames everytime I watch an IMM or see the photo pop up on my Google Reader. And the long awaited conclusion (or so I thought...have you met The Iron Knight yet? Also known as...Ash's Story?) to the Iron Fey series doesn't come out until February 1, 2011. DUDE. Meghan is such a badass. The awesome thing is, she wasn't a 100% badass in the beginning of the series, but has progressively enhanced her badassness. I can only hope that TIQ brings an even MORE badassinest Meghan. I have high hopes for this, because I've read a few teasers found prancing around the interwebs and Meghan appears to be sword fighting in one of them. SWORD FIGHTING, you guys. You know how musicians get 10 automatic swoon points? Sword-wielding sorta-fey girls get 154 automatic badass points.

One more time: badass. (I promise I'm done.)

Not to mention this cover is awesome. Fuschia is such an underrated color. More books should be fuschia. And I'm a sucker for a blonde heroine, being blonde myself. I cannot wait for more of this crazy fantasy/Wonderland/industrial horror carnival. And Julie, I hope to see the packrats again :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

GoodReads Summary: Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

My Thoughts: It's no secret that Nightshade was one of my most anticipated reads of 2010. I remember seeing it some IMMs several months back. Once I saw the cover, it was like someone had switched on a neon sign in my head that flashed and buzzed 24/7: MUST! HAVE! MUST! HAVE!

That cover!
That title!
That color scheme!

Yes, I decided I needed to make Nightshade mine. So after months upon months of counting down and entering ARC contests (to no avail), I finally got my grubby little hands on a bright and shiny copy. I have to commend whoever orchestrated the brilliant marketing for Nightshade. The whole mystery game with Shay was phenomenal. Huge props on that.

Nightshade is narrated by leader of the pack, Calla. I liked being in Calla's head, but she tended to make me dizzy with her back-and-forth tendencies between love interests. After all, what would YA paranormal be without that love triangle business? However, Calla was nothing, if not loyal to her pack. I loved her devotion to her brother, Ansel, who was one of my favorite characters (and my sugar-to-coffee ratio is tooth-achingly similar to his.) Calla has a lot of soul-searching to do in coming books, and I can't wait to read about it. As Shay told her, "you belong to yourself." Loved that part. It brought the warm, fuzzy feeling.

Speaking of Shay, I was a bit conflicted on how I felt about him. On one hand, he was rather pushy and insistent with Calla, almost borderline disrespectful of her boundaries and traditions. On the other, he was at times sensitive and encouraged Calla to look beyond the little box she's lived in her entire life. I think I need a bit more exposure to Shay to form a well-rounded opinion. I'm so glad this is a series, because I cannot WAIT to find out more about Shay and the exact part he plays in the grand scheme of things.

At the beginning, I was not down with Calla's betrothed being a player while she has to remain virginal and pure. Do not want. I'm Team "Calla finding herself and rocking it out as a strong, self-sufficient chick." But as the story progressed, Ren's charming, faithful side emerged and I, too, was back-and-forth about who I was cheering for. Cremer has a way of presenting you with the characters' flaws and then offering a deeper, more meaningful look into their personalities, which were delightful distinct and diverse.

What an insane journey I've just concluded. I don't even know if I can use the term "concluded," because holy cliffhanger. It was a doozy.
The world-building, the lore, the intricacies of the precarious balance between the Keepers and the Guardians was exquisite. There were some issues with the Keepers and their power trips that made me slightly uncomfortable, so I'm hoping for retribution in future books. I'm so impressed by Cremer's ability to keep all of it straight in her head, let alone create this complex hierarchy. Reading about the Guardian's history was a infinitely more interesting and fun than any history book I've ever read. If only it were this much fun in real life.

Rating: 4/5

Series: Book 2, Wolfsbane, will be released July 12, 2011 with book 3, Bloodrose, in 2012.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Philomel, 454 pages (October 19, 2010)

Learn more about Andrea: Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kelly Creagh Signing (+ Giveaway!)

Tidbit about me: I'm a shy person, by nature. I talk big, but in person, I'm a meek little bunny rabbit. Always doubting, always questioning, sometimes socially awkward.

I'm also a Nevermore fan girl. I love Kelly Creagh. I love her because I love her writing and her characters and the way her brain works when she's writing her characters. She also live in the same town as me, which is awesome. She'd previously had a couple signings scattered around town but I always had something going on that prevented me from going and talking to the person who wrote, hands down, the best book I've read in 2010.

Shy, potentially socially dysfunctional + no friends to go with me to author signing + Kelly Creagh = OMG1!!!!!11 FREAKOUT.

I asked my husband to go, but there were football games on TV. That settled that. None of my friends could go (JERKS!) so it looked like I was braving the signing by myself. So off I went to Kelly's signing, a one (wo)man wolfpack. Additionally, my camera had just died. In the car. On the way there. FML.

I got there like, right on time, so there was only one person in front of me. It was then that I had no idea what to say other than "omgiloveyourbookthankyousomuchforwritingit!" Luckily, Kelly was so incredibly
nice and easy to talk to. She was gracious and totally willing to answer any of my questions. Of course, I asked about Book 2, for which I am DYING. I probably don't know anything that hasn't been said already, but I don't want to say anything out of fear of being disrespectful. Sorry, all!
I asked Kelly if she was like me, and used a celebrity cast for her characters. I figured Varen would be an unknown, because he's probably too beautifully perfect to
have any known celebrity in Hollywood depict him. I was surprised by the fact that she googled "Goth Boy" when trying to find a face for Varen. She said that she found a photo of a boy who had a lip ring, eyeliner, and dark hair who she thought would be perfect for her Varen. (I'm not sure if this is the one or not, but it was the first picture that came up.) And when we talked about Isobel, she said that she would love to see Dakota Fanning cast, because she's a great actress and is a real-life cheerleader!

All in all, I had an awesome time meeting and talking to Kelly. I did not hyperventilate, pass out, or say something that made me look completely foolish. Well, I might've. Kelly was awesome enough to take a picture with me. (Does she not have the coolest hair ever?) A special thanks to Kelly's mom, who was our photographer and was skilled in iPhone photography.


And now, because I love you guys so much, I'm giving away a signed, finished copy of Nevermore, as well as a signed bookmark and of Varen's favorite band, Cemetery Sighs. (Click HERE to download "Emily Not, Not Gone" by Cemetery Sighs...FO FREE! That is actually Kelly's editor singing!)

Contest Information

Please read my Contest/Privacy policy HERE.

Must be 13+ to enter.

One person per entry, please.

US & CA Residents Only.

Winners will be chosen using Random.org and I will contact you via e-mail, as well as announce on the blog, if you win.

Contest deadline is November 26, 2010.

Click HERE to fill out the form.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is hosted and was orchestrated by the ridiculously awesome Kristi at The Story Siren.

So I had a little extra cash lying around, since my job decided to be awesome. Some girls would spend it on clothes or shoes or other crap like that. I don't much care about either of those things, and my hoodie and sweatpants supply is abundant. I could've highlighted my hair, because I desperately need that. But I'm lazy. And Book Closeouts had some insanely awesome books available.

So here's my awesome mailbox, as presented by the feline Bo Schembechler, who loves new book smell just as much as I do.

From Other Bloggers
The Jumbee by Pamela Keyes (Won this in a contest that the lovely ladies had over at Forever Young Adult. YAY PHANTOM OF THE OPERA!)
Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney (Eleni at La Femme Readers, who I heart, sent this to me :)

Bought at Half Price Books
She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

Bought at BookCloseouts.com
Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr (I love this series so much, I had to have the UK covers)
You Are So Undead to Me and Undead Much? by Stacey Jay
The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

I'm beyond pumped about all the goods I got this week.

In other news, I've read 90 books this year so far. My goal is 100 by November 30, 2010. I unfortunately don't think I'm going to make it, because this month will be filled with studying for exams, holidays, and preparing for finals. Guys, nursing school sucks the life out of me. I'm not too disappointed, because I only read about 40 last year (SO SAD) and my goal for this year was 60. Even if I can make it to 95, I think I'll feel somewhat accomplished.

Have a great week!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

And The Winner Is....

"...everybody's hands go UP. And they stay there."

So I finally figured out how to use Random.org, sorry for the delay. Anyway... the winner of the Crescendo ARC contest is:


Congratulations to KindleObsessed! I will be emailing you shortly for your mailing address.

Don't worry, folks. There will be another chance to win something FABULOUS in the extremely near future. Thanks to all who entered!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (8) aka "Everybody Has a Sad Sometimes."

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books.

This Week's Question: "What are your feelings on losing followers? Have you ever stopped following a blog?"

My Answer: I haven't been here long, so I don't think I've lost any followers...yet. It would makes me feel like I'm not doing something well enough or fun enough. Perhaps that particular individual doesn't like how I express myself negatively or positively in reviews. I've seen bloggers chastised because their reviews were "too positive" (WTF? God forbid they like the books they read, you know?) Basically, you can't please everyone. I think once the initial shock of "OMG WHY DON'T THEY LOVE ME ANYMORE?!" wears off, I'd be a happier blogger just accepting that not everyone is going to like me or like how/what I say. I've got an amazing support group of blogger friends, so that's kind of my backbone.

As far as choosing to not follow a blog? I haven't done that yet. If I can't relate to the content or I don't read that particular genre, I won't follow it in the first place. Now if we're talking about Twitter, yes. I have chosen to unfollow. My thing is... if a I, a reader of your blog, am tweeting you and tell you how awesome your blog is or try and get to know you and you flat out ignore me multiple times, it really discourages me from wanting to start further conversation. Does that make me a mean person? I don't think so. It's just kind of embarrassing to compliment someone on different occasions and have them not even say thank you or even "hello." Sometimes that's all it takes, folks!

And I'm not one for drama, but I just had to rant a little. Sorry, guys :P Won't happen again for a long time!

What do you guys think? Agree? Disagree?

Have a FABULOUS weekend, all! Can't wait for IMMs on Sunday!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: Rae by Chelsea Rae Swiggett

GoodReads Summary: When you're fourteen and trying to deal with the highs, lows, traumas, and humiliations that go along with being a high school freshman, having severe anxiety can become all consuming. Chelsea Rae Swiggett's anxiety has affected every area of her life—school, family, friendships, and romance—ultimately pushing her to lose her voice, withdrawal from everyday life and school, and develop an eating disorder.

The sounds of planes flying overhead could spark a panic attack and something as simple as being called on in class could push her over the edge, convinced that everyone was judging her, mocking her. Faking sickness so she could stay home became her only solution, since she'd rather do anything than face the reality of what happened behind the school's double doors. Rae tells a story all-too-many teens today relate to—what it feels like to see the world through a lens of constant debilitating fear, anxiety, and stress.

My Thoughts: I've been a blog lurker of Chelsea (The Page Flipper) for a long time and simply reading the title of her book filled me with a sense that I needed to read it. I think it was the work of a higher power that I won a copy of Rae through acontest, because I feel like she wrote this book about me, just with different names and places.

That's not possible, of course, but I'm serious.

I got about two chapters into Rae when she shredded my heart for the first time. All Chelsea does is describe kids doing kid things: making fun of weight, making fun of social mannerisms, and general crap-talking ...you know, normal things that most human beings experience at least once in their lives. In fact, they're a daily occurrence in most middle schoolers' lives.

Some people can take it with a grain of salt.
Others feel it in the very depths of their bones.

Chelsea's words were doused and loaded with pain. This book hit home. When you read about a fictional character's struggles, you feel their pain, but you move on. They're fictional, after all. But knowing that a real-life person had these real-life feelings about real-life bullies... it's a different kind of pain. This book affected me big time, because I've been there and it triggered feelings I felt...heck, DECADES ago. It just goes to show that no matter how much you suppress those negative experiences, sometimes you take a piece of them with you for the rest of your life. It made me queasy to read about the things that were spoken amongst Chelsea's peers.

Rae addresses her social anxiety, intricately detailing the onslaught of fear she felt whenever she had to so much as say her name during attendance, or *gasp* give a public speech. These things may sound laughable to some, but it takes a monumental amount of guts to be able to put your feelings out there for all to read. I applaud her bravery and sharing her struggles and fears. It's inspiring and heartbreaking at the same exact time.

If you've ever struggled with anxiety, insecurity, bullying... read this book. If you haven't struggled with anxiety, insecurity, or bullying, read it anyway. This is a brief, but powerful look into the life of a girl trying to get by as quietly and peacefully as possible. I wish all teens could read this, both as a sign that words can and very often do hurt, and as a reassurance that they're not alone.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Series: Rae is a book in the Louder Than Words series.
Source: I won this book in a contest.
Published: HCI Teens, 168 pages (August 2, 2010)

Learn more about Chelsea: Blog | Goodreads | Twitter

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Laurie Halse Anderson: Human(oid?!)

My dear friend Jamie from over at The Perpetual Page Turner told me sometime last week that she'd be going to a Laurie Halse Anderson signing. Are you jealous? I was jealous. Apparently, I was so jealous that I dreamt about it the night before LHA's signing.

In my dream, I was meeting some other bloggers at the signing (none of whom I actually knew. Strange, I know, but that's dreams for you) and we were all congregated in a general area, waiting for Laurie to come out on stage for her signing. Yes, this bookstore had a stage, so it seemed as if there would be a press conference taking place. And why shouldn't they give her a stage? It's Laurie Halse frickin' Anderson! So we were all incredibly excited once we saw her walk out on stage, but something was...off.

I don't know how I knew, but I knew it was true:


Naturally I was shocked that this amazing author, who wrote the book that tore my heart to shreds and built it back up again, Speak, was humanoid rather than human.

I woke up with a new sense of purpose. I made it my personal mission...well, Jamie's personal mission...to find out if this horrific dream was indicative of a deep, dark secret. After all, what human can write that well? I waited patiently all evening for Jamie to return from her signing to report back. I hoped and prayed that nothing had happened to my dear blogger friend. Who truly knows what author robots are capable of, you know?

Jamie contacted me on Twitter to let me know she was alive and well, and that she had a message from Laurie to me, to disprove any theories that may have been swimming about in my crazy brain:

So there you have it, folks, straight from the source. Sure, she caused quite a scare with that pseudo-glitch in her main operating system, but apparently that was just a joke ;) Laurie Halse Anderson is NOT a humanoid. All is well in the land and peace can be restored to my subconscious!

My reaction to this was: HOLY &*@% LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON JUST TALKED TO ME THROUGH MY COMPUTER SCREEN. Followed by serious amounts of laughter, because she has a kick ass enough sense of humor to laugh along with a silly little blogger who had a silly little dream. It made my day, honest to goodness.

So thank you, Jamie, for going to Laurie's signing and making this happen, period. And a huge, huge thanks to Laurie for being hilarious and playing along with quite possibly the weirdest dream I've ever had. And like Jamie said on her signing recap, thank you for being real, in every sense of the word.

Check out Jamie's awesome recap of the Laurie Halse Anderson signing HERE!

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

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

I never thought I'd start out a WoW with a negative. But honestly, you guys? I do not like this cover. The chick looks cardboard and her back just looks...off. Jeri Smith-Ready deserves much better than this cover. Now I bring you a positive. I love that the color scheme is red, whereas SHADE's was violet. If you've read the book, you'll understand that.

Now that I've said that, let us never speak of the cover again. Just like with people, it's what is inside that counts. I don't want to be too spoilery in case someone hasn't read Shade. If you haven't, though, shame on you! Go now! Walk, don't run, and buy Shade. You won't be sorry. And I have a feeling that what is inside the unmentionable cover is something wondrous and heartbreaking, just like last time.

Aura was left in quite a pickle last time. A pickle between two too-good-to-be-true guys. One, not-quite-ex Logan, who sings and plays instruments and is untouchable in every sense of the word. The other, Zachary, who has a Scottish accent and may or may not have a connection to Aura that is beyond physical. OoOooOoh are you intrigued yet? Because you should be. Shade was phenomenal and Shift is bound to be right on up there.

Another negative? This book doesn't come out for another 6 months. May 3, 2011. Are you counting down? I know I am.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday (Two Weeks Later Edition): Fictional Crushes

So I'm about 14 days late with this post. Last week was crazy so I didn't get much unscheduled blogging done, but I really wanted to partake in this one. Jen from The Broke and the Bookish listed 10 of her fictional crushes. I've given this a lot of serious thought lately. After all, what would a good romance be without that swoon-worthy hero?

I've mentioned before that I'm very visual and almost always have to match a celebrity face to whomever it is I've got a fictitious crush. I'm not very original, sorry. So without further ado, here are my top 10 fictional crushes...with photos!

1. Edward Cullen (Twilight)
You guys, I'm totally not sorry for this. Edward started it all for me. I've never been so excited to read about brooding stares and grimacing. I realize the general consensus is that he's a creepy dead weirdo who sneaks into bedrooms. Yes, that is creepy. But you know what? I wouldn't be reading YA today if it weren't for this delicious specimen. Plus, I'll never forget that feeling I had while reading Twilight. I'm sure some of you know which *feeling* I'm talking about. It was borderline obsessive. To this day, I've never felt about a book like I have about Twilight. I still long to re-read the books for the fourth time. I still get excited to watch the movies and see RPattz's bouffant in the first one. (WHY DID THEY TAKE AWAY THE BOUFFANT?!) I love Edward, 4-eva.

2. Irial (Wicked Lovely Series)
Irial threatened to squeeze into the #1 spot for a minute or two. There is something so awesome about the evil ruler who will stop at nothing to fulfill his diabolical master plan, but then also has a loving, vulnerable side that he occasionally gives into upon finding the right person. Irial, to me, has always come off as this suave, take-no-crap guy who walks around in all black and has this undeniable aura that screams "I run this." His story with Leslie made me swoon almost the entire way through, once it was established that he wasn't going to kill everyone in sight. I could never find anyone to depict Iri, though Gerard Way (ONLY in this picture, though) is as close as I can come. It must be the all black thing.

3. Varen Nethers (Nevermore)
What really got me about Varen is the fact that Kelly Creagh wrote such an amazing, believable buildup to he and Izzy's relationship. It didn't start off with dreamy eyes, it started out with disdain toward one another. He's a poet. He's an artist. He's deep. He's mysterious. He's not your run-of-the-mill YA guy. He's a frickin' weirdo, according to everyone else in the story. Seeing him morph (go, go Power Rangers) into this most perfect guy for Isobel was super duper squee-worthy. I think Ben Barnes would make a perfect Varen.. but ONLY IF he looked like this all the time.

4. Damon Salvatore (Vampire Diaries)

Um, Ian Somerhalder. Do I have to explain myself further? If you watch the show, you know. I did read the books last year and thoroughly enjoyed the first four books. The Return books, not so much. But whatever. Ian Somerhalder embodies everything that Damon is. I swear, the part was written for him. He's such an unbearable a-hole, but there's something so redeemable about him.

5. Seth Mortensen (Succubus Series)
Okay... this guy right here is seriously awesome. He wears vintage shirts (I keep hoping Richelle Mead will write him wearing an old Legend of Zelda shirt with a picture of the Triforce on it), he writes romantic mysteries and is generous with the ARCs, he's socially awkward and better with writing words than speaking them, AND he has messy hair. Georgina and Seth's romance is one of the most tragic I've ever read, but that doesn't mean I'm not chomping at the bit for the final book in the series...um, next SEPTEMBER?! I picture dear Seth to look like Jude Law, circa Sienna Miller. You know, before the nanny.

6. Logan (Shade)

Gahhhh, stupid, STUPID LOGAN! Now that I got that out, let's focus on the fact that Logan is Irish and Logan is a musician. Logan sings. Anyone who sings gets like, 50 automatic amazing points. I forgive him, because musicians are notorious for making stupid decisions. I don't forgive him, because now he's dead. STUPID LOGAN!!! But I still love him. I can't help but picture Steven R. McQueen from Vampire Diaries as Logan. I'm pretty sure Jeremy makes poor decisions, too. Perhaps this actor would excel at being Logan as well!

7. Myrnin (Morganville Vampires)
If crazy is wrong, I don't want to be right. I know most MV readers are all SHANE, SHANE, SHANE. But I'd prefer my fictional dudes a little less predictable, a little more fanged bunny slippers, and I'm still undecided on Bob the Spider. My Myrnin is classically good-looking with a touch of the crazy eyes. Naturally, James McAvoy.

8. Dimitri (Vampire Academy)
There's not too much I can say about Dimitri and what he's been through without being extraordinarily spoilery, so I shall not. Basically, he's like 6'7" and can kill anything. But, with Rose, he's sweet, yet disciplined. And let's be honest: in those first two books, didn't we all just want him to quit being so moral already?! Let us not forget the trenchcoat and his intense love for Western novels. I attempted to find a photo with a trenchcoat. Fail. My Dimitri is Henry Cavill.

9. Adrian (Vampire Academy)
Oh, just a hair behind Dimka. I love Adrian for his snark, his rebellion, and the fact that it's obvious that he loves Rose so much. Even through his vulnerable moments, he never loses that detached aura of "I rock" that makes him so awesome. I basically described Hayden Christensen...and what do you know? Hayden is my Adrian.

10. Link (Legend of Zelda)
Yeah, this isn't from a book, unless you count the gamer's manual. So what? Link is the HERO OF TIME. He defeated Ganon. He has pointy ears and rocks the green tunic and iron boots. Love forever.

So those are my 10 fictional dudes that I enjoy. One question to myself: why is no one smiling? Is brooding a necessity? SEE WHAT YOU STARTED, EDWARD?!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Operation: Help Jen Do Something Potentially Interesting (Part II)

Last Wednesday, I asked you guys to shout out all the YA authors who have impacted your reading experience in an unforgettable way. Thank you guys so much for responding via Twitter and blog comments. It's seriously helpful. I'm still in the process of developing exactly where I am going with this, but rest assured that I'll let you guys know just as soon as I have some semblance of an idea.

Anyway, the results are in. The top 10 authors that scream "YA!" to you are as follows:

1. John Green
2. Sarah Dessen
3. Laurie Halse Anderson
4. David Levithan
5. Meg Cabot
6. Ellen Hopkins
7. Melina Marchetta
8. Scott Westerfield
9. Judy Blume
10. Markus Zusak

Now for even more fun!

Of the authors listed above, which books are your favorite?

If you haven't read that author, that's fine. Skip to the next one. If you have more than one favorite by a particular author, even better! List them all!

I'm looking forward to everyone's responses :)