Sunday, October 31, 2010

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox was created by the fabulous Kristi from The Story Siren. It's a superfun meme and you should probably participate.

Ahoy, bookies. How was your week? Did you get some fantastic books? I got some good ones and I'm excited to share them with you! Unfortunately, every book that I got this week is not pictured, because I ordered 6 of them from Book Closeouts (OMGILOVETHISSITE!) a couple days ago and it takes them some time to get shipped, unfortunately. So I'll save those for when I can take pretty pictures of them.



Bought

- The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller (at the advice of Anna from Anna Reads, whose review you can read HERE.)
- Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty (thanks to persistent urgings by Carla and Anna. Apparently Megan McCafferty is worshipworthy!) Anyway, I found this one at Half Price Books and I desperately need the first book and subsequent three!)
- Startled by His Furry Shorts by Louise Rennison (I bought this for a dollar. Holler.)
- Ghost Town by Rachel Caine (am I pissed off that this is in hardcover and isn't uniform to my 8 mass market paperbacks? Heck yes. Am I willing to overlook that because Myrnin is crazily delish? YESYEYSYEYSEYYYEYEYSSSSS!)


From NetGalley


- Delirium by Lauren Oliver (!!!!!!!!!!!)
- Unearthly by Cynthia Hand


So, my dear readers, I had an amazing week. I cannot wait to get the other 6 books I ordered from Book Closeouts. If you're going to check out that site, proceed with caution. You will likely end up spending your life savings; however, you'll get a whole heck of a lot of books for an extraordinary amount of cheapness.

OH. And you guys, there are only a few days left in my Crescendo ARC contest. This poor ARC needs a good, loving home and your time is running out. It ends on 11/3/10. Please go HERE to enter, or you can find the link to the top right of the blog. As of today's date, there are only 31 entries, so you've got pretty fracking awesome odds of winning!

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen


GoodReads Summary: The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star…

Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.

The only person Cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.

Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart.

My Thoughts: Wow. WoW. WOW.

I want to be a flapper. Right now. With the fringe and the headbands and the pearls and the feathers. I want to smoke (candy) cigarettes out of impossibly long holders and attend late night parties with jazz bands and not wake up 'til 2pm.

That would be an awesome life. But it's not mine, so I'll opt to live vicariously through three fictitious beauties--Cordelia, Astrid, and Letty.

I adored this book. I've not read Godbersen's Luxe series, but you're darn straight that I'm gonna bump it up the TBR. Reading Bright Young Things was a seriously enjoyable experience. Unfortunately I had a bunch of prior obligations to tend to while reading this one, so I didn't get to devour it in a few hours for the optimum experience like I'd preferred. This sounds full of cheese and cliche, but I felt like I was there. I felt like I knew these girls and we were BFFs.

Cordelia's journey was by far my favorite. Watching her search for her long lost father was both heartwrenching and inspiring to me. Heartwrenching because, hello, the chick didn't have a dad. Inspiring because her choice to put her comfort zone aside to pursue what she really wanted out of life took a whole crapload of kahones. And oh! How I loved Thom and all the pretty, pretty things he whispered.

Letty was the most relatable...the shy, insecure but insanely talented girl-who-doesn't-know-she's-beautiful (at least the shy/insecure parts.) I really sympathized with her story. She finally grew a pair and started to make a name for herself... and her story is vastly inconclusive. I'm so excited that this is a series, but GOOD GOD I DON'T WANT TO WAIT.

Astrid reminded me of one of the girls in the Pretty Little Liars series, except infinitely more awesome. Astrid is the kind of person I'm completely fascinated by, because she's always down for a good time, to offer a coy smile while concocting a mischievous scheme, or to flirt her way to the VIP section. I could never do any of those things, so Astrid's type is a sort of anomaly to me. Either way, I loved her and her easy-going demeanor with a hidden depth.

If you like fun, read this book. If you like speakeasies and jargon like "baby" and "darling" (I like to think they pronounce it dahhh-ling, like Cruella DeVille, but not so puppy-skinningly), read this book. If you like pretty covers and judge books upon just that, this book has a fabulous cover as well!

Are you sold?
Are you buying the book right now?

GO!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Series: This is the first book in a series. Book Two, Beautiful Days, will be out in 2011?! (According to GR. This may be a mistake, but I sure hope it's not!)
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: HarperCollins, 400 pages (October 12, 2010)

Learn more about Anna: Website | Myspace

Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (7) aka "Can I Get a Botanist in Here?"


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

This Week's Question: "What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?"

My Answer: It'd probably be a toss up between three things. I know this is cheating, but I'm severely indecisive. It's a character flaw.

1. To go to BEA. In the month and a half I've been blogging, I've met some insanely awesome bloggers. Unfortunately, we all live so far away from one another that it's difficult to get us corralled into the same general area. Solution? BEA. It's not looking likely that I'll get to go for 2011, but I plan to still be blogging for 2012, so that's my goal! Plus there's the whole books & authors thing. Yeah, sweetness.

2. Unlimited supply of books. I've talked about the need of a new release tree. Can anyone concoct that?

3. A book room. No, no. Not book shelf. Book ROOM. I want every single wall to be books. I want the ceiling to be books (by then, we'll have found a way to defy gravity.) The floor won't be books, though, because that'd just be cruel. Rather, the floor would be a pillow top mattress with memory foam pillows strewn about, so take your shoes off, please.

Any referrals? Anyone? I can't do it alone!!

Hope you all have a fabulantastic Friday and read lots this weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken



GoodReads Summary: Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.


My Thoughts: Picture me, circa 1998, on Christmas morning. My parents hand me a gift. It's rectangular and I feel my heart start to beat faster because I know exactly what it is. I tear through the wrapping paper and my gleeful suspicions are confirmed:

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE OCARINA OF TIME.

Cue monumental squee like no 13-year-old had ever squeed before. I fell into a zombie-like state for the next month that was only paused for my hand to find the bag of Baked Lays BBQ chips. Link was awesome. Zelda was awesome. Hyrule was awesome. I was completely enraptured and invested in the story and felt a sense of longing and sadness when it was over.

Where is this going, you psychotic, tangential weirdo? you might ask.

Well, I'm trying to tell you that enveloping myself in Brightly Woven was like enveloping myself in the world of Hyrule, but with a whole lot more wizards! Not that these stories have multitudes of similarities, but the feeling was there. Nothing else existed when I was reading this book. I felt nostalgic and magical and tip-toed around each page because I had no idea where Ganondorf, er, Dorwan would show up next. And get this: THERE WAS NO WATER TEMPLE!

Sydelle, like Link, lives in a small village with a few acquaintances here and there. She mostly minds her own business and is well-to-do and happy in her own little corner of the world.

Enter Wayland North, a wizard who scoops her up out of nowhere and is like, "hey, you and me are taking off, kay?" And then they do. I knew right off the bat that I was going to like North. He's got a few quips up his sleeve and sure, he's flawed. He's got a bit of a drinking problem and isn't too proud to stumble around making a fool of himself. Ohhh, but North has a dark secret. And I do love my endlessly flawed characters with dark secrets.

Sydelle and North's story unfolded rather rocky-like. Sydelle was not a North fan whatsoever. He took her away from her family and her comfort zone with zero explanation. I'd be feeling the negativity, too. But the banter that results from it is actually hilariously cute at times, and you wonder if the attraction wasn't there from the very beginning. The slowly developing love story between the two is vulnerable and poignant and so beautiful to witness.

Alexandra Bracken is such a gifted writer that she didn't have to incorporate a bunch of badly placed no-no scenes. Did I mention she was in college when she wrote this beautiful book? I'm shocked I'm able to write a semi-coherant review, let alone an entire 400 page book. And it's GOOD! I did have a problem following along with the different territories/countries and their involvement in the master plot, but I was able to overlook it because of my satisfaction with the characters and their unique personalities and development.

I'm hoping for a sequel, even though the story ended nicely. And, like Zelda, my heart dropped when I had no more pages to turn. I cannot wait for more from Ms. Bracken.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Series: No immediate, concrete plans for a sequel.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Egmont USA, 368 pages (March 23, 2010)

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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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

Bloggers, Readers... I need your help.

When you think about the YA genre, which authors automatically come to mind? Who, in your opinion, is a staple in YA? Whose books have changed your life and shattered your earth? If a friend asked you, "hey, I'm interested in YA, who should I start out with?" who would you recommend?

There's an ultimate purpose in this, but right now I just really super duper bigtime need your feedback! :)

Please leave me a comment and know that I'm mentally hugging you for doing so. Thanks, guys!

Waiting on Wednesday (4)


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

The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the faery courts, and in the final conflict, some will win…and some will lose everything.
-- Goodreads


I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this my most anticipated book for the first quarter of 2011. You guys, I am so conflicted. You see, I enjoyed Wicked Lovely. It was an interesting enough story and kept my attention the whole way through. Something was missing, though. I decided, many months later, to pick up Ink Exchange to venture back into Melissa Marr's world to see if I'd like to continue the series.

And then I met the Dark King, Irial.

S:JIoU*S&O*#KJPo*U)RQIOWRIO*

It was love at first sight. You can read my full reaction two posts down. Irial is pretty much the only book character that I have depicted so perfectly in my head that I cannot pick out a celebrity to cast him. (I tend to do that with all book characters because my brain isn't very creative.) But seriously, after meeting Irial and the intense history he had with Niall and the faerie court, I couldn't help myself. I was invested. I pushed through Fragile Eternity (which was awesome, but didn't have as much Irial as I'd prefer) only to be able to spend some quality time with him in Radiant Shadows.

Something happened in Radiant Shadows, which I can't say because it'll spoil, but it had me pacing and hyperventilating when I closed the book. And Darkest Mercy, the last book *sob*,comes out February 22, 2011. And I have to know what happens, because this is one of my absolute favorite series EVAR.

Anyway, back to like, 5 paragraphs ago.. I'm conflicted because I seriously am dying to know what is going to happen in the conclusion of the series, but it's going to be over. I don't know what I'm going to do to get my dark faery fix.

I also think this is probably the most beautiful cover of the series, which is saying a lot, because every single book cover in the WL series is sexy gorgeous hot. Not to mention they have beautiful names as well, agreed? So yeah, can't wait. Need now.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. She's fab.

I got a lot of books this week, which is good and bad, I guess. Good because it's books. Bad because my TBR is ever growing.



Bought
Forget You and Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Contests
Rae by Chelsea Rae Swiggert
Alexis by Alexis Singer
Hannah by Hannah Westburg
(Thanks, Kelsey, for those three!)
The Limit by Kristen Langdon
(Thanks, Eleni, for your fab Twitter Contests!)

And I traded for Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin :)

Short & sweet, guys. Looking forward to YOUR IMMS!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Review: Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

GoodReads Description: Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.

Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.

The tattoo does bring changes; not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils. . . .

My Thoughts: Most definitely one of my surprise favorite 2010 reads so far.

I will admit that I was reluctant to read this one. I am a huge fan of Wicked Lovely and will not lie when I say that I put effort into holding off on Ink Exchange. I walked past my bookshelf everyday, made eye-to-spine contact, grunted and scurried away. The idea of alternate characters did not sit well with me, especially since I assumed Leslie was boring and one-dimensional in Wicked Lovely (which I realized I haven't reviewed. I definitely need to re-read, as it's been well over a year since the first time I read the first book in the series.)

I. Was. So. Wrong.

Girl's got some serious issues in her life. I sympathized with and rooted for the poor girl because she was no damsel-in-distress. She had a backbone, but she was also so damaged, which is realistic. I'm glad that Melissa Marr did not paint a world of problems only to have Leslie act totally functional throughout the book. Lots of the reviews I've read stated that getting a tattoo is not a way of coping with a difficulties in life, but I can see how it'd be liberating, in a sense. Of course getting a tattoo does not solve life's problems, but in some twisted way, it makes sense to a 17-year-old attempting to grasp at any "sense of self" that she can. I can't explain why, but I recall being that rebellious teenager.

Then there's Niall and Irial, a Gancanagh (I had no frickin' idea what this meant throughout the story, but Marr alluded to the meaning later on) and the Dark King, respectively. These two and their extensive, disturbing history made this story for me. They are so three-dimensional, well-written, and are both sympathetic characters. Irial is supposed to be this sadistic, unrelenting a-hole of a Dark ruler, and appears to live up to that reputation at first. But the developing love story is so heartfelt and bittersweet. And SURPRISING. There is a love triangle, true to its title. You can feel the love from every angle, to every other angle, if that makes sense. It doesn't. I'm sorry.

At any rate, my favorite character was Irial, hands down. He's my #2 literary love of all time and Marr could write a 10,000 page journal-format book of Irial's daily activities and I'd pay unforgivable amounts of money to read it. There's just something about the evil-doer-unveiling-a-hidden-vulnerable-side that makes me cheer for them. And Irial *swoon* was such an intriguing character. I love, love, love, love Irial.

The ending was a disappointment, but it wasn't. We all want to see happy endings after a long, difficult journey of beloved book characters. There isn't quite a happy ending here. But it's an empowering conclusion to Leslie's story. I cried because it wasn't what I wanted, but it was what Leslie needed. I still need to come to terms with that. Luckily, there's a continuation of her story called "Stopping Time," which I'll review sometime later on, and OMG. All fans of Irial/Leslie/Niall MUST read it immediately.

Seriously, this book stayed with me long, long, long after I finished it. It's been MONTHS and I still think about it frequently.

READ THIS BOOK!

Rating: 5/5

Series: This is book 2 in the 5 book series, Wicked Lovely. The highly-anticipated conclusion, Darkest Mercy, will be released on February 22, 2011.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Harper Teen, 325 pages(May 1, 2008)

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

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why Yes, I DO Make Money to Read!



Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books. It gives bloggers the oportunity to hop from blog-to-blog to follow as many awesome blogs as you can, and perhaps gain a few followers in the meantime. If you want to participate, hop on over to Jennifer's blog and sign the Mr. Linky!

This week's question: "Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

Um, everywhere. I will plop down in a busy intersection if it means I can savor the delicious words in one of my many books. Really though, I mostly read in bed after my husband falls asleep (thanks, insomnia!) or at work. I work second shift at a call center and the phones tend to stop ringing around 8pm (sometimes even earlier), so that means I have 3ish remaining hours to read, read, read and get paid to do so!! HUZZAH. Sure, the chair isn't very comfortable, but I've got a nice desk that comes in handy as a foot stool.
So yes, work is my favorite place to read. I'm kind of living the dream by making money to read, wouldn't you say? ;)

Can't wait to read about YOUR favorite place to read!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta


GoodReads Description: My father took one hundred and thirty two minutes to die.

‘I counted.

‘It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La. We were going to the ocean, hundreds of kilometres away, because I wanted to see the ocean and my father said that it was about time the four of us made that journey. I remember asking, “What’s the difference between a trip and a journey?” and my father said, “Narnie, my love, when we get there, you’ll understand,” and that was the last thing he ever said.

‘We heard her almost straight away. In the other car, wedged into ours so deep that you couldn’t tell where one began and the other ended. She told us her name was Tate and then she squeezed through the glass and the steel and climbed over her own dead – just to be with Webb and me; to give us her hand so we could clutch it with all our might. And then a kid called Fitz came riding by on a stolen bike and saved our lives.

‘Someone asked us later, “Didn’t you wonder why no one came across you sooner?”

‘Did I wonder?

‘When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they’re some kind of garbage, don’t you know?

‘Wonder dies.’

My Thoughts: Holy sheet. What to say about this book...I've put off writing this review, because I don't really know how to describe it in a coherant fashion.

For the first 150 pages or so, I was absolutely lost. I contemplated giving up several times and could not keep up with how disjointed this story was. Melina Marchetta wasted absolutely no time diving right into the guts of the plotline, offering exceedingly little explanation. At times, I felt like I was nodding along with a conversation about quantum physics or (cringe) politics, while posses no prior knowledge of the subject. Thank God my GR friends encouraged me to keep on reading.

Marchetta is a beautiful, poetic writer. There are so many quotes within this novel that I want to write down in a notebook and keep with me at all times, or have tattooed somewhere discreet. They're that profound. She nailed the complexity aspect of this novel. I did need some further discussion and explanation following my completion of the book, so I could make sure that I actually understood what happened, but once I was clued into each detail, I was blown away. There are so many different interwoven layers within Jellicoe Road. I highly suggest, at the advice of AJ from Collections, to keep a sheet of paper with you and write the characters names down in order to keep them straight. This might sound silly, but it would've helped me so much more if I'd have done this!

Taylor Markham is a fantastic female lead. She is independent and loyal. She has a bit of a temper, but that just makes her colorful. I thought at the beginning that she was kind of frigid towards some of the girls within her House, but she can't help it. Taylor had so much love and affection within herself, but came off emotionally constipated, likely due to her tragic past and difficulty with those close to her.

I loved, loved, LOVED the progression of the relationship between Jonah and Taylor. Jonah is so incredibly romantic <3 I will definitely go back and re-read some of his lines whenever I need a good swoon. I loved them because there was an underlying affection, even though both of them were supposed to be die-hard enemies. The two fit so perfectly together, like some heart-shaped puzzle piece (so corny, I know. It's late.) I want more of these two, yet I'm 100% satisfied with their situation and how the story ended.

The story of Narnie, Tate, Fitz, Webb, and Jude is a heartbreaking one. Again, I can't say much about these five without giving away a rather significant portion of the story, but this bunch claimed my heart and ran with it. Jellicoe Road and all of its characters were filled with this all-encompassing love for one another, that I could feel my heart swelling even though I had tears streaking down my face. I don't think I've ever read so many characters that possessed such selfless, genuine love for one another. And the best part? It wasn't cheesy at all. It felt real.

You know what else felt real? The angst. The heartbreak. The losses. And there's quite a bit of each category in this one. Be prepared. Surround yourself with a few boxes of Kleenex.

I will definitely be reading more of Marchetta's work in the future, but am slightly intimidated that all her stories will be as complex as this one. Truly, though, her writing is so wonderful that the brain-busting will be worth it.

Rating: 4/5

Series: Standalone.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Penguin Australia, 419 pages (June 26, 2007)

Learn more about Melina: Website | GoodReads

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

WoW is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

So this book is about two daughters of a serial killer. How badazz is that?! And the cover is kind of creepy. You know that "7 days" video in the movie The Ring that with the upside down spinny chair and the fly and the hair-brushing mirror woman that caused nightmares for a week? It's disturbing, like that.

And I feel like a massive freak, because prior to reading the synopsis of this book, the title Slice of Cherry made me hungry. I looked at the cover with the red & the teacups and thought to myself, "oh, looks like the tea drinkers must've dripped some cherry from the pie/cheesecake/tartlet they were eating. How clumsy of them! Mmm.. that sounds delicious!"

When, in fact, it's likely blood. From a person, not a pastry. Does that make me a vampire?

Anyway, enough rambling. I want this book something fierce. I love the cover and the childlike scribbled title. And READ THIS GOODREADS SYNOPSIS. This book is obviously bound to be made of the utmost amount of win:

Happiness is a bloody knife.

Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.

It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NIGHTSHADE IS HERE.

Today is the OFFICIAL release date of NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer!



You guys! How exciting is this!? You know, I'm kind of glad I wasn't able to get Nightshade prior to its release date. Because the anticipation for this book has been totally mind-blowing. I don't think I've ever been so excited and off-the-walls craved a book so much as Nightshade. I've never even read anything by Andrea Cremer before, so what's that say?

The promo for this book has been phenomenal. You can catch up on all you've missed by going HERE and checking out all the Shay Doran promotional videos.

Check out the book trailer below, and tell me you don't need this book like, yesterday:



Now, go read some glowing reviews:

LA Times
Pure Imagination
A Good Addiction
YA Highway
25 Hour Books

You can't tell me you're not convinced yet, so go buy Nightshade!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review (& Giveaway!): Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick


GoodReads Description: Nora should have known her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described as anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away, and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch, or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

My Thoughts: Crescendo starts out with a heart-pounding prologue, 14 months prior to the present day, and we get a glimpse into the life of Nora's murdered father. I was excited after reading the first several pages and I knew I was in for quite a journey. This time around, Nora and her dark, delicious guardian angel boyfriend hit a bit of a rough patch (BAD PUN!) in their relationship. Why is Patch making a point to get close with Nora's arch-nemesis Marcie Millar? Why is ex-bully Scott all of a sudden hanging around Nora? And WHY is she having dreams about strange men from a few centuries ago? Crescendo has all the fixin's for a suspenseful, fast-paced read.

But I'm not gonna lie.

Reading Crescendo was like being in the head of a female horror movie lead. You know, the girl that makes decisions that will ultimately lead to her gruesome and untimely death. Yeah, kind of like that. I screamed at and pleaded with her, "no, Nora! Don't go upstairs!" "No, Nora! That kitten is actually a zombie in disguise and it'll eat your brains if you tempt it with hotdogs like that!" "No, that rusty nail sticking out of that window you're climbing through can cause tetanus!"

GOODNESS GRACIOUS.

The constant indecision taking place within her brain and her strange rationalizations for her actions made absolutely no sense to me. The entire time, I wanted to take her to a shrink and have them prescribe some Xanax. It was like a 400-page long anxiety attack with episodes of mania thrown in. But even though Nora drove me to drink on more than one occasion, I could not stop reading this book. The suspense! The anticipation! The "NO PATCH DON'T GO!"

Speaking of Patch, holy crap was he enticing in this novel. Much more absent than I'd prefer, but I love him regardless.Sure, he also drove me slightly crazy with all the back-and-forth and up-and-down, but he was surprisingly un-douchebaggy in this book. The attitude and the intrigue are still there, but there was a hefty amount of vulnerability in the sequel to Hush, Hush. His feelings for Nora are blatantly apparant to everyone but Nora. I couldn't wait to see where he'd show up next.

ALSO, Vee kicks a monumental amount of arse in this one. I'd read this book for Vee alone. I love how brutally honest she was with Nora, because she needs that in her life. I also LOVED the confrontation amongst Nora, Vee, and Marcie. That made me cheer for the Vee/Nora duo hardcore. I was pretty happy to see Nora stand up for herself for once. Hopefully a prelude of things to come.

I think that my copy of Crescendo was laced with a little bit of crack. I didn't want to put it down. Fitzpatrick crafts her story in such a way that she leaves you with little to no clue as to what will happen next. I am on pins & needles for Tempest, and Crescendo hasn't even freaking come out yet. Not to mention there's a dirty, rotten cliffhanger that will leave you kinda speechless. I cannot wait to see where this goes next.

Oh, and Becca? I need much, much, MUCH more Patch in Tempest, por favor? With cherries on top?

Rating: 4/5

Series: Hush, Hush was released in 2009. Book 3, Tempest, will be released in 2011.
Source: I won this ARC, courtesy of Fallen Archangel and Simon and Schuster.
Published: Simon & Schuster, 427 pages (October 19, 2010)

Learn more about Becca: Website |Twitter | GoodReads
_______________________________________________________

And like I promised... the giveaway. I'm giving away ONE Advanced Reader's Copy of Crescendo to one lucky winner! Please fill out the form HERE for your chance to win!

Contest Information

Must be 13+ to enter.

One entry per person, please.

Contest open to US & CA residents only.

Winner will be chosen at random and I will contact you via e-mail if you win. If you do not respond within 48 hours, I will choose a new winner.

Contest deadline is November 3, 2010

In My Mailbox (5)... in Which I Go "Gaga"

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

I had a pretty amazing week. I'm really excited about all the great stuff I got. AAAAND I got my first ARC! It's not a review ARC, though :) But I did win a contest over at Fallen Archangel for one of ten available ARCs of Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick. I received the "winner" email while driving to work and almost swerved off the road, I was so excited. I read Hush, Hush earlier this year, and was quite fond of it. I'm about in the middle of Crescendo right now and I can't wait to finish! Since I'll also be buying a finished copy, I'll probably not keep the ARC.

Which means....perhaps a giveaway? In the near future?

We shall see!



Anyway, onto the books I bought this week.

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison




OH, OH! Kelsey from The Book Scout sent me her extra copy of Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey, because she is ten kinds of cool. She also sent me some fantabulous swag, pictured (including a signed bookmark from Anastasia Hopcus. KEYSMASH OF MASSIVE PROPORTIONS! Did you not see my gushing review of Shadow Hills? No? Click HERE.)

And... this is completely non-book-related. But I also received some tickets in the mail. I may have shed a tear when I opened them, because I can't believe they're real.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, I'm going to see Lady Gaga in March 2011.

My husband bought me tickets to Lady Gaga for my birthday. He'is not quite a fan, so I'm taking my little sister, who is benefitting from my turning 26. I get minor heart palpitations just thinking about it <3 In the meantime, I'll be perfecting my raw meat dress.

So that concludes my awesome week. I can only hope next week will bring the happy like this week did.

So excited to hear what everyone else got. Have a fabulous book week!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review: A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler


GoodReads Description: Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.

As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.

Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.

My Thoughts:
"Schizophrenics have abnormalities of left or right brain functioning. The left brain )the center of logic seems to be most affected. Which means the right side, the creative side, takes over. And that's why a schizophrenic is like a child playing dress-up, afraid of monsters, living in a world of make-believe."


This book moved me. I'm talking "picked-me-up-and-hurtled-me-across-the-room" moved me. I may very well be biased, as I am studying to be a psychiatric nurse. Mental illness intrigues me to no reachable end, and "A Blue So Dark" was a disturbing, frightening, and honest portrayal of a family shattered by schizophrenia. The illness itself is a formidable character in this beautiful novel.

15-going-on-16 year old Aura had no choice but to grow up prematurely in order to care for her mother, whose mental state has rapidly deteriorated. Aura promised not to force medication upon her brilliant artist mother as a testament to her loyalty to Grace as opposed to her absent father. Aura focuses more on her love and devotion to her mother and rules out the logic of actually getting help for her mother. Unfortunately, schizophrenia cannot be swept under the rug. It will not go away if you ignore it. Aura herself is a bitter, angry girl with so much pent-up aggression stemming from her parents' divorce and the fear that she, too, will eventually become a "schizo."

Aura's whole mentality scared me. She's surrounded with this illness for the last few years of her life, convinced that artistry makes you crazy. The gears in her head are constantly turning, torturing herself and monitoring her every action closely, losing herself to the thought that the day of her functional mental state are numbered. She's lost her father to another family, lost her best friend, Janny, to her son, and lost her mother to schizophrenia. The only beacon of hope in her life is Jeremy, the cute, cryptic skater with whom she shared her mother's art class. The love interest in this story definitely takes a backseat to Aura's struggle with her mother, which I appreciated. It's more realistic that way. Who has time to think about love when your family member can barely stay at home by themself without putting themselves or other in danger?

Schindler definitely did her research on schizophrenia, describing more than just the well-known visions/voices. She also incorporated clang association ("I'm not broker, broking, broke, broke"; "burn, burny, burning) and delusions of persecution ("Look at them up there, smug...Trying to drown me...And they won't let me through") which was impressive. The hallucinations themselves ranged from terrifying to kind of comical, e.g. Aura writing a letter from a pepperoni on a pizza in order to convince her mom to go grocery shopping. I didn't want to skim the block paragraphs, like in some novels, because I feared I would miss some earth-shattering, beautiful phrase that would enlighten or terrify me.

"Sanity is a sonnet with a strict metter and rhyme scheme--and my mind is free verse."


Incredible.

Schindler's prose is gorgeous. Everything flowed so beautifully, despite this being a difficult subject to read. I do highly recommend this novel, though keep in mind that it is neither light-hearted nor romance driven. It is powerful and disturbing. The ending was completely satisfying as well.

God, I loved this book.

Rating: 4.5/5

Series: Standalone.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Flux, 288 pages (May 1, 2010)

Learn more about Holly: Website | Blog | Facebook

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (5) and Follow Friday (2)

It's that time again! It's my fifth week of BBH and I'm loving all the new bloggers I've met. I am also participating in FF again this week. I had to skip out on that last week because I had company, so I was pressed for time and had to make the BBH post as brief as possible.

Anywho, Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books. It gives bloggers the opportunity to hop from blog-to-blog to follow as many awesome blogs as you can, and perhaps gain a few followers in the meantime. If you want to participate, hop on over to Jennifer's blog and sign the Mr. Linky!



This week's question: When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?
I try, try, try to see the good in everything. There are not many books that I don't finish. I think only 3 this year that I couldn't stick it out through the entire book. It's got to be really bad though. Even if a book is bad, I'll still read it but ONLY if it's hilariously bad. If the book provides some LOLs or some *facepalms* then YES, I'll stick it out til the end and potentially even pick up the next in the series. I try to remain optimistic that the book/series can redeem itself. Ever heard of the "Awesomely Bad" series on VH1? Books can be that, too. But if the book is bad and boring, then no, I'll not finish it.


Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.



Question: What is your reading recommendation this week?

Oh, how difficult of an inquiry this is. I'd have to recommend two books.

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh, because VARENNETHERS. Not only Varen, of course, but he ranks pretty high on my list of reasons to read Nevermore. Seriously though, this book is fab. Creagh doesn't skimp on the description or the sexual tension, two things that I love pretty frickin' hard.

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, because it's edgy, raw, and Bianca is awesomely flawed.

Check out both books, if you enjoy reading and awesomeness.

Happy Friday, all! It's the freakin' weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Free Books Aplenty!

... if you win them, that is. I just wanted to take an opportunity to let you guys know about some contests whose deadlines are just around the corner.

Seriously, who doesn't love winning?

The awesome Tara at Fiction Folio is giving you the opportunity to win either Nightshade, Crescendo, Mockingbirds, or Matched! Have all of those already? No problem! She's also offering the option for a $15 giftcard to Barnes & Noble. I think that's pretty fabulous. Click HERE to sign up now! Ends TODAY, so get up on that.

Roots in Myth is giving the opportunity to win an ARC of Nightshade! (SWOON!!!!) Click HERE to head on over to the post and sign up for your chance to win this delicious cover with some pages in between. Ends October 22.

Nely at All About {n} is giving away two copies of Enchanted Ivy on her blog. I'm incredibly stoked to read this book, as the synopsis sounds fabulous. Click HERE to head over to her interview post with Sarah Beth Durst for a chance to win! Ends October 23.

Flippin' Fabulous at A Reader's Record is giving away up to 6 books for her 100+ Followers Giveaway! There are a handful of awesome books available, so go sign up for your chance to win! Click HERE to go enter. The more people who follow, the more books available to win! Ends October 25.

AReadersRecord.blogspot


So what are you waiting for? Go win some books!!

Review: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready


GoodReads Description: Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.
My Thoughts: This book far exceeded my expectations. I assumed this would be a dark tale of ghosts and what not, with your obligatory love triangle and a heroine without much of a personality. What I got was a dark tale of ghosts and what they could become, Shades. I also got a tragic, vulnerable relationship between a heroine with depth and personality, and an aspiring musician whose parting came too soon. And GOOD LORD, it was heartfelt and it made me cry.

Jeri Smith-Ready could teach an AP course on making you feel the pain. I developed such an attachment to Aura and Logan's relationship. Even though I knew what was going to happen by the synopsis, the way Logan died was so horrifyingly unexpected. Talk about psychologically damaging for Aura (and me). Her pain was terribly palpable. I really appreciated the fact that Aura's (and the rest of her and Logan's friends) grief process was not skimmed over. When you lose someone close to you, especially someone you love, you don't cry for a few minutes and then move on with your life. That's not realistic. The feelings and the deep sense of loss shown by all parties involved were believable and that's why it had such an effect on me. I felt like I knew these characters.

Aura and Logan's struggle with attempting to maintain their relationship, despite Logan's less-than-living state, was entirely angst-ridden. Her desperation to keep him in her life, regardless of the fact that she should be hoping for his soul to be at peace. Ohhh, did I cry. I'd want the same dang thing, Aura. This book still affects me quite frequently. Oh, Logan. Why? WHY were you so horribly stupid?!

Enter Scottish transfer, Zachary. UNF. One of my favorite thing about this character? The author writes his accent. YES! I can't exactly conjure up a proper Scottish accent in my head, so when it's written phonetically, it helps me do this delicious character more justice in my wicked mind. I was truly torn between my love for dark, devastating Logan and witty Zachary. I can't go into too much detail about Zach and his connection to Aura without being spoilery. I will say, however, that I'm looking forward to learning more about him <3

There are hoards of unanswered questions and topics that became secondary towards the end of the book. I am looking forward to an explanation about "The Shift," and how it works.
And how Aura's particular involvement will affect her.
And the progression/regression of her relationship(s). I have a feeling, regardless of what happens with either of the guys, I'm going to be sad. DANG IT, Jeri Smith-Ready, making me love both Logan AND Zach so freaking much!! Stupid feelings.

Speaking of Jeri, yeah... she wrote this:

'I haven't seen a single ghost all night.' Except Logan, I added mentally.

'That's not true. Look at the Milky way... Some of those stars are already dead. In the thousands of years it takes their light to reach us, they could have exploded or burnt out.'

'So we're seeing them the way they were, not the way they are now...'

We packed up the car and drove home, under a sky full of ghosts.


Pure brilliance. I need SHIFT in order for my heart to continue beating. May 3 seems like a million years away.

OH! Last month I did this feature that I may or may not continue with, called Sound of the Story, which featured SHADE. Check it out here and tell me if you think this song screams SHADE or if I'm just talking crazy.

Rating: 5/5

Series: YES! Book two, SHIFT, will be released May 3, 2011.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Simon Pulse, 309 pages (May 4, 2010)

Learn more about Jeri: Website | Blog | Twitter

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, where bloggers can talk about the not-yet-released book that they're dying to get their hands on!

The blogosphere has been filled with rumblings over this book for the past few weeks. I'm incredibly intrigued and this sounds like a delightful read! Plus, one of my favorite bloggers gave it a very favorable review (read Persnickety Snark's review)

First, the cover is so frickin' A cute. There's nothing flashy or spectacular about it. Just half of a girl and some dude's shoulder. Something is STILL so appealing about it! It could be the hype, it could be that adorable font, it could be that it has "french kiss" in the title (ooh la la)... whatever. I want it.

I mean seriously, how cute this summary from GR? Um, bonjour French accent?

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris — until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.


Anna and the French Kiss, written by Stephanie Perkins, comes out December 2, 2010. Check it out, oui?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stolen Nights Cover Revealed!

Sorry for the post overload today, guys.

I'm a day late, but Rebecca Maizel has revealed the cover of Stolen Nights, which is the second novel in her Vampire Queen series!



I loved the cover for Infinite Days (and I wrote a review, which you may read here if you feel compelled to do so!) Can't decide how I feel about this one. On one hand, I think the model who is portraying Lena is beautiful in a creepy, doll-like way. I like her eyelashes. I want eyelashes like that. But it looks like those wispy, smoky things that are coming out (or going in?) her nose/mouth. Yeah, I don't quite get that. Maybe we'll find out more in the next book?

Stolen Nights will be born on March 15, 2011, two days after the b-day of yours truly :)

Tagged!

That crazy awesome blogger Eleni from La Femme Readers tagged me :)

4 Things That Are In My Handbag
1. Splenda packets. You never know when you'll need them.
2. A book. Always, always a book.
3. Nursing notes. I have a really freaking large tote for a handbag.
4. Review journal. I've decorated it and everything. I do stupid things sometimes.

4 Things In/On My Desk
1. Two 19" screens (when I'm at work. I am never at my desk at home. I blog from bed.)
2. Various photos of friends, family, pets, and husband.
3. Green Blistex. I have an addiction.
4. Bottle of water.

4 Favorite Things In My Bedroom
1. Pillowtop mattress, booyah.
2. Flatscreen
3. Pile of books next to my bed.
4. The two fluffy kittens that surround me at any given moment because they're needy.

4 Things I've Always Wanted To Do (but haven't yet)
1. Build a wall of bookshelves a la The Story Siren's. Totes tried to get my husband to let me build some when we first moved into our house last fall. He wasn't having it.
2. Read 150 books in a year.
3. Sky dive. I have recently developed an insane fear of heights and open spaces. What a way to conquer both.
4. Go to BEA/meet authors/other book bloggers.

4 Things I Enjoy Very Much At The Moment
1. The fact that I don't work until 4:30 today.
2. Borders coupons. Every freaking week.
3. My Chemical Romance's new single.
4. This delicious coffee I'm drinking, complete with Splenda that I got from my purse.

4 Songs I Can't Get Out Of My Head
1. Na Na Na Na by My Chemical Romance (favorite favorite favorite)
2. Animal by Neon Trees ("say goodbye to my heart tonight" or "take a bite of my heart tonight?")
3. Come Back to Bed by John Mayer (lurve.)
4. Dance in the Dark by Lady Gaga (going to see her in March! HPUA*8Q3r5~!!!!)


4 Things You Don't Know About Me
1. I can touch my tongue to my nose.
2. I lived in Indiana for 21 years until I up and decided to move 300 miles away one day. Scariest, but best, thing I've ever done.
3. I have an INTENSE fear of spiders. Once, I walked around for 3 hours with a live one in my shoe. To this day, I have obsessive compulsions of shaking out my shoes before putting them on.
4. I work second shift Monday through Friday. Not a fan.

Tag 4 people:
1. Tara @ Fiction Folio
2. Lindsi @ The Book Tease
3. Melanie @ Reclusive Bibliophile
4. AJ @ Collections

Review: The DUFF



GoodReads Description: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.


My Thoughts: This one took me by surprise. But I guess I should've expected to enjoy it. Bianca is abrasive, snippy, and let's be honest, kind of a beotch. I can totally emphathize with Bianca. We'd be friends, for sure. I think every girl has felt like the DUFF at some point in her life before. Insecurity is a part of growing up (and even after that.) Seriously though, you guys. I'd never heard of a DUFF before, but I'd be heinous, too, if a guy ever addressed me by that term!

Bianca is an awesome, ballsy character. And what an amazingly honest portrayal of a teen. I distinctly remember having a ridiculous potty mouth like her, having a bad attitude like her, and never thinking I was good enough. Sure she dropped a few hundred F bombs, but so what? That's her. That's her personality. She's got a lot to be frustrated about: problems on the homefront, a seemingly unattainable goal to date the school's cute smarty-pants valedictorian, and two drop dead gorgeous BFFs who make her completely insignificant, physically. Yeah, I can imagine you'd want to four-letter-word it up a little bit to blow off some steam.

The connection between Wesley and Bianca was interesting. I don't know how believable the plot scheme was, but, hey! That's why they call it fiction. I frickin' loved it. Even though Wesley was a grade A jerkface, I kept rooting for them to work it out. Especially when their friends-with-benefitship started to solidify and it was obvious that these two had stronger feelings for one another than just a booty call. I'd like to believe that NO girl would hook up with a guy who affectionately called her fat and ugly on a consistant basis, though. That part really upset me. But, again, these things really do happen. Bianca was aware that what she was doing was completely twisted and scorned herself for it. She's flawed, and that's okay.

I really liked Wesley's character development. He grew from an arrogant a-hole to an arrogant a-hole who learned the repercussions of his actions and showed potential to become a future decent human being.

If you're cool with harsh female leads who are awesomely smart-mouthed, witty verbal sparring, and a hefty amount of borderline adult romance-worthy touchy-feely scenes, by all means... pick up this deliciously edgy book. I love Kody Keplinger's writing style and finished this book in less than 24 hours. Not to mention she's 19, so she knows wtf she's talking about as a teen. My little sister is 19 and hasn't yet blasted out a book of sheer badazzness like Kody has. Blows my mind everytime I think about it.

As far as stars? Four for you! You go, Glen Coco....er, Kody Keplinger!

Oh come on, you know you love the Mean Girls ref.

Rating: 4/5

Series: Most likely not, according to the author.
Source: I received this ARC from Tara at Fiction Folio (thank you, Tara!)
Published: Little Brown/Poppy, 288 pages (September 7, 2010)

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

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Layout!

The other layout was a little bit bland, what with no header or photos or anything. Its purpose was basically to give me something to work with while getting the blog started. I decided I was in dire need of something a bit more aesthetically pleasing.

So here you have it!

I am still on the search for a navigation bar. Unfortunately, I'm pretty much deficient in my mental capacity for any computer design-related business. I'll be on the lookout for something along those lines next, but my motto with this blog will always be "baby steps."

Any thoughts or constructive criticism (or, hey, blog tips! I ain't too proud to beg!) are welcome. Do you love it? Do you hate it? Inquiring minds want to know!

In My Mailbox (4)

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


Well this week was definitely the week of beautifully sexy covers. I hit up Half Price Books on Tuesday and there were SO MANY new(ish) releases there! Unfortunately, I only left with three of them because I didn't want to spend too much. I was on my best book behavior. I also ended up getting two on clearance for a dollar, which was aaaaawesome.



Bought from Half Price Books (not linking this week, as I'm incredibly pressed for time. Sorry, guys!)
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You and Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, both by Ally Carter.

Bought from Borders
Firelight by Sophie Jordan (FINALLY!!!)


Looking forward to seeing what everyone got in their mailboxes, bought, or borrowed this week! Have a great book week!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (4)



The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn at Crazy For Books! Go check her out, post the link to your BBH, and make a bunch of new blogger friends!

This week's question is:

What's your favorite beverage while reading or blogging, if any? Is it tea, coffee, water, a glass of wine, or something else?

My answer: Since I work second shift, I tend to only blog in the mornings... definitely coffee!! Something about the combination of blogging about books and a nice, steaming hot cup of delicious coffee just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Hope everyone has a fabulous Friday and an even better weekend! A special shout out to everyone doing the Readathon tomorrow. I wish I could join you, but I've got my BFF visiting from Chicago, so I'll be MIA this weekend in order to spend as much time as possible with her and live it up!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review: Captivate by Carrie Jones


GoodReads Description: Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

My Thoughts: I'm really, really disappointed.

What happened?! The magic that was Need was absent in Captivate. I definitely had my fill with all the problems that arose that were cured by a kiss on the cheek or a hug. And what the heck was up with Devyn? When did he become a premenstrual crybaby? I also didn't like how there would be this huge, life-changing discovery that would be overtaken by giggling and relationship talk in the midst of serious discussion. It almost felt as if these characters were totally different from the characters I loved in the first book.

I mean... I hate to say it, but I felt like I was watching an episode of Barney and Friends with some very Full House moments where everything is solved by a big hug from an Olsen twin. And the whole "you can do ANYTHING, Zara! You're SUPER SPECIAL!" attitude grated on my nerves. It's okay to grieve when something bad happens. It wasn't very realistic to go through a traumatic event and then wipe your tears away and go to the prom and act as if nothing happened. Characters dealing with their pain is acceptable. Interesting, even. It provokes growth and development.

As with Need, Zara had her moments of hilarious snark that shone through, which is the reason that I gave it two stars and not one. It was pretty difficult to get through this book. I hope that the use of the word "baby" is significantly toned down in the next book. It sounds reasonable in everyday speaking, but typed? Not so much.

I hope that the series bounces back in the third book, because I had high hopes for Captivate after the awesomeness that was Need.

Rating: 2/5

Series: The first book, Need, was released December 23, 2008. The third book, Entice, will be published December 7, 2010.
Source: This book was a holiday gift.
Published: BloomsburyUSA, 273 pages (January 5, 2010)

Learn more about Carrie: Website | GoodReads | Twitter

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, where bloggers can talk about the not-yet-released book that they're dying to get their hands on!

Okay. I've talked about this over and over andoverandoverandoveragain.
Everyone else on the PLANET, I feel, has read this and raved about it.
And it's only a couple weeks away from the release date, but I still feel like it's an eternityyyy away (and time... goes by... so slowlyyyy... and time can do so much. Righteous Brothers? Anyone?)


I.
MUST.
HAVEEE.
NIGHTSHADE.


Why do I want this book so incredibly bad that I would permanently give up sweatpants and cheese just to have it? (Okay, UNTIL I have it.)

1. Werewolves. And the guy isn't the werewolf. The GIRL is. I will never stop loving werewolves.
2. The cover. Let's not fool ourselves, here.
a. 464 pages LONGBOOKLONGBOOK!! Huzzah for details (hopefully) !
3. Love triangle. I can't hate them. You cannot make me. I know the "team" thing is tired and overused and meh. But competition and suspense, ahoy.
4. I want it.
5. I don't have it yet.
6. I still have to wait 13 days to get it.

Please, Christopher Walken, show up in my Bed Bath and Beyond (a la the movie Click) with a magical remote so I can fast-forward through these next couple torturous weeks until my copy of Nightshade rests safely in my arms.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Review: A Match Made in High School


GoodReads Description: When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can’t get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: Jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona’s long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer. Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

My Thoughts: When I picked up this book at Border's the other day, I read the back and scoffed.

That's right, people. I scoffed. Rolled my eyes, even.

A required marriage course in order to graduate high school? That would never happen. However, I'd read several glowing reviews on the hilarity factor of AMMIHS, so I picked it up. I am so glad that I did. Fiona's voice is hilarious. I promise you that the novel actually contained the phrase "he reached over and honked her boob." LOLs aplenty! I enjoyed how carefree Fiona "Fee" was about her nerd/weirdo status. Fiona is who I wish I could've been in high school. I was awkward and gangly and average looking, but I was entirely insecure about it. Fiona didn't care, and had a smart azz mouth to boot. Quips flew about like spitballs and I had to come up with an excuse as to why I was laughing out loud in my cubicle at work.

"Match" introduced a line of stereotypical, yet colorful, characters.

Todd Harding, Fee's fake-husband, with whom she develops a precarious balance between friendly affection and utter hatred. He's a bull-headed jock, but could there be some semblance of a heart underlying those ripped pecs and gargantuan ego?! Read and find out :D I loved the dynamic of the pseudo-friendship between Todd and Fiona. Their constant banter had me giggling like a freak in public. It's not often a book can make me lulz. Usually I'll smile coyly to myself, but this laughter was audible.

I seriously loved the whole cast of characters. Johnny Mercer being among my favorites as the quiet, yet endearing, friend. One of them, who shall remain nameless, did provoke some serious temporary hate from me for pulling the stunt they did. I knew it was coming from 100 pages away, but I was hoping I was wrong. I would've handled this situation much differently than Fee (read: a much-deserved throat punch) but that's just me. I also thought Fiona's mom and what she did was a bit hokey, but that's totally overlookable in the big picture.

Kristin Walker is a fabulously addictive writer. I could not stop reading this book. Her writing flowed very well and I'd like to hang out with her sometime. I think we would probably be rolling on the floor with coffee coming out our noses, because we have extremely similar senses of humor. I love how she acknowledged Fiona's flaws and her struggle to rise above her drawbacks. There was serious, SERIOUS character development in this book. I wasn't expecting it from such a light, humorous story, so I was pleasantly surprised.

I will most DEFINITELY be reading anything Walker puts out in the future. I'm thoroughly impressed.

Rating: 4/5

Series: Not that I could find.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Razorbill, 277 pages (February 4, 2010)

Learn more about Kristin: Website | GoodReads | Twitter

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Like Romantic Roadkill, My Heart is All Splattered"

This isn't book related. But it's my blog, so I can post about music if I wanna, right?

So I was planning on doing another "Sound of the Story" post, but for some reason, I can't think of any of the songs/books I had picked out. I should really learn to write this stuff down. Anywho... upon listening to my iPod this weekend while cleaning the crap out of my house, I re-discovered an artist that I used to LOVE.

Butch Walker.

I initially discovered him in like, 2004 when I went to an Avril Lavigne concert. Go ahead, laugh it up. I was completely in awe of this dude's voice, lyrics, and stage presence.

I then purchased his 2004 CD "Letters" and fell further in love. This guy's lyrics are heartfelt, hilarious, and just flat out BADAZZ. Not to mention his voice is to die for. I guess you could categorize him into the genre of adult alternative, but I've also seen the term "glam rock" thrown around.

Noteworthy songs on the album, Letters:
Don't Move
Mixtape
The Best Thing You Never Had

To enhance your life, please check out the following performance:



Hope you all enjoy listening to this amazing artist.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

It was pretty slow going for me this week. After two or three awesome weeks of awesome books, I had to slow it down a little bit. Still not too bad!



Bought

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker (read it. loved it. will review it in days to come.)
Borders had their 40% off two paperbacks sale, which is faaaaabulous!

And the wonderful, sweet, and lovely Tara from Fiction Folio sent me an ARC of The DUFF, which she read and reviewed on her blog already. Thank you, Tara! You can read her review here.

Looking forward to seeing all of the great books everyone got this week.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Get to Know the Girl Behind the Blog

I don't know about you guys, but when I read a blog I think it's interesting to get a glimpse behind the reviews and the interviews and contests. You can gather a bit of a blogger's personality by just reading their content: what kind of sense of humor they have, a little of their morals and values, taste in books. It's cool to actually get to know a little bit about that person as well!

So, in case anyone's interested at all, here are some random tidbits about me.

.:. I'm 25, but I don't feel like it at all. (Or apparently look like it. I still get carded everywhere I go, and was carded for just standing in a casino while on a Vegas vacation.) I really feel like someone just hit "fast-forward" on my life after turning 21. I'm hyperemotional and a hypochondriac. I have extreme facial expressions (too embarrassed to upload photographic evidence of this) and talk with my hands. I have an immature and ridiculous sense of humor. I laugh at things that make no sense and probably aren't as funny as I find them. Like this video.



.:. I'm in Nursing school full-time, after pretty much ruling out every other major in the world. I wanted to be a veterinarian, psychologist, meteorologist, editor, and music teacher throughout my life. I'm indecisive and scared to take responsibility and initiative for my future, but you have to grow up sometime, right? I also work full-time in customer service, though I'd love to be a stay at home millionaire housewife and read all day. Would anyone like to sponsor my cause?

.:. I met my husband when I was 15. I didn't know that he'd be my husband at that time, though. We both had separate lives and he ended up moving far away, but we remained friends for 6 years before actually dating. He's the best thing in my life and I have so much admiration for him. AND he's smart. Oh, so very smart. He is a high school social studies teacher. Plus, he keeps my whimsical self relatively down to earth. I pretty much scored, finding one with looks AND brains. We've been married for a little over a year and I have the best life ever.

.:. I have a food addiction. I am not ashamed to eat people's leftovers. It's finally begun to catch up with me. (I HATE YOU, MID-TWENTIES.) My favorite is vegetable lo mein, tacos de carne asada, spaghetti, cheeses of any and all kinds, and I even love canned Spaghetti-Os. I can't cook, so none of the above bodes well for the wallet. Except the delicious nutrition of canned noodles and potentially harmful meat.


.:. I have two feline children, Bella (gray/white) and Bo Schembechler (cream). For the most part, I like animals more than people. Sad, but true. Yes, I named Bella after Bella Swan. Yes, she's equally needy and whiny. It fits. And yes, I regularly have photoshoots with my cats. They're very photogenic, can you blame me?

.:. I believe that an 8 hour workday should come with a nap.

.:. My favorite books when I was a kid were the Babysitter's Club series, Goosebumps, and Fear Street. I read those religiously, but didn't branch out of those series much. I regret that now, but am more than attempting to make up for it!

.:. My favorite musicians are: My Chemical Romance, Damien Rice, Dave Matthews Band, Bon Iver, Ludo, Imogen Heap, Britney Spears, Billy Joel, Jason Reeves, The Spill Canvas, The Rocket Summer, Jack's Mannequin, Foy Vance, Ingrid Michaelson, Jason Mraz, Muse, The Fray, Missy Higgins, Brandi Carlile, and Paramore. There are more, I just can't think of them off the top of my head. Music is my life.

.:. Some of my favorite series are as follows:
Twilight Saga, of course
Vampire Academy Series
Wicked Lovely Series
Georgina Kincaid Series (not YA)
Mercy Thompson Series (not YA, but suitable for it)
Morganville Vampires Series
Gemma Doyle Trilogy
The Hunger Games Trilogy


Yes, that is me in a nutshell. Pretty boring, but whatever. Anything else you want to know, feel free to ask!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (3) and Follow Friday (1)


Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer (yay for her awesome name!) over at Crazy For Books. This is a great meme! My primary goal in blogging is to meet a bunch of awesome people who share the same stupid crazy love for YA that I do.

The question for this week is:

"How do you spread the word about your blog?
(e.g. Social Networking sites, Book Blog Directories, comments on other blogs...)"


My Answer: At first, I had no freaking idea. I still really have no freaking idea. But I try to do my best to comment on lots of reviews, discussion posts, interviews. And something non-generic, because a comment that has zero thought and is just a shameless plug is annoying. Twitter has also assisted BIG time in getting to know other bloggers/authors. I try (and often forget) to tweet reviews to authors and publishers. Most people are really nice and do end up replying to you/visiting/following your blog!

But I'm in no big hurry. Right now the blog is still a baby and I'm not expecting much traffic. So, if people visit, then they visit. All I can do is hope to have somewhat readable content and hope for the future.

Looking forward to reading all the other answers this week and maybe getting some tips on better networking!



And speaking of expanding my networking and spreading the word about the blog, I've decided to participate in Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee, in addition to BBH. Hoping to meet a bunch of great bloggers this way, too!

This week's question is:

What books have bitten you?

My Answer: Twilight, Twilight, always Twilight. I can't help it. That is what got me started with reading again and I will love that series forever and ever. Amen.
More recently, Nevermore by Kelly Creagh has me completely enraptured <3 The Hunger Games Series, Shade, Shadow Hills. All amazing books.

Well, I'm outta here to start hopping and following. Hope everyone has a great day!