Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: The Fall Books that Reign Mount TBR

TTT is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Okay, so today's topic is discussing the 10 books that are atop our TBR lists for Fall 2011. I have awesome blogger friends, so I've already read some of the ones I'd normally be looking forward to. But YOU should be looking forward to them, so I'm gonna tell you about them.

1. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (9/27)
HOLY F*(&. Even if you don't like YA paranormal books. Even if you don't like YA. Even if you don't like BOOKS... READ THIS. By far one of my favorites of 2011 and it's not even over yet. It's steamy. It gave me stomach butterflies. It blew my freaking mind.

2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (11/15)
You must be an alien if you haven't heard of this one. It's a good read, folks. Believe the hype.

3. Frost by Marianna Baer (9/13)
This one sounds straight up creepy, you guys. It has things that I love, but am deathly afraid of: UNEXPLAINED OCCURRENCES OF THE DEMONLY AND/OR PSYCHOLOGICAL VARIETY. And boarding schools. I may not be able to sleep after this one.

4. Last Breath by Rachel Caine (11/1)
If Rachel Caine wrote 40 more books in this series, I would not complain at all. In fact, I'd throw a party. MYRNIN. Also, I am totally digging the UK cover. Is that Monica Morrell on there?!

5. Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen (9/20)
If you have read Bright Young Things, then you know exactly why I'm so excited for book two.

6. Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez (10/18)
Ahem. Hot boys. Kissing. Music. VIOLIN. And I always love reading books about the "wrong" boy who happens to turn out to be the "right" boy.

7. All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin (9/6)
Does anyone else start singing "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier" whenever you read the title? Me too. Also, coffee and chocolate being illegal? That's enough to make me cut someone.

8. The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle (9/6)
This sounds like a fantastic book, if not heartcrushingly emotional. Sometimes we all need a good cry, yes?

9. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (9/29)

10. After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel (9/5)
Ghosts and exorcism. Freaking A hell scary.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

Published: Flux (May 8, 2011)
Pages: 245
Format: Paperback
Series: No
Source: I purchased this book
GoodReads Summary: Tonight was so much worse than anything before it. Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap.

At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved — and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything — and everyone — in its path.

This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.

My Thoughts: This was a hard read. Plain and simple. Beautifully, painfully written, But I Love Him painted the picture of an all-too-real danger that could affect anybody at any time.

There were times I wanted to scream at Ann for being so completely blind and stupid, defending Connor's intentions, making excuses for his glaringly unacceptable behavior. Jealousy and possessiveness is NOT attractive. I hated Connor from the very first page. I guess it didn't help that the story is unraveled starting from the day where Ann finally realized the severity of her situation and worked backwards to the day they met.

Though they contain similar subject matter, this book was a far cry from Stay by Deb Caletti, which is the only other book I've read about abusive relationships. Not to compare and contrast, but in Stay, I actually saw the attraction towards the abuser in the beginning. He was sweet, attentive, and playfully jealous. This book doesn't mess around and throws the horror right in your face from page one. I actually prefer it this way, because you have no choice but to read about how ugly it can get before you get to the lovey dovey junk.

This book is powerful. It's horrific and sad and a trainwreck. It made me angry. I stand firm that everyone should have to read this book or something similar. All too often, the red flags of potential physical/emotional abuse are often overlooked in the name of love or infatuation. The topic is presented in a realistic, raw fashion. If you are a fan of dark, emotional reads, this is one you will want to put at the top of your lists.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (34)

IMM is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, who is even more awesome in person than she is on her blog, if you can believe it :)

GUYS. I joined Amazon Prime. And because I'm a student, I get 6 months of Amazon Prime FREE. And also, once I do get charged, I'll only have to pay $39 instead of $79. GOING TO SCHOOL ROCKS. Except that it actually sucks because it makes me want to pull out my hair. I took my first test this week. I'm pretty bummed about it because as much as I studied, I should've done better. But I guess that's what happens.

Anyway, due to the stress of the first couple weeks of school, I decided to treat myself. A LOT. Plus I got a surprise book in the mail, which NEVER HAPPENS, so that brightened my life, too.

I bought the majority of these books through Amazon, because seriously. Have you seen their hardcover prices?! Unreal. A couple I picked up from Borders, because they went down to 40% off and I had an extra 15% off coupon. How can I say no? I'm weak, my dear readers.

Let us get to the goods, yes?

For Review
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Frost by Marianna Baer
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (this one just showed up...with the super pretty cover art!)

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski
Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Warped by Maurissa Guibord
Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles
Entwined by Heather Dixon

(a humongous thank you to st. martin's griffin and harperteen this week. i want to marry both of these publishers.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Published: Razorbill (April 1, 2008)
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Series: No
Source: I purchased this book
GoodReads Summary: When her ex writes a break-up song about her that rockets up the charts, Audrey is suddenly famous--she can't go out without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi. Readers can take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, confronts her ex on MTV, and shows the world who she really is. This irresistible, fast-paced novel has a totally hot new paperback cover! Its the song everyones singing. And its about her! But for Audrey, becoming famous overnight equals total, life-changing disaster. .

My Thoughts: Several things happened within Audrey, Wait! that made me realize that I might want to race to the altar with this book.

Warning: this review will be scattered and choppy, because my thoughts cannot be contained when it comes to all the things I loved about this book.

1. When I opened it, there was a My Chemical Romance lyric staring me in the face.
I died 8 times in 10 seconds.

2. Every single chapter title is a lyric.
Not to mention I've heard and loved 90% of the songs that were chapter titles. This book is chock full of good music. CHOCK FULL. Jimmy Eat World. The Strokes. MCR. Franz Ferdinand, Jack's Mannequin, Pete Yorn, Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists... SWOON. Audrey is a music snob and it's one of my favorite things about her. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find anything about Audrey that I hated. Or even disliked. Sure, I probably would've taken a bit more advantage in the "free stuff" category, but seriously. She's been molded into Britney Spears after JT wrote "Cry Me a River." Audrey handled the paparazzi quite a bit better than Brit Brit, though. There were no umbrellas colliding with windshields and Audrey's hair is still intact.

3. Audrey says "word."
This is in my daily vocabulary. I don't actually even know what it means or why people say it, but WHO CARES?! I cannot sufficiently verbalize all the good things I feel for Audrey. Girl crush? Absolutely. This would normally be where I'd insert a keysmash to properly convey my delight, but this review is disjointed, as it is.

4. BENDEMOLENA, Audrey's cat.
I just googled this. There's a book about a cat named Bendemolena, a pothead cat. And by this, I mean a cat who wore a pot atop its head. Robin Benway has a sense of humor AND a penchant for finding lesser known books about pothead cats. WIN.

5. There are leagues of male musician love interests.
By "leagues," I mean two. And a third that isn't a musician, but has amazing taste in music (AND MAKES MIXTAPES) which is good enough for me. Sure, one of them is the object of disdain, according to Audrey, but he still merits a mention because hey, he penned the song.

6. I love tabloids.
This book reads like a True Hollywood Story tell-all in the form of a soap opera with dramatic clips of paparazzi bustles, car chases, heartbreak, betrayal, LOVE!, passion, MUSIC, friendship, more betrayal, MUSIC!!!!!, exploitation, and more more more music. All of it straight from Audrey's authentic, intelligent teenage, wise-beyond-her-years-yet-just-naive-enough voice.

So there you have it, folks. A list of reasons why Audrey, Wait! and I are happily betrothed. Read this book and you'll be giving the thumbs up to literary eloping, too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review (+ Giveaway!): Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Published: Simon Pulse (August 30, 2011)
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 1 of 3
Source: ARC provided by publisher
GoodReads Summary: Sometimes sorry isn't enough....
It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.
My Thoughts: I love stories about revenge. Sure, that makes me sound like a psychopath, but seriously. Books, shows, whatever. (Especially on Animal Cops when the abusers get persecuted. FIST PUMPING APLENTY!) But on those shows, they never really portray the offender as a sympathetic character. Maybe I'd feel differently if I knew the whole story, instead of simply the wrong they committed. (Except on Animal Cops.)

With Fury, I got my sympathetic characters in Chase and Em. The book is written in third person, but I still had quite an emotional attachment to both main characters. Each chapter switched from Em to Chase, whose stories often intertwined. Elizabeth Miles makes you feel for them, telling each respective story through the emotional voice of a vulnerable teenager. They did horrible, horrible things. Things that, if they were adults, would be completely unforgivable. (Especially you, Em.) But they're still growing and learning. Try and show me one person who, when they were growing up, didn't make a mistake over which they've obsessed and wanted to disappear off the face of the planet. They're unsure, insecure, and they have FEELINGS. Miles does an amazing job of showing those feelings and made me feel like Em and Chase were just two normal kids I went to school with.

But these kids have done some very bad things. Punishable? Hmm. And who's to say what the punishment will be? Well, friends. That decision lies in the hands of three beautiful ladies. It's kind of like a scaled down, high school version of the SAW movies, with far less murder and guts and bared ribcages.

It's pretty obvious who those three ladies are, given the title of the book. I have to say I'm quite a fan of all the Greek mythology that's infesting YA lately. Best infestation ever. I'm shocked at how much I enjoyed reading Fury. It wasn't totally action-packed, but there was enough suspense (OH, and the creep factor!) to keep me satisfied and turning those pages like my life depended on it.

This warrants a mention: I BOW TO THIS BOOK FOR AMAZING CHARACTERIZATION. Not only are the main characters well-developed and multi-dimensional, but we have a secondary cast of characters who are JUST as fleshed out (if not more so. Looking at you, JD and Gabby!)

First Book Syndrome is handled quite nicely and with a kicker of an ending, and I'd be lying to your face if I told you that I won't be getting that next book with a quickness as soon as it's out.

Simon Pulse has graciously offered a signed, finished copy of Fury to one of my fabulously lucky readers!

Contest Information

Leave a comment below with your email address.

Please read my Contest Policy

Must be 13+ to enter.

One person per entry, please.

Must have a US mailing address.

Winners will be chosen using Random.org and I will contact you via e-mail if you win. I will need the winner's mailing address within 48 hours. If I don't receive it within that timeframe, I will pick a new winner.

Contest deadline is September 4, 2011 at midnight EST.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox (33)

IMM is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren!

So, as we all know, Borders is going out of business. SOB. Yes, I mean that in the "cry" way and the acronym for "son of a bitch" way.

But I did get to take advantage of their sale?

For Review
Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen (thank you, Harper Teen!)

In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Stork by Wendy Delsol (thanks to the reviews of Lynn and Anna!)

Also.. my dear friend Lynn from Bringing the Epic is just a few followers shy of 100. This is kind of a HUGE milestone, breaking that 3-digit follower number :) Why don't you guys head over there and follow her? She's all kinds of lovely!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox (32)

IMM is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Duh :)

I know I've been away for awhile. It sucks. Tomorrow begins my last semester of nursing school and I'll probably still be pretty occupied. We have a 50 question test EVERY single week over like, 500 (oh, how I wish I was exaggerating) PowerPoint slides. So yeah, I won't even have time to read anything besides nursing related crap, let alone blog. I'll still try to post some reviews and Your Makeshift Bookmark posts when I have a spare moment, since I have an arsenal of them. Luckily I did a lot of reading this summer! Hopefully I'll be back in FULL swing around October-ish. And you know I'll still be found on Twitter.

My book buying ban FINALLY ended. Here are some of the awesome books I picked up in the last few weeks. (By the way, Vegas was FABULOUS. Except for the money I didn't win.)

Enthralled by Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong (among others. AND IT'S SIGNED! Thanks, Melissa!)
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (thanks, NetGalley/Random House!)

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (thanks, Shanyn!)

Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean
Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready (NOOKbook)
Bad to the Bone by Jeri Smith-Ready
Eon by Alison Goodman
Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Have a fabulous week, all you crazy readers!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Zachary Moore Greased Up & Shirtless (+ SHINE giveaway!)

.....as portrayed by Groundskeeper Willie.

But now that I have your attention and you're cursing my name for playing such a dirty, dirty trick on you, it's time to get serious. Over the last several weeks, Team Kilt has been putting up a HELL of a fight. And constantly coming out on top, mind you. Mad props to the plaid! Now we've gotten down to the nitty gritty and our beloved Zach is facing his toughest opponent yet: Jace Wayland.

I'll be honest with you guys. When I first heard about the YA Crush Tourney (hosted by The YA Sisterhood), I snickered just a little bit. I thought it was leaning towards silly and didn't have much intention of voting. But when I found out that one of my favorite characters from one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors was in the running? YES, PLEASE. I fell absolutely in love with Shade and Shift. These books need to be international best sellers. The emotion, the characterization, the heart and mother effing SOUL that Jeri Smith-Ready puts into her characters is awe-inspiring (and quite painstaking for her readers. She's not afraid to put her beloved creations through absolute hell.) Not to mention that her interaction and appreciation for her fans seriously makes me want to tear up. There are authors out there who sit atop their fame castle, receiving tons of fan mail, emails, @ replies on Twitter and completely avoid fan interaction. NOT JSR. Thanks to her, I had my very first author-squee moment when she commented on a post I did about Shade. And it's not just me! Every single day, she dedicates time to interacting with her fans, discussing her books, and just being generally awesome. Honestly guys, I've never seen such devotion to a fanbase before. She is that awesome.

Now that my JSR fangirling is out of the way, let me tell you all the wonderful things that will come of you voting for Zachary in the YA Crush Tourney. These are taken verbatim from Jeri's blog:
1. If Zachary gets 5,000 votes, I will write lyrics to "Forever," the song Logan sings to Aura in her sleep the night before his testimony near the end of Shade. The scene that makes everyone, including me, bawl their eyes out. I've never written a song before, except the chorus of the song in Requiem for the Devil that I probably can't name without getting this blog post blocked by obscenity screens (my friend Greg wrote the verses). So it might take more than a few days. But I'll have it done in time for the release of Logan's story "Bridge" in the Enthralled anthology that comes out September.

2. If Zachary gets 10,000 votes, I will list every Team Kilt member's name in the acknowledgments of SHINE. That's right--not just a short story like in the last round, but a print book released by a major publisher. Your name could be in it, but 10,000 votes is a very high goal--the last two rounds had 10,000 votes combined between the characters.

3. If Zachary wins, you will all get to see what's under the kilt.


Technically, the age of majority in Scotland is sixteen, which he is even in the beginning of SHADE. But I'm going by American standards here. In SHIFT and most of SHINE, he's still seventeen.

But during SHINE, he and Aura turn eighteen...at Ballyrock Castle. I've written a scene that will most likely be left out or trimmed due to excessive hotness, but either way, I promise you'll get to read it, either in the book or as a deleted scene, once SHINE is released.

And ye shall know what's under the kilt...


4. If Zachary wins, I will fly to Minneapolis for a booksigning and get-together with Amy, Jen, and any Team Kilt member who can join us. We can call it TeamKiltCon and get the convention rate at a hotel or something. Details will be worked out later, but I will absolutely buy every member of Team Kilt the drink of their choice. Yes, even single-malt Scotch, if you're old enough.
*fans self* IF THESE ARE NOT ALL INCENTIVE, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS. The promise of lyrics to Forever alone are enough to make my tear ducts tingle. You can check out Jeri's Team Kilt updates on her blog HERE, as well as look at a bunch of SHINE teasers and updates from Team Kilt's past efforts.

I can't think of a more deserving author or character, so go forth and vote. Use your wi-fi. Then use 3G network. Use your neighbor's wi-fi. Use the coffeehouse's wi-fi down the street. Make sure you vote using Facebook, Twitter, and your internet browser of choice. DO ANYTHING YOU CAN.

But wait, there's more.

YOU CAN WIN A SHINE PREORDER. And it will be personalized.

Contest Information

Leave me a comment below after voting, telling me why you chose Zach over Jace. Please include your email address!

Please read my Contest Policy

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. I will need the winner's mailing address within 48 hours. If I don't receive it within that timeframe, I will pick a new winner.

Contest deadline is August 12, 2011 at midnight EST.