Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review: Intrinsical by Lani Woodland


Published: Pendrell Publishing (August 20, 2010)
Pages: 302
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 1 of 3
Source: book tour
GoodReads Summary: Sixteen-year-old Yara Silva has always known that ghosts walk alongside the living. Her grandma, like the other females in her family, is a Waker, someone who can see and communicate with ghosts. Yara grew up watching her grandmother taunted and scorned for this unusual ability and doesn't want that to be her future. She has been dreading the day when she too would see ghosts, and is relieved that the usually dominant Waker gene seems to have skipped her, letting her live a normal teenage life. However, all that changes for Yara on her first day at her elite boarding school when she discovers the gene was only lying dormant. She witnesses a dark mist attack Brent, a handsome fellow student, and rushes to his rescue. Her act of heroism draws the mist's attention, and the dark spirit begins stalking her. Yara finds herself entrenched in a sixty-year-old curse that haunts the school, threatening not only her life, but the lives of her closest friends as well. Yara soon realizes that the past she was trying to put behind her isn't going to go quietly.

My Thoughts: Intrinsical was interesting because I was completely blindsided by the considerable amounts of spooky. At a private school. WITH MURDERS AND A CURSE. You guys, this book straight up has all the ingredients required for a top notch episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark. Oh that's right. Gary would launch that magic dirt into the fire with way more gusto than usual before launching into this tale.

Right away, I knew I would enjoy this story. Yara has a fresh, sarcastic voice and she's hot-headed. And she has an awesome best friend, Cherie, who doesn't end up stabbing her in the back. (Can we please take a moment to raise the roof for best friendships that are sincere and the girls aren't catty or fighting over a guy?)

Lani Woodland does not waste any time at all with the action. This novel races off to a ghostly start that may make you want to reconsider reading it at midnight when you're home alone. The Pendrell Curse is not something you want to mess around with. And Woodland kept me in suspense by revealing only small pieces of the mystery at a time. Major props for a unique plot and execution. I can't say I've read anything quite like this plotline in my YA endeavors.

Towards the middle, Yara's hot-headedness grated my nerves ever-so-slightly, but I'm willing to forgive her because she's so take charge. I love that in my MCs. Her romance with lifeguard Brent, while teetering on "too much, too soon," actually panned out rather cutely (not sure if that's a word.) The two eased into a sweet relationship and I loved how "there for each other" they were.

There wasn't an explosion of a climactic scene, but I was left satisfied with the resolution of the conflict with the villain. I think that the story was tied up rather nicely, so I'm interested to see what other shenanigans Yara finds herself wrapped up in. You'll want to check out Intrinsical if you're looking for a book that will keep you peeking from under your covers during SNICK on a mid-90s Saturday night.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Your Makeshift Bookmarks (10)

Your Makeshift Bookmarks is derived from two things: a) my obvious blog name and tendency to use inane objects to mark my pages. And b) Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner's inspiration (and suggestion!) to start a blog feature where you all can show off the awesome, random crap you use for bookmarks.

And by the way, if you're interested in recording a vlog or doing a photo post for YOUR makeshift bookmarks, shoot me an email at makeshiftbookmark at gmail dot com and I'll be glad to feature you <3 You don't have to be a blogger, this is open to readers, too!

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A warm welcome today to Capillya from That Cover Girl. She's one of my most favorite bloggers and people in general. You may have seen her on Twitter making witty comments that make everyone smile. Or perhaps you've checked out her blog and watched her squee or scoff over various book covers (seriously, more wittiness abound. IS THE GIRL EVER NOT HILARIOUS? hint: no.) This vlog is no exception.


Okay, seriously. I steal (BORROW!) Splenda from work all the time and end up sticking them in my books.

By now, you're probably wanting more Capillya hilarity, so please go head over to That Cover Girl. You will not regret this. Thank you, Capillya, for participating and doing a makeshift vlog :)


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Love Story by Jennifer Echols


Published: MTV Books (July 19, 2011)
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Series: No
Source: GalleyGrab
GoodReads Summary: For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?
Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

My Thoughts: I have only read one other book by Jennifer Echols (Forget You) and unfortunately we didn't get along. Then I heard about Love Story and got ten kinds of psyched because listen... Kentucky! Horses! DERBY! Guys, I live about 30 minutes away from Churchill Downs and while I've never worn a big hat, sipped mint juleps, or even gone to the track, there's something about reading a book set in your city.

And also, what girl doesn't want a pony? If you can't have one, why not read about an heiress to a BUNCH of ponies? (Except the heirness is crazy and declines the ponies. WHAT KIND OF GIRL DOES THAT?!)

Anyway, so we've already established that Erin's nuts. But she's also smart and heads off to college in NYC for creative writing. She writes stories, which are actually super om nom to read. I'd have LOVED to read more about Rebecca and her stable boy, because it seemed Rebecca was a bit more level-headed than her creator.

While I enjoyed reading about Erin for the first 50% of the novel, she took a turn for the immature and irrational somewhere in the middle and that lasted to the end. I feel like there was a lot of unnecessary drama between she and Hunter and I let out many an exasperated sigh. While I very much enjoyed the plot and the IDEA of Erin, she and I never quite clicked.

But one thing I do recall about Jennifer Echols is that she can write a hell of a sexytime scene. Yeah. This is no exception. There is tension, brooding, love/hate relationships that take entirely too long to come to fruition, but you still enjoy the ride. TONS of people will devour this book. I guess I just got a little impatient.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Soundtracking (5): Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

thanks to ginger from greads for this amazing graphic!

Soundtracking is something I pretty much do subconsciously. I listen to a TON of music and I read a TON of books. Somehow, the two just end up colliding. Movies have soundtracks, TV shows have soundtracks... why not books? I probably won't do this consistently... I guess whenever inspiration strikes :) Just a disclaimer that Soundtracking is potentially spoilery... but they're going to be pretty obvious spoilers, not big brain-busting spoilers. I probably wouldn't read this unless you've read the book.
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Ginger over at GReads! is hosting Summer Lovin' Week and asked me to be a part of it. Thank you, G!

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour was one of my favorite reads of 2010. It has everything that I could want in a summer read: road trips, cross country touristy events, falling in love, and incredible music. No seriously, you don't even have to think about which music would correspond with which parts of the book. Morgan Matson straight up hands them to you on a silver platter.

This song, however, is one I picked myself. I'm not shy about my My Chemical Romance obsession. And you wouldn't be wrong to give me the squinty eye and ask, "what does My Chemical Romance have to do with summer? Aren't they all eyeliner and screamy and angst and vampires?" To which I'd reply, "sure, all of those things." But, kind people, there is a gem of a rock ballad called Summertime. It's about falling love and longing and uncertainty and finding hope in another person. It's about everything being GOOD. I don't know about you guys, but those are all things I love in my YA books.

And I think I am in love with the love ballad side of MCR. DO NOT BE DETERRED. This song is beautiful.



Notable Lyrics

When the lights go out
Will you take me with you?
And carry all this broken bone

Through six years down in crowded rooms

And highways I call home
Is something I can't know till now
Till you picked me off the ground
With brick in hand, your lip gloss smile
Your scraped up knees and

If you stay
I would even wait all night
Or until my heart explodes
How long?
Until we find our way
In the dark and out of harm
You can run away with me
Anytime you want


Terrified of what I'd be
As a kid from what I've seen
Every single day
When people try
And put the pieces back together
Just to smash them down

Turn my headphones up real loud
I don't think I need them now
'Cause you stop the noise



Amy & Roger Quotes

"Tomorrow will be better.”
“But what if it’s not?” I asked.
“Then you say it again tomorrow. Because it might be. You never know, right? At some point, tomorrow will be better."

Roger: "We can’t know what’s going to happen. We can just try to figure it out as we go along."

Roger: "The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren't looking for it. Columbus and America. Pinzon, who stumbled on Brazil while looking for the West Indies. Stanley happening on Victoria Falls. And you. Amy Curry, when I was least expecting her."

Amy: "Soon this would just be who I was. Soon old me would be dead too. I tipped my head against the cold glass of the window. When I felt myself begin to cry, I didn't fight against it. And when I caught my refection in the dark window, I wasn't able to tell what was tears and what was rain."

Roger: "God, I've been wanting to do that for a long time."
Amy: "Really"
Roger: "Oh yes. Since Kansas. At least."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Karma by Cathy Ostlere


Published: Razorbill (March 31, 2011)
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover
Series: No
Source: ARC from publisher
GoodReads Summary: On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi is gunned down by two Sikh bodyguards. The murder sparks riots in Delhi and for three days Sikh families are targeted and killed in retribution for the Prime Minister’s death. It is into this chaos that sixteen-year-old Maya and her Sikh father, Amar, arrive from their home in Canada. India’s political instability is the backdrop and catalyst for Maya’s awakening to the world. KARMA is the story of how a young woman, straddling two cultures and enduring personal loss, learns forgiveness, acceptance and love.

My Thoughts: I know nothing of history. Not of US history. Not of world history. I don't take much of an interest in it, either.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself looking up the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the Sikhs on Wikipedia in order to further educate myself on the subject matter within Karma. This book blew my freaking mind. Told entirely in verse, we're given Maya's point of view first, followed by Sandeep's, then finally Maya's again. I've never read a book in verse before, but WOW. Less is more, when it comes to Maya and Sandeep's story. I don't think the grief, fear, and loss could've been better communicated if it were written conventionally.

Maya is half-Hindu, half-Sikh. Her tale is painful from the get go and I can't imagine anyone keeping their sanity after experiencing all that she did following Indira Gandhi's assassination and the persecution of the Sikh people. Fearing her own death, Maya has to conceal her beliefs in order to stay alive.

Experiencing Maya's pain was heartbreaking, but OH, SANDEEP! You glimmer of hope, you. These two are rewarded after all of their hardships with a totally squealworthy love story. Slow-building, cautious, and moving, their romance is told from both sides. Have I ever mentioned how much I love this? To have a fully rounded idea of their respective feelings for one another? SO FULL OF WIN. The ending was bittersweet and emotional, for me. But emotional reads are where my heart belongs, even if there's not a perfect bow. (I never liked bows, anyway.)

This book is perfectly written, evocative, emotional, and will totally make a historical fiction fan out of those of us who typically couldn't care less. Cathy Ostlere has made a fan out of me. And this will DEFINITELY not be my last book told in verse.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Your Makeshift Bookmarks (9)

Your Makeshift Bookmarks is derived from two things: a) my obvious blog name and tendency to use inane objects to mark my pages. And b) Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner's inspiration (and suggestion!) to start a blog feature where you all can show off the awesome, random crap you use for bookmarks.

And by the way, if you're interested in recording a vlog or doing a photo post for YOUR makeshift bookmarks, shoot me an email at makeshiftbookmark at gmail dot com and I'll be glad to feature you <3 You don't have to be a blogger, this is open to readers, too!

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Today, I'm so happy to feature one of my favorite bloggers. Jacinda is one half of the duo that make up The Reading Housewives of Indiana. And she's extra special, because not only are we blogger friends, but we actually have known each other since kindergarten and even graduated high school together. Luckily, after like 7 years, we reunited on GoodReads and then started our blogs a couple months apart :) She also happens to be HILARIOUS, as evidenced by the following.



Okay, does anyone else do that with their Nook? Because I think it's second nature as a bookworm. I've usually caught myself prior to actually closing the cover, but still. Also, Jacinda, you totally make me want to go back to high school so we can have Bosco stick Thursdays again. And that stuffed crust pizza? YES, PLEASE.

Thank you so much, Jacinda, for stopping by and sharing all your non-bookmark bookmarks. Are you guys completely sold on her? She's awesome and funny and has a sister who is JUST as awesome. Head over to The Reading Housewives of Indiana and follow follow follow!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (29): Thy Mailbox Overfloweth Edition

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

I had an epic week, I cannot lie. Huge thanks to my blogger friends for being amazing and sharing their BEA stash with me and picking up books from signings for me. I love you guys so much it's INEXPLICABLE. Seriously.







For Review
The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
You Against Me by Jenny Downham
Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade
Mercy by Rebecca Lim
Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman
Fury by Elizabeth Miles

huge thanks to NetGalley, HarperCollins, Random House, Disney Hyperion, GalleyGrab, and Scholastic!

From Jamie
Pretty Bad Things by CJ Skuse
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (signed!)
Fateful by Claudia Gray
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (signed!)
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Gifted
Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn't have) by Sarah Mlynowski (signed! Thank you Anna!)
Eve by Anna Carey (thank you, Farrah!)
Legend by Marie Lu and Bloodlines tote bag (thank you, Lindsi!)
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (signed! thank you, Carla!)

Bought
Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Plus I got a bunch of super cute signed bookmarks from Kiki Hamilton, author of The Faerie Ring!
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I probably can't ever hope to have a week as good as this one ever again. I don't expect to. And honestly, I have no idea how I'm going to read all of these amazing titles, but DAMNIT I'M GOING TO TRY!!!

A monumental thanks to all my blogger friends who are generous and beautiful enough to share their BEA stash and pick up books from signings for me. I love you guys more than words. More than books, even. But just don't tell the books that ;)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Review: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby


Published: Simon & Schuster (May 3, 2011)
Pages: 224
Format: Hardcover
Series: No
Source: Gifted by Jamie
GoodReads Summary:"I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both."

Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.

While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.


My Thoughts: Moonglass has one of those covers in which I'd like to jump inside and live... like in a little hut or something. Anyone remember that episode of Boy Meets World where Cory and Topanga make a living off carving celebrities out of coconuts? YES, PLEASE. Anyway, back to the beautiful cover. The thing that always sucks is when the cover sets this impossible standard that the story inside can't possibly live up to.

Luckily, Moonglass is every bit as lovely and "omg-I-want-to-live-in-it" as the cover. If Jessi Kirby's writing was a type of candy, it would be a box of Tropical Gushers. Tropical because of the beach, obviously. Gushers, because the candy, at first glance looks delicious enough. Then you take a bite and HOLY SWEET RAPTURE DELIGHT! But really, Kirby definitely shocked the non-literal pants off me with her gorgeous prose.

This book IS the beach.

I didn't get quite as much romance as I thought there'd be. Lifeguard Tyler was extremely cute and I loved him and Anna together. I am officially a fan of the subtle romance that isn't all consuming. I was surprised when I found the story focused more on Anna and her dad's (who is awesome) grief process and acceptance when dealing with the significance of their new home. This book packs a hidden punch of sad. But a good sad. Like turning over a new leaf sad.

Anna is awesome to read about. She's adventurous, she is deep. She jumped off a huge rock at night in her skivvies and showed up a whole bunch of boys. Best friends, please? Speaking of, I was overjoyed by the fact that there is a predominant friendship in this book that doesn't get completely overshadowed by a romance. Ashley, as completely daft as she is, was an awesome, pink & fluffy companion to Anna's down-to-earthness.

(By the way, is it just me, or do ALL female leads run?)

All in all, this book is an amazing summer read. It's short enough where you could probably read it on the beach in one sitting while working on your tan. (SPF 40, please.) Go on and get it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma


Published: Simon Pulse (June 28, 2011)
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Series: No
Source: Galley Grab
GoodReads Summary: Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives--and the way they understand each other so completely--has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

My Thoughts: I will warn you guys straightaway that I did not go into reading this book completely blind, because some champion on GoodReads didn't mark their spoiler and the ending was ruined for me. That being said, I was not deterred from cracking open this book and subjecting myself to some highly controversial and disturbing topics.

Did it make me want to crawl out of my skin because I was cringing so much? Absolutely.
Do I now support the idea of a bro/sis love affair? NO NO NO.
If I had a brother, would I have probably been hesitant to continue reading at certain points? Probably.
But was the writing beautiful and emotional and raw and vivid? So much so that I couldn't put this book down and completely devoured it in almost one sitting, despite knowing exactly how it all ends? YES.

This book's reputation precedes it by close to a year, for me. Back before I was a blogger, I heard from some fellow GoodReaders how horrendously beautiful this book was. And the waterworks it induced. I, being one who loves taboo and difficult reads, immediately went to order it overseas. WOE OF WOES, it was out of stock. Luckily, I caught word of Simon Pulse releasing it and was joyous, because I couldn't wait to start reading it.

I had a really hard time absorbing that Lochan and Maya were brother and sister, because the idea of them as being mother and father figures to their three younger siblings overshadowed everything else. Maybe that's what Tabitha Suzuma wanted. Maybe it was a coping mechanism on my behalf. I don't really know. But I found myself emotionally invested in an illegal relationship. I wouldn't go as far as to say that I was in favor of their love, but rather their happiness with their lives. I wanted a good ending for both of them. Both Lochan and Maya are good, sweet, kind people. The fact that their mother was a good-for-nothing drunk only fueled my feelings for them. (HATED HER SO MUCH.)

There are so many subjects that I've read about time and time again that were presented to me in a whole new light in Forbidden: crippling social anxiety, drunken, negligent parents, broken families, sibling rivalry, first loves... except all of it seemed magnified and brand new, thanks to Suzuma's painfully raw prose.

I just finished and I feel cheated, because I knew what was going to happen. I definitely did not get to experience the full spectrum of emotions that I've heard so much about. I didn't cry. But I still wanted to tell you guys that if you're up for a difficult, powerful, gripping, unputdownable read that leaves you feeling just a little bit gross, but also warm and fuzzy in a sick, twisted way... this is the book you should be picking up.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Peek at My TBR (11): BEA Edition

Disclaimer: these are books that I WANT to read and are on my TBR list, not books that I necessarily own (unfortunately!) And if I do have any of them on my shelf, I'll specify :)

A Peek At My TBR is a feature inspired by Waiting on Wednesday by Jill at Breaking the Spine and Books To Pine For by The Story Siren. I did WoW for awhile, but honestly, there's never only one book I'm "waiting" on. And a lot of the books that I "pine for" aren't just up-and-coming books. There's still a ton of oldies but goodies that I'm just now discovering or want to read soon, and I feel like thosedeserve some recognition as well as the fresh meat.
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Now you're probably saying to yourself: "wait. Jen didn't go to BEA. I know this because she pissed and moaned about it for like 6 months prior and excruciatingly so throughout the actual week of BEA." And you, my friends, would be correct. That being said, I happen to be in possession of some kickass blogger friends who DID go to BEA and just happened to lend me some books that they picked up at BEA. Of those, these are the books I'm most excited for.


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Published: September 27, 2011
There have been a LOT of positive reviews going around about this book, mainly thanks to the massive WTFery afoot. Read Jamie's review here and I invite you to watch the video, as well :) Given that many of the adjectives I've heard are: creepy, WTFery, weird, awesome, amazing, and OMG, this book is one that I am ready to call in sick to devour in one sitting. Since that can't happen, I'll gladly shove this book into my jeans somehow and sneak off to the bathroom at work in order to devote some time.

The Carrier of the Mark
Published: October 4, 2011
Okay, let us take one moment to digest and ponder over this one word: Ireland. I don't care if it's a book about a dog pissing on a fire hydrant on a summer day, the fact that this book is set in Ireland makes it squeeworthy. But wait, there's more. After I got googly-eyed over Ireland, I decided to look at the cover. Floating girl. Blue dress with some weird blue junk coming out of it. Again: LOVE. And the synopsis? Strange family. Mysterious om nom boy. ANCIENT ORDERS. That's it. SOLD.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Published: November 15, 2011
So this one does not exactly have a cover yet, which only piques my interest more. Juliette, the MC in this book, cannot touch anybody because she ends lives by doing so. What immediately springs to mind is Rogue from X-Men and I have mass amounts of sad for her. How much would that suck? Because of her danger to civilization as we know it, she's been thrown into captivity. Also, the words "weapon" and "warrior" are included in the summary, which gets me really excited. I hate violence IRL, but in books? BRING IT. Additionally, there are whisperings of a majorly swoonworthy romance.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan


Published: HarperTeen (September 7, 2010)
Pages: 323
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 1
Source: I purchased this book.
GoodReads Summary: A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.


My Thoughts: I bought Firelight on its release day last year and was so excited to dig in. It's 9 months after the fact. I don't know why I put it off for so long. One day, I said to myself "review books be damned, I am reading Firelight post haste." And aren't I glad that I did?

I LOVE the idea of draki. Dragons have always appealed to me, be they Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty or Smaug from The Hobbit. Always the fire-breathers too. I guess I lucked out with Jacinda. I loved Jacinda and her loyalty to her pride. My favorite parts were the descriptions of her manifestations into draki form and the freedom she felt while aflight. FANTASY, FTW! My one gripe is that I wish we got more of a description on the dynamic of the pride, which I feel will be heavily present in the sequel. And I am waiting EVER so impatiently for Vanish.

If you asked me honestly if there's a love triangle, I'd have to say a little bit. And if you asked me if there's the whole dangerous guy/doomed love factor, I'd have to say heck yes. But this is one of those times when I actually enjoyed those paranormal staples. Sophie Jordan's writing is EVER so fun.

(Also, there may or may not be some unique butt-kicking of someone who totally deserves it. Retribution! Face damage! YES!)

Firelight is a rarity among YA these days. It's got all the fixings for something that could've been "just another YA bad boy/special girl fiasco," yet it WORKS and blows many of the recent paranormals I've read out of the water. I need Vanish. I need it soon.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Your Makeshift Bookmarks (8)

Your Makeshift Bookmarks is derived from two things: a) my obvious blog name and tendency to use inane objects to mark my pages. And b) Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner's inspiration (and suggestion!) to start a blog feature where you all can show off the awesome, random crap you use for bookmarks.

And by the way, if you're interested in recording a vlog or doing a photo post for YOUR makeshift bookmarks, shoot me an email at makeshiftbookmark at gmail dot com and I'll be glad to feature you <3

Today I welcome Chrystal from Snowdrop Dreams!
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Snowdrop Dreams of Books

The other day Jen asked if any fellow book bloggers wanted to be featured on her blog and I jumped at the chance. Sadly I cannot make a VLOG though it would have been so much more fun explaining everything, but I have pictures!

I hardly ever use actual bookmarks thought I have a few cute ones like the Little Miss Chatterbox one in the picture. I have tons of bookmark swag as well, but they are like prizes to me and I NEVER use them to mark my books. I'm afraid they will get bent or torn and then they wouldn't be as perfect as many are signed (no picture because I can't seem to find the box that holds them - must have hid them good so no one would touch them *hehe*).


The things that I have been using recently include business cards from publishers, receipts from the public library, little notes publishers send me, post it tabs, and well my Little Miss Chatterbox bookmark. I NEVER dogear my books - it makes me sad when I see it done.

And to show you how often I use the post it tabs I added a photo of a few books. The top two I use for reference (The Happiness Project is a great book and The Knot Books of Wedding Lists is my reference for planning my wedding), so I tabbed all the pages I needed/wanted to remember. And the bottom book is my current read (The Witch of Babylon by D.J. McIntosh) green tab is a spot where there is a quote I want to remember and the blue tab is my current spot in the book.

Thanks so much for having me! I love reading this feature of your blog and was happy to participate.
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No, thank YOU, Chrystal! Congratulations on your impending wedding! :) And those little sticky tabs are totally useful when it comes to marking pages in books, so I really need to pick some of those up, myself!

Guys, what are you waiting for? Go stop by Chrystal's blog and give her a follow in order to keep track of the books that she's using that cute Little Miss Chatterbox bookmark on!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In My Mailbox (28)

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

First off, please look to your right in the side column. I have some amazing contests going on: Everlasting (ends at midnight tonight!), Ruby Red, and TWO copies of Thirteen Reasons Why. Go forth and enter!

I had a pretty AWESOME week. So many amazing books. Has anyone figured out how to clone oneself yet? I would love to have a couple other Jens to read all these titles <3


For Review
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Intrinsical by Lani Woodland (not pictured)

Won
The Undertakers by Ty Drago
Reasons to Be Happy by Katrina Kittle
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

Bought
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (FINALLY found it in hardcover!)
Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
Hourglass by Myra McIntire

(Huge thanks to Armchair BEA, Sourcebooks Fire, and Disney Hyperion!)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly


Published: Candlewick (May 24, 2011)
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 1 of 3
Source: NetGalley
GoodReads Summary: Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself does. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed romantic trilogy, L. A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill ride of a road trip  —  and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.

My Thoughts: I may or may not have hit the ceiling when I got approved for Angel Burn. EVIL. ANGELS. YOU. GUYS.
And it's a loooooong read, so I was all prepared and shaking in anticipating for some detailed, delicious storytelling and slow-building of a lahve story.

Well, I was partially right.

I was so intrigued by the idea of a deceptive Church of Angels. I did enjoy the fact that we not only got a first person account from Willow, but also third person points of view from Alex, Jonah (the angels' secretary), and head angel honcho Raziel. This helped offer a well-rounded idea of what was happening in the beginning. The background on the AKs (Angel Killers) and Alex's family was engrossing and I found myself wanting to know more about his brother, Jake.

Willow was a cool chick. She had hobbies and friends and even though she was considered a freak, being psychic and all, it was good. She was an individual. She liked fixing cars and was awesome at it. Then the arse-kicking angel killer Alex enters the picture and her individualism melts into oblivion. I got my slow build, all right. Unfortunately, once the build was built, I was attacked by an army of gushy internal monologues about how much Willow loves Alex and how nothing else matters at all and how the world as we know it will burst into flames without him. I can't lie to you guys, I skimmed through several pages of Willow talking to herself about how she's going to make it without Alex. There was a two page stretch of it at one time.

The storyline was interesting enough at first, but as it dragged on, I found myself racing to be done, just to say I was done. This is a LONG READ. The lulls in action don't pass quickly and, though I loved Willow at first, her cheesy interaction with Alex became too much for me to handle. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be reading the sequel, but I can tell you that many people are going to gobble this book up.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Review: Die For Me by Amy Plum


Published: HarperTeen (May 10, 2011)
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 1
Source: NetGalley
GoodReads Summary: In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.
When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.
Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.
In this incandescent debut, newcomer Amy Plum has created a powerful paranormal mythology with immortal revenants. The Paris setting comes enchantingly alive as a relentless struggle between good and evil takes place in its streets. Rich with romance, atmosphere, and thrills, Die for Me will leave readers breathlessly awaiting its sequel.

My Thoughts: Die For Me started off a bit slow for me. I actually contemplated giving up for a minute or two. So glad that I didn't, though, because I would've missed out on a fab cast of characters and interesting, original lore.

While it took me awhile to connect with Kate, I adored her grandparents. You know that old couple who is genuinely in love and after a thousand years of marriage, they can still stand each other? That's them. They were a bit lenient with Kate and her sister, Georgia, but when you've got hot dates with one another, who has time to worry about if the world is ending or your grandchildren are gallavanting with bad guys, right? (I kid!)

Once Amy Plum started spilling her guts on the Revenants, who they are, what they do, why they're doing it... I got suckered into this story. The rest of Vincent's housemates were lovable and the dynamic amongst them all was highly entertaining. I especially loved Jules and his weird, almost-competitiveness for Kate's attention? Ambrose and Charlotte were big faves. I hate to say it, but they kind of reminded me a little of Emmett and Alice Cullen (please, please don't hurt me!)

The romance, I compare to Easy Mac: just cheesy enough and leaves you satisfied with a guilty smile on your face. I enjoyed reading about Vincent and Kate and their relationship. OH. And Kate totally wears the pants and THAT IS AWESOME.

All in all, Die For Me is a solid debut and I cannot wait to read what Plum has in store for her readers. I NEED to find out what happens to Vincent, Kate, and the rest of them.

Giveaway: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I know I've got a bunch of giveaways going, but I refuse to deprive you guys of the chance to win books. And you WANT to win this one, trust me. I'm almost done with it and I seriously had to fight with myself at 2:00 this morning to put it down and throw it across the room so I wouldn't get out of bed to retrieve it.

Plus, this is for an awesome cause.


13RW Project
Penguin launched the 13RW Project as a place for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why to record their thoughts, stories, videos and photos relating to the book, and to view what other readers from all across the country have shared. Each review is logged on a map to show the many locations that viewers are posting from, and all content is shareable through Facebook and Twitter.

About the Book
Thirteen Reasons Why is the story of a girl named Hannah Baker who takes her own life. But before she does, she records several cassette tapes explaining why and sends them to the people she feels pushed her toward that decision. The story is told from the point of view of Clay Jensen who spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah’s voice as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself—a truth he never wanted to face.

The anti-bullying anthem was published in hardcover in October 2007 by Razorbill, and quickly became a word-of-mouth favorite among teenaged readers with fans claiming, “This book changed my life.” The novel has been on the New York Times children’s hardcover bestseller list for 65 weeks, foreign rights have been sold into 30 countries and it has been acquired by Universal Pictures and will star Selena Gomez.

About the Author
Jay Asher lives on the central coast of California with his wife and son. His favorite part of being an author is speaking with his readers at schools and libraries across the country.
__________________________________

All right, guys. Here's the part you will love. Two (2) entrants will win a paperback copy of Thirteen Reasons Why.

Contest Information

Leave a comment with your email address below to enter.

Please read my Contest/Privacy policy HERE.

Must be 13+ to enter.

One person per entry, please.

US & CA Residents Only.

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

Contest deadline is June 16, 2011 at midnight EST.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Giveaway: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier


Macmillan wants to give you the opportunity to win a copy for yourself! I don't know about you guys, but this sounds like a legitimately awesome book. Time travel, hello?

Book Summary: Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

More about Kerstin Gier



Contest Information

Leave a comment with your email address below to enter.

Please read my Contest/Privacy policy HERE.

Must be 13+ to enter.

One person per entry, please.

US & CA Residents Only.

Winners will be chosen using Random.org and I will contact you via e-mail, as well as announce on the blog, if you win. I will need the winner's mailing address within 24 hours to pass on to the publisher. If I don't receive it within that timeframe, I will pick a new winner.

Contest deadline is June 14, 2011 at midnight EST.

Review: We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han


Published: Simon & Schuster (April 26, 2011)
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 3 of 3
Source: GalleyGrab

GoodReads Summary: It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.


My Thoughts: All good things have to come to an end, right? I really, really didn't want this series to end. Just when Belly, Conrad, Jeremiah, and I were getting to know one another and be one big happy family, Jenny Han goes and ends it all. Why?!

Well, I'll tell you why. Belly deserves her happy ending. And she gets it. OH, does she get it. But not without going through some serious struggles first. Lots of heartbreak going on in this here book. I wanted to throw the book. I wanted to cry. I DID cry. I got that feeling in my stomach where I wanted to puke because I'm so mad that this is happening and I can't BELIEVE it's happening to me. Wait, it didn't happen to me. But Jenny Han made me feel like it was. I was five seconds from busting out the ice cream and calling over some friends.

Everything comes to a head here. All the underlying tension, the unspoken feelings (good and bad), the painstaking betrayals (OH, how it hurts my heart). And the best part about Han? No matter how badly you want to hate a character for the crappy things they did, she still manages to keep a firm hold on your heart. Her beautiful, atmospheric beachy writing is something I will miss dearly.

Despite all the ups and downs, the Conrad evasions, the lovable Belly obnoxiousness, the Jeremiah fun times, and all the smiles and sadness that won my heart over... this good thing has ended. But let me assure you that I will not be forgetting this series. Every song about summer will bring me back to these characters.

And that ending? *dies*

Monday, June 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (27)

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

Ugh, I am SO inconsistent with these effing IMMs. I always WANT to do them on Saturday, but then I end up completely neglecting the blog over the weekend. Hey, it's the one freaking time during the week that I actually get to spend time with my husband, given our completely whacked out work schedules. So it's understandable, yes?

Anyway, here's 3 weeks worth of books. I'm kind of disappointed in myself, because really... I should have a lot more after three weeks. I guess you could call me conservative with my book buying lately. THAT'S NO FUN!

By the way, make sure to enter to win Everlasting (Immortals #6) by Alyson Noel! Ends June 11! GO NOW!




For Review
Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher (Thank you, Big Honcho Media!)

Gifted from Jamie (because she rocks and I love her!)
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn't have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Purchased
Seven Tears into the Sea by Terri Farley
The Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti
Wild Roses by Deb Caletti
Swoon by Nina Malkin
Teach Me by R. A. Nelson
Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Your Makeshift Bookmarks (7)

Your Makeshift Bookmarks is derived from two things: a) my obvious blog name and tendency to use inane objects to mark my pages. And b) Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner's inspiration (and suggestion!) to start a blog feature where you all can show off the awesome, random crap you use for bookmarks.

You may know her as "that cute girl that talks about books AND cupcakes!" More recently, she's "that girl who was bit/bodyslammed/killed and resurrected at BEA," all depending on which version you heard. I personally know her as my companion Irial/Wicked Lovely/Melissa Marr fangirl and fellow Shady Lady (we are totally Jeri Smith-Ready's personal cheerleaders.) And she is all those things and more! Meet Lindsi of Books, Sweets, and Other Treats who is here to talk about page marking miscellany.



She is darling. AND she pimped Darkest Mercy a little bit. HOLLA. Also... I'm now totally reminded that I have to take my cats to the vet, THANKS, LINDS. Go check her out and follow her for more adorable fun cuteness.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Armchair BEA Giveaways: Two Mermaids, Some Fairies, and a Dystopia


Armchair BEA wouldn't be Armchair BEA without the opportunity to win all sorts of fabulous books! I can't help but join in the fun and excitement.


I'm giving away four fantastical ARCS plus an audiobook.
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Pure by Julianna Baggott
Faery Tales & Nightmares by Melissa Marr
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (audiobook!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck to all and I can't wait to enter a crap ton of giveaways myself! <3

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Giveaway: Everlasting by Alyson Noel

Are you a fan of Alyson Noel's Immortals series? Are you SUPER stoked for the release of Everlasting on June 7th? Does watching this book trailer make you a little bit weak in the knees and starry-eyed and all that exciting business? Do you visit Alyson Noel's site daily in hopes that she will announce her next book to devour?!



Well then. I have some good news for you.

St. Martin's Press wants to give you ONE FINISHED COPY of Everlasting for your reading pleasure. Entering is simple. You don't have to follow, but if you like what you see by all means, stick around! Just leave a comment with your email address in the comments below. The contest ends June 11, 2011 at midnight EST.



Please take the time to read my contest and privacy policy, as well as skim through the guidelines below.

Contest Information

Leave a comment with your email address below to enter.

Please read my Contest/Privacy policy HERE.

Must be 13+ to enter.

One person per entry, please.

US & CA Residents Only.

Winners will be chosen using Random.org and I will contact you via e-mail, as well as announce on the blog, if you win. I will need the winner's mailing address within 24 hours to pass on to the publisher. If I don't receive it within that timeframe, I will pick a new winner.

Contest deadline is June 11, 2011 at midnight EST

Friday, June 3, 2011

Your Makeshift Bookmarks (6)

Your Makeshift Bookmarks is derived from two things: a) my obvious blog name and tendency to use inane objects to mark my pages. And b) Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner's inspiration (and suggestion!) to start a blog feature where you all can show off the awesome, random crap you use for bookmarks.

Today I welcome Jenn from Booksessed. She opted to do a photo post on the various items she uses for bookmarks, so let's get to that!
________________________________

I never use actual bookmarks. I have some kind of weird aversion to them or something. My mom adores bookmarks and has them everywhere, which is odd because she doesn't really read. I use a lot of random things as you can see in the photos. I also dog ear the pages of books that I own. (I love my ereader as well, because when you hit "add bookmark" it dog ears the corner of that page.)





Things that I use on a regular basis are:



Library print out slips. I strew books from one end of my house to the other. It also helps me keep track of what I have out at any given time.

Cards and envelopes. The adorbs card is the birthday card Matt gave me this year, it came in that purple envelope, but never at the same time.

Ipod and cell phone. I mostly utilize these if I'm read reading a hardcover and I want the book to stay open to the page I was on. It took me forever to realize that I needed to use something weighted.

Far Side Comics. Matt's dad got him into these, who in turn got me hooked. They're snarky and sarcastic and I love them. We don't have them in any of the papers where I live, so Matt saves them up and sends me about 20 of them at a time.

Mail cards. You know those cards you get when you request delivery confirmation? They make excellent bookmarks. Plus, they're practically indestructible. Which is awesome.

Pencils, pens, lip gloss and bobby pins. I take books with me everywhere I go and sometimes the makeshift bookmark is whatever I can dig out of my purse.

The pupper. Ben is only used as a bookmark when he decides that he wants to be a bookmark. As soon as you move and leave things unattended such as clothes or books he climbs ontop of them and makes himself comfortable and gives you that innocent "what?" look. I didn't get a photo of him in the act. (He's very camera shy). But I have a photo of him napping in his kennel. When he lays on your books looking as shaggy as he does in this photo you'll be picking dog hairs out of your books for awhile. The second photo of him is post hair cut. Look! He shrunk!! It's not so made when he goes into bookmark mode post hair cut.


______________________________

What an adorable pup! For real, he could be my bookmark anytime :) Thanks for stopping by, Jenn! And why don't you guys go check out Jenn's blog Booksessed and take a look around! She's a super sweet girl and you probably will want to follow her.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab


Published: Hyperion Books (August 2, 2011)
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Series: No (?)
Source: NetGalley

Rating: 4/5

GoodReads Summary: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.
My Thoughts: Well, this is new. Normally I don't like witchy stuff. They've never really intrigued me much. I did get freaked out by The Blair Witch Project in the 90s, but that's pretty much all my experience with witches. Except Bonnie in TVD, who rocks my face off.

But after this book? Team witch, bitch.

The Near Witch is so beautifully written. Despite the fact that I had to look up what a "moor" was, I couldn't think of a more (ha!) perfect setting for this magical story. The grass, the rolling hills, the earth, the dirt... it's all a character of its own, really. My favorite part about this book was the creep factor. I wanted to put it in the freezer a la Joey Tribbiani for a few scenes. Must've been those Blair Witch memories coming back to haunt me.

And Lexi? Thank you for being a wood-chopping, family caretaking,and awesome big sister/independent woman/skilled tracker. I SO much enjoyed reading about Lexi, her father (and his stories!), Wren, and even stupid Otto. Even though he's a rough and tumble hypermasculine lumberjack type of dude, he still had a heart. I love grumbly old men with redeeming qualities.

"The Stranger" was such an intriguing character. Lord knows I am a huge fan of the wounded book boys with deep, dark secrets, and Victoria Schwab NAILED that stereotype. He was complex and sensitive and OH, the woundedness. The love story was so well done, not rushed, and toothachingly sweet. I'm definitely a fan.

The world around me fell away as I read Schwab's gorgeous novel. Standing ovation for The Near Witch. Schwab is a beautifully talented writer and this is one book you'll want to get your hands on as soon as possible.