Friday, September 28, 2012

Carla's Thoughts - Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Published by Candlewick, 9 February 2012

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself

When I first heard that Marchetta was writing a YA fantasy I was all CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES C’MON!!

And then it arrived and thus began the stare off of the century. Because I couldn't bring myself to read it because this was MARCHETTA and FANTASY, both of my loves TOGETHER!!! WHAT I KNOW RIGHT HOW EVEN. So it sat on my shelf, catching my eye and making me engage in staring contests (which I obvs won because this is just a metaphor, it didn't actually stare at me, I’M NOT CRAZY) until one day I couldn'twouldn't, look away. OKAY I shouted, I WILL READ YOU ENOUGH WITH THE STARING. And so I did and IT WAS GLORIOUS.

It starts with the pledge and promise of a boy on a rock in the kingdom of Lumatere. Then come the five unspeakable days. Five days in which the Royal family are slaughtered in the safety of their own palace. An imposter King placed on the throne. And a blood curse. A curse that separates those who have fled and those of have stayed. A kingdom ruined; half of its people trapped inside at the mercy of the impostor King and half left to wander in exile, separated from those they love and the only place they call home. It ends with a whispered named in a dream and a novice named Evanjalin.   


Fantasy is one of those genres that makes me wide eyed with awe; how a whole world can be built and created using only words and imagination actually makes me want to call hocus pocus shenanigans. And Marchetta comes out all guns blazing with this beauty. The world she creates will seep into your skin and put roots down in your heart. The detail of everything; from the view from the rock to the stench of the exile camps, clogging your head with death, well it's nothing short of sensational. 

Like with her contemporary novels, it’s not the plot that drives the story (as intricate and immense as it is), it’s the characters and my oh my, does Marchetta work her magic. From the small army of side to characters to those at the forefront of this story, I can remember each and every one of them. They are ingrained into my memory and sewn into my heart.  (I’m getting leaky in the eye area). EVANJALIN!! Never have I met such a feisty strong and bloody well annoying girl. But she is a sea of roiling power and passion and she will do what needs to be done and oh how I love that head strong girl.

Marchetta has created a book that will not only linger, but that will tattoo itself onto your skin, refusing to forgotten. Its fantasy at its very best. A compelling story full of hope and wonder and characters you would pluck out of the page and install into your real life. Writing as stunningly beautiful as every other book she has published. And if you've never experienced that then JUMP ON IT. (jump on it). How else are you going to find out about the bloody hand prints on the wall? Also, how else are you going to read Froi of the Exiles the sequel? HOW ELSE?

Finnikin of the Rock is the Real Deal. And if I could, I would buy each and every one of you a copy, just on the off chance that you would read it and discover the same magic that I did. Because if you haven't already read this book, you are missing out. FOR REALISES. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Jen's Thoughts (+ Giveaway!): Skylark by Meagan Spooner

Published: August 1, 2012
Carolrhoda Lab, 344 pages, hardcover
Source: author
Goodreads Summary: Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.
Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.
Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret—but can she stay alive long enough to find them?

I originally requested Skylark on NetGalley when Anna texted me some nonsensical capitals about shock value and dystopian stuff. Well, how can I argue with capitals? Homer Simpson said it best:

Preach it, Homer.

Well anyway, I got denied so I was a little bruised. But then out of the blue Meagan Spooner is all "hey little blogger, wanna read my book?" YES, MEAGAN, I DO. And I did. And it was good. I was a little nervous in the beginning. It had a very Hunger Games feel about it and there was a lot of internal narrative. But I mean, Lark is pretty frickin' alone in her world, so who the frick else is she gonna talk to? She thinks a LOT. But she's smart, and I can get down with an intelligent protagonist.

And is this book a touch steampunk? Because I'm pretty sure Lark's mechanical pixie is the essential touch to qualify as steampunk. Sure, I don't know what that means, but there were lots of words like "clockwork" and "machines," and that is good enough for me. Know what else is good enough for me? The budding romance. Oh, it's slow and melty and careful and dangerous. And SO WELL WRITTEN. Spooner's writing is scrumptious. I think I gained 5lbs reading it.

The best part of Skylark was the unexpected ending. My stomach dropped. I had to reread a particular passage approximately 46 times to make sure. I had to make damn sure that Meagan Spooner just did it that way. It hurt me a lot. And the more I think about it, a week after reading it, the more I realize how brilliant she is for making ending it that way. I have no idea how this is going to turn out. Well, I have no idea how Lark and Oren can overcome this. I love unforeseeable obstacles and I love it when authors take chances and risks such as the nuclear bomb dropped in that ending.

More people need to know about this book. It's a crime against LITERATURE if you don't read it.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Inky's Shortlist

If you know me but at all, you will know that Australian YA is my jam....... as in, can't eat can't sleep just want to gobble them all up like the hungry caterpillar.

For those of you who have never heard of the Inky Awards (get thee out from under that rock fool), they are Australia's teen-choice awards which have been voted for online my readers of Basically, they recognises the amazing Aussie talent with the Gold Inky and international talent with the Silver Inky.  And guess what?! they've only gone and announced the shortlist!


Shift by Em Bailey
Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar
Act of Faith by Kelly Gardiner
Queen of the Night by Leanne Hall
The Reluctant Hallelujah by Gabrielle Williams


BZRK by Michael Grant
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Voting is now open on for 12 - 20 year olds which is why these awards are so very special - see, I don't know about you but books winning awards as voted for by teens makes my old withered heart OH SO HAPPY, because yay books and teens. So if you have read any of the books and fall into the age bracket above then GO FORTH and vote!

The winners will be announced at The Inky Awards event on the 23rd October. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Kirsty....Night Beach is PHENOMENAL. )

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jen: WHY Haven't I Finished These Series Yet?!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, of which Jamie is the mastermind.

1) Jessica Darling Series
DAMNIT HELL. Carla is going to kick my ass for this one. I know, I know, you guys. I've read the first four and loved them. Like...LOVED THEM. These books glamoured me with their legit, quirky voice and MARCUS FLUTIE. I don't want to say goodbye to this series. I have Perfect Fifth to my left, giving me the sexy eyes, and I just haven't done it yet.

2) Ruby Oliver Series 
Yet again, a world and an environment I don't want to let go of. Part of this is because I haven't found book four at Half Price Books, but a part of me will not accept that Ruby's story is done. NOPE. 

3) Pretty Little Liars Series 
I read the first eight books. Ahem. That's enough. I'm watching the show now. The show has an Ezra that I can look at. You win, TV. 

4) Mercy Thompson Series 
TOO LONG BETWEEN BOOKS. But damn, I loved these books. Mercy is my kind of girl and plus, you know, she can fix my car. 

5) Vampire Diaries Series 
Read the first four. Anything beyond that? RIDICULOUS. Plus, TV has Ian Somerhalder. TV: 2. Books: 0. 

6) Delirium Series 
I have Pandemonium on my shelf, but honestly? I'll just wait until Requiem comes out. I'm going to do a whole series re-read and I want all three of them lined up so I can knock 'em out consecutively. Wham, bam, thank ya ma'am. 

7) House of Night Series 
Barf. A million times barf. 

8) The Mortal Instruments Series 
I thought City of Glass had a perfectly acceptable ending. I see no need for more. 

9) Twilight Series (ahem, SAGA) 

10) The Mediator Series 
I have the first two in a bind-up. Why the crap isn't Harper Teen releasing anymore bind-ups?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (59) / Stacking the Shelves (1)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga.

These bookish memes allow to us to share with other bloggers the awesome books we got, and of course be jealous of everyone who got super awesome books, too! I decided to join Stacking the Shelves this week, because there are a lot of great bloggers that use this meme, and I'd sure like to meet you guys.

 I only got one book this week, but IT. IS. FANTASTIC.

For review, I got a shiny finished copy of The Diviners by Libba Bray. I LOVE ME SOME LIBBA, and I cannot wait to dive into this world. Especially after April's stunning review.

 In other news, Michigan plays Notre Dame today. I am about to make some of my famous buffalo chicken dip and cheer on those Wolverines. GO BLUE! Happy weekend reading, everyone!

ps. OH, and hey. Make sure you enter our giveaway. We're giving away some pretty fantastical books. Go enter here!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Giveaway: Win 4 ARCs and a Finished Copy!

So I know the 2 year blogoversary was last week and I had initially said "no lavish giveaways." Well, I scrounged up some prettiness to offer to you. Not too shabby, right? You'll win the stack of gorgeousness that you see below.

Over You by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus (ARC)
A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young (ARC)
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (ARC)
A Fractured Light by Jocelyn Davies (ARC)
The Book of the Night by Pearl North (finished copy)

Just enter below. Make sure to familiarize yourself with our contest policy before entering.
This one is US/CA only, guys.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Carla's Thoughts - The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Gansey is different. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been told by her psychic family that she will kill her true love. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Being a book about a girl that comes from a family of psychic’s, well you can bet there is a plethora of insanely kooky quirky ladies, which is the best kind of plethora (unless there is a plethora of hot boys, which there is. I KNOW WHY ARE YOU EVEN READING THIS REVIEW AND NOT THE BOOK).  And if you think you won’t invest all of your hopes into this one eccentric girl by the name of Blue, well, you would be right, because the name of the game is The Raven Boys.

The Raven Boys – a list

Gansey – his bank is full of old money but his heart is full of wonder and hope. His head is all full up with welsh myths and sleeping kings. He thinks and searches for the meaning of things that might not have a meaning at all. His words are sharper and cut deeper than a knife ever could.

Ronan – deceptively intuitive and cunning to the point of evil. He’s a puzzle missing a vital piece, except it’s there if you look hard enough or have enough courage to believe.

Adam – charmingly crumpled in the intense way only a boy desperately wanting acceptance can be. Heartbreakingly broken yet seeming complete.

Noah – shadowlike; you know he’s there but you don’t always see him. Quiet and unassuming but a key player in the riddle.

This book well and truly hits the ground running in the most delicious of ways; it burns bright and fast to catch your attention but it’s the long slow burn that keeps you captivated. The intrigue mixed with Stiefvater’s trademark luscious writing is a recipe for total utter win. And her writing really shines in this one; from her quiet observations to her amazingly atmospheric prose, never a page or a line went by without me bowing down to her undeniable skill as a storyteller.

And there we have it. The story is overflowing with magic and myths and wonder, and even though by the last page you’re still unsure where the path will take you, you feel safe in the knowledge that Stiefavter will be there to show you the way.

Me trying to coherently talk about anything that Stiefvater writes is kind of like trying to clutch handfuls of water.  It’s MESSY. Because all the words fight each other to get out of my head and into my fingers. And in the war of the words, the three that fight the hardest are READ THIS BOOK. And I really hope that you do.

Waiting on: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Addison Coleman's life is one big "What if?" As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It's the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie's parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with–her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the "Norms," or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it's not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school–but she never wanted to be a quarterback's girlfriend. When Addie's father is asked to consult on a murder in the compound, she's unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she's willing to live through...and who she can't live without.
Are you kidding me? This girl has my dream power, other than being able to fly. She can see the outcome of the choices she makes. So like, any stupid decision I decide she decides to make, she can see what the result of that will be. Do you realize how much time and grief this would save? This book sounds absolutely amazing and WHY ISN'T IT FEBRUARY YET?

Pivot Point will be released February 12, 2013

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ten Bookish People I NEED to Meet Soon

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and masterminded by my listy friend Jamie.

So I've been incredibly lucky to meet a big chunk of my favorite bloggers and people in my two years of blogging so far, as evidenced below. Tears were shed and smiles were bigger than EVER BEFORE. I've met authors that have changed my whole world.

But there remains a gaping hole in the "people I have yet to tackle hug" category.

1. Carla (Makeshift Bookmark/The Crooked Shelf)
I've spoken to her on the phone before but THIS ISN'T ENOUGH. Blogging is better with a Brit, which is why we blog together. It only seems right after two years of squealing over this and that, that we should be able to do this in person. Not to mention share several cocktails in the process.

2. April (Good Books & Good Wine)
One of my initial blogging idols even before I decided to start a blog of my own, April has been an inspiration to me for a long time. She's practically a staple in my daily texting/book blogging life. Yet another person I need to hug and share cocktails with.

3. Ginger (GReads!)
One of my good friends from the very start, I need to have long discussions over coffee about our favorite books and music with this girl. Life won't be complete until this happens.

4. Capillya (That Cover Girl)
Besides being awesome, she can sing. We are depriving the world of beautiful (at least on her part!) music until we unite and finally have our chance at a duet.

5. Tara (Hobbitsies)
One of my favorite ladies with whom to discuss books. We have very similar tastes, so I think we need to have a reading party someday.

6. Lisa (Lisa is Busy Nerding)
I LOVE THIS GIRL. Can we play Zelda for 15 years?

7. Asheley (Into the Hall of Books)
She understands my nursey problems and was my own personal cheerleader throughout nursing school. I very well may get the chance to meet her in a couple months. VERY EXCITED.

8. Asher (Paranormal Indulgence)
This girl has an unmatched excitability about her that I would LOVE to see in action at an author signing or event.

9. Erica (The Book Cellar)
We've ALMOST met at a couple different events, but one of us was always not able to make it. Can this be fixed?

10. Chelsea (Coffee & Cliffhangers)
One of my musical soulmates. We WILL meet at a concert someday.

11. Melanie (Reclusive Bibliophile)
Because it's a shame we haven't met yet. Perhaps over Pumpkin Spice lattes, we can discuss the awesomeness of psychological thrillers?

12. Sash & Em (Sash & Em)
Because these girls are seriously fun and, hey, they could also teach me how to dress maybe?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

Published: August 28, 2012
Atheneum, 429 pages, hardcover
Source: purchased
GoodReads Summary: Varen Nethers is trapped in a perilous dream world -- a treacherous and desolate realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel Lanley, plagued by strange visions and haunted by the nightmares of Varen's creation, is the only one who can save him.
Isobel knows that her only hope lies within a Baltimore cemetery. There, in the early morning hours of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, a mysterious stranger known as the "Poe Toaster" will make his annual homage at the legendary poet's grave.
Only the Poe Toaster holds the key to the way between worlds. But even greater dangers lie ahead for Isobel. An ancient evil, draped in veils of white, is watching, challenging her for Varen's affections. When Isobel finally finds Varen, he is no longer the quiet and brooding boy who once captivated her, but a dark force, powerful and malevolent.
It pains me to write this review. After waiting an agonizing, torturous two years following the mind-blowing (albeit confusing) cliffhanger that was Nevermore, I feel as if Enshadowed accomplished absolutely nothing. Seriously, there was practically a two page dialogue over a drive-thru transaction.

As April and I had discussed via text, two years is a long time to wait for a book. I figured Kelly Creagh put off this book because she needed it to be perfect. ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. I was expecting perfection. I was at least expecting some sort of semi-closure that would tide me over until the conclusion. I wasn't expecting everything to be wrapped up in a bow, but I wanted to feel like progress was made for Izzy and Varen. I wanted fireworks and explosions and action and jaw-dropping revelations.

What I got was....well, not that.

This was very much a middle book. Sure, there were glimpses of Varen that teased me, but not enough to satisfy. There was one swoony moment. ONE. Am I even reading the same characters? Nevermore was oozing tension and sensuality and this? Honestly, I'm a little angry about it. I feel cheated, like this was some sort of Jumanji and I've been stuck in a board game for two years except now I'm a little older (yet still less hairy than Robin Williams) BUT I'M STILL AT THE SAME DAMN PLACE IN THE GAME.

I will still finish the trilogy, because Nevermore was so incredible that I know there's still some mind-blowing left for Kelly Creagh to do. I love all the Poe mythology. I love the WTF factor. I love that I remembered this world so well, even after two years. Perhaps I'm just cranky pants about it because I WANT MY VAREN.

And I hope to get him in book three.

I mean Isobel. I hope Isobel gets him. That's what I said.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (58)

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

For Review
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
Adaptation by Malinda Lo
thanks, little brown!

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (from Ava!)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (from Tara!)
thanks, ladies!

Yay for the awesomeness that this week brought. I am pretty freaking stoked to have all these amazing books to add to the reading pile. But reading has seriously taken a backseat for me lately. Sure, I've been busy and all, but um... there are these TV shows that I've been addicted to. (Winks at Pretty Little Liars and Roswell. And Ezra Fitz and Max Evans.) And with those shows come two new faces to my "Guys to Cast in YA Books" dream team. (Speaking of, I'm pretty sure I just inspired myself to do a post on the frequent flyers in my YA Dream Casts. Stay tuned for this.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Look on the Way!

So, in honor of our new collabo, we decided to update the look of Makeshift Bookmark to tailor to both of our tastes, which we like to think is pretty fly. And who better to do it than one of the flyest girls we know, Lisa from Lisa is Busy Nerding? Girl can design some shiz, as evidenced by her own updated look. By the way, did you know she's been blogging for 5 years and has a TON of giveaways going on?

Lisa is still hard at work tweaking our new look, which we are SO EXCITED ABOUT. Not to mention she's been super patient and accommodating to our every request. And yeah, we can't wait to show you.

And we love you, Lisa!

(By the way, were any of you craziest up with me at 3:00am EST to order the iPhone 5? I refreshed that shiz for AN HOUR AND A HALF and missed out on the 9/21 delivery date. I AM PISSED.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Published: September 11, 2012
HarperTEEN, 272 pages, hardcover
Source: publisher
GoodReads Summary:Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning....

Loyalties are tested and sacrifices made in the explosive conclusion to Sophie Jordan's Firelight trilogy.
My favorite YA series about dragons (ahem, or any aged series about dragons, not that I know of any others. WHY ISN'T THIS RECTIFIED YET?! I need recommendations, people!) has finally come to an end. I am sad, you guys. FILLED with sadness. A couple reasons for this. First: the cover is a zoomed out version of the first book, Firelight. WOMP, WOMP. Second: it's OVER. Now I'll elaborate on the more lengthy aspects.

The first 2 books were awesome. Once I got past the initial confusion between dragons and draki (just kidding, I still don't really get it), the idea of Jacinda being super special was actually interesting. I can't tell you how sick I am of these boring as fuuuu characters with no personality or outstanding qualities who happen to be arbitrarily blessed with some almighty power of love or world peace and everyone falls in love with their perfection because it is SO shiny and perfect and ALL OF THE PERFECTNESS is so flawless.. Jacinda is so not perfect. She has a bad ass temper on her. She's a spit fire (PUN!) and we all got to witness this on multiple occasions in Firelight. I didn't feel the same way in Hidden. Yes, she had a chance to be all vigilante in the beginning, but I wanted more personality. More pizzazz. More exciting and witty banter amongst the characters. Everything felt so doom and gloom in Hidden. Plus there was this plot piece (you'll know if you read it, it's way too spoilery to say) where I was really hoping THIS ONE PERSON would finally resurface and would make everyone super happy. But I was disappointed. And there's a pretty hefty loss that was handled entirely too quickly. And then lo and behold, we're at the end.

Then there was Will. And he got some glory moments, for sure. I was even impressed. But more importantly, there was Cassian. I always cheer for the less obvious choice. Maybe because I'm a believer of impossible dreams. Maybe it's because no book ever does this, and if you know of one PLEASE tell me, but I'd like to see my underdog WIN for once. Richelle Mead has the right idea with the Bloodlines series, people. This is me being selfish, but I didn't get nearly as much Cassian love as I wanted. But you Will lovers will be pleased. Me? I still raise my glass to the guy who finishes last.

A seriously good series with a slightly underwhelming finale. If you haven't read Hidden yet, do it for some closure.

BUT LISTEN. If you love you some Sophie Jordan like this girl does, please check out her adult series, The Forgotten Princesses, starting with Wicked in Your Arms. Guaranteed none of that "fade to black" business and 100% happy ending. And sure, I'm talking about the end of the book. BUT ALSO THAT OTHER THING.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Makeshift Bookmark Enters the Terrible Twos

So it just occurred to me that I've been running this here blog for 2 whole years. Where did the time go? I was in my second semester of nursing school when I decided to take up this little hobby, thinking "OMG no one will ever like me or follow me and also, I'm going to never get a nursing degree. WHY IS LIFE SO UNFAIR?" amongst other melodramatic notions.

Well, now I can look back as an accomplished career woman and give the thumbs up to baby blogger Jen. And in all honesty? The factors that kept me sane throughout the entire process (besides my husband, family, coffee, and alcohol) are YOU GUYS AND BOOKS.

Blogging and Twitter have allowed me to connect with so many amazing people. And it's so much more than just books. Yeah, yeah, "online friends" and what not, but you guys are a classy freaking bunch. Some of you are legitimately my kindred spirits and I text you more than my own mother (I love you though, Mom.) I have you all to thank for being awesome. For the comments and discussions. For the inside jokes and the lengthy book debates. For the sleepovers and wine parties. For the music recommendations. For the words of encouragement. For the selflessness. For picking me up when I was down. For the author signings, the pictures, the phone calls, the wedding invitations, the texts (sorry for waking you up so many times, I'M NOCTURNAL), the personal advice, the shoulders to cry on. For it ALL. And for my blogging partner, Carla, whose reviews and words are a blogoversary gift in themselves.

I know this little post isn't much. No lavish giveaways or videos. Just me hugging you with my words. Just know this: MY LIFE WOULD SUCK WITHOUT YOU. (And now you're singing this song. You're welcome.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Carla's Thoughts: All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield

Published: 7 June 2011
Source: Bought
Goodreads Summary: Mim knows what she wants, and where she wants to go—anywhere but home, stuck in the suburbs with her mother who won’t get off the couch, and two brothers in prison.

She’s set herself rules to live by, but she’s starting to break them.

Now Mim has to retrieve a lost package for her mother. Does this make her a drug runner? Why is a monster dog called Gargoyle hidden in the back shed? And Jordan, the boy she sent Valentines to for years, why is he now suddenly a creep? How come there’s a huge gap between her and her best friend, Tahnee? And who is the mysterious girl next door who moans at night?

Over the nine days before her seventeenth birthday, Mim’s life turns upside down. She has problems, and she’s determined to solve them herself. But in the end, she works out who her people are, and the same things look entirely different.

Aw man, this book is a total firecracker. Like BOOM. For such a small unassuming book it packs a rather effective punch. Like POW. It’s weird and wonderful in equal measures. It’s like stumbling across buried treasure and finding something you never even realised you were looking for. Because Wakefield knows what’s up; girl can work those words with style.

I’m not even going to touch on the plot because I think this is one that you need to go into knowing not that much about it. Just know that it’s probably one of the most suspenseful, powerful and honest books I have ever read. It will make you feel all the feels. It’s funny and sad and heart-warming and soul crushing, but most of all it is REAL. No one can quite put their finger on the human affliction as much as Wakefield.

Mim. OH MIM ILY!! She’s smart and funny and fierce. She is a total bad ass. But she’s total judgy and a little hypocritical and selfish. But this is a Good Thing, because it gives her dimension as a character; enough so that I was so immersed in her story. Actual emotional involvement happened. There might even have been Dawson Leery style crying at the end.

This book is my people and holy shit is it good to be home.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Last Name "Ever," First Name "Greatest". (Middle Name "Announcement.")

Let's be honest: Carla never actually left us. Sure, she took a bit of a hiatus from The Crooked Shelf, but we've all still followed her on Twitter, because you don't just write off someone that awesome. After all, she was one of the very first bloggers I bonded with and who ultimately convinced me to read Harry Potter, finally. But, the book blogging community had a gaping hole in it when she stopped reviewing. We were all sad. I was sad. There was a great lull in CAPS LOCK and literary sexytimes weren't nearly as well broadcast. (OH, THE HUMANITY.)

I've become a really inconsistent blogger and I needed someone with whom to combine my inconsistency to maybe form something possibly halfway regular. And I'm happy to announce that Makeshift Bookmark's co-blogger is that very classy British lady. It's about to get, like, TEN MILLION TIMES MORE CLASSY in here.

let's talk about books baby
lets have a blogging par-ty
let's talk about all the fab things
and the drab things, books can be


I like YA books and I cannot lie, you adult books can't deny, that when a cover pops up from a big book case with hot guy in your face, YOU GET HOOKED.

Okay. ahem. Now that I got that off my chest I just want to say HEY! HI! HELLO! some of you are probably like 'who the crap is this chick and why is she changing the lyrics to perfectly good early 90's hip hop' and well, you would be right. But also wrong because my lyrics are TONS better. So yes! I am back and I can't tell you how unbelievably excited I am to be here, on this blog, with one of my favourite people like evahhhhhh. I am a lazy girl by nature and a cocktail chugger by choice, both of which are not indicative of Getting Things Done - so a collab blog is something that a girl like me gets insanely hyped up about, because I get to share space with someone who I have the utmost respect for as a blogger and a person. And I, for one, am excited and I hope you are too. Big thank you to Jen for being awesome enough to be as excited about this as me.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Thoughts: If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

Published: April 6, 2010
Speak, 234 pages, paperback
Source: purchased
Goodreads Summary: A critically acclaimed novel that will change the way you look at life, love, and family.

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.

I can honestly say that I put off reading this book for years because of all the hype. What is it about hyped up books that makes me not want to read them? So many people have told me they've never cried harder at a book than at If I Stay, so I was expecting my heart to practically disintegrate.

Well, apparently I'm a horrible person. Because I didn't cry at all.

That's not to say that this book wasn't deeply touching. The family dynamic was perfect. I loved Mia's quirky, flawed, and lovable parents. I grew to love them. The accident scene? Gut-twisting. It nearly made me nauseous. I cannot imagine that kind of pain, nor do I ever want to. But Gayle Foreman sure can make me feel like I'm the one living it.

I loved the way If I Stay was written. The flashbacks to the present and back again. It made me love Mia. It made me LOVE Adam. And I'm telling you, the title of the book COULD NOT BE more fitting unless it was called "Stab My Soul with the Worst Kind of Sadness." Because it did. I was so sad that I couldn't even cry. I was numb.

Mia and Adam reminded me of another couple who broke my heart: Logan and Aura from Jeri Smith-Ready's Shade books. The musician thing, of course, but also the circumstances. If I were Mia? Hell, I have no idea what decision I'd have made. But I am definitely going to read on to Where She Went to find out the aftermath. Gayle Foreman is an AUTHOR, people. All caps for the real deal.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Waiting on: The Gathering Dark by Christine Johnson

Goodreads Summary: A mysterious teen boy knows the secrets of Keira’s dangerous hallucinations in this gripping romantic fantasy from the author of Claire de Lune.Keira’s hallucinating. First it’s a door hovering above the road; then it’s a tree in her living room. But with her parents fighting and her best friend not speaking to her, Keira can’t tell anyone about her breakdown.

Until she meets Walker. They have an electric connection, and somehow he can see the same shadowy images plaguing Keira.

But trusting Walker may be more dangerous than Keira could have ever imagined. The more she confides in him, the more intense—and frightening—her visions become. Because Walker is not what he appears to be. And neither are her visions.

Hallucinations? Shadowy figures? Electric connections with a cute boy who has secrets? Lulz, you'd have to pay me not to read this.

I've never read anything by Christine Johnson, but this seems like a pretty fascinating place to start. I LOVE it when things aren't what they seem. But only when it happens to fictitious people for my entertainment.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Speed-Reading vs Slow & Leisurely: What's Your Reading Style?

I remember reading a tweet back in March 2012. I forget who it was, but she was all, "I've read 87 books so far this year." WHAT? Surely she meant a rolling calendar year, right? I was wrong. This blogger had legitimately read 87 books in three months. It is now September, and I still haven't read 87 books for the year. Some bloggers' goals are 100 books for the year. Some have 30 or 40 as their target number of books read. Then there are some seriously lofty goals like 250 or 300. The latter number? That would be a book a day. Meaning you'd only not read a book SIXTY-FIVE DAYS out of the year. You're my hero, basically. I read 107 books in 2011. Right now, I'm at 76 books for 2012. But I look at some of my friends (ahem, Anna. April. Maybe it's something with the As, who knows?!) and I am flabbergasted at the amount of books these ladies have read!

Sure, different things come into play. Work, sleep, eating. But other than the essentials, there's spending time with family, friends, spouses. And, of course, those mundane tasks no one likes doing: cleaning, laundry, mowing the lawn. And for those of you who are parents out there, taking care of your kiddos. But despite many of these things, some people still get a whole heck of a lot of reading done each year.

I read primarily YA. YA books, staking a guess based on my bookshelves, tend to be around the 350 page average. The Hunger Games, for example, is 99,750 words (source) on 374 pages. If my iPhone calculator is correct, that's roughly 267 words per page. According to this online test, I read 430 words per minute and answered 2 out or 3 questions correctly on comprehension. So that means I read slightly slower than the average college student. But I do think the fact that I was consciously aware that my reading speed was being tested had an effect on my words per minute, so I'd stake that I read even slower than that.

Here's the part where I'll probably make a fool of myself, because I suck at math. If The Hunger Games had 99,750 words on 374 pages, and I read (for optimism's sake) 430 words per minute, and there are 60 minutes in an hour, I should be reading 96 pages an hour, meaning I could read The Hunger Games in 3.89 hours.


Of course, various aspects of life got in the way amidst my reading experience. But did I have 3.89 hours where I could have uninterruptedly read the entirety of The Hunger Games? YOU BETCHA. That being said, I don't think I would've had the vivid mental and emotional experience that I had if I read at that speed. You see, I don't just see the words. I like to speak them in my head. I read with emotion, emphasis, when I see a passage where our heroine's heart is being ripped to shreds, my mental narrator puts EVERY OUNCE of emotion that we can squeeze out of ourselves into that experience. Not to mention I will read and reread lines or paragraphs in order to solidify the image in my head. Or hey, even if the particular scene was super hot or sad or whatever. This drastically reduces the number of words I read. If I were to speed-read, or just scan the words, I would have no freaking idea what I just read. Guaranteed.

As an average reader, that is my experience. I'd love to hear from others. How many words per minute do you read? Speed-readers, what's your reading experience like? First off, I bow to you. Secondly, how do you do it? Do you self-narrate with emphasis like a freaking Oscar-winning actor? Do you hear Morgan Freeman's voice in your head? Or are you more focused on just seeing those words and somehow you're still fortunate enough to comprehend the majority of what you're taking in? And you average and leisurely, steady readers: how do you devour your favorite book? Do you tend to reread your favorite parts or backtrack?

I'm ever so interested to hear. DISCUSS!

PS. Please feel free to correct my math in the comments section ;)

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Thoughts: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Published: August 28, 2012
Amazon Childrens, paperback, 290 pages
Source: purchased
Goodreads Summary: It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Oh man. This was a wild one. I swear, Muse's "Uprising" was playing in my head the whole time I read this book. This book just radiates the idea of sticking it to the man. The apocalyse, killer angels, schizophrenic mothers, paraplegic sisters, monsters, revolutions; I can't even conjure up an appropriate amount of pop culture references to truly relay to you the amazingness that Angelfall was.

And it's a self-pub. Jaw hits ground. I feel bad for judging self-pubbed books poorly (hey, I've had some not so good experiences, now.)

Okay, so Penryn. Let's describe her like this: if Katniss Everdeen had to choose between Peeta and Penryn as her confidante and ally in the Hunger Games (or hey, even dodgeball), she wouldn't even have to think twice. Penryn is BAD. ASS. Her mom's schizophrenic, and she's lived all her life being told that Things are after her. So, naturally, Momma enrolls her into every
single self-defense and mixed martial arts class on the face of the planet. SHE KNOWS A THING OR TWO. Apparently these classes had a special emphasis on being spunky, too, because Penryn's attitude makes me all kinds of smug. This girl is my kind of girl, but I'd be a little afraid of her, too, what with the roundhouse kicking like the speed of lightning.

ANYWAY, Penryn and the apocalypse. She befriends an angel, Raffe, who's in a pretty bad way. All his angel friends hate him a little and he and Penryn form this weird "I hate you, but I'm using you for my own means to an end, but also you're more beautiful than a million Tahitian sunsets and I want you on me" alliance. No one ever actually says all that, but that's the beauty of the love/hate relationships. They take forever to solidify, all the while making our hearts cry, because we want them to be in love already.

The last 50 or so pages are absolutely riveting. You may as well not even try to carry out your activities of daily living until you finish it. There's so much mind-screwery that simple sentences may be difficult to form and/or comprehend. So don't interact with people for a few minutes to avoid humiliation. This book's sequel? It will be criminal. There's a whole world of angel politics, revolutions, and romance to be explored.

Nurse's Note: there was a part where a character, who was actively bleeding, had a headache. They were given aspirin. DO NOT GIVE ASPIRIN TO A BLEEDING PERSON. It's a blood thinner!

Reader's Note: This is why nurses shouldn't read books.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

In My Mailbox (57)

IMM is hosted by one of my favorite bloggers and people, The Story Siren.

Wait, have I seriously not done an IMM since May 26? That is insane to me. Well, considering it's been three months, I really don't have as many books as I normally would. (And honestly, I'm not even sure this is all of them, so that could be part of the problem.)
Without further ado, my pretty books.

For Review
Drowning Instinct (audio) by Ilsa J. Bick (requested)
Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (requested)
A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young (unsolicited)
A Fractured Light by Jocelyn Davies (requested)
Hidden by Sophie Jordan (unsolicited)
Skylark by Meagan Spooner (accepted pitch)
The Book of the Night by Pearl North (unsolicited)
A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger (accepted pitch)
thanks Brilliance Audio, Harper Teen, Meagan Spooner, Little Brown, and Tor Teen!

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Venom by Fiona Paul
Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
thanks, Tara and April!

Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh
The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
Good Girls Don't by Victoria Dahl
Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning
Mind Games by Carolyn Crane
The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (audiobook)
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott (audiobook)
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr (audiobook)
Angelfall by Susan Ee
thanks to my husband for not flipping his shizz when I buy my books!

And, just because, here is a really awesome picture of a bloody Alexander Skarsgard. Because I love you all so much.