Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bye, Bye, Bye.

Honestly, it makes me incredibly sad that I am typing this post right now.

After a long and sad discussion, Carla and I have decided to step back from blogging on Makeshift Bookmark.

For the past two and a half years, I've found solace in blogging. The people I've met, the events I've attended, the amazing book conversations I've had. I've made friendships that I am 100% sure will be long-lasting. I always found time to squeeze in a blog post here and there. I wanted to share my thoughts with the world and have people squeal in delight over this and that with me.

But then things kind of...fizzled.

I'm so proud of our little blog and what it's become, but all good things eventually come to an end, right? I just don't have that spark anymore. And I hate that I don't.

But, considering that I posted that Big Bookish Positivity Post a week or so ago, let's focus on the happy things:

I am so grateful that blogging has brought so many of you wonderful people into my life. My bowing out of blogging will not change that. Hellooooo, I still have the Twitter and I don't plan on ceasing my bookish conversations any time soon.

The last two years have given me opportunities that I would have never dreamed could happen. I've met and hugged my favorite authors, the people who have created entire worlds that I lived in for days, weeks, months at a time.

Makeshift Bookmark gave me a sense of accomplishment and a sense of community. You guys have all been so incredible and holy crap, so. much. FUN. I love talking to each and every one on a daily basis.

Not to mention the last six months sharing the site with Carla have been a blast. She is one person that, if I could invent a teleportation machine and bring her to me (or me to her, because I WANT A BRITISH ACCENT), I wouldn't give it a second thought. I have so much love and admiration for this girl that it is borderline creepy. SERIOUSLY. She rocks. Carla, I love your face.

And to my friends, and especially those of you who are some of my best friends: your presence in my life makes me a better freaking person. Period.

I don't regret getting into blogging. Despite the stress, the benefits far outweighed the sads.

I love you all. Thanks for putting up with me <3


HEY GUYS! Carla here; I just wanted to say a massive great big THANK YOU to Jen, co-blogger extraordinarie and my go to girl for anything and everything. These past 6 months sharing this blog with you have been full of hysterical laughter, inside joked and endless conversations that somehow always wind up being about food. I am incredibly lucky to call you a friend; I know this sounds super cheesy but I really don't know what I would do without you and just knowing that you will always be there whenever I need someone to talk to, well, I appreciate it more than you will ever know. No one else can match my dramatic tendencies quite like you. I love your face so hard it's not even borderline creepy, IT'S STRAIGHT UP CREEPY. (p.s. Jen, lolololol dawson leery crying. GET A GRIP BRO)

For everyone who has taken the time to comment on our posts, THANK YOU for taking the time to leave us with a little bit of yourself. I've loved reading your comments and discovering new blogs. I am so proud of this blog and what Jen has built it into and I am incredibly chuffed to be able to walk away from this and know that none of the friendships I have made will end. For me, blogging was never about the books, it was about you guys, so thanks for letting me share this experience with what I consider to be the best kind of people in the world.  You guys rock. READ ON. 

(OH and p.s. we will still be tumbling (is that right??) at, with teenie weenie reviews but mainly just commentary on stuff.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Carla's Thoughts: The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain by Cath Crowley

Published 1 March 2004
Pan Macmillan Australia

Gracie Faltrain is doing fine. Her soccer team is off to the national championships, she's just about to capture the boy of her dreams and she's well on the way to being 'in' at school. But Gracie is about to learn that life is not always fair.

First her best friend Jane leaves the country. Then there's an unfortunate event involving her tongue and her dream-boy's ear, which makes her a laughing-stock at school. When she finds out that the boys don't want her on the soccer team any more, she thinks life can't get any worse, but she's wrong. Her parents have news of the worst possible kind.

Within days, Gracie is floundering. No friends, no soccer, no love-life - and perhaps no family - add up to one confused and angry Gracie. Is there anything she can do to make things better, or should she just resign herself to her new screwed-up life?

There is something pretty special about reading the debut novel of one of your favourite authors, it's almost like you're getting a glimpse at the roots of their talent; you can see where everything that come after has stemmed from and how much they've grown as a writer. And Gracie Faltrain is no exception. I was almost giddy with infatuation, just getting to read Cath's first published novel with the knowledge of what her writing style and execution has evolved into.

Gracie is the only girl on an all boys (duh) soccer team and she rocks it. She is a badass super talented player and the team would be nothing without her. And she knows it. To put it bluntly, she is an insufferable hot head who likes to flaunt her talent and undeniable skill over every player on the field. Let the BFF charms rain down on her inflated head because I LOVE YOU GRACIE. Even when I wanted to give you a sharp kick in the shins because girl makes some really questionable decisions. She is pushy and doesn't know what the back the hell off but she is quite possibly my favourite Crowley girl, and not just because she could introduce me to Martin Knight, but because she is authentic and annoying and all kinds of amazing. 

Martin Knight. 'Stick with me, Faltrain' MARTIN KNIGHT. 

I know what you're thinking 'a book about soccer? lolololol what is this, Bend it like Beckham?' I am going to sound really cliche here and say, this isn't a book about soccer. Sure, soccer has a really major part in the plot and is instrumental to the story line BUT this is a Cath Crowley book. She can make a soccer flying through the air sound like poetry. She has a way with words that with bamboozle your mind and boggle your senses. Told through multiple narratives, we switch from Gracie to members of her soccer team to her parents. YES, her parents and let me tell you, I gulped them down like they was water and I was dying of thirst in the desert.

To say this is a debut novel is mind bending. Crowley crafts a story about soccer that isn't really about soccer at all.  The intricacies of her character development and a fast paced plot line full of hilarious incidents and the FUNNIEST date in the history of all the books ever, make this a debut that I hope everyone has a chance to experience. 

p.s. yesterday I did a post on TEABS (The End of an Awesome Book Syndrome) which is what i experienced when I finished the Gracie books - in short, they turned me into an emo head case with abandonment issues.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In which Carla tackles a severe case of TEABS*

*TEABS - The End of an Awesome Book Syndrome - penned by the awesome ladies over at Forever Young Adult

I should start this post with a confession - I am a Drama Queen when it comes to books. I get WAY too emotionally invested (which I guess is a good thing as a reader because it means that I really connect with the characters and immerse myself fully into the story the author is telling me). And by emotionally invested, I mean I turn into a head case. Here is a list of things I have done whilst reading -

Thrown books at the wall
Ripped out offending pages
Scribbled over sentences that made my blood boil
Hid a book under my bed then threw it in the bin
Thrown up from crying to much
Bit a book in a flying rage


In January I read the Gracie Faltrain series by Cath Crowley - Cath is undeniably one of the most talented YA authors with books on the shelves. Her words and her writing speak to me as a reader in a way no other book ever has. I love her characters, I love the twisted webs they get tangles in, I love her luscious prose and her ability to make me feel so much. In January I read the Gracie Faltrain books and proceeded to lose my mind. Here is the evidence.

EXHIBIT A - Text between me and Jenny displaying my unhinged state.

EXHIBIT B - Tweets between me and Cath where I admit wanting to shove popcorn in her face. 

EXHIBIT C - Tweets between me, Maggie and Noelle - the girls who helped me get my feelings under control.

EXHIBITS D, E, F & G - Email excerpts from conversations between me, Noelle and Maggie.

I had a bad case of the emo TEABS but seriously you guys, I love love love love this series. Cath Crowley knows whats up, even when she is stomping on your heart then taping it back together with love. So I hope you read these books and if this post today hasn't persuaded you that you NEED THESE BOOKS IN YOUR LIFE then maybe my review tomorrow will? 

If you want to become demented like me and join the Cath Crowley fan club, then I suggest reading ALL of her books. You will not be sorry.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Great Big Cheesy Post of Bookish Positivity

Warning: you may need some wine to complement the cheese that is to follow.
you guys make me smile like this

Okay, so I'll be the first to admit that I fall prey to all the insecurities/thoughts that many bloggers endure, including (but not limited to):

"Why does x publisher hate me?"
"No one even reads my blog anyway."
"Why do I do this again?"
"I don't even want to blog anymore."
"I have no idea what to write about that's worth reading."

And those pesky feelings of exclusion, inferiority, competition, self-blog-loathing, etc. It can be all-consuming at times.

It's so easy to lose sight of why we do this, with these feelings running rampant. Seriously, there are days I don't even log into Blogger because I don't want to see others' brilliant ideas, when I can't even come up with enough words to put together a decent review. (Which is why I haven't written one in over a week.)

I hate the times where there's conflict and negativity swirling around. But you know what? That's human nature. We are in a big bubble of bookish people. Despite the fact that we all have one very similar interest, the community is still jam-packed with a variety of people with a variety of opinions. And that's okay. But conflict is unavoidable. It just is.

But, more frequently, there are the times when the book blogging community is the greatest place to be: bountiful bookish discussions, excitement over an upcoming release, author events, movie news (VAMPIRE ACADEMY. HELL TO THE YES.) Not to mention it is ever-growing. I can't tell you how many new faces I see pop up from a retweet or a "hey! Check out New Blogger's blog. It's fantastic!" from a trusted bookish friend.

And so I present to you the reasons that the book blogging community makes me smile so wide that I feel like my face might fall off:

My TBR is now monstrous.
Honestly, I've been stalking so many blogs for years now. Back in 2008, I would scour the Amazon discussions for "If I Liked Twilight, What's Next?" Because I simply had to read more. That was my only source back then. I knew diddly-squat of GoodReads or what a book blog was. I kept track of all the books I wanted to read in a physical notebook. I even had a nifty little highlighting system of the books I'd read and the series I'd conquer. TOTALLY gratifying, by the way, but I digress. Fast forward 5 years and BAM. My GoodReads to-read shelf is over 1000. Unrealistic? Sure. But I wouldn't know about half of these books without the recommendations of fellow readers and Twitter-stalking all of you.

24/7 Reader Support.
I'll tell you what: I am never at a loss of people with whom to discuss my most recent enthralling read. SOMEONE out there has read and loved a book that I love and is more than willing to drop everything they're doing to discuss it with me. I can't do that with just anyone. Thanks to blogging, I've got thousands of fellow readers at my fingertips, just waiting to delve into the ins and outs of hypothesizing what the author will put us through with the next book, why I ship these characters and not others, OMG CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT TAHEREH MAFI WROTE? (I lost count of the conversations I've had about Unravel Me.) Any time, any place, any hour of the day, the book blogging community has 24/7 bookish emotional meltdown support. 

We get to talk to/meet our own personal Justin Biebers.
Let's face it: authors are our superstars. And Twitter and blogging provides us the opportunity to actually interact with them. UNFATHOMABLE. I can't tell you how much I almost peed my pants when Melissa Marr tweeted me back the first time? And when I met Richelle Mead? Let's just say I was reduced to a rambling imbecile. But you know what? These authors are sweet as pie and receptive to all our incessant fangirling. In what other community does this happen?!

Avatars turned IRLBFFs.
I can't think of a better feeling than meeting a bookish friend for the first time in person. Don't you love the fact that it's not even awkward? Because you've talked to them so much about favorite books, favorite characters, most anticipated reads, etc. that it's like you have known them all your life? Yeah, book blogging did that. My daily life wouldn't be what it is now without my bookish friends. 

The Total Generosity of Other Bloggers.
Didn't get that ARC that you wanted? I GUARANTEE that there's a blogger who did get it and is willing to share it with you, wanting nothing in return. 

Innovation and Humor.
Book Bloggers are some of the wittiest people I know. Most of us love cats, coffee, Internet memes, and sarcasm. I can always count on my book blogger friends to bring the LOLs. I can't tell you how many times I've laughed at A Reader of Fictions' Cover Snark or Forever Young Adults' Vampire Diaries posts or Cuddlebuggery's In 10 Lines. Not to mention I've loved participating in In My Mailbox and Top Ten Tuesday over the years. And I'll forever love Anna's multitudes of stick figure videos. 

Guys, I don't mean to sound like a dating service. Truly, I don't. But in this community, there is a bookish BFF for everyone. And there is a place for everyone. Variety is, for real, the spice of life. And there are thousands of readers out there that are just a click away, waiting to discuss any and everything. The best part? The feeling of community. Sometimes the collective passion books is just so massive and ginormous that I can't even articulate my heart-explody love for all the books and all the bloggers and all the authors.

I don't regret joining this community, because so much joy has resulted from it. And I'd do well to remember that when I get down and out about blogging.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

This One Thing: A Strange Quirk of Mine (and My Worst Nightmare Comes True)

My husband would probably say I'm a pretty quirky person. I sing the same line of a song over and over again, sometimes in different voices. I shut all the blinds on the windows and pull the curtain down in front of the door and make sure that I sit in "my spot" on the couch where I can't be seen through the kitchen window when I'm reading at night. (LISTEN. There could be a SCARY FACE looking in at me.) When he's out of town, I sleep with a hammer on my nightstand. (I know, you'd think a knife would be better, but I'm not trying to get that close to an intruder. BAM. Hammer throw.)

But my biggest, and probably longest standing, quirk is my pre-shoe application quirk: I bang both shoes at least 5 times against the ground before putting them on. 

It doesn't matter if they're slip-on flats, tennis shoes, boots. It doesn't matter if they've been sitting up on a shelf. It doesn't matter if they're in a box. It doesn't matter if they're see-through. I will still do it.

Allow me to explain: one fateful day back in 2006 when Mr. Jen was Jen's Boyfriend and we lived together in a cute little apartment, he decided to take me out for a delicious steak dinner. SCORE. I had this adorable little pair of brown canvas flats with a flower print. They were effing adorable. No socks or anything needed. Just slip them on and go. So I did.

While we were walking to the car, I felt something in the shoe knocking around. Figuring it was a pebble or a small piece of mulch, I laughed and said to the boyfriend: "LULZ I HOPE IT'S NOT A SPIDER." He laughed back and agreed, knowing my unrelenting, yet totally rational (don't try and argue with me) fear of the eight-legged monsters.

You can see where this is going.

So we get to the car and drive off. Singing along to every song on the radio, doing car dances, and just generally basking in the awesomeness of each others' company. The "pebble" was soon forgotten.

We get to the steak house and enjoy our medium filets. I have my legs crossed and start kicking my foot around, like I always do. The pebble returns. Damnit pebble, stay still! I'm not taking my shoes off in the restaurant, though. Ah well, we're getting ready to leave anyway.

Fast forward to the parking lot and the boyfriend unlocks the car. I tell him that the rock in my shoe is really freaking annoying. I open the passenger door and take a seat.

"Don't drive away yet, I'm going to shake this stupid rock out of my shoe."

"It's about time. You've been talking about it for like, two hours now."

I take off my shoe.


Commence meltdown screaming bloody murder people are staring who cares KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT bye bye shoe that is now 100 feet across the parking lot WOW didn't know I could throw that far BUT THE SPIDER IS STILL IN THE CAR why the crap isn't my boyfriend doing something about it OH that's right because i've launched myself onto his lap and am probably constricting his trachea right now FINE I'LL LET GO BUT KILL IT.

To sum it all up: I'll never not shake out my shoes again. Ever.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jen's Thoughts: Asunder by Jodi Meadows

DARKSOULSAna has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.SHADOWSMany are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.LOVEAna was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.In this second book in the Newsoul trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.

May I just say that Jodi Meadows' Incarnate series is one of the most unique and exciting I've had the pleasure of reading? Yeah, yeah, I know utopian societies, reincarnation, sylph, and dragons (DRAGONS!) aren't all that original. But see, this series has ALL OF THESE THINGS in one. Plus bad guys and SAM. (And also, Sam's scruff and penchant for making beautiful music.) Asunder was a fantastic addition to this series.

  • Sam & Ana's chemistry smolders in Asunder. I was a little nervous that the sequel wouldn't live up to Incarnate (as is my fear with all sequels), but I was also afraid that Sam & Ana would lose their spark. That little zing that causes the butterflies in my stomach because everything is NEW! and EXCITING! No need to fear that our beloved couple has descended into the boring or mundane. These two keep it happening and keep it tension-filled. 
  • Familiarity. I'll admit that I had to read the last couple chapters of Incarnate to re-introduce myself to the point where Jodi Meadows left off. I'm embarrassed to say that I had forgotten a whole bunch of important pieces of information (HEY, when you read 100+ books a year, that is bound to happen, right?!) Luckily, after those couple chapters, it was beyond easy to immerse myself back into Heart. It felt like coming home. The surroundings and characters came alive quickly and it was like I never left. Jodi, you have skills. 
  • New drama. Okay, so everyone hates Ana because she's a newsoul and she's different and we already know that. That hasn't changed. But there are newer developments. Aside from Ana's strong backbone development (high five!), Meadows also introduces some serious danger. Like, scarier than the dragons. I love the fact that this story is fresh. Asunder doesn't suffer from the forgettable second book syndrome that so many series undergo. Sure, Asunder is a sequel, but it brings a drama and a strong plotline all its own to the Incarnate series. I'm completely satisfied and there's just enough of a cliffhanger to not make you want to throw your brain against a wall, but you're left with a very perplexed "hmmmm."
  • FEELINGS. Oh my gosh, my heart. It BLEEDS. The SACRIFICE.

  • Well, the time between books SUCKS. But that shouldn't be counted against the series. But still, I WANT BOOK THREE. 
To Wrap it Up

Asunder erased all my fears of "OMG THIS WON'T LIVE UP TO INCARNATE." (Seriously, that's why I put it off so long.) I'm excited, enchanted, and eager to see where this series will be taken next. And is it so sadistic of me to want my beloved characters to be thrown through the ringer? I mean honestly, it makes the happily ever after so much better.

Got it Covered

Okay, so I didn't like this cover as much as Incarnate. But after reading Asunder, it coincides perfectly with the story.

Asunder was published January 29, 2013 by Katherine Tegan Books. I received an advanced reader's copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting on: Five Summers by Una LaMarche

 Four best friends, five summers of camp memoriesThe summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring . . . The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth . . . The summer we were eleven : Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle . . . The summer we were twelve : Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar . . . Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable . . . and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart. Three years after the fateful last night of camp, the four of us are coming back to camp for reunion weekend—and for a second chance. Bittersweet, funny, and achingly honest, Five Summers is a story of friendship, love, and growing up that is perfect for fans of Anne Brashares and Judy Blume's Summer Sisters
I am in love with this cover. And I went to summer camp once! Sure, it only lasted a week and I was 9 and all I have to show for it is a chipped tooth and a scar from where my lip was busted (you should've seen the other girl--just kidding!) My camp memories aren't romantic and dramatic like these sound, so I'd like to read this, if for no other reason than to replace my crappy camp memories with good ones.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a Jamie original.

I'm godawful at making TBR lists and sticking to them. But I'm going to try! These books are on deck for my reading pleasure this spring. And YES, I know a lot of them are old releases. But many of my beloved series are taking off without me (and some have already ended!) And I need to catch up. Spring shall be the time for that.

1. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Requiem is out. I need to find out what happens in the rest of this series!

2. The Girl of Fire & Thorns by Rae Carson
I've been wasting too much time not reading these books.

3. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton
I LOVE WILL AND ELLIE! And I need to continue this series to find out their fate.

4. The Jumbee by Pamela Keyes
HELLO, Phantom of the Opera obsession.

5. Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
A romance with weather integrated into the story? The wannabe meteorologist in me is squealing with joy.

6. Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood by Abby McDonald
This looks like an adorable summer read. I'm SO ready for warmer weather, please.

7. The Elite by Kiera Cass
MAXON. I need more.

8. Asunder by Jodi Meadows
Guys, I'm a failure because I was so obsessed with getting this book and haven't yet read it. I will change that soon. Incarnate was one of my favorite 2012 releases!

9. Defiance by CJ Redwine
I've been told I'll love this, and I've been in a paranormal/fantasy mood lately!

10. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Anna says it was one of her favorites, so naturally, I'll love it.

Monday, March 11, 2013


appaz having a whole slew of social media accounts between the pair of us isn't enough, NOPE, because now we have a tumblr too.

you should probably follow us. I mean, if you like. When we're not reblogging photos of hipster boys, we'll probably post updates on books we're reading or whatever.

(p.s. I don't know who the dude is I just google image searched hipster boys without shirts and he was the only one without a beard) 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Top Ten Series I Really Need to Start Like, Yesterday.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke & the Bookish and thought up by Jamie

I'm the worst ever at buying books and then NEVER READING THEM. Ask my husband. Or ask the 500+ books that I have taking up space on my shelves that I refuse to part with. But I (hopefully) have a bunch of years left in which to start these awesome reads.

1. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
I'll be honest. I started Finnikin, got about 50 pages in, then decided I wasn't really in the mood right now. Seriously, there is a nail file marking my place. I'll never be able to shape my nails to my liking again unless I continue this series. That, in itself, should be motivation. PLUS, Carla is a huge advocate of these books (and Marchetta, in general) and I can't let my co-blogger down, can I?

2. A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
I watch Game of Thrones. Love it. I've never hated anyone like Joffrey Baratheon, and I LOVE to hate characters. You'd think he'd be even more douchey in the books. I'm honestly afraid I might destroy the gorgeous books that my awesome husband bought me. Perhaps that's the deterrent. And sheer size. More than 600 pages? Ain't nobody got time for that.

3. Matched Series by Ally Condie
Anna loved it, and that's reason enough for me. But then there are all those scathing reviews and that frightens me a little...

4. Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

5. Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty
I'm cheating a little on this one. I've already read the first four books. I have actually had Perfect Fifths on my shelf since 2011. I kept putting it off because I was afraid to let this series go. Now I need a re-read of the whole damn thing as a refresher.

6. Love by Numbers Series by Sarah MacLean
Adult books. They just SCARE me. All the teeny tiny print makes me feel like I will never finish them.


And MORE cheating. These are series I've started, but haven't yet continued in the series!

7. Angelfire Series by Courtney Allison Moulton
I LOVED Angelfire. And I even requested a review copy of Wings of the Wicked, but haven't read it. Now April sent me a pretty hardcover of Shadows in the Silence, so I have uber motivation to complete these fantastic reads. 

8. Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver
Again, read and loved Delirium. Have a review copy of Pandemonium. MUST PURCHASE REQUIEM. (Though I've heard some iffy things about the last one.)

9. The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
I'll tell you the reason why I haven't continued: I thought City of Glass ended at a perfectly acceptable and fan-pleasing moment. Sure, Clare left room for expansion, but I'm one of those readers who is a fan of the ambiguous ending. 

10. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
I read the first eight. ENOUGH ALREADY. Nothing will beat looking at Ezra Fitz onscreen, anyway.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Jen's Book Haul (74)

Inspired by memes hosted at The Story Siren and Tynga's Reviews.

An epic week, if I do say so myself. I've always been a Nook user. Nook + booklight = fun reading in the dark! And then, after I purchased an iPhone, I took advantage of the Kindle app, because there are always such great deals on Kindle books (not to mention April's awesome Fill Your Kindle posts always make me buy more.) But after two years, I grew tired of having to angle my booklight at the right angle so as to not blind my husband. Seriously, those Nook lights are bright. And I don't mind reading on my iPhone, but the light is kind of harsh.

So after talking to some of you on Twitter about getting the good old cheap Kindle vs. the Paperwhite, the latter won out. Obviously. Hello, soft glowing backlight! So when my parents asked what I wanted for my birthday, I opted for the lovely Paperwhite. A couple days later, it was delivered to my house and we've been inseparable ever since. Seriously, I don't even want to read anything unless it's on my new Kindle. Shortly after, I bought myself a pretty purple case that puts my Kindle to sleep when I'm not using it. I'm officially converted :)

For Review
Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler
(thanks Simon Pulse, Little Brown, and NetGalley!)

Game: The Sequel to "I Hunt Killers" by Barry Lyga
Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton
(thanks, Jennifer & April!)

Kindle Books
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Sever (Chemical Garden) by Lauren DeStefano (only $7.99 for Kindle!)
Don't Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (only $1.99 for Kindle!)
Ethereal (Celestra Series Book 1) by Addison Moore
Daughter of Joy by Kathleen Morgan
So Into You by Cecelia Gray
Ever Shade by Alexia Purdy
The One You Love by Paul Pilkington
Planning for Love by Christi Barth
Hired by the Cowboy by Donna Alward
Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly
Eternity: Immortal Witches by Maggie Shayne
The Wild One by Danielle Harmon
Kate's Kisses by Mary Manners
Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot
Off Sides by Sawyer Bennett
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles (only $1.99 for Kindle!)

In my defense: A vast majority of these Kindle books were FO FREE or insanely cheap.

Here's what you missed this week...

Jen reviews Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith and thinks it definitely earned the "wild" in the title.
Jen's Waiting on Meet Me at the River by Nina de Gramont and is WTFing at the fact that there's gonna be some Cher & Josh step-sibling love going on, but with GHOSTS. My mind is already blown.
Jen reviews Pivot Point by Kasie West and admits being totally wrong about DNFing. This one deserved the second chance!
Jen reviews Game by Barry Lyga and OMG MY BLOOD PRESSURE CANNOT HANDLE THIS.
Debra Driza stopped by the blog to answer some fun questions about MILA 2.0, the UFC, and drinking WD-40. (Haha, seriously though!)

Also, if you follow my This One Thing feature, I definitely cannot commit to just doing it on one particular day of the week. I'm just that unreliable, you guys. Hahaha, but it will be up sometime this week, if you care :)

Blog Tour: Interview with Debra Driza, Author of MILA 2.0

Today, I'm privileged enough to welcome Debra Driza to the blog. Debra is the author of the kick-butt MILA 2.0, released earlier this year by HarperTeen (which you should totally check out, by the way!) Debra was kind enough to sit down and answer some of my totally ridiculous questions for the MILA 2.0 blog tour!

1. I'm one of those people who is totally visual, so I immediately try and cast my book characters so I can assign a face to the swooning. (I can't help it.) However, I couldn't quite put my finger on a dream cast for MILA 2.0. So I need your input: If you had free reign over the casting of the movie, who would be your ideal choices?
 Ha, and I’m actually the opposite!  While I sometimes get inspired by certain characters/actors, I’ve never actually casted a book in my head. Honestly, I don’t really like getting tied down to a very specific image of a person while I’m writing, because I find it distracting. It’s the same when I’m reading other authors’ books, too. It’s like I get so caught up in trying to mesh the exact visual on the screen with the written character on the page, that my brain overloads and shuts down. *is weird*

2. What would be the perfect drink pairing for your MILA 2.0 readers to help enhance the experience? (Any drink!)
Um, WD40?  JOKING—please don’t drink that!  I think that since Mila longs so much to be a regular girl in this book, the drink should be something pretty basic, like maybe a chocolate shake. Mmmm.  Chocolate. (Though, if we based it on what I drank while writing the book, it would be something super caffeinated. Or, a chai tea latte. I think I single-handedly kept Starbucks in business.)

3. Ha! I think with the amount of chai tea lattes I consume, we are probably a team effort in the well-being of Starbucks. Anyway, so Mila is kind of hardcore. Do you think she could be the UFC champion? (I watched the fights last weekend, so naturally this question popped into my brain.)
Yay UFC!  And Mila would TOTALLY be a UFC champion. Though, it might be kind of cheat-y, given her special abilities.

4. It would be cheat-y. But I'd bet she'd be the one to take down Ronda Rousey ;) Next up, name your biggest struggle while the road to publication with MILA 2.0. What about the easiest aspect?
Hmmm, biggest struggle, that’s a tough one. It would probably be:  remaining dedicated to writing, pre-agent. It can be hard to justify carving out such a big chunk of your life for writing, especially before you progress in your career. People will doubt you, think you’re wasting your time—I can’t stress how helpful it is to have a support network in place.
Another big struggle for me is keeping the doubts at bay.
The easiest aspect?  On some days, I might tell you that none of the publishing process is easy. But today I will say it’s OPENING BIG BOXES OF YOUR FINSIHED BOOK FROM YOUR PUBLISHER! =D

5. Ahem. Might we have a slow-burning love triangle in our midst? (I do love a love triangle, no matter what people say!)
I’m a big sucker for love triangles, too!  *fist bump*  That said, I am sworn to secrecy by my editor (MUAHAHAHAAAA!)
But if we DID have a slow-burning love triangle, which team are YOU on?  ☺

Debra, you are a lovely person. Thank you so much for stopping by! GUYS, seriously. Check out MILA 2.0. Totally sci-fi. Totally robots. TOTALLY FUN.
And thanks to Mundie Moms for hosting the tour!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Jen's Thoughts: Game by Barry Lyga

Goodreads Summary: Billy grinned. “Oh, New York,” he whispered. “We’re gonna have so much fun.”
I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jazz, the son of history’s most infamous serial killer, Billy Dent.
In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force–running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game.

I said this in my review of I Hunt Killers, but I am balls to the wall serious (if I may say that in the most ladylike fashion possible): BARRY LYGA WTF HOW DO YOU WRITE SO TWISTED? The sequel to I Hunt Killers has completely blown my mind and reduced me to a whimpering child with the "wha? huh? what the fuuu?"

  • Jazz, Connie, and Howie are back and better than ever. They're the three best friends that anyone could have, and MAN, they have indescribable chemistry. These characters play off one another so effortlessly, and the best part? It doesn't feel contrived at all. It's so natural. Howie has to be, hands down, my favorite character. Aside from Gramma, whose descent into senility is both comical and saddening. 
  • Poor, poor Jazz. He struggles even more with his identity as Jasper Dent vs. Billy Dent's son in Game, and it raises the stakes as far as his capabilities as the hunter of killers. It was a sick, twisted pleasure to be in his mind as he fought off the Billy in his brain. The dude is so charming, but is it because that's who he is or is it because he's a born killer? The back and forth killed me and made me SO uncomfortable. Because I'll tell you what: if Jasper Dent tried to charm teenage Jen, I would totally fall for it. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT ME? In fact, I'm really lucky that my husband didn't turn out to be a serial killer, because he's the most charming person I've ever met.
  • The twists are turns are so much twistier in GAME. My mind was rampant trying to hypothesize who is doing what and what's their motive. I thought I had it figured out. I THOUGHT SO BADLY. But Barry Lyga totally one-upped (or five-upped) me and I was all wrong, wrong wrong. I had completely plausible rationales behind my guesses, too. But I love that I was wrong. (Shout out to Tara, who was the recipient of all my crazy "I KNOW WHO DUNNIT" text messages.)
  • The murders are absolutely grotesque. Even worse than in I Hunt Killers. The crazy person in me loves that Barry Lyga was able to successfully give me nightmares even during a two-hour afternoon nap. Your stomachs will be turning, people. Prepare yourselves.
  • Billy Dent is quietly horrifying. And he's back and worse than ever. 

  • That cliffhanger. My blood pressure cannot handle it.  I can't think of anything else at all right now. I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. (And this isn't even a lowlight. I'm just grasping for straws, here. I have not one single gripe about this book.)

Wrapping It Up

If you have a strong stomach, a love for the dark and twisted, and a heart that can handle stroke-level blood pressure, then Game will not disappoint. And if you haven't read I Hunt Killers, you need to do so immediately. I cannot express to you my love (and simultaneous horror) toward this incredible series. Barry Lyga, you scare the actual hell out of me. I couldn't be more pleased.

 Got it Covered

I wouldn't change one single thing about this cover. The black and red are ominous and the dice? PERFECT.

Game will be published on April 16, 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Hardcover, 528 pages.
I received an e-galley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Jen's Thoughts: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .
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.
A little prelude to my review: I originally downloaded Pivot Point through Edelweiss, read about 75 pages and forgot about it. It wasn't a deliberate DNF, but more like a "uh oh, Jen's attention span is having one of its episodes, NEXT BOOK PLEASE" kind of thing. So, when I won a copy from Epic Reads' Tea Time for answering an Edgar Allen Poe question, I figured now would be as good a time as any to pick up where I left off. And I am glad that I did.

  • Addie has the most awesome power in existence. Forget time travel. Forget flying (okay, let's not scratch that entirely off the list yet.) She can Search, which is to say: she can see the future of her choices and experience the ultimate consequences of her decision. Do you realize how many blunders I could've avoided throughout my idiotic teen years (and, I'll admit, my adult years. And like, yestereday) if I had such an ability?! What a fun superpower to read about!
  • Superhuman Utopian Society! And the coolest thing is? It's amongst our mundane world. They even have a football team. (Pshh, cheaters.) Makes you wonder, doesn't it? 
  • Worthwhile love interests. I know, I know. The cliche jock love interests are so yesterday, what with A.C. Slater and that boring guy from Grease whose name I forget. And the out-of-the-ordinary, yet-appealing guys are kind of overdone in today's works (though Trevor definitely has the sexy cowboy thing in his favor!) But Duke and Trevor are both sweet and fun to read about. Best thing about Pivot Point? With Addie's Searching powers, she can have both. Well, she can kind of have both.  Plus, will she make the right decision? (Come on, you know one of them had to be douchey.)
  • Kasie West really amps up the suspense toward the end. And she pulls at the heartstrings. I wasn't expecting my eyes to well up there in the end, but hey, just another benefit of Pivot Point: a considerable spectrum of emotions.
  • Well, there's the fact that it took me awhile to get into this book. That was off-putting. But don't fret, Pivot Point really picks up after the first 75 or so pages. (Or you could just chalk this up to my transient nit-pickity reading spells.)
  • There's a lot of Random Capitalization signifying that things are Special. I don't know why this is a pet peeve of mine. 
Wrapping it Up

Hey, I'll be the first to admit fault: I was wrong about Pivot Point. And I'm so glad that I had the chance to finish reading this awesome book. It had already expired on Edelweiss and I had no plans of purchasing, so a huge thanks to the Epic Reads ladies and Harper Teen for my copy. If you like your paranormal romances slathered with a little extra superpower sauce (and a sweet romance, to boot!) then Pivot Point is a worthwhile read that you probably shouldn't miss. Once Kasie West gets going, it's hard to stop her. 

I've Got You Covered

The girl makes me want some blunt cut, fringe bangs. FOR REALS. She kind of resembles Emma Stone, no? I am digging the snow/ice/orbs (WAIT, is there a haunting I wasn't aware of?!) that are drifting about, though I don't know if they serve a purpose other than to give off the paranormal/unknown/mystical vibe. Or maybe she encounters an epic blizzard if she makes the wrong decision. Either way, it's pretty. And I am a sucker for the pretty.

Pivot Point was published by HarperTeen on February 12, 2013.
Hardcover, 352 pages.
An ARC was provided via the publisher.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting on: Meet Me at the River by Nina de Gramont

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Stepsiblings Tressa and Luke, close as children, fell in love as teens, and neither the disapproval of those around them nor even Luke's death can keep them apart as long as Tressa needs him.
So what if the summary is incredibly short and the pub date is like, forever away? I have a Thing for ghost romances (Jeri Smith-Ready's Shade, anyone? Meg Cabot's Mediator series?) and this sounds like the exact book I need to sate my craving for the most impossible of impossible romances.

Expected publication date: October 15, 2013 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Monday, February 25, 2013

Jen's Thoughts: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Published: May 28, 2013
HarperTeen, hardcover, 400pgs
Source: e-galley from publisher
Goodreads Summary: Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:1. You will remember to water the azaleas.2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.
Things that actually happen:1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.2. He says he has her stuff.3. What stuff? Her stuff.4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—6. You pick up a pen.7. You scribble down the address.8. You get on your bike and go.9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.**also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.
Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.

So, this book definitely earned the "Wild" in the title.


  •  I loved Kiri's eccentricities. This girl talks like my brain functions: in random fragments with tangents and strange metaphors and similes. I could read her stream of consciousness all day. And she's constantly searching for beauty in everything. I LOVE HER.
  •  I love whirlwind romances and vulnerable love stories and Kiri's is SO fast and fragile that you feel it could crumble at any given moment. (And it's SO sweet and tender and perfect, just the same.)
  •  I am a huge fan of the Unknown, so the mystery factor about Kiri's sister, Sukey's, death kept me flipping the pages for more, more, more.
  • Wild Awake is not afraid to tap into drug and alcohol use, heavily. Not things I necessarily condone, but they do happen. I can appreciate the fact that Hilary T. Smith doesn't shy away from that fact.
  •  The prose. OH, THE PROSE. It's delectable. And batshiz crazy.
  • This is a story of mental illness, which took me by surprise. This is one subject that draws me in without fail. And it's a smart read, too. The portrayal of obsession is both stunning and saddening.

  •  It took me awhile connect with the story, but once Wild Awake picked up speed (around page 75ish), I was HOOKED.
  • ABSENTEE, IGNORANT PARENTS. And this is no fault of the authors, but seriously, guys. The out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality just kills me. I hate adults sometimes! (the author does a fabulous job of painting the picture of d-bag parents, so I commend her for it!)
  • While I enjoyed the love story, I had a hard time picturing someone Kiri described as "love-bison" to be desirable. I KNOW, guys. That's shallow. But I like to fall in love with the love interests along with the protagonist, and he was described as Hagrid-esque. HAGRID!

Wrapping it Up
So many of you are going to adore this story. My friends are going to adore this story. I can already tell this is going to be a Big Deal in the YA world. And rightfully so, because Hilary T. Smith already has me itching for her next title, and Wild Awake isn't even released yet.
Go ahead and preorder this.

Got it Covered
MAN, this looks so much like the cover of Riptide by Lindsey Schiebe, sans surfboard and beach. The more I look at it, the more it perfectly coincides with the book: the paint splatter, the general wildness of the hair-whipping. Oh, HarperTeen and your gorgeous covers.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

This One Thing: I SWEAR I'll Do This Year

This One Thing is a feature where I'll be talking about, obviously, one thing. Any thing. Every thing. I love books, which is why I have this blog. But I love to talk about all kinds of crap. And this seems like the perfect opportunity to do so.

Okay, this was actually one of my resolutions this year. AND STILL IS. I managed to push myself to work out like a maniac in 2009 (before my wedding, HUZZAH!) and got in the best shape of my life. I suppose a wedding dress will motivate anyone to get their butt in gear, right? And I'll tell you what: after I got married, I LET GO.  I'd never really struggled with my weight before, so I've been pretty fortunate in that aspect, but it's all about how you feel.

I worked a desk job for five years. And after matrimonial bliss set in and I enrolled into nursing school and the cortisol levels shot through the roof, I put on about 20lbs. On my 5'4" frame, 20lbs makes a difference. And unfortunately, life is not perfect, so the weight didn't get distributed to all the BENEFICIAL body areas (can someone please find a way to make this happen?!)

So for the two years I was in nursing school, I stress ate and stress drank. I began to struggle with my weight. I was afraid to wear certain clothing because that little nagging voice was all "ew, look at your arms. And are you sure you fit into those jeans anymore? I mean, come on. You had to basically drop it like it's hot in order to squeeze them on. And WHAT DID I TELL YOU about drying your jeans?! PUT THAT SHIRT BACK, IT'S TOO TIGHT." 

And it's horribly depressing to have your brain yell at you like that. Now I'm not one of those people who believes that weight defines you. People are beautiful in all shapes and sizes. But again: I didn't feel good about myself.


I'm at a point in my life where nursing keeps me busy. I don't sit down often. Those hospital halls? They're long. (I've been meaning to get a pedometer to scope out how many steps I take per 12 hour shift!) So, take away the desk job -- and guaranteed lunch breaks -- and I dropped all the weight I put on. 

I figure this is the perfect time to reinstate one of my previous life goals: Operation Britney Body Circa 2001.

I know you guys remember Britney Spears' famous snake dance at the VMAs. THOSE ABS. I will have them. And the best way to go about doing it? (Considering my disdain for exercise and other restrictions due to my love of, well, not moving.) Well, I'll learn from the master herself.

When I did work out, Jillian Michaels kicked my ass. Like I had to FALL into my chairs in order to sit down, because my quads were rendered useless. I want that again. The awesome thing about Jillian's workouts? They're quick. The 30 Day Shred is only 25ish minutes, which is good for those days when you want to get it done & over with quickly! The No More Trouble Zones video is about 50 minutes, but OH MAN, does it pass quickly. (This is the video I used to get into wedding shape. IT WORKED.) And the Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism video is not one that I have done very much, but this one focuses on some serious cardio. I HATE CARDIO. But I think I'll have to push myself to burn off some of the bad stuff.

Plus, I have a vacation in July that I'm looking forward to. What better time than now? It'll be nice to feel happy, healthy, and fit. 

And by the way, these are all super cheap on Amazon. If you want a fast, effective workout, I highly recommend!

Have any of these DVDs worked for you? Have you tried any others? TELL ME, because I love new ideas and new workouts will help keep things fresh for this wishy-washy work-out-er :)