December 28, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (24).

Waiting On Wednesday is from Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Hudson can't wait to get out of Watonka, her working-class town outside of Buffalo. Once upon a time, her talent as a skater was going to be her ticket out... but when her parents' marriage unraveled three years ago, so did her dreams. Now, she buries herself in making cupcakes for her mom's diner and imagining her parallel life where she went on to skate to glory. But when she gets a letter inviting her to audition for a skating scholarship *and* the hockey team asks for her help with their technique (read: free ice time for Hudson), it's impossible to ignore the signs. Is she ready to get back on the ice? Could this be her ticket out? Hudson's determined not to let anything stand in her way. But between baking and waitressing at the diner, the love triangle that's developing with two outrageously cute hockey boys, and the simmering drama with her best friend, her future is anything but certain...

Ockler dazzled me with Twenty Boy Summer, and I'm sure she can dazzle me again with Bittersweet. Any time I come across a YA book that involves cooking, I'm sold.

December 27, 2011

REVIEW! Love Story.

LOVE STORY by Jennifer Echols.

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions—it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.
My rating: 3 stars.


This is going to be a weird review, because typically in a review you're supposed to point out the pros and cons of the story - what you liked and disliked.  But honestly I'm not sure I can pinpoint exactly what those qualities are for me, regarding Love Story.

I went into the story loving the concept of characters in college. HUGE plus.  Also, in a creative writing class, writing about one another? BIGGER plus! Awesome idea. And Erin's and Hunter's stories were actually enjoyable to read. They didn't feel like intrusions to the overall story.  And yet, sometimes I felt that they were lacking... or not present enough.  I didn't like that the narration would mention they'd written several more stories over the passing weeks, but as a reader I never got to read them.  Since they were such a key aspect beforehand, I figured they'd be prominent throughout.  This is not the case.

As for the characters, Erin and Hunter have that electric dynamic - hating but loving, flirty but zingy.  It's good and all, but at times it's also confusing.  I had a hard time deciphering what actions were "true" and which were not; going by Erin's narration, I just couldn't tell, and it seemed neither could she. This prevented me from ever forming an attachment to the idea of them as a couple.  I couldn't trust Hunter, so I wasn't invested in their relationship as much as I should/could have been. 

Another big big BIG component of the book is the background info.  There's a lot of it that comes into play.  But... it's all so fuzzy.  You never get the FULL stories.  Often I was like, Well what happened next?! But I never found out.  You're just given the same information over and over.  The problem is that their past is so vital to the present, so to not have all of the info makes it seem like an unsolved mystery.  This constantly nagged at me. I kept waiting for explanations and meetings that I knew had to happen, yet didn't.

Now for the biggest issue, and the reason why I couldn't rate this higher: THE ENDING. Is there even an ending? I'm not so sure. I got to the last page and literally freaked out, thinking my copy was missing an entire last chunk of the story. But no. Upon checking page counts and chapters and everything, I found that my copy is indeed correct.  Let me just say that I've never had a book elicit such a reaction from me; I've never been so surprised at such an abrupt ending.  The story comes to no conclusion!  Okay... it comes to a miniature closure/resolution/THING.  But it's not nearly satisfying enough to be considered an actual ending.

All I can say is read and see for yourself.  Really, it's a good, entertaining story. It just left me puzzled and frustrated.

December 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (24).

Love Story by Jennifer Echols.
The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta.
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta.

I'm currently in the middle of Love Story and enjoying it, per Cialina's reccomendation! I plan to tackle The Piper's Son next.  I've heard so many good things about it and I'm excited to read another Marchetta book.

Hope everyone's Christmas is going well and you're enjoying your book hauls!

December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Christmas this year! You all deserve it. I know 2011 brought its ups and downs, but we made it! Here's to hoping 2012 will be a good one. :)

And thank you to the bloggers that thought to send me a little something for the holidays. I can't express how grateful I am that you thought of me. Thank you so much. From bookmarks to books, I am set for my break.

Eat up, sleep in and have fun!


December 23, 2011

Follow Friday! (26)

If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book which book would you choose and why?

I know it's going to be the #1 answer, but..... c'mon. Is there really any contest? I have to choose the Harry Potter series. I'd be perfectly content spending my days at Hogwarts.

But, since I've yet to receive my acceptance letter, I suppose spending some time in Neverland wouldn't be so bad, so long as Peter shared his inability to grow up.

December 22, 2011

REVIEW! Ditched.

DITCHED: A LOVE STORY by Robin Mellom.
High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat, handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.
And then ditched her.
Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together -- stain by stain on her thrift-store dress -- exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag's moving car...
My rating: 3 stars.


I know why Ditched was ditched. When it comes down to it all - the story, the purpose... it's all rather lacking. I went into Ditched thinking it'd be a cute, fun read.  And while it's a bit cute (the latter half of the story), it's not very fun.  The story has no feel-good emotions.  It's mostly a downer.  Justina being ditched at prom turns into one exhausted exaggeration after the next. 

As a character, Justina makes little sense. She's strong, she's weak, she's flirty, she's reserved, she's a slut, she's not a slut. See a pattern?  Ultimately, she adds up to one big contradiction.  The other characters get maybe a word to describe them.  Otherwise, they're just names.  I like a little more substance than this, even for a quick read.  Even a bit of background info would've been nice.

The plot is frustrating, to say the least. It drags and drags.  You know when you're watching a really bad horror movie and you end up shouting at the characters on screen, calling them out for their stupidity?  That's the reaction I had to the plot of Ditched.

Needless to say, it just wasn't for me. 

Highlight of the book?  I really liked that the progression of the story depended on the back stories of every stain on Justina's dress. It's a concept I've seen before, yet still neat and kept me wondering.

Blogging Slump!

Hello, bloggers!

I bet you thought I disappeared again. Wrong!

I'm very much still here - and on my Winter Break!  What does this mean? It means I have a lot of time to dedicate to reading, reviewing and catching up with all of my blogger friends.  I missed you guys!

There's just one problem: I'm in a blogging slump. I don't have much to read at the moment, and what I do have is just odds and ends (books I've had but never been tempted to read). At the moment I'm in the middle of Ditched by Robin Mellom, but let's just say that I'm feeling like I know why it was ditched.

So I need some help. What do you think I should read?  Have any favorites lately?  New releases? Comment and let me know about it! I wanna get back into the swing of things ASAP!

December 5, 2011

REVIEW! Getting Over Garrett Delaney.

Seventeen-year-old Sadie is in love: epic, heartfelt, and utterly onesided. The object of her obsession - ahem, affection - is her best friend, Garrett Delaney, who has been oblivious to Sadie's feelings ever since he sauntered into her life and wowed her with his passion for Proust (not to mention his deep-blue eyes). For two long, painful years, Sadie has been Garrett's constant companion, sharing his taste in everything from tragic Russian literature to art films to '80s indie rock- all to no avail. But when Garrett leaves for a summer literary retreat, Sadie is sure that the absence will make his heart grow fonder - until he calls to say he's fallen in love. With some other girl! A heartbroken Sadie realizes that she's finally had enough. It's time for total Garrett detox! Aided by a barista job, an eclectic crew of new friends (including the hunky chef, Josh), and a customized selfhelp guide, Sadie embarks on a summer of personal reinvention full of laughter, mortifying meltdowns, and a double shot of love.
My rating: 4 stars.


Sloooooooooooooooow. In a good way! Getting Over Garrett Delaney will definitely test your willpower to keep reading, but it's strangely worth it.  It's what I've been asking for: a book in which the romance takes a back seat and develops.  If you're looking to get away from love triangles and insta-love and get back to what's most relatable to real relationships, then this is the book for you.

The characters are nice in the way that they're not over the top in their actions.  Everything seems pretty plausible and that helped to make them seem more real.  My one gripe is the descriptions, which leave a little to be desired.  Everyone's always grinning or hugging or laughing. You'll understand when you read it.  I would have liked a little more variation.

I like that nothing happens in the way of romance - nothing overwhelming, I mean.  It's so nice to find a story that progresses, rather than throws the character right into a make out session.  Sadie is goofy and overly concerned and not at all preoccupied with the physical aspects of a relationship.  Instead, her story focuses on the dynamics of the inner workings of relationships, which, as a reader, I appreciated. Because not everyone is focused on that, 100% of the time.

Everything pans out really well, from the characters to the timing of their involvement, everything.  It was like I spent a few weeks of summer with Sadie and her gang myself.  And it was fun.

December 1, 2011

Follow My Book Blog Friday! (25)

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books?

Stereotypes/cliches.  Beautiful people.  Insta-love. 

November 30, 2011

What I want to see more of in YA - Just Contemporary, week 5!

Just Contemporary

What I want to see more of in Contemporary YA

Characters in COLLEGE!
YA novels primarily feature teenage characters.  This is all fine and dandy, except nearly every single one of those characters is in the Hell that we know as High School. But here’s the thing – teenagers are also in college! And I don’t know about you, but I go crazy when I see a YA novel that features its characters in college; I devour it.  Considering I’m not a teenager anymore, I’m starting to crave more mature stories, or at least stories set in a more mature setting.  I’m not quite at the stage where I’m ready to be reading about mid-life crises or divorces or having babies, so I need something in between. Having characters in YA novels attend college would be that something.

REAL love.
I’m tired of seeing the stories that begin with Girl liking Boy That is Way Too Hot for Her, but then Boy That is Way Too Hot for Her suddenly sees what he’s been missing all along and returns feelings for Girl.

Or, Girl is inherently beautiful and is stuck choosing between two or more love interests.

I’m sure these situations have proven true for some people, but I’m tired of reading about them. I want a romance that lasts, that’s true. I don’t want a surprise kiss to come out of nowhere. Sure, sometimes it’s cute, but at the same time, I know it’s not very likely to happen in the real world. I’d rather read about a genuine relationship blossoming and forming, even if that means I don’t get to see the kiss until the very end of the novel.

Stable families.
I realize not every family is stable and that some come from bad home lives – but does it have to be everyone? Why are the parents almost always away or uncaring? Why are the kids almost always neglected? Why do the siblings almost always watch the others getting into trouble?

Not everyone hates their family, and I think it’s time that this is shown in Contemporary YA. We need some family love every once in a while. I know the drama within a bitter, failing family is easier to work with, but I also know it’s possible to create something from the good.

What do YOU want to see more of?

November 29, 2011

"New Adult" Challenge: 2012!


What are "New Adult" books, you ask? They're books with characters primarily past their teenage years; they're graduating, going into college, are in college, looking for jobs - you get the gist. Isn't that fabulous? Isn't that what I've been looking for?! It is. I'm very excited for this year-long challenge.

The rules and levels, as per Danya's post:

The rules:
  • The book must feature a protagonist who is past the average age for graduation from high school (18 in most places). If they're sitting on the fence at precisely age 18, then you can make the judgment call on whether it is more YA or New Adult. (If the majority of it is set in high school, I'd classify it as YA.) The protag should be younger than 30, just to give a maximum limit as well (otherwise we're getting into Not-So-New Adult literature!)
  • This does *not* mean the book must be of the contemporary genre. If it's a fantasy or dystopian or something and there *is* no concept of "graduation" in that world, then just go by our world's standards in deciding if it counts.
The levels:
  • Just Graduated: read a minimum of 3 New Adult books
  • Moving Out: read a minimum of 6 New Adult books
  • Living On Your Own: read a minimum of 9 New Adult books
  • Fully Independent: read every single New Adult book you can get your hands on

The challenge will run from Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2012.  Interested? Want to sign up? CLICK!

November 24, 2011

REVIEW! Saving June.

SAVING JUNE by Hannah Harrington
Everyone's sorry. But no one can explain why.

Harper Scott's older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June's ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going—California.

Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession…and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper's just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except Jake's keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down—again.
My rating: 3 stars.


I had high hopes for Saving June, but it ultimately let me down.  The writing is swell, as well as the characters.  But here's the thing: they could've been anyone, and the story would've been the same.  The thing I just couldn't get past in this book is that every moment of it feels like one I've read before.  Nothing seems outright original, or exciting.  In other words, nothing captured my attention.

And I couldn't get past Harper, Laney and Jake's ages.  Throughout the entire story they seemed much more mature than their given ages: 16, 17 and 18.  And when it was made known that they were so young, the believability of the plot plummeted.  Everything suddenly seemed too convenient to make up for their youth.  This immediately distanced me from the characters and story.

Granted, the story has quite a bit of humor that presents itself at the randomest of times.  That definitely keeps it from being drop dead dull.  But other than that, every bit is just as predictable as you think it is.  There are no surprises.  Had there been an unforseen aspect, I think I'd consider the pacing spot-on, perfect.  But since it lacks any such thing, it moves a bit too slow for my liking.

In all honesty I think this one of those books that people will either be into, or not into.  In my opinion, there's a lot of "grey area" that readers either won't mind, or will.  In this case, I minded the grey areas.  Too-young characters (for the situations at hand) and too little setting it apart from other novels ultimately makes Saving June an unmemorable read for me.

November 18, 2011

Follow My Book Blog Friday! (24)

Letter to Santa: Tell Santa what books you want for Christmas!

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan.
Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (preorder).
What Caesar Did for My Salad: The Curious Stories Behind Our Favorite Foods by Albert Jack.
Deadly Little Voices by Laurie Stolarz.
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

*These were both added the week before, but I think they still count!

November 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (23).

Waiting On Wednesday is from Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer Hubbard
Ryan spends most of his time alone at the local waterfall because it's the only thing that makes him feel alive. He's sixteen, post-suicidal, and trying to figure out what to do with himself after a stint in a mental hospital. Then Nicki barges into his world, brimming with life and energy, and asking questions about Ryan's depression that no one else has ever been brave enough - or cared enough - to ask. Ryan isn't sure why he trusts Nicki with his darkest secrets, but that trust turns out to be the catalyst that he desperately needs to start living again.

Not too long ago, I read Hubbard's The Secret Year and really loved it. I have high hopes of this one being just as deep and touching, despite the lack of originality concerning the plot.

November 14, 2011

REVIEW! Before I Fall.

BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver
What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.
The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
My rating: 4 stars.


I wish this could be a one-word review. It'd say WOW.

This book really gets you thinking, in the best ways possible. How would you live your last day? Don't worry, Sam doesn't know either. She lets us, as readers, discover the answer with her. I think this is the aspect that I like most about Before I Fall. Nothing seems to just be told to us; you work through everything right along with Sam, not knowing if the outcomes will be good or bad or inbetween. And in this way, it's not like a book - it's like life. I really like that the feelings Sam's story evokes transcend just the story.

The book does drag. It has to, like a Groundhog Day scenario. But while I understand the necessity, it also bothers me. Sometimes I just wanted to get to the next part because scenes were too repetitive. The good news is the characters make up for the slow timing. At first, they're nothing special - just typical cliches. But Oliver takes them and puts a spin on the repetition that shows their development and their true selves.  It's a lovely unfolding of sorts.

If anything, read for the realness that is Sam's world. You may learn something, and be glad for it.

In a nutshell: Striking, beautiful, thoughtful.

November 8, 2011

REVIEW! Lola and the Boy Next Door.

LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins
For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.
When the family returns and Cricket - a gifted inventor and engineer - steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
My rating: 3 stars.


I can't believe I'm saying this, but Lola just didn't do it for me. Sure, I had very, very high expectations for it, after my book crush on Anna and the French Kiss (thanks to St. Clair). But high expectations aside, Lola and the Boy Next Door simply lacks the Stephanie Perkins magic I grew to love.

Lola herself is the biggest problem to me. Not only could I not relate to her in any way, I also wasn't fond of her choices. I prefer stronger characters, especially concerning girls. The lovesick puppy routine gets old really quickly for me. Plus, she just didn't add up to me - not in any aspect. It's okay if your boyfriend smokes pot, but it's a tragedy that your birth mother gets drunk? Sorry, but I don't get it. To me, Lola seemed to be many things, but none of these things added up to a whole, to an entire being. Her personality is lost on me, and her immaturity acted as a death sentence.

That being said, the remaining characters aren't any better. I actually dislike her fathers, despite loving the concept of two dads, since that's rarely ever seen in YA novels. One's bitter, the other's a pushover - that's all I know about them. However, I like that they are involved within the story. But Lola's best friend, Lindsey? She may as well not exist, because all I got from her is she's a little Nancy Drew obsessed. As for Cricket, well. I don't dislike him. I just feel like there's so much more that he could've been. A relentlessly happy, non-complex love interest gets to be boring after a while. Don't get me wrong - he's absolutely adorable and totally sweet. I just wish he hadn't been as lackluster as Lola. I so badly wanted one of them to shine.

The true stars in all of this, for me, were Anna and Etienne. They were hilarious and genuine and true to themselves as we saw them in Anna. Every time they appeared, I wished a little of their realness would rub off on Lola and Cricket.

I know my ramblings make Lola seem like a terrible book, but that's not at all the case. Lola is a good book - it's got its good writing, love interests, solid plot, etc. It just wasn't for me (for reasons stated above). I expected more depth, and it didn't deliver.

November 7, 2011

REVIEW! The Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.  
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
My rating: 5 stars.


Trust me when I say that this books sits on an entirely different level, separate from other YA novels.  Because it truly does.  The Daughter of Smoke and Bone is written so beautifully, it easily surpasses those like it. Really, the writing itself is what initially drew me in.  The descriptions are fantastical, and the thought behind them is so clear and vivid. I cannot express how impressed I am by the mere writing of this novel - while other YA writings come off almost childish, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone comes off as much more mature - not only in its writing, but also its development.

I think every single character is striking in one way or another.  Really.  I don't think I was disappointed by any.  And that's pretty hard to do for me. But I enjoyed all of them because they all had stories. Backgrounds. Personalities. Taylor made me want to know all of them, and there's a difference between me wanting to know more, and the author simply telling me more.

Truth be told, my only gripe is the ending. I realize it's meant to end the way it does, but I'm just not the biggest fan of its wrap-up.  Plus, cliffhangers are pretty annoying.

That aside, Taylor has gotten herself on my list of authors whose books I will always pick up. I'm really looking forward to the second book.

If you don't read this, you're missing out.

November 2, 2011

Why I love Contemporary YA - Just Contemporary, week 1!

Learn about the Just Contemporary event here.

Contemporary means present or modern.  And in the world of YA books, it typically means teens just living their lives, taking one step at a time, dealing with school, family and boys, of course.  But why is this appealing? Why do I read it when there are blood-thirsty vampires and wizards running about?

Because contemporary YA is real. It doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not, because it can’t. It’s real life. It’s relatable. It’s knowing you’ve got something in common with someone. It’s knowing you’re not alone, no matter the subject.

What would my teenage years have been like without Meg Cabot? The old Meg Cabot. I’m talking Princess Diaries and All American Girl, with their awkward, nerdy female protagonists, looking for ways to embrace their weirdness.  What would I have done without Sam and Mia? They helped me think that just maybe high school could be bearable.

Or what about Rachel Cohn’s Gingerbread series? If not for those, I’d have never gotten an up-close look at the constructs of long-distance relationships, or the matching of fun with work.  I’d also certainly not have longed for a surfer boyfriend.

And I can’t not mention Sarah Dessen, who is probably considered the Mother of all Contemporary YA. (And rightfully so.)  Her stories illuminate the lives of teens everywhere, dealing with issues of friendship to family hardships to medical problems.  She takes the pain and coaxes it, showing that things really will be all right, if you give them the chance to be.

And then every once in a while, you come across those special books – the ones that will stay with you for a long time.  They’re not just beautiful, they’re powerful.  They take your world and turn it upside down, leaving nothing but raw emotion in their wake. For me, this type of special book is, and always will be, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.  It deals with a controversial topic, and is often banned, but in all honesty, it’s moving. Touching. Poignant. I can’t imagine anyone reading Speak and not being sucked into the contemporary YA circuit. It’s that wonderful.

There’s a lot to learn from contemporary YA, and I think that’s what keeps me coming back for more. The lessons never end.  I can read ten books about boyfriends and breakups and rotten friends, and still see a different perception – a different angle to the story – every time. It never gets old.

Contemporary YA is me.

October 31, 2011

Another year older.

Happy birthday to ... me!

That's right, I'm another year older. What does that mean? Well, right now it just feels like that means I deserve to be bogged down with more work than I'd ever want. Two jobs + schoolwork does not bode well, people.

I realize my blogging duties have fallen by the wayside, too. Don't think I'm not aware! I see you people unfollowing me. (You know who you are!) Does this upset me? Yes and no. Really, I can't blame someone for unfollowing a blog that's been rather inactive. But like I've been saying - this will change. Really, it will. I've got some clear schedules coming up. I'm close to finishing The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, so there WILL be a review sighting! (Holy cow, don't hold your breath.)

I owe a big thanks to Amanda for hosting the Bout of Books read-a-thon, which really did push me to read this past week during every significant gap of free time that I had. If not for that, the book review wouldn't be up as soon as it will be. (Also, she was awesome enough to send me a very funny birthday gift. AND a birthday pic. She rocks, basically.)

Now, about this birthday business.

I plan to redeem my free coffee, hold my head high, destroy my Accounting exam, and be as happy as can be.

October 25, 2011

Cover Like/Dislike - featuring Cindy!

Today's post is brought to us by Cindy, from Oodles of Books!

C O V E R       W A R
Wither VS This is Not a Test


 Hated Cover: Wither by Lauren DeStefano
I know. Some of you must think I am insane, but yes, I hate this cover. Okay, hate is a strong word. I don’t like it too much.
Why? Well, for starters, what is up with her hair? That’s the first thing I think when I see this, every time. I know that this poof hairstyle is quite common these days for models and such but I honestly don’t find it attractive. I also think her dress is…a little strange. I mean all those frills and stuff? I don’t like ‘em. She also looks sort of like she’s sitting on a throne but that could just be me being crazy.
Wither does sound really good and I cannot wait to read it but I find the cover weird. I do think that the caged bird and the significance this may hold is pretty interesting, but I’m sort of a hater. So I am sorry, but I just dislike this cover.

Loved cover: This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers
The drops of blood, the girl in mid fall, the mysterious background…what is going on here?

This is one of the best covers that I have seen in a while, I think. It’s so simple, but so eye-catching and it makes me want to pick up the book and find out what is happening. It also reminds me of a cross between The Dead-Tossed Waves and Imaginary Girls.
It does seem like it’s going to be a pretty amazing book, so maybe that’s why I like it so much, and I can’t wait to read it. I really loved this cover from the moment I saw it.  

* Thanks for the great post, Cindy!

What do you think of these covers? What makes or breaks a cover for you? Fonts? Pictures? Sparkly vampires?

October 24, 2011

Bout of Books 2.0 read-a-thon: Begin!

Hosted by Amanda.

Whaaaaaat? I'm participating in a read-a-thon amidst my hectic schedule? Yes! It'll give me all the more reason to read, and it's a great segway into my birthday.

My Goals
  • 1 book. Yes. 1. It'll be quite an accomplishment.
Books To Read
  • The Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door
  • Between Here and Forever (keep pushing it off!)


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October 20, 2011

REVIEW! The Pledge.

THE PLEDGE by Kimberly Derting
In the violent country of Ludania, the language you speak determines what class you are, and there are harsh punishments if you forget your place—looking a member of a higher class in the eye can result in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina (Charlie for short) can understand all languages, a dangerous ability she’s been hiding her whole life. Her only place of release is the drug-filled underground club scene, where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. There, she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy who speaks a language she’s never heard, and her secret is almost exposed. Through a series of violent upheavals, it becomes clear that Charlie herself is the key to forcing out the oppressive power structure of her kingdom….

My rating: 4 stars.


I went out on a limb here, reading The Pledge. It's admittedly not in my genre of choice - contemporary. BUT. It was mostly everything I could've asked for.

Most notably - the awesome sense of plot and descriptions. Hellooooo, you two! Where have you been in my YA novels? So glad you've returned. That's basically the conversation I had going on in my head. Derting's world just packs this live punch that's great; it's gritty, urban, magical.  And the characters have distinct personalities! It's easy to form connections to them, which helps guide the story. Truth be told, some are cliche, and a bit predictable. But the more developed characters make up for their lacking.

There's some slow build-up, which leads to confusion about just what kind of world they're living in, and why, but everything is resolved in the end.  However, that's where things seem to get a bit screwy.  Characters suddenly do a 180 and show other sides of themselves, causing me to feel detached from them after finally feeling like I knew their purposes within the story. It's a bit offputting and annoying. The way everything - and everyone - ties together seems illogical at times, or presents Oh c'mon, really now? moments/reactions.

But trust me: The Pledge is an awesome thriller. The world is fleshed out, the descriptions spot-on, and the characters more or less come together seamlessly. It's a mingling of all things good. Read it!

October 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (23).

The Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins.


Ahem. Sorry. I made it my mission to get Lola while on my Fall Break, and I succeeded. I cannot wait to read it. How long have I been waiting now? Oh, right. Forever.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is another story. I just kind of stumbled upon it on my quest to get Lola, and I remembered all of the good things you've all said of it, so I decided to take it with me to scope out while I enjoyed my Pumpkin Spice latte.  And I discovered it is just as good as everyone has said. I'm actually reading it before Lola. I never thought that would happen.

Hope you all were just as excited with your hauls!
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