December 30, 2011

TGIF {11}

TGIF is a weekly meme hosted by Ginger atGReads. Each week she poses a question and everyone is invited to join in and share their answers :]

This week's question:
First & Last: What was the first book you read in 2011 and the last you finished in 2011? How do you feel about these books? Would you recommend them to other readers?

December 29, 2011

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman {Review}

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: October 2008
Source: Library
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal is he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who beings to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack--who has already killed Bod's family...

I’ll admit it: I wasn’t a fan of The Graveyard Book for a good 3/4s of the book. I know, you’re all winding up to lob tomatoes and various rotten fruits and veggies at me right about now for saying such things about a book written by Neil Gaiman, but wait just one moment.

Something about The Graveyard Book simply wasn’t working for me for a majority of the book. I think part of it was the feeling that the story had no real meaning or plot. It seemed Bod would do something, be done with it, then move onto the next which was completely unrelated. Maybe I was reading it all wrong, but that’s simply what I got out of it. Luckily, though, the last little bit of the book tied it all nicely together and I was hanging on the edge of my seat just waiting to find out what happened next.

I rather enjoyed Neil’s writing. It was something different than what I’ve ever experienced before and though I found myself confused a few times, I still enjoyed it on the whole.

Final Thoughts: It took quite some time for me to really get into The Graveyard Book but I ended up really enjoying it. I’m glad I needed something to read while waiting at the doctor otherwise I might never have picked it up :P If you’re a fan of Gaiman or aren’t sure if you are, you should definitely give The Graveyard Book a try, especially if you read and enjoyed Coraline.

Pages: 309
Series: No
Rating: 4 stars

December 28, 2011

Cover Lover {26}

Of course we all know you should never judge a book by its cover, but do we ever really listen to that?
Cover Lover showcases eye catching, intriguing, and beautiful covers.

This week's Cover Lover goes to Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams
Publish Date: August 21, 2012
I confess, I kind of love half-face covers. As long as it's done appropriately, that is (when the girl's chest is the focal point it's not exactly appropriate). Luckily, this one is done right. I love the apron and the cheekiness of the spoon-as-a-mic.

December 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday {8}

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week there's a category and everyone participating lists their "Top Ten" in that category.
This week's topic is: Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011

I read so many good books this year it was almost impossible to choose! There are one or two obvious ones in this mix, but for the most part I tried to go with books that I super enjoyed but you guys may not have heard much about.

1. Rosebush by Michele Jaffe [My Review]
I used to love mystery books as a kid, but somewhere along the lines I just kind of moved away from them. Rosebush reignited my love for mysteries with it's fantastic job of always keeping me in the dark just enough to keep me interested and on the edge of my seat.

2. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levitham
How could I not love this book when much of it is about a bookstore?!? Really though, it was a super fun contemporary which had me gasping and "awwwing." If you've never read Levithan or COhn (especially together), this is a good place to start.

3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray [My Review]
This book certainly took me by surprise. I loved the randomness of it all and the little sidenotes making fun of commercialism and certain aspects of society. It's basically what you may expect from the cover and there's nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, it's pretty perfect.

4. Want to Go Private by Sarah Darer Littman [My Review]
I never would have thought a book about a girl who gets taken advantage of by an internet predator would be so good, but it definitely was. This book was powerful and I believe it should be required reading in schools or at the very least, parents should read it along side their kids. This book is powerful.

5. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson [My Review]
This was the first book I decided to read because a whole bunch of bloggers said it was good and boy howdy, am I glad I listened to their advice. This book is not only a super fun contemporary, it also has a road trip, random pictures scattered throughout, and actual playlists.

6. Divergent by Veronica Roth [My Review]
This is a pretty obvious choice, but it was just so darn good! The build-up in this book is perfect. There's never really a dull moment and the action is superb. I ended staying up waaayyy late into the night to finish this while I bawled my eyes out.

7. Plague by Michael Grant
This one may not be an obvious choice to everyone else, but it's a given for me. I absolutely love this series. I mean, come on, can you get any better than a world with no parents, weird evil things, and crazy super powers? Nope, it really doesn't get any better. 

8. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
I read the Percy Jackson series a couple years back and I loved it, so when I found out Rick was writing another series in the same world and with some of the same characters, I was all over it. This series has just as much awesome action as the first, plus there's awesome new characters and you get to learn new things about the mythology.

9. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
I can't believe I waited so long to read this series. It's amazing the way Carrie can take a story about zombies and turn it into something new and beautiful. Have some tissues handy is you're reading these for the first time.

10. The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West [My Review]
Why oh why did I spend years thinking I was too grown up for Middle Grade?? This book was a fantastic reintroduction into the world of Middle Grade literature and I can't wait to dive back in and read more. We have an awesome protagonist, magical glasses, and a creepy old house. Oh yeah, and talking cats. If you're apprehensive about Middle Grade, you should definitely check this book out.

December 25, 2011

Merry Happy Holidays!

No matter what you celebrate, this video is awesome.

Merry Christmas to all of your out there who celebrate! I hope you have a wonderfully happy day :] To those who don't do Christmas, I hope whatever it is that you do celebrate is/was good :]

P.S. There's no IMM today since I'm traveling home from my honeymoon and I don't have any of my books. Maybe I'll do a special Christmas IMM later this week :]

December 22, 2011

Frost by Marianna Baer {Review}

Publisher: Blazer + Bray
Publish Date: September 2011
Source: Library
Leena Thomas's senior year at boarding school starts with a cruel shock: Frost House, the cozy Victorian dorm where she and her best friends chose to live, has been assigned an unexpected roommate--confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar.
What Celeste lacks in social grace, however, her brother, David, a recent transfer student, makes up for in good looks and charm. But while he and Leena hit it off immediately, Leena finds herself struggling to balance her growing attraction with her fear of getting hurt.
As classes get under way, strange happenings begin to bedevil Frost House--frames mysteriously falling off walls, doors locking by themselves, furniture toppling over. Celeste blames the housemates, convinced they want to scare her into leaving. And while Leena tries to play peacekeeper beteen her best friends and new roommate, soon the mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and David, and the reawakening of childhood fears all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. But does the threat lie with her new roommate, within Leena's own mind...or in Frost House itself?

Frost was seriously intense. It was all sorts of crazy and completely messed with my head. In fact, the eerieness completely sunk into my bones and I was convinced things were moving out of the corner of my eyes and something was coming to get me. This book gave me the serious chills.

Now for the characters. Leena drove me nutso.I know I was probably supposed to feel sympathetic towards her and her...problems, but I didn't really. She annoyed the crap out of me with her "I'm always right and you're insane" routine. Plus, she kind of treated everyone around her like crap. Celeste was no problem for me, but David's crazy love for her was borderline creepy sometimes. Certainly not one of my favorite romances of all time, though I think that was the point.

Before reading Frost I'd read quite a few reviews that mentioned the ambiguous ending which is something I absolutely hate. Surprisingly, this ending totally and completely worked for me this time. Once I turned the last page I felt like my questions were answered and things were nicely resolved instead of being lost and disgruntled.

Another thing: I wished there was a little more about Barcroft. I feel a little like I got gyped on the whole boarding school aspect of it all.

Final Thoughts: Frost most certainly has the creepy-factor going for it. It gets into your mind and makes you all jumpy. If you're looking for a good mystery/thriller, you should definitely give Frost a read. Though the characters annoyed me at times, it was never enough to actually make me want to stop reading. For 400 pages, this is a really quick read, too.

Pages: 400
Series: No
Rating: 4 stars

December 21, 2011

Here Comes the Bride...

Today I'm getting married to a wonderfully amazing guy (who I usually try to refrain from talking about on here so I don't gush). We've been dating for 2 1/2 years and now that the big day is here, it's rather surreal. The wedding's not the only big change around here. We're also moving to a new city and apartment as well as going on the job hunt. I just want to apologize in advance if posts are a little sparse in the next couple weeks. I will try my darndest to get them up, but I can't make promises.

P.S. If anyone is interested I can post some pics of the actual wedding, but I don't want to bombard you with my personal life :P

December 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday {7}

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week there's a category and everyone participating lists their "Top Ten" in that category.

This week's topic is: Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Already read:
1. Gone series by Michael Grant
I love this series like crazy, but I always forget what happened in the previous one as I'm trying to read the current and it would be lovely to have them sitting and waiting for me to have a little refresher read. Plus, I own the 3rd one because of the border sales, but that's it :P

2. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
What with the sequel coming out next month, I'd love to have this one. It's pretty on the outside and the inside.

3. Percy Jackson box set
These books are amazing and it'd be nice to have them sitting on my shelf for a quick reread anytime. 

4. Shiver series
Because who doesn't want these beauties prettying up their shelves?

5. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
I seriously want a copy of this book just so I have a record of all those playlists. They were seriously awesome and if I ever take a road trip, I am so using those playlists for at least part of the trip.

6. Extras by Scott Westerfeld (In the original softcover)
You have absolutely no idea how hard it's been trying to find this in softcover. It seems to only exist in hardcover, but I know for sure that's not the case. I have all three of the others, but this one continues to elude me.

To Read:
7. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
The cover is beautiful (which is always a plus for my shelves), plus, I've really been wanting to read it, but for some reason I haven't bothered to check it out yet.

8. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
I really want to read this since 1) I've heard amazing things about it and 2) it's Maggie Stiefvater! I was supposed to be getting a copy from Goodreads, but that was well over a month ago and I'm thinking it's not going to happen now.

I really don't own much Middle Grade (or any, for that matter) and this is quite the tragedy. I super want to read this one what with it's crazy name and pretty cover. I imagine it'll make a nice home for itself among my other books.

10. Ruby Oliver series (new covers)
I've heard nothing but good things about this series since I started blogging and that new covers are adorable. It definitely wouldn't hurt to have some good go-to contemporaries hanging out for whenever the mood strikes me.

December 18, 2011

In My Mailbox {25}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It features books acquired over the past week no matter the source (bookstore, publisher, friend, library, etc.) 

This week was the best possible way! I had some retail therapy come in, some awesome finds at Goodwill, contest prize arrivals, and my Secret Santa present :D

First off, my retail therapy. I had a crappy day a while back (I don't even remember what happened) and was doing free shipping for orders over $35. I had picked out a bunch of books but just couldn't justify the purchase, so when I got my Secret Santa email that night I finally had an excuse to buy all the books hanging out in my cart.

*Signed* The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (I love these books! Now I just need the other two :])
*Signed* The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (I've heard so many amazing things and I've been dying to read it, so now I own it.)
*Signed* As You Wish by Jackson Pearce (It sounds really cute, plus I've heard great things about Pearce.)
Zombie Blondes by Brian James
Slept Away by Julie Kraut
Icing on the Lake by Catherine Clark (Yay holiday books!)

Then I had some books from contests come in.

This is Teen contest hosted by Book Chic Club:
The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
iBoy by Kevin Brooks
Under Dogs by Markus Zusak

The Bookworms Blogaversary giveaway:
Through Her Eyes (ARC) by Jennifer Archer
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Luminous (ARC) by Dawn Metcalf

Justin @ Justin's Book Blog (not pictured):
Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (can you believe I've never read a Dessen book?!)
Some signed bookmarks

Super awesome Goodwill finds.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (I read this quite some time ago and knew that I'd found something amazing. I'm sooo glad to finally own a copy. Now I need to reread.)
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (You have NO idea how long I've been looking for this particular edition. All I seem to find these days is hardcover and that's not how I originally read them, so it didn't feel right. Now I own 3/4 :])
Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten (Just seemed interesting and was $1.29 :P)

My seriously awesome Secret Santa gift came this week! You can't tell me that giraffe is not absolutely adorable and the same goes for that bookmark :D Plus, a box of tea and a mug (which I needed terribly). And we can't forget the books! I've been meaning to read Ashes and I love The Hunger Games, but sadly didn't own a copy before now :]

My Secret Santa - Sarah from The Book Life:
Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Giraffe stuffy (seriously, I just want to hug this guy all the time.)
Whooo's been reading my book? owl bookmark (I adore owls!)
Coffee mug (I totally needed one of these! Now I just hope the klutz that I am doesn't break it.)
Tazo Awake tea (Yay tea!)

December 17, 2011

2012 Books I'm Excited For (Dystopian edition)

There are SO many books I'm excited for in the coming year. I decided to do a little mini-series until the end of the year about all the books I'm looking forward to in 2012. This week's theme is Dystopian.
If you read my blog then you probably know how big of a fan I am of dystopian by now. I just love the worlds that have been ravaged by some unknown problem and learning about the society that has to put itself back together again. It's like getting a whole new world without all the confusion (for me, at least) of high fantasy.

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Publish Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Blazer + Bray
A genetic experiment decimated humanity and now most technology is outlawed. Does that not sound like the start of a good dystopian? Plus, just look at that gorgeous cover.

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Publish Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Normally, natural disaster dystopians don't really interest me that much, but the fact that this is also a story about a group of teenagers being stuck inside a superstore really caught my interest. There's all sorts of things that could happen with teens in a place filled with nearly everything one could possibly imagine.

The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson
Publish Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollin's Children's Books
I'm fairly certain this book has something to do with Atlantis since it's the first in the series called The Atlanteans and how seriously awesome is that?!  There's definitely not enough underwater books in print.

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Publish Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
For some reason I get kind of a The Bachelor vibe off this book. I'm not entirely sure why that intrigues me since I don't watch the show, but it does. Plus, how can that gorgeous cover not draw you in?

Partials by Dan Wells
Publish Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
This book seems pretty dark with it partial humans and mandatory pregnancy laws, but I definitely love my dystopians dark.

Pure by Julianna Baggott
Publish Date: February 8, 2012
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
I love that this is a desolate world where people struggle to survive in the After, but there's still that elite few that get special treatment and this time that comes in the form of a dome. I'm a sucker for a main character who was going along just fine and then gets hit with some life-changing news and Pure has me covered there.

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summer
Publish Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
I have one word for you guys: ZOMBIES! And that's all you really need to know.

The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker
Publish Date:February 1, 2012
Publisher: Usborne
I think this is another zombie book, but it's also about people, a girl inn particular, that have been locked up underground for years. Now they're seeing the world for the first time. It sounds like it has the potential for great world-building.

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Publish Date: January 13, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
This world sounds so strict and scary. I mean, it says soldiers have replaced the police. That's almost scarier than having no rules at all.

December 16, 2011

TGIF {10}

TGIF is a weekly meme hosted by Ginger atGReads. Each week she poses a question and everyone is invited to join in and share their answers :]

This week's question:
Most Popular: What blog post has gotten the most comments/activity on your blog this year?

December 15, 2011

Blogger Behind the Book

Hey everyone! I'm the Blogger Behind the Book over at Greads today so if you want to know a little more about me or if you just want to visit a super awesome blog then head on over :]

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan {Review}

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: September 2011
Source: Library
Evan is alone.
His best only friend, Ariel, is gone.
Evan is feels responsible.
And in her wake, Evan is left with nothing a conscience and never-ending insomnia.
But then, while walking to school one morning, Evan finds an envelope in his path. Inside is a photograph. Of nothing. Except the spot where he is standing.
The next day, Evan finds another envelope. In the exact same spot as before. Inside is another photograph. Of him.
Evan's not sure what to think. Is Ariel back? Are the photographs her way of tormenting him for reminding him of what he did to her? Or worse--has someone else found out what he did and is toying with him as punishment? Either way, he will not be able to sleep rest until he finds out who is responsible.
As the cryptic photos keep surfacing, Evan's paranoia amplifies, and the feeling that he never really knew Ariel at all starts to paralyze dominate his life thoughts. Will he uncover the truth before he loses his mind his grasp on reality?

Every You, Every Me surprised me, but in a good way. I'd never read a book with photographs before this one, at least, not a book where the photographs are an integral part of the story, so I had no idea what to expect, but I ended up really enjoying it.

Every You, Every Me should have been confusing. There are strikethroughs throughout the story of everything from Evan's thoughts to fake conversation. You would think that something like that may trip you up and having you rereading things just to make sure you know what's going on, but I never found myself confused. Evan's thoughts can also go from past to present with absolutely no transition at all, but it's written in such a way that you know exactly what's going on.

The thriller/mystery aspect was also done really well. As I was reading I had thoughts of what may have happened and what may be going on, but I could never say for sure until Levithan spelled it out for me. I love the subject this takes on. Not just the missing friend, but also the...well, I'll let you read to find that one out. It's not something I see very often in books and I'm pretty sure I've never personally read anything about it.

Final Thoughts: This was a good, quick read. It's definitely worth taking a look into if you've never read anything with photographs before. Heck, you should pick it up even if you think you hate books with photographs in them because, well, look at the author. Seriously though, Every You, Every Me exceeded all my expectations and had me flipping pages to find out what would happen next.

Pages: 245
Series: No
Rating: 4 stars

December 14, 2011

Cover Lover {25}

Of course we all know you should never judge a book by its cover, but do we ever really listen to that?
Cover Lover showcases eye catching, intriguing, and beautiful covers.

This week's Cover Lover goes to Above by Leah Bobet
Publish Date: April 1, 2012
I love that the wings look totally and completely different than angel or fairy wings. They don't really look delicate and girly or powerful, but yet they seem to give you the impression of all those things anyway. Plus, I love that you can't see her face which makes you wonder what kind of expression she has.

December 13, 2011

Tune in Tuesday {12}

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by the awesome Ginger at Greads.

I know this month is supposed to be concert edition, but I'm really in the Christmas spirit, so I still want to share some of my favorite Christmas tunes :]

God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman - Aly & AJ
I actually really like this album. It has a nice poppy feel to it without being too popish. It's nice and upbeat without feeling like it'll be completely outdated and lame in 5 years.

What are your favorite classic Christmas songs? What about new songs and renditions?

December 12, 2011

The Shadows by Jacqueline West

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: June 2010
Source: Library
When eleven-year-old Olive moves into the crumbling old mansion on Linden Street, she's right to think there's something weird about the place, especially the walls covered in creepy antique paintings. But when she finds a pair of old-fashioned glasses in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet--
She can travel inside these paintings to Elsewhere, a world that's strangely quiet...and eerily sinister.
Olive soon finds that Elsewhere has secrets to hide--and the most annoying of them is Morton, a small boy with a big temper. As he and Olive form an uneasy alliance, Olive finds herself caught in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It's up to her to save the house from the shadows, before the lights go out for good.

Apparently somewhere along the lines I "graduated" to Young Adult and figured I was too old for Middle Grade and that was that. Here I've spent years thinking I was too good for Middle Grade and let me tell you, I have been COMPLETELY missing out!

The Shadows was the absolute perfect book to reintroduce myself to Middle Grade. It was chock full of magical realism. I mean, we have talking cats, magical glasses, pictures that are actually portals, and a large creepy old house. 

Olive is an awesome protagonist. She's not your typical girl-who-can-everything, but instead, she's not so good at math though her parents are both math lovers and geniuses, she can never seem to remember where she leaves things, and she's a little clumsy. All these "flaws" make her a perfect person for the story too. It just wouldn't be the same if you had some fearless go-getter going about the same adventures. 
The talking cats are also fantastic characters. I love all their different personalities, but I don't want to spoil them too much for you...
Olive's parents are also great. I'm not sure if this happens in a lot of MG as it's been quite some time since I read any before this one, but they were actually around. You barely ever see that in YA and it was a nice little change of pace. Plus, they're adorable. Their romantic talk is all mathy and weird, but also fun to read. Also, they're not evil parents or anything of the sort. They're nice parents any kid would love to have without being giant pushovers either.

The whole idea of the story was great too. The idea of life inside paintings is magical and Jacqueline does a fantastic job with it. Also, the mystery was done rather well. I was constantly wondering who I could trust, so I can only imagine how Olive must have felt! The pacing was perfect. I was never bored, but I also wasn't overwhelmed by action action action. 

Final Thoughts: I absolutely adored The Shadows and I look forward to reading the rest of the series soon. This book has the perfect balance of action/adventure and mystery. Plus, talking cats. You can't say no to talking cats. 

Rating: 5 stars

December 11, 2011

In My Mailbox {24}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It features books acquired over the past week no matter the source (bookstore, publisher, friend, library, etc.) 

A few holds came in this week, but who knows if I'll even have time to read them with all the craziness going on in my life lately (i.e. moving, getting married, finding a job).

Frost by Marianna Baer
Vanish by Sophie Jordan
Frost by Wendy Delsol

December 10, 2011

2012 Books I;m Excited For (Middle Grade edition)

There are SO many books I'm excited for in the coming year. I decided to do a little mini-series until the end of the year about all the books I'm looking forward to in 2012. This week's theme is Middle Grade.
I've recently gotten back into MG. I haven't read too much lately, but I look forward to reading it in the coming year :] Since I just got back into it recently, there's not too many on my list. If you think there's some others I might be interested in (new or old), feel free to tell me in the comments!

Storybound by Marissa Burt
Publish Date: April 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
A real world girl stumbles into a land made-up entirely of fairy tales. Now she has to discover what her place in all of it is. I'm looking forward to this one because I love fairy tales and this one is going to involve all those elements with a twist mixed into it all.

Neversink by Barry Wolverton
Publish Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
I'm not going to lie, the adorable cover is one of the big reasons I want to read this one. Plus, it has cute talking animals. It's almost impossible to go wrong with talking animals.

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
Publish Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
This book is said to be inspired by The Secret Garden which I find incredibly intriguing. Not to mention secret rooms, mysterious noises, and a strange uncle. This has all the makings of a good MG.

The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet
Publish Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
I am totally digging the magical realism vibe you get from Middle Grades. This one is certain to no different either, I mean, it has a magical underground Paris for goodness' sake! It's nearly impossible to go wrong with that.

Above World by Jenn Reese
Publish Date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Candlewick Press
I'm pretty sure the last book I read about an underwater world that wasn't all about mermaids was the second Pendragon book (does anyone else remember those?). I'm really looking forward to seeing what Reese does with the creation of her underwater world.

December 9, 2011

ABCs About Me

Age: 19

Bed Size: Twin at the moment.

Chore that you hate: I'm really not a fan of doing the dishes. It makes my nails feel yucky.

Dogs: Love 'em. Especially the ones with smushed faces. I love cats too though :]

Essential start to your day: Nothing :P I barely ever eat brekfast, and yes, I'm aware how bad that is.

Favorite colors: Usually I prefer dark colors (black and gray) but if we're talking real color, I love purple and green.

Gold or Silver: Please, no gold.

Height: 5'3" I'm pretty short, but I don't mind.

Instruments you play: Nothing at all. I'm pretty much a failure at anything under the category of "arts."

Job Title: None currently.

Kids: Also none, unless you count my doggy.

Live: The great state of Washington. Moving to Seattle at the end of the month :]

Mother-in-Law's name: I'm not really seeing the importance of this question...

Nicknames: Jazz is pretty much the only other thing people call me, but it does get used pretty often.

Overnight hospital stays: Nevah.

Pet Peeves: Dishes left in the sink drive me nuts. They get all gross and slimy. People who can't seem to understand the concept of good grammar.

Quote from a movie: I don't have a good enough memory to quote movies :P

Right or Left handed: Right

Siblings: Two older sisters and one younger brother. Surprisingly, I'm closest to my brother (we bond over video games rather well).

Time you wake up: Hah. Since I don't have a job, I've been sleeping until 10 most mornings. I'd rather not though.

Underwear: Of course.

Vegetable you hate: Onions. I won't touch them.

What makes you run late: Not much, usually. Unplanned for inconveniences

X-Rays you've had: My stomach. Odd, right? I had to drink this yucky liquid and they watched as it went on its journey inside of me.

Yummy food that you make: Everything! :P Some of my favorites will always be potato leek soup and spaghetti though :]

Zoo animal: Giraffes! And penguins!

December 6, 2011

Cover Lover {24}

Of course we all know you should never judge a book by its cover, but do we ever really listen to that?
Cover Lover showcases eye catching, intriguing, and beautiful covers.

This week's Cover Lover goes to Wintertown by Steve Emond
Publish Date: December 5, 2011
I've loved this cover since I first saw it a couple months ago, but I wanted to wait until it was closer to winter. I love the blues, the simple, yet nice text, and I absolutely adore the little paper hole punch leftovers snow. This is definitely one of the more unique covers I've seen in quite some time.

Tune in Tuesday {11}

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by the awesome Ginger at Greads.

I know this week is supposed to start concert edition, but I'm really in the Christmas spirit, so I still want to share some of my favorite Christmas tunes :]

Glee - Baby, It's Cold Outside
Hate me all you want for loving Glee, but I do. Come on, people, how can you not love Blaine and Kurt together? They're adorable, and so is this song (when they sing it).

The Christmas Can-Can - Straight No Chaser
Now to continue with the A Capella-ish theme we have Straight No Chaser. I really love their Christmas music. The funny like what's above and 12 Days is awesome, but so is their regular traditional stuff. You should definitely look up some of their traditional stuff too if you're a fan of A Capella :]

December 5, 2011

The Darlings are Forever by Melissa Kantor

Publisher: Hyperion Book CH

Publish Date: January 4, 2011
Source: Library
Jane. Victoria. Natalya. Together, they are the Darlings. Best friends forever.
They have matching necklaces, their own table at Ga Ga Noodle, and even a shared motto: May you always do what you're afraid of doing.
When the friends begin freshman year at three different high schools in distant corners of New York City, they promise to live by their motto and stay as close as ever. The Darlings know they can get through anything as long as they have one another. But doing scary new things is a lot easier with your friends beside you. And now that the firls aren't spending all their time together, eberything they took for granted about their friendship starts to feel less certain. They can't help wondering -- will they really be The Darling forever?

I rather enjoyed The Darlings. It was a fun contemp, but it had some serious aspects as well which really brought it to another level.
So, The Darlings is told from all three girls' points of view. On the one hand, this was really fun interesting since you get to see what's going on in three totally different lives both from the inside and outside. The large differences between Natalya, Jane, and Victoria's lives really kept me invested and looking forward to every new page. On the other hand, sometimes three separate narrators all being talked about in third person could be a bit difficult to follow. It was almost like sometimes I didn't know who was supposed to be the main character at the moment so I felt like I wasn't attached to anyone and was just observing things rather than feeling invested.

I really enjoyed that The Darlings pulled off being both light and serious. I mean, we go from the whole banana situation (seriously, read the book just for this. I was giggling behind my hand like a crazy person!) to something  serious like a student/teacher situation. Nothing felt forced or unrealistic (though it likely was) which is awesome.

Final Thoughts: You'll totally want to jump into the book and be best friends with Natalya, Jane, and Victoria. If you love a fun contemporary with some serious life lessons mixed in, The Darlings is a definite must. It's cute, fun, and realistic :]

Pages: 336
Series: The Darlings are Forever #1
Rating 4 stars

December 4, 2011

In My Mailbox {23}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It features books acquired over the past week no matter the source (bookstore, publisher, friend, library, etc.)

So..Uhmm..I gave into the library addiction again. It's not as bad as buying (though I did some of that too, it just hasn't arrived yet) it can still get a little out of hand sometimes. Luckily, I just grabbed a few and left it at that. Also, I will have you know that this pile is the accumulation of TWO library trips. So maybe I still conquered the addiction in some small way...
Also, I got an ARC of Croak which I won and it came with that cute little scythe charm. I'm looking forward to this one :]

Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer
The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West [I've been in quite the middle grade mood lately and this one looks perfect.]
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan [There's pictures in here, so naturally, I must read it.]
Mistletoe by Hailey Abbott, Melissa de la Cruz, Aimee Friednman, and Nina Malkin [I saw this on the shelf and figured "'tis the season"]

Won from Mundie Moms:
Croak by Gina Damico
Little scythe charm (it's hanging from the top of the book)
[Thank you Mundie Moms, Gina, and Houghton Mifflin!]

December 2, 2011

2012 Books I'm Excited For (Contemporary Edition)

There are SO many books I'm excited for in the coming year. I decided to do a little mini-series until the end of the year about all the books I'm looking forward to in 2012. This week's theme is Contemporary.
I never used to think I was a big fan of contemporary, but after starting my blog, I've discovered I actually enjoy them. Usually I'm into the more cutesy, feel-good contemps, but I'm hoping to branch out and try some others this year too :]
(P.S. I have no idea what's up with my images showing up all wonky. If you click on the titles, it'll take you to their goodreads page and you can see the full images and descriptions there.)

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams
Publish Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
I absolutely adore books with food in them since it puts two of my biggest loves together. Not only does this one have that, but it also has that behind-the-scenes element since it's about a reality tv show.

52 Reasons to Hate My Father by 
Publish Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
First of all, awesome title, right? Second, I'm loving the idea of a rich girl who has to work 52 different low-income jobs to earn her trust fund. This is bound to be hilarious.

Seven Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker

Publish Date: April 26, 2012

Publisher: Penguin Group USA, Inc
Cute romance plus a scavenger hunt? I am so there!

Shooting Stars by 

Who doesn't love a good story about an average girl falling in love with a movie star? Plus, I've never read a story about someone with a paparazzi job, let alone a teen.

The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams

Publish Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Walker & Comp
I love that the characters are going to different countries for a foreign exchange program. I'm guessing that means lots of different boys...

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by 

The Boy Project: Notes and Observations of Kara Mcallister by 

Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom
Publish Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
This one looks so adorable! And yeah, I have a soft spot for the best-guy-friend-love-interest thing.

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by 

This one has the best-guy-friend-love-interest thing going for it...except it's pretty one-sided. In fact, he doesn't like her back at all and actually loves someone else. Now she has to work through getting over him. I think it's really interesting to see a story with the main story-line as getting over the guy instead of getting him.

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour really got me into road trip books. This one looks especially good since it's about 3 friends who've grown apart but decide to catch their old favorite band on their final tour.

My Life Next Door by 

First Comes Love by 

(No cover art yet)

What about you guys? Any contemporary books you're excited for in the coming year?
(And while we're talking about contemps, don't forget to sign up for my big sib's 2012 YA Contemporary Challenge.)