September 30, 2011

TGIF {2}

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

This Week's Question:

 Banned Books: How do you feel about the censorship of the freedom to read? Do you think the education system needs to be more strict on what children are exposed to in books?

Until blogging brought it to my attention, I wasn't aware that people actually banned books. It seems like such an absurd thought. How is it possible that we allow just a few people to decide what we can and cannot read? Instead of taking away books because they may "pollute" a child/teen's mind, we should be allowing them to read and broaden their thoughts and horizons. I learned many things through my reading over the years that no one ever bothered to tell me, but the theme most prominent? I learned that no matter my age I actually have a voice. Society is afraid of the youth learning of their voice and right to opinion. 

In my research of banned books, I discovered one of the most popular reasons for banning is this: "unsuited to age group." Tell me this, is it only suited to the age group if it's about rainbows and unicorns and fluffy puppies and happily ever after? I think we all know the answer to that one, but some would just rather ignore it. Life happens in the real world whether we ban it in the books or not. Crank by Ellen Hopkins? Drugs are out there teens are doing them. Why not give them a chance to read a real, raw depiction of it rather sticking to the "just say no" mantra that obviously isn't working? Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson? Rape most assuredly happens though many girls don't speak out. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? It's a futuristic world where everything is taken to extremes for goodness sake. Yes, it's violent, but what is it really about? It's about a girl rising up and using her voice to stand up for something she believes.

I know I went on a rent there for a bit, but I'm a firm believer in children and teens having the right to choose what they read. Books have the ability to open you up to a world no one else will mention.

Research done on Wikipedia and Banned Books Week.

September 29, 2011

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Publisher: Hyperion Books
Publish Date: August 2011
Source: Library
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.There are no strangers in the town of Near.These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.But when and actual stranger -- a boy who seems to fade like smoke -- appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion.As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know -- about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of the nameless boy.

So, The Near Witch didn't quite sell me for the first 2/3 of the book. It wasn't bad, the writing was fantastic, but I just wasn't really feeling it. And then the last 1/3 of the book pretty much grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I ended up being awake until 2 just so I could finish it. At one point I checked the clock and it was midnight and after I turned the last page I checked again and it was 2. It completely sucked me in and I had no idea that much time had passed!

I've heard everybody rave about how awesome Lexi is, but I wasn't quite feeling it most of the time. She proved herself in the end, but while I applaud her for wanting to help, she just seemed majorly stubborn in the beginning to me. Cole wasn't anything swoon-worthy for me either. Mostly he was just neither here nor there. I could take him or leave him. And Helen. Her placement in the story was just kind of odd to me. Lexi seemed to be more of a loner so I don't really think she needed a best friend in the story. Also, Helen was barely there at all. In fact, she's only in three scenes. I feel like she was just this weird add-on.

Then there's the romance. I really wasn't a fan of this romance at all. There was just no lead in at all. It was like he wasn't there, then he was there, then they were all in love and stuff. I can understand being interested because he's new, but the emotions all felt like a little too much.

Final Thoughts: Despite the complaining, I really did enjoy the story. The writing was fantastic and eerie. It has a sort of fairy-tale vibe to it, but it's completely original. The stories and rhymes sprinkled throughout were a wonderful touch to a world all its own.

Pages: 288
Series: No
Rating: 4 stars

September 28, 2011

Cover Lover {14}

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 Tempest by Julie Cross
Publish Date: January 3, 2012

September 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday {2}

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: Top Ten Books I Want to Reread.

I read it quite some time ago, but now that the sequel is coming out next year, it seems like a good time to reread.

I remember feeling like this book changed my life. It never hurts to have a refresher of that feeling.

I absolutely fell in love with this book. This was one of the first book I pushed at somebody else and said "you MUST read this." And of course, my sister did and loved it too :P

Even though I just read this at the beginning of summer, I seriously loved it. I kept trying to share parts of it with my fiance because I just couldn't keep it to myself (he wasn't really impressed).

The last book sadly left kind of a sour taste in my mouth and I just want to recapture that love I felt at the beginning.

It's been much too long since I've read this one. I think this is the book that really won me over with dystopian. Definitely one of my favorite books of all time. Another great reason to reread: the movie comes out next March :]

I read this one a while ago and it just didn't really capture my attention. It wasn't bad and when I finished I said to myself "oh, I'll read the rest of the series, but I'm not in any rush." And then I joined the wonderful world of book blogging and the Iron Fey love was off the charts. That's definitely what made me decide to change my mind and give this one another chance.

8. Stargirl & Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
I read Stargirl at a really young age so I didn't quite understand it, but years later it beckoned from my bookshelf once again and I picked it up for a second time. This time, I was up until about 3 in the morning and I ended up bawling my eyes out. That could have partly been my mood, so that's one reason I'd like to reread :P With Love, Stargirl, I barely remember the story and I feel like you can't have one without the other.

I only vaguely remember the story here so I'd love to revisit and do it all over again. This is the book that got me obsessed with all things Alice and Wonderland. I watch and read just about any remake I can find because of this one.

September 26, 2011

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publish Date: July 2011
Source: Bought
Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion.

I don't think a contemporary has ever touched me as much as this one. Being raised in a Christian home living by my parents rules my whole life, I was able to easily relate to Lacey. I loved joining her on the journey through her emotions and convictions. It was just so incredibly real.

There were so many things I loved about Small Town Sinners that I'm not even sure where to start. I thought it was cool to be exposed to different beliefs. Lacey's beliefs in right and wrong were so much more black and white than anything I've ever experienced. It's a crazy to thing to have everything you've ever known to be right suddenly come into question, but that's precisely what happens to Lacey.

Going into the book I thought Ty was going to be in the middle of everything. I thought he would be this bad boy tempting Lacey, but it wasn't anything like that and I think that's one of the reasons I love it so much. Sure, he was the catalyst, but the way it goes down it really could have been anyone. Ty comes in and just makes Lacey think for herself a bit. And that's his main role. It's not like he was just shoved in there to make the plot move along, but he's also not the focal point with Lacey all lusting after him or anything. The main story was really all about Lacey's struggle with what she believed in and I can't put into words how much I absolutely loved that.

I think I'll just stop it here before I make you guys read an entire novel about this book :P

Final Thoughts: If you're looking for a contemporary that will make you think and isn't all about the guy and the romance, this is definitely the book you want. If you're afraid of it being too preachy, don't be. This is just a story about a girl who realizes she may not believe what she's always been told.

Pages: 259
Series: No
Rating: 5 stars

September 24, 2011

In My Mailbox {13}

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.)

Someone really needs to keep me away from the library. I'd say they should confiscate my library card, but I have the barcode memorized :P I just keep checking out books and my TBR pile keeps growing and I'll never be able to keep up. Luckily, books don't feel like work at all so I'm not really in danger of falling behind. :]

There's a second picture since I just forgot about it for the first photo shoot :P

Vengeance by Kate Brian Ahhhh!!! It's the last one!

That's all for me. What about you guys?

September 23, 2011

TGIF {1}

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

This weeks question:

Reading Challenges: Did you sign up for any this year? How has your progression been? 

Sadly, I came to world of book blogging a bit late for these, so my post is a bit lame this week. I'm sure next week's will be loads better. I'm looking forward to being able to participate in them in the coming year, though. I'm most excited for The Story Siren's Debut Author Challenge. Partly, I suppose, because I don't really know of many others :P Are there any good challenges I'll need to be on the lookout for?

September 22, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publish Date: May 2011
Source: Library
The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. 
What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program -- or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan -- or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up? 
Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness.

Beauty Queens was my first Libba Bray experience and I quite enjoyed it, though I did find it a bit odd at times. The story had my interest from the start, but it didn't take long to really hook me in, page 33, in fact. The story flows well, and I appreciated not having to read a hundred pages of setup before things really got down to business. It did such a fantastic job of catching my attention, I ended up staying up and reading until two in the morning one night.

I loved getting to see from all the different points of view. Normally it's just one or two and occasionally three. I'm not actually sure just how many were in here, but I know it was way more than that, but it still worked fantastically. All the characters and points of view did kind of throw me for a loop at the beginning, but after a while I was able to settle in and really enjoy it. Bray does an absolutely amazing job of making all the POVs flow in a way that I was never bored and never confused.

Overall, I did absolutely love it, but I did find some things a bit...odd. When things started happening with Mary Lou, I was really starting to think she was a werewolf or a vampire or something. I was rather confused and left wondering if I missed something and there was really a supernatural element here. There were a few other just odd little moments that seemed a little too fantastic for the rest of the story, though I can't think of specifics now, of course.

A few other things I loved about Beauty Queens: the annotations and the girl power. The annotations were awesome and made me laugh a little bit. It was just an awesome little extra I definitely wasn't expecting. And girl power. Seriously, this book had me wanting to scream "Girl Power!!! Yay!" at the top of my lungs. That wasn't really an option at midnight, but it still created quite the girl power fire inside of me. Is it bad if you're proud of characters from a book?

Side note: I was a little sad Miss Washington didn't make it. That is all.

Final Thoughts: Although this book had some odd moments, it was absolutely fantastic overall. I'm pretty sure there's something in here for everyone (though I really can't get into that without spoiling). Don't look at the cover and name and think you know what you're getting into, because I can almost guarantee you'll be surprised. If you're into girl power (or even if you're not but you aren't against is) I beg of you, read this book!

Pages: 390
Series: No
Rating: 4.5 stars

September 21, 2011

Cover Lover {13}

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 Past Perfect by Leila Sales
Publish Date: October 4, 2011

September 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday {1}

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 Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

1. Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready 
I almost bought this at the Borders sale, but some other books called to me more and I am so regretting it now. I've been hearing so much about this lately (and the sequel) and all the love is really making me want to get my hands on it. 

2. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins 
I'm well aware that this doesn't come out until next Thursday, but it still feels like everyone's already read it! I am so beyond jealous. I am absolutely freaking DYING to read this one.

3. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
This has been on my TBR since I read the synopsis at Costco one day. It sounded good, but I didn't really think much of it. When I finally got into the book blogging community, I quickly discovered that everyone's read this one and everyone loves it. I really need to read it, but my TBR is already so large :P

4. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Everyone was talking about this one a couple weeks ago when it released. I've only heard fantastic things so far, especially about the beauty of the writing and I'm so looking forward to reading it (hopefully soon as I saw it on the shelf at the library the other day and immediately snatched it up.)

5. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Is there anyone who hasn't read this series besides me? I know it's got the whole boarding school thing going for it, but I sadly haven't been able to get into vampire stories in a while. Hopefully I'll get over my weirdness soon so I can see what all the hype is about.

6. Going Too FarForget You by Jennifer Echols
I know they're not actually one book, but the way everyone talks it seems they would go hand in hand. I didn't find out about the awesomeness that is Jennifer Echols until Love Story came out this summer. After I read it, everyone kept telling me these two were her best and that I NEEDED to read them. These people will be happy to know Going Too Far is actually in my physical TBR and I do plan on reading it soon.

7. Divergent by Veronica Roth
I was actually wanting to read this one before I found out everyone else read it and loved it. The fact that nearly everyone has read this one is just making the wait so much more impossible. My library has this thing about being super slow so sadly, I have yet to read this one :(

8. Iron Fey series Julie Kagawa 
I confess, I've actually read the first one. I'm sad to say it didn't really catch my interest (I know, don't hurt me, please.) Soon after starting my blog I realized there was some serious love going around for this series and it totally renewed my interest. Thanks book bloggers :]

9. The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine
Like I said, I just haven't really been able to get into the whole vamp craze, but it seems like everyone's always talking about these. I see them in my library almost every visit now and debate picking them up. I'm pretty sure it'll happen one day, but I am a fantastic procrastinator. 

10. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
I put this one on my TBR a while ago, but didn't really think much of it since werewolves aren't really my thing. Now, I'm a little more excited after the craze that surrounded the release of Wolfsbane

September 19, 2011

Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs

Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Publish Date: June 2011
Source: Library

On Lily Sanderson's eighteenth birthday she'll become just a girl -- still a mergirl, true, but signing the renunciation will ink Princess Waterlily of Thalassinia out of existence. That leaves plain old Lily living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to master this being-human thing once and for all. 
Now that Lily and Quince are together, mer bond or not, she's almost content to give up her place in the royal succession of Thalassinia. But just when she thinks she has everything figured out, the waves start to get rough. Lily's father sends a certain whirlpool-stirring cousin to stay with her on land. What did Doe do to get herself exiled from Thalassinia and stuck in terraped form when everyone knows how much she hates humans? And why why why is she batting her eyelashes at Lily's former crush, Brody? 
The seafoam on the raging surf comes when a merboy from Lily's past shows up -- Tellin asks Lily for something that clouds her view of the horizon. There's a future with Quince on land, her loyalty to the kingdom in the sea, and Lily tossing on the waves in the middle. Will she find a way to reconcile her love, her duty, and her own dreams?

You can usually count on mermaid books to be fun and fluffy and that's exactly what Fins Are Forever was. There were some semi-serious parts since Lily is growing and learning how to fit into the adult world, but overall this was a pretty light read. Not that that's a bad thing, in case you were wondering.

It was nice to see Lily growing up, but she really can be a bubble brain (see what I did there?) at times. She was incredibly rude to Dosinia for a good bit of the story. I'll give you that Doe can be quite nasty, but Lily was being mean before Doe even did anything wrong. Lily also tends to have a flare for the dramatics, but I found it to be endearing rather than annoying. I'm still a big Quince fan, but I didn't like him quite as much as in Forgive My Fins. I still liked him, of course, but he seemed much more like a background character here and I would liked to have seen him come around a bit more.

Overall, I enjoyed it, but it felt as if too much stuff was shoved into this one tiny book. With everything in there, some things just ended up being kind of swept under the rug by the end. Case in point: for the entire book Lily is stressing about college and SATs, but by the end of the book we had no idea as to the outcome. And everything that happened with Dosinia felt rushed but also like it came out of nowhere. These both contributed to the feeling that the end was a bit rushed and left me wanting more.

Final Thoughts: Fins Are Forever is a nice fluffy read complete with soft-hearted biker dude and super cool mermaids. If you're in for something light with just a little more fantasy than contemporary, this could definitely be the one you're looking for.

Pages: 272
Series: Fins #2
Rating: 3.5 stars

September 18, 2011

In My Mailbox {12}

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 I had a bit of a library binge. There was an overflow cart near the shelves the other day and saw a few books I've really been meaning to read so I snatched them up. A couple days later I went in for my volunteer job and ended up organizing the YA shelves for a bit, so of course, I ended up with a few more :P This time, though, I was very pleasantly surprised to find The Near Witch right on the shelves :]


If I Stay by Gayle Forman I've heard absolutely fantastic things about this one :]
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab Another one I've heard great things about. 
Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors An angel book without all the darkness (which I normally don't mind). Plus, who can go wrong with coffee?
Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn't have) by Sarah Mlynowski Who doesn't love reading about teenage mistakes? Especially when they're not yours.

That's all for me. What about you guys?

September 17, 2011

Top 100 YA List

I found this list on Novel Thoughts (also where I found the image) and quickly discovered that it's been making it's way around the blogosphere. I noticed that nobody seemed to know where it actually came from, so I decided to find out. It took a lot more digging that I would have thought, but I finally found it here: Boktycke. And it's Swedish! I'm not quite sure where they found their info since Google Translate doesn't always work that well, but I can't resist a list. I'm a list addict. There are some great books here though :]
Some disclaimers: 1) It's actually a list of the most popular books and 2) there's some Middle Grade mixed in here too.
The bold titles are the ones I've already read (some even have my reviews linked) and the italics are ones that were already in my TBR pile.

1. Alex Finn – Beastly
2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones [I didn't actually think this one was YA...]
3. Ally Carter – Gallagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
4. Ally Condie – Matched
5. Alyson Noel – The Immortals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
11. Aprilynne Pike – Wings (1, 2, 3)
12. Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush, Hush (12)
13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
14. Brian Selznick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
15. Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)
17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3) [Love me some zombies.]
18. Christopher Paolini - Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
19. Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3) [These books are the bomb-diggety.]
26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2, 3) [If you haven't read this, you so need to.]
31. James Patterson – Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why [This is one of those life changing books everyone should read.]
33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (12, 3, 4)
34. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
37. John Green – Looking for Alaska 
38. John Green – Paper Towns
39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – Caster Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3) [Rather addicting, I read all of them in about a week.]
42. Kristin Cashore – The Seven Kingdoms (1, 2)
43. Lauren Kate – Fallen (1, 2, 3)
44. Lemony Snicket - Series of Unfortunate Events (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)
46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
49. Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
50. Margaret Peterson Haddix – Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
52. Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
56. Maureen Johnson – Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
60. Meg Rosoff – How I live now
61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road
64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
65. Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
66. Michael Grant – Gone (1, 2, 3, 4)
67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
69. Neil Gaiman – Coraline
70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast – House of Night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 )
73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
77. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) [Super. Awesome.]
78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
85. Scott Westerfeld - Leviathan (1, 2)
86. Scott Westerfeld - Uglies (1, 2, 3, 4)
87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
88. Shannon Hale – Princess Academy
89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)
90. Sherman Alexie & Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
91. Simone Elkeles – Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
93. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)
94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees
95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
96. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (1, 2, 3) [I have some serious love for this series.]
97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
100. Wendelin Van Draanen – Flipped

Do you have any favorites on here? Or even any not on here?

September 16, 2011

Cover Lover {12}

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 Muse by Rebecca Lim
Publish Date: October 27, 2011

September 15, 2011

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish date: July 2011
Source: Library
Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.
But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself. 
So much for normal.

Oh, Evie, how I missed you. She has such an awesome voice. She's not afraid to be herself, that is, her vampire butt-kicking, caring self. I love that she'll just sit down and have conversations with vampires and trolls instead of running the other way and screaming or automatically pulling out Tasey. For all Evie's awesomeness, though, she is quite insecure. That's a perfectly good flaw for a sixteen-almost-seventeen-year-old though! She's not running around being moody like most paranormal girls, she's genuinely worried people won't/don't like her. Sometimes I wanted to shake her and say "you are seriously awesome!" but I completely understand.

White has created such a fantastically unique paranormal world. I love learning about all the paranormal creatures from this new point of view and it's quite funny when some of the things just aren't quite as magical as I (or Evie) thought. I found Supernaturally to be a bit darker than Paranormalcy, but it's not a bad thing. It actually works completely since Evie is growing up and learning things she didn't know before, so we are as well.

I was sad that Lend and Evie were having relationship problems, especially since that seems to be what happens in every second book with a relationship. That being said, I thought this one completely worked. The problems were understandable and didn't feel like they were just brought out of thin air. I hurt for both Lend and Evie in all their problems together, but I really felt for Lend knowing what everything looked like from his POV. They're such a cute and cuddly couple that I just wanted to reach in and give them both a hug when they were fighting.

Jack was quite the interesting character. He just kind of popped out of nowhere and then snuck up on me. I was torn most of the time. On the one hand, I felt I shouldn't like him because he was causing Evie and Lend problems, but on the other hand, he was quite likable.

Final thoughts: This is a great followup to Paranormalcy. White creates such a refreshing paranormal world with a lead girl harboring a personality far more sparkly than any other I've encountered. If you love paranormal romance, but could go for a little less "damsel in distress" vibe, this is definitely your book.

Pages: 336
Series: Paranormalcy #2 (of 3)
Rating: 4.5 stars

September 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday {9}

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming books.

The Death Cure by James Dashner

Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.  
What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.  
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine. 
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Reader
Publish Date: October 11, 2011

I simply cannot express my excitement for this book in words. This was another instance when I was reading the series without realizing all of it wasn't published yet. I finished the second book and was all "okay, bring on the third!" But alas, I discovered it doesn't come out until next month. I love this series though. There's so much action and mystery and a dose of that perfect end-of-the-world type scenario. You really must read these. If you haven't read them, I suggest going to the library and getting The Maze Runner right now. And then share it with all your friends and little brothers and whatnot.
What are you waiting on this week?

September 13, 2011

Tune In Tuesday {5}

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

Lights - Ellie Goulding

I remember hearing about her back when I first started listening to Owl City because he was a big fan. I wasn't really into this kind of music back then so I just kind of let it pass by. I rediscovered her just yesterday and fell absolutely in LOVE! I love her indie/techno vibe like crazy. This video is especially awesome since it's all her and has super cool effects. I highly recommend going and listening to her other stuff. If the techno feel isn't your style, she has some that are more downbeat - try The Writer. 
What are you listening to this week?

September 12, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Publisher: Blazer + Bray
Publish Date: April 2011
Source: Library

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food. 
Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody's doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they were searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friends, Zen, who is way too short for the job. 
Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believed her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from. 
When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls' lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

I had absolutely no idea going into this that it wasn't a stand-alone title. No, that has nothing to do with my actual review, but I really just wanted to get that out there. Now that I got that out of the way, let me just say that I quite enjoyed Bumped. There were so many things that made it unique!

First, I love dystopia writing like no other. I have a serious problem/obsession with it. That being said, this was totally different than any other dystopian I've read. The quirkiness and comedy was something I've never encountered before and I LOVED it! That's not to say I like one better than the other, but this was such a refreshing change of pace. I enjoyed the world itself as well. The concept of teens needing to have sex and make babies just to keep the world populated really makes you think. If it's a necessity for life when is it wrong?

I really enjoyed the alternating Melody and Harmony chapters. It was nice to get into each characters' head (as always) and it was extra interesting since the two were so seemingly opposite. I especially liked Harmony's point of view. I really enjoyed watching her grow and go through her thinking process. Another great think about the alternating chapters was the way it kept me on the edge of my seat. Something crazy would happen but then we'd switch back to the other girl and I'd get sucked into her problem's all over again. I loved how both Melody's and Harmony's personalities were obvious right from the start and I didn't have to puzzle them out.

Final Thoughts: This is a great starting point and I look forward to the sequel. The characters are strong and the writing is fun. The humor is fantastic and makes for a totally different take on dystopian. This is a must read if your in for a fun, light dystopian that always gets in your head a little and makes you think.

Pages: 323
Series: Bumped #1
Rating: 4 stars

September 11, 2011

In My Mailbox {11}

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, I kind of went to Borders again. I probably shouldn't be spending all this money on books lately, but who can resist such prices? Now my bookshelves shall be happy for a while, at least. I managed only one book from the library this week since I've been trying to dwindle my TBR. It can be kind of hard not to pick at least something up when I dust the shelves every week at my library, though. 

And look at the pretties!


Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma This one does sound good, but I'd be lying if I said the cover wasn't what really compelled me to buy it.
Lies by Michael Grant I LOVE these books. I'm so glad to finally own one and I can't wait to find all the others with matching covers!
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce I've heard great things about this one, especially with Sweetly having recently been released. I love fairy-tale retellings so I'm looking forward to it.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis I love worlds with their own made-up history, but yeah, I also bought it for the jacket :P
Wither by Lauren DeStefano This one was beautiful and, really, who can resist lovely cover?

The Suburb Beyond the Stars by M.T. Anderson I've read The Game of Sunken Places and recently won the third book in the series so I figured I should catch up.

That's all for me :] What did you get this week?

September 10, 2011

Far From the War by Jeffrey David Payne

Publisher: Roche Harbor Books
Publish Date: July 24, 2011
Source: Publisher (for honest review)
Economic ruin and partisan rancor have pushed America to the brink of a new civil war. Esther is caught in the middle, serving as a page in the United States House of Representatives when rogue politicians and military leaders stage a modern day coup d'etat. When the coup turns violent, she abandons Washington D.C. for home. She must learn to survive on her own as transportation and financial networks fail, as the war disrupts food and water supplies. The result is a cautionary tale about political extremism and the true cost of war.

This took quite a while to catch my attention. All the parts before the actual war kinda bored me. Instead of feeling like a setup for the story, it just felt like we were watching Esther's fairly mundane day-to-day life and then BAM there's a big fat war going on. The flow definitely wasn't there for me.

I loved the concept of the story though I wasn't sure about the political aspects. The first third of the book is pretty full of political jargon fulfilling my fears and leaving me pretty lost, but after that it petered out for the most part. Another thing that I felt alienated the reader a bit was all the references. Everything from movies to people most of which I'd never heard of. The civil war concept was really good though. It was a bit hard for me to follow along with which side was which but it didn't matter all that much since the devastation affected everyone.

As the story went on it drew me in a bit more but I still wasn't able to quite feel it with the characters. I didn't feel the emotional connection I usually get although I did like Esther's personality. I liked how she was pretty no nonsense and had that edge of sarcasm about her even if she herself seemed to be a little emotionally detached at times. I was a little confused at times as to why Esther kept stopping and waiting around only for the war to catch up again, but it's believable when trying to wrap your head around a war in your own country.

Final Thoughts: I'm not sure that I would recommend this to just anyone, but if you can handle politics and like the dystopian side of war it could definitely be worth the read. It has a slow start, but really picks up the pace all at once.

Pages: 366
Series: Far From the War #1
Rating: 3 stars

September 9, 2011

Cover Lover {11}

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 Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Publish Date: January 31, 2012

September 8, 2011

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Publisher: MTV Books
Publish Date: July 2011
Source: From author (for honest review)

She's writing about him. He's writing about her. And everybody is reading between the lines. 
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 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.

I found Love Story to be a very refreshing change of pace. Erin and Hunter had such an interesting dynamic. Just when I thought they were nice and friendly, they were hating each other full force again. I actually got a bit dizzy from all the back and forth, but it really did add a little something to the relationship that made it more delicious. Normally the jerky tendencies would have put me off of Erin, but with Hunter's attitude and everything that was happening in her life, it was completely understandable.

And oh my gosh, the stories! My only complaint is that I wish there were more. I loved that the writing of the stories was totally different than the actual book and unique to each Hunter and Erin. Though the steamy stories were something I haven't really experienced in YA so far and it was nice to get another angle and perspective on the teenage life. And, yeah, I enjoyed them simply because :P

I found that it took me a bit to get used to Echols's writing style, but it certainly wasn't bad. There's something to say for lyrical writing, but there's also something to say about stark reality. That's not to say it's an ugly sort of starkness, but rather one that puts the reader more into the story.

Final Thoughts: If you're in for a good contemporary with a nice dose of steamy romance, you have to pick this up. It's such a fantastic change of pace from all the insta-love, love triangles, and paranormal romances out there (not that I hate all of those, it's just a nice change.) It's also a nice, quick read. You won't regret this one.

Pages: 243
Series: No
Rating: 4 stars

September 6, 2011

Tune in Tuesday {4}

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

Do You Feel - The Rocket Summer

Hills and Valleys - The Rocket Summer

I'm sorry to bombard you with lots of music, but I really couldn't help it this week. I always get distracted when trying to pick just one song. A couple years ago I was absolutely obsessed with Bryce Avery. Most of it was his music, but I'll admit, a little of it was his hair. I find his lyrics to be not only catchy but pretty powerful. I really love the video for Do You Feel too. It's pretty amazing. I danced around my room singing his songs at the top of my lungs many times ;] Hopefully you'll enjoy him as much as me.
Happy listening :]

P.S. Check out my guest post over at WORD for Teens :]

September 5, 2011

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publish Date: July 2011
Source: Library

When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives. 
That should have been the end of their story, But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt. 
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in once pure moment -- a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

I'm really, terribly sad that this wasn't everything I had hoped it would be. Maybe I put it on a pedestal, but no matter what the reason it really fell a bit short. I felt as if I was continuously waiting for something else to happen. And let's not even talk to me about that ending (quietly grumbles to self).

First, the writing. Stiefvater's writing is what first pulled me into Shiver and caught me again in Linger. It's the sort of beautiful writing that just takes your breath away and leaves you wondering "why can't I do amazing things like that?" There were pieces in Forever that completely recaptured that feeling and others that just felt a bit...odd. Sometimes the characters seemed to say things or talk in ways that simply didn't fit. The teenagers talked and used words I couldn't even hint at the meanings of. And Officer Koenig talked in a formal way that I couldn't put with my image of him.

I still quite enjoy the science behind the wolves instead of the simple "BAM! And then he was a wolf." I liked getting a little more into the science with Cole this time. I almost wish I could have learned more about. Speaking of Cole. I kept hearing everyone talk about Cole and he was so awesome in this one. I never payed much attention since Cole was always give or take for me. But seriously. I'm not in love with Cole or anything, but I absolutely loved reading about him and all the bits from his point of view. He was an awesome character. If you pick it up for nothing else, pick it up for Cole.

I have to say that Sam and Grace have the type of love everyone should aspire to. They're comfortable like an old married couple only they still get those butterflies (and, you know, those sexy-times urges). I hope to have a Sam and Grace love for the rest of my life.

I'm quite sad there's nothing left for us in Mercy Falls. I'm also quite sad that the ending left me feeling a little unfinished. Not a happy camper did this ending make.

Final thoughts: While Forever wasn't the best of the Mercy Falls books for me, it's still worth the read. There's a little bit of action with a good dash of love mixed in and all the different points of view make for a fantastic addition to the reading experience.

Pages: 390
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3
Rating: 3.5 stars (really, this was the hardest rating I've decided on yet. It doesn't quite deserve the low status I've given it, but I also can't really bump it up.)