March 31, 2012

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter {Review}

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date: July 4, 2011
Source: Library
What happens to the girls nobody sees -- the ones who are ignored, mistreated, hidden away? The girls nobody hears when they cry for help?
Fourteen-year-old Luce is one of those lost girls. After her father vanishes in a storm at sea, she is tuck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she timbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid.
A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in -- all of them, like her, lost firls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. The mermaids are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks.
Luce's own talent at singing captures the attention of the tribe's queen, the fierce and elegant Catarina, and Luce soon finds herself pressured to join in committing mass murder. Luce's struggle to retain her inner humanity puts her at odds with her friends; even worse, Catarina seems to regard Luce as a potential rival. But the appearance of a devious new mermaid brings a real threat to Catarina's leadership and endangers the very existence of the tribe. Can Luce find the courage to challenge the newcomer, even at the risk of becoming rejected and alone once again?

I went into Lost Voices still expecting somewhat of a light read despite the synopsis simply because it was mermaids. I was very, very wrong.

Lost Voices is dark and haunting, but not in a scary way (although, I’m a little afraid of boats now). Though it was dark, it was also beautiful. I don’t go around saying books are beautiful a lot, this book definitely deserves it. The writing itself was almost musical and fit the story perfectly.

Sometimes I really didn’t want to like Luce, because of the way she clung to her solitary outlook on life. But in the end, I couldn’t help but admire her. Her refusal to accept the ways of her new life is something I’m not sure I’d be capable. She was determined and fierce in her protection of those she loved. She’s definitely one of my favorite female leads in quite a while.

This look on mermaids was completely new and interesting to me. I liked that it wasn’t all happiness and rainbow-covered kittens. Not that I don’t appreciate a fluffy mermaid story, but I definitely enjoyed delving into the dark side. I especially enjoyed the kind of good or evil dilemma that went along with it too.

It was definitely a change to read a book without romance, but I’m down for that.

The Nutshell: Lost Voices is different than other mermaid books, but that’s a really good thing. It has strong characters, no romance, and moral that kind of makes you question things. If you’re in for a dark and hauntingly beautiful change of pace, you should definitely give Lost Voices a try.

Pages: 291
Series: Lost Voices #1
Rating: 4.5 stars

March 30, 2012

TGIF {21} (Book Blogger Retreat)

 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: Book Blogger Retreat: If you could gather up a handful of book blogger friends to spend a weekend away talking books, where would you go? Tell us about it.

This sounds like an absolutely AMAzing weekend! I don't even know where to begin! Especially since my imagination is kind of lame :P

I don't like the woods or anything that resembles camping, so those things are definitely out of the question for a destination. Maybe some fancy shmancy resort somewhere nice and warm. Or better yet, Disneyland/world! Paris and London are also viable options. Heck, I'm just going to throw in Chicago and New York too. I know, I'm decisionally challenged :P Which option do you guys like best?

As for what we would do? Well, there would be lots of lazing around. Hopefully in the sun around a swimming pool. If we were somewhere awesome, there would certainly be sightseeing. And food. There would be lots and LOTS of eating food. What can I say, I really love food ;]
And we all know there would be plenty of book talk, of course. That kind of goes without saying. Somehow, I kind of doubt there will be lots of reading going on, though...

March 29, 2012

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin {Review}

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publish Date: March 1, 2012
Source: Publisher for honest review
Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled -- by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends -- sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo -- Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.
Things start out great -- her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior's thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for doesn't mean the rest of the world is in on it.

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters turned out to be a complete win.

I wasn’t really sure how I’d feel about it since contemporaries featuring younger main characters can be a little too silly for me, but this one wasn't like that at all. In fact, it completely reminded me of what I was like at that age. I won’t go so far as to say it reminded me of my freshman year since nothing very exciting ever happened to me, but it was certainly fun to read about.

I loved that Kelsey was so real. She had the same kind of thoughts I did at that age. You know the ones “my parents hate me and they just want me to be a loser forever” and “can he possibly like me? OMG he’s so cute!” I don’t exactly want to revisit that age long-term, but it was fun to feel like I was back there just for a few days.

I like the heavier stuff such as what happened with JoJo along with the kind of silly stuff such as what happened with the “old-fashioned root beer bottle.” Don’t worry, I won’t spoil, so you should totally read it for yourself. I loved that the whole story totally did document like a freshman year, though. There were friend fights and multiple crushes and first kisses.

I only have one teeny tiny complaint and that’s the alcohol use. Maybe I was a sheltered 14-year-old,but I never saw that much alcohol in my freshman year. It just seemed unnecessary is all.

The Nutshell: This is an absolute fantastic contemporary. Don’t be afraid of a younger main character because Zeitlin really knows how to make it work. If you’re a freshman (or somewhere around the age) you’ll probably be able to relate to this book and if freshman year has long since passed then Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters will totally transport you back there. There’s cute boys, zany “disasters”, some girl fights, and even an arch-nemesis with caterpillars for eyebrows. If you’re looking for a fun, cute, and light read you should definitely pick this one up :]

Pages: 288
Series: No
Rating: 5 stars

March 28, 2012

Cover Lover {38}

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 My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date:
I simply adore the coloring on this one. It's bright and perfectly saturated. The trees peeking over the top of the fence give off that total summery feeling. And of course, I can't ignore the couple. I love that it's not like a super in-the-moment-deep-kiss but rather a light and playful embrace that makes me think of young love.

March 27, 2012

Tune in Tuesday {17} (He is We)

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

Everything You Do - He Is We

It's been quite some time since I featured my favorite band on Tune in Tuesday so I figured you guys could use another dose of them :] This is an upbeat, cutesy love song which I absolutely adore. It kind of encompasses that feeling of new love perfectly. One of my favorite lines ever: "A little pathetic, with a dash of ooey gooey so romantic."

Edit: I totally forgot it was still book playlists edition for Tune in Tuesday. I'm thinking this song would go with basically any cute contemp, though. So let's do it this way. How about you tell me what book this song could go with :]

March 26, 2012

Bird by Rita Murphy {Review}

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: October 14, 2008
Source: Library
A girl easily carried off by the wind.
An elderly widow whose husband died under strange circumstances.
An isolated dwelling that breeds fear.
Miranda has no recollection of where she came from -- only that years ago, a gust of wind deposited her outside Bourne Manor.The Manor's soul inhabitant, Wysteria Barrows, took Miranda in and promptly outfitted her with special boots -- boots weighted with steel bars to keep her anchored to the ground. But aside from shelter and clothing, Miranda receives little warmth from the aging widow. The Manor, too, is a cold place, full of drafts and locked doors. Full of menace. Full of secrets.
Then one day a boy named Farley appears. Farley helps Miranda embrace her destiny with the wind...and uncover the Manor's hidden past.

Bird was a whimsical read. I wouldn’t quite call it cute because at times it almost seemed tragically sad, but in a way that younger kids can still read and appreciate.

I would almost say that Bird would be better appreciated by an older audience than seems to be the target. Not older than myself, of course, but it seems to be marketed as middle grade and I don’t think a 12-year-old would really appreciate the story. Most would probably be bored by it, actually. I’m really not trying to talk down to people of that age, either. It was just a story that was more about the message than the actual story and I know I didn’t really appreciate that when I was younger.

Moving on, though.
Actually, I’m not really sure what else I can say since it was really short. So, straight into the Nutshell we go!

The Nutshell: Bird is a quick read with beautiful writing. It has a lovely story that is sort of melancholy, but ends on a nice positive note. It’s definitely a book that most could read in about an hour or two. I suggest it for an older audience only because I don’t even think I fully appreciated it.

Pages: 160
Series: No
Rating: 3.5 stars

March 25, 2012

In My Mailbox (lots of contests and exciting sequels) {37}

Sorry you can't see very well. My iPod decided to slide down out of where I wanted it, so it kind of cut a lot of things in half. I didn't notice until after I'd finished, though and I didn't want to do it all over again:P

HarperTeen & Pitch Dark Days:
Incarnate (signed) by Jodi Meadows
Wings of the Wicked (signed) by Courtney something Moulton
Everneath (signed) by Brodi Ashton
Hallowed (signed) by Cynthia Hand

Kristi @ The Story Siren & Claire Legrand:
The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls (signed) ARC by Clair Legrand
Signs soundtrack
Edward Scissorhands soundtrack
The Corpse Bride soundtrack
The Brothers Grimm soundtrack

Julie @ My 5 Monkeys & Randomhouse/Delacorte Press
Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard

Demonglass byRachel Hawkins

March 23, 2012

My Current Obsession {Fullmetal Alchemist}

This has absolutely nothing to do with books, so if you aren't interested, you've now been warned.

I'm obsessed with television. There, I said it. I'm not even ashamed either. If I'm not reading or blogging, I'm likely watching tv. Sometimes I even do all three at once! Usually, though, all three are constantly warring for my attention. I just can't help it :P

Anyhow, since I have such an intense love for all things tv I figured, hey, why not share it here? For now, this will be a sporadic feature spotlighting whatever my newest obsession of the week is.

This week's obsession: 
Fullmetal Alchemist
Wikipedia description: Set in a fictional universe in which alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques known to man, the story follows the brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who want to restore their bodies after a disastrous failed attempt to bring their mother back to life through alchemy.

So the other weekend my younger bro (he's 14) came to stay with Husband and I. He settled in, turned on Netflix and 5 minutes later he was watching Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. Since it basically started out with a fight scene I just figured it was a boy show and I wouldn't really be interested. Plus, I didn't think I liked anime.

Then, I started slowly being sucked into the story and the world. We ended up staying up until 2am watching it. The next morning we figured out we were actually watching the sort-of spin-off so we started with the original Fullmetal Alchemist and ended up staying awake until 4am watching it. Needless to say, I was addicted.

The world-building in this show is just as fantastic as any of the best dystopian books you've ever read. Seriously. I love the alternate world in which alchemy is a thing. Plus, I really like that it was a science instead of being portrayed as some crazy magic or something.

The characters are also fantastic. Each one is so unique from Winry to Al to Ed. Seriously, I could sit here and list of pretty much every character in the entire show and have something great to say about each one. Even the bad guys! I won't do that to you guys, though :P I will say that I have a massive crush on Edward much to Husband's disapproval. Yes, I realize it's incredibly odd to be so attached to a 15-year-old anime character :P

Don't be turned off because it's a "cartoon". This story has depth, guys. I could be cracking up one minute and the next I'd be bawling my eyes out.

I finished the series, but I still have Brotherhood to watch and I believe there's a movie or two, so I'm not done yet! There are about a million more things I could say, but I don't want to make you read a novel on my random thoughts.

Can someone else pleeease watch this so I can gush over it with you? Pretty please?

March 22, 2012

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter {Review}

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date: September 14, 2010
Source: Library
The Hardscrabble children are weird.
Otto doesn't speak.
Lucia is shamelessly candid.
And Max likes to sit on the roof of their house.
Life in a small town can be pretty boring when everyone avoids you like the plague. But after their father unwittingly sends them to stay with an aunt who's away on holiday, the children take off on an adventure that ends in a peculiar seaside village where legend has it a monstrous creature lives who is half boy and half animal...

Disclaimer: I wrote this review past midnight so I’m sorry if it seems a bit jumbly or rambly :P

I ended up adoring this book. I say it that way because for the first ¼ to 1/3 it wasn’t really making me want to jump up and down or anything, but then THINGS happened and I was turning pages rather quickly being all sucked into the story and whatnot.

First, I just want to touch on the thing that I loved most about The Kneebone Boy: the narration. Despite how many books I read I’m kind of terrible when it comes to literature terms. I can never remember what’s 1st person, what’s 3rd, and so on and so forth. That being said, I’m not sure if the narration of this book is entirely unique, but it’s the only book I’ve come across like it and I loved it. Of course, now you’re saying to yourself “well how in the world IS it narrated then?!” Well, first of all it doesn’t right out tell you who is narrating. Second of all, the narrator knows they are telling you the story and occasionally even points it out. I loved the reading experience it provided.

I loved that the Hardscrabble children were all so unique. They all had distinct personalities along with flaws which made them feel more realistic. Of course, there are also fantastic side characters, but some of my favorites don’t pop up until a time when it would spoil the story if I mentioned them, so I shan’t. Also, the cat(the one from the cover) is rather neat. He doesn’t talk or anything (sorry to disappoint) but I love when animals make an appearance in books all the same :]

The story itself is fantastic as well. It’s not all action and adventure which is what I usually go for when I read MG, but it does have a sort-of adventure mystery thing going for it and I adored it. It’s not quite as creepy as the cover may lead you to believe, but it still has some spooky moments.

The Nutshell: If you actually read all my ramblings up top you’ll know that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and if you didn’t, then I think I just made my feelings clear. Though it started out a bit slow for me I stuck with it and I’m incredibly glad I did. I found the narration to be unique and the story to be engaging and fascinating. The Kneebone Boy is definitely a story worth your time, especially if you’re looking for an MG with a fresh feel.

Pages: 288
Series: No
Rating: 4.5 stars

March 21, 2012

Middle Grade March Giveaway

I've really been wanting to do another giveaway for you guys and I was trying to think up a good excuse for one and then it came to me. Since I've been unofficially doing Middle Grade it only makes sense to do a middle grade giveaway. Winner can choose whatever middle grade book they want (up to $13), but here are some suggestions:

And for the record, this is strictly an MG giveaway, so if you try to talk me into The Hunger Games or something I will totally call you on it :P

1. International (using the Book Depository)
2. Must be 13 or older or have parents permission.
3. Contest is open through April 8.
4. For one middle grade book up to $13.

March 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday {14}

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 On My Spring To-Be-Read list

Actual Spring Reads:
1. Fear by Michael Grant
As soon as this book comes in from the library, I'll be reading it. I'm addicted to this series and I can't wait to find out what's going to happen next in the FAYZ!

2. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Yeah, I'll definitely be reading this one as soon as it comes in at the library. Or maybe I'll break my budget and buy it... :P

3. A Hero for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi
I fell head-over-heels in love with The Search for WondLa and I'm really, really looking forward to the sequel. I'll be getting my hands on this one as soon as I'm able.

4. The Selection by Kiera Cass
Since this is already set to become a show I really want to make sure I read it before it becomes the next big thing. I like to be one of the first to know these things :P

Why-Haven't-I-Read-These-Before-Now Spring Reads:
5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I really have been meaning to read this, but the library doesn't seem to want to send me a copy anytime soon.

6. Starters by Lissa Price
I've been hearing absolutely fantastic things about this one and it's on this half of the list because I actually have an ARC sitting on my shelf. I promise I'll get to it sooon.

7. Demonglass and Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
I just read Hex Hall last week and really liked it. As soon as I finished I went onto the library website and put these two on hold. I'm kind of glad I waited until I could read them all at once though!

8. Fever/Pandemonium/Hallowed 
That's right, I do what I want so I shoved these all in one number :P I figure it kind of works since they're all really popular sequel books. (seems like perfectly good reasoning, no?) Once again, my library still hasn't gotten these to me or else they probably would have been read long ago.

9. The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
When this came out everyone was talking about how awesome it is. I actually have it checked out from the library right now, so I'll definitely be getting to it soon.

10. Something John Green
I will do it this spring! I promise all of you, so you better hold me to it.

11.Hunger Games reread
I've really been wanting to reread these because of the movie, but I want to wait until AFTER the movie so I don't sit there and pick it apart.

March 19, 2012

The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet {Review)

Publisher: HarperCollins Childrens
Publish Date: January 3, 2012
Source: Library
On their first day in Paris, Maya and her little brother, James, find themselves caught up in some very old magic. Houses with bronze salamanders for door handles, statues that look too much like Maya's own worried face, a man wearing sunglasses to hide his radiant purple yes...nothing is what it seems. And what does all that magic want from Maya?
With the help of a friendly boy named Valko, Maya discovers surprises hidden in her family tree -- grandmothers who walked in magic, a cousin so unremarkable she's actually hard to see, and a terrible family habit of betraying one's brother. And now the shimmering glass Cabinet of Earths, at the heart of all these secrets, has chosen Maya to be its new Keeper. As she untangles the ties between the Salamander House, the purple-eyed man, and the Cabinet of Earths, Maya realizes that her own brother may be in terrible danger. To save him, Maya must take on the magical underworld of Paris...before it is too late. 

Honestly, I’m desperately sad I didn’t like this one more.

I was attracted to The Cabinet of Earths because it sounded like a new and unique idea with a good heaping helping of adventure. I did end up experiencing a really new idea, but the adventure just kind of fell a little flat. I liked the Paris aspect of it, but it didn’t play into the story as much as I’d hoped.

There are mysteries that make you want to flip forward as fast as you can to find out what happens next and there are mysteries that make you want to flip backwards because you constantly feel like you missed something. I felt like I spent ¾ of the book with my forehead creased in confusion! Confusion definitely has its place in books, but this one just didn’t work for me.

The story wasn’t all bad. I really appreciated Maya’s love and commitment to her family. The cabinet and all its elements were pretty fascinating as well. I wish it had been in the story a little more.

The Nutshell: All in all, The Cabinet of Earths wasn’t a win for me, but it had a few good elements. The fantastical elements with the cabinet and earths was interesting, the Paris setting was good, and Maya was a good protag who loved her family more than anything. My biggest complaint lies in the fact that the story simply didn’t draw me in.

Pages: 272
Series: Maya and Valko #1
Rating: 3 stars

March 18, 2012


We interrupt the regularly scheduled IMM to bring to you two very awesome people!
Okay, truth be told, I didn't get any books this week, but I really did want to spotlight these people because they regularly make my day(s).

So, not only do Heidi (Bunbury in the Stacks) and Ashley (Into the Hall of Books) both have awesome blogs, they comment on my blog almost every day and it always brings a smile to my face. It's never just "nice pile of books" or "good review" either. They're comments of substance which is what really makes blogging worth the time and effort. I love all my comments, of course, but Ashley and Heidi consistently come back and leave me great comments and I felt that should be recognized. So, go check out their blogs and follow them on Twitter and all that jazz. :D

March 17, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler {Review}

Publisher: Razorbill
Publish Date: November 21, 2011
Source: Library

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long -- at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right -- and wrong -- in the present.

The thing I most appreciated about The Future of Us was probably that Emma and Josh didn’t just accept that Facebook was real. I’m sure I’d be freaking out if I discovered something as strange as that my first time out on the internet! It definitely helped a storyline that was super crazy feel a little more realistic.

I appreciated that Josh and Emma already had a history. A lot of times the whole best-friends-in-love thing is the entirety of the story, but that wasn’t the case this time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for a best friend relationship, but it’s cool that Asher and Mackler came at it from a different angle.

Now, speaking of those two characters. I really like Josh. He was the perfect boy-next-door/best friend. Of course, he was also a teenager and a human so he had his selfish moments (and teenage boy moments), but it made him really realistic. Emma, on the other hand, I was not such a fan of. Her character really worked for the story, but that doesn’t mean I had to like her. She was selfish and couldn’t see that her outlook on life was actually the thing making it so bad. She did grow eventually, and I appreciate that, but she’ll never be one of my favorite characters or anything.

The Nutshell: The Future of Us is a fun, quick read which will likely be best enjoyed by those who were kids of the 90s, but can still be appreciated by all. Though Emma got on my nerves the other characters were done well and I liked the story overall. If you’re looking for a flash to the past or simply a cute romance, this one’s for you.

Pages: 356
Series: No
Rating: 3.5 stars

March 16, 2012

TGIF {20}

 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: 
Social Networking: Do you use Twitter or Facebook to promote your blog?  How has it benefited your book blogging experience? If not, how do you promote your blog? Share your twitter handle and/or Facebook link!

I'll admit it, I was a firm non-believer in Twitter before I started blogging. I was set on never having one because I thought it was just a fad, and, yeah, I didn't really understand it either. Needless to say, everyone everywhere said I needed a Twitter account for my blog so I set one up and started to learn. And now? I am a Twitter addict. It's incredibly useful for both friend-making and just plain getting your blog out there. If you don't have one yet, I highly advise getting one. My Twitter handle his @ARoomWithBooks if you want to follow me :]

As for Facebook? I have a personal one which I rarely use, but I haven't made one for my blog. I don't really care for FB anymore so I don't know if it'd be useful for my blog. If you guys think I need one, though, try to convince me in the comments.

That's actually all that I use. Is there anything else out there that would be helpful to me and my blog? Convince me of these things! :P

March 15, 2012

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens {Review}

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: April 5, 2011
Source: Library
Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.
Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power,an evil they know nothing about.
Until now.
Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And -- if an ancient prophesy is correct -- what they can change history, and it is up to them to set things 

Just another book proving how awesome middle grade is.

It doesn’t take very long for the story to throw you right into the thick of things and from there, there’s barely ever a moment of down time which is precisely how I like it. The only thing that threw me off was the time travel. I wasn’t really expecting it from the synopsis and I kind of felt like I was waiting around for the story to start up. That’s my fault, though, since they were my expectations. Now you know there’s time travel, so you won’t have that problem :P

I really enjoyed all the characters, though I occasionally wanted to tell Emma to stop being such a child. Since she’s only ten, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to act like a child, though. The siblings were all so different and unique. I loved that none of them felt dispensable and were all integral to the story. The side characters were great too. They were all really well developed and made the story complete.

I really enjoyed all the intricacies to the story. I was kept guessing until the answer was right in front of my face, but there was still plenty of unanswered questions to leave room for the sequel.

The Nutshell: The Emerald Atlas is a fast-paced, action-packed story full of risky situations and plucky young siblings. If you’re up for a crazy journey that’ll have you on the edge of your seat and keep you guessing, you should definitely get your hands on this one.

Pages: 417
Series: The Books of Begining #1
Rating: 4 stars

March 14, 2012

Cover Lover {37}

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 This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summer
Publish Date: June 19, 2012
It's slightly morbid, yes, but still amazing. I love that you can't see the girl's face and the way her hair covers it just adds to the creep factor. I like the dusky coloring and the water in the background. I'm not an incredibly big fan of the font, but what I am a fan of is the blood spatters. Totally bada**.

March 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday {13}

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 Middle Grade Books

So I almost went with dystopian for this one because my love for that genre is vast, but then I realized I like a lot of middle grade and it doesn't get the spotlight it deserves around here. Plus, I'm doing a sort of unofficial Middle Grade March here on the blog, so it fits perfectly :]

1. Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
This story made me feel a whole range of emotions and I adored it. It had fantastic characters and one of those plots which has many different parts that all meet up to form a complete story in the end.

2. The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi
This book is absolutely amazing. Seriously. I'll push this book on everyone I know for the rest of eternity. It has everything from illustrations to a futuristic world. If you never take any other suggestion I make on this blog, that'd be okay as long as you read THIS book.

3. The Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West
These are the books that got me back into middle grade. It's a fun adventure with a unique and likable character. Plus, talking cats.

4. Above World by Jenn Reese
Reese created a completely fantastical world I never would have seen coming. If you're a fan of broken futuristic worlds you should definitely give this one a go.

5. The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
As I write this post, I'm actually still in the middle of reading it. The thing is, though, I already know I'm going to adore it. It's amazing so far and I can't wait to finish it!

6. The Land of Elyon by Patrick Carman
I started this series when I was still in middle school, but I forgot about it after reading book two. I picked it up again a couple summers ago and reread the first two and finished up to the last book (it'll be a nice surprise when I do get around to the last one on of these days). Anyway, this series has a fantastical setting, epic journeys, and a very brave protagonist. These are quick reads definitely worthy of your time.

Okay, so I've only read a few middle grades that I would rave about since I recently got back into them, but I do have a long TBR list of them which I've heard are fantastic. So I'm cheating hardcore on this week's top ten.

1. The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
3. The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards
4. The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
5. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
6. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
7. The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet
8. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

March 12, 2012

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver {Review}

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: October 4, 2011
Source: Library (but I'll be getting my own copy soon, promise!)
Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice -- until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.
That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.
Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

To simply give you an idea of how this book made me feel I’ll tell you this: I finished the story with a smile. Now, I’m a crier when it comes to books. It’s pretty easy to get me worked up, but I’m not ashamed, I love when books make me feel. However, it’s not very often that a book actually brings a smile to my lips, but Liesl & Po managed just that.

Liesl &Po is an amazing journey made even more amazing by Oliver’s personal reason behind the book. I shan’t delve too far into that though since it doesn’t actually have anything to do with my enjoyment of the book. This book contains an amazing journey full of magic and mix-ups and wonderful characters.
Leisl & Po managed that awesome Middle Grade adventure experience while making sure you didn’t feel like you were being tossed around from one plot point to another. It was all quite seamless and spectacular.

I adored every single character, even the horrible ones (I liked hating them, that is). Leisl was strong and brave considering her situation and her life. I could almost feel her warmth and hope coming out of the pages. I loved Mo and how determined he was to enjoy his life and do nice things for others though nearly everyone was mean to him. For someone who doesn’t know whether it is a boy or a girl, Po has a lot of personality and though it was grumpy at times, it was pure goodness at its core.

I love that the story follows so many little plotlines that all meet up in the end to create a nice little package that all makes sense.

The Nutshell: Liesl & Po is an absolutely fantastic read. The characters are all outstanding and the journey is one you’ll both feel is for the characters as well as yourself. Oliver creates a fantastic world full of characters and plots that all seem a little jumbled at first but end up becoming clear at just the perfect moments. This is one you certainly won’t want to miss. I know I’ve said it before, but if you’re afraid of MG, try this. I mean, it’s written by the genius behind Delirium so you could at least give it a go, right? Oh, did I forget to mention that there are illustrations? Because there are ;]

Pages: 307
Series: No
Rating: 5 stars

March 11, 2012

In My Mailbox {36}

For Review:

Love? Maybe. by Heather Hepler
Stargazer by Patrick Carman
Bird by Rita Murphy
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Always Neverland by Zoe Barton
The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Julie at My 5 Monkeys:
Shatter Me (ARC) by Tahereh Mafi
A Need So Beautiful (ARC) by Suzanne Young
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Matched by Ally Condie

Sarah at The Book Life:
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

RandomBuzzers contest & points:
Starters by Lissa Price
50th Anniversary Phantom Tollbooth poster

March 10, 2012

Awkward by Marni Bates {Review}

Publisher: K-Teen
Publish Date: January 1, 2012 
Source: Library
Mackenzie Wellesly has spent her life avoiding the spotlight. At Smith High, she's the awkward junior people only notice when they need help with homework. Until she sends a burly football player flying with her massive backpack and makes a disasterous -- not to mention unwelcome -- attempt at CPR. Before the day is out, the whole fiasco explodes on YouTube. And then the strangest thing happens. Suddenly, Mackenzie is an internet sensation, with four million hits and counting. Sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes, she even catches the eye of the most popular guy at school. And that's when life gets really interesting. 

I thought I was awkward in school, but Mackenzie Wellesley showed me a whole new level of awkward!

I had pretty high hopes for Awkward before I even opened to the first page since it looked really cute and I’d heard some good reviews. At first, I was disappointed. It seemed Mackenzie was being too stubborn in the way she held onto her geek pride. Don’t get me wrong, I completely get the geek pride thing, but the Mackenzie waved the Geek Flag around just kind of started to get on my nerves.

But then something happened. I’m really not sure what it was, maybe it was just Mackenzie starting to grow and change, but whatever it was I started to really get into the story. When I turned the last page, I had that content feeling you get after reading (or even watching) a really cute romance.

I really enjoyed most of the secondary characters too. Corey was pretty much a stereotypical gay best friend, but I totally loved him. He was sweet and always looking out for Mackenzie. I totally want him as MY best friend. Tim and the rest of ReadySet were cool too. I liked that they actually had a part in the story and weren’t just a stop along the journey. I wasn’t as big a fan of Jane, though. I think that’s basically due to the fact that she was barely in the story.
Oh, and there’s Logan. He was nice and sweet and funny. I really liked him, but I do wish he’d been a little more fleshed out.

This book also happens to have the best “insult” I’ve heard since the boy in my 7th grade class called me “Reader Girl” like it was a bad thing: “You, Mackenzie, have a thesaurus where your heart should be.” I laughed so hard at that! It’s just so completely absurd. Have you ever had someone try to insult you, but instead the insult was laughable?

The Nutshell: Awkward is cute, funny, and fun. Mackenzie is a character most of us can relate to in some way or another. Problem not the instant stardom, but the awkwardness is easy to relate to. Even if you weren’t the geeky one in school, you probably felt out of place at some point in your teenage years. Marni Bates has created a story that gives us all an outlandish and humorous look at the awkward years. If you’re a fan of cute romance and hilarity, you should definitely get your hands on this one.

Pages: 259
Series: No, but it will have a companion out next year.
Rating: 4 stars

March 9, 2012

Broke? Here's some tips for free books.

So, if you're like me you want to buy ALL THE BOOKS, but you simply don't have the funds to do so. And yet, since I started blogging last June, I've almost filled up an entire bookshelf. I promise you, I don't have the type of money to buy books willy-nilly. I'm here to tell you how to pack your shelves without breaking the bank.

So you really want to spend your money:
First of all, if you're going to be spending money then do it wisely. You can sign up for emails from Barnes and Noble and they'll send you coupons and such.
Half Price Books is another good one. Their books are cheap to begin with, but they often send out coupons in both email and regular mail. Even if you don't have an actual Half Price in your town, they have a really cheap online marketplace. You can probably get emails from your local bookstore too.
Keep an eye out for going-out-of-business-sales. This one is less likely to happen, but I got a lot of books for cheap when Borders went out of business.
Goodwill. I can't stress this one enough. I've gotten quite a few books there for dirt cheap. Make sure to check other second-hand stores too. You never know where you might find a cheap gem (this includes garage sales).

I've heard tale of a place where all the books are free...:
I simply cannot stress this one enough. If you think you hate libraries, try a different one. Seriously, libraries are my life saver. The library is like a book lover's candy store. You can go in and grab all the books you want and then leave and the only thing you have to remove from your wallet is your library card!

So you want your books for free and you want to keep them:
Now, these aren't going to guarantee you a book, but I promise you they work. It usually takes maybe 2 minutes out of your day and then you have a chance at a free book. I've probably filled at least a good third of my bookshelf with books I've won. Somebody has to win those giveaways, and it won't be you if you don't at least try! There's always tons of giveaways around the blogosphere, so if you're diligent, you can find plenty. Please, don't be a jerk and follow someone for the extra contest entries and then immediately unfollow them after. That's just rude.
Goodreads does giveaways and I've actually won two things from it, but only one ever arrived, so do with that what you will.

Be a part of a book community AND get cool stuff:
RandomBuzzers is a fantastic bookish community created by the folks over at Random House. It's a great place to interact with bookish people as well as earn points towards books and swag. They also host plenty of giveaways of their own. I recently just won an ARC of Starters and ordered a The Phantom Tollbooth poster.

Get payed to sit on your bum:
If you're willing to give a little more of your time to your computer, there are a few reward sites that let you earn points towards things like gift cards. And what do gift cards buy? That's right, book. I've been using My View and SuperPoints lately and I'm super close to a Barnes and Noble gift card with the former. With My View, they match you with surveys and you earn points for completing them. SuperPoints gives you the option of completing "offers" as well as just using the Super Lucky Button. The offers usually require a good bit of work or for you to buy something, but the Super Lucky Button is completely free. You can even work towards PayPal credit on SP which I plan to do so I can buy books through Powell's :]
Both sites require minimal effort to earn points and are easy enough to accomplish while you're watching tv.
Please let me send you guys an email for My View if you want to join. Just leave your email in the comments and I'll send you one straightaway :]

You may notice a significant lack ARC mentions on this list. This is due to the simple fact that I don't think ARCs are something you should go around getting just because they're "free". They require a lot of work from a lot of people and shouldn't be taken lightly.

March 8, 2012

The Carnival of Lost Souls: A Hancuff Kid Novel by Laura Quimby {Review}

Publisher: Amulet Books
Publish Date: October 1, 2010
Source: Library
Jack Carr has been shuttled from foster home to group home to foster home his entire life. The only constant has been his interest in magic, especially handcuff escapes like those mastered by his hero, Harry Houdini. When he's placed with the Professor, however, he feels like he's finally found a home -- but his new guardian is hiding a dangerous secret.
Years ago the Professor bartered his soul to the undead magician Mussini, and when the payment is due, he sends Jack in his place. Jack must travel with Mussini into the Forest of the Dead, a place between the real world and the afterlife, where he's forced to perform in Mussini's traveling magic show. If he stays in the Forest long enough, he'll die himself. To find his way home, he'll have the help of Mussini's other "minions"--kids stolen just like Jack--and his wits, nothing more. Can he follow the example of his hero, Houdini, and escape the inescapable? 

I had a lot of hope for The Carnival of Lost Souls because I’ve always been a fan of magic. When I was younger I actually used to collect tricks and anytime there was a magic show on tv, I was all over it. I was hoping this book would bring that feeling back, but it just wasn’t the same.

Nothing at all really worked for me. The story itself felt a little disjointed. Everything moved so quickly I was often left figuring I’d missed a few pages. It wasn’t moving in an actiony way or anything either, it was just all over the place.

Another thing, Jack seemed to know more than I did at times even when he shouldn’t have. He’d be all “is X character really good? Is he going to save me?” when I had absolutely no evidence to prove that character X could have any sliver of good.
Finally, there this weird little romance that just sprouted up out of nowhere at the end. It was very…confusing.

The Nutshell: I really wanted to like The Carnival of Souls, but the disjointed feel of it all just left me feeling discontent. I wish I had enjoyed it more, but it just wasn’t the case. This isn’t a book I would go around recommending, but it’s always possible that someone else might enjoy it :]

Pages: 352
Series: No
Rating: 2 stars

March 7, 2012

Cover Lover {36}

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 Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Publish Date: May 22, 2012
Confession: I have a thing for covers with water on them. Water just kind of makes it feel extra special and magical, you know. Yes, I know there's a girl in a dress here, but the cover is just so simple overall and I love it. I like the added touch of the bubbles and the little curlies around the O in the title. It's simple, yet elegant.

March 6, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday {12}

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 Covers

This is in no way, shape, or form a complete list. I simply wouldn't know where to begin. So, instead of hurting my brain trying to make a fair and comprehensive list, I went to my bookshelf instead.
I'm attracted to books with things under the jacket, so I tried to stick with that :]

1. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Not only does it have a pretty outside with all the colors blending and the snow, it has a pretty inside with shiny little blue snowflakes embossed on it.

2. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Of course, I couldn't make this list without including this book. Most probably already know about the awesome reversible jacket, but did you know about the pretty embossing on the book itself?

3. Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Once again, it's really pretty on the outside. Maybe not from the internet, but in person it's all shiny and such. Underneath the jacket there's pretty little vine-like things on the book too.

4. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Hiding under this jacket is a pretty little butterfly which I adore.

There's not actually anything surprising hiding under these jackets, but I simply adore the colors on both. Anna is a beautiful deep purple with spine writing in green (my two favorite colors!!) and Lola is a lovely mint green with purple writing on the spine.

6. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
I won't lie and say these are my favorite covers or anything. I don't hate them, but I don't particularly like them either. What I DO like is what's underneath. Each book has a pretty bird embossed on it.

7. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This is almost cheating since I have the B&N Classics edition, but I can't help it. They're all so beautiful, but this is definitely one of my favorites. First, it's purple. Second, it's covered in cute little animals.

Also a B&N Classic, but you simply can't argue its awesomeness.

9. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
I've always kind of liked this cover anyways. I think it was one of the first real-life type covers I'd ever seen and when I first came across it it seemed so edgy. Anyway, the really cool thing about this one is the map that hides under the jacket. It has writings on it which I assume (it's been a long time, okay) are to be written by Hannah.

And I can't settle on another pic, so this is what you get :P