July 31, 2012

Tune in Tuesday (Relient K)

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by the awesome Ginger at Greads.
The month of July is dedicated to the music we listened to in our teen years, but I'm technically still a teen and I don't think you guys really want to see a bunch of Hannah Montana songs, so I'm just going to go with regular stuff :P

Part of It - Relient K
I love this album. It's so different than all their other stuff that you almost can't compare it to the others. This one has a much more mellow, musical feel to it :]

July 30, 2012

Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis {Review}

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publish Date: April 17, 2012
Source: Library
What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so bid and terrifying you were not sure you'd survive solving it?When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other's arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it's the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.
Terrified by their amnesia , teh two make a pact to work together to gain the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they're in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town's perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything -- not the death of Marshall's mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse's family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school.
Lonely in the world of happy zombies, Marsh and Else fall into and tense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love --and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.

I practically read Glimmer straight through. I probably would have read it all in one night if I didn’t have work the next day as it is, I finished it in under 24 hours – which is really fast for me. Something about the mystery and the not knowing was so addicting I didn’t want to put the book down at all.

Going into it, I thought Glimmer would start out in some sort of hospital or lab. I have no idea where this assumption came from but the point is that it didn’t bother me in the slightest that it wasn’t. I was too busy being distracted by the fact the neither of the characters had any idea what was going on which, in turn, left me completely clueless too. If you’re the type who doesn’t like to be totally in the dark then Glimmer definitely isn’t for you, but that kind of thing is my absolute favorite.

Neither Marshall or Elyse were really my favorite characters, but I didn’t dislike them either. I enjoyed seeing both of them struggle with who they once were and who they were becoming. I know that sounds kind of sadistic, but I just mean that even though the characters weren’t my favorite I could still appreciate their emotional journeys.

I’m declaring Phoebe Kitanidis a mystery master. There was always just enough mystery to keep me flipping the pages to find out what happened next but not so much that I felt like ripping my hair out. There were some moments I was left sitting there going “what in the WORLD?!” but it was in the best possible way.
The Nutshell: If you’re looking for a good non-murder mystery that will keep you flipping pages then Glimmer is definitely your book. If you enjoy being terribly confused while being fed bits of information little by little then you need to run out and get this book into your hands as soon as possible!

Pages: 352
Series: No
Rating: Direct Hit

July 28, 2012

Reading Road Trip: Washington giveaway

I Like These Books and IceyBooks have teamed up to create a road trip of sorts. What kind of road trip, you ask? Well, the best kind -- the kind where you don't leave your comfy couch and have a bunch of chances to win awesome books! Want to check out all the posts that came before me? Well, you're in luck because I have a fancy schedule (not made by me) you can see below :D

So what do I have to offer? Well, I'm glad you asked!
First off, my state is....MY ACTUAL STATE! Exhibit A:
Now for the goods:
I want to give away one of the Body Finder books by Kimberly Derting since they're set in Washington state (really close to a place where Husband's family lives, so that's interesting) Derting actually lives in WA too, so it's like a double whammy! I figure just in case you own some, but not all of them I'll leave the choice open to you as to which one you pick upon winning :]

As a second prize, I'll be giving away a preorder of Velveteen by Daniel Marks since he lives in Washington. In fact, he lives just about an hour away from. Cool, right?

The first person I draw gets their pick of prizes and the second gets what's leftover :]

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 27, 2012

Animanga Corner

I recently made mention of doing some anime/manga posts, but I've been a little on the fence about it. Erika of Rescue Reads told me she'd love some manga suggestions, so that finally pushed me over the edge and here I am making a post! :]

I don't think I could ever describe my love for
every single one of these characters.
This time I'll start with my first love: Fullmetal Alchemist.
I started watching the anime because my brother wanted to watch it and I fell completely head over heels in love with it. I've watched the two movies from the series and decided to start the manga when I wasn't satisfied. I always want more of the series! For an intro to the series, I did a post which you can find here, but I'll do a quick overview here in case you don't want to read my other post:

Basically these two brothers (Edward and Alphonse Elric) live in a world where Alchemy is a thing. Alchemy is actually a pretty scientific thing in this world in which you take the elements of something and turn it into something else. Alchemy on humans is a big huge no-no but Ed and Al were just kids when their mom died and they wanted so badly to bring her back. So they tried to use Alchemy to bring her back but Al lost his whole body and Ed lost an arm and a leg. Now their quest is to find the Philosopher's Stone to restore their old bodies.

Ed and Winry's dog. Al in
Manga purists will probably want to slap me for what I'm about to say next, but I'm okay with that: If at all possible, I prefer to watch the anime before reading the manga. I know, I know. It's like the opposite of what a book lover should do, but it's my preference all the same. My reason this is that it makes it easier to picture the characters' movements and voices. This is definitely the case with Fullmetal. I can picture almost every characters voices in my heads which helps bring the story alive for me.

Seriously, if you love a mix of alternate history, magic, science, and awesome characters then you should definitely give Fullmetal Alchemist a try. Actually, I'm begging you to try Fullmetal. Read the first manga and if it doesn't catch your interest then I suppose it's okay if you move on, but pleeeeaaaase just read the first one if you're at all open to the idea of reading manga.

I know this isn't a very well-written post and I know it's basically just a plea for you to read the manga, but I'm mostly okay with that :P I'll try to be a little more well-spoken in my next post ;]

July 26, 2012

7 Clues To Winning You by Kristin Walker {Review}

Publisher: Razorbill
Publish Date: April 26, 2012
Source: Library
When a humiliating picture of Blythe goes viral, she's instantly the target of ridicule at her new school. To salvage her reputation, Blythe teams up with Luke to win the Senior Scramble scavenger hunt. But Luke is an unlikely ally and potentially can't be trusted.
Perhaps it's his Shakespearean witticisms that reel Blythe in despite her better judgement...or maybe she just craves the thrill of the game. But as the hunt progresses, their relationship heats up. Soon their madcap mischief spirals out of control. Blythe is faced with arrest and expulsion, among other catastrophes -- until Luke shows her what the Scramble (and love) is really about.

7 Clues To Winning You was a really cute book but I found myself volleying back and forth between “awww” and “ugh” for almost the entirety of the story.

The main problem for me was probably Blythe. In the beginning (and then sporadically throughout) she was selfish and snobby and thought she was above everyone else. It drove me absolutely insane how she pretty much thought the whole world revolved around her. She does end up growing beyond that, but something about her self-hating, self(and everyone else around)-destructive mindset in the process of the growth really rubbed me the wrong way. Plus, the way she needed to be smacked over the head with a sign for everything drove me batty. I figured out half the stuff, especially scavenger hunt clues, before she’d manage to come around to the conclusion herself.
Oh, and that “humiliating” picture is of her picking her nose and she acts like it’s the end of the entire world. I mean, really?
Whew. Until I wrote it all down I didn’t realize I disliked her character that much :P But, I’ve said many times before that characters don’t really make or break a story for me.

The plot, however, does, and 7 Clues To Winning You sadly wasn’t my favorite :[ I’d really been hoping to like this one so it truly does make me all sadface. It just seemed a little like there was too much going on. Let’s go through the main and side stories:
1) The family is selling the house. This side story goes really in-depth into the process of selling a house. I found it kind of interesting since I love to just sit and watch House Hunters on HGTV for hours, but it didn’t seem to contribute a lot to the story, especially since it’s told from Blythe’s point of view (as opposed to third person or whatnot) and the house selling process doesn’t really concern her.
2) The mother dealing with some feelings. I can kind of see where this could mean something to why Blythe is the way she is, but it still doesn’t seem incredibly pertinent. This is Blythe’s story, not her mother’s.
3) The scavenger hunt. Nothing to complain about here except for the fact that I wish there’d been a little more focus on it.
4) Luke & Blythe. Nothing to complain about here either.
5) Blythe drifting from old friends. This would certainly be an important and defining moment in Blythe’s life, but the way it was added into the story felt more like an easy way to move the plot along to me.
6) Blythe’s relationship with a pair of old ladies at the nursing home. This side story I completely and utterly approve of but I’ll get to that later.
7) Blythe’s relationship with her dad. I actually found this plot point pretty interesting even if it did get a tad tedious at times (partly because it’s easier to see the adult point of view when you’re older :P)
There’s probably more that I’m forgetting but basically what I’m saying here is that the storyline felt really cluttered sometimes.

Okay, those old ladies I mentioned? They are a RIOT! I freaking loved them to pieces. For once, a side story relationship trumps all the main plot points for me. I mean, these ladies scheme pop can heists and buy porno mags with Blythe. Seriously, that scene with the nudie magazine at the gas station is one of the best things ever. I was reading in bed at about 3 in the morning laughing so much I woke Husband up :P
The Nuthsell: Whewie did that review get long! Chances are you looked at how long it was and just skipped right down here to get to the main point and I don’t blame you! To sum it up, if you just want a contemp read that’ll provide you with a few laughs then 7 Clues To Winning You is definitely for you, but be prepared for large amounts of side plots.

Pages: 317
Series: No
Rating: Near Miss

July 25, 2012

Cover Lover {50}

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 Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
Publish Date: November 13, 2012
Look at all the colors! The plain script is cool, but my favorite part is definitely the colors. I love the way they manage to be both in the background and the foreground (does that make sense?). It's so eye-catching without being obnoxious.

July 24, 2012

Tune in Tuesday (The Rocket Summer)

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by the awesome Ginger at Greads.
The month of July is dedicated to the music we listened to in our teen years, but I'm technically still a teen and I don't think you guys really want to see a bunch of Hannah Montana songs, so I'm just going to go with regular stuff :P

So, In This Hour - Bryce Avery

I love the original version, but this live version is super cool too so I wanted to feature it. What do you guys think?

July 23, 2012

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente {Review}

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date: May 10, 2011
Source: Library
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentlemen in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September.Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn't...then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

Wow. Just…wow.
Okay, maybe not just wow, but I am slightly awed by the amazingness that is this book. Sure, it has a pretty cover, but somehow it still manages to sit on the shelf all unassuming-like with such a magical story captured between its pages.

I’m not going to lie, when I first started (shall we call it The Girl? Yes, I think we shall) The Girl I wasn’t all too sure I’d like it. The writing wasn’t something I was at all used to, same story with the illustrations, and everything just seemed terribly, terribly strange. Somewhere between the flying leopard’s and the talking Wyvraries strange became a very good thing, though.

Now, I imagine you peering at your computer/phone screen and thinking to yourself “she’s gone right mad, hasn’t she” (if you think like a faintly British person, at least), but you’re wrong. I’ve simply been swept up by an amazingly spectacular story. I know my adjectives seem to be running away from me, but I can think of no other way to express my love for The Girl.

I’m sure many people think all the best fairy-tales have already been written but I’m happy to say that is most certainly not the case. It seems to me it’s a bit harder for things to become “classics” these days, but by golly, if I had the power I’d go around stamping every copy of this book with a “This Book is a Classic” certification. It is simply a book that deserves to be read by anyone. This is a book for every child’s wildest, most adventurous dreams as well as a book to revive the child-like wonder that we often lose with age.
The Nusthell: I’m not sure how much more plainly it can be said: The Girl is a book that needs to be read right now so it has that much longer to live in your heart and your memories. This is a book deserving of a shelf where it can live happily, be read many times, passed down through generations, and possibly acquire all the things that come with a well-loved book such as jam finger prints and smudgy edges.

Pages: 247
Series: Fairyland #1
Rating: Direct Hit

July 22, 2012

In My Mailbox {49}

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

By the way, I'm always wiping my books off because if they sit in one place for five seconds they get covered in dog hair. She (Pugsy) sheds like no other :P

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Dark Eden: Eve of Destruction by Patrick Carman
Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances) Vol. 1
Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances) Vol. 3
Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 4
Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 5
High School of the Dead Vol. 5
High School of the Dead Vol. 6
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Hollow Fields complete series
A Want So Wicked by Suzanne YOUNG (sorry for saying Collins in the video)

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Wicked Lovely by Marissa Marr
Paper Towns by John Green
Waking Storms by Sarah Porter

Ambuzzador Program:
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman ARC (which I'm currently holding a giveaway for)
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Railsea by

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

July 21, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver {Review}

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: February 28, 2012
Source: Library
I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,pushing aside thoughts of Alex,pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,push,push,push,like Raven taught me to do.The old life is dead.But the old Lena is dead too.I buried her.I left her beyond a fence,behind a wall of smoke and flame.


I’m sure by now you’ve probably read quite a few reviews for Pandemonium that go something like this “I couldn’t possibly put my feelings for this book into words” or “What in the world just happened?!” And that pretty much sums it up. I’m not going to write my usual review for this one since I feel like basically anything I say would be a spoiler, but I will say that Lauren Oliver has written a solid sequel.

Everything about Pandemonium is a journey. There’s literal journeys and emotional journeys and every last one of them are spectacular.  Almost everything feels entirely real, like it actually could’ve happened on its own without too much luck.

It did feel a little stagnant at some parts, but I know that it can’t always be about action and life-risking.
 The Nutshell: Pandemonium is a fantastic sequel that is likely to satisfy (at least for the duration of the book) lovers of Delirium

Pages: 375
Series: Delirium #2
Rating: Hit

July 20, 2012

Seraphina ARC Giveaway

I decided to set up this giveaway last minute, so I won't wax poetic about the book or anything before we get down to business (plus, I haven't exactly read it yet).

So, here's the deal: I have one ARC of Serpahina to give away to one lucky winner. Must be 13 or older to enter. This time it's strictly US only because I already have it, so I can't do a Book Depository deal. Now, go forth and enter! :P

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 19, 2012

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand {Review}

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: January 17, 2012
Source: Contest/Own
For months, part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation the her purpose -- the task she was put on earth to accomplish -- is not as straightforward as she thought.
Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian, and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

So I’m feeling pretty darn conflicted after finishing Hallowed. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but all the hype gave me too high of expectations. Plus, I’m just feeling generally conflicted about the characters themselves since everything I thought I knew from Unearthly kind of got flipped on its head.

The story itself was great. There was just enough recap to help the reader remember the important stuff from the previous book, but not so much that it bogged the story down. I liked that we followed Clara through her last year of high school all the way to graduation and I’m desperately hoping we actually get to see her in college in the next book. That’s something I so very rarely get to see in YA.
I also really appreciated that the broad storyline was carried over from Unearthly but Hallowed focused mostly on its own story arc and believe it or not, things actually get wrapped up. I know, that seems like a completely impossible thing to ask of a sequel, but Hallowed does it with style.

Then we have the characters. I’m not even sure how I feel about anyone anymore. Let’s start with Tucker. I was totally Team Tucker before starting Hallowed, but I kind of missed snarky Tucker from the debut. I haven’t transferred allegiance to Team Christian or anything, but Tucker didn’t hold quite the same appeal for me this time.
Then there’s Jeffrey. He’s definitely one of my favorite characters and by the end I was feeling so sorry for him :[
The Nusthell: Though hype led Hallowed to be a bit of a letdown for me, I still enjoyed it. It’s a solid sequel that could actually do a good job of standing on its own. If you loved Unearthly then you’re likely to love Hallowed as well.

Pages: 403
Series: Unearthly #2
Rating: Hit

July 18, 2012

Cover Lover {49}

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 Magic Under Glass by Jackie Dolamore
Publish Date: December 22, 2009
I adore this cover. It's actually one of those covers that makes me want to own it in paperback instead of hardcover and that's pretty big for me. First of all, I love the title and the way it's all elegant and pretty without being overly extravagant. I like all the little vines and flowers coming in from the sides. Most of all, though, I love the little world that's captured under the glass piece. 

July 17, 2012

Top Ten Books for people who like...

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 For People Who Like X Book
So I decided to switch it up just a tad. I based it off of Variant by Robison Wells and went more along the lines of Books For People Who Like Screwy-Mess-With-Your-Mind books.

1. Variant by Robison Well
Boarding schools and secrets are a good mix, no?

2. Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis
Amnesia and a town full of creepy happy-zombies makes for quite the interesting read. Especially for the first 100 pages or so.

3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michele Hodkin
At times it seems so normal and others...not so much :P

4. Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri
This is definitely one strange book. It's not so much the "what is going on right now?!" kind as the kind that just kind of has the slow, strange creep going on.

5. Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne
This may not have necessarily been my favorite, but it still definitely belongs in this category. And if you're thinking "this just seems like run-of-the-mill paranormal stuff" halfway through -- just wait. I can assure you it gets downright weird.

6. Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
This is definitely one that'll have you scratching your head wondering what in the world is going on.

7. Frost by Marianna Baer
So, the weirdness here is quite plainly ghosts. What isn't plain, however, is whether or not the ghosts are real...

8. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
This book will have you dying for answers, but you'll never be bored. It's intense and so incredibly awesome.

9. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
It's possible that the only reason I found this book a little mind-screwy is because something fantasy is over my head :P Still, it's definitely out there and there are lots of twists and turns that'll keep you guessing. (Pssssst..it's going to be a movie)

10. Z by Michael Thomas Ford
So, it's about zombies. That much is straightforward. The rest? Not so much.

July 16, 2012

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans {Review}

Publisher: Sterling Children's Books
Publish Date: April 3, 2012
Source: ARC from Sarah @ The Book Life :]
Enter a wonderful world filled with real magic, mystery...and danger.
As if being small for his age and also having S. Horten as his name isn't bad enough, now 10-year-old is forced to move far away from all his friends. But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart's swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle Tony -- a famous magician who literally disappeared off the face of the earth -- and Tony's marvelous, long-lost workshop. Along the way, Stuart reluctantly accepts help from the annoying triplets next door...and encounters trouble from another magician who's also desperate to get hold of Tony's treasures.

Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms was a super cute middle grade read with everything the subtitle promises: magic, mystery, and adventure.

A lot of times middle grade tends to have extravagant, unbelievable adventures, but Horten’s stays a little closer to home. Stuart’s entire adventure is contained all in the little town of Beeton, but don’t let that take the wind out of your sails. Stuart’s close-to-home adventure makes it feel all the more real. Almost like something that could happen to a normal kid which makes it all the more magical.

I love that often in middle grade the parents are sort of a mystery to the kid in the story and that’s definitely the case for Stuart. Both his parents are the scholarly use-lots-of-big-words types and that’s not really 10-year-old Stuart’s style, but he loves them all the same and they love him back. I love the simplicity in this type of relationship. It’s definitely something you don’t come across in YA so I find it fun to get a look into a different parent-child relationship dynamic.

The neighbor triplets are kind of a hoot. I love that since they’re identical, Stuart is forever mixing them up. Though, April does begin to stand out on her own and prove to be good friend material for poor, lonely Stuart.

I loved all the fun characters that showed up along the way and the touch of magic that was thrown into all the mystery and adventure.
The Nutshell: Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms is a fun middle grade, especially if you love a good adventure mystery. I know if I’d have read this is a kid I would have gone around for weeks afterwards looking for little secrets hidden in everyday life since many of Stuart’s answers to the mystery were found right under everyone’s noses. If you love a magic (the illusion kind, but maybe a little of the other too) and are itching for a fun, quick adventure then definitely try Horten’s.

Pages: 272
Series: I believe so, but Goodreads isn't clear.
Rating: Hit

July 14, 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake {Review}

Publisher: Tor Teen
Publish Date: August 30, 2011
Source: Library
Cas Lowood has inherited a unique vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead -- keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything out of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

I’m feeling kind of wishy-washy about Anna Dressed in Blood. On the one hand, I really loved the story itself with all the little side-stories and ghosties, but on the other, something about it just didn’t quite work for me.

Let’s talk characters first. None of them really jumped out and grabbed me with either a great like or dislike. I liked Anna and Thomas a good bit, but that’s about it. Everyone else just fell kind of flat for me, which is actually okay since I’m more of a story girl.

Now for the writing. Sometimes the pop-culture references just got to be a bit much for me. Especially when I couldn’t understand them. They petered out towards the end, so I appreciated that.
Sometimes I felt like I was thrust into the middle of a conversation where everyone else knew what was going on and I was left in the dark. I really don’t like feeling like I have to play catch-up. I don’t need things spelled out for me, I’m pretty good at putting the pieces together myself, but sometimes it felt like the characters were holding some of the pieces hostage from me.
Also, this could just be because the book I finished before this was over 500 pages, but it felt like it was moving a little too quickly at times.

Now that I’ve got all that out of my system, let’s talk the good stuff.

I really enjoyed the story. It’s very rare that I come across a ghost story in YA that’s actually more than face-value horror (such as R.L. Stine), but Anna Dressed in Blood certainly has more going for it. I mean, we’ve got Cas working through his “I’m a lone ranger” complex; a little relationship building with side characters; a ghost that’s evil, but also maybe not; and scary undefined evil character from Cas’s past. That may sound like a lot, but Blake really makes it all work for the story.
I love that Anna actually has a personality and isn’t just all “Kill everybody!”
The Nusthell: Though the characters weren’t my favorite and the story seemed to move too quickly at times, I really did enjoy it overall. Blake has woven a ghost story that’ll have you shivering under your covers, but unable to put the book down because you simply must find out what happens next. This isn’t some shallow “ghost kills people, good guy kills bad ghosts” story either. There’s a real story with history and emotions that’ll completely draw you in.

Pages: 316
Series: Anna #1
Rating: Hit

July 13, 2012

It's 2012 so let's talk about...2011?

Since it's over halfway through 2012 I figured I'd do a list of my favorite reads so far. But, to mix things up I decided to only list books published before this year. The list was pretty long, so I broke it into two parts. This week we have...
Favorites published in 2011!

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Certainly not your average vampire book!

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
This book is really unlike most other paranormals out there. It has such an interesting premise and it's not all that dark.

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Whoever would've thought that zombies and steampunk could mix together so well?

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
A heartbreaking and beautiful middle grade that I think everyone should read.

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
Such a beautiful and terrible mermaid story. Certainly not the fluff one generally thinks of when it comes to mermaids.

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
A perfect middle grade with magic, adventure, and siblings!

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
"Fun" and "zombie book" aren't things you usually see together, but that's a perfect description for this book!

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
Snarky, fun, and melancholy.

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
There's magic! And it's artsy magic. How cool is that?

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
The writing is so fun and interesting and the adventure is one you could never imagine in your wildest dreams.

Variant by Robison Wells
This is some crazy stuff! We're talking boarding school with no adults and some major secrets crazy.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
It's just so...swoon <3

July 12, 2012

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti {Review}

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date: March 6, 2012
Source: Library
Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city -- Chicago -- and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called the Outfit.
As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the helns {R...Direct Hit, Review, TBR2012
Edit | View | Share | Deletep of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they're in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruiting efforts, or will she be able to thwart the devilish sets' plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?
Aaaand, huge sigh of relief/accomplishment. Illuminate is one hefty book and I was really afraid to start it because I wasn’t sure how long something that big would take me, but I needn’t have worried. After getting into the story, I just wanted to devour the whole thing and forget everything else in the world.

Not only was I skeptical of the size going in, I was also wary of the paranormal factor. You’ve probably noticed paranormal reviews are few and far between around here and when they do come, it’s from a book that has really high ratings. I definitely was not disappointed by Illuminate either. The beginning did start out a bit rocky for me, though. There was lots of setup and descriptions and it all just kind of started to bog me down because I wanted to get right down to the gooey center (confession: I’m looking at a picture of a gooey chocolate cake right now, so who knows what kind of crazy adjectives I’ll come up with) of the story, but once I did get there things started to get really good.
I was nearly 100 pages in before the story really hooked me, but in the grand scheme of 514 pages that’s basically nothing.

Characters, guys. Characters, characters, characters. Agresti has created some fantastic ones in Illuminate. The side characters end up being SO much more than side characters. They’re actual a really integral part of the story. Haven’s two guy pals at the Lexington are such awesome friends I don’t even know where to begin. Even the bad guys are complex.

Haven is one supremely awesome character. She doesn’t start out all super awesome butt-kicking bad girl. Instead, she’s pretty timid and fairly average, but not to the point that she’s terribly boring. You actually get to watch her grow into a confident butt-kicking character which I found to be really refreshing. She wasn’t your typical paranormal girl who’s all “I’m scared, but I’m willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING and die for the greater good.” Instead, she’s all “I’ll fight to the death if I have to, but I’d really rather not if that’s okay too.”

And romance? Talk about a slow-build! I’m really not going to get into it because I don’t want to ruin it, but this relationship is seriously one of the most well developed I’ve ever read outside of contemp. Possibly period, ever.
The Nutshell: I realize I’m working on writing an English sized report on Illuminate, but it’s really that good. I could go on and on, but I’ll strip it down to the basics for now. 1) Fairly slow beginning, but once it gets interesting, you’ll be completely hooked. 2) Freaking fantastic characters from complex bad guys to awesome friends who are more than props in the background. 3) Haven actually grows from a timid girl to an awesome take-charge lady and the reader sees the change. 4) A slooooooooow-build relationship that is possibly one of the best I’ve seen. Ever.

Pages: 511 (says Goodreads)
Series: Gilded Wings #1
Rating: Direct Hit

July 11, 2012

Cover Lover {48}

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 Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
Publish Date: I'm a tad fuzzy on that, actually.
I just love the simplicity of it all: the completely white background, the simple glass jar with the red heart inside, the cute script of the title which looks like hand-written cursive. It's just so simple that it stands out.

July 10, 2012

Top Ten Books that came recommended

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: Actually a freebie :P So I picked an old topic: Top Ten Books That Came Recommended

1. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
I doubt I ever would have even heard about this series if it weren't for blogging. A few months after I started A Room with Books the Jessica Darling series seemed to be making it's way around. I saw quite a few fantastic reviews and even more chat on Twitter. It all finally got to me last month and I picked up Sloppy Firsts and I can't wait to read the rest of the series!

2. Looking for Alaska/John Green
This is another one that seemed to be making the rounds shortly after I started my blog. I remember seeing it on the table at Walmart once and just kind of putting it aside without thinking. I am sooo glad bloggers are always praising the works of John Green or else I probably never would have gotten to experience the awesomeness that is Looking for Alaska and John Green himself :]

3. Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins
So, I think I have an irrational fear of paranormal. I've just read so many that are similar that I wrote off the whole genre. That means I need someone basically threatening to take away my entire library to get me to read one. But boy howdy am I glad I ended up giving this series a chance! The books are both hilarious, thrilling, and not typically predictable. I mean, yeah, there's a love triangle but it's a little more complicated than that. (Hah! A complicated love triangle. Cliche? Yeah, but it's still good ;P)

4. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Witches kind of tie into the paranormal idea PLUS, it's historical fiction which I really don't do, but reading that Sarah of The Book Life enjoyed it though hist fic. isn't usually her thing either made me want to give it a try. Turns out, alternate hist fic. isn't so bad ;]

5. The Probability of Miracles  by Wendy Wunder
For some reason, even though I usually find myself enjoying the contemporaries that I read, it's still pretty hard to convince me to read one. Especially if it's one about an MC with a fatal illness. I always used to think "well I already know it's going to be sad, so what else could it offer me?" And let me tell you, that's so completely not true. This book is funny and sweet and basically amazing. Don't write it off as just a sad story with nothing to offer.

6. Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Zombies are totally my thing, but I'm a little unsure about steampunk (which is what I thought this book was) so it took Katie of Katie's Book Blog and Erika of Rescue Reads to convince me to read this one, but I'm SO glad I finally gave it a chance!

7. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
When I started my blog it seemed like everyone was talking about this book. I thought "well, maybe I should give it a try, but I'm not expecting much" and then it kind of blew me away :P

8. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
The lovely Lisa of Lisa is Busy Nerding was talking about this one for about a month and when she finally posted her review, I was like "that's it, I must read this book!" And I'm glad I gave it a try since it's not my normal read, but I totally loved it.

9. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
I hadn't heard of this book at all before I started blogging but when it started popping up all over the blogosphere I knew this was a book I needed to read. I'm glad so many people were raving about it since this book was actually able to pull me out of a funk!

10. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Another Katie and Erika push for me to read and I'm so thankful they did. This is definitely not your run of the mill paranormal romance and Varen makes me all swoony ;]

11. Shikabane Hime
Okay, it's not a book, it's a manga and an anime, but it's still fantastic! My cousin recommended it to me when I told her I was getting into anime and I love it. It's basically about zombies who kill other zombies. Seriously, if you have Netflix go watch the anime or the manga can be read online for free (legally, as far as I know).

July 9, 2012

Looking for Alaska by John Green {Review}

Publisher: Puffin
Publish Date: December 28, 2006
Source: Gifted/Own
Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapault him into the Great Perhaps.

*I would like to keep this review spoiler-free, but I highly doubt that will happen as it reached me in a very emotional place that deserves to be talked about. Read with caution or consider yourself warned.*

Looking For Alaska is the first book that has ever made me immediately look forward to rereading it upon turning the last page. My grandmother recently died and though she’d lived a long life, it’s the first death in my life that’s ever reached into my very soul and twisted it all up. For that reason, I believe I connected more with the melancholy in Looking For Alaska which leads me to believe a reread sometime in the future will open up the story even more for me.

I love Pudge. He’s not the type of boy I ever would have liked in that way, but I love him all the same. I love the way he’s okay with living in invisibility and the way he grows to not be okay with it anymore. I love how awkward and sincere and so incredibly real he is. I love how he actually has a brain and uses it to drink or smoke when he wants but to also to turn it down when he doesn’t. I love how he actually grieves. He doesn’t just mourn for a few days and commence the moving on. He gets angry and he gets sad. He gets annoyed and he gets nostalgic. Ultimately, he learns.

I’m going to be quite honest here and say that I really didn’t like Alaska. I hated the way she tried so hard to be an enigma. I hated that she seemed to refuse to deal with the grief and depression that seemed to be living inside her. I hated the way she led on poor Pudge. I did, in fact, love the way that Pudge was honest enough with himself to admit that she annoyed the crap out of him at times.

The Nusthell: Looking For Alaska is the story of a boy’s attempt at finding out what may wait for him outside his box. It’s also a story of grief and loss and drinking and first everythings. Despite the short length of this story, it’s likely to make you feel an entire gauntlet of emotions from happiness and laughter to sadness and possibly tears.

Pages: 221
Series: No
Rating: Direct Hit

July 8, 2012

In My Mailbox {48}

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

Bloggers Mentioned:
Erica of The Book Cellar
Lisa of Lisa is Busy Nerding
Lauren of 365 Days of Reading

From Heidi of Bunbury in the Stacks:
The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (from Jess at Gone with the Words and Feiwel and Friends)
Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson (from bookGnone)
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summer (from bookgome)

The Weepers: The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker
Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James
Awaken by Katie Kavinsky
Horton Halfpott by Tom Angelberger
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Eight Keys by Suzanne Lafleur
Brave New Love edited by Paula Guran
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham
Shadows Cast By Stars by Catherine Knutson
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

July 7, 2012

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey {Review}

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: September 22, 2009
Source: Library
These are the secrets that I have kept. This is the trust that I never betrayed. But he is dead now, and has been for nearly ninety years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I keep these secrets. The one who saved me...and the one who cursed me.So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphan and assistant to a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a girl and the and the monster that was feeding on her, Will's world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagi -- a headless monster that feeds through the mouthfuls of teeth in its chest -- and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror that is threatening to overtake and consume our world before it is too late. 

The Monstrumologist was not my typical read. Now, you’re probably thinking “oh, she doesn’t read horror” but the thing is that I do read horror. The Monstrumologist is more in a class of its own, though. I feel it’s important to preface my review with saying it’s not my usual read because it kind of backs my “it was interesting, but not in a bad way” opinion.

Let me start out by saying I’m honestly not sure I’d watch a The Monstrumologist movie simply because the book had me jumping out of my skin at times so what on earth would a movie do for my poor nerves? For some reason, going in I really didn’t think it would scare me that much. I mean, it’s just made up monsters, right? Oh, but that’s where I was wrong. Yes, the monsters are fictional (as far as I know), but the book is set up in such a way that you really start to believe it’s real.

The story starts with a preface from Rick Yancey himself. He tells of how he came to have in his possession the journals of Will Henry and that the journals are in fact what the story is made up of. The fact that the story is introduced by the author coupled with the journalistic writing makes everything feel all the more real. I kept imagining I could see shiny black eyes staring back at me out of the dark, for goodness sakes!

At times I found myself cringing from the bloody gore, but it was so much more than just gore. All the characters were so complex from Will to the Doctor. Will was such a deep character struggling with some serious stuff on the inside. I mean, he often questioned whether his guardian was also the killer of his parents. I can’t even imagine what that would be like, especially coupled with such a gruesome job as the apprentice to the monstrumologist.

The Nutshell: There is blood, guts, and gore all up in The Monstrumologist, so if that’s not your thing, turn away now. On the other hand, if you think you can soldier through all the grossness then by golly please do so. This story is so much more than a bedtime horror story. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of horror, but it also has feelings, just not the lovey-dovey kind :P

Pages: 434 (Yep, this is a big one)
Series: The Monstrumologist #1
Rating: Direct Hit

July 5, 2012

Amplified by Tara Kelly {Review}

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. BYR
Publish Date: October 25, 2011
Source: Gifted/Own
When priviliged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it...

Amplified was a fun read, but sadly not as awesome as I’d hoped. I think I’d been a little setup for failure, though since I’m not quite as big a music fan as most of my blogger friends who gave it rave reviews. Still, it was really fun (and a little weird) reading about a main character who shared more similarities with me than just a name. Besides, you know, musical abilities :P

Jasmine was a hard-headed, stubborn girl, but I didn’t really find it too annoying for the most part. She knew what she wanted and she was willing to do the hard work to get it. Sometimes I just wanted to shout at the girl to ask for/accept a little help, but I completely understand why she was the way she was. I mean, with a father as crappy as hers, I’m sure I’d have learned to do things on my own too.

I really liked the band and how the characters who made it up were really well-rounded. They didn’t really feel like side characters at all, in fact. If any of them were missing I kind of feel like the book wouldn’t have been the same at all. That’s not to say I liked them all. I kind of hated Bryn, actually. He was a big fat jerkwad and I frequently felt like punching him in the face. Veta was spunky and crazy and just plain awesome. She was definitely one of my favorite characters :] Felix was…well, Felix was strange to me. I don’t have a problem with dudes wearing tutus and pigtails, but I just wanted to know why. I’d actually love to read a companion starring him.

Then we have Sean and his and Jasmine’s relationship. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Sean. He was sexy and snarky, sure, but he was also really hung up on that stupid Amy girl. I get it, I really do, but I wish he could have gotten over her and just went for Jasmine wholeheartedly. If you’re looking for a fresh relationship formula, then you’ll definitely find it in Jasmine and Sean.

The Nutshell: Though Amplified wasn’t a complete win for me, it wasn’t really a loss either. I think most of my disappointment could be attributed to high expectations. If you’re a music lover or like books with music then you’ll probably have a much bigger appreciation for Amplified than I did. If you’re looking for something beyond your typical boy-meets-girl-and-smoochy-smoochy-ensues then you should definitely check this one out. If you love bold, strong characters then give Amplified a try :D

Pages: 293
Series: No
Rating: Near Miss

July 4, 2012

Cover Lover {47}

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 Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
Publish Date: April 10, 2012
Yes, I know the rose is drenched with blood, but it still manages to be...elegant. I love the title with the vines creeping through and along it. The red background contrasts really well with the white along the bottom and then we have more contrasting red and white with the blood and the rose. It just all works really well together :]

July 3, 2012

Top Ten authors for those who like...

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 For People Who Like X Author 
And my pick is: Stephanie Perkins!

Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn't have) is the only book I've read by her so far, but it totally fits in with the real-relationship-real-teens vibe that Perkins has. Plus, it's downright hilarious.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is the only one of Smith's books I've read so far, but I definitely plan on changing that soon. The relationship between Oliver and Hadley was just so fun and awesome. Plus, it wasn't just a love story. Like Perkins, Smith works in plenty of extra relationships and learning opportunities that give a story depth.

Maybe it's not contemporary, but they can't all be, right? The Hex Hall series (Hawkin's most recent works) is pretty much paranormal to the max, but Hawkins knows how to write relationships that suck you in with a hilarious main character to boot.

Again with the realistic problems and relationships. I've read both Small Town Sinners and Unbreak My Heart by Miss Walker and both MCs were incredibly real dealing with some pretty heavy issues. I often found myself thinking "I remember feeling exactly like that!"

Not really contemporary again, but Young still writes the story in a believable way. Plus, the love story end of it is pretty heartbreaking, but in a good way ;]

I just recently read Sloppy Firsts and I can already tell the entire Jessica Darling series will be fantastic. Jessica is fun, funny, and her relationships are so real. Whether they be a romantic relationship or just a parental one. McCafferty's style flows over into her YA book Bumped (still need to read Thumped) too.  So whether it's contemporary or dystopian, I have a feeling Perkins lovers will enjoy McCafferty's books.

Nope, not contemporary, but she's pretty darn hilarious -- and so are her books. I'm not going to say her stories are realistic or anything since they're pretty paranormal, but still. Even if you for some reason refuse to read her books at least follow the lady on Twitter.

I've only read one of Levithan's singular works and I haven't read any of Cohn's but I've read a lot of their together stuff (maybe all?) including Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List, and Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. Every single one is fun, real, and fantastic. I suggest Dash & Lily's as a first read for Perkins lovers.

So, no throwing virtual fruit, but I've only read Looking for Alaska so far. I can already tell that I'll enjoy all of his books and that any Perkins lover can definitely appreciate him, though. There always seems to be something deeper than the surface story going on. Plus, at least in the case of LfA, there are funny bits, but also some more serious aspects too.