August 31, 2012

My Current Obsession: Chocobo

My Current Obsession started out as a way for me to share whatever tv show I was obsessing about at the moment but then I thought "tv isn't the only thing I get obsessed" and thus we have my current gaming obsession!

White Mage Chocobo is cutest
Before this month I hadn't played any video games since somewhere around the beginning of the year. It's actually kind of crazy for me to go that long without playing games, but nothing had really been catching my interest.

Anyway, I recently read the entire CTRL + ALT + DEL comic series and it made me really want to play something. So I made my way over to Gamestop to pick out a game. I found Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon for $8.99 and figured it looked cure and it was cheap so why not?

And let me tell you, I got a lot more than I expected out of $8.99!

First of all, the graphics are pretty amazing and there's a lot of cut scenes to show them off.
Inside a dungeon
Second, the story's pretty interesting, so I haven't gotten bored.
Third, it's turn-based, but only while you're in the dungeons. So, if you just want to walk around the town and explore you can do so without fighting any bad guys. There's a lot of side quests where you can help out the townspeople to up your level and such too.

In case you're wondering about the storyline, it goes like this: everyone in the town has lost some or all of their memories and Chocobo is the only one with the ability to get them back.

Basically, if you like cute, turn-based games then you definitely have to check out Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon!

August 30, 2012

Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin {Review}

Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publish Date: March 27, 2012
Source: Library
Lucas and Tessa's friendship is stuff of legends in their small Midwestern town. So it's no surprise when Lucas finally realizes his feelings for Tessa are more than friendship and he asks her to prom. What no one expected, especially Lucas, was for Tessa to come out as a lesbian instead of accepting his heartfelt invitation. Humiliated and confused, Lucas feels betrayed that his best friend kept such an important secret from him.
What's worse is Tessa decides to wear a tastefully tailored tuxedo to escort her female crush, sparking a firestorm of controversy. Lucas must decide if he should stand on the sidelines or if he should stand by his friend to make sure that Tessa Masterson will go to prom.

Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom was a fun, cute read. There were some dark parts, as was expected, but it all still felt a little surfacey. I mean, it was overall a good read, but nothing that really stood out.

Lucas’s feelings for Tessa were just so sudden. I mean, someone actually tells him that he likes her and them, BAM, he decides that he does. I think it’s natural to wonder if a guy/girl friendship could possibly be more, but I feel like Lucas’s feelings should have been eased into a little more. I know it wasn’t the point of the story, but it just ended up feeling like a catalyst, not something realistic.

All the awesome support Tessa got made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of the entire book.

Lucas and Tessa both ended up driving me nuts for a while. I think it was pretty crappy of Tessa to never tell Lucas. If she just “assumed he knew” like she repeatedly said then she would have no need to be worried about what he would think. Best friends are the people you share everything with and I can certainly understand why Lucas was hurt and pissed. What I can’t understand is why in the world it took him so long to talk to her again. I know he was scared and whatnot, but I think he really could have just been like “Tess, I’m sorry for how I acted and I want you to know that I’m here for you now.”

The Nutshell: Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom is a cute, though still a little dark, fun read. It’s a little about love, but a lot about friendship and figuring out who you are. It’s a little surfacey, but still a good read overall.

Pages: 257
Series: No
Rating: Near Miss

August 29, 2012

Cover Lover {55}

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 Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
Publish Date: July 10, 2012
Can we all just oooh at that awesome hair for a minute? And the simplicity of the whole setup is awesome too. I mean, we have a plain background, simple white dress, and a girl. And that's it! Crazy, right?

August 28, 2012

Animanga Corner: Hollow Fields

Animanga Corner is where I talk about whatever anime, manga, or both that I'm interested in these days. Anime (and manga since it's a good way to continue an anime I enjoyed) has become a recent obsession of mine and since it's a large part of my interests today I figured I should share it here :]

Hollow Fields is an awesome manga about a 12-year-old girl, Lucy Snow, heading off to boarding school. Her parents sent her off to normal boarding school, but since they were too busy to drop her off she gets lost and ends up at Hollow Fields instead.

And what's Hollow Fields, you ask? Well, it's basically mad scientist school. There's classes such as Cross-Species  Body-Part Transplantation, Grave Robbing, and Live Taxidermy. But the most terrible thing about Hollow Fields? Detention. Each week the kid with the lowest grades is sent to detention -- and no one ever comes back.

I liked Lucy a lot. She acted like I imagine a normal 12-year-old might given the disturbing situation she's thrust into. She whines, cries, and she's lonely. BUT. She doesn't give up. I mean, sure, she's not allowed to leave school grounds per the contract she signed, but she also doesn't just duck her head and try to get by in school. Instead, she's determined to make friends and figure out what sinister plan is going on behind the scenes.

Ahh, yes, the sinister plan. We wouldn't want to forget about that. Of course, I don't want to give it away, but I'll just say that the teachers are pretty much all mad scientists and they also aren't exactly human...

Why you should read it: Hollow Fields is both cute and creepy. I know that sounds kind of weird, but it's totally true. Plus, there's lots of weird, creepy science and spunky kids. Seriously, I wish I were as cool as those 12-year-olds!

August 27, 2012

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand {Review}

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: August 28, 2012
Source: ARC from contest
At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls you will definitely learn your lesson.
Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster -- lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)
But then Lawrence goes missing. And he's not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out...different. Or they don't come out at all.
If anyone can sort this out, it's Victoria -- even if it means getting a little messy.

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is spooky, disturbing, and downright awesome. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever read a middle grade so dark, but I loved every minute of it, and I’m pretty sure my twelve-year-old self would have too.

First of all let me just say that Victoria’s not a very likable character. She’s prim and proper and has to have everything just so. And yet, believe it or not, I didn’t hate her. Her personality was absolutely perfect for the story.

Legrand is a master when it comes to the creep-factor, let me tell you. I thought I could feel little cockroach feet all over me while I was reading. In fact, as I wrote that I got a creepy-crawly feeling down my spine. I HATE beetles.

You know how when you know something’s afoot but you don’t know what and so you expect anything? Yeah, well I thought I did too, but Legrand threw surprise after surprise at me with the creepy goings on in the Cavendish house. There’s the birds with hands, the hanger, the changing walls, and then there’s the gofer’s! Those poor, poor things :[

The Nutshell: I adored The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. If you’re looking for a quick, creepy middle grade read, then you should definitely pick this one up!

Pages: 352
Series: No
Rating: Direct Hit

August 25, 2012

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker {Review}

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publish Date: May 22, 2012
Source: ARC from contest
Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams' heart. She fell for her best friend's boyfriend and long story short: he's excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.
Enter her parents' plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and her little sister would make Clem would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.
Then she meets James at one of their first spots along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he's just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem's walls and heal her broken heart?

I feel like maybe there’s something wrong with me. When I turned the last page of Unbreak My Heart I wanted to cry despite the fact that it ended on a pretty hopeful note. See what I mean? I should be happy, right? Maybe part of it is that I’m a tad jealous of Clem’s fantastic summer. Being on a boat all summer sounds like pure torture to me (at least, the sixteen-year-old me) but after reading Clem’s story I almost feel as if I was robbed of something since I didn’t get a boating trip of my own. Unless you count the two-week-long road trip in the van with my 4 other family members, but I don’t :P

Let me just say that Walker certainly knows how to write a good teen character. Though I’ve never been through anything like Clem went through I could completely relate to a lot of her thoughts. In the first 1/3 of the book when all she wants to do is sulk and feels as if she deserves the self-punishment? So been there. When she snaps at her parents and sister because they won’t just give her some room? Been there too. When she has those happy moments with her family that make it seem like they aren’t so bad? Definitely been there. Clem is a character that I could completely relate to despite the fact that we had very little in common which I loved.

Of course, there’s a romance aspect. It’s nowhere near the focal point of the story, though. It’s more like the nice the sprinkles on top of your cupcake, though. It’s pretty and fun, but it isn’t what’s at the heart of the story. When you get right down to it, this is a story of a girl whose completely broken inside and spends the summer picking up all the pieces and putting herself together again. It’s a story about loss and friendship and family. And it’s a story about the magic of summer.

The Nutshell: Unbreak My Heart is more than just a story about summer love. If you’re looking for a good summer read, you’ll definitely find it here. You’ll also find a story about a girl learning to forgive and love herself again, a story about families, and a story about what happens when black and white seem to blur.
 Pages: 240
Series: No
Rating: Hit

August 22, 2012

Cover Lover {54}

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 Renegade by J. A. Souders
Publish Date:
I just adore all the different blues going on here. I must confess, one of the things that probably draws me this cover is the fact that the model looks a heck of a lot like someone I used to know. Past that, something about it is just intriguing. Like, what's up with all the flowers and then what in the world is that thing in the background? It makes me want to read it and find some answers!

August 21, 2012

Top Ten Books I've read since starting my blog

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

This week's topic is: Top Ten Favorite Books You've Read During The Lifespan Of Your Blog

1. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
This was the first contemporary I picked up because it was all over the blogosphere and I absolutely adored it! It had me laughing out loud a few times.

2. Anna and the French Kiss + Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
I love them both for different reasons, but since I can only have ten I combined them :P Perkins is a master at creating realistic and swoon-worthy romances so her books will most likely always end up on my favorites lists.

3. Delirium + Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
This woman knows how to rip my heart out, stomp on it, and put it back together over and over, but I love it.

4. The Maze Runner (Scorch Trials) (Death Cure) series by James Dashner
This is such a strangely different dystopian series and I just love everything about it

5. Divergent by Veronica Roth
If you've read this one then you know why it will always be among my favorites. If you haven't, then know that it's a freaking amazing dystopian with a kick-a** main and you need to read it.

6. The Search for WondLa + A Hero for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi
This is one epic and awesome middle grade. It's kind of science fiction since Eva wakes up on what she believes to be planet Earth and discovers that it's actually a planet covered with multiple alien races and things like man-eating plants. Plus, you guys, there's illustrations!

7. Hex Hall series (Demonglass) (Spell Bound) by Rachel Hawkins
I actually didn't know about this series until I started blogging and then I put it off and put it off thinking it wasn't for me. Finally, enough prodding from different people got me to pick the first one up and I fell in love.

8. The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
This book is freaking amazing. The blurb on the cover calls it "a mix between The Hunger Games and Harry Potter" and while it has elements of both, don't go comparing them. McMann created a crazy awesome world with magic that's used through creative abilities like drawing and music. If you're at all interested in MG, give this one a try.

9. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Believe it or not, I didn't know about John Green before blogging. I remember picking up LfA off a discount book table at WalMart ages ago and putting it back down because it didn't sound that interesting to me. Boy was I wrong! I'm kind of glad I read it when I did, though, because it helped me through a tough time. Seriously, though. If you haven't read any JG, do so, and start with this one.

10. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
This book. It's both strange and wonderful. It's certainly not your typical middle grade and the writing itself is astounding! This one definitely deserves a look.

11. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
I know this is too many, but I simply couldn't leave any of these books off the list. Sloppy Firsts is another book I'd heard nothing about until blogging, but then I heard SO many things. And yeah, it's definitely worth all the praise.

August 20, 2012

Eve by Anna Carey {Review}

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: October 4, 2011
Source: Contest/Own
Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth's population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school's real purpose -- and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she's ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole lie, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and he heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.
Eve really fell flat for me. I’d heard so many mixed reviews going in so I was pretty wary, but I tried not to let it color my view while I was reading. Whether they did or they didn’t, the fact is Eve didn’t end up being my favorite. I’ll still read the sequel, but it may take me a lot longer to get to it.

Let’s do this list-style so I’m not writing a lengthy negative review. Thos make me saddy.

1. Characters: none of them really drew me in and made me care about them, so everything that happened just felt really passive to me.
2. The world: I didn’t dislike it, but again, it didn’t draw me in.
3. Eve: Not only did I not connect with her, but she kind of drove me nuts sometimes. She wasn’t really whiny and she was mindful of others – most of the time. There’s one part where she gets a whole mess of people in trouble and that made me royally pissed off because she was only thinking of herself when she did it.
4. The relationship: It just really wasn’t working for me. It felt a bit rushed, but not because she trusted him too quickly like a lot of other people said. For me, it just felt as if the undying “love” they felt for each other kind of came on a little quick.
The Nutshell: Though I’ll be reading the sequel, Eve was a slow read that never really grabbed my attention and just left me feeling luke-warm.

Pages: 318
Series: Eve #1
Rating: Miss

(Reviewed as a part of Dystopian August which you can find out more about here)

August 18, 2012

In My Mailbox {51}

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

I'm sorry, but I simply didn't get around to making a video this week but I have three lovely pictures!

First up we have my library books of the last two weeks.

The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
This was a middle grade that caught my eye on the shelf a while back, but I already had way too many library books out. Now I'm getting around to it :]

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
I've pretty much sworn off vampires save for a few exceptions and this one happens to be one of them. I mean, how can I pass up a comedy vampire book?!

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral 
I hadn't planned on reading this one until I'd seen a few good reviews of it so when I saw it on display at the library the other day I figured why not?

Then we have some ARCs from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Scorch by Gina Damico
I actually really enjoyed Croak, so I'm looking forward to the sequel :]

The Suburban Strange by Nathan Kotecki
I saw this one in their catalog and thought it sounded like an interesting mystery read, so I requested it.

The Wrap-Up List by Steven Arntson
The premise for this one sounds so strange! And I do love me some strange...

And finally, the books I bought and a contest winning!

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
I have the first book in the series and when I saw the second for 99 cents I snatched it up. I love this series and I'm glad to finally own the first two!

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockheart
I haven't read this series yet, but I've heard amazing things about it, so I when I got a 20% off coupon for B&N, I decided to go with this. And yes, I like the new covers better :P

Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
I've been wanting to read this one for years now. I took it off the shelf at my old library a few times but never got around to it. After that, it never seemed to be on the shelf at all, so I snatched it up when it was available for 99 cents at Value Village.

The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby
This is another middle grade I spied on the shelves at my old library when I was volunteering there. One of my main jobs was to dust the MG shelves, so I added quite a few of them to my TBR :P

I recently won an awesome giveaway from Gina Linko, author of the upcoming Flutter. I won a $25 gift card to the indie of my choice, so she sent me an American Express gift card :]

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh {Review}

Publisher: Antheneum
Publish Date: August 31, 2010
Source: Library
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due -- so unfair -- on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he'd rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can't help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.
Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allen Poe come to life.
As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.
His life depends it.

Can I just start by asking how in the world everyone who read this when it came out has managed to wait so long for a sequel?! Seriously, that is one killer ending an I’m really not sure how everyone managed to keep it together for this long :P

I never really had want to read Nevermore since I shy away from paranormal and I’d heard some mixed reviews, but now I just kind of want to be like “be gone, naysayers!” The beginning 100ish pages were a little wordy for me with descriptions galore, but it seemed to die down after that and focus more on the story itself. Honestly, that’s my only complaint. I know with a book so large (540some pages) you may worry that it’s going to have a slow start or lag in the middle, but that’s really not the case with Nevermore. Creagh does a fantastic job of keeping you entertained and giving you just enough information at a time that you don’t get annoyed, and instead, stay interested.

Let’s talk about Isobel. When the story started, I thought I was going to end up hating her the entire time. She’s a cheerleader who is a little stuck-up and more than a little rude at times. But then she actually grows and changes throughout the course of the story becoming someone who can stand up for herself as well as others. Heck, by the end, she was making choices and doing stuff I’m not positive I’d do in her situation.
Can we just talk about Varen for a minute? He’s basically High School Jasmine’s perfect guy. He’s got the bad boy/goth look going for him, he likes to read (mostly Poe, it seems, but still :P), he writes poetry, has a lip ring (!), and is, you know, swoon-worthy ;] Yeah, it’s safe to say Varen is one of my favorite YA guys.

Shall we talk about the paranormal aspect? Instead of being all BAM paranormaly stuff is going down, the supernatural elements slowly weave their way into the story. I really liked that. It seems a lot of times you’re just moseying along and then Hey, the main character’s an angel and they spend the rest of the book being attacked by Bad Forces, making bad decisions, and learning all about angel stuff. Probably a good 3/4s of Nevermore the paranormal aspects are only sprinkled in instead of thrust upon you. Furthermore, the paranormal elements are unlike anything I’ve ever read before which kept me wanting to know more.
The Nutshell: Despite the size, Nevermore is likely to keep you enthralled the entire time. The paranormal aspect can’t be pigeonholed into the typical paranormal stuff like angels or ghosts. Creagh’s created a paranormal world that’s like nothing else I’ve read. On top of the great paranormal world, the characters are great. Isobel turns out to be more than your typical cheerleader and Varen isn’t just some mopey goth guy. Even if paranormal isn’t your thing, you should still try giving Nevermore a chance. What could a chance hurt, anyway? ;]
Pages: 543
Series: Nevermore #1
Rating: Direct Hit

August 17, 2012

Animanga Corner: Fruits Basket

Animanga Corner is where I talk about whatever anime, manga, or both that I'm interested in these days. Anime (and manga since it's a good way to continue an anime I enjoyed) has become a recent obsession of mine and since it's a large part of my interests today I figured I should share it here :]

So Fruits Basket is like this: There's this girl and some stuff goes down and she's kind of homeless. BUT THEN. This house of cute (and a little eccentric) boys invite her to stay with them. This leads to her discovering the family secret: they turn into animals of the Chinese zodiac when they're hugged by the opposite sex. But it can't that easy, right? Of course not. There's a little bit of a love triangle and some underlying mystery going on with the family as well.

For those of you who like your anime a little strange, but also cute, Fruits Basket is for you.

I haven't read the manga yet but I've heard it's a little darker than the anime, so I'm interested to check it out. I can, however, vouch for the anime. If your new to anime, this is probably a good start. It's nice, simple, and just a tad strange. Plus, it's super cute.

I instantly fell in love with all the characters, but if I had to pick a favorite, it'd definitely be Kyo. "Tough bad boy" isn't usually my type, but he just stole my heart <3

I super loved how the story started out simple and slowly unfolded into something just a little more complicated. Sometimes when I watch anime I'll sit there and go "WHAT IN THE WORLD is going on?!" but that didn't happen with Fruits Basket. And how awesomely weird is the idea of boys changing into animals from the Zodiac when they're hugged by the opposite sex?!

August 16, 2012

Variant by Robison Wells {Review}

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: September 26, 2011
Source: Library
Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfirld Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he's trapped in a school that's surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school's real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape -- his only real hope for survival -- may be impossible.

After finishing Variant I actually just sat there mumbling “but…whaa…but…how!?” for a good 30 seconds feeling all twitchy before I immediately logged onto Goodreads to read the synopsis for book two. I’m just incredibly glad I waited until now to read it. If I’d had to wait an entire year for the next book I really don’t know if I could’ve handled it!

So first of all, I just want to say that I’m really not sure how people think Variant is a dystopian. Sure, the setting is apart from regular society, but that doesn’t make it a dystopian. Moving on now.

Variant is a thrill ride from the beginning. We’re talking “buildup? What buildup?” kind of thrill ride, and it’s oh so good. I’m fine and dandy with buildup, sure, but it’s quite the treat when I can be thrown right into the midst of things and not be terribly confused. Some books like to try to start out with a BANG by going for the shock factor or throwing the reader into the middle of a fight, but Variant just starts building a subtle creep factor right out of the gate and it totally works. I was completely hooked by page 7.

I can’t really say Benson was someone I could connect with, but I admired his perseverance. If I were plopped into Maxfield Academy I probably would’ve been lulled into a state of complacency by the simple fact that they have good food (what can I say, I’m a food girl). Plus, you know, I tend to play by the rules so the threat of death would’ve had me dressing in my uniform and sitting in my seat like a good little girl along with the rest of the students. And, even though Benson was all “fight the power!” he never wanted anyone else to get hurt. The only reason he tried to persuade anyone else was to save them from impending death (I totally wrote ‘doom’ right there, but it sounded too dramatic :P).
The Nutshell: Variant is a non-stop thriller that will have you hanging on the edge of your seat (or couch, or bed, etc) frantically flipping pages to find out the answers. The tension was often so high that I had to force myself to keep my eyes from jumping ahead to find out what happened. If you’re looking for a book that’ll keep you guessing until the very end (and after) then Variant is your book. Be warned, though, it ends in one heck of a cliffhanger and the sequel doesn’t come out until October ;]

Pages: 373
Series: Variant #1
Rating: Direct Hit

August 15, 2012

Cover Lover {53}

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 Poison by Bridget Zinn
Publish Date: March 12, 2013
There's just so much going on here, but not in a busy way. Let's start with the girl because she's kind of unavoidable. She's not quite pretty girl in a dress territory, but she's toeing the line. That being said, I do quite like her outfit. It's all bada**-snow-white-esque. Plus, she's holding some cool poison (at least, I'm assuming). Quite intriguing. But wait! Look down there: it's a pig! How cool/cute is that?! And then there's all the forestry and greenery and mushrooms galore. I'm digging it. I'm really liking the script of the title too.

August 13, 2012

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty {Review}

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publish Date: August 28, 2001
Source: Library
When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy -- and shopping-crazy -- girls at school, her dad's obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany's lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?
I just finished Sloppy Firsts and all I can think is “helloooo! Since when is it okay for contemporary novels to end in a cliffhanger?! Not cool Miss McCafferty, not cool.” But of course, the sequel was published years ago (seriously, I can’t believe this one came out 12 years ago) so I don’t really have to wait that long to read it, but that doesn’t change the fact that I do not, actually, currently have it in my possession. And I’m dying here. Oh, wait, you actually wanted a review? Okay, I suppose.

Honestly, for a little over half of Sloppy Firsts I was afraid I was going to come out feeling luke warm about it causing half the YA blogosphere to throw virtual rotten fruit and hit me on the head with giant virtual books. But I was wrong. Oh so happily, wonderfully wrong.

As a 19-almost-20-year-old (not that this makes me sage or worldly or anything) a lot of Jessica’s problems seemed pretty trivial and sometimes I found myself wanting to tell her to just suck it up. But another part of me was right there with her screaming the “parents suck and my friends don’t understand me” mantra loud and proud for everyone [in my head] to hear. Sure, I may not have been right there with her on everything she ever thought, but I could commiserate with a great deal.

And then there’s Marcus. Freaking. Flutie. Sure, I’ve heard all about this guy since starting my blog, but I’ve always thought to myself “he can’t be that great.” Once again, I’ve been proven oh so very wrong. He had me all in a tizzy sometimes with his tension building and ear whispering and overly enigmatic status. And I hear it gets better. I’m really not sure if I can handle better, though. In fact, I’m slightly afraid :P
The Nutshell: Sure, the pop-culture references and the slang are outdated, but Jessica’s teenage feelings aren’t. She’s having normal (for the most part) teenage problems that most girls out there can relate to which makes Sloppy Firsts stand the test of time. This is a book about dealing with your best friend moving away, boy problems (and lack thereof), not-so friendly friends, how relationships grow and change (from mother-daughter to best friend relationships), and so. Much. More. I could never possibly sum up how great this book is. Just please, please, give it a chance.

Pages: 298
Series: Jessica Darling #1
Rating: Direct Hit

August 11, 2012

Series' reviews: Another Jekyll; Hero for WondLa; Spell Bound; & Thumped

Since reviews for books in a series aren't very fun to read if you haven't read book 1 I've decided to make my series' reviews shorter and put multiple books in a post. This will hopefully be better for all of my readers, but it'll definitely help out me and my surplus of reviews :P

Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publish Date: March 13, 2012
Source: Publisher for honest review
Pages: 256
Series: Another #3 (Final book in series)
Rating: Miss
Full review
The Nutshell: Overall, I don’t have very much to say about Another Jekyll, Another Hyde because in the end it’s a book I don’t really have feelings for either way. I didn’t really hate it, but at the same time I spent almost the entire book counting the pages until I was finished. If you’ve read the other two books in the series and loved them then you may want to give this one a shot, but I never had some “ahh, that was definitely worth 240 pages. I’m glad I stuck with it” moment.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster's Childrens Books
Publish Date: May 8, 2012
Source: Bought/Own
Pages: 437
Series: WondLa #2
Rating: Hit

The Nutshell: A Hero for WondLa is a great sequel. If you loved The Search for WondLa then you’ll enjoy the sequel, and if you haven’t read The Search what in the world are you still doing here?! Go read it! We continue to learn about the fantastic world of Orbona, meet new characters, reunite with old characters, and continue on the journey with Eva and Rovee to save the planet.

 Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Publish Date: March 13,2012
Source: Library
Pages: 336
Series: Hex Hall #3 (final book)
Rating: Hit
Full review

The Nutshell: Overall, Spell Bound is a good end to the Hex Hall series. The same humor and wit is there, same as always, and everything gets tied up rather nicely. If you enjoyed the other two books in the series, then you’ll almost surely enjoy this one as well!

 Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publish Date: April 24, 2012
Source: Library
Pages: 290
Series: Bumped #2 (last in duo)
Rating: Hit

The Nutshell: If you enjoyed Bumped, I'm almost certain you'll love Thumped. The focus is more on the characters and the story this time around instead of the crazy world and the silly language. If you're a big fan of world-building, don't let that deter you since the foundation of the world was set in book one and doesn't really require more explanation.

August 10, 2012

Top Ten posts that say a lot about me

This week's Top Ten Tuesday was "Top Ten Posts On Your Blog That Would Give The BEST Picture of YOU (as a reader and a person)." I totally dropped the ball and missed out on Tuesday, but I love the idea so I really wanted to make my own post. That's why you're getting Top Ten Tuesday on a Friday :P

1. Animanga Corner: Fullmetal Alchemist
2. My Current Obsession: Roswell & 18 To Life

I know I kind of cheated a little, but it's my post so I can do what I want. I'm kind of tv-obsessed. Basically, I have three favorite activities: watching tv/movies, reading, and video games and thus it's spilled over into my blog. 
The first post is all about my all-time favorite anime and the others are about some awesome tv shows I found on Netflix.

Oh come on, just say it in a Dalek voice
Source for picture

Book Reviews:
3. The Search for WondLa
4. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland
5. Delirium 
6. The Son of Neptune
I'd be remiss not to mention a few reviews as this is, in fact, a book review blog.
First is one of my very favorite middle grade books. It's a story about an amazing adventure AND it has illustrations.
Second is another fantastic middle grade. This one actually got me out of a reading funk.
Third is not only an awesome book, but one of my favorite reviews that I've written. Every time I read it I end up thinking to myself "I wrote that? I had no idea I had those words in me!"
Fourth is admittedly the second book in a series, but as of yet it's my only post about Percy Jackson and I'd love for everyone to read the series :]

Yes, I used to have super short hair.
About Me:
7. Blogger Behind the Book
This post isn't actually on my blog, but it's one of the few that actually says a lot about me since it actually is all about me. (in case you for some reason want even more info on me there's another About Me type post on Katie's Book Blog.)


8. Broke? Here's some tips for free books
9. Tips for new bloggers
10. Book Art
These are all kind of random, but they're posts that I'm rather proud of. 
The first is a post all about how to get your hands on books when you're broke. I know that sounds a bit nefarious, but just go read the post and you'll see that it's not :P
The second is my set of tips for new bloggers. It's all a matter of opinion, of course, but these are just the things I've learned throughout my year of blogging.
I love this post because it's book related, but it's also pretty ;]

August 9, 2012

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake {Review}

Publisher: Tor Teen
Publish Date: August 7, 2012
Source: ARC/Own
It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.
His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could lie -- not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with. Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.
Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her right now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

It’s a pretty well-known fact that the sequel can never be as good as the first, but every once in a while, a book or movie comes along that defies all logic and does just that. Girl of Nightmares was one of those books for me. I liked Anna Dressed in Blood well enough, but it didn’t turn out to be a favorite. Girl of Nightmares, on the other hand, was utterly fantastic.

I found Anna to be scary in the “oh, I’m glad I live in the city instead of the middle of nowhere” kind of way whereas Girl of Nightmares had some parts that were more like “pardon me while I turn on every light in the house.” For those who’ve read it, are you with me on the forest part? I read it in the middle of the night and it gave me a serious case of the willies!

Cas is still Cas, for sure. He’s all about “I’ll do what I want, when I want, how I want” but he also cares deeply for his friends and family. He may not be my favorite character of all time, but I can definitely respect that.
I still quite liked Thomas as well. He’s usually scared out of his pants by the things they deal with, but he still manages to keep his head and help out Carmel and Cas.
Carmel’s the character that throws me through a loop. I can be thinking “that’s it; I do not like this girl” one minute and the next she completely changes my mind by doing something awesome like beating up ghosts with a  stick or telling Mr. High and Mighty to shove it.

I liked the story a whole lot better in Girl of Nightmares as well. It was just kind of meh like the first one for me until about halfway through. I was enjoying it, but it wasn’t anything to make shout to the rooftops about, but then it started getting really good and I was completely invested, flipping pages to find out what would happen to Cas and Anna. 
The Nutshell: Girl of Nightmares is a fantastic sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood. I actually enjoyed it more than the first book. If you want to find out what happens to Anna and Cas next, then you should definitely read this one. If you want to be scared out of your wits then this is definitely your book ;]

Pages: 336
Series: Anna #2 (Sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood)
Rating: Direct Hit

August 8, 2012

You haven't read this yet? Well, you should.

Just when I think The FAYZ can’t possibly disgust me or surprise me any more than it has, Grant decides to prove me wrong in a way that almost makes me want to throw the book across the room. I spent a lot of Fear cringing away from the pages, but in a good way, believe it or not.

Since Fear is the fifth book in the series I don’t think I can really do a good review without including spoilers so instead, I’m going to make this post all about why you should read the Gone series.

For starters, if you’re interested in apocalyptic or dystopian books then you’ll most likely enjoy the books. I wouldn’t classify it as either genre, but it’s definitely similar in plot. If you can’t handle blood and gore and disturbing things then you’ll definitely want to stay far, far away, though.

This series has everything, really. There’s some romance, but certainly not enough to deter those who are looking for a little more. We have a Lord of the Flies thing going on with a bunch of kids being cut off from the outside world. Then we have crazy, unexplainable things like kids with powers (ex. anti-gravity abilities, super speed, etc.) and mutating animals (ex. talking coyotes).

I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be bored with this series, but if I still haven’t sold you then just do me a favor and pick up the first book. If it doesn’t catch your interest then at least you gave it a shot, right?

Cover Lover {52}

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 Pegasus: The Flame of Olympus by Kate O'Hearn
Publish Date: May 22, 2012
Okay, sometimes I look at this cover and think it's incredibly cheesy and other times it looks really pretty. I like the bright white and red right up front and to be quite honest, the skyscrapers in the distance have me really intrigued about the story. It's very rare to see a mix of pegasus and now-type culture.

August 6, 2012

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu {Review}

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publish Date: August 7, 2012
Source: Netgalley for honest review
In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.
When Zoe starts to malfunction (or "glitch"), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.
As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they're caught and deactivated, or worse.
Glitch went a little something like this for me:
[Beginning intro to world] “I can definitely dig this.”
[BAM, romance] “Wait, what?! That came out of nowhere. She’s only known him for a couple hours!”
[Middle of the story] “Well now I understand the superfast romance. Doesn’t mean I have to like it. Or this new guy. In fact, I want to punch New Guy in the nose. When is something super interesting going to happen again?”
[End] “Okay, I’ll admit that I didn’t see that coming. And I’m digging all the awesome action and Gift using and whatnot. Oh, I actually did see THAT coming.”

Bahaha. Okay, if you haven’t read Glitch then you probably won’t understand anything up there, but I had to explain my feelings in a way that would at least sort of make sense. I mean, the story was kind of iffy but I still really liked it. And since that doesn’t really make sense I thought a play by play might help :P Anyway, moving on now.

Let’s start with the romance. As you probably noticed, I mentioned two guys, but it’s not a love triangle. Yes, you heard me: it’s not a love triangle. It’s more of a…circle with a jealous dot outside of it. And I really did not like the stupid jealous dot. I don’t want to say his name since that’d be giving something away, but let’s just say I didn’t like him almost from the moment he was introduced.
I understand why the romance had to be introduced the way it was, but it still felt really awkward in the beginning. I ended up liking it, though.

As for the story itself, I liked the beginning and being introduced to the world of the controlling V-chip and drone-like people. We even got a little background of why the world was in its current state and what happened to the Old War.
The middle just felt kind of bland for me. Even though exciting stuff was happening and the story was developing at a pretty good pace I still wasn’t feeling it. I really can’t pinpoint what it was that made me feel a little bored while reading that portion.
The end, however, I quite liked. I really didn’t see the big ending twist coming at all. I liked seeing Zoe use her Gift and all the action was awesome. Nothing truly heart-pounding but still fun to read.
The Nutshell: Though some of Glitch just felt lukewarm to me I ended up liking it enough to continue being interested in the story. If you like a good dash of scifi with your dystopian then you should definitely check out Glitch. And don’t forget it’s not a love triangle ;]

Pages: 371
Series: Glitch #1
Rating: Near Miss

(Reviewed as part of Dystopian August which you can find out about here)

August 5, 2012

In My Mailbox {50}

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

Sorry I didn't list the books this week and the video kind of sucks. I was trying to get it up after doing it a little late.

August 4, 2012

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga {Review}

Publisher: Little, Brown Book for Young Readers
Publish Date: April 3, 2012
Source: Library
What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.
But he's also thew son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could -- from the criminal's point of view.
And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.
In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret -- could he be more like his farther than anyone knows?

I Hunt Killers is sick, twisted, and oh so very good.

If we’re going to be honest, I feel kind of weird saying it’s good. It was so creepy being inside Jazz’s head since he wasn’t just some innocent little bystander who never knew the horrors of his serial killer father. In fact, he knew almost every detail of his father’s kills and was being groomed to take his father’s place someday. I Hunt Killers is the kind of “good” that’ll have you questioning everything you know and occasionally make you want to lose your lunch. Not things I usually associate with good books, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be its own brand of good.

Being in Jazz’s head felt like an intrusion. Seeing the way he struggled with his own thoughts and feelings was almost too much sometimes. I felt simultaneously creeped out and sorry for him. It was weird reading about a character I had basically nothing in common with, but at the same time it was good. I wasn’t really trying to connect with him but I could still see things (to a degree) from his point of view.

I love me a good mystery and it doesn’t really get much mystery-er (sure, that can be a word) than I Hunt Killers­. Not only were we trying to figure out who the killer could be along with Jazz, but the reader is also left wondering what’s locked away up in Jazz’s head the entire time.
The Nutshell: If you’re jonesing for a good mystery that’s anything but ordinary then I Hunt Killers is your book. If you’re squeamish and hate gore, though, you’re probably going to want to stay away. Lyga isn’t afraid to delve into the deep, heavy stuff about who we are on the inside and whether or not it can be changed and that just makes this read all the more unique.

Pages: 359
Series: Jasper Dent #1
Rating: Hit

August 2, 2012

Chained by Lynne Kelly {Review}

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR
Publisher Date: May 8, 2012
Source: DAC ARC tours
After ten-year-old Hastin's family borrows money to pay for his sister's hospital uill, he leaves his village in northern India to take a job as an elephant keeper and work off the debt. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn't prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, but Hastin sees Nandita, a sweet elephant and his best friend, who is chained when she's not performing and hurt with a hook until she learns tricks perfectly. Hastin protects Nandita a s best as he can., knowing that the only way they will both survive is if he can find a way for them to escape.

Once again another book has defied all my expectations and proven I don’t always know what I like best. I only read Chained because Tara from Fiction Folio was trying to get some people to fill up slots on an ARC tour for it. I wasn’t really jazzed about reading it since it didn’t seem like my type of book at all, but I’m so glad it landed in my lap.

A lot of times we look at a book like Chained and think it’ll be silly because an animal book can’t have the same depth. Or we already know the characters will have a hard journey and will likely be triumphant in the end so we figure why bother. I’m here to tell you to stamp down those silly feelings and read it anyway because Chained is a book that deserves to be read. Sure, some of the things were a little hard to read about, but I’m still incredibly happy I got the chance to read this book.

It’s amazing the kind of depth and emotion that can be conveyed through an animal that doesn’t even talk. I loved the fact that Nandita was a real character. She had her own personality even if she lacked the words to express herself.

Hastin was such a strong boy. He was only ten when the story began and he was already stronger than I am or ever have been. He never compromised his integrity or his beliefs. He never gave up on his sister or his mother or Nandita. He didn’t even give up on Nandita’s torturer when given the chance. Everything about Hastin felt real, raw, and authentic. He’s definitely one of my favorite characters of all time.
The Nutshell: You may be tempted to cast this book aside thinking it’s not your type, but I encourage you to give it a chance. The bond between boy and elephant isn’t one you’d likely to expect to be interesting but Hastin and Nandita are proof to the contrary. Chained is a quick read that’s likely to push you outside of your comfort zone but that’s just all the more reason to read it.

Pages: 242
Series: No
Rating: Direct Hit