November 27, 2012

Top Ten most anticipated 2013s

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 Most Anticipated Books For 2013 (singles/debuts/beginnings)

I only included singles/debuts/beginnings in my list because it'd be unfair if I included all the awesome sequels and finales coming out. And yet...I still couldn't stop at 10 :P

1. Plus One by Elizabeth Fama
The Day and Night populations sound like such a cool concept. I don't even really know that much about it, but the concept sounds neat.

2. In the After by Demitria Lunetta
1) It sounds like aliens. 2) I like the idea of a baby being involved without someone being pregnant  It's something I've never seen before.

3. Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown
I don't really get uber excited about contemps, but I feel like sexting is something that's rarely touched on despite the fact that it's become a pretty big thing these days.

4. Prophesy of Oz by Megan Shan
The Wizard of Oz was never my favorite story or anything, but I'm really intrigued by the idea of a sort of sequel.

5. Rush by Eve Silver
Aliens? A game that determines life or death for the whole planet? Outer. Space? Um, yes, I think so.

6. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
What are these mysterious waves? And are they zombies or aliens? Or alien-zombies?! It's safe to say I'm intrigued.

7. The Program by Suzanne Young
To be quite honest, it's basically a combination of Suzanne Young, the cover, and the title. I love anything that has something to do with a "Program" of any kind.

8. Taken by Erin Bowman
We've got a mysteriously wall that nobody can cross and disappearing boys. How could I not want to read it? I NEED to know what's on the other side of the wall!

It's a Rumpelstiltskin retelling! Like, for reals, guys.

10. After Eden by Helen Douglas
I'm really intrigued by this one because it's a little similar to a dream I had not that long ago and wanted to write about. Plus, I just love other planets.

11. Monsters by Tom Leveen
I don't need to know anymore than this: "A YA horror/thriller about a group of teens stranded inside 
their high school during a mysterious, deadly epidemic."

12. Splintered by A.G. Howard
Alice. In. Wonderland.

13. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Guys, guys, guys! It's like a ghost library thing! Liiibrary, I say. Library.

November 23, 2012

Envy by Gregg Olsen {Review}

Publisher: Splinter
Publish Date: August 23, 2011
Source: Publisher for honest review

Crime lives -- and dies -- in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (a.k.a "Empty Coffin"), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen -- and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic "twin sense" to uncover the truth about the town's victims and culprits.
Envy, sadly, didn’t captivate me.

Envy takes third-person omniscient to the extreme. The book followed so many characters that I had trouble remembering them all and keeping their names straight. I understand what Olsen was trying to do in getting all the side-stories to come together in the end to provide a clear picture, but it just didn’t do that for me. I got bored and distracted by all the side-stories constantly wondering when I was actually going to find out anything about Katelyn’s death.

The mystery wasn’t all that captivating in and of itself either. First of all, I found almost everything unconvincing since they ruled the girl’s death an accident due to espresso machine. Maybe I know nothing and some people really do make coffee in their bedrooms or bathrooms, but it just seemed completely absurd to me. Another thing that didn’t really work for me was The Accident. It was constantly being built up and built up and then it just seemed to amount to very little.

Another thing that bothered me was the fact that it’s classified as YA but despite the fact that it has quite a few teenaged characters it often felt more Adult. Characters were often talking about the sex lives of the adults in town and their secret behind-closed-doors lives. It didn’t really work for me.
The Nutshell: My opinions are my own, so someone else might not have the same issues as I did, but I still have to say that I won’t be recommending Envy.

Pages: 285
Series: Empty Coffin #1
Rating: Miss

November 19, 2012

Have Your Cake and Read it Too {2}

Have Your Cake and Read it Too will take a book and pair it with a food whether it be savory or sweet. For now, it'll be sporadic, but depending on how much you guys like it, it may become a usual thing :]

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 catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

I know it's an obvious choice, but how could I resist?

Baked Alaska
recipe from Saveur


For the filling and cake:
2 pints strawberry ice cream, slightly softened
Unsalted butter, for pan
½ cup cake flour, plus more for pan
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. grated lemon zest

For the meringue:
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
4 egg whites
½ cup sugar


1. For the filling: Line a 7″-diameter bowl with a 15″ piece of plastic wrap, allowing excess to hang over rim of bowl. Pack ice cream into bowl, smoothing top, and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours.

2. For the cake: Heat oven to 325°. Grease and flour an 8″ round cake pan; set aside. Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl; set aside. Beat sugar and eggs in a bowl on medium-high speed of a hand mixer until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Stir in juice and zest; fold in flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool completely, invert onto a rack, and set aside.

3. For the meringue: Heat oven to 450°. Place cream of tartar and egg whites in a large bowl; beat on medium speed of a hand mixer until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Add sugar, and beat until stiff but not dry peaks form, about 2 minutes.

4. To serve, place cake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Invert ice cream onto cake and peel off plastic. Cover ice cream and cake with meringue. Bake until meringue begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Using 2 metal spatulas, transfer to a cake plate and serve immediately. 

November 16, 2012

Liked and Shared {2}

Liked and Shared is a new feature I'll be trying out. Basically, I find something I like and share it with you guys!

Source, Chibird
I may not go to school anymore, but this was definitely me. Sure, I've still got bits and pieces up there, but nowhere near as much as I "learned." 
It reminds me of a Pepper Ann episode (did anyone else watch that) in which she visualizes a vast room full of filing in her head that's completely full of everything she's ever learned, but she can't really find anything because it's such a mess :P

And now I have the intro song stuck in my head, so I thought I'd share :P

November 15, 2012

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour {Review}

Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Publish Date: February 16, 2012
Source: Library
Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans -- and Colby -- to start college n the fall.
But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing n small towns and dingy venues, while roadie-Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?

Maybe there’s something wrong with me, because while reading The Disenchantments I never wanted Colby to forgive Bev. This might come from the fact that I’m a terrible grudge holder, but part of it’s also due to the fact that Bev treated him horribly.

I’ve been through my fair share of best friend fights and at least one or two was due to the fact that they were starting to keep things from me and grow apart so I can definitely feel for Colby in that aspect. I felt so sorry for him when Bev started pulling away. She did thing after thing that hurt him and I just wanted to tell her off.
Which brings me to Bev. Quite honestly, I didn’t like her and I never ended up liking her despite the ending. Maybe I’m alone in this or maybe that’s the way LaCour wanted it, but it’s definitely how I felt.

I loved the how the road trip was not only a literal journey, but an emotional journey for all the characters too. It wasn’t just our main character, Colby, who went through changes, but all of them which I thought was really neat. Side characters can usually be done with or without. Sometimes they’re just there for advice, sometimes for comic relief, and sometimes for no other reason than the main character needs friends, but that’s not the case with The Disenchantments. Meg, Alexa, and Bev all make their own personal journeys.
The Nutshell: If you love road trips, great side characters, literal and emotional journeys, small towns, and watching one boy go through a multitude of emotions for one girl then The Disenchantments is definitely a book for you.

Pages: 307
Series: No
Rating: Hit

November 14, 2012

Cover Lover {64}

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 Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Publish Date: August 15, 2013 (I know, it's forever away)
When I first saw this cover it immediately caught my eye. First of all, I love that fact that there's people, but they're teeny tiny and really far away. Plus, it looks like it might be an important scene in the story. I also like the cliff with the crashing waves and the dark look of it all. BUT my favorite part of the entire cover is definitely the title. It's all flowy and huge and awesome! I wish more covers focused on prettying up the title like this one.

November 12, 2012

The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver {Review}

Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Publish Date: October 2, 2012
Source: The lovely Heidi :]
One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-loving, and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different.
When Liza's brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The Spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his mind.
She knows, too, that she's the only one who can save him.
To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with litle more thn her wits and a broom. There, she uncvers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the Spindlers' nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests -- or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.
I’m sad to say I was a tad disappointed by The Spindlers, but I think that’s completely due to the fact that I idolize Miss Oliver. It really was a cute, quick adventure. That’s another thing: it took me a little over two days to finish when it really should’ve taken me a couple hours. Not the book’s fault, of course, but it didn’t exactly add to my enjoyment.

I found the writing to be a bit off at times. It was rather whimsical and childish in the way of repeating and odd grammar choices, but that doesn’t really mean it’s bad. In fact, I often like that kind of writing in my middle grade, but I think I wasn’t in the right mood for it this time around.

I rather appreciated Liza’s commitment to finding Patrick. She didn’t once think “well Patrick can be a bit annoying at times…” or “maybe I’d like being an only child…” She traveled through dangerous situation after dangerous situation to save her admittedly annoying brother. I also quite liked the fact that she went Below scared out of her wits. She didn’t go charging in all brave and awesome (which is cool in its own right, of course) but instead kept pushing on again and again despite her fears.

I definitely have to hand it to Oliver on her crazy world-building, though. The world Below is crazy and wonderful and awesome. I mean, we have creatures that protect us and give us dreams; troglods who are kind of like gnomes but steal little trinkets from homes like socks and glasses; glowworms who act as lighting for the underground world; and of course, the creepy and disturbing Spindlers themselves. I don’t want to go into too much detail and ruin it, but I’m definitely left wondering where Oliver comes up with these things!
The Nutshell: I didn’t enjoy The Spindlers as much as I’d hoped, but I think it’s my fault, really. In fact, I may revisit Liza’s story one day to see if I enjoy it more. And though I may not have enjoyed it as much as I could have I did still enjoy it. It’s a quick, fun read if you’re looking for a fantastically imagined world and a good adventure.
Pages: 256
Series: No
Rating: Near Miss/Hit

November 11, 2012

Have Your Cake and Read it Too

I was trying to think up something new for my poor monotonous little blog the other day and while I was slicing celery and carrots it hit me: books + food! First of all, cooking is another passion of mine, so the combination should have been obvious all along. And second, who doesn't love food?

So, this is the end product of that little idea. Have Your Cake and Read it Too will take a book and pair it with a food whether it be savory or sweet. For now, it'll be sporadic, but depending on how much you guys like it, it may become a usual thing :]


Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Since there's all the craziness with the Lunar People I thought moon pies would be the perfect accompaniment to Cinder.

Moon Pies
Recipe from Browneyed Baker (previously from Food and Wine)

For the Cookies:
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
For the Marshmallow Filling:
2 egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
Pinch salt
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
For the Chocolate Coating:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
¼ cup vegetable oil


1. To Make the Cookies: With a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, add the egg and the vanilla extract, and beat to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour and the salt, and mix just until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough in two, shape into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line at least two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside. Working with one disk at a time, roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2½-inch diameter round cutter, cut out the rounds and place them on the prepared baking sheets, about ½ an inch apart. Refrigerate the cookies (on the baking sheets) for 10 minutes.
3. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on the pans for a couple of minutes, and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
4. To Make the Marshmallow Filling: Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the the egg whites with the cream of tartar and the salt until firm peaks form, gradually increasing from medium-low speed to medium-high speed as the egg whites gain volume. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, boil the corn syrup over high heat without stirring until it registers 230 to 235 degrees F on a candy thermometer (thread ball stage). Slowly drizzle the hot corn syrup into the egg whites and beat at high speed until glossy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, beat in the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar.
5. Using either a pastry bag or a spoon, mound about 1½ tablespoons of marshmallow filling into the center of a cookie. Top with another cookie and press lightly to spread the marshmallow to the edges. Add another mound on top of the second cookie, and top with another cookie, again pressing slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Repeat with the rest of the cookies.
6. To Make the Chocolate Coating: Using a double boiler or in the microwave on 50% power and in 30 second increments, melt the chocolate and vegetable oil together until completely smooth. Place the assembled cookies on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax paper. Spoon the melted chocolate over each cookie so that it runs down the sides and covers most of the cookie. Allow to set at room temperature for about 2 hours (or refrigerate to speed up the process). Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

November 9, 2012

Liked and Shared {1}

Liked and Shared is a new feature I'll be trying out. Basically, I find something I like and share it with you guys!

Yeah, this pretty much sums me up completely. I love the outdoors...when I'm inside :P

November 8, 2012

Velveteen by Daniel Marks

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: October 9, 2012
Source: Author sponsored book tour for honest review
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem.
The problem is she landed purgatory. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven. It's gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what's really on her mind.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It'll be brutal...and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen's obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she's willing to take -- except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can't  help herself when it comes to breaking rules...or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

My luke-warm feelings towards paranormal strike again. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Velveteen, because I did. I just never really got invested in the story.

I liked the idea of purgatory and how dark and dreary it was. Marks manages to shove creepiness into every nook and cranny of the story and purgatory certainly doesn’t escape it. Case in point: souls are all glowy so in order to not run around burning everyone’s retinas, they rub ash all over themselves. Gross, yes? Then we have disturbing descriptions of Bonesaw and what he does, zombies (but, you know, the controlled kind), and even large swarms of flies that eat souls. So, if you’re squeamish, I’d suggest staying far, far away from Velveteen.

Can I just complain about the guy on the cover for a second? You see a guy on a cover and you assume he’s the love interest, yes? Well, that’s most certainly not the case this time. There was a guy introduced towards the beginning who had a similar description as the guy on the cover, but he was said to be in his late twenties (or something like that). So, even after the real love interest was introduced I kept thinking that despite how weird it would be that the other guy would end up being the L.I. since he’s on the cover. I’m here to tell you this is not the case.

Now for the characters. I didn’t really connect with any of them. I admired Nick’s persistence and Velvet’s sarcasm but I never really felt invested in them. It actually kind of drove me nuts how Velvet was constantly pushing Nick away. I just wanted to tell her that you shouldn’t treat guys who are basically throwing themselves at you (in a cute way) that way.
I really liked all the side characters, though. They may not have gotten to be a huge part of the story, but I liked them all. In fact, in the acknowledgements Mark says Velveteen was inspired by a middle grade short story about Luisa. I’d totally love to read a companion from Luisa’s point of view! She was my favorite character out of the whole story :]

Also? I kind of called the bad guy from the beginning.
The Nutshell: While Velveteen wasn’t a favorite of mine, I still think it was good. Paranormal lovers will more than likely enjoy it since it has all the makings for a good paranormal (romance, ghosts, body possessing, mysterious happenings) with bonus gore. Velveteen certainly isn’t your typical cookie-cutter paranormal romance. If you get squeamish, I’d suggest staying far away, though ;]
Pages: 464
Series: Velveteen #1
Review: Near Miss

November 7, 2012

Cover Lover {63}

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 Alice in Zombieland by Gena Sholwater.
Publish Date: September, 25, 2012
I love everything about this cover. I love the overall black look with the splash of blue from Alice's dress. I also really like the look on the model's face. She's not being all angsty, she's just looking off in a rather curious way which is pretty perfect for Alice. And the border itself is gorgeous. I love the way the four suits are integrated as well. Plus, the actual book is awesome as well. The cover is a gorgeous green with "off with their heads" stamped into it.

November 5, 2012

I think it's for real this time.

When did that happen??
Remember that time I said I was back for good and then just kind of dropped off the face of the planet again? Yeah, sorry about that. I promise it wasn't intentional. Please accept this cupcake as a token of my appreciation:
I had every intention to come back and then my computer charger just caught on fire and that was that. I had to wait an entire month before I could get a new (to me) computer and I swear I almost lost my mind. I still had internet connection since I have my Nook Tablet, but it's just not the same, guys! 

In the end, it kind of turned out to be a good thing, though. I still wasn't really feeling the blogging love when I came back before. All that time where I actually DIDN'T have the option of blogging made me a little itchy, though. I missed my blog and all my lovely followers :D

So, this is my official coming back. It still may be a little sparse for a while as I try to get used to my new computer and get back into my groove, but I promise there will actually be posts now ;]

I shall leave you with this awesome graphic: