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Friday, September 23, 2011

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop September 24 - October 1

Hey guys. I am very excited to be participating in the Banned Books Week Hop, running from September 24th through October 1st. The hop is hosted by I Read Banned Books and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

Some info on Banned books Week from the ALA:
Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings.  Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections.  Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.

My giveaway:
I am offering ONE winner a $10 giftcard to the bookstore of his or her choice (book depository, B&N, books a million, amazon, etc) to buy a banned or challenged book.

Need some ideas of awesome banned or challenged books? Here are some of my favorites:
  • The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
  • The Giver - Lois Lowry
  • Gone with the wind - Margaret Mitchell
  • Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling
  • Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler
  • Matilda - Ronald Dahl
  • Crank - Ellen Hopkin

To Enter:
Leave a comment with 
- your name
- email address
- name of your favorite creepy or scary book

If you choose to follow me, that's awesome (I love making new bookish friends!),  but it is  NOT required! This is about sharing information about banned books! 

Now, hop on over to the other blogs participating.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spooktober Reads


I don't know about y'all, but there are a TON of creepy / paranormal / downright scary books that I've been wanting to read, SO I've decided to make October "Spooktober Reads Month" on my blog. I'm going to post my reading list here for you to check out, and you can expect to see reviews throughout the month of October. Feel free to make your own lists if you're in the Halloween mood! Now, what I'm dying to read next month....

 1. Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
(I've been waiting on this one all year!)
The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

2. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
(This one sounds delightfully I've heard great things!)
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself

3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
(This has been on my shelf for a few months, and I've heard AMAZING things;  time to sit down and read it!)
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.
When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

4. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
(Edgar Allan Poe!!! Need I say more?)
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when s5he 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 Allan 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 on it.

5. Sweetly by Jackson Pearce 
( I love retellings of fairy tales! )
SWEETLY is a modernization of Hansel and Gretel and a companion book to SISTERS RED.
Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.
Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.
Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
(I'm reading this one a second time, because 1. It's NEIL GAIMAN and 2. This is the best children's book I've EVER read, EVER.) 
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .
Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages

7. Beautiful Chaos ( Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
(This is another one that I've been waiting on for a year now)
Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?
For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.
Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

8. Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
(this middle grade book looks cute)

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.
That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable
Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.

9. A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
(This one might end up being just another angel book, but it looks interesting and is set in Colorado!)
On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.
In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.
A Beautiful Dark is the first book in a captivating trilogy by debut author Jocelyn Davies.

10. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan 
(A book about a stalker that also includes color photos? Count me in.)
In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him . . . messing with him . . . threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he's been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan's starting to believe it's Ariel that's behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself. Creatively told with black-and-white photos interspersed between the text so the reader can see the photos that are so unnerving to Evan, Every You, Every Me is a one-of-a-kind departure from a one-of-a-kind author.
11. Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon
(Just an FYI, this book is not YA! I've heard it's SERIOUSLY creepy, so I'm excited to start it!)
On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.
Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.

12. Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon 
(I've never read a book set in Ireland before, so this sounds great)

Their love was meant to be.
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRĂ­s.
But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

13. Carrie by Stephen King 
( My boyfriend said I had to put a Stephen King book on the list, so here it is.)
The story of misfit high-school girl, Carrie White, who gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers. Repressed by a domineering, ultra-religious mother and tormented by her peers at school, her efforts to fit in lead to a dramatic confrontation during the senior prom.

If there are any other books you think I should add to the list, just let me know!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood - Review

Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: August 30, 2011

Format: Hardcover, 316 pages

Source: Bought from Barnes & Noble

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered 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 outside of the ordinary: track, 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, now stained red and dripping with 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.
But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life. 
- Summary from Goodreads 

What I liked / didn't like / was indifferent about

  1. ( ) The Main Character(s) - I loved Cas. Sometimes males aren't portrayed realistically in YA fiction, but he was. He's stubborn, protective, and has a strong moral compass. I felt that his character was fairly straightforward, but Anna on the other hand was incredibly complex. I enjoyed finding out *why* she does the things she does. I even enjoyed reading about the secondary characters in the story, from Cas's cranky spirit sniffing cat to the new friends/allies he makes at school. 

       2. ( ) The Relationships (family, friends, romantic, etc.) - I loved the exchanges between Anna and Cas. They were filled with suspense, and you could tell that Cas felt an internal struggle on how to handle Anna. 
.     3. (  ) The Setting - I was surprised when I realized that this book was set primarily in Canada! I  generally don't envision Canada as a paranormal nesting ground, I'd usually expect those to be in the deep  south US or in London, but this book proved me wrong. On another note, I consider Anna's house a setting  within itself - it's definitely the most disturbing haunted house I have ever read about. 

4.     4. ( ) The Action/Plot - This book was filled with action. Some of it was related to Anna, but not all. I can't say much more than that without spoiling things. 

   5. () The Writing - Ms. Blake's writing is fluid and descriptive. I could perfectly envision the scenes she wrote. 

     6. () The Pacing - While there was plenty of action in the book, the pacing of the main story line was somewhat slow for my taste. We didn't even meet Anna until about 50 pages in.

        7. ( ) Uniqueness of the Story - This story was unique in that it was actually SCARY. There are few YA novels that can boast that. I've also never seen the ghost hunter aspect written about in YA before. 

      8. () Did the book make me FEEL something? - Most definitely. I felt for Anna. Pick up this book, and you'll know why!

9.     9. () Ending / Cliffhanger - I liked that this book didn't end with a HUGE cliffhanger likes some books do. Some story lines were tied up, while others were left open. Perfect, in my opinion.

        10. () The cover  - I LOVE the cover! I bought it in hardcover from B&N specifically for the cover. I love the image of Anna in her white dress with blood flying around. I also enjoyed seeing an actual picture of her house.
   Overall, I thought this was a fantastic debut! I haven't been this creeped out by a book in a while, and I can't wait to find out what happens next.
   Would I read this book a second/third/fourth time? Possibly, but I'm fairly sure I can remember what happened without reading it again.
I would recommend this to people scary movies, complex characters, and who can handle a bit of blood and gore.

Anna Dressed in Blood gets 9 / 10 caffeinated smiley faces        
☺/ 10


Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Review & Rating System

 My Review Style & Rating System

I have had my blog for a few months now, and I have been flip flopping around with my review style and rating system. I’ve been writing reviews in a paragraph format, but that really doesn’t fit my personality. I’m more of a list maker….in every aspect of my life. Taking this into consideration, I think I’ve finally come up with a review and rating system that I will enjoy.

I plan to rate every book I read on these 10 aspects:

1.    1. The Main Character(s)
2.    2. The Relationships (family, friends, romantic, etc.)
3.    3. The Setting
4.    4. The Action/Plot
5.    5. The Writing
6.    6. The Pacing
7.    7. Uniqueness of the Story
8.    8. Did the book make me FEEL something?
9.    9. Lagniappe category unique to each book
        10.The cover             

         I’ll give aspects of the book that I liked a smiley face             
I’ll give aspects of the book that I disliked a sad face       
I’ll use this symbol for aspects that I’m indifferent about. 

I'll also note whether I'd reread the book & who I would recommend the book to.

Bloggers, what type of review & rating system do you use? Readers, what type of reviews and rating systems do you like to see on blogs? Feel free to comment!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Top 10 Sequels I'm DYING to Read

Hey guys! I'm joining in on Top Ten Tuesday, an awesome feature hosted by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is... Top Ten Sequels I'm Dying to Read.

1. Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (March 13, 2012)

Demonglass ended with one of the most gasp-worthy cliffhangers I've ever experienced, so I can't wait to find out what happens in the final book!

2. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (April 28, 2012)
I loved the world introduced in Divergent, and am excited to learn more about that world...especially about the Amity faction!

*No cover reveal yet*

3. Fever by Lauren Destefano (February 21, 2012)

The writing in Wither was beautiful, and I'm anxious to see where the story goes. One of my favorite dystopian series!

4. Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (January 10, 2012)

Jessica's Rules was such a fun take on vampires, that I can't wait to find out what happens next! Luckily I was able to grab a copy of this at ALA, so I'll be reading & reviewing it soon.

5. Truth by Julia Karr (January 19, 2012)
The concept of "sexteens" was utterly fascinating to me in XVI, and I can't wait to see where Ms. Karr takes the characters in the sequel.

6. Smoke by Ellen Hopkins ( ?? 2012)
Burned is my favorite Ellen Hopkins novel, and I was SO EXCITED when I found out that she would be writing a sequel!

*No cover reveal yet*

7. Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (October 4, 2011)
Oh, how I love the tension between Nora and Patch. I've been waiting on this one!

8. Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (October 18, 2011)

My oh my, I have missed the descriptions of the small town of Gatlin and Amma's cooking! There was a decent cliff hanger at the end of Beautiful Darkness, and I'm curious to see what Ethan and Lena get themselves into next. 

9.  Endlessly by Kiersten White ( ?? 2012)
I was charmed by Paranormalcy and haven't even finished listening to Supernaturally yet, but I KNOW I will be anxiously anticipating the final installment in the series!

*No cover reveal yet*
10.  Name of the Star #2 by Maureen Johnson (2012)
The Name of the Star isn't even out in stores just yet, but I read and ADORED it and am impatiently waiting for the next book. 

Those are the 10 sequels I'm waiting on. Which are YOU most excited about? Let me know!

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