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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top Ten Books on My TBR List for Winter

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm super excited about this week's TTT. There are SO many books on my winter wishlist, and starting next week I will have a whole MONTH off from school and work to lounge around and read them. You guys don't even know how excited I am to be done with this semester. Grad school = rough. Anyway, on with the list...

Top Ten Books on My TBR List for Winter

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - A new John Green book? Umm, YES!!! I've already preordered a signed copy. Win.

2. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows - I've been interested in reincarnation for a long time + I've heard great things

3. The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder - This one sounds like a great contemp.

4. Everneath by Brodi Ashton - A dark supernatural with a mythological twist. I've been approved for Everneath on netgalley. Can't wait to dig in!

5. Fever by Lauren Destefano - I read Wither earlier this year and thought it was gorgeous. While there wasn't as much action as I'd have liked, I'm still desperate to read Fever asap.

6. Tempest by Julie Cross - Time travel! College aged kids! Action! Romance! I'm participating in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge ARC tour for Tempest, so be on the lookout for a review in the next month!

7. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood - It's been compared to A Great and Terrible Beauty. That's all I need to know. Want.

8. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons - Awesome new dystopian alert!

9. Truth by Julia Karr - I really enjoyed reading XVI earlier this year. I'm ready to find out where the story will go next!

10. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen - Another cute contemp! It's been compared to Anna and the French Kiss. We'll see.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Saving June
by Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlquin Teen
Release Date: November 22, 2011

Format: Paperback, 336 pages

Source: Received for Review through Netgalley

"If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again
    - Summary from Goodreads 

My Thoughts 
 
Saving June hit me hard. It made me think. It made my cry. This book is about so many things: death, hope, love, friendship, MUSIC, learning to trust. While reading Saving June, I lost a member of my family in a similar way that Harper lost June. It was gutwerenching and tragic, and you're probably thinking that I'd never want to pick up this book again. The opposite actually happened though. I liked and related to Harper, the main character of the book, from the very beginning. She appears cold and distant to outsiders, yet she is really insecure and unsure of how to express her emotions. After losing my own family member last week, I was able to relate to Harper on such a deeper level. I understood the breathtaking pain she was going through, the questions of "why did this happen? How could this happen?", the anger and the sadness. Being able to relate to Harper on such a deep level really helped to amplify the power of this book for me. Even without the personal connection I felt, the book is amazing. While the book is tinged with sadness, it also offers many moments of humor and hope. Because I have little faith in my ability to write a coherent review of this wonderful book, I present you with the top 18 things I adored about Saving June.

Top 18 Things I Adored about Saving June

1. Harper was a three dimensional character. She's someone that I could imagine meeting and being friends with in real life.

2. Harper's best friend, Laney. This girl has some self-esteem problems and needs a great big hug, but I loved that she was always there for Harper, and her sense of humor made me smile.

3. Jake. He came off as an asshat at the beginning of the book, but I loved him more and more as I read. He has a dry sense of humor, knows way more about music than most people will ever know, and he showed great tenderness towards Harper and Laney at the end of the novel. He's not one of those love interests who fades into the background. He has a voice of his own.

4. The fact that it made me cry. A book has to be powerful to manage that. 
 
5. Saving June helped my remember why I love music so much.  
 
6. Along those same lines, after reading this book I have a new understanding of Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton. After reading that particular passage in the book, I immediately downloaded the song from Itunes and listened to it twice in a row.

7. The roadtrip aspect. Who doesn't love a road trip?
 
8. Reading about Harper pushing and showing her way through a true mosh pit. I doubt I'll ever be brave enough to do that, but Harper held her own. 
 
9. The snarky, flirtatious banter between Harper and Jake. By the end, I was thinking "OMG. PLEASE just get together already!"

10. a mountain of refrigerators. That is all.

11. Harper's tenderness towards Laney was touching, especially since Harper is not a touchy feely person

12. Saving June is FUNNY. Yes, it is about suicide. Yes, it deals with grielf. The story goes way beyond that though.

13. I loved that Harper was able to capture people's emotions through spontaneous photography. (Although if she did it to me, we'd probably have issues)

14. The author captured a true sense of what grief really is

15. Best. Makout Scene. Ever.

16. Jake's van is named Joplin

17. Saving June made me happy to be alive.

18. The author included playlists at the end of the book. I will download these as soon as possible.

Do you see why I love Saving June so much? I do think the story would have been even better if some of Harper's polaroid pictures were included, as was done in Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. That's just personal preference though. Overall, Saving June was an amazing read. This book touched me in so many ways. It helped me cope with my own loss, it renewed my love of music, and it gave me a character that I was truly able to connect with. I am definitely going to purchase a finished copy of Saving June. It deserves a spot on my shelf. I hope you will give it a spot on yours as well
 
I'll leave you with two of my favorite quotes from the advance reader copy.  

"June is gone. For the first time, the enormity of that hits me. Every muscle aches, my heart most of all. I am throbbing with how much I miss her. It hurts worse than anything. I don't know how I'm supposed to be expected to live day by day carrying this kind of pain. I don't know how I'm supposed to go out there, spread her ashes and let her go."

"It hurts, but it's supposed to, because that's what it means to be alive. And that's comforting, actually. The realization that I'm not some robot devoid of emotions. That I still have the ability to feel things this brutally, this immediate and sharp."
 
5/5 Stars

Friday, November 18, 2011

Re-Readathon!


I don't know about y'all, but I love re-reading my favorite books...yet never feel like I have the time to spare. Lucky, Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner came to the rescue. She's hosting an informal re-readathon this weekend, and I've been looking forward to it for weeks now. I really don't have a set goal for number of books or pages read. I just want to relax and relive my childhood and teen favorites.

My Unrealistically Long List of Re-Reads

Looking for Alaska - John Green
The Giver - Lois Lowry
Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Louis Sachar
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour -Morgan Matson
Alice in Lace - Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (I've been reading this series for over 10 years now!) 
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins 
A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray 
The Nanny Diaries - Emma McLaughlin
I know that I probably won't even make it through half of these books, but I'm going to give it my best shot! I'll be updating this post periodically throughout the weekend, so if you're interested in my progress feel free to check back.

Progress

Friday - I read Sideways Stories from Wayside school in one sitting
Saturday -
Sunday -
Have a great weekend :)

2012 Debut Author Challenge!


I've just signed up for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Since I've only been blogging for a short while, this will be my first long term reading challenge. I am SUPER excited people! 

The goal of the challenge is to read at least 12 young adult or middle grade books by first time authors. I'm hoping to exceed that number by a good bit. I plan to read at least 25 books by debut authors.

I've read SO MANY amazing debuts this year, including Divergent, Other Words for Love, XVI, Saving June, Wither, and Forgotten. I'm looking forward to continuing the trend next year!

2012 Debuts I'm Impatiently Waiting For
Incarnate - Jodi Meadows
The Selection - Kiera Cass
Level Two - Lenore Appelhans
Everneath - Brodi Ashton
Tempest - Julie Cross
Under the Never Sky - Veronica Rossi

If you'd like to find out more about the Debut Author Challenge, click HERE

I *Finally* wrote an "About Me" Post


Hi :)

Welcome to my blog! I am a 22 year old girl who is completely obsessed with YA literature. I started this blog in June 2011, in an attempt to bring attention to awesome books and make friends who share the same love of reading that I do. I've only been at this for a few months, but so far I'm having a blast!

When I'm not reading, I'm busy working my butt off in graduate school. I will be graduating in May 2013 with a Master of Science in Speech Pathology. I. CANT. WAIT. I have always wanted to help people and have a challenging profession, so speech path was the perfect choice for me. I am either hoping to work with people who have suffered from Traumatic Brain Injuries (TMI) or with children who have impairments related to language and literacy. I've already spent time doing literacy intervention with clients, and I LOVE it. There is nothing like seeing a reluctant reader find a book that he or she is actually EXCITED and WILLING to read! 

When I'm not reading OR working, I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend and the rest of my family. I have a squirrel obsessed rat terrier named Katie and an unrealistic desire to have a pet velociraptor.

I'm always looking for more people to interact with in the blogging community, so feel free to leave a comment or look for me on twitter!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude Giveaway Hop! Win $10 giftcard!

Welcome to the Gratitude Giveaway Hop! This hop is being hosted by I am a Reader, Not A Writer & All Consuming Books.
The hop will run from November 17th - November 27th

After losing a family member yesterday, I am more grateful than ever that I have books to whisk me away to another time and place. I am also grateful for my blog and everyone who reads it. I LOVE interacting with all of you! Because of this, I am offering 2 winners a choice of $10 giftcard from any bookstore OR a book of $10 value or less from the book depository. 

TO ENTER, Leave me a comment with your:
- Name
- Email address
- Title of the book you are most grateful for

If you choose to follow me, that's awesome (I love making new bookish friends!),  but it is  NOT required! This is about sharing a love of books and sharing my gratitude with all of you :)

For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope yours is awesome! For everyone else, thank you for stopping by!

To enter more giveaways on the hop, check out either of the host blogs for the linky!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Eve by Anna Carey

Eve
by Anna Carey
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: October 4, 2011

Format: Paperback, 333 pages

Source: Received for Review through Netgalley

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, 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 Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life
    - Summary from Goodreads 

My Thoughts 
 
Initial Thoughts: I've read so many dystopian novels this year that I've lost track. Even after being bombarded with them throughout the year, I was still excited to read Eve. I hoped to immerse myself in a new fleshed out dystopian world. Sadly, that didn't happen for me.

Our Main Character, Eve: I'm sorry, but I just could not relate to Eve AT ALL. I understand that she led a very sheltered life and was lied to day in and day out, but she still just came off as a very weak and naive character. It would have been okay if she had grown as a person throughout the story, but she really didn't. She constantly relied on others to get her out of scrapes and didn't think about the consequences of her actions. People were hurt because of this girl! 

The Romance: While I enjoyed Eve's love interest, Caleb, on his own as a character, I didn't buy their relationship at all. At the beginning of the novel Eve is terrified of men and thinks they o absolutely no good in the world. Yet almost immediately after meeting Caleb, all of her preconceived notions have changed. I just didn't buy it. This was a case of "insta love" at it's best. Caleb needs to be given a hug though. He was a great guy who really cared for his makeshift family and helped Eve get out of trouble time and time again.

The Plot: The plot made no sense to me. I know why Eve was being chased, but the REASON for it just wasn't compelling. The novel felt like one long chase scene. I'm hoping that I'll understand Ms. Carey's reasoning in the next installment. I really can't go into more detail without spoiling, but if you've read Eve and want to discuss this, let me know!

World Building: The kingdom of New America was intriguing. In New America, a lucky few live a good life, but it comes at the cost of work performed by orphaned slaves. The few children, like Eve, who aren't forced into slavery right away are sent to boarding schools to await equally awful fates. Other than these few tidbits of information, the world building was thin. I wanted to know MORE. Who is this king we hear of? How did the situation really get this bad? What happens to the children who DO still have parents alive? I asked myself these questions and many more.

Final Thoughts: While Eve definitely isn't my favorite dystopian novel, I'm still interested in finding out what happens in the next installment. Will Eve grow a spine? Will I finally get more information on New America? WHY OH WHY do they want to capture Eve so very badly? I guess I shall have to wait and see. In the meantime, don't let my lackluster review of Eve deter you from checking out this book! If you are a fan of fast paced dystopians and epic chases, give Eve a shot! I'd be interested in hearing  your thoughts.

  2.5 out of 5 Stars

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top Ten Books I Read That Were Outside Of My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish
This week's topic is:
Top Ten Books I Read That Were Outside Of My Comfort Zone

  1. Harry Potter Series (J.K. Rowling) - Yes, I know this is blasphemous. When I was younger I refused, absolutely refused, to read Harry Potter. For one, my mom' lame boyfriend gave me the first book, which was a strike against it right off the bat. And two, I didn't think I could possibly enjoy a book about a boy wizard. Oh how wrong I was. Harry,  I'm sorry for doubting you. I was oh so wrong.
2. The Scarlett Letter - I was forced to read this when I was in high school, and I hated it. As Anne Shirley would say, The Scarlett Letter and I will never be kindred spirits.

3. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)- I thought The Hunger Games was a "boy book". The book had been out for a year before I finally read it. I kicked myself for holding off on that one.

4. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) - I read this one before I even reached my teens. Sci Fi is really not my thing, but Ender's Game fascinated me for some reason. Plus, it's a classic.
 
5. Jurrasic Park (Michael Crichton) - I read this one for Accelerated Reader points when I was in high school and ended up LOVING it. I know velociraptors are evil and whatnot, but I still want one.

6. Flowers in the Attic (V.C. Andrews) - Rape? Murder? Incest? All in one book? Gee, I wonder why this one was out of my comfort zone. I read this when I was a teen and couldn't put it down. Oh V.C. Andrews, what a twisted mind you have.

7. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb) - This one is a very emotional book in the adult genre. At times, it was disturbing to read. I thought it was great though.

8. Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell) - This length of this book was extremely daunting, but I do love Scarlett O'hara.



I can't think of any others that were truly outside my comfort zone, so I'll leave it at 8. Which books made you go "umm, I don't know about this."? Let me know!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In My Mailbox #2


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

Bought
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (LOVED IT)
Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson (Very curious about this prequel to Anne of Green Gables)
Incredibly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by  Louis Sachar (It's a classic!) 

Kindle

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday (Read in less than a day. Review can be found HERE

Review

 Wintertown by Stephen Emond (Received from Book Chic)

What did you discover in your mailbox this week? Let me know :)

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday


Deadly Cool
by Gemma Halliday
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: October 11, 2011

Format: Paperback, 320 pages

Source: Purchased on kindle

Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool.

But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim
 
    - Summary from Goodreads 

My Thoughts 

I don't know about you guys, but I loved watching Veronica Mars back in the day. (I sound like I'm 50). Anyway, Hartley is totally Veronica mars 2.0. She's sarcastic, funny, and isn't afraid to kick ass and take care of business when need be. She is, essentially, my favorite type of character.

The story begins with Hartley finding out that her boyfriend, Josh, cheated on her with the president of the chastity club. Cliche? Yes, but the author laid out the scene with such humor that I didn't even care. Even though her ex is a scumbag, Hartley knows in her heart  that he isn't the killer, and she isn't cold enough to let him take the fall.

Thus starts our adventure. Hartley teams up with her best friend (Sam) and resident goth bad boy (Chase) to figure out who the true murderer is. I loved Sam and her struggle throughout the book to stop "cursing like a sailor", as she called it. She was almost as snarky as Hartley and always had her back when questioning witnesses,dealing with the police, and trash talking Josh in the name of post breakup therapy. Unlike some YA books, it really felt like Hartley and Sam were true BFFs. I won't say much about Chase, since he's supposed to be a mystery, but he was definitely an interesting character who made me laugh (and swoon) a few times.

Now you might be thinking, "This is a murder mystery, so it'll be all serious and creepy, right?" No, it really wasn't. The story has a campy / humorous vibe with a few creepy moments thrown in. 

I know some people figured out who the murderer was before the book actually ended, but I didn't. I was happily surprised and creeped out when I realized whodunit. If you're looking for a fast paced murder mystery with a humorous twist, give this one a shot! Once I started reading Hartley's story, I couldn't put it down. The second book in the series, Social Suicide, will be out in April 2012. I can't wait to read about more of Hartley's escapades. 


  4 out of 5 Stars 

Have you read Deadly Cool? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top Ten Books I Had Strong Emotions Over

     


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week's top is Top Ten Books I Had Strong Emotions Over

Books that made me laugh until I was breathless:



Books whose beauty made me gasp/cry/insert strong emotion her
Books that made me feel happy and warm

           
 
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