Monday, August 27, 2012

Reading Challenges Update

I haven't updated the challenge page or done a challenge update in forever, so I thought I would do a little post and let everyone know how I was doing on my challenges. I chose three challenges for 2012, and I'm managing to do great on two of them.



Read 50 books in a year.

Books read for challenge: (so far)

1. Night by Elie Wiesel
2. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
3. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
5. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
6. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
7. Sailor Moon V.3. by Naoko Takeuchi
8. Perfect by Ellen Hopkins
9. Caged Moon by Rachel Deagan
10. The Night She Disappeared by April Henry
11. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
12. The Eternal Smile: Three Stories by Gene Luen Yang
13. Fruits Basket V. 1 by Natsuki Takaya
14. Fruits Basket V. 2 by Natsuki Takaya
15. Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
16. Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
17. Lessons From A Dead Girl by Jo Knowles
18. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
19. Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison
20. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
21. Bloody Chester by J.T. Petty
22. Watch Me by Lauren Barnholdt
23. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
24. Legends of Zita The Space Girl by Ben Hatke
25. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 4  by Naoko Takeuchi
26. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
27. Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
28. Harmony by Sonya Bria
29. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
30. Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
31. Defy The Stars by Stephanie Parent
32. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
33. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
34. A Bad Day For Voodoo by Jeff Strand
35. A Wrinkle In Time (The Graphic Novel) by Madeleine L'Engle Adapted by Hope Larson
36. Every Day by David Levithan


The Contemp Challenge: Read X number of books that are YA comtep from 2010, 2011, 2012. The number I chose is 5, so I read 5 books from 2010, 5 from 2011, and 5 from 2012.

Books read for challenge: (so far)

2010: Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

2011: Every You, Every Me by David Levithan, The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, Perfect by Ellen Hopkins, Watch Me By Lauren Barnholdt

2012: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, The Night She Disappeared by April Henry, Defy The Stars by Stephanie Parent,

**Debut Author Challenge: Read at least one YA debut novel in every month of the year and review it on my blog, with a minimum of 12 books in the year.

Books read for challenge: (will be updated as the year goes on)

January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:

FAILED DEBUT AUTHOR CHALLENGE

Have you read any of the books I have this year? Which is your favorite? If not, what is your favorite read of the year so far? Please let me know down in the comments. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review for A Bad Day for Voodoo by Jeff Strand

Title: A Bad Day for Voodoo
Author: Jeff Strand
Release Date: June 5th, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher (In exchange for an honest review)
Pages In This Edition: 252
Rating: 5/5 Stars

On the Cover:

A Bad Day For Voodoo


Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"When your best friend is just a tiny bit psychotic, you should never actually believe him when he says, "Trust me. This is gonna be awesome."

Of course, you probably wouldn't believe a voodoo doll could work either. Or that it could cause someone's leg to blow clean off with one quick prick. But I've seen it. It can happen.

And when there's suddenly a doll of YOU floating around out there—a doll that could be snatched by a Rottweiler and torn to shreds, or a gang of thugs ready to torch it, or any random family of cannibals (really, do you need the danger here spelled out for you?)—well, you know that's just gonna be a really bad day ..."


Review:

I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved this book. I had hardly any expectations for this book going in. I thought it might be a paranormal "boy book" with some gore, but nothing special. Boy, was I wrong.

For me, the thing that stands out most in this book is the voice. It's more like a person is telling me this story word for word, and less like a book narrative. And it works, and I love it. It drew me in instantly, and that's why I managed to finish this book in two sittings. Not to mention the fact that it was LAUGH OUT LOUD FUNNY. 

And I'm not joking when I say this. It literally had been holding my stomach in laughter. There were times where I would find passages so funny that I had to get up from my seat, stop reading, and find someone to show it too, so they could laugh with me. I just couldn't help myself.

This book also has me raving about it's craziness. When I thought the pace was about to die down, there was some insane plot twist that either had me laughing or had my mouth gaped in disbelief and horror. And though this book is tagged as horror (and not to say that some portions of it are not horrific) I found this book more on the dark humor side. It's bitingly sarcastic in every way possible, and I can tell that the author probably had a good load of fun writing it. At least it was easy for me to tell.

Oh and the characters were just grand. The hero of the story is super lovable, and his voice shines in a way that is incredibly believable. Adam is probably my next favorite (the best friend) because though he makes some REALLY REALLY stupid choices, he is that puppy dog type of character that makes you love him anyway, because you're afraid to kick him while he's down.

Overall, I would say this isn't probably for everyone, because it has a certain sense of humor and quite a bit of blood and guts, but if you think an outrageously fun adventure full of sarcasm is up your alley, you must give this book a chance.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review of Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent

Title: Defy the Stars
Author: Stephanie Parent
Release Date: August 1st, 2012
Publisher: Self Published
Format: Ebook
Number of Pages in This Edition: 325
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

On the Cover:




Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:


"Julia Cape: A dedicated classical piano student just trying to get through her last semester of high school while waiting to hear from music conservatories.

Reed MacAllister: A slacker more likely to be found by the stoners’ tree than in class.

Julia and Reed might have graduated high school without ever speaking to each other…until, during a class discussion of Romeo and Juliet, Julia scoffs at the play’s theme of love at first sight, and Reed responds by arguing that feelings don’t always have to make sense. Julia tries to shake off Reed’s comment and forget about this boy who hangs with the stoner crowd—and who happens to have breathtaking blue eyes—but fate seems to bring the two together again and again. After they share an impulsive, passionate kiss, neither one can deny the chemistry between them. Yet as Julia gets closer to Reed, she also finds herself drawn into his dark world of drugs and violence. Then a horrific tragedy forces Julia’s and Reed’s families even farther apart…and Julia must decide whether she’s willing to give up everything for love.

Defy the Stars is written in an edgy free-verse style that will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder; however, the writing is accessible enough to speak to non-verse fans as well. The novel’s combination of steamy romance and raw emotion will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman, Simone Elkeles, Jennifer Echols, and Tammara Webber. With a story, language and form that both pay homage to and subvert Shakespeare’s play, Defy the Stars is much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story"
Review:

I had little to no expectations going into this book. I had received a review request, and saw that the book was in verse. I'm a huge fan of verse novels, so I thought I would give this a try.

I loved it. It consumed me for two days. I couldn't stand putting it down, because I was so into the characters and plot of this novel. I play the piano, so I especially loved all the musicalness that Stephanie injected the verse with. If you don't know anything about music, I'm sure you could still enjoy this book, but some of the jargon may go over your head. But even if you've never even played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, you should give this book a read.

I can see myself in Julia. Though she makes choices throughout this novel that I would question myself, I can still relate to her because she seems so real to me. The way her feeling and emotions were described in this book make perfect sense.

Reed: the kind of guy that most parents would cringe at seeing on the arm of their daughter. He definitely plays the bad boy well, but he avoids falling into a lot of shallow stereotypes by having an amazing back-story, and backbone for that matter. I love male leads who can stand on their own two feet and make decisions. His story is super tragic. :(

The plot was great, and though I thought that maybe it dragged a tiny bit right before the climax, I was too in love with the characters to care. For being a relatively unknown book, the depth of the characters really surprised me.

I knew from the beginning that this book was a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but I still hoped somewhere in my heart that there would be a happy ending. I knew that I couldn't have one, and I'm actually glad there wasn't one. I don't want to give anything away, but the ending was bitter sweet, and perfect.

I really recommend this book to, well, anyone. Please give this a read if you have an ereader! You can find it on Amazon. :)
Saturday, August 11, 2012

Review of Legends of Zita the Space Girl by Ben Hatke

Title: Legends of Zita the Spacegirl
Author: Ben Hatke
Release Date: September 4th, 2012
Format: Paperback First Edition
Source: Publisher (In exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: First Second
Pages In This Edition: 224
Rating: 5/5

On the Cover:

Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"Ben Hatke brings back our intrepid space heroine for another delightful sci-fi/fantasy adventure. Zita is determined to find her way home to earth, following the events of the first book. But things are never simple, and certainly never easy, in space.

Zita's exploits from her first adventure have made her an intergallactic megastar! But she's about to find out that fame doesn't come without a price. And who can you trust when your true self is being eclipsed by your public persona, and you've got a robot doppelganger wreaking havoc . . . while wearing your face?

Still, if anyone can find their way through this intractible mess of mistaken identity and alien invaders, it's the indomitable Zita, in Legends of Zita the Spacegirl."

Review:

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl is the second in an amazing series of graphic novels by my new favorite author/illustrator. I had heard great things about this series and decided when the opportunity came up to review this second installment to give it a shot. I'm so glad I did! 

Never before have I loved the art style in a graphic novel as much as this one. As I was reading, I felt myself lingering on the pages for longer than need be just because of how detailed and amazing it was. The colors were rich and full and the lines were just curved enough to make it feel cartoonish. This helped add love to the characters that were already likable enough. Zita in particular, of course.

The plot was never boring, and just when you thought the adventure was going to stop, it picked right back up. I literally finished this in one sitting, which though not hard to do with a graphic novel, is something that seldom happens for me. And the end (which of course leaves at a cliff-hanger) leaves me just wanting more of Zita and her cute friends.

*A side note: My favorite character of all happens to be a huge mouse that Zita rides around like a horse. CUTEST THING EVER.

People who should read this book: boys, girls, teens, parents, and anyone with a fun-hearted soul. Actually let me re-phrase: everyone should read this book.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July Wrap-Up

Hi guys! This is my wrap-up for the month of July. I haven't done a wrap-up post in a few months, but I want to get back into doing them. I'll link the reviews I've done this month, so please check them out and comment. :)

Books I read in July:

1. Sailor Moon Volume 4 by Naoko Takeuchi
2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
3. Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
4. Harmony by Sonya Bria
5. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
6. Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
7. Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent

Numbers 2,4,5 Link to reviews. Please comment!

Also I got a Tumblr this month. I haven't used it much yet, but it would be so cool if you could follow me!
Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/its-me-alexis

Thanks guys! As always, feel free to comment below and link/tell me what you read this month or what you plan to read next month. :)


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review of City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (Spoilers for books 1-4)

WARNING! SPOILERS FOR BOOKS 1-4 MAY BE INCLUDED
Title: City of Lost Souls
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Source: Walmart (I know, I know)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Format: First Edition Hardback
Pages In This Edition: 534
Rating: 4/5 Stars

On the Cover:



Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace freed from captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing, so is the boy she hates: her brother Sebastian, who is determined to bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.
The Clave's magic cannot locate either boy, but Jace can't stay away from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith's magic has wrought - Jace and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other.

Only a few people believe that Jace can still be saved. Together, Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle bargain with the sinister Seelie Queen, contemplate deals with demons, and turn at last to the merciless, weapon-making Iron Sisters, who might be able to forge a weapon that can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. If the Iron Sisters can't help, their only hope is to challenge Heaven and Hell - a risk that could claim their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary is playing a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing not just her own life, but Jace's soul. She's willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series."

Review:

I'm in love with Cassandra Clare's writing style and characters. For that reason (and also because I need my yearly dose of Jace's amazing snarkyness) this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2012. The Mortal Instruments Series has long been one of my favorites, and this book was just another great addition to an already great series.

Let's start with the characters. I have absolutely love all of them. Jace and Magnus are my favorites because of their wit and humor, but every single character this author puts on the page has something that I love. The depth to her characters astounds me; it's like a onion that has endless layers to peel off. I have no idea how she keeps it all straight. She must have endless notebooks full of traits for all of her characters or something. I would love to ask her how she develops her characters. Also, how does she think up the funny as hell dialogue?? I bet she could write for a stand-up comic.

Pacing and plot: the first was okay and the second was great. The pacing was the only problem I had with this book. I felt like the first 200 or so pages were kind of slow, and the only thing that had me keep reading was the characters and the dialogue. Thank god it didn't last that way forever. By the middle of the book I was on the edge of my seat. If fact, I finished that last 250 pages all in one sitting. I was even posting chapter updates on Twitter because I was so excited. The plot was definitely great. Clare is great at crafting an amazing story. The twists and turns in the plot have me guessing all the time, which is super important in a book that is as long as this one is. I was sad at the end though because of a certain thing. Maybe this will be worked out in book six though. I sure hope so!!

This wasn't my favorite book in the series (City of Glass is) but it's still good book to read. Now all I have left to do is wait for book six to come out. A WHOLE YEAR. I'm going to die. Definitely pick this up if you are a fan of the series. Stick with the beginning and I'm sure you'll love it. :)  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review of Harmony by Sonya Bria

Title: Harmony
Author: Sonya Bria
Release Date: June 1st, 2012
Source: Publisher (In exchange for honest review)
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Cambio Publishing
Pages in This Edition: 234
Buy it: Amazon (Available as an Ebook) And Paperback HERE
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"A Curse.

It started with a curse centuries ago placed upon the House of Ulster:

One more powerful than I will come,
She alone will break the spell.
With her as guide the dark will align.

Destiny.
If someone told you that you were the key to an ancient tragedy, what would you do?

Sophie is a high school senior with only two things on her mind, graduating from Jefferson High, and moving on, leaving the death of her mother firmly in the past. But the past is not done with Sophie, and she finds herself suddenly thrust into a tragic, Irish love story centuries old. Does she have the strength to accept her part, confront her own past, and rely on someone long forgotten?

Ian is a vampire with only one thing on his mind...Sophie. For years, he has watched over Sophie, and protected her from the darkness surrounding her mother's death. He would like nothing more than to forget the past, but his fate lies with Sophie and her destiny. Can he help Sophie confront her nightmares and not fall in love?

Choices.
Sophie and Ian will discover that they also have a connection-something that could bind them together forever or rip them apart. What will they choose?"

Review: 

I hadn't heard anything about this book before I got the chance to review it (as is usual with books not published with the big six publishers) but once I heard the premise I became intrigued. I love books with Irish folklore/guys with Irish accents and so I thought this book would be a good fit for me. The only thing that had me worrying was that vampires were involved. More on that later.

Harmony started out fast paced enough. The prologue was super cool and all "back-in-time-like" and had me wondering where the story was going to lead from there. I think the pace was definitely what I liked most with this book. There never really was a point where we could sit back and relax as readers, because there was some kind of action always happening. I LOVE faced paces in books, so I was super happy with this.

Onto the characters: I liked some and disliked others. Characters I liked: Sophie, Ian, Max, and Emily. Why? These characters were believable and they way they were told in the story had me picturing it all in my head like it was a movie. I especially like Ian, mostly because I go head-over-heels for Irish accents and gentlemen, and he is both. Sophie is nice enough for a protagonist, even if sometimes I wonder how she believes all she is told so easily. And of course Max and Emily, Sophie's "human friends" were cute and though kind of one dimensional they did their jobs. Characters I didn't like: Grandma, and all the old characters from "way back when." Why? I don't like the grandma character for one reason. She does things that any person in her right mind wouldn't do. I don't want to give too much of the story away, but the way her choices are rationalized just don't sit right with me. And I don't like the old Irish characters because of lack of back story and overall confusion regarding basically everything having to do with them.

Reasons this book gets 3.5/5 Stars: Great romance, a good yet unpredictable ending, a spin on the now classic vampire YA paranormal romance thing, and a face paced adventure that has me wondering if there is going to be a sequel. If this sounds like your book, be sure to check it out!
Monday, July 9, 2012

Review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: September 27th, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages In This Edition: 417
Rating: 2/5

On the Cover:

Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"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 grows 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?"

Review:

When this book first came out, it had a bunch of buzz. Usually, for me, that means I'm going to love the book. So when after months of thinking about reading it but not getting a chance, when I saw this at the library I grabbed it right away. It sounded really interesting, so I was super excited. I read the first hundred and fifty pages no problem.

But then the romance entered.

I'm sad to say this is just one of those books that I had to skip large portions of to get anything out of the experience. The dialogue between Karou and her friends is great, and the world that Taylor created is so creative and creepy. But then LOVE had to happen and then I hated the book. It wasn't that I'm not a fan of love at first sight, but seriously, I just didn't like the way it was put together. I fell terrible for giving a book with such great opportunity and writing such a negative review, but I couldn't even really finish the book because the romance put a sour taste in my mouth for some reason. 

I wouldn't say this book was outright terrible, because there were moments where I loved the writing and such, but I just can't stand the way the couple interacted. If this book had more fantasy and less super predictable romance, I may have given it four stars, with the romance, it gets two. :/
Thursday, July 5, 2012

July TBR/Currently Reading


These are the books I hope to be reading this month! Feel free to link up your July TBR stuff. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mystery Blogoversary Giveaway Winners and Prize Reveal!

The giveaway for my first ever blogoversary has ended! I'm happy to say that there were about a hundred entries. :) Thanks to anyone who participated or spread the word. And now.....(insert drumroll) the winners are Sarah Cruz and Monica Lopez! I'm going to be sending them a email right after I get done writing this post and they have 48 hours to send me there mailing addresses before another winner is chosen.

And what exactly did they win? One of them is walking away with a hardcover of Dreamland Social Club by   Tara Altebrando, and the other a hardcover of The Death Cure by James Dashner! Since Sarah was the first name I drew then she gets to pick which one she wants. :)

Thanks again guys and here's to another amazing year!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Against All Odds Blog Tour--Giveaway and Guest Post


Today on the blog I'm happy to say that I'm a stop on the Against All Odds Blog Tour! I was instantly interested when I heard about the book (maybe partly because the main character and me share the same name.) Stay tuned a giveaway and guest post!

About the Author And Book:



Aliaa El-Nashar is a 21 year old girl studying languages at university. Grew up in Kuwait and is currently residing in Cairo, Egypt. Loves to read, write and draw.


"The Story revolves around:

Against All Odds-A boy called Damien who seems to have it all. He's rich, good-looking and athletic. He's also arrogant, obnoxious and a major player. Damien is one of 5 children who seem to not get along, until one day Damien meets Alexis and his life is turned inside out.

-A girl called Alexis who has trust issues due to her parents. Her best friends mean the world to her, and she refuses to date anyone that doesn't fit completely in her 'Perfect Guy' list.

They're thrown together a lot and start to face inner demons they've hidden away for so long." 
Check out HERE for the Goodreads link. 

Guest Post:

"Hello guys! I get asked a lot what made me write ‘Against All Odds’ by friends. The story is quite complicated, to be honest I never intended it as an actual book. After spending the summer of tenth grade reading every Meg Cabot my friend owned, as well as complete the ‘Harry Potter’ series she had owned at the time – not all 7 were out obviously – I had developed a craving towards writing. I used to write before, a lot actually, to the extent I had 5 ongoing stories on Quizilla. But I never completed any of them due to the fact that I have the attention span of a goldfish. However, that didn’t mean my style wasn’t improving, and I reached a level where my friends were actually interested in reading what I come up with.
My English class teacher was the best. No really, he was. He’d give us around 8 or so assignments per term and sometimes I hand in one or two. I almost never did my homework for that class because I believed creativity can’t be forced. If I wrote it because I had to, it was so mundane and dull so I refrained till I was inspired. It helped that the English teacher didn’t mind, just as long as two or more essays were submitted per term, so I was good. He’d wanted a descriptive essay, and one day – almost a month after he’d given us the assignment – I was inspired. I had the perfect plot, this girl staring into a fog of sand thinking her friend was lost to her for good. I then described her feelings, the atmosphere, her physical appearance and wrote a minor description to what led her to that point where she’s staring at said friend who nearly fell off a cliff.

As I was reading the essay before going into class, a friend of mine decided to read it as well, and for some reason she really liked it. She begged me to write more and so I decided to work on it. I gave the characters names and background stories as I thought of the plot that led to the cliff incident and how things turned after that.
I started writing non-stop, but most of my new entries were on my hard drive ‘Buffalo’ and as I was nearing the end, Buffalo died a tragic death. Meaning, all my updates were lost. I felt so upset for a while that I stopped writing altogether. I think it was the end of eleventh grade where I found my old notebook and decided to give writing it another shot, but as I started to reread the first few chapters I didn’t like where it was going, so I started fresh, cancelled out some characters and added others. New background stories were made, though the plot was the same, I just changed how they got there. In the middle of math class – and many other classes really, I wasn’t that fond of school - I would sneak the notebook under that table and start writing, where another friend saw me and decided to read what I was writing. She got interested and nagged me incessantly for new chapters, before I knew it, a few months later and voilà! The book was done!

~Aliaa"

And that's it for the guest post. Now for the giveaway! As part of the blog tour, Aliaa is helping me by giving away two ebook copies of her book! This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway for two copies of Against All Odds. Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blogger Spotlight (1): Princess of Pages

I decided I wanted to start doing posts where I spotlight a blog I love or a blog I have just discovered. So when this morning I found that a new up and coming blogger had highlighted me by nominating my blog for an award, I thought the best way to start doing these posts would be to spotlight her.

So the blog I want you guys to check out is.... Princess of Pages!! The author of this blog is Maria. She is just starting to really work on her blog, so I'm sure she would love some followers to help get it going. I haven't known her for long but she seems like a really sweet person who wants to share what she think about  books. So click the link and check it out for yourself. :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Stuck In Books #CleanUpTBRPile Read-a-Thon!

It's been known for awhile that I've been failing at finishing any books lately. I decided to end this. NOW. I best way (at least for me) to get reading again has been to take part in read-a-thons, so when I saw that Stuck In Books was hosting one, I decided to jump in! Check it out if you want to sign up, I don't think it's too late. Click HERE.

For this read-a-thon, my goal is to read these books:

Fated by Alyson Noel (For the love of God I need to read this already!!)
Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson (already a hundred pages in)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor (Can't believe I haven't read this book)

And, time permitting, The Hunt by Andrew Fuduk (ARC that NEEDS to be read!)

Wish me luck! You can follow by tweets about the read-a-thon @Bookish95 or the hashtag #CleanUpTBRPile !

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blogoversary Mystery Giveaway


So today marks one year of having a YA book review blog. To be honest I didn't know that I could make it this far without giving up. It was hard at times to post things when I really didn't feel like it, hard to finish a book I know I didn't like it very much but felt like I had to to give an honest review. But all those things are worth the rewarding feelings that come every time I post or review something on my blog. I want to thank everyone who has helped me over the past year by offering any kind words or advice. Also I want to thank anyone who has taken time out of their day to read and comment on my blog. You guys rock!

To thank everyone for all their support, I decided to to a giveaway for my blogoversary. Just enter below for a chance to win one of two mystery books! Since this is a giveaway for my blogoversary, you must be a follower to win. US RESIDENTS ONLY. (Poor Teenager. Sorry!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Secrets of the Vanmars-- A Guest Post

Hey guys! Today I'm lucky enough to host a stop on the blog tour for the new YA release of The Secrets of the Vanmars by Elisabeth Wheatley.

About the Author:

Elisabeth Wheatley started writing short stories when she was as young as seven years old. She began working on what would eventually become The Key of Amatahns when she was eleven. The story went through countless total rewrites until Elisabeth began working on what would be the final version when she was fourteen. When she completed the draft at fifteen, her parents (being supportive) sent her manuscript to a professional editor in West Texas. The editor, Suzanne O'Bryan, was so impressed with Elisabeth's work that she recommended it to a friend at a small publishing house, Chengalera Press. Chengalera Press was also very impressed and wanted to publish the manuscript. The Key of Amatahns was reviewed and edited by Professor Emeritus of the English Department at Southwestern University, Dr. T. Walt Herbert. The Kindle version of The Key of Amatahns was released on June 30, 2011, when Elisabeth was still fifteen. The paper version followed days later. Elisabeth is currently working on the second and third installments in the Argetallam Saga, while continuing to attend high school in the Texas Hill Country. Her hobbies include beekeeping, cheesemaking, mythology, and studying American Sign Language.


And now a post from the author herself about the writing process!

Elisabeth Wheatley--

How did you get the idea for The Secrets of the Vanamrs?

Excellent question. When I was working on the idea for my first book, The Key of Amatahns, I was already thinking ahead to the rest of the series.

At first, I created an imaginary world. I sort of had the intention of writing a story to go with it, but the story as well as the world experienced many, many total transformations before anything even remotely recognizable as the Argetallam Saga was created.

After I had been tinkering with the construction of my world for awhile, I decided that I would make my main character invulnerable to magic. Why? Because magic freaked me out.

Don’t get me wrong, I love books with sorcery and magic in them. But I am a big fan of the now cancelled TV series The Legend of the Seeker and the whole thing with the Confessors was scary. With one touch a Confessor could make you her devoted slave for life. Not cool.

Hence, my main character’s invulnerability to magic was envisioned. But having her be completely devoid of enchantment wasn’t fun either, so I gave Janir some of her own powers and magical abilities.

By the time I finished my first book, I had a very general, murky idea of what I wanted the future books in the series to be about. My original idea for the second book (it had no name at this point) involved a siege and large battles. While that might sound intriguing, when I went to write it, it came out all wrong and I decided to rethink the plotline.

I then wrote a completely different draft. It was nearly 300 pages long and it was total rubbish. The plotline wandered and there was no real point to the story. Fortunately, the worst scene in the book, (in my opinion, the worst scene I’ve ever written, in fact) didn’t make it past my brother, who came at me reading the scene out loud at the top of his lungs. A lot of my characters ended up looking silly in that second draft. (To my characters: sorry about that, guys!)

Over Christmas break, I barricaded myself in my room with tea and granola bars and set to work re-rewriting the book that I had now christened “The Secrets of the Vanmars.” My goal with my edits was to make the story more streamlined so that it wouldn’t drag, have a more focused and suspenseful plot, show character development, introduce a few characters I’d been dying to write in, and lastly, set up the scene for book 3.

Over three weeks I typed away in my room, until I emerged with a 261 page manuscript I prayed was better. Everyone who read my early drafts seems to think so and that’s a relief. But being a neurotic, insecure writer, I still have doubts.

About the Books:

Book 1: The Key of the Amathans 

Book 2: The Secrets of the Vanmars 

After her adventures with the Key of Amatahns, sixteen-year-old Janir Caersynn Argetallam returns home to find Brevia on the brink of war with a neighboring country, Stlaven. Her foster-father and even Saoven—a brave young elf warrior—think it will be safe at the castle where Janir grew up. However, while trying to unravel a looming mystery, Karile—self-taught wizard and Janir’s self-appointed best friend—becomes certain that there is danger in the mountains surrounding Janir’s childhood home and that it has something to do with Stlaven’s most powerful family, the Vanmars…









Thanks so much to Elizabeth for stopping by! If you want to know more about her or the books she writes, head to http://www.argetallam.com ! Feel free to comment on this post about if you've heard of this series, or what you think of teenage writing in general.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

June TBR



Books Mentioned:

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Fated by Alyson Noel
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

I thought I would trying adding videos to some posts. Feel free to let me know what you think of that in the comments. Would you like to see more videos? Or should by YouTube channel be a separate thing from my blog?




Monday, June 4, 2012

Countdown To Summer

Only a week and a half until summer! Now that I'm finally coming up on the home stretch for school, I hope to get lots posted this summer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blog Redesign

A few days ago I received an email from Cierra over at Books Ahoy/ Blogovation Designs telling me she really appreciated my efforts in blogging on her blog tours and supporting her. To thank me she decided  to give me a blog redesign. I have to say that I love it. I had been meaning to have the blog redesigned for awhile now, but I have been short on the cash needed. But thanks to Cierra I now have an amazingly nice looking blog!

Be sure to check out her book review blog (one of my favorites!):

Books Ahoy

And her blog design website (you can get a blog design just as cool as mine. ;) ):

Blogovation Design

Thanks again Cierra for all you've done! You're amazing. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review of Bloody Chester by J.T Petty and Hilary Florido

Title: Bloody Chester
Author(s): J.T. Petty and Illustrated by Hilary Florido
Release Date: July 3rd, 2012\
Format: Paperback First Edition
Source: Publisher (In exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: First Second
Pages in This Edition: 143
Rating: 3/5 Stars

On the Cover:



Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:


"A deliciously gruesome horror tale set in the old west.

This isn’t John Wayne’s heroic old west.

This is the real deal: a filthy, disease-ridden frontier populated by losers, lunatics, and murderers. And when you’re a skinny teenager with no family and a name like Chester Kates, your options are limited. It’s stand up and fight or roll over and die, so Chester, aka “Lady Kate,” is set to fight until it kills him.

It isn’t much of a life, but it’s at least straightforward.

Until things go all cockeyed when Chester is hired to ride his horse (also named Chester) to a ghost town and burn it to the ground. Except the ghost town doesn’t just boast a tidy collection of mangled corpses: it also has three living inhabitants . . . who won’t be budged. But Chester’s been hired for a job, and he’ll be damned if he doesn’t burn the town to the last cinder.

Thing is, he may just be damned if he does.

This horror-Western-mystery graphic novel will send a thrill—and a chill—down your spine. Funny, fascinating, and downright horrible, this is a book that keeps you turning the pages."

Review:

I love gore (even though I might not like to admit it) and love graphic novels (now that I don't mind admitting) so I figured this would be a good match for me. Bloody Chester is a western though, and I haven't really read many, so that was the one thing that I was apprehensive about.

This book didn't really wow me or turn me off to westerns. It seemed relatively to period, and the expressions seemed right for the time frame. Though the cursing was fairly frequent, I didn't might much because of the context, something I know that others will find offensive. The "N" word is used and the "F" word is used multiple times. Know that if swearing or racism even in period context bothers you, this isn't the book for you. The book also isn't for people who don't like a little blood and guts. But if you picked up the book and realized that its title was "Bloody Chester" and didn't think there would be a little gore then maybe you had unrealistic expectations. It definitely lived up to it's name.

Now to talk about the characters. One of the things I most enjoyed about this book was the development of Chester's character. You can tell in the beginning that he had little to no hope for the future and is willing to do almost anything. But as the story progresses, you can tell that he develops how he sees himself and the world around him, and he develops his own sense of self and of what's right and wrong. Though this graphic novel is incredibly short, you really manage a full range of emotion and development with his character. 

Sadly, I think the other characters weren't as developed as they could have been. The character Potter, for example, could have had been developed way more. From the small samples that I got, I could tell he was a witty and sarcastic person, but that's really the only side of him we see. The same goes for the character of Caroline. I really wish that we could have learned more about her life and seen more sides of her. 

The plot was fine, though the ending for me was a little weak. I also wished there was some more explanation. The way the whole thing was closed out was kind of vague. But maybe that's so the reader can draw their own conclusions. I usually like those open-ended type of things, but I didn't so much here.

The artwork (I can't go without mentioning this in a graphic novel review) was fine. I especially liked the artwork of scenes that took place at night. I really admire the shading and depth that went into them. The violent scenes had just enough detail to make you cringe but not to make you puke. I think that the characters could have had more expression on their faces some of the time, but overall the illustrations worked fine and added to the story as a whole.

Read Bloody Chester if you too like graphic novels and don't mind some swearing and gore. I defiantly need to put a note that this book (while having NO sexual content) probably isn't for kids younger than 14.

--Alexis
Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review of Watch Me by Lauren Barnholdt

Title: Watch Me
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Release Date: February 8th, 2011
Format: MP3 Audiobook
Source: Library
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Pages In This Edition: N/A
Rating: 3/5

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:

"Ally has everything under control. She’s about to move into a house full of strangers and have her life broadcast to the world, but as long as she still has her long-distance boyfriend, Corey, nothing can go wrong. Nothing, that is, until Ally starts spending time with her housemate Drew, the hot and sensitive guy who always seems to be around when she needs someone the most.

As suspicions and lies start pulling Ally and Corey apart, she’s not sure if she can trust anyone, not even herself. Ally is about to learn the hard way that life is what happens when everyone is looking, and it doesn’t always capture her good side…."

Review:

I hadn't listened to an audiobook in a long time and thought this one would be a good one to start with. (I usually love audiobooks that are chick lit or romance.) I got it from the library so I figured no harm no foul. 

This book was just what I expected it to be. Cute, light, maybe with a couple of good plot twists. The girls are cute and the boys are cute and everyone is cute. But hey, every once and awhile you just need a book like that. The reality t.v. twist was kind of cool. I couldn't even begin to imagine what it would be like to have a camera following my every move. Ugh. That would be terrible. That aspect could have been a bit more developed though. But it wasn't as if the book couldn't be enjoyed because of that.

The characters were not developed all that deeply. Especially the characters of James and Simone; even though they weren't super main characters it would have been nice to see a bit more of what they were like. My favorite character was defiantly Drew. I loved his back story and the way he seemed to view life. I also LOVED the chemistry with him and Ally.

In terms of plot, it was predictable. Comedy romance to a "T." I think I would have liked it less if I had just read the book and not listened to it. Since I learn best through sound, I can more easily pictures scenes when they're read to me. I could so picture this as a movie. I actually think it would be a great movie, or even a t.v. series. 

Finally, I can't do an audiobook review without talking about the narrator. I don't have the name of the narrator to Watch Me handy. All I can say was her voice was just a little annoying. Nothing too bad though, and I've heard way worse. After about a couple of chapters, you get used to it and it no longer took away from the story.

Overall, listen/read Watch Me if you like romance/Chick Lit and are in for a predictably cute story about a girl who just happens to find herself on reality t.v..

--Alexis
Saturday, May 5, 2012

Review of Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: February 28th, 2012
Format: Hardcover First Edition
Source: Barnes and Noble
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages In This Edition: 375
Rating: 5/5

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:

"I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,

pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite."


Review:

I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. It took me long enough (I didn't get a copy until two months after the release date.) AND I'M SO HAPPY I GOT ONE. This book was the follow-up to my favorite book possibly ever. Delirium was so amazing, I was actually kind of worried that there was no way a sequel could ever compare. I was wrong.

This book was un-put-down-able. It rushed ahead at a break neck pace so that I couldn't help but read it for hours and hours until I was done. I don't want to say too much about the plot since it is a sequel and I don't want to spoil it for the few who haven't managed to read the first book. All I will say is WOW. The beginning, middle, and end all managed to be equally amazing. The end was a shocker though. And a mega cliff-hanger. I can't wait for the last book to come out now!

As always, Oliver manages to develop her characters in a way that most authors can't. Lena is defiantly one of the top five characters that I've read. The way she grew throughout this book was astonishing. Because the story is told in alternating "then" and "now" chapters, the way the voice changes between the two perspectives until they meet in the middle is amazing. I wish I could write like that.

As a second book, the pacing was so fast. For me, the second book in a trilogy is usually the one that is the slowest. Now that the author has you glued to the characters, they must go through some long "journey" type thing before the final book where everything is wrapped up. But Pandemonium is just what the title states it is: pandemonium. 

Again I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling, but this book doesn't disappoint. The end (as in the last page) leaves such a cliff-hanger! I want the last book like NOW. So if you've read Delirium and haven't managed to read Pandemonium yet, you must!

--Alexis 
Monday, April 9, 2012

April TBR

I realize this post is quite late. But hey, I figured that later is better than never. I achieved moderate success with late month's TBR, so here's to this being another great month in books.

Here's what I plan on reading this month:

1. Fated by Alyson Noel


2. Torn by Amanda Hocking

3. The Devouring by Simon Holt (Seriously I've been trying to read this forever. I know it's good. I have NO CLUE why I don't just finish it already!!)


And I'll be lucky if I get those read. April is going to be a busy month for this girl!

--Alexis

Oh and feel free to link up your TBR for April.
Sunday, April 1, 2012

March Wrap-Up

It's the end of another month! That means it's time to look back at what I read and see how I did, and also link up the reviews I did this month.

I had four books in my TBR and only managed to read one of them. I did end up reading five books this month; just not books from the TBR. Though compared to the rest of the months this year, reading anything off my TBR is an accomplishment.

So here's what I read:

1. Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

2. Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

3. Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles

4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

5. Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison

Reviews of Books I Didn't Read This Month:

1. The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

I only posted three reviews this month. Hopefully next month I will read and review more! Feel free to click the links and check out the reviews I did in March. Also, if you do a wrap-up/start-up post for the month leave a link to that in the comment and I'll be sure to check it out.


Monday, March 26, 2012

What I've Been Up To: Reading Update/Book Haul

I have been reading some adult fantasy lately (Kim Harrison's The Hollow series to be exact) so haven't had many reviews to write up. I did receive one review copy and went to the library so I figured I do a book haul type thing and talk about what I'm reading now. :D

For Review:

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen


From Library:

Betrayals by Lili St. Crow


Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles (Already Read. Thinking about Review.)


Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford


You Against Me by Jenny Downham



Currently Reading:

1. A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison (Adult Urban Fantasay)
2. The Devouring by Simon Holt ( I NEED TO FINISH THIS ALREADY!!!)

--Alexis

What have you been up to in the reading world lately?
Sunday, March 18, 2012

Just Curious (PLEASE COMMENT)

I seem to have fallen into quite the little rut lately. I've been posting some reviews but not much less. So I was wondering what you guys wanted to see more of on the blog! Any comments would be much appreciated.

--Alexis

Review of The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Title: The Night She Disappeared
Author: April Henry
Release Date: March 13th, 2012
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (In exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: Henry Holt
Pages In This Edition: 240
Rating: 4/5 Stars

On the Cover:



Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:

"Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is."

Review:

I would have posted this review on the release date, but I hadn't released it had been moved from its original April release. I got this ARC back in the beginning of February, and read it right away because I simply couldn't wait to pick it up. And that's because April Henry is the kind of author that writes books that scream to be read.

I feel like the mystery genre in YA is kind of lacking. In fact, I don't remember the last time that I read a true crime mystery in YA. I'm not saying that there isn't any around, but not many. And that's exactly what The Night She Disappeared is: a crime mystery. It unfolds like a poisonous flower, and little by little we get to know more about Kayla's kidnapper. Let's just say he isn't the nicest guy around.

The characters in this are amazing. Drew is probably my favorite; he has had really hard time and doesn't try to pretend it hasn't affected him, but he tries to be a good person in spite of what he's been through. He is so muti-layered. It's amazing. And he's gorgeous.

Gabie is going through so much through the course of this novel, I'm not surprised with the emotional conflicts that come up. It's all very believable. She isn't the heroine that shows no fear; she's the one who shows it but still manages to push through it. That makes her even more enviable in my eyes.

As for the plot of the mystery, not much is left to be desired. Henry weaves a great story that I know I will want to read again and again, even if I do now know who the criminal is.

My only complaint (the thing that caused this to be a four star review instead of a five star) is the length of the book. It's just little short for me. I feel like the story could have built up a little more tension before the resolution. Or maybe that's just me wanting more of these characters. Who knows.

--Alexis
Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review of Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

Title: Darker Still
Author: Leanna Renee Hieber
Release Date: November 8th, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Won in Blog Giveaway
Publisher: SourceBooks Fire
Pages In This Edition: 317
Rating: 3/5 Stars

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:

"I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still."

Review:

When I saw this book on a lot of blogs at the end of last year it had me wanting to read it. But when I found out it was a historical paranormal, I was instantly turned off. Me and historical fiction of any kind usually don't get along. At all. I figured if I was meant to read this book I would some how stumble upon a copy. And then I won it in a giveaway on a blog, so I thought I would give it a try. It had gotten some pretty good reviews, so I thought what the hell.

The beginning for me was the weakest part of the book. Probably the first 100 to 150 pages were very boring to me, and the chaste historical romance not enough to keep my interest. The characters seemed kind of one sided also for a large portion of the book, and I craved more depth. When the romance started to pick up I got more interested, and the ending isn't too bad, so I ended up thinking the book was okay.

My biggest complaint is the lack of action for most of the book. Besides the climax of the story, it was just.... dull I guess. There were large portions where I found my mind wandering. I wanted the mystery part of the book to be a much bigger part then it was, and when the mystery was included I found myself coming to conclusions about what was happening long before the characters in the story did, which I find kind of annoying.

The romance in Darker Still left much to be desired for a lot of the book. I understand this is the 1880's, but I just like a little more recklessness I guess. By the end it was good though, and the romance ended up being a huge reason why I finished the book. I wanted to know where the characters were going.

So I might continue this series to see if the plot picks up the pace in the second volume. Now that the romance has heated up some, maybe it can hold my attention. Over all, this book was okay, and if you like historical (which I don't) you would probably like this a lot more than I did.

--Alexis

P.S. Have you read this? I would be interested in knowing what you thought in the comments.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review of Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Title: Embrace
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Release Date: March 6th, 2012
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (In exchange for an honest reveiw)
Publisher: SourceBooks Fire
Pages In This Edition: 367
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”

Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.

Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.

A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…"

Review:

I saw this book around the blog community and thought "Wow. That looks good. I should put in a request for it." When I did and got sent a copy, I was so excited. And for good reason; this book more than met my expectations. Once I had started it, every moment was just an excuse to go back to reading it, even if I knew I had other things I should have been spending my time on (studying for finals, doing housework, etc..) And that's because Shirvington has created a world that I'm definitely in love with. Head over heels.

The first thing that had me gripped in this book was Lincoln. WOW. Is he hot or what? It's pretty insane, and the chemistry between him and Violet is swoon-worthy. There just something about him that makes you wish you had a carbon copy of him to have as your own. And because one amazingly handsome guy per book wasn't enough, Violet meets Phoenix, a guy who is may be just as hot and amazing as Lincoln. I'm sure some people who read this will be like "Oh great, another YA love triangle. Like I haven't seen that before." But it's alright with me, because seriously, these guys are so great, I would be insulted if I didn't get to spend time with both of them.

And it's not like the romance is the only thing that goes on in the book. The mythology that Shirvington explains is the most explained and interesting of any "angel" book I've read in YA. It is believable and EXPLAINED. It feels like a lot of times authors expect you to know the back-story of their characters without any explanation, but Jessica does a great job of explaining. I really appreciate that. REALLY.

Finally, the plot is something you just can't help but want to flip pages for. It's fast paced and perfectly balanced with great romance. What's not to love? Not much. Except for one scene (I don't want to spoil) that seems to drag a little for my taste. That knocked it down from 5 stars to 4.5. Still, Embrace rocks my socks.

--Alexis
Saturday, March 3, 2012

March TBR

It's time for another round of hope Alexis gets her stuff together and actually reads what is in her TBR! Your host for this? Alexis herself. The odds of this happening? Hopefully greater than they have been the past two months.

Okay, I'm hoping that I can at least read SOME of these books this month. That would be great. And an improvement from last month. So here we go.

The books that I'm hoping to read in the month of March are (with some exceptions of course):

1. The Devouring by Simon Holt

This was on last month's TBR too. I've already started it, so maybe it won't be to hard to finish and get a review posted.

2. The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

I've started this one too. It's a cute middle grade that I'm hoping I'm going to love because it's based on the secret garden. I got an ARC of this about a month ago and the release date was at the end of February, so I really need to get this read.

3. Fated by Alyson Noel
I won this from Early Reviewers on LibraryThing, and even though I haven't received it yet, I know I'm going to get it this month and that I won't be able to stop myself from reading it, so I better just put it on this list. I know it doesn't come out until the end of May, but it just looks so good!

4. Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

I won this a month or so ago and was so excited to receive it. It sounds great and I hope to read it this month!


So those are my top 4 TBR books for March. What are you going to be reading this month? Tell me in the comments or leave a link to your TBR for March and I'll be happy to check it out!

--Alexis

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Wrap-Up (PS I Failed Again)

This month I told myself that I was actually going to read what I put in my TBR. And this month, yet again, I failed. I don't know how this happened. I had everything set up so that it would go smoothly, and then awesome books just had to make their way into my life and prevent me from going through with my plans.

Well, then. I'll guess I'll have to deal with the fall-out from that. That'll be my problem. Also, on one last negative note. I didn't manage to do many posts in February though I read quite a few books. Again, I would rant about a million things as excuses, but you don't want to hear that. But here's to me saying that I will do better this month!

Now let's get to the books and the links to the ones that I actually managed to review:

Books I read this month:

1. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon V.3 (Best volume yet!)

2. Perfect by Ellen Hopkins (Ellen at her best! I loved it. Hoping for a review in March.)

3. Caged Moon by Rachel Deagan (Check out my 5 star review: here)

4. The Night She Disappeared by April Henry (Release date isn't till April, so I'm holding off my review.)

5. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (Check out my review: here.)

6. The Eternal Smile: Three Stories by Gene Luen Yang  (WEIRD & Good Art)

7. Fruits Basket V. 1 & 2 by Natsuki Takaya (Super cute! Can't wait for more volumes!)

8. Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (EPIC. Review will be up the release date. March 6th.)

Review for books I didn't read this month:

1. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler 

And that's it for me this month. I think 9 books (if you count both volumes of Fruits Basket) is great for the shortest month of the year. The fact that I managed to read zero books from my TBR for this month isn't so great. (Check that out HERE) I'll have my next TBR up in a few days. Hopefully I can think it through and get it right.

What did you read in February? Feel free to let me know or link up your monthly wrap-up.

--Alexis

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review/Giveaway/: Caged Moon by Rachel Deagan

I'm so happy and lucky to be part of the blog tour for Caged Moon! Rachel has been awesome to offer an e-copy of her book to one lucky winner. Obviously, I love this book. So let's get right into the review. :)

Title: Caged Moon
Author: Rachel Deagan
Release Date: January 20th, 2012
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Author (In exchange for honest review)
Pages In This Edition: 253
Rating 5/5!!

On the Cover:
Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:

"Haunted by an animal attack, seventeen year old Charlotte feels she is being followed. When she runs into a mysterious boy while camping, she’s afraid. Nothing seems right about him. Despite trying to stay away, there is an unmistakable draw to be near him. Even his scent smells familiar. But the closer she gets, the faster the secrets begin to unravel. Not only is he not human, he may have a link to her past. When Charlotte finds out someone wants her dead, she is torn between love and fear. Can she trust him to keep her safe?"

Review:

When going in to reading any self-pub book, I always have the same sort of fears. Sometimes self-pub books can be really great, and other times they can...well.. SUCK. Luckily, this was a case of the former.

I COULDN'T PUT THIS BOOK DOWN. I believe this is actually only the second five star review I've given this year, and the first was to The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Yep. It's that good. I almost don't know where to start.

The first time I picked this up the night I got it. I wanted to read a few pages to see if I could get into it. After reading a few chapters, I drifted to sleep. (Not because I wanted to, but because I had to.) I woke up and went to school. Upon arriving home, I picked it up and didn't put it down until I was done reading it.

I don't know what I loved more: the characters or the mystery. I guess it's kind of a tie. But let's start with the characters. Charlotte: a girl that's very understandable even when dealing with a problem that no one has dealt with before. Liam: the most drool-worthy-hunk I've read about in a long, long, time. (I want him for myself. Charlotte seriously needs to back off.) Add a cast of extremely entertaining supporting characters plus a mystery and action packed plot that had me turning the pages as fast I could= THE BEST PARANORMAL I'VE READ THIS YEAR. Without a doubt.

By the climax, I was wondering what was true and what wasn't, who I should trust and why I should trust them, and what the hell was going on. I don't want to give too much away, but oh-my-god.

So if you're in the mood for a great paranormal/romance/action/mystery (and who the heck isn't?) then you should read this book. If you read, you should read this book. Now that I'm done with it, do you know what I want? Another adventure with this characters that's what. :)


--Alexis

And now.....It's time for the giveaway! (Who is excited? I know I am. :) ) Thanks to Rachel for the giveaway!
Monday, February 20, 2012

Review of American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Title: American Born Chinese
Author(s): Gene Luen Yang
Release Date: September 5th, 2006
Publisher: First Second
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Pages In This Edition: 240
Rating: 4/5

On the Cover:

Beyond the Cover:


Summary from Goodreads:

"A tour-de-force by rising indy comics star Gene Yang, American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable. American Born Chinese is an amazing ride, all the way up to the astonishing climax. American Born Chinese is a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring and a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year."

Review:

When I picked this up I had no idea what it was about. Misty from The Book Rat had been hosting a graphic novel week, and this was one of her picks for her favorite graphic novels. Usually I love what she recommends, so I thought I would give this a try. Also, since this is a graphic novel, I knew it wouldn't take me long at all to read it.

Within the trip home from the library and about ten minutes at home on the couch, I had finished this book. It definitely wasn't what I was expecting. What I was expecting was a light read with some great art. What I got was a look into what being different meant, and what some people who do to change it, and great art. I can't really same much about the plot, because the whole thing is kind of confusing until near the end. The end itself is something I could never have guessed. It's pretty crazy.

Basically (without trying to spoil anything), American Born Chinese follows three main characters on a quest to find themselves. It's full of funny moments, insightful moments, and great full-color art that had me wishing that I was better artist myself. :( Oh,well.

If you like graphic novels and haven't read this one yet (I can't believe I hadn't considering the fact that it won the Printz award. I LOVE Printz award winners.) then you NEED to pick it up. It's probably the most insightful graphic novel I've ever read.

--Alexis
Sunday, February 19, 2012

In My Mailbox (21), February 19th, 2012

It's time for an IMM! My first one of this month actually. (I've been slacking on blog stuff too much!) I think I'm just going to feature books I've gotten very recently though. It would be too many otherwise.

So here we go:





1. Caged Moon by Rachel Deagan: I've already read this and loved it. My review will be up on Wednesday. Also, maybe a giveaway... :D

2. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang: I've already read this one too. Review up next week probably.

3. The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim: Again, I finished this one yesterday. Weirdest graphic novel EVER.

4. The Humming Room by Ellen Potter (ARC): Haven't started it yet. I will try to read it this month though so I can have a review up on the release date!

5. The Night She Disappeared by April Henry (ARC): I read this in one day. It doesn't come out till April though, so no review for awhile. (IT WAS AMAZING.)

6/7. Fruits Basket V.1&2 by Natsuki Takaya


That's it for me this week! What did you get in your mailbox? Let me know in the comments or leave a link to your IMM and I'll be sure to check it out. :)

--Alexis

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Hi my name is Alexis and I'm so excited to be heading to Oregon State University in the fall. I will be majoring in English and hope to become an editor or technical writer in my future.

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With Beyond the Cover, I want to help people interested in YA with a resource to refer to. This blog will be composed of reviews as well as other book related subjects.



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