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)














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 ..."


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"

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."


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!

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. :)

About Me

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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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Alexis has read 22 books toward her goal of 50 books.

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