Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (43) and What Are You Reading?

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

For review:
Dael and the Painted People by Allan Richard Shickman
Bought:
A Game of Thrones boxed set by George R.R. Martin
A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian
What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
Scars by Cheryl Rainfield
Eon Allison Goodman
Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman (My review)
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (My review)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (My review)
Supernaturally by Kiersten White
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dina Bucholz
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Blogs and bloggers mentioned:
Mitali of Alley of Books
Ashley of Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing
Jordyn of Ten Cent Notes
Misty of Book Rat

Read:
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
The Girl Who Was On Fire edited by Leah Wilson
Cut by Patricia McCormick
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Currently reading:
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Alone Together by Sherry Turkle
Truth & Dare edited by Liz Miles
What I plan to read:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Contagion by Joanne Dahme
The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Meg Cabot Signing

Those of you who follow this blog regularly likely know that I am a huge Meg Cabot fan. I’ve her books since my pre-teen years. When I heard that she would be visiting Edina, Minnesota I immediately flipped out. Even though it had been a few years since I’d picked up one of Meg’s novels, I knew there was no way I could miss this chance.


The signing was held in Barnes and Noble in Edina. Since it’s about a forty minute drive from my house to Edina, so I spent my day running errands and seeing friends in the cities. I arrived at the store a few hours early and passed my time enjoy a delicious panini and starting Insatiable. An hour before the signing I got a front row seat, and was soon after joined by Alison of Alison Can Read. I had never met Alison before, and we hadn’t formally agreed to meet up, but I recognized her because I had just friended her on GoodReads. We quickly got to chatting and the hour before the signing passed by very quickly.

By the time Meg Cabot came out, there was a pretty good crowd gathered. If you ever get the chance to meet Meg Cabot, you need to go! Not only was she very cute and sweet, Meg was also insanely hilarious. She told the story of how she got started writing about vampires, talked about meeting Anne Hathaway at the premiere of The Princess Diaries, and took questions from the audience. After that, it was time to get our books signed!

Meg was incredibly nice. I told her I’d been reading her books for ten years, and she said it was always nice to see readers who’d been reading for so long. Because Meg is so popular, attendees were only allowed to bring three books through the line at once. So once I had three of my books signed and everyone had a turn, brought up a few more I had with me. Meg was very gracious about signing so many books. I had brought my copies of The Princess Diaries, All American Girl and Insatiable to be signed, but also walked away with new copies of Overbite, Airhead, Size 12 is Not Fat and Abandon.


I capped my evening off by listening to The Princess Diaries soundtrack on the drive home. It seemed fitting. Meeting Meg in person was such an amazing experience! If you have the chance to meet her, don’t let it pass you by!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Best of 2011 Thus Far

Hey everybody! Misty over at Book Rat started this tag. I would've made a vlog, but my books are spread out amongst two houses. If you click on the photos of the covers, you'll be taken to my reviews of the books (unless I have not reviewed said book, then you'll be taken to the GoodReads page). I hope you enjoy, and let me know if you make your own 2011 Thus Far post!

1.) Book you're an evangelist for

I had the opportunity to read a copy of this book through Teen Book Scene. Now, I know I don't have a review up yet, but you should have heard me ranting and raving on Twitter as soon as I finished this one. I fell head over heels in love. Virtuosity is beautiful, tragic, hopeful and poetic. Just an absolutely brilliant book. I implore you--pre-order this book today. Don't even finish reading this post. Seriously, you'll have time to finish it after you pre-order Virtuosity.

2.) Most surprisingly good book

I know. What rock have I been living under that I waited until 2011 to read Vampire Academy? Until I'd read this book, the cover and title screamed, "Cheesy!" to me. Oh, how I've been proven wrong. Not only did this book have kickass heroine and just a little bit of sexytimes, I could not put it down during the second half.

3.)Biggest disappointment so far

The Anti-Prom was just too cheesy and infeasible for me. I wanted to like it, but found myself cringing a bit while I was reading it.

4.) Funniest

Bleeping hilarious! Evie is an incredibly fun and lovable. There was one exchange between Evie and Lend in this book where Lend was telling Evie about being a normal teenager. I won't ruin it for you, but I will say that I promptly burst into hysterical laughter and could not stop for at least ten minutes.

5.) Favorite cover

Yes, I love this cover because it has excellent symbolism. However, I'm also a sucker for the purple backdrop, the pretty pink lines and Rhine's dress. It's so beautifully done overall. Plus, let's not forget that this book is fantastic.

6.) Favorite character


Ladies and gentlemen, we have a three way tie on our hands. I've already said what I love about Evie. Kat is a strong female character, but her insecurities are realistic. I also loved Hale because he acts a little but cocky, but also has an incredibly sweet side. And can we talk about the tension between Kat and Hale? I can't wait to see where things between them go in Uncommon Criminals.

7.) New-to-you series

Yeah, I really liked Heist Society. Not only did it have awesome characters, it made me want to trael around Europe.

8.) Most beautifully written

Beautiful. Poetic. Heart breaking. Please, pre-order this book.

9.) Most thought-provoking OR book that grew on you

Right after I finished If I Stay, I was unsatisfied. I was confused about how Forman ended the book, and I hate having that feeling at the end of a book. Ashley of Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing had been pushing this book on me, so she and I chatted about it on google chat. While I still don't love the ending, getting another person's perspective on it and really talking it out made me feel much more at peace with this story's conclusion.

10.) Book you want to see made into a movie

Spies. Marketed toward teenage girls. On the big screen. How does that not sound enticing?

11.) Wishlist for the second 1/2 of 2011


I know The Near Witch comes out in a week, but I want it now! Yes, I sound like an impatient child, but I've been waiting since December for it! I have a feeling that I am going to love this book. A lot. As for Lola and the Boy Next Door...well....we know how I felt about Anna and the French Kiss. That said, do we need to expound on why I'm hankering for Lola?

There you have it! I'm hoping to read a lot more great books in 2011, but also realize there may be some disappointments too. Let me know what books you've love, laughed at or what covers you've loved so far in 2011. I'd like to know!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Review of Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)
Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.


You’ve probably heard a lot of people say that Paranormalcy is bleeping fantastic. With its gorgeous cover and rave reviews, I knew that this was a book I couldn’t miss. While each of these factors played a role in my decision to read Paranormalcy, neither of them prepared me for the awesomeness of this book.

Evie is one of the best female protagonists in young adult, paranormal fiction right now. She was an incredibly fun character to read about and had me laughing out loud without being shallow or one-dimensional. Sure, she loves the color pink and enjoys shopping, and she can be a little bit naive at first, but she’s also very compassionate and unafraid of questioning those around her.

Between Kiersten White’s hilarious characters, the epic chapter titles and the fast-paced plot, I sped through Paranormalcy. The plot is full of twists and turns that had me speculating until the very end. Speaking of the end, it was where my one problem with the book lies. I wanted more answers. Hopefully I get them when I pick up Supernaturally, Paranormalcy’s sequel.

Paranormalcy is exactly the refresher that its genre needs. This is the perfect read for anyone searching for a paranormal store that errs on the light-hearted side. I can’t wait to get more Evie and find out where her story goes.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (42) and What Are You Reading?

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

For review:
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
Broetry by Brian McGackin
Won:

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey + swag!
Darcy and Fitzwilliam by Karen Wasylowski
Gifted:

Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Bought:

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Patillo
None But You by Susan Kaye
Sass and Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler (The interview was over at Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf. Click here to see it!)
Blogs and bloggers mentioned:

Misty of Book Rat

Read:

Insatiable by Meg Cabot
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
Currently reading:
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
The Girl Who Was On Fire edited by Leah Wilson
What I plan to read:

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Contagion by Joanne Dahme
This Vacant Paradise by Victoria Patterson

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.

All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley—a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry—and anyone who reads about him—will find unforgettable. For it's there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.


Reviewing one’s all time favorite books sounds like a daunting and near impossible task, but I am going to try it anyways. However, with all of the movies coming out, I’ve been re-reading the books, and every time I read them they get better and better. If you have not read the Harry Potter series, run, don’t walk, to your nearest library or bookstore, pick up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and get ready to have your mind blown.

Rowling is a genius when it comes to world-building. I would say it’s what I love most about these novels, but they are so brilliant that’s impossible to say. Rowling has created an elaborate wizard school, but also a huge world outside where goblins work at banks and there is a ministry of magic. I mean, Hogwarts is a character in and of itself. Things like her talking about what kind of snacks her characters eat, how the mail is delivered and the poem inside of Gringotts makes it obvious how much attention she’s paid to minute details. Not only Rowling’s world incredibly well built, it’s also a world I would love to live in. The ability to do magic? Quirky snacks? Magical creatures? Um, yes please!

Harry is on the cusp of adolescence as the book begins, and I have to say that I love Harry. He has a true sense of right and wrong, even though he was brought up amongst some of the most deplorable fictional characters ever. He’s far from perfect, though, often getting himself and his friends in trouble, and that’s what I loved about him when I was young. It was great to see a teenager who was so realistic.

A lot of characters in the Harry Potter series are like onions. They are well-developed in the first book, but we see more and more layers of each of them as the series progresses. I love Hermione because she’s a bookworm. I love Ron because he can be kind of awkward, but definitely has some great witty remarks. And Fred and George crack me up every. Single. Time. What an awesome duo. If I told you about all of the characters I loved and why, we’d be here all day.

Rowling’s prose isn’t particularly literary, yet it always kept me invested in the story. She peppered in just the right amount of humor, knows how to keep the suspense running high and makes the Gryffindor common room sound incredibly cozy. I can’t pinpoint what it is I love about her writing, I just know that I love it.

I’m not sure if I’d call this a review so much as a gushfest. I could spend hours and hours honing this review and still not touch on everything I love about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The best part is that the series only gets better from here.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book. No, wait, I purchased three copies, because I am addicted.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Growing Up with Harry Potter Or This Post Has Some Questionable Segues


Even though I don’t talk about much here, I’ve been toying a little bit with writing fiction lately. I’m just having fun with at this point, moreso than sitting down and saying, “I need to write a novel to feel successful or complete.” At any rate, it occurred to me the other day that a lot of my ideas for stories use transition as a major theme. Given recent movie releases and the fact that I feel as though my childhood is about to end, it wasn’t long before I got to thinking about Harry Potter.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two hit theaters on July 15th. In August I’ll be moving from Minnesota to Pennsylvania to attend graduate school. These things happening in the same summer make me feel as though I’m taking a final and irreversible step into adulthood.

I’ve done tons of blog posts and why I love Harry Potter and there are only more coming. One of the reasons these books are so special to me is because they were released as I was growing up. I went to midnight release parties for the 4th and 5th books, and got the seventh book the day it came out. When I step back and look at my life in retrospect, this series has been with me through a lot of major changes.

The summer before I started middle school, my family moved from Iowa to Ohio. I was pretty happy about this since I had lived in Iowa for two years, but never really dropped the “new kid” label. I didn’t know how to deal with feeling like an outsider except pushing people away (it was my angsty phase, in case you can’t tell), so middle school a chance for me to start over and be nice to my classmates. Just to see where it got me. One day in math class the girl next to me commented on how much she liked the book I had with me. No, it wasn’t Harry Potter. It was Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce. I dragged this friend to a book club that an eighth grader I knew had told me about. A few short weeks later, this was the friend who convinced me to try Harry Potter, at which point I convinced my parents to buy me the first three books in hardcover. Needless to say, I fell in love with the series right away. By the time Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, I had my first serious summer internship and was a rising college sophomore.

I went to a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2. I wasn’t originally planning on it because I had to be at the airport early the next day, but I was invited to join a friend’s group. After much deliberation, I decided to go because it was my last ever chance to see the premiere of a Harry Potter movie in midnight. The atmosphere in the theater was freaking amazing. Everyone was buzzing with excitement and tons of people were in costume, including someone dressed as Harry’s patronus. I didn’t know the people I was with particularly well, so I made conversation and when midnight finally came, sat back to enjoy the movie. When the movie finally ended there was a considerable amount of hugging and plenty of talking about it on the car ride home. It never ceases to amaze me how J.K. Rowling’s stories have brought my generation together.

Even though I meant to finish re-reading the whole series before the movie, I’m only just about to start my re-read of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I have to say, re-reading the books while preparing for a massive change has been incredibly relaxing and comforting. I doubt I’m the only person out there who is experiencing some other huge change alongside the ending of Harry Potter.

I wish I could thank J.K. Rowling in person. I fell in love with her books and her world. I understood what her characters went through as they experienced puberty. It’s been something I can share with my peers, something that brings us together. Jo, thank you for being a huge part of my childhood. Thank you for everything.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert


Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert
Release date: October 8, 2011

A poetic, moving story about a teen who must make an unimaginable choice

I take the bees outside, unscrew the lid of the bee jar, and listen to their angry buzzing.
“I hate you,” I whisper.

Lily’s mother has slowly been losing herself to multiple sclerosis. After traditional treatment fails, she uses bee sting therapy, administered by Lily, to alleviate her pain. Lily is trained as a veterinary assistant, so she can easily handle the treatments. What she can’t handle is what happens when the bee sting therapy fails and it becomes clear that her mom wants to die.

One beautiful spring day, Lily’s mother asks her for the most impossible thing of all—mercy. While navigating first love, friendship, and other normal worries faced by high school sophomores, Lily also has to choose: help her mom go, or cling to her fading life for all it’s worth.


It's been forever since I did a Waiting on Wednesday. Schedules have conflicted some weeks and, to be honest, I've been slacking a little bit on the blog lately. At any rate, there are lots of books I can't wait for, and I'm ready to get back to talking about them.

I first heard about this book one day when I was browsing The Story Siren. I looked up the summary on GoodReads and it sounds absolutely heart-wrenching. I've also never heard of a book where a teenager faces the choice of letting her mother live or die. I can't be certain that this book will live up to the early buzz, but I imagine I'll be needing a lot of tissues.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review of Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith

Back When You Were Easier to Love
What's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan - the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah - unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.

Original and insightful, quirky and crushing, Joy's story is told in surprising and artfully shifting flashbacks between her life then and now. Exquisite craft and wry, relatable humor signal the arrival of Emily Wing Smith as a breakout talent.


With its mouthful of a title and intensely Mormon setting, I knew that Back When You Were Easier to Love promised to be a quirky read. As soon as I opened the book, I immediately understood Joy’s desire for answers and whizzed through it. While Smith’s characters sometimes got on my nerves, Back When You Were Easier to Love is the perfect novel for anyone looking for a clean story of self-discovery and romance.

When we first meet Joy, she is obsessive about Zan and unhappy in the place where she lives. She lives in a town with a large Mormon population, and views a lot of her peers as conformists. I love reading about characters who are quick to judge and then have to reconsider their opinions, because I have been there.

Joy’s obsessions and fantasies made her incredibly relatable. My one complaint is that at times she almost seemed a lit bit too naive to be realistic. I also never really understood the appeal of either of the male characters. Zan struck me as incredibly pretentious, which isn’t a trait I admire. I found Noah a little boring, but I ultimately couldn’t help but “awww” as I turned the final pages of this book.

Even though I’ve voiced a few misgivings in this review, they’re all personal pet peeves. I may not have loved all of Smith’s characters, but found Back When You Were Easier to Love well-crafted and humorous. I think lots of young readers will adore Joy’s character and the sweet storyline in this book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Teen Book Scene in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Character Top Ten List: Drew of The Summer I Learned to Fly

Hey everyone! Today I have Drew, the main character of The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt, here to share her Top Ten List of Things I've Never Done But Will Someday. You can check out my review of the book here. Sit back and enjoy what Drew has to say!

Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.


Drew’s Top Ten List of Things I’ve Never Done But Will Some Day:

  1. Go to Hawaii
  2. Go anywhere, somewhere far away, where they speak a different language and eat exotic food
  3. Learn to surf
  4. Cut my hair short
  5. Get a dog
  6. Get a tattoo that Mom can’t see
  7. Write a book, or a song, or a poem or anything that moves someone else
  8. Open a restaurant
  9. Kiss a boy, on the lips, not on the forehead
  10. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, in honor of my father
Thanks so much for stopping by, Drew! The Summer I Learned to Fly is out now.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (41) and What Are You Reading?

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Gifted:
Card!
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Bought:

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
Clarity by Kim Harrington
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Abandon by Meg Cabot
Overbite by Meg Cabot
Airhead by Meg Cabot
Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
Blogs and bloggers mentioned:
Misty of Book Rat
Heidi of YA Bibliophile
Cialina of Muggle-Born.net

Read:

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Currently reading:

Insatiable by Meg Cabot
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
The Girl Who Was On Fire edited by Leah Wilson
What I plan to read:

The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Contagion by Joanne Dahme
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Character Interview: Zan of Back When You Were Easier to Love

What's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan - the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah - unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.

Original and insightful, quirky and crushing, Joy's story is told in surprising and artfully shifting flashbacks between her life then and now. Exquisite craft and wry, relatable humor signal the arrival of Emily Wing Smith as a breakout talent.


You are used to living in a town where many of your peers identify as Mormon. How would you describe your religious beliefs?

I consider myself deeply spiritual, but I believe organized religion is merely an opiate for the masses.



What is your least favorite thing about living in Haven?

Residents tend to believe things are black or white, and because of this their dreams turn to black-and-white.


You clearly have a quirky fashion sense. How would you characterize it?

Two words: leisure wear. So many people dress to a certain trend dismissing what’s comfortable.



How do you think you’ve changed since starting college?

I don’t think I’ve changed so much as finally become who I’ve always been, with no societal norms to hold me back.




Describe your perfect day.

Discussing philosophy with close friends over truly exceptional coffee, followed by a jazz concert in the park and Vietnamese food.


Thanks so much for stopping by, Zan! Back When You Were Easier to Love is in stores now. Be sure to stop by next Wednesday, which is when I'll have my own review posted.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In My Mailbox (40) and What Are You Reading?

In my mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

For review:

Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith
Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Triangles by Ellen Hopkins
The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma
Borrowed:

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Gifted:

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Swag from Stefne Miller!
Bought:
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret Sullivan
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
Blogs and bloggers mentioned:
Shanyn of Chick Loves Lit
Kate of Literary Explorations
Julie of [Bloggers [[heart]] Books]

Read:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (My review)
What Comes After by Steve Watkins (My review)
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Review to come closer to the September release date.)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Click here to my thoughts on the final sections for the read along.)
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt (My review)
Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith
The Vampyre and Other Tales by John William Polidori (I don't intend to review this one as I don't have tons to say about it.)
Currently reading:

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
The Girl Who Was On Fire edited by Leah Wilson
What I plan to read:

Insatiable by Meg Cabot
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Contagion by Joanne Dahme

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Review of But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

But I Love Him
Tonight was so much worse than anything before it. Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap.

At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved — and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything — and everyone — in its path.

This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.


Abusive relationships are a hot topic in the YA contemporary genre right now. When I heard that Amanda Grace is a pseudonym for Mandy Hubbard, I was a little surprised because while I have not read Prada and Prejudice or You Wish, But I Love Him sounds very different from either of those novels. But I Love Him is one of the hardest books I’ve read all year, and it is packed with emotion and expertly told. I devoured this novel over the course of two short evenings.

But I Love Him is a story which is told in reverse. We meet Ann when she has hit an ultimate low and isn’t sure where she can go next. This narrative style worked perfectly because it helped me see how the relationship got worse and why Ann believed things might eventually work out.

If the prospect of abuse isn’t enough to tug at your heartstrings, Grace’s writing and characterization will do that to you. She clearly put a lot of thought into every word that went into this novel, because the descriptions and imagery were never lengthy and flowery, but always evoked a reaction in me. I think what made this novel so emotional for me was Connor. Even though I never thought his treatment of Ann was okay, Grace explained why he was that way so well that I couldn’t help but feel some sympathy towards him.

From its beautiful cover to the final page, But I Love Him is a captivating and tough story. But I Love Him may taken me mere hours to read, but has left me thinking for days afterwards. While I’m now even more excited to read Mandy Hubbard’s other novels, I’m really hoping she publishes more serious contemporary YA.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Review of The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt

The Summer I Learned to Fly
Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.


One thing that almost guarantees that I will automatically enjoy a book is a quirky but cute small town setting. I was pretty happy when I opened up The Summer I Learned To Fly and discovered that it has this small town setting that I adore. Thankfully, Reinhardt’s coming of age novel also had great characters and a compelling plot that made for a quick yet satisfying read.

If you’re thinking that The Summer I Learned to Fly is going to be light-hearted becaue it’s short, think again. Reinhardt shows her expertise in her plotting. She doesn’t go into extreme detail about every event in the book, but every page is filled with emotion. Reinhardt gives the reader just enough and I finished this book feeling that the story was resolved without being contrived.

As individuals, I loved all of Reinhardt’s characters, especially Drew. She always did her own thing and was compassionate, but also experienced a lot of emotions that are familiar to me. While I thought Nick and Emmett were both charming characters on their own, my one complaint about the novel is that I never felt Drew spark with either of them.

Of course I can’t let this review go by without mentioning how hungry Reinhardt made me. When I read that there was a cheese shop featured in this book, I didn’t realize that this would mean that there would be pages on pages of description about gourmet cheeses. As a cheese lover, I spent these portions of the book salivating and craving a delicious wedge of brie.

This book charmed me, kept me turning the pages and had my mouth watering. If you’re looking for a fast read about growing up and the importance of friendship, I highly recommend picking this one up.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July TBR Pile Vlog

Hey everyone! I was inspired by Misty over at Book Rat to make a vlog about what I plan to read in the month of July. Misty was inspired by The Readables and BunnyCates. I hope you guys enjoy, and let me know if you want to see more TBR vlogs.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Harry Potter and My Expecations: A Vlog

Hey everyone! As part of the Harry Potter Celebration over at Patricia's Particularity, I made a vlog about my expectations for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2. I hope that you guys like it!




Friday, July 1, 2011

Review of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)
St. Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school--it's a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St. Vladimir's the very place where they're most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi, the world's fiercest and most dangerous vampires make Lissa one of them forever.


Back when I was just a blog lurker and one of the few book blogs I read was Good Books and Good Wine (run by the lovely April), whenever I saw the Vampire Academy books online or on a shelf, one word popped into my head: dubious. However, April and I have fairly similar tastes, and when she gave Vampire Academy a rave review, I figured it might be time for me to give it a chance. I idly picked up a used copy and some point and let it sit on my shelf. Eventually, Richelle Mead came to Minneapolis to hold a signing (originally part of her tour for The Last Sacrifice), which was rescheduled to June of 2011 after a ridiculous blizzard hit the Twin Cities area in December 2010 (I’m not kidding you when I say we got two feet of snow in under 24 hours). So when I went to her signing, I purchased my books and got in line early, figuring I’d read while I wait. As I read the last 200 pages of this book a few days later, the words “I can’t believe I waited this long to read this book!” sprinted through my head on a loop. YOU GUYS. THIS BOOK IS SO FREAKING GOOD. THIS MIGHT BE NEW FAVORITE YA VAMPIRE BOOK.

First of all, let me start off with the world building. Holy freaking crap, the world-building. The vampires in Vampire Academy boast many more attributes than skin that sparkles in the sunlight and a charming, convenient penchant towards vegetarianism. Instead, there are different types of vampires. While I understand that Mead didn’t necessarily come up with the ideas damphir, Moroi and Strigoi, I loved the way she incorporated those three types of vampires into a YA setting.

Our main character and narrator, Rose, is devoted to protecting her Moroi best friend, Lissa. I thought I was going to hate Rose at first--she’s stubborn, and not what one might refer to as a “warm fuzzy.” However, I grew to understand her much better as the book went on. In fact, I was exceptionally impressed by her loyalty towards the end of the novel.

And Dmitri. Oh, Dmitri. He’s hot, he’s a badass and he’s extremely intelligent. Damn. I kind of want one for myself.

As if the world-building and characters weren’t enough to hook me, this novel was also incredibly fast-paced. I barely put it down during the last 200 pages. It has action, cute boys and a bit of steamy time.

I was a fool for not reading this book earlier. Vampire Academy was a fast-paced, engrossing read that had me gasping and shouting “Oh no he didn’t!” If you haven’t jumped on this bandwagon, I suggest you remedy that fact. In some ways, it may be good that I finished this book after meeting Richelle Mead, because otherwise I likely would have fansploded in front of the SEARS at Mall of America (fansploded=fangirling + exploding). I already have the rest of the series waiting for me to pick them up, and am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to do so.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails