Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Amazing Giveaways

     I haven't done a post about giveaways/contests in a while, but I thought you might like to know that there are some great giveaways going on as we speak...
     Jessica at Confessions of a Bookaholic has several contests underway. She has a Top 10 of 2010 feature that comes with a lovely little surprise at the end: books! You can possibly win Nevermore, Clockwork Angel, or Mockingjay, in addition to a copy of The Haunted by Jessica Verday with each of the books previously listed. As if that isn't enough, she is also giving away a copy of Loser/Queen by Jodi Lynn Anderson.
     Brandi over at Blkosiner's Book Blog also has a few contests going on. The best by far (in my opinion) is her giveaway of The Locket by Stacey Jay. It sounds like just the kind of book I would love and her interview with Stacey Jay was great. Stacey seems very awesome and funny. Cheese anyone? :) Brandi also has a giveaway going on for Born At Midnight.
    Kate at I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read! has two awesome giveaways taking place. Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings  by Helene Boudreau(wow, what a mouthful!) and Out For Blood  by Alyxandra Harvey are being given away and they sound rather interesting.
     Up for grabs from Teens Read and Write are copies of Hearts At Stake and Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey. I suppose if you won both of these in addition to the giveaway from Kate, you would be in luck! Personally, I'm hoping to win Losing Faith by Denise Jaden!
     Last, but certainly not least, Kirthi at Pages is giving away a copy of Entice by Carrie Jones. I've heard great things about Entice, so I'll definitely be entering!
     If I were you, I'd be racing over to each of these sites to enter! Good luck to you all! :D

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Falalalala lala la LA!

     I hope all of you who celebrate the holiday have a very merry Christmas! If you don't celebrate, then have a lovely day anyway! Spend some time with family and remember all of the good times you've had. I know I will be doing something along those lines... in addition to eating my weight in food and hot chocolate. :D
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (December 17-20)

     It's Christmas Break, finally! Oh, how I've missed my long days of sleeping and immediately, upon waking up, curling up with a book. :D I plan to get plenty of reading done before school resumes. Plus, it is the perfect time for lots of hot tea, holiday movies, visiting with friends and family, and generally relaxing.
Book Blogger Hop
Question of the Week:
     What do you consider the most important in a story: the plot or the characters?
Answer:
     Hey, this is my question! That's super exciting! Thank you Jennifer, for picking my question, and of course for the hop in general.
     I think that the plot is most important at first. You have to be interested enough to learn about the characters. I suppose sometimes books that don't have such wonderful characters can get away with it if the plot is beyond exciting. In my experience, the story doesn't really stick with you though, because there aren't any memorable characters. I can live with a book that isn't very exciting, if the characters are intriguing.
     So, to sum up my rambling, I think characters are the most important. They are what drive the story, and create the plot anyway. Obviously, the best books are the ones with both fabulous characters and an interesting storyline.

     What is your opinion? Are character-driven books better than plot-driven ones (or vice versa)?
   

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

     Jenn Leitner has been living at Spain's Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones. There she has been training to become the next Hunter in order to rid the world of vampires. Despite their promises of peace, Jenn doesn't trust the vampires.
     The vampires have been gaining power, so when Jenn is called back to the US after he grandfather dies, she is in terrible danger. She has to watch her back at every turn. Then she is betrayed and the fight for her life is on.

     I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It was interesting and well thought out. Plus, the writing was great! The premise of the book was cool. I liked how it was reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but still far from it. The world that Holder and Viguie created was not unlike our own. It was modern day, but with a twist: vampires not only exist, but they are taking over. This sets up the rest of the story because Jenn and the rest of the Salamancan team have to protect humanity from the rising powers, something that is not an easy task.
     I'm not entirely fond of Jenn. She was too condescending. Not to other people, but to herself. In her eyes, she was 'just Jenn'. She doesn't see anything special about herself, which kind of makes me mad. I wanted her to take charge of her life instead of floating behind, worrying that she wasn't good enough to be a hunter. I think her partners wanted the same thing for her. They wanted Jenn to come back to reality and see that she was much more than she thought.
     Antonio, what a character. He was fighting himself more than anything in this novel and it was heartbreaking to watch him go through that. Antonio is probably the character I rooted for the most. I think that we were able to get inside his head even more than Jenn's. Despite everything, he somehow managed to keep his faith, and I admire that.
     Eriko was the team's Japanese leader. She was not what I expected. You would think that a leader would be strong and comfortable with their role. You might even think that they would have control over those they lead. Eriko was different though. She was more meek and mild than fierce. She was quiet and just there instead of commanding.
     Holgar was awesome! He was witty, but very kind. I felt bad for him though. It couldn't have been easy being the only werewolf at the academy.
     Jamie and Skye were the hardest for me to figure out. I mean, we learned a little about their pasts, but not enough for me. I really hope the next book(s) will delve deeper into who they are as people, separate from the team. Jamie was definitely fiery enough to make up for not knowing much about him though. I simultaneously wanted to smack him and burst out laughing. He was just so rude! Skye wasn't my favorite character because I couldn't connect with her. She was an awesome witch, but so naive.
     What made this book unique in comparison to other vampire-related books for me were the passages from Jenn's diary at the beginning of some of the chapters, or the snippets of the Hunter's Manual. They helped you understand what was going on in the world by describing the past. While I did enjoy this book, I thought some of it seemed a little too strained. It didn't flow as well as I would have liked and the dialogue left a bit to be desired at times. Regardless, I am looking forward to a sequel. I hope that the characters personalities will be divulged in more detail as the series continues. Well, I think it is going to  be a series... it was left wide open.
     Rating: 6

Monday, December 13, 2010

Beastly by Alex Flinn

     Kyle Kingsbury is the gorgeous, perfect, popular kid of Tuttle (a prestigious NYC private school). His father is a rich and famous news anchor. He gets everything he wants, in addition to all that he needs. Kyle is not a nice person though, and he is far from happy. After a particularly cruel episode, a witch changes Kyle into a beast. To break the spell, he must find his true love...

     Basically, this is a retelling of the classic story Beauty and the Beast. Of course, it is much more than that. I absolutely loved Alex Flinn's writing.
     Kyle's transformation was amazing to watch. He went from being a conceited jerk to being such a sweet, caring person. The change was gradual though. First, he had to get past the fact that he didn't look like Kyle Kingsbury anymore. Sadly, that seemed to be the hardest part for him. It made me realize how fixated our society is on looks. His entire reputation was based upon his beauty, and the money obviously, but mainly his looks. When he lost that, he lost himself because without being Kyle Kingsbury, the guy every other Tuttle student looked up to, the guy who made fun of those beneath him, the guy who thought anyone who wasn't generically beautiful (blond hair, blue eyes, and especially thin) must be ugly, he was just Kyle. Kyle, whose mother left at an early age and whose father was busy with work.
     When he was changed into a beast, he didn't know what to do with himself. Now he was the 'ugly' one. So, who was he without being handsome? Thus, we are lead on his quest to find out who he really is.
     Along with Kyle, we meet some new characters that give some of my other favorites a run for their money. Will is blind, but extremely smart. He is great and he truly helps Kyle find himself. He is one of the only people who cares for Kyle, despite his appearance. Of course, Will can't see, so it can't possibly bother him! Magda is motherly, since his own mother is not there. She cooks food for him and talks to him. She is just generally there for him.
     I can't believe I've missed out on such a wonderful book for so long! Honestly, the only problem I had with the book was that it had to end. Flinn did a wonderful job delving into Kyle's mind and developing him as a character. Even before he was changed, he was still deep. He had more on his mind than you might have thought. The dialogue was spot on as well. There weren't any irregularities in their speech. It sounded just right every time. I also loved her descriptions. I could truly see the city streets, the house, the beautiful roses, everything!
     Rating: 10

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

     I was so happy to get my hands on another book by this wonderful author. It felt wonderful to slip back into the world of the Shadowhunters!

     When Tessa's Aunt Harriet dies, Tessa sails to London to live with her brother, Nate. When she arrives at the port, Nate is nowhere to be seen. Tessa is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters who insist that she has some magical ability. They torture her and force her to use this ability, one that she has just realized she possesses, to their own benefit.
     After she escapes from the Dark Sisters, Tessa takes refuge at the Institute. There she meets Shadowhunters and begins unraveling mysteries about herself, her family, and the new world she has just discovered.

     Over all, I really enjoyed Clockwork Angel. It was amazing, as all of Clare's work is. The characters have depth and the plot is truly enthralling. I like the time period that it is set in. It adds to the feel of the book greatly.
     The beginning of this novel really freaked me out. It was actually scary. Of course, this could have been added to by the fact that I started it at night... Either way, Cassandra Clare began the book in a very unique way. It gave you a look at Tessa's normal life, before it was snatched away. She is just standing on the dock, wondering where her brother could be. If that isn't the picture of normalcy, I'm not sure what is. Within the next several pages, Tessa has been introduced to a new world though.
     I really find it amazing that Tessa can even hold herself together through all of the things she is put through. She is a very vivid and strong character. Sometimes, she gets a little sassy which is hilarious. Most of the time though, she is perfectly civil. With everyone except Will, that is. 
     Will is annoying. I can't decide exactly what I think of him because every time I think he is going to do the right thing, he goes and messes it up! No wonder Tessa gets so frustrated with him. He can be so nice and so sweet. Then he turns around and tries to be all macho, as if nothing can hurt him. His only weakness seems to be Jem.
     Jem is the nicest guy I have ever met (so what if I feel like he is real?). He is unassuming and just goes with the flow. Despite his illness, he does his best in the Shadowhunting world which simply isn't very well-suited for him anymore. I feel so bad for him. If only he were real, I would give him a hug!
     I can't say enough to express my love of this book. I wasn't sure what to expect from a spin-off of the Mortal Instruments series, but I was definitely pleased. It just feels so good reading about them. It is like wearing your favorite, most comfortable pajamas. I can't explain it any better than that. It's fantastic. If you haven't given this book a chance yet, you are missing out big time!
     Rating: 10
Favorite quote:
     "Remember when you tried to convince me to feed a poultry pie to the mallards in the park to see if you could breed a race of cannibal ducks?"
     "They ate it too, " Will reminisced. "Bloodthirsty little beasts. Never trust a duck."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (December 3-6)

     Oh, dear. I have a million things to finish in the next week! It's almost Christmas Break for me, so I have exams and all sorts of things due, not to mention the studying for aforementioned exams! I was planning on getting some extra credit in too... we'll see how that works out.
     How have your weeks been going? Is everybody getting into the Christmas spirit yet?
Book Blogger Hop
Question of the Week:
     What very popular and hyped book in the blogosphere did you NOT enjoy and how did you feel about posting your review?
Answer:
     There hasn't really been a popular book that I haven't liked, not one I can think of right now at least. I suppose Dear John had a lot of hype because of the movie and I wasn't such a fan of that. I felt fine posting my review about it. The only problem is that I didn't want to completely bash the book, because there were good things about it. Because I couldn't really connect with the material, it was difficult expressing my opinion about it though.

     What about you? What super popular book didn't strike your fancy?

Winners of My Gratitude Giveaway

     I'm so sorry it has taken me this long to pick and announce winners! I got super busy. So, as you know, there are two winners who will each win a hardcover copy of Crusade! The winners will have 1 week to respond before I pick runner(s)-up to get the prize, instead. I have e-mailed you both.
     Now, onto what you all must be on the edge of your seat waiting to hear. :) The winners, which were picked using random.org, are:
1. Ferretvamp14
2. Maureen

     Congratulations to the winners! I hope you all enjoy the book as much as I did. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (November 26-29)

     I had a wonderful Thanksgiving! What about you all? My brother's dog had puppies on Thanksgiving Day. They are sooo cute! She had two girls and two boys. Sweet little faces...
Book Blogger Hop
Question of the Week:
     What is your favorite book cover?
Answer:
     This is a really difficult question. I like a ton of different covers. The cover of Life As We Knew It is beautiful, but simple. The Host is neat looking. The eye is just so pretty!  I also like the look of Gathering Blue and Lips Touch: Three Times.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (November 19-22)

     Happy Hopping! I'm really late this week, but I was busy spending time with friends and my mom. Oh, how I love this time of year...
Question of the Week:
     Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let's use this week's Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!
Answer:
     I'm thBook Blogger Hopankful for many things, namely my family (including my dogs) and friends. I don't know what I would do, much less who I would be, without them! I'm thankful for the opportunities I've been given and for all of the wonderful things I've experienced.  Also, I'm very thankful to my followers and to authors for writing books for me to read. :)
     This year I think the plan is to just stay at home and eat all of the scrumptious food that my mom and I are planning to cook! It's going to be great. We'll have turkey, stuffing, green been casserole, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes... Oh, and don't forget the cranberry sauce and maybe some homemade biscuits. Goodness, I can't wait to dig in! Throw in a little family banter, a holiday movie, and some hot cocoa or tea and I'll be in heaven.

     What are you up to for Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway: My Thanks to You

     Thanksgiving is just around the corner! This is definitely my favorite part of the year. For one, I get to eat all I want without feeling guilty about it, which is always a plus. Also, this season just makes me feel all warm inside, thinking about all that makes my life what it is and how thankful I am for that.
     I'd like to show my thanks to all of the people who visit my blog and comment on posts, so I am participating in my first giveaway (I've had quite a few blogging firsts lately). Thank you for reading my blog. It would be little more than a record of books I've read without your support. :)
     I realize that it isn't really a Thanksgiving oriented book, nor is it a Christmas-y book. Regardless, I am giving away two hardcover copies of Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie! I'm really enjoying this book so far and I hope the winners will as well.

To Enter:
-You MUST be a resident of the U.S.
-Leave your name and email in the comments section of this giveaway post
-Comment on at least ONE other post (please make it meaningful)
-You do NOT have to be a follower (though it is appreciated)
-Enter by midnight on November 28th


     Don't forget to take a look at the other participating blogs and our host from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (November 12-15)

     This week I posted my first interview, with Lacey Weatherford! I was super excited about that. I also had a lovely night last night with five of my best friends. Who wouldn't love running around the mall trying on random dresses and other articles of clothing, then taking zillions of pictures? ;D
Book Blogger Hop
     Last week, Jennifer challenged everyone who participated in the hop to pick one new blogger to actually get to know. I chose Alison from Alison Can Read! I didn't keep track of all of the posts I commented on, so I'm not sure if I left five comments or not. What I do know is that I really love her blog! Alison reads some very interesting books and she reviews them so well. She goes beyond the general scope of the book to really get at what the author is saying about life, love, or anything else. Another plus is that we seem to have a similar taste in reading material (Harry Potter is just so wonderful). One last tidbit about Alison: she used to take gymnastics, but claims to be better at watching than actually being a gymnast.

Question of the Week:
     If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?
Answer:
     I can't help it! I hate reading things out of order. I feel like I'm doing the characters a severe injustice by not reading the beginning of their story. Plus, I seem to be out of the loop if I don't know the story from previous novels.
     We are reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain in my English class. Guess what I have yet to read? That's right, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This really irks me, because I'm wondering if I would understand the story better if I had read about Tom Sawyer first. Oh, well. :)

     So, how do you feel about reading things out of order? Who did you get to know last week?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lacey Weatherford

     This is my first ever author interview! I will be forever grateful (and indebted) to Lacey Weatherford, the fabulous author of the Of Witches and Warlocks series, for agreeing to bare with me as I come up with questions for her. She was incredibly patient, even though I told her I would have questions for her by a certain date and then didn't send her anything until a week or two later.
     Without further ado, I present Lacey!
Interview

1.   Portia and Vance have an intense relationship. How did you develop that? Did you have any personal experience of the sort? ;)

     I have long been a lover of romance and at the risk of sounding silly I have to say that I was often termed as “boy crazy” during my younger years. I was fortunate enough to be able to experience some of those breath stealing kisses from some of the boys I dated, and I have never forgotten the way those moments made me feel. But when I met my future husband we hit it off almost instantly and there was just this spark with him that I had never felt with anybody else. We have always had a very close and caring relationship with one another, to the point of being best friends as well as spouses. I’m certain some of those attributes from my life were key in helping me form the relationship between Vance and Portia. It’s easy to draw off from bits and pieces of myself to help to create something fun. When it came to these two characters I wanted them to be able to have a relationship that was both romantic and able to withstand the tests and trials they would have to face together.


2.   Is there anything specific that led you to finally write and try to publish The Trouble With Spells?

     The idea for The Trouble With Spells actually came from a funny hair dying experience that my daughter had. She had dyed her hair from a very light blond to a near black color and someone made the comment that people were going to call her a witch. After laughing about this together the idea just stuck in my head for some reason and I began to ponder on it for a few days. Initially, the story was going to revolve around the two best friends of Portia and Shelly, but after I had the first chapter written I decided that I should add a hunky bad boy to play the boyfriend in the story. Thus Vance was born and the storyline change to be his story, told through Portia’s eyes.
     When I was finished writing the book I passed it around to some of my family and friends just to let them read it and see what they thought. They loved the story and told me they thought I should try to get it published. I didn’t know anything about getting a book published so that was very scary for me. I sent out about 20 query letters and had an offer in two days from a publishing company. I accepted it since it was the first one. I wish now that I would have waited because I received multiple requests from several other agents and publishers clear up until the book went into print. It would have been interesting to see how some of those might have played out.


3.   Portia's family is immensely important to her. Are you close to your parents/family?

     My family and I are extremely close! I’m close with my own spouse and children, my parents, my siblings, and was fortunate enough to marry into a family that’s exactly the same way. If feel as if my husband’s family is my own flesh and blood. I feel extremely blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful network of people. There is nothing more important to me than my family!


4.   What was your favorite part of The Trouble With Spells? Your favorite part to write?

     I actually have a hard time answering this question when people ask it. I enjoyed writing all of it so much. Because I am a sucker for romance, probably any interaction between Vance and Portia is a favorite scene of mine. As far as my favorite part to write, that may have been the explosion scene and what comes after. I used to work in the emergency medical services, so it was fun to kind of draw on some of those experiences I’ve had in that line of work and put them into that part of the book.

5.   Which character is most like you? Can you tell us some of the similarities or biggest differences?

 
     Hmmm. That’s a tough one too. I really haven’t considered what character would be like me. Portia has a lot of the attributes of my oldest daughter and she is very similar to me so I guess maybe Portia. Love for family and loyalty to those she trusts would be similarities I think. I think I’m much quicker to laugh and more sarcastic than Portia is though, maybe a little self depreciating too. But Portia may have more backbone than I do when it comes to stepping up and doing something scary on her own.


6.   If you could travel through time, where might you want to go? Why?

     I’m a huge history buff so it would be very difficult for me to pick one thing that I would like to go see. I think I would love to make travel stops in many different time periods and locations just to observe their traditions and way of life. It would also be fun to witness some of the big events throughout history that have changed the way we live in the world today as well. But right now books serve as the best time machine I know of, so I tend to lose myself in the pages of those, and I feel much safer reading about a battle than I would standing in the middle of it!! :D


7.   Who would you meet, if you had the chance to meet anyone (dead or alive)?

     This is the easy question for me. I would most definitely want to meet actor Matt Lanter, who was the inspiration behind the character of Vance Mangum in my books! Matt is currently known for his roles on the CW’s 90210, where he plays the character of Liam Court, his voice over role of Anakin Skywalker on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and for his recent role as Edward Sullen in the movie Vampires Suck. I have had the privilege of being friends with Matt on Twitter and getting to know him a little bit, as well as being able to send him my books. He has been very friendly and supportive of me so I hope that someday soon we will get to meet and visit in person. He is a super nice guy!


8.   Is there anything else you would like to share whether it be about the writing process, your novel, or you?

     For any would be authors out there I would encourage them to keep writing and trying to get their work out there to be seen. My advice to them would be to go to a wonderful site called predatorsandeditors.com and look up agents and publishing houses there. That will help you to avoid some of the bad sharks that are in the industry out there. I found my second publisher through them for the rest of my books and they have been truly amazing. So really do your research to make sure your end up with the right people for you.
     As far as my novels go, the third one in the Of Witches and Warlocks series, Blood of the White Witch, was just released so be sure to check that out. You can find out more information and links on the website at www.ofwitchesandwarlocks.com. This site has sample chapters, extra stories that didn’t make it into the books, reader reviews, media appearances, purchase links, and even a tribute page to actor Matt Lanter, who was the muse for Vance. So go check it out! It’s lots of fun! There’s also a Facebook fan page for the books at Of Witches and Warlocks- Paranormal Book Series.
     And as far as I go, I just want to say thanks for hosting me here and giving me the opportunity to visit for a bit. I really love book blogs (I even have one of my own at http://thedelusionaldiaries.blogspot.com) and I think it’s a wonderful network and way to share the love of reading with everyone. I love hearing from people too so you can always feel free to leave me a comment or you can follow me on my social media pages. ( http://twitter.com/LMWeatherford , http://www.myspace.com/LaceyWeatherford , Facebook at Lacey Jackson Weatherford) I’m always up to chatting with people so come on by!!


     If you are interested in learning more about Lacey's books (which you should be!), you can check out my reviews for each of them. I loved both The Trouble With Spells and The Demon Kiss! You can also visit her on her website, blog, or personal pages as listed above. I loved getting to know Lacey and I hope everyone else enjoyed the interview as well!
     Thank you again for agreeing to do this for me Lacey!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer


     I read this in eigth grade. It is even more wonderful the second time around, if possible. The characters are just so thoroughly developed. The plot line is interesting as well.

     Miranda is a sophmore in Pennsylvania. She is basically your average teenage girl. When an asteroid crashes into the moon, knocking it closer to earth, her life changes. The world is going through cataclysmic events including tsunamis, volcanoes, and crop failures. Along with her family and the wonderful Mrs. Nesbitt, Miranda's life is turned upside down and they must find a way to survive.


     Miranda is the girl I wish I could be under these circumstances. She is amazingly strong and I love her for it. Compared to most teenagers at her age, she is quite mature. Miranda doesn't go around complaining about everything all of the time. The situatio
n is excruciatingly hard, but she manages to avoid being a complete brat. She finds ways to make life seem a bit more normal, if only for a bit. She goes ice skating, because that is what she loves. Miranda helps keep the entire family sane.
     Matt is Miranda's older brother, the one she goes to for advice. He is definitely the best big brother. He doesn't avoid subjects to protect her, but he explains everything to the best of his knowledge. Matt is just great.
     Johnny is young, but he's still old enough to understand most of what is going on. I feel bad for him though. No one tells him what is going on. I wish he didn't have to go through all that he does.
     Miranda's mom is wonderful too. I love how much she cares about her family. She will do anything for them, anything. I thought it was kind of funny how she made all of them study something since they couldn't go to school. Beyond that, she let's Miranda make her own mistakes. She realizes that for her daughter to really learn, she has to experience some things.
     Pfeffer weaves a wonderful story. It is real and amazing. She obviously put a lot of thought into her masterpiece! What is so amazing is that it seems like some of this could actually happen. The moon really could be hit by an asteroid. If that were to happen, everything that follows is plausible: the volcanoes, food shortages, and everything else.
     Miranda's voice brings the events to life. I like that it is written in journal form, it makes it seem even more real. Everything about this book is beautifully written. I know I probably sound like the nerdiest fan girl, but I can't think of anything I would change about it. I love the details and the characters and all of it! I'm eager to finish the next book!
     Rating: 10!!
     If you haven't read this yet, do yourself a favor and  pick it up from Amazon or Walmart.



This video was just pretty epic, so I had to put it in here!

I like her points on the book too. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Angela Morrison Contest

     I've been hearing great things about author Angela Morrison! Her books are supposed to be just absolutely fantastic, so I've found a contest to win one of her books.
     Blkosiner's Book Blog is giving away a copy of Taken By Storm! Scratch that. A SIGNED copy of Angela Morrison's Taken By Storm! Enter here and good luck to all!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

     The Velveteen Rabbit was given to a little boy on Christmas day. Initially, he wasn't played with much. He would talk to the Skin Horse and learn about being real. He was often put down for only being made of velveteen. Eventually, the boy comes to love his little rabbit and play with him all of the time. The rabbit is made real by his love.

     I can't remember the last time I read this. It has been years, that's for sure. It brings up fond memories though. I can remember reading this book as a child and thinking that I would never give away any of my stuffed animals and that I would love them forever. I remember putting every one of my stuffed animals on my bed because I didn't want any of them to feel lonely. There was hardly any room for me, but I still slept with all of them. To this day I still have all of my zillions of stuffed animals, from the elephant I got at a thrift store to Diny (my rainbow dinosaur) to Pooh. Granted, they are packed at this time, but I still have them.
     I loved this book when I was younger. Re-reading it now makes me want to cry! It's such a wonderfully powerful story of how love changes us. If you haven't read this story, you are missing out!
Read the whole thing here.

Book Blogger Hop (November 5-8)

     I'm so full I could pop! Seriously, I went to a Chinese buffet with my family today and I'm not sure how I ate everything that I did. It was quite tasty though! :) Now onto more interesting things...the hop!
Book Blogger Hop
Question of the Week:
     What are your feelings on losing followers? Have you ever stopped following a blog?
Answer:
     This question is actually a bit difficult to answer. I suppose it really just depends on how you define the word 'follower'. When I first started blogging (which wasn't but a few months ago), I thought that the number of followers listed on my blog was really how many people kept up to date with what I was posting. As I began to follow people myself I realized that there was no way that I could possibly keep up with all of them, and they surely couldn't all keep up with me.
     I think if I did lose followers on google friend connect, it would make me slightly sad. Of course, I know that most of them don't even truly read my posts, so it wouldn't be a big deal. Everyone has the right to like and dislike whatever they want. I want my followers to actually read my reviews and comment with actual opinions.
     No, I haven't stopped following anyone on google friend connect, but as I said before I can't read everything on every blog I follow every day. So, technically I guess I have stopped following some. Lately, I only click the follow button if I honestly like what I read on their blogs and plan to check back.

     So, how do you feel about followers or following others?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Of Witches and Warlocks: The Demon Kiss by Lacey Weatherford

     Vance has gone off in search of his demon father after he was partially turned into a demon. Portia is determined to catch up to him before he gets into trouble. When she finally finds him, they decide to search for his father together in hopes of discovering some answers for Vance. They find more than they could have imagined.

     The Demon Kiss was just as fantastic as The Trouble With Spells!  I found myself holding my breath and cringing at different intervals. It reminded me a bit of the Sweep series, but it was completely different.
     As Portia's and Vance's relationship deepened, I found myself believing it more. They were fun and cute together, but they weren't the perfect couple. Such a thing doesn't really exist and I could see that from their connection. As with everyone else, they had their problems and disagreements. Nonetheless, they overcame the weaknesses in their relationship to be a stronger couple.
     I liked Portia more and yet less in this book. While she was still the strong and loving Portia I knew from The Trouble With Spells, she didn't seem to develop much further as an individual. It was always in relation to Vance. I couldn't understand Portia as much as I would have liked because of this. I wanted her to have a bit more of her own life that I could connect with. I still loved her, don't get me wrong, but I wanted more from her.
     Vance actually seemed to develop quite a bit in this novel. Instead of just being the cute, mysterious guy he became someone you could know and love. I suppose I couldn't connect with him as much in the previous novel because I didn't know enough about him. Now, though, I can see where he is coming from.
     The plot in this was pretty amazing! It really did keep me on my toes, wondering what would happen. First, will she find him? Then, what's up with his dad? Once you find out what the Demon Kiss actually is, the pages will fly!
     All in all, I loved this book. I cannot wait until I get my hands on Blood of the White Witch!

     Rating: 8.5
     Get this wonderful book from the Of Witches and Warlocks website or Amazon.

*The fact that I received this book from the author did not influence my opinion of it in any way. This was my honest review.
      

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Halloween Treats

     Obviously when you go trick or treating you never get handed a book (which is actually quite disappointing). Instead of going from house to house, hoping and praying that some kind soul (haha) will take pity on you and cough up a wonderful novel, why not enter some fabulous Halloween contest? I see no reason not to!
     I found quite the treat while trick or treating across the internet just now. The Blue Bookcase is giving away a smashing copy of... can you guess? That is right ladies and gentlemen, a beautiful copy of Edgar Allen Poe: Complete Tales and Poems. If that doesn't get you excited, then I'm not sure if anything will. So, enter away and good luck to you all!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Of Witches and Warlocks: The Trouble with Spells by Lacey Weatherford

     This is my first official book that I received for review! You have no idea how excited I was about this opportunity! Thank you so much Lacey.

     Portia Mullins has just turned sixteen and has had a bomb dropped on her. She is a witch, descended from a long line of other witches and warlocks on her father's side. This isn't exactly what she had planned on hearing, especially not on her birthday. That she was being given a car, maybe, but that she is a witch? It would be a bit difficult for anyone to wrap their head around, but she manages. Plus, it means she gets to hang out with Vance Magnum more, and who could resist that?
     Portia and Vance are drawn to each other. They begin to fall in love. When secrets from Vance's past surface, it is up to Portia to save those that she loves.

     Wow! I think that about sums this up. It was an amazing read full of romance, action, and quite a few laughs too. Lacey Weatherford is definitely a talented writer. I felt like I was right there with the characters the whole time. There were no slow spots, but I don't mean to say that it went too fast either. I stayed up all night to read it! :)
     My only complaint is that Portia and Vance fell in love a little too fast. One moment it was sort of a crush and the next they were spending every waking moment together claiming to be soul mates. To redeem this, of course, is that both Vance and Portia realized how quickly their relationship was moving, so it wasn't as if they were oblivious. I just wish they would have gotten to know one another a bit better before they fell head-over-heels in love.
     I loved Portia, I really did. She was independent and fiercely protective of the people she loved. Plus, she wasn't an idiot by any means. She was sweet and honest. I liked that Portia had a good relationship with her parents and grandmother as well. I could feel her joy, her anguish, and every emotion as if it were my own!
     Vance, well, yeah. Sigh. He had the whole mystery thing going for him. That and the good looks! He was great though. Him and Portia were cute together and I loved how much he cared about her. It was so sweet! He made me laugh sometimes too, just the things he would say...
     I thought the plot in this book was fantastic! It drew me in from the first page and kept me reading. Everything seemed so real, as if it could have really happened. The magic was cool too! Portia was immensely strong and it was fun 'watching' her try out her powers.
     Rating: 9.75
     Find this amazing book at the Of Witches and Warlocks website or Amazon!

*The fact that I received this book from the author did not influence my opinion of it in any way. This was my honest review.
   

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Haunted Halloween Contest


     Jessica at Confessions of a Bookaholic is hosting a series of contests in the spirit of Halloween! This week she is giving away a copy of Minder by Kate Kaynak. Sounds amazing, right? Well, the fun doesn't stop there! She also has a spooky story written by Kate herself! Other authors are sharing their stories as well.

     Stop by Jessica's blog and see for yourself. Good luck to those who enter!

The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green

     Erin Channing is a nerd with the highest GPA in her tenth grade class and she is just fine with who she is. She prides herself on her rationality, that is, until her Aunt Kiki mysteriously dies during a thunder storm leaving Erin with a plastic, pink crystal ball. Suddenly, Erin realizes just how boring she is, especially compared to her best friends. Samantha is fun and beautiful and Lindsay is so sweet.
      How can she write a convincing essay that will win her a trip to Italy to study art if she is so boring though? With a little help from a certain crystal ball, her best friends, and a certain someone, Erin is in for quite a bit of... being NOT boring.

     I did not expect to love this book so much. I figured it would be pretty good, something light and fun (which it was), but it was much more than that. It went deeper than your run-of-the-mill girlish novel to tell a story that I couldn't help but love. Mrs. Green did a superb job capturing the essence of her characters, if you ask me.
     Erin was incredibly easy to connect with. She was the perfect nerd! Most nerds in novels are stereo-typical in that they are great at just one thing and spend most of their time doing said thing without having much of a life. Erin was smart, but she had friends and she didn't sit around in her room studying all of the time. I felt comfortable reading about her because she seemed quite a bit like me and my geeky self. ;)  Although, I must say that I can't recite the periodic table in alphabetical order (or any other order for that matter) to the tune of "YMCA". I would really like to see that done, it sounds hilarious! Erin liked being the rational one too. All of this nonsense about magical pink crystal balls really didn't suit her at first. She came around though and realized that sometimes you have to step outside the box a little.
     Samantha and Lindsay are the kind of friends that know you and all of your little quirks, but love you because of them rather than in spite of them. Samantha is definitely outgoing. She's fun and energetic, and she speaks her mind. I wasn't such a fan of Samantha, but she did add to the story line. Lindsay, on the other hand, is more reserved and kind.
     Then we come to the certain someone: Jesse Cooper. Apparently Erin and Jesse were close before his father died. Then he changed drastically and drifted away. Erin's AP Art History assignment throws them back together again though. Erin comes to realize that all of her feelings for Jesse still hold true. If only he would remember their first kiss...
     Erin tells the story in a slightly humorous, and yet slightly serious tone. It's great! I mean, I finished the book in a day which doesn't normally happen unless I can't put the book down. Risa Green kept me turning page after page just so I could keep reading about Erin. I loved how the beginning went back to explain some things before moving forward. It was interesting and not at all annoying or redundant. The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball was quite original. It had everything I was looking for.
     My favorite part:
"There's just one problem," I tell him. His eyes snap to attention.
"What's that?"
"I don't know if they'll let me take my box on an airplane. And I won't be able to think if I'm not inside it."
     Rating: 10
     You can find this great read anywhere including Amazon.

*By the way, this is my 50th post. Yes!

Book Blogger Hop October 22-25

     It's been quite the month for me! I've been busier than usual with book reports, the PSAT (I wanted to cry), and other things for school. I can't believe school is going by so swiftly though. Halloween is days away and just after that is Thanksgiving. I still had a little time to get through a few fantastic books, which is always great.
Book Blogger HopThanks to Jennifer at Crazy for Books for the hop!

Question of the Month:
     Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?
Answer:
     I'd have to go with in bed. That's where I usually read and it's pretty comfy. When I wake up in the morning on weekends I grab the book lying next to me on the floor without having to get out of bed. Can it get any better?

I'm sorry I haven't been able to hop for a while, so if I'll be responding to hops from a few weeks ago! :) Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tag!

     Awesome sauce, I have officially been tagged! ;) Let's see here...

4 Things in My Handbag
  • Germ- X (because you never know when you might need to clean your hands! I am NOT a germophobe)
  • Books a Million gift card and discount card
  • Sunglasses with one lens missing (I loved them too)
  • camera (because I like to preserve my memories)
4 Things In/On My Desk
  • Books (duh!)
  • Mail (it makes me feel special)
  • Fuze drink (the pina colada one that is quite tasty)
  • My awesome, brand new phone
4 Favorite Things in My Bedroom
  • Bed (on which I do all of that lovely sleeping I am so fond of)
  • Bookshelves (need I say more?)
  • Radio ( la ti da...)
  • Papier mache Hershey's kiss (I made it and it is awesome. enough said.)
4 Things I've Always Wanted to Do  (But Haven't Yet)
  • Skydive (why not?)
  • Get a degree from Harvard (I'm dreaming big, okay)
  • Travel the world (I want to experience as much as possible in the short time I have on this Earth)
  • Take a roadtrip with my friends (I can only imagine being stuck in a car, alone, with them for days... ;D)
4 Things I Enjoy Very Much At the Moment
  • Sleeping (have I mentioned this?)
  • Reading (if you are reading this, chances are you share the same sentiment)
  • Going to the Drive-in Movie Theatre (it is out in the woods and absolutely beautiful)
  • Writing
4 Songs I Can't Get Out of My Head
  • I believe I can fly (which has been stuck in my head since around April but I don't know why)
  • The eBay song from Weird Al (great satirical example)
  • The Boys of Summer by Don Henley(the only part that is stuck in my head is "Don't look back, you can never look back.")
  • Bad Day by someone I don't know
4 Things You Don't Know About Me
  • I have been to Mexico
  • I secretly love the Hallmark channel and Lifetime (no mocking!)
  • I am technologically incompetent (what can I say?)
  • My mother and I are very close (oddly enough, I don't think I've ever mentioned her)
4 Bloggers I Am Tagging

Book Blogger Hop (October 1-4)

     I think my teachers are all in cahoots. I'm serious, they sure do know how to swamp students with work. Anyway, that is why I missed the last hop. Homework and... my birthday! The cake was delicious, I must say. Chocolate with chocolate chips and walnuts in it and cream cheese icing. Yuuum!
     Now, on to the real business of this blog: books! I finished Clockwork Angel and there should be a review for that up sometime in the foreseeable future. I also plan to finally review Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone.
     Thank you to Jen at Crazy for Books for the always awesome hop!
Book Blogger Hop
Question of the Week:
     How do you spread the word about your blog?
Answer:
     For one, I participate in the hop. I think that is pretty much the best way I spread the word. Aside from that, I comment on blogs. That's about it I think.

     So, how was your week? How do you spread the word?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi

     Maddy's parents have just divorced and she has had to move in with her Grandmother in a new town. This means starting a new school without her friends. She is labeled the freak.
     Maddy is a great artist and takes comfort in her manga drawings. Her father gets her an online game called Fields of Fantasy which she loves and plays often to escape her problems. Online she can be anyone she wants to be, so she becomes an Elfin maiden named Allora. She makes friends on the game as well.
     Maddy is your average protagonist. Her parents are divorced, she has to move to a new school and all of that. What makes her different from the many other books of this sort is her love of manga and her obsession with her online game. You don't generally see too many novels about an obsession with online games, but Mancusi does well to present it. Maddy loves that game and it almost seems to become an extension of who she is, in her mind. She plays it all of the time, thereby avoiding having to feel anything besides what Allora would feel. She logs on constantly to play: instead of her homework, when she gets into it with her mom, or even when she misses her dad.
     I really do feel sorry for Maddy. I know what it's like to change schools and leave all of your friends behind. Regardless, she still seems a little pathetic. It is almost like she doesn't want to make friends to show her parents how horrible a thing they did to her. I like how Mancusi developed Maddy, I'm not saying I don't because I did love Maddy, but I wanted her to try a bit more to make some new friends instead of being all woe is me.
     I do have to say that as good as Gamer Girl was, it was too predictable. There was not nearly enough suspense. I knew what was going to happen pages before it did. The writing, however, kept me reading because it really was good.  All said and done, Gamer Girl was pretty interesting and well-written.
     Rating: 6
     Find Gamer Girl at Amazon.
    

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

     Cleopatra's Daughter starts out as Octavian's army is approaching Alexandria, Egypt. Alexander, Selene, Ptolemy and their mother, Cleopatra, hide as best they can, but they are found. Cleopatra kills herself and their father. Marc Antony, dies as well, leaving them to the mercy of Octavian Ceasar. Rather than killing them, Ceasar takes them back to Rome with him to show his immense power. Selene and Alexander grow up in Rome, longing to be home with their people. They learn the secrets that surround their new home and the people they live with.


     I think this is probably the best historical novel I have ever read! I fell in love with this book quite quickly. Moran's writing style just flows so perfectly. The language is definitely not modern, but it is understandable. I think she did a great job in bringing this piece of history to life.
     Selene and Alexander are twins, but they are far from identical. The story is told from Selene's perspective. You get to see just how hard losing her parents and having to be Ceasar's trophy is for her. She hates it. Selene misses her home and parents dearly and has trouble adjusting to the abnormal ways of Rome. Nonetheless, she has immense courage! Somehow, Selene finds it in her to stand up to Ceasar and I envy her strength.
     Alexander is not as eager to go home. He finds Rome much more exciting than his sister, who is miserable. and seems to be adjusting better. Either way, both he and Selene live in constant fear of their lives being extinguished. Octavian Ceasar uses them to show his power and cares little about them. They are just prisoners of war to him.
     Octavia was so sweet! The book would not have been the same without her. She helps Selene to fit in better and takes care of Alexander as well. She even stands up to her brother, Ceasar, for them.
     The secrets in Rome were enough to drive me crazy! I wanted to know so badly what this or that meant. It makes me want to read even more books on the subject. The tension certainly added to the story line. It made Cleopatra's Daughter a page-turner for me! I simply loved this book. Everything came alive for me, and that is the most important part. I want to be able to feel what the character's feel, see what they see, ad even hear what they do. Cleopatra's Daughter did that for me. For instance, the first time Selene has to dress in Roman clothing she feels ashamed. I felt that embarrassment with her. I wanted to slap Ceasar just as much as she did.
     All in all, Cleopatra's Daughter is a book well-worth the time it takes to read it. If you are interested in history, or specifically Ceasar or Cleopatra, then this is the book for you. Plus, it comes highly recommended!
     Rating: 9.8
     To find Cleopatra's Daughter, check Amazon, Walmart, or even Michelle Moran's website!
    

Hush, Hush Contest

     I'm sure many of you are looking forward to October 19th. Who wouldn't be? After all, Crescendo is going to be released then! Of course, it would be inappropriate, tragic even, to read the second book before the first. ;)
     Which is why Melissa at YA Book Shelf is giving away two glorious copies of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick! Tears of pure joy are running down your face now, aren't they? I assure you, you are not alone. I would adore a copy of this book!
     So, make sure you do not miss out on this chance! Enter the contest here. Good luck!

Book Blogger Hop (September 17th -20th)

     I had quite the week, what about you? The teachers piled on the homework this weekend, but that's alright. I'm still on a high from our awesome version of trench warfare in U.S. History on Thursday. :) We used paper balls (simulating bullets) and the desks (forming the 'trench'). It may sound dorky, but it was unimaginably fun to get the chance to throw things at the people you don't like in your class! No, I'm just kidding!
     Good times, good times...
Book Blogger HopThank you Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books!
Prompt of the Week:
     In honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, let's take time this week to honor our favorite book bloggers and why we love them!
Response:
     Well, I'd have to say Christina from Books Are Life is definitely my inspiration for blogging! She is the one who introduced me to the whole world of sharing my love of books with other people. Obviously she has a wonderful blog complete with reviews, interviews and everything in between! What's not to love? I've also had the great experience of being friends with Christina in-person (oh, those lovely AP Euro days...).  Don't miss out on this fabulous blog!
     Then there is my eighth grade English teacher's review blog. She was one of my favorite teachers. Heather (it's weird calling her by her first name) at The One Thing I Regret could be a writer herself! Don't you just love her style? She truly makes me want to read every book she discusses!
     I know there are zillions of other blogs out there that I have surely missed out on, but I feel that the above mentioned two are some of the best. Be sure to stop by and check both of them out!
    
    Have fun reading and hopping!


    

Monday, September 13, 2010

Nightlight: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon

     Belle Goose falls in love with Edwart Mullen in this parody of Twilight. She lives in Switchblade, Oregon, and is looking for a vampire boyfriend. She thinks Edwart is a vampire and attempts to convince him to make her a vampire too, by stalking him.


     I know this book was supposed to be funny, but I just didn't like it. Some things were funny, I'll give it that. For the most part though, I think this book went much too far. This could be because I actually happened to enjoy the Twilight saga, but I won't go into fan-girl mode at the moment.
     Belle stalks Edwart and Edwart is creeped out by girls. None of the words that come out of anyone's mouth seem even remotely real. Most importantly, it doesn't even really make that much sense! I couldn't follow what was going on very well.
     It was actually fairly hilarious the way the authors changed the names though. Belle Goose is Bella Swan. A goose is a type of bird, as is a swan... get it?  ;)
     Rating:  1
      -- I really hate to give the book this low of a rating, but I just couldn't connect with it. I'm sure some people might actually like Nightlight, so give it a try if you'd like. I am most certainly not an expert on books!
     If you would like to read Nightlight, try Amazon.