Monday, January 31, 2011

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: August 2010 by Scholastic Press

My Rating: 5 stars
Tags: YA | Fantasy | Sci-Fi | Series (Book 3)
Includes: Violence/Murder, Sensuality

First Lines: I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather. This is where the bed I shared with my sister, Prim, stood. Over there was the kitchen table.

**This review contains spoilers for those that haven't read the first and second books of The Hunger Games series!**

Katniss Everdeen, my personal favorite fictional character, has survived yet another Hunger Games and made a fool out of the Capital once again. Before long, an entire war between the districts and Capital has begun and Katniss, the Mockingjay, is the symbol of it. No one is safe and no one knows who to trust. To make matters worse, Peeta is in the hands of an angry President Snow. Now, all of our favorite characters from the series must take up their weapons and fight the war that they started, never looking back.

I am completely blown away once again by Suzanne Collins' wonderfully written series. I've been sitting here staring at this screen for five minutes because I'm just speechless of where to even begin. Katniss. In this last book, a new side of Katniss emerges; she's still the tough and determined chick that I fell in love with, but at the same time is just plain human. All of her horrible experiences start to mess with her mind, leaving her depressed and numb. She was weak in parts of the book and just wanted to hide away for the rest of her life, which was so realistic! I think sometimes I forgot that she's still a maturing teenager coping with things way beyond her control, so it was nice seeing a more emotional side of her. I'm also so glad that her role as the Mockingjay, face of the rebellion, didn't get to her. She didn't take advantage of her authority or think she was better than anyone. Her only goal was to protect her loved ones and kill Snow. Katniss freaking kicks butt and does an amazing job at it.

From page 323
It's as if in an instant, a painted window shatters, revealing the ugly world behind it. Laughter changes to screams, blood stains pastel stones, real smoke darkens the special effect stuff made for television. A second explosion seems to split the air and leaves my ears ringing. But I can't make out where it came from.

Suzanne Collins has always written those violent and bloody scenes so raw that you can't stop reading but at the same time want to turn your eyes away from the pages. Out of all the books, I think this one was the hardest to read. It was torture for my heart to read about characters that I've grown so fond of, die for a noble cause. But the one thing that I think separates this series from any other is how real it is. Even though I didn't want certain characters to die, they did anyway. And later, after finishing the book, I'm glad they did. This wasn't a fairytale story or a feel-good kind of book. It was the raw truth of how life is and how humans treat each other. There was no sugarcoated ending or promise that everything was going to go back to normal. I'm just bewildered at how truly astounding this particular book and overall series is.

I never knew what to expect next. There were twists and turns in each chapter that I didn't see coming and I read the entire second half of the novel in one sitting. I do think that it started out a bit slow but once they actually start going to war with the Capital head-on, it's a very intense read. I am still shocked that this favorite series of mine is actually over. I can only cross my fingers that the movie will be equally as powerful, enjoyable, emotional, and creative as this book was.

Cover Thoughts: Love at first sight. The whole series' covers have a theme and this one's probably my favorite. I just love that beautiful mockingjay and the blue color!

Book Supplied by: Bought at the book depository.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mix Tape Vol. 2

freelance whales - "starring"
imogen heap - "hide and seek"
yael naim - "new soul"
arctic monkeys - "mardy bum"
the dodos - "fables"
yeah yeah yeahs - "heads will roll"
born ruffians - "i need a life"
regina spektor - "wallet"
oh no! oh my! - "wham bam thank you spaceman"
phantogram - "let me go"

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

Title: The Water Wars
Author: Cameron Stracher
Published: January 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire

My Rating: 5 stars
Tags: YA | Sci-Fi | Adventure | Dystopian
Includes: Violence

First Lines: The year before he joined the Reclamation, when he was still seventeen, my brother Will set a new high score at the YouToo! booth at the gaming center.

Saying the world was experiencing a drought would be an understatement. In Vera's world, fresh water is almost impossible to lay your hands on. Which is why the remaining drinkable water belongs to the government and there are serious laws about wasting water. In this futuristic world, millions of people have died or gotten sick and everyone is battling to survive. Then Vera meets Kai - a mysterious boy who doesn't even hesitate to spill his remaining drops of water on the ground. They quickly become close friends
, until one day he goes missing. Vera and her brother Will set out on an adventure to find him, not letting anything get in their way.

By the first few pages my mouth was already dry. This fantastic author has a way with words and he vividly described the earth so well that I had to continue getting up and getting a drink of water. He created a frightening futuristic world, that I hope we will never live to see. I liked how Stracher provided the background information of how the world became so dry throughout the novel. He didn't just compile it all into the first chapter, but instead weaved it into the novel so that the reader didn't fully understand until halfway in. This story was full of adventure, action, amazing characters, and a suspenseful and creative plot.

From page 3
Once there had been a row of stores at the edge of the lot, but now all that remained were the skeletons that scavengers hadn't sold for scrap. Torn insulation and loose wire dangled like innards from pitted aluminum struts. When the wind blew, they made a sound like mourning.

It took me awhile to dig into Vera's character. For a long time it just felt like she could be any girl and she wasn't that memorable of a main character that I longed for. However, as the story progressed, she became much more independent and courageous - she knew what she wanted and was determined to make it happen. I grew really fond of the two allies she and her brother made along the way, too. So even though I did want a little more characterization, I think the intense plot and book overall made up for it. I never got bored; there was always a new adventure waiting to unfold. At times it seemed like Vera and Will had too much luck on their side, but it was still a very fun and gripping read. I really admire the author's descriptive writing style, always having a little movie going on in my head of what was going on. Speaking of which, I think this would make a killer movie! The ending felt a little strained, it was kind of left open for the reader to decide what will happen. I was really impressed with this novel and urge everyone to flip open the pages and settle down with a nice cold glass of water, too.

Cover Thoughts: This cover is astounding. I love the effects and editing, how the picture wraps around to the back of the cover, and the text. Overall, this is such an eye-catching cover and really grabs your attention.

Book Supplied by: Publisher for Review.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: Cryer's Cross

This week's WoW book is Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann! It will be released on February 8, 2011.

The small town of Cryer’s Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn’t that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD-addled brain. When a second student goes missing—someone close to Kendall’s heart—the community is in an uproar. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall’s not sure she can hold it together. When she starts hearing the voices of the missing, calling out to her and pleading for help, she fears she’s losing her grip on reality. But when she finds messages scratched in a desk at school—messages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit there—Kendall decides that crazy or not, she’d never forgive herself if she didn’t act on her suspicions. Something’s not right in Cryer’s Cross—and Kendall’s about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

I've never read anything by this author but I think the summary sounds so intriguing, and love that creepy cover. PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 8, 2011!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'll get down on my hands and knees and beg if I have to...

Okay, first off I apologize if this post sounds completely desperate. I never use my blog for advertising anything other than books (most of the time hah). I don't have a job since I'm still a high school junior and have to 'focus on my studies' according to my parents. So the only way I make money is my babysitting and petsitting and getting allowance - throw in a few birthday checks, too.

Photography has always fascinated me. I've had the same crappy digital camera for five years and absolutely hate it. I want this beautiful piece of perfect art so badly! Isn't it pretty?! Imagine how better my pictures would be for my "On My Bookshelf" posts using this kind of camera. ;) However, once I took a peek at the price I knew it would take me a looooong time saving up my allowance for it. And frankly I just don't have that kind of time.

So. I'm selling my gently used black 16GB iphone on ebay. Yep, call me crazy or just plain desperate but I. want. that. camera. so. badly. It's now to the point where I look at that amazon page daily! So if you or someone you know is interested in an almost new iphone for a pretty cheap price, please click here and make a bid! Thanks so much!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mix Tape Vol. 1

Music dominates my life. I almost always have my ipod playing, especially while I read. So I decided to share what I listen to! I'll try my best to have a music post weekly. I'll tell you all now though, my music taste is very... different. I don't listen to the radio and rarely like mainstream music - I'm more of the indie type. (:

cursive - "i couldn't love you"
beach house - "walk in the park"
the killers - "midnight show"
scanners - "salvation"
portugal the man - "the sun"
mute math - "spotlight"
the strokes - "soma"
matt & kim - "cameras"
a fine frenzy - "near to you"
scissors for lefty - "lay down your weapons"

Friday, January 21, 2011

For the Future (14)

This is a monthly meme of mine that I made up! :) It's similar to my "Waiting on Wednesday" posts, but highlights many books, not just one. And doesn't include summaries. Here's a list of young adult books that are still in-the-making or will be published in the future. This can range from being released tomorrow, to two years from now! These covers and release dates might not be permanent, it's just what I saw on Amazon, Goodreads, or the author's website. Hope this will be efficient to expand your reading pile!

Haunted by Joy Preble (January 19, 2011): Anne Michaelson is trying to forget everything that happened last year. But it's hard to do when her heart aches for Ethan and there's a wild-haired woman stalking her...

Will Work for Prom Dress
by Aimee Ferris (February 8, 2011): This road to the prom dream may just end in disaster.

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford (February 22, 2011): Trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen (February 17, 2011): When a violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally damaged fullback and a promising gymnast might hold the key to a school's salvation.
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt (March 1, 2011): A sweet story of first love, that seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan (March 22, 2011): It's up to Annah -- can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley (February 8, 2011): When Corrinne's father is laid off, her world suddenly falls apart. Instead of heading to boarding school, she's stripped of her credit cards and shipped off to the boonies of Texas to live with her grandparents.

Famous by Todd Strasser (January 25, 2011): All Jamie Gordon wants to do is to take pictures of celebrities...and maybe to become famous herself. When Jamie gets her hands on some sensational shots of Willow, she's suddenly in over her head. The pictures could make her career...and destroy Willow's.
Consumed by Kate Cann (February 1, 2011): The thrilling sequel to Possessed finds 16-year-old Rayne still entwined in the creepy history of Morton's Keep -- and about to discover that she's the only one who can stop the evil lurking there.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: Babe In Boyland

This week's WoW book is Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman! It will be released on February 17, 2011.

When high school junior Natalie--or Dr. Aphrodite, as she calls herself when writing the relationship column for her school paper--is accused of knowing nothing about guys and giving girls bad relationship advice, she decides to investigate what guys really think and want. But the guys in her class won't give her straight or serious answers. The only solution? Disguising herself as a guy and spending a week at Underwood Academy, the private all-boy boarding school in town. There she learns a lot about guys and girls in ways she never expected--especially when she falls for her dreamy roommate, Emilio. How can she show him she likes him without blowing her cover?

Definitely cannot wait for this one! The summary reminds me of one of my favorite movies, She's the Man. Also, this quirky and cute cover grabbed my attention and fits in with the description of the book well. PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 17, 2011!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wicked by Sara Shepard

Title: Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5)
Author: Sara Shepard
Published: June 2009 by HarperTeen

My Rating: 3 stars
Tags: YA | Girls | Romance | Mystery | Series (Book Five)
Includes: Profanity, Sexual Content

First Lines: Emily Fields leaned back on the chestnut brown leather couch, picking at the chlorine-dried skin around her thumb. Her old best friends, Aria Montgomery, Spencer Hastings, and Hanna Marin, sat next to her, sipping Godiva hot chocolate from striped ceramic mugs.

*This review contains spoilers for those of you that haven't read the first, second, third, and fourth books in the Pretty Little Liars series.*

This next book in the adored Pretty Little Liars series follows up right where the fourth one ended. The identity of A has been revealed and Ali's killer is going to prison. Now the girls can continue their lives and disguise their secrets in peace right? Wrong. Suddenly, there's another A out there - sending even more frightening emails and texts to the girls all over again. Oh, and Ali's killer disappeared right before his hearing. Emily is struggling with which team to play for; she still has buried feelings for Maya, so why is she suddenly so interested in a new boy? Spencer is busy trying to put the pieces together about a secret that's been running in her family without her knowing. Hanna is determined to be the most popular girl at school again, even if that means hanging with the wrong crowd. And finally, Aria is crushing on a man...her mom's new boyfriend that is.

For some reason, this book disappointed me which was a shock because I've loved the previous four books. I felt like there wasn't enough plot substance in this one and it definitely lacked the normal suspense that I look forward to. There was no huge climax near the end either, which was a let-down. This series was supposed to end at book four, so I just felt like this one was a bit awkward and forced. It's strange - just in my last review for the fourth book, Unbelievable, I explained how
"I began seeing the four girls in a new perspective. They didn't seem as stuck up and conceited than before, and I'm growing to really understand them." However, after this book, I take that back. Hanna was like an entirely new person and I wouldn't ever dare to befriend her because of just how heartless and selfish she can be at times! It seems each time I finally start to like the girls, something always pulls me away. It's hard to enjoy a book when you turn your nose up at the main characters.

From page 264
Kate gave Hanna a wide, smirking smile, Hanna's binging secret probably on the tip of her tongue. Hanna felt like she was on a roller coaster that was slowly climbing to the top of a hill. Any minute now, it would spill down the other side, and she'd lose her stomach...and her reputation.

This book was calmer than the others. I read it at a much slower pace than I did with the previous novels, not as interested I guess. I'm not sure where the series is leading to, now that I'm completely confused about the whole A situation. The new A seems to be an exact replica of the old A...but Mona is dead so how is that possible? My brain is just a twisted mess after this novel. There was also a repeated memory of Ali that was mentioned in practically every chapter. Obviously it's important to the story, but after a while it got really frustrating reading about the same exact memory from each girl's perspective.

Personally, Aria has always been my favorite character to read about, seems the most mature, and is the nicest of the bunch. I can't wait to see how her story is going to progress and how she'll fix the mess she's gotten into. I don't mean to be highlighting just the negative aspects of this certain novel, because as a whole this is still an amazing series that I've grown to love. It's a guilty pleasure of mine and I'll definitely be starting the next installment as soon as possible. Though this was my least favorite so far, hopefully the rest will be much more exciting! I have hope in Sara Shepard.

Cover Thoughts: Love it! The whole series has an ongoing theme with their covers; each one represents one of the girls as a barbie doll. On the back, it shows them as a human, but they look exactly the same. I think this is such an original idea! Plus, the next four books have changed a little bit - and I like them even more. The zoom-in and text placement is really eye-catching.

Book Supplied by: Bought at Borders.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Random Acts of Senseless Kindness

Graham Parke is the author of the book No Hope For Gomez! (Which I will be reading/reviewing next month, so keep your eyes open for that). He has written a spin-off novella and is offering my readers the free e-book of it for a limited time!

A Gomessy New Year: Random Acts of Senseless Kindness

Gomez' life continues to crumble towards insanity after the events chronicled in No Hope for Gomez! Clinical studies have shown that reading this novelette is likely to make you more attractive to the opposite sex and elevate your random luck by about 9.5%**

(** These statements have not been evaluated by any person of consequence!)

The events in this novella take place 5 months after those described in the novel No Hope for Gomez! As such it may contain spoilers.

View the free e-book main page here or go directly to the .pdf here! Enjoy, and thanks Graham!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop


See the entire linky list here to enter all of the other great giveaways!

I'm participating in the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf. For my giveaway, one person will win a signed copy of the book Going Nowhere Faster by Sean Beaudoin!

The Simple Rules:
-You must be a blog follower (new or old) to enter. If you aren't, your entry will be deleted.
-Runs from 12:01 AM January 14th until 11:59 PM January 17th.
-Open to USA only.
-You can get extra entries by tweeting/blogging about my giveaway.
-The winner, picked randomly and emailed, will have 5 days to reply before a new winner is chosen.


SUMMARY: Stan Smith has the world's dullest name, and the world's dullest life to go with it. At 17, the former junior chess champion turned "Town's Laziest Register Monkey at the Town's Only Video Store" has no car, no college, and, of course, no girl. If that weren't pathetic enough, he's got an organic-food-freak vegan mother, an eccentric inventor father, a dead-end job, a dog with a flatulence problem, and a former classmate threatening to kill him. With a 165 IQ, Stan was expected to Be Something and Go Somewhere. But when all he has is a beat-up old bike that keeps getting vandalized, he's going nowhere, faster.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: Cloaked

This week's WoW book is Cloaked by Alex Flinn! It will be released on February 8, 2011.

I'm not your average hero. I actually wasn't your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all. It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission. There wasn't a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I've ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades. Don't believe me? I didn't believe it either. But you'll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked.

I love Flinn's fairy tale spin-off novels. They're always so entertaining - so I can't wait for this one. PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 8, 2011!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chasing AllieCat Trailer

Check out the new book trailer for Chasing AllieCat by Rebecca Davis. This book has been on my to-be-read list for a long time now!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A little reading survey I came across

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
Not really...but if I do, it's probably ice cream. Preferably the birthday cake kind, yum.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I never write in books; I use post-its instead. Books aren't humans - they shouldn't have tattoos!

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
Hah I actually just use anything closest to random bits of paper, a napkin, sometimes a funny comic strip. I never actually use a solid book mark though and never ever dog-ear!

Laying the book flat open?
I try not to, since it'll break the spine. But sometimes when I'm in a rush - ahem, about to pee my pants - I just throw the book aside without seeing how it lands.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
Definitely fiction. There are only a few non-fiction books I've enjoyed.

Hard copy or audiobooks?
Hard copy, no question about it. I think the idea of having someone read a book to you is too elementary school-ish for me. Plus, I like to read at my own pace.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
YES. I always have to finish the chapter I'm on while I read right before bed. Even if I'm so tired that I can't keep my eyes open and start hallucinating, I always have to finish the chapter.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
Nope. If it's on my kindle, the built in dictionary easily gives its definition with a simple click. But if it's an actual book, I either just skip over the word or write it down to look up later.

What are you currently reading?
Wicked by Sara Shepard - I love the Pretty Little Liars series!

What is the last book you bought?
13 to Life by Shannon Delany

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
Usually just one book at a time - unless I'm on a time constraint for books to review, or if we're reading something in my English class. When I read a couple books at a time, my brain can't handle all of the awesome different characters and plots, so I get them all confused.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
Right before bed, in my room, surrounded by pillows and smothered in blankets.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
Hmm..both! Usually stand alone books though, because if I wait too long between books in a series, I forget what happened and have to go back and re-read it.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins - duhh. (:
Anything by Sarah Dessen; my favorite of hers is The Truth About Forever.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
I have three bookshelves and I cram as many books as I can on each shelf (I kind of feel bad because they're probably suffocating), organized alphabetically by author's last name. Yep, I'm a dork, but I think it's so much fun organizing my shelves.

Now it's your turn!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Winter Extravaganza Winners Part Three

The remainder of my giveaways ended on January 6, and I have the winners for them! I'll email everyone and they have 4 days to reply, or else I'll pick a new winner. Get ready for another giveaway coming up on Friday! (:

Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell - Tara from Taming the Bookshelf

So Shelly signed by Ty Roth - Elizabeth Briggs

Chasing AllieCat by Rebecca Davis - Aurora M

Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance by Brendan Halpin and Emily Franklin - Gina from Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell - Danna from Friendly Reader

Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson - Stephany from Read-a-Holic

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday: The Iron Witch

This week's WoW book is The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney! It will be released on February 8, 2011.

Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma. When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

I adore this gorgeous cover - it's what first caught my attention. Can't wait to dig into this book! PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 8, 2011!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On My Bookshelf (25)

(Originally by The Story Siren, as "In My Mailbox.") On My Bookshelf is used to share what books I bought, won, traded, received for review, or got from the library this week. It's to let you know what to expect for me to read/review next. (:


Wicked (#5) by Sara Shepard: In idyllic Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four very pretty girls just can't help but be bad... Hanna will do anything to be Rosewood's queen bee. Spencer's digging up her family's secrets. Emily can't stop thinking about her new boyfriend. And Aria approves a little too strongly of her mom's taste in men. Now that Ali's killer is finally behind bars, the girls think they're safe. But those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. And they should know by now that I'm always watching...

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting: Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers. Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.


The DUFF by Kody Keplinger: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face. But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley. Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.


Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell: Ellie was never particularly good at talking to boys—or anyone other than her best friend and fellow outcast, Ruth. Then she met Michael. Michael is handsome, charming, sweet. And totally into Ellie. It’s no wonder she is instantly drawn to him. But Michael has a secret. And he knows Ellie is hiding something, too. They’ve both discovered they have powers beyond their imagining. Powers that are otherworldly. Ellie and Michael are determined to uncover what they are, and how they got this way... together. But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side.

The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman: Jen and Wes do not "meet cute." They do not fall in love at first sight. They do not swoon with scorching desire. They do not believe that they are instant soul mates destined to be together forever. This is not that kind of love story. Instead, they just hang around in each other's orbits...until eventually they collide. And even after that happens, they're still not sure where it will go. Especially when Jen starts to pity-date one of Wes's friends, and Wes makes some choices that he immediately regrets. From National Book Award winner Pete Hautman, this is a love story for people not particularly biased toward romance. But it is romantic, in the same way that truth can be romantic and uncertainty can be the biggest certainty of all.

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal: Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known. Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl. Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.

My cat, Mittens, then decided to walk all over my books because he wanted some camera attention, too.

Which, afterwards, decided to sleep on top of my dresser, knocking everything off. Sigh...gotta love my kitty. (:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Winter Extravaganza Winners Part Two

My Winter Extravaganza is officially December went by really fast! I hope everyone enjoyed the giveaways, interviews, excerpts, and guest posts. Hopefully you've learned about a new author or book, too.

Some of my giveaways ended on December 31, and I have the winners for them! I'll email everyone and they have 4 days to reply, or else I'll pick a new winner. Move your eyeballs over to the left sidebar for the list of current giveaways, too. They end on January 6.

The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green - Jen from I Read Banned Books

The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook - Crystal from My Reading Room

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper - Mary DeBorde

The Fortune of Carmen Navarro by Jen Bryan - Katie from Katie's Bookshelf

Trapped by Michael Northrop - Germaine from Last Page First


Vixen (The Flappers) by Jillian Larkin - Adrian T

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler - Mrs. DeRaps from DeRaps Reads

Drought by Pam Bachorz - Julie Bird


The Lost Saint by Bree Despain - Melissa from Mel's Books and Info

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors - Nikki from Wicked Awesome Books


Unbelievable by Sara Shepard

Title: Unbelievable (Pretty Little Liars #4)
Author: Sara Shepard
Published: November 2008 by HarperTeen

My Rating: 4 stars
Tags: YA | Girls | Romance | Mystery | Series (Book Four)
Includes: Profanity, Sexual Content, Homosexuality

First Lines: Aria Montgomery woke up mid-snore. It was Sunday morning, and she was curled up on a blue vinyl chair in the Rosewood Memorial Hospital waiting room.

*This review contains spoilers for those of you that haven't read the first, second, and third book in the Pretty Little Liars series.*

Well the mysterious A is back, and meaner than ever. The book opens up at the hospital, as everyone anxiously waits for Hanna to wake up from her coma - after she was "accidentally" hit by a car for knowing too much. But when she does finally wake up, all of her memories from the night she was hit are gone. Emily's parents have shipped her off to live with her extremely conservative relatives in Iowa. There, she meets an interesting girl named Trista, who seems a little too friendly and may get in between Emily and Maya's relationship. Spencer is still dealing with the guilt from stealing her sister's paper, which nominated her for the Golden Orchid award. Plus, her memories are starting to come back about the day Ali was killed - and they definitely are not good memories. Aria's mom kicked her out of the house for keeping her father's affair a secret from her. Aria is now living with her dad and his quirky girlfriend, Meredith, and Aria is determined to make things right again. In the midst of all this drama, A starts bringing her anonymous texts and letters to a frighteningly new level: threats.

I just adore this amazing and creative series. Each book is better than the last, if that's even possible! It seems like Sara Shepard has grew completely comfortable with her four main characters because they are just so realistic. Their problems don't seem exaggerated but just right, and enough to thicken the plot. I love reading about these girls' juicy secrets and how they'll handle it when they are unveiled to the world. Sara Shepard has a way with words, and I just love her writing style.

From location 1559
She and Mona never discussed the past, but sometimes Hanna felt like the painful memories loomed close behind, bubbling just below the surface of their friendship like an underground geyser.

This book is probably the most suspenseful of all the previous ones. The author had me guessing who A was - and my prediction was constantly changing through each chapter. She sets the pace of the story wonderfully and the huge climax at the end was It was 'unbelievable' what happened. I loved the mix of emotions that pulsed through the novel. I began seeing the four girls in a new perspective. They didn't seem as stuck up and conceited than before, and I'm growing to really understand them. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't as much romance in this particular book than in the others. Sara's great at writing up the romantic scenes, however I guess the suspense made up for it. One little thing that I noticed was how there are always policemen around at the weirdest places, wanting to ask the girls questions concerning Ali's murder. This even happens at a party! It just seems strange to me how casually the police will ask the girls questions in public.

We finally learn who A is, and that left me speechless! It actually makes a lot of sense and I'm glad that the author explained it well and answered many of my questions. I'm kind of curious now to go back and read the first three books in the series over again, now that I know who A is. Also, Ali's killer is revealed! There are still four more books in this series though, so I'm not sure what is going to happen now that both identities have been uncovered. Sara Shepard has once again blown me away with her fantastic and addicting novels. As soon as I read the last page of this book, I was already grabbing the next installment from my bookshelf to begin ripping through. I really hope to finish it before the TV show starts back up again!

Cover Thoughts: Love it! The whole series has an ongoing theme with their covers; each one represents one of the girls as a barbie doll. On the back, it shows them as a human, but they look exactly the same. I think this is such an original idea!

Book Supplied by: E-book on my Kindle.