Friday, February 28, 2014

If We Were Having Coffee #1

So I got this idea from Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner who got it from a blogger/life coach named Ashley.Sometimes we forget that there is a whole other side to book bloggers. A side that does not obsess about books and talk about them incessantly. So grab a cup of coffee (generally my coffee of choice is a Venti Mocha at Starbucks) and let's chat.

If we were having coffe, I'd talk about how much I have hated 2014 so far. It definitely has not been kind to my family.My mom got fired from work in the beginning of January. Totally unjustified because she has been off work on Workman's Comp since September of 2013. Thank goodness we have a lawyer who will not let this go. Workman's Comp has been a nightmare to deal with and she's frustrated and sometimes wondering how the bills are going to be paid. I give her money (we are literally best friends) but I practically have to force it into her hand.

At the end of January my 13 year old brother got a concussion.It was considered minor but the temporary mood changes were exasperating. Plus he dealt with headaches all the time. Then, this past weekend he was at his dad's house and somehow managed to break 2 fingers in his right hand. What hand does he use to write, you ask? Of course his right hand.

My grandmother, who is normally extremely healthy, is now having some health issues. Scary for us because she is normally the healthiest one in our family. I would ask you to please keep her and the rest of my family in your thoughts & prayers.

If we were having coffee, I'd admit to feeling down lately. Not depressed, but just bummed about where I am in life. Ten years ago I had all of these plans and none of them have gone the way I wanted them to. I would admit to feeling like a loser because math is an exceptionally difficult subject for me. All of my other classes, I do very well even excellent. But not math. Math is just not my forte. I'd ask you what your best subjects in school is/was.I'd also admit to being a loser because I just cannot make a relationship work. I desperately want to, but I lack the skills and the inspiration to do so.

No one in my family has really shown me what it's like to be happily married and committed for life. Mom has been married & divorced twice. Both of them assholes. Both of them verbally & emotionally abusive. My grandmother is on her 3rd marriage. First husband was abusive.Second husband died.And now she is on her third husband. My mom's brother has never been married.Ideally marriage is supposed to be forever, but the 49-50% divorce rate would show me that marriages fail.Since I am a child (and adult) of divorce I am essentially screwed. Logically, I know that I am not my family and that I can take the steps necessary to put everything I have into a marriage.

I'd tell you that friendships are changing and I am realizing more and more who to trust. Who is going to be there for me when I need them to be and who only comes around when they need something.It hurts, thinking someone was a close friend, basically a best friend but we have drifted apart a lot in the past couple of years.

I'd tell you how much I panicked when I got a Facebook friend request from one of the boys who bullied me in high school. I mean, there were 4 sometimes 5 of them that made my Sophomore & Junior years absolute hell. Nothing was really done about them for awhile as it was a small private school and the parents of these boys had buckets of money. I have blocked out most of what they did to me in high school but some memories will always remain. 

I'd tell you that this felt really good and that we should keep doing it. At least once a month.

So what did you guys think? Comment below and say what you'd say to me if we were having coffee. If you want to keep it anonymous, you are welcome to do that as well.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door #1) by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Book Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date: June 14th, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Series: Book one in My Life Next Door series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them. . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

Review:
When I was making my list of books I wanted to buy, this one was at the top of the list. I had heard so many people raving about it over and over again, to the point where I just had to put it on my list and when I was able to make a book purchase, this book would be one of the ones that I would buy.

I did not regret it one little bit. It was a sweet summery read (since it's still winter, it's an odd time to read it but oh well) The characters were funny and sweet and totally likable. Despite being 10 years older than Jase, I wanted him as my new boyfriend. But I'll settle for him being my book boyfriend. He was totally swoony and adorable and just an all around good guy. I loved how close his entire family was. You don't get to see that very often in YA books. The entire family was close and it was a big family which made it all the better.

With a big family like this, one could worry that it would make it hard for all of the characters to stand out with individual personalities and such. But it wasn't. Despite the Garretts having 8 kids, I was still able to differentiate all of them.

Samantha on the other hand, had a small family. Just her mom and older sister Tracy. Now she has to deal with her mom's boyfriend Clay. It's strange for Samantha because her mom has been single her entire life. So the idea that she has a boyfriend is kind of icky to Samantha. She doesn't want to picture what her mom does with this guy.

Samantha and Jase were just about the sweetest teenagers ever. Holy moly, they were cute and sweet and basically drama free (outside of keeping their relationship hidden from Samantha's mom) I felt bad for Samantha though. Jase has what was essentially, the ideal family and Samantha's was just slapped together and she had a very judgmental mom which would have really driven me crazy. Samantha clearly longed for a mother like Mrs. Garrett.

There were the supplemental characters like Samantha's best friend Nan & her brother Tim. My thoughts on Nan stayed relatively positive until the end, when my opinion of her started to become more negative. Whereas my thoughts on Tim started off very negative but by the end,my thoughts were quite positive. Even to the point where his transformation was one of my favorite things to watch.

I wasn't sure what the "unthinkable" thing would be, when I first started the book but it ended up being totally different than anything I could have ever imagined. The behavior of two people in particular was abhorrent to me. However things ended up exactly how they should have.

This book was awesome. I loved the focus on family & friendship that were not shoved to the backseat in favor of a romance. The only thing that I would complain about was that the ending was short and I was kind of hoping for something more. I also didn't really get emotional while reading the book. So this book will be getting 4 stars. I am so excited to read the next book, which is Tim's story. I know that is going to be another special book.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #32

This feature is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

It was a very slow week on the blog this week as I spent a lot of time playing with my new kitten Latte. So I didn't get a whole lot of reading done unfortunately. Hoping that the reading slump will end soon. Maybe this week's large stack of books will help with that. We can only hope. I am definitely behind schedule which really upsets me as it is not in my Type A personality to be behind on anything.

So I decided to do something new this week. I filmed my first vlog in which I talked about all the books that I bought myself this week. It was part of my February book buy. So this video talks about 8 of the books that I bought this week. A couple of hours after I filmed this, the last two books arrived in my mailbox. I really didn't feel like re-filming the video so the books that aren't in the video will have a pic of the cover next to it. 

The Impossible Knife Of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Split Second (Pivot Point #2) by Kasie West
A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
In The After (In The After #1) by Demitria Lunetta
The Selection ( The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass
Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
-Books not in the video-
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Distance Between Us  by Kasie West

-Received for Review-

-NetGalley-
Jex Malone by C.L. Gaber & V.C. Stanley
Silver by Chris Wooding

-Edelweiss-
The Summer Of Letting Go by Gae Polisner
Dissonance (Dissonance #1) by Erica O'Rourke

-Received for ARC Tour from Lit Lushes-
The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

Gifted
-
Won
-
As always, let me know if you are excited about any of these or have actually read them. Link me to your Stacking the Shelves posts/vlogs

Blog Wrap-Up
Monday- Review of Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G.Howard
Tuesday- No Post
Wednesday- No Post
Thursday- No Post
Friday- Discussion Post about YA Books Made Into Movies
Saturday- Review of Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review: Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi

Book Title: Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: February 4th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Dystopian
Series: Book 3 in Shatter Me trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew - about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam - was wrong.

Disclaimer: This book was a Valentine's Day present from my mom.

Review:
Now that's how you end a series. Holy moly this book was filled with action and adventure and romance. It held one of my favorite opposite sex friendships of all time. There really needs to be more opposite sex friendships like Juliette and Kenji's. There truly isn't enough of them in the YA world. As much as I loved Kenji in Unravel Me, his comedic timing was impeccable and even more amazing in Ignite Me. He really needs his own series (Make it happen people) 

"Maybe your lady bits are scientifically confused." 

"First Adam. Now Warner. Next week you are going to try to hook up with me."

"Switch spots with me, J. He's making me feel all goose bumpy and shit, like maybe, he's about to knife me."

I mean those are just a sampling of the comedic genius that Kenji is throughout this book. He ended up being one of my favorite parts of the entire series. Tahereh wrote a perfect opposite sex friendship. I am one of those people who totally believes that people of opposite sexes can be just friends. Juliette and Kenji's friendship is a perfect illustration of that.

Juliette has done a ton of changing over these three books. When we met her she was scared and she felt weak. By the time Ignite Me comes around and throughout the book, she is not afraid anymore. She fights for what she wants and what she feels is right.She has friends now which is something she didn't have at the beginning of the trilogy.

Oh Adam, you really pissed me off in this book. I understand his dislike of Warner (even though I don't agree with it) but he needed to stop being a jackass. Even Kenji got annoyed with him which tells you something right there. I truly think Adam wanted Juliette to stay naive and quiet and non-confrontational. He liked being Juliette's protector and savior.

Now Warner treated Juliette with respect and like she was his equal which I loved seeing. All her life Juliette had been shunned and here comes powerful Warner who saw her, not as a frail woman in need of protection, but as an equal.

Oh boy Tahereh knows how to write steamy scenes. Wowee, chapter 55 was hotter than chapter 62 of Unravel Me. I never even though that was possible but damn Tahereh, you surprised me. This author knows how to write dynamite steamy scenes. I only wish I had that talent. I try to write steamy scenes and they turn out horribly. Like I'm trying too hard to force it. But chapter 55 was hot and the chemistry leapt off of the pages.

The only complaint that I could conceivably have is with the ending. It felt just a little bit rushed. I was not bothered by that enough to change my rating of the book. The book was still amazing and it took me through a range of emotions that left me in tears by the end of it. All of the loose ends are tied up which really made me happy as I have read books that ended with some loose strings. So this conclusion to the trilogy will be getting 5 stars.If you haven't read the series, then you need to fix that ASAP.

Friday, February 21, 2014

YA books Made Into Movies

So I came up with this discussion idea after the ladies of Epic Reads discussed it on their weekly show called Tea Time this past Wednesday. I love, LOVE books as evidenced by me having a book blog and talking incessantly about books. I am also a major movie buff. There has been an influx of YA books being turned into movies over the past 5-10 years. Some of them have been amazing and some of them have sucked the big one.

I cannot mention YA books & movies without mentioning the 8 Harry Potter movies. Some of them were better than others and one of them I actually enjoyed more than the book (No I didn't love all seven books the same)  There was another one where I adored the book but the movie adaptation of it was terrible. Which depressed the crap outta me.

Twilight, now I read the books once and now looking back, I am embarrassed that I read them. Totally cannot believe that I enjoyed them. However I went to go see Twilight when it came out in theaters and basically hated it. Kristen Stewart just cannot act to save her life. So I got New Moon on Netflix later on and could only make it through about 45 minutes before I had to turn it off. I have yet to see Eclipse or Part 1 & 2 of Breaking Dawn. The idea of a werewolf imprinting on a baby just... BARF!

Now The Hunger Games was a pretty decent movie adaptation. Yes there were changes that people had to accept. However it's successor Catching Fire basically knocked it out of the park in terms of adapting the book to the movie. They had kept so many of the lines from the book and that thrilled me. The casting for Catching Fire was fantastic (RIP PSH) I even ended up loving Sam Claflin as Finnick though I was initially nervous about as he was my favorite male character in Catching Fire. Jena Malone was PERFECTION as Johanna Mason. They could not have cast that one better.

I have not read Vampire Academy but I saw the premiere for the film and I could not understand the hype. If the books are anything like the previews for the movie, I think I'll pass. Yikes. It just looks totally cringe-worthy.

Now I am excited about Divergent even though I am still not 100% sold on Theo James as Four (Yes I know I'm crazy) I love that they were able to get some big names into the film (Kate Winslet & Ashley Judd) I really hope that the movie is as good as the previews made it look. I think I'll be really upset if it ends up not being good.

Now onto the books that I would hate to see made into a movie. The Splintered series by A.G.Howard. I have absolutely adored the first two books but I would be terrified that the movies would be trash. They would have to get just the right director to do it (I would say Tim Burton but he's already directed Alice in Wonderland and I don't think he'd do this one.) The special effects would be dynamite, that much I am sure of. So movie people, if you are, by some miracle, reading this, please don't make Splintered & Unhinged & Ensnared into movies.

My other YA movie don't is The Program & The Treatment by Suzanne Young. Again, I absolutely LOVED this duology  but please movie people bypass this duology. I am absolutely terrified to think what would happen to this series if a director got their hands on it. First off, the books are long so lots would be cut which I would not be happy about. Secondly, I'd be worried about the casting of the key players (James, Sloane & Realm) among others. Amazing books that need to just stay books.

So what books would you hate to see be turned into movies?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard

Book Title: Unhinged (Splintered #2)
Author: A.G.Howard
Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Series: Book 2 in Splintered series (My review of Splintered is here)
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

Review:
Second book are notoriously weaker than the first books in a series. It's similar to what is referred to as the "sophomore slump" in high school.In these second books,character development is weaker and the writing isn't as pretty as it was in the first book. I found none of that to be the case in Unhinged. In fact I went as far as to say that Unhinged was better than Splintered and I honestly didn't believe that was possible.

While Splintered had the "newness" of a series which resulted in a lot of character building, getting to know a lot of different characters and scene setting, Unhinged had the expansion on the characters. We got to know a lot more about not only those who live in Wonderland but also about those who lived in the human realm with Alyssa.

The writing was, once again, absolutely stunning. I mean, wow it was vivid and descriptive. It made me feel like I was actually in the book. Very few books are able to achieve that level of vivid imagery. Making the reader feel like they are in the book is a special talent that not every author has. A.G. Howard definitely does.

I felt sort of like Alyssa throughout the book. It felt like Morpheus and Jeb were playing tug-of-war with Alyssa and by extension, me. Morpheus was exasperating and sometimes I wanted to chain him up and leave him there. But sometimes I wanted him to be all mine.I think Morpheus has more secrets than we know right now and I can only hope that the final book will give us answers about him.

Oh Jeb,I did like him in this book, even though his art appeared to be more important to him than Alyssa was. I almost wonder if Alyssa feels like she has to be in love with him since they've been friends forever. Do I think she cares for him? Absolutely but I'm not buying a ticket to Love-Land quite yet. Jeb clearly would do anything for her. I definitely think that he is in love with her, but like I said, I'm not sure it's mutual...yet.

I refuse to spoil this book for those of you who haven't read it but holy family history Batman. I definitely loved all the bits with Alyssa's family. Particularly her mom now that she's out of the asylum. Alyssa's mom can definitely provide Alyssa with answers to her many questions. Problem is, will Alyssa believe that her mom is strong enough to handle it? 

There is definitely more than meets the eye with this book. This book caries within in many secrets. Secrets that may strengthen Alyssa and her family or weaken it. We just don't know yet. This book was amazing and I cannot believe that we have to wait until 2015 for the conclusion to this series. I honestly don't know how I am going to manage the wait. If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #31

This feature is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

So this week was a quiet week bringing me only one review book. Probably a good thing as I have been having yet another reading slump. It seems to be relegated to review books as I have really enjoyed Unhinged by A.G. Howard this week. I know I need to be reading review books but none of them are really holding my interest right now. It's frustrating and annoying as I am really type A and the idea of not following my review schedule is really upsetting me.

I received a belated birthday gift from Angie. Thank you SO much Angie. Love you! I had also won a Twitter Giveaway that Angie did. Both of those packages arrived on Monday, making it one of the best Monday's I've had in awhile.

I got my Valentine's Day present from my mom and it was a highly anticipated book. A series ender. A book that everyone has been going nuts over. So thank you Mom!

Bought
-
Received for Review

-NetGalley-
 
The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams

Gifted
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi

Won
The Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab

Blog Wrap-Up
Monday- Cover Reveal for After The Storm by Marie Landry
Tuesday- Review of Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
Wednesday- No Post
Thursday- No Post
Saturday- Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Interview With Liz
                Review of Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Bloggers Mentioned
Angie @ Disquietus Reads

Don't forget to link me to your Stacking The Shelves posts & vlogs.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Book Title: Side Effects May Vary
Author: Julie Murphy
Release Date: March 14th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? 

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most? 

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

Harvey laughed to himself in a sad way and rubbed his eyes. “You want me to help you with a list of things you won’t disclose to me.” He leaned forward and bit the skin around his thumb. “Classic.”
“You won’t regret it.”
“But—”
“Harvey,” I said, my voice low. “Trust me.”
I knew what this looked like. It looked like I was using Harvey. But here was the reality of the situation: the minute my life went from semi-permanent to most likely temporary, I decided to latch on to everything in my world that had always been permanent, and for me, Harvey was so permanent he was concrete.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
I had heard a lot of amazing things about this one months ago. It was starting to show up on fellow readers' Goodreads lists, and recently, ARC's were becoming more available. So when Edelweiss put this one up, I snatched it in a hurry. I am a real sucker for the "tough subjects" books. You know, the cancer books, the terminal illness books as well as other tough subject books.

I was a little nervous when I started this one. Mostly because many of the people who have already read it, loved it. While I didn't love it, I definitely liked it a lot. When you are told that your cancer is in remission, you feel a variety of different emotions. It's especially strange after you've been told that there's nothing more they can do and that you will die and probably soon.

That's how Alice feels. She knows that she should be over the moon excited that her life is not nearing an end,at least not yet, and that she has time to be with her loved ones. Yet, that's not how she feels. Now that she's not dying there are things that she feels that need to be done. Admittedly, she uses the boy who has loved her, to her advantage.

Harvey knows that Alice knows that he'd do anything for her. He'd help humiliate the boy she dated before she got sick. He'd help humiliate the girl who her boyfriend was cheating on her with.He doesn't grow a backbone until the book is nearly over. That really bothered me. While I know that Alice feels like she needs to do this, it's hard to be understanding when she is so obviously using the boy who loves her.

I liked Alice pretty much the whole time even though I know there were parts where she was pretty mean. Until you've been in her position, you really cannot say how you'd react to the news that your seemingly incurable cancer is in remission.

I loved all the parental involvement in this book. I mean having Alice's parents involved was practically a given since she had such a serious illness. Having Harvey's mom, Natalie so present in the book was awesome. I really loved how all five of them were so close. It was like a big happy family at times. You don't usually have that in YA books.

I didn't love the dual POV combined with switching from the then and now time periods. At times it just got really confusing. I think it would have been better had Julie picked one. Either a dual POV or then & now time periods. At the beginning, I kept having to flip back a few pages on my Kindle because I would get confused about the timelines.

I cried a little bit in the beginning and a little bit in the end, so the feels were there, but not as much as I was expecting them to be. I am a bit disappointed that I didn't love this one like I wanted to, however, I did like it a lot and that is why I am going to give it 4 stars. Yes I would absolutely recommend this book.

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Interview with Liz

Hello everyone, this year I am taking part in Book Blogger Love-A-Thon co-hosted by Kate & Alexa. My interview partner for this was Liz of Along For The Read. We asked each other 10 questions and this is what Liz said.

1. Why did you get into book blogging?

It was a spur of the moment decision that seemed to stick.  I had wanted to write a blog for a while, but book blogs were something that I didn't even know existed. I had toyed with a bunch of different ideas, but none were ones that I was overly inspired to stick with.  When I was working in a bookstore during the holidays one year, I started to really get back into reading, and started doing online research about which books were worth reading.  That's when I really discovered Goodreads as a tool, and started exploring the online book loving world.  When I realized that there were a ton of people online who loved YA like I do, I got really excited, and started exploring blogs, and on a whim set my own up to post reviews of books I had recently read.  There was no amount of organization involved, and there still isn't, but somehow, two years later, I am still here!

2. How long have you been book blogging?

Just over two years.

3. What has been the best part of book blogging?

I think finding a community of people who see teen fiction as something that can be worthwhile and valuable has been the best part.  It has taught me to never be ashamed of what I read, even if there are people out there who may look down on it.  There are so many intelligent and wonderful people who read and write YA, and book blogging is a way of interacting with those people.

4. What was your favorite book of 2013?

I think overall that would be Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller.  I found myself wanting to go back and read it again right away.  It had everything I love in contemporary YA like a solid romance, and a delicate but strong family relationship.

5. What genre did you read the most of in 2013?

I always love the contemporary YA best, and that is what I read most of.

6. What do you like best, hard copies or e-book copies?

Definitely hard copies.  E-books are convenient for travel and easy access, but I way prefer the experience of having the book in my hands.

7. What was your favorite book as a child?

Harry Potter for the obvious choice, but I loved so many books.  The ones that left most emotional impact were Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird by Jean Little, and A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry. I also loved the big series like Baby Sitters Club (And Little Sister!) Nancy Drew and Goosebumps.  I was big on mysteries and scary stories. I'm going to stop there, really I want to write a list of about 100, but I need to cut myself off before I get out of hand.  

8. Was there ever a point in your life where you just stopped reading?

Yes, definitely.  I had trouble transitioning out of my teen years while still reading. I had a few authors that I loved in high school, like Sarah Dessen, but had trouble finding a ton of books that I loved.  I think I had this idea that I had to grow out of the teen section, but there was never much in Adult fiction that I loved.  So through university I didn't read much, and it wasn't until I found the blogging world and rediscovered YA as a genre, that I really got back into reading.  I think that to read, you need to know what works for you, and that took me some time.

9. Are you a re-reader?

Very much so.  I have my favourites that I love to re-read, and for a long time, re-reading was pretty much all I did.  Since finding blogging and having so many new books I want to read, I haven't done as much repeating, but I still find myself wanting to go back to the really good ones.  Some books are meant to be enjoyed over and over.  I find that really good books have something new to give every time.  Like Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever, which I have re-read so many times, but seriously I find something new in it with every read.

10.  Do you have a reading spot in your house?

Usually I read in bed, but when I am really into a book and not putting it down, I tend to move around, find couches and chairs, places without distractions.

If you aren't familiar with Liz's blog, go on and check it out here.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Life Of A Blogger: Plans For The Future

Life Of A Blogger is hosted by Jessi of Novel Heartbeat. It is a way that we can let our readers know a little more about us outside of our blogs.

So I'm currently staring at the topic for today and I was hoping that the answer would just pop magically into my head. But no it hasn't.

Ten years ago I had plans, I was happy and in love and ready to start college and eventually make my way to law school and eventually marry my high school sweetheart. Well that didn't happen. Ever since then, I've had problems committing to a career, going as far as changing my major more times than I care to admit. Ideally I'd love to be a writer & also open a cat sanctuary for abandoned & abused cats. Realistically, my plans are to move out of my mom's house and into my own house.

But to even do that, I have to get a job. It's hard to break into the workforce after a long time of attending school & not working. I have been turned down for 3 jobs since I started looking. It's frustrating and heartbreaking and it makes me feel crappy about myself. I know that it shouldn't, but it does. It makes me feel like I'm not good enough. I've had that feeling often enough in my personal life that I don't ever want to feel that way again.

Of course, given that today is Valentine's Day, I want to make more room in my heart for love.I have a very frustrating habit of self-destructing in relationships and running away so fast that it would make your head spin. My plan was always to be married by age 30. As it stands right now, someone would literally have to fall in my lap right now for that to happen.

Last year at this time, I had reconnected romantically with my high school sweetheart (we had remained friends for the last 10 years) I was happy and hopeful for our future together, but of course I panicked and left the relationship. There was nothing about him I didn't like. He was perfect on paper, but I was terrified to screw up again.

So I guess you could say that my plans for now are to get a job, stop running away from love and move out of my mom's house. Decent goals & plans but ones that I had hoped I would have managed years ago. But I guess, now is better than never right?

So what are your plans for the future?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Book Title: Charm & Strange
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . . 

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself. 

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable. 

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. 

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.

Disclaimer: I received this book for my birthday from a fellow blogger.

Review:
This book is going to be so difficult to review for multiple reasons. It took me on a wild ride that had so many twists and turns and no real answers until the very end. Throughout most of it I was confused, not sure exactly what was going on and sometimes it read much like E. Lockhart's We Were Liars Not the writing itself but the tone and the location.

This book is written in alternate time periods. Flashing back to that fateful summer and then flashing ahead to current time. Unlike other books, this time period switching was easier to keep track of. It didn't confuse me. Maybe because the setting was different and the people were different, I'm not quite sure.

I had questions throughout the entire book. I was sure that the secret that Andrew held was something and by the end of the book I had been taken in a completely different and unexpected direction. As I thought about the book and how little clues had been dropped throughout, I realized that the clues were all there, I just was focused on some other reason for Andrew's behavior. This book requires you to be completely open minded and aware that things aren't always how they seem.

I thought the character development was well done and that we got to see each of the characters have their own voice and personality.I do wish we had seen more of Siobhan, as she ended up being more important than I ever thought she was.

It was a good book and overall I really did like it,but I think making it longer would have helped. As much as I liked the ending, it sort of seemed rushed to me.I understand not wanting to make it too long and bore the reader, but making it too short can leave some things lacking.

I also didn't have the feels in this book. Normally I would have expected some sort of feels but nothing this time around. Which is weird as I normally cry during pretty much any book. Not this time. This time I spent most of the book completely confused which makes sense given the way this book was laid out. So I'll be giving this book 4 stars. Was it great? Yes. Was I pretty damn confused through most of the book? Yes. Would I recommend it? Yes I would. It was an enjoyable book that forces you to keep your mind open.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cover Reveal: After The Storm by Marie Landry

Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis:
For most people, starting senior year at a new high school would be a nightmare, but for Ella O’Dell it’s the new beginning she desperately needs. Two months after her mother’s death, she’s ready to leave behind the rebellious, unhappy person she became when she found out her mom was dying.

When Ella meets River Maracle and Sadie Fitzgerald, she begins to learn it’s okay to be herself, even if that means being different. River and Sadie aren’t ashamed of their misfit status—River grew up on a reservation, and his mother is the school counselor; Sadie stands out with her funky homemade clothes, and is a master at ignoring the whispered rumors that have plagued her since the beginning of high school.

Ella finds a kindred spirit in Sadie, and something more in River. After almost a year of pretending to be someone she’s not, she finally embraces life and allows herself to have fun without constant guilt. But despite her budding happiness, something is off with her new life. She doesn’t want to dwell on the past, but Angel Island is a small place, and she soon realizes her demons are harder to outrun than she thought…


Waiting For The Storm is available at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble as well as Smashwords.

Excerpt

Charlotte’s watching me closely. Her gaze is almost like a physical thing, cloaking me in its weight. She pushes back from the table and excuses herself, saying she needs to use the washroom. Dad and Ezra don’t seem to notice that the tone of the evening has shifted; they start talking about some movie that’s coming out in a few weeks. I excuse myself and follow Charlotte to the bathroom.
She’s standing at the row of sinks, staring into the mirror. The sound of the door closing makes her jump, and she meets my eyes in the glass. 
“What’s up?” I ask.
She shakes her head. “It’s nothing. I’m just…having a moment.” She laughs, but it sounds tearful.
I walk over to the counter and lean against it, facing her. “Talk to me. What’s going on? What happened out there?”
She blinks rapidly, and I know she’s fighting tears. I pray she doesn’t cry or I’m sure I’ll start, too. “Sometimes I still miss her so much it’s like an actual ache. Right here.” She rubs the knuckles of one hand over her heart. “I’ll be going along, having a great time—like tonight—and then all of a sudden something will remind me of her and it’s like I can’t catch my breath. It doesn’t happen all the time. Usually when I think of her it makes me happy in a sad sort of way. Does that make sense?”
I nod, unable to speak.
She nods too. “So I get this happy-sad feeling, and I can think of all the great times we had together, and it’s fine. But other times…other times, it’s almost like losing her all over again, and it hurts so much I feel like I’m going to implode.”
She grips the counter and I realize she’s shaking. I pull her into my arms, and for a second she shakes even harder, but then she relaxes and starts crying quietly. “I miss her too,” I whisper into her hair, feeling my own tears start to flow.
I don’t know how long we stand there, wrapped around each other and crying. I hardly ever cry, but this is the second time this week I’ve had a meltdown. It’s like I stored up all my tears over the last few months and they’re coming out in a flood now.
Author Bio:

Marie has always been a daydreamer; since early childhood she's had a passion for words and a desire to create imaginary worlds, so it only seemed natural for her to become a writer. She resides in Ontario, Canada, and most days you can find her writing, reading, blogging about writing and reading, listening to U2, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or having grand adventures with her nephews and niece. She's a hopeless romantic, an unapologetic eavesdropper (occupational hazard), an equally unapologetic squeeing fangirl, and a lover of swoonworthy book and TV characters. For more on Marie and her books please visit http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca. She also loves to chat with fellow book lovers, so feel free to tweet her @SweetMarie any time! 

Connect with the author:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #30

This weekly feature is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

This week was just full of awesome book things. I ended the week with 10 new books. 7 are review books. I won 2 books and I bought a book at Costco on Friday. 3 review books were from Edelweiss and they were all highly anticipated books so I am super excited to get started. 4 of the review books were from NetGalley,and I have already read one of them (if you follow me on Twitter, you probably know which one)

I was going through a bit of a reading slump this past week. Nothing was interesting me so I had a rough reading week.Near the end of the week, it definitely picked up.

So anyway, on to the books...

Bought
Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G.Howard

Received for Review

-NetGalley-
Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn
Insanity by Susan Vaught
My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal

The Disappeared Girl by Martin J. Smith

-Edelweiss-
On The Fence by Kasie West
In The End by Demitria Lunetta
Gifted
-
Won
Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks
Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy #2) by Anna Banks

Let me know if you've read any of these or if you want to. Don't forget to leave your Stacking The Shelves post/vlog links in the comments so I can make sure I stop by.

Weekly Blog Wrap-Up
Monday- Review of The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry
Tuesday- Review of Above by Isla Morley
Wednesday- Review of No Such Thing by A.M. Arthur
Thursday- No Post
Saturday- No Post

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

So normally I would have done this on Tuesday with everyone else but I had something else scheduled for that day. However this feature is still hosted by the ladies of The Broke & The Bookish no matter when I post this.

This week's topic was The Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry. This post was both easy and hard for me as I cry a lot when I'm reading. So I may or may not be able to keep it to ten books. We shall see. I'll try to keep them in order but no promises.
1.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K.Rowling.
This book destroyed me. I cried so much and so hard that I was essentially hyperventilating on the floor of my (ex) best friend's bedroom floor. I seriously considered sending JKR my therapy bill after this one. I mean...really Jo. Why kill them. Yes I'm being vague for the few people who haven't finished the series yet.Chapters 32 & 33 did serious emotional damage.
2.
The Program (The Program #1) by Suzanne Young
This book had me basically locked in a fetal position for pretty much the entire book. I loved it, I adored it and I repeatedly told people that it was my favorite read of 2013. I pushed this book so many times but also told people to load up on kleenex.
3.
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
It's been no secret that I loved this book. I've basically told everyone what an amazingly beautiful and heartbreaking book this is. It's beautifully written and it made me cry so much. To the point of having to catch my breath between the sobs.
4. 
If You Leave (Beautifully Broken #2)
Okay first of all Courtney Cole is a goddess. She knows how to write wonderfully real characters that people can relate to. I loved this story as I could relate so well to Madison and what she experienced as a child. I understood why her childhood experiences made her tentative about love.Watching her realize that she was not going to be her mom and that she deserved love was beautiful and it filled me with a lot of hope.
5. 
Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Beautiful book about family and how you can overcome things. That just because you experienced things that no child should ever experience, does not mean you are "tainted" or "dirty" or unlovable. Watching Callie evolve from being fiercely loyal to her mom and suspicious of her dad and stepmom to realizing that her dad wanted only the best for her and her mom wasn't it, was beautiful and at the same time, heart wrenching.
6.
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins
There were two parts that I cried over but they were major parts that involved major characters. I remember finishing the book and just being heartbroken at some of the things that happened. It involved killing off my favorite male character (which I STILL haven't forgiven Suzanne for) I am not looking forward to those parts in the book.
7.
Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
This book was more than just another one of those "cancer books" It was a book about loyalty, family and friendship. I remember vividly, finishing my e-ARC of this and just sobbing so hard I was sure I was going to puke. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and gosh just so wonderful.
8.
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
So I cried in this book as did many MANY other people. Yet it was funny too which I didn't expect from a "cancer book" However the last 75 or so pages, I sobbed. It was so heartbreaking and at times I couldn't believe that this was happening. At this point, I ran out of kleenex so I had to use paper towels.
9.
Pushing The Limits (Pushing The Limits #1) by Katie McGarry
I probably could have put this one further up on the list but I had forgotten about some of the others on the list. Or maybe my brain helped me forget how much I cried over this one. Not sure. Anyway, this book was beautiful and both Noah's and Echo's back stories were heartbreaking and pretty much caused a flood of tears through a good chunk of the book.

10.
The Summer I Wasn't Me by Jessica Verdi
Now this one doesn't come out until April but I read it and loved it. I cried through a lot of it. The journey that Lexi goes through is inspiring that alone was enough to make me cry. Not to mention the crap that one of her friends' goes through.

-Honorable Mentions-
Dare You To (Pushing The Limits #3) by Katie McGarry
I love Beth and reading her story was heartbreaking. She is so fiercely loyal to her mom which I understand because I am the same way. Yet she knows that her mom is an adult and she insists on making bad choices. My heart ached for Beth.
The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Beautiful writing and beautiful characters. I had managed not to cry until the very end and that's when the tears started falling. These characters were great characters and I found myself rooting for the couple but also liking Josh's best friend.
OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
Yet another amazing debut. Corey Ann Haydu managed to be raw and honest about OCD and the various forms it takes while giving us characters to root for, to smile with and to laugh with. OCD Love Story made me cry mostly because I know what it's like to deal with OCD on a daily basis and Corey Ann Haydu portrayed it wonderfully. 

So there ya go. What books were on your TTT this week? Put your links in the comments and I'll do my best to stop by.