Monday, September 30, 2013

It's My...ONE YEAR Blogoversary!!

Out of all my posts this year-this one is the hardest. It's the hardest one to write for many different reasons, one being that I have been blogging for a freakin' entire YEAR. This is just hard to process, so reasonably, I can't think.

I mean, of course I always knew that my blogoversary would eventually come, but now that it is here, I'm just speechless.

First of all,  I started off not knowing ANYTHING whatsoever from writing reviews to designing a website. But, honestly, that was the fun part-learning everything(and yes, it was frustrating at times too). I mainly wanted to blog, because I thought it would be cool to write opinions on what I thought of books. I didn't know that it would take up so much time and also be part of such an amazing community too. Do I regret my decision? HECK NO. I am so happy I started a blog. Now, I can't imagine myself doing anything else in my life, although one day I probably will.(for another time!)

You know what I have enjoyed most about this blogging experience? It was the amazing, amazing bookish community. Mostly everyone I know is very nice and positive. And even though some drama pops up every now and then, don't be fooled, 'cause book bloggers are the nicest people who you will ever talk to! I have opened up so much more just by talking to these people through the internet. Like, not even joking, so many people!! I'm so sorry if I miss anybody, but these are some of the people who are some people who have been awesome(I'm also just pulling these out of memory during the time period of October 2012-September 2013!)

Eileen @ Singing and Dancing In The Rain
Nikki @ Fiction Freak
Taherah @ Books As You Know It
Hannah(also known as Inky) @ Book Haven Extraordinaire
Monica @ Cover Analysis
Meredith @ Pandora's Books
Sam @ Realm of Fiction
Megan @ The Book Babe
 Christina @ Ensconced in YA
Gillian @ Writer of Wrongs
Rachel @ Beauty and the Bookshelf
Ashley @ Fire Star Books
Annabelle @ Sparkles and Lightning

"Also, extra points to Paula Stokes for being an amazing writer, blogger, and just an awesome, nice person overall." "And even though I don't talk to this blogger, Emily @ Emily's Crammed Bookshelf, because she inspired me to write my own blog!"

There are countless more, but those are just ones from the top of my head, and if I type out anymore, I may just run out of room xD

Some of my firsts:
My first post (Haha, this was actually for a contest and it consisted of about 2 sentences)

My first review (This indeed sucked. I didn't even paragraph anything, that's how bad it was.)

My first meme

Just as important as the community of book bloggers are the fantastic readers of my blog. Even if you're a brand new reader or an old one, you are so, so lovely and I'm giving you an internet hug right now.

Seriously, you are amazing people, even if I may not know you personally or not at all. I would ramble on and on how much I appreciate you, but I did that in an earlier post. Just thanks for keeping my blog alive and well <333

In thanks to show how much I appreciate you guys, I have a giveaway! All of you probably know the general rules, but if not, just click on my giveaways tab where you'll find them. Also this is INTERNATIONAL.
There'll be ONE winner, who gets two books of their choice.(As long as The Book Depository ships to you.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tandem: Review

15829686Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.

I have read multiple alternate universe books this year, since they seem to be getting more and more popular, and I've decided that this one is my second favorite(my first being 3:59). There were many problems with it, but I still, for some reason, really liked reading it.

Sasha is your ordinary 16 year old, besides the point that she doesn't have many friends and lives with her grandfather. I liked Sasha well enough. I struggled slightly with her choices, but she was smart most of the time. I definitely seen her change throughout the novel, which I usually don't notice from characters. Can I say I loved her character by the end of the novel? No. But I still enjoyed her perspective and her character.

Now, this book had three perspectives: the main one is from Sasha, the other one Sasha's alternate, Juliana, and the next from Thomas. By far, I found Sasha's perspective the most intriguing. The other ones...just eh. Nothing amazing, just kind of fell flat for me. This might be because I got to know Sasha's thoughts and feelings alot, alot more than Juliana's and Thomas's, which is why it just bugged me when these other perspectives were just thrown in there.

Secondly, the love interest. Was so. Flat. Because I could see right away who she would love, and they were both not supposed to even get along with each other. It was an unoriginal forbidden love-hate relationship. Everything about it was really plain to see and just...generic. The other thing that slightly annoyed me was that the lovey-dovey ness did not bring out any emotions for me. What's especially weird about this, is that I actually enjoyed reading it, even though I pretty much just gave off all the reasons why I should hate it.

My favorite part of this book is the twists and turns it has. You can tell that the author did a lot of research for this book and put a lot of thought into the plot. There were some slow parts for me, but I wouldn't quite say that it was boring for me. Just...slow. And there are definitely surprising parts in Tandem.
Another contribution to why I really liked this book is that once Sasha went to the alternate universe, it gave off a fairy-tale-esque feeling to it. It might just be me, but I love fairytales.

I honestly didn't try to make this review quite so ranty in parts, because I did enjoy the plot and story of it. And the voice of the book, but it definitely had it's faults. Even so, the faults didn't bug me particularly much, so I didn't have many problems with it. If you enjoy sci-fi, check it out!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why I Don't Have A Rating With My Reviews

I haven't had a discussion-y post in a longgg time, so I'm finally going to!

Today's choice of topic: Ratings.

Some of you may have noticed when you read one of my reviews, you don't see a rating at the end/beginning of the post(I used to though! But I started getting frustrated with rating). Why is this? The simply answer is because it's really difficult for me to choose between especially 3 and 4 stars. But the long version is...

Ratings are so overdone. There, I said it. And if you think about it, they are even a bit stereotypical.

Definition of Stereotypical:
A conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, opinion, image.

This is exactly what ratings do, they oversimplify what we think of a book. Sometimes, this can be a good thing. Most people even love simple ratings, but not me. For me, it doesn't tell me anything, though, besides to maybe tell if a person disliked/ loved a book.

I mean, for example, what if I give a book I enjoyed a lot a 3 stars, but didn't connect with the main character and another book I give the same reason, but didn't really like it, but the story was well-written. There are so many factors to giving ratings, it boggles my mind. I usually can get a good idea of what I could give the book, but I almost always want to give or take 4 stars down to, say, 3.67.

Goodreads, as many of you probably know, uses a basic 5 star scale rating. I understand that having decimal places for ratings might get complicated, but I'm just saying it bothers me how ratings basically oversimplifies what we think.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fire & Flood Excerpt and a Giveaway

As some of you may be aware of, I really enjoyed The Collector, Victoria Scott's debut book. So, naturally I wanted to be in with the V Mafia. Being part of the V Mafia has it's perks, and one of them is just knowing things before others, or giveaways. I was just e-mailed the awesome excerpt for Fire & Flood, her upcoming book, which I even be more excited about that book than The Liberator. Back to the point, I was emailed the excerpt and I just had to show you guys, because Victoria Scott is incredibly awesome and sweet, and she deserves all the attention she can get :) So, I'm posting the excerpt now!

I drove across the US of A, left my family without an explanation, and now I’m either too late or
there was never anything here to begin with. F my life. Rearing back, I kick the door as hard as I
can. Then I wrap both hands around the door handles and release a noise like a wild banshee as
I pull back.
The doors swing open.
I’m not sure whether to celebrate or freak out. I decide to do neither and slip inside. As I walk
around the inside of the museum, listening to the sound of my footsteps echo off the walls, I
imagine I am moments from death. It’s sad, I think, that this is all it takes to break my sanity.
Two curling flights of stairs bow out from the first-floor lobby, and red and white tiles cover
the floors. There are gilded picture frames everywhere. So many that I think the placement of
the frames — and not their contents — is the real art. Everything, absolutely everything, smells
like wax. I mosey up to an abandoned reception desk and leaf through the glossy pamphlets
littering the surface. I hold one of the pamphlets up to my nose. Yep, wax.
I glance around, having no idea what to look for. Will there be a sign like at school registration?
Students with last names A–K this way?
On my left, I notice a long hallway dotted with doors on either side. Nothing looks particularly
unusual. But when I glance to my right, I spot something. There’s a door at the end of the
corridor that has a sliver of light glowing beneath it. I’m sure it’s just an administration office,
one where someone forgot to flip the switch. But I’ve got nothing better to go on, so I head
toward it.
I pause outside the door, wondering if I’m about to get busted for B&E. Then I turn the handle
and find myself at the top of another winding staircase.
You’ve got to be kidding me. What is this, Dracula’s bachelor pad?
I’ve watched a lot of scary movies, and I’ve learned nothing good is ever at the bottom of a
winding staircase. Pulling in a breath and preparing myself to be eaten alive, I head down. My
shoes are loud against the steps. So loud, I imagine they are intentionally trying to get me killed.
When I reach the final few stairs, I ready myself to look around the bend. My heart is racing,
and I secretly pray the worst I encounter is an angry janitor with a wax addiction. I turn the
bend — and my eyes nearly pop from my skull.
The enormous room is perfectly circular, dotted with candles to light the space. Surrounding
the walls are rows and rows of dark, rich mahogany bookshelves. A large round table stands
in the center of the red-and-white-tiled floor. The room is spectacular, but what it holds is so
jarring, my ears ring.
Across every shelf, every spot on the table, every tile on the floor — are small sculptures of
hands. And in a few of those hands — the ones still performing their duty — are eggs. There are
only nine eggs left, it seems. For a moment, I imagine how amazing it would have been to see
each hand holding an egg, but it’s enough just to see these nine.
The eggs seem to dance in the candle flame, and as I move closer, I realize why. The surfaces of
the eggs are almost iridescent, their colors changing depending on how you look at them. They
are different sizes, too; some as big as a basketball, others as small as a peach.
I don’t need the device in my pocket to tell me what my gut already knows.
This is the Pandora Selection Process.

Ok, yeah, full of awesomeness, right? I'm so excited to read  ALL of Fire & Flood!

Also, Scholastic is hosting a giveaway, rafflecopter is below for it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Dream Thieves: Review

17347389Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

"Ok, I really should have reviewed this right after I finished this book, because my memory is already slightly fuzzy. So excuse any off things you may have noticed, but I hope it is well enough explained."

I think The Dream Thieves was one of the most talked about sequels for fall. I was part of the group who was extremely excited to see what direction Stiefvater would take in this series. Well, I did expect this to be more action-filled(though it does have some memorable scenes of that) and maybe expected to learn more about Blue....but, even if I didn't anticipate most of this book, it still left me fulfilled-for the moment, though I still am excited for the 3rd book.

One of the fore mentioned unexpected turns this book took was Ronan. Of course, I thought he still would be an important secondary character, but the author may have even took it to the level where he is a main character in this sequel. There was absolutely nothing wrong with Stiefvater doing this: I even enjoyed learning more about him and his angst-type character. However, I was disappointed that I didn't get to see more of Gansey, and especially Blue, as I can relate to her better.

A huge part of this book was slow, I'd say that right off the bat. If you don't like character development and slow plot twists, I'd say you'd probably not enjoy this. I like fast-paces, but I also enjoy slow paces, when it is done right. I can enjoy Stiefvater's writing, because she is descriptive and makes me want to learn more about what will happen next.

The romance-ah. It was clearly a very not-in-your-face type of romance, which I'm all for. Most of it was quite subtle with the exception of one notable scene, which I loved. I can tell you that some fans of The Raven Boys will be happy about the romance, but I can't be sure, because it depends what team you're on.

You may have noticed how much I have talked about the characters and character development-that is specifically because a huge part of this book is dedicated to learning about new secondary characters( some surprised me, even) and old main characters. I didn't talk about Adam at all if you noticed, even though he is obviously important...if you read the end of The Raven Boys, you'll understand what I mean. But I didn't have so many thoughts on him as the other characters, so I decided you should just learn for yourself.

Overall, The Dream Thieves was well worth the read, with thought out characters and unexpected turns with a slight romance theme to it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

This Song Will Save Your Life: Review

This Song Will Save Your LifeMaking friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

True fact: I prefer fantasy or action books about 10 times more than contemporary books, but after reading this book, I'm willing to say contemporaries are getting better each year. I mean, the only contemporaries that I have really enjoyed before this book was the Anna and the French Kiss series or the Perfect Chemistry series. Literally, those are the only ones I can think of at the moment. This Song Will Save Your Life was even better than those for me. You know why? Because this book could have been based off someone's life, because it was so damn(excuse my French, as some people say) real.

Elise, our protagonist, is your everyday music lover. Except for the fact that she has no friends, and cuts herself, once I might add. It's not like she's a depressed music lover, but she was different. She never fit in with any one. Until she meets Pippa and Vicky. And the club Start. Suddenly, she has a "boyfriend" and a few friends.

This book was nowhere perfect, but it was perfect for me. The writing was not quite beautiful, really more simple and easy, but I could easily relate to most everything Elise had to say. That's what made it perfect. Plus, it flowed nicely at a perfect pace.

The characters were written very well too. They each had their little quirks that set them apart from each other. Vicki was the fabulous singer, but also a smoker. Mel was the gay outspoken guy. Pippa was the slightly clingy girlfriend. Everyone of them had their faults, but that made it ten times better.

I think the ending was my favorite part of this book, and trust me, I had alot of favorite parts in this book. Why, you may ask. Well, it was realistic would be the most basic answer. But it also would have totally annoyed me if it hadn't ended like that(okay, it could have ended several different ways and I would still be happy). So, as it is, it was realistic, which just made me fall even more in love with the story.

Overall, a beautifully realistic contemporary. I loved the characters and how they each had their quirks. This author has some genius writing skills.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Debut Authors Bash!

Today, I have a special post! I got the chance to interview MINDEE ARNETT, guys! She is amazing! I loved her debut, The Nightmare Affair and can't wait to check out her upcoming book, Avalon! So, here we go!

What did you do to celebrate your debut release?
With a valium and a shot of whiskey. Just kidding. Release day was super busy and stressful.
I did a very last minute tv spot and then had my launch “party” that evening in the midst of a 7-
inch snow storm. Good times. So instead of a big celebration, I celebrate every little thing, like
finishing a first draft, an edit, and so on. Usually this involves sushi and afterward some kind of
chocolate, preferably in cake form.

I can see from your sophomore book that you expanded your genre a bit- why is that? Did the
story just come out unexpectedly?
I’ve always had an all-encompassing love of fantasy and science fiction, so for me it’s not so
much of an expansion as simply the next story I had to tell. And after the sci-fi I’m planning a
high fantasy.

Who is your inspiration in writing?
I can’t say there really is a single person who inspired my writing. The inspiration for me is
simply a love of story. But some of the authors who have influenced me early on include
Jennifer Roberson, Roald Dahl, Stephen King, and J.K. Rowling. These days I’m inspired by the
likes of Laini Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater.

Any author friends that were just awesome?(Haha, I should have said which authors.)
All of my author friends are awesome!

Did you always want to be a writer? Jobs that you did in your teen years :)
Yes, I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I think there might even be hard
evidence to back this up in my “career exploration” homework assignments from grade school.
As a teen I worked a lot of different jobs. My very first one was as a horseback riding trail guide.
I also shelved books at the library, cleaned stalls, and waited tables.

Amazing song that you just heard and fell in love with?
Probably my favorite new song is Below My Feet by Mumford and Sons. It’s kind of my “feel
better” song. There’s something very soothing and uplifting about it.

Are you a pantser( I don't know if I spelled that right!) or planner?
I’m a pantser who likes to stop and ask for directions. I’m absolutely incapable of outlining,
but when I’m drafting I don’t just completely wing-it either. When you’re writing a novel, there
a million different choices you can make from chapter to chapter, scene to scene. I generally
follow my gut instinct on these choices, but I always stop long enough to ask myself why this is
a good decision. Doing that helps me keep the story on track and headed in the right direction.

Farthest place you traveled? Places that you want to go to?
The farthest I’ve ever been is Puerto Rico. The place I want to visit the most would definitely be
the UK. I was an English Lit major, and I’m a bit obsessed with British tv (Doctor Who, Sherlock)
and literature.

What's your favorite food?
Sushi and Mexican are my two favs.

Favorite color?
Blue. I particularly love the shade for The Nightmare Dilemma.

Why young adult?
There’s definitely nothing easier about young adult, as compared to adult or even to middle
grade. Story-telling is tough all the way around. But my favorite thing about writing young adult
is how much freedom I have in terms of genre and content. I’m not sure that if I had started
out writing for adults that I would’ve been able to have both a paranormal and a science fiction
series happening at the same time. But YA is a very embracive category and not so hung up on
genre lines.

Thanks for a great interview!

Thank you, Mindee for a spectacular interview! You were an awesome interviewee :)

Now for the giveaway!


There will be a total of THREE winners! Grand prize winner will receive a signed hardcover of The Nightmare Affair + swag. 2 runner-ups will win a swag pack!

a Rafflecopter giveaway