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Monday, October 31, 2011

Stories in Pictures...The Movies I love :0)

I LOVE books (obviously), but I'm also a big movie fan. I like all types of movies and I love sharing them with my friends and family. SO... I'm doing this nifty little feature so that I can spotlight one of my favorite movies each week. It can be old, new, weird or mainstream. Anything can happen :0)

This week I am spotlighting one of my favorite movies of all time!

Saved! (2004)

When a girl attending a Christian high school becomes pregnant, she finds herself ostracized and demonized, as all of her former friends turn on her.

The movie follows Mary, a good Christian girl, who ends up in a not so Christian situation. She does her best to hide her pregnancy from everyone, but it doesn't end up being so easy. She's got Hilary Faye out to get her and bad girl Cassandra has figured her out.

There is also the small problem of her crush on the school principal's son, Patrick.

This is a great story about finding out who you are and who you can really count on. It's quirky, hilarious and full of heart. Plus, Macaulay Culkin!!

"Anna Dressed in Blood" by Kendare Blake

Release Date: August 30th, 2011
Publisher: TorTeen
Format: Hardcover
Age Group: Young Adult

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

I love a good ghost story, especially around Halloween, and this one definitely didn't disappoint. This wasn't your typical ghost story, though. We first meet Cas while he is in the process of taking out a ghost that has been haunting and killing people on a bridge. Cas is a ghost hunter, like his father was, and his father's father and so on. All the traveling him and his mom do, don't really allow for him to have any normal kind of life. Cas seems to be pretty okay with all of that, though, because he is helping people and getting rid of ghosts that are doing harm. His mom and him make their way to Thunder Bay, because he got a tip about a particularly gruesome ghost they call, Anna Dressed in Blood. As it goes, she kills everyone who enters her home. He and some kids from high school go out there one night and she is as violent and brutal as they say, but she does not kill Cas. And he wants to know why.

I liked Cas as the main character. I haven't read too many books with a male main, but I enjoyed reading this from his point of view. He starts out closed off and constantly on the move, but I like how we get to see him evolve and let people in. Someone who never had any use for friends gets to see how important they can be in your life. Anna was awesome. At times terrible and violent, but also seemingly human and remorseful. She was a true conundrum. I really liked Thomas and Carmel as well, they boy brought completely different things to the story and it made their little gang feel more complete.

This story was definitely violent and bloody at times, but it had a really good story to it. The death and curses were more of a back drop at some points, the driving force for the characters to truly find out what was going on and try to make it right. This is definitely one worth checking out, even if you are a bit nervous about horror type stories. It has some creepy parts, but there is enough other stuff happening that it shouldn't make you want to put it in the freezer. I am so excited for the sequel! I can't wait to find out what has become of Cas, Anna, Thomas and Carmel. I'm glad to have this one in my collection, it's definitely one worth re-reading :0)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a weekly showcase of the contents of our mailboxes!

I'm waiting on a couple of things that I am so excited for, so hopefully I'll have those for next week! This week I just got one, but I've heard a million good things about it, so I'm excited to read it :0)


"Remembrance" by Michelle Madow

That's all for me, what did you guys get in your mailboxes?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Most Wanted: November 2011

November is fast approaching and there are some great reads that I can't wait to get my hands on! Here's a list of a couple of my most wanted, November 2011, reads :0)

"The Pledge" by Kimberly Derting
"Shatter Me" by Tahereh Mafi
"The Future of Us" by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
"The Space Between" by Brenna Yavanoff

*All links go to Goodreads pages.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Dark Inside" by Jeyn Roberts

Release Date: November 1st, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies.
Mason's mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he
endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police--who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.
Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.

This book seriously scared me, because the monsters here are human beings. I've read quite a few dystopians over the past months and considering things I've read in the news lately, this one reads like something that you can believe might happen in the not so distant future. An insight into the darkest corners of humanity, or lack thereof.

I wouldn't recommend this for younger YA fans, because the morality  throughout is very blurred and grey. Since I've never been in the situations any of these characters have, I can't say for sure what exactly I would do, but I do understand some of the decisions that were made. In a world completely turned upside down, peoples priorities and choices have to switch, survival has to be key.

There were a lot of POV's in this book. I liked seeing how different characters were handling these awful things and how the different people interacted. Unfortunately, because there was so much happening, sometimes it was hard to remember what I had last read from a certain POV. It slowed me down a little in the reading, because I had to think back quite a bit, especially in the middle of the story. By the end of the story it was much better and I was speeding right along so I could figure out what was going to happen. I think how everything came together at the end of the book was one of my favorite parts. I thought the ending was good, because you don't necessarily need a tidy bow on a story like this one, but I'm glad to read that there will be a sequel. I'd like to spend a little more time with these characters and see what happens to them from here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that showcases our most wanted upcoming releases.

"Born Wicked" by Jessica Spotswood

Release Date: February 7th, 2012
Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

I love witch stories and I love mysterious family secret stories. This book has both, so I'm pretty sure that is guaranteed awesome in my book! And that cover is absolutely gorgeous, too. This one goes on my wishlist as another great book that I'll have to wait until next year for :0) *Pines for 2012*

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Deadly Cool" by Gemma Halliday

Release Date: October 11th, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: eBook
Age Group: Young Adult

First I find out that my boyfriend is cheating on me. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And now he’s depending on me to clear his name. Seriously?
As much as I wouldn’t mind watching him squirm, I know that he’s innocent. So I’m brushing off my previously untapped detective skills and getting down to business. But I keep tripping over dead bodies and I’m still no closer to figuring out who did it. And what’s worse: all signs seem to point to me as the killer’s next victim.
I really need to pick a better boyfriend next time.

I love murder mysteries and I love YA murder mysteries even more. Even though teenagers solving murders are highly unrealistic and you constantly want to scream at them not to go into that dark place, in the middle of the night, by themselves, they are still a heck of a lot of fun to read. Especially when it takes most of the book before you start piecing it together yourself. This was a fun book, minus the murdering, of course. I fell for a couple of the red herrings and even made some random off base guesses as to who was the killer. I didn't really start figuring it until pretty close to the end. I don't know if I'm crazy about the motive behind the murders, it seemed a little to far fetched for me, but other than that I really enjoyed the read.

Hartley, our crime soliving heroine, cracked me up. She was funniest when she was dealing with a particular bad situation. Humor as a crutch, that's something we share. After finding a condom wrapper in her boyfriend Josh's locker, she does what any logical girl would do, she assumes he's doing a science project on reproduction. Once she admits to herself that doesn't make sense, she goes to confront him and instead finds a dead girl in his closet. It's not really her day. Before Josh goes into hiding he begs her to figure out who really killed Courtney, and she actually agrees to help him. And so her adventure begins. She enlists the help of her best friend Sam, who I hope we get to know a lot better in the next book, because she was pretty funny, too. They end up partnering with Chase, too, after they need his help with the investigation. I loved Chase! Of course, who doesn't love a beautiful, muscled, bad boy? I can't wait to read more of him in the next book, either!

This was a fast paced, well written mystery. It was full of colorful characters and lots of humor. I am eagerly anticipating another adventure with Hartley and crew. I sure do hope she starts carrying pepper spray or something :0)

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Darker Still" by Leanna Renee Hieber

Release Date: November 8th, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...
Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.

I am not a fan of historical fiction. I don't have a good reason for this, other than it's just not my thing. For that reason I almost passed this one by. Of course, that cover is just gorgeous and it had me intrigued enough to look a little further into it. Since this wasn't just straight up historical and had some paranormal elements, plus quite a few positive reviews, I decided to give it a go. I am so glad that I did. It was such an unexpected delight!

The story is told through diary entries, by our heroine Natalie. I really liked this format, because it allowed for additional little insights into what she was thinking and reading someone else's diary always seems like a fun idea. Natalie is one of my favorite characters that I have read recently. She had some disadvantages in her life, but despite that she was tough and stuck up for herself. She wasn't your typical girl who just sat around and waited for someone to save her or help her out of a terrible situation. This girl took action and did it with spunk! And Lord Denbury, what to say about him? First of all, SWOON! Seriously, I'm pretty sure guys like him from the 1800's are why they invented swooning in the first place. He was stuck in a pretty terrible situation, but in the end all he really cared about was Natalie's safety. Their love pretty much seemed impossible, considering he was trapped in a painting, but the connection they had was indestructable.

I was so excited to finish the story and see how this chapter turned out for Natalie and Lord Denbury and it was a terrific ending to this part of their story. I will be patiently, or maybe not so patiently, waiting for the next book so I can continue the adventure with these two wonderful characters. Definitely check this one out :0)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (10)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a weekly showcase of the contents of our mailboxes!

For Review:

"Darker Still" by Leanna Renee Hieber (Read and loved! Review up Monday!)
"Between the Sea and Sky" by Jaclyn Dolamore

Just a couple this week, but I'm excited about both of them :0)

Thanks NetGalley, SourcebooksFire, and Bloomsbury!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween Giveaway!

Congrats, Katie (entry #7) & Angie (entry #40)!

Giveaway is closed.
Winners have been notified by email, they will have 48 hours to respond, before I will pick a new winner.

Thanks for entering! Happy Halloween :0)

Halloween is just a couple of weeks away and it seems like a perfectly good reason to have a giveaway of some creepy books, for the scariest of holidays :0)

I want everyone to have a chance at winning some creepy goodness, so I'm going to make this one International (as long as The Book Depository ships to you), folks!

If you win, you will get to pick one book from the selection below and I will have it shipped to you. I'm picking two winners for this one and since they are coming straight from TBD, it's okay if both winners want the same book :0)

Your choices are:


*To enter fill out the form below
*You must be a follower of the blog, to enter
*The contest deadline is October 31st, 2011
*One entry per person
*Contest is open to the Internationally (as long as TBD ships to you) 
*You must be 13 years or older

Good Luck Everybody :0)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Just Your Average Princess" by Kristina Springer

Release Date: October 11th, 2011
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Format: ARC
Age Group: Young Adult

Jamie Edwards has loved everything about growing up on a pumpkin patch, but ever since her cousin Milan Woods arrived, things have really stunk. Jamie can’t imagine it was easy for Milan to leave her life back in Los Angeles and move to Average, Illinois, population one thousand. But it’s kind of hard to feel sorry for her since (a) Milan’s drop-dead gorgeous; (b) she’s the daughter of two of Hollywood’s hottest film stars; (c) she’s captured the attention of everyone in town, including Danny, Jamie’s crush since forever; and (d) she’s about to steal the title of Pumpkin Princess right out from underneath Jamie!

I have been on a major contemporary binge lately and this one definitely fit the bill. It was a cute, quick read. The story is pretty simple, small town girl feuding with her big city cousin, who just happens to be staying with her family for a while. Jamie is a farm girl and darn proud of it. Her family own's the pumpkin patch in her town of Average, Illinois and she's worked or played there her entire life. Her best friend Sara runs the caramel apple stand and her long time crush Danny is one of their only full timers. Her life is pretty good and when she wins Pumpkin Princess it will be perfect. Except nothing actually ever works out like you plan it. Jamie's cousin Milan comes to town and slowly starts taking over everything that's important to her, which might even include Danny. Milan is definitely a stuck up, spoiled, bratty, rich girl from L.A. and doesn't to have any problems letting the world know it. She's cruel to Jamie from the start, but puts on the sweetest facade for the townspeople and Jamie's parents.

This is definitely your typical YA contemporary read, but that's not a bad thing. I liked that it was set on a pumpkin patch and all of the pumpkin themed things that went with that. The various different people that surrounded Jamie on the patch were fun to get to know, as well. I loved her best friend Sara. Her creative caramel apple recipes had me drooling. And after reading all I want is a pumpkin spice latte. I thought her crush, Danny, seemed like a genuinely nice, good guy. We don't get too deep into his character, but he's always at the right place to help or stick up for someone. In the end I felt there should have been a little more confrontation between Jamie and Milan, before things started to get better, but since it was such a quick read it got rushed along a little. It didn't ruin the story, though, and overall I really enjoyed myself.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkin

Release Date: September 27th, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover
Age Group: Young Adult

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.

One thing I can say about this book, with 100% certainty, is that I'm pretty sure I don't actually know anything when it comes to this story. It's incredibly well written, there is no question there, Michelle Hodkin has a gift. The story is definitely intriguing and keeps you guessing all of the time. We get great character development on our main characters throughout the story, but I still don't know if I believe they are who I read them to be. That's is the most wonderful thing about this book. You are chugging along, fully emerged, learning all of these details about someone or something, and then BAM! Something happens or somebody says something and you aren't sure if what you thought was going on is the real deal anymore. It messes with your mind in the best possible way.

All of that being said, I really liked Mara and what we get of her story. I can't really classify her as a specific type of character, because as we learn, this girl has a lot of layers. I loved how close she was with her brothers, especially Daniel. It's nice to see a book where the siblings actually get along with each other. Her attitude also worked for me. She was no delicate flower, but she wasn't a complete bitch, either. Her attitude toward people could change at any given moment, then change back in the next one. I am a big Noah fan, and not just because he often says all of the right things and acts all swoony. He was pretty arrogant and uncharming in the beginning, but that just made me like him all the more. Also, I think part of it was his consistently loose ties. Of course, Noah has layers too, and as we get further into the story we get to see some sweetness with his cockiness. Jamie was one of my favorites! Dude told it like it was and I respect that. I also loved his Ebola prank, that was priceless. It was too bad that we didn't get to know more about him, but I'm hoping he'll pop back up in the next book.

The ending on this one was definitely a WTF moment, because seriously, how is that possible? So many questions!!! Am I the only one who really wants to know her real name? That's going to bug me :0)

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that showcases our most wanted upcoming releases.

"In Honor" by Jessi Kirby

Release Date: May 8th, 2012
  Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.
Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

The premise reminds me a bit of 'Saving June', which I read recently and loved. I love the idea of going on a road trip adventure in honor of a lost loved one. I really enjoyed the author's first book 'Moonglass' and can't wait to get my hands on this one next year :0)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Judging Books by Their Covers!

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Every Tuesday they post their top ten lists on different bookish topics.

This week is all about judging a book by it's cover. I've found some great reads this way! In no particular order...

"Amy and Roger's Epic Detour" by Morgan Matson: I know it's not as stunning as some of the YA paranormals out there, with ethereal girls in shiny dresses, but something about this cover just made me want to read what was hiding inside. The title also seemed to promise a good time. Of course, I loved it, so it was a good call :0)

"Unearthly" by Cynthia Hand: Speaking of ethereal girls in shiny dresses, this one
 pulled me in, and I'm so glad it did! This has ended up as one of my favorite paranormal reads this year :0)

"My Beating Teenage Heart" by C.K. Kelly Martin: This cover is fairly simple, but I think it was the hands that really drew me in. I hadn't even heard of this book when I came upon it and decided to give it a shot since I was so intrigued by the cover.

"The Sweetest Thing" by Christina Mandelski: I feel like this one is kind of self explanatory, I mean come on, who doesn't love sprinkles? Anything with a heart made of sprinkles on the cover screams adorable :0)

"Breathers: A Zombie's Lament" by S.G. Browne: The cover of this book made me think of an old fashioned love story, but with zombies! I love zombies. So of course I had to have it. It actually turned out to be quite humorous and zombeautiful...hehe.

"Beauty Queens" by Libba Bray: I'm ashamed by this one a little, because I really should have known about this book before seeing it for the first time. Either way, the cover made me laugh and I had to find out what kind of story would go with it. It didn't disappoint.

"Under the Never Sky" by Veronica Rossi: This one is actually a pre-order, but it's got a fabulous cover. It just looks badass and I can't wait to dive into the action I'm sure is waiting on the pages. So pretty!

"Just Your Average Princess" by Kristina Springer: This one was just so darn cute that I knew there had to be an adorable story waiting for me. I love the pretty princess dress on the haystack!

Okay, so I know that's only seven, but so many of the books I have read were because of recommendations from various people and places. Now that I spend so much time in the world of books, I don't get to randomly pick things by their cover as often.

What's on everyone else's top ten this week? :0)

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Saving June" by Hannah Harrington

Release Date: November 22nd, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Format: eGalley
Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult

When her older sister commits suicide and her divorcing parents decide to divide the ashes, Harper Scott takes her sister's urn to the one place June always wanted to go: California. On the road with her best friend, plus an intriguing guy with a mysterious connection to June, Harper discovers truths about her sister, herself and life.
It was hard to remember, sometimes while reading this book, that it's about the aftermath of suicide. That's not to say the author takes it lightly or writes like it's not serious or important, but the rest of what is going on in the story is so well written that you focus on the characters and what's happening to them on the page you are reading.
We spend most of the time in the book with Harper, Laney and Jake while they embark on a cross country road trip to California. I love road trip stories and this one was truly unlike any other I've read before. I loved how much of the story was wrapped up in music. Jake was a bit music obsessed, but it gave us great insight into his personality, because I think you can learn a lot about a person by the types of things they are passionate about. I also really liked that he wasn't really delicate with Harper. She is dealing with the tragic death of her sister and is definitely snarky to those around her, but instead of just taking it Jake would give it right back to her. It was nice that he was still treating her like a normal person. Harper's best friend Laney was such a fun character. She was definitely a little over the top at times and completely into dramatics and acting, but it was so obvious how much she loved Harper and just wanted her to be okay. All the while Laney was also dealing with the loss of June. Harper was definitely a great character. Even though I've never been through what she had, her character and story were written so well that I could really relate to her emotions and reactions to what was going on around her. My favorite parts were the scenes when they were in the van driving, because I feel like we really got to see who they were in those scenes.
I don't want to be too gushy or anything, but I really loved this story. It's full of emotions and great characters. By the end you really feel like you were on the road with them and went through all of these things right along side them. It's definitely one to pick up :0)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a weekly showcase of the contents of our mailboxes!

With all the craziness going on the past couple weeks and the fact that I am super behind on reading the books I already have, this weeks IMM is a little light.

For Review:

"Tempest" by Julie Cross (So excited to read this and such a pretty cover :0).
Thanks NetGalley and St. Martins!)


"Ultraviolet" by R.J. Anderson
"Psych Major Syndrome" by Alicia Thompson

What did you get in your mailboxes?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Virtuosity" by Jessica Martinez

Release Date: October 18th, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: eGalley
Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better?
Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what's expected.
Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall....

This is one of the best books, I've read recently, about figuring out who you want to be and standing up for it. When we first meet Carmen she is, first and foremost, a musician and a really amazing one. Her whole life has been about the violin and it's all lead up to the Guarneri competition, a very prestigious event amonst violin players, and she is set to win it. The one problem is Jeremy King, her only competition, as far as Carmen is concerned. Against her better judgement and her mothers advice, Carmen starts spending time with Jeremy and they grow closer, things start to get a little hairy when feelings start getting involved.

I really liked Carmen. As a character she was very naive, at least in the beginning of the book, but that is normal considering the life she has led. She is home schooled and spends most of her free time with her mother and stepfather. The only person we can consider a friend in Carmen's life would he Heidi, her tutor. When your world revolves so wholly around one thing and your dreams aren't just your own, it's hard to have a specific identity. Carmen's mother was a former opera singer, but her career ended early due to health issues, so she now lives vicariously through her daughter's music career. I didn't like Diana, Carmen's mother, she was pushy, controlling and there were plenty of times it didn't seem like she really loved her daughter unless she was a successful violinist. I can understand parents doing things that go way above and beyond, for the good of their children, but I didn't feel like anything she did was for anyone but herself. And her lack of faith in her daughter made me cringe. Clark, Carmen's stepfather, was one of my favorite characters. He was also a sort of prisoner in the life of Diana, but he was so caring and sweet when it came to Carmen. I wish we would have gotten to know more of him. Jeremy King. Well I didn't really care for him at first, except for the accent, but I think that was kind of the point. He was arrogant and a little rude, but as it goes in most stories, people aren't always exactly as they seem. He definitely grew on me and I wound up really caring what happened to him and how things would end up for him and Carmen.

I don't know much about the violin, practically nothing, but that didn't really matter. You don't have to be a musician to appreciate the characters or what is going on in their world. It's a really well written story and gives you just enough information about the musical aspect, without getting overdone and boring. I enjoyed reading about Carmen and her world and experiencing love and tragedy with her. This is a great contemporary and I think it will appeal to many.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Read-a-thon Update :0)

Alright, so one day has gone by and I'm not making as much reading progress as I'd like, but I'm happy to say I did catch up on my laundry!

The books I've read so far are:

"Virtuosity" by Jessica Martinez

This book was so cute and just a really good story. The characters were fantastic, too! Definitely one worth checking out :0) Full review will be up tomorrow!

"As I Wake" by Elizabeth Scott

I'm not really sure what to say about this one. It was strange, but not all bad. The cover is pretty, though :0)

And I am currently about half-way through 'Saving June' by Hannah Harrington, which I'm loving so far!

On deck I have 'The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer' by Michelle Hodkin and 'Amplified' by Tara Kelly. I'm trying to mix it up and do alternating paranormals and contemps, but I've been on a contemps kick lately and I have a big pile of them I'm just dying to we will see :0)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

4 Day Weekend Read-a-thon!

My life has been one giant ball of crazy these past 2 weeks and I have gotten behind on everything, including laundry and reading *sad face*. In celebration of my life finally starting to resemble normal again, and because it is Biketoberfest and I am going to avoid driving as much as possible, I'm having myself a little read-a-thon! With laundry and bathroom breaks included, of course :0)

I've got so many books that I am psyched to read, but just haven't had the time lately. I'll be updating all weekend and sharing my thoughts, review snippets, if you will. Since reading is the best, I encourage everyone to partake, and we can share what we've been reading and provide encouragement along the way. I promise internet hugs for everyone! Anyone who wants to join in on the fun, please feel free to post about it on your own blogs and leave your link here so we can all cheer each other on :0)

I've armed myself with Chocolate Peanut Butter Bugles, lots of bottled water, and a big, beautiful pile of books :0) So here we go!

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 7, 2011

"My Beating Teenage Heart" by C.K. Kelly Martin

Release Date: September 27th, 2011
Publisher: Random House
Age Group: Young Adult

Ashlyn Baptiste is falling. One moment she was nothing—no memories, no self—and then suddenly, she's plummeting through a sea of stars. Is she in a coma? She doesn't remember dying, and she has no memories of the life she left behind. All she knows is that she's trapped in a consciousness without a body and she's spending every moment watching a stranger.
Breckon Cody's on the edge. He's being ripped apart by grief so intense it literally hurts to breath. On the surface, Breckon is trying to hold it together for his family and his girlfriend, but underneath he's barely hanging on.
Even though she didn't know him in life, Ashlyn sees Breckon's pain, and she's determined to find a way help him. As her own distressing memories emerge from the darkness, she struggles to communicate with the boy who can't see her, but whose life is suddenly intertwined with hers. In alternating voices of the main characters, My Beating Teenage Heart paints a devastatingly vivid picture of both the heartbreak and the promise of teenage life—a life Ashlyn would do anything to recover and Breckon seems desperate to destroy.

I didn't know what to expect going into this book. The premise had me so intrigued and I couldn't wait to pick it up. We start out with Ashlyn as she first comes upon Breckon and starts observing his life. In the beginning Ashlyn thinks she is having a dream and doesn't realize the things she is witnessing are really happening to Breckon and his family. In fact Ashlyn doesn't really remember anything about who she is or what happened to her. Breckon's family has experienced a recent tragedy and he's having a really hard time coping with what happened. He keeps to himself, pushes people away and has started behaving a little out of character. Of course, the only one who knows everything that is going on with Breckon is Ashlyn, because she is sort of tied to him and ends up observing everything that is going on in his life. She is desperate to help him, but without being able to communicate with him she can only sit and watch.

As the story goes on Ashlyn also starts to remember things about her family and her life, slowly filling in the blanks of her memory. She really wants to go to see her family, but since she can't seem to leave Breckon, she assumes there must be a reason that she is observing his life. I really liked the character of Breckon. Sure he wasn't behaving the most rationally throughout the book, but given the circumstances it was understandable. He was a well fleshed out character and by the end of the book I really felt for him. He had such a great support system, too, even if he didn't always appreciate them. I liked Ashlyn, but since she was more of an observer than a character going through their own story, I didn't feel like I got to know her quite as well.

This one had an emotional ending and certainly caused a few tears for me, but I think it was a perfect ending for the story. You get some good resolution all around. I would probably classify this as a contemporary, but some of the things almost seemed a little paranormal. It's a great story about love, life and loss that I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a great story with lots of emotion.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Eve" by Anna Carey

Release Date: October 4th, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

"Loving someone meant knowing that your life would be worse without them in it." That is one of the best descriptions, about what love means, that I have read. All through this book we are shown what a person is willing to do or risk, for someone they love. In this dystopian we are introduced to a world where the males and females are kept seperate. After the plague wiped out the majority of the worlds population, the orphaned children were taken by the government. The girls live in schools where they are prepared for their futures and taught to fear men. The boys are taken to labor camps to help build the City of Sand, which is the capital and residence of the King of New America.

After witnessing the escape of fellow student Arden and finding out some shocking truths about what School is really preparing them for, Eve manages to escape and find her way into the wild. After some long hard days, on her own, Eve finds Arden and convinces her they should travel together. While out hunting one afternoon the girls get seperated and Eve meets Caleb. She doesn't want to trust him because he is male, but after he saves her life, the girls let him take them to his camp. The boys in Caleb's camp hesitantly decide to let the girls stay and things are good for a short while. Of course, nothing is ever so simple. After some truly horrible experiences, Eve finds herself alone in the wild, once again.

Anna Carey did a great job portraying what life might be like, and how people might behave, when the genders have been seperated the majority of their lives. With the boys not used to having girls around and the girls being taught to mistrust the boys, there are some interesting dynamics amongst the group that find themselves together. When put in such an extreme situation, do we really know how we would behave towards others around us. Circumstances and emotions really shape how people handle themselves. The love story, that we see the beginnings of in this book, definitely has the potential to become epic and I love an epic romance. This first book definitely only scratches the surface of this world and the possibilities for what we will happen, in future books, are endless. I'm definitely looking forward to continuing this journey with Eve, Caleb and all the rest of the characters. I want to see how much more powerful love will become and what will happen because of it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a weekly showcase of the contents of our mailboxes!

I absolutely did not need to buy anymore books this week, but it was such a FANTASTIC book week and I couldn't stay away from the bookstore :0)


"Lola and the Boy Next Door" by Stephanie Perkins (My Review)!
"The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkin
"A Beautiful Dark" by Jocelyn Davies
"The Name of the Star" by Maureen Johnson

Won ARCs! From Meghan at Midnight Fume:

"The Scorpio Races" by Maggie Stiefvater (I've been wavering back and forth on this one, but I'm excited that I will get the chance to give it a try :0) )
"The Name of the Star" by Maureen Johnson

Thanks to the gals at Midnight Fume for the awesome giveaway!


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