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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Books of 2011 & Giveaway!

Literary Exploration

Tomorrow is the start of the new year and I just wanted to take some time to honor some of the best 2011 books that I've read this year. I'm sure there are plenty more that I haven't read, but hopefully I'll get to those in 2012 :)

10. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler - This was the first book I got from LibraryThing, but at the time I had no idea where it came from! I absolutely loved the writing and the story so much, and Asher and Mackler managed to tackle alternating perspectives beautifully!
9. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare - While I was perfectly happy with the way City of Glass ended, I have to say I'm also glad I got to read more about Clary and Jace, and even learn more about Simon, Izzy, and Alex. I just love Clare's writing so much, I can't wait to sink my teeth into Clockwork Prince!
8. Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa - The Iron Fey series is one of the first fairy series I've read, and I absolutely loved it! I really enjoyed getting to read from Ash's perspective because he's so mysterious and haunted. The way Kagawa weaves her stories is amazing and I can't wait for any and all of the rest of her books!
7. Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick - While Hush, Hush was good, Crescendo was alright, Silence beat them both out! This was by far my favorite of the Hush, Hush series. I really loved how Norah and Patch's relationship developed again after Norah loses her memory. It's so obvious how much they love each other, and she really grows into her own person.
6. Across the Universe by Beth Revis - Revis is a fantastic story teller. Her writing is so descriptive I felt like I was literally on the ship with Amy and Elder. When Amy is being frozen, I literally ached with the same feelings and pain she experienced. The cover is also a plus, it's freakin gorgeous! 
5. Wither by Lauren DeStefano - I just finished reading Fever and I cannot believe I have a whole year to wait for the end! Wither really solidified my love for dystopians. Some may complain that DeStefano's post apocalyptic America is a horrifying place where woman are sold into prostitution and off to wealthy men to be child brides, but she's so poetic with her words and descriptions that the horrifying becomes something beautiful in a morbid way. I absolutely LOVED this book, and I plan on reading it again soon.
4. Delirium by Lauren Oliver - My favorite part of Delirium is the absence of insta-love. While Lena and Alex fall in love, it's over time and not at all immediate. They develop a wonderful friendship that blossoms into a trusting relationship and the way it's written is absolutely breathtaking. Oliver is a fantastic writer, she's so poetic and fluent I could drown myself in her words.
3. Blood Red Road by Moira Young - While it took my awhile to get used to Young's writing style in this book (the western accents and lack of quotation marks??) After a few chapters I finally got into the story. Saba is a great female character. She starts off pretty selfish and self-absorbed but her love for her brother really fuels her search. She's kind of a cross between Katniss Everdeen and that girl from True Grit. I absolutely loved this story and I can't wait for the next one!!
2. Divergent by Veronica Roth - Do I really need to explain why I loved this book so much?? I don't think anyone really disliked it that I've talked to. Tris is such a kick ass character, and even though she suffers through a lot of heartache she never stops going. Veronica Roth created an awesome world filled with intense situations and endless love. 
1. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is by far the best book I've read all year. Michelle Hodkin is an amazing writer, story teller, and all around awesome person! Because Mara knows just as much as we do about what's going on, the entire book is basically one huge mind bender. I honestly could not predict anything that happened and that's what makes a good story!! Plus.... Noah Shaw :) Need I say more?

On to the giveaway! GIVEAWAY IS US ONLY!! One lucky winner will get the chance to receive ONE of my favorite books of 2011!! The winner will get their choice out of the 10 books I've talked about here, which will be shipped via Amazon! Please read the full rules for the contest at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form! Giveaway will run from December 31st to January 14th, and the winner will be announced and emailed on January 15th. You will have 48 hours to respond with your mailing address and prize choice!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Follow Friday [16]

Q: The New Year is here — and everyone wants to know your New Years Blogging Resolution! What are you going to try to revise, revamp and redo for 2012 on your blog?

First off, I'm getting my own domain name! I'm definitely going to need something more personal :) Also, I'm going to try to post more reviews, maybe bump up to 4 a week instead of 3, and cut back on memes. Possibly Follow Friday! We shall see, shan't we :) Otherwise, I'm going to try to be more present, do more commenting, read more posts, etc. Hopefully I can do better in 2012, now that I'm more informed about blogging!

[Giveaway] Happy New Year 2012!!

Well Happy New Year to all of you, I hope you had a fun and fantastic year, and read lots of fun books :) 
I'm excited to be participating in the Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway hop, hosted by I am a Read Not a Writer and Babs Book Bistro!
This giveaway hop will end January 3rd!
My giveaway will be US ONLY
The winner will receive their book choice from Amazon, up to $15!
I am ordering the book myself, and international shipping is expensive. This is NOT a giveaway for a giftcard!
*Please note, I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items
*Winner will have 48 hours to respond 

Review: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
Expected Publication Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Philomel
Page Count: 414
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
My Rating:
Purchase from Amazon: Bloodrose: A Nightshade Novel
The Ultimate Sacrifice.

Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.

In the final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer creates a novel with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its final pages. A dynamic end to this breathtaking trilogy.
First off, I have to start this review by saying that this book was horrific, heart-breaking, and amazing. The ending was so bittersweet I'm still crying over it. However, I am completely satisfied with the way Cremer decided to end her series. Overall, the story was amazing, exciting, and all of my questions were answered.

The characters were as fabulous as ever. I loved them all, especially the fabulous love triangle between Calla, Ren, and Shay. I love the way Cremer wrote this particular triangle because it's not a girl pining over the perfect guy who loves her back so much it hurts, and then there's some outsider best friend who's also in love with her, but Calla truly doesn't know who she wants to end up with. She's constantly going between both of them, trying to decide, and I feel like that makes things so much more realistic. The side characters are also just as interesting; Adne and Connor are hilarious and adorable, Sabine is as feisty as ever, and Ansel and Bryn are so traumatized but they're still so strong and in love.

Cremer's writing is as amazing as ever. She has this incredible ability to weave an intricate story that makes you feel like you're actually in the pages of the book. When she talks about injuries during battle, I could almost feel myself bleeding and hurting along with the characters. When she writes those gorgeous descriptive paragraphs that set the scene I can smell the trees and the ocean right along with Calla and the others. The story itself was fast paced and exciting as always. The book is over 400 pages and I would end up reading through about 200 without even realizing it. It's basically non-stop action and adventure and I was never bored or wanted to put the book down!

I absolutely love this series, it's an awesome take on werewolves and I love the romance and the suspense that Cremer creates with her writing. While I'm sad that it's over, I really love the way Cremer ended her series. I can't wait to see what she writes next. If you've loved the Nightshade series from the beginning you're definitely going to love Bloodrose!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [19]: The Selection

****"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.****

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Expected Publication Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 336
Preorder from Amazon: The Selection
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
Why I Can't Wait: Well, I immediately saw DYSTOPIA on this book's Goodreads page and when I knew it was part of the 2012 DAC I was hooked! Plus the cover of it is freakin gorgeous! I love the blue dress, I'm so over the red ones.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Heven and Hell Blog Tour Stop: Guest Post with Cambria Hebert!

Author. Blogger. Latte Sipper.
Cambria Hebert is an author who wrote her first book at the age of fifteen. It was terrible. But the passion for writing never went away so years later when she opened her laptop and started typing she worked until she wrote a book – Masquerade - that she hopes everyone will be as excited about as she is.

Cambria is obsessed with werewolves and is terrified of chickens (they are creepy!) She is an animal lover that would choose coffee over food and her favorite TV show is the Vampire Diaries (Hell-O Damon!)

When she isn’t writing you can find her stalking the young adult aisles at Barnes and Noble.

Check out Cambria's blog and website here: Cambria Hebert

Hey Peeps!

I want to give a big Thank you to Anna for having me on her blog today as part of the Heven and Hell blog tour! When Anna and I emailed about what we could do for today Anna suggested that I write a post about  Christmas because the holiday time is upon us!!
So, I have been thinking about what to write – And I can’t think of anything! LOL!! Well, okay I can… but I really don’t want to write a big long paragraph about how I make Christmas cookies and Santa so I thought I would do something a little different. Kind of like my Christmas Stats. LOL! I will give you a bunch of answers to a bunch of random holiday questions!! So hold onto your mug of Christmas Cocoa and get ready!

My favorite holiday Tradition:  Waking up on Christmas morning and going down stairs to open gifts. We do this every single year from the time I was a child to now – when my children do it. My husband and I even did it before we had kids. It’s tradition. Now a days we put on a big pot of coffee and I put a pan of homemade cinnamon rolls in the oven right when we come down. Then we settle in the living room (while everything brews and bakes) and watch the kids rip into their gifts. We pass gifts to each other too! Then about halfway through I must have my coffee and I grab a cup quick and return to the opening! By the time we are all done you can’t even see the floor because there is wrapping paper everywhere! When I was a child we would cover our dog (a golden lab) in all the bows and he would lay there all happy covered in colorful ribbons!

My Favorite holiday memory: My favorite holiday memory is from when I was a teenager and my mother and I would go to a Christmas tree farm to cut down a tree. Two women, one saw = a lot of trouble!! That farm had some crazed chickens (shudder) and an emu and a three legged dog too…. It was quite the adventure!

My Favorite holiday cookie: I like shortbread cookies that my mom makes. They are covered in powdered sugar. She doesn’t make them every year so they are a treat! I also really like sugar cookies that are decorated with icing and sprinkles!

Best gift I ever got: Are you kidding? Do you think I can name one? I can’t. LOL. I like ALL presents.

Favorite Christmas movie to watch: The Grinch. (His puppy is cute!)

Favorite Holiday Decoration: The mistletoe! He he he….. Okay it’s not my favorite but I do have some hanging up. My favorite is the Christmas tree.

Least favorite thing about the holidays: The crowds and all the money that mysteriously disappears from my bank account….

Candy Cane? Yes please!

Christmas music? I actually like it! Lol. This year I started listening to it before thanksgiving!

Favorite Christmas Book: Twas The Night Before Christmas

What we do every Christmas Eve: Leave cookies for Santa! And Milk! And we also sprinkle reindeer food in the grass – it’s basically oats and glitter. LOL.  We also put carrots out and after the kids go to bed I go and crunch up the carrot and put it in the driveway like they were out there eating it. He he he. We leave cookie crumbs on the plate too!

Snow on Christmas? Of course!

Turkey or Ham for Christmas Dinner: Ham

Eggnog? No thanks.

And can I pose a question to all of you? Is mailing Christmas cards a dying tradition? I still mail them every year but every year I get less and less….. Course maybe someone is trying to tell me something…. YIKES! But I like getting them! We tape every one we get on the back of the front door and look at them throughout the holiday. I always send out the kind with a photo on it of my kids…. I like those kind. J

New Year’s Eve? I won’t lie – I usually fall asleep before the ball drops!

So there you have it! Some holiday stats from me about my time during the holidays!! How about all of you? What are your favorite traditions, cookies and movies? How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve and what was the best gift you ever received?
Thanks to Anna for having me here today!! You rock! I hope everyone had a blessed and memorable holiday!!! 

And thanks Cambria for stopping by! For more tour posts check out the list here: Heven and Hell Tour Stops

Teaser Tuesday [18]: Bloodrose & Top Ten Tuesday [5]

 Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's Teaser is from... Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer!

"'You have to choose.'
'He's right,' Ren said, looking past me to glare at Shay. 'Choose, Calla.'
'I won't choose,' I said. 'Not yet.'
Their hearts both skipped a beat in sync, revealing their shared uncertainty." (43)
*This quote was taken from an ARC copy. Any quotations should be compared to the finished copy*

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth - I love the world Roth created when she wrote Divergent. I would love to be a Dauntless!
2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver - Oliver's writing is like reading poetry almost. I love the story she created in Delirium, with the idea of love being a disease!
3. Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs - This book is set in San Francisco and since I'm in the Bay Area I loved reading about the local place that I'm so familiar with!
4. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows - I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book from HarperCollins and I just about died when it came! Jodi did NOT disappoint! This book is AMAZING!!
5. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - This was by far my favorite book of the year. Hodkin is an amazing writer and she kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole book!
6. The Maze Runner by James Dashner - I'm so disappointed in myself for taking so long to read this book! It was absolutely AMAZING!
7. Fever by Lauren DeStefano - I just finished this one last week, thanks to Sash, and it was crazy good!! I'm so excited that I got the chance to read this one before release. I loved Wither so much and Fever was just fabulous!
8. Matched by Ally Condie - I read Matched right when I was really getting into dystopians and it's actually the book my bff and I bonded over before we were really friends. So pretty much, Matched decided our destiny.
9. Blood Red Road by Moira Young - This was one of the first books I reviewed on my blog, and even though it took awhile to get into I really loved it! Young is an awesome writer and I ended up loving the lack of quotation marks and the western drawl!
10. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld - My bff is obsessed with this series so when she told me I had to read it I jumped at the chance! It had been sitting on my shelf for awhile, but I finally ended up reading it and now Scott Westerfeld is one of my favorite authors!

Monday, December 26, 2011

In My Mailbox [19]: The massive Christmas one!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren where you can learn about all the awesome new books I've picked up this week!

Hey guys! This is my giant IMM for the week, including Christmas presents, wins, review books, etc. I was going to do a video IMM, but I decided not to because it was going to be like 20 minutes long....

I also got some great non-bookish stuff: An iPad!!! It's amazing, I love it :) Gift cards, socks, fingerless mittens that remind me of Jodi Meadows! I also got some book lights, book marks, and a book holder which is awesome!

I was going to do a video IMM this week, but this pile is way too massive!! It would have taken way too long to read off all these books!

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

From my Bookworm Santa, Amanda!: The Predicteds by Christine Seifert
From my best friend Katherine!: Legend by Marie Lu, Entwined by Heather Dixon, The Death Cure by James Dashner
From Haley at Ya-Aholic!: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
From Kaitlin at Books to the Sky!: Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
From Amanda at Stuck in Books!: A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford, Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
From my friend Shannon!: City of Ashes and City of Bones by Cassandra Clare! (I've read both of these, but I really wanted them on my shelf!)
From Audris at YA Bookmark!: Half-Blood and Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

For Review
Beyond by T.P. Boje
Serenity by T.P. Boje
The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder (Big thanks to Razorbill!)
Dark Eyes by William Richter (Thanks to LibraryThing and Razorbill!!)

From Let the Words Flow, Twitter giveaway!: Tempest by Julie Cross
From Pam, for buying some Stacey Jay books for the Stacey Jay and Suzanne Young signing: The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore, The Pearl Wars by Nick James, Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

So this is my massive Christmas IMM! Hope you all had a fabulous holiday and make sure to leave some links to your IMMs so I can see what you got! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to all my lovely followers! I just wanted to let you all know this post went up at exactly 12AM Christmas morning and knowing me, I'm still awake! Eagerly awaiting Christmas breakfast, all the presents under the tree, the fun I'll be having with family! Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, and not just because of the presents (although I do love them!!!) but because of the simple, general feel of the holidays. When I was a kid, I used to stay up as late as I possibly could, waiting for Santa, hoping to hear his reindeer on the roof, but never being able to stay away late enough. I'd wake up in the morning to find all the cookies were gone, the carrots for the reindeer were eaten, and massive amounts of gifts appeared under the tree! Although, now that I'm 21 and no longer believe in Santa, Christmas hasn't lost it's magical luster! I'm still a huge lover of Christmas and I absolutely love giving :) 

My family's Christmas traditions always start with us going to Grandma's for Christmas Eve dinner, and most recently we started doing White Elephant because all the grand children are grown up! Christmas morning my parents and I wake up and have coffee, open presents, watch the yule log. Then we go to my Grandpa's for Christmas breakfast with my dad's side of the family and we all open our gifts, drink mimosas and celebrate together. 

I'm definitely excited to share Christmas with all of you this year and I would love to hear your Christmas traditions. You don't celebrate Christmas? Well that's fine! What do you celebrate and what kinds of traditions does your holiday involve every year?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Bookworm Santa!

My Bookworm Santa is hosted by Bree at the Magic Attic and Michelle at Book Briefs! It's an awesome secret Santa event where bloggers are given a secret pal to send a gift to! It was definitely a fun event! Here's what I got! 

The Predicteds by Christine Seifert
Your future is not your own...

"We wanted to know what makes a good kid good and a bad kid bad. Can you blame us for that? We found an astoundingly, marvelously simple answer: The brain isn't so much a complicated machine as it is a crystal ball. If you look into it, you will see everything you want to know."
-Dr. Mark Miliken, senior researcher at Utopia Laboratories

Who will it be?
Will the head cheerleader get pregnant?
Is the student council president a secret drug addict?

The whole school is freaking out about PROFILE, an experimental program that can predict students' future behavior.

The only question Daphne wants answered is whether Jesse will ask her out...but he's a Predicted, and there's something about his future he's not telling her.

My Santa is seriously fabulous!! A dystopian novel?! They know me too well huh? I know this one was on my list, but I'm really excited about it!!! Big thank you to my awesome Santa, whoever you are!!! <33

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Follow Friday [15]

Q:  If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book which book would you choose and why?

Despite the fact that my favorite genre is dystopian, I really don't want to be spending a ton of time in a dystopian world... although we all might be come December 2012 right?! ;) I think I'd have to say I'd love to live in the Shadowhunter world of Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instrument series. I'd love to be a Shadowhunter, going out and fighting demons and stuff! I would be so kick ass!!!

Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Publication Date: December 20th, 2011
Publisher: Mira (An imprint of Harlequin)
Page Count: 394
Format: e-arc
Source: Netgalley and Harlequin
Buy it on Amazon: Touch of Power (Healer)
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.
Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life...
I've been wanting to pick up a really good fantasy novel for awhile, but nothing has really compared to Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore so when I started reading Touch of Power I knew I had struck fantastical gold. I really loved the direction this book took, despite Avry's ability to heal the sick and injured she is mostly ridiculed and blamed for the mysterious plague that has killed thousands, causing her to remain on the run. The story did get somewhat slow in places, having me glance through some passages, but it kept me entertained enough to continue reading.

Avry is a great female protagonist. She's extremely loyal, selfless, strong, and witty! She doesn't just go along with what other people want her to do and she resists Kerrick every step of the way which is just hilarious to read about! Her one vice, however, is sick children which tends to get her into a lot of trouble. Kerrick and is band of merry men (yes, I'm referencing Robin Hood!) are an extremely hilarious bunch! Belen reminded me of Andre the Giant, a huge guy who just protects those that are smaller than him. The other 3 are exactly how Kerrick describes them, monkeys! Kerrick himself is a tough guy on the outside, but when he lets his heart shine through he just makes me melt!!

Snyder really knows how to weave a fantastical story. The only issue I had was her use of the word "guys". For some reason I feel like "guys" should not be used in a fantasy story, but maybe that's just a minor pet peeve of mine? I really liked that the story takes place over the course of what seems like months and not just a few days/weeks. There is also some romance, but I'm not ruining it for you! I honestly didn't see it coming for a really long time! By the end of the book I was in tears! Happy tears, sad tears, all kinds of tears!

Overall I really loved this book and I'm glad I forced myself to request it from Netgalley! Touch of Power definitely has me on a fantasy kick now and I'm looking forward to reading more fantasy YA soon. I'm also really looking forward to reading more of Snyder's books which I've heard are amazing! If you're a fantasy lover, you definitely need to pick this one up. The writing is superb, the characters are fun, and the story is great! I had a hard time getting into it in the beginning but I had an easy time finishing it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [18]: Immortal City

****"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.****

Immortal City by Scott Speer
Expected Publication Date: April 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Jackson Godspeed is the hottest young Angel in a city filled with them. He's days away from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone's obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect - everyone except for Madison Montgomery.

Maddy's the one girl in Angel City who doesn't breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn't recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love.

Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson's scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi - and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels' wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat … and this time it's up to Maddy to save Jackson.
Why I Can't Wait: I don't know, this book just sounds awesome! People watch angels on TV and gossip about them online? Seriously that's just too cool. Plus that cover looks awesome! I'm thinking that guy has to be really hot. And we all know how I love some hot angels ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday [17]: Fever and Top Ten Tuesday [4]

 Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser is from... Fever by Lauren DeStefano
"I was born into a world that was already dying; I belong to it. I will take it over holographic oceans and spinning diagrams of beautiful houses. Because even if the lie is beautiful, the truth is what you face in the end." (278)
*This quote was taken from an ARC copy. Any quotations should be compared to the finished copy*
Oh. My. God. This book is seriously amazing! Lauren DeStefano's writing is FANTASTIC!! And the story is just so heartbreaking! I can't wait for the next one!!
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

1. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare - I have been waiting FOREVER for this book, and I definitely need to read it!! Especially after I've heard so many good things!!
2. Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey - I've been wanting this one for awhile, it was my WoW post a while back, and the cover is just awesome!
3. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - I'm going to a signing in January and Tahereh will be there so I definitely need to get Shatter Me and read it before then!!
4. The Death Cure by James Dashner - OMG!! I finished Scorch Trials a few weeks ago and I am DYING to know how it all ends!!
5. Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I think I'm like the only person ever who hasn't read any of her books, so I'm hoping to get this one for Christmas so I can join in all the raving!
6. Legend by Marie Lu - Dystopian!!! I've heard this one is awesome so I'm definitely excited to get it! It's dystopian, so it has to be good right?
7. The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff - Honestly I can't really remember what this one is about, but the cover is crazy awesome!
8. Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey - I've been wanting this one for awhile but since I put off buying books before Christmas I'm reallyy hoping I get this one!!
9. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson - Maureen Johnson is freakin hilarious on Twitter, and I love all things Jack the Ripper so yeah. I need this one. ASAP.
10. The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton - I've been getting really into the fae lately so I'm excited to read this one! I've heard it's awesome!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Guest Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

I'd like to welcome Nicole from The Reader's Antidote! She's come to Literary Exploration to provide her thoughts on the ghostly thriller, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake!

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Publication Date: August 30th, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Page Count: 316 pages
Nicole's Rating: 5/5
Purchase from Amazon: Anna Dressed in Blood
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story. . .

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder 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: move, 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, but now stained red and dripping 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.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

Anna Dressed in Blood was a delightful surprise, and by delightful I mean creepy and haunting with a taboo love story. Yeah, it was that good. When people tell you a story is scary, you don't truly believe them until you read it yourself. This is one of those books. I wasn't prepared for how the author so vividly described the ghostly encounters, and honestly I fell a little in love with the ghost world Cass was so involved in.

Cas has been spending a good chunk of his life moving around with his mother and following leads to haunts and spooks that he can destroy with his father's athame. What he's really doing is building up the skill to finally face the ghost that killed his father (or should I say bit chunks out of him). Creeped out yet? It gets better. He gets a tip from a source in New Orleans, and he's off to Thunder Bay to meet Anna dressed in blood.

Then Cas gets careless. He goes to the house that Anna haunts with a couple kids from school. They trick him, hit him over the head with a board and push him inside the house. Anyone that goes inside the house goes missing (cliche, but completely true). And we find out that Cas is the only human Anna doesn't have to kill. But what does that mean, you ask? You'll have to read to find out!

If you like scary books, this is for you. If you don't like scary books, this is for you. Believe me, I hate scary movies as much as the next paranoid (even Zombieland creeped me out), but I fell in love with the characters in this book. I have no complaints! But be forewarned... It ends in a cliffhanger that will have you begging for the sequel. If you haven't picked up Anna Dressed in Blood, I strongly suggest it. Also, as a tip from one reader to another, do NOT read this at night in your bed by yourself. You will not sleep very well, and I say this from experience. Now, go forth, and purchase this amazing, unique, and exhilarating YA read!

*Be sure to check out Nicole's blog for more of her awesome reviews!*

2012 Reading Challenges!

Since I started my blog back in March, but didn't really get into it until July/August I missed out on a bunch of cool 2011 challenges. This year, I'm starting with these three, and I'll probably add a couple along the way, but the DAC, CCC, and Harper Imprint are the most interesting so far! These are all the books I'm going to read for these challenges!

Hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

Everneath - Brodi Ashton
Article 5 - Kristen Simmons
Illuminate - Aimee Agresti
Above - Leah Bobet
Of Poseidon - Anna Banks
Auracle - Gina Rosati
Immortal City - Scott Seer
Gilt - Katherine Longshore
Slide - Jill Hathaway
Lies Beneath - Anne Greenwood Brown
Wake - Amanda Hocking
Struck - Jennifer Bosworth

2012 CCC: 4 books
Hosted by Shanyn at Chick Loves Lit
I took most of these off Sash's list since I read almost NO contemp.

 2010 -
Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson
The DUFF - Kody Keplinger 
Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins

 2011 - 
Love Story - Jennifer Echols
Probability of Miracles - Wendy Wunder
Saving June - Hannah Harrington
Where She Went - Gayle Forman

 2012 - 
Wanderlove - Kristen Hubbard
Statistical Probability of Miracles - Jennifer E. Smith
All These Lives - Sarah Wylie
Fracture - Megan Miranda

2012 Harper Imprint: Medium Level 5-8 books
For this challenge I can read books published by any of HarperCollins' imprints: Balzer and Bray, HarperTeen, Katherine Tegen Books, and Greenwillow

Die for Me - Amy Plum (HarperTeen)
Gone - Michael Grant (HarperTeen)
Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr (HarperTeen)
Paranormalcy - Kiersten White (HarperTeen)
Everneath - Brodi Ashton (Balzer and Bray)
Forgive My Fins - Tera Lynn Childs (Katherine Tegen Books)
I'll probably add a few more as I get more books for Christmas :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Review: On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane

On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane
Expected Publishing Date: December 27th, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count: 384 pages
Format: E-ARc
Source: Netgalley and Harlequin Teen
Pre-order on Amazon: On a Dark Wing
"The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn’t prepared for.
And Death would be my willing teacher."

Five years ago Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her lucky break came at the expense of her mother’s life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again.

Now she’s the target of Death’s Ravens and an innocent boy’s life is on the line. When Nate Holden—Abbey’s secret crush—starts to climb Alaska’s Denali, the Angel of Death is with him because of her.

Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.
Honestly, I'm having a really hard time starting this review. I didn't like this book. At all. I didn't like the characters, I didn't like the plot, I didn't like the pace... the only thing I did like was Dane's writing style. She's a fantastic writer, everything is very elegant and descriptive, unfortunately nothing else stood out. On a Dark Wing was a serious let down in all sorts of ways.

The characters are cringe-worthy. Abbey is basically an obsessive psycho who dreams about her secret life with Nate Holden. I mean, I remember having secret crushes on hot guys at school, but I never imagined myself having a different live revolving around them, when I had never even talked to them before! What is that?! Her life basically revolves around what he does. Did I mention they've never even talked?! It was worse than some kind of insta-love. She's also a total jerk to her dad. She blames herself for her mother's death and then basically ignores her dad and yells at him all the time like he doesn't understand. He lost his wife. I think he understands. She's basically just an obsessive selfish over eater and I did not care for her at all. Nate is okay I guess, he's just a mountain climber who gets sucked into some crazy angel crap. Tanner was by far my favorite character. He's so down to earth and selfless, he goes above and beyond for Abbey (who so doesn't deserve it).

The story was so dull and slow I had a really hard time keeping up with it. I don't know why, but I just felt compelled to keep going. Nothing really happens, and some of the plot lines make no sense whatsoever, or are completely unnecessary. I have to admit, Dane's writing is fantastic! Everything is really well-written and the descriptions are really well done. I just wish more of that fantastic writing went into creating a better story! One that didn't bore me to tears!

Overall, I just wasn't a fan of this book. I've seen it around a lot, and I know it's gotten mixed reviews but I tried it out anyways. I definitely wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I really enjoyed Dane's writing style, so I'm definitely interested in reading something else by her, however.


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