indefinite hiatus; i may not come back to the blog, but I'll leave it up anyway if anyone wants to take a look at any old posts etc. :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best Covers of 2011

I've decided to post my top five favorite covers out of all the books published this year. I had a difficult time deciding, so the books are in no particular order.

 Alaska by Sue Saliba
Mia's heart made a sound that no one heard except for Mia late one night when she woke from dreams into darkness.
Ethan was asleep beside her, and Em was a forest away. Outside it was night and dark and Alaska. The sky was upside down.
When Mia follows her sister halfway across the world to Alaska, she discovers that love can be found in the most unexpected and beautiful of places. But can Mia find the courage to follow her heart in Alaska? And what if the one you love is not all that you wish them to be?

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
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.

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the
limited time she has left.

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
basis, n.
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.
If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment
does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face. How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great
events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Title: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton
Pub. Date: November 1, 2011
Length: 367 pages
Series: Matched #2
Summary (from goodreads):
 In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.
Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.
My Thoughts: I liked Matched better than Crossed, but this series is definitely not for me. I'll probably get the third book from the library when it comes out because I am not at all capable of not reading a series all the way through, no matter how bad it may be.

After reading two books in this series, I can safely say that it is completely unoriginal, a poor ripoff of two great dystopian novels. When I read Matched, it was The Giver; When I read Crossed, it was the first book in the Uglies Series. The whole Matched series is really just the author's poor mash-up of the two books. I felt there were many plot holes and that the whole book was really just underdeveloped. I didn't understand what was going on in the last chapter at all, nor did I understand (view spoiler)SPOILER (highlight to view) how Indie figured out Xander's secret and fell in love with him without having even met him. I didn't really like the characters or how everyone seemed to be able to figure everything out exactly right all the time. All the guys in this story were just super romantic and it made me sick. These were teen-aged guys, right? Seriously. I couldn't believe a seventeen year old boy would do some of the things Vick and Ky did because of their girlfriends (who they hadn't even been dating that long, BTW). Maybe some guys are really like that, but I find it hard to believe that all the ones Cassia knows are. They seemed exactly like girls to me. When they entered the Carving, I couldn't understand how they all managed to run through the whole canyon in like one day with hardly any water or food. It just didn't make much sense to me.

Ky and Cassia's POVs were very hard to distinguish between and I often found myself thinking that I was reading from Cassia's when I was actually reading from Ky's and vise-versa. They could have been the same person, really, the only difference was the places they were at and the people they were with.

Gosh, and the writing! Probably the most annoying part of this book was the fact that the author had no idea what correct English is at all. She would write a sentence and the end it in the middle and then add the end as a next sentence. There is no need for this! I'm okay if there are one or two of those in a book, but Condie does it ALL THE TIME and it annoys me to no end.

One thing I hate is ripoffs and that's exactly what this book is. It annoys me that books like these get so much hype when they really aren't at all good or original. I can't believe how any book in this series could be a New York Times Best Seller, yet Matched was one (and maybe Crossed too, I don't know.).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Review: Enclave by Anna Aguirre

Title: Enclave
Author: Anna Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pub. Date: April 12, 2011
Length: 259 Pages
Series: Razorland #1
Summary (from goodreads):
In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.
Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

My Thoughts: I think it will come as no surprise to those of you who know me when I say that I am in love with this book. Enclave is one of those books that captured me and my imagination right from the first paragraph and kept me there until the very last word. I simply could not put it down!

Everything about this book is just completely awesome. The post-apocalyptic setting, the bad-ass characters, the originality... I loved all of it. And yes, I do know that Enclave isn't one of those books that everyone will like, but if you're like me and enjoy a good horror novel, it is most definitely for you.

I loved all the characters in Enclave. From Deuce to Banner to Stalker, every character was lovely and completely real. Together they created a strong, addicting story that wouldn't have been nearly as good without them.

 Finally, I have to mention what a fantastic writer Anna Aguirre is. It was not just the plot of Enclave that kept me captivated, it was the way it's written as well. I can't say what it is exactly, but there's something about her writing style that is just absolutely amazing.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub. Date: March 22, 2011
Length: 358 Pages
Series: The Chemical Garden #1
Summary (from goodreads):
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

My Thoughts: I was pretty hesitant about reading Wither. Although the cover is beautiful, I'd heard a lot of negative and so-so thoughts on it and I began to think it just wasn't going to be for me. Of course, in the end I couldn't resist owning a book with such a lovely cover so I decided to buy it and give it a chance. And I've got to say- I'm happy with my choice.

First off, DeStefano's writing is absolutely beautiful. She has this gift where she could write about practically anything and I would still be captivated. Authors like that are few and far between. Also, she makes her characters come alive. By that I mean not only did I like her characters, I found them greatly developed and really felt for them.

Wither is an excellent debut for Ms. DeStefano. However, there were some plot holes (and a few other things) that kept me from falling in love with the book :/

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review: Echo by Francesca Lia Block

Title: Echo
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pub. Date: August 1, 2001
Length: 222 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
Francesca Lia Block has charmed and amazed young audiences with tales of the mystical and ethereal. This outstanding story is no different. Following the life of Echo, an L.A. baby born to an artistic dad and a mom who's an angel, this enthralling story offers more than fairy dust and the supernatural. It tells the tale of a girl who feels doomed to be less than angelic, at least in comparison with her mother. Mom's startling beauty and aura enchant all who meet her, and Echo can never keep up. Desperate to be loved as much, and maybe find her own identity, she escapes to the boys in her life. Ultimately, she must rely on herself for the strength to survive. Simple text ands story lines do not appeal to Block, who weaves a tale with amazing grace and the flowing energy of a true genius. Images of vampires, ghosts, and fairies fill these pages, daring the reader to believe. Told from the point of view of Echo and the key players in her life, the story imparts a dreamlike quality to Echo's life. This a novel layered with pain beauty, and triumph, all which will appeal to young readers.

My Thoughts: I loved this book for obvious reasons. One, of course, being that its written by Francesca Lia Block, one of my favorite authors at the moment. Echo is a lovely little book written in a unique style, like all of Francesca's novels. And, like all of my reviews of her books, I can't resist including a quote.

 Many people say that while they love Block's beautiful descriptions etc., overall they just don't like her books because they're vague outlines of stories that could have gone much deeper. I have to agree that her novels can tend to have a bit of an underdeveloped plot line, however, I still love each one of her books I've read. I don't know why, maybe because its so different, but the way her stories are written really appeals to me. Yes, I can get a bit confused at times, but I get past that confusion and love it anyway.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: Flawless by Lara Chapman

Title: Flawless
Author: Lara Chapman
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pub. Date: May 10, 2011
Length: 256 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes,
gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny—all right, enormous—flaw: her nose. But even that's not so bad. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame.
On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do—she agrees. For someone so smart, what was she thinking?
This hip retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is filled with hilariously misguided matchmaking, sweet romance, and a gentle reminder that we should all embrace our flaws.

My Thoughts: I'd never head of Cyrano de Bergerac before picking up Flawless. Honestly, I've never been too interested in reading any classics because the way they are written and the differences in time periods just makes them confusing to me, regardless if I liked the plot or not. However, these modern retellings have a different vibe that really draws me to them. That being said, I really enjoyed Flawless.

The message sent out in this book was wonderful. I don't think I can even explain how amazing it was and how happy I was that I decided to read it. Flawless teaches us that we are all wonderful in our own, unique way despite our flaws and helps us to remember that you don't have to be an absolute beauty or the prettiest girl to be liked because you are judged on more than just your appearance. Sarah was a girl who constantly brought herself down because of her nose and felt no one looked past it and saw her other fantastic qualities. She was easy to relate to and very real.

Overall, Flawless was a good read but there were a few things that bugged me and kept it from being a great read. (After all, nothing and no one is absolutely flawless.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Review: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

 Title: Along for the Ride
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak
Pub. Date: June 11, 2009
Length: 399 Pages
Summary ( from goodreads):
It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.
A job in a clothing boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

My Thoughts: I seem to have a love/hate relationship with Sarah Dessen books, some I really enjoyed and others I just couldn't stand. I'm always hesitant about buying her books, because even if the summary makes it sound like a good read, I may not end up liking it. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed Along for the Ride, it just didn't amaze me or blow me out of the water. In fact, it falls somewhere in the middle of those two categories of her previous works.

I don't know exactly why I didn't fully enjoy this book. If I had to guess, I would say it just seemed too average for me: it didn't do much emotion wise, the writing wasn't amazing, and the characters didn't stand out.  I don't mean to complain but it feels like most of Dessen's stories are all too similar, and that's starting to become a real downer for me. ):

Overall, Along for the Ride was a cute read, but also predictable with a story that's been done before. Yes, I did enjoy it, but I was also left wishing that Dessen would write something more unique.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Pub. Date: 1963
Length: 320 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.
My Thoughts:  I have to admit that the first time I read this book I didn't like it much at all and ended up never finishing it. I felt really bad for not liking it because my stepsister and stepmother had just finished it and completely fell in love with it. But that was two years ago and looking back I realize that I was probably too young to have read it in the first place and, in result, didn't understand much of it. When I reread it earlier this year (which was in last August, but since I was blogging at the time I never reviewed it till now), I could fully recognize just how fantastic it really is.

The Bell Jar is one of those books that really spoke to me. I'm sure everyone know this book deals with depression and has experienced feeling like the ones mentioned in this book at least once, if only for a moment or two; and that you'll be able to find something relate-able in it.
This really is such a lovely book and I hope you all will give it a chance some time or another.

Mad Girl's Love Song 
by Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least then spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Between by Jessica Warman

Title: Between
Author: Jessica Warman
Publisher: Walker & Company
Pub. Date: August 2, 2011
Length: 320 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
Elizabeth Valchar--pretty, popular, and rich--wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday on the yacht where she'd been celebrating with her closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, she finds her own drowned body is hitting the side of the boat. Liz is dead.
She has no memory of what happened to her, and can only observe in horror the fallout of her death. She's also soon joined by Alex Berg, a quiet boy from her high school who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The two keep each other company, floating in and out of memories and trying to piece together the details of what happened to each of them.
In her regular life, Liz was a runner. It wasn't abnormal for her to run 8-10 miles per day. But as memories from closer to her death begin to surface, Liz finds that she'd been running much more than normal, and that she'd all but stopped eating. Liz's mother, who died when Liz was nine, had battled with anorexia as well, and those around her worried Liz was following in her mother's footsteps. But something more sinister was consuming Liz from the inside out. . . .
From critically acclaimed author Jessica Warman comes a shocking mystery, a heartbreaking character study, and ultimately a hopeful tale of redemption, love, and letting go.

My Thoughts: This review isn't going to be much of a 'review', because really, I don't even know where to begin. Jessica Warman, you have written an absolutely spectacular book, one that when it comes to reviewing it, I am at a loss of words.

I don't think there is one thing I didn't like about Between, and I am being completely, 100% honest. I loved the characters, the writing, the relationships, all of it. I hope everyone will, at the least, give this book a try; it's both wonderful and unique :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (Books 1-8)

Title: Pretty Little Liars Series (Books 1-8)
Author: Sara Shepard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date (1st Book): Oct. 2006
Average Length: 304 Pages
Series: Pretty Little Liars
Summary (from back cover):
 Everyone has something to hide—especially high school juniors Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna.

Spencer covets her sister's boyfriend. Aria's fantasizing about her English teacher. Emily's crushing on the new girl at school. Hanna uses some ugly tricks to stay beautiful.
But they've all kept an even bigger secret since their friend Alison vanished.
How do I know? Because I know everything about the bad girls they were, the naughty girls they are, and all the dirty secrets they've kept. And guess what? I'm telling.

My Thoughts: Pretty Little Liars has been a popular series since before I even got into reading. I'll admit that at first, despite all the hype it got, I didn't want to read the series. I'd recently read Gossip Girl, which I didn't enjoy, and the two seemed very similar so I figured it wouldn't be for me. However, one day at the store while waiting for my family to finish shopping, I picked it up and starting reading. I was hooked almost immediately, and my love for the series was born.

Pretty Little Liars is written from the third person point of view, following each of the four girls' lives and their quest to find out who A really is and who murdered their friend. I was surprised by the flawless way Shepard wove the events together and kept me on my toes throughout it all. There were plenty of twists and turns that kept me captivated and never bored with the books.

In order to avoid giving away any spoilers, I'm going to keep this review short and end it here. Pretty Little Liars is a wonderful, additive series, and I can't wait to read the final four books.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Title: Invincible Summer
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub. Date: April 19, 2011
Length: 269 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?
Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart.  But some girls are addictive....

My Thoughts: Practically Everyone who's heard of Invincible Summer knows that its not your typical beach read; You've probably also heard how talented Hannah Moskowitz is, but I can't resist not mentioning these things in my review. You see, despite knowing all this ahead of time, I was still surprised when I found out what exactly lies inside the cover of Invincible Summer and the emotion it contains.

Perhaps my favorite part of Invincible Summer was Chase, particularly his voice; it was raw and emotional and I just loved it. Of course, I adored all the characters in IS but his is the one I felt for the most. In this novel, we follow him through four summers starting when he is fourteen and finishing once he is eighteen. We watch him grow up, mature, and experience love and regret.

So yes, this is more than your average beach read. But it's more than that in the best way possible. I hope you'll all give IS a chance, it is a truly wonderful book.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

 Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, that features upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
by Jennifer E. Smith
Release: January 2, 2012
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18B. Hadley's in 18A.
Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

I've already heard good things about this one from a few lucky girlys who got to read it before the release, and I've got to say, January 2 couldn't come fast enough! 

As always,  I'd love to see what you're waiting on this week. Leave a link and I'll check it out!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Review: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Title: Imaginary Girls
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Dutton
Pub. Date: June 14, 2010
Length: 348 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.
But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.
With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.

My Thoughts: I really love the whole idea behind Imaginary Girls; it's a story I won't forget for a long, long time. Imagine a completely unique story with unexpected twists and turns, astounding characters, and beautiful writing, then bring it to life. This novel is what you would get.

There is so much I could say about this book, words that would lengthen this review and make it hundreds of sentences long. I loved practically everything about it, from the characters to the writing to the setting. I'm not going to say all that though, instead I'll just give you my word that it was truly wonderful.

Despite all the greatness of this book, there is one thing I can't get past: Imaginary Girls is one of those books you have to pay complete and total attention to, which means reading in a quiet place when you don't have much on your mind. Of course, I'm saying this because that happened to me. 

I'm currently in the middle of rereading it, in hopes of understanding more and catching things I missed the first time around. The truth is, while I loved the writing, the plot, the characters, even the cover, I found myself confused at times and was left with that sort of feeling once finished with the novel. Overall, I'd say I enjoyed this book. I'd still recommend it, even with the flaw that kept it from being one of my favorites.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox #17

In My Mailbox is hosted by the story siren.

That's all for this week! Feel free to leave a link to your IMM, and I'll be sure to check it out :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton
Pub. Date: September 21, 2006
Length: 227 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.
Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself by Printz medalist John Green, acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska.

My Thoughts: I've been very excited to read An Abundance of Katherines ever since reading two of John's other works, Paper Towns and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (which he co-wrote with David Levithan). I can safely call myself a fan of his; I love his writing, characters, and, of course, his humor. While I still liked all of these aspects in An Abundance of Katherines, they seemed to be.... less compared to his other novels. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, honestly, I just couldn't connect with the story and felt as if it were missing something.

I know you all must be expecting me to go into detail as to why this book didn't do it for me, but I'm not going to. I can't. An Abundance of Katherines is simply one of those few books that was completely average. It wasn't bad but it wasn't particularly good either. Overall, I just... I don't know. I was disappointed with it and really expected more from John Green.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, that features upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
The Disenchantments
by Nina Lacour
Release: February 16, 2012 
Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev’s band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she’s abandoning their plans—and Colby—to start college in the fall.
But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie-Colby struggles to deal with Bev’s already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what’s next?
Morris Award–finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives.
 I absolutely loved Nina LaCour's debut, Hold Still, so I am definitely looking forward to this one.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In My Mailbox #16

In My Mailbox is hosted by the story siren.

I purchased Imaginary Girls and Wanted (PLL #8) from Target, and Heartless (PLL #7) and Clean from Barnes and Nobles. I'm super excited to read all of these books and hope to get to them asap. 
 I'd love to see what's in your mailbox. Leave a link and I'll check it out :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Absence.... and Possible Return

I never did an official post about this before, but about a month ago something happened. It wasn't anything horrible, like a relative passing or anything like that, I just lost the urge to blog. Reviewing had become a sort of chore. I was falling behind on my reviews, and trying to fit in a review for every book I read took too much time out of my life. So I decided to take a break, spend a lot of time reading and not worrying about writing reviews for every book I've read, and just relax. For a while, I missed the whole blogging community and felt guilty for abandoning my blog the way I did, but at the same time I was relieved. Now that I've taken some time to think about why blogging had lost its spark and why I needed to take a break in the first place, I've decided to change some things. 

I realized something during my absence. I love writing reviews. It doesn't really matter to me if I get ARCs or not, because reviewing books is something I really have a passion for. I love it even more when I know there are great people out there like you, my loves, reading them and really taking my opinion on a book when it comes to reading it yourself. However, like I said before, some things just need to change in order for me to come back to blogging.

For one, I'm not going to be writing a review for every book I read. I just can't. Sometimes the reason is because when I'm trying to review a book I don't know what to say and other times I simply don't have enough time to really put in an effort. I have a life outside blogging, and as silly as it sounds, I need a good amount of time for it as well: no more missing a movie with my friends or skipping my me-time because I'm falling behind with my reviews.

I'm not going to get back into blogging right away. It will take time, but I'm hoping that within the next two or three weeks I'll truly be ready to start up again. When I do, there will be a few differences. In a way, I'll be starting fresh, and I'm going to put in a good effort when it comes to memes and other things; I'll be more consistent and participate more. Basically, I need to fully commit to this before I start up again in order to get a positive experience for myself as well as my followers. I'm hoping to, lets say bond, with other bloggers as well. I'll stop by more blogs and take my time to comment and play my roll in the blogging community. Until then, I hope you all will forgive me for my previously unexplained absence. ♥ SarahLydia

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Winner of Lipstick Laws Swag

The winner of my 100 Follower/ Lipstick Laws Swag is......

Our winner was chosen through random.org and has already been notified. You have one week to claim your prize! Thank you to all who entered.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Title: Private Peaceful
Author: Michael  Morpurgo
Publisher: Scholastic
Pub. Date: October 1, 2004
Length: 208 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
They've gone now, and I'm alone at last. I have the whole night ahead of me, and I won't waste a single moment of it . . . I want tonight to be long, as long as my life . . ." For young Private Peaceful, looking back over his childhood while he is on night watch in the battlefields of the First World War, his memories are full of family life deep in the countryside: his mother, Charlie, Big Joe, and Molly -- the love of his life. Too young to be enlisted, Thomas has followed his brother to war and now, every moment he spends thinking about his life, means another moment closer to danger.

My Thoughts: I didn't expect to like Private Peaceful. I read it for English, and none of the previous books I'd read in that class had captured my attention and I figured this one would be no different. So I was pleasantly surprised when Private Peaceful did just what those other books could not.

Private Peaceful is shorter, easier, and more middle grade-style than what I usually read, however, I really enjoyed it. I was captivated from the start by the author's way of writing and was kept there by his great method of working events together to create a wonderful story.

In this novel, we look back with Tommo and follow him through his life; starting when he is a young boy on his first day of school and finishing when the clock strikes six one fateful morning. Full of great emotion and unexpected turns, Private Peaceful is an inspirational story that will stay with the reader for a long time.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

Title: Fixing Delilah
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pub. Date: December 1, 2010
Length: 320 Pages
Summary (from goodreads): 
Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.
She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.
Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?
Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

My Thoughts: "We all long for what could have been." This is a quote repeated several times throughout Fixing Delilah, one that I really love. Having not yet read Ockler's debut Twenty Boy Summer, I was pleasantly surprised by her lyrical yet simple way of writing and the rhythm the events were woven together. She certainly knows how to write her stories and make fantastic characters; Delilah was wonderful and had me captivated from the start.

Despite how much I loved Delilah's character, she is not my favorite of the book. Patrick is. I think those of you who have already read Fixing Delilah can figure out why and can agree that he is definitely crush-worthy. And for those of you who haven't read it and are looking for why, I'm not telling. I loved learning who Patrick was, his personality, etc. by myself and want it to be the same for you guys too.

For me, Fixing Delilah is one of those books that really means a lot, but in a quiter, less standout way; but a favorite nonetheless. I'm looking out for Sarah's other books with no doubt that they will be nothing short of amazing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Square Fish
Pub. Date: April 29, 2008
Length: 266 Pages
Series: Jenna Fox Chronicles #1
Summary (from goodreads):
 Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year-long coma — so she’s been told — and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. But what happened before that? She’s been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why won’t anyone in her family talk about the accident? Jenna is becoming more curious. But she is also afraid of what she might find out if she ever gets up the courage to ask her questions. What happened to Jenna Fox? And who is she really?

My Thoughts: The Adoration of Jenna Fox is one of the books I've sought after most this year (even though it was published years ago!). So naturally, I was super excited when I got my hands on it.

My favorite part of The Adoration of Jenna Fox was the writing and poetry. Both were lyrical, however the way the story was written was even more impressive than the poems. It was lacking, not in the bad way but the good, mysterious way that really stood out and captivated me.

When I first heard of The Adoration of Jenna Fox, I knew it would be a great book for me; And while I really, really loved the premises, overall the book just seemed to be lacking something that kept it from being down-right amazing. Yes, I did love the story, but I wasn't drawn in completely and that was a big set back for me. Despite this, I am still very much looking foreward to the sequel.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In My Mailbox #15 and RAK May Wrap up

In My Mailbox is hosted by the story siren.
RAK is hosted by Book Soulmates.

I recieved The Forest of Hands and Teeth from Katie over at That Book Blog as a RAK. Thanks, Katie! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: Ask Elizabeth by Elizabeth Berkley

Title: Ask Elizabeth
Author: Elizabeth Berkley
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pub. Date: March 22, 2011
Length: 240 Pages
Summary (from back cover):
If you've ever asked yourself why the ups and downs of friendships are so hard; if you've ever looked in the mirror and hated what you saw; if you've ever gone through a horrible breakup and wondered how you'll ever make it through...guess what? You're not alone.
Over the past several years, more than 30,000 teens have participated in workshops conducted by actress Elizabeth Berkley (Saved by the Bell). In an open, judgement free atmosphere, girls come together to support, share, confess, and confide in one another. Written in the spirit of a group diary, Ask Elizabeth addresses the emotional lives of teen girls based on the most frequently asked questions from these workshops. Full of personal stories and advice offered up by countless teens, experts from a variety of fields, and Elizabeth Berkley herself, this ultimate life handbook for teenage girls can be relied on again and again for comfort, guidance, inspiration, and answers.

My Thoughts: I don't read nonfiction very often. This is because I usually find it pretty boring and uneasy to relate to-even if its a book of advice that is supposed to help me. There was in fact a time when I swore off nonfiction completely because I always ended up disappointed. However, when I started looking through Ask Elizabeth, I knew it would be an exception to that. And it is.

Ask Elizabeth is a must read for teen girls who have ever had questions about, well, almost anything in life. It's a book I will go back to time and time again for advice and whenever I need a pick-me-up. If I could, I would carry it with me where ever I go, so that if I ever need advice, I can get it. I hope you'll give this book a chance too, it's very helpful and unique.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In My Mailbox #14

In My Mailbox is hosted by the story siren.

I received both Abandon and Enclave from Rochelle at Books Like Stars. Thanks again, Rochelle!

I'd love to see what's in your mailbox this week. Leave a link and I'll check it out :)