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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

I'll Be Back PART 2

Hey guys! So, obviously it's been another hectic year and as Christmas is getting closer and closer, I just seem to be getting busier and busier, so I thought I'd just post up on here that my new laptop FINALLY arrived (WHOO!) and I can start working on the blog again at full speed, but I'm going to put the blog on an official hiatus until January 1st, even though it's just been unattended for a while now.... But it will be revived, full-speed with a different special review of a cool product on the first Friday back and a bunch of book-talk! YAY!

So, with that, happy holidays and I'll talk to you guys in the new year!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Review: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally + Top Ten Book Boys!

Author:  Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page Count: 304 pages, Paperback
Date Published: December 3rd 2013
Find it on Goodreads: Racing Savannah
Source: Received for review for tour in exchange of honest opinion

 They’re from two different worlds.
He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.
With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

 Kenneally has wowed me once again with her ability to write a fast-paced and heart-warming contemporary novel that is unique, but still familiar. I love diving into the world of the Hundred Oaks series, revisiting old characters and of course, encountering the new main characters, as well. Plus, this book's sport was horses. Growing up, I loved horses and riding was one of the best feelings in the world for me, however that love got pushed to the side as I grew older and I haven't ridden in a few years now. That being said, it was nice to read a book so immersed in the world of horses... I don't know much of the technical side of it, especially with the terminology, but I still loved reading about these people who are so involved in the horse world.

 Racing Savannah was a witty and realistic story that touched on the subject of the division of social classes, which I found very interesting. I've always been a sucker for those "from two different worlds" romances, so I was excited about seeing how Kenneally would play this one out. I loved Savannah as the main character. Her development throughout the story was great and I adored her humour and drive, along with her love for animals. I have such a deep appreciation for the fact that Kenneally creates these female characters who are realistic and are completely kick-ass, even if they don't feel like it at some times. Savannah's strength and determination made her an incredibly intriguing character to read about and I loved being inside her head. 

It was so nice to dive back into a contemporary world that I was a bit familiar with, as lately I've been reading some heavier, classic books and so this book was a really nice break on my mind. I applaud Kenneally for another successful book about a strong and independent girl who deals with more than just boy problems... But of course, there was definitely a boy. ;) I loved this book and would absolutely recommend to any previous fans of Kenneally and any fans of contemporary who have not yet read her!

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.


Thanks so much for having me here to talk about my top ten favorite guys in YA!  I did this last year, but I decided to do it again to see if my list has changed (I’m fickle, I guess. Sue me). And it has changed: I added Trent, Jack, and Braden below.

Please tell me who your favorite guys are in the comments. This list is no particular order. I wouldn’t want to hurt any of these guys’ feelings! J

  1.    Jonah from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Jonah is a real guy. Broken but strong, and very loyal. Also, he is yummy.
  2. Po from Graceling by Kristin Cashore: Funny, sweet, loyal, and he’s a badass warrior prince? Sign me up!
  3. Trent from A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers: I thought he was hot. Yeah, he was the step-brother, but don’t we all have our faults? ;)
  4. Jack from Smooth-Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas: A manly-man who hunts and boats, but also loves women and babies.
  5. Braden from On Dublin Street: Such a smart-ass jerk… who I couldn’t help but fall for.
  6. Grayson from Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols: He’s a pilot who wears aviator sunglasses and a straw cowboy hat. That is all.
  7.  Conner from Not that Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian: I love how soft spoken, honest, and generous he is. I also like that he kisses the main character for the first time in the girl’s bathroom at school. That takes guts!
  8. Wes from The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen: Wes is the sweetest guy ever. I like how he’s one of those artists who makes cool pieces out of stuff he finds at yard sales and junkyards. I’ve always wanted to be that kind of artist, but alas, I am not as cool as Wes.
  9.  Jordan from Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt: Jordan is another real guy with crazy hormones and an attitude, but he’s funny and loyal and super sexy.
  10.  Brigan from Fire by Kristin Cashore: I’m not sure Brigan qualifies as a “guy.” He’s a man! 

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Thursday, 7 November 2013

Review: Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky

Author:  Daria Snadowsky
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 227 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: January 8th 2013
Find it on Goodreads: Anatomy of a Single Girl
Source: Received for review from author in exchange of honest opinion

With Judy Blume-like honesty and insight, this sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend is about life after first love--romance, sex, friendship, family, and the ups and downs of life as a single girl.

After everything that happened—my first boyfriend, my first time, my first breakup—jumping back into the dating game seemed like the least healthy thing I could do. It’s not that I didn’t want to fall in love again, since that’s about the best feeling ever. But as a busy college premed still raw from heartbreak, which is the worst feeling ever, I figured I’d lie low for a while. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for someone, an impossibly amazing—and devastatingly cute—guy came along, and I learned that having a new boyfriend is the quickest way to recover from losing your old one. 

The moment we got together, all my preconceptions about romance and sex were turned upside down. I discovered physical and emotional firsts I never knew existed. I learned to let go of my past by living in the present. It was thrilling. It was hot. It was just what the doctor ordered.

But I couldn’t avoid my future forever. 

In Daria Snadowsky’s daring follow-up to Anatomy of a Boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Dominique explores the relationship between love and lust, and the friendships that see us through.

Sexy and entertaining as ever, this sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend reinforced my love and appreciation for authors like Snadowsky who aren't afraid to push the limits a little bit on the seemingly tight knit constraints of YA literature.

Once again I'm impressed by the way Snadowsky is able to present the fact that sex exists in a teenagers life,  without writing a book in the erotica genre. Her Anatomy novels revolve around the relationships and their development, as well as how those relationships affect the characters in the novel. Dominique is an entertaining main character and I loved watching her grow and learn more and more...

I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who's read the first one, as well as anyone who enjoys books that are honest and aren't afraid of 'touchy' subjects.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On

Leave me a link to your Top Ten Tuesday list and I'll check it out!

Happy reading!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Review: Asunder by Jodi Meadows

Author:  Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Page Count: 406 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: January 29th 2013
Find it on Goodreads: Asunder
Source: This book was a surprise gift from my mum! Thanks mum!

DARKSOULS Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.
SHADOWS Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
LOVE Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.
In this second book in the Newsoul trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy

Asunder by Jodi Meadows, ladies and gentlemen, is an awesome, nay, an incredible sequel. I've been in a terrible reading slump lately, as well as having the horrid writer's block. For a while now, this book has been the only one on my mind. It's the only book I wanted to read; everything else turned me off for some reason. I expressed this frustration to my mum and the next day she surprised me by taking me to Chapters and telling me to go find Asunder.... I won't lie, I almost cried when I found it. 

Nothing has been inspiring me lately. Absolutely nothing. But for some reason, I couldn't get this book off of my mind. It was just... constantly there. So after saying thank you multiple times, we got in the car and I started reading. It took me almost a week to finish, but it. was. amazing.

Jodi Meadows' writing style astonishes me. She has a flair for words that I love, keeping me entranced the entire way through the novel. Ana's story is absolutely one of the most original concepts I've ever read. The world Jodi created is wondrous and sad and there are so many meaningful lessons and thoughts that are embedded in her words that made me think for a long time after I closed the book.  I constantly wish that schools would take modern YA literature more seriously, because I think to read a series like New Soul in school would bring up so many interesting discussions and different opinions.

Ana's struggle with her ability to love as a new soul and her dilemmas with Sam made my heart ache so much that it hurts just thinking about it. Ana is such a complex character, so strong and kick-ass, but at the same time, she's still flawed and I appreciate that Meadows was able to create a character that wasn't perfect. I think authors sometimes forget that their characters are people we as the readers may want to relate to and then make them indestructible and perfect, however Meadows created characters that, while they lived in a separate world than ours, it was easy to understand them and even empathize with them. 

I was also very impressed with the world building, as Ana and Sam learned long-hidden secrets about the city of Heart and the rest of Range. There was a lot more about the sylph, who I must say are pretty scary creatures, and we learned a lot about why the people of Heart reincarnate. It was so neat, learning more and more about this fascinating world. 

Asunder was an absolutely incredible sequel to an already incredible first novel. I don't know if it was better than Incarnate, but I believe it to be just as good. I'd highly, highly recommend this series of fantasy books to anyone who is open to a new world and new ideas. 

Happy reading!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A quick apology

... So, it's been a while, eh?

I just wanted to write up a quick little update and apologise for my absence... It's been a hectic month with school and a bunch of other things and I've honestly hardly read at all. But, I'm going to TRY my best at coming back early November, so look for reviews of Just One Year and other books, coming soon! Plus, I'm hoping to introduce some new stuff to the blog as well. :)

I'll be back soon! I'll always come back.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 552 pages, Hardback
Date Published: March 14th 2006
Find it on Goodreads: The Book Thief
Source: Purchased Second-hand

The extraordinary #1 New York Times  bestseller that will be in movie theaters on November 15, 2013, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. 

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

If you have been with this blog for a while, you will know that it takes a lot for a book to make my eyes even remotely teary. I mean, sure I'll get a bit of moisture in my eyes if something happens in a book that makes me sad, but the only real time I truly remember shedding an actual, physical tear, is the final Harry Potter novel. And then I read The Book Thief

Sure, I had heard about how sad it was. That was even part of the reason I put off reading it... I was afraid it would make me so sad I couldn't handle it. Then I went on a road trip with my family to Oregon. I was in a bit of a reading slump, so I brought The Book Thief to try and start, hoping it would get me out of the slump. Ooops. As I sat in the back seat of my grandparents' pickup truck, squished in with my little brother, finishing the last chapters of this novel, I bawled my eyes out. The tears. Wouldn't. Stop. And for that, this book earns a perfect rating from me, regardless of the issues I had in the beginning. 

I won't lie, it took me a while to really get invested into this story. I adored the narration, but I had to push myself through the first 150 pages or so before I truly couldn't put the book down. Liesel's story had my heart aching and racing, her family had me smiling and frowning and the historical setting taught me a lot about a time period every human being on this planet should be informed about, even just a little. I was captivated by the relationship between Liesel and her Papa, the way he taught her to read and write in such a gentle manner. Papa was by far my favourite character, with his accordian and painting business. Zusak's talent is astounding. The personnification of death as the narrator had my mind racing and I absolutely loved it. The humour in The Book Thief was at times dark, but it also kept the book light and made me smile, though not the whole way through. Anyone can guess how a book set in WWII would end, but I could never have fathomed that I would react the way I did. Tears streamed down my face for a good fifteen minutes, my family asking me what was wrong and my brothers laughing at my supposed teenage female hormones. I couldn't explain how much this book affected my heart and my mind. Liesel's story is one that will stick with the reader for a time to come. The Book Thief is worth the hype, 104%.

Happy reading!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Author: Robyn Schneider
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Page Count: 335 pages, Hardback
Date Published: August 27th 2013
Find it on Goodreads: The Book Thief
Source: Purchased

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

As one of my most anticipated books of 2013, I'm so saddened to say that The Beginning of Everything disappointed me in a way that I can't describe very well. It wasn't that I didn't like it.... I did. But I didn't.... enjoy it, if that makes sense. 

The Beginning of Everything is your typical hipster book. Think inspiring quotes, nerd culture references, pixie dream girl and messed up teenage male protagonist. Usually, I actually enjoy these novels. They're different, you see. They're books that I can relate to, books that I am inspired by. Eleanor and Park was one of those books for me and it's one of my favourite books of this year. But I think because I hyped The Beginning of Everything in my mind so much, I was bound to be disappointed.

I just couldn't really take it seriously. I found the writing to be.... plastic. I don't know how else to describe it. I know a lot of people will really enjoy this novel, but it wasn't for me. Yes there was a lot of unique aspects to it, but at the same time, I felt as if I had read it before. I can think of many people that I could recommend this novel to and they'd probably love it. But it wasn't for me. I liked it,  but I was expecting and wanting to love it and I didn't. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Schneider's debut. My feelings for this novel are obviously quite mixed up and hard to follow, but if you'd like to discuss, leave me a comment!

Happy reading!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Alone. In Public.

I've been feeling lately very uninspired. Nothing seems to get my wheels turning like they used to. Except for one thing. Starbucks.

I'm not just talking about the coffee, though that helps, too. I'm talking about the atmosphere. As I'm writing this, I've been sitting in my mall's Starbucks for over two hours, drinking my mocha, people watching, pondering, writing, etc. I haven't written this much for the blog in a long time. Usually my writing space is my room. My desk, my dresser, my bed, my floor... They've all been homes to my laptop and I as I express my feelings through the written word. Lately however, they're not. So I come to Starbucks. I order my drink, set  up a station, secretly watch the cute barista (haha I mean... okay, yeah) and I write. There's something so inspiring about watching the busyness of a coffee shop. Mothers with three children ordering a Venti coffee with an extra bit of espresso. Tween girls giggling over their frappucinos, clutching shopping bags. A couple holding hands, shy and quiet, sipping their lattes. 

It's no secret that I love to be alone. I enjoy the quietness of no one talking to me, being wrapped up in my own thoughts and feelings. But I love being alone in public. I love sitting by myself at a table, listening to the symphony of conversations, coffee being made, the beep of a card reader. It's all so beautiful. Nothing beats the smell of espresso, the sounds of the people in the town, the liberation of writing down your thoughts and feelings and being inspired by the community of a coffee shop. I get some of my best work done when I am alone, in public, with a coffee in my hand. 

So here's a big thank you to Starbucks. I know they probably won't see this, but I just thought I'd express my appreciation for a company that keeps my writing alive. Sure it's a huge international company and maybe this is a bit of a cliche, but it's still a coffee shop in the end, right?

Happy reading. 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Author:  Cristin Terrill
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Page Count: 368 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: September 3rd 2013
Find it on Goodreads: All Our Yesterdays
Source: Received for review from publisher/author in exchange of honest opinion

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.
Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 
Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Y'all know I love time travel books and this one was a fantastic read! Action packed and full of suspense, it was difficult to put down!

This book was written in two different points of views and I liked it a lot how it alternated between the past and the present. It was interesting and kept me reading into the late hours of the night! I thought the characters were extremely well written, as well.... Terrill wrote characters that you can't help but care about and I was a big fan of how their relationships with each other were handled. The romance didn't overpower the plot and I appreciate when authors are able to write books that have a unique romantic subplot... It's unique and refreshing, compared to all the novels we read that are just romance! Terrill did an excellent job at keeping her story new and different from what I've read before.

Ambitious, intense and crazy awesome, All Our Yesterdays was a wild ride that I thoroughly enjoyed. It lived up to it's hype and I would recommend this to anyone who can wrap their minds around the whole "wibbly wobbly timey wimey" situation with time travel.

Cristin Terrill is a young adult author and aspiring grown-up. She grew up semi-nomadic and graduated from Vassar College with a degree in drama. After getting her masters in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, she lived in London, Austin, Boston, and Washington, DC while working as a theatrical stage manager. Now she writes and leads creative writing workshops for DC-area kids and teens. All Our Yesterdays is her first novel.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Movie and TV Adaptation Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is : Top Ten Books I Wish Were TV Shows and Movies.

I had kind of a hard time with this one because I find it hard to think of books as movies or tv shows until they are one. But these are eight that I could envision the best! What books would you want to see adapted into a movie or TV shows? I'd love to know!

Happy reading!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Review: Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky

Author:  Daria Snadowsky
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 272 pages, Paperback
Date Published: January 9th 2008
Find it on Goodreads: Anatomy of a Boyfriend
Source: Received for review from author in exchange of honest opinion

Before this all happened, the closest I'd ever come to getting physical with a guy was playing the board game Operation. Okay, so maybe that sounds pathetic, but it's not like there were any guys at my high school who I cared to share more than three words with, let alone my body.
Then I met Wes, a track star senior from across town. Maybe it was his soulful blue eyes, or maybe my hormones just started raging. Either way, I was hooked. And after a while, he was too. I couldn't believe how intense my feelings became, or the fact that I was seeing—and touching—parts of the body I'd only read about in my Gray's Anatomy textbook. You could say Wes and I experienced a lot of firsts together that spring. It was scary. It was fun. It was love.
And then came the fall.

When the author had contacted me to read and review her books, I was so excited. I had been wanting to read this novel for a long time as I had heard it was 'this generation's Forever by Judy Blume,' a book that I adore. I went into it excited and came out exceptionally pleased! 

Let me just start off by saying, Anatomy of a Boyfriend is a book for older teens, or at least people that are comfortable with talk about sex, relationships and things like that. One of my pet peeves in books is when authors gloss over the physical side of a relationship in the story and make it all seem like a wonderful amazing fairy land. This book did not do that.  Anatomy follows a couple who meet, start to talk a bit more and get to know each other and then eventually begin dating. It was brutally honest in the subjects that a lot of authors swerve away from and that is much appreciated. As a teenage girl, a lot of stuff we learn is from what we read, what we watch and what we listen to. And while aw-lovey-dovey perfectly romantic scenes make my heart swoon, they're not all that realistic. Anatomy handles the subject of losing your virginity in the way that I think it should be. It's not graphic or erotic or anything like that. It's just what everyone kind of says their first time was like.... awkward. Sometimes, romantic 'awwwww' scenes are awesome, but a lot of times, I don't want that to get into my head to be what I should expect. I commend Snadowsky for going a bit further with the subject and diving deeper than just candles and roses.

I'm not going to go into too much more detail about the book, but I will just say that while the writing was not perfect, the story and the book in general was extremely well done. I enjoyed it immensely, it made me think, it taught me things and it was also just an incredibly amusing story to read. I loved it and I think every teenage girl should read this, along with Forever by Judy Blume, for all the things that they don't really tell you in sex ed class... 

I apologise if this is an extremely awkward review for some of y'all, but I just really want to get the word out about this book, because I think it's amazing. I think it discusses a lot of important issues about sex and how it should be handled. This is not an erotica, but it is definitely a bit more detailed than other books that just kind of gloss over those types of scenes, so if you're not comfortable with that, don't say I didn't warn you!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Required Reading Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is : Top Ten Books I Wish Were Required Reading in Schools. School just started for me today and as I was reading my English course outline, I was pretty excited because we're reading some pretty great books! But they're all classics. I want teachers to be more open about reading books in class that were written in the 2000's!!! These are just a few books that I sometimes wish were taught in schools. I know that some of them are a bit controversial, (ahem, Perks) but all of these books either have unique writing styles or storylines or messages that I think should be discussed and taught. 

What books do you wish were taught in schools? Are any of my choices the same as yours? Have you read any of my choices at school? Let me know!

Happy reading!
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