Thursday, November 21, 2013

Catching Fire Release Day Giveaway!

Catching Fire officially hits movie theaters tonight at eight! In honor of the movies release I'm doing a giveaway of Hunger Game notecards from my Etsy shop Celebrity Snail Mail

Here's what's up for grabs:

1 Grand Prize winner will get the full three-piece set

2 Runners up will each get a Catching Fire card

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

YA Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
# of Pages: 552
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 14th 2006
Source: Library
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 5 Hearts


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.

My Verdict
As I write this post, there are only seventeen days to go until the movie comes out, and to my mothers delight (it's one of her favorite books) I decided it was finally time I read this! At the start I couldn't imagine it possibly living up to all my expectations, but it didn't just live up to them, it exceeded them. 

There's really nothing about this book I could say that would do it justice so I've decided to do something a bit different and let the book speak for itself. 

Wow right?! I hope that even if this book isn't your normal style you'll give it a go anyway. It is beautiful, it is heartbreaking, and it will touch a part of each and every one of you. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mini Reviews: After Math, Crash, & The Elite

Title: After Math (Off the Subject #1)
Author: Denise Grover Swank
# of Pages: 250
Publisher: Createspace
Publication Date: March 12th 2013
Source: BEA
Level: New Adult
Rating: 2 Hearts

My Verdict

I’m normally not a fan of the New Adult genre. I am one of those people who feels it is just an excuse to throw in some explicit content to what would normally be YA. As I read this book, I was beginning to think maybe I had misjudged the genre but than it took a turn for the predictable (a.k.a. explicit content.)

I loved the slow build of Scarlett and Tucker’s romance. It started out as a tutoring job, grew into a friendship, and then exploaded into a romance. I loved watching their relationship grow, the way they looked into one another's eyes and could see each others deepest secrets, the tutoring sessions, and gym workouts. Sadly, this all disappeared once they became a couple and the only thing they did was have sex.

Title: Crash (Visions #1)
Author: Lisa McMann
# of Pages: 233
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: January 8th 2013
Source: Library
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 3 Hearts

My Verdict

Interesting concept but slow paced, fairly predictable, with average characters. Your typical Romeo & Juliet style romance with Jules and Sawyer being forbidden to see each other because their families run waring restaurants. As for the visions, one day all of a sudden Jules sees a vision and it just keeps playing over and over on every billboard, TV screen, window. Not only was the cause of Jules visions never explained, but it also got extremely monotonous to have her describe the same vision over and over for 200 pages. While the second book is on my TBR, I'm in no rush to read it. 

Title: The Elite (The Selection #2)
Author: Kiera Cass
# of Pages: 323
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 23rd 2013
Source: Purchased
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Hearts

My Verdict

Ugh, America Singer you may just be the death of me! Your inability to choose who it is your in love with makes me SO angry. I thought a decision would finally be made in this book but no, America continues to bounce between Aspen and Prince Maxon like a ping pong ball. At this point, I'm going to feel bad for whatever guy gets kicked to the curb because they've both been lead on for so long. The one good thing about this infuriating love triangle is that I do like both guys, which pretty much never happens, so either way I'm happy. 

Cass continues to do a great job of drawing the reader into the world she has created and leaving us emotionally invested. After all that's what it's all about right? Getting lost in another world, caring about the characters as if they are real, feeling all the different emotions when things go bad or things work out. Even though it drives me crazy most of the time,  I still love it. 

Hope you enjoyed these mini reviews! I'll probably  be doing a few more before the year ends to help me catch up. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Shuffle Saturday 24 : Only You

Shuffle Saturdays is hosted by the girls at Pretty In Fiction, where you post a random song from your ipod each week

This weeks song is . . .

 Love Ellie's unique voice! 

More Ellie Goulding:
Website ~ Youtube ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

YA Review: Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Origin (Lux #4)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
# of Pages: 400
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: August 27th 2013
Source: Purchased
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 5 Hearts


Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive. 

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything. But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on? And will they even be together?

My Verdict

Ahhhhhhh! I can't even tell you how hard it was to wait for this book to come out, but if you've read the rest of the series I'm sure you know exactly what it was like. I literally woke up on the 27th, got on my computer and downloaded this Kindle book. I would have devoured it in one sitting if it wasn't for the fact that I had to go to work =P so it took me longer to get through than I would have liked.

Unlike the rest of the books which were told from Katys perspective, this one was told using dual points-of-view since Daemon and Katy are separated for a decent chunk of it. I really loved getting both POVs; it made me love Daemon just that much more. 

We are introduced to some new characters, Archer, being the main addition. I'm curious to hear how others felt about him?? I liked him from the first moment he and Katy met. I just knew he was gonna end up helping them out. Even though Daemon & Katy still don't trust him, I really think he's one of the good guys. At least I hope he is! I want him and Dee to get together =)

The pacing of this one was SO much  better than the last, it starts right in the thick of things and there was never a dull moment. The 400 pages flew by because it was one thing after another right until the very end.

After that horrible cliffhanger that was book three, I kept waiting for things to go bad in the last few chapters, dread in my stomach waiting for it to come, but I'm happy no I'm THRILLED to report the ending this time around was not a cliffhanger. I repeat NOT A CLIFFHANGER. I don't feel the need to hunt Jennifer down and force her to tell me what happens next like I did last time around. No, this time, I am content in waiting. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Breathtaking Book Cover: Maybe One Day (2)

Todays Breathtaking Book Cover is . . .

Maybe One Day
Melissa Kantor

Now you probably don't remember but back in August I featured the original cover (which is the one below.) I loved the original design with the dark practically silhouetted girls against the beautiful cloudy sky but I also like this new design. As much as I hate when an already great cover is redesigned I can see that the newer design is more main stream and clearly YA, which is probably what they were looking to accomplish. 

Though if I had to pick a favorite between the two, I'd go with the original. 

Which would you choose??
Is it the beautiful silhouette design or the more mainstream girls standing on a beach look that catches your eye?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

YA Review: Displacement by Thalia Chaltas

Title: Displacement
Author: Thalia Chaltas
# of Pages: 364
Publisher: Viking Juvenille
Publication Date: June 9th 2011
Source: Library
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 3 Hearts


Home is supposed to be a place you belong. It's supposed to be parents who are there and siblings who bug you and a life that feels comfortable. It's not supposed to be an absentee mother or a drowned sister. But that's Vera's reality, and she can't stand it anymore. So she runs. She ends up in an old mining town in the middle of the California desert. It's hot, it's dusty, and it's as isolated as Vera feels. As she goes about setting up her life, she also unwittingly starts the process of healing and-eventually- figuring out what home might really mean for her.

My Verdict

Having read Chalta's first book, Because I Am Furniture, I was a little worried this would be another heavy-subject story, beautifully written but upsetting. While Displacement does tackle the heavy subject of losing ones sibling it was not as emotionally upsetting as I was expecting. 

How often do you meet a main character who's a seventeen year old girl, studying geology, who runs away from home to the desert because she's excited about the geological possibilities? Vera was such a refreshing MC, super smart, honest, hot-headed at times but usually for good cause. 

Along with the dessert setting came some very unique characters; Milo, Pearl, Dempsey, and Tilly. Only one of them was a main-ish character so while the others weren't fully developed, they played their role of odd small town characters. The way Tilly talked was SUPER annoying, here's a short example of what I mean.

          "Thet down, hawney. I'll gitchyou thome tea." 


          "What kind of job you think we got in thith plate?" 

I really can't tolerate slang, dialect, and accents in books. I just can't, but luckily Tilly doesn't appear often.

Overall, this was refreshingly unique and totally unpredictable. The verse format lent itself perfectly to Vera's story of loss, family, friends, and ultimately how to move on after the death of a loved one. I look forward to whatever subject Chaltas decides to tackle in her next book!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wordlover Wednesday: Pilgarlic

Todays Wordlover Word is . . .

Pilgarlic (pil-GAHR-lik)

Noun- A bald-headed person
Earliest Documented Use- 1529
Example- "Ever since I became a pilgarlic, Dale explained, 'I've believed that bald is beautiful."

Discover more about this word here:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

YA Review: The Outside by Laura Bickle

Title: The Outside (The Hallowed Ones #2)
Author: Laura Bickle
# of Pages: 325
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2013
Source: Library
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Hearts


One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…
After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?

My Verdict

I was afraid the book might skip a large period of time and pick up somewhere in the future, but thankfully things picked up right where they ended in The Hallowed Ones. Katie, Alex, Ginger, and their trusty horse named Horace are now stuck outside of the Amish settlement, battling the vampires each night to survive another day.  

With all the background information out of the way, and Katie no longer living at home, I loved that we were able to focus more on just Katie, Alex, Ginger and their relationships.

  • Katie- is such a strong character it's impossible not to love her. She doesn't let anyone tell her what to do and always makes decisions based on her heart. 
  • Alex- is smart, incredibly brave, and so protective of Katie. I love how he always calls her Bonnett, so cute.
  • Katie & Alex- For a couple that was never supposed to be together they sure are perfect for one another. Even though they share vastly different beliefs, I love that Alex respected Katie's ways and though he didn't agree with them, he never tried to change her. 
  • Ginger- I really enjoyed getting to know more about Ginger and how she loved Katie as her own daughter. 

Thankfully, this book wasn't as bloody and gory as the first one. There were still a few gruesome scenes but they were farther and fewer between, as well as a lot easier to skim over than last time. 

While the ending does well to wrap things up in a satisfying way overall, I still feel there was more to be learned about this world, a few questions unanswered. Let's just say I was more than a little disapointed to find out there will not be a book three ="( 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Book News: November Releases!

There's just a handful of books on my November watch list. 
What about you?


Champion (legend #3) by Marie Lu

The explosive finale to Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND trilogy—perfect for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT!

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Broken by C.J. Lyons

The only thing fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has ever wanted is a chance at a normal life. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, she has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. So when her parents offer her three days to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now... or never. Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But this high school is far from normal. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does.


Save the Enemy by Arin Greenwood

Everything has been downhill since Zoey Trask’s mother was murdered in a random mugging. Her younger brother, Ben, is on the autistic spectrum and needs constant supervision. It’s senior year, and she’s the new girl at a weird private school in Old Town Alexandria, VA, full of kids who seem too nice to be true—including a very cute boy named Pete. Aside from half-forgotten martial arts and survivalist skills that her widowed fatherinsisted on teaching her (because that is excellent for her social life), Zoey has nothing to offer Pete or anyone else.

Then Dad is kidnapped. Zoey suddenly finds herself sole caretaker of a younger brother she barely understands. Worse, Ben seems to hold the key to their father’s disappearance in his Dream Diary, a bizarre journal of names and places Ben claims that their mother shares from beyond the grave. And as if Zoey doesn’t have enough on her plate, there’s Pete, who stubbornly refuses to leave her side.

Relying on the skills she never wanted to learn—Dad might have had his reasons after all—Zoey is plunged into a lethal battle to rescue her father, protect her brother, and determine the identity of her family’s true enemy.


Running on Empty by Colette Ballard

What does it feel like when you die—in those final moments? Do you feel the physical pain, or just the pain of your regrets? What does it feel like when you realize you can’t answer these questions because you’re not the victim?

You’re the killer.

River Daniels lives an ordinary life as a high school junior growing up in the confines of rural Texas until her boyfriend’s brutal attack leaves her both a murderer and a fugitive. When River’s closest girlfriends come to her aid, they make a hasty decision to not only help her, but leave their own troubled lives behind and join in her escape. The girls manage to elude police for months, but with every near-miss, River’s life spirals further out of control, until she finally hits rock bottom. Realizing she must stop endangering her friends and find evidence proving she acted in self-defense, the girls decide to make a risky move. River must face her ugly past and the one person she was protecting the night her world caved in, the guy she has loved for as long as she can remember.

Novels in Verse Reading Challenge: November Linky List!

I read three book towards the challenge last month and reviewed one. 
Anyone else read any verse novels lately? I'd love to hear about them! =)
October Recap:

Books read = 3
Books reviewed = 1

Rating: 2.5 Hearts