Thursday, December 29, 2011

Feature & Follow Friday (6)

As always, its time for another Follow Friday. This wonderful meme is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Each friday two blogs are featured in an effort to expand one's blog. Go and check out both of these sites to learn more!

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

There are actually a good amount of things that I would love to improve on for my blog. I think the first would be to actually read through the entire year. This year I only started once school picked up again, and a lot of the time during the summer I don't read enough, so I hope to change that! Another great change that I would love to see happen is to get more involved with blogs; to take more time to read through other people's reviews and posts. And last but not least, I really want to participate and make myself more aware of things. I rarely know when things are going on, so to actually be up to date with things would be a good thing for me, and then of course doing more. Doing giveaways, and interviews and all of that; it would be a marvelous thing for me to pick up on (: 

What about all of you? 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: The Scorpio Races

 The Scorpio Races

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 409 (Hardcover)
Date of Publishment: October 18th, 2012
Days to Read: ...too many :c
Rating: 4

Description: Goodreads
It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die. 

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. 

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. 

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going 

My Review:
I am literally so infuriated with myself for not giving this book five stars, and for not liking it to the full extent that is should have been. The book was literally magical, so amazing. This was the first book I've read by Stiefvater and I fell in love; with her writing, her style, how she portrayed her characters...I honestly loved her! Which is why I'm so baffled as to why I can't give this five stars! 

The writing in this book was so magical. When I started the book, it was a lot different then a lot of the books that I'd read. Stiefvater's writing was definitely different, and at first I had a hard time getting used to how different it was, but as the story grew and progressed I really found myself loving her style of writing and how she was playing out her characters. One thing I noticed is that her writing changes in ways when she deals with the two main characters. The chapters alternate between both main characters, Sean and Puck (Kate), and what I seemed to notice was how Tiefvater's writing would sculpt around her character's personality. Kate was a very free-will, strong, and fierce character; and Stiefvater's writing really reflected off of that. Sean was just like that as well but there something more to him, his love for the island, his hoarse, and riding and I feel like the more lyrical style that Stiefvater showed off on his parts really showed that off. Overall I thought the writing was superb and just...breath taking.

As you could probably tell above, I really loved the characters. In the beginning I really really hated Puck's brother Gale. Right away I just thought he was this ass, and I hated reading about him and seeing the struggles that were happening because of him and then some how Stiefvater managed to make me love him. It might have taken a while, but I really fell in love with each one of her characters. Puck and Sean were easy to love; right off the bat their fierceness and loyalty to what they love touches your heart. Puck's other brother, Finn was such a quirky person, definitely liked him right off the bat! The characters were just great...end of story.

And yet after all those great things I still give it only four stars. It seems though...after looking at it and thinking it over, it was just because this really wasn't' my type of book. I was never like other little girls who loved everything horse so I didn't warm up to that aspect of the story until close to the end; plus because I also don't know anything about horses, I barely knew what I reading about. I guess I should have realized early on in the book that the Scorpio Races weren't going to be very long in the book. When I'd first scene this I thought maybe the races took a few days...nope...a good twenty minutes, give or take. So the races didn't take place until almost the end of the book; we're talking the last thirty pages or so, and that's why it it took me so long to get into the book. I was waiting over and over for Stiefvater to run out of thing to fill those 409 pages with, and that sort of ruined it for me. But through all that expecting, it never happened. She kept her story at a steady and very well chosen pace; and I have to say that I did enjoy that. 

The Scorpio Races were riveting, powerful, and at times...romantic. I loved the story, loved the characters, and loved the style, but I missed the epicness that really could have taken place in this book. Stiefvater knew her facts and knew how to make a novel; enough said.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Feature & Follow Friday (5)

As always, its time for another Follow Friday. This wonderful meme is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Each friday two blogs are featured in an effort to expand one's blog. Go and check out both of these sites to learn more!

Q: If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book, which book would it be? 

There really area  a handful of books that I would definitely love to live in. If I was looking for a life of romanticism, I wouldn't even think twice about jumping into Anna and the French Kiss's pages. However, if I was looking for that ultimate sense of adventure, that  touch of danger and thrill of forbiddenness, then it would be Daughter of Smoke and Bone that I would so easily jump into. 

What about all of you? 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (6): Forbidden

Title: Forbidden
Author: Syrie James
Pages: 411 (Hardcover)
Release Date: January 24th, 2012

Description (Goodreads):
She should not exist. 

He should not love her. 

Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger. 

Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . . 

Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Feature & Follow Friday (4)

As always, its time for another Follow Friday. This wonderful meme is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Each friday two blogs are featured in an effort to expand one's blog. Go and check out both of these sites to learn more!

Q: When you've read a book, what do you do with it? (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it...?)

For me, there aren't a lot of opportunities to buy books. I live in a very small town that doesn't have a book store, and all the thrift stores that have small selections of books all have genres that I'm not interested in. The three hour drive to the  closest good shopping sight though does offer a better book selection; Barns and Noble, along with some smaller book stores that are scattered all across the city. When I have the money on one of the trips I usually can stock up on two to three books, which is pretty good for me. Now, when I'm down with those I usually keep them, lend them to friends if they need them. They'll sit on my shelf for a good year or so, and by that point if they aren't memorable enough or I've read them enough to give them up, I'll give them to my grandma for her annual summer garage sale for other people. 

My number one way of getting books though is through the library. No obviously I can't keep or donate or sell any of those books, but what me and a friend do do, is check out a good number of books, usually something between three to five and then we swap them. If we think the other should read the book we'll just give it to hem, and then get it back to return when they've finished (: It's always a fun thing to do. 

What do you guys do with your books? 

Review: The Vast Fields of Ordinary

Title: The Vast Fields of Ordinary
Author: Nick Burd
Publisher: Dial
Pages: 309 (Hardcover)
Date of Publishment: May 14th 2009
Days to Read: 3
Rating: 3.5

Description: Goodreads
It's Dade's last summer at home. He has a crappy job at Food World, a "boyfriend" who won't publicly acknowledge his existence (maybe because Pablo also has a girlfriend), and parents on the verge of a divorce. College is Dade's shining beacon of possibility, a horizon to keep him from floating away.

Then he meets the mysterious Alex Kincaid. Falling in real love finally lets Dade come out of the closet - and, ironically, ignites a ruthless passion in Pablo. But just when true happiness has set in, tragedy shatters the dreamy curtain of summer, and Dade will use every ounce of strength he's gained to break from his past and start fresh with the future.

My Review:

Even though this book is a couple years old, I really wanted to pick it up and give it a s hot. Even though I do a lot of independent writing that has homosexual character, I've never picked up a full novel before that has a main character this is homosexual. Now obviously the book had a different feel because of all of this, but eventually after getting over certain scenes (ones that had my blushing nonstop) I found myself really enjoying the book; glad I'd decided after all to pick it up. 

Honestly...I don't think there was one character in this entire book that I did not like. Dade had such a warm and lovable personality in my book. Sure at times I could get annoyed with him, but I feel like that's just something that happens in books, because the characters and story line can't go exactly how you want them to go every single time. Watching Dade slowly but surely come to terms with his homosexuality, gaining the love that's he's been looking, and finally opening up to those around him. 
Dade and Alex were definitely a couple that I loved, and the friendship that Lucy and Dade had as well was a fun one to watch. The one thing that I would definitely change about this book was the constant appearance of weed in this book. I felt like it was all they really did, or all that really brought them together. 

I have to say that I was actually a little surprised and even a little stunned near the end of the book when I read about Pablo's death. Obviously you could tell throughout the entire book that Pablo was having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I did stuff with boys, basically Dade only, but I had never though once that Pabolo was going to kill himself. I thought maybe he'd finally tell Judy, or break up with her, maybe even run into Dade in the epilogue and explain that he was finally happy being who he was meant to be, but I was very wrong, and actually found my jaw hanging for a good amount of time after finding out. Even if it was a rather big shocker to read I felt...okay with it. Sure it was cliche and all but...for some reason I didn't find myself minding...or caring. 

As much as I wanted to really really like this book, I still felt as though it didn't deserve any higher than a three star rating. The plot was fun, and this book did have really good parts in it, but it was...the ending that got to me. I won't say anymore because of spoilers, but I will let you know that I was NOT satisfied at all with the ending of the book, which managed me to drop my initial rating of four stars down to three and a half. 

The Vast Fields of Ordinary was honestly one of those books that really stood up to it's genre. It was a true coming of age book, showing the growth of it's main character as he learned from life and finally learned to be himself. Through heartwarming scenes, and even steamy ones, The Vast Fields of Ordinary graced it's readers with a wonderful story. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5): Gone, Gone, Gone

Title: Gone, Gone, Gone
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Pages: 272 (Hardover)
Release Date: April 17th, 2012

Description (Goodreads):

It's a year after 9/11. Sniper shootings throughout the D.C. area have everyone on edge, trying to make sense of the random acts of violence. Meanwhile, Craig and Lio are just trying to make sense of their lives. 

Craig's crushing on quiet, distant Lio, and preoccupied with what it meant when Lio kissed him...and if he'll do it again...and if kissing Lio will help him finally get over his ex-boyfriend, Cody. 

Lio feels most alive when he's with Craig. He forgets about his broken family, his dead brother, and the messed up world. But being with Craig means being vulnerable, and Lio will have to decide whether love is worth the risk. 

Top Ten Tuesdays: (2)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by Broke and Bookish

This week: The top ten books I would give away as gifts:

1) The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
2) Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
3) Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles
4) Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
5) Graceling - Kristen Cashore
6) The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen
7) Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
8) Ballads of Suburbia - Stephanie Kuehnert
9) All Unquiet Things - Anna Jarzab
10) The Guardian - Nicholas Sparks

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2012 YA Contemporary Challenge!

Along with The Story Siren's 2012 reading challenge, I found that I will also be participating in Katie's book challenge (: YA Contemporary is such a wonderful and awesome genre that I just couldnt' turn this one down. If anybody reading this would like to check out the rules or what it's about then here is the link :: YA Contemporary Challenge, 2012.

Within the challenge there are three levels. Level One is to read 5+ books, Level Two is to read 10+ books, and Level Three is to read 15+ Books
I am currently deciding to go with Level Two and conquer 10 books (: Wish me luck! 

Books that are to be put on my list first for reading in this challenge:

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: January 2nd, 2012

Summary: Goodreads

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.

Title: In Honor
Author: Jessi Kirby
Release Date: May 8th, 2012

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

Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 8th, 2012

Summary: Goodreads

Taylor's family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then Taylor's dad gets devastating news that changes everything. Her parents decide that the family will spend the summer together at their old vacation home in the Pocono Mountains.
Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he's much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.
As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them are very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.
 Title: My Live Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date: June 14th 2012

Summary: Goodreads

"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time." 

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen year old Samantha wishes she was one of them… until the day Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. 

Jase can sense that his beautiful neighbor is missing something in her sterile home, and as the two fall fiercely in love, his family makes her one of their own. But when the bottom drops out of Sam's world, which perfect family will save her–and will her perfect love survive? 

Title: Never Eighteen 
Author: Megan Bostic
Release Date: January 17th, 2012

Summary: Goodreads

Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life.
Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he’s decided it’s time to let go.
But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he’s loved and those he’s never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin’s life.

Well there's five of my must reads for the challenge (: 
If anybody else is interested in joining the challenge I would love to hear what contemporary YA novels you're interested in reading for 2012! 
Happy Sunday everybody! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Review - The Language of Flowers

Title: The Language of Flowers
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Date of Publishment: August 23rd 2011
Days to Read: 4
Rating: 4

Description: Goodreads
The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

My Review:
The Launguage of Flowers is a heart-breaking, tear jerking, yet heart felt debut novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. The Language of Flowers to me at many times rang off more as an adult aged book, but still showed it's spot to be a true young adult one; and a very facinating one that that. 

In The Language of Flowers we switch back and forth through alternate chapters of the main characters, Victoria, life; switching from when she was a nine year old girl and then back again to the present when she was eighteen. For a very long time I found myself enjoying the older version of Victoria a lot more than her younger self, making it hard for me to make it through the chapters of her past. Don’t get me wrong though, they were very good, and I enjoyed them a lot, but just not enough to make me fall in love. Victoria is a very…complex character. There were things about her that I loved and there were things about her that I didn’t like. Yes, I understand that she had a very hard childhood in the past, having been forced into so many adoptions and group homes, but I felt that sometimes Diffenbaugh took Victoria’s character a little too far. Because I felt that way for nearly the entire book, I just couldn’t click with her character making the book harder to read than it should have been. Trust me, I tried countless times to love Victoria, but every time I started to warm up to her she’d do something that managed to frustrate me again. The end though…that’s when I really liked her the most (not meant as a reference to the story ending!). 

While Victoria was a little overdone, I found that Diffenbaugh’s other characters did a marvelous job. Though he didn’t make it onto my list of favorite characters, Grant was my favorite character of the book. He was just this mixture of such a peaceful and soulful person; and it just made him so easy to love! I loved how he treated Victory throughout the entire book, his patience really showing, and how great of a guy he was. 

Even though her characters weren’t the biggest hit in my book, I still loved the plot tremendously! The idea and plot that she took was just an amazing journey that I felt even I was taking. At many times I felt pain in my chest, feeling so much sympathy for Victoria. And let me say now…I loved the ending. Loved how the story was laid out and ended. It was not once an abrupt ending, and was a very gentle one in deed. Like the many beautiful flowers that are explained through the book, Diffenbaugh was able to grow and plant her own very beautiful book. Like everything in the world there were flaws, but the book still deserved a four. Nothing more, nothing less. This really was such a grand and well rooted debuted novel. The Language of Flowers were certainly taken Diffenbaugh places. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Feature & Follow Friday (3)

As always, its time for another Follow Friday. This wonderful meme is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Each friday two blogs are featured in an effort to expand one's blog. Go and check out both of these sites to learn more!

Q: Keeping with the Spirit of Giving this season, what book do you think EVERYONE should read and if you could, you would buy it for all of your family and friends?

1:) Anna and the French Kiss : There comes a time  every so often that I literally start to CRAVE a chick-lit book. I hadn't particularly been in that sort of mood when I picked up Anna and the French Kiss, but as soon as I'd started reading it, I just couldn't put it down. Anna and the French Kiss was just honestly one of those books that made you jealous; made you look back and just wish so badly that you could be in Anna's shoes. If you're a hopeless romantic...then yes...I suggest this book one hundred percent of the way!

2:) Perfect Chemistry : Now Perfect Chemistry, is like Anna and the French kiss in certain ways. It's also a book for hopeless romantics, but but it also has a bunch of different factors. We have the bad boy, a story of opposite sides of the tracks, opposites attracting. And the story was one hundred percent enjoyable! Alejandro will honestly have you swooning the entire time (: 

3:) Daughter of Smoke and Bone : While I've really been enjoying my romance books this year, I've also gotten my hands on some really good paranormal and mythical books. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was definitely one of those books. The story plot was amazing and the characters were very enjoyable. I would surely recommend this book to anybody! 

I hope everybody is having a good holiday season so far! I wish I'd been posting more the past two weeks but finals are killing me :o !! 
I'd love to hear what all of you would recommend to give over the holiday though! c: 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Review - Catching Fire

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 391 (Hardcover)
Days to Read: 4
Rating: 4.5

Description: Goodreads
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the annual competition described in Hunger Games, but the aftermath leaves these victors with no sense of triumph. Instead, they have become the poster boys for a rebellion that they never planned to lead. That new, unwanted status puts them in the bull's-eye for merciless revenge by The Capitol...

My Review:
When I picked up Catching Fire, I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that I was going to love it. Even with the rumors that I'd heard about the ending not being the best, or how it just didn't own up completely to the first book, I knew I'd still manage to like it. Maybe not all of it, but surely a good amount of it. 

I have a terribly tendency to not keep up on recent releases when it comes to books, and tend to find out about stuff far after their release. That's exactly what happened to me and how I managed to find out about The Hunger Games. While I was reading The first book, I'd ended up going on GoodReads on looking at the second and third one, adding them to my lists and many people can keep their eyes away from a description they haven't read? Not me; I ended up finding out about the second games while I hadn't even managed to make it very far through the first book, and also finding out about Peeta's survival so already a few things had managed to be ruined for me. As with that I also found out about there being uprisings because of reading the third book's description... c: woops. 

I never let this get in my way though and I dived right into the book. In the first book, a large section of it was dedicated to the games. With everything being new, it took longer to explain and talk about the pre-game events. Diner's, training, interviews, everything. The second book however has a much different pace. The first part of the book was very different, especially since it took so much place back in District 12, book one not really concentrating too much on in deep detail. Even though it made the book slightly slow paced I still enjoyed it. It was an interested change of pace and I happily took it on. 

The Games as well were much different, after all it was the 75th! I won't say too much because of spoilers, but I have to admit that I'll miss reading about the games, being that the third book doesn't contain them. I love reading about all the things that the Gamemakers have the contestants do (is that cruel?) and just the brilliant writing and ideas that come of off the pages in those times of the book. Collins is such a talented woman, and her writing ability blows me away every single time I pick up the books. 

While the setting and pace of the book may have changed, I was happy to have encountered and discovered that my characters have changed in no ways. If I loved Peeta in the third book, and then I full on am obsessed with him now, and if Katniss didn't impress and inspire me before, than I'm blown away by now. One thing I liked was that I finally got a look at Gale. Let's all admit it...Gale had a thing for Katniss, and somewhere behind her thick skull she does too, but I have to admire....I feel like Peeta deserves the girl in this series. His heart is so big and plump! 

While I loved the book, I still had to give it four stars. Sections in the end had me slightly confused, which was annoying because then I had to and re-read somethings, (something that I never like to do) Along with that the last couple of pages were so jam-packed with explanations, it made the ending feel way too rushed and a lot less enjoyable. 

Other than that I'd have to say that Collin's has delivered yet another immaculate novel with stupendous and ground breaking story.