Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Blogging Goals

Well folks, it's time to put another year to rest and with it, all the bad things. Now we are starting a new year (and one that is not filled with doomsday prophecies) so we need to have one only filled with good things. i figure in the spirit of new beginnings, I'm going to set my blogging goals here!

-I'm going to try to read 25 of my own books. I have so many that I buy that never get read so I'm going to really focus on that.

-I'm going to set my goal at 60 books this year. That isn't completely crazy for me like 100 and is a number I can probably manage.

-I'm going to update and actively participate in the challenges I signed up for.

-Write a Happily Ever Ending for every book in a series I read to get that list even bigger.

-Go through my reviews and attach a HEE link to all the books I've already written a Happily Ever Ending for.

-Have more author interviews. I used to do these a lot but as my schedule got fuller, I found it more difficult.

-Keep up on Saturday Discussions. I love these posts because it gives the blog a variety. I just need to keep up with them.

-Not sweat when I don't blog. For a while I had to blog every single day or I felt like a bad blogger. I've learned to relax about that a little but I'm going to seriously try not to freak out if a day goes by and something new doesn't come up. I'm only one person.

-Visit and comment on more blogs. I've been getting better about this lately but I want to keep up the steam and try to comment on at least five blogs every day I post. It's so important to share the love.

-Keeping up with my emails and that means saying "no". I haven't quite figured out how to pass gracefully on an author's work yet but I need to learn. I think it's better to get an answer than to not receive one at all so I need to figure something out.

So there are my blogging goals. What do you hope to accomplish in 2013?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

In My Mailbox 103- Christmas Edition

In my mailbox is a weekly meme created by The Story Siren that encourages other book bloggers to share what they bought, won, begged for or borrowed. It is usually held on Sundays!

From P.J Hoover (a contest):
From Egmont:
From Christmas:
From Books-A-Million:
Books on the Nook HD (from my dad for Christmas):
Wowzer. Sure looks like I had a very wordy Christmas. My TBR pile just got a whole lot bigger. What about you guys? What did you get over the holidays and this week in the mail?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saturday Discussions: How Often Do You Read?

So this week I want to talk about how often you read. Lately, with the holidays and editing my own novel and work and people actually wanting to see me and stuff, I haven't had as much time to read. It got me thinking about my reading habits and I thought I'd share them with you.

First off, I really do prefer to read in complete quiet. I'll read at work sometimes but it is often so loud there with the t.v., my partner talking and the radio going that it is hard to concentrate. Some quiet music in the background is okay but my favorite is silence.

I'm not a snacker because I'm funny with my books. I like them to stay clean and don't want to run the risk of orange Cheeto dust coating the pages. I do like a soda or water by my side though.

I can read anywhere but I think I enjoy reading the most at night in my bed after a long day. Nothing beats getting all comfy and snug in my covers after a hot shower with a book. Favorite thing ever!

But the truth is that I don't get to do this as often as I'd like anymore even though I love it.

Some days I'm just too tired to read at the end of the night and opt for television. Sometimes I don't want to get so absorbed in a book that I have trouble sleeping.

I used to read every single day without fail two years ago but I found that I lost time with my friends and family that way.

Now I seem to read about five nights a week but the amount varies a lot. Some nights I'll finish 100 pages and other nights it will only be a chapter or two. Since I started getting serious about this current WIP, I like to reward myself for working hard by reading. It's my prize!

I think ideally for me about five days a week is good for about an hour a day. I'm a slow reader so that means several days for a normal size book (and about a week for a honker like Beautiful Creatures) but then it feels like a treat. Like reading is special. And that is what I love.

So what about you? Do you have any preferences for reading and how often do you read?

2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt

Looking for this, hunters? I have today's trivia questions from Fiction Fervor's 2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt here for you. 2012YASSH challenges you with your knowledge of young adult books published this year, and if you enter, you might win a prize! Check out it here for more info. And be sure to read the rules!

Without further ado, today's questions come from Fever by Lauren DeStefano.
Easy: After what does Madame Soleski name her girls?
Medium: What drug causes terrible dreams followed by memory loss?
Hard: What is Lilac’s full real name?
Enter your answers in the form below!

Good luck and happy hunting!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (October 23, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1442421797
ISBN-13: 978-1442421790
Series: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer #2
Source: Purchased from Books-A-Million
Cover: I don't think this cover is as beautiful as the first but it is pretty darn close. It works well for the essence of the story and I love the vivd blue color. The only thing I can't stand is the matte type of paper it is printed on. While it looks amazing, I can't stand the touch of it. So beautiful cover but I don't like to touch it.
First Sentence: You will love him to ruins.

Mini-Review: A sexy stunner that is even more unforgettable than the first!

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past. 
She can’t. 
She used to think her problems were all in her head. 
They aren’t. 
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets. 
She’s wrong. 
In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

I was worried about this second novel mostly because of my intense surprise and love of the first Mara Dyer book. There was so much build up and tension in the first novel that I wasn't sure if this one could live up to it. I found myself about halfway and suddenly I had more questions than when I started and I realized that every worry I had was unfounded.

I think I went through the natural progression with this novel. At first, I was really frustrated with it. Frustrated with the characters, with where the story was going and with all the things I didn't understand. But as it kept moving, I realized I was supposed to be. I was supposed to be as anger as Mara was with her family for not believing her and I was also supposed to be as frustrated as Mara was with herself for not knowing what was real and what she might be hallucinating. For understanding that something awful was happening to her on top of something else awful happening to her and she has no answers. I think Mara definitely became my favorite character in here because she made the most sense to me. She was coping with so much internally as well as externally and the fact that she held it together, that she had  to hold it together, was incredible.

I also liked that she didn't keep any secrets from Noah. A lot of the time the main character likes to withhold things from their love interest for the sake of tension but I was glad that Mara was smart enough to know that she could rely on Noah. Even if he didn't always go along with exactly what she believed, he did believe that she was experiencing the things she told him and I'm glad that this bond they built in the first novel didn't get torn apart in the second one.

It was actually Noah who frustrated me more this time around. I think we were supposed to and I understood his reasoning but I still wish he'd been a little more open the way Mara was. I guess their relationship felt a little one sided. However, as the novel kept going, it felt wonderful to get into Noah's head a little bit with that journal Mara found. Hearing his thoughts and finally having him say his wishes made it a lot easier to connect with him again and made it more believable for Mara to lean on him. I was kind of angry in the beginning when neither Mara or Noah would cherish the moments they have together so I was glad when that barrier was finally removed. I also think that will make them stronger in the final novel (regardless of what the ending was).

The flashbacks and the plot had me very confused basically the entire time. But not confused because of the writing. Confused because of the narrator. At the heart of this novel, we have an unstable narrator. Mara wants to know the truth, to find the answers, but there is also something taking over her. Whether its a demon or a "gift" or a gene that runs in her family, she is changing. And those changes are making her more unreliable. So things that we think happen, that she believes happened sometimes haven't and sometimes the things that seemed the most unbelievable are the things that actually have happened. This ambiguity, this not knowing, is what makes the story so unputdownable. By the time I got about 200 pages from the ending I was killing myself to race to the end and figure out what the heck is happening. This isn't to say that the first 300 pages weren't interesting. The book just picked up and rocketed to a conclusion by the second half of the book.

As before, sometimes I would just stop and marvel in the beauty of Hodkin's prose which explains the long list of favorite lines at the bottom. I know this is an odd sort of thing to think about but I thought that where one chapter ended and the second began was placed well. It kept me reading "just one more" when I should have gone to bed. I did miss Mara's bond with her family who took a backseat to the plot this time so I hope we get to see more of them in the next novel. I also hope that if they ever find out Jude is alive they give Mara a huge hug and sob at her feet for being so right.

With the mystery of what is happening to Mara, Noah and the rest of the kids deepening as well as the dangerous situations they are finding themselves in, I found that this novel was even better than the first one. Mara definitely became one of my favorite characters ever because of how fiercely she loves her family and how strong she's become. Thanks to a plot that has more twist and turns than a dance floor and characters I'm completely invested in, The Evolution of Mara Dyer is one heck of a thrill ride from page one until the shocking conclusion.


Favorite Lines:
So I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, like I was preparing to launch myself off of a cliff. In a way, I guess I was.
--Pg. 18 of "The Evolution of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkin
"Sometimes, Noah, I feel an overwhelming urge to punch you in the face."
--Pg. 57 of "The Evolution of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkin
"The people we care about are always worth more to us than the people we don't."
--Pg. 58 of "The Evolution of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkin
Time was supposed to heal all wounds, but how could it when Jude kept picking the scab?
--Pg. 127 of "The Evolution of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkin
Daniel shook his head sadly. "I hate that I never managed to persuade you to watch Buffy. It's a flaw in you, Mara."
--Pg. 141 of "The Evolution of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkin
I felt and probably looked like a wild thing while Noah kneeled there like an arrogant price. Like the world was his, should he choose to reach out and take it.
--Pg. 226 of "The Evolution of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkin
I'll walk forever with stories inside me that the people I love the most can never hear.
--Pg. 258 of "The Evolution of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkin
"...I would rather die with the taste of you on my tongue than live and never touch you again. I'm in love with you, Mara. I love you. No matter what you do."
--Pg. of 348 "The Evolution of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkin

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 End of the Year Survey

End of the Year Survey


1. Best book you read in 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want.)
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
  • Defiance by C.J. Redwine
This is a tough question because I read some amazing novels this year but these are some that stick out from my list. Insurgent is definitely my favorite of the year though.

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love but didn't?

I was very excited for The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda because it sounded like an awesome read. For me though, it was too slow and I couldn't connect very well with the characters.

3. Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2012?

The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke. I got this book and it was so small. I wasn't sure how it was going to have a lush world but then it so so did and wonderful characters to boot. I fell hard.

4. Book you recommended most to people in 2012?

Either Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi or Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. Everyone I know got an earful about both of these amazing novels.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

It's a four-way tie:
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • Everneath by Brodi Ashton
  • Incarnate by Jodi Meadows 
  • Defiance by C.J. Redwine
I made this a tie because I'm dying for the sequels to all of these books and they all captured my mind in the way a good book does and stayed with me long after I finished reading them.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

I actually just did a Top Ten post on this which you can check out here. A few of them are Veronica Rossi, Jodi Meadows, Megan Miranda and Cassandra Rose Clarke.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics for sure. I never really understood how comics worked so reading them was a very different experience for me. I read them very slowly because I didn't want to miss any of the artwork. It is gorgeous!

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

SUPER unfair question. I didn't read a lot of books this year but the ones I did were amazing and a half. I guess if I had to choose just one it would be Insurgent by Veronica Roth because I love that world and Tris and Four so stinking much.

9. Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to re-read next year?

Probably Insurgent by Veronica Roth if the next novel comes out.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Probably either Incarnate by Jodi Meadows or Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. I think it'd be the first though. That butterfly mask is amazing!

11. Most memorable character in 2012?

I would say Tris or Four from Insurgent but I met them the year before. So let's say Perry from Under the Never Sky for being so dang amazing and having a really cool skill set. Also Ananna and Naji from The Assassin's Curse because they are both so unique.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson hands down. That book was a visual feast of words.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake because it made me say goodbye to several of my favorite characters and the ending was the perfect amount of heartbreak.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Switched by Amanda Hocking. I think her Wake series is better but I can't believe it took me this long to get acquainted with her writing.

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2012?

The entirety of Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. Visual feast guys. Just sayin'.

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2012?

Shortest book was Dead to You by Lisa McMann.

Longest was Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc) Be careful of spoilers!

Probably the entirety of Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

18. Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2012? (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Obviously this one is going to be Tris and Four from Insurgent. I also loved Perry and Aria from Under the Never Sky and Ana and Sam from Incarnate as well as Rachel and Logan from Defiance.

19. Favorite book you read in 2012 from an author you read previously.

Hah, this one shouldn't even be a question if you've been reading this whole thing, Definitely Insurgent by Veronica Roth and I'd like to add The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting.

20. Best book you read that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else.

Hmm, not sure I did that this year which is a shame. Next year I'll have a few from KM over at One Page at a Time YA Reviews though!


1. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012?

I think my favorite review is probably the one on Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. It was such a beautifully written book and a little of that stuck with me while writing up the review.

2. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog?

I thought a lot about KM's The Many Flavors of YA Boys even though I didn't comment on it. Mostly because I felt she captured every type and it made me question which flavor I liked. It effected the novel I was writing as well. It made me think about what I like and that reflected in my lead guy.

3. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc)?
Angela from Reading Angel, my bestie Ashley
and I

Definitely YAll Fest. I had such an amazing time meeting all the authors and getting to see quite a few book bloggers too. Not only did the entire atmosphere inspire me to finish the second re-write of my novel in a little over a month but I cherish the time I got to spend with Angela (and Duke) over at Reading Angel.

I also really enjoyed the Tahereh Mafi and Veronica Rossi book signing. Two of my favorite authors in one place at the same time? And they were both hilarious!

4. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

YAllfest and hanging out with all the cool book nerds there. It was an amazing experience I don't think I'll ever forget.

5. Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Either my RIP to The Secret Circle post or my Note on Buffy and Spike's Relationship. Both of those posts got a lot of views this year. All of my Doctor Who posts are picking up steam as well.

6. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Definitely my Happily Ever Endings posts. This year I've been seeing more and more people use them but a lot of my comments are talking about how they wished they knew about them sooner. Happily Ever Endings are summaries of what happened in the last half of books. That way when you get a novel that is part of a series in a year later, you can go back and refresh yourself as to what happen. These are super useful and it'd be awesome to get more people involved so we could cover even more books. 

7. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc)?

Maybe my Nook... I just got it two days ago so it's yet to be seen but just maybe...

8. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

No. How sad is that? This year though. This year I am totally going to do it!


1. One book that you didn't get to read in 2012, but will be your number one priority in 2013?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I promised KM I was going to read this series if she read Divergent by Veronica Roth so this book will get read!

2. Books you are most anticipating for 2013?

Hmm, pretty much all of the sequels... Everbound by Brodi Ashton, Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi, Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi as well as quite a few debuts.

3. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2013?

I hope to read at least 50 books this year. I had a major lull in the middle of this year and then I was very busy writing the last half of the year. I hope I can make a bit more time for reading again.

The Time Will Come 39: Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme started by Books for Company which spotlights books that have been sitting unread on our shelves for too long.

Want to join in?
- Pick a book you have been meaning to read
- Do a post telling us about the book
- Link the post up in the linky at Books for Company
- Visit the other blogs!

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
I was obsessed. 
It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike. 
There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame. 
I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.
I've had this one for quite sometime. I actually won a copy of it. But I got my Nook for Christmas and this happened to be a very good price so I bought myself a copy. Maybe it will get read faster as an e-book? Only one way to find out!

What has been sitting on your shelf for too long?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

I've been signing up for a few challenges and since this one is coincides with the others, I decided that I needed to sign up for this one! I have loads of books in my TBR pile. In fact, I have an entire bookshelf devoted to my TBR pile so this is the perfect year to tackle this towering stack. I found this challenge on Bookish but there are 6 blogs that are hosting this challenge.

Here are the rules:
1.This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2013 - Dec 31, 2013.
2.Anyone can enter! You don't have to be a blogger, as long as you review the book you've read! (On your blog, Amazon or Goodreads/Shelfari!)
3.Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2012 and earlier! NO 2013 ARCs and 2013 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
4.You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
5.When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2013 TBR PILE Reading Challenge. (If you don't have a blog, post about it on Facebook or Tweet!)
6.You can move up levels, but no moving down.
7.Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2013, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
8.On the 20th of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. The giveaway will be open until the next wrap up post goes up! (i.e. the entire month)
9.If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
10.December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - a box of books.
11.You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!
And here are the levels:
1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children
I think I'm going to go for 15 so I fall into "A Friendly Hug". Here are some of the novels I plan to get read in 2013:
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Maragret Stohl
  • Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Maragret Stohl
  • Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Maragret Stohl
  • Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray
  • Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
  • Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  • Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
I'm sure these might change and others will apply but there is a pretty accurate list. Have you signed up for this challenge? If so, what does your list look like?

Whovember Event Winners

Now that the holidays are firmly over, I'd like to announce the winners of all the wonderful Whovember giveaways I had. Thanks so much to everyone who participated. I had such a wonderful time!

The winner of Doctor Who Season 1 DVD is...

Kassidy Hughes!

The winner of the Tardis computer mate is...

Carl Scott!

And the winner of a book like Doctor Who is...

Enbrethiliel! (She wanted to win The Time Traveler's Wife!)

All winners have been notified by email. Thanks again to all those who entered and joined in during Whovember!

2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt

Looking for this, hunters? I have today's trivia questions from Fiction Fervor's 2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt here for you. 2012YASSH challenges you with your knowledge of young adult books published this year, and if you enter, you might win a prize! Check out it here for more info. And be sure to read the rules!

I am pleased to have today's questions from my favorite read of 2012, Insurgent by Veronica Roth. So check them out and see if you can answer them:
Easy: Who is the leader of the factionless?

Medium: With what are Tris and Tobias injected at Candor’s headquarters to see if they are telling the truth?

Hard: What is the full name of the woman who appears in the video from the classified information at the end of the book, and what name does she take on in her new life?
Enter your answers in the form below!

Good luck everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Happy holidays!
Like most other blogs, I'll be taking the next few days to spend time with my family so don't be alarmed if you don't see anything new till the 26th or the 27th. I hope you all take this time to spend with your families and that everyone takes a moment to recognize how lucky they are.

I wanted to talk about how thankful I am to have all my friends and family and also how thankful I am to have found book blogging. Getting to know every single one of you has been a true pleasure. Making new friends, finding new favorite books and sharing my love of reading and writing with you has made this year and last year so special.

Hope you all have a happy holidays! I leave you with some nerdy Christmas trees:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

In My Mailbox 102

In my mailbox is a weekly meme created by The Story Siren that encourages other book bloggers to share what they bought, won, begged for or borrowed. It is usually held on Sundays!

From Angela at Reading Angel (who is more fabulous than a whole barrel of books):
  • Beautiful handmade bookmarks (2 for me and 2 for the cats!)
From the amazing and lovely KM at One Page At a Time YA Reviews:
From Harper Teen:
Ben Bella Books:
So what did you get this week leading up to the holidays? And do you think you have any lovelies waiting under the tree?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Let's Talk About Riffle

A few months ago I got an email in my inbox asking me if I'd like to join up with Riffle. I went to look at the links they provided me and found out it's sort of like Goodreads and Shelfari but is directly linked to Facebook. On Riffle, you add all the books you've read or want to read and the stuff you recommend others to read. It also seems like you make lists though I really haven't dabbled into that much yet.

If people "like" what you've recommended then you gain influence. Anyway, I think this site is set up pretty cool because you get to pick an expertise. I choose YA and it links you up with others that chose that too.

Anyway, I've joined Riffle now and I wanted to know if any of you had also joined so that we can follow each other.

You can find me under Amber Johnston Mitchell or the email address

Also, I have 15 invites so if you are a book blogger/author and want to be on Riffle, please let me know in the comments below and I'll invite you!

This begs another question too. What do you think of all these books sites popping up everywhere?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Acid and Red

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where you can post about upcoming books you're looking forward to. This is a wonderful chance for blogger to show off what's coming out soon that they are excited about! Every week my wishlist balloons thanks to this awesome meme.

Acid by Emma Pass
A fast and furious thriller featuring the coolest, toughest bad girl since Lisbeth Salander. Meet Jenna Strong. 
In Jenna’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule with an iron fist. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember. 
But Jenna’s violent prison has taught her a thing or two about survival. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead. 
A gripping futuristic debut that will hook you from the very first page.
Acid is out April 25th 2013 by Corgi Children's Books/Random House Children's Publishing.

Holy heck does that girl on the cover look fierce which is perfect since that is exactly how that description depicts her as. I think this looks a thrilling read that will keep me guessing until the last page. Definitely looking forward to it!

Red by Alison Cherry
Felicity St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair. 
Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note: 
I know your secret. 
Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say "strawberry blond." Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school. 
Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?
Red is out October 8th 2013 by Delacorte Press.

I never really thought about a hair color giving you popularity but I guess it is no different than pretty hair and pretty teeth making you accepted. Love the unique angle on this one!

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week, they post a subject and the goal is to answer the question with your top ten picks. Once you've done it, link back to The Broke and the Bookish and check out what other bloggers have to say!
Top Ten Books I Read in 2012
Here are my favorite reads of 2012 in no particular order.

1) Insurgent by Veronica Roth- This is the stunning sequel to Divergent and it surprised me with every delightful twist and bend in the road. In my review I called it "toe-curling, mind-blowing perfection" and that pretty much nails it for me.

2) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi- I feel in love with the rich world that Rossi created and the two very different leads she chose to inhabit it. In my review I say that "there is something new and incredible to discover on each page". Pages melted away as I raced through this stellar debut.

3) Incarnate by Jodi Meadows- "The perfect start to what promises to be an exciting fantasy" is how I describe this novel. I loved that Incarnate felt magical without feeling completely unbelievable and I love the idea of soul being born into different bodies and how horrified everyone is when one person is "new".

4) Fracture by Megan Miranda- I said in my review that Fracture is "unputdownable". For such a short novel, the characters and the mystery really get under your skin. Plus, I fell in love with Delaney and Decker's best friend turned romantic relationship.

5) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson- some people have called this novel slow and I can see where they'd get that. But this novel is so beautifully written and so poignant, it sticks with long after you've read the last bittersweet sentence. I'll forever be dreaming of the wild Neverland Anderson created and the even wilder boy who stole Tiger Lily's heart.

6) Defiance by C.J. Redwine-I find it hard to put into words the brilliance of this novel. For me it was everything about Defiance that made me love it--the main characters, the dueling perspectives, the supporting characters and the plot. Everything surprised me about this one and I just kept wanting to read it. 

7) Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake- This definitely makes the life because it says goodbye in such a glorious and satisfying way to some of my favorite characters ever. I call Cas like "both Winchester boys mixed together from Supernatural" which totally makes him a favorite. RIP Cas, Anna, Thomas and Carmel.

8) Everneath by Brodi Ashton- I loved that this was a retelling of mythology and I mention in my review that "even though you know where this story is heading from the beginning, you still race to the end to see if the main characters can figure out a way to beat fate". I loved this one!

9) The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke- Wildly imaginative for such a short novel, I feel in love with the settings and characters pretty much instantly. I've never met a YA heroine like Ananna before who is so rough around the edges and I love how her coarseness collided with Naji's swift, intelligent nature. These two were the perfect pair, a pirate and a ninja.

10) The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting- Another stellar novel in this stellar series, I loved how Violet truly had to rely on herself in this one. The killer was way more intense, her problems bigger and her will to survive strongest yet. With a much more diverse cast of characters and a twist that will keep your heart racing, this book was awesome!

Which amazing reads made your list?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (August 28, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062117181
ISBN-13: 978-0062117182
Series: Defiance #1
Source: Finished copy provided by publisher
Cover: I think this cover is absolutely stunning because there is so much to look at. My eye is drawn to her red hair first but as I keep looking I see the gadget on her arm, the way her cape flairs out around her feet and the beautiful landscape that is ghosted above the title. I love the pose of the model and how fierce she looks. There is no way I would snatch this one off the shelf.
First Sentence: The weight of their pity is a stone tied around my neck.

Mini Review: An enchanting and vibrant story inhabited by intelligent characters you can't help but fall in love with page after page.

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.
At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.
As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Defiance is a fast paced, dual point of view read that will keep the reader on the edge until the last page. The two main characters have a chemistry that is electric and with a cast of supporting characters to fall in love with or love to hate, it makes for one heck of a captivating YA fantasy.

My favorite thing about this novel is most definitely the two main characters. I immediately identified with Rachel's sorrow over her missing father and found her spirit refreshing, especially since she lives in a world where she isn't suppose to have any. It's nice to find a female character who didn't feel like a tomboy but who I also felt could take care of herself in tough situations. She felt capable without having to always be so tough that she comes across as unlikable. I really appreciated that about her and though her refusal to listen to Logan or confide him at times made me anger, the author did an excellent job of giving them a past that would make it hard for Rachel to trust him.

Logan felt even more interesting to me than Rachel. While I loved Rachel for being sort of a normal girl with a spirit, I thought that the way Logan thought was so different. My thought process is much more like Rachel so seeing how Logan saw the world--all moving parts and how things work and fit together--made a very interesting read for me. He always surprised me with the things he did. When he would lose his cool, I would be as surprised as Rachel even though I was just in his head and knew he would because he is often so good at keeping himself calm. His tinkering and his way of thinking to solve problems truly impressed me and always kept the read fresh and interesting.

Another thing I love about this book is hat I kept guessing where it was going to go and being completely wrong. When I started reading it, I thought "okay, Rachel, Oliver and Logan are going to take a long journey and find Rachel's dad". Then something happened to prevent this. I kept correcting the scenario in my mind but I kept getting it wrong. That made the plot feel exciting. There was always one more twist right around the corner that I couldn't predict.

I also loved all the side characters. There aren't many characters I take an instant liking to without rolling my eyes because the author tries so hard to make me like them. But I loved Oliver the way Rachel did from the second he appeared on the page. I believed in their bond and trusted him. The author is particularly adept at making the reader remember that these characters had pasts and lives before we were dropped down in the story and I felt their history in this novel. I also loved to hate the Commander and I have a feeling there is a lot more than meets the eye to that man. I'll be interested to see him again for sure.

While the setting didn't exactly feel fantastical, I liked how it felt different than a lot of the other stuff I've read. For me, it was more the creatures and people roaming this land than the settings themselves. It was the rules Rachel's society set out, the tricks of the trade her father left her with and The Cursed One that breathed life into the trees and rocks and quaint medieval town that Rachel and Logan are from. For me, this really worked and it made Logan's little cabin and her father's stop house interesting. The writing was also quite beautiful. I kept finding spots to mark, little phrases that were so insightful and clear action scenes that I wanted to mark up my copy.

My favorite thing about this book though was Rachel and Logan's relationship. At the heart, that is what this book was about. I loved that they had a really complicated past that came into play from the beginning. It explained to me why they couldn't trust each other. I love that they found each other slowly like grasping out blindly in the dark. They each had to change in order to finally fit together and when they did it was absolutely electric.

Falling in love with Defiance isn't like Rachel and Logan's relationship. It's like the pacing--fast and effortless. Through an unique society, riveting characters and a place that felt full of history before you ever opened the book, Defiance is a stand out in the YA fantasy genre. It definitely ranks as one of my favorite reads this year. Give it a try and watch as it, like Rachel, defies all your expectations.

Favorite Lines:
The memory burn within me, a bed of live coals I swear I'll stop walking across.
--Pg. 20 of Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Lower Market is laid out like a man's back. The main road forms the spine and leads toward the North Tower, while smaller roads and alleys branch off like ribs...
--Pg. 31 of Defiance by C.J. Redwine
...I learned that true family is found in those who choose you.
--Pg. 70 of Defiance by C.J. Redwine
His words felt like a gift I want to keep reopening when no one else is looking.
--Pg. 127 of Defiance by C.J. Redwine
"And one day, I'll make him pay for it in full."
--Pg. 184 of Defiance by C.J. Redwine
I don't actually have proof that Peter Carmine is stupid, but he looks like he could be, and that's enough in my book.
--Pg. 175 of Defiance by C.J. Redwine
I silently promise myself I'll...deliver justice before the Commander realizes the girl whose loyalty he purchased in blood will be his final undoing.
--Pg. 190 of Defiance by C.J. Redwine
I wear armor on the inside, a metal forged of fury and silence, cutting me off from myself.
--Pg. 295 of Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday Discussions: E-Books

This week I want to talk about e-books. For Christmas, I am getting a Nook which will open up my world to e-books. My biggest problem is that I'm not sure I'm ready to dive into that world.

I've been avoiding e-books since their creation because I love the feeling of a book in my hands and seeing the progress as I turn each page. Books make me happy. Sure, having all my books in one tiny machine is a cool concept but what would happen to my beautiful bookshelves? How would I be able to see all the spines?

And as an aspiring author, I don't want to see the novel I'm slaving over go from the screen on my computer to the screen of an e-reader. I want a print and paper copy in my hands.

So why am I getting an e-reader?

My reasoning is mostly to get novellas and open myself up to e-ARCs. I think e-readers are a cool concept but they will never replace the wegiht of an actual book.

Here's what I wish would happen:

I wish that if I went to the store and bought Latest Awesome Book that said awaesome book would have a code in the back. If I typed the code into my Nook, I'd get an e-copy and some extras (if available) on my Nook for free. Or maybe that books would charge two dollars more for the e-code and that would open the e-book up to the people that spent money on the hardcopy of the novel. 

Basically, I will always be a books first advocate that happens to own a Nook for extras (I gotta get me Destroy Me after all) but owning a Nook won't change my mind about how I love to read.

What about you? How do you feel about e-readers?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Call for Beta Readers

So in late January or earlier February I will be finished with all my heavy edits on my current WIP and she will beautiful (dammit, she will!). I'm looking for a good group of beta readers that would be willing to read my novel in a two to three week time period and then answer a short survey I have put together. So far I have about five people but I wanted a few more (to have some cushion room in case some people don't get back to me).

If this is something you'd be interested in doing then I would love you to death. But to be more specific, if this is something you'd consider doing, please either comment below or email me.

My novel is called GARDEN OF THORNS and it is a YA fantasy which is going to come in around 80,000 to 90,000 words (depending on how edits go). It is the fifth novel I have written.

Thanks yall! And now I leave you with a kitty:

UPDATE: Between the blog and my Facebook account, the response to beta has been overwhelming and I couldn't feel more blessed. I have plenty of amazing people who have stepped up to read GARDEN OF THORNS and I'm so happy I feel like I'm going to pop. As such, I don't believe I need anymore. Thanks so much for your interest!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Beauty and Plague in the Mirror

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where you can post about upcoming books you're looking forward to. This is a wonderful chance for blogger to show off what's coming out soon that they are excited about! Every week my wishlist balloons thanks to this awesome meme.

Beauty by Nancy Ohlin
Looks to kill for... 
Ana is nothing like her glamorous mother, Queen Veda, whose hair is black as ravens and whose lips are red as roses. Alas, Queen Veda loathes anyone whose beauty dares to rival her own—including her daughter. 
And despite Ana’s attempts to be plain to earn her mother’s affection,
she’s sent away to the kingdom’s exclusive boarding school. 
At the Academy, Ana is devastated when her only friend abandons her for the popular girls. Isolated and alone, Ana resolves to look like a true princess to earn the acceptance she desires. 
But when she uncovers the dangerous secret that makes all of the girls at the Academy so gorgeous, just how far will Ana go to fit in?
 Beauty is out  May 7th 2013 by Simon Pulse.

Love, love, love! It's a retelling of Snow White and a boarding school novel.Yes please! And how BEAUTIful is that cover?

Plague in the Mirror by Deborah Noyes
In a sensual paranormal romance, a teen girl’s doppelgänger from 1348 Florence lures her into the past in hopes of exacting a deadly trade. 
It was meant to be a diversion — a summer in Florence with her best friend, Liam, and his travel-writer mom, doing historical research between breaks for gelato. A chance to forget that back in Vermont, May’s parents, and all semblance of safety, were breaking up. But when May wakes one night sensing someone in her room, only to find her ghostly twin staring back at her, normalcy becomes a distant memory. And when later she follows the menacing Cristofana through a portale to fourteenth-century Florence, May never expects to find safety in the eyes of Marco, a soulful painter who awakens in her a burning desire and makes her feel truly seen. The wily Cristofana wants nothing less of May than to inhabit each other’s lives, but with the Black Death ravaging Old Florence, can May’s longing for Marco’s touch be anything but madness? Lush with atmosphere both passionate and eerie, this evocative tale follows a girl on the brink of womanhood as she dares to transcend the familiar — and discovers her sensual power.
Plague in the Mirror is out July 9th 2013 by Candlewick Press.

Doesn't this sound like such a great read? Definitely looking forward to this one because I've always loved the idea of portals. It makes the world feel magical.

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday- Favorite New-To-Me Authors of 2012

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week, they post a subject and the goal is to answer the question with your top ten picks. Once you've done it, link back to The Broke and the Bookish and check out what other bloggers have to say!
Top 10 Favorite New-To-Me Authors in 2012
This is such a fun prompt this week and I can't wait to share some of my new favorites! These are in no particular order and yes, I did cheat. My blog, my rules! =P

1) Megan Miranda (Fracture)- I read Fracture pretty early in the year in 2012 and it blew my mind. I was literally unable to put down this book until I was done with it. The sweeping friendship romance and the creepy thriller plot shot this book and author right up on my radar!

2) Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky)- Rossi created such a lush apocalyptic world that it was hard not to fall in love with her novel and the characters. What's even better is that she's hilarious in real life. I got to meet her in Miami with Tahereh Mafi and didn't stop laughing. She's also a painter ya'll. 

3) Brodi Ashton (Everneath)- Everneath is a retelling of Greek mythology so you know I'm all over that. Not only that but it so romantic but it's sweet and I love Jack. The ending broke my heart and I can't wait for the next one.

4) Jodi Meadows (Incarnate)- I love a good fantasy and that is precisely what Meadows delivers with Incarnate. Not only that but she is super active on Twitter, really supportive of new writers and love ferrets. I enjoy pretty much everything out of this lady's mouth.

5) Jodi Lynn Anderson (Tiger Lily)- So Anderson is by no means a no author but I've only read her novel Tiger Lily this year and it took my breath away. The writing is gorgeous and lush and it was such an inventive re-imaging!

6) Jill Hathaway (Slide)- Yay! Jill Hathaway! Okay, so I sorta cheated here. I betaed her book last year but it came out this year and I re-read it this year so she gets a spot on this list. I love all of her posts and how she isn't afraid to talk about her personal struggles and triumphs on her blog is always inspiring.

7) Jennifer Shaw Wolf (Breaking Beautiful)- Not only was her novel fabulous but Wolf spends a lot of time talking to her readers. She was on my blog quite a few times before her novel came out and she was always so sweet. It's kind of hard not to fall in love with her!

8) Cassandra Rose Clarke (The Assassin's Curse)- I got this novel and it was kind of small so I was wondering how inventive and lush this world could be. And then I was blown away by the vividness and personality in this book. I couldn't put it down!

9) C.J. Redwine (Defiance)- Holy hilarious Batman, have you ever visited Redwine's blog. I did before I knew she was coming out with a book and all her posts make me snort. She open about being a dork and that wins my heart right there. Plus, her novel was on my top 5 favorite of this year. A-maz-ing!

10) Rebecca Serle  ( When You Were Mine)-So I snagged this picture from Serle's blog and hung around for a little bit. It made me like her even more. And her novel is absolutely wonder. Great retelling turned on its head!

*Extra pick* Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, The Avengers)- How can this man NOT be on my list? He took away two months of my life this year watching Buffy, watching Angel and then reading all the comics. He's so brilliant and I'd die if I could meet him one day. Not the actors who bring his writing to life but him. I'd lurve to just let him talk about his latest idea!

Who made your list of favorites this week?
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