Current Giveaways

Click on the book cover to head over to the giveaway page for these books! None right now :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (32)

Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers
Heartless by Sara Shepard
Elixir by Hilary Duff
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

And an "Absomuffinlutely" sticker! :)

Current Giveaways
500 Follower Giveaway- Win a *signed* copy of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater, the third and final book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy.
This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY, and it ends August 6th. Click here to enter the giveaway now!

Weekly Recap
This is Teen Signing Recap: Libba Bray, Maggie Stiefvater, and Meg Cabot

The Bookarazzi: Edition 2 (Wildefire & Wolfsbane)

Discussion: How Do YOU Choose the Books You Read?

Cover Loving (2)

Review: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Review: My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent

Author: Rachel Vincent
Pages: 296
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal
Reading Level: 14 years old+
Kaylee has one addiction: her very hot, very popular boyfriend, Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understands her like no one else. Nothing can come between them.

Until something does.

Demon breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind. The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends—one of whom is already hooked.

And so is someone else…
This novel left me SO EAGER TO READ MY SOUL TO STEAL! In this third installment to the Soul Screamer series, the troubles for Kaylee are far from over. Bad guys that we met in My Soul to Save make a reappearance, and we're dealing with Demon's Breath in a completely different way. Instead of being a replacement for a soul, Demon's Breath is now a highly addictive inhalant drug that's being spread around Kaylee and Nash's friends. How is it getting to the human world? And why is Nash acting so weird about it? They have to do something to stop it, and quickly, before it kills someone.

Rachel Vincent definitely knows how to write an addictive book. I was turning the pages on this one non-stop, wanting to know what happened. Kaylee is going through a lot of stuff in this book. Every time she falls asleep, she has a terrible nightmare where someone dies and she wakes up screaming. Because of the screaming, when she wakes up she's in the Netherworld. Her best friend, Emma, is dating a guy who is seriously addicted to the demon's breath, and Kaylee is worried it might somehow affect Emma too. Nash starts acting odd, lying to her and using his Influence on her when she doesn't want him to. But Kaylee isn't a helpless damsel in distress. She steps up to the plate and basically saves everyone (again), this time without the help of Nash. I really like Kaylee as a protagonist, because she does what she needs to do, no matter what that is.

I used to be firmly Team Nash. I thought he was a really great guy, even if his relationship with Kaylee was a bit rushed in the beginning. But, this novel just completely converted me to Team Tod. Even if Tod isn't a viable contender at the moment, I'm still on his team, because Nash ruined it. That's all I'm going to say about that. I do have hope, though, that Nash will make a comeback in the later novels and get back to the good place that he was eat in My Soul to Take.

Also, one thing I noticed about Kaylee and Nash together. They're always doing one of two things: a) making out or b) talking about everyone else's problems and how they're going to fix it. They never spend time just to themselves to enjoy each other's company. They never talk about themselves with each other! Every single conversation they have is either about how Nash wants to have sex and Kaylee isn't ready, or how they need to save the world. Honestly, I think that's their biggest flaw as a couple. They may love each other, but they just don't act like a couple all the time. It's kinda frustrating.

But, all that aside, this book is just as action packed and get-your-adrenaline-pumping as the first two, which was great. Rachel Vincent writes with a fast and no-lag pace, pushing the story like The Little Engine That Could. Whatever you may feel while you read Rachel Vincent's novels, bored is not one of them.

Since My Soul to Save, Tod has been continuously evolving and growing as a character, which I love. He is, in my opinion, the best character in the series. He's still a bit of a mystery, but in this novel, we see  more of his softer side, of his love for Addison, his ex-girlfriend that sold her soul to a demon for fame and talent in My Soul to Save. He's still sarcastic and cocky, but his heart is in the right place. I'm very much looking forward to his character being expanded in the future novels.

I love this series, and I'm going to keep reading it, I'm just very, very frustrated with where it's going in regards to Kaylee and Nash. I am happy that Kaylee made the right decision in the end of the book. She ignored what her emotions were telling her and thought rationally. She did what was best for her. I'm very intrigued as to what will happen in the future. I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars.

Friday, July 29, 2011

500 Follower GIVEAWAY!

I've finally reached 500 followers, and you have no idea just how happy I am about that. I am so grateful to everyone that has followed my blog and commented on my posts. To show my appreciation, I have a *signed* copy of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater up for grabs!

Giveaway ends August 6th

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below with your EMAIL. I will email the winner on August 6th, and they have 48 hours to respond before I choose another winner. 

Good luck guys, and thank you so much for your support!

Review: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Author: Sara Shepard
Pages: 286
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Reading Level: 14 years old+
Buy the Book
Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back?

I was apprehensive to start this series, despite the many raving reviews I had read of it. I had seen an episode of the TV show, and it really turned me off from it, but I didn't want to immediately shut down the book, too, so I just waited until the hype died down a bit. I was actually really surprised by how much I liked Pretty Little Liars when I read it.

The book is actually much darker than the cover or the synopsis led me to believe, and that was my favorite aspect of it. The story revolves around a group of girls that each have their own secrets and problems which only grow worse as things progress. Years after their fiery and all-too perfect friend Alison died, they start getting weird messages from someone named "A" who seems to know everything their doing and is more than willing to use it against them. Even though they've all grown apart in the years after Alison's death, these freaky and mysterious events will bring them together again, but not always in the best way...

I really liked this book. I might even say that I loved it. It was nothing at all like I expected. Sara Shepard had a great writing style, and even though she wrote about several characters, I connected with all of them on some level. I connected with Spencer the most, mostly because at the end, when her parents completely just... disowned her, my heart just broke for her.

If you were skeptical about reading this series like I was, I definitely recommend that you give it a try. You never know, you might end up loving it just as much as I did. I give this novel 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cover Loving (2)

"Don't judge a book by its cover" is what we always hear when it comes to deciding on whether a book is good or not. Well, in this feature, that's exactly what I'm doing. Here are some book covers that I absolutely adore!

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
The dress on this cover is really just to die for. I'm a total sucker for a gorgeous gown, and I will definitely be buying this book JUST to display this cover on my bookshelf.

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Ohmigod, I love this cover SO much. The look in the girl's eyes, the flowers in her hair, the text of the title, EVERYTHING is just fantastic.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
The purple colors, the girl in the great dress, and the swirling title. All of that makes a gorgeous cover.

Haunting Violet by Alexandra Harvey
This cover is so haunting and intriguing. I mean, dead girl floating on the water? Reminds me a bit of The Lady of Shalott, with all the lilies around.

Possession by Elana Johnson
This cover is so simple, yet so eyecatching! When I first saw it, I thought "Wow, that looks like a great book!" I love how simple it is.

Swear by Nina Malkin
Oh gosh, this cover is probably the prettiest one here. The girl, the roses, the dark colors, her pale skin in contrast... Beautiful!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Discussion: How Do YOU Choose the Books You Read?

People ask me all the time how I choose the books I buy and read, and I never have a definite answer for them. There are several factors that can play into me choosing a book, or not choosing it for that matter. It really just depends on my mood at the time, and what the circumstances are. Here are different ways that I choose my books:
The Cover
The cover of a book is extremely influential when I am choosing books. I know, I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s really hard not to! There are some absolutely gorgeous covers out there that practically beg me to buy them. Sometimes I barely even glance at what the book is about, I just buy it because I want the cover on my shelf. A little selfish, I know, but it has its drawbacks. A good cover doesn't equal a good book, unfortunately. I've gotten burned a few times by going simply on what the cover looks like. Conversely, I've also read books that I absolutely loved to bits and pieces, but whose covers I could not stand. So, going by a book's cover is the most 'dangerous' method, I would say, because it really could go either way.
      For instance, I'm much more likely                                      Than one that looks like this:
    to pick up a book that looks like this:

BUT, that just goes to show you, you can and you can't judge a book by it's cover. The cover for The Girl in the Steel Corset is gorgeous, and the book is bloody amazing as well.There you have a case where, if you were just going on appearances alone, you'd still have a fantastic read in your hands.

Whereas the cover for Wild Child is... well, it's a big turn off for me when I see it, but I really enjoyed the book. It was a great read, and I definitely recommend Wild Child to anyone who wants a quick thriller read.
The Author
I also like to choose books from authors that I have already read before and that I know I like. For example, I know for a fact that I will buy anything with Cassandra Clare's name on it, even if I have no idea what it's about. Same thing with Libba Bray, Rachel Caine, Richelle Mead, and a billion other authors that I'm very familiar with. This usually, but not always, guarantees a good book, since it's from a good author.
Cayla Kluver, author of Legacy

Another way that an author could influence whether I pick up their books or not is if there's a unique story behind them, or something really interesting about them. A great example would be Cayla Kluver, the author of Legacy which was published recently by Harlequin Teen. But the story behind the writing and publishing of Legacy is a very interesting one. Cayla was only 14 years old when she wrote Legacy, and after trying for a very long time, her and her mother finally self-published it using their own publishing company which her mother started just for Legacy. (The company was called Forsooth Publishing.) Once I read that about Cayla, I immediately ordered the book and read it, and loved it! That was about 3 years ago. Since then Cayla has done really damn well for herself and Legacy, which is why I'm going to  buy this new version and re-read it. 
The Summary
Of course, there's nothing like reading the summary for a book and thinking, 'Wow, this sounds great, I need to get it!' This is usually how I choose books from debut authors, or authors that I've never read before. Knowing what a book is about plays a huge role in me picking it. (But not always, as stated above, lol.)

Take, for instance, the description for Fateful by Claudia Gray.

In Fateful, eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, overbearing family she works for. Once the ship they’re sailing on reaches the United States, she’ll strike out on her own. Then she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets....

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves are real and they’re stalking him—and now Tess, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.

Featuring the opulent backdrop of the Titanic, Fateful’s publication is poised to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the ship’s doomed maiden voyage. It is sure to be a hit among Titanic buffs and fans of paranormal romance alike.

Okay, so what did we get from that summary? WEREWOLVES ON THE TITANIC. WEREWOLVES. ON. THE. FREAKING. TITANIC. This is definitely a case of the summary making me want to read a book!
The Reviews/Book Blogs
Honestly, about 50% of the books I buy now are because I've seen them reviewed or featured on a book blog. There are so many books that I have that I never would have even known existed, or probably wouldn't have bought, unless I had seen it on a blog. That's one of the many reasons why I love blogging, and I love the blogging community! There are a hundreds of bloggers that I follow and who have greatly influenced me in buying books, one of the foremost being The Story Siren. Anyone who says that "bloggers don't sell books" are most definitely incorrect, because my book purchasing has sky rocketed ever since I started getting involved in the blogging community.
Those are the most common ways that I use to choose my books. What about you? Do you use any of the above ways? If not, what do you do? Tell me about it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Bookarazzi: Edition 2 (Wolfsbane & Wildefire)

News flash! Two new fantastic YA books hit the market today! Wildefire by Karsten Knight is a debut paranormal novel, and Wolfsbane is the sequel to the best selling Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. Get your shiny new copies, they're just waiting to be read!

Buy the Book:
Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm. 

Buy the Book:
This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended–Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer–one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack–and the man–she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.
Now, I don't know about you but I am SO EXCITED to read both of these. I've read several reviews on Wildefire that say it's one of the best books of 2011. The concept off a main character being a fire goddess is so appealing to me, I really just can't wait to get a copy and start reading it!

And of course, Wolfsbane is the sequel to Nightshade, which I bloody loved. One of the main guys, Ren, stole my heart. Calla was a kick ass female main character, too. I NEED TO READ THIS BOOK AND FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS!

Has anyone read them yet? What do you think? If not, are you excited to read them too?

Monday, July 25, 2011

This Is Teen Signing RECAP: Libba Bray, Maggie Stiefvater & Meg Cabot

On Saturday, July 23rd, Libba Bray, Maggie Stiefvater, and Meg Cabot all came down to the Books & Books in Miami for the final This Is Teen event, and I was lucky enough to attend. I got there at about 6:30 (the event started at 7) and the place was already majorly packed! There were tons of people. The event was in this big room, and they had rows and rows of seats. When it started, just about every seat was filled, and I"m pretty sure that there were people standing too!
Me in my seat WAY in the back. I had just gotten there.
When I walked in, I recognized Harmony from Harmony's Radiant Reads and we talked for a good while about books and all that great stuff. It was so awesome to meet her, she is super great. Check out her blog! :) (I'm bummed I didn't get a picture with her, but hopefully next time!)

Maggie Stiefvater (this pic was taken with my phone,
 sorry it's crappy)
Finally, at around 7:10, the 3 wonderful ladies filed in and took their seats up front. Of course, there was a lot of cheering and screeching (a lot of it coming from me, lol). Maggie took the mic first, and started telling us some hilarious stories. She had everyone laughing so hard! (My mom said that Maggie should moonlight as a comedienne in her spare time, haha.) She asked if anyone cried at movies or books, and when a lot of people said yes she said "Well, I don't. Ever." And then she said that when she was rereading The Time Traveler's Wife for the second time, even though she knew how it ended, knew exactly what was going to happen, she started crying. "And not that single tear drop that makes your husband say 'Aw, you're so cute when you cry!' No, this was that ugly, snotty crying that makes your husband say 'Why do you do this to yourself?!' And later, when I was getting over it, and I was moving on, I thought: 'I want to write a book that ruins someone's evening like that." And that's why she wrote Shiver, lol. Oh, Maggie.

Then she told us why she writes about wolves. But, she would like to clarify that she doesn't write about werwolves. "When they're wolves, they're just normal wolves. And when they're humans, they're just emo kids who read German poetry." She told us the story of her encounter with stunt wolves in Budapest (you know, wolves that they use in movies and stuff). That was an even longer story, so I'm not going to type it out.

Meg Cabot
Then Meg Cabot took the mic next and told us about how she started writing stories. When she was younger, she loved to draw, and felt more comfortable showing her drawings to people than her stories. Then when her dad died, she realized it didn't matter what people thought about her work, just that she tried to get it out there, so she sent her work out to as many people as she could and got rejected "every day for 3 years, except for Sundays and Christmas, because the mail doesn't come on those days." And then one day her mom called and said that she was dating Meg's old art teacher, "The one who didn't like my unicorn drawing." That gave her the idea to write a story about a girl whose mom is was dating her teacher, which ended up being the best selling Princess Diaries series. 

Meg then proceeded to blow all of our minds with the best reenactment EVER of Kristin Stewart's acting in the Breaking Dawn trailer when she feels something move in her stomach. I didn't get a picture of that, but trust me, it was amazing. To which the mic was handed to Libba, who said the awesome pun "Is it Breaking Dawn, or Breaking Water?"

It was Libba's turn to talk, and she told us a hilarious story of when she was 15 and at the pool with her friend and tried to impress some hot guys but ended up bashing her face against the metal railing as she tried to sexily dive in. I know, it sounds harsh, but trust me, when Libba said it we were all cracking up, haha. She then did an awesome Mad Libs with us to describe her book, Beauty Queens, to us, with some totally hilarious results. If a novel called "Eat. Pray. Thrust." or "Accountants: Some of Us Are Not People" comes out soon by Libba, that's because of the weird answers that were shouted out during this time.

All 3 of them there up front.
Then there was an open Q & A session with all three authors. Some pretty good questions were asked too. I think the first one was "Who is your ideal reader?" The authors asked for clarification and the girl who asked the question said "Like, Stephen King says that his wife Tabitha is his ideal reader. She reads all his work and tells him if it's good or not, and she even saved some books from the garbage. So who is your ideal reader?"

Libba: "Tabitha King"
Meg: "Tabitha King"
Maggie: "ME."

Another question was "Who was your favorite character to write?"

Libba: "From the Gemme Doyle trilogy, it would have to be Miss Moore. I don't want to spoil anything, but it she was an interesting character. And from Beauty Queens, it would be either Taylor or Petra, those two surprised me."
Meg: "From Abandon, it would be John. He's very tortured and messed up." {I might be paraphrasing a bit there.} Meg also said something about one of her adult series, but I unfortunately didn't catch it.
Maggie: "Definitely Cole St. Clare. He started off as a... well, you know." {I do believe she meant something along the lines of "douchebag" or "asshole"} "And by the end of the series, he wasn't one that much anymore. He grew a lot."

Question for Libba: "How did you come up with all the weird things in our books? Like in 'Beauty Queens' you have Christian Pole Dancing, and I thought that was hilarious!"

Libba: "Well, I grew up in a family where people would just walk by and yell out things that didn't really make sense... and then something would randomly catch on fire. I also grew up with Monty Python and {another title of something that I can't remember right now} so I never notice what's weird or not. Like someone will say to me "Going Bovine is about a kid who has Mad Cow disease and he  meets a punk angel who is addicted to sugar..." and I'll say, "Yeah, what's weird about that?" I don't notice the weird because, to me, it's not weird."

There were a few more questions, but honestly I can't remember them. But that's about the gist of it. And then Meg, Libba, and Maggie all played the Newly Wed Game, where they had to see who knew the most about each other by answering questions. Meg won, and got a hula grass skirt and a flower crown. :)

After that, the signing started. The line was HUGE. I got my stuff signed by Maggie first. :)
Maggie signing my book
Maggie and I
Then I got Meg to sign my stuff.
Meg and I
And lastly I got in line for Libba. Her line was the longest, she was super sweet and really took her time talking to everyone individually. She even asked me about my blog! :)
Libba signing my book
Libba and I
I went home after that. It was such a great night, it was worth all the waiting. And it was my first author signing ever! :)

Did anyone else go? Or have you met Libba, Maggie, or Meg at any other time?


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