Thursday, June 28, 2012

Some Days I Just Want To Read...

Six, nearly seven months into the year and I've realized something...

Some days I really just want to read. I want to glue myself to a chair, or the couch, or my bed, and JUST READ. The other night I read Auracle by Gina Rosati in practically one sitting. I had gotten about 20 pages in earlier that day, went out, did some stuff when I came home, sat down on my bed, and just read; straight through, no stopping, just soaking it in.

Safe to say, it was a reading day.

And I don't think I have very many of those days anymore.

My job messes with my sleeping hours and, most of the time, I just relax, doing nothing. Reading takes up too much brain power for me most days. Horrible, right? Especially since I love it so much.
That being said, I haven't read nearly as much this year as I did last year. I haven't reviewed nearly as much and I certainly haven't checked out nearly as many blogs. It sucks, but it's life. I still haven't figured out the perfect way to balance work, reading, blogging, and maintaining a social life.

I'm not sure I ever will, but I'll have to settle for THIS for now.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, today is sooooo not a reading day. It's a curl up and sleep day. And a work day. Boo for work!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Review: Croak by Gina Damico

Title: Croak
Author: Gina Damico
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Graphia (HMH)
Paperback, 311 pages
Date Published: March 20, 2012
Source: Bought
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's parents ship her off to upstate
New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of
dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort's true occupation is
much dirtier than shoveling manure.
He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach Lex the family business.
She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by
reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can't stop her desire for
justice--or is it vengeance?--whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to
stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with
her reaper skills?
Croak is a town out in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. It also happens to be a town full of Grims – people who literally cultivate the dead. Lexington Bartleby happens to be Croak’s newest resident (the population number even changes when she crosses the town line) and wacky mayor Mort’s niece. Lex is quite the spitfire, with her attitude, stubbornness, and penchant for fighting; she’s also unabashedly sarcastic and acts a bit childish at times.

Despite that, I loved Lex. She rarely thinks before she acts and mouths off far too much, but she’s easy to relate to and her actions make sense in the grand scheme of things. Not to mention the entire nature of the Grims is interesting and takes a whole new spin on grim reapers. The Killers, the Cullers, and all other Grim people live in this bubble that no one else knows about. They’re isolated, but have found a way to live fulfilling and fun lives. The town of Grim is as much a character as Lex.

Speaking of characters though, there are a good number of them. Lex feels very real. She has her issues and I loved her for them. Her frustratingly wonderful partner, Driggs, is the level head when Lex wants to go off half-cocked. He attempts to keep her grounded, but she’s hard one to rein in. Their relationship has just the right amount of spark and tension to keep their scenes nice and interesting.

Croak is an intelligent and witty read, full of dark ends and clever interactions. Gina Damico has shown up with a truly unique and amusing read. I devoured Croak, flew through its pages, and cannot wait to see where Lex goes from here and if she can learn to rein in her attitude enough to do what must be done.

Opening line: Lex wondered, for a fleeting moment, what her principal’s head might look like if it were stabbed atop a giant wooden spear. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages: “Well, you did just shiv your own uncle with a stick.” ~ pg. 40
And another one:
“Oh my God,” she said, rolling her eyes. “This is so high school. I’m gonna go cry into my locker.”
“Forget it. We’ll talk later.”
“Good idea. That’ll give me time to consult my cootie catcher.” ~ pg. 258
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Gina Damico online:

Buy it online:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Giveaway: Mirage SIGNED by Kristi Cook + swag!

This is a little late, but back on June 12th, I had the chance to go to NYC with the lovely Cindy Thomas (who recently signed with an agent because she's awesome) to venture to Kristi Cook's launch for MIRAGE.

Pizza eating, sandwich-making, and house tours occurred. Along with NY drivers, rain, and a gloriously fun night at Books of Wonder!

So not only was Kristi launching MIRAGE into the world, but Amalie Howard, author of Bloodspell, and Corey F. Godwell, author and illustrator, were there as well. Suffice to say, it was a great time. Check out the photos below and head to the bottom of the post for the giveaway.

Amalie reading from Bloodspell

Kristi reading from Mirage
Corey with the Winterhaven posters he created for Kristi's series

Find Kristi Cook online:

Buy it online:

Friday, June 22, 2012

In Case You Missed the Cover: Unravel Me & Taken

There have been soooo many incredible cover reveals lately and here are two:

Scheduled for release February 5, 2013

Description (Taken from HarperTeen):
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

Find Tahereh Mafi online:

Pre-order it online:


Scheduled for release on April 16, 2013

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends...and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

Find Erin Bowman online:

Pre-order it online:

No other pre-order links available :(

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review: Purity by Jackson Pearce

Title: Purity
Author: Jackson Pearce
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown
Hardcover, 218 pages
Date Published: April 24, 2012
Source: Publisher
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
A novel about love, loss, and sex -- but not necessarily in that order.

Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby's father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives -- in other words, no "bad behavior," no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex.

Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision -- to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.
Jackson Pearce holds a special place in my heart because I’ve loved her retellings, but Purity is something entirely different from her previous work. And it’s just as good, if not better. Purity has this depth to it that I didn’t quite expect.

Shelby is looking to lose her v-card, not because she’s ready or she necessarily wants to, but because she made these Promises to her mom on her deathbed, and one of those Promises was to listen and obey her dad. Somehow she interprets this by skirting his orders and her plan to get around a purity vow at the Princess Ball is to have sex before the ball, making said vow null and void. It sounds kind of crazy (and it is), but I get it, I really do.

Pearce has this way of making Shelby’s thinking process make perfect sense. A plan to pop the cherry is insane and Shelby does struggle with it. She struggles with the loss of her mother, of the disconnect with her father, and with her anger towards God. She’s lost and beyond confused. The Promises and the Life List (like a bucket list, but a little more lengthy and daring) give her focus, give her purpose beyond herself. She lives without restraint, jumping off of bridges and such, because she thinks that’s what her mother wanted her to do. To be there for her father, to love, and to live. The only problem is that Shelby’s mother is gone and she has no idea just how much and how far she should be going to keep the Promises.

Shelby’s two besties, Ruby and Jonas, bring some fantastic humor to the story as well. The writing is not only funny, but clever. These teens aren’t stupid and it shows. Jonas and Ruby don’t 100% agree with what she’s doing, but they support her and, in turn, drudge up some hilarious one-liners. Shelby’s constant struggle with religion also has its funny moments. But the honest way Shelby approaches it – with skepticism, but a desire to believe in something – gives the story a great deal of heart

Purity is much more than a fluff story about a girl desperate to lose her virginity; it is about loss, about life, and about love. Jackson Pearce has shown that she can easily move outside of fantasy and approach contemporary YA with just as much skill as seasoned veterans. Purity is reminiscent of Sarah Ockler, in that it’s wondrously funny, but heart-rending at the same time. I’m eager to see Pearce dish out more and more contemporary in the future.

Opening line: When I said it, I didn’t mean it. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages: People expect you to miss the big things after someone you love dies. They expect you to think about graduating, falling in love, getting married without your mother there. And I do think about those things. But the things I really miss are smaller, fractions of my life intersected with hers, the moments I didn’t bother remembering because they seemed too unimportant – going to the grocery store, coming down the stairs in the morning, watching television, folding laundry. Things that happened a thousand times that will never happen again. ~ pgs. 41-42
Now less serious, more hardy har har
“Oh, and I put some extra makeup in that bag – you need to wear more blush and some sparkly powder. Sparkly powder was made for balls, even creepy virgin ones.” ~ pg. 201
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 
Find Jackson Pearce online:

Buy it online:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

In My Mailbox - (6/17/12)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at the The Story Siren. It is a list of any of the books you may have received in the past week from bookstores, libraries, authors/publishers, trades, etc.

I've been meaning to do one of these since before I finally am now. This is a collection of books from the past month or so; all non-BEA related.

For Review:
Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London
Splendors & Gloom by Laura Amy Schlitz

Possess SIGNED by Gretchen McNeil
Fair Coin SIGNED by E. C. Myers
Scarlet SIGNED by A.C. Gaughen
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Across the Universe (PB) by Beth Revis
The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5) by Cassandra Clare

Mirage (Winterhaven, #2) SIGNED by Kristi Cook

I also had the pleasure of running into local debut author Gina Rosati, who threw lots and lots of bookmarks at me :)

*Special thanks to Harper, Candlewick, Kristi Cook, Cindy!!, and Gina

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review: A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Title: A Tale Dark & Grimm
Author: Adam Gidwitz
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Hardcover, 251 pages
Date Published: October 28, 2010
Source: Bought
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches. Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after.
A Tale Dark & Grimm is certainly dark at times and very much grim as well. Adam Gidwitz’s fairy tale retelling is imaginative and properly Grimm. There is blood and death and despair, but also happiness in its pages. Hansel and Gretal are the two main characters and they give the reader an instant connection. We know who these two children are, but we’ve never heard their story this way before. And I must say, this version of their tale is far more complicated and gloomy than anything I ever expected.

We all know the tale of Hansel and Gretel and we’ve all heard many Grimm Brothers tales, but I guarantee that no one has ever read something like this before. Gidwitz has deftly woven several Grimm stories into the lives of young Hansel and Gretel. We get dragons and man beasts and old women with houses made of food; there are kingdoms and devils and destruction. The best part though, the part that middle grade readers will revel in, is that, in the end, it’s the children that conquer; the children that make all of it worthwhile.

A Tale Dark & Grimm is a fun, fast-paced, creatively entertaining fairy tale retelling that readers will love. It’s a bit darker than most fairy tales are, but stays in the vein of the original Grimm Brothers tales. There are lessons in each chapter, and two characters to adore and grow with. Oh, and the narrator is hilarious throughout…what with his warnings to children and the bad things to come.

Opening line: Once upon a time, in a kingdom called Grimm, an old king lay on his deathbed. ~ pg. 5

Favorite lines/passages: You see, to find the brightest wisdom one must pass through the darkest zones. And through the darkest zones there can be no guide.
No guide, that is, but courage. ~ pg. 238

 4.5 stars
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Adam Gidwitz online:

Buy it online:

Monday, June 11, 2012

BEA Haul 2012

I was able to get sooo many books that I really wanted at BEA...and I wanted to share the ones I am MOST excited about here, so you can be on the lookout for my crazy love for them!

Entice (Violet Eden Chapters, #2) by Jessica Shirvington
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
Deity (Covenant, #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Cursed SIGNED by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
Altered by Jennifer Rush
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues
Every Day SIGNED by David Levithan
Keeper of the Lost Cities SIGNED by Shannon Messenger
Skylark SIGNED by Meagan Spooner
Fathomless SIGNED by Jackson Pearce
Red Rain SIGNED by R.L. Stine
Days of Blood & Starlight (chapter sampler) by Laini Taylor
The Kill Order (chapter sampler) SIGNED by James Dashner

*Totes meant to add Endangered by Eliot Schrefer, but forgot to add it to the picture because I'm reading it now!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

BEA 2012 Wrap-Up

So BEA happened this past week...I spent five days in NYC, having an absolute blast!

Last year's BEA was stressful and a very chaotic, but this year I have no complaints. The outside events were spectacular, the authors were all so kind, and the publisher's were beyond nice. I have so many highlights and moments I'd love to relive, but that would make this post way too long, so I'll share a few.
BEA 2012 stairs
Day 1: The day of OMG I have no idea where I'm going
Meeting R.L. Stine - I think this may be my favorite moment from the entire convention, no just day 1
I wanted to make it to the R.L. Stine signing, but it wasn't my number one priority. Once I was in line, I was excited...once I got up to the table, I kind of fangirled because it was R.L. STINE. And he was there, in front of me, talking to me, signing his adult book (Red Rain) for me, and joking with me.

It was an incredible moment and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Day 2: The day of much awesomeness
Meeting Chris Colfer - Because he's Chris Colfer and his book looks sooooo good

Hanging out for 1.5 hours in the HarperTeen signing line for Veronica Roth, Bethany Griffin, Aprilynne Pike, and Elizabeth Norris

Meeting Jennifer L. Armentrout
Jen was super sweet! I got my copy of Cursed and another book I've been dying for! We were even staying in the same hotel and Jen told me I could stop by her room to get my other book signed...I never did get around to doing that, but it was so kind of her to offer.

Also, the Spencer Hill Press booth was the best! Everyone there was nice and so friendly. I didn't expect anything less from such a fab indie pub.

Day 3: The day of relaxed meandering
BEA was winding down on Thursday, but I still had a nice looking schedule in place. I met James Dashner right off the bat - he's a riot and the nicest! I've seen him several times now and it's kind of cool that I can walk up to him and he remembers me AND my blog! 

I also got to see Jeri Smith-Ready again

I met David Levithan again and was able to get a signed ARC of Every Day!

I also saw Victoria Schwab - who is super awesome and incredible and I want to throw hugs at her - and waited in line to get a signed PB of The Near Witch, with a sneak peek of The Archived

Outside events: The days of was I really invited to this??

S&S threw this fantabulous party and had their book covers blown up on the wall above the bar! That was a sight to see. 
Carmen Rodriguez, Lenore Applehans, Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian, Tonya Hurley, and Shannon Messenger were all open and chatty and wiling to hang out with everyone. The S&S peeps were also kind and made sure they said hi to everyone there.

Having never been to the Scholastic headquarters, it was kind of awesome to walk through the front door and see Harry Potter and The Hunger Games in such a glowing way.

The party was awesome (I've used that word a zillion times in this post) and I had a ton of fun!
The featured authors - James Dashner, Maggie Stiefvater, Eliot Schrefer, Sharon Cameron, Donna Cooner, Jeff Hirsch, Kate Messner, and Raina Telgemeier - all schmoozed around and talked to all the attendees. 
Then! They acted out their books in a live storytelling kind of event. This equaled much hilarity and me yearning for the books.
And for those excited for the Infinity Ring series (who isn't?), James gave us a sneak peek into the video game (so freaking cool) and made me even more ready to start the series.

I'm positive that I'm leaving out so many things, but this post is very long already, so I'm going to wrap it up.

BEA 2012 was a blast! I had so much fun, met so many other great bloggers, authors, publishers, etc. Going to BEA made me excited to be a blogger again, and not just because of the books, but because of the atmosphere. There's something overwhelmingly beautiful to be surrounded by books and by people who love books. It's a wonderful experience and I hope to do it again next year.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Book Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Title: I Hunt Killers
Author: Barry Lyga
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown
Hardcover, 361 pages
Date Published: April 3, 2012
Source: Publisher
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret--could he be more like his father than anyone knows?
Omgomgomg…that is how felt right after finishing I Hunt Killers. That’s because Barry Lyga’s psychological serial killer slasher is incredible! Jasper “Jazz” Dent is screwed up and maybe a killer to be and maybe a killer already, but he’s a teenager that is so amazingly likable. He knows how to play people, thanks to Dear Old Dad – a notorious serial a killer – and he knows that he’s manipulative. Jazz sees his own faults and they scare even him.

But Jazz is grounded by his fragile, but awesome, best friend Howie, and his more than understanding girlfriend Connie. Both of these secondary characters are fleshed out and have some very pivotal scenes. They, along with the local sheriff G. William round out the cast of characters well. Lyga employs Jazz’s narrative and intersperses the killer’s as well, making for a messed up, but thrilling reading experience.

Every chapter, every page offers something new and opens up the story just a little bit more. I had no clue who the killer was the entire time. I had ideas, I had suspicions, but I was so off on all of them. That’s the beauty of Lyga’s story: he writes this compelling, no holds barred story, but he writes it in a smart way. The killer isn’t plain as day and the characters aren’t without fault. Poor Jazz is far more damaged than anyone could imagine. He did grow up with a serial killer for a father though. And that serial killer taught him everything he knew…

I Hunt Killers is a surprisingly gripping and taut thriller, with characters to love and story that refuses to let up. It’s being touted as a Dexter-like read for a younger audience, but having never seen Dexter, I just like to think of I Hunt Killers as a phenomenally engaging and intense read. And the ending is the most screwed up, thrilling, I-want-to-scream-expletives-at-its-perfectness, and an insanely good way to wrap up the book that I’m sitting astonished at Barry Lyga’s genius. MUST. READ. BOOK. 2. NOW.

Opening line: By the time Jazz got to the field outside town, yellow police tape was everywhere, strung from state to stake in a sort of drunken, off-kilter hexagon. ~ pg. 3

Favorite lines/passages: Sometimes hope could be the most frightening thing in the world. ~ pg. 92
“This is why I forgive, but I don’t forget. When you forget someone, the forgiveness doesn’t mean anything anymore. So, let’s say she left. Fine. You forgive her for that. Good. But you’ll never, ever forget her.” ~ pg. 144
And this one:
He easily gathered her in his arms; Gramma was made up of skin and bones and hate and crazy – and hate and crazy don’t weigh anything. ~ pg. 183

*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Barry Lyga online:

Buy it online:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

BEA 2012 BABY!!

It's Sunday and as you read this I'm on my way to NYC and BEA. I'm wicked excited!!

I also had every intention to post more this past week, but work and pre-BEA planning has really eaten into my reading time. In fact, I had planned on posting an IMM today, but because I'm the world's biggest procrastinator, I put off packing - no, I put off even buying a bag to use to pack - until late Saturday.

This post was typed up at 3:30AM on Sunday...because I suck at planning ahead and I'm a total night owl and don't sleep.

So, yeah. BEA. Driving. Probably exhausted.

Peace, hugs, and bookish love <3
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