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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Celebrating NYE...with CUPCAKES of course!

We're getting closer to midnight and to 2012 and I'm celebrating with cupcakes...cupcakes for my Cupcakes ;)



Are you asking yourself "Are those cupcakes BLUE?! With GREEN and PURPLE frosting?!"
Yes. Yes they are :D


 I hope y'all have a fun and safe New Year's Eve and I hope your 2012 is a kick-ass year full of love, books, and yummy cupcakes!
I <3 you all!!!

**I want to thank my uber talented little sister, Nikki, for taking those AMAZING pictures above! She's a wonderful photographer, no?!**




My Favorite Reads of 2011



As I prepare to say a fond farewell to 2011 and a cheery howdy to
I've been looking back at ALL the books I've read this year and realized I've had the pleasure and joy of reading some flippin' awesome and fantabulous books this year!
And, as I sit here trying to come up with a top ten list of my favorite reads I've realized that that is an almost impossible task O_O
But, I did it...sorta. I did come up with a top ten list, but I kinda cheated by only counting certain series as one book :P
Oh and I had to do two list: one for YA and one for MG.
But hey, I did do it! So here they are...

Top 10 YA Reads of 2011
*these are books I've read in 2011 but may not have been published in 2011*
In absolutely no particular order:

1. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
2. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
4. Whirl by Emma Raveling
5. Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout
6. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin


7. Warm Delicacy Series by Megan Duncan
8. The Protectors Saga by P.M. Dooling


9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
10. A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin

Top MG/KidsLit Reads
in no particular order

Scary School by Derek the Ghost
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Honorable Mentions
(Did I mention I've read A LOT of great books this year?!)

The Waking Grove by E.S. Lark
Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

So, what do ya think of my lists? What were your favorite reads of 2011?! 
I can't wait to do this again a year from now...ya know, unless that whole 2012 Apocalypse, end of the world thingie happens ;)






In My Mailbox (11)





In My Mailbox...is a meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren, and is a way for bloggers to share all the bookish (books they've won, been given, given for review, checked out from the library)  goodness that recently came into their possession.

"Here's the mail, it never fails.  
 It makes me want to wag my tail.   
When it comes I want to wail - Maillllllll!"
 (Mail Song from Blue's Clues)

Welcome to the last IMM of 2011! And lucky for me, my mailbox has been full of lots of awesome books this last week of the year...


**updated** This ARC literally arrived in my mailbox like 20 minutes after I published this post :D


Pictured

Won or Gifted

The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
a gift from my brother and his girlfriend...Thank You!
 Bone Dressing *signed* Michelle Brooks
won from Andrea at The Bookish Babes and sent by the author...Thanks ladies!
Hunted *signed* Cheryl Rainfield
Scars *signed* Cheryl Rainfield
won during the Hunted Twitter Party...Thanks Cheryl!

For Review

 Pure  *ARC* Jennifer Armentrout
sent from Spencer Hill Press for review...Thank You!
The Ocean and the Hourglass Dan O'Brien
sent from author for review...Thank You!
Storybound Marissa Burt
sent from Harper Collins for review...Thank You!

Purchased

Catching Fire Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay Suzanne Collins


Ebooks Purchased


The Poison Diaries Maryrose Wood
Life of Pi Yann Martel
Destined Jessie Harrell
Exiled RaShelle Workman

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway Hop


Welcome to my stop on the Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway Hop!
*teehee, that rhymed*
I want to thank Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Babs from Babs Book Bistro for hosting this giveaway!

I'm thrilled to be a part of this giveaway hop and excited to celebrate the New Year by giving away something awesome to one of you!

I'm Giving Away...
The winner's choice of either
Any book(s) from The Book Depository totaling $13 or less

OR


A $13 Amazon Gift Card (ecode)

This giveaway is open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to your country
There will be one (1) winner
Giveaway will run from 12 am Dec. 30 - Jan 3 at 11:59 pm
To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter form.
Be sure to hop along to the other stops too (linky below form)

Only mandatory entry: be a GFC follower
  • Must be 13 or older to enter
  • One main entry per person
  • Must be a GFC follower
  • Open internationally as long as TBD ships to you
  • Winner will be emailed Jan 4 and must claim prize within 48 hours or new winner will be chosen
  • I am NOT responsible for lost or damaged prizes in the mail









Review: Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman



TITLE: Jabberwocky                      AUTHOR: Daniel Coleman
PUB DATE: April 1, 2011               FORMAT: ebook, 145 pages 
SOURCE: from author in exchange for my honest review



The story behind Lewis Carroll's masterpiece poem. You know how it ends, but you won't believe how it happens.





THREE WORDS: Whimsical, Fantastical, Exciting

MY REVIEW: Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland is an iconic world, so to write a story inspired by Carroll’s words and set in his iconic world, must be quite a daunting undertaking. But with Jabberwocky, Daniel Coleman as done just that, and he has done it brilliantly.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”
-Lewis Carroll

Based on the poem appearing in Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, Coleman’s Jabberwocky tells the story of one young boy’s journey from farm boy to Elite soldier. Fifteen year old Tjaden and his best friend Ollie have dreams of being among the King’s Elite soldiers, and they get the chance after Tjaden proves himself a worthy candidate to attend the Academy after rescuing a young girl, Elora (whom he has a crush on), from a fearsome Bandersnatch. But soon, Tjaden finds himself having to go up against an even deadlier foe, the Jabberwocky, a foul beast that kidnaps young maidens…and Elora ends up being the beast’s latest victim. So Tjaden sets out to rescue Elora with nothing more than his bravery, love for her, and his vorpal sword.

I absolutely love what Coleman has created with Jabberwocky. Coleman has not simply recreated Carroll’s Wonderland, he’s expanded it and wonderfully so. Like Carroll’s works set in Wonderland, Coleman’s Jabberwocky is whimsical and fantastical, yet also sophisticated and eloquent. Coleman certainly has a captivating way with words.

Jabberwocky is a shorter read at only 145 pages, but it is very much a satisfying read. Perfectly paced, Jabberwocky is gripping and will hold the attention of even young readers from beginning to end. I love how each separate part of the book begins with a stanza from the infamous poem, alluding to what’s to come in that specific part. I was very impressed with Coleman’s creativity and ability to take a poem of merely 28 lines and create an entire story around it.

The world Coleman has created and described is vivid and well developed. This is a world that readers will have no problem simply falling into. The fantasy aspects are light, but very exciting and fun. Coleman’s characters are compelling and charming. Tjaden makes for a believable and likeable hero, Ollie is absolutely endearing as the funny sidekick, and Elora is one kick-butt and graceful heroine. And of course, you have the Jabberwocky himself, who will surprise and thrill you. Coleman’s characterization of the Jabberwocky and the backstory he has given this beast is beautifully rendered.

MY FINAL THOUGHTSReaders young and old, those familiar with Carroll’s Wonderland and those who have yet to discover it, will be enthralled by Coleman’s words and will find delight in Tjaden’s journey. Daniel Coleman has made splendid sense of Carroll’s spectacular nonsense, and I loved every moment of it. Jabberwocky is a MUST read!

MY RATING
5/5 CUPCAKES
Jabberwocky

You can find Daniel Coleman here:

You can purchase this book here:
Ebook (only .99!)
Amazon  
Paperback:


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (13)



"Waiting On" Wednesday... is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week I'm waiting on...


Above
Leah Bobet
4/1/12
Matthew's father had lion's feet and his mother had gills, and both fled the modern-day city to live in underground Safe, a secret community of freaks, ghost-whisperers, and disabled outcasts hidden beyond the subways and sewers. Raised underground, Matthew is responsible for the keeping of both Safe's histories and the traumatized shapeshifter Ariel, the girl he took in, fell in love with – and can't stop from constantly running away.
But Safe is no longer safe: the night after a frightening encounter in the sewers, Safe's founder Atticus is murdered by the one person Safe ever exiled: mad Corner, whose coup is backed by an army of mindless, whispering shadows.
Only Matthew, Ariel, and a handful of unstable, crippled compatriots escape to the city that cast them out; the dangerous place he knows only as Above. Despite Ariel's increasingly erratic behaviour and with the odds against them, Matthew must find a way to rescue Safe from Corner's occupying army. But as his quest leads him through abandoned asylums and the dregs of urban poverty, Matthew discovers that the histories he's devoted his life to aren't true: Corner's invasion -- and Ariel's terrors – are rooted in a history of Safe much darker and bloodier than Matthew ever imagined.
And even if he manages to save both home and Ariel, he may well lose himself.
Above
Summary from leahbobet.com

Holy guacamole this book sounds uber awesome, no?! Seriously, this book had me at a "community of freaks, ghost-whisperers, and disabled outcasts". Just from this brief blurb I can already picture this book's world and characters. And looky at the cover! So pretty-full *sighs*
I CANNOT wait to get my hands on this delicious book!


WHAT ARE YOU WAITING ON THIS WEEK?! LEAVE LINKS IN THE COMMENTS :)

eARC Review: TEMPEST by Julie Cross


TITLE: Tempest                                        SERIES: Tempest #1
AUTHOR: Julie Cross                               PUB DATE: 1/17/12
PUB: St. Martin's Griffin                           FORMAT: eARC
SOURCE: Netgalley.com




The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun. That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities. But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him. Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.


THREE WORDS: Original. Suspenseful. Overwhelming.

MY REVIEW: I was drawn to Tempest by its exciting and intriguing synopsis and Julie Cross does offer an exciting and intriguing story. However, I didn’t find myself loving this book as a whole, as much as I had hoped I would.

          MY BRIEF SUMMARY
Nineteen year old Jackson seems to have it all-money, looks, friends, a great girl, and even the ability to time travel. Because nothing changes in the present, in 2009, when Jackson jumps, he can have fun with his ability and not worry about the consequences. But then the unthinkable happens. Two strange men who seem to know about his abilities show up and Holly, his girlfriend, is shot. During the struggle Jackson accidentally jumps and ends up back in 2007 and can’t jump back. Stuck, Jackson must stay in 2007 and learn about his abilities while getting to know a then 17 year old Holly. Jackson soon learns just where is abilities come from and who had all the answers all along.

          STORY
Tempest is certainly as suspenseful and as original as the synopsis makes it seem. I was really impressed by Julie Cross’ intricate and complex plot. Cross offers readers a thrilling story, likable characters, and a compelling romance.

The sci-fi/paranormal time travel aspects of this book are creative and unique. Cross has definitely taken the idea of time travel and added her own twists and ideas to create something that is distinct and new. I did like that an explanation for Jackson’s time traveling ability is given and readers are not left to simply accept the fact that he can do what he can do, simply because he can do it.

However, I do think that idea behind Jackson’s abilities can get slightly overwhelming and confusing. I often found myself confused while reading simply because there is so much going on in this book and things aren’t always properly explained or touched upon. Because Jackson jumps back and forth between time, there are quite a few dates and timelines that readers must keep straight and I wasn’t always able to, which kind of distracted me and pulled me out of the story.

The pacing is a bit unbalanced. Some parts of the book are fast paced and exciting, while other parts drag. There are several scenes toward the end that actually feel like an ending and I thought were the actual ending, but then something else would happen or some new revelation would be thrown at me and the story would continue. I think this was meant to make the book unpredictable and more thrilling, but it just made it feel like the ending was dragged out. The rest of the book is suspenseful enough that these semi-endings weren’t needed. And there were several scenes, chapters, and revelations that could have been condensed and remained efficient.

But as a whole, I did enjoy Jackson’s story and journey. Cross does do a great job of setting up suspenseful mysteries surrounding Jackson’s abilities, his father, and his enemies, and then revealing the clues and answers to those mysteries at the perfect time. And there are definitely a few mysteries and questions left unanswered that have left me intrigued enough to want to read the next book in the series.

          CHARACTERS
Despite any issues I may have had with the story itself, I did really like the characters in Tempest.

I liked that this book was told from Jackson’s point of view and I felt like I really got to know him as a character. Jackson is definitely a sympathetic character that readers will feel invested in. He’s perfectly flawed and equally lovable and frustrating.

Holly, Jackson’s girlfriend, is such an interesting character because we get to see two different versions of her- a mature 19 year old and a less serious, more open 17 year old. To really be invested in this story, readers need to believe that Holly is worth all the pain and trouble Jackson goes through to save her, and she totally is.

Adam makes for a fun, adorkable character for readers and a believable and needed BFF for Jackson. Jackson’s father is one of those characters that I never expected to like as much as I did and I found myself really invested in his story as well.

The one character that really stood out to me is Courtney, Jackson’s twin sister. Courtney actually died in 2005, but we get to know her through Jackson’s time jumps. The relationship between Jackson and Courtney is incredibly touching and powerful. There are several scenes between them that brought me to tears and moved me. I also really liked the mysteries and questions surrounding Courtney’s character that Cross alludes to and I hope we get to see more of her in future books.

The Enemies of Time make for intriguing bad guys and I look forward to learning more about them.

          ROMANCE
The relationship between Jackson and Holly is such an integral part of this book and it definitely does not disappoint. Again, I found it captivating to get to see Jackson and Holly’s relationship in 2009 and their relationship in 2007, when originally Holly and Jackson don’t even meet until 2009.

Cross does a lovely and wonderful job of actually showing this romance and love unfold naturally and realistically; we actually get to see them fall in love. There’s no insta-love here! This is a romance that will move you, break you, and leave you thoughtful.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Julie Cross’ characters and creative plot are engaging and captivating, but even they can’t distract from the book’s pacing issues and tendency to be overwhelming. But, overall, I really liked Tempest and will definitely be reading the next book in the series. 

MY RATING
3/5 CUPCAKES

Tempest (Tempest #1)

You can find Julie Cross here:
You can pre-order/purchase this book here:
Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (17)


Teaser Tuesdays... is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"The first thing I saw was the blood. It had seeped across the carpet almost all the way to the hall from where the woman was lying. She was curled on the floor by the foot of the bed, facing toward me. Her eyes were closed, but her mouth was pulled back in a grimace like she'd been snarling when she died. Her arms were wrapped around a toddler, who was  staring at nothing, his face pale and blue. His pajamas were soaked red. It looked like she'd sliced herself open from wrist to elbows and held him while she bed out."
The Way We Fall
Megan Crewe
1/24/12The Way We Fall




Monday, December 26, 2011

Musing Mondays (14) and It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (11)


MUSING MONDAYS…is a weekly event hosted by Should Be Reading where MizB will ask a book/reading-related question, and you answer with your own thoughts on the topic



Did you get any books for Christmas? If so, what were they? If you didn’t, what books are you most looking forward to reading (and/or buying) in the new year?
I was a very spoiled and lucky girl this Christmas because my parents and brothers got together and bought me a brand new Kindle Fire!!! Yep, I have the best family evah! In celebration of my new "toy" I bought myself a few ebooks that were on sale: Destined, The Poison Diaries, and Exiled. I also took advantage of the new Kindle Lending Library and borrowed The Hunger Games...yes, I am very late to THG party but I'm totally loving it so far. I was also lucky enough to get a brand new paperback copy of THG from my brother and his girlfriend, which is awesome since I don't actually get to keep the Kindle version. My grandma also gave me some book buying money for Christmas so this week I will blissfully be book shopping online! Not exactly sure which books I'll buy, but I think I may get a couple of books I haven't had the chance to read and maybe a few pre-orders...any suggestions?! 

WHAT BOOKS DID YOU GET?!



It's Monday! What Are You Reading... hosted by Book Journey, is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!


I Recently Read
Awkward
Marni Bates
1/1/12
Mackenzie Wellesley has spent her life avoiding the spotlight. At Smith High, she's the awkward junior people only notice when they need help with homework. Until she sends a burly football player flying with her massive backpack and makes a disastrous - not to mention unwelcome - attempt at CPR. Before the day is out, the whole fiasco explodes on YouTube. And then the strangest thing happens. Suddenly, Mackenzie is an Internet sensation, with four million hits and counting. Sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes, she even catches the eye of the most popular guy at school. And that's when life gets really interesting..
Read my 4 Cupcake Review
Tempest (Tempest #1)
Julie Cross
1/17/12
The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun. That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.
But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him. Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.
Look for my review on 12/28/11
Currently Reading
The Hunger Games (THG #1)
Suzanne Collins
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister Primrose, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before — and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love
Reading Next
The Way We Fall
Megen Crewe
1/24/12
It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in. And then you're dead. 
When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back. Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest. Because how will she go on if there isn't?


WHAT ARE YOU READING?!
LEAVE LINKS TO YOUR MONDAY MEMES IN THE COMMENTS. IF YOU'RE A NEW FOLLOWER LET ME KNOW SO I CAN FOLLOW YOU BACK :)