The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Title:  The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Pages: 323
Genre: YA/ Dystopian
Source: Simon & Schuster
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime. [via GoodReads]
Charlaina, lives in the kingdom of Ludania which is ruled by the ancient Queen Sabara. As all the citizens of Ludania, but especially as a vendor’s daughter, Charlie, has to follow the strict rules imposed by their queen. All the people of the kingdom are segregated by their class and even though they all speak the common language Englaise, they also have their own language depicting their class. Meaning if you are of a lower class and are speaking your tongue yet you look and act as if you are a member of a higher class you are instantly executed.

Charlie understands all the languages in the kingdom – even those of the immigrants that keep coming through her town who are avoiding the rebellion. Which is forbidden!! For she can’t show any reaction to any of the conversations going on around her. If she is confused and answers someone without realizing that they are speaking a language that isn’t that of her vendor class, she knows it can be very dangerous for her and her family. It gets harder and harder every day to hide her talent and should it come out she knows that it’s more than her life that’s at stake.

While I’m a big fan of Ms. Derting’s Body Finder series, I sadly wasn’t impressed with The Pledge. I liked the idea of this dystopian novel, but I somehow didn’t find it very convincing. For starters I had trouble relating to Charlaina and the other characters in the novel. I felt as if you really didn’t get to know them well enough to form that bond between reader and character. I also had some problems with the world building. I love dystopian novels. I even like those where there really isn’t much explanation as to how the world got the way it is – it’s understandable that things get lost in translation. But the little explanation we did get of Ludania was jumble and confusing.

I was intrigued by the storyline, I read the story, rather quickly actually. I’ve always really enjoyed Ms. Derting’s books and I was convinced that it would get better. But sadly, it just didn’t. And while I liked the ending, I especially liked it thinking this was a standalone novel, but I’m now a little disappointed to hear that it’s a series… one that I really don’t think I’ll continue.

My Rating:


2012 Reading Challenges

Challenge guidelines:

This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.

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 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!

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.

When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)

You can move up levels, but no moving down.

Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.

At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it'sunique 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. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.

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 ;)

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 - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL.

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!

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

1. The challenge runs from January 1st, 2012 through December 31st, 2012.

2. "Romance" isn't limited to steamy Harlequin novels. There is a huge selection of books in this category such as contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance to name a few. As long as the story has romantic love between the two main characters your selection will fit this challenge. The novels do not need to have a happy ending either, there can also be unrequited love.

3. Choose at least 5 novels to read. You can change your choices at any time. Crossovers between other challenges are fine.

All kinds of books count such as eBooks, Audiobooks...etc.

If you are looking for suggested reading see Best Romance Novels Today, Romance Novels on Wiki or Best Romance Stories.

In my opinion, you can't go wrong with Jane Austen, Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks and Georgette Heyer.

4. Read the books at your own pace in 2012 then post the link to your review(s). You don't need to have a blog, posting your reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing counts as well.


It goes from January 1st 2012 to December 31st 2012

To sign up, use the form at the end of this post!

You can sign up any time from now until June-ish

I would love you forever if you would follow me, and if you're interested in fairy tales, then you'd probably find my blog interesting anyway!

What Counts
Any retelling at all, or original fairy tales. When I say original fairy tales, I mean books that include many elements of many fairy tales, but aren't actually based on any fairy tales. Some examples are The Princess Bride by William Goldman or Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (BEST BOOK EVER!) Basically a book that should have a fairy tale based on it, but it's too late for it to be the other way around.
All you need is a desire to read fairy tales, and preferably a way to post reviews. Whether it be a blog, Goodreads, or Amazon, it doesn't matter.

3 books - Peasant
6 books - Fairy
9 Books - Witch
12 books - Princess
15 books - Dragon

Here are the guidelines:
1.The challenge will run from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.

2.Since this is an author challenge, there is no restriction on choosing your novels. They can definitely be from other challenges. However, the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels. Anthologies are a great way to try someone new, but only a third of your new authors can be from anthologies.

3.I want this to be an easy challenge, so you can pick to do either 15, 25 or 50 new authors. It all depends on how fast you read and how adventurous you want to be. For me, I want to say I’m going to do another 50 new authors, but with two kids, I didn’t made my goal in 2011, so I’m going to be smarter and say 25. If you reach your goal halfway through the year, don’t stop. Any new author you try can be added to Mr. Linky. We all want to know about your new experience.

4.After reading your new author, write your review and then come back here and add your link to Mr. Linky. Make sure you include your name and the author, but adding the title is completely up to you.

5.Bloggers or Non-Bloggers alike are welcome. You don’t have to have a site to participate. You can link up via Facebook, GoodReads or even Amazon if you’d like.

Challenge Details:
• Timeline: 01 Jan 2012 - 31 Dec 2012
• Rules: Read 100+ books in 2012 (any genre)
• You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront you can change them, nothing is set in stone! The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.
• You can join at anytime. All books read in 2012 count towards the challenge regardless of when you sign up.

• At the beginning of Jan 2012, you will find a link to specific month to add your reviews.
• Audiobooks do not count, but all other formats are accepted.
• Only fiction, no non-fiction.

• This challenge can crossover to other challenges.


• Timeline: 01 Jan 2012 - 31 Dec 2012

• Rules: There are FOUR (4) LEVELS to choose from:

- One Chomp: Read 6 Zombie books in 2012
- Two Chomps: Read 12 Zombie books in 2012
- Three Chomps: Read 18 Zombie books in 2012
- Four Chomps: Read 24 Zombie books in 2012

• You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront you can change them, nothing is set in stone! The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.

• You can join at anytime. All books read in 2012 count towards the challenge regardless of when you sign up.

• At the beginning of Jan 2012, you will find a link to specific month to add your reviews.

• Audiobooks do not count, but all other formats are accepted.

• Only fiction, no non-fiction ;)

• This challenge can crossover to other challenges.

• You DO NOT have to write reviews of the books you read, but if you decide to then Mr Linky will be available each month so you can link up your reviews.


*Goal is to read 12 books in a year. You can pick ANY 12 books you want and read. Starts Jan 1-Dec 31st.
*You can join at anytime.
*Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
*You do not have to be a book blogger to participate. Some people have just a Goodreads page. You can keep track on there too!

*Post this reading challenge on your blog so you can keep a list of the books you’ve read for this challenge. Please include a link back to this post so other readers can join the challenge too.

*You can list your books in advance or list them as you read them. It is not required that you review the books you read for this challenge but feel free to do so!!!
What can I say?!  I love a good challenge. 
Are there any others you guys can recommend worth participating in?  I'm always open for ideas.

Manic Monday Recaps (Week 1/30/12)

[via WeHeartIt]

Happy Monday friends!  Gosh, it's been a while since I've actually pre-planned what I'm reading throughout the week.  Lately it's been more of a "touch and go" scheme.  But I'm doing my best to get back on track and catching up with the tons of books I now have sitting around that haven't been touched.

Here's what I plan on reading this week:

Here's what I read last week:
- The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
- Lover Unleashed by J. R. Ward
- The Ghoul Next Door by Lisi Harrison
- Ripple by Mandy Hubbard
- Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
- Secrets of an Accidental Duchess by Jennifer Haymore

I reviewed the following:
- Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins [review]
- Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie [review]
- Love Story by Jennifer Echols [review]
- Damned by Chuck Palahniuk [review]
- Hourglass by Myra McEntire [review]

Have a great week friends. Happy Reading!


So Many Books, So Little Time [18]

Here are some of the books that I discovered over the past couple of weeks scheduled for release that I cannot wait to get my hands on. I will pay, beg and possibly steal (mwahahaha), just to get a chance at reading one of them.

Born Wicked
by Jessica Spotswood
Releases on 2/07/12

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.
by Alex Flinn
Releases on 2/14/12

Kendra Hilferty, the witch who curses Kyle Kingsbury in Beastly, tells about her immortal existence-how she discovered she was a witch and the various ways she has used her powers to help people throughout the centuries. (Unfortunately her attempts have often backfired.) As it turns out, Kendra has actually had a hand in "Hansel and Gretel," "The Princess and the Pea," and "The Little Mermaid"-but these are not the fairy tales you think you know! Kendra's reminiscences are wrapped around a real-time version of "Cinderella," except the "ugly" stepsister is the good guy. With dark twists, hilarious turns, and unexpected endings, Bewitching is a contemporary read for fairy-tale lovers, fantasy fans, and anyone looking for more Alex Flinn.
by Dan Wells
Releases on 2/28/12

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic in training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws threaten to launch what’s left of humanity into civil war, and she’s not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will discover that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

Dan Wells, acclaimed author of I Am Not a Serial Killer, takes readers on a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.
by Aimee Agresti
Releases on 3/06/12

Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit. 

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel? 

Illuminate is an exciting saga of a teen’s first taste of independence, her experience in the lap of luxury, and her discovery she may possess strength greater than she ever knew.
Spell Bound
by Rachel Hawkins
Releases on 3/13/12

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?
The Last Echo
by Kimberly Derting
Releases on 4/17/12

Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet’s talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it’s Violet’s job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice.

When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by “the girlfriend collector” she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new “relationship” and Violet may have caught his eye...
The Selection
by Kiera Cass
Releases on 4/24/12

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
These are just some of the one's that I'm looking forward to. Which books are you dying to get your hands on?   


Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Title: Hourglass
Author: Myra McEntire
Pages: 400
Genre: YA/ Science Fiction
Source: Amazon Vine Program
One hour to rewrite the past . . .

 For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut [via GoodReads]
Emerson sees ghosts – and like I’m sure any “normal” person would do, she sort of goes crazy. I think that would be the way I would handle it anyway. Her parents’ death and the depression she’s suffering from don’t really help the matter either. But now, somewhat healed, and living with her brother, she endeavors to deal with her condition – you know, the whole “I see dead people” thing. When her brother contacts a secret society called the Hourglass to help her with her “condition,” she’ll find answers that even she couldn’t have imagined.

While I didn’t find that Hourglass was utterly unique, I still found myself intrigued by its storyline. I more or less liked Emerson – she comes off as a kickass girl, independent and fearsome (at times). When she meets Michael things sort of change a little and that’s where some of my concerns lie. At first, Emerson is a strong character – but then Michael walks in and after much description of his hotness and muscles and the like (which btw, is much commented about throughout the story) she sort of loses some of that strong-ness (which is what I liked about her from the start). Most of the explanations she receives she takes at face value. There’s no questioning or experimenting to discover things on her own. I mean her condition is what it is and that is because… well, they said so. I don’t’ know, I expected a little more questioning from her… I guess. I’m not sure if that makes sense if you haven’t read the story but I truly don’t want to give too much away.

While I still enjoyed the story, I found that it got too slow for me somewhere in the middle and I eventually just lost focus. Quite frankly, I forced myself to finish it. I know I’m in the minority here, but I didn’t find it to be all that and a bag of chips like some of the reviews are raving. Yes, there was love, friendships and, of course, the expected, love triangle so that kept me reading, but in the end I found that the storyline wasn’t stellar nor where its characters. Fans of Twilight might enjoy it since I found some very noticeable similarities – and at the same time that might be (the similarities) what turns them off from the story. I also found it reminiscent of X-Men – which may also bring a fan base on that end. Sadly, I found it to be just okay.

My Rating: 


Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

Title: Damned
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Pages: 247
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased
“Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued thirteen-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star and a billionaire, Madison is abandoned at her Swiss boarding school over Christmas, while her parents are off touting their new projects and adopting more orphans. She dies over the holiday of a mari­juana overdose—and the next thing she knows, she’s in Hell. Madison shares her cell with a motley crew of young sinners that is almost too good to be true: a cheerleader, a jock, a nerd, and a punk rocker, united by fate to form the six-feet-under version of everyone’s favorite detention movie. Madison and her pals trek across the Dandruff Desert and climb the treacherous Mountain of Toenail Clippings to confront Satan in his citadel. All the popcorn balls and wax lips that serve as the currency of Hell won’t buy them off. This is the afterlife as only Chuck Palahniuk could imagine it.  [via GoodReads]
Damned is the story of Madison, dead at thirteen from a marijuana overdose. As if that’s not bad enough, because really, who overdoses on marijuana, but on top of that she’s also been damned to Hell (obviously, because of the marijuana.) Throughout her exploits in Hell, she makes a few friends… a popular girl, a nerd, a jock and a rebel – sound familiar? It definitely reminded me of my favorite 80’s detention movie. She also traverses the many landscapes of Hell, i.e.: the Dandruff Desert, past the Great Ocean of Wasted Sperm, even the Sea of Insects (to name a few). But although she finds that Hell isn’t as terrible as she always imagined while alive, she finds that being in Hell is the least of her worries. To get the answers she seeks, she’ll have to do some growing up and face the big guy himself… Satan.

This is my first Chuck Palahniuk book. I know, I know… why haven’t I read him before? Don’t really know. But, know this, this is just the beginning between the relationship Chuck and I have formed. While I’ve read some of the reviews and I can see the majority think this is not Chuck’s best work, I found this dramedy to be downright hilarious. Luckily, I don’t have a weak stomach, since yes, the Great Ocean of Wasted Sperm is one of the lighter things mentioned. I can see where some might be a little queasy even grossed out by some of the things and scenarios depicted. I quite frankly, found Chuck’s satire un-put-down-able. I love the adventures of Hell. I found it hilarious that The English Patient plays endlessly, that you are in a dirty cage, and that if you encounter a demon, they normally devour you limb by limb, then there was the dandruff, toenail clippings, etc. It was wonderful.

The first, in what has been rumored to be a trilogy, Damned was a great intro to Mr. Palahniuk. No, it’s not a masterpiece, but it was definitely enjoyable. I cannot wait to see what he puts Maddie through next.

My Rating:


Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Title: Love Story
Author: Jennifer Echols
Pages: 243
Genre: YA / Fiction
Source: Simon & Schuster
For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.
When Erin puts her foot down and pursues her dream of being a writer – she finds herself stripped of her inheritance and alone at college trying to make a good impression on her creative writing professor and classmates. She writes love stories with her Kentucky farm as the backdrop and her beloved stable boy as her leading man. The same stable boy who her grandmother has bestowed her inheritance upon and whom walks in as the new student in her writing class. As if gaining respect from her classmates as romance author isn’t hard enough. But now, with Hunter (a/k/a the stable boy) in her class reading and criticizing her stories everyone is bound to find out that the stable boy is not just a figment of her imagination.

As one of Jennifer Echols’ fangirls – I was wooed (and I’m sure many of you were too) by the stunning cover and synopsis of Love Story. I mean you can feel the waves of “perfect summer read” coming off of it just from glancing at it. But, (and I’m shrieking at myself over this) – it just didn’t hit the bliss-o-meter, not the way “Going Too Far” and “Forget You” did for me. There were some aspects of the story that I really liked – especially when it came to the stories within the story. Yes, we get to read the short stories Erin and Hunter write for their creative writing class. I loved how it became almost a battle of the minds between them. Questioning and answering each other within their stories. I even enjoyed the time we spend debating with their classmates on the significance of the writing, the characters, the plots, etc. But my reservations were for the characters themselves. I had a hard time relating to Erin and Hunter. Although for the most part, they were realistic, I felt that they bordered on the too dramatic.. which led to moments of frustration on my part. I rooted for their love story to come to fruition but at the same time I found that I really didn’t care that much. Sadly, and I’m seriously pouting over this, I was disappointed.

Now does that mean I’ve given up on Jennifer Echols? Heck no!! On the other hand, I can’t wait for her next book.

My Rating:


I know some of you were wondering.  After my 6 month hiatus, I somehow feel lost starting the blog back up.  I do exist, have existed, just haven't had the time to blog.  In short, life got complicated.  Over the past 6 months, I've taken two new jobs, both at different ends of the world (or so it feels like), have decided to get healthy (lost 60 lbs.), gained 10 back, haven't read as much, but also made more time for my family (the kids are getting big so fast), and pretty much got into a new daily rhythm.  It hasn't been easy.  But alas, I've made it out in one peace, sane of mind, and happy.  That's what matters right?!

Ok, so down to business.  I have no idea what's going on.  I mean, I've visited all my old daily blogs.  Some of you are there, some of you aren't.  I guess my life wasn't the only one to get complicated.  I updated all your cute blog buttons (check you out, on my sidebar).  But I was wondering what new blogs have popped up in the last 6 months that I should follow.  Suggestions...

Also, I see that so many of you are truly faithful followers and stuck around for those 6 months when there was complete and total silence on my end.  I can't tell you how grateful I am for that.  Some of you I never even got around to meeting.  Please introduce yourselves in a comment to this post with a link to your blog.  I would love to drop by and say hello.

I want to get the blog back up to snuff and will be reinstating the Bookcase of the Week feature.  Any of you interested in participating?  If so, please let me know.  I have to start somewhere, why not with your bookcases.

All in all, I'm glad to be back.  I was so happy to hear from some of you guys already.  I've missed blogging, missed book chatting, and missed you. 

Giveaways will also be reinstated soon.  I can't wait!! 

Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

Title: Unleashed (Wolf Springs Chronicles)
Authors: Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
Pages: 382
Genre: YA / Paranormal Fiction
Source: Amazon Vie Program
Katelyn McBride’s life changed in an instant when her mother died. Uprooted from her California home, Katelyn was shipped to the middle of nowhere, Arkansas, to her only living relative, her grandfather. And now she has to start over in Wolf Springs, a tiny village in the Ozark Mountains. Like any small town, Wolf Springs has secrets. But the secrets hidden here are more sinister than Katelyn could ever imagine. It’s a town with a history that reaches back centuries, spans continents, and conceals terrifying truths. And Katelyn McBride is about to change everything.

Broken families, ageless grudges, forced alliances, and love that blooms in the darkest night—welcome to Wolf Springs. [via GoodReads]
Although I’m not a big fan of the werewolves (sorry Jacob lovers), I was a little intrigued by the synopsis and pretty cover of Unleashed. Unleashed is the first book in the Wolf Springs Chronicles and I’m happy to report that it was a great start to the series.

When an earthquake unexpectedly kills Katelyn’s mom, she is swept away from her life in San Francisco and shipped off to live with her grandfather in Arkansas. As if dealing with her untimely loss is not hard enough, she now basically also has to start a new life, with an unknown grandfather in an unknown school and town.

When she’s asked to do a local history project, she finds herself drawn to the idea of unraveling some of the town’s mystery and maybe finding a way to fit in.

I really liked Katelyn and the dynamics between her and Ed, her granddad. As sad as it is to bear the loss of a parent, I can’t imagine how hard it would also be to have to start a new life. I think the authors did a great job in capturing their budding relationship. I also enjoyed the friendship she forms with Cordelia – that while she felt she had found a friend she also wasn’t too trustworthy since she kept skimming around Katelyn’s questions about the town, her family, etc.. Then there is Justin… Cordelia’s cousin and hottie love interest. While Katelyn is attracted to him… almost stalkerish over him, she’s also interested in Trick… love triangle anyone?

I actually really enjoyed this book. I loved the mystery of it all. Like Katelyn I was weary and questioning of pretty much everything and everyone in the story. It felt tense and suspenseful and had me at the proverbial edge of my seat. I liked that the story was long enough to truly capture its characters and let you know them well enough to where you actually felt invested in them. My only problem (and this is just a small criticism) was its abrupt ending. I get that it’s a trilogy, but I felt that there would be some type of closure. Instead I was left with bated breath waiting for its next installment. Surprisingly very good.

My Rating:


Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Pages: 338
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. [via GoodReads]
I shall start this review with a warning… this is a gush-fest. Fan girl sighing, squeeing and high-fiving will follow… enter at your own risk.

Stephanie Perkins is my hero. Yes, Anna and the French Kiss was phenomenal – still one of my favorites. And yes, I do gush about it to random strangers at book stores and have even forced one or two of them to grab the book and rush to the nearest cashier. I can’t always say its to buy the book or to call security, but whatevah. With that said, and, of course, needless to say, I was uber excited when I heard about Lola and the Boy Next Door. But even though I was convinced it would be just as wonderful as AatFK, I always have that little nagging at the back of my mind that maybe it won’t be as good as the awesomeness that its predecessor was. Well, let me tell y’all, you have nothing to fear!! It was AHHHH-mazing!

Lola was as quirky and endearing as they come. I loved everything about her. Her fathers, her wonderful sense of style (the dresses, the wigs, the stockings and shoes… le sigh), her rocker boyfriend and yes, especially, the boy next door, Cricket. Love the name *high-five, Stephanie Perkins.* Cricket was everything a girl dreams of… at least, a girl like me (when I was younger of course). He was awkward, sweet, funny, and so lovable. I loved them individually and together.

While AatFK had more of a fairtytale feel to it, Lola’s had a more “real” vibe going. These characters may sound perfect, but if anything, they are perfectly flawed. They’re not perfect, they don’t have all the answers, and while I did have a goofy grin on my face for the most part, there were some moments that had me at the brink of tears.

Lola and the Boy Next Door was everything that I could have asked for in a book. I have not one single complaint (well, maybe that it ended – le sigh). Oh, and did I mention the many cameos that Anna and Etienne make… yep, they’re there too (squee!). I loved it! I think you will too.

My Rating:


The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Title:  The Lover's Dictionary
Author: David Levithan
Pages: 211
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased
basis, n.

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.
If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.

How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time. [via GoodReads]
This is Mr. Levithan’s foray into adult fiction and if you’ve read any of his young adult novels (Nick & Norah, Dash & Lily and even the Will Grayson’s) then you will recognize his sense of humor, witty-and-savvyness right from the start. With one word (each entry being a different letter of the alphabet) – you get a glimpse into these two individuals’ relationship their genders are unspecific – which is a nice touch, since you can read it and imagine them to be just about anyone. And you read of the moments that define their relationship - the joys and the sorrows – all told in an honest voice.

I really can’t say what I loved more – the story itself or the uniqueness of the way the story is told… but both make The Lover’s Dictionary a quick and lyrical read that will stay with you long after you are done with it (which in my case was just a few hours).

Maybe it was its simplicity... maybe it was the clues - becuase who doesn't love piecing together a story... it could have also been the wonderful wordplay - using a word to give you a glimpse of the love story between two unnamed individuals.  I can't precisely pinpoint exactly what I found so captivating about the Lover's Dictionary bu there were so many factors that seduced me that I found this oh-too-short story to be quite a treat.

My Rating:


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Pages: 313
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tether...moreDiagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind. [via GoodReads]
I’m always a sucker for a cancer book. Don’t really know why since I’m very much a hypochondriac and since my reading of The Fault in Our Stars have already scheduled myself for a physical… just in case, you know, I have cancer. Don’t judge.

The Fault in Our Stars was amazing. I read it in a few short hours. I was that engrossed and fell that in love with its characters. Sixteen year old Hazel is living with cancer and upon her mother’s request begins attending a youth cancer support group. There she meets Augustus Waters – cancer survivor and the type of guy who grabs life by the reins and just runs with it.

Yes, this is a cancer book. But don’t see that as a downer. Both Hazel and Augustus are such uplifting characters. They give the story a light tone and not make it as suffocating as some cancer books can be. Their witty sense of humors, the way that they deal with sickness, their friendship and budding romance as well as their obsession with An Imperial Affliction and its author make a fascinating read.

Needless to say, it IS a cancer book, so there were tears shed on my end, but I would not trade those moments for laughter. I was enthralled by this story and was very impressed by the way Mr. Green tackled some heavy subjects in a tender yet masterful way.

Hands down The Fault in Our Stars is one of the best books I’ve read in a while… and that’s not a “cancer perk.”

My Rating:


2011 Reading List

[via WeHeartIt]

1- Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz (completed 1/02/11)
2- Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King (completed 1/05/11)
3- Beauty's Punishment by A.N. Roquelaure (completed 1/06/11)
4- Timeless by Alexandra Monir (completed 1/09/11)
5- Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell (completed 1/10/11)
6- The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher (completed 1/11/11)
7- Switched by Amanda Hocking (completed 1/12/11)
8- The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard (completed 1/13/11)
9- The Poison Eaters & Other Short Stories by Holly Black (completed 1/17/11)
10- Stay by Deb Caletti (completed 1/19/11)
11- Rock Hard by Olivia Cunning (completed 1/21/11)
12- The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge (completed 1/23/11)
13- Rosebush by Michele Jaffe (completed 1/25/11)
14- These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf (completed 1/26/11)
15- Vesper by Jeff Samspon (completed 1/26/11)
16- Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier (completed 1/27/11)
17- Divergent by Veronica Roth (completed 1/29/11)
18- Starstruck by Cyn Balog (completed 1/31/11)
19- Vixen by Jillian Larkin (completed 2/01/11)
20- Feed by Mira Grant (completed 2/03/11)
21- Shine by Lauren Myracle (completed 2/04/11)
22- Dreams of a Dark Warrior by Kresley Cole (completed 2/7/11)
23- It Happened One Season by Various Authors (completed 2/8/11)
24- On the Hunt by Various Authors (completed 2/10/11)
25- Will Work for Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris (completed 2/10/11)
26- The Princess in His Bed by Lila DiPasqua (completed 2/12/11)
27- The Countess by Lynsay Sands (completed 2/14/11)
28- Shimmer by Alyson Noel (completed 2/15/11)
29- Numbers 2: The Chaos by Rachel Ward (completed 2/17/11)
30- Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach (completed 2/17/11)
31- I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson (completed 2/20/11)
32- Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting (completed 2/21/11)
33- The Girl Who Was on Fire by Various Authors (completed 2/23/11)
34- With This Ring, I Thee Bed by Various Authors (completed 2/23/11)
35- The Heiress by Lynsay Sands (completed 2/24/11)
36- The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (completed 2/25/11)
37- Enclave by Ann Aguirre (completed 2/27/11)
38- Girl, Stolen by April Henry (completed 2/28/11)
39- Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal (completed 3/01/11)
40- Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley (completed 3/02/11)
41- Die for Me by Amy Plum (completed 3/02/11)
42- Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley (completed 3/04/11)
43- So Shelly by Ty Roth (completed 3/06/11)
44- Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey (completed 3/07/11)
45- Tighter by Adele Griffin (completed 3/10/11)
46- Cloaked by Alex Flinn (completed 3/12/11)
47- A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (completed 3/15/11)
48- Where She Went by Gayle Forman (completed 3/16/11)
49- Beauty's Release by A.N. Roquelaure (completed 3/18/11)
50- The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch (completed 3/20/11)
51- Hereafter by Tara Hudson (completed 3/21/11)
52- The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan (completed 3/22/11)
53- The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan (completed 3/24/11)
54- Trapped by Michael Winthrop (completed 3/25/11)
55- Torn by Amanda Hocking (completed 3/25/11)
56- Ascend by Amanda Hocking (completed 3/26/11)
57- The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (completed 3/28/11)
58- Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks (completed 3/30/11)
59- Entwined by Heather Dixon (completed 3/31/11)
60- Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon (completed 4/02/11)
61- The Darkest Secret by Gena Showalter (completed 4/05/11)
62- Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams (completed 4/06/11)
63- The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen (completed 4/07/11)
64- Seduce Me in Dreams by Jacquelyn Frank (completed 4/10/11)
65- Possession by Elana Johnson (completed 4/13/11)
66- Semi-Sweet: A Novel of Love and Cupcakes by Roisin Meaney (completed 4/14/11)
67- A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (completed 4/15/11)
68- Drought by Pam Bachorz (completed 4/17/11)
69- Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account by Miklos Nyiszli (completed 4/18/11)
70- Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (completed 4/20/11)
71- Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz (completed 5/01/11)
72- Savage Nature by Christine Feehan (completed 5/18/11)
73- Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (completed 5/26/11)
74- Graveminder by Melissa Marr (completed 6/07/11)
75- The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan (completed 6/09/11)
76- Moonglass by Jessi Kirby (completed 6/18/11)
77- Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner (completed 6/22/11)
78- Love Story by Jennifer Echols (completed 6/27/11)
79- Summers Crossing - Julie Kagawa (completed 7/05/11)
80- The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross (completed 7/06/11)
81- Imaginary Girls by Nove Ren Suma (completed 7/11/11)
82- The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (completed 7/11/11)
83- The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson (completed 7/12/11)
84- Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter (completed 7/13/11)
85- In the Arms of a Marquess by Katharine Ashe (completed 7/14/11)
86- The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa (completed 7/14/11)
87- Captured by a Rogue Lord by Katharine Ashe (completed 7/18/11)
88- Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn (completed 7/19/11)
89- A Lady's Wish by Katharine Ashe (completed 7/21/11)
90- Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe (completed 7/25/11)
91- Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Andersen (completed 7/28/11)
92- Seduce me in Flames by Jacquelyn Frank (completed 8/01/11)
93- Wicked in Your Arms by Sophie Jordan (completed 8/03/11)
94- Confessions of an Improper Bride by Jennifer Haymore (completed 8/05/11)
95- The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley (completed 8/09/11)
96- The Help by Kathryn Stockett (completed 9/05/11)
97- Dreamland by Alyson Noel (completed 9/27/11)
98- Fever: 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (completed 9/28/11)
99- The Darkest Surrender by Gena Showalter (completed 9/30/11)
100- Remedial Magic by Jenna Black (completed 10/03/11)
101- Glimmer Glass by Jenna Black (completed 10/03/11)
102- Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (completed 10/17/11)
103- Dark Predator by Christine Feehan (completed 10/20/11)
104- Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh (completed 10/25/11)
105- Damned by Chuck Palahniuk (completed 10/26/11)
106 - The Pledge by Kimberly Derting (completed 11/04/11)
107- The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (completed 11/06/11)
108- Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (completed 11/07/11)
109- Legacy by Molly Cochran (completed 11/07/11)
110- The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks (completed 11/13/11)
111- Adam by Jacquelyn Frank (completed 11/13/11)
112- Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry (completed 11/20/11)
113- The Future of Us by Jay Asher (completed 12/03/11)
114- Hourglass by Myra McEntire (completed 12/06/11)
115- Cordina's Royal Family: Gabriella & Alexander by Nora Roberts (completed 12/07/11)
116- A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Man by Celeste Bradley & Susan Donovan (completed 12/08/11)
117- If You Dare by Kresley Cole (completed 12/12/11)
118- If You Desire by Kresley Cole (completed 12/12/11)
119 - If You Deceive by Kresley Cole (completed 12/13/11)
120- The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols (completed 12/15/11)
121- The Captain of All Pleasures by Kresley Cole (completed 12/19/11)
122- The Price of Pleasure by Kresley Cole (completed 12/20/11)
123- Heart of the Dragon by Gena Showalter (completed 12/22/11)
124- Jewel of Atlantis by Gena Showalter (completed 12/28/11)
125- Spirit Bound by Chritine Feehan (completed 12/30/11)

Books read this year: 125
# of pages read this year: 36,333
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog designed by Dreamy Blog Designs using Cré@Bisontines I'm Yours Kit