Thursday, June 30, 2011

Freedom Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my small part of the Freedom Giveaway Hop!

The Hop is going to last from July 1st, to July 7th

Check out I Am A Reader, Not a Writer for a list of more blogs participating in the hop!

My giveaway::

I'm going to give away a copy of All-American Girl by Meg Cabot AND the sequel, Ready or Not.

To Enter::
  • 1 (one) person will win and receive a copy of All-American Girl and Ready or Not.
  • Giveaway ends July 7th at midnight. Winner will be announced on the 8th. I will email the winner, and if within 48 hours they don't reply with their address, a new winner will be chosen.
  • Allow about 3 weeks to receive your prize.
  • Must be 13 years or older to enter
  • US only
Enter HERE

Giveaway Winner

The winner of Once Bitten is....

Jessica from Curled Up With Books!

Congrats Jessica! I am e-mailing you right now. If you don't respond within 48 hours I will choose a new winner.

My next giveaway is actually my 200 follower giveaway! There will be two winners instead of just the usual one!

Thank you everyone for participating! With every giveaway that I hold, I get more entries! Let's just hope this next one goes as well as the others.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink-- August 3rd

With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince her sister Alice to help--or risk her life trying. Lia has her beloved Dimitri by her side, but Alice has James, the man who once loved her sister--and maybe still does. James doesn't know the truth about either sister, or the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way.

There are some secrets sisters aren't meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them. This stunning conclusion to Michelle Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy will make saying good-bye bittersweet for readers.

Clean by Amy Reed-- July 19th

Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva have one thing in common: They're addicts. Addicts who have hit rock bottom and been stuck together in rehab to face their problems, face sobriety, and face themselves. None of them wants to be there. None of them wants to confront the truths about their pasts. And they certainly don’t want to share their darkest secrets and most desperate fears with a room of strangers. But they'll all have to deal with themselves and one another if they want to learn how to live. Because when you get that high, there's nowhere to go but down, down, down.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Bent Sword by Stephen Gashler

Title: The Bent Sword
Author: Stephen Gashler
Publisher: Bonneville Books
Acquired: Received free for an honest review
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 70% C-

Steffin is just an average peasant who has big dreams of becoming a knight and saving the world from the dangerous Lord Bore and his Box of Boredom. Too bad Lord Bore is just a made-up nemesis from Steffin's childhood--or is he?

When a crazy old storyteller insists that Lord Bore is real, Steffin must take things in his own hands and begins a quest that will forever change his destiny. With the help of a few friends, Steffin is soon running away from bad guys, escaping prison, and infiltrating castles to woo princesses, all in the pursuit of adventure. But when his friends grow weary of the journey, Steffin is left to pull them back together in order to defeat Lord Bore before it's too late.

My Thoughts::
This isn't the type of book that I would normally read, which is probably why I took so long to read it. There was always something else to be reading instead. But I can't leave a book sitting on my shelf for too long without feeling guilty, so I decided to give it a chance.

The plot was cute and imaginative, though I did have some problems. I just didn't feel like what was going on was actually happening. I kept waiting to learn that the whole book was a bunch of kids playing pretend. It seemed like the book was a parody of itself. Maybe that was the point? I just did not expect it at all. I thought I was about to read a new kind of fairy tale. It was funny seeing the group getting until every kind of trouble imaginable but always with the highest of hopes.

The adventure was fun though, even after all of the misgivings, it was a happy read. The friends that Steffin encounters along the way were so lovable, and really put Steffin to shame. At points I thought they were better developed or at least had a likeable personality. I really liked Steffin at the beginning and the end, but no thanks to the middle. Once again, that was probably the point. To see Steffin grow and change into a better person. It just didn't feel like he was changing until the very end.

Overall I think that The Bent Sword was a decent read that had some good parts. I'd recommend this book to those who don't feel like reading something serious, and like to be taken to a different time.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Acquired: From publisher for an honest review
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 97% or A+

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My Thoughts:
This book sat on my shelf much longer than it should have. I was afraid to read it. There is just so so so much hype for this book right now and I thought that reading it would just leave me disappointed, which is what happens when things don't live up to the hype. But I couldn't resist for very long and decided to take the plunge.....and wow. This is like..the book of the year.

Let me just start out by saying that Divergent did something that is hard to come by nowadays. Divergent was the perfect lead up to a trilogy, but also had plenty going on. Too many times now I find books that are a part of a series or trilogy or whatever, and NOTHING HAPPENS. Or at least not until the very end. Fortunately PLENTY happened in this book, with promises of more in the next one.

Dystopian is the way to go for authors right now, which is perfect for me since it is my favorite genre. Roth pulls it all together perfectly. The whole concept of how this world works is amazing and very creative. I would love to have seen more about the history and reasons behind the current ways of living, but I'm sure we'll get more of that in the upcoming books.

Beatrice, or Tris, was a wonderful main character. I could easily sympathize with her confusion about what being Divergent means and the even deeper confusion about why it is so dangerous. The book did a good job of teaching us about the other factions even though the focus was mainly put on 2 or 3 of them. This is done by Tris getting to know other characters within those less talked about factions. I really liked these other characters even though they didn't play a large role. It is nice to see an author take such care in the details.

Overall I very much enjoyed this read and regret not picking it up as soon as I got it. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the genre or needs a Hunger Games replacement.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a post where I tell you the books that I received this week either by buying them from the bookstore, going to the library or from my mailbox. In My Mailbox was created by Alea and turned into a meme by Kristi.

(Links to Barnes & Noble)

For Review::

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Contest Winnings::
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Legend by Marie Lu
Shelter by Harlan Coben
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz (This is my third copy of the book, haha)
+ Tons of book swag

Thanks to The Book Muncher!

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Now I want to see what you got!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Contest Saturday

Here are some contests that are currently going on right now. Click the links to enter them. I will hold my own contest on the last day of each month. That means my next contest will be on June 30th.

Win a copy of Ashes or Shatter Me HERE. Ends 6/27

Win a copy of 13 Reasons Why HERE. Ends 6/27

Win a $10 Amazon gift card HERE. Ends 6/29

Win one of 3 prizepacks HERE. Ends 6/30

Win a copy of Amaretto Flame HERE. Ends 6/30

Win a copy of The Enemy and The Dead HERE. Ends 6/30

Win a book from a list of 12 HERE. Ends 7/1

Win a signed copy of Settling HERE. Ends 7/1

Win a copy of The Goddess Test HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a copy of Clarity HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a $20 book from the book depository HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a copy of Ordinary Beauty HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a copy of Hourglass HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a copy of Revolution HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a copy of Haunting Violet HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a copy of A Need So Beautiful HERE. Ends 7/7

Win a birthday prize pack HERE. Ends 7/8

Win a I'm Not Her Prize Basket HERE. Ends 7/8

Win a copy of Beauty Queens and Luminous HERE. Ends 7/15

Win a copy of The Forgotten Locket HERE. Ends 7/20

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Am J by Cris Beam

Title: I Am J
Author: Cris Beam
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Acquired: Received free for an honest review
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 83% B-

J always felt different. He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was: a boy mistakenly born as a girl. Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him; eventually J stopped praying to wake up a "real boy" and started covering up his body, keeping himself invisible - from his family, from his friends...from the world. But after being deserted by the best friend he thought would always be by his side, J decides that he's done hiding - it's time to be who he really is. And this time he is determined not to give up, no matter the cost.

An inspiring story of self-discovery, of choosing to stand up for yourself, and of finding your own path - readers will recognize a part of themselves in J's struggle to love his true self.

My Thoughts::
Whenever I read a book that talks so deeply about something that a lot of people struggle with that I don't, I always feel a little bit bad reading the book. Like maybe I'm not really understanding J's feelings, or getting all that I can out of the novel. On the other hand, I really like reading books that deal with struggles I've never had to go through because it gives me a little bit of perspective on how some people live.

This is the first book that I read that featured a transgender teen as the main character and I really liked it. For some people this might be a culture shock or whatever, but it is nothing new. I had a good time reading J's character. You feel like your in the moment, frustrated with him because no one understands how you feel or just won't except you. This is a book that is mostly character driven and I think it worked nicely. J was going through a very transitional time in his life, so there was a lot going on with his family, friends, and feelings.

The other characters were a swell backdrop to J's story. They all played their respective roles in which we could see J interact. I found that they all also gave J different ways to solve his problems, but eventually he learned that he had to decide things himself and do what felt right for him.

The only issue that I had was the location that the book was set. I have a problem getting into books that take place in the city. I'm not sure why, but I'm guessing its because I've never lived in a big city, which added another dimension of the book that I couldn't identify with. That is how I felt for a lot of the book, I felt bad FOR J, but I didn't feel bad WITH J. This book made you think of yourself and how your for feeling than the character.

Overall I think that I Am J is a book that is not only helpful for those struggling with their gender, but those just struggling to figure out who they are.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

127 Hours

Title: 127 Hours
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Danny Boyle (Screenplay), Simon Beaufoy (Screenplay), and Aron Ralston (Book)
Starring: James Franco
Grade: 96% or A

This movie was fantastic. Even after the credits finished rolling I didn't move. Whenever I watch or read something that is based off of a true story, I look at it differently. Because when something scary or bad happens in fiction, you can always think to yourself "oh, it isn't real", but in these cases you can't.

Aron is a completely inspiring person. To go through this entire ordeal, and then to try to make the most out of his life afterward is amazing. How could someone watch a movie like this and not take a real hard look at their life and how lucky they are to have it? The actor they got to play Aron (James Franco) was awesome. The film literally had one big role. The others were very tiny in comparison. He captures the desperateness of the situation. You can just feel the distress of trying every single thing you could think of, and them coming to the realization that you are going to die.

This movie really made me look at what I like about movies. You don't have to have a handful of sexy stars and unbelievable graphics for it to be amazing. The story that this movie shows is breathtaking. I couldn't help but cry at several occasions for Aron. The only reason that I got through it was by remembering that this was Aron's story and he is still alive. He is a person that truly wanted to live and didn't give up hope.

I would recommend this movie to everyone. Everyone should be able to find a place in their heart for a movie like this. I wasn't disappointed in the least. The acting, filming, and directing are what I would like to see more of.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Twisted by Sara Shepard-- July 5th

It’s been a year since the torturous notes from A stopped and the mystery of Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance was finally put to rest. Now seniors in high school, Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily are older, but they’re not any wiser. The pretty little liars have more secrets than ever—twisted secrets that could destroy the perfect lives they’ve worked so hard to rebuild.

Aria’s jealous of her boyfriend’s new exchange student. Spencer’s getting a little too cozy with her soon-to-be-stepbrother. Hanna’s one scandalous photo away from ruining her dad’s Senate campaign. And Emily will do anything to get a swim scholarship.

Worst of all: Last spring break in Jamaica, they did something unforgivable. The girls are desperate to forget that fateful night, but they should know better than anyone that all secrets wash ashore . . . eventually.

Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt-- July 12th

On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Ryan dumped her. Facing a summer of loneliness, Hannah turns to her best friend Ava for comfort. Ava does what BFFs do: she stays by Hannah's side...until it's time for Ava to head up to Maine for the summer. Also left behind is Ava's boyfriend, Noah, who's such a great guy he gets Hannah a job at the diner he waits tables at. Slowly, Hannah comes out of her funk thanks to Noah's good conversation and their fun times at the diner. But things get complicated when their friendship turns into attraction—and one night, into a passionate kiss. The novel opens on the first day of senior year; the day Hannah is going to see Ava, Ryan, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, everyone is paired up once again, but not the way you might think...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Awakened by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Title: Awakened (House of Night #8)
Author: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Acquired: Bought
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 68% or D+
Align LeftExonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey. Dominion over Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z. But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there. Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it? Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same – and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either…

And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim? The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship? Does he betray his father or his heart?

In the pulse-pounding 8th book in the bestselling House of Night series, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl’s heart?

For me these books are becoming a downward spiral. I've been feeling that for the last three books, and I'm pretty sure other people agree. It's time for this series to wrap it up and come to a close. It's been a good run, but I think that now the story is just dragging.

The plot still has things going for it. When we're actually paying attention to the STORYLINE I very much enjoy the books, but honestly, if it was just about the storyline we could have been done four books ago. Now it just looks like bad fanfiction. Most of it is just petty drama. I want to yell at the characters nonstop. The WORLD could be destroyed and all anyone cares about is their boyfriend. Also, it bothers me how very few people can see past Neferet. These are supposed to be old and wise vampires, so how are only the fledglings noticing that she is full of it? I am predicting that Kalona will team up with the Zoey and the gang and take out Neferet. In turn he will be allowed to serve for Nyx again.

Most of the characters are just predictable and annoying now. It never bothered me before how much they are built off of complete stereotypes, but now it is. There are few characters now that don't make me want to punch them in the face. I feel like these books could have been so great. The vampire mythology was built up fantastically. But instead of leaning on that to sell, the books are more about boy drama and tons of unnecessary lies.

Overall I think The House of Night books still have enough awesome left in them to move in the right direction. I'd recommend this books to the people who haven't jumped off this train yet.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Title: Forgotten
Author: Cat Patrick
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Acquired: Free from the publisher for an honest review
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 92% or A-

Every night, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can “remember” are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture.

Luke Henry is not someone you’d easily forget, yet try as she might, London can’t find him in her memories of things to come. When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it’s time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting—before it destroys her future.

This book blew me completely out of the water. I have a special appreciation for books that are able to bring something new to the table without hiding behind a genre like supernatural. I was almost going to put off reading this book because I wasn't sure if it was going to be for me, but thankfully I read it sooner than anticipated and came out very happy that I did.

I think London was a pretty decent character. I didn't love love love her, but she didn't annoy me much at all, which is something that happens a lot with female characters. Maybe this time it had something to do with her name. I can't help but connect her to London from The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. Other then a few minor things, I really felt for London. Obviously her life is really troublesome and I could never have made some of the decisions that she made. For example, choosing to forget a certain person..and choosing to be reminded about a certain person daily.

The plot and storyline went on as expected. I don't want to call this book predictable, but the highs and lows were. I knew when something bad was going to happen and what the result of that badness would be. Though this was probably my fault and not the book' know..I read tons, so maybe I just have some kind of radar. I was very impressed by the creativity put forth. It made the book a new experience and gave me hope that there are no bounds to what the YA genre can do.

The ending was a bit too mushy for me. I'm not one of those people who wants to be devastated at the end because of a random car accident that kills the entire family, but did everything have to end perfectly? I put the book down and was just..complacent. I wasn't jumping for joy, because honestly, London didn't steal my heart, and I wasn't sad or angry either. This book left me without any strong feelings. Okay I'm lying. There were a few times when my heartstrings were pulled on.

Overall I think that the book had some pretty good characters that were chilling in a awesome story. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something they've never seen the likes of before.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a post where I tell you the books that I received this week either by buying them from the bookstore, going to the library or from my mailbox. In My Mailbox was created by Alea and turned into a meme by Kristi.

Centuries of June by Keith Donohue

Set in the bathroom of an old house just before dawn on a night in June, Centuries of June is a black comedy about a man who is attempting to tell the story of how he ended up on the floor with a hole in his head. But he keeps getting interrupted by a series of suspects eight women lying in the bedroom just down the hall. Each woman tells a story drawn from five centuries of American myth and legend in a wild medley of styles and voices.

Centuries of June is a romp through history, a madcap murder mystery, an existential ghost story, and a stunning tour de force at once ingenious, sexy, inspiring, and ultimately deeply moving.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Contest Saturday

Here are some contests that are currently going on right now. Click the links to enter them. I will hold my own contest on the last day of each month. That means my next contest will be on June 30th.

Win a copy of Graveminder HERE. Ends 6/20

Win a copy of Shade and Shift HERE. Ends 6/21

Win one of two copies of Thirteen Reasons Why HERE. Ends 6/21

Win a copy of My Life Undecided HERE. Ends 6/22

Win two supernatural books HERE. Ends 6/23

Win a book from The Book Depository HERE. Ends 6/24

Win a copy of Hourglass HERE. Ends 6/24

Win a copy of How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend HERE. Ends 6/25

Win a copy of Ashes or Shatter Me HERE. Ends 6/27

Win one of 3 prizepacks HERE. Ends 6/30

Win a copy of Amaretto Flame HERE. Ends 6/30

Win a copy of The Enemy and The Dead HERE. Ends 6/30

Win a copy of The Goddess Test HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a copy of Clarity HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a $20 book from the book depository HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a copy of Ordinary Beauty HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a copy of Hourglass HERE. Ends 7/5

Friday, June 17, 2011

Favorite by Karen McQuestion

Title: Favorite
Author: Karen McQuestion
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 75% or C

Angie Favorite was just eleven years old when her mother disappeared, leaving Angie and her brother Jason to be raised by their grandmother while their rock-star father hit the road with his band. Since that day, Angie has gone through the motions of everyday life. She thinks she has everyone fooled — until the summer morning when she’s abducted from a mall parking lot. She narrowly escapes and her attacker, Scott Bittner, is arrested, but the weirdness has just begun. When Angie receives a letter from Scott’s mother, entreating her to meet so that she can apologize for her son’s actions, the girl reluctantly agrees. But it is soon obvious that Scott’s attack wasn’t random at all and that there is more to the strange Mrs. Bittner than meets the eye. In fact, she may hold the key to Angie’s mother’s disappearance.This book was short, but packed a lot into that shortness. Due to the shortness though, we only had one plot thread going on. The book was an interesting mystery but it could of been longer. The abruptness of it all put me off some. Whenever something would happen there wasn't much leading up to it and seemed a bit rushed at times.

I really liked Angie, thankfully. In a story like this its hard not to just like the character because you feel sorry for them and their situation. But I genuinely found Angie to be pretty good character. Some of her actions though...I just didn't understand. It really bothers me when a character's conscience is telling them NOT to do something, and a whole page is spent on explaining why it is such a bad idea, but they do it anyway. Angie did this a couple of times. At the beginning of the novel when she did this I was annoyed, but as the situations got more desperate I could understand why she would make the decisions that she did.

The mystery was good at the beginning, but as we got near the end, it was easy to predict what was going to happen. The best things about mysteries though, is the explanations. So even though I knew what was going to happen, I didn't really care. What I find to be the best part is not the what but the why. And the explanation of this book was really good. I could not have predicted the back story behind it all.

I wish we could have gotten a couple of other characters more fleshed out. I know McQuestion is great at creating fantastic characters, but they were lacking here. I was interested in Angie's brother but he was barely in the forefront. There were a couple of other characters that could have added a lot to the novel.

Overall I had a good time reading this book, but I wish it could have been longer. I would recommend reading this book if you're a bit short on time but would like a good mystery.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

To the Cinema!! #3

This post is similar to a Waiting on Wednesday post, but will only feature MOVIES that I am excited about releasing. I will include trailers for your viewing pleasure. I'll probably only do this monthly so it doesn't push out reviews that I need to post.

Take Shelter

Final Destination 5

A Little Help

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter-- July 4th

Fourteen-year-old Luce has had a tough life, but she reaches the depths of despair when she is assaulted and left on the cliffs outside of a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when she tumbles into the icy waves below, but instead undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid. A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: the mermaids feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks. Luce possesses an extraordinary singing talent, which makes her important to the tribe—she may even have a shot at becoming their queen. However her struggle to retain her humanity puts her at odds with her new friends. Will Luce be pressured into committing mass murder?

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts-- November 1st

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies.

Mason's mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police--who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.

Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Gathering
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 93% or A-

Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.

It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.

When I first found out that what I thought was the end of the lovely Simon, Derek, and Chloe, I nearly cried. The Darkest Powers books were definitely in my top 5 series. But then the sun shined through, Armstrong was just finished with their story for now and wanted to move on to other characters in the same world. I made sure to get this book as soon as I could.

Maya is a pretty good main character for now. I like her story and it's going to be fun not only seeing whats going to happen but also investigating her past. I'm also really enjoying the side characters. I'm trying to imagine what abilities they might have and what part they are going to play in whatever happens next. I am thinking about love interest stuff somewhat and I hope this isn't another instance where two guys are going to compete for her love. I always find that ridiculous. And for some reason I feel that it is a strong possibility.

Something that I really liked was that the story is moving much more slowly than it did in past books. It was still very interesting and I wasn't bored, but not a lot of things were revealed or discovered. We're only able to come to a couple of conclusions based off of what we know from the past books. Like, when some..bad..people were mentioned, we knew certain things were going on.

I really like what Armstrong was doing. She went with her gut by not continuing with Chloe instead of doing so just to please the readers. It makes me respect her. I also think that people who didn't like the character or setting from the first 3 books but were fascinated by the story will get a second chance.

Overall I think this is going to be the start of a great continuation. I wish other authors would think about doing something like this. Readers love to see some familiar faces. I'd recommend this book to anyone who liked the previous 3 or any newcomers to the books.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Title: The Scorch Trials
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 92% or A-

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to. In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal. The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED? I was very much anticipating reading this book. I loved The Maze Runner so so much and the ending had such a huge cliffhanger. I knew that this sequel was going to be amazing, and I wasn't wrong.

Thomas is such an amazing male lead. Usually when there is a male character in the forefront, I feel like I have to have some kind of attraction towards them. Like if they don't make me swoon, then they aren't good. This is one of the few times that hasn't happened and I still loved the character. There's just something about Thomas. I guess when you're put into a desperate situation, I'm going to like you no matter what. Which makes sense. I really liked all of the other male characters as well.

The plot this time around is similar but the subplot is different. They just found about this destroyed outside world which contains a horrible disease and now have to travel through it. It was exciting and interesting to learn about this world along with the characters. This novel focused a lot on trust and betrayal. It actually plays a very large part of the subplot which changes Thomas forever.

There wasn't much at all that I can say I disliked about this book. As with most books it wasn't long enough. It would also drag at times making it not so fun to read. Sometimes I was a bit confused about the motive behind certain character's actions. I really do enjoy all of the secrets and things that we are left thinking about at the end of each book. It makes us doubt everything that was said.

Overall I was very happy with The Scorch Trials. It was exciting most of the time and I really like how the characters are developing. If you are interested in a dystopian read that can keep you guessing, I recommend you check out book #1 The Maze Runner. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one even more.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a post where I tell you the books that I received this week either by buying them from the bookstore, going to the library or from my mailbox. In My Mailbox was created by Alea and turned into a meme by Kristi.

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.

Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Contest Saturday

Here are some contests that are currently going on right now. Click the links to enter them. I will hold my own contest on the last day of each month. That means my next contest will be on June 30th.

Win 7 books in a supernatural giveaway HERE. Ends 6/14

Win one of two copies of Cut HERE. Ends 6/15

Win a copy of Starcrossed HERE. Ends 6/15

Win a $20 gift card to Amazon or the Book Depository HERE. Ends 6/16

Win a copy of The Secret Year HERE. Ends 6/17

Win a BEA prizepack HERE. Ends 6/17

Win a Shift prizepack HERE. Ends 6/18

Win a copy of Graveminder HERE. Ends 6/20

Win a copy of Shade and Shift HERE. Ends 6/21

Win a copy of My Life Undecided HERE. Ends 6/22

Win two supernatural books HERE. Ends 6/23

Win a copy of Hourglass HERE. Ends 6/24

Win a copy of Over the Moon HERE. Ends 6/25

Win a copy of Ashes or Shatter Me HERE. Ends 6/27

Win one of 3 prizepacks HERE. Ends 6/30

Win a copy of The Goddess Test HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a copy of Clarity HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a $20 book from the book depository HERE. Ends 7/5

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Title: Hate List
Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 83% or B-

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

I've been wanting to read this book for a while now, but didn't get the chance until it was the chosen one for that month's book club. As a club we had mixed feelings that only got a little clearer after we talked it out.

The plot was interesting in a simple way. I go to high school, and this is something that you hear about happening. This is the reason that certain rules are in place and are reinforced so powerfully. It is a serious and touchy matter and it was mind opening to read a book willing to talk about it.

Once again this is a book in which we get to know a very important character without ever getting to actually meet them. In this novel it is Nick. He was a character I thought about a lot. He seemed like a very lovable person that I would love to see in any other kind of novel. I could understand how Valerie didn't think he was capable of such a thing.

My biggest problem with this book was how people blamed Valerie. I think when the police decided she didn't have anything to do with the murders, her classmates should have followed suit. Even the Hate List that they made wasn't enough for me to target her. Valerie and Nick were taunted day after day, did these people think that they LIKED them? I don't think being bullied justifies killing people, just that these people weren't as innocent and that they and didn't provoke some sort of hatred.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this book. It made me take a critical look at the people around me and want to put a stop to some not so nice behavior going on. I would recommend this book to anyone who is curious about school shootings or just want an eye opening read.

Book received free from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Title: Shine
Author: Lauren Myracle
Publisher: Amulet Books
Age Group: Young Adult
87% or B+

When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.

I really enjoyed this book, in fact, before I was introduced to the dystopian genre, it was one of my favorite kind of book to read. Also, this was the first book that I read entirely on my iPod which is a new experience for me. I still like physical books better than e-books though..

Cat was a very round character. I feel like I really got to know her and understand her dilemmas. Sometimes I'll read a book and throughout the entire novel I'll be confused by a character's actions, but I didn't here. Sometimes she was a bit irrational and took unnecessary risks, but I was able to understand why she did it, even though I still thought she was crazy for doing it.

Shine also had a nice subplot, which I always enjoy. The subplot centers around Cat's own traumatic past and the reason why she lost her closeness with Patrick. This is shown mostly through flashbacks that give us a little piece at a time. What I thought was cool was that these flashbacks also helped with the primary story. They were placed wonderfully and were able to give me a taste without boring me, confusing me, or interrupting the story. The actual story was very interesting. It never had a dull moment, but wasn't a thriller either. The plot had a nice balance going on.

Now..Patrick. You know you have a great author when you can get to know a character so well without meeting them until the very end. He seemed so sweet and caring and happy to be himself. It is very hard to find characters that are thoroughly genuine. He wasn't perfect, and thankfully wasn't a lovable geek. I love me some geek, but they're called geeks for a reason! Right away you could tell how much Cat and Patrick meant to each other, which got me all teary.

Overall I found Shine to be very heartwarming while also having an intriguing mystery essence. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about gay issues, or just someone who needs a good sit down read.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

The Death Cure by James Dashner-- October 11th

Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test. What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.

Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

Displacement by Thalia Chaltas-- June 6th

Home is supposed to be a place you belong. It's supposed to be parents who are there and siblings who bug you and a life that feels comfortable. It's not supposed to be an absentee mother or a drowned sister. But that's Vera's reality, and she can't stand it anymore. So she runs. She ends up in an old mining town in the middle of the California desert. It's hot, it's dusty, and it's as isolated as Vera feels. As she goes about setting up her life, she also unwittingly starts the process of healing and-eventually- figuring out what home might really mean for her.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Plague by Michael Grant

Title: Plague
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 94% or A

It's been eight months since all the adults disappeared. Gone.

They've survived hunger. They've survived lies. But the stakes keep rising, and the dystopian horror keeps building. Yet despite the simmering unrest left behind by so many battles, power struggles, and angry divides, there is a momentary calm in Perdido Beach.

But enemies in the FAYZ don't just fade away, and in the quiet, deadly things are stirring, mutating, and finding their way free. The Darkness has found its way into the mind of its Nemesis at last and is controlling it through a haze of delirium and confusion. A highly contagious, fatal illness spreads at an alarming rate. Sinister, predatory insects terrorize Perdido Beach. And Sam, Astrid, Diana, and Caine are plagued by a growing doubt that they'll escape—or even survive—life in the FAYZ. With so much turmoil surrounding them, what desperate choices will they make when it comes to saving themselves and those they love?

These books are epic. It is currently my favorite series and I don't want it to end, thank goodness there are still a few books left!

Plague takes place I'm assuming a couple of weeks or so after Lies ends. As usual there are many problems and everything is going on. Some of the biggest problems involve running out of water, a horrible plague,

I really liked that a lot of them crashed into a climax in this novel. Issues with Sam and Caine are pretty much resolved. Everyone finally takes a side...literally. It was nice to see the characters acting rationally. Most of the time at least. As so many things were going wrong, the characters definitely came through for me.

I really liked Diana in this one..even more than Astrid. She acted like a child and broke. I know she had a lot on her shoulders, but I expected more from her. She was built up as such a reliable character. Even though she was stubborn and very opinionated, I knew that I could count on her to look at things with a critical eye. I was very disappointed when she stopped being the Astrid that I thought I knew. Diana grew as a character in this book. Her big surprise near the end is a fantastic twist and a first in Fayz history. Of course other characters made me mad at them as well, but I expected it from them.

One of the things I really like about these books is that they make me..feel. I feel like I'm in this horrible place with them. I have actually cried several times while reading these books. When I finished Plague I was left thinking about it for days afterward. Because even though some doors in the novel closed, so so so many more opened up. I have so much to think about now and it is very exciting.

I really wish more people would read these books. I can't stop talking and thinking about them. I'd recommend Plague to anyone who has been reading the series. You should really consider picking up the first book Gone, if you are even a little bit curious.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa

Title: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
Author: Nagaru Tanigawa
Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 85% or B

It's one week before Christmas Eve, and Haruhi and the S.O.S. Brigade (a club for her high school's strangest and most extraordinary students) are gearing up for holiday festivities. But just before the fun kicks off, Kyon, the only "normal" member, wakes up in a weird alternate dimension, one where Haruhi attends another school entirely, Nagato the time traveling robot is just an ordinary human, and Mikuru (the cute girl of Kyon's dreams) doesn't even recognize him-in other words, S.O.S. Brigade never existed.

The only clue Kyon can find is a bookmark left by the robot version of Nagato, which leads him on a quest back in time, where he interacts with the storyline from "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody", a short story from the previous Haruhi book, The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya.

As you all know, I've been reading these books for some time now. I like the concept and the humor. This one was no different, except..maybe I liked it more.

This book involved more time travel than the previous books, which gave my mind something to chew on. I was constantly thinking "if this, then that". That's the way time travel works. You have to do something in the future so you can do something else in the past. It sounds crazy, but it is really interesting.

The characters continue to develop as always. At first I thought there were too many important characters to possibly keep up with, but now things are different. Each character's abilities, personalities, and background fit into the story nicely. In fact, I think I know them all so well, and love them, that I would love love love to read a series of books based solely around one character and the world that they are used to. In fact, can you get on that soon Tanigawa?

Surprisingly, this books took me on quite the journey. Several things happened that I definitely was not expecting. At some points though I was a bit confused. The main character, Kyon, will say something, but it will only be a thought. Yet sometimes its...not. It makes the story a little muddled at times because I am unsure about what is going on.

Overall I continue to love the story and I am becoming more attached to the characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the previous novels. If you haven't checked these books out yet, you should!

Book received free from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a post where I tell you the books that I received this week either by buying them from the bookstore, going to the library or from my mailbox. In My Mailbox was created by Alea and turned into a meme by Kristi.

My mailbox was empty this week, but I'd still love to hear what you received!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Contest Saturday

Here are some contests that are currently going on right now. Click the links to enter them. I will hold my own contest on the last day of each month. That means my next contest will be on June 30th.

Win one of two prizepacks HERE. Ends 6/9

Win a copy of Popular HERE. Ends 6/10

Win 7 books in a supernatural giveaway HERE. Ends 6/14

Win one of two copies of Cut HERE. Ends 6/15

Win a copy of Starcrossed HERE. Ends 6/15

Win a $20 gift card to Amazon or the Book Depository HERE. Ends 6/16

Win a copy of The Secret Year HERE. Ends 6/17

Win a BEA prizepack HERE. Ends 6/17

Win a Shift prizepack HERE. Ends 6/18

Win a copy of Graveminder HERE. Ends 6/20

Win two supernatural books HERE. Ends 6/23

Win a copy of Ashes or Shatter Me HERE. Ends 6/27

Win one of 3 prizepacks HERE. Ends 6/30

Win a copy of The Goddess Test HERE. Ends 7/5

Win a copy of Clarity HERE. Ends 7/5

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Island

Title: The Island
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Caspian Tredwell-Owen (screenplay+Story), Alex Kurtzman (screenplay), and Roberto Orci (screenplay)
Starring: Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor
Grade: 88% or B+

I know this movie isn't exactly new or anything, but I added it to my netflix queue because it looked pretty good. This is exactly the kind of thing that I love to read about, so watching it is always a joy for me as well.

Lets start with the acting. I think both of the main characters did a very good job. Even though this movie was mostly action and suspense, they did a good job at letting in some humor. They were just so innocent and unknowing about the outside world, so it was very fun watching them have simple concepts explained to them, or their confused faces when something different happened. Their innocence also made me feel for them even more because it was almost like watching someone hurt a child. You know..if the child had like ninja moves.

The plot was very engrossing, it always is when it revolves around the lies and betrayal of a super company. Every time something new was revealed to me, I was surprised. I didn't see any of it coming. Each twist left my mouth agape. I sat at the edge of my seat the entire time.

The setting was very interesting as well and practically made the movie. The place where the main characters lived is portrayed as a safe haven to a deadly outside world. This gives it a very dystopian feel. Everything was white and very much structured. The "outside" was pretty cool as well. New future technology was shown and made the movie that much better.

Overall I have to say that The Island was a good flick. It kept me interested and even provoked some thoughts. I would recommend this movie to people who like a good "evil corporation" storyline.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer Goals

I'm going to outline my summer goals for you all and for myself. I need to be accountable, and this seems like a good way to do it. I have until August 12th to get these things done.

I realize that I am way behind in my reading goal. I need to use this free time wisely. This might seem a bit crazy..but I plan to get to at least 50/100. I know I'll still be behind, but I'll be on the right track. Maybe I'll even do better than I expect...

I also want to get to 4/6 audio books listened to.

This blog is very important to me, no matter what it may seem like at times. I really want to keep it up nicely for the rest of the year. I want to blog EVERY DAY this summer. As well as schedule posts until..let's say.. August 31st.

As always I want to get more involved. Lots of fun things go on in the summertime, and I want to be part of it. I want to join at least 1 challenge, and be part of 1 giveaway link up sort of thing. It would also be nice to connect with a blogger, but I'll let that happen naturally.

Thank you for reading my goals. If you have any thoughts, comments, or words of wisdom, just comment. I appreciate it more than you realize.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May in Review

I'm not even going to mention my lack of blogging for the past two months. But this summer I plan on reading a lot and scheduling more posts. I learned that when I don't schedule posts, reviewing seems more like a chore than something I enjoy doing. Once again I give you my pathetic stats. Tomorrow I'll post some summer goals. Maybe then I'll get some more motivation.

I read 4 books this month (you can check them all out in the sidebar)

I reviewed 1:
The Cadence of Gypsies by Barbara Casey

I have no idea how many movies I watched this month..

Challenges so far:

I listened to 3/6 audio books for the 2011 audio book challenge

I read 22/100 books towards my personal goal

Blog Changes:

I created a new banner and background! The color scheme is obviously different as well. I plan to try and keep this for the rest of the year.

Contests (1):

I only held one contest and it is going on right now. HERE. I am giving away a copy of Once Bitten.

Thanks for all the support...I'll try not to disappoint you all again.