Friday, July 29, 2011

What a Friday

Today Christa and I began a monthly blog feature called "Christa Talk to the Teen". It gives people the opportunity to ask a young adult who read YA questions. It came out really nice, please go check it out! Christa is funny and wonderful, and you should go see what she has put together with me!

I must make this short because I need to throw everything into my suitcase and get in the car RIGHT NOW.

My aunt is having her baby today. She's two weeks early, so I have to quickly drive the 6 hours to her house and skip all of my plans today. I wanted to see my friend for the first time in months, but I really don't mind! I am so excited! I'll get to be with Ruby while my mom is with her mom helping her have a baby boy. I am really, really close to my aunt and am thrilled she is having another baby.

I need to go now. I won't be up there for months like I usually would be because I have classes starting soon, so I will be back home sooner this time. I actually have no idea how long I'll be there for. Probably a few days to a week.

I'll keep you posted! Let me know what you think about "Christa Talks to the Teen"!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Fourteen

FourteenTitle: Fourteen
Author: C.M. Smith
Release Date: 30 Jun. 2011
Publisher: TWCS Publishing House
Pages: 172
Rated: Lovable
Won ebook from LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Synopsis from Goodreads
Arianna Weller has never fit in with the other kids at her high school. The daughter of the only lawyer in town, she's overweight compared to everyone else. Being picked on and put down by her peers has become normal—expected.

When she has a bad run-in with Evan, the boy she's had a crush on for 4 years, she decides to bide her time until she’s out of high school and off to college where she can start over.

Evan Drake has never had to worry about not being popular. He's on the football team, has more friends than he knows what to do with, and he doesn't care about anyone that's not in his "circle." So when he is forced to work with Arianna for a science fair project, he decides that dealing with her is just an unfortunate circumstance… until he sees what he's done to her.

The road to forgiveness and acceptance is not smooth. Overcoming peer pressure, jealousy, miscommunication, and social prejudices is never easy—especially in high school. Evan and Arianna have to learn things the hard way and answer one important question. Is it worth it?

My Thoughts
I began this book thinking the synopsis would be better than the actual book. I assumed Anna would be whiny and annoyingly self conscious. At first I thought she was, but as I got wrapped up in the story I noticed that she was not only acting the way I assumed she would, but it wasn't annoying. She sounded real. Wrongly hurt by people who don't understand her, and trying to get by with defenses up against everyone. But, the great thing is, she pulls it off without sounding annoying, and, instead, makes you feel sympathetic towards her.

At one part Even said something to Anna and I heard her respond with "Okay" in my head while I scrolled down to the next page, and that was Anna's exact response to him. I easily imagined their conversations and actions playing out in my head. Evan and Anna are awkward and cute and it warmed me up reading about them trying to smooth over the problems between them and make a connection.

The rude comments Anna's classmates would make about her were awful. Even though I know people are actually like that, I can't imagine anyone actually being that cruel to a person for no apparent reason. The poor girl was only slightly heavier than the other girls in the school, but they dogged her and treated her like dirt. It was heartbreaking. It made everything Evan did to make up for the way he previous treated her that much more wonderful.
I am very glad I got the chance to read this book, and I suggest you read it, too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Waiting on" Wednesday: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Here is my pick of the week!
The Unbecoming of Mara DyerTitle: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Release Date: 27 Sep. 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages: 464
Synopsis taken from Goodreads:
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.

I know everyone wants to read this book, but I really want to read this book! It starts with the amazing cover, then the synopsis, and, finally, what everyone has been saying about the book. I want it so badly. The wait to get it is killing me.

What's your pick of the week? Leave a link and I'll check it out!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: The Billionaire's Unexpected Heir

Title: The Billionaire's Unexpected Heir
Author: Kathie DeNosky
Release Date: 13 Oct. 2009
Publisher: Silhouette
Pages: 192
Rated: Close to Love
Won from Ashely at The Blogging Book

Synopsis from Amazon

Becoming the new owner of Hickory Hills Thoroughbred farm was not in billionaire Jake Garnier's plans. Becoming a father was even more unimaginable. For his new business came with one Heather McGwire, ranch manager...and mother to Jake's secret child.

After barely surviving his own father's desertion, Jake knew he couldn't walk away from his responsibilities. Marriage seemed the only solution. Yet Heather wouldn't settle for simple sweet talk and seduction. If Jake wanted a real family, he'd have to saddle up for the long ride.

My Thoughts

A while ago I realized that I don't care for Harlequin books. They aren't bad, but they are never my favorite books, but I did find this to be a great book. Seeing a modern view of the horse farm, races, and classy parties was a nice change and an entertaining setting. I am one of those girls to swoon over a guy who adores children, and it was so sweet to see Jake get to know his little girl and fight for Heather's attention. 
I enjoyed the book, but there were little things about it that irritated me. First off, I'm tired of love at first sight. I became annoyed that in every scene they began kissing. I understand that it's a Harlequin romance novel, but I prefer a book in which the juicy parts are hyped up from the rarity and agonizing wait of them. Sure, they weren't doing the dirty the entire book, but Heather and Jake were making out so often that it was hard to get excited for their interactions. Also, the number of times the word "honey" was used irritated me.

Heather easily fell for Jake, I mean, who wouldn't? He was sweet and still pulled off being enough of a 'bad' boy to be completely alluring. I'm glad Heather was strong willed enough to be cautious of Jake because he didn't sound promising at first, but, yes, I'm also glad she didn't put up too much of a fight against him.

I like the names that were chosen. I have a baby cousin named Lila Arielle, and those are the names of two characters that appeared in the book. I approve!

Overall, I thought it was a pleasant read. Cute, sweet, sexy. Jake's family sounded nice and I wouldn't mind reading their stories!

Friday, July 22, 2011

TGIF (3)

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads! Check it out and post your link!
 This Friday's question:
Bookshelf Tour: Where do you keep your books at home? Are they organized?
It took 12 photos to capture all of my shelves!
I organize them by the last name of the author, and they start at the shelves to the left of my door and wrap around my room. All the books that are face down I haven't read yet.  
All the blue shelves my Dad and I made together. We still make new shelves for my room and cram them in every six months when I run out of room.
There is a reason to why they are blue. I'm a bit of an artist, if you saw what was under all the shelves at the top of the room you would say something along the lines of "Damn, you paint a lot! You barely have any wall space left!", and one of my creations is a bulletin board that's blue with splattered white paint. I found a similar shade of blue, got wood, sanded, painted, and put up my new shelves. I had to add the lights under the shelves. They wrap around the entire room under the shelves.

In one of the photos you can see the top of the blue bulletin board.
Enough about the board, more about the books.

I'm going to count how many my books I have....
Unless I have miscounted (which is always possible) I have 416 books!
409 on the shelves.
2 being borrowed.
4 on my desk.
1 on my bed.
With a total of 416!
I'm more than halfway there!
Under the first huge line of blue shelving there stand my tallest bookcase. The top three shelves are devoted to movies, music, files, and many journals. The last two shelves are my next books.

I can't fit shelves above my window, so I have a bookcase under it. My bed is next to it, and I used to have a nightstand, but now I use the top of the bookcase.
Next I have more blue shelves! These are above my bed. After I first got them I kept imagining the bookshelves falling on my head and my books would kill me. They are sturdy and have not killed me yet.
After those blue shelves there are more blue shelves! It's a corner shelf on the other side of the door. This marks the end of my books!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: Witches of East End

Title: Witches of East End
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Release Date: 21 Jun. 2011
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 288
Rated: Lovable
ARC recieved from Yani at The Secret Life of an Avid Reader

My Synopsis

Freya, Ingrid, and Joanna are witches. They have been restricted from using their powers ever since the Salem witch trials. Joanna's son was taken from her, and Ingrid and Freya, Joanna's other children, were accused of witchcraft. They each specialize in a particular form of magic. Joanna has great healing powers, Ingrid is a seer, and Freya concocts potions. In their current lives Freya is engaged to Bran and attempting to fight her attraction to his brother Killian. Ingrid is a librarian and dealing with her first crush. Joanna, after missing her little boy for so long, has Tyler, a little boy around to dote on. After following the rules for so long they slowly start practicing magic again. Suddenly there are strange deaths occurring and people are going missing in their usually quiet town. All fingers point to the girls, who are openly using magic. If it wasn't the girls, than who, or what, is causing choas in their town?

My Thoughts

I found this book to be an enjoyable read. I got sucked into the great mystery of who was killing people, why were people sick, and what was polluting the water. Each women had a love story. Freya's was hot and intense, Ingrid's was a quiet longing, and Joanna's... Well, I'm not certain what to say about her and her husband.  There are so many different myths and creatures, and the thought of them all existing completely separate from each other, but all there, really appeals to me. There was even a visit from a few Blue Bloods characters! I've been a Blue Bloods fan since book one came out.

Their family struggles were great. Each of the girls ran their individual lives, not clinging to the others, but showed support for each other when needed. Freya was the wild child and full of love, and she created wonderful drinks and food. She is one of those characters who can do awful things and you still love them. All the characters were lovable. I'm attached to this new batch of characters. I'm afraid I might give something away if I talk about the boys. I'll skip them. I like how the town is well developed and we got to see many different characters flit in the way people always do in real life. The town itself is unique. An off the map kind of place that feels homey.

I wish there would have been more about their familiars. Ingrid's griffin, Oscar, sounded cool, and I assumed she would have been closer to him. I don't even know how Melissa could have incorporated the familiars into the story more, but I'm curious about them and barely heard from them.

I don't remember who wrote it, but I read a review of this book before starting is myself. The person pointed out the hype on them not practicing magic, but when they broke the rules they were barely worried and there were no consequences. I almost wish I hadn't read that because I doubt I would have noticed it otherwise. The entire time I read the book what that person said kept popping into my head.

All in all, Melissa did a wonderful job, as always. Her books are great and this one lives up to her others. I've always enjoyed how she alternates the POV. Getting in the head of a new characters is always fun. I suggest reading this book! While you're at it, check out the Blue Bloods books by her!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Waiting on" Wednesday: The Scorpio Races

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

Here is my pick of the week!

Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: 18 Oct. 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 416

Summary taken from Maggie's website:
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.Some riders live.Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

I love Maggie's books. All of them. After reading Lament I couldn't help but search for four leaf clovers. The Wolves of Mercy Falls are the prettiest books I own, and when I got Shiver I must have carried it around with me all week. Her writing is amazing and I am so excited for her new book! It sounds really unique and interesting and just as awesome as her others.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: The Day Before

Title: The Day Before
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Release Date: 28 Jun. 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 320
Rated: Lovable

My Summary

In one more day Amber's life will completely shift. She has no control over the looming changes, and all she can do is take charge of her last day. She leaves her family and her problems behind for one day at the beach. There she meets Cade, a boy looking for an escape for the day, as well. They agree, no asking why the other is there, and simply enjoy the day. But, Amber starts to wonder, what is Cade keeping from her? And what has him so unsettled?

My Thoughts

Amber's situation is fascinating. I could see where her story would lead to from early on, but the information was revealed in pieces that lead to her one day at the beach. I loved the beach setting. I actually read this book while at the beach, and that gave it a nice effect. She needed one day to forget and let go before everything fell apart, and then she meets someone who needs a fun day as much as she does. I was on my toes waiting to find out what Cade was dealing with. I was hooked until I finished. I NEEDED to unravel their mysteries.

The book is written in verse. Every time I read one of Lisa's books I wonder how attached to her characters it's possible to get when you only get little brushes of their lives and personalities, and in so few words. Every time I am delighted to find myself captured by her characters. These two particular characters grow so much in a day. They are a great influence on each other and they learn from simply seeing what the other is enduring. Amber really felt for Cade. She was worried about him. It was very sweet.
Oh, and she's a drummer. Pretty neat, right?

After reading Lisa's other books I went searching for more books written in verse and I never found any that could compete with hers. The emotions are so intense. I cried nearly the entire time I read I Heart You, You Haunt Me. And, Chasing Brooklyn? Wow. Really, read her books! If you think they're too sad for you to get through... Ignore that initial thought. They are worth it!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Finally Back

Long post coming, but then you will be updated and I won't be posting anymore this big since I'll update more consistently. Because I am finally back from my trips. Back in Maryland to stay.
I think I'll start with a few things unrelated to my trips and more blogger/book related.

On Friday the 29Th I (well, Christa, her idea, her blog) will be starting a monthly feature "Christa Talks to the Teen" with my wonderful friend Christa! It gives YA writers the chance to ask a teen reader (Me!) questions. Pretty cool, right? Be sure to check out her blog, she's really entertaining!

I came home to books! I won The Billionaire's Unexpected Heir by Kathie DeNosky from Ashley at The Blogging Book.
I won The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker from, again, Christa.
I won Fourteen by C. M. Smith from LibraryThing Early Reviewers, although, it's an ebook, so I didn't come home to it.
Yani was really sweet and sent me an ARC of Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz! You can find Yani at The Secret Life of an Avid Reader.

 Now to talk about my trips. I was with my family in Pennsylvania, off of Lake Erie, for about 5 weeks, came home for three days, and then went to the beach in Delaware for 9 days.

We had family in Pennsylvania from Vermont, New York, New York City, another place in Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Every night was like a big party with so many people and great food! On the 25Th was my great-aunt Karen's b-day. On the 26Th was Karen and Gary's anniversary, my aunt and uncle Amy and Michael's anniversary and my Mom's b-day. The 27Th was my Nana's b-day. The 28Th was my aunt and uncle Dina and Brian's anniversary. Long weekend. My Dad's b-day was on the 4Th of July.

New tile
And my sister
We put tile in my Grandparents kitchen and dining room. I played with all my little cousins for hours and hours. Babysat a lot, too. We played in the lake, in the pool, in an epic river with a rock face. We drove the mule (it's similar to a little Jeep). I got my 37yo second cousin to drive for the first time in 20 years. My sister drove a real car for the very first time.
I can't even remember everything we did. It was crazy...

I painted this on the wall!
Sadly, I had to say goodbye to everyone. I had stayed there for a long time (like I always do), and it was especially hard to leave Amy and Ruby since I had lived with them for so long. Ruby is such a fun 3yo.

So I came home for three days. I saw some friends and got a few things done before I left to the beach in Delaware. Oh, I love the beach. I love sitting on the balcony at any hour of the day and reading. I always watch anyone who walks under my balcony (it's a busy place) and I see the funniest things. One guy freaked out and threw a chair at a fence after midnight. I enjoy reading on the beach more than playing in the ocean. Although, I do get it in the water and love to play Frisbee and paddle ball. I had ice cream almost every night.

Yeah, me and my
sisters were those dorks
A lot of people I know happened to be there at the same time as my family. My violin teacher of 11 years. My friends I've known since birth (although, we planned our trip to the beach together, as usual). A friend from my neighborhood. I got to see everyone! I saw my neighbor when we went to see Harry Potter. Okay, did you see it? Did you love it? I did! Ahh, so good! I'm glad my Dad is as into them as me. Oh, oh! Does anyone watch soccer? The World Cup? It was amazing! I watched as many games as possible (which was a lot). The USA was AMAZING! And so was Japan! And my violin teacher is Japanese, so we watched the Japan vs. Sweden game with her and her husband.

I came home from the beach this morning in time to see the USA vs. Japan game. It was going to start later than we initially thought, so we went out and got me an iPhone! It's nice. *smiles happily* Then we watched the game. Japan won! I'm happy for them, but I wanted USA to win. It was so intense. o.o I was shaky afterwards from all the adrenaline. Just so you know, I watch a lot of live action Japanese TV. With the subtitles. Their comedy is way better than America's comedy. And I want to speak Japanese. I like Japan. I am happy they won, but very sad my girls lost. I know the girls now, I've seen them live. Oh well, there's always next time.

Many, many pictures. I've shared some with you, but there are so many more. I better stop now. Ahh, back to my life. I'll blog a bunch about books soon. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about my books.