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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Au Revoir, February!

Hey everyone!! :)

video
Since it is the last day of February (the days have passed so quickly; March has really sprung up on us, hasn't it?) I decided to do a feature on all of the books that I have read this month. It has been a fabulous month for reading, and I enjoyed (almost) every book I read this month.

Today I have for you a video! The first one I've ever done. In this video, I feature all the books I've read this month and talk a little bit about them.  As I say in the video, if it's bad, then bear with me because I've never really done a video before and don't particularly enjoy just...talking.

I hope you all enjoy! :)

Next, I wanted to share with you some exciting highlights of this month, since it has been such a lovely month. Usually, Februarys are filled with just impatiently waiting for spring and bearing with the cold temperatures, but February was my favorite month of the school year so far for a few reasons.

-I discovered new friends, a nice group of book lovers. I am also still friends with my old friends ;)
-I am doing well in school, everything except for history, which is awful :/
-I finished the basketball season, with some relief I might add. Basketball, as it turned out, was not exactly my thing.
-I was able to complete 9 1/2 books this month! That is the record for the school year and I'm very proud of myself. This winter I have been able to get much more reading done in the fall. During the fall I was happy if I could finish 3 books. Now I am up to nearly 10 and am very happy about this accomplishment :)
-I have signed up for the tennis team. Hopefully I will make it :)
-I had an O.K. Valentine's Day, but it wasn't the best. The best part about it was the lollipops and other candies. No boyfriend this year, haha.
-I have been able to post as frequently as possible on my blog. Back in the fall, I only averaged about 9 or 10 posts a month. Now I have worked up to about 15 or 16 which I am very proud of :)
-I decided to feature my favorite book that I read this month. It is not on the video, but I did finish it this month, although my review will not be up until March, I believe.

Everbound
by Brodi Ashton
Series: Everneath #2
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Pages: 368
Links: Goodreads
Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.

Guys, this book is absolutely AMAZING. It's the sequel to Everneath, which I read earlier and I loved. Ya'll have GOT to go out and buy this book, or at least Everneath, Omg I am still recovering from the feels this book has given me :)
Review to come!!! Soon!!!! :) :) :)

Anyway, Au revoir, February, and may March be just as magical and lovely as its predecessor :)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

{Special Blogger Interview!!!} +Q&A with Lottie from Book Adoration

Hello everyone!!! :)
How are you guys today? Well, I'm doing great because today I have something really special for you all, something to spice up my blog a little--and it's an interview with one of my favorite fellow bloggers, Lottie!
I was looking for some ideas to make my blog more interesting, and Lottie suggested that I do guest posts or blogger interviews. I liked the idea of blogger interviews, so I asked Lottie if she'd be interested in being interviewed! She said yes, and here we are ;P

Here is the link to Lottie's blog: http://lalovelystories.wordpress.com/

I hope you'll all check it out, because she is completely awesome and so is her blog!

So without further ado, here is the interview!

Annabel: When did you start blogging?
Lottie: I started blogging on September 30th :)

Annabel: Why did you start blogging?
Lottie: Well, I have always had a certain obsession with books-buying and reading them--so when I found out about the existence of blogs dedicated to love of the written word and that even people my age were blogging I immediately created one!

Annabel: What inspired you to start blogging>?
Lottie: The sheer love of the written word.

Annabel: Who is your favorite author, and why?
Lottie: Wow. I don't know how to answer this one. I have a lot of favorite authors. Mina V. Esguerra writes such cute stories, Marcus Zusak is the author of the Book Thief, a book I am currently reading and I have a feeling he is going to be a favorite, Hannah Harrington has written Speechless, one of my favorite books of all time. There is also Sarah Rees Brennan who has a talent for writing witty dialogue and unique characters. So, um, you could say that my list of favorite authors is constantly grwoing and I will never have that one favorite author. 

Annabel: What are your favorite book(s), and why?
Lottie: I love Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz because it really gripped my heart. Speechless by Hannah Harrington is another book I love. Chelsea Knot is an amazing character and the supporting characters are just as amazing. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan is an original story that made me laugh and gasp in shock. And Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys because of its utter beauty and how it taught me about an event in history that I never really knew about.

Annabel: What is the best part of blogging to you?
Meeting new bookish blogger friends. I know that many people say that but I geniuinely mean it. I wouldn't be blogging if it wasn't for you guys :)

Annabel: What blogs or bloggers inspire you?
Lottie: I have many inspirations. There is you, Wendy Darling from the Midnight Graden, Grace Ma from The Humble Watermelon, Delaney from The Random Ranterer, Kat and Steph from Cuddblebuggery, Belle from Belle's Bookshelf, Jo from Wear The Old Coat, and Thomas from The Quiet Voice. I have tons more but those are the ones that I can think of from the top of my head.

Annabel: What is the most challenging thing about blogging?
Lottie: Writing the reviews. Reading the book is easy but when I am finally able to sit down and start typing my mind goes blank. It takes a while for me to think of a way to describe how I feel about a book.

Annabel: What is your thought process when writing reviews?
Lottie: Well, first my mind goes blank so then I have to give my brain some time to think. And then an idea falls into my mind at the most inconvenient times. Like while I am trying to go to sleep. And then I just have to write it down (who needs sleep anyways?).

Annabel: Tell us a little about your life besides reading.
Lottie: When I am not reading I am normally trying to cook something. So I can eat it. I also like going to movies with my friends and sometimes just talking over the phone with them so we can be random together. I also like traveling around the United States when I get the chance. 


Wow, thank you SO much for the awesome interview, Lottie!! I really had fun coming up with the questions and reading her answers. Be sure to stop by her blog and check it out, because it's awesome!! :)




Sunday, 24 February 2013

{Review}: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Nobody But Us
by Kristin Halbrook
Release Date: January 29, 2013
by HarperTeen
Pages: 304
Will
Maybe I'm too late. Maybe Zoe's dad stole all her fifteen years and taught her to be scared. I'll undo it. Help her learn to be estrong again, and brave. Not that I'm any kind of example, but we can learn together. When the whole world is after you, sometimes it feels like you can't run fast enough.
Zoe
Maybe it'll take Will years to come to terms with being abandoned. Maybe it'll take forever. I'll stay with him no matter how long it takes to prove that people don't always leave, don't always give up on you.

*This review contains a spoiler, but I have marked it off with a bracket*
I don't usually go for books like these--sad, heartbreaking; the main topic being romance. The subject matter is completely outside of my comfort zone as well. But the synopsis sounded really interesting, and I'd seen some reviews that captured my attention. So I decided to read it, even though I was a little nervous. I wasn't really sure what to expect. And for a debut novel, this book was impressive.

I have a few complaints about this book though. For one thing, the romance.  I certainly don't know what it's like to be in love, nor do I expect myself to. When I figured out that Zoe was only 15, I had to pause for a second as I did the math. She's 15, Will is 18, I'm 13...15 seems young doesn't it? I mean, of course teenage girls can have silly, giggly schoolgirl fantasies (believe me, I've had my fair share of those), but don't you think 15 is a little young to be thinking seriously about love, marriage, and sex? Especially with a guy who is 3 years older than you. I guess it just weirded me out a little; maybe I'll understand when I'm older or something like that. Another thing I was not a fan of, was Zoe. I disliked her weakness. I know that her life really sucked, and that she'd been through a lot, but she seemed too delicate and vulnerable and Will seemed too powerful and overprotective, which I hated. In good relationships these days, the girl has to be as much of an influence as the guy. This book lacked that, and it disappointed me. [[I did admire the decision that Zoe made at the end, which required some smartness and showed that she wasn't exactly some china doll waiting to break into pieces]]. Despite the considerable age gap between Will and Zoe, however, I loved their relationship. It wasn't forced or fake, and the romance developed over the course of the book. Even though they hadn't known each other for that long before they decided to run off, it didn't seem like a case of insta-love because they only really started to love each other about halfway through the book, or at least it seemed that way to me.

Besides these things, this book was superb. The premise was brilliantly conveyed and the writing was flawless.  I usually don't go for books with alternating perspectives, but for this book it worked really well. I loved the way that Halbrook painted a picture for you. The plot, the characters--they were all crystal clear. I couldn't put this book down, I finished it in two sittings and just lay there in shock after I finished it. The ending was emotional and powerful and didn't seem forced in the least bit.  I don't usually cry during books, and I didn't cry during this book, but the ending was definitely tear-worthy.

I was pretty torn between giving this book 3 or 4 stars, but I've decided on 3 stars. I enjoyed this book a lot, but I think that it had some potential that Halbrook just didn't take enough advantage of. Halbrook did do an excellent job of just diving in--some debut authors close their books in a wimpy way, but Halbrook went out with a total bang and I loved that. I don't think I've ever read a debut novel quite like this one before, and that's a good thing.

3/5 stars

In My Mailbox #7

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we spotlight the books that we've received for review, swapped, or purchased that week. 

Purchased:

1. Everbound by Brodi Ashton
2. Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
3. Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris


Leave links to your IMMs, and I'll definitely comment on them!!! :)

Friday, 22 February 2013

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver
Release Date: October 25, 2011
by HarperCollins
Number of Pages: 470
Series: NA

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all--looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to eb her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living te last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death--and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing. 


Wow, what an amazing, heartfelt book. 

After reading Delirium, which I liked but didn't love as much as some other people, I couldn't wait to read this one. It was more than I was expecting. It was awesome.  I actually read this one a while ago, but I'm only now getting around to writing a review because I think a book like this totally deserves a good review. So I'm going to give you it! 

I don't know what exactly it is that makes this book so amazing. Is it the characters? The plot? The friendships and relationships? I think all of it; I am astounded at the way Lauren Oliver manages to capture you in Samantha's world. I wasn't a big fan of Samantha at first--she's that one mean, popular girl who is everyone's worst nightmare, and she went around torturing people for DAYS--but I grew to really appreciate her as a character by the end of the book.  It was probably character development at its best, to be completely honest. Lauren Oliver did a lot of awesome stuff with her character, from page one. 


The idea for this book is pretty common-- in fact, it reminds me slightly of 11 Birthdays, a book I really enjoyed when I was younger. I still appreciated the idea nonetheless. I think there's always this curiosity of death, and I find I really enjoy books about the afterlife (or whatever form the afterlife is in... this book wasn't really in the afterlife, it was more like what Samantha had to go through to actually, well, die). 

I really like normal types of books-- normal teenagers, normal school life, normal boy stuff, etc. In fact, those are some of my favorite books. But when you combine something like that, with something unreal like Lauren Oliver did, the outcome is magnificent. 

4 stars for Lauren Oliver, who has really outdone herself with this marvelous book :)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

{Review}: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green


An Abundance of Katherines
by John Green
Release Date: September 21, 2006
by Dutton Juvenile
Number of Pages: 229
Series: Not applicable

Goodreads
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun--but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.


Oh John Green you had the chance to make this an amazing book, but you totally blew it!

I'll start by saying that this wasn't my favorite book by John Green, but that isn't automatically followed by saying that I didn't like it. I didn't dislike it but I also didn't like it either. On the good side, it was charming, witty, quirky, and totally sweet. But I feel that no matter what, this book can't quite measure up to The Fault in Our Stars, Looking For Alaska, or even Paper Towns.
An Abundance of Katherines is the only book that I've read by John Green that's told in the third person narrative. Well I don't like it as much as his first person. When he gives his hero or heroine an actual voice, the outcome is so magnificent. But in this book, I didn't feel like I got to know the characters or the situation because the main character wasn't telling the story. This was a great disappointment to me and I knew from the start that I wasn't going to like the 3rd-person thing as much as the 1st person.

This book is about a teenage boy, Colin, who has been dumped 19 times by girls named Katherine. Nineteen. Doesn't that seem like a lot for someone so young? I don't know, maybe this is all relative, but 19 is a lot of girls. Especially girls named Katherine. I guess that was kind of the point but I think John Green could've chosen a more realistic number, like 13 or 14 maybe. I liked the craziness of this idea, and I think it's a really cool thing (being attracted to girls who all have the same name...cool idea, right??) but I think the staging could have been done better.
One thing I did like about this book were the footnotes. They were quirky and witty and they were probably the best thing about the book. They never failed to amuse me or interest me. So that was one thing I loved.

At best this book is ok but I really think it could have been a lot better. It was disappointing to me and I expected more from John Green, but if you're a fan of John Green, then I'd recommend going for it-- you might like it, who knows.

2/5 stars

Monday, 18 February 2013

{ARC Review}: September Girls by Bennett Madison

September Girls
by Bennett Madison
Expected Publication: May 21, 2013
by HarperTeen
Page #: 256

Goodreads / Purchase
When Sam's dad whisks him and his brother off to a remote beach town for the summer, he's all for it--at first. Sam soon realizes, though, that this place is anything but ordinary.Time seems to slow down around here, and everywhere he looks, there are beautiful blond girls. Girls who seem inexplicably drawn to him.
Then Sam meets DeeDee, one of the Girls, and she's different from the others. Just as he starts to fall for her, she pulls away, leaving him more confused than ever. He knows that if he's going to get her back, he'll have to uncover the secret of this beach and the girls who live there.


*An ARC was provided by Water Street Books for review purposes*

Wow. What a beautiful book, to say the least. I don't think I've ever read anything so unique and powerful before.

This book has alternating point of views, which I really enjoyed. I don't usually read books with a guy's POV--not as a rule or anything, but usually I just end up reading books narrated by girls.  The few times I have read a book with a guy's POV, I've liked it. Well let me just say that I loved Sam's point of view. He was a deep, emotional character who just made the pages explode with pure honesty.

Everything in this book pretty much comes down to finding yourself.  It's a tremendous theme throughout the whole book. Here is a teenage boy in the depths of loneliness and anger, and here are girls caught up in the same things. By the end of the book, everyone has found him or herself.  It was a beautiful end to a spectacular book. I re-read the last couple pages at least five times, marveling at their beauty, truth, and rawness.
At first I wasn't sure if I liked the "Girls" as Sam called them. The way they stared, their attitude, their shocking beauty, their all-around enigma--I just wasn't a fan, especially of Kristle, and even sometimes DeeDee. And I thought Sam's reaction to it all was a little weird--"So what, there are hundreds of blond girls staring at me? Oh, whatever"--or at least that seemed to be the vibe he was giving off. It kind of annoyed me.
But then, when I was almost three quarters through the book, I had this sort of epiphany and just GOT it. I got the Girls, I got Sam, I got everyone in the book. All (most) of my unanswered questions were now somewhere in the vicinity of being answered. A similar thing happened with the writing style. I wasn't used to the poetic touch that Madison put on the Girls' POV, but I grew to appreciate it.

All in all, this book is definitely deserving of the 4-star rating that I've given it.  Bennett Madison has penned a beautiful and profound masterpiece of a novel, and should be immensely proud of himself.

4/5 stars

Sunday, 17 February 2013

ARC Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller


Parallel
by Lauren Miller
Expected Publication: May 14, 2013
by HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 432
Series: NA
Links: Goodreads

Abby Barnes had a plan. Get into a great college, major in journalism, land her dream job at a major newspaper. But on the eve of her 18th birthday, she's stuck on a Hollywood movie set instead, wishing she could rewind her life. But the next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. A collision of parallel worlds has left Abby living a new reality every time her younger parallel self makes a new decision. Forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go on her plans for the future and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally in reach.



*An ARC was provided by Water Street Books for review purposes*
Lauren Miller has done it; she's written a book that has awesome characters, a unique, sci-fi-like element, compelling writing, and an eye-opening premise. From page one, this book had everything going for it--I couldn't put it down.
I am so hooked on this idea of parallel universes. Before I read this book, it wasn't an idea that I'd ever even thought about before. The execution was really well done--Miller articulated a complicated concept in a clear, straightforward way, which I appreciated. I don't usually go for books with these kinds of ideas in them, but this book convinced me that even the craziest of ideas can go a long way.

The characters were very strong. The protagonist, Abby, was lovable in all her flaws. Sometimes I found myself laughing out loud at her narration, and it just seemed like an honest book, despite this idea of parallel universes, which no one would ever really give a second thought to unless they read this book. I think that Lauren Miller has done a really good job of balancing out the several elements in this book and making sure they mesh. For example, Abby is totally a normal girl, filled with thoughts of prom, boys, friends, etc., and yet she's caught up in this crazy scenario. And yet Miller manages to fit in bits of humor and excitement, and it created a really connected, captivating book.
Lauren Miller also clearly knows how to keep the reader's mind fully on the book. While I was reading it, I couldn't put it down--literally. I carried it around with me everywhere and refused to stop reading until I finished.

This book, as expected, has a love triangle, but it's so much different than any other love triangle I've ever read about. Because, well, the guys are in different universes. Is that your typical love triangle? I think not. I'm so glad things ended the way they did. This book wrapped up really nicely, but what I'm really hoping is that Miller will write a second book! This story just has to continue.

So I didn't just like Parallel, I LOVED it, and I'm just so in love with everything about this book: its idea, its characters, its plot, its everything! Definitely thumbs-up for Lauren Miller on this one; it was really fantastic, not just for a debut novel, but for ALL novels!

4.5/5 stars

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Review: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever
by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: May 11, 2004
by Speak
Num Pages: 374
Links: Goodreads

Macy's summer stretches before her, carefully planned and outlined. She will spend her days sitting at the library information desk. She will spend her evenings studying for the SATs. Spare time will be used to help her obsessive mother prepare for the big opening of the townhouse section of her luxury development.
But Macy's plans don't anticipate a surprising and chaotic job with Wish Catering, a motley crew of new friends, or....Wes. Tattooed, artistic, anything-but-expected Wes. He doesn't fit Macy's life at all--so why does she feel so comfortable with him? So....happy? What is it about him that makes her let down her guard and finally talk about how much she misses her father, who died before her eyes the year before?

All of Sarah Dessen's books are so, in a word, pure. If I could, I'd read Sarah Dessen's books all day, every day. She has such a voice, and connects with her reader in ways that I can't explain through a review. I'm just so impressed with the way she manages to do this.  I've never really come across an author who can touch me quite the way that Sarah Dessen can.

It's hard to write about these characters because they were just so amazing.  I know that I have no trouble complaining and rambling about characters that I didn't like, but when I come across truly amazing characters, then I'm totally stuck. I find it really hard to write rave reviews, and mostly, my rave reviews suck. But here's a try. I feel like Macy and Wes and Delia and Caroline and Kristy and Bert and pretty much everyone... I feel like they're so 3 dimensional, almost like they're standing right there in front of you. To be honest, it seemed like I was watching a movie, or better, a play, instead of reading a book. And when you feel like this, then, well, you know it's a good book.

Critics say that Sarah Dessen's books are all the same, that they're all just about girls and guys and all of their troubles. I guess that's true, but in the books I've read by her so far, the girls are all different, they're in different situations, they have different lives. Annabell, Ruby, Auden, Nicole, and now Macy are all teenage girls, yet they're all the different shades of what a girl can be. I related to each of them in different ways.  I just connected with Macy. Even though I'm not 17, and won't be for 4 years, she seemed real.
The plot was different than in most books I've read about. Like all of Sarah Dessen's books, the characters hold together the plot.  Without the characters, the plot would be virtually nonexistent. I don't mind this; in fact, I love it. Part of what makes a book good is its characters, and Sarah nails the characters. The plot hung over them, and it created a nice balance.

Personally, Wes **SWOOON** was my favorite character, and Jason was my least favorite. I knew from the minute the story began that there was something off with Jason, and I was write. What kind of boyfriend can't show you affection? If I were Macy, I would've dumped him much earlier than she actually did. And Wes---don't even get me started... He's amazing. Pure. Phenomenal. Honest. I like him almost as much as Owen. Sarah Dessen really does a great job with her guy characters, I think this might be one of her strongest points as a writer.

So if you haven't read one of Sarah Dessen's books yet, I think you might just HAVE to go out and buy one right this minute, because you have not lived your life completely unless you've read a Sarah Dessen book.

More than 5 stars!!!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy
by Kiersten White
Release Date: August 31, 2010
by HarperTeen
Num Pages: 335
Links: Goodreads

Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.
Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she very well may be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. So much for normal.


Cute, sassy, flirty and totally a guilty pleasure read. It's the perfect thing to read if you're looking for a light read that will make you laugh.
I am so in love with these characters. For one, I LOVE Evie. I mean, come on, she carries a sparkly taser that she named Tasey, her best friend is a freaking MERMAID, and she's totally a normal girl while being...well, not normal! I loved the way that White created the contrast between those two things. She chases around paranormals in her free time, yet she can't get enough of Easton High. I just loved that whole premise. But back to the characters. Lend--Oh my gosh, I LOVE THAT BOY!!!!! *fangirls* He was just perfect, amazing, cute, and everything a book boyfriend should be. I'm so glad that he was in this book. So the characters were definitely my favorite part.

The writing, not so much. This was White's debut novel, and I think it was pretty good for a debut novel. But I have to say that her writing kind of gave me a headache. Sometimes the sentences didn't flow right, or everything just seemed sudden and at times I was like, "Wow! How'd we get here, when just two sentences ago, we were there." That kind of annoyed me. And in some places it was just a little too cute, which as much as I hate to say, annoys me to no end.
The plot was cute, just like the writing and the characters (for lack of a better word; "cute" is the only word coming to mind right now), but at the end it started to slip away a little bit. The action was definitely exciting, but it didn't really keep me on the edge of my seat, if you know what I mean. Also, this book was really predictable. From the moment we were introduced to Lend I predicted that Evie would fall in love with him (and it wasn't because there was a blatant spoiler on the back cover of the book). Even though that part was predictable, I still thought the plot was fun and...cute. O_O

While this book wasn't my perfect cup of tea, it might be just yours and I tell you, read it! It's totally worth the fun and relaxing feel, even if you feel like you've just indulged in a huge jar of chocolate frosting. I really enjoyed it.

3/5 stars

Thursday, 14 February 2013

In My Mailbox #6

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Sirenwhere we spotlight the books that we're recieved for review, swapped, or purchased that week. 


Hi, everyone! I hope you are all having a fabulous Valentine's Day! Today, I'm really excited because I have received my first-EVER books for review (including ARCs!), among some other V-Day gifts from my mom. So I decided to do an IMM especially for this occasion :)

Gifted:


1. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
2. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
3. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen



For Review:


1. September Girls by Bennett Madison (ARC)
2. The Lucky Ones by Anna Godberson
3. Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris (ARC)
4. Parallel by Lauren Miller (ARC)


What did you guys get this week? Link me up!! :)


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns
by John Green
Release Date: October 16, 2008
by Dutton Juvenile 
Num Pages: 305
Links: Goodreads


Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life- dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues- and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer Q gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.


Now that I've read 3 books by John Green, I can say with the utmost confidence that he is an amazing writer. He has perfected the art of getting his readers caught up in the worlds he paints for them. 
Coming into this book I had extremely high expectations. The first book I read by him was The Fault in Our Stars and I loved it from the deepest section of my heart. Then a few months later I read Looking For Alaska and that book changed my life--not even exaggerating here. This book reminded me a lot ofLooking For Alaska, but they were by no means the same. So when I saw this book on the shelf of my library, I knew I just had to check it out because John Green had already done so much for me just by writing these books. 
This wasn't my favorite book by John Green (I can't say that it measures up to the perfection of the other two), but it blew my mind away. It didn't make me think as much as Looking For Alaska did, but let me just tell you, this book is a work of art. Combine an interesting plot that only John Green could've thought of, amazing, brilliant characters, laugh-out-loud humor, and you've got Paper Towns in a nutshell. This is a book I will not be forgetting any time soon.

I'll start with the characters because they were definitely my favorite part. I loved Q, maybe even more than Miles (but not as much as Hazel). He was so real, even though I hardly interact with 18 year old guys besides my brother. I think out of all the characters, though, Ben and Radar were my favorites. At first I thought that Ben's whole "hunnybunny" thing was going to be annoying, but it turned out he only really used it at the beginning of the book. Otherwise, Ben was a fabulous character. I had some seriously LOL moments with him, moments when I'd slam the book shut just to get all my laughter out. Despite having a strange reputation, I thought Ben's personality was cute. Radar was just awesome. I loved him. I also liked Margo. She reminded me a LOT of Alaska, but Alaska's character is so good that it can't be used just once. All the other characters were great too, especially Lacey.
The plot of this book didn't seem very interesting at first, but the way John Green expressed it made it SO interesting. I found myself wanting more of it. More of John Green's writing. More of the plot. More of the characters. So I can say now that I will definitely be reading more books by John Green since the experiences I have reading his books have all been wonderful.

All in all Paper Towns was extremely impressive, and when John Green writes books like Looking For Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars then you know that when I say impressive, I mean impressive.


4/5 stars

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Review: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen*

Northanger Abbey
by Jane Austen
Release Date: December, 1817
Num Pages: 251
Links: Goodreads


A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen's "Gothic parody". Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly starical twist. The story's unkikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry's mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art. 

I think Jane Austen understands human nature really well. In this book, she just nails it.

When I heard the subject matter of this book, I knew that I just HAD to read it. Jane Austen, combined with scandalous mysterious? Murder mysteries? Um, big-time score.  I was expecting nothing but the best from this book, and guess what? I got nothing but the best.  It was perfection. ♥

I don't understand why this book isn't marked as one of the best books of all time with Pride & Prejudice and all of Jane Austen's more widely read books. I think I prefer this book to all of the other Jane Austens I've read. I was rapt the entire time I was reading it, and there was something about the way Jane Austen writes in this book that was just super duper amazing.

At the beginning of January, one of my New Years Resolutions was to read more classic books. I found myself getting bogged down by the ever expansive genre of YA. While YA books are pretty much my life these days (I seriously cannot live without them), I knew that I needed to read some good classic books, too. Unlike a lot of people, I love classics. I'm just that kind of person... I don't know why. After an unsuccessful first attempt at Wuthering Heights, I saw Northanger Abbey lying on my bookshelf and knew that it was time to read it. So I picked it up, and literally enjoyed every sweet second of it. Northanger Abbey is, in short, 251 pages of perfection.

All of the characters are charmingly imperfect, especially Catherine. She was quite stupid and often made very quick assumptions about people and things, but I liked her nonetheless. Jane Austen is one of the few authors that can make her heroines so flawed but make you love them so much. Like in Emma, most people loathe Emma Woodhouse, but I for one really liked her. Same goes for this book; Catherine might have appeared quite obnoxious to most readers, but I thought she was charming, as was Henry Tilney <3

The one complaint I have about this book was its predictability. I predicted the story from the moment Isabella started hinting at being a bad friend. Yet at other times I was surprised. I'm not going to put spoilers in this review, but let me just say that this book was predictable and surprising at the same time.

If you are a Jane Austen fan (or even if you're not) and you haven't read this yet, then what are you waiting for? Go and read it! And why are you reading this, when you could be reading this lovely book? GO! Read it now!

PS. My favorite Jane Austen yet.

4.5/5 stars
   

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Quote of the Day #1

"Unrequited love is all right in books and things, but in real life, it completely sucks"
--Meg Cabot



Meg Cabot

Monday, 4 February 2013

Me as a Blogger: How I Roll

Today, for some peculiar reason, I was itching to write a blog post, but not just a regular meme or book review. I wanted to go outside my comfort zone a bit and write something that I normally wouldn't post. I want to write a short article on how I blog.

Right, how I blog. I know you're rolling your eyes; Of course I know how you blog. You write posts, you publish them. You check comments, you reply. Sometimes you edit the layout and stuff of your blog. That's it. But boy oh boy, there is So much more to blogging than that, something I've just realized over the past couple months.

As a blogger, even a novice one at that, I get a lot of questions about how I manage a blog. Do I plan my posts ahead of time? Do I schedule my posts? Do I write out all my posts for the week? Do I do this, do I do that.

Question #1: Do you plan your posts ahead of time?
I do, in fact. I am not a very organized person and tend to forget things much too easily. At first, as a blogger, I would never plan my posts ahead of time. Usually, once I finish a book, my review will be up in 24 hours, depending on how busy I am. It was only a month or so ago that I discovered you could "schedule" posts.  So therefore, on the weekends if I have time, I make all my memes and put them on a schedule so that they automatically post at the time I set for them. Usually I schedule them for 12:00 midnight, so that they appear all day. It's really helpful. :)

Question #2: How the heck do you fit in time to blog?
That's actually a really good question. Sometimes, I ask myself that question, too.

Question #3: When did you start blogging?
If you've been around long enough, you'd know that I started blogging in mid-July of 2012. One very, very hot, very very boring summer day. My parents were on a business trip (in July! can you imagine?) and it was just me, my sister, and my brother at home. I had been to a field hockey camp the previous week, and had gone swimming at least 40 times in 24 hours.  I logged onto Goodreads, checked my updates, saw a topic in my group that said "Blogs". Clicked on it, discovered the wonderful world of blogging. July 13, 2012. My lucky day, my friend. My lucky day.

Question #4: Do you have any inspirations? Bloggers, or other blogs?
Of course. In fact, I am so inspired every single day from the several blogs that I read. For example, I love Lottie's witty, thoughtful reviews. I love Erika because not only was she my first follower, her reviews are awesome and I can't get enough of them. Whenever Erika posts a new review, I am the first to read it. ;P Delaney and Grace are other inspirations. I think that Emily inspires me the most, though. She was the first blog I EVER followed, and I wanted my blog to look just like hers (and...it does, I am a copycat). She also showed me how to do a bunch of things, like put a border around my summary in book reviews, and told me about ARCs, an idea I had not known about until Emily explained it to me. Anyway, she is completely awesome, so please check her blog out!

Question #5: What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Definitely the community.

I hope you all had a fabulous Monday! ;) I know I had a tiring one and have lots of homework to do, so I better get going. See you all soon!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent
by Veronica Roth
Release Date: May 1, 2012
by HarperTeen
Num Pages: 525
Links: Goodreads 


One choice can transform you-- or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grow. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. "New York Times"b besteselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian "Divergent" series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich will hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.




Truth be told, I read this book way back when it came out in May. It was one of my most anticipated releases of 2012. I found myself counting down the days until May 1, the days when finally my dear Insurgent would finally be mine. So when it arrived in my mailbox on the first day of May, I couldn't wait to read it.  I immediately started reading it after I finished Bitterblue, which also came out that same day (wow, that was a really, really good day). And to be honest, there were moments when I wanted to cry because it was just nothing like its amazingly awesome first book, Divergent. I lacked everything that I liked in Divergent--excitement, curiosity, and wanting more of Tris and Four's romance. Instead, it was kind of bland, and that was what disappointed me so much about it.  When I finished it, I seriously was considering giving it 1 or 2 stars. Instead, I decided that it wasn't that bad, and my expectations were way too high, so I gave it 3 stars. I now realize that this was a bad move on my part. Yes, Divergent set the bar extremely high, but to be honest, if I hadn't loved Divergent with all my heart, I don't think that I would've hated this book as much as I did.

Let me back up. I didn't hate this book when I first read it. I actually really liked it. There were moments when I laughed, moments when I really cried. It was a rollercoaster ride, Insurgent was. I know that's a disgustingly cliche thing to say, but it really WAS like a rollercoaster ride. Anyone wonder why people use cliches? Usually, because they tell the truth. So a couple days ago, I was feeling bored. I felt like I had nothing to read, and my TBR pile just wasn't interesting me at the moment. All the books looked dull, and I was in the mood for some excitement. I realized that I hadn't reread Divergent yet, so I was something like, "Yes! I'll reread Divergent. That'll be perfect. It will have action, suspence, romance, everything I want right now." So I eagerly picked up Divergent and was done within hours.  So, as the first time I read it, I went into a sort of shock after I finished it, and realized, "Wow, I need the next book!" just like I had the first time I read it (except that the first time I read it, it was not available to me). But then I came to the realization that Insurgent, too, was lying on my bookshelf, next to the big gap where Divergent used to lie.  I thought to myself, "Ok, maybe I should give Insurgent another chance." I wasn't expecting much. So I reread Insurgent, too, and you know what?

It wasn't bad at all. It was almost as good as the first. I had this epiphany, realizing that my former 12-year-old self was stubborn and expected way too much of Insurgent. Back then, I think I pretty much had no idea what I was talking about.  Sometimes I'd criticize a book, just for the sake of being critical. I know better now. I know that there is good in each and every book, and I must seek it out to be a good reader and a good reviewer, as I have said before many times. But now that I've just finished rereading Insurgent, I think my views have been greatly changed on it. I find this happens pretty often when I read a book and think it's more "meh", but then I reread it and think it's wonderful. This is what happened with Insurgent. So even though I've already written tons, I think this is where my review really starts.

The characters. One of my favorite parts of the book. I love Tris. I've decided that she's one of my favorite girl characters of all time. She's so amazingly kick-ass and even when people mistake her for just a "little girl", she tells them that she's not. But she doesn't actually tell them: she shows them. I think Tris's character was really developed through the entire series. In the beginning of the first book, she was a quiet Abnegation girl who longed to be selfless but didn't quite have it in her. At the end of the second book, she is a wild soul, thirsty for love and sacrifice.  She had some very bad moments in Insurgent where I wanted to pound her skull, just like Tobias. I found myself siding with Tobias every time him and Tris got in arguments, but then I realized that all of Tris's problems came back to one thing: She is too brave for her own good. Too smart. To selfless.  Therefore, she is a mix of Dauntless, Erudite, and Abnegation. I find this so beautiful. Her character is really thought out, not just thrown on the page.  Veronica Roth did a spectacular job with her character, and sometimes she was so real she seemed to jump out of the pages (again, another disgusting cliche, but people only use cliches because they're true, as I said before).  So now that I've pretty much dissected Tris's character (ughh, that sounds weird...sorry), I think I'll move to Tobias, because he is easily my favorite character in this book, hands down the most amazing book boyfriend in the history of book boyfriends. And if you know me, you'll know that that's a really, really big statement for me to make. But I am standing by my statement, because even though it is brave, it is true.  Tobias is everything a guy should be. He's smart, caring, brave, and not completely full of himself like all the other guys. He is sexy, but not in the Edward Cullen type of way. He is real. He isn't a sparkly vampire or a beautiful angel. He's just a guy (a guy with very few fears), and while sometimes relationships in YA books freak me out, Tobias and Tris's relationship seemed so natural and real. Not all couples are perfect, even these two. They went through their ups and downs throughout the book, but they loved each other all the way through. And yes, I have stopped calling him Four. While I prefer the name Four, I am warming up to the name Tobias because I have discovered that when you say it out loud, it actually sounds kind of cute.  Anyway, that's Tris and Four. And then there were the minor characters, like Susan, Uriah, Lynn, etc. Uriah was as awesome as he was in the first book, although I never would've guessed that he was Divergent, too.  Every time Roth mentioned Susan I felt calm. She was peaceful, kind, and selfless, and I loved her for that. Lynn was so kick-ass. I loved how she was so beautiful, but at the same time, she didn't care about being pretty, she just wanted to show that she wasn't just a little girl who couldn't do anything. So, she shaved her head in the first book. I admired her for that; while I would never do that, it made me smile. I loved Lynn, even though she was a bitch half the time (for lack of a better word; I don't feel she's actually a bitch, she just acted like one).

I guess I've written a lot about the characters, I think I'll work through the plot now. When I first read the book, the plot infuriated me. I had a hard time following it, and even when I could, it wasn't interesting to me. Sometimes their locations mixed me  up, and who's on whose side and whatever. But I understand it now. I think what happened the first time I read it, was, I was so eager to finish the book that I didn't really think about what was actually happening in the book. I just wanted to have read it, which was soooooo stupid on my part. I worked through Insurgent slowly, even though I finished it in 24 hours, and was able to understand everything going on. That was refreshing. I always read books too fast in order to finish them and say I've read them, and I also tend to not understand anything going on the book since I'm reading too fast. ANYWAY, I think the plot was absolutely amazing. Veronica really showed me that she's a genius.

This book deserves a solid 4 stars. I was considering giving it 5 stars, but I don't want to change my opinion completely, because I do still think that the first book was better and interested me more. I think now I can appreciate this book, because I really did love it. :)