Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In Conclusion: January 2012

Hi everyone! It's time for In Conclusion of January! January was an AWESOME month for me, I got more books done than usual!

What happened in January:

  • School started back up
  • Finals
  • Multiple dance competitions
  • ALL A's!! :))
  • Bought my first John Green book :) 
  • I started volunteering at the library!
So as you can see, January was friggin' awesome. I loved January!! Now onto the books.

In January, I read (click on image takes you over to my review!):

 Rating: A

Rating: C+

Rating: A

Rating: A-

Rating: C

Rating: A+

So that concludes my month of January! If you also finish off your months with an "In Conclusion" post or anything similar, leave some links! :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review--Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Summary/Cover Image from Goodreads:
'"Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes. "


I've been hearing nothing but amazing things about Graffiti Moon, so I decided to pick up the copy for myself. And I sincerely am so glad I decided to, because not only was it fabulous and creative, it may be one of my favorites for 2012.

Lucy and her friend Jazz have just graduated senior year, and they want to do something fun together. Jazz is looking for a new guy, but Lucy is really just looking for Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist who paints the most beautiful pictures around town. Lucy is determined to be his soul mate. Even though she doesn't know who he is. Meanwhile, Ed and Leo are trying to hide their image as Shadow and Poet. In one night, love is unfolded, truths are told, and their love of art is treasured.

The beginning of the story was a little slow for me. But when Lucy, Jazz, Leo, and Ed meet up for the night, things really picked up, and I found myself enjoying it nonstop from there. The progression of Ed and Lucy's relationship was, well, perfect. It wasn't actually perfect, but it was the perfect the way I liked it. The whole concept surrounding art and their secrecy was exciting to read about, and being an artsy person myself, I was delighted to read from an artist's point of view. I really liked the idea of graffiti, it's so out there and I loved it!

I also loved the pacing in the book. There was certainly slow, tender moments in the book. But then followed by fun, sarcastic scenes. Graffiti Moon was a great mix. 

The character, you guys, the characters. Every character had their own worries, imperfections, and flaws. And to me, that makes the character so real and believable. It makes it so much easier to connect with them. The character aspect I loved the most was the similarity between Lucy and Ed. They both are artists, and both have parent troubles at home. Their relationship, again, was kind of the insta-love at first, but they rediscover eachother, and fall in love, for real. 

Cath Crowley's writing. 

I don't really have any words for how marvelous and sensational her writing is. Literally, every page took my breath away. It's so metaphoric and deep, as well as symbolic. I don't know where she gets it from, but I absolutely love it.

The ending of Graffiti Moon was sweet. It ended happily and that definitely pulled at my heartstrings at how PERFECT the ending was. Ahh. Just the way I wanted it to be. Simply beautiful.

In conclusion, I'd just like to say that Cath Crowley is an artist herself who meaningfully crafted the gorgeous masterpiece that is Graffiti Moon. Highly, highly recommended.

Grade: A+

Graffiti Moon will be out on February 14, 2012!

Source: Publisher via Netgalley--thank you Random House!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Book Review--The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Summary/Cover Image from Goodreads:

"The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget."


The Near Witch was not what I expected it to be. When I first read the synopsis, I was INTRIGUED. I've always LOVED books that take place in a village, like Red Riding Hood. And a fairytale? Even better. But after reading the full story, The Near Witch fell a little short for me.

The reader is introduced to Lexi, who lives in a small village of Near. But she lives on the outskirts of the village, out on the moor. The story jumps right in to a stranger coming into town, but vanishes like a ghost. This stranger startles everyone, but he is yet to be found and confronted. The day after the stranger came, children start disappearing. The people of Near accuse this stranger, but Lexi believes he is innocent, and she finds her way to the real reason to why the children are disappearing. Perhaps the story of The Near Witch is true, and has come back to haunt them.

Let's start with the plot of the story. At first, I thought the whole concept was exciting and scary. But as the story moves along, I found myself bored and a little creeped out by how weird everything was. The events became repetitive, and I just wasn't interested anymore. There was also too many problems for me going on in the book: and they were equally balanced, so I didn't know which one to focus on, or which one was the dominant problem in the story. It left me confused. I felt like the problem just dragged on, and on and ON. It wasn't until the conclusion of the story that the plot picks up and had me flipping pages. The fairy tale of The Near Witch was entertaining to read about.

The characters were alright. They weren't special or anything. I liked how caring Lexi was towards her little sister, Wren. Otto just plain bothered me. My favorite part of the characters would have to be Lexi and Cole's relationship. I liked the connection between them, and how Lexi slowly got to really know him, and where he came from.

Victoria Schwab's writing was AMAZING though. It's very flowy and easy to read through. I enjoyed the descriptions, and the nature depictions. Beautiful.

Even though I didn't enjoy The Near Witch quite as much as I wanted to, I'm still willing to read whatever Victoria has in store for us. Her writing is very different and unique, and I'd like to see where it goes next.

Grade: C

The Near Witch (Amazon, B&N) is now out!

Source: Library

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren.
Hey everyone, so last week I said that it would be my LAST IMM. Well, yeah, I lied. Since I'm not doing themed months anymore, I can go back to in my mailbox! YAY! So here's what I got this week:

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
I love this title! It rhymes. :) But anyway, this book sounds really friggin' awesome!
Source: Netgalley--Thank you ABRAMS!

Solo by Sarah Schofield
I was SO happy when she decided to send me a copy for review. Sarah is a darling, guys. I LOVE SARAH!
Source: e-copy for review from Sarah herself! Thank you so much Sarah :)

Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens
This one was FREE on Amazon, so I had to pick it up! Can't wait to try one of Jennifer's novels. :)
Source: Bought from Amazon

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
I need to read this book. 'Nuff said.
Source: School library

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
I tried reading this book last year, but I just could NOT get into it! I'm trying again :)
Source: School library

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
I need to fall in love with this book like everyone else is. Or I will be a disappointment.
Source: School Library

Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt
Another title that looks awesome!!
Source: Netgalley--thanks Bookmasters!

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Ever since I read Grace's review of this book (check it out here, AWESOME review), I knew I had to pick it up! Can't wait to start it!
Source: Library

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Lauren from Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf said she LOVED this book, so I knew I had to request it on Netgalley!
Source: Random House Children's Book via Netgalley

The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks
This one just looks downright creepy.... and awesome.
Source: Random House Children's Books via Netgalley

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
LOOKS SO COOL. Cannot wait to starttt!
Source: Random House Children's Books via Netgalley

Looking for Alaska by John Green
MY FIRST JOHN GREEN BOOK! I know, I'm a John Green virgin. If you haven't hear of this book, you've been living under a rock. Well, technically *I* have been living under   a rock, since I haven't read any of his books yet..
Source: BOUGHT!!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
Guys, my second John Green book, and my first David Levithan. FTW!
Source: Also bought! :)

So special thanks to Netgalley, ABRAMS, Bookmasters, Random House Children's Books, and Sarah this week. This week... was awesome. AWESOME. No, it was fancytastic. YES, fancytastic is now a word. =)
What did you get?? LEAVE LINKS! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Finals week is OVER!

Hi everyone! So as you can see, finals week is over! That means I can take a deep breath and relax for 3 whole days without worrying about school work. This means I have more BLOG and READING time! This makes me so excited. Alright, that's all I have to say for now, really. Meanwhile, check out my review of NOTES TO SELF, or go buy your copy of OVERPROTECTED while it's free! See y'all later. :)

Book Review--Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer

Cover Image/Summary from Goodreads
"Two climbed up. Two fell down. 
One woke up. 
In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, Robin Saunders has to relearn who she is and find out what happened the night everything changed."

I saw a couple of people receiving this book for review in their mailboxes, so I decided to pick it up and give it a try. I was a little reluctant at first, since I thought it was one of those in-a-coma, out-of-body-experience types of books, but it turned out to be much better than what I expected: a beautiful story about friendship, growth, and love.

The setup for this book was unique: it was in present tense, and then it often took the reader back to Robin's old memories with her friend, Emily. The story starts off with a bang (not literally) with Robin and her bestfriend Emily falling off a structure, and both of them ending up in the hospital. Only, Emily doesn't wake up. Robin does. Robin goes through the stress at school when people think she pushed Emily. Robin also has a difficult time remembering what happened that night. Some chapters simply relive Robin's old memories with Emily, and how great of a friend she was, how loyal. One of my favorite parts of the book HAD to be those memories. Some of the memories were just so special and really pulled at my heartstrings. Notes to Self was strong in the areas of describing Robin's growth as she tries to remember everything again.

The characters, I loved the characters. ESPECIALLY Reno! Reno was such a sweet darling, I couldn't have asked for a better person to take Robin under his wing. Although she wasn't mentioned until the very end, Josie was really special to me. Her character changed so suddenly, but she turned out to be a good friend. And Robin: her character was so innocent and real, I believed her emotions just as if they were mine. I sincerely felt her stress and her frustration.

The ending, guys, the ENDING. Too good to be true. It was so ambiguous, yet breathtaking at the same time. What a great conclusion to the novel. Couldn't have asked for more! A very satisfying wrap up.

Overall, I'm very delighted to have read this emotional and compassionate story of Avery's. Definitely recommended for anyone who loves a good finding-yourself story! I can't wait to find out what Avery has next in store for us.

Grade: A-

Notes to Self (Amazon, B&N) is now out!

Source: Bought from Amazon

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Free eBook--Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens

EVERYONE. Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens is free TODAY and TOMORROW *ONLY*
So... I'd recommend getting your copy now. NOW. I've already gotten mine!

(Click image to take you over to Amazon)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Review--Gone by Michael Grant

Cover Image/Summary from Goodreads:
"In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else..."

When I first heard about Gone, I instantly loved the premise and the idea. It just sounded so intriguing and new. But I never picked it up, perhaps it was because of the length--558--I was a bit intimidated. I have to give credit for The Girls In the Stacks who started a Gone book club. That was when I finally picked up Gone. I am so thankful I decided to participate, because Gone was just as amazing as it sounds and maybe even more.

We are introduced to many characters: Sam, Astrid, Quinn, Lana, Caine, Diana, and many more. Everyone 15 and older disappears, and there are no more adults in their world, the FAYZ. They must somehow figure out how to survive. But some kids just have the addictive nature that is power that takes over, and soon becomes a war. Fighting to become the leader of the FAYZ. Not only is it chaotic, but some kids have super powers, and some animals are mutating. Among the confusion, they need to figure out why the FAYZ happened.

At first, I was overwhelmed by how many characters there was in Gone. I usually don't enjoy books with too many characters, since it becomes too confusing, and I just give up trying to connect to every one of them. But here, Michael Grant has done a great job with the characters. Each character is mentioned over and over again, so there was no way I could forget who was who. I kind of loved every character, they all had their own personality and goals in the FAYZ. I also loved that in the midst of confusion, Sam and Astrid can still find love.

The plot--just wow. I found myself frequently flipping through the pages to find out what happened. Intensity was a big one! I definitely am confused--in a good way-- because I kept wanting more, more, and more! Michael creatively crafts and molds the characters and blends them perfectly into the conclusion and the epic war. The resolution was definitely the most fast-paced: the hours are narrowing down to Sam and Caine's 15th birthday! The aspect with the coyotes was a little disturbing and I didn't like it quite much. I'd say that was the weirdest (not in a good way) part of the book.

So overall, Gone was a really fun read, definitely interesting and something to check out. I found myself astounded throughout the whole book, how these  14 and under kids are driving cars, going on speed chases, shooting guns. Wow. Michael Grant makes it all so believable. Definitely a must read if you love Sci-Fi/Dystopian!

Grade: A

Gone (Amazon, B&N) is now out!

Source: Library

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren!
This week was an amazing week in review books! :) This is also my LAST, I repeat, LAST In My Mailbox, since I will be starting Monthly Themes very soon!

Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
This one looks adorable! I need more contemporary, I'm trying to get back into it! I love the author's name too!
Source: For review via Netgalley: Random House Children's Books--THANK you!

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
I have heard literally nothing but amazing things about this contemporary (another one, yay!), so I KNEW I had to give a try!
Source: For Review via Netgalley: Random House Children's Books--Thanks again!!

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
I was SO excited to find out that I got this one! That cover is stunning. Absolutely stunning. I'm pretty sure this one is about mermaids, not sirens!
Source: For Review via Netgalley: Random House Chidren's Books--You guys are amazing.

The Childe by C.A. Kunz
This one I heard awesome things about, and it was FREE because of the second novel, Dark Days's release!
Source: Bought from Amazon

Dark Days by C.A. Kunz
I won this in a giveaway for getting The Childe for free!
Source: Won in a giveaway (THANKS Tiffany!)

Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren
I haven't read the first one, but I had to get it before the great deal was over. So I got it. :)
Source: Bought from Amazon

Torrent by Lisa T. Bergren
The third book of the River of Time Series! Again, couldn't pass up the deal!
Source: Bought from Amazon

Anew: The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine
WHAT A FANTABULOUSLY BEAUTIFUL COVER! It sounds like just my type of read! Cannot wait!
Source: For review from Chelsea--Thank you so much!

Stay by Deb Caletti
I have never read any of Deb's books so this will be my first one! :)
Source: School Library

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
I have been wanting to read this ever since it came out! And that COVER is just gorgeous!
Source: School Library

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
I actually didn't enjoy (or finish) Brenna's other book, The Replacement, but this one just sounds AWESOME, so I decided to get it!
Source: School Library

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
This cover gives me the heebie-jeebies. But I've heard nothing but great things!
Source: School Library

The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
FREE on Amazon! Hurry and get it! I also want to read Abbi's Existence!
Source: Bought from Amazon

Reckless Magic by Rachel Higginson
This is a less-known title, but I've heard really great reviews about it!
Source: Bought from Amazon (FREE)

So special thanks to Random House Children's Books, you guys were awesome this week for approving me of these titles! And to Tiffany and Chelsea! I can't wait to dig in! What did everyone else get in their mailboxes? Leave comments/links! (:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Quick Update: Finals, Monthly Book Themes, and the Extras

Hi everyone! So as you can see, this is just an update post. First, I'd like to talk about finals.Y'all who have been through highschool know what I'm talking about. IT IS EXTREMELY STRESSFUL. I'm a freshman who is taking some sophomore classes, so it's a little-extra harder for me. At my school, we get out 2 hours earlier, but I honestly have no idea if I will get any reading done with so much studying to do. After that, I have a 3 day weekend with NO homework! That equals reading time. =)

The next thing: Monthly Book Themes. If you HAVEN'T checked out my post for it, read it here! It's quite a big change for me. But the Extras. What are the EXTRAS you are talking about, may I ask? I'm sure many of you have the same problem: when you walk into a bookstore, you can't exactly walk out empty-handed. For me, since I only borrow books, I can't exactly walk out of the library empty-handed, especially when there's that New Books display shelf. Those "extras" will be books that are not part of the themed-month. They will kind of be--books between the months. I will only read these "extras" once I finish the books I chose for the themed-month.

So that's basically it! I'm currently reading Gone by Michael Grant, and Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer. I'm loving both, and I plan on finishing both before January ends! That's it for now, happy reading!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (4): Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill @Breaking the Spine!

"Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.
Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.
Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.
Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.
Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love."
A murder mystery! I always love me a good, thrilling murder mystery. AND THAT COVER. So. Gorgeous. Doesn't look like a mystery from the looks of it, but hey, what do I know?
Hemlock will be released on May 8, 2012!
What are you guys waiting on? Leave links!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Change of Plans: Monthly Themes

Hi everyone! This title of the post.. what is it about? I'm going to jump right in and tell you guys.
You know when there's THAT BOOK that everyone is talking about, that book you MUST read before you die? But for some odd reason, you just can't get around to it? Well, yes. I have decided to shift on over to Monthly Themes, so it will help me read books out of my comfort zone. This will change my REVIEW POLICY, and how I choose books to read. This was inspired by Priscilla from The Readables (Youtube, Tumblr). I will be doing most of the same things that she does on her channel.
If y'all watch Priscilla's videos, you can skip this paragraph. If you don't, I'm going to explain what I'm talking about right now. Basically, every month, I'm going to pick a theme for the month, and the books I decide to read will be in that specific genre/theme. I'm planning to read 3-5 books a month (my goal is to read 1 book every week, 1 book every 2 weeks on busy ones). This way, it's more organized. I will also force myself to read books that are out of my comfort zone. I will still review the book as soon as I finish it.
I think that this is a good plan for me, because I tend to always stick with one genre: Paranormal Romance. I need to expand, people! If anyone has any theme suggestions, just comment below or tweet me or email me or message me--whatever you want to do. I'm open to any suggestions! Ha, keep in mind, only fiction though. x) Check out my updated Review Policy please! Doing monthly themes will also mean that I will stop doing Waiting On Wednesdays (it just doesn't make sense to wish for something when you're on a schedule), and In My Mailboxes. I will most likely do a Book Haul at the beginning of each month now. There will also be an "In Conclusion" post as well, summarizing my month.
This change (Monthly theme, In My Mailbox, and Wow) will happen in February--just because it's the middle of January right now, and that wouldn't work out. But I'm extremely excited! Alright, well, that's it for now! Bye everyone!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren!
This week was a very awesome book week for me. TONS of library books, and some eBooks!

Blood Will Tell by Samantha Young
Another book by Samantha! This one looks out of my comfort zone (heavily on the fantasy side), but I'll give it a shot!
Source: Bought from Amazon (FREE!)

Slumber by Samantha Young
Alright, another one! I trust that I will like her novels, so I went a little crazy...
Source: Bought from Amazon (Also FREE!)

The Prophecy by Raine Thomas
I received her other novel Becoming for review and saw that this one was free on Amazon, so I thought, why not? :)
It looks great!
Source: Bought from Amazon

Anathema by K.A. Tucker
I have never heard of this book before Haley @Ya-Aholic mentioned that it's FREE on Amazon! So I picked it up!
Source: Bought from Amazon (FREE)

Jenny Pox by JL Bryan
I first heard about this one from Loretta @Between the Pages (AWESOME blog :D) and she LOVED this book. And then Haley @ Ya-Aholic said it was free, so I decided to pick it up! (:
Source: Bought from Amazon! (free!!)

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
FINALLY. Finally. Ahh, can't wait to start reading it soon! (hopefully...)
Source: Borrowed from a friend

Forgotten by Cat Patrick
I think I've been wanting to read this one for awhile now! Sounds very interesting!
Source: Library

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
I have heard SO many great things about this one, I decided to pick it up (:
Source: Library

Envy by Gregg Olson
I've heard mixed things, but it sounds so awesomely scary that I HAD to pick it up!
Source: Library

You Against Me by Jenny Downham
Awkward cover and awkward title, but it sounds really good! I haven't read her other novel, Before I Die, but I shall soon.
Source: Library

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
I have also heard mixed things about it, but it sounds delightfully creepy enough for me to enjoy it!
Source: Library

Dark Souls by Paula Morris
Not sure if I will get to this one, but I love ghost stories!
Source: Library

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
PRETTY cover <3 Historical Fiction, not really my thing, but I'm willing to give it a try!
Source: Library

That's all I got this week! What did you get? LEAVE LINKS in the comments section below! :)