Feb 28, 2013

Blogoversary Bash


It's been a whole year since I started this crazy, time-consuming, absolutely obsessive, but completely-love-and-wouldn't-have-it-any-other-way blog. Time doesn't just fly. It's on warp speed.

This blog has given me so much. I've expanded my library, made new connections, learned there was this fabulously enormous community of book lovers like myself, and, most importantly, it gives me something to look forward to every single day. It's my own little sanctuary, my escape (besides books, of course) ~ my little corner in the great world of the wide web, and I can do anything I want with it! It's pure freedom and it's my favorite place to be.

This is something I don't think I'll ever give up. I love books and the written word, and I want to spread that love as far as I can. I want to giveaway books and get people to read a book they would never have otherwise picked up. With the blogging community, I have the potential to reach more people and be one of the inspired. It's awesome and I'm so, so, so happy to be a small piece of it.

Goals for the Upcoming Year

*Bring you more up-to-date bookish news*

*Do more and more and more reviews*

*Finish the appearance of my blog*
(it's a never-ending process)

*Raise more topics of discussion*

*Begin a book club*

*Host more giveaways*

Bring it :)

To celebrate the past year, I'll be hosting a giveaway! We'll make this one international (yay!) and it'll run from today until March 7th.

What's the prize? 

I've put together a selection of February new releases for you to choose from. When you win, you'll get your pick of:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck guys!!

Happy Reading Everyone :)

Feb 26, 2013

Tuesday Prelude

Tuesday Prelude is a weekly meme inspired by Should Be Reading's Teaser Tuesday. I could never just stick to two lines, so I decided to amp up my posts a bit, introducing you to the characters, settings, or history behind my current reads.

I'm still reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and there's just soooo much awesomeness in this novel so far, I doubt it will feel redundant with last week's TP.

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Karou's unlike anyone else, but even she is unsure of who (or what) that is. She can't really have a normal life, what with these "errands" that cause her to disappear for random days at a time.
"Well," said her friend, "it's a Karou. Get a good look, folks. Sightings of this elusive creature are getting rarer all the time." 
She's lonely, never allowed to be one whole person, with one foot in this world and one foot in another. Karou's constantly torn, and a part of her yearns to be free.
What magnitude of wish, she wondered, would it take to endow her with flight. 
Is she on the side of good or evil? Both? Neither?
Karou? Akiva knew that word. It meant hope in the language of the enemy.  
My mind is whirling when it comes to the conundrum that is Karou. To what future will her past lead her?

Happy Reading Everyone :)

Feb 25, 2013

Trailer Love: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare is probably one of the top most anticipated books of 2013. The characters Clare has created have stolen (and broken) hearts, and it's impossible to imagine a world where Tessa, Will, and Jem don't exist.

The trailer is surprising ~ dark and intense. What is Tessa... Will... Jem... going to choose?

Enjoy :)

Happy Reading Everyone :)

Feb 24, 2013

Review: Sanctum by Sarah Fine

“My plan: Get into the city. Get Nadia. Find a way out. Simple.”

A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos’s best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance—hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn’t just anyone—she’s determined to save her best friend’s soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife. 

As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she’s captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city’s endless streets. Their all-too-human leader, Malachi, is unlike them in every way except one: his deadly efficiency. When he meets Lela, Malachi forms his own plan: get her out of the city, even if it means she must leave Nadia behind. Malachi knows something Lela doesn’t—the dark city isn’t the worst place Lela could end up, and he will stop at nothing to keep her from that fate.


I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into when I randomly chose to purchase Sanctum after browsing the iTunes audiobook store. I had never heard of it, hadn't read any reviews, barely knew what it was about... and I was absolutely and magnificently surprised to find myself in awe and basically bowing down to Sarah Fine's genius.

Lela has got some... issues, to put it lightly. Life's handed her a crap deal of cards ~ she's been abused, neglected, and beaten down in every way you could imagine. She finally catches a break when she finds herself in a decent home, at a decent school, where people actually treat her as a human being with emotions and needs rather than a burden or a toy to be played with at any time.

This is where she meets Nadia, the popular girl, opposite from Lela in every way. Nadia shows Lela that the future is worth planning for, that even Lela can have a life worth living. Nadia believes this about her friend, but she's not so great at convincing herself, slipping into a depression that eventually leads her to take her own life.
"Your friend is convinced she is unlovable, unreachable. Depression can do that to a person. She thinks no one can understand her. She ignores all evidence to the contrary, and it has led her to make some very tragic decisions."
Apparently, when you commit suicide, you don't end up in a field of wildflowers where you're bathed by sunlight, rainbows and happiness every day for eternity. You end up past the Suicide Gates, a special place in hell that's designed for those who need a little extra "therapy" before they can be ready for heaven.

Lela finds herself in heaven, but due to her fierce loyalty and love for Nadia, she takes it upon herself to defy the rules of the afterlife and save her best friend from having to endure this hell that she's put herself in. There's just one problem: people within the Suicide Gates are wrapped in their own turmoil to the point that they can barely recognize anything except their own pain, unable to truly help themselves.
They're so absorbed in their own sadness that they can't see past the darkness.
How do you find someone who doesn't even know she wants to be found? But Lela is determined to find Nadia, and there's nothing or no one that can stand in her way.

Lela is an amazing heroine, flawed but beautiful and strong in the face of all the odds stacked against her. She's afraid, but she's courageous, a relentless fighter. With these qualities, she gains the admiration and respect of Malachi and Anna, guards of the city that have endured their own unfair share of pain.

Anna is one of my favorite characters with her sarcasm and ability to look at a situation objectively. She's the voice of reason in the midst of all the emotion, but she has a history of her own (she did end up in hell, after all). I love it when side characters are developed and given substance in a story ~ creates more texture, layers, and believability.

Malachi is strong and stubborn, but he's also sweet and generous. He's deadly and feared as the captain of the guard, but Lela's endurance of her surroundings leaves him in awe. Their relationship is a cautious one, taken step by slow and steady step. I did think Malachi fell to his knees before her a little too quickly, never asking for an apology for totally turning his world upside down (not in a good way), but he doesn't push his feelings onto Lela, hence the reason I felt that they weren't rushed. Neither of them expects a "happily-ever-after," it seems impossible under the circumstances, but that doesn't stop them from wanting.
“I wanted the chance to give him something, to give him the best of me, as pathetic as it was, damaged and broken, warped at the edges, hardly worth having. I decided that if I had the chance, if he asked, if he needed, it was his.”
Sarah Fine's writing style is gripping and detailed, in all its grotesqueness and beauty. The world-building is impeccable, and while the city beyond the Suicide Gates was pretty disturbing, it did the job of creating a dark, gritty, and "hellish" environment that you could believe and connect to.
Behind the Gates, the city clung to the slopes of its hill, a cement fungus. 
Sanctum is about loyalty, love, and facing your demons. It's about coming to terms with the difference between "what you want and what you need." The pain, empathy, joy, realization, and hope feels all very real and will capture you until the very last word.

Highly recommend :).

Happy Reading Everyone :)

Feb 23, 2013

Random Rambles: The Perplexed Reviewer

You ever read a book that frustrated you, annoyed you, left you flabbergasted... but when it comes time to review, you're not really sure how you feel about it? Maybe that doesn't make sense, so let me just elaborate a little bit. This book has some inconsistencies, rushed relationships and underdeveloped characters but at the same time the writing is fluid, the world-building is creative and intense, and the whole core of the story has a flair of originality. How do you rate something that has elements on either side of the bookish spectrum?

My first instinct is too meet somewhere in the middle. The good ole, reliable "It's OK" rating that's as good as shrugging it off and leaving it up to other readers to choose whether or not they want to take a chance. But you know, there's something else that bothers me... This author will be fabulous one day, which is something you can tell by the writing style and world-building, so...

Can we give half a star for potential? I guess that depends on how that potential made you feel about the book you just read, not just how you feel future books might turn out to be.

It's not really a black and white process, rating and reviewing a book. It's personal and sometimes it can be really difficult to find the words you want to say, especially when you're feelings about the book are all over the place, both negative and positive.

I'm just glad it's not all left up to the stars, the rating system that we all put in place. They don't really say it all, do they?  They are just there to put a visual to your overall opinion... It's times like this that I wonder if the rating system is valid at all, unless you're giving all or nothing. Unless you know you loved it or you know it just wasn't a good read.

Because when it meets somewhere in the middle, there are elements to which you want to give two stars and there are other aspects you want to go the whole nine yards for and give them a glowing five stars.

*sigh* I guess that can only mean that I'll be creating a new rating system...

Happy Reading Everyone :)

Feb 22, 2013

Feature and Follow

Feature & Follow is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read in which book bloggers make new connections, gain new followers, and learn a little bit about each other.

We always talk about books that WE want. Let’s turn it on its head. What books have you given other people lately?

My Fifty Shades of Grey copy has been around the block, with everyone at work asking to borrow it, which triggered a fabulous reading frenzy and an e-mail list of books that everyone should read. (Love it when the love of reading spreads.)

Also, I have a friend who loves to read, but was unsure of what to read next. Based on her style, I lent her Nora Roberts' Morrigan's Cross, a personal favorite, so I'm really, really hoping she likes it :).

Also, I love doing giveaways on my blog and recently handed out a copy of The Secret of Ella and Micah.

(P.S. Don't miss out on the YA Paranormal Giveaway Hop, in which I'll be giving away a copy of Jamie McGuire's Providence!)

What goodies have you handed out lately?

Happy Reading Everyone :)

Feb 20, 2013

YA Paranormal Giveaway Hop

A little weirdness in February.. The banner kinda makes me feel like it's almost Halloween, which gets me excited anyway, but YA Paranormal novels take up dominant space on my shelves, so I'm pretty stoked about this giveaway.

The only problem I've had is choosing just one book to giveaway. Honestly, I wish I could could give away all the books I've fallen in love with and send them anywhere around the world. But, although I've been blessed in many things, an unlimited amount of funds isn't one of them, SO...

For this hop, I've chosen to giveaway a copy of Providence by Jamie McGuire (See my review here.)

Jamie's book, Beautiful Disaster, has received a lot of hype (and for good reason), and I feel that the Providence series has been a little overshadowed... But it's awesome and totally deserves your time.

    Giveaway Details
  • US Only
  • Will be received in paperback form
  • Runs from February 21st - 27th

Stuggling with her father's death, Nina meets Jared Ryel, presumably by chance. However it soon becomes clear that he knows more about her than even close friends. When her father's former associates begin following her in the dark, Nina learns that her father was not the man she thought he was, but a thief who stole from demons. In searching for the truth behind her father's death, she stumbles upon something she never expected, and something Hell wants, that only she holds the key for. Jarel risks everything to keep the women he was born to save, by sharing the secret he was sworn to protect.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep scrolling for dozens of other fabulous giveaways! Good luck!!

Happy Reading Everyone :)

Feb 19, 2013

Tuesday Prelude

Tuesday Prelude is a post inspired by Should Be Reading's Teaser Tuesday. Since I'm slightly obsessive and get overly excited when sharing one of my current reads, I could never just stick to two lines, so I amped up this post a bit, introducing you to characters, places, or the history the book holds...

This week, I'm reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor:

There's a lot I want to share about this fantastically imaginative book, but what has captivated me most is the setting: the bohemian city of Prague. The way Taylor describes it has me wanting to visit immediately with its artistic and magical atmosphere and the history that saturates the streets.
The streets of Prague were a fantasia scarcely touched by the twenty-first century - or the twentieth or nineteenth, for that matter. It was a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval houses glowed goldenrod and carmine and eggshell blue, embellished with Rococo plasterwork and capped in roofs of uniform red. Baroque cupolas were the soft green of antique copper, and Gothic steeples stood read to impale fallen angels. The wind carried the memory of magic, revolution, violins, and the cobbled lanes meandered like creeks. Thugs wore Mozart wigs and pushed chamber music on street corners, and marionettes hung in windows, making the whole city seem like a theater with unseen puppeteers crouched behind velvet. Above it all loomed the castle on the hill, its silhouette as sharp as thorns.
Prague Castle

I think I read that description three times and my smile grew wider with each time. Doesn't it sound beautiful? Dark and slightly dangerous? Maybe it's the art historian in me or the fact that I love places that seem to transport you back to another time, but I'm becoming obsessed with this place...

Happy Reading Everyone :)

Feb 18, 2013

Blog Kickoff: My World of Writing

So this is an exciting and compassionate concept. Jen @ My World of Writing is new to the book blogosphere and is kicking off her blog in a big way.

She's diving right into a fantastic giveaway that includes:

  • A signed copy of Lullaby by Amanda Hocking
  • A Two Chapter Critique
  • 2 E-Book Surprises
  • A Copy of The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  • A Signed Copy of the First Five Chapters of Jen's Book

Pretty sweet deal, right? But there's more, and it includes a whole lot of heart... See, for every 1,000 entries, Jen has offered to donate $100 to people in need of food, clean water, and healthcare. Isn't that amazingly generous? 

So get clickin' guys and help Jen start off her blog with a bang :)

Visit Jen @ My World of Writing

Happy Reading Everyone :)

Feb 16, 2013

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which we bibliophiles showcase lovely new additions to our ever-growing collection.

This week's haul:

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.

Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.

The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story -- of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . . . The world is dead. The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

Alina has been stealing for a long time. She's a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she's never been caught before. If she's careful, it'll be easy. If she's careful.

Quinn should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it's also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

Bea wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

What new treasures to you accumulate this week? 

Happy Reading Everyone :)

Feb 15, 2013

Feature and Follow

ACTIVITY: Write a letter to your favorite character. Rant, rave or gush…just pretend like they are real and you just want to let them know a “few things”. – Activity courtesy of author, Kelly Walker

Dear Cas Lowood,

Still slaying ghosts around the world? I wouldn't be surprised if you weren't, after what happened with Anna, but you know, it wouldn't hurt my feelings if you went back to your old ways. Anna changed a lot of everything for you, didn't she Cas? She got under your skin, into your heart and after that, you could never really look at ghosts, or girls, the same again. What was it that drew you to her, even before you laid eyes on her? Was it fate or destiny or the "forces that be" that kept Anna's story gnawing on the back of your mind, or were you just uber curious? 

I dunno dude. I love Anna and all. She's kick ass and powerful and she's not afraid to make a sacrifice, but the reality is... She's dead. That kinda puts a damper on the possibilities... But I guess you knew that too, even in all your determination to get her back, you knew she deserved to be happy after a few lifetimes of misery and guilt. I bet letting her go was one of the more difficult things you've had to do to send a ghost on their way. You've got some surprising strength, because with all the gloomy, moody, and depressed states you were in in your second book, I thought you'd never let go of the idea of Anna. 

Okay, maybe I'm being a little insensitive, but I really missed the old Cas ~ the Cas with a smart mouth and a quick wit and a decent size ego ~ in the second book, and I want him back. Your story ended way too quickly for me, Cas, and I don't want to remember you as being broken-hearted. I want to see you pick yourself up and deal with the cards life has handed you. I want to see what your life is like after Anna, what you'll do with everything that's happened. I know a series has the potential to drag itself through more books than it needs, but I think two cut yours short. Come back to us Cas.


Happy Reading Everyone :)

Feb 14, 2013

Review: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Paper Valentine is a hauntingly poetic tale of love and death by the New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement and The Space Between.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!! How appropriate is this? Doing a review of Paper Valentine on Valentine's Day? I think it's a good sign...

I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about Paper Valentine. That the ending was a whirlwind; that Finny and Hannah's relationship was pointless; Hannah was a forgettable character; that nothing really tied together. Honestly... I really couldn't agree less. 

Hannah is a little... generic... at first, but that's the whole point. She's barely into high school when her best friend, Lillian, dies. Lillian is the type of person that always stood out. Everything she did was in an effort to be unique and special, and Hannah pretty much just followed suit, believing that Lillian had all the answers. Hannah isn't her own person, at first, coping with the fact that Lillian, who was the reason for everything she did, is gone. As the story progresses, Hannah begins to realize who she is, that Lillian has nothing to do with her.
...in the end, maybe the only thing I'm completely sure of is that I am not her.
Finny is a mysterious character, the bad boy delinquent with bulging muscles and bleached hair. He's not the kind of boy that Hannah is supposed to want, but he's the catalyst that triggers her "self-discovery." He teaches her, unknowingly, that it's okay to make a scene, to hold your ground. She realizes that she doesn't care what "they" think anymore, that she likes him and she's not afraid to stand up for how she feels anymore.

So then we've got murderers and ghosts. The only hole I could see is that we don't know why or how Hannah sees the ghosts; they just appear to her and her alone. Casting that little mystery aside, the ghosts are a creepy, bloody, vengeful things with an agenda and Hannah is basically their medium. It's awesome.

As for the murder/mystery aspect of this novel, only about half of it was obvious. When I started getting toward the end, I was like WHAT? That's it? That's way too easy and I totally saw that coming. But just keep going. Trust me. There's a lot more that you might've never guessed. At least I know I was pretty surprised.

Everything in this novel tied together pretty nicely. It's about love and death and letting go. It's about finding strength you didn't know you had and standing up for yourself and others. We learn this as Hannah goes from always wearing a plastic, happy smile no matter what, doing whatever her friends think she should do, to a girl who kisses delinquents, listens to ghosts, and realizes that life isn't a contest to be won.

Brenna Yovanoff's writing style is something that gets under you skin and lingers. It's dark and makes you imagine the most mundane of things in ways you would have never imagined before. She's definitely one of those writers in which I'll buy the book without even knowing what it's about ~ because I'm pretty certain I'll enjoy it.

4/5 Stars!

Visit Brenna @
TwitterGoodReads ~ Website

Happy Reading Everyone :)