Saturday, August 28, 2010

contest announcements in the blogosphere

if you haven't heard yet, Carol at Carol's Prints and Sara at Babbling Flow are holding two of the most amazing giveaways ever!!! sound familiar? yeah, cuz they just held giveaways earlier this month! talk about incredible selflessness...

head to Carol's giveaway here

head to Sara's giveaway here

don't miss your chance to enter! there are arc's and signed books up for grabs.

Friday, August 27, 2010

weekly goal-setting

wow. well, i've definitely got some goals, but they aren't writing-related! i'm swamped in homework that i must get done this weekend.

despite that, i did manage to remember my goal (make time for writing once this week), and i did make time. i'm going to stick with this goal so my new WIP doesn't die during this semester!

how about you? hopefully you aren't as busy as me and have more time for writing/reading! how'd you do on your goals this week, and what do you want to accomplish in the upcoming week?

also, i'll be back wednesday (or sometime this week if i get too busy!) with my review of Nightshade!

have a great weekend

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

what i've been reading

Eyes Like Stars: Theatre Illuminata, Act I by Lisa Mantchev

All her world's a stage.
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She is not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but has no lines of her own.
Until now.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written can be found
behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

i raced through this book, and i didn't want it to end (must read sequel!!). Bertie is determined, unique, uncontrollable, and likable. the rest of the cast was varied and unforgettable--just as they should be--and they fit their parts perfectly. i thought that, at times, the plot was slightly weaker than the characters and prose (both definitely strong points in the story), but the rest of the time, the story thoroughly captivated me. i loved it.

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

The summer after junior year of high school looks bleak for Alton Richards. His girlfriend has dumped him to hook up with his best friend. He has no money and no job. His parents insist that he drive his great-uncle Lester to his bridge club four times a week and be his cardturner—whatever that means. Alton’s uncle is old, blind, very sick, and very rich.

But Alton’s parents aren’t the only ones trying to worm their way into Lester Trapp’s good graces. They’re in competition with his longtime housekeeper, his alluring young nurse, and the crazy Castaneda family, who seem to have a mysterious influence over him.

Alton soon finds himself intrigued by his uncle, by the game of bridge, and especially by the pretty and shy Toni Castaneda. As the summer goes on, he struggles to figure out what it all means, and ultimately to figure out the meaning of his own life.

Through Alton’s wry observations, Louis Sachar explores the disparity between what you know and what you think you know. With his incomparable flair and inventiveness, he examines the elusive differences between perception and reality—and inspires readers to think and think again.


this story had a slow beginning that nearly ruined it for me. once i got through the non-action, though, i was hooked. this story has a little bit of everything...romance, unrequited dreams, human greed, mystery, a little magic, and, of course, CARDS!!! (i should mention here that i like playing cards...if you absolutely hate cards, this story might not be for you). this is a story that i definitely recommend to YA readers--both adult and teen.

D. N. Angel Vol. 1 by Yukiru Sugisaki

Daisuke Niwa is an ordinary middle school student with an extradinary genetic "condition". Whenever he starts longing for the girl of his dreams, he transforms into the legendary Phantom Thief, Dark! The only way to lift the curse? To have his love returned, of course. But how can Daisuke win the heart of a girl he can't even romance?

i love the creativity and humor in manga...and the artwork, of course! D. N. Angel is one of my favorites with its fantasy and romance. Vol. 1 is an excellent start to the series, which, like nearly all manga, improves as the reader learns more about the characters and the plot begins to unfold (therefore, the first few chapters are typically the least captivating in the entire series). if you like manga, i highly recommend D. N. Angel.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

in my mailbox

(in my mailbox is hosted by the Story Siren)

i have a problem. i wasn't planning to buy anymore books for a while, and guess what i did this week. yep, you guessed it, buy more books! although, in my defense, was having a great sale so what else could i do?

don't answer that....

anyway, here's what i've got in my mailbox so far, and i should have the rest by next weekend!

Journey of Hope: Two Novels by Lurlene McDaniel, The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause, Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly, and Obernewtyn and The Farseekers by Isobelle Carmody.

I hope these are good! they are all the result of impulsive book shopping...

now that you've seen my new books, what's in YOUR mailbox?

Friday, August 20, 2010

goal-setting friday

so, clearly "write every day" is not my strong suit. i have now failed (very dismally!) at this goal twice! since i've just started school again (my first semester at ASU), maybe this isn't the best goal to try to tackle again.... instead, my goal will be to make time for writing at least once this week. that sounds do-able!

your turn! how'd you do on your last goal? what's the goal for this week? cultivate a more positive attitude? read five books out of that TBR pile? (because we all know that reading HELPS with our own writing, of course!!) write a chapter of your WIP? two chapters? 4k works???

come on, help me out! what's your goal??

(don't forget to check out S. A. Larsen's Impetus Room for more goal-setting fun!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


the title is self-explanatory. if you haven't already, hurryhurryhurry to check out Tahereh's contest and enter to win $100 for books!!!! ends SUNDAY. THIS SUNDAY.

don't miss out!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

what i've been reading

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria’s Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent—and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death…

this book was actually pretty good (4.0). it compelled me to keep reading, i liked the characterization, and the plot was interesting. however, i do feel that the author relied too much on what i would call Victorian reactions and passionate responses to make the action more dramatic and exciting. bottom line: i'd say it's definitely worth reading if you like Victorian fantasy.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

What if you had only 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: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance.

Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day 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.

i devoured this book. it was amazing, and i give it a 4.7 (excellent!). i loved the characterization, development, and plot. Lauren Oliver has mastered dialogue and tension...this book is well worth reading at least once. i wouldn't hesitate to buy anything from Lauren Oliver after reading Before I Fall.

Dark Secrets Vol. 2 by Elizabeth Chandler

Vol 2 is comprised of two murder mysteries--with paranormal twists. i liked the first story, but i probably wouldn't read it again (3.5). i really enjoyed the second story, though (give it a 4.0) because i identified with the main character a lot more. as far as mysteries go, this is no Sherlock Holmes novel, but it is entertaining. once again, i'd recommend it if you like the genre.

*rating system: (probably won't review anything lower than a 3.0), 3.0--okay, 3.5--good, not sorry i read it, 4.0--recommended, 5.0--absolute brilliance

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

such an official title!

the awesome S. A. Larsen gave me the Versatile Blogger Award a while back, and it's time for me to pass it along! official rules:
  1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. (ThankyouSALarsenyou'rethebest!!!REALLY!!!)
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (I tried NOT to give the award to anyone who already had it...which means I didn't see it posted anywhere on your blog. Also, 15 is certainly not required. I didn't quite do fifteen, and you shouldn't feel obligated to, either.)
  4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.
seven things about myself:

1. I'm a college student at ASU.
2. I'm minoring in writing.
3. I have a beautiful Golden Retriever puppy.
4. I love to rollerblade/ice skate.
5. I'm really shy.
6. I love Smallville.
7. I think is amazing. (yeah, i'm weird...)

bloggers i'm passing the award on to:

Non-Sequitur Ramblings

Blue Lipstick Samurai

Long Distance Drive

Write About Now

Substitute Teacher’s Saga


Heather’s Odyssey

Sandy Shin

Citraberry Book Reviews

Babbling Flow

My Kozy Korner

just grab the award from my sidebar and start passing it along! thanks!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

in my mailbox

in my mailbox, hosted by the Story Siren!

Shadow Kiss
Eyes Like Stars
Vampire Diaries Vol. 1
Nightshade (won)
Nobody's Princess
Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty

i'm looking forward to reading them! what's in your mailbox??

Friday, August 13, 2010

goal-setting friday

(don't forget to check out S. A. Larsen's Impetus Room for even more weekly goal-setting fun!)

it's friday again! congrats on making it through the work week! (well, almost...)

i was very excited by how many people set goals last week--even if you didn't complete them, setting goals gives you something concrete to work on. i find that they help me stay on task more than anything else.

last week's goal: check. completed (not that i set a very hard one!)

this week's goal: write every day. it's my last week before school starts, and i really want to make the most of it. if i can just get myself to sit down at the computer and start writing, i always get something done!

your turn! how'd you do last week, and what do you want to accomplish this week? finish some of those TBR books? put in a good, solid word count on your WIP? start revising? querying? really, whatever you want to do is fine! just set that goal and start working towards it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

what i've been reading

this really should have been yesterday's post, but i had to announce my contest winners yesterday! so, today will be what i've been reading THURSDAY.

a couple great books i picked up lately were:

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

my rating: 4.5 stars

this is a great read for young adults (emphasis on adult, though. the content is kind of mature.) there are already some fantastic reviews for this book:
check out Jandy's site or Tahereh's review for more info!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth/The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

amazing. Carrie Ryan is just a genius with words. i really enjoyed The Forest of Hands and Teeth (i'd give it a 4) but The Dead-Tossed Waves was even BETTER. it's definitely a 4.5. i'm actually really surprised i liked these books because i am VERY anti-horror/anythingscaryorcreepy. they are just so good.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth
US Paperback

  • A New York Times Best Seller
  • A Junior Library Guild selection
  • An ALA Best Books for Young Adults selection
  • Named to the 2010 New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age List
  • A Borders Original Voices finalist
  • #4 on the IndieBound Kids' Indie Next List for Spring 2009

"...elegantly written from title to last line."
Scott Westerfeld (read Scott's exclusive review here)

** visit Carrie Ryan here for more reviews/nomination info

n Mary's world, there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chao
s, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

13 to Life by Shannon Delany

my rating: 4.

i thought this was an excellent debut. the main reason it doesn't get higher than a four is that it really doesn't have a satisfactory conclusion--the reader is really left waiting for the next book.

blurb (courtesy of

Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…

When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.

The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.

"A unique tale with a bright heroine and dark secrets.”
- New York Times Bestselling YA author Maria V. Snyder

"You'll devour 13 to Life in greedy, eager gulps. Pitch-perfect and deliciously paced, this book dishes up your next fiction addiction. Shannon is a rising star!"
--Ann Aguirre, national bestselling author of Grimspace and Doubleblind

"A fun, gothic romance of suspense, secrets and the dangerous truth behind the new kid in town."
-Lucienne Diver, author of Vamped and Revamped

i would definitely recommend all these books (seriously, 4's and 4.5's are about as high as i'll give. only my all-time favs get a 5). if you're looking for some good reads, check these out!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

the winners!

and the winner of the first prize pack is...


congrats, Cass!!!

the winner of the second prize pack is:

S.M. Schmidt!!

congrats, SM Schmidt!

i will email both winners asap. congrats again, and thank you to everyone who participated!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

a welcome and the last day of my contest

this weekend, i was in Yosemite to get my new puppy! (long story why).

in addition to pictures of some beautiful scenery, i brought back a new member of my family.

rule number one: no laying on the couch. already repealed.

rule number two: no going upstairs. temporarily on hold.

rule number three: no people food. still in effect...most of the time. it's good to know we can hold to something!

also, in blog-related news, this is the last day to enter my giveaway. be sure to enter if you haven't already!

here are a couple pictures from my trip, too:

i hope you all had weekends as wonderful as mine!

Friday, August 6, 2010

goal-setting friday

hey everybody! sorry i missed this post last week--but nothing interesting to report. unless keeping a journal counts, i failed dismally on my write-every-day goal, lol. oh well! vacation was just too demanding!

i just finished the small project i was working on, so my new goal is just to figure out what i want to work on now (pick between several different projects...) and work on that. simple, right?

okay, YOUR TURN! what is one thing (writing or reading-related) that you want to accomplish by next friday? it could be a word-count, a daily goal, a page-number goal, a number of books read/reviewed goal, anything! the whole purpose of a goal is by the end of the week, you can look back and say, "yeah, i accomplished that this week." it's nice to know, and it gives you a clear purpose--it doesn't even matter if you make your goal or not! (although i think writers are generally over-achievers, so we're going to try, right?)

what's YOUR goal?

don't forget to check out S. A. Larsen's Weekly Check-In Challenge, also starting today! head over to the Impetus Room if you haven't already. and have a wonderful writer-y weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

an impromptu post

so this is one of those impromptu posts i mentioned yesterday...

Theresa Milton at Substitute Teacher's Saga brought up a really important topic over on her blog today.

in her words:

"All this talk about writers having a platform, but there are more important uses for platforms than promoting ourselves."

"When someone has a rare disease, big pharmaceutical companies don’t target finding cures or even treatments for them. The NIH doesn’t fund grant to target cancers that affect a small population. If you were a parent and your child had a rare disease, how would you feel?"

"But my husband’s friend refuses to be helpless. He founded: And he uses the money he’s raised to fund two scientists at Dana Farber."

and what is Theresa doing about this? well, holding a contest, naturally. if you're interested (and really, why wouldn't you be?) please stop by her blog for more info. (link is at the top of the article). even if donating isn't something you are able to do or feel comfortable doing, you can always help spread the word. what better cause is there?

you can make a difference.

it'll only take a few minutes of your time.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

i'm back!!

hey everybody! okay, i am officially back from vacation now (and in one piece, no serious injuries!), and i have a few announcements:

first off, welcome and thank you to all my old and new followers! you guys are awesome. seriously. you make blogging worthwhile and meaningful.

second, don't forget to check out my big end-of-summer giveaway if you haven't already! you could win a pre-ordered copy of Mockingjay, Paranormalcy, Matched, Beautiful Darkness OR another fantastic book as well as one of two awesome box sets!

also, i've finally decided on my blogging schedule for the fall. this is going to be a very busy semester for me--it's my first full-time college semester at a university, and i'm also getting a PUPPY!! (yes i am crazy, clearly college just wasn't enough work).

anyway, here's the plan: i will have a "what i've been reading" post on wednesdays, a goal-setting post on fridays (which i will do in conjunction with NaNoWriMo when November rolls around), and an "in my mailbox" post over the weekend if i get any new books!

of course, i'll probably still throw in the odd post if i have something i really want to blog about.

sound good??

lastly, if your appetite for contests has still not been satisfied after entering my giveaway (clickclickclick if you haven't already), check out my sidebar for some more great links!

SO, what happened to YOU while i was away?? any exciting news?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

in my mailbox!

(in my mailbox is brought to you by the story siren.)

i am drowning in books! and here are the new arrivals (yikes...but at the same time, YAY!)

i think i read too much.

i've got Fallen, The Cardturner, Before I Fall, and The Book Thief. combined with all my past mailbox books and manga, this SHOULD keep me busy for quite a while.

so. what's in YOUR mailbox? post links and join in the fun!