Monday, September 27, 2010

quick memo...

hey, everyone! just stopping by for a quick memo.

are you interested in winning a prize pack of three books? well, stop by The Undercover Book Lover by Oct. 15 and enter to win one of four great prize packs!!

but, fair warning, i call dibs on the Awesome Pack.

; )

good luck! and let the Hungry for HarperTeen contest begin!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

in my mailbox! (finally)

IMM is hosted by the Story Siren.

this post has been delayed way too long. i missed the last two Saturdays, which is why my mailbox is so full this weekend...

so, without further ado (in order of most recently to least recently received):

Hush, Hush; Jellicoe Road; A Bend in the Road; A Walk to Remember (soundtrack); The Demon King; and Blood and Chocolate (movie)

won: Jane by April Linder (thank you so much, Sara McClung!!)

Paranormalcy; first three Percy Jackson (Lightning Thief) books; Incarceron!

the books i've read so far were great! i can't wait to read the rest : )

what's in your mailbox??

Thursday, September 23, 2010

let the games begin!

TAG! i'm it!

this is an international game of tag, and i've been tagged by YA Bookie Monster! first, i have to answer questions about me, and then i tag four more people : )

let the games begin...

4 Things in my Purse:

my phone (a blackberry), my driver's license, cash (no credit cards here), and water (one of my weird family quirks, we always bring water bottles everywhere we go)

4 Things in my Desk:

spiral notebooks, more cash (in case you're planning on robbing my house....), a stationary box, post-its (still there because i rarely use them)

4 Favorite Things in my Bedroom:

my clothes, LOTS of books, my mp3 player, my desks (i have 2, can't have enough of those!)

4 Things I Always Wanted to Do (but haven't yet):

be a published writer! win a major skating competition (not going to happen, but still...). graduate college (looks promising). travel to England.

4 Things I Enjoy Very Much at the Moment:

reading, watching Smallville and Vampire Diaries, ACC 232 (VERY WEIRD I ACTUALLY LIKE THIS), writing!

4 Songs I Can't Get Out of My Head:

The Animal, Innocence, Asylum, Another Way to Die.
yeah, Disturbed's new album just came out....

4 Things you Don't Know About Me:

i'm a freshman at ASU (or did you know that??).
i'm a brunette.
if my house was burning down and i could save only one object, it would be my laptop....uh, probably.
i like to play guitar on RockBand.

okay! now it's your turn! i tag...Sandy Shin, Alison Can Read, Substitute Teacher's Saga (Theresa Milstein), and Writer's Alley (S. A. Larsen)

ready, set, GO!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

banned books

okay, so i realize (now) that i'm a bit late on the uptake, but apparently there's been some anti-book-banning sentiment going around the blogosphere (yes, i am very out of touch these days...). after looking into it, i discovered a few things that blew my mind.

i clicked on this link and found that Because of Winn Dixie, Charlotte's Web, Little House on the Prairie, the Chronicles of Narnia, the Harry Potter books, Frindle, Little Women, and A Wrinkle in Time all have something in common: they belong on the list of Challenged Children's Books. (on the Young Adult list I also found Hawksong, Julie of the Wolves, and Sarah Dessen's books on the Young Adult list)

are. you. freaking. kidding. me????

now, i certainly can't speak for all readers, but i think this is obscene. i have wonderful childhood memories from reading some of these books. they are books that i simply can't imagine not reading--let alone banning!

sure, there are books on this list that i don't like: A Series of Unfortunate Events (ultimately depressing), Blood and Chocolate (not my taste), Philip Pullman's Dark Materials series (anti-Christian), Lord of the Flies (DISTURBING), but banning these books goes against everything i believe in as a reader, writer, American, and Christian (i feel it is important to point out this last 'label' because too many Christians are known for jumping on the book-banning bandwagon. what i think these people don't realize is that it VIOLATES our free will to ban books--even if we don't like what they say. every person deserves the right to choose for themselves.)

bottom line: banning these books? UNCONSCIONABLE.

now, DON'T GET ME WRONG. i am also not an advocate of requiring that children read controversial books. requiring children to read such controversial books that their parents do not approve of is at least as bad as banning them, in my opinion. you are still making the decision for the children. it is still a violation of free will. i understand that students need to complete required reading for school, but picking the most controversial books and forcing children to read them--that's despicable. at least save the controversial stuff for when the kids are actually old enough to understand it.

want to share your thoughts/opinions or learn more? check out this link to read about the Banned Books Reading Challenge.

Friday, September 17, 2010


i know i haven't been around much. i know i haven't been visiting your blogs and reading your posts and talking very much at all...for a while now.

and i want you to know that it isn't because i don't care!! i miss reading your posts and exchanging comments and hearing about wonderful books.

i'm trying to keep up, but i feel like i'm slipping behind.

i also have to make another confession: i didn't make my writing goal this week. i haven't had any time for writing (test week at ASU). BUT i did THINK of an idea for my WIP...i just haven't written it down yet.

so, i just wanted to tell you that i read all your comments on my blog and still love hearing from you. but i realize that goes both ways. i will try to be better about reading your blogs, too, and i hope you won't forget about me!

here's your chance to catch me up: what's been going on lately? did anything exciting happen this week? did you discover a new book that you love or really tackle a writing project? did you make a goal and meet it? or is busy life eating away your time, too?

i really do want to know.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

manga reviews: Black Butler

yes, i am completely obsessed with manga now. blame my sister--she got me hooked.

my latest foray into Japanese lit? Black Butler Vol. 1 by Yana Toboso

(synopsis from US version, edited to exclude spoilers)

Just a stone's throw from London lies the manor house of the illustrious Phantomhive earldom and its master, one Ciel Phantomhive. Earl Phantomhive is a giant in the world of commerce, Queen Victoria's faithful servant...and a slip of a twelve-year-old boy. Fortunately, his loyal butler, Sebastian, is ever at his side, ready to carry out the young master's wishes. And whether Sebastian is called to save a dinner party gone awry or probe the dark secrets of London's underbelly, there apparently is nothing Sebastian cannot do. In fact, one might say Sebastian is too good to be true...

i thought the Japanese take on Victorian London was very interesting. once the story picked up (i always have trouble getting starting manga series), i enjoyed it--but the part i enjoyed the most was the ending! it's always sad when i get into the story most right at the end! Vol. 2 will surely find its way to my bookshelves before long.

i wouldn't recommend this manga series to someone who has never read manga before. these Japanese comics can be an acquired taste, and Black Butler isn't my favorite manga so far. however, i would definitely recommend Black Butler if you absolutely love manga.


Friday, September 10, 2010

what i've been reading: Obernewtyn

Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody

my synopsis (contains information largely from the prologue and the official blurb, aka, no real spoilers)

basic plot:

Set in a post-apocalyptic world (after humanity was nearly destroyed, presumably by nuclear bombs), Obernewtyn follows the story of an orphan girl: Elspeth. Elspeth's parents were burned for sedition against the Council. Her brother is trying to join the Herder faction (a fanatical religious order who condemn anyone who displays strange abilities caused by the Great White). And Elspeth herself is a Misfit--a cursed human mutant. If discovered, she faces death.

additional info:

The world has undergone many changes. After "The Great White" (the nuclear apocalypse, also known as the holocaust), only those who lived in remote regions still survived. To ensure their continued survival, they slaughtered any who showed signs of sickness from the nuclear fallout. They imposed rigid rules and burned those who went against the Council.

Now, the Council still fears anything related to the Great White--including the possibility of another such disaster. They do not hesitate to remove anyone who speaks out against it, anyone who shows signs of being affected by the Great White (Misfits), and anything that might contain knowledge from the Beforetime. Beforetime books are forbidden. Technology is lost. The world is rudimentary, brutal, and unforgiving with little chance of change...

my thoughts:

the premise of Obernewtyn is more sci-fi-ish than i had originally expected. however, the story felt more like fantasy than sci-fi, so it didn't really bother me (i am generally NOT a sci-fi fan).

Elspeth appears to start out as an unsympathetic character who shrinks away from everyone around her. however, the reader soon discovers that her apparent indifference is really because friends are a luxury she cannot afford. as an orphan, her life is hard, and attachments are dangerous. saying the wrong thing can spell their doom, and associating with the wrong people can likewise mean death.

Elspeth's plight against the totalitarian "government" is very compelling. she is talented, smart, brave--everything a heroine needs. the world is utterly serious, creating an unforgettable setting. escape, mystery, sacrifice--i never knew what would come next. Carmody has a talent for never letting the story begin to slacken. she simply twists it around and keeps the reader guessing.

overall rating: (4.5)

weekly goal-setting

hey everybody, sorry i missed this post last week. too much craziness with school!

for now, i'm just going to stick with finding some time to work on writing at least once a week (to keep me sane). i find i have a new appreciation for people with busy schedules!

my greater focus this month and next will be on reading. nothing works as well as reading when i need to forget about studying for a while!

how have you been? have you been setting writing goals, or is busy, crazy life getting to you, too? what have you been reading lately? and what's your writing/reading goal this week? when every day is full of work or an endless to do checklist, setting goals seems like the only way to get anything done! besides, when the week is done, it's nice to look back and say, "yes, i did do something this week. i wrote...3000 words of my WIP!" (disclaimer: not actually true. just used as an example)

what do you want to accomplish this week?

(also, you may have noticed the new look on my page. i'm still not sure how i like it, but i don't really have time to finish it yet! feel free to tell me what you think....especially about the read-ability!)

also, check out this awesome site for more motivational pictures!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mockingjay, Mockingjay

ah, the long-awaited Mockingjay!

since everyone who liked the first two books is planning to read the third one anyway, this is a review for the people who have already read the book.

disclaimer: contains spoilers. please don't read unless you have already read the series.

it's difficult to do a review on just the one book without taking at least a cursory look at the rest of the i'll just mention the others briefly:

Hunger Games: this book was beyond brilliant. it was one of those rare books that is nearly perfect in every way and leaves you dying for more. AMAZINGLY AWESOME (5.0)!!

Catching Fire: i have to admit, i was a bit confused by this book. i thought Katniss already did the whole Hunger Games thing...and suddenly she's back in the arena? regardless, this book was top-notch, too. Suzanne Collins is in a league of her own. (4.7)

Mockingjay: it left me stunned. where was the blazing, inspiring heroine? instead of getting out and aiding the rebellion or finding Peta or doing something, she spent the duration of the story dejected and devasted. she was broken, not the heroine i came to know and love and admire. her story felt like it was already over, and it was almost painful to be dragged through close to 400 more pages with her. don't get me wrong--i actually liked the story up until about the last hundred pages. however, i was mostly reading for the other characters--not Katniss. the last 100 pages were the hardest because the characters that had been propelling me through the story started to die off, one by one....

overall, i felt that the series concluded on a very uninspiring note rather than the brilliant and awe-inspiring wave of emotions that i had anticipated. (3.5)

rated T for Teen: Fallen

i finally read it: Fallen by Lauren Kate.

synopsis from hardcover version:

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

spoiler-free opinion: i think this is one of those books you can judge by the cover; fortunately, i love the gothic-ish cover, and i loved the dark, mysterious story. there were a few aspects of the story that frustrated me, but overall, i thought it was a worthwhile read.


warning: the following review contains spoilers. please skip if you haven't read the book yet.

Luce did frustrate me at times because of her complete obsession with Daniel (who treated her like a pariah at first....why is this sounding strangely familiar??...). however, the story did make a good excuse for her fascination, so i felt i could overlook it.

at the end, i felt the story became slightly melodramatic, and the author didn't explain some critical details (like why the boy Luce kissed at the beginning died, and why all the fallen angels were at Sword and Cross in the first place). explanations seemed to be promised in the sequel, though, so i'll save my complaints until after i've read Torment and can see for myself if the author finally delivers.

needless to say, i'm extremely curious to see how the second book will be!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

under construction

blog is currently under construction. please pardon the mess!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

in my mailbox

(a note to regular viewers: weekly writing goals has been postponed until next week. sorry!)

In My Mailbox is hosted by the Story Siren.

this week's mailbox

+ last week's mailbox (which i didn't do a post for)

one happy reader.

what's in your mailbox?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

rated T for Teen: Nightshade

i finally came up with a catchy title for my book reviews!!! (hint: look at post title) oh, the things I think of after fifteen long hours of consciousness...

SO. i'm reviewing Nightshade by Andrea Cremer today. (thanks again to Sunday Cafe for the ARC!)

synopsis: (contains mild spoilers...just remember i didn't write it!)

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

my review:

A truly seductive read. Nightshade pulled me in, layer by carefully-crafted layer, until i was completely captivated. I did not want to put this book down!

Now, I will admit that I wouldn't have read Nightshade if I hadn't won it. It sounded too much like Blood and Chocolate, which wasn't my kind of book (for the record, though, I really enjoyed the movie...).

Despite my expectations, Nightshade drew me in from the start. I loved it.

That's not to say it was perfect. Some of the sexual stuff I thought Cremer definitely could have done without, and Nightshade has one of those increasingly-overused, all-the-rage love triangles. However, the good FAR outweighs the annoying.

In fact, I give Nightshade a 4.8 out of 5. DEFINITELY RECOMMEND.