Tuesday, May 29, 2012


So I haven't been talking about it up until now, but today is my one year blogoversary! Exactly one year ago today I wrote and published my first blog post on here. It's hard to believe that it's already been so long and such a fun time.

First, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has read, commented, tweeted, and whatever else in the past year. You may not know how much I appreciate it, and though I may not get back to you, please know that I read and enjoy every single thing you say. I've wished many times over in the past year that I could be better, especially with consistency and quality. These are things I plan on working on in the next year, and I hope I can live up to the expectations I've set for myself.

Little did I know that the little blog I set up for myself to write down some thoughts and track what I read would become such a big part of my life. Things have changed in the past year, and this blog has had a lot to do with those changes. A year ago today, I had finished my first year of college, and was really questioning the decisions I had made there. I had decided that I was going to study to be a pharmacist right before I entered college, thinking this was a great decision. But when I got into the classes, I was bored and wasn't doing very well. By the end of my freshman year, I was confused and a little bit scared. But after a summer of reading everything I could get my hands on and just beginning my exploration of the blogging world, I was hooked. I loved having my thoughts heard and reflected on. I loved the sense of community online. I loved the interaction with the authors. I couldn't, and can't, get enough. During my Fall semester, I changed my major to English, with the plan of going into publishing, hopefully as an editor. I'm no longer confused; I'm no longer the least bit frightened. I know the decision I made was the right one, and I can't wait to delve into getting there, all because of this blog. It showed me what I would be missing if I didn't make the right decision, and I knew I wouldn't be happy without the world I had found.

NOW. After my long winded story that I don't expect anyone at all to read, I have fun! In honor of my blogiversary, I'm giving away things!! I haven't done a whole ton of planning towards this, so I'm expecting to add prizes soon, but I have one I'm quite excited about. Mid-June I'm going to a stop on the Fierce Reads tour, which features Anna Banks, Leigh Bardugo, Jennifer Bosworth, and Emmy Laybourne. I am giving away a signed, personalized--should you want it to be, copy of one of their books of the winner's choice. YAY! For now, that's all I'm promoting, but stay tuned, and there will be more! :)


  1. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
  2. Currently, the giveaway is not international. If I add a prize that is international, I will indicate so.
  3. Giveaway ends at 12:01 a.m. June 14th eastern time.
  4. Winner will be chosen at random through Rafflecopter and announced in a blog post.
  5. Winner will notified through email and must reply within 48 hours or I will have to choose another entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles #2) by Kady Cross

Release date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through NetGalley
Pages: 416
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous. 

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. 

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.
I've recently found myself more and more entranced by the world of steampunk. The mixture of old world values and customs with more modern inventions and thought make for the most fascinating stories. Kady Cross has definitely written two of the better steampunk entries into young adult fiction, with The Girl in the Steel Corset and The Girl in the Clockwork Collar. Her engaging characters and fast-paced plots make for fun and thrilling reads, and I count myself amongst her fans.

In The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, we pick up where we left off in the previous entry. Jasper has been hauled to New York under the accusation of murder. Finley, Griffin, Emily, and Sam follow, hoping to help their friend. Upon their arrival, they find it isn't the authorities that have taken Jasper, but a criminal whom Jasper has wronged. In order to save a former love, Jasper must assemble a terrible device for the man, all the while trying to prevent him using it to terrible ends. With the help of Finley and company, Jasper may just succeed.

One of the greatest things about steampunk, in my opinion, is surely the presence of automatons and fancy devices. We are not lacking in that department in The Girl in the Clockwork Collar. Between Emily and Tesla, the automated fun abounds! The extra part I love in Kady Cross' books is the inclusion of the Aether, giving everything an almost magical vibe, rather than purely technical. Slowly, we're learning just what the Aether is and starting to understand it. I especially enjoy that while it is otherwordly, there is a rather scientific idea along with it, though it cannot completely explain its properties. Fascinating stuff.

A highlight of these books, specifically, is the characters. Each and every one is interesting and outstanding in their own way. Finley is utterly familiar in her struggle between her two identities. She desperately wants to be good like those around her, but can't seem to resist the thrill of being bad. She wonders if she is bad like the criminals, or if she can be the better person. Griffin wants to trust Finley, but has to decide if he's willing to risk pain should she turn out to be worse than he hopes. The romance between these two is turned up quite a bit in this installment, and I couldn't get enough of it. Their relationship is one of firm grounding, and I can't wait to see it progress in the third book. We also see Sam and Emily ramping up their relationship, if only by their meaningful glances and touches. Jasper was a bit of a question in The Girl in the Steel Corset, simply because we didn't see much of him. With this book, though, we see what an upstanding and caring person he is, especially through his burgeoning friendship with Finley. We root for him to save his love and prevent the bad guy from winning. I can't wait for more of him to come.

Dalton was an interesting villain for this book. After the Machinist in The Girl in the Steel Corset, Dalton originally seemed to be a bit of a downgrade in the villain arsenal. I thought he was a replacement Jack Dandy--bad guy on paper, but ultimately looking out for himself; not bad to be bad. He looked to just be a token bad guy wanting to amass money and mess with the authorities. While his motives were not the grandest I've ever seen, he was amazingly cunning and seemed to always be two steps ahead of our heroes. He definitely outshone my expectations and I enjoyed reading about him.

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar is a ridiculously amusing and exciting read, whether you like steampunk or not. The characters and quick plot will worm their way into your mind and, before you realize it, be gone.

Risk a paper cut? What do you have to worry? Emily's Organites will fix that in a jiffy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver

Release date: February 1, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 374
Source: Purchased
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Hoo boy. Delirium is one of my favorite dystopians thus far. I'm fascinated with the idea of love as a disease and Lauren Oliver's exploration of the mindset that created the "deliria". Not only is the set up a great hook, but Oliver's writing is impeccable and draws you in to her story. Pandemonium, though not giving me quite the same feelings Delirium did, is, in my opinion, at least as good if not better. This is because we get to explore Lena's broken life. She is in mourning. Not just for Alex, but for the comfortable life and people she left behind to get to the Wilds. But Lena has to embrace the life she has been thrust into or die.

Many people have disliked, and will dislike, the switch between "Then" and "Now" in Pandemonium. I found it to be a very effective and fascinating set up, though. First, we see the contrast between the lives of those in the Wilds and the citizens of New York. We also see the contrast between Lena as she was immediately after escaping into the Wilds and when she is living in New York. Lena left her home with Alex to lean upon, making the decision easier--though not easy in any way--and cushioning any kind of blow. But when she decides to help the rebellion, she doesn't have anyone to fall back on. She is making decisions free of outside influence and  with the knowledge of what the consequences could be. That made me admire her more than I did at any point in Delirium.

So for that ending. Honestly, I expected it. But even though I expected it, I still gasped when it actually happened. I read the last twenty pages with bated breath, knowing it was coming, and yet I cried a little. I also loved it. To me, it almost felt like the right thing to happen. I don't know what's going to come of it, and I REALLY don't know how I'm supposed to wait any amount of time for Requiem, but I will. And I'm sorry for this entire paragraph to those who haven't read the book.

Risk a paper cut? Y'all. Honestly, there's not much more I can say past, "READ IT." I've read a lot of dystopians in the past could of years, and none have gripped me like these have. Nor have I read a second book in a trilogy in a long time that is the equal of its predecessor. Pandemonium is that, if Delirium's better.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Broomsticks by Sean McHugh & Katie McHugh Parker

Release date: October 4, 2010
Publisher: Diversion Press, Inc.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 66
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Pocky McGuire has no idea why she is different. No one else in her family can levitate books or freeze and angry dog in his tracks. She felt alone in the world until one day she met a strange boy with a goatee. Unlike Pocky, Stamp had no doubt who he was. He was raised by witches and he was a witch. Upon meeting Stamp, Pocky hoped to befriend her magical counterpart and learn a few tricks of the trade. Stamp, however, wanted no part of anything or anyone mortal, including Pocky. Will it take magic to bring these two kindred spirits together? The real magic of Broomsticks is not about the witchcraft It is about the magic found in a special friendship and the magic of being yourself.

Broomsticks came onto my radar in a very interesting way for me. In Disney World, I worked at a restaurant in Animal Kingdom. The full and part time cast members were always curious about what those of us in the college program were studying in school and what we were planning on doing. One of them, named Stephen, asked me those questions, and I told him that I'm studying English and hope to go into publishing. He then told me about some family friends--the authors of Broomsticks--who had written and published a book. He told me he'd bring me the book, an offer I took him up on. So I read it and was VERY pleasantly surprised!

I find most middle grade books too young to hold my attention, but this was different. The writing was simple enough for a very young person to enjoy, but it was also a decently sophisticated story with a lot of substance that I really enjoyed reading. Pocky and Stamp are likable and sweet characters that deal with problems middle grade readers are just finding themselves in. There are lessons to be learned without being preachy or cheesy.

The writing itself is inexpert, though workable for a young audience. I had to remind myself that the book was written for middle grade readers, rather than an older group. I almost would've liked the book to be longer, so the progression felt more natural, but I understand the reasoning for a shorter book. It could have done with a bit more editing to be a bit less wordy and unspecific, but that didn't particularly detract.

Risk a paper cut? With solid, endearing characters, a fun idea, and a good message, Broomsticks is truly a middle grade novel that deserves some attention. You or your favorite kid will enjoy the light, quick read.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Devouring by Simon Holt

Release date: June 1, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
"When dark creeps in and eats the light,
Bury your fears on Sorry Night.
For in the winter's blackest hours,
Comes the feasting of the Vours,
No one can see it, the life they stole,
Your body's here but not your soul..."

THE VOURS: Evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice.

When Reggie reads about the Vours in a mysterious old journal, she assumes they are just the musings of an anonymous lunatic. But when her little brother, Henry, begins to act strangely, it's clear that these creatures exist beyond a madwoman's imagination, and Reggie finds out what happens when fears come to life.

To save the people she loves, Reggie must learn to survive in a world of nightmares. Can she devour her own fears before they devour her?

The Devouring is an engrossing tale of terror that will have you wondering: what if your worst fears became your living nightmare?

CREEPY. That was the general feeling I got while reading The Devouring. I am in no way a fan of anything scary. I don't watch horror movies and I hate people who try to scare me. Scary books don't quite have the same effect on me, but I still can't handle much. That being said, The Devouring was a fascinating read. The intro made me think it was an altogether different book from what it ended up being, and while at first I was disappointed, I ended up enjoying the read.

We follow Reggie, an average teenager with a penchant for horror. When she finds an old journal detailing the "Vours" in a local bookstore she shares it with her little brother, who is not so keen on the macabre. Soon she suspects he is a victim of the story's villains, realizing that the journal might be based more in fact than she could have imagined.

For the most part, I liked the characters and found them believable. Reggie and Henry, her little brother, seemed to have realistic reactions to their mother's leaving, and their relationship was a good one. I found Aaron to be entertaining and hilariously awkward and thought Eben was fascinating and would love to know more about him in subsequent books. The only character that irritated me was Reggie and Henry's father, though I don't know that he was supposed to really be likable. I couldn't respect him for anything he did, and it detracted. Blerg.

Honestly, the story itself is not something I can say I liked, per se. I don't like scary things, as I've said, so this is not something I will be rereading. At the same time, I do want to read the sequels and did find the story to be interesting and worth the read.

Risk a paper cut? This would definitely be a must-read for horror fans. For the rest of us, I could go either way. The story itself is fascinating, if not a bit freaky.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Release date: February 9, 2010
Publisher: Delacorte
Format: Paperback
Pages: 308
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
In 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 about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Hoo boy, I love me some zombies. Something about them just excites me. Is that weird? Probably, but I really couldn't care less. Sometimes all I want to do is read or watch about the undead ripping people to shreds and eating their brains. Gripping stuff, it is. The Forest of Hands and Teeth was a pretty satisfying zombie read for me. We have a slightly different mythology towards them, a different name, and a rather interesting way of dealing with them. For a while, the book was a slow starter, but the second half was gripping and exciting.

I loved how the setting felt like it was "The Crucible" in the future. The religious fervor and manic craze against a common enemy were there, just somehow different and the enemy was the "Unconsecrated". I loved the Sisterhood and their complete control over the town and the information the people are given. Honestly, I pretty much loved everything about the book except the protagonist. The world was creepy and utterly fitting for a zombie book. The plot was fascinating and made me want to keep reading. If only Mary could have been different...

I found Mary to be completely irritating for pretty much the entire book. The girl couldn't decide what boy she really liked or get up the gall to do anything of much use. Sure, flawed characters make for better characters, but I can't really sympathize if they annoy me to no end. Even though Mary's best friend Cass wasn't my favorite character, I saw her motivations and could understand exactly why she did what she did. Even so, the parts of the book that I enjoyed ended up overshadowing Mary.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is crazy effective in conveying the raw emotion and heartbreak of loss. It seems as if there is a never-ending stream of deaths, with only just enough time to recover from one before the next. In any disaster someone is losing their loved ones and that can be like the end of the world. This emotion is something that sets The Forest of Hands and Teeth apart from other zombie novels, and makes it worth your time and attention.

Risk a paper cut? Just like an open cut, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is painful. And yet unlike a cut, it is a pleasure.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Miss Me?

Hey y'all!!

I don't even want to think about how long it's been since I've posted here. I've been pretty darn busy the past few months and found little time to read, let alone blog! You may remember that I came to Orlando in January to participate in the Disney College Program. I moved in on the 11th, and will be leaving next Friday, May 11th.

While I've had an amazing time here at Disney, I'm desperately looking forward to getting home and back into a routine. That means I'll have time to read and to blog again!! You can expect my regular posts starting back now! I'll have a new review up tomorrow. I've so missed talking and sharing with everyone and can't wait to get back into the grind. :)

I hope you'll all forgive me for being MIA for a while. I love blogging and I love all of you, so I'm looking forward to the coming time, and some of those lovely books that are coming out soon!

Love ya!!