Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Meandering Monday- Jessica Spotswood/Miranda Kenneally Signing

Alright, so I am way late in recapping this, partly because of my break in March but also because of my extreme procrastination. The event was held March 10 in the late afternoon at One More Page bookstore in Arlington, VA.

My mom was kind enough to drive and come with me, especially since we had to parallel park, which I am not good at. The bookstore was in a pretty nice part of town and my mom left me at the bookstore to go take a walk around. I was a couple minutes late, but I wasn't the only late one; people were still coming in half an hour after it started.

I came in the middle of Jessica's reading, and then afterward, Miranda and Jessica took questions from the audience and there were some really great questions. There was talk about how YA has changed over the years, why there's such a bounty of female authors in YA (they had no answer, other than that it rocked, lol), and what brought them to YA in the first place.

It was a really nice event and I got my book signed by Jessica and a picture with her, and I wish I'd had money to buy Miranda's cuz I've heard such wonderful things about it. I may have to see if my library has it...

Anyway, something else that was interesting too was that there were a lot of bloggers/writers in the audience, which I didn't realize until after the fact, lol. The only one I recognized was Michelle of GalleySmith but I think the reason it was so well attended is because of the DC YA Mafia, which includes Rick Lipman (who's now represented by my friend Pam!) and many other writers, the full list of which you can find on the sidebar of Rick's website. As you can see, Miranda and Jessica are part of it too. Hopefully someday I can spend some time with them; I had no idea (obviously) that there were so many awesome DC YA lovers! I'm always out of the loop.

Picture 1- The outside of the store, which also had a wine and chocolate corner.
Picture 2- Jessica and Miranda getting ready to sign. Also, whatever book that is in the corner is apparently EPIC!
Picture 3- Jessica and I, with Miranda and Michelle in the background. Also, Jessica has the smallest, neatest handwriting. It's crazy.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

In My Mailbox- Week of April 23 + Retrospective

I did a vlog this week and I hope you guys enjoy it!!

Books Shown:

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon (ARC, Aug 2012)
Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You by Joyce Carol Oates (ARC, Aug 2012)
Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (ARC, Aug 2012)
Life Happens Next by Terry Trueman (ARC, Aug 2012)
Erasing Time by C.J. Hill (ARC, Sept 2012)
Defiance by C.J. Redwine (ARC, Sept 2012)
The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna (ARC, Sept 2012)
Starling by Lesley Livingston (ARC, Sept 2012)
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman (hardcover, April 2012)
The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando (ARC, July 2012)
Dangerous Boy by Mandy Hubbard (ARC, Aug 2012)
Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot (ARC, July 2012)
Miracle by Elizabeth Scott (ARC, June 2012)
Wicked Jealous by Robin Palmer (ARC, July 2012)
The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt (July 2012)
In Honor by Jessi Kirby (hardcover, May 2012)
Anyway by Arthur Salm (hardcover, May 2012)

and here's my weekly retrospective:

Tuesday- I reviewed Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk, which is out in stores now!

Thursday- I reviewed The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova, which will be out in stores May 1, and interviewed her as well.

Friday- I posted a cute picture of my cats as part of Cat Friday!

Saturday- I reviewed Insurgent by Veronica Roth, which will be available May 1!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
"One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so."- summary from Amazon

Oh my goodness, I absolutely loved this book and I'll keep this as spoiler-free as possible. I still love Roth's world-building and throughout this story, we see so many different factions living their lives and interacting with each other. It was really interesting.

There's some wonderful twists and turns, including a HUGE one right at the end, so I'm warning you all now that it's a huge cliffhanger. Tris and Four's relationship is still as awesome and rocky as ever. Roth does a great job too weaving the romance with the action and there's a good, equal amount of each. It's just handled really well and even though the book is over 500 pages, it doesn't feel like it (except when you're holding it); I seriously flew through this book and was surprised at how much I'd read in one sitting and would usually end reading more than I had planned.

Simply put, an amazing sequel and I cannot wait for the conclusion next year, though I do wish it was next month instead! It's such a great dystopian series and I urge you all to check it out.

Today's also Erudite's day taking over the Facebook page, so be sure to check out our posts! Plus, don't forget the awesome contest here! Also, be sure to help out Team Erudite by clicking on the Insurgent picture in the sidebar. I thank you in advance!!

FTC: Received ARC from publisher (and I am eternally grateful to them!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cat Friday (26)

Cat Friday is a somewhat-weekly meme that's similar to Presenting Lenore's Cat Tuesday, in which I show off pictures of my cats. You've seen them in videos wandering by but now you can see them more clearly.

So I told you guys about the new cat tower we bought and I've finally got a picture of it with cats on every level! They absolutely love it and I hope you do too!

From top to bottom, it's Pearl, Meeko, Samson and Maya. The pink cubby hole didn't come with the tower- we bought it separately but they all really like it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blog Tour- The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova

The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova
"For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.

He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.

His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he's heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he's suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.

Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea...and now it wants him back."- summary from Amazon

This is an AWESOME merfolk story. I mean, first off, the fact that it's told from a guy's point of view as he becomes a merman is fantastic. There's also some really great world-building here and a journey filled with many twists and turns. Humor is a big part of the story too, which was really nice to see.

I liked Tristan as a character because he was a good guy at the heart but still flawed and trying to become better as the story progressed. Cordova did a wonderful job writing his interactions with everyone he encounters, but especially his best friend Layla.

I wasn't a big fan of the ending, just because it's not a standalone title but I will say it's not a huge cliffhanger or anything.

Overall, a great debut and I can't wait to read more from Cordova!

and here's an interview with Zoraida!

1) How did you get the idea for The Vicious Deep? Was it difficult to figure out Tristan's story?

The idea for the novel came from a lifetime love of mermaids, the supernatural, and adventure quests. Tristan's story is the story of a guy. He just happens to be a merguy on a pretty cool journey.

2) What is it like holding your debut book in your hands, and knowing it will be out in the world very soon?

I only have an ARC right now, but it's surreal. Sometimes I have to force myself to stop thinking about it to quell the butterflies! Mostly, I feel blessed and excited.

3) What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about it?

Lets just say I have some big surprised for Tristan Hart and his friends. The adventure continues in The Savage Blue.

4) You learned to speak English by watching The Little Mermaid (Disney version). What's your favorite song, scene and character from that movie?

Kiss the Girl. It's totally cheesy, but it's the perfect set up scene. And I like that they don't actually get to kiss. My favorite character is King Triton, because after thousands of years, even a king can still change.

5) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)?

The soap flavored ones. (Really.)

6) You got to attend the National Book Foundation's writing camp for two consecutive summers. What was that experience like?

It is honestly the reason I'm a published writer at 24. I got to be around poets like Cornelius Eady and YA writers like Jacqueline Woodson. I got to meet people from ALL over the U.S. and for that whole week, we breathed books and words. I made some of my best friends at that camp. Wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.

And Sourcebooks is also providing one copy of The Vicious Deep for a giveaway! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Thursday, May 3 at 9pm EST and you'll be entered! US/Canadian residents only. Good luck!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk

Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk
"Guy Langman can't be bothered with much. But when his friend Anoop wants Guy to join the forensics club with him in the (possibly misguided) hopes of impressing some girls, Guy thinks why not.

They certainly aren't expecting to find a real dead body on the simulated crime scene they're assigned to collect evidence from. But after some girlish, undignified screaming, the two realize it is indeed a body. Which means they have stumbled across a real, dead murder victim.

Meanwhile, Guy has been looking into the past of his father—a larger-than-life character who recently passed away. He was much older than Guy's mom, and had a whole past Guy never even knew about. Could his father's past and the dead body be linked? Does Guy want to know? He's going to need all his newfound forensics skills to find out . . ."- summary from Amazon

I liked Berk's debut and was excited to read this new book from him; I mean, the title alone is pretty awesome. But I gotta say, I wasn't as enthralled with this book as I was with his debut. It just felt really juvenile even though Guy is a junior in high school. It was just an odd combination and it threw me off a bit.

I did enjoy the whole murder mystery and all the forensics stuff, but I was let down by the ending. It was a twist and I didn't see it coming, but I think that's mainly because I was expecting something else based on the summary.

OK, let's end on some good things. While the humor was juvenile at times, it was still funny and I laughed out loud a few times. There was also some good depth to the characters, especially with Guy when he was learning about his father's past and dealing with his death. That really grounded the book for me.

Overall, a middle-of-the-road effort for me. I'd suggest it as a library book.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker

7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker
"When a humiliating picture of Blythe goes viral, she's instantly the target of ridicule at her new school. To salvage her reputation, Blythe teams up with Luke to win the Senior Scramble scavenger hunt. But Luke is an unlikely ally and potentially can't be trusted.

Perhaps it's his Shakespearean witticisms that reel Blythe in despite her better judgment . . . or maybe she just craves the thrill of the game. But as the hunt progresses, their relationship heats up. Soon their madcap mischief spirals out of control. Blythe is faced with arrest and expulsion, among other catastrophes - until Luke shows her what the Scramble (and love) is really about."- summary from Amazon

I adored Walker's debut and have been eagerly anticipating a new book from her and this was not a disappointment. The voice and humor just kept the pages turning, especially when it came to interactions between Blythe and Luke. Their interactions were just so much fun!! Gah, I just loved this book!

It's really hard to write more than that, lol. I just cannot put into words how great Walker's writing is. There's just so much humor, depth, and reality to what she writes. She's an author to keep an eye on, especially amidst all the paranormals. This is a nice, funny contemporary that's perfect for the upcoming summer!

Overall, a fantastic book and I urge you all to get this as well as her debut, A Match Made in High School, immediately. You won't be disappointed (unless you're expecting angels or werewolves to pop up because then you will be).

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Trailer- The Right and The Real by Joelle Anthony

Check out this awesome book trailer for The Right and The Real by Joelle Anthony, which is out in stores April 26!

From the author of "Restoring Harmony." Kicked out for refusing to join a cult, 17-year-old Jamie must find a way to survive on her own.

Jamie should have known something was off about the church of the Right and the Real from the start, especially when the Teacher claimed he wasn’t just an ordinary spiritual leader, but Jesus Christ, himself. But she was too taken by Josh, the eldest son of one of the church’s disciples, and his all-American good looks. Josh is the most popular boy at school too, and the first boy outside the drama geeks to give Jamie a second look. But getting her Dad involved in a cult was not part of the plan when she started dating Josh. Neither was her dad’s marriage to the fanatic Mira, or getting kicked out, or seeing Josh in secret because the church has deemed her persona non grata.

Jamie’s life has completely fallen apart. Finding her way back won’t be easy, but when her Dad gets himself into serious trouble, will Jamie be ready to rescue him, and maybe even forgive him?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Encyclopedia of Erudite Elites + Ultimate Erudite Giveaway!

Macgyver, one of Erudite's most famous elites, specializes in all things science related.  One of his most notorious accomplishments include creating a bomb from a turkey baster, a piece of bubble gum, and a paper clip.  He does not like violence, and his goal is to find peaceful solutions in the everyday materials most take for granted.

Macgyver's favorite quote: 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure."
--Marianne Williamson, Erudite author and peace activist

Dr. Gregory House is one of Erudite's most accomplished (and notorious) doctors.  If a medical miracle is needed, Dr. House is the one to be summoned.  Known for his eccentric diagnostic habits, Dr. House truly gives credence to the idea that genius and insanity ride the same line.  Thankfully, Dr. House continues to work on the side of  genius.

Dr. House's favorite quote:

"There is no great genius without a touch of madness."
--Aristotle, Erudite philosopher

Dr. Emmett Brown, referred to as "Doc" by his Erudite family, is another great scientist from the Erudite Faction.  Doc is currently working on a theory of time-travel, and he claims his latest invention, the Flux Capacitor, could be the key to unlocking the mysteries of the universe.  Doc chose his favorite classic vehicle, the DeLorean, in which to install the Flux Capacitor.  Beta-testing is scheduled to begin soon.

Doc's favorite quote:

"Time is an illusion.  Lunchtime doubly so."
--Douglas Adams, Erudite author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance."  Socrates, former Erudite leader


The Ultimate Erudite Giveaway

Okay Erudites!  Team Erudite has banded together, and we have a crazypants giveaway for you!  We will have 10 winners and all you have to do is click on these links and tweet about this giveaway!  The rafflecopter below will tell you what to do!  Also, you can enter via rafflecopter everyday!  If you want more entries, then feel free to click on these links more than once.  Please leave a comment EVERYTIME you click & you will get an extra entry into the giveaway!  We will pick 5 winners from the rafflecopter giveaway & 5 winners from the comments.

These are the prizes we have lined up:

1- $30 giftcard from online bookstore of choice
3- $20 Amazon giftcards
1- $20 Barnes and Noble giftcard
2- Boxes of ARCS
2- Faction Scrabble Tile Pendants
1- Harry Potter ebook of choice in honor of Hermione (a great Erudite)

These amazing Erudite blogs contributed to this giveaway!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday- The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt

"Kelsey’s not going to let one mistake ruin her life. Sure, she got kicked out of prep school and all her old friends are shutting her out. But Kelsey’s focused on her future, and she’s determined to get back on track at Concordia High.

Isaac’s been kicked out of more schools than he can count. Since his father’s a state senator, Isaac’s life is under constant scrutiny—but Concordia High’s his last stop before boarding school, so Isaac’s hoping to fly under the radar and try to stay put for a change.

When Kelsey and Isaac meet, it’s anything but love at first sight. She thinks he’s an entitled brat, and he thinks she’s a stuck-up snob. So it surprises them both when they start to fall for each other. Kelsey’s happy for the first time in months, and Isaac’s never felt this way about anyone before….But nothing’s ever completely perfect. Everyone has secrets, and Isaac and Kelsey are no exceptions. These two may have fallen hard, but there’s one thing that can ruin it all: the truth."- summary from Amazon

Why do I want this book? First off, it's by Lauren Barnholdt who I just simply adore. We've been chatting since her debut Reality Chick came out (it has since been re-released as Watch Me) and her books are so much fun to read. It's also been so much fun seeing her books get more and more attention as the years go on. Secondly, it just sounds so interesting and like a very unique love story. I can't wait to read it! What are you all waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Slide by Jill Hathaway

Slide by Jill Hathaway
"Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister's friend Sophie didn't kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn't actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else's mind and experiences the world through that person's eyes. She's slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed "friend" when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie's slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can't bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting distant lately, especially now that she's been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again."- summary from Amazon

This was such a fast, suspenseful read and had a completely surprising ending. I really enjoyed it and I'm glad there's a followup being released next year. The premise is pretty cool and I like books that are kind of like magical realism. Vee has this strange sliding power, but the story is still firmly rooted in the contemporary world and in realism. It's a nice break from all the paranormal creatures, but it still has that extra aspect to keep it from just being a regular contemporary (side note: I love paranormals and regular contemporary, so don't think I'm bashing either one).

The mystery was full of twists and turns and there were plenty of false suspects. The real murderer came a bit out of nowhere but it still made sense. I do think though with the short length and main focus on Vee, there wasn't as much characterization for everyone else, so this is definitely more plot-based.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Meandering Monday- My Blogging Break

I took a blogging break from mid-February through the end of March. I'm going to restate my reasons here-

1) I was feeling a bit burnt out. In the span of a few weeks, I had started and put away three different books from different genres. That never happens. And it was also different genres, so it wasn't like I was burnt out on just paranormals or whatever. I figured it was time to throw away my schedule (I made a blog post schedule for each month, which included what I'd be reviewing) and just read whatever I wanted to read. There have been so many books I've missed out on because there wasn't time in their release month to cover them. It was sad.

2) I was also cutting it close on reviews. I'd be finishing a book then reviewing it on the same day because I didn't have enough time to get ahead on my reading. I hated that because I'd always be rushing through a book trying to get it done in time. I would rearrange my schedule so that I'd be reading a few shorter books so I'd have more time for the big 400/500 page book I was gonna review. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY LONG BOOKS NOW?! I just want a happy medium of like 250 pages. Is that so much to ask?

Anyway, so I spent this whole time catching up on reading but also taking my time with each book. I wasn't rushed, but I did fly through some books because I'd been so excited about reading them. Let me tell you guys: it was AMAZING. Being able to pick anything I wanted, and occasionally even starting books the same day I got them in the mail (like I did with Take a Bow and Underworld), was really great and freeing. No release date constraints. I think I may continue it like this, having a mixture of new and (kinda) old books reviewed on the blog. Plus, since I'm so far ahead, I can read like June releases now which is exciting. :)

The blogging break was exactly what I needed. I was able to sit back, take a breath, and reevaluate my blog and what I post on it. I definitely hope that my blog becomes better because of this break and new approach.

Have any of you taken breaks from blogging, or reevaluated how you structured your blog? Also, any suggestions for me on what I post and my reviewing style, or even just anything regarding my blog? I'm always open to suggestions and ways to improve my blog, so please let me know in the comments or in my email!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox- Weeks of April 1 and 8 + Retrospective

I didn't have the time to do a vlog so just some pictures this week. I got some great books though!

Books Shown:

Top photo- 1st row (l to r): Wrecked by Anna Davies (ARC, May 2012)
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (hardcover, April 2012)
The Calling by Kelley Armstrong (hardcover, April 2012)
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (paperback, April 2012)

2nd row (l to r): Commercial Breaks #2: Picture Perfect by P.G. Kain (ARC, July 2012)
This is So Not Happening by Kieran Scott (ARC, May 2012)
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols (ARC, July 2012)
Losers in Space by John Barnes (ARC, May 2012)

Bottom photo- 1st row: All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers (hardcover, April 2012)

2nd row (l to r): The Temptation by Alisa Valdes (paperback, April 2012)
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (paperback, May 2012)
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (hardcover, April 2012)
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris (hardcover, April 2012)
Just Write: Here's How by Walter Dean Myers (paperback, April 2012)

3rd row (l to r): Pizza, Love, and Other Things That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams (ARC, August 2012)
Fever by Lauren DeStefano (hardcover from library, February 2012)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (signed hardcover from library, January 2012)
The Selection by Kiera Cass (hardcover, April 2012)
In Too Deep by Amanda Grace (paperback from library, February 2012)

and here's my retrospective for this past week:

Tuesday- I reviewed Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg, which is out in stores now!

Wednesday- I shared a bunch of news and links, dealing with Divergent Nation and the Independent Book Blogger Awards. Please support Team Erudite and also vote for me in the Awards!

Thursday- I reviewed The Royal Treatment by Lindsey Leavitt, which is out in stores now!

Friday- I posted two cute pictures of one of my cats as part of Cat Friday!

Saturday- I reviewed Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore, which is out in stores now!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore

Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore
"For star-crossed lovers Nimira and Erris, there can be no happily ever after until Erris is freed from the clockwork form in which his soul is trapped. And so they go in search of the sorcerer Ordoria Valdana, hoping he will know how to grant Erris real life again. When they learn that Valdana has mysteriously vanished, it's not long before Nimira decides to take matters into her own hands-and begins to study the sorcerer's spell books in secret. Yet even as she begins to understand the power and limitations of sorcery, it becomes clear that freeing Erris will bring danger-if not out-and-out war-as factions within the faerie world are prepared to stop at nothing to prevent him from regaining the throne."- summary from Amazon

After reading Magic Under Glass a little over two years ago, I've been eagerly anticipating a sequel because there was such a cliffhanger!! Finally, the sequel has come and it is wonderful. I loved reading about Nimira and Erris' journey to find his body and try to reanimate him. The reader gets to delve more into the fairy world and politics and it's interesting to read about. I will say though that some parts of the journey, mainly some of the time waiting around for Ordorio to come home, seemed unnecessary to the overall story.

There's way more character development this time around with a longer story, and with Erris being able to talk and move about now. Even the new characters, like Violet, Ifra and Belin, are fairly well-rounded. Speaking of Ifra, I liked how Dolamore spent some time with him in between Nimira's chapters. It was a nice way of breaking things up and also letting the reader in on what's happening elsewhere.

But there is still a cliffhanger here too, and I wonder if there are plans for a third book. I would definitely read it and I love spending time with these characters. Sooo, third book please?

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cat Friday (25)

Here's another pic of a cat in one of our cat towers.

It's Pearl in the cubby hole! We love it when they go into the cubby hole. The other cat tower we have didn't come with one so we bought a separate cubby hole that we put in an empty slot on it. You'll see it in future pictures.

Hope you enjoyed these pics!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Royal Treatment by Lindsey Leavitt

The Royal Treatment by Lindsey Leavitt
"What girl wouldn’t swoon over the outrageous perks in Desi's life as a princess substitute? Desi gets to hang out with crush-worthy Prince Karl, and the Façade agency has taken a special interest in her magical abilities. But between sub training, starting the eighth grade, and dealing with the cute-but-bossy new boy Reed, she’s beginning to feel like she’s in over her head. Even worse, when Desi learns a secret about the magic that keeps Façade running, she realizes that not everything is as perfect as it seems."- summary from Amazon

I thought Princess for Hire was so cute and funny, and I couldn't believe that I had waited so long to read the sequel. As soon as I took my break from blogging and from following a set reading schedule, this was the second book I picked up to read (Last Little Blue Envelope was the first, and it was actually next to Royal Treatment on my shelf, lol). I was so not disappointed.

I loved returning to Desi's life and her funny voice, plus all the new princess missions she had and learning more about Facade. There were some interesting twists and turns throughout the book, though I did spot one (which never happens to me) about halfway through that wasn't revealed until the end. Leavitt also has a great sense of humor, and I gotta say that the beauty pageant scenes were absolutely hilarious.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this! I'm excited to see where the third and final book takes us and I'm glad that it's just two months away from release, though I do want it now. But I'm sad to see Desi go in that final book.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

News and Links!

Hey everyone, I've got some great links to share with you today, so let's get started!

First off, I got an email about this awesome Divergent series extra that needs to be unlocked. Can’t get enough of Four? Dying to hear more from him? If we reach 35,000 preorders of INSURGENT, HarperCollins will release a piece of never-before-seen original writing by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth—a pivotal scene from DIVERGENT retold from Four’s point of view (squeal)! Grab the widget, pre-order your copy today (if you’ve already pre-ordered, it counts toward our goal!) and spread the word to your friends. Let’s FREE FOUR, Divergent Nation!

Here's the widget link- http://harperteen.com/feature/widgets/Insurgent-FreeFour.html

OK, so I announced last week that I'm a member of Team Erudite in this Divergent Nation promotion. I have a few links to share regarding that. Help Team Erudite win Divergent Nation by clicking this link here. We're also offering up two chances to win a signed, personalized copy of Insurgent- Choosing Day and Joining Team Erudite. By joining Team Erudite, there's also a ton of other prizes to win, PLUS we're working on another big giveaway, so keep an eye out for that too!

Finally, I need your help with another event. I'm taking part in the Independent Book Blogger Awards and I need votes! You have 1 vote per category (for a total of 4) and I'd really appreciate it if you'd vote for me. You can vote by clicking here or on my sidebar. Each winner in their category gets a free trip to BEA! If I win, I'll definitely do a giveaway of some awesome books I receive at BEA for my amazing blog readers!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
"Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform."- summary from Amazon

Elizabeth Eulberg is one of my new favorite authors. I just absolutely loved her previous two books and couldn't wait for this one to be released. I was so happy when a copy arrived, especially during my break from blogging because I pretty much immediately started it, which if I had been going by a schedule, I wouldn't have been able to do.

I flew through the book really quickly. Each of the characters are so interesting and it was fun to read their journeys through the same school, as well as seeing their interactions with each other from different perspectives. I liked how Carter's chapters were set up like a movie script with the dialogue set apart from the regular prose; it emphasized how he grew up reading scripts and acting and that's pretty much all he's known.

Sophie was such an annoying character, especially as the book went on. I was fine with her in the beginning but after flashing forward to senior year and going through it, she was a mega pain and frustrated me with her lack of trust and just general rhymes-with-witchery. Emme and Ethan were both adorable in their own ways and I liked how they grew (and sometimes made mistakes) throughout the book. Plus, it takes place in a performing arts school, which is just plain awesome. I love the performing arts so this book was completely up my alley.

Overall, this book is amazing and everyone should read it, especially if you're looking for good contemporary. I think this is her best book by far and I cannot wait to read what she's got next!

FTC: Received hardcover from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry
"Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is."- summary from Amazon

What a thriller! I love these types of stories and Henry did an amazing job putting this one together. I really enjoyed the multiple perspectives, and it's always interesting to have a few chapters from the bad guy's point of view. Included also in between chapters are transcripts from police interviews, a coroner's report, 911 calls, and other stuff relating to Kayla's case.

I wish I could've read this book in one sitting, but unfortunately, I had to put it down a few times. It was that good. Henry just has this great way of writing that really pulls you in and keeps you turning the pages. Even though the reader finds out kinda early on that Kayla is alive, there's the tension of whether or not she'll be alive long enough for anyone to find and save her. It was creepy reading the kidnapper's interactions with her.

I do feel like because of the short length and multiple perspectives, there wasn't much character depth, so this is more for people who like plot-focused books. The reader finds out various things about these characters, but they never sink in enough to get a good handle on them.

Overall, this is a fast-paced thriller that will have you staying up until you finish the last word!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cat Friday (24)

It's been a long time since I've done one of these, so here you go. I call this "Samson in Motion":

A friend of ours had a small cat tower that she didn't need anymore, so she gave it to us. We've since gotten a bigger cat tower and are using both. The cats absolutely love it and so do we- they're adorable on it! I'll show the newer one sometime in the future. Hope you all enjoyed this! :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
"Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.

Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions."- summary from Amazon

I absolutely LOVED 13 Little Blue Envelopes and was excited to hear about the sequel, yet it still took me over a year to actually get around to reading it. I wasn't disappointed (it is a Maureen Johnson book, after all) but I didn't feel the same amount of love I felt for the first book.

It was great getting back into Ginny's shoes and going off on a whirlwind trip with her across the UK and Europe to complete the final letter. It was interesting how Johnson brought in the last letter and the circumstances surrounding it, and it certainly made things more complicated. The locations in this book were really fun to read about and Johnson's prose really made me feel as if I were there.

Keith and Ginny's relationship was handled realistically too, and I liked how Johnson dealt with it. Even though I'd like to see those two together, it still felt right having Keith be with someone else. I'm not totally sure I agree with how Ginny ended up romantically because it just seemed too convenient.

Overall, this is a nice, funny follow-up to 13 Little Blue Envelopes and I'm glad Johnson was able to complete this unique story. We now know what the 13th envelope said!

FTC: Received ARC from my awesome friend Kristi of The Story Siren. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday- The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

My Waiting on Wednesday pick this week is The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. Summary is below the picture and does contain spoilers from Book 1.

"Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds.

A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy."- summary from Goodreads

I absolutely LOVED The Girl of Fire and Thorns. I sped through it and have been so excited for the second (and third) book. Whenever I get a copy, I will be reading it right away. Carson created a fantastic world and a wonderful main character to root for. If you have not read the first book, go do so now!

This will be released September 18, 2012 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby

Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby
"Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment."- summary from Amazon

I'm a huge fan of books involving celebrity and this was a unique take on that kind of story. Jo is a teen paparazzo and is really good at it, and it was fascinating to me to see that side of things. She's a wonderful main character with her sights set on more than just being a paparazzo all her life.

There's some interesting twists and turns throughout this book with a huge secret popping up about halfway through that was crazy enough to work. I loved it! Not only that, but the book is very funny and Jo's voice is just so much fun to read. I liked reading her interactions with the people at the rehab center, and there were some particular sections that added some great depth to this novel.

The romance was so fun to read; Ned and Jo's conversations were an absolute joy to read and seeing them come closer as the novel went on made it realistic. There isn't insta-love here and Rushby does a great job making it work.

Overall, just a really fun, unique debut and I'm excited to see what Rushby comes up with next!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; all profits go toward funding contests.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Divergent Nation Faction Reveal!

So last Friday, I got a package on my front porch from UPS (and then they came back like 2 minutes later with something else that I didn't care about) and I pretty much immediately hugged it and squee'd and ran around the living room. This was the package:

You can pretty much guess what's inside.

I am a part of the Erudite Faction, led by my awesome friend Pam of Bookalicious! Check out her blog to see the other 8 Erudites that will be participating this month in Divergent Nation and please support us all by clicking this link!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In My Mailbox- Month of March

Yeah, this vlog encapsulates the entirety of March since I was gone the whole month practically. I'm surprised it's only a little over 10 minutes, lol. Anyway, for those here wondering what faction I belong to in the Divergent Nation event, I reveal it in the first minute so you don't have to watch the whole thing.

Books/Other Stuff Shown:

Tomb Raider: Underworld (for PC)
Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection by Katy Perry (CD)
Insurgent by Veronica Roth (ARC, May 2012)- I am Team Erudite.
Being Lara by Lola Jaye (paperback, March 2012)
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (ARC, April 2012)
Legacy of Tril: Soulbound by Heather Brewer (ARC, July 2012)
Arranged by Catherine McKenzie (ARC, May 2012)
Black City by Elizabeth Richards (ARC, Nov 2012)
The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin (ARC, Aug 2011)
The Right and the Real by Joelle Anthony (ARC, April 2012)
Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein (ARC, July 2012)
The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin (ARC, Aug 2012)
Picture This by Jacqueline Sheehan (ARC, May 2012)
Underworld by Meg Cabot (ARC, May 2012)
Survive by Alex Morel (ARC, Aug 2012)
My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend (ARC, June 2012)
Beauty by Lisa Daily (ARC, May 2012)
7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker (ARC, April 2012)
No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz (ARC, May 2012)
Starters by Lissa Price (hardcover, March 2012)
Book Journal (birthday present from a friend!)
Commercial Breaks #1: Famous for Thirty Seconds by P.G. Kain (paperback, March 2012)
The List by Siobhan Vivian (hardcover, April 2012)
Beach Colors by Shelley Noble (ARC, June 2012)
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting (hardcover, April 2012)
More Like Her by Liza Palmer (paperback, April 2012)
Family Guy: Volume 9 (DVD)
The Last Apprentice: Grimalkin the Witch Assassin by Joseph Delaney (hardcover, April 2012)
Sacred Stories: Wisdom from World Religions by Marilyn McFarlane (hardcover, April 2012)
Once by Anna Carey (ARC, July 2012)
So Close to You by Rachel Carter (ARC, July 2012)
Blackwatch by Jenna Burtenshaw (ARC, July 2012)
Destiny by Gillian Shields (ARC, July 2012)
Invisible Sun by David Macinnis Gill (hardcover, March 2012)
Drain You by M. Beth Bloom (ARC, July 2012)
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard (ARC, July 2012)
Endlessly by Kiersten White (ARC, July 2012)
Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan (ARC, July 2012)
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (ARC, July 2012)
Insignia by S.J. Kincaid (ARC, July 2012)
Wuftoom by Mary G Thompson (ARC, May 2012)