Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Themed Weddings

I hope you guys are enjoying your weekend so far and have lots of fun and exciting stuff planned for what hopefully turns out to be a beautiful weekend! I have a friend's bridal shower today and it's the first wedding event that kicks off what is looking to become Wedding Season for me for the next few months. Lots of showers and bachelorette parties ahead, as well as rehearsal dinners, receptions and beautiful ceremonies for my friends to tie the knot!

While this blog is in no way related to wedding themed events, I couldn't help but share some of the cutest and dream worthy pictures I've come across lately of book themed, or related weddings and weddings receptions! I love the idea, and if there is ever a wedding in my future, you can be sure that books will play a huge part in just about every aspect of the main event and the events and festivities leading up to the tying of the knot!

Check these out:

I love love love all the ideas I see on line for book themed weddings, and these adorable table numbers using vintage books and book page cutouts as the centerpieces are just too cute for words.

I would love nothing more than to receive a wedding invitation in the mail within the covers of a vintage book, don't you agree? But while most of my friends are not bibliophiles like myself I'm thinking that isn't likely to happen anytime soon. So that's OK with me, because I'll be able to use the idea for myself when (fingers crossed) the time comes.

What better way for your guests to find their escort cards and where they'll be sitting for the dinner and reception than via an old fashioned cart catalogue. Guests can search for their card by locating it within the drawer that corresponds with their first initial of their last name. Love it!

And while there are beautiful libraries all over the world that you are able to rent out for your wedding venue, nothing compares to The Peabody Library in Baltimore, MD in my heart! It's literally awe inspiring and simply breathtaking from the moment you step through its doors, until the moment you leave and honestly the effect stays with you long after you've left. There's nothing I don't love about it. While I wish you were still able to climb to the stacks to have your pictures taken among the top rows and levels with the books, there are no words to describe how lucky I would feel to be able to celebrate my (future) happy day among all those classics and beauty! A girl can certainly dream.

Friday, March 30, 2012

New Kresley Cole YA Title Confirmed!

I am beyond excited to share this news with you guys! While this information has been out there for a little while, I had to calm down my level of excitement before I put together a post about it otherwise I'm not sure anyone would have been able to understand a word of what I wrote amidst the babbling and rambling. Which is pretty much what I'm doing right now.

Before I go off on another tangent, I was super excited to hear that one of my favorite adult paranormal romance authors, Kresley Cole has signed on with Simon and Schuster to write a Young Adult title, Poison Princess! While no cover artwork has been posted that I know of, the book's initial description is enough to have me counting down the days until October 2012 for it's release. Cole did say on her Facebook page that coverart would be revealed soon, and I can't wait! Check it out....

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) by Kresley Cole

Poison Princess centers on 16-year-old Evangeline "Evie" Greene, a privileged teenager from Louisiana. When an apocalyptic event decimates her hometown, killing everyone she loves, Evie realizes the hallucinations she'd been having for the past year were actually visions of the future — and they're still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophecy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of teens have been chosen to re-enact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it's not always clear who is on which side.

Sounds good right? Her characters and plot twists are fantastic in her adult series and she's kept me coming back for more with each and every one of her books. I love that she's not afraid to continue her series on well after the third and fourth books like some authors are reluctant to do. And honestly I'm not sure what I would do if she did. I'm not ready to say goodbye to her characters in her adult series, but I'm sure as heck ready to say hello to her new characters in the young adult genre!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Children's Choice Book Awards

Have you guys voted yet? Voting for the Children's Choice Book Awards in the Teen category opened on March 14th and it's a close race I'm sure. Every book is fabulous and I can't even begin to tell you how hard it was for me to narrow down my vote. Wicked hard! If you haven't put in your vote, head over there now and pick your favorite in hopes that the title comes out on top. With great books like these up for the award of Best Book of the Year, I can't even try to attempt at a guess of who will win.

Here are the nominees:

The Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2) by Cassandra Clare

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1) by Laini Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

Passion (Fallen, #3) by Lauren Kate

Luce would die for Daniel.

And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . .

Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last.

Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history.

Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever.

Sweeping across centuries, PASSION is the third novel in the unforgettably epic FALLEN series.

Perfect (Impulse, #2) by Ellen Hopkins

Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they’d rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there.

Cara’s parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body—no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run—on the field and off—Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never have understood.

Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?

A riveting and startling companion to the bestselling Impulse, Ellen Hopkins's Perfect exposes the harsh truths about what it takes to grow up and grow into our own skins, our own selves.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ARC Review: Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

From the fantastic author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom & Prejudice comes a story of all the drama and comedy of four friends who grow into themselves at a performing arts high school.

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.

Normally I give myself a day or two after I've finished reading a book to let it all sink in before I start to write up my review, but not so much with this one. I couldn't wait to create the post for this title. I think it's safe to say that if I were asked to pick my top five favorite authors, Elizabeth Eulberg would without a doubt be one of those writers. I can't even really pinpoint why that is exactly, or what makes her writing stand out better than the others, but there's no denying that it does. I think if Eulberg ever decides to pack it up and stop writing, we'll all be denied a fantastic talent that does not come along very often. Her books are all so different and unique and yet they always have the same warmth and magnetism that draws readers in to the pages.

When I opened this book up I knew that I would like it. I've yet to find one of her novels anything less that wonderful, but each and every time, including this one I'm still surprised by how much I enjoy myself while reading her work. I had flown through more than half of the book and didn't even realize that I had skipped a meal and neglected pretty much everything else that was going on around me at the time. But it didn't matter, finishing the story and seeing what happened to these lovely characters was all that was important. So I managed to read this one cover to cover in two sittings. If I had started this one on the weekend I wouldn't have gotten up for anything, but with work, I couldn't avoid having to put in my eight hours at the office.

Emme, Ethan, Carter, Ben, Jack, they were all fantastic! The band...oh I just loved the band! Each of these characters have their own unique personality and bring something great to the table, but all together they create this wonderful story that I can only thank Eulberg for sharing with her readers. Even though I wish she was one of those authors that churned out a book every couple of months, I understand that part of the genius in her writing is that it's not rushed, it flows from page to page and grips the reader with it's intensity and has us invested in these character's futures as if they're not fictional characters, but our very own real life friends and family.

After meeting Eulberg at a book festival a few years ago and getting the chance to hear her speak about herself and her journey through publishing, there's no doubt in my mind that when I open up one of her books, she's put her whole heart into each and every word and character. There are bits and pieces throughout the story that other authors might have left out or felt wasn't necessary to the story, but in truth, that's what makes Eulberg's writing wonderful (or at least one of the things) and different. It's the little details and twists that she throws into her work that not only engage the readers, but leave them only hoping that the story won't end anytime soon.

I gave Take A Bow 5 shamrocks!!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Countdown: 2012 Releases (13)

I still can't get over how quickly this month seems to have flown by. So much has happened that I'm having a hard time realizing that Spring is pretty much here, which means Summer is right around the corner. My Summer is already looking jam packed with friends getting married and all the festivities that go along with that. But also exciting is all the great books that are scheduled to hit the shelves this Summer.

I can't believe how many great titles are coming out and how badly I want to read them all. I'm not sure how I'm going to manage to fit everything in, but I'm crossing my fingers I'll find a way and at least if I have some traveling to do for these weddings I'll be sure to have plenty of great reads to take a long with me to pass the time, right?

That's the plan anyways and hopefully I'll have some down time as well in between all the fun festivities lined up to squeeze in a book or two on a night in curled up on my couch unwinding from all the craziness!

Countdown Pick #1: A Fractured Light (A Beautiful Dark, #2) by Jocelyn Davies (09/25/2012)

When she wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings, Skye knows something terrible has happened to her. But it’s not until she hears Asher, the dark, rebellious angel she fell in love with, that the memories of Devin and his shocking betrayal come flooding back.

Skye returns home, but with the knowledge of who she really is, nothing can ever be the same. As she tests the limits of her new found powers, Skye discovers that she’s capable of far more than anyone could have imagined. Both the Order and the Rebellion want her for their side as war between the factions looms. She can’t forgive the Order for nearly killing her, but something holds her back from embracing the Rebellion.

A Fractured Light picks up right after A Beautiful Dark‘s shocking cliffhanger ending and is perfect for fans of Lauren Kate’s Fallen and Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush saga.

I'm always excited when I find new authors and new reads to check out but there's something about a series continuation that ratchets up my excitement that can't be denied. I don't know why, but when I come across a series that I love, it helps when the book ends that I know I don't have to really say goodbye to the characters I fell in love with, or the worlds that blew my mind. I know that I'll get the chance to see what else is in store for them later on as the series continues. That's how I felt when it came to Davies' A Beautiful Dark series. I'm anxious to see what decisions Skye makes and what kind of trouble lies in store for her and the two sides that want her for their own.

Countdown Pick #2: Bitterblue (The Seven Kingdoms, #3) by Kristin Cashore (05/01/2012)

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

I cannot even begin to express how excited I am about this release! It feels like it has taken forever to get here. I first came across Cashore's Graceling and fell in love with her writing, her world, her plots and characters...just about everything about her books! So I read Fire when it came out and then discovered that Bitterblue was on what seemed like a permanent hold. But regardless, the release date has been set. Goodreads has a contest for a chance to win an ARC, so head over there to sign up if you haven't already.

Countdown Pick #3: Blazing the Trail (The Dragon Diaries, #3) by Deborah Cooke (06/05/2012)

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and Zoë Sorensson’s love life is heating up. Cute, loyal, and understanding, wolf shifter Derek is pretty much the perfect guy. He likes Zoë, and he knows what it’s like to have to keep a secret. Yet, Zoë can’t help but wish it was rebel rocker Jared asking her to the Valentine’s dance instead. But Jared’s too busy playing hot and cold with her heart, calling Zoë his dragon girl one minute and then taking special interest in her best friend the next.

Zoë is just about ready to breathe fire, especially once she uncovers a new threat that targets her friends. Although Zoë thought the Mages were defeated, they’re back and have invoked an old spell to give them new power – they plan to eliminate all shape shifters on the night of the big dance. Now, Zoë must lead an alliance of young shifters to battle the Mages and figure out exactly what – and who – she wants, before it all goes up in smoke…

Cooke brought back dragons into the paranormal genre and made them fun again. Reading and experiencing things right along with her main character Zoe as she discovers this world of dragons and mages was a log of fun from her very first installment in the series. I haven't had the chance to read her sequel yet but when I came across this title and realized how far behind I had gotten I decided to order my copy of Winging It right away. I want to be all caught up and ready to go when this third installment hits the shelves. Be sure to check out Cooke's website for the chance to read an excerpt from this release...hopefully it'll help you wait out the countdown for when it actually hits the shelves.

Countdown Pick #4: Just For Fins (Fins, #3) by Tera Lynn Childs (07/03/2012)

When Lily Sanderson decided to remain Crown Princess Waterlily of the mermaid kingdom Thalassinia, she knew she couldn’t just coast along in the current. But since she’s spent the last couple of years on land—with gorgeous human Quince by her side—Lily’s not sure she has the fins to lead a kingdom. Even her maddeningly pretentious cousin Dosinia seems to know more about ruling than she does.

But Lily has to dive in deep to keep her promise to Tellin, her mer bond in name only, whose kingdom is suffering in the changing ocean climate. Lily knows this is a seven seas–sized problem: from sea animals dying to oil spills and threats to humans. They’ll need to create some serious waves to make the mer community aware and get it to join together to make things right. Even if that means facing one of the iciest queens in the mer kingdoms.

Just when Lily thinks her double life on land and sea can’t get any more complicated, an ancient mer law might separate Lily and Quince after all. It feels as if the pair is up against a solid tsunami wave!

In this third installment in the series that began with Forgive My Fins and Fins Are Forever, Lily will have to find a way to balance safety and justice for the mer people as well as for the humans she loves.

What a fun series! Tera Lynn Childs really knows how to entertain her readers. Her books are always light hearted, filled with twists and turns readers never saw coming and the easy going and fun qualities her characters and worlds possess are infectious. I've never put one of her books down feeling anything but happy. She sometimes makes me nervous when he plots seems to be heading down certain paths, but she's always got a good reason behind her choices, and as a readers I realize she usually manages to keep me on my toes. So since she's not planning (that I know of) anymore installments in her Oh.My.Gods series (which I loved), I will take what I can get. And this series is definitely a close second to my favorites she's constantly churning out.

Countdown Pick #5: Blood of a Red Rose (The Rose Trilogy, #2) by Tish Thawer (05/08/2012)

Doubt blooms...

Someone bleeds...

Change is coming... time to take heed.

Book 2 in The Rose Trilogy. A paranormal romance that continues to surprise with a heroine that’s embracing her darker side, a vampire whose love starts to waver, and a vampire clan whose new Sire is filled with doubt.

~ ROSE ~

I'm Rose Reynolds. I’ve shared my secret and ruined lives.
I’m no longer welcome in my childhood home. And, I’ve recently threatened to kill my best friend. I warned you - I'm not as innocent as everyone thinks…


I'm Christian and I’m worried about Rose.
She’s changed and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. She knows my secret and loves me still. This I know, because I’m starting to hear whispers wherever I go…

After Thawer approached me to read and review her first installment in the Rose trilogy I was extremely grateful and so excited to have been introduced to this series. I was instantly drawn in by the characters, the tweaks Thawer made in her world running with vampires and demons. It was refreshing, original and totally addicting. After the cliffhanger from the series opener, I think it's safe to say that Thawer's got her readers craving this release in a very bad way.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Countdown: 2012 Releases (12)

I cannot believe that March has come and gone so quickly, can you? I feel like it was just yesterday that I was breathing a sigh of relief that the holidays had just wrapped up and we could all take a step back and enjoy ourselves and the wonderful time we had to spend with our families and friends during the season. But while I was waiting for us to get hit hard with snow or a freak winter storm, I didn't even realize that the Winter season was coming to a close. I can't say that I'm sad we missed out on the snow...I hate driving in it and having to worry about whether or not I'll be able to make it to work on time, etc...but I am disappointed I didn't make it to the slopes this year. Hopefully my skis will get more work next season, and in the meantime I'm just glad I have so many great reads to look forward to this this year!

Countdown Pick #1: Starling (Starling, #1) by Lesley Livingston (08/15/2012)

"Love is just the beginning... of the end."

Mason Starling is a champion fencer for Gosforth Academy, but she’s never had to fight for her life. Until now. When a ferocious storm rips through Manhattan and unleashes terrifying creatures onto Gosforth’s campus, Mason barely escapes alive. Without help from the mysterious stranger who appeared in the midst of the storm, she might not have made it at all. But now, in the aftermath, Mason’s life begins to spin dramatically, mystically out of control, and the only one who seems able to help her is the stranger who can remember nothing but his name: Fennrys Wolf.

As Mason and Fenn uncover more about Fenn’s past and the strange events that surround them, they realize that Mason’s family — and its dark allegiance to the ancient Norse gods — is at the center of everything. A predetermined fate seems to be closing in on Mason, but is it possible to change one’s destiny?

Readers who fell in love with Lesley Livingston’s Wondrous Strange trilogy and those who love Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series will be captivated by the sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action of Starling.

Norse gods and romance...I'm a big fan of both! I hate to admit this but I never got the chance to read Livingston's previous Wondrous Strange trilogy but I have read Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series. If this description is anything to go by, since I'm a huge fan of Clare's than this series should be right up my alley. Are you guys a fan of Livingston's writing? I've been told countless times that I was missing out by not having picked up her books before and I'm hoping to correct that flaw in the future. Looks like August will be my first step to seeing what she's all about as an author.

Countdown Pick #2: Never Let You Go by Emma Carlson Berne (2012)

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. . .

You always want what you can’t have.

Megan never meant to hurt her best friend Anna. She made a mistake, and she’s spent all year trying to regain Anna’s trust. So when Anna invites her to spend the summer on her uncle’s farm, Megan is excited…and relieved. The past is finally behind them.

On the farm, Anna quickly falls for Jordan, a rugged summer-hand. Megan and Jordan have their own spark, but Megan’s betrayed Anna once before and she’s not about to do it again.

Still, the more time that Megan and Jordan spend together, the harder it is to deny their chemistry. But Anna doesn’t like to be ignored—and she doesn’t forgive and forget. What started out as the perfect summer is about to take a very dark turn….

Wow! Even the cover is scaring me to no end. I'm not sue why this book caught my attention, but now that it has it doesn't seem to be letting me go. So the only thing I can do is pick myself up a copy when it hits the shelves and hope that it doesn't keep me awake a night. This girl Anna sounds like bad news times ten. I'm definitely not wanting to be in Megan's shoes, that's for sure. Have you guys read Berne's previous book? Any insight into what kind of author she is? The plot's got me intrigued, so I'll cross my fingers I can handle the stress.

Countdown Pick #3: Dark Star by Bethany Frenette (10/23/2012)

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human—something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers—livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight.

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything—and everyone—she loves.

How cool would it be if one of your parents was a superhero? Come on, everyone's thought about that possibility and the awesomeness that would surround you if that were the case. We were all young kids once and I will attest to the fact that personally I would have thought that was the coolest. I think at some point I really did think my dad had super powers when I was little, and to this day I swear my mom has superpowers in the kitchen. No one can bake like she does, it's just uncanny! But while I digress...this book just sounds like nothing but fun, and I can't wait to curl up with this one and get started! My birthday is only a few days before it's release and I'm thinking that would be a wonderful present to myself, don't you?

Countdown Pick #4: Ten by Gretchen McNeil (09/18/2012)

And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school's most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off the from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no Internet, and a ferry that isn't scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Anyone who has ever been a fan of the who-dunnit type movies and stories, this sounds like a winner don't you think? I myself hate scary movies but at the same time seem to find myself watching them over and over again and I honestly have no idea why. While I'm not a fan of being scared or grossed out from the gore, I will admit to enjoying a mystery. Despite how easy and simple it might be to figuring out who the killer is in stories like these, I still enjoy the challenge. So I'm going to take my chances with this one and hope that McNeil takes pity on her readers and doesn't leave me with nightmares and no desire to ever go away for a weekend with my friends.

Countdown Pick #5: Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery (09/11/2012)

An inspiring, bittersweet love story about making every day count.

Bryce remembers it like it was yesterday. The scent of chlorine. The blinding crack and flash of pain. Blood in the water.

When she wakes up in the hospital, all Bryce can think of is her disastrous Olympic diving trial. But everything is different now. Bryce still feels seventeen, so how can her little sister be seventeen, too? Life went on without her while Bryce lay in a coma for five years. Her best friend and boyfriend have just graduated from college. Her parents barely speak. And everything she once dreamed of doing—winning a gold medal, traveling the world, falling in love—seems beyond her reach.

But Bryce has changed too, in seemingly impossible ways. She knows things she shouldn’t. Things that happened while she was asleep. Things that haven’t even happened yet. During one luminous summer, as she comes to understand that her dreams have changed forever, Bryce learns to see life for what it truly is: extraordinary.

I feel as though I'm already invested in this story and it doesn't even come out until September. But I can't quite explain why. For whatever reason I really want to see and experience this journey through Bryce's eyes so to speak. However she ended up in the coma and for whatever reason she now knows things she shouldn't, I want to see how it plays out. I can't imagine what it would be like to go from being bound for the Olympics possibly, to wake up one morning and have to start from scratch but I without a doubt will be cheering her character one all the way!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

In My Mailbox (45)

This is a meme that I first heard about from Kristi over at The Story Siren and immediately wanted to jump on board. I'm always picking up new books, because I never tire of reading, but the other thing I like about this meme is that it gives everyone an opportunity to check out what other book fanatics, bloggers, etc... got for themselves. I've gotten great recommendations from this meme and hope that keeps up in the future.

Here's what I got, what did you guys get this week?

For Review:

The Vicious Deep (The Vicious Deep, #1) by Zoraida Cordova (5/1/12)

When an unnatural riptide sweeps lifeguard Tristan Hart out to sea for three days and then dumps him back on the shore of Coney Island, it’s the start of the Sea Court claiming its own. Suddenly, Tristan’s girlfriend dramas and swimming championship seem like distant worries as he discovers the truth: he’s a Merman. Now Tristan must fight for his life, the lives of his friends, and his humanity (if he still wants it), while competing in a race for a throne as ancient as the gods.

Seductive, duplicitous, and with an agenda of their own, these are not the mermaids you know.

**Be sure to check back with me on May 3, 2012 for my stop on The Vicious Deep blog tour for a guest post from the author herself! Not to mention a giveaway you might not want to miss out on...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy Weekend!!!

Happy Weekend everyone!!!! I hope you guys have some fun planned for this weekend, because we all know we all need to unwind and have a little fun when we're given a reprieve from the long weekdays. I picked my sister up from the train station last night and I didn't realize how much I missed until then. Since she's moved to NYC I feel like we have both made a great effort to talk and keep in touch with each other even more so that we're always caught up on what's going on in each other's lives, but it's not the same as having her home. I love it when she comes to visit or I get to go and visit her, so I'm thinking this weekend is shaping up to be a good one. We're off to Pennsylvania to visit family today into tomorrow so it should be a jam packed weekend with lots of friends and family time and good laughs and fantastic food guaranteed! I can't wait!

Happy Reading as always!!!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Countdown: 2012 Releases (11)

Can you guys believe that there's only a few more days until The Hunger Games comes out in theaters? Are you guys excited? Nervous? Anxious? I'm all of the above and just crossing my fingers desperately that the movie turns out to be all that I hoped it would. At the very least I'm hoping they don't completely disregard the book and all the Collins' greatness. I know the movies are never as good as the books, I mean how can they be between the authors' incredible writing and our own imaginations creating pictures and images that go along with the words, but a girl can still hope.

I have been checking out the sites on the Internet, reading all the entertainment magazines and early reviews and it's only increased my anxiety level over the whole thing. Luckily with me moving last weekend and finishing that process up this weekend has kept me busy, but not nearly enough to distract me from keeping the countdown in the back of my mind the entire time. How are you guys keeping yourselves busy? Does everyone have their movie tickets already? For me, these countdowns have been a nice way to pass the time and check out other things to look forward to beyond this weekend.

Countdown Pick #1: This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers (06/19/2012)

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

So like I said I'm trying to branch out a little bit more in 2012 with the types of books I'm reading. I'm still going to read all my favorite genres and authors, etc...but I want to make sure I throw in some other books that fall outside of my normal, every day go to types so I can see what else is out there for me. Zombies have NEVER been my cup of tea, but this one didn't seem like the others I've come across in the past. While they're still at large and the reason for the end of the world, it sounds to me like it's what is going on in this high school hideout that will be the central focus and not necessarily what is banging down their doors. Make sure to stop by Goodreads and enter yourself in their giveaway for a chance to win your own copy.

Countdown Pick #2: Defiance (Defiance, #1) by C.J. Redwine (08/28/2012)

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Yes! There are some books that I get excited about on a normal level, and then there are others that I create a craziness in me that I can't contain. This sounds like one of those very books. There's nothing about this book that doesn't sound exciting. We've got good vs. evil in the case of the servants vs. the man in control. We've got romance and forbidden or unrequited love as it would have it, and we've got adventure galore. I'm going to be anxiously awaiting this release for sure and the fact that it's the first installment in a series is icing on the cake. More books to come, and hopefully I'll be just as excited for those release dates as well. It's look likely. Check out the Goodreads giveaway to possibly win yourself a copy.

Countdown Pick #3: What's Left of Me (Hybrid, #1) by Kat Zhang (09/18/2012)

NEVER LET ME GO meets HIS DARK MATERIALS in a beautiful, haunting YA debut, the first book in The Hybrid Trilogy.

Eva and Addie live in a world where everyone is born with two souls, but where only the dominant one is allowed to survive childhood. Fifteen years old, and closer even than twins, the girls are keeping Eva, the ‘second soul’, a secret. They know that it’s forbidden to be hybrid, but how could they ever be apart?

When a dramatic event reveals what really happens to hybrids if they are discovered, Eva and Addie face a dangerous fight for survival, neither wanting to be the one left behind…

This one definitely gets the award for most unique so far for the countdown today. Dual souls that share one body, and that's not allowed? I drive myself crazy sometimes because when I hear about a book like this, I catch myself trying to figure out what will happen and how things came to be the way they are in a book that hasn't even hit the shelves yet. Why I think I'll be able to solve mysteries and figure out clues before I've even gotten the chance to get myself a copy is beyond me, but here I am again. Doing the exact same thing. I wonder....

Countdown Pick #4: Revived by Cat Patrick (05/08/2012)

As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined.

I wasn't sure how I felt about this one the first time I came across it and decided to hold off on adding it to my list originally. But now I've seen and heard about this one several times since then and the idea behind the novel has grown on me. So I've added it to my list and the more I think about it, the more curious and excited I'm getting over the whole idea. I can't really imagine knowing full well that no matter what happened, I'd be able to be brought back to life as if nothing took place. What kind of darker conspiracy is at work here I'm not sure, but I've got plenty of time to think on it before the book comes out this summer.

Countdown Pick # 5: Silver by Talia Vance (09/08/2012)

Beauty is pointless when no one's looking.

Brianna Paxton has been invisible to guys since the eighth grade. She’s pretty enough, it’s just that no one bothers to look. There’s almost nothing that can’t be explained with science, and Brianna has a theory: she’s missing the pheromone that attracts people to one another. Brianna’s theory is shot to hell in one frozen, silver moment, when time stops and Blake Williams not only sees her, he recognizes something inside her that she’s been hiding from even herself.

Before Brianna fully understands who and what she is, she accidentally binds her soul to Blake. Forced to find a way to reconcile forbidden love and her bloody heritage, Brianna discovers that there's nothing pointless about her, and Blake may be in the most danger of all.

I'm already on Brianna's side, aren't you? I think it's plain to see that she's been given a bad break as far as being practically invisible to anyone else and now she's thinking its so bad that it could be genetics...ouch. So I'm not sure how crazy this tale will get with her being able to bind souls together and their being a "heritage" that she's worried about, but I'm sure excited to find out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Countdown: 2012 Releases (10)

In order to get my mind off the upcoming release of The Hunger Games on the big screen, I've thrown myself into catching up on my reading and hopefully pouring out some long overdue reviews, as well as scouring the Internet for fabulous future new releases in 2012. Have you guys come across any good ones lately that you haven't seen on one of my countdowns? I'd love to hear what you guys are looking forward to reading in 2012 and most especially if I somehow missed those or skipped over them accidentally...I hate when that happens. So be sure to leave a comment or shoot me an email with some suggestions if you've found any interesting sounding reads lately, or anything you've read that you think I might like as well.

I always appreciate the help and most importantly the distraction from the REAL countdown to be able to see how they've transformed Suzanne Collins' masterpiece, The Hunger Games to the big screen. I know we're all crossing our fingers that the movie holds true to the book, and that it lives up to our expectations (or at least as much as any film can) so that we can have yet another excuse to relive the amazing novel over and over again!

Countdown Pick #1: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker (05/22/2012)

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.

I'm already on Clem's side aren't you? I know it happens more often than not, but there's always some kind of love triangle going on and relationship drama sprouts up everywhere no matter how badly everyone tries to avoid it. But regardless of the reason and the regularity, someone always gets hurt and unfortunately most of us have been there ourselves. So while I'm rooting for Clem to mind her broken heart and hurt feelings, I'm already liking the idea of a sailing trip. Who wouldn't want the opportunity to sail away your summer? I would for sure, so if anyone's looking for someone to stand in for them on a future summer long sailing trip please let me know and I'm on board...pun intended!

Countdown Pick #2: Lost Girls by Ann Kelley (07/10/2012)

No parents. No rules. No way home.

Fourteen-year-old Bonnie MacDonald couldn't be more excited for a camping trip on an island off the coast of Thailand with her fellow Amelia Earhart Cadets-the daughters of the men and women stationed there during the Vietnam War. But when a strong current deposits the girls on what their boatman calls the "forbidden island," things take a turn for the worse: A powerful storm comes to destroy their campsite, the smallest of the junior cadets is found dead, and their boatman never returns. What once seemed like a vacation in paradise has become a battle against the elements.

Peppered with short, frantic entries from Bonnie's journal, Lost Girls is a page-turning, heart-pounding adventure story about a group of teen girls fighting for their lives.

I am all about a nice vacation on some remote island...but let's be serious here, there's no way this sounds like any trip I'd want to take part in at any point in my life. Not to mention an island full of girls doing whatever it takes to survive...scary much? Let's not kid ourselves, girls can be vicious when necessary...and some just because they like it. But I've just got to say it, has everyone run out of places to have bad things happen around...I mean Thailand has been getting a bad rap as far back as I can remember. I hope at some point in the future someone writes a book or a movie where good things happen in Thailand, because at the moment, I'm not sure how many people put that destination at the top of their list for vacation spots despite how beautiful and wonderful I'm sure it is.

Countdown Pick #3: The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland (05/10/2012)

Elizabeth Margaret—better known as Em—has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, too. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels she is living on her own terms for the first time.

I think I'm just in the mood for summer novels because it seems like I've come across quite a few lately that are all about vacations, summer getaways, and adventures that take place outside of the dull and chilly fall and winter seasons. When I found this one I was excited for Em and all the fun she might end up having during her Summer trip to visit her aunt. I have been lucky enough to have two great parents that have always been supportive whichever direction the tides took me and whatever passions I wanted to explore. But it doesn't sound like the case for Em. So I'm hoping for her fictional sake that she has some fun and that as a reader I'll get to enjoy the ride right along with her.

Countdown Pick #4: Reached (Matched Trilogy, #3) by Ally Condie (November 2012)

Cassia faces the ultimate choices in the long-anticipated conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising–and each other–Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

I just love love love this series! I can't wait for November to roll around and get the chance to see how Condie is going to continue this series and then of course wrap things up. Now that I've gushed about how much I've come to love this was instantaneous, I'm now able to say how sad I am that it's ending. I can't believe it's going to be over and only wish she'd decided to extend the series instead of just making it a trilogy. Three books just doesn't seem like enough, right? So while I really wish this wasn't the end, it was such a stellar series I'm sure I'll be coming back to it again and again and can only hope Condie writes another series equally as amazing.

Countdown Pick # 5: The Diviners (The Diviners, #1) by Libba Bray (09/18/2012)

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

Again, not always instantly drawn to the historical novels but this one I'm give a shot for one reason; Libba Bray. Her writing just has this romantic and flowing quality about it that makes it so you readers feel as if they're transported to the very place she's writing about. You'll feel as if you're right there beside the characters she's woven her world around, and it amps up the fun that her writing brings to the table. For the same reason I was a fan of Midnight in Paris, I think I'll equally enjoy The Diviners, simply because the era represented has always pulled me in and left me wishing that I had grown up then instead of now.


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