Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Liebster Award

A while ago, our wonderful friends at Oops...Wrong Cookie awarded Bookish with the Liebster Award, a blog award meant to highlight some really great blogs with less than 200 subscribers. Thanks so much to Patti and Joanna!

The award requirements:
  • Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  • Reveal your 5 picks on your blog with links.
  • Let the winners know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Post the reward on your blog.
Blogs I enjoy:
  • Megan's Book Blog- I have to award Megan; even though she doesn't blog very often, I always read her posts. I love the way she communicates and writes about books as well as the reasons she started reading and blogging.
  • Picture a Day- Rachel's project is coming along really well and I want to share the work she's doing. :)
  • Nonsequiturtle- While this isn't a book blog at all (except maybe when books enter a fandom), this is my main stop every morning for my random Sherlock fangirl news. :P
  • Read it Ribbit- This blog is a great place to keep up on all types of book news.
  • Writer's Block- I just started following this blog, but I love the idea!
So that's it! I'll let all winner's know right away!

    Friday, December 30, 2011

    New Years Giveaway Hop 2012

         Hey guys! It's almost time for the New Year! Let's giveaway books in celebration!
    I'm going to give away two prizepacks today.
    1. A copy of I am a Taxi by Deborah Ellis and a copy of Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements
    2. A copy of The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder and a copy of Shoulder the Sky by Lesley Choyce

         These are all really great books. I hope you guys enjoy! Links to other giveaways can be found at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!


    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Thursday, December 29, 2011

    The New Phenomenon by Chris Raabe (Review)

    "Every teenager wants to fit in, and Christian Pearson is no different. He is a phenomenon on the athletic field and in the classroom, but a terrifying accident on a fishing trip with his grandfather changes Christian's life forever. As he enters his freshman year of high school, Christian hides a secret that he plans to take to his grave. When the Pearson family moved from the city to the sleepy town of Red Oak, Iowa, before his freshman year of high school, Christian hoped for a smooth transition to small town life. Being the new kid in school has been a blessing and a curse. Most of the boys in Christian's class view him as a threat, so Christian struggles to fit it, but as an outcast, his secret is safe. When three freshmen, all from the same family, start school a week late, Christian senses something different about these new students. He reaches out to "The Three" seeking some semblance of friendship in his new hometown. When "The Three" confront Christian about the secret he hides, Christian is faced with a huge problem. Will this secret cost Christian his friends, his family, his freedom, and even his life?"

    I give it: 3/5 stars
    *I received this book for review; however, all opinions in this review are solely my own. 

         When I received this book for review, I was a little surprised. The New Phenomenon is by far the lengthiest review book I've had so far. I pushed it back on my list of review books because I feared getting stuck in the middle of the novel and being unable to get to the huge pile of books I needed to review. Thankfully, that was not a problem. I was able to finish the New Phenomenon quickly and enjoy it. I would recommend this novel to many people. 
         I loved the plot and characters in the novel. Although there were parts were the book strongly resembled other storylines I'd read, I loved the unique twist to this novel. Similarly, some parts of the novel were lightly predictable but the storyline wasn't relying on the few predictable events to carry the story.
         There were, however, some parts of the novel that I didn't enjoy. The first forth of the novel was very reliant on small town social structures and football. I had very, very little idea what was going on in the scenes relating to football because my knowledge of the sport is so limited. In contrast, I grew up in a small town and felt that the protagonist's musings of the social structure of his school was exaggerated and a little unrealistic. The descriptions in the novel were very extensive and I felt like the storyline could have been easily condensed then re-expanded to focus on some events and draw out the storyline in a more even way. 
         Despite the flaws I've expansively outlined above, I really loved this novel. The characters were all fun, witty, and interesting. The plotline was extremely drawing and unique and I will doubtlessly read the next book that comes out to expand on this story (what a cliffhanger!). I suggest this novel for readers looking for a new type of book to read. The novel is lengthy but a very easy and fun read. It will leave you gripping your seat waiting for more!

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    (Review) Ugly to Start With by John Michael Cummings

    "Jason Stevens is growing up in picturesque, historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in the 1970s. Back when the roads are smaller, the cars slower, the people more colorful, and Washington, D.C. is way across the mountains—a winding sixty-five miles away.

    "Jason dreams of going to art school in the city, but he must first survive his teenage years. He witnesses a street artist from Italy charm his mother from the backseat of the family car. He stands up to an abusive husband—and then feels sorry for the jerk. He puts up with his father’s hard-skulled backwoods ways, his grandfather’s showy younger wife, and the fist-throwing schoolmates and eccentric mountain characters that make up Harpers Ferry—all topped off by a basement art project with a girl from the poor side of town.

    "Ugly to Start With punctuates the exuberant highs, bewildering midpoints, and painful lows of growing up, and affirms that adolescent dreams and desires are often fulfilled in surprising ways."
    I give it: 3.8/5 stars
    *I received this book for review from the publisher. All opinions from this point are strictly my own.

         When I received a review request for this novel, I was ecstatic; I'd seen some very positive reviews from some of my close blogging friends. Ugly to Start With met the high expectations I set; I highly recommend this novel.
         Ugly to Start With was a collection of short stories from the perspective of one boy. The stories were told extremely well. The novel managed to narrate a difficult storyline believably without being offensive about the sensitive topics it covered. There was no transition from one story to the next and many of the stories didn't attach themselves to a place chronologically. However, rather than taking away from the overall storyline it added to it's thoughtfulness. 
         The stories chronically harder moments of Jason's life as he grew up. Rather than being offensive or upsetting, the stories had a tendency to provoke a lot of thought about what the author was trying to tell us about Jason and his life. Each story was complex, interesting, and thought-provoking. 
          I grew up in a small town, but much later than Jason and in a much more loving community. Ugly to Start With was not a novel I related to but it was an interesting read. I'd suggest this novel for thoughtful people and those who are looking for a thin but involved novel. 

    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    An unplanned hiatus

         Hey guys! I just wanted to give you all a quick apology for the unplanned blogging hiatus. Finals week, family, and Christmas stuff managed to overwhelm me. All content that should have been provided should be avalible and up by the end of the weekend.
         Additionally, there's been an awkward transition from being a co-hosted blog to becoming an independent book blog. I wish there had been a smoother transition, but I hope you'll all stand by for the changes Bookish is undergoing.
        There will be no content on December 26-28 unless otherwise noted. As a high-schooler, it's difficult for me to control my internet situation over the holidays.
         Merry Christmas Everyone!! -Caressa

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Sleepers by Megg Jenson (Cover reveal)

    Megg Jenson has asked Bookish to help reveal the new cover for Sleepers; I hope you enjoy!



    Introducing the new artwork for Megg Jensen’s bestselling novel SLEEPERS
    To celebrate the re-launch of SLEEPERS in January of 2012, Megg is giving it a new cover with artwork from the incredible PhatPuppy.
    Synopsis: An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she's filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.
    Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?
     
    On sale now for only 99 cents!
    Goodreads has some great reviews for this novel. You should check it out! ;)

    Megg on the web:
    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/meggjensen

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Chill Run by Russell Brooks (Review)

    Summery from Goodreads:
    "You know a publicity stunt has backfired when someone dies.
    Starving author Eddie Barrow, Jr., will do anything to get a book deal with a NYC publisher. Even if it means getting caught by the media while engaging in S&M with a female celebrity as a publicity stunt. What Eddie gets instead are details of a billion dollar fraud scheme from a suicidal client who's fatally shot minutes later. Now on the run from the law and the killers, Eddie seeks help from two unlikely friends—an alcoholic and a dominatrix.
    "With few resources, Eddie races to clear his name, unveil the fraud scheme, and expose the killers before he becomes their next victim."

    Reviewed by: Caressa
    I give it: 3/5 stars
    *Note: I was sent a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are solely my own.

         When I received this novel, I was unsure of what to expect. When offered the novel, I accepted quickly as it was one of the first books I was ever to be offered for review. It was a thriller- a very good thriller. Sadly, I'm not an ideal audience for the novel. I have to really, really enjoy a thriller to enjoy it personally. The characters were fun and the plot was short but intense. This essence of the novel was fantastic.
         However, there were several proofing errors in the text and the dialect was often confusing. I enjoyed the incorporation of French for the Canadian culture but because the story was told in a perspective similar to third person limited, I found it difficult to follow the storyline itself. The dialogue and feelings the main character emitted was likewise improbable from my perspective.
         I recommend this novel for readers who enjoy an occasional thriller and an interesting story. After getting past the surface, the novel can be a really interesting read. I regret I was unable to delve deeper into the novel's positives. 

    Want to win my copy? 

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    In My Mailbox (12/14)


    IMM is a book meme brought to us from The Story Siren. It's a really great activity to share the books we review on the blog and point out some really good titles. -Caressa
    I didn't get any books for review this week but I've almost caught up on those I have. :)
    From giveaway:

    Remembrance by Michelle Madow (from Kathy @ I write, I read, I review) I'm so, so, so excited about every piece on my list this week. Each one has been on my TBR list for quite a while!

    Bought:

    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    Avalon High by Meg Cabot

    Christmas present:

    Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (from Elizabeth!)

    I hope you had a fabulous book week. What did you get in your mailbox? ;)

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Essay contest for aspiring writers...

    Logan Kleinwaks ask us to share this information on an essay contest for aspiring writers. Enjoy!
    Win a literary agent or acclaimed author's feedback on your unpublished manuscript for young adult or middle grade readers. This rare opportunity is being offered to the six winners of an essay contest recently announced by the literacy charity Book Wish Foundation. See http://bookwish.org/contest for full details.

    You could win a manuscript critique from:

    * Laura Langlie, literary agent for Meg Cabot

    * Nancy Gallt, literary agent for Jeanne DuPrau

    * Brenda Bowen, literary agent and editor of Karen Hesse's Newbery Medal winner Out of the Dust

    * Ann M. Martin, winner of the Newbery Honor for A Corner of the Universe

    * Francisco X. Stork, winner of the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award for The Last Summer of the Death Warriors

    * Cynthia Voigt, winner of the Newbery Medal for Dicey's Song and the Newbery Honor for A Solitary Blue


    All that separates you from this prize is a 500-word essay about a short story in Book Wish Foundation's new anthology, What You Wish For. Essays are due Feb. 1, 2012 and winners will be announced around Mar. 1, 2012. If you win, you will have six months to submit the first 50 pages of your manuscript for critique (which means you can enter the contest even if you haven't finished, or started, your manuscript). You can even enter multiple times, with essays about more than one of the contest stories, for a chance to win up to six critiques.

    If you dream of being a published author, this is an opportunity you should not miss. To enter, follow the instructions at http://bookwish.org/contest.

    Good luck and best wishes,

    Logan Kleinwaks
    President, Book Wish Foundation

    What You Wish For (ISBN 9780399254543, Putnam Juvenile, Sep. 15, 2011) is a collection of short stories and poems about wishes from 18 all-star writers: Meg Cabot, Jeanne DuPrau, Cornelia Funke, Nikki Giovanni, John Green, Karen Hesse, Ann M. Martin, Alexander McCall Smith, Marilyn Nelson, Naomi Shihab Nye, Joyce Carol Oates, Nate Powell, Sofia Quintero, Gary Soto, R.L. Stine, Francisco X. Stork, Cynthia Voigt, Jane Yolen. With a Foreword by Mia Farrow. Book Wish Foundation is donating 100% of its proceeds from the book to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, to fund the development of libraries in Darfuri refugee camps in eastern Chad.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    The Realmsic Conquest by A. Demethius Jackson (Review) (Blog tour)

    Summery from Amazon:
    "Throughout its history, the kingdom known as the Realm has never known peace. From its establishment, it has possessed the gift of magic, which is a treasure that exists no other place in the world! As a result, the Realm has endlessly defended itself against conquerors, but now faces its greatest peril. As our heroes battle the wicked and unlock mysteries, they must also face overwhelming circumstances as they are guided by ancient lore on a quest to find the greatest treasure their kingdom will ever know... peace."
    Reviewed by: Caressa
    I give it: 5/5 stars
         Disclaimer: I was able to secure a copy of this novel for blog tour; all opinions, however, are my own. 

         When I got a copy of this novel in my mailbox, I didn't know what to expect. I added it to the collection of books I needed to review without much investigation. It wasn't until after I opened up the book to start reading that I noticed the entire novel was written in verse! While I've read several novels in verse, most of them where formatted like Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder's novels.The Realmsic Conquest was told more like an epic. I actually, in my reading career, have never read an epic, but I loved this novel and feel like it could be my bridge into that realm of literature.
         The cover on this novel is beautiful and very expressive of the book. The characters were interesting and you were thrown right into the middle of a busy and fast plot. I've always been a fan of the sci-fi genre, although I haven't gotten to read much of it lately. This was a very good, short, science fiction novella. I recommend it to fans of poetry, science fiction, and gripping short reads. It fit my tastes perfectly.

    For more stops on the tour, click the image below!

    Loveswept Holiday Hop!

    It's time for another giveaway! Thanks for being great followers and enjoy!
    Rules:
    Happy Holidays to everyone - Romance At Random is celebrating their Loveswept line with a random e-book Giveaway to 25 winners plus an opportunity to win one Grand Prize from www.romanceatrandom.com. Enter here to be included in the FREE random e-book drawing (25 winners will pick up their FREE book from Net Galley) and then stop on by www.romanceatrandom.com and comment to enter the drawing to be the ''ONE Grand Prize winner, to win a selection of great books! Good Luck & Happy Holidays to all!
    INCREASE your chances to win by visiting all of the participating 'Loveswept - Holiday Hop' sites! Winners will be contacted after 1/10/12.

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Changes and upcoming events and giveaways...

         Hey guys! This is Caressa. Bookish has a had a really busy start of the month! Between catching up from National Novel Writing Month and Rae's computer breaking down, it's been hard getting caught up; I'm almost up to date now on the blog and blog email, but I still have a few things to share with you!
         Thank you all so much! Because of the busyness of November, Bookish missed it's monthly hop/giveaway. I've signed up for both the Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop (12/21-12/27) and Happy New Years Giveaway Hop (12/30-1/3) to thank you guys for your support and time. In addition, there will be another giveaway, Loveswept Holiday Hop (12/12-1/8) sponsored by Romance at Random. We finally reached 100 followers!
          Between running the blog on my own for a while and starting a planner to manage review books and other upcoming events, it's come to my attention that Bookish has a lot of requests for book reviews and post that aren't book reviews. While the schedule we have now is consistent, it's no longer fitting to the content we're providing. Additionally, it's chaotic to have multiple posts on one day and none on another. As a solution, we've decided to abandon our previous schedule. Readers can still expect to see posts every evening on Mondays through Fridays, with occasional Saturday and Sunday posts. However, we'll now be reviewing books and posting reviews as we finish them. Readers can still expect two or more reviews a week, although this allows us at Bookish to read lengthy books that may take four or more days to read (such as finishing the Harry Potter series). Memes will be available on days when we don't have content to post and In My Mailbox will remain a consistent weekly meme (on Wednesdays).
         If you have some time, please vote for Bookish on Book Blogs! We're falling behind!

         Thanks so much for remaining readers at Bookish! We really appreciate you!

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Crossed by Ally Condie (Review)

    Summery from Goodreads:
    "The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy

    "In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

    "Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever."
     Reviewed by: Caressa
    I give it: 4/5 stars
         *This review is kinda soilery so turn back now if you haven't read the book! I recommend Crossed if you've already read Matched, but I wouldn't recommend reading Matched to read Crossed or reading Crossed as a stand-alone. 

         I read Matched last year when it came out, a Christmas present from Rachel, and this year I was itching to get my fingers on the sequel to add it to my collection. Right before I pre-ordered it, Rachel told me she was getting me a copy for Christmas this year. Thanks Rachel!
         I didn't particularly enjoy Matched, although it was okay, because of the ending. My review can be seen here. Although Crossed ended in a similar cliffhanger, I really, really enjoyed the ending. Although I've seen lots of negative reviews for Crossed, I felt mostly different towards it. The perspective change was great to read, although (as I've been spoiled by co-authored books) very similar. Even though Ky was similar to Cassia, it was interesting, as a reader, to hear the stories he had to tell or captured in his brain.
         Matched presented a very interesting society and Crossed showed the journey of personal rebellions. I particularly enjoyed the part, towards the end, where Cassia realized she wasn't a special member of society, though she was an unusual, interesting one.
         That being said, I enjoyed Ky's story so much more than Cassia's journey. Cassia, as we know, defies all bounds and limits. Ky's internal struggle was more captivating because he was fighting against himself, which really captured the rebellion essence of the story better.
         There were so, so many moments where we got a piece of information that seemed to fall from the sky and was swatted away by the characters. There was a lot of potential in this book and it was good (in my own opinion, better than Matched). Still, I can see where this story could have burned it's brilliance into my brain and it didn't. Matched and Crossed are very good reads, but they don't really stand out to me.
         I am very much on the side of Ky in this story (romantically); to me, it seems almost like a no-brainer. What about you- Ky or Xander?

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    In My Mailbox (12/7)


    IMM is a book meme brought to us from The Story Siren. It's a really great activity to share the books we review on the blog and point out some really good titles. -Caressa


    For Review:
    Ugly to Start With by John Michael Cummings
    I'm super excited about reviewing this one; it sounds great and I've heard some great reviews!
    Chill Run by Russell Brooks
    Also very excited- hopefully, this one will be up sometime this week.

    Bought:
    City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare - I had to finish my collection!
    A planner (!) specifically for the blog; things were getting out of hand, but this makes managing the whole thing much easier. ;)

    Giveaways:
    Dead Alert by Bianca D'Arc (won from Goodreads)
    The Daughters Join the Party by Joanna Philbin (won from the wonderful Mary over at Bookhounds YA {I love blogger business cards!})

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    (Review) Bedtime Stories for Dogs/ Bedtime Stories for Cats: Combined Edition

    Bedtime Stories for Dogs/ Bedtime Stories for Cats: Combined Edition by Amy Neftzger

    I give it: 3/5 stars 
    Reviewed by: Caressa

         I received a print copy of this novel from the author and all following thoughts are purely my own. Thanks Amy!
         This is another novel I didn't really know what to expect. As a kid, I'd been one of the few to read my pup a story or two if I was having trouble sleeping. This story was different from what I expected in that aspect, being a little darker in the beginning than many of the fairy tales we tell today. As the story continued, the plot became much lighter and carefree, although many were an interesting slant on the 'human world' we think we live in today.
         I am very, very allergic to cats and to my surprise, I found I couldn't read the cat version comfortably, because many represented dogs as chaos makers. I skimmed it, but this review is primarily focused on the dogs version. Many of the stories between the two were very similar.
         There were a few poems and stories a little unusual or unconventional (like the poem about eating rabbit) but all in all, it was a fun, short read. The twists on ideas and perspective was very cute and at times absolutely mind blowing. As the title suggests, it was a collection of short stories. Some stories I recognized from legends and storyteller's stories but there was almost always a funny twist to them. I recommend this book to younger friends looking for a fun read but mature enough to chose which stories they'd like to read and primarily, believe.

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Musing Monday (12/5)

    This week’s musing asks…
    How many books do you read in a week? Month? Year?
         This is a great but tricky question! I'm still in high school, so most of my reading schedule revolves around my homework and dance schedule (not to mention socializing). I can read a novel in a day, and many times do. Right now, I read a book in a day or two maximum once I actually start it. 
         That being said, I'm averaging around two to three novels a week. I no longer read on the weekends (due to the busy blog schedule and catching up on emails and homework) and try to keep my reading after school to a minimum so I can spend time with my family. 
         My monthly and yearly averages are really fuzzy because I participate in so many activities, like NaNoWriMo. But I would guess I read at least 100 novels a year (I'm a big fan of the library) even when you take NaNoWriMo and my spontaneous research projects into account! I love to read! 
         As with anything, that's not an extremely reliable number because I have so few of my years I can actually use to average my reading. What about you? -Caressa

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Friday Finds (12/2)

    Friday Finds is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be reading. What great finds did you discover this week?

         I've been really lucky in the past month or so to keep my TBR list size to a minimum and tackling those already on the list. These are a couple titles I just couldn't resist:

       

         

    -Caressa

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    (Review) Scary School by Derek the Ghost

    Summery from Goodreads:
    You think your school's scary? Get a load of these teachers:
    Ms. Fang, an 850-year-old vampire
    Dr. Dragonbreath, who just might eat you before recess
    Mr. Snakeskin—science class is so much more fun when it's taught by someone who's half zombie
    Mrs. T—break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry Tyrannosaurus rex!
    Plus
    Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein's monster on the loose The world's most frighteningly delicious school lunch
    And
    The narrator's an eleven-year-old ghost!
    Join Charles "New Kid" Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends—including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf—and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky!
    4.5/5 stars/zombies/monsters

          When I received this copy of the novel for review (sent by the author, thank you Derek!) I had little idea what to expect, though I'd known it was a middle grade novel. Disclaimer: all opinions from here on are my own. I really enjoyed the read. It was a thick book (for middle grade) but all the chapters were relatively short and ended resolved. The illustrations were the perfect touch, covering many of the pages with characters and events. Because of the placement of the pictures, I was able to quickly attach the words to the image without spoiling myself or feeling the pictures misrepresented the words.
         The novel did remind me, in structure and format, of Classroom at the End of the Hall by Douglas Evans (which I read in fifth grade and loved), but it had a unique twist and voice I've not seen in other novels I've read. The narration was generally very fun although I occasionally forgot the narrator existed and had a difficult time overlooking the occasional 'more on that later'. I do think, however, that the repetition would be good for younger readers.
         I, personally, am definitely passing this on to a great friend of mine whose younger brother is just getting into reading. I think it's a great novel to read aloud at night, perhaps one chapter a night, because it's so fun (and not scary, though it does mention lots of things generally considered scary). I recommend this book to new, young readers or readers look for a light, fun, easy read. It was a great way to get back to reading in December! -Caressa

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    In My Mailbox (11/30)





    IMM is a book meme brought to us from The Story Siren. Hey guys; it's Caressa. I actually didn't receive any books for review this week. I'll defiantly have to start taking care of the stack of emails in our mailbox. :P

    Crossed by Allie Condie
    This book was actually ordered for me by my wonderful co-host, Rae, several weeks ago. I was so excited to file it in my shelves with my matching (pun intended) first edition copy of Matched, I forgot to feature it on my IMM. I'm super excited for this book.


    Although not specifically book or blog related, I also got an amazing package in the mail with my NaNoWriMo 2011 Winner's shirt. That was super exciting.
    For those of you who haven't ever given much thought to participating in NaNoWriMo but perhaps admire the program, the NaNoWriMo administration spent almost a million dollars on programs to encourage young writers. As a young writer, I always looked forward to the workbook, blogs, and activities they provided. This year they haven't broke even on their spending. Please donate or check out their shop!

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Tuesday Review from Rae 11-29

    8.96/10 lightbulbs

    This week I am reviewing Anthem by Ayn Rand;I had to read it for school. I actually woke up early in the morning and read this the day it was due. I did not regret reading this book. It was a very pleasant read for it to be so early in the morning.

    This book takes place in a future where everyone is the same and no one focuses on the word I but the word we. This conformity starves people of their individuality. When Equality7-2521 makes the discovery of electricity and takes it to the council they instantly bash him for having no help from others. He is sentenced to a horrible death but before this can happen he runs off into the uncharted forest to embrace his individuality. He plans to create a new civilization where the word I is accepted and individuality helps everyone.

    This book was a good thing to read especially after reading Fahrenheit 451 the book I reviewed last week. This book had great writing but I believe the book was too short. I wish it would have kept going forever. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick great read.

    I hope to figure out how to do pictures with this iPod soon. I am sorry followers my computer is messed up. The cover of this novel is very cool and goes with the theme of this novel. Thank you for stopping by. If you any comments just leave them below. Thanks!- Rae

    Untraceable by S.R. Johannes

    Today I'd like to highlight an upcoming book I've very excited about reading. -Caressa

    What: Untraceable by S.R. Johannes
             Summery from Goodreads
    Everyone leaves a mark. What if your could be erased?
    Untraceable is a new teen wilderness thriller with a missing father, a kickbutt heroine, and of course - two hot boys.

    "This thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page." - Kirkus Reviews

    "Grace is a spunky, independent, nature girl who doesn't need a boy to save her. With wilderness survival, a juicy love triangle, and more twists and turns than a roller coaster, this fast-paced novel had me holding my breath until the very last page—and still begging for more!"
    -Kimberly Derting, author of the The Body Finder series

    ================================

    16 year old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

    When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

    One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

    Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

    When: Starting November 29
    Where: * To buy in paperback -  The paperback has been reduced to $8.99 (from $9.99) and can be purchased here.
    * To buy the Kindle ebook - The ebook has been reduced to $2.99 (from $3.99) and can be purchased here.
    * To Buy the Nook ebook - Unfortunately, t
    he ebook is delayed on Barnes and Noble for a few more days (BOO! HISS!) But if you can't wait - you can purchase the EPUB here :)
    * Other ebook Formats (including ePUB (for Nook), iBooks, Sony and more) - go here to choose the best format for your ereader. 

    Who: S.R. Johannes
    S.R. Johannes lives in Atlanta Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. After earning an MBA and working in corporate america, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. You can find her hanging out online and visit her at srjohannes.com

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    (Review) Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

    Goodreads summery:
    "Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

    "When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door."

         Before I begin, I must clarify that Stephanie Perkins's work is absolutely amazing. If you have not read Anna and the French Kiss, there's no better day than today. It will blow you away. My review for Anna can be found here.
         During November, I've been taking part in NaNoWriMo and promised not to read until I hit my goal of 50,000 words or the first of December (whatever came first). A friend of mine, Katie, was reading Lola and the Boy Next Door. After some predicted fan girl-ing over the book, Katie promised to let me read it when she finished. When she brought it to school on Monday and offered to let me read it, I was heartbroken I couldn't start right away. Thankfully, Katie told me to carry the novel around until I could. I didn't make it to my first classroom before I cracked open the book and started reading as I walked.
         I had extremely high expectations for this novel and they were met. However, they were not exceeded. Lola, the protagonist, and the entire story was flamboyant in the best possible way just as Anna and the French Kiss was. I, however, related much more to Anna in the underlying themes that the novels individually covered. In example, I can connect to Anna's struggle with undergoing a move, a boarding school situation (dance intensives), and making friends similar to Anna's. I, personally, haven't lived most of the factors that create Lola's life. Lola and the Boy Next Door could possibly be another reader's favorite out of the two.
         Possibly because I've been writing just under 2000 words a day, I saw a lot of more of the writer, Stephanie Perkins, through the words. In my experience romance and friendship are an individual and very personal journey. Some authors are able to capture that chemistry and some do not. Perhaps because I was better connected to Anna, I felt the romance between Anna and St. Clair was believable and undeniable. Lola and Cricket made a good couple, but I didn't relate or feel captured in the romance until the story started exploring how they were currently interacting rather than telling the back story.
         In fact, the flashbacks and back story were difficult for me to follow and felt poorly connected to the rest of the novel. Instances such as the star connection did not feel as romantic as what seemed possible because they were so sudden. I do think Lola had the opportunity to be a masterpiece, but while Stephanie Perkins had more time to think, write, and redraft Anna, I imagine she had less to focus on Lola.
         With all that said, everyone should read both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. These novels are amazing. Most of the negativity I'm displaying in this review stems from the fact that I expected the stars (pun intended). I loved this novel.
    -Caressa

    Thanksgiving apology

         Hey guys; it's Caressa. As I'm sure you noticed, we failed to upload something both Thursday and Friday. I was out of town and discovered only when I got to my grandparents that their internet wasn't working. Thankfully, I now know to come prepared just in case.
         In other news, I won NaNoWriMo! I'm absolutely ecstatic about the win and accomplishment. On November 21, I read Lola and the Boy Next Door and that review will be up today to compensate for Thursday. We'd like to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving, even if we're late. After all, it's important to give thanks every day.
          Rachel composed a short list of novels she was thankful for when I was able to text her early Thursday morning. This is her reply:
         I am thankful for the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. I'm thankful for every book of Ray Bradburys; he is a genius. I am also thankful for The Only Way to Paradise by GG Vandagriff and all the fiction novels I stuff myself with every day.

         We're thankful for all our followers and audience. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    In My Mailbox (11/23)

         Hey everyone! It's Caressa again. Rae is having some issues with her computer, so we'll be switching off imm weeks.
    For Review:

    Scary School by Derek the Ghost

    Bedtime Stories for Dogs/ Bedtime Stories for Cats: Combined Edition by Amy Neftzger

    The Secret Of Spruce Knoll by Heather McCorkle (with an amazing collection of swag)

    The New Phenomenon by Chris Raabe 

    Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble by D. Robert Pease (blog tour)

    Bought:

    Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) by Kami Garcia

    After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel

         I am so extremely excited about all seven of these books. The covers are brilliant and the synopsis's make me want to set down the novel I'm writing and start reading immediately. Because so many wonderful authors have contacted us recently, there may be multiple reviews some weeks in December so I can catch up on my huge TBR pile.
         I hope you all had a fantastic book week as well and I will see you next week. ;)

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    (Review) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

     
    Rating: 9.37/10 flamethrowers
        I was assigned this novel for my English class and I studied and researched the author of this book extensively. I instantly fell in love with Ray Bradbury and watched interview after interview on his website. I love the way he thinks; he is so extremely intelligent. Unfortunately, Ray Bradbury passed away a couple of years ago. If this man was still alive, I promise I would find and meet him. The one thing I didn't like about this novel was the complication of messing up my top 10 list of novels; without a doubt, this will sort itself out soon.
         Guy Montag is a fireman, except he doesn't put the out fires; he starts them. The society Guy lives in believes that books cause unhappiness. The people in this society are brainwashed by televisions. Mildred, Montag's wife is the worst victim; she thinks the TV wall means everything. Montag thinks the same thing until he meets a beautiful flamboyant girl named Clarisse. She makes him questions his so called "happiness". It is not long before Montag is hiding books in his home and reading them every chance he gets. Unfortunately his wife turns him in and his books are confiscated; however, it is not long before he is on the run from government officials.
          This book was published in 1953. I believe the ideas were way before their time. This book was so before its time that it gave Sony the idea for headphones. The writing in this novel is extremely beautiful. I am eternally grateful to Ray Bradbury for writing this novel. The characters are also phenomenal. Clarisse and Mildred are very alike in Montag's eyes but Montag sees that they could never be the same because they are from two different worlds. Faber is also an additional character that I took much interest in. He is very dimensional and wise.
         I would recommend this book to anybody. It is fantastic and I doubt you will regret reading it.
         Thank you to everyone for stopping by my review. If you have any comments pertaining to this review just leave them below. Thank you sooo much! -Rae

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Musing Monday! (11-21)

    This week’s musing asks…
    How do you decide to read a book by an author you haven’t read before? What sort of recommendations count most highly in making that decision?

         It's actually most common for me to pick up books by authors I'm unfamiliar with; however, recommendations for any book go a long way. I've been known many times in my reading career to pick up a random collection of books from a bookstore or library. The more I blog, the less I do this. I am able to see recommendations and reviews on books of the highest quality online and researching a book before investing in it has become almost an essential. I value the opinions of book bloggers I hold in high esteem highly and confront them when in question of a novel. The most powerful recommendations are usually from these blogger friends or blogs and friends I am satisfied embody my taste in literature (I've also been know to be suckered into a book when someone brings it to school and hands it to me with no preface; it almost guarantees I'll finish it in days). -Caressa

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Books I'm thankful for,



        Beth Revis is the amazing author of Across the Universe and A Million Suns. This year she's hosting an awesome giveaway for bloggers who share their posts on books they're thankful for. We'll have two editions of this, one from Rae and this one from myself. Please leave comments and links down below and share books you're thankful for; conversations and comments can go a long way. :)

         I must say that choosing any one book to write about is hard, so I want to share some of my favorite books with everyone today, although I'm only able to go really in depth with one.

    • Wicked by Gregory Maguire
      • This fantastic book is one of my favorites. I'm thankful for having books that can change your life in one read. Wicked was one of those books for me, affirming friendships in my life.
    • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling 
      • Rather, I'm thankful for the community Harry Potter has built. Up until recently, I'd never read the books, but even as a child all of my friends were complete and avid Harry nerds. I've been to a fair share of midnight releases and book braggings and I'm really glad I had the opportunity to be with a community of people who share a slight but awesome book obsession.




    • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
      • This is a huge one. I'm thankful for nerdfighters, NaNoWriMo writers, and amazing blogs that inspire me to write and keep writing. I wish I would have read this book the moment I set eyes on it, but even reading it after the release of Lola, this book really reminded me that authors are real people and real people write real, amazing, inspirational books. 


         There are so many books I love and am thankful for that I can't mention here, but it stands to reason to highlight this book as one I'm thankful because it made such a difference in my life at the time.

          "Gracie, fifteen, looks just like her mother--and she worries that she's like her in other ways, for Mom has a history of depression. Practical Gracie has been the one to manage their lives. Then Mom remarries, suddenly, and they move to Salt Lake City, where Gracie has to share a room with her six-year-old stepbrother, Sinjian. In some ways the move is good for Gracie. She meets Tiimo, her first boyfriend, explores the city, and even begins to enjoy Sinjian's company. But for Mom, it's a disaster--and it's up to Gracie to hold the family together." (Delacorte 1991)

         Amazing Gracie was an inspirational book for me. While I didn't have the obstacles Gracie did, it was nice to read a novel with such a strong and real heroine. Life is hard and this book really captured that while showing that happy endings are possible. 

      Thursday, November 17, 2011

      Thursday's review

           Hey guys. It's Caressa. I have a few things to tell you guys before I actually post a review this week. First and foremost, because my camera has entirely stopped working, my laptop's camera is incredibly out of sync, and I'm way behind on my word count, chances are there won't be a video or post on Saturday. I'm really sorry guys and I hope to have everything fixed by next week. Secondly, for those who follow my Goodreads, I'm super sorry for lack of activity. NaNoWriMo has been really hard and I haven't been able to read or update things as much as I need to or respond to emails. Second to last, I did respond to everyone's emails on Monday. If you have not gotten a response to your email, please send me another. Things have a tendency to get lost.
           Lastly, I need all our followers to give Rae a pat on the back for working on NaNoWriMo with her busy schedule and encourage her to keep with it to receive the print copies of her novels! Comments and encouragements mean the world to us. I hope you all enjoy the review!
      Summery from Goodreads: 
      "Nick Hornby returns to his roots-music and messy relationships-in this funny and touching new novel which thoughtfully and sympathetically looks at how lives can be wasted but how they are never beyond redemption. Annie lives in a dull town on England's bleak east coast and is in a relationship with Duncan which mirrors the place; Tucker was once a brilliant songwriter and performer, who's gone into seclusion in rural America-or at least that's what his fans think. Duncan is obsessed with Tucker's work, to the point of derangement, and when Annie dares to go public on her dislike of his latest album, there are quite unexpected, life-changing consequences for all three.

      "Nick Hornby uses this intriguing canvas to explore why it is we so often let the early promise of relationships, ambition and indeed life evaporate. And he comes to some surprisingly optimistic conclusions about the struggle to live up to one's promise."

           First to clarify, Juliet, Naked is the draft version of the CD Juliet. 
           A great break from YA fiction. I picked this book up on a whim while I was on a road trip with a friend and found it in their car. The writing is cute, the story was slightly predictable, but it was fun, short, and simple as well. I was really disappointed in the ending, however, because the whole story seemed like it was about Annie, and while Tucker's plot was resolved, it felt empty not knowing how Annie ended up. Alone? With Duncan? With Tucker? In a small town?
           While I wouldn't go out of my way to get get this book, it was a fun, light read and perfect for the occasion.


      Sorry for the short review this week, but I wanted to give everyone a review more fresh from my brain. Is anyone going to see Breaking Dawn's premier tonight (No hate, please)? 

      Wednesday, November 16, 2011

      In My Mailbox (11-16)


      IMM is a book meme brought to us from The Story Siren. It's a really great activity to share the books we won't get to review on the blog and point out some really good titles. My camera quit on me so today we had to go back to the webcam. :(


      Intoxicated by Books: http://intoxicatedbybooks.blogspot.com/



      Tuesday, November 15, 2011

      Tuesday Review (11-15)

         
       Rating: 9.10/10



           Hello everyone this is Rae. I am back on Tuesday this week.Yay! The book I read was requested to us by the author. The book was written by Larissa Hinton and is a collection of short stories and poems. I enjoyed it so much that I read it today in two sittings.

           It has been a long time since I read poetry on my own. I think the last collection of short stories and poems I read were by Edgar Allan Poe. I was a little weary because it had been so long, but I was so excited after I jumped right into the book. Each short story and poem is very intriguing and different. When I read the titles I was a little scared but after I started reading the short story or poem, I realized the purpose of the title. I would very much enjoy to see some of these short stories become novels. The ideas that are in the short stories are very creative and imaginative. I think Hinton could speak to lots of people if she created a novel out of any short story in this anthology. Hinton did a fantastic job with putting this book in order. The book was so smooth and it felt relaxing as I read through every page.

           I would recommend this book to anyone. It is reviving and beautiful. It was a rainy day and I believe a perfect evening to sit down and read an anthology.

           If you have any comments about this review just leave them below. Thanks for  reading! -Rae



      Monday, November 14, 2011

      Musing Monday(11-14)

      This week’s musing asks…

      Are you currently collecting any authors? Why?
      Do you have all of their books? If not, why not? 
      Did you buy all the books in the collection at the same time, or did you buy a book here, a book there? Have you actually read all of the collection? If not, why not?
            This is a great question. Unfortunately, I don't think I have a good answer. I collect series, particularly when friends or family buy me one of a set. It's also common for me to collect books from authors I like, in the expectation I will like their other novels as well. While I'm finishing my collections that are missing just a few novels (several of which authors only have one series out), I wouldn't say I was collecting any particular author's novels currently. I usually read all the books I collect in a timely manner, unless they were gifted and I expect little of the novel. -Caressa :D

      Saturday, November 12, 2011

      Thursday, November 10, 2011

      Thursday Review (11-10)

                                                                     Rating: 8.78/10 blue tablets

              
               Caressa and I decided that she would review Matched the first book of the series on Tuesday and I would review the second book of the series Crossed on Thursday.When I saw this book on the shelf I just had to pick it up even though the ending of the first book was disappointing. I was so exicted in seeing this book that I ordered C a copy of it (first edition).
               The book was not as disappointing as the first one.When I read the first one I found myself bored in the first 150 pages, but with this one I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I am not going to include spoilers because I know C is working on NaNoWriMo and should read this book. I will tell you that it is amazing.
              The characters that come in this book really fit in well with the story line. Sometimes when you add so many new characters into the second book of a series you tend to loose connection with the main characters and the whole book becomes lost. Condie did a fantastic job when adding in these characters.
               The plot was good except for a few things. It started out really good and then it just became average and uninteresting. Even though it wasn't long before it was good again but then it was boring again. It seemed that this happened through the whole novel and I suddenly realized this.
               The romance in this novel tears at your heart. At times you really want Cassia to love Ky and at other times you think that Xander is a better choice for Cassia. I congratulate Condie on pulling this off because each romance is very different and unique.
                 Overall I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read but I would recommend you read Matched first. Thank you for stopping by and reading this review. If you have any comments just leave them below. -Rae

      Wednesday, November 9, 2011

      In My Mailbox (11-9)




      IMM is a book meme brought to us from The Story Siren. My TBR list is overflowing and I do not know what to do since NaNoWriMo is taking time. Oh well more things to read in December. If you participaing in NaNoWriMo offically or nonoffically how are you handling your TBR list? Leave your answers in the comment box and I will gladly check them out. Here are the books I have found. :) -Rae


      The book I am reading for school.


      A book I have recieved from the author and I hope to be able to read. Also the other books I have filed onto my nook for authors and I hope to start reading. They are the top priority of my TBR list.
        






           



                                                      (The book that Barbara Forte Abate sent me. I recieved it signed and with fun tid bits like bookmarks. Thank you so much)




      Books I have bought