Thursday, February 20, 2014

What's Next? #1 - Program Death Stars

This is a meme hosted by IceyBooks where I ask your opinion on what I should read next.

I thought this was a good solution to figure out which book to read next this week. If it goes well I'll be continuing this meme on to following weeks. I've tried to keep my selection wide. One book each from my ebook, NetGalley, and to-review book pile. Let me know what I should read next below!

The Program by Suzanne Young
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.
Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.
Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Til Death by Kate Evangelista
Sixteen-year old Selena Fallon is a dreamer. Not a day-dreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of dreamer. Normally this is not a problem as she has gotten pretty good at keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. Except from her best friend Kyle and her grandparents, of course. But when Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too freaky even for her.

Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new guy in a different dream, and he is even more droolworthy in person. Beyond the piercing blue eyes and tousled dark hair, there is something else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Unfortunately, Dillan makes it more than clear that he does not feel the same. They just met, so why would he act like he hates her?

When Dillan and Selena are forced together one weekend to work on a school project, Selena prepares to be ignored as usual. But when she stumbles across a few undead in the backyard, Dillan comes to her rescue and reveals a whole lot more. Not only is he part of a society that hunts otherworldly creatures…she is too. And she is being targeted by a force bigger and darker than anything she ever imagined. Despite her death dream, Selena is not going to give up easy, especially when she discovers that Dillan might not actually hate her after all.

Made of Stars by Kelley York
When eighteen-year-old Hunter Jackson and his half sister, Ashlin, return to their dad’s for the first winter in years, they expect everything to be just like the warmer months they’d spent there as kids. And it is—at first. But Chance, the charismatic and adventurous boy who made their summers epic, is harboring deep secrets. Secrets that are quickly spiraling into something else entirely.

The reason they've never met Chance’s parents or seen his home is becoming clearer. And what the siblings used to think of as Chance's quirks—the outrageous stories, his clinginess, his dangerous impulsiveness—are now warning signs that something is seriously off. 

Then Chance's mom turns up with a bullet to the head, and all eyes shift to Chance and his dad. Hunter and Ashlin know Chance is innocent...they just have to prove it. But how can they protect the boy they both love when they can’t trust a word Chance says?

Have you read any of these before? Comment below on which one sounds more appealing for me to read next!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sunday Post: (Monday Edition) 2/17/14

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received and share news about what's coming up for the next week ahead.

Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day! I didn't do much on the 14th but the day after I went to my cousin's birthday party. I swung a bat around with a softball my dad was throwing. I'm simultaneously thanking and regretting the amount of time I spent doing that. It was fun but I'm still pretty sore two days later. 

I got Something Real from Queen Ella Bee Reads which I'm really excited to read. It's even signed! I also got a box set of the Half Upon a Time Trilogy. This trilogy looks really good so I hope I enjoy it.

Last Week on the Blog:

Last week I had a lot of things going on. I had a blog tour for Reaper's Rhythm and a guest post for The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky. I criticized the Vampire Academy movie and whether or not I should watch any more books made into movies. I declared how adorable my library is. Also, I reviewed Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch (for Valentine's Day), Altered, and mini reviewed The Moon and More.

Around the Blogosphere (a.k.a. my to-read list is now larger):

Some books I added to my to-read list that I can't wait to get my hands on: Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis and Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill.

Posts/articles/videos I enjoyed:

  • Splintered by A.G. Howard (Moths. Moths everywhere.) via Notebook Sisters
  • March Madness Readathon (apparently I must do one readathon each month - I plan to get creative with this one) via Fiction the New Reality
  • Teen Wolf Recap: Stiles is "Riddled" and I love it! via Girl Writes Reviews
  • Video: Happy Third Chocolate Day!

Plans for Next Week:

Today's the last day for the Wicked Valentine's Read-a-Thon. I've met most of my goals. I still have to review the Museum of Thieves and 16 Things I Thought Were True.

I'm currently reading First Comes Love and I want to read Black Crow White Lie like I should have earlier this month. I don't know what else I should read. Maybe I should set up a poll or something this week. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Guest Post: Rules, Auggie, And all that's Possible

Today I have a special treat. Author Holly Schindler is guest posting for her blog tour on her debut MG book The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky!

I’m not sure that Auggie ever really thinks she’s breaking the rules, in regard to the House Beautification Committee. Technically, she is, once the warning notices start arriving—the committee tells Auggie and Gus that if they don’t adhere to certain standards regarding home improvements, they’ll face significant fines. But instead of shifting gears, Auggie convinces Gus to keep on improving their home in the same vein (turning the items Gus picks up on his hauls into recycled sculptures). Auggie’s convinced the committee will see how beautiful her home improvements are, if only she and Gus can do enough to change the look of their house. (Her theory is that when she and Gus are making their sculptures, they look like a giant pile of metal until they’re completely finished. So her house just must not be finished, either.)

Although Auggie’s plan backfires, she still refuses to go along with what the committee wants. Instead, she begins to brainstorm brand-new ideas for convincing them—and by extension, her hometown—that her house (completely covered by this point in various colors of paint, a stained glass front walk and windows, and metal sculptures she and Gus refer to as their “company”) really is beautiful. Even after suffering a heart-wrenching setback—even after being told that rules are rules, and she and Gus will be punished for not adhering to them—she still doesn’t believe she’s doing anything wrong. At least, not in the same way she would think she was breaking the rules by cheating on a test at school. The House Beautification Committee wants all residents of Serendipity Place to make home improvements that are beyond their economic means. And as Auggie says, if the rules don’t work for everyone, the rules aren’t right.

Moreover, Auggie simply can’t accept that her town will continue to go along with the committee’s unfair rules—especially when they realize that a gem like her house is on the demolition block. But that’s Auggie’s personality—she sees the world as a place that’s beautiful, where literally anything is possible. (Even imperfections can be beautiful things, in Auggie’s mind—for example, her neighbor’s warped porch, she says, looks like it’s smiling.)

In many ways, though, that’s the power of imagination—and Auggie has one whopper of an incredible imagination. For me, imagination is the most important life tool anyone can have—it’s not just something an artist uses. You use your imagination to problem-solve, picturing possible actions and their outcomes. Of course Auggie needs an imagination to become a folk artist…without her imagination, Auggie would never have come up with the idea that helps save her own home and the rest of Serendipity Place, either.

Essentially, then, while Auggie’s actions are technically defiant, I don’t believe she ever sees them as such. That’s part of her world view—Auggie is a positive person, and sees her actions as only illuminating the truth (and believes, wholeheartedly, that her town will come to see things her way). I think that’s Auggie’s most admirable quality. If we could all believe in ourselves to that extent, if we could always maintain her kind of positive energy, even through the hardest times, then maybe we could all meet up at our own version of the intersection of “Sunshine” and “Lucky.”

About the Author:
"I dove headfirst into my writing pursuits after receiving my MA in English from Missouri (that’s pronounced Ma-zur-AH, for those of you not in the know) State University. After wearing out a mere half dozen keyboards (I’m completely serious) drafting enough manuscripts to form a pile that literally stretches from the floor to the ceiling of my office, I was ecstatic to release my debut novel, A Blue So Dark, with Flux. A Blue So Dark earned a starred review in Booklist, was named one of Booklist's Top 10 First Novels for Youth, received a silver medal from the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and won a gold medal in the IPPYs. Playing Hurt, my first romance, released in 2011. My first MG, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, released in 2014.
…Of course, as a writer, I’m going to be shouting from the rooftops about impending publications…but I’m also a hard-core literature junkie, and look forward to get book recommendations from fellow readers…

Also, as an author, I think it’s my job to dig out the best of each book—I become a better writer by identifying other writers’ strengths! That’s what you can expect to find in my reviews: an honest appreciation for what I perceive to be the most admirable quality in each new author I discover…" -Goodreads

About the Book:
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope. Auggie Jones lives with her grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” But Auggie is determined to prove that there’s more to her—and to her house—than meets the eye.
What starts out as a home renovation project quickly becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time.
Holly Schindler’s feel-good story about the power one voice can have will inspire readers to speak from their hearts.


You can check out the next blog on the tour February 16th at: The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

Friday, February 14, 2014

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli

Standalone. Simon & Schuster (Dec. 1993) Library
In a little town on a wintery day, a postman delivers a mysterious package tied up with a big pink bow to a lonely man named Mr. Hatch. Somebody loves you the note says.

"Somebody loves me," Mr. Hatch whispers as he dusts his living room. "Somebody loves me," Mr. Hatch whistles as he does errands in town. "Who," Mr. Hatch wonders, "could somebody be?"

This has to be the best Valentine's Day picture book I've ever read. Mr. Hatch does the same thing day in and day out. He doesn't have any friends so he is surprised when he gets a package in the mail. A note attached to the large heart shaped candy box reads - "Somebody Love You." Now Mr. Hatch is seeing the world in a whole new light. He's making friends and laughing all the time. But, what will happen when he discovers the note wasn't for him?

I felt so sorry for Mr. Hatch. He was just a lonely guy who needed something to wake him up. Through a simple mistake he is able to make friends and make a new, better life for himself. This is a wonderfully beautiful and touching story about little things changing our lives. 

Below you can listen to the whole story. Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mini Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Standalone. Viking Juvenile (February 2013) Own
Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby. 

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby? 

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

My first Sarah Dessen book and it didn't turn out how I hoped. Emaline had everything going for her. I got this very laid back vibe from her that I liked. She felt strong like she could handle anything that came in her way. But, the obvious mistakes with a love interest left me an unpleasant feeling that ruined the whole book for me.

Emaline was so likable! Then Theo enters the mix and I couldn't get over her obliviousness to what she was doing. There were a lot of good points to this book and only one really big negative. Mainly I really liked the family dynamic especially when her half brother got into the mix. I was able to envision her family as well as grow to care about them. There was just something about the whole documentary business where she is asked to help out by Theo that annoyed me. He was so pushy and there was something up with him from the beginning. It was all too fast and Theo gave me a bad feeling. This book just didn't do it for me and I can't explain it beyond that which is frustrating but true (which is why this review is so short and uninformative. I can't describe my experience with this book correctly). I feel like other readers will enjoy this book a lot if they give it a chance. It just wasn't for me.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Altered #1. Little, Brown Books (Jan. 2013) Own
When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.                                

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities. 

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

Anna discovered four boys living in her basement four years ago. She didn't know why they were there or who they were and neither do they. Sam, Cas, Nick, and Trev have lost their memories so that they don't know anything about their past. They only know they are being held prisoners by a company called The Branch. They all have abilities that have increased their strength, decreased their aging, and each has an extra something that fits their personality. They have been altered and all they want is out. When The Branch comes to take them away they are ready for them and escape with Anna - the girl they have befriended for four years. But Anna has some unknown secrets of her own that are just about to hit the surface and change the way Anna looks at who she really is.

So this was a pretty awesome idea. I thought it was going to a bit weird at first trying to explain how there are four guys in Anna's basement and she didn't do anything about it right away. It could have been explained better but I've got say the plot is very unique. I love originality in books so things were going well already from the start. 

I was able to distinguish all the characters fairly easy which is hard to do with so many at one time. It helped that there was only one POV but I can also argue that having multiple POV's would have helped me get to know the boys more. Although, that would ruin the mystery of their past lives and the mystery that is solely Nick. I guess I like the moody, brooding boys but I feel like Nick reacted the most real out of everyone so I liked him more than the others. He was clearly pissed at being stuck in a lab for years not knowing who he was. I'm sure slowly he didn't really care as long as he got out. He's also pretty loyal and I don't know I pictured him with Anna more than Sam.

Anna is obsessed with Sam which was probably the only negative this book had. She could have been shot and killed but let's worry about what a guy thinks of me. I know teenage girls including me would think these things but it came to be too much. There comes a point where you just get over it and focus on not dying. She does have some great artistry skills so I'll give her that. The way her art was described was beautiful.

I liked Sam but for some reason I like Nick better. I do like that Sam is clearly the leader and has very loyal friends. He gets things done and has a fog of mystery to him like Nick. Well they all do but none so more than Sam and Nick.

Cas is the funny one. He loves to eat and mess around. He's a big goof ball which I like about him. Everyone else is pretty serious. Trev is the book nerd who can spout out quotes whenever asked. There are some tender moments between him and Anna where you can really see how even if there was a glass in between them she is pretty much friends with all of them - except Nick of course.

There are many secrets surrounding not just the boys but Anna and it was fun figuring them out. All the boys have scars and Sam has this tattoo of a tree that means something. They are all important things that bring them to the truth and the secrets lying within The Branch. 

The Branch is your typical evil company who alters people so they can use them as weapons. They chase the boys and Anna the whole way through the book. At the head is Connor who has this super creepy vibe with Anna. Apparently a bunch of things are revealed with him and someone else in the prequel which I couldn't help get. I will definitely continue on with this series mainly because there is so much left to learn and the plot is so good. I just hope Anna stops fixating on Sam so much and brings her badassery in the next book that I know she has in her.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Library is Adorable

So I got asked a weird question today: Would you like to go on a date with a book? Only a librarian could ask me that. My librarian explained that they have some wrapped books that have some words that describe the book on the cover. So you pick whichever one you think you'll like based on the description and you open it up at home. 

My description: Love, Family Problems, and Sisters

I can't tell how oddly thrilling it was to open up this mystery book (I'm a reader. I can't help it). So I opened it up and got First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky (which has a pretty good rating on Goodreads). I've never heard of it but the summary intrigues me. I guess I know what I'm reading for Valentine's day said the girl with no life. Haha! I rather read than anything else anyways. 

After I read the book there is a heart that says Rate Your Date which I do just that. It says "We want all the juicy details! You may save someone from a bad experience..." Then it asks: So how was it? and What was your 1st impression? There's also a place to put the title of the book. There's different things you can rate it from it was a disaster to it was amazing and the same thing basically for the 1st impression. I'm intrigued by it and hope it's good. We will see. 

Summary: "Like his name, Gray is dark and stormy. Dylan, a girl always searching for what's next, seemingly unable to settle down, is the exact opposite: full of light and life. On the outside, they seem like an unlikely couple. But looks can be deceiving and besides, opposites attract.

What starts as friendship, turns into admiration, respect and caring, until finally these two lone souls find they are truly in love with each other.

But staying in love is not as easy as falling in love. If Dylan and Gray want their love to last, they're going to have to work at it. And learn that sometimes love means having to say you're sorry."

In Conclusion: My Library is Adorable.

Vampire Academy: the movie

You know what they really suck at? Portraying the characters I knew and loved from the book series.

(Spoilers ahead if you haven't read the book!)

Wow, do I regret seeing this movie. I just can't catch a break with movies that were originally books. I've had trouble with them and I can't see myself watching another one like Vampire Academy. I'm even contemplating not seeing The Fault in Our Stars in the movie theaters and that's just sad because that trailer looks amazing and that book is fantastic. I really liked the Vampire Academy trailer when it came out and I enjoyed the book too which worries me for other books turned into movies. I just don't know what went wrong... Okay maybe I do.

I know movies need to compress a whole lot of plot into two hours but the pace of this movie was just wrong. I mean it wasn't as bad as Safe Haven's pace was but nothing can be as bad as Safe Haven in that area. 

The sequencing in this story was off. I don't remember anyone mentioning Dimitri training Rose in this movie. It just happened like it's okay to add an element that some people may not know is supposed to happen in the story. 

I watched this with some friends of mine who never even heard of the series and they couldn't follow anything as well. One friend kept on commenting on how it was too fast and if things were explained better maybe it would have been a good movie. But, that was just one friend. The others were just laughing their faces off as I was and everyone else in the theater was too.

There's this moment in the book where Lissa is in danger and Rose runs to Dimitri to ask for help but she's under a spell from a necklace given to her by what I'll simply call the bad guy. The necklace has a love charm on it so her emotions get the better of her and she basically makes her move on Dimitri. It sounds so dumb writing it out but I remember it not being as awkward. I don't know what Rose said in the movie (sexy shmarmy marmy???) but everyone including of course me laughed their heads off at this scene. We were all collectively done with this crappy dialogue we've been forced to listen to. 

The moment with the headmistress being sent to sleep by Rose was pure ridiculousness... So the headmistress is in on the kidnapping of Lissa and she has this needle to make Rose fall asleep. Rose easily uses the needle against the headmistress as she was talking (and looking away from her may I add) about how she knew what was going on with the kidnapping. Then the headmistress babbles something about her childhood for a good 30 seconds after she is injected with the neutralizer. Why does her babbling have to be added at the end? It has nothing to do with anything. I wonder if the writers thought the movie needed to be a comedy or not based on this moment and the rest of the dialogue. And then the headmistress doesn't get in trouble at the end of the movie. She just plotted to help kidnap Lissa but who cares about her really? 

The only good part of this movie was Dominic Sherwood
as Christian because he was so darn cute.
The dialogue in this movie would make you cringe. So many quips Rose tried to make fell flat. Everyone was just so stupid! The culmination of the dialogue and the acting killed me inside. There was a moment where Lissa was having a dream where Christian had created himself into a Strigoi because he was the one who belonged with Lissa not the guy she had been hanging out with. If that was in the book I feel sorry for reading it. I really feel stupid for reading Vampire Academy if this is how others perceive the book to be. All I could think when watching this movie was No!!! Why does this have to happen to me again!? 
The only thing I liked about the movie was how cute that actor playing Christian was. That is all this movie could make me like.

Thanks Vampire Academy movie for making me think I'm stupid for liking another vampire series.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Blog Tour: Reaper's Rhythm by Clare Davidson

Hidden #1. Createspace (July 2013) Xpresso Book Tours
When everyone thinks your sister committed suicide, it’s hard to prove she was murdered.

Kim is unable to accept Charley’s sudden death. Crippled by an unnatural amnesia, her questions are met with wall after wall. As she doubts her sanity, she realizes her investigation is putting those around her in danger.

The only person who seems to know anything is Matthew, an elusive stranger who would rather vanish than talk. Despite his friendly smile, Kim isn’t sure she can trust him. But if she wants to protect her family from further danger, Kim must work with Matthew to discover how Charley died – before it’s too late.

Reaper's Rhythm is a fast-paced, supernatural tale that was perfect for me after reading so many heavy-hearted reads. Kim finds her sister with her wrists slashed but doesn't remember what has happened when she wakes up two days later in the hospital with her puffy eyed parents staring back at her. She can't recall anything and she's determined to find out what happened to her sister Charley, because there is no way Charley would kill herself like everyone tells her she did. Kim idolized her sister. She was popular, was always going out, and looked happy until the very end. When she starts poking around she meets Matthew, a stranger that feels so familiar and with him even further mysteries about who really caused her sister's death. She is faced with so many questions and the answers that start forming seem impossible. Could magic be real? And if it is what does it have to do with her sister's death?

As soon as I got into Reaper's Rhythm I could sense the pace being pretty fast and whenever that happens I know there might not be enough moments to catch up on who the protagonist is only on the mystery revolved around her sister's death. So I knew what to expect in terms of pace and character development which I was welcoming from this book. Sometimes you need an entertaining read without it getting too complicated or ruining your emotions for days like some other books do. It was really pleasurable that way. I liked how the supernatural elements formed in this story. It really provided some added mystery and entertainment. I also liked how for once a protagonist who was in a dire situation didn't fixate on the wrong thing - a boy. I mean Kim did mention Matthew and his beautiful smile sometimes but she didn't obsess about him and completely forget that she needed to solve her sister's death. That is a rare quality in female POV's these days in YA and it was a breath of fresh air.

Reaper's Rhythm isn't the most thought provoking read but it's wonderfully entertaining. It really provided me with an escape. The supernatural elements were awesome and filled me with interest on how the author came up with this story. Kim was a great main character who had real strength and conviction to do the right thing. I'm curious to read what happens next with Matthew and Kim - how they will come to meet again and what dangers will they face. If the next book is as light and quick as this one I'll have to give it a try.

Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours and the author for providing me a copy of Reaper's Rhythm in exchange for an honest review!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Standalone. Bloomsbury USA Children (Sept. 2013) NetGalley
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

Where the Stars Still Shine has drained me completely. The heartbreaking life the protagonist Callie faced on the run was an unnecessary predicament brought on by her mother who has a serious mental illness. The devastating reality of what her life has been like compared to what her life could have been like with her father brings up emotions of anger and betrayal in Callie. Not only was she left alone to wander the streets at night, time after time, but when she was younger she was taken advantage of by someone her mother should have protected her from. I was horrified when Callie had flashbacks and nightmares of her childhood. It killed me inside and it makes me think of the poor girls and boys who don't have a voice to save them. 

I feel like Callie tried so hard in her life to not feel by throwing herself at boys. A reader can probably be put off by this aspect of her but I felt like it showed her vulnerable side. In my mind she is trying to find someone to keep those thoughts out of her head. When she gets to her new home she meets Alex who I couldn't see as the "improbably choice" for her like the synopsis promises right away. Her friend and cousin, Kat, even warns her that he just wants to get in her pants. And that seems exactly to be the case and I was a bit annoyed with that development. But, I warmed up to Alex and the way he was with Callie even if he was and Callie came together primarily for sex when they first met. He has some things going on with his life as well. I wish facets of his life were resolved with him concerning his father but other things that happened to him made up for it.

I love that the Greek culture is embedded into this story in small ways. Everything comes back to being about family. The loss and love shared so intimately in this story can only be endured with family and loved ones on your side. I would have enjoyed even more interaction with Callie and different family members but what was given in this story was still well done. I just can't go over how much this book affected me. It's one of those books that brings out real issues that shouldn't be an issue. Being able to feel safe is a right we should all have. I felt for Callie so much. She didn't deserve to feel how she did because of someone's choice to take her innocence away from her. This is a book that makes you think and want to take action which is what really made Where the Stars Still Shine worth reading.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wicked Valentine's Read-a-Thon 2014

From the read-a-thon host:
The  Wicked Valentine’s Read-A-Thon is a time when we all get together to dedicate the days of February 7-17 to as much reading as possible. You read as much as you can in order to get yourself a little further through that huge to-read pile! We know real life gets in the way and even if you can’t participate more than one day, you’re welcome to join in on the fun!

In the meanwhile, we will be hosting book-related challenges where you can win some awesome prizes and have a Twitter party at the hashtag #WWReadathon! You can posts updates on your blog, Twitter, Goodreads or Facebook — as long as the profile is public and we all can enjoy your reading progress!
It's time for another read-a-thon! I did so well with last months blog tour (even if I didn't make my goal I still read 4 books) that when I saw this on a fellow blogger's post I thought it would be a great idea to boost up my reading. I've had a slow start this month so it should help me get pumped up for the rest of February.
You can find the sign up post here.
  • Read and Review at least 6 books
  • Read at least 1,000 pages
  • Comment on at least 15 posts
  • Participate in at least 2 challenges
I might also do my own challenge. I kind of want to match each book read with a song. We'll see if that happens. 

To-Read Pile:

I want to read at least two thirds of this pile. I'm reading Altered right now with a buddy and I just started Where the Stars Still Shine but other than those I'll be starting every other book by scratch. 

Friday, February 7th

Progress: Altered ~ 26 pages; Where the Stars Still Shine ~ 268 pages
Total: 1 book/294 pages
Notes: 12:35 pm ~ Finished my 5 chapters for the buddy read on Altered. I wish I could go faster! Anna is actually strong now. I was getting annoyed be her pining.
6:00 pm ~ Where the Stars Still Shine drained me! It was so good but painful to read. I might start something non-sad next just so I can recover.

My Music Challenge:

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Song Choice: Demons ~ Imagine Dragons

I had a hard time looking for a specific song for Callie because she goes through so much in her life. I decided to just do a loosely based song on Callie and Alex's relationship. Callie being the one who wants to shelter or hide her demons from Alex.

Saturday, February 8th

Progress: Altered ~ 25 pages; The Moon and More ~ 288 pages
Total: 2 books/607 pages
Notes: 11: 15 pm ~ Got to a point in Altered that is just mind blowing. I'm freaking out! Planning on starting The Moon and More a little later this morning if not at noon-ish. I realized yesterday with all these challenges including my music challenge this post is going to be super long when I'm done...
7:40 pm ~ Did not like the choices the main character made in The Moon and More... At least I finished it.

My Music Challenge:

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Song Choice: See You Again ~ Carrie Underwood

I'm thinking this song has a lot to do with the ending of The Moon and More and how Emaline is feeling confident because she knows who she is and was able to stand up for herself. This is when she's leaving off to college.

Sunday, February 9th 

Progress: Altered ~ 58 pages
Total: 3 books/ 689 pages
Notes: 1:45 pm ~ Almost done with Altered! According to my ebook it's 214 pages but everywhere else it's more than 300 which I don't understand. It's going to end in such a cliffhanger. I'm going to have to read the prequel and see if I can get the sequel soon too. So many things happening. I don't know if I'll be able to read anymore today since I have some studying to do. We will see.
6:20 pm ~ Finished Altered! Got to think up a music video for it. Might read some pages of another book later tonight after I finish even more studying...

My Music Challenge:

Altered by Jennifer Rush
Song Choice: Teardrops on my Guitar ~ Taylor Swift

Reminds me a lot of how Anna felt about Sam. There's a picture of Sam with another girl he used to love but can't really remember why which bothers Anna.

Monday, February 10th

Progress: Reaper's Rhythm ~ 212 pages
Total: 4 books/ 901 pages
Notes: 11: 31 pm ~ Finished Reaper's Rhythm! It was pretty good. The main character didn't obsess over a guy like in Altered. I might start a couple of pages of 16 Things I Thought Were True tonight. I need to write reviews of Altered and The Moon and More tomorrow morning because the longer I wait the more I lose what I want to say about those two books. Thanks for the support everyone! I'll be getting back to everyone's comments today. I know I need to figure out a music video for Altered and now Reaper's Rhythm but I'll have to do that tomorrow morning because I've got some online classes that need attention.

My Music Challenge:

Reaper's Rhythm by Clare Davidson
Song Choice: Slipped Away ~ Avril Lavigne 

Since Kim's sister died I thought this was the perfect song to represent how she felt losing her big sister.

Tuesday, February 11th

Progress: 16 Things I Thought Were True ~ 79 pages
Total: 4 books/ 980 pages
Notes: 6:16 pm ~ I haven't read today yet. I'm working on some reviews and then I'll read a little at night. I got songs for the past two books I read so at least I've done that.

Wednesday, February 12th

Progress: 16 Things I Thought Were True ~  39 pages
Total: 4 books/ 1019 pages
Notes: Added later ~ I've hardly read this book. I was on a roll but I've nearly stopped reading!

Thursday, February 13th

Progress: 16 Things I Thought Were True ~ 73 pages
Total: 4 books/ 1092 pages
Notes: 12 am ~ I can't believe I haven't finished this book. To make myself feel better I want to finish 16 Things I Thought Were True and one other book tomorrow. 

Friday, February 14th

Progress: 16 Things I Thought Were True ~ 113 pages/ Museum of Thieves ~ 64 pages
Total: 5 books/ 1269 pages
Notes: 2:11 pm Finally finished 16 Things I Thought Were True. I'm planning on try to read one other book today to redeem myself. Happy Valentine's Day by the way! My cousin is one today.

My Music Challenge:

16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler
Song Choice: Underneath ~ Hawk Nelson

Reminds me the most of how Morgan must have felt not having a father around.

Saturday, February 15th

Progress: Museum of Thieves ~ 248 pages
Total: 6 books/ 1517 pages
Notes: 2:34 pm I've been meaning to read Museum of Thieves for ages and since it was due at the library I read it... and it was awesome! Why do I wait with books that I know are going to be good? I want to do another challenge today and read some more later on as well as comment on some people's progress because I haven't been good with that.

My Music Challenge:

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
Song Choice: Let Me Be Myself ~ 3 Doors Down

Goldie lives in a town where people are so scared to  lose their children they have them chained up to the parents of the Guardians. She just wants to be free.