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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Wrap-up 2012 Challenge Post.

This year was a really good reading year for me.
I am reading my 80th book for this year, which once I finish it I will have met my reading goal. Never in my life have I read 80 books.

In 2011 I took part in:

The Debut Authors Challenge and I read just about 20 debuts.
The Ebook Challenge and I read 29 Ebooks. 9 more than my original goal.
Into the Old World Reading Challenge. I read 4 or 5 older books. Which was about 10 less than I wanted to.

For 2012 I will be taking part in:

The Ebook Challenge hosted by The Eclectic Bookshelf and I will be doing The Mega-Sized Ebook Reading Challenge which is 25+ ebooks.
The Outdo Yourself Challenge hosted by The Book Vixen and I will be doing I'm On Fire! which is 16+ more books than I read in 2011.
The Off the Shelf Challenge hosted by Bookish Ardour and I will be doing On A Roll which is to read 50 books off my shelves.
and I will probably take part in The Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren again. Though I am not positive. If I do, my goal will be 12 Debuts.

My overall goal for the year is to read 104 books (which was my original goal for 2011). 2012 is already shaping up to be a busy year though, but hopefully I won't have to change my goal like I had to do in 2011.

Hope everyone has a fun but safe New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 End Of Year Book Survery

Jami over at the Perpetual Page-Turner is hosting her "End Of The Year Book Survey" for 2011. It looked like a fun thing to do, so I thought I would participate. 

1. Best Book You Read In 2011? 

Yeesh, start out with the hardest question ever, why dontchya...
Since this is my survey I'm going to cheat and pick more than one. 

Divergent by Veronica Roth- This book was incredible. It seriously rocked my world and I cannot wait until Insurgent to come out.
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead- It made me cry, laugh, bite my nails down to the quick, and made my heart stop...multiple times.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- I actually started taking Rosetta Stone French lessons after reading this book because it made me want to go to Paris so badly.

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

I'm probably going to get shunned for this...but I was a bit disappointed with Amy and Roger's Epic Detour. There were just some things in it that did not make sense. 

Also, I had high hopes for Tris & Izzie...I mean the cover and the synopsis made it look and sound amazing. But it just fell flat for me.  
Neither of them were my cup of tea.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

 Anna and the French Kiss. I read it after Amy and Roger so I was really nervous that it was going to be another contemp that was hyped to the high heavens that actually ended up not being my cup of tea. But I love it. So very very much.
Dark Parties by Sara Grant was also surprising. I hadn't seen very much on it and what I had seen just didn't make it sound that great. I gave it a go though, and loved it. I was an emotional mess when I finished it.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

Anna and the French Kiss and The Hunger Games. I was a major pusher for both. Especially The Hunger Games since I finished Mockingjay in the very beginning of the year. 

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?

The Iron Fey series. This year I read very few series, or if I did, they were new series and only the first was released (I don't count those with this question).
Also The Summer series. I have enjoyed that one more than I thought I was going to.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Veronica Roth, Stephanie Perkins, Rae Carson, Lauren DeStefano, Beth Revis...oh this list could go on, but I'll stop there.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

 Meh, nothing is realllly out of my comfort zone. I used to not like contemps because I don't normally click with the characters. But I gave some a real shot this year and really started to like them.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

 Divergent. Last Sacrifice. and Dark Parties.

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

 Divergent. I got myself so excited to read it that when I finally got it, it took me forever to pick the book up because I was afraid it would be a disappointment.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?
Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)
Across The Universe by Beth Revis
Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1)
Blood Red Road by Moira Young

11. Most memorable character in 2011? 

 Tris from Divergent. It's hard to forget someone that you just click with.
Belly from The Summer I Turned Pretty. I remember being her age and feeling like she did a lot of the time.
Rose Hathaway from Last Sacrifice. I want to be able to kick serious ass like she can.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

Stolen by Lucy Christopher. It was an incredible story written in the form of a letter to the girl's captor. I don't think I've read anything so powerful or beautiful.
A close second would be Hold Still by Nina LaCour. That was a great book.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011? 

 Stay by Deb Caletti had a big impact on me because it reminded me of a situation I had gone through. I was very emotional while reading that one.

Divergent actually helped me get a bit more motivated to go to the gym. I did not like thinking that I could not do what they were having to do, so I decided to get back in shape and healthier...I'd say that's an impact.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read? 

 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I skimmed it years ago while at a friend's house waiting for her to finish her homework. But this year I READ it, and love it, and cannot wait to read the rest of the series. Which in a way I am glad I waited so long because now I can really appreciate and soak up the story.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011? 

Ha! I have so many favorites. I actually write them all down in a notebook.

“You think my first instinct is to protect you. Because you're small, or a girl, or a Stiff. But you're wrong." 

He leans his face close to mine and wraps his fingers around my chin. His hand smells like metal. When was the last time he held a gun, or a knife? My skin tingles at the point of contact, like he's transmitting electricity through his skin. 

"My first instinct is to push you until you break, just to see how hard I have to press." he says, his fingers squeezing at the word break. My body tenses at the edge in his voice, so I am coiled as tight as a spring, and I forget to breathe. 

His dark eyes lifting to mine, he adds, "But I resist it." 

"Why..." I swallow hard. "Why is that your first instinct?" 

"Fear doesn't shut you down; it wakes you up. I've seen it. It's fascinating." He releases me but doesn't pull away, his hand grazing my jaw, my neck. "Sometimes I just want to see it again. Want to see you awake.”

Gah. I love that. Now I want to re-read Divergent. *le sigh*

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012? 

 One of the challenges that I am setting up for myself is to re-read some of my favorite books in 2012. So I will be re-reading: The Hunger Games Trilogy, Vampire Academy, Divergent, Delirium, My Blood Approves...maybe a couple other books as well. But that's all I can think of off the top of my head.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers! 

Oh my gosh. I about died when I had NO ONE to talk to about Mockingjay, Last Sacrifice, or Divergent with. It was hard not just blurting everything out to my husband. Especially about how Mockingjay ended...I'm still trying to get him to read The Hunger Games so I didn't want to spoil the whole thing.

 Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2011 (optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011? 

 Oh man...I can't really answer this question. I've found so many great blogs this year that I could not possibly name them all. And I don't want to leave anyone out. So just check out my list of blogs that I follow. I love them all.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2011? 

 I haven't finished it yet, but I am really liking my Anna and the French Kiss WIP review. It's very gushy and fan girly. It will hopefully be posted in the next couple of days. But I have technically written most of it this year, so it counts ;p

3. Best discussion you had on your blog? 

 That is something that I am planning on working on this coming year is getting discussions started. I did have a chit chat about banned books that was good and one of my reviews started getting books recs passed around and that was neat. Other than that though, not too many others happened.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog? 

I thought Andye's (Reading Teen) post about Sex in YA was a really good post. And I cannot for the life of me remember who posted it, but someone did a great post on things to do and not to do in blogging. I read it at the beginning of the year when I was still just getting started, so it helped out a lot.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I went to my very first author event this year! And it was sooo much fun. My best friend and I went to the Austin Teen Book Festival together, and I got to meet Stephanie Perkins. I was going to gush to her about how much I loved Anna and could not wait to read Lola...but I kind of froze...and got a bit tongue the gushing did not happen.
Most fun virtual event has to be the Holiday #Readathon. I love love love doing that readathon. You should do it next year too.
And I love doing Top Ten Tuesday host by Broke and Bookish and In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren. I just have to make myself be a little more consistent with them. 

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?

 I had my first author interview this year and it was so very cool. It was with Michelle Leighton and she is such a neat author and it was for her first ebook, The Reaping, so it was a cool feeling to be one of the first bloggers to interview her. Talking to some of my favorite authors on twitter has been really cool too. Which I would have probably never done if I hadn't started blogging.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

 My review of Letters to Elise by Amanda Hocking. It has a crazy amount of views.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

 A lot of them. But I started slacking on posting on my blog and commenting on other people's posts when I moved in the middle of this year and that's when the post love started dwindling. So I will be working on getting back into a better posting groove again next year.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

 I discovered NetGalley and GalleyGrab this year and those were both pretty awesome. And that TONS of authors go to Austin to do book signings, which isn't that far from me. So maybe I'll be able to make it back up there for a couple more signings before I move back to Colorado next year.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I am soo close to meeting my goal of reading 80 books, I also read quite a few debut authors, and I did great at my ebook challenge. But I totally failed on my banned books challenge. I think I only read 4 or 5 banned or challenged books this year. And I really really failed at my Into The Old World Reading Challenge.

Looking Ahead... 

1. One Book You Didn't Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?

HA! A lot. The Near Witch, Wolfsbane, Lola and the Boy Next Door, It's Not Summer Without You and the rest of the Harry Potter series.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

 Isla and the Happily Ever After. INSURGENT! A Million Suns. Fever.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?

 Reading -- In 2012 I would really like to read at least 100 books. And to read more books that I have on my shelves and on my Kindle rather than buying so many and never getting to them. My books deserve to be read in a timely manner. Maybe get outside of my realm of YA books and try some more adult books.

Blogging -- I hope to stay on top of my reviews. Think of some new kinds of posts to get some discussions started, maybe. Be more consistent in my meme participation. Stop being so dang shy when talking to authors or other bloggers.

2011 was a great for both blogging and reading. I've read more books this year than I have any other year, I have met some incredible bloggers and authors, and have learned a great deal about blogging (now I just need to put what I learned into affect) and the book industry. Can't wait to see what 2012 brings!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Hunger Games Soundtrack News.

So in case you have not heard, it has been announced that Taylor Swift (ft. The Civil Wars) has a song on The Hunger Games soundtrack. Now before you get all judgey judgey, listen to the song. It really sounds like something that should be in the movie.

See? I think it sounds great. Though, I may be a bit biased because I adore Taylor Swift. I can't wait to see who else is going to have songs on the soundtrack now.
So, what do you think of her Hunger Game song?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cover Reveal: Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt

Hello fellow book lovers! Today is a special day and I am so excited to be a part of it. Today is the cover reveal for Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt, the first in a new dystopian series coming out in April of 2012.

Are you ready for this?? Here it is!!

"What if you were mankind’s last chance at survival?

            Sixteen-year-old Tess lives in a compound in what was once the Western United States, now decimated after a devastating fourth World War. But long before that, life as we knew it had been irrevocably changed, as women mysteriously lost the ability to bring forth life. Faced with the extinction of the human race, the government began the Council of Creators, meant to search out alternative methods of creating life. The resulting artificial human beings, or Chosen Ones, were extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.

            Life is bleak, but uncomplicated for Tess as she follows the rigid rules of her dystopian society, until the day she begins work at Templeton, the training facility for newly created Chosen Ones. There, she meets James, a Chosen One whose odd love of music and reading rivals only her own. The attraction between the two is immediate in its intensity—and overwhelming in its danger.

            But there is more to the goings-on at Templeton than Tess ever knew, and as the veil is lifted from her eyes, she uncovers a dark underground movement bent not on taking down the Chosen Ones, but the Council itself. Will Tess be able to stand up to those who would oppress her, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?"

I LOVE this cover. The pretty girl in the pretty dress with the dry and cracked ground under her. Amazing. So what do you think? Like it? Love it? Can't wait to read it?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hollowland Free For Kindle!

Hollowland (The Hollows, #1)

Right now on Amazon you can get Hollowland by Amanda Hocking for FREE!
This was such a good book so I suggest you get it before it's not free anymore. 
Totally worth a read, even more worth it now!

Bookish Crafts {2}

With Christmas now less than two weeks away some people may be trying to cram in some last minute Christmas shopping. That can get a little bit stressful, especially if you aren't sure what to get certain people.
Well, if you have a Harry Potter lover that you still need a gift for, how about a homemade Snitch ornament for their tree?
Tiny Apartment Crafts has one of the best tutorial for this.

This project looks so easy (which is a major plus at this busy time of year) and would look great hanging from any Christmas tree. When I make mine I'll probably end up hanging it up somewhere in my room when the tree comes down, because I don't know how I would put it away in a box for a whole year.
If you do make one...or a couple of these, I would love to know how it turned out.

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

"Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. 

Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. 

And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. 

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. 

Most of the chosen do."-GoodReads.

Hardcover423 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Greenwillow Books
Source: NetGalley.

I really had no idea what kind of book this was when I started reading it. I had only skimmed the description when I decided to request it from NetGalley, but fellow bloggers said that is was completely worth it so I gave it a shot.

Girl of Fire and Thorns was most definitely worth giving a chance as it was nothing short of incredible.
The book, for me, started off a little slow. I wasn't quite sure where or when it was taking place, and there wasn't the normal character introductions. You just get thrown in Elisa's world right before the biggest moment of her life, her secret arranged marriage. At first I was thinking 'I don't know her, why should I feel bad for her about this?' And that worried me, but Rae Carson is an brilliant writer and calmed my fears right away. As the story continues I got to see inside of Elisa's head without having an information overload. It was a gradual get to know you, so I ended up really caring about Elisa.

This isn't a book where the main character feels like the world rests on their shoulders but it really doesn't...the world really does rest on Elisa's shoulders. She is the Chosen One, but she's not really sure what that means or what she is supposed to do. All she really knows is that she is not strong enough, pretty enough, or brave enough to complete whatever her task may be, that is should have been her sister that was Chosen. 
She has to go to this new land where she doesn't know anybody and figure out quickly who she can and cannot trust, which is difficult since people are constantly keeping things from her, telling her half truths, or just out right lying to her. So as the story goes on, Elisa doesn't know anymore or less than we do. It is kept through the whole thing that the reader really only knows as much as she does, so you get to find out things with her, which I liked a lot. I don't like stories where everything is spelled out for the reader, but the characters seem to miss everything. It really kept me drawn into the story that was being told. 

Girl of Fire and Thorns has a lot of history to it with this great twist of fantasy that goes back centuries. You can tell that a lot of thought went into not only the characters, but the plot and story line, as well. It is rich and very fulfilling. It's wonderful one moment and heartbreaking the next.
It a good size book with a big story in it, but if you like fantasy with a touch of romance, lots of action, and always guessing who is the good guys or bad guys, then this is the book for you.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, altered my opinion of the story or my review.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Divergent Wins!

Divergent was one of my favorite books of this year. And I was so excited to see that it won Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction AND Favorite Book of 2011 on the GoodReads Choice Awards!! *throws confetti*
Yay for Divergent and for Veronica Roth!
If you haven't read this incredible book yet, stop what you are doing and go buy it!
It is nothing short of amazing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday #Readathon Wrap-up Post.

Another readathon, come and gone. The Holiday #Readathon has become one of my favorites to participate in and I can't wait until next year to do it again.
Even though I was gone most of Friday and watched way too many Christmas movies with my mom on Satuday, I still did pretty good.
I finished Oblivion Road (I was only about 3 chapters in when I started) and I just have the tiniest smidge of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone left. Since this is my first go at the Harry Potter series I didn't want to rush through it, so I took this weekend to just enjoy it.

As I said in my starting post, I was donating $3 for every book I finished, with a $10 minimum. Since I basically finished two books I will be donating $10 to Books For Kids which was started by Britney and Farrah, the two lovely ladies behind I Eat Words.

If you took part in the readathon I hope you had a blast and met your reading goals!
If you didn't get a chance to do it this year, sign up next year. It is definitely worth it!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Let the Holiday #Readathon begin!

Yay! It's finally December so it finally feels okay to start celebrating the Christmas season! 
And what better way to start a celebration than with a readathon!
Check out all the info about it HERE, you can join at anytime and it's going on allll weekend (Dec. 2-4).

I started my reading at midnight...since I'm up anyway.
Since it is actually midnight right now I am really off reading somewhere...sooo if I haven't already finished it I will be finishing up Oblivion Road by Alex McAulay.
Then jumping into Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling, which I am freakin' excited about! I've been wanting to read the whole series for a long time.
And I have a couple of Christmas books I want to read so I might pick A Log Cabin Christmas by Wanda E. Brunstetter & 8 other authors.

I'm not setting a goal for how many books I want to have done because I never actually finish them all...and I'm going to be really busy most of Friday.

Are you doing the readathon? (If not you really should be. Lots of fun. Lots of mini games)
What are you planning on reading?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

"A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography,Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows."-GoodReads.

Hardcover352 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Quirk Publishing

Peculiar, indeed. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was an original and refreshing read. It really stood out to me in a sea of sameness. It wasn't your typical YA book about love triangles and wanting to be with the random hot guy that has supernatural powers.
The cover drew me in with its creepy photograph and strange name. Even the font caught my eye.
Just in case you couldn't tell, that girl on the cover is levitating. Yeah, levitating.

This book is filled with interesting...erhmm, I mean peculiar, children that can do all sorts of things. Jacob's grandfather has told him stories about these children for as long as he could remember, but he never thought them to be true. They couldn't be, could they?
But when a series of events leads Jacob to the mysterious island where all these stories originated, adventures ensue. As do some pretty scary things too.

The first bit of the book freaked me out a bit. I started reading it at night, like late night, and found that was not a good idea. Being that tired and seeing those pictures made for some pretty creepy dreams. But if you are not a fan of scary reads, have no fear (no pun intended...okay, yes it was) the scare factor calms down and settles into a really great adventure story.
I really enjoyed this book. From the pictures to all of the children it was a really great read. A little slow at times, but in the end totally worth it.
If you enjoy adventure stories with some supernatural twists, you most definitely need to pick up a copy of this book.

I did get an email from Quirk not to long ago and they sent me some sad news. The untitled sequel to Miss Peregrine's does not come out until Spring of 2013! Gah! How could they do that to me? I really want to know where the story goes...they are lucky I have plenty of other books to read between now and then.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, altered my opinion of the story or my review.

The End of NaNo.

Sadly, I did not win NaNoWriMo. As much as I don't want to admit (but for you guys I will) the first two weeks I slacked...a lot. And I had a bunch of excuses because I didn't think the idea I had was really going to turn into anything.
Boy was I wrong. The last two weeks I have been writing like crazy. Just not crazy enough to catch up.
That's okay though. What I did end up writing is a lot more than I have written in a while, so NaNo definitely helped. And I am determined to finish the story I am working on.

So tell me fellow NaNoers, did you win? If so *throws confetti* congratulations! That is so awesome!
If not *throws confetti* congratulations for even trying! That's a bigger step than a lot of people would take.
Don't give up on that story just yet either. Just because NaNo is over doesn't mean you have to stop :)

And I will see all of you again next November for the next NaNoWriMo!