Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Hiatus

Over the last couple months I haven't been the greatest blogger ever, but I still tried to keep at least semi-regular updates on reviews and whatnot.

However, due to the holiday season, finals, and just overall business, I plan on keeping this blog at a standstill until the end of December.

I still plan on reading, writing reviews, and keeping up with reading everyone else's blogs. However, any reviews or features I come up with before January will be kept to myself. That way, I'll have some backup material in case I go into another slump.

Anyways, that is all for now. Happy Holidays to everyone, and if there are any other college students out there reading this... good luck with finals!


Friday, November 12, 2010

The Direputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

After reading some of E. Lockhart's previous books, I was slightly skeptical about starting this one. Not to say that her other books were bad... just not the best out there.

However, I have to say that I rank this book next to Dramarama. Meaning to say, it is one of her best (that I've read).

I won't spend much time summarizing, but basically this book is about a girl in a very elite boarding school. Frankie is not popular, but not a total reject. She somehow manages to snag the hottest guy in school, but there is a problem: he is keeping things from her. All she wants is to be a part of his inner circle of friends. And that's where the fun begins...

I loved the mysterious element of this book. It starts out in a confusing way, but it definitely captured my attention. I wanted to know how this seemingly innocent girl and, I hate to say it, goody-two-shoes, turned into a rebellious wild child. Like Frankie, I also found myself wanting to know just what was going on with the popular guys in the school.

I also enjoyed the tackling of a serious social issue, even if it was addressed in a fun and light-hearted way. The idea of men vs. women's rights is a tough one to address in today's society. There are feminists, and there are men who feel like it's the woman's job to support the man. Women are considered to have equal rights, and yet they only make .78 to every $1 a man makes in the same profession (information found here; let me know if anyone knows of a better source or more accurate information), and women are also widely considered to be the weaker sex, and face abuse and harassment.

Although this review isn't going to focus only on women's rights, although that is a very good topic.

I enjoyed this book because of it's portrayal of this issue. Frankie wants nothing more than to be a part of her boyfriend's club, but he refuses to open up to her because of her gender, despite the fact that she has proven herself to be his intellectual equal. I feel that in the end Frankie learned something: that being a woman means not letting a man tell you no, even if that means letting a man go. This is a lesson to learn, because no woman should be treated as less than equal by any man.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book because of the very interesting story, the humor, and the important message. I think that all young women should read this book because of it's touching on that one important issue.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Audio Books

Today, I had a great idea.

I was in the library looking at books, and I noticed the audio book section. And I thought: what if I listened to a book while I was working out?!!

I have recently started working out, and my biggest problem with it is that working out for a long period of time can get extremely boring. And I thought that an audio book would help solve my problem! I could put it on my phone and listen to it while on the elliptical. It's a perfect solution :)

Howeverrr I put it in my CD drive and... it turns out my CD drive is broken. I thought it might just be that Audio Books are different than regular CDs, but that is not the case... I tried one of my regular CDs and that didn't work either.

*sigh* And so now there goes my perfect plan.

Anyways, what are YOUR opinions on audio books??

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In My Mailbox: 11/07/10

Information about In My Mailbox can be found here on The Story Siren's blog!

These past few weeks have been AMAZING as far as books go.

Here is what I have gotten:

[[For Review:]]

1. Emma and the Vampires by Wayne Josephson

I'm looking forward to reading this, it seems interesting. I'm also curious how I'll like it seeing as how I've never read the original Emma.

2. Jane Eyre: A Readable Classics Novel by Wayne Josephson

My idea for this is to read this book and Jane Eyre simultaneously. I'm not sure how that will work out, but it is a goal of mine. :)


3. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

There are no words to describe how excited I am to get started on this! However, I'm saving it for Christmas vacation, because I'll need some good books to read.

Odd: The Kindle edition of Nightshade is more expensive than the hardcover. Now THAT'S just strange.

4. Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

More vacation reading. And once again, I'm so excited to get started! I've heard such good things about this book!

[[From Library:]]

5. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

I'm reading this now because it's a book club book and the meeting is soon, so I wanted to get it done. I've wanted to read this since it came out a couple years ago, but my experiences with E. Lockhart's books have been varied. The Boyfriend List left no impression on me, Fly on the Wall was cute and quick but had no substance, and Dramarama was a good read, the best I've read by her, but it still didn't leave me dying for more. I'm hoping that this book will help me form a more solid opinion.

6. Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Since I finished Unwind this summer (see my favorable review here) I've wanted to read more by Neal Shusterman. When I walked into the library and saw this book on display three thoughts ran through my head: 1) Oooh pretty cover. 2) Ooooh Neal Shusterman. 3) Oooh favorable comments by Laurie Halse Anderson. And I was sold. I hope it's as good as it looks :)

So there it is! Now if I would have spread this out over the past couple of weeks it wouldn't have made me nearly as excited as looking at it all in one post :) Now I must finish some homework and get to reading!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

I expected The Forest of Hands and Teeth to be a fantastic love story set in a post-apocalyptic world... I expected to fall in love with this book, and to rave about how much I love it and want other people to read it.

I think I am the only person I've heard of who was actually disappointed with this book. Not to say that it was overall a bad book. It was decent; it had a good story and cute romance and a not-cheesy ending. But I had a problem with it.

First of all, I had a problem with the Unconsecrated. I couldn't figure out exactly what was up with them... it wasn't until after I finished the book and read other reviews that I figured out that they are basically, in simple terms, "zombies". But even the idea of zombies doesn't seem right to me. And I felt like the idea was never explained in clear enough terms. Maybe it's because the characters didn't really understand fully themselves, but I really wanted some answers, and I just never got them.

[[Side note: It seemed like the problem of the Unconsecrated could easily have been solved. If there's a little village in the middle of a forest of Unconsecrated, and that village has been there for years and years, and the only way the Unconsecrated can grow is if they turn humans, then the obvious solution in my mind is to keep the humans away and just kill the Unconsecrated off one by one. Eventually, they will all be gone. Although I suppose that's too simple of a solution.]]

Another problem I had was with the main character, Mary. She was extremely selfish. Her only goal in life is to see the ocean. That is a fine goal, I must say, and if I were her I'd feel the same way. And I admire her ambition, but it seems like she was willing to let everyone around her suffer for that one goal.

The last problem was the ending. Mary's story seemed complete, and I was completely satisfied. But I can't help but wonder what happened to the other characters?? She seems to have forgotten everyone else entirely, and I have no idea what happened to them, and I would really like to know. Perhaps it addresses them in the companion novel, but I doubt it. Doesn't The Dead-Tossed Waves deal with different characters? Will I ever find out what happens to Mary and the others?

In conclusion, the book was a good one, but it left me guessing way too much. I was left to infer a lot of the background (although I may be enlightened a bit in the companion, but I won't know until I read it) and also left to infer a lot about the ending. I can understand why someone would enjoy this novel, because it is definitely a page-turner, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Now I wonder... having read this review, do you think I should read The Dead-Tossed Waves??

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Library Card

I interrupt my nonblogging to say...

I finally got a library card!

Not to say I've never had one before. But since I moved away I haven't gotten one, which means that in order to read I've been buying books left and right. But now with my smexy new library card, I no longer have to spend money on books that I may or may not like!

I will still buy books on occasion, but I plan on using my library card as often as possible. :)

That is all!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Strangers Outside: Short Story Review

I decided to try something new when I started reading the story The Strangers Outside. For one thing, I don't usually read short stories, and for another, I don't usually read horror stories. So this was an entirely new experience, and one that I'd like to share with ya'll.

The beginning of this story could easily mislead someone... it could have went in an entirely different direction. Instead of being a horror story, this could have been... well, perhaps a romance. Or a story about two sisters.

But then you can tell that it most definitely is a horror story. Because there are creepy stalker guys. Nothing is more chilling than a group of robed, dark figures lurking about a cottage.

It all gets scarier from there. The creepy figures multiply and soon both girls in the cottage are afraid for their lives. The suspense is overwhelming. I had to know what was going to happen... and eventually I did. I have to say, the conclusion was a bit disappointing, and I wish I could learn a bit more. However, I was still satisfied. This was a decent start-off story for a non-thriller reader like myself, and for anyone else looking for a short story to read for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: 10/20/10

Between Here and Forever
by Elizabeth Scott
Release Date: May 24, 2011

Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.

Until the accident.

Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.

She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen.

Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could.

Um, Elizabeth Scott? Duh, she's amazing and wonderful and one of the best writers in the world. And I love every book I've read by her. Can't wait.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

want a Kindle?

Sparkling Reviews

Sparkling Reviews is giving away a Kindle! Click here to read more about it... it's definitely worth your time!


Restored Hope

Restored Hope is a book that you know from the summary exactly what it will be like: cute, fun, and maybe a little sad.

That was exactly what this book was like for me. It starts out with the perfect family, and then quickly things spiral out of control: there is sibling rivalry, accidents, abandonment, etc. Basically: things suck. And Camilla/Samantha is left to try and repair her life.

This book is about Samantha's journey through life, and how she manages to take a crappy situation and turn it into a happily ever after. This is not a bad concept. I really liked how Sam's life turned out... it wasn't too mushy mushy, and it wasn't too horrible either. The ending was picture perfect, just like the beginning, and I finished with a smile on my face.

That's not to say there weren't flaws. One thing that irked me while reading this novel was how quickly things happened. One page I was reading about a wedding, and the next page a child is born... so many things happened, and I didn't feel like I got to really know the characters themselves. All I knew was their life story.

The basic idea of this novel is a good one, but I don't know if I'm a fan of how it was pulled together. Instead of Sam's life story, it would have been better if it focused on a certain period of her life. Maybe the introduction could be the traumatic events of her childhood, and as she's growing into an adult she can come to terms with everything... the end. I felt like there was a lot happening, and I didn't really get a good grasp on what I was supposed to be following.

Overall, not bad. I have read much worse. But not superfantastic either. If anyone is looking for a quick, happy book, I'd say give this one a try.


PS. Thanks to Brenda Youngerman for sending this review copy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

This novel was definitely not what I was expecting... not that I had any expectations. I still found myself pleasantly surprised with what this novel turned out to be.

The summary itself is intriguing enough (see this post for a summary and quote). The idea of a modern black woman traveling back to a slave plantation is one that I had never even thought of... it's such an interesting concept, and I'm really interested in looking into more novels like this one.

One thing about this book is that from the very beginning, it keeps you wanting to know more. I can guarantee that anyone who reads the prologue will want to read the rest, if only to figure out "how did this happen?!" And if you aren't pulled in by the prologue, I know that the first couple of pages will definitely get your attention. This book doesn't waste time in getting to the point: it goes right into the story, and the action doesn't stop until the very end. Once you pick this up, you will not want to stop reading... there are very few points in the novel where you can set it aside without wanting to pick it right back up again. In fact, two nights in a row I stayed up much later than I should have, just because I had to know what happened right then... it couldn't wait.

The other part of this novel that I absolutely loved is the characters. The thing about a novel like this is that the characters have to play their part. And damn, did Octavia Butler deliver. The MC, Dana, was true to who she was: a modern black woman who didn't belong on a plantation. She didn't suddenly develop superhuman strength and overthrow her white "masters". It was apparent that she didn't fit in from the very moment she arrived: she was educated, dressed differently, and had endured none of the abuse and suffering that black people in slavery had to endure. While her experiences on the plantation changed that for her, she never did fit in.

Her (white) husband also was a very believable character. Due to events in the novel, he was forced to spend an amount of time living in the early 1800s... and it affected him. If he would have come out of it unaffected, I would have laughed at the ridiculousness of this novel. However, he showed change, and I doubt that he or Dana ever truly recovered from their experiences.

I also loved that this novel didn't have what you might call a "happy" ending. Dana didn't go back in time to change the world... she went back in time to change a person. And this was all done in a very believable way.

Overall, this book was COMPLETELY AMAZING. It has been on my mind since I finished it, and I will definitely look out for more Octavia Butler books.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: 10/13/10

Cryer's Cross
by Lisa McMann
Release Date: February 8, 2011

The small town of Cryer’s Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn’t that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD-addled brain.

When a second student goes missing—someone close to Kendall’s heart—the community is in an uproar. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall’s not sure she can hold it together. When she starts hearing the voices of the missing, calling out to her and pleading for help, she fears she’s losing her grip on reality. But when she finds messages scratched in a desk at school—messages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit there—Kendall decides that crazy or not, she’d never forgive herself if she didn’t act on her suspicions.

Something’s not right in Cryer’s Cross—and Kendall’s about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.


I love stories that deal with entire communities and their issues. (Maybe that's why I like The Vampire Diaries so much??) That was one of the reasons why I was intrigued by this book, but then I read this awesome review and I knew that this was a must-read.

Also, doesn't the cover just catch your attention? It did for me at least.

And an additional thought... I still have to read the Wake trilogy :( I've heard such good things about it, but I've just never gotten around to it.
There's my post for this week!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 11, 2010

if this doesn't make you want to read it...

... I don't know what else will. :)

So I know there are memes floating around the blogosphere that have the purpose of sharing memorable quotes from books, but I don't want to participate in any sort of meme... I just wanted to share something interesting from Kindred.

Page 19:
"Again the light seemed to dim and I felt the sick dizziness. I pushed back from the table, but didn't try to get up. I couldn't have gotten up.

I didn't answer.

'Is it happening again?'
'I think so.' I sat very still, trying not to fall off my chair. The floor seemed farther away than it should have. I reached out for the table to steady myself, but before I could touch it, it was gone. And the distant floor seemed to darken and change. The linoleum tile became wood, partially carpeted. And the chair beneath me vanished."

For some reason, I really liked that passage of this book. And so far I am loving the writing and the story... it's such a unique and interesting concept that I'd never even thought of, and I can't help but be drawn into it.

Here is a quick summary from Amazon for anyone interested:
Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back again and again for Rufus, yet each time the stay grows longer and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana"s life will end, long before it has even begun.
Definitely an interesting read, and while I'm only 54 pages into it, I'd definitely recommend it.

Expect a full review sometime in the next week or so. :)


Sunday, October 10, 2010

In My Mailbox: 10/10/10

Happy 10-10-10 everyone!! :)

Hope it's a good one. Personally I'll be spending my day catching up on some much-needed sleep, setting up a bulletin board, and hopefully finishing some homework.

Anyways, here's the real reason you're reading this post!
Information about In My Mailbox can be found here on The Story Siren's blog!

This post is going to cover the last two weeks, because I didn't get the chance to post last weekend.

Here's what I've gotten!

1. Restored Hope by Brenda Youngerman

Signed and sent by Brenda for review... I think it sounds like a super intriguing book, and it's actually next in my pile of "for fun" reads. I'm looking forward to it!

2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

In my post yesterday I talked about Wuthering Heights, which was only so-so. After watching the first half of the movie, I know that Jane Eyre will be a fantastic read. I can't wait!

That's all for my mailbox, but I'm pretty pleased with it :)

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Required Reading: Mini Reviews

rMost of the reading I've been doing lately is for school, but I figured I might as well post my thoughts on those books as well. Just maybe someone else will have read these books and be able to relate to my thoughts.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
This book was fairly decent, but it didn't blow my mind. I enjoyed hearing the story told from the maid's point of view, and I liked how it didn't have a perfect happy ending like I was expecting. I think this was just a little easier for me to get through than Pride and Prejudice, so if you're someone who is looking for some classic romance and doesn't know where to start, this is definitely a good one to try. However, this book was blown out of the water as soon as the teacher had us watch a movie adaptation of Jane Eyre. Based on the movie, Jane Eyre is better than Wuthering Heights by a longshot.

I also read on Elizabeth Scott's blog that another adaptation of Jane Eyre will be released next year. Which I'm excited for.

Which reminds me that the copy of Jane Eyre that I ordered should be here... *checks email*... yep, right now. I just have to go downstairs and get it :)

Anyways onto the next review...

Wieland, or the Transformation by Charles Brockden Brown
I was quite excited to start reading this book, actually. I sneaked a peak at some reviews and got a general idea of the plot before I started, and I was instantly intrigued.

The book started out really slow. Since it was written so long ago, it was hard to understand the writing style. It got easier around halfway through, where the plot really picked up and it got really exciting. I actually didn't want to stop reading after about the halfway point. The ending was a bit of a letdown... I was hoping for some sort of explosion or something, I guess, since that's how the book starts out, but it was satisfying enough. However, I'm not looking forward to writing a paper about the theme... I'd rather just set this aside and start reading something else!

Which leads to...

Kindred by Octavia Butler
Review to come as soon as I finish :) This is the first contemporary book we're reading in English 105, and I'm about 30 pages in and I am dying to learn more about what's going on. It is definitely a page-turner so far!

That's all for my mini-reviews. :) Hope that makes up for the lack of reviews.

Expect an IMM post tomorrow, it'll cover the books I've gotten for the past two weeks. Also, lots of WoW posts, because there are A LOT of books I'm looking forward to!


As an added thought, does anyone else have any required reading that you would like to discuss?? I'm happy to hear about anything, because chances are I'll either want to or be forced to read it sometime in the future :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: 9/29/10

by Andy Mulligan
Release Date: October 12, 2010

In an unnamed Third World country, in the not-so-distant future, three “dumpsite boys” make a living picking through the mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city.

One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and Rat—boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money—to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong.

Andy Mulligan has written a powerful story about unthinkable poverty—and the kind of hope and determination that can transcend it. With twists and turns, unrelenting action, and deep, raw emotion, Trash is a heart-pounding, breath-holding novel.

I read this amazing review and it instantly made me intrigued. I did some more research on what it was about, and I am sooo interested in this book. It looks fantastic! [Also, I just searched for and read a few more reviews, and it looks like the response has been all-around positive for this book. Can't wait!!!]


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Forever Cover + Awesome Contest

Isn't it AMAZING?!

And just as a personal thought, is anyone else worried about reading a novel in red ink?? Blue and green are okay, almost like black... but red?? I don't know how much that will hurt my eyes, but I am willing to work it out just to read this book!

To preorder a !!signed!! copy, click here.

And to enter an AMAZING contest for some awesome prizes, visit Maggie Stiefvater's blog here.

This ends my little post. Now, off to English...


Monday, September 27, 2010

Vampire Diaries

This post is only somewhat book-related, seeing as how the TV show is way different from the books (at least, judging by what I've read of the books).

But I feel that it's necessary to let my feelings out.

Last night I stayed up super late so I could catch up on my episodes. I was four episodes behind, so I hadn't even seen the season 1 finale...

Oh. My. God. I was sooo surprised. My friend had already spoiled what happened, but the way it happened?! Total shocker. And I was totally upset, because I had to go to bed and couldn't watch any of the new episodes.

So now I am writing this blog, and after it's posted I will go catch up. :)

PS. anyone else super excited for the Britney Spears episode of Glee tomorrow?! Eek!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In My Mailbox: 9/26/2010

Information about In My Mailbox can be found here on The Story Siren's blog!
Five books this week, all of which I got from Goodreads. These will probably be the last books I buy for awhile, considering how much debt I'm in. I may just have to go get a library card pretty soon... or just read the books gathering dust on my shelves!

Anyways, here they are...

1. Epic by Conor Kostick

It looks pretty good, and I've wanted to read it for awhile. Figured I might as well get it and give it a shot.

2. Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick

I read Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie and loved it, so I thought I'd give another of Sonnenblick's novels a shot. It looks good anyways :)

3, 4, 5. Blue Bloods
by Melissa de la Cruz

I read the first book a couple years ago. I didn't like it. Two of my friends read it and liked it, and continue to read the series. They swear it gets better. I decided to give them another shot, just to make my friends happy. And so here they are!

Also, another reason to get them: they were cheap. And that is always a huge bonus!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: 9/22/10

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Release Date: October 26, 2010

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan write amazing books, both separately (faves: Gingerbread, Shrimp, Cupcake, The Realm of Possibility...) and together (Nick and Norah, Naomi and Ely) and so I'm sure another collaboration will be pure genius and amazingness. It's just a fact.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Going Too Far

I finished this book mere moments ago, and my first reaction is to write a complete fan-girl review.

However, I am forcing myself to remain calm.

This book was impossible to put down. Right at the beginning, I was instantly drawn to Meg... I don't necessarily agree with the way she thinks (I really didn't like her attitude towards sex, but I am willing to overlook that because it's part of her personality and I don't judge) but I was intrigued by the things she did... I was so curious to figure out why she acted the way she did.

And then, John was introduced. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was immediately attracted to John. The chemistry and attraction between Meg was undeniable, and it made the book steamy and interesting. The fact that he was also overcoming an issue made me sympathize with both main characters.

I'd like to point out, this book was very smutty. This is not necessarily a bad thing: after all, I couldn't put it down, nor could I keep myself from smiling dumbly when it got to the mushy parts. That's just the hopeless romantic in me. But I almost wish that the book placed a bit more emphasis on Meg and John's fears. These fears basically defined who they were, and it seemed like it was placed second to their relationship, which made it hard for me to take their problems that seriously.

The resolution also seemed a bit rushed to me. It's almost unbelievable that one week of knowing each other and they can miraculously cure each other of their phobias they've had since childhood. I almost wish the ending wasn't quite so cheery and optimistic. But that's just me.

Overall, this book is good for some fluff and an interesting story, but I wouldn't expect anything extremely mind-blowing. I'd definitely recommend it, though, for a fun read.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Hmm, what can I say about Mockingjay? While I haven't gotten around to reading very many reviews of it, I'm sure that everything I think has been thought by someone else, somewhere.

The problem is, I can't decide what to think. I finished this book three weeks ago, and I still cannot come to a decision about whether I loved it, hated it, or if it was just okay.

So, let's break it down.

Characters: They just didn't seem right to me. They didn't feel like the characters that I was starting to get to know, and it's probably because that's what happens when everything changes. However, Katniss bothered me like she has never bothered me before.

Pacing: Okay, this book was paced perfectly. There wasn't a page that went by that I didn't HAVE to know what happened next. I was reading during lectures, in between classes, at one of my roommate's dance recital... I could not stop.

Plot: As far as what was happening, I'm not sure that I totally want to go with it. It made sense, but it just didn't sit right with me. There really is no good way for me to describe it, it's just an intuitive feeling I have.

Ending: This is the hardest part to analyze. And I don't want to. Let's just say... ehhhh.

Overall: I enjoyed the book. But in comparison with the first two, it could have been better. I plan on re-reading the whole series next summer, and perhaps I will come up with a definite opinion then.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Managing Time

August 23rd was a wonderful day: the day I started COLLEGE! Woohoo!

It also can mark the day that my time management skills went missing. It's so difficult for me to prioritize my time... between homework, classes, social events, and trying to get enough sleep, I can't seem to find any time to do things that I want to do.

So this is a question I'd like to ask readers who have the same problem as I do... how do you find time to balance all the things you do, and still keep up with your blogging??


Friday, August 27, 2010

Once Was Lost

In my world, Sara Zarr is easily compared to Elizabeth Scott. While Zarr doesn't have novels coming out quite as frequently as Scott, she manages to keep me captivated from page one and by the end, I am always begging for more.

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr has been one of my favorite books since it's release in 2008. Something about it just... wow. It totally wowed me.

But this review isn't for Sweethearts. This review is for Once Was Lost.

I was skeptical when beginning this book. I am not a religious person, and so the religious and spiritual aspect of this book turned me off. I was afraid to try it, worried that Zarr would disappoint me with a novel that preached to me.

I should not have been worried, and I should have read this when I first bought it.

The religious and spiritual journey of the main character, Samara, is one of my favorite aspects of the book. Like me, she questioned the validity of her God and whether miracles can really happen. She looks at all the bad in her life and wonders how God can possibly exist if he lets such horrible things happen.

Her thoughts were such honest thoughts, and I could truly connect with what she was feeling. My father isn't a pastor, but I know what she's going through. I think that many teenagers could relate to this part of the story, whether they are willing to openly admit it or not. Having questions about faith is just a part of growing up, and that was portrayed in this novel perfectly.

I loved the story, and how it flowed smoothly and easily from page to page. The characters, while I feel they probably could have been expanded on just a bit, were very likable and realistic. And I especially enjoyed how the conflict was presented, built up, and resolved.

This novel was truly wonderful. Anyone looking for a good book about a girl growing up and facing challenges would love this... plus, there is just a hint of romance for those who can't resist.


Saturday, August 21, 2010


Vlogging is a very cool and awesome thing that a lot of bloggers are doing. However, I'm very nervous to start trying it for a variety of reasons.

1. I don't have a webcam. Is that how most vlogs are made? Is it possible to use a regular digital camera on the video setting??

2. I'm shy. Not really with other bloggers, but my biggest problem is that I'm afraid that someone will walk in on me. Will my new roommate thing I'm a weirdo for talking to a camera? Will someone hear me talking to myself through the paper-thin walls? Is this a problem anyone else has/had?

That's really about it. But I was just wondering if anyone has any thoughts/suggestions about vlogging in general. I might start doing a couple vlogs every once in awhile, or I might just stick with plain old blogs.


The Unwritten Rule

Elizabeth Scott has done it again.

Once again she has written a book that had me completely awed. Scott has the ability to write novels that leave me thinking, and always wanting more.

The thing that I really loved about The Unwritten Rule was how realistic it was. Previously in Elizabeth Scott's novels, I've noticed a lot of cheesy, happy endings. Not to say that this book didn't have a happy ending, but it was done in the right way.

I also loved the characters. The main character, Sarah, is easy to sympathize with. She is an average girl with an average problem: she likes her best friend's boyfriend. I think it's easy to say that the majority of us have been there. And her best friend, Brianna, is easy to dislike. However, she also gets a huge sympathy vote because of her uncaring parents. The male lead, Ryan, is likable enough, but easily forgotten.

This wasn't my favorite of Elizabeth Scott's books, but it was still worth the read. I couldn't put it down.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In My Mailbox: Week 5

Information about In My Mailbox can be found here on The Story Siren's blog!
1. Sand Daughter by Sarah Bryant

It was on sale for $1 at Borders, and I thought it might be an interesting read. Something different, which may or may not turn out to be a good thing.

2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I'm going to be reading this for school soon, and I've actually wanted to try out a few more classic novels anyways.

Not much for me this week, as you can see. But I am still satisfied :)


Saturday, August 14, 2010


This sequel to the wonderful novel Shiver definitely did not disappoint.

My favorite part about Linger was that it answered most of the burning questions that we were left with at the end of Shiver. I had questions about the wolves and about Sam and Grace's relationship, and it answered those questions as well as introducing new conflicts and ideas.

I also really enjoyed the incorporation of new characters into the story. While it bothers me that there were two entirely new narrators, I was also pleased because I think that's how it should have been in the first place. There were a few places that I got confused with who was talking, but overall Maggie Stiefvater did a good job alternating points of view.

Like Shiver, Linger was a book that leaves the reader wanting more. I can't get enough of this series. I love the characters, all of which have such unique and interesting stories and ideas, and I love the writing. These books have a way of painting wonderful pictures in my head, and I can't wait to see what Stiefvater comes up with next.

I would definitely recommend these books to anybody who could go for a good love story, or even a good werewolf story.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blogger Buzz: Reading Vacation

Melina from Reading Vacation

Blog: Reading Vacation


What do you think makes your blog special?

I am younger than the other book bloggers, so my point-of-view and book choices are unique.

What is your favorite thing about blogging?

I love that blogging gives me the freedom to express my opinions about books and all things bookish.

Has blogging helped you in any indirect way?

This is an easy one. I have met TONS of wonderful book-lovers!

Do your real life friends/family/teachers/etc. know about your blog?

My family, my friends, and last year’s teachers know. Now that school is starting, I’ll be telling my new teachers.

Is there a specific blogger that you look up to?

Two blogs I look up to are The Story Siren and Word for Teens. I like everything about them and they have both been very nice and helpful to me.

What is your favorite book from the past year, and why?

I’ve read so many books this past year that I don’t have a favorite anymore.

If you could meet any author, past or present, who would it be and why?

I would LOVE to meet Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series.

Can you give one piece of advice to new or aspiring bloggers?

Be yourself.

What has been your favorite blogging moment / experience?

My favorite experience was the day I posted my one hundredth blog post. I tried something different and posted a vlog.

Where do you see your blog in the future?

I see Reading Vacation growing up as I grow up. It’s like my baby.

Thank you, Melina, for your awesome answers and your awesome blog!

If anyone else is interested in participating in a Blogger Buzz interview, please email me at =]

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: 8/11/2010

Waiting on Wednesday originated here. =]

My pick:

All Just Glass
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Release Date: January 11, 2011

Sarah Vida has given up everything for love. From a legendary family of vampire-hunting witches, Sarah was raised to never trust a vampire, to never let her guard down, and to avoid all tricky attachments of the heart. But now Sarah IS a vampire—changed by the boy she thought she loved. Her family has forsaken her, and Sarah herself is disgusted by her appetite for blood.

Aida Vida is Sarah's older sister, the good, reliable sibling who always does her family proud. But when Aida's mother insists that Sarah be found and killed, Aida is given the one assignment that she may not be able to carry out.

Taking place over just twenty-four hours, ALL JUST GLASS tells the story of a game-changing battle that will forever change the world of the Den of Shadows. And at its center is the story of two sisters who must choose between love and duty. Dark, fully-imagined, and hard to put down, ALL JUST GLASS will thrill Amelia's fans—old and new.
My friend swears that Atwater-Rhodes is an amazing writer, and while I haven't read anything by her yet, I am looking forward to reading these and enjoying them. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I finished Shiver late on Saturday night, and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

This book mixes romance and the supernatural with a not-so unique twist: two lovers who can never be with each other. It was almost too sweet how amazing Sam and Grace's relationship was. They were passionate and fun, and they had a connection that was almost unimaginable.

The supernatural part is that Sam is a werewolf, and Grace is not.

Shiver was filled with suspense, and events that keep the reader wanting more. It's a real page-turner, and despite my problem with a few implausible events, I couldn't help but keep reading. I had to know what happened, and the ending kept me wanting even more- immediately!

However, I did have a minor problem with this book: it seemed unrealistic. I know that any book that involves werewolves is unrealistic, but I felt like it just wasn't thought out enough. The idea that the werewolves change with the temperature is an interesting concept, but it seems too inconsistent throughout the book (although that is part of the mystery of the werewolves). I also had a huge problem with Grace's negligent parents- they seem like they are even more clueless than any parent ever could be.

Despite these slight flaws, I thought that this book was definitely worth my time. Between the adorable romance, the suspense, and the very descriptive language, Shiver is a book that makes readers fall in love, and if you're anything like me you will be dying to get your hands on Linger.

Monday, August 9, 2010

In My Mailbox: Week 4

Information about In My Mailbox can be found here on The Story Siren's blog!
Borders Buys:

1. Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

The Uglies trilogy is one of my favorites, and I've wanted to read Peeps for years- I just haven't gotten around to it. Maybe now I will finally read it!

2. The Shapeshifters: The Kiesha'ra of the Den of Shadows by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

One of my good friends highly recommends not only this series, but any book by Atwater-Rhodes. I'm also looking for a quick read, and despite the fact that the series seems long, I know it will go by fast.

3. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished Shiver last night, and I was sooo thankful that the bookstore was open until ten. I threw some decent clothes on and drove like crazy to make it before it closed- I HAD to have this book.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

How Starbucks Saved My Life

I had very few expectations for this book when I started it. What I expected was this: a simple book about a guy's experience working at a Starbucks.

This book was exactly that. This book is written about the author's own experiences: he started out his life as a very upper-class, snobby white man. Throughout the course of the book, he changed his views on life. He faces his racism issues, and he learns to accept the lower class by becoming one of them.

I have to say, I wasn't terribly inspired by this book. I wasn't fond of Gill to begin with, and while I'm glad he learned a few truths about life, I still don't think that the story held much of an emotional impact.

I also didn't appreciate the name dropping. The purpose was possibly to emphasize just how important Gill and his family were, but I got sick of hearing about "that one time with the Queen of England" or "when I met Frank Sinatra". Those are interesting life experiences, but it annoyed me and I didn't feel like the experiences contributed a whole lot to the story.

Overall, this book was just okay- my college could have picked a book far worse to make the freshman read. But I don't think I've learned any valuable life lessons or anything.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Almost to Die For: A Vampire Princess Novel

I wasn't sure what to expect when I got my hands on this book. I love a good paranormal book every once in awhile, and so I decided to give it a shot.

I was pleasantly surprised with the result. This book featured a realistic teenage girl (although I must say, she was a bit too whiny for my taste) who happened to be a witch. Interesting enough. And then she finds out that the father she's never known was a vampire. And that the witches and vampires are enemies.

This was definitely a book that I enjoyed. It was not perfect by any means. Like I mentioned earlier, the main character was just a little annoying. I also got frustrated by the fact that once again, there is a witch/vampire book that features not only one but two amazingly hot and wonderful guys, who are both pining for the plain girl. This bothers me so much. It also bothers me when the main character can only complain about it.

Despite my dislike of the main character, I did like the different take on this popular genre. The way the vampires and witches were portrayed was very different and unique, and definitely not anything I've seen before.

Overall, I'd say the book was decent enough. Will I be jumping in the air for the sequel? Probably not. But I will continue with this series as long as I get the opportunity.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I decided to read this book after reading about it in my favorite magazine, Entertainment Weekly. The never ending praise by this magazine, and also the fact that the book was very obviously displayed in every bookstore I walked into, made me buy it.

I knew right from the start that this book would be a challenge. However, I enjoyed it and I'm glad I gave it a try.

My review for this book will come in three parts.

1. The beginning. The beginning of any book is without a doubt the most important part of it. Every book needs to have an attention-grabbing opening. Without that, an average reader could easily get bored or disinterested and move onto something more exciting. I came thisclose to giving up before the story got under way. Why? Because of the mumbo jumbo. I have no interest in the stock market or economics, and so when this book started out with some long explanations about some financial scandal, I had half a mind to give up right then and there.

2. The middle. This is the bulk of the book, and the only reason why I stuck with it. Once the story got going (and it took a little too long for my taste) I decided that I really wanted to see what happened. The character of Mikael Blomkvist didn't interest me too much, but the story he was investigating did. I found myself pulled in by the murder mystery that the book was trying to solve. I also became very intrigued by the idea of Lisbeth Salander. True to my expectations, she was as bad-ass as everything I had heard about her, and naturally that made her my favorite character.

3. The ending. Besides the part where the main mystery of Harriet Vanger's murder was solved, I skim-read the end. It was more mumbo jumbo, and a whole lot of something I didn't feel like reading. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the very last page, and the incredible cliff-hanger that was presented. Is it enough for me to read the sequel? Maybe.

Overall: This book is not for everybody. If you think you can handle a book with a lot of backstory, I'd say go for it. I also have to add that there are some very graphic sexual abuse scenes, so this is not a story for a young reader. The best person to read this would be an adult with an open mind, and a desire to read an interesting and different story.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In My Mailbox: Week 3

Information about In My Mailbox can be found here on The Story Siren's blog!
Once again, no literal mailbox books. I did take a wonderful trip into the great city of Chicago with some good friends, and of course we stopped at a couple of bookstores. =]

1. Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

It was on sale. And it looks cute. :)

2. 501 Spanish Verbs

Going to study some Spanish in college... this was the most helpful book that my high school teacher had in her classroom, so I knew I had to get one for my dorm room.

3. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

It looks absolutely amazing, and as an added bonus: the sequel is being released today. =]

4. Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan

After reading Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart last year, I really want to read more African American novels. This is part of my grand plan to expand my literature to something outside of YA fiction.

Now, as a side note, I apologize for the lack of reading and reviewing lately. I've been in the process of moving, and then on top of that I just got my wisdom teeth pulled. Basically: it's been pretty stressful. Thanks for sticking through it with me!