Monday, February 28, 2011

Young Adult vs. Adult: A Rant


I was going through Amazon Reviews and I found one review that was particularly disturbing...

I am not going to say anything about it, but I will quote one sentence:
"I found myself wondering if this was written for young readers? If that's the case, I stand corrected and this is a fine book. If its aimed for adult readers, I sure could have used some more twists and creative drama."
And in response to this sentence, and the review as a whole, I said this:
While I have not read this particular novel, I'd like to point out that there are plenty of teen novels that are mature, and contain twists and creative drama. While not all teen novels are like that (and I'll admit there are plenty that lack those particular characteristics) I feel as though your change of opinion after finding out that this may be a young adult book is a little bit insulting. Whether it's a young adult book or an adult book, you should still expect it to be imaginative and creative. There are plenty of young adult novels out there that contain mature themes and carry them out in unique ways. By saying that it's "fine" if it's written for young adults is an insult to young readers who strive to read more mature and well-written works of fiction, but who, because of their age, may not be able to handle adult novels. By saying that a book is okay as long as it's not written for adults is saying that teens can only handle reading books that are sub-par, and unworthy of praise. This is not the case.
To add on that...

I know that adult novels have more mature themes, but there is really no reason why people should think that just because a novel is aimed at younger readers, then the novel doesn't have to be any good. It just irks me, and I hope I am not the only one.


PS. I should be crawling out of my hole gradually this week. Things should be sort of back to normal by next week.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winner Announcement!

I am popping out of my corner to announce the winner of my Wither ARC giveaway!

And that winner is...


I have emailed you, if you don't respond within 48 hours I will be announcing a new winner.

Thanks to all that entered!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Hiatus (2)

Blogging Hiatus!

Will be back after midterms!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top Ten Favorite Love Stories

Top Ten Tuesday
TTT is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Stop by and join :)
Top Ten Favorite Love Stories
*Red=adult. Blue=YA. Pink=Kids. However, all are worth reading.*

1. Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks. This was one of the first Nicholas Sparks books that I read, so of course I loved it.

2. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. Hmm, perhaps not your traditional love story, but it's definitely worth mentioning. The relationship between Jess and Leslie is one that isn't forgotten.

3. The Wallflower Books by Lisa Kleypas. Okay, I have read a few romance novels in my lifetime. This is one series that I enjoyed :)

4. The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J. R. Ward. Okay, and here's another series I like. :P

5. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Their relationship is sooo cute.

6. Scribbler of Dreams by Mary E. Pearson. Very Romeo and Juliet, but this is such a great novel that I think everyone who's looking for a good teen romance should read.

7. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr. One of my all-time favorites, and I'd definitely say it's a love story.

8. Anything by Sarah Dessen. She's just one of those authors, ya know?

9. Shiver/Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. Sam and Grace's story is sooo addictive.

10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. A classic.


Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Monday! What are you Reading? (2)

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. I'd highly recommend joining this meme and taking a peek at the others who are participating as well!

I Read 2 Books:
1. Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis
2. Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson

No reviews have been written or scheduled yet, but they will be up sometime this week! Mare's War is a novel that was recommended for my Black History Month Celebration, and Jane: A Murder was read for my Women and Lit class!

On the blog this past week you can find:
1. Last week's It's Monday! post.
2. Top Ten Characters I'd Name My Children After
3. Review of Emma and The Vampires by Wayne Josephson
4. Review of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
5. Review of Dark Song by Gail Giles

Upcoming on the Blog:
1. Mini-Review of Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson
2. Top Ten Favorite Love Stories in Books
3. Review of Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis

To Read:
1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
2. The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

It's been a slow week. Let's hope I can pick up the pace a little this week!

Also: If you haven't done so, don't forget to enter my contest to win an ARC of Wither by Lauren DeStefano!

Thanks for Stopping By! If you leave a meaningful comment, be sure that I'll stop by your blog! :)


PS. Happy Valentine's Day to those who actually have a Valentine... but for those like me, who will be spending the day alone, well... hope you have a good day anyways :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dark Song

Dark Song
Gail Giles
September 2010

Marc said he heard the dark song when he creeped houses. The song the predator's heart sings when it hears the heart of the prey. I heard it now. Mark said it had always been in me. Lurking. Waiting for me to hear.

Ames is not the person she was a few months ago. Her father lost his job, and her family is crumbling apart. Now, all she has is Marc. Marc, who loves her more than anything. Marc, who owns a gun collection. And he'll stop at nothing--even using his guns--to get what he wants. Ames feels her parents have betrayed her with their lies and self-absorption, but is she prepared to make the ultimate betrayal against them?

In this controversial novel about a good-girl-gone-wrong, Gail Giles returns to the fast-paced, chilling writing that attracted so many fans to What Happened to Cass McBride?.
Once again, Gail Giles has managed to thrill me with another fast-paced story of a teenager in an interesting but not altogether unrealistic situation.

Giles has this incredible ability- her books are just so interesting, I couldn't put a word on it. I might say sublime, but I'm not sure if that's the right word for what this book did. I was completely sucked in, while simultaneously repulsed by the main character. I absolutely hated her: Ames was spoiled, selfish, and had few redeeming qualities. But I couldn't help but be intrigued.

That being said, Dark Song isn't my favorite Gail Giles novel. No, that honor would probably go to Right Behind You. But Dark Song has something that will appeal to many. It has a mysterious murder-mystery thrill behind it.

Here is the problem that I found: the beginning was dreadfully dull. I understand why it was written the way it was. It makes sense to give the readers backstory and evidence before jumping into the darkest and deepest part of the novel. The summary describes all of Part 2, with Part 1 being summarized in one simple sentence: Ames is not the person she was a few months ago. Her father lost his job, and her family is crumbling apart. The end of Part 1. So the really exciting part of the novel didn't happen until Part 2: that's where you learn about the dangerous bad-boy Marc, Ames' hatred for her parents, her struggle to adjust to an entirely new life. THAT is what makes this novel interesting. I think that the story could have been told better if it started with Part 2, and was expanded on to give some glimpses of backstory. The interesting parts were really subdued, and the ending too abrupt for me to really enjoy the exploration into Ames' new life.

That being said, fans of Gail Giles will most certainly enjoy this novel, even if it isn't the best. The element of suspense and curiosity is definitely there. But if you have never read Gail Giles before, I wouldn't recommend this for the first. I'd give Right Behind You, What Happened to Cass McBride?, or Shattering Glass a try before attempting this one.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green && David Levithan
April 2010

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan's collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.


This is going to be a difficult review to write! I've waited a couple days to think about the book, and I still can't come to a definite conclusion on where I want my review to go.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson was definitely a book that is unique and memorable. The different points of view is found in many other books, but the characters are truly the driving force of the novel. However, I felt like the Will Graysons were outshined by the one and only Tiny Cooper. The story seemed to be about him much more than about the Wills, and that was one aspect that I didn't enjoy.

I know one thing for sure: I enjoyed this novel. I give it 4/5 stars for a reason. I'm just having a hard time putting that reason into words. The characters were wonderful, and despite the fact that Tiny Cooper ran the show I still found myself falling in love with the Wills and some other minor characters. This book was also terribly addicting. It was one of those books where I read past my planned stopping point just because I couldn't put it down.

There is definitely a lesson to be learned from reading this book. Perhaps the reason my feelings are so conflicted is because it's a lesson that I am still learning for myself. This book is all about the importance of love (and not even romantic love at that), appreciation, and acceptance. It's a story about inner struggles. And so perhaps those of us who are fighting inner battles, such as myself, can really appreciate this book without understanding why. And maybe in a couple years I can go back and really comprehend the message. For now, I am not going to analyze it too much. This book, for me, was an interesting look at two (three?) teenagers who are on a journey to find a part of them that's missing.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: 02/09/11

Megan McCafferty
Release Date: April 26, 2011

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

There is one series that I will love forever, and I will constantly recommend it to everyone. It's surprising that I haven't mentioned it on this blog yet, seeing as how I am completely in love with it. And that series is the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty. So it only makes sense that Bumped would be a book that I am dying to read, especially since I loved every one of the Jessica Darling books.

That being said, Bumped is a book that I don't even need a summary for... I know it'll be good no matter what it's about. But having read the summary, I am now fully convinced. It sounds fabulous!

If you haven't read the Jessica Darling series, go read it now! Although, um, I suppose younger readers must be warned for some adult content.

(Perhaps I should go re-read those books and post reviews? Hmmm. Must consider that)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Emma and the Vampires

Emma and the Vampires: A Jane Austen Undead Novel
by Jane Austen and Wayne Josephson

What better place than pale England to hide a secret society of gentlemen vampires?

In this hilarious retelling of Jane Austen's Emma, screenwriter Wayne Josephson casts Mr. Knightley as one of the most handsome and noble of the gentlemen village vampires. Blithely unaware of their presence, Emma, who imagines she has a special gift for matchmaking, attempts to arrange the affairs of her social circle with delightfully disastrous results. But when her dear friend Harriet Smith declares her love for Mr. Knightley, Emma realizes she's the one who wants to stay up all night with him. Fortunately, Mr. Knightley has been hiding a secret deep within his unbeating heart-his (literal) undying love for her... A brilliant mash-up of Jane Austen and the undead.

Oh, what is the proper name for these types of books. Retellings? That doesn't seem right. I'm going to call it... a conversion. Wayne Josephson took Emma, a classic Jane Austen novel, and turned it into a young adult vampire novel. The question is whether this attempt was successful.

I have never read Emma, and so perhaps my review of this conversion will be a bit different than if I had read Emma. I believe that Emma and the Vampires was a fairly good conversion. The vampire aspect added a little bit more interest, but all in all I think the story was more focused on the retelling than the vampires. The vampires were simply a tool used to create humor, and this tool was used very effectively. I found myself laughing aloud at some places, and also pondering the stupidity of the characters. After all... there are VAMPIRES among them, and they haven't got a clue. Although perhaps that ridiculousness is part of the novel's charm.

Overall, I'd say that I'm fairly pleased with my first "conversion" book. Wayne Josephson made it enjoyable and light, and my only complaint would be that the characters were a bit too ridiculous for my liking (although it could be that the characters were the same way in the original Emma... I don't know at this point) and that the vampire aspect could have been expanded on a bit. I would recommend this book to readers looking to get into Jane Austen books, but who aren't quite up to the task. After reading this book, I can honestly say that Jane Austen's Emma intrigues me, and I am more likely to read it now than I was before.

Top Ten Characters I'd Name My Children After

Top Ten Tuesday
TTT is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Go visit and join, you won't regret it.
Top Ten Characters I'd Name My Children After

1. Katniss from The Hunger Games. I have a feeling I'm not the only one with this on my list. The name is not only unique, but Katniss as a character is truly someone that I look up to and admire, and I would like any daughter to have similar characteristics and values.

2. Remy from This Lullaby. Once again, another empowering female character. Perhaps I wouldn't want my daughter to be like Remy (she's a bit of a rebel) but I'd love to pay tribute to Sarah Dessen for creating such wonderful characters.

3. Gemma from The Gemma Doyle Trilogy. I'm sensing a pattern of strong female characters with wonderful names. Plus, she's magical. Ohhh yeahhh.

4. Lisbeth from The Millennium Trilogy. I might switch it to Elizabeth for simplicity, but this woman is someone who fascinates me. She's so BA and totally smart, and I just wish I was more like her.

5. Kara from Ballads of Suburbia. Stephanie Kuehnert is freakin' incredible when it comes to creating messed up characters. And Kara's journey is gripping and exciting.

6. Parker from Cracked Up to Be. I loved this book, and I love the name because it can be either a girl or a boy.

7. Jace from The Mortal Instruments Series. This guy is just... yeahhh. Damn sexy. Love him!

8. Jared from The Host. Stephenie Meyer deserves a LOT of credit for this wonderful novel. I loved the love triangle which is why Jared would be a wonderful name for a boy.

9. Gale from The Hunger Games. Team Gale, all the way. He's the female Katniss. Maybe if I have twins, I'll name them Gale and Katniss. And twins run in the family, so we'll see!

10. Dexter from This Lullaby. To be honest, Dexter was my first book crush. The reason I love him so much is because he is real. He's funny and not super sexy but still very lovable and there is nothing better than a real guy.

So now you tell me... who would YOU name your children after??


PS. I love the excuse to add colors to my post. It makes it so much happier!

PPS. One of the benefits of TTT: I can plan my posts ahead of time. This is so much fun I'm already itching to start the next post!

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading?

First of all: I have decided to abandon Waiting on Wednesday and In My Mailbox. While these are both great memes in their own way, they are simply not for me. My IMM posts are sporadic at best, and I find myself not wanting to participate in Waiting on Wednesday. I would much rather share news about books by reading them and reviewing them, instead of simply showcasing them.

[[I may still post WoW posts... but only in the event that I am squeeing over a new release, as is the case of this week's scheduled WoW post.]]

However, I am still interested in participating in memes. Which is why I found two memes that I believe are interesting and entertaining. I am going to try my hardest to participate in these every week.

Those are: It's Monday! What are you reading? hosted by Sheila at Book Journey and Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I hope my readers are happy with my choices!

Of course, since it's Monday, this shall be my first It's Monday! What are you reading? post!

This week was a fairly slow week, although that's not too surprising.

I read 2 books:
1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (review scheduled for Thursday)
2. Dark Song by Gail Giles (review unscheduled as of this moment).

I adore reading John Green's novels, as well as David Levithan's wonderful collaborations, and so that was a real treat to get both at the same time. Gail Giles is also a wonderful author and always keeps me entertained. Her books are really quick as well, which is a huge bonus.

On the blog this past week you can find:
1. A post concerning overcrowded Google Readers
2. My review of Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
3. My second-to-last WoW post.
4. My plans for celebrating Black History Month.
5. My review of Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.
6. A compilation of wonderful links to posts I adore.

Upcoming on the Blog:
1. My first Top Ten Tuesday
2. My review of Emma and the Vampires by Wayne Josephson
3. My WoW post
4. My review of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
3. My review of Dark Song by Gail Giles

To Read This Week:
1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
2. The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
*Possibly* one of my books for Black History Month, but that depends on the library.

Also: If you haven't done so, don't forget to enter my contest to win an ARC of Wither by Lauren DeStefano!

There's my first It's Monday! What are you reading? post. Please leave any suggestions in the comments... I am especially interested in the layout, and whether I did it in an easily navigated but still interesting way, but of course I'm always looking for thoughts on content :)


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Links I Love

There are a lot of interesting things around the blogosphere, and I thought I would share some of my favorite posts and whatnots. Hope ya'll find something you like!

100 YA Books for the Feminist Reader.
Perhaps I am a bit behind on the controversy surrounding this list, but it is completely fascinating. I do not have anything unique to say on the subject myself, but please look at the following response posts: Chasing Words, Chasing Ray, Smart Bitches Trashy Books.
YA Lit Chat Controversy
April from Books and Wine rants about last weeks YA Lit Chat. Which I personally didn't read, but apparently it was VERY offensive towards book bloggers. (Also, the title of the post forced me to listen to... Aaron Carter? How odd...)

Catherine Ryan Hyde also posts about last weeks controversial YA Lit Chat. I knew there was a reason that I love Catherine Ryan Hyde :)
Other Worthy Randomness:
Hot Guys Reading Books. Need I say more?

Book Blogging 411. This was an interesting post, although I don't necessarily agree with the qualifications for a great blogger. Scroll down to my comment to see where I disagree.

College YA. I wish that there was more of it out there. And I'm obviously not the only one.

And, finally.... Win a Kindle. Ohhh yeahhh.

Alison's post about commenting. Very similar to my post regarding reading/commenting on blogs earlier this week.


That's about it for now. I may do a post like this occasionally. I am thinking that there may be different blogs that have special features/memes like this, and I am in no way trying to rip anyone off... just posting things that I enjoyed.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Princess Ben

Princess Ben
Catherine Murdock
March 2008

Benevolence is not your typical princess and Princess Ben is certainly not your typical fairy tale. With her parents lost to unknown assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia, who is intent on marrying her off to the first available “specimen of imbecilic manhood.” Starved and miserable, locked in the castle’s highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire . . . But Ben’s private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat facing the castle and indeed the entire country. Can Princess Ben save her kingdom from annihilation and herself from permanent enslavement?
This book, divided into four parts, was not exactly what I was expecting.

First of all, I absolutely loved Dairy Queen and The Off Season by Catherine Murdock. If you have not read them, I would definitely recommend them. While they may seem strange at first glance (at least, to me they did) they are definitely worth picking up.

However, I would not recommend Princess Ben quite as much as Murdock's first two novels.

That's not to say that it didn't have it's charms. I quite enjoyed reading about a character who has a similar addiction as I do: an addiction to food. I enjoyed her adventurousness and her stubbornness.

So, I enjoyed the characters. Ben was an interesting and complex narrator, and the other characters also had their unique qualities that I found intriguing.

However, the rest of it was just lacking for me. It took much too long to get into the novel- it wasn't until the beginning of part 2 that truly exciting things happened, and even when exciting things did happen, they all seemed sort of anti-climactic and- to be quite frank about it all- dull. It seemed almost like the ending of every part was the introduction to something that made me much more interested... and then it just flopped back into the same pattern.

The structure of having four parts, I think, is what I didn't enjoy. Simply because the elements of fiction didn't apply as they should have. There was a conflict, and complications, but the climax was nothing exciting and the conclusion was not really what was expected. It was almost like the author forced it to be a certain way so that there'd be a happy ending.

That being said, the book wasn't horrible. It just didn't have that spark of something special that Catherine Murdock's other books have. I would still recommend this book to fans of Gail Carson Levine, or if you've been wanting to read this for awhile I certainly wouldn't discourage you from giving it a shot on your own. It's just not going to go on my list of favorites.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February is Black History Month!

Black History Month is here yet again!

This is a month to celebrate black people throughout history. Whether we take the time to learn more about some more current black icons, such as Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey, or we go back in time and explore the literature of Phillis Wheatley or Frederick Douglass, there are plenty of different ways to experience this wonderful month.

I'm going to celebrate this month in my own way: by reading YA literature about black people, and other people of color, and spotlighting those books on my blog. Hopefully I'll be able to find other ways to celebrate on my blog, but I think that this will be a good start.

I hope that others will join me in my celebration of this month. I feel like there is a whole world of YA black/colored literature that should be explored, and what better time to explore it than Black History Month!


Waiting on Wednesday: 2/2/11

Waiting on Wednesday originated here. =]

My pick:

Stolen Nights (Vampire Queen #2)
Rebecca Maizel
June 21, 2011

No summary available (unless my Google search was ineffective. if anybody has or knows of a summary for this, please let me know so I can update this post!) All I know is that it's the sequel to Infinite Days.
Yesterday I posted my COMPLETELY FANGIRL review of Infinite Days. I loved it, I can't believe I didn't read it sooner, and now I am completely desperate to read the sequel. I hope this one lives up to it's predecessor!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Infinite Days

Infinite Days
by Rebecca Maizel

"Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than one."

Those were some of Rhode's last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face.

It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste.

Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust.

I never expected to fall in love with someone else that wasn't Rhode.

But Justin was...daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream.

I never expected to be sixteen again...then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me...

I don't even know what to say in this review. Except... wow. Just wow. It's been a long time since I've stayed up late for the sole purpose of finishing a book. This book just did it for me. I was completely addicted.

After thinking about it for a couple days, there are a few negative thoughts on the book. The first negative thought is that Lenah adapted very well to her new surroundings, and there were times when it didn't seem realistic. However, this is a very major nit-picky detail, seeing as how vampires in their entirety are not realistic. Another very nit-picky detail is how the characters behaved. At times, it didn't seem realistic. Once again, however, I am reminded of the fact that there is no way to predict how people would react in a certain situation if that situation has never before existed. And so I cannot be too harsh of a critic.

Those minor details aside, I absolutely adored this book. The characters really drew me in. They were stereotypical to a point, but after that point they were completely unique and I loved that aspect- especially when thinking about the vampires. They are very similar to vampires that exist in other stories, but at the same time there are unique characteristics that make them a work of Rebecca Maizel's imagination. I loved how Maizel told the story weaved from past to present, and the world she created was completely wonderful. I loved the setting and descriptions, and I especially loved the chemistry between the characters.

The story, while starting out a little slow, quickly picked up and it became impossible to put down. This is a must read for any vampire fan, or romance fan, or simply YA fan. This book will not disappoint, and it will leave readers BEGGING for the sequel. I absolutely cannot wait to read Stolen Nights when it is released in June.

HIGHLY Recommend.