Giveaway: Dreamland by Alyson Noel

I have got another great opportunity for readers of this blog to win yet another book. I have been lucky enough to post quite a few giveaways lately, a fact that I find very exciting. The newest one is to win Dreamland by Alyson Noel, the third book in her Riley Bloom Series.

Title: Dreamland (Riley Bloom #3)

Author: Alyson Noel

Riley’s finding that the afterlife can be a lonely place when all you do is focus on work. So she goes to the place where dreams happen, hoping to find a way to contact her sister, Ever. She meets the director, who tells her about the two ways to send dreams. As a Dream Jumper, a person can jump into a dreamer’s dream, share a message, and participate. As a Dreamweaver, an entire dream can be created in a studio and sent to the dreamer. But Dreamweaving was outlawed decades ago, and the studio was boarded up. Thinking it’s her only way to reach out to her sister, Riley goes in search of the old studio. There she finds a ghost boy, who’s been creating and sending nightmares to people for years. In order to stop him and reach out to Ever, Riley is going to have to confront and overcome her own fears.

As a follow-up to Radiance and Shimmer, Dreamland has been a highly anticipated novel. For you today I have the wonderful book trailer to this book!

So what did you think of the trailer? I have not read the first two books of this series, but I am definitely anxious to get started!

GIVEAWAY:

Now on to the rules for the giveaway!

This one I am going to be doing a little differently. All that I ask is that you 1) tell my your thoughts on the book trailer or series as a whole and 2) share this giveaway somehow whether it be through Facebook, Twitter, or your blog.

-You must be from U.S. or Canada

-You must leave a comment with valid e-mail, your thoughts on the book, AND a link with how you shared this awesome giveaway with the world.

-You must leave comment before the end of the day on 9/22/2011

-Winner will have 24 hours to respond before another one is chosen!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the trailer don’t forget to add Dreamland along with Radiance  and Shimmer to your “to-read” list on Goodreads.com!

Tune-In Tuesday (25)

Tune In Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Ginger @ GReads so you should head on over and link up! It is a great way to bounce from blog to blog and discover what others are listening to! I love music but there is so much out there that I haven’t heard of before. That being said, feel free to leave a link to your Tune-In Tuesday post!

This week I don’t have a big story to share with you guys about a band. This one is going to be simple because my love for the music by Secondhand Serenade is simple. They play songs. The songs are beautiful. I love their music. All you need to know is that they are awesome and if you haven’t listened to them yet you definitely should start!

Book Review + Giveaway: Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine

Title: Sophie & Carter

Author: Chelsea Fine

Publisher: Acacia Publishing, Inc.

Pages: 128 paperback

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Source: I received a paperback copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

While other high school seniors are dreaming about their futures, Sophie and Carter are just trying to make it through each day. Carter is overwhelmed by issues at home as he struggles to support his mother. Meanwhile, next door neighbor Sophie is left to care for her three younger siblings in place of their absent and troubled mother. All that holds these two best friends together is each other, and knowing that each night they’ll sit together on Sophie’s front porch swing and escape from reality, if just for a while. But as their relationship reaches a turning point and high school graduation nears, will their friendship become something more?

This is the best little surprise I could have ever hoped for. When I read the summary for this book I thought it sounded like the most wonderful contemporary fiction story ever. It sounds like just the type of thing that I would love. However, when the book showed up and I noticed how small it was, I began to get a bit worried. How could a book that is only 117 pages be any good? Well, I don’t know how Chelsea does it but she made me fall head over heels in love with both her characters in such a small amount of time. I felt their pain, and I so desperately wanted a better life for the both of them.

Sophie and Carter are two teenagers dealing with a whole lot of crap. Sophie’s mom is never home so Sophie is forced to take care of the Littles (her brothers and sister as she like to call them) but that is okay because she loves their guts (as she states quite often). Carter on the other hand has only one person to take care of and that is his mom. After years and years of the two of them facing the abuse of Carter’s dad, Carter must deal with the aftermath, a crazy, drunk mother. My heart broke for both characters. Their lives are so difficult, complicated, and so devastating. Instead of their crap-tastic lives bringing their personalities down though, these two stay strong by bonding together.

The relationship between Sophie and Carter is a crazy one but it works for them. When most people would look at their own lives and feel sorry for themselves, Sophie and Carter look at one another and think of how much they want to make the other’s life so much better. You could feel the love and compassion emanating from both of these characters even before they realized it themselves. Sophie is smart, beautiful, caring, strong, responsible, and basically everything Carter could ever want in a girl. Carter is quiet, kind, gentle, understanding, and basically everything Sophie could want in a guy. You could see how perfect these two are for each other but for the longest time they failed to see it. However, when they come to the realization that they just may have been made for each other, it just couldn’t be a more perfect moment.

I know it may be hard to believe that I have such strong feelings for a book this small but just trust me on this one. Read it and I promise you will not be disappointed. Chelsea creates two layered, complex, and completely wonderful characters in this story. You will fall for Sophie & Carter just as much as I did!

GIVEAWAY:

Since the publishers are made of awesome, I now have an extra copy to giveaway to one lucky person. Here’s how you can enter:

-Must live in the U.S. or Canada

-Must leave a comment telling me what you think AND leave a valid e-mail address

-Must leave a comment before 9/19/2011

FOR EXTRA POINTS:

+1 Follow Katelyn Torrey (me) and Chelsea Fine (author) on Twitter

+1 Add Sophie & Carter as “to-read” on Goodreads

+2 Tweet about the giveaway (MUST LEAVE LINK!!!!)

Best of luck to all of you and thanks for checking out my review of this book!

Book Review: Alex Charles – Dreams In Time by Kim Reynolds

Title: Alex Charles: Dreams In Time (Alex Charles #2)

Author: Kim Reynolds

Publisher: Angel Oak Press

Pages: 368 paperback

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Source: I received a paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

On a cold winter’s evening in Raleigh, North Carolina, Alex Charles left 1989 and traveled into the darkness of 1942. Her mission simple: to save two boys from drowning just days before Christmas. But how could she have known the danger that awaited her in the past.

Joseph Graham, her fun-loving uncle, tried to give her all the essentials necessary for time travel and changing destiny. However, he couldn’t live without his own true love, Laura Chestnut, a woman he met during the last days of the Civil War.

Sometimes forever is too long to wait. Returning to 1870, Joe knew the risk, but wasn’t going back for personal gain forbidden?

The rules aren’t the same this time. Even though destiny can change, how far will Alex and Joseph go to rewrite the past?

After reading the first installment to this series, Alex Charles: The Evening Oak, I was beyond excited to start this book. I desperately wanted to know the rest of Alex’s story and figure out more of her family history. While some questions were answered and a few mysteries were untangled, I was still left dying to know more! Alex Charles: Dreams In Time is a great follow up. The characters develop a bit more, they grow and learn a lot, the events that unravel keep us interested and quite a bit of new questions are formed!

Alex and Joe continue to nurture their relationship during the beginning of this book. Joe tries to learn as much about his niece as possible before he leaves on his final time travel and Alex tries to pump as much time travel information out of Joe. Joe stays just as fun-loving and kind as ever. I am convinced that he would be one of the coolest uncles ever (if my uncles weren’t already the best that ever lived!) Alex matures a lot throughout this book and she becomes a lot stronger of a person. She is faced with a bit more drama in the second installment as she decides on major life decisions while also dealing with the emotional turmoil of losing both parents and the knowledge that her uncle will soon be leaving as well. Even though Alex is facing a lot at this time, I love how Joe and her continue to build a strong family bond. However, Joe’s time was limited and when he finally did go forth on his final mission, I found myself missing him dearly.

After Joe leaves, Alex is faced with more than any person should have to face. She learns of HUGE family fortunes, messy, confusing family secrets, and she is forced to deal with it all on her own…well of course she has the help of Lilly and Jackson’s wonderful family. Even though Alex and I were both sad to see Joe go, she still has a tremendous support system as she prepares for her first time travel. Seeing Alex take every piece of new, earth-shattering information in stride was inspirational. Her strength and determination to make a difference in the past is amazing!

A bit of mystery was added in this story by Kim including another flashback to one of Joe’s past time travels. In the time travel we are re-introduced to Joe’s true love, Laura. I loved seeing more of Joe’s experiences but my gosh, it is making me anxious to read more of the series. I NEED to know how his and Laura’s story turns out and how it affects Alex’s life.

The most exciting aspect of this book was finally being able to see Alex’s first time travel jump! I loved the quirky family she goes to live with and ultimately saves. Tucker and Curtis Lee Blue are funny little boys who were faced with death at an early age. Alex dedicates her first time travel to saving them. While, I did enjoy the time she spent with the family, the end of her stay (which ends up being the conclusion of the second book) with the Blue family ended a bit oddly for me. It seems to wrap up a bit too quickly but that is honestly the only complaint I have about this whole book!

Reading this series has been a joy and as I stated in my review of Kim’s first book, her take on time travel is so unique and refreshing. I am crossing my fingers for a third installment; I can’t wait to see what happens in Alex’s future!

TGIF (15)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s question is:

Books to Television:

Which books would you love to see made in to a tv series? or movie?

Oh goodness! You guys may be shocked by my answer for this question but I only have two. That’s right, you heard me correctly. Only TWO books that I would like to see turned into a TV series or a movie!

First would be Divergent by Veronica Roth. I talked about this in one of my frist vlogs but I’ll explain again. I loved that book so much! Veronica’s details of the broken down Chicago city were awesome and I just know that with all of the technology at the disposal of Hollywood, they could make it look quite amazing. The action, love, mystery and altogether awesomeness of that book would make for a super great movie. Also, I love how vague her descriptions of the characters were. While reading the book it was irritating but for adapting the book into a film, that allows for some creativity and a lot of freedom to choose the perfect actors.

Second would be Perfect Chemistry  by Simone Elkeles. There is only one name that needs to be uttered to explain this one: Alex Fuentes. My good god, I can only imagine how gorgeous the actor would be playing Alex (pictures shown below are of Alexander F. Rodriguez, the god who plays Alex in Simone’s book trailers). The amount of drooling coming from my mouth while watching that show would be totally unacceptable and borderline crazy but I don’t even care. I only want to see my favorite Latino boy come to life for one night a week. Is that too much to ask for?

*Faints from too much epic hotness being on one computer screen*

On Katelyn’s Blog This Week (9/2-9/9):

Tune In Tuesday (24)

The Virgin Diaries

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin + Giveaway (Ends 9/15)

Giveaway: All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Macmillan Publishing and Zeitghost Media have joined forces yet again to allow me to host another wonderful event for you guys. As many of you know Gabrielle Zevin, author of books such as Elsewhere (a book I just love!) and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (a book I haven’t read but have heard awesome things about) is coming out with a new book titled  All These Things I’ve Done. This book sounds crazy! A world in which coffee and chocolate are illegal…that is unthinkable!

Title: All These Things I’ve Done

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city’s most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.’s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she’s to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight–at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

Now that you know what this book is about, let’s take a look at the book trailer!

GIVEAWAY:

I am so excited to read this one!!! Love, chocolate, crime, and mystery seemed to be perfectly mixed together in this new series. Now, for the part you have all waited for, the giveaway!

-You must live in the U.S. or Canada

-You must leave a valid e-mail address in the comments section

-You must leave a comment letting me, Gabrielle Zevin, and Macmillan Publishing know what you thought of the book trailer

-You must leave a comment before 11:59 p.m. September 15th, 2011

-The winner will have 24 hours to respond to the e-mail before another winner is chosen

FOR ADDITIONAL POINTS:

+1- Follow Gabrielle on Twitter

+1- Add All These Things I’ve Done as “to-read” on Goodreads.com

Book Review: The Virgin Diaries by Kimberley A. Johnson & Ann Werner

Title: The Virgin Diaries

Author: Compiled and Edited by Kimberley A. Johnson & Ann Werner

Publisher: Ark Stories

Pages: 228 paperback

My Rating: 4/5 stories

Source: I recieved and e-copy of this book from the author in exchange a for an honest and thoughtful review

What’s it like to have sex for the first time? Seventy-two people, young and old, gay and straight, responded to the call for answers and those answers are in The Virgin Diaries. This candid collection of stories provides a unique opportunity to be a fly on the wall. There is no commentary. The stories stand on their own, allowing the reader to form his or her own conclusions. Whether you are a virgin and desire to make an informed decision or are looking for a walk down Memory Lane, The Virgin Diaries offers confidential insights into one of life’s most personal experiences.

This review is going to be a little different because this is a book so unlike anything else that I have ever read before. My blog is a Young Adult book blog. Every now and then I may stumble into the “adult” world with an Adult/Young Adult crossover book but that doesn’t occur often. Something that happens even less often than that would be me testing the waters of educational books. I read the required material for my classes but I hardly go out looking for educational books for fun. However, when a review request came along for this book, I instantly said yes. This book is the real life, true accounts of many people’s first time experience with sex. If TV and media teaches us anything, it is that sex is a wonderful, passionate, experience that is highly enjoyable for both partners ESPECIALLY if it is their first time ever doing it. *Laughs at the craziness of that whole last statement* This book breaks through the image that Hollywood has imprinted in the minds of today’s teenagers. This book allows us to feel and understand exactly what people went through during their first sexual encounter. Now before you all get embarrassed (for yourself or for me) please let me explain that this book is in no way pornographic and it stays relatively clean considering the subject matter. The people who volunteered their stories were asked a series of questions. “What age were you during your first encounter?”, “Did you have any advice from parental or religious figures?”, and “Is there any advice you would give to virgins?”were a few of the many wonderful questions that were asked. Their answers to these questions were compiled and edited to create The Virgin Diaries.

Okay now that you know what this book is about and exactly how it is different than any other book I have read, I will try and review it to the best of my ability. Since these are peoples’ initial responses to questions they were asked and it is their own personal experiences that they so bravely shared with the general public, I will not be judging their individual stories. Instead, I will be talking about the importance of this book.

I come from a very open family. We say what is on our mind and us kids know that we can talk to our parents freely about anything including sex. I am very aware that this is not the case for many others and that fact alone is made even more prominent after reading this book. I read through SEVENTY-TWO stories that people shared. Out of those 72 people, how many of them do you think had an open relationship with their parent about sex? You may or may not be shocked by the answer but it is close to none. They often times didn’t get advice from parents or adult figures, no knowledge was shared on the topic, and birth control was not something that was ever talked about. I find this whole idea just absolutely ludicrous! How could parents allow their kids to be so ignorant on such important matters such as STD’s and pregnancy? For the people in this book that had no advice from adult figures, I am deeply saddened that they did not have a book like this available for them to utilize.

Some stories included in The Virgin Diaries have happy endings; some of them were awkward and embarrassing. Other stories broke my heart, while others made me squirm a bit. However, I still feel that this book could be a very important tool for parents to use when talking to their kids about sex. I am well aware that EVERYONE’S parenting style is different and I truly do not mean to offend any parents that are reading this but come on! You have to talk to your teenagers!!! You can’t just throw them a box of condoms, tell them that abstinence is best and then expect everything to turn out hunky-dory. Us teenagers are confused, interested, and curious by nature. We don’t always use our head and we sometimes need parental guidance whether we want to admit it or not. This is exactly why I feel that books like The Virgin Diaries are printed. It is so parents can use it to help ease them into what is sure to be the most awkward conversation of their life. Reading other people’s first-hand encounters allows you to think about what happens emotionally and physically. The questions that were asked and everyone’s responses allowed us to see the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of sex. While not all first time encounters are unbearable, we do learn that losing one’s virginity is not all satin bed sheets and roses and that is something a “birds and the bees” type of conversation just wont cover.

I know that this is a bit of an unconventional review but there was just no other way of putting it. This book and the subject it covers is just entirely too important to shove aside. Would I hand this book out to every random, young teen on the street? Heck no! Some people have the maturity level of a 5-year-old. Would I give this book to parents of teenagers? Yes. A million times yes. I would give it to them to read alone, with their child, or at least allow them to use it as a tool to start talking to their kids about sex.

Tune-In Tuesday (24)

Tune In Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Ginger @ GReads so you should head on over and link up! It is a great way to bounce from blog to blog and discover what others are listening to! I love music but there is so much out there that I haven’t heard of before. That being said, feel free to leave a link to your Tune-In Tuesday post!

I am sad to see 90′s Edition come to an end but I must remember that there is more awesome music out there to share with you guys. Today is my first day back to college. I’m irritated that I have to get up way too early and I do NOT even want to think about the amount of homework I will soon have but in the end, I know it will all pay off. This back to school time always make me really sad because that means summer is quickly coming to an end. However, I have a super awesome band that I listen to any time I need something cheerful, quirky, and somewhat beachy to help brighten my mood (Sidenote: I have NO idea why I refer to this band as “beachy.” I just do). The Maine is a band I fell in love with the moment I heard their version of I Wanna Love You (originally sung by Akon). After that, they could have basically sang sections A-F of Webster’s Dictionary and I would have listened to it religiously. Staying true to Katelyn-form, I am sharing more than one song by them today. Enjoy….and think happy thoughts as I try to stay awake during class today!

p.s. Can I just mention their epic cuteness??? I mean COME ON! Can a guy that looks like that please, please, please exist in my neck of the woods?

The Maine: I Wanna Love You

The Maine: Into Your Arms

The Maine: Everything I Ask For

The Maine: Pour Some Sugar On Me

TGIF (14)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s question is:

Making a Difference:

Which book(s) would you put in the hands of today’s teenagers in hopes of making a difference in their lives?

My initial response to this question is ANYTHING. Any book that perks the interest of a teenager that doesn’t normally read, holds some sort of significance. Any book that a kid picks up and it allows them to fall in love with reading is a book that is making a difference in their lives. So what if it happens to be a comic book, a picture book, or even a book about the life and death of Abraham Lincoln, if they are interested in it and it is getting them to read then it is important. HOWEVER, this is not exactly what the question is asking. If I personally had to choose books that I know and love to place in the hands of teens in hopes of making a difference in their lives, I would have to choose:

What Can’t Waitby Ashley Hope Perez: This wonderfully written novel is about a young girl’s struggle to achieve her dreams. I strongly believe that this book can teach any teenager that dreams can come true if you have enough drive and focus (ignore how cheesy that whole statement just sounded. It is the truth!). The main character, Marisa, has basically no support from her family. They don’t push her to attend college or move forth with her life but she wants it enough that she makes it happen anyway. I love that Ashley created such a strong, determined character that many can learn from.

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal is a book I would give to any teenager especially girls. This book starts off with a quiet, reserved girl. She then falls in love with a guy she is convinced she will have a future with. The wonderful thing about this book is that it doesn’t paint a picture-perfect ending that so many novels do. It is my biggest hope that some teenagers will learn that your first real boyfriend is not always (if ever) your last. Heartbreaks do happen but the important thing we learn from this particular book is that after the initial pain of a breakup is that you soon realize that your life is still going on with or without that guy. You still have friends, family, and a future aside from that one person.

Deadline by Chris Crutcher is a wonderful, touching story that I think will make a difference in many people’s lives. Teenage guys will especially love this book because the main character is a guy making it a lot easier to relate to. It has been a long time since I’ve read this but what I do remember is the timeless statement of living each day as if it were your last. Teenagers in general take each passing moment for granted. The main character in this book knows exactly how much time he has left on this earth so he does his very best to make the most of it. It is truly a touching story.

And as you guys know by know, I CANNOT create a list without Sarah Dessen. In all honesty (not just because it is my favorite book) The Truth About Forever is a book that teens can learn a lot from. I learned to not conform to any person’s view of me. I am who I am .I do what makes me happy. I don’t make changes to myself just because it makes a parent, friend, boyfriend, etc. happy. I stay true to myself and that is what the main character, Macy, learns to do in this book.

These four books carry four important, strong messages that I think many, many teenagers can learn from. They don’t tackle the most devastating issues out there such as a death of a family member, mental illnesses, or even drug and alcohol abuse BUT they do touch on subjects that everyone can learn from.

This Week On Katelyn’s Blog (8/26-9/2):

In My Mailbox (23)

Witch Song by Amber Argyle

Tune In Tuesday (23)

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto Book Trailer + Giveaway (Ends 9/7)