2012 Challenges!

2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren

I am so excited to be doing this challenge yet again this year! Last year was my very first time participating and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought I could read like 500 books a year and had Trump’s bank account. Apparently neither of these are the case. This year I still went through and added a lot of the 2012 Debuts to my TBR list but I am only picking 14 to read as a part of this challenge. Right now the list below is what I have gotten and I know that will probably change somewhere down the road but for the most part I hope it stays as is because I’ve got a great mix of books to choose from! Contemporary, sci-fi, dystopian, steampunk…I CAN’T WAIT!!!!

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Send Me A Sign by Tiffany Schmidt

In Between by Tara A. Fuller

Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom

Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Tempest by Julie Cross

2012 Just Contemporary Reading Challenge hosted byBasically Amazing Books

I am a huge fan of Contemporary books but I don’t stray too far from what I am used to. I am challenging myself to broaden my horizons this year! In 2012, it is my goal to read “tougher” books. I hope to read some Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, Stephanie Kuehnert, etc. I want to be more aware of the world I live in (both the good and the bad) and I think contemporary books dealing with tougher situations than what I usually read will help me to accomplish that. It is my goal to read 5-10 “tougher” books. Also, I want to try reading some verse novels! Ashley has constantly been pushing me to read Lisa Schroeder and now, with this challenge, I hope I can actually listen to her! I have heard her books are amazing and great for people just starting out with verse novels, so I couldn’t be more excited. I want to read AT LEAST The Day Before, Chasing Brooklyn, and I Heart You, You Haunt Me but if any more of her books come along, or any other contemporary verse novels in general, I would love to try them out! So if you guys are interested in signing up, click the link above, it is SO SIMPLE! I hope to read at least 12 books for this challenge!

2012 Award Winning Reads Challenge hosted by Basically Amazing Books & The Reading Housewives of Indiana

Last year, this event was a summer long event and I will just say I failed. MAJORLY. I read 1 itsy-bitsy book from the amazing list of books to choose from. How incredibly horrible is that? I hope to fix that this year though! I am thinking 10 is a solid number of books plus a few may overlap into other challenges. I think this challenge is an awesome idea and it gets many people to read those books they may have been scared to pick up before because of the shiny medal on the cover!

Speak by Lauri Halse Anderson

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

The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Stolen: A Letter To My Captor by Lucy Christopher

Fat Kid Rules The World by K.L. Going

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Holes by Louis Sachar

2012 Y.A. Historical Fiction Challenge hosted by Y.A. Bliss

This is another challenge I did last year and failed at! I am so happy that I was able to read the books that I did though because they turned out to be AMAZING! This year I am keeping it simple and reading 5 books. I hope I can squeeze in a little extra but if not, I am okay with 5! This is a great challenge I think you all should participate in. You just might find out you like history a little more than you could have imagined!

Forgiven by Janet Fox

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergen

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Steel by Carrie Vaughn

Ingenue by Jillian Larkin

So there is my list of challenges for 2012! I am keeping the lists pretty low but that means there is always room for growth! You should consider following all the links and joining up with these challenges. There are some great books to be read!!!

In My Mailbox (19)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library. This has been a pretty awesome book week for me!

Review:

Nephilim Genesis of Evil by Renee Pawlish (PDF)

Summary: A dark power described in Genesis revisits the small mountain town of Taylor Crossing. After witnessing an evil presence in New York City, Rory Callahan comes out West in search of answers, and finds a town succumbing to supernatural forces. Now, an evil prophesy may be fulfilled by the Nephilim.

My Thoughts: Technically I didn’t get this book this week but I checked through my e-mails and found a few e-books in there that I had forgotten about. This book definitely sounds unlike any other book I have ever read. I hope to get to it very soon!

Nowhereville by Sean Campbell (PDF)

Summary: After his mother’s death, sixteen year old Seth Bradley chooses to leave behind his friends, his school, and his entire life within the rusted, broken down space station Ticonderoga. With his sister Jenna in tow, he sets out to join a father he barely knows in the orbital city of Grass Valley, a monument to human achievement floating three hundred miles above the Earth.
He’s never seen the open sky before. Never seen a robot either, until he meets Anne, a strange, quiet shopgirl that no one ever seems too bothered to notice.

Ava Morales is a girl with a mysterious and violent past. The soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Mars sing praises to her name, but to her family she is a terrible secret.
She is considered a terrorist by the Allied Nations of Earth, but to others still, she’s nothing more than a troubled teenager, on her way to becoming a permanent resident of the Grass Valley prison system.

When Grass Valley is caught in the crossfire of an all-out war between Earth and Mars, Seth, Jenna and Anne must work together to survive as they find themselves trapped in a world that is literally crumbling around them.
Meanwhile Ava unexpectedly finds herself alone and finally free in a chaotic, hostile city torn apart by conspiracy and fear. A city where, maybe, she has a chance to finally live in peace. A city in ruins, lost to the blackness of space.
A city with secrets all its own.

My Thoughts: This is by far the most interesting summary I have ever read! I am so excited to get reading about the futuristic world that Sean creates for us!

 

The 57th Keeper by R.G. Bullett (PDF)

My Thoughts: This is a teaser for R.G. Bullett’s novel, The 58th Keeper that is set to come out later this month!

Saved by Allegra Skye (PDF)

Summary: In SAVED (Book #1 of the Shadow Vampires), Keira and Amanda, twins, move with their family to a new town, and start their senior year at a new high school. But though they are twins, the girls have different fates. Amanda, beautiful, popular, is sought out by everyone. Keira, who has always lived in Amanda’s shadow, is smaller, awkward, different. Even her mother, who is so close to Amanda, doesn’t know what to make of her other daughter. Keira turns to books, and to her journal, for solace, and to find out about other worlds.

Amanda makes friends easily at the new school, and quickly finds a boyfriend, while Keira is left alone, an outsider. But very quickly, it is clear that something strange is going on in Everstock. The town and the school are very divided. The popular, rich kids act as if they own the school and have nothing to do with the other kids, who are poorer and live in a different part of town. Not only are the kids meaner here, but an unknown infection has gripped the town, with more and more people going to the hospital. Something here is terribly wrong.

But things change suddenly, as there is a terrible accident involving the twins. Not only are Keira and Amanda’s lives changed forever, but a new dimension of life begins to open to Keira.

As Keira recovers, she begins to change in ways she can’t expect, receiving new and mysterious powers that no one can possibly understand. At the same time, a gorgeous, mysterious new boy, Cooper, appears at the school, who grips her imagination, and who refuses to tell her what secret he is hiding.

As Keira and Cooper grow closer to each other, it soon becomes apparent that destiny has brought them together-and that they may each have to sacrifice it all if they want to stay together…

My Thoughts:  It has been a while since I have read a good vampire story so I am excited for this one! It sounds mysterious and suspenseful!

Bought:

Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman

Summary: Bickering frenemies Meg and Shar are doing some serious damage at a midnight sample sale when they find themselves arguing over a pair of shoes—with fatal consequences. One innocent bystander later, the girls are suddenly at the mercy of Hades—the god of the underworld—himself. To make them atone for what they’ve done, Hades forces the teens to become special-assignment Sirens, luring to the Underworld any individual whose unholy contract is up.

But just because they have an otherworldly part-time job now doesn’t mean Meg and Shar can ignore life’s drudgeries (work) or pleasures (fashion!). Finding that delicate balance between their old and new responsibilities turns out to be harder than they expected, especially when an entire pantheon of Greek deities decides to get involved. Then there’s the matter of the fine print in their contracts . . .

My Thoughts: This sounds like the funniest book ever! Fashion, The Underworld, and frenemies; what could be better???

Won:

What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

Summary: “Another day finished, gracias a Dios.”

Seventeen-year-old Marisa’s mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.

At school, it’s another story. Marisa’s calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin—a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn’t sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn’t end each day thanking God it’s over.

What Can’t Wait—the gripping debut novel from Ashley Hope Pérez—tells the story of one girl’s survival in a world in which family needs trump individual success, and self-reliance the only key that can unlock the door to the future.

My Thoughts Thanks to the lovely ladies at The Book Memoirs for this awesome giveaway. Ashley Hope Perez’s debut novel, What Can’t Wait is an AWESOME book. I am just so glad I finally have my own copy!

 

~Thanks to the wonderful Danielle from Frenzy of Noise for all of the books and swag! I was so happy to get the mail on this particular day!~

 

 

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Summary: My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

My Thoughts: Well, I do have this book already but I am still so thankful anyways! That means more awesomeness to share with my friends. This series is DYING for me to read it!

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Summary: When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can’t believe she’s finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole’s small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose “love” she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose – between her “true love” and herself.

My Thoughts: I have read a ton of reviews for this book recently and for some strange reason I really, really want to read it. This is definitely not the type of book I usually go for but it sounds great; sad, but great!

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Summary: Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?

Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive….

Not your typical beach read.

My Thoughts:  I don’t even care if this is not your typical beach read! I have wanted to read this book for so long and I am extremely happy to finally have my own copy!

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Summary: Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.
 
Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?
 
Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .
 
Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .
 
From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes. 

My Thoughts:  Another book I own, have read, and love! That is ok though because I try getting all my friends and family to read it. now I have a copy to keep and a copy to lend out!

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Summary: Three angels- Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human- are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

My Thoughts:  Okay, you caught me! Another book I own already but come one! You can never, ever have enough books. This one sounds so great that I am sure I will have no issues finding someone who wants to borrow it!

Well there are all of my books for this week! Add them on Goodreads by clicking the title, leave a comment letting me know what you think, and of course, Happy Reading!

Monthly Wrap-Up (February 2011)

It’s that time again! Monthly Wrap-Up is a feature on my blog that I just started this year. At the end of each month I will post exactly what happened on my crazy little blog for that previous month. February is a short month; that is the excuse I am using to cover up my lack of reading/blogging this past month.

Books I Read In February

Rhymes With Cupid By Anna Humphrey

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Gone by Lisa McMann

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Across The Universe by Beth Revis

*That is a total of 6 books read for the month of February. I am now 14% done with my goal of reading 100 books this year*

Books I Reviewed In February

Other Words For Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal. (Read my review here.) This is a fantastic 2011 Debut Novel that needs to be read by teenage girls everywhere. Love, heartbreak, and redemption are all included in this wonderful book!

 

Vixen by Jillian Larkin. (Read my review here.) This is a must read for anyone participating in Y.A. Bliss’ Historical Fiction Challenge. Revenge, love, drama, murder, lies, deceit, fashion; basically the norm for the Roaring 20′s.

 

Timeless by Alexandra Monir. (Read my review here.) Another fantastic 2011 Debut Novel! This one takes us all throughout history as the main character races through time to save the boy she loves.

 

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg. (Read my review here.) Not a debut novel but an absolute must-read! This feel-good novel is about getting over heart-break, learning to love yourself, and not to mention, it features the wonderful Beatles!

*I feel that I should also mention that this book may or may not have been written about my best friend Kati and I*

 

Rhymes With Cupid by Anna Humphrey. (Read my review here.) This super cute, easy-loving novel is the perfect little book for Valentines Day, or really just for a time when you just need a love story to get you by.

 

Across The Universe by Beth Revis. (Read my review here.) 2011 Debut Authors must have been conspiring together to all write fantastic novels. Across The Universe is a book that will satisfy all readers regardless of what their favorite genre is. It is sci-fi, romance, thriller, mystery, just everything great rolled into one.

Miscellaneous Things On The Blog In February

I continued to participate in the weekly meme featured by The Story Siren, In My Mailbox. I got so many fantastic items this past month, I really couldn’t believe it!

(Read my IMM posts here, here, and here.)

I also joined a new meme this month hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading, called Teaser Tuesday. You pick a random page of a book you are currently reading, reveal 2 sentences, and tease all your readers. It is fun and I got a great response to it!

(Read my Teaser Tuesday post here.)

On one particular day, I was feeling generous and bored so I decided to post a few videos staring, made, and produced by my brother and neighbor. The creative little dudes love coming up with videos and also love the comments, so if you are feeling generous and bored as well, click the link below and drop them off a comment!

(To view my brother’s and neighbor’s videos click here.)

In other news, Leah Clifford’s book, A Touch Mortal came out this month! To enter her giveaway (which sadly, I did not win) I had to make a post regarding the craziest thing I have ever done. It features my spontaneous personality, clumsiness, and all-around bad luck.

(To view “The Craziest Thing I Have Ever Done” click here.)

Wrap Up

That is it for this month, I know it is sad and pathetic. I am not getting too much closer to my goal of books read in 2011, but I have a feeling March is going to be more productive! However, Kati and I will be taking a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, so if I am somehow swallowed up by the ocean (it’s happened once or twice before, who knows if it’ll happen again), you all will have to deal. Now back to the point, if you are interested in doing a monthly wrap-up, please do so! Post a link in the comments section, and I will check it out. I hope February was a great, love-filled month for everyone!

Book Review: Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Title: Vixen (Flappers #1)

Author: Jillian Larkin

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Pages: 421 hardcover

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.
 
Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?
 
Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .
 
Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . . 
 
From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.

Why did I take so long to finish this book? It was just marvelous! The story takes place in the 1920′s, perhaps one of history’s most magical times. This time period was filled with gambling, dancing, drinking, mystery, and more than anything, romance. Vixen takes us through the lives of three young girls, Gloria, Clara, and Lorraine. Gloria is the girl who has it all; money, good looks, great voice, and even a handsome fiancé. Clara, Gloria’s cousin, was sent to help make preparations for Gloria’s wedding, however, there is a lot more in her past than she is letting on. Lorraine, Gloria’s best friend is a girl who sick of being left in the shadows of Gloria. She will stop at nothing to get what Gloria has.

Wow… just, wow! This book left me speechless. The characters, the imagery, the facts, basically everything about Vixen was spectacular.

Gloria is a girl you could easily love. On the outside she has it all but beneath her beautiful exterior is a girl who just wants to escape. Her engagement is a sham, her family life is crumbling around her, and she just can’t seem to get thoughts of Jerome, a black musician, out of her head. Gloria wants nothing more than to shed her Ms. Innocent personality so she decides to become a flapper. She chops off all her hair, buys new clothes, and sneaks out at night to the town’s most famous speakeasy, the Green Mill. It is there that she meets Jerome and soon finds herself auditioning to be their leading lady.

Clara was by far my favorite character. Throughout the whole story she was hiding all of these secrets from her life in New York and I found myself anxious to learn what she was hiding. She was an original flapper. She escaped her small, farming life to join the bright lights of New York City. There she fell in love and got her heart broken. When she shows up at Gloria’s house, she is determined to make a difference with herself. She refuses to be pulled back into her former flapper lifestyle. Things go great until she meets Marcus, Gloria’s male friend and Lorraine’s lifetime crush. Clara knows Marcus is a playboy and probably has some ulterior motives but she can’t help but fall for him. I loved the chemistry between Marcus and Clara!

Now on to the character of Lorraine. Well to put it quite bluntly she was whiny, evil, selfish, and magnificent. She may have been a wretched friend who only thought about herself, but this girl sure knows how to cause DRAMA! Lorraine is driven by her jealousy of Gloria. She wants her looks, her fiancé, her voice, her life. Lorraine gets so caught up in trying to outdo Gloria that she gets herself into several messes. She shows up intoxicated to a few parties, gets thrown out of Gloria’s house twice and even does a few no-no’s with Gloria’s fiancé.

Aside from the interesting, wonderful characters, Vixen is also filled with beautiful imagery. The roaring 20’s has been a time period that has been fascinating to me ever since I read The Great Gatsby my junior year of high school. I felt like I was in the smoky, hidden rooms of the speak easies, or that I was walking the sidewalks lined with beautiful, extravagant homes. I even felt like I could see the glimmer of the flashy flapper dresses. Jillian Larkin created a 1920’s masterpiece with Vixen!

In My Mailbox (1)

Wow! I can’t believe I am only just now starting In My Mailbox. IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren and it is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library. Since I have been a shopping machine lately, I have a rather big list:

Bookstore:

 Girl v. Boy by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Take Me There by Carolee Dean

 Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Faithful by Janet Fox (Y.A. Historical Fiction Challenge)

Choker by Elizabeth Woods (2011 Debut Author Challenge)

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (2011 Debut Author Challenge)

Vixen by Jillian Larkin (Y.A. Historical Fiction Challenge)

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Torment by Lauren Kate

Fade by Lisa McMann

Gone by Lisa McMann

Heist Society by Ally Carter

It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

For Review:

What Can’t Wait by Ashley Perez (2011 Debut Author Challenge)<—– This book comes out in March so keep your eyes open for it!!!

Y.A. Historical Fiction Challenge

This is a genre of Y.A. literature I really have been trying to get more into. I am so excited that Y.A. Bliss is hosting this challenge! The contest runs from January 1st 2011 until December 31st 2011. First off go to their website at www.yabliss.com. Sign up to be either a  level 1 (5 Y.A. historical fiction novels), level 2 (10 Y.A. historical fiction novels), or level 3 (15 Y.A. historical fiction novels). Once you have completed those steps, write a blog post about the contest to get the word around!  As of right now I am leaning towards level 2 but if I change my mind down the road I will most definitely let everyone know. So far my choices for this challenge are:

1) Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

2) Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

3) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

4) Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen

5) Ingenue by Jillian Larkin

6) The Trouble With May Amelia by Jennifer Holm

7) The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

8) Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston

9) Chime by Franny Billingsley

10) Forgiven by Janet Fox

There is so many more amazing Y.A. Historical Fiction books out there. I wish I had time to read them all!