The Best of Twenty-Eleven

The year has come and gone so quickly that I can hardly believe it! It seems like just yesterday I was starting my winter semester as a college Freshman and I was trying to squeeze in every ounce of fun that I could. A ton of memories were created this past year, some bad but mostly all good, and I like to think it has been one of the best years yet. In keeping with the same format that I used last year, here are some of the best moments of 2011!

Sidenote: Almost all of these are a tie between two or more things. Sorry about that, I tried my best to narrow it down but it just wasn’t happening!

1. Best Vacation- This is definitely a tie between the Myrtle Beach vacation I took with Kati and the Myrtle Beach Vacation I took with my family a month later. The weather was gorgeous both times and I got to experience a ton of different things with each trip. I was so lucky to be able to go on two vacations back to back like that!

2. Best Concert- This one also has a tie! It is between Warped Tour 2011 and the acoustic performance by We The Kings! Warped Tour is a day filled with music awesomeness! I saw so many bands perform, got a ton of stuff signed, and I even got to talk to a few of the performers. The We The Kings acoustic performance was brilliant for so many reasons: It was acoustic, it was small, it was free, it featured my future husband, I got to put my arms around my future husband, and I even got to take a picture with my future husband. IT WAS AMAZING!

3. Best CD- This is also going to have to be a tie! We The Kings dropped their latest album this year entitled Sunshine State of Mind. The title of the album couldn’t be more perfect because I get in a sunshiney state of mind EVERY TIME I listen to their CD. So what could be the competition to such an epic CD? All the mixed CD’s I got this past year! I had a lot of friends make me CD’s and all of them were filled with awesome songs that brings a smile to my face!

4. Best New Activity- I can’t explain too many details because I have yet to send out Christmas presents to some pretty freaking lovely bloggers but I do enjoy jewelry making. It takes time and is far more expensive than I could have imagined but it is so much fun to create!

5. Best Birthday Present- Last year I got a whole new bedroom so I was wondering how anything could ever live up to something like that. The answer came in the form of a brand-new bookshelf! I was making just the one work but I was desperately in need of one and my parents luckily noticed it! I love it so freaking much!

6. Best Movies- Well I do love me some movies…and popcorn! Some of my favorites were: Breaking Dawn: Part 1, Bridesmaids, Crazy Stupid Love, The Help, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows: Part 2, and Footloose.

7. Best Books- Oh gosh! It was my original goal to read 100 books in 2011 but Goodreads just wouldn’t stop telling me how sucky I was at completing that goal so I changed it to 80 and I still didn’t accomplish it! However, I did squeeze in 76 books. The best ones (some 4’s and all 5 stars) are:

Sidenote: Some of the titles will be linked to my reviews and other will be linked to Goodreads since I have not yet reviewed them!

Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

A Girl Named Willow Krimble by Giuseppe Bianco

Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Released by Megan Duncan

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Faithful by Janet Fox

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Matched by Ally Condie

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Re-reads of both Sarah Dessen and Jennifer Echols books

Fade by Lisa McMann

The Childe by C.A. Kunz

Between by Cyndi Tefft

Love, Inc. by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

Girl v Boy by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

8. Best Blogging Moment- How does one even choose something like this? In the past year I have met more authors, connected with more bloggers, reviewed more books, joined more weekly features, and had the most fun than I have EVER had! This whole experience has been one joyous event after another and I have all of YOU to thank for that. I have found some of the greatest friends and most influential people (and let’s not forget they all also kick butt when it come to writing reviews!) than I could have ever imagined. I would not trade this past year for anything!

9. Best Friend(s)- It is no secret that Kati has and always will be my best friend. I talk about her awesomeness all the time. But because of recent events, I feel like I must give a shout-out to my dear friend Stacey. Her and I were running buddies in high school. You could never find two girls who hated cross-country with such a deep passion like the two of us (even though we secretly loved it!) She has been there for both Kati and I through so many things and now it’s our turn to be there for Stacey. These two girls make my days so much better and I love them for that!

10. Best Family- Well of course this goes out to my family once again but not without some complaints! Zack and Zeke aka The Brat Pack drove me absolutely INSANE this past year. Those two boys are the epitome of annoying little brothers. I love them to death but jeez louise they sure are crazy! In all honesty, I am lucky to have my family always there for me. They support me through everything and even though they make fun of me every once in a while, they always know how to make me smile!

So that’s it for my 2011! I hope you all had a great year and an even better 2012!

Monthly Wrap-Up (May 2011)

I cannot believe that it is already June! We are half-way through the year but it feels like it has just started. The month of May was a pretty awesome month on the blog. I had the most posts in the month of May than I have ever had so far on the blog! (Woohoo!!!) Even though it was busy on the blog, I still managed to read some pretty awesome books this past month. So here’s what happened for the month of May:

Books I Read In May:

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Bone Dressing by Michelle L. Brooks

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

*That is a total of 7 books for the month of May. I am 33% done with my goal of 100 books for the year. Een though I read my booty off I am still 8 books behind. I better step it up a notch!*

Books I Reviewed In May:

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. All I have to say about this one is that it is my all-time FAVORITE book, so you should probably go read the review. (beware, my review includes lots of gushing!)

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. As my second favorite Sarah Dessen book, This Lullaby is a story full of love, humor, and a totally goofy lead singer of a band!… (Hate Spinnerbait)

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. I adore this book. Both the lead character and her love interest are two characters that have totally captured my heart. I guess this one can be tied with This Lullaby as my second favorite Dessen book.

Dream Smashers by Angela Carlie. I love this book to pieces. It is an honest, gripping, heart breaking story but after it breaks your heart it makes sure to fill it with inspiration & hope.

Miscellaneous Things On The Blog In May:

I had quite a few AWESOME IMM’s this past month!

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

I also had some great Tune-In and Teaser Tuesday posts this month!

(Read my Tune-in/Teaser Tuesday posts here, here, here, here, and here)

Were you beginning to wonder what was up with all the Sarah Dessen reads/reviews? Well Sarah Dessen Week took place the month of May!

(Read my Sarah Dessen Week Welcome post here)

On top of all the Sarah Dessen reviews I also made a list of authors with books similar to Sarah Dessen books!

(Read my For Fans of Sarah Dessen post here)

I also participated in another meme called TGIF. It is a lot of fun and I am so glad I joined in!

(Read my TGIF post here)

And to round off the month, I also started a new 7 week feature on the blog titled Warped Tour Weekend. I post a few bands that I will be seeing in concert in July and I ask you to vote for your favorite. It’s been lots of fun!

(Read my Warped Tour Weekend posts here and here)

Alright, there is the month of May all laid out for you. It turned out to be a pretty productive month but I am hoping to get a lot more done in June!

Tune-In Tuesday (10)/ Teaser Tuesday (7)

Tune in Tuesday is 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, all types of 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!

My Pandora stations have been so awesome the past few weeks, I just had to feature a band that has been popping up lately. They were formally known as The Workday Release and are now called The Wandering Tree. As for the name change goes, not so sure I like it PLUS it can really confuse fans (such as myself)! I just figured they dropped off the face of the earth but no, they are still kicking it! I just can’t tell what I like more, the lyrics, the voice, or the melody of the song; it all freaking rocks to me! Ok, enough rambling for now (it is late & I am sleep deprived, sorry!). My FAVORITE song by them is called Love in a Box. This song was from back in the day when they were still called The Workday Release. I just adore it to pieces, and I hope you do too! Leave a comment telling me what you think.

The Workday Release/The Wandering Tree: Love in a Box

 

Now for the Teaser Tuesday part of this post! This awesome meme is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Teaser Tuesday asks you to take the book you are reading, flip it to a random page, and share two sentences (no spoilers though!). Sounds easy enough, right? Well it is, plus it is a great way to see what others are reading!

I decided to be a stellar book club goer this week & actually finish our chosen book before the meeting! Our book of choice is Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt. By the time you are reading this, I will most likely already be done with the book. Yeah, it’s that good! It is so much more than I could have ever expected. Here is a little snippet that I hope you’ll enjoy! Leave a comment letting me know what you think!

*The following is a journal entry that the main character, Payton, is writing about Sean Griswold*

“A. Hair

1. Very blond, like a little kid’s/ Light bounces right off of it. White, almost.

2. Soft. Like fuzz on a duckling. Not that I’ve touched it! But I might need to, once I get further into my research.

B. Size

1. HUGE.

2. Is that mean? It’s bigger than most heads, slightly off proportion from the rest of his body. He’s gotta have a strong neck.

3. Big enough that I have to crane my neck to see around his dome.

C. Things it could fit into

1. Toilet-yes.

2. Batting helmet-heck no.”

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt, pg. 18

In My Mailbox (13)

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. I got a few great books this week, here is the list!

For Review:

Bone Dressing by Michelle I. Brooks

Summary: Time is running out … the Dark that’s been chasing Syd for many lifetimes has finally caught up with her …

Sydney Roberdeau lost her parents as a young girl. Waiting for her life to start and the freedom that will come with her eighteenth birthday, Syd spends much of her time haunting the local cemetery. It is there, stretched out among the dead, that she feels most alive, most at home. Until one rainy night when Beau, Sarah and T.J. crash her ghostly sanctuary, appearing out of nowhere, turning her already inside-out world one degree past upside down.

Syd must now revisit past lives, dressing in the bodies of her previous selves … bone dressing. Her only chance to outrun the evil breathing down her neck is to face her own worst nightmares and her strongest desires. But if she can’t stay out of trouble in this life, how can she possibly fix mistakes from past lives? And just how many lives has she lived, loved and lost? What is Syd exactly, and what will she risk for the life of a man she doesn’t remember, the man she spent a lifetime with, the man she loves? Everything … including her very own life?

Bone Dressing, the first in a series of seven books, will carry Syd and Beau on an adventure that transcends life itself.

My Thoughts: First, thank you so much to Michelle for not only allowing me to review her book but for also sending me a signed paperback edition. I love it! It sounds so extremely interesting, I can’t wait to get started!

The Dream Crystal by Mark O’ Bannon

Summary: All of the world’s dreams are about to die. The Shadow People have come. Always near, they linger in the darkness, ready to devour dreams, hopes, aspirations and desires. . .

Aisling, having lost her dream of becoming a fashion designer, learns that she’s a Faerie changeling. Disquieted by the fact that her faerie parents are kidnappers, she has decided to rescue the human child she was exchanged for, but her “sister” is no longer among the faeries, having been taken by the Shadow People. Ith, the Lord of Shadows, is trying to control the dreams of mankind, which are under the protection of the faeries, so they’re at war.

Aisling, who doesn’t believe in dreams any longer, is falling in love with a handsome, mysterious stranger – one of the Shadow People.

My Thoughts: Thank you to Mark for sending me an awesome e-copy of this book! I am beyond excited to dive into the world of Faeries. Really, this book sounds magical and exciting!

Bought:

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Summary: When funny, charming, absolutely-normal Audrey Cuttler dumps her boyfriend Evan, he writes a song about her that becomes a number-one hit—and rockets Audrey to stardom!

Suddenly, tabloid paparazzi are on her tail and Audrey can barely hang with her friends at concerts or the movies without getting mobbed—let alone score a date with James, her adorable coworker at the Scooper Dooper. Her life will never be the same—at least, not until Audrey confronts Evan live on MTV and lets the world know exactly who she is!

My Thoughts: I am so, so, so excited to read this book. There is a music influence plus I have not heard a single negative review on it! It sounds funny, cute, and just plain ole’ adorable!

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Summary: According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It’s supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold’s head. They’ve been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it’s an alphabetical order thing), but she’s never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father’s newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it’s working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He’s cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.

My Thoughts: I dare you to find one negative review on this book. It is impossible, I tell you! I have heard that this is a laugh-out-loud kind of book and that is exactly what I need! I am so glad my book club decided to read this one!

Alright that is it for this week, I got some great books to add to my shelf. I would love to hear what you got in your mailbox so leave a comment with a link and I will be sure to check it out!