May 29, 2013

World of Books: Alex + Dallas, Texas

Everyone has their neighborhood bookstore or their local library they call home. Maybe both even. I know I do - in TWO different cities. World of Books if a bi-weekly feature that allows me - and any of YOU - to share the bookstores and libraries you love so much. If you want to be featured on World of Books too, make sure to go HERE and fill out the contact form!

When I saw Gaby’s World of Books post, my first thought went something like “ohmigod, Boston is so much prettier than Dallas – not fair!” It really is; you won’t see anything that gorgeous here. But instead of being insanely jealous, I realized that this was an opportunity to find some cool book store hot spots across the country (and globe, perhaps?). How many times have you been in a new city, wanted a book, and did not know where to go?

Obviously, there is Barnes & Noble, but I’m a broke college grad trying to pay off loan debt. I don’t have the money to be spending full price on ALL the books I buy. Not to mention, try finding a YA book published only five years ago and the search gets harder. Amazon is amazing with all of the above problems, but every book lover will agree that there is just something about shopping for a book in a bookstore that is abundantly more satisfying.

So when Gaby introduced this idea, I was overjoyed – because I would never be bookshop-less in this world again! Isn’t that an amazing concept?!

Now, to talk about Dallas!

I’ve lived here my whole life, with the exception of the four years at college (aka Hogwarts… Gaby can attest to that). I was never a big reader, with the exception of Harry Potter; and I was a horrible writer and failed both the English AP exams. It was actually thanks to Gaby and another friend of ours that I started writing HP fan-fiction in college, which soon morphed into original story telling. Even then, being a professed writer, I didn’t read all that much! Crazy, right? It wasn’t until August 2012, after Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas came out, that I started binge reading. Like hardcore, non-stop.

Not really. I love sleep.
Aaaand it hasn’t stopped since. Not surprisingly, writing suddenly became way easier.

It became necessary to find book stores that I could afford pronto. Because I NEEDED some of these books like nobody’s business.

It should be noted that Dallas is NOT a walker friendly city, which makes me really sad. Cars are a necessity to go to a store a block away; and the public transit, at least in my part of the city, just takes too long and it’s impractical. It’s a harsh reality. However, Dallas has a LOT to offer when it comes to business. So, travelers to Dallas, make sure you have a car with good gas mileage when you come here!

As it happens, Dallas is where the Half Price Books chain originated. This city alone has twelve stores, and there are ten more in the whole D/FW Metroplex. That’s twenty-two total stores within an hour’s drive selling books at half their market price. AND the flagship store on Northwest Highway is the one closest to my house. WOOT!

Do you want to know the best part about Half Price? Each store has different, ever-changing stock because it is all resale. You can go to all the stores in the same day and have a completely different experience in each of them. Their stock is made up of books that customers sell back to them, so not only can you find some fantastic deals you can also get paid to sell back books you no longer want or need SO THAT YOU CAN BUY MORE BOOKS.

It has its pitfalls, though, like the fact that you can pretty much count on new, popular books NOT being sold back for a few months at least, or whenever their sequels come out. But there are those times when you get lucky and find a new book right after its release and then you will scream, cry, and dance all at the same time because you are probably the luckiest person on the PLANET at that moment. That JUST happened to me with Melina Marchetta’s Quintana of Charyn. I’m still doing this over that one:

Pretty much exactly like that

Half Price Books is just my heaven on earth, and I go to at least one of the stores about once a week. The Northwest hwy branch pictured above also has this really good coffee shop, a lot like Starbucks, but I’ve found that I like this one better! Best hot chocolate coffee EVER. They also have comfy chairs scattered around the store where you can sit and read for as long as you want, and there are two open areas where people can congregate to study, talk books, whatever. Most recently they hosted a Q&A and signing with Marie Lu!

There is also a far lesser known resale store called Lucky Dog books, which happens to be a few blocks from my house! I still don’t walk there, though. It’s not my fault! There are NO sidewalks in my neighborhood. And we don’t need to talk about the heat.

Because most people in Dallas go to Half Price, the stock there isn’t assssss varied, but it’s still a neat place to go. It has a more homey feel to it, and the shelves are PACKED, and just walking through the place is a joy.

Last but not least is the public library. The branch I go to, Lochwood, is also a few blocks from me, really close to Lucky Dog, actually.

This is one of the newer libraries, so they have some nice reading areas. All of the branches are pretty small, except for the main branch in downtown.

It’s an ugly box, but huge – which is the important part (right?)! ALSO, get this, the downtown branch has a used books store inside of it! It’s called BookEnds and nothing there exceeds $2. It’s pretty much a perpetual yard sale of awesomeness.

That’s it for Dallas, y’all! Can’t wait to see what other places pop up in the coming weeks!

Alexandra Ray is an unpublished Young Adult fantasy writer. She is currently working on a high fantasy, very loose retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. She is a former poster on fictionpress and the_write_away. She loves all things Disney, wine, pizza, and crime shows that don’t take themselves too seriously and often finds herself daydreaming of pirates, mermaids, and fairies. She has an in-between blog on LiveJournal and will hopefully be starting a new, more official blog soon. You can follow Alex on her LiveJournal, on Twitter, and Goodreads.

May 28, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Siblings (24)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
I thought about this A LOT and realized there are tons of siblings in a lot of the books I read. Some are related to the protagonist, others are a pair/group of siblings in a story. Either way, these relationships play seriously awesome roles in my books so here's a list of my favorites.

1. Thom & Alanna of Trebond from Tamora Pierce's The Song of the Lioness Series
This entire series would not have taken place if not for Thom. Like, Alanna would have NEVER gone to the palace to become a knight if he hadn't agreed to swap places with her. So, thanks Thom, because without you I would have no lady knight role model.

2. The Weasley Brood from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter
Okay, we ALL know I have a lot of problems with the way this series ended, but I will say the bonds between this set of children is wonderful. Even when they fight they still love each other and I can't get enough of that. Obviously my favorite of the lot are Fred and George, so you can all understand why I'm crying right now.

3. The Garrett Kids from My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Even Sam know how great this family is. I love how they all take care of each other. It's just so sweet. I would definitely want to be apart of that myself.

4. Narnie and Webb from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
We don't see a lot of these two together in the books but you could just TELL how much they loved each other from the way Narnie takes care of her brother's daughter. Not to mention Hannah totally makes it clear how much she loved her brother, so yeah. Definitely a pair of siblings worthy of this list.

5. Katniss and Prim from Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games Series
I feel the need to cry big time when I think of this sibling relationship. 

6. Mia and Teddy Hall from If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman
OKAY I KNOW we really don't see much of Teddy at all, but the way Mia reacts to what happens to him is so gut wrenching. She loved him SO MUCH and I just can't. 

7. Rhine and Rowan from Lauren DeStefano's The Chemical Garden Trilogy
One of the major plots for this series is Rhine's drive to get back to her brother, Rowan. She misses him so much she'd basically move heaven and earth to get back to him. And yo, their reunion (because, please, that was gonna happen) is amazingly emotional.

8. Adam and James from Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me Series
How much did you all freak out when you found out about James? I know I did. I love their brotherly bond. And I love James in general. Every time I talk about this series I tell everyone that if anything bad happens to James I will never forgive Tahereh Mafi. So. Y'know. What yo' self Tahereh Mafi.

9. Noah, Jacob and Tyler from Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
THE THINGS NOAH WILL DO FOR HIS BROTHERS. Ugh. That whole situation totally broke my heart. I love the three of those boys so much and I want ONLY GOOD THINGS for them. 

10. The McGowan Boys from Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian
It appears as though I really like broods of boys (see: Weasley Boys at the top of this list). This book's an oldie that I enjoy re-reading whenever I need a bit of fun and these boys, despite all their absurdities and arguments, never fail to bring the fun. Oh, and they really care about each other, which is NICE.

11. Perry and Talon from Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky Series
Okay, technically Talon is Perry's nephew but I'm sorry. They relationship is amazing - way better than Perry's relationship with his brother, Vale - and I couldn't help but throw it in here. 

Can you guys think of any other sibling relationships you adore? Let me know in the comments below!

May 27, 2013

Miscellaneous Books I've Bought Recently-ish Vlog

The title of this post is a little vague and doesn't sound all that important until you get to that last word... VLOG. My FIRST EVER VLOG. Yeah, I made one of these so you can more easily spot me at BEA and because I love books and talking to no one.

Well, maybe less of the latter, but, well, it's what I did, so it's worth noting. Or maybe I just like being silly. 

So, since I've already spoken at a camera for like 12 minutes - yeah, have fun watching THAT - I think I should quit with the typing and get to the book stuff. 

[For giving me stuff AND book pushing skill]

Alexa Loves Books 
Perpetual Page Turner
Books With Cass
Paper Riot
Book Rock Betty
Rather Be Reading
WhoRuBlog (Liza!)

Macmillan Children's (Fierce Reads)
HarperTeen (Epic Reads)


The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkowski
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
The Wrap Up List by Steven Arnston
A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
Dare You To by Katie McGarry
Venom by Fiona Paul
Winger by Andrew Smith
Wild Awake by Hilary T Smith
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Golden by Jessi Kirby
The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise
The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
Night School by C.J. Daugherty
The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

ARE YOU GOING TO BE AT BEA? ARE YOU? PLEASE COME FIND ME! No, but seriously, sound off in the comments below if you're going to be around NYC this week. I want to meet ALL OF YOU.

Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Title: Defiance (Defiance #1)
Author: C.J. Redwine
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Count: 403
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan--the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Rachel's father, the top tracker in Baalboden, is declared dead when he fails to return from his latest mission, but she's not buying it. And with good reason it seems - because neither does the crazy, sadistic, dictatorial ruler of Baalboden. Now, due to threats on her life and the lives of those she loves, Rachel must go out and find the package her father was supposed to bring home. Oh, and there's this boy, Logan, who she totally has the hots for even though he rejected her. He's not supposed to go with her, but, well, since when to really cute inventors ever do what they're told?

PS: The reason everyone's sequestered behind walled cities? There's this scary monster called the Cursed One that roams the earth frying/eating people. Safety can be found in the cities while almost certain death lies in the Wasteland. DUNDUNDUN.

Let's break this down:

This book. I'm a little mad at it because I could have REALLY REALLY loved it - I just had some issues. So I'll start with the good and move onto the bad.

I LOVE Rachel. Love her. She's exciting and headstrong and tough and loyal and pretty much all the things I like in a protagonist. I totally get her motivations and her feels - I'm just totally with her the whole book.

The way the different players all interact also works for me. From the bigger stuff, like the way Baalboden works as a city, to the emotional connections between individual characters (Logan-Logan's mom, Rachel-Oliver-Jared, Rachel-Logan, Jared-Logan...), everything in this book makes sense. This would be how things go down.

I ALSO really liked the world-building. The whole postapocalypic premise totally worked for me. I mean, humans WOULD drill too far. I can't say there WOULD be a monster living under the surface, but yeah, check yes to the drilling.

What I'm not sure about is the fantasy aspect. Like I said, yes to drilling, unsure about the moster under the earth. And yeah, I get that this monster under the earth is a little/lot fantastical, but throwing in a fantastical element on top of the present we have now without more background threw me off a bit. Like, I think maybe I was expecting this book to be in the past or in the future but with the fantasy better weaved in? Like the future the book takes place in isn't the future of the present world we all live in today, but a different world where there were some fantastical things already happening and this monster popping out of the ground wasn't totally out of left field.

I hope that makes sense. It's just, to me, the best dystopians and postapocalypic stories are the ones that I can actually imagine happening. As in, if someone majoring screws up in the next however many years, there could be a virus and half the population could turn into zombies. Perhaps The Hunger Games could really happen. But I don't buy that a monster none of us know about could pop out of the ground and wreck havoc like that.

I also, unfortunately, don't love Logan. First of all, he's too black and white. I feel like he's supposed to be the ying to Rachel's yang (y'know, he's all structure and plans and she's all reckless abandon) but he just comes off as way more straight arrow than anyone on the planet actually is. No one has that many backup plans. Unless they're in some government agency or something. Or maybe they do, but I just would have liked to see Logan be a little more dimensional as a whole?

My other issue with Logan is his end of his relationship with Rachel. I get where she was coming from. She loved him, he didn't love her, it's a wash and then everything that happens in this book happens. But Logan makes less sense. WHY didn't he want to be with her when she confessed her love when she was 15. And what changed? I totally accepted the fact that there was a change I just don't understand what spurred it now, after all of this. If it's because he felt like he'd be betraying her father back then, I'm not sure why straight arrow Logan would suddenly think it okay to be open about his feelings. I dunno. The whole early rejection, later acceptance felt a little forced and unnecessary to me. Which sucks because when I ignored that first bit, the love between them was so brilliant and wonderful. I just had trouble ignoring.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Barring Logan's early rejection of Rachel's feelings, I liked everything that went on here.
World Building: Solid. Except fantasy on top of the future version of present day kind of threw me. The different aspects don't really gel. But I blame my stubborn love of fantasy for that one.
Character Development: Rachel is a GREAT heroine. I'm just not sure I totally understand Logan. Like at all. Which shouldn't be the case because this a dual POV books.
Prose: I really did enjoy the writing - definitely not what hindered my enjoyment of this book.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Epic romance? Check. Postapocaliptic world? Check. A little bit of fantasy? Check. Honestly? A lot of people I know really liked this one and I think my issues with it are just my own personal hang-ups. If you can reconcile the initial romantic rejection and the set up of the Postapocaliptic world, go for it. If you think you'd have the same issues I did, skip it.

Did you have issues with this book? Were they the same as mine or something else? Perhaps you loved it. PERHAPS you can explain Logan's seemingly sudden emotional shift. If you can, talk to me in the comments below. PLEASE. I want to get it, really!

May 26, 2013

Veronica Mars Watch-Along Week 10

[Graphic designed by the lovely Judith of Paper Riot]
So, how does this work, super sleuths? Go check out the Watch-Along kick off post for the skinny. I'll give you a second just in case...

All caught up? Good.

In case you already know the basics and just forgot what episodes are up today, here's the list:
  • "Kanes and Abel's"
  • "Weapons of Class Destruction"
And, for NEXT WEEK:
  • "Hot Dogs"
  • "M.A.D."

PLEASE NOTE: Next week GILLIAN from WRITER OF WRONGS will be taking over the Watch-Along. When I had Judith do it, it was because I was traveling lots. Next week Gillian's doing it because I'm super busy with BEA, high school reunions (yeah, you all want to know how THAT'S gonna go) and the start of my summer program. Now, Gillian's ALSO going to BEA, so this plan's a little flawed, but, well, what can you do?

That being said, I'm obviously going to close out the end of season 1 for you guys, but if anyone wants to take on ANY of season 2, please let me know! If there's a specific episode(s) you want, I could probably arrange that. Just let me know! I feel like guest Watch-Along posters shakes things up and I like shaking-things-up-shenanigans.

AND NOW, my pumpkincakes, onto the GLORIOUS recaps of these two wonderful episodes...



Yeah. I'm EXCITED. More on this later. 

DUNDUNDUN on the Amelia DeLongpre front. But seriously, how was she so cool with all of this? College kids during exams aren't all that herd-able. If ever. I would have more questions, to be sure, but either way, I guess this pushes the Lilly's murder story-line along. Until, of course, that comes to a screeching halt. WIEDMAN. WHY. EVERY TIME. STOP BEING SO GOOD AT YOUR JOB. 

Other mysteries of note: 
  • Rich girl wins scholarship even AFTER being harassed so she'd fail her exams by the father of the poor kid who also deserve the scholarship. I mean, it's not fair that she's being harassed, but sucks for Hamilton Cho, right? Either way, V was crazy clever to put a second camera in Vinnie's office in order to get THE FACTS.
  • The school bombing plot with Jonathan Taylor Thomas Ben, the ATF agent. I actually really like this episode not just because HELLO WITH THE KISSING, but also because you really get to school a GOOD TEACHER in action, even though she ends up getting fired. But like, yeah. GOOD TEACHER. And V does some pretty solid school-related PI work. 
  • WHERE IS DUNCAN. I mean, I don't know how much I care since we all know I'm not his biggest fan, but still. Kid ran away. This is a mystery.

Veronica has a file and we're getting close to the end here, so let's make our own: 
  • Mr. Kane: Perhaps he did catch Lilly in a compromising position and freaked out, accidentally killing her.
  • Mrs. Kane: Woman seems to REALLY HATE her daughter. So yeah. That's not great news for her case. 
  • Duncan: He can't even remember that day and he flies into rage-y fits for no reason. IN FACT, he flew into a rage-y just a little bit before Lilly died, according to Logan. Who's not telling V things you wouldn't tell someone you didn't trust. So Logan trust V? WHICH IS GOOD BECAUSE NOW THEY ARE KISSING. 
  • Logan: Alibi-ed out. For real.
  • Weevil: Maybe he got angry because Lilly was thinking about leaving him?
There are also a lot of other major/minor characters in play here, but I think these are the 5 that I could conceivably see ACCIDENTALLY killing Lilly. Not purposefully. Although, each of these characters has already kinda had a finger pointed at them over the course of the show in one way or another and this show seems more clever than that, so...

Is there anyone else you can think of?

The Butler?
Veronica: "On the bright side, if our parents get hitched we could have bunk beds and stay up all night talking."
Wallace: "You're truly sick."
"I've always wanted a little brother I could dress up like a little doll."

Lol. Yes. Bunk beds. 

Logan: "Dream on, Jump Street, I'm not leaving you alone with her."

I love a good Johnny Depp Jump Street reference. 

Norris: "So, this is my weapon collection."
Veronica: "You must feel really safe at night. When the dragons come." 


V really has a one track mind. Proof? That whole fight she had with Wallace about his mom and her mom. That was really terrible all around. I mean, I also can't believe Alicia and Keith are dating. Or rather, I guess it was inevitable, but I hate it a little BECAUSE it was inevitable. I hope that made sense. 

Anyway, it's a big problem that Keith doesn't know Lianne's in rehab. But I care less about that because V actually let her pops help her on the Amelia DeLongpre front. Which is not always how she does stuff. But, well, Wiedman DID break into their house, so maybe it's legit that she's letting her dad help her FOR ONCE. I also like when they sit down and look at Lilly's file together. That was nice. 

Although I will say, V's still a little too reckless for my heart to handle. She just followed that ATF guy. She thought he was a potential murderer and she FOLLOWED HIM. And then she goes to the house of the guy the ATF agent thinks is the actual murderer because the new potential murder subject thinks V's a honey? I actually can't imagine what goes on in V's head. I can't.

  • Duncan: And he's missing. I don't know why he was all moody all of the sudden in that episode. His later freakout made sense, what with V kind of insinuated that he killed his sister. I think I'd be pretty disturbed too. But either way, I don't miss his face.
  • Logan: He knows V's investigating everyone and aside from telling Duncan he's actually pretty cool with it. And then he tries to give V money for investigating his mother's death. Which gets me sobbing anew. THEN I GET ALL CRAZY HAPPY BECAUSE THEY KIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSED.
  • Leo: Not getting a lot of airtime, but he's CUTE. And well meaning. And quippy. And CUTE. So even though this clearly isn't going anywhere now that V and Logan have kissed, I still think he's adorable. 
  • Weevil: I don't know why I added him in here because he's not really in these episodes, but I can't help myself. 
  • Wallace: It's really awkward to consider Wallace and V could be siblings. They already kind of act like it, but still. Weird. I do like how protective he is of his mom. Absolutely adorable. 



Let's break this down.

The episode starts and V and Logan are all smiley and joke and adorbs. He clear trusts her and she... well... I dunno. She sees he has a sensitive, vulnerable side and, because she eavesdrops on private conversations with shrinks, she knows why Logan got all mad at her after Lilly died. But now he trusts her again and she understands him. My only issue is... does she trust him? Or has he just not given her a reason to NOT trust him yet? 


Logan hear V's in trouble. He hunts her down and saves her life. Unnecessarily. And then she walks out of the motel room and they KISS. Logan's face is all intense, Veronica's all scared bunny rabbit, I'm jumping up and down in my seat because IT FEELS SO RIGHT. And he's so cute. Ugh. Find me a boy whose face looks like that - intense, smirky, adorable and otherwise - and I will be A HAPPY GIRL. 

  • Vinnie Van Lowe: A huge annoyance and a jerk, but an entertaining huge annoyance and jerk. 
It's really only Vinnie but he seems like an exciting side character. AND we get to see more of Mac - kind of unnecessarily too, which gives me the impression that she's sticking around. So. Yay!

  • Pete from "Weapons of Class Destruction" also played Henry in What I Like About You - that TV show with Jennie Garth and Amanda Bynes. Y'know, back in the good ol', sane Amanda Bynes days.
  • Vinnie Van Lowe is played by Ken Marino. He also showed up in Dawson's Creek. He played Joey's professor/love interest in season 5.
  • JONATHAN TAYLOR THOMAS. He's the voice of Simba, an incarnation of Tom Sawyer and one of 3 boys in Home Improvement. We all know his face and now we can also associate him with Veronica Mars.
Well, that's all from me this week. Did you LOVE these last two episods the way I did? WHAT ABOUT THAT KISS? I definitely need to freak out with EVERYONE about that, so leave me a comment below and I'll see you in time for the Season 1 finale! 

May 24, 2013

Book Hoarder VS. Library Borrower

Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.

**This discussion post is brought to you by a discussion I had over dinner with Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, Rachel from Rachel Reads and Rachel from HelloChelly**

Are you guys ready for the QUESTION OF THE DAY?



So here it is:  

Do you find that you own a lot of hardcopies of books or do you take most of your books out of the library?

Since some of my readers are bloggers, I'm sure you're asking yourself: What about ARCs? Well, do you own hardcopies? If yes, please refer to the "owning a lot of hardcopies of books" category. 

And then I'm sure all of you guys are wondering how eBooks fit into the question above - well, they don't. So ignore them.

Why am I asking you this question? Because I want to know if you're a BOOK HOARDER or a LIBRARY BORROWER

A BOOK HOARDER is someone who owns lots and lots of books and stacks them to look like hipster furniture for lack of anywhere else to put them. People go book shopping with you and ask the question: WHERE ARE YOU PUTTING ALL OF THESE? You'll always take a free book from a friend and are the first to run to the bargain book table at any bookstore you come across in hopes of finding a good deal. Oh, and your paycheck? What paycheck? 

A LIBRARY BORROWER is someone who either doesn't have the space (and doesn't like to pretend they DO have the space), isn't interested in owning books they're pretty sure they're not going to read again or would rather spend the cash on other life essentials - like food. Yeah, they own books, but only the ones they LOVELOVELOVE. Everything else they get from the library.

Of course, with all questions like this one, there's a spectrum. Personally? I'm a HUGE book hoarder, but I'll only buy a book if everyone is praising the pants (er, book jacket?) off it, it's part of a series and Book 1 is a favorite OR if I took it out from the library in the first place and decided after reading that I HAZ TO HAZ IT.

Where do you fall on the spectrum? Do you HAZ TO HAZ lots and lots of books? Or can you just borrow most of them and buy what you truly need? Let me know in the comments below!

May 23, 2013

Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta 
Release Date: August 28th, 2006
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 422
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★★
Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham 17, finally confronts her past. Hannah, the closest adult she has to family, disappears. Jonah Griggs, moody stares and all, is back in town. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]


Taylor's got no one. Her's mom's gone, and the one adult in school she's come to trust is recently missing. She doesn't know anything about her family - including what happened to them. All she knows is she's in this school, alone, suddenly in this position of power that no one really wanted to give her because she ran off with a cadet (aka the enemy) a few years back. Now, in this position of power, Taylor must go to war. But actually. With the Townies and Cadets. They play war and negotiate territory. But all the while, as this is going on, Taylor gets closer to the enemy, and to the truth of what the hell happened to her family.

Let's break this down:


Alas, you guys probably need more than that, so here we go.

Most people I talk to say the beginning of this book is a little confusing. I think that's because Melina Marchetta pretty much plops the reader down in the middle of everything and expects us to understand why it seems like the characters are going to war and what all these flashback scenes are about. But I don't think I would have stopped reading, even without all of the "you might be confused at the beginning" warnings, mostly because it was an intriguing confusing. What are all of these things? What's happening? They all sound mysterious and exciting. Kids playing war? Tell me more!

But anyway, once you get through the beginning of this book, the whole things fairly un-put-down-able. This is one of those books that doesn't try hard to explain itself, it just does - y'know, the whole show don't tell writing device. In fact, a lot of the times the storyline will reveal something and you'll want to DENY the truth, not accept and move forward because the truth is just so O.O (yeah, I used an emoticon in a review because if I didn't it'd just be a whole lot of keyboard slamming).

And if a stunning, mysterious, truth-telling story isn't enough to pull you in, the characters here should do the trick. I was totally struck by the past group - Narnie, Jude, Fitz, Tate and Webb - and they're not even the main focus of the story. Or rather, they kind of ARE, because they pretty much shape everything in the book, but the book's not set in their time - in their reality. But like I said, I was so struck by this group of friends that I WISH the book was about them. Or I wish they had their own book. I feel like I should be able to better describe why I love this group of friends so much. The love between them? How sad and compelling their story is? To really explain it I think I'd need to add spoilers, but even then I'm not so sure. I just wish... I wish so many things for them.

I also wish so many things for Taylor, Jonah, Raffy, Santangelo, Ben and all of the rest. The friendships here are so different from the Narnie-Jude-Fitz-Tate-Webb friendship. They're like RELUCTANT friends, but that's just because they're drawn together and they fight it but there's no point because they are the perfect team. I don't mean like they come together and magically become perfect people and have the ability to call upon Captain Planet. They're totally dysfunctional even when together, but they totally just WORK. And I love them all.

Also, if you're looking for a believable romance that makes you all tingly inside, this book has multiple. Taylor and Jonah are so IMMENSELY complex and yet they fall together in a "this was inevitable, written in the stars" kind of way. But it's not cheesy. It's absolutely beautiful. The other love stories in this book (which I won't get into because I don't want to spoil anything) are similarly beautiful. They're complex and tragic and REAL. There's no easy anything for any of these characters but they prove that you can make something for yourself out of tragedy - you don't have to wallow and suffer.

It's also worth noting that Melina Marchetta has this way of putting words together that totally grabs hold of the reader and makes them pay attention. I think that was important for me at the beginning when I wasn't TOTALLY sure what was happening. But it's okay, because the writing caught me and the characters and the mystery kept me.

Then, as much as the prose, characters and mystery made me fall for this book, I think it's all of the emotion that solidified my need to re-read this one, and soon. This is just one of those books that I finished and couldn't stop thinking about. I flipped back and forth between pages, putting things together, dealing with plot twists, re-reading passages and just loving every word I'd just devoured. Because you KNOW I read this one in a day.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Amazing intricate - totally wonderful. This is one of those books where EVERYTHING mentioned had a reason - no situation, fact or moment was wasted.
World Building: I know nothing about Australia but that DID NOT MATTER.
Character Development: The discovery and development in this book is so absolutely real. I actually think these people live somewhere in this world. And I'd like to meet them.
Prose: I would quote the whole book for you right here and now if I could. There's not just one line that encompasses how wonderfully written this book is.
Would I Recommend This Book?: More than one person recommended this book to me. Now I'm the person recommending it to everyone I know. I especially like to recommend it to people who are skeptical of YA, since it totally joins the ranks of books that prove YA can be just as smart as Adult.

Have people been pushing this book on you? If so, you better start listening to them (and me) because it's an absolutely brilliant read worthy of any and all devouring. And if you've ALREADY read this book, be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!

May 22, 2013

Waiting On: Linked by Imogen Howson (24)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Linked (Linked #1)
Author: Imogen Howson
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]
I listed this book on my Top Ten Debuts I Can't Wait to Read back in January. Unsurprisingly, I'm STILL excited. I love debut authors - and not just because I'm doing the Debut Author Challenge this year. It just sound so DIFFERENT from all of the dystopians-type books I've been reading recently, so yes. YES I WILL HAVE IT.

Are you also looking for more debut authors for your DAC? Maybe you're just interested in a different kind of dystopian. Let me know why you're interested in this one (or even something else - I'm ALWAYS looking for books!) in the comments below!

May 21, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of Books I've Read (23)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of Books I've Read is a toughie for me. A TOUGHIE. I like lots of covers - a lot of times the covers I like are attached to books I haven't read yet. I can't tell if this is because I LOVE ART (cover or otherwise) or if I just like pretty things (BECAUSE WHO DOESN'T!). But let's see what I can do with the books I have read.

1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I pretty much love everything about this cover. It's shiny, it's bright, it's attractive, it's busy without being busy... I don't even think all of that made sense, I'm just all in all super pleased about the whole thing. Oh, and the inside definitely matches the outside fantastic-ness, so there's that too!

2. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Yet another book where the insides match the outsides. I love books like that. The cover is wonderful and dreamy and romantic and so are the words on the pages in the books. And who doesn't love a summer romance?

3. Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carrgier
The purple in the background makes me so giddy I could jump up and down about it, but then the girl in front of that background just sets me over. Such a stunning cover for such a wonderful steampunk novel. And you guys know how much I love steampunk, right?

4. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
I think my favorite part of this book jacket is how awesome it looks next to Cinder. Both books have stuuuuunning covers but the red cape with the fluidity against the black pretty much takes the cake for me. I really can't wait for Cress and Winter to come - not just because I'm DYING to read them but because I CANNOT WAIT to see the full set together on my shelf. 

5. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
I'm pretty sure every book on this list's cover matches the inside. I suppose that's a very important qualification (y'know, in addition to pretty cover-ness). But this cover is just gorgeous. GORGEOUS I TELL YOU. I could drool over it all day. I also really love the Siege & Storm cover but I haven't had the pleasure of reading that one yet, so... *sad face* At least I got to mention it in passing!

6. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Guys, I love yellow. It's probably one of my favorite colors of all time. So the color choice for the cover probably made me 10 times more likely to pick up this book - even though I think I would have done so anyway since the plot is pretty awesome. But yeah, I love how simple and happy this cover is. For me, it kind of IS what happy looks like!

7. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
I AM SO HAPPY I READ THIS BOOK IN TIME TO PUT IT ON THIS LIST. I might have done this a little intentionally, but not totally. Either way, I love the colors, I love the faded background scenery, I love the couple next to the title... I just love. 

8. Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
The covers for this entire series are so amazingly kick ass I don't even know how to handle it. I mean, I love this series for SOSOSOSOSO many reasons, but the covers make them so attractive I couldn't help but pick them up! And y'know, I have a hard time with issue books. I sometimes shy away from them because they make me a little nervous. But these... well, there was no question I HAD to read - partially based on the summaries, but also because of the covers!

9. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
That raven is possibly the most stunning raven on the planet. There. I said it. And that raven plus everything else about this cover (including the name of the author) pretty much just screamed BUY ME. So I did. ^_^

10. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Not only does the gorgeous cover on this book match the contents of the book, but it also matches Lauren DeStefano's stunning prose. I think what's ALSO great about this one is that I really love the different aspects of the cover and then all pulled together I just love EVEN MORE. Ugh. I don't even think I'm making sense anymore. Whatever, this cover is perfectly creepy and elegant and just wonderful, okay?

I definitely stopped making sense here long before I got to the last item on this list, but I hope you now understand how much I appreciate PRETTY THINGS. Do you guys love these covers to? What other covers do you think I should covet - whether I've read the books or not? Let me know in the comments below! 

May 20, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0: Wrap Up

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Iiiiiit's wrap up time! I've been crazy busy otherwise this would have been up a while ago, but here's how my week stacked up. 

  • Read at least 3 books from the list below
    • Defiance by C.J. Redwine
    • The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise
    • In the Hands of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
    • Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
    • Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt 
    • Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
    • Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
    • Fire by Kristin Cashore 
    • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Claire [Audiobook]
  • Participate in at least 1 Twitter chat
  • Network with bloggers and make awesome new friends
  • Participate in at least 2 challenges

  • I read 3 and 1/4 a book in total. This means I finished two books that I'd started BEFORE Bout of Books. Then I read two whole books throughout the week and started a fifth book before the end of the week. So really I read from 5 different books, but all the pages and halves and quarters added up, I read 3 and 1/4 books. Which is just a bit more than I intended to read, so HURRAH! Oh, AND I listened to 4 disc of an audio book. Here's a list of what I read:
    • In the Hands of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
    • Defiance by C.J. Redwine
    • Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
    • Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
    • Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
    • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Claire [Audiobook]
  • I participated in the first Twitter chat on Monday. IT WAS SO FUN. So fun. 
  • I think I made a few new friends during the Twitter chat? I wasn't as around as I'd normally want to be, but I knew that's how this week would turn out.
  • I failed on the challenge front. I only did one challenge and it's the challenge I hosted. So... yeah. 

As always, I was SO CLOSE to my goal but, obviously I didn't quite make it. I tried really hard and I'm impressed that I filled my book quota since I was SO BUSY and suddenly a little sick this past week. I think the reason I didn't get through all of the challenges is because I forgot I wanted to do two - I think I thought I only wanted to do one. Although, either way, I'm crazy lame for letting that one challenge I thought I wanted to do be the challenge I hosted. Either way, I hope you guys all had fun with it.

I think my favorite part, as always, was the Twitter chat. I just love talking to other bloggers about books. But also about other things. I love learning that I have other things in common with ALL OF THE BLOGGERS. Especially the Doctor Who connections. Those are the best. 

Anyway, a million trillion thanks to Amanda and Kelly. You guys are the absolute loveliest and I'm so happy I could take part in Bout of Books YET AGAIN. I cannot wait for the next one. 

To read my original goals post, click HERE.
To read my progress report post, click HERE.

Are you guys already pining for the next Bout of Books? I know I am!!! Please share your read-a-thon feels in the comments below and I'll see you all next time!