"Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labelled 'This could change your life'."
-Helen Exley

"A novel is the chance to try on a different life for size."
-Marion C. Garretty

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spectacular One Year Bloggiversary Giveaway!


Okay, I know I'm a few days early but I just couldn't wait any longer! I'm starting this giveaway early :)

Hi everyone, it's my One Year Bloggiversary!! (Well, almost anyways!) January 24th is my official date and I'm so excited about officially blogging for a year that I want to offer you guys THE BEST giveaway I could think of!

So you might be wondering, how can I do that? Well I'll tell you!

I've spent the last few weeks trying to decide which books I want to give away and I've had some problems. The problem isn't that I can't depart from any of my books, it's that there are so many amazing books I have that I just can't decide which books to give away!

So, here's what I've decided. Ready?

I'VE DECIDED TO PUT UP 30 BOOKS FOR GRABS!

The grand prize winner will get to pick three of these amazing books!
2nd place will win one book!

Well, which books are up for grabs? Well I'll tell you!
*All books are linked to their Goodreads page*

  1. Legend by Marie Lu
  2. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
  3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  4. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
  5. Wither by Lauren Destefano
  6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  7. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
  8. The Death Cure by James Dashner
  9. Life As We Knew It by Susan B. Pfeffer
  10. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
  11. The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird
  12. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher *(Soon to be a movie staring Taylor Laughtener!)
  13. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  14. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
  15. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  16. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  17. Entwined by Heather Dixon
  18. Stay by Deb Caletti
  19. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
  20. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  21. The Liar Society by Lisa & Laura Roecker
  22. Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly
  23. Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
  24. Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley
  25. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  26. The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
  27. You Against Me by Jenny Downham
  28. Shine by Lauren Myracle
  29. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  30. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare


Thank you so much to all of my followers! You mean the world to me :)
Good Luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Books of 2011

It's December 28: The Presents have been unwrapped, the family is leaving, and the New Year is approaching! What were your favorite books of 2011? These are mine (in no particular order):

1. The Death Cure--The finale to The Maze Runner was just fantastic! Sometimes I'm let down by the ending of series, but not this one! Dashner is a fantastic writer and I can't wait to read whatever he comes up with next.





2. Divergent--This is such a great new series: especially the characters! The characters and the plot were just captivating and I couldn't put this book down for a second!









3. Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door--Anna being the debut novel and Lola being the second novel, I decided to package them together. Anna is definitely the best debut I've ever read and probably ever will read, and Lola did not let me down one bit either. Bravo to you Miss Perkins!


4. Clarity--I was definitely not wanting to read this book because of this cover (which I still don't like) but I've learned my lesson to never judge a book by its cover! A mystery that is full of suspense and at times just a tad bit creepy, this book was a fantastic read that kept me turning the pages.





5. Christy Miller Collection--When I started making this list I realized that I did read the Christy Miller books for this first time in January! When I started reviewing them on this blog I was re-reading them. The 15 Christy Miller books are the best books I've ever read, no doubt. I'm also going to throw in Katie Weldon & Sierra Jensen books.



6. Choker--This is a book I normally wouldn't find myself reading because I'm not really into creepier books, but I absolutely loved this! It was the ending that fascinated me so and made me like this book a whole lot more. You won't be expecting the ending!





7. Between Shades of Gray--Historical Fiction is so fascinating and what's even more interesting about this book is that the story about what happened has not been told before because the Soviet Union kept the whole incident such a secret. It will open your eyes and you will be shocked with what happens.



8. The Liar Society--I'm really starting to LOVE mystery books and this book sure had me guessing who-did-what and who-was-responsible-for-what. It kept me on my toes and flipping the pages! And Kate is a kick-butt heroine who rocks the pink hair! I love it!




9. Blood Red Road--I loved everything about this book! From the plot to the characters to the fact that there are no quotation marks throughout the whole book. It made for a very interesting read! The ending leaves such a cliff hanger and I can not wait for the sequel!




10. Juliet Immortal--First off, the cover! It's gorgeous, am I right? Besides from being the most beautiful I've seen in a while, the story inside captivated me too! It was so enthralling and I loved this new take on Romeo & Juliet--and not to mention the ending! You will be shocked!




What were your favorites of 2011??

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Jinx

The Jinx by D.F. Lamont


ebook or paperback.
13-year old Stephen Allan Grayson is having a run of very bad luck. It feels like he's been cursed - because maybe he has been. 
Stephen flees home to protect his family, only to find that he is in the middle of a tug-of war between a cult obsessed with order and misshapen monsters known as “Chaons” who seem bent to be hunting him down. 
In the tradition of books like "The House with the Clock in Its Walls" by John Bellairs, and Stanislaw Lem's The Cyberiad. 
A fun, suspenseful adventure for kids aged 8-13.

(Review from Amazon)

Ramblings: It's not too often that I am requested to read Middle Aged books, so I was intrigued when I got the chance to read this one. It was pleasantly surprised by this book and I'd definitely recommend it to younger readers.

Characters: At first I was a little confused on the characters because the book is written in third person, but I soon caught on that Stephen is the main character. He is a really smart boy and very curious. I wish though that he had shown more fear at being alone and missed his family more. The main emotions I felt from him were confusion and curiosity. (The Chaons were a little scary the first time Stephen encountered them!)

Plot: This is a very interesting plot and something I'd never thought of before: how there needs to be a balance of order and chaos in the world otherwise everything would be topsy turvy! It would be cool though to roll a dice and end up with 17 like Stephen!

Overall: A very interesting and fast-paced read. Although there wasn't too much depth and no background story really, it was fun and entertaining (and at times crazy!) read that I enjoyed. I would recommend to someone between the grades of 5 and 8.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Teaser Tuesday 11



Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should Be Reading. This week my teasers are from the book Untraceable by S.R. Johannes.


"Even though it's pretty unlikely that a sixteen-year-old tomboy--who can build a fire from scratch, yet can't seem to cut her own bangs straight--could dig up something when more than a hundred searchers couldn't, I know deep down that if anyone can find Dad, it's me." 
-Page 6
Untraceable by S.R. Johannes


What is your teaser for the week?? :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Untraceable

Untraceable (Nature of Grace #1) by S.R. Johannes

Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him. One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father. Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.


Ramblings: This book sounded like just my cup of tea, and it was! Full of mystery, suspense, and romance, Untraceable pulled me in and never let me go! This is a captivating book that revved up my emotions and led me on a wild goose bear chase! 


Characters: Grace is the main character of this book and she is the strongest, bravest, and most determined heroine I've read about in a long time! But aside from the action, there is also romance in this book. Grace's ex Wyn and a new found friend Mo lead her emotions on a whirl-wind adventure in her heart!


Plot: The plot was certainly mysterious and suspenseful. Throughout the book I kept trying to figure out what happened to her dad. In the end I was waaaay off and completely dumbfounded with the outcome! Full of suspense, mystery, romance, and dealing with the struggles of losing a parent, this plot isn't missing anything!


Overall: This is one of the best books I've read since The Magi! *Slight Spoiler* At first I was super upset with the ending and I wanted to through the book across the room! But then there is a fantastic cliffhanger! *Spoiler Over* The next book in the series called Uncontrollable comes out this summer. Don't wait that long to pick up Untraceable!


Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Departures

Now Boarding Gate 10 by Robin Jones Gunn

Pages: 96
After her high school graduation, still aching from Todd's departure, Christy joins her family on a trip to Wisconsin to visit relatives. While there, she reunites with Matthew, an old friend from junior high. When Matthew starts to show a romantic interest in Christy, she realizes this summer vacation could change everything she thought her future would be.

Ramblings: Since this is a novella, I've decided to write a novella-ish mini-review! This is the last book written from Christy's point of view which made the book just a little bit more special, but I was also sad to finish it!

Characters/Plot: I liked this book because it takes place in Christy's hometown which you never get to read about any other time in the whole series. She meets some of her old friends and her family is with her--including Uncle Bob and Aunt Marti which made for an interesting trip! Christy was very heartfelt and she had to make some tough decisions about love and her heart is growing. It was an amazing discovery for her and I loved being there with her as she figured out another piece of her heart.

Overall: By now you should all know how much I love this series, although now I'm a little sad to not have any other books to read from Christy's point of view. Don't pass up this series!

*-*-*

In The Event of a Water Landing by Robin Jones Gunn

Pages: 95
Fifteen-year-old Sierra Jensen can't wait to spend her summer vacation with her friend Jana at a pristine lake in Montana. But when they arrive, it becomes clear that Jana's only interest is acquiring a boyfriend. Sierra just wants to hang out with the guys as friends, but Jana turns ever encounter into a possible romantic relationship. As their friendship begins to suffer, Sierra wonders if it's possible to find a Forever Friend who will listen to you, laugh with you, and keep your confidences.

Ramblings: Woah! A second review? Yep :) Two books in one here! Only this time, the book is written by Christy's friend Sierra. I've only read one other book about Sierra (I know I need to get cracking on that series!) so I was excited to read this one about her.

Characters/Plot: I'm still getting warmed up to Sierra, but I instantly realized I am going to love her just as much as I love Christy and the gang. Sierra is trying to figure out love which can be tough and I became wrapped up in her insights and understanding as she comes to new realizations. I know that I'm going to love continuing to read about her and her friends.

Overall: From my great experience from reading this book, I know I'm going to love the Sierra Jensen Series and that I'm going to get started on reading those soon!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, December 23, 2011

Follow Friday 20

Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read. This week's question is:
Q:  If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book which book would you choose and why?


My Answer: I would love, love, love to spend eternity with Christy Miller and the gang! If you haven't read the Christy Miller Collection I highly recommend. I would love getting hugs from Doug and learning to surf with Todd!, growing in my faith with Tracy, and spontaneously dashing out on daring  adventures with Katie, and hopefully someday visiting Eli in Africa! 
Yep, I can see it. :)
Where would you spend eternity?
And as it is getting closer and closer to the holiday season, what are you doing for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday? :)
Do you have any snow? I sure wish I did! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Antonia

My Ãntonia by Willa Cather





Set on the Nebraska prairie of the 1880s, My Ántonia tells the story of Ántonia Shimerda, daughter of a Bohemian immigrant.Through the eyes of Jim Burden, her tutor and admirer, we follow Ántonia's struggles and triumphs in the face of life's relentless hardships.


Ramblings: (Yes I admit, I had to read this for school, this was not a first choice read) but I'm so glad I had to read this book! At first I was a little put off by this book because I had to read it for school and I thought it would be boring and educational, but I soon realized that this book is much, much, more.

Characters: I soon connected with Jim and Antonia as I read about their life on the prairie. I love Jim and Anotnia's relationship. They grow up together and they have this love that is so amazing--more than a brother sister love, or any other love. It's an agape love which I absolutely loved reading about. So few people ever find that kind of love in their lifetimes and reading about this agape love just opened my heart.

Plot: Taking place out in Nebraska, such an open and unsuspecting place, was a great, unique way to open up the story. Jim lives out on the prairie, in town, and eventually goes off to college, but the people that he meets along the way influence him for the rest of his life. This story has many twists and turns I wasn't suspecting and Cather really carries the story through quite well.

Overall: I was just captured by Cather's writing style and her descriptions. There were a few passages in this book that just blew me away and I was utterly fascinated by her writing. She has raised my standards on books and I'm just in love with this story. Don't pass it up!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Thursday, December 15, 2011

BTT: Character or Plot?

Booking Through Thursday:

What’s more important to you? Real, three-dimensional, fleshed-out fascinating characters? Or an amazing, page-turning plot?
(Yes, I know, they are both important. But if you had to pick one as being more important than the other?


My Answer: These are both important, although I would definitely say an amazing, page-turning plot. I can't stand it when books move slow and even though I love really connecting with characters, I can get through a book without that and actually enjoy the book more than if the plot drags.

How about you? Leave a blog address, follow, & comment and I'll follow back! :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stievfater

Pages: 405
Published: October 18, 2011
Some race to win. Others race to survive.
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. 
Some riders live.
Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. 
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn't given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition - the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
As she did in her bestselling Shiver trilogy, author Maggie Stiefvater takes us to the breaking point, where both love and life meet their greatest obstacles, and only the strong of heart can survive. The Scorpio Races is an unforgettable reading experience.


Ramblings: I've heard such great things about this book! I've heard it's a heat-pounding, page-turning read that compares to The Hunger Games, but I honestly didn't feel that way.

Characters: Puck and Sean were pretty great main characters. I loved that they were total opposites and how slowly their lives weave together. They were very similar at the same time and at points I had to look back to the beginning of the chapter to see who was speaking! *Spoiler* But, the kiss at the race lines I felt was so random and sudden! I was really disappointed with how their love relationship came together. I felt as though Stiefvater slapped that into the plot because most stories today have romances between the main characters. *Spoiler Over*

Plot: I can't say that this isn't unique! I love the concept of this book, although I wish the story behind the water horses and how they act and why they eat humans had been explained better. I felt confused throughout most of the book because I was trying to figure out why something was happening. On the plus side, I loved the concept of the races and how upset they were that a girl was joining! The plot was pretty slow moving except for the 20 pages of racing. I really only wanted to keep reading to see how the races turned out. It wasn't very exciting to me.

Overall: I am happy to finally have read this book, although I am disappointed in the overall experience of reading this book. I wouldn't pass it up, just don't have too high of expectations for it.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Cover Love 2 Hearts

The Magi Christmas Giveaway

It's getting closer to the holiday season (although I've been singing Christmas carols for weeks now) and i'm extending my giveaway of The Magi! One winner will receive and ebook of The Magi by Kevin Turner, and let me tell you--5 Stars!



Friday, December 2, 2011

Follow Friday 19

Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunke & Alison Can Read. This week's question is:



Q: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don’t like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!


My Answer: My biggest pet peeve is when a book automatically jumps into the middle of the plot and then they don't explain well what's happening! It is tough to catch up and causes for a very unhappy Katie ): 
On the other hand, I love when you jump right into all the action, as long as it is explained! You know, just a few paragraphs in the second chapter to explain all the rules in this new society would be nice is a;l I'm saying.


What is your biggest pet peeve?? Comment & Follow and I'll follow back!
Also, I'm giving away a copy of the Magi (A 5 STAR BOOK!), just go the top of my side bar!
Have a great weekend :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Notes to Self

Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer

Cover for 'Notes to Self'E-book
Published: November 20
Two climbed up. Two fell down. 
One woke up.
In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, Robin Saunders has to relearn who she is and find out what happened the night everything changed.
"I don’t know if the lightning was actually there or if my brain added it afterward, when I searched it over and over for what Emily had said that night. 
It was cold and dark—darker than we thought it would be. I remember wishing I was younger so I could admit I was too scared to climb. Or older, so I could say, “Not my thing, no thanks, let’s get out of here,” and not care if Em thought I was lame. She said we were supposed to go a little crazy once in a while; it was practically our duty. Pretty soon it would be too late. 
But I knew it was already too late."


Ramblings: This as a quick read with a touching story.

Characters: Robin and Emily are the two main characters, only Emily isn't awake. Robin is definitely upset by this event, and she doesn't know how to handle it. She is a great character when it comes to her emotions and how she handles everyday situations.

Plot: The plot is what bothered me about this book. I mean, the story line was great and I loved the last few lines! But I felt the beginning was abrupt and the story didn't start to come together until halfway through the book. There were some scenes in the story that I wish had been carried out longer or explained better. (Like the whole story with her father & her relationship with her mother).

Overall: I enjoyed this book and recommend it if you are looking for a touching story. I don't know if I'd ever re-read this, but the ending was spectacular and I love the resolution!

Overall Rating: 2 Stars
Cover Love: 1 Heart

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teaser Tuesday 10


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should Be Reading. This week my teaser from the book The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.


"A smile walks over one side of his face but not the other. It almost looks like he's actually happy, if you've never seen one of his real ones. The sad this is--I've gotten used to the fake one. I've become willing to wait for the real one to reappear, without realizing I should've been working hard to find it again."


-Page 12 of The Scorpio Races


What is your Teaser this Tuesday?? Have a great week!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Author Interview: Kevin Turner

Kevin Turner is the author of The Magi. You can read my review or this fantastic book here!  Also, I'm giving away TWO copies of The Magi in that post! Don't forget to sign up to win! Kevin is also nice enough for this fantastic interview.


What was your inspiration for writing The Magi?

The first thing you should know about me is that I’m a middle school English teacher.  About a year ago, I became frustrated with the lack of participation I was getting in regards to student reading.  Part of my job is to take students to the library and help them find a good book to read.  For many, that’s like telling someone with a sweet tooth to go into a candy store and find the perfect candy.  They’d be in there all day!  However, for many students, it was like pulling teeth to find a book. 
To help me with this quest, I created a survey and asked the kids to tell me what it was they wanted to read.  I figured by asking them to describe the perfect book, I could use that to narrow down a list of possible books that would entertain them.  Instead of the diverse answers I expected to get, I ended up getting quite similar responses from my students.  So, I decided to write a book that met the demands they listed.  And The Magi was the result.
In The Magi, the Magi people can control the four elements. Which element would you control and why?
In the book, each element is unique in its ability to be controlled.  In other words, how one element is controlled is different than how another element is controlled.  Without giving anything away from the story, each person’s personality makes them more or less likely to access each element.  I would say that based on my personality, I would be a healthy mix between earth and water.  I think there are fire tendencies here and there, but I think earth and water share my biggest attributes. 
I actually have a created quiz that you can take which would help you identify which element you would control.  It think it’s kind of fun.  You can view it at http://leafbladegames.com/elementquiz/home.aspx

Did you ever attend a boarding school like Elijah? Would you want to?

No.  I went through the American public school system.
I definitely would not want Elijah’s boarding school experience, but I think that boarding school in many ways is similar to college, which I enjoyed very much.  Living with others of the same age and having a little more independence is very enticing to many young people, especially during the teenage years.  However, I think I would have also found boarding school very lonely.  One of the themes of The Magi is family, and there’s a different kind of love that your family gives that your friends cannot, and I think boarding school would have been very painful for me in that regard.

Elijah looks up to Master Roddick the most in this story. Who do you look up to the most?

I have probably the most incredible mother that I look up to very much.  When I was around Elijah’s age, I lost my father suddenly.  At the time, my mom was staying home and taking care of the family.  As soon as my father died, she had to find work, become not just an incredible mother but an incredible father, and put us both through school while keeping all the responsibilities she had before he died.  I can’t imagine having to do that and also deal with the emotional pounding of dealing with the death of a spouse at the same time.   

Can you give us a sneak peak of the next novel in The Magi series? I'm dying to read the next one!

I’ll try to give as much as I can without ruining the experience of The Magi.  The second book is titled The Sphere.  If you’ve read The Magi, you know the importance of this sphere as it is a sort of weapon for the Maliphists, who are the group of people hunting Elijah.  The problem is, this sphere is hidden and is actively being pursued by both the Magi and the Maliphists.
The Sphere is a treasure hunt of sorts, except instead of finding treasure, Elijah is trying to find this sphere to keep the Maliphists from using it on the common people.  The book will take us to other parts of the world, other Magi communities, and will have lots of research and code deciphering as they dive into ancient secrets that have never been uncovered by the Magi.  Along with the search for the sphere, there are some relationships (romantic and unromantic) that are tested and we will continue to learn a little more about Elijah’s past.  We will also continue learn more about the Magi world and of course Elijah’s training with the elements.  I’m also very excited to say that some very ordinary scenes in The Magi will be revealed as being very extraordinary in The Sphere (and the rest of the series).  But these clues are in The Magi; they’re just easily overlooked.     
I have to say that when I sat down to plan out The Magi Series, The Sphere was the book that I looked forward to writing the most.  

Thanks for the interview Kevin! 
Don't pass up The Magi. You can buy an ebook of The Magi at Amazon or enter to win!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Magi & Giveaway!

The Magi by Kevin Turner

The Magi
Thirteen-year-old Elijah Hawk has never heard of the Magi. He doesn't know about the secret power they have. He has never been to Savenridge, the Magi city hidden deep inside the northern forests. Most of all, Elijah is unaware of the dangers hunting him, in search for something he has. After one terrifying night, however, all of that changes! 

On a quest to solve the murder of his parents, Elijah stumbles upon the land of the Magi. Learning their secrets and training with their power is the least of his problems. In order to find out why his parents were killed, Elijah learns that he must confront the dangers that are hunting him. What's more terrifying is learning that stumbling upon this new world of the Magi may not have been an accident after all.


Ramblings: Mystery, adventure, suspense, magic, AMAZING! This is the first book in a 5 book series to be that I am going to read furiously! The Magi left me craving for more and I'm just dying for more!

Characters: Elijah is the main character in this book and I was excited to read a book with a boy as the protagonist. Elijah was so easy to connect with from the very beginning of the book. Sometimes when characters are in the climax, they seem to run on never-ending energy and they never feel any pain or weakness. Elijah experienced fear, fatigue, hunger and normal emotions that a young boy should be feeling!

Plot: This was a pretty unique plot and I was easily wrapped up in it. Like I said before it is full of suspense and adventure that left me rapidly turning the pages. Mystery was also entwined in every page, even the end! There are many unanswered questions that I hope will become answered in the next book!

Overall: I seriously loved this book. It's a great read for any YA/Middle reader. Don't pass this one up!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Cover Love: 3 Hearts


Now for the Giveaway! --->