In My Mailbox Vlog (31)







Hosted by The Story Siren










Bought:
But I Love Him by Amanda Grace (Mandy Hubbard)

Review:
My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody
Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Pride, Prejudice and Zombies Prequel) by Steve Hockensmith
Dreadfully Ever After (Pride, Prejudice and Zombies 2) by Steve Hockensmith








Photobucket

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Published May 3, 2011
Goodreads - Amazon


In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Briana from Bree's Books recommended Divergent to me and in the past she's recommended some of my now favorite books to me, so I immediately went out and bought Divergent after her recommendation. Briana has still yet to steer me wrong! I absolutely adored this book, it is now one of my absolute favorites! So since I loved it so much, this review is a little longer than my others because I can't help but gush over how epic Roth's writing is.

If you looked up 'the most kick-butt female characters ever created' in an encyclopedia you would see the name Tris. She is the most amazing, yet realistic character I've ever read about. She is incredibly brave, likable and driven. I loved how all of her decisions throughout the book stayed true to her character. Sometimes I feel like an author will take a cop-out by having a character react a certain admirable way, but Veronica always had Tris's thoughts first in mind. 

Just about as soon as I met the character Four I was swooning all over the place! He is, by far, the most original love-interest in the young adult genre. At first I was like, 'why the heck is this kid named after a number', but when we found the reasons behind his odd name, I loved it! I kind of figured out who exactly the mysterious Four was a little early on, but I still enjoyed unraveling his past along with Tris.

I adored how Roth incorporated Four and Tris's romance into Divergent. It wasn't a first priority, but it would reappear throughout the book. I loved how Four wasn't trying to be Tris's knight in shining armor, he acknowledged that Tris was strong on her own. He supported Tris and viewed her as an equal instead of a damsel in distress, which there needs to be way more of in books.

All of the supporting characters were extremely well done. I felt like I got to know just enough about each one of them without getting bombarded with too much detail. Each character had their own unique personality and brought in all kinds of different relationships (friends, boys, bullies, brothers, parents). Tris's mother definitely took my breath away, I don't want to say too much, but she definitely surprised me. 

I absolutely loved that the story took place in a dystopian Chicago. I've only been there a couple times when I was little and once to Navy Pier with school, so I only remember some parts. It was so cool picturing the city in ruins and imaging the group in Navy Pier. I also adored each of the fractions' headquarter's, especially Dauntless! It was hardcore and fit the fraction's personality so well. Roth made it so easy to picture myself walking the halls among the rest of the initiates because of her flawless descriptions.

I kind of felt like the ending came a little quickly, but that's probably because I wish this book could have gone on forever. The events leading up to the climax of the story had my heart pounding and furiously turning pages to find out what happened next. 

Amazing Quote:
"But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can't be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders."

Characters: 5/5
Creativity: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Impact: 5/5
Overall: 5/5


Divergent took my breath away. It's been about a week since I finished it and I still can't get it off my mind. Roth's descriptions are so magnificent that I felt like I was walking the Dauntless headquarters with Tris and her crew. I loved how bravery was talked about, just because you're fearless doesn't make you courageous. It's how you over come those fears that makes you brave. Veronica Roth's writing is genius. I can't believe she wrote this book in college! I seriously can't wait to get my hands on her book two! This review didn't even begin to cover all of the things I love about this book, but I don't think the internet has enough space available for my rant of love for Divergent. 





Photobucket

In My Mailbox Vlog (30)









Hosted by The Story Siren








Review:
Queen of the Dead (The Ghost and the Goth #2) by Stacey Kade









Photobucket

Author Interview + Giveaway: Tracy Deebs (Tempest Rising)

What made you decide that you wanted to write a book about mermaids?
I’ve loved mermaids since I was three years old and my dad brought me home a VHS copy of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. I fell in love with the story the first time I saw it and then tortured my parents for the next three years by watching the movie at least once every single day. Seriously. When we moved to California when I was six, I fell in love with the ocean and all things in it (except sharks, which I have a terrible fear of) and when I first learned of selkies many years later (from a Nora Roberts novel, actually) I became just as fascinated with them. So when I told my agent I wanted to write a YA and she answered with, “How do you feel about mermaids …” I couldn’t resist. Tempest Rising is the book I’ve always wanted to write.

Can you give us three words to describe your main character, Tempest?
Confused, powerful, determined

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
I see parts of myself in most of my characters. In Tempest, I see my love of the sea and my stubbornness—I have a hard time giving up on something once I’ve started it. In Mark, there’s my overwhelming love and concern for the people I care for most (my oldest son says I can be a little smothering, lol). In Kai (who is named Kona in the final book, btw) I see my sense of humor and drive for adventure. I love doing new things, exploring new places.

Was there any particular character that you enjoyed writing the most?
Honestly, Tempest. At that point, I had never written a first person narrator before and I was a little scared of it. But Tempest’s voice just came into my head one day and wouldn’t leave. I had a great time writing all her ups and downs.

Just as Tempest feels a pull to the water and loves to surf, is there anything you feel a pull towards and love to do?
Besides shopping? Actually, I fell in love with the ocean when I moved to California when I was six. I learned to surf (I’m no Tempest, but I can mostly stay on my board), and spent as much time at the beach as I possibly could. The only other thing I’ve ever felt such a strong pull towards is writing? I’ve been putting words on paper since I understood that combining words could tell a story. I can’t imagine my life as anything but a writer.

Did you have a playlist while writing Tempest Rising? If so, could you name a few of the songs?
I did have a playlist. Usually, when I write, I listen to 90s alternative and hard rock, but Tempest seemed to call for something a little different.
Dirty Little Secret—The All-American Rejects
Fader—The Temper Trap
Crash Into Me—The Dave Matthews Band
Soul to Squeeze—Red Hot Chili Peppers
Please Don’t Leave Me—Pink
Secrets—One Republic
Don’t Speak—No Doubt
Kings and Queens—30 Seconds to Mars
Something Beautiful—Need to Breathe
I Can’t Stay—The Killers
I Will Follow You Into the Dark—Death Cab for Cutie
I love so many of these songs! Especially AAR!

Are there any other writing projects that you are currently working on?
Yes, there are J Two of my closest writing friends and I just finished The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams (our pen name) about four small-town girls who become international exchange students in search of life, love and Facebook fame. They start a Facebook page, called The International Kissing Club, and tally points for kisses. It hits shelves in January 2012. Right now, I am writing my next Tracy Deebs YA, a book tentatively titled Zero Day. It’s a modern retelling of the Pandora myth, except instead of opening a box, Pandora opens an attachment and brings about technological Armageddon. It’s due to hit shelves in Fall 2012.
Oh my goodness a Pandora retelling!? I can't wait!

Check out Tempest Rising at Goodreads - Amazon
--------------------------------------------
Thanks to the awesome Bloomsbury, Call Me Crazy is having a Tempest Rising Giveaway! One lucky follower will be able to get their own ARC of Tracy Deeb's book!

There will be 1 winner.
This giveaway is U.S. only.
No P.O. boxes please.
Open to followers only.

Click here to view my Contest Policy.

To enter the giveaway fill out the form here or below!
Contest ends Friday, May 20th 2011.








Photobucket

Review: Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

ARC from Walker
Published May 10, 2011
Goodreads - Amazon

Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.

 I don't know about you, but I'm a huge fan of mermaids! So when I heard that Tracy Deebs was going to be writing a young adult book about them I was super excited. Since I haven't really read any books about mermaids I didn't know what to expect and was unsure if it would live up to my high standards. Luckily Tempest Rising was an adventurous read that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.

At first I had trouble connecting with the main character, Tempest, but as the story progressed I grew to really admire her courageous and headstrong personality. The more I got to know about her, the more I realized that she really is going through a lot and has this amazingly huge decision she needs to make. I loved how just about anyone could relate to Tempest and how she had to make this life altering decision. I mean we may not all be mermaids, but we all of life changing choices that must be made.

Tempest's love interests were definitely oh so swoon worthy! Mark was the hot surfer boyfriend and Kai* was the mysterious new guy with an indescribable connection with Tempest. Both boys were definitely unique, I've yet to read a book with boys like this in it. I liked how both boys were very likable and that I wasn't sure which one I was rooting for until about midway through the story.

Tracy Deebs did an amazing job of creating Tempest's world. I found if very easy to feel transported into the surroundings and feel the same confusion Tempest felt. I adored the new creatures that I was introduced to while reading and loved the battle with destiny many of the characters are forced to face.

I completely adored the ending! I was so happy with the way everything played out. It tied up most of the loose ends and left me absolutely craving a sequel!

Awesome Quote:
"That's an interesting complaint coming from you, Tempest. Besides, the truth is a nebulous thing. If you get too much too quickly, it feels like the top of your head is blowing off."

Characters: 5/5
Creativity: 5/5
Voice: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Impact: 5/5
Overall: 5/5



Tempest Rising is a flat out amazing book. I loved the originality and adventure Tracy Deebs brought to the young adult genre. It left me wanting to see more of Tempest's life and continue to discover more of her world. I'm seriously going to spazz out waiting to get my hands on book two!


*Kai is named Kona in the final book.




Photobucket

In My Mailbox Vlog (29)









Hosted by The Story Siren 









Gift:
-Stay by Deb Caletti
-The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Bought:
-Abandon (Abandon #1) by Meg Cabot
-Watch Me/ Reality Chick by Lauren Barnholdt
-Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick
-Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth






Photobucket


Follow Friday (24)


Question from Magnet for Books

Circle time! Time to share. What character in a book would you most like to be, what character in a book would you most like to date?

I'd definitely pick Frannie from Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers. She is hilarious, loving and can literally kick your butt! And the fact that she has two extremely hot guys vying for her attention is a huge plus too!

Ooo, this is a tough one! I'm going to have to go with Luc who is also from Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers! He's dark, mysterious, loving, protective and super hot (literally!)



Book Blogger Hop
Which book blogger would you most like to meet in real life?

Oh boy, I totally can't pick just one! There's so many awesome people I've met through book blogging! I'm afraid to name a few because I'll probably forget someone!



Have a great weekend!






Photobucket

Rambling Wednesday: Why I Read Young Adult

If you're a fellow book lover, like myself, then you've probably heard this question a number of times: "Why do you choose to read young adult books? Isn't your reading level up to adult?" To which I usually just respond with a quick "I can easily relate to characters because of our similar age group."

 My short response is due to the fact that if you have to ask why I like to read the young adult genre only because of my assumed reading level, I doubt you'll understand my reasonings anyway. But since this is a book blog which is read by awesomely bookish people I figure I'll give a go at explaining why reading young adult books is my ideal choice to pass time.

"She turns a page. She loses herself in fiction. In that way I suppose she and I are both lost here."
-Lauren DeStefano

First off I just want to address one of my major pet peeves people make about reading the young adult genre: My choice in these books has nothing to do with my "reading level" or any other nonsense about age or intellect. All different kinds of people read young adult literature (Yes, literature). It doesn't mean that we are inept or can't comprehend an "adult book". All it means is that we enjoy the content that most books in the young adult genre have. Okay now that that's off my chest, let's get onto why I love these books so much.


I love feeling the connection between characters and myself. Especially when I start a book about a character that I think I will have nothing in common with because we are from totally different social groups. But as the story progresses and I get the chance to see the real them, I realize (as cheesy as it may sound) we're not so different after all. 

"I feel so completely crazy sometimes. I don't know which way I'm facing. All I can do is just shove all this shit to the side and try to move forward."
-Nic Sheff

In Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, Brittany Ellis has the perfect boyfriend, the perfect friends, the perfect reputation and is absolutely beautiful. After reading that on the synopsis I thought, yeah her and I are totally one in the same. But as I read the book I found out that Brittany's life wasn't so perfect, it was actually pretty far from it. She felt just as trapped and conflicted as I did. True, we may appear totally different, but our insides are just the same. 

I don't only read to discover unknown connections that I have with people from different cliques, but also because the characters and I usually have the same feelings. So many times while immersed in a good book I come across characters putting my thoughts and feelings into words. It's like the author went into my brain, pulled out my disorganized thoughts and wrote down what I couldn't find the words to say. Not only does it make me feel not completely alone, but it helps me understand a little bit more about myself too.

"I'm not choosing, but I'm running out of fight."
-Gayle Forman

As mentioned in previous blog posts, school was the farthest thing from ideal for me, I feel like I was robbed of my teenage experience. So when I choose to read young adult books it gives me a glimpse into what was so mercilessly taken from me: The best friend that would have answered my phone calls at three in the morning; the explosion of butterflies I would have gotten when the cute boy in math class looked my way. Or even the bad things like mending a broken heart with ice cream or failing biology because I refused to slice open a frog.

Even though I couldn't live the teenage experience first hand, I had and still have the opportunity to read about it. Whether it's now when I'm safe at home with my loving parents and dog or when I was back at school, sitting in a bathroom stall reading my loneliness away during lunch. I read it, I read the teenage experience. And not only was it a lesson about growing up, but the books also provided me with friendship.


For so many years I looked to Meg Cabot's Mia for advice and acceptance that my piers should have given me. I relied on Harry Potter to be my defense when my parents or I couldn't be. I mean if I accidentally swing the hardcover of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at your head that probably will hurt a little.

"I'm starved for a different light, a different sun, a different sky."
-Lauren Oliver

The young adult book's characters offered (and still do offer) me friendship that I lack with people my own age. Their stories gave me refuge while I tried to escape the seven hours of horror that I was guaranteed to go through five days a week at school. But it also offers knowledge, whether it's of my own feelings that went misunderstood or unsaid, or even the knowledge that there are good people out there; that they're not all going to be like the people from my high school. I guess you could just say that I read the young adult genre because it helps me feel a little less strange, a little less broken and a lot less alone. 






Photobucket


(If you made it through that crazy long post you are truly awesome.)

Review: Flawless by Lara Chapman

ARC from Bloomsbury
Published May 10, 2011
Amazon - Goodreads


Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes, gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny-all right, enormous-flaw: her nose. But even that's not so bad. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame.
On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do-she agrees. For someone so smart, what was she thinking?
This hip retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is filled with hilariously misguided matchmaking, sweet romance, and a gentle reminder that we should all embrace our flaws.

I was so excited when Bloomsbury emailed me about reviewing Flawless that I literally jumped for joy! I'm a huge fan of re-tellings that have a modern and teenage twist to them. I was a little worried how Lara Chapman would bring Cyrano de Bergerac to the twenty-first century (were the characters going to be hiding in bushes while they professed their love to a guy standing on a balcony?) Luckily my worries were totally uncalled for, Flawless was absolutely incredible!

The main character Sarah is tough, witty and a little overly-organized. I connected with her insecurities about her looks immediately. I loved how she put a strong front on the outside, but was really battling herself on the inside. One of my favorite things about Sarah is how easily she touched my heart. Everything she would say or do was so her best friend Kristen would be happy. This left me wishing nothing more than wanting Sarah to stick up for her desires and know that she is beautiful.

I really enjoyed how Sarah's best friend, Kristen, wasn't portrayed as a bad friend or a jerk. She was honestly oblivious to Sarah's feelings and wasn't trying to hurt her friend in any way. Since Kristen was always looking out and wanting the best for Sarah it was super easy to love Kristen almost as much as Sarah.

I loved Rock! There is not many young adult books out there that have a guy that is intelligent, fiercely caring and witty. I liked how Rock didn't completely ignore Sarah or only drooled over Kristen. He thought of Sarah as a good friend and looked out for her feelings. But not only are Rock's personality traits amazing, but he's a super hunk too! Tall, dark and oh so handsome... yum!

The message of the story was flat out amazing. I loved how Lara Chapman didn't shove it in your face, but instead helped you get to the realization on your own through Sarah. So many times throughout the book I found myself yelling "Sarah, don't you dare change for anyone!" which obviously can be carried over into real life and ourselves. I loved how Flawless was both inspirational to love yourself, but also had me laughing out loud because of funny comments, definitely the perfect mixture.

The ending was absolutely perfect. I loved the build up to the end and I never felt like I was being rushed into it. It was so heart-warmingly sweet but definitely not cheesy.

Amazing Quote:
"Sarah, there are moments in life you can't plan. Moments you'll miss because it's not part of your perfectly organized life."

Characters: 5/5
Creativity: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Impact: 5/5
Overall: 5/5


Lara Chapman's debut is flat out flawless and left me anxiously awaiting her second book. I loved having the opportunity to go on this self discovering journey with Sarah. Flawless is a must read for all ages. It'll help you love your flaws and teach you to fight for your own happiness.




Photobucket