Happy 2013!

Happy New Year! 

I hope you have a happy, healthy and book-filled 2013!

*gifs not mine*

Review: Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

Won from Kate at Ex Libris
Publisher: Razorbill
Published: February 2, 2012
Pages: 272
Amazon - Goodreads

    After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness.

    Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song "Chopsticks." But nothing is what it seems, and Glory's reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it's up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along....

I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. I knew there was going to be pictures, but I didn't know that there was going to be barely any text/ dialog. Surprisingly, that was my favorite part, how little the authors used words.

There'd be pictures of newspaper clippings about what was going on or letters between the two of them, but most of the emotion came from the photographs. It was seriously amazing how you could just look at an image and know what was happening. I never thought that seeing a picture of a door barely open and a sliver of light coming through would be so moving.

Chopsticks is a story of star-crossed lovers: Glory, a world renowned piano player and Frank the new boy from Argentina. The saying, 'a picture's worth a thousand words' definitely applies to this amazing book. Through the beauty of photography and only a few snippets of text, Chopsticks is a book full of raw emotion and the battles of young love.

Weekly Report (1)

I decided to do a 'Weekly Report' of what I did during the last seven days: like what I read, movies/television shows I watched and songs I've been listening too along with some other random stuff I completed during the week. I think this will be good for keeping blogging on my brain, so when I do go back to school in a couple weeks, I'll have this to quickly type up once a week so you guys will know that I haven't abandoned you! Of course, I'll still aim to have reviews posted and other fun things, but for busy weeks this will be a weekly 'Hey, I'm still here!' type of post. 

Also, (kind of a personal note) I don't think I give myself enough credit for the things I accomplish during the week and I easily lose track of time, plus my memory totally blows. So typing this stuff down will hopefully help me realize that I can accomplish things and that good things do actually happen in my life. Not totally bookish, but it still talks about books I read, so not totally unrelated!

-The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (My Review)
-Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
-Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

-White Christmas
-The Other Guys
-Season 5 of The Office

-Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
-When I Was Young by Blink 182
-Gotten by Adam Levine and Slash

Random Craziness:
-Painted one wall in my room with 'raspberry' chalkboard paint!
-Visited my nephew
-My cousin got engaged in Cinderella's castle


My adorable little puppy, Max, thought the drop cloths I laid out in our room for painting were put there just for him. He dragged them into a pile and plopped down to take a nap. Yes, he's a sweetheart, isn't he?

I'm still on Winter Break and second semester doesn't start until the mid-January, so I've been pretty bored busy around the house. Cleaning, reading, painting, blogging, going to Starbucks more than I'd like to admit, watching movies and entire seasons of television shows (because it's impossible to just watch only one episode.) I know, some pretty groundbreaking stuff I'm accomplishing, right? I'm pretty excited for Tuesday since that's when my massive chalkboard wall will be all hardened and dry so I can put my room back together (and to write on the wall obviously!)

What fun things did you do this week?

Book Haul: Christmas Edition!

Our Christmas Tree! 
We put up our very small tree this year, it's barley six feet and, no, that's not my bad photography skills you're spying, the tree tilts to the left. Yeah, totally stable but hey, it's still standing! We decided we didn't want to spend the whole time decorating our usual ten foot tree and spend time decorating other parts of the house. It may be small, and not what we're used to, but I quite like it!

I received some money for Christmas from relatives and decided to take a trip to my independent bookstore with my dad! I set a budget so I wouldn't go completely crazy and believe it or not I was under it by quite a bit! Yes! (I'm trying to save for some 2013 releases I really want.) 

-Prized (Birthmarked 2) by Caragh M. O'Brien
-Crewel (Crewel World 1) by Gennifer Albin
-A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (One of my favorites I read in 2012!)

I was also so thrilled when I noticed that I got a card from Zitmarie (Inbetween Books) in the mail!! Isn't it adorable?! It totally turned my day around and made it that much better! There's a sweet little note inside and everything! Thank you so much Marie! 

The adorable owl was a gift from my mom's friend, she made it herself! Isn't he cute? He's a pin cushion, but I have him sitting on my desk just looking pretty. Thanks Kim!

My mom was sweet enough to surprise by buying all these goodies for me! I wasn't expecting it so when we got up to the register I was so happy!

My mom and I went to our Barnes and Noble for a little Christmas shopping and unfortunately discovered that the store was closing. I'm beyond bummed about this new bit of information, but I was pretty happy with the awesome deals they had. I love this mug! It's a 'book garden' and on the other side there's a girl watering the book-flowers! There wasn't any special sales on YA books, but I couldn't help and get two! 

Everything with a white dot was fifty percent off so these books were around $2-6 dollars (yes, there's hardcovers in there!) so of course, we couldn't pass up that price. I read parts of Kate Chopin and Edith Warton in my English class this Fall and can't wait to see what else they wrote. 

Thank you so much Mom!!

[Top Picture]
-The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

[Second Picture]
-The Age of Innocence by Edith Warton
-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 
-The Raven and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

Introducing My New Library Chair!

We visited my Great Aunt Do earlier this year and she gave me this super awesome library stool/chair!! It's a chair that has a little shelf underneath it and then if you flip the back of it down, it turns into a slanted shelf/ stool so keep books on or reach books that are on a high shelf. I'm still totally obsessing over this, it's just too perfect! The picture doesn't do it justice, it's serious so cool! I keep it next to my desk and bookshelf in its chair form with a little rug/mat thing.

My New Mini Bookshelf
My dad also helped me (finally) put up my floating book shelf! I decided to hang it by the bench at the end of my bed, it looks wonderful! Thanks to a suggestion from an awesome follower, I'm putting the books I'd like to read next on it. At least for the moment, these are the books next on my to-be-read list!

Books Read This Week:
     -The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer 2) by Michelle Hodkin

Currently Reading:
      -Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
(Holy cow it's freaking amazing and so addicting! Hoping to finish it tonight!)

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday and have an amazingly happy 2013!

Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer 2) by Michelle Hodkin

Bought from B&N
Published October 23, 2012
Amazon - Goodreads
The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.

She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.

They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.

She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

I finally got around to reading this one and it definitely was way better than I was expecting! I really enjoyed the first book, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, but didn't totally love it so I wasn't too sure what to think going into the sequel. Briana, from Bree's Books, loves this series and loved the sequel so I just had to see what was up (and I love our book discussions!) I'm seriously really happy I ended up reading this one.

I found Mara more likable in The Evolution, but she still had her moments for me. I must admit though, that I really do like Mara. I love how she is this dark protagonist with all these insane issues, but still has normal teen girl problems too.

By far the best part character in this book is Noah. *swoon* There's even more of him in The Evolution and we're able to see some into his past. This book made me love Noah even more. Knowing what he's been through and how he takes care of Mara and her family is really inspiring. Okay and the fact that he's British, extremely attractive and charming helps too!

Occasionally while reading I'd find myself going, "Wait, what in the world is happening?" or "Uhh I'm totally lost." This probably sounds odd, but I think that's one of the most unique things about this series. You ask those questions in almost a good way! You're not even on the edge of your seat, you fell off your seat halfway through book one!

Michelle Hodkin even threw in some flashbacks! (I don't want to say anything more about it in fear of giving too much away!) I kind of liked them, I was a little confused, but I think the third book will answer my questions.

There was definitely some intense scenes in this book! Like spine-tingling, shudder-inducing, freaky scenes! It's not so much scary as they are, well like I said, freaky, but in a good way! There's a part halfway through the book and the setting towards the end that are really amazing. Hodkin's descriptions put you right there with Mara and Noah so it's super easy to feel what the characters are feeling in that moment.

A little over halfway through the book I thought it almost could have ended and been a new book. I thought there was a really could cut off, I mean I would have hated a cliffhanger, but this book did feel a little long.

Awesome Quote:
The idea was a splinter in my mind. Always there, always stinging, even when I wasn't conscious of it. Even what I wasn't thinking about it.

Characters: 5/5
Creativity: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Impact: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

Just like The Unbecoming, The Evolution of Mara Dyer will send chills up your spine, but will also put a smile on your face with Mara's unique sense of humor. A must read for anyone who read the previous book and anyone who loves psychological thrillers and wants to try something new. (You definitely need to read book one first though! You'll be totally lost, haha!)

Happy Holidays!!

Here's some dancing reindeer to get you into the Holiday Spirit!

These three were just my favorite. Prancer reminds me of my dog's awesome dance moves, haha! Hot Rage has the rest of the dancing reindeer here.

And of course it wouldn't be the holidays without watching Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye dancing with feathered fans and butterflies in their hair while lip-syncing to the Haynes Sisters' song  in White Christmas.

Here's the full clip of it. Seriously, it's the best. You should watch it :)
I hope that you and your loved ones have a relaxing and wonderful holiday season!
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year!

(Check back for my 'Top 10 of 2012' lists coming this week!)

My Top Ten of 2012

Here are my Top Ten books that I read in 2012 list! 
They're listed in the order of the date I finished reading them.

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
      I'm pretty sure this book is on almost everyone's 'Top Ten' list. It's beyond incredible with flawless writing and characters you can't help but fall in love with. (My Review)

2. Shatter Me (Shatter Me 1) by Tahereh Mafi
      This one totally blows me away! Mafi's writing is perfection and I love where the story is heading and how even the 'villain' is lovable in his own dysfunctional way. I can't wait until Unravel Me comes out this year! (My Review)

3. Across the Universe and A Million Suns by Beth Revis
       I read the first book in this series, Across the Universe, in February and reread it again before I dove into book two, A Million Suns. I fell immediately in love with Revis's writing and couldn't wait to find out what happened to Amy and Elder next. Later in the year I read A Million Suns and OH MY GOODNESS! Seriously!? That ending and all those unexpected twists?! One of my all time favorite books and series. I'm dying to get my hands on Shades of Earth when it comes out in January! (My Review)

4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
      This book was so unique and left such an impact on me. I loved how flawlessly the pictures and words weaved together such a beautiful story. I loved the message and still think about this book often. (My Review)

5. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
      Beauty Queens was my first and still only Libba Bray book I read. I wasn't too sure how I was going to feel about the book going into it, but shortly after I started I knew it was going to be amazing! I loved the whole 'Girl Power' message and it was beyond hilarious! I definitely need to reread this one in 2013! (My Review)

6. Pandemonium (Delirium 2) by Lauren Oliver
      I was absolutely head over heels for book one, Delirium, so I was dying to read Pandemonium. Lauren Oliver's writing is just so beautiful and it definitely shows in this sequel. That ending was killer! I need to know what happens next right this second, Requiem, you're too far away!!

7. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
      I can't believe it took me so long to pick this book up! It was down-right spooky and sent chills up my spine! Schwab's writing definitely reminded me of a more modern Brother's Grimm. I loved how she perfectly created the town of Near and a creepy ledgend to go with it. (My Review)

8. Cinder (Lunar Chronicles 1) by Marissa Meyer
      I'm usually not a fan of new-age adaptions, but I only heard amazing things about Cinder so I had to give it a go and I was lucky enough to get it as a R.A.K. from the lovely Elodie! I love this book! It was so unique and never used Disney's Cinderella as a crutch, it was a story all on it's own. Cinder is a feisty  funny and independent that I immediately adored. I'm ready for book two a.s.a.p.! (My Review)

9. Pink by Lili Wilkinsin
      This book totally opened my eyes to how society has a label for everything. I loved how Pink discussed the struggles it is growing up in a place that demands you have a name for everything, including feelings. I loved the main character and the message of this book, a definite must read! (My Review)

10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitgerald
       I know, I know, I should have read this one ages ago, but 2012 was my first time reading it. I was captured in just the first chapter. I loved the characters, all the symbolism and how easily I was able to see through Nick's eyes.

Honorable Mentions:
-The Iron Fey Series (Books 1-3) by Julia Kagawa
-Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (My Review)
-Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Click here to see all of the books I read in 2012. 

Book Haul (51)

I haven't done a Book Haul in a while so these are some of the books I've gotten over the past month or so. I hope you all are doing well and staying warm!

-The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer 2) by Michelle Hodkin
-The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle 1) by Maggie Stiefvater
-The Iron Knight (Iron Fey 4) by Julia Kagawa
-The Iron Legends (Iron 1.5, 3.5, 4.5) by Julia Kagawa

-Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Thank you Kim!

-The Farm (The Farm 1) by Emily McKay
-Alchemystic (The Spellmason Chronicles 1) by Anton Strout (Not pictured.)
Thank you Penguin!

-The Lies That Bind (The Liar Society 2) by Lisa and Laura Roecker
    I won a copy of the second book in The Liar Society! YAY!  I also got a 'Top Secret' letter, a blue hair extension and an adorable bag of Bookworms to eat while I read! How sweet! Thank you so much to Lisa and Laura Roecker and Kare at Epic Book Nerd for hosting this awesome contest!

Book Haul (51)

I haven't done a Book Haul in a while so these are some of the books I've gotten over the past month or so. I hope you all are doing well and staying warm!

-The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer 2) by Michelle Hodkin
-The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle 1) by Maggie Stiefvater
-The Iron Knight (Iron Fey 4) by Julia Kagawa
-The Iron Legends (Iron 1.5, 3.5, 4.5) by Julia Kagawa

-Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Thank you Kim!

-The Farm (The Farm 1) by Emily McKay
-Alchemystic (The Spellmason Chronicles 1) by Anton Strout (Not pictured.)
Thank you Penguin!

-The Lies That Bind (The Liar Society 2) by Lisa and Laura Roecker
    I won a copy of the second book in The Liar Society! YAY!  I also got a 'Top Secret' letter, a blue hair extension and an adorable bag of Bookworms to eat while I read! How sweet! Thank you so much to Lisa and Laura Roecker and Kare at Epic Book Nerd for hosting this awesome contest!