Review: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Bought from B&N
Published September 5, 2011
Amazon - Goodreads

Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part,Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention
Then Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: She and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. But what Lissa never sees coming is her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling...

I definitely regret not picking this book up sooner because, oh my goodness, Kody Keplinger did it again! I was a little worried Shut Out wouldn't live up to my high expectations because I absolutely adored her first book, The DUFF, but it just totally surpassed what I had hoped for.

I loved how this book was so much more than a story about the girlfriends of soccer and football players going on a 'hookup strike' to get the teams to stop fighting. Throughout the chaos of the strike Lissa learned a lot about a double standard in our society: If a girl does't sleep with someone, she's a prude. If she does, she's a slut and then there's the whole case of when a guy sleeps with someone that's fine because he's a boy. I honestly never really thought about this before, but now that this book opened my eyes to this, it really makes me angry! I loved how Keplinger still educated me about this issue in a way where I almost didn't know she was. When I was reading I didn't think 'Oh, the author is just trying to get me to understand the double standards in today's society.' It was apart of the story which made it not come across in a preachy way.

The main character, Lissa, is intelligent, caring and a little kooky! I loved how it felt like I was in her head while reading the book and that the decisions she made were realistic. She is such a dynamic character who learns a lot about herself and the other people around her throughout the course of the story.

Lissa's love interests were pretty awesome too! I really enjoyed how the two guys, Randy and Cash, didn't seem all that different, but once you got to know them there was less stuff in common between the two than I thought. I loved how Cash loved reading and was pretty much a literature buff! *Swoon*

My favorite part of the book was when all of the girls would get together and discuss how the strike was going. They never really talked before because of the whole football-soccer feud so it was awesome to see how alike they all were and how they all supported each other even if they didn't necessarily get along all the time.

There really is no other character like Lissa's best friend, Chloe. She is who she is and she sure as hell wasn't going to apologize for that, which I loved! She wasn't afraid to be herself and if anyone had a problem with that it really didn't matter to her. I enjoyed how outgoing and just flat-out honest she was. In books there really aren't many female characters that are forward about their sex lives, so in a way, Chloe's bluntness was refreshing.

Awesome Quote:
"You can't control everything," Dad said. "Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little and let life happen. You don't want to miss out on the best parts of life just because you were afraid of getting hurt."

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

Shut Out is an absolutely amazing story filled with kick ass characters, heart warming moments and, of course, plenty of swoon worthy guys. A must read for any fan of contemporary young adult fiction! I cannot wait until Kody Keplinger's next book to be released this year. I know it will be incredible, just like her first two!











In My Mailbox (38)

Hosted by The Story Siren

Unfortunately, there is no video this week, sorry guys! I promise there will be the usual In My Mailbox Vlog back next week. I didn't have the greatest of weeks so the video would have been a total downer to watch so here's a picture of all the booky goodness I got this week!



Bought:
-Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala
I'm super excited to read Don't Breathe A Word because I've heard amazing things about it and it was one of my most anticipated releases of 2012!

-Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson
I'm continually seeing great quotes on goodreads or on Friday's Finest from this book, so when I'm in the mood for a deep read I'll definitely will pick this one up.

-A Need So Beautiful (A Need So Beautiful #1) by Suzanne Young
The sequel, A Want So Wicked, is coming out this year and I still haven't read this one! I've only heard wonderful things about it so I'm super happy I finally decided to pick this one up.

-Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
Hallowed! Yes! I can't wait for some more Tucker! I also heard that there is more Christian in it and that my Team Tucker blogger friend is conflicted between the two guys so I can't wait to see what both dudes do in this book.


Review:
-The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

I received this book from the wonderful people at Egmont (thank you!) and it sounds super interesting! There is a picture of a butterfly covered in blood on the cover of the book, which terrifies me since I'm deathly afraid of butterflies.









Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Bought from B&N
Published September 27, 2011
Amazon - Goodreads

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.

I heard so many incredible things about this book that I thought I was going to be absolutely blown away by it. Unfortunately I was left a little underwhelmed, but hear me out... Overall it was a really great book, just not what I was expecting. I've been thinking about how I was going to write this review since I finished it and I'm still a little unsure where this will go so I warn you ahead of time about the rambling and for parts where I will most likely contradict myself!

I'm very conflicted on weather or not I like Mara, the main character. She was a tad crazy, but admirably protective and super witty, but sometimes I didn't agree with her decisions, especially at the end of the book. I sympathized with her when she was being harassed by a girl at school and I liked how she handled herself in those tense situations. Sometimes I wanted to shake her and just ask why she was being so crummy to her caring mother. I get she was super over protective, but I mean your entire family moved to a different state just so you could get a new start, give them a break. But at the same time (here comes the contradicting parts) Mara was going through a heck of a lot with having just come out of a coma and completely forgetting what happened the night her friends died in the accident so there's that to consider too.

A part that I did enjoy in a love/hate (mostly love) kind of way was how every chapter ended in a cliffhanger so I just had to keep reading, no matter what time it was. I stayed up until two in the morning until I finally got to the point where I had to stop because I literally couldn't keep my eyes open. I love that I never had a problem with not being interested in what was going to happen next, because there was always some twist hiding around the corner.

I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen next. I guess I mean that in a mostly good way, but a teeny, tiny bit bad too. Like somethings would happen and I would just be 'Oh no way! That's so awesome, I totally didn't see that coming!' while other times I would be thinking 'How the heck does that fit into the story, that came out of nowhere.' Of course, this might have just been me, if I go back and reread it I'll probably find the clues that lead to the outcome of certain events there all along.

My absolute favorite part of the book was Noah! *swoon* The first scene of the book he was in I knew I was going to love, love, love him! He's kind of got the whole 'bad boy' thing going on, but we later learn that there's so much more to him than all the rumors around school. Sure, he may be a little bit of a... hmm how to word this appropriately...err a guy who gets around a lot? Yeah, let's go with that, but as the story unfolds we get a glimpse into his life. I thought he brought out the best in Mara, and that Mara did the same for him. A lot of scenes that they were in together were super cute and were my favorite parts of the book.

I really didn't like the choices Mara made during the end, it was just very different. It was a pretty great cliffhanger so I definitely can't wait for book two! I want to know the aftermath of certain choices that were made at the end of the book and just to see what happens next in that 'holy cow!' part of the ending.

Hilarious Quotes:
(I literally busted out laughing when I read this line...)

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and all that jazz. Anna use to be the abstinence poster girl, but post-Shaw you could write a comic book about the many adventures of her vagina. It could wear a cape.”


And this one's super funny too...

"My God, you're like the plague."
"A masterfully crafted, powerfully understated, and epic parable of timeless moral resonance? Why, thank you. That's one of the nicest things anyone's ever said to me," he said. 
"The Disease, Noah. Not the book."
"I'm ignoring that qualification."


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


So this could be an Inception thing, ya know the movie? The first time I saw it I just thought 'Joesph Gordon-Leavitt looked absolutely lovely.' Then I saw it again and realized there was way more to it than Leavitt's nice derriere, that the plot was totally mind blowing and the character's were completely incredible. So I'm thinking this is just another case of  me needing to try this again and pay more attention to other aspects of the book instead of studly Noah perhaps. Also now that I know where the plot is going I can see if there are any clues hidden along the way. I recommend you pick this one up because it's just a really unique story that left me thinking about days after, heck I'm still thinking about it!











Personalizing Books: To Stamp or Not to Stamp

When I was in school (especially in junior high) I always had trouble with people stealing my books. I never really understood why my bullies snatched them since most of them had the IQ of a rock and probably couldn't decipher what those strange symbols (a.k.a. letters) covering the pages were. Okay, okay enough of me bashing my 'peers' from school and onto the point of this post...

Since I had trouble sometimes proving that a book was mine my mom came up with the idea for me to stamp the back of my books. I know what you're thinking 'How could you!? You're totally ruining the pristine condition of the book!' Well that's what I thought when my mom first suggested it to me, but when I got to high school and was finally fed up defending that I was actually the true owner of a book I decided that maybe my mom was onto something.

So one day we went to the craft store and picked out a stamp that I wouldn't mine being forever printed in the back of my books. When we got back I then spent the rest of my Saturday afternoon stamping a tree on the inside back cover of my books.

Then the next time someone had taken my book and the teacher was all 'How do I know this book really doesn't belong to Jack, Katie?' And instead of reciting the plot, characters, themes, favorite parts and why they should truly be ashamed that they haven't read it to prove it was mine I just went 'Hey Jack, what's in the back cover?' to which he responded 'Durrr *hair flip* what?' And then it was back in my hands! Yes!

Now that I'm in college I, thankfully, don't really have to worry about people jacking my books anymore so I haven't really been stamping them. Most of the books I've gotten in the past year or so haven't been stamped either since I was home-schooled my senior year. I mean I really doubt my dog would have stolen my books and if he did I'm pretty sure I would have found it buried in the backyard by now.




Do you do anything to personalize your books?
Do you think my stamping the inside of the back cover ruins it?
Let me know in the comments!










Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Bought from B&N
Published November 15, 2011
Amazon - Goodreads

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In all honesty I wasn't expecting a lot from this book. I didn't think that there could be much of an interesting plot around a girl who had a killer touch. As soon as I started the first paragraph, I was hit full force with Mafi's incredible writing. I then knew that this book was going to be anything but ordinary.

I absolutely adored the writing style in Shatter Me, it was absolute perfection. I loved that as a reader, I didn't miss out on a single emotion or thought that was going through the main character, Juliette's, head. The story was told in first person from Juliette's point of view and I've read other books with a first person narration, but oh my goodness the voice in the book made me feel like I was Juliette at times. Mafi let us see everything that the main character was thinking and feeling, nothing was held back.

I also love how some words and phrases were repeated to emphasize the importance of what we being said. Another unique aspect of the writing style was that sometimes phrases were crossed out. The crossed out parts were what she was really thinking, but not wanting to admit to herself, just extremely raw and oh so perfect! And along with all the metaphors I was in nerd heaven!

The main character, Juliette was an incredibly strong and selfless heroine who just wanted to be 'normal'. While growing up she lived with her neglectful parents and was taken out of school after an incident a couple years before the book begins. We're first introduced to Juliette while she's in the insane asylum and has had no human contact in over two hundred and sixty four days. I can't even imagine how lonely and just down she must have felt. I don't want to give anything away because one of the best parts of this book are all the surprises at every turn of the page. I will say she only spends the beginning part of the story in the asylum, so don't worry about not getting your adventure fix!

There was also a very, very loving and flipping gorgeous guy in Shatter Me, but like I just said I don't want to even give a name or anything like that because I was a little surprised, with well... things. (Read it and you'll know what I'm talking about!)

I seriously didn't see the ending coming! I was literally so mesmerized by this book that when I went to go look at the next page I read 'Acknowledgments' and was like 'uh, what? Wait a second... Nooooo! It can't be over!' I also loved where the events of the story took our characters and the fact that I didn't ever know what was coming next!

Amazing Quote:
"Hate looks just like everybody else until it smiles. Until it spins around and lies with lips and teeth carved into the semblance of something too passive to punch."

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



Shatter Me is an absolutely incredible book about a girl who just wants to be accepted for who she is. It's jammed packed with adventure, romance and heart-pounding suspense. I wish I was Juliette. Juliette is an amazingly strong and dynamic character. We all have a little bit of her in us, we all just want to be accepted and loved for who we truly are. This review doesn't do this book justice. This will be my new go to recommend book because, in all honesty, this book is absolute perfection and I can't say enough positive things about it.  It is one of my favorites! I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!











Books I Want to Reread in 2012


- The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
     I first read this book in 2010 and fell head over heels in love with the main character Bianca. She has the absolute greatest sense of humor in the world and I love how she dealt with Wesley's sometimes 'difficult' personality. The problems both characters went through were very real and were handled in a unique way. I loved the dynamic between Wesley and Bianca, I can't wait to laugh my butt off reading this one again!

-Leaving Paradise (Leaving Paradise #1) by Simone Elkeles
     This was the first Simone Elkeles book that I read, so this is the book that started my obsession with Elkele's stories. I loved the unique star crossed lovers story and how Caleb and Maggie found a safe haven in each other even though they each negatively impacted the other's life the year before. I love how there were light moments mixed in with serious situations, such a great and meaningful read!

-Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
     Two words: St. Clair. Yeah do I have to elaborate? For those of you who haven't read Anna and the French Kiss St. Clair is the definition of perfection. He has a French name, a British accent, funny, intelligent, has a British accent, flipping gorgeous, caring, has a British accent... oh wait I said that already, well I could go on forever, but you get the point. There's also way more to this book than a hot guy though, Anna is such an awesome main character that I easily related to her and this story takes place in France, ooo la la!



-Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth
     The main character Tris is just totally kick-butt in this book. I love the whole idea of having the world split up into different factions based on particular qualities, just so original! I loved all of the supporting characters in this book, each and every one of them had their one unique personality that was just perfect...Four was also a very nice addition to the characters as well!

-Willow by Julia Hoban
     I first read this book from my library in 2010 and still think about it some days. I bought it this summer and still haven't gotten around to reading it again, so this year I definitely want to. I loved the main character, Willow. She was going through such a hard time and had a serious problem, but Hoban didn't make her out to be some monster, Willow was just a normal girl with some issues, which was amazing. I was going through a lot of the same problems that the main character was at the time I read this, so it helped me understand that I wasn't alone.

-Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach
     This book was full of mystery that you found out the answers to at the end of the book.I wonder if now, since I know the answers, I can pick out the signs throughout the book. Then I can do the whole 'oh my goodness how did I not see that coming, come on!' thing when I'm reading and understand character's choices earlier on. I also loved Cach's writing and just how the overall plot was full of history, paranormal aspects and just pure awesomeness. I NEED a sequel!



-The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
     For those of you who follow me on Twitter you might already know my feelings on this book being created into a movie, I don't like it! Nothing against the cast or anything like that, but one of the main things that made me love this book so much was Collin's incredible writing. I literally felt like I was in the Games with Katniss fighting for my life by her side. It feels like I've already seen the movie because of the killer descriptions. This movie comes out on my nineteenth birthday and I already told my friend I didn't want to see it, but she's persistent (*cough*stubborn*cough*) and I know I'll end up seeing it, so I want to reread it before my thoughts of it get tarnished.

-Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver
     This was one of the first books I read that literally took my breath away. I still get chills when I see quotes on goodreads (especially from that end inner dialog from Lena, just holy cow). I love dystopians, but this book takes my love for this part of the YA genre to a whole completely different level. Lena, Hannah, Alex, Lena's mom and really all of the characters play such a crucial role in the story, I am completely in love with this book.

-Personal Demons Trilogy by Lisa Desrochers
     Now that I have all the books in the Personal Demons trilogy I really want to have an entire weekend set aside to read the series. Lisa's writing is just totally incredible and she's the absolute master at the perfect 'teen voice' in books. All of the characters in these books are so awesome and not to mention that two of them are freaking smoking hot! I love how Frannie is stubborn, fiercely caring and can kick total butt whenever needed. She's definitely my favorite main character! Also, Original Sin with all of the 'OMG did that just happen' moments throughout the book will be super fun to read again!












In My Mailbox Vlog (37)







Hosted by The Story Siren










Bought:
-Inside Out (Insider #1) by Maria V. Snyder

Review:
-Trafficked by Kim Purcell











Review: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Borrowed from my library.
Published January 3, 2012
Amazon - Goodreads

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances… a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.
So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life…and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last...


I heard so many positive things about Bittersweet that I thought I was absolutely going to love this book. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, this book just wasn't for me. Although, like everyone said it would, the book did leave me craving cupcakes and hot chocolate!

A part of this book that I really enjoyed was how the main character, Hudson, found comfort in baking cupcakes. It's not an everyday thing which was an awesomely unique part to the story. I loved how Ockler made baking an art form by how precise Hudson was with her delicious creations.

I had a little trouble connecting with Hudson. Sometimes I wished I could have seen more inside her head so I could feel what she was going through instead of being a bystander. There were also parts where I just didn't agree with the decisions she was making or really understand why she chose to go down that road.

I really liked the idea of having a team of hockey boys in the book, but I wish there would have been more scenes with all the guys. What I saw of their personalities seemed fun so I would have loved to have had the chance to see the journey of improvement on their hockey skills, instead of just seeing the results.

My favorite character by far was Dani, Hudson's best friend. I thought she was sassy, fun and just a great friend to Hudson. I enjoyed how she had her own outlook on life and didn't let others influence her opinions. She worked at Hudson's mom's diner and she made the best of being a waitress there. I liked how she had an optimistic attitude toward the situation she was in.

Unfortunately, I found a lot of the events in the book quite predictable or reminiscent of other books or movies that I have seen in the past. I kind of saw the end coming, but there was a little twist towards the end that I thought was surprising!

Funny Quote:
(Hudson talking to Dani about what counts as having a boyfriend.)

"And before you say another word, making out with a cardboard Johnny Depp at the movie theater on a dare doesn't count, either."

Characters: 3/5
Creativity: 3/5
Voice: 2/5
Plot: 2/5
Impact: 2/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Maybe I set too high of expectations for this book which led me not to love it. I haven't read any other books by Sarah Ockler, but I still plan on reading Twenty Boy Summer, even though Bittersweet and I didn't seem to fit. This is a good story for the Winter season, especially if you're into ice skating, baking and cute hockey boys.









Books I Can't Believe I Didn't Read in 2011


-Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1) by Beth Revis
     I love books with two point of views and this book is told by both Amy and Elder. It will be really cool to read a story that takes place in space, the entire concept of the book is just totally unique! A Million Suns, book twocame out this month so I should have an Across the Universe series read-a-thon during the weekend!

-Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake
     This sounds like the perfect ghost story! I love the tagline from the summary on goodreads too, "Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story". I've never read a book where one of the main characters was a murderer, it should be oh so interesting!

-Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2) by Andrea Cremer
     I absolutely adored Nightshade so I honestly have not the slightest idea why I haven't read Wolfsbane! Especially since book one ended in a cliffhanger, I mean come on! Also, I definitely could use some more Ren and Shay in my life!



-The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julia Kagawa
     I have the first three books in the Iron Fey series so I really don't know why I haven't picked the first one up yet! I keep hearing so many swoon worthy things about Puck and Ash. I really enjoyed the Need Series by Carrie Jones which was about faeries too, so I need to start these books A.S.A.P.

-Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Lani Taylor
     I haven't read a single bad review about this debut so I really need to pick it up. The second book comes out this year, so I'd love to have this one finished in time for the sequel's release. Also the cover is so striking, love it!

-Angelfire (Angelfire #1) by Courtney Alison Moulton
      Everyone is so excited about Wings of the Wicked and people are always saying how much they love how strong and independent the main character is. I have this book on my shelf so there really isn't anything stopping me from reading it but silly old me!



-Starcrossed (Starcrossed #1) by Josephine Angelini
     Greek mythology and amazing reviews, yeah I don't know what my problem is, that right there is enough for me to pick up this one!

-The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young
      I put this book on a Waiting on Wednesday post last year and went to the bookstore the day it came out, but it wasn't there! My local B&N and Indie doesn't carry this one, I keep meaning to order it online or ask them to ship it to the store, but I keep forgetting. I really want to see what would cause her to have dreams of killing the children she babysits and how she deals with the law enforcement.

-The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin
      I was literally counting down the days for the release of this book, but still haven't read it. I've heard incredible things about Hodkin's writing and about the hot leading guy so I really, really want to read this one soon!



What books do you wish you would have read in 2011? Are there any books you recommend that I should read this year? 






Call Me Crazy Blacks Out


Hey Guys!
I just wanted to give you all a heads up that tomorrow, January 18th 2012, Call Me Crazy will be a part of the Internet protest to stop Congress from censoring our internet. 

Google, WordPress, Wikipedia, Reddit and Mozilla are only a few of the major websites that are Blacking Out tomorrow.

Go to Fight for the Future to sign the petition and get all the info about tomorrow along with the html to add to your site to black it out.

The video below explains what exactly will happen if Congress passes SOPA and PIPA.


Hank Green of the vlogbrothers also did a video of the Top 5 Reasons Why Congress Shouldn't Censor the Internet, click here to see the video.


Don't want to Black Out your site tomorrow? You can still help out by tweeting  
#SOPASTRIKE 





*Note: Call Me Crazy will be back the following day, Thursday January 19th, with all of its usually booky goodness! Thanks guys!






Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Bought from B&N
Published January 10, 2012
Amazon - Goodreads

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

The Fault in Our Stars was the first John Green book I picked up and read so I wasn't too sure what to expect. I didn't even plan on buying this book, I just thought I would check it out from the library and go from there. Then John read the first chapter of TFiOS on his and Hank's YouTube channel and I was immediately hooked. I knew that I absolutely needed to buy this book when it came out in January. I'm so glad I watched that video because this book is absolutely incredible.

I'm having so much trouble trying to put into words just how mind-blowingly amazing this book is. It's so much more than a sad book about a teenage girl with cancer.I found it so easy to connect with Hazel even though I've never had cancer. I mean she's just like any teen girl, just with a crappy set of lungs. I loved her outlook on her unfortunate situation, her hilarious sense of humor that paired oh so perfectly with her intelligence.

Augustus Waters. I could go on about how absolutely swoon-worthy this boy is, but just like Hazel, he's so much more than he seems. I loved what an incredible friend he was to Hazel and Isaac, just always there whenever and wherever for anything they needed. His outlook on life and how it affected Hazel was so incredible. I loved the ease of their friendship and how they complemented each other's personalities and ultimately brought the best out of one another.

Isaac was probably my favorite character in this book. He was going through a hard time and all of his actions were realistic and raw. I could totally relate to his feelings in parts of the book even though I haven't gone through the same events that he has. I definitely envied his and Augustus' friendship, they could talk to one another about anything and not have to worry about being self conscious. They also have sense of humors that play off one another which was just too funny.

One of my many favorite parts of TFiOS was how the dialog flowed perfectly. I loved that it felt like I was listening in on a real conversation. So many times during this book I busted out laughing, I loved it.

I don't want to say anything about the end. Like I said in my IMM video, 'John Green says there will be no spoilers and what John Green says goes' so I'll just tell you that throughout the entire book I found myself laughing until my sides hurt and using so many tissues that there was a little Mount Tissue on the floor next to me.

Amazing Quote:
"I believe the universe wants to be noticed."

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

 Everyone, without a doubt, needs to read this life changing book. The Fault in Our Stars was complete perfection and just flat out incredible. John Green is the writer of our generation, reading his words gave me chills and made me think about my future. I know this review doesn't do John Green's amazing work justice, but just trust me, you will not regret picking this one up.








In My Mailbox Vlog (36)






Hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren.











Bought:

Library:
-Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
-Past Perfect by Leila Sales
-A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Review:


Mentioned:







Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Bought from my local Independent Bookstore
Published December 21, 2011
Amazon - Goodreads

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.
Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it. 

Everyone I've talked to that has read this book had really enjoyed it, so I was super excited to finally start TSPoLaFS. I was a bit worried that it wouldn't live up to all the hype, but luckily it was even better than I expected.

I immediately fell in love with the main character, Hayden. She was independent, really caring and quirky! It was endearing that she was afraid of small spaces and that Oliver, the leading guy, had to comfort her while they were on the plane. I loved that they talked about anything and everything, from deep conversations about their family to the different cloud types.

 Before I started the book, I thought the entire story was going to take place while the two were stuck in the airport or on a  plane, but thankfully I was wrong. I was able to get a glimpse of London too, thanks to Smith's amazingly detailed descriptions of the scenery. I felt like I was walking the streets with Hadley and seeing the sights through her eyes.

I absolutely adored the relationship between Hadley and Oliver, it was perfect. I thought that it would feel fake since the story is told over a twenty-four hour period (which was so awesome and totally unique) but it never felt rushed or insincere. These two are the definition of love at first sight.

I also really enjoyed the complexity of Hadley and her dad's relationship. Her thoughts and actions towards him were realistic. I loved how I felt mixed emotions about Hadley's father. One minute I felt sympathy for him and then I'd think he was just a selfish jerk.

The ending was just oh so perfect. Since the book is a little on the short side, page wise, I was worried that the ending would have arrived too suddenly, but it happened at just the right time. I loved the ups and downs of their newly budded 'maybe-relationship' and thought the ending was definitely my cup of tea... err coffee since I don't drink tea, but you get my point!

Amazing Quote:
(Talking about marriage...)
"Not everyone makes it fifty-two years, and if you do, it doesn't matter that you once stood in front of all those people and said that you would. The important part is that you had someone to stick by you all that time. Even when everything sucked." 

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


TSPoLaFS is a fast paced read that I definitely recommend to any fan of young adult contemporary books. I really enjoyed the realistic main characters and the connection they had with one another. It also was a great experience to read a book that takes place in real time where you get to follow Hadley on her twenty-four hour adventure.







Waiting on Wednesday (21)

Hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

April 24, 2012


"For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."
Summary from goodreads.

---------------------------------------------

I cannot wait to get my hands on this book! Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous, but the summary sounds incredible too. I love that the main character is kind of going against the crowd by not wanting this opportunity of living a life a luxury because she just wants to be with her true love. I'm interested to see America and Prince Maxon's relationship and how it will develop over time, but also how America will stay in contact with Aspen while she's away.







Book Playlist: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

I'm a huge lover of both books and music so I'm constantly finding songs that fit with books that I've recently read. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler just left me completely breathless so I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to make a playlist for it! This won't be a weekly thing, but more of a random post at Call Me Crazy. It's been a while since I've made a post like this, so I hope it turned out okay!


*All the song titles link back to YouTube videos' that have the lyrics on the screen.*


Love on My Mind by Brighten
We'll move to New York,
take what we could get our hands on
We'll live like the movies with street lights to dance on

Min is a big fan of old movies and wants to become a director. When her and Ed try planning a birthday party for an old movie star I thought the lyrics and feel of the song fit the scene perfectly!


Under Control by Parachute
Cause all those eyes are all it takes
And all, I want, is you
So I pulled away
All I do is sit and wait

Ed's a football star who gets so much attention from everyone that Min is sometimes overwhelmed with all of the eyes that are constantly scrutinizing their relationship.



If Only They Knew by A Rocket to the Moon
'Cause no one knows you like I do
They don't see you like I do, baby
They'll try to, oh if only they knew
They'll never come close to you

Both of Ed and Min's friends are saying that things won't work out between the two and that they are pretty much destined to break up. Each of them say that their friends just don't know the other as well as they do and that they are perfect for each other.



Someone Like You by The Summer Set
My unpredictable girl, you're impossible girl,
You know that it's true, no matter what you do,
I'd cross the world for someone like you

Ed always says that Min is so different from every other girl he's dated and that he'd do absolutely anything to make her happy.


Flavor of the Weak by American Hi-Fi
It's Friday night and she's all alone
He's a million miles away
She's dressed to kill
But the TV's on
He's connected to the sound
And he's got pictures on the wall
Of all the girls he's loved before

Min's friend's all knew about Ed's numerous past relationships that were short lived and how experienced he was, unlike Min. They were worried about the outcome of Min and Ed's relationship because they didn't want their friend to get hurt by some stupid boy.






Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler & Maira Kalman

Bought from Barnes & Noble
Published December 27, 2011
Amazon - Goodreads

I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.
Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

The first time I saw this book at the bookstore I was somewhat interested that it had pictures in it, but was also a little hesitant about something so new that hasn't been done in the young adult genre. One day on Twitter I was talking with Kare (Epic Book Nerd) who told me that I should just try it out. Let me say now, that I am so grateful Kare said that because oh my goodness this book is flipping incredible!

Why We Broke Up is one giant letter that a girl, Min, has written to her ex boyfriend, Ed, after they broke up. In the letter Min just doesn't list the reasons about why her and Ed broke up, but she also takes us back to the first time they met, their first date and just times they spent together.

Min was such a flawlessly developed character, I mean I feel like she is a real person that I have gotten to know very well. Her voice is so strong throughout the book, just when Min describes how she felt when she was with Ed or how she remembered every little thing that happened during their relationship was extremely heartwarming. Min is definitely one of my favorite main characters, her personality was so realistic and I adored her sense of humor.

Everyone can relate to Min's story. Even if you've never been in a relationship we all have those crushes and I not only felt like I was in Min's shoes because of Handler's amazing writing, but because she was describing feelings that we all have once had.

I love, love, love that the book had illustrations (by Maira Kalman) of everything that Min had put into the box that she was giving back to Ed. It made the whole expierence of reading Min's letter that much more real. All of the pictures were of objects that Ed had either given her or just things that Min came across while they were together. It was really touching listening to Min confess her thoughts, it just felt so personal.

Amazing Quotes:
"Love this song," Todd said, like it was unusually brave to like what was number one on the radio." 

"Not quite everything, but everything but."


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

I'm so grateful that I was able to go on this amazing journey with Min while she tried to heal her heart after their break up. I can't say enough positive things about this book. Daniel Handler is an incredible writer who is able to create a realistic character that you can't help but fall in love with. It took me back to all the good parts of being in high school, like the butterflies you would feel when that special someone would look your way. I highly recommend that you read this absolutely perfect book, it left me completely blown away.






In My Mailbox Vlog (35)












In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren.










Bought:
-The Pledge (The Pledge #1) by Kimberly Derting
-Bloodrose (Nightshade #3) by Andrea Cremer
-Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler & Maira Kalman

Mentioned:
-Kare from Epic Book Nerd (Review of Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight)
-Alice from The Reader Room (Interview with Jennifer E. Smith)







Busting the Newbie Blues 2012


I participated in Busting the Newbie Blues last year and had such a fun time that when I was asked to do it again this year I jumped at the chance! Small Review came up with such a great event to help new bloggers adjust to the crazy book-blogosphere. Check out all the the details here! There is also Busting the Big Blogger Blues that is just as awesome which is hosted over at Ruby Reads.


1. When did you start your blog?
      March 11, 2010.

2. Do you ever still feel like a newbie?
      Oh my goodness, YES, all the time! I have requested books from a publisher in the past and had only reviewed about half the ones they had sent me, I felt so terrible! I'm just a complete mood reader and absolutely cannot get into a book when I'm not in the mood to read it. I learned that I probably shouldn't be requesting books quite yet, at least until I hopefully grow out of the 'I'll only read a certain book if I'm in the mood to' phase.    

3. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from?
     The biggest challenge I've faced so far would definitely be keeping up blogging even if other things in my life  become busy. I need to learn how to set a specific time aside to just blog or even read other blogs. I was gone for a couple months after beginning college and didn't blog at all, which I definitely regret. I kept thinking that since I didn't have time to do a post every single day, that I just shouldn't blog at all. I learned that I should just do what I can with the time I have and that it doesn't have to be an every single day type of thing, that I should just enjoy it!

4. What did you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? How did you deal with this?
      For me the most discouraging thing was not getting comments or really having anyone to interact with. I felt like I was just writing reviews and no one was even seeing it. I mean I do this for me and would still do it if I didn't have followers, but it's just nice to not be in it alone. After the followers starting growing, interacting and responding to posts is when I really started to have fun with blogging. I learned that I have to go out there and comment or use twitter to let others know that I'm here and that I have this blog. I am just so lucky to have met so many great people through blogging!

5. What do you find most encouraging?
      When I got back from my time away, everyone was just so welcoming and kept saying they missed me and my posts too. That was the absolute greatest feeling in the world! I kept in touch with a few people while I was away and that was really awesome too. Just having people appreciate you and what you're doing is always great, also the friendships I've made always encourages me to keep blogging because I always could meet more awesome people.

6. If you could go back in time and speak with your newbie self, what five bits of wisdom would you tell yourself?
      -I know you hear this all the time, but followers really do come in time. Just because there might not be a large amount of people following you doesn't mean that you should stop blogging. Know that you're doing this for you and because you love books, all of the awesome followers is just a majorly huge plus!
     -Don't try to figure out html in the middle of the night when you're half asleep. Even during the daytime when you're loaded with caffeine you'll barely understand it. Just don't throw you're laptop against a wall!
     -Writing reviews once a week doesn't work for you, your memory sucks and you know this Katie! Before you even start another book you need to have the review written or at least outlined because you'll forget when you start another book.
     -A great way to get comments is to go out and comment on other blogs! Just let people know you're here! Don't be afraid of thinking your comment is stupid or something like that, everyone is super nice... and if they're not then they're not worth your time!
     - I know it's hard not to, but Katie please don't spend your entire day on blogger, twitter, goodreads and tumblr. It's addicting and so much fun, but then you'll be gone for the next two days trying to catch up on all the schoolwork and chores you missed the day you were a zombie with the internet.

7. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
       I love that they post reviews that are easy to follow, but that they also not just post reviews. They have other book related stuff they post and sometimes things that may not be book related too. It's nice to see a wide range of content about a certain subject on a blog. I try to post just not reviews or memes, but a wide variety of everything. I also enjoy when bloggers have pictures in their posts so it's not just all text. It looks less intimidating and a lot more fun to view a page that's not jammed with text. I try to add pictures, but I still get carried away with my writing, I definitely need to work on summarizing more!

8. What do you dislike about blogs you’ve seen? Do you try to avoid this?
      I'm definitely guilty of this sometimes, but when a blog just posts memes. I mean don't get me wrong I think they're totally fun too, but I like reading reviews and other types of posts too. I try to avoid this, but sometimes it's hard because like I said memes are so fun and easy to write out.

9. How did you bring your blog to the attention of so many people?
      In all seriousness, it was my incredible followers spreading the word and twitter! Having a button for people to put on their site that links back to your blog is very helpful to get the word out. Twitter is just amazing! I have met all of my blogging buddies through there and it's so easy to talk. You can also tweet posts that you put up on your blog. My main source of traffic on my blog comes from Twitter, so I definitely recommend getting one if you're looking for more followers (or just an opportunity to talk to some really awesome people!) Ooo also just commenting on blogs that I read, letting them know that you're out there. They'll usually come comment back and check out your blog in return!

10. When and how did you get your first ARC (or first few ARCs)?
       Okay story time! So the first ARC I ever requested was Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach. I sent my request in almost a year before the book came out and to top it off to the wrong publisher! So my first experience with emailing wasn't so good, but the cool thing with that was I later received an ARC from Lisa when she was a guest author in Lauren and mine's Birthday Extravaganza. The very first ARC I received was from Lisa and Laura Roecker and it was their book, The Liar Society! It was just so cool to get a book that didn't even have an 'official' cover yet and to have someone trust in you to write a review. I can remember flipping out when I got the package! I still get all excited when I receive books in the mail, I think I always will!