Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Reading List

All These Things I've Done - Mixed
Ashes - DNF 

Endlessly (Paranormalcy #3) - Mixed
Everneath - Read This 
The Evolution of Mara Dyer - Read This 

Garden Plot - Read This
The Ghost and the Goth - Read This

I Am the Messenger - Mixed
In Honor - Skip This
Insurgent (Divergent #2) - Read This
It's Not Summer Without You - Read This



My Life Next Door - Read This
My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions - Read This 
My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece - Mixed 

Pandemonium (Delirium #2) - Read This
Past Perfect - Mixed
Pretty on the Outside - Skip This
Princess Academy: Palace of Stone (Princess Academy #2) - Read This
The Probability of Miracles - DNF

Queen of the Dead (Ghost & the Goth #2) - Mixed

The Raven Boys - Read This 
Reached (Matched #3) - Read This
The Ruby in the Smoke - Read This
The Reluctant Bachelorette - Read This 

The Thing About the Truth - Mixed


Waiting - Read This 
We'll Always Have Summer - Mixed
Wherever You Go - Mixed
Withering Tights - Mixed 




2012: Recap & Year End Survey

It's the last day of 2012! And it's been a good year for me and my family. I didn't blog as much, but I had a baby. So I'll cut myself some slack.

This year I managed to hit my Goodreads goal (60 books!) And I think my biggest blogging highlight was Utah Book Month. That really got me back into blogging, and it was so fun.

I also wanted to play along with some of Jamie's (from Perpetual Page Turner) year end questions. You can link up here.

This is Jamie's awesome graphic

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This will be a popular answer.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Don't hate me, but The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Just, no.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?  
Everneath by Brodi Ashton. I was expecting this book to be very meh, but I liked it a lot.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I don't usually read historical fiction, or things that have torture. I won't read it again, but it made an impact.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012? 
The Evolution of Mara Dyer. Holy molies, that book.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year: 
Um yeah, The Raven Boys. (it's the March book club pick)

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
11. Most memorable character in 2012? 
Good: Xander from Reached. I'd read a whole series about him.
Bad: Saba from Blood Red Road. She was exhausting.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
Reached by Ally Condie. It's so good. I liked it even though I didn't like Crossed.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Made me think when I first read it, but has really impacted me since one of my college roommates was diagnosed with stage IV cancer a few months ago.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 
Good: a Marcus Zusak book (I Am the Messenger. Loved it until the end, when I wanted to chuck it)
Not: The Summer Series by Jenny Han.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? (pretty sure on these)
Shortest: My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite (181 pages)
Longest: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (544 pages)

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Friendship: the four raven boys from The Raven Boys
Romantic: Jack and Nikki from Everneath or Puck and Sean Kendrick from The Scorpio Races

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously:
 The Raven Boys. Also Reached.

20. Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Best: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Worst: In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2012 Reads

The Broke and The Bookish hosts, and you can play along here!

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is favorite reads from 2012. 

The books everyone else liked, and I did too:

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I can't say enough good things about it.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Very complex and real and not cliched. But sad.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. (released in 2011) Great characters and setting and writing.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I thought this was so clever in its retelling the Cinderella story.

Everneath by Brodi Ashton. Another great retelling; this one of the Persephone myth.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. I loved the world and the adventure. And the cannibals.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I don't think I'd ever reread this. But it really made me think, long after I'd finished it.

The slightly more obscure books I also really liked:

Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith. (released in 2011) Interesting YA contemporary, especially if you're familiar with LDS culture.

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson. One of my first adult contemporary reads. Very, very cute.

The Selection by Kiera Cass. I didn't get a chance to review this one, but I liked it so much more than I was expecting.

What did you read and love this year?

Monday, December 17, 2012

(More) On My Mind

Somehow I haven't posted in a week, and all the things have been floating through my head.  Here they are, in no particular order.
  • I went to the Orem Library's Holiday Author Extravaganza last weekend, where I got to see a lot of authors and learned to spell the word "extravaganza." I sat with Suey and her family. You should all get to know her, because she is awesome and will let you sit with her at events. And she'll also point you in the direction of the bathroom, should the need arise. I took pictures, but my camera ate them. The only thing you would have learned from them is that Lisa Mangum is quite tall. Like, I'm guessing around 6'. She's also really nice, but you can't exactly judge that sort of thing from a picture. To my knowledge, I did not say anything awkward to any of the authors I talked to. Progress.
  •  I finished Cinder over the weekend. It was really fun. It also marks four books that I've finished while I'm supposed to be reading Blood Red Road.
  • I keep thinking about the Connecticut school shooting, and it is so sad. I just don't believe regular people should have assault weapons. It doesn't strike me as the type of the thing the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they came up with the Second Amendment.
  • Also, this post by Robison Wells brings up a lot of great points about mental illness. And makes me realize I know nothing about it.
  • On a happier note, I'm excited for tomorrow's Top Ten Tuesday, because it's all about my favorite books of the year. And it was a good reading year.

Happy Holidays from my family! Here are my sons, being festive/cute.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Read This: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater

The Short Story
The less you know, the better. But, psychics, sleeping-king hunting prep school boys, and trees that speak Latin. Just read the book.
My new favorite read of 2012.

Come for the....
everything. I loved everything about this book (except for the maybe dozen f-words). The writing is good, the cover is beautiful, the mystery is unique and interesting, and now I want the sequel right away. If I had to pick a favorite thing, it would be the characters. For some reason I thought the main character would be Blue, the only non-psychic in a long line of supernatural ladies. But she's not, at least not in this first book. The four raven boys steal the show, and they were pretty great. There's Gansey, who is rich and occasionally oblivious, but also obsessed with finding an old Welsh king he thinks is buried in Virginia. And Adam, who is both humble and very proud. Ronan, who is harsh and possibly crazy, but also the comic relief. And Noah, who I thought was the least characterized, until I realized I just wasn't paying very close attention.

I loved all their adventures, especially once Blue teams up with them in a quest to find the king. Blue's "aunts" are also a lot of fun, and I thought it was interesting how the four main adult ladies parallel the four boys in a lot of ways. There's sort of two different five man bands going on. The setting is also almost its own character. Who wouldn't want to visit a place where the woods have all four seasons, all at once? Or fish that appear because you think they should? There's so much magic and mystery and adventure in the book. You should just go read it. Like, for real.

Don't Think About This Too Hard 

  • I got nothing.

  • The Big Three:
    Language: there is a lot of swearing, including the f-word
    Sex and Stuff: not an issue
    Violence: fist fighting, some child abuse, and death (though not descriptive)

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    A Little Shameless Self Promotion

    I try not to do these too often, but I wanted to post about the latest book my husband, Rusty, illustrated.

    It's a little quote book about kids, parents, families. Things like:

    To a baby all things are for eating. To a toddler all things are for throwing.


    If your spouse leaves you with a napping baby, the baby will wake up fussy five minutes later.

    A Made Bed is More Fun to Jump On is available now on Amazon.

    Rick Walton, who wrote A Made Bed, will be at the Orem Library's Author Holiday Event Extravaganza this Saturday from 11-2. Other authors attending are: Ally Condie(!), Brandon Mull, Robison Wells, and Lisa Mangum. Maybe I'll see you there.

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    November Reading Recap

    image source
    November was a great month for books. I read:

    • My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece by Annabelle Pitcher. The November book club pick. Told from the POV of a 10 year old boy whose sister died and mom left him. Cute but sad. 3/5
    • Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. This was another YA cancer book that was a little too long and slow for me. DNF
    • Love Story by Jennifer Echols. My first Jennifer Echols. Very much a kissing, dramarama book. Perfect if that's what you're in the mood for. 4/5
    • Feedback by Robison Wells. Intense and suspenseful, but a bit let down in the end.
    • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. My new favorite book of 2012. Review to come this week.

    I even got to a couple books I already own

    Garden Plot by Kristen McKendry. My in-laws got me this book for my birthday. In September. Of 2011. It's an LDS fiction, murder mystery. Which is sort of a unique combination. It was cute. 3/5

    Blood Red Road by Moira Young. I'm about 115 pages into this. And you guys, it is slow going. The dialect makes Hagrid look like a scholar, and the little sister annoys me. They just met up with a portly guy and a She-Man, and are threatening cage fighting. (you can't make stuff like this up).
    I'll stick with it because everyone seems to love this book. But, I'm thinking it's not the book for me.

    Favorites for the month were The Raven Boys, Love Story, and Mara Dyer.
    What did you enjoy reading in November?

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

    Mixed Review: Feedback

    by Robison Wells

     **Spoilers for Variant**

    The Short Story
    Benson has escaped from Maxfield Academy, with a very injured Becky. He hopes he's found a safe place, but really it's worse than what he left. Lots of "new" familiar faces, and actual brand new characters team up with Benson to try to get away from the school once and for all. But nothing goes as planned.
    A lot of suspense and intensity, but not many answers and a very confusing ending.

    Come for the....
    suspense. So much of the book has this great sense of urgency and intensity, and it kept me turning pages well past my bed time. In fact, I flew through the book in about a day. There's a great mystery set up, especially surrounding the technology that ties the kids in the town to the kids in the school. I was so curious how that all worked, and how exactly they were connected. And why anyone would want to do that to begin with. Some answers are hinted at, and that just created a lot more questions for me. The book is so fast paced, with so much that I wanted to know. But...

    Don't Think About This Too Hard

    • I didn't feel like I got any answers! I'm still not sure who was running the school, or why, or how they had gotten away with it for so long. I didn't understand how the town kids interacted with their school counterparts. I wasn't sure where their technology, especially their medicine, came from. Really, nothing. There were no answers to anything I was curious about.
    • And then, there was that ending. A lot of new information with no explanation or context. On the second-to-last page a character says, "I'm not sure what even happened." And that's exactly how I felt.

    The Big Three:
    Language: a moderate amount of swearing
    Sex and Stuff: not an issue
    Violence: a lot of violence, including a character that is beaten to death; lots of fighting and some death

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    Top 10 Tuesday: 2013 Reads

    The Broke and The Bookish hosts Top 10 Tuesday. Come play along!

    This week's topic is: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013

    You guys, I want to read everything coming out next year. It was so hard to narrow it down to 10. So, in order of when they come out, 10 books I'm looking forward to in 2013.

    Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi, out 1/8. I love these characters.

    Everbound by Brodi Ashton, out 1/22. Jack!

    Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, out 3/19. These are Will's books, but will Jem die?

    The Elite by Kiera Cass, out 4/23. The first book was so much better than I expected. Hope the series keeps it up.

    Isla and the Happily Ever Afterby Stephanie Perkins, out 5/7. I would read anything she writes.

    The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr, out 5/7. She's the best contemporary writer you've never heard of.

    Abandon by Elana Johnson, out 6/4. Great good guys. Even better bad guys.

    Divergent #3 by Veronica Roth, out 9/26. What's outside the fence? My guess is corn. Lots & lots of corn.

    The Raven Boys #2 by Maggie Stiefvater, out in September. I'm currently sort of obsessed with this series.

    The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, out ? 2013. How's it all going to end?!?!

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    Sneak Peek at Perception by Lee Strauss

    I don't usually do cover or excerpt posts on my blog, but I had to make an exception today and post about Perception by Lee Stauss. Mostly because it sounds amazing! This is the type of book I love, so maybe you will, too.

    Here's what it's all about:

    Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.

    Her brother Liam is missing.

    Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.

    Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn.  She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her. 

    Check out an excerpt of the first chapter after the jump.

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Read This: The Evolution of Mara Dyer

    The Evolution of Mara Dyer
    by Michelle Hodkin

    **Spoilers for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer** 
    The Short Story
    After seeing someone she shouldn't have at the end of the first book, Mara Dyer finds herself being treated for a variety of psychological disorders. Her parents put her in a treatment program by day and let her live at home at night. Only home is not exactly the safe place her parents were hoping for, and as the story goes on it's hard to tell just who it is Mara needs to be protected from.
    So, so crazy and confusing and good.

    Come for the....
    unreliable narrator! It's probably my most favorite device in writing. I love a book that keeps me guessing about what is really going on, and Michelle Hodkin pulled it off again in the Mara Dyer sequel. After the twist at the end of the first book, I didn't expect everyone to believe Mara. But I loved that I quickly got to a point where I didn't know whether to believe her, either. And I absolutely loved second guessing myself and the characters as I read. I honestly wondered if Jude was truly around or not. I'm still not sure if the whole scene with the dead cat really happened. And Noah wasn't super forthright either. Which just made the entire book crazy fun.

    And also creepy. There are flashbacks that are so bizarre, with freaky dolls and then a tiger. The new characters from Mara's treatment program add a whole new layer of weird, especially Phoebe who seems to hate Mara for no apparent reason. I also liked the reappearance of her friend Jamie from the first book. As the story went on I saw some of the twists coming. But I was definitely caught off guard by the end. And I liked the cliffhanger for this book even better than the original's.

    Don't Think About This Too Hard 

  • My biggest complaint really was the language. I would say the f-word appeared between 8-10 times, possibly more. I could have done without that.

  • The Big Three:
    Language: the swearing isn't constant, but it is plentiful, in all it's varieties
    Sex and Stuff: a fair amount of kissing
    Violence: a tiger attack (for real), slit wrists, a kidnapping

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Reached Prediction Post

    Reached comes out tomorrow! Even though I didn't love Crossed, I'm very excited to see how Ally Condie will wrap the series up.

    But since we can't find out until tomorrow, time for wild and crazy predictions!
    **Spoilers for Matched and Crossed**

    • Cassia will pick: Ky. Just like she has for the last two books. :( But I also predict Xander & Indie, after reading Crossed.
    • The pilot: I used to think Cassia's grandpa was the pilot. Then I thought that Ky might become the pilot. Now I think it's more of an idea than an actual character that will show up in the last book.
    • The red tablets: I'm going to guess Cassia is not immune, because that could make for some interesting plot.
    • The Rising is: bad! Ky was so distrusting of them, that I don't expect them to be good.
    • Pacing: I expected a fast-paced story in Crossed, which was kind of silly because Matched was so much more slow and thoughtful. So I'll guess a slower, more intellectual book for Reached, to match with the rest of the series.
    • Tone: I just can't imagine a Mockingjay-style depressed fest. So I think it'll have a happy ending.
    Crazy things that will not happen, but I wouldn't mind:
    • a heroic Ky death. I just don't like his character.
    • Cassia's family will join the Rising, and her little brother will do something cool or interesting. I really like the little brother.
    • The grandpa will be regenerated. Zombies! (I really liked the grandpa, too)

    What do you think will happen in Reached?
    And, if you're one of the lucky few who've already read it, please don't post spoilers as "predictions."

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    A Question on Etiquette


     So, lately I've been wondering about blogger etiquette for attending author lectures/book signings. Mostly because I never buy the book. (I'm a freak of blogger nature, I know. Why I'm not a book buyer is a post for another time.)

    Anyway, even without making purchases, I still like to go to signings. I love to hear different authors talk about their process, or ideas, or really anything. Most authors are good story tellers, so they're very entertaining when they come speak. And I've kind of viewed their visits like those Pampered Chef/Mary Kay/candles/etc. parties that I get invited to often. It's pretty rare I buy anything at those, either. I still show up to be supportive, though, because who wants to throw one of those parties and have no one come?

    But at the same time, the whole point of those little parties, or author visits, is to get people to buy stuff. And I've been wondering lately if maybe I shouldn't go to signings if I'm not going to buy anything.

    What do you guys think? Is it bad manners to go to an author event and then not buy the book? Is it different if it's held at a library vs. a book store?

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Read This: Princess Academy Palace of Stone

    Princess Academy Palace of Stone
    by Shannon Hale

    The Short Story
    Miri is in Asland, helping Britta get ready for her wedding to the prince and attending the university. But there's a lot of talk of rebellion and she gets caught in the thick of it. Miri has to navigate between her loyalty to her home and the new opportunities and people in big city. 
    Very different from the original, but a thought-provoking and entertaining read.

    Come for the....
    grown up Miri! I loved Princess Academy, with its unexpected smartness. Miri was such an interesting, kind, and influential character. So I was very excited to see her in a new setting. I'd heard this book was far more political than the original, and since I knew to expect that I think it was easier to enjoy. For a middle grade book, it raises a lot of mature issues. I liked watching Miri struggle to decide what was right with government and equality. Her conclusions are perhaps more simplistic than they would be realistically. But I was impressed that Hale took that on.

    I also liked seeing a lot of the things that I enjoyed from the first book: the little poems at the beginning of each chapter, the use of quarry speech, Miri's friends from the original Academy. I loved the continued idea that Miri (and Britta) could be powerful by using intelligence and kindness. I like my kick-butt heroines, but it's nice to see a powerful female figure that doesn't succumb to the popular tropes.

    Don't Think About This Too Hard 

  • The writing wasn't quite as good in this one. Occasionally I felt like Miri almost fell out of character. Sometimes it seemed like she was channeling the mom from The Actor and The Housewife.
  • The love stor(ies) in this one were a little weak, but it is a middle grade book.

  • The Big Three:
    Language: not an issue
    Sex and Stuff: not an issue
    Violence: some shooting and mobs

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    My Big November Thankful Plan

    this word still makes me think of Hunger Games
    It's November. Holy moly! Wasn't it just May and I had just had a baby?

    Anyway, I always want to do something to show gratitude in November, since it's the month of (US) Thanksgiving and all. This year I want to show gratitude for the things I have by actually reading the books I already own. It's not a ton, but I have several that I've just never picked up. I guess when I don't have the three week deadline that comes with library books I get lazy about reading.

    I have some good books, too. I think I'll start with Blood Red Road, which Carrie gave me over a year ago. (for shame!)

    How do you show gratitude? Anybody else slow to read books they own?

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

    Mini-Reviews on Love

    So Halloween is in a week, and other than my giveaway, my blog hasn't been very festive. This post won't be either. But let's pretend like there's nothing scarier than love.

    The Lover's Dictionary
    by David Levithan

    This is one of the most creative books I've ever read. It's a love story told in dictionary format. I didn't know what a lot of the words meant, but it was definitely worth it to look them up. There's so much irony and word play as the dictionary entries match up with the story. It's also in a sort of "500 Days of Summer" format, with the story not being told in chronological order. But where 500 Days lets you know which things happened before or after other things, this book doesn't. My big complaint was that I couldn't tell how it ended.
    That's kind of important. So, super creative idea, but points off for having an ambiguous ending. I couldn't even tell if it was purposefully ambiguous, or if I had just missed something in there somehwere.
    Mixed 3.5/5

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

    I wanted to like this so much, and I just didn't. It starts off cute enough, with Hadley and Oliver meeting at an airport. I wanted a silly love story, and there are some fun moments with them flirting and getting to know each other during their flight. But then they land and the whole book went downhill for me. I didn't care why they were on the plane, who they were meeting up with, etc. So when lots of time gets devoted to family trouble and things that are not cute fluff, I was disappointed.
    In the end I just didn't care about a large chunk of the book.
    Skip This 2.5/5

    love? maybe
    by Heather Helper

    This was a fun romance that did exactly what I expected/wanted it to do, and I really liked it. Piper works in a candy store, so there's lots of deliciousness, too. I probably could have done with less of the family issues here (I just don't like family issues in my love stories) but there are still lots of sweet moments. And candy!
    This was exactly the kind of fun, fluff romance I was wanting to read.
    Read This 3.5/5

    Have you read these? Did you figure out how Lover's Dictionary turns out?

    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    It's a Giveaway!

    I'm giving away Marsipity, the children's Halloween book my husband illustrated. I try to do this every Halloween, but I'm slow on it this year! So it'll be a short giveaway.

    See the rafflecopter? You know what to do.
    Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    On My Mind Lately

    Just so you know, most of these don't have much to do with books. You've been warned.

    First up, Code Name Verity.
    Have you read this? I don't know what to make of it. I got really caught up in the story and wanted to know how it would all turn out. But it was really hard to read. Not difficult language or anything, just difficult content. The main character is captured by the Nazis and gets interrogated/tortured. I thought there would just be a torture part that I could skip over, but it's actually interspersed throughout the whole book.
    I hate reading stuff like that. So I read it, and I was definitely invested in the story. But I don't know how much I liked it, or if I would recommend it.

    Next, October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. And Infant and Pregnancy Loss Remembrance month. They're not at all related, but the bullying thing is on my mind after this tumblr post by Cassandra Clare (of The Mortal Instruments books fame). How terrible! I don't really have much life experience with bullying, but I feel for anyone who did/does.
    I have a little more life experience with the whole pregnancy loss business. I wish there wasn't so much shame around miscarriages/stillbirths, and that people felt like they could be open about their experience without being afraid they would make other people uncomfortable.

    So, Kathy's guide to what to say to someone who's had a miscarriage/stillbirth:
    "I'm (really/very) sorry." Or, "I'm thinking about you."
    That's it. All the other nice or comforting or inquisitive things people had to say to me didn't help much.
    I don't have a similar guide for what to say to someone who's being bullied. Sorry.

    Last thing, family history.
    Is anyone else into family history or genealogy stuff? I love it, but sometimes I think I have some of the most complicated ancestors to find. Lately I've called Vermont, made friends with an intern at the Illinois Regional Archives Depository, and will be emailing a pickle company in Michigan. All to try to find out more about my great, great, great grandfather.
    And no, I'm really not kidding about the pickle company. Anybody ever heard of the Freestone Pickle Company in Michigan? I'm distantly related to them.

    That's what been on my mind. What's been on yours lately?

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    Read This: The Reluctant Bachelorette

    The Reluctant Bachelorette
    by Rachael Anderson

    The Short Story
    When Taycee's town is on the brink of bankruptcy, her best friend devises a plan to bring in some money. They'll host a reality bachelorette show, where people across the country can pay to vote for their favorite bachelors to stay in the competition. And though Taycee didn't know it, she is going to be the star. Her unlikely situation gets worse when Luke, the love of her tween life, returns to their small town and gets drafted for the show himself.
    A cute, clean romance.

    Come for the....
    cute. Luke and Taycee have great chemistry. There are swoony moments, and funny moments, and angry moments, and everything in between. I liked watching Luke change from being the older brother's best friend, to a reluctant game show participant, to someone who really cared for Taycee. And Taycee was funny, and had a good heart. I thought it was sweet (and maybe slightly naive) that she would worry so much about the other bachelors having real feelings for her, and that it'd be her fault if the whole town went under. But she was a genuinely good character and a fun narrator.

    And then there were the other bachelors. They're introduced so quickly that it gave me that same sense of "how am I going to keep all these people straight?" that Taycee had. Quite a few of the ones I got to read about more in-depth were pretty funny. And I liked that some of the stinkers stuck around for a loooong time. Because you know some people are trolls and would invent a sort of "vote for the worst" for the town's little reality show.

    Don't Think About This Too Hard
    • The pacing slowed down a bit about two-thirds of the way through the book, especially as Taycee seemed to learn some things and then forget them after 20 or so pages. But it picks up again as the book goes on.
    • There were a few times where the writing distracted somewhat from the story; characters occasionally using words that seemed too formal, chapters from another character's perspective here and there.

    The Big Three:
    Language: not an issue
    Sex and Stuff: not an issue
    Violence: not an issue

    Just So You Know: I received a free copy of The Reluctant Bachelorette as part of the blog tour hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer in exchange for an honest review.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Read This: Under the Never Sky

    Under the Never Sky
    by Veronica Rossi

    The Short Story
    When Aria is banished from her safe home in the pods, she has to try to make it in "The Death Shop." It's full of savages, aether storms, and other things that could kill her. Along the way she meets up with Perry, a "savage" who has his own reasons for being interested in Aria. The two work together to stay alive and find the people they're looking for. Adventures and kissing ensue.
    A slow start to a really excellent book.

    Come for the....
    truth in advertising. The book really is as good as everyone says it is. I was afraid my expectations were way too high - I'd seen lots of five star reviews. I had to be patient with the beginning, but the rest of the book really is that good! I especially enjoyed the characters. Perry is kind and caring, and tries to put what's best for everyone ahead of what he wants for himself. Aria is smart and also caring, but flawed. I enjoyed how she and Perry interacted together. There was maybe a bit more banter than I would have expected at first, considering Aria thought Perry was a killer savage, but their alliance/friendship/romance grows gradually and makes sense. And it's a lot of fun.

    The world building is really good, too. I liked reading about the other "savage" tribes, especially the freaky cannibals. Perry's tech-savvy friend was bizarre and overly helpful, but also really interesting to read about. The characters seem to come from the Hunger Games school of names (Roar, Talon, etc), which was odd but get over-able. And there were just enough twists and turns at the end of the book to make me want to read the sequel right away.

    Don't Think About This Too Hard
    • The slow beginning nearly sent this book into DNF territory more than once for me. I'm happy I stuck with it because I ended up really liking it. But it honestly took me about 100 pages to really get into the story.

    The Big Three:
    Language: I don't remember this being an issue
    Sex and Stuff: nothing described
    Violence: fighting, people being killed, cannibals (but no one gets eaten), a fire

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    It's Maggie Stiefvater. And She's Coming to Utah!

    Did you know Maggie Stiefvater is coming to Utah? 

    She'll be at The King's English next week, Tuesday Oct. 9 at 7 pm. And she'll be reading from her new book, The Raven Boys.
    I hear it's just as good as The Scorpio Races, so you know I want to read it.

    You can find The King's English at 1511 South 1500 East in Salt Lake.

    Or, if you can't make it, you can order her *signed* books from TKE here.
    So, who's going on Tuesday?

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    The Reluctant Bachelorette Book Blast

    The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson

    Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Taycee Emerson wants out. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers--not her--to decide which bachelors stay or go.

    Coerced into participating, Taycee does what any self-preserving girl would do. She launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. Unfortunately, Luke's an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she's up to, it means revenge.

    But when their pranks go south, will they screw up any chance they have at a future together, or will they be able to forgive and forget and prove that love really does conquer all?

    About the Author:
    Rachael Anderson is the author of four contemporary romances: Divinely Designed, Luck of the Draw, Minor Adjustments, and The Reluctant Bachelorette. She's the mother of four, can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

    FB fan page:
    Amazon author page:

    Giveaway Details:
    $50 Amazon Gift Code compliments of Author Rachael Renee Anderson
    Ends 10/31/12

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

    Monday, October 1, 2012

    Bloggiesta: That's A Wrap

    Well, I finished one and a half of my goals! That's something, right? So, here's what I actually got done:
    • Linked all my reviews to my master list. This took a lot less time than I was afraid it would. (possibly because I haven't read a ton this year)
    •  Completed one mini-challenge.  I like the gravatar I picked. Also now I know the word gravatar. 
    • Came to the Friday night twitter party for a little while. Those are so fun. 
    I'll write some reviews this week. I have to have my review of The Reluctant Bachelorette up by next Wednesday for a tour, so sometime between now and then I'll write it. Maybe I'll write the other two, maybe I won't.

    How did your bloggiesta go?

    Friday, September 28, 2012

    Bloggiesta: Let's Do This Thing!

    I'm going to keep my expectations for Bloggiesta short and sweet this weekend. (more on that later) So, just a few goals for me:

    • Write some reviews! I am so pathetically behind. My goal is three reviews - Under The Never Sky (ended up loving it); a trio of love books that I'm going to review together; and The Reluctant Bachelorette for a blog tour.
    • Link my reviews to my big master list of books I've read in 2012. I think I have maybe 10 of the 50 or so I've read linked. For shame! **I'm currently working on this** DONE
    • Participate in 3 mini-challenges. They all look amazing, but I think I can realistically finish 3.

    Maybe some tame goals, but this weekend ended up being extra crazy for my family. Yesterday my car got some "adjustments" courtesy of a pickup truck, and now looks like this:

     So I get to take care of that today. In happier news, my nephew also has a track meet tomorrow and we're headed to Park City to watch him.

    What are you doing for bloggiesta? I hope other people have smaller goals. We can do a little together!

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Bloggista! I'm In

    I was kind of a fail for March's Bloggiesta. (I blame it on being very pregnant at the time) So I was happy to hear it's coming up again this week.

    Yep, it starts Friday September 28th and ends Sunday the 30th.

    So what is Bloggiesta? Basically just some time devoted to spiffing up your blog. Set some goals, share your progress, participate in mini-challenges. Or, in the nicer words of There's A Book:


    If you decide to participate in the Fall 2012 edition you can expect:
    • to spend time that weekend (as much or as little as your schedule allows) working on your blog
    • to create a to do list to share on your blog and link up with other participants
    • to hopefully participant in several mini challenges and learn something new
    • to connect with other participants through blog hopping or twitter
    • to make new blogging friends!
    • to come away at the end of the three days with a spiffed up blog!
    Come play along this week! You can sign up at There's A Book.

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    Abandon Cover Reveal!

    It's no secret I'm a big fan of Elana Johnson's Possession series. The books are suspenseful, the characters are crazy, and the endings make me want the next book immediately.

    And then there are the covers. The pretty, pretty covers. 

    Original hardcoverPaperback

    And today, thanks to AToMR Blog Tours I get to help reveal the cover for the final book in the Possession series, Abandon!

    seduced by power,
    broken by control,
    and consumed by love...

    Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the Resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there's more at stake than a few broken hearts.

    But there is a traitor among them...and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for.

    Vi, Jag, and Zenn must set their problems aside for the Resistance to have any hope of ending the Thinkers' reign. Their success means everything...and their failure means death.

    Abandon is expected to release June 2013. Add it on Goodreads here.

    Elana is running a Pinterest contest for the cover. She wants to get 500 pins (or repins) over the next two days. If we can get that many, she'll pick someone who pinned the cover to win a $50 Amazon gift card. It's so easy to do this. All you have to do is click over to Elana’s blog for details