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read a thon - it's happening.

i've never done a read-a-thon before and i've ALWAYS wanted to.

so when my new friend Katie sent out a memo about having read-a-thon on a day that i could ACTUALLY participate, i knew i needed to make this happen.

here are the deets: 
date: saturday, june 4
time: ALL DAY, YO
step one: sign up right here, with Awesome Bookworm. additional details here.
step two: pick what you're planning on reading.
step three: READ.
step four: possibly win sweet giveaways from participating bloggers (including yours truly)
step five: have an awesome time being an anti-social bookworm.

so there you have it! sign up and read along with me. you could win fun stuff. or, at the very least, start shrinking that TBR pile of yours.

what i'll be reading: 
finishing A Clash of Kings (if i have not already done so)
The Time Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 
The Death Catchers by Jennifer Anne Kogler
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers

let's do this, y'all!

C.J. Omololu Interview

if you don't already know about the Nerds Heart YA tournament, you should really check that out.  right here. go ahead.

okay so now that you know it's a tournament for underrepresented young adult literature with a central focus on diversity that's judged by bloggers, i can present to you one of those authors!  [note: i'm not a judge for this author's book, so there's no bias on my part. which is a good idea, because she sounds pretty fabulous.]

meet author C.J. Omololu!
her website
her blog in which she shares her musings on writings and other fun things

a brief background on C.J. before we get started with the nitty gritty interview goodness.  she has two published books, WHEN IT'S SIX O'CLOCK IN SAN FRANCISCO and her book that's part of the Nerds Heart YA tourney, DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS.

C.J. also has two new books coming out. the first is DESTINED (will be retitled, released in June 2012) about a seventeen year old cello prodigy named Cole Ryan beginning to experience flashes of past lives just as the mysterious Griffon enters her world. Griffon brings with him love, knowledge, and suspicion.  The sequel FATED, will be published in winter 2013. both books are from Walker/Bloomsbury.

and now...to the interview!

1. Describe your writing style in 3 words
Realistic, emotional, dark.
[well, color me intrigued.]

2. You write books for children and for young adults. What motivates you to write for those audiences?
These days, I’m concentrating on mainly YA writing, and I didn’t choose it, it chose me. When I started thinking about writing novels, the main characters were always in their mid to late teens, so I just went with it.  I think I relate to teenage characters because it is such an amazing time of discovery and change. Plus I’m emotionally about 17 most of the time.
[as a reader, my fave thing about ya books is the self-discovery so i am pumped to hear this.]

3. I see that you hate scary movies, but the idea of hoarding can be very, very scary.  Why did you decide to tackle this issue?
It’s funny, because I say that if I hadn’t written DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, I’m not sure I could read it. Scary, intense books have the same effect on me – I can’t tell you how many famous, incredibly well-written books I haven’t been able to finish because they were just too much for me. I read a magazine article about hoarding and that is what got me thinking about the subject. Immersing myself in the character made it all very real and I’ve heard from both kids and adults in hoarding situations that I’ve described their lives, which makes it all worthwhile. I think secrets are only damaging if you keep them. Shining a light on disorders like hoarding can only help the people that it hurts.
[i appreciate the challenge of writing about something so intense and emotional. i know all about the gut-wrenching reads/movies and being amazed, genuinely interested, and yet too anxious to finish.]

4. I know you're an author with a busy schedule, but when you find time to read, what is it you're reading these days?
I only read YA right now because I want to see what everyone else is up to. I haven’t read a grown-up book in forever – I’ve had The Help on my Kindle for months but it’s just sitting there. On my nightstand right now is HUNTRESS by Malinda Lo, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO GOODBYE by Sarah Dessen, SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD by  Lindsey Leavitt and the ARC of DARKNESS FALLS by Cate Tiernan. 
[a fabulous variety, to be sure!]

5. You have one day to do whatever you want. What's on your agenda?
This answer is going to reveal far too much I’m afraid. If I could do anything I want, I would like to be alone in a nice hotel room with no view and no attractions. It would have a deep soaking tub and really fast WiFi so that I can catch up on all those movies I missed. I would spend the day reading and watching movies all by myself. At some point, room service would bring up a huge pot of Peet’s coffee and several apple fritters from the donut shop near my house. That’s probably pretty sad to most people, but it sounds like heaven to me.
[are you kidding? holing up to read/watch movies solo for an entire day paired with sweets and coffee sounds like HEAVEN. count me in.]

thank you to C.J. Omololu for taking time out for this interview. thanks to Nerds Heart YA for giving me a chance to chat with an incredible author. 

guess what starts today


oh that's right, y'all. the Award Winning Reads Challenge - hosted by Ashley from Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing and Jasmine and Jacinda from The Reading Housewives.

in case you're wondering, i'm getting in on the nerd level (for obvious reasons).  you should join me!

click on that button to sign up for the fun times!

add it to the list [13]

inspired by Kristi's meme In My Mailbox, at The Story Siren, here are some books i've added to my ever growing pile of books to read this week.

Published by Milkweed in 2010

Published by Dark Horse Comics in July 2011

Winterbourne by Augusta Blythe
Published by Universe Unbound/Amazon in April 2011

leave a link to your books down below in the comments, or link it up with The Story Siren!

Giveaway: Horton Halfpott

i've been debating over this decision for weeks now. i LOVED this book and i shared that love with you guys. and you were interested in reading it.

so i thought, yes, i shall give it away!

but then i thought NO. i want to keep it. i love it so.

alas, my generosity won over selfishness (this time) and i'm giving my ARC of Horton Halfpott away!  (and will be getting my own finished copy)

contest closed.

so go go go! enter to win this hilariously awesome middle-grade read!
UPDATE: the author, Tom Angleberger, has said he'll throw in a drawing of M'Lady Luggertuck for the winner! what a cool guy. oh and in case you're wondering, M'Lady is a total fox

for my review, check here.
for an additional shout out, check here.

Review (kinda): Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

in a sentence or so: a plane full of teen beauty pageant contestants crashes on a mysterious island.

think Lord of the Flies meets Lost meets My Super Sweet 16, and you have a rough idea of where this book is heading. the girls have to fend for themselves after their plane crashes and leaves them without food, water, or anything to wear outside of their pageant sashes and evening gowns. quickly discovering they need a leader, the girls rally together to work towards their common goal: rehearsing for the Miss Teen Dream paegent. because gosh darnit when they get rescued, they want to show the world that they are professionals!

not everyone is on board with the whole practice before survival ideas, however. conflict between the personalities of the girls leads to greater insight into who they are behind the perfect teeth and sequined gowns. which, of course, leads to the the biggest challenge of all - discovering who they really are.

this book is slathered in sarcasm, satire, social commentary, and dark humor. this book had me laughing out loud with every page and adoring the footnotes like no other. between the narrative chapters, we get the inside info on The Corporation (who has more to do with the pageant and the girls current situation than meets the eye) and the girls pageant profile applications. all of these breaks in narration provide helpful insight and further the cultural satire thematics of the read.

unfortunately, this book wore me OUT. i loved what the author was doing and i loved the idea behind it all...but i found myself getting totally exhausted with the tongue-in-cheek remarks happening every other sentence. for me, this is a book i will have to continue to read in small doses. it didn't have the flow or readability i expect from a book, and that left me feeling frustrated.

others have read this from cover to cover without stopping and LOVED it. see evidence below:
Reading Rants
YA Bibliophile
Icey Books
Eve's Fan Garden

fave quote: 
"Tiara's hands flew to her mouth. 'In health class, they told us there's an or in whore because you always have the choice to respect your body and say no. You've got one of those STPs now, don't you?' 
Petra stared. 'STP is a motor oil.'
'Oh. My Gosh. We didn't even learn about that one. it must be really bad!' Tiara gestured solemnly to her crotch. 'Protect the citadel. Protect the citadel.'" (71)

fix er up: as for me, i liked the idea a whole lot...but was left wanting a bit more balance between commentary and the forward momentum of the plot.

title: Beauty Queens
author: Libba Bray
genre: Contemporary, Humor
publisher info: May 2011, Scholastic
buy this book at Amazon

[ftc notice: i received an advance review copy of this book as part of my participation in the Amazon Vine program. i was not compensated for this almost-review]

author love

this is part of the fun meme ,TGIF, hosted by Ginger at GReads! (which is a pretty great blog, if i do say so myself). each friday she hosts a question that the literary lovers in the world can ponder. this week, the lovely Ginger asks:

Author Love:
In 2011, which new/old authors have you discovered and loved?

new author i adore: Kim Harrington. you should know that i did not expect to like her debut YA book, Clarity. i had it up to HERE with paranormal books and was totally jaded by all the buzz surrounding it. how could a paranormal book with that much buzz possibly be that good? color me a FOOL because i adored Clarity. and the reason is because Kim wrote one heck of a genre-blending book. sure, it's paranormal with the whole 'psychic' stuff, but mostly it's a contemporary mystery with a kick ass heroine who is trying to carve her own niche in the world. i love that Kim created a paranormal mystery with the paranormal elements in the background and let the characters and mystery drive the plot. 

author i just discovered: A.S. King. i read Please Ignore Vera Dietz by her this year and was enamored. seriously, that story in itself was incredible. but then the authenticity and the absolutely fleshed out and well-developed characters of Vera and Charlie are what sold me. a good plot interests me. good characters interest me. conversational yet intelligent writing interests me. combine those three, and you've made a fangirl of me, Ms. King. 

oldie but a goodie: John Green. i read Paper Towns by him this year, and it only furthered my absolute adoration for his writing. each of his books feels familiar to me in a way that's comfortable and like hanging out with friends. his humor and his insight are reflected in his characters in such a vivid and realistic way. i will, quite sincerely, read every John Green book ever and i have no doubt that his unique blend of nerd, humor, sincerity and charm will continue to make them my favorites. 

what about you? share your author love with me - or better YET go link it up at GReads

armchair BEA: blogging relationships part II

this post is in continuation of the Armchair BEA series.

after i posted my total lovefest post last night, i thought it might be helpful to post...well...HELPFUL information regarding blogging relationships. insightful, i know.

i am by NO MEANS a professional blogger. if you're looking for some seriously pro tips, you should check out Kristi's stuff at The Story Siren.

for my little ol' blog, there are three things i try to remember when working with publishers/authors:

1. authenticity. be yourself and be genuine. people read your blog because you're the one writing it, so it only makes sense that publishers and authors will want an idea of who you are too. this isn't to say that you should send your life story along with your request, but certianly provide some insight into your blog and your style so they can have an idea of what makes your blog unique. if you decide to contact the publisher/author on twitter at a later date, be yourself and take it slow. you might feel like you want to tell them every hour how awesome their book is (looking at you Patrick Ness), but restrain yourself. sharing your review with them is a great way to show your thoughts without freaking anyone out.

2. respect. this should be obvious, but i fear it isn't always the case. if you don't want a book, don't ask for it just so you can say you have an ARC. if you really want a book, share that with the publisher/author and state your intention to review/giveaway/promote and within what timeline you plan to do so. if you don't get the book, thank the publisher/author for their time. they have limited copies for distribution, so keep that in mind. even requesting a book in a respectful way can start to lay the groundwork for future requests. again, if you decide to contact the publisher/author on twitter, share your thoughts on their work or their generosity, do so with some restraint. and for goodness sakes, don't @reply a publisher/author to tell them the book sucked. it makes you look like a total tool and is of absolutely no assistance to the publisher or the author.

3. integrity. if you ask for a review copy, review the book. if you don't like the book, find a way to let the publisher know and either give the book to a new reader, write a review on elements you did like about the book, or find people who did like it and start a discussion. we all know that all books don't appeal to all peoples, and that's just fine. but to blast a publisher/author who sends you a copy of a book - FOR FREE - deserves your integrity as a blogger. i try to keep the balance between professional and personable, but when in doubt, i lean towards the professional side of the relationship.

i hope those tips are as helpful for you as they have proven themselves to be for me! what about you? what are your tips/tricks for connecting with publishers/authors?

armchair BEA - book blog relationships

as with so many things in life, blogging is all about the relationships. the relationship you have with your readers comes through in the tone you use, the comments you give on others blogs, and the way you respond to comments on your own posts. this is going to sound super cheese, but i also think a blog is a reflection of your relationship with yourself. (i TOLD you). your confidence and your comfort with who you are is evident in the type of posts and overall feel of your blog. 

armchair BEA poses an interesting challenge today. they ask about relationships we've formed with a particular publisher, author, blogger, or bookstore as well as working with publishers and asking for ARCs etc. 

relationships i've grown to really appreciate are those with publishers. below are three publishers that hold a special place in my bookish heart. 

Eric of Quirk Publishing: i think that my true adoration for Eric stems from his total and unabashed nerdiness. however, he's also really great with contacting bloggers, promoting titles from Quirk, and utilizing the blog scene as a means of publicity and interaction. Quirk is known for being tongue-in-cheek, and while a legitimate publisher, their playfulness lends itself well to the interwebs. 

Heather of Candlewick Publishing. i kid you not when i say that my first email to Heather was a blend of fangirling over the Chaos Walking Trilogy (shock to NO ONE) and expressing excitement over their upcoming releases i heard about in a webinar. she responded within moments. i was blown away and have since fallen in love with Candlewick. i've read some seriously great books from this publisher and their variety of titles never fails to impress. 

Harrison from Bancroft Press. this kid went the extra mile and did a publisher perspective post for me. seriously, what a cool guy. but also he works for Bancroft Publishing which is a smaller publisher with some really great titles. i can't imagine the challenges of trying to swim upstream against the big publishers and big authors and big titles, but Harrison is getting the titles out there and getting readers interested. i read and adored a Bancroft book this year, and am looking forward to many more of their titles. the best place to get an ARC for a Bancroft title is Netgalley - which is hugely convenient.

[a brief aside on how to get Advance Review Copies. in my opinion, email publishers with your blog and what it's about. include your hits per month, what makes your blog unique, and your review policy. i'd also recommend asking for specific titles, and being gracious if they say no. in the meantime, read books that are already published and start building your reputation and your base of followers. discover your voice. take your time. books aren't going anywhere.] 

if you spend enough time reading book blogs, you find people who have your taste exactly. then you'll find people who have your personality or reflect parts of yourself that make you think 'if we knew each other in real life, we'd TOTALLY be friends'. for me, these are those bloggers.

Jennifer of Little Shelf. i know our relationship is still totally fresh and in the beginning stages, but this girl is sweet as saccharin and writes some seriously thoughtful reviews. i think she's just fabulous and i can't wait to continue to keep chatting her up!

Katie Walthall is one of my newest twitter friends who has no shame in chatting about Sookie Stackhouse, paranormal ya romance, and other such books with me. also, she's hilarious and totally encourages my slacking off. i appreciate that and thing she's totally fabulous!

The Reading Housewives of Indiana. having recently brought Jacinda into the fold of Game of Thrones, we've been chatting about that quite a bit as well as all other things worth chatting about. and Jasmine and i just might be soul mates - what with our love of breakfast, tea, Iron & Wine, sleeping in, and other such vitally important things in life. originally i found them because of their fabulous blog where they always have reviews that balance summary with insight, and i stay with them because they are hilarious, adorable, and the BEST.

Ginger of GReads! so i discovered Ginger's blog and loved her reviews and design. seriously, her blog is all sorts of elegant and gorgeous. and the content is pretty fabulous too. you know i mean it because i participate with her TGIF meme on the weekly and her Tune in Tuesdays when the mood strikes me. i adore Ginger because we both grew up in H-town, because she's an unabashed fangirl for certain music groups, and she knows the glorious value of scotchies. she makes me laugh, she introduces me to new music and great books. what more could i ask for?

this doesn't happen very often, but when it does, i kind of geek out over it. there is one author i've bonded with as of late that i think bears a brief mention here.

Jennifer Kogler. you guys, she might be me...but instead of being an accomplished author i just read books. maybe we're living in parallel universes? anyway the point is she was super sweet about sharing a copy of her newest book with me (The Death Catchers) and THEN was super sweet about giving our twitter friendship a try. it was thanks to twitter that i discovered our mutual adoration for arthurian legend, gummy vitamins, euro board games, Girl Talk, sandwiches...SERIOUSLY this is all real. i can't even handle how incredible it is to have bonded with an author and i promise i'm not going all creeptastic here - just excited! 

i'd love to read about the blogging relationships you hold dear to your little bookish heart, so link it up down below in the comments!

armchair BEA bonus interview!

according to the organizers of Armchair BEA: "One aspect of BEA and BBC that truly makes the event worthwhile is the opportunity to meet blogging friends face-to-face and get to know them outside of the blogging world.  However, just because we are not able to truly meet each other in real life, that does not mean we cannot get to know one another better!"  

you guys, i am quickly falling into a bookish bestie friendship with this girl. Jennifer is sweet, hilarious, and generally awesome in every way that i can tell. which, you know, i'm pretty much a fan of.  SO - in the continuation of Armchair BEA, i present to you Jennifer from Little Shelf!

five things we should know about you.
1. I'm a pretty nice person. I just don't like being mean, and I expect others to have the same courtesy
2. I love coffee. Yummmmm!

3. I'm a nerdfighter! No idea what I'm talking about? Visit this link: http://www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers#p/u/0/FyQi79aYfxU
4. I really dislike spoilers, to the point where I freak if people start talking about books or movies if I haven't seen them yet. I won't read reviews if I think there might be a spoiler. I don't want to know anything about the story other than a general idea of the plot.
5. I love pictures. I love to to take pictures (with my awesome camera - a Nikon D90, for those who want to know. One of my most prized possessions). I love posting covers BIG on my blog. Photography is my other hobby besides reading. 

i can testify that Jennifer IS a pretty nice person. also, the fact that she's a nerdfighter only makes me adore her more. i love me some John and Hank Green something fierce. 

four books you adore
1. The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth - It's a book for young readers and was one of my favorites growing up.
2. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling- I'm cheating here, because they're all great. If I had to chose only one, I'd start with the first one
3. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer- Yes. Yes, I did just choose a Twilight book. I'm torn between this one and New Moon. I just feel I really connected with the events that happened and love all of the characters. I'm not ashamed to admit it.
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I had an immediate connection with this book. It's epic.

I realize that I chose mostly popular books, but thoseare truly books that I adore to no end. There's a reason they're all so popular, right? 

i have never read The Cat Who Went to Heaven...i should get on that! and obvs HP is the business.
three songs you jam out to like nobody's business! 
Lately? These are my favorites on my Youtube playlist right now:
1. Adele: Rolling in the Deep - Gorgeous voice! I can't get enough of her. Set Fire to the Rain is equally awesome.
2. Britney Spears: Dance until the World Ends - it's just fun to dance to!
3. Sky Ferreira: Animal (Miike Snow Cover) - This song is so deep and gritty. Love it. (here's a link if you can't find it:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Z581wh85U&list=PLF2391D5C6609C6E5)

another thing we have in common? i am no longer shocked, just giddy! i'm all about Adele all the time. and i especially love that Jennifer did not even bat an eye when i asked her what songs she jams out to. unabahsed jamming out is something i am a huge fan of!  

two movies you love
1. Twilight
2. Harry Potter

Again with the generic answers. :/ (no need for the :/ face, Jennifer!)

I know that Twilight isn't the best made movie out there, but I love it anyways. I love the overall feeling, I love the soundtrack, and I love that it reconnected me back to my love of reading. I've always loved to read, but gave it up during college to focus in my schoolwork. After seeing the movie, I had to read the book. I haven't stopped since. 

Harry Potter is just obvious. It's so well done, and it's pretty darn close to the books. I love the actors, the music, and it's just awesome to see Hogwarts "for real". (agreed.)

one thing you want to do in your lifetime
There are lots of things, but the one fun thing would be...  
I want to go to Australia. It's gorgeous! I'd love to travel around and take pictures... and just enjoy the beautiful beaches! It doesn't hurt that I love their accent, as well. 

there you have her! Jennifer is such a sweetheart, and you'd be a fool not to go check out her blog. right now. that's right, i'm calling you out. go go go! also, she's shares her awesomeness on twitter

West Wing Wednesdays: A Proportional Response

West Wing Wednesdays is hosted by Lisa the Nerd and Laura of A Little Mole. For previous West Wing Wednesdays, click on the "West Wing Wednesday" label at the end of this post.  For the details on what exactly West Wing Wednesdays are, check out the original post. 

Season 1 Episode 3: A Proportional Response

what went down
- Sam's prosty friendship has been found out. surprise to no one really, but disappointing in general. both in the framework of the show AND in the framework of making this show believable.
- the President wants to strike back at the Syrians after shooting down that medical plane with his newest personal doctor on it and he refers to their own actions as candy-ass. He actually said candy-ass. it was great.
- CJ and Rob Lowe have a HUGE blow up about the prosty sitch. They both say some pretty inflammatory things and attack each other personally. intense! they kind of patch it up later so it's smoothed out a bit.
- the potus meets with the national security team to decide how to retaliate. he asks "what is the virtue of a proportional response". he then challenges them to a "total disaster response". he's very heated and aggressive, much to the shock of Leo.
- Charlie Young (aka Dule Hill) joins the crew. he thought he was applying to be a messenger but he's being interviewed to be the personal aide to the president. oh my GOSH WITH THE PUPPY EYES i can't. of course i can. his name is Charlie, you guys, and his mom was a police officer who died 5 months ago in the line of duty and now he's at home taking care of his sister instead of going to college. (swoon)
- the potus bums a cigarette and bumbles his way through his very first military action as commander in chief. i admit, the tension is wound pretty tight. will he go all out, or will he go safe and smart? he goes safe and smart but he isn't happy about it.
- Josh is worried about hiring a black kiddo (Charlie) as potus's personal aide. he raises some good points...i'm sure that will come back in the future.
- so Danny the white house reporter is the skeeviest person alive. also, he knows of the prosty. surprise to no one.
- i HATE Mandy. when CJ is lurking in Josh's office it's cute...but when Mandy does it it's creepy and awful and bitchy. i cannot stand to listen to her talk. 'oh look i got you a present - i drew on this picture of us, isn't this super?' -___-
- Charlie helped the potus with his glasses and he then yelled that he didn't have time to meet new people and then Charlie made puppy eyes. it was very sad. the potus then launches into an anecdote.

what it means
- i am not ready for the Mandy/Josh reunion at all. i mean, they have the same hair. how weird is that?
- CJ stands up for Sam even though she doesn't approve of his actions, but there were rumors of a tail getting placed on Sam. this will come back to bite them all in the ass, methinks.
- the potus seems to be very aggressive in his military tactics. mostly it's because he's internalized the loss of his personal doctor, which makes me think that he will absorb personal experiences and translate those to public policies. or at least it's something he will have to grapple with before he makes his public policies in the future. it also makes me think that the president has a big ol' soft heart.

what i thought
- the opening sequence is a lot to handle. the montage and the music and the american flag...it's a lot. but i do predict that it will bring tears to my eyes at the finale.
- i like tv episodes where it's raining.
- Josh's snarkiness is awesome. always making comments under his breath. love it.
- i continue to love Rob Lowe.
- CJ is using a Gateway laptop. it's awesome.
- i really like that there are people walking around ALL the time. all those extras help sustain the hectic atmosphere.
- i think there's a romance brewing between CJ and Toby.
- you guys, I CAN'T with the freeze frame at the end. and it's MANDY. ughhhhhh.

armchair BEA interview

according to the organizers of Armchair BEA: "One aspect of BEA and BBC that truly makes the event worthwhile is the opportunity to meet blogging friends face-to-face and get to know them outside of the blogging world.  However, just because we are not able to truly meet each other in real life, that does not mean we cannot get to know one another better!"  

in the continuation of Armchair BEA, i present to you Crystal from My Reading Room!

1. Describe yourself in 5 words.  Mom, shy, serious, reader, content
2. What is your favorite thing about blogging?  Getting to know new authors and new bloggers.  The blogging world has introduced me to lots of great authors and even more great bloggers and readers.
3. I see that you like a wide variety of books, and are starting to branch into non-fiction - what's a non-fiction book you loved and would recommend to others?  One of my recent favorites was Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan.  I love his honesty, he doesn't try to sell himself as some amazing do-gooder, he is really honest that he went to Nepal start his world tour so he could say he did something good on his lavish trip.  But then he fell in love with the area and the kids.  It's touching, it's honest and it makes the reader to do something good too.
4. You have one day to do ANYTHING you want to do - what's your agenda?  Start with a sunrise breakfast on the beach with my husband, then take my husband, kids  and my parents to Disney World (the kids and I have never been), then my parents keep my kids and my husband and I go on one of the Windjammer Cruises (the big sailboats - if they still exist - it's one of the things we considered for our honeymoon).  Even if it was just a sunset cruise it would be great :)  It's a day that includes the 5 most important people in my life and that means the most to me.
5. If you could be best friends with anyone from literature, who would you choose? It's probably cliche, but Elizabeth Bennet, she was just so certain of what she wanted, she didn't play games and she didn't suffer fools.  I want to be like her and have a friend like her.

as for me, i agree totally that the best thing about blogging is meeting new authors and bloggers. it's such a cool community. and also, i'd totally want to be besties with Lizzie B too, no matter how cliche it is! 

thanks for sharing more about you, Crystal! 

YA SFF books to add to your tbr

as you already know, i love lists. a lot. so when i came across these new lists from Booklist Online, i wanted to share the goodness with you.

of these, the only ones i needed to add to my list were The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. By Catherynne M. Valente, The Ring of Solomon. By Jonathan Stroud, and The Silver Bowl. By Diane Stanley.

i'll be honest, i've heard good things about The Knife of Never Letting Go on audio, but i am probably most interested in Graceling on audio. GRACELINGGGGG!

thanks to Booklist Online for the images, links, and lists! 

armchair BEA: best of 2011 (so far)

today, Armchair BEA asks what our favorite book of 2011 is so far. i've read a lot of fabulous books this year, but not all of them were published in 2011. in a couple weeks, i'll be posting my mid-year update with more in depth thoughts on what i've read so far this year, how the reading challenges are going, etc.

for now, here are my fave books that were published in 2011!

best digital galley read: The Atomic Weight of Secrets or the Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black by Eden Bowditch. i was pleasantly surprised at the mystery and the spooky+quirkiness of this read. i fell in love with the characters and totally have to know what happens next in the series! i downloaded a copy of this from NetGalley and i'm so glad i did.

best reprint read: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. this book was a total blend of The Princess Diaries and The Mortal  Instruments Series and i loved it. the main character, Gwen, is funny, sweet, and authentic. i believe her voice every single page, and i need to know how the rest of her story unfolds! too bad i can't read German and knock out the series right now...

best middle-grade read: Horton Halfpott or The Fiendish Mystery at Smugwick Manor or The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset by Tom Angleberger.  the illustrations were great, the characters were hilarious, and the voice of the narrator/author was totally charming. i laughed out loud like a total loon more than once, and for a story that's so silly, it truly does pack a good mystery and a lot of heart.

best young adult read: Divergent by Veronica Roth.  no surprises here, i realize, but it's totally for good reason. this book is like Ender's Game for girls. in this dystopian set in the not too distant future of Chicago, teenagers are sorted into factions in which they live out the rest of their lives. the best part of this one for me was the authenticity of the teenagers and the fact that every single character is flawed. you know, like REAL people are. and this book is utterly unputdownable etc so the writing is top notch.

so that's it for me! i'd love to see your top book from 2011 so far, so leave a link or a comment down below.

for more details on Armchair BEA, check it out here

armchair bea intro

while being totally jealous of everyone who has the opportunity to live the dream at BEA (book expo america), i am also kind of excited to be a part of the armchair BEA hosted by Armchair BEA Central.

today, those who are participating are introducing themselves. you can find out extreme details about who i am at my Who is Lisa the Nerd page, but for now, i leave you with this brief introduction:

in five words: silly, introverted, extroverted, enthusiastic, comfortable
if i could put one book into the hands of everyone i meet: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. it's just SO GOOD.
if i could watch one movie forever and ever: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. i already rewatch these movies at least monthly, so i know for certain that i could handle that action forever and ever.
book i'm most excited about in 2011: it's a tie between The Death Catchers and A Monster Calls. there are no words to express how excited i am about those two titles, or how excited i am that i have an advance review copy of both of these books. seriously, these are going to be incredible!

stay tuned for more fun Armchair BEA action this week!

for a list of the fabulous sponsors of Armchair BEA, check here
for a list of the other peeps doing Armchair BEA, check here

blogging loves

as promised, here is the companion post to my blogging buggers. previously, i talk about the things that really make me -__- with blogging. today, allow me to share with you the things that make me happy dance within the blogging world!

  • LISTS. always lists. i adore the Top Ten Tuesday posts and i am all about book lists and reading lists. i appreciate these because i learn something more about books, which i'm a fan of, but also because i learn something more about the blogger behind those lists. 
  • Comparisons. i realize this takes some work sometimes, and i appreciate it. i am so unexplicably happy when i get to the end of a review and the blogger says "if you liked x, you might like y" or "for fans of a, try b". this is particularly helpful when i'm on the fence about a book they reviewed. 
  • Suggestions. this is sorta like comparisons, but more so for when a blogger reviews a book that they didn't necessarily love. in these cases, the blogger says "i didn't love this, but here is someone who did" or "i was on the fence about it, but here's someone who thought it was great!". this speaks to the integrity of the blogger in that they want to post an honest review while still giving the author some buzz. how great is that?
  • Blogging Collectives. let me tell you a secret - it is my DREAM to be a part of a blogging collective. places like Forever YA where they are all about the young adult reviews, but with very distinct voices and tastes provides such a solid variety that i never grow tired of them. and then there are places like Tor.com where there are different writers for different topics. with Tor, YA lit is just one of the the articles i love to read, as well as re-reads of books and then other media things i adore. perhaps one day i will be a part of a blogging collective. for now, i nerd solo in a community of awesome. 

what about you? are there certain memes, ideas, or review styles that bloggers use that you adore? share!

add it to the list [12]

inspired by Kristi's meme In My Mailbox, at The Story Siren, here are some books i've added to my ever growing pile of books to read this week.

2009 - Square Fish Publishing

i received this copy from the incredibly awesome and hilarious YA Bibliophile. she sent out a blurb on twitter about having copies, i bit, she sent. that simple, and that incredible. thanks, YA Bib!

"This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication." - Goodreads description


i received this copy from one of my favorite publisher hype boys, Eric Smith. thanks, man!

"A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows." - Amazon description

fictional besties

sometimes i read a book and i think, man, that character is pretty awesome.

and then there are times i read a book and think, i wish that character were real so we could be besties in real life and hang out and talk on the phone and text during work etc etc.

this is a list devoted to the characters in young adult literature i want to be best friends with in my life. bring on the besties!

6. Jacob from Twilight. okay, so maybe it's how he was portrayed in the movies, but Jacob seems like a really cool guy who likes to hangout and work on motorcycles and lounge about. plus he's funny and unassuming. i like him and i want to be his friend. judge me if you will.

5. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice. as if this isn't obvious, i like to read. so does she! Lizzie B is hilarious, snarky, AND doesn't take crap from anyone. she's more of a blend between my idol and someone i'd want to be my bestie, but i'd settle for getting invited to a ball at Pemberly.

4. Katsa from Graceling. if she'd even have me, let's be honest. Katsa is totally kick ass and could kick MY ass, but she's also one of those girls who's one of the guys. i'm down with that.

3. Viola from the Chaos Walking Trilogy. Viola is emotional, but always keeps a level head and is always brave. she's totally someone i'd want to protect me during the day from the Mayor and have girl talk with at nighttime by the campfire. we'd have to whisper though so Todd wouldn't hear us talking about how cute he is.

2. Sookie Stackhouse. as mentioned before, Sookie is totally that girl who's voice i just connect with. when i read the Sookie Stackhouse books, i envision Sookie and i eating cookie dough (out of the tub, obvs) in sweatpants on my couch. she's a cute working girl and kickass and incredibly loyal. love her.

1.  Hassan from An Abundance of Katherines. okay, so pretty much any character from a John Green book is going to be just my flavor of friend, but Hassan really is the total package. he's lazy. he loves Judge Judy. he's hilarious, witty, sweet and sensitive. he is my number one choice for a fictional bestie.

are there any characters you'd like to be besties with from the wide world of literature?


this is part of the fun meme ,TGIF, hosted by Ginger at GReads! (which is a pretty great blog, if i do say so myself). each friday she hosts a question that the literary lovers in the world can ponder. this week, the lovely Ginger asks:

Back to the Beginning: What was the first book you reviewed on your blog?

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

after rereading that review, i'm still happy with it. which is surprising, really. i wonder if my writing has improved or gotten worse over time...hmm. it's curious that at the time of the review, i was for sure that i was going to continue with the series. recently, however, i decided not to read any further. maybe i should reevaluate...we'll see.

regardless, my format for reviews has changed a little bit.  i now close with my favorite quote and what i wish was different about the book in my reviews, which is a bit of a challenge that i enjoy. also, in the beginning of this little blog of mine i exclusively did reviews, which has since changed. obviously.

to see what others blogged about way back when, check out GReads today and join the link up

also, i'm totally curious as to what your very first YA book was that you ever read...leave it in the comments!

Review: Horton Halfpott or The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor or The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset by Tom Angleberger

in a sentence or so: Smugwick Manor is a kooky place with quirky people and mysterious happenings. events get an extra helping of crazy when M'Lady Luggertuck decides to not have her corset laced quite so tight, and The Loosening begins.

Horton Halfpott is a kitchen boy at Smugwick Manor. his job, sad as it is, is to wash dishes all day. ALL DAY. every day. and if he finishes washing dishes before the day is over, he is off to polish the extensive fork collection. or the silver platters. you get the idea.  Horton has a few friends at the Manor, including his best friend Bump, a stable boy who knows how great Horton is and what a bummer his life can be in that kitchen all the time.

on the day that M'Lady Luggertuck decides to have her corset a little looser, a chain of events take off that Horton could never have imagined. for instance, M'Lady decides to have a ball. in addition to creating even more work for the staff (and, by extension, Horton), this involves delivering the invitations personally. which then leads to Horton meeting a bright, beautiful, and totally unattainable young lady. but on top of the ball and some serious crushing, some very precious valuables go missing at the Manor. throw in a detective with an appetite greater than his detective skills, a very creepy and nasty Luther Luggertuck, some ship-less pirates, and secret room in the attic full of mystery, surprises, and hidden disguises, and things at Luggertuck Manor are running right off the rails.

a middle-grade spoof on Victorian mysteries, this book has a little bit of everything while maintaining a hilarious and quirky balance. it reminded me of a Roald Dahl book meets Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone. i laughed out loud, a LOT, and was totally head over heels for the playfulness combined with a great story and lovable characters. well, some are lovable. more than some are detestable, which is part of the fun. plus the book speaks to you - literally. i loved the connection the author created between the reader and the characters by giving us snippets and asides throughout the book. plus, the illustrations are silly and creative and from the hand of the author himself!

if you're looking for a middle-grade read that's mysterious, silly, thoughtful, fun, and has just a splash of romance, you should totally give this a try. you'll have a blast!

fave quote: "Well, Reader? You know a little of Miss Sylvan-Smythe by now. Do you think she is likely to listen to this transparent flattery? Of course not. She jerked her hand away." (pg 94)

fix er up: i really really REALLY hope there are further adventures the world that Angleberger created! i could read about Horton forever.

title: Horton Halfpott or The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor or The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset
author: Tom Angleberger
publisher: Amulet Press (Abrams)
drop date: May 2011
genre: Mystery, Humor
buy the book on Amazon

[ftc notice: i received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher for a non-biased review. i did not receive compensation for this book or the review.]

West Wing Wednesdays: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

West Wing Wednesdays is hosted by Lisa the Nerd and Laura of A Little Mole. For previous West Wing Wednesdays, click on the "West Wing Wednesday" label at the end of this post.  For the details on what exactly West Wing Wednesdays are, check out the original post. 

WWW is over at Laura's site this week. check it out here. 

more merlin plz

i always want more Merlin. thank you, Warner Bros, for realizing that.

apparently there is a Merlin origins-type movie/series of movies coming in the not too far away future. yeah, how's that for specific?

anyway i'm still jazzed because:
"Anyway, if other producers do plan to jump in and create the by-now-standard four to five variations on the same idea, they should get moving: Basu has already taken the “contemporary setting” angle, and now Warner Bros. is running with the “origin story,” hiring former journalist turned script reader for Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo to adapt The Lost Years Of Merlin, the T.A. Barron fantasy series that (somewhat like the current BBC series) explores the wizard’s life from his early days as a wandering orphan to his tenure as the chief magic man of Camelot." - Sean O'Neal

SERIOUSLY. i'm super excited. here's to hoping Archimedes is as kick-ass as possible. 

full article from the AV Club here.
and in case you don't know the awesome that is the current BBC series, you can learn more here.

tbr tuesday [6]

the following lovely ladies have inspired this new meme for me - inspired by "a peek at my TBR" by Jen atMakeshift Bookmark, "Waiting on Wednesday" by Jill at Breaking the Spine and "Books to Pine For" by Kristi at The Story Siren.

here's a look at two books i have sitting in my To Be Read pile. i don't necessarily own these books, but they are books i intend to get around to reading soon!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. i know you guys, i haven't read this yet. but i totally have the first one downloaded on my Kindle and i plan to have a marathon session with all of them before the movie releases. we're still friends, it's okay.

Me and Tennessee by Sheridan Hernandez. i'm interested in this one because it sounds like it starts off as a summer love triangle and then spirals out of control with some crazy shiz going down. i'm in.