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add it to the list [18]

add it to the list is brought to you by In My Mailbox, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

this week, i share with you the bookish goodies i scored over the past 7 days. since i'm too lazy to shower (see reason why at the end of the post), you get some photo action.

first up, Tom Angleberger responded to my original request for a drawing of M'Lady Luggertuck by sending me yet another personalized drawing of my favorite scowly lady. he was even so kind as to include a Darth Paper illustration, too! seriously, Tom is the tops. if you haven't already checked out his books, you totally should! 

and next, i received Abe in Arms by Pegi Deitz Shea. this was part of the Nerds Heart YA Tournament, and although it didn't move on to the next round, it's definitely a book that's off of the beaten path. if you want a more in depth review, be sure to check out Rebecca's blog! thanks to Rebecca for sending me her copy.

and finally, i received a paperback copy of Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey from Little, Brown. i've heard great things about this book, but wasn't a fan of the original cover. this cover, however, is totally baller and i love reading a book with an award label on it. also, it's been getting shout out's from YALSA which is nothing to scoff at. 

it was all about quality, not quantity this week for me. rumor has it the next week might be poppin, so i'm pretty stoked about that jazz.

thanks for checking out what i added to my list this week! i apologize for not doing a vlog...but i didn't feel like showering because i was spending time with one of my favorite people...

Nerds Heart YA Round 2 Selection

the two books passed along to me and Rebecca of My Reading Frenzy were:


i can totally understand why both of these books progressed from the first round. they are both so different from anything else i've read lately, and each present a unique perspective and experience.

for Bleeding Violet, some seriously wacky and dark and spooky stuff goes down. Hanna is prone to hallucinations, which makes her move to the small Texas town of Portero even more crazy. Portero has it's own bizarre stuff happening, so when you throw Hanna into that mix, you better make sure you're belted in tight because it's going to be a wild ride. i felt compassion and a real connection with Hanna, despite her crazy situation.

for Abe in Arms, i recognized what the author was trying to do. the subject of teenage PTSD is not one that's often discussed in YA literature, yet is an absolute reality for many. repressed memories strike back at Abe and shake him out of his ideal existence and force him to face his past. a past that would be much easier to just leave behind...but if Abe wants to move forward, he has to go back.  again, i recognized what the author was trying to do here...but it never really clicked. i agree with Rebecca's insight that the dialogue is what held this book back. it felt clunky, awkward, and definitely not out of the mouth of teenagers. there was a ton of potential that just didn't blossom in this one.

so, after chatting about it, Rebecca and i chose to advance Bleeding Violet to Round 3!

what about you? have you read either of these books? if so, what did you think?

keep up with the Nerds Heart YA Tournament through their blog or on Twitter. i know i'll be curious to see what books advance!

thanks again to the Nerds Heart YA team for allowing me to be a part of this tournament!

Review: Batman: Murder at Wayne Manor: An Interactive Mystery

in a sentence or so: a twenty year old skeleton surfaces at Wayne Manor wearing only a costume mask and bearing an invitation to a party hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Wayne.

Bruce Wayne took up the mantle of Batman and started his protection of the people of Gotham after his parents were murdered when he was a young boy. Bruce always believed his parents were genuine, helpful philanthropists who poured their hearts into Gotham and were committed to making it a better place for everyone. he has always believed the very best of his parents...before he found the body on his lawn. the body of a girl who people suspected Thomas Wayne had an affair with while she worked at Wayne Enterprises. is his father the man Bruce always thought he was? or was he hiding something dangerous and disappointing from those he loved?
invitation found on the body.
okay, by far the coolest thing about this book are the clues. oh that's right. there are CLUES in the book. pieces of the investigation that Batman finds while trying to find out who the woman who surfaced on Wayne Manor is and why she's ended up on the lawn. a notecard found on the body gets Batman started on his investigation.

throughout the investigation, Batman discovers more and more hidden secrets about his family, and so do you. 
crazy ass photo of the parents Wayne and friends.

throughout it all, you're reading from Bruce's point of view (first person) and nails his voice perfectly. the intelligence, dedication, and the focus of Batman are there, but there's also the personal frustrations of a son who didn't know his parents as well as he thought he did. we see a more introspective side of Bruce, and i loved it.

the clues, the investigation, and the full color pages keep this story moving and keep you wanting to solve the mystery and propel you forward into the wee hours of the night to find out who was buried on Wayne Manor, and why.

yeah, i totally got access. 

fave quote: "People claim to read and enjoy mysteries for the whodunnit factor - figuring out the identity of the killer behind the mask. But to me, infinitely more interesting is the why: the chain of events, the personal apocalypses, the miniature tragedies that lie at the root of all crimes." (50)

fix er up: the re-readability of this one isn't super high for me, but it's definitely one i can lend out to peeps.
title: Batman: Murder at Wayne Manor
author: Duane Swierczynski
illustrator: David Lapham
publishing info: Quirk Publishing, 2008

buy Batman: Murder at Wayne Manor: An Interactive Mystery (Interactive Mysteries) by Duane Swierczynski from Amazon

[ftc notice: i received a finished copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. i was not compensated for this review. thanks, Eric!]

Review: Nerd Girls: The Rise of the Dorkasaurus by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

in a sentence or so: three nerdish eight grade girls form an alliance in an attempt to take the highly coveted talent show victory from the popular girls. along the way, they make many discoveries about one another and become true friends.

Maureen, Alice, and Barbara each have their own unique brand of nerd. Maureen's body type is best described as a baked potato and she becomes a youtube sensation when the popular girls record her acting like a complete loon in defense of previously unknown Alice. Alice, who is at the root of Maureen's total humiliation, is allergic to anything and everything. constantly sucking on an inhaler is not exactly breaking down any social barriers for Alice. with Barbara, she's skinny as a rail and clutzy to the extreme. consistently tripping over her own feet, she spends more time saying "no, no, i'm okay!" than breathing.

quite without knowing it...or even wanting it... Maureen finds herself paired up with Allergy Alice and Beanpole Barbara at lunch. apparently, they are friends now, which Maureen finds humiliating. i mean, sure, she's the fat one...but she's not as bad as they are, right? regardless, they stick to her like glue and she's starting to get used to it. maybe, though she would never admit this to either of them, even likes having them around.

the girls bond over putting together a talent show routine to end all talent show routines in hopes of taking the coveted victory away from the Three-Pees. they are so named because they are Pretty, Popular, and Perfect. they are also awful. they constantly find ways to put down the Nerd Girls and generally make everyone else's life a living hell. what better way for the Nerd Girls to get revenge than to take away the one thing the Three-Pees want the most - the eighth grade talent show trophy?

the girls discover more about each other, and themselves, as they put together their routine. they learn about each other's families and that everyone has a reason for who they are, for good or for bad. they find out that they really do need each other and come to rely on each other though all the crap the Three-Pees through at them. they don't think they can change the world for nerd girls everywhere...but they can find the confidence to live their lives the way they want to and be happy while doing so.

Maureen, the narrator, is a snarky little thing and i loved her. her own inner torment kept her authentic and vulnerable to the reader, which helped connect me to the story and the other characters. while i realize that an eight grade talent show is small potatoes, to them it was important. that's something for all of us to remember - especially those of us who spend time with young people. just because it isn't important to you, doesn't mean it isn't important to them.

for a surprisingly deep, funny, and heartwarming middle-grade read about three dorky girls trying to make it the only way they know how, give this one a shot.

fave quote: "I'm not just un-cool; I'm anti-cool. I mean, I even know how to properly use a semicolon in a sentence. What could be more pathetic than that?" (9 | 230 Nook)

fix er up: some of the phrases were already dated, or will be soon. but, perhaps that adds to the allure of the nerdishness.

title: Nerd Girls: The Rise of the Dorkasaurus
author: Alan Lawrence Sitomer
publishing info: 2011, Disney Hyperion Books
genre: Friendship, Contemporary, Middle Grade

[ftc notice: i received a digital galley of an advance review copy through NetGalley with the publisher's permission. i did not receive any compensation for this review.]

Nerds Heart YA update

from the nerdsheartya.wordpress.com blog
for those of you who don't know about Nerds Heart YA, it's essentially a tournament for underrepresented YA literature. which i am a huge fan of. and being a nerd and all, i'm a huge fan of anything that has nerds in the title. so when Nerds Heart YA put out an invitation to bloggers to help judge books for this tournament, i was all up in it.

i'm currently reading the two books passed down to me from the first round. you can see the flow of the system with this helpful little .jpeg from the Nerds Heart YA blog:

as you can see, My Reading Frenzy and i are slated to read ABE IN ARMS and BLEEDING VIOLET. i'm super excited for both of these titles, and will be posting mini-reviews on these titles this week as well as which book Rebecca and I selected to pass along to Beth Fish Reads.

you can read more about Nerds Heart YA here, or check my sidebar for the pretty graphic. you should definitely keep track of what books advance from round to round and read them for yourself to see if you agree with the judge's decisions or not. rumor has it, there's a lot of great literature out there in this tourney.

previous Nerds Heart YA related posts:
i do love to judge.
C.J. Omololu interview.

Mondays Bite: Part 4

as part of a fun little meme hosted by some of my favorite blogging ladies and myself, we are rereading Twilight! because you know you didn't get enough the first time around. or the second. or the third...

once again, y'all had some fun answers to the questions posted by The Reading Housewives last monday. Yani posted a new set of great questions that are going to link up today back at The Reading Housewives, so after you read what i have to say, you should totally link it up over at their fabulous blog!

{SERIOUS question} If you where in Carlisle position, do you think you would have been able to fight off your vampiric urges? Would you ever bring someone into that life, as he did with Edward and Esme?

Carlisle Cullen = dapper as hell
honestly, i'd like to think so...but probably not. i'm horrible with impulse control. i'm one of those people who will eat something that tastes good, even if i'm full and i'm well aware i'll feel like total crap later for doing it. (i'm looking at you, cheesy potatoes!) so i guess if blood tastes as good to vampires as cheesy potatoes do to me...then no. i would not have been able to fight off my vampiric urges. 
as far as bringing someone into that life - GOOD question. i think part of what makes Carlisle so different is he saves them from a certain death to bring them into a new life. whether or not that life is one they would choose for themselves is where we hit the moral grey area...but i do believe Carlisle acted with the best intentions. most likely, i'd totally bring someone over to my side - but only if they were willing and if they were super cool. because there would be NOTHING worse than changing someone that turned out to get on your nerves. particularly because they will be on your nerves forever. 

{FUN question} We are introduced to Edward's playful side in these chapters, before he gets all manic about the new vampires, I think we have a better picture of who he is. If you had to describe him in 5 words, what would they be? Good and Bad qualities, whatever you like!
determined. protective. thoughtful. sincere. family-oriented. 

{LONG question} While re-reading I have been taking notes: observations that I have come across re-reading and comparisons to the movie. One of my notes deals with page 383, in which Edward screams at Alice there is no other option. The first time around I didn't get that he meant the future that Alice saw for Bella as a vampire (because we obviously hadn't gotten to that part), but now that I know the whole story I see that is what he meant... Has this happened to you? Do you have any examples of things that are clearer now or things that you have realized while re-reading?
i'm always watching.
it's certainly interesting to reread the series once we know how it ends, especially with Alice's ability to see the future. i can't imagine how annoying it must be for the rest of the Cullens for Alice and Edward to communicate the way they do. 
as far as things becoming clearer this time around, i do see the love that Edward has for Bella being quite obviously stated. admittedly, his protection of her still skeeves me out from time to time and his flares of anger are not things i'm down with in the slightest. that disclaimer being put out there, there are clear statements of his love and when the family reflects to Bella about the changes she's brought about in Edward that show us that Edward really does love this adorably clumsy girl. 

{PERSONAL question} We haven't talked about this yet, but I think the idea of your human gifts amplifying in your vampire life is interesting (Jasper's control of emotions, Edward's mind reading), what do you think your gifts would be?
i'm all about encouragement. i think it's one of my most obvious gifts, and one that i am most willing to share with others. if i think about how the others gifts translated when they changed, i imagine mine would be most similar to Jasper's gift. i would be able to alter the behavior of others with my words. now that i've written it out...that's pretty freaky. and awesome. but mostly freaky.

{SURVEY question} We are coming to the end of the book, what has been your opinion on this re-read? First, when was the last time you read it? Second, do you feel you like it more, the same, or less this time around?
i have LOVED this re-read, y'all! it's been so fun reading it with people. it's like an online book club and i LOVE it. i am definitely more critical of the book this time around, but that's only because i love it enough to pick on it. does that make sense? like a grandpa at a family reunion. i'm the grandpa, and the book is the grandchild at the family reunion. i tease because i love. 
i like the book in a different way, i think. i don't believe this to be a piece of amazing writing. but if i look at the book for what it is, not what others think it should be or claim it to be, it's just fine. Stephanie Meyer didn't set out to write a life-changing literary masterpiece. she set out to write a book about vampires and werewolves and romance and teenagers and moralistic and ethical choices within a compelling narrative. mission: accomplished. 

quotes worth chatting about:
"Alice interrupted this time, touching my cheek with her cold fingers. 'It's been almost a century that Edward's been alone. Now he's found you. You can't see the changes that we see, we who have been with him for so long. Do you think any of us want to look into his eyes for the next hundred years if he loses you?'" (410-411) Alice to Bella
- awwwwwwwww YOU GUYS. so sweet to see the love and change in Edward from the family point of view and to let the reader know that the affection isn't one sided, as Bella fears it is. 

don't cry CHARLIEEEEE!
other stray musings:
- okay, the whole couch/tackle scene in the bedroom was pretty freaking swoonworthy. i LOVE the playful Edward. not the brooding/possessive Edward.
- being carried everywhere sounds pretty awkward. i mean, Alice asked permission first and everything but still...who wants to be carried around like a child? pretty demeaning, methinks.
- CHARLIEEEEEEEEEE! that was a LOW BLOW, Bella. >:( 
- this book is freaking huge.

add it to the list [17]

add it to the list is brought to you by In My Mailbox, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren (who is pretty rad, if you didn't already know)

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Simon Pulse, 2010
(from my library for the Nerds Heart YA tournament)

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Harper Teen, Nov 2011
(from Yani through Jacinda)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Simon & Schuster, September 2011
(from Ginger)

Forget You by Jennifer Echols
Simon & Schuster, July 2010
(from Ginger)

Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009
(from Amazon.com)

Flux, 2008
(from Amazon.com)

Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
Flux, 2009
(from Amazon.com)
also mentioned: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

personal bloggiesta

so this week has been kind of crazy. i chalk it up to the fact that i now have a real 8-5 job and am pretty darn tired at the end of the day. sadly, this means the blog is one of the things that keeps getting pushed 'until tomorrow'.

but today, my bookish friends, i am working on the blog. that's right, i'm having my own little personal bloggiesta. well, my own along with some of my most adored twitter peeps who are joining me in working on their own blogs today. 

i could not ask for a better day, either. it's overcast outside, the internet is working at speeds faster than i thought possible so i can bump pandora while i blog, and there is nothing - absolutely NOTHING - going on today. it's glorious.

i hope y'all are having a FABULOUS weekend. happy reading!

Review: A Monster Calls

in a sentence or so: Conor is visited by a monster. it is not the monster he expects.

Conor's mom has been undergoing cancer treatment for a while now. the two of them are getting along just fine, thank you. sure, Conor has to make his own breakfast and do his own laundry and get himself to and from school, but his mom insists it's only temporary until she gets better. because both of them believe she will get better.

Conor has vivid nightmares that he hasn't shared with anyone. imagine his surprise when one night, just after having the nightmare again, a monster appears at his window. only it's not the monster he expects.  this monster knows about his nightmare, however, which is equally as frightening. this new monster won't leave Conor alone and insists on telling him stories that don't make sense, that totally aren't fair, and have nothing to do with him. yet in a world where it's easier for people to ignore Conor than to really see him, Conor comes to rely on the monster more and more each day.

you know when people say 'there are no words' because they are unable to express extreme excitement or sadness or celebration or sorrow? Patrick Ness finds those words. and holy moles are they some powerful words.  something else i love about Ness's writing is his sense of direction. you may not know where you're going exactly, but you know you're going somewhere. Ness provides an emotional depth that's unrivaled in young adult literature. using a story inspired by Siobhan Dowd, Ness blends Dowd's signature unflinching reality of stories with his emotional and absorbing storytelling.

this book had me on tenterhooks from the first sentence
"The monster showed up after midnight. As they do." (1)
seriously. there were passages throughout this book that i read and reread and reread again because they were so emotional, lyrical, and perfect. see for yourself. warning: it's just a touch spoilery, so skip down if you don't want to have a single morsel ruined for you. i won't blame you.
"There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.
Conor shook his head. "That's a terrible story. And a cheat."
It is a true story, the monster said. Many things that are true feel like a cheat. Kingdoms get the princes they deserve, farmers' daughters die for no reason, and sometimes witches merit saving. Quite often, actually. You'd be surprised." (64)

i loved this book so much more than i thought i would, which is really saying something, because my hopes were pretty dang high. Ness delivers a story that stretches across the emotional spectrum and carries with it amazing amounts of truth and authenticity. the beautiful blend of fantasy and reality is just my style, and very reminiscent of Guillermo Del Toro movies (see Pan's Labyrinth or The Devil's Backbone). which, by the way, i am totally going to start some sort of movement to get this made into a movie by Del Toro because he would do Conor's story the justice it deserves.

A Monster Calls is a contemporary anti-fairy tale with a simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful story that you need to experience for yourself.

fave quote (obviously i had a million, but here's one worth sharing): "Stories are the wildest things of all, the monster rumbled. Stories chase and bite and hunt." (pg 35)

fix er up: absolutely nothing. at all. this is perfection and the illustrations only add to the emotions that pour from the pages.

title: A Monster Calls
author: Patrick Ness (inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd)
genre: Fantasy, Family, Grief
publishing info: September 2011 from Candlewick Publishing

Buy A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd by Patrick Ness

[ftc notice: i received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. i did not receive any compensation.]

Mondays Bite: Part 3

as part of a fun little meme hosted by some of my favorite blogging ladies and myself, we are rereading Twilight! because you know you didn't get enough the first time around. or the second. or the third...

anyway - you guys had some amazingly hilarious and insightful responses to my questions that were answered at The Reading Housewives last monday. Jasmine and Jacinda posted a new set of great questions that are going to link up today over at Secret Life of an Avid Reader.  after you read what i have to say, you should totally link it up over at their blog!

and if you still haven't signed up for the re-read along, i still give you permission to do so. i mean, we are like halfway through the book and everything, but you can totally catch up. or just hop in. either way, we'd LOVE to chat about Twilight with you!

1. Do you think the name "Twilight" for this book is fitting with the story? Do you think a better name could have been chosen? What about the series and the names as a whole? 
i am always curious as to how authors choose a title for their book. i am so bad at thinking of names for things or events, so i can't imagine spending the better part of your days writing something and then having to come up with a succinct and catchy title. i adore one-word titles, so i think the title "Twilight" is solid, but does it fit the book and the story? i see the connection between twilight (as a time of day) being a transition from light to darkness, and Bella finding out about Edward being a transition from the light of normalcy to the darkness of unknown and supernatural. twilight has an almost magical feel to it too - when the nocturnal creatures start to stir and the world goes a bit more quiet...
as far as the series as a whole, i do like the titles a lot actually. i think you could argue that each title represents the feel of that part of the series very well. (SPOILER WARNING) New Moon is all about wolvies and finding a new life while Edward is away. Eclipse is when he comes back into Bella's life and the love triangle is at it's pique...so you could argue that the Darkness is casting a shadow over the Light. Breaking Dawn is after she has made her decision and a new life is forged between her and Edward. (END SPOILERS)

2. On this re-read, what’s your favorite part of the book? Is it the vampires, setting, plot, characters, Edward, or something else? 
i've been paying closer attention to the minor characters. it's been fun to focus on those elements, since i'm already familiar with what else goes down! and honestly, re-reading it with a group has been a ton of fun too.

3. Edward shows his stalkerish/controlling tendencies during these chapters for the first time (at least Bella is aware), did this bother you the first time you read Twilight? Does it bother you now that you’re re-reading it? Should Bella be more worried about it? 
i was a little freaked out that he was watching her sleep. upon rereading, i am even more bothered by Bella's total nonchalance on this stalkerish behavior AND her excitement that he's been watching her sleep. the fact that he's been there "almost every night" only made her wary as to what he overheard while she was sleeping.
i was also freaked out when Edward decides to bring have Alice bring her truck to school for her. Bella muses that the keys are inside her locked house, in her pants which are buried in the laundry. when the truck is there, despite the breaking and entering that had to take place to get her keys, she is not phased.
AND AGAIN when he knows where the key to get into her house is. i know you just saw him sparkle in the sunlight and he told you that you were his brand of heroin, but a Junior in high school should still have enough sense to know when someone's been canvassing your house.

4. Do you find yourself, during or after reading another paranormal/supernatural book, comparing it to Twilight? If you do, why do you think that is? Is it because it’s popular or because it’s just a book that makes an impact? 
just as much as i compare books to any other books while reading. okay, that was clear as mud so allow me to expand a bit. whenever i read a book about vampires, i compare the myths and habits of vampires from other books to think about how the lore compares. same with werewolf books or time-travel books or whatever. i do love a solid mythos. so while i'm not thrilled about the whole sparkly vampire thing, i do give S. Meyer props for doing something a little different to establish her unique brand of vamp-lore.

see you soon!
5. Bella is introduced to the Cullen Family in chapter 15, who is your favorite Cullen and why?
we haven't met my favorite Cullen yet - EMMETT - but from the ones we do meet, i'd have to say it's a tie between Esme and Jasper. for serious, Jasper's ability is by far the coolest and most helpful in any real life situation. i wish i had the ability to calm a room or to give people confidence simply by feeling it for them.  and as for Esme, i love that she just wants the best for all of her 'children'. she does her best to provide a normal family experience and reprimands Edward for showing off and she's just the cutest. plus, she's married to Carlisle who is like the most compassionate vamp EVER, so that's pretty amazing. 

quotes that concern me:
"Besides, since I'd come to Forks, it really seemed like my life was about him." (251)
- oh Bella, and every other girl who thinks this thought ever in their life, this makes me so sad. NEVER live your life for a boy. never ever EVER. i know that you're in love and that you want to be together forever but you still need to be you. 

"Will you be?' I asked, suddenly anxious. 'Will you really be here?'
'As long as you want me,' he assured me.
'I'll always want you,' I warned him. 'Forever.'"(318)
- alright, Edward gets a gold star for this one because HOLY MOLY even i am feeling smothered by Bella right now. she is coming across as all kinds of desperate in the book. i'm not for playing hard to get or playing mind games or whatever, but good grief girl - keep your cool!

other miscellaneous musings/nerd rage:
sparkle sparkle
- WHY DOES SHE STILL HATE ON MIKE. she even thinks to herself that he is super easy to like and he covers her ass all the time in gym. he even CHOOSES her as a partner to cover for her incredible awkwardness. he's athletic, sweet, funny, and loyal. why the hate? WHY, STEPHANIE? i'd apologize for the nerd rage, but i have nothing to apologize for. i don't get why Bella doesn't like boys she admits are totally likable. not that she has to date big M - but for the love - she could be nice to the kid. 
- Bella starts talking about marriage with Edward. yes, MARRIAGE. i hadn't realized it before, but at this point in the book, Bella is straight outta some cray-cray Lifetime movie. i much prefer the sarcastic and independent Bella. 
- when she sees Edward sparkle for the first time, he is apparently wearing a collared white shirt that is sleeveless and button down. i'll give you a moment to ponder that ridiculousness. i googled this atrocity and this is what i found. only he wore it unbuttoned so obviously he resembled a Greek God and not a total douchebag. -___-

despite my nerdrage, i am enjoying the reread along and i can't wait to see what you guys have to say this week! i'm also excited to see what questions the lovely Yani asks this week!

blogging inspiration

image from Ginger at GReads!

you guys, this is my fave meme. and it's not just because i think Ginger is amazing or because tons of bloggers are linking up each week or because the image is so cute. it's not even because i love the word meme (which i pronounce may-may in my head). it's because some seriously rad questions are asked and everyone provides some insightful and funny responses. yeah, it's pretty cool.

this week the lovely Ginger asks:

Book Blogger Appreciation: Which book blogs have inspired you or made a difference in your blogging?

obviously, this is going to be one of those super gushy/lovely/kumbaya-around-the-campfire posts - so settle in.

i talk a little bit about this on my Who Is Lisa the Nerd page, but here's the detailed version of my love of the blogging world!

not only has she introduced me to a ton of amazing books, including THE CHAOS WALKING TRILOGY, but her voice in blogging is one that i absolutely adore. while initially inspired by her thoughtful reviews that balance professional and personal, her little in-between posts about crafting/her cats/the book scene. i realized how much i liked learning more about her, and not just her reviews. i took that and adapted it on for this blog and i've enjoyed blogging a TON more. 

Forever Young Adult (Posh, Jenny, Erin, Meghan, and Megan)
honestly, i was on the brink of giving up the book blog. i wasn't feeling it anymore, and i just couldn't find blogs to fall in love with and the scene was feeling stale. and then. one day. i found Forever Young Adult and my love for blogging was renewed. i was thrilled to find my excitement for CAPS LOCK and excessive swearing in a blog collective for young adult books. but the best thing was, they write great reviews that follow a totally unique and creative structure that i look forward to each and every time. plus they create drinking games for their books and recap bad teen shows. i love them forever and a day for being amazing and for giving me a reason to continue on this blogging journey.

The Story Siren (Kristi)
as IF any book blogger hasn't been inspired by her one time or another! she writes concise and balanced reviews, has tons of author interviews, hosts the Debut Author Challenge (which is a great way to help discover new authors and great new reads) AND she hosts In My Mailbox (which is only the most popular meme evahhh). she's always willing to share advice, chat about books, and she's totally approachable. what inspires me most about Kristi is that you can just tell this girl loves books and talking about books and getting books into the hands of readers of all types and ages. also, she's sweet as saccharin. 

to stop myself from writing an epic novel, i'm just going to list the slew of bloggers that inspire me on the daily with their creativity, hilarity, insight and general awesomeness. they are also listed on my sidebar so you can peep on them whenever you want! some of the bloggers that regularly inspire me are (but are not limited to) GReads, The Reading Housewives of Indiana, The Secret Life of an Avid Reader, Makeshift Bookmark, The Broke and the Bookish, Good Books and Good Wine, Little Shelf, Books, Sweets, & Other Treats, Fiction Folio, Anna Reads, Read. Breath. Relax, and YA Bliss.

who inspires you? go link it up and GReads and find out who inspires the rest of the book bloggers out there!

Review: Dead as a Doornail (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book Five) by Charlain Harris

(this is the fifth book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series. while i do avoid spoilers for this installment, there will be spoilers for the previous books...so watch yourself.)

in a sentence or so: someone's out to rid the greater Bon Temps area of it's shifters, the werewolves are electing a new pack leader, and a pirate-vampire is the substitute bartender at Merlottes. will Sookie's supernatural abilities be enough to stop a killer on the loose and facilitate the proper shift in supernatural leadership?

when we last left Sookie, she had come fresh off the heels of a week of pure sexytimes with an incredibly sensitive Eric, killed Debbie (which no one is really sad about, to be honest), and learned that the town down the road - the one that's given her the creeps all these years - is full of in-bred shifters. yeah, some pretty crazy shiz went down.

as we slide back into small town Louisiana, we find Sookie anxious about how Jason will take his first go as a shifter. will the community welcome him in? will he handle the lifestyle change? will he try to bone a girl while in were-form? we also discover that Sookie's secret slaying of that crazy bitch Debbie is still a secret. for now, anyway.

after Sam (the bartender/shifter/ginger-hottie in love with Sookie) is shot leaving Merlotte's one night, Eric sends his newest Fangtasia bartender, Charles, to fill in. not only does Charles dress like a pirate, but he is also funny, charismatic, and a perfect fit for Merlotte's while Sam is out of commission. it doesn't hurt that he's able to protect Sookie from some psycho trying to burn her house down in his down time.

while we do get to see some familiar faces - Tara, Sam, Eric, Bill, Alcide, Claude and Claudette, etc - we don't get a whole lot of excitement in the plot. i had it solved from the opening chapters, which was super disappointing. i would have handled that disappointment better with some character development, or at LEAST some sexytimes...but alas, none of that either.

while there was definitely some violence, hints at sexytimes, and some new characters thrown into the mix, overall this book didn't further any significant plots or characters in a way that really mattered to me. there were a couple elements that i think will show up again in the next book, but i could definitely condense those down into 4-5 chapters and call it a day.

don't get me wrong, i'm going to keep reading the series because i continue to LOVE Sookie and the dramarama of Bon Temps. i just was not thrilled at the pace, development, or plot of this installment.

fave quote: "There are times to think, and times to lie fallow. Today was a fallow day." (232)

fix er up: plot twists, character development, or sexytimes would have saved this for me.

title: Dead as a Doornail (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book Five)
author: Charlaine Harris
genre: Romance, Vampire
publishing info: Ace Fantasy, 2005

previous books in the series: Dead After Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World

[ftc notice: i purchased this book. i reviewed this book without receiving compensation]

West Wing Wednesdays: RIP

well friends, i have some sad news. Laura and I are cancelling West Wing Wednesdays. while i did enjoy writing reviews and thoughts on a tv show, i wasn't loving said tv show as much as i'd hoped.

there were several other contributing factors to my decision, all of which have to do with time management, so i will spare you the mundane details.

anyway, should YOU choose to continue reading insight into The West Wing by episode recaps, here are a couple suggestions for you:

The A.V. Club recaps
The West Wing Episode Guide 
The West Wing Continuity Guide

while none of these sites will have the amazing insights that Laura and i brought to the table, they will provide you a crutch to get by on your own without us.

the good news is, our miscellaneous musings will continue to present themselves in other random areas of the internet. so that should be fun.

thanks for tuning in, and sorry for any disappointment!

Review: The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers

in a sentence or so: a series of short stories about teenage relationships.

sixteen short stories share the many sides of relationships. from the rush of meeting someone new to the comfort in having a trusted boyfriend stand up for you, each story brings a unique voice, both male and female, and brings a unique element to this collection of varied memories.

the title certainly made me think these would be romantic stories. perhaps even first kiss stories or first love stories or something else quaint - what with the red font and the swirlies and all.

as it turns out, the stories i read were not romantic in the sense i was expecting. in fact, they were more along the lines of the random stories that coworkers tell you. or a story that might fit in if given the right prompt. like if you're talking about going to the zoo and you say "oh man, did i ever tell you about the time i worked for the zoo and had to wear this kangaroo costume?"

unfortunately, i didn't read all of the short stories in this book. after discovering that the stories weren't what i expected at all, i tried to jump around a bit to see if any struck my fancy. it's not that any of them were bad, they just feel flat for me and didn't pack that punch i was hoping for. if i had different expectations going into this book, i think i would have enjoyed it a lot more.

for those of you who love short stories and a lot of variety, you might dig this. in fact, if you're interested in giving it a try, let me know and i'll send my copy along to you! i'd love for this to find a happy home. (this will be removed once the book is claimed)

fave quote: The Scientific Approach was my favorite of the stories i read. the ending threw me for a loop and i still don't know what to make of it, but the perspective was just this side of pathetic and it totally worked for the narrator.

fix er up: short stories are tricky - you have a lot to accomplish in a short time frame. unfortunately, i felt like the short stories in this compilation, while unique, don't form a comprehensive collection or have enough personality individually to recommend this easily.

title: The Kissing Game: Short Stories
author: Aidan Chambers
genre: Fiction, Contemporary 
publishing info: May 2011, Amulet Books

buy The Kissing Game: Short Stories by Aidan Chambers

[ftc notice: i recieved an advance review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. i was not compensated in any way.]