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in my mailbox...soon

i'm just so stoked about this upcoming goodie in my mailbox that i HAD to share it with you.

oh that's right. the hubs ordered this shirt. FOR BOTH OF US. 

which means we will have matching Game of Thrones t-shirts.

contain your jealousy. i am STOKED.

what up, winners!

the winners of my Patrick Ness giveaway are:

Ally W!

Asheley will receive a signed copy of Monsters of Men. Ally will receive a signed copy of A Monster Calls.

congratulations to you both! and thanks to Candlewick and Patrick Ness for helping to make this contest possible.

in case you missed my bookish dreams come true, check it.

in which i share a variety of halloween reads

image from Ginger at GReads!

welcome to my favorite meme! this is hosted by Ginger of GReads (who just might be the coolest girl ever) and is a chance for book bloggers to share a little bit more about their bookish habits. she asks some seriously rad questions and people usually have really cool stuff to share. so here we go!

this week, Ginger the Awesome asks:

Spooktacular Reads: Which books do you consider festive Halloween reads? Which stories have chilled you to the bone?

it should be known that i love, LOVE, scary movies. like, a whole lot. i can't handle them...but i love them none the less! i adore scary books just as much, although i am much less versed in them.

regardless, here's a little Halloween variety for you!

for the character study Halloween read, i recommend The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas.
a character study of a vampire and his existence in our modern world. definitely not your typical vampire book, or Halloween read for that matter. But one that certainly is spooky in it's own way and takes a Halloween type creature and asks the realistic human questions of existence in society. super well done, and well worth your time. also, it's an adult book! i read those sometimes!

for the classic Halloween read, i recommend Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. creepy carnival, mysterious weather occurrences, and two pre-teen boys caught up in all of it. PLUS it actually takes place around Halloween. it's pretty much destined to be a Halloween read. 

for the funny Halloween read, i recommend Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez.
yeah, this has monsters, a diner, and sexy teenagers. this is a classic (and awesome) 80s horror movie in book form. but substitute the cheesy-factor with creative and clever writing, and you have a perfect Halloween read. 

for the super tense Halloween read, i recommend Gentlemen by Michael Northrop.
on the surface, this may not seem totally Halloweeny. but it totally has the making of a horror movie. the tension is wound so tight that i couldn't sleep until i finished it. i read this book in 3 hours, almost non stop, because i was compelled to know the truth. a dark mystery wrapped inside a unreliable narrator with a dollop of violence makes this a surprisingly fitting Halloween read.

image from the movie The Secret of NIMH. scary, RIGHT?!
for the solid children's Halloween read, i recommend Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien.
okay, i love this one around Halloween in it's movie form, but the book is great too! you could certainly read all about Mrs. Frisby and saving her children from the crazy lab rats, and then follow up with the movie. that shit is straight spooky, y'all. and AWESOME. 

and a couple others: Beautiful Creatures (has a gothic feel and the cover is totally spook), Coraline (hellooooo, it's Neil Gaiman!)

what about you? what books just FEEL like Halloween to you? let me know and be sure to link it up over at GReads! today.

bookish balance

as readers, we tend to drift to certain genres or authors or styles of writing.

as for me, i definitely lean towards the fantasy/sci-fi with a male main character. that's kind of my thing.

lately, i've been branching out into contemporary stuff and i've been digging it a lot.

but there is one area in which i'm seriously lacking - non-fiction. i don't have anything against it. it's just that i never anticipate being in the mood for it, so i don't add it to my stacks. 

here's where you come in. what's one non-fiction book that you've read, adored, and think i will to? help me find bookish balance!

Review: Splendor by Anna Godbersen

in a sentence or so: passions are indulged, hearts are broken, and people are going to die. the drama between the Schoonmakers, Hollands, and the other social elite of 1900 New York comes to a thrilling conclusion.

if you have not read the other books in the series, there will be some serious spoilers for those. not for Splendor (book 4), but for the events that lead us here. i’ll be as vague as i can...but consider yourself warned.

i definitely recommend the series, so if you’re interested in checking out my reviews, you can do so here:
The Luxe (Luxe #1), Rumors (Luxe #2), and Envy (Luxe #3).

there are several storylines to wrap up that have equal amounts of intrigue, secrecy, and lavish splendor. Elizabeth Holland is preggo with Will’s baby and has big decisions to make regarding her future. her biggest challenge is keeping herself, and her baby, safe from some very unexpected threats and seriously shady dudes.

Carolina Broad took the phrase “fake it til you make it” to heart, and is an overnight heirress. she has her eyes set on a handsome suitor who seems to be equally into her. but can she keep her whole Peasant Girl Past in check and pay off all the right people in time to make her wildest dreams come true?

Henry and Diana continue to be starcrossed lovers who try to make their relationship work. they have a deep and devoted love to one another, but circumstances beyond their control continue to keep them apart. now that they’ve had the taste of being really, truly, and deeply in love, surely nothing can stop them!

Penelope continues to be a raging beeyotch and starts to unabashedly throw her affection towards a foreign prince. wild passionate rendezvous’s ensue. she’s much more subdued in this one, which is mega disappointing. i loved her crazy cattiness and her calculating nature! alas, she thinks has found her true match in the prince so she’s throwing all her eggs in that basket. which is totally uncharacteristically risky of her, but hey, we all do crazy things trying to woo royalty.

the drama, along with the lavish descriptions of dress, setting, and emotion are present to the very end of the series. yes, i know that Diana has a heart shaped face and that Carolina has freckles...but something about the repetition of these elements, combined with detailed descriptions on what they’re wearing, has a soap opera comfort for me that i can’t deny.

in a very fitting end to a luxiourious series, Godberson flaunts her writing so that the reader continues to feel completely immersed into the 1900 New York socialite drama. and i loved every page. perhaps the fact that this series is a guilty pleasure for me allows me to indulge that much more!

if you’re looking for a series that’s Gossip Girl meets 1900 New York, rich with drama, setting, bitchy girls and sordid romance, The Luxe series is for you! just let go and sink in to the vibrant taffeta folds of the gowns and let Godberson’s writing wash over you.
fave quote: "Look at her, she is made of rose petals, the world will take good care of her. And if it does not, we will have our hearts moved by such an exquisitely gorgeous tragedy." (271)
fix er up: this one lacked that same spark and crazy twists as the previous ones...but then again, she did need to wrap it all up. overall, i was pleased with the conclusions for all of our characters - albeit surprised. title: Splendor (Luxe #4)
author: Anna Godberson
genre: Historical Fiction, Chick Lit
publishing info: 2009, HarperTeen [ftc notice: i received a copy of this book from my local library. yay libraries! i wasn't compensated for this review.]

tbr tuesday [12]

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!

by Liane Shaw
2009, Second Story Press

Seventeen-year-old Maddy has always felt a hole in her life, but she has finally found a way to fill it with her quest to mold her body into her ideal, thinnest shape. When she comes across the world of "pro-ana" websites, where young people encourage each other in their mission to lose ever more weight, she realizes she is no longer alone. Finally, she has found a place where she is understood. Maddy quickly becomes addicted to the support and camaraderie she finds on thinandbeautiful.com. Now in a rehab facility where they are trying to "fix" a problem she doesn't think she has, Maddy's diary entries trace how she arrived at this point. Angry that she is barred from accessing her online friends, only the tragic consequences that come to one of her comrades in arms is enough to shock her into admitting that she does need help.

Liane Shaw has worked in education for twenty-five years, with much of that time spent as a teacher of students who face academic, behavioral, physical or emotional challenges. Her own battle with anorexia inspired her to write this story {from Goodreads}
why it's on my tbr: i'm interested in this author's perspective on eating disorders. plus, i feel like this is a topic that just can't be talked about enough. the more awareness, the better. 

The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien

1937, Houghton Mifflin

Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit who wanted to be left alone in quiet comfort. But the wizard Gandalf came along with a band of homeless dwarves. Soon Bilbo was drawn into their quest, facing evil orcs, savage wolves, giant spiders, and worse unknown dangers. Finally, it was Bilbo-alone and unaided-who had to confront the great dragon Smaug, the terror of an entire countryside . . .

This stirring adventure fantasy begins the tale of the hobbits that was continued by J.R.R. Tolkien in his bestselling epic The Lord of the Rings. {from Goodreads}
why it's on my tbr: as ashamed as i am to admit this, i have not read the LOTR series. I KNOW. i obsess over the movies like no other...but i haven't read the books. plus, The Hobbit is my mom's favorite book ever, so that's pretty special to me. 

what about you? what books do you have waiting in your ever growing to-be-read pile? let me know! 

i just love Tyrion Lannister

young thug, overflowing with swag
okay before you say anything Game of Thrones related - I AM ONLY ON BOOK 3. 

do not spoil anything for me or i will sob and hate you forever and sob some more.


as was featured in Shelf Awareness, Tyrion Lannister has a literary mixtape. you know, because "Tyrion is a thinking man’s dwarf, so no corny music for him. Instead, he’d listen to purposeful rock, hip-hop for grinding up on the ladies, and songs to make him throw his shoulders back." (from article)

the mixtape is safe for anyone who has read the first Game of Thrones book, or seen the HBO series. in fact, even if you haven't, i don't see anything worrysome in the post, aside from one minor and seemingly unimportant fact that is discussed promptly.

thanks to Shelf Awareness for the heads up and to Flavorwire for putting it together. for the record, my favorite track off the mixtape is "Girls" by Beastie Boys (obviously. i listen to Licensed to Ill at least weekly.)

because, after all, Winter is Coming. bwahahahaha!

add it to the list [25]

add it to the list is my twist on In My Mailbox, hosted by The Story Siren

received a copy from the publisher
why i added it to my list: i am THRILLED to have this copy from the publisher, as i totally adored Please Ignore Vera Dietz. King has a great writing style that's authentic and hilarious. her plots are unique and genuine. plus, y'all KNOW i love a male main character. let's do this!

received a copy from my library!
why i added it to my list: hello! mythology! male main characters! MYTHOLOGY.

received a copy from my library!
why i added it to my list: so i could finish the series! YAY! review coming this week. 

what did you add to your lists this week? hit me up and let me know! and then be sure to head over to The Story Siren and link it up over there. 

in which i blatantly plug Avatar: The Last Airbender

guys, let's get real for a moment. i know you like to watch quality tv shows that make you think, make you laugh, and are generally awesome.

i have a show that i think you will adore. that show is Avatar: The Last Airbender. i've recently started another rewatch of this, and i am itching to share the experience with someone. okay, share it with EVERYONE.

i've even prepared a list of reasons why you should watch, why i love it so, and dispel some myths that may hold you back.

what it is:
in a nutshell, it's a three season series following a young man named Aang and his friends, who have to save the world by defeating the oppressive Fire Lord and ending the war against all nations. hilarity, sadness, hope and challenges ensue. there are 4 tribes - Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. the Fire Nation decided they were superior and set out to destroy the Avatar (who is master of all elements, and the only one who can keep them in line). the Avatar is reborn into different tribes and in order to destroy the Avatar, they had to destroy the entire Air nation.

why you should watch:
Great Story. the reason you should watch (or read) anything, ever. the fact that there are only 3 seasons tell you that they were intentional and tight with the writing. everything takes place for a reason, characters grow and develop, and the plot is thought out and complete.
Great Characters. at first, it may seem as if there is A Funny One and A Serious One and An Evil One but you will soon discover that they are so deep, intricate, and authentic that you will want to know more about them and are surprised and impressed with each of their developments.
Serious Issues. this is one of those shows you can take at surface value, which is totally enjoyable and still worthwhile, or you can look at the deeper issues happening. on the base is a battle of good and evil, but deeper there is the challenge of who we are called to be. there is the challenge of acceptance from our friends, our parents, and our selves. there is the challenge of doing what is right, doing what is necessary, and doing something that scares the living crap out of you. there are many more...but i leave you with those.
High Comedy. i can promise you that you will giggle, snort, or even full out bust a gut with every episode. it's one of those that builds upon itself and inside jokes start to form - and you're in on them! also, some things are just plain silly and that's all right with me.
Quality Writing. the main characters are all teens or preteens, and they act as such. sometimes they are broody, angsty, confused, jerkfaces, or flippant. and at other times they are thoughtful, patient, insightful, caring, and impressive. in other words - THEY ARE TEENAGERS. real, complicated, and authentic teenagers. it takes solid writing to create dialogue, situations, and resolutions that involve teenagers and is still totally believable. this show does it well.
It's Accessible. you can watch the entire series on Netflix by disk or watch instantly.

allow me to dispel some myths:
"I don't want to watch it because it's a cartoon." listen - if you don't want to watch an ANIMATED show because you think it's not going to be of the same caliber, sophistication, or creativity as shows with live actors, you are just plain WRONG. i will throw Batman: The Animated Series in your face as proof of intrinsic, dark, and sophisticated writing and run away jumping for joy because i have obviously proven my point. don't let the fact that this is animated hold you back.
"I don't like fantasy stuff like that." okay first of all, if this is your concern, i'm not sure why you're even reading this OR spending time at my blog. but, if for some reason you are here and this is your concern, let me tell you that the world building is creative, yet not difficult to understand. Aang has been 'gone' for 100 years, so they often explain things to him (and you), so you won't fall behind. ever. also, they can harness and use the elements - HOW RAD IS THAT?!
"It's a kids show, no thank you." see the argument for "I don't want to watch it because it's a cartoon". and then also remember that things written for teens, young adults, and children are often of the same quality, intent, and loving care of things that are written for adults.
"I just don't want to." please, i beg of you, watch the first episode. if you're not interested in ANY character or ANY development or laugh at least ONE TIME, then get back to me and we can talk about what's wrong with your brain. (i kid...kind of).
"I saw the movie, and it sucked." yeah, i know. it really did. like a WHOLE LOT. i am embarrassed for fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender everywhere on behalf of that abomination. scratch everything you saw, purge your brain, rinse your retinas, and start over. unless you're in the uberminority like Asheley, who almost damaged our wonderful and beautiful friendship by telling me she 'kind of liked it'. thankfully, i adore her enough to see past it...but just barely.

if you have watched Avatar: The Last Airbender in any capacity, please let me know in the comments! i'd love to geek out with you!

if you haven't watched A:TLA and are thinking about it, let me know that too!

5 book blogs you should read

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 Blogs That Make You Smile: Pick 5 book blogs you visit often & think others should, too.

initial reaction: ONLY FIVE? fidsajifdjafu98u8ajdfa
<after 30 seconds of freaking out> okay...i can do this...

5 book blogs i adore, spend too much time perusing, and totally think you should check out. HERE WE GO.

Insightful, Personal, Musical: GReads! 
i'm not just saying this because she hosts TGIF (and other rad memes). and i'm not just saying this because i think Ginger herself is amazing. and i'm NOT just saying that you need to check out her blog because she's someone i would totally spend entirely too much time with if i still lived in Houston. i tell you to check out her blog because her reviews are an excellent balance of personal reflection and critical analysis. she has a fresh voice, creative ideas, and a spark that you can see and feel in everything she does. 

Concise, Silly, Solid: Anna Reads
this girl is the MASTER of short reviews. i strive to be a reviewer like Anna. i always - ALWAYS - read her reviews because they are concise...yet still get to the core of the book. she has a way with words that turns me green and her humor is subtly infused and makes her a go-to blogger.

Varied, Warm, Creative: Read. Breathe. Relax. 
first of all, Lisa's blog is totally chic. girl knows her way around a layout, that's fo sho. but beyond that, her posts on Steampunk Jewelry or her amazingly unique analysis of books or just her musings on themes in YA are all reasons you need to be stopping by her blog. she's warm, friendly, insightful, and her blog is like nothing else i read. i love it.

Energy, CAPS, Sincere: Makeshift Bookmark
Jen is a lovely, sweet, genuine and HIGH COMEDY girl with a ton to say. and all of it is worth hearing. her reviews feel like you're sitting at a Starbucks sipping a white mocha and hearing her dish. it's natural, yet organized. she takes blogging seriously enough that you can feel the thought behind her reviews without it being forced or rigid. also, she loves cheese and so do i. 

Classic, Trendsetter, Thoughtful: The Story Siren.
yeah yeah yeah, i KNOW i put her on just about every blogging list ever...but there's a reason. Kristi has her poop in a group like no one else i know. she reads like a fiend, pumps out quality reviews that are brief AND thoughtful, interviews authors, has loads of giveaways, and is an absolute gem to boot. there's a reason shes the top followed YA blog (i don't know if that's actually true. i assume it is because she's the shit). if you don't already follow her, you're seriously missing out. 

oh boy. there are TONS more i want to throw out here - but i will resist! please peep over at my "blogs i follow" on the sidebar to see other ones that i read on the daily. 

and be sure to link it up over at GReads! today! i look forward to hearing what blogs you read on the reg. 

kick ass heroines in YA


and so does Tor. check out this fabulous article over at one of my favorite websites of all time everrrrr.

i especially like Tamora Pierce's thoughts on feminism.

"Pierce discussed how upsetting it was for her, who grew up during the feminist revolution in the ‘70s, to arrive at college and have women saying that “real” feminists were gay or celibate. (“I was neither,” she quipped.) This debate extends to her female characters, as mentioned above. “The whole point of what we did was giving every woman the power to choose how they wanted to live,” she said. “Not to present only restrictions on women, but to present the possibilities that come from being female.”
“The thing about being female,” Friesner said, “is that it makes us think there’s only one way to be female. I’ll bet there’s at least two or three, or six, different ways in this very room. There is no one female… Sometimes the biggest battle is ‘This is what you should be doing,’ handed down by the feminists or by the anti-feminists.”

full article here. 

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

in a sentence or so: Charlie is a socially awkward teen who experiences life differently than most of us. this is fragment of the story of his life from his perspective written from him, to you.

the story opens with Charlie writing you a letter telling you about the suicide of his best friend. he continues to share bits and pieces about himself, his family, his two new friends, and mourning the loss of his friend through letters to the reader.

as this is clearly Charlie's story to tell, i won't dwell on the plot. the first person perspective allows you to experience the book in a way i can't possibly explain, so i won't.

i will tell you, however, that opening with an intense emotional event sets a melancholy tone that never really fades. that doesn't mean there aren't laughs and smirks and heartfelt moments. there most certainly are heartwarming selections. but, just like life, there's a lot of excruciatingly anxiety-filled events in his life that transcend straight to the heart of the reader. i felt Charlie's joy, his hope, his confusion, and most of all i felt his anxiety.

there is a deep emotional connection to be forged here, if you're ready. honestly, i had to set myself up to read this one. it was recommended to me by several bloggers and was immensely personal for them...so i knew it was going to pack an emotional punch. i was not prepared for the intensity that persisted throughout the read, but i am impressed to be able to experience such vivid and genuine emotions through literature.

Charlie will share his world with you through a unique perspective and drag your heart through the dirt, step on it, break it, tenderly wipe it off, put it back together, hug it close, and set it free. and you wouldn't want it any other way, because the journey with Charlie through all of his ups and downs is unforgettable and authentic and genuinely inspiring.

fave quotes: "Girls are weird, and I don't mean that offensively. I just can't put it any other way." (122)

"I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people." (169)

fix er up: i didn't want to put this book down, ever, but i had to because the font was hurting my eyes. and i have solid eyesight. i think the small typeface and the bright white pages were just too much for my little retinas. this is purely cosmetic, but it really was bothersome.

title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
author: Stephen Chbosky
publishing info: 1999, MTV Books and Pocket Books
genre: Coming-of-Age, Drama

[ftc notice: this is my copy of the book. i did not receive compensation for this review.]

nba drama update

Lauren Myracle is interviewed by Vanity Fair.

she is graceful and understanding and honest.

"I honestly think it was a clerical error, and from there, there was some mismanagement for sure that didn’t need to happen . . . but it did."

let us follow her example.

book award drama

if you're a bookish peep on Twitter, you may have heard that the National Book Award has been stirring up the nerdrage. they nominated 6 titles for the Young People's Literature category (instead of the standard 5), and then asked Lauren Myracle (author of SHINE) to withdraw her title to preserve the integrity of the NBA. (see article here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/10/lauren-myracle-asked-to-withdraw-from-national-book-award-finalists.html)
there is some debate as to how there were 6 titles instead of 5 (which there have always been forever and ever amen), including speculation that the titles - SHINE and CHIME - sounded the same. i'm going to pretend that isn't the case because it's not confirmed and it's just so ridiculous and disheartening if it is true.
the initial absurdity for me was that it took 4 days for them to figure out there were 6 titles. i mean, really. it was published by newspapers and even included "with an extra title" in the newspaper article. (see http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/10/national-book-award-finalists-announced.html). my speculation is that they nominated 6 titles, someone gave them shit about it, and that put them in a pickle. so rather than make an announcement that says "we really shouldn't have proceeded with 6 titles, our deepest apologies" they ask the author - the AUTHOR - to recind her name.
now, being a total novice in the world of awards, perhaps i'm way off the mark with thinking this is disrespectful. to nominate someone for a very high honor, then ask them to remove their name, oozes with shame and embarrassment.
of course, the internet is livid with the National Book Awards and i'm sure people are boycotting the organization and saying I'LL NEVER READ A NBA EVER AGAIN RAGGGGEEEE. which isn't fair to the other nominees, winners, and authors in general.
did the NBA committee fuck up? oh HELL YES. does this mean they don't like SHINE or think it's unworthy of our time? NO.
do the books that are nominated deserve to be read, regardless of human comittee error? oh HELL YES.
is this the only issue facing the NBA at the moment? of course not. (see http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2011/10/14/141342219/what-does-the-national-book-award-stand-for-what-should-it-stand-for) they are an organization that takes hundreds and hundreds of titles and whiddles them down to 5 per category. amazing books fall through the cracks. it happens. they are human. but while i understand titles not being nominated...i do not understand 'accidentally' nominating too many titles. does not compute.
i remain hopeful they will issue an apology to Lauren Myracle for 'taking one for the team'. although, i suppose that would make her public statement moot...so i'm not sure what they'll do from this point. i wonder if they will issue an apology to the readers and supporters of National Book Award titles. not that it will change anything, and they'll still probably use a word like 'integrity' that will push the nerdrage buttons everywhere and add more fuel to the anonymous internet fires.
regardless, i intend on watching, reading, and following up with this business.
for further details on the National Book Award 2011 situation, check out the following sources:
Maureen Johnson's Twitter Feed (she'll keeping you current on the goings on)
Complete list of NBA 2011 Nominees (http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2011.html)

Extra-Life Recap

so as some of y'all may have heard on my incessant twitter feed from Saturday, i was part of a fundraiser known as Extra-Life. basically, i gamed for 24 hours and people sponsored me to do so. the money went towards Children's Miracle Network. win-win, really.

i spent the day playing Zelda, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario Galaxy, Batman: Arkham Asylum, MarioKart and Pokemon: Soulsilver.

i'm proud to have been a part of a solid organization and a great group of nerds. together, over $1 million dollars was raised for Children's Miracle Network!

it's not too late to donate, either. due to the overwhelming generosity of donors and number of participants, they are extending the donation deadline until November.

if you want do support Extra-Life, click here.
if you want to hear a message from the organizer, click here.

Review: Bossypants by Tina Fey

in a sentence or so: Tina Fey is awesome and she tells you all about it in her memoir that's hilarious and surprisingly insightful and mind-meltingly magnificent.

Tina Fey, from SNL and 30 Rock fame, is one of my favorite female comedians. and by one of my favorite, i mean one of 3 that i actually like in any way. she's smart, self-deprecating, snarky, nerdy, and hilarious. while typically not drawn to memoirs, i had my arm twisted into reading this one.

and i'm SO GLAD i did. because i laughed a lot. all the way through, from the very beginning to the very end. my first lol came at page 12 with the period talk.
(from the "How Shall I Tell My Daughter" pamphlet from her mom)
"Dear Pam,
I'm supposed to go to a pool party this week, but my "Aunt Blood" is still in town. Can I go?
Dear Tabitha,
Of course you can still go! Modess makes great feminine-protection products that are so thick and puffy, you'll be super comfortable sitting on that bench near the pool telling everyone you're sick." (pg 12)
the laughs just kept coming, as well as the subtle words of wisdom. take this example from Tina's relationship with her eleventh-grade boyfriend:
"I should have known he and I weren't going to make it when for my seventeenth birthday he gave me a box of microwave popcorn and a used battery tester. You know, to test batteries before I put them in my Walkman. Like you give someone when you're in love." (pg 28)
i think the self-deprecating rants might be my favorite part of Tina's character Liz Lemon (on 30 Rock), so i laughed especially hard with this little nugget:
"I was wearing my best Gap turtleneck and my dates were two adult lesbians, so yeah, I was pretty cool." (pg 35)
and of course, the already popular (and rightfully so) poem, The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter is one of the closing elements of the book, and provides the most quotable, laughable, and relatable pieces of the memoir. my favorite stanza is:
"And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister,
Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,
For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it." (pg. 263)

for a journey through the life and mind of a humble comedic sassypants, give this book a read. i promise you'll laugh out loud and take at least a few tidbits of wisdom to heart.

fave quote: take your pick.

fix er up: the cover. oh boy, that cover. the font and background scream 'bargain bin' and the male arms are creepy as hell.

title: Bossypants
author: Tina Fey
publishing info: 2011, Little, Brown
genre: Memoir, Humor

[ftc notice: i borrowed this book from a coworker (though i totally intend to purchase it because i LURVED it). i received no compensation for this review. thanks, Julie!]

homemade zombie goodness

dudes, i love Halloween. a WHOLE LOT. and last Halloween was especially awesome, thanks to The Walking Dead.

season two kicks off this Sunday, so it's been on the front of my mind these past few days. so imagine my nerdish glee when i was pointed in the direction of a fan-made introduction to the series that is BETTER than the one on tv. i know.

this discovery was made possible by extrahotgreat.

also, if you didn't know, it's based off a comic.


in which i'm more conventionally dorky

so my friend Laura has made several solid recommendations to me over the years. her latest recommendation that was absolutely SPOT ON:

do you like movies? do you like TV? do you like talking about those things and being a bit snarky yet insightful? yeah, me too.

so you should MOST ASSUREDLY check it out. i'm trying to figure out how to get all caught up on the goodness.

note: this is a recommendation for a podcast from a girl who typically doesn't like podcasts (despite repeated efforts).

Review: Plain Kate by Erin Bow

in a sentence or so: Plain Kate is mourning the loss of her father when a witch rolls into town and takes her shadow in exchange for giving her cat the ability to speak. since the witch has dark intentions with her shadow, Plain Kate tries to get it back and stop any further acts of harmful sorcery.

Plain Kate is a carver. but she's not just your average wood jockey, she is an expert carver. so good, in fact, that the townspeople suspect her of being a witch. she's not, but her exceptional work certainly doesn't convince anyone otherwise. even after her father's unexpected death, the townspeople show Plain Kate no mercy and she is sequestered off to live in her father's abandoned stall. it is there that she reluctantly meets Linay, a traveling witch with unclear intentions.

Plain Kate's future is uncertain. she can't shake the suspicions of others. she can't be an independent carver because the guild won't recognize her. even after she leaves the town to start a new life, her past follows her, haunts her, and puts her new friends in danger.

things started off pretty quickly in this read, which i appreciated. i liked that Plain Kate meets the witch and the cat starts to talk and she's in with this new life of mystery and potential danger within 60 pages. her new life presents challenges to overcome while she, you know, overcomes this whole "not having a shadow" thing and "may potentially be helping a dark witch" business.

for a book that's got a Howl's Moving Castle feel, while being a tad darker and mysterious and focused on the power of accusations and lost loved ones, i'd definitely recommend this read. it's a middle grade read that many will enjoy and find meaning in the characters and complicated situations presented.

fave quote: "Things will find their shape." (185)

fix er up: i didn't have as deep and adoring of a connection with this read as i was hoping.

title: Plain Kate
author: Erin Bow
publishing info: Sept 2010, Arthur A Levine Books (imprint of Scholastic)
genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy

[ftc notice: i received an advance review copy from a fellow blogger. i did not receive any compensation for this review. thanks, Emily!]

EVE winner!

congratulations to:

Ashley H

she won a copy of EVE by Anna Carey, courtesy of HarperTeen and The {Teen} Book Scene. she wants to read EVE because: Incentive has to be the cover, the name, and Florence and the machine. I can't help if my eyes happen to gravitate towards the words on the pages. lol . yeah, that cover is the business.

in case y'all missed my rave review, you may want to check that out.

and if you don't already follow the Florence-loving author on twitter, i recommend that too.

tbr tower, meet your DOOM.

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:

To-Be-Read's: How big is your pile? Which book keeps getting pushed down the stack, but you keep meaning to read it?

in a word: GINORMOUS. yeah, that's the word i'm choosing. deal with it.

actually, i constantly struggle with my tbr. but lately, i've made several decisions that are helping me cope with it:

1. decide what books to read in a given month. this way, i can see what's ahead of me and keep excited about upcoming books! also, i can mix new books with old books, review books with purchased books, etc.
2. schedule reviews. i've gotten substantially better at scheduling posts (and just setting placemarkers on the calendar) with Google Calendar. it's a good reminder for me to finish a book by a certain date and keep me on track. i'm totally goal oriented.
3. seriously limit review requests. this ebbs and flows, depending on how excited i am about a certain title (or how excited others think i should be about a certain title)...but i've finally gotten a handle on limiting my requests to what i can handle. for the most part. 

here are my top TBR books (as of my current mood at this current moment. this is constantly subject to change, which is the need for the previously listed decisions):

what about you? how do you manage the TBR pile? what are the books you really really REALLY want to read, but just haven't gotten around to yet?  be sure to let me know AND link it up over at GReads!

Review: The Predicteds by Christine Seifert

in a sentence or so: what if you knew who the school shooters, the teenage moms, the drop-outs, and all the other bad seeds were? what if you were one of them?

Daphne is a new girl, yet again, and is doing her best to get through her first full day at a new school. and that's when a school shooting happens. after she's saved by Jesse, the dark and mysterious hottie, Daphne starts to hear rumors about PROFILE. she's totally in the dark about the whole program, but her mom seems to know quite a bit about the research. could there really be a way to tell if people are predestined to be violent? to become addicts? to lie? and if so, what does that mean for life at Quiet High School?

after a girl is beaten within inches of her life, the demands to know  who's Predicted comes to a head. while most are happy to know who the future troublemakers are, Daphne is worried that Jesse just might be on that list. and more importantly, what does it mean to her if he is? can she look past his Predicted status, or should she use it as a warning to stay away?

starting this read smack dab in the middle of a school shooting was a gripping way to begin Daphne's story. adjusting to life at a new school is tough enough before Daphne starts crushing on a guy who may or may not be involved with the school shooter's sister.  trying to keep her head above water, figure out what to do about Jesse, and weigh in on the moral dilemma of PROFILE is a lot for her to handle.

i liked that as the reader, we see both sides of the argument - to know if someone is predicted to be violent, or to let their actions speak for themselves. this was a fabulous idea for a book and one that i was very excited to experience! with a bit more background and development, it would have been a must-read. as is, it's good...just not living up to it's full potential.

if you're looking for a book that raises moral questions, has a traditional instalove element, surrounded by a dark whodunnit, give this one a go. it's certainly enjoyable and makes you think!

fave quote: "Let's just divide them into two groups; those who are worthy and those who are worthless. Seems pretty simple to me." (Joanna Heller, mother of Josh Heller, chapter quote - pg 221)

fix er up: i feel like with a more aggressive editor, this book could have been a total knock out. there were pieces that seemed totally extraneous and others that needed to be more fleshed out.

title: The Predicteds
author: Christine Seifert
publishing info: September 2011, Sourcebooks Fire
genres: Contemporary, Edgy, Drama

[ftc notice: i received a copy of this book as part of the blog tour hosted by The {Teen} Book Scene. i wasn't compensated for this review. thanks, Sourcebooks Fire!]