My heart is bursting



In case you were under a rock this weekend, the Game of Thrones: Season Two trailer was released.


And please, don't be a douche and write anything spoilery in the comments. It's not cool and no one likes it.  Thanks!

Obligatory Tyrion photo - CHECK.


Review: Fathers and Sons by Steven Novak

In a sentence or so:  Tommy Jarvis is transported to an entirely different world that's been waiting for him, and his four unlikely companions, to save them all.

Life hasn't been easy for Tommy since his mother died. His dad isn't the same man, he gets beat up on the daily, and his little brother refuses to speak. On a weekend outing to the secret tree house, Tommy, his brother Nicky, and their former friend and neighbor Staci run into trouble with Donald the bully. Tommy and Donald get into a scuffle which results in them falling into a nearby stream and getting transported to a world entirely unlike their own.

This new world is in turmoil. A desperate prince is making ruthless grab for power and slaughtering anyone and everyone who is in his way. They have been waiting for The Five to Save Them All. They may not be the heroes the worlds are looking for, what with them being 5 teenage misfits and all, but they are the chosen ones for a reason.

The short chapters from the different perspectives and places make this a quick read, albeit confusing at times. There's a lot going on in this book with the 5 'heroes' and the multiple worlds and various races along the way. However, the vivid descriptions, quick dialogue, silly banter and emotional connections kept me turning page after page. The relationships between fathers and sons is a centralizing piece of the plot, although relationships and responsibilities for all of the characters is explored as well.

Overall, this is a great start to a fantasy series with clever writing and unique characters, to be sure. It's a bit overwhelming in places, but if you have the patience and devotion in seeing it through to the end, you won't be disappointed.

Fave quotes (one silly, one emotional): "Before Donald followed, he put his arm behind his back, poking questioningly at the seat of his jeans. After confirming that he had not pooped his pants, he quickly caught up with the two." (61)
"Not only did Chris Jarvis' voice crack on that day, but his soul did, as well - a crack so deep that it could never be repaired - spreading slowly, until the dam of his emotions shattered completely, devouring everything in its path." (107)

Fix er up: The author did a great job with the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. I think I would have liked to have seen more of those, or some full page artwork or something to really drive it home.

Title: Fathers and Sons (Forts #1)
Author: Steven Novak
Pub Info: Quiet Corner Press, 2011
Genre: Fantasy

[FTC Notice: I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated in any way. Thanks, Steven!]


Own or loan


TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads! Not only is she the coolest blogger around, but she's also the creative mastermind behind this meme in which we share some bookish thoughts and musings to celebrate the end of the work week. And she made that adorable graphic, which I think is just splendid.

This week, the lovely Ginger asks:

Buy or Borrow: Where do your books that you read come from? The bookstore? The library? Do you prefer to own a book, or have it on loan?

If you guys know anything about me at all, it’s that I’m a nerd. And for this nerd, organization makes me almost as happy as devouring books. So naturally, I could not resist geeking out just a tad for this week’s TGIF question.

Looking at the last 50 or so books, here’s the breakdown...


So as you can see, I’m pretty balanced with my variety. While I am a very lucky ducky getting books from publishers and authors for review, I am equally lucky having amazing bookish friends who lend or gift me books too. IT IS THE BEST. I, of course, do my best to return the favor.

I also do my part to utilize the library, as I think libraries are the bomb diggity.* I’ve even gotten better about keeping books too long and getting fines. Nothing shames me more than a library fine. Sad, but true. I am prone to keeping a book WAY too long.
And, of course, I buy books. I’m getting better about buying them for my Kindle so they don’t take up precious space in the house. However, there are some books that I want to have a paper version of so that I can lend it out to friends.
What about you? Do you buy or borrow books? Do you prefer one over the other? Do you show your library any love? I'd love to know AND I'd love if you linked it up over at GReads!
*Oh that’s right. I used the phrase bomb diggity. You’re welcome, 1995.


Review: Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson

In a sentence or so: Imagine every morning you wake up twenty years older than you were the day before. You live in a house you don't know, with a man you don't know, with a past you can't remember. This is Christine's life.

Christine wakes up every day with no memory of the past twenty years of her life. Her husband, Ben, has to tell her every single day who she is and share enough with her that she understands her situation, without totally freaking her out. Ben has to maintain a delicate balance for Christine and bear unthinkable grief every day. So it makes sense that he doesn't tell her every detail from her life...right?

Christine begins to see a doctor who encourages her to keep a secret journal. She records flashes of her memory and they begin to build on each other. As she reads her journal every day, she starts to piece things together. Why doesn't Ben tell her about their past, other than they're married? Is he protecting her...or hiding something?

YOU GUYS. I read an adult book. I KNOW.

But you know what else? I LOVED IT.

The book is described as "Memento on meth", and it totally was. The memory loss mystery is very well done and the suspense is crazy taught. The twists and turns are completely unexpected. Christine is not blameless, which makes her a completely authentic narrator, if often unreliable.

If you're looking for a mystery with dark twists and turns and an intensity like whoa, give this one a whirl. You won't want to put it down!

Fave quote: "It is not fiction. It may reveal tings best left undiscovered. Secrets that ought no to see the light of day. But still my pen moves across the page." (89)

Fix er up: Rarely, this fell into a rut with the memory loss and repeating information, but not often enough to deter me from devouring it like a fiend.

Title: Before I Go To Sleep
Author: S. J. Watson
Pub Info: June 2011, Harper
Genre: Adult Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery

[FTC Notice: I checked this book out from the library. I was not compensated in any way for this review. YAY LIBRARIES!]

Nerdy Book Love

Member of the Nerdy Book Club

Guess what, guys?

I'm over at Nerdy Book Club today talking about one of my ALL TIME FAVE Middle Grade reads: Horton Halfpott!

Be sure to swing by and check it out. It's a slight variation from my review on the blog here. Namely, I add a list of reasons why you need to read it.

Nerdy Book Club blog.
My review of Horton Halfpott on le blog.

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

In a sentence or so: Two boys with the same name cross paths on a cold and fateful night in Chicago. Songs are sung, eyes are opened, and lives are changed.

Meet Will Grayson. He lives by two rules: 1. Don't Care Too Much and 2. Shut Up. He does a pretty decent job of this, except where his best friend Tiny is concerned. Tiny is - literally - the biggest and gayest boy he's ever known. He's also his long time best friend and - though he would never admit it - he wouldn't want it any other way. Will's rules are first challenged when Tiny decides to launch a school musical starring himself and Gil Wrayson as his best friend. And AGAIN when Jane, the frustratingly adorable girl who is part of the small but mighty GLBT group at school, catches his eye. Are she and Tiny worth breaking the rules that have gotten him so far in life?

Meet Will Grayson. He is angry every day and teetering on the edge of severe depression. He generally hates people and life, but makes a few exceptions. He tolerates the emo and gothariffic Maura, who continues to poke and prod into his life (which guys LOVE, by the way...) and his fellow Mathletes. The only person he feels any true affection and care for (besides his mom, albeit reluctantly) is Isaac. Will looks forward to the parts of his day where he can chat with Isaac with giddy anticipation. All the anxiety and the frustration fall away when he's chatting online with Isaac.

Having read John Green books before, and LOVING THEM, I knew what to expect from his chapters. Humor, self deprecating wit, a love interest who is smart and insightful and just a touch of nerd, and the best best friend you could think of. For the record, I was totally right. His chapters are all of those things.

Having never read a David Levithan book before, I didn't know what to expect. What I found was a perfect compliment to the JG chapters. His chapters were raw and gritty and unflinching in their bitterness towards the character's world. It made me uncomfortable to read them. That's when I knew I was in love with this book. I loved a character who hated the world.

For a book packed with coming of age goodness, completely YA yet completely profound relationship insight, and characters that are so sincerely intellectual and real you want to invite them over for dinner to chat late into the night, check this out. You will be emotionally invested within pages and the coming together of all of the characters is sweet, unexpected, and completely fulfilling.

Fave Quote: "your life is right here. and, yeah, it sucks. lives usually do. so if you want things to change, you don't need to get a life. you need to get off your ass." (65)

Fix er up: Honestly, the only thing that would have made this book better would be to hear the songs in Tiny's musical. Short of that, this is just perfect the way it is.

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Author: John Green & David Levithan
Pub Info (Paperback): Speak, Imprint of Penguin, 2011
Genre: Contemporary, Friendship, Coming of Age, Humor

[FTC Notice: I purchased a copy of this book. I did not receive any compensation for this review.]




Add it to the list [34]

Add it to the list is a variation of In My Mailbox hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

From Jacinda at The Reading Housewives

Invitation to be part of the 50 Years, 50 Days, 50 Blogs from Big Honcho Media. Thank you!
AND they gave me a tote. This kid LOVES totes, you guys.

For the DAC ARC Blog Tours
From the author and The Class of 2K12. If you don't know about The Class of 2K12, you TOTALLY should. 


Have you read any of these? Share your thoughts!


Try this one on for size



TGIF is a meme hosted by my girl Ginger over at GReads! where she asks a bookish question and invites all of us to participate. They are consistently insightful, creative, and generally rad questions. So it's definitely worth checking out if you don't already participate!

The question the lovely Ginger poses this week is: 
Recommend it: Which book from the last 10 years you've read would you recommend to a friend?


JUST ONE?! From the last TEN YEARS?


Whoa. My brain exploded.


I'll be choosing from my last ten books. Roll with me.


To the friend who thinks all of YA is for girls: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. There is some seriously solid relationship advice in this read. Add that to the humor, frustration, completely authentic characters and solid plot and this is a YA read that will surely convince the YA skeptic that teen lit is the shiz, no matter your age, gender, or sexual orientation. Great stories about genuine characters is where it’s at, yo. My review is coming next week, so keep your eyes peeled for my full thoughts on the goodness.

To the friend who thinks love triangles are lame: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. Again, we have humor, relationship insight, deep characters, and a crazy cool story with alternating POVs and self discovery. You guys, I LOVE books where self discovery is the focus. So much. This book has a solid base of great plot and awesome characters. The icing on the cake is the slow burn romance between JUST TWO PEEPS. And this is some tasty icing, y’all. I’m talking homemade buttercream level of tasty icing. This book will have you cheering and swooning to the very end.

To the friend who is skeptical of Middle Grade fantasy: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Wipe the movie from your mind. Start fresh and trust me that this book is what MG readers dreams are MADE of. The MG main character who thinks and acts like a MG student. Greek mythology. Epic adventures and great best friends. Just the slightest, teensiest, whisper of a romance (but girls are still kinda weird and off-putting so you know...). Percy is the raddest of the rad because he is legit scared of what’s happening like 99% of the time but he’s never whiny, constantly trying to be brave to prove himself and protect his friends, and doing it all in the name of saving others. LOVE.

So now I ask you - what books would YOU recommend to ME? By this point, dear readers, you know my style. You know what I love and what I’m seriously lacking in. You know enough about me that I am sincerely interested in what books you think I’d fall in love with. Let me have it!

And also, be sure to check out all the other posts over at GReads!

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

In a sentence or so: June and Day are both incredibly bright youth on opposite sides of the law, yet have more in common that either can possibly imagine. Their drastically different paths eventually converge and impact their entire society.

June is the top of her class - and she knows it. She scored a perfect score on her trial and is obviously hbic. Her peers treat her with crazy respect and adoration, but no one really gets to know her. That's cool though - she has her brother Metias and that's good enough.

Until he's murdered by the Republic's most wanted criminal, Day.

June sets off to find this Day kid and avenge her brother's death.  Sure, Day may be wicked smart and crazy skilled too, but he's just a street rat. June has no doubt she can best him in her physical ability, mental ability, and her detective skills. She's right, too. What she doesn't predict is that this criminal has motivations that resonate closely with her own, and that maybe the Republic she's devoted herself to isn't really that fabulous.

This is most definitely Dystopian Done Right. And I'll tell you why.

Smart Characters. Literally. Both Day and June are crazy intelligent and made sweet deductions and use Bruce Wayne level detective skills to figure stuff out. They are independent and crafty and make their own decisions. The alternating chapters allow for the reader to really get to know their motivations and the depth of their character.

Corrupt Government. It's super subtle, which is pretty rad. I'm sure we'll find out more as the series goes on, but we find out enough to let us know the Republic is really the RepubSUCK and that of course they aren't really acting in the people's best interest.

Slow Build. Of course, June and Day are connected and there's some swoony times. But it builds slowly and despite it being predictable, it's still fun to be a part of and read about. There's also a slow building of where the book is headed too, which I dig a lot. No rush to spill every detail right away, but rather keeping some back to keep you wanting more.

Action! People die! There's blood and torture and stuff! It's not crazy gory, but it's got enough action and violence to be considered a thriller. And seriously, dystopian societies are nothing if not violent as hell.

If you're looking for a solid new dystopian series with well developed characters and great writing, give this one a shot. And don't be surprised if you read the whole book in a sitting.

Fave quote: "I have a sudden fear that somehow, some way, what he said in the dream will come true." (271, Day)

Fix er up: It was a tad predictable, but the action and the groundwork with other characters and the crazy Republic certainly added enough freshness to keep me interested.

Title: Legend (Legend #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Pub Info: November 2011, G.P. Putnam's Sons
Genre: Dystopian

[FTC Notice: I borrowed an ARC of this book from Jacinda at The Reading Housewives. I was not compensated in any way for this review. Thanks, Jacinda!]

Coming Soon: Rewind & Review

Remember how I said I was going to spend 2012 tackling my TBR and reading some of my older books?

And remember when I've told you all like 4.3 trillion times that Ginger of GReads is amazing?

BOTH ARE TRUE. And have culminated into one very amazing feature.


Let's just admit it. As reviewers, we tend to get caught up in all the shiny new book releases, which results in a mile-high-pile of books that we keep accumulating over time.  On the one hand, it's super exciting and awesome and we just want to READ ALL THE THINGS. But also, some really rad books fall through the cracks. So with this new feature, and the help of Ginger, we've come together to create REWIND & REVIEW.

At the beginning of each month we will set aside a few "older" books to be read & reviewed on our blogs.  I encourage all of you to join in and do the same each month.  There's just a few easy-peasy guidelines/objectives to follow:
  • The book(s) needs to be published in 2010 or earlier. I know, SO retro. 
  • Set a goal for the month on how many books you'd like to read & use the feature title "Rewind & Review" in your reviews. You can list the titles if you want, or just set a goal. Mini-goals! Hooray!
  • If you use the graphic, please provide credit back to mine or Lisa's blog. It's the polite thing to do and we like that. (Obviously, it's one of Ginger's creations and it's AWESOME. You can admit it.)
  • Use this opportunity to have fun reading some long lost loves! You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones that give you little butterflies in your bookish heart when you think about them and then a pang of guilt for not getting to them sooner. Yeah, those. 

We want this feature to be laid back & fun.  No link-ups will be provided, and we won't punish you if you don't fulfill your reading goals for the month.  Being organized about reading titles helps us & we hope it will do the same for you.  After all, older books need love too!

This new feature will officially kick off on February 1st with a post of the older books we plan to read for the month.  We hope you all will join in with us!


Inspiration provided by Retro Friday hosted by Angieville.






add it to the list [33]

Add it to the List is a variation of In My Mailbox hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
Basically, you share your bookish haul for the week.


Signed of course, like all his preorders. He is such a stud for signing every single preorder. I can't even.


I'm so lucky to have a husband who indulges my owl obsession. Look at that quirky fellow!

Copy from my local library. YAY libraries! AND YAY for the library challenge
I'm reading this one for book club at work! I know, it's an adult book. BUT it's supposed to be like Memento on meth. Count me in.

Received unsolicited ARC from Penguin Publishing.
It's a Robin Hood retelling in YA form. YES PLEASE.

Received ARC from April at Good Books and Good Wine. Thanks, April!
Magical Middle Grade mystery set in a hotel. Sounds delightful!

Happy reading, y'all!


At the peak of Mt. TBR...

image from Ginger at GReads
Welcome to the very first TGIF of 2012! 
HOLLA.

TGIF is a meme hosted by my girl Ginger over at GReads! where she asks a bookish question and invites all of us to participate. They are consistently insightful, creative, and generally rad questions. So it's definitely worth checking out if you don't already participate!

The question the lovely Ginger poses this week is: 
2012 Must Reads: Which books are at the top of your list to be read this year (new or old releases)?

Funny you should ask, G. Because I am committing 2012 to conquer Mt. TBR. That's right, I am going to spend a vast majority of the next year tackling books that I've been putting off for a long time. 

And the books at the very tippy top of the mountain are...

Graciously on loan from Yani at The Secret Life of an Avid Reader, this is a series I've heard a TON about and need to read. So yes, it's near the top.

It's a NEW John Green book! OF COURSE it's on the top of my to-read list. Durrrrr.

I just love Lord of the Rings (in movie form) SO SO SO much. I need to get started with the epic fantasy series!

I KNOW. Don't take my YA badge away for not reading this yet. I plan to. I SWEARS IT (on the precious).

Review Books
So this is kinda cheating, but we're gonna roll with it. I have many books that I need to read and review and that is GOING TO HAPPEN this year. You guys will be so proud of me.

What about you? What's on the top of your 2012 Must Reads? Link it up over at GReads! and let us know!

Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

(there will be spoilers for the first book in the series, Shiver)

in a sentence or so: The hits just keep coming for Grace and Sam. Just as soon as he's safely changed, things start going awry with Grace and a sudden illness. Add that on top of all of the new responsibilities of being the go-to guy for newly changed wolves, and there's a lot of stress on Sam and his rapidly evolving relationship with Grace.

Sam has given up his life as a wolf to be with Grace and to be the guide for the newly changed wolves. This means being there for the new wolves as the weather warms and they shift back to being human. It means figuring out how to spend his days and worrying over the wolves by night. It also means spending time with Grace and planning their future together, so it's not ALL bad.

Grace senses something is wrong. After she and Isabel find a dying wolf, with no external wounds, she can't help but dwell on the unseen dangers to the wolves. Which then leads her to wondering if what's happening to the wolves has anything to do with what's happening to her increasing temperature, nosebleeds, and headaches. 

Can Sam keep the wolves and Grace safe from unseen harms? Is Sam up for the task of caring for a new slew of cocky, confused, and concerned wolves? And what the what is going on with Grace?!

It's been awhile since I read Linger. I was worried that reading book two would take some adjusting or looking up references to keep up, but it was all in vain. The characters came rushing back and enveloped me in comfort and familiarity. The pacing is slow, measured, and intentional - all of which I really appreciated. The pace of the book certainly matches the pace of Mercy Falls, which is an awesome touch and adds a calming ambiance while reading. 

This did suffer a bit from the middle-book syndrome in that mostly it was status quo with a couple new characters introduced and some problems set up to be solved in book three. I'm not hating on it, but it does remind me why I lurve the stand alone reads so much.

For those who started this series and haven't read the rest of them, wait no more! Get in on this action. And for those who haven't started this series, it's a character heavy and emotional read with fun twists and turns and paranormal-lite elements. Not a huge emotional investment, but still really well done. 

Obvs, I'll be wrapping up the series sometime soon.

Fave quote: Anything and everything to do with Sam making paper cranes. How freaking ADORABLE is that? Answer: VERY.

Fix er up: Middle book syndrome. Blurg.

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Pub Info: July 2010, Scholastic
Genre: Fantasy, Romance

[FTC Notice: I borrowed this book from my sister-in-law. I was not compensated in any way for this review. Thanks, Michele!]

tbr tuesday [15]

the following lovely ladies have inspired this new meme for me - inspired by "a peek at my TBR" by Jen at Makeshift 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 Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live. [summary from Goodreads]

Why I want to read it
: I read and LOVED Reservation Blues by Alexie and I can't wait to see how he translates his rich characters and emotional intensity and humor into the YA world. Also, my secret santa got it for me this year! YAY!



by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined. 
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home. 
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. 
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart. [summary from Goodreads]

Why I want to read it: I've heard wonderful things about it from all sorts of wonderful people AND the lovely Yani lent me her set forever ago. So this is kind of a top priority. 

Have you read either of these? What say you!

John Green Week: Top 5 John Green Characters




It's no secret that I LOVE John Green's writing. A huge part of that love is due to the incredible (and oftentimes nerdish) characters. 

And since I know you're DYING to find out, here are my top five favorite, most-awesome, nerdalicious, fantastic and imaginative characters!

5. Alaska Young (Looking for Alaska)
What I love about Alaska is that she's smart, she's quirky, she's off-center and genuine. She's obviously marching to the beat of her own 808 drum beat, and I LOVE that she is always searching for something more out of life. Also, she pulls Pudge (Miles) out of his shell and sincerely cares about him. LOVE.

4. Quentin (Paper Towns)
This was a character that I found myself caring about in spite of myself. At times he came off as snivelly or whiny or naive, yet I still found myself growing to like him and want the best for him. And he had this way of viewing himself in relation to his friends and the rest of the world that I could totally identify with. Maybe I adore him so because he reminds me of hidden pieces of myself. Also, his name starts with a Q and I think that's rad.

3. Radar/Ben (Paper Towns)
Yeah, it's a tie. Deal with it. I LOVED the humor and depth they provided for Paper Towns. They loved Quentin and went on a massively open-ended road trip for him. You can't ask for better friends than that! OH WAIT. YOU TOTALLY CAN. Because they are both gamers. Excuse me while pop in my retainer to prepare for their arrival. 

2. Hassan (An Abundance of Katherines)
Obviously, John Green has a way of crafting the absolutely perfect best friend for the main character. This is most clear with Hassan. He is the antithesis of Colin. Laid back, lazy, seemingly unmotivated and driven purely by his desire to please the ladies and watch Judge Judy, he is the ying to Colin's yang. And there are few things I love more than an epic hetero-bromance. He is JUST BARELY in the #2 slot.


1. The Colonel (Looking for Alaska)
I think the Colonel may have very well been my first YA fictional crush. And can you BLAME ME? He certainly plays up the dumb jock stereotype, but this guy has depth like whoa. He's also hilarious, has a sweet southern drawl (at least he did in the audio-book so I'm rolling with it), gives Pudge his epic nickname, is That Guy that binds people together in every situation, sees and thinks more than you realize and is completely and totally faithful to the end.
Also, HIS NAME IS THE COLONEL.
HELLO. 
I love him. And so should you.

Are there any characters from the John Green universe that I've neglected to mention that you feel should be in the top characters of all time? Let me know in the comments!

add it to the list [32]

Add it to the List is a variation of In My Mailbox hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.


first off, check that screen cap. it really doesn't get much better than that. 
you're welcome, world.

ON TO THE BOOKS

May 2010, Simon & Schuster

August 2011, Aladdin

November 2006, Candlewick Press

September 2011, Putnam
(not featured here. i'm listening to it in my automobile and LURVING it)

2009, Dutton Juvenile
from my Secret Santa!

2007, Little, Brown
from my Secret Santa!

2007, Hodder Children's Books
purchased from B&N

April 2010, Dutton Juvenile
purchased from B&N

2007, Razorbill
purchased from B&N

January 2012, HarperCollins
received as part of the Amazon Vine program


yep, i think i need these.


oh that's right. health and mana potions in earring form. because for the love of me, i can NEVER have enough health AND magic. EVER. i only have enough room for extra health or extra magic. WHY!

unless i'm playing Zelda, and then i just need to bust some pots or slice some grass. then my ass is golden.



here's the source for the earrings.
here's the source for the clay pots shirt.

have you heard?

this super rad blogger featured me on her blog.

as part of April's new feature Five Reasons Friday, she shared five reasons why you should read my blog.

so it may seem silly for me to cross post it here...because you're already reading my blog.

BUT I CAN'T HELP MYSELF. i am totally and completely overwhelmed by the blogger lurve.

so if you haven't already seen it, go check it out for yourself. and if you don't follow April, you may want to change that. because she is FO SHO going to be featuring some other rad blogs you need to follow.

her recommendations are always solid. always.

Review: Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

in a sentence or so: Marcie and her mother move away after they spot her father in public with a boyfriend. Marcie is alone, lonely, starting a new school, trying to keep her mother sane and keep her life together.

Marcie has the best group of friends a girl could ask for in Boise. the trouble is, she's not in Boise. she doesn't get to spend day in and day out with her quirky best friend Katie, her amazing boyfriend Linus, and the rest of the ragtag group affectionately called The Leftovers. instead she's trying to figure out how to eat, shower, and prepare herself for a brand new school while her mother slips in and out of ambien comas.

what starts out as a temporary move is looking more and more permanent. while Marcie isn't exactly making new best friends, she is starting to settle in to the new apartment and doing what she can to survive a new school. including debating whether or not to encourage the affections of a charming redheaded boy.

i adore novels in verse because it adds an emotional depth without being overwhelming. it's a creative and insightful way to utilize the first person narrator without it being repetitive and two dimensional. Marcie is thrust into anxiety, change, confusion and high emotions and is dealing with it almost completely by herself. she is desperate to find strength, understanding, and compassion - and we, as the reader, are desperate for her to find that as well.

if you haven't read a novel in verse before, i highly recommend this one. it's a great representation of the style and it has a story that's emotionally complex and ultimately fulfilling.

fave quote: "To make mortar out of tears." (385)

fix er up: i felt like the resolution was a bit too quaint. but i'd be lying if i said it didn't make me happy.

title: Love and Leftovers
author: Sarah Tregay
pub info: Dec 2011, Katherine Tegen Books (imprint of HarperCollins)
genre: Contemporary, Drama, Romance

[ftc notice: i received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for the blog tour hosted by The {Teen} Book Scene. i did not receive compensation for this review.]

not big, just old.


I came across the following survey at Good Books and Good Wine. WHAT UP, APRIL!
Basically it's a chance for bloggers to share more about what they do and how they do it. Newbie bloggers can muse on the post Busting the Newbie Blues Event, while seasoned bloggers can fill out their own set of questions based on the Busting the Big Blogger Blues Event. Both of these incredible ideas are hosted by Ruby's Reads and Small Review.
BUT WAIT. 
Before you read on, you should know something. I don't consider myself a big blogger. In fact, I consider myself a measly little blogger. However, I've been doing this blog thing awhile and I'm completely confident and comfortable with my blogging so I figure this still applies to me.
Okay. Let's roll. 
image from Ruby's Reads
When did you start your blog? 
I started blogging in 2007. I know, I'm going on five years here. This all started as part of a YA Literature class and it blossomed into true love. Should you be so inclined, you can read more about my epic journey on my Who Is Lisa the Nerd page. 
Do you ever still feel like a newbie?
Yes. Pretty much every single day. I see something or hear something and I think to myself - WHY didn't I think of THAT?! Also, it's a bit hard for me to believe people are sincerely interested in my rantings.
However, I don't feel like a newbie in the way I review books. I've found a way to express my voice in a concise and thoughtful review format and I'm very happy about that. 

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from?
Blogging can be a massive time suck. You have to continue to make time for real life and friends and family and actually reading books. I was trying so hard to schedule 7 posts in advance (minimum) and write super insightful posts all the time. 
I couldn't do it. 
I learned to pace myself and found balance in my life. Remember, blogging is a hobby. It's supposed to be fun.

What did you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? How did you deal with this?
It's like being the new girl at school. You can either be friendly, social, make friends and put yourself out there in an authentic and sincere and fun way - OR you can be bitter that no one talks to you and build a shell around yourself and wish you could just quit.
Choose wisely.

What do you find most encouraging?
I have a really supportive group of blogging friends that share their thoughts with me on books, encourage me in blogging, and make me laugh like a loon. I also have a super supportive family who reads my blog and gushes over it. I know, I'm pretty lucky that way.
Also, I find a happiness with and sense of accomplishment when I blog, which is a great personal encouragement for me. 

If you could go back in time and speak with your newbie self, what five bits of wisdom would you tell yourself?
Take your time. It will come together.
Be yourself. People like that.
Read what you want, when you want. Rushing the process doesn't benefit anyone.
Be nice and friendly. Turns out other bloggers can be pretty rad.
Chill the eff out. Take a break when you need it, no one cares.

What do you dislike about blogs you’ve seen? Do you try to avoid this?
Meme-heavy blogs are such a bore. I'm super sensitive about how many memes I participate in, and how often I choose to participate. I'd rather see unique content, so I try to provide unique content. HOWEVER memes are a great way to share more about who you are as a blogger/reader/person and meet other peeps.
Also, blogs with the black background and bright fonts and flashy graphics. Ugh. Just don't.

When do you find time to comment?
I subscribe to my favorite blogs via Google reader, so I can go through them during the day when I have some down time and mark the ones I want to comment on at home. 
Also, for the memes I do participate in, I pick 10-15 blogs I haven't heard of and check them out. It's a great way to meet new peeps, find new reads, and be active in the YA community.

How do you bust out of the "reading feels like work" situation?
This one's easy. I take a break. Step back and live life for awhile. Then, when I come back, I'm all OH YEAH BLOGGING RULES again and everyone wins.

While I am by no means a pro at this, I have been doing it for awhile and am really happy with where I'm at. Take the advice or leave it, I'm happy to share!

Are there things I missed? What would you add or like to share with these prompts?