Monday, January 27, 2014

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
Published April 23, 2013 by The Dial Press
Hardcover, 446 pages
Borrowed from library

Lottie has been happily with her boyfriend Richard for a while and when he tells her he has a surprise for her, she just knows he's going to propose! FINALLY, she thinks. But it turns out that the surprise isn't a proposal at all. Still grappling with the shock of not being engaged, Lottie jumps at the chance to marry Ben, an old flame, when he calls her. Fliss, Lottie's sister knows that her decision to marry Ben is simply out of the pain she felt of not being engaged. To protect Lottie from getting herself into BIG trouble, Fliss comes up with a master plan to keep Ben and Lottie away on their honeymoon.

Sophie Kinsella has wormed her way back to my heart! I wasn't too impressed with her other books I've read of late but Wedding Night really restored my love for Sophie Kinsella. It's not the best book she's ever written but it is very enjoyable and totally wacky and hilarious. 

At first, I had some trouble with Fliss meddling with her sister Lottie's marriage just because I don't think Fliss is right to do so just because she's worried and is the bigger sister. As the book progressed, this became a smaller problem for me with the introduction of Lorcan, Ben's friend. Lorcan was a great person to keep Fliss in check and it made me happy to see him telling her off about what she was doing. It made Fliss seem less like a heartless jerk and more like a caring sister. Even though I still didn't entirely support what she was doing.

One of my favourite parts in this book was Lottie and Fliss' relationship. I love reading about sisters because I do not have a sister and really want one. Lottie and Fliss' relationship is exactly what I wish I had! They were just so good together and you could feel the love. It was another reason why it didn't bug me so much that Fliss was getting into Lottie's business because I just knew that it was out of sisterly love and that she really really cared about not having Lottie make a mistake and not be able to come back from it.

And while I honestly didn't really care for Lottie and Richard (I always thought he seemed a bit daft), I absolutely gobbled up all the Lorcan and Fliss scenes! I wished there were more in this book. In fact, I wish that the entire novel was centered around Lorcan and Fliss! How fun would that be? They were just so good together and man, how I wished that they were the ones to get married instead of Richard and Lottie! 

I really enjoyed this book but it's no surprise! Sophie Kinsella has always been a go-to author for me when I need cheering up and Wedding Night definitely did not fail to do that. I absolutely loved the storyline and all the characters. Props to Kinsella for trying something new with the dual perspective which worked rather well! Very fun novel with major crossover appeal for teens. 

people who want a fun time! Wedding Night has the humor, nice writing, and great characters to keep you satisfied. In general, if you're a fan of Kinsella, this is right up your alley (duh!).

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Ideas Have Fell Into a Well

Have you guys ever had trouble thinking of ideas for your blog? 

Because I KNOW I can't be the only one yet with each blog I visit, I just stand in awe because of how cool and great their blog is and how the bloggers NEVER seem to run out of interesting ideas for their blog. It's hard enough for me to stick to a schedule and blog consistently without having a total lack of ideas for posts. That's when I really feel like I've hit a dead end with my blog.

Recently, I've been posting more personal posts that have less to do with books. I'm not sure if you guys like it but I enjoy writing them a LOT so a couple of days ago, I decided I would start a more personal blog that isn't so book-centric, that would be my new space to chat and rave about all those other things I find so interesting. But what happened was that I felt like I had no more ideas for this blog. While those more personal, non bookish ideas don't necessarily make up the bulk of my published posts, they do make up the bulk of my ideas for The Runaway Reader. And now that I'm starting a new blog for those posts, I just feel like I have nothing to post here (except for a couple of reviews), let alone anything creative.

It's a bit disheartening because at one point this year, I was jumping up and down with excitement because I had all these ideas for this blog and I was so excited to see what you guys would think and's like they've all disappeared.

So I have to ask you guys if you feel this too - feel that it's hard to be creative - and how you come up with ideas for your blog. How do you continually feed it with new fresh material? Because for me, it's a constant struggle. I just don't know HOW to come up with ideas and when I do happen to happen on them, I feel like it's already been done. Like there's no point in doing it because SO many bloggers have already beat me to it.

Do you feel the same way? Tell me in the comments!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Published July 3, 2012 by HarperCollins Children's Books
Paperback, 292 pages
Borrowed from library

Sorry guys, I can't write a good synopsis for the book so here, you can have the Goodreads one:

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

I absolutely LOVED this book. Have you noticed yet? That this is my first five star read on The Runaway Reader? Goodness gracious guys, this book. THIS BOOK. I don't even know if I have the words to explain why Tiger Lily was so gosh darn awesome. 

Tiger Lily is often classified as a retelling of Peter Pan but for me, it's more like a reimagining or reinvention of Peter Pan. Anderson completely flips what we know about Peter Pan upside down and truly takes the characters and makes them her own. The details of the actual story are a bit fuzzy for me but I do remember how much Neverland stuck out while I was reading and in Tiger Lily, Anderson brings us back to Neverland and the experience is just as magical as it was the first time, except in a different way.

Let me go back to the start to explain this: when I first picked up Tiger Lily, I expected it to be a fun and light read. As a child, I loved the story of Peter Pan and the whole carefree nature of the Lost Boys and Neverland and as a retelling of Peter Pan, I expected Tiger Lily to be the same, to match Peter Pan in feeling. But boy, was I wrong. Because Anderson brings us a far edgier and grittier story of Neverland and while I certainly do miss the childish charm of the original Peter Pan, I can't say that Tiger Lily disappoints at ALL. 

From the characters to the world-building to the plot to the writing, everything was just absolutely SPECTACULAR. And if I still had this book, I would read it all over again. Tiger Lily sure took me on a whirlwind of a ride and even though I know this review is so inadequate when measured to the book, I hope you'll take my words to mind and go get yourself a copy of this book because it is one of the most amazing, fantastic books I've read in a long while.

Tiger Lily is an amazing book and you should all go out and get yourself a copy right now. I loved this book so much. The characters were so well-written, especially Peter Pan and the prose is gorgeous. What really impressed me in Tiger Lily though was the different dimensions of love Anderson was able to capture so accurately. She really showed the complexity of love very well. I've read and loved Anderson's Peaches but wow, Tiger Lily is on a whole other scale. Absolutely fantastic.

lovers of Peter Pan or retellings of popular fairy tales. If you want a tragic yet beautiful story about love, Tiger Lily is right up your alley. And if you want to cry, you have the right book too. JUST READ THIS BOOK REGARDLESS. READ IT RIGHT NOW.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Deal With Courtesy Comments

One key thing I've learned during my one year and a half of blogging is to never be afraid to ask for help. Blogging can be a scary situation starting out when there are just so many things you don't know and are not sure about and it becomes so overwhelming. I had a lot of trouble figuring things out on my own when I started out and even though I hated asking others for help, it was the only way I could figure things out! (Luckily bloggers are very kind and eager to help another in distress.)

Blogging for a year and a bit already, I consider myself quite learned. I know all the Blogger shortcuts, I know what to include in my posts to attract readers and all sorts of other useful stuff. BUT I still have trouble with what to do in terms of courtesy comments.

(Before I continue though, I just want to flash a bright little disclaimer sign because I'm not sure if 'courtesy comments' are actually called courtesy comments. I have never heard these type of comments referred to with a particular name so I took it upon myself to tentatively title it for this post's sake. So...just so you know.)

A briefer in case you have no idea what I'm talking about: Courtesy comments are comments that bloggers leave on another blogger's blog who has previously commented on their blog. 

Still have no idea what I mean? Let me set up a scenario for you then: Say someone named Book comments on your blog. You read the comment and maybe type a reply. And then you can choose to check Book's blog and leave a comment on one of Book's posts, kind of like a thank you note. Something you do out of courtesy.

I know some bloggers do choose to comment back to bloggers who commented on their blog. I try to do it too - try, being the operative word. I like paying people back with comments because I know how much I love it when I get comments on my posts! It's a great feeling and plus, without comments, blogging wouldn't nearly be as great as it is. So while I do make an effort to comment back on everyone's blog who comments here, most of the time, I get lazy and just skip doing it. 

Sometimes, I have legitimate reasons for not doing so but I want your opinions. I want YOU to tell me what you do when you run into these situations. Ready? 

Scenario #1: Remember our character Book from earlier? Well, Book is back! And he/she (maybe I'll refer to Book as it) just commented on your blog. You type a reply and everything but now you also want to leave a courtesy comment. So you go to Book's blog and scroll through the posts to find something that you could leave a meaningful comment on but nothing appeals to you and you really don't want to leave a comment just for the sake of it. So what do you do?

Usually, I just tend to skip commenting back. I'm sure I could write a meaningful comment on any post if I had the mind to do so but since I have a basic rule regarding commenting and how I'm not going to force myself to leave a comment, I just don't comment back. I don't really feel bad about doing that but not good either. As I said, I do try to comment back on everyone who comments here to return the favour and ideally, I would return everyone's comment but it doesn't happen that way a lot of the time.

Scenario #2: Book leaves a comment on your blog but it's a simple 'Great post! I agree with everything! :)' or something of the sort. You don't have much to say in your reply and the comment itself doesn't really have any substance so what do you do? Do you still comment back?

Well, I know I wouldn't reply to the comment. I'm sorry if that came out a bit harsh but I would not. I know I said I would reply to every single comment I get here in my manifesto but I find that it's hard to do so when I get a comment that doesn't provide me much to reply to. I think it's great to hear that someone thinks my post is good and that they agree with me but there's just nothing in that comment that would push for a reply.

Having said that, I think I would most likely still comment back, or consider commenting back. I usually check a blogger's blog anyway if I don't remember seeing their name before and even if they left me a really simple comment, I would still be curious to see who they are and if I may potentially find a new favourite blog, which I'm always on the search for. And then it just depends on whether their posts strike an interest in me or not. If they do, I will totally comment back. If they don't, then it's scenario #1 all over again and you already know what I'd do in that situation! ;)

But of course, there are always exceptions. Because if you're commenting on my blog like ten thousand times a week, chances are 99.9999% likely that I will (finally) comment back on your blog. Even if I don't really have anything I want to say on any of your posts. I will still comment because you have commented and made me happy and now I want to show my appreciation for you by commenting back. (I hope that makes sense and doesn't sound as wrong and mean and like I have a superiority complex as it does to me right now.)

Scenario #3: You comment on one of Book's post and it comments back on your post. What do you do?

To be honest when this happens, I don't comment back ever. Or at least not for the sake of a courtesy comment. I figure that if I'm commenting on their blog without them commenting on mine first, I must really enjoy their posts so I'll get back to returning their comments anyway.

I feel like I'm probably reading too much into this and making these comments into something way bigger than they truly are but I just want to know: what do you do in these situations? Comment below and hopefully, I'll be able to sort out my brain and my total indecision.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

9 2014 Debuts I'm Looking Forward To

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

I wasn't originally planning on writing up a Top Ten Tuesday for this week for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I didn't plan to. Oy, I know, I'm such a bad blogger! Anyway, when I saw the prompt, I was really interested and immediately rushed to draft a list of all the books. I realize that this list is probably going to be quite similar to some of my Bookish Radars but I think it's a good idea to have one place where it's just all books that haven't been released yet. Bookish Radar covers all books I've found that look interesting so it's just not exclusive to upcoming releases, even though it may seem so at times. 

And before I leave you with my nine picks, I just want to say that if the debuts are any indication of the greatness of 2014 book-wise, I have a strong feeling that we're going to have an absolutely AMAZING year. Cheers!

April 8, 2014

I remember seeing this on NetGalley and thinking it was interesting but then forgetting about it and now here it is again! 

Far From You tells the story of Sophie Winters who nearly died in a creepy encounter in the woods with her best friend Mina. While Sophie survived, Mina did not and after investigation of the scene, the cops rule Mina's death a murder. Fingers start to point to Sophie, insisting that it has to do with her drug addiction, even though she's been clean for a long time. Sophie knows she's innocent but no one else seems to believe her so it's up to her to find Mina's true murderer. 

If you know me, you know that I love mysteries, especially murder mysteries! I've been hearing good things for Far From You so far (and may have accidentally stumbled on some spoilers) so I'm definitely very excited! Mark this date on your calendar!

April 1, 2014

As an assignment for English class, Laurel is asked to choose a dead person to write a letter to. She chooses Kurt Cobain and starts writing the letter. But soon, she finds herself writing more and more of these letters until she has a full notebook... 

And that's where the Goodreads synopsis lost me. Apologies! I would probably recommend a trip over to Goodreads to get a better grasp on the book but from what I've learned so far, I think this book is going to be very, very good! Right now, I'm mostly basing my opinion on the writing of letters to Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse because that just sounds like recipe for greatness but I'm pretty sure I'm not wrong in my judgement (or at least, I hope not!) This book has also got a lot of pre-release buzz so I'm for sure checking April the first on my calendar as well!

January 28, 2014

This one is coming out soon! And from the synopsis, it sounds like a spin on Beauty and the Beast. In the Goodreads synopsis, it says Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast but I haven't read Graceling so I'm not exactly sure what that means or if it's a good thing or not. Cruel Beauty is a fantasy love story about a girl forced to marry the evil ruler of her kingdom to secretly kill him but they end up actually falling in love? Talk about a complicated relationship! But I like it. I've definitely read enough about relationships to totally be cool with unconventional ones. 

March 11, 2014

Yay, a prom story! I love prom stories and I'm especially in the mood for them right now because of all the prom ads I'm getting in my Seventeen. There's kind of a love triangle in this book, or at least there's a girl and a choice between two guys to take to the prom but I don't know, I think I'm going to absolutely love this book that it won't matter in the slightest!

March 18, 2014

Side Effects May Vary is about a girl who has been diagnosed with leukemia and it doesn't seem like she has much time left to live. In order to make the most of the rest of her life, she constructs a lists of things that went wrong that she's determined to set right. But then things turn and Alice goes into remission, leaving her with absolutely no excuse for not completing her list.

I've been hearing about this a lot lately and I actually saw it in the newspaper today as one of the books you should mark down for 2014. It definitely sounds good and I know a lot of people have read and enjoyed it already!

May 6, 2013

OMG you guys, this book sounds like my kind of book! A cute contemporary romance with cute Italian boys and travelling! YES YES YES. There is a hint of a love triangle but even so, it's not enough to put me off of my excitement towards this book. Just give it to me now! I can't wait until May!

January 23, 2014

A Mad, Wicked Folly is a historical fiction set in England. I've already featured this on Bookish Radar so I won't say too much except that it sounds really good and a lot of people have loved it so far, especially one reviewer whose judgement I absolutely trust with all my heart so I'm definitely excited for this one. I haven't had a historical fiction in so long and this one sounds like just what I like! And it's coming out soon so yay for that! I might have to run to the bookstore just so I can get it as fast as I can.

April 10, 2014

I've also featured this on my Bookish Radar and man, am I looking forward to it! I've discovered that I really like ballerina stories and this one is a ballerina story, with a darker and grittier twist (kind of Black Swan-esque) which I always appreciate in my stories. Very, very excited for Pointe!

August 7, 2014

I discovered this off of Jamie's list and thought it sounded really good! I want a creepy and scary book that will knock my socks off and I'm getting chills just from reading the synopsis! I won't even attempt to summarize it because I don't think I'll be able to live up to what the blurb did for me so go, click the link and find out for yourself. And then come back and tell me, does that not sound like the scariest book ever? YES PLEASE.

Now, I want YOU to tell me what 2014 debuts are on your list. Do any of these books sound interesting to you? I'd love hearing your thoughts!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Published June 26 2012 by Simon Pulse
Hardcover, 352 pages
Borrowed from library

Delilah is a social outcast at school and it certainly doesn't help that she's obsessed with a picture book - and it's main character, Prince Oliver. Delilah's actually read the book so many times that she's memorized every single word and every single picture in the book. So when something pops up on one of the pages that wasn't previously there, Delilah starts to wonder whether life in the book does exist beyond the pages. And it turns out that there is and that her dear Prince Oliver is very much a real person. Soon, Delilah and Oliver fall in love but of course, they know it's doomed. One lives inside a book and the other lives outside a book - how could they possibly be together?

This is a tough review for me to write because I literally have zero thoughts on Between the Lines. 

Okay, you got me. I never NOT have any thoughts but trust me when I say that the amount of thoughts I have right now is at an all-time low. And I'm just going to come right out and say it: this book was a major snooze-fest. There were so many times while I was reading Between the Lines when I was just so ready to drop down and go to sleep. 

With Between the Lines, the potential is definitely there. The idea that life for characters in a book could extend beyond the pages is certainly fun to entertain, while not probable. I mean, it's so much fun to think that your favourite characters could have a separate life than from the words on the pages. What if Jane and John finally got together behind the scenes? But this is where we run into the first problem with this book and that's the total lack of explanation as to how this whole thing actually works. 

How can Oliver contact Delilah when he couldn't reach anybody else? How was Delilah able to respond to Oliver? How on effing earth can Oliver talk through the pages? And on and on it goes. I have so many questions that are important, that need to be answered but are never. Look, I don't have to believe whatever you put out as an explanation, but at the very least, there has to be something. Something that makes actual, logical sense.

And further questions that are never answered in the span of 352 pages: how do Oliver and Delilah actually fall in love? HOW? Now I'm usually not one who gets easily bugged by instalove but this relationship makes zero sense. They've never talked to each other before and yeah, so maybe Delilah had a crush on Oliver way before he knew who she was but still, I think it takes much longer for two people to fall in love than just a few words here and there. Maybe if there was a bit more 'show' I might be able to believe it.

Beyond the inconsistencies and absolute rubbish that was Oliver and Delilah's relationship, there was also the factor that none of the characters had any depth to them. They were all just so bland and blah and we all know VERY well by now that good characters are like a major bonus for me in books. Excellent characters? 10 000 extra brownie points to you! Maybe this lack of depth and emotion is due to how the book was written. The prose was very simple and straightforward which I suppose can be good in a textbook or something of the sort but in a novel, especially one that is supposed to read as a fairy tale, a bit more pizazz might be needed. To give the book personality and flavour and of course, to not bore the readers to death!

The rest of the book is then riddled with stereotypes and cliches. One that particularly bugged me was the perception of feminism. A lot of people have mentioned this but I think it's important to bring up again. After learning that the mermaids behind the scenes are not actually boy-obsessed, in fact they're the exact opposite, Delilah goes to say that they are 'hard-core feminists'. Which is so ridiculous because not caring for boys does not make you a feminist. Feminists do not hate on men. They encourage equality between men and women which in no way implies hate. And it's this exact misconception that feminists are hateful towards men that makes me totally peeved. 

Finally, THAT ENDING. MADE ME. SO UPSET. It was just too convenient and such a cop-out. So I didn't see it coming but still, I feel like things could have been resolved a tad bit better. Everything just came too easily and come on, do you really expect us to believe that one person would give up so much for a couple to live happily ever after? 

Hmm, so maybe I had more thoughts that I thought...

I really did not enjoy Between the Lines at all. It's labelled as a Young Adult but frankly, I would market it more toward 9-12 year olds. To be honest, Between the Lines would have probably been right up my alley when I was nine. The writing was very bland, the characters were very bland and on top of that, there were so many inconsistencies and plot holes. The ending really pissed me off quite a bit, actually and to be honest, this book was very mediocre. Also, on a totally unrelated note, I hated the formatting of this book. The coloured font and the type of font used in this book did not help its case. But kudos for illustrations because I do love illustrations!

children ages 9-12 who enjoy flaky romances with a fairy tale aspect.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The 2014 Challenge Masterlist

I think I have a SERIOUS problem that involves me setting my standard too high and thinking I can do everything.

You've already seen the enormous wall of text that was my 2014 goals so you know how I can get carried away when I'm really excited for something. What you haven't seen yet is me miserably failing everything. Which is obviously going to happen, judging by the amount of things I'm putting on my plate. But of course, in classic Annie style, I go and add MORE things to do.

Guys, I swear I wasn't going to sign up for like a gazillion challenges. I was only going to do one or two but then everything kind of blew up in my face and I started seeing this and that and I just kept on saying I want to do that too so I signed up for like EVERYTHING. I'm afraid now that I have more than I can handle but I don't want to give up anything because I genuinely want to participate.

So since I've decided to stick with all my challenges and because there are SO many, I thought it would be good to create a masterlist to keep track of everything I signed up for and my progress in each.

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Annie has read 1 book toward her goal of 100 books.

Last year, I participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge as well but I did not reach my goal of 100 nor did I actually record any of the books I read through Goodreads. I was a bit disappointed to see the lack of determination I had last year so I decided to do this again this year! I'm keeping my goal the same and so far, I've only read one book. I'm not sure how I'm going to reach my goal the more I think about it but fingers crossed. Hopefully, I manage to schedule my reading time better in 2014!

I mentioned this challenge in my 2014 goals. I have a huge list of series I need to finish so I thought that it would be a good idea for me to use this challenge as my motivation. I'm aiming at 5 books at the very minimum but I'm hoping to finish seven or eight. And maybe I might even get to 12 for a platinum badge!

Hosted by Octavia @ Read Sleep Repeat.

The Series On My Checklist

  1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After)
  2. Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men)
  3. Magic in Manhattan by Sarah Mlynowski (Bras and Broomsticks, Frogs and French Kisses, Spells and Sleeping Bags, Parties and Potions)
  4. Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant)
  5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Just One Day, Just One Year)
  6. The Chemical Garden by Lauren DeStefano (Wither, Fever, Sever)
  7. The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (The Mockingbirds, The Rivals)
  8. Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Peaches, Secret Lives of Peaches, Love and Peaches)
  9. Gemma Doyle by Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, The Sweet Far Thing)
+ Pretty Little Liars, Cherub, Series of Unfortunate Events, Children of the Red King, the Chronicles of Narnia, Robert Langdon, and Confessions of Georgia Nicholson

I discovered this challenge after reading Asti's post on her 2014 challenges. At first, I didn't know if I wanted to sign up but then I realized how giant my TBR is and if I could knock off a few this year, that would be amazing! I'm really not sure how many I want to read so I'm just going to jot down a few books I'm interested in and see where it takes me!

Hosted by Bookish.

The Books On My Checklist
  1. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  2. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  3. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by AS King
  4. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
  5. Room by Emma Donaghue
  6. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  7. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  8. Winger by Andrew Smith
  9. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
  10. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  11. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
  12. The List by Siobhan Vivian
  13. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
  14. The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
  15. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
  16. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  17. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  18. Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
  19. The Diviners by Libba Bray
  20. Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
  21. Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald
  22. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

And thus starts the numerous Bingo challenges I signed up for. I saw so many of these going around last year and I'm really excited to be participating in one this year! Going through this, I've realized that I've already completed one of the squares. Between the Lines for O4. Yay!

Hosted by Kelley @ Another Novel Read.

B1: read a book you've bought but haven't read yet
B2: read a book recommended by a friend
B3: read a book that is out of your comfort zone
B4: read a book that teaches you something
B5: finish/reread a series

I1: read a nonfiction book you already own
I2: read a book you got for free
I3: read an ebook you already own
I4: read a book you are ridiculously excited for
I5: read a book about food

N1: read a classic from your TBR list
N2: read a 2013 debut you didn't get to last year
N4: read a verse novel
N5: read a book you got signed but haven't read

G1: finish a series that ends this year
G2: read an adult book from your TBR list
G3: read a book by an author you haven't read before
G4: read a book that uses experimental prose
G5: finish a series that ended before 2014

O1: Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald
O2: read an indie book
O3: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
O4: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
O5: read a chunkster

I'm also participating in Anne and Kristilyn's bingo challenge. I like how it's less specific which offers me more leeway with what I read. Asti already did the calculation that you have to read 55 books to complete this so chances are likely I will not be finishing this. My goal is to have at least a few lines, like perhaps I, N and G.

Hosted Anne @ Creativity Corner & Kristilyn @ Reading In Winter

B1: Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald
B2: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown


N1: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

G1: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
G5: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella


This is the first Random House bingo card out of two. I discovered this from Chloe's site and thought it would be fun to participate. They're both quite different from the bingo challenges I've already signed up for so it'll be good for a change!


I4: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jolene Perry

N1: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown



This is the Young Adult one which I'm so excited to complete. Because obviously I have a passion for Young Adult so I know I'm just going to have so much fun with this!

B4: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I2: The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

N2: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown


O1: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

And last but not least, the commenting challenge!

This is actually Asti's own personal challenge but I thought I would do it too because it's a great idea and commenting more is one of my goals this year too! I'm actually not going to be posting my progress on this page. Instead, I'll be making a section for it in my Reflect & Rewind where I'll link to all the blogs I commented on that month and you can check them out too!

So that's a wrap! Those are all my challenges for this year. I know there are a LOT, especially with all the bingo ones but hopefully, I'll be able to make good progress. I figure as long as I'm reading, I can't be failing, right?

If you have any challenges that you're doing, tell me! I would love the support and we can totally be each other's cheerleaders! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bookish Radar (3)

As a book blogger, my bookish radar is always on. I'm constantly hearing about titles of books and while some of them don't particularly interest me, others so do. These are the books that I currently have my eyes on. I WILL READ THEM IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO. Inspired by On the Smugglers' Radar @ The Book Smugglers and Waiting on Wednesday @ Breaking the Spine

Starbound #1
Released December 10, 2013

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

First, that cover is HOLY CRAP BEAUTIFUL. I've been really digging the galaxy background on covers lately and the large, sans-serif font so delights my inner designer. I've heard SO much about this book lately, like SO much. Everyone else seems to have read it or at the very least, gotten a hold on it so obviously, I feel tres out of it! And double obviously, I need to rectify that as SOON as possible. Also, can we give a hip hip hooray for a good love story? I want to feel ALL THE FEELS.

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Released September 24, 2013

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

Again, I've heard a lot of great things for this book so I'm really excited to read it. I love the idea of a dystopian society with a lack of water. It should seem so obvious to write a story about this, considering how wasteful we are with our water so I'm happy that someone finally did. My parents are always laughing at me at how paranoid I am about not having enough water when I'm like 50 but guys, IT COULD HAPPEN. This book probably wouldn't do anything to ease my paranoia but damn, does this look like a grrrreat read.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Expected release date: April 10, 2014

Theo is better now.

She's eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn't talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn't do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she's been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

I LOVE reading about ballerinas, if my review of Bunheads is any indication and Pointe sounds so good and creepy in a good way. Almost like Black Swan-esque which is a pretty great thing considering that I really want to see that movie and just generally have a great appreciation for Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. The reviews on Goodreads, while sparse, are all generally positive which definitely gets me pumped for this book. I'm kind of curious to see how this story goes anyhow so I'm certainly marking my calendars for April tenth!

Released September 10, 2013

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Yay for my first adult pick! I saw this book on my trip to Indigo the other day and was immediately intrigued. I love murders in books and this one sounds so good. Also, it's set in Iceland which I visited last year and fe;l in love with. AND it's also published by Little Brown whose books I always tend to love. I don't know about you, but for me, it seems the stars are aligned for me and this book. I feel like my explanation is so inadequate because there are so many more reasons why I want to read this book but I don't know how to say them in a coherent way so I'll leave it at I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WANT THIS BOOK. To be honest, I'm probably going to make a trip back to Indigo to get this one.

And that's it for this week! What books are on your radar this week? Have you read/want to read any of the books on this list? Share your thoughts!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Adorkable by Sarra Manning

Published May 24, 2013 by Atom
Paperback, 387 pages
Borrowed from library

Jeane Smith and Michael Lee have absolutely no business being together. Jeane's a dork whose life only exists online with her 500 000 Twitter followers and Michael is a god at school, at home and basically everywhere. So when Michael approaches Jeane about their exes perhaps in a fling, Jeane shrugs him off. But try as she might, she can't get rid of him - he's popping up everywhere! And before she knows it, they're setting up dates to kiss. How did this happen...and how long will it last?

I love and hate Adorkable almost as much Michael and Jeane love and hate each other! Like for the most part, I thought Adorkable was a cute little romance but then Michael and Jeane would say something so utterly stupid that made me seriously wonder why I was still reading the book. I don't know, maybe it was Adorkable's cute Britishness because to be very honest, I think I would have hated this book if I didn't like it so much.

Doesn't think that make sense? Well then my dear, this book probably isn't for you because contradictions are basically what Adorkable lives on.

See, Jeane and Michael are complete opposites. Michael's hot and popular and gets all the action while Jeane is ugly and rude and mean and dorky whose only social life exists online. They meet after Michael suspects that his girlfriend and Jeane's boyfriend are in a little fling and confronts her about it. From the dual perspective, we find out that both's initial impression of the other is, well, general annoyance and dislike. But for some reason that is really shoddily explained, Michael kisses her. 

"Maybe I kissed Jeane because it made her shut the hell up. Or it might have been the easiest way to show her that I wasn't who she thought I was, that there might actually be some hidden depths to me after all. But I have a horrible feeling that I kissed her because I wanted to." (107)

That paragraph makes me want to burn this book. None of what Michael is saying make any sense! I'm not sure about kissing someone to make them shut up which could make sense if you guys are in love but with someone you hate that annoys the crap out of you? That is the LAST thing on earth I would do (or well, maybe the second to last thing) with the person I hate. Next kissing someone who you so obviously think is way under your league and totally not for you is not representative of your hidden depths. Maybe the first bit because I'm pretty sure you're too shallow to ever want to go for someone who isn't built like a model but SO not the second bit. And finally, I THOUGHT YOU HATED HER AND THOUGHT SHE WAS UGLY. How does that jump to kissing basically every spare minute you have?

And just when you're starting to believe that Michael and Jeane have finally learned to get along with each other despite their total difference in personality and character, it's HERE WE GO AGAIN with the hate which works out kind of like this:

Michael thinks Jeane is mean, rude, selfish, irritating and condescending which if I am very, very honest, she is. But he also thinks she's ugly and fat and a total hot mess and way too weird for him.

Jeane thinks Michael is self-absorbed, shallow, arrogant, cocky, jealous of her success, and so gross for buying mainstream clothes and not being a hip dork like her who gets her clothes from thrift stores. Which is kind of true too.

And yet they're still kissing and having sex regularly when it seems that they can't stand each other. Okay then.

No matter how much I hated Michael and Jeane as characters and together though, nothing peeved me more than Jeane's perception of dork. Jeane was all against judging people on who they are yet she did it ALL THE TIME. From judging Michael based on his Abercrombie & Fitch clothes to his hairstyle to basically everything anyone else did unless they fit under her very narrow definition of dork. Which is most likely a person who eats a lot of Haribo, loves Duckie, is socially shunned by everyone she/he knows in real life and buys clothes from thrift stores (and NEVER from Topshop, good lord).

Look, I can respect Jeane for what she's gone through which has obviously been tough. She's used to not relying on anyone but herself and that can for sure make someone feel very lonely and she's deemed totally weird and dorky by everyone at her school. And major kudos to her for reclaiming the word dork. But the fact is that what she thinks is dork is so narrow that she's really only celebrating herself through her lifestyle brand, Adorkable and shunning everyone else. Which is basically the same thing others have done to her. I mean, maybe she did it intentionally or not but regardless, this whole Adorkable brand really dragged this book into the dust.

I'm sure once upon a time that Manning had meant for Adorkable to send a really nice message about being yourself and not being ashamed of that but between the crap characters and the convoluted plot, somewhere along the road the book's message seemed to adopt more of a Jeane outlook on things which is probably because that was what this book spent the most time on. And as a person who isn't too big of a fan of Jeane, that's really not a great thing.

Okay but despite all this, I did actually enjoy this book. A lot of it was absolutely ridiculous and aggravating but there were also parts that I really liked and enjoyed and that had components of what I like in romances. When they weren't yapping each other's heads off, Michael and Jeane actually kind of worked and when I had gotten used to the kissing, I might have actually squealed once or twice. And you know what? I did actually see some character development on Jeane's part throughout this book which is never a bad thing.

Adorkable also had me flipping through the pages like crazy which I honestly haven't felt the want to do in so long. Something about Manning's writing was addictive and had me wanting for more. Given that her next characters aren't so annoying as Michael and Jeane, I would for sure read anything that Manning writes!

I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I liked half the time and absolutely despised the other half. I thought Michael and Jeane, despite giving me squeals a couple times, were absolutely horrid together because they couldn't appreciate each other and look past their own prejudice. And even though we're made to think that they're polar opposites, the truth is that they're both really similar: arrogant, condescending, shallow, and totally self-absorbed. I also disliked how Jeane perceived dork and thought that it sent a negative message. So while I may not have agreed with a lot of the things in this book, I did enjoy it. It was a very addictive and fast read with a romance that was cute sometimes.

fans of Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging. You'd appreciate the Britishness and wackiness of this novel. If you're looking for romance with a bit more, this might be the book you're looking for. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Best of 2013 In Music!

When I signed up for Shelly's Readiculous End of Year Celebration, this was my most anticipated post. I couldn't wait to get it published! But just my luck, my internet broke down so I wasn't able to get anything out. Thankfully that problem is now solved and I can finally publish this post, eight days late. Well, better late than never, right?

Attached is a Spotify playlist (my new favourite thing!) of all the songs I discovered in 2013 and LOVED. I'm still in the process of updating it but I'm sure you'll be able to find something you like! If there's anything I like more than book pushing, it's music pushing! This playlist is mostly a mix of alt and pop but there's some R&B, folk and a whole bunch of other great, wonderful things. So I highly encourage you to give it a listen! 

And because I love finding new music to listen to, PLEASE share songs that you love to listen to in the comments!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

Published June 12, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 325 pages
Borrowed from library

Alice, Tiernan, and Summer used to love Level3. They knew all their songs off the top of their heads and even had an entire shrine dedicated to the boys. That was when they were still best friends. When high school came, the girls broke up and so did their favourite band, Level3. But then, on the day of their high school graduation, Alice finds out that Level3 is getting back together for a one-time only concert. And even though she hasn't talked to Tiernan or Summer since that fateful night back in freshman year, she instinctively buys three tickets for all of them and plans a road trip to get them to the concert. 

Before I begin rambling about my thoughts, I just feel I need a disclaimer because I read this book a month ago so the details are not real clear in my mind. Typically I review a book one or two days after I finish it so obviously, this is a change for me. So basically, don't be surprised or confused or upset that most of this review will be me wondering if I got the details right!

Reunited tells the story of three ex-best friends as they reunite on a road trip to see their once-favourite band play live. I was so intrigued by this book because I love road trips and friendships, especially ex-friendships because that means DRAMA and I love DRAMA so everything about this book starting out was a win-win for me. And while I didn't love it (to be fair, I wasn't expecting to love it), it was a nice read. 

The beginning was really strong for me. It was quirky and in the same way a person has their idiosyncrasies, this book had its bookish idiosyncrasies which I admired. Whether Tiernan or Summer or Alice were narrating, there was still a consistent and distinctive voice that made the novel very coherent, but also wasn't too overpowering so the individual characters actually had their individual voices. 

But once I reached the middle, things started to get a bit shaky. The voices of each character started to get muddled in my head and the crazy situations the girls got themselves into just felt repetitive, even though they were different situations. It was clear that the author was trying to find ways to make it so that the girls wouldn't arrive at the concert but in an explicable way. For me, it was just a tired routine and I feel as if it could have been executed better. 

On a sidenote, I thought the author was so smart with setting up a fake-real band website (even complete with two songs) to promote the book. So creative. She had me fooled for a while!

Reunited was an okay read for me. It started out strong but really lost its footing as the book progressed. I thought the triple perspective was often a bit muddled and think it would have been better to stick with one narrator, or maybe even a third-person omniscient one! The ending was sweet though and was satisfying. Even though it wasn't told straight out, the reader knew that there was a happy ever after for the three girls. It's hard not to root for them to be best friends again! 

people who are obsessed with a band themselves! You'll understand what these girls have in common. If you like cute contemporaries about friendship, this one is right up your alley!