Monday, December 31, 2012

End of the Year Book Survey- Part 2

Hey everyone! Time for part two of the survey.  To see part one, click here

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012? 
 -Well, I'm brand new to Blogger this year, so all the blogs I saw were new.  But some of my favorite blogs that I've found are...
Check all these blogs out! They're awesomesauce. 

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 
 -Definitely Legend by Marie Lu.  I had so much fun writing it, and I think it was one of my funnier ones.
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
-Not really sure on this one.  Most of my book discussions happened in person with my best friend or on Goodreads.
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
-Once again, I've got no clue.  I didn't really bookmark things like this.
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
-I really liked the Top Ten Tuesday meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  I know that that's a pretty common meme, but I really had fun writing them and felt a little more connected to the Blogger community when I started them.
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?
-The moment I finally got my blog set up and Blogger figured out.  I think I started dancing around my room out of sheer joy.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
-In both comments and views, The Maze Runner by James Dashner was by far my most popular review.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
-Well, there are probably a few, and I really want my blog to become better all around, but if there was a single review out of 2012 I wish more people had seen, I'd probably say it'd be one of my more recent reviews, Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale.  There weren't a ton of views on that one, and no comments, but I really liked the book and felt pretty proud of the review.
9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
-Gotta be Goodreads. Wow, hard to believe I've only been a member since March.  I'd seen it before, but never really took interest or set up an account until this year, and was totally disappointed in myself for not doing so before now.
10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
-Well, if you count the 2012 Goodreads Reading Challenge, then yes.  Originally, I had set my goal for a measly 35 books or so.  Maybe even less.  I can't really remember.  But I eventually set it for forty, and in the end, I ended up reading 48.  Not a huge total, but I was pretty proud of it and hope to grow next year.

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
-I definitely want to read The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.  I had looked forward to reading this for so long, but I never really got around to it.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
-This one is a tie between Requiem by Lauren Oliver, (Unnamed third book in the Divergent trilogy) by Veronica Roth, and Mind Games by Kiersten White 
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?
-This year, I want to reach (fingers crossed!) 100 followers! :)
I also want to do my first self-hosted give-away.

Well, that's it for 2012!  Happy New Years everyone :)
Peace out Girl Scouts!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

End of the Year Book Survey- Part 1

Ok, guys, I saw this book survey and loved it, so I thought I'd join in on the madness!  It was a bit long though, so I split it up into two posts.  I'll post the first half here, today, and the second half tomorrow on the last day of the year!

To see part 2, click here.

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? 
 -Oh gosh.  Don't make me pick! Oh, so hard.  I think that if I really had to pick, it'd be Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  It was just one of those books that stuck in my memory and left me dying for more.  I'm still on edge for Requiem (the final installment of the series) to come out.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
 -Ok, I have two on this one.  The first is Defiance by C.J. Redwine.  I waited for what seemed like an eternity for this book to come out.  I was so excited, ready to read it.  The cover art was beautiful, and I was pretty sure that the story would be so intense.  I even gave it four stars right after reading it.  But, after sitting on it for a bit and thinking it through, I realized just how awful the book was compared to my expectations.  It was alright, but nothing dazzling.
-Ugh.  Biggest disappointment of all: Tiger's Destiny by Colleen Houck.  I was SO. FREAKING. PUMPED. about this book.  And what was it compared to the other three? Crap.  Ugh.  I barely skimmed the ending.  This one seriously made me sad.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 
-Hm.  Probably Fire by Kristin Cashore.  I was really disappointed that this book was not going to be from the viewpoint of Katsa (the main character of Graceling, the first book).  I thought that the series was definitely going downhill after book 1.  In the end though, Fire turned out to be my favorite of the three books.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
-Definitely Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  Like I said previously, it was just a wonderful book that stuck with me.  Probably one of my favorites in YA.  
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
-This one is really hard.  I guess you could say the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.  I'd heard of them before, but I've never read them before this year.  I was really excited to get to read them after hearing all the hype.
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
-Probably Ally Condie.  I read the Matched series this year, and I loved her writing.  She did really well, and I can't wait to see what else she'll come up with in the future.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
-I'd say this one goes to The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.  Before this book, I had scarcely picked up anything non-distopian or non-fantasy , but this book knocked me off my feet and definitely had me hanging on edge.  I loved this one, even though it wasn't something I'd have typically read.  It definitely opened my eyes to a broader spectrum of books.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
-Insurgent by Veronica Roth.  I'd read Divergent last year, unable to put it down, and this time I was definitely on edge.  I don't think I put that book down for a minute after I got it.  
9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
-This is probably going to be (don't get bored with me) Delirium again.  I've read this book several times already, and don't doubt that I'll read it several times again.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
-Definitely Matched by Ally Condie.  I'd say the cover was the only reason I picked up the book in the first place, but once I read it, I fell totally in love.  Just look at it.

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 
-Surprisingly enough, it's good old Santiago from The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.  Was it my favorite book? By no means at all.  Not even close.  But, since the book is so centrally focused on the Old Man and him alone, and since he goes through a large ordeal that only a handful of people could successfully make it through, he's pretty hard to forget.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen takes the cake on this one, I believe.  Oh, the writing in that one was absolutely gorgeous.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 
-This one happens to be yet another unusual read for me, definitely out of my normal genres, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.  This one had me seriously thinking about life when I was done reading it.  It was a dying man's account of his life, and it definitely caused me to want to live life to the fullest.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 
-Dude.  Freaking Legend by Marie Lu.  It'd been on my TBR list from the day it came out (November 29th, 2011), but I didn't end up reading till extremely late this year.  I couldn't believe that I had waited so long to read it when I was done.  It was extremely good.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 
-Good grief.  I'll never be able to choose an actual favorite, so here's a pretty good one from my most recent review:
"We will not conquer our obstacles by running away from them.  Speed does not matter, just that we do not stop."  -The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 
-Shortest: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.  It was so thin you could barely see it.
-Longest: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini.  Yowza, she's a biggun.
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It?
-There was one scene in Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver that I literally think made my heart stop beating.  I called my best friend, Abby from Wintry Words immediately after I finished reading it. I won't say which scene for spoilers, but oh my goodness.  Just writing this is making me a little edgy.
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc)?
-It's about to get all cliche up in here.  But, I read The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein this year, so of course, I must say the friendship of Frodo and Sam.  You just can't beat that.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously?
-Once again, I have to go with Insurgent by Veronica Roth.  I love her writing so much, and this book definitely did not have a "bridge book" feel to it, even though it was the middle of the trilogy.
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else?
-The Naming by Alison Croggon.  I read this one, not really knowing how good or bad it would be, merely because my best friend had told me that she loved it.  So, I read it.  And BOOM. Masterpiece.

So, this is the end of part one.  Check back here tomorrow to see part two :)
Peace out Girl Scouts!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review: The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

Review: The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

Publishing Date: August 21, 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins 

Pages: 360

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Until the day I met John Smith, Number Four, I'd been on the run alone, hiding and fighting to stay alive.

Together, we are much more powerful. But it could only last so long before we had to separate to find the others. . . .

I went to Spain to find Seven, and I found even more, including a tenth member of the Garde who escaped from Lorien alive. Ella is younger than the rest of us, but just as brave. Now we're looking for the others--including John.

But so are they.

They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. They caught me in New York--but I escaped. I am Number Six. They want to finish what they started.

But they'll have to fight us first.


Note: This review may contain spoilers if you have not read the first two books in the series, I Am Number Four or The Power of Six.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this book.  

There were the awesome, the good, and the crappy.  I'm not really certain which one won out, because it all seemed about equal to me.  

Let's work backwards and start with the crappy, working our way up.  

JOHN/NUMBER FOUR.  YOU ARE SUCH A GIRL.  I swear, he is ten times more emotional than I am.  And I am actually a girl.  Can it be sweet for guys to show their emotions sometimes? Yes.  Absolutely.  But when it is an entire, unending onslaught of insanely annoying feelings for a certain human girl *cough.. SARAH.. cough*, it begins to seriously irk me.  And, basically, I never really liked Sarah in the first place.  I've always favored Six in that whole deal.   

Next on the scale, Marina/Seven.  She is MUCH less agitating that John (thank goodness).  But still, she tended to get on my nerves.  I think because she depended on her Cepan to teach her and she never learned anything, and the fact that she lived in a convent for many, many years, she deserves a little bit of a break.   But seriously, if I had been her, I would have explored my powers SO much more, and she just kind of let them be.  Plus, she's had so little experience in the real world, that her emotions and descriptions of it are very child-like, which can also tend to be annoying at times.  But, for being so new to the outside world and traveling, I can see that she handled it fairly well.

Now, the good.  Ella/Ten is an awesome character, but she just hasn't "blossomed" yet.  You can tell she has tons of potential to be awesome in the books to come, but The Rise of Nine seemed to be more of a transition for her from a shy little girl to a surviving Loric Guard.  She's good in this book, but you can tell that she'll be great in the books to come.

And now, the awesome.  Three words (or numbers, I guess): Six.  Eight.  Nine.  

Six: As kick-butt as usual.

Eight: YES.  I was so excited to meet Eight in this one.  He was awesome, kept a pretty cool head in tough situations, and was also pretty kick-butt.

Nine: We met him in The Power of Six, but didn't really get a look at his personality.  We definitely get to know him as he travels with Four in this book.  He has a quick temper, can definitely handle himself in a fight, is pretty relaxed and playful, but knows when to step up his game.

Those three were pretty much the highlights of the book.  They kept me interested and reading.  What made it a bit of a downer, though, was that of those three people, only Number Six was a narrator.  

"But Maggie!" you say, "Why have you not mentioned Number Five?"

Well, I would love to mention him, but I have no freaking clue who he is.  The suspense is killing me.  If he (or she) doesn't show up in the next book, I may pull my hair out, because the mystery is seriously getting to me.   I'm dying to know who it is.  

Anyway, as far as plot goes, I'd say this one was just about as action-packed as the others.  It definitely kept me on the edge of my seat at times, but there were other times when I'd hit a lull and had to set the book down for the sake of my sanity.  It was a good book, but it was definitely clear that it was a bridge book in the series.  I think all the best parts will begin in the next book, after we've (hopefully) met everyone and can finally get a little closer to the finish line.

The Rise of Nine was a good read, just not the best.  I still eagerly await the rest of the books and cannot wait to see this story continued.

Favorite quote from the book:
"We will not conquer our obstacles by running away from them.  Speed does not matter, just that we do not stop."

Peace out Girl Scouts!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

Review: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

Publishing Date: August 21, 2012

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Pages: 323 pages (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. She and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding.There, Miri also has a chance to attend school-at the Queen's Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening plans. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place. Picking up where "Princess Academy" left off, and celebrating the joys of friendship, romance and the fate of fairy tale kingdoms, this new book delivers the completely delightful new story that fans have been waiting for.


Note- There will be spoilers in this review if you have not read Princess Academy, the first book in the series.

I had such high expectations for Palace of Stone.  Sadly, though, it just did not reach the par that I had set for it.  

Princess Academy was a lovely story that I read when I was a child, probably around 4th or 5th grade.  I remember being fascinated with it, completely in love with the characters and the mountain village and, really, just the idea of this story on the whole.  

When I heard that Shannon Hale was going to write a new book, a sequel, I got pretty excited.  It had been years since I'd read the novel, so I took to reading it again earlier this year.  I loved it no less the second time around than the first.

So, I finally got my hands on Palace of Stone, extremely excited that I was able to read the story that the child inside of me was so ecstatic to continue.  It sat on my shelf for quite a few months, however, because of how crazy my school schedule was.  But, this Christmas break, I was finally able to dive deep into the world of Miri.  This time, though, I was not quite so impressed.

I'll go ahead and get through with the worst part of the review:  I could not stand the ending (no spoilers).  I felt like very little happened the way that I felt it should have, and that major problems were solved much more easily than if they had been in real life.  I thought that the ending was very rushed.  It seemed almost as if Shannon Hale was running close to the final word count that she needed, so she tried to close everything up much more quickly than she should have.  It just seemed very abrupt, unrealistic, and even slightly cliche.

Other than the ending, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  It was full of excitement, adventure, adjustments, friendships, passion of the unfairly treated citizens, and much, much more.  

One of the things I loved most about Palace of Stone was that I felt like Miri was growing up with me.  Princess Academy was, in my opinion, a novel written for children, and though teenagers and adults can easily love the story or follow along, it was directed more towards young girls, of late elementary school or early middle school age.  Palace of Stone, on the other hand, seemed to be written more towards readers who were a bit older, like teenagers.  Miri is older in this one, and along with that comes all the "teenager-ish" feelings to which we so easily connect.  
Also, I felt as if the content of this book was much more rich than the first.  Had I not been enrolled in 9th grade history this year, so much of this novel would have gone over my head.  The connections that Shannon Hale has made in Palace of Stone most definitely are made for teenagers in my opinion, making it perfect for those who read Princess Academy when it was first published, but have now grown a bit in age.

As I mentioned, allusions to history have much to do with Palace of Stone.  So much of this book coincides with the ideas and events of the French Revolution that I was absolutely shocked.  I loved it so much, being a bit of a history geek.  I loved being able to make the connections that I'd just learned about and see them come alive in this novel.  Anywhere from the Salons that Miri attended (gatherings to discuss politics and other major topics or goings-on of the country) to the revolutionary ideas that Hale intertwined to the novel, this book clearly connected with our own world's history.  Miri came across this passage in one of her books:

"A king is a servant to his people.  He rules by their consent.  If the king fails his people, it is their right to rebel."

This, I noticed, came almost directly from the ideas of John Locke, who was a major influence on the French and American revolutions.  So many things I loved about Palace of Stone, but I think nothing excited me more than the relations to our own history.  It gives the reader a chance to think and discover, if he or she only looks. 

Also, the plot of this book (up until the end, of course) was entirely captivating.  I could barely set the book down, it had me so wrapped in the story.  Hale does a lovely job in exciting her readers and enticing them to read more.

So, this book was an absolutely lovely read, though it pales in comparison to the first book, in my opinion.  I would recommend it, though, as it is a wonderful story that keeps the readers hooked throughout the story.

Favorite quote from the book:
"Words can fall hard like a boulder loosed from a cliff.  Words can drift unnoticed like a weed seed on a breeze.  Words can sing."

Peace out Girl Scouts!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

Review: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

Publishing Date: January 3, 2011 (First Published 1905)

Publisher: Simon and Brown

Pages: 268 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Armed with only his wits and his cunning, one man recklessly defies the French revolutionaries and rescues scores of innocent men, women, and children from the deadly guillotine. His friends and foes know him only as the Scarlet Pimpernel. But the ruthless French agent Chauvelin is sworn to discover his identity and to hunt him down.


This is another one of those "for-school" books that no one gets excited about.  I saw that we had to read it and my basic thought process was, "Dude.  Seriously? This is ridiculous.  No one wants to read this."  And, yes, for the most part, no one in my grade really wanted to read the book.  But we all had to.  So, I sucked it up and started.

The best thing that I can compare The Scarlet Pimpernel to is a Jane Austen novel, for those of you who have read any books by her.  I would say the structures are almost parallel.  

Let me lay it out for you: 

The beginning: dreadfully, awfully, painfully slow.  Horrid beyond compare.  Makes me want to throw the book across the room.  Or vomit.  It's awful.  (This is where the 5th star is lost.)

The slightly-after-beginning-slightly-before-the-middle: decent.  I can maybe tolerate this.

The middle: Wow.  This is growing on me.

The turning point (around the middle, somewhere in there (here we mirror Jane Austen novels): BAM.  WHOA.  DUDE.  I SUDDENLY CANNOT PUT THIS DOWN.



So, as you can see, this book did not turn out to be too bad.  I was so sucked into this book that I ended up reading majority of it over Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  Which, is an extremely busy time, and it is quite amazing to me that I was able to do it.  I seriously couldn't set it down.

The basic set up for The Scarlet Pimpernel: for those of you history fans, this is set during the French Revolution.  For those of you who aren't so interested in history (or if you are, but you can barely remember  high school history classes), basically, the French Revolution was a BLOODY war where the French common people overthrew their monarchy.  Thousands upon thousands of French nobles in that time period (including the king and his wife) were put under the guillotine (beheading device) and sentenced to death for nothing more than a mere rumor or for their title.

In this book, Baroness Orczy takes the facts from the French Revolution and adds in her own story line, that of an elusive, mysterious hero under the title "Scarlet Pimpernel".  The Scarlet Pimpernel takes these nobles, who had committed no crime other than their titles, and sneaks them out of Paris and into England, the "safe-zone", where the French Government cannot touch them.

Basically, this book blew my expectations out of the water.  The reader is SO emotionally attached to the characters, and the story is filled with the perfect balance of action and romance.  As strange as it may sound, it is actually a quite interesting book that captivates many who read it.

Favorite quote from the book:
"Fate is usually swift when she deals a blow."

Peace out Girl Scouts!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Obvious Game by Rita Arens

Cover Reveal: The Obvious Game by Rita Arens

Praise for The Obvious Game:

“I couldn’t put down The Obvious Game. Arens perfectly captures the hunger, pain and uncertainty of adolescence.” -- Ann Napolitano, author of A GOOD HARD LOOK and WITHIN ARM'S REACH

"The Obvious Game is a fearless, honest, and intense look into the psychology of anorexia. The characters—especially Diana--are so natural and emotionally authentic that you’ll find yourself yelling at the page even as you’re compelled to turn it." -- Coert Voorhees, author of LUCKY FOOLS and THE BROTHERS TORRES

"Let’s be clear about one thing: there’s nothing obvious about The Obvious Game. Arens has written a moving, sometimes heart-breaking story about one girl’s attempt to control the uncontrollable. You can’t help but relate to Diana and her struggles as you delve into this gem of a novel." -- Risa Green, author of THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL

Book Information:
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Release Date: Feb 7th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9856562-7-0 (ebook), 978-0-9856562-8-7 (Paperback)
Paperback Price: $13.99
Kindle: $4.99
To be available at all major online outlets: Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository

Pre-order now at Inkspell Publishing Website at a special discount of 30% on both paperback and ebook!

About The Author:

Rita Arens is the author of The Obvious Game and the editor of the award-winning parenting anthology Sleep Is for the Weak. She writes the popular blog Surrender, Dorothy ( and lives in Kansas City with her husband and daughter. The Obvious Game is her first young adult novel. She is at work on a second.

She’s been quoted by Bloomberg Businessweek, The Associated Press, Forbes Woman, the Wall Street Journal, Businessweek and Businessweek Online and featured in Breathe magazine, Get Your Biz Savvy, The Kansas City Star (archived material available on request), Today Moms (Today Show blog) and Ink KC.


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“Everyone trusted me back then. Good old, dependable Diana. Which is why most people didn’t notice at first.”