"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. ...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason, for anything."

~ Edward Cullen

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Library Loot (5)

***Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages readers to share the goodies that they picked up at their libraries each week!***

This is going to be a quick post. I'm reading The Knife of Never Letting Go and it is soooo good and I want to get back to it NOW :)

Here's what I got at the library this week:

  1. Kisses and Lies - Lauren Henderson: Sequel to Kiss Me, Kill Me which I had picked up last week
  2. Taken By Storm - Angela Morrison: This looks amazing and I have ready many many good reviews
  3. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone - Stephanie Kuehnert: I read a review about this one on one of the blogs I follow (I can't remember which one) and thought it looked good.
  4. Kissed By An Angel - Elizabeth Chandler: Has anyone read this one? I got it for the pretty cover :)

And that's it for me. What did you pick up at the library this week?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review: Secret Society

Title: Secret Society
Author: Tom Dolby
Rating: 3.5/5

An eccentric new girl. A brooding socialite. The scion of one of New York’s wealthiest families. A promising filmmaker. As students at the exclusive Chadwick School, Phoebe, Lauren, Nick, and Patch already live in a world most teenagers only dream about.

They didn’t ask to be Society members. But when three of them receive a mysterious text message promising success and fame beyond belief, they say yes to everything. Even to the harrowing initiation ceremony in a gritty warehouse downtown, and to the ankh-shaped tattoo they’re forced to get on the nape of their necks.

Once they’re part of the Society, things begin falling into place for them. Week after week, their ambitions are fulfilled. It’s all perfect—until a body is found in Central Park with no distinguishing marks except for an ankh-shaped tattoo (Author Website).

I didn't love this book like I thought I was going to. Instead, I found it to be just ok. While the writing itself was strong, I found the plot to be weak. I didn't feel like the story really got started until the last fifty or so pages. I'm not saying I felt like I wasted my time reading this - I just wish it had moved at a little faster pace. I'm hoping that Dolby can keep up the momentum he created at the end of Secret Society in the sequel. If he does, it could really be an amazing read.

Also, this book is not for those readers you want everything to be answered and wrapped up in a neat little bow, because let me tell you, after finishing this, I have more questions than I did when I started. There are just so many inner workings of the secret society that we have yet to find out about.

I did enjoy the characters, especially the main couple Phoebe and Nick and I'm interested to see where Dolby takes that relationship in coming books. I'm not sure when the next book in the series is coming out, but I heard rumor on his website around the winter of 2011. That's an awfully long time to go in between books, and I'm wondering if I will even remember what happened in this one when the time comes!

Tuesday Teaser (3)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

**Grab your current read
**Open to a random page
**Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
**BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
**Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers:

We hadn't met in the park since that first afternoon. One night I'd asked him whether he was trying to avoid seeing me there (pg 150).

~Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols

The car pulled to a stop on Central Park West, near Tavern on the Green. They unlocked the door, and Patch scrambled out, still shocked (pg 204).

~Secret Society - Tom Dolby

Monday, January 18, 2010

What are you reading? (2)

What are you reading on Mondays? is a fun meme created and hosted by J Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog.

Last week was a horrible reading week for me. I was only able to finish two books, and those were both yesterday. However, this coming week should be a lot better. We had a lot of birthday celebration stuff for DH and lots of Drs appointments that kept me rather distracted last week. Every night I looked at my books with longing, and then fell into bed!!
Last week I finished:
  • Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler
  • Glass - Ellen Hopkins

Currently I'm reading:

  • Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols
  • Secret Society - Tom Dolby

I know neither of these books were on my list to read last week but Secret Society is due back to the library and someone else has it on hold so it cannot be renewed, and I bought Going Too Far and it was just kinda calling my name (it is soooo good!!)

This week I'd like to finish:

  • Generation Dead - Daniel Waters (repeat from last week)
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness (repeat from last week that I really want to read)
  • Strange Angels - Lili St. Crow (repeat from last week --- I have heard awesome awesome things about this book and am absolutely determined to finish this book this week!)
  • Wonderous Strange - Leslie Livingston
  • Fallen - Lauren Kate
  • Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Hopefully this will be a great week and I'll be able to make some headway on my goal of reading 100 books this year!

Review: Glass

Title: Glass
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Pages: 681
Rating: 4.5/5

Crank. Glass. Ice. Crystal. Whatever you call it, it's all the same: a monster. And once it's got hold of you, this monster will never let you go.

Kristina thinks she can control it. Now with a baby to care for, she's determined to be the one deciding when and how much, the one calling the shots. But the monster is too strong, and before she knows it, Kristina is back in its grips. She needs the monster to keep going, to face the pressures of day-to-day life. She needs it to feel alive.

Once again the monster takes over Kristina's life and she will do anything for it, including giving up the one person who gives her the unconditional love she craves — her baby.

The sequel to Crank, this is the continuing story of Kristina and her descent back to hell. Told in verse, it's a harrowing and disturbing look at addiction and the damage that it inflicts (Cover Blurb).

This book took me a while to get through. It's not that I didn't like it. I did. Hopkins writing is mind blowing. But the subject of the book was super heavy and I often had to take a breather, and read something a little lighter.

Glass takes off where Crank ended. Kristina is still hiding from the "monster" and trying to raise her baby with the help of her mother and her step father Scott. However, the call becomes too much and sooner, rather than later, Kristina is back in the arms of crystal meth. Along the way, she meets Trey, a dealer who she ends up falling in love with. In Glass, we see how crystal meth continues to destroy Kristina and her life more and more. The ending of this novel was so powerful, I'm really interested to see where Hopkins takes it in the third and final book in the trilogy.

One thing that I really had to deal with in this novel, was my constant irritation with Kristina. I just wanted to reach into the pages and shake her. I was so disappointed in the choices she made, and how she put her habit before everything, including her infant son and her family. I found the whole thing to be a struggle to get through at times, but it doesn't mean I didn't like to book. On the contrary, I found Glass to be even more amazing written than Crank and cannot wait to read Hopkins other novels.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Review: Twenty Boy Summer

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Pages: 290
Rating: 4.5/5

"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer (Cover Blurb).

When I first saw the cover of this book, I was expecting a quick, light, flowery romance. However, what Ockler offers is a hard hitting, emotional, coming of age tale that I could not put down. I had a really slow reading week, and I was determined to read some today. This morning, I picked up Twenty Boy Summer. I had only read about fifty pages this week but I had no trouble getting caught up in the story and finishing it today. I adored this read. It was so heartfelt and touching, and I could not put it down!

The writing in this novel was very true to life, and I could feel every bit of Anna's grief due to the loss of Matt. Her feelings of confusion and sorrow stayed with you the entire time you read the story. I'm really looking forward to reading more fo Sarah Ockler, and seeing what other wonderful ideas she comes up with!

The one part of this book that really bothered me was the focus on sex. Both of the main characters were fifteen, and their main goal for the summer was to meet twenty boys and for Anna to lose her virginity. Maybe I'm turning into an old woman, but I was shocked by the implication that it was ok for fifteen year old girls to chase after guys and put so much focus on losing their virginity. I'm pretty sure I wasn't thinking about that kind of stuff when I was fifteen. Also, this book is recommended for ages 12 and up. I'm pretty sure if I had a twelve year old daughter, I would NOT want her reading this book! End of rant.

So all in all, I really enjoyed Twenty Boy Summer and would love to hear what others who have read it thought about it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Library Loot (4)

Another big library week for me. There's just so many good books out there and I can't help wanting to read them all! Here's the list:
  • Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side - Beth Fantasky - I am SOOOO excited for this one. I have heard really really great things about this!
  • Tricks - Ellen Hopkins - This is the newest release by Hopkins. Her writing style is so unique!
  • The Faerie Path - Frewin Jones - This is something different for me, but I'm trying new things this year so I thought this might be a good place to start
  • Moonlight - Rachel Hawthorne - I think this is the first book in a series --- Can someone confirm this??
  • Ruined - Paula Morris - I love the cover for this one, and I'm looking forward to a spooky read!
  • Skinned - Robin Wasserman - Another one that is completely different for me. Love the cover!
  • After - Amy Efaw - I haven't heard much about this book but the premise sounds awesome
  • Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - This has gotten rave reviews and many people stated it was their favorite read of 2009
  • Fallen - Lauren Kate - This one has gotten mixed reviews so I'm interested to see where I'll fall.

Well, that's it for me. I've had a busy week so not a ton of reading time but I'm hoping to be able to dive into these this weekend!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Teaser (2)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

**Grab your current read
**Open to a random page
**Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
**BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
**Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers:

Did he ever tell her about us? Did she see us kissing over a sink full of dishes when we thought no one was watching (116)?

~Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler

Mom and Scott have tried to leave me alone. In fact they've remained mostly silent, despite their assessing startes, which must confirm every suspicion (346).

~Glass - Ellen Hopkins

Monday, January 11, 2010

What are you reading? (1)

What are you reading on Mondays? is a fun meme created and hosted by J Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog. This is the first time I've ever participated but I thought it might be a good way to organize myself and my reading, especially now that I'm utilizing the library more!

Last week I finished:
  1. Liar: Justine Larbalestier
  2. Dairy Queen: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
  3. The Off Season: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
  4. Front and Center: Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Currently I'm reading:

  1. Glass: Ellen Hopkins

This week I'd like to finish:

  1. Generation Dead: Daniel Waters
  2. The Knife of Never Letting Go: Patrick Ness
  3. Strange Angels: Lili St. Crow
  4. Twenty Boy Summer: Sarah Ockler

All in all, I good week last week and what looks to be a really great week this time around!

DNF: The Otherworldlies

Title: The Otherworldlies
Author: Jennifer Anne Kogler

My first DNF of the year. I really tried with this book. I gave it a little over a hundred pages and then I just had to let it go. I couldn't connect with the characters and the story line itself was really confusing to me. I'd read a lot of mixed reviews about this one, so in a way I wasn't too surprised, just disappointed because I really wanted to like this one.

Review: Front and Center

Title: Front and Center
Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Pages: 254
Rating: 4.5/5

After five months of sheer absolute craziness I was going back to being plain old background D.J. In photographs of course I-m always in the background . . . But it turns out other folks have big plans for D.J. Like her coach. College scouts. All the town hoops fans. A certain Red Bend High School junior who's keen for romance and karaoke. Not to mention Brian Nelson, who she should not be thinking about! Who she is done with, thank you very much. But who keeps showing up anyway . . . Readers first fell in love with straight-talking D. J. Schwenk in Dairy Queen; they followed her ups and downs both on and off the court in The Off Season. Now D. J.steps out from behind the free-throw line in this final installment of the Dairy Queen trilogy(Goodreads.com).

What a satisfying end to a wonderfully written trilogy! I am so glad I took the time to read each of these books. Each one was just as good as the one before, and the whole series combined is, for lack of a better word, amazing. I especially enjoyed the story line of Front and Center, and felt that it was a nice wrap up to Dairy Queen and The Off Season.

Front and Center focuses more on DJ's relationships and her college choices. Trying to forget about Brian, DJ begins to date her friend Beaner, who makes her happy but really isn't the perfect guy for her. Despite liking him as a friend, DJ cannot help but compare the way she felt around Brian to the way things are with her and Beaner. She certainly can't talk to Beaner like she was able to talk to Brian. She constantly finds herself wanting to call Brian and ask his advice, and all together just misses him. It was nice to see this part of DJ because it made her even more real. Brian had meant a lot to her and he had caused her to open up about so many things, it was weird to have him missing.

Another huge part of Front and Center, is DJs relationship with Win and her hunt to find the perfect college and scholarship. Most of the book focuses on whether or not she should go to the Division I school, or if she should take the "easy way out" and play for a smaller Division III school. It's interesting to see DJ's thought processes as she works through these decisions and how others help to influence her in the choices she has to make.

All in all, the Dairy Queen trilogy has been one of my all time favorite reads! I recommend that everyone give them a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Review: The Off Season

Title: The Off Season
Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Pages: 277
Rating: 4/5

Life is looking up for D.J. Schwenk. She's in eleventh grade, finally. After a rocky summer, she's reconnecting in a big way with her best friend, Amber. She's got kind of a thing going with Brian Nelson, who's cute and popular and smart but seems to like her anyway. And then there's the fact she's starting for the Red Bend High School football team—the first girl linebacker in northern Wisconsin, probably. Which just shows you can't predict the future. As autumn progresses, D.J. struggles to understand Amber, Schwenk Farm, her relationship with Brian, and most of all her family. As a whole herd of trouble comes her way, she discovers she's a lot stronger than she—or anyone—ever thought. This hilarious, heartbreaking and triumphant sequel to the critically acclaimed Dairy Queen takes D.J. and all the Schwenks from Labor Day to a Thanksgiving football game that you will never forget (Goodreads.com).

What can I say? I really really like these books. They are so wholesome and good and well written. And I really enjoy reading these books from DJs point of view. Her voice is so clear and honest and really lets you know the emotional feeling of the story. I ended up reading this book in one sitting last night because I could not put it down, no matter how tired I was!

One of my favorite aspects of this story was the concentration on DJs family, even more so than in the first book. Not only do we get to discover new things about DJ herself, we also get to learn some pretty interesting stuff about DJs brothers too. I'm excited to see where Murdock takes these new developements in the third and final book in the trilogy: Front and Center (which thank God I got from the library the other day because I'd be really unhappy if I didn't have it to read!).

Oh and Brian...I just don't know what to think about him. I'm curious to see where he ends up in the third book, because things are not looking to great for him at the end of The Off Season. I still have a crush on him though :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Review: Dairy Queen

Title: Dairy Queen
Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Pages: 275
Rating: 5/5

When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.

Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D. J. can’t help admitting, maybe he’s right.

When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.

Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn’t so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won’t even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league.

When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.

Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say (Cover Blurb).

I loved this book. I really wish I had not let the cover of this book turn me off for so long. I've really missed out on reading something extremely entertaining and enjoyable! This book was a quick read, with a lot of humor, and a few laugh out loud moments. Plus, I'm pretty sure I have developed quite the crush on Brian Nelson. What a cutie pie!!

Set in a small town in Wisconsion, Dairy Queen tells the story of DJ Schwenk as she struggles to go to school, run the family dairy farm, and find her place in a family full of larger than life characters. The story itself is told by DJ, who on the outside is quiet and shy. However, on the inside, DJ has a lot to say about all sorts of things: football, farming, school and her family. And Murdock has developed DJ's character so well, that as the reader, you actually want to know what DJ is thinking about all these things.

Dairy Queen is more character driven then plot driven, so if you're looking for a lot of action this book won't have it. But what it does have is humor, sarcasm, and a wonderfully heartwarming story. I've already started the sequel, The Off Season and cannot wait to find out what happens to DJ and her family!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Library Loot (3)

***Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages readers to share the goodies that they picked up at their libraries each week!***

These posts are normally on Wednesday, but with having to work late, I am doing mine now so I don't miss it like I did last week!

Here's what I got this week:

Once A Witch - Carolyn MacCullough: I've read some good reviews about this one and I'm loving the cover!

Sea Change - Aimee Friedman: You want to know why I picked this book up? Because the guy on the front cover reminded me of Robert Pattison. I didn't even know what it was about until I got it home!

Kiss Me Kill Me - Lauren Henderson: I'm pretty sure I heard about this one a blog a long time ago, and I just happened to find it browsing through the stacks.

The Patron Saint of Butterflies - Cecilia Galante: I'm still not sure what this one is all about but I liked the butterfly on the cover.

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness: This book is getting a lot of hype and I wanted to give it a try. Plus it seems like something I wouldn't normally read and it is the year to try new things!

Betrayals - Lili St. Crow: I have the first one to read too. I've heard great great things about these books.

Hunger - Michael Grant: Sequel to Gone. I hate this cover even more!

Generation Dead - Daniel Waters: These books are supposed to be amazing. I figured they were at least worth checking out.

Secret Society - Tom Dolby: I just fell in love with the cover and it sounds really good too!

Dairy Queen, The Off Season, Front and Center - Catherine Gilbert Murdock: I've already started this trilogy and it is really cute and funny.

Tuesday Teaser

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

**Grab your current read
**Open to a random page
**Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
**BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
**Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

So thinking about all this stuff was the extent of my thrilling weekend, and Monday Brian came back. Which should have made me really happy, but I felt so jangled up, what with all those blown fuses, that seeing him, having him so close, made it that much worse (173).

~Dairy Queen - Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What a Crazy Tuesday!!

What a crazy, hectic Tuesday. Tomorrow won't be much better, because we have year end close at work, and I probably won't be home until midnight and then back at seven on Thursday morning. Doesn't leave me much time to get anything done, let alone read anything!

Because of all that, I'm taking tonight to put away the Christmas decorations and take down both the trees. In some ways I'm glad, in others, it is really sad. I think Christmas went so fast this year and I almost feel like I didn't get to enjoy anything. I think part of the issue, is all these Drs appointments for trying for the baby, and DH's dad being in the hospital, and having a death in the family just made it all mush together!!

So tonight I thought I'd share what I was listening to while I'm cleaning. Hope you enjoy!!

Piano Man - Mr. Billy Joel --- Love Him!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Review: Liar

Title: Liar
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Pages: 384
Rating: 4/5

Micah will freely admit she’s a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she’ll ever tell you. Over the years she’s fooled everyone: her classmates, her teachers, even her parents. And she’s always managed to stay one step ahead of her lies. That is, until her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances and her dishonesty begins to catch up with her. But is it possible to tell the truth when lying comes as easily as breathing?

Taking listeners deep into the psyche of a young woman who will say just about anything to convince them — and herself — that she’s finally come clean, Liar is a bone-chilling thriller that will have listeners seesawing between truths and lies right up to the end. Honestly (BN.com).

I don't even know where to start with this review. I'm still not sure what I was expecting when I started it, but I certainly was not prepared for all the twists and turns this book has. I'm pretty sure I'm still reeling!

The main character of this book, Micah, is a liar. We know that from the very beginning of the story. We can tell from the title of the book. There is really no reason to believe her. And then the story starts. And it sounds like the truth. I think/thought it was the truth. Now I'm not so sure. I don't want to give away any spoilers, plus the whole thing is so hard to explain, so you'll have to read the book to find out what I mean.

I will say, the writing in this book is phenomenal. This is the first book I've read by this author, but I will definitely be looking up her other stuff. However, the best part about this book is the premise. I don't think I've read a book that was quite this original in a long long time.

I did a bit of research when I finished the book, and happened upon the author's website. On her website is a short blog about not spoiling the book for others, and included in that is this quote:

I deliberately wrote the book to be read in at least two different ways. You may think you know what kind of book it is and what kind of person Micah is, but you’ll find other readers will disagree with you completely. There is no one right way to read this book. And that’s why I’m so keen for readers not to spoil it for others. Because I want each reader to come to their own conclusions (Link).

More than anything else I can say, I think this one short quote somes up the feelings of the book. There is no right way to read it and there is no right answer. It makes me wonder sometimes if Larbalesteir is even aware of what the answer is. But I have my theories...that I do.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Review: Hate List

Title: Hate List
Author: Jennifer Brown
Pages: 402
Rating: 5/5

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life (Amazon.com).

One of the most powerful stories I have ever read, Hate List had me in tears the last 50 pages or so. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop and barely moved from the couch all day. The raw emotions in this read had me rooted to the spot. Even now, hours after finishing it, it is all I can think about.

Kudos to Jennifer Brown for tackling such a taboo topic in such a powerful and poignant manner. From the very first chapter, I felt every emotion that affected Valerie. I was Valerie. I too could not get over the fact that Nick, the boy who loved Shakespeare, had shot down an entire roomful of students. I too had trouble coming to terms with all that had happened. And through each event that Valerie experienced, I saw how she struggled with the fact that in a way she was responsible for all that had happened.

In my opinion, Hate List is a novel that everyone should take the time to read. It is well written, with flawed, true to life characters. It can be emotionally draining, but uplifting at the same time. Heartbreakingly honest, Hate List is already one of the best reads of all time for me. I will definitely be looking for more to come from the talented Jennifer Brown.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Goals

Well it's that time of year again. Time to start fresh, and make some new reading goals. I reviewed my reading goals from that I made last year and I've accomplished two of the five (or six...now I can't remember). I did read books off of my TBR pile, and I did review every book I read this year. So some of my goals will stay the same this year, and some will be tweaked to better suit my needs :)

1. STOP BUYING BOOKS. This one is really important. I have a TON of books that I already own, and I need to read them and enjoy them before I buy more. Also, I need to utilize my local library more (something I've been really super good about this past month!). Since we're still working on having a baby, we need to start saving, not spending...lol.

2. BLOG MORE OFTEN. Sadly, my average number of blogs per month is only about six. I started out really good last year and had one month with 17 posts, but as life got busy, I got distracted. We all know how that goes.

3. READ MORE BOOKS. In 2008, I read 24 books. In 2009, I almost doubled that and read 45 books. This year I'd like to read 100. If I watch less TV (something I really need to do anyway), and utilize my hour lunch, I'm pretty sure I could easily accomplish this goal.

4. TRY NEW GENRES. I tend to stick to the basics that I know I'll like, but sometimes I feel like I'm really missing out on some awesome reads because they just don't seem like my type (you'd think I'd learn...I said the same thing about my husband six years ago and that worked out quite well...hehehe).

5. FINISH SOME SERIES. This was a goal last year also. I think I may have finished one or two, and started about six or seven. Definitely something I need to work on.

6. COMMENT MORE! I would really like to see more traffic on my own blog, but in order to do that I need to let people know it's out there. So I need to stop lurking and start commenting. This will probably be the hardest thing for me to do. I'm a pretty shy person, so even saying hi over a blog comment can give me sweaty palms!!

and finally...

7. MAKE MY BLOG MORE INTERACTIVE. I'd love to do some type of discussion, maybe host a contest, or create my own challenge. I'd really love to do an author interview.

So on that note, I'm off to read. The house is clean, the hubby is fed, and we don't have to be anywhere for a few hours. Enjoy your New Year's and good luck with all of YOUR goals!!

Review: The Chosen One

Title: The Chosen One
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Pages: 213
Rating: 4.5/5

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much---if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.

But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever (Cover Blurb).

One of the most chilling novels I have ever read, The Chosen One made me thank God for the freedoms and choices I have been allowed to make for myself my entire life, including deciding to whom I would be married.

This book had me riveted to my seat. I stayed up until two in the morning, turning pages, wanting to know the end to Kyra's story. At times, I wanted to reach into the pages, and save her myself.

Trapped in a cult, where she is being forced to marry her 60 year old uncle (eww), Kyra begins to rebel. Not only has she been sneaking books, but she's fallen in love and she wants to make her own choice. She wants to marry the boy that she loves, not the one that "The Prophet" has chosen for her. As the reader, we get to see her inner struggle. We see how the way Kyra was raised pulls her in one direction, while the ideas she has gained from her small interactions with the outside world pull her in another.

Definitely one of the best novels I read in 2009, The Chosen One should be on every readers TBR pile.

Review: Crank

Title: Crank
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Pages: 537
Rating: 5/5

Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina --- she's fearless.

Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul --- her life (Cover blurb).

Can someone please tell me WHY I waited so long to read Ellen Hopkins??? I came home from work yesterday at 11:30am and started this book and was done by six. It was absolutely one of the most amazing books that I have ever read in my entire life. Are all her books this riveting?? I could not put this book down for anything. Kristina's story was so real, and touched me so deeply. I truly felt all of her pain, her need, her loss. It was like I was living with the monster.

This book is hard edged, true to life, and will absolutely blow you away. If you've ever watched the show Intervention, and seen how the drugs and alcohol has affected people's lives, this book will give you those same feelings. At times, I was close to tears. Other times, I was completely frustrated with Kristina and her decisions. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

Not only was the story telling superb, Hopkins writing style and poetry is some of the best I have ever seen. The way she writes, and the way she shapes the words on the page makes for an incredible read.

I have already started the sequel to this novel, Glass. Just a few pages in, I can already tell that this book is going to be as riveting as it predecessor.

So, my advice to you would be to run, not walk, to your nearest library, bookstore, bookmobile, where ever you need to go and get your hands on a copy of Crank. You will not be disappointed.

Review: Deadly Little Secret

Title: Deadly Little Secret
Author: Laurie Stolarz
Rating: 3/5

Until three months ago, everything about sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at an art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes far from ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe he's trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. Instead she's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help – but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something...but he's not the only one with a secret (Cover Blurb).

I'm not sure how I feel about this book. I finished it this past weekend, and am just now finding the time to write the review. The bad thing is, I don't really remember much about it. The story line just didn't stick with me.

I will say that the story did have a creepy vibe. I suspected that everyone was the bad guy, especially Camelia's boss Spencer. Something about that guy just gave me the heebie jeebies. Plus, whenever they mentioned him, I always pictured the guy who plays Spencer, the older brother on iCarly. It was a bit distracting...lol.

I really hated the ending of this book, and I'm hoping that the sequel (which I placed on hold at the library) will help to clear up some of my questions. I've heard that the second book is better than the first, so I'm hoping it will make me want to stick with the series.

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