Follow Friday!

Happy Friday, everyone! Since it's the last one of the year, I'd like to give a huge cyber hug & shout-out to all my friends in the lovely blogosphere - you guys are awesome and my blog could not have made it this far without your help! Thank you all so much!

Question: What are your New Years Blogging Resolutions?

*Takes a deep breath* Well, first off, I love my template and layout (I really do!) but I think it's time for a change; I'm gunna keep it sweet and simple, but I wanna play around with the colour scheme and the positions of certain things. Also, my quotes page has been under construction for a while and I think it's time I make it pretty again... Lastly, I have this habit of buying books and not reading them until months later (which doesn't really have anything to do with blogging but kinda does, in a way). It's going to be one of my resolutions to read a book within a few weeks of purchase (because when I don't, I feel bad for spending more money on others). What about you guys? What were some of your resolutions?


Shatter Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Pages: 352
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now. 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 
My SummaryJuliette has been a freak for her entire life. After being born with the ability to seriously injure or kill with just a touch, she spent her life avoiding human contact. After a horrible accident when she's 14, she's taken away from her family and locked up.
At 17, Juliette is living in a 8 by 10 concrete cell with nothing but a notebook and a broken pen for company. After 264 days of isolation, the amazing occurs: she gets a cell mate. The arrival of this cell mate spurs a chain reaction that leads Juliette away from everything she thought she knew and into a world where her curse is actually discovered to be an extremely valuable gift.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this novel! It definitely wasn't like anything else I've read in a while, and the characters were really interesting. I really enjoyed the view of Juliette's life of solitude and getting to see her thoughts - it really helped the reader connect with her. The author really got the feeling of solitude and loneliness across to the reader, making it feel edgy and gritty (which I love). I really liked the way the author described the dystopian society: she helped us see it through the eyes of the main character instead of just describing it to us. 

I also really liked the whole element of gift vs. curse, and the responsibilities of being born with an ability like Juliette's - it added an extra layer to the book that made it feel like more than just another dystopian novel. 

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one; I recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopian YA, paranormal YA, and romance. Can't wait to see how the rest of the series will turn out!


Follow Friday!

Happy Friday, everyone (finally)! 

What do you do with your books after you've finished reading them?

This is gunna sound horrible, but I have pretty much hoarded every book I ever had. I have them all, and believe me when I say they're not going anywhere, ever. Usually when I finish reading them, though, I'll take them to my cousin (who is just as OCD as I am when it comes to books) so she can read them and give me her opinion on them. After she's read them, they either go one of two places: on a shelf, where they'll be on display for a while (usually my favourites go on the shelves) while the others go on a different shelf or into one of the boxes I have for my books (think one of those old trunks people used to put clothes in). 

Wow, I just read over what I typed and realized I sound a little obsessed. Oh well! What above you guys?

***Important: If you leave me your blog name (or just a comment on this post) I WILL follow you back NO MATTER WHAT! So even if I don't leave a comment, rest assured that I have returned your follow. Thanks guys! :)


500 Follower Giveaway!

500 Follower Giveaway: international; closes to entries on December 31st. 

*There will be a total of 6 winners who will each receive a book!*

my twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/sch_94


Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Author: Laini Taylor
Pages: 418
Publisher: Little, Brown
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. 

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. 

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out. 

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
My Summary: Karou was raised by a loving family ... of monsters. Living with them in their shop, Karou was raised in the world of chimera and magic. She's had everything she could ever wish for, but Karou always felt that she was supposed to be doing something else; supposed to be somewhere else....

But its not until mysterious burning handprints begin to appear on the doorways to her family's world - cutting her off from the only people who have ever cared about her - does Karou discover the truth about who she is and where she came from. In the midst of all this, Karou is drawn to the mysterious stranger she met with the piercing eyes; he almost killed her the first time they met, but she's determined to figure out what his role is in the disappearance of her chimera family.

My Thoughts: Once in a while a book comes along that's unlike any other in its genre - Daughter of Smoke & Bone is definitely that book. When I read the first stopped to read the first few lines in the bookstore, it turned into the first few pages, and then into the first two chapters. At that point I checked my watch and realized I was going to be late for work, so I grabbed a copy, paid for it, and ran out the door. My thoughts were still stuck on the book all through my shift, and when I finally got home, I didn't stop reading until I was done the book.

The writing was flawless, and I adored the use of Prague as the setting - I mean, it's Prague! It added to the whole mysterious atmosphere of the novel and made me want to book a ticket on the next plane. I also really liked the fact that it's not a typical YA romance where boy meets girl and they find out they're meant to be together forever and music starts playing and everything is pink and smells like cotton candy... you know what I mean. This novel was edgy (which I love) and didn't have that typical YA story-line. 

Final Thoughts: If you haven't already, pick up a copy of Daughter of Smoke & Bone! I recommend it to anyone over 16 who enjoys more complex and mature paranormal YA.


Follow Friday!

It's finally Friday! :P

Q: What book do you think everyone should read?

I personally think Harry Potter should be something everyone has the opportunity to read (I know, I'm obsessed, it's time to admit it). And if I could, I'd make it required reading for high school English - I mean, seriously, it's 987454985468 times more interesting than some of the things I've had to trudge through! But hey, that's just my opinion! Stolen by Lucy Christopher is a great one too, but some people may not be able to handle it. Anyways, how about you guys?


The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern
Pages: 387
Publisher: Doubleday
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
My Summary: Celia and Marco have been trained in the magical arts since they were children. Told only that they will have to face a powerful opponent one day, each is taught using a different school of thought: Celia's a crude course designed by her father, and Marco's a more study-based curriculum. After being pitted against one another for years, the two begin to fall in love - a love that cannot possibly last, since the object of the game is to be the last one standing.

My Thoughts: I adored this novel. It had everything I love in a book mashed together and wrapped in black, white, and silver. The mystery and suspense kept my eyes glued to the pages and kept me from thinking about anything else but the book when I wasn't reading - I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. 

The author's writing was amazing: I'm a huge fan of intertwining story-lines, and Morgenstern pulls it off beautifully. The characters were great as well - they feel like real people that you can't help but feel bad for. What I really, really loved about this novel, though, was the way that the circus itself felt like a character (for those of you who've read Incarceron and Sapphique, you know what I mean by that). Reading this novel was an amazing experience, and I know I'll definitely be re-reading this one soon.

Final Thoughts: If you haven't checked out The Night Circus yet, you're missing out. I recommend it for readers 16 and up - especially if you liked Water for Elephants.

Liesl & Po

Author: Lauren Oliver
Pages: 307
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.
That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.
Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.
My Summary: Ever since the devastating loss of her father, Liesl has been kept hidden in the attic by her stepmother. Given little food and nothing else to do, Liesl comforts herself with her drawings. 
Liesl's talent catches the eye of a mysterious ghost named Po and his pet Bundle, who keep Liesl company in her dreary prison cell. But once a chain of events is set off and Liesl's father's ashes are mixed up with a box containing something extremely precious, Liesl and Po escape the attic, setting off on an adventure that will - unbeknownst to them - save the world as they know it.
My Thoughts: The minute I found out Lauren Oliver had written a children's book, I knew I'd be reading it - she's one of my all-time favourite authors, and I adore her writing style; the way she intertwines multiple story lines to create one big story is awesome and always well-done. I had extremely high expectations for this novel, and it did not disappoint.
There's a quote that describes Liesl & Po pretty well in my opinion: "You have to write whichever book it is that wants to be written. And then, if it's going to be too difficult for grown-ups, you write it for children." Although it is a children's book, Liesl & Po deals with some pretty difficult issues and makes it easy to understand for kids. I loved the concept of the Other Side - the author paints such a vivid picture of Po's world that its impossible to not want to see it.
The writing was flawless as usual, and the characters were great - my favourite were Will and Moe. The drawings were amazing as well, and I thought they really added to the story.
Final Thoughts: I recommend this to parents of kid 8 and up - it would make a great bedtime story or just something you read together. I loved it myself and I'm way too old for children's books, so I think adults and teens would like it as well. Check out out!