Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kathy's TBR Pile

The dreaded TBR pile. Gotta love it. Gotta hate it. As book bloggers, I think it's pretty safe to say we all have one. Whether it's a mountain of books that are due for review, getting a little too trigger happy on the giveaways, being addicted to NetGalley, not being able to resist an author review request that just sounds too fabulous for words or ... gasp! ... going on a huge book shopping spree.

There are many ways to make your home look like you have the bookish equivalent of Mt. Everest sitting on your bookshelves (and dresser, and floor, and bedside table, and...) Yeah. It can be that bad.

Below you will find my current TBR pile. This will give you an idea of the books that I have here and that I will (hopefully!) be reading in the future.

Kathy's TBR Pile: (For Review)

Note: dates provided where possible.

Kathy's TBR Pile: (Personal)

Please be aware that this is my personal reading pile. These are not books that are scheduled for an actually dated review. They have either been purchased by me, received as a gift or won in a giveaway. 

*I realize the book noted with this symbol is part of a series and that it should be read in the correct reading order.

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I gave Anna and the French Kiss three stars. Let's put that up front and get it out of the way right now. I know a lot of people absolutely adore that book and I feel telling you this may give you some insight in where I'm coming from before I begin talking.

With that said, I liked Lola better. While I did still have some issues with the book, I also feel that Perkins is going the "right way" as a writer and is getting better. I also have to admit that I did not get to read this as "straight through" as I would have liked. I've been really busy with a lot of things and this got read between them.

But that doesn't mean I don't have an opinion. :) Here is my review of Lola and the Boy Next Door.

The Plot: (Summary from GoodReads)
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

As is the case with most of the contemporary YA I've read and liked, Lola and the Boy Next Door thoroughly brought me into Lola's life and let me experience her world fully. The main focus of the plot is, of course, the return of Cricket Bell. But the bond between Lola and her parents, and the situation with her and her (current, as of the beginning of the book) boyfriend, Max, helped to flesh out the story and make everything feel more real.

Perkins uses the same general plot device -- one of the characters is not available -- that she used in Anna and the French Kiss. While I still don't necessarily feel that it is the strongest or most compelling plot device (which may well have to do with a background in fantasy, paranormal and science fiction) I think it worked better having the spoken-for party be the narrator. While I did not feel that the reader got to clearly see what was going on with Etienne, which made me feel slightly cheated, I felt that I really got to watch Lola grow and her perception of what she had with Max shift and change.

Her parents played such a huge role in this story and I really liked them. There is so much YA where parents don't really get to have a part. I felt it was refreshing to see them add so much to both the conflict that drove the plot -- they don't like Max -- and to the depth and scope of Lola's world. Much like Lola, there were moments that I thought they were awesome and moments where I sat there thinking "Yep. I'll keep my own, thanks!" I also think that Perkins did a good job of creating a complicated family dynamic without taking any cheap shots at it. When I heard the varying things she was doing here I was curious how that would turn out, but I feel she handled everything in this department with style and grace.

I liked the appearances from Anna and Etienne, too. It was nice to see what was happening with them, and I didn't see the mistake of having them take over or overshadow Lola and Cricket's book, which was something I was concerned about. Rather, the connection between these characters made it feel that the world -- even though it is our own -- that Perkins was writing in had continuity; that it could and did grow and change. That characters kept living after a cover was closed. 

The Characters:

Despite how quirky she was, I genuinely liked Lola. I don't know whether I want to go so far as to say that I could totally relate to her, but she wasn't the type of character who had me running for cover and wanting to launch a book in the air from a catapult. I found her interest in fashion, and her devotion to it, interesting. I also like that by the end of the book she comes to value the fact that it should enhance her, rather then mask or hide her. This was a difference that I felt she had trouble recognizing and I was glad to see that addressed. 

Cricket was great, and I was definitely counting on and looking forward to that. Regardless of any other comments I might make about Stephanie Perkins writing, she is an absolute master at creating male leads who are equal parts swoon-worthy and down to earth. Cricket is an intriguing character who has clearly taken time to get as comfortable in his skin as he now is. And even though he has grown and adapted, he still possesses a certain level of vulnerability that made me feel that he is the kind of guy I would love to swipe from Lola myself. (If I was a character who was the right age, etc. obviously!)

Max is the downfall, unfortunately. I agree with those who say that his development does not make full sense. I got a distinct feeling that Perkins felt responsible for discouraging dating between adults and minors. If this issue bothered her, I feel it would have been in better service of the story not to go there. The way that Max's character changes throughout the story felt unnatural and forced. I was really hoping my view on this would be different, but I have to call it like I see it. 

The Romance: 

I think that the majority of what happens between Lola and Cricket is very sweet. I liked learning about their history and being able to see how they have grown and changed. This also helped to ensure that there was no doubt that this wasn't something that was instant -- not that Stephanie Perkins needs any help in that area of her writing! 

As I said with Anna, I am not the biggest fan of people leaving one relationship because of another. I didn't feel as strongly about this in Lola as I did in Anna, likely because the situation is on Lola's end and is much clearer. Still, I must give the save statement I gave in Anna... Who says someone better won't come along again? I get it. They're teenagers and perhaps this is the "point". But regardless of age group, when I read a romance I don't want to be thinking "...and two weeks later they broke up." I didn't feel this as strongly here, and clearly Etienne and Anna *didn't*. But it's a pet peeve of mine.

Once again, let me say that Max and Lola, as a couple, was a giant weak point. If he was a crappy boyfriend, that should have been apparent from either the *very* beginning, or at least very early on. Not just when it became convenient for the story. This didn't ruin the book, but it did stand out in a not-so-flattering way. I really hope that Stephanie Perkins can find a new plot device to move her books forward at some point, because this one (unlike in fantasy where we might be able to argue that everyone wants to save the world, to be fair...) is very narrow and does not leave a lot of room for interpretation.

In General:

Bah, I did it again didn't I? I did a whole bunch of complaining and nit-picking. I really don't do that to be cruel. I think that Stephanie is a truly gifted writer and that in the aspects of writing that her strengths lie in -- creating richly detailed lives for her characters, creating guys who are truly worthy book crushes and writing in a style that is both richly descriptive and effortless to read -- she genuinely excels. 

It's because she is this good at these things that I am pointing out issues that I see. Not only because I know a lot of people are going to see Stephanie Perkins and do an auto-five-star because they loved the story. But also because I genuinely believe that she is going to keep getting better and better. And when she finally does write something that I feel is worthy of five stars -- or even the Kat's Meow -- I want to be able to give that to her. 

As for Lola and the Boy Next Door? Go and grab it up! It's "Great!" and is the sort of book that is perfect for reading by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa. This book will be making the rounds to my family and friends this holiday season and I'm sure that *they* will be the one's asking me "What the heck were you talking about in that review?" 

If you loved Anna and the French Kiss, then it follows that Lola and the Boy Next Door should be on your bookshelf. For those who haven't read either book, you really should. Despite my nitpicking, they really are a fine example of high quality, well written fluffy contemporary romance. Enjoy! 

Waiting On Wednesday (Nov. 30th)

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's can't wait to read it selection is...

Replication: The Jason Experiment
by Jill Williamson
When Your Life Is Not Your Own

Martyr---otherwise known as Jason 3:3---is one of hundreds of clones kept in a remote facility called Jason Farms. Told that he has been created to save humanity, Martyr has just one wish before he is scheduled to 'expire' in less than a month. To see the sky.

Abby Goyer may have just moved to Alaska, but she has a feeling something strange is going on at the farm where her father works. But even this smart, confident girl could never have imagined what lies beneath a simple barn. Or what would happen when a mysterious boy shows up at her door, asking about the stars.

As the reality of the Jason Experiment comes to light, Martyr is caught between two futures---the one for which he was produced and the one Abby believes God created him to have. Time is running out, and Martyr must decide if a life with Abby is worth leaving everything he's ever known.

Whoa. That was my first reaction. The book caught my attention because my boyfriend's name is Jason -- even if he does tend to go by Jay. When I started to read the summary, though, I knew this had to be my WOW pick, because wow do I want to read it now! 

1. Is a world where you will not exist worth saving?

2. Are people who have created such a monstrous environment worth dying for?

3. Is it selfish or wrong to wish for one's own survival, regardless of one's creation?

4. When and if one starts thinking for oneself, is that what makes you a person? (i.e. when does something stop being 'just a clone'?)

5. Is love worth turning one's back on everything? No matter the cost?

I am intrigued. I must read this. It clearly has me thinking in all sorts of interesting ways and coming up with hypothetical questions already. Great! 

So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday? Feel free to leave a link!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top 10 Books on my TBR for Winter

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Ah, winter. What better time is there then this to snuggle up with a good book and a cup of cocoa while basking in the warmth of a roaring fire? When I was a kid winter was the time to hole up in the basement playing Super Mario Brothers or Final Fantasy II, but now that I'm so busy with my blog books have taken up a large amount of the time that I use to devote to gaming. 

Part of this is that you can't "lose" at reading a book. Part of this is that I feel the only way I can write my own book to the best of my ability is to read, part of this is that books don't hurt my wrist like games do, and (mostly) part of this is that I love books.

I have a huge backlog of books that I need to get read, and even more that are on my to-be-bought list. Here are the top ten books that I want to read most this winter. Enjoy! 

1. The Mephisto Covenant
by Trinity Faegen
I finally have this in my possession, all I need now is the time to actually read it. I've been itching to get my hands on this book since I first heard about it around the start of September and I finally got to pick it up on a recent trip to Chapters. Expect to see my review for this soon because odds are I won't be able to hold off from reading this for very long. It really sounds like my kind of book. 

2. Destined
by Jessie Harrell
I am a huge fan of Greek mythology. I've said that a zillion times by this point. This book, which is a retelling of the myth of Eros and Psyche (Cupid and Psyche for those not familiar with the actual Greek name for him) and it sounds absolutely fabulous. This has been getting rave reviews everywhere and yet I couldn't buy it at Chapters. Guess what's got the top spot on my next Amazon order? 

3. Lenobia's Vow
by P.C. & Kristen Cast
This doesn't release until the end of January, but I am already counting down the days. I am a huge fan of the House of Night series and the events that happened in Destined have me very eager to read Lenobia's story. I know that some people are kinda "meh" on these novellas, but I love the insight that they give on some of the characters and I love how they tie into the main books. Dragon's was excellent and I'm sure Lenobia's will be great, too.

4. Hush, Hush
by Becca Fitzpatrick
I've told you guys that I want to get ahold of this book and give my two cents on it. Well, it's now sitting on my bed and I got to spend a few minutes with it. And I think ... You'll have to wait until I've finished it and written my review. ;) Yes, I know some of you are probably sitting there with copies of Silence going "What?! You're just reading that now?" Yes, it's funny how life can turn out that way. But I really can't wait to dive into this fully. (Waiting for my parents to show up at Chapters does not count.)

5. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
by Morgan Matson
I've been talking about this one a lot lately, and I finally got ahold of it at Chapters. That was no small feat -- it was one of those books that was hiding from me and that I needed to get someone to help me find. I enjoy finding books so this always frustrates me. Especially when I'm holding six other titles (could not set down the one copy they had of The Mephisto Covenant!) and they all keep wanting to drop. But I have it now and, as with all things, it's only a matter of time until I get to read it. 

6. Eternal Starling
by Angela Corbett
This one just sounds too amazing to pass up. I had a really interesting discussion with Angela about soulmates when she was doing her blog tour and I left a comment during one of the stops. It's also a book that I won a bookmark for, so it seems like it would only be right that I need the book, too. If it tells you how bad I want this, I'll likely end up ordering it via since it isn't up on because I am so anxious to own it. I'm a sucker for a GOOD love triangle and this one looks like it has purpose. 

7. Die For Me
by Amy Plum
How long have I been going on about wanting to read this? And I finally have it ... and it's sitting here. Ack! I have books I need to get done this month that are on a due date and I really need to get moving on those so I can get to the backpile of books I'm dying to read that I haven't yet. This sounds like it is going to be totally to die for -- pun intended -- and I absolutely cannot wait. Plus, I'm sure you guys are "dying" for the giveaway I'm going to be doing since I ended up with two copies. 

8. Fever
by Lauren DeStefano
Can we say "possibly my most anticipated book of 2012?". It's currently between this and Insurgent by Veronica Roth, but that's got a May release date so it doesn't apply here. Wither was amazing and I actually didn't realize how incredible I thought it was until months later ... when I was still thinking about Linden ... and I had to admit that the book needed to go up a star. Yeah. As a reviewer, Wither kicked my butt. And I am sure that Fever will be equally amazing. I must know what happens!

9. Blue Sky Days
by Marie Landry
This has a lot going for it as I prepare to dive in. The premise sounds fantastic. I love contemporary romance and the idea of a girl needing to learn to have fun with life should be interesting. It also has the whole cancer aspect, which I admit may be a bit tough for me, but which will also provide a real challenge for these characters to face and grow from -- hopefully together. It doesn't hurt that Marie is a friend and that I wish her all the best. But don't expect anything less then the truth from me when it comes time to review. :)

10. Earth Angel
by E. Van Lowe
Lets wrap this up with a book I'll be reading and reviewing this week. I totally loved Boyfriend from Hell, and I have the good fortune of being in possession of a copy of the sequel. Earth Angel has been way up there on my list of books to read ever since I finished the first book, but other things have needed to get done too. I'm a bit busy with things right now, but you can rest assured I'll have a review out for this when it launches on Dec. 6th. If it's as awesome as Boyfriend from Hell I might even throw a little giveaway. :) 

Well that's my list for this week. Did you see anything there that you want to read? Do we have any books in common? Are there any books that instantly made you cringe and want to go "Run, don't walk, in the opposite direction!"? Whatever your opinion, I would love to hear it. And feel free to link me to your list so I can drop by and visit. Have a great day! 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Moon Dance Monday (Nov. 28th)

Hey guys! It's Monday. You know what that means: I take the reader cap off and put the writing cap on for another installment of Moon Dance Mondays!

Since Christmas is quickly approaching, I thought that it might be fun to share a scene from the book with you over the next few weeks.

All you need to do is come back each week to see what will happen next. I will be sharing at least three things: one for Kesyl, one for Kyden and one for Avish. I'll also be tackling a particular challenge each of these has given me. Ready to have some fun? Read on...

Writing a Vulnerable Hero: Kesyl

Kesyl Veradayne has the power to take peoples' souls. He is the God of Judgement in the Underworld. His human form is the creation of the Lord of the Dead and the Goddess of the Moon. He is a total and complete badass... Unless you're talking about Sarena Lengton.

I wanted two things when I started writing Kesyl. First, I wanted to write a character who thought he was absolutely certain about everything. As a God of Judgement, Kess can have no room to second guess himself. His word is absolute and carries real and dangerous powers. Even if he is not totally certain about something, he has to convince others that he believes he is.

On the other hand, Kess is a lot more niave then most people would ever imagine. And when his trust is burned by his ex-girlfriend, who sneaks around with his best friend Jayden before our story begins, it leaves Kess with some real issues in the dating department. Which only makes it more complicated when the next girl to enter his life just happens to be Jayden's little sister...

Moon Dance Sample:

*Note: This is all from my -rough draft-. There is a good chance that some stuff here will change. You have been warned! 

"We need to talk." Kess sat on Jayden's bed, watching him wrap Christmas presents. "I need your advice."

"About Sara, I'm guessing?" Jayden flashed him a Cheshire Cat grin and Kess wondered if he had picked the right person. Jayden's reputation with girls was well known and well deserved. But that rep was for loving and leaving. Staying? Not so much.

"You got it." Kess let himself fall back on the bed and stretched like a lazy cat. "Now that I have her, what do I do?"

"Whoa, there. What do you mean, you have her?"

Was this really so hard to understand? "At the mall the other day. I told all of those people she is mine."

Jayden's laughter made Kess want to throw something. "Might want to clue Sara in. She hasn't been acting like a girl who has a new boyfriend from what I've seen."

"What do you mean?"

"Really, Kess?" Jayden threw a pen and it bounced off Kess' leg. "Have you asked her to be your girlfriend? Have you even asked her on a date?"

"She and I are destined."

"For the love of God, tell me you didn't tell her that."

"No. It needs to be her choice." Kess wondered whether Amy might have been the better advisor.

"She wanted to see New Moon. Why don't you ask her to do that?"

"I suppose I could." Kess tried to remember what the movie was about. "Oh, man. A vampire movie?"

Jayden's body shook with silent chuckles. "Girls love those for some reason I can't fathom. Favor?"

"What do you need?"

"Snow. If I hear one more person cry that there isn't any--"

"Done."  Kess waved a hand toward the bedroom window. He let his spirit leave his body and float outside. Glistening silvery white snowflakes began to cover the ground. Returning to full consciousness he turned to look at Jayden. "You just want it to look pretty, right?"

"Right." Jayden set a wrapped gift on the floor. He turned to look at Kess, his dark blue eyes lit with realization. "You haven't wrapped the stuff you bought yet, have you?"

"No. Why?"

Jayden threw some wrapping supplies at Kess. "Good luck with that. I think you'll need it."

"Can't you do it?"

"I could. But I think people will appreciate it more if you do it."

Sarena. Dammit. Kess nodded. "You have a point. I'll see you tomorrow, Jayden."


Kess sat at the McClures' kitchen table, Christmas gifts spread out on every chair but the one in which he sat. If he'd known he would still be at this at 3 a.m. he would have paid someone to do it for him. But here he was, fingers tensing and irritation mounting like the boiling tea kettle that was whistling on the stove.

He got up and poured himself another mug of Earl Gray. He had to stay calm. Could not lose his temper. He had carefully chosen the gifts on the table. They were for people who had taken him in; risked their lives so that he would be safe. He would get these under that damned tree if it cost him his own soul.

"Nothing that complicated." Carita's voice floated into the room. She lifted a Kindle off of one chair and sat down. "Want help?"

"Please." Kess watched his mother take the Kindle, measure paper to fit it, and begin to fold and tape its box. "I couldn't think of a way to get my magic to do it. Its been a hell of a fight."

Carita grinned and reached for a BluRay player. "Never seen you lose one of those, Kess."

"You wrap them and I'll tag them, okay?" Lifting the wrapped Kindle into the air, Kess levitated some ribbon and tied it in a bow.

"What did you get Sarena?"

"A laptop. That computer she has is junk." Kess passed the laptop to Carita, careful not to drop it.

"Her parents have done their best." Carita's tone was gentle.

"I know." Kess watched her wrap the laptop. "I'm sure Jayden told you what I found."

"Of course he did." Carita set the laptop down and got up. She poured herself a cup of tea. "Sarena know yet?"

"Absolutely not." The pause Carita took before rejoining him at the table told Kess he'd got that message across. "It has to be her choice. Telling her would ruin that."

"Well what have you told her?" Carita's gaze was sharp. "Have you asked her to be your girlfriend? On a date? Said you love her? Anything?"

"Mom." Kess held his hands up in surrender. "I don't know what to do. She's human. A teenager. She's worried about shopping and gossip and going to her prom. I don't fit."

"Batshit." Carita clapped her hands together. "Give the girl some credit. How many times has she risked her ass to save you?"

"She's gotta quit doing that."

"Seems to run in the family, huh?" Carita chuckled softly. "Reminds me of the first time you met Jayden."

"Mom, don't." Kess let out a sigh. "What are you getting at here?"

Carita squeezed his arm. "If you don't speak up some other guy will come along. And he will. What then?"

Kess could feel the beginnings of a headache starting behind his eyes. "I try not to think about it."

"You need to talk to her, Kess. How can she make a choice she doesn't know she has?"

"I guess you're right."

Carita got up and ruffled his hair. She lifted some of the presents in her arms. "I'm your Mom. I'm always right."

She winked at him and walked into the living room. She might have meant it as a joke, but as he sat and thought about what she was saying, Kess had to admit that most of the time it was true. Damn. That meant he had to do something to clue in Sarena.

He lifted the laptop and followed Carita. "Money talks so much better then I do. Life sucks sometimes."

And there you have it! :) Yet again -- just incase the note print was too tiny -- this is from my rough draft. Thanks so much for taking the time to read it, though. :) I'd love to know what you think. If you enjoyed this be sure to come back each week between now and Christmas for another peek. Thanks for dropping by! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (Nov. 26th)

Hey guys! I hope that you had a great week. I certainly know I did. It's been crazy getting everything around here decorated for the holidays and sorting out all of the details before Christmas can catch me off guard. Some of you might already know, but my novel Moon Dance takes place during the Christmas season, so I've been spending a lot of time recently working on edits. Anyway, let's get to what you're here for: seeing what books I got this week. I didn't buy anything -- although I am going to Chapters buy 3 get 1 free sale tomorrow morning -- but I was fortunate to receive some very lovely books for review.

Mute, heartless, and tormented by auditory hallucinations, Madeleine Lavoie never questions why her family has hidden her from the world. But the night her brother casts her out, she learns the mysterious voice she thought existed only in her mind is no delusion, and no matter how hard she tries, she can never disobey it.

Now Madeleine must find her own voice in a cacophony of powerful tyrants, monsters, and gods. If she fails, she will forfeit her life and the lives of everyone who loves her. But if she succeeds, she may finally gain the ability to love someone in return.

If someone were to ask me the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word Golem I would have to respond "Shale", who was a character in Dragon Age: Origins. I highly doubt that is what we will be dealing with here, but I am extremely curious to see how Jodi Lamm will make Golem myths work in her book. I would like to thank Jodi so much for contacting me about reviewing Titan Magic. I am really looking forward to curling up with this one and diving in.

A year after graduating from high school, nineteen-year-old Emma Ward feels lost. She has spent most of her life trying to please her frigid, miserable mother - studying hard, getting good grades, avoiding the whole teenage rebellion thing - and now she feels she has no identity beyond that. Because she spent so many years working hard and planning every moment of her life, she doesn't have any friends, has never had a boyfriend, and basically doesn't know who she is or what she really wants from life. Working two part-time jobs to save money for college hasn't helped her make decisions about her future, so she decides it's time for a change. She leaves home to live with her free-spirited, slightly eccentric Aunt Daisy in a small town that makes Emma feel like she's stepped back in time.

When Emma meets Nicholas Shaw, everything changes - he's unlike anyone she's ever met before, the kind of man she didn't even know existed in the 21st century. Carefree and spirited like Daisy, Nicholas teaches Emma to appreciate life, the beauty around her, and to just let go and live. Between Daisy and Nicholas, Emma feels like she belongs somewhere for the first time in her life, and realizes that you don't always need a plan - sometimes life steers you where you're meant to be.

Life is wonderful, an endless string of blue sky days, until Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, and life changes once again for Emma in ways she never thought possible. Now it's time for her to help Nicholas the way he's helped her. Emma will have to use her new-found strength, and discover along the way if love really is enough to get you through.

I received this book from Marie Landry and I am taking part in her blog tour for Blue Sky Days this January. I'm pretty excited about reading this since I love YA romance. On the other hand, reading something by a friend is sure to present its own challenges and my family has quite a history with Cancer so there is definitely a personal issue here. Of course, I will be reading this the same way that I read everything. I've started already and am enjoying it this far, so I'm optimistic. 

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

I received this for review from Entangled Publishing via NetGalley. I've already read and reviewed Obsidian. I actually dropped everything and read the entire book in one sitting. Does that tell you how much I loved it? You can check out my review here. Trust me, this book is a must read. If it's not already on your to-read or Christmas wish list, make some space because it's totally not to be missed.

Well, that's my week. It's not the largest or longest IMM that I've ever posted, but I must say that the quality of the books is definitely really high as far as the "Oh man I want to read that!" factor is concerned. Anyway, stay tuned next week because I'll be showing off my Chapters goodies and any other surprises that might happen to show up. I hope that this week has been good to you. Have a great day!

Friday, November 25, 2011

2011 Holiday Buyers' Guide

*Note: This holiday gift guide is 100% my own idea. I am in no way being compensated by any of the authors, publishers, etc. that I have listed below. Thank you. 

Looking for the perfect gift for that book obsessed person in your life? Well, if they happen to like Young Adult books then you have likely come to the right place. Below you will find an awesome selection of books, all linked to reviews either by myself or my friends. Take a look around. I'm fairly confident that you'll find just what you're looking for.

Happy Holidays!

Spectacular Series...

Are you looking for a totally completed, start to finish reading experience that will take the recipient's breath away? Something that will induce many hours snuggled up by the fire flipping through pages? Look no further. Here are some amazing series that are sure to delight...

Harry Potter Paperback Boxset (books 1 - 7)

If the person you are buying for has not experienced the magic, adventure and wonder of the Harry Potter books, now is as good a time as any to change that. This boxset contains all seven books and at the asking price, I think it's quite a bargain.

$50.00 at

Percy Jackson boxset (books 1 - 5)

Does someone on your list love Greek Mythology? If so the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan are sure to be a huge hit. Filled with adventure, memorable characters and gripping fast paced plots the Percy Jackson books are sure to bring hours of delight.

$21.00 at

Vampire Academy Boxset (books 1 - 4)
*note: for a complete set you will also need Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice.

Is there someone on your list who likes vampires and romance? Then the Vampire Academy series might be the perfect fit. It follows Rose, who is training as a Guardian so that she can protect her best friend, and her relationship with her handsome instructor Dmitri.

$25 on

The Hunger Games Hardcover Boxset (books 1 - 3)

Suzanne Collins' gripping Dystopian trilogy will captivate even the most reluctant reader with its blend of action, romance, intrigue and exploration of the depths we'll go to to protect the ones we love. One of my favorite series I've read this year, I cannot recommend The Hunger Games enough.

The Hunger Games: 4/5 hearts
Catching Fire: 5/5 hearts
Mockingjay: 4/5 hearts

$22 on <-- Super Awesome Deal!

Perfect Chemistry trilogy by Simeone Eskeles

Simone Eskeles will enchant fans of well written contemporary romance not once but three times if you place these three fantastic books under the Christmas tree. The Perfect Chemistry books are some of my favorite contemporary reads this year and are truly not to be missed.

Perfect Chemistry: 5/5 hearts | $9.99 on
Rules of Attraction: 5/5 hearts | $9.99 on
Chain Reaction: 5/5 hearts | $12.00 on

Dystopian Delights...

Dystopian novels are hot this year. They're "it", the thing everyone is reading. And it's no wonder. There have been some totally fantastic releases; so many that I haven't actually been able to read them all -- heck, not even all of them I currently have on my shelves. What is dystopian? In short, if your loved one enjoyed The Hunger Games, this is the next step. Read on for some great selections...

by Veronica Roth

This is my top pick in the Dystopian category. I absolutely loved Divergent, so much that I read the whole thing in one sitting even though it's nearly 500 pages long. Filled with fantastic characters, lots of action, a little mystery and a great romance this book hits all the right notes.

My review: 5/5 hearts | $10.79 on

by Megan McCafferty

The blend of fun, fresh dialogue, interesting characters and a world with a very serious and shocking issue will keep readers turning the pages of this absolutely wonderful book. Bumped was a book that I was incredibly eager to read and it met my every expectation. Highly recommended!

My Review: 5/5 hearts | $10.98 on

by Lauren DeStefano

When I first read the back blurb for this book I was shocked. How in the world did someone write this? Relax. Wither is fantastic. A chilling premise, a strong heroine and gorgeous writing make Wither a tale that will stick with the reader long after the book is closed. This book is an absolute must read.

My Review: 4/5 hearts | $10.98 on

Fantasy, Science Fiction & Paranormal...

Dearly, Departed
by Lia Habel

Know someone who likes their supernatural creatures ... romantic? Well then, it's time to introduce them to a very charming zombie named Bram Griswold and a brave human girl named Nora Dearly. Dearly, Departed is an absolutely fabulous tale filled with action, romance, mystery and suspense. I really loved this book and I'm eager to recommend it.

My Review: 5/5 hearts | $10.98 on

The Iron King
by Julie Kagawa

Shopping for someone who loves faeries? The Iron Fey books by Julie Kagawa are beautifully written, filled with memorable characters and next to impossible to put down. Filled with action, romance and memorable characters this is a series that is sure to please fans of fantasy, magic and love.

My Review: 4/5 hearts | $9.99 on

Sisters Red
by Jackson Pearce

So you think you know the story of Little Red Riding Hood? Well, you've never heard it told like this. Filled with heart pounding action, sweet romance and a dash of mystery, Jackson Pearce will captive you with this fascinating new take on a classic tale. I really loved this one.

My Review: 4/5 hearts | $9.99 on

by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A fresh take on the idea of aliens living among us. Okay -- hot aliens who happen to put their foot in their mouth often, if we're talking about Daemon. This book is awesome. The chemistry between Katy and Daemon is intense, the pace of the story is perfect and the mythology for the aliens is fascinating. I had to list this, even though it's not *quite* released.

My Review: 5/5 hearts | $15.99 on (Releases Dec. 6th)

For The One Who's Read Everything...

There are those pesky people, who are pesky by no real fault of their own. The trouble is that it seems they've read everything. Well, I've got you covered there, too. I've read some totally fantastic books this year that are a little off the beaten path. Just pick the one that suits the tastes of the person you're buying for and you should be good to go.

Summer on Fire
by Kevin Craig

A story of friendship, loyalty and courage Summer on Fire tells the tale of three boys trying to protect a brother's innocence. It is also an exquisite look at life in a rural town in Canada in the 1980s, capturing the period perfectly in voice, description and spirit. A gripping and memorable tale.

My Review: 5/5 hearts | $7.95 on

Mortal Obligation
by Nichole Chase

Ree and her friends are all that stands between humanity and totally and utter destruction. With her friends, who are now her guardians, will Ree be able to summon the courage needed to defend Earth when the price of her gift is that she will be separated from those she loves if they don't win -- or even if they do?

My Review: 4/5 hearts | $9.99 on

Boyfriend from Hell
by E. Van Lowe

Even the best mother / daughter relationship can be headed straight for hell when your mom starts dating the Devil -- literally. In this book E. Van Lowe creates a fascinating story using this unique premise and it will leave readers moved, terrified and laughing out loud in equal turns.

My Review: 5/5 hearts | $12.95 on

by Michelle Madow

A sweet and touching romance with just a hint of something out of the ordinary, Remembrance is the perfect book to read while curled up next to a roaring fire. Filled with charming characters and a compelling plot, Michelle Madow's debut will please any romantics on your list.

My Review: 4/5 hearts | $10.79 on

The Kat's Meow...

The Kat's Meow is my hand designed award that I give to books that I feel have gone beyond five stars. These are books that totally, completely blew me away. They have a certain sparkle about them, something within that I personally connected with. It is my pleasure to share these with you. Perhaps there is someone on your list who would love them as much as I do.

The Sky Is Everywhere
by Jandy Nelson

An absolute must read for fans of contemporary YA, romance and absolutely gorgeous writing. Nobody captures loss -- and hope -- as beautifully as Jandy Nelson does in this absolutely spellbinding book. I found myself completely awed and moved. I could not put it down and I thought about it for weeks after I finished it.

My Review: 5/5 hearts | $8.99 on

Shut Out
by Kody Keplinger

An intriguing plot, likable characters, a totally swoon-worthy crush and some issues worth thinking about are just a handful of the reasons that I love Shut Out. The dialogue is both real and extremely funny and the pacing in this book is perfect, holding interest from start to finish. If you're shopping for a fan of contemporary YA this should be a winner.

My Review: 5/5 hearts | $11.12 on

Carrier of the Mark
by Leigh Fallon

A fresh and original mythology, characters who are not afraid to take action and a romance that is sweet yet forbidden... Carrier of the Mark was an absolute joy to read and is a book that I will not hesitate to recommend. Everything about this book came together to totally draw me in, hook me, and not let go.

My Review: 5/5 hearts | $8.99 on

The Scarlet Dagger
by Krystle Jones

A thrilling action-packed adventure with a strong heroine, a charming hero who might be friend or foe and a fresh new take on vampire mythology. The Scarlet Dagger impressed me time and again. This book is absolutely not to be missed. Fans of action, adventure and romance would do well to check it out.

My Review: 5/5 hearts | $0.99 on (Note: this is an eBook)

And there you have it! A holiday buyers' guide for YA lovers complete with a wide range of books to suit (hopefully!) every taste. If you are a book blogger and have any books you would like to add to this list, along with your review, please feel free to let me know. I would be happy to feature them and credit you.

I hope that this guide is of assistance and that it helps at least a few of you beat some of that annoying holiday shopping anxiety. I wish you all the best this holiday season!

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