Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sneakpeek Sunday (8)

9/21 - 9/26


Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz | Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis | Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington | Winterspell by Claire Legrand (I didn't get a chance to read this one last week)

Listening to:


Rebel by Amy Tintera


Coming Up on the Blog:

Monday: MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan (Review)  
Tuesday: Jackaby by William Ritter (Review)
Wednesday: Dissonance by Erika O'Rourke (Review)
Thursday: Kids Take Over  
Friday: Fun Friday Giveaway 

Apparently it's a week full of reviews for me!

What are your blogging and reading plans this week? 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (11)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews. Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books your borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course eBooks.

Soooo I went on a bit of a shopping binge this week....Oops... :)

ALSO I want to point out on the left side of my blog the snazzy new counters I added that the hosts over at Mel, Erin, and Regina Read-A-Lot have available! You guys should definitely go check their blog out! 

Books from Publisher:

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

(not pictured)

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger 

Purchased Books:

The Sky is EveryWhere by Jandy Nelson | Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White (signed) | In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo (had this but got it signed) | The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes (signed) | Alienated by Melissa Landers | The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater | Made For You by Melissa Marr | Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens (signed) | I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson | Starling by Fiona Paul (signed) | Wicked Lovely Series by Melissa Marr | Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins 

(not pictured)

Summerfall by Claire Legrand | Between by Megan Whitmer | The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson | Perfectly Flawed by Nessa Morgan

What did you get this week??

What You Missed This Week:

Thursday: Kids Take Over
Friday: Haze Review

GIVEAWAYS going on now:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Haze by Paula Weston (Blog Tour Review)

Released: 9/9/14
Publisher: Tundra books
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

"But what if we can’t find Jude?" 
He leans closer. His breath is warm on my ear. "We will."
"How can you be so sure?" I want to believe him so badly, but this is Rafa. The guy who’s all action and no plan. His smile is tired, knowing. An echo of a shared past I don’t remember. 
"Because I’m not smart enough to give up, and you don’t know how to." 

Gaby Winters’ nightmares have stopped but she still can’t remember her old life. Still can’t quite believe she is one of the Rephaim—the wingless half-angels who can shift from place to place, country to country, in the blink of an eye. That she was once the Rephaim’s best fighter. That demons exist. That Rafa has stayed. 

But most of all, she can’t quite believe that her twin brother, Jude, might be alive. 

And Gaby can’t explain the hesitancy that sidetracks the search for him, infuriates Rafa, and sends them, again, into the darkest danger.

My Thoughts:

This review has seriously been one of the HARDEST ones for me to write. I just want to say I'm OBSESSED. It's FANTASTIC. NOW GO BUY IT!!! Since I am absolutely OBSESSED with this series. 

It is, hands down, one of my favorite series that I have gotten my  hands on. I just don't think that I can put in words how amazing it is or how much I love it. I love it so much I actually ordered the next installment after HAZE, SHIMMER (book 3), from The Book Depository since it releases in Australia WAY before it releases here, because I SERIOUSLY can not wait until next year to see what happens. So yes, I paid a little more than I typically would to get my hands on that book. A girls got to do, what a girls got to do! Am I right?

Before going any further, this is book 2 in the installment, so if you haven't read SHADOWS it could be a little spoilery! Go check out my review for SHADOWS here.

I have such a hard time deciding what I love most about this book. Is it the Rephaim world? Is it Gaby's personality? Rafa? Gaby and Rafa's romance? I simply can't choose. 

The Rephaim world is really phenomenal. Paula Weston has created a place that I thoroughly enjoy being lost in, and I'm always left with wanting more because it's never enough. HAZE left me feeling just like SHADOWS did, as soon as I put it down I wanted to read it again.

The story does not slow down at all in HAZE. I always get nervous when it comes the second books in a series or trilogy. They can sometimes be fillers and can end up being a huge disappointment. HAZE was far from that. It was full of action and learning more and more about the world that Gaby and Jude had been a part of before the accident. I really liked seeing Gaby get to be more involved in the Rephaim issues this time and even participating in some action. There were a lot of subplots in this book, compared to SHADOWS, but I really enjoyed them. I think they gave me a better look into the group that traveled with Jude and Rafa and the group that Gaby was a part of. I'm still really curious to where it's all leading to.

Gaby is one of the most kick butt heroines I have come across. I love her "I don't need anyone, I got this" attitude. In HAZE Gaby does show a little more of her vulnerable side, which I really liked seeing. She was having a hard time going to look for Jude because of emotional reasons, it really let me see a different side of her, one where she shows fear. Gaby got thrown into this world really fast so I have been in awe with how well she has adjusted. She really comes into her own with the Rephaim world in HAZE with some of the other things that take place. She is also still struggling with what made her and Jude split apart before the accident and why she was ever on the same side as Daniel and the Sanctuary. 

Rafa is, of course, just as sexy as ever. Seriously love this guy. One of my favorite things about Rafa is his loyalty to Gaby and Jude. He has been fighting since the beginning to figure out what happened to them, and then after finding Gaby, trying to find Jude. He cares so much about them and that is just something that makes me adore him. I also really like the way he is with Gaby. He is there for her when she needs him but at the same time he knows she can handle stuff on her own, and no way is he trying to be her protector. There were also several parts in HAZE where I really got to see a more vulnerable side of Rafa. He is always so tough, like nothing can get to him, it was different seeing some parts that really opened him up some. 

The whole romance in this book has been one of my favorite book romances also. It has not, at any time, taken over the story. It is one of those slow-building, tension-filled romances that had me yelling "WOULD YOU JUST KISS ALREADY" at the book a thousand times!!!! Then when things's like the world is completely right finally. 

HAZE ended up answering quite a few big questions, but it also left me with about a thousand more. I really can't wait to see what else Weston has in store for us, and how everything will turn out. There was quite the cliffhanger at the ending of HAZE that made me gasp and then proceed to really FREAK OUT!!! Overall the book was just absolutely perfect, from beginning to end, in my opinion. 

So if you have read SHADOWS, definitely go pick up HAZE RIGHT NOW, if you haven't then go pick up BOTH!!! Trust me you will want them, and you will need them. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kids Take Over (1)

Kids Take Over, is hosted here, where I showcase the books I am reading with my kids and give you my feedback, along with theirs, on the books!

Intro Post for Feature:

I know a lot of other bloggers I talk to are parents who enjoy reading with their kids so I thought it might be fun to start a feature on the blog called “Kids Take Over”, where we can showcase the books we read with our kids. I will have my kids help me with the reviewing process and getting their input on the books we read. My daughter is 8 years old and we read a lot of MG stuff along with some awesome classics. I also have two toddler boys so there will be lots of picture books also! I think this would be a fun feature to do with them, plus it can also help us as parents to see what other great books are out there that everyone else is reading. I will be hosting this every Thursday. This is something that I would love other bloggers to start participating in, so please feel free to join, just make sure to link back and leave your link here for others to visit. 

What we read this week…

Released: 8/6/13
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Format: Print Book

Llama Llama likes to sing.

Gilroy laughs at everything.
Llama sings out just the same.
Gilroy says a not-nice name.
  Teacher has some things to say:
calling names is not OK.
  Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn't sure what to do. And then he remembers what his teacher told him—walk away and tell someone. It works! But then Llama Llama feels badly. Can he and Gilroy try to be friends again?   Taking on a difficult but important part of children's lives, Anna Dewdney gives readers a way to experience and discuss bullying in a safe and comforting way. 

Kids Reactions:

All three of my kids (ages 2, 3, & 8) really enjoyed this book. The boys loved the illustration and had fun pointing out all the animals and toys that were on the pages. They also understood the story easily. They were constantly telling the "bully goat" that he wasn't being very nice. When we were done they wanted to read it again! My 8 year old, who said she was too big for this book at first, changed her mind pretty quickly and decided she liked it too. She then proceeded to talk to the boys about how it isn't nice to make fun of people or pick on others. 

Mommy's Thoughts:

I've always been a big fan of the Llama Llama books since I worked in daycare. This was my first time reading this one and I definitely thought it was super cute. The illustrations were awesome and kept the kids intrigued, and it was written in a way the kids easily understood everything going on even at their young age. If you haven't tried any of the Llama Llama books I would definitely recommend picking them up. These are always books with great lessons in them and entertaining for parent and kid!

What did you and your kids read?
Make sure to leave your links below.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Books I WANTED to Love...

So I had a few disappoints among my Fall ARCs list. BUMMER! These were ones that I was REALLY looking forward to so I'm really disappointed that I wasn't a fan of them. Instead of doing 3 DNF posts, I figured I would do something similar to my Books I Have Been OBSESSING Over post from last week, and just consolidate them into one! Even though I wasn't a fan of these, I encourage you to check out other reviews since these books really had a lot of mixed reviews, so it very much could just be personal taste. 

Releases: 9/16/14 
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Format: Print ARC

I'm going to be completely honest, I did not get very far in this book. I'm talking around page 100 and I put it down. To be fair though, it was a struggle for me to even get that far. The writing was really not for me, I wasn't clicking with any of the characters, and the plot seemed to be EVERY where. I also felt lost. You don't get any back story really and what you do get doesn't really help. Granted, had I have gotten farther maybe I would have gotten a ton, but it just would have seemed to late at that point. At that point I had too many questions and just didn't care what the answers were anyways. It's one I won't be revisiting. 

Released: 9/9/14 
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Format: Print ARC

This book started out rough for me but I held on in hopes it would get better. The beginning scenes seemed a little forced, like she was having trouble coming across as a believable teen. When the book moved into the alternate universe I really thought I would get into but the pacing was extremely slow for me and I just could not get invested in the characters. I made it around the halfway mark and the story still hadn't really progressed in my opinion. I've heard so many other people who just rave about this book so maybe one day I will visit this book again, but for now I'm done. I also sent a blogger friend my ARC to do a Guest Review for my blog just to see how her opinion differed, so definitely go check that out. ALSO I love the cover so much I'm tempted to buy this book anyways just for that! LOL 

Released: 8/26/14 
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Format: Print ARC

This book was definitely not for me. I thought all the point of views would be intriguing, which they were some what, until I encountered some REALLY out there point of views that seemed pretty pointless and didn't really add anything to the story in my opinion. I was also really excited about seeing the main couple fall for each other from outsider perspectives, my issue was that all the outsiders made me feel like I was reading from a 13/14 yr old point of view. In no way do any of these characters seem like college students in this book. I debated pushing through, but after talking with a few other blogger friends who had read it and their issues with it, I just knew it wouldn't get better for me. Keep in mind I'm not the biggest contemporary fan, and when I do love them they tend to be more serious contemps. This was just a tad too silly and fluffy for me, especially with the age of the characters not realistically represented.

Did anyone just absolutely LOVE these books? If so feel free to leave your review in the comments! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Make It Right by Megan Erickson (Blog Tour Review)

Title: Make it Right
Author: Megan Erickson
Series: Bowler University #2
Publication: September 9th, 2014 by William Morrow Impulse
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Max Payton lives by two rules:

Size and strength win any fight, and never show weakness.

When a rash of assaults sends Bowler University for a tail spin, Max volunteers to help teach a self-defense class. One of the other instructors is the beautiful pixie-faced girl he keeps butting heads with…and who challenges everything he thought he knew.

Lea Travers avoids guys like Max - cocky jocks who assume she's fragile because of a disability caused by a childhood accident. She likes to be in control, and something about being with Max makes her feel anything but. But during the moments he lets his guard down, Lea sees a soul as broken inside as she is outside. Trusting him is a whole other problem...

When the assaults ramp up and hit close to home, Lea and Max must learn, before it’s too late, that true strength can come from vulnerability…and giving in to trust is sometimes the only way to make things right.

My Thoughts:

 Megan seriously writes the best NA books! I'm OVERLY picky when it comes to contemporary in general, but NA is even harder for me to find authors that I just completely fall in love with. Megan has won me over within just two books, putting her quickly on my auto-buy list. She could tell me she was writing a book and I would order it, no info needed, simply because her writing is that awesome! 

If you haven't read MAKE IT COUNT (stop what your doing and buy it now), it is book 1 in the Bowler University series. I was completely head over heels for that book and didn't really know if I could love a couple more than I love Kat and Alec...THEN Megan gave me Max and Lea. 

It's hard to say who I love more from this book when it comes to Lea and Max. Lea is kick ass. She seriously is. Her snark simply won me over also. I absolutely love how she doesn't let her injury hold her back physically, it even seems to have made her stronger in many ways. There is another side of Lea that was so relate-able to me, and that was how she was emotionally impacted by the past. I could sympathize with her while watching her deal with her issues while learning how to handle trusting again, especially when it came to Max

I really liked Max in MAKE IT COUNT. I know he was kind of the sucky boyfriend guy in that book, but he also had this sad puppy dog thing going on about him, where I just knew there was more to him than meets the eye. Boy am I glad I was right because I completely fell in LOVE with Max in MAKE IT RIGHT. Max has a lot of family drama going on in his life, and he seriously has this complex of not doing things that would make him happy, he acts like he doesn't deserve happiness some times! :( It didn't take too long for Lea to crack that tough shell he had though, and boy OH boy when she did...

That was me...coming through the pages at Max. 

First off, he bakes cookies. HE BAKES COOKIES. Please come bake me some cookies Max! He is a ROMANTIC!! The first date he gives Lea. OH MY GAH!!! But my all time favorite Max part was near the end. He does something just so Max-like, and I seriously didn't see it coming at all. It was marvelous though. He just seriously made me smile all the way around. 

My favorite part of the book was of course, Max and Lea, but their journeys separately were also fantastic. Watching them both grow and become the people they needed to be, and wanted to be, warmed my heart! 

Outside of the characters Megan so amazingly comes up with, I really love MAKE IT RIGHT simply because it's so relate-able. She has a way of weaving stories about characters that the majority of us have probably went through, or at least something similar. While a lot of NAs touch on some REALLY deep, dark character pasts, MAKE IT RIGHT touched on serious ones, but also the more common ones. 

I would recommend anything that Megan Erickson writes. I definitely recommend that you read MAKE IT RIGHT, then come tell me how much you love you some MAX! ;P 



About Megan

Megan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’5” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.



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Monday, September 15, 2014

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Releases: 9/30/14
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (Penguin Imprint) 
Format: Print ARC 

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.


Going into Belzhar I honestly wasn't sure what I expected but the story ended up being so much more than I thought. All the characters were truly intriguing and had these really interesting pasts. I really like Jam, the main character, and her journey was the most interesting of all. The entire reason why she is at The Wooden Barn is kept very vague for a while in the book, besides knowing that she lost her boyfriend, so it really had me intrigued and caught up in trying to figure out what happened. I did start to put a theory together about halfway through (which turned out to be right) but the story still kept me thinking maybe I was wrong, which I really liked. 

The concept of Belzhar itself was so unique. I really liked how Wolitzer took THE BELL JAR (which I have never read but want to now) and made it part of the story by doing such a unique thing with it. It was one of my favorite things about this book. I'm also really into books that touch on emotional or psychological issues in general so this was right up my alley, and what initially made me want to pick it up. It also has quite a twist towards the ending that I think a lot of people won't be expecting, it was something that made it even better in my opinion.

While I really enjoyed most of everything in this book there were a few cons I had that just couldn't be ignored. One was the way Jam puts things together about Belzhar. Here she is with pretty much no information about it and she guesses things and just decides they are correct. I really would have liked her to have something more solid than just assumptions. Another problem I had, and I'm just really picky with this type of stuff in general, were the relationships between some of the characters. I'm talking friendships and romantic relationships. I feel there was a lot of telling and just making things a certain way, but lack of build up or showing. It made some of it feel kind of forced to me. Examples of those relationships that I was mainly bothered with were- Griffin and Jam, and then the friendship between Sierra and Jam.

Overall I really did enjoy this book, I think it will one that most people enjoy. It has the angst factor, deep issues, a lot of unique twists, and interesting characters. This is definitely one I would recommend to any YA reader! 


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sneakpeek Sunday (7)

9/14 - 9/20


Summerfall and Winterspell by Claire Legrand | Dissonance by Erika O'Rourke | Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Listening to:


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
(I was told the narration is awesome so I want to listen to it before getting to The Infinite Sea)


Coming Up on the Blog:

Monday: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer (Review)
Tuesday: Make It Right by Megan Erickson (Blog Tour Review)
Wednesday: The Books I WANTED to Love 
Thursday: Kids Take Over (New Meme) 
Friday: Haze by Paula Weston (Blog Tour Review)

What are your blogging and reading plans this week? 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (10)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews. Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books your borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course eBooks.

Books from Publisher:

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky | Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant | Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater | The Fires of Calderon (The Balance Keepers #1) by Lindsay Cummings | Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White | The Swap by  

(Thanks Disney Hyperion, Scholastic, and Harper Teen!)

Purchased Books:

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty | Shimmer by Paula Weston
(Shimmer is not available in US yet, but Haze ended with such a cliffhanger I needed to know things so I ordered from TBD)  

Audio Books:
(not pictured)

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica | The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

What did you get this week??

What You Missed This Week:

GIVEAWAYS going on now:

Friday, September 12, 2014

#RitesofPassage Twitter Party, Sept 17, 8pm CST, chat with Joy Hensley and tons of prizes (US + INTL prizes)

Kelly @ Effortlessly Reading and I are excited to announce that we will be hosting a Twitter Party for the AMAZING Joy Hensley and her EPIC book Rites of Passage!!! You guys know how much I'm completely obsessed with this book, and Kelly totally feels the same way, so we decided it would be a lot of fun to throw a party with Joy!! We hope everyone can join us!!

Special thanks to Christina @ Ensconced in Lit for all the help, tips, and inspiration for this post and the twitter party logistics in general! 

Party Info:

Wednesday, 9/17/14, 8:00 - 9:00 PM CST 

Use Hashtag #RitesofPassage on Twitter

Come Chat with the author, Joy Hensley. Answer some fun questions from Kelly and I to enter to win prizes! 


1 Swag Pack
1 $5 Gift Card for Book Site of your choice
1 ARC copy of Rites of Passage
1 Hardcover Copy of Rites of Passage from TBD

Grand Prize:

Signed Hardcover Copy of Rites of Passage
Swag Pack 

Tips for Party:

1. You need a Twitter! If you don't have one, SUPER easy to sign up!!

2. Make sure you are following @crystalbookland , @whatisakelly@joynhensley  

To claim prizes you MUST be following those accounts.

3. Make sure when you tweet to use #RitesofPassage at the end of each tweet, or your tweet might be missed.

4. We will ask specific questions or have you do specific things for prizes, the winners will be selected randomly from the answers, with exception of the grand prize task! 

5. It is easiest if you use a site, such as , to keep up with the party. It can get crazy and overwhelming!

6. Joy will be present to answer any questions you have for her! Make sure to @ her when you have a question so she will see it!!! 


And just to go ahead and kick off the FUN I'm going to give away one of the awesome swag packs right now!!! 

Giveaway Policy

ALSO head over to Kelly's blog to enter to win a SIGNED UK EDITION of Throne of Glass and help us get the word out there about the party!!!! 

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