January 31, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This was a buddy review with the fabulous Sarah from Book-A-Holic. You can read her fabulous take on the book here!

The Fault in Our Stars
Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Series: N/A
Source: Traded for
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
Goodreads||The Book Depository
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
Just stop and think for one second before you read this review. Think about all of the books that you've read because people have told you that you will cry. How many of them have actually made you cry? Really, truly, just bawl your eyes out. None. I have never bawled at the end of a book. I've cried, though. And that's all that I did in the end. Just a few short tears.

I'm a little disappointed. I was expecting this big, earth-shattering, bawl-inducing kind of event, and that was taken from me. I kind of wish...that I could have loved it more. I liked it, that's for sure, and I honestly can't find any flaws with it, but I wasn't exactly blown away by the beautiful writing or anything. I had myself built up so far about this book that it only disappointed me because I didn't  get to have a good cry. I really think that.

I really think that it could have been better. Don't get me wrong, the ending was good. The story was good, and the execution was good. But I...I'm a victim of my own build-ups.

Hazel was a really good character, but sometimes I couldn't help but wish that she wasn't such a debbie downer. She has this life, these few extra days or weeks or even months  for her to live, and she acts like it's this huge curse that no one should have to endure. Then she meets Augustus. Who is the ultimate swoony type of guy that you know  that every girl who's ever read this book has fallen in love with. He brings out the best and worst in all of us. ;)

For the sake of not revealing spoilers, I can't tell you everything that makes him such a lovable chum, but he just is.  I honestly don't want to go into more detail, because that's really all that I can say. But just know that this book made me laugh. It made me smile, and in the end there were tears involved. Maybe there weren't as many as I would've liked (eh, I'm weird), but it is what it is.

And Isaac? Man, he just needs a hug. I really wanna hug him, and I want to beat his girlfriend to death...and...well, I might be embarrassing myself, but he's just a sweet guy. Who's funny. And no one else is mentioning him, so there.

All in all, I did like The Fault in Our Stars,  but I do feel like it could have been something better. So shoot me.
“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.” ~ Pg. 155

January 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #5


Title: Furious
Author: Jill Wolfson
Series: N/A
Publisher: Henry Holt and CO. BYR
Publication Date: April 16, 2013
Goodreads||The Book Depository
Three high school girls become the avenging Furies of Greek legend.

We were only three angry girls, to begin with. Alix, the hot-tempered surfer chick; Stephanie, the tree-hugging activist; and me, Meg, the quiet foster kid, the one who never quite fit in. We hardly knew each other, but each of us nurtured a burning anger: at the jerks in our class, at our disappointing parents, at the whole flawed, unjust world.

We were only three angry girls, simmering uselessly in our ocean-side California town, until one day a mysterious, beautiful classmate named Ambrosia taught us what else we could be: Powerful. Deadly. Furious.

GREEK MYTH. I love greek myths so much, and I can't wait to see how the author modernizes the tale of the Furies! Plus, you know, everyone loves a book about an angry girl. ;) Eeeeek! Let's just say that when I get my hands on this one, you won't see hide nor hair of me until I'm finished-- I hope.

January 29, 2013

Plagiarism: Talking it Out

This will not be a post about naming names or beating plagiarists to death, because I'm sure that you're honestly all sick and tired of reading posts like that. This is just what I think, in what I hope is a respectful and unbiased way. I believe that I can see both sides of the proverbial line, and I'm an opinionated kind of gal that has to say something about it.

Plagiarism is a word that is VERY  overused in the blogosphere. Every time we turn around, someone else is saying "Hey, that's my review/feature/post. You stole it. Now I will tell the world that you're an awful person, turn all of my followers against you and make you a pariah." Sometimes, that's deserved. Sometimes (no names, folks), the person has  been plagiarized. Their exact words have been taken, and they feel awful, like their child has been kidnapped. The plagiarist (or the plagiarist's coblogger) as the case may be, gets very defensive. They're rude to the person who was just trying to nicely point out that something was taken from them. But other times, have you ever asked yourself: "Is this really plagiarism, or did these people just have similar feelings about similar things?"

It's possible. Have you ever just scrolled through goodreads reviews? A lot of the times, people are saying the same things. Sometimes, when someone reads the same book, they feel similar to someone else. Same with movies and music-- some people are going to feel the same. But sometimes, that someone else finds the other person's review and decides that they don't like the hits/comments/whatever that the other review/feature/article is getting, and they attack the reviewer/feature hoster/journalist. People have a mob mentality. But we're not here to talk about mob mentality, we're here to talk about plagiarism. What it truly is, according to Dictionary.com:

pla·gia·rism  [pley-juh-riz-uhm, -jee-uh-riz-]
an act or instance of using  or closely imitating  the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author: It is said that he plagiarized Thoreau's plagiarism of a line written by Montaigne. Synonyms: appropriation, infringement, piracy, counterfeiting; theft, borrowing, cribbing, passing off.
a piece of writing or other work reflecting such unauthorized use or imitation: “These two manuscripts are clearly plagiarisms,” the editor said, tossing them angrily on the floor.

But think about it-- plagiarism. Taking someone else's work or idea and using it as your own. That's what plagiarism is. But I've gotta ask you-- what hasn't ever been been said? What hasn't EVER  (we're talking never ever here, folks) been plagiarized? What hasn't ever been said or thought about by several different people who think that it's all their own idea? I'm trying to show both sides here, but I may be failing.

I'm not  saying that it's okay to copy and paste someone else's work and say, "Yeah, I wrote every bit of this," because that is  wrong. But who's to say that some people just don't have similar  (not the same, that's seriously impossible) thoughts about one book, one subject, one idea. People think similar things about music and movies all the time! But life is what it is, and some people are going to think that they are the most original thinkers out there. That's absolutely fine with me.

But where do you stand? What do you think plagiarism is? To me, plagiarism is stealing someone else's creative  work. Just straight up, copy and paste, change this word, new verb here, new noun there. But others will feel differently. I wouldn't doubt that you feel differently. For instance, someone once told me this:

"I guarantee you the manual for a GE microwave says the same shit the Panasonic one does, but you don't see them up each other's asses over it."

And that is absolutely  true. So think about it before you accuse someone. Are they really taking your work? Are they stealing your content? Or are they just saying similar things, because they feel the same way? Think before you ruin another person's reputation. If you've thought it through, read the post several times, get a second unbiased  person's opinion, and you still see the similarities then  you can proceed. Honestly, I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers, I'm not pointing fingers, for gosh sake I'm not even saying that anyone is guilty of any of this. I aim to get my opinion out, and that's it. Maybe I'm misguided, maybe I'm spot on. And if you don't have something nice to say, well, say it if you want.

But my opinion stays the same. Technical writing is different than creative writing, as illustrated by that direct quote up there. I believe that. I also believe that it's easy to have similar thoughts on a book. They both read the same thing. Just like it's possible that posts on plagiarism are plagiarizing each other.  In a world where everything has been said before, and everyone has an opinion, it's easy to get the lines crossed over each other. It's all so easy to accuse someone, but it's also easy to be on the other side, the one where the accused stand. Life is what it is, and people are who they are.

I want to know what your thoughts on the subject are. Where do you stand? Do you agree with me, or do you have your own (un-plagiarized!) thoughts on the subject?

LASTLY: I'm not condoning plagiarism. I'm not saying that it's right. I'm just giving my opinion on this subject...and it will make some people hot to trot. But I NEED to say what I think, otherwise I'll explode. If you take nothing else from this, take this idea: How would you feel in either place? Accused or accuser, we're all just people. We make mistakes. That can go either way, y'all. And at the end of the day, both the accused and the accuser are crying their eyes out, because both of them have been taken from.

January 28, 2013

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Title: Splintered
Author: A.G. Howard
Series: N/A
Source: Won
Publisher: Abrams
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Goodreads||The Book Depository
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
Splintered is one of those books that you read because the premise just sounds fantastic. You read nothing but good reviews, and you wonder, "how will this book ever live up to the hype that they've built for it? How could it ever?" Then you're reading it and you start to think, "hey, it lives up to it. But is it what I really wanted?"

I'm conflicted. Did I like it? Of course! But was it everything I had wanted and more? No. It's nothing more than it claims to be-- it's not the earth shattering book that I've been expecting. It had enough plot turns to entertain me, and sometimes even confuse me, but I could have done without some of those. It's one of those that made me not want to read this book every day for the rest of my life-- see outlined problem in between the brackets. {I wanted  Jeb to remember. It chaps me that he doesn't, because they basically had this epic romance, and she told him things and he told her things, and SHE  gets to remember them, while he doesn't. He should get a choice!} Other than that, IT WAS FAB.

I liked Alyssa, because she was just so weird and out there, and her fashion sense is just to DIE for. I've always loved that kind of stuff. Plus, she skateboards. How cool is that? I can ride a board in a straight line for several feet and do the "flipping the board up" trick, but that's not boarding to me. SHE can really board, dude. Seriously, it was awesome! I also liked that for most of the book you don't know-- is Alyssa really mad, or is she just hyperaware? Love those talking flowers and bugs!

I mean, that just makes the book. What if she wakes up and it was all this weird (albeit out-there) dream? What can she do about it?

Oh, Wonderland. How may I count thine strange and fantastical morbid weirdnessis? I can't-- but just know that it is AWESOME. The Rabid White, the Jabberlocky, and the Netherlings-- demented pixies, Toys that house souls, and elfin knights. Come on, how could I NOT be enchanted with such creatures? I'm a fan of the morbidly weird!

Also, JEB. Where can I get a boy like that? He dresses GRUNGE. He has a lip labret-- and he's SEXY. Seriously, I don't think you get it. I just like him, because he is one fine boy who gets tugged into Wonderland, and he wants to keep our protagonist safe-- I just cannot put my love for him down properly on paper.

All in all, Splintered had FANTASTIC imagery and great characters, but I'm a but miffed about the ending, because it seemed a tad bit rushed.
"Because finding who you were meant to be? What you were put in this world to do? That's what fills the emptiness. It's the only thing that can." ~ Pg. 368

January 26, 2013

It's my Blogoversary/Epic giveaway!

I've gone through so many edits of this post-- and I finally figured out what I want to say. Thank you! You who read my posts, you who commented. Thanks, y'all. That's all I've really got to say to you-- even if it's not as eloquent as I would like it to be. Don't get me wrong, at times we've been like:

But then other times, I feel like this:

But now, I'm feeling very happy, and a bit like this:

As ridiculously convoluted and strange as that was, you can chalk it all up to my love for y'all. It's all for you! 

I'd like to thank a few bloggers--
Cheyenne from {This Girl Reads} for being my first blogger friend. Loves to ya, Chey! (:

Inky from Book Haven Extraordinaire for just being a generally awesome and funny gal. We've had uncomfortable discussions, we've had weird discussions...neither of us can ever seem to stop talking. Loves to you too, Inks! Do we make you laugh? (Inks is in blue, Megs is in Red.)

Oh sir! I have a Princess for you to save!
*CHARMING PERKS UP* Snow?!! I've been wondering where she ran off too. 
Uh, No. Megs....
*PRINCE CHARMING MUTTERS IN DISGUST* Why does everyone think I can rescue every little princess just because I woke Snow? She doesn't even want to BE with me anymore. She ran off somewhere because she hates me apparently. Or some other reason...Sorry, but I can't help you if my true love can't help me.
*NOT SURE WHAT IS GOING ON* Uh, but sir, I forgot to tell you her last name is White? Megs White?
*PRINCE PERKS UP AGAIN* You say she's a White? Well I'll take ANY WHITE if Snow won't have me! Lead On. 

"Do you think we should wake her?" "No, she looks like she's sleeping peacefully. What a dramatic place to fall asleep, though. Rather close to the water."
"Are you sure we shouldn't wake her?" "Yes."
"Is that her?" "Yes, that is the fair princess Megs White."
"She's not waking! I've tried everything. Are you sure that she's a White?"
"Very sure. She once told me that she lives down the road from a White. That's the same thing, right?"
"Yes, I suppose it is. But how am I supposed to wake her?" "Didn't you kiss Snow? Try that." "Well, yes, but Snow was in a glass case. NOT on the DIRTY GROUND!"
"You're a prince, right? I don't have to find somebody better to wake her? LIKE A DWARF?" "NO! I can do it...just don't get a dwarf! They're still mad at me for taking Snow." "I doubt they are now." "Wait, what?" "Never mind, Charming. Just wake Megs."
"Do it already." "Okay, but I don't want to get my tunic dirty!" "Be a man already, Charming!" *pushes Charming down*
"Now my tunic is dirty! You'll be paying for dry cleaning!" "Get it over with already, I want to explore this forest. With Megs, and not you. You're annoying."
"Inks! What are you doing here? And who is that creeper? He tastes like Cheetos! Do you have mouth wash?" "I came to save you! That's Prince Charming, and he is SO ANNOYING. Let's go before he makes us play his dry cleaning bill." "Okay, let's go! But seriously. Do you have mouthwash?" "We'll just pick up some watercress along the way, Megs."
The end for now.

Lil Berry from Forget About TV, Grab a Book for being the first blogger to ever want me in one of her features.

Steph from In Wonderland for being an awesome gal who's up for anything! (:

Lisseth from Read-A-HolicZ for designing my blog tour blog. She's really great, and you should check out her FREE blog designs! They are fab!

Sarah from Book-A-Holic, because she's totally awesome, and buddy reviewing! :D

Sunny from Blue Sky Bookshelf and b_ls from Spare Time Book Blog for just being cool. (:

And now, for the giveaway of epic proportions! You will love it. I have SIX US prize packs, and TWO international. So go for it. Internationals enter the international rafflecopter, USA's enter the USA rafflecopter. Easy, peasy. But first, here's the epic giveaway list! ;)

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally ARC
Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstien

The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams ARC
Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery by Keren David

The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab
Pieces of Me by Darlene Ryan ARC

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen

Lie by Caroline Bock ARC
Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley

Lucky Fools by Coert Voorhes ARC
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg (signed!)


International Prize Pack #1:
Any Pre-order from The Book Depository

International Prize Pack #2:
Any already released book from The Book Depository.

So, go for it! Make your parents happy--read a good book. ;)

Just for fun, I made a playlist. Tell me, is this your kind of music? LOL. :D
My Blogoversary by megan on Grooveshark

January 25, 2013

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Glitch (Glitch, #1)
Title: Glitch
Author: Heather Anastasiu
Series: Glitch, #1
Source: Traded for
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Goodreads||The Book Depository
In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.
Gah. That is the best intro word I could think of for this review. Gah. I liked this book, I honestly did, but I just can't look past all of the issues that I had with it. For one, the link. It connects all people, it controls their emotions, it makes them thoughtless drones. But here's Zoe, telling us about how her link reconnected and now she's a thoughtless drone. Okay, then how are you telling us this? If you are "thoughtless" and without emotion, how on EARTH can you tell us this?

That just didn't make sense to me. It just doesn't scream thoughtless drone, you know what I mean? Anywho, I don't think that I should continue with that train of thought. Moving on, but to another issue. Crackin' and shuntin'. What do you suppose that means? I can only imagine that they're some kind of cuss words, but seriously? I just couldn't get used to it all-- plus I had the added moment of horror where I was trying to figure out which cuss words they were replacing...unfortunately, I never did figure it out.

How did Max hear something over the link? He's glitching, he CAN'T. And then at some point in the book, he turns to Zoe and says "They just called for you over the link, Zoe." BUT HE'S NOT CONNECTED. How does he FREAKING KNOW? Plus, Max is honestly a freaking jerk. "Can I see your genitalia?" (Actual quote from him, I am not kidding. Ick.)

"Max hasn't talked to me in two weeks, ever since last night." I'm just paraphrasing here, but it's in the same chapter. She says that he hasn't talked to her in two weeks, then three minutes later she says that everything changed between her and Max last night. Okay, time lapse just happened. I'm sure that you thought I wouldn't catch that, BUT I DID.

But you know what? In spite of all of that, I liked Zoe and Adrien. I liked the story, even if all the points that I just mentioned were ridiculous. Zoe was just so curious and eager to experience emotion, and Adrien is helping her...what did you expect? I liked that part. I am a bit miffed that Zoe wasn't all I had hoped, but she was still a good character.

All in all, I had too many issues to really LOVE this book, but I definitely liked it.
"Beauty, happiness, they're things so big that they can't capture them with their scientific words. It's like what they used to call magic." ~ Pg. 90

January 24, 2013

Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel

Stolen Nights (Vampire Queen, #2)
Title: Stolen Nights
Author: Rebecca Maizel
Series: Vampire Queen, #2
Source: Publisher for Review
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Goodreads||The Book Depository
Lenah Beaudonte should be dead. But having sacrificed herself to save another, she finds herself awakening with strange powers that are neither vampire nor human—and a new enemy on her trail. In her vampire life, Lenah had thought that being human was all she ever wanted; but the human heart suffers pain, heartbreak and loss.

With her new powers growing and the dark force of the Nex after her soul, Lenah faces a choice: between the mortal love of gorgeous Justin, whose passion fed her human soul, and taking a different path to become the mistress of her own destiny, wherever that may lead...
Excuse me...OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG. *glomps book* This book was so surprising! You remember how much I liked Infinite Days, right? How fabulous I thought it was? THIS BOOK WAS BETTER. I just gotta reiterate this bit, though. I LOVE the myth that surrounds Vampire Queen. It's very unique, because the author has explanations on why the vampires are beautiful. Ever think about that? Their PORES are sealed, and that's what makes them beautiful.

Vicken SERIOUSLY surprised me-- in the first book, he really came off as a power hungry alpha-male type  jerk. Just being honest. But once he became human, he's this awesome happy-go-lucky, I-can-finally-bruise-again type of dude. I absolutely loved that. Does anyone else have the biggest book crush ever on Rhode, though? He's just so...oblivious. I don't know why I find that attractive, but hey. Don't judge.

Lenah remains her totally fabulous self, but I think she gained a bigger sense of humanity after that last bout of vampirism. She just is more human now. I don't know...but it was awesome. Her character is just so kick butt, and I totally respect her-- and want her on my team for dodgeball.

Lenah and Rhode's connection, their "soul mates who can't have each other" status is...interesting. I mean, they loved each other for hundreds of years, then suddenly Rhode's back. Justin is a horrid person, and she doesn't love him anymore. I get it, they've been in love for centuries. And I'm a fan of Rhode. But I just have that one issue...it's weird. This is the only issue that I have, really. All of them revolve around this little fact.

This is a just for giggles kind of moment, but our villian's name is Odette. Here's me: "Why, hello, Swan Princess who is evil. I find it immensely entertaining that you are so...evil with a fairy princess name. Teeheehee." Really. That was me. Laugh if you want to. ;)

Last but totally not least, THE ENDING. WHY? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO ME? I NEED to know what happens next. I'll feel better if I have someone to talk to. EMAILETH ME.Seriously, I'm not kidding. If you have an opinion on this book, I'd like to hear it and talk about it with you.
"Like the whitest shores on a beach as far as the eye can see. You want that ocean. You see that ocean. But you can never go back in. Ever."~ Pg. 17
This review is a part of the Stolen Nights blog tour hosted by Readiacs Review. I requested this book before joining the blog tour.

January 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #4

Dirty Little Secret
Title: Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Series: N/A
Publisher: MTV Books
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Goodreads||The Book Depository
From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such a Rush comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

If you know me, you know that I'm a HUGE Jenn Echols fangirl-- and that she's never written a book that I didn't like. I just LOVE the romance that she writes, and she never fails to make her boys super swoon-worthy. And I just love a swoon-worthy boy. But on another note, COUNTRY MUSIC. Dreams of fame-- it all sounds so dramatic-- and so very me! I just can't wait to read this book! :D

January 22, 2013

Altered by Aubrey Coletti

Title: Altered
Author: Aubrey Colletti
Series: The Academy, #1
Source: Author for Review
Publisher: Escape Artist Press
Publication Date: June 6, 2012
Goodreads||The Book Depository
When Toni, Joseph and Charlie arrive at their new boarding school, they are glad to leave their families - and respective problems - behind. Isolated as boarders, they meet a handsome senior with a personality like iced snake's blood, teachers with a penchant for physical punishment, and four other outcasts who reveal that their being brought to the Academy wasn't random at all. When the arrivals discover that their new school is engaged in "behavior modification" through electric shocks, isolation, restraints, and an ever-evolving set of methods to "fix" them, they declare war on their Academy. During their campaign of sabotage, they fight, hate, scorn, love, and begin to uncover the reasons why they were brought to the school. But as their war against the school escalates beyond their control, will they become the very things the Academy believes they are: dangerous, delinquent - and mad?
Freaking A. I seriously am not doing too well after finishing Altered. WHAT IS THIS? THE FREAKING SCHOOL IS A HOUSE OF HORRORS. I don't understand it all-- AT ALL. What kind of a school has electroshock treatments for DELINQUENTS? I mean, I've heard of alternative schools, but they're usually of the artsy kind. That one was just freaking HORRID.

Sadly, I can't say that I loved this book. I liked it, that is all. As you can see, one of my biggest issues was THE SCHOOL. It just freaked me out a tad bit-- they TORTURE students. In what world is that RIGHT? (I mean, the entire book is built on the idea that it isn't right, but you know what I mean.) Another issue I had was the switching points of view from page to page-- the characters weren't hard to tell apart, but it confused me pretty good for a couple of chapters.

I liked all the main characters (Joseph and Ann especially), but they were just WAY too mature. I could reveal a spoiler, but I just can't do that to y'all. All of our main characters are around 14, but they give off the vibe of being 17-18. That just almost kills it for me, because I went through most of the book thinking that they were all older. It surprised me, is all.

Also, Seth is one sick twisted *insert cuss word here*. Seriously. I really don't like the guy. And I'm sure that the feeling is mutual, so we're good. Charlie and Toni were alright, but they weren't my favorites. Most of the characters honestly faded a bit into the background once I started reading, and I didn't particularly care for that.

All in all, Altered was fast paced and interesting, but I would have liked to have seen less mature characters, and the school just honestly freaked me out.

January 21, 2013

The Namesake by Steven Parlato + Excerpt

The Namesake
Title: The Namesake
Author: Steven Parlato
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher for review
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: January 18, 2013
GoodReads||The Book Depository
Gifted artist? Standout student?

All his teachers are sure certain that Evan Galloway can be the graduate who brings glory to small, ordinary St. Sebastian's School.

As for Evan, however, he can't be bothered anymore.

Since the shock of his young father's suicide last spring, Evan no longer cares about the future. In fact, he believes that he spent the first fifteen years of his life living a lie. Despite his mother's encouragement and the steadfast companionship of his best friend, Alexis, Evan is mired in rage and bitterness. Good memories seem ludicrous when the present holds no hope.

Then Evan's grandmother hands him the key--literally, a key--to a locked trunk that his father hid when he was the same age as Evan is now. Digging into the trunk and the small-town secrets it uncovers, Evan can begin to face who his father really was, and why even the love of his son could not save him.

In a voice that resonates with the authenticity of grief, Steven Parlato tells a different kind of coming-of-age story, about a boy thrust into adulthood too soon, through the corridor of shame, disbelief, and finally...compassion.
Oh God. This book is something else-- and honestly, it was fantastic, but it deals with some very, very dark and taboo subjects. It honestly gets more and more graphic as you read, until you're at the point where you honestly don't want to hear anymore, but you still have to know what happens. You have to know why he did it. Why Evan's dad committed suicide. And the results WILL surprise you.

I think that my only real issue with this book WAS that it was unbelievably graphic. It was pretty insane, and I can honestly tell you that there are some things that I never really wanted to know...ick. But as icky as some of those subjects were, they are what made the story so unforgettable.

Evan was a good character-- I'll give him that. But I do have some gripes that are similar to another blogger's. Evan is supposed to be CRAZY SMART. Genius level, even. But it seems like he's just a regular kind of guy. He doesn't act like the guy from An Abundance of Katherines (who's always making up a mathematical equation for everything), nor is he really all that groundbreaking. We see very little mention of his "geniusishness". He just seems like a normal kind of guy.

Another thing that kinda made this book a tad weird was that it was all Catholic. (Not that I'm against catholicism, but it seemed used a lot for a guy who was quite a cusser, if you catch my drift). It just seemed like he wasn't really Catholic-- all we see is that he goes to a Catholic school. I wish that his actual religion had been used as a key part of the character development, because that would have been super cool.

All in all, I enjoyed The Namesake, but it disturbed me so much that I had to knock a star off of the rating. It was so graphic that I often found myself not wanting to read more, but dying to find out what had happened. Is this a bad thing, or a good thing? You decide.
Am I getting desensitized or something? It's like nothing else could surprise me, affect me even. I've developed an emotional callous. ~ Pg. 273, ARC

Mister Pettafordi's office is examining room bright.

It makes me queasy, like I'm here for X-rays -- which, in a way, I am. My art teacher slash guidance counselor slash "Think of me as your friend" wants to help. That's how I landed in the vinyl visitor chair on the wrong side of his desk. I should be in silent study, passing notes to Alexis. Instead, I'm here, embarrassed for Michelangelo's David. He's beside the file cabinet, a red umbrella hanging from his crooked elbow, looking a little vulnerable, naked under the lights.

I need to write this stupid essay. Mr. P's fixated on getting me a full scholarship; he says I'm his "best student ever." But then, that's what my teachers always say.

Mister P: "Evan, you need to pursue your art."

Me: "Uh-huh."

Mister P: "Evan, you've got what it takes."

Me: "Hmm."

Mister P: "Evan, follow your dream!"

Thing is, I think it's his dream more than mine now.

But I'm trying to get a jump on this heap of applications. Pettafordi said I need to "dazzle them" with my essay. I asked what I should write about.

He said, "Evan, write what you know."

As helpful as that was, I've chosen the opposite. See, I'm not sure I want to study art, or even go to college anymore. So I'll write what I don't know. I could do twenty pages on spark plugs or the reproductive cycle of the Andean potato weevil. Except, those I could research. No. I'll tackle the true unknown.

I never knew my father.

I don't mean that in a trash TV kind of way. Like, Up Next, DNA Tests: Real Dads Revealed! It's not like that. Mom wasn't a sperm bank patron. I wasn't raised by wolverines. I've lived most of my fourteen years in a room two doors down from the man, falling asleep to his snores. I could map you his morning stubble, a whorl on his chin like Madagascar. Nope. Nothing dramatic about the Galloways. We were typical. Mom made Campbell's soup casseroles. Dad fell asleep in the leather chair on movie night. We were about as normal as it gets. At least, that's what everyone thought.

Before last April.

Now when I think about stuff, it's all about how it used to be. We used to have Monopoly marathons. Build model planes. Gorge ourselves at China Buffet. We used to . . . whatever.

A great philosopher once said, "Used-to-bes don't count anymore."

Okay, it was this singer, Neil Diamond. My friend Alexis is a huge fan. But I disagree with Old Neil because, really, used-to-bes are the only things that do count anymore.Especially when today sucks so bad.

It's funny how perfectly life splits into before and after. Before, it was just life, crappy or un'. After, everything's different.

But I was going to tell you about my father.

My Father by Evan Galloway
My father is tall.
My father is fun.
My father reads stories
and Plays with me.
My father is the best, FATHER NUMBER ONE!

I wrote that in first grade. You could say my opinion of him has evolved. For one thing, I realized he was never all that tall. I admit the poem loses something sans macaroni frame, but I think it shows real literary promise. I mean, after reading that, I'm sure you can see how I ended up in Honors English, right?

Yeah, I'm smart. All through school I've been in the brain group: TAG, the Talented And Gifted Program. It's actually sort of cool, loads of field trips, elaborate, "self-guided learning opportunities." Sure, the regular kids call us "Tag Fags," but that's never really bothered me. Not much. It's jealousy, plain and simple. And come on -- tag fag? -- such an obvious rhyme. Leave it to a remedial reader.

Now I'm at Saint Sebastian's Catholic High School, third year, following Dad's footsteps. Yeah, he went here. But I one-upped the old man; I'll graduate at sixteen. They jumped me a couple grades. So I'm the second Evan Galloway to attend SSCHS. My family calls me "Junior," but technically, I'm not. Dad and I don't have the same middle name. Or, didn't. I do that sometimes, refer to him like he's still here. Like he didn't kill himself last spring. Like Gran didn't find him hanging from a beam in her attic Easter morning, while Mom and I were at Mass.

January 19, 2013

Book Haul #5: In which Megan realizes the awful truth.

Let's see what we have today-- but I just have one thing to say first. IT HAS COME TO MY ATTENTION that I'm taking in more books than I could ever read. Think, if I continue to get books at this rate, I have no future of finishing them all. Think about that. o_O

Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel (Requested)
Real Mermaids Don't Need High Heels by Helene Boudreau (Blog Tour)
As I Wake by Sarah DiCello (Accepted Review Pitch)
As I Close My Eyes by Sarah DiCello (Accepted Review Pitch)
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (Traded for)
Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (Traded for)
The Morganville Vampires Vol. 1 by Rachel Caine (Traded for)
The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan (Won)

So, that's my haul for this week! Link me up to your haul, give me a play-by-play, whatever. A BIG thanks goes to St. Martin's Press, Sourcebooks, Sarah DiCello, Nicole at Paperback Princess, Sierra at Yearning to Read, and Lisa at Turning Pages.