January 24, 2014

Blogoversary Giveaway + I'm Going on Hiatus

So, if you guys didn't know this - my blogoversary is in two days! Yay! But since I'm being featured today, the giveaway will be starting a couple of days early! And that is SUPER good news for y'all. This year, in just two days... I've been blogging for two years. Let me say that again:

Two years.

I don't know about you, but to me that's a long time to stick with something. It's had it's ups and downs, but ultimately.... this blog is my baby. Which brings me to the next subject - I'll be taking a break until March 1st. I've been encouraged to take a break by lots of fabulous people, and really... I think it'll be the best thing for me. You remember that post about managing reading and blogging? Yeah, I don't really have time for that. So maybe, by taking a break... I'll get a head start on it. Maybe it'll help to straighten things out, and maybe then it'll be easy again.



Just kidding. But there is a giveaway.

Most of this is going to be my sad and nostalgic rambling.

This was the first year - the first year that I really felt like I could call myself an "average" blogger. I'm sure I'll never be a big blogger or anything (and yes, that's kind of sad), but I finally feel like I can call this little space in the internet mine. IT'S ALL MINE. FOREVER.

This is also the first year that I've had my design professionally done. It's gorgeous, y'all! And thankfully, I'm still in love with it - I love my truck, and my stars... and I can honestly say that I don't think there's another blog out there that looks like mine. And I'm proud of this little design. Thanks goes to Katie from [KD Designs] for making it!

And it's also the first year that I've participated in a buddy read with a hashtag. That may seem like a small thing, but really, it was so much fun! The #PercyPowWow changes lives, yo. I'm so happy that Becca @ Pivot Book Review took some time to do it with me!

AGAIN, it was the first year for something else new - Sarah @ Book-A-Holic and I tried to host our own reading challenge, via The Raven Readers. Needless to say, we were the only participators. But we had fun!

I've joined two blogs as a collaborator this past year, and I've made lots of new friends - like Nitzan from Drugs Called Books, Mishma from As The Page Turns, and Stephanie from Bookfever, who's blogs are all amazing - and I seriously wish I commented more often. I've been bad about comments lately.

Last, but not least - this is the year of 100, 000 page views. That is no small number... and seriously? Woot, woot!


This giveaway is international, and is for TWO PREORDERS - each winner will win one! DID YOU HEAR THAT? TWO WINNERS! Enter up, y'all!

Oh... you maybe want to look at some choices? Okay...


Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)Raging Star (Dust Lands, #3)Lair of Dreams (The Diviners, #2)After the End (After the End, #1)Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)The One (The Selection, #3)The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy #1)Of Neptune (The Syrena Legacy, #3)Ruins (Partials, #3)Side Effects May VaryBreakableFar From YouStrange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly, #3)What I Thought Was TrueMaybe SomedayHouse of Ivy & SorrowTo All the Boys I've Loved BeforePrisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)

That's just SOME of the books that are coming out soon! I mean... look at their beauties! (Obviously, if you don't *GASP* want one of these, you can pick any other book under $20 from the Book Depository. Enter up, beauties!)

And here's a little about The Pearl, which I personally think sounds amazing!
How do gods come to be? Why are dragons good for some and menacing for others? Where do the different races of men come from? Why does evil even exist? The Pearl introduces us to the fascinating world of Elearah Chronicles, a place where ancient myths are alive, where these questions find answers in their own way. Travel with Balian the bard, Elearah the Pearl bearer, and Mika their guide, as they move through Huo, the land of the fire race. Witness with them the return of the Golden Dragon, and follow them as they clash with the servants of the Snake. And who is Pearl? Ah, that´s a good question, a very good question indeed...

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So, that's that! I'll be seeing you again on March the 1st!

January 23, 2014

Etched on Me by Jenn Crowell + Giveaway

Etched on Me: A Novel
Etched on Me by Jenn Crowell
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher for Review
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
In the surface, sixteen-year-old Lesley Holloway is just another bright new student at Hawthorn Hill, a posh all-girls prep school north of London. Little do her classmates know that she recently ran away from home, where her father had spent years sexually abusing her. Nor does anyone know that she's secretly cutting herself as a coping mechanism . . . until the day she goes too far and ends up in the hospital.

Lesley spends the next two years in and out of psychiatric facilities, where she overcomes her traumatic memories and finds the support of a surrogate family. Eventually completing university and earning her degree, she is a social services success story - until she becomes unexpectedly pregnant in her early twenties. Despite the overwhelming odds she has overcome, the same team that saved her as an adolescent will now question whether Lesley is fit to be a mother. And so she embarks upon her biggest battle yet: the fight for her unborn daughter.

I'll be the first to say that the premise of Etched on Me appealed to me - I love the dark, gritty stories that I read, but this one didn't really work for me. It's not that it wasn't dark or gritty (it was!), the problem was that I couldn't connect with the main character, Lesley. She's a girl with a lot of problems, and although I understand that... I don't think that she was fleshed out enough.

I liked the inside look at mental institutions, and the people that are in them. It was interesting to see the things that they experience, and how Lesley reacted to them. I also liked the mystery of Lesley and her baby - it's said that they ended up on TV, and that there was a big battle between social services and such... but I didn't know why. I liked that these strings were tied up in the end.

I have to say, though... there were some parts throughout this book - well, they made me cringe, and I didn't exactly want to read them. But I did anyway - and I think I came through it with one thought - "I don't think I get this book".

I really don't think that I did. There were so many... plot twists. There was just so much going on, and I couldn't really get into it. My disconnection with Lesley didn't help either, because not only could I not connect with the story, the character just escaped me.

The message of this book is good - it lets people that are in Lesley's situation know that there is hope, and that they will get through it... but that message just isn't for me. All in all, Etched on Me just wasn't my thing, but I'm not going to try and dissuade you from reading it.

Jenn CrowellAbout the Author:
Jenn Crowell’s debut, Necessary Madness, was released when she was just 19; her second novel, Letting the Body Lead, when she was only 24. Both were critically acclaimed and reviewers marveled at the wisdom, maturity, and depth of feeling expressed by so young a writer. Over the next ten years, Jenn earned her MFA, but also underwent treatment for depression and self-harm—issues that she writes about so vividly in her latest novel, ETCHED ON ME (Atria/Washington Square Press, February 4, 2014).
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google + | Pinterest

The publisher has been kind enough to offer up a copy of Etched on Me to give away! It will be a signed paperback copy. US/CAN ONLY! Remember, even if I didn't really get this book... that doesn't mean that you won't love love love it! I hope that you enter! :)

(Pssstt... Etched on Me releases on February 4, 2014!)

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January 22, 2014

The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

The Vanishing
The Vanishing by Wendy Webb
Series: N/A (Sadly)
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Recently widowed and rendered penniless by her Ponzi-scheming husband, Julia Bishop is eager to start anew. So when a stranger appears on her doorstep with a job offer, she finds herself accepting the mysterious yet unique position: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired…and who the world believes is dead.

When she arrives at the Sinclairs' enormous estate on Lake Superior, Julia begins to suspect that there may be sinister undercurrents to her "too-good-to-be-true" position. As Julia delves into the reasons of why Amaris chose to abandon her successful writing career and withdraw from the public eye, her search leads to unsettling connections to her own family tree, making her wonder why she really was invited to Havenwood in the first place, and what monstrous secrets are still held prisoner within its walls.

"No, today the sky is too blue and bright for a tale as dark as that one."

Fun fact about me: if I read a book that scares me, I will run past the windows in my house. It's been like that ever since I was super young - if I watch a scary movie, I run past the windows. It goes both ways - and let me tell you, The Vanishing definitely incurred some window-running. Which in my mind, is always a good thing!

I picked this one up on a whim, and I'm glad I did! Because it turned out to be a fantastic read, with a wonderful atmosphere! It reads like a modern gothic novel, taking place in an old old house. The writing alone was enough to give me chills. (And it did, repeatedly.) I found myself constantly questioning each decision made, and each and every character. I felt like I couldn't trust any of them, so I just... didn't.

The premise intrigued me - a woman who's supposed to be dead, living out in a haunted house, and her son who arranges for a caretaker - who doesn't really appear to be needed. I found Julia to be a rather likable character. She just... aside from seeing things and hearing things, she seems like a fairly normal person. When the house is empty and something talks to her... she runs. Like any sane person in her situation would do! I just nearly clapped when that happened - I was afraid that she might try to go all paranormally and talk to it - but no. She did good.

I also liked the "love interest", Andrew McCullough. He was super adorable, and really very sweet. He was all Scottish and manly and just adorable - I have such a weakness for the Scottish.

I enjoyed Mrs. Sinclair - she was eccentric as all get out, but she had a good heart, even if it was hidden in a delightfully weird packaging. I hope I'm a cool old lady like her - when I get that old, of course. ;)

Serious chills happened with the ghosties, though. Serious chills. There was a moment in the beginning - a little girl, floating, singing. "Sing a song of sixpence / A pocketful of rye". That's pretty much imprinted in my mind. There were several moments that made me freak out - in a good way.

I loved the fact that the whole novel was focused on the build-up, but I feel like the end scene was a little rushed. The epilogue completely made up for it, though. It left me with a sense of not everything adding up - and it was good. It made me wonder how crazy our main character was; and I just didn't want it to end.

All in all, I definitely recommend The Vanishing. I want you all to read it, because I loved it. I tweeted this when I finished, and it definitely still applies.

January 21, 2014

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
Series: N/A
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Life. Death. And...Love?

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.

But Emma can't tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.

Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn't have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.

Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?

History is full of death, and I've had enough of that.

I really liked Heartbeat. I was very hesitant to start it, because I didn't really know much about it... just that it was by Elizabeth Scott, one of my favorite authors! Turns out I should have been worried - I was captured from the very first chapter. There's something about a mother being kept alive to birth a baby that horrifies and interests me at the same time!

Honestly, I feel like understand both sides of the argument - on one hand... it's just kind of sick to keep someone alive artificially so that they can give birth. It skeeves me out a bit, that's for sure! Obviously, it's a part of Dan, and it's a part of her... so he wants the baby. But Emma doesn't - and I understand that as well, because like I said... it's kind of despicable. I long for the days when everything was black and white. There's too much grey in this world!

I liked Emma's character growth throughout this book - obviously she's going through some tough times, but I think she's stronger for that! She's learning how to deal with things her own way, and maybe she isn't always right - but she's growing up, and that's the important part. I especially loved Caleb and her together - my heart just broke for them. I feel like sending them a love hug - they're just so fragile!

Speaking of Caleb... I knew that I would like him from the moment I read his name. He's so broken, but he still such a sweet guy. I mean, he wants people to leave him alone - but I understand that. He was so gentlemanly and kind of chivalrous... I'm not going to lie - I might be a little bit in love with him.

Normally, when I say "I'm lost", it means that I don't understand how I got from one place to another. But in this case, that was actually a good thing - a couple of times, I got so lost in the writing that I just didn't pay attention to where it was going. It was... beautiful, in it's own way.

All in all, I really enjoyed Heartbeat. I loved the romance - and I loved that the characters grew. Handling such a tough subject is hard, but Elizabeth Scott makes it seem easy - as always!

January 20, 2014

The Moment Before by Suzy Vitello

The Moment Before
The Moment Before by Suzy Vitello
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher for Blog Tour
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
“Don’t get me wrong. I loved my sister. I never, not once, wished her dead.”

Brady and Sabine Wilson are sisters born eleven months apart, but they couldn’t be more different. Popular Sabine, the head cheerleader dating the high school hunk, seems to have all the luck, while her younger, artsy sister "Brady Brooder" is a loner who prefers the sidelines to the limelight.

After Sabine dies in a horrific cheerleading accident, grief unravels Brady and her family. Once recognized for her artistic talent, 17-year-old Brady finds herself questioning the value of everything she once held dear. Her best friend betrays her. Her parents’ marriage is crumbling. And the boy everyone blames for the accident seems to be her only ally in the search for answers in the wake of her sister’s death. As an unlikely friendship emerges, Brady learns more about Sabine – and love – than she bargained for.

I'm going to jump right into The Moment Before. It's been a few days (between the reading and this writing), but I'm still kind of unsure about what I think. To be honest, I'm more unsure than ever about it. I kind of feel like it could have been a little better, but I definitely didn't hate it. I just didn't love it.

I liked Brady. She was kind of angry at the world, kind of just getting used to no longer being the younger sister of the popular girl. She did some things that made me like her, but she also did lots of things that upset me. I think that my biggest problem with her overall was that she didn't exactly stand up for herself all the time. Sometimes she just let things happen, and I just wanted her to be stronger than that.

But sometimes she just says the most agreeable things. Like when she says she didn't know how her sister could go for a boy who's all angles. I don't really get that either - I'll pick the stouter boy nearly every time. But it's just funny that we agree on that. On a somewhat unrelated note, it so sucked that she kept calling Connor's hands "meaty". For whatever reason, that just bothers the crap out of me!

I liked Brady and Connor together - but there's a twist near the end that sort of upsets me. It was very real life, but pretty sad in my opinion.

MARTHA. Let us speak on the subject of Martha, Brady's "friend". It seems like they're not all that great of friends. It's obvious that they have there ups and downs, but.... I wouldn't be having no ups with her. She's a hypocrite and an annoying little bugger and many other things. I have the terrible feels against her. I didn't like her at all!

All in all, The Moment Before was a pretty true to life book, but it didn't really speak to me on a deep level. I still liked it, though!

About the Author:
Connect: Website | Blog | Twitter | Diversion Books | Facebook
As a founding member of what the Oregonian has dubbed Portland’s “hottest writing group” (members include Chuck Palahniuk, Chelsea Cain, Lidia Yuknavitch, Monica Drake and Cheryl Strayed), Suzy’s name has graced the acknowledgement pages of many a book. Her own award-winning writing has appeared in a bunch of journals and anthologies. She holds an MFA from Antioch Los Angeles, and when she’s not writing novels, does freelance copywriting and editing. The Moment Before is her debut novel. Suzy lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Kirk, and son, Carson. Find out more on suzyvitello.com

January 19, 2014

Scene it Sunday #8: Nick is in an Asylum

The Great Gatsby
Source: Gifted
Release Date: May 10, 2013
Leads: Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan

A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor.

Megan is Reading:

Nick is in an Asylum, Book Scene -

Nick lives in Chicago. The asylum thing was made up completely for the movie.

Nick is in an Asylum, Movie Scene -

The movie starts out with a panning view of the outside of an asylum. It zooms into show us Nick's shrink and his file - which was never in the book at all.

I really think that this idea sucks. I mean, making Nick have a disorder of the mind just... makes the entire story kind of meaningless, because there's not a reason that you should be trusting him at all. I don't like it, 'twas a poor choice. Especially because Nick... wasn't insane. Not even a bit. Caught up, yes. But not a speck insane.

January 18, 2014

Do You Actually Read Reviews?

Lately I've been seeing a strange trend from book bloggers - there have been lots and lots of statements lately - bold statements about book reviews.

"I don't read book reviews", or "I don't LIKE reading book reviews", or even "book reviews were never really my thing".

And I just think that's sad. If you're a book blogger, why do you not like reading book reviews? Can you tell me why? Because I'd really love to know your reasons. In all honesty, there are lots of book reviews that I skip, just for reasons. Like, say I don't like the certain review style, or sometimes it's just for a book that I have no interest in. But those are my only reasons ever.

But for y'all that don't like reviews... why not? You write them... right? How can you like to write something, but not to read them? Authors that focus on certain genres usually enjoy the genre that they write. Do they disinterest you? Do you find yourself rolling your eyes too often?

I obviously don't think to be a book blog that you have to write reviews, I mean there are lots of people that don't - that just blog about book art, or have bookish games, or even just post about books they're excited to read. But... if you write reviews, why don't you read them?

How can you just swear off ALL book reviews?

January 17, 2014

Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler

Love? Maybe.
Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: January 5, 2012
Just because Piper's birthday is on Valentine's Day does not mean she's a romantic. In fact, after watching her father and then her stepfather leave, she's pretty sure she doesn't believe in love at all. Then her friends concoct a plan to find them all Valentine's dates, and somehow Piper finds herself with the most popular guy in school. But true love never follows a plan, and a string of heartfelt gifts from a secret admirer has Piper wondering if she might be with the wrong guy.

In this heartwarming romance, true love is more than a maybe - and it might be closer than you think.

Love? Maybe was the perfect embodiment of what I've come to expect from Heather Hepler: fluff. She writes some of the fluffiest and cutest books, but I just can't really connect with her characters or her storylines. It was predictable as all get out, but ultimately forgettable.

I wanted Piper and Charlie to be together. I thought that they would be absolutely adorable together, and I was just waiting for that romance to happen - but I feel like I really didn't get real romance with this one. It was sweet, that's for sure; but I felt no chemistry between them.

Piper was an okay sort of character, but like I said before... I just can't connect with these characters. I did, however, like Charlie. He was a sweet guy, and truly lit up every scene that he was in, but he just wasn't in the book enough. Truly, I wanted to see more of him.

This book was completely full of predictability - and not really the good kind. The predictable that made me just want to have a long serious talk with Piper. She... she's just super dense. All in all, Love? Maybe was an okay read - I even enjoyed it, but it was ultimately forgettable.