Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday #3

Welcome to another edition of Tell Me Something Tuesday, hosted by the lovely Cambria Hebert. Every week, Cambria will ask a new question, and participants will post their answers and leave their link on her site. Then, bloggers can compare their answers while visiting all the lovely blogs. Leave me a comment - I can’t wait to stop by your blog and find out your answer!

This week’s question:

What is the saddest book you have ever read?

In pondering this question, I have come to the realization that I am a Great.Big.Weenie.Baby. Seriously. The list of books that have made me cry is too incredibly long to share. So, I have decided to categorize my books from one-eyed-leakage and gentle sobbing to full-on-weeping-in-a-corner-curled-into-a-fetal-position. That did make it a bit easier.  Basic crying would include, but is not limited to: Divergent, Hallowed, Shiver, one or two of the Twilight books (don’t judge), and The Hunger Games (which really falls into an in-between category of gentle sobbing and corner weeping). That brings us to the hang-my-head-in-shame-bawled-my-eyes-out portion of the list. There are three:

#3: Delirium: There was actual rocking, sobbing, and hugging of this book. When I reached the end, I was so glad I was alone. I can only imagine how I must have looked with this book clutched to my chest, squalling like a banshee.

#2: Dear John:  I saw the preview for the movie and decided I needed to read the book first. Channing Tatum is ever-so-hawt, and it was very hard to not start with the movie, but I’m so glad I read the book first. As is normally the case, the book was much better, though, that is nothing against Channing - he was perfection. I know this is supposed to be a love story, but for me the best part of the story was the father-son relationship. Cue the tears. I loved this book, and I definitely shamed myself in front of my family with my full-on weeping.

And the #1 sob-inducing, nose-running, chin-quivering, un-prettiest crying, saddest book award goes to:

#1. Water for Elephants:  This is the book that my husband actually looked at me and said, “Good God, woman! JUST STOP READING IT!” Not one of my finer moments, but a beautiful book, that I deem quite worthy of my tears. Oh, and this was actually a great book to film adaptation. I love elephants - I actually collect them. Noooo, not actual elephants (although, how cool would that be?). I collect elephant bookends and other decorative items for my home. Big fan of the elephants, so this was a hard book to read. I cannot tolerate ANY animal being mistreated - it ruins the story for me...but due to certain events, this was still a great book, and I’m very glad I stuck with it. In all honesty, if I ever revisit this book, I will have to skip certain pages. I made it through parts of the movie by closing my eyes and sticking my fingers in my ears. I did take IMMENSE JOY in seeing Edward Cullen play a character named Jacob. Bwahahahaha!

So, what books made YOU cry? Any embarrassing reading moments that you want to share? (Come on, don’t leave me here all red-faced and ashamed by myself!)

Leave me a comment and stop by
Cambria Hebert's blog to join in the fun!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

From Goodreads:  Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

In her enthralling debut, Veronica Rossi sends readers on an unforgettable adventure set in a world brimming with harshness and beauty.

I began reading the story, not quite grasping everything that was happening, or being sure I was liking it... but that changed in a matter of a few pages. Someone loses his marbles (I love me some crazy), and then the incredibly delectable Perry shows up.  I.Was.Hooked.  Hooked as in you would have had to pry this book from my cold, dead hands before I stopped reading it... which means I stayed up until 5 AM devouring it. I believe the “not quite grasping everything that was happening” in the beginning was due to the story being so wonderfully unique. I love dystopians - they are my genre of choice - but this one had an amazing twist to it.

“‘Do the clouds ever clear?’ she asked.
‘Completely? No. Never.’
‘What about the Aether? Does that ever go away?’
‘Never, Mole. The Aether never leaves.’
She looked up. ‘A world of nevers under a never sky.’”

The characters are so fascinating, and the story is exceptionally thought-provoking! I enjoyed the familial aspect in the story and the friendships, but I have to mention the romance as well: major swoon. It was unexpected and written so beautifully! It wasn’t an instantaneous passion, either:

“She found it curious and frightening that she could deeply dislike someone she didn’t even know. It wasn’t her. At least, it wasn’t how she used to be.”
“She looked up. ‘A world of nevers under a never sky.’
She fit in well then, he thought. A girl who never shut up.”


More like a slow recognition of mutual appeal:

“She absorbed the terror and beauty of him and his world. Of every moment over the past days. All of it, filling her up like the first breath she'd ever taken. And never had she loved life more.”
“She’d fallen into a deep silence once, when the sun appeared, and it was then he’d wondered most what she was thinking.”

Veronica Rossi’s writing is fabulous. Color me a fan-girl, ‘cause this lady can tell a tale! I want more of this story, more of these characters, and more books by Ms. Rossi.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Zombie Giveaway!!!

So, a few of you told me you that while you were mildly disturbed by my post about my favorite books (Click here for post), you also enjoyed it. Turns out, several of you haven’t read some of my zombie books, though.  Well,  I can’t have that...  So, what better way to spread the love and written zombie word than with a giveaway? A ZOMBIE-licious giveaway!!!

Here’s what’s up for grabs:

And not only those three amazing books, but the winner will be able to choose TWO
t-shirts from these designs (your choice of size and color):

And wait - there's more:

One zombie chocolate bar and three zombie suckers to keep you nourished during the apocalypse - after all, you have to keep your strength up when you're dodging the undead.

One very important (you’ll thank me one day) Zombie Survival Guide poster:

One "I Love Zombies" sticker:

...and one "I love you more than zombies love brains" magnet (‘cause I do <3!):

What do you have to do to get all these zombietastic goodies?
Just fill out the Rafflecopter form! 

And you can grab an extra 25 points if you post my zombie badge on your site:


(special thank-you to Christie at Christie's Book Reviews for making my badge)

**There is a bonus 50 points if you are an actual zombie, but authentic zombie ID is required.

Thanks for entering!!

Click 'Read more' for Rafflecopter form:

The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna


  Leann wasn't good enough for her upper-crust in-laws, so they gave her the mansion none of them wanted. Years ago, something or someone in the house killed Leann's brother. Will its violent secrets kill her next?

I was excited at the prospect of a great ghost story in The Wedding Gift, but when I began reading, I also found a wonderful and humorous story about Leann Worthier, her family, and the very wealthy Willets family she was about to marry into... not to mention the horrible monster-in-law she was going to be “blessed” with.

The way the author wrote the people of Dalton, Oklahoma, their sayings, and their dialect was not only riveting, but also downright, “knee-slapping” funny as they would say. Now, some readers may have been offended due to the characters' manner of speech. Oklahoma may not be the “South,” and I most certainly do not talk like that, but.... if I’m being an honest southern girl, I admit I do know and may or may not be distantly (closely) related to people who do.  I very much enjoyed the hilarity that ensued and the conversations between these Oklahomans.

I love the unique way the story begins with the newspaper headlines. What a great way to catch the reader up on the history of the town and its resident’s back-stories!

While Leeann’s vanity might have been off-putting to some, I thought it was hilarious and loved that she “couldn’t help being aware that she was the prettiest girl ever born in Dalton.” I mean, she was crowned Corn Princess, after all! Leeann and her best friend Jessie had some of the best and most comedic interactions, yet their fierce protectiveness over one another, as well as their extreme loyalty to each other, was quite poignant.

My only issue was that I thought this book wasn’t as frightening as a story involving a haunted mansion would imply. Well, as Leeann’s momma Elma would say, “What a difference a day makes,” because when I continued my reading of The Wedding Gift the next day, it did not disappoint in the scary department. Once the engaging background of the characters had been told, Ms. McKenna got down to the nitty-gritty and had me jumping at every noise I heard, not to mention sleeping with the light on.

It turns out that there is something even scarier in Oklahoma than that of a murderous, vengeance-seeking spirit.... but you’ll have to read the book to find out what that is.

The ending of the story is perfection, and I highly recommend The Wedding Gift to all my reading buddies who enjoy a little ‘scare’ in their books. I look forward to reading more of Kathleen Mckenna’s work.

A copy of this book was provided by Netgalley for review.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday #2

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a meme hosted by the fabulous Cambria Hebert.  Every week, Cambria will ask a new question, and participants will post their answers and leave their link on her site. Then, bloggers can compare their answers while visiting all the lovely blogs. Leave me a comment - I can’t wait to stop by your blog and find out your answer!

This week’s question:

What is your favorite genre to read and why?

Being an avid reader all my life, I have been through a lot of genres.

It started with The Monster at the End of This Book. 

Then, my Little House on the Prairie books when I was 7. 

 I was the quiet, shy girl who never got in trouble at school - until the teachers would realize how far ahead I had read in all my literature books. 

In high school, I discovered historical romance. OH.MY.SWOON. I was obsessed. I couldn't read enough Jude Deveraux or Judith McNaught books. I was so absorbed with one particular Jude Deveraux novel, that I could not be bothered with paying attention in Spanish II. 
So, I hid this book inside of my Spanish book . Of course, I got caught, because my stealth, cunning, and prowess had yet to kick in at the tender age of 16. My Spanish teacher, rest her soul (I don’t actually know if she died, but she had to have been 102 when I was taking her class... so surely... by now...) confiscated my book. This was not good. I attended a private, Christian school. The, um... ‘love’ scenes in that book were NOT private, Christian school material. If she had read any of those passages, I would have been kicked out of school, my parents would have been outcasts in our community, the family ostracized and sent to barren lands....okay, maybe none of that would have happened, but you can see that my over-dramatization skills had most definitely kicked in by 16. So, I did the only thing I could do: I snuck back into her classroom after school, went through her desk, and stole my book back. I waited with bated breath the next day for her to ask me what happened to my book. She never did (again...102). That is still the naughtiest, sneakiest thing I have ever done AND gotten away with! (I just remembered my mom figured out how to pull up my blog - I'm so going to hear about this. Statute of limitations, mom - just sayin'!).

So, historical romance played a huge part in my teen years. Afterwards,  I discovered Mary Higgins Clark, which led to James Patterson, leading to Dean Koontz, and ending up with Stephen King. Then, it was John Sanford and Kay Hooper. I had just finished reading a particularly intriguing Kay Hooper novel, when a friend called me and asked if I had read Twilight. Nope. Never even heard of a 'Twilight.' She said it had a vampire in it. Well, color me interested. She also said our 15-year friendship hung in the balance if I didn’t read and love this series. So, with that motivating factor, I bought the paperback and started to read. My first thought was, “I don’t want to read about teenagers in high school,” then I got to around page 3 and was HOOKED.

That book contained a clever, yet sneaky, little excerpt from New Moon, and I had to have that book immediately!!! When she called the next day, to see if I read/liked Twilight, her first question was: what did I think of Edward Cullen? I had no idea I was taking my life into my own hands when I replied “Meh, he’s okay..... I want to know more about this Jacob and Sam!! I hope they’re wolves - I love me some werewolves!” And that revelation was followed by the coldest, eeriest silence I have ever experienced... the memory of which still chills me to the bone. She then began hurling words at me like “Team Jacob,” “Wolf Girl,” and my personal favorite.... “Traitor.”  You see, I had no idea about the phenomenon of Twilight, or what a Twi-hard was. I didn’t know there were teams, or that being on the opposite team could result in a lynching. Fortunately, she forgave me my indiscretion (eventually) and has since made her peace with me being a wolf girl, and the fact that I’m more attracted to tall, dark, and handsome as opposed to cold, dead, and sparkly. After Twilight, I discovered The Hunger Games by Googling, “What do I read after Twilight?” And that, my friends, sealed my fate in the YA genre.

Sadly, I am no longer what one might consider a “young adult,” but it seems my heart didn’t get that memo.  I hope it never does.

Divergent by Veronica Roth will always be my favorite book of ever. I adore the YA genre and hope I am still reading about dystopian worlds, zombies, mythical creatures, and sweet, innocent love triangles, whilst sitting in my rocking chair at the Shady Pines Retirement Home, incoherently mumbling the name "Four".

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Goodreads: For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

From Merriam-Webster:  Hallowed. Adj. Definition: Holy, Consecrated, Sacred, Revered.

I personally think that Cynthia Hand’s writing and this series are to be revered.

“Our purpose on this earth is not one single event, an accomplishment we can check off a list. There is no test. No passing or failing. There's only us, each moment shaping who we are, into what we will become.”

This is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I love this story and all the characters that live in it. Now, Clara did bug me a bit in this book - I adored her in Unearthly, but she just didn’t do what I needed her to in Hallowed. That may not be not entirely fair, but still...bugged.

Tucker and Christian. Sigh. I was sure that Hallowed would finally make it clear which “team” I would be on. Nope.  Not even a little.  I love both of these guys. There was definitely more of the love triangle in this book, but I loved the way Clara was hyper-aware of it and made fun of it, as well as making fun of herself. Some of the references to another very popular series and its played-out love triangle were not only hilarious, but also brilliant!

“‘This isn't going to become one of those creepy situations where you show up at all hours of the night to watch me sleep, is it?’ he asks playfully.”

“Before I moved here, I never got the whole love-triangle thing. You know, in movies or romance novels or whatnot, where there’s one chick that all the guys are drooling over, even though you can’t see anything particularly special about her. But oh, no, they both must have her. And she’s like, ‘oh dear, however will I choose? William is so sensitive, he understands me, he swept me off my feet, oh misery, blubber, blubber, but how can I go on living without Rafe and his devil-may-care ways and his dark and only-a-little-abusive love?’ Upchuck.”

I may be known for my preference of zombies and end of the world disaster novels.... but I am a sucker for romance. Hallowed most definitely does not disappoint in the romance department.

“Tucker strokes my hair. There's something so tender about the gesture. It might as well have been him whispering ‘I love you.’”

Then, there is this moment in the book and this line that had my heart beating erratically, my palms sweaty, and my toes curling to the sky:

“‘This is the part where I kiss you.’”

*Dies* I mean, honestly, if that part doesn’t make you swoon, your swooner is on the fritz.

“This moment was written in the stars, and it is everything he thought it would be.”

For the love of all that is holy - Sah-woooon.

A lot of the major things that happened in Hallowed were pretty obvious to me in a well-I-saw-that-one-coming-a-mile-away sort of obvious. However, when it is good.... it is good, whether it is predictable or not. There was one twist that I didn’t see coming, and I loved having that surprise sprung on me. It was a perfect addition to the book.

I think I would have enjoyed this sequel even more if the ending had not been spoiled for me on Goodreads. Note to self: Stay off Goodreads until you’ve finished your book. Note to people on Goodreads: STOP SPOILING MAH BOOKS!!!! Grrrrr.

This is a book I can recommend to every person I know, and it will be another one that I recommend to those poor, unsuspecting people who I don’t know, innocently browsing the YA section of B&N, leading to my eventual banishment from that store.

Hallowed is a gorgeous, heart-felt story, and I don’t know how I am going to bear the wait for book 3.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Red Heart Tattoo by Lurlene McDaniel

Title:   Red Heart Tattoo
Author:  Lurlene McDaniel
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  July 24, 2012

My Rating:

From Goodreads:

At 7:45 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving break, a bomb goes off at Edison High. Nine people die instantly. Fifteen are critically injured. Twenty-two suffer less severe injuries. And one is blinded. Those who survive struggle to cope with the loss and destruction. All must find new meaning for their lives as a result of something they may never understand.

Lurlene McDaniel's signature expertise and finesse in dealing with issues of violence, death, and physical as well as emotional trauma in the lives of teens is immediate and heartrending.

I knew what was ahead - it’s there in the summary, so I began this story, nervously anticipating the tragedy that was going to transpire. What I wasn’t prepared for was how engaging these characters would be. In the beginning of the book, the author does a phenomenal job introducing them and really letting you get to know them. Most are seniors on the verge of graduating and making their mark in the real world. Some have earnest and significant academic goals, and others....not so much. There are the jocks with their highly-valued and prized football scholarships, the cheerleaders who love them, and then there are the outsiders and the social pariahs. All on different paths, from different sides of the track, but there is an approaching, impending disaster that will bond them for life.

We all know how quickly life can change - how swiftly what we have can be taken away. We get lost in our day-to-day, forgetting that so much can be gone in an instant. It’s how we deal with it afterwards that separates us and defines us as individuals. I believe that is what is most frightening about this book. This can really happen. This has really happened.

Red Heart Tattoo was filled with beautiful and captivating writing. From the popular in-crowd to the outcasts, it was so easy to become invested in these characters. This is not my go-to genre, but I was engrossed from beginning to end. Morgan and Roth’s stories were my favorite, but all of the supporting characters rounded out the book perfectly. Morgan’s ordeal was devastating and truly heart-breaking. But her strength and her determination to overcome such tragedy were both amazing and inspiring.

“‘I will not be broken. We will not be broken.’”

The ending had a bit of a twist that I wasn’t expecting. It left me wanting to know more, and I found myself thinking about the characters and their stories throughout the rest of the day. Red Heart Tattoo is the first book I have read by Lurlene McDaniel, and I can promise you it won’t be my last.

A copy of this book was provided by Netgalley for review.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday #1

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a new meme hosted by the fabulous Cambria Hebert. It’s also the very first meme I am participating in, so I may be a bit over-excited, but I’ll try to reel it in and maintain a professional facade for this post. ;D Every week, Cambria will ask a new question, and participants will post their answers and leave their link on her site. Then bloggers can compare their answers while visiting all the lovely blogs. Leave me a comment - I can’t wait to stop by your blog and find out your answer!

This week’s post:

Welcome to Tell Me Something Tuesday, a weekly Meme where I ask you to tell me something!!! If you want to participate in this weekly Meme, all you have to do is answer the question I ask on your blog! Leave your link at the bottom of this post so we can all read each other’s answers!!

Tell Me Something: out of everything you have read, who is your favorite villain you loved to hate?

Upon reading this question, four villains immediately sprang to mind. So, the problem isn’t coming up with an answer.... it’s narrowing it down to just one! I guess I like a little ‘monster’ in my fictional men. Rawr!!!

I love Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse series, but I’m not sure if I see him as a villain anymore. I feel the same way about the swoon-worthy Damon Salvatore. I know he’s supposed to be a bad guy.... but I think he’s just misunderstood (and needs a hug......from me). Then there is Warner from Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me. I even mentioned in my review that if I was ever held against my will - I wanted Warner to be the one doing the holding. However... there’s still one guy that seems just a bit more villainous than even Warner. That means my winner for 'villain I loved to hate' is:
Cameron ‘Cam’ Briel from Lauren Kate’s Fallen Series.

Cam is a bad guy and he has the black wings to prove it. There aren’t many guys you’d risk a fiery eternal damnation for, but Cam would have you seriously pondering the whole good vs evil thing. Funny enough though, guess who I always picture as Cam when I'm reading this series?

  Ian Somerhalder. Hmmmmm..... maybe I should re-think my Damon answer. ;D

So, do you share an ‘interest’ in any of my villains? Leave me a comment and stop by
Cambria Hebert's blog to join in the fun!

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Favorite Things

During the holiday season, The Sound of Music seemed to be on every channel.  I loved it as a kid... or at least the first half (I always had a hard time staying awake for the ending.)  The song that comes to mind whenever I think of the movie is, of course, My Favorite Things.  This got me to thinking about my favorite things, or, at least, the favorite books I read.  So here is my little rendition, and apologies in advance because I'm about to ruin one of your favorite classic childhood songs:

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver, white winters that melt into springs

Nah....this is more like it:

Ghosts in white dresses with blood dripping sashes
Marauders and slayers who turn demons to ashes
 Huge killer werewolves thanks to Stephen King...

These are a few of my favorite things.  

Bright copper bloodstains and whiskers on hellhounds
Hot fallen angels and trackers who are
Blood Bound
Flesh eating zombies the apocalypse brings...

These are a few of my favorite things

Steampunk, necromancy,  shapeshifters in action
Wide spread epidemics and Dystopian factions
A boy named after a number who makes my heart sing...

These are a few of my favorite things.

A pretty young girl who can kill with her hands

Arrogant wolves who were once in a band

The boy with the bread who left my pulse racing...

These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites. When the bee stings.
Sparkly Vampire love. The hybrid baby they’re so proud of:

These things make me sad...
 but I simply remember my favorite things...

and then I don’t feeeeel sooooooo bad!!!

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