Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tune in Tuesday (7)

Tune in Tuesday is a weekly music feature hosted by the fabulous Ginger at GReads. As some of you may know, I am ridiculously addicted to music. One of my favorite things to do is share new and favorite songs with anyone willing to listen. Or not so willing. I'm not picky. Anyway... Each week you can post a song and share the love of music. So link up and join the fun!

I've been in a serious Mother Mother mood the last couple days. So, naturally, I've picked them to feature this week. However, I couldn't decide which song I wanted, so I picked two. Hope you like them!
(Check out this awesome acoustic version!)
This very well might be my favorite song by Mother Mother... maybe. It's catchy, fun and just plain awesome. I mean it. It's like my go-to singing-in-the-shower song these days - along with the next track. Bring on the quirk!

What did I tell you? Quirky, right?! I love Mother Mother. I can remember driving home from a particularly bad day and this song popped up on the radio (I miss you The Peak FM! *sniff* You'll always be my favorite radio station!). You just can't feel bad when this song pops up, it's so... bouncy! Gotta love Canadian music. :)

Review: "The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Reading Level: Young Adult
ARC: 450 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 27 September 2011
Source: Borrowed from the supremely fabulous Kimberly

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong. (quoted from Goodreads)

A week later and I still don't know what to say about this fantastic novel; but, seeing as today is the release day, I figured it was high time I posted this review. OH MY WORD! I feel like I've been steamrolled, scraped up, sauteed, swallowed and spit right back out... all in the best possible way, of course! Wait. Was that too graphic? Oops. Moving on... ahem.

I started this book not knowing a single thing about it and I think that's a perfect way to approach The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Whatever you do, don't go around trying to find out information about what to expect. Honestly. Just do yourself a favor and go in totally blind. Trust me, even knowing nothing going in, Mara Dyer is bound to suck you in before the first chapter begins; it's just that good. With that said, this review is going to be quite difficult because I don't want to give anything away. AH!

Now, where to start...? Mara is now one of my favorite lead characters/narrators. There is so much going on, yet she still has a killer sense of humor, snarkiliciously (yeah, that's what I said) awesome comebacks and is one smart, talented cookie. I could really feel for Mara as she struggled to figure out what the heck was going on... whether any of it was real or not. There is A LOT of bizarre stuff that happens, let me tell you. Also, PTSD is seriously awful and terrifying - especially when combined with amnesia - but Mara is bent on figuring out what happened the night her friends died AND get some semblance of a normal life back. She rocks! (That's about as spoilery as I'll get, just so's ya know.) Besides, she's an artist, loves books and music, and seems like the kind of person I'd be friends with. I always like when that happens.

You know who I also loved? Mara's brothers! Especially Daniel; he seems like such a nice guy. Those boys are a perfect compliment to Mara and I really got the feeling that these three siblings would do absolutely anything for one another. Their loving relationship is just one of the gazillion things that made this an enjoyable read. I'm a fan of her friend Jaime, too. I wish there was more of him, but perhaps he'll pop up again in book two. Right?! Then there's Noah Shaw. Oh Noah, how you intrigue me. At first, I did not find Noah the least bit appealing. I've never been one for the bad boy, jerky kind of guy who thinks he can get any girl and do whatever he wants, but might possibly have a heart of gold. Ugh. Well, I thought Noah was going to be one of "those guys" and I was fully prepared to loathe him. Imagine my surprise when I ended up kind of liking him. Shocking, right? Without going into any detail as to why, I want to say that he really surprised me and I hope he keeps to do so.

Michelle Hodkin is a genius. Her writing is fantastic and it painted such a vivid picture for my visual mind to devour. Though I had absolutely no idea what was going on - what was even real! - I have become a HUGE fan of Mara Dyer. This awesome novel freaked me out and gave me nightmares (honestly, not too hard to do, as I'm the biggest scaredy cat ever), but it also made me think for ages afterward. It's definitely a "What the heck!" kind of book and I absolutely have to read it again! And the ending? OH MY WORD, the ending! Just you wait. You're in for a seriously spectacular ride. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer left me feeling totally steamrolled. Gobsmacked. Mind completely blown... and I wouldn't have it any other way. Bring on the sequel!

A favorite quote: "Thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tune in Tuesday (6)

Tune in Tuesday is a weekly music feature hosted by the fabulous Ginger at GReads. As some of you may know, I am ridiculously addicted to music. One of my favorite things to do is share new and favorite songs with anyone willing to listen. Or not so willing. I'm not picky. Anyway... Each week you can post a song and share the love of music. So link up and join the fun!

Anything by Mae

This week in Tune in Tuesday is dedicated to one of my all-time favorite bands, Mae. There aren't words enough to explain how much I love this band. Honestly. I wouldn't joke about something so important as music. Pretty much every song of theirs is a favorite (because they're spectacular!), but I think this one is right up at the top of the heap. Oh my word, I just love everything about it! I can't listen to this track without getting sweet chills. It's even in my ever growing WIP playlist, Songs To Smile By (title is also a WIP... ahem). Only playlist requirement? The song has to make me smile every single time I listen to it. Does Anything fit the bill? You betcha. So sit back, relax and enjoy the magnificent Mae. Happy listening!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

YA Scramble Giveaway and Guest Post!

Greetings YA readers! I'm so excited to be part of this event and I hope you have an absolutely spectacular time. Check out the information below to get started. Good luck! (And pssst... check out my Timeless YA Titles hosted by T. R. Graves right HERE! Please and thank you!)

***Event Closed***
(But feel free to read the articles!)

Instructions for the YA Scramble:
1) Visit the first blog (based on list below).
2) Read the guest post.
3) Identify the PURPLE word.
4) Pick out the 3rd letter from the PURPLE word.
5) Go to the next blog.
6) Repeat #3, #4, and #5 until you visited all 14 sites.
7) At the end, take all 14 of the 3rd letters from the PURPLE words and figure out the message near and dear to our hearts.
8) You will enter that unscrambled message ONCE into this form
as your official entry for a chance to win some great prizes from fantastic authors and bloggers. You have 24 hours to complete the Scramble.

Participating Blogs (all must be visited):
Kaitlin Simpson
PJ Hoover
Cary Cummings
Heather Cashman
Kathleen Tucker
Jennifer Morris
Cyndi Tefft
Irish/ Gail
Danielle Bunner
Melissa Layton  (Surprise! You're here.)
T.R. Graves (Hosting my topic!)
Megg Jensen
Amy Jones
Laura Elliott

HUGE Grand Prize including:
- ARC of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (with signed bookmark)
- Ebook of Soltice by PJ Hoover (with trading cards)
- Ebook of The Space Between by Alexandra Sokoloff
- Paperback copy of Perception by Heather Cashman
- Signed paperback ARC of Anathema by Kathleen Tucker
- Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Gift Set (Trade Paperback of Eighth Grade Bites, Vlad Journal, Minion Bling Buttons and Vlad Tote)
- Signed paperback copy of Between by Cyndi Tefft
- Signed hardcover of Clarity by Kim Harrington
- ARC of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
- Signed ARC of Fury by Elizabeth Miles
- Signed paperback of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
- ARC of Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison
- Copy of The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
- Winner's choice of 5 ebooks from a list of indie authors
- Signed paperback of Sleepers by Megg Jensen
- Ebooks of Soul Quest and The Guardian of Souls by Amy Jones
- Kindle copy of Winnemucca by Laura Elliott (plus a guest post spot on her blog!)
- Paperback copy of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Books That Changed Me
by Danielle Bunner
“In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”
Mortimer Jerome Adler (B. 1902)American Author and Philosopher
I don’t know much about the person who said this, but I completely agree with the quote. We read books because they have this incredible power over us. We turn pages hoping to find an escape, a truth, hope. We want to connect with someone else who’s troubles are greater than ours or lives are better than us or have the things we only dream of having. There are so many things books can teach us, so many things books remind of us and even more ways they affect and change our lives.

I know they have completely changed mine.

It’s because of YA books that I’m exactly where I am in my life. YA books opened my world to magic, to stories from teenagers that I never had the power to face in my own life. They’ve inspired me. They’ve taught me. YA saves and YA matters. The reason these books contain so much power is because people speak out about them. Each person has a different story to tell about how which stories have affected their lives—and these are a few of mine.

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

I don’t know if you’ve read this book, but I read it in college. It was sitting on a FREE table outside one of the main buildings, and I was the lucky person who picked it up. At the time (sophomore year) I had never read YA. I mean, Harry Potter, yes. But I didn’t know what YA even was. I read A Northern Light and it was so fantastically written, so beautiful a story about a girl who wanted to make her own way, who wanted to go to New York, who wanted to be someone else completely. Never in my life have I related to a character like I did Mattie. Those were all things I wanted my whole life. I finished that book and I cried because it was so much all the things I wanted—including to write a book like Donnelly did. This book changed my life because it pushed me to pursue my dreams (Writing!!).

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

This was one of the first books I read when I was introduced into YA. It was actually the 4th book. There was (and is) something about it that will always give it a special place in my heart. It didn’t save me—but it taught me a lot about writing good characters and world building. It’s not even my favorite of the series (that would be City of Glass or Clockwork Angel) but when I need something that makes me smile, I can turn to Jace and Clary. Plus, I like ADORE Cassie. I met her once and could barely talk because she is a remarkable.

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

The quote above mentions books that “get through to you” and when I think of that, I always think of The Mockingbirds. This was a brave, beautiful story about a girl who was date raped. But it’s so much more than that. It’s about dealing with the truth, about moving on, about speaking out. I wish I’d been able to read something like this book earlier in my teen years. When I was a child, I was sexually abused—and Alex’s story really affected me. I never told anyone—not for a long, long time. When that happens to someone, it’s a really life-changing thing. It can be bad or good in the way it changes you, but it always changes something. For me, The Mockingbirds was inspiring. It’s a constant reminder to SPEAK OUT, and that’s something you can never hear enough.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

I don’t handle grief well. Grief is one of those things that doesn’t fit in a box. My life tries to be a box. I separate as many things as possible, to try to MAKE life easier and organized. Grief always spills out. It spills out and overflows and seeps into all the other boxes. So instead of boxes, I trap grief in jars…and I never open the jars. I only pray they don’t break. If they break then everything falls apart. I fall apart. I know this is probably not healthy but it’s the way I was taught. Un-teaching takes a long time.

That’s what Sky is about. It’s about the way you can’t do that! Lennie can’t do that. She tries to act like everything is fine and amazing but really it’s not. She’s broken and cracked. She’s lost someone she allowed her whole world to revolve around. That loss has changed her. It’s changed everyone in her life. And for me, it was exactly the book I needed to be able to understand my own grief. My grandma died when I was in high school, but sometimes all you need is to see someone else grieving to realize what moving on is all about.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

This is a book about a girl who’s kidnapped. I’ve never been kidnapped. (Yay for that!) But the voice in this book makes it amazing. I read it last year and still, still to this very moment, I don’t know how I feel about Ty. I hate him. I love him. I want him dead. I understand him. When a book can do that to you—when it can make you feel and think and be so unable to sort out how you feel and think—you know it’s gotten through to you.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

A book about friendship and loss and what life is all about. I love this book so hard because it’s real. It’s about the people who come into your life for a season and leave it when you don’t want them to. It’s honest and connectable and shows what it looks like to truly love a friend.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

This book comes out in November. I was lucky enough to get an ARC at BEA—and let me tell you: it’s amazing. I put it on this list because Tahereh Mafi makes words do this thing—this incredible, unbelievable, unexplainable unless you read it thing. I really connected with it. I haven’t felt what I did for a character like Juliet in a long time. Shatter Me also reminded me of what a book can be, of what it means to fight for things you want, of hope.

These are the books that have saved me in some way, and the point of a book is to share it. So, I'm going to giveaway ANY book from this list. Seriously. Any book you want. All you have to do is fill out THIS FORM!

What are some books that have inspired you?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tune in Tuesday (5)

Tune in Tuesday is a weekly music feature hosted by the fabulous Ginger at GReads. As some of you may know, I am ridiculously addicted to music. One of my favorite things to do is share new and favorite songs with anyone willing to listen. Or not so willing. I'm not picky. Anyway... Each week you can post a song and share the love of music. So link up and join the fun!

A few years ago I came across the awesomeness that is The Rescues. Can't Stand the Rain was the first song I ever heard and boy was it love at first listen. I swear I had to wait a million years for Let Loose the Horses to come out! Okay, so I didn't have to wait for some of the songs (including this fabulous song) for long due to signing up for their newsletter (yay for free tracks!), but still. Each track on the album is different from the next, but this one remains my favorite. It's just quirky... and I like quirky. I hope you enjoy it!

By the way, I am SO EXCITED they made an official video, finally! The creepy part is that it's very similar to how I pictured it in my head... *cue Twilight Zone music*

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to the Books Giveaway Winner!

First of all, I wanted to give thanks to Buried in Books and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting this amazing and fun giveaway hop! Secondly, thanks goes to my sister for humoring me when I was determined to go "old school" in the drawing... and had her pick a number out of a bowl. I love you seestar! And last but not least, I wish to give a HUGE thank you to all of those who made my first giveaway such an amazing experience. Thank you to all my followers (new and old) and for all of the wonderfully sweet comments. You guys seriously rock!

Okay, so lets get down to business. I know you're all probably wondering which lucky person won one of these amazing books, right? Well, the winner of my first ever giveaway is...

Congratulations to Mona on winning Uglies by Scott Westerfeld! Again, thanks to everyone for participating in the giveaway hop. I hope ya'll had fun!

I think I might be feeling another giveaway coming soon....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tune in Tuesday (4)

Tune in Tuesday is a weekly music feature hosted by the fabulous Ginger at GReads. As some of you may know, I am ridiculously addicted to music. One of my favorite things to do is share new and favorite songs with anyone willing to listen. Or not so willing. I'm not picky. Anyway... Each week you can post a song and share the love of music. So link up and join the fun!

From the second I Wasn't Prepared by Eisley first started playing, I knew I was going to love it. Have you ever experienced that? Falling in love with a song within a split millisecond? Well, I have. And this was one of those instances. After my first introduction to them, I was determined to seek out any and every bit of Eisley music available. I was a little nervous I wouldn't enjoy the rest of their songs, but I shouldn't have been. Eisley is amazing. Though I'm sad to see our 90's theme end, I am SO excited to share other music I'm in love with! I hope you enjoy Eisley. Happy listening!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hello, all you wonderful people!

I wanted to leave a quick post to mention that I will probably be MIA for a few days. I know I mentioned before that I was moving... well, today is the day that I start the three day journey. Ugh. I thought I'd utilize my nervous insomnia to say that though I have a giveaway going on, I probably will not be online for a while. I also wanted to say that once I get settled, I fully plan to blog more regularly, get those pesky reviews posted, do some more redesigns and maybe even host some more giveaways!

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful few days! Don't forget to check out the Back to the Books Giveaway Hop!
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