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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 21 Reads of 2009 and Top 21 to Read in 2010

This has probably been one of the biggest ever reading years for me, though I still read no where near as many as most of you. I'm so glad I started blogging in May as I feel it has only increased my love of reading even more. Now since everyone else is doing these, "Best of 2009" posts I figured I should probably do one as well. Plus I will be listing some of the books I'm most looking forward to next year. Also I did 21 instead on 20 and if you wanna know why, well, cause I can. That's why. :P

My Top 21 Reads of 2009 (Kinda in order, kinda not.)

1. Identical by Ellen Hopkins
2. Petties by Scott Westerfeld (Read Uglies 2008)
3. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
4. Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
5. Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
6. Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle
7. Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle
8. Girl on the Other Side by Deborah Kerbel
9. Mackenzie, Lost and Found by Deborah Kerbel
10. Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning
11. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
12. Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
13. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
14. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
15. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
16. Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
17. Far From You by Lisa Schroeder
18. Sisters in Sanity by Gayle Forman
19. The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate
20. Running on the Cracks by Julia Donaldson
21. Sliding on the Edge by C. Lee McKenzie

Top 21 to Read in 2010 (In no particular order.)

1. A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
2. Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn
3. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
4. Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
5. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
6. Sea by Heidi R. Kling
7. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
8. The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
9. Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
10. Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
11. Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
12. Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
13. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
14. All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
15. Mistwood by Leah Cypess
16. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
17. The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
18. The Line by Teri Hall
19. 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale by Shannon Delany
20. Other by Karen Kincy
21. Sleepless by Cyn Balog

I can already tell that 2010 is going to be a terrific year for YA books! I already have over 150 books on my 2010 wishlist and have no doubt that I will be adding more before long. So I think I did pretty darn good to narrow them down to only 21. lol.

Hope you all enjoyed this post and sorry I didn't do covers, with 42 books listed that would have made for a LONG post. Besides I was oh so sweet as to include links to all the books Goodreads pages so be happy. Oh, and be sure to leave me the link to your top reads post and what you are looking forward to and I'll go check it out. :D Hope you all have a great New Year's Eve tonight.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

In My Mailbox (25): Christmas Edition!

In My Mailbox
Yeah so I know I said a while back that there wouldn't be any IMMs this month but every one else was doing special ones for Christmas and I felt left out.

~ ARC Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon and some swag (The Page Flipper)
~Sisters in Sanity by Gayle Forman
~Signed! Purge by Sarah Darer Littman (Roboloblyn's Universe of Books)
~Signed! Meridian by Amber Kizer (I Heart Monster)
~Signed! One Butt Cheek at a Time by Amber Kizer (Included with Meridian. Surprise bonus I guess. lol. Thanks Amber!)
~Invisible I by Stella Lennon (Mrs. Magoo Reads)
~Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman and some swag (Don't Lose My Place!)

For Review
~Bad Blood by Mari Mancusi (From Publisher)
~Signed! Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler (From Author)


Christmas Presents!
Oh so thankful for relatives with money even if mom and I don't. Was so surprised by the presents I got this year.

Picture #1 (From Mom)
~i-Pod dock
~Sterling Silver Heart Necklace with a Poem (It has little bells that jingle inside the heart pendent!)
~Two pairs of jeans
~Flannel plaid shirt
~Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
~Money (From dad)

Picture #2 (From Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin in Texas)
~ 3 Bottles of Guess perfume (Which smell oh so good.)
~Georgia Bulldawg Sunglasses (It's like they knew the two pair I had were broke. XD)
~Oakley Sunglasses (Um seriously?! Wow!)
~Coach Purse
~Ralph Lauren Blanket (Very soft!)

Picture #3
~Kids size Snuggie for my little ole 5'2" self. (Yes it and the socks fit perfectly. From Gran and uncle)
~Two t-shirts and pair of jeans (From Aunt and two cousins)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tis the Season Contest at Good Books and Good Wine

First place winner gets: Their choice of 6 books from the pile.
Second place winner gets: Their choice of 5 books from the pile.
Third place winner gets: Their choice of 3 books from the pile.
Fourth place winner gets: Their choice of 1 book from pile.
Fifth place winner gets: Their choice of 1 book from the pile.

The winners will be chosen January 1st.

Enter HERE

Totally Awesome Contest at Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm

Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm is giving us a chance to win a massive load of totally awesome books.

Prizes Include:
* The Morganville Vampires(bk 1&2)(PB)
* The Naughty List(ARC)
* Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials(ARC)
* The Seven Rays(HB)*The Mark(ARC)
*Give Up Ghost(HB)
* Immortal(PB)
* Incarceron(PB- Uk version)
*Demon Princess bk1(PB)
*Bleeding Violet(ARC)

Contest Ends: December 30, 2009 and is open to US residents only.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review: Touch

Touch (ARC) by Francine Prose
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: June 1, 2009
Pages: 272
Age Level: 14+
WARNING: Contains spoilers!

What really happened at the back of the bus?

Did they, or didn't they?

Did she, or didn't she?

Something happened to fourteen-year-old Maisie Willard—something involving her three friends, all boys. But their stories don't match, and the rumors spin out of control. Then other people get involved . . . the school, the parents, the lawyers. The incident at the back of the bus becomes the center of Maisie's life and the talk of the school, and, horribly, it becomes news. With just a few words and a touch, the kids and their community are changed forever.

From nationally acclaimed author Francine Prose comes an unforgettable story about the difficulties of telling the truth, the consequences of lying, and the most dangerous twist of all—the possibility that you yourself will come to believe something that you know isn't true.

Touch had a very edgy and gripping premise that really made me want to pick it up and read it. However, I find this totally irrelevant as I felt the actual story carried it out very inadequately, failing to meet it's potential.

Maisie, though she could at times be funny, was not a very likable character and I felt totally detached from her and her story. I hated the fact that she didn't try to take more control over her life and what was happening to her. And yes, her step mom was a pain, but she still could have tried to make things work between the two of them a little better. Also, the way she kept changing her story was annoying. I can understand how at first she wanted to say nothing happened. What I didn't understand was why she didn't just tell the truth after that. She only caused herself a whole lot more trouble by lying and making things out to be worse than they were. Another thing, why did she just let the guys touch her like that when she knew she didn't like it? She didn't even bother saying no. Maisie should have had more respect for herself than that and as a result, I found it hard to feel any kind of sympathy towards her.

I feel the story would have been a lot more believable if the three guys hadn't been her best friends. Maybe it is just me but it seems hard to believe that four kids would grow up together, having always been best friends, and then as soon as the girl of the group grows boobs, things change SO dramatically. I can understand her and Shakes getting kind of romantic, I actually liked that. However the whole part of where her other two guy 'best friends' get jealous, grab and fondle her boobs while Shakes sits by and does nothing, and then spread nasty rumors about her is so unrealistic. Not saying it could never happen, because after all, stranger things have. I'm just saying that it seems so forced and very improbable. Touch did atleast have a good overall message about lying, why some people do it, and what happens as a result.

Then there were the flashbacks. At times I felt like I'd read the same thing three times because of them, being more disruptive than anything. And speaking of disruptive, the poor syntax and numerous typos made this book even harder to get into. I am fully aware that the copy I read was an ARC, however it read more like a rough draft then something that was only one step away from being a finished copy.

In my honest opinion, the ending was the redeeming quality of this book for two reasons. One, because I actually liked the overall ending, including the fact that Maisie finally realized and told the truth. And two, for lack of a better way of phrasing it, because it was over and I could move onto something else.

So as you've probably already figured out, this is not a book I liked or will be re-reading. Would I recommend it? Uh, no. If Touch had been written for me I would say it was a waste of time and paper. However, it wasn't written for me and so long as there is atleast one person out there who enjoys Touch, or any other book, it was anything BUT a waste.

With every book written, the author takes the risk that someone will, and believe me someone WILL, dislike their book. Furthermore, there will also always be someone who likes it. Francine Prose probably spent a great deal of time and effort on her book and I applaud her for that as I believe anyone who has the patience, mind, and stamina to even write a book deserve props for having done so. So it wasn't for me but who knows, maybe you'll be one of the people who likes it. As should always be remembered when reading my reviews, these are my opinions and though they may or may not be shared by others, they are personal and not the written rule.

Characters: D+
Writing: D+
Plot: C-
Ending: B-
Enjoyment/Likability: D
Recommendable: D
Cover: B

Overall: D+

25 GoC at Reading is Bliss

Create your own banner at!
Jill at Reading is Bliss is having this awesome feature at her blog called 25 Guests of Christmas. There are tons of author and blogger guests, not to mention some giveaways too! So head on over to her blog and check it out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sneak Peek: Before I Fall Prologue Part 1

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Release Date: February 17, 2010
Pages: 480
Age Level: YA

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.


~Part One of Prologue~

They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that's not how it happened for me.

To be honest, I'd always thought the whole final-moment, mental life-scan-thing sounded pretty awful. Some things are better left buried and forgotten, as my mom would say. I'd be happy to forget all of fifth grade, for example (the glasses-and-pink-braces period), and does anybody want to relive the first day of middle school? Add in all of the boring family vacations, pointless algebra classes, period cramps and bad kisses I barely lived through the first time around...

The truth is, though, I wouldn't have minded reliving my greatest hits: when Rob Cokran and I first hooked up in the middle of the dance floor at homecoming, so everyone saw and knew we were together; when Lindsay, Elody, Ally and I got drunk and tried to make snow angels in May, leaving person-sized imprints in Ally's lawn; my sweet sixteenth party, when we set out a hundred tea lights and we all danced on the table in the backyard; the time Lindsay and I pranked Clara Seuse on Halloween, got chased down by the cops, and laughed so hard we almost threw up. The things I wanted to remember; the things I wanted to be remembered for.

But before I died I didn't think of Rob, or any other guy. I didn't think of all the outrageous things I'd done with my friends. I didn't even think of my family, or the way the morning light turns the walls in my bedroom the color of cream, or the way azaleas outside of my window smell in July, a mixture of honey and cinnamon.

Instead I thought of Vicky Hallinan

Specifically, I thought of the time in 4th grade when Lindsay announced in front of the whole gym class that she wouldn't have Vicky on her dodge ball team. "She's too fat," Lindsay blurted out. "You could hit her with your eyes closed." I wasn't friends with Lindsay yet, but even then she had this way of saying things that made them hilarious, and I laughed along with everyone else while Vicky's face turned as purple as the wrinkled underside of a storm cloud.

That's what I remembered in that before-death instant, when I was supposed to be having some big revelation about my past: the smell of varnish and the squeak of our sneakers on the polished floor; the tightness of my polyester shorts; the laughter echoing around the big empty space like there were way more than twenty-five people in the gym.

And Vicky's face.

Well I hope you all enjoyed the first part of the prologue just as much as did. And if you did, then come back by on Friday at 6PM EST when the final part of the prologue will go up. I would have done it all today but things are busy and it is kinda long so be sure to visit again for the rest. :D

Also, I'd like you all to give a huge thanks to the wonderful Lauren Oliver for providing this for our reading pleasure. Thanks girl, we love ya! :D

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review: Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures (ARC) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers Pub. Date: December 1st, 2009
Pages: 576
Age Level: YA

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Beautiful Creatures is the perfect combination of supernatural elements, romance, and suspense. It truly took the words compelling and mystifying to an entire new level.

Beautiful Creatures was filled with so many wonderful characters. Ethan and Lena were both well developed and I was really sucked into their lives. There was, however, one small thing that bugged me about Lena. The whole, "Keep away, you'll only get hurt." mantra got kinda old and was very reminiscent of a certain other book we are all familiar with. Aside from that, she was a witty and exciting character. And Ethan, don't even get me started. He's cute, funny, caring, and many other things that make me want him! As for some of the other characters, I thought Amma was hilarious in her own weird way and Lena's family was all so intriguing. I loved getting to learn about their lives and different abilities through out the book. Especially Ridley whom, for some reason, I found to be very entertaining.

Beautiful Creatures is one of those books that is so filled with key details to the plot throughout the entire book that you might literally miss something important if you blink. I really enjoyed this though as it kept me tuned in and interested. The overall story line was thrilling and there were so many twists and turns that it kept me guessing on most things until the end. The flashbacks were an insightful and chilling addition to the story.

As for the writing, one thing I especially loved was that Beautiful Creatures was told from Ethan's point of view. At first I wasn't sure how well two female authors would pull that off but they did wonderfully in both the dialogue and context. I'm pretty sure this is the first book I've ever read written by two authors so I must admit I was surprised how well the writing flowed. Another thing that really made this book was Kami and Margie's excellent use of imagery.

The ending was definitely a surprise. There was only one thing I had figured out and lets just say there was a lot more than just one thing to be revealed towards the end. I was very pleased with the end and it left off promising a second book which we already knew there would be.

All in all, Beautiful Creatures was an utterly satisfying, and riveting read that I believe anyone could enjoy. I will definitely be re-reading this one and I'm anxiously awaiting the second book.

Characters: A-
Writing: A-
Plot: B+
Ending: B+
Enjoyment/Likability: A-
Recommendable: A+
Cover: A+

Overall: A-

Contest at Books Obsession

~Books Obsession~

It's December! And you know what that means...time for a holiday contest. :) What could be a better prize than a SIGNED copy of the YA book "Let It Snow" written by three amazing authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle! Just in time for the Christmas season.

Contest Rules:
-Open to USA only.
-I'll use to pick the lucky winner.
-Ends on December 17 at midnight. The winner will be chosen and posted/emailed the following day. Good luck! :)

How to Enter:
-Simple! Just leave a comment with your email address saying you want to be entered and your favorite thing about the holidays/Christmas. This will count as one entry.

Extra Entries:
+2 Old follower. (Thanks!)
+1 New follower.
+2 Put on your sidebar, tweet, blogroll, etc. Include links!
+4 Blog about this contest in its own post. Include link!
+2 Advertise this contest by linking to it on myspace, facebook, or any other social networking site. Include links!

Enter HERE

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Update on Mom's Surgery and Other Things

Ok everyone, my mom's surgery went well. Her surgery was Thursday and we got back home Friday afternoon where I went to sleep and didn't get up til 20 hours later. (Sleeping in a hospital is no easy task.)

She is still in some pain but she is doing good overall. Tomorrow will be her first day in physical therapy. She won't be able to have use of her arm/shoulder for about a month and has to keep it in a sling.


On another less important note, I'm having a sale on my photography!!!! Woohoo!
YA book bloggers will receive 15% off any one item or 20% off each item if you purchase 2 or more items. This deal includes everything except the greeting cards.

Everyone else will receive 10% off any one item or 15% off each item if you purchase 2 or more items. This deal includes everything except the greeting cards.

Also, today is the last day to order and receive it by Christmas.

Some of you may want to know why the bloggers get a better discount. Well I'll tell you. Cause they can. That's just how this particular sale will run. I haven't decided how long this offer is going to last so if you would like to order a print or calendar I wouldn't wait too long.

IMPORTANT!: You will need to contact me telling me what you are interested in buying to receive discount. I'll have to go in and manually adjust prices. Email is in sidebar.

Calendar link:
The Beauty of the Great Outdoors
Everything else:
Briana McNair Photography

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Important Notice! Please read.

I'm sorry things have been a little slow around my blog lately but I'm afraid they could get even slower.

On Thursday, December 10th, my mom and I will be going to Augusta where she will be having her second major surgery this year, only this time on her shoulder. MCG is going to have to go in and re-attach her shoulder muscle to the bone and we aren't sure yet what other damage they may find once they have started the surgery.

Since it is just the two of us, well and the cat but he's no help, I'm going to be spending a lot of time helping her. Not to mention reading the books I have for review, working on the one I'm writing, and my school work.

I will not be doing any memes for the rest of this month, including In My Mailbox. I will, however, be popping in to post a review every now and again. I finished Beautiful Creatures a while back and am over halfway through two other books so those reviews should be coming soon. Plus I have a pre-planned post for the 14th.

I hope you will all understand. I wish I could have done some kind of Christmas thing this month for ya'll but I knew things were going to get busy. Hopefully next year I can.

So in case I don't talk to some of you again soon, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Awesometastic Giveaways Around the Blogosphere

~Roboloblyn's Universe of Books~

Contest 1
Prize: Beautiful by Amy Reed
Winners: 5
End Date: December 18th
Open to: US only
Extra Entires: Yes

Contest 2
Prize: Purge by Sarah Darer Littman
Winners: 1
End Date: Midnight December 13th
Open to: US and Canada
Extra Entries: Yes

~Confessions of a Wandering Heart~
Prize: Signed! Peace, Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Winners: 1
End Date: Midnight December 10th
Open to: Not sure
Extra Entries: Yes

~Tynga's Reviews~
Prize: Signed copy of any Mari Macusi book
Winners: 1
End Date: December 10th
Open to: Canada and US
Extra Entries: Yes

~Edge of Seventeen~
Prize: Signed copy of Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Winners: 1
End Date: December 13th
Open to: Not sure
Extra Entries: Yes

~The Book Shopaholic~
Prize: 1 of 6 awesome books
Winners: 2
End Date: Midnight CT December 17th
Open to: US only
Extra Entries: Yes

~The Bookologist~
Prize: Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials, ARC of Restoring Harmony and ARC of Sea
Winners: 1
End Date: December 17th
Open to: US and Canada
Extra Entries: Yes

My Secret Santa Revealed aka I Got My package!!!!!!!

So today I went to check the mail and found a very nice package waiting for me along with Take Me There which I won over at Book Addictions Gone Wild. As you've probably already guessed, and lets face it, was it really that hard, that special package was from my Secret Santa.

I'm ashamed, though not shocked, by my total lack of self control. Poor little dears didn't stand a chance of making it til Christmas. And they were so beautifully wrapped too. Bad Briana, bad bad bad! *shakes finger at self*

This, my friends, is what the lovely Anna of Anna's Book Blog sent me.

Books and Bookish Goodies
~Night World by L.J. Smith
~Den of Shadows Quartet by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
~The Devouring by Simon Holt
~The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones
~Evernight by Claudia Gray
~The Summoning and The Awakening bookmarks
~Signed Michelle Moran book plate
~Signed Kelley Armstrong book plate
~Tower Books bookmark
~The Hollow stickers

Non Bookish Goodies
~Cinnamon scented votive candles (My books smell so good now!)
~Christmas card
~Post card
~New Moon chocolate bar (Didn't even know they had these. It disappeared shortly after I opened the package.)

Admit it, you all know who you are hoping will get your name next year. :P
Thanks so very very much Anna! You are so totally awesometastic. :D

Friday, December 4, 2009

Awesome Contest Ending Soon

Book Crazy is having a fantastic contest at her blog.
1 winner will get any book from The Book Depository of their choice. There will also be 2-4 additional winners.
But hurry, this contest ends at midnight tonight.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In My Mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox
So, I did a lot better than last week. I got some totally awesome books for review.

For review from Harper
~ARC The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
~ARC Tangled by Carolyn Mackler
~ARC Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (Squeels!)

For review from Author
~ Signed! Phantom Island: Wind by Krissi Dallas (So excited about this one.)

~As You Wish by Jackson Pearce (Fantastic Book Review)
~ ARC Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson (Sophistikatied Reviews)
~Evermore by Alyson Noel (Sophistikatied Reviews)
~Signed ARC The Naughty List by Suzanne Young, T-Shirt and swag (Suzanne Young)

Anonymous B-day Gift
~Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

~Cruel Summer by Alyson Noel

Awesome Contests Ending Soon (Part 1)

~Book Reviews by Jess~
Prize: First 4 Blue Bloods books by Melissa de la Cruz
End Date: Midnight, November 29th EST
Open to: US & Canada
Extra Entires: Yes!

~The Undercover Book Lover~
Prize: Just One Wish and How to Take the 'Ex' Out of Ex Boyfriend by Janette Rallison
End Date: November 29 at 4pm (GMT+8)
Open to: US Only
Extra Entries: Yes

Enter Here!

~/- La Femme Readers -/~
Prize: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
Winners: 2!
End Date: November 30, 2009 at midnight
Open to: US and Canada Only
Extra Entries: Yes!

Enter Here!

~Book Addictions Gone Wild!!!~
Prize: Take Me There by Susane Colasanti and Dream Journal
Winners: 2
End Date: November 30th
Open to: US Only
Extra Entries: Yes

Enter Here!

Friday, November 27, 2009

2010 Challenges

The following is a list of all 2010 challenges that I plan to participate in. Note that my personal book choices are subject to change.

2010 Debut Author Challenge
Hosted by: The Story Siren

What is the 2010 Debut Author Challenge?

•The objective is to read a set number of YA (Young Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels from debut authors published this year.* I'm going to challenge everyone to read at least 12 debut novels! I’m hoping to read at least 30! You don’t have to list your choices right away, but if you do feel free to change them throughout the year. I will also be focusing on mostly Young Adult novels.

•Anyone can join, you don’t need a blog to participate. If you don’t have a blog you can always share your views by posting a review on, or any other bookish site.

•The challenge will run from January 1, 2010- December 31, 2010. You can join at anytime!

Sign Up Here!

So far, this is the list of books I'm planning to read for this challenge:

  1. Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
  2. The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
  3. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
  4. A Golden Web by Barbara Quick
  5. Oriana's Eyes by Celeste Simone
  6. Heart with Joy by Steve Cushman
  7. Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
  8. Firelight by Sophie Jordan
  9. Awakened by Ednah Walters
  10. Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
  11. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  12. Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
  13. Solid by Shelley Working
  14. The Line by Teri Hall
  15. Arson by Estevan Vega

2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge
Hosted by: J Kaye's Book Blog

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog, click here.

2. There are four levels:
--The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
--Just My Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 25 Young Adult novels.
--Stepping It Up YA Reading Challenge – Read 50 Young Adult novels.
--Super Size Me YA Reading Challenge – Read 75 Young Adult novels.

3. Audio, eBooks, paper all count.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

My level of choice is Stepping It Up. Read so far are:
  1. A Golden Web by Barbara Quick
  2. The Pace by Shelena Shorts
  3. Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
  4. A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
  5. Forever Changes by Brendan Halpin
  6. Dancing with Ana by Nicle Baker
  7. The Den of Shadows Quartet by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
  8. Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
  9. The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart
  10. Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
  11. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
  12. Merlin's Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton
  13. Darklight by Lesley Livingston
  14. Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
  15. Me, the Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine
  16. Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lauren Henderson
  17. Purge by Sarah Darer Littman
  18. Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
  19. The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson
  20. Firespell Chloe Neill
  21. Break by Hannah Moskowitz
  22. Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto by Eric Luper
  23. Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill
  24. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  25. And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman
  26. The Broken Lake by Shelena Shorts
  27. Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
  28. And Then I Found Out the Truth by Jennifer Sturman
  29. Ghost Ride by Marina Cohen
  30. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
  31. The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry
  32. White Cat by Holly Black
  33. Bloodmaiden by Christine E. Schulze
  34. Tangled by Carolyn Mackler
  35. Firelight by Sophie Jordan
  36. Heart with Joy by Steve Cushman
  37. Girl, Stolen by April Henry
  38. Awakened by Ednah Walters
  39. Father of Lies by Ann Turner
  40. Mermaid Park by Beth Mayall
  41. Lure by Deborah Kerbel
  42. Kisses and Lies by Lauren Henderson
  43. Solid by Shelley Workinger
  44. Arson by Estevan Vega
  45. Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
  46. The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
  47. I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
  48. Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
  49. Kiss in the Dark by Lauren Henderson
  50. Arctic Thunder by Robert Feagan
  51. Oriana's Eyes by Celeste Simone
  52. Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
  53. Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Awesome Author Challenge 2010
Hosted by: At Home With Books
The idea behind this challenge is to read works by authors who have been recommended to you time and again, yet somehow you haven't managed to read any books by those authors. These are the authors that everyone else tells you are awesome, thus the "Awesome Author Challenge" title.

The Rules:
The challenge starts January 1, 2010 and ends December 31, 2010.

Crossover from other challenges is allowed.

Choose the level at which you would like to participate, post about it and come back and leave a link to your post in Mister Linky.

Titles and authors do not have to be predetermined, and can change at any time.

Books can come from any genre or reading level, the only requirement is that you have heard great things about the author, but haven't yet read any of their works.

The Levels:
Easy: Choose three authors and read at least one title from each author.
Moderate: Choose six authors and read at least one title from each author.
Challenging: Choose ten authors and read at least one title from each author.
Over-Achieving: Anything over ten authors.

My Level of Choice: Challenging
The following are my authors of choice based on rules:
  1. John Green
  2. Simone Elkeles
  3. Holly Black
  4. Maureen Johnson
  5. James Patterson
  6. Suzanne Collins
  7. Meg Cabot
  8. Cassandra Clare
  9. Libba Bray
  10. Richelle Mead

    Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2010
    Hosted By: Royal Reviews

    Challenge Guidelines:
    1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
    --Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section.

    2. There are four levels:
    -- Curious – Read 3 Historical Fiction novels.
    -- Fascinated – Read 6 Historical Fiction novels.
    -- Addicted – Read 12 Historical Fiction novels.
    -- Obsessed – Read 20 Historical Fiction novels.

    3. Any book format counts.

    4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

    5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010

    Sign Up Here

    I am going with Fascinated and here are my 6 books:

    1. A Golden Web by Barbara Quick
    2. Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill
    3. The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry
    4. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
    5. The Red Queen's Daughter by Jacqueline Kolosov
    6. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Review: Ansel Adams in Color

Ansel Adams in Color by Ansel Adams (Photographer), Andrea G. Stillman, and John P. Schaefer (Editor)
Publisher: Little Brown
Pub. Date: October 21st, 2009
Pages: 168

Adams began to photograph in colour in the mid-1930s. He did significant personal or 'creative' photography in colour and his distinctive visualisation of a scene and technical mastery is immediately evident in these photographs. Overall, he made nearly 3,500 colour images, but only a small fraction have ever been published. Adams thought seriously about publishing his colour images but the task was not accomplished during his lifetime. The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust - with advice and counsel from John Szarkowski, former Director of Photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art; David Travis, Curator of Photographs at the Art Institute of Chicago and James Enyeart, former Director of the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House--asked the distinguished master photographer Harry Callahan to select the best of Adams' colour work for publication in this book.

To start with, I realize this book is not of the YA category. However, I feel that there are probably still some of you that may be interested in this book. Also, this is my first time reviewing a book of this kind so my review may not be quite up to par.

As an aspiring photographer, I have been a fan or Ansel Adams magnificent work for a very long time. That being said, I was extremely surprised to learn of this beautiful collection of his color photography which I wasn't really aware that he had done. It almost made be embarrassed that I didn't know yet I called myself a fan and appreciator.

Ansel Adams in Color taught me the extent to which Ansel Adams practiced color photography. The fact that he had over 3,000 color transparencies was a bit of a shock. Ansel Adams is more well known for his black and white photography. One of the reasons for this is because of his aggravation with the technical limitations of color photography. The writing of this book was so informative and well done.

I was not surprised, however, by the outstanding quality of his color photography. His photos were absolutely breathtaking and captured a wide variety of locations including, but not limited to, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Death Valley National Park, and Salt Pools of Utah. And that is just to name a few.

I'm so proud to have this wonderful book as part of my collection and I would recommend it to any appreciator of photography.

Writing: B+
Photographs: A+
Enjoyment: A
Recommendable: A-
Cover: A

Overall: A

I received this review copy from Hachette. Thank you!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Author Interview: Shelena Shorts

A little while back I had the honor of asking Shelena Shorts, author of The Pace, a few questions. Today I would like to share with you her answers. So everyone, here she is. Shelena Shorts! :D


The Book Pixie: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Shelena Shorts: I'm a little bit of everything. I love to keep busy, and I do a pretty good job of that! I'm a wife and a mother of three. I also work full time in the education field, and I read and write every single free minute I have! Oh, and I drink lots of coffee to keep it together. And sometimes chocolate helps too!

TBP: Give us a brief summary of your book.

SS: The Pace is a love story with a twist. Two twists actually! But primarily it is about Sophie and Weston and the challenges they face with who he is and being together forever. I'm a sucker for a love story to root for, so that is the premise, but I'm also a fan of creativity and thinking outside the box, so there is a unique element that makes Weston and their bond like no other.

TBP: What is it you love most about writing?

SS: My absolute favorite thing about writing is being able to read a story that I actually have a say in how it turns out! So cool, until I start fighting with the characters in my head about what I want vs. what they want. Then not so cool! LOL.

TBP: What inspired the premise for The Pace?

SS: I love to read stories with an unbreakable, but yet breakable bond, and so I started imagining what my ideal story would be like. From there, I had visions of Weston and his feelings for Sophie and everything else followed.

TBP: How long did The Pace take you to write?

SS: It took me about three months to write from beginning to end and then another two months to edit it. Once I saw the story unfold in my head, it flowed super fast and then I had to go back and clean up my mess of grammar, spelling and a zillion typos! (Wow, that's it? lol.)

TBP: Can you tell us if you are currently working on anything else at the moment?

SS: Yes! I'm wrapping up The Broken Lake and working on those edits. I also have another novel started, and I can't wait to devote more time to that. The lead guy in that one is definitely giving Weston a run for his money! (Ooooo! I can't wait!)

TBP: Any words of wisdom to those aspiring writers out there?

SS: I would definitely say write to get the story down first, and worry about making mistakes later. And don't be afraid to skip around in the story. When I get stumped on a certain section, I skip it and write another part and go back to it. Write what scenes you see in your head when you see them.

TBP: Who are your favorite authors? Young adult authors?

SS: I love Nicholas Sparks' ability to create a loving bond. I love Suzanne Collins' imagination. I love Stephenie Meyer's ability to suck you into fictional characters' lives. And I've just discovered Lucy Christopher. I'm not sure what I like about her writing yet, other than it just makes me wrestle with my own thoughts. It's great!

TBP: What are some of your favorite books? Young adult books?

SS: I love The Notebook, The Twilight Saga, Catching Fire, A Thousand Splendid Suns.

TBP: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

SS: I have no idea! Two years ago, I didn't even have The Pace in my head, and now I'm working on a sequel! It's an amazing feeling, so I do hope to deliver many more! That might mean I'll be going to my son's football games with a laptop tucked under my arm, sneaking in a chapter at halftime!

TBP: Anything else you'd like to add?

SS: Just that I truly appreciate your interest in The Pace and all the wonderful feedback I've received from everyone. It's amazing, and I'm so grateful. Thank you all so so much!


I would like to thank Shelena for agreeing to do an interview. It was a pleasure having you on my blog.

Everyone be sure to show your appreciation by leaving a comment.

You can visit her website HERE.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review and Trailer: Girl on the Other Side

Girl on the Other Side by Deborah Kerbel
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Pub. Date: October 30, 2009
Pages: 184
Age Level: 12-13+

Tabby Freeman and Lora Froggett go to the same school, but they live in totally opposite worlds. Tabby is rich, pretty, and the most popular girl in her class. But behind closed doors, her 'perfect' life is rapidly coming apart at the seams.

On the other side, Lora is smart, timid, and the constant target of bullies. While struggling to survive the piranha-infested halls of her school, she becomes increasingly nervous that somebody might discover the unbearable truth about what's been happening to her family.

Despite their differences, Tabby and Lora have something in common - they're both harbouring dark secrets and a lot of pain. Although they've never been friends, a series of strange events causes their lives to crash together in ways neither could have ever imagined. And when the dust finally settles and all their secrets are forced out into the light, will the girls be saved or destroyed?

After addressing the issue of cultural differences in Mackenzie, Lost and Found, Deborah Kerbel goes on to tackle the problem of bullying and social differences in Girl on the Other Side, her second novel for young adults. It is the powerful, gripping story of how two vastly different girls' lives collide and change forever.

Tabby and Lora were such utterly realistic and genuinely depicted characters that they could have easily been actual people. They were both very complex with neither of them being at all how they first appeared. I formed an instant connection and understanding with them, especially Lora. However, I was most intrigued by Tabby who surprised me with her slightly resentful feelings towards her own wealth and social status. She was far from the happy, care-free girl I was expecting, instead having her own share of sadness. Tabby and Lora are perfect examples of just how deceiving appearances can be.

And speaking of deceiving appearances, for such a small book in both size and length, Girl on the Other Side sure packs a punch. I found myself surprised by its depth, though I really shouldn't have been after having read Kerbel's first book. Girl on the Other Side was fast paced and even suspenseful, though not in the usual sense of the word. I was given only a taste at a time of what was going to happen next and still left wondering how, compelling me to continue until reaching the end.

Bullying is a swiftly spreading problem in both schools and online. Girl on the Other Side's portrayal of bullying, and the lives of those involved, is so believable in not only dialogue, but in context as well. Kerbel wrote in such a way that I found the emotions and thoughts of the girls instantly familiar to me. It was so insightful to see how differently each girl viewed the same people and situations. Her use of imagery was also a great aspect of this book with everything being so well described that I could instantly form a mental image of it all, particularly the girls. I really couldn't have asked for more.

Girl on the Other Side had a beautiful, though slightly unexpected, ending. Normally when I read a shorter book, by the end I'm still left feeling like there could have been another good 50 or more pages. That was not the case with this one which actually felt longer than what it was. I was surprised by how perfectly everything fit into only 148 pages of actual story. I also felt the poems at the end were a great finishing touch.

Girl on the Other Side is an engaging and insightful story that I would recommend to anyone and everyone. Deborah Kerbel definitely has a knack for writing about the real and important issues in life and still making the story an enjoyable one. Though she's only written two book so far, I believe it is safe to say that she is definitely one of my favorite authors now. If you haven't read one of her books then you need to run, not walk, to the nearest book store or library and pick one up.

Characters: A
Writing: B+
Plot: A-
Ending: A-
Enjoyment/Likability: A
Recommendable: A+
Cover: A+

Overall: A-

You can read my review of Mackenzie, Lost and Found HERE.

Visit Deborah Kerbel's website HERE.

And for your viewing pleasure, the totally awesome book trailer for Girl on the Other Side.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In My Mailbox (23)

In My Mailbox
Had a pretty good week in books this week.

For Review
~Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith (Henry Holt)
~The Espressologist by Kristina Springer (Henry Holt)
~Girl on the Other Side by Deborah Kerbel (Dundurn thanks to Deborah. Review tomorrow.)

~Fire by Kristin Cashore
~Confessions of a Not It Girl by Melissa Kantor
~City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

~The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (The Neverending Shelf)
~Signed Stacey's Spellbook by Laurie Faria Stolarz and postcard (First Novels Club)

From Heidi (Thank you!)
~5 Sea bookmarks
~2 Sea buisness cards
~1 Sea Magnet

Author Interview: Anna Jarzab

Today I would like to introduce you all to Anna Jarzab. For those of you who don't already know who she is, I'll tell you. Anna is one of the tenners and her debut YA novel All Unquiet Things releases January 12, 2010. So everyone give a warm welcome to Anna.


The Book Pixie: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Anna Jarzab: I live in New York City, I work in publishing, and I read a lot. That's the most boring answer on planet earth, but it's the truth!

TBP: What is it you love most about being a writer?

AJ: I think it's fun to imagine what people's lives might be like. The characters are the heart of any book, not just mine but every good book ever written, so to create real, living, breathing humans is the most challenging thing to me. And it's not like you sit down and decide who this person is going to be--you get to know them by spending time with them, the same way you get to know real people that you meet. When you invent a character who you love, it's very rewarding.

TBP: What inspired the idea for All Unquiet Things?

AJ: I don't know if there was any one thing that inspired the book. The first version of the book I wrote had a tiny little mystery, but nothing like what the plot is now, so when I decided to go back to All Unquiet Things after abandoning it in its Version 1 state, I knew I had to rewrite it, so I thought bringing the mystery to the forefront would give the book a great spine, around which I could wrap all the nerves and muscle and flesh of the characters and their relationships and their emotional journeys. In Version 1, Carly died at the end; when I started brainstorming for Version 2, I decided to make her die in the beginning and then bring her in via flashbacks. But then, if Carly's dead in the beginning, who killed her, and why? And that's how the mystery plot was formed.

TBP: How long did it take you to write All Unquiet Things?

AJ: If you count all of the revisions I did with my editor, copyediting and proofreading, it took years to write. Seven! Oh my God that's a lot. Well, I wrote it once in college and it was terrible so I completely rewrote it when I was in graduate school, with a different plot and a bunch of new characters and everything, so it makes sense that it took so long, but still.

TBP: In your opinion, how is All Unquiet Things different from your average YA novel.

AJ: I wrote it? Every novel is like a fingerprint, completely unique to the person who wrote it, even if it seems just like everything else. I haven't read everything else out there, so I don't know if it's really fundamentally different than everything else, but I think the fact that I wrote it, in the place that I was, that it's filled with the things I thought and felt and people I created, makes it different. Also, I'm not sure how many YA novels are crime novels with such a grisly murder at the center--AUT probably isn't the only one, but I can't imagine it's that common.

TBP: What are some of your favorite YA books?

AJ: I mostly love the angsty stuff, the darker the better. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is a really wonderful, haunting novel. Justine Larbalestier's Liar is a really great thriller--I was so impressed by how well she pulled off such a tough premise. I love the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (who doesn't?), and I just read Hold Still by Nina LaCour (another YA set in Northern California, what what!), which is just a very quiet, beautiful novel. Oh, and Beautiful Creatures, which I just read and COULD NOT PUT DOWN. There are lots more! I read a ton of YA, so I'm always discovering new things.

TBP: Can you tell us if you are working on anything else at the moment?

AJ: I am. I'm working on this quasi-post-apocalyptic pseudo-mystery (as I've taken to calling it), and a book about a pair of estranged sisters who are far apart in age. I'm further along with the latter than the former.

TBP: Tell us a little more about the Russian nesting dolls that can be seen on your website and twitter page? (I actually own one and have read the part about them on your site but this is for those who haven't)

AJ: A few years ago, my parents went on a Baltic cruise for their honeymoon and they brought back a matryoshka doll (Russian nested doll) for my sister. I became really enamored of it and she let me have it. It sat on my desk the entire time I was writing All Unquiet Things and worked its way into the story. I realized that a matryoshka doll is a great metaphor for people, and for mysteries, and I decided to make them the theme of my website, because I wanted to hide extra content around the site and matryoshka dolls are all about hiding--and discovery. I've since acquired three more matryoshka dolls, and I'm sure I'll end up with more.

TBP: Anything else you'd like to add before you leave?

AJ: Just thanks for having me!


I would like to thank Anna for taking the time to do this interview. It is greatly appreciated. :) I loved reading your answers.

Readers, I hoped you all enjoyed getting to know Anna as much as I did.

You can visit Anna's website HERE.

About Me

My photo
Georgia, United States
Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

My Partner in mean reading. :P

My Partner in mean reading. :P
Meet Rudy everyone!