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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.

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!