Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another year down...

The start of a New Year is always good. When you go back to school you have an A in all of your classes. You're getting a fresh start and what could be better than that? I know there are people that don't believe that people are actually going to change their ways just because there's a new year. I don't believe that you can change over night but if you're willing to put effort into keeping your resolutions or whatnot, then, yes. I believe you can change what you want.
My blog/book goals:
• Post at least 3-4 times a week. MORE reviews!!!
• More interviews!
• More contests! I really want to but I don't have a lot of money, but hopefully I can save up and give them.
• Get better rating system.
• Follow through with my challenges
My personal goals/resolutions for myself:
STUDY STUDY STUDY. I want to get really good grades for this semester. The hardest class for me is Algebra II Honors; I'm not passing as of late. I need to focus more and come to tutoring every morning. English 10 Honors, Health, Theatre Arts and French 2 are most likely going to be an A. Biology Honors I can do if I study for the tests and pick good partners for the projects. I need to get at least a B for the year so I can take AP bio my senior year. AP US History. If I do my DBQs and essays then I can pass the class with a C or B. Math...*sigh* I don't think I'll be taking precalc next year....
• Get my drivers permit/license. My mother won't take me to get my permit but I turn 16 in May and I need to learn how to drive.
• Work harder at sports. I want to finish swimming season with lots of seconds of my events. I want to score some goals and hopefully make the varsity soccer team. Of all the sports, I think I have the best chance with soccer. I want to run until my legs give out and then some more. I want to do at least 2 running events during the summer (I know I'll do Race For The Cure again) and by the time cross country starts back up, I want run a 5k in 24 minutes.
• Write every single day. I have a lot of story ideas and all I need now is to get the words onto paper.
• Get better at piano. My lessons on Saturday, but if it isn't a swimming meet, I have set construction or cross country meet. I need to go every single week.
• Be nicer. Now, I'm not too mean or anything, but I could be so much nicer. A lot of people say I'm too nice, but I feel as if I could do more. This year I've met a few people (2 people jump right up in my mind) who have inspired me with their kindness. Never in my life I have met anyone as nice as them.
• Get a job. I'll probably have to settle for summer only or babysitting but I need money!!!
• Have more confidence and be happy!
I can't say I'm even going to miss 2009. Nothing too great has happened. However, I'm sad that my 2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince wall calendar and Boston Red Sox flip calendar will be gone.
Here's to a new decade! Thank you for all of you who follow me!
Oh and here's a song for ya!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (10)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver Release Date: March 2, 2010 (HarperCollins)
What if you only had 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: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Breathing by Cheryl Renée Herbsman

Breathing by Cheryl Renée Herbsman
Publisher: Viking (April 16, 2009)
Hardcover: 265 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Savannah would be happy to spend the summer in her coastal Carolina town working at the library and lying in a hammock reading her beloved romance novels. But then she meets Jackson. Once they lock eyes, she’s convinced he’s the one—her true love, her soul mate, a boy different from all the rest. And at first it looks like Savannah is right. Jackson abides by her mama’s strict rules, and stays by her side during a hospitalization for severe asthma, which Savannah becomes convinced is only improving because Jackson is there. But when he’s called away to help his family—and seems uncertain about returning—Savannah has to learn to breathe on her own, both literally and figuratively.

Review: Savannah's father walked out on her family long ago and her mother has been the one taking care of her and her brother Dog. Savannah is book smarts and has dreams of going onto bigger things as soon as she gets out of her small town. One summer day she meets a guy named Jackson on the beach and soon they find it hard to stay away from each other.

Herbsman writes a sweet, innocent and fast-paced story about first love and how teenagers can truly love one another. Jackson and Savannah are able to maintain their relationship even with the distance between them. Cheryl includes a lot of different things in her characters. For example, Savannah has severe asthma and throughout the book she ends up in the hospital because of it.

At times I found Savannah to be a bit over the top with her melodramatic behavior when she is apart from Jackson, but only just a bit. Jackson is a very sweet guy. He is talented at painting pictures and has a dream of becoming a painting one day. I felt that Jackson was a little too perfect, but again -only just a little.

As this book is in Savannah's POV, I couldn't get over her southern accent (as well as the others!) I haven't read many books set in the south so this was really different. I have to say the accent is a nice touch to the story and makes the setting more believable.
Rating:


Characters: 8/10
Originality: 8/10
Ending: 7/10
Writing: 8/10
Voice: 9/10
Plot: 7/10


Favorite character(s): Hmm. I'm not really sure if I had a favorite character, but I'll go with Savannah's mom. Her personality was one of a kind. I liked that she was a hard worker.
Cover: B. I think the cover is very pretty!
Overall: Breathing is such a sweet book about young love and will have you thinking about those summer days. 3.5 stars.

Monday, December 28, 2009

100+ Reading Challenge

If school, sports, and all the other things in my life will let me, I am going to try and read 100+ books in 2010!

Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010. Books started before the 1st do not count.
To sign up and learn more about this challenge go HERE.

___________________________________________________________
BOOKS READ IN 2010.

1. Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers
2. Viola In Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani
3. Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
4. Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
5. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
6. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
7. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
8. House Rules by Jodi Picoult
9. Gone by Lisa McMann
10. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
11. Steady Beat, Volume 1 by Rivkah
13. A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross
14. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
17. Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
18. Rules of Attractions by Simone Elkeles
19. David Inside Out by Lee Bantle
20. Kiss It by Erin Downing
21. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
22. Riot by Walter Dean Myers
23. Push by Sapphire
25. Unexpected Development by Marlene Perez
26. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
27. Dramacon, Volume 1 by Svetlana Chmakova
28. Dramacon, Volume 2 by Svetlana Chmakova
29. Dramacon, Volume 3 by Svetlana Chmakova
30. Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
31. Memoirs of an Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
32. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
33. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
34. Fat Cat by Robin Brande
35. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
36. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
37. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
38. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
39. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
40. It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
41. Shug by Jenny Han
42. I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan




:)





3 4 5 Reading Challenge

Okay. So, I wasn't planning on signing up for anymore challenges, but then I saw this one and couldn't resist!
Chickloveslit is hosting this challenge and here's what she had to say about it:
Rules of this challenge:
  1. It will run from August 1, 2009 to August 1, 2010
  2. You may sign up at any point in this time period
  3. To complete the challenge, you must read THREE books from one series, FOUR books from another series, and FIVE books from another series (For example: Song of Fire and Ice trilogy by George RR Martin, the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, and five of the Chronicles of Narnia books)
  4. You do not have to choose your books ahead of time (but are more than welcome to)
  5. You do not have to 'complete' a series (i.e. you don't have to read a trilogy for your three book requirement - just 3 books from the same series)
  6. Only books that you read between August 1, 2009 and August 1, 2010 count
  7. The books you read may count for other challenges
To join go HERE.
3 Books From a Series
(Ruby Oliver Series by E. Lockhart)
1. The Boyfriend List
2. The Boy Book
3. The Treasure Map of Boys
4 Books From a Series
(The Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar)
1. Gossip Girl
2. You Know You Love Me
3. All I Want Is Everything
4. Because I'm Worth It
5 Books From a Series
(The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison)
1. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging
2. On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God
3. Knocked Out by my Nunga-Nungas
4. Dancing in my Nuddy-Pants
5. Away Laughing on a Fast Camel
I own none of these books and so hopefully my library we'll have them in! C:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

In My Mailbox (14) Christmas Edition

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren.
I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas! It snowed where I live and churches and a lot of other places were closed, so everyone was pretty much stuck at home. It's okay though, I wasn't going anywhere anyways. C:
Borrowed:
Bought:
For Review:
Swag:
I got some really nice bookmarks of The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney! They're so pretty. I'd take a picture of them, but I don't have a digital camera.

Friday, December 25, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I just want to take this time and wish you all a Merry Christmas! I woke up to lots of snow (so cliché. I know) and it looks like we're going to be stuck inside the house for awhile. I hope you guys are having a super awesome holiday!
Also, Rae is the winner Explorer X-Alpha! I've already contacted her and she already sent me her address! Congrats!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Invisible Lines by Mary Amato

Invisible Lines by Mary Amato (& Illustrations by Antonio Caparo)
Publisher: EgmontUSA (November 24, 2009)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
For Trevor Musgrove, life isn't always bright and cheerful. His family just moved to Hedley Gardens, a tough housing project its residents call "Deadly Gardens." He goes to school with rich kids who have everything, while he has to work to afford soccer cleats. It doesn't help that the best athlete in school, Xander Pierce, happens to have it out for him. Mistakenly enrolled in an advanced science class taught by an odd but engaging teacher, Trevor is thrown headfirst into the world of natural science. Through all this, he will learn that life can spring up in the darkest places-- maybe even in Deadly Gardens.

Review: I haven't read a MG book in so long and I'm so glad that I got the chance to read this one!

Mary Amato writes in a way that captures the voice of a preteen boy so well that it feels as if you are witnessing the real thing. I absolutely loved reading about Trevor. He's living with his younger brother & sister and mother. They live in these bad apartments and don't have a lot of money. I loved that this book dealt with real life issues and all of which were written in a way that a younger audience can deal with.

One of the issues in the book is Trevor doesn't have enough money to be on a club soccer team. You can tell that he has a passion for the sport and as I was reading the book, I just felt bad for him and the things he went through. Also, I envied Trevor's artistic talents. Drawing was another passion of his and he used it wisely. He started his own little business around school and drew stuff for his little brother. And at the start of each chapter there are illustrations and I thought those were nice!

Another big aspect of the book is Trevor's science class. He is put in Summit Science -an advanced class- by mistake. His science teacher is one of those teachers that always keeps the class interesting and fun instead of the more common reading out of the textbook type as well as being a teacher that really cared about his students.

I really enjoyed the character of Diamond. She lives in the same apartment building as Trevor and is always singing throughout the book as she has dreams of becoming a famous singer one day. Amato does a great job describing a situation that Diamond and Trevor face. My only problem is I wished there had been more of this character!

Rating:


Characters: 9/10
Originality: 7/10
Ending: 7/10
Writing: 9/10
Voice: 9/10
Plot: 8/10

Favorite character(s): Trevor! I found myself rooting for him throughout the whole book. So likable and has many great qualities about him!
Cover: B. So artistic and creative! Very nice.
Overall: Go pick up this book if you are looking for a realistic and genuine read! I will definitely be reading more of Mary Amato!

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren!
Only one book this week.
The Secrets of the Cheese Syndicated by Donna St. Cyr

"Robert Montasio did not think his day could get any worse until his sister drinks a bizarre soda that causes her to start shrinking. Robert's only hope is a mysterious organization known as the Secret Cheese Syndicate. Unfortunately, they cannot help without a special cheese that has been lost for years. Now, with a tiny little sister in his pocket, Robert has to travel the world to find the Mystic Cheese of Eliki and, perhaps, discover secrets from his family's past."

I won this from 2k10 giveaway! Thank you. C:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Featured over at Climbing Rose!

Hi guys! The wonderful people at Climbing Rose of the Wild Press featured me in an interview!
Go check it out HERE. The interview was so much fun doing! C:
Oh, I forgot to mention that I was also featured at BooksObsession.
Also, I'd like to remain everyone that there are only a couple more days to enter to win Explorer X-Alpha by LM. Preston! Don't miss your chance! Enter HERE.
AND today was the last day of school until January 4! YAHHHH! NO MORE FINALS. Will be posting reviews soon!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren! Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
"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."

Thank you so much, Staysi!!! Have been waiting so long to read this book!

The Maximum Ride books.

Cirque Du Freak: A Living Nightmare

Cirque Du Freak: The Vampires Assistant

Cirque Du Freak: Tunnels of Blood

I got the last 2 sets of books for hosting a contest for them! Thank you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.
A Match Made In High School by Kristin Walker
Release Date: February 4, 2010 (Razorbill)
Summary: "When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can’t get any worse. That’s until she marries her “husband”: jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona’s long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very dorky, very big Johnny Mercer.

Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes."

Why I want it: I really like the summary of this book! I would love to read something like this and I've seen great reviews for it!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Review of Perfect Fifths

Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty
Publisher: Crown (April 14, 2009)
Hardcover: 272 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult/Adult
"Captivated readers have followed Jessica through every step and misstep: from her life as a tormented, tart-tongued teenager to her years as a college grad stumbling toward adulthood. Now a young professional in her mid-twenties, Jess is off to a Caribbean wedding. As she rushes to her gate at the airport, she literally runs into her former boyfriend, Marcus Flutie. It’s the first time she's seen him since she reluctantly turned down his marriage proposal three years earlier–and emotions run high. Marcus and Jessica have both changed dramatically, yet their connection feels as familiar as ever. Is their reunion just a fluke or has fate orchestrated this collision of their lives once again? Told partly from Marcus’s point of view, Perfect Fifths finally lets readers inside the mind of the one person who’s both troubled and titillated Jessica Darling for years. Expect nothing less than the satisfying conclusion fans have been waiting for, one perfect in its imperfection. . . ."
Review: I was quite anxious to read Perfect Fifths, mostly because I needed to find out how the series was going to end.
Perfect Fifths is written in a different style than the other books in the series. The story takes place within 2 days and yet this book is able to bring back a lot of the past characters, which is completely awesome. Half the book is in Marcus' POV and it was great to finally get the chance to read what went on inside his head.
Jessica and Marcus literally run into each other at the Newark Airport after not having seen each other in 3 years. From that point on, the book is spent pretty much on them catching up. I found myself actually enjoying the dialogue. They talked and talked and some parts, I didn't even understand what they were talking about! Still, I found all of it interesting. I liked what Jessica was doing for a living, I thought it was perfect for her.
Parts of the book were really funny. Like, every scene where there was some sort of Barry Manilow reference or song, I laughed. Jessica's ramblings to herself were humorous as well.
I was a bit disappointed with how it ended. There were a lot of questions left unanswered and I wasn't sure exactly where Marcus and Jessica stood. However, the ending was nothing bad. If you've read the previous 4 books, be sure to read this last one!
Other things I liked about the series as a whole (since I probably won't review the first 2 books):
  • I REALLY loved the fact that Jessica was a cross-country/track runner during high school. I pretty much am obsessed with XC and I loved reading about a character who has the same interests as me. Well, actually, Jessica wasn't a fan of running, as it was her father who pushed her into it....but oh well.
  • I liked how she's always been a writer/journalist. I think that's pretty rad. That's another one of my interests.
  • There were a lot of good quotes in this series. I liked the You. Yes. You and all of that.
  • I liked how all the titles of the books were explained. Especially, Sloppy Firsts and Fourth Comings.
  • I liked how Jessica's best friend, Hope, remained throughout the series. I was actually kind of surprised, because after she moved in the first book, I just figured they would only just email each other and see each other occasionally. I'm glad they actually remained close.
Rating:
Characters: 8/10pts
Originality: 7/10pts
Ending: 7/10pts
Writing: 9/10pts
Voice: 8/10pts
Plot: 7/10pts
Favorite characters: Marcus. I'm so glad that in this book we got to hear what he was thinking. I enjoy his personality.
Cover: C. Not really a fan, but it's not too bad.
Overall: I think that fans of the series will enjoy this book. It wasn't the best in the series, but it's enjoyable. Can not wait for whatever Megan McCafferty has in store for us next!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge

There's this really awesome contest that I just had to join! It's the Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge. I watch the show whenever I can, I haven't seen all the episodes or anything, but I definitely enjoy it. Here is some info on this challenge:
There are three levels of participation:
  • Emily: Read 5 books from at least two different categories.
  • Lorelai: Read 10 books from at least three different categories.
  • Rory: Read 20 books from at least four different categories.
Right now, I'm going to stick with the Lorelai level. Here are some of my choices:
Classics
The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Children/Young Adult
The Outsiders by S.E. Hilton
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
Stuart Little E.B. White
Modern Classics
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
1984 by George Orwell
Nonfiction
On The Road by Jack Kerouac
Other
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides
High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby
Girl, Interrupted by Susan Kaysen
Letter's to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Sophie's Choice by William Styron
*To sign up go HERE

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind Review

Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind by Phillip Done
Publisher: Center Street (September 4, 2009)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Reading Level: Adult
"A twenty-year veteran of the classroom, elementary school teacher Phillip Done takes readers through a lively and hilarious year in the classroom. Starting with the relative calm before the storm of buying school supplies and posting class lists, he shares the distinct personalities of grades K-4, what he learned from two professional trick or treating 8-year-old boys, the art of learning cursive and letter-writing, how kindergartners try to trap leprechauns, and what every child should experience before he or she grows up. These charming, sweet, and funny tales of Mr. Done's trials and triumphs as an award-winning schoolteacher will touch readers' hearts and remind them of the true joys of childhood. We all have that one special, favorite grade school teacher whom we fondly remember throughout our adult lives - and every teacher also has students whom they will never forget. This is the perfect book for teachers, parents, and anyone else who is looking for a lighthearted, nostalgic read."
Review: I believed I won this book from a contest that I randomly entered. I probably wouldn't have picked up this book on my own, but I'm so glad I got the chance to read it. Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind will make you laugh out loud, reminiscent of elementary school days. You may even get a bit emotional. Phillip Done does an outstanding job writing about what it has been like teaching third grade over the years.
One of the things that I loved about this book (I guess you could call it a memoir) is that each chapter titled is a month of the year. He breaks down all these different school-related things into the appropriate chapters. He talks about back-to-school sales, teaching the kids cursive, 100th day, Christmas party and Valentines party, and so many other awesome stuff. This book was just so sweet.
There were a lot of times that I found myself laughing. Kids are just so adorable. Whenever Mr. Done had the kids write some sort of story, they always made spelling mistakes and he describes trying not to laugh at some of the words they write instead of what they meant. Or how he talks about how some of the girls in his class tell him what boys they like. One of the stories they he tells is how during Christmas one year, he went to a different country and him and some other adults gave the kids there (they were in some sort of orphanage) presents, and they were smiling and cheering but yet they hadn't even opened the boxes. The kids had never been given a gift in their lives. It touched my heart and I'll admit, I got a bit emotional.
I'm not sure exactly what I liked to do once I graduate HS, but I have been thinking about teaching elementary (3rd grade and below) and after Phillip Done's tales of teaching, it has truly inspired me to be a teacher even more. I would hugely recommend that people interest in teaching or just wants a nice, funny memoir, read this! It's filled with lots of amazing stories.
Cover: I think I'll give it a C+. It's not bad, but nothing great. I do like the chair and desk.
Writing: So good! Easy to get lost in the book with the way Done writes. It flows nicely.
Overall: I would most definitely give it an A+! (Yes, pun intended.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Explorer X - Alpha Contest!

LM. Preston is graciously offering one (1) lucky winner to win her debut novel Explorer X - Alpha!
Summary: For most kids, a trip to space camp is a trip of a lifetime, for Aadi it was life altering. After receiving a camp immunization needed for travel to Mars, Aadi finds that the immunization is the catalyst of an insidious experiment. Lucky for him, he was engineered to survive, thrive, and dominate. Without realizing he is being trained to conquer worlds, and manipulated under the guise of a camp, he unfolds the plot too late for a change of fate. Aadi’s world is shaken upon the revelation that life before camp was not what it appeared. This solidifies his plan to save them all from the company that seeks to control him, only for his rescue to end abruptly due to a freak accident on a field trip to Mars. The full experiment is set in motion when he and his co-pilot, Eirena, crash in a distant galaxy called Shrenas, where they change and realize the full extent of their power. Holding onto his humanity, in the midst of turning into a god is Aadi's biggest battle yet. This turn of events causes him to put his childish thoughts away, forcing him to accept his change, and to decide to save a world, or to do what he was trained to do, dominate it. In the midst his struggles with his changes, his power is coveted by the warring leaders of Shrenas, and he is forced to choose sides to save a life, or to save himself. A decision that may prove just how much humanity he has left.
To enter please fill out this FORM.
The deadline for this contest is 11:59 PM (central time), December 22.