Friday, August 27, 2010

Hop & Follow Fridays!

This is a weekly event hosted by Jen at Crazy For Books. It's a chance to discover new blogs and to garner new readers for your blog as well.

Justify Full
This Week's Question ...
Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?

I struggle with it sometimes but yes, I use a rating system - simply five stars. Sometimes, I go back and forth between the halves, but generally I like to stay to just 1-5 stars. Overall, I've decided if I'm going to use a rating system, then it should be something similar to rating systems on the other sites I use (Goodreads, Librarything, etc) so I don't have to struggle to re-rate every time I post a new review on each!

To join Parajunkee's new feature and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list.
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers.
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can.
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers.
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!

Parajunkee's Question this week is:
What is the first book that you remember reading?
The first book I remember reading on my own is one of the books in Beatrix Potter's Petter Rabbit series, though I couldn't tell you which one. Soon after, I got on a fairy tale kick and my parents bought me a collection of Hans Christian Anderson stories as well as Grimm's. Those were my first two "big" books. I was very proud of them and toted them everywhere with me.

While you're here, you might as well go and sign up for my $40 CSN Giveaway. It's a chance to win free store credit - what's not to like about that? ;)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review: Blue Bloods, by Melissa de la Cruz

Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, Book 1)
by Melissa de la Cruz
Hardcover (302), Paperback (336)
May 1, 2006
· isbn: 0786838922
· isbn13: 9780786838929

When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society.

The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries. But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes instead of the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates, and she lives with her reclusive grandmother in a dilapated mansion. Schuyler is a loner...and happy that way. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a popular girl from her school is found dead... drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn't know what to think, but she wants to find out the secrets the Blue Bloods are keeping. But is she herself in danger?

Could those vampire legends really be true? Steeped in vampire lore and set against the glittery backdrop of New York City, Blue Bloods will be devoured by Melissa de la Cruz's legion fans.

This is the beginning of a series of review posts I'm doing for all of my past reads. I'm going to try to do one a day until I'm completely caught up -- though I will have reviews in between for new reads as well.

I have to admit, I'm not one of de la Cruz's legion fans. Books about girls, fashion, gossip, etc ... they tend to bug me, mainly because I've never been that girl. However, her Blue Bloods series is one of my guiltiest pleasures.

I picked up this book on a whim. After re-reading the Twilight series for the second or third time (the re-reads blur together at this point), I went on a hunt at my local bookstore and came across this. The cover intrigued me. I thought it was absolutely gorgeous. Then, I flipped it over and read the description on the back ...

Schuyler Van Alen has never fit in at Duchesne, her prestigious New York City private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes to the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates. But when she turns fifteen, Schuyler's life changes dramatically. The death of a popular schoolmate haunts her in unexpected ways. And strangest of all, Jack Force, the most popular boy in school, is showing a sudden interest in her.

Once an outcast, Schuyler is thrust into Manhattan's most exclusive social circle. Its members are the powerful, the wealthy, and - as Schuyler soon discovers - the unhuman. They are Blue Bloods, an ancient group of vampires, and for centuries they've been invincible. Now something is preying on this elite group, and Schuyler wants to find out the truth. But is she the most vulnerable of them all?

Hook, line, and sinker.

Blue Bloods presents a great new twist on the history of vampires, including true facts from Mayflower history. Oh, and fallen angels, too! Both the history of the vampires and the plot kept me reading until the very end. There were twists and turns that started at the very beginning when Schuyler thought she saw her classmate, Jack Force, ran over by a car, and goes until the very end when Schuyler goes to Venice to find her grandfather and catches a glimpse of her mother - who's supposed to be lying in a hospital bed back in New York ... in a coma. Melissa de la Cruz weaves a wonderful spell on you as Schuyler learns about the Blue Bloods - their history, their society, their rules and their enemies.. the Silver Bloods.

The characters are just as big of a part of keeping you reading as the story itself it. I instantly connected with Schuyler, who never changed who she was to fit in with The Committee and/or Mimi Force. Mimi makes a good bad girl that you love to hate. She's a witch with a capital B, and she wears the title proudly. Oliver is Schuyler's best friend and you cannot NOT love him. Bliss, who is a 'transplant' in the Manhattan society surprises us all by being more than just Mimi's second in command and she's actually a truly sweet person. Let's not forget Jack Force - resident hottie. He's the typical bad boy to the good girl - he's hot one moment, cold the next.. but that just keeps him all the more alluring. Can't help it, his warm moments won me over.

Overall, the book was great. If there was anything to complain about, it was all the pop culture references and the superficiality of the wealthy characters that were all about flaunting the money. Yeah, annoying. BUT, things like that do target a certain crowd, and I understand why de la Cruz would incorporate it into her novel. If you're looking for a serious vampire book, you might want to look elsewhere. However, if you're looking for a vampire book that is Twilight-esque mixed with a heaping dose of teen dramas like Gossip Girl, then this is definitely a read for you!

The Verdict?

Review of the Series: Blue Bloods  |  Masquerade  |   Revelations  |  The Van Alen Legacy

$40 Giveaway from CSN Stores!

As most of you know, I did a review for CSN stores a couple of weeks ago. I got another e-mail the other day asking if I'd like to review another product or host a giveaway. My first thought was "Share with my followers," so I'm hosting the giveaway. What can you get? A $40 gift certificate!¹

CSN stores have a ton of items, from kitchen tables (where I spend most of my time cooking, writing, chatting, etc) to coffee tables to bookshelves, lighting, and more. Honestly, they have 20o+ stores ... I could go on forever! You just need to go and check it out for yourself.

Giveaway: Entering for this is simple! One, you have to be a follower of this blog. Once you're a follower, fill out the form below and click, "Submit." You're officially entered to win!

This contest will end on Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 11:00pm (EST) and is open to US entrants only. Sorry! All entries must be in by then. The winner will be announced shortly after that.

Good luck, guys!

¹ Gift certificate does not include shipping costs. However, a lot of items in stores do offer free shipping.

30 Days of Insight: Catch Up!

It is now Day 18 of 30 Days of Insight, inspired by Lost in YA Wonderland. I'm literally a week behind. Besides making a ton of separate posts, I'm just going to play catch-up in one post here.

Day 12
Your favorite musical artist's life story.

I want to say Kurt Cobain. Kurt Cobain was a huge part of my teenage life and he (and his band) alone is the reason why I am so influenced by music now. However, the ending of his story is very tragic.

Gwen Stefani would be next. Talk about inspiring! I like where she came from, how No Doubt was started, her love life (I was also in love with Gavin Rossdale as a teen), her ups and down, her career as a solo artist, and her journey into industries other than music. I'd love to hang out with her!

Day 13
A memory that never fails to make you laugh.

How many of you guys actually remember Kung Pow: Enter The Fist? What about Master Betty? My cousin does the BEST impersonation of Betty that I have ever seen and he used to quote him all the time. Anytime I think of him quoting Betty, I laugh until my sides hurt ... literally.

Day 14
Best mash-up you've ever heard.

By far, the best EVER is Beastie Boys v Daft Punk - it's a mash-up of "Intergalactic" and "Around The World". I love both bands/songs, so it's perfect!

Day 15
A moment, phrase or song that has changed your life the most.

The moment my best friend MattBear died. So many thoughts went through my head, including wondering what ever happened to his story he was working on. My friend was talented in everything he did and he was working on an incredible fantasy story. I got to read the first five chapters he wrote and it's a shame that he won't be able to share it with the world. It's really inspired me to start writing more and just be more motivated in general.

Day 16
Something that you want to do within the next five years.

Two big things: write (and hopefully publish) a novel, and have a baby. I'm going to be 27 in October, so my biological clock is ticking hardcore (I refuse to have a baby past the age of 30). Not only that, it's about time that I figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a writer, so I need to get serious with it already ... before it's too late.

Day 17
What you want to be remembered for.

Honestly? If I could just be known as someone who is kind and compassionate, and was a great friend ... then I can die happy. I just want to be that someone that others can depend on for anything.

Day 18
A picture that makes you feel.

This is a little place I like to travel to when I go stay at my in-laws' beach house. I see this picture and I go into a tranquil state because that's just what this place is. A place to go enjoy the ocean and sand, collect shells, watch anemones, mediate, read, whatever you want to do. It's rarely crowded enough to cause a stir!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shadow Hills Update

Yesterday was a great day with many wonderful books being released, including a lot of Young Adult releases I was excited to see.

What I forgot to mention was something I sometimes overlook, which is ebook releases. Yesterday was a pretty important one ...

The release day of the book was important - as should the release day of the ebook! So, if you're an ebook enthusiast, or love the book so much you want to keep an ebook copy as well so you can take it everywhere (like me), be sure to pick up Shadow Hills!!

More information on Shadow Hills...

His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Released July 13, 2010
Egmont USA, publisher
Anastasia Hopcus, debut author
4.5/5.o average rating

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, Book 6)
by Richelle Mead
Hardcover, 496 pages
Penguin Group (USA)
To Be Released December 7, 2010

Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice. Now, with Rose on trial for her life and Lissa first in line for the Royal Throne, nothing will ever be the same between them.

I've fallen in love with this series. While I'm sad to see this is the last of Rose's story, I really want to know what happens ... I'm hoping for a Happily Ever After, especially with her and Dimitri.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blog Awards!

I am absolutely THRILLED to say that I have been awarded FOUR blogger awards within the past two weeks -- something I've only regretfully gotten to now because of my extreme lag, thanks to my overhaul of work right after my vacation. Boo for reality after such a relaxing vacation! ;) However, one thing that's a delight to come back to is the book blogging world, and it's a treat to be awarded for something I enjoy so much!

This cute award is from Three Cheers For Literacy!! It is to be passed onto five other people. So, I'll be passing to:

Speaking of Melissa, she gave me an award as well... and I love it! So, a big thank you to Melissa - everyone should check out her blog!

The rules are simple thank the person who gave it to you with a link back in your post, and send this on to fellow bloggers who rock this summer. List 4 rocking bloggers to share this with, and post a note to them through their comments.

I'm passing this award to:

Yesterday, I received the One Lovely Blog Award from Maddie at Confessions of a Teen Bookaholic. I'm thrilled because I heart my blog (that I slaved over codes with for hours) and I'm pretty pleased with how the colors turned out.

So, here's how the award works:
1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.

3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.

And the fifteen lovelies I have chosen (in no particular order) are:

Lastly, the Versatile Blogger Award was rewarded to me by Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads. I always love getting this award ... and I'm as happy to receive it this time as I was the first. Thanks so much, Liz .. you're wonderful!!

Here is how the award works:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

My seven things?
1. Book reviewing/blogging has gone from a hobby to part of me.
2. I was put in a bad place when I found out that coastal restaurants have all stopped getting oysters because of the oil spill. Boo!
3. I watch Nascar racing and was a huge Dale Earnhardt Sr fan. I'm trying to be a dedicated fan to his son, but it's just not working out.
4. The only way my husband would be any more irresistible would be if he was immortal. Seriously, that's his only flaw to me. ;)
5. I collect cook books and am putting together a huge binder of all my loose recipes. This may take me years.
6. I love to craft. A lot.
7. My cat has just recently reached his ideal weight goal of 9.5 lbs. This time two years ago, he was 23 lbs. It's been a long, emotionally draining ride for us both, but we finally made it!

Now, the bloggers:

Teaser Tuesdays!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading.

· Grab your current read.
· Open to a random page.
· Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
· BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
· Share the author and title, too, so that the other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

The Darkest Lie, by Gena Showalter
"Bastard," she snarled. "I knew you'd come after me, the perceived weak link. Well, that was your first mistake."

Several humans turned to stare at her, obviously wondering who she was talking to.

Strider didn't reply. Just darted behind her and smashed his hands into her carotid, cutting off the blood supply to her brain. And shit! She was cold. Like a block of ice. He almost pulled away. Almost.

"So, what was my second?" he asked smugly.

At first, she struggled, tried to spin. "What the --" But then her knees buckled, and her eyes rolled back into her head.

Just like that, she was out.

Yeah, okay, a little more than two sentences. But once I started typing out the first sentence, I knew I had to go a little further for a more effective teaser. ;)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Is this not the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?!?

The Vampire Archives: The Most Complete Volume of Vampire Tales Ever Published
edited by Otto Penzler
Paperback, 1034 pages
Released October 29, 2009

The Vampire Archives is the biggest, hungriest, undeadliest collection of vampire stories, as well as the most comprehensive bibliography of vampire fiction ever assembled. Dark, stormy, and delicious, once it sinks its teeth into you there’s no escape.

Vampires! Whether imagined by Bram Stoker or Anne Rice, they are part of the human lexicon and as old as blood itself. They are your neighbors, your friends, and they are always lurking. Now Otto Penzler—editor of the bestselling Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps—has compiled the darkest, the scariest, and by far the most evil collection of vampire stories ever. With over eighty stories, including the works of Stephen King and D. H. Lawrence, alongside Lord Byron and Tanith Lee, not to mention Edgar Allan Poe and Harlan Ellison, The Vampire Archives will drive a stake through the heart of any other collection out there.

Other contributors include:
Arthur Conan Doyle • Ray Bradbury • Ambrose Bierce • H. P. Lovecraft • Harlan Ellison • Roger Zelazny • Robert Bloch • Clive Barker
I'm sure the librarian and the library's patrons think I'm an absolute teenage fangirl now, thanks to my delighted little squeal when I saw this book. Yep, small town ... small library ... all sounds echo. This is my little vampire heaven - a compilation of vampire tales from some of my very favorite authors -- and this includes the preface by Neil Gaiman! Reading through the titles of the stories, I'd say I only knew about a fifth of the authors/stories. I'm looking forward to reading this off and on while I'm reading other books. Since this is such a huge book with so many different stories, I don't know if I'll do a true review on it - maybe a mini-review just to outline a few things to look forward to in the book? Decisions, decisions. In any case, I can already tell you guys from the stories that I *have* read ... if you like the old school vampires that are creepy and not always chivalrous like a certain Cullen, I'm going to go ahead and tell you guys to pick up the novel. It's a little under $25 at Book Depository (don't forget free shipping!), and that's a steal for all of the stories you get!!

Edit: Be sure to check out the Google Preview by clicking the icon under the book cover!

Monday, Monday!

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly event - hosted by the wonderful Sheila - to share what we are reading this week, as well as what we read the previous week. Feel free to share in on the fun, or just click on the link to see what others are reading!

How's my reading going???

It's not up to Missy-standards by far, but it's getting better! I'm up to my fifth book in the past two weeks - two of those are re-reads, but they still count!

What did I finish last week???

Since I didn't do this last week, I'm telling you my past two weeks' worth of reading!

Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris - The first in the Sookie Stackhouse (aka Southern Vampire Mysteries) series. One of my re-reads I had to finish before the beach so I could let my friend borrow it.

Living Dead In Dallas, by Charlaine Harris - The second in the SVM series. This was my lying-on-the-beach read. It definitely helped me survive the sun. ;)

The Darkest Passion, by Gena Showalter - I lied... three of my books were re-reads. I flew through this one the first time I read it and decided to read it again before Gideon came into the picture.

Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White - HAD to get to this before it came out ... and I think I finished it in record time. It's sooo good - look for my review SOON!

What do I plan on reading this week???

The Darkest Lie, by Gena Showalter - Actually, I plan on finishing this one. I find I'm going extremely slow with this one - probably because I want to take in every single detail and make my time with Gideon last longer!

After The Darkest Lie, I have no clue what I'm going to read.. but, I can say that I am leaning toward The Eternal Ones, by Kirsten Miller. It sounds awesome!

How's YOUR reading coming along???

2010 YA Book Releases: August 23-28

(Click on the book to be directed to Goodreads to find out more information on each book.)

August 23, 2010

August 24, 2010

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