March 30, 2014

Rewind & Review #12

Hosted by Shae Has Left the Room.

This week was my spring break from co-op and work.  I still had plenty of homework, though, between psychology, my subjects at home, and what my co-op teachers assigned (thus voiding the concept of a break).  I was approved for two squee-worthy books on NetGalley and Edelweiss, I hosted my first Twitter giveaway (for a signed ARC of All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill), and two of my favorite posts of March went up on the blog this week.  I also exercised great self-restraint and didn't buy a single book.

Books I Received
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Thanks to ARCycling and Kristin!)

18042393 18298225
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae (Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Children's Books!)
On the Fence by Kasie West (Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen!)

Books I Read
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper
Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt
Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer (a reread, and I was reminded just how squee-worthy this book is)
Pulled Under by Michelle Dalton
Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Blog Posts You Might've Missed

Upcoming Blog Posts (subject to change)
  • Review: Dorothy Must Die
  • Review: Salvage
  • Random Friday: Bookstores
  • ARCs: Not a Geometry Term

March 29, 2014

So You Like... #1

Welcome to my new sporadic feature post!  I had a lot of fun doing an upcoming TTT post for which I chose 10 books for anyone who likes _____ TV show (not revealing which one until it gets closer), and I wanted to do more of these posts.  I plan to start off with certain genres, but I'll also do books, movies, and TV shows interspersed throughout.  This time, it's going to be...


Let's get started!  I hope this turns out well because this is my first time doing something like this. (By the way, all covers will link you to the Goodreads page for each book.)

If you liked...



The Testing (The Testing, #1)

Both The Hunger Games and The Testing incorporate deadly competitions.  However, The Testing is definitely not a rip-off of THG.  It's more about a futuristic college, and the students don't have to kill, nor do they need to be the last one standing.  The president in The Testing trilogy also appears to be good, quite unlike President Snow.

If you liked...




Both worlds involve love.  However, from what I know of the Delirium trilogy, love is not something you want to experience and the government even rids you of romantic feelings.  Whereas with Matched, you're paired with guessed it, match.  You are then expected to court and marry this significant other.

If you liked...



Landry Park (Landry Park, #1)

Landry Park is actually pitched as "Downton Abbey meets The Selection," so I definitely think this would be a good fit if you're a Kiera Cass fan.  I haven't had the opportunity to read Landry Park yet, but our library system finally had a copy that I requested.

If you liked...




Why?  Both have societies where, when you reach a certain age, you are assigned a career or you choose your faction.  Both are seemingly perfect worlds (although the problems in the Divergent world are much more apparent), and both have protagonists that have to make difficult choices.

If you like...




The main connection between these two trilogies is that the main role of girls' is to give birth and replenish the Earth's population.  I also found similarities in the protagonists' desires to escape.

So there you have it!  The first "So You Like..." with ten different books.  Now, say you've read Divergent, but not The Giver.  I say take my advice in reverse.  I hope you found some new books to try, and I can't wait for y'all to see the next "So You Like..." post.  Any votes on what you want me to do next?

March 28, 2014

Random Friday: New York, New York

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following: 
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my post.
  • Blog about this week's topic.
  • Add the link to your Random Friday at the bottom of this post.
Hi, guys, Emma here again. :) I'm back to hosting Random Fridays, but I'd like to say a big thank you to Sarah for taking over for 3 weeks.  My life has been so crazy lately that I knew I couldn't run the weekly posts by myself.  Now let's get into this week's post.

I've only been to New York City once, back in 2008.  We went with our friends from Virginia (their daughter has been my BFF since we were toddlers), and we were there for a whole week.  We hit all the tourist destinations, visited museums, saw Mary Poppins on Broadway, and took a cruise around the island.

The next time I go, I'd love to explore the New York book world - visit the public library, stop at as many bookstores as I can, and get pictures of the various publishers.

But my favorite place when we visited in 2008 was Central Park:

(I'm pretty sure we got lost in the park, fyi.)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was amazing.  I loved Mary Poppins and Times Square.  Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are must-sees.

So have you ever been to NYC?  Do you hope to go some day?  Or do you just have some cool pictures you found on the Internet to share?  I can't wait to see other Random Friday posts!

March 27, 2014

A Mother-Daughter Discussion

My mom was in the hospital back in January.  While she ended up being fine, they kept her overnight for observation, so I sent a special gift for her: the first Mother-Daughter Book Club book.  If you've been a follower of my blog for awhile, you'll know that I'm a big MDBC fan.  I've been reading the books since I was 12 going on 13, and I've followed the girls' journeys as they grew up alongside me.  My mom knows how much I love them and admire Heather Vogel Frederick, the author, so she was happy that I was finally sharing a favorite series with her.

She finished the whole series in 2 weeks, and right as she was finishing up Wish You Were Eyre, Heather announced the 7th MDBC book, news that made us both ecstatic.

Something fun I did was ask my mom some questions after she finished the series, and I answered the same questions.  Here's what we had to say. (My mom's answers are in purple, and mine are in teal.)

1) Favorite daughter? Favorite mom? Favorite secondary character?
Emma; Mrs. Delaney; Savannah (after the events of Dear Pen Pal, of course)
Emma or Jess; Mrs. Sloane-Kinkaid; Tristan, Darcy, or Winky

2) Favorite and least favorite books of the series?
I liked them all, but Wish You Were Eyre is probably my favorite.
Pies & Prejudice was my favorite; Wish You Were Eyre is my least favorite because it was (we thought) the last book and this stickler for grammar and continuity was bothered that there were so many errors.

3) Which character grew the most in your opinion?
Cassidy, especially because in WYWE, she decided her pranking days were over.
I'd have to say Becca.  By WYWE, she was a much more thoughtful, nicer girl.

4) What do you think is MDBC's strongest point?
The various relationships, mainly the familial and platonic ones.
I definitely agree.

5) Do you remember any stand-out quotes?
My mom laughed at me when I asked this (her memory isn't the best).
I liked the scene where Emma talked about story ideas being like stray cats.

6) Any changes you'd make?
All the pranking got out of hand.  I also don't feel like Dylan and Ryan matured properly; they obviously aged but some of their actions didn't seem to fit their age.
I feel like Chloe aged too quickly (she was flower girl when she was barely two, was talking and walking more than most 12 to 18 months old I know).  I found some of Megan's fashion ideas to be too out there, even considering the haute couture world.  I also would've liked to see more guy antagonists.  The typical mean girl gets old very quickly.

7) What book(s) do you hope they'll read in book 7?
Gone With the Wind.
Gone With the Wind would be awesome.

8) What do you hope to see in book 7?
I'm not sure, maybe learning something from the book's heroine like they've done in the past.
I want to see them starting their college visits, and the Berkeleys returning (especially Tristan), and the girls traveling to some place new and fun.  I'd also like to see how Megan and Sophie's relationship develops now that Gigi and Sophie's grandfather are married.

I liked watching the girls grow up and how the moms matured, particularly Mrs. Chadwick and Mrs. Wong.
I can't wait to see what Heather has in store for the girls in book 7!  Too bad we have to wait until at least the summer of 2015.

March 26, 2014

Review: Dear Killer

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
Grade: B-
Release date: April 1, 2014
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Upon finishing Dear Killer, I summed up my feelings with a quote from the book.

"How do you feel?"
"Numb," I say blandly. "Just numb."

The biggest problem I had with Dear Killer is that it treated murder as okay, as something morally gray or even sometimes white.  In Kit's philosophy class, the students seemed to decide that murder was only evil when done as genocide.  I found the characters to be complex and sometimes also very random.  Kit claimed to be the Perfect Killer (well, she was the Perfect Killer) but she made some incredibly stupid choices that made me question how perfect of a killer she was.  Until part way through the book, she is so numb to the murders she commits that they don't even bother her anymore.  Her mother seems almost crazy from the murders she committed before having Kit, and I thought that was extremely realistic.  Actually, Kit being numb was pretty realistic, too.  If we see something, such as violence, enough, it doesn't affect us.  But the book was also too descriptive at the beginning, telling me how everyone and everywhere looked.
One of my favorite parts was the beginning.  I loved how it started, with this air of mystery.  I loved seeing Kit go to the cafe and collect her letters.  Maggie, poor Maggie, was a sweet character who I grew rather attached to.  I worried when Alex was introduced and then quickly found him to be one of my favorite characters.  I did enjoy how the letters were Kit's signature.
But overall, this book left me very numb (in a bad way), with how it treated right and wrong, violence (still cringing, y'all), and language (not as bad as in other books, but still fairly bad).  Also, as one final note, Kit was ridiculously stupid.  And, actually, in retrospective, Alex was kind of stupid and oblivious, too.

The Verdict: If you like serial killers and dark books, this is probably a read for you.  I mean, I liked The Naturals (which, at times, was very dark and twisted) but I just couldn't get into this book.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I'm doing a Twitter giveaway for a signed ARC of All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill.  It ends tonight (9 PM CST), but if you haven't retweeted/followed me yet, here's the link ---> Twitter ARC giveaway.

March 24, 2014

I'm a Teenage Book Blogger

I'm pretty sure most of you knew that.  If you follow me on Twitter, I talk a lot about school and the homeschool co-op I attend.  I've also mentioned both a few times on here.

So what does that mean for me?  I'd like to think it's pretty stressful juggling schoolwork, reading, blogging, writing, and any other things I like to do.  I'm good at getting some of my assignments done with plenty of time to spare, but I can't do that with all of them.  Hardest of all is deciding when I should read and when I should work on school.

At the beginning of 2014, I was reading at least 6 books a week.  That number has begun to drop just because I sadly don't have as much time.  But there are days where I'm like, "Heck with it, I'm going to read, even if I have five geometry lessons due on Friday."  Reading makes me happy.  I love diving into a book and pretending the real world doesn't exist.  I get a thrill from well-written prose and flawed characters and hilarious dialogue.  I love books that make me hate them (a recent example being Lady Thief).  I love reading in the car, even when we're only driving for 5 minutes because it's fun to look up and realize we've reached our destination when I feel like we've just barely left.

I mentioned writing above.  I haven't devoted enough time to writing anything lately, even my fanfiction.  It's not like I don't want to, but with everything else, it is so hard to find the time.  I have so many ideas that I want to develop, and I'm getting better at limiting myself to only one or two stories at a time.  But if I want to work on the other ideas, I need to have more time to write!  I'm looking forward to summer break.  I'll continue to write until then, but maybe I'll have more time once I'm done with all of my schoolwork.  Of course, God willing, I'll be leaving for college the second week in August so I'll need to spend as much of June and July with friends as possible, not to mention packing.

I'm a teenage book blogger and sometimes I don't make the wisest choices on how I'll spend my time.  Sometimes, I work too much, which makes me unhappy.  Sometimes, I read and blog too much, which leaves me with mountains of schoolwork.  Sometimes, I don't write enough, which makes me worry how I'll juggle a full-time job and writing some day.  Sometimes, I don't talk to people enough because I have too many things to do.  Sometimes, I spend too much time on Twitter and Tumblr and random sites, which makes me feel guilty about all the others things I could be doing. But it's okay because I'm a teenage book blogger and I'm allowed to still be figuring life out.

March 23, 2014

Rewind & Review #11

It's been a quiet week, but here are the books I acquired and read, and all my blog news.

Books I Received

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt
(I'm just going to take a minute to squeal, because I've been dying to read Chapel Wars!  Thanks, NetGalley and Bloomsbury!)

Perry's Recommendation of the Week
Here's Perry reading BROKEN HEARTS, FENCES, AND OTHER THINGS TO MEND by Katie Finn.  While the ending killed us both, we agreed that it's the perfect read while there's still snow on the ground, because of its beach setting.

Books I Read
The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson (reread)
The Espressologist by Kristina Springer
Wicked Little Secrets by Kara Taylor
Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong (DNF)
Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn
Tease by Amanda Maciel (DNF)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed

Upcoming Blog Posts (subject to change)
  • I'm a Teenage Book Blogger
  • Review: Dear Killer
  • A Mother-Daughter Discussion
  • Random Friday: New York, New York
  • So You Like...

March 22, 2014

Review: Exile

Exile by Kevin Emerson
Grade: B-
Release date: April 29, 2014
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Catherine Summer Carlson knows how to manage bands like a professional—she’s a student at the PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High, where rock legends Allegiance to North got their start. Summer knows that falling for the lead singer of her latest band is the least professional thing a manager can do. But Caleb Daniels isn’t an ordinary band boy—he’s a hot, dreamy, sweet-singing, exiled-from-his-old-band, possibly-with-a-deep-dark-side band boy. And he can do that thing. That thing when someone sings a song and it inhabits you, possesses you, and moves you like a marionette to its will.

Summer also finds herself at the center of a mystery she never saw coming. When Caleb reveals a secret about his long-lost father, one band’s past becomes another’s present, and Summer finds it harder and harder to be both band manager and girlfriend. She knows what the well-mannered Catherine side of her would do, but she also knows what her heart is telling her. Maybe it’s time to accept who she really is, even if it means becoming an exile herself. . . .

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Going into this, I was pretty much expecting a typical band book, but I had hopes it would be good.  I was pleasantly surprised with the direction in which Exile went.  I loved the twist with the mystery, although there was one moment where I seriously said, "Um...what?"  I had been expecting something entirely different, and I think that would've been a better direction to go.  However, I thought this book was a standalone and I almost think I would prefer that.  If the book had been just a bit longer, the plot that is started and will clearly continue in the sequel could definitely finish in this one.  Most of the characters were pretty enjoyable.  Summer and Caleb were nice - a bit typical, but I enjoyed them.  I actually think my favorite characters were Maya and Matt, but I definitely did not like Val.  And yay for supportive, involved adults, such as Summer's aunt and Caleb's uncle.
Romance stayed pretty clean, although there were certain things talked about.  Language had its foul moments.  There was definitely some underage drinking (although Summer and Caleb didn't participate), and discussion of drugs.

The Verdict: Definitely a read worth your time, especially for the mystery.  Looking forward to the sequel and hoping the plot will be wrapped up then.

March 21, 2014

Random Friday: Book Characters I'd Like to Have as BFFs

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following:
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my post.
  • Blog about this week's topic.
  • Add the link to your Random Friday at the bottom of this post.
So this is Sarah's last week hosting Random Fridays.  It's been lovely having you, and you've done a great job. :) Take it away, Sarah!
Thanks, Emma! It's had to believe this is my last week. I've had a lot of fun doing these.

This week's Random Fridays topic is Book Characters I'd Like to Have as BFFs
Lucy Pevensie
  1.  Lucy Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia). Lucy has always been one of my favorite Narnia characters, and I think she would be really fun to have as a friend. She's the kind of person who you never get tired of having around, and who can brighten your day just by showing up. Plus, I'd like to ask her about her adventures in Narnia, particularly in her reign as queen- the stories in the books can't possibly have been the only exciting things that happened in her life!
  2. Bonnie Silver (Dragons in Our Midst and its two sequel series). Bonnie is an absolutely inspiring character. Despite all the terrible things she's gone through (which includes losing her mom, spending half her life on the run, literally going through Hell (the place) and back, and much more), she never gives up, never loses hope, and never stops trusting God. She also never stops encouraging her friends to do the same.
    Bilbo Baggins
  3. Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit) or Samwise Gamgee (The Lord of the Rings). Any of the main five hobbits of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings would be amazing to have for a BFF. However, Bilbo and Sam would be my top choices. I have several things in common with both of them. All three of us share a love for home and comfort, as well as a desire for adventure or something out of the ordinary. Like Sam (and Bilbo too, though not as obviously), I love stories of far-off lands, and like Bilbo, I'm a writer (even if I write mostly fantasy and he writes poetry and an autobiography). Also, hobbits, Sam in particular, are incredibly loyal. They'll stick by you, no matter what happens.
  4. Samwise Gamgee
    Dame Imraldera (Tales of Goldstone Wood). In my post two weeks ago, I talked about Dame Imraldera and why I like her so much. I think she and I would get along famously, and it would be awesome to chat about books (and other topics) with her.
  5. Kale Allerion (The DragonKeeper Chronicles). When I was still young enough to have imaginary friends (though old enough to only acknowledge them when I was completely alone), Kale was my bestie. I still love her (as evidenced by the fact that she's on this list), and would love to have her for a friend.   
  6. Ben and Ned (Castaways of the Flying Dutchman). Ben is friendly, funny, and always ready for anything, and Ned, his dog, is one of my favorite canines in literature. The especially nice thing is that I already know his story, so he could hopefully be a little less secretive with me than he has to with others. The only problem is that I'd eventually have to say goodbye.
    Dame Imraldera
  7. Gwenne (The Door Within Trilogy). Gwenne is awesome. She's everything I wish I could be, with the exception that she's not a writer, and would be really cool to have for a friend.
Well, those are my book-character BFFs. Who are yours? Please tell me in the comments below, or make your own Random Fridays post! 
Thanks again to Emma for inviting me to guest-host these past three weeks. I've really enjoyed it, and I hope you all did too. Thanks for reading!

March 20, 2014

Hidden Covers

I loaned my copy of Insurgent to a couple friends recently, and I took off the dust jacket to keep it safe.  In doing so, I discovered what the cover underneath looks like (I'd never noticed before).  It's definitely cool, and it got me thinking about other books and what their dust jackets hide.  So I was on a mission to find all cool book bindings, whether they have a beautiful design stamped on them, their colors are pretty, or their spines look cool.  I examined my own shelves, stopped by my local bookstore, even looked a bit prior to Elizabeth Eulberg's event at The Book Stall, and spent over an hour at Barnes & Noble (and got several strange looks to boot).  Ready to see what I found?

The Pretty Colors

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone, Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt, and The Winner's Curse have such visually-appealing colors on their bindings.  And Time Between Us is slightly shimmery!

The Spines

The books included in this set are Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill, Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, and The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

The Stamped Designs

I had to include Divergent and Insurgent of course.  I liked that Allegiant had the stamped symbol, too, but the colors weren't as pretty for me.

Books featured here: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, Mind Games by Kiersten White, The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (which also has an awesome spine), The Elite by Kiera Cass (I can't wait to see what The One's binding looks like!), Unhinged by A.G. Howard, Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross, Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg, and Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith.

What do you think of the above pictures?  Do you know of any cool hidden covers?  If you do, tweet a picture to @emmasaska, and I'll retweet it!

March 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR List

I covered this topic a few weeks ago in a Random Friday post, but it's nice to do it again so I can list double the books.

1. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (4/15)

2. Deception's Princess by Esther Friesner (4/22)

3. The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

4. The Falconer by Elizabeth May

5. Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

6. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

7. Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

8. How to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark

9. The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

10. Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn