Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read

 It's Top Ten Tuesday time! I'm linking up over at The Broke and The Bookish. I am going to try to be better about doing these posts every week if I am able to. At least, I will really try to do them when I like the prompt for the week. This week is all about books that were hard for me to read. We had some ability to choose on this one; it could be books that were just actually difficult to read, cringeworthy, or because of subject matter. Personally, based on what I will have more of, I believe I am going to go with the Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me to Read due to Subject Matter. Here we go! 

1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - This book was difficult because I had an idea of what was going on, but I did not really want it to be true. As it got further into the book and things began to be revealed it became even more difficult to read, too.
2. Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican - This book is all about bullying going to a horrible level, and teachers not doing anything about it but making the whole thing worse. As a teacher, it was very difficult to read.
3. Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl - Another one about just how awful bullying can be. While this story was eye-opening and inspiration, it was also incredibly hard to get through because of everything Paige had to go through.

4. Dreamland by Sarah Dessen - Relationship abuse is a difficult thing to read about, no matter the story or ages of the characters. This one is another eye-opening one and I think it's important for teen girls to read, but it does not make it any easier.
5. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - This one is INCREDIBLY difficult to get through, despite being one of my favorite books. What the main character has to go through is awful, and it's even worse to think about just how many people have gone through the same sort of thing. It's heartbreaking.
6. Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell - I thought that this book was really good, but really difficult to read, especially towards the end (if you've read it, you know what I'm talking about). It was difficult to read about a young character who enjoys/thinks about killing so much.

7. My Story by Elizabeth Smart - If you know the story of Elizabeth Smart, then I am sure you know why this book is hard to get through. It even caused some nightmares, actually. Still, it was a wonderful read. Some people are so, so strong.
8. This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl - Another one that should be pretty self explanatory if you know what the book is about. It's hard to see someone so young lose the battle to cancer.
9. How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker - This one hit home because I am not very comfortable with my own body. It has changed quite a bit over the past year or so, and I'm trying to find a way to love myself as I am, but it has not been easy. This book is all about accepting yourself with how you are, and it's definitely something I struggle with myself.

10. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - While I love this book, and have even re-read it a couple of times at this point, it's not easy for me to read. I am a very emotional person, and so this book gets to me pretty good no matter how many times I read it. While I love it, it's still hard for me to get through it (I certainly can't do it without crying!).

What books were hard for you to read?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cover Concepts: September 28 - October 4

Happy Monday! Welcome to the feature Cover Concepts on my blog. Every Monday I am going to create a post with all of the young adult book covers that are releasing within the week. I will then tell you all what I think about the covers; If I love them, or if I think that they could be better. At the end of the post, I will give you all a chance to vote on your favorite cover of the week. As I pick a lot of my reads based on their covers, this seemed like the perfect feature for me to begin on the blog. Feel free to leave comments with your opinions of the covers as well, and we can discuss them! :] 

Oh my goodness, September has been CRAZY for YA releases. I have talked about tons of the covers here, but it seems like I have even missed some just by what I have seen on Facebook and Instagram over the month. This week is no different, there are still a ton of books! Once again, I won't be doing a poll because of this, but I will be adding these back in starting next week, so be on the lookout for that! 

1. The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond - September 30
Thoughts: Let me begin by saying, I had not heard of this book before, but the synopsis sounds absolutely awesome after reading it on Goodreads. You should all go check it out. I am not impressed with the cover, though. Based on the synopsis, this cover does not even make much sense to me as I feel things would be sooo much different. I see what they're getting at with it, but I just expected something different for this one.

2. Famous Last Words by Katie Alender - September 30
Thoughts: Well, that's pretty creepy...I don't really get why the bed is floating on water, though, that's definitely weird. I do like how it looks a lot like a movie poster, as it is about Hollywood. I am sure that was intentional, and I do think that it is clever. I like the font, and I even find the tagline to be kind of amusing. I would say this is pretty good, even if it freaks me out a bit...

3. Love Is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson - September 30
Thoughts: Well, I am not incredibly impressed by this cover. I mean, the cover is nice, and I do like the font...but that's about it. It just seems far too simple and boring, and it does not tell me anything about the actual book. Sure, sometimes taglines are awful, but it would be nice to have ANYTHING here to clue the reader into what the book is about.

4. Dead Zone by Robison Wells - September 30
Blackout #2
Thoughts: Two good things; 1. the cover matches that of the first book in the series. 2. It's noted that this is the sequel to Blackout. I hate going to the bookstore and wanting to read a series, but being unable to tell which book comes first. They have fixed that problem here. While this cover is a bit simple, I do think that the colors work well, and I do like how it's coming apart instead of being all one color. It has some interest to it, at least.

5. Winterspell by Claire Legrand - September 30
Winterspell #1
Thoughts: I have seen this over EVERYWHERE. Everyone has been talking about it since the cover was revealed, and I can definitely tell why. Usually I do not like cover models (as I am sure all of you know by now), but I do feel like this one was done well. Sure, it's still not my favorite cover ever, but I think that it's very well done. The colors are beautiful, so I can accept the model this time.

6. Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott - September 30
True Love #2
Thoughts: I am completely confused by this cover, honestly. In fact, I am confused by the covers of the whole series (apparently book three's cover has already been revealed, too). I think that the background could be amazing, if they did not throw the people on it like that. It's clear that they don't fit in with it, and they look so awkward and random. I'm not a fan at all.

7. Unmarked by Kami Garcia - September 30 
The Legion #2
Thoughts: I am not sure how I feel about this cover, actually. Again, I do like that it gives the name of the overall series and what number the book is in that series. I do like the "U" and how it follows along with the first book. I am not a fan of the face, though. It just looks so strange with the letter so big over it, especially since you can only see one eye. I have seen worse covers, but I don't love it, either.

8. Party Games by R.L. Stine - September 30
Fear Street Series
Thoughts: I am SO excited to see another R.L. Stine book. While I do not always do well with scary, I do love the way that he writes. I think that this cover is awesome. It does look pretty creepy, especially with the person standing in the doorway. I especially like that you can't see said person's face. This cover makes me want to read the book, and that's what it's all about.

9. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer - September 30
Thoughts: This is another cover that I have seen all over the place. At first I did not understand the randomness of it, but that is because I had never actually read the synopsis. The character is at boarding school, and it looks like she has set some of her things out to pack, or perhaps unpack in her new dorm room. When looking at it that way it makes sense, and it has me intrigued since it's not a typical "boarding school" cover.

10. Schizo by Nic Sheff - September 30
Thoughts: I am SO impressed by this cover. It is one of the best I have seen in a long time, if I am being honest. Yes, I know that I usually don't like the cover model thing, but this is done so incredibly well that I am perfectly okay with it. This cover alone makes me want to pick up the book and read it ASAP.

11. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley - September 30
Thoughts: I have been a fan of this cover since I first saw it released. I guess a lot of it has to do with me really liking the synopsis as well, but oh well. I have this from Netgalley to read and review, but I do know that I will be buying a physical copy as well because this cover is so well done. I mean, it looks like a yearbook, which is perfect for the book.

12. Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond - October 1
Thoughts: I LOVE illustrated covers, as you all probably know by now, so I am a huge fan of this cover. I think that the hands are a little creepy, and I assume that they are probably supposed to be that way. They're either there to catch the girl when she falls, or they seem like they might be controlling her. It could go either way, and I'm good with either, I just need this cover in my hands!

Poll: There we have it, those are the majority of the young adult books releasing this week. Which cover is your favorite of the week? Seeing as there are SO many books this week, I'm not going to create the poll as usual. Instead, simply leave a comment telling me your favorite cover this week and we can discuss them! :] 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

I Have Returned!

Did you miss me? My husband and I had a wonderful time celebrating our second wedding anniversary at Universal Studios, seeing the Harry Potter parks and everything else they had to offer. It was so nice to get away, and I think it was a much needed vacation for both of us. It was sooo much fun! I will probably share information about our trip on my personal blog, and when I do so I will also share the link here in a post.

That being said, I found that I really did miss blogging. I had been pretty bad about it as of late, and it was not until I went so many days in a row without writing that I realized that I really, really miss it right now. I HAVE to find more time to write more blog content, comment you awesome bloggers, and keep up-to-date with my blog-related social media. Along with that, soon I should be working with Imagination Designs to begin the new design for the blog! WOO! 

So, for now I will leave you with a question. How do you guys use social media to help promote your blog? Thanks in advance for any advice!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Hey all! I just wanted to apologize in advance for the lack of content you are going to see this week. At this very moment, my husband and I are about to head to the airport to spend a few days in Florida for our anniversary. We will be back sometime Sunday evening, and I really probably post something then. :] Have a great week everyone!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cover Concepts: September 21 - 27

Happy Monday! Welcome to the feature Cover Concepts on my blog. Every Monday I am going to create a post with all of the young adult book covers that are releasing within the week. I will then tell you all what I think about the covers; If I love them, or if I think that they could be better. At the end of the post, I will give you all a chance to vote on your favorite cover of the week. As I pick a lot of my reads based on their covers, this seemed like the perfect feature for me to begin on the blog. Feel free to leave comments with your opinions of the covers as well, and we can discuss them! :] 

Would you look at that, I'm actually posting at a normal time this week! I had time this weekend, so I made myself sit down and get all my posts for this weeks typed up and scheduled so I did not have to worry about it, especially since I will be out of town most of this week (YAY!). Once again, there are A LOT of new YA releases this week, apparently September just exploded with YA books. Because of this, there will not be a poll at the end of this post...and a lot of us are probably broke at the moment. Let's chat about what books you've picked up this month, and which ones on this list you might buy! 

1. The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts - September 23
The Bodies We Wear #1
Thoughts: The title of this book makes me a bit nervous about what might happen in this book; which is probably funny. I just get a little uneasy when I think something might be too scary for me! I do like this cover, though. I like that they were able to use a cover model without it being completely obnoxious. The font is cool, and I'm okay with the rain stuff as well.

2. Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh - September 23
Guardians of Tarnec #1
Thoughts: Wow, this cover is BEAUTIFUL! It was difficult to see the detail when it was so small on Goodreads, but it looks amazing bigger like this. The branches look awesome, and I just like how the whole thing was drawn out.

3. On a Clear Day by Walter Dean Myers - September 23
Thoughts: I am surprised that this book is actually a dystopian based on this cover - I only know this is the case thanks to Goodreads. This cover looks more like a set of high school students who are going out for Student Council, honestly. I don't like how their faces are oddly colored or covered by the font. It's just not good.

4. Skink - No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen - September 23
Skink #7
Thoughts: Well, it definitely matches the other covers in the serious. They're all mainly one solid color with a simple picture and big font. I don't think that there is anything wrong with it, though it is a little bit boring as well. It's average, I would say.

5. Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan - September 23
The Lynburn Legacy #3
Thoughts: Once again, it definitely matches the previous covers in the series. I feel like it's very similar to a lot of covers that we have already seen, though. With the trees and stuff around the edges, and just the silhouette of the girl. I think that the title font is pretty, but aside from that I'm not too impressed. It's definitely not my favorite color for a book cover, either.

6. Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant - September 23
Messenger of Fear #1
Thoughts: I am thrilled to see that Michael Grant is starting a new series. I have yet to read anything in the Gone series, but I do have the first book. I do think that this cover is nice, though. I mean, it is not especially breath taking or anything, but I do think that it's nice enough. I like the color and the flames, and even the font is nice.

7. In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis - September 23
Not a Drop to Drink #2
Thoughts: I think that most of us can agree that the covers in this series are pretty great. I think that the font is awesome, and I can't decide which cover I like more between the two. I really, really want to read this series as soon as I can.

8. Remember Me by Romily Bernard - September 23
Find Me #2
Thoughts: I actually like this cover better than the first book in the series. With the first one, it's a picture straight on of the girl's face, and it creeps me out quite a bit. In this one, her hair is at least covering her face some. I do like how the title is repeated over and over to make up the majority of the cover. Overall, I think that it is a nice concept.

9. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld - September 23
Thoughts: I am SO excited that Scott Westerfeld is starting a new series as well! I do like this cover, even though it is pretty simple. I do like it much better than the covers of the Uglies series. I am also pretty intrigued by the tagline of this one.

10. Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper - September 23
Thoughts: I have loved this cover since I first saw it pop up as ARCS. I think that the cover color is absolutely amazing, and I like the rope as well. I like that it creates a heart in one place, and then is being frayed apart in another. That has to have some symbolism, yes?

11. Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin - September 23
Thoughts: Yuck. I am not a fan of eyes being on covers. It's one think if the eye is closed (thinking the Shatter Me series), but it really creeps me out when their eyes are open like this. Sure, the color is really pretty, and they would be awesome eyes to see in person, but I don't need it huge like this on a book.

12. Firebug by Lish McBride - September 23
Firebug #1
Thoughts: "Setting things right one fire at a time." Hmm, that might be a little too obvious based on the cover picture. I know it's supposed to be clever, but I'm not digging it. The cover picture is actually pretty cool, though. I like the ring on the thumb, and that obviously a character can control fire or something.

Poll: There we have it, those are the majority of the young adult books releasing this week. Which cover is your favorite of the week? Seeing as there are SO many books this week, I'm not going to create the poll as usual. Instead, simply leave a comment telling me your favorite cover this week and we can discuss them! :]

Sunday, September 21, 2014

One Lovely Blog Award

I am extremely excited to share with you all that I have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Brin from Brin's Book Blog. Honestly, I had not even heard of this aware until I received the comment from her about it, but I was super grateful just to know that I was being nominated for anything. It is such a huge deal for me to know that people enjoy reading my blog, and that they come back several times to keep reading what I post. I have been following Brin's blog since I started this blog over seven months ago, so it really means a lot that the award is coming form her! You should all check out her blog and follow along as well. :]

The rules for this nomination are:

  1. You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. You must list the rules and display the award.
  3. You must add 7 facts about yourself.
  4. You must nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

7 Facts about me:

  1. I really love to travel and see new places, but I absolutely HATE being on airplanes.
  2. I am not a huge fan of the outdoors. Sure, I like it when it gets to be fall/winter and the weather is nice, but I cannot stand all of the bugs that come with being outside..
  3. I frequently wish that I was back in college. Not that I don't love my job, but I really love learning. I wish I could get paid the same amount to just sit in class all the time. I would love that.
  4. My mom is my best friend, and has been for as far back as I remember. It is a bit difficult at times now that I live an hour away, but we still make plenty of time to hang out together and go shopping.
  5. I am already wishing that it was time for Christmas. Not even Christmas day, though. More like, Thanksgiving and the day after - I love when it's time to put out the Christmas tree and decorate. Our house looks like it threw up Christmas, and I love it.
  6. I am really struggling with staying as organized as I would like to at work this year. I teach six classes and only have one off period, and it's not enough time to get things how I like them. It's starting to drive me crazy!
  7. My husband and I are both huge HP fans. We named our dog Sirius, and we're about to head to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios for our anniversary. I can't wait!

Here are the lovely blogs I am nominating:

  1. Jessica @ A GREAT Read
  2. Sarah @ Words With Sarah
  3. April @ Good Books & Good Wine
  4. Andye @ Reading Teen
  5. Jennifer @ Hello Jenny Reviews
  6. Becca @ Pivot Book Reviews
  7. Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections
  8. Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings
  9. Veronika @ Reading is Dreaming with Open Eyes
  10. Jen @ Fefferbooks
  11. Amber @ Casual Readers
  12. Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner
  13. Michelle & Brittany @ The Passionate Bookworms
  14. Octavia and Shelly @ Read.Sleep.Repeat
  15. Chrissi @ Chrissi Reads
Of course, none of you are under any obligation to accept and post this award, but I did want you all to know how much I love your blogs, and how much I enjoy sitting down and reading them almost daily! 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Review: Played by Liz Fichera

by Liz Fichera 

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 2014
Page Count: 352
Format: E-Book
Source: Netgalley (thank you!)

Goodreads Synopsis:   
This Game Is Getting All Too Real

He said: I like to keep under the radar and mostly hang out with my friends from the rez. But when I saved Riley Berenger from falling off a mountain, that rich suburban princess decided to try to save me.

She said: If I can help Sam Tracy win the heart of the girl he can't get over, I'll pay him back for helping me. I promised him I would, no matter what it takes.


Review: When I began reading this book, I did not realize that it is actually the second book in a series. However, when I went back and started doing some research to make sure I did not really need to read the first book before I continued, I realized it is more of a companion novel than a sequel. Yes, some of the secondary characters are obviously from the first book, which means yes I probably missed out on some details and important things because I didn't read the first book, but I felt like this book stood on its own perfectly. I understood the main concepts and knew what I needed to about the main characters, and that is what mattered to me. 

I really, really wanted to love this book since I am such a big fan of contemporary, but it did not do a whole lot for me. I had been in a bit of a reading slump, but had managed to get out of it a couple of books before that one. Honestly, I think that is the only thing that got me through this book. Had I still been in that slump, I would have given up the book pretty quickly in because the beginning of the book did not do too much for me. 

I really disliked the main character, Riley, in the beginning of this book. She seemed incredibly naive and set on doing things for no reason at all, something that tends to irritate me about characters. Sure, I know realistically people make bad choices, but these were just so random and pointless that they were not realistic, they were just annoying. At the beginning, I honestly did not care what happened to her in the story, and I know that's probably awful! Still, Sam definitely had me wanting to continue reading. While I couldn't stand Riley, I did love Sam. He was so sweet and nice, and I really wanted him to  get a happy ending. 

I do have to say, I like how the characters are first put together - they are partners on a scavenger hunt where they get stuck in the forest for the night and Sam helps Riley survive. She then promises to repay him by helping him get the girl he has a crush on (we all saw where this was going, right?). Of course, this would mean breaking up her brother and his girlfriend, which just seemed plain wrong. I was shocked that she was so okay with doing something that was so horrible, but I guess that had to happen for plot.

While I was not thrilled with the beginning of the book, I do have to say that it improved for me throughout, especially towards the very end of the book. As feelings began to develop between the main characters, I was more invested in the story. I thought that they had good chemistry, and I certainly thought that Riley grew up throughout the book, something that she desperately needed to do based on how she was at the beginning. She became much more bearable for me, and suddenly I was very happy that she and Sam were working out. 

This was a cute, light read if you're a fan of fluffy, young adult contemporaries. It did not make me feel a lot of emotions, but I did enjoy it for the most part, especially as the story went on. I did like what we received of the secondary characters as well, so I may even go back and give the first book in the series a shot.

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blogger Spotlight: Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections

Hello everyone! Welcome back to another Blogger Spotlight. Please say a big hello to Inge from Bookshelf Reflections! Once again, I have asked her some questions, and I am going to share her answers so that we can all get to know her better! Make sure to also go by her blog and leave a comment saying hello.

Q1: Tell us about yourself; nicknames, occupation, pets, family, etc.

Hi! My name is Inge, I am 22 years old, and I am a Dutch resident of Belgium with a passion for English. At the end of September, I am going back to Uni to continue my course for Dutch and English, and I'm starting German. It's a decent education for translators, interpreters, writers, journalists, teachers.. anything really. I'd love to join the literary world later on.

I still live at home with my parents, an older brother, a really old golden retriever and an even older cat. It's a nice, quiet place and I enjoy living here for now.
Q2: How long have you been blogging? 
A: When this interview goes up, I'll have been blogging for three months! I started mid-June 2014 and I'm really enjoying it.
Q3: How did you decide on your blog name?
A: Heh, I didn't. My co-blogger Karolina is the one who created the blog, and she asked me to co-blog after a couple months. I had only been blogging for 10 days so I was pretty flattered. I like the name Bookshelf Reflections though!
Q4: What is your favorite type of post? 
A: I've been reviewing on Goodreads for the past three years and I really enjoy that. You can go all ways with a review!
Q5: What three books would you recommend to everyone? 
A: Hmm, this is a tough one. Can I recommend a series? Because I have to mention Harry Potter. I would also recommend A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess, which is the best chicklit I have ever read. I'd also add a Brandon Sanderson book - he always blows me away!
Q6: What author are you dying to meet? 
A: Until recently, I would've replied "L.J. Smith" in a heartbeat, but now I'm not so sure. I think I'll be a total cliché again and pick J.K. Rowling.
Q7: Which Hogwarts house would you be in? (OR Divergent faction)?
A: Hogwarts house - Ravenclaw. No doubt. As for Divergent, I think I'd be Amity!
Q8: Favorite Quote? 
A: I really like this one: "You grow up the day you have your first real laugh -- at yourself." I try not to take life too seriously.
Tell us ten random facts about yourself: 
1. I'd love to live in an Anglophone country when I'm older.

2. I am Dutch and I live in Belgium, but I only read English books. I just prefer reading the original text, and I find reading in Dutch to be awkward.

3. My favourite TV show of all time is That '70s Show.

4. My current favourite is BBC's Sherlock. I am also a fervent Cumberbitch and Hiddlestoner.

5. I know I shouldn't be saying this out loud, but... my favourite band is Nickelback. Don't judge me, okay?

6. I actually wrote my first book during Camp NaNoWriMo this July! It's called The Switcheroo and it's about a boy and a girl who switch bodies. When this blog post goes up, I'm pitching it to agents, so wish me luck! :o)

7. I've been at home since February. Quite literally - I haven't left the house a lot, haven't seen any of my friends. The reason for that is because I have daily intestinal cramps, and I've had them for the past 9 years. Doctors have turned me inside out on several occasions, but they can't find anything. In January they got even worse for no reason whatsoever, and something snapped, I guess. I now have a nice, full-blown anxiety disorder. Not sure how I'm going to go to school like this, but we'll see.

8. Because of reason 7, my favourite genre to read is fantasy. Because it allows me to escape, to experience worlds without limitations, because literally anything and everything is possible.

9. I also read a lot of YA and chicklit. You get bonus points if you incorporate humour in your stories. I love a good laugh!

10. I met Steve-O from Jackass. He was pretty bloody. You can take that quite literally.
Doesn't Inge sound wonderful? Thanks again for being a part of Blogger Spotlight, Inge! I had so much fun getting to know more about you. Remember to stop by her blog and show her some love! Also, if you would like to be showcased on a future Blogger Spotlight, please contact me. 

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