Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What's In the Snow? Scavenger Hunt Event Wrap Up!


Hi everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I know, I know. We're long past that now. Sorry. But anyway! This wonderful event has sadly come to an end, at least for this year.

We had wonderful posts about holiday traditions, awesome winter-y books and food and crafts, and some fun stories. We had a bunch of really cool authors involved, and several bloggers got to feature authors, interview them, and ask them some seasonal questions (some of which were really creative!). I really hope you can find time to stop by each blogger's post at some point if you haven't. Everyone involved has been so great, and they all deserve a huge round of applause for all of their hard work and especially for their patience. (The schedule with updated links is below.)

We also had some really cool prizes up for grabs. Some winners have been notified (I promise I'll forward your information to the proper people ASAP), BUT there are still a bunch of giveaways going on! I'll embed the Rafflecopters below, so don't miss out!

And before we part, I just want to give a huge shout-out to four people/groups of people for making this the event that it is!

1) Bloggers--This event literally would not exist without your support, willingness to help, patience, dedication, and passion. This event has helped me meet so many wonderful bloggers, and it's been lovely to work with all of you. I look up to many of your blogs, and I wish you and your blogs continued success. If Cal and I put this together again next year, I sure hope you'll at least think about participating. Thank you!

2) Authors--Thank you for your kindness, patience, help and time. Before this event, I was always a little bit scared of emailing and talking to authors, but now I realize just how kind everyone is, whether they were participating or not. Thank you for making this event even better, and thank you for donating so many awesome prizes. It was so fun to read all the interviews and posts you were involved with. I hope that some of us can work together again next time/some other time!

3) Donors--You guys rock my socks. Thank you for donating a prize, no matter how large or small. Cal and I truly appreciate it.

4) Last but definitely not least, Cal--I am so glad that this event brought us together. I now have a new awesome friend. It's been so great to work with you on this little project of ours. Thank you for always being so patient with me, and thank you for handling things when I couldn't. This event would have been no where as big or awesome as it turned out to be if it weren't for you. Thanks for spreading the word and getting all of your blogging friends involved. Thank you for tolerating my email spam and forwarding messages. Thank you for just being such an amazing co-host and above all, friend. I really hope we can either do this next year or work on something similar sometime. Much love!

Now, without further ado, here's all the supplementary stuff!


15th--Read Books and Live Green; Reviews Abound (Intro Posts ONLY)
29th--In Italics

15th--Reviews Abound; Read Books and Live Green (Wrap Up Posts ONLY)


Must be 13+ or have parent permission
Winners have 48 hours to respond to email or another winner will be chosen
Prizes are distributed on a first come, first serve basis
Mail items are US ONLY; eBooks are INT

Note: There may also be some giveaways still running on certain blogs that Cal and I did not set up.

Again, thank you to everyone: participants, bloggers, authors, and Cal!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Beginnings

Hey-o! Firstly, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope 2014 is better for you than 2013 was, and I hope your holidays were lovely. :)

But moving right along, I have so BIG news. It's pretty exciting, really, even though most of you probably already know it.

I am moving have moved to another blog URL/another blog.

Yup, that's right! My motto thus far has been, "New Year, New Blog." It's quite exciting, as I mentioned. I'm doing this for a couple of reasons, despite how hard it sort of makes my (blogging) life. ;) All in all, I wanted a fresh new start, and I'm able to get that now. It's been a lot of work, but I'm really happy with it. If you go, you'll see that it looks fairly similar to this blog now, but I'm telling you, there will be differences. 

I think this is the right decision for me, and I just want to thank you all for sticking with me. My 6 month blogoversary is coming up soon, but I'm celebrating it there. The last post here will likely be the wrap up post for the What's In The Snow? event.

If you have any questions, concerns, thoughts, suggestions, etc, please comment below and let me know!

Before I go, don't think I forgot to announce the new blog name/URL.

My new blog name is: Fly to Fiction

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What's in the Snow? Event Stop!

Hey everyone! So today is my stop of the What's in the Snow? event, and I'm so excited! But first, I do have to direct you to both my introduction page, as well as Cal's. On mine, you will also find the Rafflecopter for the 2nd BIG GIVEAWAY, with prizes ranging from a giftcard to a book to dinner with one of our featured authors! Thanks for checking out our event! (And sorry I'm posting this a tad later than I'd meant to.)

So! Let's talk about my holiday traditions. This ranges from Advent to Chinese New Year!

1. Advent

This is like the semi-holiday that nobody celebrates. If you don't know already, I'm Roman Catholic. Not devoutly so, but I'm pretty firm in my beliefs (which are very liberal--ask if you must; don't assume, please). That being said, while I don't really celebrate Advent in any special way, I wish I COULD, so this is what that would entail.

When most people think of Advent, they only think about Advent calendars. I mean, hey, they're cool, but that's not what Advent is all about. For those of you that don't know, Advent celebrates the weeks leading up to Christmas, spanning 4 Sundays. There's an Advent wreath with four candles, 3 purple and 1 pink. One candle is lit each Sunday (similar to the lighting of the menorah, but over a longer time span), with the pink one being lit the 3rd week.

 I won't go into the whole idea of Advent or how the readings work, but it's a celebrate nonetheless. If it were up to me, I'd have some form of an Advent wreath.

2. Christmas Eve/Christmas Day

Again, if it were up to me, I'd celebrate Christmas a little bit differently from how I actually do. But here's how I actually celebrate it.

First, of course, there's the tree. I don't have a picture of my tree from this year, so instead here's a picture of the tree at Rockefeller Center.

My family and I usually go into the city (NYC) and walk around 1) Times Square 2) Rockefeller Center 3) Radio City Music Hall, but this year I wasn't able to.

I also have a small nativity set put up under the tree, as well as stockings (one for me, one for my sister) set up on a cabinet in our house.

And every year, we spend one of the days at my godmother's house, where she cooks awesome Brazilian dishes and awesome desserts, and where we listen to nice Christmas music, laugh, talk, and have an overall good time. On the other day, we go to my sister's godparents house. Again, a nice big dinner and some nice Christmas music. This also means that we open gifts before Christmas (usually the 23rd, but it depends), with the exception of our gifts from Santa. ;)

3. New Year's Eve

First, let me clear this up. My school sucks and as long as January 2nd is a week day, we almost always start school again that day, which is why I'm not including New Year's Day in this (it usually involves doing homework last minute).

Being a New Yorker, I, of course, watch the ball drop every year. At home though, not in Times Square, although I do hope to do that once in my life! I usually watch the performances, switching between NBC, ABC, and CNN (mostly those channels). And of course, I count down, starting at 60, not just at 10 or 20. And then I drink a bit of sparkling apple cider! My favorite part is always seeing the other celebrations around the world after the one in New York. It's quite amazing, and it's always funny to know that some countries have been in the new year for over half a day while the rest of us in the US/Canada/parts of South America and the Caribbean wait to ring in the new year.

4. Chinese New Year

Now, this is the tough one for various reasons. Mostly that it varies every year, and that people celebrate Chinese New Year differently.

The main similarity between just about everyone that celebrates Chinese New Year is the giving (or receiving) of red envelopes.

Then there's all those Chinese superstitions. *mega sigh* These are just a few of them. (Sorry if they're wrong. I'm going off the top of my head, and I may be mixing things up.)
1. Can't wash your hair on the first day (it lasts for days, not just one day like in Western cultures)
2. Eat oranges and fish and noodles (don't cut them though!)
3. Wear new clothes!
4. Parents can't scold children.
5. If you cry on New Year's, you'll have a very bad year.
6. Clean BEFORE the New Year, not the day of.
7. When cleaning, you have to sweep a certain way (I want to say one way, but I'm not positive so)
8. Hang the character FU upside down.
9. Red. Just lots of red.
10. There are rules about which side of the family you eat with and when and a bunch of things you do on specific days in the New Year (I don't know because I don't have family here to do that with).

SO! That's a quick run-down of what I typically do for all these winter holidays! (Okay, the Chinese New Year one was a little lame because I don't do THAT much for it, so.) I hope it's an interesting post, especially since there's such a mix of culture.

Now, I'm sure you're looking for that pesky little clue so here you go:
Clue #14: A bird that can't fly and lives in a winter-y environment.

(Rules are listed in the Terms and Conditions on the Rafflecopter)

Thanks again to everyone that's taken part in this event! Don't forget to keep

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Month/Year In Review: December 2013

I can't believe it's already the end of December! This is going to be quite a long post. First, I'm going to try to pick my top thirteen books of the year (not in order because no). Then I'll have my regular AMiR highlights. Then who knows?

Top Thirteen Books I Read in 2013
(In no particular order)

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Amazing characters, world building, suspense, plot, everything.
Made me remember how much I love epic fantasy and how little of the genre I've read recently.

2. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
This book just understood.
Mostly character driven and would mostly be enjoyed by those who've felt similarly.

3. Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Amazing prose, lovely characters, intriguing concept.
Also one of the most physically beautiful books ever.

4. Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Interesting, new concept. Well-written characters. Really enjoyed it.
It was a can't-stand-the-wait-for-book-2 type book.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Perfect for all fangirls/boys, especially Potterheads.
Well-written, relate-able, one of my top reads ever. 

6. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Reminded me of how much I love historical fiction.
Amazing characters, great character-driven plot, well-written historical fiction.
One of my top reads ever.

7. Once We Were by Kat Zhang
Amazing prose, unique concept, well-written characters.
Left me needing book 3.

8. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Lots of action. Great characters. One of my favorite heroines.
Zombies! Daniel! <3 Couldn't wait for book 2.

9. You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert
Character driven. Not YA. Well written. Invested in characters.
Made me cry and laugh. Makes you want to hug your best friend.

10. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Love the concept. Love the setting.
Intriguing characters. Great plot. Lovely book, inside and out.

11. Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
(This doesn't come out until next year, but I just finished reading it.)
Fast paced. Amazing main AND supporting characters. 
Everything The Hunger Games wasn't (and more).
Also, Pandoras!

12. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Cute. Quick read. Great for holidays.

13. Prodigy by Marie Lu
Much better than Legend.
Intense. Action packed. Plot twists. Well-written plot and characters.

Honorable Mention: 
Sekret by Lindsay Smith (ARC), Altered by Gennifer Albin, What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Top Five Movies/TV Shows I Watched in 2013
(In no particular order)

1. Orphan Black (BBC America)
Fast paced. Intriguing. Clones.
Fantastic and extremely talented cast.

2. Frozen
Cute. Inspirational. Amazing soundtrack.
Unexpected ending. Exceeded expectations.

3. Graceland (USA Network)
(I am admittedly a few episodes behind.)
Great cast. Interesting characters.
Great mix of talents, agencies, and plots.

4. Catching Fire
Better than the books (I'm not a fan of THG books as a whole).
Well done. For the most part, outstanding cast.
Cinna! Johanna! Finnick! Haymitch! 'Nuf said.

5. Fringe (Fox)
Amazing series finale. Sad that it's over.
Fantastic well-rounded, diverse cast and characters.

Honorable Mentions:
NCIS:LA, Psych: The Musical and Psych's 100th episode, Elementary

5 Blog Related Things
1) Cal and I kicked off the What's In the Snow? event!
2) I reviewed a picture book for the first time ever
3) I'm almost done with the new blog. Just a few things I need to fix/edit/add before the new year.
4) I got back into the blogging spirit
5) Preparing to wrap up my time at this URL

5 Personal Things
1) Caught up on some shows; started watching some other shows
2) Started practicing typography (send me quotes if you'd like!)
3) Started planning a huge fundraising project
4) Got more bruises from dance than I could ever care for
5) I kind of can't remember much, but my aunt visited!

I suppose that's it for now. I hope you all had a wonderful month and year! Happy Holidays! The next time I post, it'll be about my move to a new blog URL! Make sure you stop by and check it out. (Actually, I'll have to post my What's In the Snow? post, so after that post!)

Monday, December 30, 2013


Hey guys! As you can see, I haven't been posting lately. This is for a couple of reasons, mainly that I'm moving over to a new URL soon. I don't want to have to repost anything extra, which is why I'm not posting the reviews I have drafted. Those will go up, along with all the reviews that are already on here, once I switch over. I have yet to make a big announcement about the switch, but don't worry. It's coming. ;)

Anyway, thanks for being patient as I get ready to switch. I hope you all understand. I'm really excited for you guys to see my new blog, and I'm happy to start over on a clean slate, learning from what I've done here. I never intended for this URL to become permanent, so I'm glad to have finally figured something out that I like and that fits my blog a lot more.

That being said, please continue to check out the What's In the Snow? event. I KNOW I haven't been tweeting about it lately but PLEASE check it out (just click on the picture in the sidebar). The second big giveaway has started, so if you're interested, check it out. I hope to get back on track with tweeting about it, but I've been so busy. My apologies!

I love you all!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tour: Godsland Series by Brian Rathbone (Top Ten)

Welcome to my stop on the Godsland series blog tour!  This is a YA epic/high fantasy adventure series by Brian Rathbone.  The tour consists of reviews of all of the books and the audiobook, as well as guest posts, interviews and more. Be sure to check out the tour page with all the tour information and additional tour stops.
The books in the Godsland series:
Call of the Herald (Book One) - FREE
Inherited Danger (Book Two)- FREE
Dragon Ore (Book Three)
You can also find it in one bind up called The Dawning of Power Trilogy Omnibus.

Find the full list of titles and links at As this is only the first trilogy in the World of Godsland series.

Top Ten Favorite Literary Characters

1. Tasslehoff Burrfoot - This lovable kender is my vote for most memorable character or all time.
2. Will Ohmsford - Of all Terry Brooks characters, I related most with Wil Ohmsford.
3. Fizban - The alter ego of the god Paladine, this Dragonlance character is the reason my wizard carving has a white feather attached to the top.
4. Thomas Covenant - Donaldson made us hate Covenant for who he is and what he does, and then he makes us forgive. My wedding band is of white gold--just in case.
5. Sioned - It's been many years since I read The Dragon Prince, but the name Sioned always bring back find memories.
6. Fitzchivalry - Robin Hobb's assassin partly inspired my saying: a broken hero is still a hero.
7. Arthur Dent - 42
8. Belgarath - Awnry old devil.
9. Mat Cauthon - I can't roll dice without thinking of him.
10. Tyrion Lannister - For doing things I probably shouldn't talk about since the TV show isn't there yet...

Godsland Book One - Call of the Herald
243 pages 

Echoes of the ancients' power are distant memories, tattered and faded by the passage of eons, but that is about to change. A new dawn has arrived. Latent abilities, harbored in mankind's deepest fibers, wait to be unleashed. Ancient evils awaken, and old fears ignite the fires of war. When a Catrin Volker, a teenage horse trainer, inadvertently fulfills the prophecy of the destroyer, she becomes the most feared and hunted person on all of Godsland. With the help of her friends, she must convince the world that she wants only peace.

Godsland Book Two - Inherited Danger 
276 pages

Leaving her homeland behind, Catrin Volker goes in search of knowledge and peace, unaware that she will face the greatest evil her world has ever known.


Godsland Book Three- Dragon Ore
268 pages

Dragon Ore is the exciting conclusion of The Dawning of Power trilogy. Clinging to life, Catrin Volker struggles to regain her strength as her foes go in search of even greater power. Ancient enemies threaten and forgotten alliances emerge.

Brian Rathbone started out as a professional racehorse trainer, but he later transformed himself into a network engineer, programmer, and, more recently, rural broadband specialist. One thing that never changed was Brian's love of reading fantasy fiction. For years he would think of story lines for his own stories as a way to keep from dreaming about writing code. When the time came that Brian could concentrate on writing, The World of Godsland became real.

Author Sites:
WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | GoodReads | Trailer | Free Web Game Feral Dragons | Free Web Game Grumpy Dragons

Books can be found at: GoodReads | Amazon 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Review: Catching Fire Movie

Before I start this review, I have to admit that I am not a Hunger Games fan at all. I never liked Katniss and still don't. There were certainly some aspects of the book that I liked, but it wasn't enough for me to a) finish Mockingjay and b) like the series (which is also evident from my ratings on Goodreads). However, Catching Fire was my favorite book of the two that I read, so I was a little bit more excited about this movie. I also have to say that this series is one of the rare instances where I think the movies are better than the books. But without further ado, my review.

I think the most important aspect to hit upon first is the characters/acting. I've been feeling very conflicted on this because the movie has changed some of my thoughts on the characters from when I read the book. But I'm going to break this down in some of the different characters. I suppose I should talk about Katniss first. Like I said above, I never liked Katniss. The movies have not changed that, and I'm not sorry to admit that. I certainly think Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress, but I've been wondering how much I've been enjoying her performance. In some ways, I was first thinking that this (and The Hunger Games) was one of her weaker performances on screen. But before you yell at me, let me explain. I saw Katniss to be very emotionless in the first half-ish part of the movie. I know a lot of you will argue with me about that, but that's how I saw it. Later on, I do think it got better, but there was still something that irked me. Jennifer Lawrence's performance didn't honestly help me at all. I still feel the same way about Katniss, and if anything, the movie reinforces how much I really don't like Katniss. I get why a lot of other people do like her, but I think the bad parts I see far outweigh the good that they see. And that's when I realized that maybe that made Jennifer Lawrence a good actress who has done a great job representing Katniss. What I mean is that for those who like/love Katniss, the movies have reinforced that, but for me, among the minority, it just reminds me of everything I don't like about Katniss. Lawrence's performance is good in that I guess she has done a great job playing who Katniss really is, for better or for worse.

Next, there's Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. Let's start with Hemsworth first. I Sorry. Unlike many, I didn't mind Gale in the books (maybe because I never read past ~5 chapters of Mockingjay). But I don't think Hemsworth has captured the character's essence. Maybe part of it is the writing, but I think a large part of it is that he really seems unemotional, and that doesn't fit him, at least from how I interpreted Gale from the books. His performance has really made me dislike Gale. Who knows, maybe that's the point. Josh Hutcherson, on the other hand, I feel has done a great job. I don't even know why, but I was never fond of Peeta in the books, which is weird because in real life, I probably would like him. But I think Josh has done a great job of understanding and portraying Peeta, with a ton of emotions and expressions, and it's made me really like Peeta a whole lot more.

Haymitch and Effie are just as great in this movie, if not better (particularly Haymitch). Also, that mahogany reference? Perfect! Cinna is also still magnificent in this movie, and I'M SO SAD BECAUSE OF WHAT HAPPENS TO HIM LIKE WHY. (Just as a note, my favorites from the books were Haymitch, Cinna, Finnick, and possibly Johanna (I say possibly because I don't remember much from the books, so I don't know if I liked her).) Speaking of Finnick, MY GOSH SAM CLAFLIN. Yes, yes, yes, yes. He was so perfect as Finnick, and I just love him even more! And speaking of loving a character, Jo-freakin'-hanna! I fricking love that girl. Jena Malone, you are my favorite (not really but okay, maybe in this movie yes). Johanna was so beyond fantastic. I loved how snarky she was, and I loved her unique personality. You could definitely see the hatred she had towards the Capitol. And her attitude and personality and just everything just blew me away. I think Malone's performance was one of the best, if not the best, out of all of the actors.

On a last note about characters after that mini freak out, I don't know how I feel about how Mags was portrayed. I still loved her, and you could still understand her personality, but I didn't really like how she didn't talk. I know it was probably to get around the speech issue that I don't remember but was apparently in the books (you can see how much I didn't like the series in general...also it's been a long time).

Next, on to everything else. I loved the clock arena, and it was definitely freaky. I didn't really like that they didn't at least introduce all the tributes, which made it confusing when they showed the dead. I get that they weren't important, but I'm picky, and I couldn't stop thinking, "Did we ever see that person? Who is that?" I don't know if they were mentioned in the books, so maybe that's why, but still. But the arena was really well done in general. I also loved the Snow scenes, and the parts with his granddaughter were really well done. Caesar's scenes were hilarious as well.

I didn't really understand the huge jump in advanced technology. I get that it's the Quarter Quell, and I get that they had a much higher budget (the movie, I mean), but I don't felt so weird to see such a vast difference in technology in, I believe, less than a year. I know it's not real and whatnot, and I do think that some of the technology did help to add to the movie and to make it look cooler, but I think the movie would have been just fine without that huge jump. Maybe I'm just being over picky.

The last nit-picky thing for me was the awkward scene cuts. It was definitely a lot better compared to The Hunger Games, but there were still a couple of times when this bothered me, particularly the one that cut abruptly from a dark scene to a light scene, making my eyes go WOAH NO.

In general, I really enjoyed this movie. As much as I'd hate to admit it, it's definitely one that I'd see again, and I think it was VERY well done. I would gladly freak out about the movie, as I have a bit already, just as long as you don't mention the book series to me (maybe Catching Fire is the exception but I don't really remember it) and push it in my face.

Basically, as a whole, I think the acting was phenomenal. Almost every actor brought something to their character, whether I personally enjoyed it or not. The pacing went well (if you don't mind that the arena lasted roughly 2 or 3 days and a lot of time was spent on everything before), and I loved the arena. The ending was perfect, and Katniss' facial expression? Awesome. Everyone really stepped it up a notch with this movie, and it really helped to make this epic. While I will never say that this is my favorite book-to-movie adaptation (despite its flaws, I'll always go with Harry Potter, and I'm not sorry about that. Argue with me all you want, but I will never let anything, especially THG, take over that spot. I'm stubborn that way), it's probably on my top ten list, as much as I'd hate to admit that.

Seriously, if you can, go watch it (if you haven't already). It will possibly almost blow your mind away by its greatness.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Welcome to the What's In The Snow? Scavenger Hunt!

Hi everyone! I'm really happy to announce the start of the What's in the Snow? event that I'm co-hosting with Read Books and Live Green (Cal)! We've been working on this for a few months now, as you may or may not have seen on Twitter. It's both of our first time hosting an event, and while it was a lot of work (and weren't exactly the best hosts at times), we're really excited to kick off this event!

So I suppose I should start by telling you guys what this is all about. Basically, from today (December 15th) til January 15th, different bloggers will be posting winter-related posts. Many of these include some kind of author interaction. We have some great interviews coming up, as well as some awesome giveaways. Other bloggers are posting about various topics relating to winter and the holiday season. The schedule will be posted below, so please check out all the posts the wonderful bloggers involved are planning!

On to the fun part: giveaways! As I stated above, many of the blog posts will have some form of giveaway, whether they be bookish swag, books, ARCs, or gift cards. Most of these have been donated by the wonderful authors involved, so I want to thank them for not only participating and answering interview questions but also for donating some really awesome prizes. Every 2 weeks, there will be a big giveaway (so there will be 2). You can find the Rafflecopter for those right here. There will be multiple winners, and the prizes are first come, first serve. (The Rafflecopter can be found at the end of this post.)

Now, I also need to explain the situation with our clues. Each blogger has a different clue for their post(s). This clue will be included in their post somewhere. Where it is located in the post is up to the blogger's discretion. The answers to these clues are extra entries into the grand giveaways (so it's split half and half). You don't have to enter in all the answers, but it'll give you more entries. It's up to you! (This may be confusing, so if there are any questions, just ask in the comments!)

Without further ado, here's the schedule! Be sure to check back every day (I will change the links as the posts are put up, so this brings you to the exact post) and see which clue and post is up! (NOTE: No posts will be posted on Christmas Eve, Christmas, or New Year's Eve.) (Also note that I am changing my blog name and URL in the new year! The event will still be hosted here though!)

15th--Read Books and Live Green; Reviews Abound (Intro Posts ONLY)
16th--The NerdHerd Reads; Musings of a Blogder
17th--The YA Book Butterfly
19th--BooksForBirds; Fiction Is the New Reality
20th--Book Loving Hippo; My Nook, Books, and More
21st--The Sarcastic Palm Tree
22nd--Icy Cold Reads
23rd--Reading Is My Treasure
27th--Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews
28th--Friction to Fiction
29th--In Italics
30th--My Nook, Books, and More

1st--Reviews Abound
2nd--The Lovely Grace
3rd--Lost In Ever After
4th--Just Another Teen Reading
5th--Forever Literary
6th--The Book Aviary
7th--The Bibliophilic Nerds
8th--The Bibliophilic Nerds
9th--The Bibliophilic Nerds
10th--The Bibliophilic Nerds; Beauty and the Bookshelf
11th--The Bibliophilic Nerds
12th--Book Loving Hippo
13th--Read Books and Live Green
14th--Christiney Reads
15th--Reviews Abound; Read Books and Live Green (Wrap Up Posts ONLY)

Must be 13+ or have parent permission
Winners have 48 hours to respond to email or another winner will be chosen
Prizes are distributed on a first come, first serve basis
Mail items are US ONLY; eBooks are INT

Here are the buttons if you'd like to use them!
What's in the Snow?
What's in the Snow?
What's in the Snow?
A huge thank you goes out to the authors involved, most of who have both donated their time to answer interview questions despite busy schedules, as well as some awesome prizes. As an extra thank you, I've put their Twitters as a giveaway entry for whichever Rafflecopter they're on. We couldn't have such a great event without the awesome authors we have involved.
Secondly, a MASSIVE thank you goes out to all the bloggers that have joined the event. This would be nothing, literally, without you guys. Thank you for taking a chance on not one, but TWO, newbie bloggers that figured out this event. Thanks for all your patience and support and excitement. This wouldn't have happened if it weren't for all of you.
Thirdly, a special shout-out to Klaudia (@ObservantGirl_) for being the one to basically get this idea rolling. Cal and I could never have come up with something this awesome without you, so thank you, thank you, thank you!
Next, a huge shoutout to Arial and Emz for making the awesome banners and buttons we have for this event. They're all lovely, and they're much more creative than anything I could have made in Photoshop. Thanks a ton, you guys!
Last but not least, I must thank Cal a hundred thousand times. This event would be nothing if it weren't for Cal. Thank you, Cal, for being the best co-host I could ask for. Thanks for taking a chance on another newbie that just wanted to put on a big event such as this one. I'm so glad we've gotten to become friends, and I'm so glad that sheer coincidence made this happen! Thanks for always giving me such great suggestions and ideas on how to make this thing happen. Thanks for always being so willing to email people or work on something last minute. And I really need to thank you for getting so many bloggers involved! Most of the bloggers here said they only heard about this through your Twitter! So thank you! I hope we can do this again, or at least something similar, and if not, at least I know I have one more blogger friend!

That being said, I hope you all enjoy this event, and we hope to make this an annual event (if we're successful!). Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Review: Altered by Gennifer Albin (ARC)

Altered by Gennifer Albin
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: October 29th, 2013

Life. Possibility. Choice.
All taken from Adelice by the Guild—until she took them back.
But amid the splendid ruins of Earth, Adelice discovers how dangerous freedom can be. Hunted by soulless Remnants sent by Cormac Patton and the Guild, Adelice finds a world that’s far from deserted. Although allies are easy to find on Earth, knowing who to trust isn’t. Because everyone has secrets, especially those Adelice loves most. Secrets they would kill to protect. Secrets that will redefine each of them. Torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must choose what to fight for.
In this thrilling sequel to Crewel, Adelice is about to learn how tangled up her past and future really are. Her parents ran to protect her, but nothing can save her from her destiny, and once she uncovers the truth, it will change everything.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from a giveaway held by the publishing company. This does not affect my thoughts on the book.
Reviewer's Note: I would also just like to add that it's been a while since I finished the book, and I'm terrible at remembering books and their plots, characters, etc, so bear with me.

I was so beyond excited to receive an ARC of Altered after being blown away by Crewel, the first book. I had high expectations, and while some of them were met, this fell short in many aspects. (Also, as a note, I now have both the ARC and a final copy, but since I read the ARC, I'm listing it as such.)

Altered picks up right after Crewel ended, with Adelice, Eric, and Jost falling down to Earth. We're then introduced to a bunch of new characters, including Dante, whom I'm still conflicted over. We also meet Kincaid, who's almost like the Cormac Patton of Earth. We also learn a lot more about Adelice's parents and what they were involved with, although the full truth only comes out later on in the story. There's a lot about the Cypress Project and the interesting man and scientist, Kairos. Don't worry, you'll learn more about all of that when you read the book. And one of the best parts, at least for me? Learning about what "The Agenda" is. If you've seen Albin's Twitter campaign and promotions, you'll find that she had a bunch of stuff set up relating to the book and using the hashtag #JoinTheAgenda (I also posted about it a few months back).

The plot was generally well-written, and there were a few plot twists that took me by surprise. Albin continues to weave a fantastic new world, leaving the reader captivated and generally engaged. There were a few times here and there where the plot moved a lot slower, but there was also a lot of character development and influential decisions that were made. It was interesting to see where all the characters were headed towards, even if it wasn't exactly what I would personally want.

But speaking of characters, I want to discuss that aspect in particular detail. I still love Adelice, but there was something about her that irked me at times. I think part of it may have been her stubbornness, though given her, ah, family, I can't say I'm surprised. Despite this, I can understand where she's coming from. Most of her emotions, feelings, thoughts, decisions, and actions are understandable. And it's wonderful that she's not strong all the time and that she's affected by her weakness.
Jost, however, really bothered me. He seems to have turned into someone completely different, and while I understand the reasons why, I hate how he's turned into someone else. It feels almost icky, but I'm holding out hope that this will change when/if he finds his daughter and gets her back.
I'm still stuck on Eric and Dante. Eric also seemed to be very different from how he was in Crewel, but there's still something that doesn't sit right with me. Dante...he's a very interesting, complex character, and I love that about him, but there was always a little part of me that was annoyed with him.
I think that Albin is really pushing for that "love triangle" or whatever it's more appropriately called between Jost and Adelice and Eric and Adelice. But it all felt so unnatural and fake. None of the potential relationships seemed real to me anymore. I had been a pretty ardent Adelice/Jost shipper, but with Jost being didn't fit right anymore, but it also always felt like Eric was up to something. We'll see, I guess...

Yet despite all of this, I still did enjoy the characters in terms of their complexity. I feel like a lot of what I said above are personal opinions that have more to do with how I read and understand the characters than the characters themselves. They're all interesting and very three dimensional. They all have something that they want, and they're all willing to do what they can to get that. I think that this book highlights a lot of their individual characteristics. The decisions they make reflect where they are in THIS book, and I think it sets up well for Crewelest.

Also, can we talk about that ending?! I'm glad that Adelice made the decision, even though I kept shouting "NO!" I think it showed how much Adelice learned and changed throughout the book. I think that making such a big decision and an even bigger sacrifice is monumental to her as a character. But can I just say, [SPOILER] WHY AMIE?! [END SPOILER]

All in all, while I still enjoyed the plot and Albin's storytelling, the book suffered from Second Book Syndrome. I'm hoping that Crewelest will be even better though, especially the way that this book sets it up. I'm excited to read the final book to the series! And remember to #JoinTheAgenda! ;)

You can find Gennifer Albin on: Official Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Pinterest | Tumblr
You can find Altered on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | The Book Depository

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