Monthly Archives:: August 2013

Aug 20

Review * Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Reviews 7 ★★★★★

Review * Unbreakable by Elizabeth NorrisUnbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
Series: Unraveling #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 23, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 479
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Unraveling
Add to: Goodreads
Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.

And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

What I Thought…

  • I both loved and hated the way Unbreakable started. There was absolutely no recap of Unraveling, which I appreciated on principal, Unbreakable jumps right into the action. I hate reading the second, third, etc book in a series and have the first 50 pages tell me what’s been going on. However it had been so long since I read Unraveling that at first I was feeling a bit lost, but I did manage to catch up pretty quickly.
  • So the world is still in disarray and unsettled when Agent Barclay shows up to get Janelle’s help in finding Ben, who has been accused of being involved with the missing people. Agent Barclay believes Ben is innocent but needs Janelle to help him prove it, and of course to save Ben. Janelle agrees to go with Agent Barclay in part to help Ben, but mostly because her BFF Cecily is one of the missing.
  • Agent Barclay, Janelle and Elijah travel to a few different earths. The idea behind these different earths is fascinating and I love that everywhere that they went Norris made it so different, but a believable different, if that makes sense. Seriously, this multiverse business should exist because it is fascinating!
  • In Unraveling Ben mentions the fact that their are doubles. Each world is a divergence from another world so there are other versions of you on the other Earths. Even though they are your doubles physically, they are often quite different mentally and in personality because of their different backgrounds.
  • We meet a few doubles in Unbreakable, I won’t mention the doubles by name but one of them completely blew me away and creeped me out a bit. It’s crazy how different people can become with a different upbringing.
  • Janelle was again pretty badass. She dealt with some pretty tough losses at the end of Unraveling and she could have completely fallen apart and retreated into herself, but she didn’t. She was willing to do whatever needed to be done to stop all the people from going missing.
  • Ben doesn’t appear immediately in Unbreakable, but when he does you’re probably going to want to smack him for being an idiot. Janelle gets upset, rightly so, and Ben will have to go through a lot to make it up to her, if he can…
  • While Agent Barclay didn’t do much for me in Unraveling he sure did a lot for me here. Before Ben even reappeared I was already hoping that Janelle would ditch him for Agent Barclay. There was quite a bit of tension between those two and with Janelle pissed at Ben, who knows?
  • There were quite a few new characters introduced including Struz’s double. Double Struz is so completely different and it’s hard to think about him not being the sweet, kind, caring Struz that you met in Unraveling.
  • The ending was kind of chaotic, but in a good way. So much was going on and you think you know who all the bad guys are, but you don’t, they just kept popping up. The ending also made me tear up a lot. Damn you Elizabeth Norris!!
  • I love the fact that instead of a trilogy this is a doulogy. Norris could have stretched this out but I’m glad she didn’t. Rather than have a bunch of filler both Unraveling and Unbreakable were full of action and suspense.

Notable Quotes

“I was here.
I lived.
I mattered.
This is a good way to go.”


Aug 18

Sundays In Bed With… Helter Skelter

In Bed With... 1

SIBSunday’s in Bed is hosted by Kate at Midnight Book Girl to share with everyone what you’re reading in bed Sunday morning before getting to the days activities.

Helter SkelterToday I have lots of work to do, but I’ll be doing it listening to Helter Skelter.

I’ve always had a slight fascination with serial killers; What could possibly me going on in their brain to make them do things like that? I’m from Wisconsin, the home of Jeffrey Dahmer, so his case has always been the most interesting to me. I was too young to remember him being arrested and the trial, but I do remember the day he was killed in prison (oh happy day!). Serial killers are a scary bunch but in reading Helter Skelter I’ve actually found something more terrifying.

Charles Manson isn’t a serial killer, but his brainwashing skills scare the living hell out of me. The ability to brainwash people to do terrible things and have them believe in them is a frightening thought.

I’m enjoying the book, but it’s no bedtime story.


Aug 16

I Got a NEW JOB!!!

Misc 13

I got a new job! The first 5 months of the year I took a grueling (and I do mean grueling) class to get my teachers certificate and all that work has paid off because I got a job teaching high school math!

My first day of work is this Monday and I will have 2 weeks of orientation and preparation before the students start on 9/3. I am both excited and nervous. It’s a big change but I am so excited (and nervous).

So what does this mean for the blog? Right now, I’m not quite sure. While I would love to say that nothing will change and I will be able to read all I have been and all that jazz I just don’t know what’s going to happen.

I’ll still be reading and blogging, I’m just not sure how much.

I hope you all can be patient with me while I settle into a new rhythm and groove!


Aug 15

Review * The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Reviews 6 ★★

I received this book for free from the publisher via Borrowed in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth PfefferThe Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Series: The Last Survivors #4
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on August 13, 2013
Genres: Post Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Add to: Goodreads
It's been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?

This is the fourth book in the series. I will keep it spoiler free for The Shade of the Moon, but there will be spoilers for the  first three books.

What I Thought…

  • I read the first three books in the series in my preblogging days. Because of this I didn’t want to get super excited for The Shade of the Moon. My views on books have changed a lot (for the better) in the last year and half that I have been blogging.
  • Even with my expectations in check The Shade of the Moon and I did not get along. We got off to a pretty rough start and even though things started to get better it just wasn’t enough.
  • The Shade of the Moon is narrated by Jon. His sister, Miranda narrated two of the first three books, and she was the only thing I really liked about The Shade of the Moon. She was the little bright spot with the positive attitude that was so needed.
  • We pick up a few years after the This World We Live In and Jon, his step mother and step brother are living in a “city” while his mother, sister and brother in law live outside of it. There are two groups of people: the clavers (the haves) and the grubs (the have nots).
  • Jon and I got off on the wrong foot due to his whinyness and highhandedness. Jon is a claver and his attitude reflects that. I realize that growing up after the disaster would have been different for him than Miranda, but he is a selfish jerk. His entitlement attitude was annoying as was his whinying when things didn’t go his way.
  • At the end of the third book Alex’s sister, Julie, died and that causes two points of contention with me regarding Jon in The Shade of the Moon. The minor one is that he is all pissed off that Miranda ended Julie’s life (Julie was paralyzed from the neck down and with no medical care there was no hope of maybe fixing it). Miranda did what she felt was best given the circumstances (and I agree with her decision) and did it humanely and not out of spite so he needs to stop being a spoiled brat about it. Rather than talk to Miranda about it he was a spiteful asshat to her.
  • The other point issue I had with Jon is that we learn more details of how Julie got hurt and they were quite unpleasant View Spoiler » After this I had a hard time connecting with him at all.
  • A little more than half way through the book Jon suddenly realizes that he should stop being a jerk and help his family and do the right thing rather than the easy thing. Given the fact that I was already annoyed with Jon this just further annoyed me.
  • Sarah is new to town and of course Jon takes an interest in her. She was a nice girl and had good intentions, but her quick forgiveness of Jon’s issue was a bit of a shocker and felt a bit out of character.
  • I may have been annoyed with the characters I did like where the plot went. There were arguments and fights between the clavers and grubs (as to be expected), and I thought the twist involving Miranda and Alex’s baby was done really well (and to be honest if she would have done some kind of twist with that I would have been really upset).
  • The end was satisfactory, but similar to her other books leaves a lot up in the air.

If you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic The Last Survivors series isn’t a bad place to start, but Ashfall by Mike Mullin is grittier and more enjoyable, in my opinion.


Aug 13

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Travel Books

Top Ten Tuesday 23


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the awesome people at The Broke and Bookish, who love lists as much as I do!

Top Ten Favorite Books With X Setting (ie: futuristic world, set mostly in schools, during World War II, books set in California  etc. etc. So many possibilities!)

I had a hard time settling on a topic so I decided to do Top Ten Favorite Travel Books. I use the word travel fairly loosely.

Kasie West Pivot Point Elizabeth Norris UnravelingDeborah Harkness Shadow of NightBrodi Ashton Everbound

1. Pivot Point by Kasie West

Addie may only be traveling in her mind (as she searches the future) but that’s still travel. And it’s amazing!

2. Unraveling/Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Traveling to other worlds.

3. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Traveling to the past.

4. Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Traveling to the Everneath.

Myra McEntire Hourglass Mike Mullin Ashfall Beth Revis Across the Universe

5. Hourglass/Timepiece by Myra McEntire

Traveling to the future and the past.

6. Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Traveling all over the midwest.

7. Across the Universe/A Million Suns/Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Traveling in space.

Libba Bray Beauty Queens Ernest Cline Ready Player One Stephanie Perkins Anna and the French Kiss

8. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Traveling to and around a desert island.

9. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Traveling all over the virtual world (and some of the real world)

10. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Traveling to Paris!


Aug 12

Why Can’t We Play Nice?

Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging 26


Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging is my opportunity to discuss my bookish and blogging thoughts, whenever I feel like!

I’ve been thinking a lot about things that have happened around the blogosphere over the last couple of months and while I don’t want to comment on any specific incident, I do have some things I want to comment on.

I wish I could say that some of this drama reminds me solely of high school, but over the years I’ve learned that drama really doesn’t end after high school as I’ve found plenty of it at work, and I see it in the blogosphere as well. It’s frustrating to keep seeing some of the same things over and over.

Obviously everything I say here is my opinion and you are free to agree or disagree in the comments, but keep it friendly!

There is no “right” way to blog

If something bothers you about a blog then you have two choices: deal with it or don’t visit that blog. Telling them what to do with their blog isn’t really a choice. They have every right to do whatever they want on their blog, whether you like it or not.

There is no big rule book that says you have to blog every day or you can only have xxx on your sidebar or you have to do xxx amount of reviews a week. That’s not a thing. Nor should it be.

We all have different styles and different tastes. If all of us were the same life would be so boring! One of the best things about the book blogging world (and life in general) is that we are all different.

If you can’t say something nice . . .

I have no problem with getting a discussion going over a book I loved and you hated or vice versa. I think those types of discussions are awesome. But there is a difference between saying “I’m sorry you didn’t like the ending, I loved it because….” and saying “You’re stupid for not liking this book…”

There is one particular book that I hated with a burning passion for so many reasons, but a lot of people loved it. I’ve had some discussions with people about it and while I don’t understand why they love it, I can accept that they do, but I saw several comments (on both sides of the rating spectrum) calling people names for liking or not liking the book. There is no need for name calling!

If I don’t agree with what a blogger has said about a book I either state my counterpoints (politely) or I move on. There is no need to make it personal and say mean things.

. . . but you don’t have to only say positive things in reviews

Reviews should be honest, which means that most reviews aren’t going to be glowing 5 star reviews. Even 5 star books aren’t perfect.  I’ve seen it around a couple of times that bloggers shouldn’t criticize certain aspects of a book (e.g. editing), bloggers shouldn’t write snarky reviews or bloggers should be easier on self published books than traditional published books. All this is ridiculous. Unless you are attacking the author on a personal level then you can say whatever you want about a book.

The only rating a book should have is the one YOU decide

I once got an anonymous comment on my blog back when I had first started telling me that my review was wrong. I compared a book I read to a movie I had seen before and I felt it was VERY similar and thus I didn’t really care for the book. The commenter said “Did you watch the movie? It’s not at all the same. Please becareful when you review.” (sic)

I’m a person, not a robot. I have feelings and life experiences. I have pet peeves and things that make me swoon. All of that comes to play when I’m reading a book. I can’t read “objectively” and I don’t know anyone else who can either.

The population as a whole is not going to give a book a 5 star or even a 4 star rating. In fact, if I could get a little bit mathy here, the majority of books for the population as a whole should have an average around 3.5. It’s called a bell curve and it is normal.

I can rate a book what I want and based on whatever I want. It can be based on feelings or the characters doing something I didn’t like or a plot twist that I loved. It’s my opinion and you can’t be wrong about an opinion.

Reviewers write reviews for readers not for authors

Shocking, I know. I love authors (obviously) but I don’t write my reviews for them. Reviews are for other people to decide if they want to read the book or not. Reviews are not written to “pump up” or “bring down” the author. I get that that is the effect that they can have, but that isn’t their purpose. Authors should read their reviews at their own risk.

If I am reading a book review I want that review to be honest, and if you are writing it for the author how could it be honest? It wouldn’t be, which is why they are written for readers not authors.

The internet is forever

Once you put something on the internet it is there forever. Even if you take it down it can still be there (hello, screen shots!). Remember in school they would remind you to think before you speak? Now it’s think before you post or tweet. I get angry sometimes, everyone gets angry sometimes. But sharing your feelings on the internet may not be your best choice of action.

Take a minute and think about what you are saying and why you are saying it. Also tone is hard to convey over the written word. If your words sound even remotely aggressive that’s how people will interpret it.

With all that said . . .

I love the book blogging community and right now I can’t imagine my life without all these awesome people. But I wish we could all play nice and just have fun!


Aug 11

Sundays In Bed With… Tumble & Fall

In Bed With... 2

SIBSunday’s in Bed is hosted by Kate at Midnight Book Girl to share with everyone what you’re reading in bed Sunday morning before getting to the days activities.

Alexandra Coutts Tumble & FallToday I’m hoping to spend a little time with Tumble & Fall. This is one of my most anticipated fall releases and Andrea at The Overstuffed Bookcase was kind enough to gift me a copy that she picked up at BEA.

I’m not working this week which means I am going to do ALL the reading and ALL the blogging. I’m not sure what the fall will bring so I’m taking this week to (hopefully) get myself schedule out with reviews, TTT, WOW and the like through September.

What are you reading today?


Aug 09

A to Z Bookish Survey

Bookish Survey 13


I came across Jamie’s survey at the Perpetual Page Turner and just knew I had to do it. Most of July was a tough month for me and even though things have calmed down now I am sooooo far behind in blogging and this survey pepped me up to get it all done! Head on over to the Perpetual Page Turner to read all about it!

Author you’ve read the most books from

GoodReads says it’s Nora Roberts, which could be true, though if I had put in all the Christopher Pike books I had read he would give her a run for the money. With all that said though I can assure you that Ann M Martin more than runs away with this honor. Between The Babysitter’s Club books and the super specials and the mysteries there is no way I could have topped her.

Best Sequel Ever

Timepiece by Myra McEntire. I loved Hourglass, but Timepiece blew me away.

Currently Reading

The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer (not enjoying it) Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (good but disturbing)

Drink of choice while reading

Have you met me? Usually nothing, I am accident prone, and I would hate to ruin a book!

E-reader or physical book

This one is a tough one, but I’m going with physical book. I love cracking open hardcover books and curling up with them.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:

Wade/Parzieval from Ready Player One. I may not be into gaming, but I am into nerds and “useless” trivia.

Glad you gave this book a chance

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton. I guess I would say it is more risque than the average contemporary romance (at least that I read) but I wouldn’t put it in the erotic fiction category like I thought it would be in, given the title and the cover. However it turned out to be one of the funnies books I’ve read this year.

Hidden gem book

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Keuhnert. So amazing.

Important moment in your reading life

My sixth grade teacher questioned my reading choices (Mary Higgins Clark & John Grisham) feeling that they were a bit “old” for me. She mentioned this to my mom at parent-teacher conferences and my mom said that she knew what I was reading and that I was mature enough to read it. I can look back on this and feel good about the fact that my teacher cared what I was reading and that rather than tell me I wasn’t “old enough” she mentioned it to my mom and accepted that my mom knew what was best for me.

Just finished

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Kinds of books you won’t read

Zombies, aliens and most non-fiction

Longest book you’ve read

Under the Dome by Stephen King at 1074 pages

Major book hangover because of

Pivot Point by Kasie West. I’m still thinking about this book!

Number of bookcases you own

One big one for hardcover/trade paperbacks, one small one for mass market paperbacks, one small one for TBR books and a secretariat in my living room for my special books.

One book you have read multiple times

Since blogging: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Before blogging: Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews

Preferred place to read

On the loveseat in my living room

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read

I am the worst at keeping track of quotes so I’m going with: “I love you enough to never make you choose.” Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits

Reading regret

That I will never be able to read all the books I want to read.

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out in series)

Sookie Stackhouse series. I’ve come almost to the end so I can’t quit now!

Three of your all time favorite books

My Sweet Audrina by VC Andrews, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Unapolgetic fan-girl for

Christopher Pike, Sophie Kinsella, Katie McGarry and now Kasie West

Very excited for this release more than all the others

Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally and Split Second by Kasie West

Worst bookish habit

Being OCD about cover matching. Mismatching covers are the worst.

X marks the spot: start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book

Pretend You Don’t See Her by Mary Higgins Clark

Your latest book purchase

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana P.

ZZZ snatcher book (the last book that kept you up WAY late)

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West.


Aug 09

Review * The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Reviews 8 ★★★★

Review * The Distance Between Us by Kasie WestThe Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on July 2, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

What I Thought…

  • It’s been awhile since I’ve stayed up late into the night reading a book and Kasie West has been able to make me stay up late twice in the last month.
  • While The Distance Between Us is completely different from Pivot Point it still has the same great writing and some pretty great characters.
  • So Caymen’s mom owns a doll store. Back in the day I “collected” porcelain dolls, i.e. they were given to me on my birthday or Christmas by family who felt I should collect them. Even though I didn’t ask for them, they were very pretty to look at (but so boring because I couldn’t play with them). The dolls in Caymen’s mom’s store sound super cute and almost makes me wish I had been more excited about my dolls.
  • I have always been a fan of rich guy/poor girl stories and The Distance Between Us did not disappoint, in fact it was one of the more enjoyable ones I read.
  • I really liked Caymen. She has a very dry and sarcastic sense of humor. If you aren’t a fan of dry and sarcastic humor then… I’m not quite sure if you’ll like Caymen. Caymen is also a bit insecure, but not so much that you don’t like her. I found the most irritating thing about Caymen was her “follow the leader” attitude regarding the rich (basically, they are all bad and not to be trusted). Caymen pretty much blindly believe all her mom said about rich people. Don’t worry though… Xander is working on it. ;)
  • Xander. Sigh. He isn’t one of the pompous rich boys and he isn’t one of the jerky rich boys. I would almost go so far as to say he normal, but there was a jet so… not normal. But his determination to make friends (and a little something more) with Caymen was so sweet.
  • I loved all the moments between Caymen and Xander. There were so many cute and funny moments, serious moments and quite a bit of tension between them as well. I can’t say that they’ll make it forever, but West gave enough of both of them to make you think it’s possible.
  • I thought that West did a good job of highlighting the differences between the rich and the poor. It may have been a bit over the top at times (again, there was a jet), but that wasn’t a problem for me.
  • Awesome Best Friend Alert: Skye was an excellent best friend. It drives me nuts when the best friend is either just thrown in so that the main character has a best friend, or is more of a “friend” than a friend. Thankfully Skye is neither of those.
  • I didn’t much care for Caymen’s mom. Too. Many. Secrets.
  • I could have done without the whole mysterious thing with Caymen’s mom. Once it came it out it was a little off for me. The other surprise about her mom was actually not surprising when you think about it.
  • One of the best things (for me) about the ending was that West did not wrap everything up and slap a bow on it. In typical contemporary romance fashion West pulls things together, but she leaves some issues unresolved, which I appreciate.

If you like contemporary romance and/or dry and sarcastic humor The Distance Between Us if for you!

Notable Quotes

“Is that your subtle way of saying you missed me last week?”

“I’ve missed my hot chocolate. I just think of you as the guy who brings it to me. Sometimes I forget your name and call you hot chocolate guy.”


Aug 07

WTF is up with all the spam?

Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging 9


Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging is my opportunity to discuss my bookish and blogging thoughts, whenever I feel like!

Seriously guys. Spam has been OUT OF CONTROL the last couple weeks. I don’t know why Akismet isn’t picking it up, but it’s driving me NUTS.

I get all excited when my phone does it’s special beep. Yay! Comment! Then I see that it is just spam and that makes me sad.

Today was the last straw. I was busy at work all morning and the first time I looked at my phone I saw that I had 13 comments. Which would have been awesome, if I had actually posted something today. But since I didn’t post anything today I did not have good thoughts about my comments.

Sadly I was right, it was all spam.

I got 6 more while I was at lunch so I took a quick minute to jump on to the blog and turn off commenting on older posts, which will hopefully take care of the problem.

I really, really hate spams.

Down with spambots!