Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

Giveaway ends May 01, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I know this blog hasn't been quite active the last couple weeks and I'm sorry for that! However I will make it up to you all, promise!

Anyway, just wanted to wish all of you happy holidays and a very merry Christmas! Hope you all get lots of presents! :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

WWW Wednesday #1

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. A post where I answer three questions:  What have I just finished reading? What am I currently reading? What do I think I'll read next?

Just Finished

This was required reading for English class. And it was fantastic and terrifying and just...yea. For those of you who read it, you know what I am talking about. I even considered writing a review on it just so I could get all my crazy thoughts out. Alas, not this time. I also really lucked out with this edition because it has an introduction by Stephen King about how he came across the book for the first time and such, which I loved.

Currently Reading

I began reading this over Thankgiving break, and instantly liked it. I either love or hate adult fiction, and I loved this one. However I had to put it aside during the first couple weeks of December (and missed the release date of December 3rd -- oops!) However I've picked it back up and hope to finish it before Christmas, and have the review up by the New Year.

Next to Read

This is next on my Netgalley list. (And I have a goal to read all my Netgalley books before I read any of my lovely paperbacks!) It comes out on January 28th though, so even if I read it before the new year, the review won't be up for a while.

Monday, December 9, 2013

No Post this Week

I just wanted to let you all know that there will be no posts this week. There are several reasons for this, including finals, me being sick, family visiting, and being generally so busy that I haven't had a chance to sit down and read my books, let alone write up or finish some posts. Sorry guys! Don't worry though, we should be back up and running by next week!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #5

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. a chance to share any books you’ve bought, borrowed, or received in the past 7 days. All of the books on this list are linked to Goodreads. (Look I added the meme!)


(Courtesy of my local Barnes & Noble's "3 for 2" resistance did not last)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

I’ll be participating in the 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge hosted by Bookish!

If you haven’t heard of this challenge, the basic idea is to dig into your TBR pile and, if not clear it completely, get it back under control. The books you read for the challenge can’t be 2014 releases and any book can be included as long as you review it. On the 20th of each month, you gather all your reviews together and link them up in the nice wrap-up post on Bookish, and for each review you get an entry to win a book of your choice from Book Depository!

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - First Kiss
31-40 - Sweet Summer Fling
41-50 - Could this be love?
50+ - Married With Children

You can always move up a level, but you can't move down. So I'm aiming for First Kiss but hope to move up a level or two- it depends on how college and stuff goes in the second half of the year. It is my first time doing anything like this, so I'm excited (and nervous).

I'll still be doing regular reviews for books that are released in 2014 (I have accumulated quite a number on Netgalley) but I also have a huge stash of books from 2013 and earlier than I need to get through! It is going to be a BUSY year for me.

If you’d like to participate in this challenge just head over to Bookish and sign up by December 15! There’s a mailing list and lots of other fun things for the challenge, so check it out!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I Dated A Writer Once and...

I Dated A Writer Once
(by ofheightsandhollows)

Writers are forgetful,
but they remember everything.
They forget appointments and anniversaries,
but remember what you wore,
how you smelled,
on your first date…
They remember every story you’ve ever told them -
like ever,
but forget what you’ve just said.
They don’t remember to water the plants
or take out the trash,
but they don’t forget how
to make you laugh.

Writers are forgetful
they’re busy
the important things.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Top 10 2014 Releases I'm Dying to Read

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, with a new Top Ten prompt every week. Check it out!

1. The Man Who Walked Away by Maud Casey. March 4th 2014. (I actually requested this book on Netgalley and I'm crossing my fingers and toes that I am approved.) It is set in southern France, in the exact area where I grew up.

2. The Last Dead Girl by Harry Dolan. January 9th 2014.
I'm learning that I actually enjoy murder mysteries more and more, and so this novel instantly drew my attention. I can't wait for it to come out so I can buy a copy!

3. Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott. January 28th 2014
Dead mothers and romance with mysterious boys seems to be a reoccuring theme at the moment, so why not take advantage of it?

4. Beyond Belief by Helen Smith. January 28th 2014
Okay so: British. Magic. Mystery. Sold.

5. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaria. April 1st 2014
I want this so bad. I had a novel idea like this once, but wasn't in love with it enough to write it. So someone else did and now I must read it.

6. Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander Series #8) by Diana Gabaldon. June 10th 2014
I need not explain, my friends.

7. City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare. May 27th 2014
I got hooked on this series back over the summer when I was supposed to be writing but instead distracted myself with these. I read the first four books in about 2 days. I don't mess around when I get addicted to a series. Anyway, so naturally, I can't wait to marathon the new one! Who wants to bet I can read it in a day?

8. The Queen of Dreams by Peter Hamilton. January 2nd 2014.
This is, actually, a children's book. But the synopsis and cover are really really awesome. Also I really freaking LOVE fairytales. I don't care if it is a children's book. This is awesome, thank you very much.

9. The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland. May 13th 2014.
 I actually found this on Netgalley, but I haven't requested it to read because not only do I have enough on my plate, but it isn't my typical genre. However I find that the idea of the story is very unique and interesting, so I'm looking forward to its release!

10. The Mirror and The Light (Thomas Cromwell #3) by Hilary Mantel. Unknown/predicted for 2015. 
Teeeechnically...this isn't coming out in 2014. But I'm ignoring that and adding it to the list anyway because I can't wait for it (as well as dreading it- I don't want Cromwell to die...even though I already know he does. But still.) It is so far from being released that it doesn't even have a book cover. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #4

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. a chance to share any books you've bought, borrowed, or received in the past 7 days. All of the books on this list are linked to Goodreads.


Thank you NetGalley for another three awesome books to read. It isn't like I have a problem at all already or anything...*shifty eyes* It's just so easy with that easy "click" to request them.


I bought this for myself as a reward for finishing my Capstone project, and also it was recommended to me by my mentor who has met Christopher and Anne Rice. Just throwing that out there.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

*whisper* I bought this on the 22nd of November, 2013. In the past few weeks, I have watched numerous documentaries and read multiple articles on JFK and his assassination, as well as Jackie and the rest of the Kennedy family.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield


Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance


Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.

Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death.


I bought this book second hand from our local used bookstore. The cover and title hooked me in, and so I decided to take a chance on it. Unfortunately, I believe that three stars is still a pretty generous rating. There were some really fantastic parts, and then the rest was..mediocre, if not just plain bad. I really hate giving bad reviews because I know a lot of work and heart goes into the story, even if it is badly written. So first, I'll tell you about the good about each point, and then the bad. 

When there were good parts in this novel, they were really good. The opening line, "The night before Amelia Anne Richardson bled her life away on a parched dirt road outside of town, I bled out my dignity in the back of a pickup truck under a star-pricked sky.", was beautiful and I was hooked. The author had intense, poetic description and imagery and at first, it was enchanting. I loved it. But it never really stopped. Everything was described in metaphorical, overly lavish language and by the fourth or fifth chapter, my patience was wearing thin. With a lot of imagery and description came a lot of repetition.

Becca can't wait to escape the small town- Bridgeton- where she lives. She finds the town too small, suffocating....and we are reminded of this in nearly every chapter. The way the town gossips after the murder is mentioned at least 3 separate times, each time taking nearly a page, or more. We get it. Your small town life sucks. And yes, we get it. The girl was dead on the side of the road. It got to the point that in the last couple chapters, when I realized she was going to bring up either of the above points again, I skipped to the next page.

Ooooh so plot. Plot plot plot. This story, as you may be able to tell from the synopsis, had amazing potential. I mean, come on. The parallels that could be made (and some the author did make) and the suspense of finding out the murderer and all that...woah it could have been so cool!....could have been.... Let me explain. The beginning of AAISAG (Amelia Anne Is Dead And Gone) was fantastic. Bam, we are right in the middle of the action. "Dead girl, break up, what the hell is happening every thing is terrible oh no!" It was a great opening! Then, in the middle, the author became lost. There was no plot, just recalling past events in the town and how James (boyfriend? ex-boyfriend?) is gone. And how her parents's marriage is falling apart. And not relevant to the plot at all. Also, the author drops only a couple major hints, and they are not subtle at all, and takes the mystery out of it. However, it does leave you with the question of  "Why?" and "When?" It is enough suspense to hold the reader's interest throughout the drab in the middle. And then, in the chapters leading up to Amelia's death are riveting, suspenseful, and awesome. But then the ending is just....a let down. It had the POTENTIAL to be amazing, but sadly it wasn't. I cared enough about the story to be awfully frustrated with how it ended, especially for James.

Which leads me to James. When the other characters, especially Becca, seemed bland and weakly developed, James was the saving grace. He also happened to be the plot twist of sorts...but wasn't in the novel for most of it. Maybe it is just me, but when one of your main characters is the major plot twist, YOU USUALLY HAVE HIM AROUND IN MORE THAN JUST A FEW DOZEN PAGES. *heavy breathing* Okay, so I got that out of my system. But seriously, if you want to read an amazing character that is multi-faceted and complex and beautifully written. I cared about him, and I was beyond angry at how the story ended for him. It wasn't fair.

Overall, I realize that the novel was kind of sucky. However the good bits (amazing opening, fantastic character, and such) was enough to overshadow some of the bad parts. I am just very sad at the amount of wasted potential and what could have been.

I have learned that knowing where you're going means remembering where you've been. I'm not afraid of what lurks behind me, or ahead.” 
- Becca Williams, Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone

Maybe I would recommend this...maybe

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Other Books By This Author: Amelia Anne is Kat Rosenfield's first novel. However she has a second one coming out, called Inland, in spring/summer 2014.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Top 10 Things to be Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, with a new Top Ten prompt every week. Check it out!

 I proceed in no particular order…

  1.       Harry Potter. I don’t think it needs saying, but Harry and his entire world is one of my favorite things on earth. How could I not be thankful for this wonderful creation?
  2.           Samantha. I began believing in soul mates when she and I became really close friends at the beginning of junior year and we’ve been inseparable since. I will be forever grateful for her friendship. 
  3.      The Animals. As in, my pets. Three cats, two dogs, and two horses. Those in the picture are (left to right) Walle, Wabu, and Wiki.
  4. Writing. It has been an amazing journey for me, writing and such. I love it.
  5. England. This is bizarre, I realize. But from a writer's point of view, every square inch of this country has a vast history. A storyteller's dream.
  6. Family. Duh. Especially extended family who lives in Europe. I have only gotten to know them well recently.
  7. Books. Cliche? Perhaps. Don't care.
I don't have anymore really....*shifty eyes*

Monday, November 25, 2013

Review of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy #1)
 by Hilary Mantel


Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, British Literature, Politics, Biography (kind of)

Synopsis:  England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king, Henry VIII, dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. The Tudor King wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. The Pope and most of Europe opposes him. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and oppurtunist, astute in reading people, and implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?


This book, as well as its sequel Bring Up The Bodies, was recommended to me by a dear relative of mine. In fact, in the week that he recommended it to me, on a Tuesday, it was mentioned to me once a day, for several days straight.  It has also won several awards including the Man Booker prize. So obviously this has to be a fantastic book, right?

Well yes and no. I believe it is a fantastic book to a certain type of reader. If you only enjoy light reading, or do not enjoy history then this book is not for you. Otherwise, I believe anyone can like it, even love it. 

Wolf Hall is a hefty read. It is just over 600 pages, and took me about a week to read. My Most Excellent Year is over 600 pages as well, but I read that book in 4 days. So this is an intensive, heavy read and you have to be willing to commit to it. It also does take a bit before you get hooked in. The thing that really hooks you in is the suspense because even though you know that (spoilers?) Anne Boleyn becomes queen and has a daughter (Queen Elizabeth I) you still find yourself wondering whether Thomas will be able to do what the King asks of him. Another negative attribute I found was the confusing use of pronouns. Cromwell is almost always referred to as "he", rather than by name. However, in order to clarify, nearly everyone else is referred to by name rather than pronouns. Still, it means the reader has to focus while reading in order not to lose track of who is speaking. 

There are parts where the story slows down and one can find themselves a bit bored. Towards the end of the novel, I found myself skipping a paragraph here or there when it came to Thomas More in the Tower and such. (Not really spoilers...) However I was hooked from about page fifty onwards. 

My favorite part of this novel is that it is a detailed telling of Thomas Cromwell's life presented in novel format. It gives us a rare insight into his life, and for those of us who had been taught that Thomas Cromwell was a ruthless bully and an all-around terrible person, this novel proves all that wrong. (Spoilers, I suppose..) He was abused as a child, and seeked to build a family throughout his entire life, taking in those who needed a home and nurturing them and making sure they had good lives. He was intelligent, wise, and even soft at times. I think that this book is a must-read to any one who loves British history, especially the Tudor era. It is a good book to challenge yourself with. I understand why it won the Man Booker prize. I also understand why some may not like it.

I do plan on reading the sequel, but I have some other books to read first, including Netgalley ones.

“[Thomas Cromwell] thinks, I remembered you...but you didn't remember me. You never even saw me coming.”  Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

I would certainly recommend this book.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Other Books By This Author: Hilary Mantel has written over a dozen books, such as A Place of Greater Safety and Beyond Black, and nearly all are part of the literary and historical fiction genre. They all have high ratings on Goodreads.