Random post from yours truly

The Good:I hope the holidays were good for everyone! I know they sure were for me. I stuffed my face with far too much food, got spoiled rotten by my grandparents (you just gotta love them), and actually took some time to relax. From my parents I received a new iHome, two books, a workout video, a vegetarian cook book, and lots of little goodies. The big present we get every year though is a shopping trip. The parents pack all of us kids up and we head off the a hotel for New Years Eve. This year should be extra special because Kati gets to come. I am pretty darn excited for this shopping trip to start!

The Bad:On to not so good news. An uncle of mine passed away on Christmas Eve. He had his leg amputated a while back and has been struggling with infection ever since. I know that he is in a better place now and not suffering anymore. It really got me thinking though. I really should tell everyone I care about, how I feel. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to him and that is a regret I will carry with me for forever. So: I love all of you reading this!

The Good:Back on to happier news (I am feeling a tad bit bi-polar at the moment): I have finally joined the Twitter world. I am about two years behind everyone else when it comes to technology. I am fairly excited. I only have a few followers right now (9 to be exact; I feel kind of lame) but that’s alright. I am still figuring out all the ins and outs of it to be honest, I am having fun. I somehow convinced Kati to join it with me; imagine that! We just cant seem to do enough stuff together

The Bad/Irritating:Ok another bipolar moment or two. I received my first comment in a good week and it was a spam one! That is so disappointing, especially since I have been working pretty darn hard at trying to improve this blogging thing. If you are a spammer out there here are my words to you: I HATE YOU!! (and I don’t say that very often)

The Gross:During the writing of this, my five-year old brother thought it would be the perfect time to wrestle with me. I reluctantly gave in to his constant begging. He had me pinned in five seconds. During my struggle to break free, he spit on my face. By far the grossest thing I have ever encountered!

The Sick: This is referring to me in general. I have officially self-diagnosed myself with pneumonia. Not only have I had a terrible cough the past four weeks, I am also suffering from a sneezing attack as I type. The count is now at 19. I didn’t even think that was possible.

The Fantastic:My last happy comment before I sign off for the evening: My signed copy of Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols came the day before Christmas Eve. It was the best present ever. I am halfway done with it now and it is already amazing (keep in mind that the book is 587 pages. I am beginning to think I have an issue with extremely long books!).  I recommend all to read this book!

Ex-mas (A Love/Hate Story) by Kate Brian

Title: Ex-mas (A Love/Hate Story)

Author: Kate Brian

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 

Pages: 288 paperback

My Rating: 4/5 stars

*Before Christmas quickly came and went, I found the absolutely perfect holiday read. Ex-mas by Kate Brian isn’t the most astonishing, well written book that I have ever read, but it was still a fun, cute read*

Two Exes. One holiday adventure.

Merry Ex-Mas?

Seventeen-year-old Lila Beckwith’s parents just left for vacation, and Lila’s all set to throw the holiday party of the season. But when her Christmas-obsessed little brother, Cooper, discovers that global warming is melting the North Pole, he and his best friend, Tyler, take off on a runaway mission to save Santa.

Lila has to get Cooper safely home before her parents get back on Christmas Eve. But the only person who can help her is Tyler’s older brother, Beau — a.k.a. Lila’s musician, anti-everything ex-boyfriend.

It’ll take more than a Christmas miracle for Lila and Beau to overcome their differences and find their fugitive brothers. But could a journey destined for disaster help these polar opposites fall in love…all over again? (Summary, courtesy of goodreads.com)

When Lila’s parents leave her alone with her little brother for Christmas weekend, Lila thinks it will be the perfect opportunity to host her very first party and establish her popularity. Plans take a strange twist when her little brother Cooper runs away with his best friend Tyler to help save Santa from the melting ice caps. As it turns out, Tyler is the little brother of Lila’s quiet, moody, cute ex-boyfriend named Beau. Lila was once in love Beau. They would spend hours singing and making music together. When Beau’s parents divorced, Lila found herself drowning in his sorrow. Only days after their breakup, a determined Lila was befriending the most popular girl at school while catching the eye of her older brother. Lila practically transformed into miss popularity over night while Beau seemed to stay his same, depressed self. Years later when the two are forced back together due to this strange twist of events; you better believe that tensions are high. The two have to learn together as they embark on an action packed adventure to get Cooper and Tyler home safely before Christmas. Lila soon realizes that she and Beau were more right together, despite their many differences, than she remembered. This was a really quick, cute book was full of lovable characters and funny situations. It was perfect for reading during the holidays!

The Best of Twenty-Ten

Wow! I can’t believe this year is coming to an end. So many exciting, terrible, magnificent, and strange things have happened this year. Influenced by my friends Caroline and Mrs. Andersen (It is still strange to call a former teacher by her first name. It is Sarah by the way), I compiled a list of all of my favorites of the past year. Enjoy!:

1. Best vacation: Spring Break with my best friend, Kati. We went all the way to California. It exceeded all of my expectations on what I thought would be the perfect spring break.

Kati and I posing on a beach in Cali!!

2. Best concert: This is a tie between Warped Tour and The Travelin Show. Both of which featured some amazing bands (We The Kings, The Summer Set, Artist Vs. Poet, etc.) The Travelin Show even featured the man I will one day marry. Ok I am joking but hey, a girl can dream can’t she? (Just look at his dimples; they get me every time!)

Artist vs. Poet threw that monster can at me! I was so excited.

Ohh goodness! He doesn’t realize it yet, but this guy is going to be my husband one day. Just look at those dimples!

3. Best CD: This was an easy decision since Taylor Swift’s third CD, Speak Now, is still on constant replay. It is full of awesomeness.

4. Best new activity: Joining book club has been awesome. It has only added more fuel to the fire. I just can’t seem to stop reading…ever! Ohh, and making this blog has also been pretty fantastic; I am addicted!

5. Best birthday present: My new bedroom of course! Here are the pictures that I promised a few weeks ago:

6. Best movies: There really has been some great movies this past year. The ones that stuck with me the most were Eclipse, Harry Potter, Due Date, Life As We Know It, and The Other Guys.

7. Best books: I can’t choose just a few! Here are all of my favorite 2010 books. (Note: Not all were released this year, just read by me in 2010)

Beautiful Creatures By Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Darkness By Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City if Ashes by Cassandra Clare

 City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Freefall by Mindi Scott

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Ruined (How to Ruin 1-3) by Simone Elkeles

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Wake by Lisa McMann

8. Best shinning moment: Hmm… this is a tough one. There was graduation, honors night, or placing at states for BPA (Business Professionals of America, it’s really cool, you should be jealous!). Ohh, what the heck, I guess they all win.

9. Best friend: Of course this award goes to Kati. Even though we are going to separate schools now and both have extremely busy schedules, we still find time to be there for each other. I don’t know what I’d do without her!

10. Best family: Well mine of course! They are loud, annoying, and extremely obnoxious but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Freefall by Mindi Scott

Title: Freefall

Author: Mindi Scott

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 315 paperback

My Rating: 5/5 stars

*If every debut author could write a novel this well, then my already huge TBR list would triple in size! I still cannot get over how amazing this book was*

How do you come back from the point of no return?

Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend Isaac alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time where Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.

Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he’s ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth will soon realize he isn’t the only one who needs saving . . . (Summary, courtesy of Mindiscott.com)

This was a fantastic book! There really is not one thing about it that I disliked. The characters were all phenomenal (even the ones you only saw a little bit of), the plot was incredible (it is not an issue we all have to deal with, nevertheless, it was great!), and the book was genuinely well written.  The main character, Seth, is dealing with a lot. He can’t stop drinking, playing in his band just isn’t the same, and his grades are slipping badly in school. Seth is having an issue with everything because he really doesn’t know how to deal with the death of his best friend, Isaac. Since Seth was with him the night before he died, he truly blames himself for Isaac’s death. He is constantly thinking “what if I did this,” or “what if I did that.” Everyone else seems to be getting over Isaac’s death far too quickly and this only makes matters worse for him. Things slowly start to change for Seth when he joins Interpersonal Communications (IC) class. There, Seth meets the beautiful Rosetta. At first he thinks they couldn’t be more different but he soon learns they are both struggling with a great loss. Focusing on someone else seems to bring Seth out of his little cocoon of despair. As Seth slowly pulls away from his old life of drugs and alcohol he realizes that he really isn’t the one to blame for Isaac’s death. Mindi Scott’s inspiring debut novel only makes me more excited for what other great pieces of work she can come up with!

My “Bucket List” For 2011

 As the great and wonderful year of 2010 is winding down, I find myself thinking about what exactly I want to accomplish in 2011. I use the term “Bucket List” loosely. When most people think of the “Bucket List” they think of what they want to do before they die. So I am stating: I, in no way, plan to die in the near future! This is just a list of things I hope to do within the next year. In 2011, I will be an 18 year old with a lot on her plate but there is still a whole lot of life I have yet to experience. So here it goes:

1) I will join a class; and I don’t mean a college class (I have enough of those to last a lifetime). I mean a class for fun, whether it is yoga, zumba, or kick -boxing, I just want to go out of my comfort zone and try something new. Notice how all three of my options are exercise? That leads me to number 2.

2) Exercise more. I am joining about every other person out there who says they need to exercise more. I have not been physically active since June of 2010 due to personal injury (#3). Now that I am mostly recovered, I think it’s about time I get moving!

3) Avoid getting hurt at all cost! I have got to be more careful whenever I do anything from now on. I have had more bruises then a pro wrestler and I have injured myself in just about every sport I have attempted to play. If I could just make it through one year without getting shipped off to the E.R. due to injuries I will be happy!

4) I plan to still be a vegetarian. I have been meat-free for almost a full year now (pause from typing: gives herself big pat on the back!). It has been a challenge to say the least but the year to come will need some changes. I will be buying some cookbooks and become a more “healthy” vegetarian. A little less pasta and bread for me, and perhaps a little more veggies.

5) I plan to read 100 books! Is that a lot? Am I thinking crazy here? Probably, but still I want to read 100 books in one year. Part of those books will be the Y.A. 2011 Debut Challenge books as well as the Y.A. Historical Fiction Challenge. It would also be pretty awesome if a few of those 100 books were to be ARC’s (hint, hint). It is going to be tough but I am almost confident in this decision.

6) I plan to make this blog popular. This is going to be tough because really it is out of my hands. It is in the hands of you, the readers, of this blog. I know I go way off topic, talk about myself and my life way too much, but I do have some interesting stuff to say, right? Please tell me the answer to that question is yes.

7) I, myself, plan to become more popular. I don’t mean the girl with tons of followers who hang onto her every word, I just mean that I hope to actually meet and make some new friends in college. I have been there for a while now and have yet to find some great friends that will be in touch for a lifetime to come. Is five a huge number to shoot for? I hope not.

8) I also hope, for once in my life, to get into a relationship. To put it clearly: I have been on this singles cruise for a solid three years now; it’s about time I hopped aboard the love train. Okay, maybe not the love train, but still even the I-like-you-a lot- let’s- go-on-a-date train would be good. Maybe I should be more realistic and say: In the year 2011 I hope to go on one date. A date where a guy actually picks me up at home, meets my stepmom, shakes hands with my dad, and completely captures my heart within the few hours we are together. (Alright I really am dreaming big on this one)

9) I hope to be more prominent in my brother’s and sister’s lives. I don’t want to be the nosey, annoying big sister but still I want them to remember me as always being there. If there is a wrestling meet for Zack or a football game for Andrew, I want to be there cheering them on. When Abby or Kari needs help with homework, I hope I am their first choice on who to ask. To get to the point: I want to be there more for my family in 2011.

10) I want to live it up a little more. I am a quiet, reserved, 18 year old and I can honestly say it wouldn’t hurt if I got out more. Go to a few more parties (no illegal activities of course!), meet up with my friends more, basically do the things that normal (whatever that is) 18 year olds are doing.

11) Study! Study! Study! If there is anything this first semester of college has taught me, it is that you need to actually put in an effort. Instead of just being one of those people who just pass a class, I want to be the one who excels in a class. This is going to take a heck of a lot more work on my part.

12) Go on my first parent-free road trip with my friends, and survive it! Maybe we could go to Chicago, Washington D.C., or even to the Sunshine State. I don’t care what it is; all I know is that you aren’t really an adult until you’ve gone on a road trip without parents!

13) Grow my hair out and donate it to locks for love. My hair is basically my life. It isn’t extra thick, long, shiny, or pretty, I just cherish it. So to me, when I say I want to grow it out and chop it off is a big deal. I have a lot of growing to go but I am hoping I can make it!

14) Meet an author. This may be an extremely hard one as well considering the fact that I don’t see too many authors passing through mid-Michigan. But you better believe that I will keep my eyes open to authors who plan on traveling through this great state of mine someday soon!

15) Volunteer more! I have overlooked the fact of how well off I am one too many times. I have my family and friends (whom I love very much), my health (well not currently, but in general I am healthy), my job (they are so sparse now a days), my home, and so many other blessings. It is time I put a pause to my best interest and think about what I can do to help others. I can always donate a little more money and a lot more time.

There is my list so far. I know that I will do many more great, fascinating, exciting things in the year 2011 (18 is supposed to be the best year of your life, right), but those 15 items on my list are a must. My year will not be complete until I have checked off every one of my items on my list. So my challenge to you, all of my fellow bloggers: What is ont your “Bucket List” for 2011?

Wake by Lisa McMann

Title: Wake (Dream Catcher #1)

Author: Lisa McMann

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 210 hardcover

My Rating:  5/5 stars

*For this small (yet completely awesome!) book club that I am in, we decided to read Lisa McMann’s Dream Catcher books. I have been so anxious to read Wake, Fade, and Gone!*

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime. She can’t tell anybody about what she does — they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control. Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant…. (Summary, courtesy of Borders.com)

If you are looking for a great, fast read, then this book is for you! I am a fast reader but even I was surprised by how quickly I finished this book. While the main character, Janie, was busy getting sucked into everyone else’s dreams, I was busy getting sucked into this book. The story follows Janie. Ever since she can remember she has been sucked into dreams whenever she is within a close distance to someone dozing off. Throughout life, getting pulled into dreams was just another obstacle for Janie. She also has to deal with school, a full-time job, and a less-than-there (plus alcoholic) mother. To say the least, her life is quite difficult. A little ways into the book things start to pick up. She has noticed some changes in dreams. Instead of just being an invisible observer of the dream, it seems that the dreamers can now see Janie, and often ask her for help. One dreamer in particular (and possible love interest), Cabel, seems to have very haunting dreams that sometimes feature Janie. As the story goes on Janie’s feelings for Cabel grow stronger until a series of events leads to her distrust in him. When she learns the secrets to his deception, Janie also discovers that she may be his only help.

I loved pretty much everything about this book. Janie’s character was unique (I mean come on, how many people do you know that can insert themselves into dreams?), yet she also deals with a lot of relatable problems. This is yet another great read that harbors it all; fantasy, love, mystery, etc!

And The Winner Is….Me?

There are no words to express my excitement right now. I have been checking my e-mail from the time I woke up this morning. In the middle of my biology exam, I took a sneak peak at my phone to make sure there was nothing new. While reading Remember Me by Christopher Pike (It’s actually three stories in one!), I stopped to take a break and check my e-mail once (okay it was more like five times, but who is counting), and while going over a review in math class you better believe I had my phone out again. The countless attempts I made to check my e-mail all ended in failure. Sure there were some super good coupons from Borders but that wasn’t really what I was looking for. A few weeks ago I was going through some of my favorite author’s blogs; I do this quite often just to see if there is anything new going on with them. As it turns out one of my new favorites, Jennifer Echols, was having a little giveaway on her blog. So I thought to myself, “why not give it a try. I know I have perhaps the worst luck ever, but hey why not?” So all I had to do was make a comment on her blog post and then on Dec. 16, a winner would be chosen (hence, all of the constant e-mail checking). I don’t know what it was about this particular giveaway, I just knew I wanted to win. The second math class got out; I rushed home and started up the computer. There waiting for me, was perhaps the greatest e-mail ever! I actually won. I am almost positive I gave every single person in the house a near-heart attack when I screeched for joy, but hey, there is always a good time to screech for joy, and in my opinion this was definitely the time! So to make this extremely long, but ultimately exciting story short, I chose for her to send me Endless Summer. To say the least, I am so very excited at this point in time. So now I am off to finish reading Remember Me (keep in mind it is close to 750 pages long; this may take a while) so that when Endless Summer arrives, I can be all prepared to read it!


For those of you who haven’t checked out her books (or blog for that matter) I strongly suggest you do so. She is pretty darn cool! http://www.jennifer-echols.com/

What is next?

  At this time of the year, days are supposed to be spent Christmas shopping, baking cookies, and watching an endless amount of Christmas movies. Now all of this sounds great but I am doing quite the opposite. The Torrey Family Curse kicked in last week when one of our pumps broke. I was in the middle of doing a load of laundry when I soon found myself standing in a huge puddle of water. This would be no huge issue for a girl whose father happens to be a plumber, but when that plumber is my own dad, it is a completely different story. This issue with the plumbing happened last Tuesday. We did not have running water in the basement until Sunday. That is nearly five days of all 8 of us sharing two bathrooms. In other words…pure torture. This problem wouldn’t be too terrible if you didn’t take into account everything else going wrong. It started when Zack (the second youngest of my family) had a fever that lasted 3 days. Then Zeke (the little baby) started throwing up non-stop. Then Zack got rid of the fever but picked up the nasty flu bug. So as you can guess, that flu bug spread to everyone else within 24 hours. I thought I was going to luck out seeing as I was already sick with a nasty cough, and I tend to not get the flu. I survived a whole day of work but the second I got home I got sick. What a mess! This did not make planning for Christmas an easy task. We had to make Christmas cookies (making sure that whomever didn’t have the flu at the time was touching them), get the Christmas tree and decorate it (yes; we still go out and cut down a real live tree every year. I wouldn’t have it any other way), and then there is the Christmas decorations. It literally looks like our 20 tubs of Christmas stuff got the flu bug too and threw up everywhere. It is a gross analogy, but still you can get the pictures. A word of advice: Any breakable, messy, or priceless decorations should NOT be put in a house of six kids! We spend more time cleaning up and putting the decorations back in place than anything else! To say the least, it has been a crazy few days in the Torrey household. Now everyone is hopefully returning back to normal (well as normal as you can get in my house) schedules tomorrow; no more sick days for us! While being sick had made me feel pretty miserable for a while I was still able to accomplish a lot. I posted some more book reviews as well crossing a few books off of my to-read list. I finished Love Sick by Jake Coburn (see previous post for review) and Wake by Lisa McMann (review: coming soon!). Now that’s not too shabby! I am now making my way through Freefall by Mindi Scott. I am only about 100 pages in, but gosh, what an amazing book so far! I can already tell it’s going to be a favorite. A piece of great news: An author actually commented on my blog today! How awesome is that. Ashley Perez is a 2011 Debut Author, and it just so happens I am reading her book titled What Can’t Wait for the Debut Author Challenge. She just dropped by to say thanks for choosing her book. Maybe this means things are looking up for the blog ?! Well, I sure hope so =]

Love Sick by Jake Coburn

Title: Love Sick

Author: Jake Coburn

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Pages: 240 paperback

My Rating: 3/5 stars

What happens when you mix an alcoholic teenage boy with a bulimic teenage girl? One explosive story! Jake Coburn’s book Love Sick was the first of his novels that I have read. To be honest the story line captured me! It is not every day that you read a book about a young boy hired to keep track of a wealthy man’s severely bulimic daughter.

When the wealthy father of a bulimic Manhattan girl offers to pay for Ted’s college tuition, there’s one catch–Ted must secretly keep tabs on Erica. A seemingly simple task, with only one minor problem: Ted never expected to fall in love. (Summary, courtesy of Borders.com….sorry it is kind of short; it was the best I could do)

Ted’s life is forever changed the second he crashed his car. The drunk-driving incident landed him in AA, crushed his leg, ruined his dreams of playing basketball, and ultimately his scholarship to an out-of-state college was revoked. Ted thinks his life is basically over until one day a strange man makes him an offer he cannot refuse. He can get an excellent college education with just one exception: keep an eye on an extremely wealthy man’s bulimic daughter, Erica. Ted thinks he is up for the task until the unexpected happens; he falls in love. This story would have been pure love for me if it were written in alternating point of views. Now I am not a specialist on P.O.V. nor am I an author of this book but I can only state my opinion. The story was written in third-person so it made it confusing when it was switching from one character to another. I feel that the book would be more beneficial if there were different sections when switching from one character to another (change of font between characters, names at the top of the page, etc.) Aside from the confusion, there was only one other issue I had with it: it ended too soon! I would have loved for the end of the book to slow down the pace a little so we could get a more in-depth view of the characters; they all seem so interesting! Nevertheless, it was an exceptional book; I would recommend it to most.

How to Ruin Your Boyfriend’s Reputation by Simone Elkeles

Title: How to Ruin Your Boyfriend’s Reputation (How to Ruin #3)

Author: Simone Elkeles

Publisher: Flux

Pages: 257 paperback

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Last but definitely not least we have How to Ruin Your Boyfriend’s Reputation, the last book in the Ruined series. It makes me extremely sad that I will not be hearing from one of my favorite characters anymore. In all honesty, Amy is witty, sarcastic, snotty, and is someone who never misses a chance to speak her mind. Now before I dwell on how much I am going to miss Amy, let’s move on to the final review:

Guess who’s jetting off to the Holy Land this summer!

Yes, it’s me—Amy Nelson-Barak. I’ve volunteered for ten days of military training in Israel with my friends. The Sababa brochure said it would be a “fun” summer experience. Okay, so I didn’t sign up to prove I’m not a princess…I did it to surprise my hot Israeli boyfriend stationed at the same base.  

 Too bad nobody told me:

– It’s hot in the Negev desert…like, so hot your makeup melts off and you get under-boob sweat spots.

– You can’t sleep in until 11 a.m. 

– You shouldn’t kill bees with your flatiron—don’t ask.

– Peeing in a hole isn’t easy (when you’re a girl)—double don’t ask. 

When I find out our team leader is my boyfriend Avi, I’m totally psyched…until I learn he has to treat me like all the other recruits. Can you say OY VEY! (Summary, courtesy of Amazon.com)

What a great end to a great series! Amy’s summer vacation is going to turn out a little different than she expected. She signs up for a program that lands her in a ten day army-training program in Israel. Others signed up for the program to become closer to their Jewish roots. However, Amy had ulterior motives; Avi is stationed there! Leave it to Amy to cause trouble within the first five minutes she lands on the army base. When Amy first sees Avi she expects him to be jumping for joy; of course, he doesn’t. He even admits to Amy that he doesn’t want her there. After a few arguments and sum unraveled truths, Amy and Avi end their struggling relationship. Regardless of how heartbroken she is, Amy decides to tough it out the rest of the army experience. Can Amy learn to put the past behind her and learn to fight for her relationship with Avi? The whole ten days is filled with funny, awkward, and sometimes sad moments; mix that with break-ups, hook-ups, and make-ups, then you know you have an excellent book!