Monthly Wrap-Up (February 2011)

It’s that time again! Monthly Wrap-Up is a feature on my blog that I just started this year. At the end of each month I will post exactly what happened on my crazy little blog for that previous month. February is a short month; that is the excuse I am using to cover up my lack of reading/blogging this past month.

Books I Read In February

Rhymes With Cupid By Anna Humphrey

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Gone by Lisa McMann

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Across The Universe by Beth Revis

*That is a total of 6 books read for the month of February. I am now 14% done with my goal of reading 100 books this year*

Books I Reviewed In February

Other Words For Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal. (Read my review here.) This is a fantastic 2011 Debut Novel that needs to be read by teenage girls everywhere. Love, heartbreak, and redemption are all included in this wonderful book!

 

Vixen by Jillian Larkin. (Read my review here.) This is a must read for anyone participating in Y.A. Bliss’ Historical Fiction Challenge. Revenge, love, drama, murder, lies, deceit, fashion; basically the norm for the Roaring 20’s.

 

Timeless by Alexandra Monir. (Read my review here.) Another fantastic 2011 Debut Novel! This one takes us all throughout history as the main character races through time to save the boy she loves.

 

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg. (Read my review here.) Not a debut novel but an absolute must-read! This feel-good novel is about getting over heart-break, learning to love yourself, and not to mention, it features the wonderful Beatles!

*I feel that I should also mention that this book may or may not have been written about my best friend Kati and I*

 

Rhymes With Cupid by Anna Humphrey. (Read my review here.) This super cute, easy-loving novel is the perfect little book for Valentines Day, or really just for a time when you just need a love story to get you by.

 

Across The Universe by Beth Revis. (Read my review here.) 2011 Debut Authors must have been conspiring together to all write fantastic novels. Across The Universe is a book that will satisfy all readers regardless of what their favorite genre is. It is sci-fi, romance, thriller, mystery, just everything great rolled into one.

Miscellaneous Things On The Blog In February

I continued to participate in the weekly meme featured by The Story Siren, In My Mailbox. I got so many fantastic items this past month, I really couldn’t believe it!

(Read my IMM posts here, here, and here.)

I also joined a new meme this month hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading, called Teaser Tuesday. You pick a random page of a book you are currently reading, reveal 2 sentences, and tease all your readers. It is fun and I got a great response to it!

(Read my Teaser Tuesday post here.)

On one particular day, I was feeling generous and bored so I decided to post a few videos staring, made, and produced by my brother and neighbor. The creative little dudes love coming up with videos and also love the comments, so if you are feeling generous and bored as well, click the link below and drop them off a comment!

(To view my brother’s and neighbor’s videos click here.)

In other news, Leah Clifford’s book, A Touch Mortal came out this month! To enter her giveaway (which sadly, I did not win) I had to make a post regarding the craziest thing I have ever done. It features my spontaneous personality, clumsiness, and all-around bad luck.

(To view “The Craziest Thing I Have Ever Done” click here.)

Wrap Up

That is it for this month, I know it is sad and pathetic. I am not getting too much closer to my goal of books read in 2011, but I have a feeling March is going to be more productive! However, Kati and I will be taking a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, so if I am somehow swallowed up by the ocean (it’s happened once or twice before, who knows if it’ll happen again), you all will have to deal. Now back to the point, if you are interested in doing a monthly wrap-up, please do so! Post a link in the comments section, and I will check it out. I hope February was a great, love-filled month for everyone!

Book Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe (Across The Universe #1)

Author: Beth Revis

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 398 hardcover

My Rating: 4/5 stars

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Wow, wow, wow! That is all I could think of after I put down Across The Universe. First I should start off by saying this is not just your typical Y.A. science fiction novel, it is so much more! There was drama, romance, mystery, suspense, basically everything great about Young Adult Literature all rolled into one book.

On top of this book being filled with every great genre of literature, it was also extremely different! The ideas that Beth Revis came up with regarding space travel was new and interesting. From the space ship to the cryo chambers even to the emotion-reducing water are all such unique ideas. I commend Beth for coming up with something so fantastic!

The characters were also very special. Even though I have never been frozen for 300+ years and woken up 50+ years before everyone else, I could still relate to Amy. She felt alone, ostracized, scared, frustrated, confused, whatever she was feeling, I could completely understand! Her determination to change all of the wrongs taking place on the ship while also trying to make sure all the frozens were safe was so admirable. She is a super hero in my opinion! Elder was an exceptional character as well. When you are on a ship where everyone is so blah and boring, it is really odd to be out of the ordinary. Elder had personality, opinions, and even a bit of an attitude but his differences only made me like him even more. Other side characters such as Eldest, Doc and Harley add more to the book as well. Eldest is a father figure to Elder but his strict rules and cruel personality become a huge issue during the middle of the book. Doc’s personality is a tad bit flat throughout most of the book but a lot of the information he leaks is vital to the mysteries in the book. As far as Harley goes, I loved this character. He is classified as a crazy according to the members of the ship but his personality was friendly and vibrant. He befriended Amy without a question.

It wouldn’t be a great book without a little love, right? Well okay it still would be pretty kick-butt book without the love aspect, but come on, a little love makes everyone happy! Elder, the soon to be Eldest, was mesmerized by Amy from the moment he laid eyes on her. Everyone on his ship was exactly the same and Amy was exactly the opposite! At first I feel that his reasons for liking her were merely superficial. He was intrigued by how different she was. BUT as time went on, he fell in love with her personality. Her determination and strength really drew Elder in. The same may go for Amy. At first Elder was a guy who was just there for her. He was the same age so it was easier for Amy to relate to him. However, as time passed, Eldest’s unique personality and drive to be a great leader attracted her to him even more.

The blogosphere has been a-buzz with nothing but great words over this book. I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype, but I now realize there is nothing to worry about! This super awesome sci-fi novel is in a class all its own; Across The Universe is scientific-love-thriller-mystery story that will leave you wanting more. I highly recommend this 2011 debut novel!

Teaser Tuesday (1)

This is my first Teaser Tuesday! Oh yeah! This awesome meme is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Teaser Tuesday asks you to take the book you are reading, flip it to a random page, and share two sentences (no spoilers though!). Sounds easy enough, right? Well it is, plus it is a great way to see what others are reading!

I am currently reading So Shelly by Ty Roth

“This might be my chance to do something that actually matters. I don’t care if it takes all summer.”

 ~pg. 176, So Shelly by Ty Roth

Book Review: Rhymes With Cupid by Anna Humphrey

Title: Rhymes With Cupid

Author: Anna Humphrey

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 234 paperback

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodman’s Gifts & Stationery Store

February 14
Cashier: Elyse

3 boxes of heart-shaped chocolate . . . $12.00

Chocolate is the only good thing about this nauseating holiday. 

4 containers of candy hearts . . . $5.00

Ever since my ex cheated on me, I’ve sworn off love. Too bad my new neighbor Patrick didn’t get the memo. 

1 Valentine’s Day card . . . $4.50

I’m not interested. Although, he is pretty cute. And sweet. And funny.

1 singing Cupid doll (promotional item) . . . $0.00

Stupid Cupid! Point your arrows at someone else. . . . 

Subtotal . . . $21.50

It’s going to be a complicated Valentine’s Day.

Alright so it has been a while since I have actually read this book (1 fail for me for not having this review written earlier) so bear with me as I try to recall all the major points. The things that stand out the most in this book were its: 1) sweetness 2) cuteness 3) funniness…. basically you can see where I am going with this. It is everything you could hope for a Valentines Day book to be like. It was so nice, adorable, and innocent; I just loved that about it.

Elyse and her mom have been working hard to stay afloat, just the two of them. Even though her mom was absent for most of the book (lucky girl got to go on a vacation to Cancun, Mexico), you can definitely tell that they have a strong relationship. Elyse passes her time alone by working at the gift store, keeping up with her good friend Dina, ignoring her ex-best friend & ex-boyfriend, while also trying to ignore the fact that Valentines Day is right around the corner. However, nothing seems to be going right. The furnace breaks, raccoons attack the house, ex-boyfriend/ex-best friend show up unexpectedly, everyone else around her brings up the dreaded V-day, and the only one there for her through it all is her next-door neighbor/driving instructor, Patrick. Patrick is super cute, funny, some-what nerdy (in a good way), and in Elyse’s opinion, perfect for Dina. Patrick, however, has someone else in mind…her name just might start with an E- and end with a -lyse. The only question is, can Elyse get over the hurt of boys-past to move on to love in the future?

Elyse is a girl after my own heart. She is rough around the edges, a little bit cynical, but deep down she has a heart of gold. She is always looking out for her friends and mom and helps them out regardless of how ridiculous their requests are (panda-themed party… uh no thanks!). Elyse reminds me of myself (and quite a few others I know) a little in that way, always spending too much time taking care of others instead of herself. Dina, Elyse’s good friend is the ideal friend in this book. She is sweet, has her little quirks, and while Elyse may think she is the one taking care of Dina, Dina spends quite a bit of time taking care of Elyse. Also I mentioned Patrick. He is my ideal cute, nice, funny, nerdy guy (gosh the best ones are either taken or fictional!). The fact that Elyse overlooks her own feelings for Patrick because she thinks that her friend likes him, shows you just how great this main character is. The relationship between the main characters and everyone else in this book is so believable. It could have been very well written about yourself or a good friend. Elyse’s resistance to finding love is something we all face one day. The innocence between Elyse and Patrick was probably my favorite characteristic of the whole book. I love Y.A. lit; fiction, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, I love it all. I also love feisty little love scenes, I mean who doesn’t? BUT it was very nice and refreshing to read a Y.A. novel that didn’t rely on steamy love scenes to pique interest in readers.

Rhymes With Cupid is such a cute novel; perfect for those little love story cravings!

The Craziest Thing I Have Ever Done

Alright so for the few of you who actually read my blog, this blog post may seem a bit random….ok so maybe not since I throw a few random posts out there all the time anyways I may have at least piqued your interest a tad with this blog post.

I’m actually doing this to be entered into Leah Clifford’s contest to win one of four awesome prize packs! All you have to do is tell a little story of the craziest thing you have done, include a picture of the book, and link back to her contest. GO TO HER CONTEST BY CLICKING THIS LINK! Here is the craziest thing I have done…that I remember:

Ever since 6th grade I was a track runner. I really was not coordinated to do much else so that is what I stuck with. It came as a HUGE shock to many that I wanted to quit the track team my senior year to join tennis. I just wasn’t feeling the love for track anymore and wanted to have fun my last year of high school. To say that I was a sucky tennis player is a bit of an understatement govener. I made it through almost the whole season without winning. A few weeks before the season came to a close, I found myself actually winning a match (no cheating was involved). That, however, is where my luck ran out. In the middle of the match I dislocated my kneecap and was out the rest of the season.

Quitting track was crazy and the outcome really didn’t turn out how I hoped it would but I wouldn’t change a thing. I had some great memories those last few months of school.

Now go enter her contest! You have until 2/23/11!!!

In My Mailbox (7)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library. Here is my list of books I got this week. This is IMM number 7 and I was feeling kind of lucky this week! (All summaries are courtesy of Goodreads.com):

Bought:

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers – monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell – she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie’s powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her – an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie’s soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian’s most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives – including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

My Thoughts: Well first off, congrats to Courtney for the awesome book launch. I am so extremely happy that I was able to attend that event! Courtney was able to sign & personalize the book (eek!!!) and she also read an excerpt from her book! If the summary isn’t enough to just completely draw you in, then I don’t know what is! It just sounds like a kick-butt book!

Generation Dead  by Daniel Waters

Phoebe Kendall is just your typical Goth girl with a crush. He’s strong and silent…and dead.

All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren’t staying dead. But when they come back to life, they are no longer the same. Feared and misunderstood, they are doing their best to blend into a society that doesn’t want them.
The administration at Oakvale High attempts to be more welcoming of the “differently biotic.” But the students don’t want to take classes or eat in the cafeteria next to someone who isn’t breathing. And there are no laws that exist to protect the “living impaired” from the people who want them to disappear—for good.

When Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids, no one can believe it; not her best friend, Margi, and especially not her neighbor, Adam, the star of the football team. Adam has feelings for Phoebe that run much deeper than just friendship; he would do anything for her. But what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy?

My Thoughts: I chose this book for the A-Z challenge. A zombie love story is most definitely something I have NOT read yet so I am pretty darn excited to actually have my own copy!

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.

The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band’s manager and get her share of the profits.

The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she’s deaf?

Piper can’t hear Dumb’s music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.

My Thoughts: This is perhaps the most unique sounding book I have picked up in a long time! I mean come on… a deaf girl managing a band!?! This book just screams awesomeness at me.

So Shelly by Ty Roth

Until now, high school junior, John Keats, has only tiptoed near the edges of the vortex that is schoolmate and literary prodigy, Gordon Byron. That is, until their mutual friend, Shelly, drowns in a sailing accident.

After stealing Shelly’s ashes from her wake at Trinity Catholic High School, the boys set a course for the small Lake Erie island where Shelly’s body had washed ashore and to where she wished to be returned. It would be one last “so Shelly” romantic quest. At least that’s what they think. As they navigate around the obstacles and resist temptations during their odyssey, Keats and Gordon glue together the shattered pieces of Shelly’s and their own pasts while attempting to make sense of her tragic and premature end.

My Thoughts: Well this book wasn’t on my original 2011 Debut Author Challenge list (I must have been on something to not add this book to the list!) It sounds fantastic. Maybe a little love story? A story of self-discovery? Am I sensing a tad bit of mystery? Well I will find out soon enough, it sounds great!

Miscellaneous:

While at Courtney Allison Moulton’s book launch at the fabulous Schuler Book Store in Lansing (literally the best store I have EVER been to) I had some sticky fingers and picked up a few bookmarks, a sticker, and a pin….ok more than a few ;). They include:

Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness bookmarks (Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl)

A Touch Mortal bookmark…signed!!! (Leah Clifford)

Angelfire bookmark and sticker (Courtney Allison Moulton)

Iron Queen bookmark and pin (Julie Kagawa)

The Dark Days Supernatural Tour bookmark (multiple authors)

Also in the miscellaneous category is a lovely little troll from Gae Polisner (Author of The Pull of Gravity)… oh wait, that’s right, there is a troll caper somewhere between Gae’s mailbox and mine. After the first attempt failed (the mail was actually opened & the troll was gone!) I contacted Gae and she sent me another one. This time she included a super cute little poem but yet again, the troll was missing. Even though we have had some troll-napping issues I am very thankful to Gae for the sweet letter and the awesome (signed!!) 2k11 bookmarks and sticker!

Well that is it for my awesome little mailbox this week; what did you get in your mailbox?

Book Review: The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Title: The Lonely Hearts Club

Author: Elizabeth Eulberg

Publisher: Point

Pages: 285 hardcover

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Love is all you need…or is it? Penny’s about to find out in this wonderful debut.
Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows – no more. It’s a personal choice…and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born; The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways…which is too bad, because there’s this certain boy she can’t help but like… 

The Lonely Hearts Club. I absolutely love everything about this book. There truly is not one negative comment I can make about it. It is sweet, funny, cute, adorable, awesome, really the list goes on and on. I have seen this book floating around the book store for quite some time now but for some reason never picked it up. During our last shopping trip, my best friend Kati actually picked it up. Just a few days later, she was blowing up my phone and twitter with messages about how she just adored this book. She said, and I quote, “I seriously can’t get enough of this book girl! You’ll love it; the main girl is just like you, and her best friend is my twin. Pretty much, these girls are so frigging funny.” After that, I quickly borrowed the book from Kati and blasted through it. We then came to the (highly unlikely) conclusion that Miss Elizabeth Eulberg stalked us for a good part of our lives. The main character Penny and her best friend Tracy are just like Kati and I. Well if Kati and I actually had dumb boys to break our hearts in the first place and then started a completely awesome club of girls who are giving up boys, then Penny and Tracy would seriously be our twins. (Ok, if this has been enough nonsense for you, I will now start with my review part of the book!)

The main character of this book, Penny, is sick of boys breaking hearts. Not just her heart, but the hearts of all her friends. She is so sick of it she decides to form The Lonely Hearts Club. At first, this is just a one–woman show, but quickly more and more girls start opting for the single life. Penny struggles to control her ever-growing group but she soon realizes she has created a great support system for the girls at her school. This whole giving-up-boys thing would be a lot easier if one in particular would stop acting so nice, funny, cute, and perfect all the time…

So here is what I loved about this book, aside from the fact that it was written about me & Kati:

1)      Beatles. Beatles. Beatles. So if you didn’t catch the obviousness, I loved the references to the musical phenomenon known as The Beatles. First the cover, Love it. I know authors very rarely have any control over it, but whoever designed it did a great job with making it very Beatles-ish. Second, the main character’s name. Penny Lane, after a Beatles song. So unique, quirky, and cute! Third, The name of the club. The Lonely Hearts Club, named after Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album of The Beatles. Fourth, breaks in the book. They were marked off with song titles and a line of lyrics from that particular song. Last but not least, the random mentions of The Beatles throughout the whole book. If you are going to incorporate something as spectacular as The Beatles in a book, you have to go big or go home. Elizabeth did a great job of including Beatle-ish things throughout the whole book.

2)      Girl Power! That is right, these girls may just be mere mortals but they are super heroes in my eyes. I wish I could have had the guts to do what Penny and her friends did in high school. Regardless of complaints of the male population and threats from the principal, Penny and fellow members of The Lonely Hearts Club march ahead without hesitation. They all believe 100% in what they are doing and they aren’t letting anyone tell them differently.

3)      For the love of all that is holy. I love romance just as much as the next teen girl, but you very rarely see the main character having a romance with herself. Now before you take that the wrong way and get all embarrassed, let me explain. Whatever happened to loving yourself before loving others? Elizabeth did teen girls a huge favor by writing this novel! Sure Penny starts the club after a huge heartbreak, but she just wants to take the time to make herself happy. I love that Penny fell in love with herself FIRST then went and found romance with a boy AFTER.

4)      Friends are forever. The friendships in this novel are so believable! (Well of course they would be, Elizabeth stalked Kati and I, remember?) In all honesty, the friendship between Penny and Tracy was superb. They fight, get irritated, push certain buttons, and are so loyal to one another. After the club becomes hugely popular, the relationship between all its members is fantastic. At first Tracy can’t stand a super popular cheerleader named Diane. After finding some common ground (common ground being they are both Penny’s friend and boys are dumb) they eventually have a great friendship. To add to the “friends are forever” part, I loved that this was the perfect novel for me to read with my best friend. Even if our personalities were complete opposite of Penny and Tracy, I have a feeling we would still love to read this book together!

If you are looking for a book full of GIRL POWER then The Lonely Hearts Club is for you. It is a super cute and sweet novel of a group of girls sick of heartache. This book will have you laughing and crying tears of joy the whole way through! I strongly recommend it to anyone.