Tune-In Tuesday (10)/ Teaser Tuesday (7)

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Ginger @ GReads so you should head on over and link up! It is a great way to bounce from blog to blog and discover what others are listening to! I love music, all types of music but there is so much out there that I haven’t heard of before. That being said, feel free to leave a link to your Tune-In Tuesday post!

My Pandora stations have been so awesome the past few weeks, I just had to feature a band that has been popping up lately. They were formally known as The Workday Release and are now called The Wandering Tree. As for the name change goes, not so sure I like it PLUS it can really confuse fans (such as myself)! I just figured they dropped off the face of the earth but no, they are still kicking it! I just can’t tell what I like more, the lyrics, the voice, or the melody of the song; it all freaking rocks to me! Ok, enough rambling for now (it is late & I am sleep deprived, sorry!). My FAVORITE song by them is called Love in a Box. This song was from back in the day when they were still called The Workday Release. I just adore it to pieces, and I hope you do too! Leave a comment telling me what you think.

The Workday Release/The Wandering Tree: Love in a Box


Now for the Teaser Tuesday part of this post! 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 decided to be a stellar book club goer this week & actually finish our chosen book before the meeting! Our book of choice is Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt. By the time you are reading this, I will most likely already be done with the book. Yeah, it’s that good! It is so much more than I could have ever expected. Here is a little snippet that I hope you’ll enjoy! Leave a comment letting me know what you think!

*The following is a journal entry that the main character, Payton, is writing about Sean Griswold*

“A. Hair

1. Very blond, like a little kid’s/ Light bounces right off of it. White, almost.

2. Soft. Like fuzz on a duckling. Not that I’ve touched it! But I might need to, once I get further into my research.

B. Size

1. HUGE.

2. Is that mean? It’s bigger than most heads, slightly off proportion from the rest of his body. He’s gotta have a strong neck.

3. Big enough that I have to crane my neck to see around his dome.

C. Things it could fit into

1. Toilet-yes.

2. Batting helmet-heck no.”

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt, pg. 18

In My Mailbox (14)

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. Thanks to the absolutely wonderful and totally generous Cari’s Book Blog, I have a HUGE list of awesomeness to share with you guys. Seriously, I am absolutely floored by her kindness! (All summaries, courtesy of Goodreads.com)


How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend by Janette Rallison

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Giovanna Petrizzo finds it hard enough to fit in. Three years since her family moved to Texas, she’s still the newcomer compared to everyone around her. It doesn’t help matters when her twin brother, Dante, takes on the mayor’s son by running for class president. The least she could expect, though, would be for her boyfriend, Jesse, to support their cause. But Jesse’s apparent defection triggers Giovanna’s rash emotional side, and before she knows it, she’s turned Jesse from the boy of her dreams to the exboyfriend she dreams of winning back.

In her trademark style, Janette Rallison delivers a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that only leaves readers wanting more.

My Thoughts: Holy cuteness! I am so excited to read this one! A little bit of romance & a lot of humor is sooo something I can see myself enjoying.

Kissing Booth by Lexie Hill

Summary: Lisi has never been kissed. Sure, she could practice on her guy friend, Johnny, but he’s like a brother to her! So when it comes time to pick a theme for the Spring Carnival booth, Lisi suggests a “Kissing Booth,” hoping it will give her the chance to get a cheek-kiss from her crush, the handsome, popular Brett. But on the day of the carnival, as rumors fly and kisses are stolen, Lisi discovers that the person she should really kiss may have been right in front of her all along.

My Thoughts: I think this one deserves another “Holy cuteness!” Seriously, it sounds adorable, I only wish I would have thought of the whole kissing booth thing when I was in high school!

Nerd Girls: The Rise of Dorkasaurus by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Summary: Maureen, a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed dork-a-saurus, is totally addicted to cupcakes and hot dogs and thinks that her body looks like a baked potato. Allergy-plagued Alice can’t touch a mango without breaking out in a rash, and if she eats wheat, her vision goes blurry. Klutzy to the extreme, Barbara is a beanpole who often embarrasses herself in front of the whole school. These outcasts don’t have much in common—other than the fact that they are often targets of the ThreePees: the Pretty, Popular, Perfect girls who rule the school.

But one day Maureen discovers that the ThreePees are planning to sit next to Allergy Alice in the cafeteria and eat peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches on whole wheat toast with mango marmalade for lunch. And Maureen decides that it’s time to topple the eight-grade social regime. She joins forces with Alice and Barbara and the Nerd Girls enter the school talent show, determined to take the crown from the ThreePees. Will their routine be enough to de-throne the popular crowd? Or will their plan backfire and shake their hold on the bottom rung of the social ladder?

My Thoughts: Alright people, here’s the story: I too was once a dork-a-saurus. In fact, if I am being honest with myself I still am a dork-a-saurus. I can’t wait to read this because I have a feeling it is going to be a story about me. Not me literally, but a story with characters similar to how I was at age 13. It is going to be cute and funny, I can already tell!

Slept Away by Julie Kraut

Summary: Laney Parker is a city girl through and through. For her, summertime means stepping out of her itchy gray school uniform and into a season of tanning at rooftop swimming pools, brunching at sidewalk cafes, and—as soon as the parents leave for the Hamptons—partying at her classmates’ apartments.

But this summer Laney’s mother has other plans for Laney. It’s called Camp Timber Trails and rustic doesn’t even begin to describe the un-air-conditioned log cabin nightmare. Laney is way out of her element—the in-crowd is anything but cool, popularity seems to be determined by swimming skills, and the activities seem more like boot camp than summer camp.

Splattered with tie dye fall out, stripped of her cell, and going through Diet Coke withdrawal, Laney is barely hanging on. Being declared the biggest loser of the bunk is one thing, but when she realizes her summer crush is untouchably uncrushable in the real world, she starts to wonder, can camp cool possibly translate to cool cool?

Summer camp might just turn this city girl’s world upside down!

My Thoughts: Hello perfect summer read! It seems like a quick, fun, lovable book perfect for those days at the beach! I never was able to attend camp as a kid so I am kind of psyched to read a book about a girl shipped off to camp!

I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Summary: Raised by an unstable father who keeps the family constantly on the move, Sam Border hasn’t been in a classroom since the second grade. He’s always been the rock for his younger brother Riddle, who stopped speaking long ago and instead makes sense of the world through his strange and intricate drawings. It’s said that the two boys speak with one voice–and that voice is Sam’s.

Then, Sam meets Emily Bell, and everything changes. The two share an immediate and intense attraction, and soon Sam and Riddle find themselves welcomed into the Bell’s home. Faced with normalcy for the first time, they know it’s too good to last.

Told from multiple perspectives, Holly Goldberg Sloan’s debut novel offers readers fresh voices and a gripping story, with vivid glimpses into the lives of many unique characters. Beautifully written and emotionally profound, I’ll Be There is a story about connections both big and small, and deftly explores the many ways that our lives are woven together.

My Thoughts: Wow! That is all I can really say. This book was added to my 2011 DAC list long ago so I was so thrilled to see it in the whopping stack of books that I received. It sounds like a gripping, honest, touching story. The fact that it follows a male character is awesome plus we get to see the story from multiple view points. I couldn’t be more excited to start reading!

What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Summary: In the past two years, Mclean Sweet has moved four times. At each stop, she assumes a new persona, but it never quite works. Whether she’s an effervescent cheerleader or an intense drama queen, nothing can permanently dispel the turmoil and rage at her mother since her parents’ divorce. Sarah Dessen’s novel about a teenager and her restaurant manager father captures the vulnerability that young people often experience after the dissolution of their family. A compelling story; strong characterization; and with a touch of romance.

My Thoughts: The fact that this is Sarah Dessen’s newest novel and the only one by her that I haven’t read yet, makes me absolutely thrilled to start reading. I mean holy crap! Sarah Dessen is the Godfather of contemporary Y.A. (so I have stated several times). There is no doubt in my mind that I will just devour this book!

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Summary: Everyone thinks their parents are embarrassing, but Hannah knows she’s got them all beat. Her dad made a fortune showcasing photos of pretty girls and his party lifestyle all over the Internet, and her mom was once one of her dad’s girlfriends and is now the star of her own website. After getting the wrong kind of attention for way too long, Hannah has mastered the art of staying under the radar…and that’s just how she likes it.

Of course, that doesn’t help her get noticed by her crush. Hannah’s sure that gorgeous, sensitive Josh is her soul mate. But trying to get him to notice her; wondering why she suddenly can’t stop thinking about another guy, Finn; and dealing with her parents make Hannah feel like she’s going crazy. Yet she’s determined to make things work out the way she wants—only what she wants may not be what she needs…

Once again, Elizabeth Scott has created a world so painfully funny and a cast of characters so heartbreakingly real that you’ll love being a part of it from unexpected start to triumphant finish.

My Thoughts: This is going to be my first ever Elizabeth Scott book! Jeeze, I thought my life was pretty complicated but clearly Hannah has me beat. Her family sounds dysfunctional, life seems hard

Summary: Bookmarks & Swag Galore!!!

My Thoughts: A final thank you to Cari’s Book Blog for such a fabulous mailbox this week! This was such a sweet gesture. I can’t wait to start reading all my fabulous new books :)

Warped Tour Weekend (2)

On July 8th, 2011, I will be attending Vans Warped Tour in Detroit, MI for my 4th year in a row! I have been going to a ton of concerts over the years and they all have yet to beat the awesome time I have at Warped tour. What is Warped Tour? It is a huge mix of bands that all get together and put on several concerts throughout the day. There are about 6 stages set up and you can just walk from stage to stage and see whatever band you like. On top of that, all of the bands have their own personal tents set up and they all do signings and picture-taking sessions throughout the day. Basically, it is a day full of pure music awesomeness. I love every second of it. To help get myself ready for Warped Tour I will be posting a blog post every weekend leading up to Warped Tour with videos of a few bands that will be performing there. Some are totally NOT my type of thing but in the words of Owen Armstrong (Just Listen by Sarah Dessen), “it’s good to know I have options.” Please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you think of each particular band!

A Skylit Drive: All It Takes For Your Dreams To Come True

Go Radio: Hold On

Madnia Lake: One Last Kiss

Moving Mountains: Lights and Shapes

The Wonder Years: Don’t Let Me Cave In

Well it looks like I have some great bands to choose from again! I was almost killed at A Skylit Drive concert two years ago, so the odds of me actually going to see them at Warped Tour are very slim. Most of their songs have that screamo stuff in it (which really isn’t my favorite) but they balance it out with some normal-ish singing. This is probably one of my favorites by them. Go Radio is pure love for me! I definitely like their overall sound. Most of their songs are pretty good! Madina Lake has a bit of a Punk vibe to them but I am kind of digging it. They would be fun to see in concert, that’s for sure! As for Moving Mountains, they were a pleasant surprise for me. I have never heard of them so when I looked their music up on YouTube I didn’t know what to expect but I definitely like this song by them! The Wonder Years was another good surprise! I actually think I may have found a new love. Their type of music is right up my alley!

Now it’s your turn to tell me what you think! Feel free to leave a comment telling me what you like, what you didn’t like, or you know, just tell me how your day is going. Oh, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite on the poll!

TGIF (1)

TGIF is a fun little feature hosted at GReads! Every week we re-cap what has happened on the blog plus Ginger asks a question for us to answer. This week’s question is:

Author Love: 
In 2011 which new/old authors have you discovered & loved?
This is such a hard question to answer because I have honestly enjoyed every book I have read this year! Some were fantasy, some were romance, while others were historical fiction. Some were new and some were old but the thing is, I loved them all! But if I must narrow the list down, here are some of my favorite authors of this year!
Elizabeth Eulberg: I read her book, The Lonely Hearts Club and I absolutely adored it! It was recommended to me by my real-life best friend and I couldn’t have been more impressed. Seriously, such a cute book! Reading this only made me more excited for more books by Elizabeth.
Stephanie Perkins: I have one name for you-Etienne St. Claire-enough said. Stephanie uses the perfect mix of humor and heartache. Her characters were unique, fun, and well-rounded. I adored Anna and the French Kiss and I am impatiently awaiting the arrival of Lola and the Boy Next Door.
Janet Fox: Wow! I am not a huge fan of historical fiction but this author completely changed that for me. Faithful was such a beautifully written and well detailed story. If you have not read it yet, I suggest you go do so now!
Antony John: Anyone who can create a character as unique as Piper is in Five Flavors of Dumb, deserves some type of award. He really pushed the limit on Y.A. novels by creating a story of a deaf girl managing a rock band. This is some that has NEVER been done before. I just love, love, loved his book & I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
Ashley Hope Perez: As the first author EVER to request me to review a book, I just had to throw some author love out there. Not only was her book What Can’t Wait a truly touching and inspirational story, but Ashley is just such a doll! I will forever be thankful for her allowing me to read her book & do my first ever author interview with her!
This week on Katelyn’s Blog (5/20-5/27)

Tune-In Tuesday (9)/ Teaser Tuesday (6)

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Ginger @ GReads so you should head on over and link up! It is a great way to bounce from blog to blog and discover what others are listening to! I love music, all types of music but there is so much out there that I haven’t heard of before. That being said, feel free to leave a link to your Tune-In Tuesday post!

This week I was drawing a complete blank! There are just so many great bands out there that deserve their moment of spotlight and I just didn’t know who to choose! I finally settled on a guy I got to see in concert this past winter. The concerts main act was The Summer Set. This was the only band I knew anything by! Other bands/performers such as The Downtown Fiction, Mod Sun, and The Friday Night Boys were great opening acts that I have now become huge fans of. However, the one performer I didn’t get to see much of due to my awesome ability of being late..all the time, was Austin Gibbs. What I did get to see of his performance was pure love though. He had such a different type of sound. His voice was raspy yet clear at the same time. His singing seemed to come to him so effortlessly and easily. I could gush on an on about this guy but all you really need to know is 1) his voice is awesome 2) the lyrics rock and 3) if you ever see him in concert beware of his mustache, nicknamed “El Capitan” which seems to have a personality all its own. And yes, I am 100% serious about #3. I would love to hear what you think of this performer so please leave a comment and as always, enjoy!

*I couldn’t choose just one video so there will be two this week*

Austin Gibbs: I Like The Ones

Austin Gibbs: All By Yourself


Now for the Teaser Tuesday part of this post! 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!

This past week I got Bone Dressing by Michelle I. Brooks in the mail. Guys, I am L.O.V.I.N.G. this book! I was thinking it was going to be an extremely creepy book but I actually find it to be funny, mysterious, and a super enjoyable read! The book follows Syd along with her new friends Beau, Sarah, and T.J. as she “dresses” in the bodies of her past lives to try and outrun evil that is chasing her down. Let me know what you think in the comments section!

*This is a bit longer than two sentences (the main character likes to go off on long rants and I just couldn’t cut one of them in half!) but I just had to use it! It gives you a general idea for the story and shows off the surprising amount of humor*

“So let me if I have this straight,” I said, wrinkling my nose and pointing at Sarah, “You, are some grade-school, past life elevator operator working the control panel of the entire entourage of my past lives kind of like a TV programmer, or Sulu in Star Trek-my own personal pint-size paranormal navigator.” My gaze and hand shifted to Beau. “Mr. Wonderful over here is the male lead in this comedy of errors otherwise known as my life, uh, lives. Furthermore, in that capacity, he also serves as the damn cruise director.” Finally, turning to T.J. I wrapped things up. “And Fluffy is the transcendental doorman, mmm, doorcat-that or maybe some kind of furry, four-legged bouncer-a roller coaster ride attendant, there to help get you on and off the ride, buckle your seatbelt, and remind you to keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all time? Does that just about sum things up?”

~Bone Dressing by Michelle I. Brooks, pgs. 82-83~

And The Winner of The Sarah Dessen Giveaway Is…

Congratulations to Mandie Baxter for winning the Sarah Dessen Giveaway. She will get her choice of one Sarah Dessen novel! Mandie has been e-mailed and now has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

I just wanted to tell everyone how stunned I am by the amount of participants for not only the giveaway but for everyone who stopped by the blog during Sarah Dessen Week. It really turned out to be quite marvelous. Thank you to all who read my posts, commented, and picked up their Sarah Dessen books to join in the fun.

If you didn’t win this giveaway, don’t fret, I am hosting an e-book giveaway for an amazing Y.A. novel entitled Dream Smashers. It is a phenomenal book. So head on over to this post, and try out your luck one more time. Thanks again to all participants!

In My Mailbox (13)

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. I got a few great books this week, here is the list!

For Review:

Bone Dressing by Michelle I. Brooks

Summary: Time is running out … the Dark that’s been chasing Syd for many lifetimes has finally caught up with her …

Sydney Roberdeau lost her parents as a young girl. Waiting for her life to start and the freedom that will come with her eighteenth birthday, Syd spends much of her time haunting the local cemetery. It is there, stretched out among the dead, that she feels most alive, most at home. Until one rainy night when Beau, Sarah and T.J. crash her ghostly sanctuary, appearing out of nowhere, turning her already inside-out world one degree past upside down.

Syd must now revisit past lives, dressing in the bodies of her previous selves … bone dressing. Her only chance to outrun the evil breathing down her neck is to face her own worst nightmares and her strongest desires. But if she can’t stay out of trouble in this life, how can she possibly fix mistakes from past lives? And just how many lives has she lived, loved and lost? What is Syd exactly, and what will she risk for the life of a man she doesn’t remember, the man she spent a lifetime with, the man she loves? Everything … including her very own life?

Bone Dressing, the first in a series of seven books, will carry Syd and Beau on an adventure that transcends life itself.

My Thoughts: First, thank you so much to Michelle for not only allowing me to review her book but for also sending me a signed paperback edition. I love it! It sounds so extremely interesting, I can’t wait to get started!

The Dream Crystal by Mark O’ Bannon

Summary: All of the world’s dreams are about to die. The Shadow People have come. Always near, they linger in the darkness, ready to devour dreams, hopes, aspirations and desires. . .

Aisling, having lost her dream of becoming a fashion designer, learns that she’s a Faerie changeling. Disquieted by the fact that her faerie parents are kidnappers, she has decided to rescue the human child she was exchanged for, but her “sister” is no longer among the faeries, having been taken by the Shadow People. Ith, the Lord of Shadows, is trying to control the dreams of mankind, which are under the protection of the faeries, so they’re at war.

Aisling, who doesn’t believe in dreams any longer, is falling in love with a handsome, mysterious stranger – one of the Shadow People.

My Thoughts: Thank you to Mark for sending me an awesome e-copy of this book! I am beyond excited to dive into the world of Faeries. Really, this book sounds magical and exciting!


Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Summary: When funny, charming, absolutely-normal Audrey Cuttler dumps her boyfriend Evan, he writes a song about her that becomes a number-one hit—and rockets Audrey to stardom!

Suddenly, tabloid paparazzi are on her tail and Audrey can barely hang with her friends at concerts or the movies without getting mobbed—let alone score a date with James, her adorable coworker at the Scooper Dooper. Her life will never be the same—at least, not until Audrey confronts Evan live on MTV and lets the world know exactly who she is!

My Thoughts: I am so, so, so excited to read this book. There is a music influence plus I have not heard a single negative review on it! It sounds funny, cute, and just plain ole’ adorable!

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Summary: According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It’s supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold’s head. They’ve been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it’s an alphabetical order thing), but she’s never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father’s newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it’s working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He’s cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.

My Thoughts: I dare you to find one negative review on this book. It is impossible, I tell you! I have heard that this is a laugh-out-loud kind of book and that is exactly what I need! I am so glad my book club decided to read this one!

Alright that is it for this week, I got some great books to add to my shelf. I would love to hear what you got in your mailbox so leave a comment with a link and I will be sure to check it out!

Warped Tour Weekend (1)


On July 9th, 2011, I will be attending Vans Warped Tour in Detroit, MI for my 4th year in a row! I have been going to a ton of concerts over the years and they all have yet to beat the awesome time I have at Warped tour. What is Warped Tour? It is a huge mix of bands that all get together and put on several concerts throughout the day. There are about 6 stages set up and you can just walk from stage to stage and see whatever band you like. On top of that, all of the bands have their own personal tents set up and they all do signings and picture-taking sessions throughout the day. Basically, it is a day full of pure music awesomeness. I love every second of it. To help get myself ready for Warped Tour I will be posting a blog every weekend leading up to Warped Tour with videos of a few bands that will be performing there. Some are totally NOT my type of thing but in the words of Owen Armstrong, “it’s good to know I have options.” Please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you think of each particular band!

A Day To Remember: If It Means A Lot To You

Every Avenue: Tell Me I’m A Wreck

Hellogoodbye: Here (In Your Arms)

Windsor Drive: Fall

Those are some great bands! I like this particular song by A Day To Remember but I know their usual stuff is a bit more hardcore and therefore it really isn’t up my alley BUT I might have to check this band out at Warped Tour. Every Avenue and Hellogoodbye are both bands that I know and love so I am super psyched to see them in concert. As for Windsor Drive, where have they been all my life? I love their sound!
Now it is your turn to tell me what bands you like or didn’t like. Answer the poll below and feel free to leave a comment telling me what you thought!

Book Review + Giveaway: Dream Smashers by Angela Carlie

Title: Dream Smashers

Author: Angela Carlie

Publisher: DarkSide Publishing

Pages: 244 paperback

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Source: I received an e-book from author in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

Sixteen-year-old Autumn has spent her entire life worrying about others. Her ailing grandma, meth-addicted mother, and a best friend who’s always in trouble. She’s spent the last few years attempted to worry less, to be carefree, without success.

Enter Evan, whose radiant attitude is an Autumn magnet. With Evan at her side, Autumn’s able to let some of her worries go as they trudge through life’s difficulties and fall for each other in the process.

Dream Smashers is a coming of age story about a girl who not longer wants to care and a boy who cares enough for the both of them. It’s a love story, but mostly, it’s about rising above the dream smashers of the world.

This honest, gripping novel will leave you stunned! I have had this book read for a while and I have just been waiting for my review to come to me. There are so many positive things to say about this relatively negative novel. It was hard to read and even harder to think about but I feel this is a book that should be read by all. This beautifully written novel touches on hard subjects while keeping readers completely engrossed with a wide range of characters that you will either love to death or hate with a burning passion.

Autumn is a character that has been through hell and back. In the short 16 years that she has been alive she has watched her birth mother deal with a terrible drug addiction while she wrecks havoc on the only people who care about her. Autumn must also deal with terrible amounts of verbal abuse and neglect from her birth mom. Even th0ugh Autumn lucked out and got great grandparents to care for her while her mom is out getting her next fix; it still doesn’t take away the hurt, pain, and worry. Autumn is always worrying about when her mom will show up next and leave a trail of destruction in her wake. Autumn is always worrying about her grandmother’s health and how smoking will affect her in the long run. Autumn is always worrying about her best friend, Rainy, who is a great friend but is always making rash decisions. To sum it all up, Autumn’s life is full of worry. This is why she decides to live a care free life. With a few simple rules, she will be well on her way to a life void of worries and full of freedom. However, life has a funny way of throwing us for a loop-hole. More than a few tragedies (big and small), new loves, new friendships, and a new faith prove to Autumn that obtaining a carefree life is a little more difficult than she could imagine.

The issues of this story are thrown at you left and right. Not only is this poor girl dealing with a horrible mother but she also has smaller issues to work through on a daily basis. She shows an incredible amount of strength and determination through every up-hill battle she goes through. A lot of crap has been thrown her way but she never seems to let it really get her down. She just gets rights back up and continues fighting. I was truly inspired by this lead character. Nothing I go through is comparable to what she must deal with. After reading about the hard life that Autumn lives, I have found myself extremely grateful and blessed for what I have.

Autumn’s character was a strong, realistic, fascinating character to begin with but all the side characters only made her so much better. Autumn’s mother, Jacinda, is a necessary evil in this novel. Her life has taken her down a long, twisted, terrible road. Everything she puts Autumn and Autumn’s grandmother through is just terrible. I wanted to beat the living daylights out of her every time she made an appearance in the book. HOWEVER, without the problems she places upon Autumn, we wouldn’t be able to see the amount of strength that Autumn harbors deep within herself. Autumn’s grandma is a direct opposite of Jacinda. She still has her flaws but she truly has a gentle heart. She cares so deeply for her granddaughter and the mother that did her wrong. She is constantly struggling on how to care for both Autumn and Jacinda without hurting the other. Autumn’s best friend, Rainy, has a somewhat outgoing personality, a risk taker, and a near opposite of Autumn. A lot of what Rainy goes through in the story causes a huge stress on Autumn. Other side characters regardless of how large or small they may seem at first play a big part in Autumn’s life. Angela did a fabulous job creating these side characters.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a love, Autumn’s chance at first love in this novel. Meeting Evan on a blind date proved to be the best surprise of all in Autumn’s world. Everything in Evan’s life is good. His parents are caring, his faith in God is strong, and he has a wonderful, caring heart. His love of life is almost contagious for Autumn. She soon finds herself helping out at the food shelter, joining church, and picturing a nice future for herself. Evan’s character is great. I have never read of such a generous and caring guy. You could tell he loved Autumn and their relationship was wonderfully well-written. The one and only issue I had was his expression of his love for God. I love that Angela included God in a Y.A. novel. In no way does she push religion on you, but it is vital to the character’s growth in Dream Smashers. My problem was the way Evan delivered his feelings on God. I knew he was religious, and excited about his faith, however I felt it could have been portrayed in a little less cheesy (for lack of a better word), way. Regardless of this small issue I had, Evan and Autumn’s relationship was a joy to read. It was the ray of sunshine in Autumn’s otherwise, dark life.

This gripping, dark, yet somewhat hopeful novel will leave you speechless. At some points you may cry or be shaking with anger while at others you feel such a sense of joy and pride as the main character, Autumn, finally learns to not let dream smashers rule her life. I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone. This book should seriously be read by all!


As the title says, you now have a chance to win an e-copy of Dream Smashers courtesy of Angela Carlie. Rules for this giveaway are as followed:

Since Angela and I are both vegetarians you must answer the question,” What is your favorite veggie?” in the comments section

Must be 13 years of age or older to enter

A valid e-mail address must also be included so I can notify you should you win

It would also be helpful to have an e-reader so you can read the book!

Contest runs from today, May 20th until May 27th at 11:59 p.m. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to e-mail before another winner is chosen. Best of luck!

Book Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Title: Just Listen

Author: Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Pages: 371 hardcover

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything”—at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store. This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

Before I get to the actual review part of this, I just want to forewarn everyone: there will be lots and lots of gushing. I cannot say enough good things about this book! Every part of it from the spectacular main character to another dreamy Dessen boy; the music, oh the music, come one, who doesn’t love a book with a huge music influence? The list really goes on and on. Sarah manages to create funny, honest genuine characters with real issues ranging from dysfunctional families to holding in deep, dark secrets. If it weren’t for the amazingness of The Truth About Forever, then Just Listen would be my number one Sarah Dessen read!

Annabel Greene is one of my favorite Sarah Dessen characters, ever! She doesn’t come off as too harsh or uptight. She isn’t extremely outgoing or closed up in her own self-built walls. She falls somewhere in the middle. As the youngest of 3, Annabel has learned to be the crowd pleaser. If Kirsten, her eldest sister, was making a huge deal about something extremely small and Whitney, the middle sister, was so closed-off you couldn’t help but worry about her, than Annabel worked hard to neither say too much or too less. This was something I could so easily relate to. Trying to find your own special place in a family with such strong personalities can be hard. I really empathized with Annabel when it came to this.

This however, is only the start of Annabel’s family issues. Years before Annabel’s mother suffered from a depression when she lost her own mom. The only thing that saved her through this hard time was putting the three girls into modeling. At first it worked out great between all three sisters. Soon though, pressure started building and the issues started flowing. Kirsten found it hard to keep a balance between college and modeling, Whitney began eating less and less to keep up with the “image” of being a model, and yet again Annabel found herself doing her best to be good in school, modeling, and at home to make up for the damage her sisters have done. Things for Annabel were much worse than she let on. She was beginning to hate modeling, she has lost yet another friendship, and there is a deep secret that she likes to keep hidden away.

Let me start by saying that I have never read a relationship between sisters that seemed so real. I have three sisters so you could consider me an expert. You could tell that these three loved each other but no one is perfect. Sisters push your buttons, get on your nerves, and make you want to pull your hair out at some points. At the end of the day, they were there for each other when it really counted. No family is perfect and we all have our issues and Sarah Dessen portrayed the perfect dysfunctional family quite effortlessly.

Annabel’s saving grace during this hard time is Owen Armstrong. This big, tough guy is the last person Annabel expected to reach out a helping hand to her. As time goes on these two find that their time is best spent arguing about music. I love how much music plays a part in this book. To say that Owen is obsessed with music is an understatement. I loved how passionate Owen was with music. Owen’s personality comes off as brutally honest but for Annabel, this is exactly what she needs. She has kept so many secrets while trying to keep everyone happy that she really needs Owen’s honesty to rub off on her.

I love the relationship between these two. Owen isn’t the type of guy you can see a pretty, popular (or in Annabel’s case “used to be” popular) girl with. He has anger issues, point proven when he punched a guy in a parking lot a year before the story takes place. But the thing about Owen is he works through his problems. He helps Annabel grow so much but more importantly he is just there for her especially when she needs a friend the most. Owen is just such a great guy, I kind of want him for myself. He isn’t the “hottest” guy in school, (definitely not the ugly guy either. I would call him quietly handsome!) but his passion for music, funny yet honest way with words, and deep caring he has for others more than makes up for that.

I am sorry that this review turned out to be a giant gush fest but I just couldn’t help myself. There are just so many good aspects to talk about. The relationships and characters are real and lovable. At some points you will be laughing at Owen’s honesty or feel yourself wanting to comfort Annabel in her time of need, most importantly, you will fall in love with another Sarah Dessen novel, I guarantee it!