Next to be reviewed:

The Body Finder

I've literally just finished reading The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, and needed to tell how much it affected me. Books often make me laugh, and even more often than that make me cry. This book picked my poor little sappy heart up and ripped it to shreds while laughing maniacally. I've decided to not write a formal review for this book, because it left me truly shaken. I do put my heart into the reviews I write, but I felt that I wouldn't do it justice without leaving my soul on your computer screen.

So, I guess I'll start off by saying that this story isn't one for those who need to feel that 'happy-sunshine-and-rainbow' feeling after finishing any piece of literature. Seriously my friend, this is NOT FOR YOU. Now, I'm also not saying that this is the kind of story that makes you want to slit your wrists either. Okay, on to the point. I literally had chills after the last line. I don't feel I'm exaggerating at all when I say things like this either. Ms. Derting is a brilliant writer, she makes you not only see the story through her characters' eyes, but feel it as well.

I definitely would recommend this book, because it is the best kind. It made me think. It made me think of different choices that could have changed the outcome, even if I know they're in vain. It made me want to scream and throw things and cry all at the same time. Not an altogether terrible feeling. The Body Finder was nothing at all like I expected, but worth the read. I initially, sincerely wished I could've 'unread' it, but I took a step back and realized just how great this story really is.

Has anyone else read The Body Finder? How did YOU react to the story?

Have a great day!

Explanation for my brief disappearance...

Here's the list of reasons that I haven't blogged in... too long. Hopefully they are acceptable and valid reasons. If not, I promise to have some sort of post EXPLOSION this weekend. C:

1. School
2. Tests for said school
3. Homework for aforementioned school
4. SLEEP, I finally decided to see what everyone was raving about.
5. Friends... yeah, I actually have a few.
6. Awesome concert of awesomesauce on Friday, which needed a few days to recover from.

As you can see school is EATING me ALIVE. But, most of my major tests are going down this week which means free time for Cara next week.

*P.S. I saw Stereo Skyline, Artist Vs. Poet, Cartel, & The Maine at the concert (6.), and am very interested in knowing if any of you have seen them before? Also, are any of you planning on going to The Maine's headlining tour this summer? Just wondering.

Okay, that is all.


(Is the 'xoxo' too much?)

Book Banners *insert BOOS! here*

Recently, the subject of book banning has come to my attention in full force. I've heard of books being challenged or banned, but I never took an interest in wondering why the book was being challenged, because for the most part I hadn't read that book prior to hearing of its banning. Lately though, I'm here more and more stories of some of my favorite books being challenged and dug a little deeper to see the reason for some people believing these books should be taken off the shelves.

The reasons for the novels being challenged truly shocked me. Most of the claims are completely a matter of one person's opinion over another's, which is in no way an excuse for a making a book unavailable for everyone in the area. Others aren't backed up by any evidence whatsoever. One woman in Florida is campaigning to have warning labels placed on YA books across the country. This is an excerpt from the article:

"What we're talking about here [are books] depicting a lifestyle that just doesn't work if they're going to be the leaders of our nation," she said. "It's a shame that we as a community are feeding [teens] this kind of garbage."

The Leesburg library issue began in 2008, after Fechtel glanced at some books that her then 13-year-old daughter had borrowed from the library.

GLANCED, not read. A mom glanced at a book that her daughter brought home, and since she's a serial book banner has decided that she wants warnings put of books all over America. This is the same woman who challenged The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson in Florida, which happens to be a fantastic novel, on the grounds that it includes "vulgar content,such as teen sex, and depicted illegal acts such as drug use." *is confused* Yeah, I've read The Bermudez Triangle and don't remember any of that happening in the story. This must've been another act of glancing instead of reading.

Okay, I'm trying not to get into a full blown rant, but I do feel very strongly about this topic. At the NYC Teen Author Festival I got to speak to an author who had a book challenged, and she showed me another example of an empty claim. She said that her book was challenged because someone thought it was basically a story about strippers and other "vulgar content." It turned out that on the first page one bit of dialogue consisted of a girl saying that another girl was dressed like a stripper. There were no other mentions of girls on poles throughout the whole story. This means that another glance turned into a headache and legal battle for an unsuspecting author.

My personal opinion is that the individual should have the right to choose what books they want to read, and shouldn't have the choice taken away from them. I also think that books shouldn't be labeled as "Mature," or having "Adult content," because this is also a matter of opinion. I think that this excerpt sums up my feelings perfectly:

Book-banning never solves any problems or resolves any conflict; reading does. For children, the opportunity to read about difficult subjects, to question what they read, and to discuss those ideas in their classrooms, living rooms and playgrounds is a fundamental right. It must be protected.

I'm sure many of you have heard about books being banned and think I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but for those who are unaware of the subject I hope that this gave you a little more information. Now, I'm not just telling you about this so you can feel sorry for kids who can't read a good book. YOU can do something to help! Start by commenting on articles like this, letting the people reporting about these bannings know how YOU feel about it. Also, if there are any books being challenged in your area, get some information on it. If the book is being challenged for reasons that you don't see just, say something about it! Talk to your local librarian or anyone else who might be able to help you stop what's going on. Basically, stand up for the books you love!

Have a great day everyone!

Character Connection! (2)

Character Connection is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer at The Introverted Reader. This meme is for the sole purpose of spotlighting those characters that we love in YA fiction. For more details check out Jennifer's blog!
I'm a day late on this (whoops), sorry! Anywho, this week's character is Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series!

I honestly don't think this girl gets enough acknowledgment. Most discussions I see or hear are mostly about which team you're on (Team Gale all the way!), but today I want to talk about the lady behind the battle. First off, Katniss is a smart girl. She may not make the best decisions all the time, but she definitely knows what she's doing. She's also very independent and can stand up for her self. She doesn't take crap and will kick your a** if you try to harm her family or friends, which is awesome!

Too many female protagonists these days seem weak and incapable of forming a sentence without help. This is why seeing a strong character like Katniss makes me want to sing show-tunes! Basically, she's awesome, and I can't wait to see more of her in Mockingjay!

Happy Friday everyone!

The Returners by Gemma Malley

Overall Rating: 4.7
Characters: 4.9
Plot: 4.5
Cover Art: 3.9

Favorite Line:
"Things don't make sense, but that is to be expected. Life doesn't make sense. If it did, Mum wouldn't be dead, there wouldn't be people starving in Africa. None of it's rational. None of it strikes you as something all thought out, organised, put together. It's all just a mess. All just a mass of confusion."- Will Hodge

London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father's political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he's having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincarnated people who carry with them the memory of atrocities they have witnessed in the past. Will realizes that he, too, is a Returner. But something about his memories is different, and with dawning horror, Will suspects that he wasn't just a witness to the events, he was instrumental in making them happen. Set in the near future, with the world on the verge of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, Will must choose to confront the cruelty he's known in his past lives, or be doomed to repeat it... again.

The Returners gives a new look into the way humans operate and why...
I truly believe that everyone should read this book at least once in their lifetime. Gemma Malley's third novel is inspiring and a truly fantastic read.

I think I may be in love with Will Hodge. Throughout the story, his character is very emotional and raw. He's so haunted and affected by his dreams and the actions of those around him, and just so real. The way he thinks and feels towards others is unique, and... I love him. The entire story really does revolve around Will and his actions, even the decisions he's not aware he's even made. His voice rings out in every word, and it brings a new dimension to the story.

The plot is so intricately and expertly woven; it's perfection. The journey of self discovery, well somewhat at least, doesn't feel like it stretches on for days, like many books dealing with subjects similar to this tend to do. It's an incredibly interesting read for YA readers and will also be popular among adults.

I highly recommend The Returners, and can't wait to see what else Gemma Malley has in store!

Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell

Overall Rating: 3.9
Characters: 3.8
Plot: 4.2
Cover Art: 3

Favorite Line:
There weren't really any specific lines that stood out to me.

Gen's family is more comfortable spending time apart than together. Then Gen's mom signs them up for Camp Frontier, a vacation that promises the thrill of living like 1890s pioneers. Forced to give up all of her modern possessions, Gen nevertheless manages to text her back home about life at "Little Hell on the Prairie," as she's renamed the camp. It turns out frontier life has it's upside, like the cute boy who lives in the next clearing.

Little Blog on the Prairie is a fun, lighthearted tale...
The book follows Gen as the modern devices she's learned to take for granted are suddenly taken away. Gen is your typical thirteen-year-old girl. She freaks out when her clothes are replaced with 1890s garb, and uses 'like' 30 times a minute. I'm not going to lie, she kind of annoyed me... more than kind of actually.

Little Blog's plot is filled with funny situations that drive Gen crazy. From figuring out how to open her dress, to learning to milk a cow, Gen's farm life adventures make for some interesting material. The camp also has a resident witch named Nora, the daughter of the camp's owners, who happens to be all over the resident hottie, Caleb.

This blog is a great read for girls in their early teens, and would recommend to anyone who enjoyed the Clique series. :)

Have a great day everyone!

AMAZING Contest!

There's an absolutely incredible contest going on over at Cleverly Inked! Over 50 books will be given away for Liz's birthday celebration. Like I said... it's incredible. Now, go here to see all of the great prizes and wish her a happy birthday!

In which I attempt to pimp my blog...

So, I've tried to make my blog look 'cool' and don't know if I've won this round. I kind of fail at the simple look, but I'm trying to cut back a little. Any thoughts on the new look? Your comments are much appreciated! :)

Have a great night everyone!

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell

Overall Rating: 4.8
Characters: 4.9
Plot: 4.7
Cover Art: 5.0

Favorite Line:
"Guilt and elation make a funny cocktail."-Cora Bradley speaks the truth.

Cora Bradley dreams of escape. Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt suffocated by her small town and high school. She seeks solace in drawing beautiful maps, envisioning herself in exotic locales. When Cora begins to fall for Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died, she uncovers her brother's secret artistic life and realizes she had more in common with him than she ever imagined. With stunning lyricism, Sandell weaves a tale of one girl's journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.

A Map of the Known World is a story that everyone should experience at least once...
This book is fantastic. If anyone ever wants to quote me, go for it. Seriously, this book is such an incredible mixture of heartbreak, loss, and hope. Pick it up, now. Actually, read the rest of my review, THEN pick it up. :)

The Characters: I believe whole-heartedly that the characters make the story. Cora, Damian, and Nate especially lead the journey in A Map of the Known World. From challenges at home and school, and trying to live a normal life, Cora has tons of things on her plate. Throughout the book  I wanted to reach in and give the poor girl a hug! What's great is although I did feel for the girl, she's strong enough to take care of herself for the most part. She tries to be the normal one while her parents basically lose it. She's also the only one making an attempt at putting her family back together again after their loss.

The Plot: Seeing the characters progress through the challenge of losing a loved one is always hard, but Ms. Sandell really makes you feel it. Not only does a teenager die, but he was also an undiscovered prodigy who had more talent than anyone could've ever imagined. That, my friends, is what makes you feel for the family. The transformation that everyone goes through because of Cora while trying to figure out how to move on is truly remarkable.

Cora Bradley changes everything, and is one of my favorite literary figures in a while. I don't just urge you, I'm virtually pushing you out the door to read this book! I can almost promise you won't regret it.

*I'm really trying to catch up on reviews right now, so please bear with me!

What I want in my mailbox

So, I've decided to start a spinoff of the In My Mailbox meme hosted by The Story Siren, called What I want in my mailbox. Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. Every Saturday I'll post one or two books that I really want to read, and would love if you joined in on the fun! So, grab the button in the sidebar and make sure to leave a link to your post in the comments! (only because I fail at trying to use Mr. Linky... Shhhh.)

This week's pick is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher!

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of the reasons why. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Yes, I know, how have I not read this yet?! I've been told many times that I am clinically insane for not having read this book. That fact is that I really want to! The only reason that I haven't run to local B&N is that I have a stack of books sitting in my room waiting to be read(and reviewed!). Once said stack is significantly smaller, I'll definitely  be picking up a copy of Thirteen Reasons Why.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Overall Rating: 3.5
Characters: 3.6
Plot: 3.5
Cover Art: 3.8

Favorite Line:
"'What is this?' I asked, dusting the dirt and pine needles off my now-sore butt. 'A Star Wars thing? I was supposed to 'sense a disturbance in the Force'?'"

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father-an elusive European warlock-only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Hex Hall is an indecisive tale with a little left to be desired...
This story started off so well. I loved Sophie for the kind of independent chick every girl wants to be, and her voice was one that I really enjoyed reading in. I also liked the idea of "juvie for monsters" as Sophie put it, and the characters were very interesting. But, alas, I was disappointed in the end. Before the bad though, I'll first go over the good.

The characters are pretty unique and I like that. Instead of the HBIC of Hex Hall having two dumb sidekicks, her posse actually all seem to possess brains, which was refreshing. I love unique things, but the names of some of the people in this book are just... out there. First there's the Queen Bee Elodie. The first this that comes to mind when I think of this is Elodea, a type of bacteria, so maybe I'm biased on that one. Another interesting name is Archer. Seriously, Archer Cross. I actually love Archer, he's very conflicted, but his name is like I said earlier... out there.

The plot is also very good in my opinion up to the end of Hex Hall. The line that the story follows in distinct and not too predictable. Then, the train falls off the tracks. Sophie does something that is completely out of character that left me staring at the book with my mouth literally hanging open. (I'm really trying to stay 'no-spoiler' here.) I will no doubt finish this series, if only just to find out if the story is recovered and the cliff-hangers are... unhung(?). In conclusion, 90% of Hex Hall is great, with just the last 10% being cringe-worthy.

Happy Friday!

Character Connection!

Today, I've decided to get in on this meme started by The Introverted Reader! I think I'll actually stick to this and hopefully post every Thursday or Friday. I've thought about going along with other memes, but I never find one that I truly think I can stick to. I think this one just might be the one for me! I'm constantly gushing to my friends about how much I love certain characters, so this truly perfect.

For my first character connection I've decided to profess my love for Jace from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.

Oh Jace, how I adore you.

Seriously, he's smart, he fights demons for fun, he rides vampire motorcycles, he knows numerous languages, he's sarcastic, he's sweet on the inside, and he's a serious badass on the outside... What's not to love?

While the demon fighting, slightly jerkish (I'm pretty positive that jerkish isn't a word) Jace is extremely sexy, the Jace that seems to only come out Clary is around is the person that makes most fans swoon. Besides being hot and dangerous and possessing all of the qualities I've previously mentioned, he's also very loyal. When any of his friends or family need him, Jace is there in a heartbeat. He's the guy with the hard shell that only that girl can crack. Seriously, how can anyone not love him?

This concludes my first Character Connection, and I'd love to read what you think of Jace. Leave a comment with your thoughts!

If you're in the North Eastern United States enjoy this lovely weather we've been having!

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Overall Rating: 4.8
Characters: 4.6
Plot: 4.8
Cover Art: 5

Favorite Line:
"I'm not stupid, so I'm willing to settle."-This is Ryan speaking to Penny. Also the point at which I wanted to shake Penny and yell, "Are you stupid?! Wake up!" But, I love conflict so this is great for me. :)

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 makes me want to start my own Lonely Hearts Club...
I'm going to say right off the bat that this book isn't as predictable as the synopsis makes it seem. This is one of those stories that are truly fun to read. It may not make you reevaluate your life, but you will laugh and smile a lot while reading. 

The characters in this book are completely awesome. Penny and The Lonely Hearts Club are all so different, but come together to help each other out. Tracy, Penny's best friend, is hilarious. She's the one who starts the confrontations with any ex-boyfriends who may need their faces rearranged. Ryan is perfect. I believed that he was too perfect to be believable at first, but he grew on me as the plot progressed. Then, there's Todd. A complete jerk who I'm sure all of you have in your school. We all have a Todd.

To be honest, one of my favorite things about The Lonely Hearts Club is seeing all of the Beatles references. In the beginning, you learn that Penny and her sisters, Lucy and Rita, are named after Beatles songs (Lovely Rita is one of my favorite songs) because their parents are literally obsessed. So, the references were bound to follow, and I loved them. From beginning to end Elizabeth Eulberg weaves a world that I'd like to jump into. I LOVE this book and would recommend to anyone!

*Off-topic: A few months ago I entered a poetry contest. Basically, you send your poem in, and they take the ones they like in your state and publish them in a book. My poem was accepted, and my copy of the book came in the mail yesterday! I'm obviously very excited, and now I can pretend I'm cool and say that I'm a published poet. ;)
Have a great Thursday everyone!

Fantastic Program!

Reggie over at The Undercover Book Lover is hosting a wonderful new program called the Book Blogger Mentorship Program. Basically, she will feature a blogger in an interview posted to her blog, and send said blogger some of the books from her personal shelf, AND give them some tips to help improve their blog! Just head on over to the link above to get all of the details and to sign up!

Audrey, Wait! Review!

Overall Rating: 4

Characters: 4.2
Plot: 4.1
Cover Art: 3.5 (I would love this cover if the model wasn't positioned so awkwardly.)

Favorite Line:
"'Hey, superstar,' someone said to me, and I gave them the finger without even looking to see who had said it."- This basically sums up Audrey's personality.


California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!,” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous! Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi. Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.

Audrey, Wait! is a fun story that oozes sarcasm...
This is one of those stories that has you laughing at everything that the characters say and Audrey thinks. Little things that they say in passing made me crack up constantly. Besides having witty humor throughout, the plot is weaved brilliantly enough that it can hold up without it. 

We get a look into the life of someone who doesn't try to become famous but is thrown into the ring regardless. Audrey also isn't someone who tries to milk her insta-star status. She continues to try to live a normal life. She tries to go to concerts and on dates, but the paparazzi and fans soon overwhelm her and she can't even risk leaving the house except for school. It's really interesting to be able to see into her head while her life is literally turned upside down. She has a few ups, but mostly downs, and her character has a unique way of dealing with everything that's thrown at her. The book is paced very nicely and remains interesting from beginning to nearly the end. The ending just kills me. I'll come back to that later, but first I want to discuss some of the other characters. 

The first person we meet besides Audrey is Eric, the ex-boyfriend that writes the hit song that rockets his band into superstardom. Eric is the stereotypical lead singer. He's hot, talented, and completely self-absorbed. Their entire relationship revolves around music and they honestly have nothing else in common, which is why I like James much more. Victoria is Audrey's best friend and is awesome. She's outspoken and outgoing, and goes for what she wants. The character development is great, and everyone really goes through a metamorphosis in this book. Too bad it crashes and burns in the end. No, no one dies, everything works out perfectly. The end of this story is so unbelievably perfect that it makes me quite upset. Besides that, I loved this book and highly recommend!