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road trip wednesday {1}> best book of the month

Road Trip Wednesday is a blog carnival hosted by the lovelies at YA Highway. There's a new topic each Wednesday and many awesome posts to visit.




This week's topic is the best book read in August. This month I've read quite a few good books, some great books and unfortunately even some rather ick ones. But mostly good ones. :)

I'm going to pretend the topic is plural and list the top three in no particular order>


Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard//

                                                     It all begins with a stupid question: 
Are you a Global Vagabond? 
No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward. But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back. 


Such a wonderfully vibrant book. Love love love every single scene, line, word.


The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides//

This beautiful and sad first novel, recently adapted for a major motion picture, tells of a band of teenage sleuths who piece together the story of a twenty-year-old family tragedy begun by the youngest daughter’s spectacular demise by self-defenestration, which inaugurates “the year of the suicides.”


Holy bananas. This one threw me for a fricking loop. Still thinking about it.


Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley//

Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.


Just finished this one and I want to be Lucy, Ed, Leo, Jazz, Daisy and Dylan's best friend. Characters leapt off the page.

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I recommend all of these to the skies, so go check out the awesome!

Happy Wednesday!

"Figure It Out"-Versaemerge,

teaser tuesday {11}

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB over @ Should be Reading. Check out her blog to get the rules! There's no way I can just share two lines, so most of these will probably more like paragraphs.
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This week's teaser is from Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley!

"I walk across to the wall. A yellow bird lies legs up under a blue sky, and the word Peace is sprayed in curled letters across the clouds.


'I guess it's too late to give peace a chance,' Al says. 'Looks like it's dead.'


'Nope,' I say. 'It's only sleeping.'"
-pg. 20 {US ARC}

Literally just started reading this and I'm so so so in love with it already. Misconceptions are running amuck and I crave the conflict surely to come. Graffiti Moon is to be released in the US February 14, 2012, AKA my birthday ;)


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Recently on the blog:

>I reviewed The Girl of Fire and Thorns and Wanderlove and guest posted about cliches in YA on Randy Russell's blog!  Thanks for stopping by and happy Tuesday!


"Electric Twist"-A Fine Frenzy,


review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson




Summary: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. 


Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.


♥ Favorite Line(s):
I didn't mark any and there aren't any on Goodreads so I'm kind of SOL with this one. There were a few moments when Elisa pumps herself with a pep talk though and I like me some self-assuring chicks.


My thoughts:
I won't lie, I didn't love it.


Was the writing spectacular? Definitely.


Was the story fresh and original? Hell yes it was.


But was it enjoyable for me? Not really.


I honestly think most readers will adore The Girl of Fire and Thorns, truly just wasn't a book for me. I'd compare it to Graceling. Another same type of feel book which everyone was all "Holy second coming of Christ" over and I found personified "Meh."


The writing was there, so was the plot. But I just didn't believe the story. And not in the "Really? Vampiric flying robot squirrels? I call bologna!" but in the "I think your characters are terrible actors." sort of way. If that makes sense.* I didn't feel connected to the characters or the story and didn't care what happened to any of them. There were plenty of nail bite worthy moments, but when horrible things did actually happen I didn't really care.


The only moment I was truly involved in the story was when my favorite character, and the only one I found noteworthy at all, of course met an ill fate. If I had a flair for the dramatic I would've pulled one of these>



Instead I pouted for the rest of the book and have waited until now to write my review.

Elisa is a whole other bag of worms that I won't dive into too fully but *spoiler when she's taken against her will-I know, it's not like it's her fault, but alas-three separate times it got to be too much. One can only read the disoriented "I've just been kidnapped." scene so many times. end spoilery shtuffs*

Overall, the story is a bit slow, a bit boring at times. The writing truly is a work of art and Carson is one to look out for. The plot is intricate and complex and well thought out. The characters were just not there for me and I felt kind of cheated at the end.




*I'm starting to think, "If that makes sense." is the most commonly used phrase on my blog as of late. Maybe I should just stop trying to help you understand my loopy ramblings and just roll with it. What say you?
    Summing it up:


    Fans of Graceling will completely devour it. The Girl of Fire and Thorns will be released September 20, 2011.



    "Cough Syrup"-Young The Giant,

    review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard!



    Summary: 
    It all begins with a stupid question: 

    Are you a Global Vagabond?

    No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

    Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

    But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.
    >Note: I don't think this summary does the book justice at all.


    ♥ Favorite Line(s):
    It's so hard for me to pull lines out of Wanderlove. All of them are favorites because of context and everything that's established up to that point in the story. It's more the feel of the lines rather than the words themselves if that makes sense.


    Although I really love>
    "Rowan's fifth travel rule:
    Prices are relative. So is poverty. So is happiness."


    My thoughts:
    I am head over heels, unabashedly, immeasurably, completely, utterly in love with Wanderlove. Added to the List of Books I Would Marry If It Were Legal. Definitely.


    I love the happy bits and the sad bits and really love the bits that make me think. I love Bria and Rowan and Starling and hate hate hate Toby. I love the feeling I had after finishing the book. I love that I started rereading it instantly. I love that I'm actually starting to really plan the trip I've been "planning" to take next summer before college. I really love that Wanderlove made me want to travel again.


    Wanderlove is one of those books that either hits you like a bike or a bulldozer. I'm still recovering. It's poetic without being over the top. It's amazingly descriptive without dragging on for days. It packs one hell of a punch regardless if you've gone through similar situations or not.


    I won't lie, I haven't read Like Mandarin yet {although now I'm anxious to get my hands on a copy}. The only thing that made me want to read Wanderlove was the travel aspect. I love books about road trips and travel and things of the like. I expected adventures and hidden gems and discovering new worlds, but what I didn't expect was how much I completely adored the characters and their stories.


    Bria roped me in, almost literally. I felt at any moment she would pop from the pages and head off to find Rowan and Starling roaming as well. The voice! So crazy amazing. Bria is so easy to relate to, so genuine. As are almost all characters. I mean, I've never transported drugs or been a volunteer teacher in Central America, but I felt like I might've in another life. That's how real the characters were for me.


    Bria's art, all drawn by Kirsten herself {multi-talented ninja that she is!}, was one of my favorite aspects and added so much to the story. I've read too many books in which art or poetry or writing music is a love of the protagonist yet we never get to actually sample any of it. Books are more than just words for me and seeing different media included was fantastic. I find it so cool that Kirsten drew everything herself, as well! The art kept that part of Bria's storyline front and center and, I think, helped me better understand her.


    The plot is completely thrilling. Even sitting in a hammock seemed like an action sequence. Bria is so very aware of everything and therefore so are we. After reading Bria's descriptions of their adventures I instantly wanted to hop a flight to Guatemala with a backpack so I could see them myself.


    Overall Wanderlove is compelling and wonderful and funny and cool and I loved every bit. Just thinking about it makes me go a little bit like this>



    It's like...the gazelle of YA books. If that makes sense. Which I don't think it does. But I'm having trouble describing how quietly awesome Wanderlove is. It's not a blood and body bags and leather kind of kick ass. It's like the ninja kind. The 'you don't know it's hitting you until it does' kind of awesome. Which is even better.
      Summing it up:
      Wanderlove rocks my world. If you don't read it when it comes out, *le cough* March 13th, I may not be able to be your friend anymore, lovelies.



      "I've Got Friends"-Manchester Orchestra,

      my not so usual review of Delirium by Lauren Oliver

      Summary: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. 

      But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


      ♥ Favorite Line(s):
      "'Hate isn't the most dangerous thing,' he said. 'Indifference is.'"


      "I said, I prefer the ocean when it's gray. Or not really gray. A pale, in-between color. It reminds me of waiting for something good to happen."


      "You know you can't be happy unless you're unhappy sometimes, right?"


      My thoughts:
      Here's the deal>
      This book made me laugh, gasp and, more often than I'd like to admit, cry like a baby. It made me emotional and because of that I think the part of my mind that looks at technical aspects had left the building while reading. So, instead of a review I'll be posting a playlist.


      I don't know how many, if any, of you lovelies have checked out any of the songs I end my posts with. Usually they're just songs I've been listening to while writing said review/rant/thing, but sometimes I'll choose a song that reminds me of a book.


      This playlist is all songs I think relate to Delirium, in order of the book's events. I'm focusing more on lyrics and feel than genre/pace/popularity.


      Without further adieu, my Delirium playlist>


      one. "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire> This reminds me of both Lena & Alex at the very beginning of the story. In my head I can totally picture them both in a movie sequence waking up to this song.
      two"Magic" by The Secret Handshake> Pretty self explanatory. ;) Right after Alex & Lena's first conversation I can see him thinking something like this later, daydreaming about the odd girl he met. The one who's going to be engaged to someone else...
      three"Don't Stop Now" by The Maine> I like to think of this as The Kissy Scene Song.
      four. "Who To Believe" by Austin Gibbs & Fairline> This and the next song remind me so much of Alex & Lena on the beach and the under-the-stars scene {if you've read the book you totally know what I'm talking about. ;) }
      five"I'm Not The Sun" by Arkells> Alex Alex Alex. Lena Lena Lena. I can completely see them both thinking this about each other.
      six"Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" by Relient K> Lena's whole existential crisis meltdown period.
      seven"Safe Ride" by Cute Is What We Aim For> When things start to crack. Declarations ensue. 
      eight. "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper {covered by Javier Colon}> It's just so Alex & Lena.
      nine"These Four Walls" by Miley Cyrus> When Lena's 'stuck' in her room.
      ten"Three Cheers For Five Years" by Mayday Parade> "I run for I don't know how long. Hours, maybe, or days. Alex told me to run. So I run."
      eleven. "You Know You're Right" by Nirvana> I think of this as Alex's song during the above line. These are his thoughts and "Three Cheers for Five Years" are Lena's.
      twelve"Shot In The Dark" by Augustana> Lena's very last thoughts at the very end of the book. From the Pandemonium synopsis it seems this will be her mentality in the beginning of the next book as well.


        Summing it up:
        Love love love this book!
        "Shot In The Dark"-Augustana,

        guys, I have exciting NEWS of the guest blogging variety!

        Hee! That is the word of the day. Know why?

        Because today I'm guest blogging over at Randy Russel's {author of Dead Rules} blog today expressing my dislike for cliches in YA the only way I know how, sarcastically.

        I really really think this is one of my favorite posts of mine and it would mean a lot if you checked it out and maybe commented?

        'Thank you's to the skies for all of you that do!

        A little bit about Dead Rules>
        -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        ♥ Summary: 
        Till death
        Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were in love. They were destined to be together forever.
        Do
        But Jana's destiny was fatally flawed. And now she's in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch.
        Us
        Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana's life—or death—story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon.
        Part
        But things aren't going according to Jana's plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true—no matter what rules she has to break.
        -------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Happy Thursday!

        "Need To Know"-Mathieu Santos,

        What I want in my mailbox...{15}

        What I want in my mailbox is my version of Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.
        This week I want Guitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry & This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers  in my mailbox!
        * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * *

        Summary:
        My name is Rosie Moon. I am nearly sixteen. I'm hungry for a juicy life. I lean out the window at night and I can taste it out there, waiting for me.

        Popular and smart, fifteen-year-old Rosie Moon is the quintessential good girl. She also wishes she could be someone else for a while, someone more interesting. Asher Fielding is the mysterious new boy at school who has dreadlocks and a love of Jim Morrison. On the first day of tenth grade, Rosie develops a crush on Asher, and when the two pair up for a poetry assignment they quickly form a bond. When Asher is falsely accused of stealing a wallet at school, he and Rosie decide to escape it all--their families, their school, their ordinary town--and hitchhike up the Australian coast. They know they shouldn't, and that is exactly why they do. Part road story, part love story, Guitar Highway Rose is a thrilling ride for anyone who has ever dreamed about escaping everyday life, even just for a little while.


        * * * * * * * * * * *
        I really really really want this book, guys. Like, a whole lot. Because Nomes, of course, had to post a gorgeous review and make me want it. Like she always does. {Btw, you should totally be following her. ;) } Anyway, doesn't it sound dreamy? And the cover font? *le swoon*


        Guitar Highway Rose was released in 2006.


        * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * *



        Summary:
        It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. 

        As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, everyone’s motivations to survive begin to change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life–and death–inside.

        When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?


        * * * * * * * * * * *
        This freaking book. Courtney Summers + zombies = my head feels full, might explode. I absolutely love love love Cracked Up to Be so when this baby showed up on Goodreads I turned into Gollum briefly and muttered "my precious." Then I smiled a lot and reveled in the genius of the title.


        This is Not a Test will be released {hopefully} in June 2012.


        What are you waiting for?


        "Your Past Life As A Blast"-Okkervil River,

        Review: Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey


        Summary: When her boyfriend, Danny, is killed in a car accident, Wren can’t imagine living without him. Wild with grief, she uses the untamed powers she’s inherited to bring him back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy she once loved. 

        Wren has spent four months keeping Danny hidden, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret. Wren finds herself drawn to Gabriel, who is so much more alive than the ghost of the boy she loved. But Wren can’t turn her back on Danny or the choice she made for him—and she realizes she must find a way to make things right, even if it means breaking her own heart. 


        ♥ Favorite Line(s):
        Don't think I had any.


        My thoughts:
        Hi, the following statement is written by Ultra Blunt Cara:
        Am I the only one who really disliked this book?

        For the most part Goodreads is my friend, mi amigo, my compadre. I can almost always find a decently sized group of people who feel the same way about a book and I feel united in my bookish ways. That seems to not be the case with Cold Kiss.

        Because everyone loves it.
        And I don't.

        Here's why:

        Cold Kiss started out pretty well. The story's set up immediately, the situation's laid out, I settled in for the conflict and passion and adventure surely about to unfold. Everything was set up for a showdown, a meltdown, a heartbreak, a journey. And then NOTHING HAPPENED. Fo reals. There was no gusto I needed. No passion, no fire, not even any blood and guts stereotypical zombie stuff. The plot was so basic and lackluster. Boy + girl. Boy dies. Girl necromances him into his zombie self {by some feat that was never explained enough}. Enter New Boy. NB = lovey dovey with girl. Basic drama ensues. The end. The story had a spine but no heart.

        I felt distanced from the characters and the story because I just couldn't believe either. Wren, the protagonist, was understandably depressed in the beginning, but by the end of Cold Kiss I couldn't take the moping anymore. It was constant and draining and not worth reading through for me. Her romance with Gabriel is a classic case of instalove and almost clinical and I couldn't connect with that either. I think my dislike for this all comes down to lost connections. This book was a series of them.

        I did honestly appreciate Amy Garvey deciding to stick to a more traditional Haitian view of zombies rather than Hollywood's version. Zombies are a very real part of the culture along with voodoo and other awesome mystical things. I loved that Danny was a 'real' zombie rather than blood and "BRAAAIIIIINNSSSS!" It was a nice consideration and definitely took some research and I can respect that.

          Summing it up:
          I just didn't like the book. I've read some glowing reviews of it though, so don't pass it up! This one's just not for everyone.


          "Make You Feel My Love"-Adele,

          Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales!

          Summary: All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

          Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it….
          ♥ Favorite Line(s):
          S&S hath banned me from sharing until the release date, but I'll make sure to add them in later. Plenty of snort-worthy one liners, my friends.


          My thoughts:
          Past Perfect, AKA The Book That Made Me Actually Beg My Parents To Take Me To A Reenactment Village While On Vacation:
          Seriously. I begged. To go to a reenactment village. Because of this book. If that doesn't tell you how awesome it is, I have no idea what will.


          After finishing Past Perfect my friend and I had an interesting conversation. Mainly about the fact that I didn't want to even like this book but ended up loving it.


          "Why Cara *le gasp* how can you say that you didn't want to like a book? The blasphemy!"


          I know. Seriously, I do. This is why I had to talk to aforementioned friend, because I cannot sit and think and come up with an idea without consulting someone else. We discussed my need to dislike cutesy books, which is apparently a new thing for me. Discovered this was probably triggered by my recent disgrace at what I used to read in middle school {translates to: Looked through my bookshelves, found first eight Clique books. Remembered my love for them, couldn't even finish the first one. Disgrace.}.


          So apparently now I'm going through some kind of existential book reading crisis in which I read Pride & Prejudice over and over and over again in an attempt to purge every bad book I've ever read from my system. It's really not as dramatic as I make it out to be. But alas. Hopefully Past Perfect hath cured me of my "if it looks cutesy I want to hate it" disorder.


          Anyway, I really really really adored Past Perfect. Leila Sales has a very interesting writing style, smooth and transitory without being overtly poetic, which worked quite well with the story. The plot was paced incredibly well, only sped up a bit too much for me in the end.


          Was it the most unpredictable book ever? Nope. But it was entertaining and I was really cheering for everyone. Well, maybe not Frog Boy. He kinda freaked me out. Chelsea and Dan are completely adorable, Ezra is appropriately douchey, Fiona appropriately shifting.


          As most of you know I've been having difficulties with this review, so I'm going to quit while I'm ahead. Basically: I highly recommend this book and it comes out October 4th!




          ***************************************
          *Sidenote: The cover's misleading. Just...don't judge this one by the cover. Also, that title? Swoon.

          Link up: Goodreads//Shelfari//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Leila's website

          P.S. Have you noticed my newest link in the sidebar? Click on "To Swap" to see the books I'm trying to swap for new ones.
          Happy Sunday!


          "Excuse"-The Ettes,

          blogging bucket list!

          Inspired by Audrey @ holes in my brain, I've decided to post my book blogging bucket list.
          This is in no way me still trying to get out of working on my Past Perfect Review.
          Nope.
          No way.
          *************************
          one. Have any type of communication whatsoever with John Green. {Also: Jandy Nelson, Melina Marchetta, Stephanie Perkins. I've been @replied by Courtney Summers and Kimberly Derting and have met Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, David Levithan, Libba Bray, Lisa Ann Sandell and Gayle Forman. They were all formally on The List of People I'd Flail For.}
          two. Stealing number two from Audrey: scribble, annotate, love, hug, squeeze, thoroughly personalize a favorite book and send it to the author.
          three. Leave a Nerdfighter note/note in a favorite book of mine.
          four. Send a handwritten letter to one of my favorite authors gushing completely.
          five. Meet a blogger friend in real life. Preferably in NYC so we can prance around Strand and Books of Wonder. Or we can just prance around in general.
          six. Post a really awesome discussion post that gets people talking/thinking about books and bookish things.
          seven. Somehow weasel my way into an author's acknowledgement page. This is more like a life goal and also counts for record acknowledgments, but alas.
          eight. Literally read a book until it falls apart.
          nine. Reach 500 followers. Yes, yes. I know. "It's not about the followers, Cara." I know that. But it would also be cool to reach that point. To have 500 people choose to subscribe to what I'm writing.
          ten. 1,000 posts. I'm hoping posts are like paper cranes and at some point I'll be granted a wish.
          eleven. Become a better writer, reader.


          This list could be ten pages long, but I'm keeping it short and sweet. What's on your blogging bucket list?


          "My Racing Thoughts"-Jack's Mannequin,