Monday, December 31, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry Book Review

Hey everyone! Sorry for the wait, the holidays are such busy times and I promise I'll be on my game more!! I hope you enjoy!

Pushing the Limits
by Katie McGarry
Published July 31, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
392 pages

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Pushing the Limits is a contemporary novel about two people wish very different personalities. Echo Emerson used to be one of the popular girls, with the hot boyfriend who was in the center of everything. But after that one dreadful night, she'd just been that freak with the strange scars on her arms. Noah also had a life, but things changed and bad boy Noah came out. When their paths cross, nothing will ever be the same.

This book has been talked about everywhere recently -- it seems I was the only person who hadn't read it! It was simply amazing. It was heartbreaking, raw, emotional and viciously riveting. It was one of the best book I've read recently. The writing was insanely good, and the story was something different. It needed no supernatural elements to take you to a different world. You really could get into the world and picture everything.

I liked being able to have both Noah and Echo narrate the book. Being able to get inside both of their heads just gave it more connection and a more vivid image. I felt the heartbreak that each of them felt. I was present through their pain and it made my chest ache just as theirs had. It easily is one of my favorite books, especially contemporary books. I loved it.

The emotions were so raw and it was opened up. Learning everything was a new experience. It really made me think about things. It sparked thoughts about life (as cliche as that sounds). It really was thought provoking and something that really stuck with me. I'm sure I'll read this over and over again.

A quote I loved:

"The worst type of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see -- the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived."
I highly recommend this book, even if you don't particularly like contemporary!

My rating: 5/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday and got all the books your little hearts could imagine! I'll be doing a christmas book haul within the next couple weeks but I had to order some so I'm waiting until they get here!

I also have some reviews pre recorded that I have yet to edit but I'll get those up soon! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a great holiday break!

Happy Reading!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl Book Review

Beautiful Creatures
by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Published December 1, 2009 by Little Brown and Company
563 pages

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.

And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Beautiful Creatures is about Ethan Wate, and his small southern town of Gatlin where not much has ever changed -- until Lena Duchannes comes into town. The strange niece of the recluse, Macon Ravenwood -- and also cursed with a crazy family history. For some reason, things start to change, and Ethan Wate is about to be in for the shock of his life. How can you still not know so much about a town you've been born and raised in?

I absolutely adored this book! I can't wait to pick up the next one! Even though the story was long, I read it rather quickly. It was dark, and mysterious and enticing! I loved every second of it. I liked how it kept you guessing and it had so many different facets and interesting characters. I could totally relate with Lena, and I liked seeing a story like this through Ethan's eyes. It was a very smart and awesome way to tell the story that really kept me entertained. Link, though, was one of my favorite characters as well as the Sisters! They were so hilarious!

The story line was different and I liked how crazy everything seemed to be. I like how this world was one built with so many arts to it, and you just want to know more. I'm itching for the next, because I know there are four total in the series and I have so many questions that I want answered! The ending was magnificent but it definitely is a bit of a cliffhanger in it's own way.

Also, the world was so well created that I could feel it. I wished I had a crazy person like Amma taking care of me, and it makes me picture this small town that I've never experienced, but I felt like I have through the writing. I felt like I was in this wold of Casters and DAR societies entwined. It was so interesting.

I loved some of the quotes that popped up in this book as well. It really got you thinking and it really showed how well written the book was. Some of my favorites are: 

"It's funny how you can live somewhere your whole life, but not really see it."
"Darkness, real darkness, was something more than just a lack of light."
If you've read it, let me know what you think! If not please go out and try it because I highly recommend this book to everyone!

My rating: 5/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 30

Day 30: The book you're reading right now.

Ah! I'm so excited I finally got to this book in my whole line of books. It's Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare. So far it's amazing. And of course it is being the prequel series to the Mortal Instruments series which is amazing. I'm so excited for the rest of this book and the rest of the series!! Tessa already really makes me happy even if she is a little prissy, but that's just the way she grew up. 

I can't believe it's the end of the 30 day challenge even though I'm sure it took me three months!! 

What book are you reading right now?

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington Book Review

by Jessica Shirvington
Published October 1, 2010 by Hachette Australia
382 pages

It starts with a whisper: "It's time for you to know who you are..."

Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it's hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother's death. As if that wasn't enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There's a dark tattoo weaving it's way up her arms that wasn't there before.

Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he's only half-human -- oh, and same goes for her.

A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It's a fight Violet doesn't want, but she lives her life by two rules: don't run and don't quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden...


Embrace is about this girl Violet Eden who has no mother, a distant dad, and weird nightmares. Things start to happen to her -- there are weird patterns being drawn on her skin as she wakes up and her dreams seem too real. Then she finds out that Lincoln, the guy who's always been there for her, was holding in a huge secret. Now that it's revealed, can she trust him again? Can she trust anyone she meets in this new world she's been thrust into like the mysterious Phoenix? Who is telling the truth and who really cares?

I loved this book!! I had seen mixed reviews about it but I thought it was awesome! It was a light, fun, entertaining read. I read it in two days and that's with studying for finals starting! It was so addictive and I loved the characters. I'm a sucker for a love triangle so this one pulled me in. The characters were entertaining and I liked the story. It was something different from other angel stories -- it was part of it's own little category.

It was dramatic and the story didn't drag. I couldn't believe how far I was getting in such little time! The story just drew me in. It was fast-paced and enticing. I really can't wait until I can pick up the next book and the third because I really really want to know what's going to happen next. I highly recommend this book and I've heard the ones in the series are even better so I honestly can't wait!

My rating: 4/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Haul #4: Thrift Store!

Hey everyone! I went to Goodwill awhile ago with my mom and ended up getting 11 books for three dollars. It was amazing!! I left them at home while I was at school so I wasn't able to show you guys and film a video so now that I'm home for break here's your book haul!! My camera cut off so I only got up to #9 and you see a bit of #10! They're all listed below so don't worry!

1. The Pretty Committee Strikes Back (The Clique Series #5) by Lisi Harrison

2. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

3. What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

4. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

5. A Secret Kept by Tatiana DeRosnay

6. The Tourist by Olen Steinhauser

7. Bloodlines by Jan Burke

8. The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

9. 1st to Die by James Patterson

10. The Ghost by Danielle Steel

11. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

Have you read any of these? Are they good? Let me know (:

Happy Reading!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 29

Day 29: An author you wish was more well known.

This one is particularly hard. I've always picked up whatever I wanted from the shelves not worrying about something being from a particular author -- except for John Green who is my favorite. But now that I'm getting into book blogging I see how important it is and it's opening my eyes. My favorite authors are pretty well known right now but I just read Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry and I really want her to publish more things and I want to read her stuff -- yet she is pretty well known by now. But there are a bunch of indie authors out there that have amazing stuff that we need to support and discover and I'm so excited for diving into that!

What about you? What author do you think I should check out that's not as well known?

Happy Reading!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Host by Stephenie Meyer Book Review

The Host
by Stephenie Meyer
Published May 6, 2008 by Little, Brown & Company
619 pages

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their live apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Wanderer probes Melanie's thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer's mind with visions of the man Melanie loves -- Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love. 

The Host is about the soul named the Wanderer who has been on many different planets and lived in many different "hosts." Now that her species has taken over the human world as well, she is assigned to a new host: Melanie Stryder. Normally, when the Wanderer or any other soul enters a host, they get their memories, but the rest of the host's personality and mine fades away -- but Melanie is different. She's a fighter and she won't let the Wanderer completely control her. Bombarding her with images of the man she loves, she manages to get the Wanderer to team up with her in search of him.

I absolutely loved this book! It was so spectacular. I for one, love Stephenie Meyer's writing. She has such a way of getting you into the main character's head. I honestly felt like the third person inside this girl's head. I felt like I was apart of the same contradiction and world that the Wanderer and Melanie were in. The details were so vivid and I could easily picture the world that they lived in. It was so superbly written that I could lose myself in the story and finished it in record time no matter the length. I was so surprised by how much I loved this book.

The characters were so well developed as well. I felt as if I knew Jeb and felt Melanie's love for Jared. I especially loved Ian. His character was so vivid throughout the book I felt I was becoming friends with him as well. It's something that Meyer does exceptionally well. She also makes it seem so believable no matter the absurdity of the things she proposes. I really believed that this could happen.

This book also had me on a roller coaster of emotions. I could feel it in my heart and I loved books that can make me feel. I really recommend this book to anyone. It was so intriguing and exciting and amazing! Even if you don't like the Twilight Series, this is definitely a must read.

My rating: 5/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Update: Finals Week!

Hey everyone!! OKAY I KNOW I'VE BEEN MIA FOR A LITTLE. But I have good reason. These past two weeks I've been in Finals mode for college. Today, I'm taking a little study break to write this but my last final is tomorrow morning. 

As you can see.... It's going well... I promise I'll get back to normal soon!! It's just been so stressful and I've been so busy that it's been impossible to film reviews and keep up with my reading pace. Believe me when I say over Winter Break I'm going to be a crazy reader and give you so much to look at! Also, next week I'll be visiting my friends back in my old town so I might not be posting much then either! I'm sorry! I'm trying, honestly. Life is just kicking me in the butt. 

So, I thought now would be a good time to ask for reading suggestions as well as you guys updating me on what you've been reading and all that good stuff! Any plans for the month of December, the Holidays, anything? Tell me below! I'll be back full force soon I promise!
Love you guys for sticking with me and hello and welcome to new followers!!

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 28

Day 28: Favorite Book from Childhood?

Okay, these are going to be very cliche, but I don't really care. Of course I grew up with the Harry Potter books so those have to be in here. I remember getting the first two for Christmas one year and I had no clue what I was getting into. Also the Magic Tree House Books were amazing. There was like a million of them -- probably in the 30s by now if she's still going. I also loved Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. 

What books did you love as a kid?

Happy Reading!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 27

Day 27: Your reading playlist.

There's not really a playlist I have for reading. I more have one for when I'm writing because I don't really listen to music while I read to much and there's different songs that relate to different books. For writing however, I like to listen to music that makes me feel. I need something that's going to bring out memories and emotions in me whether or not they're good or bad. I find it much easier to connect and I end up connecting them to characters in books I've been reading or writing. I guess it's very specific to each individual person and mine changes so much depending on my mood and the point in my life.

What about you? Do you have a reading playlist? And if so what songs are on it?

Happy Reading!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Entwined by Heather Dixon Book Review

by Heather Dixon
Published March 29, 2011 by Greenwillow Books
472 pages

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her... beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to "keep" things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late. 

Entwined is about Azalea and her eleven sisters who enjoy dancing so much in their castle. They are all princesses and their father the king. After their mother dies and they are sent in to mourning, and dancing banned -- they sneak around in the magic castle to find away to keep that spirit alive. However, the magic and the Keeper they meet may be dangerous and the magic might turn dark leaving them to understand the stories of their castle.

I thought this book was very different and very good! It dragged a little bit, and it's a bit of a hefty read -- you really need to cut out time for this book. But it was very enjoyable and entertaining. I really loved the characters -- especially Bramble. She was fiery and sassy and especially for the world in the book she was definitely my favorite. Azalea was awesome too. She was caring and lovely.

I like the many different story lines that went through this book. It definitely wasn't what I was expecting at all when I picked up this book. The cover is also beautiful and on each start of the chapter page there are some leaves and I think it was beautifully done. I really enjoyed the story even if it did take a while to get through. If you have some time on your hands, and you like that whole era with kings, and balls, and princesses with a little bit of magic mixed in than I would definitely recommend this book to you!

My rating: 4/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 26

Day 26: Random book from shelf. Like/Hate or TBR?

Okay so for this one it's going to be TBR no matter which one it is because I don't have all my books with me at college. I just went home for Thanksgiving break and brought back all the books I've already read. So the one that I picked was Unwind by Neil Shusterman! I'm so excited to read this book it's on the TBR shelf here so hopefully I'll get to it soon -- depending on how much time I actually have for reading during this week and finals week... but yeah!

If you've read it let me know what you thought about it!

Happy Reading!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake Book Review

Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2)
by Kendare Blake
Published August 7, 2012 by Tor Teen
332 pages

It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live -- not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

Girl of Nightmares is the sequel to the original story Anna Dressed in Blood. Here, all your favorite characters are back... except for Anna who was sent to Hell when she saved Cas. No matter how hard he tries, even though he really doesn't, Anna never leaves ghost hunter Cas's mind. When he starts seeing her again in his weirdest nightmares and dreams he knows that she shouldn't be where she is and she is not at peace.

I really do love these characters. I think that this book was better than the first. There was more action and the plot had a lot more happening in it to keep the story really entertaining. The romance, having a rocky base, fit well for this story even if it was still a little awkward. When Cas and Anna are together I feel like the romance is awkward and doesn't fit the story but when they're apart and he's working to figure out what's going on, I like the romance more. It's so weird!

This book follows along the same lines of scariness as did the first book. It really won't keep you up at night even though some parts might be a little freaky it definitely isn't a super scary book. It's a good Halloween read to get into the mood without scaring you to the point of nightmares!!

I really love the author's writing style and I fell in love with Cas a little more. I also liked the new characters and the new developments in the way the story twisted. I like how the little things surprise me and the entire story isn't predictable. Overall, I definitely think that if you read Anna Dressed in Blood, you should read this one especially if Anna Dressed in Blood didn't wow you too much because this one was definitely better!

My rating: 3.5/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake Book Review

Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake
Published August 30, 2011 by Tor Teen
316 pages

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead -- keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained read and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

Anna Dressed in Blood was about this boy named Cas who takes after his father in the ghost killing business. He tracks down ghosts with his mother, who happens to be a witch, and finds ghosts that are killing innocent individuals and he sends them on their way. Cas has taken after what his father used to do, before the job got the best of him.When he gets an interesting tip about this ghost in Thunder Bay called Anna Dressed in Blood who rips apart whoever dares walk into her house, he immediately is taken with the idea and sets out to kill her. So why is it that everyone but Cas is killed as soon as they step foot in Anna's house?

I loved this book. There were a couple things that didn't connect for me, like the fact that everyone was so believing of the supernatural except for maybe Carmel. She really was the voice of reason. But besides that, everyone wasn't in denial like I would be if I heard about something like that or experienced it even. Also, I am a complete scaredy cat who can't even watch scary movies, so I thought I'd try my hand at scary books, and I had been seeing in reviews and suggestions that this book was very scary, and I was kind of excited! However, I didn't seem to get that scared by what happened in the book and I was kind of disappointed. I think it was because the way some of the events were being described through Cas's voice. Cas didn't seem to be as afraid as I would be in that situation, so the way the author talked about it from his point of view was calmer and didn't make it seem as scary. Also the romance aspect knocked it down for me too. It was very unexpected and thrown in too late in the book. It was out of the blue and there was really no emotional connection before that or even when it happened it all seemed kind of detached. I really didn't like it.

There were some parts that did freak me out though! And I loved Cas, Anna, Carmel & Thomas's characters! They really grew on me and I didn't think I would like Cas as much as I did throughout the book but I really fell in love with him. Also, I really liked the story line. It was so different and I didn't know what was going to happen at all which I love in books. It kept me guessing and I really liked that aspect. It was very well written and a very very good book. I can't wait to read the next one! I'm pretty sure I'll start it right away (Girl of Nightmares is the second one!). I really enjoyed everything that went on in this book and it was a good read so I recommend it to anyone if they were searching for a light Halloween read.

If you want to try out scary books but you're a scaredy cat like me, this is the perfect book for you. It's freaky but it won't keep you up at night.

My rating: 3/5

Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!


To all my American readers, Happy Thanksgiving! I know that I have so much to be grateful for. And I include all my readers in those I am thankful for. Thanks for making this blog take off. I know I haven't been posting a lot in the past week, but I've been so busy and I'm home now for Thanksgiving break so I finally had time to edit a video and read so there should be a review coming soon.

I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving and stuffs themselves full with food. Enjoy!

Happy Reading!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Movie Monday #3: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Trailer!

Hey everyone! I know I haven't done a Movie Monday in a while, but I've been so busy and I'll start trying to do them more often. But a movie trailer just came out that I'm super excited for and I've watched it a million times. Of course it's the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones trailer! It looks so epic and I really love the casting (except for Jace of course) but who knows he might surprise me. I'm waiting to see how he acts before I get too judge-y. But Clary looks perfect and Simon's such a cutie. Who else is just as excited for August as I am? What do you think about the trailer and all things City of Bones movie?

Happy Reading and Viewing!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 25

Day 25: A book you want to like, but can't get into it for whatever reason. Why can't you get into it?

This would definitely be Matched by Ally Condie. I love the covers of all the books and in theory the book sounds really good but for some reason the story fell flat for me. I really don't even want to read the next books in the series it was that bad for me. The story really kind of annoyed me and wasn't executed to the kind of extent it could have been and I really didn't like it. It kind of bored me and it didn't seem believable. I wanted to love this book so much just because the book covers were so awesome and everyone seemed to be raving about it. I really just couldn't get into it and couldn't find myself falling in love with the world. I really didn't like this book. At all. Ugh.

What about you? What book(s) can't you get into for whatever reason?

Happy Reading!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fan Girl Friday #6

Hey everybody it's time for another Fan Girl Friday! Same questions, different blogger! Thank you to everyone who wanted to be interviewed for my paper, I'm still awaiting a grade but you guys made the experience enjoyable just because I got to read your responses and now I'm sharing them with everyone! Today's blogger that we are fan girling over is Caitlin from the Y.A. Bookworm Blogger site.

Maureen's Book Haven: Why did you start your blog?

Caitlin: I think what really got me to start my blog was how sad I would feel every time I read a book, and I had no one to talk to about it! I got so frustrated that I started googling reviews for the book I was reading at the time and came across a book review blog called Stuck in Books. I started reading her reviews and I was like, "Hey, I kind of want to do this!" It took me about a year before I actually went through with it, but now I have The Y.A. Bookworm Blogger!

Maureen's Book Haven: What motivates you to keep posting on your blog?

Caitlin: Seeing other bloggers constantly putting up reviews and participating in fun things like cover reveals is probably what keeps me motivated the most -- especially on days when I don't fell like posting at all. I also find my blog in general a big motivator for me. I can't even imagine not posting, because if I just suddenly stopped, I would feel like the last 10 months of my life would have been a waste!

Maureen's Book Haven: How often do you normally post?

Caitlin: I participate in three weekly features (Memory Lane Monday, Swoon Thursday, and Feature and Follow Friday). In addition to these weekly features, I try to get at least two book reviews posted each week, as well as any extra cover reveals, blog tours, etc. that I have signed up for. In summary, a normal week consists of about five posts!

Maureen's Book Haven: How many followers do you have?


GFC (Google Friends Connect): 350
E-mail Subscribers: 23
Twitter: 374
Facebook Likes: 34

Maureen's Book Haven: How much time do you spend on your blog per week?

Caitlin: Each week, I probably spend an average of about 6-7 hours (not including reading time) on my blog. This includes writing posts, publicizing, commenting on other blogs and answering emails.

Maureen's Book Haven: Is blogging a dominant part of your everyday life? If so, how dominant?

Caitlin: Aside from school, my blog is a pretty dominant part of my life. I averagely spend at least an hour a day doing things for my blog and I'm always looking for new ways to attract readers.

Maureen's Book Haven: Are there any benefits for you from blogging? If so, what are they?

Caitlin: Through blogging, I've been able to get to know some great people in the blogging community. I get to talk about books all the time with people through my blog, twitter and facebook -- seeing as that's the reason I started my blog, this has been a huge plus for me! I've always gotten opportunities to read ARCs and review copies, which is something I would have never been able to do before.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for me! It really means a lot! If everyone could go check Caitlin and her awesome blog out it would be a huge thank you favor from me!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Tour: Forward Passes Review

Forward Passes
by Jami Davenport
Published October 5, 2012 by Borough's Publishing Group
284 pages

Quarterback Tyler Harris is about to find the woman who can get past his defensive line and reach his heart.

With two championships in as many years, superstar Tyler Harris is the best quarterback in the league. Gorgeous and rich, he's at the top of his game. But everyone's looking to take him down. There's a building media frenzy around an unfortunate accident, and the only safe place seems a rundown mansion deep in the San Juans and owned by his late great uncle. There, Tyler gets sacked by the sassy redhead next door. It's more alive than he's felt in years.

Lavender Mead has a good reason to dislike jocks, namely an absentee father who deserted the family to coach college football. Maybe that explains her penchant for bad boys who play ball for a living and break hearts for a hobby. Her new neighbor seems just the type. Yet, something is different about Tyler, and sometimes love requires a Hail Mary. you draw back your arm, pray... and give it all up to fate. And sometimes you win your ring.

Forward Passes is about this mega-sports star, Tyler Harris, who is said to be the best quarterback in the NFL -- and the hottest. He's won two superbowls in two years, and he's in his prime. Except for some reason, he's losing his touch with the game. After his uncle dies, he goes to San Juans to find he's been left a broken down mansion. Here he finds more than just a mansion as he meets Lavender Mead -- his next door neighbor who has sworn off all jocks due to her father who abandoned her family for his love of the game of football.

I absolutely loved this story. Being a romance, it was steamy and had me falling for Tyler. But the thing I didn't expect it to have was depth. The story was very well developed and in something that could have turned out predictable and cliche was surprisingly heartwarming and complex. I really liked all the aspects of the story that kept you entertained. Both characters were well developed and had pasts that were different and intriguing. I'd have to say though, my favorite character ended up being the cat. He was so sassy!! Definitely someone I would get along with.

The world of San Juans was so disconnected that it really made you want to go there and exile yourself for some peace. I became extremely jealous of the type of world they got to live in so cut off from everything. I liked the growth that both main characters went through and I think their location attributed to it a lot.

Both of their voices were funny and entertaining. I liked their character quirks and I liked the story a lot. I definitely think that you guys should check it out because Forward Passes is a really enjoyable story! This is the second one, Tyler's story, and the first one was Derek's I believe. You don't need to read Derek's to read this one (although I'm really thinking of doing it!!). I really loved the writing style.

My rating: 4/5
Buy it:  Smashwords  or  Borough's Publishing Group

About the Author: Jami Davenport

There are two things I've always wanted to do since I was a young child: to write books and to ride horses. The riding I've been doing for years. Until recently, I only dabbled in writing.
I completed my first story at the age of five. I titled it "Wildfire" (about a horse, of course) and illustrated it myself. I still have the book stowed away in the attic somewhere.

I've written stories all of my life. They were my secret garden, my escape from the realities of the world. I never shared them with anyone. I'd hide them away and bring them out when the mood struck me.

I frequented several fan fiction sites on the Internet. As I was reading those stories, I thought I can do that. Four years ago, I posted my first two chapters on a fan fiction site. My hands shook. My stomach lurched. NEVER had I let anyone read my stories before. What if my writing was garbage? What if everyone hated it? It was a soul-baring moment. Fortunately, they loved it. It became quite popular. Several people who'd befriended me on that fan fic site encouraged me to pursue my writing on a more professional level.

Being a devoted reader of romance and an advocate of happy endings, it was only natural to choose romance as my focus. I joined the Romance Writers of America, and the Olympia RWA chapter.

Six months and 105,000 words later, I finished my first manuscript, The Dance. Named after Garth Brooks' popular song, the original ending wasn't happily ever after, but I quickly changed that small detail. I started my second single title on Thanksgiving Day and pushed myself to see how long it would take me to finish it. I finished it the middle of February and was very proud of myself for being so fast.

To date, I've published four novels and two short stories in an anthology.
A few years ago, I married a wonderful man. You can bet my Green Beret turned Plumber will be an inspiration for a future book. In my spare time, I show the above-mentioned Hanoverian mare, in dressage. I'm also a rabid Seattle Seahawks and Mariners fan through thick and thin. Lately, I've developed an interest in gardening.

An avid boater, I've spent countless hours in Washington State's San Juan Islands, the most beautiful place on earth, and the setting for "Who's" and "The Dance." You'll see more books in the future set on these islands. My banner and several other pictures on this site were taken in that area.

Currently, I'm a PAN member of RWA and three RWA chapters: Peninsula, Greater Seattle, and Olympia. I'm co-president of the Olympia chapter with fellow writer Anthea Lawson. I spearhead the annual Elizabeth Kistler Memorial Retreat in Port Townsend at Manresa Castle for the Olympia chapter.

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Should You Judge a Book by it's Cover?

Today, I just have the need to talk about book covers and whether or not they are important or whether or not they are what you should judge a book on. I was thinking about this the other day when I was in a bookstore, and I was at a complete loss of what to buy! It was one of those times where I didn't have any books I was setting out to find, and was just going to see what I could discover and I realized how I looked for books sometimes and what normally, people see first when looking for books.

So I know everyone says you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, and that what lies underneath might be completely amazing but the cover completely boring. And I have found for some books, this is true, one of my personal favorites: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is so boring and if I hadn't had someone tell me to get it, then when it first came out, I wouldn't have gotten it! (I'm so glad I did because it became an immediate favorite, and now it's getting so much publicity because of the movie! Go Wallflowers!!) The words beneath it's plain green cover are beautifully crafter and works of magical wonder, okay. So that's where I agree that some real gems, are more about the writing beneath the cover, are so much better than their bland covers. 

On the other hand, covers are such a big importance. Especially for book collectors, or book bloggers I know it's a big deal. Especially for your shelf -- you need the same continuos covers for a series, and you want the prettiest ones showing on the shelf. Also, it's what grabs my attention! When I'm walking through the bookstore, and I don't have recommendations, or researched books and I'm going just to find undiscovered gems, the two things that stick out to me the most -- that make me want to pick it up and read the synopsis are the title and the cover design. If neither interest me, I am less likely to buy it or read the synopsis. I'll look through the shelves, and pull out the most interesting titles, or the ones with the most interesting cover. And sometimes, those books aren't necessarily the greatest, and other times the book lives up to the awesomeness of the cover. So, I know that the cover doesn't dictate whether or not the book is good -- but you can't help but sometimes have it influence whether or not you pick up a book to find out about and potentially buy. I can't help but gravitate towards the pretty covers and cool titles because they catch my eye!!

So, no you don't need a good cover or title to have an amazing book but you're more likely to be picked  up! There are always exceptions to the rule and I don't always just go to the ones with pretty covers. I like reading the description of almost every book and picking what sounds the best to me. Still, pretty covers and titles do help. I seem to find better books when either I have a recommendation (rather than me just researching a book that I haven't really heard anything about online beforehand), or no idea of what I want. 

Tell me how you look for books and if you find yourself gravitating toward pretty covers or cool titles like me, or if you NEVER judge a book by it's cover and it never stops you from picking something up.

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 24

Day 24: You judged a book by it's cover -- it was amazing. What was it?

A book I judged by it's cover and it turned out amazing was definitely the Mortal Instruments Series. Before I even knew what it was, the cover caught my eye so many times that I finally picked it up and then I started hearing so much about it and I was so glad I picked it up. The books are amazing and obviously some of my favorites with how much I talk about them on this blog. I really truly recommend them. Their covers are spectacular and the story matches with it's awesomeness. If you have not checked it out do so immediately, please.

What about books you've read with awesome covers that were just as awesome? 

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Curse of the Wolf by Danica Winters Book Review

Curse of the Wolf
by Danica Winters
Published May 9, 2012 by Ravenous Romance
424 pages

For cursed, shape-shifting Veela Gloriana, following her heart and giving her body to sexy, tortured werewolf Alexander means one thing 0 he will die and it will again be her fault. Once only a man, Alexander finds himself scarred by the memories of his former life and the deceptions and lies that surround him. When a glimmer of light breaks the madness, he must let go of his misguided preconceptions and the hatred that consumes him.

On a mission for blood, they find unity in their desire for revenge, but are driven apart by their pasts. Traveling the darkest paths and fighting the very people they think they can trust, they draw closer to one another's hearts and further into danger.

Will the curse prove to be unstoppable... or is there hope in forbidden love?

Curse of the Wolf was about this Veela, Gloriana, who has a curse set down on her... One that has already hurt someone very much. When she meets Alex, the werewolf, she's afraid of what might happen to him as she starts to feel something. Meanwhile, she's still seeking revenge for the death of her previous lover and trying to keep safe. She's got a ton going on and the story follows her journey.

I thought this story was very different and very good! The beginning, while it drew me in with the story line started off weird and I believe a bit too fast between Alex and Gloriana but as we get more into the story I really loved it. I loved the different kind of supernatural that was thrown into this story. It wasn't the normal werewolf story like I was expecting. There were things like veela, elves, and sorcerers all included in one story. I also liked the fact that it didn't seem fake -- it was a believable story set in our normal world with a few differences. It wasn't too far fetched that it made me not want to read it.

The only thing I didn't like was the fact that while there were details about certain things, I still felt a little wanting. I feel the characters weren't as well developed as I would have liked even if they were entertaining. Even when they were hearing their thoughts it seemed impersonal and I had a hard time connecting fully with the characters while they still were understandable.

This book was a bit steamy because it is a romance and it's not a young adult book. I really liked the story and I really liked the plot and how it kept moving along. It didn't drag at all and I really liked that about the story after reading some that were too slow!

My rating: 3/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fan Girl Friday #5

Hey everyone! This week for Fan Girl Friday, another one of the interviews that I did for research on my paper about blogging is here! This time it was with Cristal from Life of A Book Addict. She so kindly agreed to answer these questions for me and help me out! Thank you so much Cristal!

Maureen's Book Haven: When did you start your blog?

Cristal: I started my blog on August 16, 2012. 

Maureen's Book Haven: What motivates you to keep posting on your blog?

Cristal: When I see people follow my blog, make a comment on a post, or when I see the number of viewings, that makes me feel happy and motivated. I blog for fun, but to know that other people even if they are only a handful of people visit my blog and see what I have to say about books... I get excited like a little kid in a candy store haha.

Maureen's Book Haven: How often do you normally post?

Cristal: I try to do a post at the very least, twice a week. 

Maureen's Book Haven: How many followers do you have?

Cristal: I have 56 followers so far.

Maureen's Book Haven: How much time do you spend on your blog per week?

Cristal: Around two or three days a week for a couple of hours.

Maureen's Book Haven: Is blogging a dominant part of your everyday life? If so, how dominant?

Cristal: No, not at the moment it isn't.

Maureen's Book Haven: Are there any benefits for you from blogging? If so, what are they?

Cristal: I have tons of fun blogging. To me that is a benefit. The more I read and blog, the more books I have the opportunity to discover that I might not have otherwise. I love reading and writing, so blogging about books seemed like a neat combination for me. I have also had fun meeting other bloggers in the book community. Everyone is really nice and helpful which is cool.

Thank you so much for helping me out and answering these questions! Everyone please go check out her blog!
Happy Reading!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 23

Day 23: You judged a book by it's cover -- and it was awful. What book was it?

A book I judged by it's cover was the book and it was awful was definitely Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Now, I picked up this book for many reasons, not just it's cover. I loved Lauren Oliver's book Before I Fall, it was amazing so I thought I'd try out another one of her books and I really just didn't like it. I know this is the unpopular opinion but I really hated Delirium. It just didn't grab me in and was just not an enjoyable experience for me. However, the cover -- just like Before I Fall -- is a close up of a girls face and it's just stunning. It's like they eye contact immediately draws you in. 

What book did you pick up just cause of the cover and it ended up being awful?

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So B. It by Sarah Weeks Book Review

So B. It
by Sarah Weeks
Published October 4, 2005 by Harper Collins
288 pages

You couldn't really tell about Mama's brain just from looking at her, but it was obvious as soon as she spoke. She had a high voice, like a little girl's, and she only knew 23 words. I know this for a fact, because we kept a list of the things Mama said tacked to the inside of the kitchen cabinet. Most of the words were common ones, like good and more and hot, but there was one word only my mother said: soof.

Although she lives an unconventional lifestyle with her mentally disabled mother and their doting neighbor, Bernadette, Heidi has a lucky streak that has a way of pointing her in the right direction. When a mysterious word in her mother's vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi's thirst for the truth leads her on a cross-country journey in search of the secrets of her past.

So B. It was a surprising story for me. It's about this girl Heidi who lives with her mother who is mentally disabled and their neighbor, Bernadette who is agoraphobic. Basically, it means that Bernadette can't go outside and is extremely terrified of it only going between her apartment and the special door that leads to Heidi's and her mom's. All Heidi knows about herself, is the fact that her mom and her showed up at Bernadette's apartment one night when Heidi was a baby and they had been together ever since.

Heidi's an extraordinary girl on a mission to find out who she is and where her and her mother, who calls her self So B. It, came from. This story was extremely different from things that I've read recently. Heidi is a strong character who is severely lucky and who is one of those people you can't say no to. One of those people where no matter how hard they push, everyone will always like them and they'll always get what they want, but she's so charming while doing it. You really feel for Heidi as she tries to understand who she is and what went on to her mother.

I thought it was an awesome story! I really liked it! The characters were so well-developed and the way that it was written really drew me in. It was a quick, good read and I definitely recommend it.
Another thing I found out right around that same time is that not knowing something doesn't mean you're stupid. All it means is that there's still room left to wonder.
Such a good quote that was on the second page and immediately drew me in. Love it!

My rating: 4/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 22

Day 22: Your favorite series.

I have so many!! I love Harry Potter it's my all time favorite series and I know I'll sound cliche saying this but it's my childhood! Come on! The world's just amazing and I've reread the books over and over again for the majority of my life. It's a part of me I'll never be able to let go! Other honorable mentions: The Hunger Games Trilogy, Twilight (don't hate me, I actually like three of the books), The Fallen Series, and that's all I can think of off the top of my head. I didn't read many series before but now I'm starting to so I'm pretty sure that I'll have more favorites in the future. 

What about you? What are your favorite series that I should try out?!

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Tour: A Bridge to Treachery by Larry Crane Author Interview

Hey everyone! Today is a stop for the A Bridge of Treachery Book Tour where we have an interview with the author, Larry Crane!

Larry Crane
Author of A Bridge to Treachery

Transplanted to Maine mid-westerner Larry Crane brings an Illinois sensibility to his writing. Larry graduated from West Point and served in the Army before starting a business career on Wall Street. His writing includes articles for outdoor magazines, plays, short fiction, and his most recent thriller novel, A Bridge to Treachery. In his spare time, Crane is a hobbyist videographer for his local Public Access Television Station and is a volunteer at his local historical society. Larry and wife Jan live in splendid isolation on the coast of Maine.

Larry Crane: Hello Maureen. I'm delighted to be here talking about A Bridge to Treachery.

Maureen's Book Haven: We're excited to have you! What's the hardest for you to write, the beginning  the middle or the end?

Larry Crane: A Bridge to Treachery has a lot of threads that need to be tied up by the time that the last word goes down on the book, as do most thrillers. I want all the logic that drives the action, all the comings and goings of characters, all the complications to make sense with the unfolding of the resolution. It is an exercise in attention to detail. So, the end is the most difficult for me to write. In the beginning and the middle of the book, there is a much greater feeling of freedom in the flow of the story. The closer you get to the end, the more doors get closed, and the feeling of freedom is pretty much used up.

Maureen's Book Haven: Does anyone in your life inspire your characters?

Larry Crane: I don't have any major characters in my book that are based solely on one person from my personal experience. But many of the characters inhabit a mixed bag of characteristics from people I have known. Situations in the book are in part similar to situations I know of. For instance  the auction in the beginning of the book is very much like auctions I have attended, and the auctioneer, a minor character, is pretty much a replica of an actual person. The operations manager in the brokerage office that Lou Christopher works in, another minor character, is another replica.

Maureen's Book Haven: When did you discover your talent for writing?

Larry Crane: Generally, we like to do things in life that we are good at. Finding out what you're good at is a process of trial and error, seems to me. I had no sense that I could put words together pretty well before about the eighth grade. Our eighth grade geography teacher as I remember it, required us to write a report of some kind, and I was able to accomplish the task easily. Later, I discovered that it was a good report when it was published in the school newspaper. So, the reward of recognition served to kindle my basic talent for composition. The talent didn't crumble with added complexity and subtlety that went along with more advanced writing projects. It was in English Lit at college level where I first got the idea that fiction might be fun. 

Maureen's Book Haven: What was the first book that changed your world?

Larry Crane: A book that was passed around between my high school sophomore classmates until it was limp as a rag was Battle Cry, a World War II tale of teenage Marines going through training and shipping off to the Pacific to ultimately make a landing on Guadalcanal. It was a book that was right for that time in my life. It was full of scenes to get a 15 year old boy's blood boiling. It wasn't fine literature, but it was a book that fired my imagination in all sorts of ways.

Maureen's Book Haven: Where did you come up with the story line?

Larry Crane: I wanted to write a book that I would want to read. Books on writing encourage budding writers to use what they know. I had been in the Army. I had brokerage experience. I knew my way around Manhattan, and the area all the way north from New York to West Point, on the Hudson River. I knew that I wanted to put my protagonist in a situation where he would have to use his skill in terrain navigation. With those elements, I dreamed up a scenario in which and ex-Army officer would get himself in a pickle, a deadly one, that he would have to get himself out of. 

Maureen's Book Haven: Tell us something about yourself that isn't in your bio for everyone to read?

Larry Crane: I suspect that few people are as crazy as I was about sports as a young man. I played sports of all kinds all through my school days including college. I was physically on the small side all the way up to graduation from high school, a classic late bloomer. Through all those years, nothing could keep me away from trying out for teams. From this perspective now, it seems that those years pursuing success in sports is not much different from what I do now pursuing writing success.

Maureen's Book Haven: What are the scenes that are the hardest for you to write?

Larry Crane: Scenes that have an emotional payoff are the hardest for me. It is very easy to veer over into overly sentimental scenes, something to avoid. So it's a delicate balance to find the story developments and the language to convey the emotion, and carry it with a light touch.

Maureen's Book Haven: How do you choose names for your characters?

Larry Crane: I want my characters to have a name that suits them. It's completely arbitrary. Sidney seemed perfect to me for my sassy young woman. I'd never heard of a girl named Sidney until my college roommate and his wife named their daughter Sydney. Lou Christopher seems a name that fits the man, a man with some depth. And the aggressive and arrogant business woman seems aptly named Priscilla Buck. It is arbitrary, but I think names are important to the story. 

Maureen's Book Haven: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Larry Crane: I don't know how quirky it is, but I have a brain that skips around a lot. I have a lot of projects going on all the time in various stages of development. Plays, videos, grant applications, donation appeal letters, articles for a newspaper, and a novel. The novel will be perking away while all the rest of it is in revision or whatever other stage of development that applies.

Maureen's Book Haven: How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

Larry Crane: I didn't because it was an ebook and went completely unnoticed. A big event in my life was having the physical paperback book in my hands for the first time. It is a little strange, but the people in your life often don't know how to deal with the fact that you've published a book. They don't know what to say about it other than they liked it. 

Maureen's Book Haven: Thank you so much for being here and answering my questions! It really was great getting a little more insight into your perspective!

Now a little about Larry Crane's new book! Go check it out!

A Bridge to Treachery
by Larry Crane
Published December 6, 2011 by Brighton Publishing LLC
300 pages

Former Colonel Lou Christopher is an ex-Army Ranger retired from the military and contentedly working as a New York investment broker. After being assigned a number of lucrative accounts and becoming accustomed to living the good life, he discovers there is a pay back. His former military skills are requested under a threat of losing everything he has.

Handed a group of misfits to assemble into a military strike team, he is coerced into leading the team on a mission of domestic terrorism. At the center of a bridge outside of Manhattan, his strike team is caught in the act and unexpectedly becomes engaged in a deadly firefight. It's then that he learns the mission was a political maneuver from the highest levels of the U.S. Government and ultimately realizes he has been betrayed by his superiors. Learning his team was considered nothing more than collateral damage and intended to be killed and left as scapegoats, he uses his unique military expertise and engages in a fight for his life.

As the strike team is decimated, he and a female teammate elude the opposition forces to survive and escape, turning the tables on his superiors. Using his distinctive set of military skills, he now becomes the hunter and vows to extract his revenge and bring them all down.

Buy it:  Amazon  or  Barnes & Noble  or  Smashwords

Happy Reading!!