Tuesday, October 30, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge; Day 20

Day 20: A book you once loved, but don't anymore. What changed?

I don't know if there are books that I loved and now don't, but there are books that I just haven't read in a while or lost interest in since I grew up I guess. I used to love Inkheart by Cornelia Funke but I haven't read it in years. I'm sure I'll still love it once I pick it up again but I haven't for quite some time. People's tastes change as they grow up and I know that I've been reading since I could read and I've got so many books from when I was younger that probably wouldn't interest me now. But there are some I believe I could read again and fall in love with. There was also Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (didn't even know Cornelia Funke wrote that until I just looked it up... coincidence!) and I remember loving this book so much but I feel that if I were to pick it up again that I wouldn't feel the same. Who knows maybe I just have to pick them up again when I have time!

What books have you changed your mind about?

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 29, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 19

Day 19: The most disturbing book you've ever read.

So for English in high school, we had to read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and it was so disturbing and weird and I don't even know. It was interesting but it was crazy disturbing. 

What disturbing books have you read? Do you recommend any of them?

Happy Reading!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Darkwoods Series by Marta Stahlfeld Book Review

by Marta Stahlfeld
Published April 18, 2011 by Book Publishers Network
275 pages

A Fight for Freedom that Draws All Warriors!

Darkwoods is the first book in an exciting new epic fantasy series for teens and preteens.

The death of the foxes' ruling oracle, Scythe, bodes ill for the Wraith Mice around Darkwoods and their allies near and far. With the change in leadership, all sides know their uncertain relationship with the foxes will, too soon, erupt into a vicious war.

Possessing the ability to melt into the darkness and renowned in warfare, the Wraith Mice rally the squirrel tribes, Ranger Mice, and others to defend their territory - and their very lives.

A young one among them, Princess Zuryzel understands the gravity of the situation and rises fearlessly to the challenges of the ruthless invaders. Possessing the traits of a natural leader and wise beyond her years, Zuryzel knows she must follow the difficult path before her. But can she overcome the challenges in time to defeat the hated foxes?

With a nod to life as it truly is, Stahlfeld presents characters of complexity -- each with weaknesses as strengths - and a story of constantly shifting "certainties."

More than a battle of good against evil, Darkwoods challenges the reader to discover the truth. Who can be trusted? Ae all foxes, indeed, dastardly creatures? Who is the spy within the Wraith Mice's midst? And, ultimately, can good ever win?

Stahlfeld skillfully weaves romance, intrigue, and intense action into the continuing saga of the creatures of Darkwoods and beyond. The Wraith Mice and their allies, the Squirrel Tribes, River Otters and Ranger Mice, fight for their freedom -- even their very survival -- agains the treacherous Darkwoods Foxes.

Darkwoods is the first book in the Darkwoods Series. It sets up the world that the Wraith Mice, the foxes, the otters and the squirrels live in. The book is about how one of the ruling foxes named Scythe dies and it sends their world into chaos. The foxes are attacking left and right and war is on the verge of breaking out.

To be honest, this book was very hard for me to get into. It's through the point of view of animals and they have this war going on, but I couldn't get into it. It was all very confusing. There were too many characters, and too many stories and it kept switching back and forth leaving me lost and confused. I also couldn't connect with the characters because they weren't that well described -- I accounted this to the fact that there were simply too many and too little space to introduce them all and give a good look into their mind. The story line was kind of blah except for certain part like the dreams that Zuryzel was having in the middle of the book. The writing and grammar were very well done but it was not for the younger ages like the preteens I don't think. The writing was too sophisticated for that.

I was so excited for this book and was severely let down. I'm hoping the next one would be better. It is well written but ended up not being my thing. At all. And I was so disappointed because I wanted to love this so much. The idea is very original and different.

My rating: 2/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

by Marta Stahlfeld
Published June 2012 by Book Publishers Network
240 pages

The fight to defeat evil continues! Leaving behind a desperate war, Princess Zuryzel races to the coast, intent on bringing aid to her struggling army. On her journey to the sea and to adulthood, she will encounter friendship, betrayal, pain, and a secret she would much rather stay hidden. Through it all, Zuryzel knows that at the end of her journey she must face and destroy the might of Darkwoods that has laid siege to the great Stone Tribe city of Pasadagavra.

A myriad of questions await the Wraith Mouse along her quest. She soon learns that someone is pulling strings behind the war, and no longer are things as simple as they seem. One who knows the identity of themysterious puppet master is a self deprecating pirate captain with uncanny sword skills and a mind too shrewd to be trusted. Zuryzel is determined to figure out the bewildering puzzle- but finding the answer may cost her someone she holds very dear.

As Zuryzel feverishly works to bring them support, the squirrels and mice defending Pasadagavra fear they cannot hold out against the onslaught of the Darkwoods Foxes.But as the battles rage, they learn the depths of their own strength and bravery. The struggle to defeat the loathsome and greedy evil that has crept across the world may cost their very lies, but they are determined to prevail.

In this exciting second installment of the Darkwoods series, Stahlfeld combines wild action and fierce loyalty in an epic tale of a fight to preserve everything precious in the world. The intense story of good versus evil presents characters of honor and of depravity, all caught up in a vicious struggle. At the center is a princess longing to be a queen.

Pasadagavra is the second book in the Darkwoods Series. This book is about the war that is still raging on in the Darkwoods and Zuryzel's quest to end it. It follows along the same story line with new developments and adding some new characters back in with the ones from the first book.

It was a little better than Darkwoods, but still rather disappointing for me. Stahlfeld is a good writer, but everything is too overwhelming and chaotic. It's also rather hard to remember where you are in the story and what characters you're dealing with -- although a bit easier than the first. The story line picked  up in this book and was definitely going along with more developments than the last book.

I wanted to like this one as well that would hopefully get me into the series and eradicate my dislike for the first one but it could not. It was better, but still not my thing. I really wanted it to be but again, very creative ideas were cropping up in the book and this writer writes way beyond her years. The way she writes is a very classical style to it and it's something I wouldn't think an eighteen year old could produce!
My rating: 2/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 18

Day 18: The environment you most enjoy reading in.

I know this is going to sound cliche, I know but whatever. I have two extremes of my favorites actually. I love the rainy-day, curled up in a blanket, with a cup of tea or hot chocolate. I could sit there and read for hours. I LOVE that environment. It's so calming and so perfect and now I'm really itching for a rainy day. It also gives you an excuse if you need one to read all day and not do anything or go anywhere. I like that sense of knowing that I don't have anything really to do. Also, I love in the summer taking a good book outside in the morning and enjoy the sun as well as tanning later. Reading right when you get up is a privilege that I haven't had in a long time -- since the summer. College makes it hard to find good environments to read but my bed is good enough for now. 

Where do you enjoy reading most? What new places should I try out?!

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fan Girl Friday #3

Hey everyone! So this Fan Girl Friday is an interview with Nic from Bookmark Reviews who also so kindly helped me by answering this questions for my research paper on blogging! Go check out his blog because he's awesome and his reviews are fantastic!!

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

Nic: Funny story actually. This one night I was surfing the internet and as every kids dream, I wanted to become rich. At the time I still had some common sense and knew I couldn't become an overnight billionaire  That's when I found a great site which gave me the idea to blog. While at first I focused on making money I knew this wouldn't be possible. So I took the sites advice and blogged about something I was passionate about and could talk for hours on end about! This just so happened to be books. I soon found out my real passion for Book Blogging, and so the money became more of an extra bonus rather than a goal.

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

Nic: My readers motivate me the most. When it's been a while I haven't posted but can never get the time to do so, I think about my readers who take a few minutes of their own day to read my thoughts on a certain book. Of course my rankings are also a constant reminder to post more often then I should but my readers are my main supporters and motivators.

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

Nic: Posting always depends on what time of the year it is. For me posting daily during my summer vacation is an accomplishment! Posting once every three day sis quite acceptable as well during that time period. If I can maintain that 1 post every three day during my school period than I would most certainly give myself a huge high five! Although on normal occasions that 1 post every three days extends to every week or so. This is the cause of having no time whatsoever and needing to actually read a book before posting since my blog's main aspect is reviews.

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

Nic: Currently I have 109 lovely followers. It has taken me around 6 months to acquire them but considering I do not take part in any forum posts that bring forth "undedicated followers" which can be identified by the post label "Follow for a follow" I am quite proud.

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

Nic: Let's say... 10 minutes everyday checking out my stats and so forth. 2 hours a week writing a post and editing it as well as customizing my features which needs to be done every post... that would be around 3 hours a week.

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

Nic: It's somewhat dominant. I wish I could let it be my full time job but considering my age and the fact that 99% of internet businesses do not make it out there (the numbers are made by myself) then I can't make it my main priority. But I certainly will blog at the nearest opportunity I have! 

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

Nic: Of course! Benefits such as meeting new people all over the world with the same interests in books. Sharing thoughts and reading people point of views, which in turn, can change your own mindset. Being able to express what I feel about a certain book or topic. As well as the side money that comes in, if any at all!

Thank you so much Nic! I love your blog & everyone should go check him out!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare Book Review!

Hey everyone! So the review for City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (the fifth book in the Mortal Instruments Series) is updated on that post. (Click the title above to take you there!) I just wanted to let you know!

Let me know what you think about the series and if you think she should have stopped after the original three or if you like the extra books and story line! I'm curious to see what people think.

Check out the review!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 17

Day 17: A book that you think is woefully underrated.

There are so many! This would definitely be Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Everyone knows Lauren Oliver for Delirium and Pandemonium but her earlier book was Before I Fall and it's absolutely brilliant. I wished that it got as much hype and attention as the Delirium books because I think of it to be significantly better and it was awesome and original and really well written. I absolutely loved it. I'll probably be rereading it and reviewing it some time in the future on this blog (hopefully... fingers crossed) because I could probably talk about that book for days and no one seems to know it. 

What books do you think are woefully underrated? And have you read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver? Opinions?

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Movie Monday #2: Beautiful Creatures

Let's have a little discussion about the movie that is coming out called Beautiful Creatures based off the book Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. Now, I haven't read this book yet, but I had just bought it before I heard of the movie as you can see from my first haul. I'm so excited to read it and hearing about the movie has made me super excited for both. So here are all the goodies for the movie:

Exclusive On the Set from MTV
Movie Trailer!

So let me know in the comments below if you've read the book and if it's good or not (which I've heard its excellent so far) and if you think the movie's going to be good!!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson Book Review

by Laurie Halse Anderson
Published March 19, 2009 by Viking Juvenile
288 pages

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend's restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia's descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

Wintergirls is a book about this girl Lia who is anorexic and determined to be the skinniest girl ever. Her best friend, who had been on this journey with her, just died. As Lia comes to terms with how she died and not being there to keep her alive, you follow her through her ups and downs.

This novel was amazing and breathtaking as well as a little disturbing. I loved the imagery that Anderson creates -- she can use words to their full extent and it leaves you with the most vivid pictures in your head. The details are impeccable. What I really loved, was how this was a book about a serious issue that is going on in society -- body image and eating disorders. However, it wasn't critiquing eating disorders throughout -- which might sound like a bad thing but instead it was enlightening. It was told from Lia's point of view, and you see how it truly is a disease. You see her side of the story. When dealing with eating disorders, you don't understand what goes through their heads and how they function. It's not just oh, I'm going to stop eating now -- it's so much more than that and Anderson captured that perfectly.

I loved it. It was honest. It's something you have to be prepared for. It's not a light book to read, and it could be a very bad trigger for someone dealing with something along these lines. The quotes below were some that really stood out to me even though there were so many awesome images that were in this book!

 "For one moment we are not failed tests and broken condoms and cheating on essays; we are crayons and lunch boxes and swinging so high our sneakers punch holes in the clouds. For one breath everything feels better."
"I need to run, to fly, beating my wings so hard I can't hear anything over the pounding of my heart. Rain, rain, rain, drowning me." 
"We held hands when we walked down the gingerbread path into the forest, blood dripping from our fingers. We danced with witches and kissed monsters. We turned into wintergirls, and when she tried to leave, I pulled her back into the snow because I was afraid to be alone."
My rating: 5/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Let me know what you think!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 16

Day 16: A book you think is highly overrated. 

I'm not really sure I have one of these. I might, but it'd be books that are so popular that I haven't read yet, so I feel like they're overrated because they seem so popular even if they don't interest me. But I can't really judge those books too much just because I haven't read it. So I can't say it's overrated and not actually a good book because I haven't read it myself. A lot of books get so much hype though, but most live up to their standards. And sometimes a lot of things have been done before so you have to bring new things to the table when choosing certain topics for example: vampires. There are so many vampire books out there that you can end up doing it very cliche and overrated or you can be original. If I ever find and overrated book that I have read than I will share it with you.

What books do you think are overrated? Help warn me off of certain books or maybe I'll agree and realize that there is a book I have read that is overrated! Let me know!

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fan Girl Friday #2

So for this week's Fan Girl Friday I have an interview from the same research project as last week except this one is with Leigh from Little Book Star. You should check out her blog because she's awesome! Thank you so much for your help!

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

Leigh LBS: I started my blog because I wanted my own place to just blog about the books that I've read. I wanted to share my opinions outside of Goodreads. I was hesitant at first and really thought about whether to start a blog or not because I was afraid I wouldn't get any followers/readers since so many people were doing it! Also, I'm busy with school so I was unsure if I'd get any reading done. But you know that feeling when you really really want to do something and you can't stop thinking about it for days? Yup, that's what happened and I'm sooo happy that I decided to just go and make one!

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

Leigh LBS: Books! There are sooo many wonderful books out there whether it had been published some time ago or soon to be released! Also, the people on Goodreads motivate me. I'm super jealous of the people who've read more than a thousand books. I want to achieve that someday, but that's like in 50 years lol! And of course, my followers!

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

Leigh LBS: It depends, I don't have a specific day of when I post my reviews etc. (I know some bloggers post every Tuesday & Thursday). I do have a planner though. I have schedules of when to post up stuff on Microsoft Word. It would say: "Book Title by Author | Type of post | Date (of when it will be posted.")

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

Leigh LBS: Right now I have 170+ :D I was so happy when I reached my 100 followers!

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

Leigh LBS: Honestly, everyday. heehee. I can't stay away from my blog. Lol, even if there's nothing to post. I just like to visit my blog and reread some of my reviews. 

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

Leigh LBS: Omg, yes. I check it like the first thing in the morning. Lol not literally but I do check it in the morning. THe blogging world is just an exciting thing to me. :)

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

Leigh LBS: Definitely the experience and making blogger friends. I love talking to authors, getting the chance to read and review their books plus interviewing them. I'm very thankful that I found the blogging world, I love it more than my phone x) well, just a tad.

Thank you so much Leigh! Please check out her blog as a huge thank you from me!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mini Book Haul: 10/17

Hey everyone so here's a mini book haul for you guys! These are just books that I've gotten recently in the month of September or October so far, my birthday book haul is on the way I promise but here's a little something for you!

1. & 2. Darkwoods & Pasadagavra by Marta Stahlfeld
Buy them here: Darkwoods  or  Pasadagavra 

3. Curse of the Wolf by Danica Winters
Buy it here:  Amazon

4. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Buy it here:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

What did you get recently?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 15

Day 15: A book you haven't read and have no intention of ever reading.

Fifty Shades of Grey and the rest of those. Definitely not.... It's not my thing and the things I've heard about that book just don't pique my interest. I don't like to exclude any books or close my mind to any book but that is my only exception!

What about you? What book will you never read?

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Movie Monday: City of Bones

Okay, so if you're a book nerd like me and have not read the Mortal Instruments Series or at least the first one by now, stop reading and go pick them up. I'm serious. Stop, go read, come back. Because this little movie monday post is going to be me obsessing over the fact that the first behind the scenes clip has been released for the City of Bones movie.

Although, the actor that has been chosen for Jace has an awesomely amazing British accent, he does not look like the Jace I imagined. At all, and it's making me angry. He's not the uber hunk I was imagining.... or Clary described. It makes me angry, but I guess I'll have to see him in the movie before I really judge.

Anyway, here's the link to the behind the scenes stuff and it's just making me super anxious!! Anyone else as excited as I am?!


Anyway Happy Reading!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Book Review

Hey everyone today's book review is going to be of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky in honor of the new movie that just came out! Enjoy!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Published February 1, 1999 by MTV Books and Pocket Books
213 pages

Standing of the fringes of life... offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

Since it's publication, Stephen Chbosky's haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion has received critical acclaim, provoked discussion and debate, and grown into a cult sensation with over one million copies in print.

It is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, where all you need is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Chbosky has created a deeply affecting novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about this boy Charlie who through letters to an anonymous "friend" tells the story of his freshman year of high school. He's innocent and he's just being thrown into the "teenage world"and you read as he tells you through this letters what he is experiencing. It's a different way of story telling and it was completely fantastic.

I read this story over two years ago, and I loved it, but no one knew about it! I would rave about it constantly to anyone that would listen, and now it's getting the recognition it deserves as well as a movie! I'll admit that I haven't been to see it yet, and I'm nervous. It looks good, but this book is the kind of magical book where the movie can either go brilliantly or horrendously and I'm not sure which it's going to be!

However, I loved this book. It's one of my favorites. It is so beautifully written. The writing is entirely Charlie's voice -- and even if it's a little choppy it works so well in the story. I loved the ideas of writing letters to a "friend" who we will never know who he/she is. This novel was something that really had so many good characters and such good story telling through a unique way. I loved Charlie's character, and I would have loved to be his friend because he was so awesome! I would have loved to be in this story.

There were so many quotable things in this book as well:

I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them. 
This is one of my favorite quotes from this book. The message it sends and how it's entirely up to you to change your own life and take your life into your own hands is so completely awesome!

But because things change. And friends leave. And life doesn't stop for anybody.
I don't know if you've ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think that wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That's why I'm trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning.
First, I am very interested and fascinated by how everyone loves each other, but no one really likes each other. 
And in that moment, I swear we were infinite. 
"Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve."
 These quotes are like mini-life lessons! I had to narrow down my list but these are my favorite and of course the ever-famous "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite" quote. It just brilliant. Charlie's just so relatable and I love everything he says so much that I would love to have a conversation about them. Sometimes It's like he's taking the words right out of my mouth. I definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone!
My rating: 5/5 
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 14

Day 14: 5 books you really really want to read and haven't had the chance for whatever reason.

1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake -- I've heard so much about this book and this was on my birthday wishlist I believe. It's something I've heard great things about and for some reason I just haven't picked it up -- poor college kid problems but I vow to soon!

2. Crash by Nicole Williams -- It sounds so good and I have seen such great things about it and it seems like this awesome contemporary light fun novel that I just can't wait to get my hands on.

3. The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner -- I've heard that if you like the Hunger Games then you'll like these books. Whenever I read the description though, I get put off by it for some reason. The description doesn't sound interesting but whenever other people talk about it, all they do is rave so I want to see for myself one of these days!

4. Divergent by Veronica Roth -- Everyone loves this book, but again the description doesn't seem to grab me. I think it's just cause I was in a dystopian slump where every dystopian book I was reading was beginning to be all the same and I was getting tired of it. I feel like I'll be kicking myself for not reading it sooner once I actually read it... 

5. The Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin -- I've been hearing about the TV show forever and I've seen the books but the first time I picked one up it looked so intimidating so I put it right down but I really want to read the series. I know it's called something else (the entire series that is) but I can't think of the name. But I really want to read these books and I know that all together it's not that expensive so this might be my other big buy. 

What books do you really really want to read but haven't had a chance to?

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fan-Girl Friday!

This is a new thing I'm going to do where every Friday, I'm going to have something I'm fan-girling about or Blogger Interviews! These next couple weeks will be interviews with bloggers who helped me out with my English paper by agreeing to be interviewed! The first one is one of my favorite and most enthusiastic bloggers -- Ashley from The Bookish Brunette. If you don't already know her blog, then you need to go there ASAP!!

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

Ashley BB: I started book blogging after about six months of book blog stalking! I've always read so much, and never really had anyone to SHARE my love of books with... As no one in my "real life" is a reader like I am! So, basically I wanted to share my love of books with people who love books as much as I do!

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

Ashley BB: Motivation... See, now that one is hard! Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with blog obligations and responsibilities that it is VERY difficult to keep motivated! But then I'll get an email from one of my favorite authors asking me if I'd like to review their latest masterpiece... Or I'll get an email/tweet from a fan of the Bookish Brunette and then I'm overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity from other people and I can easily stay motivated after a few nice words! :)

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

Ashley BB: I try to post 5-7 days a week. I don't like "filler" content, like posting "just so something is up for the day" so if I have nothing - then it's just an "off day"!

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

Ashley BB: 

Blog subscribers: 1800-2000
Twitter followers: 4300
FB: 1500
Goodreads: 1600

These numbers are from about a month ago when I checked for the Bloggy Awards!

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

Ashley BB: I plead the fifth! ;) I'm afraid to actually add them up for seeming a bit obsessive compulsive about my blog! But if I had to guess, between answering emails, visiting other blogs, researching new stuff and actually WRITING post content... Probably at least 30+ hours! O_o

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

Ashley BB: Yes. Blogging and the blogging community dominates a fairly large part of my everyday life. I'm generally always thinking/worrying/planning things for the blog... So if I'm not ACTUALLY on the computer DOING something, I'm THINKING about all the things that need to be done!

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

Ashley BB: Of course! The people I've met are absolutely invaluable to me! Talking to the authors I've admired FOREVER always eaves me feeling giddy! Random people know who I am, just from my blog. And the BOOKS! :) I remember there was a time that I thought that I'd never have "too many" books. Like WHAT does that even mean? But as my husband was building my new 8x10ft bookshelf (to compliment the 6x8ft one I already have) I was rethinking that statement... I'm going to end up being "that crazy book lady" to my kids friends! :)

Thank you so much Ashley for your help on my paper and for just being awesome! You're such a sweetheart!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 13

Day 13: A book you'd like to forget and read all over again so you can fall in love with it once more.

This is going to sound funny, but The Harry Potter Series is definitely my number one for this. I've read it so many times that I know it by heart and it still does surprise me a little each time I read it but to read it from a clean slate again would be so cool to fall in love with that world all over again. They are once of my all time favorite series and I would just think that falling in love with them for the first time again would be an insane experience. 

What about you? What book would you like to forget and read all over again so you can fall in love with it once more?

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Tour: Angel by Laura Lee Book Review

Hey everyone! This part of a book tour for Angel by Laura Lee! Enjoy!

by Laura Lee
Published September 27, 2011 by Itineris Press
200 pages

Since the loss of his lively, charming wife to cancer six years ago, minister Paul Tobit has been operating on autopilot, performing his church duties by rote. Everything changes the day he enters the church lobby and encounters a radiant luminous being lit from behind, breathtakingly beautiful and glowing with life. An angel. For a moment Paul is so taken by his vision that he is tempted to fall on his knees and pray.

Even after he regains his focus and realizes that he has only seen a flesh-and-blood young man, Paul cannot shake his sense of awe and wonder. He feels an instant and overwhelming attraction to the young man, which puzzles him even as it fills his thoughts and fires his feelings. Paul has no doubt that God has spoken to him through the vision and he must figure out what God is asking him to do.

Thus begins a journey that will inspire Paul's ministry, but will put him at odds with the church he loves as he is forced to examine his deeply held beliefs about himself, his community and the nature of love.

Angel is about a man who basically lost his way and doesn't know what to do after his wife had died of cancer. He's a minister in church and very active in his religion and loves it. He says it's his calling. When his wife died, his zest for life died along with her. When he's in the church lobby and his muse comes to him in the form of a young 24 year old man who he first believes to be an angel.

This is such a though provoking novel about sexual orientation tied tightly with religion. It's so prevalent today in society that I thought that this was a really cool way of addressing it. It wasn't of course a particularly happy story, but as Paul goes soul searching and looks at his beliefs next to his feelings it's a very interesting journey. I don't read a lot of these kinds of stories but this one was fantastically told. It really kept me reading.

I think that it's something to really something people should read when they want to see the struggles of having feelings that go against everything you believe in and in life changing events. It's really spectacular and kind of heavy but I definitely recommend it!

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

About the Author: Laura Lee

Metro Detroit native Laura Lee divides her times equally between writing and producing ballet educational tours with her partner, the artistic director of the Russian National Ballet Foundation. She is the author of more than a dozen non-fiction books with such publishers as Harper Collins, Reader's Digest, Running Press, Broadway Books, Lyons Press and Black Dog and Leventhal. Her Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation has sold more than 85,000 copies. She has also written one collection of poetry (Invited to Sound), and a children's book (A Child's Introduction to Ballet). She brings to her writing a unique background as a radio announcer, improvisational comic and one-time professional mime.

See the website

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Vampire's Hope by Danica Winters Book Review

Hey everyone! This is a review of a book -- a shorter kind of story called The Vampire's Hope by Danica Winters! Be on the lookout for my review of her new book The Curse of the Wolf which should be up in the near future (hopefully!).

The Vampire's Hope
by Danica Winters
Published 2012

Ellie Smith, an emotionally stunted dancer, finds more than she bargains for after her human life is taken by the vampire, Master Liam. Once inside the Vampire's underground lair, the Keres Den, she meets Ian an immortal Viking warrior, who is infiltrating the soulless prison.

As Ellie begins her training, she learns that the dark tunnels around her are filled with darker secrets. As the truth of her existence comes to light, she is faced with a choice -- does she let her past dictate her future, or can she begin to feel again?

The Vampire's Hope is a short kind of story -- very quick about this girl Ellie who gets turned into a vampire and is thrown into a unknown world where suddenly she is their most prized possession -- even though she has no clue why. She meets Ian, there who also changes her perspective. Also, I know I do mostly young adult, but this is not young adult! Winters is a romance writer, and this is for the older side of the young adult spectrum.

Even though it was short, Danica Winters has such a way with words that it told a full story, and had a little bit of a message. It was beautifully written, and the characters were crafted nicely in so little words. I thought it was a great little read and is definitely worth checking out!

My rating: 3/5
Buy it:  Amazon

Sunday, October 7, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 12

I was going to post a review today but I've been sick... again and this was my birthday weekend so I've been crazy busy! I'm sorry! There will be one tomorrow but for now here is Day 12 of the thirty day book challenge (:

Day 12: A book you regret not having read sooner. 

I am very behind the times on some books and I know it. For example, this summer I had just started the Mortal Instruments Series and I'm already caught up and smacking myself for not picking it up sooner. And I know that I'm going to be kicking myself for not picking up the Infernal Devices Series sooner as well which is why they are first priority on my wish list. It's insane. I love being introduced to new books, even if it is kinda behind the times. I like reading what I want to read. So, yes sometimes I really do hate myself for not picking up some of the best books of all time the first time I see them, but since I love books so much I know that I'll always get around to them sooner or later!

What books have you kicked yourself for not having read sooner? What books should I read that are an absolute must and I should get on it right now so I don't regret it later?

Happy Reading!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Birthday Wishlist!

Hey everyone! So today is my birthday! YAY! I'm so excited to have all sorts of fun with my friends. I thought it would be a fun idea to do a birthday wishlist of the books that have been on my wishlist and that I'm hoping to buy with the birthday money I receive. This should hopefully be followed by a birthday book haul within the next couple of weeks!

1. Clockwork Angel & Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare -- I absolutely adore the Mortal Instruments Series and I love Cassandra Clare's world, writing, and character formation so I've been wanting to start the Infernal Devices Series for a while and I've heard countless times that people like it better than the Mortal Instruments Series so I'm really hoping to get these!

2. Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake -- I've heard this is amazing and a truly scary story -- perfect for Halloween and I won the second book in the series in a giveaway so I really want to get down and read this one.

3. Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein -- I found this while scrolling through bn.com and the cover caught my eye and it looked interesting. I've seen mixed reviews on this one, but I still am really excited to check it out.

4. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter -- I have seen this everywhere on the book blogs and I absolutely adore the original Alice in Wonderland so any take on this I feel like I would enjoy majorly.

Let me know what you thought of any of these books or other book suggestions of what I should buy with my extra money!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 11

Day 11: Favorite book genre and what book made you fall in love with it.

This is probably the toughest question. My favorite books are split up over many different genres, so I don't think I can collectively call one genre my favorite unless it's super broad like young adult. There's so many different kinds of books, so I like to try everything and I really don't like to limit myself which brings me favorites from different genres and of different varieties. I think this has made me a stronger reader, not just to peg-hole myself in one type of YA or one type of book altogether because I do love some classics, and I do love some adult fiction as well. I'm all over the place with my reading.

So my favorite types of books are just books in general. Because if it has words and a story, I'm in. Of course there are some books that aren't good, but I still don't regret reading them, because it was a story whether or not I liked it. 

What's your favorite genre or books in general?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Looking for Alaska by John Green Book Review

Hey everybody, today I'm going to be reviewing one of my favorite books, Looking for Alaska by John Green. Enjoy! Don't forget to check out the video review too!

Looking for Alaska
by John Green
Published December 38, 2006 by Speak
221 pages

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" [Francois Rabelais, poet] even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

Looking for Alaska is a book about this boy who is nicknamed Pudge, who goes off to a boarding school called Culver Creek. Here he meets the Colonel, Takumi, -- and the ever mind-blowing Alaska Young. She immediately catches Pudge's eye, and they form a friendship that is unique and verging on something else.

First off, I'd like to say this is my favorite book ever. I've read it countless times and I always end up falling in love with it over and over again. The novel is so thought provoking and hits on some really heavy stuff -- but John Green does it in a way where you can enjoy it as emotional as it makes you. The way it was written was so impeccably wonderful and John Green has such a way with words that I have my own copy doggy eared on so many pages -- even though I normally refuse to mess with books in that way, but this one is my only exception.

I adore the characters and how well-rounded and truthful they are. They are not only relatable, but I would love to be at Culver Creek with them. They are so interesting and they have their own stories and own flaws. The mystery of what was going to happen in the book caught me by surprise the first time I read it, and even thought I now know it's coming, it doesn't lessen the book's appeal for me one bit. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

Here are my favorite quotes -- which is a very long list that I tried to shorten!!

"What happens to people after they die?" was "Well, something. Maybe."
Just like that. From a hundred miles an hour to asleep in a nanosecond. I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. not fuck, like in those movies. not even have sex. Just sleep together, in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was a drizzle and she was a hurricane. 
People, I thought, wanted security. They couldn't bear the idea of death being a big black nothing, couldn't bear the thought of loved ones not existing, and couldn't even imagine themselves not existing. I finally decided that people believed in an afterlife because they couldn't bear not to. 
"Pudge, what ou must understand about me is that I am a deeply unhappy person."
That is fear: I have lost something important, and I cannot find it, and I need it.
How long is an instant? Is it one second? Ten? The pain of those seconds must have been awful..... What the hell is instant? Nothing is instant. 
You left me Perhapsless, stuck in your goddamned labyrinth. 
When you stopped wishing things wouldn't fall apart, you'd stop suffering when they did.
It always shocked me when I realized that I wasn't the only person in the world who thought and felt such strange and awful things.
"After all this time, it still seems to me like straight and fast is the only way out -- but I choose the labyrinth. The labyrinth blows, but I choose it."  
My rating: 5/5

Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading! Let me know if you love this book as much as I do!

Monday, October 1, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 10

Day 10: 3 Books you'd really like to see go to the big screen. 

There are so many! It's really hard to decide, especially since some of my favorites are going to the big screen -- which makes me super excited.

This first one I believe really might be made into a movie... I believe Fox Entertainment has the rights to it right now so hopefully it'll turn out to be a reality because it was a really cute and amazing story by of course -- the amazing John Green. I think it would do really well as a movie because it's a love story -- and who doesn't love one of those? It also deals with the idea of hope and even when something as deep as what Hazel and Augustus are going through they cling on to each other and on to hope and it really could be done quite well. So if you don't already know, one book I would choose would be The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. 

The second book I would like to see on the big screen would be The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld. These books were amazing from what I remember. They were so descriptive which I think would help with creating a vivid world for a movie. It's an awesome concept and it's just so original. I think that these movies would definitely blow me away and to see another world that I loved in books come to life would be so freaking awesome!!

Another book I'd love to see on the big screen would be Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. It was her book before the Delirium series and it was absolutely awesome. I loved it so much and I think that it was an interesting idea of living her last day over and over again and I loved the story line and the characters and I think it could be an engaging movie if done the right way.

What movies would you like to see on the big screen? Do you agree with my choices? Let me know!!

Happy Reading!

The Winners of The Sheol by Mia Hoddell Giveaway!

Hey everyone! The giveaway for The Sheol (The Wanderer Trilogy #1) ended last night at midnight! The winners have been chosen and have been emailed with how to get their prize! The names are displayed here on the giveaway!

I wanted to say thank you for participating and keep checking back for more giveaways that might be done in the future! Thank you also to the author for providing the ebooks for the giveaway!

Happy Reading!