Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday #3

This week was a freebie!
I went with Top Ten YA feminist friendly novels.
Disclaimer: These are only ones I have read and make my inner feminist squeal with delight, where as a lot of books makes my inner feminist squirm or yell obscenities. I have plenty more that are recommended to me by feminist friends and bloggers, but alas I have not read them therefore I cannot attest to their strength to be on this list.
My criteria was pretty simple. The female characters are the focus of the story. The MC is proactive in her life and decision making. She is full of action and established personality not in relation to male characters. Gender norms are broken or challenged. They are not Mary Sues.   
  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
  3. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  5. Girl Goddess #9 by Francesca Lia Block
  6. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  7. The Book Theif by Makus Zusak
  8. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  9. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan 
  10. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
"When your only female character exists to be bartered and abused, that is lazy writing. When you raise the stakes by threatening a woman with rape, that is lazy writing. When you demonstrate the “seriousness” of a situation by describing a brutal rape, that is lazy writing. When you inject emotion into a flagging scene by making the man throw the woman against the wall, that is lazy writing. Not only is it lazy writing, but when rape is used lightly and cheaply as a convenient narrative device, it hurts people.
Try harder." - Monica Byrne

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Book Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

From Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it'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.

 My Review: I got this on my nook when it went on sale and I am so glad I did. Let's start with the cover shall we? It is a  vibrant, eye catching, INCREDIBLE cover! I'm actually kind of over the trend of zomg!poofy dresses on the covers of many books. This is one is flawless though. It really fits with the tone of the book which begins on page. The tone is mysterious and lush. Everything shimmers and sparkles with magic and silver imagery. The book is based off the Grimm's fairy tale of the 12 Dancing Princesses. Actually the original story is very glum and misogynistic. I am glad this book swayed away from that and took many liberties from the original tale. I also really enjoyed the love interest of the MC. He was adorable, I wish there was more of him within the book. The villain is creepy and well flushed out. Dancing, and skirts swishing, knights, and enchanted ballrooms oh my! I love retellings and recommend you check this book out of you do too.

My Reaction in GIF form:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday #2

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To Someone Who Doesn't Read Young Adult

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Duh. This is a no-brainer. I believe this has made a believer out of many.
  2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It truly is a cross-over book.
  3. Graceling by Kristin Cashore. This breaks free of stereotypical associatations with teen books.
  4. I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier. Aaaahhh. This book is so good and timeless.
  5. Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Original and suspense and amazing.
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Emotional and real no matter what age.
  7. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. This book was a game changer for the genre. 
  8. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. The writing. The characters. The setting. Perfect.
  9. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb. No words. I can't.
  10. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. Dark, disturbing, and daring.
A great young adult book makes the teenage reader feel like an adult, and the adult reader feel like a teenager again.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In My Mailbox #2

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

I only have one this week:
 Pirates! by Celia Rees

Call me crazy but if you want to but in order to know where young adult books are going, you have to know where they've been. I don't always feel the compulsion to read exactly what's been released this week. I know there are a whole heck of a lot of amazing books published before 2009. I'm going to save this read for the summer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

From It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

My Review: I ate this book up! It made me stay up all night and read. The writing is simple but it's suspenseful and has great tension from beginning to end. It's an E-book for only .99! It's literally the best thing I read all year (ha, it's the first book I finished completely). Let me just say I cannot wait for the second one to be released. I also love supporting independent authors and the digital book community. 

My Reaction in GIF form:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Road Trip Wednesday: Penname

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic

If you couldn't use your own name, what would your pseudonym or penname be?
This is SO easy for me. In my neighborhood with the other kids, we constantly played those "name" games. You know the ones. What would your porn name be? or whatever. Some take your childhood pet's name and your mom's maiden name or such and such. We loved making up our own silly ones. The one that always stuck with me through the years has been this one: take your middle name and the street you grew up on.

That makes my pseudonym: Nicole Creed.

Ahh! I love it! I always said that would be my pen name if I ever became a famous novelist. Ha. I still might consider this, who would have foresaw this social media business though?

Hey and you never know when you may need a fake name...for you, anything. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday #1

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

 Top Ten Five Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book

  1.  Stephen Chbosky - He wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It shook my 14 year old self to the core. It was life changing. I can't even put into words how this book makes me feel, it makes me feel EVERYTHING. I would read anything, any other book he wrote.
  2. Emily Bronte - Only wrote the epic genius that is Wuthering Heights. I have no doubt that if she hadn't died so young any other book would have shown incredible depths of characters and human nature.
  3. Suzanne Collins- Come on woman! I KNOW you have it in you! Dazzle and amaze us one more time!
  4. Laura Whitcomb - I read both her books. One was so beautiful and amazing, and the other I didn't care for at all. But that's alright. I love A Certain Slant of Light so infinitely that I would read another by her in a heart beat.
  5. J. K. Rowling - I would be there release day for whatever she chose to write next with bells on!

I could only think if five!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

In My Mailbox #1

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

This week I received two hardcovers from my friend Melissa: 
Ahh. I'm going to need help because I read the first in these series SO long ago! Hopefully I'll be able to adjust easily. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Best Books I Read in 2011

I won't focus on the negative books I read this year. Lord knows, they were aplenty. It was actually a pretty rough year for reading. More and more books just left me feeling "meh", than anything. I will provide the top 5 books I read this year (in no particular order). These are the ones that the plot stunned me. After I turned the last page, after my mouth refused to close from the sheer amazingness the exuded from the pages, after I cried, that's how I know a book is truly amazing.  These books inspire my 50 book reading challenge every year, and most importantly inspire my to tell a damn good and original story.

Let's being.

Feed by M.T. Anderson

This book. THIS book. I actually listened to it in audiobook format.  I would play it on my iPod while on my campus elliptical. I laughed audibly. People stared. Yeah....but anyway, it was hilarious. I loved the dialogue and the characters jumped right off the pages. Despite it's hilarity, there were very dark undertones. The whole story punched me in the gut. By the end, I cried. It was complete and joyous and sorrowful world that these characters lived in. I think about this book all the time. It's vision of the future still haunts me. It has been added to one of my all time most favorite books.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I'm always leery of best sellers, you know the books that everyone and their mother has read. When I found this little gem on my local Goodwill shelved for 50¢ (and I get a student discount!) I couldn't pass up the deal. Wow, am I glad I read it. I read it over the summer and the India heat and sun baring down while he was on the boat was amazing. I loved the writing, it was literary and beautiful. Pi's story is one of the most incredible things I have read. I savored this book for everything it would give me. I cannot recommend this book enough, I truly fell in love with book. I look and the cover and my heart dances.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I was one of the fortunate who never had to read this book in high school. "Fortunate?" you ask. "Yes", I say. "But this is on your mind blowing list" you say. I have strong opinions on what kids are forced to read in high school. I will dedicate a post to all the books high school has ruined for me, but that's for another time. I understand, and have an appreciation for the human condition and can reflect on my time as a child and teen now that I am well out of my teens...and that is precisely why I love this book. It is dark and disturbing and psychological. Oh sure, in high school I claimed to have loved that stuff (and to some extent I did). But now I truly know what those attributes mean. This book cut me to the quick. It was perfect in every way but I needed age and experience to appreciate it. 

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

One of those forgotten YA titles. While The Giver gets due recognition, this one lives in its shadow unfortunately. There is no action, but tension and mystery around every corner. I adore this book. It was another find at Goodwill and after reading The Giver, and that being added to one of the best books I have ever read, I decided to give this one a chance. I am so glad I did. I think I read it one sitting. I love these characters, I love Lowry's style. The atmosphere was tangible and I got completely lost within the book. Incredible.

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (anthology)
I really really love dystopian fiction. But you know what? I think this year I may have realized I like the apocalypse much better. Then just mash the two together, and I think you have the perfect genre! Anyway, this anthology is all apocalypse, all the time. Let me tell you though, some of these stories were bone shaking. The only two stories I really didn't care for was Stephen King's and Orson Scott Card's. Weird, huh? The absolute best were (and if you run out to the library or b&n find a big comfy chair and if else nothing read these three stories): Artie's Angels (I bawled), Speech Sounds (wooooow), and Waiting for the Zephyr. The first the third would make incredible young adult books and I wanted to read soooo many of the stories as books. This collection is excellent and inspiring. The absolutely sucked me with masterful story telling. The best of the best.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Book Challenges

Sign up here

  • To read & review a minimum of twelve young adult or middle grade debut novels between the dates of January 1, 2012 – January 31, 2013.*
*The 2013 extension is so that December Debuts can be read and count toward the challenge.

  • Any advance reader copies you read from 2012 BEFORE the January 1st start date DO NOT count toward the challenge! 
  • You can read twelve books in one month, or one book a month. It doesn’t matter as long as you have 12 read by the end of the year! 

  • You must have a Blog to post your reviews or be a member of Goodreads. Youtube Book Reviewers count too!
  • Your blog/video must be written in English.
  • Deadline to join is May 31, 2012.

  • Must be a young adult or middle grade title.
  • Must be the author’s YA or MG debut, released in 2012.
  • If an author has a previous novel published for adults or children, they can still qualify for the challenge.

Not sure which one's I'll read yet, but I am IN! I'll update with a list as I read them.

Challenge guidelines: 

  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
  2. As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  8. At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
  9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
  10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL. 
  11. You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Evie from Bookish - @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea - @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - @mermaidvisions

 Okay, I am really excited about this one! I have soooooo many books on my shelf and nook that have been sitting there for a year or in some cases many years. Can't wait to update this one.

 Challenge Guidelines:

  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
  2. Anyone can join, you don't need to be a blogger. If you don't have a blog, feel free to sign-up in the comments. You can post reviews to any book site (i.e. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc).
  3. Any genre or length of book counts, as long as it is in ebook format.
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the E-Book Reading Challenge.
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.


  1. Floppy disk - 5 ebooks
  2. CD - 10 ebooks
  3. DVD - 25 ebooks
  4. Memory stick - 50 ebooks
  5. Hard drive - 75 ebooks
  6. Server - 100 ebooks
  7. Human brain - 150 ebooks

At the beginning of each month there will be a roundup post for you to add your reviews for that month. If you forget, feel free to add your reviews in the following month. Any reviews submitted will be entered into the draw for that month.

Yes, there will be draws every month for participants. As long as you are signed up below, every review you add to the monthly roundups will get one entry into the giveaway for that month.

There will also be a grand giveaway at the end of the year for eveyone who achieves their goal level (or  higher). There may be different prizes for different levels, but that is not decided yet. If you are an author and want to contribute to the monthly or grand prizes, please contact me.

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