Monthly Archives: November 2014

Monthly Recap: November ’14

~YA Indulgences Stats~
# of views/visitors: 1, 050/1,475
# of Blog Posts: 19
# of Reviews: 7
Most viewed post: Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Most liked post: Waiting On Wednesday ($10)
Most commented post: Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet (#5)
~Book Stats~
# of Books Read: 7
# of Books Bought: 2 
# of Books Borrowed: 29
# of Books for Review: 20
# of Books Won: Unknown
~Favorite Posts on YA Indulgences~
Amber’s Rambles – Authors and Books I’m Grateful For
Wondrous Covers Wednesday – Fantasy
Review: Catching Fire
~Things I’ve Been Obsessed With~
I haven’t been obsessed with much lately besides Veronica Mars and checking out books.
~Blogging Participation~
I didn’t manage to finish any series this month unfortunately, but next month I will for sure. 🙂
~Off YA Indulgences~
Life’s been interesting this month. I’m glad November’s almost over, it was a bit of a hectic month.
~Music News~
There were new singles out by Three Days Grace, Bush, Father John Misty, The Decemberists, Mat Kearney.and a cover by Kelly Clarkson.
Damien Rice finally released a new album which is great!
There will be albums out by She and Him and Fall Out Boy this month or next year.
▪ Idina Menzel is going on a world tour

~Book News~

Kody Keplinger is coming out with a sequel to The Duff along with a new book.

~Movie/TV/Musical News~
▪ A Series of Unfortunate Events show goes to Netflix
▪ Just One Day and Just One Year optioned by Universal
▪ Hunger Games Stage Show debuts in 2016 (http://www.thewrap.com/hunger­games­stage­show­lionsgate­wembley­stadium/)
▪ The Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical is happening now! I wish I could see it.
▪ Mockingjay came out! Along with the Soundtrack!
▪ Cinderella trailer!
▪ Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is set to be directed by Channing Tatum

Weekly Recap (#3) (Nov. 29-Dec. )

 

~Life~

Hey everyone! It’s been a crazy week. Thanksgiving was all right with my family.I hope everyone else’s was too.  I got picked up by my friend  last night and didn’t go to sleep until around 4 in the morning. There was lots of driving around places. Anyway, I am so happy to be blogging right now, I’ve been waiting to all day. 🙂 If you don’t know or can’t tell what this is, it’s my weekly recap where I recap my blogging and life week as well as my upcoming week. I brought five or six books with me, but I’m thinking I should have brought more because I have a lot that will be due in two weeks and I’m not quite sure how long I’ll be here. Haha… Hopefully I’ll get all my posts done this week (ish) on time. If not, well you know how life is. 🙂

 

~Last Week on YA Indulgences~

Weekly Recap 2 + Stacking The Shelves (#12)
Musical Monday –  Spring Awakening
Review: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games 2) by Suzanne Collins
Top Ten Tuesday
Waiting on Wednesday
Wondrous Covers Wednesday (#13)
Amber’s Rambles
Review: Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

~This Week on YA Indulgences~

Weekly Recap (#3) + Stacking The Shelves (#13)
 Monday: Review
Top Ten Tuesday
Tuesday: Review
Wondrous Covers Wednesday
Amber’s Rambles
Thursday: Review

Friday: Freebie


 

~Around The Blogosphere~

Readers In Wonderland tells how she conquered her year long buying ban.
Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books talks about adventures in fantasy.
Jenny @ Jennypurr shares five things to do for your blog before the end of 2014
Lauren @ Bookmark lit shares her real life insta­love with her book host
Stay Bookish started a new feature called Cover Creatives and shares the Art of Finding Great Book Bargains
Lara @ The Paperback Palace joins the book biosphere!
Celine @ YA Midnight Reads talks about the importance of YA.
Bee @ Istyria Book Blog shares five sci-fi anime.
Oh The Books had a feature post by Mark @ SciFi365 on why Young Adult Dystopian are really sci-fi

 

~Reading~

I’ve made some progress finally! I finished Paper Airplanes, Roomies and Adrenaline Crush. I’m now reading Althea & Oliver. I brought the following books with me to read:
Althea and Oliver by Cristina Moracho (Obviously :))
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Girl Defective by Simmone Howell
Tease by Amanda Maciel
The Young Elites (#1) by Marie Lu
I’m not sure how this reading week will go considering I’m going to be watching all eight Harry Potter movies and the first two seasons of Veronica Mars with my friend along with general hanging out and such. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll finish all my books by the time I go home though so I can return them to the library and not have (more) ridiculous fees. Haha…I’m bad at obtaining library fees.

 

STS~Stacking The Shelves~

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted at Tynga’s Reviews for bloggers to share their newest purchased, borrowed, won, review or gifted books. To join in and read other posts, click here.
Oh my gosh, it’s been a ridiculous week book wise too. Harper Collins uploaded a TON of books on Edelweiss and there were so many amazing books, I couldn’t resist. There were also a couple others I was interested in that I’d requested, I didn’t get approved for all of them, but I did for some. 🙂
Thank you Harper Collins and Edelweiss for the following E-ARCS:
Heat of The Moment by Lauren Barndholdt
Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Hatcher
Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
Vanished by E. E. Cooper
The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb 
Extraordinary Means Robyn Schneider
Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
Emancipated by M. G. Reyes
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia                        
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman                        
Thank you Chronicle Books and Edelweiss for:
Elena Vanishing: A Memoir by Elena Dunkleand Clare Dunkle
I am so so so so so excited and honored to have receive these books! I’m so excited for Made You Up, Kissing In America and Emancipated.
I also won a giveaway I forgot I entered from Fierce Reads on Twitter. 🙂 I’m not completely positive about what books I won but I’m so happy! 🙂
With that said, this ends this week’s recap. I hope everyone has a great week.

 


Review: Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

Girls Like UsTitle:  Girls Like Us
Author: Gail Giles
Published: May 27th, 2014
Pages: 224
Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Special Needs, Friendship, Social Situations
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Rating: Two Stars
Goodreads Summary:
We understand stuff. We just learn it slow. And most of what we understand is that people what ain’t Speddies think we too stupid to get out our own way. And that makes me mad. 

Quincy and Biddy are both graduates of their high school’s special ed program, but they couldn’t be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they’re thrown together as roommates in their first “real world” apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit. But as Biddy’s past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought — and more important, that they might be able to help each other move forward.

Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository
Cover Thoughts: I love the two girls in the background. I can tell they don’t get along, which shows how the initial characters relationships are. I think the colors used are unique too.
First Line: My name is Biddy.
~First Thoughts~
This is going to take a little getting used to.
~Review~
What attracted me to Girls Like Us by Gail Giles was the plot involving two special education graduates who would be living together. I like the idea of roommates, friendship and young women connecting. Unfortunately, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with it. Quincy and Biddy have graduated from their special needs program and are now put together to live with an old woman called Miss Elizabeth where they will help her and learn from each other.
Girls Like Us is told in an interesting way with a first person point of view through tape recordings. Both girls, Biddy and Quincy, record their thoughts on a tape like a diary. I thought this was intriguing and unique. 
Biddy is an overweight, white girl who was abandoned by her mother and taken in by her grandmother. Biddy’s grandmother often talked badly about Biddy growing up, but surprisingly has a more positive outlook on herself. She suffers from not being able to read, write and has conventional learning issues. It takes her a little time before she’s able to understand something.
Quincy is mixed and has problems with writing, though she’s able to read. When Quincy was young, she was hit with a brick by her mother’s boyfriend which lead to her getting taken away. 
The dialect in Girls Like Us took some getting used to. There’s a Southern accent in combination with the speech. I got used to it soon enough though and enjoyed the story. I think Giles did an okay job of using the dialect in Girls Like Us. I would have preferred to not have sounded quite so Southern and used other ways to show the way they spoke. Biddy suffers with 
 I immediately liked Biddy with her naivete and childlike behavior and happy personality. I knew this would definitely lead to friction between her and Quincy. In the beginning Quincy believes she knows everything about Biddy there is to know, that she was pregnant which means she hangs out with a lot of guys. I liked seeing that change for Quincy. I loved the girls’ relationship with Miss Elizabeth. 
Quincy was a foster child who always moved from home to home, never really belonging to a family before she had to leave it. This certainly explains why she has a bad attitude at the beginning of the book and doesn’t completely trust Miss Elizabeth. I didn’t like Quincy too much in the beginning, but that gradually changed by the ending.
There were a few things I disliked about Girls Like Us. I found the Quincy and Biddy’s voice to be really similar to eachother. I didn’t like how they both struggled with the same “problem” that happens which brings them together.  I think there are better ways it could have been done than having them suffer from the same thing. There’s a weird subplot in Girls Like Us which I felt should have been expanded or left out because readers aren’t given much detail about it. There’s also a character whose name I actually can’t recall, they were in three scenes and I think had they been used more, the book could have been better.
Girls Like Us seemed to be dealt with care, which I liked. Biddy and Quincy weren’t shown as less than human just because they have special needs.  I loved how the girls became stronger thanks to each other.
~Final Thoughts~
I did enjoy the first person format, the alternate reviews and the initial premise. Girls Like Us was somewhat of an eyeopener on how special needs people think and feel. This is a rare topic to discuss in Young Adult literature, so I appreciate what Giles tried to do by taking it on. Girls Like Us is definitely moving and has some emotional scenes. I felt for both girls growing up the way they had and being defined by a society that didn’t understand them.
I feel Girls Like us definitely could have been written better and may have done better as a longer novel. I do think it’s good for the short amount of pages it has. I wouldn’t necessarily re-read this book or recommend it though.

Amber’s Rambles (#9) – Authors and Books I’m Grateful For

~Amber’s Rambles~

Amber’s Rambles is a weekly discussion post done by me, Amber, of course. 🙂 Every week I’ll discuss a different thing or possibly rant about something. Occasionally I’ll ramble as well. I hope you enjoy and join me in it. To read past Amber’s Rambles, you can go here.
Let me first say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’re all having a great day toady. I am so thankful to have found the book blogging community and met some great people such as Holly @ The Fox’s Hideaway and Val @ The Innocent Smiley and having long conversations on Twitter with them. 🙂 They’ve been so fun. I honestly don’t think I could live without this community.  
For this week’s Amber’s Rambles, I was going to do a different post, but inspiration hit and I decided to do authors and books I’m grateful for. They’re in no particular order.
~Authors I’m Thankful I Read This Year~
I’m thankful I read Rainbow Rowell, E. Lockhart, Jennifer E. Smith, Jennifer Mathieu, David Levithan, Stephanie Perkins, Lauren Miller, Gayle Forman, and Suzanne Collins.
I mostly only read one book by each of these authors, but they were all really great books and I can’t wait to read future works. Honestly, that’s about every author I read this year, but that’s no big deal. 🙂

Here are the wonderful books I’m thankful I read by them.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Review)
I still remember seeing this book when it first came out and being in awe over it. I didn’t know it’d be a year before I read it though. I loved all of the character flaws Eleanor and Park had and how they were diverse. I enjoyed the issues it touched on including diversity, bullying, poverty, race, fitting in and dysfunctional families. It was a great read.
The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (Review)
This book wasn’t immediately what I thought it would be, for some reason, I had the wrong impression about it and hadn’t understood the summary. Nonetheless, the main character Hadley was one of my favorites. She was so relatable and sarcastic, I liked reading about her relationship with both of her parents. I liked the entire airplane “arc” and watching Hadley and Oliver open up to each other. I thought Oliver was an interesting character despite not knowing him as well as I would have liked. This is definitely a book that was perfect as a standalone.
Every Day by David Levithan (Review)
Every Day has one of the most unique plots I’ve ever read in a novel. I loved reading about A and how A would transport into another body when he slept. I liked all the different bodies A inhabited and how each of them brought on new thoughts for A. It was really thought provoking to see him question things and himself. I loved the romance subplot and thought it was so realistically done.
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (Review)
I want more books like this! I want more books like this! The Truth About Alice was such an amazing read for me because it was so realistic, heartbreaking and honest. Matthieu broke all of the stereotypes in this novel despite them seeming like nothing more in the beginning. I loved the alternate points of view, the alternative view of points each character had and the mystery unraveling behind what really happened between Brandon and Alice. I loved that it delved into a topic like sexting without condemning or condoning it and talked about rumors.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Review)
We Were Liars is one of the most original novels I’ve read. I loved the prose, the plot, how character driven it was. I liked the mystery surrounding it. The fairytales and William Shakespeare references were so fantastic, I was in love. We Were Liars completely caught me off guard with the ending and broke my heart. 
Anna and The French Kiss (#1) by Stephanie Perkins (Review)
I read Anna in August for the #IslaIsComing read-along that so many people in the blogosphere were really freaking out over! Anna is one of the most relatable, flawed, funny, awkward, realistic characters I’ve ever met. She had quirks and flaws. She also had a blog! I really liked this book. Not only because it takes place in Paris, because you can set any book in Paris and call it good, but because Perkisn really indulges in the Parisian world in Anna and The French Kiss. I loved discovering Paris with Anna and seeing her go to cinemas and historical monuments. I loved how in depth her character development went. Even though she annoyed me at times, I really liked her a lot. I liked the side characters too, especially Mer, Anna’s first friend in this foreign country. Stephanie Perkins is called one of the best writers of contemporary fiction and there’s no doubt how true that is. I’m so thankful I read this.
Free To Fall by Lauren Miller
This is one of my more recent reads of the year. I was instantly captured by Free To Fall. It was interesting to read about how Apple, CDs, DVDs, thumb drives and even modern (to us) computers are obsolete or never used. It’s fascinating how there’s a decision making app by the company Gnosis, the creator of the the app called Lux, a decision making app. I don’t want to say too much about this as I haven’t written my review for it yet, but I really loved so many aspects of this book.
The Hunger Games (#1) by Suzanne Collins (Review)
For years I never read this book, don’t ask me why, I don’t even know why. I still haven’t read the final one but I will. Someday. Anyway, I loved The Hunger Games so much. I loved this society where due to a past rebellion, kids between the ages of 12-18 are forced to fight to the death once a year, all the while being broadcast as a reality show The thought of it is so obscure and yet, it’s not. Katniss is one of my favorite characters ever. I loved her strength, capability, her tough exterior, and her quick thinking. The Hunger Games was a great gateway dystopian.
If I Stay (#1) by Gayle Forman (Review)
I should have read this book a long time ago. I was completely hooked on it. I loved all the characters, the plot, the writing style. It was so heartbreaking, but there were moments of happiness in it too. I loved how Gayle Forman wrote this.

Let me know what books you’re thankful you read for the first time this year. I’m so interested in knowing. And let me know what you think of the books above. Thanks for stopping by. ❤

Wondrous Covers Wednesday (#13)

Wondrous Covers Wednesday (WCW) is a weekly feature at YA Indulgences where I showcase three book covers. All three book covers may or may not belong to a theme, but the majority will. 🙂
If you live on the planet earth, you have probably seen these three covers elsewhere in the blogsphere or even own the books for them. The covers I have to show today are three fantasy covers where the title font really pops out.

~One~

The Young Elites
This is one of my favorite covers of this year. First of all, I love the stormy background as it shows there’s something definitely going to go down in this series. The second thing I love is the sword being the “t” in Elites. I always love seeing objects replace letters when they have meaning. The final thing I love about this cover is how the title all comes together and gets slightly bigger each word. I love how ancient it sort of looks.

  

~Two~

The Winner's Curse
When I first see this cover, my the first thing my eyes always go to is that dress. I love the color of the dress, it’s really feminine and reminds me of The Selection series and Jewel covers that are out. While I’m not completely sure how relevant a big ball gown is to this novel, I really love the cover photo of it. I like how the title is vertical rather than horizontal, that’s not seen very often. I think it works without it being too distracting. I like how thin the font is for the title and author. Overall, this is such a gorgeous cover.

~Three~

Throne of Glass
I am so happy they changed this cover to match the latter two. It’s so gorgeous and creepy and you know this book has serious stuff in it just by looking at it. I assume the person on the cover is Calaena, but I could be mistaken. If not though, I love how she’s perceived in this. She looks all business. I will admit, every time I see one of the covers, I think about the White Walkers from Game of Thrones. I like the colors chosen for this. The title really pops.
 
Let me know what you think of the above covers and feel free to share with me some of your favorite fantasy covers of this year. 🙂

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On WednesdayWaiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine. WoW is a place to share an upcoming release you’re highly anticipating. To join in, link up and view others’ picks, you can go here. 🙂
My Selection:
Vicious (Pretty Little Liars #16) by Sara ShepardVicious_Cover
Release Date: December 2nd, 2014
Published By: Harper Teen
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Romance, Contemporary
PurchaseAmazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository
For the sake of myself and any others that haven’t read this series but may want to, I’m omitting the usual summary I would put here. I decided to first skim it and yeah…I should have known better. I’m so spoiler prone and I’m just smacking myself right now. 😦 I can’t believe I actually looked at the summary, gah. Anyway! 🙂 How gorgeous is that cover? It’s so pretty! I really love it.
~Why I’m Excited~
I was first hooked on the show Pretty Little Liars just a few summers ago when it was on Netflix and about to start it’s fourth season. I quickly caught up in two or three weeks of binge watching. I was addicted.
I only began reading the books a year ago and I’ve still only finished Flawless (the second book). The last book, Vicious, is the sixteenth book in the series and also the final book. I feel some series finale regret.
Unlike others, I never read the books when they first came out, I didn’t even watch the show when it first came out. I sort of feel like I missed out on the experience of it all. With that said, Vicious is my Waiting on Wednesday post this week. I hope to finish the entire series this next year.
If you’ve read this series, let me know what you think and what your pick is this week. 🙂

Review: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

Catching FireTitle:  Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: September 1st 2009 (Scholastic Press) (First published January 1st 2009)
Pages: 391
Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance, Survival
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: Four Stars
Goodreads Summary:
Sparks are igniting.
Flames are spreading.
And the Capitol wants revenge.
Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository
Cover Thoughts: The red in the cover really emphasizes the fire. I like how the cover is pretty simple but still eye catching and the mockinjay is still on it.
First Line: I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air.
~First Thoughts~
Things have really changed since the first book.
~Review~
Catching Fire continues with Collins beautiful writing that makes you just fall into the dystopian society. Things are heating up in district 12 as Katniss and Peeta along with their families all live in the Victor’s Village. President Snow is angry at Katniss for ruining his games and wants her to convince not just the people of her and Peeta’s love, but to also convince himself. A task that proves to be a bit harder than in the first games. President Snow is convinced Katniss rebelled to start a rebellion rather than being too hopelessly in love with Peeta to live without him.
There was definitely a change of pace and atmosphere from the first Hunger Games book. The districts are slowly beginning uprisings which puts Katniss’ life in danger if they don’t stop. I loved the darker feel of Catching Fire, it’s much darker in district 12 than even before. There are now stockades, whipping posts and gallows. The fence Katniss uses to get into the woods is now turned on permanately.
Before the games though, there is talk of rebellion among the districts, Katniss is seen as the leader of it all, and things begin getting real. Let me just say, I love a good rebellion and found this the most interesting part of Catching Fire that wasn’t explored too much.

Do You Hear The People Sing (Les Miserables)

Although the games are both crucial parts in the first two Hunger Games series, Catching Fire does the games a lot different this time around. As luck would have it, Katniss and Peeta, still on the rocks, are left to compete in the Hunger Games once again. This year it’s the Quarter Quell, a special edition, so to say, of The Hunger Games. The Quarter Quell were supposedly written years ago, but after Katniss and Peeta’s actions, Katniss isn’t completely sure that’s the case this year. The competitors for this year’s games are the past victors. Katniss and Peeta are thrust into the games again, where this time, there can only be one victor and both are determined to save each other.
I think I may have liked the first book better in regards to the games. While the stakes are higher this time around, I liked Katniss working mostly by herself. It is interesting to see her work with Peeta though and figuring out the other tributes. I thought the tributes were really interesting, especially Finnick, Mags and Wiress.
One thing bothered me when reading Catching Fire, which is most likely due it being one of my own reading dislikes. This is the love triangle between Peeta, Katniss and Gale.
After Katniss has returned to district 12, Gale isn’t very close to her anymore after seeing her onscreen “relationship” with Peeta. He’s angry and upset, which is understandable, but I still didn’t like the triangle Peeta is heartbroken because he’s found out Katniss was only pretending to like him for both of their survival. I think the triangle was well done, writing wise, I like that Katniss isn’t sure WHO she has feelings for, but knows there’s something more important going on. I wish there had been some hint of Gale’s feelings for Katniss in The Hunger Games.
The twists in Catching Fire caught me completely off guard and I loved it for that. Throughout Catching Fire, I did have my suspicions, but I wasn’t exactly sure what they were about. I wondered why certain characters did certain things and in the end, it all came together amazingly, albeit fast.
There were so many twists in this story that I really loved. I was kept on my toes the entire time, trying to guess what was going on. If there’s one improvement I wish Collins had made, it would be to include the uprisings happening more. Although they are mentioned a fairly bit in the first half of the book.
I was stunned after reading the ending, absolutely stunned. I became so frustrated at myself for lending out Mockingjay (the final Hunger Games book) a week before and not knowing how the trilogy ends. I rate it four out of five stars. I’m very excited to see the next book. Let’s just say I’m hoping for some of this:

Les_Miserables_Overthrow_The_Government

Only happy, of course. 🙂
~Final Thoughts~
Omg, omg omg, that ending. Oh my gosh. I can’t believe it. I need the last book. Why did I lend it out again? No more lending books out anymore! Oh my gosh.
~Recommended For~
Fans of the first book, fans of dystopian, fans of strong heroines, and fans of subtle romance.
 

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