Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top Ten Books Read in 2011 - Part 2

Here is Part 2 :)

6. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Let me preface this by saying in my book Richelle Mead can do no wrong. This is the first of a spinoff series from Vampire Academy (which is another of my fav series of all time). This book got mixed reviews from Vampire Academy fans but I personally loved it. It was the perfect spinoff - new, fresh character pov's and a nice mystery that wraps up well with no cliffhanger. I am really looking forward to the next installment!

7. If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman
These are companion books and if you read If I Stay, you MUST read Where She Went so I'm including them together. These books....these books....sigh. I really don't even know how to describe them, nothing I could say would do them justice. They are absolutely heartbreaking and gut wrenching but SO beautiful. I still think of these books often. Several passages clearly stand out in my mind and always will. Be prepared to be emotional!

8. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
I just reviewed this one last week so 'nuff said. Read it, but read Clockwork Angel first :)

9. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
I have read several angel books this year and none impressed me except for this one. Don't let that stupid cover fool you, this one gets the angel theme right! The characters are fresh and authentic, and the romance is seriously sweet. The book is not preachy either, big plus.

10. Shade and Shift by Jeri Smith-ReadyThis is another set. Shade comes first, then Shift. This is to be a trilogy but the final book won't be released for some time. Ghosts + Irish Boys + Irish Band + Forbidden Love = HELL YEAH! One of the best love triangles ever, it actually split my best friend Maggie and I for the first time in our reading history. That's sayin' somethin!

Alright, so there ya go. I had a lot of fun with this post because it allowed me to do one of my favorite things, push all my books on people! Here's hoping I accomplish my goal and if I do, tell me about it. Maggie and I need more people to discuss books with ;)

Top Ten Books Read in 2011 - Part 1

I have compiled a list of my top ten favorite books read in 2011. I had to split this post into two parts because it was too long! So here is part 1. Just typing up this list makes me want to do some re-reading...

These are not in any particular order because...I just can't. I love them all equally and would hate to hurt their feelings by picking favorites.

1. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

You know, I said I didn't put these in order but this trilogy deserves the top honors. These are not just my favorites of 2011 but up there with my favorite reads of all time. I absolutely LOVED these books. The first is Knife of Never Letting Go, second is The Ask and The Answer, and finally Monsters of Men. I must mention that I listened to these in audiobook format and the narrators are INCREDIBLE. I was so wrapped up in these characters and their struggles that I literally couldn't do anything without my headphones in. Detailed reviews of all three will be coming soon because I am determined to get these books a bigger following :)

2. Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

This book is full of amazingness, if you haven't read it yet do it now. The writing is so lush and descriptive, you really feel as though you are a part of the story. I could picture myself walking down the streets of the town so easily. Solid characters, strong family bonds, a bit of romance, horses, and epic adventure - SOLD!

3. Blood Red Road by Moira Young

This book completely took me by surprise. Going into it, I didn't think it was for me but boy was I wrong. This book slayed me! It was so intense and different than anything I've read. I absolutely adored Saba and her stubborness. Her journey was full of twists and turns I didn't see coming and a very satisfying ending. I hear there are sequels in the works (YAY!), but this could certainly stand on its own. The writing style is different and at first a little bit of an adjustment but stick with it! It's so incredibly worth it.

4. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

This book is so beautifully written, it's difficult to take at times. It is heartbreaking and moving. It's unique in that its like a puzzle that you don't get all the pieces to until the end. Throughout most of the book I couldnt connect the two storylines and although it frustrated me, it was too captivating to stop reading. This is the first of Marchetta's books that I have read and I believe she has two others out which I know I will be reading in the near future.

5. Divergent by Veronica Roth

This book is such a solid example of my favorite type of read - strong badass female character, hope in dark times, rebellion, a touch of romance, dystopian society. This book is intense and the author holds nothing back, nobody is safe and that makes for a thrilling ride. This one has been touted as "the next Hunger Games" and I can see the comparisons but the plotlines and characters are very different and unique to this story. Tris and Four are kickass, check this one out!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Audiobook Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me
Tahereh Mafi
Narrated by: Kate Simses

Summary (from
"You can't touch me," I whisper.
I'm lying, is what I don't tell him.
He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him.
But things happen when people touch me.
Strange things.
Bad things.
No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.
But Juliette has plans of her own.
After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.

My thoughts: Well...I'm conflicted about this one. I really wanted to love it as I've heard many good things about it but alas..I did not. I'm not certain if my experience of it was less than desirable due to it being in audiobook format or if the writing style is just not for me. I think I will have to read the book itself someday to make that decision. Let's start with what I didn't like and end with a positive note :)

First off, I am not a big fan of this narrator. She is too lightspoken for my taste although the MC is very fragile in the beginning so I can see the reasoning in picking her. As the story progresses, the MC gains confidence and strength but when she asserted herself I didn't believe it due to the narrator's reading of it. Her enunciation felt off to me at times. Having recently delved into the audiobook world, I am seeing how crucial it is to have a good narrator. I have listened to good narrators...ahem Nick Podehl narrating The Chaos Walking Trilogy was INCREDIBLE. But I digress...this narrator is just not for me, thats all there is to it.

Secondly, the writing style in this is incredibly flowery. There is a metaphor in practically every single sentence and I found it weighed down the story. Now don't get me wrong, I love some flowery writing but it has its place and time. If a book is laced heavily with it, I don't appreciate the beauty of it, I just get irritated. I find it so much more enjoyable when you are reading a novel to be surprised by a lovely use of metaphor, than to be bombarded over and over again. There were some truly beautiful passages that had they not been surrounded by so many other melodramatic comparisons, I would have appreciated them much more.

Alright now on to the things I did like. The story was creative and different than anything else I have read recently so the author certainly gets props for that. I did like the MC and her love interest, I felt their relationship was developed pretty well. I appreciate a complex villain and this story certainly had one, I couldnt decide from one minute to the next whether he was evil or just misunderstood. The story wrapped up well enough that it could stand alone, no true cliffhanger, so that's another plus.

All in all, I think this would appeal to many fans of the young adult dystopian genre, I'm just not one of them. I will make sure to amend this review if I read the hard copy and change my mind :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tutorial: Upcycled Earring Necklace

Yesterday morning I was rummaging through my drawer full of disorganized jewelry and found many earrings that were missing their mate. I have major issues with losing things especially earrings but I always keep the one I have just in case someday I find it's twin. I have never had this happen, when I lose them they are gone forever in the black hole that all of my things seem to find their way into eventually. So, I decided to put them to use and save them from their drawer.

I was wearing this necklace at the time:

I bought this necklace a few months ago for 16 bucks and I love it. In looking at it I decided what to do. I would make a necklace out of my old earrings. So this is how I did it!

What You Need:

Wire Cutters
Round Nose Pliers
Length of Chain (whatever kind you prefer, I just used what I already had at home)
Jump Rings (again whatever size you fancy)
Necklace Clasp
Old lonely earrings

Step 1: Cut the length of chain to whatever specification you wish using the wire cutters (I wanted mine long)
Step 2: Remove the earring finding from the pendant.
Just pull apart the jump ring that is already attached to the finding using the round nose pliers and pull the jump ring out. Repeat this step for however many earrings you want to use. I made two necklaces out of mine and used four earrings for each  necklace.

Step 3: Attach a new jump ring of whatever size you choose to the earring pendant and fasten it around the chain. I fastened my jump ring all the way around the chain rather than through the chain link because I wanted it to be more movable on the chain but if you want it to stay in one place you could fasten through a link for each one.

Ahem...please excuse my chipped nail polish...the horror.

Step 4: repeat, repeat, repeat!
Step 5: attach the necklace clasps using jump rings with same method above.

Here are the two I got out of it :)

Ta DA! Seriously this is ridiculously easy as you can see and a great way to use what you have and not be wasteful. Plus its purty :)  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Review of Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork  Prince
Book 2 in Infernal Devices Series
Author: Cassandra Clare

Summary (from

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

My opinion: This book has everything I love about reading - mystery, action, romance, and un-put-downableness (may not be a word but it works).

The pacing in this is nice, I never felt as though it dragged at all and it kept my attention throughout. One of the things I love the most about Cassandra Clare's writing is her characters. The characters in this, as in her other novels, are so fleshed out and felt really authentic to me. I really enjoyed learning more about Charlotte, Henry, Sophie, and the newer additions of the Lightwood brothers. Gideon is so sweet! The relationships between the three main characters is to me the most beautiful part of the novel. A highlight of Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince for me is Will and Jem's relationship. You dont see many novels these days with such a strong bromance going on and its lovely :)

The love triangle in this is INTENSE, thats about the only word I can think to describe it. I went back and forth several times and I even think I may have switched teams from the first book to this one....and that is an absolute first for me! I'm usually pretty loyal to the guy I pick in the first installment of a series. But now that I'm thinking about it, I'm still not sure... Cassandra Clare is THE queen of writing butterfly inducing make-out scenes, I mean sheesh. I will say that of the several makeout scenes in this book the one I found the hottest really surprised me. The two boys in Tessa's life are so vastly different but both so beautiful, unique, and swoonworthy. That's not a choice I would want to make...wait actually its exactly the kind of choice I would want to make. With my choice being BOTH. I really felt for all parties involved in the end and I'm afraid there is nothing but heartache ahead for all these characters and for me :( Sigh...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Two in one day...this probably wont happen often ;)

Homemade scarf!
I found this initially on pinterest (which if you arent on you should be!) and decided to try my inexperienced hand at it and this is the end result. Now....I love this and I have already gotten tons of compliments on it BUT it was very time consuming to make. I spent about 6 hours on it last night. I guess in the grand scheme of things thats not that long but it felt like it. So expect to put some time in it but it was fun. I drank a few beers, listened to some tunes and lost myself in the process of creating something!

Here is the link to the tutorial I used to show me how :

I've already made plans to try with different colors to make a multicolored one...but I cant say when I will commit to it again :)

Very First Blog Post - Ready, Set, Go!

Well, I'm finally doing it. I've been thinking about and talking about starting a blog for months now and I'm finally in a mindset to do it. I will likely spend most of my time blogging about books as reading is what I spend the majority of my free time doing. Reading blogs, checking amazon reviews, making lists of what to read next, these are all things I spend a ridiculous amount of time doing and love every minue of it :) Here is a sampling of some of my favorite books to get an idea of my taste:

Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins
Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
Vampire Academy Series - Richelle Mead
Mortal Instruments Series - Cassandra Clare
Infernal Devices Series -  Cassandra Clare
Mediator Series- Meg Cabot
Graceling-Kristin Cashore
Scorpio Races -Maggie Stievfater
Shade Series - Jeri Smith-Ready
If I Stay/Where She Went - Gayle Forman

Wait, these are ALL young adult you say?....yeah. I'm basically a high schooler stuck in a almost 30 year olds body. What can I say? I just love me some angsty writing! I do "sometimes" read adult books but when I do they are mostly paranormal or fantasy....I just love to live vicariously through the characters adventures.

Next up is crafting. I will spend some unknown amount of time talking about this as its something I have recently gotten very into. Recently means that I am a beginner and it shows but one day I will be sewing my own everything mark my words. I need a sewing machine first though...and some knowledge would help too. I'm working on it!

And finally, I will throw in random things I like. I dont like to be pigeon holed, I just want to discuss all my nerdy obsessions whatever category they fall under. So here you go  Maggie, because I know you are the only one reading this!