ARC Review: Hushed by Kelley York

He’s saved her. He’s loved her. He’s killed for her.

Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed.

Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.

But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.

HUSHED will be released on December 6th by Entangled Publishing

Okay. Wow. Um... I'm not quite sure how I'm supposed to write a review for this book. It was just so freaking GOOD. I could seriously just leave my review at that. Go read this. There. Done. 

Still, I'm going to keep this brief and very vague...because I don't want to give anything away!

One way I can tell if a book really had IT for me is if I wake up the morning after finishing it and am still thinking of it. That's how I felt up about HUSHED. I finished it before I went to bed last night, and this morning my mind was still flipping back to Archer and Evan and Vivian as I was getting ready for school. It's another third-person narrative that I absolutely adored, and I must get my hands on a hard copy once it comes out!

It's just the premise was so unique. Dark. Intense. It sucked me right in from the first page and held me their, flying through the pages just to see what would happen. It is definitely edgy and not your typical YA experience, in the best way possible.

What made this book was the characters and how incredibly complex York made them. Archer does horrible things, and yet I sympathized with him. Archer had so many likable qualities and the way it was balanced with the horrible things he's done was just brilliant in my opinion. Everything he did, there was a way to justify it, and nothing is random or feels forced. But then despite that monster within, he wants to heal and help Vivian heal. I found myself rooting for Archer and caring about him. There is so much complexity concerning his past and so much depth to him and it's just so well contrived.

Vivian. She was so over-the-top selfish that I'd say it was unrealistic, expect I know those people. The people who make everything about them, and don't consider for one moment your feelings. The person who's never at fault, but instead blames you for everything. Vivian takes it to an incredible extreme, but she's been through so much that it's let you get the way she is. She's seriously disturbed, even more so than Archer. Another instead where the complexity of the characters is just gah!

Evan and Archer's relationship developed wonderfully in my opinion. I thought Archer dealt with the natural emotions well, the initial confusion. The attraction was immediate, but the relationship was very slow going and I appreciated that. Also, I loved that while Evan cared about Archer and was always there for him, he made sure that he took care of himself and didn't get sucked into Archer's ways.

My name is in this! Okay, it's spelled wrong. Marissa. But still! Marissa is Vivian's mother, and while she isn't there much physically, she plays a huge role in the novel. She's the mother figure that Archer never had, and while I didn't getting to know Marissa too well, through Archer I was able to get to know her and feel the love that Archer had for her.

Overall, the the characters definitely made this novel for me. The well-contrived complexity was brilliantly done, in my opinion. HUSHED is a dark, thrilling, unique debut that's incredibly written with a beautiful meaning. I feel like I can't give it any less than five stars, and I cannot wait to see future projects from Kelley York. She is definitely one to watch out for!


Yes, I know I didn't post one last week.
But last week's word count was so much of a joke that it wasn't even worth posting.
Thank God for Thanksgiving break, that's all I'm saying. It's the only reason I got so much done!

Starting Word Count: 39,995
Ending Word Count: 46,034
Total Words Written: 6,039 --Yay! Most of this was written from Thursday-Saturday. Thank you, Thanksgiving.
Chapters Written: 14, 15, and half of 16
Favorite Line/Scene Written: Taken from Chapter 16. I was amused with Jake's attempted dance-speak.

Jumps. Turns. Kicks. I’m sure there are proper unpronounceable terms for Chloe movements, but I like to keep things simple. My knowledge about dance is next to nothing. I have two left feet. Yet—this girl has thrown me head first into the world of dance. Since she officially registered for the Showcase, all of her extra time is spent at the studio. So I end up there by default, spending entire Sundays watching her dance. And the thing is, I don’t even care.
“Damn it, this is all wrong!” Chloe throws her hands up in exasperation. She shuts off the music and runs through the blocking again. She does that sick turn thing where her leg keeps propelling her so it seems like she could spin around forever—a fouette I think she called it? How do you even pronounce that? More jumps and shorter, sharper, twisty things. She finishes in that middle split thing and I’m like how the hell does that not hurt?
“Shit,” she yells, slamming her tiny fists into the floor.
Oh yeah, Chloe gets quite violent while she’s dancing.
“Yeah, Chloe. You suck.”
The first time I witnessed a “this choreography is shit” lash out I told her that it looked good. She told me to get the hell out of her studio. Sarcasm, I’ve learned, works best in these situations.
“The second position jump is always a beat off. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.”
I nod like I know what that is.
“And the rollover at the beginning is just awkward.”
“Maybe it’s the song?” I ask.
“It’s not John Mayer’s fault that I can’t choreograph this dance to save my life.”

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dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman

A friend posted a video of me dancing online and now I'm now longer Alicia Ruffino. I'm dancergirl—and suddenly it's like me against the world—everyone's got opinions.

My admirers want more, the haters hate, my best friend Jacy—even he's acting weird. And some stranger isn't content to just watch anymore.

Ali, dancergirl. Whatever you know me as, however you've seen me online, I've trained my whole life to be the best dancer I can be. But if someone watching has their way, I could lose more than just my love of dancing. 

I could lose my life.

More books about dancers? Yes! I will read any YA book that has to do with dance, just to see how its done. It seems though that overall I'm finding myself disappointed, and these dance novels are falling flat of my expectations.

I was super excited to read dancergirl for the premise alone. Not only is it about a dancer, but it also shows the dark side of infamy. When Ali agrees to put videos of herself dancing on the internet, she realizes the downsides pretty quickly. I feel like so much more could've been done with this story. Parts of it were exciting, but other times I was bored and found myself skimming.

Mostly though, I felt that the characters and relationships fell flat. Ali was a good MC, and I connected with her because I'm a dancer. But most of her friends and the other side characters were too flat and two-dimensional. Some people seemed like they were there just to be there. I wanted more depth. Especially when it came to Ali and Jacy's relationship. Supposedly they were best friends, but I never really got that feeling while reading. I liked Jacy enough, and I liked the way he was there for her for the most part and saved her at the end. But I wanted more from their relationship. Inside jokes. Special moments.

There could've been more depth on the writing side of things as well. Sometimes the dialogue felt unrealistic, the prose shallow.

But I do need to give this book credit where it's deserved--it did hold my interest enough for me to want to know what happens and keep reading. While I did find a couple things quite predictable... I was definitely surprised by the identity of the stalker. I had no clue who it was. There were so many suspects, and the actual culprit was.

My favorite part of this story was the actual dance parts. I really felt Ali's love for dance more than anything else in this story, and I could relate to it. The scenes where she's dancing is described beautifully, and the moments shown of rivalry and competition within the studio was depicted perfectly. But really, I felt like I was dancing alongside Ali. So bravo on the dance front. That aspect of the novel was fantastic.

Overall, dancergirl didn't quite do it for me. I wanted it to pack more of an emotional punch. The dance element is what really made it three stars for me. If this book was about anything else though besides a dancer, I don't think I would've liked it as much. But I will check in on the next book in the series, because there's potential with the writing. I hope I see some growth in future novels.

Meet my Characters

I've never does this before, try to find people who look like my characters. 
Mostly because I have such a specific image in my head.
But I was bored last night in the middle of a writing lull.
So here it goes.
From Dancing Through Life

This picture is actually really close to how Chloe looks in my head. I'm assuming this girl's hair is tied back, but if not, Chloe has long hair.

It's a little older looking, but features wise, this is the closest picture I've come across.

When I saw this, I was like THIS PICTURE. Even the pose is just so Alyssa.

From Perfection is my Enemy

This is the closest picture I could find. Colby is more cute and wholesome looking.

This is perfect for Max :)

That's all I've found so far. But what I've discovered is this.
It's so hard to find people who actually LOOK like teenagers.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my followers in the United States! It's that time again, for everyone to sit down and think about what we are truly grateful for in our lives. With all the negative things that go on in this world, it's so important to take a day and remember the positives. 

I'm Thankful for...

I'm so thankful to have my parents and sister. They're always so supportive of everything I do. I know that I can tell them anything. Of course me and my sister fight sometimes...but I know that she always has my back. I know that in the end, she's always there for me and is my best friend.

I have the best friends ever. It's so great to have people in my life besides family that I can trust with anything, and will allow me to vent and complain. We always have so much fun together and never run out of things to say. We don't have to be doing anything to have a good time. They'll have me laughing to the point of tears. We have countless inside joke. Love you guys<3

What would I do without books? Sometimes, I really don't know. I love escaping boring suburban life and getting lost in a story. Books are the perfect escape. And they're always there. Looking around my room and seeing all the books is such a comfort.

My MacBook Pro
Seriously. This computer holds my life. All of my writing is on here. It's the reason I've made so many awesome internet friends, people who I know I'll continue to talk to for years to come. If something ever happened to my baby, I don't know what I'd do.

Internet Friends
This is sort of a by-product of the last one. I'm so grateful for all the people I met through writing and inkpop. These people understand the love of books and writing unlike anyone does in my life. It's so great to know people as passionate as I am. I'm grateful to people who have read and liked my work. People who have volunteered to beta my writing. Thank you guys SO much!

Thank you, dance, for keeping me in shape. Seriously. I'd probably way 500 pounds right now if it weren't for you.

For always reminding me to never forget to be awesome. 

Those are just a few things I'm thankful for. What are you thankful for?

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ARC Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Obsidian is released in stores on December 6, 2011 by Entangled Publishing

I've been seeing this book everywhere around the interwebz. Rave review after rave review. Obviously, I had to read this, if only to see if the novel would live up to the hype surrounding it. Whatever I went into Obsidian expecting, this book totally surpassed my expectations. I'm attempting to stay composed as I'm writing my review... BUT OMG THIS BOOK. HOLY SMOLDERING HOTNESS. HOLY AWESOME MAIN CHARACTER. HOLY UNIQUE PLOT AND AWESOME WRITING AND JUST WHOA.

Okay. Freakout over. The caps pretty much sums up my feelings. But I will now attempt to write a semi-professional *cough* fan girl *cough* review.

Obsidian kicks ass on all accounts.

The plot. Was brilliant. And unlike anything I have read before. Her character's weren't vampires or werewolves or angels. They are freaking aliens. And not the typical War of the Worlds aliens. Nope. Think sexy, badass aliens. The way it was written was really believable too... almost to the point where I'm like, whoa what if this actually happened? (Maybe there's something that Jennifer knows that we don't...) And it was like battle of the aliens, with plenty of epic action scenes. I loved reading and learning about Daemon and his sister Dee's story. Score one for the aliens. Seriously, step away Edward Cullen. I want an alien.

More specifically, I want a Daemon.

Okay, I'll admit it. For about 75% of this book...he's a freaking douche. He was rude and an ass...and that didn't change no matter how hot I picture him in my head. But then there would just be the times when he'd say the sweetest things and could be so deep and genuine. And just my heart would be like *melt*. And I eventually got over the attitude problem because it was just so Daemon. He's protective, but not overbearing. And essentially just holy hot damn on so many levels. Love.

But you want to know who I loved more? Katy. The human who was thrown into the mix. She is the essence of everything I want in a main character. She someone who I totally could picture myself being friends with. I loved the sarcastic voice, and just her whole attitude in general. She didn't take any of Daemon's crap. She didn't turn all soft and mushy. I loved that. Even more fantastic... she was a book blogger! That added a whole new level of relatability. And get this... Daemon thought it was cute. (WHY OH WHY isn't there a hot guy in my town with these feelings toward book-nerd girls?) Katy had her bad ass moments, but she was also affected by everything going on around her in such a real way.

The character development overall was fantastic. This novel was definitely driven by the characters. And it thrived off of the sexual tension. I mean MY GOD. I loved it. The banter, the aww moments, everything. There were so many moments in this story where I would just be smiling as I read this.

If there is one thing I don't particularly like, it's the cover. This cover, while the guy is admittedly gorgeous, does not do this book justice. Thank God I didn't judge this book by its cover.

Overall, this book is a must-read, with something in it for everyone. The chemistry and sexual tension, the unique plot line, the sci-fi aspects, the kick-ass main character. *Cough* the sexy angsty alien *cough*.

Okay, enough attempting to make myself sound eloquent. THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK! OH MY GOD.

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

I was so excited to read this book. I've heard so many great things about it from people, so I had to see for myself what the deal was about. Plus, you got me with anything at all that has to do with To Kill A Mockingbird. That's one of my all-time favorite reads. And the tagline for this book? Epic. So, everything about this book looked good from the outside. But once I started reading? Oh, it was even better! So good!

The story centers around the main character Alex, who at the beginning of the novel is date-raped. Now, rape is such a tough topic to address, but the way Daisy Whitney did it was truly brilliant and eye opening. The constant fear someone who's been date-raped feels. Seeing Alex lose sense of the things she loves. Alex plays the piano, and those scenes after where she really expresses herself through the music were some of my favorites in the book. And I loved watching Alex's character develop throughout the book as she gets stronger.

The Mockingbirds are a student-led group, started because the administration at Themis Academy thinks all their students are perfect and there's no concrete disciplinary system. So it's up to the Mockingbirds to right the wrongs. It was so fascinating, how complex the system was, how official it had seemed for a group of high school students. When Alex decides to come forward, this group takes on her case. 
All the characters were done so well. T.S. and Maia were just so there for Alex whenever she needed them. And they were nicely developed on their own aw well. Martin was so sweet and supportive. I loved that he wanted to be a biologist, and his appealing geekiness, and just seeing him and Alex's relationship grow. And the antagonist--the rapist, Carter was extremely well done too. I HATED him. And it was all just so realistic, nothing felt forced or unnatural.

And the writing in general was just the kind of writing that now makes any future book by Whitney on my to-read list. It's so raw, honest, and real, and from a point of view not often shown in YA Fiction with such clarity and perspective. The authors note at the end was extremely insightful and poignant as well, because the author drew from her own experience--she was date-raped in college. Which made so much sense after I finished--because with a perspective and voice that real, it's horrible, but still not surprising, that the author went through this too. 
I think that The Mockingbirds is a book that should go on everyone's must-read list. It's poignant and touching, and a read that really makes you think after you finish it. It sends a powerful message that even reaches beyond its young adult target group in my opinion. It was great. I can not wait for the sequel to come out, The Rivals!

Being a Dancer: The Injuries

Last night I was in my comp jazz class. Our song is "Party Time," such an upbeat, energetic song. I love the dance so far, and last night was the first time I was consistently landing the tricky double turn my teacher threw in. All was well.

Then there's this part of the song where the music slows down, and we do a fan kick. I LOVE fan kicks. And I was so in the zone, and it seemed like I was kicking higher than I ever have. All was well.

Then I stop dancing. My hip feels a little weird. But nothing really concerning. Class was over, so I walked out to my car, noticing that pain in my hip again. I thought it was nothing to worry about.

I get home. I get out of my car and it's like a bomb exploded in my hip and I'm like HOLY SHIT. I limp up to my bedroom, holding back tears. But then it's like soon enough I'm used to the pain. I carry about the rest of my night normally, wincing regularly. I assumed that when I woke up this morning, it'd be fine.

It wasn't.

I didn't go to school today. And it takes a lot for me to skip a day of school. The pain in my right hip is insane. I've kept my leg elevated, put a heating pack on it, and it seems to be doing better. I'm going to my chiropractor later today, so I hope that will help.

I've never felt this much pain from dancing before.
I've heard stories of people hurting themselves, and then whatever leg it happens to becomes insanely flexible...I hope that's the case for me.

I just don't want to be limping tomorrow. It's ugly sweater day at my school for spirit week, my favorite day of the year. And I have three tests. And my friend is coming home with me, and we're supposed to be going off to Leigh Fallon's book signing. So I just really want to get better.

Dancers, what kind of injuries have you had over the years, if any? Have you had anything like this?

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The journey to finish Dancing Through Life by January 1st is a tough one.

This week was rough. I cranked out Chapter Thirteen, but then where I was going with chapter fourteen didn't feel right, and nothing would come out. So when that happens, I always backtrack to find the problem, where things start going wrong. So I rewrote the end of thirteen and and am almost done with chapter fourteen.

Starting Word Count: 39,186
Ending Word Count: 39,995
Total Words Written: 809 <--Boo! So low. Well, actually more was written than that. But I cut a lot, so that's what lowered it so much.
Chapters Written: Rewrote end of 13 and added on to fourteen
Favorite Line/Scene Written: Taken from near the end of Chapter 13 (again, but what I rewrote)

Music. Where is all the good music?
I rummage through a stack of CDs until I find a John Mayer one. Success. I skip the warm up, going straight into the difficult. I don’t have time for the easy. Body and brain are totally disconnected. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, just that I’m moving. My mind is somewhere else altogether.
See, the problem isn’t at all that Jake might have possibly cheated. Yeah, it’s a shitty thing to do. It wouldn’t ruin a friendship, but I certainly wouldn’t be able to look at him exactly the same way anymore. And like, there’ two sides to every story. It happened over a year ago. I could’ve easily just asked Jake what the deal was. So the problem is not the act itself.
It probably isn’t true.
Alyssa is most likely full of shit.
All the probablys and most likelys aren’t even the problem at hand.  
The problem is that I care so much. Why do I care so much?
Because you care about Jake.
I freeze. On some level, I’ve always been subconsciously aware of this fact. But forming the actual thought bubble? That’s never happened before.
It scares me.
And enrages me. How can I let myself do this? It’s like, I’ve built up this idea of Jake, of what an awesome guy he seems to be. In turn, I’m beginning to fall for someone I barely know. Alyssa’s claims shatter the image of Jake into a hundred shards. Pieces. Broken pieces.
He has a past. I’ve never thought about that before. He’s just been so there for me, that I’ve barely thought of him as an actual person. And I’m way too self-involved to even give a damn. I’ve spent—wasted—half of this summer, wallowing in my own self-pity. We’re all a pile of broken pieces, slowly being put together. But instead of trying to put my pieces together, I’ve been smashing them even further.

I have some serious ground to make up for this week. Ideally, I want another 5k written this week for the track I'm on. Realistically, that's not going to happen. But Thankgiving week is short, so I can make up time there. Hopefully. Haha!

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Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies. 

Mason's mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police--who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.

Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.

What? How? Huh?
Some insight into my reaction after finishing Dark Inside. I just finished the read ten minutes ago, and I'm like, at a loss for words. I don't really know what to say. I've been dying to read this book since forever. Because I know Jeyn. I met her on InkPop forever ago, and had the privilege of reading bits of this story before she even had her contract. So, I expected this to be good. I'm not going to lie, usually I try not to go into a book with any expectations, but I had high expectations for this book. And Dark Inside definitely met my expectations.

The premise is both unique and horrifying. Disturbing yet gripping. I flew through this book, and literally could not put it down. The only reason I finished it this morning is because Dark Inside is not a book you want to fall asleep thinking about. Talk about mega nightmares. It's a world gone mad, in every sense of the word. And usually I can predict outcomes fairly well, and while I did predict a couple things, for the most part this book had me in the dark. I felt like I was there with the characters. I couldn't even decide which characters were trustworthy at one point. Every single page is filled with an event equally as horrific as the previous page. And I couldn't stop reading. All I know, is that if I were a character in Dark Inside, I'd so be dead.

Jeyn's writing is fantastic. It's gritty, while still being deep. I've said that there a rare few third person books that belong on my favorite shelf. Dark Inside is one of them. In fact, I can't imagine the book being written any other way. It was so well done. The descriptions of the horrors, the depth of the characters. So. so. good. Because really, Dark Inside is four separate stories that merge into one effortlessly. And Jeyn managed to pull it off.

The book is told from third person with four character perspectives. Mason, Aries, Clementine, and Micheal.  Each one's location varies from the middle of the United States to Vancouver. And despite the consent jumping all over the place, I never felt lost or confused. And I found myself unable to pick favorites. Each person's story was equally compelling. They've all been through so much, and are doing what they can to survive. If I had anything to complain about, I wish that these characters could have found each other sooner in the novel. But the way Jeyn did it sets up for an epic sequel.

Actually, I do have a favorite. The voice of Nothing made the book for me. It was so incredible. That was the only part of the book written in first person, and by the end the reader is able to infer who Nothing is. Those sections that kept popping up throughout the book were my favorite. My favorite lines, and the most poignant ones to me were in the scattered passages that were Nothing. Just. Wow.

Dark Inside is a fantastic read, beyond worthy of my favorite shelf. What a debut! I seriously got scared at parts while I was reading it. This is probably not the most articulate or best reviews I've ever written. It's just brain is kind of frazzled right now. The ending! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT AT LEAST A YEAR FOR THE SEQUEL?! UNFAIR.

I'm just going to end it with this.
Read Dark Inside.
Just Do it.

November Giveaway Hop Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered my November Giveaway Hop! Through this hop, I have gained 94 new followers. Whoa! Hi new followers! Thanks so much for following my blog! You've helped me surpass the 200 follower mark! :D

Anyways, onto the winners. The two winners of this hop are:

Michele Luker! 

Congratulations girls! Sonya, you have been emailed, and Michele, you will be emailed as soon as Sonya makes her choice. You both have 48 hours to respond from the time I email you, or else I am picking new winners.
Thanks again everyone! And stay tuned for more upcoming giveaways!

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Paper Towns by John Green

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life--dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge--he follows. 

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues--and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

Printz medalist John Green returns with the brilliant wit and searing emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.

Okay. You guys all know by now that I'm a huge John Green fan. Looking for Alaska is one of my all-time favorite books, and An Abundance of Katherines was so nerdy and unique that I had to love it. I was so excited to read this book. And it was still so good. I still really liked it. This book just didn't get to the level of love for me.

The writing was still mind blowing. It's what saved the book. If anyone else besides John Green and his distinctive writing style wrote this book, I probably wouldn't have liked it. He never ceases to just say the smartest things. The things that people all think deep down and just never put into words. The metaphors... just whoa. Paper Towns is all about how we see people the way we want to see them, and not as who they really are. And I think about my life and the people around me and it's just  So. True. So again, I am bowing down the the writing god that is John Green. *bows*

The thing about this book is that I liked Quentin. I really did. He had that distinct voice and smart thoughts that John Green perfects. And while I liked Quentin, I felt as though I never really got to know him, like I got to know Miles and Colin. He was always so focused on finding/obsessing over Margo that I didn't connect with him the way I connected with Green's other MC's. And maybe that was the point.

The side characters were all pretty good. I loved Radar, and his parents' black Santa collection. Ben annoyed the crap out of me, but that was the purpose of his character. I liked Lacey enough, but I more liked that for once the popular girl was likable.

Margo was...I don't even know. She was absent throughout most of the book, so I got to know her solely through what others thought of her. And that was exactly the point of Margo's character. That no one, not even the reader could really get to know her. That I myself got to form my own interpretation of who in fact Margo Roth Spiegelman was. Which, when you think about it like that, is quite brilliant. Still, when she was around, I had trouble understanding where she came from.

Plot wise, the story was all over the place, with the focus on Quentin's obsession of finding Margo. Sometimes I got a bit bored and was waiting for the story to pick up. But I loved the fact that I was constantly guessing, that I never knew quite what to expect. There was still something about it that just didn't grip me the way his other books have. I wasn't as affected.

Paper Towns is still a fabulous read told with an honest voice and full of deep, metaphorical meaning. It's almost ridiculous how much I fan girl over John Green's writing. It's truly gorgeous, while still being funny and occasionally gross. Basically as gorgeous as a book can be when told from the perspective of an eighteen-year-old boy. Read it.

November Giveaway Hop

This is my first time participating in a giveaway hop. So exciting!

The November Giveaway hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Tristi Pinkston. There are over 200 blogs participating in the hop! It will run from November 8th to November 11th.

Here is what's up for grabs. Four contemporary(ish) novels:

Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn
A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young (not technically contemporary, but I'd like to call it contemporary with paranormal elements)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
And Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

A few things to keep in mind:
1) This giveaway is US only. I can't afford international shipping.
2) You must be 13+ to enter
3) If information (GFC names, twitter handles, etc) are inaccurate, your entries won't count.
4) Giveaway ends at 12:01 AM on November 12th :)

I will pick two winners, who will each get to pick one book of their choice. :)

Don't forget to check out all the other giveaways!

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For those of you who don't know the acronym above:
A) You should
B) It stands for National Finish a Draft of your Book I mean seriously come on Month

It's a John Green thing/Nerdfighter thing.
And if you don't know who John Green is...
Who are you?
He's an author (Looking For Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, The Fault in our Stars)
And he makes hilarious nerdtastic videos with his brother, Hank, on YouTube.
Basically, NaFADOYBIMSCOM is an alternative he created for NaNoWriMo
Where you finish a revision of a draft that you've already been working on.
I'm extending this month to two months
With a goal of having a complete rewritten draft of Dancing Through Life by January 1st 2012

For newer followers who don't know much about Dancing Through Life, it is the first book that I've ever written and finished. I began writing it summer 2009 and finished it that winter. It made July 2010 Top 5 on, and after I got my review, I put it away for a while to focus on other projects. I pulled the story back out this past summer, changed many significant aspects and totally rewrote it to the point where it's a new book. And here I am now, wanting to finally finish the rewritten draft.

Here's the original pitch. I'll probably write a new one, but this pitch actually still works:

Dancing Through Life
Chloe, a dancer who's mourning a loss + Jake, a gorgeous musician with a past + NYC = an unforgettable summer.

Chloe. Jake. To her, dancing was everything. It was the reason she woke up in the morning. To him, his guitar was his savior. It was how he coped with the abuse. She was mourning a tragedy. He needed to get away. When their lives crossed paths through summer music school, it changed them in ways they never thought possible. Jake learned that he had a choice when it came to his future. He didn’t have to be his father’s son. And Chloe realized that once the slippers were given to you, you had to put them on and just start dancing through life.

Starting Word Count: 34,876
Ending Word Count: 39,186
Total Words Written: 4,310 <--which is like astronomical for me for this time of year!
Chapters Written: Chapter 13 and the beginning of Chapter 14
Favorite Line/Scene Written: Taken from near the end of Chapter 13
“You believed her, didn’t you?” Jake asks.
“I—I didn’t know what to believe. I didn’t want to believe. But then I thought—gee, you know so much about me, and I barely know anything about you apart from the obvious, and I don’t know… I’m sorry.” The more I think about it, the truer it is. I spilled my soul. He knows about Ty. And hell, whether I’ll admit it or not, I know that Jake is the reason I’m dancing. And what do I know about him?
1.     He lives with his cousin.
2.      He’s a talented musician
3.     He has a younger sister (name unknown)
4.     New information: Had a summer fling with Alyssa
So in other words, next to nothing. It’s so strange, how you can feel like you know a person, but in all actuality, you know nothing about them at all. I don’t know Jake’s favorite color, or his favorite place in the world, or what food he hates, or why he even started playing music in the first place.
I want to know Jake.

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It's My Blogiversary!

Today, friends and followers is my one year blogiversary!
Okay, technically it was back in July, but I don't count that because I basically made the blog and then killed it. I started counting from my post titled "The Resurrection," which was the moment I began consistently posting.

Some stats:
The Writing Dancer
Established: November 6th 2010
Followers: 142
Page Views: 12,167
Posts: 155
World Stats: I have followers in the US, UK, Australia... and even in Germany, India, and Lithuania! That is so beyond cool!

Thank you so much to everyone who's supported my blog throughout the past year. It means the world to me that I have followers-turned-friends who care about what I have to say and keep returning to the blog. Here's to another year, where hopefully The Writing Dancer continues to grow and become even more successful!

Here is a little thank you video I made, with some future plans outlined.
Warning: I sing. 

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An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. He's also a washedup child prodigy with ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a passion for anagrams, and an overweight, Judge Judy-obsessed best friend. Colin's on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will predict the future of all relationships, transform him from a fading prodigy into a true genius, and finally win him the girl.

Letting expectations go and allowing love in are at the heart of Colin's hilarious quest to find his missing piece and avenge dumpees everywhere.

What can I say, other than John Green is a writing god *bows down to him.* I wasn't quite sure what to expect with An Abundance of Katherines. But whatever I was expecting, what I actually got was so much better. I got a nerdy adorkable protagonist, a best friend who is Muslim and frequently feels the need to say "I'm not a terrorist," a road trip, and a female lead that I think any girl can relate to. This paired with John Green's hilarious and smart writing made for an awesome read. 

I have said often that I prefer first person narration. I like getting into the main character's head, and being able to feel what they're feeling. I have few favorite third person novels--but An Abundance of Katherines is definitely one of them. The writing is so witty and hilarious and relatable that it got to points where I forgot that it was in third person. John has this way of making the things he has to say really hit home. It felt throughout reading this book as though I had little John Green in my head--seriously his voice was reading the book to me the whole time. He's the type of writer where he'll say something and you'll just sit there for a second and think "Wow...that's just" I said this recently in my Writers vs Storytellers post--but it's true--I will read anything J. Green ever writes. I laughed out loud to the point where my mom asked what could possibly be so funny. But I loved it all. The hilarious footnotes. Fuggers. Dingleberries. All. of. it.

It's difficult these days to come up with a unique contemporary romance--it seems as though everything has been done before. But John manages to make this story so unique in such a nerdy, fun way. Colin Singleton was a childhood prodigy. Who has dated--and been dumped by--19 Katherines. Yeah--I know, that's a lot of Katherines. Colin was left heartbroken when K-19 dumped him... so his hilarious friend Hassan suggests that they go on a road trip that leads them to Gutshot, Tennessee, and Lindsey Lee Wells. All the while Colin is struggling to come up with his relationship theorem. Can't say that I ever heard that one before. While I do admit, sometimes personalities got a bit extreme, I got why each character was the way they were. Honestly, this book is so much more about each character's journey than the plot.

Colin was a childhood prodigy, a nerd in every sense of the word. I loved him. I loved the anagrams, the insecurity, even the self-involvement, because if anything that made him real. I still don't quite fully get the Katherine obsession personally... but I got it through Colin's eyes. And here is the thing about Colin that got to me, that really hit home. In the end he wasn't on a quest to become a genius. All he wants is to matter, to be remembered. Isn't that something everyone struggles with? I bet it's crossed everyone's mind that when they're gone--who will remember them? What do they want to be remembered for? What kind of legacy to they want to leave behind? Colin is a bit extreme--he's eighteen and think that he's already washed up--I understood where he was coming from. And John Green nailed Colin's voice. There's nothing better than reading a male POV written by a man.

I loved all of the characters. Except for TOC (The Other Colin) for obvious reasons of douchebaggery. Hassan was hilarious. He was just what Colin needed, and balanced him out perfectly. His laziness and Judge Judy loving Arab-ness (I mean that in a totally non-racist way. Like, he would just start speaking Arabic. I thought that was awesome.) I loved how this journey changed him--how by the end of the book he wants to become a do-er. 

And Lindsey. Lindsey Lee Wells. One of my favorite female characters. I liked the fact that she wasn't super pretty, but she wasn't ugly either. Just average, and totally quirky in her own ways. I loved watching Lindsey become herself as the novel progressed. That was another thing that struck me as so true--how people can change themselves in front of certain groups of people, to the point where their identity is practically unrecognizable. That a person can be too busy pretending to be someone they're not to actually find themselves. So, in other words, I loved watching Lindsey figure this out and becoming the person she wants to be.

An Abundance of Katherines is another win in the world of literature. It didn't pack as much of an emotional punch as Looking for Alaska did, but it didn't make me not love it any less. John Green has such a distinctive and wonderful writing style, saying things that truly hit home and make you think, but is also equally hilarious and quirky. Love, love, love.

October Wrap Up & Some News for November

So October flew by in comparison to September.
I'm finally getting back into the swing of things, balancing real life and 
obligations such as school work with my online life/reading/writing/blogging.
It's a lot, and I'm stressed out more often then not.
But it's worth it, I think.

Posting went down in October.
I only did seven posts last month, most of them being reviews.
This is what ends up happening during a busy month.
So I hope you like the reviews, hehe :)
They're my way of keep some kind of regularity when things get hectic.

So. Books.
I read six this month.
All very good reads. A couple are worthy of being called favorites.
Those two?

Both of these books were incredible reads. 
Saving June packs an emotional punch.
While LOLA is so adorable and fun. 
If you click on the covers, it'll bring you to my reviews.

W r i t i n g 
I have some news concerning writing.
No, I am not officially doing NaNoWriMo
But, I have set a personal goal for myself.
And dang nabbit, I'm going to achieve it.

Remember that Dancing Through Life rewrite I started over the summer and haven't worked on for months?
Well, I miss Chloe and Jake, so I'm going to get back on that.
And finish the rewrite.
By January 1st

So, new segment starting on Monday.
Writing Through DTL
Where I will chart my progress.
The current word count:

The way things are going, I anticipate it being between 65k-70k.
So I'm just about, if not over half way there. 
Can I actually do this? 
I hope so.

We have songs picked out! Some, anyways.
My competition jazz song is "Party Time" by Gloria Estefan
It's such an upbeat song, and we're going to use presents as props.
We're in the beginning stages of choreographing the dance, it's so fun!
One of my tap songs is "Single Ladies"
You all know by now how much I love tap.
This song + Tap = Epicness
I love it already!

And my studio formed brand new hip hop teams
I was already on one,
But everyone had to try out again, to be fair.
I made the senior team!
So excited. I cannot wait to get started!

On a final note:
Thursday is going to be epic.
StuCo conference on Friday! Yeaaah! 
So excited to reunite with old friends from the summer conference I went to.
If anyone wants to fan girl about that show with me, I'm here.

So. That's the story. 
(And be on the lookout for upcoming giveaways!)

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