Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop!

The Spring Giveaway Hop is hosted by the lovely "I Am a Reader Not a Writer"
I'm keeping this giveaway simple and giving away some great contemporary books from right off my shelf!
One person will get to choose two books of their choice. The choices are:
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Girl At Sea by Maureen Johnson
Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

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The Giveaway runs from March 20th to March 25th
And since we have to ship the books, this one is US only.
Like usual, you will have 48 hours to respond if you win :)

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

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Just Checking In & A Giveaway Announcement

Hey everyone! My past week has been crazy with makeup work and research papers and essays, so sorry that the intended schedule has been all funky lately. I also have standardized testing this week, which is no fun.

I haven't been able to finish a book in over a week. Though admittedly that has more to do with my new obsession with One Tree Hill than not having the time to read. Not going to lie, there will most likely be a blog post devoted to why I think One Tree Hill is so fantastic.

But, look out for my Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop post up later to night. There will be some fantastic books from my own shelf up for grabs, including titles by Maureen Johnson and Sarah Dessen. :)

AND lastly, I've been super active on tumblr lately, so if you want to check me out over there go here:

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ARC Review: Starters by Lissa Price


Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .

Starters has a fantastic--if not incredibly creepy--concept. It's set in a future United States. The Spore Wars happened, and through it came a virus that knocked out everyone between the ages of 20-60. So all your left with are really old people who've already lived their lives, and children with no parents. Most of the children are unclaimed minors, struggling to get by, with no help from adults. Kids turned to Prime Destinations, a facility where you pretty much sold your body to old people who want to relive their youth. Enders would rent the bodies of teenagers, living vicariously through these kids for a duration of time. And these teenagers allowed it because they needed the money.

To me, this idea, while scary yet fascinating, is extremely farfetched. To be pulled off, the world-building would've had to be phenomenal. And it just wasn't all there. Why did the Spore Wars happen? How is it even possible for something like Prime Destinations to exist? For this book to work, the reader has to buy into the story, buy into the possibility of being able to rent your body to someone else and come back totally scott-free. And for me, that just didn't happen. There were too many unanswered questions at the end of this story. Not suspenseful questions--but questions as to the plausibility of the world.

I had trouble connecting with the characters as well. I just couldn't bring myself to care about what happened to anyone. Callie was pretty badass at times I will admit, but I just never connected with her voice or her character. I thought that Blake was flat. There was nothing that made me love him. The Enders were ridiculous and selfish. It blew my mind that no one cared about taking care of the unclaimed minors, that they were all okay with living their lavish, ignorant lives.

Okay, this review is coming off as really harsh. I did like moments of Starters. I liked Callie's relationship with her brother, Tyler. How she'd do just about anything for him. I liked her strength. And if anything, Starters is a quick read and compelling--whether it's for the right or wrong reasons. I feel like this concept had so much potential. It pulled me in right at the beginning, but soon lost me. Overall, the writing was just lacking for me, and it made me feel removed from the characters. But I didn't hate this book or anything either. It was just a disconnect for me. I feel like maybe if I read this when I was in my full-out dystopia phase I would've liked it so much more. It's not that it's an awful book, it's just not the book for me right now. I'm sure people will read it and absolutely love it though.

MASC 2012: It's Been Real

Hey everyone! I'm back from the brief hiatus. It's been a crazy experience these past few days, at the Massachusetts Association of Student Council state conference. I spent three days in Cape Cod, locked in a hotel with 1,200 student council kids from all over the state. I got to see old friends from summer camp, as well as bond with my own council. It's just such a good time.

My Council. And a random girl who just jumped in the picture.

This is chalk. CHALK.
One of my favorite parts about conferences like these are the keynote speakers. We had two amazing motivational speakers speak to us. Judson Laipply, the Evolution of Dance guy from YouTube, and Bob Upgren, an incredible chalk artist. They both spoke to us about our power of choice. Bob Upgren focused on how our culture has this socially constricted view about what occupations are acceptable in life, and about how that stops people from doing what they want to do. About how money plays a major role in our career path, stopping us from doing what we love. He said that we can't do anything that we want to do. That's a myth. But that we can do anything that we were born to do. And how you have to figure out both what you're passionate about and what you're talented at. This just really spoke to me because I love writing so, so much. And I think that I consider other, more "successful" or "comfortable" career paths because I'm afraid that nothing will ever happen with my writing. But I leave these conferences thinking "I WANT TO BE A WRITER!"

And then Bob drew this amazing work of art, right in front of all of our faces. In about ten minutes, he took a chalk board full of words that keep us from being what we want to be, words such as "fear" "regret" and "failure" and made this work of art. It was such a moving thing to see done before me. How he would use the colors and blending, and how a few random lines turned into a light house, weird shapes would be mountains. It's such an unbelievable thing to watch.

Me and Judson Laipply
Judson Laipply is hilarious. And yes, he did perform the Evolution of Dance for us. But he also spoke to us about happiness, and how we decide how happy we are with our lives. That we don't have control over everything, but we have control over most things. And that when we look back on life and we have regrets, well, we have no one to blame but ourselves. He had this one quote that just really spoke to me:

Life isn't always the party we hope for, but while we're here we might as well dance.

These conference teach me so much about myself. They allow me to step out of my comfort zone. It forces me out of my shyness and just allows me to go crazy and have fun.  I love meeting new people, talking to them and learning about them. We did this activity in small groups where we had to pantomime five things we like and everyone else had to guess. Two other people in this group ended up being writers too. And then I met this girl who used to live in my town but then moved to another town, and knows some of the people I know.

Most importantly, going to conferences reminds me that there's a world outside of my town. That there's people out there who are like me. And if I can find some common ground with all these people within my own state, I wonder what's out in the rest of the world.

Thank you MASC 2012. It's been real. And I cannot wait for summer camp, and MASC 2013 :D

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And The Winner Is...

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Congrats Tiffany! I'm emailing you now, and you have 72 hours to email me back :)

Thanks so much to everyone who entered, and hello to all my new followers! 
Be sure to check back in a couple weeks for the Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop. :D

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Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.
I don't know what to rate this book. I don't even know what to say about this book. Holy crap, it was a crazy adventure from beginning to end, and some parts I loved but other parts left me dissatisfied.

Let's start with the obvious. Lauren Oliver's writing is absolutely gorgeous. Always has been, always will be. Her descriptions of everything, just Gah! I was there. I was right there next to Lena. I saw everything she saw, heard everything she heard. I felt everything she felt. I felt how broken Lena was, despite her trying to stay strong. It was clear how much she missed Alex. Dammit, I missed Alex. His absence was my least favorite part of this book. Because I love him.

The narrative was a little jarring at first. The way it kept switching between "then"--right after Lena and Alex escaped-- and "now"--six months later--. Once I got into it though, it did end up working for the story, and I liked how by the end I liked how the "then" and "now" almost paralleled each other. It ended up working really well, actually. And through this layout, we got an in-depth look at both life in the Wilds, and life still on the inside. I think that stylistically this was a risk, but in the end it paid off.

We're introduced to many new characters in Pandemonium. I loved Raven's character, her strength and will amazed me. I wish Hunter and Tack were a bit more developed--I didn't get to see them too much. Also, I loved Hana in Delirium and wish that we got even a glimpse of her. I hope she'll be back in Requiem (and I really need to read her short story). I liked how Lena related some of these characters back to her old life, like how Blue made her think of Gracie.

And then there was Julian. I liked him. I liked what Oliver did with him. How he was all for the cure, how he totally believed in the amor deliria nervosa. I liked how she slowly pulled back the layers of Julian throughout the novel, and we got to see inside him, and realize that he's a bit broken inside. But I mean, of course a love-triangly thing had to be thrown in there. I suppose it's acceptable because of Lena's state of mind throughout the novel, how she truly thinks that Alex is dead. I really felt for her, and Julian is this character that you can't help but like.


And okay, the plot twists were crazy! Like something would happen and you'd just be sitting there like lol wut? There's lots of action in Pandemonium, and it was all executed very well. It's just, there's something about this book... that just was lacking the magic that Delirium had for me. But then in other ways it made up for it. I'M SO CONFLICTED.

But, there is one truth.

Lauren Oliver, you are a cruel, cruel person for leaving us hanging like that.
This cliffhanger was worse than Delirium's! I mean, jeez.
(Note that this is what I said in my review for Delirium last year.)

Still can't decide between a 4 and a 5 for this.
So a 4.5
But I round up.

End of February 2012 Wrap-Up

Hey everyone! Sorry this post came a few days late... this past week has been crazy.

Life Highlights:
Nothing too exciting.
I did have a week off from school.
Which is pretty awesome, considering it seems as though it's only a New England thing.
I was seriously surprised when I started talking to people in other parts of the country and found out that they didn't have February vacation.
So I did get some sleep this month.
Which was a nice change.

10. Books.
The Ruined Trilogy by Simone Elkeles, Half Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout, 
White Cat by Holly Black, A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler, Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard, 
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown, Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson, and a reread of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

My Top Three of the Month?

Making progress with my current WIP.
I'm planning the road trip and it's so much much. 
I love how everything is developing.
I just wish I could think of a title.

Over break I picked Dancing Through Life back up
Wrote a few more chapters of that
And edited some of Perfection is my Enemy.

How was your February? :)

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