Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Wrap-Up


I've never done a wrap-up post before, but I figured I'd give it a go because, hey, I like new things, and I like wrap-up posts. It's Halloween. Whatever. Eat some candy.

You can find the WEIRDEST things on the internet.

The best books I reviewed this month:

Premeditated by Josin M. McQuein
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Most popular posts this month:

The Sorting Hat: YA Heroines Edition
Do Authors Owe Readers Anything?
Baking the Books: Harry Potter Pumpkin Pasties
Top Ten Best/Worst Series Enders 
Gender-Bending and Why It's Awesome 
How to Survive the Apocalypse (As Taught by YA Fiction) 

I did my first ever vlog review:



Things that happened this month: 

I got invited to have lunch with a big time author when their tour stops in Southern California! More deets when I can give them

Christina from A Reader of Fictions came to visit me! And oh, what larks were had!

I got addicted to Kdrama (COFFEE PRINCE!!!) and manga (HANA-KIMI!!!) In other words, GENDER-BENDING. And hot asian boys. And shippy feels. NNNNGH!

I baked all the pumpkin flavored things I could: pumpkin pasties, pumpkin snickerdoodles, JUST PUMPKIN.

I bawled my little face off while reading a book. It's been a while since I wept that openly due to fiction. I LOVE that feeling.

Here's the giveaway that's still going on:

 

Win Champion poster and tattoos and see the kick-ass trailer!

Here is the song I am currently obsessed (and I do mean OBSESSED) with:



Here's a preview at some of the books I plan to read next month!

 13138635108387871716596614288998

Happy Halloween! May November be as fun (and a little less busy, please?) than this month! Oh, and I'll be participating in National Novel Writing Month. If you are too, add me as you buddy! My NaNo profile can be found right here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vlog Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth


This is my first ever vlog review, so bear with me a bit. Ginger the dog makes an appearance, because she cannot resist a camera, shameless attention whore that she is. And I reenact my Allegiant-induced ugly sobbing for you guys. So, that's fun.

NOTE: The second half of this video CONTAINS HUGE SPOILERS FOR Allegiant. The first half is spoiler-free, but the bulk of this video is MOST DECIDEDLY NOT.

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Goodreads 
Release date: October 22nd, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Series: Yes, #3 in the Divergent series
Source: Purchased
Rating: 200 pages of boring, 100 pages of ACTION and ANGST, 100 pages of *sob*



Please keep the comments a spoiler-free zone!

CHAMPION Trailer and Giveaway!




Today, I am HONORED to show you guys the book trailer for Champion by Marie Lu, the final book in the epic Legend trilogy! It is all things bad-ass and kick-butt and awesomesauce. Thanks to Penguin for giving me the opportunity to reveal it to you guys AND give out some incredible prizes!



Penguin Teen Facebook page
Penguin Teen Twitter




Champion by Marie Lu
Goodreads
Amazon
Release date: November 5th, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

The explosive finale to Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND trilogy—perfect for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT!

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.



COULD THAT BE ANYMORE EXCITING? And check out how action-packed that trailer is! Not a second to breathe. I'm sure Champion will be just as thrilling and just as brutal. *crosses fingers for my ship* *will most likely be devastated* *shakes fist at the sky and curses the day Marie Lu trod all over my delicate feels*

Anyway, to tide you over until Champion drops into bookstores (SO SOON!!), Penguin has given me some boss swag to give away!



That, my friends, is a huge and glossy and glorious Legend trilogy poster AND some Legend trilogy tattoos. You will look like the most hardcore of rebels with those things on your arms. Or your faces. Depending on how hardcore you really are. US/CA residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 28, 2013

Top Ten Best Books To Read For Halloween


http://www.perpetualpageturner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/toptentuesss1.jpg
Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Note: I am a gigantic wimp. I don't do Stephen King. I don't do scary movies. I don't do things jumping out at me. I don't do little children under bedsheets saying "boo". THAT'S TOO HARDCORE FOR ME.

So here are the Top Ten Books to Read for Halloween If You Are Actually a Marshmallow Like Me:

 9859436119580332213661

1. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Hot boys, zombies, necromancers, period clothing, witty heroine. All the things I like.

2. Ten by Gretchen McNeil

A legitimate horror novel about serial killers that scared the PANTS off me. AND I WASN'T EVEN WEARING PANTS.

3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I mean, he's Neil Gaiman, this book is set in a graveyard, it is both creepy and cute, and I love it.

 126405781086662410929432

4. Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbaliester

This book pokes hilarious fun at vampires and the tropes surrounding them. This is my kind of Halloween fun.

5. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

One of my favorite novels of 2012 (RIP, gorgeous cover). Full of British wit, trope-reversing goodness, supernatural shenanigans, warlocks, family secrets, haunted mansions, and forests full of beasties. Plus I ship every single character with every single character. It's a problem magnificent thing.

6. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

I LOVE THIS BOOK. It is atmospheric and unsettling and oh-so-gorgeously written. Plus, haiiiii, Wesley. How you doin'?

113787637728889

7. The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

This book is CREEPY and GORY and, yes, quite slow, but once you get to the goods... *shudders*

8. The Diviners by Libba Bray

Another book that's far too long but so much fun. Ghosts in 1920's New York City? A delightful heroine full of pluck? Sign me up!

121097723

9. Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

I picked this book up because of the gorgeous cover, and I stayed because of the gorgeous writing. This is a serial killer novel with ghosts in it, and it's equal parts twisted and heartfelt.

10. Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone by J.K. Rowling.

They are wizards and witches. They have broomsticks. There are lots of pumpkins involved. There is a chapter called Halloween. It's Harry Potter. Do you really need more reasons?

Honorable mentions: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Vicious by Victoria Schwab, The Mediator series by Meg Cabot.

 Bonus: the books I PLAN to read this Halloween!

118365381281363016139598173930219378297

Croak by Gina Damico
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender
Hereafter by Kate Brian
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake



How to Survive the Apocalypse (As Taught by YA Fiction)


13112869161011281204377112753231
1383981215740711675327157310

I used to think that, if aliens took over or a meteor crashed to earth or half of us turned into zombies or microwaves turned out to be evil sentient brain-zapping machines, I'd totally be the first to die. I still think that, but now I realize I might have a fighting chance in our hypothetical zombie-alien-microwave apocalypse. Why? Because of just how many YA novels I've read set in fraught times. It's not just survival of the fittest anymore, folks. It's survival of the best read. I've done the research.

Here are some of the tips I've learned from YA novels over the years:

Find water, stay near water, water water water. Katniss knows this, the chick in Not A Drop to Drink knows this. WATER.

Shoot first, ask question later. Better to be safe and guilty than sorry and dead! The apocalypse doesn't care if you're a good person or not. NEITHER SHOULD YOU.

Fall in love with someone really hot, because you'll probably survive if your life has a better storyline in it. Zombies only eat ugly people with no boyfriends.

Don't do anything anybody in this book did.

 17332270

Schools, supermarkets, and prisons make for optimal environments to be trapped in. Schools, because then your struggle for life can neatly mirror the sociological tropes found in most high school societies, prisons, because why not, and supermarkets, because food. Try to be stuck in one of them already when the apocalypse beings. I'll write a post on tips for getting sent to prison some other time.

Don't make friends with other boys besides your boyfriend because they are probably aliens in disguise who want to eat you or kill you or sex you. It's hard to tell with aliens.

Do not have too big a group with you, because a lot of them will clearly die because its hard to keep track of too many characters and why put yourself through that. Especially if they are girls who are prettier and more interesting than you. They will totally die.

DON'T EVER TRUST ADULTS OR THE GOVERNMENT OR PEOPLE THAT SOUND AT ALL REASONABLY INTELLIGENT. THEY TOTALLY WORK FOR THE ZOMBIES/ALIENS/MICROWAVES.

Never, EVER separate. "You check that floor for zombies, I'll check this floor, we'll meet at the top!" Yeah, NO. You deserve to have your face eaten off. You idiot. And if someone bangs on the window or doors, DON'T LET THEM IN! They want to eat your face and not in a good way!

If one douchebag is out-douchebagging the rest of the people in your survival group, trying to be the leader and making dumb-ass decisions, just kill him. Immediately. He'll just die later anyway. Then eat him for dinner. The supermarket-ware won't last forever!

Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant, and die. Don't have sex in the missionary position, don't have sex standing up, just don't do it, okay, promise? Okay, now everybody take some rubbers. 


With this fool-proof guide, you're sure to survive whatever the end of days happens to throw at you. Except for werewolves. I've got nothing against those things. You're on you're own. This can only end in tears.

 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Reader's Choice Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia


Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
Goodreads 
Release date: October 1st, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: Yes, #1 in the Legion series
Source: ARC
Rating: 1 part Supernatural, 3 parts super boring, 2 parts super silly.
Recommended by: Blythe from Finding Bliss in Books

12371862

Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in this action-packed paranormal thriller, the first book in a new series from New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia.

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.


When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.


Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.



*plots Blythe's painful murder*

This book is what I like to think of as a "surface book". All these things are happening on the surface--action, romance, world-building--but nothing is happening below it. It doesn't tap into you on a deeper level. It doesn't create a believable, living world. The characters don't breathe, and the world-building doesn't entirely work, and the relationships are just words on the page. The story exists on the surface. Which makes it a pretty boring read, if I'm being honest.

At least it was quick?

 SPNG Tags: Castiel / Alcohol / Imbibe / learn a new word every day /
Looking for a particular Supernatural reaction gif? This blog organizes them so you don’t have to spend hours hunting them down.

Unbreakable is about a seventeen-year-old girl named Kennedy. Sadly, her name, her photographic memory, and her artistic talent are the only interesting things about her, and you can bet your bottom those last two traits will very conveniently rescue a few plot lines later on. One day, her mother dies (not a spoiler, it's in the blurb), and then two identical twins (gorgeous, naturellement) show up in her bedroom and try to kill her cat. Okay, so they're trying to kill the ghost that's inside the cat. Which got there whilst Kennedy was wandering through a graveyard in the opening scene. WHICH IS NEVER EXPLAINED BECAUSE HONESTLY WHO DOES THAT

SPNG Tags: Dean / Funny face / shocked / I can’t believe / I haven’t posted this gif yet /
Looking for a particular Supernatural reaction gif? This blog organizes them so you don’t have to spend hours hunting them down.

Anyway, the Wonder Twins, who are paranormal Ghostbuster type people, explain to her that they go around the country expelling spirits and the like, and that their names are Dean and Sam. Er, no. I'm sorry, Jared and Jensen---GOSH, why can't I keep it straight? Jard and Lukas. Right. Of course. Jared and Lukas Lockhart are the names of the beautiful, tousle-haired, tortured demon hunters who learned the demon-hunting trade from their father and have a relationship fraught with tension, jealousy, and protectiveness. If they'd been driving an Impala, I would have put the damn book down.

So they explain to Kennedy that they're part of a Legion blah blah blahh silly silly blah. Was totally skimming all the world-building stuff. Why? Because I couldn't connect to the characters at all, so I didn't really care about what was happening around them. Kennedy is quite useless in nearly every scene. Her main emotional roadblock is "Blah blahhhh, everybody always leeeeaves meee, it's like I'm Peyton Sawyer or something", which is patently untrue. Yes, your father left you, and you're allowed to have some scars from that, but the complex you are carrying around is just not realistically executed. You also had a loving and attentive mother who didn't actually choose to leave you and a very close best friend who also didn't leave you. YOUR CAT DIDN'T EVEN LEAVE YOU. EVEN THOUGH THE LOCKCHESTER BROTHERS TRIED TO SHOOT IT. You had one shitty boyfriend mentioned, and that's it. Puh-leeze, girl. Get over thineself before you start painting emo artwork on your walls.

 
 SPNG Tags: Crowley / How freaking facinating / do go on / sarcasm /
A special thanks to exit-stage-crowley for submitting this!
Looking for a particular Supernatural reaction gif? This blog organizes them so you don’t have to spend hours hunting them down.

Also, can we STOP having main characters who feel embarrassed or isolated because of their awesomeness? "I'm so afraid of telling people about my photographic memory... it puts up such a wall between us... they'll see me as different...Oh noes!" *eye roll* I just didn't buy a second of it. I didn't buy any of the characters at all. I didn't buy Jared's "blah blah I'm so damaged blaaaah". I know. You're shocked, right? That one of the love interests is damaged? That he's the guy who breaks things and destroys people, and his brother is the one who fixes and saves? Are you Salvatores? Are you Winchesters? Are you all of them? No. You are none of them.

Ugh, plot. So, things happen. There are two other teenagers in this Legion of five, Alara and Priest, who are the only characters I liked besides Kennedy's best friend, who's barely in the book. (And yes, five dumbass teenagers are in charge of saving the world from hell's demons, or something. Are you in good hands?) There's a tepid love triangle, some bland insta-love, and stereotypical angsting. I just... I've read this book before, so many times. I just can't get into a lukewarm reinterpretation of all those stock characters and plot lines that I've already encountered. It's like this book never happened to me. Surface book, all the way. Didn't make one impression on me.

Unlike this, which I will never un-see.

I'll admit, I didn't see the twist coming, and I liked that. *shakes pom-poms halfheartedly* There was another smaller twist I liked, too (but that I TOTALLY know the answer too, because I'm just clever like that). I thought the world-building was pretty weak sauce, but I did like the individual ghosts they encountered. So. Yay. Oh, right and Alara and Priest. There was some obligatory girl-on-girl rivalry/hate/whatever based solely on the fact that Alara is gorgeous, though thankfully that disappears pretty quickly. I liked Alara, even though her only defining personality traits are that she's mighty fine, prickly, and despises the color pink beyond all logical sanity. She and Priest, the unrealistic genius boy, do get the most funny lines and the most personality. And I find myself asking, for the millionth time in my life, why the main character can't be the one with the most personality. Why are the MCs so often the very blandest character in the book? Unbreakable is in first person, and being inside's Kennedy head is a boring, unemotional, and unfunny experience.

 Candy wasn't really my thing.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN, CANDY ISN'T YOUR THING, KENNEDY? WHO ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU? WHAT DO YOU WANT, YOU HORRID BITCH?


SPNG Tags: Sassy gay Sam / look at your life / look at your choices / bitch face
Looking for a particular Supernatural reaction gif? This blog organizes them so you don’t have to spend hours hunting them down.

I give Garcia props for writing a swoony and emotional kiss scene (or at least, it would have been if I'd cared about the characters). But I just have no idea where their feelings for each other came from. At all. I give her props for coming up with some very nice creepy ghosts. But because the writing was mediocre and the characters were flat and the world-building was uninspired, I sadly can do no more than shrug. I won't remember this book by this time tomorrow. Except for this stupid quote, which I will wrinkle my nose at for eternity:

I fought the urge to put my arms around him and breathe in the smell of salt and copper that clung to Jared even when he was only bleeding on the inside.


SPNG Tags: Dean / first I lol’d / then I serious’d / funny /
Looking for a particular Supernatural reaction gif? This blog organizes them so you don’t have to spend hours hunting them down.
SPNG Tags: Dean / Gross / Yuck / wincing
A special thanks to coporolight for submitting this!
Looking for a particular Supernatural reaction gif? This blog organizes them so you don’t have to spend hours hunting them down.

Know of a book you want me to read? Submit it in the reader's choice! Check my archives before you do, though, just to make sure I haven't already read and reviewed it!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Baking the Books: Incarnate




 Welcome to Baking the Books, where I bake things inspired by my favorite novels! Since I do a lot of reading and a lot of baking, it was only a matter of time before the two things overlapped. It's just part of my evil plot to get books involved in every single aspect of my life.

Previously on Baking the Books: Harry Potter Pumpkin Pasties

When I asked on Twitter a few months back about what books you guys would like to see me bake, I got way more suggestions than I thought I would. Someone (I can't remember who, sorry!) asked me to bake Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, which is a book I've read and loved. The problem is, I couldn't remember a single food in it. Baking the Books is hard, y'all, unless I'm doing Harry Potter or Willy Wonka or something else that already has food in it. I think I probably made some joke about baking a cake shaped like Sam or something (mmm, Sam).

And then I looked at the cover for a little bit. Which has a big, beautiful butterfly on it. And my brain went duh. Butterfly biscuits! Also known as palmiers or elephant ears. But for the purposes of Baking Incarnate, we are obviously going to refer to them as butterfly biscuits.

 

Plus, they're shaped like butterflies.

Not only are they inhumanly delicious, but they're also super easy to make. Just three ingredients and a couple easy steps and no real measurements. They are flaky and delicate. Like Ana, the Newsoul, the only person in her world who hasn't lived for thousands of years and probably won't be reincarnated like them either, these biscuits feel transient. No, seriously, they don't last long. They are too delicious. Soon they will be all gone.

Ingredients:

Melted butter
Sugar
Frozen puff pastry, thawed
Melted chocolate (optional)
Cocoa powder (optional)

Assemblage:

Prepare a clean table or counter top. If you don't want to work directly on a marble counter, you can work on top of a non-stick mat or large cutting board. Heavily sprinkle sugar over the entire surface. Place one thawed sheet of puff pastry, unrolled into a flat sheet, on top. Roll it out over the sugar with a rolling pin until it's flatter and larger and the dough is thinner.



Brush the top of the puff pastry with melted butter all over. Sprinkle with as much sugar as you want (hint: you want as much as possible). For chocolate palmiers, instead of brushing with butter and spriling with sugar, brush the puff pastry with melted chocolate and sprinkle lightly with cocoa power. Obviously, I forgot to take a picture of that, because I'm awesome.



Now, fold the edges of the puff pastry in like a scroll, towards the center. The fold should be about a fourth the size of the whole. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly in the middle of the dough. Then fold them over again.



Brush the top of the dough log with butter and roll in sugar or sprinkle with sugar. Repeat with the bottom. Basically, cover the outside of this sucker with butter and sugar. You can go light on this or skip this altogether, but this is where so much of the sinful deliciousness comes in.



If you are using a second puff pastry sheet, repeat all the steps.

Chill your dough logs in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. When you take them out again, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the dough logs into 3/8-inch thick slices and then place them on baking sheets lined with tinfoil.

 

Now, the baking times are really tricky for me to tell, because my oven is very strange and it took a lot longer than it should have. This is definitely a recipe where you're going to have to watch it. Check on them after ten minutes. If and when the bottoms are caramelizing, flip them over and bake them until the tops turn golden.

 

Take the palmiers out of the over and remove them from the baking sheet immediately. Let them cool on a rack or cutting board. They'll turn deliciously hard and crunchy as they cool. AND THEN YOU CAN EAT THEM ALL BECAUSE THEY ARE SCUMPTIOUS


Enjoy!