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Thursday Wrap-Up

I've decided to do a thing where I say all the books I've read and reviewed since the past Thursday. Mostly to help me stay organized with all the reading I'm doing.

So, here we go.

13 to Life by Shannon Delany
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
What's Hot by Caitlyn Davis

And Then Everything Unraveled

Marked: House of Night
City of Glass

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
One Night that Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt
Psych Major Syndrome  by Alicia Thompson

After School Nightmare

Psych Major Syndrome: Review

Synopsis: Age: 18 years

Presenting Concerns:

Leigh Nolan has just started her first year at Stiles College.  She has decided to major in psychology (even though her parents would rather she study Tarot cards than Rorschach blots), despite reporting that she thinks, "Psychology is a load of crap."

Patient has always been very good at helping her friends with their problems, but when it comes to solving her own...not so much. 

Patient has a tendency to overanalyze things, particularly when the opposite sex is involved.  Like why doesn't Andrew, her boyfriend of over a year, ever invite her to spend the night?  Or why can't she commit to taking the next step in their relationship?  And why does his roommate Nathan dislike her so much?  More importantly, why did Nathan have a starring role in a much-more-than-friendly dream? 

Aggravating factors include hyper-competitive fellow psych majors, a professor who's badly in need of her own psychoanalysis, and mentoring a middle-school-aged girl who thinks Patient is, in a word, nave.

Preliminary treatment will include Introduction to Psychology, but may require more if she's going to answer these questions and make it through her freshman year.


Psych Major Syndrome

Details: Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson, 336 pages, 3.7 stars on Goodreads

My Thoughts: This was a nice, easy read with a lot of fluff. I didn't like Leigh too much in the beginning because she was just kind of irritating, and she was one of those characters who are incredibly oblivious. However, I soon came to like her and the story, which was jam-packed with just the sweetest moments. Not a lot of young adult books are set in college, so it was an interesting change from high school drama.

I didn't like everything about this book. The ending came too fast and was way too perfect and happy. I'd also have liked to learn more about Nathan because I didn't exactly feel like I quite got to know him. Also, it felt just a bit too preachy when it came to sex. I dislike it when books try to lecture you about something although it wasn't that bad.

However, there were definitely good points. I liked the originality of Leigh's New-Age-y parents, with their fake Romanian accents and eye patches, and there were moments where I just had to laugh. If you liked Meg Cabot's books but have gotten too old for them, then this might be right up your alley.

Plot - 3/5
Characters - 3/5
Writing - 3/5
Impact - 2/5
Inability to put it down - 2.5/5

Overall - 54% = C+

What Inspires You?

Story ideas are funny things. When I try to sit down and generate a bunch of them, I get nothing. But then there are the times when I'll sit down somewhere and boom! Something pops into my head, and half an hour later, I have a pretty fleshed out idea.

For my WIP, this (very rough) passage popped in my mind:

I stared at her, barely managing the words, “Who the [f-word] are you?”

She sat up and reached into her pocket. Her smile widened, revealing wickedly sharp teeth, as she pulled out a gun and pointed it at me. I staggered back, clutching the door frame for support. My vision swam, and the only thing I could see was the barrel, long and black.

“You were supposed to die,” she said in a disapproving tone, despite the grin that stretched from ear to ear. “Oh, and me? I'm fate. But you can just call me Claire.”

She pulled the trigger.

(Note: I omitted the swear word because I prefer to keep my blog clean, but of course, I did use the actual word.) 

When that suddenly came to mind, I had to know who the girl was and why she wanted to shoot him. And that's how it came to me.

What about you? What gives you inspiration for your stories?

One Night that Changes Everything: Review

Synopsis: Eliza is in a full-blown panic. Her notebook has been stolen—the one that lists everything she wants but is afraid to go after. And the absolute worst person in the world has it: her ex-boyfriend, Cooper.

Like it’s not enough Cooper was lying to Eliza for their entire relationship, now he and his friends are blackmailing her. They’re giving her just one night to complete the most humiliating tasks on her list or they’ll post her secrets online—including the ones that aren’t just about her.

Eliza’s sure of only one thing: she isn’t going down without a fight. Cooper may have what’s left of her dignity, but she’s not the only one with something to hide … 

Details: One Night that Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt, 288 pages, 3.97 stars on Goodreads

My Thoughts: You know how the first review you read of a book can affect how you think of it? And no matter how many reviews you read after that, you still can't forget that first one? Well, the first review I read for this book was fairly negative. It basically said that the book was okay and could have been better, but wasn't exactly bad. The other reviews I read were somewhere between this-book-is-amazing and this-book-is-pretty-darn-good, but I never forgot that first one and so I was hesitant to read One Night that Changes Everything.

But I read it all the same, and I am so glad I did. This is a wonderfully sweet, feel-good book that isn't without its share of depth. The main characters, Eliza and Cooper, are richly developed individuals, and while the plot may be a tad predictable, I spent the whole book rooting for them to end up together again. Eliza is more or less a typical teenage girl with the usual fears and secret wishes, but she has to face her fears in this book.

How many of you have ever wanted to ask the hottest guy in a club to dance when you were a teenager? (Or if you are now, whatever the case may be.) Or sing karaoke in front of everybody? They're great things to think about, but Eliza had to actually do them. Each situation she ended up in was hilarious and poignant, and I was laughing as I flipped through the pages.

The only thing I didn't like very much were Eliza's so-called friends. As soon as they saw some guy, they ditched her despite the fact that she was going through possibly the craziest night of her life. Friends should stick with you, especially in tough situations, and I didn't find them very well-developed, either.

Overall, this is a fantastic book that I would recommend to anyone looking for something funny and sweet but not shallow. I loved this book a lot more than I expected, and I hope more people pick this one up and read it!

Plot - 4.5/5
Writing - 3/5
Characters - 3/5
Impact - 2/5
Inability to put it down - 3.5/5

Overall - 64% = B

Contest Craze Mini Challenge #1

Princess Bookie is having tons of contests with mini challenges. This time, the mini challenge is to list your top five books coming out in 2011 and why. Here are my top five!

Angelfire by Courtney Moulton. How could I not want this book? I've heard a lot about it, and just look at the cover! It has a tough-looking girl on it, gripping a wicked sword, and glancing over at you like, What do you think you're looking at? Plus, there's all that awesome smoke swirling around at the bottom, and the word "Angelfire" is written in a neat font. I'm not usually much into angels, but this is called "achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action". Angels or no angels, how can I resist something like that?

Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I read Before I Fall, and it was absolutely amazing, so I have extremely high hopes for this one! The cover is quite striking, with the twisty metallic letters on a plain blue background, and the summary is tantalizing. I love a good forbidden romance, and this sounds more original than most! I still remember those awesome passages from Before I Fall that I just had to read and reread to savor their insight and beauty, so I can just imagine what Lauren Oliver is going to do with this!

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard. When I follow an author's blog (like I do with Kirsten Hubbard), and I follow along about their journey to getting published, I feel connected to that book. I can share at least a little of the pain and toil required, and at least a little of the triumph at the end. And even if I didn't follow her blog, seriously, look at that cover. It's simple and intriguing and wonderful, and so is the summary. In addition, contemporary novels are something I'm really starting to get into, so this seems to be a great read for me!

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder. I actually just heard of this one earlier today, when it came up on someone's IMM post. I immediately starred that post in my reader, because, my goodness, that COVER. It has brilliantly red lips right there, holding a little candy heart with the title between them. While the summary does seem like it's going to be a little cliche, with the whole queen-bee-of-the-school thing going on, the cover still makes me want to read it. 

Clarity by Kim Harrington. More cover love here! I think this is just spectacular, with the light, muted colors. It's simple and intricate at the same time. (I know, I pay way too much attention to covers.) The summary sounds awesome, too - intense and interesting. Romance and murder? I'm in. I am so in. On Goodreads, the author sounds friendly. I know that has nothing to do with a book's quality, but still. Friendly is good.

What are you looking forward to in 2011?

In My Mailbox (6)

This week wasn't very exciting at all. All the books I got were from the library, which made me sad, but it's a good group of books I've heard awesome things about, so that made me happier.

 If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I think everyone in the world has read this except me, so I better get started! It sounds like a wonderful book, plus I hear there's a sequel coming out (or is it already out?), so that's great!

White Cat by Holly Black. I really dislike this cover, and most of the reviews I read for this said it was basically okay, so I don't have high hopes for this one. Still, it's another book loads of people have read, so I might as well give it a try!

And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman. I've heard amazing things about this one! Plus, there's a sequel so if I like this, then I can read that without waiting. I think the cover's really pretty, but it's not something that would make me pick it up. It could just be me, but I think it gives it a younger feel.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. I read the first two books eons ago and finally got around to this one, but I totally don't remember what happened previously. Hopefully this one will have enough background info to get me up to speed! I'm counting on this one to make me laugh!

What did you get?

Mockingjay: Review

Synopsis: "My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead."

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.

Details: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, 390 pages, 4.13 stars on Goodreads

My Thoughts: I felt a little guilty when I got this book. Everyone was fighting tooth and nail to get their hands on it, and here I was, receiving it in the mail and putting it aside to finish a few other reads first. But I eventually got around to picking up that book and turning the lovely blue cover, and I began to read.

One thing I have to say is that I was never as captivated by the Hunger Games trilogy as everyone else seemed to be. They're great books for sure, but I was always able to put them down and go do something else, and to the end of the trilogy, I didn't cry. Okay, well, I teared a little bit, but everyone else seemed to sob their guts out. I don't know why the Hunger Games doesn't work as well for me as it does for everyone else.

However, I do have to say that I really, really liked Mockingjay. Maybe it's because I haven't read the other books in four thousand years (I don't remember them very well), but I loved how Suzanne Collins made it so deep and dark and chilling. This book illustrated better than any other how truly horrifying war is. There are passages in Mockingjay that make me want to read them over and over and over again.

Of course, there are aspects of Mockingjay that I really, really didn't like. Oh yeah, and here's where the spoilers begin. Scroll down to the bottom if you haven't read it yet and you just want to see the final rating. You're continuing to read? Okay. Let's start.

Unnecessary deaths. There were a lot of them, particularly Finnick and Prim. In a way, I can understand why Collins wanted Prim to die. It was this horrible ironic twist since the entire trilogy basically started because Katniss chose to die in Prim's place, and then in the end, Katniss lives and Prim dies. But Katniss has suffered enough. She's so incredibly screwed up now, enough to vote for the Hunger Games to run again! And Finnick? He didn't even get a decent death. It was just all, "Oh yeah, and Finnick died. Moving on..." 

Katniss changed. I liked her because she was gutsy and brave and loyal, and in Mockingjay, she was broken shell of a person. I understand everything she's gone through is absolutely horrible and absolutely scarring, but I had a lot of trouble relating to her in this book. She was a different person, and I didn't like her as much.

Gale vs. Peeta. I've been a Peeta person all along. Personally, I found it obvious that she would end up with Peeta; that's how these types of stories work. But seriously? Just having Gale conveniently take a job somewhere else? He deserved a better ending than that. I would have loved a Katniss-Peeta-Gale confrontation or something.

All in all, Mockingjay was good - but it definitely could have been better.

Plot - 4/5
Writing - 4/5
Characters - 3/5
Impact - 3.5/5
Inability to put it down - 2/5

Overall - 66% = B

Book Blogger Hop (6)

This week the question is:

When you write reviews, do you write them as you read them or do you wait until you finish the book?

I always wait until I finish so I can give a full review. Sometimes most of the book will be amazing but then the ending, for instance, isn't as good, or a character might seem flat until the last few chapters. However, as I read, I make mental notes and sometimes jot down things.

If you're hopping by, welcome! Please leave a link to your blog in the comments!

The Zombie Puff Ball Shirt

When I was eight, I was a halfway tomboy. I screamed when I saw spiders, screamed when I got in fistfights (fine, that only happened once and just because I spilled paint on the troubled kid), and screamed when I played violent video games. In that respect, I was a lot like the girls who wore hot pink nail polish and mashed lip gloss over their lips until you could see your face in them. But unlike them, I got ready for school like this:

1) Roll out of bed and thump on the floor.
2) Tear off pajamas and put on the nearest shirt, pants, socks, and sneakers.
3) Consider brushing hair.
4) Decide not to.
5) Eat breakfast.
6) Go to school.

This continued for a few years until it suddenly hit me that I really, really wanted to look pretty because OMG GUYS. But even when I started planning outfits for the next couple days and making sure colors matched (did you know you can't wear an olive green shirt with olive green shorts?), shopping still scared me.

Think about it. First you have to walk in the store, which is jammed full of PEOPLE. People who walk around and stare you and judge you OMG THE JUDGING. (At least, this is what happens in my paranoid universe. Along with the unicorns and aliens.) They swing their pretty purses and smooth their pretty clothes, and eye you because your mom dragged you to go shopping before you could change out of your food-stained t-shirt and rumpled sweatpants.

Then there are the clothes. Millions and millions of horrible, misleading clothes. I'll be wandering around, studying the racks, when I'll see the most awesome shade of blue ever peeking out. I shoved away the clothes surrounding it and see...

A hideous circular shirt with jagged sleeves, tears in the back, and, covering the entire front, puff balls the same size as my zits. Which is to say, puff balls the size of BOWLING BALLS.

I emit a little squeal and shove the shirt back in between the mustard yellow leather jacket and hot pink jeans. Then, promising myself never to look in the clearance rack ever ever ever again, I hurry away into Expensive Land.

I notice a pretty shirt, see it's in my size, and call to my mom that I'm going to try something on. She nods vacantly, staring at the puff ball shirt. I shiver and scurry into the dressing rooms, where I hurriedly put on the shirt. A line had already amassed, every one of them saying, "Must try on this shirt! Must try on this shirt!", in the same monotonous tone.

I smoothed the shirt and studied myself in the mirror, pleased that I actually looked good in it. I lifted up the price tag and gagged. I didn't think I'd ever seen that many zeroes before!

Sighing, I slipped off the shirt, put my ugly t-shirt back on, and slipped out of the dressing room. The line was even bigger than it sounded, and it was completely full of women, their eyes staring straight ahead, their mouths moving in perfect unison, and their hands clutching...

the puff ball shirt!

I shuddered at their taste in fashion, then paused. If I was the only one who thought it was ugly... maybe... maybe I should...

NO! I told myself sharply. Conforming is bad!

I walked on in search of my mom, wondering if I could convince her to buy me the pretty shirt if I covered up some of the zeroes with my thumb. Or if I promised it could be my birthday and Christmas present for the next four hundred years. (Although that still might not cover it.)

I wandered throughout the store before I found my mom looking at something in a clearance rack. At least ten other women surrounded her, all of them looking at the same thing. Their eyes were fixed on it, and drool dribbled out of their mouths. I slowly approached, went on tip-toe, and peeked over their shoulders, grateful to be tall.

They were staring at the ugliest thing known to man.

The puff ball shirt.

Suddenly, a frizzy-haired woman darted forward and yanked the shirt off the hanger. "Must have," she intoned.

A woman with black gloves repeated, "Must have," and tackled her to the ground. Instantly, all the other women, including my mom, surrounded them in a giant heap - nails clawing, pointy boots kicking, and that - was that the flash of a knife?

I backed away, the monotony of the phrase, "Must have", they kept repeating drilling into my brain. Some distant part of me knew I should try to run away, away from the puff balls, but all I could hear was, "Must have. Must have. Must have."

I was vaguely aware of another voice joining them, and realized it was mine. I took a step closer. And closer.

And then I dived for the puff ball shirt.

Living Dead Girl: Review

Synopsis: Once upon a time I was a little girl who disappeared.
Once upon a time my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time I didn't know how lucky I was.

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends -- her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.

Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.

This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

Details: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, 170 pages, 3.85 stars on Goodreads

My Thoughts: If you're a relatively old follower, you may remember my review of The Unwritten Rule, also by Elizabeth Scott. In a nutshell, I said that while I didn't enjoy that book too much, I got the sense that the author is a very good writer and that she writes dark very well. So, when I was browsing the library shelves and saw Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, I decided to read it. I mean, you don't get much darker than the title "Living Dead Girl".

This was a short book, but I completely devoured it in about forty minutes. I was ripping through the pages (actually, I slipped on one of the pages and made a tiny tear - sorry, library!) to find out what happens next, what happens next, and since I had to leave in about an hour, I was desperate to finish the book. (Checking it out with my library card did not occur to me.) 

Living Dead Girl is probably the darkest book I've read in a long time, but that's good because I love dark books, I love edgy books, and I especially love dark, edgy books. If I was reading this at home, the waterworks would be exploding out of my eyes, but at the library, while I was too embarrassed to cry in public lest people think I'm a freak, I did have tears pricking the corners of my eyes. Every word is perfect and screams out emotion - I wasn't reading about "Alice"'s hopelessness, I was hopeless; I wasn't reading about "Alice"'s abuse, I was abused. Elizabeth Scott is a master at making you the character.

One thing I have to say is this book isn't for the faint of heart. It's disturbing, intense, and heartbreaking all at once. If you don't think you can handle it, you probably shouldn't read it. But if you can, I highly, highly recommend it. And on a final note - some people hated the ending, but I absolutely loved it. It was so perfect, almost like The Giver, in its ambiguity and awesomeness. 

This book doesn't open your eyes - it tears them open. Read it, if you can.

Plot - 5/5
Characters - 5/5
Writing - 5/5
Impact - 4/5
Inability to put it down - 4/5

Overall - 92% = A

The Terrible Beast (also known as my To-Be-Read list)

I can remember a time when my library book pile was running low, so I pulled up the library site, fingers poised to type in the title I wanted.

And I couldn't think of one. I hmm'd and haw'd and finally googled for the ALA lists, choose a couple, and that was that.

Six months later, I started following book blogs. Eight months later, I started my own blog. Not having a list of books I want to read? That, Bloggy friends, is a thing of the past.

I follow blogs in Google Reader, because it's easy to keep things unread and star stuff and the like. And whenever I see a post that contains an interesting title of a book, or an intriguing cover, or a raving review, I click the little star. Sometimes I star upwards of ten posts a day. Every couple weeks, I go the Starred section of Reader and scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll (just when you think the scrolling hits the bottom, the little blue bar jumps up twelve feet) until I reach the very last posts I've starred - which, by the way, are the posts I actually want to have forever, like questions to ask agents or how to play zombie tag.

Then I pull up Goodreads, find the last post on a book I want to read, and begin the arduous process of locating books, adding them to the comes-in-November or comes-in-March or whatever shelf, and finally, the to-be-read shelf.

As of today (September 16th, because I'm writing this post early), I have 236 books on my to-be-read list. But that's only the LIST, because I have 160 starred posts on Reader, and there are four unread blog posts in my reader right now and THEY ARE ALL REVIEWS.

I've tried to tell myself not to star things so much, but how can I? I'll be reading and think OMGIMUSTREADTHATRIGHTNOW, RIGHTNOWITELLYOUORIWILLDIE. And then I see my TBR list and think OMGTHISISAGOODONE and I'll go to the next page and think OMGOMGOMGLOOKATALLTHESETHEYAREALLSOGOOD and go to the third page and think NOOOIWILLNEVERGETTOREADALLTHESE.

I don't even know how to handle the Terrible Beast anymore. How do you guys do it?

(PS: A lot of you said in the survey that you like the short story-type posts. Well, look out for one on Thursday!)

Graceling: Review

Synopsis: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight — she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme, and in her case horrifying, skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace — or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away... a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Details: Graceling by Kristin Cashore, 471 pages, 4.15 stars on Goodreads

My Thoughts: Fantasy is a turn-off for me. I mean, I love urban fantasy and even paranormal can be good - Whispers, Beautiful Creatures, I love books like those. But for some reason, I really don't like epic fantasies - the kind that take place in other worlds with characters that have unique names. I'm not even sure why this is so. I remember that when I was a kid, fantasy was my absolute most favorite genre ever, and somehow, that changed around age nine or ten. I liked Harry Potter, but not Lord of the Rings. Warriors was great, but Eragon, not so much. That's why I was hesitant to read Graceling.

I am glad I read it, however, because Graceling really wasn't like Lord of the Rings or Eragon - it was a lighter kind of fantasy, which made it a lot easier for me. The premise was intriguing, what with having the main character, Katsa, be Graced with killing. I liked how real Katsa was; she was tough and strong, but also struggled with the fact that she, you know, is a super-talented killer. What really disappointed me, though, was (spoiler, highlight to read) that she turned out not to be graced with killing, but survival. I don't know, that just seemed like such a cop-out to me. The killing grace was very interesting, in my opinion, and I would have preferred if she just came to terms with that. (spoilers over)

Then there's Po. Sweet, amazing Po. He really was a great love interest, and I liked him, and of course Po and Katsa were amazing together, but I disliked the romance. It seemed a little strange to me. Katsa was having this huge fuss about how she couldn't marry him lest she lose her freedom, but she really wanted to do him, so their solution was that she could do him and not be married. I'm sorry, but what? I thought it would have been a lot sweeter if she realized that she wouldn't lose her freedom by marrying him. I mean, girl power's great, all that good stuff, but this was just sort of weird.

The other thing I didn't like so much was Bitterblue. That girl did not sound like a ten-year-old when she spoke. I understand that she's very mature for her age, given what she had to go through, but she still sounded a lot more like a sixteen-year-old. However, the fact that Bitterblue was so cute and adorable definitely made up for that, and she was my second-favorite character (Po being my favorite-favorite). 

Graceling was a great book, of course - my review has been a little negative so far, but I did honestly enjoy reading it, and I don't regret picking it up. I love the concept of the Seven Kingdoms, and the Graces are very, very cool. It was quite neat how Kristin Cashore even tied in eye color to that - if you have two eyes of different color, that means you're Graced. So while this wasn't a bad book, and I liked it, I'm not in any hurry to read the second one in the series.

Plot - 3/5
Characters - 3/5
Writing - 4/5
Impact - 1.5/5
Inability to put it down - 2/5

Overall - 54% = C+

Princess Bookie's Contest Craze

That's right! Click here to check it all out! It starts on September 27th, which is a week from tomorrow, and it's a whopping two weeks long. There's a chance to win every day, which, knowing my luck, won't happen at all for me but it might for you!

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted over at The Story Siren. You post all the books you got that week.

Recently, I've been having bad luck in contests. You know that HUGE blogfest a few days ago? Yeah, I entered something like ninety of them and won... *wait for it*... 0. And there's somebody in the blogosphere named Lizzy who keeps winning all these things, and I'll glance at a post and see "And the winner is... Izzy!" My heart flies up, then crashes back down when I realize it's Lizzy.

That's why it was such a wonderful surprise to get a book in the mail! I didn't even remember winning it until I saw the post-it note (and such a pretty post-it note it was!), and the book looks amazing.


[Apparently, I can't find a picture of Picture the Dead.]


 Infinite Days. I haven't read a vampire book in so long, and this one looks different, so I have high hopes for it! I tried to read this a month ago, but I got an email from the library (I am infamous at my library) informing me that I can't get the book for WEEKS AND WEEKS AND WEEKS because it's too new. This is why I can't read The Duff, either. But WEEKS AND WEEKS AND WEEKS have passed and now I can read it!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I'm hesitant to read adult fiction because I always have the misfortune to pick up the ones that go SMEX SMEX SMEX SMEX the whole plotline, but seriously, how could I not read this? Everyone's read it. My dog's already read it. (I woke up to find him using it as a pillow. With several pages suspiciously damp, and his tongue still hanging out.)

13 to Life. Vampires and werewolves in the same week? I know, uncharacteristic, but how could I resist that awesome cover? No, seriously, look at that eye! That is the most awesome eye ever! I don't really like the girl walking in the middle because it brings my focus away from the eye, but the neat pattern on the left makes up for it. AND THE EYE.

Such a Pretty Girl. I adored Leftovers with every square inch of my heart, so I am so freaking excited about this book. I am so reading it after what I'm currently reading. It's already been moved from the Leaning Tower of Books pile next to the TV to my desk.

What did you get in your mailbox?

Social Vibe

You may have noticed the shiny new gadget on the right side of my blog. (If you use Reader, I HIGHLY encourage you to go to the actual blog and look at it.) As you can see, you click it and a little window will pop up. Basically, you complete activities such as watching short videos, answering questions, reading articles, etc., and then based on how many activities you complete, a company will sponsor a charity (in this case, Keep A Child Alive, which helps children with AIDS).

Even spending five minutes watching a video while answering questions (questions about, for example, what you do to help the environment, what you like in a product, etc.) can give ELEVEN HOURS of treatments. If you spend five minutes every day earning eleven hours, that's seventy-seven hours in just ONE WEEK. I myself just spent a total of twenty or so minutes and earned 41 hours.

So please, I urge you to help. It won't cost you anything but a tiny bit of your time.

Book Blogger Hop (5)

Book Blogger Hop is a meme held over at Crazy for Books. Every week there's a new question, you answer it on your blog, and then go hop on over to other people's blogs! It's a great way to find new blogs and get new followers.

This week, the question is:

In honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, let's take the time this week to honor our favorite book bloggers and why we love them!

I love this question! I follow so many book blogs, and I'd love to list about a hundred of them, but I'll refrain and just list a couple.

punk writer kid. Really? Are you really asking why? Look at the header. It says "punk writer kid". HOW MANY MORE REASONS DO YOU NEED? But seriously, every time a new post shows up in my Reader thingie, I get excited because all the posts are funny and awesome and informative. If you're not following this, you should. Like, right now. (Let's ignore the fact I typed "write now" the first time.)

The Blood-Red Pencil. I love this blog! Half the posts are starred in my Reader thingie because they're so incredibly helpful and smart and insightful. I've learned so much about writing from this amazing blog - if you write, you absolutely have to follow this blog. There's no way you'd regret it.

If you're hopping by, welcome! Please leave a comment so I can hop on back, and include a link to your blog because sometimes people have multiple blogs and then it gets confusing.


I've had this blog for almost three months now, and I want to know what you think.

Yes, you.

Whether you're a new visitor right now or a follower, I'd love it if you just fill out the survey and give me honest feedback (it's anonymous!) because I really want to make this blog better. It's very quick - I just ask a couple questions (six, to be exact).

So please, please, PLEASE fill out this survey:


Thank you!

The Truth About Forever: Review

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She's stuck with a dull-as-dishwater job at the library. And she'll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father's recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother's open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about, the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it.

Details: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, 374 pages, 4.29 stars on Goodreads (compare to 4.20 stars for the first Harry Potter book)

My Thoughts: I read this a long time ago and absolutely hated it. But everyone kept telling me how fantastic this book was, so I decided to try it again. I must admit that while I didn't love it nor did I find it extremely memorable, I was pleasantly surprised at it. The Truth About Forever was well-written, with a nice if somewhat cliché plot and much less cliché love interest, Wes. 

There were many things I enjoyed in this book. For instance, the description of Macy's job at the library, what with her coworkers and all, was quite amusing and I hope I never get a job like that! Macy's life is so dull, with her workaholic mom and overachieving boyfriend, that it's easy to understand why the hectic work at Wish Catering would appeal to her. The characters are all interesting and real, with each one fully developed, even the minor characters. 

Some serious issues are dealt with in this book, like Macy's father's death, her struggles with her mom, that kind of thing. However, this is primarily a romance, and I found it to be more of a lighter, feel-good read. The romance itself is sweet, fun, and cute, and develops at a nice pace. I do wish there was a little more kissing - what with all the development, we deserve a little steamy passion, don't we?

All in all, this is a good book to relax with. There wasn't anything I specifically disliked about it, but it wasn't compelling or intriguing or unique enough for me to run around recommending.

Plot - 3/5
Characters - 4/5
Writing - 4/5
Impact - 2/5
Inability to put it down - 2/5

Overall - 60% = B-

The Room that Didn't Exist

Sounds like a really bad horror movie, doesn't it? However, there is a room that doesn't exist in my school, and unfortunately, it's my US History class. You know, the one I have to go to twice a week? Straight from somewhere across the (very large) building in three minutes? Which would be hard enough if the room did, you know, actually exist?

First day of school: I check my schedule and see it's room 165. A large brown sign informs me that if I go straight, I will pass all the rooms from 128 to 170. I mentally confirmed that 165 is between 128 and 170, and I began to walk.

I kept an eye on the numbers, having spaced right past the room I needed earlier that day. 155, 156... 162, 163, 164. I blinked. Looked at the number again: 164. It's a room right on the wall in front of me, with no other doors or halls that would lead to 165, or 166, or 170. I frowned and thought that if I stared at 164 long enough, it would change into 165.

I adjusted my backpack straps and hugged my books closer to me. Some students passing me shot me odd looks, but most were already in class. A teacher came by and asked me if I needed help.

"Yes, I'm looking for room 165. Can you tell me where that is?" I asked, wishing my voice wasn't so soft and shy.

The teacher frowned. "165, you say?"

I nodded.

"What class?"

"Umm, US History," I replied, consulting my extremely wrinkled schedule. There were spots that were beginning to wear away from my fingers.

He scratched his head and shifted his weight to his left leg, placing his chin on his fingertips. He bore a striking similarity to the Aristotle pictured on the poster behind him. Finally, he spun around and pointed in the opposite direction. "Try going that way."

I looked where he pointed. "But that sign says those rooms are from 127 to 101."

"Just try it, okay?" he snapped.

"Okaaaay," I said, and started walking down that direction. 127, 126... 114, 113, 112... 103, 102, 101.

I noticed a door and decided to walk through it. The door slammed shut behind me, leaving me in a hallway so dark I could barely see the books clutched to my chest. I heard the same sound my dog makes when he drinks water after a long walk. Squinting, I saw a couple thrusting their bodies together and hungrily sucking face.


I slowly walked down the hall, careful not to bump into any other couples. I studied the room numbers: 170, 169, 168... 166... 165.

I breathed a sigh of relief and walked in, having found my class at last. Just as I entered the room, my teacher said, "And that's the end of the very important and crucial-to-life information you'll never get to hear ever again, no matter what. Class is dismissed."

Before I Fall: Review

Synopsis: What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

Details: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, 470 pages, 4.14 stars on Goodreads

My Thoughts: I finished this book in a single day, reading about half while waiting for my dentist appointment (and then waiting for my parents to finish their dentist appointments), and the rest of it later at home. It's a long book, so I was able to get nice and into it, and when I completed the book, my eyes had that funny strained feeling that doesn't quite feel bad or good. Now, see, I was actually kind of nervous about starting this book because I've heard a ton of great reviews and no bad ones, so I was scared this book wouldn't be as good as it seemed. My solution was to have super low expectations.

And I wasn't disappointed. Before I Fall was an amazing book, and I'm not entirely sure how to review this book, so I'll start by talking about the characters. Initially, I didn't like Samantha too much, but given the plot summary, I figured she would become more relatable, and she did. I didn't find her a very unique character, because she was basically normal apart from being popular (and with that, a bit bitchy) and having a hot boyfriend. But as she started repeating the days, I could understand her better and relate to her despite the fact that I am very, very far from being popular.

One thing I really loved about this book was that she didn't have the cardboard character cast of friends. Even though her popular friends were also mean at times, she genuinely cared about them, and they cared about her. Lindsey in particular was well-developed, and I felt like I could understand her a little, too. What I did wish was for Ally and Elody to be fleshed out more - I never really quite grasped who they are.

And then, of course, there was Kent. I love that Kent isn't the usual love interest, and that he isn't the Smexy Pinnacle of Smexy Hotness, and that he doesn't have an English accent (what's with that, anyway?). He is, in fact, quite unusual and largely considered a freak. He wears bowler hats to school, even. Oh, and of course, he has a crush on Samantha, but not because she's popular, but because of the Samantha he used to know. It was incredibly frustrating for Samantha and Kent to have a real heart-to-heart and express their feelings and desires, only for Samantha to wake up the next day with everything erased.

The characters weren't the only amazing thing about this book - the writing was wonderful. As Samantha learns and matures and grows, there are these passages that are written so heartbreakingly, so truthfully and honestly and realistically, that I had to read them a few times to ingrain them in memory. Before I Fall had the kind of writing that makes your chest hurt a little bit, and you can bet my brain was going in overdrive as I was simultaneously reading and analyzing analyzing analyzing the structure, the words, the sentences, the emotion, so perfectly captured. 

And the ending. I know some people hated the ending, but I think it was perfect. Anything else would have made me upset even though I wished the ending didn't happen - not because it didn't work, but just because by the end, I was so emotionally invested in Samantha. I'm not going to say what happened because it's really the kind of ending that takes you by surprise, the kind of twist that you think you should have seen coming but you didn't. (Or at least I didn't, and I'm usually pretty good at seeing twists ahead of time.) 

Overall, this was a great book. The one negative thing I have to say about it is that it slipped from memory quicker than I expected - at least for me, it wasn't exactly the kind of book you think about for days and days afterward, but it did make me run around wishing I could tell someone the ending. Now, two to three weeks later, I haven't thought about it in quite a while, but still. You have to read Before I Fall if you haven't already, because I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Plot - 4/5
Characters - 4/5
Writing - 5/5
Impact - 4/5
Inability to put it down - 3.5/5

Overall - 86% = A-

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a meme over at The Story Siren. Every week you post the books you got. This particular week was a bit exciting although I didn't get many books from the library.


 Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden. I didn't even remember that I won this, so it was a nice surprise in the mail! It looks interesting, but the cover makes it seem a little too steamy for my tastes. Then again, covers can be misleading. I've never read anything by Cynthia Eden, but I heard she's really good. Have any of you read her books, and did you like them?


Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols. This one got good reviews, and don't you just love that cover? The colors are so lovely and soft, and that girl's blue eye really looks wonderful. This book's a little thinner than I expected, so it seems to be a nice, quick read. Again, I've never read anything by Echols - have you?

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. This one's a memoir, which is something I'm really starting to like. I read The Glass Castle not too long ago and found it fantastic, so I hope this one's good, too. Do you like memoirs?

So what did you get in your mailbox?

Recreate Cover Contest: The Light of Asteria

These are super-fun! This time, it's by YA Addict, and you can find the link over here. The deadline is September 18th, so hurry to get your entries in! The book is called The Light of Asteria, and this is the original cover:

This is the one I made:

Do you like it? I'd love to hear your opinions!

Book Blogger Hop (4)

Book Blogger Hop is a great way to get new followers, so if you don't do the meme, check it out here! Every week there's a new, great question, and this week that question is:

Post a link to a favorite post or book review that you have written in the past three months.

Well, this was pretty hard to choose, but I'd have to say my favorite post of all time would be The Elevator of DOOM. 

It was great fun to write and was among my most popular posts (excluding Book Blogger Hops and the like). So if you're hopping by, I encourage you to check it out! Also, leave a comment so I can hop on back to your blog and see what's hopping! (See, see, I made an awesome pun.) 

High School

I wrote this huge, awesome (if I may say so myself) post with lots of cartoons (think The Elevator of Doom mixed with The First Day of Sixth Grade), and I decided to publish the post today. So I go to drafts, click "Edit", do a once-over, and start to click "Publish Post".

Suddenly, all the text, all the cartoons, disappear. Just white space. I stared blankly as Blogger did that automatic "Save Now" thing.

And then I freaked. I frantically refreshed to no avail, then x-ed out the tab and rechecked it. Still blank. All the text - all the jokes - gone.

I can't think of anything to say but a big, fat, sad face.

Yeah. So, if anyone knows a way to recover posts, I will bake you virtual cookies or something.

The Imposter's Daughter: Review

Synopsis: Laurie Sandell grew up in awe (and sometimes in terror) of her larger-than-life father, who told jaw-dropping tales of a privileged childhood in Buenos Aires, academic triumphs, heroism during Vietnam, friendships with Kissinger and the Pope. As a young woman, Laurie unconsciously mirrors her dad, trying on several outsized personalities (Tokyo stripper, lesbian seductress, Ambien addict). Later, she lucks into the perfect job - interviewing celebrities for a top women's magazine. Growing up with her extraordinary father has given Laurie a knack for relating to the stars. But while researching an article on her dad's life, she makes an astonishing discovery: he's not the man he says he is - not even close. Now, Laurie begins to puzzle together three decades of lies and the splintered person that resulted from them - herself.

Details: The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell, 256 pages [graphic memoir], 3.51 stars on Goodreads

My Thoughts: Recently, I've been reading more memoirs, ever since I fell in love with The Glass Castle. I won this one and eagerly started in, with the intriguing summary and lovely drawings. Typically, the graphic books I read are limited to manga, so it was different to read something with Western-style art. However, it was easy to follow, and I have to admit - it sure was nice to read something from left to right! 

I'm not a visual artist - far from it. My drawings rival that of a two-year-old, and sometimes the two-year-old wins. But I don't think it takes an artist to judge art, and I loved the art done in The Imposter's Daughter. They were cute and simple, and done in the same style as you can see on the cover. Overall, this was an entertaining, easy read.

However, that "easiness" was part of why I didn't enjoy this book as much as I might have. As you can tell from the summary, the story is meant to be an emotional one, as Laurie Sandell sorts out her issues with her father and herself. And yet, as I read, I found myself having trouble connecting to her. A part of me was, of course, sympathizing with her for what she had to deal with and hoping that she would be happy and okay by the end, but I didn't really feel for her the way I wanted to.

I can't help but think this book may have been more effective if written the "conventional" way - that is, not a graphic memoir but just a "regular" one. (Sorry, I can't think of a better way to put this.) I feel like Laurie Sandell had an amazing story to tell, but it wasn't told as well as it could have been.

Of course, this is not to say you shouldn't read it. It's a fascinating story, open and honest. One thing you may want to look out for is that there is mild drug use, sex, and some drawings of naked people, so this may not be for young readers or sensitive people. 

My usual rating scale doesn't work for memoirs (how can you judge plot or characters?), so I'll revert to the smilies. 3 out of 5.

Recreate Cover Contest: Freefall

Princess Bookie is hosting another Recreate Cover Contest, over here.  This time the book is Freefall by Mindi Scott, and it has a gorgeous cover:

I adore simplistic covers. I had some fun recreating this one, and I'm pretty happy with the result.

Well, what do you guys think? I'd love to know! :)

Memoirs of a Geisha: Review

Synopsis: On Goodreads (where I normally get my synopses), the summary is pretty bad. There's a long plot summary on Wikipedia if you want to read that - I didn't feel like posting such a long thing on this review!

Details: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, 434 pages, 3.93 stars on Goodreads

My Thoughts: This is adult fiction although I normally read and review young adult fiction. I saw the movie a few months ago, and while I really enjoyed it, the book was much better! Memoirs of a Geisha was a beautiful story, written wonderfully, and it's easy to get lost in the story. While I wouldn't call this something that has you tearing through the pages, there were many parts where I was reluctant to put it down and eager to get back to it.

The narrator, Chiyo, was very easy to relate to. When something bad happened to her, I felt it in my gut, and even though a geisha is basically a prostitute, no matter how you look at it, I was still pleased for her when she became successful. She had an entertaining way of narrating, where in places it was like she was speaking to you.

One thing I truly loved about this book was how realistic it was. The things I'm about to say are mildly spoiler-ish - nothing you can't figure out before it happens while reading, but if you wish to skip this paragraph, go ahead. *spoilers start now* While I was sad that Chiyo and her sister were never reunited after that one night, it would have been highly unlikely for something like that to happen. It was just another sad aspect of Chiyo's life. Another thing that saddened me but was also realistic was how Pumpkin reacted to so many years of betrayal and abuse. In the beginning, she was such a sweet, gentle girl, but by the end, she was bitter and vengeful, almost like Hatsumomo. *spoilers end now*

There were some things I disliked about Memoirs of a Geisha. I feel like the book didn't go as in depth to what was happening around Chiyo, with Japan's decline and everything. While, of course, the book was primarily about Chiyo's life as a geisha, I think the failing economy, the war, etc. would have all added another layer to the story and made it more interesting. The other thing that bothered me was her obsession with the Chairman. I understand that he may have meant a lot to her, that one time when he comforted her as a child, but I don't see why she fell in love with him and chased after him for twenty years. What bothered me even more was how he happened to be in love with her as well. I was hoping that she would realize how kind Nobu was and how much he really cared about her, but instead, the author opted for the fairy tale ending.

Overall, this was an excellent book and I definitely recommend it. The ending wasn't the greatest, but this is such an intriguing look into the life of someone people usually look on with revulsion.

Plot - 4/5
Writing - 5/5
Characters - 5/5
Impact - 2.5/5
Inability to put it down - 2.5/5

Overall - 76% = B+

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. I got a lot from the library this week!


Wild Spirits by Rosa Jordan. I actually got a different cover, but they didn't have a good size image when I searched, so I just used this one. It doesn't seem to exactly be my kind of book, but I read the first couple pages and it seems good, so I'll give it a try sometime soon. Also, when I got this, there was bubblewrap. Bubblewrap, people. That's what I live for. My parents asked what I wanted for my birthday, and I said, "Six feet of bubblewrap." They laughed and walked away, thinking it was a joke. Figures. :P


 Absolute Boyfriend Volume 1 by Yuu Watase. I already read this, since I finished After School Nightmare and I was looking for another manga series to get into. I was so, so, so disappointed. :( I knew it was a light read when I started, but still... I guess I just have really high standards after the genius that is ASN. The boyfriend in the series, however, is quite swoon-worthy, if a bit... umm... mechanical.

After School Nightmare Volume 9. Oh. My. God. Talk about plot twists! I ate this up in something like twelve minutes. No, I'm serious, I was flying through the pages. Luckily, I got Volume 10 (the last one!) at the same time, so I could rip right into it.

 After School Nightmare Volume 10. Oh my freakin' God, the ENDING! It was so good, I couldn't stop talking about it. I told it to my parents, to my friends, to random strangers in the street, to my good friend Obama, to the congressmen and the lawyers and my eye doctor, and let's not forget my dog and my neighbor's dog, and my other neighbor's cat, and oh, my brother, and the sister I don't have -

You get the picture.

The Passage by Justin Cronin. I heard spectacular things about this although it's adult fiction, which I don't usually read since that time when I was eleven and I stumbled into the section that begins with "E" and ends with "A" (it scarred me for life!). This one's a bit daunting, and it looks annoying to carry around when I go to school. Maybe I'll just read it on the weekends or something.

Luna by Julie Ann Peters. Oh, God, I'm reading this right now, and I've cried about four times now. So. Good. So. Freaking. Good. This pulls on your heartstrings and - well, I'll save it for the review! Which will come in about ten years, given how many books I need to review and how I only review about three a week D:

That's what I got this week! What's in your mailbox?

Pretty Little Liars: Review

Synopsis: Everyone has something to hide—especially high school juniors Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna.

Spencer covets her sister's boyfriend. Aria's fantasizing about her English teacher. Emily's crushing on the new girl at school. Hanna uses some ugly tricks to stay beautiful.

But they've all kept an even bigger secret since their friend Alison vanished.
How do I know? Because I know everything about the bad girls they were, the naughty girls they are, and all the dirty secrets they've kept. And guess what? I'm telling.

Details: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, 286 pages, 4.14 stars on Goodreads

My Thoughts: This is going to sound funny, but I put off reading this book for such a long time because I thought it was going to be like the Clique. (The books, I mean.) I read the Clique, and I hated it. Well, actually, that's not true. I liked the parts where bad things happened to the characters, which most likely was not what the author was going for. And you can't really blame me, because Pretty Little Liars just looked like the kind of petty, rich-girl book, with the cover and the title.

Finally, I read the summary (I know, it was bad of me to dismiss the book without even reading what it was about), and I reluctantly thought it sounded sort of interesting. So, I stuck it on my TBR list and promptly forgot about it. Then I read a review that completely raved about it, and I reserved it from the library.

I wish I read this earlier.

Pretty Little Liars was so far from what I expected. It was suspenseful, eerie, a bit creepy, and the twists! So many twists! I honestly got chills in parts, and the last time I got chilled from a book was the manga series After School Nightmare. Which actually wasn't that long ago. Anyway.

The only thing I didn't like very much about the book were the characters. While I wouldn't call them completely flat, I feel like their personalities weren't fleshed out as much as they could have been. However, this is part of a series, so it's very much possible that we'll get to learn more about them in later books. Also, I feel like their problems were rather cliché (crush on a teacher, secretly lesbian, father has an extra-marital affair, etc.), but "A" is such an intriguing person that it doesn't bother me so much.

I'm eagerly awaiting the next book, Flawless! (I'm on the waiting list at the library for the next, oh, four hundred years?)

Plot - 4/5
Characters - 2/5
Writing - 4/5
Impact - 3.5/5
Inability to put it down - 4/5

Overall - 70% = B

The Ro-Com Challenge

I used to dislike romantic comedies but now I don't think they're so bad. Thus, I decided to take the Ro-Com Challenge!

It's hosted by the Book Girl, whose URL is on the button ( I hope you'll take the challenge too!

This is the list to choose from:

  1. Island Summer...Jeanine Le Ny
  2. What's Hot...Caitlyn Davis
  3. So Inn Love...Catherine Clark
  4. Snowed In...Rachel Hawthorne
  5. Labor of Love...Rachel Hawthorne
  6. Endless Summer...Jennifer Echols (Counts as two books)
  7. The Ex-Games...Jennifer Echols
  8. Major Crush...Jennifer Echols
  9. He's With Me...Tamara Summers
  10. Picture Perfect...Catherine Clark
  11. Drive Me Crazy...Erin Downing
  12. Love Undercover...Jo Edwards
  13. Love On Cue...Catherine Hapka
  14. Miss Match...Wendy Toliver
  15. Puppy Love...Nancy Krulik
  16. Ripped at the Seams...Nancy Krulik
  17. Animal Attraction...Jamie Ponti
  18. Dancing Queen...Erin Downing
  19. Perfect Shot...Debbie Rigaud
  20. The Twelve Dates of Christmas...Catherine Hapka
  21. The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren...Wendy Toliver
Being an ambitious girl with too much time on her hands, I want to read all of them.


Book Blogger Hop (3)

Book Blogger Hop is a meme hosted over at Crazy for Books. This week's question is:

Do you judge a book by its cover?

To an extent, I do. If someone raves about a book and the cover looks atrocious, I'll still try it, but I have, frequently, read a book only because its cover looked interesting. For example, I picked up both Birthmarked and Face recently because of the awesome covers.

If you're hopping by, welcome! Please comment so I can hop back!

My First Day of Sixth Grade

With my first day of high school looming, I started thinking about my old first days of school. I remember the first day of kindergarten - specifically, the part where I hid under the slide and played with worms. And the first day of second grade, when I was so excited, I woke my parents up at 4 AM, fully dressed with my backpack on. I think the most un-awesome first day I've ever had was sixth grade. I started out trying to find a certain room.

Hmm, where is room 101?

No, I'm not bald, but hair was too hard. That piece of paper is my schedule. That smile is the one of a ten-year-old who does not yet know how awful middle school is.

Unable to find room 101, I decided to ask a random stranger.

Excuse me, where's room 101?
Then, I looked up:

Oh my God!

He answered in a throaty voice:

Over that way.

I walked on in the direction he pointed, but of course I remembered that the Big Scary Eighth Graders sometimes pointed you in the wrong direction. I stopped in front of another Big Scary Eighth Grader and asked her, too.

Umm, is Room 101 in this direction?

She took out a little baggie filled some strange white powder - probably flour, I thought to myself - and inhaled it. Then she grinned at me and pointed in the same direction the smoker had.

I guess she really likes flour.
Finally, I arrived at Room 101.

At the end of the day, I got to leave:

And that was my first day of middle school! What were some of your memorable first days?