Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rachel Rambles about the Ruby Oliver Novels

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
From Goodreads:
E. Lockhart’s spot-on dialogue and descriptions of painfully but hilariously relatable situations make this young adult novel an addictive read.

Fifteen-year-old Ruby has had a rough ten days. During that time she:

   * lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
   * lost her best friend (Kim)
   * lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
   * did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
   * did something advanced with a boy (#15)
   * had an argument with a boy (#14)
   * had a panic attack
   * lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
   * failed a math test (she'll make it up)
   * hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
   * became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
   * had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the

But don't worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

And look! There are three companion novels to The Boyfriend List!

When I sat down to read The Boyfriend List, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. It seemed like a light and fun book with cute boys that was light and fun and cute. I didn't think the book would really be anything special, just a quick read that I'd forget about soon after turning the last page.

Um, no. This book is so much more than that.

As soon as I started reading, I could not put the book down. Seriously. This is basically what happened:

Me: Oh, I'll just read a few pages to see if I like it. I'll start my homework in ten minutes.
Me, about four hours later: *finishes book* Wait... I just started... How did that happen?!?!

Needless to say, my homework did not get done that night. :D

I immediately went online to request the companion novels from the library, then proceeded to devour all three of them in 48 hours.

Because really. These books are AMAZING. And since Ruby is so fond of making lists, I thought I'd make a list of the reasons why I love these books:

1. Ruby. She is quirky and hilarious and smart and awkward. I love being inside her head and seeing the world from her point of view. In fact, I think she is my new favorite protagonist of all time.

2. The unique writing style. Throughout the books, there are footnotes on many of the pages, where Ruby frequently goes off on tangents that could not fit within the paragraphs of the novel. She also makes a lot of lists and journal entries and notes, which is a great way to understand her personality.

3. The characters. Whether I love them or hate them, the characters are all very well developed and realistic. Somehow, E. Lockhart manages to give every single character lots of layers, which makes them seem so real. All the characters have both strengths and weaknesses, good qualities and bad qualities. 

4. The boys. There are A LOT of boys in these books, and the relationships Ruby has with them are complicated and messy and funny and terrible. None of the boys are perfect, but none of them are all bad either. LAYERS, PEOPLE! THEY ALL HAVE SO MANY LAYERS! The boys rotate around throughout the series. The boy who was center stage in book one shifted into a background character just floating around on the sidelines in book four. Some of them are really cute, some of them are...not. They all have something in common, though: I wanted to slap each and every one of them at one point or another. :)

5. The humor. Ruby gets herself into a lot of terrible situations that only teenagers can get themselves into. There were some parts where I couldn't help cringing, as I was just so embarrassed and humiliated for Ruby. But Ruby is never fully miserable. She always has a funny way to say things that make me laugh out loud on pretty much every page. Even when she's miserable, her sarcasm makes the book absolutely hilarious.

6. The realistic portrayal of what being a teenager is like. Ruby's life is a perfect example of how much being a teenager sucks. She has to deal with problems with friends and relationships and love and school and rumors and dances and weird families and jobs and money and panic attacks and therapy. And it's terrible, but it is extremely accurate. E. Lockhart does not try to sugarcoat what teenagers go through on a daily basis, and I love her for that.

7. The timeline. These books aren't told in chronological order. They jump around a lot, gradually uncovering details about Ruby's life. The story can go from present to past without a lot of warning, moving from what's happening now to what happened a few days or weeks ago. It was a little confusing at first, but I grew to love it.

8. The characters. I know, I already said this. But I have to say it again, because the characters in these books are really important to me. I feel like I've connected with them, like I actually know them. I just can't get these people out of my head.

9. The journey. Just when Ruby thinks things can't get any worse, another bad thing happens. Then, when she thinks she must be at her lowest, ANOTHER BAD THING HAPPENS. She starts pretty high up on the social chain, but quickly plummets to the bottom. She then has to try to work her way up again and make new friends and a new life for herself. Ruby goes on quite a journey throughout this series, and I feel like I was right there beside her the whole time.

As a fifteen-year-old who's so close to being done with freshman year of high school, I am so glad I found these books. I think Ruby's shenanigans will entertain me and offer me guidance in the next few years.   

The Ruby Oliver novels are some of my new favorite books, and I'll definitely be rereading them many times in the future.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Seven #2

Welcome to our second week of Saturday Seven, where we pick a topic and talk about seven books. Why seven? Because seven is a magical number, at least for Harry Potter fans like us. Also, because of Monica from Friends.

Come on. Any FRIENDS fans out there? Please?
Today we are talking about books with the most intense endings. The surprising endings and the cliffhanger endings and the unsatisfying endings. These are the books that upon finishing, we sat there staring at the last page for hours or threw the book at the wall or called each other screaming "OH MY GOD WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?! IT'S OVER?!?!?"

Our commentary doesn't have any specific spoilers, but if you don't want to know that a book you haven't read yet has an AWESOME ending, you should probably click away.

The list (click title to go to Goodreads page):

1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Rachel: This book...I still have not decided whether I like this ending or not. After three books, obviously the ending of the trilogy had to be a Big Freaking Deal. Loose ends had to be tied up, questions had to be answered, and the characters had to be somewhat happy and content. Honestly, I don't know if that happened. After I finished reading this book, I walked around my house like a zombie for a day, muttering things like "Peeta!" and "Prim!" and "bread!". In some ways, this ending was satisfying and a perfect end to the series. But in other ways... THAT'S HOW IT ENDS?!?!!?

Megan: I KNOW! I also have no idea how I feel about the ending to that book. It was sad, and slightly happy, but mostly just SHOCKING. I spent hours staring at the ceiling of my room asking myself, "WHAT THE BLEEP JUST HAPPENED??" And to be honest, I'm still not really sure what happened. There aren't really words to describe this ending. Rachel and I often rate how shocking the endings of books are on a scale of one to MOCKINGJAY.

Rachel: Yeah, I thought there would never be a book ending that could even compare to Mockingjay. But then I read the rest of these books...

Rachel: Oh wow. I did NOT see that ending coming. AT ALL. Holy wow. WHERE IS BOOK TWO BECAUSE I NEED IT NOW PLEASE?!?! Because really. Woah. Obviously, I'm still reeling from this ending. I really like that Michelle Hodkin introduced an interesting twist when she did, because it made for a hell of a reading experience. But you see, I have been waiting for a while to find out what happens next, and it's kind of killing me not knowing.

Megan:This book is one of those that was just so shocking the entire time. I spent half the book not knowing if what was going on was actually happening. And then the ending completely shocked me! There was no POSSIBLE way I ever could have seen it coming. So congrats to Michelle Hodkin on an AWESOME ending! The only thing that could make me love her more would be getting book 2 like immediately.

Rachel: The last few chapters of this book were packed with so many surprises. I was trying desperately to keep up with all the things that were happening, and let's just say that by the time I got to the last page, I was absolutely shocked.

Megan: I finished this book while sitting in your room actually. It was right after we met Lauren DeStefano for the second time, and I freaked out! The ending was such a surprise, but it also set up the third book really well! I'm so excited to see what is going to happen next!

Rachel: We both read this book really recently, so it is very fresh in our minds. Which makes it hard to form coherent sentences and things because all I can think is "OH MY GOD DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN?!" Amy Plum completely surprised me with that killer ending.

Megan: Oh I know! I actually just finished this book this morning, so excuse the really bad ability to form sentences. The last 3 or 4 chapters were INSANE with so many things happening. And then the end?? I'm not even totally sure what happened, it freaked me out, and I LOVED IT.

Rachel: Upon finishing this book, I very clearly remember jumping up and down screaming "YES! THAT IS HOW YOU END A BOOK!! GO LAINI TAYLOR!" The ending is so epic and leaves me DYING to know what happens next.

Megan: YES!  I believe when I finished this, I ran downstairs yelling, "NO ONE TALK TO ME WHERE THE BLEEP IS MY PHONE I NEED TO TALK TO RACHEL RIGHT NOWWWWWWW!!" So basically that was my reaction. The ending left me wanting to steal Laini Taylor's laptop or something so I could find out what happens next. And that is how you end a book!

Rachel: I read this a few years ago, but I still think of the ending. It's the third book in the series, and so we had to wait a whole year for the last book. This ending was a major cliffhanger. It was unexpected and a bit confusing and I was all "wait....what just happened?" Also, I was maybe crying a little bit so it was hard to read with blurry vision because of my tears.

Megan: I still remember my reaction to this one, even though it was awhile ago. I remember finishing it and thinking, "I seriously wait a whole YEAR to find out what happens to Lucas and Bianca? I can't take it!" I couldn't believe what I had just read, and yeah, i was crying too.

Rachel: Pretty much all of these books, but particularly City of Fallen Angels and Clockwork Prince, because we are still waiting to find out what happens next! (Side note: the release date for City of Lost Souls is sooo soon! *happy dances*) With CoFA, I kinda threw the book at the wall screaming "WHHHHHAAAAATTTTT?!?!!?!" And with CP, I slumped on my bed in a pathetic crying mess, muttering "Will! Jem! Will! Jem!" So, uh, yeah. All of Cassandra's books have wonderful endings, except for the fact that THEY ABSOLUTELY BREAK MY HEART AND/OR MAKE ME WAIT A PAINFULLY LONG YEAR TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

Megan:YES! I mean City of Fallen Angels?? I was crying, screaming, and then I ended up throwing the book. Which was actually pretty bad considering it was signed. But I was so upset that completely slipped my mind! And Clockwork Prince was a different kind of cliffhanger, because it broke my heart. I was sitting at my kitchen table sobbing by the time I finished it. Poor Will and Jem!!

Bonus: Before I Fall, Delirium, and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Rachel: The reason these books didn't make the regular list is because Lauren Oliver is the goddess of book endings. Or the queen of book endings. We haven't decided what her official title is yet. But anyway, each of these books shocked and/or destroyed me in the last few chapters/pages/sentences/words. And while I really hate Lauren Oliver for being so evil, I still want to hug her because she is so amazing and talented and evil.

Megan: She is like beyond evil with book endings. I can't even look at the last page and a half of delirium without bursting into tears. It is physically impossible. And Pandemonium? I think the reaction was something along the lines of "WHAT????NO WAY!!!!!THIS IS NOT HAPPENING. IT'S NOT." Even the ending of Hana made me gasp in surprise and tear up. The ending of Before I Fall is just perfect. I am seriously terrified, because if this is how Lauren Oliver ends her books, I'm really scared to see how she ends a series.

Do you know of any books with endings even more intense/surprising/evil than these? Let us know in the comments, because we'd love to read them!

Our feelings about books.
And if you have any suggestions for future Saturday Seven posts, please comment and let us know!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rachel Rambles About Scored

Scored by Lauren McLaughlin
From Goodreads:
Set in the future when teenagers are monitored via camera and their recorded actions and confessions plugged into a computer program that determines their ability to succeed. All kids given a "score" that determines their future potential. This score has the ability to get kids into colleges, grant scholarships, or destroy all hope for the above. Scored's reluctant heroine is Imani, a girl whose high score is brought down when her best friend's score plummets. Where do you draw the line between doing what feels morally right and what can mean your future? Friendship, romance, loyalty, family, human connection and human value: all are questioned in this fresh and compelling dystopian novel set in the scarily forseeable future.

Dystopian books are obviously very popular lately. And out of all of the different titles out there, I believe Scored is the most plausible future. Which is kind of terrifying, but also awesome.

Scored takes the idea of the SATs to a whole new level. There are cameras lining every street and classroom, constantly watching the Scored. Being Scored means the cameras analyze you and your behavior, and they give you a number based on what they see. The main character Imani starts out in the 90s, a number that means she can get a scholarship to college. But as she associates with people who have lower numbers, her score starts to drop.

Teenagers in Imani's school are all defined by a number. If your number is in the 80s, you sit at lunch with your "gang", which is made up of other people in the 80s. If your score raises to the 90s, you have to ditch your previous gang and hang out with the 90s. If you befriend people with lower scores, your score will drop too.

I can honestly see something like this happening in the future. We already have security cameras and biometrics and test scores, so it's not too crazy to think that one day, those things could make a dangerous combination. This is the kind of book that I want everyone in the world to read. I want to shove it in the faces of strangers on the street and be all "LET'S MAKE SURE THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN IN OUR FUTURE". Because I feel like this book does not get the credit it deserves.

This book is an entertaining story, but it's also a lot more than that. It's an eye-opener, and I think it's absolutely fascinating. The main character is smart and funny and likable, and there is even a touch of romance with Diego (who is really smart and cute and I love him). I have come to the conclusion that Lauren McLaughlin is a genius, because she managed to create a society that is so thorough and believable. I think that everyone should read this book immediately.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rachel and Megan Ramble About If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
 From Goodreads: In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces - to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.

Megan: I have no idea why I took so long to read this book! I bought it awhile ago, and I know how much you love it. I definitely wasn't disappointed! This book was AMAZING.

Rachel: This is definitely one of my favorite books EVER. I love it I love it I love it. I've read it several times and I never get sick of it. It's perfection. Such a beautiful and amazing and moving story and AHHHH IT MAKES ME FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS.

Megan: OH I KNOW!  Part of the reason I loved this book so much was that I could relate to Mia. Well not exactly relate, but my family is me, my mom, my dad, and my little brother, so I couldn't help but imagine what I would do if I was in her situation. It made the emotion of the book that much stronger. THERE WERE MANY TEARS PEOPLE.

Rachel: Oh man, I know. The first time I read this was probably about two years ago and I just have a very vivid memory of sitting in my room crying and crying and crying and ADAMMMMM. I love him. I love the relationship between him and Mia, because it is not all happy and wonderful and perfect. It's normal and kinda miserable sometimes and also Adam is the best.

Megan: I LOVE ADAM SO MUCH. The things he goes through just to try to see Mia in this book made me love him that much more. I can't wait to read Where She Went to see things through his point of view.

Rachel: Where She Went is even better than If I Stay! In my opinion, anyway. Of course, you know this because I talk about my obsession with Where She Went ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

Megan: YES. OMG YOU NEVER SHUT UP. My mom also shares this opinion. Quick funny story, my mom was trying to wake me up for a ridiculously early track practice, and in order to not fall asleep started reading If I Stay. She loved it, finished it before I even started it, and then finished Where She Went like two days later. So, congrats to my mom for beating me to reading something.

Rachel: My mom also read this book and loved it. *CHEERS* YAY MOMS! Anywho, isn't this such a quick read? The book takes place in such a short period of time that I couldn't help but read it in just a few hours.

Megan: Yeah it really was! Since the book doesn't have any real chapters and just time labels every now and then, it made the book go that much quicker. There weren't any big gaps of boring time that made you want to put the book down and there was always something happening. It was also cool that most of the book was Mia's internal monologue and thoughts. There really wasn't that much talking besides in her memories, so it was a different kind of style.

Rachel: I love being in Mia's head. She's one of my favorite main characters, so I didn't mind being stuck inside her brain the whole book. She is really easy to relate to, and there was never a time where I had to throw the book across the room yelling "WHY DID YOU DO THAT!?!?"

Megan: Yeah I really liked Mia. I completely understood everything she did, which made it really great being in her head. I would probably react the same ways she did if I was in her situation. Actually, I'd probably be a lot worse off than her.

Rachel: Dude, yeah. She's a much stronger character than I could ever be!

Megan: Seriously! I mean, what she goes through is ridiculously painful. Besides the entire accident, I was literally flinching at the descriptions of injuries and stuff in this book.

Rachel: Bleh. Yeah. This book isn't exactly a light and fluffy read. It's some pretty heavy stuff! IT IS ALSO SOME PRETTY PERFECT STUFF I AM JUST SAYING.

Megan: IT SO DOES! This book made me cry at unexpected moments. I'd be reading, and all of a sudden, BOOM TEARS! This book is sooooo perfect! (woah this ramble is huge! We could go on forever about this book!!)

Rachel: Oh yeah. I guess we should probably shut up now. Basically, this book is made of amazingness and you need to read it immediately. That is all.

Megan: Yes! And if you have already read it, feel free to comment below and let us know what you thought!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

IMM #3 (Megan)

In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren
 So these are all of the books I've gotten recently!

1. Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver 
I love Lauren Oliver! So when I got the chance to get this book, and get it signed while we were in New York, I had to take it! It looks like a good Middle Grade read.

2. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
So I just finished this book the other day, and my review should be up soon, but the short version is: THIS BOOK IS AWESOME. I met Veronica Rossi too, so this book is also signed!

3. Eve by Anna Carey
This was another amazing read! You can find my review of it here, and Rachel's here. Anna Carey also signed this, which was awesome!

4. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
I love this book so much! It's one of the best books ever, and if you haven't read it you should do that now! Tahereh Mafi signed my copy, which was pretty exciting!

5. Shine by Lauren Myracle
I've been wanting to read this book for awhile, and I've heard some really great things about it. So of course I had to buy a signed copy that I found in Books Of Wonder!

6. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Another book I really want to read! This one was also a signed copy, so I couldn't resist!

7.The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
My Mom technically bought this one, but it looks really good! I think she'll probably be reading it first. This book was also signed which was cool.

There's my slightly smaller book haul for this week! All signed copies, which was totally awesome! I also got my copies of Before I Fall, Delirium, and Pandemonium signed so WOOHOO book signings!!

Have you gotten any cool books recently? Have you read any of the ones I just got? Let me know what you thought of them below!


Rachel Rambles About The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass
From Goodreads:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

This book has been getting a lot of attention lately. Everyone seems to either love it or hate it. After reading so many mixed reviews, I knew that I would have to give it a chance and decide on my own whether I liked it or not.

For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. Sure, there were things I didn't like, but after I read the final page, I was dying for more.

The world created in The Selection is unique and interesting. The citizens of the country are divided into different castes--One being the highest, and Eight being the lowest. If you're a One, you're a member of the royal family. If you're an Eight, you're extremely poor. The main character America is a Five, so her life is far from luxurious. 

The actual Selection in this book is about a prince finding a wife. (Poor guy. He can't just fall in love the normal way. He has to have his romantic endeavors broadcast on tv for the entire country to see.) So a bunch of girls are "competing" to be the next queen. By "competing" I mean they dress up and look pretty and try to charm him. A lot of the girls are annoying and catty (as girls often are. Sometimes I'm embarrassed of my gender), but there are a few characters who are actually nice and friendly.

To be honest, I did not like the beginning of this book. It took me about eighty pages or so to really begin to enjoy it. But as soon as I got out of that beginning slump, I could not put the book down. It's the kind of book where you say to yourself "Oh, I'll just read another chapter" and all of a sudden you've read the next two hundred pages. I was just breezing through the pages, unable to stop.

While most dystopian books are really dark and depressing and scary, The Selection is pretty light. The book focused more on the romance and friendship and competition aspects. I have no problem with this. I mean, I love reading light stuff. It's entertaining. 

Oh, and by the way? TEAM MAXON FOREVER. Because really. Aspen? *shakes head* Nope. I'm sorry, but I'm just not a fan of him. It's cool though, because Maxon totally makes up for it, and I like him very much. :)

So if you're looking for a light, quick read with cute boys and fancy dresses, read this book. I really enjoyed it, and I am very eager to read the sequel.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Rachel Rambles About Masque of the Red Death

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
From Goodreads:
Everything is in ruins. 

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.


You guys. I have found true love! And it is in the form of a book! *gets down on one knee* *proposes marriage to this book* What? Is that weird? IT WON'T BE IF YOU READ THE BOOK.

But in all seriousness...I absolutely love this book. At first, I was drawn to the pretty cover and the interesting summary. When I actually picked it up, it took about half a page for me to become a little bit obsessed. This book is completely unlike anything I've ever read, and I am absolutely crazy about it.

The world that the main character Araby lives in is so dark and deliciously creepy and intriguing. Everything about her life is so thorough and realistic, from her corsets and shredded skirts to the dark clubs she frequents to the steam carriages she travels in. The setting of this story is so weirdly beautiful, and I kind of want to live in it. And if someone can make me actually want to live in a place where everyone is dying of a plague, then they are truly a fantastic storyteller. So, basically, Bethany Griffin is a genius.

Also: the boys. WOW. Listen, if you haven't read this book, I don't want to spoil it, but HOLY CRAP THE BOYS. If this book rejects my marriage proposal, I will happily settle for one of the male characters in this novel. :)

Masque of the Red Death is very dark and creepy and sexy and mysterious and I am in love with all of it. This book freaked the hell out of me and sucked me in at the same time. AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I can't...I can't even put into words how obsessed with this book I am. As soon as I finished the last page, I wanted to immediately flip back to the beginning and read it again. (Alas: school and homework and things to do.) I will definitely be rereading this book many times. Masque of the Red Death is one of my top books of 2012 so far. I highly recommend it to everyone!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

IMM #3 (Rachel)

In My Mailbox is an internet meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Here are all the books I've gotten in the past few weeks:

The List by Siobhan Vivian

I read this pretty much immediately after buying it and wow. So good. All high schoolers should read it immediately. Review to come!


I read this in like two minutes. It's cute and perfect and funny and it really captures the suckiness of being fifteen.

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
I follow Sarah Rees Brennan on Twitter and Tumblr and she is so awesome, BUT I HAVE NOT READ ANY OF HER BOOKS YET. *hangs head in shame* Now I have this, though, so I will fix that!

I loved Uglies and I am so excited to finally read the sequel! *happy dances*

Until I Die by Amy Plum

Started this within like, three seconds of receiving it and it just blew me away with how awesome it is.


Already read this and I LOVE IT. I'm seriously obsessed with it! I'll be putting a review up soon.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

I read this too and I really liked it. Again, I will be posting a review soon.

This is the sequel to The Gathering, which I have not read yet.. But I plan to soon, so I'm glad I have book two!

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

I really liked Hex Hall, so I'm excited to finally get my hands on the next book!

I already read this book and I LOVE it! It's seriously awesome. :) Now I need to get Uncommon Criminals.. I have read (and loved!) Uncommon Criminals!

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

I've heard really good things about this book, so I think I'll be reading it soon.

The rest of the books are what I got signed at the Spring Into The Future Event in NYC (recap of the event here), which was really awesome and fun and I was so excited to meet all these authors. :) I love all these books so much, so I'm very excited to have signed copies of all of them.


Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think of them in the comments! :)


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Seven #1

Hey everyone! So we have decided to start A BRAND NEW THING called the Saturday Seven. Every Saturday, we'll pick a book-related topic and make a list of seven books that are about that topic. We picked Saturday because it's a day we'll usually have time to blog on, and seven because SEVEN IS A MAGICAL NUMBER. Because of Harry Potter. Seven books! Seven horcruxes! Seven years at Hogwarts! etc, etc!

And also because of one of our favorite TV shows ever, FRIENDS:

SEVEN! (Source)
Today's topic: BOOKS THAT TAKE PLACE AT BOARDING SCHOOLS. Because we have always been kind of obsessed with books that take place at boarding schools. I don't really know why, but they are just so awesome and I want to live inside the story and go to school there.

The list, in no particular order (Click the title to go to the Goodreads page):

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Rachel: Well, duh. I mean, these are obviously the best books ever and I dream about going to Hogwarts all the time. Hogwarts is not a school, it is a home that I feel like I already live in. I can't accurately describe my feelings about Harry Potter, because really. It's Harry Freaking Potter! So yeah, I think we can all agree that Hogwarts is the best boarding school ever.

Megan: Can I just point out that at one point Rachel thought Harry Potter was stupid until I MADE her read it? I on the other hand have wanted to live in Hogwarts since I was a kid. It is the best school in existance! I mean, come on people, who wouldn't want to have Snape and McGonagall as their teacher??

Rachel: Yes. It's true. I'm quite ashamed. I never read Harry Potter until this past summer (when I read the entire series in about a week and a half). So I didn't get to grow up with Harry like the rest of my generation because I never bothered reading the books and that makes me kind of sad but hey, I AM OBSESSED NOW SO ALL IS WELL.

2. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Rachel: This books makes Culver Creek seem like the most amazing place ever. I want to hang out with the main characters in the Smoking Hole and eat Burfriedos and drive around in Blue Citrus with my friends and pull pranks and have the best school experience ever.

Megan: This place is so, SO much better than our school. Seriously. I want to live at Culver Creek and spend my time hanging out with ALL OF THE CHARACTERS. And I really really want a Burfriedo, because they sound like the best things ever!

Rachel: It occurs to me now that this school does in fact have a flaw... THE EVIL SWAN. I would only want to go to this school if the swan did not exist, because I value my life.

3. Evernight series by Claudia Gray
Rachel: A school full of vampires?! Perfection! This is one of my favorite series ever, and I would die of excitement if I had the chance to go to Evernight Academy. It's dark and gothic and creepy and the perfect atmosphere for a vampire story. I just want to wander around the school in the middle of the night and have vampires pop out at me and threaten to suck my blood and stuff. *stares dreamily into distance*

Megan: Evernight Academy is another one of the best places ever! I want to go there and hang out with Ranulf and Vick, and Balthazar and Lucas, and Bianca, and all of the amazing main characters in this book!

4. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Rachel: Boarding school + ghosts + awesome and funny characters = amazing book. The school is in England, which makes it even cooler because I love England. Despite the scariness of like, ghosts and stuff, I would still go to Wexford in a heartbeat.

Megan: I would go to Wexford! I want to go to England really badly anyway, so I think I would  fit in perfectly. Although I'm not totally sure how well I'd handle the whole murderous ghost situation, I'd find some way to make it work.

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Rachel: A BOARDING SCHOOL IN FRANCE WHY CAN'T I GO THERE?! I mean, really. Between the yummy food and the cute boys, this school is freaking perfect.

Megan: CAN I GO THERE NOW PLEASE?!?!?! Basically my reasoning for wanting to go is this: 1. Boarding schools are awesome, 2. It's in France, 3. Boarding schools are awesome, and 4. ST. CLAIR GOES THERE OMG. That's all that really needs to be said!

Rachel: *nods* Amazing logic. I totally agree with all of it.

6. Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins 
Rachel: Megan hasn't read these books and I've only read the first one so far, but I know already that this school is one of the best places ever. It is full of teenagers who are witches, faeries, and shapeshifters, which is so awesome I can't even handle it. I mean, how can this book not be amazing? (I would totally wanna be a witch like Sophie, by the way, because witches are obviously the coolest ever.)

7. Variant by Robison Wells
Rachel: Again, Megan hasn't read this book yet but HOLY CRAP THIS SCHOOOOL! I definitely would not want to attend Maxfield Academy because it's scary and mysterious and uh, just no. BUT it makes the list because it is still a really good book that takes place at a boarding school. It's creepy and weird and terrifying and an amazing read!

So I'm still waiting on my acceptance letter to any one of these schools (except Maxfield!) and if you find it could you please give it to me? Maybe it got lost in the mail or something...

Anywho. Hopefully you liked our little Saturday Seven thingie. We plan on doing more in the future, so please let us know your thoughts in the comments! Do you think we should continue these lists? Do you have any ideas for future lists? Do you just like commenting on blogs? All feedback is greatly appreciated! :)
Also, does anyone else share our obsession with books that take place at boarding schools? Because if you do, we should be best friends. I am just saying.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rachel Rambles About Entwined

Entwined by Heather Dixon
From Goodreads:
Confined to their dreary castle while mourning their mother's death, Princess Azalea and her 11 sisters join The Keeper, who is trapped in a magic passageway, in a nightly dance that soon becomes nightmarish.

Let me start this by saying that I am not a fan of princesses or dancing or palaces or fairytales. I'm just not into it. I guess it's too girly for me or something? I don't even know. But...


I've had this book for maybe a year at this point, just sitting on my shelf all lonely and waiting to be read. It never caught my attention enough to sit down and read it. But I've been working on reading all the unread books I own lately, so I finally picked this up.

And I could not put it down!

This book is based on the story of the twelve dancing princesses. So, naturally, there are princesses with fancy shmancy dresses and dancing slippers flouncing around in their palace. Not something I would normally enjoy. But this book SUCKED ME IN AND I COULDN'T STOP READING IT. Seriously. I sat down to read a few pages, and the next time I looked up, I was halfway done. I was utterly captivated by this book.

The main character Azalea is the oldest of twelve sisters. YES, TWELVE. IT'S CRAZY. When their mother passes away, the girls are forced into a mourning period. Basically, the mourning period involves wearing black clothes, staying indoors, and NOT DANCING. They can deal with the clothes and the staying indoors part, but the dancing? It's a bit of a deal breaker. You see, that's what these girls do. They dance. Their mother always danced with them, and she would never have forbidden them to do the thing they loved.

So the girls find a magical secret passage in their room which leads to a magical pavilion where they can dance every night in secret and nobody will know. Except, this pavilion is guarded by this weird guy named Keeper (side note: I like to refer to him as CREEPER, because I think it fits nicely) and he may or may not be evil.

This book has magic and dancing and romance (oh my the romance!) and drama and action and suspense and it is absolutely perfect. The world this book takes place in is so beautiful, and I wish I could live in this book. I also wish I was a good dancer. Because really. I am so jealous of the sisters' dancing skills!

Entwined is about a family that is broken, and the struggle to fix it. It's about the bond that is shared between sisters. This story is absolutely magical, and you should read it now. Even if you hate princesses and dancing and fairytales, I still think you will like this book. Entwined is truly something special.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rachel and Megan Ramble About Black Heart

Black Heart by Holly Black
From Goodreads: Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.

But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love.

Megan: I'll start the only way I know how to, by saying that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Curse Workers Series. White Cat and Red Glove are both filled with mystery, cons, and a bunch of twists that you will never see coming. If you haven't read this series, you should start NOW. Just drop everything and start reading! Trust me, you won't regret it.

Rachel: I totally agree. The Curse Workers books are absolutely amazing. I have yet to encounter someone who doesn't like these books. Holly Black is a genius, basically, and I don't think she is capable of writing something that is not good. So obviously, I had really high expectations for Black Heart.

Megan: Oh of course! There was so much leading into this book, and a ton of loose ends for Holly to tie up in this book. Plus, I already knew that even if the ending was perfect, I'd be sad that one of my favorite series was over. BUT THIS BOOK WAS SO PERFECT OMG. I loved everything about it! And CASSEL. I LOVE CASSEL SO MUCH!

Rachel: The ending is perfect! As sad as I am that this series is over, I could not imagine a better ending. And Cassel! Yes. I love him. He's one of my favorite main characters ever. He's so smart and kind of good but also kind of bad and he comes up with the most epic plans. Reading the book, I always feel like I'm about eight steps behind him because he's just so much smarter than me. But I love that I never see all the twists and turns coming. It makes the book so suspenseful and mysterious and awesome.

Megan: I completely agree! The great thing is you can tell when Cassel is up to something, but you can never figure out what it is. Then A WHOLE BUNCH OF BAD STUFF HAPPENS, and you find out Cassel had a plan for the ending the entire time. He's kind of a genius. Another amazing character? Lila! I love her, and I love the relationship that she has with Cassel. They're adorable even when they are fighting.

Rachel: To be honest, I have a bit of a crush on Lila. I'M STRAIGHT THOUGH, I SWEAR. I guess it's just because we read the book through Cassel's point of view, and he has a crush on Lila, so the reader has a crush on Lila. Nope? Just me? Okay then.

Megan: Lol sometimes it just randomly hits me how weird you are. You would think I would be used to it by now. But whatever. There are a ton of changing relationships between the characters in this book, which was just another way to keep you guessing. I never knew what was going to happen until the very last page. And then I wanted to start reading all over again!

Rachel: Exactly. This series is something I can read over and over and over and I will never get bored.

Megan: Same here. I hope Holly Black decides to write more stories in this world, because I'd really love to read them!

Rachel: Definitely. I might have to start writing fan fiction for this series because I just never want it to end :).
If you have not read The Curse Workers books, PLEASE GO READ THEM NOW. Seriously. Pretty much my favorite series EVER. I promise you won't be disappointed. And if you've read Black Heart, what did you think? Did you like the ending as much as we did? TELL US EVERYTHING. *points at comment section* *smiles creepily*

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Into The Future Event

WE JUST MET A WHOLE BUNCH OF REALLY COOL PEOPLE. At an amazing indie bookstore in NYC called Books of Wonder, a Spring Into The Future event was held and WE TOTALLY WENT AND IT WAS SO AWESOME. Megan and I were so excited, obviously, and so was my sister Lauren. We broke out the puffy paint, covering t-shirts with quotes and things from the books. We made four shirts, each one representing a different author/book.

How did we decide who would represent each book? We figured out who was most similar to the main character of each book. (Yes, I realize it's slightly insane. But hey, insane works for us.) So Megan is most like Lena in Pandemonium, Lauren's similar to Aria in Under the Never Sky, Katherine is like Eve from Eve, and I am Juliette from Shatter Me. It was very fun and exciting to spend several hours making these shirts. Kind of. Okay, so there were a lot of hand cramps and frantically flipping pages of books to check the spelling of things. (I think I lose a bit of my sanity every time we make these shirts.) But it was worth it.

Lauren, Rachel (me), Katherine, and Megan. (We did not line up in height order on purpose!)
Our lovely friend Katherine recently had a birthday, and we decided it would be fun to KIDNAP her and take her to the event with us as a surprise. We pulled up in her church parking lot, handed her a shirt, and were all "YAYYY LET'S GO TO NEW YORK CITY AND MEET SOME AMAZING AUTHORS!" Best birthday present ever, right? (I was nominated to make her shirt, by the way, because I have the neatest handwriting. I am just saying.)  This will only add to what Rachel's aunt calls her "giant head" but her shirts are usually the best. Which is why she got to make Katherine's. Hehehe oh Katherine, you thought you were only getting books for your birthday :)

We all decided that Katherine's shirt was clearly the coolest.

When we arrived at the bookstore, we bought our books and got our numbers for the signing (numbers 1-4 woooot!) and then we browsed for quite a long time. We basically stared at the pretty shelves with the pretty books and squealed and fangirled and read the backs of books and jumped around and had a lot of fun. You know, the normal things to do in bookstores.

We also posed in front of bookshelves, because why not?
Then, since we had a few hours to kill before it started, we left the store in search of yummy food. Once yummy food had been consumed, we went back to the bookstore and flopped down on the ground to wait. People kept coming over and asking to take pictures of our shirts and/or just taking pictures without asking, which kind of freaked us out but was also really cool. We kind of felt like celebrities. In a totally dorky way. (We have been nicknamed the Dork Quartet, just FYI.) I think this is a pretty accurate description of us.

And we met Sabrina Rojas Weiss, who is the senior editor of VH1's, who is really nice and awesome and who took our picture.


AND THEN THE AUTHORS APPEARED AND IT WAS SO EXCITING. So exciting, in fact, that I uh, kinda forgot to take pictures? Or record the authors speaking? I FAIL AT EVERYTHING.

I did get this picture! Which didn't even come out that great. Oh well. (Also, shout out to Megan's mom for her head being in the picture!)
Each author read a passage from their books: Veronica about a cave, Tahereh about living through books, Anna about a bear attack, and Lauren about Alex and running (I may have teared up a little. IDK IDK.) And then they all summarized their books as if they were texting it to someone. Lauren's was spot-on: Omg. Love is banned. Alex and Lena. Omfg. Julian. What? This is such an accurate summary I can't even handle it.

Which world (in the four books) would they thrive in? Tahereh would want to be in a pod, surfing the internet with her smart-eye and being a coward in Under the Never Sky. Veronica loves survival stories, so she'd want to live in Eve. Anna knows the world of Eve so well that she's best equipped to survive in her own world. Lauren is a fan of the BOYS FOR SLAVE LABOR idea, so she would want to live in Eve.

I got to ask them a question, which was so awesome! I asked: If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would you be and what would you do? (Before she could answer the question Tahereh had to comment on how awesome she thought Rachel's shirt was. She got kinda distracted.) Tahereh said that she would be Warner because he's a very bad person and it would be cool to be in his head, Veronica would be Roar so she could walk around and be all "I AM AWESOME", Anna would be Arden because she thinks she's a really interesting character and considers her and Eve two halves of a whole, and Lauren would be Raven because she's badass.

Some random things I learned about the authors: Lauren Oliver is all for using boys as slave labor and she also threatened her agent into representing her. Tahereh Mafi read The Giver in seventh grade, and it blew her mind. That was when she first started thinking about the world ending. Anna Carey likes to experience fear in a controlled environment. Veronica Rossi's sketchbook is one of her most prized possessions. Anna and Veronica read the same survival books.

Oh look, I found some videos of the event on Youtube! *hugs person who posted videos* You can go here if you want to see them.

I am randomly jumping in here, so I hope that is cool with everyone! :) Quick little shout out to Books of Wonder for being the BEST PLACE ON EARTH. Seriously, I'm going to move in there one of these days. The people there are so nice, all of their events are so much fun, and not to mention the awesomeness of all of the BOOKS. It's a little hard to not spend all of your money on the pretty signed copies, just saying. Plus, books and cupcakes in one building? I think that explains it all.

Oh hi Megan! I didn't mean to hog this post or anything, but I was bored and up at THE CRACK OF DAWN, so I figured I should start working on this. While you slept. I AM JUST SAYING.

Anyway, so we were the first in line for the signing, which was amazing. The authors were all so nice and funny and awesome. And they complimented our shirts and took pictures while we tried not to FREAK OUT. 

AND THE PRETTY SIGNED POSTER! (side note: Cynthia Hand was not there, which was a bit sad because I LOVE her books, but trust me, the levels of awesome were high enough without her, so all was well!

I'm pretty sure I couldn't actually say anything cool or funny or intelligent because I was in INTERNAL FANGIRL MODE. I mean, I met four people who wrote some of the best books ever and inspire me so much and AHHHH! BEST DAY EVER.

Look at the awesome Shatter Me swag!
I'm realizing now that it would have been nice to get pictures WITH THE AUTHORS! *facepalm* Alas. It was too chaotic and exciting to like, think clearly and stuff. But overall, this was one of the best experiences ever.

Thank you to:
Megan's mom (for driving us from NJ to NYC and just being around us in general)
Katherine's mom (for helping us organize OPERATION KIDNAP KATHERINE)
My mom (for giving me money to buy books)
ALL MOMS EVERYWHERE (because apparently that is what we are doing)
My aunt (for meeting us at the bookstore and bringing us books and making fun of our crazy fangirlness and for being awesome)
Veronica Rossi, Tahereh Mafi, Anna Carey, and Lauren Oliver (for writing amazing books and being really nice and just for being the most amazing people ever)
All the people who took pictures of us in our shirts (for making us feel like dorky celebrities for a few minutes)
The Revolving Door to Books of Wonder: For causing much entertainment because the four of us apparently FAIL at walking through them. Only you and Katherine fail at walking through them! The rest of us were fine! More like Katherine! She got stuck!!
The guy sitting at the table behind us at dinner (for smiling at us and causing us to text each other about how creepy he was)

Books of Wonder has some great pictures of the event here. Overall, this was an amazing experience and I had so much fun! I think I'm going to go reread all these wonderful books! :)


Hehehe hey guys! :) Everything Rachel said above is 100% accurate. I can't even really put into words how much I love going to these signings and getting to meet all of the awesome authors. Especially the Books Of Wonder Events! The people there are so nice, their events are really well run, and they really are a lot of fun. Thanks to all of the people who took pictures of us, it really does feel like I'm the nerdiest/dorkiest celebrity ever for a bit, which is a pretty cool feeling. Also thanks to my mom for being so willing to get us to New York for these kinds of things, it means a lot!

Thanks to everyone involved for making yesterday the BEST DAY EVER!


Megan Rambles About The Daughter Of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
From Goodreads: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

This book is just so COOL. I loved it, because it was so different from anything else I've read. Usually when you read a book in English, the characters are speaking English too. The characters in Daughter of Smoke and Bone spend the entire book speaking to each other in different languages. It was cool to know that while I was reading it in English, their conversations were in Czech or another language.

Plus, the names in this book were so epic! I mean Karou and Akiva aren't names you hear every day. I loved that the characters were so unique and their names weren't shared with some other character in another book. The entire world that they lived in was just as unique too. While it took some getting used to, after about 20 pages, I was completely hooked.

Now let's pause for a moment to talk about the bad ass main character! Karou was so completely awesome! I mean, she's covered in tattoos, speaks a ton of different languages including some that aren't spoken by humans, and her hair grows out of her head blue! And she's really good at drawing, which is a skill I've always wished I had. Even though her life obviously has its complications, I found myself wishing that I could be her! She just kicks ass!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was filled with amazing characters,  and an even more outstanding world. It was such a unique read that kept me guessing the entire time. The ending was such a surprise it left me gasping for air. My only major complaint about this book? I need more! You can expect me to be getting my hands on Days of Blood and Starlight as soon as I possibly can! I highly recommend picking up this book now, especially if you're looking for a book that is so different from everything else, it will completely blow your mind!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rachel Rambles About Born Wicked

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
From Goodreads:
Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. Like, I thought this would probably be a good book, it would be interesting to read, whatever. But I didn't think that I would become pretty much obsessed with this story. A few pages in, I fell in love with the story and the characters and the setting and the magic and the boys.

This book is historical. Did you know it was historical? I didn't. Not until I started reading it. I don't usually read a lot of historical books, so I was a bit wary when I realized it was set in the past. But after about two seconds, I was so immersed in the story that I forgot all about what time period it was. Plus, it's not even the real past. It's alternate history, which is seriously awesome.

Cate is a main character who I can identify with in a lot of ways. Still mourning the death of her mother, it is her responsibility to look after her two younger sisters. Their father isn't much help; he basically shuts himself away from his daughters and ignores them. So Cate is on her own when it comes to taking care of her sisters. I myself have two younger sisters, so I could really understand Cate's struggles to protect them. As the oldest sibling, Cate has to be very responsible, while her sisters are a lot more carefree. I feel like I could relate to every decision Cate makes, and she is definitely a favorite protagonist of mine.

Oh, and they are witches! Which is awesome. To be honest, I'm not usually a big fan of witches in books/movies/tv, but this book was a pleasant surprise. The magic that the sisters possess feels so real and not overdone. The girls are not using magic on every page to fix their problems and create mayhem. In fact, for much of the book they are focused on restraining their magic so that others do not discover their secret. To me, it seems the book is focused more on the relationship Cate shares with her sisters and the struggle to keep their secret than their supercool magical powers.

The alternate history created in this book is so thorough and well done. With the Brotherhood in power, men are superior to women in every way. During this time period, the mindset is basically that if women are allowed to think for themselves or be equal to men in any way, witches will come back into power. It's really disgusting to read about how these women and girls are treated, and I kind of want to reach into the book and strangle some of these Brotherhood members. I consider this a good thing, of course, when a book provokes such strong emotions in me. :)

Also: KISSING AND CUTE BOYS. Seriously. The romance! I am totally and completely in love with Finn Belastra.