Currently Reading

December 20, 2014

BookTubeAThon & CramAThon

AKA Best Way to Start of Winter Break
So after getting a late start on BookTubeAThon i also discovered CramAThon and decided i could do both at once. Twitter is all set up to # everyone. I`m really looking forward to jumping back into blogging now that school is done for 5wks. 
I have missed everyone and will be going blog hopping soon to start commenting again. Without further adieu here are the two ReadAThons I will be participating in for the next few days. 


CramAThon:
When: Saturday, December 20th at 12 AM (your time zone) - Wednesday December 24th at 11:59 PM (your time zone)

Challenges:
1)Read a children's book!
2)Read a hardback!
3)Read 2 books in 24 hours!
4)Read a graphic novel!
5)Read a book in verse! (or poetry!)
6)Read a novella!
7)Read 5 books total!

BookTubeAThon:
December 19th - December 21st! Get ready to read, read, read!
Challenges:
1) Read a book with red and green on the cover!
2) Read a book you really wanted to read this year!
3) Read a book that was gifted to you!
4) Read 3 books!

My Goals: (and what Challenge they complete)

Dash and Lily`s Book of Dares (Red and green on cover,read all year, 2 books 24hrs)
I`ll Show You The Sun (Hardback, Gifted)
Outcast (Novella)
Poisoned Apples:Poems for You My Pretty (Poetry, 2 books 24hrs)

I need help with a Graphic Novel and a Children`s Book. hmmmm

Are you participating in any reading challenges during Winter Break?


TTFN,
Ashley

Echoes of Us by Kat Zhang: Review

Echoes of Us
Author: Kat Zhang
Published On: September
Page Count: 354
Synopsis:(Found on goodreads)

"All Eva ever wanted was the chance to be herself. But in the Americas, to be hybrid—to share your body with a second soul—is not tolerated past childhood. Now Eva and Addie, her sister soul, are constantly on the move, hiding from the officials who seek to capture them. But the tide is changing. A revolution is brewing, and people are starting to question the hybrids' mistreatment."



Cover:5/5
This cover just fits in fantastic with the rest of the series. I love that there is one distinguished face and one slightly obscured. Just like Eva and Addie.


Characters: 5/5
Addie/Eva: one body but two very different thought processes. These girls are amazing and although they make mistakes and get into tons of trouble they do it to help. Although Eva was meant to disappear because she was the recessive gene I never saw her as the submissive girl. She liked the adventure and risk taking. She fought for what she believed in and when Addie was nervous or uncomfortable it was Eva who stepped up to control the situation. Addie is just as wonderful.
She is persistent and never fails to impress people. She carries herself with confidence even of she has no clue what she is doing.
Others: there are so many amazing hybrids and non-hybrids in this series that I don't want to list them all. I enjoyed how both minds worked together and communicated even they shared one body.


Plot: 5/5
What a perfect ending to an amazing series. I can't give to much away since this is the last book but guys and gals go grab this now. You won't regret it. It's fast paced, heartfelt and best of shows that family isn't always blood.


Overall: 5/5
Not only is the author a fabulous person but her writing style is amazing and brings to the table a concept of family as well as government controlled by fear.

TTFN,
Ashley

If you've read any of Kat Zhang's books comment below what you liked best about her writing. :)

August 27, 2014

Discussion: Rating System

So I've posted my rating system below. How do you rate books? Maybe the format of your reviews. What do you think of mine? Anything I should try to change?

5/5: Really Loved
4/5: Loved It
3/5: Liked but not Strong
2/5: Poor Quality
1/5: Not my Taste
DNF: Read 40+pgs and Isn't Holding Me

I try to breakdown my reviews by 
Cover,Characters, and Plot. I then average those ratings to get an overall score for the book. 

This format is not written in stone however and I do typically explain why I rated a book a certain way if it did get a lower rating average. I also sometimes will write more in one category than another.  Just depends in my mood and what I really thought of the book. 

TTFN,
Ashley

August 20, 2014

Day 3 of Bout of Books and Back to School Challenge

Hey guys so I didnt update yesterday cause I was a little preoccupied with this fantastic book I got a copy of.

Echoes of Us by Kat Zhang *SQUEEEEEEEEEE*
I loved book 1 & adored book 2 so to beable to review book 3 and do a Q&A with Kat is just amazing. Look for my review on Saturday. Hoping to include the Q&A then as well.

So for my Bout of Books update:

 I have read 181pgs of Echoes of Us (everything else took a backseat)
Listened to 2 chapters of Night Circus (Only 9hrs 23min left to listen to)
I have also read 31pgs of Guardian`s Nightmare (before mail arrived)








Day Three of the Back to School Challenge: School Memory
So this took a little thought to think of a best school memory. I`ve had a lot of fantastic school times and some not so great but the one I think I`m gonna go with is.......*drum roll*.....

The day I shook Adam Sandler and the Govenator`s hands. This was so amazing. Imagine 4th grade (2004) me standing at the capitol building listening to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger give a speech and light the Menorah. Sure it was a little boring but the best part was when him and Adam Sandler were walking down the center aisle shaking people`s hand a news reporter let me step in front of him so I could see (I was short) and they stopping and shook my hand. I got on the bus and everyone was a chatter. I didn't really care about the handshake from our governor but getting one from a favorite actor was a pretty big deal. I have the newspaper clipping somewhere because lucky my the newspaper reporter took a picture.

I`d have to say that would be one of my favorite school memories although honorable mention goes to That time I was in 7th grade but won an 8th grade award for a county writing contest for short fiction. I wrote a 32pg book with illustrations and it beat out all 7th graders AND 8th graders in the county. It was pretty fun writing it at my birthday party too.

Well thats my updates. What have you been reading? What are your favorite memories that you hope to tell to your kids one day?

TTFN,
Ashley

August 18, 2014

Bout of Books Scheduled Books

So I`m up in the air what books I really want to read this week but here is my tentative list.

**1) Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (audio)

*2) Gaurdian`s Nightmare by Darren Simon (review)

3) Black Cat by Holly Black (fun book that starts with a B)

*4) Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik (fav series)

5) Delirium by Lauren Oliver (because of the pilot episode)

Books marked with an * are ones I really want to complete :)


Thats it for now. What books are you reading this week? Are you participating? Let me know in the comments below.

TTFN,
Ashley
@Bookz4Nerdz

Bout of Books and Back to School Challenge Start

           

The name is Ashley, I`m 19 and have grown up reading since the age of 3.5. I have been blogging going on 3years now and plan to continue doing it for a long time.
       The best thing about reading is that each book places me into a new world. I can be anywhere/ anytime I want without leaving the comforts of my bed or car.



         



 Besides reading I am an avid horseback rider. I ride Western but have ridden English. I am the 2012 California State Horse Mastership Barrel Racing Champion. In the riding world this sounds like a way cooler title than a mouthful of jumbled words. I own 6 lovely horses that mean the world to me.
         






 I am a full time college student and this will be my 3rd year. I am studying animal science and linguistics. I have a wonderful penpal from France that I get to skype with to help me study.


I`m super excited to be participating in several challenges/readathons this week.
Bout of Books 11 is happening from 8/18/14-8/24/14 (hosted by Bout of Books)
Back to School Book Blogger Challenge (hosted by Parajunkee)

Enjoy and join in the fun.


TTFN,
Ashley

August 02, 2014

Review: The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner

The Maze Runner Trilogy: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure
Author: James Dashner
Page Count:
Synopsis of Book One (Found on Goodreads):

Covers: 1)

Overall Rating of Series: 5/5 Stars








2)




Cover: 
I bought the movie edition for book one because I like the actors on the cover. I do wish that I purchased the other edition so all my covers matched. I loved the theme for the covers. The Maze Runner being gray and earthy, the Scorch Trials being red because of the flare and the Death Cure being blue and cold looking. I later found out that my local B&N did have the whole box set that includes the Prequel the Kill Order. I kick myself for not getting it since it was the same price.

Characters:
Thomas: Although at first I wasn’t found of him I really did like his motivation to become a runner. Who wouldn’t want the ability to figure out a way out of The Maze. Thomas grows through-out all the books as a great character who learns from his past even if he doesn’t want to remember anything from before the maze. He suffers loses but he comes out to be a winner to provide for the human race.
Newt: I love Newt end of story because any of my feelings for him will be shared once you have read book 3. He is a great leader alongside Minho and Alby. Even when things go bad he protects his friends. He truly is the glue of the Glader group.
Minho: I want his job and personality. Minho has spunk and an attitude to match which isn’t always a good thing. He steps up to the plate without thinking ad takes control of situations that others don’t want to handle. Although he isn’t the main character I feel that Minho needs a background story because of big of a part he plays in all the books.
Theresa: Can I kill her? Did we really need to take the girl out of the box? The gladers could have just shut the lid looked to the beadles and said “No thank you.” Yes she plays a huge part in the series but I truly wanted her to die after book 1. She is a betrayer and liar and never makes full sense of anything. You can never tell what side she is on because of how big a fence rider she is.

Plot:
SPOILERS Just a fair warning, there will be talk about book 2 and 3 with some spoilers.
…….
….
The Glade is the center of the maze filled with boys of various ages of teenage hood. The have created their own society and way of surviving. Every boy has a job and they must do their part to keep the Glade running. The Runners have the most important task of all, to map out the maze to find a way out. One thing to know about the maze is that every night is closes the Gladers in. They all know this is an experiment because every week there is food brought in from the box as well as once a month a new boy is left in the box. This way of life changes as soon as Thomas shows up and the next day a girl arrives. The Glade starts shutting down and everyone is desperate to find a way out.
Spoiler:  Once Thomas figures out the code to exit the maze the boys fight their way out against the Grievers (creatures that are mechanic and slug like) and even though Alby sacrifices himself as well as the loss of some of the other glader boys a portion do escape and find themselves in an observatory room where adults are watching them. All hell breaks loose and we lose a great boy named Chuck.
The Scorch Trials:   The second book in the series was filled with lots of actions, death and feelings. This one was probably my favorite out of the three. When they realize they are being rescued from the adults staring at them the boys and Theresa settle down devouring food and getting a good night’s rest. When they wake up to find these creepy crazy people called Cranks outside their windows trying to get in they run to the main room only to find their “rescuers” are hanging from the ceiling. The boys are not calm when they see this and things get worse when Theresa is not in her room and in her place they find a strange boy who says he is from the maze also.  The Scorch Trials have begun and the heat is terrible after the boys get through the tunnel. Cranks are everywhere and the boys fight to stay alive long enough to do what the Rat Man tells them. There are lightning storms that injure or kill the boys, there is a Group B out to complete the task of killing Thomas, Cranks around the town looking to feast on people since they are past Gone.
The Death Cure:  This one starts out intense then slows way down but near the end the plot picks up and finishes with a bang. Thomas is left alone in a room for quite some time and he is starting to go a little nutso when Rat Man (whose name is Jensen) comes in to tell him that he is one of the lucky people to be Immune to the Flare disease. Thomas asks to be reunited with his friends and that is when they find out who in the group is immune and who carries the flare in the genes. Newt who has been the glue to the group since book one is not immune and Minho, Frypan and Thomas are not happy with that. Rat Man Jensen tells everyone they can have their memories back and when some of the boys decide not to they are held against their will in a room and then Brenda a person they met in The Scorch helps them get to a berg and escape to Denver. Denver is a safe place for people to live who have not gotten sick yet. They leave Newt in the berg since he will test positive for the flare and take off to find the Teresa and the others. Newt gets captured and goes to live with the other Cranks who aren’t past the Gone yet. When they go to bring him back he yells at them and tells them to leave. Thomas has a note that Newt gave to him to open when the time was right and Thomas does after the incident and feels like a horrible friend. When The Right Arm a secret group set on destroying Wicked (the program that runs the Maze) recruits Thomas and friends things go a little crazy, Thomas completes the task Newt asked of him, they get the immunes to safety, lose a few more people including Newt and Theresa, and are able to live life in a Paradise set up (in the epilogue) by Chancellor Paige-a member of Wicked.
.
.
….

END OF SPOILERS
Overall I loved this trilogy and will be picking up the prequel just to have the complete set. I enjoyed the characters-even those like Theresa- and how the plot kept me interested and flipping pages. Cannot wait until the movie comes out and will be trying to do a book-2-movie review without a lot of biasness I hope.

TTFN,
Ashley
(Also this was my longest review but I thought all three books being reviewed would be fun)


August 01, 2014

Some Exciting News

New Ownership, New Management, and a LEAP into E-Novellas

Established by Laurie Edwards in 2009, Leap Books LLC has earned its place in the world of small publishing with nods from the Green Earth Books Award program, the Young Adult Library Services Association Popular Paperbacks program, and have received recommended reading status from authoritative review sources, such as, Kirkus Reviews, the Midwest Book Review, and CM Magazine.

But less than a month ago Edwards turned the reins over to longtime Leap author Judith Graves and St. Martin's Press author Shannon Delany. Delany became owner and publisher with Graves taking the role of co-publisher. The third piece needed to appropriately puzzle together their management team was author Jennifer Murgia. Three popular young adult authors with diverse origins in the industry came together to breathe new life into Leap and gather a capable team of authors, editors, illustrators, and marketing assistants beneath them. 

"From the very beginning Leap has been about taking chances...taking leaps of faith..." Graves says, "I'm hopeful we'll retain the original crew of Leap authors and, now that we have a full management team - spring into action!"  

Not only will the new and larger management team be able to focus on their particular strengths, but with the addition of the SHINE e-novella line initiated and overseen by Graves, Leap is re-examining the importance of digital publishing for small presses.

Graves points out an important benefit of e-books and e-novellas, "From a publishing point of view there are less costs involved in the initial launch of a title, which means we have more resources available for great cover design, snappy layouts, and extensive publicity."

"Laurie Edwards gave Leap a lot of love and built a great foundation for us," Delany says, "and with the things we'll be doing, especially in the case of SHINE, we can build a strong house on that foundation."

Shine has acquired some very promising stories already, including two-time RITA Young adult Finalist Tina Ferraro’s HALF-LIFE following Trisha in the days before her 15th birthday, as her long deceased identical twin appears in mirrors to help prevent her similarly early demise and Laura Lascarso's series about a pair of star-crossed lovers in her modern-day Romeo & Juliet set in the world of competitive car racing.

"SHINE is not the only Leap line to be seeing worthwhile submissions," Delany says. "We regularly field queries from agents for our YA/NA novel-length line SURGE and the middle grade line, too. With strong stories, great covers, and the attention of Jen Murgia's marketing team, I see great things ahead for Leap."

Murgia, who will lead the promotion and marketing campaigns for Leap authors, says she's "excited to relaunch such a fabulous backlist of titles and is looking forward to the new list." No stranger to choreographing large scale book events (YAFest.org), Murgia and her team plan to reach outlets that will give Leap titles the recognition and attention they deserve.

"That's why you need experienced authors leading publishing houses--we know what our fellow authors and their books--their babies--need. And we're most likely to do our best to provide that."

Have a killer story you want to submit? Leap generally only takes agented queries except (currently) for its SHINE e-novella line and, in October, it will open its doors briefly to all unagented works. Go HERE for submission details.

For now Delany suggests readers and writers alike leap into the contest running until August 8th at http://leapbks.blogspot.ca/ and says if you're serious about writing for a publisher, first give a few of their books a read.

Find Leap Books at major online retailers and: 


Enter the Rafflecopter contest here--one lucky winner will receive three Leap e-books of their choice:



-- 
I`m super excited to be apart of this great news and can`t wait to Leap into reading the books.
TTFN,
Ashley

July 29, 2014

Interview: Blind Stitches by JB Chicoine


Blind Stitches bJ. B. Chicoine

ISBN-13: 978-0692214732
ISBN-10: 0692214739
Straw Hill Publishing, July 2014
$15.99
www.jbchicoine.com
www.amazon.com
www.barnesandnoble.com
    
Frequently Asked Questions



1. What was your inspiration for the characters and storyline in this novel?

Have you ever noticed how when a relatively sane person lives with crazy people, they can get drawn into the dysfunction of someone else’s even crazier family drama without realizing how nuts it all actually is? It becomes almost absurd, and I love absurdity! I’m also fascinated with mental quirks if not full-blown mental illnesses, which is probably why I love movies like Lars and the Real Girl, Benny and Joon, and Harold and Maude (generally lighthearted presentations of mental illness—an otherwise dark and depressing subject). I wanted to write about an absurd manifestation of Delusional Disorder, and while I was at it, I threw in a few other disorders, such as NarcissisticDissociative, a mild case of Hording, and a touch of Asperger’s Syndrome. I have known a lot of people with ‘mental quirks’ and I find them interesting and oftenhighly intelligent—great characters. From there, it’s a matter of coming up with plausible reasons for their mental anomalies and building a story around it. That said, having dealt with my own depression and anxiety over the years, and even having to admit a close friend to a facility for treatment of a severe mental illness, I do not mean to trivialize the subject.

2. The story takes place during the Glasnost era, at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Why did you choose to set theevents of the novel during this historical time period?

I took the circuitous route to that time period. When I determined that the delusional mother was a Russian expatriate—a former ballerina in the Kirov—and since I rather like symbolism and metaphors in my writing, it just seemed like a perfect time frame. I also like writing stories during times in which there wasn’t a lot of technology, like cell phones and such. And I remember when the Berlin Wall fell. It made me realize how little I knew of the Russian people and how much of my knowledge had been tainted by Cold War propaganda and Hollywood—I mean, Russians were always portrayed as spies! In fact, when I started researching Russian history, it brought me to tears. Not that I shed new light on Russians—and I might have employed a few stereotypes, but I’ve come away with a greater appreciation for a truly noble people.

3Juliet and Rome’s Aunt Anita is a lively character. What was the inspiration for Anita’s hoarding and her chicken farming?

The hording came about because I needed to put the lead female character, Juliet, in a socially unacceptable environment amidst an upper-class, conservative New England town. I know it’s gross, but I had the smell of the place in mind first, and it was pungent like cat spray. But cat ladies are so cliché. And then I got talking to a friend who grew up on a farm with chickens. He shared a few hilariously disturbing stories with me, and I knew I needed to incorporate that into the story. So, instead of a crazy cat lady, I went with crazy chicken lady!



4Nikolai’s blindness and his mother’s delusions about it create the psychological backdrop for the story. How doesthe concept of blindness tie in with the themes explored in the novel?

This is where the story veers away from absurd and strikes a chord of reality. I think we all tend to have blinders on when it comes to some relationships—where we may have difficulty “seeing” an individual for who they truly are. For various reasons, I think we sometimes hold on to the fantasy of who we wish someone was, or we can’t bring ourselves to admit that someone who claims to love us may not have our best interest at heart, or even that we may be alienated from someone due to the way another individual has twisted or manipulated our “view.” Blind Stitches deals with each of these scenarios. Fortunately for Nikolai, his “sight” improves by the end of the story, but some of us never fully come out of that “blindness. And if we do, it can create tremendous upheaval, the kind of conflict we like to read about in novels but don’t want to experience firsthand.

5. Your other four novels also include themes of romance, delusion, and family secrets. Would you say that these are the trademarks of your work as an author?

I guess they are. For better or worse, I am fascinated with how badly the mind can go wrong, and how that manifests itself in a person’s life, especially within the family. I have always been interested in psychology, and interpersonal relationships. I’m especially intrigued by how some people manage to rise above their torments, while others struggle and even wallow in them. And yeah, it’s true, I like a good love story!

6. Do you have plans for a sixth novel and, if so, what can you tell us about it?

To be honest, I don’t have anything on the burner at this time, although, since I’ve had a few requests, I have been considering writing a third story in my Portrait series—but how much more can I put poor Leila through? (dangerous question for a novelist!)


After I'm done playing review catch-up I will be picking this book up. The synopsis is fantastic. 

TTFN,
Ashley  

July 26, 2014

XY Blog Tour Interview

Interview with Shanta Everington, Author of XY


“A highly original and thought-provoking dystopian novel.
I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it!”

Luisa Plaja, Chicklish, the UK’s Teen Fiction Site

About Shanta Everington


Shanta Everington is the author of seven books, including three young adult novels – Give Me a Sign, Boy Red and latest release XY (joint winner of the Red Telephone Books YA Novel Competition). She has had all sorts of jobs in the past, from baking vegan muffins and working as a private tutor to appearing as a guest agony aunt and running a teen sexual health helpline. With an MA in Creative Writing with distinction, Shanta currently teaches Creative Writing with The Open University. She lives in London, UK, with her husband and two children. Visit www.shantaeverington.co.uk

1) Do you plan first or just write and learn where your characters go?

I am definitely a character-led rather than plot-led writer. For me, a story always starts with a character in crisis and evolves from there. Having said that, I do appreciate the importance of a strong plot in YA fiction. Sometimes, if characters lead me astray, I have to step back and rework the story. With XY, I had a rough idea of where the story might go before I started. But the characters still had me jumping through hoops!

2) What inspires you most to write?

Voices in my head… Characters build up inside my mind, at first whispering, then chatting, and finally shouting!

3) Growing up what were your favorite authors/books?

The first books I remember owning are traditional fairy stories - Cinderella, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast.  It amazes me how certain stories endure. As a teenager, I loved reading Judy Blume - her characters spoke to me as a girl going through adolescence.

4) Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?

Read a lot and write the type of stories you like to read but don’t copy others or try too hard to follow trends. Find your own voice.

5) If you could be reborn in a different era when would you choose?

I don’t think I’d like to go backwards in time because, by and large, I think life has improved for women as time has gone by. Maybe I could be reborn in the future. I kind of like the idea of reincarnation actually. Maybe I’ll come back as a lizard or something!

6) What is your favorite line from the book?

‘If half of you dies, is there half a soul left floating somewhere?’
Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions.


About XY

Would it possible to live without gender?

Fifteen-year-old Jesse lives in a world where babies are born neither male nor female - Compulsory Gender Assignment is carried out at birth. Will the secret she closely guards be found out? Boyfriend Zeus, mother Ana's Natural Souls, and new friend Ork, leader of We Are One, pull Jesse in different directions, forcing her to make her own mind up about who she really is.  

XY by Shanta Everington is out now in paperback or on Kindle


Links



Hope you guys go and check this out. I shall be soon and will let you know what I think.

TTFN,
Ashley

Labels

Tuesday Wednesday Review Teen Thursday Monday update Books Friday Challenge 4 Star Top Ten Beth Revis Book haul INterview Meme Saturday Sunday Teaser Tuesday 3 Star Adult Armchair BEA Bout of Books Challenges Covers Discussion Feature Giveaway TBR Terah Edun Top Ten Tuesday reading 5 Stars Audiobook Authors Book Divas Christmas Guest Post Holiday Life March Matched Ally Condie Melissa Marr New Releases New Years News Questions Synopsis 1 Star 101 2 Star 5 Star A Tear Jerker Absent Adrianna James American gods Anna Banks BEA 2014 BFFS Back To School Bedtime Birthdays Blast Blind Stitches Book release Boyfriend Brain jack teaser YA lending Break Breathe Bumped YA McCafferty review Calleriro Child College Books YA Goals reviews College Books lists Companions Condie Confessions Courtlight Cover Reveal DNF Day One Delany Doppelganger Drizzt Dystopian Ebooks Eliza Tilton Entwined Feed Flynn Meaney Forgotten Realms Gift card Gifts Goals Grave Mercy Hafsah Laziaf Heather Dixon Help Hybrid Fiction Incarceron book 2 Intoductions Jackson Pearce James Dashner Jessica Darling Kat Zhang Katie Sise Kerstin Gier Kids Kimberly Krystal Wade LEAP Laini Taylor Leah Rae Miller M.T. Anderson Marie Harbon Maze Runner Memes Mermaids Mind Games Monthly New Adult Paperback Paradox Poseidon Q&A Quick Read Rapture Read ReadOn Release Retelling Reveals Reviews Robert Paul Weston Robin LaFevers SHINE Salvatore Sapphique Sarah Crossan September September read goals fantasy YA Shades of Earth Shawn Stern Silvia Day Stephanie Dray Sunday. 2014 Sweetly Syrena Teaser Tuesday book blog numbers The Birthright Legacy Tips ToD Touching the Surface Trilogy Trip Unbreathable Unhinged Wrap-up Year End contemporary haul mature romance the summer i became a nerd