Monday, March 25, 2013

Blogoversary Day 5: Defining Moments

Welcome to Day 5 of my blogvesary celebration! It's been quite a year, and to celebrate, I've come up with a list of defining moments in my blogging expereince. Again, I have a giveaway below, so be sure to check it out! 

Thanks for stopping by.

1. Meeting amazing bloggers (in person and via twitter):
LAUREN @ The Housework can Wait
HANNA @ The Book Vortex
SHANNON @ Stalk in the Books
SHALENA @ Writer Quirk
MILLIE @ Millie D's Words
EILEEN @ **Singing and Reading in the Rain**
NIKKI @ Fiction Freak

2. Meeting amazing authors like: 





  3. First ARC from publisher: 
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson:: This ARC was TOTALLY unexpected, and I devoured it immediately. I will forever be grateful to HarperCollins for providing me my very first physical ARC for review.

4. First e-ARC for review: 

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry:: I admit, I just heard good things about PTL from early reviews, and it was up on netgalley. I requested, and was approved (much to my surprise). I was also surprised that I loved the book so much. I loved it so much, in fact, that I drove 3.5 hours to go to her book launch. Yeah. <3

5. Discovering new books: 

Some books I wouldn't have discovered without the blogger community: The Book Thief, Anna and the French Kiss, Shadow and Bone, The Fault in Our Stars, etc. Most of those ended up being a favorite of mine. Reading each and every one of these books, recommended and praised by other bloggers, was a defining moment.  
THANK YOU to my followers, my commenters, and all the friends I've made this past year. I look forward to seeing what the next year has in store. <333 I'll post a recap tomorrow, my blogoversary day. Be sure to enter the giveaway below, though!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blogoversary Day 4: Favorite Female Characters

Welcome to Day 4 of my blogvesary celebration! To celebrate, I've come up with a list some of my favorite female characters (in no particular order). Again, I have the giveaway below, so be sure to check it out! 

Thanks for stopping by.

Josie is such an admirable character. Despite her circumstances as a poor daughter of a prostitute, she never believed she was as worthless as everyone told her she was. At a young age, Josie moved out. She's strong, determined, and wields her own pistol. What's not to like?

It's clear from the first pages of The Fault in Our Stars, that Hazel is full of snark and will power. She's a cancer "survivor", dealing with its after effects as best as she can: both emotional and physical. I admire her a great deal. The ending of the book just broke my heart in ways words cannot describe. 

Anna is perhaps the most authentic female character I've had the pleasure to read about. Anna is quirky, not the prettiest or the smartest, but she's REAL. She's awkward, funny, and just so much fun to read about. 

Celaena is one complicated girl. One might say she's full of contradiction. She loves make-up, dresses, and balls. She equally loves combat. One doesn't become Ardanlan's greatest assassin without knowing a great deal about combat. She's conceited, but sensitive. She's has snark and passion. Despite all her faults, though, I love her. 

Elinor is such a fantastic heroine! She's brave, stubborn, and can fight zombies with her parasol. It doesn't get better than that. 

Elisa starts out as a rather self-depricating, unlikeable heroine and turns into a woman, a Queen. She loves, she losses, and she fights back for her people and her county. Elisa's character growth is one of the best I've seen in YA, especially in the sequel (The Crown of Embers). I honestly can't wait to see what's in store for the newly empowered Elisa in the final installment (The Bitter Kingdom). 

Alina grows up believing she's no one special. When a dire situation reveals a dormant power, she finds out that she's extremely special. In fact, she could be the key to saving her suffering country of Ravka. It takes some time, but Alina eventually finds strength within herself. That strength is further seen in the sequel, Siege and Storm (which I have had the pleasure to read).

One thing that usually turns me off "angel" books is that the angel characters are often portrayed in a way that makes them a gary stu or a mary sue. I don't like perfect characters. They're not that interesting to read about. So imagine my surprise when Clara was not only relatable, but also flawed in her own ways. I loved seeing her character growth throughout the story as she learns more about angels, demons, and purpose. 

Tris makes the difficult decision to leave her family and join the Dauntless group. She goes head-in, unaware of what being Dauntless meant. I truly think that Tris is a perfect representation of being Divergent, and she's a reminder that we can't be defined by one singular character trait. I love her strong will and inner strength. Sometimes, that's more important than being able to wield a gun. 

I had to include Katniss (it's sort of a given). I don't think I've ever come across a person who actually hated Katniss. She has an instinct for survival, and I admire the fact that her feelings always come second to her friends and family. She's not fierce because she survived the Hunger Games. She's fierce because her of convictions and her unwavering determination.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blogoversary Day 3: Favorite Male Characters

Welcome to Day 3 of my blogvesary celebration! To celebrate, I've come up with a list some of my favorite male characters (in no particular order). Again, I have the giveaway below, so be sure to check it out! 

Thanks for stopping by.

Hector from The Crown of Embers
Hopefully this won't be too big of a spoiler, but I LOVE Hector. I'd wear an I <3 Hector shirt any day of the week. I didn't think that I've ever met a character with such a perfect mix of stoicism, passion, and loyalty. He's like the perfect guy. 

Peeta from The Hunger Games
Who doesn't love Peeta? I mean, sure, I liked Gale, but Peeta stole my heart. He's kind in a way few guys are. He's a gentleman in every sense of the word, with a smile and sense of ease that could melt any girl's heart. 

Chaol from Throne of Glass
Perhaps a little more "rough around the edges", but what can I say? I like captain-of-the-guard characters. They're strong and mysterious. So yeah, I love Chaol, his tough exterior, fierce loyalty, and quiet admiration for Celaena. 

Tucker from Unearthly

Cowboy. What else do I have to say? I didn't like Tucker at first, but once his defenses were down, I fell for him. Hard. Too bad he only has eyes for Clara. ;) 

Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss

Something about foreign names and foreign accents (especially a British accent) makes me swoon. I know I'm not the only one who adores Etienne, faults and all. I appreciate the fact that he isn't perfect, though, and I appreciate the fact that he faces his shortcomings (no pun intended). 
Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door
Cricket isn't swoon-worthy in the typical sense. I never got a sense that he was that "hot", but somehow, his personality shined through. He's sensitive and quirky, with a good sense of humor. I like that in a guy, and I liked how REAL he felt. He's definitely "the boy next door" kind of guy, and I love him for that.

Four from Divergent
Four is incredibly brooding and mysterious. He's the type of guy that I'd probably admire from a distance, but wouldn't make the first move. Admiring Four from a distance is just fine by me. 
Daniel from Something Strange and Deadly 
Sure, Daniel is a little cranky, a little frustrating, and a little moody. But I like him. He's intelligent, loyal, and even a little mysterious. I feel hard for him while reading Something Strange and Deadly.

Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars
What can I say about Gus? He's just perfect. Funny, intelligent, wise, and so brave. The Fault in Our Stars was just as much his story was it was Hazel's. I cried and I laughed with Augustus, through all his ups and downs. 

Kenji from Shatter Me/Unravel Me 
Kenji is far from perfect. He's obnoxious, conceited, and has a tendency to rub some people the wrong way. But underneath that fun-loving, humorous exterior is a guy who is able to prioritize. He's strong, dedicated, and isn't afraid to be honest. He's able to put Juliette in her place, when she kept moping about Adam. I admire him so much for that. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 22, 2013

Blogoversary Day 2: Favorite Authors

Welcome to Day 2 of my blogvesary celebration! To celebrate, I've come up with a list some of my favorite authors (which was TOUGH, let me tell you). Also, I have another giveaway below, so be sure to check it out! 

Thanks for stopping by.


I adore this woman. She's funny, compassionate, and just writes the best swoon-worthy guys (Etienne and Cricket <3). I had to fortune to meet Stephanie last year, and she's just so adorable. I'm dying to get my hands on Isla. Her books are so romantic, funny, and heart-warming. They're sure to put any one in a good mood. That alone has put Stephanie on my list as one of my favorite authors.


Sarah's journey to publication has been the most inspirational for me, perhaps because I followed her all the way from Fiction Press. It was such a joy to finally read the news that her book would be published. It was an even greater joy to meet her in person last year at the Southern Festival of Books. Thank you, Sarah, for loving your fans so much. And thank you for writing such a kick-butt heroine. Celanea's story deserves to be told, and I will devour any book chronicling her adventure. 


Where do I begin? Susan is the epitome of awesome. Her blog posts about revising are so helpful, and the blog posts she write about her struggles are SO encouraging. It helps us aspiring writers know we are not alone. And how can I forget the BAMFwordbattles that have helped me write those words! Susan and Sarah are a tour de' FORCE. Here's to hoping we'll meet some day. And here's to hoping I won't 'fan-girl' too much, because Something Strange and Deadly was amazing and Eleanor a fantastic heroine. I can't wait to see where her story is headed, and I can't wait to read whatever she writes next.


When I first met you, Ruta, we got on the subject of writing and I admitted I tried to write, but unsuccessfully. You didn't hesitate to tell me that that was 'ok' and that writing takes a lot of time and effort. Thank you for your encouraging words, for supporting me, and thank you for your amazing books that have changed my perspective on life by writing about the past.


This girl has a way with words. I love her books, and I can't wait to read what she writes next! On top of that, though, Victoria is just an awesome person. She's super fun and super encouraging. From one fellow PLUNCH girl to another. 

I read Pushing the Limits, not knowing what to expect. And I fell hard for the book, its characters, and its author. Katie just has a knack for writing about love in a way that isn't always pretty. But it's real, it's raw, and it's what sustains us in the end. Her characters are broken, rough, but they manage to find their way in the end. 


Leigh is the epitome of cool. She's a make-up artist, musician, and author. Not to mention, the books she's written are fan-freakin'-tastic. I've have the pleasure of reading Shadow and Bone and an ARC of Siege and Storm, and AH! The world is so vivid, with so many swoon-worthy guys. And Alina. She's such an amazing, and perfectly flawed character. I will buy anything this woman writes. 


I usually don't claim an author a "favorite" until I've read at least two of their books, but I have to make an exception for Claire. I read The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls and was floored by her talent as a writer. Victoria had such a strong voice, and her writing was pitch perfect. Not to mention, she's a former piano player (LIKE ME). I will honestly buy anything Claire writes (and I'm especially anticipating Winterspell, her YA retelling of The Nutcracker.)


I LOVED The Girl of Fire and Thorns. I ADORED The Bitter Kingdom. Rae has managed to solidify my love for Fantasy. I love how she incorporates Religion, I love the world, and I love Elisa. Her character growth is one of the best I've read in YA. If only I could find I real-life Hector in my life, I'd be set. THere's not doubt, I'll be eagerly following Rae's writing career as she ends her first trilogy and begins her second (it's a historical with fantasy elements set during the GOLD RUSH! How exciting!).

Honorable Mentions:
John Green
Kasie West
Brigid Kemmerer

*Claire's debut was MG, but I still put her on this list because of her upcoming Winterspell. Hey, my list, my rules? <333
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blogoversary Day 1: Favorite YA Books

HOORAY! Citrus Reads is now a year old! *throws confetti* In light of this event, I've got books to giveaway and favorites lists to share. First up? Favorite books in YA. I originally intended to list 10, but  I COULDN'T CHOOSE JUST 10. I had to slide in an 11th entry.

Thank you, EVERYONE, for sticking around with me, especially over the past few months when I was busy and had no time to blog. I <3 each and every one of you for your support and shared love of books. I would not have the book collection I have today, if it weren't for all the amazing reviews and recommendations. I would not love YA as much, without this community.

SO, here is my favorites list (with a few 'honorable mentions'). If you're interested in the giveaway, it's listed below.

Favorite YA books since I started blogging (in no particular order): 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Just One Day by Gayle Foreman

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

The Unearthly Trilogy

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Honorable Mentions (Adult, MG, and YA)

*The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire LeGrand
*A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
*Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
*Divergent by Veronica Roth
*The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder and Scarlet) by Marissa Meyer
*Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Now, the giveaway! I have a total of 6 books, but there will be 5 winners. The books are as follows:
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer ARC (possibly signed?)*
Prodigy by Marie Lu ARC (possibly signed?)*
Entice and Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (SIGNED)
The Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (SIGNED)


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (PAPERBACK; SIGNED)

Just enter the rafflecopter below.

*NOTE: A group of authors put together a YA2U tour that includes authors Marissa Meyer and Marie Lu. They are coming to Cookville, which is an 1.5 hr drive. I can't guarantee 100% that I'll be able to go to the signing, but IF I do, I'll get the ARCs signed. If I can't, the winner will just receive the ARC. Please understand that the signature is not a guarantee.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 15, 2013

Review: The Collector

The Collector by Victoria Scott
Release: April 2, 2013
Source: e-ARC from publisher

He makes good girls...bad. 

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn't want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn't know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

When I first agreed to be a part of the cover reveal for The Collector, I had no idea that this book would generate so. much. buzz. And honestly? I probably would not have thought to read this book, if it weren't for the buzz. After all, the premise isn't entirely unique. The bad guy/good girl trope has been used for a long time. So have fictionalized versions of Demons. The fact that I usually stayed away from paranormal also made me wary about this book. But I believed in it, I got excited about it, and I can say that The Collector is worthy of the hype.

Dante walker is a collector (or Demon). He works for "Boss Man" aka the Devil by "sealing" people on earth for their sins and eventually collecting their souls for Hell. Dante's been given special privileges, but he desperately wants that promotion to be able to live on earth. In order to gain that promotion, he has to do one simple thing: collect Charlie's soul in 10 days. Easy, right? He's done it a million times, so why should she be any different? What follows is a fun, emotional, and unforgettable reading experience.

There is just so much to love--from Dante Walker's CLEAR voice, to his dark humor, to his overall character development. I've only seen character development so believable and satisfying in one other book: The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Yes, Dante is bad to the bone. He collects souls for a living by marking them for all their sins, and he's unbelievably arrogant. At first, he  comes off as shallow, evil, and selfish, but as I continued reading, I knew there was more to him than that. Underneath that confidant exterior is someone trying to escape his past, trying to make do with what's he's been given.  

And Charlie. Sweet, Charlie. Sometimes it's easy to write bad people. The trick (if he's the main character) is to make him likable, and Victoria Scott managed to nail that by creating Dante. Other times, though, it's more difficult to make a "good" person without turning her into a 'Mary Sue'. Charlie is no Mary Sue. She has her faults, she has her doubts and fears, but she's just genuinely good. And, despite that fact that she's happy with her life, there's a hidden desire to be accepted and love. It's something any reader can relate to (me, especially).

Victoria's writing is also stellar. She writes with such confidence, and the story's pacing is so smooth. I loved the depiction of good and evil, I loved the many twists in the plot that I did not see coming. So the question is, what didn't I love? Not much.

While I adored the book, I occasionally found myself unsettled by the idea of seals and how "bad deeds" are what drag a soul to Hell. It's my only gripe, and it's very personal and connected to my beliefs, but it won't stop me from reading the Liberator in September. I'm just so excited to see what happens, especially after the mind-blowing end to The Collector.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Review: Pivot Point

Pivot Point by Kasie West
Release: February 12, 2013
Source: e-ARC provided by publisher 

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without

Pivot Point is, without a doubt, my favorite book of 2013 so far.

There, I said it.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me explain what Pivot Point is about. Addison (Addie) has a special ability: when given the choice, she can play out the two options and decide which path she wants to take. Her parents also have abilities (her father's a human lie detector and her mother has a knack with persuasion), and they live in society filled with superhuman beings. Addie never saw her parents divorce coming, though, and she's given a choice: stay with her mother, or leave with her father to live in the "outside" world. Addie uses her gift to play out the following six weeks, to help her decide.

So, yes, this book is essentially two stories. And in these two stories, she meets two different guys. The first guy, in the "Dome", is Duke. He's the quarterback, and unexplainably shows interest in Addie. She pushes him away, believes she's "not that girl", until she actually does fall for him. Their banters are amusing, and managed to bring a smile to my face. In the other reality, in the "normal" world, Addie meets a few friends. One of them is Trevor, a former quarterback, placed on the sidelines due to an unfortunate injury.

It's difficult to say why, without giving away important details, but her decision isn't entirely based on "which guy she likes better". As the story progresses, there are more things at stake, more differences that Addie must consider before making her choice in the end. And let me just say that I was near tears when she made her choice.

Because it wasn't easy.

I'd also like to point out the fact that, despite having two storylines, this book is such a smooth read. The transitions, and correlations, between the two alternate relates were so well done. I never once got confused. The pacing was excellent, and so was the writing. Really, I envy West's ability to write such authentic dialogue. Her writing, and the story, made me smile, laugh. And the ending! MY HEART! THE FEELS! I'm desperate for book two (because, yes, there IS a book two).

Is there anything that I didn't like about this book? There's nothing. I can't find a single fault, and I'm so glad that I decided to read this fantastic book! I'm trying NOT to gush, but this book is a total gem. So read it, love it, treasure it. It's one of those rare books that you WISH you could forget so you could read it the first time all over again. Only a handful of books made me feel that way, and Pivot Point is one of them.

Thank you harperTeen and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (26)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen: PURCHASED
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman: PURCHASED
Bridget Jone's Diary by Helen Fielding : PURCHASED
The Host by Stephanie Meyer : PURCHASED
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk : PURCHASED
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: LIBRARY
Pivot Point by Kasie West WON via twitter giveaway
Mounument 14 by Emmy Laybourne: WON from Fierce Reads via twitter
ARC The Elite by Kiera Kass: WON from YA Bookcase
ARC Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Grisha #2) : FOR REVIEW

NOTE: I'm too lazy to add to the video above (I'd already spent a good deal of time editing and whatnot), so I just want to add that I also received an e-ARC of THE COLLECTOR by Victoria Scott for review. YAY! I'm halfway through and it's AWESOME.

THANK YOU Entangled Publishing and Macmillian! You rock.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Triple Threat Blog Tour: Dance of Shadows Review

I am very pleased to be a part of the triple threat blog tour, hosted by Bloomsbury! Below, is my review of one of the three titles, Dance of Shadows. Check it out, and check out the facebook page for the book. Don't forget to check out the other two titles as well!

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
Source: e-ARC provided by publisher 

Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you're close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner's heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .

Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister's shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . . 

Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed 

Dance of Shadows follows the story of Vanessa. She's been accepted into the most prestigious ballet school in New York. Vanessa has a talent for ballet, but she really has one reason for attending the school: her sister mysteriously disappeared while attending the school. Vanesa is determined to find out the truth, and what she finds, involves a huge conspiracy that affects every single person who has taken the lead as The Firebird

While there, Vanessa falls for the handsome Zep, the male lead in the school's current production of the Firebird. While only a freshman, she also manages to capture the attention of the choreographer, Josef. He sees in her great potential, and things begin to unravel fast when the cast list in announced and rehearsals officially begin. 

First off, I loved the setting and the fact that it focuses on ballet. It made it unique. I also thought the writing was smooth, and that they pacing was well done. There was just enough mystery to keep me turning the pages, and the truth behind Margaret's disappearance is dark and disturbing. It did not disappoint. I also found Vanessa to be an interesting character, although a bit too naive. Oddly enough, I was still able to connect with her despite the third person narration. From reading Dance of Shadows, though, it's very obvious that Yelena Black loves ballet. The details of the craft are so vivid, so moving, that I began to fall in love with ballet as well. This is most definitely a plus. 

If I had to fault this book on anything, it'd be the forced romance between Zep and Vanessa (that felt much to based on appearance initially), the fact that no one seems to care about the disappearances, and the lack of passion Vanessa felt for ballet. Vanessa just did ballet. It wasn't what motivated her. She didn't eat, drink, and breathe dance, even though it was required and she acted as if she did. Her main concern was really her sister, and she just naturally fell into dance. I wouldn't mind so much, if Vanessa wasn't portrayed as such a "prodigy". Luckily, there are plenty of moments that she messes up, in which she feels she cannot meet the expectations placed upon her. 

Overall, this is a fascinating read that will likely appeal to people who love ballet and/or like their books to be a little on the darker side. Thank you, Bloomsbury for providing the e-ARC.