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Saturday, April 28, 2012

LC's Book Haul!

Hey everyone!! So as you may know, I'm no longer doing In My Mailbox, but will instead be showing my books through a weekly book haul-- for more on my reasons for making this decision, please refer HERE

Also, I'm sorry for this week's video being so grainy and choppy-- I was experimenting with filming on my phone and I was super-tired when I was doing this so... yeeah, hope it's not too confusing!

Here is what I got in this week!

~Goodreads Links~

Belles by Jen Calonita
Revamped by Ada Adams
Envy by Anna Godbersen (which is actually the 3rd book in the Luxe series, not the 2nd like I say in the video-- see I really was tired lol...)
Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Happy Reading Everyone!!

Where I Stand on the "Great Matter"

Sigh... OK, some of you guys probably KNEW this was coming...

I realize that some of you aren't going to be happy with my view on this, and most just want to drop it already, but whether you agree with me or not, just know that the reason I'm speaking out on it is because I appreciate and respect my followers enough to be honest and up-front with them about my opinions.

So before I show you guys my book haul for this week, I'm feeling the need to quickly explain something: Pretty much all of you know what has been going on this past week with the Story Siren being accused of plagiarism, and almost everyone at this point has very strong feelings about it one way or the other-- myself included. And while at first I was on the fence about the entire thing and just kept quiet so as not to rock the boat, I realized as I became more informed and enlightened about the TRUTH that I had to say something. 

It basically comes down to this:  Due to the actions and behavior of Kristi from the Story Siren (who runs In My Mailbox) I will no longer be participating in IMM and have switched over to simply doing a "book haul" for the time being. I'm also no longer following her blog or any other of her social media outlets. Let me just say that this decision was NOT made lightly, nor was it based on emotion, personal bias, or personal connection to either side. It has nothing to do with me trying to be confrontational or pretending to be better than somebody else. But the thing is, that after objectively reviewing the evidence and claims from BOTH sides, I have concluded that things were done very wrongly on the Story Siren's end, and then continued to be badly handled after they were made public. And NO, I am NOT going to support that.

For me, this whole fiasco goes beyond just the whole issue of plagiarism-- and I'm absolutely NOT downplaying the seriousness of knowingly stealing someone else's thoughts, ideas and expressions, but there is SO much more to it than just that. There's the fact that the SS had taken on a leadership role in the blogging community and was profiting from that position only to abuse it. That she had spoken out so vehemently against the very thing she was found guilty of, AND that after she was found out, her first reactions were to deny the charges that were backed by solid evidence, and THEN to address everyone with a non-apology while lamenting the loss of her viewership and publishing contacts. But what REALLY, TRULY sends me over the edge with this, is that she only publicly apologized to those she stole from as an after-thought, and not once did she defend them as the victims in all of this. On top of that, she didn't give her followers enough credit and respect as to directly state WHAT she was apologizing FOR in the first place.

To me this all shows a complete disregard to everyone involved-- those bloggers who were most wronged-- and to the readers who trusted her, admired her and looked up to her. On top of that, it looks to me as though she's set herself high above the blogging standards she once so passionately preached about. This is not OK with me. Nothing in her outward actions to the blogging community has shown any true remorse or humility for what she did, and it just doesn't sit well with me. This isn't even ABOUT whether she owes ME or US an apology-- it's about having the decency to apologize to those you have wronged, and then acting like you really ARE sorry.

I also had the mentality for a few days of, "why can't everyone leave her alone already? She has already apologized twice! What do they want her to do at this point?" But after looking at everything A LOT more closely, I realized that there really had not been an apology where it really mattered OR a direct admission of what she did-- and once again, NOTHING was said initially to the ones who actually deserved a public apology. Instead, they have all had to deal with an enormous amount of heated backlash because Kristi never bothered to defend them or ask her supporters to leave them alone. She didn't even give credit to their claims which were backed by clear, indisputable evidence that she had stolen from them. In the words of Grit & Glamour, it was "a weak apology at best," because it was only made after she realized she wouldn't get away with her FIRST non-apology.

As for her excuse that she didn't realize what she was doing, well I'm sorry, but you CAN'T feign ignorance on something that you were claiming to be an expert on just a few months before. She even SAID in one of her posts on plagiarism that those who KNOW what plagiarism is are lying if they say they didn't realize what they were doing:

In her own words awhile back:

“Plagiarism is wrong. No matter how you look at it. There is no excuse… ‘I didn’t know…. I didn’t mean to… I did it subconsciously.’ No, you didn’t. You did know and you did mean to.

Plagiarism isn’t just copying and pasting word for word and passing it off as your own. It can be taking someones work and changing around the sentence structure, getting out your thesaurus and changing a few words here and there… basically taking the central idea tweaking it and passing it off as your own work.”

And now to THIS:

"I thought only content could be plagiarized. Changing a few a words around with a thesaurus, or simple copying and pasting content. It seems as though taking a general topic and rewriting it is plagiarism... It was a confusion of inspiration and plagiarism on my part."

Here is MY response to this statement:

1.) You know perfectly well what plagiarism is, don't even try to deny this-- it's right on the FRONT PAGE of plagiarism.ORG and you've clearly defined what it is in previous posts. If you aren't sorry for what you did, OK fine, but don't sit there and treat your readers like they're idiots. Your claim that you were "confused" is the very height of hypocrisy.

2.) No, it does NOT seem as though taking a general topic and rewriting about it is plagiarism-- but going to somebody else's work and blatantly copying their style and expression of a general topic IS-- and that's exactly what you did. It wasn't "inspiration;" it was flat-out copying.  

If you look carefully at the evidence, this was not a case of someone just re-using ideas or content that had already been published a million times before on the web-- she directly STOLE the expression of those ideas from people who had worked hard to have their OWN VOICE. That is plagiarism, not just the regurgitation of common knowledge.

And as for her leaving 2 vague apologies on her blog and then washing her hands of the whole matter, I think it is very badly done to just brush something you did under the rug so quick and neatly when you were calling out others for the exact same thing multiple times in the past. Not to mention-- I just was not partial to her overall attitude in addressing this. I thought she came across as tactless, arrogant and above reprehension. She covered her bases and put out the fires where things directly affected her, but didn't deem it necessary to address those who really got burned. I don't know about you guys, but that seriously ruffles my feathers.

Is it my place to judge whether someone is truly sincere in their apologies? Absolutely not. It could be that at this point the SS really is sorry for what she did, I really can't see how she couldn't be. But it hasn't been expressed well at all, and the entire thing has just left me with a bad taste in my mouth, one that isn't going away for a long time.

This statement is not meant to incite more drama or controversy-- God knows we've all had enough of THAT for one week. It is simply to express to my readers where I stand on the issue and why. I want to make it clear that IN NO WAY do I condone, approve of, or support the Story Siren's actions or how she handled the plagiarism charges made against her, and I will not be associated with her blog or any memes or promotions directly connected to her blog. THIS IS NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK on Kristi OR those who choose to continue following her blog and/or doing IMM. I'm not trying to "PUNISH" her, she doesn't even know who the heck I am. Also, I have nothing against the personal choices of my fellow bloggers and I'm not trying to convince you to make the same choice as I am-- that is up to you to decide for yourself. All I will say is that I have VERY good reason for not wanting to have anything to do with her blog anymore.

I realize that at this point, all of this has already been stated ad nauseum and we're all looking to just DROP IT and move on-- but I couldn't really move on until I had explained where I stand. I'll just end this by saying that I love and appreciate all of you my followers, and know that you will respect MY decision as I respect YOURS in this matter. I'm also honestly, extremely saddened by everything that has happened. And that's really all I want to say about this. 


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Summer Lovin' Book Tour Giveaway and Guest Post!

Hello my lovelies!! So today as part of the Summer Lovin' Book Tour, I have two AWESOME things going on:

1.) A fabulous GUEST POST with the wonderful author, Karen Schreck

2.) A flipping sweet GIVEAWAY for a copy of her latest YA novel, While He Was Away**

**NOTE: If you haven't heard of this one, be sure to add it to your TBR lists-- because it was freaking amazing!! 

So first thing is first-- here is my guest post with Karen Schreck, where she talks about her love for YA and why it rocks her world!  :)

Why YA Rocks My World

YA is hot.

As in steamy, sultry, blazing, scathing, illuminating, fiery, incendiary, spicy, enlightening, searing, scorching. A wildfire. A prairie burn. An inferno of characters, settings, plots. A refiner’s fire that draws out pure gold.

YA can also be cold.

As in chill, bitter, harsh, blustery, caustic, shivery, biting, hard-edged, cool. A frigid wind that dips below zero. A blizzardy drift of ideas and images. One snowflake never like the next. And once all hell freezes over, than YA can be the sharp-edged ax that breaks through the ice of your soul. YA lit—good YA lit—is never, ever lukewarm. Not in terms of content—the fearless stories told, the layers of meaning revealed.

Not in terms of character—these people live on the pages, and like most adolescents (or the adolescent in all of us, who lives on and on and on) their motivation frequently cuts to the quick: they are desperately trying to figure out just who in God’s name they are.

And YA lit is never, ever lukewarm or tepid in terms of voice—which is so driven by character, setting, and plot, and which defines each YA novel—that distinct, one-of-a-kind voice that speaks a book into existence, that prods and goads and compels a writer—me—to tell the story. This is just a little bit of why YA rocks my world—why I love writing and reading books for teens. Or, supposedly for teens, since most street smart and literary savvy adults worth their salt know that Young Adult Fiction is among the best literature out and about today.

And let me tell you guys, not only does Karen love YA, but she is incredibly talented at writing it too! You probably know I'm not exactly easy to please sometimes when it comes to my books, but I absolutely adored While He Was Away. And it definitely had a lot to do with "the voice" of Karen's main character Penna, and everything that she goes through to discover who she is. Seriously, it was an amazing read and I highly recommend it.

So without further ado, it is....

~Giveaway Time!~

OK so as part of the Tour, I'm hosting an awesome giveaway sponsored by Sourcebooks Fire for a copy of Karen's newest YA novel, While He Was Away. It is a perfect pick for your summer reading lists! You can also click on the cover image for more details from Goodreads :)

Just fill out the Rafflecopter Form below to be entered for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and happy reading everyone!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Summer Lovin' Book Tour Review! While He Was Away

Author: Karen Schreck
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Pages: 256
Summary: All she wants is for him to stay. She's been doing pretty well, pretending he doesn't have to go. But one day, after one last night to remember, she wakes up and there's no denying it anymore. He's gone.

When Penna Weaver's boyfriend goes off to Iraq, she's left facing life without him. As summer sets in, Penna tries to distract herself with work and her art, but the not knowing is slowly driving her crazy. Especially when David stops writing.

She knows in her heart he will come home. But will he be the same boy she fell in love with?

~Video Review~

Goodreads link---> While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

LC's Take:

Some books just knock me right upside the head and leave me thinking about them for days after. While He Was Away was one of those books!

Penna and David have been dating for almost a year before David has to go away to Iraq. As Penna tries to not fall to pieces, she's now faced with what seems like a giant void. The long summer days stretch out before her to what seems like eternity, and nothing feels like it has any meaning with David gone. But slowly, Penna starts to pick up the pieces of her life again, and she takes heart in making new friends and soldiering on as best she can-- no matter what life throws at her.

Before I started reading this one-- I won't lie-- I was a little hesitant. I'm not one of those people who likes reading super-tragic, sad books with depressing endings that make me cry my eyes out, and I thought this story might go in that direction. On top of that, I've never known anyone close who has gone to Iraq, or even been in the military for that matter, so reading this kind of a book was a totally new experience for me and I wasn't sure how I was going to react to it.

Even though this was an everyday story about very average people, While He Was Away managed to pull me into a powerful tale of love and war. As I started reading, I was a little worried that the whole book was going to be a sob-fest with Penna pining away and obsessing over David, but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that in the same situation? I'd be reacting in the same way-- seeing and hearing David in everything, and remembering all the times before he left. And as Penna learns to cope with her boyfriend going off to Iraq, she learns things and changes in ways that she could never have anticipated. She grows into a stronger, more resilient person in the face of a near-impossible situation. You will love Penna and feel the excruciating pain that she has to go through every single day as she waits for her David to come back home, but you'll also be encouraged by her willingness to not crumble, getting on with life as life goes on with or without her.

Another major concern of mine while I was reading this book was whether it would have a happy ending or not. Well, I'm not going to give much away for those who haven't read the book yet, but I will say that this story was very much like real life-- the point wasn't about having a happy or sad ending. Rather, the story really tried to show how the experiences we have and the people we meet shape us, for good or bad, and how all we can do is survive and try to make the best of things. I don't think this was depressing, it was just very realistic. And while the ending was bittersweet, I wouldn't say it was sad. I did cry, but it was more because I felt so touched by a story that was both simple and yet extremely powerful at the same time.

The only other thing I'll say is-- I really, really hope there is going to be a sequel to this one! As much as the end of the book made sense, I really want to see what happens next in Penna's life!

In the end, I think that While He Was Away accomplished exactly what it set out to do: tell a real-life story of love and war and the people who are most deeply affected by both. And something about this book definitely affected me personally, because it was raw and real, and it didn't try too hard to make an impression or be overly-dramatic. Honestly, it didn't have to-- the story was just that good, and the characters were just that relatable. I would recommend this book to all my readers, because it was realistic, genuine and heartfelt with a wonderful message that can't help but encourage and inspire you. And really, that's about everything I could ask for in a book!

~Cover Talk~

This cover is just so sweet and romantic! And especially knowing what this book is about, I mean it's just like, bring on the water-works! I love the picture of Penna and David together, they just look so sweet and innocent, and the pinky-peach sunset glow behind them makes the entire scene look very ideal and romantic. It's like a moment captured in time that you can always look back on. Definitely a fan of this cover!

LC's Rating:
A stunningly beautiful and compelling story that captured my heart from the very beginning- While He Was Away will not only pull you into a wonderful love story; it will give you an even greater appreciation for the ones that you love! This is definitely a must-read for the summer :)

So I hope you guys enjoyed this video review and review post on While He Was Away-- stay tuned TOMORROW when I'll be posting a special GUEST POST by author Karen Schreck AND a fabulous GIVEAWAY for a copy of this amazing summer read!! Talk to you guys soon and Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Summer Lovin' Blog Tour!

Hello and Happy Summer to all my fabulous readers and bloggers!! Well, almost summer, maybe? I don't know, it's SNOWING here in Upstate New York, but anyways! We'll just ignore that. Today I'm excited to be participating in the Summer Lovin' Blog Tour, hosted by Sourcebooks Fire to celebrate this summer's very best beach reads!!

Featured in this blog tour are two all-new YA books-- The Summer of No Regrets by Katherine Grace Bond and While He Was Away by Karen Schreck. Both sound like awesome summer reads, and I hope you guys will check them out and add them to your summer To-Be-Read lists!

Author: Katherine Grace Bond
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Pages: 304
The day Brigitta accidentally flings herself into the lap of a guy she's never met, her friend Natalie is convinced he's Trent Yves, egotistical heartthrob-in-hiding. When the boy, who calls himself Luke, is nearly eaten by a cougar, Brigitta finds herself saving his life, being swept into his spectacular embrace and wondering if she wants Natalie's fantasy to be true.
As the two spend the summer together raising orphaned cougar cubs, Brigitta still can't be sure of his true identity. But then again, since her grandparents' death, her father's sudden urge to give away all their possessions and become a shaman, and her own awkward transition from girlhood into a young woman, she isn't sure of anything. What is the truth? More importantly, can she accept it?

Author: Karen Schreck
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Pages: 256
All she wants is for him to stay. She's been doing pretty well, pretending he doesn't have to go. But one day, after one last night to remember, she wakes up and there's no denying it anymore. He's gone. When Penna Weaver's boyfriend goes off to Iraq, she's left facing life without him. As summer sets in, Penna tries to distract herself with work and her art, but the not knowing is slowly driving her crazy. Especially when David stops writing. She knows in her heart he will come home. But will he be the same boy she fell in love with?

SO to celebrate the release of these two new fabulous YA books, I will be posting MY review tomorrow of While He Was Away by Karen Schreck (hint, hint: It was so good!) and then on Thursday I'll be posting an awesome guest post by the lovely author, Karen Schreck. So I hope you guys will stay tuned for all the Summer Lovin' fun coming up this week!

Also, let me know in the comments-- have you read either of these two new books yet? Do you plan to? What books do you have on the top of your Summer Reading lists for 2012?? I'd love to hear about your guys' summer reading plans! ;)

Happy Reading everyone!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

LC Gets Interviewed!

Hi guys! So guess what?? I was asked to do a fun book blogger interview over at Book Haven! I hope you'll all stop on over to check it out-- I was asked some really fun questions-- and while you're at it, be sure to follow Book Haven's blog, where she posts book reviews and interviews with other fabulous book bloggers like Kristi from The Story Siren and Kathy from I Am A Reader Not A Writer!

Just click Book Haven's link below to see my interview ;)

Happy Reading all!! Have an awesome week!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (19)

Hey there guys! Guess what time of the week it is?? Yep, you got it-- it's In My Mailbox time!! WOOHOO! IMM is hosted by the lovely Kristi over at the Story Siren, so go check it out if you're new. And of course, watch my v-log below to see the ARCs I got in and also my massive library haul! :)

~Goodreads Links~
The Academie by Susanne Dunlap
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Happy Reading Everyone!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Review: Starcrossed

Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 31, 2011
Pages: 487
Read it in: 5 days
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire 16 years trying to hide how different she is--no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood... and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating thoughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together-- and tearing them apart.

LC's Take:

Starcrossed was only the second book I've read in the mythology genre, but let me tell you, it captured me right away! I'm finding that I really love reading these mythology-based stories-- they're just so much fun and really entertaining to read, and even though I'm definitely not a mythology-buff, the different plot-lines and cast of colorful characters pull me right into the story. Starcrossed was everything that I'd look for in a mythological story-- it was fun, entertaining, mysterious, suspenseful, and able to keep me turning the pages with an awesome plot-line!

Helen Hamilton has always known that she's different-- and she's spent her entire life trying to hide it. Not exactly one of the popular girls in school, Helen is just happy being able to disappear into the crowd. That is, until the Delos family moves to her hometown in Nantucket. From the first time Helen lays eyes on Lucas Delos, she feels inexplicably drawn to him-- and a pure hatred drives her to kill him no matter what.

Doesn't really sound like your typical YA love story, does it!?

So that plot twist definitely grabbed me within the first few chapters. I had no idea how Helen and Lucas were ever going to end up falling in love when they start out wanting to kill each other! But as the intricate story unravels, things begin to make much more sense, as Helen and Lucas' Greek demigod pasts begin to catch up with them.

I definitely liked Helen as a character, because she had strength and resilience. She wasn't too whiny or ditzy or unable to live without a guy. Also, I thought that Helen took things pretty well, considering that she has to find out that she's descended from the gods and there's a bunch of crazy demigod descendants out to kill her-- I'm not so sure I'd have been so cool with that!

For the most part, I liked the romance between Helen and Lucas. I don't want to give anything away, but basically the entire story centers around fate-- probably the biggest theme in Greek mythology. The scenes between Lucas and Helen made for great reading, especially as Lucas trains Helen, teaches her to fly and use her demigod powers. But at the same time, both of them could be super-annoying at times, acting really immature, pouting, being mad at each other for no good reason other than that they keep misunderstanding each other-- I seriously just wanted to slap some sense into both at them at certain points of the story. Towards the end though, I think we can see some major development in both of their characters, and I'm so psyched to see what happens in the next book!

The only other thing that got to be a *bit* overwhelming with reading Starcrossed was that there were SO many characters to keep track of! I mean it wasn't impossible or anything, but at points I was just like, jeez I should be writing all these names down! But otherwise, the story was awesome and left me wanting more.

So if you're a fan of mythology in YA, I would definitely recommend this book! Or even if you haven't read too many mythology-based stories yet, this one would be a great pick. Dreamless comes out May 29th and I can't wait to continue this story!

~Cover Talk~

The cover to Starcrossed is so gorgeous! I just love the picture of Helen in her flowy-purple dress standing on the stormy shore of Nantucket-- it really does look very haunting, and drew me to this book in the first place. I just wish that it didn't cut off the profile of her face-- I know, it's supposed to create some mystery since we can't see exactly what Helen's infamously beautiful face looks like, but still!

LC's Rating:
Overall I really enjoyed reading this one-- it was totally fun and entertaining. I think the only thing that got to be a little difficult was keeping track of the HUGE number of characters!! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (26)

For those who don't know, Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme where we get to let everyone know about what books we are eagerly anticipating the release of. WoW is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Want to participate? Grab the logo on her page, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link on her blog!
This week's Waiting on Wednesday pick is...

Author: Lauren Hendeson
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Pages: 320
Summary: Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!

Why I'm Waiting!

I wish I had more of a summary description for this one, but it still sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun! This summer, I am hunting down as many fun, light-hearted YA contemporary books as possible. I've decided that I want this summer's reading and blogging to be full of cute, romantic reads instead of dark paranormals and dystopians (even though I'm sure there will be some of those thrown into the mix as well :) and this one sounds absolutely perfect! What do you guys think??

Monday, April 16, 2012

Breathless Reads Live Author Chat!

Hey guys, so I just wanted to quickly tell you about the totally awesomesauce author chat I joined in on tonight with the lovely lady authors of the Breathless Reads Tour-- Beth Revis, Marie Lu, Jessica Spotswood, and Andrea Cremer!

I've never participated in a live author chat before-- in fact I've never even used Spreecast or Skype or anything like that, so this was a completely new experience for me! But as I was tweeting away earlier this evening, I kept seeing Marie and Beth mentioning the live chat, and I thought it sounded pretty cool so I joined in!

And OMGosh seriously guys?!? If you haven't been to a live online author chat yet you SO should because it was tons of fun, and also so insightful! I had a blast listening to all four of these lovely and talented ladies talk, and they even answered one of my questions! How flipping cool is that?!? I was SO not expecting to get to chat with Beth Revis and Andrea Cremer when I got online tonight, I can tell you that LOL :P

So here are some things I picked up from joining in on the Breathless Reads Author Chat:
  • Beth Revis is freaking HILARIOUS. I seriously wish I knew this chick! She would be so much fun to hang out with :)
  • Jessica Spotswood is the cutest thing ever, she's just so bright and bubbly-- I can't believe I'm even admitting this, but I didn't have Born Wicked on my TBR list until tonight when I marched straight over to Goodreads to add it! Love her! :D
  • Marie Lu revealed that her second book in the Legend series is officially going to be called -- wait for it.... PRODIGY!! Sweetness!!
  • Beth wrote TEN-- count that TEN-- practice novels before she sold Across the Universe to a publisher!! This was just-- so crazy to me, but let me tell you, it inspired my socks off too. I am unfortunately a major perfectionist, and I get really frustrated and hard on myself when I don't succeed the very FIRST time, so to hear someone as amazingly talented and successful as Beth Revis say that she had to first try and fail TEN TIMES before getting it right, well that is something I am going to remember from now on-- thank you Beth!
So that was what I was up to tonight! If you guys want to watch the full live chat from Spreecast and listen to Beth, Maria, Jessica and Andrea answer all the questions we threw at them, check it out HERE :D

Aaaand I HOPE you have each and every one of these books on your TBR lists!! I know I'll be bumping all of these UP on mine!! ;)

Happy Reading Everyone!!

Reveal! Taste by Kate Evangelista

Hi everyone! Today I am so excited to share with you an all-new YA book called Taste by Kate Evangelista. SERIOUSLY guys, how flipping GORGEOUS is that cover?!? And the story sounds like it is going to just sweep you away into some eerie, paranormal world-- cannot WAIT!! Find all the details below, and make sure to check out the book trailer and exclusive excerpt here too! There are links to add this fabulous new title to your Goodreads lists as well.

~About the Book~

Author: Kate Evangelista
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Release Date: April 2012
Pages: 300
Summary: At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

~About the Author~ 

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master's courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.

~Book Trailer~

~Excerpt of Taste~
I sat up and followed Calixta’s gaze upward. I rubbed my eyes. I didn’t know what I was seeing at first. A statue? ¬My brain refused to snap together coherent thoughts. I didn’t realize I’d fallen so close to one of the garden benches until I stared up at the boy that sat on one. He was strikingly beautiful. His tumble of blonde hair curled just above his sculpted cheekbones. He wore a silk shirt and a loosened cravat, like he’d become bored while dressing and decided to leave himself in disarray. His ivory skin and frozen position was what had me mistaking him for something carved from marble by Michelangelo. Then he sighed—a lonely, breathy proof of life. If I had to imagine what Lucifer looked like before he fell from heaven, the boy on the bench would certainly fulfill that image. My brain told me I had to look away, but I couldn’t.

“Luka,” Calixta said again, her voice unsure, almost nervous. It no longer contained the steel and bite she had threatened me with, which made me wonder who the boy was.

He leaned on his hands and crossed his legs, all the while keeping his eyes fixed on the night sky. His movements spoke of elegance and control. I’d encountered many people with breeding before, but his took on the air of arrogance and self-assuredness of someone used to getting what he wanted when he wanted it.

I only realized I’d been holding my breath when my lungs protested. I exhaled. My heart sputtered and restarted with a vengeance. Luka tore his gaze away from the stars and settled it on me. I’d expected pitch-black irises, like the other Night Students, but blue ice stared back at me.

“Human,” he whispered.

He reached out, and with a finger, followed an invisible trail down my cheek. I stiffened. His touch, cooler than Demitri’s, caused warm sparks to blossom on my face. He lifted his finger to his lips and licked its tip. He might as well have licked me from the way my body shivered.
Luka’s curious gaze held mine. “Leave us,” he said, but not to me.

“But—” Calixta protested like a spoiled child.

He spoke in a language I hadn’t heard before, remaining calm yet firm. The words had a rolling cadence I couldn’t quite follow, like rumbling thunder in the distance. They contained a harsh sensuality. The consonants were hard and the vowels were long and lilting.

Footsteps retreated behind me.

Luka reached out again.

It took me a minute to realize he wanted to help me up. I hesitated. He smiled. I smiled back timidly and took his hand, completely dazzled. Even with my uniform soaked from melted snow, I didn’t feel cold—all my attention was on him and the way his callused hand felt on mine. Without moving much from his seated position, he helped me stand.

“What’s your name?” he asked. He had a voice like a familiar lullaby. It filled my heart to the brim with comfort.

I swallowed and tried to stop gawking. “Phoenix.”

“The bird that rose from the ashes.” Luka bent his head and kissed the back of my hand. “It’s a pleasure meeting you.”

My cheeks warmed. My head reeled, not knowing what to think. I couldn’t understand why I felt drawn to him. And the strange connection frightened me.

From behind, someone gripped my arms and yanked me away before I could sort out the feelings Luka inspired in me. I found myself behind a towering figure yet again. Recognizing the blue-black silk for hair tied at the nape, relief washed over me. Calixta hadn’t come back to finish me off.
Demitri’s large hand wrapped around my wrist. Unlike the night before, no calm existed in his demeanor. He trembled like a junky in need of a fix. The coiled power in his tense muscles vibrated into me.

“What are you doing here?” Demitri asked.

I didn’t know he’d spoken to me until I saw his expressionless profile. I sighed.


I flinched. The ruthless way he said my name punched all the air out of me. “You owe me answers,” I said with as much bravado as I could muster.

“I owe you nothing.” He glared. “In fact, you owe me your life.”

“I don’t think so.”

Ignoring my indignation, he faced Luka, who’d remained seated on the bench during my exchange with Demitri. “Why is she with you, Luka?”

“I wasn’t going to taste her, if that’s what you’re implying,” Luka said. “Although, she is simply delicious. I wouldn’t mind if you left us alone.”

There it was again. Taste. The word that kept coming up between these Night Students and I was connected to it in an increasingly uncomfortable way. To taste meant to sample, but what? My flesh? They had to be joking because the alternative wasn’t funny.

“The sins of the father …” Demitri left his sentence unfinished.

Luka’s smile shifted into a snarl. “Obey my command.” His chin lifted. “Kneel.”

Demitri’s stance went rigid. His grip tightened around my wrist.

Okay, weird just got weirder. Why would Luka want Demitri to kneel before him? I thought back to Eli and the others bowing to Demitri when he questioned them, but they didn’t kneel. Seriously? Were they all living on a different planet or something?

Kneel.” Luka’s detestable smirk made his features sinister rather than angelic. The real Lucifer: a fallen angel.

Without letting go of my wrist, Demitri knelt down on one knee and bowed his head, his free hand flat at the center of his chest. “Your command has been obeyed,” he said formally.

Luka nodded once.

Demitri stood up and pulled me toward the school without telling me where we were going. Not having the time to thank Luka for saving me from Calixta, I risked a glance back. Luka smiled at me. His smile spoke of whispers, secrets, and promises to be shared on a later date.

~Other Useful Info About Taste~

Author Website:
Twitter: @KateEvangelista
Crescent Moon Press page for Taste:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book Blog Makeover: Passionate Encounters!

Hi guys! Today I am so excited to reveal a whole new book blog makeover from Lea Christine Designs, my all-new blog designing business! My latest makeover was done for the lovely Megan over at Passionate Encounters. Megan was looking for a new design that was both fun and simple, to highlight the content on her site. She decided on my Custom Blog Makeover Package with vector illustration, and we worked on creating an illustration of her reading with her favorite dog-- a pit bull! So here are the before and after pics of Megan's book blog! What do you think??



Megan decided on a color theme that was more muted and neutral with "pops" of color in places, so that the content of her posts could stand out more. We also snazzed-up Passionate Encounters with a grab button, rating system and post signature-- which were all included in the Makeover Package.

Please click on the after-image above to stop on over to Megan's book blog and let her know what you think of her new look!

Aaaand... if you are looking for a brand-new makeover for YOUR book blog, please check out Lea Christine Designs by clicking on the button below! 

Happy Reading Everyone!! :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mean or Honest? Bloggers & Negative Reviews

Hi Guys! It's time for a little personal reflection in Libraryland...
(and yes, that's me making funny faces at the camera)

So, today I was browsing through Goodreads and reading people's reviews for a bunch of different books-- some were for books I liked, and others for ones that I didn't. And as I was reading, I noticed something that seemed to come up again and again-- readers apologizing profusely for giving their honest opinions about a book they did not personally care for.

Now, this really got me thinking, because it bothered me. Why are these lovely readers apologizing again and again for honestly saying what they didn't like about a book? Do they think they are offending someone? Are they afraid of getting bullied by the big-bad Goodreads trolls?? Are they ashamed to admit that they read a book and **gasp!** didn't like it?

I was confused by this phenomenon-- mainly because I have absolutely zero problem with stating quite clearly that I hated a book.

No apologies for being mean.

No blaming myself for not liking it.

No excuses for why I thought it sucked.

I just hated it, plain and simple.

So let me try to explain my way of thinking as a reader and a reviewer of books-- and I know not everyone is going to agree with this and that's totally OK.

Basically, I go into reading books for many different reasons. Sometimes I'll pick something up because the cover caught my eye or the story sounded particularly intriguing. Other times-- I won't lie-- I start a book because it got tons of ranting and negative feedback and I have to see if the thing is really as big of a train-wreck as everyone says it is. In some cases, I'll absolutely love a book I started out thinking I might not like. Take Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick for example-- I LOVED it! And other times I go into a book with the best of intentions and I just can't stand it-- The Replacement by Brenna Yavanoff would be a good instance. One star all the way, baby.

But does that make me a horrible reviewer-- just because I gave the Dreaded One Star and made my point very clear as to why I gave that rating?

I really don't think so. Not only am I giving honest feedback on how I felt about a book-- which is informative to other readers-- but in a lot of cases I almost feel like I'm still promoting that book with the negative review because so many readers think like me--> WOW, it sucked THAT bad?!? I have to go check this one out and see for myself!

So, there ya go. I get to rant, and the book gets more publicity than if I'd meekly watered down my opinions and merely stated "it just wasn't for me guys, SORRY, don't be mad, I'm not trying to be mean..."

In fact, I should probably point out yet another phenomenon here-- which is that my MOST POPULAR reviews on Goodreads and my blog are not for books I loved and raved about but rather-- you guessed it!-- for those 1 and 2-star reviews where I really got on my soapbox and ranted my little heart out. Which leads me to believe that people do appreciate honesty and find those kinds of reviews to be both heartfelt and interesting.

Now, let me also state that there is a BIG difference between giving legitimate reasons for not liking a book-- even ranting a bit-- and then totally abusing and otherwise trashing a book or author. Ranting I can deal with, if the reasons for doing so are backed up, but it is never OK in my opinion to trash someone or their hard work just for the heck of it. I do rant at times, but I don't think it's unprofessional, because a.) I always explain WHY I'm ranting, and b.) I would never tell someone NOT to read a book just because I personally didn't like it.

And here's another thing-- are you one of those people who doesn't thoroughly trust the reviews of people who give 4 and 5 star reviews for everything?? I know I am - because I just can't relate to it. If you totally love every single book you read, well that's great, but I don't, so your reviews probably aren't going to be that helpful to me, because I have no frame of reference for how you're judging your books, other than hey, you fall head over heels for every single one. I gain much more insight into a reader's thoughts once I've read BOTH their negative and positive reviews.

Finally, I always have my Review Policy to fall back on, just in the in-case that someone has a serious issue with what I have to say on my blog or any other public platform where I voice my opinions:

"LC's Adventures in Libraryland reviews books within the Young Adult Fiction genre. I freely choose the books that I review based on whether or not I think they will interest me and be enjoyable to my readers. As I'm sure you can tell, reading is a great passion of mine, and I have no reservations about stating my personal thoughts and opinions about the books that I read. I DO NOT pass over a review simply because I did not like a particular book: I follow my rating system and will post both positive and negative reviews.

Also, just because I may not personally like a book does not mean it's a "bad book." Everyone likes their own thing, so even if I seem particularly "harsh" about a book, I want to emphasize it is just my personal opinion. I would encourage everyone to read the books I review-- positive or negative-- and judge for themselves whether it was good or not. That is the whole point of blogging reviews for books, after all!"

I guess my final word is this: You as a reader should never have to apologize for not liking a book. It is perfectly OK to state why you didn't like something you read, and that's not being mean, that's being honest. In fact, your negative review of a book is just as worthy of respect and consideration as the next person who couldn't stop gushing about it. I actually consider it my responsibility to my followers and fellow readers to be as honest as possible, and I think I'd be doing them and myself a disservice if I wasn't perfectly honest about my likes AND dislikes as a reader. Furthermore, all authors should know that when they are published, they are putting their work out there to be seen and judged by the public-- that is the very nature of being published. If an author is not OK with receiving BOTH positive and negative feedback, then I'm sorry, but they are in the wrong profession. I am not an author, I am not published, and I give credit to each and every writer who is. That takes hard work and guts to put yourself out there. But just as it is their right to speak their minds and put their honest words out there, it is our right to do the same!

So in honor of the books I couldn't stand, I'm leaving you with a fun feature: A showcase of the very best of the worst on my blog! Here are the books I ranted on and on about-- but you know what? I remember every single one, and I had so much fun sharing my thoughts about them. Also, in no way did I think reading and reviewing these books was a waste of time-- each one gave me the opportunity to express my opinions and hone my abilities to analyze and critique works of fiction-- and to me, that makes reading even a crappy book worth it.

But don't take my word for it, go out and read them yourself! In fact, I guarantee that after reading some of these negative reviews, a couple of you are going to bump these up on your lists to read next, because you have to see for yourselves if they really, truly are as bad as I thought they were.

And honestly? I seriously hope that you do-- because I'd love to hear what you think about them too! :)

~LC's Best of the Worst~
Click on the cover to go to the review!

 Of all the books I've read and reviewed on my blog, this is probably the one that I take the most issue with-- want to know why? Click on the cover to find out!

I was so dedicated to explaining why I couldn't stand this one, that I even included cartoons to illustrate my dislike!

The totally creep-tastic cover did not save this book for me-- like, at all. Couldn't stand it. Click the cover to find out why...

Holy crap, this one was a serious train-wreck for me-- beginning to end!

Ah, yes-- the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. I love it and hate it at the same time. Impossible you say? Read my reviews for all 3! :)

Pretty, empty words with a zero-action plot and no character motivation was my main beef with the second book in the Matched trilogy. It was beyond boring-- and that's me being totally honest.

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