Friday, July 23, 2010

New Layout!

So...I know this is a lot of posts for one day...but I felt that it was necessary to share this bit of information.

In case you didn't notice... THE BLOG HAS A NEW LAYOUT!

I thought this one was pretty :) I'd love to know what you guys think. I'm currently working on the header. Not a big fan of the title among other things...hopefully I can get that fixed. Anyway, yeah. Lemme know what y'all think. I like it, personally.

The Book Blogger Hop! (1)

Oh my gosh! FINALLY I've become a part of the...

Book Blogger Hop

Yaay! For all you book bloggers out there who have yet to "hop" on over to the Book Blogger Hop at Crazy-For-Books.com... What are you waiting for?! Go do it! It's a great way to pick up a few more followers, which we all know we love. So...yep, now I'm on that list myself. And y'all need to join me.

Well each week (beginning on Friday), the Book Blogger Hop begins. Each Hop, there's a question every participant needs to answer. This week's question is...


Heheh...ok, I just did this one in the las post I did, my Weekend Wrap-up (which, by the way, I just realized interferes with the Hop; therefore, for the weeks to come, I'll probably just stick em together), so...I'll do it again! Currently I'm reading the book A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn. From reading the back cover, the book looks plenty promising, and I sure hope it turns out to be that way. I'm not real far into the book (maybe 2 or 3 chapters) so...I don't have too strong an opinion of it. But, we'll see!

So there's this week's question. Like I said, go enter yourself on that list if you haven't already. Oh! And if you're a new visitor hoppin' on over from the Hop, DO THESE TWO THINGS, DUUDEE.

1) Lemme know you're from the Hop by writing a comment down below, and...
2) Go over to your right and press the "Follow" button! Simple as that!

Thanks guys. You rock. You make this worth it :)

New! - Weekend Wrap-up

Hey there, all my fabulous awesome wonderful readers...Today I'm going to try something totally brand new! I've never seen it anywhere else, so maybe I can get to start my very own personal weekly meme! So here's how this one works. It's called Weekend Wrap-up, and basically what you do is bring the past week to a close by summarizing primarily what you blogged about (the reviews you did, mostly), what you're currently reading and what you think of it so far, and also whatever it is you want to talk about. Then, you tell your readers about a blog you recently discovered that you'd like to share with everyone else. Feel free to participate if you would like to.

Well, here's my week. This week began on Sunday the 18th. And on the 20th, Tuesday, I celebrated my one-week blogoversary!! Wooo!! This calls for some celebratory balloons:

Just like those :)

Ok, well, so for that special occasion I did a little list of the things I've learned about blogging, which you can check out here. That just has a bunch of fun stuff on it that I felt necessary to tell ya'll. Including the fact that I can't spell "nightstand" right, and that when I really love a book, my review of it makes no sense. So that's a fun post which you cn go ahead and check out if you want a break from my boring-ness.

Also this week I did two reviews of some awesome books.

I reviewed a fabulous book called A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. It's a fantasy book that takes place in a boarding school in Victorian England in the 1800's. That one got great reviews from me and recieved a grade "A".

You can check out that review here.

I also reviewed a book I truly am in love with called Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson. That was kind of a spur-of-the-moment review since I first read the book a little while ago. But I recently purchased it, so I figured it was necessary to crack it open again and do a review of it. In my opinion, it's a highly overlooked book by Laurie Halse Anderson because Speak and Wintergirls and other more popular books overshadow it.

You can read more of that at this link.

Currently, I am finally reading the book I featured in my "In My Mailbox" post, A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn. So far so good. I'm not real far into it (maybe 3 chapters or something). But so far, it's been a decent re-write of the classic Sleeping Beauty story. I mean, it's not been terribly fascinating, but I have a feeling the book's not going to hit the "funny part" the back of the book reveals until we meet the male main character (whom we haven't yet been introduced to). So, I'm certainly holding out a lot of hope for this one. A review will be up when it's finished.

And that's about it for my weekly summary. Now for the fun part :) 

This past week, I discovered a new blog via a website with tips for book bloggers. She posted on there and I got curious and visited her blog. Well, turns out the blog's less than a month old. I wandered around and read some posts there. The blog is adorable and it looks incredibly promising. So far she's built up her followers well; at the time of this post she had 34 (but I'm thinking she may gain a few now). So I'd like to introduce you all to...

Her blog address is elenasbookcafe.blogspot.com. So far, content is great and the layout, I must say, is adorable. I'm glad to have found her and begun following her, and I hope you guys all will agree with me. Elena, congratulations and welcome to the blogosphere :)  We wish you best of luck.

Well that's about it! I definitely enjoyed doing that today! I can totally say we're gonna be doing that eeeveeryy Friday from now on. I hope some of you guys will hop on the train! :)
Love you guys :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson : A

Title: Twisted
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Realistic Fiction (YA)
Publication: 2007 by Viking Juvenile
Pages: 256
Ages: 13+
Grade: A

(From goodreads.com)
High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background - average student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn't believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his fathers boss's daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy and Tyler's secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world.
In Twisted, the acclaimed Laurie Halse Anderson tackles a very controversial subject: what it means to be a man today. Fans and new readers alike will be captured by Tyler's pitch perfect, funny voice, the surprising narrative arc, and the thoughtful moral dilemmas that are at the heart of all of the authors award-winning, widely read work.

General: I've already said that Laurie Halse Anderson is one of my very most favorite authors. And I must say, I absolutely love this book. It has to be one of my favorites by her, certainly tied with Speak in my mind. To me, this novel is one of her best novels, and her most overlooked novel. So although I read it a little while ago, I'm picking it up again so I can write a review and bring people's attention to this astounding book.

Twisted is a book about a boy forced all too quickly to become a man. This is the first book that Laurie Halse Anderson has done with a male main character. All the LHA books I've read have been in the first person, and to me, they have all been a truly realistic and powerfully accurate voice. This has not changed with Twisted, surprisingly enough. Although LHA, obviously a female, was daring enough to take on a male main character, not an ounce has been sacrificed of her true voice. And I'm glad.

Like many of her books, Twisted is not an effortless easy read. It's painful and it's raw. The main character, Tyler, was recently busted for graffiti at his high school. He's been forced to do community service during the summer. Suddenly, his reputation has changed drastically. Some are horrified by what he's done, and they certainly let him know that, such as his parents. Some, however, think he's just about the coolest dude in school, including Bethany, the hottest chick at school, also the daughter of Tyler's father's boss. All too soon, Tyler finds himself in a bind. And it gets tighter and tighter until he has no way of knowing what to do anymore.

Like I said...I'm a little bit in love with this book. It really spoke to me and I loved every second of it. It's powerful. I took it out of the library and when I finished it, I instantly decided I wanted my own copy. So now I'm the proud owner of one of the best books I've read in a long time.

Plot: I feel like I'm rambling. But I love this book. I have no complaints about the plot of this book. I loved the way you could watch and feel Tyler's hope build up about his relationship with Bethany, and could glimpse his hope spiraling downward faster and faster. I could feel his pain as his home life fell apart, and his relationship with his parents, particularly his father, shattered. As the reader, you have the opportunity to sit there with the book in your hands and feel yourself becoming one of Tyler's best friends. You just have to wonder while you watch him struggle...will he make it in the end? Will he fight? Or give in?

Characters: Tyler is a very likeable character. He's likeable, and easy to get to know. He's a well-rounded, well-written character. It's impressive.

Other characters in the novel are not quite as likeable. But good characters or not, all of the members of the story are full and real and there's not much else I can say about that.

Like I said, the relationships are easy to follow, and very delicate. Relationships are built, are broken, are shattered beyond repair. And it just makes me love Laurie Halse Anderson all the more. She's so great.

Overall, this book is amazing. It's real. It's raw. It's painful. It's powerful. And for some, it may even be life-changing. I do truly feel like this book is overlooked, as it rests in the shadow of Speak, Wintergirls, and other more popular books by Laurie Halse Anderson. I hope this review can bring it to others' attention so some people can grow to love it like I do.


Plot: 20/20
Characters: 18/20
Ending: 18/20
Cover: 18/20
Style: 20/20
Overall: 94/10

Grade: A

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray : A

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Publication: 2003 by Random House
Pages: 416
Ages: 13+
Grade: A

(From bn.com)
"It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?"

General: This book is sorta a new kind of book for this blog. So far, all the books have been YA realistic fiction. A Great and Terrible Beauty is a fantasy book. A fabulous, “curl-up-under-the-covers kind of book”. I used to be the kind of person who was obsessed with fantasy because of the places they can take you, and the way they have of making you feel like you can just about fly. But I guess my tastes changed and I began to read more of the conventional, realistic fiction books that stayed closer to home.

But talk about a book that can take you places. This book is absolutely unforgettable. While reading it, I visited places I only dreamed of. I met people I never thought I’d get to meet in a novel. I thought about things I’ve never had in my mind before. And I’m NOT being dramatic.

Plot: This is a definitely not a book I have to drone about having started slow. No, the action picked up pretty much right away. And it KEPT GOING. As soon as the initial tragedy occurs with the main character, Gemma’s, mother, the plot hastens along at an astonishing speed. I can hardly even begin to describe the plot. One thing came right after the other. As one mystery began to unfold, a whole new level was introduced; one you could never imagine, and certainly didn’t see coming. For me, just when I thought I finally knew what was going to happen, the plot took another sharp turn into the realm of the unknown.

Unique? Please. Don’t even make me answer that. I opened up this book and thought to myself, “Oh, girl’s mother dies, said girl goes to boarding school, blahblahblah boringboring.” And…now I laugh to think I thought such a thing about this book. ‘Nuff said.

Characters: Amazing characters. That’s all there is to it. Gemma is as real a character as any tangible person in real life. She feels like a living, breathing human. Her friends and those who aren’t so friendly, all of whom go to the same boarding school as she does, are just as real, and perhaps even more entertaining. Gemma’s relationship with the group of the most popular girls in school is a roller coaster. Up and down, up and down. To watch their friendship blossom was…awesome. It was so cute, and joyful and just…aahh.

Really, I had no problems with what Libba Bray did with her characters. There were a ton of surprises she introduced with her characters, and many turned out not to be who we thought they were. But I was totally okay with it; it seemed to roll real well. Overall, the characters were presented very well. Very real, easy to picture in my mind, not the least bit predictable or cliché. Fabulous.

Overall, I loved A Great and Terrible Beauty. The book was mysterious, sad, joyful, dark, suspenseful, and anything else you can think of. Amazingly enough, the novel was shockingly deep. It totally made me think. Each character was going through their own crisis, experiencing very real pain. Some lessons they learned and things they thought and said really provoked some thought on a deeper level. And I truly admire a book and its author when it can make me do that. All in all, the novel kept me absolutely sucked in. I remember tons of times when I had to work with a time limit on my reading and I was beyond frustrated when I had to close the book because I wanted to read just one more chapter to find out what would happen. I just wanted to read and read and read. After this book comes another one, Rebel Angels. I can’t wait to hurry up and get that one so I can find out the rest of the story!


Plot: 20/20
Characters: 18/20
Ending: 18/20
Cover: 18/20
Style: 18/20
Overall: 92/100

Grade: A

Waiting On Wednesday (2)

Woo! Here we go with another Waiting On Wednesday post! This spectacular meme was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Anyone can participate. Basically, all you have to do is choose a book that's coming out in the next few months that you're uber excited about! So here's mine.

By Jennifer Donnelly
Release date: October 12th, 2010

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.
I mean, dude. How good does THAT sound?! I'm majorly excited about this one. I might just pre-order it. Can't wait for it to come out!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One Week Blogoversary!

Oh my gosh I just realized today is my One Week blogoversary of From My Nightstand! This deserves a post of its own!

So...I'll post 10 random things I've learned.

1. I CANNOT for the LIFE of me type "nightstand" right the first time. EVER. I always type "nighstand" and leave out the first "t". I fail.

2. I officially love Twitter. I think Twitter has primarily gained most of the followers I have now. Twitter, I salute you and I freakin' love you.

3. It is as important to read and comment on other people's blogs as it is to work on your own. I've read that on other things around the web, and in just a week, it's been proven true to me. I love getting comments, so I should return the favor. Also, following other people's blogs helps me learn how to blog better myself.

4. I LOVE COMMENTS. Oh my gosh. I love when people post comments on my blog posts. I see the little "1 Comment" button and I'm like, "ohemgeee!" and I frantically click on it. (so keep posting comments)

5. I'm a little obsessed with those weekly memes people do. They're just way too fun. 'Nuff said.

6. I get a little too excited about new posts. Ok, so this one...ohmy. So tomorrow's wednesday, right? I've already written and saved a draft of my Waiting On Wednesday post. I do this for pretty much every post I have. I do things in advance because I get a little over-excited.

7. I'm a horrible typer. These things take me forever to publish because I keep on having to frantically hit the backspace. Like I said, I get excited, and I type way too fast and make way too many mistakes.

8. The more I love a book, the more jumbled my review is. I get waaay excited and just ramble on and on and on about things that make no sense. I gotta work on that in the future.

9. I find myself thinking about books differently when I blog about them. I try just a little harder to put some variety in my reading. I explore more genres. I open my mind to new stuff.


By the way, since I already wrote my WOW post, I wanna just let y'all know about another book I'm waiting on.

Just a little book called Fallout by Ellen Hopkins. I loved her other books called Crank and Glass. She's written others, also, but this is part of a series based on her own daughter's experience with crystal meth. They're powerful books, written in verse. I'm excited for this one. I read the preview in the back of my copy of the second book which I bought and read just two or three weeks ago. Great books. I believe this one is in the point-of-view of her son. So...excitement!

So anyway, I'm outta here. Just wanted to do something fun for my one-week anniversary. Gosh, I'm such a blogging baby! I'm still young yet, huh? But I'm absolutely loving it. I can see me doing this for a long time. I just love it. I can't describe the feeling. But it's wonderful. And fun. SO fun :)

Teaser Tuesday (2) : A Great and Terrible Beauty

Hey guys! Today IS Tuesday, and you know what that means!! Time for my second Teaser Tuesday post EVER! This is a meme that everyone can participate in if they would like. It was started by MizB over at Should Be Reading. Check out that link if you wanna read a sweet book blog.

So! This week I've been working on reading a book called A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. It's an excellent fantasy read about romance, friendship, loss, and, of course, magic and powers and fun stuff like that. Of course, as soon as I finish it, I'll be posting a review. So. If you're interested, be on the lookout for that. So that said, let's get to the teaser!

"I come to with a snap and for a moment, with the sun glinting off the water in sharp peaks, I'm not sure where I am. I do know that my heart is hammering away in my chest."

I love this book. I love this part. I love this author. AND I LOVE THIS TEASER! I think this choice really gives meaning to the word "teaser". What a tease it is, huh? :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In My Mailbox (1)

Today I decided to try a little meme started over at The Story Siren. Each week, on Sunday, we post what books we have acquired during the week via the library, the bookstore, the mailbox, or any other methods. Feel free to participate. I can't promise that I'll have something every single week... First of all, I'm not that rich. Second of all, I can't always get to the library. So when I have stuff to show, I'll do so. :) So here's this week's! (A week I actually got to go to the library!)

From the Library (to name a few of the books I checked out)

 A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

From the summary: "I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind. I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen. Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak! Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?"

This book looks cute and hilarious. I can't wait to read it!
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Summary from Goodreads: "A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel."
Sounds good, right? I've heard of this author, Libba Bray, but I haven't heard anything about this particular book. It looks good to me, but I'm not sure what exactly to expect. I'll definitely have a review up here about this one.
 Waves by Sharon Dogar

Loooong summary from FantasticFiction: "For fourteen year old Hal Ditton, summer has always meant a glorious six weeks of sun, sand and surf at his family's favourite spot in Cornwall. This year, though, the summer is slipping away fast. Trapped in Oxford with his 'half-dead' sister, Charley, lying in a coma, Hal dreams of escaping to the coast. But when his troubled family makes the difficult decision to leave Charley in the ward and head for Cornwall without her, Hal finds it harder than anyone to shake off his big sister's presence. Even as he eases himself into the lazy stay, Hal's mind is crowded with thoughts of Charley, and the events that led to her terrible injury... thoughts that are not entirely his own.

What is the power that lets Hal share the memories of his shattered sister? And will their strange encounter lead him to the dark truth about Charley's 'accident'? Veined with mystery and tinged with supernature, WAVES is a coming-of-age story about first love and first loss. About a family drowning in their woes and the remarkable boy fighting against the tide to save them."

That's a long summary. But I wanted to put one in that did the book justice. So that sounds pretty good. It sounds like a good mystery setup. I'm excited to read this one!


Those are just a few of the books I took out. Hopefully all of those will at some point have review up on here. Others may, as well. I just thought these three were good ones to put in my IMM post.

Oh! And also! Next Sunday will probably be a good day for IMM because I'm currently on vacation as I sit here in the breeze, typing, and just a few minutes' bike ride from where we're staying is a fabulous little bookstore. I have a feeling that a whooolee lot of my money is going to be spent in that store. But I think we can all agree it'll be well worth it.


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