Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop

Contests, Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!

Once again, I’ve decided to partake in another hop. This time around I am participating in the Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy over at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Jinky over at Jinky is Reading. Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the hop and the giveaway, I just want to say THANK YOU to both Kathy and Jinky for hosting such a great hop!

Now, onto the giveaway!

This time around I am giving away three prize packs! And they are:

Prize Pack #1:

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An ARC (advanced Readers Copy) of My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman, a homemade corner page bookmark, a beaded stretch bracelet, and a bottle of nail polish that matches the book’s cover.

Prize Pack# 2:

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Paperback copy of Girl by Blake Nelson, a homemade corner page bookmark, a red beaded stretch bracelet, and a bottle of nail polish that matches the book’s cover.

Prize Pack # 3:

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An ARC of Tales From My Closet by Jennifer Anne Moses, a homemade corner page bookmark, a pink beaded stretch bracelet, and a bottle of nail polish that matches the book’s cover.

The Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop is open from February 28th, 2014 at 12:01 a.m. and will run until March 7th, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. . Giveaway is open to US residents only, ages thirteen (13) and up.

To enter, simply leave a comment on THIS blog post telling me what’s book you are most excited to read in 2014. Feel free to also mention which prize pack you would like to win. When commenting please make sure to leave a valid e-mail address.

Winners will be contacted by e-mail on March 8th, and will have forty-eight (48) hours to respond to e-mail with mailing/shipping information. If response is not received by March 10th, 2014 I will have to select a new winner.

Don’t forget to stop by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer to see what other blogs are participating in this hop!

Good Luck, and Happy Hopping!

Once again, I’ve decided to partake in one of I Am A Reader, Not a Writer’s great hops. This time around I am participating in the Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop, hosted

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind

Booklists, Food For Thought, Random, Top Ten Tuesday

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(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broken and The Bookish. The above photo was taken and altered by me for the purpose of Top Ten Tuesday posts. Please do not take without permission.)

Hello Readers!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (try saying that three times fast ha ha) is an interesting one. For todays post I get to pick a Top Ten Tuesday topic that I want to red0 or one I may have missed. Since Top Ten Tuesday posts are relatively new posts here on The BookBandit Blog I figured I would post about a Top Ten Tuesday topic I haven’t posted about to day. And that topic is: The Top Ten Books I Will Never Read.

Before jumping into the post I just want to preface it with this: this list is not intended to hurt or offend anyone, especially the authors and the fans of the books in the list. I am certain that all the books I’m posting about today are great books, but they are books that just are not for me, books I feel will never be for me for whatever reason.

10. Any of Cassandra Clare’s books. I’ve met Cassandra Clare, and seen her at some book events. I think she’s a total rock star. I’ve picked up City of Bones several times. I read several pages over and over, and I just…can’t…get…into…it.

9. The Hobbit by J.R. R. Tolkien – I never had the desire to pick up The Hobbit. Even with the newly released movie adaptions, I still have no desire to. And I especially have no desire to see the movies either for that matter.

8. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier – At one point I owned this book (no I didn’t buy it, I promise you I didn’t.) I tried reading it, and again just couldn’t get into it. The cover is beautiful, and I like the premise of the book, but no.

7. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne – I read this very early on in high school. To say the least, I hated this book. I thought I just didn’t like it because I was young and forced to read it. I read it again, on my own choosing while in college, and I still hated it. I will never … ever! read The Scarlet Letter again.

6. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – I really enjoyed this movie. It was fun, and I had the chance to travel the world without leaving the comforts of my hometown movie theater. Because this is a work of nonfiction, and I’m generally not a nonfiction reader, I have a harder time than most reading nonfiction titles.

5. Anything by Danielle Steel – this woman has written about a zillion books, but yet I have no desires to read even one of her books. While I’m certain that her books are great, and that the writing is great, I don’t enjoy the kind of stories she writes.

4.Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler – I love Lemony Snicket. I love Daniel Handler as Lemony Snicket. I love the persona, and the books. But I found out when I started but ultimately could not finish Why We Broke Up that Handler is better as Snicket.

3. All of the Harry Potter Series (except book 1) by J.K. Rowling – I’m waving my white flag. I surrender. And it’s time to admit I probably will not read the rest of the series. Maybe one day, but honestly not any time soon.

2. Anything by Stephanie Meyer – I admit I jumped on the Twilight bandwagon, gobbling up all the books within weeks of each other. And I admit that I was captured by the storyline (however, not the writer). But after the whole Bree Tanner novella, I was done. Not because of the writing, or the storyline, but because I honestly feel that everything Meyer will write from this point forward will always revolve around Twilight. I’ve read the entire series, for what it was I enjoyed it, but now I’m over it.

1. Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy by E.L. James – plain and simple: just not my cup of tea.

Austenland

Reviews

Austenland by Shannon Hale

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Jane Hayes is a thirty-something year old harboring a deep, not so dark secret. A secret, that if found out, would turn her several shades of red. A secret that no one, from the outside looking in, can possibly guess.
Unless you’re Jane’s Great Aunt Carolyn.
After one very awkward lunch with her mother and her detail oriented great-aunt, Jane’s secret is embarrassingly uncovered. Jane’s obsessed with Mr. Darcy and the idea that every man should possess those irresistible Darcy-esque qualities. But she isn’t obsessed with any old Mr. Darcy. No! Jane finds herself pining for and fantasizing about Colin Firth’s portrayal of Austen’s famed male character.
But when Great Aunt Carolyn dies just a few short weeks after their awkward lunch, Jane finds out that Great Aunt Carolyn has left her an all expense paid vacation to Pembrook Park – a place where Jane will get to live out her Austen/Mr. Darcy fantasies alongside other Austen-obsessed folk.
But will she find her Mr. Darcy?
Austenland, written by famed young adult author Shannon Hale, is a quirky realistic read, that will leave readers laughing and hopeful that their own Mr. Darcy fantasies will come true.
I haven’t read many of Hale’s books. I’ve only read two, and like those Austenland is exceptionally written. It’s descriptive. Hale immerses, not only her characters, but also her readers into this Austen inspired world.  Reader will not have a hard time imagining the Regency Era life, they will not have a hard time imagining the emotions that Jane experienced, they will not have a hard time imagining the heated romance blooming.
What makes Austenland such a well written book isn’t just the words on the page. It’s the fact that Hale nailed the language, and seamlessly wove the language of today with the language of yesterday. This lends to the authentic feel, and makes Austenland even more believable.
But the writing isn’t the only thing that makes this quirky book a real hit. Hale’s cast of characters breathe life and laughter into this novel. Especially leading lady Jane, who seems like any other normal thirty-something year old who just happens to be looking for love in all the wrong places. Reality is, Jane is far from normal (and that’s meant in the best way possible!). She’s obsessed, not only with a fictional character but the idea that every man should embody the traits of this fictional man.
Not only obsessed, but Jane is real. And as if that wasn’t enough for a main character she is relatable. Especially to us thirty-something year old girls who are still trying to find themselves in this crazy, fast-paced world.  What makes her so relatable are her flaws. Jane isn’t afraid to make mistakes, nor is she afraid to laugh at herself and some of the ridiculous situations she finds herself in. And those situations … completely ridiculous but laugh out loud funny.
Yes, Austenland is full of great writing and characters that fit perfectly into this vivid plot. But reading this, something felt off. At first I couldn’t put my finger on it, but as I read on I found that the pacing was off. There were moments that were full of fast paced excitements. But where were even more moments that slogged by, unfortunately dragging the book down a bit. For me, personally, the third person narration really caused this pacing issue.
Even though the pacing was off, it wasn’t enough to make this book a bad read. In fact, I really enjoyed Austenland. It was a fun romp into Austen’s Regency – era life. This short read will not only capture reader’s attention, but ultimately their hearts.

I Wish I Was a Speed Reader

Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!

While scrolling through my Twitter feed last week I came across a former grad school teacher’s post about an article from The Guardian which talks about how if you read a total of 926 words a minute, you can read War and Peace in less than twenty-four hours. This blog entry also links to an online test to see how fast you read.

Even though I do not want to see the Lego Movie, I do think Lego’s are cool!

As readers there are plenty of books I’ve read and loved that other readers simply did not. I consider these books that unsung heroes of the book world. Recently, author John Green vlogged about the 18 great books that most readers probably have not read.

We all have book crushes. So what does your book crush say about you?

After a long hard day at work, I log onto Facebook to find this posted on my wall from my bestie! She knows me so well! We librarians are chameleons.

I recently finished Austenland by Shannon Hale. I enjoy it, but will no diverge any further feelings as I will be reviewing it soon. I felt that this BuzzFeed quiz is a great follow-up to such a read. If you’re curious, according to this quiz I am Anne Elliot — “Kind-hearted and smart, you enjoy helping others and thrive under pressure. You can appear reserved, but aren’t afraid to speak you mind. You’re incredibly loyal to the people you love and are an all-round awesome person.”

Of all the movies I saw last year, Frozen was definitely one of my most favorite movies. The animation was spectacular. The music astounding. Since the movies release there’s been a lot of covers, but this Africanized Tribal Version is great!

I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who buys pursed based upon whether a not can fit a book (or two) in there.

My bff Miss Print is hosting a great giveaway. Head over to her blog to win a copy of The Winner’s Curse.

 

Anything to Have You

Reviews

Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison (review copy provided by NetGalley)

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Natalie and Brooke have been best friends their whole lives. Brooke was there when Natalie’s mom walked out, and Natalie was there when one guy or another broke Brooke’s heart. But as senior year approaches they soon find themselves slowly drifting in opposite directions.
Natalie doesn’t understand Brooke’s constant need to party and be the center of attention, especially when she already has the attention of Aiden, her long-term boyfriend and the guy Natalie has been secretly pining away for.  But Brooke isn’t any more understanding of Natalie’s spinster like lifestyle either. Come on, how can drinking hot cocoa and watching old movies be fun.
So when the most eligible senior throws what’s bound to be the party of the year, Brooke practically forces Natalie out of her shell and into the party. But she doesn’t force Natalie to drink. She doesn’t force Natalie to flirt uncontrollably with boyfriend Aiden. And she certainly doesn’t force her best friend to sleep with someone that night.
The next morning, dazed and confused, Natalie wakes up sore in all the wrong places with no recollection. She has no idea of what she did, or who she did it with. But Aiden, Brooke’s boyfriend knows, and he seems to be having trouble forgetting the whole unforgettable night.
Natalie realizes that what she did, with whomever she did it with, was wrong. But what she doesn’t realize is that one drunken mistake can change everything, her life and even her friendship with Brooke.
Can Natalie fix it? And if so, will Brooke forgive her?

Anything To Have You, written by author Paige Harbison, is a realistic read that closely examines the ins and outs of friendships, relationships, and everything in between.

Harbison’s writing, like her characters, are open and honest. The dialog isn’t only sharp, but it’s reminiscent of how today’s teens speak.   Her tone is conversational, and often light. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t substance.Anything To Have You deals with some serious, hard-hitting issues. Issues like teenage drinking, promiscuity, life beyond high school are all handled realistically and with authority.

As mentioned before Harbison’s characters are open and honest characters. They are flawed, dimensional, relatable, and above all else realistically authentic. Readers will easily identify as a Natalie or a Brooke, or a combination of the two. Beyond that Anything to have you is the kind of book that readers will find themselves rooting for not just one main character, but both of them.

Going into Harbison’s Anything To Have You, I honestly thought I had it all figured out. Girl meets boy, girls best friend steals boy. But that wasn’t the case. There were plot points that I just didn’t see coming.

There’s a lot to enjoy about Anything To Have You. For instance, the book is told not just from one perspective, but both Natalie and Brooke’s perspective gaining a better understanding of both characters. But there is one aspect that I didn’t enjoy. The ending felt a bit too rushed and a bit to tidy.

If you’re looking for a read that is quick, honest, and realistic, Anything To Have You is the book for you!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Swoon

Booklists, Food For Thought, Random, Top Ten Tuesday

securedownload(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. The above photo was taken by and altered by me for the purposes of these posts. Please do not take it without permission.)

Hello Readers!

It’s Top Ten Tuesday time, and I’m really excited about this post! Today I will be posting the top ten books that  I feel will make you, as readers, swoon! But not just swoon because of the romantic qualities of the book, but because the book as a whole is so awesome, you can’t help but fall in love with it.

1. Anna & The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: this is quite possibly the quintessential romance novel with quite possibly the most swoon-worthy male lead character.

2. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: Oliver’s British accent.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: now only is Rowell’s writing top-notch, but how Levi courted Cath was too.

4. So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti: Really, any one of Colasanti’s books could and should be on this list. But this one by far is my favorite, and made me swoon the most. I think it was because of the NYC setting which made it feel magical and fast paced – two aspects that capture the feeling of love.

5. The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron: Lane … just Lane.

6.  Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley: This book drips Southern charm. And the blossoming romance is so sweet it will make your teeth hurt.

7. Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: Yes, Lola and Cricket made an adorable couple. But what makes this book so super swoon-worthy are Lola’s fathers. The way they love each other and their daughter is awesome!

8. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly: The writing that fills the pages of this book is stellar. The way that two seemingly unconnected stories are woven together to make one story is fabulous. Beyond that, this book will make reader’s heart break and swell simultaneously.

9. The Diviners by Libba Bray: Yes, this seems like an odd book to be on such a list. But trust me! I swooned all over the place while reading this! I love how, through Bray’s powerful imagery, I was transported into the roaring twenties! I was transported to a different time and place and was able to fully understand the mindset of those who lived and breathed in that era.

10. Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison: I didn’t fully enjoy this retelling of Tristan and Isolde. But there’s a reason why this book is on this list: the cover! So pretty!

Romance Is In The Air (Giveaway)

Contests, Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!

How are you? Well, I hope. And I hope you are ready for another hop! I’m participating in the Romance Is In The Air hop hosted by Kathy over at I Am A Reader, Not a Writer and Rachael over at Rachael Anderson. I just want to say THANKS to the both of them for hosting a fantastic hop and a fantastic chance to give away some great prizes.

So readers, you’re wondering what I’m giving away, aren’t you? Well, let me tell you.

This time I’m giving away one prize  to one very lucky winner.

Up for grabs is a signed, hardcover copy of The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal. Along with that I’ll also toss in some bookmarks and other bookish swag!

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This giveaway is open to all U.S. residents ages 13 years or older. Giveaway is open from 12:01 am February 8th and will run until 11:59 pm February 14th.

To enter simply comment on THIS post only telling me what your favorite romance novel is. In case you are wondering mine is … anything by Stephanie Perkins. When commenting please remember to leave a valid e-mail address.

One winner would be selected by random number generator and will be contacted via e-mail on February 15th. Winner will have two days, until February 17th to respond to e-mail with mailing information.

I’m not the only blog participating in this Giveaway Hop. In fact there are a ton of other great blogs participating giving away some great prizes as well. You should really check them all out, and enter as well!

Good Luck and Happy Hopping!

Free Books!

Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!

I’m a book lover, there’s no secret there. I love reading, shopping for, and even collecting books. But the thing is, I have a few books too many. In order for me to make room for some new books, I need to unload some old ones. Books that I’ve read and loved, books I just know I’ll never get around to, and even books I didn’t love. What I’m saying is this: free books to whoever wants them.

These are the books I’m looking to find new homes for:

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Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau (ARC)

Jerk California by Jonathan Friesen (Paperback)

Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lauren Henderson (Paperback)

The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman (ARC)

Splintered by A. G. Howard by (ARC)

Will by Maria Boyd (ARC)

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi

What We Lost in the Dark by Jacquelyn Mitchard (ARC)

K-On by Kakifly (Paperback – Manga/Graphic Novel)

Road Rash by Mark Huntley Parsons (ARC)

Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelly Coriell (ARC)

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (ARC)

Eventide by Tracy & Laura Hickman (ARC – Signed)

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Paperback)

Skinny by Donna Cooner (ARC)

Not Shown, But Still Up For Grabs:

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley (Hardcover)

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison (Paperback)

Like I said these books are free, but there is one catch. I can’t quite possibly cover all the shipping costs. So if you are willing to cover shipping and there is a book or two you want, please comment on this post and I’ll be in contact with you.

Zip

Reviews

Zip by Ellie Rollins

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Once upon a time Lyssa’s life was near perfect. She didn’t have much, but she had a talented mother who loved her more than anything else in the world, even more than singing. She had a place to call home  with a garden full of sunflowers and a best friend who lived close by. She had witnessed magic – her mother’s magic – with her own eyes.
But that was before. Before her mother got sick. Before her mother and Michael got married. Before her mother died.
Now Lyssa is stuck living in the after. After her mother died, her new stepfather Michaels moves her far from Texas – from her home with the sunflowers, away from Pen her BFF, and away from all those memories her and her mother created together. Now living in rainy Seattle, Lyssa spends her time riding Zip while Michael bikes, and preparing for school.
Before long though Lyssa finds herself plotting her escape. It’s not that she wants to leave Michael or even rainy Seattle, she has to in order to save her former home in Texas before it’s bull-dozed down to the ground. With a few bucks in her pocket and Zip underfoot Lyssa sets out for the adventure of a lifetime.
But will she make in time? Or will all of Lyssa’s dream crumble like the childhood home she shared with her mom.
Zip, written by author Ellie Rollins, is a debut middle grade novel that is based upon Homer’s epic classic The Odyssey. And just like the original it chock full of action, adventure, and a touch of magical realism.
Rollins writing is fun, smart, and above all things strong. Her way with words and with description, not just draws the reader into the story, but makes them feel as if they are a part of it.   To say her descriptions were vivid would be an understatement. Readers will clearly gain of who Lyssa is as a character from the inside out, why her scooter Zip isn’t just a scooter but also a trusted companion, and the importance of a good adventure.
The writing that fills Zip is thoroughly enjoyable. But the only thing that feels off about the book as a whole: the overall pacing. Clocking in at just over three hundred pages, Zip often felt as if it were a six hundred page book. There were moments though that picked up and read like the epic, whirlwind tale of adventure it was supposed to be. But other moments were a bit too sluggish, dragging the whole pacing of the plot downward.
The pacing obviously did not work for me as a reader. To the point where I thought, more than once, I should just put the book down and walk away from it. But something stopped me. And that something was Lyssa. She’s a refreshing character that has a whole lot of spunk and even more heart. A true heroine, Lyssa isn’t afraid to follow her heart, even if her heart leads her into some troubled waters.
Not only is Lyssa a fantastic character, all of Rollins’ characters are. They individually and collectively add an extra layer of depth to this book. And I love how Zip, an inadiment object, felt as if it were a living, breathing character.
Author Rollins has mastered the art of the retelling. She took a classic tale that young readers may have no interest in and made it interesting. Besides making it interesting, she made it her own and told it from a unique perspective.
I did struggle slightly with Zip. But after some thought and reflection I realize now that a big part of the problem for me was the pacing. It felt too slow for such a hearty book. Another part that I struggled with has absolutely nothing to do with the book at all, but rather me as a reader. I have real issues with the whole suspension of belief. Even though the emotions, situations, and problems Lyssa experiences over the course of the book were realistic, I had a hard time believing them because of the magic. Some of it was so over the top, so out of place, it just didn’t work for me.

I’m Fantastic (Mr. Fox)

Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!

I’ve been noticing a ton of people of Facebook taking a bunch of BuzzFeed quizzes. And while some are rather funny, some just seem downright stupid. But there’s one that caught my eye: Which Roald Dahl Character Are You? Yes, I took this quiz and found that I am Fantastic Mr. Fox. I was hoping for Matilda, but I’ll take being fantastic!

It seems that there’s been some uproar in the world of Harry Potter this week. Recently, author J.K. Rowling announced that Ron and Hermione shouldn’t have ended up together. The head strong, wicked smart witch in training should have ended up with Harry himself.

I’ve been busy reading this week, what with one sick day and another snow day (today). Currently I’m reading author Elizabeth Eulberg’s upcoming YA novel Better off Friends. She recently posted on her blog about the creation of her two lead characters Macallan and Levi. You should read it!

No, I haven’t read Divergent (yet!) But I have seen the trailer! Have you?

Last week the official trailer for The Fault in Our Stars movie was released. People, get your tissues ready!

I’m sure everyone has already heard all about this already, but in case you live under a rock, and haven’t heard — the winner’s have been announced! Last week the Printz, Newbery, and Caldecott winners were announced. And sadly, I haven’t read any of the winners 😦

If you’re in the NYC area and you love all things YA than you probably already know about this: The NYC Teen Author Festival. Miss Print and I go every year.