Monday, December 31, 2012

One Year Blogoversary Giveaway Kickoff! (US/CA only)

Ashley Loves Books Turns 1 Today!
(also, Happy New Year!)

When I decided to make a book blog late in 2011, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. I thought I'd get to chat about some books with a few random people, maybe satisfy the writing itch that I'd been having, perhaps find a few buddies on Twitter to discuss some books I was reading. Maybe...if I was lucky.

I am the luckiest woman alive.

I'll save the cheesier posts for later, but for now we suffice to say that I just want to hug EVERYONE in this book blogging community. I have never found more people who are so friendly, accepting and lively. This is like finding a family I never knew I had - except better, because I chose you and you choose me and I can put my phone down and close Twitter when I get huffy that you're Team Jem and not Team Will.

The reflective posts will be sprinkled throughout the month; for now, let's get to the first of FOUR giveaways!

This one is US/Canada ONLY!
Don't worry, Internationals, I'll have one up for you tomorrow :)

The Prizes:
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
all three are some of my favourite 2012 reads, and the authors are some of my favourite ones, too. I've met all of them on multiple occasions and they are each the sweetest, friendliest women.

There will be TWO (2) winners!
Winner #1 will be able to choose which TWO (2) of the three they would like.
Winner #2 will get the remaining ONE (1)!

Have I mentioned all three are signed? Because they are!
Since shipping does get expensive, I'm sorry to say that if Winner #1 is Canadian, Winner #2 must be US. I'm sorry! But here's hoping you will be Canadian Winner #1 ;)

Enter through the rafflecopter below, and all my usual giveaway policy rules apply.
Since this celebrates how much love I've seen over the year, you MUST be a follower.
May the odds be ever in your favour.
ends February 2, 2013!

2012 End of Year Book Survey!

*all book title links lead to my review
Thanks to the wonderful Jamie for doing this again! And good gracious this was tough!

1. Best Book You Read In 2011? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
AGHHH this was so hard to do! It broke my heart to have to whittle this down...

Contemporary: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Dystopian: Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Best Fantasy: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Best Romance/Comedy: Meant To Be by Lauren E. Morrill
Best voice: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Needs It's Own Category Because Yes: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Easily Beta by Rachel Cohn. Sad sighing has ensued.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (my heart), Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (did not expect to love the characters so much), and Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer (looked super fluffy, but was so much more!).

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard. For sure. (Although Meant To Be by Lauren E. Morrill was a close second!)

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Shatter Me by Tahareh Mafi (I still need to write my review...), Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (also one I need to review...).
Sarah J. Maas and I (we glow!)
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
ALL OF THEM. But really...Trish Doller, Tahareh Mafi, and Rainbow Rowell.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I've never read much fantasy, but Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas has totally turned that around for me. I'm really looking forward to exploring that genre now. And I just got into the Dystopian thing (as did the world, I feel), but Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and Legend by Marie Lu were fantastic ways for me to get into it.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
Crap…this is hard. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Something Like Normal by Trish Doller, and Ten by Gretchen McNeil.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. Funny that it was my first book of the year, too.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

And honourable mentions, since I haven't read these yet...

11. Most memorable character in 2012?
Bria from Wanderlove and Celaena from Throne of Glass were probably my favourite girls. Joe Fontaine (oh Joe...) from The Sky is Everywhere and Isaac from The Fault In Our Stars were my favourite dudes.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. The poetry in her words (and actual poetry) are just...gorgeous. Shatter Me by Tahareh Mafi was also beautifully done.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour made me yearn to write again. And For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund simply made me yearn.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and Saving June by Hannah Harrington.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
Shoot...this is tough. The first three that jumped into my head are all from The Fault In Our Stars.

I love you present tense.
I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.
‎Sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books...which you can't tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like betrayal.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
Hmmm...I think the shortest was Stand Tall by Joan Bauer at 182 pages. Longest was Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger at 496 pages (which I reeaaally need to get around to reviewing...oy).

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The entirety of The Fault In Our Stars had me wanting to discuss with someone. I think Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris was the one that I was like WHAT OMG WHY WHAT SOMEONE TALK ME THROUGH THIS. Because...I mean...just AGH! And Uses For Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt made me want to talk about it with someone IMMEDIATELY, though it wasn't necessarily in a good way...(which I know is cryptic since I haven't reviewed it yet, but f'realz. It was...I don't even.)

Me, Siobhan Vivian & Jenny Han
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Shit. This is tough, too. I fall in love with pairs so easily...Aria + Peregrine from Under the Never Sky. Rowan + Bria’s friendship in Wanderlove. Eleanor + Park in Eleanor & Park (ahaha that was...obvious. The review will be up this week!) by Rainbow Rowell. Amelia & Chris's friendship from Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo. Puck + Sean Kendrick from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously?
Looking back, I'm really surprised that I read a lot of new authors this year! I think I'll have to cheat and say Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Prince. Because yes. Also, Ned Vizzini's The Other Normals just solidified my love for him even more.
Cassie Clare & I
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
ohhhh goodness, this is hard! Between You & Me by Marisa Calin was fabulous, and Estelle's review on Rather Be Reading is the reason I even had that on my radar at all. And even though it was the first book I read of the year, Anna from Anna Reads' glowing review (and 2011 pick!) of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is the reason I picked up that one too! Also, S from Oh Paper Pages sang the praises for Shatter Me and was on such a hunt for Destroy Me at ALA that it made me pick it up faster - TOTALLY worth it. Can't believe I waited so long to read that.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?
Since I'm a new blog from 2012, almost all the blogs I go to now are ones I discovered this year. But S from Oh Paper Pages is one of my best blogging friends and has a fabulous blog, and I have to say that I consistently go to The Fake Steph, The Flyleaf Review, Hobbitsies, GReads, Rather Be Reading, Makeshift Bookmark, and That Artsy Reader Girl.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 
I think I'm hilarious with the end Timeline Review I did for For the Darkness Shows the Stars, but my "favourite" would probably be the one I did for Something Like Normal by Trish Doller. I don't think it's particularly written well (it's actually really scatter-brained, which kills me), but it was a tough one for me to write. Probably the hardest ever, and I'm proud I managed to get it down in words.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog? 
Sadly, I don't think I had many discussions :( Which is actually a goal for next year! Most of the chatter I do happens on Twitter or in emails, but I hope to bring them to posts in 2013.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog? 
I loved Jaime's rant. That was one where I was like YES. I LOVE YOU. I already loved her anyway, but I mean...i love her. I also wanted to hug Anna hard after reading her Why I Read YA post. It was phenomenal and so well written and well-worded and something I think we all share.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Too hard! Just look at all the photos I've sprinkled throughout this post - and that's not even all the events I went to or authors I met! I am so fortunate to live within some fantastic events and attend them. I think ALA Annual would have to be the best though, because I was just settling into being a real book blogger that identified as one, and then I got to immerse myself in books, authors, publishers, and blogging friends for 3 days. Being surrounded by people who understand and share your love for this is's an honor to be among them and experience that.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011? 
Me, Kirsten Hubbard, Nina LaCour, Gayle Forman, and Stephanie Perkins.
YA or Bust tour - I talk about it a lot (the recap post is here!) but long story short I got to listen to Gayle Forman, Nina LaCour, Kirsten Hubbard, and Stephanie Perkins talk and banter, and then right after a fantastic event ran into Kirsten, Cindy Pon, Debra Driza, Andrea Ortega, and Nikki Katz at Tea Station and they let me crash and hang out with them! Coincidentally, the YA in the Sun event is a close second, and they plus Shannon Messenger & Lisa Cannon were the ones to organize it!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My interview with Karen Ann Hopkins about her book Temptation had a high count, even if you discounted what was probably an elevated mark due to the giveaway. The post that was just a review with the highest count was Something Like Normal by Trish Doller. And the post that randomly has the most views (I seriously have no idea why! I'm not complaining, just wondering...) was my modified WoW post that congratulated my friend Stephanie on her book deal!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? 
I always wish for reviews to get more comments, but really? I'm just so surprised that anybody takes the time to read & comment here that I'm happy.

Jessi Kirby & I
9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
NetGalley, for sure. And I finally went to Mysterious Galaxy, one of the only indie bookstores in San Diego and fell madly in love. They have fantastic employees, a fabulous YA section, and the best events.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? 
The Successes:
Overall reading goal: My goal was 100 books, and BAM: done! 103 as of December 31, 12:01am.
Local Library Challenge - easy peasy. I frequent my libraries entirely too much.
Contemporary Challenge - my favourite genre. I'll always read dozens of these in a year.
Debut Author Challenge - thanks mostly to the DAC ARC tours, ALA, and fantastic friends willing to loan me books!

The FAILs:
Sophomore challenge - MASSIVE fail. I don't know why I tried this when I so rarely start series before they're finished anyway.
Completely Contemporary - which makes me sad, I thought I'd finish this one with ease! I got so caught up in new releases that I didn't revisit nearly as many older books as I wanted to.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
Just One Day by Gayle Forman. I AM DYING TO READ THIS BOOK. Thank God it comes out relatively soon.

Me & Morgan Matson
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?
> Use my Facebook page more - I haven't even put it up on my sidebar! I hope to actually interact with people more over there. (And if you haven't liked it, I'd be so obliged if you would!
> More discussions/bookish things that are not reviews or memes on my blog
> Finally getting back to vampires. I failed on that goal pretty hard.
> Author interviews
Thanks for a FANTASTIC first year of book blogging, everyone! I know I called out some major influences to this blog - both other bloggers and some authors - but trust me when I say I left out some other truly fantastic and wonderful people. Tomorrow is my one year blogoversary! I'll kick off a month-long celebration with a fantastic giveaway - some of the books mentioned here will definitely be in it ;) Come back for that!
Coming January 1!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Weekly Wrap-Up (20): two more sleeps!


And I still have SO. MUCH. CRAP. to do. Oh dear.

In case you missed it...
Review: The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab

Review: Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop: win a SIGNED ARC + POSTER of Burn For Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian! US only, ends 12/27

Coming up...
Since next week is the holiday, it'll probably be a bit quiet - but sometime in the next two weeks: review of Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and perhaps one of Safekeeping by Karen Hesse. Two very different books! Also, I'm going to kick off my ONE YEAR BLOGOVERSARY extravaganza!! It's a lot of giveaways and reflection. I've loved every moment this blog has existed, and I can't wait to celebrate it with everyone.

Onto the books!
In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews
The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Angels at the Table by Debbie Macomber (it's not the holidays without a new DM book!)
Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

[via ARCycling Secret Santa] The Spindlers ARC by Lauren Oliver - thank you Jennifer!
So excited to read this! Lauren's writing is amazing, and I can't wait to see how it goes with MG.

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton, from Heather at The Flyleaf Review
Heather has been one of my best blogging friends from the very beginning, and I adore her. This book has been super high on my TBR, so I'm excited to read - thank you SO SO much Heather!

[via Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa] Easy by Tammara Webber - thank you Andrea!
She was my Broke & Bookish secret santa, and she was so sweet to send this as a "sorry I shipped the original present late" gift! Since your blog name wasn't included in the Note from amazon, I hope you see this (and comment, so I can properly link + thank you), Andrea King!

via Jana, for her Holiday Hop. Thanks so much Jana!

So excited to see this movie!

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza - thank you SO SO MUCH Natasha!!
Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi - thank you SO SO MUCH Ava!!

The 13th Sign by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb
via Around the World ARC Tours

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
via NetGalley - thank you Bloomsbury!

What books came into your possession this week?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop (US Only): Burn For Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian (SIGNED)

Welcome to the Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop!

For this hop, one lucky winner will get:

One (1) signed ARC of Burn For Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian!
AND a signed tour poster from their recent BFF book tour!

US only, ends December 27!
Enter through the rafflecopter below, and all my usual giveaway policy rules apply.
Make sure to check out the rest of the linky list, there are some great prizes!
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
PS. I'm going to be having giveaways galore the next few weeks in an effort to clear out my bookshelves - and it's my one year blogoversary soon, and I have to celebrate that! Come back soon :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Tempestuous (Twisted Lit #1) by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
Merit Press, 256 Pages
US Release Date: December 18, 2012 (today! Buy your copy today!)
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher, for review. Thank you Merit!

Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
------------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
The peculiar thing about courage is that you ca more readily summon it forth when something (or someone?) you love is at stake.
Has anyone ever seen the movie She's the Man, with Channing Tatum and Amanda Bynes? Let it be known that that is one of my favourite movies OF ALL TIME. I love it. It's hilarious and so perfectly a spoof on Twelfth Night by Shakespeare.

Tempestuous is just like that (though obviously a farce on The Tempest): funny and awesome and a little bit ridiculous but wholly enjoyable. I laughed out loud for real at a lot of parts.

I read The Tempest in my second year of college (a whoooooole long eon ago, in 2006), and while I remember enjoying it, it was not even close to being a favourite Shakespeare of mine; subsequently, the story is fuzzy at best in my memory. While reading this book, a lot of it came back to me, but not enough for me to claim that I can compare them with any justice. Tempestuous felt reminiscent, but not like a retelling for me. Not a judgment, just a statement.

Here's where the judgment is: maybe I'm simply not up on farces, but Tempestuous felt just a little too over the top for me. I get books that are lark and spirited takes, but this one had a lot of moments where I rolled my eyes. They're all fun, but it started to cross over into not being believable. Miranda is quick and witty, but it's just a little too convenient or well-thought out when it's supposed to be on the fly or in a high-pressure situation. Maybe that won't bother other people, but I find it distracting when I'm constantly shaking my head and thinking "that wouldn't happen." The writing itself fit that tone really well; which for me was way over-the-top, throwing around big words and fancy alliteratives. Oddly though, I kind of appreciated that the writing fit the mood of the book - even though it bugged me overall, it would have been far less of a novel if they were to oppose one another.

What's the most telling thing to me is that I read this book November 18, but I'm not writing the review until mid-December - and truthfully? I don't remember a lot of it. I remember my feelings as I was reading, but not many of the details or finer parts of the novel. I know I liked Caleb and thought he was a great match for Miranda's antics and superiority. I remember loving little Ariel, the second-in-command. She was so much fun and so bubbly that I felt like she was bouncing right off the page at me. But even now as I picked up the book to skim, I found myself going "oh yeah! that happened!"

It sounds like I'm being only negative, I know. But I think it just wasn't a great fit for me. The one thing that I did really love though is the creativity! Retellings of stories, and one as lofty as Shakespeare, are always so difficult. But Tempestuous was fun and totally lived up to it being a modern-day version! All the different schemes Kim and Amy cooked up for Miranda to enact were hilarious and unique; even the original reason why Miranda was put into "fast food servitude" was creative. I can definitely say that I've never read anything quite like this book, and that is a very, very good thing.

3 stars

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab

The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab
Merit Press, 272 Pages
Expected US Release Date: December 18, 2012
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher for review. Thanks Merit!

Ariel's birthday weekend looks to be the event of the season, with a private concert by rock star Hudson Winters on the grounds of her family's east coast estate, and all of Ariel's elite prep school friends in attendance. The only person who's dreading the party is Sera, Ariel's former best friend, whose father is forcing her to go. Sera has been the school pariah since she betrayed Ariel, and she now avoids Ariel and their former friends. Thrown together, Ariel and Sera can agree on one thing: this could be one very long night.

They have no idea just how right they are.

Only moments after the concert begins and the lights go down, thugs open fire on parents and schoolmates alike, in a plot against Ariel's father that quickly spins out of control. As the entire party is taken hostage, the girls are forced apart. Ariel escapes into the hidden tunnels in the family mansion, where she and Sera played as children. Only Sera, who forges an unlikely alliance with Hudson Winters, knows where her friend could be. As the industrial terrorist plot unravels and the death toll climbs, Ariel and Sera must recall the sisterhood that once sustained them as they try to save themselves and each other on the longest night of their lives.
-------------------Goodreads summary
Notable Quote
...but now I look it over, just in case there's anything in there that could cause damage. But books aren't dangerous enough, not unless you sit down and read some of them.
I don't know what exactly I was expecting when I went into this book, but it was nothing like I ever thought it would be! And that's a good thing, trust me. There is so much suspense and heart-stopping moments that I was tearing through the pages wondering what was going to happen and who was going to make it out alive.

I am going to get the bads out of the way though - more so I can quickly get it over with, but also so I can get to the goods! I'm not a fan of the title. I find it reminiscent of Anne Frank (and it is nothing like that), and I don't find it to be representative of the great content within this. I'm also a bit torn about the actual writing - there were several moments I found myself stopping and re-reading, because there was something a bit off about the flow. A lot of the elements felt a bit contrived or convenient, and I even have a note where it says "interesting, but feels forced. Not smooth." Lastly, I hated the drama between Sera and the classmates; while I can understand why what Sera did would make her a social pariah, I struggle to believe it would make her classmates hate her so much they'd flat sell her out to the Agents keeping them hostage and shooting people on whims. It was just a bit of a stretch, and I didn't like it.

But moving along!

As weird and horrible and gross as this sounds (and I swear I'm not a violent person), one of my favourite things was how fast the bodies piled up here! YA never really has much death in it - at least not meaningless deaths. Usually a death is a main point, a catalyst to a story or emotion or journey. Not so in The Girl in the Wall - people are droppin' like FLIES, and just because the head Agent (who they call The Executioner) feels like it. Sure he uses it to make a point too, but there are bullets everywhere, and frankly: it's kinda cool to see that in a YA novel*. And I don't mean to say The Executioner is killing people just to kill - there is a purpose to each person he shoots - but I like that the author is unafraid of using murder and bullets in a story. It's a whole new element of keeping reader's on their toes, and it actually made me care for the characters more! When they could die at any moment the page turns, it just flips your compassion switch to on.

I liked the boys in this novel a lot, which is kinda funny since it revolves around two girls and their friendship. Even so, the guys are very worthy secondary characters. Hudson is every bit the caring rocker boy we all want to have and want to love, and I like that he was actually someone to which I could relate. Nico was also someone we want to fall in love with, very knight in shining armor - some of which was cheesy, but what he does for Ariel far outweighs any of the eye-rolling I might have done towards him. And what happens to him in the end? I won't give it away but...oh goodness. OH. GOODNESS. Even the smaller male characters (all the good ones, not The Agents) were done really well, each very distinct and very, very human.

Actually "human" is a good way to put this novel - while of course I've never actually been in this situation (saying prayers of gratitude right now...), what each character feels and how they each react feels very real to me. There's a lot of variation to the emotions in each person, and there was a lot of care and consideration into those details - something I appreciated very much. That was actually probably the reason I was so invested in the story: it feels like I'm watching a real news story, that this was actually happening somewhere.

Oddly, Sera and Ariel didn't affect me much. That's not to say they're bad characters, not at all; for some reason, they just never resonated with me. Of course I care what happens to them, and I like that there is still an innate trust and care between them no matter the recent drama. But they were more characters to watch for me, rather than people to feel for.

The Girl in the Wall was a bit up and down for me, but the ups are SO far up that I'm glad to have read it!

3.5 Stars

*just so we're clear: bullets, guns, death? NOT ACTUALLY COOL.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Weekly-Wrap Up (19): Merry Holidays!

Am I the only one who is so absolutely behind this season? My Christmas tree isn't even up yet. I know, I know! I have to get on that quickly too, because the annual White Elephant Christmas Party with all our friends is at my house! As stressful as it all is, I still love this time of year :)
Work has been the usual holiday madness, and I'm fairly certain someone out there is lying to me about there being 24 hours in a day. Because I think I'm missing some!
Also: I sent a book to Canada for the first time and was SO surprised at how cheap it was! I mean, no DC# or anything (it'll tell me if it made across the border, at least!), but to get a book to a different country for less than $6? That's pretty awesome. Is it always that cheap?? Because I might have to open up giveaways direct from me to US/CA if so!

In case you missed it...
Top Ten Tuesday: Dear Santa...
The books I want to find under my tree!
(And thanks to Michelle at FabbityFab Reviews, The Princesses of Iowa shall soon be mine!)

Waiting on Wednesday...which was more of a YAY!! post
My friend's book will be published by St. Martin's Press! Pitched as Divergent meets Ender's Game.

Review: Double Vision by FT Bradley (MG)
Spies! Paris! Van Gogh! Evil hypnosis! It's fantastic. 4.5 Stars

Author Interview: FT Bradley, author of Double Vision
She is every bit as awesome as her book.

Waiting on Wednesday: Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy
Seems dark but fascinating.

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
So much more awesome than I thought it would be! 4 stars.

Come back next week because I'll be participating in the Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop! And a fabulous signed prize is up for's a peek:

Coming up...
Reviews of Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes and The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab - both fantastic! I'll hopefully get my Year in Review Survey up, though who knew it was so impossibly hard to answer Jamie's questions?! (Why are books so brilliant? My goodness!) And that giveaway hop goes live...don't miss it!

Onto the book haul!
In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews
The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Won & Borrowed
Decked With Holly ARC by Marni Bates
Alexa offered to let me borrow her ARC when she found out how much I wanted to read it. (Isn't she awesome?!) Of course I said yes. Around the same time, I found out I won Ems' ARC from her giveaway! Alexa sent hers the day before I found out I won, and of course, both popped up in my mailbox on the same day. Life is funny like that. The one pictured is the copy I won from Ems (thank you!); Alexa's is already on it's way back home, along with a surprise ;) Thanks Alexa!

via ARCycling Secret Santa
Pushing the Limits ARC by Katie McGarry - thank you Morgan!
I read this earlier via NetGalley (read my review here!) and really liked it, but always wanted to re-read - glad I'll be able to hold an actual copy in my hands now!

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand - thank you Rachael!
So excited for this! I had the opportunity to sit and chat with Cynthia a few months ago for almost a half hour, and I really like her. I was so sad I hadn't read her books yet, but after talking with her -- and then the high praises Kiersten White gave it at the same event! -- it's high on my list. Yay!

via the YA Book Exchange
Touched ARC by Corrine Jackson
Entwined by Heather Dixon
via NetGalley
Dualed by Elsie Chapman - thanks Random House!
15 Days Without A Head by Dave Cousins - thanks Flux Books!

What books came into your possession this week?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!