29 March 2012

It's Bloggiesta! Ole!

Bloggiesta is hosted at It's All About Books
When I first started hearing about Bloggiesta on Twitter, I was intrigued, but ultimately decided, "My blog is pretty much brand new.  How much work could it possibly need?"  But the more I read other people's lists of things they wanted to do with their sites, the more I realized I should get a jump on those things now, before they're massively uncontrollable.  And so RRHS and I will be Bloggiesta-ing along with the best of them, and here is what we are I am hoping to accomplish:
  • Navigation: I spent a good hour-ish trying to get a pretty navigation bar up there *points up* above the header, and failed miserably at every attempt.  Eventually I just put a couple links over there *points over there* in the sidebar, but I didn't particularly like them there, so now they are gone.  But I am determined to whip that navigation bar into submission this weekend.  Or something less creepy. Did you see my pretty new navigation bar up there? *points up*  Did you, did you, did you?!?!
  • Review Archive: I didn't think this was something I would ever need or feature here on RRHS, but the more I visit other blogs that have one, the more thankful I am that it's there.  If I want someone's opinion on one particular book, it's so much easier to click a link and find all of their reviews sorted by title or author, versus having to search through pages of content or clouds full of labels to find what I'm looking for.
  • Challenges: Along with the review archive, I also want to make a page to keep progress of the challenges I have entered.  They are currently in the sidebar, but I feel like the space there could be better utilised if these things had their own page.
  • Fix Link Targets: My links kind of target randomly based on what kind of mood I was in when I wrote them.  Some sort of uniformity might be good, yeah?
  • Pimp my Profiles: I hate writing profiles and "about me" sections.  My profiles on the blog, Twitter, Goodreads, Netgalley, etc. need some work.
  • Finish Reviews: There are 3 or 4 reviews sitting half-written on my computer that I've been avoiding for a while because I don't want to think hard enough to finish them.  This weekend, I must think (what a bummer) and just finish them already.
  • Sort Through Sidebar: If there's one thing that bothers me, it's out of control sidebars.  I want to make sure that what needs to be there, is there, and what doesn't, well...isn't.
  • Write a Review Policy: I got my first review request recently, and it made me think it's time for one of these puppies to become part of the blog.
  • Pinterest For RRHS: I have a well-used Pinterest account for personal things, and after reading the mini-challenge for Bloggiesta, I want to Pinterest-ize the blog, too.
  • Update Old Reviews: As I was pinning my reviews, I noticed the older ones from my blogging stint last year are formatted differently than the new ones.  I like the new format better, so I want to update those old ones to match.
  • A Button. Or Something: Pretty buttons are fun.  Pretty custom button-somethings for weekly meme posts are even funner more fun.  Thus, I should maybe make some.  This one isn't really a priority, but if for some reason I finish everything else (ha!), this will keep me busy.
So now that I have this long list of things I need to get done, I'm going to bed!  Tomorrow, the ole-ing begins!  Good luck everyone!

**I apologize to anyone who is trying to comment and getting stuck/angry with word verification. Blogger apparently thinks it is important enough to keep turning it back on after I turn it off.  Hopefully it will stop doing this soon!**

Mini Reviews: Picture the Dead, Wisdom's Kiss, Trafficked

Mini Reviews are my thoughts on books I've recently read, in three sentences or less.

Cover of Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown

Picture the Dead is a fun, somewhat creepy read that wasn't quite as ghostly as I'd hoped.  The illustrations are pretty cool, though, and the story is very well told, if not a little predictable.  Still an enjoyable read for fans of historical quasi-ghost stories.


Cover of Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

I'll be honest and admit I only got this book because of the cat...and maybe that's not the best reason to read a book.  There is a lot going on in the narration of this novel, including about six billion different perspectives.  But not a whole lot actually happens plot-wise, and Wisdom's Kiss went back to the library unfinished.


Cover of Trafficked by Kim Purcell Trafficked by Kim Purcell

Trafficked is deserving of so much more than just a mini review, but I can't find the words to say how shocking and horrifying it is, other than to just say so.  It's appalling to know that this kind of thing goes on today, in the United States, and I think that makes it an important read.  I only wish we had been able to see more of Hannah's life after her experience.

27 March 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Eleven

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Title: Masque of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Publication Date: 24 April 2012
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):
Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.
Ruins! Plague! Decimation! NIGHT CLUB! Really, do I need to say more?

26 March 2012

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Fever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #2)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publication Date: 21 February 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BYR
Source: Library
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):
Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion...by any means necessary.
Fever begins almost immediately where Wither left off.  There's no back story, reminding us what happened in the last novel.  On one hand, this is nice, because I hate having to spend time reading about things that I already know happened, when all I really want is for the new story to start.  On the other hand, I read Wither more than six months ago, and the details were a little hazy, so I was kind of confused.  Luckily, Lauren DeStefano inserted subtle reminders into Rhine's narration - glances of things that happened at the mansion - that helped pull the details out from the back of my mind.  So even though I was worried I would get lost in my confusion, it didn't end up being an issue at all.

Shortly after their escape, Rhine and Gabriel find themselves trapped at the World's Creepiest Carnival, ever.  As I read through this portion of the book, particularly any scene involving the nefarious Madame, I frequently found myself shuddering at the horrid things that were being described.  I also found myself yelling at the book.  "NO RHINE! DON'T GET ON THE FERRIS WHEEL WITH HER!  DON'T!"  Because I never would.  *shudder*

Much of Fever is spent following the characters on their journey from Point A to Point B.  A lot of times, this type of story can go horribly wrong in either one of two ways:

  1. An author tries to make up for the fact that the characters are going a-traveling by inserting horrible, no good, very bad things every time they turn a corner.  They never get a good night's sleep or a full days journey and eventually, it becomes exhausting - for the characters and the reader.
  2. An author tries to draw out every detail of every step of the journey.  We get to hear about it every time someone takes a sip from their canteen, or eats an apple.  Nothing actually happens but walking (or driving, or sleeping, or apple-eating).  And this action is described with a level of intricacy that is completely unnecessary.  This is also exhausting, in an entirely different way.

I thought DeStefano did a good job of mixing traveling time with OH NO HORRIBLE THINGS ARE HAPPENING time, with a lot of useful introspection from Rhine thrown in to keep the times nothing was happening interesting and accessible to the reader.  I didn't have to hear about what color Gabriel's socks were, and there wasn't a bad guy around every corner.  It was a nice balance.

By far the best part of this novel, for me, was the last hundred-or-so pages.  This is when I stopped going to the bathroom playing on the internet and just read.  This is what kept me up until five in the morning to finish.  It's very much like a dystopian version of The Yellow Wallpaper.  I hope that's not giving too much away, and I'll just sum this point up by saying that these pages were flipping amazing.

Also, HOLY CLIFFHANGER.  I sincerely hope the world does not end this year, because I don't want to die not knowing what happens.


24 March 2012

In My Mailbox: Six

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren

From the Library
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Fracture by Megan Miranda

Nook Books:
Green Heart by Alice Hoffman
White Cat by Holly Black
Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
Only The Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
Bookmark and Sticker
Thank you to Amanda at Born Bookish!

Don't forget to enter to win a signed copy of Out of Sight, Out of Time at my stop on the Kick Butt Characters Giveaway Hop here!

23 March 2012

Friday Finds: Four

Friday Finds, hosted by Should Be Reading, features releases that I have discovered and added to my wishlist over the past week.
Shift by Em Bailey
Frost by Marianna Baer

 Awkward by Marni Bates
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

22 March 2012

Giveaway: The Kick-Butt Characters Hop

The Kick-Butt Characters Blog Hop
Hosted by:

Recently, my local indie children's bookstore, Hicklebee's, hosted a signing with Ally Carter, author of the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society serieses...no, just series.  I, of course, was unable to attend because it was in the middle of the afternoon and I was at work (Thanks Hicklebee's! Just kidding), but I did get in touch with them and ask if they could maybe have Ally sign a copy of the new GG book, Out of Sight, Out of Time for me.  And they were all, "OF COURSE!"  And so I was like, "Can you have TWO copies signed for me?"  And of course they said, "OF COURSE!"  So now there are two signed copies waiting for me to pick them up this weekend, and guess what?  One of them can be yours!

I love the Gallagher Girls series, and I think those girls are pretty kick-butt, so I think this hop is the perfect fit for this giveaway.  Click on "Read More" to check out the rules and enter using the Rafflecopter! 

20 March 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Ten

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Title: Purity
Author: Jackson Pearce
Publication Date: 24 April 2012
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):
Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby's father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives -- in other words, no "bad behavior," no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex.

Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision -- to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.
I love this cover so much I want to like, design my whole house around it.  And the book sounds good too, yeah?

19 March 2012

Review: Ditched by Robin Mellom

Title: Ditched: A Love Story
Author: Robin Mellom
Publication Date: 10 January 2012
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):
High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her. Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom. And then ditched her.
If you're looking for a great story that doesn't take itself too seriously, Ditched is definitely a book you need to read.  Right now-ish.

Justina is an amazing narrator, and her story is hilarious.  I cannot tell you how many times I laughed out loud reading this book, and I normally have the kind of self-control required to not start giggling to myself in the middle of a public place.  Not so while reading Ditched.  Justina's descriptions and revelations are just too funny to not laugh like an idiot no matter where you are.

Aside from it being awesomely funny, I also loved the way Robin Mellom chose to tell the story.  Justina relates her prom story to two woman in a 7-11, the morning after the...eventful night.  The chapters alternate between present tense scenes at the 7-11, where Donna and Gilda offer more laugh-inducing commentary, and past tense reflections on just how Justina ended up ditched.  Mellom could have easily left the 7-11 scenes out - she has an amazing story even without them - but they added so much to the story and I loved that she thought to tell it this way.

Overall, Ditched is an amazing read that I would recommend to anyone with a sense of humor and a soft-spot for YA love stories.


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