Welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy your stay :]

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A big, shinny, beautiful GOAL!

Image DetailYou guys, you guys, I made a goal!

I don't think I've ever actually done this before. Not even when I was forced to take PE in high school and we played soccer, or hockey, or lacrosse, or any other scary, sweaty sport. But this is not a goal goal; I'm not putting any balls in any hoops or nets. This is a writing goal.

And it's big, and shinny, and beautiful! All things I like. I could just sit here and coo and smile at it, talking baby-nonsense. Oh, what a pretty goal you are! Yes, you are!

So here's my gaol: In 2012, I am going to finish the first draft of my sleeping beauty retelling.

This is scarier then it sounds, because I have almost no time. That's what it feels like, anyway. Darn school. Last semester was my most unproductive writing-wise, ever.

My goal is to write a minimum of 60,000 words. 60,000 is actually a low estimate, but it divides nicely into 5,000 words a month. Doesn't that seem reachable? It does.
Do you have any goals for 2012?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

This Post Includes Cute Trash Guys

There was no post on Monday. So, I thought to myself, that means the trash will be one day off now. No mail on Monday, so there's no trash on Monday, either.



Thursday is our trash day. I am the Designated Trash Person. I take the house trash down the driveway to the cans. On Wednesday night I take the trash cans to the street. Last night, I reminded myself the nice trash people weren't coming. They're a day off schedule, because there was no mail on Monday!

Today, almost all the other houses on our street had trash cans in front. Oh, those silly people! Didn't they know there was no trash today? I say gleefully as I drag our cans out.

Oh, but wait. The trash cans are, um, empty. Oh my.

I wonder if the trash guys laughed as they passed our house? (I met them once! Our trash guys are cute. And nice. Nice cute trash guys.) So, cute trash guys probably passed our trash-less house and said, "Didn't they know there's trash today?"

Ha. This is why I shouldn't be in charge of stuff.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The One With the Music

Two very different books: a fun contemporary and a serious historical fiction. They both have music, good characters, and engaging stories. Welcome to Revolution by Jennifer Donnell and Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.
The Covers:

RevolutionFive Flavors of Dumb

The Synopsis:


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.

Five Flavors of Dumb:

The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.

The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band's manager and get her share of the profits.

The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she's deaf?

Piper can't hear Dumb's music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.

Why I Liked Them:

The characters. Both of these books have strong female leads, and both of these girls grow over the course of the book. Both Andi and Piper felt very real, and their struggles felt very real. Although they both have faults, they were both able to make me love them. All of the supporting characters are very well done - I loved Piper's brother and Andi's friends.

The music. Piper becomes the manager of a high school rock band, Andi is a musician. I think music must be one of those things that's hard to write about; it's so auditory, and when you're reading you don't get that sense. Both of these books incorporate music very well. It's more present in Revolution because music is so important to Andi, but I loved watching Piper discover it through Five Flavors of Dumb.

The relationships. Piper and Andi each have a love interest, but the romance doesn't dominate the story. I liked that they feel like actual relationships - the guys aren't just there to kiss the girls. Neither Revolution or Five Flavors of Dumb are "love stories." The relationships work with the story to create two really enjoyable books.

The stories. Five Flavors of Dumb is a fun read. Piper is a witty and fun narrator, and her story was really enjoyable. Revolution is a much more serious story. (It's about the French Revolution - not really a happy topic.) As I got farther into the book I found it harder to stop reading - the story captivated me.

So far, these are my two favorite reads of Christmas break.

What are you reading?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Making Progress

It's no secret that I love books. The problem is, I tend to not like the movies books are turned into.

Take Ella Enchanted for example. It was my FAVORITE book in third or fourth grade. I actually got grounded from it once, because I'd read it four times in a row and my mom wanted me to read something else.

They make a movie. I watch it. I then vow never to watch it again.

They ruined the story! The part that makes me the most angry is when Ella is captured by the ogres. I loved the scene in the book where she stops the ogres from eating her by mimicking their persuasive voices. The movie has her dangling above a cauldron, waiting to be saved by the prince. Arg!

However, I would be remiss not to mention movie adaptions I do like. I love the movie adaptions of Because of Winn-Dixie and Flicka. (Yeah, I know. Flicka doesn't follow the book at all. But when there are horses, I am willing to make exceptions.)

So I kind of have a love-hate relationship with books-turned-movies. A lot of YA books are being made into movies right now. One you may have heard of? The Hunger Games?

I loved the Hunger Games. I heard about it when the book first came out, but I thought I'd wait for the paperback to come out before I bought it. I bought the last two in hardcover, because there was no way I was waiting for them to become paperbacks!

I alternate between being really excited for the movie and being really scared. I don't want it to turn into another Ella Enchanted. I have such a clear picture in my head of how the books play out, and I don't want a movie to mess with that.

But tonight, I did it. I watched the trailer. And you know what?

It wasn't bad.

I just hope the movie doesn't disappoint. It has some big shoes to fill.

Friday, December 16, 2011

(Cue the Hallelujah Chorus)

Finals are over! (cue the hallelujah chorus) No, I am not sitting on my computer, obsessively checking my grades. Psh. Why would I be doing that?



Fine. Maybe I am obsessing, but only a little bit.

My final today was for my animal science class, which meets at 8:30 in the morning. Our final was at 7:30. Yeah, they torture us all semester with a morning class, and then just to make our final more miserable, it's an hour earlier? What? Well, I survived. And then I came home and took a nap.

Yay for naps!

Anyway. Back to obsessively checking the grade site . . . um, I mean . . . yeah. Bye. :]

(cue the hallelujah chorus)

I just wanted to see if it would work again.

Isn't that music lovely?

(cue the hallelujah chorus)

I really am done now.

(cue the hallelujah chorus)

Oh, come on. You want to hear it again. You know you do.

(cue the hallelujah chorus)

See! Told you so.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My new favorite thing ever

Go here. Insert your first name. Wait for the awesomeness.

Thanks Crolina Valdez Milller! I got this from her facebook. :]

Monday, December 12, 2011

I killed Cinderella

Okay, not personally. But I did give her eulogy for my communications class last week:

We are here today to honor and remember the life of one of our most beloved fairy tale princesses; my mother, Cinderella Charming. She was someone any princess, or any woman, for that matter, could look up to and admire.

Despite being enslaved and emotionally abused by her step family, Cinderella was able to keep her optimistic outlook on life. I remember there was this one song she loved to sing; “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” She dutifully endured her torment, never trying to improve her situation herself. With the help of her little mice friends, she dreamed of a better life.

With her heart of gold, Cinderella was able to win the heart of Prince Charming with only a single dance. Like any respectable princess, she had patiently waited for her prince to come and rescue her. Cinderella helped Prince Charming through the aftermath of his divorce from Snow White, who had run away with one of the seven dwarfs. Together Cinderella and Charming were wonderful parents to my siblings and me. I have many happy memories of me, my mother, and her ever-loyal mice singing and doing chores around the palace.

Cinderella is being laid to rest beside her biographer, Walt Disney. The world will surely miss her optimism, patient endurance of abuse, and her lovely singing voice, all qualities princesses should possess. She taught us all that even if your life is terrible, endure it with a smile and someday a handsome prince will come and rescue you.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tortilla Pizza

I just made the most amazing tortilla pizza ever.
This is what happened:

I am dutifully writing a paper.

Gabi: *type, type, type* I'm hungry.

Liz (the big sis): Go eat food.

Gabi: *opens fridge* Tortillas! A jar of spaghetti sauce! Shredded cheese! I will make a tortilla pizza.

Liz: That sounds weird.

It was delicious! Okay, it was a little messy to eat, because the tortilla was too thin to hold all the sauce. I topped it with slices of fresh tomato, and it was so good. I may never go back to regular pizza.

But I will go back to my paper. See? Away I go.

*type, type, type*

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Somebody snitched on me!

Relient K's Christmas CD may be my favorite Christmas CD, ever. This song is hilarious.

But I'm not going to tell you how long it took me to get the joke in the CD's title: Let it Snow Baby . . . Let it Reindeer.

Wait for it . . .

Haha! It's funny, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Team Healthy Love

One of the major problems I often find with YA books is the relationships. So often, affection is shown only through physical interactions. I’m all for some kissing, but why is kissing and sex often the only way character feelings are developed? I don’t consider pure physical attraction a relationship. It’s not healthy, and I don’t think it’s what we should be teaching our teens a relationship is.
My favorite love stories are those where the relationships are developed. The awkward flirting does-he-like-me-or-not stage is so much fun to read. The dialog is where we get to know our love interests and see them interact, and where we, the reader, falls in love with them.

Image DetailI was drawn to Fallen by Lauren Kate because of the enticing and beautiful cover, as I’m sure many of its readers were. I read the first two books, and I still don’t understand why Luce and Daniel are together. I know there’s physical attraction, and they’ve been together forever, but that doesn’t tell me why they love each other or why it is so important for them to be together. I saw a commenter on goodreads post about not being Team Daniel or Team Cam, but being Team Healthy Love. I think this is so, so true. Girls, if a guy treats you like dirt, why are you still with him? (Even if he is a hot angel.) Why are our authors supporting unhealthy relationships with the romance in their novels?

Image DetailThere are also books like Shatter Me (I’m using this one because it is the most recent example I’ve read) where the relationship is built at first on the actual characters, but is then abandoned to the physical. Why, when kissing is introduced to the relationship, is kissing all that happens after that? What happened to the actual romance, the conversations and interactions that make these characters memorable?

Image DetailThe upside is that all of these less-then-great relationships make the amazing ones stand out all the more. Take, for instance, the Hunger Games. I love the relationship between Peeta and Katniss. (I’m sorry, but Gale is never even in the running.) Is it dominated by physical contact? No. Do we get to know and fall in love with the characters? Yes. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Destined by Jessie Harrell, and every single one of Shannon Hale’s novels are all great examples of good relationships, to name a few.

What do you think? I know I can't be the only one that feels this way, and yet books with (in my opinion) unhealthy relationships are still some of the most popular. Are there any books you would add to these good relationship/bad relationship examples? Or do you disgaree with any of my examples? Let me know, I'd love to hear what you think.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Oh my characters

I've just started a new story. Actually, it's not "new." I first thought of it three or four years ago, and have attempted it at various times since then. This is just the most recent attempt. Anyway, the characters are all new and haven't been developed yet. A few of them have names but I'll probably end up changing them as the story progresses.

There are a couple of characters that I haven't gotten around to naming yet. Naming takes time, searching babynames.com and other websites for the perfect name. I don't want to take that time. I just want to write the story. So, for now, in place of names I'm writing variations of "What's His Face."

The problem? It's weird to look back over my work and see "What's His Faces" everywhere. I'll need to change that soon. Also, I'm getting kind of attached. Do you think readers will mind terribly if I keep "What's His Face" for names?

And What's His Face said . . .

It works. It so does.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shatter Me

You know when a book looks really good: maybe the cover grabs you first, then you read the blurb and realize you HAVE to read this book. You're so excited. You wait for weeks for it to be released, you spend your hard-earned money on it, and . . . Image Detail
It's not that great.                                                                 

Welcome to Shatter Me.

It's not that it was terrible. It wasn't. It just wasn't as great as I was expecting it to be. For one thing, I didn't especially like either main characters. From the blurb I thought the book was going to focus of Juliette's power, and on her "fighting back." Girl power. Um, not so much.

The romance took hold maybe a quarter or a third of the way through, and the rest of the plot got set aside. All we hear about is touching and kissing and really? I'm all for some kissing, but that's not really as interesting as the whole touch-that-kills bit.

Then we come to the end. A few pages from the end, when I realized where it was going, I wanted to laugh out loud. This really is the sappiest ending of any dystopian novel I've read. It also felt way to much like X-Men.

It wasn't bad, though. Metaphors were over used, and in some cases the striked-out words were a little much, but over all the writing seemed strong. I really enjoyed the beginning, and the villain was excellently constructed. Actually, I think he was the best bad guy I've read in a while. The rest just didn't meet my expectations.


Thanks to those who entered my contest! Emma B., Sharon K. Mayhew, and Christy (Love of Books) will each receive a signed Born Wicked bookmark.
The winning name was . . .

For coming up with the winning name, Sharon K. Mayhew will also receive a Born Wicked sticker. :]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Poop Jokes

"Why did the cow go to the bathroom?                                           

He had to poop." - Strange little boy I know

"Why did the zombie go to the bathroom?

He had to poop." - Brother of above strange little boy

Obviously, these kids have got bathroom humour down.
Also, we learn that both cows and zombies poop in bathrooms, which is a relief. It's good to hear they're potty trained.


**Also, don't forget I'm giving away signed bookmarks! Leave a comment on the Name my Laptop Contest post to be entered. Ends Saturday.**

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Destined by Jessie Harrell

Coming 11/17/11This week I had the great pleasure of winning an eARC of Jessie Harrell's book Destined.

Here's the blurb:

"When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she's come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

Destined is a fresh and heartachingly romantic retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth from debut novelist, Jessie Harrell.

So, actually, I won this book in the middle of the week. I had homework (why hello there, math, nice to see you). Typically during the school week (and often during weekends) I have no time to read. I read this entire book in between doing my math and English homework, because once I started I had to know how it ended.

I love the voice. This story takes place in Ancient Greece, but Psyche's voice is very contemporary. She's very fun and ratable, and the contemporary slang never bothered me or seemed out of place.

The characters! Oh, the characters. They all have so much depth. I loved the sister, Chara. She's not in the story very much, but she has layers and her motives are developed and believable. None of the characters are just filling up space, they are all distinct people and fun to read.

I love the love story! It's so much fun to watch it evolve. Eros is so entertaining, and at times he is pretty hilarious. (His friendship with Hermes is fantastic.) I also appreciated that it's a real love story and not just about lust - they really do love each other, and that fills me with all kinds of sparkles and warm feelings inside.

I loved this book! It's become one of my favorites of this year. I highly recommend you read it when it comes out on the 17th. Or, you could go check out the blog tour and enter to win an eARC like I did. Each tour stop is giving away a prize, so lots of chances to win.

Seriously, you don't want to miss this book! I hope you guys love it as much as I did. :]

Thank you to Jessie Harrell for the eARC, and the chance to read Destined before it's out!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Name my laptop - CONTEST!

Okay, so I love naming things. I love naming my characters, and new pets, and dreaming of names for my future children. (Yeah, my siblings think I'm weird, too.) Even so, I can't come up with the perfect name for my laptop.

So - this is where you come in. My computer is a black INSPIRONmini like this one:

And he - she? - needs a name.

Wait a minture, Gabi, you say. You said there was a contest here.

Yes! There is! Would you like to win a SIGNED Born Wicked bookmark?

They are so shinny and glossy!

(front and back)

How can you get one? Well, I'll be giving away TWO. One will go to a random comenter.

As for the other - well, I am asking you lovely people to come up with a name for my computer! Male or female, first name or full name, your name or your great-aunt's make belive dog's name, whatever suites your fnacy. I will choose my favorite name from the coments, and that person shall win the second signed bookmark. That name will also probably be the one I give to my darling laptop.

This contest will be open until Saturday the 19th. Plenty of time to get your creative juices flowing!

You do not have to be a follower to enter, although I love all of you who are. :]

So, what would YOU name my computer?

Youtube Tuesday!

Today's Youtube video is from one of my absolute favorite movies. It's funny, because at first my sister and I didn't want to go see it - the previews weren't that great, and besides, it was a "boy movie." My brother wanted to see it though, so we did. And guess what? My sis and I ended up loving it more then my brother did.

I'm Still Here from Treasure Planet:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Best fairy tale retellings

I love fairy tales. I love the Grimm brothers, and Hans Christian Anderson, Russian fairy tales, and Disney princesses (But only the new-er ones. The older ones get my feminist-britches all in a knot.). It's not a surprise, then, that one genre I absolutely love is fairy tale retellings.

So, may I present, my four favorite fairy tale retellings:
4. A Curse as Dark as Gold - Elizabeth C. Bunce

"As Charlotte struggles to manage the difficulties she inherits along with Stirwaters Woollen Mill, she discovers a shadow world at the fringes of the familiar: Dark magic, restless spirits, a mysterious Helper. A wicked uncle, an age-old curse.... How can Charlotte prevail with such forces allied against her? In this novel inspired by “Rumpelstiltskin,” the miller’s daughter of the fairy tale comes to life as a young woman determined to save her family and her mill--whatever the cost."

I love the female lead - she's so strong, and that's something the original fairy tales usually lack. I also love the magic in it. It's really an original telling - you don't feel like you already know the story and how it's going to end, which is nice in a retelling.

3. Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted Original Cover

"How can a fairy's blessing be such a curse? At her birth, Ella of Frell was the unfortunate recipient of a foolish fairy's gift—the "gift" of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it's hopping on one foot for a day and a half, or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse—once and for all."
When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, I actually got grounded from this book. I'd read it over and over again three or four times in the space of a month, so my mom said I couldn't read it again until I read something else. I hated the movie when it came out. They'd ruined it! I mean, the entire scene with the ogres? In the movie Char comes in all like the knight in shining armour and rescues Ella, where in the book, that is SO NOT HOW IT HAPPENED. And Ella's character is completely different. Actually, everything is completely different. ARGH.

2. Wildwood Dancing - Juliett Marillier

Wildwood Dancing Cover Art

"There are many mysteries within the wildwood. Jena and her sisters share the biggest of all, a fantastic secret that enables them to escape the confines of their everyday life in rural Transylvania. They have kept it hidden for nine long years.
When their father falls ill and must leave their forest home over the winter, Jena and her oldest sister Tati are left in charge. All goes well until a tragic accident allows their over bearing cousin Cezar to take control. The appearance of a mysterious young man in a black coat divides sister from sister, and suddenly Jena finds herself fighting to save all she holds dear. With her constant companion Gogu by her side, she must venture to realms dark and perilous in her quest to preserve, not just those she loves, but her own independence as well."

I almost didn't read this. To tell the truth, the cover kind of put me off. I though it would be more of a kid's book then I wanted to read. I am so, so glad I checked it out anyway! It's a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses, and it is the best retelling of this story I've read. It doesn't feel like a retelling of this story, though, because it is so original. I love Gogu. I love Jena. I love the voice and the setting. I'm scared to read the companion novel, because I don't want it to be narrated by someone else. I loved this one so much.

And, my favorite retelling:

1. The Goose Girl - Shannon Hale

"She was born with her eyes closed and a word on her tongue, a word she could not taste. Her name was Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she spent the first years of her life listening to her aunt’s stories and learning the language of the birds, especially the swans. And when she was older, she watched as a colt was born, and she heard the first word on his tongue, his name, Falada.

From the Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original, and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can lead the people she has made her own."

Okay, I love everything by Shannon Hale. I've read all of her novels, and they are all amazing. But this one is my first love and my favorite. I had never read the original story, so I really didn't know what to expect going in. It is a beautiful story - Shannon Hale has a rich voice that really does feel like a fairy tale. I love the characters, and the villain has the best ending ever. If you haven't read this one yet, you really should try it out. The companion novels that follow (each with a different narrator) are all fantastic as well, but the Goose Girls remains my favorite.

What about you? Are there any fairy tale retellings you love that are not on my list?

Proof that I'm studying too much

I've been studying all week for an exam today in animal science. It was over nutrition, digestion, vitamins, and minerals. Last night I had a dream about selenium.

Oh, but it gets better. A couple of times this semester I've dreamt about math. One night, I was factoring polynomials. (Haha. I can factor in my sleep.) The other, I was appointing each freckle on my arm a coordinate on a graph.

Yes. Giving my freckles places on a graph.

At least I haven't started dreaming about my professors. Last year, I had a dream about my PE teacher. He was making us run 50 miles in 5 minutes. (I hate running. This teacher made us run SO MUCH. Not 50 miles in 5 minutes, but sometimes it felt like 50 miles.)

The good news? Only two weeks until Thanksgiving break! Are you as ready for a break as I am?

Book Giveaway Alert!

Win a MG/YA novel of your choice! Go here for the giveaway: http://rainlaaman.blogspot.com/2011/10/book-giveaway-book-of-your-choice.html

I'm a new follower, but just looking over her posts I love this girl. She made me laugh out loud several times. So, go follow her! But hurry, because the giveaway ends tomorrow, Saturday the 5th, at midnight.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thank you, Sharon Creech

Beth Revis is having a huge contest. To enter, you must share the book you are most grateful for.

Actually, it's hard to narrow it down. There are a couple that I count as my favorites, that I can read again and again and again and still love like the first time. Among these are A Ring of Endless Light, Bridge to Terabithia, the Wanderer, and Daphne's Book. But, right now, I would have to say I'm most grateful for Walk Two Moons.

Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech, is one of my long time favorites. I love the voice. I love the grandparents, and the lunatic, the blackberry kisses, and the story within a story. (I love Ben.) But most of all, I love what it means. It's about people being more complicated then you first take them for - about walking two moons in someone else's moccasins before you make your judgements about them. It's also about loss. How we deal with it. That even though it hurts, it can be okay.

Walk Two Moons has meant a lot to me ever since I first read it. So, thank you, Sharon Creech. Thank you for this book.

With love,


Would you like to be a part of this? See here for the details.

And the Winner is . . .

Random.org picked entry number 23, latishajean, as the winner of XVI!

Yay! *throws confetti*

If you didn't win, don't worry. There will be more cool giveaways. :]

Monday, October 31, 2011

I should be writing a paper, but...

I can't concentrate! I only have to B.S. a couple more pages, and I can be done. Arg.

We just started a research project-thing in my English class with A House on Mango Street. Consequently, I keep referring to my blog as "Mango's Blog" in my head. But "Mango" is not my nickname (although I would be totally fine with it if it were, mangoes are the single most delicious fruit on the planet). Mato is my nickname (from tomato, also a delicious fruit). You would think I'd be able to distinguish between them. Huh.

This is the last day to enter my Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway!!! If you haven't yet, hop to it. You want XVI. You know you do.

On that note, thank you to all you lovely people! I'm kind of shocked I have so many followers now. It's because you like free books, isn't it? I'm planning an AWESOME giveaway for Christmas time. Seriously, AWESOME. Stick around for that.

Also! I will do a giveaway when I reach 100 followers. Spread the word. If that happens before December (and my awesome Christmas giveaway), that means more chances to win books! Right before the holiday, too, which is convenient, isn't it?

Happy Halloween!

All right, back to my paper . . .

*Edited: Originally I said that mangoes were the most delicious flute on the planet. (The paper I was writing was about jazz flutes.) Though if a flute was mango flavored, I would totally love it.*

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Youtube Tuesday!

My two favorite bad-guy songs:

Ah! Aren't they so evil? I love them. I'm still glad when they get defeated, but the bad guys are just more fun then the heroes.

Who are your favorite animated villains? Do they have amazing songs too?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to my stop on the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm! For the complete list of participating blogs, go to either website.

I am giving away one of my favorite dystopians of 2011, XVI by Julia Karr:

The synopsis from Julia Karr's website :

"In the year 2150, being a girl isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially when your sixteenth (read sex-teenth) birthday is fast approaching. That in itself would be enough to make anyone more than a little nuts, what with the tattoo and all – but Nina Oberon’s life has taken a definite turn for the worse. Her mother is brutally stabbed and left for dead. Before dying, she entrusts a secret book to Nina, telling her to deliver it to Nina's father. But, first Nina has to find him; since for fifteen years he's been officially dead. Complications arise when she rescues Sal, a mysterious, and ultra hot guy. He seems to like Nina, but also seems to know more about her father than he’s letting on. Then there’s that murderous ex-government agent who’s stalking her, and just happens to be her little sister’s dad."

To enter:

If you are under 18 you must have a parent's permission to enter.

Be a follower of this blog and leave a comment on this post with your name and e-mail address, so I can contact you if you win. Open to US only.

Giveaway runs through the 31st, and I'll be announcing the winner shortly thereafter. Good luck, guys!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Youtube . . . Saturday?

Well, um, should we pretend it's Tuesday? No, becuase that would mean it's not the weekend, and we would have to go through last week ALL. OVER. AGAIN.

Yeah, no.

So may I present to you, for your amusement, Youtube Saturday:

And because I'm five days late, I'll give you another:

Enjoy your weekend, guys! :]

Friday, October 14, 2011

A thought on YA

This week I ordered books! I'm going to have a reading marathon during fall break next month, and I wanted to buy some new books for it. I ended up getting three:

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (Pre-Order)

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

There was a list of new-releases I wanted to buy, but I narrowed it down to two. (Part of my being a "responsible adult.") Then Amazon told me if I spent $3.01 + more, I'd qualify for free shipping. So I added Before I Fall, which I've read before and LOVE and have been wanting to buy. It was the responsible thing to do, guys. I had to. Think of all the money I saved on shipping.

Anyway, I showed my mom the books I was thinking of getting (before it was narrowed down to two) to see if there was one she'd want to read, too. This led to an interesting discovery.

She thought all the books were weird.

I mean, I know YA isn't the child development and faith development books she reads for her work. It's not that weird, though.

Her problem with them? She thought they were all about girls in distress situations, who had to be saved by a love interest. She also made fun of me because each one had a love interest.

Which made me think, YA does have a lot of love interests. When was the last time I read a YA novel that didn't have romance?

I disagreed about the whole damsel-in-distress angle she claimed they had, though. (The Pledge, Shatter Me, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer are the books she's talking about.) I'm a girl, gosh darn it, but I don't need to be saved by some guy. Neither do the girls I read about.

After looking at more reviews on-line, she decided maybe they're not just damsels being saved. (Maybe she was just trying to placate me, though.) She still though Daughter of Smoke and Bone looked really weird. She picked out Shatter Me as the one she'd read.

So, anyway, I got an outsider's view on YA, and now I'm going to try and find a YA that doesn't have romance. (Romance is one of the things that is often done poorly in YA, anyway.) Think it's possible?

My books are being shipped in one package, so I won't get them until Shatter Me comes out in November, right before fall break. I can't wait to read them, and see what my mom ends up thinking about Shatter Me.

New look . . . again

I took off the tomato picture. I like this blog design better. It's all tan and calming. Is this just me, or are you feeling the calming-tan-look to?

I'm thinking of putting a picture of my kitty behind the tittle, because she's so darn cute. I'd have to upload it to the computer though, and that takes effort . . .


Hey guys! It's Friday. My brain is a mess.

1. I was supposed to have a quiz in Animal Science today, but it was postponed to Wednesday. (We found this out on Tuesday.) Anyway, this is really, really good, because last night I had 62 math problems and 2 speech quizzes due by 11:59. I got done at 11:50. Seriously. There would have been no time to study for AVS and sleep, so I love my AVS teacher.

2. I must have set my alarm wrong, because this morning I woke up 30 minutes late. I had 25 minutes to get ready and leave for school. This meant: no shower and no breakfast (I grabbed a pack of fruit snacks and a string cheese, which don't really count). Wonderful.

3. But actually, the no breakfast thing actually was kind of good, because I was able to pay attention all the way through math. Usually I'm fighting sleep in that class.

4. Does this mean I'm skipping breakfast from now on? Not a chance. I love me some cereal.

5. It's Friday, but I have a ton of homework this weekend. A TON. Why does college never end? Can it be fall break yet? Christmas break? Summer break? Hmm, summer.

6. I read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins this week. (That's why I had so much work left last night . . . ) Anyway, review coming soon.

7. We're reading Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" in English. Our teacher put us in groups and we're acting out a scene on Monday. My group is doing the scene where everyone falls asleep in the foggy forest. There are 5 characters. There are 6 of us in my group.

8. That's right. Guess who's the fog?

9. Yup. I'm going to be so amazing.

10. Puck has been added to my "Favorite Shakespeare Characters List." Iago was feeling lonely.

11. Oh, gosh, I love Iago. He's so evil! Last year we watched the production from the globe theatre, and I actually enjoyed it. Watching Shakespeare. It was a first.

12. And now I kind of like his plays more. It must be an acquired taste.

13. Why is this a list?

14. I like the way the numbers look.

15. I want a puppy.

16. Also!  My rabbit might be pregnant! Oh, please, please be pregnant. I want cute baby bunnies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Want to read the first few chapters of some upcoming books? You're in luck . . .

Check out Penguin’s Teen Spring Sampler, featuring BORN WICKED & CATASTROPHIC HISTORY, here: tinyurl.com/penguinsneakpeek @jessica_shea
By the way, Born Wicked looks AWESOME and it really needs to be February already, because I really want to read it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shall I name thee Youtube Tuesday?

I saw Michael in concert this summer, and it was awesome.

So y'all, this is the third Tuesday I've posted a YouTube video. Shall we make it official and call Tuesdays "YouTube Tuesday?" I think so.

And because I'm so nice, I'll give you another one today as well.

Oh, Gaelic Storm, how I love you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A little bit different!

Do you like my tomatoes?*

*Okay, fine, they're not mine. I got them from here: http://www.geekcasual.com/food/tomatoes/. Why tomatoes? It has to do with the name of my blog. I'll have to tell you that story sometime soon.


No, not from me.

It's here! http://www.carolinavaldezmiller.com/

And look what's up for grabs:

 Signed ARC of ASHFALL
by Mike Mullin

Without Tess
by Marcella Pixley

by Sophie Littlefield

by Mette Ivie Harrison

Good luck! (But not too much luck, because I want to win, too.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mara Dyer

For Michelle Hodkin's contest here: http://michellehodkin.blogspot.com/2011/09/book-trailer-is-here.html

I haven't actually read this yet (it just came out) but I am planning too! Hopefully over fall break in November. I am planning on buying books and having a reading (no homework! yay!) marathon. I'm thinking Daughter of Smoke and Bone will be included, and perhaps Shatter Me, and maybe The Pledge, maybe Scorpio Races. Hmm . . .

No back to our regularly scheduled programming (read: homework).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

If I Die Young

I love how this is about dying, but it's not really sad. It's also very catchy and I've been signing it in my head all day.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Chime by Franny BillingsleyChime
Franny Billingsley

Another awesome cover. I love pretty covers.

This is one of those books that just blew me away. It was one of those all too infrequent gems that I just fall in love with.

Look at this first line:

"I've confessed to everything and I'd like to be hanged. Now, if you please."

How can you not want to devour this book???

At first, I thought Briony was crazy, and I was almost disappointed when about ten pages in, I realized she wasn't. She's not normal, she's convinced that she's a witch, but she's not hallucinating everything she sees in the swamp.

The swamp, you say? Why yes, I respond. The swamp it is awesome.

The romance? Equally awesome. Chime is one of those books where the characters have a real relationship, and I fell in love with them falling in love.

I loved Briony. I loved her sister, Rose. I liked their relationship as identical twins, and Rose as being mentally unstable. Rosie's character is very well written, just as Briony is, and I wished she had appeared more in the story. I loved her.

Basically, I loved this book, and I loved the ending. Go read it.

Imaginary Girls

Imaginary Girls
Image DetailNova Ren Suma

First of all, if nothing else, isn't that cover awesome? I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover but . . . I do admire them. :]

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I did have a couple of problems with it, but I'll get to them later.

The plot? There isn't one, really. It's really a character driven book, but there is some mystery, and some magic. I loved the reservoir and how it was its own character. I liked Ruby's character, and I was happy with her development. The ending the author gives her really fits her character, and is believable (if a little weird).

(Okay, never mind, a lot weird.)

I didn't like Chloe's character as much. My two problems with the book both involve Chloe - and sex. Seriously? Why do so many YA books feel like they need their characters to have sex to seem like real people? I think that's the reason so many authors write those scenes, anyway. Maybe they think it makes their books more attractive, more sell-able, I don't know. I just know I don't like it. Not every teen has to have sex, ya know. In fact, many don't. I might go as far to say that the majority of avid readers don't, because most of the teens I know who love to read are not that type. If the sex actually helps develop characters, and adds to the overall book, and is a necessary addition, I'm okay with it. (Bee Season does this well, though it is not YA)

I would recommend this book. I liked the ending, and the mystery of the reservoir. Not everything is explained and that is absolutely okay with this book. It just works.


Supernatural is on. :] <---- that's me.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I don't know what I'll be giving away yet, but it might be a vampire anthology I have. Maybe. Anyway, look for this next month!

The Reventant

Available NOW!Review: The Revenant, by Sonia Gensler

I was excited to read this, because it has an awesome premise. I like historical fiction. I like paranormal. I like stories about the West. I like well-written love stories. So a book that combines all this? Awesome!

Well, okay. This book was good (I had to know how it ended, and it kept me reading) but it wasn't as good as I had hoped. First of all, our main character is fleeing home. She's paranoid and afraid she's going to get caught. As a reader, I was immediately drawn in. I was intrigued! And then, her reasons for leaving didn't satisfy me. I never fully felt like she had to go, like this was a good thing for her. I felt like she was an immature, spoiled brat who was running away from responsibility. The author never really convinced me otherwise, and in the end, I was right. I don't think that's how this character was supposed to be portrayed.

I liked the paranormal parts, but honestly the climax didn't really meld with the rest of the book. It was cool, and I liked it, but it left me with too many questions. If the ghost knew it could do that, why hadn't it before? Then there were all the things that happened in the school because of the ghost, and I felt like they could have been done better. Especially the water parts. The water at the end was great, but it left me with too many questions about what had happened earlier. It drew me out of the story and I didn't like that.

Now on to the love story. It had so much potential! I thought it was going to be one of the good, developed romances, instead of the usual I-don't-really-know-you-but-I-love-you-undyingly kind I get so tired of. But it wasn't . Really, our main characters never "fall" in love. They are physically attracted to each other, and that's the bulk of it. We are told they know and love each other, but we're not shown through their time spent together and conversations. Because of this, I did really love the end. It's a fitting ending, and some of the only maturity our main character shows throughout the novel.

I realize this review is mostly negative, but that's not really how I felt about the book. I liked it, and maybe I'd read it again, but it wasn't as good as I felt it could have been. That's the kicker - I feel like the author could have done it better. Would I recommend reading it? Yes! Maybe you'll disagree with me. Who knows?

Things learned in 1st month of college

Things learned in my 1st month of college:

1. There is no lunch time. Also, it is no longer un-cool to eat by yourself. Get used to it, because that's how everyone eats.

2. If you sit down right next to someone in a lecture hall, they will move. There is an unspoken rule that if you don't know the person, you keep 1 seat between you. It's like a safety bubble.

3. When you're walking across campus, smile at people you pass. Unless these people are wearing sunglasses. These people will not smile back, so don't waste your pretty smile.

4. Even though we are in college, many people need to learn how to shower. And wash their hands after they use the bathroom. Honestly, it's almost worse then high school.

5. Today, I saw a bunch of guys walking around with water guns. They were fighting zombies. This is considered normal behaviour.

6. And finally, homework is not necessarily harder, there is just MORE of it. Be prepared to have no life.

The good news? We're paying for this.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Here we go again

I actually created a blog about a month ago. I even posted a couple of times. Then I got busy and didn't go back to it, and then when I tried to find it  . . . I couldn't. Why yes, folks, I lost my blog.
I tried searching the name, but no unknown blog is going to come up with a google search. I couldn't for the life of me remember the url, and of course I never wrote it down anywhere. I never saved the site or anything. So how about we start again?

Hello, Internet! Welcome to Mato's Blog.

I like to read and write, so I will post my reviews (mostly YA) here. I read a ton this summer, so I'll probably cycle through reviewing those novels. Some of them I liked! Others I didn't! Lucky you, you get to hear my opinions. :] You can hardly wait, right?

About me: I like fruit and animals and the color blue. Someday I want to be a published author, and a veterinarian. I like horses. I have rabbits and guinea pigs and a cat. I desperately want a border collie puppy so I can name her Fly, and then a boy named Rex. (Get the reference?) I like stickers, especially if they're sparkly, and I love good books.

Now I'm going to go save this blog so I can find it again.