What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Trivia Question #12

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and anything else! I don't want to take up too much of your time today, so I'll get right to it. By now I'm sure you know the deal, so I'll get right to it. Today is the last trivia question, which I'll answer when I announce the winner. You have until midnight today to enter and get in your guesses for the trivia questions. Speaking of trivia questions...did anyone get A Visit From St. Nicholas last night?

Yesterday's Trivia Question:
Q: What was the original title of the poem "The Night Before Christmas?"
A: Yes, the answer is "A Visit from St. Nicholas."

Today's (and the final) Trivia Question:
Q: In the movie, "It's A Wonderful Life," what book is Clarence the Angel reading before throwing himself in the water to save George Bailey?"

Once again, Merry Christmas, and thanks for playing! Good luck to everyone, and I'll announce the winner in the next few days!

And a Partridge in a Pear Treeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Trivia Question #11

Christmas Eve! Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions? We don't, persay. This year, we'll be celebrating Christmas with my dad's side of the family on Christmas Eve, so we'll get together, eat a lot of food (this year, having breakfast for dinner has been discussed), play games, and exchange Secret Santa type gifts. All of the grandkids in my family (we still all call ourselves "the grandkids" or "the cousins" despite my 19 year old sister being the youngest) have these really beautiful stockings that were made for us when we were born. I think they're beautiful, and I hope to someday find someone to remake them for my eventual kids.

But enough mushy stuff! It's party time! Christmas is tomorrow, and we've only got two days left to enter in the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!

Here is the answer to yesterday's trivia question:
Q: Which American department store created Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as a promotional tool?
A: Montgomery Ward. And they almost scrapped the idea because the red nose was often associated with drunkenness! Does anyone remember Montgomery Ward? I think there was one by my grandparents house when I was younger.

Today's Trivia Question:
Q: What was the original title of the poem "The Night Before Christmas"?

Two turtle doves...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Trivia Question #10

My Christmas holiday break begins today! Today I'll go to my grandparents house, don my fuzzy slippers and relax. It always feels like Christmas really begins once we go to my grandparents house, because that means everything else is done, and all that lies ahead for the next few days is fun, family, food, and warmth. It all makes me a happy, happy girl. Want some more trivia today? I'm sure you all know the drill, but just incase, I'll remind you that for every trivia question you answer (right or wrong), you'll get one extra entry into the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway! But you must have filled out the form found on that page!

Here's the answer from yesterday's trivia question:
Q: What were the first and last states to recognize Christmas as an official holiday?
A: The first was Alabama in 1836. The last was Oklahoma in 1907. Oklahoma, just what did you have against Christmas? Just kidding... ;)

Today's Trivia Question:
Q: Which American department store created Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as a promotional tool?

Three French hens...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Trivia Question #9

All I want to do from now until Christmas is hang out by the fire, read, drink hot chocolate, and enjoy being with my family. Well, ya know, and continue our online Christmas party! For my newcomers: This is the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway trivia question! If you'd like to play, make sure you fill out the form here. And for each of the trivia questions you guess at, you get an extra entry! What's the giveaway for? Well, I'm glad you asked! The winner will win a year's worth of new releases from Fuzzy.Coffee.Books! One new release a month for the entire year of 2012! Woohoo!!

Here's the answer to yesterday's trivia question:
Q: What popular Christmas carol was originally written for Thanksgiving?
A: "Jingle Bells", originally called "One Horse Open Sleigh." It was written by James Lord Pierpont in 1857, meant for a Thanksgiving program at his church in Savannah, Georgia.

Today's Trivia Question:
Q: What were the first and last states to recognize Christmas as an official holiday?

Four calling birds...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (21)

It's the last Waiting on Wednesday before Christmas! Do y'all have any special books you are hoping to get for Christmas? There are several out there that I am looking forward to reading, and would just like to snuggle down and read from now until the end of the year. Unfortunately, things like life, work, other such things get in the way. Anyway, Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine! It highlights the books that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week, my WoW is................

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Release Date: April 24th, 2012 (three days after my birthday!)

Here's the Summary from Goodreads: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Make sure you add it to your TBR list! What books are you waiting on?

And don't forget to get entered in the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway that's going on right now, until midnight on Christmas Day! If you win, you'll get one new release of your choice every month for the whole year from Fuzzy.Coffee.Books! And check out the Christmas Trivia Questions - those will earn you extra entries!

Christmas Trivia Question #8

Do you get to enjoy some time off during the holiday season? Sometimes for me it seems like my work winds down and relaxes in the days leading up to Christmas. Other times, everything hits at once and needs to be done before I leave the office for the holiday! But it's okay, because we're still celebrating over here on Fuzzy.Coffee.Books! Just a reminder, make sure you've entered the giveaway by filling out the form found here, and then attempt to answer the trivia questions for your extra entries!

Here is the answer to yesterday's trivia question:
Q: How long did it take Charles Dickens to write "A Christmas Carol?"
A: Six weeks

Today's Trivia Question:
Q: What popular Christmas carol was originally written for Thanksgiving?

Fiiiiiiiiiiiive golden rings...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

If you haven't read my review of Birthmarked, the first book in this trilogy (this is book 2), then you can check it out here. Birthmarked was one of those that I bought on a whim, I didn't know anything about it other than what I read in the summary. But I ended up enjoying it so much that I was really excited to read Prized when it came out!
Here is the summary from Goodreads: Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

What I Liked: 1) Leon. Leon, well, honestly, he wasn't too nice in this book. Except that he actually was nice, Gaia just didn't perceive it as nice at the time. Through his...animosity towards her, he is actually able to snap her out of the mindset she's fallen into while being held in Sylum. 2) Sylum. Okay, I didn't so much like it, as I liked being able to make Sylum the antagonist. I guess you could say I liked hating it, the societal rules that were driving Gaia to change to drastically. It was almost like brainwashing. But despite wanting to hate Sylum, I found myself understanding why they did some of the things they did. Not agreeing with it, but at least seeing their point of view. I think that's a great quality in a book. 3) The introduction of new characters. Because Gaia has traveled from the Enclave to this new community of Sylum, we're introduced to many new characters, several of them I hope stick around for the next book. Many of them become very real, because they are very likeable and personable. I particularly liked Peter and Will. 4) The plotline. The storyline and details all flowed very well, without many big skips and jumps, or a lot of stopping and starting that can plague a novel. It moved with deliberate pacing, which I always appreciate. I know that when I can read a book uninterrupted for hours, and have to pull myself back to reality when I'm through, then I was really immersed in the story.

What I Didn't Like: 1) Gaia, whom I thought was great in the first book, had changed drastically in this book. Her strength and rebelliousness was zapped from her personality, and she became very two-dimensional. I do think that this was part of the story, because, as I mentioned before, she's become kind of brainwashed, I look forward to seeing her strength and leadership return in the third and final book, Promised.

Overall thoughts: I always get worried right before I open book 2 of a series that I really enjoyed the first book. No need to worry with this one, Miz O'Brien delivered an interesting continuation of Gaia's story and kept me engaged and intrigued with new characters and new problems for the MCs to face. I had the teensist of issues with Gaia's personality changing so drastically, but I have a feeling in the next novel, she'll be back to her old self. Maybe just a more mature, grown-up version. Excellent companion novel, can't wait for the next one!

My rating: 4 shots

Cheers and happy reading!

Christmas Trivia Question #7

Today is December 20th, my Dad's birthday! Happy Birthday, Papa FCB! Thank you for facilitating my book addiction for most of my life. You rock! And you guys rock too, for sticking with my fun trivia game! Christmas Day is a mere 5 days away now, and I know you are all super busy. I hope y'all are taking the time to enjoy this wonderful time of year! Have you been enjoying my trivia questions? I've been regaling my family with them so they can play along with you guys. It's been fun for us! If you've just now stumbled into the party, here's the deal. We're counting down to Christmas with a giveaway and some Christmas trivia. Make sure to check out the giveaway page here to get entered to win something really awesome! And then, for every trivia question to guess, you'll get an extra entry! Sound like fun?

Here's the answer to yesterday's trivia question:
Q: Who was the first U.S. President to decorate the White House Christmas Tree?
A: Franklin Pierce

And today's trivia question:
Q: How long did it take Charles Dickens to write "A Christmas Carol?"

Stop back by tomorrow for the answer and more trivia!

Six geese-a-laying...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Trivia Question #6

Well, we are less than a week away from Christmas Day. Is anyone going out of town? I'm sticking around here. Still counting down 'til Christmas. Which means, of course, you can still enter the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway! So make sure you fill out the form to get entered. And for some extra entries, you can answer the trivia questions I'm asking each day. Right or wrong, as long as you guess, you'll get an extra entry for each question you attempt!

Here's the answer to yesterday's question
Q: Who kisses Lucy in "A Charlie Brown Christmas"?
A: Snoopy - "YUCK! Dog germs!"

Today's Question
Q: Who was the first U.S. President to decorate the White House Christmas Tree?

7 swans-a-swimming...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Trivia Question #5

We're only a week away from Christmas now. Is all of your shopping done? Anyway, welcome to my version of an online Christmas Party - a fun game, awesome people, and a fun Christmas present! If you haven't already, be sure and enter the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway, and remember that for each trivia question you attempt to answer, you'll get an extra entry! Even if you don't get it right! I'm having so much fun with these trivia questions, and I'm really glad that it seems y'all are too! I'm sharing them with my family as we go, to see if they know the answers!

Here is the answer from yesterday's question
Q: In 1667, Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan leader in England, banned all Christmas celebrations. How long did this ban last?
A: It lasted for 13 years, until 1660. Seems like we all had different information for this one. My source was an old European History text book that I for some reason never sold back in college. Who knows what was actually going on in those crazy times!?

Today's Question
Q: Who kisses Lucy in "A Charlie Brown Christmas"?

8 maids-a-milking...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Trivia Question #4

Somehow, we've made it to 8 days away from Christmas Day! This holiday season just seems to be flying by! (Like 8 tiny reindeer, perhaps?) Just to recap - we're counting down the days 'til Christmas with some trivia. And, oh right, the giveaway! Make sure you get entered into my 12 Days 'til Christmas Giveaway, and for each of these trivia questions that you at least guess, you'll get an extra entry! But make sure you fill out the form here to get entered!

Here's the answer to yesterday's trivia question
Q: In Tchaikovsky's popular Christmas ballet "The Nutcracker Suite," who was the Nutcracker's main foe?
A: The Rat King or the Mouse King. I always thought he was a rat, but I suppose it doesn't matter. What does matter is that this guy was defeated with a shoe. Talk about girl power!

Today's Question
Q: In 1967, Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan leader in England, banned all Christmas celebrations. How long did this ban last?

No Christmas? How can Christmas be illegal? Silly Cromwell.

9 ladies dancing...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ruthless by Sara Shephard

Did y'all read my review of Twisted? If you did, you know that I am addicted to Pretty Little Liars (PLL) almost as much as I am to caffeine. Well, Ruthless is book 10 in the PLL saga, and while we are only supposed to expect another two books, I can't imagine life getting any easier for the girls!
Here is the summary from Goodreads: For years scandal has rocked Rosewood, Pennsylvania—and high school seniors Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer have always been at the center of the drama. They’ve lost friends, been targeted by a ruthless stalker named A, and narrowly escaped death. And it’s not over yet.

Aria’s love life is on the fritz. Emily’s exploring her wild side. Hanna’s kissing the enemy. And someone from Spencer’s past—someone she never thought she’d see again—is back to haunt her.

But none of that compares to what happened last spring break. It’s their darkest secret yet and guess who found out? Now A is determined to make them pay for their crime, and the only thing scarier than A is the fear that maybe, just maybe, they deserve what’s coming to them.

What I Liked: 1) Reading PLL is like reading a tabloid, for me. Like, you can't possibly imagine how all of these crazy things are happening, yet you can't stop reading. I love being able to indulge in something like that every once in a while. It is unapologetically unbelievable, and I love it for that. Like one of those horrible reality shows when you wonder, "are you like that in real life, or are you only acting that way because there is a camera on you?" 2) Once again, we were met with more questions than answers. That's something I like about the series, but there was something different about it in Ruthless than some of the others. In Ruthless, we were met with a definite answer about one of the issues. I thought at one point everything might be all over, but of course it can't be. It was almost as if there was a story within a story. And while the main story continues, the other one was over. 3) I liked the direction the plot is going, though there were a few times I questioned the motivations of the four girls.

What I Didn't Like: 1) It almost felt like we were reliving parts of some of the other books. That was one thing that really just bothered me. I would be reading along and think, wait, didn't this already happen, just with another character? That disappointed me some, because I've always found Miz Shephard's storylines to be unique and creative. 2) Why does every book start with, "well, I don't really hang out with my old friends anymore..." How many times are they going to have a girl break-up, only to have A tie them back together. When will they figure out they are stronger as a group? *shakes fist at make believe characters*

Overall thoughts: For fans of the Pretty Little Liars series, I think you'll be surprised to find some repetitive storylines, but pleased to find that Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily are still up to their old habits. I like it best when the girls are working together to solve their issues, and I found that to be lacking in this book. Here's hoping that in the next book, our favorite little liars will bring their friendship back!

My rating: 3.5 shots

Christmas Trivia Question #3

Christmas is just nine days away, are you ready for more trivia? If you're just now joining us, we're playing a little trivia game, leading up to an awesome giveaway! I'll be posting Christmas trivia questions from now until Christmas Day, and for every trivia question you attempt, you'll get an extra entry into the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway! Make sure you check it out and fill out the entry form. The trivia answers don't count as the first entry, you need to fill out the form here for that (so I can have a way to count up everything!)

Here's the answer to yesterday's trivia question
Q. What New York City newspaper first published the famous editorial "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus"?
A: The New York Sun

Was that question too easy?

Today's Question
Q: In Tchaikovsky's popular Christmas ballet, "The Nutcracker Suite," who was the Nutcracker's main foe?

Ten Lords-a-leaping...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Clockwise by Elle Strauss

I'll confess, for as much as I love history, time-travel has just never really sparked my interest. But I was intrigued by the premise of Clockwise, so happily settled in this weekend to read Elle Strauss's YA time-travel rom/com.
Here is the summary from Goodreads: Boy watching with her best friend would be enough excitement for fifteen year old Casey Donavan. She doesn't even mind life at the bottom of the Cambridge High social ladder, if only she didn’t have this other much bigger problem. Unscheduled trips to the nineteenth century!

When Casey gets talked into going to the Fall Dance, the unthinkable happens--she accidentally takes Nate Mackenzie, the cutest boy in the school, back in time. Protocol pressures her to tell their 1860 hosts that he is her brother and when Casey finds she has a handsome, wealthy (and unwanted) suitor, something changes in Nate. Are those romantic sparks or is it just ‘brotherly’ protectiveness?

When they return to the present things go back to the way they were before: Casey at the bottom of the social totem pole and Nate practically the flag flying from the top. Except this time her heart is broken. Plus, her best friend is mad, her parents are split up, and her little brother gets escorted home by the police. The only thing that could make life worse is if, by some strange twist of fate, she took Nate back to the past again.

Which, of course, she does.

What I Liked: 1) Well, I have to eat my words on saying that time travel just wasn't my thing. I really loved Miz Strauss's version of time travel. In this story, our MC Casey spontaneously travels through time, staying in her present location, but traveling back to the 19th century. I've always been a fan of American history, and thought that Casey's time spent in the 1800s had great historical accuracy. 2) The mystery. Okay, so there wasn't an obvious mystery, except maybe why it is that Casey travels and why to this time period. But I sniffed another one out, and figured out the answer before the ending. Bwah ha ha ha! I get happy when I figure stuff out before the characters. It makes me feel smart. 3) Romance. Who doesn't like it when the timid girl gets the golden boy? I don't care how many books are out there written with that kind of romantic plot. I always love it, because well, a) don't tell me they are always the same, because every character in every good story has a unique and different personality, much like a fingerprint, and b) it gives me hope that people believe love that like exists. It just makes me happy. 4) There is a lightness in this book that I really appreciated. It didn't take very long for me to read it, part of that being that I was so thoroughly enjoying myself that I read fast to find out more, but also that there weren't so many things bogging down the plot.

What I Didn't Like: Nothing!

Overall thoughts: Clockwise was a fun, lighthearted read with a great mixture of fantasy, history and romance. Readers will enjoy the sparks flying between Casey and Nate as they travel back and forth from the 1800s. It's easy to get swept away in the story where the historical facts, personable characters and excellent plotline all come together.

My rating: 5 shots

Christmas Trivia Question #2

Good Morning! Well, Christmas Day is a mere 10 days away, and I have another trivia question for you! Remember, for every trivia question you guess at (you don't have to get it right), you'll get another entry into the 12 Days 'til Christmas Giveaway! If you haven't checked it out, it's a really great deal, so make sure you get entered to win!

Okay, on with the fun! The answer to yesterday's trivia question is this:
Q: How many gifts would you receive from the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas?"
A: 364 - one for every day of the year (Can you imagine all those birds?)

Here is today's trivia question
Q: What New York City newspaper first published the famous editorial, "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus"?

I believe!

Eleven Pipers Piping...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway!

Did y'all know that the actual Twelve Days of Christmas are the days after Christmas, from December 26th and Epiphany (Jan. 6th)? It represents the 12 days it took for the Wise Men to arrive in Bethlehem. Ho ho ho! I like Christmas trivia! So I'm going to celebrate Christmas by giving y'all some Christmas trivia for the next 12 days from now until Christmas Day!

But I like to give stuff away too! So, in honor of the end of the year, the 12 Days of Christmas, Christmas time, the spirit of giving, Santa Claus, and all that fun stuff, I'd going to host a little giveaway!

How would you like a new release of your choice? What could be better? How about one a month for the next 12 months, courtesy of Fuzzy.Coffee.Books? That's right, the winner of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway will get their choice of one new release every month for the entire year! And you get to choose what you want! Sound like a good deal?

Okay, so here's the deal. Fill out the form below. There are extra entries available for tweeting, pasting the button on your blog, etc. You can also earn extra entries, one a day, by answering the trivia questions I'll be posting every day. You don't have to get them right, just guess. I'll count everything up once the contest is over. The giveaway will run from today until midnight (CST) on December 25th. I'll announce the winner a few days after that. And then starting in January, you'll get one new release of your choice!

Oh, and for the international contingent - yes, this contest is open to you too! As long as Book Depository delivers to ya, then you can enter!

And don't forget you can get an extra entry every day by guessing the answer to the trivia question I post each day!

Here is today's Trivia Question:

Q: How many gifts would you receive from the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song?

I'll post the answer tomorrow! Good luck!

Cheers and Happy Reading!

12 Drummers Drumming...

Links to other Trivia Questions:
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4
Question 5
Question 6
Question 7
Question 8

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Destined by Jessie Harrell

I waited anxiously for the chance to read Destined by Jessie Harrell. To the point of standing by the window watching for the FedEx guy. I knew a little about the story of Cupid and Psyche, and was definitely intrigued.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: 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.

What I Liked: 1) The story. This is the first book I've read that explores this particular Greek myth, the story of Eros and Psyche. It was definitely unique in that way. Plus, it's just a great tale all around. If you don't know the story, check out Destined! 2) Psyche's personality. So it's set in ancient Greece/Olympus. But sometimes Psyche, and some of the other characters too, talk like they could be from present day. I really liked that, so we weren't bogged down with some kind of Ancient Greek-speak. Actually, there were several times where her reactions were the same as what mine might have been in the same situation! 3) How close to the original the details were in the story. I cheated some and did a little research after I finished reading Destined, because I was curious. I knew the general story, but the salient details escaped me. And so much of this story was grounded in the original details, while still sounding fresh and new. I loved it. Plus, any story that a) inspires me to do my own research, or b) inspires my imagination to come up with crazy jailbird stories (if you saw me on twitter last week, you know what I'm talking about) is just going to be great! 4) Cupid! Who doesn't like Cupid. In his Roman form, of course. Eros is his Greek name. But whatever you call him, I loved him in this story. His devotion to Psyche is so great, he is willing to go to any length to keep her safe. What a great male MC.

What I Didn't Like: 1) This wasn't so much a dislike as something that caused me some confusion. Throughout most of the story, the Gods are referred to as their Greek names. Which is fine, the legend is Greco-Roman, so it could go either way. But for a few of the gods, she switched to their Roman names. I tried to find a reason for this, like if that part of the story maybe came from the Roman legends. I couldn't come up with anything other than author preference. For me, who recognizes most gods from their Greek names, I had trouble figuring out who a few were until I was given some context clues. This does not hinder the story in anyway, just something that confused me a few times.

Overall thoughts: Destined is a fun and well-written book covering the Greco-Roman legend of Eros and Psyche. The story sticks close to the historical details, and the characters are given life and grow into well-rounded and very personable characters. This lighthearted story breathes life into this ancient legend through beautiful details and personable characters. Highly recommended!

My rating: 5 shots

Windchaser and Windfall Giveaway! Today only on Twitter!

Today is the national release of Windchaser (which I reviewed last week) and Windfall by Krissi Dallas, the first two books of her Phantom Island series. To celebrate, I have a signed copy of both Windchaser and Windfall to giveaway! Hooray!

Contest Details:

US Only please
It goes on today, December 13th, 2011 ONLY! From 12:01am until 11:59pm.

How to enter: You enter by taking a photo of Windchaser and/or Windfall either on a bookstore shelf, on amazon.com, on B&N.com, or wherever you find it. Then tweet the photo to me @FuzzyCoffeeBks with the hashtag #phantomisland. Then you'll be entered.

I'll use random.org to select one winner from those who send me their photos! Good luck!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter

This book wasn't what I was expecting. Not in the slightest. Actually now that I've finished reading, I'm so thoroughly blown away by this story that I can't even remember what I was expecting in the first place. Put quite simply, I loved everything about this book.
Here is the summary from Goodreads: "No secret stays hidden forever."

A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mystery he'd abandoned years before. He never expected a young librarian could hold the key to the search, nor could he have expected the danger she would attract. Now he and Beatrice De Novo will follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, through the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation they never could have predicted.

What I Liked: 1) The details. I am not an artist, in fact my stick figure drawing are laughable. But if I could draw, the details in A Hidden Fire make me want to draw the characters. Their faces and forms with long smooth lines, sharp angles and lots of shading. 2) The relationships. Such beautifully created relationships between all of the characters - some good and some bad! But they were all there, and all were strong, understandable, and personable. I love this in a book, because often it gives me, or a reader, something to appreciate, to understand or even to desire. 3) The love story. In so many books where romance is at play, we find that thing that readers tend to fear - the insta-love. I am pleased to say that the romance between Gio and B is one that grows and develops over time, and it's very sweet and endearing to be able to watch it develop. I found myself falling for Gio. 4) The inclusion of the elemental magic. Of course I knew that was coming from the title itself, but I really liked the way it was handled, and the way it was explained. 5) The humor. I found myself several times. Some of the lines that I noted were simply because I was laughing at them so much. I even repeated a few of them to my sister, and one became a catchphrase for an entire day! ---> "I am, in fact, Batman." HA HA HA! We said it all day long! 6) Carwyn. Carwyn was probably my favorite character. I hope that he plays a role in the next book (and the next ones after that), because I just loved him. His personality was great, and envisioning him with his bright hair and Hawaiian shirts along with his profession just made him so much fun. I tried changing Sophie's name to Carwyn, but she didn't go for it. 7) The ending. A lot of people probably have love/hate relationships with cliffhangers. I know I do. Love running off of really good ones, and hate them all the same. The ending of A Hidden Fire left me immediately ready for the next book, This Same Earth.

What I Didn't Like: Nothing!

Overall thoughts: Add this book to your TBR list immediately, and add it somewhere near the top! The characters, the storyline, the magic and romance all draw you in from the very beginning and the ending just leaves you hungry for more. I absolutely recommend this book to any fans of romance, mystery, or paranormals - it will leave you charmed and mystified. Additionally, the second book in the series, This Same Earth was just recently released as an e-book and I know I'll be reading it in the near future.

My rating: 5 shots

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski

I got to meet Christina at the Austin Teen Book Festival, she's so nice! Also, she gave me a cupcake sticker. Which I still have! Anyway, my reading list has been sorely lacking in contemporary fiction, so I was ready to read this one when it came up on my TBR list.
Here is the summary from Goodreads: In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she’s decorating a cake. Unfortunately, everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.
But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will solve all her problems—only her dad’s about to get a cooking show in New York, which means her dream of a perfect family will be dashed.

The cover makes me want a donut. Seriously. *takes break from review writing to find donuts*

Okay. I'm back. Did y'all know that Krispy Kreme has snowman shaped donuts? I love Christmas time!!

What I Liked: 1) Sheridan. Sheridan was an interesting MC. She's a strong girl, but she has her weaknesses and isn't afraid of them. It's kind of funny, because I think some of my favorite YA MCs are the ones who remind me of real teenagers, and Sheridan definitely does that. She was also able to frustrate me, which while it may sound bad, isn't. I related to her enough so that I at one point was like, "come on, Sheridan!! Just listen to me." (I believe I can change books by talking out loud to them.) 2) The unique idea. A teenager who wants to spend her time decorating cakes! I loved that. It was also a nice place to lose yourself, this bakery that she works in. 3) One Shot. With so many series out there - not that I'm complaining about them - it's nice to finish a book and feel as if your questions were answered. The whole story was wrapped up very nicely, and I really appreciated that. For the record, I notice this more with contemporary fiction than with paranormal stories. 4) This was a light book. One you can sit down, read in a few hours, and feel good when you're done. There are so many books out there with big bad issues, and I read those too, but sometimes you just want to read something that doesn't make your brain or heart hurt too much. This one fits the bill as a "feel-good" read.

What I Didn't Like: 1) My chief complaint about The Sweetest Thing was the lack of depth to the relationships between the characters. There are a few characters that have strained relationships, particularly Sheridan and her father, but even the people she is close to, her best friends, and her Grandmother, those relationships were a little weak.

Overall thoughts: For Miz Mandelski's first YA novel, I definitely think this was a fun read. I've already suggested it to several people, and am now recommending it to all of you! If you're looking for a light, fun read with personable characters and a well-tuned plot, then pick up a copy of The Sweetest Thing. And make sure to have something sweet in your house while you read! This book will trigger your sweet tooth!

My rating: 4 shots

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Everything about Shatter Me intrigued me, from the cover to the summary. So I was definitely excited to get my hands on this debut from Tahereh Mafi!
Here is the summary from Goodreads: Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. 

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

What I Liked: 1) The setting. There are a lot of post-apocalyptic settings out there, so much so that they can all seem to be the same after a while. So I was pleased to find this one a unique and interesting world that Juliette and her friends are living in. 2) The details. The details really bring everything to life, creating a very visual world for the reader to be a part of. 3) Symbolism. I love symbolism and always have, since we studied it in school. It's one of the first things I usually pick out when reading. There is a lot of great symbolism in this book, and I think it only makes it better! 4) I still love the cover. I think it's a great visual description of the book. 5) The idea. The idea of this one girl whose touch can prove fatal - that was the most intriguing part of it to me, why is she like that? Is there any way for her to control it? 6) The very ending. This is what really made the book for me. I loved the introduction of the new setting at the end of the book, and Juliette's discovery that she could make her own decisions and didn't have to be a pawn in the Reestablishment's war.

What I Didn't Like: 1) Well, I didn't like the way it started. I think it reminded me of another book that I am not a fan of at all, and so I had to work my way through that. For the record, that's my issue, not anyone else's. 2) The characters. I didn't connect with any of the characters. The just fell a little flat for me. I know a lot of people have found both Juliette and Adam to be great characters, but there was nothing about them that made them just stand out in my mind. 3) The writing style. Tahereh Mafi is a talented and creative writer. However her the style she wrote with in this book just didn't appeal to me as a reader. It was hard for me to get into the story with the strikeouts and grammatical decisions that were made.

Overall Thoughts: I liked Shatter Me. I'm interested to know what happens next, especially after the way this book ended. I'll be looking for more character development from the next book, but I know to expect something great after this one. For a debut novel, this sets up an interesting series that I am looking forward to following!

My rating: 3.5 shots

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (20)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the books that we are most anxiously awaiting!

This week my WoW is.....................

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Release Date: January 31, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

This is Jodi's debut novel, and it's on my list for the Debut Author Challenge 2012. But what's also got me super excited is that I found out last week that Jodi, along with Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Courtney Allison Moulton will be coming to my local Barnes and Noble in February! Yay!!

What books are y'all waiting on this week?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Windchaser by Krissi Dallas

If you've been following my blog for a while, or have read some of my older stuff, you've seen mentions of Phantom Island and it's creator, Krissi Dallas. Windchaser, book one of the series, will be available exactly one week from today (December 13th, 2011)! I've been very excited to share my thoughts about the book with y'all!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: High school senior Whitnee has spent six years rebuilding her identity after her father's mysterious disappearance left her with more questions than answers. With her two best friends, Morgan and Caleb, she returns as a mentor to the summer camp of her childhood. Nestled in the Texas hill country, Camp Fusion is everything Whitnee remembers—except for the haunting visions that only she can see. One fateful night, Whitnee and her friends embark on a magical voyage where unexpected adventure and heart-stopping romance collide—a journey that might unlock the dark, complicated mysteries of Whitnee's family history. But will she find the answers she is looking for?

What I Liked: 1) The characters. The main characters of Whitnee, Morgan, and Caleb are all well-rounded and unique characters with fully explored histories. The first thing that strikes me about Miz Dallas's writing is how real her characters become. They don't just come into being when you open the first page, they are living, breathing people with histories, quirks, personalities, and lives. It doesn't take long to start to view them as your friends, rather than characters in a book. 2) Camp Fusion. The story begins at Camp Fusion, a camp for adolescents who are struggling to deal with life-changing events with the help of their mentors. Whitnee, Morgan and Caleb met at the camp years before as campers and have now returned as mentors. The big sister in me is just raw when I read about the struggles the campers are dealing with, but at the same time I recognize the necessity of it all. A reminder that life isn't always roses, it certainly adds a level of reality to the story. 3) Humor. It's clear that Miz Dallas's sense of humor and mine are similar, because I lolled throughout the book. It's really a great mixture of the serious and the humorous. 4) The introduction of new characters. Towards the middle of the book, once you've gotten used to the relationships of Whitnee, Caleb, Morgan, Amelia, and Kevin, we're thrown another character who seems to throw everyone off balance for a while. More than a while, actually, everyone seems to be wary of him for the rest of the book. He has a mysterious quality about him that makes him very appealing to me. And Whitnee. Heh. Plus, he's a hot island boy. Who doesn't like that? 5) The Island. Referred to as Phantom Island, or the White Island. Bear with me, because I am going to have a hard time explaining what it is I like about this setting so much. My initial thought upon arriving there (a good, 150 pages into the book) is that it's like coming home. I don't live on an island, or any kind of tropical setting, but there is something about this place that Miz Dallas has created that is comforting and exciting all at the same time. There are different parts of the Island, and though we only get to explore one part of it (well, two, if you count the beach) in this book, I'm looking forward to more exploring in the rest of the series. In all honesty, if I could choose any setting from any book I've ever read, to live in, I'd want to live on the White Island. Or, I'd want to be from the White Island, and have their life source gifts. Which leads me into my next like...6) The tribes. On the Island, the people live in one of four tribes, the Aerodorians (Wind), the Geodorians (Earth), the Pyradorians (Fire) and the Hydrodorians (Water). There are many intricate details that go into these tribes, who they are, what they can do, etc. but I don't want to reveal anymore about them until you've read the book. I will tell you that I've taken Miz Dallas's test to see which tribe I belong to, and I'm a Pyra. The details really make the story great. 7) The balance between reality and fantasy. As an avid reader, I think I spend a great deal of my life balancing it somewhere between reality (work, bills, etc.) and fantasy (pretty much any book I read). Windchaser emulates that balance that I think a lot of people seek out in their lives.

What I Didn't Like: Nothing. Well, okay, this isn't really a dislike, more of a disclaimer. This book demands your focus. As I said, there are a lot of details, and a lot of things going on. One of Miz Dallas's many talents as an author is that she manages to keep things from spiraling out of control, but maintain a fastpaced story. Make sure that when you sit down to read it, you are committing to it. It's not a multi-tasking read.

Overall thoughts: Windchaser is one of my favorite books of the year. I'd live on the White Island if I could, and would definitely want to be friends with Whitnee and her companions. You know those books that you are sad when they're over? That's Windchaser for me. I didn't want to leave the Island, and I didn't want to leave my friends. Between the awesome setting and the oh-so-real characters, Windchaser is the perfect balance of reality and fantasy mixed together to form a creative and unique story that will delight many readers! Make sure you add it to your TBR list, and watch for my review of Phantom Island book 2, Windfall!

My rating: 5 shots

And to make the release next week even more fun, stop by next week because I will be hosting a giveaway of a signed copy of both Windchaser and Windfall! This contest will be Twitter-centric, so if you aren't following @FuzzyCoffeeBks on twitter, make sure you do! Cheers and happy reading!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Crossed by Ally Condie

After falling head over heels for Matched, the first book in this series, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Crossed. Warning! Don't read the summary unless you've read Matched! There are spoilers, and I don't want to ruin the book for anyone!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

What I Liked: 1) I love Ky. He's smart, and sensitive, and strong. And in this book, we got to know him so much better. Instead of the whole book being from Cassia's perspective, Miz Condie switched perspectives between Cassia and Ky. So we got to know Ky from how he thinks, and it made him so much more real. 2) Cassia. Of course, I've been a big fan of Cassia since Matched. Good girl turned rebel. That's what is so great about Cassia. She's grown so much throughout the first two books, and become so much stronger than we are initially led to believe. There are qualities about Cassia that I think make her a great role model, such as her strength and her open-mindedness and willingness to learn. I'm always excited to find main characters in YA books that make good role models. 3) We got to explore a different setting in this book. In Matched, we stuck to the Society where Cassia and Ky lived, and everything was very regimented and ordered. By contrast, the setting, the storyline, even the writing was less structured, and a little chaotic. It was a great parallel to what was happening in the book. 4) New characters. There were several new characters in Crossed that added a different dimension to the story. Instead of having to hide secrets from the people around them, Cassia and Ky both were traveling with companions that they could somewhat confide in. There were still secrets being kept. But having these new characters changed the dynamic of the story drastically.

What I Didn't Like: 1) I missed Xander. He doesn't make an appearance in Crossed, and as much as I want Cassia and Ky to be together, I like Xander too, and I am very curious as to how he fits into the story. Especially after finding out *text changed to prevent spoilers* that one thing that we found out! 2) I also miss Cassia's family. I know the story is really about Cassia and Ky, but I am always curious about how her/their decisions are affecting the others in their lives. Note: These things aren't so much dislikes. There wasn't anything I'd change about the story, I just want to know these things, and it seems like so much to wrap up in only one more book!

Overall thoughts: Another great book from Miz Condie! Matched is a great trilogy, and Crossed definitely follows the storyline very well. The tone changes, as it very well should, from Matched to Crossed, and our beloved characters show a lot of growth from the first book. You get to know Ky, as our male MC a lot better because of the first person alternating narration (which is always hard for me to follow) but I appreciated getting inside Ky's head a little. I'm intrigued as to where we'll go from here, and can't wait for the third book, which is so far Untitled and slated to be released in November 2012!

My rating: 5 shots

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Fate of the Muse by Derrolyn Anderson

Okay, prepare yourselves for another one of my strange metaphors. Reading Fate of the Muse was like...visiting old friends. Seriously, in the first chapter, as each of the characters I'd loved from the previous two stories appeared, I got a great big smile on my face. Like, when you go back to school after the whole summer, and see all the people you didn't see over the summer. That's how it was. Hi friends, I missed you.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Trouble is stalking Marina. She’s already escaped the clutches of her formidable foe once, but fate has even more trials in store for her. There are evil plans in the works– plans that threaten both her and her newly found family.
As she struggles to come to grips with her unwanted powers, outside forces threaten to tear Marina and Ethan apart, making her doubt their vision of an idyllic future together. Can first love be true love?

First off, if you haven't read any of the Marina's Tales series, make sure you check them out. I have reviews of Between the Land and the Sea (book one) and The Moon and the Tide (book two). I've said before, and I'll say it again. I want to be a mermaid.

What I Liked: 1) The plotline. We got back to the plot pacing that I had enjoyed in the first book, but missed in the second. It was very smooth flowing, and didn't jump around at all. 2) Ah, Cruz. I heart you and want to be best friends. Please design amazing clothes for me to wear! I've mentioned in my other reviews that Cruz is one of my favorite characters in this series. And he still is. He's so creative and funny....I sort of think of him like Kurt from Glee! (only, slightly more awesome.) 3) I love the continuity of the story. Yes, you have to have read the previous book to really feel connected to these characters, but throughout the story, we get little reminders of what Marina and her friends have been through in the first two books. 4) The unapologetic outrageousness of the story. Did anyone ever watch One Tree Hill? I used to, but gave up on it when suddenly, they were all famous, doing these awesome things four years after high school. Seriously, one was a best selling author, one had a multi-million dollar clothes line, one was starting her own record label....how realistic is that? Okay, and there is some of this happening in The Fate of the Muse. But in this case....it's UNDERSTANDABLE. You know why it's happening, so you just get to sit back and enjoy it. 5) The creative descriptions. I love it when stories come to life. And Miz Anderson's stories always do for me. It's because of her creative way of describing things. Ever wanted to be a fashion designer? How about a runway model? You have a chance to step into these roles in The Fate of the Muse.

What I Didn't Like: Married? MARRIED? Dude. Whoa.

PS, so the main guy's name is Ethan, which is top of my hot boy name list. Also, whenever I picture him, he looks like Blair Redford, who plays Ethan on The Lying Game (ABC Family). It's probably because they are both named Ethan.

Doesn't matter how he's described, in my head, he looks like this!

Overall thoughts: The Fate of the Muse was a great addition to a fun series. The characters are lovable and interesting, and there is never a dull moment in the plot. There's some great action scenes, and some incredible sweet moments between Ethan and Marina. Not to mention a setting that lets us globetrot. Finally, the ending just left me wanting more. If you haven't read Marina's Tales, make sure you add this series to your list!

My rating: 5 shots

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November Wrap-Up

Happy December 1st, everyone! Holidays are in full swing around my house! My decorations are up, I've got some shopping done, and the weather is even trying to be cool! Holidays mean less reading time for me, so I've had to slow down my reviews, and I haven't been able to read as much. But I spend a lot of time with family, so it's a lot of fun! Anyway, here's a quick recap of what I read and reviewed on Fuzzy.Coffee.Books in November:

5 Shots
Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Beautiful Chaos by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
Don't Fear the Reaper by Michelle Muto
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle

4 Shots
Off Leash by Jenna Anderson
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

3 Shots
Hereafter by Tara Hudson (3.5)
The Secret of Lies by Barbara Abate Forte (3.5)
Eve by Anna Carey

2 Shots
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Additionally, I read (but haven't yet reviewed):
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (RR)
Crossed by Ally Condie
The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan (RR)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (RR)
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan (RR)
The Fate of the Muse by Derrolyn Anderson

It wasn't as good a month for me, reading-wise, but as I said, during holiday months, I tend to spend less time reading because there is so much else going on. I do have some great stuff planned for December, so I hope y'all stick around!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (19)

Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving? I did! Mine was crazy, though it went pretty much the way I said it would in my post last Thursday. Got some great deals on Black Friday, including some books at Barnes and Noble. I've also got all my Christmas decorations done, so maybe I'll post some pics later of all the Christmas fun!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the books that we are most anxiously awaiting!

This week's WoW pick is the fourth and final book of a series that I grew slowly to love. I had to read the first book twice to get into it, but now that we are waiting for the story's end, I'm really into it, and can't wait to learn how it turns out. My WoW pick is...........

Rapture by Lauren Kate
Release Date: June 12th, 2012

As excited as I am for this book, I am also sad that the series is coming to an end. Something else I'm looking forward to though is that in February, is Fallen in Love, which is a book with 4 Valentine stories from our favorite characters in the Fallen series. This one comes out January 24th, 2012, and I'm excited to read it! You can check it out here on Goodreads!

So what books are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

It took me waaaaay too long to get to Lola and the Boy Next Door! I was so excited when it came out, and then I just had so many other things on the TBR that needed reviewing, that I am just now getting to it. I also partly blame my sister, who took it hostage, and just now returned it. I loved Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss, so I was anxious to get into another love story. Plus, I met Stephanie at Austin Teen Book Fest, and I swear, she is the most adorable person ever. You just want to be her best friend when you meet her.
Anyway, here is the summary of Lola and the Boy Next Door from Goodreads: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

What I Liked: 1) In a world of female main characters, Lola is a complete breath of fresh air. She's unique and comfortable being so. She makes a great role model for girls her age. I thought she was refreshing and fun, and she was definitely someone I'd have loved to be friends with. 2) The creativity. On every page you'd find something different and interesting that your imagination can take and run with. Lola is a creative girl and is always dressing up in costume, and her different outfits are so creative and described so vividly that you can see them so clearly in your mind. 3) I loved Lola's dads. They complemented each other so well, and made such a great parental unit. They were the most normal family in the book! Plus, Andy made pies for a living, which makes me hungry just thinking about. 4) Continuity from Anna and the French Kiss. Anna and Etienne were great characters and I was glad to see them in Lola and the Boy Next Door. I may have even said, "awe, yay!" out loud as I was reading. 5) The cover. Isn't it so cute?

What I Didn't Like: 1) The only thing I wanted that I didn't get from Lola was to get to know Cricket better. I thought that he was an interesting character, but I never got the sense that we just knew him very well. He wasn't as developed as I'd have liked. But seriously, that's all. Maybe Lola is just so vivid that she overshadows everyone else.

Overall thoughts: Lola and the Boy Next Door is a sweet romance story for young adults with a great main character, and a fantastic plotline. The romance will win over your heart as you follow Lola and her confusing love for the boy next door.

My rating: 4 shots

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends who are celebrating today! And if you are not in the US, and/or not celebrating Thanksgiving today, then...Happy Thursday!

My Thanksgivings are, well....full of tradition. That's the best way to describe it. I'm incredibly blessed and thankful that my family (extended and otherwise) lives very near. It takes me about 35 minutes to drive to my parents' house, and my grandparents (my mom's parents and my dad's mom) both live about 20 minutes further. So around the holidays, I get to spend time with both sides of my family. Most of my aunts, uncles, and cousins live close too, so the GPs houses become sort of central meeting locations. This year, we are spending Thanksgiving Day at my mom's parents' house (Nana and Gran) and therefore we celebrated Thanksgiving with my dad's family last night. Our Wednesday night version of Thanksgiving involved all 20-something of us meeting at this italian food restaurant called Angelo's that we've been going to for years. My parents had their rehearsal dinner at Angelo's for their wedding - this place is a staple for our family. Then after we run the waiters and waitresses ragged (no, they love us over there), we head back over to my Nanny's house for dessert, and hanging out. There will be a discussion of Christmas and what everyone is doing, and when my cousins and I are planning on invading Nanny's house to help her with her Christmas decorations. It happens. And I love it.

So, today, Thursday, I'll spend with my mom's side of the family. Not as big, and much quieter. I've made pies to take over there, one coconut, and one chocolate. We have so many pies, it's practically a half a pie a person. Not to mention all the other food. The traditional Thanksgiving stuffs like turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, green beans, cranberry sauce...this is what I'll be eating today. YUM! I'll head over to their house early, because I like to watch the parade in the morning, so I either have to wait until it's over (which makes me late), or get there before it starts (the optimal option). I'll help setting the table and getting the rest of the food prepared (as will my mother and my sister the chef). We'll eat around 1pm (traditionally) and watch the Dallas Cowboys play football.

Friday is for the five of us. My immediate five person family. Every year, for as long as I can remember, we've battled the Black Friday crowds and gone shopping. It's an important shopping day for us, because it's rare that all five of us are together at the same time. And that's one of the few days that my Dad has any time to get any of his shopping done. My siblings and I always go see a movie on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We've done that since I was old enough to take them to the movies myself. The first movie I remember seeing as a part of this tradition was 101 Dalmations - remember the live-action one with Glenn Close? That was 1996. We've been doing that for a long time. Also, we put the Christmas tree up on Friday night.

Those are my plans for the Thanksgiving holiday. What do you guys do?

Finally, since Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, I wanted to say that I'm thankful for my family, and that we're all happy and healthy, and also for my friends who are all blessings in my life. I'm thankful for the new friends I've made as a product of this book blog, and the wonderful authors who continue to write such marvelous stories that keep us all entertained. I'm thankful that my little sister has found a passion that she enjoys and that she can do every day. I'm thankful for the awesome football season the Oklahoma State Cowboys have had this year, and can't wait to see more! I'm thankful that my little brother is enjoying his final year at Texas A&M University and is finishing up his law school applications with an excellent background that is going to assure him a great future. I'm thankful that my parents have a loving and happy marriage. I'm thankful that I'm able to keep in touch with friends who live far away, and still have great friendships with them. I'm thankful that I'll be an Aunt (again!) in April! I'm thankful for my adorable nephew Jayson, who turned one a few months ago. I consider each one of these wonderful gifts that I've been blessed with, and I am humbled by my good fortune to have them.

Cheers, and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (18)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the upcoming releases that we are anxiously awaiting!

My WoW this week is one that's on my list to read for the 2012 DAC!

Fracture by Megan Miranda
Release Date: January 17th, 2012

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine

-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

Doesn't it sound interesting? What books are you waiting on?

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

In October, I reviewed Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red for Werewolf Week. I'm a big fan of modernized fairy tale retellings, so I knew I'd be reading Sweetly, which is a companion novel to Sisters Red. Here's the summary from Goodreads: Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

What I Liked: 1) I loved the descriptions of all of the candy. It made me hungry and was not good for my sweet tooth! They were very vivid and fun descriptions. 2) Gretchen and Ansel. I thought these characters were written well. Their relationship as brother and sister was sweet, and their emotions were real and raw. 3) Samuel. I love the name Samuel. I liked him as a character too, he was the typical, moody, bad boy. I like those. :)

What I Didn't: 1) The story. That sounds too, all-encompassing. But I just didn't get into it. I try, when I read, to go in not having any expectations. It's a bit hard though, when the story is a re-telling of a classic like Hansel and Gretel. I felt like there was very little in Sweetly reminiscent of the old story by The Brothers' Grimm. It was disappointing. 2) There were many twists and turns in the story, which I normally like, but so many of them seemed out of left field. When I have to go back and re-read a few pages because something doesn't seem to make sense, it interrupts the flow of the story for me, and I find it hard to get back into it. This happened quite often during Sweetly. To the point of causing frustration. It's almost like, pausing a movie, and not coming back to it for a few days.

Overall thoughts: I was surprised by my reaction when I sat down to write this review. I think Miz Pearce is a talented writer, and I look forward to reading more of her stories. But I just wasn't excited about Sweetly. I never felt a part of the story, which is key for me to really get into it. Missed the mark for me.

My rating: 2 shots

Monday, November 21, 2011

Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle

My interest was piqued as soon as Miz Michelle contacted me regarding a review. Just read this summary from Goodreads: Nara Collins is an average sixteen-year-old, with one exception: every night she dreams the events of the following day. Due to an incident in her past, Nara avoids using her special gift to change fate…until she dreams a future she can’t ignore.

After Nara prevents a bombing at Blue Ridge High, her ability to see the future starts to fade, while people at school are suddenly being injured at an unusually high rate.

Grappling with her diminishing powers and the need to prevent another disaster, Nara meets Ethan Harris, a mysterious loner who seems to understand her better than anyone. Ethan and Nara forge an irresistible connection, but as their relationship heats up, so do her questions about his dark past.

Well, I'm hear to tell ya, the book is as awesome as that summary makes it sound!

What I liked: 1) Nara. As MCs go, Nara was great. She was well-rounded, personable, and super interesting. And as a reader, I appreciated the way that she handled the bumps in the road that life was throwing at her. She became very real that at one point when her life was going haywire and some people were being not very nice, I wanted to jump in and defend her. 2) Ethan. Love swoon-worthy boys? Ethan get top marks in my book! He's so caring and sweet with Nara, but has this dark, bad boy side that I really enjoyed. 3) The storyline. It was a unique and creative story with a plot that keeps readers engaged and interested. The flow (something I talk about a lot!) was perfect! There were no confusing skips or jumps, and the pace didn't slow down or speed up too much. 4) The mystery. The mystery is what really got me hooked on the story. There was something new to discover on every page and each twist drew me in even more. 5) The love story. I love watching (reading) people fall for each other. And the romance that blossoms between Ethan and Nara is sweet and seems completely natural. Not like some of those stories where suddenly they're in love, and you're just like....wait, when did that happen? No, Nara and Ethan's romance is sweet and simple, and many times I found myself thinking, oh, I wish I was Nara!

What I Didn't Like: Not a thing! I loved it all!

Overall thoughts: With personable characters and an engaging plot, this story captivated me from the moment I read the first page. Miz Michelle's writing is charming and lovely, and Brightest Kind of Darkness is a creative and unique story that will capture and hold the attention of any paranormal romance fans! I can't wait until the next Nara and Ethan book!

Overall rating: 5 shots

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a long anticipated book for me, and for a lot of people, I know. The cover of the book was entrancing, and the short summary left me wondering. Here's the summary from Goodreads: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

What I Liked: 1) Karou. First of all I love the name. It's beautiful. Karou is an interesting character to get to know. She's strong and confident, and very smart. But the story is told in such a way that kept me wondering about her the whole time. It's brilliant really, the way I was curious about Karou the whole time. A lot of questions come up about her life and the answers are given to you in miniscule pieces throughout the 418 pages. 2) The beginning of the story was my favorite. It was so easy to just tumble headlong into the story alongside Karou, running her errands for Brimstone, dealing with Kaz, meeting Akiva. Everything became very real in that part of the story. 3) Questions. Be prepared for questions when you read this book. Every page practically presents a new question for the reader to ponder as you read. But thankfully, we are getting almost as many answers as questions as we go along. I really liked the pacing. 4) The epilogue. The epilogue set us up for the next book and gives you a lot to think about. There is a gap between the end of the story and where the epilogue picks up, so I'm definitely wondering what happened between the two to set up the epilogue. 5) The theme. There is a whole underlying theme about wishes and hopes, and I felt like that was a great message. I don't want to ruin it for anyone who is going to go looking for it, but I really, really liked that whole plotline.

What I Didn't Like: Around page 300, the story changes from Karou's present to her reliving someone's past, a chimeara named Madrigal. And this switch for me was like crashing back down to earth. I'd spent so much time just immersed in the story and that part I just couldn't get into. The best way I can come up with to describe it is like hearing a story two or three times removed. One of those things where "you just had to be there." And so much of the rest of the ending of the book was that way. I didn't feel like I got into it again until we were back in the present with Karou.

Overall thoughts: I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I really liked Karou and the whole "being caught between two worlds" aspect of the story. I just hope next time we get to spend more time in the present than having to relive the past. That part was just a little boring to me. Laini Taylor is a talented writer, and I think it's going to be really interesting to see where Karou and Akiva's story goes.

My rating: 4 shots

Cheers and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2012 Debut Author Challenge

I've decided to participate in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren! I'm really excited about it because this is the first challenge I've decided to participate in here on Fuzzy.Coffee.Books, and because there are so many great debuts coming out next year! If you'd like to join the challenge, head on over to The Story Siren and check out all the details.

Challenge: To read a minimum of 12 YA or MG 2012 debut novels between January 1, 2012 and January 31, 2013.

You must either have a blog or be a member on Goodreads (to post your reviews!).

Challenge Accepted!

I've started compiling my list of 2012 Debuts that I'm going to read. I've got a list of 12 so far, but I expect I'll be adding to it! So in lieu of my WoW post today, I'm sharing my DAC challenge books, since obviously I am waiting on all of them! (links take you to their goodreads page incase you want to add these books to your TBR!)

Anyone else doing DAC next year? Maybe we can compare notes!
Oh, and big thanks to Kristi for hosting this challenge every year!