Harry Potter turns 30..

Saturday, July 31, 2010

That's right. 30. Isn't that crazy?? To the wizard who pretty much made me the biggest nerd ever, and to the author who created you.. happy birthday! Now here's a little post to make us remember our love (and perhaps our obsession?) with the boy wizard and the magical world J.K. Rowling created for him. Enjoy.

In My Mailbox (9)

IMM is a weekly meme from The Story Siren. For me, these are all the books I got this week for review, to give away, from a contest, and from the library!

To Giveaway for the Charity Event
Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon - signed
The Forbidden Sea by Sheila Nielson - signed
Firelight by Sophie Jordan - ARC
The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green - ARC
Princess For Hire by Lindsay Leavitt - signed bookmarks

Won from Cry! Havoc Reviews giveaway
Sister's Red by Jackson Pearce
Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

From the Library
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen
- so excited to be currently reading this right now! I love Tess Gerritsen. If you haven't read any from her yet, try The Surgeon!

That's what I got! It's the last day of June, so I'll be posting up a 'A Month of Reading' post very soon. I would love to see your IMM posts as well so feel free to share the link. Oh, and tomorrow, don't forget that the charity event kicks off and we really do hope to see you there! Happy Weekend :)

Show and Tell: Part Deux

Friday, July 30, 2010

The first one was a huge success so I knew I had to do this again. Show and Tell is an original feature here on this blog where we get the chance to showcase some of our favorite books. This time around, there's even a lot more fantastic choices from awesome book bloggers, so read on and see what they picked!

For me, since you've probably seen the 'official' list of my all-time favorite books just this week on Top Ten Picks, I thought I should just choose one that didn't make that list. So I picked I Am An Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler.

I feel very, very strongly about femininity and female empowerment, and one issue I am most concerned about is the violence against us women. I Am An Emotional Creature is a non-fiction book by Eve Ensler, who is the founder of V-day -- which is the global movement to end violence against women and girls. Eve Ensler showcases strong, smart, capable, and beautiful women and their real life stories. At the same time, she addresses the fact that women are indeed as powerful as we are so-called "emotional." The stories in the book prove that we deserve to be treated and viewed the right way, and that our voices deserve to be heard as well. I Am An Emotional Creature is an important eye-opening and thought-provoking book, written to call for awareness. Ultimately, this book makes me proud and appreciate being a woman in this world today.

1. Morgan @ Smitten With Books
Pick: Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
- When I think of a book that I look forward to reading every time-Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles comes to mind. The characters are so well written and the book is overall very dramatic as well as funny. When I think about a "bad boy" character that I wish I could have in real life, Caleb is perfect. And I love bad boys a lot which is why I really enjoy reading this book. Also, the situations that Simone puts her characters through is at times very embarrassing but perfectly laid out which is why she is one of my favorite authors and all her books will hold a special place in my heart.

2. Jamie @ Perpetual Page-Turner & The Broke and Bookish
Pick: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- Books always find me when I need them. This was one that found me when I was going through a really hard time. It is a long story to explain but this book will always be one of my favorites. Plath is a genius and her writing is so beautiful and raw. There came so much beauty from someone who was in such great pain. There is such a message of hope and it is tragic that Plath couldn't find that within herself.

3. Eleni @ La Femme Readers
Pick: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
- I will always love Twilight. Through the good and the bad, like a marriage pretty much. I fell in love with Edward and Bella's story while I was going through a rough patch. Ever since then its had a special place in my heart. Plus, I never dreamed about a fictional character until Edward.

4. Emily @ Emily's Reading Room
Pick: Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
- Shannon Hale's Goose Girl is one of my most beloved stories. I picked it up after many years of not reading fiction. (Reading stupid textbooks for 3 years straight makes all reading not fun for awhile). The characters and story is so wonderfully crafted that you will think you are in the world and friends with these wonderful characters. I am not a fan of the original fairy tale, but I love where Shannon Hale takes the story. This particular book is special to me because it was signed to me by the author at an event I attended. Shannon Hale is a wonderful person, and it was so fun to meet her. If you haven't read this book, you must!

5. Melina @ Reading Vacation
Pick: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
- At first, Princess Academy feels like a typical fairy-tale about a poor girl becoming a princess. In reality, it is anything BUT a typical fairy-tale. Miri grows into a strong and confident young lady who helps others. She is someone I would love to be like as I grow up. Thank you to Shannon Hale for this sweet story that puts a twist on the usual fairy-tale.

6. Raila @ Books Out of the Bookshelves
Pick: Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
- I've said this a hundred of times, but I don't tire saying again and again: Whisper was love at first sight. I completely fell in love first with its cover, then with its premise and, finally, with the whole story behind it. Lately, if anybody asks me to recommend them a book, I unwittingly recommend this one. There's not only one reason why I feel so identified with Whisper... Actually, I think there's a lot. While reading, I felt just like Joy, as if I could hear those people's desires and feel like I needed to help them to get what they want; as if I was right there talking to Jamie; as if I really felt bothered by her friends and Icka. This book is simply the lookout of a real and normal world only mixed with familiar paranormal powers. One of the coolest – and principal – parts of Whisper is the relationship between the two sisters, Joy and Icka, and the two brothers, Jamie and Ben, which I loved better. I can’t say anything but that it’s definitely a must-read, which I’ll always be glad to re-read.

7. Kelly @ Book Sanctuary
Pick: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
- This has been my favourite book since I first read it in 2005, and I love it because it has a perfect blend of science, romance and drama. I really enjoy the way it flicks around in time, because you get a real sense of how it must be so disorientating for Henry to randomly be shoved into a place in time and not know why he's there. I love the interaction with an older Henry and a young Clare, throughout the whole book you see so many different facets of their relationship and how it evolves over the years that Clare is growing up. I adore the writing in the book and the humourous little comments scattered throughout. I just think Audrey describes things so fantastically, and when I'm reading it, I feel like I'm in Henry and Clare's world. I've recommended this book to so many of my friends and most have loved it too, so that always makes me happy! This is just the ultimate 'life me up' book when I'm feeling down, and just has everything I love in a story, so for me it's perfection! :)

8. Stephanie @ Paper Cut Reviews
Picks: Windfall by Rachel Caine, Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine, and Stray by Rachel Vincent
- Well I have three favorite books. I couldn't just pick one because it was too hard to choose, lol! Windfall by Rachel Caine, Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine and Stray by Rachel Vincent. Well I'm a big Weather Warden and Morganville Vampire fan so of course these two books would be in the favorite book category:) What can I say Windfall is my fav in the Weather Warden series. I definitely can reread this book again and again because I think it shows a different side of Joanne *main character* and how much she struggles to keep her life together when everything seems to fall apart;) I also love the bond her and David have it's heart wrenching at times*sigh*.My Favorite in the Morganville Vampire series is Feast of Fools. This was the best book in the series for me because so much happens! It's a lot of what...how...why!! I loved the anticipation of what will happen next and this book definitely delivers that special something that only Rachel Caine can do.Finally my other favorite Rachel book *lol* is Stray by Rachel Vincent. This book for me brought out so many different emotions that I have to say it's my favorite out of the Shifters series. I love how strong but stubborn Faythe is therefore bringing alot of conflict to the story and of course this is the book where the love triangle between Marc-Faythe-Jace started! Thanks for listening:)

9. Adriana @ ~*Loves to Read*~
Pick: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- My favorite book is Wuthering Heights. It's one of the few books I've reread over and over since I first read it when I was 10. We get to know the characters from childhood to adulthood and through marriages, births, and even deaths. Many people dislike Catherine and Heathcliff because they're selfish, deceitful, and filled with pride, but that's why I love them. They aren't these picture perfect characters. They have flaws that ultimately hurt themselves and everyone else around them. In my opinion Heathcliff is the original brooding and misunderstood romantic lead who I'm sure would have grown up to be a wonderful man had he been raised under different circumstances. Wuthering Heights is a tragic and haunting love story and shows how the decisions we make could ultimately haunt us throughout the rest of our life.

10. Darlyn @ Darlyn and Books
Pick: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
- This is actually the best book read in 2010 so far. I would choose Harry Potter series as my all time favorite but I've got new favorite (still love HP!). Well, to think of it, honestly, it was utterly engaging and I was deeply moved, absorbed and tantalized of how it gotten all over me. Yes, it is. I love of how it was written, the sentences keep me reading it, as it's unputtable and I just couldn’t get myself to hold on for a second to stop.The book is so much worth reading. Move over Twilight, Beautiful Creatures rules! You will never like Twilight like you love Beautiful Creatures. If you have not read this, put it on your TBR list now. You have to. I still wonder how both authors wrote this wonderfully.

11. Laura @ Life After Jane
Pick: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.
- Cassandra Mortmain lives with her eccentric little family in the crumbling ruins of an old castle, supported only by the ever dwindling residuals earned from a rather odd book written by her father years prior. Cassandra begins a journal to practice her newly acquired speed writing and through it perhaps to teach herself how to write a novel. Her daily entries concerning the random, silly things that happen around the castle and her peculiar little family make for a charming, witty memoir that chronicles her own clever scheme to jolt her father back into writing and her first foray into love. I fell instantly in love with this book and by the end , I found I had a new best friend.

12. Greg @ The New Dork of Reviews
Pick: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
- Infinite Jest is the most beguiling, hilarious, beautiful, complex, thought-provoking and just downright incredible book I’ve ever read. It truly is a work of genius. Several different storylines - a halfway house full of drug addicts, a tennis academy, a group of Quebecois terrorists trying to secure providential independence - converge and diverge constantly in a carefully orchestrated pattern that is just an absolute blast to read. At more than 1,000 pages, including 388 footnotes – many of which actually are crucial to the story – the book is not for the faint of heart. But spending a few months slowly enjoying this ride may be one of the more rewarding reading experiences you’ll ever have. That was certainly the case for me!

13. Enbrethiliel @ Shredded Cheddar
Pick: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
- Every time I try to describe The Man Who Was Thursday, I remember that nearly every chapter contains a surprising twist that every reader should discover for himself, and so I stop talking. Which means that in all my years of loving this book, I don't think I've ever persuaded anyone else to read it. But Jillian wants a blurb and I can't say no to her, so here it is . . . The Man Who Was Thursday is equal parts novel, myth, allegory, and fit of madness that probably should have never been published. (But of course I'm glad it was!) G.K. Chesterton himself said that a good novel tells the truth about its hero, while a bad novel tells the truth about its author--and by that standard, this novel of his is terrible. Yet it redeems itself by also managing to tell story of the whole world. In the words of its most mysterious character: "I seem to remember only centuries of heroic war, in which you were always heroes--epic on epic, iliad on iliad, and you always brothers in arms. Whether it was recently (for time is nothing) or at the beginning of the world, I sent you out to war. I sat in the darkness . . . and to you I was only a voice commanding valour and unnatural virtue. You heard the voice in the dark and you never heard it again . . .

14. Donna @ Bites
Pick: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
- I came across The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien in a college class called 'How to Tell a True War Story and I've been hooked ever since. Aside from the fact that I'm attracted to war stories for some odd reason, the heinously realistic voice of the fictitious Tim speaks to me in a way that few other books do. It's not about interpreting an event accurately but accurately for how your eyes viewed it. In those interprettions lie such amazing imagery that no literary masturbation could ever compare. It's the simplicity of O'Brien's work, the unadulterated honesty, that really strikes me. Despite the spine saying 'fiction,' the stories are told with such conviction that they could be real. They could have happened to someone and who's to say they didn't? I recommend this book to anyone and everyone I come across because it's one of those titles that you must read before you die. If you don't, it's your loss.


Thank you to those who submitted entries; it is so much fun reading your blurbs and getting to know some of you and your favorite books! If you would like to be a part of our next Show and Tell, just email me at randomramblings2010@gmail.com and then I'll let you know how we'll go about it. Looking forward to hearing from you :)

hop, hop, hop!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Welcome to my blog! If you came here from the Book Blogger Hop over at Crazy-for-Books, thanks for visiting! This is where I talk, rant, rave, and gush about all things, books!

We have lots of things going on this blog this month, so whenever you get the chance do check them out!
I'd love to check your blog out as well, so please leave your link here if you can. Also, visit me on Twitter! Haha. Happy Friday, everyone!

Charity Event: The Prizes

This is the ever growing list of prizes up for grabs for the Charity Fundraiser+Huge Giveaway. Take note that these are the current prizes we have for now, but there will be more coming soon so I will continue to update this page! So far.. here's what you can win! These are all donated by the authors, unless otherwise noted.

1. $40 CSN Gift Certificate (for US & Canada only)
2. Signed Books (International)

3. Signed Swag (International)Firelight by Sophie Jordan - ARC
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway - ARC
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting - signed
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty - signed
Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty - signed
Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty - signed
Forth Comings by Megan McCafferty - signed
Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty - signed
Swoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter - signed
My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters - signed
And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman
And Then I Found Out The Truth by Jennifer Sturman
Forbidden Sea by Sheila M. Nielson - signed
Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon - signed
The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green - ARC

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - signed
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden - signed
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog - signed
Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff - signed
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting - signed
Everlasting by Angela Frazier - signed
Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White - signed
Faithful by Janet Fox
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert - signed
The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard - signed
Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon - signed
Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt - signed
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready - signed
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder - signed
Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty - signed
Mistwood by Leah Cypess - signed
The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Sleepless by Cyn Balog

Stickers/Tote Bags/Posters/Buttons/Postcards/Bands/Bracelet/Misc

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder - signed
Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder - signed
Far From You by Lisa Schroeder - signed
Everlasting by Angela Frazier
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden - signed
Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White - signed
Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala
Sugarpill Eyeshadow makeup
OK GO Music Album

Special and sincere thanks again to all the wonderful authors who took the time to donate these wonderful books and swag. This wouldn't be possible without all your help!

Top Ten Picks: Favorite Books Of All Time

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's been 4 months since I started this meme. 16 topics later, I have finally managed to get to this list. It's a difficult one, and I told myself I might never actually do this, but thanks to the ladies over at Broke and Bookish -- who shares the same love for top 10 lists as I do -- I felt it's about time to do it. I have to admit, I really had to push myself to do this, but I think I managed. If you've been following this meme for a while now, these picks -- and the reasons behind picking them -- may not be such a surprise to you. Here are my all-time favorite books, in no particular order whatsoever.


1. Harry Potter series
by J.K. Rowling
Though I have always been a bookworm ever since I was a kid, it wasn't until I read the first in the Harry Potter series that I fell in love with reading. It was also the one that pushed me to start thinking about writing, talking about writing, and, yes, actually writing. Its characters, the story, and the world that surrounds the series are magical, unforgettable, and special to me, and for all the things it has inspired me to do, I don't think I ever loved books as much as I loved these.

2. Lord of the Rings trilogy
by J.R.R. Tolkien
I will always be biased and pick the Harry Potter series as my ultimate favorite, but yes, I do believe the LOTR trilogy started it all. It is the king of all fantasy series; the existential one, that others could only dream of following. It is one so epic that it continues to gather fans 73 or so years later. If you haven't read it or haven't seen the movies, I highly recommend you do so.

3. Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte
This has got to be my favorite in the Classics genre. I only was able to read this in 2008, and I am so happy I finally did so. I love the writing. I love the characters, Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. I like the overall story. I like that it talks about the sense of belonging to a family or a group, and about being independent and being your own as an individual. I also like the fact that one of its biggest themes is love; accepting someone no matter what and who they are.

4. The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson BurnettI fell in love with it when I first read it as a kid, and I am still in love with it until now. Everything about it, I adore. From its gothic feel, the romance, the mysterious garden itself, its beauty, the nature that surrounds it, the enormous mansion, to the wonder of getting lost and finding yourself again -- those and among so many others. This is to me, simply magical, beautiful, and timeless.

5. Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
I read this as a kid as well, but didn't find the appreciation for it until I read it again when I was a freshman in high school. It's a classic novel that talks about life, love, and family. This book also shows the constant struggle that women had in the past, and that some still do until today. I just think it's realistic, but through the lovable characters, the book manages to become heartwarming and inspiring all at the same time.

6. The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane SetterfieldThis is a book for book lovers, and ultimately, for lovers of words. I am both, and so this debut novel was especially inviting for me. It is a unique, mysterious, addicting, exciting novel filled with lovable characters, intricate descriptions, and events that will keep you guessing until the very end. It definitely has the Jane Eyre-Gothic feel and atmosphere to it -- the story, the settings, and the writing -- and it simply can do no wrong in my book. I absolutely loved it.

7. The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
I am beginning to sound like a broken record for this one, but I swear, anytime someone asks me to recommend one book to them, this is the one that always comes first to mind. I can't help it; this was simply a wonderfully written novel. To me, it is one of the most unforgettable stories I’ve read in a while. And despite the fact that it is incredibly heartbreaking, I honestly don't think it would have had the same impact that it had if it was done differently. The message that came along with it, was subtle yet strong. It was heart wrenching, yet also strangely uplifting at the same time. It made me not only think, but really feel and empathize with these characters.
The Book Thief is just everything a good book should be; original, engaging, inspiring, uplifting, and haunting all at the same time. This book is nothing less than amazing.

8. 100 Love Sonnets
by Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda is my favorite poet of all time, hands down. And my favorite poem, if I could even pick just one, would have to be Neruda's Sonnet 17. This book, 100 Love Sonnets, features his absolute best works, and I can not help but fall in love with it every single time I read it. I feel as though it is an entirely new experience every time I pick it up; I never get tired of it, and probably never will. It's just beautiful. If you have read it, I'm pretty sure you know exactly what I mean.

9. A Walk to Remember
by Nicholas Sparks
Regardless of how I think of Nicholas Sparks and his novels nowadays, I still give him full credit for writing A Walk To Remember. I read this so long ago, but it still feels the same exact way every time I reread it. It's just a beautiful story, about two inspiring people in love. And it's a simple book really, but it's one with such great and profound meaning that inspires me, at the end of the day, to become a better person for my loved ones. A Walk to Remember has two of my favorite characters of all time, Jamie Sullivan and Landon Carter, and to me, their story truly is the sweetest and most realistic love story I know.

10. A Little Princess
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
For me, this is a special and an important book growing up because it really taught me a thing or two. Mainly it taught me about compassion, kindness, and simplicity, through the story's main character, Sara Crewe. She taught me that I should be thankful for the things that I have, and not complain when things don't go my way. This one is a true classic; one I have two copies of and one that I still read every once in a while.


So which books will make it into your own list? If you would like to join in, and I do hope you do, all you have to do is:
1. Do a post, listing all your answers. Like I already mentioned, you do not have to include pictures, descriptions, or explanations, but if you would like to do so, feel free!
2. Please sign the Mr. Linky box below with the specific URL of your post.

This is a really exciting week for Top Ten Picks, and I am so very excited to hear from you and see your own lists as well!

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4.5 stars
Synopsis: Kendra was sexually abused as a child, and while the painful memories are still so strong, she can not remember one important aspect of the horrifying event; who did it. Confused and feeling alone more than ever, she seeks help from cutting. She cuts to cope, to forget, and ultimately, to survive.

Review: If I could pick just one word to describe this novel, it would definitely have to be that it is realistic. It is painfully so, but I think that is its biggest strength, ultimately. Scars offers a unique take on issues like self-harm, sexual abuse, and even homosexuality. I was pleasantly surprised at how the author handled each of them with great sensitivity. I also liked the fact that though the story itself teaches us important lessons and eye-opening information, it didn't appear forced at all, or preachy, like a lecture. To me, I truly felt for the character, Kendra, as if she is speaking to me one on one, about her life and about her problems. It is not that often that we discover characters that we truly learn to care about, so I was happy that I found it in Kendra's character.

Overall, I'd have to say Scars is an extremely raw, dark, but honest novel. I recommend it to mature YA readers, and I think the story and its power deserves to be heard and to be read at least once.

Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5 stars
Synopsis: Eleven-year old Melody is born with cerebral palsy. She is unable to perform the basic things in life that we usually take for granted -- being able to talk, walk, eat properly, have conversations, go to school, among so many others. Her mind though is completely normal. In fact, she is quite brilliant, intelligent, and smart, yet trapped in an uncontrollable body. This is her story.

Review: As most of you already know, I work as an aide and as a tutor for kids with cerebral palsy. I've mentioned it once or twice, here and there, saying how these kids simply amaze and teach me something new every single day. They can not quite talk or walk, but when you're with them, you just know they understand what you're telling them. They get what's happening around them. They get what you're trying to say. Out of My Mind digs deep into this very situation, and ventures out. It tells the story of just one character, Melody, out of so many who are seeking to be heard as well. Hear her out, and with this experience, hear others who are in the same situation as her as well.

Personally, I found the subject matter and the story itself painful and difficult to read, but it is as realistic as you can get. This is life, and while it can be unfair at times, it's still full of endless possibilities and opportunities. What this book allows us to remember is to never give up, and to learn how to deal with things that life throws at us. This novel is special, important, and heart wrenching. It is real and it is honest. I can not recommend it enough.

In My Mailbox (8)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

IMM is a weekly meme from Kristi from The Story Siren. For me, this was a pretty great week. Got really great books for review, no purchases, none from the library. Here's what I got, plus another sneak peak to the ones added to the prize pack for an upcoming giveaway.


For ReviewThe Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller (ARC)
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (ARC)
And Then I Found Out the Truth by Jennifer Sturman
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway (ARC)
And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman


Sneak Peak
Wanna see where these signed books and swag are all for?? Click here.

What did you get this week?