Young Adult Giveaway Hop (Ends Feb. 4)

Thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & BookLove101 for co-hosting this hop!

Young Adult (YA) is what I typically read and find myself loving! I have found a great group of bloggers and Twitter friends who give great suggestions and who have led me down a great path. YA authors are also the best to chat with on Twitter! It's so amazing to have authors willingly speak to fans on a regular basis.

YA seems to be THE place to be right now! The amount of books being released, movies being optioned and filmed from these books, and TV shows in the making! It's fantastic!!!

For this hop, one lucky ducky will get to choose his/her choice of YA book! I must limit the cost to $20 USD, but that should cover pretty much any hardback or paperback. Any book...as long as it's YA! Woohoo!

As always, the same rules apply:
  • You must be at least 13 to enter.
  • No cheating! No double entries. Play fair and don't be a goober.
  • Giveaway is International as long as The Book Depository ships to you.
  • The winner will be sent an email on February 5. He/she will have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be selected.
  • Love me! =P
Make sure to check out all of the other blogs on this hop! There are 222 blogs involved!!! They'll be listed after the break. Just click to read more!

Review: The Paparazzi Project

Title: The Paparazzi Project
Author: Kristina Springer
Source: Purchased (Kindle)

Goodreads Summary & Cover:
Livvie Peterson thought taking Interpersonal Communications her junior year would be an easy A. But when the first assignment is given, her world flips upside down. Here’s the deal: the class is assigned a six-week project and is split into three groups— Paparazzi, Tabloid, and Celebrities. The Paparazzi follow around the Celebrities taking pictures and grabbing any kind of quotes they can. The Celebrities try to navigate being tailed on a daily basis. And the Tabloid receives all the information collected by the Paparazzi and decides what makes the weekly summary report. Sounds harmless…and it’s all just pretend anyway, right?

Livvie is assigned as Paparazzi and when she is matched up with the ├╝ber-cute Chas Montgomery as her Tabloid boss she’s pretty sure things couldn't get much better. Livvie’s uncanny ability to capture the Celebrities in compromising photos matched with Chas’s skill of exaggerating captions and editing the photos make them an unstoppable team. And the long hours working side by side with Chas aren't a bad bonus.

Livvie simultaneously launches an anonymous blog, leaking the class’ photos and stories on the Internet. Her rising follower number quickly becomes addicting and she possibly spills too much information online. Once she finds her own celebrity will she be able to give it back? And will Chas be gone before she ever has the chance to find out?
Thoughts:
Let me just start by saying that I found this book to be refreshing. The plot was 100% completely relative to our lives today. Whether it's a pre-teens, teenagers, young adults, or even older adults. The Paparazzi Project focuses on capturing certain people in situations and how pictures can be misconstrued and lies and rumors can spread. Quickly!

The class project itself was a great idea! You could kind of tell immediately that bad things would happen. I mean, c'mon! You're giving high school students permission to photograph other students and interpret those pictures and story-line into a class tabloid.

Through the project, we meet the "celebrity" students: one who has an eating disorder, people secretly dating so they don't hurt a best friend, a totally nice guy who does a reading program at the Library with little kids, a student's mother having an affair, a guy with a crush on Livvie's best friend, a klutzy boy who spills his lunch on him all of the time, and a girl being busted for creeping around with another girl's boyfriend. That's a whole lot going on! The emotions and feelings going on for the students who volunteered to be the "celebrities" were way out of control.

With all of this going on, Livvie does start the blog. She honestly began the blog without meaning to harm anyone. She was also fed more rumors from an anonymous source and didn't fact check. Therefore, making more rumors and causing more problems.

Blogging and Social Media are huge parts of peoples lives now. Some people, no matter the age, just can't handle the "power" they may feel they have over people. As a blogger and social networker, I know the consequences that can stem from things that are said or done. Heck! We all do, especially with the latest scandal going on. People seem to lose their conscience when it's time to type what you're thinking. It's easy to forget that you may be hurting someone in the process when you think you're just blabbing or doing something that you don't feel is wrong.

Some of my favorite quotes and situations in the book:
"Kids are checking in every day just to read the stuff I put up there. I’m kinda like the Perez Hilton of Thompson High. Though thankfully no one knows it’s me. I don’t need a Jennifer Aniston confrontation moment like Perez had. And I really don’t want Chas to find out either." 47%
"But there is a part of this job that I do wonder how the real paparazzi handle. And that’s conscience. Is there ever a time where the real paparazzi feel weird or invasive when they’re taking pictures of celebrities? Or is it all a game that everyone agrees to play?" 48%
“Let’s get some ground rules down here. Olivia must be home by ten o’clock. There is to be no drinking, smoking, or drugs of any kind. That includes cough syrup, glue, paint chips, or prescription medication." 52%
"Bad behavior is always rewarded these days." - 79%
"I ran the blog just for fun at first. But as I kept it up, more and more people came to read what I was posting. And I got caught up in it. I was exploiting people’s personal business to gain followers and get more hits. To get people to listen to me. To pay attention to what I had to say. It got away from me, and I wish I could take it all back. But I can’t. All I can do is tell you that I’m deeply sorry to those whom I've hurt and I hope you can one day forgive me." 98%  


 My Rating:
The Paparazzi Project is a completely relevant story in our day and age. The story fits so many situations with students and adults. If you love fun, quick, and relevant stories, this is really one to read!

Taste by Kate Evangelista Blog Tour (Blurb, Excerpt, AND Giveaway!)

At Barinkoff Academy, there’s only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.




Song Credits: “Hunger” © Noelle Pico.
Full Download available at http://sheisnoelle.bandcamp.com


Taste Excerpt

I mentally stomped on the intimidation their perfection brought into my mind and said, “Excuse me.”
The group froze, startled by my words. The girls had their brows raised and the boys stopped mid-speech, mouths agape. They stared at me with eyes the shade of onyx stones.
I smiled and gave them a little wave.
The boy a step ahead of the rest recovered first. His stunning features went from shocked surprise to intense interest. He reminded me of a hawk eyeing its prey. I gulped.
“A Day Student,” he said, his eyes insolent and excited.
Something about the way he said “Day Student” made my stomach flip. “Excuse me?”
They snickered. The boys looked at each other while the girls continued to stare, muffling their laughter by delicate hands. I seemed to be the butt of some joke. 
“You broke the rule.” The boy’s grin turned predatory.
The students formed a loose semi-circle in front of me. My gaze darted from face to face. Hunger filled their eyes. The image of lions about to chase down a gazelle came to mind. I mentally shook my head. I was in the mountains not the Serengeti for crying out loud.
I took a small step back and cleared my throat. “Can any of you give me a ride back to the dorms?”
The boy wagged his forefinger like a metronome. “Ah, that’s unfortunate for you.”
One of the girls pinched the bridge of her nose. “Eli, you can’t possibly—”
“It’s forbidden, Eli,” another boy interrupted, pronouncing the word “forbidden” like a curse.
The nervous murmur at the pit of my stomach grew louder. Six against one. Not good odds. Instinct told me to cut my losses and run. Bad enough I faced expulsion, now it seemed like weird, beautiful people who’d suddenly appeared on campus wanted to beat me up. No, scratch that. Judging from the way they studied me, beating me up wouldn’t satisfy them. Something more primal prowled behind their looks.
I definitely wasn’t going down without a fight. Years of self-defense and hand-to-hand combat classes had me prepared. While other children from rich and important families got bodyguards, I got defense training. But I think my father meant for my skills to go up against potential kidnappers, not against other students who may or may not be crazy. Oh God! Maybe I stepped into a parallel universe or something when I reentered Barinkoff.
“None of the students are supposed to be on campus,” I said. Then, realizing my mistake, I added, “Okay, I know I’m not supposed to be here either. If one of you gives me a ride back to the dorms, I won’t say anything about all this. Let’s pretend this never happened. I didn’t see you, you didn’t see me.”
“We’re not ordinary students,” Eli answered. “We’re the Night Students.”
He’d said “Night Students” like the words were capitalized. I didn’t know Barinkoff held classes at night. What was going on here?
Eli smiled with just one side of his mouth and said to the group, “She’s right, no one will have to know. We’re the only ones here. And it’s been so long, don’t you agree?”
The rest of them nodded reluctantly.
“What’s been so long?” I challenged. I fisted my hands, ready to put them up if any of them so much as twitched my way.
“Since the taste of real flesh passed through my lips,” Eli said. He came forward and took a whiff of me then laughed when I cringed.
“Flesh.” Yep, parallel universe.
“Yes,” he said. “And yours smells so fresh.”
Someone grabbed my shoulders from behind and yanked me back before I could wrap my mind around the meaning behind Eli’s words. In a blink, I found myself behind someone tall. Someone really tall. And quite broad. And very male.
I realized he wore the same clothes Eli and the other boys did. Not good. He was one of them. Although… I cocked my head, raking my gaze over him. He seemed born to wear the uniform, like he was the pattern everyone else was cut from. My eyes wandered to long, layered, blue-black hair tied at the nape by a silk ribbon. Even in dim light, his hair possessed a sheen akin to mercury.
I looked down. The boy’s long fingers were wrapped around my wrist like a cuff. His fevered touch felt hotter than human standards, hot enough to make me sweat like I was standing beside a radiator but not hot enough to burn.
“I must be mistaken, Eli,” the boy who held my arm said in a monotone. “Correct me. Did I hear you say you wanted to taste the flesh of this girl?”
A hush descended on us. It had the hairs at the back of my neck rising. How was it possible for the atmosphere to switch from threatening to dangerous? Unable to help myself, I peeked around the new guy’s bulk. Eli and his friends bowed. They all had their right hands on their chests.
“Demitri, I’m sure you misheard me,” Eli said.
So the guy standing between me and the person who said he’d wanted to taste me was named Demitri. I like the sound of his name. Demitri. So strong, yet rolls off the tongue. Definite yum factor.
“So, you imply I made a mistake?” Demitri demanded.
“No!” Eli lifted his gaze. “I did no such thing. I simply wanted to show the girl the consequences of breaking curfew.”
“Hey!” I yelled. “Don’t talk about me like I’m not here!”
Demitri ignored my protest and continued to address Eli. “So, you threatened to taste her flesh.” His fingers tightened their grip around my wrist. “In the interest of investigating this matter further, I invoke the Silence.”
All six students gasped, passing surprised glances at one another.
Before I could ask about what was going on, Demitri yanked me down the hall toward the library. But why there? Oh, maybe we were getting my things. No, wait, he couldn’t have known about that. Everything was too confusing now.
Eli and the others didn’t try to stop us when we passed them. Demitri’s cold command must have carried power. Handsome and powerful, never a bad combination on a guy.
We reached the heavy double doors in seconds. He jerked one open effortlessly. I’d needed all my strength just to squeeze through that same door earlier. To him, the thick wood might as well have been cardboard. I raised an eyebrow and mentally listed the benefits of going to gym class.
“Why are we here?” I asked after my curiosity overpowered my worry. I’d almost forgotten how frightened I’d been right before Demitri showed up. I wasn’t above accepting help from strangers. Especially from gorgeous dark-haired strangers with hot hands and wide shoulders.
Demitri kept going, tugging me along, snaking his way deeper into the library. I had to take two steps for every stride his legs made. I tried to stay directly behind him, praying we didn’t slam into anything.
He stopped suddenly and I collided with him. It felt like slamming into a wall.
“Hey,” I said, momentarily stunned. “A little warning would be nice!”
He faced me, and I gasped. His eyes resembled a starless night, deep and endless. Their intensity drilled through me without pity, seeming to expose all my secrets. I felt naked and flustered beneath his gaze.
“You could have died back there,” he warned.
A lump of panic rebuilt itself in my throat.


About the Author:
When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master’s courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.

For Kate: Website  Twitter  Facebook

Purchase it! Like, now!

Kate is giving away 5 digital copies and 1 print copy of Taste. Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to visit the other blogs on the tour for other special treats about the book and from Kate!
Tour Schedule
January 7

January 8

January 9

January 10

January 11

January 12

January 13

January 14

January 15

January 16

Review: Taste

Title: Taste
Author: Kate Evangelista
Source: Purchased

I am also part of a blog tour and I'll have an excerpt, a giveaway, and more for you. So make sure to visit on the 15th for more goodies for Taste!

Goodreads Summary and Cover:
At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans. When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn't realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

Thoughts:
Well, let me start off by saying that I really had no idea what this book was about. I bought it months ago after seeing it mentioned on Twitter quite a bit and it's been hanging around on a shelf since. I'm a slacker...I KNOW! Anyway, it's a beautiful cover, of course. Girl in a dress, dark, mysterious...

The synopsis on the back cover must have been an early, uncorrected version for my copy. It took me a while as I was reading to realize the name on the back cover for Luka was incorrect. His name on the back of the book is Yuri. His dad's name was Yuris, so maybe that changed at some point in earlier revisions. Anyway! Not a big deal! I moved on.

I assumed this book was about vampires due to the "night students" and no humans being allowed on campus after a certain time. LOL! I was wrooooong! Big time wrong.

The night students are called Zhamvy. Zhamvy are a type of zombie, but not the "blarghI'muglyandgonnaeatyourface" kind of zombie. These are sophisticated and beautiful people...errr...zombies. They live in a mountain range under the campus. Due to a ruling of their king, they are not allowed to eat flesh. They are supplemented with pig's flesh and a synthetic food, yusha.

Our main character, Phoenix, is used as a test subject. She is injected with the blood of the Zhamvy and taken underground with them. There, she learns more about the Zhamvy, Demitri and his family, and Luka and his family. She also learns that the race is slowly dying out. This is why Dray, Demetri's scientist brother, uses Phoenix.

When Phoenix wakes in her "Zhamvy" state, she bonds with Demitri. By biting him! Biting is how the Zhamvy mark each other as their partner. She, of course, didn't know this. It comes back to bite them later in the book. (haha! See what I did there?)

While Demitri is off doing his Prince duties, Luka entertains Phoenix. She is drawn to Luka, too. Even though there's a love triangle vibe going on, there's really no contest. Luka tries, though.

The (evil) Prime Minister tries to overthrow the royals and wants to allow the Zhamvy allowed to feed on humans again. There's a huge fight at a gathering and Phoenix is hauled away. She wakes up as a human and in a hospital. Demitri and the other Zhamvy have not been going to their classes and she's unable to get back to them. After several attempts, her headmaster gets her to agree to stop searching for them.

The ending of the book was great! There's closure, so have no fear!

Rating:
I really did like Taste. It was an interesting world and setting. The characters were great! Phoenix was a strong, female lead who had two very swoon-worthy gentlemen in her life.



"Clear Your Shelf" Giveaway Hop

Thanks to Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting this giveaway hop!

What I have up for one lucky winner this time is the original hardback copies of Jeri Smith-Ready's SHADE and SHIFT!
If you know me, you know I like to have matching sets of things. Changing covers in the middle of a series makes my anxiety go through the roof! I have bought copies of all three of the books in the series with the new covers, so these two are just kind of hanging out...still looking pretty, though!

Each book has been read once, by me. Okay, maayyyyybe twice! :)  I do believe I bought them from Amazon, but they each have the little black mark across the bottom of the pages. At least it's the bottom and not the top! :)

This giveaway is for US/Can residents, 13 and older. Duplicate entries will be disqualified and removed. A winner will be chosen on January 11 and notified via email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen and notified.

Enter the Rafflecopter and good luck to you!!! 

**Make sure to click "Read more" to view all of the stops for this hop!**

Challenges: Old & New!

Oh, 2012, you have been a year filled with amazing books! I had a great time participating in the Standalone Challenge and the Completely Contemporary Challenge. I completed my goals for both of these challenges! 
Hooray! *confetti toss* 

However, my goal for my Goodreads Challenge was 110 books, but I didn't quite make it. I'm okay with that, though!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
read 100 books toward her goal of 110 books.
hide

Looking ahead for the plans for 2013, I will be participating in the Standalone Challenge again, hosted by Iceybooks and I Like These Books. It's truly great to read these kinds of books and not have to wait another year for the next installment.

I will also be participating in the Paranormal Reading Challenge. This is a new one this year hosted by Megan Likes Books and Auntie Spinelli Reads. I was excited to find this one since I do enjoy Paranormal books.

I also want to see if I can work on the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge a bit. There are quite a few books on the list that I've been wanting to read and get checked off of that list. I think 2013 is a great year to accomplish some of those!

Finally, my Goodreads Challenge will remain at 110. I want to see if I can do a little better in the coming year since I know when I started slacking on my reading in 2012.

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
read 0 books toward her goal of 110 books.
hide