Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cover Comparison: In which get a wee bit ranty over Sean Griswold's Head

While getting info for my WoW post this past week I saw that Lindsey Leavitt's awesome debut novel Sean Griswold's head is getting a new paperback cover design. Once I saw it I knew that I HAD to feature it for cover comparisons this week. The change is.... well take a look for yourself.

                                            Original Cover             Paperback Cover

Original Cover: Okay so as cheesy as this cover is I actually really like it. I love the fact that you only see the back of the cover models head to perfectly coincide with the book title and I also love his striped jacket. It may sound weird but I'm not gonna lie there is something terribly attractive about the back of a guy wearing an awesome striped hoodie. :P On top of the good cover model I am also totally digging the font choice. I feel like this cover is a fair representation of the book and it definitely captures it's quirky qualities and humor!

Paperback Cover: OH MY GOSH. Are they seriously replacing the original cover with this new monstrosity?! Excuse me while I go cry in a corner over what once was...

Okay so maybe I'm being a bit dramatic but seriously look at this new cover. Ewww. Just eww in every way shape and form. I had my doubts about picking up SGH in the first place but if this had been the original cover it would have sealed it's fate in my mind once and for all. I mean look at it. Where is the quirkiness? Where is the cheesiness? Where has the "this is a lighthearted contemporary with some great humor" vibe gone?!?! FOR THE LOVE OF SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD PLEASE BRING IT BACK!!!! I just can't with this cover. The color scheme is all over the place (green and purple with hot pink accent letters. What?!), the cover models are being all "cutesy" and romantical, and it just screams "I'm a soft and sweet romance novel" WHICH SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD IS NOT! It is SO much more than that. *sigh*

So who wins: No question about it the original cover takes home the gold. It may be cheesy but it totally captures the right essence for SGH and it's unique enough to not fade away into the sea of stereotypical looking contemporary novels. The new paperback cover on the other hand is terrible. JUST TERRIBLE. *shakes head*

Which cover of Sean Griswold's Head is YOUR favorite? Be sure to vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments about why you made your decision!

Have any suggestions for future cover comparisons? Leave them here!

Julia :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Review: Insurgent

by Veronica Roth
525 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Book
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Source: Purchased
Add this to your shelf on Goodreads
Once choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's intiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chose, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable - and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
After the whiz bang awesomeness that was Divergent Veronica Roth had an awful lot to measure up to in her sophomore novel Insurgent. And I'll be honest this book sorta kinda fell into the sophomore slump for me. Okay, under normal circumstances this would be an absolutely fantastic sequel but guys, this is the sequel to Divergent we're talking about. This thing had a LOT to live up to. And it just sort of... fell short. That isn't to say that it's not totally great because it is, but it does have it's flaws.

I'm keeping this review spoiler free so if anyone who is reading this hasn't read Insurgent yet you may proceed safely. :D

Veronica Roth churned out a real page-turner with Insurgent just like she did with Divergent. I read this book in 2 days flat. I could've read it a lot faster but some of that time was spent driving in a car and motion sickness is not something I like to endure even for the greatest books. The pacing of Insurgent is a bit spotty at parts (Tris in the Erudite compound anyone?) but overall I found it super hard to put down.

The plot of Insurgent was kind of all over the place. The characters were jumping from location to location and it was a bit hard to follow. The story definitely didn't have as much of a here to there element as Divergent did with Tris going through initiation. Because of this it almost felt like filler between Divergent and Book #3. However a lot of important things did occur and there were some crazy (CRAZY!) reveals. Gasping, oh my gosh I never saw that coming reveals. Good stuff. So despite it's filler nature Insurgent definitely still had a lot going for it. Plus I loved getting to learn more about all of the factions not just Dauntless and Abnegation. My one tiff with the plot is that the big reveal at the end was sort of... stereotypical? I can't say much without giving it away but let's just say that I expected something a little more unexpected from Veronica Roth. :/

So Insurgent was a total page turner and the plot had some great moments but unfortunately one of the characters ended up falling short and that was Tris. She really took a nose dive in Insurgent and when the main character of a novel takes a nose dive the whole novel ends up taking a nose dive too. Sad but true. :/ I mean I understand that Tris was in a bad place after Divergent because of the fact that she had just shot and killed Will and her parents had died but she stayed in a sort of static "I feel sorry for myself" place throughout almost all of Insurgent and the worst part was, she didn't tell anyone why she was being such a downer. Tobias/Four kept asking her what was wrong and she would be like "Oh nothing..." and then just start moping again and I all I could think was COME ON GIRL! TELL HIM WHAT IS WRONG! YOU CAN TRUST HIM!!! Gahhh it drove me bananas. Plus I felt like Veronica Roth wrote it as if I should be feeling sorry for Tris when really I just felt like I needed to knock some sense into her. And did I mention that she goes all suicidal on us ala Bella Swan in Twilight? Yeah, I was pissed. Fortunately Veronica Roth does pull Tris out of this awful character rut and by the end of Insurgent she is a much stronger character and more developed character. I just wish she didn't have to go to such a low to get there. The good news is Tobias/Four, even with the double name confusion, was still pretty awesome and his and Tris' relationship felt a lot less creepy when they weren't being presented as teacher and student like in Divergent so thank God for that! 

Insurgent was a strong sophomore novel. It wasn't quite up to the same level as Divergent but it was still an extremely enjoyable dystopian read. On top of that I am definitely eager for book #3! I give Insurgent gets 5 out of 5 ice cream cones. 

Julia :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [20]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking The Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

The book I am super excited for this week is Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt!

The story of a girl figuring out the truths and illusions of life and love, both in the nostalgic past and in the very real now. Laugh-out-loud humor combines with a hint of romance in this delightful contemporary novel.

The cure for a broken heart? Go vintage and live like it’s 1962! Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, isn’t just cheating on her. He’s cheating with an online girlfriend. So Mallory decides to swear off boys and modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to “go vintage” and return to a simpler time. She sets out to complete grandma’s list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. The list proves to be trickier than it looks. Obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how intriguing she finds Oliver (er, Jeremy's cousin). But with the help of her sister, Mallory will finish the list and find peace. 
Last year I was pleasantly surprised by Lindsey Leavitt's first novel Sean Griswold's Head so I have high hopes for Going Vintage! The premise sounds totally cute and quirky and I am SO onboard with the whole 1960's thing. I definitely cannot wait for this book. It's coming out from Bloomsbury on March 19th 2013. SO FAR AWAY!!!! :P

What books are you waiting on today? 

Julia :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Dinosaur Bank

I was walking through Target the other day with the kids I nanny when I saw this:

I just about died. I picked it up and started hugging it and basically squealing over how cute it was. The kids were looking at me like I was crazy and proceeded to say:

"Miss Julia, you REALLY like dinosaurs don't you?"

To which I responded. "Yes. How could you tell?"

And they said. "Well... You're hugging that dinosaur bank REALLY tightly."

Yep. Model nanny right there.

Fortunately my good sense intervened and I did not end up purchasing this little guy. BUT I WILL BE BACK AND HE WILL BE MINE! I'm not even kidding on this one guys. Dinosaurs are one of my favorite things and banks are another one of my favorite things so the combination of the two is kind of irresistible for me. Plus he's a stegosaurus WHICH IS MY ALL TIME FAVORITE DINOSAUR!!!! <3

You can find this guy at your local Target or buy him online from

Julia :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cover Comparison Summer Lovin' Edition [2]

Time for another Summer Lovin' Edition of cover comparison! Since last week I posted my review of the amazing Amy and Roger's Epic Detour I figured this week I should feature it for a comparison. This one will be interesting because the covers REALLY contrast. Let's check them out!

                                                 US Cover                        UK Cover

US Cover: So like I said in my review this cover kind of turned me off the book at first because it just screams "I'm a cheesy lovey dovey romance novel." I know. I'm pathetic. I judge books by their covers. But that's beside the point. The point is other than that the cover is okay and a fair representation of the book. Well except that it's really not a romance... But I LOVE the font. Seriously, the font of this book is quite possibly my favorite book title font ever.

UK Cover: I have mixed feelings about this cover. On one hand I love the super creative graphic design nature of it but on the other hand I just don't like the color scheme. At all. I'm not a pink girl and I think the color doesn't capture the freedom and open road vibe of the story itself. I wish it was bluer. But that's just me. And greener. And more naturey. But that's just me. :P

So who wins? This is such an interesting comparison because the covers do contrast so much. One is kind of the classic YA picture format and the other is the creative graphics and illustrations format. Personally I've gotta give it to the US cover. The font alone wins this comparison. I like the UK cover but the color scheme feels off to me when compared with the actual story.

Which cover of Amy and Roger's Epic Detour do YOU like best? Be sure to vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments about why you made your decision! It'll be interesting to see which cover wins out: the classic stock photo one or the unique illustrated one.

Julia :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Ninja Cell Phone Holder

Seems that my Kawaii Mondays have been cell phone themed lately. Do you guys mind? I hope not. :P

Anyway this week I've got a super cute cell phone holder to show you. Have you seen them before? They're basically little plushes that you can stick your cell phone into. They're SUPER cute. Anway I ran across this ninja sushi one the other day and I had to share it.

Super cute right? He's even got a shiny little ninja star on his face and everything. LOVE IT! :D

I would probably buy this but I've already got a Totoro cell phone holder (I should probably show you guys that sometime huh?) so I don't really need another one. Pity. :P

If you want to buy this cutie you can find it for sale here.

Julia :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The summer road trip book of AWESOME! :D

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
by Morgan Matson
344 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date: January 1st 2010
Source: Library
Add this to your shelf on Goodreads
Amy Curry is having a terrible year. Her mother has decided to move across the country and needs Amy to get their car from California to Connecticut. There's just one small problem: Since her dad died this past spring, Amy hasn't been able to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger, the ninteen-year-old who turns out to be unexpectedly cute... and dealing with some baggage of his own. 

Meeting new people and coming to terms with her father's death were not what Amy had planned on this trip. And traveling the Loneliest Road in America, seeing the Colorado mountains, crossing the Kansas plains, and visiting diners, dingy motels, and Graceland were definitely not on the itinerary. But as they drive, Amy finds that the people you least expected are the ones you may need the most - and that sometimes you have to get lost in order to find your way home.
Cover Review
It's okay. Nothing too special. But I do love the font choice and I think it's great that you can't see Amy or Roger's faces. I like being able to imagine characters in my head without book cover images getting in the way. :)

My Thoughts
I loved, loved, LOVED this book! I put off reading it for the longest time (over 2 years since publication danggg) and I am currently shaming myself for it. Bad Julia! VERY BAD!!!

The worst part is I actually sort of mocked this book. Okay not really but I used to always joke about it's cover and the character's holding hands and it being all cheesy and lovey dovey. I never even gave it a chance. Then I started reading some of the reviews for it and I realized it didn't sound that bad after all. I know, me and my judgemental summer romance attitude. I am such a party pooper. :P

Honestly, I don't know why I was so adverse to reading this book in the first place. Other than the fact that the characters are holding hands on the cover there really isn't much of a semblance for romance. Plus it's a road trip book. I LOVE ROAD TRIP BOOKS! And even if this book did have a lot of romance in it (which it really doesn't) I am a huge Sarah Dessen fan and basically everyone of her books is a romance. I think I need to start rethinking my romance mindset a bit.... AKA I can't rationalize that all contemporary novels not by Sarah Dessen are gonna be bad. :P

But enough on why I didn't read this book at first and more on how amazing this book is. Oh my gosh like OH MY FREAKING CRAP THIS IS THE BEST SUMMER READ EVER!!!! Seriously, I cannot think of a better book chock-full of summer road trip awesomeness, humor, and super cute boys.    I mean one of these guys creates animal topiaries. ANIMAL TOPIARIES!!!

I know. You're swooning already. If any guys are reading this that can actually make animal topiaries market that skill to the ladies dude. Tis hot.

Anyway Morgan Matson has officially become one of my new favorite contemporary authors. Her writing is amazing and has the perfect combination of seriousness and humor. One moment she'll have you getting all sympathetic and emotional and the next you'll be laughing uncontrollably. I cannot tell you how many times I found myself cracking up while reading this book. In fact once I was so loud my mom came up to ask me what I was laughing it. The humor is that amazing.

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is also the best road trip book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Morgan Matson swept me off onto this road trip journey with Amy and Roger and I wanted to be traveling right alongside them. I also loved the scrapbook elements sprinkled throughout the book. The pictures, receipts, playlists, and other random trip tidbits added a whole new dimension to the story and just served to make me want to go on a road trip even more. Unfortunately I do not possess the funds to do such a thing nor do I have a cute male companion ala Roger to go with. Any guys want to volunteer to be my road trip companion? I will pay you in candy and the wonderfulness of my presence!!! :P

Amy and Roger were both really fun characters. In fact I loved every character in this book which is rare for me. Well, I didn't love the evil ex-girlfriend but that's a given.... Anyway Amy in particular was great and I loved getting inside her head and watching her grow as a character throughout the course of the novel. Roger was also super sweet and adorable and kind of adorably perfect as far as contemporary novel guys go. He may not have been the dude who could make animal topiaries but he was still totally awesome.

Morgan Matson did a great job balancing out seriousness and fun in this novel. It wasn't all just fluff and romance. AKA the story didn't center on Amy trying to get a super hot summer hookup which was what I had feared. In fact there was very little romance which I LOVED. At its heart Amy and Roger's Epic Detour was a story about growing up and moving on and that was way better to me than any fluffy romance novel could ever be.

If you're looking for a summer read that's just plain amazing then please pick up Amy and Roger's Epic Detour! It's got a fantastic story, some awesome characters and great humor. You'll love it. I promise. I give Amy and Roger's Epic Detour 5 out of 5 ice cream cones!

Julia :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Stitch iPhone Case

This week I've got one of the most kawaii things ever to share with you guys! When I saw this for the first time I was paralyzed from the cuteness. This is one of those products where you want to buy it even if you know you can't use it. Terrible, I know. :P

Anyway I present to you the cutest cell phone case I have ever laid eyes on:

fjskldaoenwklnfklndiwheklsklejsjkllkjskldfie. >.<

Slowly melting from the cuteness.

Seriously could a cell phone case get any more adorable? No. I don't think it can. I love you Stitch. Can you be my pet alien? Please? :P

I want to buy this cell phone case even though I don't possess an iPhone to use it with. I know, I'm crazy. But don't worry! I have restrained myself. But you can bet that if I ever do get an iPhone (wishful thinking) THIS WILL BE THE FIRST THING I BUY FOR IT!!!!

Oh and if you aren't a fan of the blue Stitch design it also comes in pink:

If you happen to be a lucky owner of an iPhone who would like to own one of these cases you can find them on eBay here.

Julia :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cover Comparisons: Shatter Me Edition

Less than a week after I posted about books getting mid-series cover makeovers HarperTeen reveals a redesign for the cover of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and tells everyone that they're going with this new style for the rest of the series. If you want to read all the details on why they did it and what not you can head on over to Tahereh Mafi's blog post about it here. Anyway, I am literally shaking my head at the irony of this. It's not that it's a bad thing! I just find it hilarious. Anyone else find this hilarious and ironic? XD

I know I said that I was gonna be doing summery books for cover comparisons but I just HAD to do Shatter Me this week. Don't worry next time will be another summer lovin cover comparison! Provided of course there are no more crazy cover redesigns this week. :P

Anyway on with the comparison!

                                             Original Cover                     New Cover

Original Cover: Honestly this cover never did much for me. When it was first revealed and everyone else was going all gaga over it I was thinking it was just sort of meh. In my eyes it falls into the "girl wearing a pretty dress but doesn't actually have much to do with the story" cover category. However I DO like that the cover is shiny. OH SO SHINY. So all the applause for the shininess factor! I also love the slashed title and all the different fonts. All in all this cover is quite visually appealing. I just wish it had more of the essence of the story.

New Cover: Oh man. People are probably gonna hate me for this but I am not digging this cover. First of all: NO MORE SHININESS?!?! *sniff* That was my favorite part of the original cover! Secondly: Why two colors for the title font? I feel like the cover would have looked better and felt more cohesive if they made the title font all white. And lastly, please educate me since I seem to be missing something, but what is the importance of the eye? And it's creepy ass tree lashes and random one section of ice lashes? Or is that water? And did I miss something in the story that involved eyes being important? Because the metaphor is totally lost on me. >.< Overall this cover is okay. I guess it's pretty. But I feel like there's just too much going on at once and the cyclopesque eye factor is CREEPING ME OUT! O.O

So who wins: I've gotta give it to the original cover. It's got the shininess factor and I love the slashed font. Plus the color scheme isn't all over the map which makes it a lot more visually appealing and cohesive than the new one. At least in my opinion. I've heard a lot of people saying that the new cover really portrays the book better and honestly I don't get that but I also didn't fall in love with Shatter Me in the same way others did so maybe that's why I don't feel the same connection to they feel.

Which cover of Shatter Me do YOU like best? Be sure to vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments about why you made your decision!

survey tools

Have any suggestions for future cover comparisons? Leave them in this form!

Julia :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Book Review: The Other Life

The Other Life
by Susanne Winnacker
256 pages
Publisher: Usborne Books
Publication Date: February 1st 2012
Source: Teen Book Scene
Add it to your shelf on Goodreads
Sherry has lived with her family in a bunker for more than three years. Her grandfather's body has been in the freezer for the last six months, her parents are at each other's throats... and two minutes ago, they ran out of food. Sherry and her father must leave the safety of the bunker. What they find is an empty Los Angeles, destroyed by bombs and haunted by "Weepers" - savage humans infected with a rabies virus. While searching for food, Sherry's father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a vineyard where a handful of survivors are picking up the pieces of their "other lives," before the virus changed everything. Sherry must find a way to help her family, stay alive, and decide whether Joshua is their savior or greatest danger as his desire for vengeance threatens them all. 
Cover Review
I will admit that the black, white, and red color scheme is striking but other than that this cover is just kinda meh. I probably wouldn't pick it up at a bookstore mostly because the artwork makes it appear like a historical fiction novel. I totally thought this was a book about the holocaust until I read the summary. Whoops. Haha. Plus I don't get the significance of the butterfly since butterflies aren't exactly an important part of the story. In fact if I remember correctly butterflies aren't even mentioned once in the entire book.... But I could be wrong.

My Thoughts
It seems that lately zombie novels have been trying to rise up as the new dystopian "it" genre and The Other Life is just another one to add to the mix. The summary sounded promising but unfortunately it never really stepped out of the box nor did it succeed in engaging me. The story just felt like a bunch of borrowed story elements from other better zombie and dystopian novels with poorly developed characters added in. In other words: This book just wasn't a winner for me.

The Other Life first starts out in a bunker where apparently Sherry and her family have been holed up for over 3 years. 996 days to be exact. Think that's a little crazy? Yeah, I did too. I mean I get that the government told everyone to go into bunkers until they were told to come out but seriously? You haven't seen the light of day in over 3 years? Or been able to breathe fresh air? You've just been cooped up in a bunker with 6 other people, one of whom is dead? Merely because the government told you to? WHY HAVEN'T YOU GONE FREAKING CRAZY LIKE ANY NORMAL PERSON WOULD?!?!?! *sigh* Not to mention the fact that it seems like the bunker would have run out of air long before 996 days had passed. Or are bunkers not airtight? I don't know. But this is just one of the examples of poor storytelling where I had to totally suspend disbelief. I just didn't buy that a family would have stayed underground that long. Add that to the fact that Sherry and her dad only came up a few days after the family had run out of food and yeah, you can understand why I was annoyed.

Another element that bothered me was the setting and the Weepers themselves. They weren't bad persay but they reminded me way too much of I Am Legend. I can't speak for the book because I haven't read it but the whole time I was reading I just kept seeing images of Will Smith getting chased through New York by fast and intelligent zombie/vampire creatures. Yes, The Other Life is set in LA and not New York and yes, the Weepers oftentimes have fur and look like they're crying, but the differences end there. It just felt way too similar for me.

I was also totally bummed out by the characters and their extreme lack of development. Sherry's character in particular bugged the crap out of me. She was whiny, and selfish, and her obsession with the number of days she hadn't felt the breeze/eaten chicken/driven in a car was so annoying. I think it was the authors attempt at giving her a personality quirk but it just drove me batty. And by the end of the book she hadn't changed or become more independent or anything and neither did any of the other characters. Honestly, the only I did like was the grandmother because she was batshit crazy and I thought it was hilarious.

I hate to put more fuel on the "this book isn't that great" fire but I can't end this review without mentioning the romance. You guys already know I am not a big fan of romance unless it's done right and this romance definitely wasn't done right. Not by a long shot. It was like one day Sherry meets Josh and the next they're snogging in the barn. There was absolutely no development to their relationship and it just felt tacked on. I know YA authors feel like they have to put romance into their novels in order for them to sell but they don't. Really they don't. The Other Life is the perfect example of a book that suffers more from a poor romantic subplot than if it had no romance entirely. :/

Because this review has been so negative I thought I would end it on a positive note. The plot of The Other Life did start picking up in the last 50 pages or so. There were some crazy reveals and the cliffhanger was admittedly pretty killer. I don't think I'll be reading the sequel(s) but I feel like the story actually has some promise from here on out.

As far as dystopian novels go The Other Life is nothing special. It reads like a bunch of rehashed story elements and it doesn't get really good till the very end which unfortunately just wasn't enough to salvage the story for me. I feel like since this book was pretty short Susanna Winnacker could have easily written a lot more in order to add some much needed character development but she didn't which was a bummer. I give The Other Life 2 and a half out of 5 ice cream cones.

Overall The Other Life just wasn't the book for me. However, I can see it finding an audience with dystopian lovers. Probably ones that are more into stories with plot strength rather than character strength.

Julia :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Swag Giveaway Winners!

So yesterday I had a little impromptu Never Enough/Losing Faith swag giveaway and I asked if you guys wanted to be surprised or if you wanted me to post the winners list. Most people said for me to post the list so here it is:

Cathee H.
Alexandra T.
Maria S.
Rachelia @ Bookish Comforts
Lulu S.
Erin D.
Jenny C.
Vy L.
Victoria S.
Erin W.
Tiffany O.

So those are the winners! Hopefully I'll get around to sending out the swag sometime later this week.

Also I noticed after I posted about the giveaway that half the bookmarks are signed and the other half aren't. Phooey. However I have some other signed swag and a few stickers so if you get an unsigned bookmark you should either get a signed postcard or a sticker to make up for it. I hope that's fine with everyone. :P

Anyways congrats guys!

Julia :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Who wants some signed swag?

Hey guys!

Today I've got a little impromptu first come, first served giveaway! Several months back the lovely Denise Jaden sent me a bunch of signed Never Enough bookmarks, postcards and some Losing Faith stickers. Sound awesome? Well good because today they can be yours! You just have to be one of the first 20 people to fill out the form below and I'll send you some swag. Plus this is open internationally so anyone can win!

After 20 people have filled out the form I'll send out all the swag! Do you guys want me to post a list of the winners or just have it arrive by surprise in your mailbox? Let me know. :)

If you're interested in learning more about Denise Jaden's new novel Never Enough (which is phenomenal by the way!) be sure to check out the summary below.

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special… even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship —and her sister—before it’s too late?
Julia :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Fox Amigurumi

I've got something SUPER cute to share with you guys this week! So my friend crochets and sells her stuff on Etsy and just recently she put up for sale, wait for it, an amigurumi fox. Okay so you may be scratching your heads going "What the heck does amigurumi mean?" so allow me to explain.

Amigurumi: A crocheted or knitted stuffed toy

Therefore: Amigurumi fox = A crocheted or knitted stuffed fox.

Starting to sound cute? You have no idea. Check it out:


Yeah basically that was my response when I saw it pop up in my Facebook newsfeed. Of course I knew I HAD to share it. It's just too cute not to share right? I mean his little ears, and adorable eyes AND LOOK AT HIS CUTE LITTLE TAIL IN THIS PIC!!!!

It's settled. Ferdinand is ADORABLE. And yes, even his name is cute. >.<

You can purchase little Ferdinand on Etsy here.

Julia :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cover Comparison: Summer Lovin' Edition [1]

Since summer is upon us I thought it would be great to feature some summery reads for cover comparisons! Hence: Summer Lovin' Edition! I'll be attempting to do this all summer long but we'll see if I run out of summery books and covers for me to compare. I don't think I will but ya never know. What do you guys think of this idea? Like it? Hate it? Let me know! Anyway, on with the comparison. :D

So this week I was going through my blog reader when I stumbled upon a picture of the UK cover for We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han. It was a total double take moment guys. Seriously I didn't even know this series had alternate covers. Of course once realizing they did I knew that I HAD to do a cover comparison for them especially since summer is basically upon us! So here it is: The cover comparison showdown between the US and UK covers of The Summer Series by Jenny Han!

                                                                  US Covers                                                      

                                                                  UK Covers

US Covers: I love the beachy/summery feel of these covers. The whole white background with pastels color scheme works really well and I think the font choice is perfect. However I do think that the best cover was The Summer I Turned Pretty and that INSWY and WAHS don't work as well. They just feel a bit more blah to me. Maybe it's because they don't have the sun glare like the first one? I don't know. One last thought: Am I the only one who noticed that even though Conrad (the older brother) is supposed to be brunette and Jeremiah (the younger brother) is supposed to be blonde the cover models don't match up age wise? I mean the blonde is clearly older than the brunette so it's like they switched them around. That always bugged me. :P

UK Covers: I love, love, LOVE these covers! I've noticed that UK covers tend to be a bit more stylized than US covers (especially with contemporary novels) and it totally works for this series. The simplicity of the design and colors are just gorgeous. I especially like that they chose different objects for each cover. First flowers, then hearts, and finally horseshoes and wedding bells! I'm not really sure why horseshoes (is there something important I'm forgetting about the series?) but I think it's cool nonetheless. The one thing I don't really care for is the tag lines. They sound like they belong with some super cheesy soap opera or something. Especially the one for It's Not Summer Without You. Can't you just imagine some horrible voiceover saying: "One Girl, Two Brothers, WHICH WILL SHE CHOOSE?!?!" while some terrible overdramatic music plays in the background? Yeah, I'm cringing too. >.<

So Who Wins? This is a tough one because honestly like both sets of covers but I think the UK covers just barely eek out a win. They're artistic and beautiful while still giving off that nice summery vibe. They aren't as beachy as the US covers which is a bummer (especially since the beach is such an important part of the summer series) but oh well. You can't have everything right?

Which set of covers for The Summer Series is YOUR favorite? Be sure to vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments about why you made your decision!

Do you have any suggestions for future cover comparisons? Leave them in this form!

Julia :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

When Book Covers Get a Mid Series Makeover

You've probably experienced it before. That frustrating moment when you realize that one of your favorite book series got a cover makeover and now all your copies of the previous books in the series will no longer match the copies of the new books in the series. You look at the old covers on your shelf and then look back at the new ones and you start shaking your fist at the computer screen (or bookshelf as the case may be) saying "WHY PUBLISHERS WHY?!?!"

These cover makeovers tends to happen after the first book in a series hits and normally is revealed along with the sequels cover. AKA right after you've had plenty of time to purchase and get attached to the first cover so now you're only options are:

A. Dropping $20 on a second copy of the book because, lets be honest, you want copies of both covers AND you're a bit OCD and want your copies of the books in the series to have congruent covers.


B: You save yourself $20 and resign yourself to the fact that your copies of this book series will have inconsistent cover designs.

If you're anything like me (and I think you are) then you do not want to pick option B. So why is it that publishers so often do this? Why do they feel that a book series needs a mid series face lift? Is it that they think the original cover design isn't "marketable" enough? Possibly they're having a hard time coming up with a similar cover designs for the sequels? Or maybe it's that they want to make more money off of us bookish people by getting us to buy multiple copies of their books? Hehe. :P

 Whatever the reason I'm not a big fan of book series makeovers.

Here are just a few examples of a book series that have gotten makeovers midway through their publication:

The Nightshade Series by Andrea Cremer

                                                                 Original Covers

                                                                     New Covers

I remember when these covers got redesigned a few years back and it felt like the entire YA book community was up in arms over it and people were holding onto their Wolfsbane ARC's with the original cover like it was their lifeline. There were petitions and people were emailing the publisher like crazy but it didn't make a difference: The covers still got changed and the original Wolfsbane cover never did become a hardcover reality. I think this is definitely one of the stranger cover change decisions. The original Nightshade and Wolfsbane covers are undeniably GORGEOUS so why did they decide to change the design especially with so much public outcry? I think I read somewhere that they felt that the original covers weren't truly portraying the essence of the books but I think that's kind of a lame excuse especially when the new covers appear sorta tacky. But that's just my two cents. :P

The Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver

                                                                Original Cover

                                                                  New Covers

When I found out that the Delirium cover had been redesigned and that HarperTeen had trashed the old cover theme I was pretty disappointed. I really like the original Delirium cover and I think it would have been awesome to see the whole series designed in the same way. However they did do a really good job with the new cover designs so no complaints there. Plus it helps that I happened to win a copy of the original Delirium hardcover so I didn't feel as guilty buying another copy with the redesigned cover. Yep: I have hardcover copies of both Delirium covers. >.<

The Ashes Trilogy by Ilsa J. Bick

                                                                  Original Cover

                                                                   New Covers

The original Ashes cover is totally awesome. It's eerie and creepy and goes perfectly with the story. Because I do like the original cover so much I'm pretty bummed they redesigned it and are going with a different cover theme for the rest of the series. The new covers just don't have the same vibe that the original had. THEY JUST AREN'T CREEPY ENOUGH! Plus now my copy of Ashes isn't gonna match up with Shadows unless I buy the new design. Phooey! :P

Oh and is it just me or does the new Ashes cover totally have the same feel as the new cover for White Cat by Holly Black?

Yeah maybe they aren't THAT similar but I still can't see the new Ashes cover without thinking "That reminds me of White Cat." :P

So what do you guys think when a book series gets a cover makeover? Are you like me where want the book covers in a book series to be consistent? Or do you not care? Do you even notice? And why do you think publishers redesign covers like this?

Julia :)
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