Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hate List

Hate List
By: Jennifer Brown
Paperback: 405 pages
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers 
Publish date: October 5th, 2010
Rating: 5 stars

What Goodreads has to sayFive months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

My Review: Thought Provoking. If I had to describe this book in few words those are the ones I would choose. It has also been called riveting, starling, and powerful and I would have to agree with those conclusions as well. I came across this book on a lazy Sunday while browsing around my local Barnes&Nobel. The cover, while mostly grey in color, stuck out to me among the other books. The cover art was simple and clean and I found myself picking it up and after reading the description on the back taking it to the counter to purchase. I spent the next two days glued to this book. The big event of the story, a school shooting, was something that seemed all to real after all that has happened the past few years regarding the matter. The part that struck me most about this book however was not only the interesting point of view the other decided to take but also how the story became so much more than just a story about a school shooting. The shooting became a background piece to a story about loss, grief, strength, fear, and ones ability to survive it all even if one must do it alone. The characters are so well written I found myself messaging a friend while reading to discuss with her my frustrations one character or another. There were a few times I just stopped reading to take a moment and consider what I might do if presented with the same situation. This book makes you think and I love that. It starts conversations, it provokes personal reflection and it shows and honest portrayal of a world that is at times more full of hate than love. The book also includes an interview with the author and discussion questions that can be used in a classroom or teaching setting. I feel this book was certainly worth every dollar I paid for it and I intend to pass it along to my younger sister, I am 22 and she is 14, and I am confidant she will take as much from this book as I have, perhaps she will even reflect on things that I did not. I think this will be a book I think about for a long time and I encourage anyone looking for a good read to pick it up. 

About the Author: 
Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer's weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Olivia Twisted

Olivia Twisted
By: Vivi Barnes
Kindle: 352 pages
Publisher: Entangled Teen (Nov 5th 2013)
Rating: 4 stars

What Goodreads has to say:  Olivia

He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.

At least at this moment, I don’t care.

Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…


I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.

It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.

Except that she’s not.

Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.

My Review: Olivia Twisted took me by surprise in the best way possible. After reading the blurb I was interested but not sure how much I would really end up liking the book. I started to read and by the end of the day I was only a few chapters from the end! After I finished all the things that typically get in the way of my reading aka work, school, etc I jumped right back to reading so that I could finally find out the well waited for ending. I think what really kept me hooked was the different approach the author took to a slightly common idea. The girl meets bad boy and gets drawn in thing is not something new, however, the way things play out and the stuff Olivia gets drawn into are certainly not like anything else I have ever read in any book.  Z is an interesting male character as well, at times it is hard to see where tough Z ends and the real Z underneath begins. Throughout the story Z is shrouded in mystery and I kept reading wanting to learn as much as I could about this mysterious past of his and how he ended up like he did. The book also touches on some of the more unfortunate parts of children's lives who are stuck in the foster care system. I felt this brought an added bit of realness to the book and reminded the reader how gritty life can be, this helps gain a sense of why these kids would turn to hacking for money. I love the inspiration the author drew from the story Oliver Twist and I would suggest this book to anyone looking for an interesting new read that breaks away from the usual love stories. Find Olivia Twisted on Amazon and Barnes&Nobel.

About the Author: 

Vivi Barnes was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. Now living in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, Florida, she divides her time writing, working, goofing off with her husband and three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes. You can fine her on her blog, facebook, and book website!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

The picture pretty much sums up the point of this post! I am happy to be participating in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. This is my first time participating in this blog hop and let me tell ya this thing is HUGE! There are over 300 blogs participating each giving away a prize worth at least $10. I looked around at my options and finally decided to make my prize 1 kindle copy of Stephen King's new book entitled Sleep Doctor! Enter to win. a Rafflecopter giveaway
And when you are done entering my contest go here to enter a whole lot more!  *Note: I does not seem to be showing up on my Rafflecopter but the book will be an E Book that I will be purchasing and gifting to you from Amazon.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Good Publicity

  Press releases are something that I never considered when thinking of the bloggerverse in general. I always thought of them as fancy packets that big companies send out in order to get publicity for their business. If you don't know what a press release is check out this helpful wiki page. As it turns out press releases can be used to bring publicity to your blog as well! There are a few things you should know when considering a press release, call it press release etiquette, and you can find 5 really helpful tips here.  I found one of the most helpful tips to be that you shouldn't be discouraged if you send one out and it is not picked up by anyone in the media or reported on, there is always a chance that someone in the media will find your blog interesting enough to subscribe to and that could really open some doors for you. I am excited to research this new method of blog promotion and I recommend anyone with a blog to do the same!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Buyer Beware!

Recently I decided to check out a popular sale site named KarmaLoop. I watched the site for a few weeks and eventually saw a pair of shoes that I fell in love with. The price on the shoes where decent and they had them in my size, so I placed my order and waited excitedly for them to arrive. They arrived about a week later and I eagerly tore into the box only to find that the size 8 I ordered was way too big. I was extremely disappointed and began the process of returning the shoes. At this point I had spent $19.21 on the shoes and the shipping. KarmaLoop does not pay return shipping so I had to pay an additional $8.75 to ship them back. I waited for a while and eventually got an email saying that they would not be sending me a replacement pair and instead would be giving me a $10.46 store credit which is the cost of the shoes originally. I was frustrated that I lost out on so much money with shipping but figured I would just use my store credit and be done with the company. I went to the site and with such a small credit and not intending to spend anymore money with them chose to purchase a small ring. The ring was priced at about $4.00 and with the shipping my credit would cover the full cost. As I tried to check out however I was informed that I would not be able to use the regular shipping and would be forced to use a more expensive shipping that would ensure that the credit would not cover the full price and not only would I be spending more money but the shipping would cost more than the ring its self. I was pretty angry with the company at this point and decided to email them to express my feelings. This is the email I sent and the one I received in reply:
Tonight I attempted to use up my store credit and was met with more disappointment. I figured with only $10 there was not much I could buy and decided on "The Early Bird" ring in gold. I went through the process of checking out and added my credit which brought the total down to 0.00 which I found reasonable considering how much I have already spent. When I attempted to place my order however I received an error message saying that the shipping method I chose could not be used in this scenario. The only other shipping option is one that would have me paying more in shipping than the ring even costs.  I do not think that I should be required to pay even though my credit covers all costs, at this point I am beyond frustrated with this whole thing and will certainly not be recommending this site to anyone in the future. If there is no possible way for me to actually receive my refund or use my store credit I intend to contact paypal to see what can be done about getting some of my money back. My intentions are not to be rude, but, surely someone must understand how I could become so frustrated, with my first purchase I lost $16.75 in shipping fees, and now I'm being told that I cannot even use my store credit unless I intend to spend another $4.69. In the end I spend $21.44 and all I get in return is a lot of hassle and a $3 ring. I really hope we can find a suitable solution to this issue and I do appreciate that you are speedy in your reply emails. 
Thank You.
The Reply:
Hello Crystal,
Thank you for contacting us. The problem is that store credit can not cover the shipping fee for that item. I apologize for the inconvience. If you have any more questions please let me know.
Thank you.

As you can see I did not receive any help or understanding from the customer service people. At this point I have decided to forget about the credit and be done with the company all together. I have certainly learned my lesson and while I am not suggesting that every interaction with this company by every person would be the same I wanted to share my story in the hopes that others can be more aware of what could happen if your purchase does not turn out the way you would hope it would. In this case the discounted price was just not enough to make up for all of the hassle and in the end money that I lost.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A blogging how to


 In my last post about blogging I discussed reasons for starting blogs and what I like to see in blogs that I decide to read. This time I want to talk a little about how to go about starting a blog. I know when I first decided I wanted my own blog I felt overwhelmed, I took things one step at a time and was lucky enough to have a friend who already had a blog around to help me. The first thing you are going to want to decide is what platform you want your blog on, obviously I use blogger, and if you are considering using blogger as well this page will be immensely helpful in getting you started. That page discusses everything from creating posts to customizing your blog. Speaking of customizing you can find all sorts of free things online to really make your blog personal to you. I love leelou blogs and have used some of her freebies on my own site. Once you have picked your platform and your design you are ready to choose the main focus for your blog. It is fine to blog about more than one thing, however, I would suggest you make sure your blog has a general theme or focus so that your readers know what kind of material to expect. At the very least try to ensure there is some sort of order to your blog, make sure people can easily find posts and don't have to search a million different areas to find what they are looking for. At this point you are ready to blog! Go out and make your first post, and don't forget to spread the word about your new blog to friends and family and anyone else you can through social media!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Blogging..Are you doing it right?


 156 million...that is a lot of blogs! Imagine how many blogs have been added to that number since 2011. One might ask how on earth can I get my blog noticed among all the millions of other blogs? My advice to you is blog about what you love. When you blog about something you love you will blog often and people who subscribe to your blog will see that you have new content posted frequently. I personally prefer to read blogs that I know will have new posts often, if they don't I tend to forget about them. I would also say don't start a blog based solely on the idea that you can make money from it. Honestly it can take years, if it even happens, for your blog to catch the eye of a company or to become popular enough that people want to pay you to make posts. There has got to be something to drive you beyond the hopes of making money or it is likely you will quickly become frustrated and lose interest. Of course you don't have to take my advice there are plenty of suggestions posted online daily about how to keep your blog relevant. If you are looking for some reading material to start with I suggest checking out this page here and this page here. Remember blogging is something you should do because you love it and you love what you write about. A blog become your own personal space to share your opinions on the things you love. Good Luck!