Friday, August 27, 2010


While all bloggers like new followers and increased stats, I think most bloggers LOVE comments. Comments show that a blog has active readers, that not only take the time to read posts, but also to share their own thoughts. Importantly, comments also allow bloggers to get to know their readers.

I also believe, however, that comments are also one of the hardest things to receive. I know this from my personal experience. To elaborate (Warning, this might get boring. Feel free to skip to the next paragraph.), I use google reader to update my blog. I go through my unread items and star the ones that I want to read later. When I read my starred items, I'll comment on particularly striking posts. Here's where the problem comes. A lot of times, I'll star items, and then I'll star even more items. Before I know it, I'll have hundreds of items I need to read. There's no way I can read all those items, so I usually just unstar them, and start over from my unread items. I wish I could say that I'll make sure my starred items do not pile up, but I know that life is busy. But I also know that comments make an IMPACT.

In short, I think readers have good intentions, and may genuinely like certain blogs, but simply do not have time to comment and read many entries. Also, the large number of great blogs also makes it difficult to comment. At the same time, most bloggers spend hours writing posts for their readers, so to know that readers appreciate them is great. Appreciation also helps bloggers find the motivation to improve their blogs, so shouldn't readers try to comment more, even if it is just a little?

So here's my pledge to comment more on my favorite blogs, and I hope you do the same. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

English 1102

So, this week is my first week of college! It has all been very surreal. I can't believe I'm in college already. Ha. Anyways, for this post, I wanted to discuss my English class. Each professor chooses a theme to discuss all semester. My professor chose adaptations. Basically, I read different pieces of literature and watch different adaptations of them and write about them!

As a reader, I know I have watched many terrible movies based on books. Of course, I have enjoyed a select few. I feel like this class could give me an appreciation of adaptations. At the end of the semester, I will write a post with overall thoughts. Below is a list of the books I have to read, along with the movies I have to watch. The texts are the ones next to the numbers and the bulleted are the adaptations.

1) The Taming of the Shrew - William Shakespeare
  • The Taming of the Shrew (1966)
  • 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) (!!!)
2) Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare
  • Romeo and Juliet (1968)
  • Romeo + Juliet (1996)
3) Atonement - Ian McEwan
  • Atonement (1999)
4) The Long Halloween - Jeph Loeb & Time Sale
  • The Dark Knight (2008)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein - Libby Schmais

Lotus Lowenstein is a Francophile, someone in love with all things French. With the help of her friend Joni, Lotus creates a French Club at their high school. At the first meeting, the two girls are surprised when Sean shows up. Sean is handsome, to say the least, but both girls like him. Sean, inspired by his idol, Jean-Paul Satre, however, has no intention of choosing one over the other. Eventually, Sean creates a rift in the friendship between Lotus and Joni. When the French Club gets the opportunity to go Montreal, Lotus is not thrilled. Why would she want to go to Montreal if she would have to suffer seeing Joni and Sean together?

In The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein, Libby Schmais uses a common idea--a love triangle--and creates something that stands out. Schmais made the novel unique by the format and the protagonist (Lotus). The novel is set up in diary format. The diary itself is an assignment given by Lotus's English teacher, similar to Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey. This format allowed readers to get personal (nice phrasing, yes? :P) with Lotus.

Lotus herself is a character filled with personality! I have read hundreds of novels, and yet, Lotus stands out in my mind as one of the most memorable. Before I began this novel, I was not sure if I would like Lotus. I was afraid that her obsession with all things French would annoy me after a few pages. I was wrong. Lotus remained amusing throughout the entire novel. Schmais was able to do this by adding humor throughout the novel.

My main complaint with this novel deals with the minor characters. I wish Schmais would have fleshed them out more. Given that the novel is in Lotus's perspective, I realize that opportunities to discuss minor characters are limited. However, it seemed like Schmais had perfect places to insert more details about characters, yet she did not. In several parts of the book, Lotus mentions Joni's mom. Schmais offers few details about Joni's mom (who has a certain condition), and I felt myself unsatisfied. I mean, why mention her at all, then? While Schmais did leave the novel open to sequels, I do not know if one is actually planned.

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein is a great book for anyone interested in French cultures and/or likes unique protagonists!

Related Links
Libby Schmais's site
Libby Schmais's blog

I received this book from Book Divas.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hunger Games Thoughts

This is a spoiler-free zone for ALL the Hunger Games novels. Please be considerate.

As you may know, the final book of The Hunger Games trilogy was released today. For many, it was a much anticipated event and are probably reading the book as we speak. Others, however, are not quite sure what the hype's about. Today, I wanted to know how did you learn about The Hunger Games series. If you have not read it, why not? I know many are skeptical the novels will live up to the hype, but are there more reasons? I would really like to know. :)

I'll also share my story. I discovered The Hunger Games from The site had a promotion where the first (I forget the number) got an ARC of The Hunger Games. Once he or she reviewed it, each person would receive a signed hardcover of the novel! Truthfully at first, I was skeptical. I received the ARC, and it was pitched as "a book that will change your life." This was before the book was even released, so I think my thoughts were only natural. However, then, I read the book and loved it! I sent my review, and for weeks I didn't receive a hardcover. I was not upset, I mean I got an ARC of the novel, what more could I ask for? But then the novel came in the mail, and to this day, it is one of my most prized books.

So share your thoughts on the trilogy! :D

Monday, August 23, 2010


Hi everyone! I'd like to use this as an introductory post of sorts. I have been in the blogging world for two years. Lately, I feel like I have failed myself as a blogger. I do not update as much as I should. I barely post reviews. Even without my slumps, I haven't reviewed all the books I have read. Also, I have not given my readers a clear idea of who I am. So, I decided I need to changed! All this week, I will have reviews, posts about myself, and a big contest at the end! More so, I will continue to maintain my blog to the way I want it too. :)

To begin, I will introduce myself. My name is Krista, and I am 18 years old. I live in Georgia, United States, and I just started college in Atlanta. I have always been an avid reader. Two years ago, I wandered upon some book blogs and thought, why not? Well, two years later, here I am? Aside from reading, I like food, photos, movies, and music (who doesn't like music?). Below is a picture of myself:

Yay for built-in webcams on macbooks!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

WARNING: This post contains spoilers for anyone who has not read The Hunger Games. Proceed with caution.

Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games, along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Katniss should be celebrating the wealth she has brought her entire family and district, but she can not. The terror she encountered in the Games still haunts her. The Capital also wants her dead. By pulling out the poisonous berries, Katniss defied the Capital, and no one defies the Capital. Soon, there are rumors of rebellion within several of Panem's districts--a rebellion that Katniss unknowingly created. Even worse, this is the 75th annual Hunger Games. Every 25 years, the Capital creates an even more vicious version of the Games. And this year's game is the unthinkable...

I read The Hunger Games two years ago, when the novel was first released. I loved it, and anxiously waited for Catching Fire. Yet, I did not pre-order the book, and by the time it was released I had started school. I wanted to focus on my schoolwork and the ~60 books I own, yet have not read. When summer rolled around, I knew I had to read Catching Fire. I ordered the book along with pre-ordering Mockingjay. I started reading Catching Fire the afternoon I received it in the mail. I read 340 pages that day, a record for me. The next morning I finished the rest of the book. If the speed at which I read this book does not tell you how much I enjoyed it, I do not know what will.

The characters in this book are top-notch. Readers see more of their favorites from The Hunger Games, along with a few new characters. Collins does not reveal much about the new characters, but I think they will play a larger role in Mockingjay. Also, Collins is a great storyteller. Most of the chapters end with cliffhangers, so readers will continue to flip pages wanting to learn more. I did not necessarily like the direction this novel took about halfway through (if you want to know what exactly I mean by that, look in the comments), but it had no effect on how I felt about the novel overall.

If you have not read Catching Fire yet, READ IT. With the release of Mockingjay in a week, there is no better time than now. Also, if you have read Catching Fire, feel free to discuss your thoughts on it and/or predictions on Mockingjay in the comments.

P.S. I am Team Gale. :-P

Related Links
The Hunger Games Site
Suzanne Collin's Site

I purchased this book.

WARNING: Comments may contain spoilers for The Hunger Games trilogy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

In My Mailbox Aug. 9-14

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

I read The Hunger Games when it was first released and loved it! For some reason, last year, I did not buy Catching Fire. Instead I waited until last week to order it, along with a pre-order of Mockingjay. Catching Fire came in the mail on Friday afternoon, and I finished it Saturday morning. So good!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Life update

So, in a week, I am going to college! Between reading Catching Fire (as much as I loved The Hunger Games, you would think I would have read it already) and preparing for the week, I've been preparing for college. Or rather, I should be. Mostly, I am just procrastinating.

Recently, I got chosen to be a CSN Preferred Blogger (yay!), and all their bedroom furniture sets reminded me even more how much I'm going to miss my bed. Seriously, I don't think a lofted bed could be quite as nice.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Youtube Connection 12

Youtube Connection is a Thursday feature where I will post a video (or more) that is somehow related to a book.

This week's Youtube Connection is different in that it's the first time that I have not read the featured book. In doing this, I think I can help create buzz for more books, so I hope you enjoy the change. Anyway, this week's video is the book trailer for Love in the Present Tense by Catherine Ryan Hyde. I previously reviewed Becoming Chloe, which I liked. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I feel like my readers (you!) don't really have a good idea of who I am, which is mostly my fault. As I prepare for my major comeback (of sorts), I thought I would give you opportunities to get to know me! I plan on having a week where I put up information about me, my blog, and book reviews. Oh and also CONTESTS. :D BUT first, today, I want you to ask me all the questions you have for me. You can use the form below, e-mail me, or comment. I'll answer all of them in a post on "The Week," as long as they are appropriate. I don't know when the actual week will be, but I'm leaning towards Aug. 23-30. I think that will be the soonest I will be able to.

Oh, and asking my questions MAY get you bonus entries on a future giveaway. *hint* *hint*

Ask away!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Holly Schindler Writes...

Holly Schindler is the author of A Blue So Dark.

Sypnosis of A Blue So Dark:
Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that “creative” equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

Today, I have a guest blog, on a very fitting topic, by Holly.

Getting Out Of A (Reading OR Writing) Slump

It can happen to any of us…our once-insatiable appetite for literature drops, with no explanation. Whether it’s a reading or writing passion, if it disappears, it can leave you feeling…kind of…guilty. Like you’re completely slacking.

I say, get RID of the guilt. In my book, a slump is a sign that you’ve grown.

Yup, that’s right. You’ve grown—because you’re no longer challenged. You’re stagnating. A slump means it’s time to expand those borders.

Do not—I repeat—do NOT decide you need a break. Instead, get yourself to the library. And head STRAIGHT for the genre section you never approached before. Maybe romance. Or sci-fi. Or literary classics. Whatever you once avoided like the plague, ATTACK it. Immerse yourself. You’ll soon find yourself rejuvenated. I promise. Because a new genre means you’ve been thrown into a brand-new world.

And if you’re a writer, the same applies—finding it hard to get motivated? Put aside your current project—not for forever, just for a while. Again, do NOT take a break. Stay in the rhythm of writing…but write something (say, a short story) in a genre you once thought you’d never master. (Even try your hand at poetry!) Once you’ve written a short piece—just for fun—you’ll find yourself ready to head back to tackle your current WIP.

This bit of advice actually helped me find my way to the subject of my sophomore novel, PLAYING HURT, due out in 2011…My debut (A BLUE SO DARK) is a literary problem novel. PLAYING HURT is a romance.

Yep, genre hopping. I’m pretty sure it’s the spice of life…

If you would like to find out more about Holly or her books, you can visit her website or her blog!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In My Mailbox July 25-31

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Outcasts United - Warren St. John
The extraordinary tale of a refugee youth soccer team and the transformation of a small American town

Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston’s streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colors playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston’s refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees.

Set against the backdrop of an American town that without its consent had become a vast social experiment, Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees and their charismatic coach....

Outcasts United is actually my required reading for freshman seminar. I read the introduction, and I look forward to reading the rest. :P