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Busy busy busy…..

21 Feb

Sorry I have been absent from all you lovelies lately… work has been cra-zay and I’m pretty sure I am going through a quarter life crisis…and dramatic breakup. UGH! Basically it means booze and no books. And because of the no books it results in no reviews which means no posts…

 *sniff sniff*

Anywho… I was thinking about this quote during my mourning and thought that I should share it all with you because I think it’s uniquely wonderful. So enjoy it and I promise promise I’ll get back to my Adventures in Bookland and reviews next week!  Muah!

“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that… there are many kinds of magic, after all.”
Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

Adventures in Bookland

13 Feb


As a self proclaimed book nerd, there are things that spark my interest that most would glance over and dismiss as boring, dumb or just plain ole’ dorky. But the products, events, and people that some would label as unexciting, I find enticing and spectacular. You’ll come to find that the longer you join me on this book blogging journey, the more I will embrace, and encourage YOU to embrace, the off-the-beaten-track adventures in the great wide world of Bookland.

I like to say my first real “cherry popping” book adventure was about a year and a half ago when my co worker (the now infamous Ms. Amy) informed me of an upcoming book signing.  Now I had been to the midnight book releases of Harry Potter at Barnes and Noble, trekked through the movie theaters for the Lord of The Rings movie premiers with my father, been actively involved in scripting out light sabers duels to be performed at the theater while we nervously waited to watch the new releases of Star Wars (not really books but you see where I am going with this.) I had clearly defined my place as a lover-of-all-things nerdtastic. And I had spent more nights then I could possible count losing sleep over books that I just had to finish before I went to bed.  But I had never established myself as a Professional Book Lover (PBL). Those were juvenile and amateurish activities compared to what I could be doing to fulfill my PBL potential. So alas, I decided to push my myself to the next level, move my peg up on the board, take that next step on the ladder and commit to my true calling: Sydney, the Book Dominator. Conquer of YA Books, Writer of Rattle the Stars, Reviewer of Stories.

*dramatic cheer* Ahhhhhhh!!! *the crowds going wild* “Sydney, Sydney, Sydney!”

Ok…. got a little excited there. But I think it’s a great moment and everyone should be proud when they commit to being 100% their own person. Finally chucking all those insecurities out the window that have made them hide bits and pieces of themselves. That’s what I did in that moment. I bared my dorky, nerdy, geeky soul to the world! And I am so much happier because of it.

Back to the story!

So Amy and I went to go see none other then one of my favorite authors of all time: Christopher Paolini.

I swoon at his books so hard. The Inheritance series is probably one of the greatest YA series ever written. It’s incredible in it’s richness and depth and the world building is dynamic and captivating it takes my breath away. It has the epic qualities of LOTR and Dune without all the confusing side tracking and WSOD stretching worlds that can distract you from the plot. From the moment you open the book Eragon, the pro-tag, is vivacious, strong, and real. You follow him on his journey, watch him struggle, see him overcome, feel him become the person he’s meant to be. You bleed with him, you cry with him, you love him.  It’s been two years since I’ve finished this series and I still don’t have a way to fully articulate how much these books mean to me. And to think the Paolini wrote these when he was a teenager? A FREAKING TEENAGER! I was still writing essays for English class when this creative bitch over here is writing YA fantasy masterpieces. (Jealous doesn’t even come close to how I feel about this). But needless to say I was fangirling all over this guy at the book signing. We were waiting for hours in the Phoenix Public Library on the second floor for him to come out, give a talk, speak some Elvish (kinda hot in a very nerdy way), and sign the books.

When it was my turn to finallyyyyyyyy meet him and have him sign my well-loved copies, it was an amazing moment in my life. He signed his name in the first three books of the series and then signed MY NAME and HIS NAME in the fourth book. *faints* I was even able to stammer out my favorite part of the series and we had a mini convo about him writing it. Greatest. Experience. Ever.


(I’m the blonde gawking at him, especially when he’s looking right at me. ERMERGERD!)

My main reason for telling you all about this is because I want people know that embracing who you are is as scary and wonderful as falling in love. Because essentially, you are falling in love with yourself. You are letting yourself be exactly who you are. That amazing, incredible, feisty, fiercely passionate about whatever it may be person that hides in your heart until you are ready to let it fly.

I love books. And I assume that most of you are reading this because you love books too. Or because you know me… (Hi Mom!!)  So for the next week I am going to take you on some of my favorite Adventures in Bookland I have had in the last year. Some were amazing, some were… uh…. different… but all were eye-opening! So hop on the train, my friends and let’s have some fun!

“Perhaps that was the point; life, if you did it right, meant learning and changing. If you didn’t, you died- or stopped growing – which amounted to more or less the same thing. So I would slide in and out of different roles until I discovered the one that fit me best.
Ann Aguirre, Outpost

Best Birthday Present Ever!

14 Jan

Today is my 24th birthday.


On Friday, I posted a review drooling over The Crimson Crown and fawning all over Cinda Williams Chima. All my reviews are posted to Facebook and my Twitter account and of course I am following Chima’s Tweets.





Best birthday present ever. I can die happy now.

Best Of 2012 – Not just the boring categories!

2 Jan

Hello and Welcome to the year 2013!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! 2013 has some amazing book releases so I am SUPER STOKED for this year. Now, like all book lovers and bloggers, I just had to create a Best of 2012 blog. While most people do one in December, I read lots of books over the holidays so I wanted to wait until the year actually ended before I created my list. You never know what gems you can find in the last weeks of the year! I also wanted to add some variety to the blog so I asked my book soul mate Amy to pick her favorites in each category. You can read her Top Ten Books Read of 2012 here.

Please note that these books are not only the books that were published in 2012. We wanted to included all the books we read so some of them are a few years old. I hope you all enjoy and please add your favorites in each category in the comments!

Favorite Book of 2012

Sydney                     Amy


The Selection by Kiera Cass     Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Favorite Author of 2012

Sydney               Amy


Cinda Williams Chima         Neil Gaiman

Best Female Protagonist

Sydney           Amy


Penryn – Angelfall by Susan Ee          Beatrice – Divergent by Veronica Roth

Best Male Protagonist

Sydney         Amy


Han – Seven Realms Series        Po – Graceling Realms Series

Best Romance

Sydney         Amy


America and Maxon, The Selection               Katsa and Po, Graceling

Most Resourceful

Sydney         Amy


Gaia, Birthmarked  by Caragh M. O’Brien    Viola, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Best “Come to Jesus” Moment

Sydney         Amy


James, Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater    Katy, Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Most Badass Character

Sydney         Amy


Deuce, Razorland Series by Ann Aguirre       Katsa, Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Favorite Series

Sydney                Amy


Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima      Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Best Fantasy Book

Sydney                Amy


Graceling by Kristin Cashore            Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Best Dystopian Book

Sydney                Amy


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline      Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Best World Building

Sydney                Amy


Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima         Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

Best Cover

Sydney                Amy


Angelfall by Susan Ee                   Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Most Looking Forward to Release of 2013

Sydney                Amy


Prodigy by Marie Lu                       Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

What I mean when I say “Fluff Book”

28 Dec


I am a variety reader. I have my favorite genres, of course, but I pride myself in not sticking to only one “type” of book. I try to love all books equally.

One of my favorite kinds of books are what I call “Fluff Books”. I’ve mentioned them a few times in passing in some of my previous posts but an explanation will clear all doubt as to what I mean.

The easiest way for me to fully describe what a fluff book is, is to give some examples and then find the common trends between them. Analyzing is always my favorite!

Top Three Favorite Fluff Books of 2012




The Selection, The Luxe Series and Entwined are lovely sweet treats, dark chocolate mouthfuls filled with rich rosey love, glorious estrogen boosting stories filled with amazing dresses, handsome men, and lovable heroines. These are the books we adore on a purely feminine level. Our romance loving subconscious’s  ache for these beauts. Flowery, gorgeously written plots and 100% hands-off for men.

These fluff books are Jane Austen‘s descendants of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. They have enticing and adoring love interests like Mr. Darcy, feisty females like Elizabeth Bennett, and harrowing plights of Dashwood induced love follies. They also have Austen’s underlying themes of women’s morality, the injustices of societal norms, and they highlight the breathtaking ability of the “weaker” sex to adapt and overcome.

Looking at what I’ve just written and comparing the books I consider fluff, these are the basics of fluff books:

  1. Female Protag
  2. Swoon worthy love interest
  3. Epic romance
  4. A villain trying to corrupt our heroine
  5. Underlying ethical or moral questions
  6. A happy ending

The happy ending though, does not, and I repeat DOES NOT, always end up with ooey gooey love-shall-overcome BS. Some of the best fluff books end with the female lead giving a dainty middle finger wave and riding off into the sunset by herself (those are my favorite).

So there you have it my friends. Questions, concerns, comments? Send any awesome fluff my way. I can always go for some romance 😉

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten” – G.K. Chesterton

My December

21 Dec

Happy Holidays everyone!

I am heading out for Christmas vacation and won’t be able to post for awhile so I wanted to send some quick love to all my wonderful readers! **HUGS**

Below are some amusing pictures that capture my Thanksgiving-now life. Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday! Shoot me some suggestion on great books you read over the holidays! Muah!

Wootie woot woot!

I reached my goal for book reading this year at the beginning of the month! Woot woot!

I <3 Books

 Some of my November and December reads.

I chose to take some inspiration from my Harry Potter Cook Book and create some sweet treats for Christmas presents!

Pumpkin Pasties

Pumpkin Pasties!

Rock Cakes

 Hagrid’s Rock Cakes – quite tastey and not at all hard as rocks!


Blancmange – pure yumminess. These are my favorite. And they jiggle which is awesome because I shaped them like bugs!


 Showing off my new footies, Penelope the Pot (my new teapot), and a very delicious bottle of wine!


Bridge Books and Short Stories

17 Dec

In my last couple of reviews, I have been mentioning bridge books a lot. Bridge books are short stories that are written to enhance the overall series an author is writing. There are many different kinds of bridge books but the ones I read usually are written as an “in between book”, typically given a 1.5 or 2.5 designation, and bring in a different character’s perspective. I personally, loooove bridge books. They can develop and enrich your story in a magnificent way. You can be introduced to a new character, a new way of thinking. You can grasp or understand a concept you couldn’t in the full book. You can live a moment through different set of eyes. It’s an amazing aspect of writing that I wish every author would do. Authors like Cassandra Clare and Lauren Oliver have fully grasped this concept. It also, and this pure selfishness on my part, can help ease the pain of having to wait for the next book to be released. I can’t tell you how many times I am uber bummed I have to wait a year until the next book comes out and then I find out that a bridge book will be released in 6 months and it makes my life so much better.

Below is a collection of a few different categories of bridge books/short stories I’ve read over the last year. Each one gives you an idea of what bridges and shorts can add to a story. You can read my full reviews of each by clicking on the links attached to the titles and it will take you to my Goodreads account. I highly encourage everyone to read the bridge books and short stories associated with series. It can make the books so much more enjoyable!

13013051Tortured by Caragh M. O’BrienBirthmarked 1.5

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

This book is the 1.5 book in the Birthmarked Series, a pretty decent dystopia trilogy with a female protag, and is probably my favorite bridge I’ve read thus far. I enjoyed the series with my ratings of each book fluttering between 3 and 4 stars. This bridge, however, added a HUGE piece of insight into the heroine’s love interest, Leon. He is narrating this bridge which is awesome because the entire series is told from Gaia’s point of view. It also connects how Leon ends up where he does in Book 2, Prized and in Book 3, Promised you wouldn’t understand the unique dynamics between Leon, Gaia and the prison cell unless you’ve read this bridge. It’s an amazing add on to the series.

15715106 The Audition by Rachel Hartman, Seraphina 0.5

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

This was a sweet and simply story and very enjoyable. It gave to quick insights into each character but didn’t give anything away, which is hard to do since, unlike most bridge books, it was actually written and PUBLISHED before the actual book, Seraphina, was released. Seraphina was set to be a huge sell this year and this was meant to be a teaser trailer by the author/publisher. It’s a nice little read to add some dynamics before you start Seraphina, even though I actually read it after I had already finished the book (review to come!)PS – it’s available for free online if you click the link on Goodreads!

15362992Endurance by Ann Aguirre, Razorland 1.5

Rating: undecided out of 5 stars

Pulling directly from my review I wrote after reading this, “I don’t think I can thoroughly comprehend my feelings towards this one until I read book two and three.” Well, I’ve read book two, Outpost, (read my review here) but I still don’t know how I feel. What’s makes me shifty about giving a solid rating is that this bridge introduces us to Thimble and Stone whom we barely knew in Encalve. Deuce refers to them constantly but I am hesitant to give my feelings to these two because if I don’t see them in book three, Hoarde, my poor little heart is going to be crushed. After I initially read this, I rated and reviewed it at 2 stars but I think now it’s just because I didn’t want to get attached to them if I wasn’t going to see them later. Ahhh Ann you manipulate my emotions so much in this short 70 page story! I love it!

12663646Hana by Lauren Oliver, Delirium 1.5

Rating: 3 our of 5 stars

Lauren Oliver does a lot of bridges and shorts. She has a o.5, 1.5 and a 2.5 in this series and omg does it add some depth to the plot. In this one, she actually retells the ENTIRE first book through a sub character’s view. It’s crazy intense viewing scenarios through Hana’s eyes, especially when interacting with Lena, who’s the main character throughout the rest of the series. The third book, Requiem is actually told through both their eyes so it was very smart, in my opinion, to introduce readers to Hana (and her questionable morals/actions) in a short. Read my review of Pandemonium, Book Two here and see what I want to see in Requiem here.

“Books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.” Christopher Paolini, Eragon

Ratings: My Explanation

9 Nov

Now that I have a few reviews posted, I feel the need to explain my ratings so everyone is clear on how my opinionated mind works. But just a quick word on reviews first. You’ll notice I don’t ever write summaries of the books. I always link up the cover to the description on Goodreads (which, btw, everyone should create an account to. Life changing. Seriously.) but never go intro great details on what the book is about. In my mind, you can read a description of the book a thousand times in a thousand places but when you are reading a review, you want an opinion: the good, the bad and the ugly of it. I also always try to avoid spoilers. So while I may mention things about what happens in the book, I try to keep it vague because my review are geared towards people who have not read the story yet.

Ok- onward!

My rating scale is a five star rating scale stolen directly from my Goodreads account.  If my review is hovering in between two different ratings, I try to bump it up to the next one and give the author the benefit. After all, writing is a shit-ton of work and I feel like maybe that half star on some obscure rarely read blog will magically make that authors life better. A girl can dream right? I mean if I had written a book I would want that half star. But I am ADDing… focus…. Here is my rating scale description.

1 Star – 50 Shades of Terrible.

I rarely, if ever, give a book a single star. I think most books have potential to be good read for the right audience. Excluding that crap that is the 50 Shades series, which disgusted me.  A horribly weak protag, possessive and repulsive love interest and poor writing? It’s not even the graphic scenes that bothered me, it’s that the sex scenes are so poorly written all I see are crappy words strung together! WHY IS THE FEMALE SEX SO DUMB!?! Ima a hit bitch with the full works of Jane Austen the next time someone mentions how great that Twilight fanfic is. AHHH!

Sorry, got a little angsty there. My POINT is that when I rate things just consider 50 Shades my lowest level.

2 Stars – Very Mediocre (you MUST say this with a New York accent.)

I consider these books at the meh-why-do-I-have-to-finish-it level. These are the books that I have to pump myself up to read. I tell myself “Sydney, the faster you read it the faster you are done! Yay!” Maybe the character annoys me, the world is poorly built, my WSOD meter is stretched too far… you catch my drift.

3 Stars – Head nod worthy.


Yep pretty much sums it up. I wouldn’t buy it but I would recommend it to a certain audience.

4  Stars – I would buy it.

These are the books I truly enjoy. They are the books that I push onto other people just so I can talk about them. If I borrowed the first from the library, I would go to Half Price Books and pick up the series. I want to crawl into these books, befriend the characters. These are also the books that make me think, shift my view about things. I enjoy thought provoking books and many of the books at this level do just that.

5 Stars – Obsession.  

Think Harry Potter. Inheritance Series. Graceling Series. Uglies. My favs. These are bought brand new and have a special rotating spot on my book shelf. You must read all of these books because they are the bestest ever omg-I-love-them-so-much-I-might-burst books. Totally gush worthy status.

I hope this helps! I just wanted to make sure we are all on the same page. hahaha page! Get it?! Cause we like to read!  No? Ok…

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it” – William Styron, Conversations with William Styron

And so it begins…

30 Oct

Hello my name is Sydney and I am a bookaholic.

Every child has a fantasy about what they will be when they grow up. It’s the sweet and romantic idea of the innocent mind; a firefighter, a ballerina, an actor. The most popular Halloween costumes when you are 4 are the most illogical careers when you are 23. But, being a romantic and fairytale lover, I still believe  at 23 you can become your 4-year-old ideal. Thus, this blog was created.

My fantasy was to be a writer. A grand creator of stories and worlds people could lose themselves in. A wonderful visionary that wove ideas, logic, dreams, fantasy, fiction and reality into a Narnia-like land that people wanted to crawl into and stay for a while when they needed vacations from their own thoughts. I wanted to create the vehicle that carried people to self-realization and worldy understanding. I wanted to be C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Mark Twain. I wanted to solve problems and give shy girls confidence. I wanted… I wanted…

I wanted the world like every child does. And as I grew up I started to write short stories and essays that were praised by my English teachers (although awfully marked up with red pen due to my unique lack of spelling ability) but I could never push myself farther. I was a dreamer, for sure, but I was afraid and lacked confidence and my self-diagnosed ADD was my crutch to which I blamed my unfinished stories on. And so veering from my author path, I went to college and became an Event Planner. (And I capitalize that because I feel like I should at least celebrate my runner-up career, because it’s still pret-tay awesome.) Now, one year out of school, I have just gotten a promotion and a raise and while I should be shouting from peaks of Success Mountain, I am still achingly yearning to be a writer.

So here I am at 23, attempting to follow my dreams of being a writer… by becoming a blogger. But not just any blogger, a book review blogger. Because I cannot write, I read. And so I shall read, review, and write about my journeys into other people’s books until someday when I will create my own. I hope you will read what I write, critique my critiques, comment and advise me on what I can do better so that when my grand story finally manifests itself in my mind, I can have plenty of readers to review my work.

I thank you for joining my journey to my dreams. I hope that you will read the books I review because while not all will get my 5 star rating, every character, every world, every story has something to teach and will influence us in different ways. I value diversity of opinions and friendly discussions about differences will only make my story shine a little brighter (when I actually write it).

“You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.” – Sara J. Maas, Throne of Glass

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