Why I Didn't Do a Vlog This Week

Hi, guys.

I kind of wanted to explain my bad vlogging behavior this week. I didn't do a vlog for In My Mailbox because of two reasons.
One of those two reasons is the fact that I have a bunch of homework I still haven't done.
The other is that I just realized *I absolutely hate vlogging.* Or, at least, I hate the preparation it takes. Usually on weekends I'm not in clothes I'm not dressed up and fancy-looking. I usually just chill at home and do random stuff, like homework and reading. Weekends are my time to relax. Sometimes, I don't even shower in the morning. Vlogs will be my weekend demise: to do them, I have to get all fancied up which usually takes a good half-hour out of my day.
Then, I have to get out the camera and test the angle on my piano and get all the books out I got that week and film the video three times because the first two I either stutter too much or lick my lips too much. Then, I have to plug in my camea and save the video to my computer and wait. Then I have to unplug the camera and put it back in its slipcase and convert the video using a program for conversion and wait. Then, I have to take the video into Windows Live Movie Maker and edit it and make it look like I'm not completely retarded. Then, I have to save the file onto my computer and wait. Then, I have to upload it to YouTube and wait a long while. Then I have to make the blog post.

That's what the process is like for me. It usually takes a good four hours because I want to make it good and I want to make it good quality and I want to make sure people can hear me. Basically, I have way too many concerns and it takes me a long time.
This weekend, I didn't feel like doing that. What you see is what you get.

In My Mailbox (14)

Hi, guys! No vlog this week. I just don't have time right now to film and edit and upload and reupload and wait, so I'm not going to. :)
I got eight books this week:

And those books are:

  • HOT SIX by Janet Evanovich
  • TO THE NINES by Janet Evanovich
  • TEN BIG ONES by Janet Evanovich
  • FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN by Janet Evanovich
  • SIZZLING SIXTEEN by Janet Evanovich
  • SMOKIN' SEVENTEEN by Janet Evanovich
  • EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN by Janet Evanovich
  • THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
I already own all the other books in the Plum series, and Eighteen was only $15 at Costco, so I leapt at that offer. TFiOS was only $10, so I bought that, too. (It's also a signed copy, but I'm pretty sure every copy is a signed copy, so I'm not going to brag about it.)

So, N. E. Way, that's what I got In My Mailbox this week! Leave a comment with a link to your IMM post or just tell me what you got IN (Your) MAILBOX! And be sure to follow if you like what you see!

The Teen Bookworm


Review: A Million Suns

A MILLION SUNS by Beth Revis

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.
It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.
But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.
In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.


This is how I feel.

I would like to do this to Beth Revis.

This is what it's going to be like waiting for SHADES OF EARTH.

When SHADES OF EARTH comes out, I'll be like this.

Until SHADES OF EARTH comes out...

Five Owls

Review: Abandon

ABANDON by Meg Cabot

New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Abandon had a very interesting premise. Dramatic retelling of Persephone and Hades? Just hearing the first four words had me begging my mom to take me to the bookstore.

When I finally bought it, my heart fluttered. I knew I would love it. With everything I've heard about how legendary Meg Cabot was, I knew that from the moment I read the first word, I'd be in love.
I read the first word. And I waited. Got to page fifty. Waited some more. Page one hundred. Still waiting. When was this book supposed to get amazing?

Page three-hundred something. Not enchanted. Frankly, the frequent flashbacks did nothing for the story. Honestly, they just made it confusing. I didn't latch onto anything in the story. Pierce was weird. Her family was psycho.

I did like some things about the story. I read the book a while ago, so I don't remember everything. It's mostly just emotions I can feel from the book.

Still, I'm going to buy Underworld and give it a chance because 1) the cover is gorgeous, and 2) I still kind of want to read it, even though my journey with this one was nothing short of rough.

Hopefully, it'll give me a better experience.

Two Owls

Review: Virtuosity

VIRTUOSITY by Jessica Martinez
Format: Hardcover

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better?
Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what's expected.
Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall....

From the day I was born, I sang.

At two years old, I'd make noise when my diaper was being changed, and I'd kick my legs.

At three, I would bounce in my crib and sing.

At five, I would stand in front of the TV when Blue's Clues was on and shake my butt in my diaper, singing the Mail Song.

At eleven, I entered a singing competition, and when I was twelve, I won it.

The point of this timeline-style anecdote is that I've felt pressure my entire life, to do better, to do more, to improve, to win. I know exactly what Carmen and Jeremy are going through, which made this book SO easy to read. I related so much to this book, it wasn't even funny. I played violin as well, for three years. I wasn't very good, but I knew all the musical terms which made this book that much relatable. I remember that something Carmen couldn't do, I couldn't do either, and it felt like Jessica Martinez had written a book about me. Well, except for the fact that I definitely wasn't in a worldwide violin competition. And my mom wasn't my manager.

The book was actually REALLY SHORT. The font was GINORMOUS and there were under 300 pages, so it felt like I was zipping through it. My total reading time was about an hour; it really didn't take long. I read it on the airplane from Reno to Spokane. (Sorry, if my thoughts are jumbled up. I'm not very coherent in the brain today.)

Virtuosity was great.


Five Owls

Review: Bloodrose

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

synopsis, via Goodreads:

The Ultimate Sacrifice.

Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.
In the final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer creates a novel with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its final pages. A dynamic end to this breathtaking trilogy.

I've always been bad at gushing, so this review won't be any different.
I only have a couple key points to make about this book, so listen carefully.

1) Richelle Mead, Listen Up
Dear Richelle Mead, THIS is how you end a series, not the major f-ups called Last Sacrifice, Succubus Revealed, and Shadow Heir. Thanks, Love, Hayden

2) The Build-Up
My favorite things in books is the build-up from the very first page. From the minute you read the first word, glance at the first letter, at the serifs on the first letter, at the space between the chapter title and the words, you know the end is going to be freaking epic. Bloodrose is just like that.

Andrea Cremer described the series like this:

"In Nightshade, you find a box. In Wolfsbane, you discovered there was a ticking bomb inside. In Bloodrose, the bomb goes off."
That is EXACTLY how I would describe it as well. It makes perfect sense. No wonder I didn't like Wolfsbane. I don't do well with surprises.

3) The Ending
See 1) for more information.

Five Owls

Review: Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

synopsis, via Goodreads:

When Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemies, she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer, one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack and the man she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

Nightshade and Wolfsbane are like black and white.
Wolfsbane was full of action but devoid of everything else. It went like this:
















slight infodump


The whole thing was like one giant conversation with a few good action scenes in between. I really don't want to say anymore, because that would just be wasting the time I could be using writing glorious things about the third book.

So, like my inside joke with my Nighshade review, From Reno, Nevada, I'm Hayden Casey, saying good night!

Two Owls


Review: Nightshade

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

I've read three books since this one, so my review might not be the best thing ever. But I'm going to try, darn it, because I never give up during a fight. Or a review.

Andrea Cremer's Nightshade series might just be the most different YA series I've read in a while: it's not the most cliched thing to walk the planet since Twilight's release and it's not the most original thing. Overall, it's just average. Both covers are strikingly gorgeous, especially the one before the wretched redesign, and the design scheme of the book is glorious. Each chapter title page has a moon phase, and if you flip through the book, it's almost like a slideshow you might watch at the planetarium. Except, you know, without the monotonous narrator who sounds old enough to keel over from heart problems.

"Different" is really the only word I can think of to describe Nightshade. I can't think of another series I can compare it to, so in that aspect, Cremer did things well. I'm a bit confused by some of the mythology; either she didn't explain it that well or I wasn't paying attention that well. At first, I gave this book five stars, but thinking it over, I lowered it to four.

The book is written beautifully, but there isn't a lot that happens. The reason I think Nightshade is so different from a lot of other YA is that there is a lot of conversation between many people in the book, not just "OMG I'm so tired and I want to go to bed and I can't wait to see my boyfriend who's the only person I ever talk to" or "'Hi' 'Hi' 'What's up' 'Not much'" kind of stuff. Usually books like this one annoy me, but not this time.

Since I have two more reviews to write today, I'm going to sign out now.

From Reno, Nevada, I'm Hayden Casey, saying good night.

Four Owls

Review: Hunger

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

HUNGER makes WINTERGIRLS look like TWILIGHT . . . but worse. Just throw in a little Apocalyptic lore and you're good to go!

It's really interesting to get inside the head of a girl with an eating disorder. Jackie really knows what she's talking about; she actually went through it herself. (Not for long, but it happened!) Overall, I just loved it, from the Famine aspects and the eating disorder aspects. I just loved the whole thing from beginning to end.

The only thing that angered me a little was how petulant and scared Lisa was acting. You're supposed to be Famine; suck it up! She seemed to cower away from the most important scenes (until the end, of course) and it kind of ticked me off to see such a weak character caving in to her weaknesses instead of trying to grow stronger.

Overall, HUNGER was fantastic, and I'm already almost finished with RAGE. Hopefully, it'll be nothing but compliments as well.

Five Owls

Review: Pretty Little Secrets

Title: Pretty Little Secrets
Author: Sara Shepard
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover ($17.99 US)
Rewind to junior year in Rosewood, Pennsylvania, to a winter break no one has ever heard about. . . .
Fat snowflakes fall onto manicured lawns, quilted stockings hang over marble fireplaces, and everyone is at peace, especially Hanna, Emily, Aria, and Spencer. Now that Alison’s murderer is in jail and A is dead, they can finally relax. Little do they know there’s a new A in town. . . .
Rule number one of being an effective stalker: Get to know your prey. So I watch these liars day and night, keeping an eye on the trouble they get into, the messes they make, and the secrets they keep. Hanna’s desperate for a very personal session with her gym trainer. Emily is number one on Santa’s naughty list. Aria’s old flame from Iceland is about to land her in hot water. And Spencer’s resorting to some backhanded tactics to get what she wants.
What happens on holiday break stays on holiday break—right? But guess what. I saw. And now I’m telling.
Taking place between "Unbelievable" and "Wicked," "Pretty Little Secrets" is a very special "Pretty Little Liars" tale revealing the liars’ never-before-seen misadventures over their junior-year winter break.


It kinda sucks that I'm bad at gushing, because my mind while reading this was nothing but gushy thoughts. I mean, one of the girls gets married, for Pete's sake. (I know, right?) Am I the only one who found that a bit sudden?

Oh, well. Now onto the book itself. The thing that surprised me about Pretty Little Secrets was that Shepard had turned off the switching narratives, and we got a solid 110-120 pages of each girl by herself. It was weird to read this way, because at the end of each chapter, I'd catch myself going "Wait . . . who's up next?" only for it to be more of the same person. It took a while to get used to, and once I did, I liked it even more than Shepard's original style of writing; it just seemed to flow faster, and it made the book unputdownable.

The first story in the book is Hanna's, and this story is the longest of them all (120 pages), but it didn't feel like it. At no point in this story was I stereotypically looking at my watch and tapping my foot on the floor and tapping my fingertips rhythmically. The only thing I actually remember doing throughout this entire thing is turning the pages, which I guess is pretty good!

Next was Emily's. In her story, her mom loses a Christmas decoration that she thinks someone (or a group of someones) have stolen. She is sent to the mall to work as Santa (a girl Santa? Unbelievable) to investigate, because her mom's friend thinks the thiefs work there. This story was one of my favorites, because it was cute watching Emily interact with the children.

Aria's story was the third, and it was definitely the most wild of the three. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. It was kind of odd to me how she just brushed it off after she was done.

Spencer's story came last and it was the most dramatic of them all. Her and her sister were fighting over boys (as usual) and their occasional patch-ups were cute.

I really don't feel like saying much more (and I have loads to do before school tomorrow), so I'm going to sign out how. I hope you all enjoy this book!

Five Owls

Follow Friday (2)

Hi, guys! It's once again time for Follow Friday, where I will answer the question they asked.
If you're new, thanks for coming to my blog! If you're not, thanks for coming to my blog! This is the question asked:

Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get your hands on any particular book?

The craziest thing I've ever done to get my hands on a book is when Paranormalcy (Kiersten White) came out . I promised my dad I'd rub his feet for two hours if he took me to the bookstore. It's all the way across town, and he hates driving over there, but he did.
I didn't have a fun night.


Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday (5): The "I Just Can't Seem to Not Make a Vlog!" Edition
What an appropriate title.

Oh, yeah. Here are those pictures I promised:





This is the entirety of THE LYING GAME, the series I've fallen in love with from the beginning. I hope you give them a chance.

Thanks for watching, guys. It means a lot to me.


Soul Screamers Reading Challenge!

Hi, guys! Fiktshun is hosting a great reading challenge that covers the Soul Screamers series. If you don't know what the Soul Screamers series is, click here. If you want to know more about the challenge, keep reading or click on Fiktshun's name to read it in her words.

Soul Screamers Reading Challenge
Click on the image for more info! There's also one on my sidebar you can click as well.


In My Mailbox (12)

Hi, guys! Nice to see you again. My IMM for the week is up (yes, I know; it's 10 o'clock PST, but whatev.)
I had to cut . . . a lot of crap from this video. Filming probably took 20 minutes with all the books.

Hope you enjoy!

Hayden/The Teen Bookworm


Follow Friday (1)

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read

The question that everyone was asked this week was:

How many unread books are sitting on your bookshelf right now?

Well, guys, I checked. The answer (excluding NOOKbooks) is 164.
Holy crap. I know, right?
Gonna take me forever to read all these...


Review: Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

Title: Shattered Souls
Author: Mary Lindsey
Format: Hardcover ($17.99 US)
Relationship Status: married to Hayden Casey

(According to this picture, we are now legally married. See the ring on top of it?)

A thrilling debut story of death, love, destiny and dangerLenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.
Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.
 Mary Lindsey, let me just tell you right now: I LOVED YOUR BOOK WITH THE PASSION OF A MILLION BURNING SUNS. In fact, I got off the airplane two hours later with a snot-covered face due to the burning romance I felt inside. Some YA books are like "they're in love" and you're supposed to believe it. That is not the case this time around, ladies and gents. The romance in Shattered Souls is totally believable, you know, just like the Internet. (I kid, I kid.) There's actually foundation for it, which sets Shattered Souls miles above the rest of the YA Lit Marathon we're all hopelessly engaged in lately.

I'm hesitant to admit that in the beginning of the book, I didn't believe it. Lenzi was in the bathroom, breaking down, hearing voices. Oh, Allah, please not this again. How many times has the hearing-voices plot line been terribly regurgitated? Once I'd cleared that scene, I lowered my expectations. I was going to get the best possible reading experience from this book. I spent my dang Christmas money on it, for one, and I wasn't about to grind $17.99 up in the garbage disposal. The good news is that even if I would've raised my expectations up to as high as I could reach, my mind still would've been blown. See, Shattered Souls unfolds naturally. It's not forced, it's not, for lack of a better word, unnatural, what Lenzi is experiencing. You can tell it's what Lenzi wants. It's not what Mary Lindsey wants Lenzi to want. This is the most emotional book I've read in a while, and that, folks, is the reason I exited the airplane a blubbering mess, not caring about what kinds of looks I was getting from flight attendants and fellow passengers alike.

You see, from the moment I glimpsed at the cover, I knew this book was going to be great. Philomel, I applaud your design team -- they really knocked this one out of the park.

During the reading process itself, I constantly found myself switching sides as far as who Lenzi was with. From the beginning, she's with Zak, and during her scenes with him, I just fell apart. Then she spent time with Alden, and I fell for him, too. Each time she spent time with the Zak, I convinced myself Alden was not the right guy for her, and the other way around. Shattered Souls tore me apart emotionally. The love triangle wasn't made up of one guy who she totally should've been with and one guy who was just there to advance the plot. I commend Mary for constructing the foundation so well. The novel wouldn't have been as heartbreaking and fantastic had the triangle not have fit the description of said adjectives.

The car scene toward the end is when I started blubbering like an emotional fool. From then on, I just lost it. I couldn't even stand the thought of Alden's and Lenzi's romance being torn apart. The ending was magnificent, and I'm completely satisfied with the ending. I'm glad it's not a series, because it ended perfectly where it was and I couldn't have been happier with it. Mary Lindsey is now on my must-buy list.

And, yes, that sexxay cover image wraps around!

Five Owls


Review: The Visibles by Sara Shepard

Title: The Visibles
Author: Sara Shepard
Format: paperback ($15.00 US)

from Goodreads:

The only piece of information that Summer Davis takes away from her years at Peninsula Upper School -- one of the finest in the Brooklyn Heights-to-Park Slope radius, to quote the promotional materials -- is the concept that DNA defines who we are and forever ties us to our relatives. A loner by circumstance, a social outcast by nature, and a witty and warm narrator of her own unimaginable chaos by happenstance, Summer hangs on to her interest in genetics like a life raft, in an adolescence marked by absence: her beautiful, aloof mother abandons the family without a trace; her father descends into mental illness, haunted by a lifelong burning secret and abetted by a series of letters that he writes to make sense of his feelings; her best friend Claire drifts out of Summer's life in a breeze of indifference, feigned on both sides; and her older brother fluctuates between irrational fury and unpredictable tenderness in an inaccessible world of his making.

Uncertain of her path and unbalanced by conflicting impulses toward hope and escape, Summer stays close to her father while attending college, taking him to electro-shock therapy treatments and trying to make sense of his inscrutable past. Upon his departure for a new and possibly recovered life, Summer begins to question the role of genetics and whether she is destined to live out her family's legacy of despair. But it is only when Summer decides to leave New York herself and put off a promising science career to take care of her great-aunt Stella -- bedrock of the family and bastion of folksy wisdom, irreverent insight, and Sinatra memorabilia in a less-than-scenic part of the Pennsylvanian countryside -- that Summer begins to learn that her biography doesn't have to define her...and that her future, like her DNA, belongs to her alone.
In a novel consumed by the uncertainties of science, the flaws of our parents, and enough loss and longing to line a highway, Sara Shepard is a penetrating chronicler of the adolescence we all carry into adulthood: how what happens to you as a kid never leaves you, how the fallibility of your parents can make you stronger, and how being right isn't as important as being wise. From the backwoods of Pennsylvania to the brownstones of Brooklyn Heights, The Visibles investigates the secrets of the past, and the hidden corners of our own hearts, to find out whether real happiness is a gift or a choice.
After much consideration, I've decided Sara Shepard should stick to what she knows best, which is young adult fiction. 

This is how I felt during the whole thing: 

The Visibles, her first effort in the adult fiction world, starts off shakily with a confusing preface/prologue/introduction that doesn't seem to add anything to the story. The first few chapters delve into Summer's life and provide unneccessary backstory. The Visibles is one of those adult novels I cower away from, the ones where everything seems to be totally unrelated to everything else until the very end. I wanted to put the book down so many times during the read because I everything was just so darned confusing. That fact alone is probably what killed the reading experience for me. If I would've known to piece everything together bit by bit, I would've enjoyed it more. 

It's one of those books that really makes you think and isn't something you just read, like her PLL series. Because I was so used to her Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game series writing style, I wasn't prepared going into The Visibles. 

The Visibles overall wasn't my cup of tea: it was confusing, confusing, and confusing. 

But, Hayden! Wait! Why are there TWO stars if all you've done so far is criticize? 

Good question, guys! The story in The Visibles is what redeems the second star: it's heartbreaking, poignant, and deserving of five stars if everything else wasn't so screwed up.

Two Owls

In My Mailbox (11): The New Year's Edition

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the first post of mine in the new year! I look forward to 2012 and everything the new year will bring!

I got nine books this week (yeah, I know)! Watch the video to find out what they are!

This video was recorded with the Flip video camera I got for Christmas! Woooohooooo!

Hope y'all enjoy the video and the new year.



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