Ch-Ch-Changes (turn and face the strain...)

NOTE: The second part of the title for this blog post is mostly irrelevant, but I began to write 'changes', and consequently started singing Changes, and then that blog post title happened. So really I regret nothing. 
Hi there. Have you noticed anything different around here? (I certainly hope so...) For starters, I'd definitely like to apologize for my complete and utter lack of posts lately. I really wish I had a good reason for not posting, but the real reason is I got behind on reading, took what I had initially planned to be a short hiatus, got used to being on hiatus, and couldn't muster the energy to get back into blogging on a regular basis. But I've mustered that energy! I think. 

Second, NEW BLOG DESIGN! How do you like it? I'm not done making tweaks, but I really like it. I've always wanted a blog with a clean look, and while I think my previous design definitely had a clean interface, I adore white blogs, and the look of WordPress blogs, so I got both of that with this new blog design! BUT, all my comments have been deleted. *cries* One thing I had planned to do on hiatus was to catch up on blog commenting (which I really needed to do. Really), and now I won't be able to do that, but I'll try to find a way! I promise that!

ALSO, another change that may take place around here: you may see a new face on this blog in just a little bit. In case you missed it, I announced that I'm now searching for a co-blogger or guest reviewer, and I'm appreciative beyond words by all of the people who have shown their interest in joining the Finding Bliss in Books family (consisting of only me--so far...). The search may only go on for one more week, maybe two, so if you're interested in blogging with me and haven't applied yet, please do so! Thank you to all who have applied so far, and good luck! 

So, I hope you all like the new blog design, and let me know in the comments what you think about it! (And hopefully it'll take you a shorter time to recuperate from the change than me. I expect to be lost on my own blog for quite a while.)

Review: Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin


Dance of the Red Death
Bethany Griffin
Masque of the Red Death, #2
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Number of Pages: 336
Rating: 3.5 stars
Word Rating: Satisfactory

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Bethany Griffin continues the journey of Araby Worth in Dance of the Red Death—the sequel to her teen novel Masque of the Red Death. 

In Dance of the Red Death, Araby’s world is in shambles—betrayal, death, disease, and evil forces surround her. She has no one to trust. But she finds herself and discovers that she will fight for the people she loves, and for her city. 

Her revenge will take place at the menacing masked ball, though it could destroy her and everyone she loves…or it could turn her into a hero. 

With a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, Bethany Griffin concludes her tragic and mysterious Red Death series with a heroine that young adult readers will never forget.

This review is SPOILER-FREE for Masque of the Red Death.

In retrospect, reading Dance of the Red Death while I was sick may not have been my smartest idea. The wonderfully grotesque and dark atmosphere of the plague-ridden world in Masque of the Red Death was enough to send me a fit of countless chills, and I read Masque in a healthy state that was rather polarizing to the state in which I read Dance of the Red Death. Needless to say, I imagine, the atmosphere developed even more thoroughly in Dance of the Red Death made much more of an impact on me than it did in Masque, which was something I hadn't initially expected. While I had expected Griffin to maintain the same level of grotesque beauty (as contradictory as that may sound) she had developed in her world in Masque of the Red Death, that grotesque beauty was further expanded upon in Dance of the Red Death, and that, coupled with the fact that I read Dance while I was sick, made my reading experience feel that much more tangible, chilling, and immersing than I could have ever imagined it being.

Waiting on Wednesday - Blythewood


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we post upcoming releases we're highly anticipating. My pre-publication selection for this week's Waiting on Wednesday is Blythewood by Carol Goodman.

Carol Goodman
Series: None
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Number of Pages: 496

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Welcome to Blythewood.
At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.

But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes.

Vivid and atmospheric, full of mystery and magic, this romantic page-turner by bestselling author Carol Goodman tells the story of a world on the brink of change and the girl who is the catalyst for it all.

I think this one is a bit self explanatory. 

What are you waiting on?

 Let me know in the comments!

YA Jeopardy Answer Key

Hey, everybody! First off, sorry for the complete lack of posts lately. My hiatus has lasted more than I had initially planned. But onto the good news! As promised, I will post the answers for the YA Jeopardy giveaway below! I'm glad you all seemed to enjoy unraveling the clues for yourself, and I hope you got most (or all) of the clues correct! 

Hint #1: Starglass by Phoebe North

Hint #2: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke 

Hint #3: Solstice by PJ Hoover

Hint #4: Insomnia by JR Johansson 

Hint #5: Linked by Imogen Howson

Hint #6: Rush by Eve Silver

Hint #7: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Hint #8: In The After by Demitria Lunetta

Hint #9: Red by Alison Cherry

Hint #10: Premeditated by Josin McQuein

Review: Charm & Strange


Charm & Strange
Stephanie Kuehn
Series: None
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Number of Pages: 224
Rating: 5 stars

Word Rating: Mindfuck

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When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself. 

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost. 

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable. 

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.
Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.

Wordss can't even begin to describe how incredibly impressed I am with this fantastically beautiful and incredibly powerful little novel. I feel like I get this across in each and every review for books I give five stars, but I am not a reviewer who gives five stars easily. In fact, Charm & Strange is the first book I've given five stars this entire year, and trust me when I say it deserves those five stars, and then some.

Not only is this novel endlessly brilliant, but it's masterfully written with alternating chapters of past and present, with each timeframe melding seamlessly into the other by the end of the novel. Writing alternating chapters between two characters, let alone two entirely different timeframes, is something I've found not too many authors are fully capable of doing, but with Charm & Strange, Stephanie Kuehn's talent absolutely shines. As well as that, the main character, Win is one of the most complex characters I've ever read about in young adult--and even though he is a cold and standoffish character, what made the cold and standoffish nature of his character even more impressive was that we saw from the chapters told in the past how he became the person he is today, and the revelation by the end, while not entirely shocking, is completely and utterly breathtaking in how it's handled.

This review is much shorter than most of my reviews, but I've said all that needs to be said about this novel, and anything left unsaid by me is left unsaid because I want future readers to go into Charm & Strange completely blind, so that they may find themselves amazed and shocked by each turn this novel took just like I found myself. Charm & Strange, while a bit slow moving, is an incredibly poignant, unforgettable, and beautifully haunting novel, and is unquestionably one of the most outstanding debuts I've ever had the pleasure to read in my entire life. It deals with multiple tough issues, but each and every one of those issues are met with the deft hand of an absolutely excellent and talented author whose works I will unquestionably be reading--and most likely loving--in the future.

Review: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Wild Awake
Hilary T. Smith
Series: None
Release Date: May 28th, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Number of Pages: 400
Rating: 5 stars
Word Rating: Stunning

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Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.
Wild Awake is not a book that will appeal to every reader. While I found it to be wonderfully strange and hauntingly beautiful, with a gorgeous and euphoric atmosphere developed with undertones of grief, sorrow, and unmistakable depth--all of which bears the same gorgeous and breathtaking ambience as the blatant euphoric facade the main character, Kiri, is living--there is no doubt in my mind that the opinions for this novel, as fantastic as I think it is, will be rather polarizing due to some of the novel's somewhat controversial content.

Drug use, predominately if not entirely weed, plays a significant role throughout Wild Awake, but more notably it plays a significant role in Kiri's recovery after finding out that her sister had really been murdered, after believing for years that she was instead killed in a car accident. Whether or not Wild Awake will be a book you love or a book you hate is based, in my opinion, on how drastically you react to drug use in novels, to the point where said drug use may become excessive. I, for one, found Kiri's use of drugs throughout Wild Awake to be an original and refreshing perspective on dealing and coping with new and life-changing information, and seeing the world through Kiri's eyes as she was in a high was similar to being in an absolutely stunning trance I didn't for the life of me want to escape from.

Cover Reveal: Addicted to You


Addicted to You by Krista and Becca Ritchie

Release Date: July 1st, 2013

Two addictions. One lie.

No one would suspect shy, Lily Calloway’s biggest secret. While everyone is dancing at college bars, Lily stays in the bathroom. To get laid. Her compulsion leads her to one-night stands, steamy hookups and events she shamefully regrets. The only person who knows her secret happens to have one of his own.

Loren Hale’s best friend is his bottle of bourbon. Lily comes at a close second. For three years, they’ve pretended to be in a real relationship, hiding their addictions from their families. They’ve mastered the art of concealing flasks and random guys that filter in and out of their apartment.

But when they go on a family boat trip, surrounded by open seas and limited male bodies in sight, Lily’s confronted with a big fear. Only one guy onboard can fill her addiction, and she’s sworn off going there with Loren Hale ever again.

Now the only person who can truly help her, can barely help himself.

The Search for a Co-Blogger/Reviewer

I've been thinking about adding a member or two (maybe!) to the Finding Bliss in Books team for quite a while now, and, seeing how far behind in my blogging schedule I am, I think now may just be that time, as I am getting just a bit stressed out. I love blogging so much, but it's a pretty stressful thing to do alone, and, as you may have noticed, I really am not the fastest reader. Which is why I am looking for a co-blogger, or, if you're not ready for that commitment just yet or we don't have an established relationship, a co-reviewer! 

What I am looking for in an applicant: 

I'm not asking for very much as far as applicants go, but I do have a few requirements if you want to be a co-blogger or frequent guest reviewer for Finding Bliss in Books: 

  • I need my co-blogger/reviewer to be committed to blogging, and have a passion for reading. Though I think the latter part is practically a given, I really want to have a co-blogger I can rely on when it comes to content, etc. 
  • Only apply if you will be able to post at least one review per week, and if you read primarily young adult. Some adult reviews here and there are fine, but the main focus of this blog is young adult novels. 
  • Well-written, thorough, and honest reviews. Don't be afraid to snark a little, too! 
  • At least some experience when it comes to reviewing, whether it be on Goodreads, or your own blog. (Having your own blog is not a necessity.) (Having a Twitter is practically a requirement, having a Goodreads is a perk.)
  • Do you consider yourself to be a fun person? If so, awesome! Because, as you may have noticed, I am definitely not the most serious person out there. I like having fun, and try not to take blogging too seriously--it's a hobby, and I treat it like such, and I am looking for others who treat it the same way. I am very dedicated to blogging, but I try not to let it stress me out too much, and if I have a co-blogger who stresses out easily, that will stress me out.
  • Don't be completely offended if I mess with the format of posts you make or anything like that! I'm pretty OCD about how each blog post looks, so I may fix it until you get used to the format! Also, please tell me when you're planning a post or a review, so that I can make sure none of my reviews or posts are overlapping with yours.

If I already have a relationship with you and know you well, that is absolutely an added perk! And if I don't know you before this, perhaps you can take up a role as a frequent guest reviewer, and then if you'd like we can arrange for you to become a co-blogger after we get to know each other! 

Perks for you!

  • You would get a lot of ARCs from Edelweiss and NetGalley, and maybe even some physical ARCs!
  • Lots of awesome and fun blog readers! Finding Bliss in Book's readership includes over 500 GFC followers, nearly 300 RSS subscribers, and over 200 BlogLovin' subscribers. 

If you're interested in becoming a frequent guest reviewer or an official co-blogger (if I already have a relationship with you) at Finding Bliss in Books, fill out the form below, and good luck! Thank you for your interest in my little blog.

Applications have been closed! 

Huge, huge thanks to everyone who has shown interesting in blogging with my crazy self; it really, truly means a lot. However, after much contemplation (choosing stressed me out because you were all awesome), I've chosen two people to become my co-bloggers.

Waiting on Wednesday (May 1)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we post upcoming releases we're highly anticipating. My pre-publication selection for this week's Waiting on Wednesday is Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke.
Erica O'Rourke
Series: Dissonance, #1
Release Date: October 1st, 2013
Publisher: Simon and Schuster BFYR
Number of Pages: Unknown

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Delancy Sullivan has always known there's more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del's job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony. Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del's not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange connecting them and it's not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane. But Del's decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.
I am excited for this book like you wouldn't believe. Parallel reality/universe YA novels has quickly grown to be probably my favorite concept in YA after reading Pivot Point and Tandem, and this one sounds beyond fantastic. I can't. Here's to hoping that it gets added to Edelweiss eventually, because Simon and Schuster has been pretty nice to me on there lately! 

What are you waiting on?

 Let me know in the comments!