Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: It's Not Summer Without You (Summer #2) by Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Series: Summer #2
Author: Jenny Han
Release Date: April 27, 2010
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Library
Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?

It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.

But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started--at Cousins Beach.
Review: Jenny Han’s Summer Trilogy has easily become one of my favorites. After reading The Summer I Turned Pretty, I wanted the second book, It’s Not Summer Without You really badly. When I got it, I devoured the book in about an hour and a half. It was simply amazing.

It’s Not Summer Without You begins off a year after the first book. A lot has changed since then but one thing stayed constant: Susannah. She really is the rock behind these two books; mostly what the story revolves around. But not in a bad way. I’ll explain in a bit. Now, the plot and story centers around Belly and the other and how they’ve (if they have) gone on with their lives after Susannah’s death. The story moves along quiet quickly but it’s a pace that works really well with this series as I’ve noticed. I don’t want to give too much away but the ending left lots of questions that will hopefully be answered in book 3.

Jenny Han writing is in one word, beautiful. Or authentic. Or real. Actually, it’s real contemporary. The type of contemporary that you want to read. I love her characters and Cousins Beach and the beach house and everything else about this book. One that that gets me about Han’s writing is how well she brings about emotion in her writing. A lot of times when an author attempts this, they make it seem forced but Han makes it seem elegant. I’ve found myself feeling what Belly is feeling towards both boys and her family.

Belly, Conrad, Jeremiah, Belly’s mom, and everyone else was back. Except Susannah. But you could never tell because Susannah was mentioned so many times throughout this book. As said above, Susannah is what this story revolves around and it’s actually a good thing. The thing is, the characters change and grow as things change. Susannah dying thrusts Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah into a whirlwind of emotions and conflicts, something none of them had experience before. That’s like real life in more than one way and the way that Han depicts these characters and their reactions to this change is something that’s been seen in teens (and even adults) throughout many years.

Belly has grown up so much and her growth is evident in her manner of talking and her actions. She’s still a teenager and that’s evident as well. It just goes to show that not everything changes with everything else. Belly’s so realistic because of how she reacts to big change, especially when someone close dies. I could feel what she felt and I knew what I would feel like to lose someone I cared about and loved. Jeremiah and Conrad are hurting but they’re coping in different ways. While Jeremiah tries to make things lighter and happier, Conrad is in a sullen, dark mood. This is also really realistic because I’ve seen this happen in people. I still loved both boys (well, Conrad was a jerk…a lot of times) and Belly was once again a great protagonist. We did get some Jeremiah and I have to admit, I felt bad for him. He loved Belly but couldn’t tell her so.

Overall, it was an amazing addition to a trilogy I’ve come to love. If you want real contemporary, something that’ll make you feel, check out the Summer Trilogy.
Overall: 5/5
Cover: 5/5 It's Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah! At the beach!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Armchair BEA: The End

I really wanted to go to BEA but that didn't happen. I was happy when I heard about Armchair BEA! I think this week has been amazing but it went by too fast! I read and watched so many vlogs and posts that I can't even begin to count how many. Armchair BEA has been an amazing experience and I can't wait to do it again.

What did it mean to you to participate in Armchair BEA 2011?
I loved seeing everything that was going on at BEA even though I couldn't be there myself. I had loads of fun reading the blogger interviews and advice that everyone had to share. I felt like I was part of something big and it felt really good!

What were your highlights?
All the blogs I found! I didn't think that there were going to be that many people participating. I also loved the volgs and the pictures from BEA.

Would you do it again?
Yep! I've had so much fun that I would do it every year that I'm not in NYC.

So everyone, it's the end of Armchair BEA 2011.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Armchair BEA: Blogging about Blogging

Today’s topic is Blogging about Blogging!
So, here are a few things I’ve learned from my first year of book blogging:

1. Know Your Genres
Know what you want to review. A lot of blogs (including me) have a review policy. Publishers and authors look at that page to see what you review and what you don’t like. On my “Review Policy” page, I have what genres I like to read and review and what format (print or non-print) I prefer. I also have disclaimers and I tell the authors/publishers straight forward that I have a 100 page limit: if the book doesn’t capture my attention in 100 pages or less, I might not finish or review it. Honestly, saying that out straight forward makes it a lot easier to tell the person if I didn't like the book or something. 

2. Use Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Librarything and anything else
Seriously, networking is amazing! Twitter for one is the simplest way to get review links out there. I have a Goodreads where I update my reviews and as soon as I post a review on Goodreads, a tweet goes up talking about my review. You can set this up easily on Goodreads. It’s a great and simple way to get you reviews and blog out there. Plus, you can make great friends during this process.

3. The Blog’s Look
This is REALLY important. It’s more important than you think. First, figure out if you want to have a personal or a professional or mix kinds of look. I have a mixed look for my blog. Now, when it comes to layouts and templates, I’m not the best out there with HTMLs and stuff but I’ve learned and it’s really simple. First, you want to have a nice, clean look so that the publisher/ author or any reader for that matter, knows that you take care of your blog. They know that you’re a serious blogger and it’s a good idea to come back to your blog. Second, it can be hard on your eyes if your blog has a dark background with really bright text ex. Black background with red or blue text. I prefer a light (light pink, white, light blue) background with black text. Like now, my posts are white background with black text. It’s not hard to see is it? And, who doesn’t want an awesome looking blog? Even if you don’t have money to buy a custom blog layout, there are plenty of designers who offer free blog templates. And you really want to have the most clean, uncluttered sidebars you can have. Regularly remove links that are old so that it doesn't take fifteen minutes for your blog to load on someone's computer!

With all that aside, life comes in with blogging, doesn't it?

4. What are your tips for balance life and blogging?
A lot of people don’t like schedules but since I’m still in high school, schedules help a lot. I have two memes I participate in: “Waiting On” Wednesday that I post on Wednesdays and In My Mailbox which is primary a Sunday post for me. The rest of the week, I try to post at least one or two book reviews or author interview or even a movie review. If I get any bookish news, says a moving casting or a book cover reveal, I post about it on that day I find out about it. I honestly think that you have to work hard at blogging. The thing is, blogging is hard work. If you want a good, decent blog, it takes time out of your day to make it work.

5. Why Do You Blog?
Don’t blog for someone else. Blog because you want to blog. Blog about what you want to blog about. With reviews, review the books you read the way you want to review them. You need to know why you blog. And, really, have fun! :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Armchair BEA: Blogging Relationships

Today's topic is about the relationships that people have through blogging.

I’ve gotten to know a lot of people because of blogging. I’m not that social but I think blogging has helped change me. When I began blogging, there were only a handful number of blogs that I read. One of them was La Femme Readers run by the very nice Eleni. She’s the sweetest girl I’ve ever met (online) and she’s been super helpful in making my blog better. She also shared ways in which I could network my blog better. Here’s what I did to find more blogs and meet people:

1. Memes
Most memes (topics that a lot of blogs post about simultaneously) have Mr. Linkies at the bottom. If you participate in a meme, such as In My Mailbox (The Story Siren) or “Waiting on Wednesday” (Breaking the Spine), you can post the link to where you posted and see all the other bloggers who participates as well. This way, not only do you find new books but you meet new bloggers and that’s always a lot of fun.

2. Twitter
You have no idea how awesome Twitter is. It’s a great way to get a quick message out there or to say hi to someone. I’ve talked to many authors on Twitter and it’s been so much fun. Not only does it allow you to communicate with MANY people easily, you can tweet pictures or giveaways or start a topic. People who follow you will see what you tweeted and they might reply back. Or you could ask a question or say something. I’ve done this many times and I’ve
Though Twitter is amazing, I’ve seen that there’s a lot of drama on there (as well as on blogs) and I suggest that you stay out of it.

This may seem obvious, but the more you comment on someone’s blog, they’re more likely to check out your blog. It might sound wrong or stupid, but I have blogs that I check every single day and I’ll comment on their posts. I don’t necessarily believe that they’ll check out my blog but it’s always a possibility. With comments, though, don’t have a lot of expectations. You have to be honest in your comments but DON’T BASH SOMONE OUT. I’ve seen this happen and it’s NOT A GOOD IDEA.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Armchair BEA Day 2 : Best of 2011 (So Far)

I loved:
Exile by Anne Osterlund
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Sean Griswold’s Head—Lindsay Leavitt
The Royal Treatment (Princess for Hire #2)—Lindsey Leavitt
Delerium by Lauren Oliver

I want:
Bloodlines (Bloodlines #2) By: Richelle Mead
Jessica Rules the Dark Side (Jessica, #2) By: Beth Fantaskey
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater 
Wildefire by Karsten Knight
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer 
Supernaturally by Kiersten White 
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake 
Vanish by Sophie Jordan 
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin 
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies 
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan 
All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin 
The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon 
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick 
Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison 
Variant by Robinson Wells 
Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting 
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey 

I haven't had a lot of time to read this year becasue of school but this summer I plan to make it all up! As you can see, I want a lot of books!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Armchair BEA Introduction!

I’m jealous of all the lucky people who are in NYC for BEA this year but at least I have Armchair! I heard about Armchair BEA a few months ago and I’m glad I did!

Who am I, and how do I Armchair?

Well I’m Kailia and I’m 16 years old. I’m an avid reader and read just about anything. I’ve been blogging for over a year now and I love it! I’ve met so many cool people and they’re all so nice. I also give blogging the credit for me knowing about so many cool books that are published each year.

As for my blog, I review mainly YA books but I add in paranormal, urban fantasy, stuff like that, into the review mix. Sometimes I’ll even read and review some middle grade books. I love blogging and I also love change. So, I change my layout when I get tired of my old one and I also change around the review templates and stuff. Usually, I try not to change things too drastically, but I surprise myself.

Personally, I’m in high school, in the tenth grade. I’ve actually only got eight more days left till I’m a junior! One of these days, I hope to be a published author and I’m working on two WIPs simultaneously!
I can’t attend BEA because of exams, school, and I’ve got no money. Lol. I’m eagerly looking forward to the tweet and blog posts about everyone’s BEA adventures!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (44)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: October 18, 2011

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Shiver and Linger comes a brand new, heartstopping novel.

With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world, where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff--with more than just their lives at stake should they lose.
 I haven't read any of Maggie's books before but I've heard a lot of praise about them.
Title: Darker Still (Magic Most Foul, #1)
Author: Leanna Renee Hieber
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: November 1, 2011
The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...

Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.
 The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? That sounds really, really good and I love the cover!


"Waiting On" Wednesday (43)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: Cleopatra's Moon
Author: Vicky Alvear Shecter
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Release Date: August 1, 2011

"The Luxe" meets the ancient world in the extraordinary story of Cleopatra's daughter.

Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra & Mark Antony—the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, & when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she's ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavianus's household in Rome, she finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies—until she reaches out to claim her own.

This stunning novel brings to life the personalities & passions of one of the greatest dramas in history, & offers a wonderful new heroine in Selene.
I saw this over at Once Upon a Twilight and again on Goodreads and I really loved the cover and the summary! Plus, it's Egypt and Cleopatra's daughter!
Title: Silence (Hush, Hush #3)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: October 4, 2011

The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.
I love this series and I can't wait for this book! I've heard that this one might be the last book in the series so that's even more exciting!
Title: Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2)
Author: Ally Carter 
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Release Date: June 21, 2011

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.
 Another Ally Carter? Ah, yes please! I loved, loved Heist Society and her Gallagher Girls Series and I can't wait for this one!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

In My Mailbox (27)


From the Library:
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Matched by Ally Condie

Blood Feud (The Drake Chronicles #2) by Alyxandra Harvey 

For Review:


City of Fallen Angels (TMI #4) by Cassandra Clare

Hosted by The Story Siren


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: The Royal Treatment (P4H #2) by Lindsey Leavitt

Title: The Royal Treatment
Series: Princess for Hire
Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Publisher
Desi Bascomb's job as a princess substitute has gotten a whole lot more glamorous now that she's advanced to Level 2 within the Facade Agency. Magical make-up, roller-skating celebrities, and the chance to see Prince Karl again are just some of the major perks. Not to mention, she's landed the role of Fairy Queen in her school's production of Midsummer's Night Dream (opposite her best friend's crush. Which is a little weird, but at least he wears a donkey head during their kissing scene). Life should be perfect, but Desi can't seem to shake the feeling that there is more going on with the agency's magic than she's told. Like why is this mind-bending power exclusive to royals? Is it possible that there could be a bigger way to make an impact in both parts of her life?
Review: Lindsey Leavitt has easily become one of my favorite authors. I loved Princess for Hire, the first book of this series and I was excited when I heard that book two was coming out and I really wanted to read it. After receiving an ARC, I read it and loved it. The Royal Treatment left me wanting more of Desi and Reed and Meredith.

The Royal Treatment begins some time later after Princess for Hire. Desi has a lot more on her mind than she did before she got her job. She’s gets a part in Midsummer’s Night Dream and has to get herself ready for Level 2. Overall, the plot was similar to Princess for Hire with the fact that Desi continues her Princess Sub training. There were different princesses (with some old friends) and lots of drama! I think the one thing that stays constant with these books is Desi clear, humorous voice. She’s funny, she’s sad, she’s confused, and she’s everything. This book goes more into Fa├žade and its history and some of the things that go around in the company. Desi (and the reader) learn more about where she’s working and how everything happens.

Lindsey Leavitt’s writing style stays the same in this book as they were in her other two. It’s very clear, humorous, and just cute. Her writing style makes her characters come alive. They seem more real than they are. Another thing I love about her writing is that it doesn’t seem forced. It’s very straight forward, not confusing, and fun to read.

Desi has grown in this book and I loved to see the more mature side of her. Though she’s grown, she still acts like a young teen girl. She’s afraid of falling for her best friend’s crush and she’s afraid of how she’s going to do in the play. Meredith was back in her snarky, ta-ta ways. She did get a more happy ending in this book and she deserves it! Lilith was just as mean in this book as she was in the first one. Kylee and Reed and all the other minor, supporting characters were great to read about. I was happy to see the re-appreance of Prince Karl. I think something is going to happen between Desi and him and I want to know what!

I loved this book as much as I loved Princess for Hire. I can't wait to read more about Desi and Reed and Facade. I want to read more from Lindsey Leavitt!

Overall: 5/5
Cover: 5/5 I love how these covers match with the story lines!

Why I Love Sarah Dessen

I owe my friend Sydney for introducing me to Sarah Dessen. She was my “book fairy.” She’d bring me more books to read as soon as I finished one book. I read Meg Cabot’s 1-800-Where-Are-You series and when I returned it to her, she handed me Dreamland by Sarah Dessen. It was a book I’d seen her reading earlier and I’d told her it sounded interesting.

I began that book when I was bored and didn’t feel like doing any homework. This was in the seventh grade and I loved to read back then just as much as I do now. I began the book, something I wasn’t expecting, and I finished it that night. After reading it, though, I thought about the book. I thought about Caitlin and Rogerson and all the other characters mentioned in this book.

Before Sarah Dessen, I read Harry Potter and books with mystery (Nancy Drew!) but never contemporary. I didn’t even know what contemporary was! I told Sydney this but she said that I would like it. if I didn’t, I could blame her but she wanted me to give it a chance. So I did. And I fell in love.

Dreamland actually scared me. I mean, come on, I was in the seventh grade and what happened with Caitlin was something I didn’t want to think about. I was very innocent and I didn’t like to think about the bad things in life. Reading that book changed that for me. I couldn’t connect with the situation that Caitlin was in but I could connect with other characters and their feelings and that made it real for me. It brought to light the bad things that can happen to people and how we have to face them.

So, the next day, I returned Dreamland. But the next day, Sydney brought me all of Sarah’s other’s books that had been published by then. I read and loved every one of them. I loved Sarah’s writing and her characters and her setting and just everything! Sarah’s novel’s made me feel. They made me stay up at night and think about what happens in life.

I'm not telling you that you have to got read Sarah Dessen. You don't but I HIGHLY recommend that you do. She's a fantastic author who's works shine.


The Hunger Games Cast: So Many People!

So many confirmations have been made! I'll update on the new Tributes ( only 3 DISTRICTS REMAIN TO HAVE TRIBUTES!) and other single casts!

Elizabeth Banks is Effie Trinket!

Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane, Head Gamemaker

Lionsgate has confirmed that Woody Harrelson will play Haymitch in 'The Hunger Games' movie
Woody Harrelson in the role of Haymitch Abernath

Stanley Tucci has been cast as Caesar Flickerman in 'The Hunger Games' movie
Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman

Our Tributes: