Sunday, January 29, 2012

Book Haul & Weekly Recap (54) Articles & Shadows & Witches

From the Library:

For Review:

Shadow’s Edge by Maureen Lipinski
Article Five by Kristen Simmons
**Thanks Flux and Tor Teen**




Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Eve by Anna Carey
**Thanks Teen Books Scene and Carolyn MacCullough and Publishers!**

I am slowly making my way through my TBR pile.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Author Interview: Y.S. Lee

Welcome Y.S. LEE to the blog!!!!:

Y S Lee

Y S Lee was born in Singapore and raised in Vancouver and Toronto. In 2004, she completed her PhD in Victorian literature and culture. This research, combined with her time living in London, triggered an idea for a story about a women’s detective agency. The result was the Agency novels.

Ying is also the author of Masculinity and the English Working Class (Routledge). She now lives in Kingston, Ontario with her family. From her website.
The Agency: A Spy in the House The Agency: The Body at the Tower 

1. When was it that you realized you had to be a writer and nothing else? 
I was slow to realize this, mainly because I’m a bit of a coward. I spent a long time doing graduate work, persuading myself that I wanted to be a university professor, or a teacher, or a policy analyst. Once into my PhD, though, I realized I wasn’t really happy as an academic. It was only then that I thought: now or never.

2. Where did the idea for The Agency: A Spy in the House come from?
I spent 6 months living in London, doing research (for my PhD) at the British Library. I really fell in love with the city and knew I wanted to write something about London – and, specifically, Victorian London.

3. What was the hardest part about writing The Agency: A Spy in the House? The easiest? 
The hardest part of any book, for me, is the last third of the first draft. It requires so much discipline and it’s SO tempting to abandon it for something fresh and exciting. Starting a book is the easiest and most fun – it’s an explosion of ideas, all of which are possible and require lots of juicy research.

4. Even before reading The Agency: A Spy in the House, I knew that there was a lot of research involved. I also know that you got your PhD work in Victorian literature and culture. Can you tell us why and what you find so fascinating about this time in history?
 In 2010, we’re bombarded with messages that our world has never been so modern, so fast-paced, so technologically advanced, or so confusing. Well, the Victorians felt the same way. They developed technologies that changed communications, manufacturing, travel, everything – their world shrank and changed so fast it must have been dizzying. Although we often hear about the C19 as an old-fashioned and distant time, I prefer to think about how close it is to our own age.

 5. I love reading about the Victorian! But I’m sure there weren’t any places like the Agency around (right?). So why did you decide on having a place like the Agency?
 I wanted to write about a regular girl – someone without a rich family or the connections to help her get ahead. But when I thought about the usual choices for a girl like Mary Quinn (marriage, factory labour, domestic service), it was so depressing. I created the Agency as a deliberately unrealistic antidote to the fate that otherwise overtook poor, clever, Victorian girls. And you know, if an organization like the Agency had existed, it wouldn’t have left a trace anyway. So I think there’s room to live in hope!

6. With so many different types of genres out there to write about, why did you choose YA?
 I fell into YA by accident. I originally wrote A Great Stink (the book that became Spy) as an adult historical mystery. My agent’s the one who pointed out that it was actually a coming-of-age story and suggested I revise it as a YA novel. I was startled at first, but quickly realized that she was absolutely right.

7. How many books will be in the Agency? What about after that?
There will be 3 Mary Quinn novels, for sure; there’s a slight possibility of a fourth. And right now I’m researching a stand-alone book set in Southeast Asia during the Second World War.

8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? You have to be a reader before you can be a writer. Read as widely and deeply as you can; nothing will be wasted.

9. What comes to your mind when I say:
 1. Love –blissful connection
 2. James Easton – that smile
 3. Music – harmony, tension, resolution
 4. London – din, garden squares, stone, grime
 5. Writing – best job in the world
 6. YA – hope for the future
 7. Spy – my debut novel, of course!

 10. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
 Thank you very much for having me here!

You can visit Y.S. Lee: 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Title: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
Author: Jessica Day George 
Release Date: January 8, 2008 
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Source: Library
Blessed—or cursed—with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she’s known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn’t hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servents. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who’s been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he’s forced to marry a troll princess.
Review: I love the fairy tale of East of the Sun, West of the Moon and have been trying to read as many re-tellings of the story that I can. I’d seen this book a lot at my library but I never really bothered to pick it up. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow was a captivating re-telling set in a cold, oblique world that incorporates magic, belief in the unknown and a girl’s quest to help all who she loves.

As the story goes, the Lass is the unnamed ninth child to a poor family living in northern Scandinavia. She is not highly regarded by her mother but loved by her father and oldest brother. After saving a white reindeer, she gets a name and the gift to talk to animals. After some events, the Lass goes to the isbjorn’s (polar bear) ice castle to live with him for a year. The Lass’s curiously lands the isbjorn is trouble and she sets off to save him.

While I didn’t absolutely love this novel as I had hoped it, it had a lot of high points. One of them being the fact that the Lass went on the journey not only for her love but for her brother and family as well. I liked that there was more meaning to risking her life than just for her love. While her journey was lengthy and filled with mystery, danger, and of course, magic, I didn’t connect to her very well. The Lass just seemed to be on her journey and it was as if I was watching a movie. Jessica Day George did an amazing job with the descriptions and her writing was beautiful, sometimes it felt like there were way too many…words. Knowing this fairy tale well, at times I just wanted her to get on with the story.

Overall, it was a good read that I enjoyed. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow was well written and with Jessica Day George’s lyrical prose and writing style, this book read like a real fairy tale should.

Overall: 3/5
Cover Comments: 3/5—Meh. It's not as captivating as I had hoped it would be. It didn't strike me when I first saw it. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey

Title: Stolen Away 
Author: Alyxandra Harvey 
Release Date: January 17, 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Source: Netgalley/Publisher
For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he won't comply, and now chaos threatens both worlds.

The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife. . . Eloise's aunt Antonia. Using Eloise to lure Antonia, Strahan captures his wife, desperate to end the only threat to his reign. Now Eloise must become the rescuer. Together with her best friends Jo and Devin, she must forge alliances with other Fae, including a gorgeous protector named Lucas, and Strahan's mysterious son, Eldric-who may or may not betray them.
Review: I love Alyxandra Harvey. There is no doubt about it. When I first heard about this book, I knew that it was going to be funny, smart, cute, and an overall enjoyable quick read. And oh, boy was it!

Alyxandra Harvey has done vampires and ghosts and now she’s making her debut into the world of the fairies! The plot, though predictable at times wasn't completely unoriginal. Our main character wasn’t the long lost daughter of a king or anything but rather just a pawn, as it says in the summary. Eloise, Jo, and Devin were totally awesome. They had a good friendship and were funny and awkward and so loyal to each other. Jo wasn't my favorite character and I found myself annoyed at her during a lot of the book. Her relationship in the book with a certain boy made her seem...desperate to have a boyfriend at all times and it was really the main focus with her story line.

The story was told though Alyxandra Harvey’s trademark duel POVs and it worked so well to create the atmosphere and help move the story forward. While I didn’t care for Eldric as much as I cared for Lucas (such a sweet, swoon worthy guy who fulfilled his purpose) and I have to give mad props to Alyxandra Harvey for not making the romance between Eloise and Lucas the main point in the story, but rather a side plot.

I will admit that this book felt extremely rushed. At 288 pages, though it seems long, the story had to be progressed very quickly and often without much background. Character development wasn't as prominent as I had hoped it would be leaving many unanswered questions. It also made it hard for me to connect with Eloise, who wasn't that bad and I flat out didn't like Jo very much. The romance between Eloise and Lucas had a lot of potential to grow but again, felt rushed. Jo and her guy pretty much had a bad insta love relationship.

Overall, it was a cute, quick read that takes you into a world that you thought you knew. Alyxandra Harvey makes fairies and the characters all her own in her own special way but you might be left unsatisfied due to the lack of character (and really, plot) development. I encourage you to read this book for yourself and make a decision!

Overall: 3/5
Cover Comments: 5/5—So striking and colorful and pretty. Love it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday {25}

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish!
This week was Top Ten Books Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To Someone Who Doesn't Read X (fill in with choice of genre): 

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To Someone Who Doesn't Read X :

1) Anything by John Green: He has such an amazing, brutally honest yet funny writing style.

2) Anything by Sarah Dessen: She is, in my opinion, Queen of YA Contemporary.

3) Stephanie Perkins's Books: LOLA and ANNA. Need I say anything?

4) Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler: Misleading title guys. This book is so beautiful yet blunt and it deals with accepting life’s down turns and dealing with loss.

5) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: Fate and destiny. Coincidental meetings. Super cute story that has a lot of heart.

6) Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez: A rather recent read, it fits daily life, music and so much more together perfectly.

7) Anything by Sara Zarr: I read her How to Save a Life recently and I loved it so much. She’s able to create memorable characters and plot lines that really stick with you.

8) Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson: Road trips with lots of music lists and pictures and such a great story in general.

9) Simone Elkeles: Um. Yes. Need I explain?

10) If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman: Such a beautiful writer!

Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda

Title: Fracture
Author: Megan Miranda 
Release Date: January 17, 2012 
Publisher: Walker & Company 
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
By the time Delaney Maxwell was pulled from a Maine lake’s icy waters by her best friend, Decker Phillips, her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead.

But somehow Delaney survived—despite the brain scans that show irreparable damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be fine, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney now finds herself drawn to the dying, and when she meets Troy Varga, a boy who recently emerged from a coma with the same abilities, she is relieved to share this strange new existence. Unsure if her altered brain is predicting death or causing it, Delaney must figure out if their gift is a miracle, a freak of nature—or something else much more frightening….
Review: I had heard a few things about Fracture when I began reading this book and they were rather high. After a few failed books, I was afraid of how I was going to like this book but guys, I had nothing to worry about. Fracture, Megan Miranda’s debut novel was full of intrigue, mystery, and bitter sweet moments.

From what I’d heard, I had expected this book to be unlike anything I had read before, so I was *kind of* prepared. From the very beginning, Megan Miranda takes us on a roller coaster journey where we think we know what will happen next but she surprises us. The plot was interestingly paced: when it needed to be quick and suspenseful, it was. When it needed to be calm and cute, it was.

Megan Miranda is a great writer and was able to help me visualizes everything that was going on in the book. I could feel the bitter cold and the freezing water. The setting was so beautifully depicted that even the scariest parts were beautiful.

When Troy was first introduced, I was afraid of a love triangle. I, for a moment, thought that that is what was going to happen but then the author changed everything around. Nothing was what it seemed, least of all Troy and intentions. You knew after a minute of reading about Troy that there was much more going on with him; something deeper and darker.

Delaney herself was a great character and it was easy to sympathize with her but also to get angry at her. I knew she made a mistake on occasion and I wanted her to fix it, which she did. She held her own throughout this book and I loved seeing her grow. What makes you fall in love with a big, jock type guy who is the formula of a jerk? If he’s Decker, Delaney’s best friend who absolutely loves her, enough to cry big fat sobs when he sees her alive after saving her.

If you can't tell by this review, Fracture was an amazing, revoting, well written book that will send chills up your spine and keep you at the edge of your seats!

Overall: 5/5
Cover Comments: 5/5—SO PRETTY. And it fits so well with the book!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita

Title: Sleepaway Girls
Author: Jen Calonita 
Release Date: May 1, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Source: Library
When Sam's best friend gets her first boyfriend, she's not ready to spend the summer listening to the two of them call each other "pookie." Sick of being a third wheel, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not going to be all Kumbaya sing-alongs and gooey s'mores. If Ashley, the alpha queen of Whispering Pines, doesn't ruin Sam's summer, then her raging crush on the surfer-blond and flirtatious Hunter just might. At least she has playful Cole, who's always teasing her, but is oh-so-comfortable to hang out with, and the singular gang of girls that become fast friends with Sam-they call themselves the Sleepaway Girls.
Review: I have read books by Jen Calonita before so I knew what to expect. I was going to get a cute, quick, and funny read about a girl’s life where something goes wrong and that is exactly what I got.

In Sleepaway Girls, we are introduced to Sam who does not want to stick around for the summer with her best friend who makes Sam feel like a third wheel. So she decides to change it up and go to a camp for the summer to be a counselor in training. Things take off to a shaky start when a girl does not like Sam and wants to ruin Sam’s first summer camp experience. Not all is bad for Sam though, especially when she makes friends and maybe even a summer romance!

While the plot has been done before, Jen Calonita makes this plot line her own, like always, though still predictable. Sam and the other characters are believable and you’ll laugh and get angry along with them. Her descriptions for the camp are impeccable and will make you want to go to summer camp right away! Though the ending was predictable, it was an ending that you would smile at.

Overall, I enjoyed the book as I’ve enjoyed Jen Calonita’s other books. No, this was not very new and orginal but it was a fun, cute and quick read. 

Overall: 3/5
Cover Comments: 5/5—It's simple, cute and fits the book perfectly!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review: As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott

Title: As I Wake 
Author:  Elizabeth Scott
Release Date: September 15, 2011
Publisher: Dutten Juvenile 
Source: Library 
Ava is welcomed home from the hospital by a doting mother, lively friends, and a crush finally beginning to show interest. There's only one problem: Ava can't remember any of them - and can't shake the eerie feeling that she's not who they say she is.

Ava struggles to break through her amnesiac haze as she goes through the motions of high-school life, but the memories that surface take place in a very different world, where Ava and familiar-faced friends are under constant scrutiny and no one can be trusted. Ava doesn't know what to make of these visions, or of the boy who is at the center of them all, until he reappears in her life and offers answers . . . but only in exchange for her trust.
Review: Elizabeth Scott goes beyond her regular scope of hart hitting contemporary to bring in a sci-fi, dystopian book that has an interesting plot line and an even more interesting main character.

I had no idea what to expect from this book since even from the summary, you know that this is not a regular Elizabeth Scott novel. Ava wakes up on the hospital not knowing where she is or who she is. The reader knows as much as Ava does about it everything that is going on and while this adds to the mystery of the novel, it also adds to the confusion. The plot does not go into a lot of details and I felt that at the end of the book, I still had unsnarled questions.

The characters were full of mystery and intrigue but I didn't feel that they were ad developed as I had hoped they would. I wanted to know more about Ava and her friends and Morgan and what was really going on. Sadly, I felt that many of the important questions, like the rules and how the world that Elizabeth Scott created in this book worked, went unanswered and it left me unsatisfied at the end of the book.

Overall, As I Wake had a lot more potential to grow and become something even bigger than it was. This should not discourage you from reading this book, it's just not one of my favorite Elizabeth Scott.

Overall: 3/5
Cover Comments: 5/5—Look at the fire, the girl, her hair turning to smoke! SO AMAZING!

Book Haul & Weekly Recap (53)

From the Library:
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

For Review:


Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Shine by Lauren Myracle 
**Extremely happy to have a hard back of both books. And both were just $2 each at my library so I'm not complaining!**



Saturday, January 14, 2012

I'm Just About to Lose It

I could scream right now.


I think the problem is in my brain. I think something is wrong with me. WHY? Well, I'm reading a book that was released last year and talked about endlessly. I mean, endlessly, and EVERYONE LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. The writing was amazing, the plot was OMG times a million and the love interest was a super, hot, sexy guy.

I'm reading this book, going "OMG I'm going to be totally in love!!!"

And I completely don't like it. Mind you, the author has amazing writing skills and the plot (though really confusing, works for the book) is good, the characters are....UGH.

I seriously can not believe that these characters are so stereotypical and people love them so much! The hot, sexy guy? He's completely rich, has been with all the girls,is super nice under all of his ***holeness, and wants to be with the main character because she's not boring and she's different. He's also a stalker which the girl doesn't mind. And she's in high school.

I don't know all the teenage girls out there BUT I HIGHLY doubt any girl wants to be with a guy who stalks her. Or has been with a lot of girls. WHO by the way, hate the main girl since she's got the hot and sexy guy's attention.

I'm going to stop now. Someone, out there, explain to me what is wrong with me????

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Discussion: The Over Hyped Books These Days

It seems to me that every new book these days is the Next Harry Potter or the Next Hunger Games. Or, some books are either The Best Book Ever or The Worst Book Ever. Which brings me to the point of this post: most of the Best Books Ever are Over Hyped. I can name two books of the past year (and continuing this year) that were hugely loved and talked about....but I just never got into them.

One of them is a dystopian book I began reading, didn't get into it but decided to read it another time. The other, a paranormal of sorts, I could care less if I tried to read it again.

For starters, I didn't like the charters very much in the paranormal one. They were so cliched and stereotyped that I stopped reading the book before I got 100 pages in.Teens in this generation are not like the teens depreciated in the book! From the bad-boy-who-has-a-heart to the overachiever, really annoying brother, I just about had it with the book. The saddest part? The author's writing was freaking amazing and I had wished that it had been enough to make me continue reading it.

It's not just one book either at is this case. Plenty of books get lots of hype but don't live up to it. Some books, like a Stephanie Perkins book or a John Green book deserve the hype. Yeah, not everyone is going to love them but for me, they deliver.

My biggest problem is when authors get a teens life wrong. Sure some teens might be able to connect with the character, but if she's 14, don't make her act like she's 17 or vise versa. I know what a 17 year old girl is like because I am one and I'm NOT saying that I know what all 17 year old girls are like but I have a pretty good idea. I want to connect with the main character. I want her to be someone I would hang out with.

I want the characters to be realistic.

No more stereotyping. As much as I love the bad boy, I want to see the smart, awkward good boy (Cricket Bell anyone?). I don't want a girl to make mistakes and just because she fixes what she did wrong to be justified as a well developed character from the beginning to the end. I want her to grow and change and become a better person.

The worst part about this is when the book disappoints you. In both of these hyped books, I had the impression that they we're as good as they sounded. I wanted them to be but....alas, they were not and this was such a sad thing.

I will admit that after boom blogging and writing reviews for such a long time now (...well, it's only been 2 years, but still) I am much more critical of the books I read. I know what I like to see and what I don't like to see in the books and that has, to put it bluntly, saved a lot of my free time.

All that said, I hope you realize that this is my opinion. I mean to offend no one at all; I'm just putting my thoughts out there. If you disagree, or even agree, tell me in the comments. Is there something else you don't like about hyped up books?

Threaded Comments Now In Blogger

FINALLY!!!! Blogger has finally come out with thread comments! Now you can have discussions with your readers on your blog! Emily of Emily's Reading Room shows you how to do it in an EASY way! Check it out!!!

Click HERE to go to see how to do it all!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Another Hunger Games Inspired Video

April of Good Books and Wine posted this and I just had to share.  

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight 
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: January 2, 2012 
Publisher: Poppy 
Source: Publisher
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.
Review: The 256 pages of this book are a pure joy to read and you’ll zip right through this book. I had been in a reading funk for a while and this book took me right out of it! It takes place over 24 hours, which makes it a unique story since not a lot of books do that these days. Jennifer E. Smith demonstrates wonderful writing, amazing characters and a plot too cute to be true.

We are introduced to Hadley who is not very happy about going to London for her father’s wedding to a women she has never met. She is portrayed so wonderfully and so realistically that you feel so much for her. You want her to be happy. Oliver, too, from the second we meet him is a charmer and a person who makes you smile. Both teens were multidimensional and it was like seeing the book and story unfold right in front of you. Jennifer E. Smith is a master at creating realistic characters!

This book does have a sort of insta love going on and while I usually dislike it, it worked so well for this story. Part of it had to do with the fact that Jennifer E. Smith’s writing was able to not make it forced like many authors seem to do. Her writing made the characters jump out and seem even more real than ever. Nothing about this book felt forced, especially the random meetings the two had throughout the book and when they get separated, you’ll want them to meet up again, just like I did.

Overall, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a quick, cute and heartwarming story that is sure to make you fall in love with the leading characters and get you out of a reading funk (like it did for me.) I couldn’t stop thinking about hoe Hadley and Oliver could be one of my real friends, facing some of the similar problems and feelings. This is a book you don’t want to miss!

Overall: 5/5
Cover Comments: 5/5—Love the simple font with the red LOVE and the two people kissing and the world behind them is all blurry! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm addicted...

to this song:

I'm telling you guys, I've never liked a Taylor Swift  song(and The Civil Wars, have to check them out now) before this much but I LOVE this one SO MUCH. It's so pretty and haunting and just awesome!

When I listen to this song, I think of Rue. Prim comes to mind too but its really just Prim.


Top Ten Tuesday {24}

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish!
This week: 

Top Ten Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book:

1) J. K. Rowling: Need I explain?

2) Suzanne Collins: She gave us The Hunger Games!I wanna know what else she can come up with!

3) Jane Austen: Need I explain?

4) Ann Rinaldi: I have no idea is she's written anything recent but Ann Rinaldi can tell a historical fiction story like its no one's business. I need more from her!

5) Lois Lowry: She gave us The Giver and Gathering Blue and Messenger. I want more!

6) Roald Dahl : Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. James and the Giant Peach. What more could I ask for?

7) Alexandra Bracken: I loved Brightly Woven and yes, she's got her new book coming out but I still want more!

8) Kristin Cashore: Bitterblue is coming out this year and I can't wait to read it. I know I'm going to love it but I still want her to write more and more. I haven't heard anything about something new so we'll see!

9) Eilis O'Neal: My brother recently got this book from the library and I remembered when I first read it and how much I loved it!

10) Laurie Halse Anderson: I have read only two of her books (Wintergirls and Speak) and I LOVED both of them. Haunting, heartbreaking, honest.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Book Haul & Weekly Recap (52)

From the Library:

For Review:
The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker
Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey 
**Thanks Poppy and NetGalley**




Yet another slow week and I am so happy about that. I've got finals next week and I haven't gotten around to reading all that much. 


2012 Debut Author Challenge

2012 Debut Author Challenge participant information:
--The objective of the DAC is to read at least twelve novels from Young Adult or Middle Grade Authors. While twelve is the minimum there is no maximum limit! I encourage readers who can read more than twelve to do so!

Hosted by the amazing Kristi of The Story Siren!

1) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight—Jennifer E. Smith
2) Fracture—Megan Miranda
3) Queen of Kentucky—Alicia Whitaker 2012 Debut Author

2012 100+ Reading Challenge

Timeline: 01 Jan 2012 - 31 Dec 2012
 **Read 100+ books in 2012 (any genre)

**You can join at anytime. All books read in 2012 count towards the challenge regardless of when you sign up.

**This challenge can crossover to other challenges.

Signing up and more information can be found at Book Chick City, the host!

1. As I Wake—Elizabeth Scott
2. Winterling—Sarah Parineas
3. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight—Jennifer E. Smith
4. Stolen Away—Alyxandra Harvey
5. Fracture—Megan Miranda 2012 Debut Author
6. Two Moon Princess-Carmen Ferrerio-Esteban
7. Cleopatra’s Moon—Vicky Alvear Shecter
8. Anna Dressed in Blood—Kendare Blake
9. Queen of Kentucky—Alicia Whitaker
10. Bloodlines—Richelle Mead
11. The Fault in Our Stars—Joh Green
12. Epic Fail—Claire LaBeznik
13. Shooting Stars—Allison Rushby

Friday, January 06, 2012

Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

Title: If I Tell
Author:  Janet Gurtler 
Release Date: October 21, 2011 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: NetGalley
It was like watching a train wreck. I wanted to look away but couldn't take my eyes off them.

Her best friend and her mom's boyfriend. Locking lips. This is the secret Jasmine Evans has to keep at all costs. Because her mom is pregnant, and Jaz doesn't want to ruin her life-again (just being born did it the first time). But the harder Jaz tries to pretend everything is okay, the faster her life spins out of control. Until Jackson. He doesn't care about the popularity of her friends or the color of her skin. But can she really trust a guy who just transferred in from reform school? She might be willing to chance the heartbreak, but telling him everything and risking the truth getting out is a whole other level of scary.
Review: When I first heard about this book, it sounded super good. Drama filled but good so I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it at all. I did give it a chance and I’m glad I did. Now, I didn’t absolutely love this book but I did enjoy it!

Let’s start with Jasmine. She was just so insecure and always complained about how her being biracial was such a bad thing. She felt her life was a complete mess without any way of fixing it. Her relationship with her mother is less than perfect and things get much worse when she sees something she shouldn’t. She was really selfish and argued with people all the time, over everything and with everyone. She had a problem with trusting and didn’t let them know her better, which she blamed on her being biracial…but it was her. For the problem with Lacey and Simon and her mother, I wish Jaz would just confront them.

The other characters were good but weren’t as rounded as I would have liked them to be. We got bits and pieces of each characters background and how they dealt with it. Jackson, though, I liked a lot. He understood Jaz’s pain and was able to relate to her as much as possible. I did like that he didn’t get upset or anything by the fact that Jaz didn’t trust him at first but got to know her…and then she judged him and hurt him.

The emotions were probably the best part of this book though. I had a hard time believing that the book was over when it was. I loved how Ms. Gurtler was able to go from one emotion to the other emotion and make it all seem so natural. It all seemed so realistic to me and I loved that about the book.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I loved how the emotions were so realistic. Even though Jaz and I didn't click, I loved Janet Gurtler's writing style. I can't wait to read her first novel, I'm Not Her! Also, I don't think my review should discourage you from checking out this book. I have read reviews that some people enjoyed it more than I did!

Overall: 3.5/5
Cover Comments: 5/5—I like how we can't see the character's face so I can imagine her in my own mind.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Review: A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Title: A Need So Beautiful
Series:  A Need So Beautiful #1
Author:  Suzanne Young
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: Balzar & Bray 
Source: Library

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten...

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.
Review: I’ve written this review about ten times. Seriously. I’ve read so many good reviews of this book from all sorts of bloggers that I had to check it out. I went into this book with huge expectations and sadly I was disappointed. And all those ten times I’ve written this review? I felt like I was bashing the author which was not my intention at all.

While the idea for this story is very, very unique, the characters did not help it at all: Charlotte has a “Need” to help people she doesn’t know, whether it be to save their life or someone else’s and in the process, she begins to lose parts of herself. People begin to forget about her. Yes, a girl who was being forgotten by the people she loved would be upset about it, sure, but I felt that Charlotte complained about it endlessly. At some points I did feel that Charlotte had a lot going on for her but she was never fully developed enough to me. She felt the pain and loss and anger but it was overshadowed by her complaining. I would have loved to connect with Charlotte and Sarah (her best friend) and Harlin (her boyfriend) at some point but I never did.

I’d also heard that Charlotte and Harlin had an established relationship but it didn’t feel that way to me. Seriously, I’ve never in my life heard of a couple who kiss without even knowing who they are in the middle of the hallway. It was really more of those insta love relationships or the kinds of relationships where the girl is all over the guy. As I read the book, there were so, so many times where Charlotte talked about how Harlin made her feel normal and how she couldn’t live without him. I will admit, there were times where their relationship didn’t feel all about kissing and other sexytimes, which were intense, but I didn’t feel like they had a connection. Harlin was a very good boyfriend and he did love and care for Charlotte very much…but….

The plot aspect of the Need itself kept me reading on. I went from page one to the last page, wanting more and more information about what the Need was and how it came to be, and while I did get some information on it, I would have liked more. I think it might be the reason I read book two.

I’m going to stop this review by saying that yes, I was disappointed in this book and there are the reasons why. I’m not sure what or why I didn’t like this book like so, so many other people have. Hopefully, this review didn’t seem like an author bashing because that was NOT my intention…

I think everyone should give this book a chance! Who knows, you might like it!

Overall: 3/5
Cover Comments: 5/5—LOVE this cover! It's so pretty and golden and whispy!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday (69)

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

Title: Something Strange and Deadly 
Author: Susan Dennard 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 24, 2012
There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.
The cover. The synopsis. Everything!
Title:Sweet Evil
Author: Wendy Higgins 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 1, 2012 

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Anna, a tender-hearted southern girl, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

A cross-country trip forces Anna and Kai to face the reality that hope and love are not options for their kind. When it's time for Anna to confront her demons, will she choose to embrace her halo or her horns?
I love the cover so much! I want her dress but I will admit that the poses for the models are awkward loooking. The synopsis save it all though!