Friday, December 31, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems. (From Goodreads)

I enjoyed Beautiful Creatures when I read it last year, but I had a few issues with it. Despite the excellent writing, I found that parts of the story dragged. When I pick up this one, I wasn't sure what I would think. I've found that oftentimes the second book in a series can't live up to the expectations of the reader, or they are filler between the introductory book, and the conclusion of the series. Beautiful Darkness wasn't one of those books. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and excited for more.

This book picks up soon after the events in Beautiful Creatures, and the mystery begins almost immediately. The story is still told from Ethan's perspective, and he's currently experiencing some uncertainty in his relationship with Lena. She's started to act more like her dark cousin, Ridley. I'm slightly ashamed to admit it, but I really had issues with Lena in this book. I imagine that's what Garcia and Stohl intended when they wrote it, but I lost my connection to her until the latter part of the book. I did like the dynamic between Ethan and Live, and was happy that the reader got to see more from Link and Ridley.

This is another great example of a book where the authors create characters that aren't completely good or evil. Ridley may be a dark Caster, but she clearly cares for her cousin Lena. On the other hand, Macon has secrets in his past that are unearthed. The shades of gray found within the characters really added to the story, and made me think twice when trying to decide who was trustworthy.

I was pleased that Beautiful Darkness was even better than the first book in the series. The reader gets to learn more about the characters, and the pacing was great. The one thing I hope for in book three: more Amma! Her no-nonsense attitude was great for lightening up some serious moments, and she's more than just a one dimensional supporting character.

Beautiful Darkness
By Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
503 Pages
Published by Little, Brown Books
Rating: B

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (December 29)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

*This synopsis does contain spoilers for The Ghost and the Goth.

Queen of the Dead (Ghost and the Goth 2) by Stacey Kade

After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

Packed with romance, lovable characters, and a killer cliffhanger, Queen of the Dead is the out-of-this-world sequel to The Ghost and the Goth.


Published by Hyperion
Release Date: June 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (December 28)

What is Teaser Tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"Dying should have been the worst moment in my life. I mean, hello, getting run over by a school bus full of band geeks while wearing the regulation gym uniform of red polyester short shorts and a practically see-through white T-shirt?"

-The Ghost and the Goth, Page 5, by Stacey Kade

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mini Reviews

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

I'd heard really good things about this one, but I had a hard time starting it. It sat on my shelf for at least a month before I actually began reading it. It was a fairly slow read, but I did enjoy it. After losing their father, twin sisters Lia and Alice discover that they each play a role in a prophecy that pits them against each other. From there, the twists and turns written by Zink had me guessing what the outcome of the story would be.

There was one scene in particular that really emphasized the differences between Lia and Alice. It was really heartwrenching to see Lia lose someone that was so important to her. Despite my personal opinion of Alice, I do wish that the reader had gotten to see from her perspective. The book focuses on Lia, but I think seeing through the villain's eyes is always interesting.

It was a good start, but at times it seemed like the sole purpose of certain plot points was a setup for the second book in the series.

Rating: C

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

I stumbled across this book at the library, and decided to check it out on a whim. Of course, I had a huge pile of books waiting to be read at home, but something about this one pushed it to the top of my list. The book begins with Elizabeth getting a recommendation to work at The New York Circulating Material Repository. Of course, this isn't a typical library. Elizabeth soon discovers that items, including magical ones, are loaned to patrons, and shenanigans ensue. As a fan of fairy tales, I was delighted to see a book that took such a new spin on things.
I will admit that there were some things about the book that I didn't like. I felt that the story lost some of it's steam toward the end. Things seemed to move more slowly, despite the characters working to catch the thief who is stealing the magical items from the repository. I also thought that something was missing from the romance in the story. Since the romance wasn't the main focus of the book, it wasn't a huge deal for me. Plus, I was rooting for the characters to get together.

Overall, it was a really interesting premise involving magic and fairy tales. Even though I had a few issues with the story, I'm glad that I happened to pick it up.

Rating: C

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (December 22)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.

When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause. (From Goodreads)

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: March 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review: Entice by Carrie Jones & Giveaway

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned. She's Astley's queen. (From Goodreads)

The focus on Entice felt a bit different from the first two books in the series. It starts right where the story left off in the previous book, Entice. Zara is trying to track down a way to get to Valhalla to bring Nick back, even though she is unsure of how he'll react once he finds out that she's been turned. With more and more kids disappearing, and families fleeing town, the situation seems much more urgent.

In the third book in the series, the reader gets to see just how much Zara has grown, and how strong her loyalty is. Zara is struggling to show her friends and family that simply because she's been changed doesn't mean that she's evil. Had this happened in the first book, I'm sure she would have been doubting herself. In this book, however, she's confident that simply because she's been turned doesn't mean that she's a different person (or pixie). What I really appreciate about Zara is that she doesn't play the damsel in distress, but she's willing to accept help when she needs it. There were a few scenes where my heart broke for her, but he love for the people around her never faltered.

This book features more Astley, which I appreciated. In my review for Captivate, I stated that I was suspicious of his intentions. Based on the behavior of the pixies in Book 1, I think that was pretty justified. After reading Entice, however, I find myself on his side. It's clear that he cares about Zara, and wants to help her find Nick. I also felt a bit of sympathy for him regarding his past, but I won't spoil the information that's revealed.

The only thing that I regret is not rereading Captivate before I started this one. It was almost a year between books, and there were some small details that I had forgotten about. Still, I thought that Jones did a good job of refreshing readers like me. It's fairly easy to figure out where this book will end, and how it will set up for the next book in the series. Still, the characters and smaller plot details kept me guessing. Overall, I feel that the series is getting stronger as it goes on, and I can't wait for the next book

Entice
By Carrie Jones
Published by Bloomsbury USA
264 Pages
Rating: B

Bloomsbury has offered to give away one copy of the book, so if you're in the US you can sign up below. Because it's being shipped straight from Bloomsbury, you need to have a US street address, and they can't ship it to P.O. boxes.
It'll be open for one week, until December 28.

CONTEST CLOSED

Monday, December 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (December 21)

What is Teaser Tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"At first she couldn't even find him. Then a shadow at the window moved and the darkness resolved into a slender shape that straightened from the viewfinder."

-Incarceron, Page 46, by Catherine Fisher

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox (December 19)

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. All of the synopses you see below were found on Goodreads. Here are the books I got this week...

For Review:
Will Work For Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris

Planning for prom’s supposed to be fun—the dress, the accessories, the devastatingly handsome date—but Quigley Johnson never thought that agreeing to her best friend Ann’s Betterment Plan would ruin her life!

After a series of bizarre part-time jobs, the prospect of being a live model for a fashion-design class has Quigley ready to throw i
n the towel, until she meets Zander. He may not be able to sketch, but he’s smoking hot, cool and funny, and every outfit he creates might as well be made for her. But is he too good to be true? Then there’s David, the self-professed “Art King” whose competitiveness has always meant cutting Quigley down, until he sets his sights on making her his prom date and “Art Queen.” And this preparation for the formal was supposed to make Quigley and Ann even closer, but it’s tearing them apart! How will Quigley make it to prom, when she’s barely making it through high school?

Thanks to EgmontUSA for this one!

Solid by Shelley
Workinger

Eighteen years ago, a rogue Army doctor secretly experimented with a chromosomal drug on unknowing pregnant women. When he was killed not long after the children were born, any knowledge and evidence seemed to die with him - except the living, breathing, human products of his work.

Almost two decades later, th
e newly self-proclaimed “open-book” military unearths the truth about the experiment, bringing Clio Kaid and the other affected teens to a state-of-the-art, isolated campus where they soon discover that C9x did indeed alter their chromosomes, its mutations presenting as super-human abilities. The military kids, who come from across the nation and all walks of life, come into their own as lighter-than-air ‘athletes’; ‘indies’ as solid as stone walls; teens who can make themselves invisible and others who can blind with their brilliance.

As Clio comes into her remarkable ability, embraces new friendships and embarks on first love, she also can’t shake the suspicion that the government has not been as forthcoming with their attentions as they claimed…


Thanks Shelley!

Library:
Incarceron
by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons.

A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists.

But there comes a moment when Finn,
inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born

White Cat by Holly Black

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love — or death — and your dreams might be more real than your memories.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, not only wishing to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also dreaming of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Entice by Carrie Jones - Fun Stuff from Bloomsbury USA

Bloomsbury USA has a bunch of fun stuff celebrating the release of Entice (Need 3) by Carrie Jones. So, I thought I'd let everyone know about them.

Check out the Facebook fan page for Need here:NeedPixies.There's a fun poll up where you can choose between Nick and Astley (surprisingly, I am actually Team Astley), and a contest where you can pick your dream cast if they were to make a movie. The winner of this contest can win a FLIP video camera. Soon they'll be updating the page with a Pixie Kiss app, where you can send kisses from Zara, Nick, or Astley.

The Facebook page for Bloomsbury Teen has a December giveaway, information on upcoming titles, and links to sites outside of Facebook.

Book Trailer:


I'll be posting my review on December 21, and Bloomsbury has generously offered a copy to give away, along with some bookmarks. So check back early next week!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

400 Followers Contest

At the start of this month I hit 400 followers, and to say thanks I've decided to hold a contest!

US Only:
Diary of a Mad Bride ARC by Laura Wolf
Infinite Days ARC by Rebecca Maizel
Nightshade ARC by Andrea Cremer (made possible by Kristen of Bookworming in the 21st Century)
The Devil's Kiss ARC by Sarwat Chadda
The Replacement (ARC) by Brenna Yovanoff (made possible by Kristen of Bookworming in the 21st Century)
The Twin's Daughter ARC by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt (paperback)
Bite Me by Melissa Francis (paperback)
Charmed Lives by Susannah Bates (paperback)
Contagion by Joanne Dahme (paperback)
I Am Mordred by Nancy Springer (paperback)
Middleworld By J&P Voelkel
The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love by Rosie Rushton (paperback)
Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner (Hardcover)
Fortune's Folly by Deva Fagan (Hardcover)
Intertwined by Gena Showalter (Hardcover)
The Oracles of Delphi Keep (Hardcover)

International
Your choice of a book (or books) totaling 15.00 to be shipped from The Book Depository

Rules:
You DO NOT have to be a follower to enter, but everyone who was a follower as of 12/16/2010 will get bonus points (see the sign up form). The books will only be shipped within the US as I'm strapped for cash right now. There's a separate international contest, so if Book Depository ships to your country, go ahead and enter that one!

There will be 3 US winners who will choose 4 titles each, and one INTERNATIONAL winner.


Contest Closed

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (December 15)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don’t worship as attentively, teachers don’t fall for her wide-eyed “who me?” look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she’s always loved--Liam Ward--can barely even look at her anymore.

When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she’s wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she’s inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.

And Bridget’s about to learn that, sometimes, saying you’re sorry just isn’t enough. (From Paige Harbison's website)

Published by Harlequin Teen
Release Date: February 1, 2011

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (December 14)

What is Teaser Tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"It's like reading Latin, only worse. Sigh."
Entice, Page 167, by Carrie Jones

It's been a pretty hectic week, since I've been trying to studying for a giant final exam. So, that's part of the reason why I pulled another quote from Entice.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In My Mailbox (December 12)

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. All of the synopses you see below were found on Goodreads. Here are the books I got this week...

For Review

Human .4 by Mike Lancaster
The Millgrove talent show has the same performances as any other small town — a cheesy ventriloquist, off-key karaoke singers, and bad dance routines. But after Kyle Straker is hypnotized as part of his friend’s mysterious new act, Millgrove will never be the same again.

When Kyle and the other volunteers awaken, the entire audience, the entire town, and possibly the entire world, is frozen still. Telephones, radios, televisions, and computers no longer work— only a strange language flashes across the screens. When everybody suddenly wakes up, it becomes clear that they have
changed—and that Kyle is now an outsider, one of the 0.4.

Is Kyle still under hypnosis, or is this chilling new world real? Will he awaken from a dream to roars of laughter, or is there something much more sinister happening?

One of the last of his kind, Kyle records his story on a series of cassette tapes, describing the shift, and what it means for the future of mankind.

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever

I also got some fabulous gifts from my Secret Santa, Wendy. I wanted to thank her again :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Review: My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison

From Around the World ARC Tours

Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father has never had enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn't exactly how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum "Chrissy" Everstar, Tansy's fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy's three wishes don't exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn't bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. She'll need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief 's son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control. Janette Rallison pulls out all the stops in this fresh, fun-filled follow-up to the popular My Fair Godmother. (From Goodreads)

Rallison has written another hilarious novel filled with adventure, romance, and heart. Wishes, mishaps, and fairytale characters are present in the second novel featuring the "fair" godmother, Chrysanthemum Everstar. Rallison has this amazing gift of writing witty lines that leave me in fits of laughter. Her characters, plots...well, pretty much everything about this book is enjoyable.

Tansy was a realistic, flawed (in a good way) character. She feels as though her father abandoned her, and started a new family instead. So, things don't go smoothly when she's forced to move in with them. She starts dating a town troublemaker, and things spiral out of control from there. I thought that her reactions were pretty typical, and that her bad behavior was an attempt to get some attention from her father. I mean, Bo was a pretty horrible boyfriend...there aren't really that many reasons to stay with him. Hudson was a pretty dreamy male lead, but he had substance. He was dealing with the loss of his mother, and it was nice watching him open up to Tansy/ I also loved seeing Robin Hood and his gang. They were completely different from the Robin Hood that we have read about, and that was amazing.

There's some focus on morals in this book. Tansy has to figure out what the moral of her story is, and that isn't easy. So what did I learn from Rallison's newest book? No character is completely good or evil. Well, most characters aren't completely evil (I'm looking at you, Rumplestilskin, and Bo). Even Hudson, the sheriff's son, helps to keep Tansy prisoner in one part of the book.

The only thing that I wish the reader saw more of was resolution between Tansy and her father. Part of the reason why she's dating a "bad boy" and acting out is because she feels neglected by him. Overall,
the romance was sweet, but the focus was on the growth of Tansy. I really enjoyed this one, and am eagerly waiting for Rallison's next release.

Plus, the cover is awesome!

My Unfair Godmother
By Janette Rallison
Published by Walker Books For Young Readers
320 Pages
Release Date: April 12, 2011
Rating: A

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (December 8)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Betrayal (Haunting Emma 2) by Lee Nichols

Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries. Which is great when she's battling the wraith-master Neos, but terrible when she's flirting with fellow ghostkeeper (and soul mate) Bennett. When ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power, and that's not something Bennett can handle. Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school with fellow ghostkeeper, Natalie. When a new team of ghostkeepers arrive—one a snarky teen boy, the other a British scholar—Emma finds solace in training for the battle against Neos. But as the team grows stronger, they are threatened by an unknown force. One they thought was good.
As chilling and page-turning as Deception, this sequel will grab readers and hold them to the last page. No one is safe from suspicion as Emma closes in on the traitor.


Published by Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: March 1, 2010

Loved the first book in this series, and I can't wait for this one!

Teaser Tuesday & Secret Santa

What is Teaser Tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"My name is Zara White and I'm almost seventeen years old. I'm a pixie, and my boyfriend was killed by a pixie king with the ludicrous name of Frank."
-Entice, Page 22, by Carrie Jones


I also got a surprise when I was leaving for class today. I opened up the door, and there was a package waiting outside from my Secret Santa! Unfortunately, I had to leave for class, so I only got a chance to read the card. After a long drive home, however, I decided to open them.

Wendy from
http://www.literaryfeline.com/ went above and beyond as my secret santa :)


I received three books from my wishlist, Wish by Alexandra Bullen, The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley, and Dull Boy by Sarah Cross. Not only that, but I got some comfy socks (something I appreciate greatly during the Vermont winter), some Sweet Pea lotion (my favorite), and a cute stocking full of chocolates.




I'm not sure she planned for it, but the box also served as a gift. My kitten, Zeus, absolutely loved it.

So, a huge thank you to Wendy! My gifts are awesome, and I'm insanely grateful :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. All of the synopses you see below were found on Goodreads. Here are the books I got this week...

For Review:
My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison

From Around the World ARC Tours

Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father has never had enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn't exactly how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum "Chrissy" Everstar, Tansy's fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy's three wishes don't exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn't bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. She'll need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief 's son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control. Janette Rallison pulls out all the stops in this fresh, fun-filled follow-up to the popular My Fair Godmother.

Published by Walker Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 12, 2011

Entice by Carrie Jones


Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned. She's Astley's queen.

Published by Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: December 14, 2010

Book Blast from the Past: The Dear America Series

This feature was inspired by a post by Eleni at La Femme Readers. My goal for this new feature is to go back to the books that I loved as a pre-teen/teen, and write about why I still enjoy them.

The Dear America series, Published by Scholastic

The Dear America series began releasing the the late 90's, and I picked one up right around the time I turned ten (and Harry Potter was first released). The Winter of Red Snow, which discussed the topic of the revolutionary war, was the first one I recall reading. Each book contains the diary of a young girl, and takes place during a different time period in U.S. history. What's not to enjoy?

I still love this series for sentimental reasons, and I've been contemplating the idea of rereading the series. When I was young, I enjoyed reading about girls dealing with real historical issues. Now, I think I'd focus on the roles of women throughout history. At the start of the series, many the girls would undoubtedly be preparing for their role as caretaker of the home. I think it would be interesting to see how those roles evolve over the course of the books. Due to some in-depth history courses, I think I'd also have a greater appreciation for the stories involving racism and immigration. So, there may be some mini-reviews of these books popping up during my holiday break.

This fall, Scholastic actually announced that they would be relaunching the series! They have created new websites for the series (one is for fans, the other was created for educators), and are re-releasing many of the books. Of course, I'm partial to the hardcovers that I grew up with. After all, they had pretty ribbon as a built in bookmarks. My collection had been sadly neglected, so I headed to ebay to see what they were selling for. I got a great deal on a couple of my favorites...now I just need space for them.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (December 1)

Happy December!

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Entice by Carrie Jones

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned. She's Astley's queen.

Published by Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: December 7, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (November 30)

What is Teaser Tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"Fairy's side note: Mortal girls will overlook a pinata full of faults if a guy is considerate enough to be handsome."

-My Unfair Godmother, page 8, by Janette Rallison

(This is an ARC edition, quotes/page numbers are subject to change)

I'm only a few pages into this one and I've already had a few laughing fits.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review: Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe

This review contains clearly marked spoilers

Cass McKenna much prefers ghosts over "breathers". Ghosts
are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.
But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.
As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad — and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it’s time to give the living another chance... (From Goodreads)

This book has been on my to-read list for quite a long time, so I was ecstatic when I won a copy from Kristen of Bookworming in the 21st century!

Cass is an outcast, and has been since middle school. Of course, it's hard to fit in when you can talk to ghosts, and get the dirt on all of your classmates. I suppose people might be nicer if she didn't use that dirt against said classmates, but where would the fun be in that. When the student council VP, Tim, starts paying attention to Cass, she's justified in her suspicions. Really, he just hopes that Cass can help him connect with his deceased mother, even though it may not help him move on emotionally.

Crewe did a great job with the ghost aspect of this book. Once it became clear that ghosts remain until they can accomplish some sort of unfinished business, I started to wonder why Cass's sister had returned as a ghost. I have my theories, but this issue isn't really resolved in the book.

This paragraph contains spoilers, so if you haven't read the book skip this paragraph!

As the book drew to a close I was really worried that Crewe was going to fall into the YA cliche of making the two main characters end up together, despite neither of them being in the right place emotionally for one. So, I was relieved when that didn't happen! It's obvious that the two care for each other, but Tim really needs to focus on some counseling to help him deal with the grief of losing his mother.

(end of spoilers)

Overall, I thought that this was a good paranormal, and a quick read. I haven't heard anything about a sequel, but I still have my fingers crossed. While this book wrapped up nicely, there's still more I'd like to read about.

Give Up the Ghost
By Megan Crewe
Published by Henry Holt and Co.
256 Pages
Rating: B

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (November 24)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Published by Razorbill
Release Date: January 11, 2011

I'm pretty sure that everyone is excited about this one! I also just noticed the release date is 1/11/11 :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (November 23)

What is Teaser Tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"Fourteen of us won't be flying to Tonks's parents'. There will be seven Harry Potters moving through the skies tonight, each of them with a companion, each pair heading for a different safe house."

-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pg 48, by J.K. Rowling

Monday, November 22, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

It's time again to sign up for The Debut Author Challenge, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren! I participated in the 2010 challenge, and as a result I read a bunch of great books by new authors.

The Rules: To participate you are required to read a minimum of 12 books by debut authors in the YA/MG genres. You don't have to be a blogger to participate, nor do you need to have a blog written in English. If you want more information, click here.

Titles in blue link to their reviews here when clicked

My Picks:

January:
The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

February:

Will Work for Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris
Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

March
Human .4 by Mike Lancaster
The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker

May
Flawless by Lara Chapman
Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Book Review: The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she's been hiding all these years, that the one-night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father's too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he has only six weeks to prove he's not a hero in any way, or else he's stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first. (From Goodreads)

I'd heard good things about Campbell's debut before I picked it up, but nothing could have prepared me for what I read. The Rise of Renegade X was an action-packed, hilarious look at the son of a notorious mad scientist, and a superhero.

Damien was a great character. He was the perfect mix of snark, and insecurities about his identity. He was raised by his villain mother, but after discovering that he was the result of her one-night stand with a superhero, his villain status is thrown in jeopardy. Of course, it's pretty obvious that Damien isn't 100% villainous...he sets moths loose in a butterfly exhibit, and orchestrates a black plague scare. His mom and dad strike a deal, and soon Damien is off to live with his new superhero family. While there he experiences what it's like on the other side, and learns quite a bit about himself. There are also the super girls in Damien's life. There's Kat, the shapeshifter, and his ex-girlfriend, and there's Sarah, who is more than she seems.

I really enjoyed Campbell's fresh take on the superhero genre. You rarely get to read a book from a villain's perspective (or half-villain). I loved that she depicted a world in which villains aren't always evil, nor heroes perfect. For example, Damien's mom, Marianna (Mistress of Mayhem) loves Damien. Conversely, Damien's father, Gordon, gets frustrated with him. I mean, who honestly thinks that supervillains are horrible, and evil all the time?

Overall, I really enjoyed this one! I couldn't put it down, and it kept me laughing throughout. I can't wait for more from Campbell.

The Rise of Renegade X
By Chelsea Campbell
Published by EgmontUSA
352 Pages
Rating: A

*Also, thanks to all my followers! I reached 400 this week, and was super excited about it. Check back sometime in the next two weeks for a thank you contest.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (November 17)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Will Work for Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris

Planning for prom’s supposed to be fun—the dress, the accessories, the devastatingly handsome date—but Quigley Johnson never thought that agreeing to her best friend Ann’s Betterment Plan would ruin her life!

After a series of bizarre part-time jobs, the prospect of being a live model for a fashion-design class has Quigley ready to throw in the towel, until she meets Zander. He may not be able to sketch, but he’s smoking hot, cool and funny, and every outfit he creates might as well be made for her. But is he too good to be true? Then there’s David, the self-professed “Art King” whose competitiveness has always meant cutting Quigley down, until he sets his sights on making her his prom date and “Art Queen.” And this preparation for the formal was supposed to make Quigley and Ann even closer, but it’s tearing them apart! How will Quigley make it to prom, when she’s barely making it through high school?

Published by EgmontUSA
Release Date: February 8, 2011

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (November 16)

What is Teaser Tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"I had been bounced through the foster care system my whole life, until that fateful day when I was eight. I'd gotten tired of waiting for my newest foster mom to take me to the library, so I decided to go by myself."

Paranormalcy, page 13, by Kiersten White

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In My Mailbox (November 14)

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. All of the synopses you see below were found on Goodreads. Here are the books I got this week...

I didn't get anything new this week, but I found a few old favorites tucked away on my bookshelf. I also realized I never posted the books that I picked up during a library sale in October!

Book Sale -

Matilda by Roald Dahl


Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she's knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she's a super-nerd and the teacher's pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda's world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there's the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Mrs. ("The") Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.

The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love by Rosie Rushton

The Walker sisters have always lived a privileged life in their beloved Holly House in Sussex. Even though their father, Max Walker, has left the family to live with his new macrobiotic-food-obsessed trophy wife, Pandora, he has always doted on his girls. But then one day, reality crashes down around them when Max has a heart attack and passes away, uncovering the truth that he was knee deep in debt. The Walkers discover that their home is actually in Pandora's name and she decides she wants it back. So the family has to uproot their lives and move to the seaside town of Norfolk in an old cottage. What happens then?

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

For nineteen-year-old Harriet Morton, life in 1912 Cambridge is as dry and dull as a biscuit. Her stuffy father and her opressive aunt Louisa allow her only one outlet: ballet. When a Russian ballet master comes to class searching for dancers to fill the corps of his ballet company before their South American tour, Harriet’s world changes. Defying her father’s wishes and narrowly escaping the clutches of the man who wishes to marry her, Harriet sneaks off to join the ballet on their journey to the Amazon. There, in the wild, lush jungle, they perform Swan Lake in grand opera houses for the wealthy and culture-deprived rubber barons, and Harriet meets Rom Verney, the handsome and mysterious British exile who owns the most ornate opera house. Utterly enchanted by both the exotic surroundings and by Rom’s affections, Harriet is swept away by her new life, completely unaware that her father and would-be finacé have begun to track her down. . .

Books I rediscovered:

Dear America Series -
In September of 1996, Scholastic launched a new historical fiction series entitled DEAR AMERICA. Since that time the series has become highly popular prompting Scholastic to launch three companion series (MY NAME IS AMERICA, MY AMERICA, and THE ROYAL DIARIES) and the rest, as they say, is history.

In more than two dozen novels for DEAR AMERICA, the contributing authors have chosen important events or periods of American history and written about those times through the eyes of a young girl. Fact and fiction join together in the DEAR AMERICA diaries to give a unique perspective to the glorious, and sometimes not so glorious, moments in America's past. The young girls in this series are from all different backgrounds and each has a different story to tell. The novels also contain an "Historical Notes" section at the end that provides facts, photos, and other material highlighting the actual events that inspired their fictional stories.

I'm also debating rereading Deathly Hallows before I see the movie this week...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Review: The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green

*This review contains SOME spoilers, but the spoilers revealed don't ruin the plot/story.

When Erin Channing's favorite aunt dies, Erin is bequeathed a pink crystal ball and a set of five cryptic instructions. Grant, Aunt Kiki (aka Aunt Kooky) always lived "outside the box." But now Erin's two best friends, Samantha and Lindsay, are convinced that the pink crystal ball holds the key to Erin's future--and perhaps their own.

Part of Around the World ARC Tours

The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball was a fun read. I really enjoyed the characters, and thought they were realistic. Erin is the stick-to-the-book girl, Lindsay is the super nice one, and Samantha is the pretty one. Sounds pretty typical, right? Green did a good job of making the characters of the group unique in their designated roles. For example, Lindsay (super nice) is a reformed mean girl, who is now the victim of the new mean girl. I thought that was a nice twist, and something you don't really see in YA books. Basically, there are always mean girls in YA lit, but they rarely ever see the err of their ways. I just about died when Jesse told Erin that she didn't think outside of the box. It was the perfect thing to say to her, and his intent wasn't malicious. This was also when I officially connected with Erin. I will say that the reader never finds out if Erin does make it into the group for the Italy trip, it's implied, but you don't see happen. I personally enjoyed that aspect of the ending. I don't always need to see things to happen, and it was nice to give the reader the freedom to create their own ending for Erin.

As much as I enjoyed some parts of the book, the last scene left me with mixed feelings. The beauty of Erin's use of the crystal ball was that she had to figure out what the rules/powers were. Samantha's wish, however, sort of ruined the magic for me. Yes, I think that it fit her personality, but her wish should have been more meaningful. My other issue was that I really dislike it when there are meticulous descriptions of people/their outfits. That happened a few times in this one, and I just find it jarring, and unnecessary. All I need is a vague description, and my imagination can do the rest.

Overall, it was a cute, enjoyable read. I'll definitely have to pick up more from Green

The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball
By Risa Green
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
320 Pages
Rating: C

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (November 10)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Human .4 by Mike Lancaster

The Millgrove talent show has the same performances as any other small town — a cheesy ventriloquist, off-key karaoke singers, and bad dance routines. But after Kyle Straker is hypnotized as part of his friend’s mysterious new act, Millgrove will never be the same again.

When Kyle and the other volunteers awaken, the entire audience, the entire town, and possibly the entire world, is frozen still. Telephones, radios, televisions, and computers no longer work— only a strange language flashes across the screens. When everybody
suddenly wakes up, it becomes clear that they have changed—and that Kyle is now an outsider, one of the 0.4.

Is Kyle still under hypnosis, or is this chilling new world real? Will he awaken from a dream to roars of laughter, or is there something much more sinister happening?

One of the last of his kind, Kyle records his story on a series of cassette tapes, describing the shift, and what it means for the future of mankind.

Published by Egmont USA
Release Date: March 8, 2011

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (November 9)

What is Teaser Tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers.

"You would think it'd be easy to get alone with a person after she's dead. Not Paige."
-Give Up the Ghost, Page 1, by Megan Crewe

Monday, November 8, 2010

Avalon High Previews

I'll be honest, I haven't been interested in a new Disney Channel movie since I was a pre-teen. When I saw the preview for the adaptation of Meg Cabot's book, I actually thought to myself, "I'm going to watch that". Watch the preview below, and tune in this friday, November 12!



Sunday, November 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (November 7)

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. All of the synopses you see below were found on Goodreads. Here are the books I got this week...

When Erin Channing's favorite aunt dies, Erin is bequeathed a pink crystal ball and a set of five cryptic instructions. Grant, Aunt Kiki (aka Aunt Kooky) always lived "outside the box." But now Erin's two best friends, Samantha and Lindsay, are convinced that the pink crystal ball holds the key to Erin's future--and perhaps their own.

Part of Around the World ARC Tours









What did you get this week?

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