Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Blast from the Past

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 Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Synopsis: The action follows 11-year-old protagonist Lyra Belacqua, accompanied by her daemon, from her home at Oxford University to the frozen wastes of the North, on a quest to save kidnapped children from the evil 'Gobblers,' who are using them as part of a sinister experiment. Lyra also must rescue her father from the Panserbjorne, a race of talking, armored, mercenary polar bears holding him captive. Joining Lyra are a vagabond troop of gyptians (gypsies), witches, an outcast bear, and a Texan in a hot air balloon. (From Barnes and Noble)

I first read The Golden Compass in the sixth grade, and I remember loving it (despite my teacher mispronouncing daemon, and proceeding to get upset with me when I pronounced it correctly during my book report). It was one of the first fantasy books that I read, and Pullman seemed to transport me into another world.

Of course, I grew to appreciate the book more as I got older. When I was young, the experience of reading The Golden Compass was all about Lyra's adventure to find her father, Lord Asriel, and her friend Roger. Now that I'm older, I'm more aware of the different themes throughout the book. I find it interesting that this universe is ruled by the Church, yet the story talks about destiny, and the idea of parallel universes.

The Golden Compass remains one of my favorite childhood books because it still challenges me to think about the world, religion, and pursuit of knowledge.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review: A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker


When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can't get any worse. Then she marries her "husband": Jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona's long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer. Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

A Match Made in High School was a funny, light read. I picked it up during a break between paranormal books, and I was pleasantly surprised with it.

A Match Made in High School focuses on a "Marriage Education" program that pairs every senior up into a couple. In all honestly, this reminded me of some of the worst classes I've taken in high school/college. The ones I'm talking about are the ones that are meant to teach students some sort of "valuable life lesson", but fail to think of ways to connect with the students. In the book, it's obvious that certain members of the administration have some underlying issues that led to the implementation of this program.

Walker did a good job of showing how thin the line is between prank, and just being mean. At the start of the book, Todd's pranks were rather cruel. In fact, I would consider him to be somewhat of a bully. So, it was nice to see those pranks and insults become more like inside jokes, and a way of communicating with Fiona. I also appreciated that this book didn't take the typical teen romance route. When I received the book, I was worried that Fiona was going to end up with Todd the jock/jerk. The synopsis makes it obvious that there's more to him than just mean pranks and sports, and in many YA books this would mean that Fiona/Todd would be the natural pairing. I'm happy to say it didn't happen here, which made the characters a bit more realistic.

Overall, it's a great summer read! I can't wait to read more from Walker.

A Match Made in High School
By Kristin Walker
Published by Razorbill
278 Pages
Rating: C+/B-

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (July 28)

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

Zombies Vs Unicorns, Edited by Justine Larbalestier

It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths--for good and evil--of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

Published by
Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: September 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (July 27)

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

Phoebe looked out the grimy window of Adam's truck, scanning the woods and thinking about those kids and where they might have come from. Her sleep last night had been restless, and having Adam drive her to school today just made the events of last night seem even more surreal."
- Generation Dead, page 94, by Daniel Waters

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Huge TBR Readathon Update


Thanks to Kristen at Bookworming in the 21st Century for hosting the Huge TBR Readathon (take 2). While I didn't read as many as I would have liked, I did get through a couple books.

Books Read:
Matched by Ally Condie
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Accidentally Engaged by Mary Carter
Bite Me by Melissa Francis

Friday, July 23, 2010

Author Interview: Emma Michaels

Today I'm happy to host an interview with the author Emma Michaels. Her first book, The Thirteenth Chime, is being released August 13, 2010.

A Bit About Emma (from her website):

Emma Michaels was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, until she moved at eighteen to Washington State. Suddenly, the world was a new place filled with tall green trees that reached further for the sky with every moment, making her want to do the same. Ever since, she has tried to make her life something new and different from what it was before, pursuing her future career, setting high goals and reaching for them with every moment.

With her Debut novel, The Thirteenth Chime being released August 13th 2010 and future releases planned Emma Michaels aspires to one day make it to the top ten of the New York Times Best Sellers List. With her fianc├ę at her side and her small white Chihuahua, Hope, she writes, reads, reviews and tries to live everyday to its fullest, whether in the pages of a good book or reaching out to others.

A Bit About The Thirteenth Chime:

(I love, love, love this cover)

Synopsis:

No one knew of its existence until it was removed from the attic upstairs.

In a beautiful house that overlooks the sea, an antique clock has the power to change the course of their lives.

The power the clock resonates will not only force Destiny and ex-boyfriend David on a journey into the depths of one man's mind long dead, but into the mind of a man filled with hatred and bent on revenge.

With the only clues to the nature of the clock having disappeared into the sea, Destiny and David must retrace the steps the man had taken into the darkness, before they fall prey to the trap he had set in motion over half a century ago.


1. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing, and your journey to getting published?

A) Getting published was far more difficult for me than the process of writing my first book. My writing is aimed at a YA crowd and my debut novel, "The Thirteenth Chime", would be considered YA Paranormal/ Urban Fantasy and I am pleased to be sharing it with everyone. Getting here, as I said, was not very easy. When I first began querying for my novel, I started with agents. I received well over a hundred standard form rejections before I began trying publishers. There was such a difference! Now, I'm active every day working on the beginning of the book tour and getting ready for the official release date on Friday the 13th in August. I can't believe how fast it is coming. I am so grateful to Bokheim and all that they have done to make this a reality.


2. Before getting published, you were both a blogger, and a book reviewer. Has that influenced your writing, or how you've been marketing your first novel?

A) One of the best things about my journey to getting published is how supportive and wonderful all of my fellow bloggers and blog readers have been. I am very grateful for the support, especially as once my book was accepted everything began to pass by in a blur! But thank you everyone! I owe much of my success at getting published to all of you. I think that it has helped with marketing, especially since it has helped me understand better what I can do for fans and what they might enjoy since I can think back to all the things authors did that either put a smile on my face or just things that I thought were really sweet. Not many authors reach out the way that they could so I am really happy to be able to have such a close line of communication with my followers and hopefully future fans!


3. What was the hardest part of writing The Thirteenth Chime, the most exciting?

A) I think that the first few pages are the hardest for me, it is the start of the story and you can't help but want it to be perfect. The most exciting part was probably the end. I was typing so fast it felt like a blur of emotions! I loved writing The Thirteenth Chime and hopefully others will love reading it!!!


4. I love the cover of your book! Did you have any input as to what the cover image would be?

A) Yes I did! I was very fortunate in how Bokheim not only heard me out on my idea, but that they managed to procure exactly what I had envisioned in my head. I love the cover and I think it matches the book perfectly!


5. Can readers expect a sequel?

A) Definitely! I wasn't sure at first how great the response would be as, after all, this is my first book. But if "The Thirteenth Chime" continues to be as popular as it has been, fans can definitely expect a sequel in the series "A Sense of Truth".


6. What's the most recent book that you've read, and loved?

A) Beautiful Creatures - Loved it!

Thank you so much for having me and to everyone reading, your support means so much to me!!! I truly hope that you will enjoy "The Thirteenth Chime"!!!!

A huge thanks to Emma for taking the time to answer my questions! If you'd like to know more about Emma Michaels, or The Thirteenth Chime, you can click below:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review: Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

"Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than you...no one." Those were some of Rhode's last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face. It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste. Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust.

I never expected to fall in love with someone else that wasn't Rhode.
But Justin was...daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream.
I never expected to be sixteen again...then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me... (From Amazon)

I received Infinite Days after the buzz had started to build around the blogosphere. I was fairly excited about it, despite my current aversion to vampire YA fiction. I was tired of reading the same vampire story over and over, and this one seemed fairly unique. I enjoyed what I found, although I did have a few issues with the story. Still, I think vampire and paranormal fans will enjoy Maizel's first novel.

One thing that Maizel did particularly well was in describing the differences between humans and vampires. Reading Lenah's first human experiences after years of being a vampire was a very unique experience. I'm sure that even the biggest vampire enthusiasts will have to stop and think about the ramifications of giving up a human life to become a vampire. In on portion of the book, Lenah describes how vampires only have senses which will help them to catch their prey. So, for example, a vampire is unable to feel a silk blanket, nor do they experience emotions in the same way that humans do. I also appreciated the distinct lack of sugarcoating in this book. The vampires were vicious, and quite scary. From a psychology standpoint, I found it that it was interesting that the vampires still experienced love. Despite losing all their other human senses, it seemed as though their last thread of humanity was in that ability.

There were some aspects of the story that I would have liked more of. The story takes place in current day, and over the course of the book there are a series of scenes that take place during Lenah's vampire life. I guess I wanted to see more of Lenah's desire to be human. I felt like there was some part of that scene that was missing. I wasn't sure what her real motivation was, and I think a bit more depth to this scene could have changed that.

Infinite Days (Vampire Queen 1)
By Rebecca Maizel
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
310 Pages
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Rating: C

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (July 21)

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

Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund

Now a fully trained unicorn hunter, Astrid Llewelyn is learning that she can’t solve all her problems with a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend has left Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend’s powers are mysteriously disintegrating, and her hope of becoming a scientist seems to be nothing but an impossible dream.

So when she’s given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and use her skills as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she wants—or can she? At Gordian headquarters deep in France, Astrid begins to question everything she had believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and—most of all—her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns or saving unicorns from the world?

Published by HarperTeen
Release Date: September 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (July 20)

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

"The Agency had been created and was staffed entirely by women, and its genius lay in the exploitation of female stereotypes. Its secret agents disguised themselves as maids, governesses, clerks, lady companions, and other humble, powerless characters."
-The Agency: The Body at the Tower, Page 4, by Y.S. Lee

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Huge TBR Readathon


Kristen at Bookworming in the 21st Century is hosting the Huge TBR Readathon (take 2), and I'm going to participate this time! I've actually already gotten through one book (woohoo). The readathon starts today, and ends on July 25. I know that I should probably post a list of books that I want to read, but I don't want to rush through any books just to finish my list. I will, however, say that I'm currently reading Matched by Ally Condie, and next I plan to read The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.




Sunday, July 18, 2010

In My Mailbox (July 18)

In my mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Here are the books I got this week...

This week -

For Review (From the wonderful owners of The Flying Pig)

Matched by Ally Conde (Arc Edition/Published by Dutton/Release Date: November 30, 2010)

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Book Blast From the Past

I've decided to try a new feature on the occasional Saturday, which will feature some of my favorite older YA books. This feature was inspired by a post from 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 Alanna Series by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce's novels take up an entire shelf on my bookcase, and I thought she would be the perfect author to start this series. The Song of the Lioness series, or "The Alanna Series" as I call it, was first published in 1983, and every so often I see a new edition with some new covers. It's been over 10 years since I first read the Song of the Lioness series at the suggestion of my friend Sam, and I still own all my original paperback copies.

What makes this series, and author so great? Well, Pierce has a ton of great female heroines. You won't find any damsels in distress here. Alanna has to disguise herself as a boy throughout the series, because women aren't allowed to train to become knights. She proves, however, that she's just as strong as any of the boys she trains with.

Pierce also creates a great love interest. In the Song of the Lioness series, there are two very different, but equally interesting, love interests. They are the prince, Jon, and the rogue, George. I think I enjoyed their characters because Pierce wrote them with personalities. You won't find any bland "Disney princes" here (seriously, almost all of the early Prince Chamings looked the same). They both carry on lives that don't revolve around Alanna, and I still appreciate that.

Finally, these books display great storytelling. There are over 18 books that feature the Tortall universe, and I still want more! While almost all of the characters have four books dedicated to their stories, I never felt like the stories were exhausted.

Are there any older YA books that you love?

I'm also interested in people doing guest posts about their favorite books. So shoot me an email, or leave a comment if you'd be interested in doing so.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Review: Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White

*This review contains some very mild spoilers*

When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door, Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn't so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don't always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she's soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom. (From Goodreads)

Forget-Her-Nots
has been on my Debut Author Challenge list for quite some time. I couldn't wait to read it, but I was waiting for just the right time. That time came when I knew that I wanted a paranormal story with something more than vampires and werewolves.

Laurel has the ability to influence the emotions of people around her through flowers. This ability is shared with both her grandmother, and recently deceased mother. This gift, however, isn't one that comes easily. Laurel gets into quite a bit of trouble because she doesn't understand how powerful her abilities truly are. Of course, with numerous female classmates asking her to make them tussie-mussies, it's inevitable that emotions start running wild. What really made this book stand out was the use of the language of flowers, and creating a paranormal aspect to the story based on that language. In the Victorian era, flowers were used as a means of communication. When flowers were sent, they could convey love, friendship, gratitude, hatred, and more. So, I thought that tying this old custom into modern society, where flowers take a backseat to email, texts, and IM, was a really fresh idea.

While I didn't really connect with Laurel's grandmother, Cicely, there was a moment involving her that was particularly poignant. The reader finds out that Cicely having a hard time grieving for her daughter. In fact, she was so upset that she burned her entire garden to the ground. This was, for me, the most emotional part of the book. The reader doesn't even get to see it happen, but it was still heartbreaking.

I would have enjoyed a bit more interaction between Lauren and Justin. I had no problems with his character, but I really wanted to see their relationship develop more. I also wish that Laurel hand't fallen into the "ditching friends" category that's so common in YA literature. Yes, it does happen, but I didn't really think that it was necessary in the story.

Overall, it was a light, interesting read. No tired paranormal clich├ęs here!I'm happy to know a bit more about the true meanings of flowers. I actually used the guide in the back of the book, and on the author's website to help build a gratitude bouquet for my advisor before I graduated from college.

Forget-Her-Nots
By Amy Brecount White
Published by Greenwillow Books
384 Pages
Rating: B

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (July 14)

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

Matched by Ally Conde
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.

Published by Dutton
Release Date: November 30, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (July 12)

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 dream about fields, dark tunnels, but nothing is clear. I dream that a dark shape puts me in the crib, puts a hand over my mouth, and whispers in my ear."

-The Replacement, Page 1, by Brenna Yovanoff

Saturday, July 10, 2010

In My Mailbox (July 11)

In my mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Here are the books I got this week...

For Review:

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret - he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants.

A month ago, Mackie might have told them to buzz off. But now, with a budding relationship with tough, wounded, beautiful Tate, Mackie has too much to lose. Will love finally make him worthy of the human world?

Part of Traveling Arc Tours

Purchased:

The Reckoning (Darkest Powers #3) by Kelley Armstrong

Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now, along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I’m on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We’re hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We’ll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we’d left behind and to take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope.





Deadly Little Secrets by Laurie Faria Stolarz


Some secrets shouldn't be kept...

Until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades, an okay relationship with her parents, and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when a mysterious boy named Ben starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe he's trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. Instead, she's inexplicably drawn to Ben and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help--but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret.

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents' marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude.

When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.

Alexis wants to think that it's all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening--to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she's the only person who can stop Kasey -- but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore?

Blogoversary Contest Winners!

It's time to post the winners of my blogoversary contest! I got a lot more entries than I was anticipating, and a lot more blog buttons, too. A huge thanks to Audrey, Katie, Shy, Jen, Fiona, and Aik for creating some fabulous blog buttons for me. You can check them out at the top of my page, or by clicking here. Now, on to the winners:
1st Prize (Winner of the Private Series books 1-9):
SARAH L

2nd Prize:
KATE

4th Prize:
LEA

5th Prize:
SAB H

6th Prize:
JESSICA

7th Prize:
ANDREA

8th Prize:
HEATHER

9th Prize:
TERESA

10 D0llar Amazon GC Winner:
AUDREY

International Winner:
REBECCA

Build A Button Winner:
FIONA

Congratulations to all the winners! I'll be emailing each of you with the details, and need to hear back within 48 hours of sending it out. If I don't hear from you, another winner will have to be chosen.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blogoversary Contest Update

Since my blogoversary contest ended on June 30, and it is now July 9, I thought I would just post a little update. I'm hoping to have a winners list up tomorrow at the latest. I'll be emailing the winners with details around the time that post goes up.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and sorry for taking so long to total up the entries!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mini Book Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself. (From Goodreads)

I read quite a few reviews of this one before I picked it up. Some were good, others bad, and there were a few smack dab in the middle. In an effort to avoid repeating everything all the other reviews have said, I'm just going to briefly share my general thoughts on the plot and characters.

I really liked the idea behind the plot. Violet can sense dead bodies that are the result of murder. This ability doesn't just work with animals, Violet can sense human bodies as well. She hears their "echoes" calling out to her, and can also sense their imprints upon their murderers. I thought that knowing a murderer would always carry the imprints of those they had killed was a particularly thought-provoking part of the story.

As I said above, my main issue was that I didn't connect with the characters. I'm not sure what it was exactly, but for some reason I didn't really agree with some of Violet's choices (particularly involving Jay). Had I been able to connect to someone, I think my rating for this book would have increased.

The Body Finder
By Kimberly Derting
Published by HarperTeen
Rating: C

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (July 7)

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

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiance and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her before they go their separate ways forever. A very distant cousin of his has died and left North as the guardian of two orphans who have driven out three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs a very special person to take care of the situation and he knows Andie can handle anything…

When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children, Carter and Alice, aren’t your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. What’s worse, Andie’s fiance thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back, and he may be right. Andie’s dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that’s not the only haunting…
What follows is a hilarious adventure in exorcism, including a self-doubting parapsychologist, an annoyed medium, her Tarot-card reading mother, an avenging ex-mother-in-law, and, of course, her jealous fiance. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get more complicated, North shows up on the doorstep making her wonder if maybe this time things could be different between them.

If Andie can just get rid of all the guests and ghosts, she’s pretty sure she can save the kids, and herself, from the past. But fate might just have another thing in mind… (From Goodreads)

Published by St. Martin's Press
Release Date: August 31, 2010

I love Crusie's books, and I'm glad she's releasing a new solo book (the past few that she's written have been co-authored)!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (July 6)

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've been reading some poetry lately, and instead of posting a teaser from the current YA novel I'm reading, I thought's I'd post one of the poems.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
-Robert Frost

It's one of his most popular poems, and was inspired by Dante's Inferno.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

In My Mailbox (July 4)

In my mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Here are the books I got this week...

For Review:

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel (ARC edition/Published by St Martin's Griffin/Release Date
: August 3, 2010)

"Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than you...no one." Those were some of Rhode's last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face. It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste. Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust.

I never expected to fall in love with someone else that wasn't Rhode.
But Justin was...daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream.
I never expected to be sixteen again...then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me... (From Amazon)

I'm pretty excited about this one, I've only heard good things so far.


Purchased:


Barnes and Noble was having their red dot sale last week, and aside from Sizzling Sixteen, they were all 2.99 or less. I'm not going t
o post each book's full synopsis, but I will link to Goodreads.

Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich

It’s summertime in Jersey And all across the land It’s time for Summer Reading And working on your tan. But no vacation can start Or go off without a hitch Unless you’ve packed your bag With the latest Evanovich. Yes, it’s time for Stephanie and gang To get up to their old antics With Grandma, Lula, Connie too— (Partial Synopsis from Goodreads)

Bite Me by Melissa Francis

AJ Ashe isn't your typical seventeen-year-old vampire—as if there is such a thing! She's stuck in the middle of a huge fight between her two BFFs. Her ex-boyfriend—whom she's still totally in love with, by the way—is now her stepbrother. A former classmate—who, um, she may or may not have turned into a vampire—is stalking her. And now, apparently, the fate of humankind lies in her little undead hands. What ever happened to the good old days, when all a vampire girl had to worry about was the occasional zit and hiding her taste for blood? (From Goodreads)


Jennifer's Body by Audrey Nixon
Someone needed to put a stop payment on Jennifer Check. Some people find it hard to believe that a babe like Jennifer Check would associate with a dork like me, Needy Lesnicki. But we had history. We'd been the Wonder Twins since we were preverbal, and sandbox love never dies. Or at least that's what I thought. But after that night in the woods, Jennifer was different. She looked different. And then the killings began. . . . A lot of people ask me if I'm sorry I did it. I'm only sorry I didn't do it sooner. (From Goodreads)

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

Phoebe Kendall is just your typical Goth girl with a crush. He's strong and silent...and dead.

All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren't staying dead. But when they come back to life, they are no longer the same. Feared and misunderstood, they are doing their best to blend into a society that doesn't want them. (Partial Synopsis from Goodreads)


Little Lady Agency and the Prince by Hester Browne

Hester Browne created a unique heroine in Melissa Romney-Jones a.k.a. Honey, London's ultimate freelance girlfriend, who won the hearts of readers on both sides of the Atlantic in her "charming and feel-good"(Cosmopolitan) and "funny and original" (People) earlier adventures. (Partial Synopsis from Goodreads)


Friday, July 2, 2010

Deception Giveaway Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest for copies of Deception by Lee Nichols. The winners were chosen by random.org, and they are:

JESSY

and

MICHELLE

Congratulations, I've sent you both emails with the details!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her. (From Goodreads)

Sophie Mercer is both a witch, and an outsider. She's not a particularly knowledgeable witch, as the reader finds out soon after the book begins. Of course, it isn't really Sophie's fault that she cast an out-of-control love spell. Her powers come from her father, who she has very little contact with. While her mom is understanding, as a mortal she is unable to teach Sophie to use and control her gifts. Sophie is also extremely funny. There were quite a few scenes in the book that had me laughing aloud. The most memorable in my mind happened when Sophie arrived at Hecate Hall (aka Hex Hall). Sophie's getting charged by a werewolf, and instead of screaming and running in the other direction, she shouts, "BAD DOG!" (Page 19). Her roommate, Jenna, was another great character. She's the only vampire student at Hecate, and is an outsider herself.

I also enjoyed the plot of the book. What I appreciated most was Hawkins ability to create paranormal characters who weren't cliche. She made each prodigium (witches/faeries/werewolves/etc) into a character who was more than their gift. I found it especially nice to read about Jenna. She was a vampire who drank blood, and Sophie saw that (no sparkly vamps here). I also enjoyed learning the history of the prodigium. Without giving too much away, I thought this story was particularly unique. Of course, the book was also filled with suspense, a bit of romance, and some great twists.

This was a great debut by Hawkins. It's a suspenseful, funny story that has substance. Now, I just have to wait until spring 2011 for the sequel.

Hex Hall
By Rachel Hawkins
Published by Hyperion
336 Pages
Rating: B+

Copyright ©2009-2013 Cornucopia of Reviews. All Rights Reserved.