Friday, April 30, 2010

Author Interview: Kay Cassidy


Kay Cassidy is the author of teen fiction she wishes was based on her real life. She is the founder of the national Great Scavenger Hunt ContestTM reading program for kids and teens and the host of the inspirational Living Your FiveTM web project. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, movies, music, and reading. Lots and lots of reading. She hopes her debut YA novel, THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY (April 13, 2010 - Egmont), will help girls embrace their inner Cindy.

1. In The Cinderella Society, the Cindys work to combat the Wickeds. What inspired these two secret societies?

The Cinderella Society actually came from a magazine article about high school sororities. I'd never heard of that before and, once I started thinking about the kind of society I would create if I could, I realized I would want it to be an organization devoted to fighting the everyday battle of good vs. evil. The idea snowballed from there and The Cinderella Society was born.

2. The Cinderella Society contains a lot of positive messages about self-image, friendship, and cliques. Do you think these messages will have a positive impact on your readers?

I really hope so. I get a lot of email about the book that addresses those issues, actually. I've even had people tell me how using The Rule of Fives has made a difference in their lives. That's so cool! I use that one too. :-)

3. In your opinion, what's the hardest part involved with writing YA fiction?

I think that's different for every author… and sometimes for each book too. For me, I tend to write first drafts that are dialogue and action driven. I have to consciously go back and layer in description and sensory details because that's not what I'm thinking of when I'm first drafting. I'm just thinking of the characters and action as it appears in my head. It's almost like tunnel vision – I don't even think about where they are half the time because I'm so focused on how they're interacting with each other. It's only when I'm editing that I can see the bigger picture of the scene and bring that to the page more fully.

4.I know that I personally can't wait to learn more about Jess. Is there any possibility that a sequel could hit the shelves?

Right now, I'm working on the sequel to The Cinderella Society, titled Cindy on a Mission. It follows the further adventures of Jess and the Sisters as the Wickeds launch an offensive that threatens everything the Cindys hold dear. Cindy on a Mission will be on shelves in Spring 2011.

5. You're a creator, and active member of Living Your FiveTM, which focuses on making the world a better place. Can you briefly explain what LYF is, and do you have any suggestions for people who want to participate?

Living Your FiveTM is about choosing the five ways you want to make a difference in the world and then living your life according to those priorities. I created the concept in 2008 as a way to keep myself focused on what matters most when life gets crazy. It worked so well for me that I invited Alyson Noel and Tera Lynn Childs to join forces and create an inspirational web project where we share our progress on living our Fives. We encourage everyone to climb aboard and share their own Fives on their blogs too! All the details can be found at including how to become an Honorary Fiver. The more, the merrier!

More about Kay's book, The Cinderella Society:


What a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn't want to wear it anymore?

Sixteen year old Jess Parker has always been an outsider. So when she receives an invitation to join The Cinderella Society, a secret society of the most popular girls in school, it's like something out of a fairy tale. Swept up by the Cindys' magical world of makeovers, and catching the eye of her Prince Charming, Jess feels like she's finally found her chance to fit in.

Then the Wickeds--led by Jess's arch-enemy--begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers there's more to being a Cindy than reinventing yourself on the outside. She has unknowingly become part of a centuries-old battle of good vs. evil, and now the Cindys in charge need Jess for a mission that could change everything.

Overwhelmed, Jess wonders if The Cinderella Society made a mistake in choosing her. Is it a coincidence her new boyfriend doesn't want to be seen with her in public? And is this glamorous, secret life even what she wants, or will she risk her own happy ending to live up to the expectations of her new sisters?


I opened the card, my hands trembling in dread and the faint remnants of what I used to call hope, as a tiny silver high-heel pin bounced into my hand.

I juggled the pin for a second, barely managing to keep it from falling, and flipped open the note with my other hand. The words inside were not a message but an invitation that sent shivers down my spine:

Your presence is requested at The Grind.

Tonight, 7 p.m.

Wear the pin.

Discretion MANDATORY.

A huge thanks to Kay for answering my questions. You can check out my review of The Cinderella Society Here

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Book Review: The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy

When the Prom Queen becomes your fairy godmother…

Sixteen year old outsider, Jess Parker, gets the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to join a secret society
of popular girls dedicated to defeating the mean girls of the world. The Cinderella Society guides all new recruits through its top secret ultimate life makeover. It’s all part of preparing them to face down the Wickeds and win. Determined not to let the Cindys down, Jess dives in with a passion. Finally, a chance to belong and show the world what she’s made of.

…be careful what you wish for.

Jess’s transformation wins her the heart of her dream crush and a shot at uber-popularity. Until the Wickeds–led by Jess’s arch enemy–begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers the real force behind her exclusive society. It’s a high stakes battle of good vs. evil, and the Cindys in power need Jess on special assignment. When the mission threatens to destroy her dream life come true, Jess is forced to choose between living a fairy tale and honoring the Sisterhood… and herself.
What’s a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn’t want to wear it anymore? (From Goodreads)

I'll begin with Jess, the protagonist, and my favorite character. She was a great character for a few reasons. She was smart, and she had flaws. At the start of the book, Jess is fairly self-conscious, and is skeptical when the popular girls include her in their yearly sleepover. As the book progresses, Jess becomes more confident, and sure of herself. Cassidy did a great job of making Jess easy to relate to. Even as a senior in college, I was able to understand and sympathize with some of her insecurities.

Lexy, Jess's archenemy, is one of the Wickeds. Unlike the Cindys (the society in which Jess belongs), the Wickeds don't think about the consequences of their actions, and thrive on manipulation. In short, they're bullies. I'll admit that Lexy does her fair share of cruel things over the course of the story, but I had a hard time hating her. In fact, some information is revealed toward the end of The Cinderella Society that actually made me pity her. Lexy was the younger sister of Ryan, the prince charming of the story. He was an interesting character, too. He seemed to be the perfect, popular, chivalrous guy, but he had some secrets and insecurities of his own.

The plot was definitely unique, and Cassidy was able to promote kindness, community service, friendship, and self-love. She managed to do all this without preaching to the reader. Personally, I finished the book with a few ideas about how I could be more like a Cindy. I'll be trying to cut back on my Wicked Chatter (gossip, putting others/myself down), and using The Rule of Fives when something embarrassing or stressful happens. The one thing I would have liked to see more of is the wickeds. Readers get to see how they manipulate others through Lexy, but I wish I knew more. I'd really have liked to see into Athena, the headquarters of the Wickeds. I'm confident that we'll get to see more about them in the sequel, so it didn't detract from my reading.

Overall, I loved this book. The characters were realistic, and relatable. No character was perfect, and Jess wasn't a damsel in distress. I personally think that girls today are socialized to be self-deprecating. Honestly, how many of you say, or hear friends say "I'm so fat". It was refreshing to read a book with some great girl-power messages. This is definitely one I'll be passing on to my teen sister, and my friends.

The Cinderella Society
By Kay Cassidy
Published by EgmontUSA
320 Pages
Rating: A

Don't forget to stop back tomorrow, when I'll be posting an interview with the author!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (April 28)

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

StarCrossed by by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Gerse, dodging the Greenmen who have banned all magic. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she has to get out of the city, fast, and hides herself in a merry group of nobles to do so. Accepted as a lady's maid to shy young Merista Nemair, Digger finds new peace and friendship at the Nemair stronghold--as well as plenty of jewels for the taking. But after the devious Lord Daul catches her in the act of thievery, he blackmails her into becoming his personal spy in the castle, and Digger soon realizes that her noble hosts aren't as apolitical as she thought... that indeed, she may be at the heart of a magical rebellion. (From Goodreads)

Published by Arthur A. Levine Books
Release Date: October 1, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (April 27)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the
Grab your current read...

Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers

"When I'd thought about what being a double meant, I'd imagined, vaguely, that I would be used as a decoy to throw off the paparazzi when she went to events or stuff like that. Like a stunt double. Not once did I ever think she actually wanted me to pretend to be her."
-My Double Life, Page 38, By Janette Rallison

This is based on the ARC edition, and quotes are subject to change

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Movie Trailer on Monday

As I'm sure many of you know, the movie Beastly is going to be released July 30th. It's based on the book by Alex Flinn, and stars Vanessa Hudgens, Alex Pettyfer, and Mary-Kate Olsen. Plus, Neil Patrick Harris is in it (who else loved Dr. Horrible?).

Here's the trailer (sadly the whole thing doesn't fit in my layout, but I don't think anything too important gets cut off):

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (April 25)

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

Around the World Tours:

My Double Life by Janette Rallison (Arc Edition, Published by Putnam Juvenile, Release Date: May 13)

Her whole life, Alexia Garcia has been told that she looks just like pop star Kari Kingsley, and one day when Alexia’s photo filters through the Internet, she’s offered a job to be Kari’s double. This would seem like the opportunity of a lifetime, but Alexia’s mother has always warned her against celebrities.

Rebelliously, Alexia flies off to L.A. and gets immersed in a celebrity life. Not only does she have to get used to getting anything she wants, she romances the hottest lead singer on the charts, and finds out that her own father is a singing legend. Through it all, Alexia must stay true to herself, which is hard to do when you are pretending to be somebody else! (from Goodreads)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Book Review: Plus by Veronica Chambers

This is the unbelievable story of how I went to college, gained twenty-five pounds, got dumped by my boyfriend, failed physics and became a world famous supermodel.”

So begins the Cinderella story of Beatrice Wilson, whose life changes overnight when she’s discovered by a scout for the oldest, most prestigious modeling agency in America—for their plus-sized division.

Now she must find the confidence to vanquish skinny rivals, fend off sleazy photographers, and banish scheming frenemies in her rise to superstardom, all while trying to get her ex-boyfriend back. But Bea learns that to win prince charming, you first have to find a way to love yourself. (From Goodreads)

I thought that I'd review this one in a different format from my typical reviews. I had a lot of digesting to do after this one, and while I could rant about the topic of "plus-size" models, I really want my review to focus on the book.

What I liked: I liked how the book handled the issue of self-confidence. It gave me the impression that women shouldn't apologize for being plus-size, and that all women should embrace the bodies they have. Bee was given an exercise routine, which I thought also had a nice message (you don't need to be super-thin, but you should develop healthy habits). I liked Bee, to a point, and I loved Chela, Bee's closest friend. Chela became an important support for Bee, and encouraged her to get out of her comfort zone.

What I didn't like: Brian, and some of Bee's choices involving him. He was a horrible jerk, and I wish that Bee had realized what a disrespectful guy he was before he started to get in the way of her job. I also didn't like that Bee started bailing on her friends for her modeling pals. I'm a firm believer of being able to split time between friends. The story was also fairly predictable once Bee was recruited to model. This was a bit of a bummer for me, because I had enjoyed the first portion of the book. Finally, there was a scene in the book where a character gets drugged, and there aren't really any serious consequences for this. While this obviously happens in reality, I really wanted that character to find a way to get some retribution.

Overall, it was a decent read. There were a few things that bothered me over the course of the book, but Bee remained a fairly likable character.

By Veronica Chambers
Published by Razorbill
304 Pages
Rating: C

This review is based on the ARC edition, and the plot, etc is subject to change

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Forget-Her-Nots Swag Giveaway (Closed)

I've got some extra Forget-Her-Nots Swag sent to me by the awesome Amy Brecount White, and I thought I'd hold a short contest for those who want to enter. I'll be giving the swag away to three winners, and yes, those are temporary tattoos (really, who can say no to those).

Contest Closed!

This contest will be short, open until April 29, 2010
This contest is also open internationally!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (April 21)

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

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan

Seventeen-year-old Bronwen Oliver doesn't just want a family. She has one of those, and there's nothing terribly wrong with them apart from bickering grandparents, an image-obsessed mother and a brother she describes simply as Jesus. But there's no natural sense of connection between Bronwen and her family, leaving her with the belief -- and the hope -- that she was switched at birth, that she was never supposed to be Bronwen Oliver but someone else entirely.

When she begins dating college senior Jared Sondervan, she finds herself thoroughly embraced by the loving family she has always wanted and does not hesitate to say yes when Jared proposes on her 18th birhday. Plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her junior year of college become plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her freshman year of college. And a wedding so soon isn't exactly what Bronwen wants. But Jared is. And his family is. Or so she thinks.

Before Bronwen can determine what she truly wants, she must first determine who she truly is, and the answer, she discovers, is only partially what she thought it was. She wasn't switched at birth, but she's also not Bronwen Oliver and hasn't been for a very long time. (From Goodreads)

Published by Arthur A. Levine Books
Release Date: June 1, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (April 20)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the
Grab your current read...

Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers

"After starting my fifth year of lessons at the Magician's Keep, I had hoped to be able to do more with my magic. Pazia's abilities had grown so much since we sat next to each other during our very first session that the Master Magicians considered allowing her to take the Master-level test."

-Storm Glass, Page 8, by Maria V. Snyder

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In My Mailbox (April 18)

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


Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White

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)

What did you get this week?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Book Review: Runaway (Airhead 3) by Meg Cabot

Emerson Watts is on the run: from school, from work, from her family, from her friends, from herself.

With everyone she loves furious with her for something she can't explain, and nothing but the live Stark Angel fashion show on New Year's Eve to look forward to, Em's reached the end of her rope. . .what's the point of even going on?

But when she discovers the truth about Nikki's secret, she knows there's only one person she can turn to.

Will Christopher be able to put aside his personal feelings and help her expose her employer to the world? Is it even fair to get Christopher involved--since if he agrees, there's every chance that Stark Enterprises will try to have them both killed--this time, permanently?

Maybe it would be better for Em to just keep on running.

Part of Around the World Tours - Review is based on ARC edition, and is subject to change

Runaway is the final book in the Airhead series, and it wrapped everything up nicely. At the end of the previous book, Being Nikki, we find out that it wasn't a coincidence that Nikki was struck down at the Stark Megastore all those months ago. We're also now aware that Mr. Stark, CEO of Stark, is hiding a huge secret. Em is forced to work together with her ex, Brandon, in an attempt to take Stark down, and to keep everyone she cares about safe.

The action starts back up the moment Runaway begins. Em is on a "secret love getaway" (more like a hostage situation), as she and Brandon try to figure out what secrets Nikki knew about Stark. As with the previous two books in the series, Cabot mixes some humor, and romance in with the action. I also really noticed the changes that Em had made over the course of the three books. She was still as smart as she had been in the first book, but she was definitely more sure of herself. She's gone from an outcast, to someone with caring friends (the fabulous Lulu, Stephen, Gabriel Luna, etc).

I adore Meg Cabot, and while the first two books in the series weren't my favorite of her books, I was pleasantly surprised at how this book wrapped the story up. What I love most about Cabot's books is her ability to add humor to her stories, and her likable characters. Plus, she has a hilarious blog. I know, I found like a fangirl...but it's true! So, even though there are some tense parts in Runaway, I laughed quite a bit. I do wish that the ending had been drawn out a little bit more, but that was my only complaint.

By Meg Cabot
Published by Scholastic
Release Date: April 20, 2010
352 Pages
Rating: B+

Check out Meg Cabot's Blog

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (April 14)

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

Changeless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti, now Lady Maccon, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears -- leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.

But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her into the backwaters of ugly waistcoats, Scotland, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only a soulless can.

She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

Published by Orbit

Ok, so I cheated a bit this week. This one came out March 30th. I just wanted a chance to highlight it, because I enjoyed the first book so much.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (April 13)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the
Grab your current read...

Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers

"Somewhere in the castle, something crashed and shattered, but the sound was muffled and Annie couldn't tell its direction. "Help!" she yelled to the guards."

-Page 25, The Wide-Awake Princess, by E.D. Baker (from the ARC edition, subject to change)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

In My Mailbox (April 11)

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

For Review:

The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker
(Published by Bloomsbury USA/Release Date: April 27, 2010)

In this new stand-alone fairy tale, Princess Annie is the younger sister to Gwen, the princess destined to be Sleeping Beauty. When Gwennie pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie is awake, and only Annie—blessed (or cursed?) with being impervious to magic—can venture out beyond the rose-covered hedge for help. She must find Gwen’s true love to kiss her awake.

But who is her true love? The irritating Digby? The happy-go-lucky Prince Andreas, who is holding a contest to find his bride? The conniving Clarence, whose sinister motives couldn’t possibly spell true love? Joined by one of her father’s guards, Liam, who happened to be out of the castle when the sleeping spell struck, Annie travels through a fairy tale land populated with characters both familiar and new as she tries to fix her sister and her family...and perhaps even find a true love of her own.

A huge thanks to E.D. Baker and Kate at Bloomsbury for this one! I'm loving it so far.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review: Firespell by Chloe Neill

As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…

When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.

The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.

Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…

I picked up Firespell after seeing it on numerous blogs, and added it to my 2010 Debut Author Challenge list. I'm still debating how I feel about the story, because there were things that I really enjoyed, and a few things that pulled me out of the story.

What I enjoyed most were the strong characters in the book. In particular, I thought that Lily was a strong, mature girl. She reacted pretty reasonably to being completely uprooted and shipped off to a prestigious boarding school. Lily was befriended almost immediately by one of her roommates, Scout. She was another strong character. She a loyal friend to Lily, despite only knowing her for a short time, and she had made the choice to use her abilities in a positive way. There was also a group of mean-spirited popular girls, nicknamed "the brat pack" , who served to make life more miserable for Scout and Lily. By the end of the book I realized that the brat pack was relatively harmless. Obviously they were obnoxious, but they paled in comparison to the real villains of the story.

My main issue with the book was the pacing of the story. Despite the interesting characters, the plot was slow-moving for almost half of the book. While this lack of action gave me a lot of time to learn about Lily, and to question what was really happening at St. Sophia's, I would have enjoyed a bit more action. Firespell ends in a setup for a sequel, and I'm fairly certain that the issue of pacing won't be an issue. I would like to learn a little bit more about the individual abilities of the Adepts. I'm also looking forward to Lily confronting her parents about their lies.

I'll be reading book 2, and it's a worthwhile read if you don't mind a slow start.

By Chloe Neill
Published by Signet
256 Pages
Rating: C+

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (April 7)

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

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal.

Normal is so overrated.

Published by HarperTeen
Release Date: October 1, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (April 6)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the
Grab your current read...

Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Don't include spoilers

Oh, hey, Brandon," he added, casually. "You know your Lamborghini is on fire, right?"

- Runaway, Page 19, by Meg Cabot (ARC edition, subject to change)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In My Mailbox (April 4)

Happy Easter!

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

Won from Amy Brecount White's Spread the Flower Lo
ve Blog Tour:

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.

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.

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

Everyone has secrets. Some are just bigger and dirtier than others. For sixteen years, Lucy has kept her mother's hoarding a secret. She's had to -- nobody would understand the stacks of newspapers and mounds of garbage so high they touch the ceiling and the rotting smell that she's always worried would follow her out the house. After years of keeping people at a distance, she finally has a best friend and maybe even a boyfriend if she can play it right. As long as she can make them think she's normal. When Lucy arrives home from a sleepover to find her mother dead under a stack of National Geographics, she starts to dial 911 in a panic, but pauses before she can connect. She barely notices the filth and trash anymore, but she knows the paramedics will. First the fire trucks, and then news cameras that will surely follow. No longer will they be remembered as the nice oncology nurse with the lovely children -- they'll turn into that garbage-hoarding freak family on Collier Avenue. With a normal life finally within reach, Lucy has only minutes to make a critical decision. How far will she go to keep the family secrets safe?

Some fun Forget-Her-Nots Swag:

Thanks again, Amy!

What did you get this week?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Review: Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis

This review may contain some very (very, very) minor spoilers.

I’d love a cup of coffee. I wish she knew how pretty she was. I wish I could drop this kid in the dryer sometimes. I just want her to be happy. I hope she didn’t find out what Ben said about her. I wish I knew how many calories were in a bite of muffin…

Joy is used to hearing Whispers. She’s used to walking down the street and instantly knowing people’s deepest, darkest desires. She uses this talent for good, to make people happy and give them what they want. But for her older sister, Jessica, the family gift is a curse, and she uses it to make people’s lives—especially Joy’s—miserable. Still, when Joy Hears Jessica whisper: I want to kill my Hearing dead, and kill me too if that’s what it takes, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means deserting her friends, stealing a car and running away with a boy she barely knows—a boy who may have a dark secret of his own.

Joy's ability has always been a positive factor in her life. She uses it to help those around her, and tends to heard fairly shallow Whispers (thoughts). Unlike her older sister, Icka, she has a group of friends, and is on good terms with their mother. Icka, on the other hand, haters her power. She hears the negative Whispers. The self-conscious, jealous, or angry thoughts of the people around her. This has led her to loathe her ability, and to distance herself from everyone. Joy often feels that Icka is trying to ruin her life, and at first it seems that she is. Icka gets in the way of her friendships, and keeps warning her that her power is going to cause her problems. At the start of the book, I thought Joy was right. Upon reading more, I realized that it was more complicated than that.

What I most enjoyed about this book was the relationship between joy and Icka. While at first I thought Icka genuinely hated Joy, it became apparent that she was only trying to protect her. As an older sister, I can understand the mindset Icka was in when she thought that making her sister miserable would help her. Despite this, when Joy hears Icka's frightening Whisper, she knows she has to help her. I know that if the situation had been reversed, Icka would have dropped everything to help Joy, too.

I was torn about Joy's character as I started the book. She used her power to help others, but sometimes it was at the expense of her own feelings and choices. For example, the loner Jamie leaves her a flower on her birthday (sweet, right?), but she ends up throwing it away because her friends don't approve. She is able to hear some negative Whispers about him, and she would rather her friends be happy. Despite this, proving that Jamie is a nice guy, she hears him Whisper that he just wants her to be happy.

The beginning of the book is slow. It's completely dedicated to introducing the characters, and what Whispers are. By the time the action started, I couldn't imagine how everything could wrap up in the pages I had left. When the action started, however, it really picked up! I don't think I set the book down at all once I hit the last third of the story, because I had to know what happened. The ending also left some things open, but Kitanidis is working a sequel, according to her Goodreads page.

Overall, I enjoyed the unique premise,
despite the slow start, once the action picked up I couldn't put it down. There are also a few questions I'm looking forward to having answered in the sequel.

By Phoebe Kitanidis
Published by Balzer + Bray
320 Pages
Rating: B

*This review is based off of the unedited ARC edition. Some portions of the story are subject to change

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