31 May 2011

YA Book Review: Between Here and Forever

Between Here and Forever
By Elizabeth Scott

Release Date: 24 May 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: S&S Galley Grab

Buy It!
B&N | Amazon | Book Depository

Goodreads Description:

Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible. Until the accident.

Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her. She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen. Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could...

Thoughts, Musings, Ramblings...

Before I get into my thoughts on this one, I have to say upfront that I have quite the love affair with angst-ridden teenagers working through some difficult things, falling in love for the first time, and finding some semblance of self-worth.  I (apparently) have a thing about story involved dead/dying girls as well, as I would rank The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and If I Stay by Gayle Forman among my absolute favorite books.   This was my first Elizabeth Scott book and I was excited to read it as a break from the paranormal reading that I've been doing.  I was looking for a breath of fresh air and hoping for a Gayle Forman style story that would sweep me away--make me laugh, cry, love, and live with the characters.  I wouldn't say that I was disappointed but I don't think that it quite lived up to my expectations.

Abby is a fairly typical self-deprecating younger sister living in the shadow of her "amazing" older sister.  Throughout the story, I honestly wanted to slap her more times than I can count and tell her to open her eyes.  Her insecurity is pounded into your head throughout the entire book, and honestly, it made me almost completely unable to get behind her as an MC.

Tess is, in Abby's mind, the girl who everyone likes and I have to admit that I felt like I got to know her more through the story that I did Abby.  As Abby learned about the Tess she didn't know, I did too and I really liked her.  She was a teenager dealing with a lot of emotional difficulties and tough choices.  I loved how Tess was unveiled slowly throughout the story.

Eli....oh Eli.  Eli was such a real, fabulous love interest and friend.  His character was beyond well-developed and I loved the dynamic that he brought to the story.  Again, I don't want to give too much away, but suffice it to say that Eli is awesome.  You will fall in love with him.

What this book does fantastically is bring in diversity and sexuality in such a seamless way that it doesn't come across as preachy or forced or any of the things that often happen when an author tries too hard to do those things.  I don't want to spoil anything so I'll leave it at that but be prepared for a well-rounded cast of characters.

Overall, I might recommend this to contemporary fans who can hack the self-deprecating MC.  It's a quick read and it definitely has its redeeming qualities.

30 May 2011

Graveminder Winner

WooHoo!  I love giving books away and what a nice way to celebrate a long weekend!  It's time to announce the who has won my giveaway for a brand new copy all their own of Graveminder by Melissa Marr!

And the winner is...

Congrats!  Thanks to all who entered and look for more giveaway opportunities in the future!

**The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email informing him/her of the win.  Should he/she not respond, a new winner will be chosen. All winners are chosen using Random.org**

25 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (12)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we can share upcoming book releases that we are eagerly awaiting! (And this AWESOME button is from Lindsay at The Violet Hour!)
This week I'm waiting on...

Watched by Sharde Richardson
© 30 May 2011

Goodreads description:
Mikayla doesn’t want much: just to rock out to her favorite band, become the next Kwiki Stop video gaming champion, and keep her Q-tip habit under control. What she does want is the sight of the sudden inexplicable dark auras around everyone to stop. Problem is, those auras are demons and Mikayla is the last trait holder with the power to ban them. Which is a total buzz kill.

To make matters worse, the town folk of Sulphur Springs don’t look the same, and her classmates are a little dark in the eyes. There are murders, suicides, reckless skinny-dipping, gratuitous use of Q-tips, and newfound powers that Mikayla must learn to control.

Her past becomes present when a shape-shifter tells her what her true identity is, and how to keep the demons of Hell from nipping at her Converse. Through him she’ll discover who to trust, who to kiss, and how valuable her abilities are to the right beings. Because the evils of Hell aren’t staying down without a fight.

Or without her soul.
What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

19 May 2011

YA Book Review: Shine by Lauren Myracle

Shine by Lauren Myracle
© 1 May 2011 by Amulet Books

Goodreads description:

When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.

Thoughts, Ramblings, Musings...

I've actually been struggling quite a bit to write this review--not because I didn't enjoy the book but because I liked it SO MUCH that I'm worried I won't be able to convey that love. This is so different from much of what I've read lately and it was an engrossing, thrilling, and much-needed change of pace.  (Also, a disclaimer before you begin reading--this reviews is kind of long!)

From the moment I read the opening newspaper article to when I read the final page, Lauren Myracle's Shine pulled me in. It was a truly spell-binding read--one that I put off for far to long. I know I won't be the first to say that some of Myracle's other popular novels don't hold a lot of appeal to me--not that they're not probably fantastic reads, just not my type. I guess it just goes to show Myracle's diversity as a writer because Shine was my "type" of book.

From the start, I felt completely sucked into the atmosphere the author creates. The bigotry was so indicative of the small-mindedness that is often engendered in that setting. I could connect so well to the characters that I felt stifled right along with them - stuck in a world where my ideas didn't fit in.

The main character, Cat, was incredibly relatedable in all her flaws. She's far from a perfect character, but I fell in love with her more and more every page. She became my best friend. I wanted to know on a personal level why she had separated herself from all her friends. I wanted to understand and I wanted to be there for her as she worked through years of pain and separation. When the description calls this a coming-of-age story, it's spot on. Watching Cat essentially grow up in the span of just over a week is harrowing and beautiful all at the same time--watching her open back up to people in her life and even the possibility of a new friend/love.

All the characters in this novel were really well-done. They were so dynamic and did things that you didn't expect. It was truly refreshing. It made every turn of the page a new adventure because the characters could turn out to be or do something different than you expected at every turn. The mystery is, of course, the plot focus, but I really felt that the atmosphere and character were the driving force. They created the mystery and moved it along and created the twists that made the story unpredictable and kept me turning page after page.

This is truly a fabulous read. I want nothing more than to own a finished copy of this one so I can read it over and over again. I bet your library has it--you should go borrow it.

Disclosure: I received this book as an eGalley via NetGalley from Amulet Books for my honest opinion.  The source has in no way affected my review.

**Be sure to check out the Graveminder giveaway while you're here!**

18 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (11)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we can share upcoming book releases that we are eagerly awaiting! (And this AWESOME button is from Lindsay at The Violet Hour!)
This week I'm waiting on...
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
© 31 May 2011

Goodreads description:

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

**Be sure to check out the Graveminder giveaway while you're here!**

17 May 2011

Release Day Review & Givewaway: Graveminder by Melissa Marr

Graveminder by Melissa Marr
© 17 May 2011

Source: ARC from Goodreads
Buy This! Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Check out the author's website!

Goodreads description:

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place--and the man--she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected. Beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D--a place from which the dead will return if their graves are not properly minded. Only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk...
Thoughts, Musings, Ramblings...

I think that Charlaine Harris hit the nail on the head when she said "No one builds worlds like Melissa Marr." (Quote on the front cover, in case you're curious)  Marr really sucked me into this small town world with all its quirkiness and creepiness.  If you liked the Wicked Lovely series for Marr's writing style and world building, then this book won't disappear.  However, don't go looking for any fey here--this world if of a completely different nature.  The magic is dark, hidden, and dangerous.

The story is told from the alternating POVs of multiple townspeople, both living and dead. Each one gives you just enough information to keep the story moving and clue you in just a little more.  It also added an extra layer to the intrigue and depth to the characters.  The protag, Rebekkah (or Bek), is a strong young woman who, while she wasn't born in Claysville, has always felt and resisted the pull of the town--until her grandmother dies and she is forced to return.  Her evolution as a characters is the most profound as she goes from resisting to acceptance.  She's never been one to tie herself down, whether to a place or a person, and it's very interesting to watch her emotional evolution as she begins to accept her place in Claysville and Byron's place in her life.

There is so much more to explore in this book!  First, the world of the dead and its cast of characters are so intriguing and I can't wait to read more about them.  Charlie, Alicia...*sigh* so much more I want to know.  Second, the Bek-Byron connection and their history (...and future as Graveminder and Undertaker).  After I finished this book, I immediately went stalking searching to find out if this would be a series.  Thankfully, while Marr meant for it to be a standalone novel, there will be a book 2 (YAY).

As a side note, while this book is technically an adult read, I think it would definitely has teen appeal.  There is one very short bedroom scene, but nothing comes of it and I'm pretty sure I've seen more in PG-13 movies.  As a librarian, I probably would reserve it as a recommendation for older teens because of that scene, but other than that, it's got mystery, romance, zombies, and quick pacing--all things I could see a teen enjoying.

Now, on to the really fun stuff before I give anything away...


I really, really enjoyed this book and I want to give a copy to someone else!  So, if you can wait for a bit, enter this giveaway for a brand new copy all your own!  The contest will run from today through May 28th (when I get back from vacation).  Also, you don't have to be a follower to enter this one (but you'll get an extra entry if you are!).

Here are the rules:
(*to anywhere the Book Depository ships*)
Must be at least 13 years of age to enter
You may only enter once

Ready to enter?  Fill out this form!

16 May 2011

YA Book Review: The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch
© May 2011 by Poppy

Goodreads description:
After the death of her free-spirited mother, sixteen-year-old Alex Lee must leave her home in northern California to live with her wealthy grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful, if unwilling, member of the Magnolia League, Savannah's long-standing debutante society. She quickly discovers that the Magnolias have made a pact with a legendary hoodoo family, the Buzzards. The Magnolias enjoy youth, beauty and power. But at what price?
Thoughts, Musings, Ramblings...

I haven't read too many books set in the South, but after reading The Magnolia League, I know I want to read more!  The ambiance that Crouch conveys through that setting is phenomenal.  I could almost feel the humid heat during the sweltering Georgia summer and reading the book made me want to speak with a Georgia drawl.  

At the beginning of the book, I really liked Alex.  She seemed like such a strong character with these unwavering beliefs that made her seem crazy to the new people in her life.  When the Magnolia girls start to get to her, I was a little disappointed at how quickly her started to cave to their beliefs and leave behind little parts of herself.  As soon as she lost her dreadlocks, it was like little pieces of her personality just flaked off here and there. That was a tad annoying to me, but the story itself kept me involved enough that I didn't put the book down at that point.

Things really do turn around though and at the end I there was a glimmer of hope for Alex.  She seems to start to find her roots and realize what's really important...and the only way to get that back.  A last minute twist in the plot definitely leaves you hanging.  I will more than likely pick up book 2 next year to see if Alex can redeem herself...

15 May 2011

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie and created by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I haven't posted an IMM for about two weeks, so I have a little catching up to do.  However, I HAVE to start with the MOST EXCITING PACKAGE EVER, which my lovely, lovely husband retrieved from the post office for me this past week:

Here's what it looked like when I first opened it:


If you followed the link in my last IMM, you might have some idea what this box entails.  My cat was quite intrigued...

In case you didn't figure it out, this is my SUPER AWESOME ABSOLUTELY AMAZING PRIZE PACK from the Bewitched Bookworms Easter Egg-stravaganza!  I won the super awesome grand prize!  I've been SO excited about this.  I haven't read any of the books that were in the prize pack, but they are all on my TBR list. *happy dance*

 The custom Nook case. (So cute!!)

 The books! (...my precious...)

Shiver & Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (signed!)
Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Afterlife by Claudia Gray (signed)
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting (signed)

 Do you see all the awesome swag that I also got? Seriously, so cool. (Please ignore my messy kitchen table)

I can't thank the Bewitched Bookworms enough for this one!  I am beyond excited to read these.

Okay, moving on to the other books that have shown up IMM in the last two weeks...

 I won these three during Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon.  (Which, btw, was so much fun I'll be participating in October)

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I also won...

The Kiss of Life

...from LibraryThing Member Giveaways!  I really enjoyed the first book, so I'm quite excited.

Priscilla the Great 2: The Kiss of Life by Sybil Nelson

And, the things I bought:

Divergent by Veronica Roth (which, in case you're curious, won my "What should I read next?" poll and I'm going to try to read it before I go on vacation)
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
Corsets & Clockwork anthology
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I also purchased a few things for my NookColor...despite the fact that I said I wouldn't so I would read eGalleys on vacation. *looks sheepish*

Hex: A Witch and Angel TaleBetrayal (The Descendants #1)Magyk (Septimus Heap, #1)
The Vampire Voss (Regency Draculia #1)TimelessViola in Reel Life (Viola, #1)

I've also been a bit of a library bug lately...but I have so many checked out right now that I'm embarrassed to post a picture.  *blush*  I've actually been trying to return some without reading them so that I can have a slightly more manageable pile at home.  This is the problem with my part-time library job: I rarely come home without a book in hand (case and point: I returned 8 today...and left with 3...for a grand total now of *19* books checked out...)

There you have it!  Have a fabulous week!!

14 May 2011

Giveaway Winners!

I have winners to announce! Yes, WINNERS!  I decided to pick two because I had such a good response and ended up with 35 new followers!  Woohoo!  So, without further ado, here they are!

Heather @ Proud Book Nerd

**Winners were chosen using Random.Org**

Congrats, ladies!  Thanks to all who participated!  The two winners will have until 72 hours to respond to me (because in 72 hours I'm leaving on vacation).  If they don't respond, new winners will be chosen upon my return.

Winners!  Fill out this FORM ASAP. 

13 May 2011

Hop & Follow Friday! (10)

"Follow My Book Blog Friday" is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View.  Check out her blog and join in the follow fun!

This week's question...

Q. The Blogger Apocalypse made me a little emotional. What is the most emotional scene in a book that you have read lately?

The last book that I read that made me super emotional was If I Stay by Gayle Foreman. The scene where Adam comes back into Mia's hospital room and puts the headphones on her ears and makes his super sweet promise. *sob* I mean, that boy...man...

What's your scene? Leave a comment (if you can, lol)!

Happy Friday!!

12 May 2011

YA Book Review: Clarity by Kim Harrington

Clarity by Kim Harrington
© 2011 by Point (Scholastic, Inc.)

Goodreads description:
When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth? 
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift. 
And a curse. 
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?
Thoughts, Musings, Ramblings...

I liked this book from start to finish.  I mean, really, how can you not like a supernatural murder mystery?! (Maybe that's just me...)  Chapter One pulls you in immediately (super intense first two pages, let me tell you!) and you honestly can't put this one down until you've gotten to the end.

My honest-to-goodness favorite thing about this book was that I did not solve the mystery before the main character.  I'm sure that many readers will figure it out, but I'll readily admit that I was so into the story that I didn't see it coming! I was *completely* convinced the murdered was someone else and had a "NO WAY!" moment when it was revealed.  That's always a good feeling when you're reading a book--like you're learning right alongside the main character.

Now, Clarity, or Clare as she prefers, didn't necessarily pull me in as a character right away.  I'm not sure why but I didn't connect with her at the beginning.  As the story progressed, I did feel like I warmed up to her quite a bit.  I also really thought that the minor characters in this one were well done.  I felt like I knew each of them fairly well...with a lot of room for growth in #2!!   Also, on the character side of things, I actually tliked the love triangle in this one because it wasn't the FOCUS.  It was there, it was minor, and it was a cute romance.

I can't wait to read the sequel when it comes out next March (gah, 2012?!).  The story was really well written and I want more (especially of the romance--this was SO just the tip of the iceberg on that!).  I can't wait to find out what happens between Clarity, Justin, and Gabriel and what adventure is in store next.

11 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (10)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we can share upcoming book releases that we are eagerly awaiting! (And this AWESOME button is from Lindsay at The Violet Hour!)
This week I'm waiting on...

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
© 23 May 2011

Goodreads description:

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

10 May 2011

Tween Tuesday: Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson

"Tween Tuesday" is a weekly meme hosted over at GreenBeanTeenQueen.  If you're looking for a good middle grade book or have a review to share, be sure to check it out!

Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson
© 15 April 2011 by Little Prince Publishing

Goodreads description:
Meet Priscilla Sumner, an ordinary seventh grader with extraordinary gifts. As if middle school isn’t hard enough, not only does Priscilla have to fight pimples and bullies, but genetically enhanced assassins trying to kill her and her family. Armed with wit, strength, and a genius best friend, Priscilla must defeat the Selliwood Institute, an organization dead set on turning children into killing machines.

Add an older brother annoyingly obsessed with Christina Aguilera, mischievous baby twin brothers who could scare the sin off of Satan, and parents more puzzling than a Rubik’s cube in the Bermuda triangle and expect a smoking page-turner!

Thoughts, Musings, Ramblings...

What a great tween read! I honestly can say that I really enjoyed this story from start to finish.  The author created an engaging protag and blended together a perfect amount of suspense and action to keep me "turning the pages." (read this as an ebook) 

I loved the fiery (yes, literally and figuratively) narrator, Priscilla (or Priss, as she's called).  She was written in such a way that she comes across as very real and very relateable. Her inner dialogue and, well, her actual dialogue strikes me as very much how I envision (and vaguely remember) that of an actual tween.

The storyline never seemed to drag for me.  You get right into the heat of things from the very beginning when Priss sets towels on fire in a bathroom at a party.  (hahaha, get it..."heat" of things? Yeah, I'm feeling very punny today)  I actually got so frustrated with her dad because he knew what was up and I wanted him to freaking tell me! When she overhears her parents' phone conversation, I wanted her to call him on it so I could find out the truth!

In the hopes of not spoiling any of the fun for you, I'll conclude by saying that there is a lot of action and suspense in this one. A little violence and blood makes its way in, but not in a graphic way at all--just the amount you would expect to move the storyline along. There is just a hint of romance sprinkled in as well--the very innocent first love kind of romance that is fun to read in tween stories.

09 May 2011

YA Book Review: Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
© 19 May 2010 by Katherine Tegen Books

Goodreads description:

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.
Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs.
Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.
When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned
Thoughts, Musings, Ramblings...

I'm not going to lie--I've got kind of a "thing" for mermaid stories right now.  So...I really enjoyed this.  Keep that in mind, lol.

This one started off a little slow, but once it started going it didn't stop.  I loved the author's descriptions of the undersea world.  She really made it seem breathtaking. I wanted to be there and I wanted my eyes to sparkle when I cried! (which, by the way, I thought was a really unique idea and such a beautiful image to create)

Lily annoyed me a little bit throughout with her one-track-mind obsession with pretty-boy Brody.  I just wanted to smack her at times!  I understand the obsession--it's a teenage girl stereotype and it drove the story.  You wouldn't have had the story without it.  I know that, but that knowledge didn't stop me from wanting to reach into the story and smack some sense into the girl! (And I'm not saying that I didn't LIKE Lily as a character...just that was a typical boy-crazy 17 year old!) In the end, however annoying I found her before, I felt bad for her and I thought she made the right/hard choice.  I felt heartbroken right alongside her.  She became more and more real to me throughout the book (and less annoying, lol). 

The epilogue that leads into the next book felt a little forced.  It won't stop me from reading the next book because I am so interested in seeing what else happens!  Lily really did a lot of maturing throughout this book, so I hope the next book expounds on that and takes the story to a new level.  Overall, this was an enjoyable read.

06 May 2011

Hunger Games Casting: Take 8

So...I'm really behind on posting about my favorite movie gossip--Hunger Games! I won't go into all the Tribute casting at this point, but I'll plug the awesome Hunger Games FB page where they do all the updates.  They still haven't cast Cato and Clove...the only remaining named tributes!  When that happens, I'll definitely post about it.  For now, check out FB for all your Tribute information!

In other news, since I last posted...
  • Elizabeth Banks announced that she *officially* has the role of Effie Trinket
  • Those rumors are John C. Reilly have been revoked (thankfully!)
    • Team Hugh Laurie ALL THE WAY! *sigh*
  • All kinds of rumors are circulating regarding Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, and Stanley Tucci
  • And this casting happened...
 Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane, Head Gamemaker!

I'm at work, so that's all I have time to post quickly right now!  Leave me a comment

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Post for a...

I *heart* the blogging community SO much and I've wanted to do a small giveaway for awhile now...so here is my opportunity I suppose!  While I was sleeping last night, I hit the 100 follower mark! Wahoo!  You all are so awesome and I want to give someone a brand new book all their own!

So, here's the deal.  I'm going to give away a book of your choosing from the Book Depository for up to $10.60  (I was going to do $10...but Divergent is $10.60 and that book will rock your world).  Sorry I can't do more right now, but I know a shiny new book always puts a smile on my face! Maybe if I get a lot of entries, I'll pick two...

Must be a follower (I am, after all, celebrating my awesome followers!)
Open Internationally (to anywhere the Book Depository ships)
Must be at least 13  years of age to enter
One entry per person, please!
Deadline: Friday, May 13

You don't have to leave a comment, but I'd love if you did!

EDIT: Actually, since I'm *dumb* and forgot to put it on the form, PLEASE leave your email address in the comments.  Please forgive me! This is my first giveaway! I will find a way to contact the winner no matter what and my contact grace period will be longer than 48 hours. 

05 May 2011

Hop & Follow Friday! (9)

Happy Friday!
(It's Friday, Friday....)

"Follow My Book Blog Friday" is an awesome weekly meme hosted over at Parajunkee's View!  Check out her blog and join in the follow fun!

Q. Circle time! Time to share. What character in a book would you most like to be, what character in a book would you most like to date?

Hard choices!  I have to say that if I could BE a character....I would choose....(realizing I like a lot of *tragic* characters)...Anna from Anna and the French Kiss.  (A) She gets to go live and go to school in Paris (and I <3 Paris).  (B)  Super cute boyfriend...sure he has his flaws but it all works out in the end (*swoon* Etienne).  And, well, as predictable as it may be....I'd have to say I'd want to date Etienne...after he got over the old girlfriend and stopped messing around. :-) 

Book Blogger Hop

The "Book Blogger Hop" is a weekly book party hosted over at Crazy for Books!  Join in the party and get to know your fellow book bloggers!

Q: Which book blogger would you most like to meet in real life?

Ohhh.....tough choice! Do I have to pick just one?!?!  I would love to meet many, many of my book blogger friends!  But...for the sake of this "exercise,"  I'm going to have to go with the blogger I've most recently connected with, who writes reviews that I love reading, and who has a very similar taste in books to me.... Kristi @ The Book Faery!
(And PS ~ you should totally check out her blog! She's starting a new meme this Saturday and I think it's going to be great!)
But I also love The Violet Hour Book Reviews...and the Bookish Brunette...and Parajunkee...and Green Bean Teen Queen....and many others...and I'd *squee* at a chance to meet any of them!

I really do love you ALL!  I would like to meet any and all of you because...well...you love books and so do I!
Oh! Whether you're a new follower or old, check out my follower giveaway! I'm celebrating YOU!

Happy Friday!  
Leave your link and let me know if you're a new follower!

YA Book Review: Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston

Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston
© 21 December 2010 by HarperTEen

Goodreads description:
"I don't love Sonny Flannery."
That's the lie Kelley Winslow told to protect the boy she loves from a power he doesn't know he possesses. Devastated, Sonny retreats—to a haven for Lost Fae that's hidden deep underneath New York City. 
But Kelley's not about to let things end in heartbreak. To get Sonny back, she's got to find out who's after his magick—and how to use her own. She's got to uncover who's recruiting Janus Guards to murderously hunt innocent Faerie. She's got to help rebuild the shattered theater company she called family. And she's got to do it all without getting dangerously distracted by the Fennrys Wolf, whose legendary heart of stone seems to melt whenever he's around Kelley.
Thoughts, Musings, Ramblings...

**Spoiler warning! While there shouldn't be any Tempestuous spoilers here, there may be spoilers for the first two books in the series.  If you're interested in the books, start with my review of Wondrous Strange!**

Since this is the final book in the trilogy, allow me a moment to bask in my cover lust. *sigh*  Aren't the covers of these books seriously beautiful?!  I think the artist who worked on these is a genius.  Seriously--beautiful.  The female models perfectly captures Kelley for me, and the covers invoke just the right amount of magical-ness.

Now, moving on to the story, while I wasn't enraptured with book 2 (Darklight), I appreciated everything that I learned in the book as I dived headfirst into this book.  I felt like I knew the characters going in--like they were old friends.  This final book had everything that I felt like the second was lacking - action, action, action!

Ah...what to say without spoiling it?! This book is action-packed and it reminded me of why I got sucked into the first book to begin with.  Lesley Livingston's writing is phenomenal--the descriptions of people, places, scenes, emotions--all wonderful!  I am sad that the series is over now!  (Well, kind of--it did wrap up quite well and any more might get boring...)  This book really had a little bit of everything--action, adventure, intrigue, betrayal, romance...you name it, it was probably in this book!  I love how much Kelley has developed over the course of the three books and how she came into her power slowly over time.  It was refreshing.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable faery series!  I would highly recommend it for the fantastic writing and well-developed characters.  If you haven't read this and you enjoy faeries, read it now!

04 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

"Waiting on...Wednesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that allows us to share with the blogger world what upcoming book releases we are anxiously awaiting! (And this awesome button is from Lindsey at The Violet Hour!)

This week, I'm waiting on...

Die for Me by Amy Plum
© 10 May 2011 by HarperTeen

Goodreads description:
My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything. 
Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen. 
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind. 
While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love?

I've read so many fabulous reviews for this one! (Like this one by Kristi at The Book Faery! Doesn't it make you want to read this?!)

03 May 2011

Tween Tuesday: The Blackhope Enigma

"Tween Tuesday" is a weekly meme hosted over at GreenBeanTeenQueen.  If you're looking for a good middle grade book or have a review to share, be sure to check it out!

This week I wanted to share Blackhope Enigma as my "tween" pick.  I'm not sure that this is "supposed" to be a tween book, but the characters are 14 years old and the storyline is quick-paced with adventure and mystery all mixed into a cute story.  The book definitely lacks the sexual overtones, violence, and crude language of many YA books, which (for me) made it appropriate for MG readers.  I wouldn't hesitate to offer this book to a reader 10+.

Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin
(c) August 2011 by Candlewick Press
(UK release 2010)

Goodreads description:

When Sunni Forrest’s stepbrother accidentally transports himself into a Renaissance painting, she and her friend Blaise set out to bring him back. They find themselves in a strange world of labyrinths, monsters and pirates.

Can they evade their greedy pursuers? And will they ever find their way home?

Thoughts, Musings, Ramblings...

The Blackhope Enigma is a fun mystery that all starts when Sunni’s stepbrother, Dean, accidentally transports himself into one of Fausto Corvo’s magical paintings. Sunni, determined to get him back, follows the labyrinth path and joins him in the picture, leaving Blaise standing alone and shortly thereafter being shuffled out of the room by a guard.  Determined to get Sunni and Dean out, Blaise finds a way into the picture with them, despite the media and police crowds searching for two lost kids.

In a fast-paced story, Dean, Sunni, and Blaise have to work their way through a maze (literally and figuratively) to escape from the paintings within the painting and make their way back home.  Of course, it’s easier said than done most of the time.  The three encounter a fun cast of good guys, bad guys, and everything in between as they battle deadly creatures, sail on the high seas, and trek through a deserted island—all in the hopes of finding a way back to their own world.

The book has its share of predictable and slightly cheesy situations, but they don’t interrupt the flow of the story or detract from its overall telling.Teresa Flavin has crafted a fun story that many readers will enjoy.It’s full of fast-paced adventure and mystery with just a splash of magic and history.Readers will be drawn in by her descriptions of this magical world (or worlds) within the painting.

The premise of this book really struck me as original. I don’t think it can even really be compared to any books I’ve read lately and I struggle to draw a comparison between this book and many others. It’s not quite time travel yet it doesn’t really have a real fantasy feel to it.For me, that just shows how well the story is woven together to seamlessly incorporate elements of contemporary, fantasy, and historical stories. I also really loved the descriptions that Teresa provided as they moved between worlds within the paintings, describing the white paint that covered the magic world that existed under the exterior painting.

There were a few points at the beginning where I felt like things were almost going too fast for my liking.We meet our characters and next thing you know they’re in the painting! I wouldn’t have even thought to look for Dean in the painting and it was surprising (and maybe a tad unrealistic) how quickly Sunni figured it out.Once the actual adventures began inside the painting, I definitely found myself settling into and enjoying the story, but the beginning just seemed a tad rushed to me.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. It was a fast-paced readI think I would recommend it to “tweens” (or young teens) as a good read.  I think it would appeal to a wide variety of readers since it incorporates elements of many different types of stories.

(Oh, and as an added bonus, you can actually download teaching resources for this book! How cool is that?! Maybe that’s just the former teacher in me...)

*Disclaimer: I received this eGalley from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review. The source of this book in no way affects my opinions thereof.

02 May 2011

YA Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
© 2 March 2010 by Hyperion Books

Goodreads description:

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer 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 Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, 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 tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
 Thoughts, Ramblings, Musings...

I have to say I wasn't sure about this one when I picked it up.  However, I did eventually pick it up (obviously!) because (a) I think the cover is cool and (b) it got some good ratings on Goodreads.  That being said, all the positive reviews and high ratings gave me some high expectations of the book.  Did it deliver? Yes!

From start to finish, I really liked the narrator.  Sophie is a snarky little thing and I loved it.  She had me laughing out loud at many points (which, in case you were curious, is a tad embarrassing when you're on the stationary bike at the gym).  She may have been a little clueless at points but not the extreme cluelessness that shows up in so many YA females these days.  She's mostly just clueless about the whole Prodigum "thing," which makes sense because she was raised by a normal human.  (Which, on another note, thank you Rachel Hawkins for not writing a magical character who automatically accepts and is awesome at all things magic-related.)

The storyline was fun and quick-paced, which I enjoy in a novel.  The character development was good--not necessarily as deep as it might have gone, but I felt like I at least knew the characters as slightly more than a basic acquaintance .There was a good amount of foreshadowing but the plot twists still kept me on the edge of my seat.  (I want to tell you all about how --------------------------------------------------------------(!) but I won't because I don't want to spoil it if you haven't read it and want to!)

Overall, very enjoyable read.  I'd definitely recommend it.

01 May 2011

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren. For more information and how to participate, follow the link and hop on over to her amazing blog!

I haven't done one of these posts for a couple of weeks, so I actually had to go back and look at what I posted last time to see what was "new" to post here!

Here's a sample:

So, for more details, here we go!

Won from Goodreads:

Graveminder by Melissa Marr (Goodreads | B&N)
The Journey by Wanda Brunstetter (Goodreads | B&N)


The Unclaimed Duchess by Jenna Petersen (Goodreads | B&N)
Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter (Goodreads | B&N)
Life as We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer (Goodreads | B&N)
Mercy by Rebecca Lim (Goodreads | B&N)
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (Goodreads | B&N)
Won from Kathy at Read This Instead!

Where She Went by Gayle Forman (which I reviewed here).  I had an ARC copy from NetGalley, and I am SO excited to have my own copy now.  Even better?...

It's *signed*!! How awesome is that?!

Not quite a book, but I won it and it's book related...

Awesome *signed* bookmark from Nova Ren Suma! I'm looking forward to this book in June. Too bad I didn't win the book, lol! :-)

Well, that's all for now!  I have a few more things coming in the mail. (For instance, did you see this post at Bewitched Bookworms?  Yeah, that's me...the grand prize winner! Also, I won a prize (or two) during Dewey's Read-A-Thon...) So....I'll definitely be doing another IMM post sometime soon. :-)

(Oh, also, I'm behind on my Hunger Games posts! I'll probably post one tomorrow, for those of you who follow/are interested)

Happy May Day!


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