29 September 2011

(ARC) YA Book Review: The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegan

Release Date:27 September 2011
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Pre-Order It!

Goodreads description:
Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?
My Thoughts...

I may be in the minority on this one, but I honestly enjoyed this book.  It really seems to be a love it or hate it kind of a book and luckily for me I fell into the former category.  For me, this felt like the great beginning to what has the potential to turn into a great series of books.  There was sexy romance and action--and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't perfect by any means, but I felt pulled into the pages and flew through the story. I also really enjoyed Ms. Faegan's unique spin on the heaven/hell angel/demon mythology that has been prevalent as of late. She definitely brought something new to the table!

The book starts off with a bang as Ms. Faegan takes us right into the action. We're instantly thrust into a dark world of deception, intrigue, and darkness. Sasha's deceased father was an international insurance agent--or so Sasha believed.  She's desperate to find out who killed him and why, which brings her into the circle of The Ravens, an exclusive group of teenagers led by her mother's now ex-boyfriend.  What Sasha learns as a result of her chance encounter with the group shocks her--and isn't as much of a "chance encounter" as she believed it to be.  They were looking for her. As Sasha is thrust into the dark world of the Mephisto, she must learn to cope with many firsts--anger, darkness, and even, maybe, love.

I'm a sucker for a romance story so maybe that's what captured my attention with this one. I enjoyed reading about Jax and Sasha and watching each of them grow and change.  I didn't connect with them as individuals on an overly deep level like I do with some characters, but I liked following their story and watching their relationship grow.  There was a good amount of growth in each character as they learned to love and embrace the good and bad aspects of each other. Sasha, the paragon of beauty and goodness, must learn to cope with dark emotions and emerging strength.  At the same time, Jax must learn what it really means to fall in love with someone--not just  want to be with someone because that person is "meant for you."

There is definitely a lot going on in The Mephisto Covenant, so if you're going to dive in, be prepared to clear some time to take this story in.  Ms. Faegan will keep you on your toes with ongoing action. There are definitely times when she is throwing a lot of information at you that's important for understanding the story, and I'll admit that it can seem a bit cumbersome. Also note--this is definitely a novel for older YA readers (16+) as it includes violence and detailed sexual encounters.  Ms. Faegan is not a "fade to black" writer when it comes to these things.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story.  I think that it marks the beginning to what has the potential become an engaging series.

28 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (30)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where book bloggers discuss the books that they are most anxiously waiting for! (And this fabulous button was designed by my dear blogger friend Lindsay at The Violet Hour)

This week I'm waiting on...

Wings of the Wicked
© 14 February 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books

Pre-Order It! Amazon

Goodreads Description:

Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined.
Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven’s warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell’s strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.

She’s been warned.
Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian’s new plan to destroy Ellie’s soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian’s schemes , the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything—including herself.

She’ll be betrayed.
Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be hell to pay.
Another exciting 2012 sequel!!! I could probably feature next years sequels for the rest of the year there are so many coming out! It's definitely going to be a fabulous reading year, even if it does end with the apocalypse. *wink*

Also, I figured I would combine this post with W.W.W. Wednesdays...so here is some more info about my reading for this week! To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…Grab the logo...and post your link at Should Be Reading!

What are you currently reading?

(Currently listening to...)

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next? 
Honestly, I'm so behind on reviews that I should probably take a week off from reading until I catch up (a) on my blog reviews and (b) on my HOMEWORK (which I've neglected more than a little).

What are YOU waiting on this week?

27 September 2011

Update & Apology!

As you may have noticed (or maybe not, whatever, lol), my blogging has dropped off a bit here as the school year really gets into full swing (i.e. my second class starts tonight, BOO).  I kind of figured it would happen eventually since I'm trying  to do two classes for the first time and my full-time job has been super stressful (due to some idiot deciding to break in to the library and set stuff on FIRE...idiot, seriously) and my part-time job offers me extra hours (which I, stupidly, take because I need the money) and my church says "Hey, wanna do THINGS?!" and I say yes (always, always yes--note to self: LEARN TO SAY NO).  (Oh yeah and that pesky husband and kittens of mine seem to want some of my time too...not to mention the family that lives 4.5 hours away and thinks I've dropped off the face of the Earth.)

So, here's the thing: school has to come first. I desperately want to finish my MLS. DESPERATELY. I'm already working on year 3 due to my slow pace! This is the sad truth because I'll be honest and say that most of the time I would rather be reading YA fiction than school books. I'm still reading, just not at the pace I can maintain over the summer! I also haven't been good about keeping up with reviews. Last time I checked I had 10 review drafts sitting in Blogger waiting to be completed and posted.  I'll get to them--I promise.  Currently I'm trying to get through the review obligations that I currently have (from tours and NetGalley) and honestly that's probably enough to get me through the end of the year!

But really, the point of this post is to say THANK YOU (in advance) for sticking with me through the rest of 2011 as I learn more about time management (okay, not "learn about" because I could lead workshops about it--IMPLEMENT is a better word). I've got big things planned for 2012, including the 2012 Sensational Seconds Challenge (with reviews, giveaways, and maybe even guest posts and interviews) and my blogoversary in February (with, again, giveaway(s)!). Oh yeah--there's a new blog design coming my way in January as well! YAY!

In short, I <3 you ALL and hope you'll stick around. 

24 September 2011

Banned Books Week Hop! - CLOSED

Welcome to my stop on the "Banned Books Week Hop!" Banned and challenged books hold a special place in my heart as a future librarian, avid reader, and enthusiastic supporter of the right to read whatever you want! You're probably wondering what I'm giving away as part of this hop, so let's get right down to it!


WINNER: Jess @ The Romanceaholic!
Congrats Jess! I hope you enjoy this book every bit as much as I do!

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Platinum Edition, 2006
Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute: Andy Evans. He's a senior at Melinda's high school, and Melinda hasn't been able to speak clearly since the Incident with him at the senior party last August. 

I picked Speak for a number of reasons. First, this book is incredible and if you haven't read it, well, you should! Second, this book was recently challenged in Missouri (the state I live it) and my children's literature class spent some time following the debates surrounding the challenge. Ms. Anderson's response was incredible. Dr. Scroggins said that the book did not belong in the school because it is pornographic. I dare you to read this book through and tell me that this book is pornographic. This book is anything but that. It's beautiful and painful and something that many, many teens should/need to read.

Some articles of interest from that incident:
Blog post from ALA's OIF
Official complaint filed by Dr. Scroggins (Speak mentioned on p5)
Laurie Halse Anderson's response (AWESOME)

Both Dr. Scroggins and Ms. Anderson wrote opinion pieces for the News-Leader, but neither is available on the website any longer. Along with Speak, other books that were challenged at the same time included Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer.

23 September 2011

TGIF & Follow Friday! (27)

Happy Friday, lovelies!

I hope you had a wonderful week and are looking forward to an awesome, book-filled weekend!

"Follow My Book Blog Friday" is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Allison at Allison Can Read where bloggers make new friends, including this week's featured bloggers--The World of the Spork Master & Obsession with Books!  Pop on over to Parajunkee's blog and join in the follow fun!!

This week's question: 
Q: Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep revisiting it.
 Here's the thing: I am not much of a "re-reader." I don't know why but very few books capture my attention enough that I want to read them again soon after finishing them.  Thinking about what I have on my bookshelves, I think that if I was going to re-read something, I would choose Anna and the French Kiss in a heartbeat (because it is such a fabulous, feel-good story and sometimes you just need that!)--but I would have a tough time doing that because I have SO many books waiting to be read for the first time!

TGIF is a weekly meme hosted by GReads with a thought-provoking question to prompt some discussion!

Reading Challenges: Did you sign up for any this year? How has your progression been?
I didn't start my blog until February of this year, so I did not officially sign up for any challenges this year.  However, I did discover the Goodreads Challenge and challenged myself to reading 100 books this year, thinking that would be an amazing accomplishment. So far, I have read 119! Goodreads keeps telling me that I should increase my goal, but I much prefer the feeling of having completed my original goal! Next year I'm planning on signing up for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge at The Story Siren and I'll be hosting a challenge (which will be a fun learning experience, I'm sure!)

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today! I love your comments and try my best to return follows! 

(PS ~ See that link at the top of the page? The one for my potential 2012 challenge? Would you be so kind as to take a look and leave some feedback? I'd love to get an idea of if this is something that people would be interested in.  Or just answer the poll in the sidebar. Thanks!!)

22 September 2011

YA Book Review: Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan

Release Date: 24 July 2009
Source: Bought for Nook

Goodreads description:
Jenny has a secret. Her touch spreads a supernatural plague. She devotes her life to avoiding contact with people, until her senior year of high school, when she meets the one boy she can touch, and she falls in love.

But there's a problem--he's under the spell of his devious girlfriend Ashleigh, who secretly wields the most dangerous power of all. Now Jenny must learn to use the deadly "Jenny pox" she's fought her entire life to hide, or be destroyed by Ashleigh's ruthless plans.
My Thoughts...

If you haven't read this book, I am telling you right now to go buy it. Go to Smashwords (or Barnes & Noble or Amazon, whatever floats your boat) and download this gem for an absolute STEAL.

Now that that's out of the way--on to my review of this absolutely fabulous book. This book is ABSOLUTELY FREAKING AMAZING. Can I leave it at that until you read it for yourself? No? Geez...so demanding...

Jenny Pox is a roller coaster ride of a book that will make you smile, laugh out loud, yell, cry, and repeat the cycle over and over again. When I started reading this one, I had pretty high expectations. I've read rave reviews for this and that often makes it more difficult for a book to live up to my expectations.  However, JL Bryan did not disappoint for one second with Jenny Pox.

Jenny is a lonely girl, isolated by circumstances beyond her control and ostracized by that complete witch of a girl, Ashleigh. From the first pages of the book, JL Bryan creates a character that the reader cares deeply about. I found myself completely invested in her story just a few pages in and I couldn't put the book down after that. Jenny is both immensely strong and immensely vulnerable and I just wanted to swallow her up in a giant hug and protect her from everything bad in the world. I think I connected with her more than any character in a long time.

And as if Jenny wasn't enough, Seth comes along! Seth, pretty-boy boyfriend of the uber-manipulative Ashleigh, was a character that I didn't expect to like, but boy, did he ever change my mind! He's special, just like Jenny (well, not really JUST like Jenny, but you'll see), and they develop a really special bond.  They boy is totally swoon-worthy.  The way that Ashleigh treats him (USES him) makes me hate her even more as the story goes on. 

JL Bryan has truly crafted a fabulous YA story with Jenny Pox.  In the interest of keeping this as spoiler-free as possible, I know I've left out a lot of what I thought was fabulous about this story, but trust me--you need to experience it all for yourself--the horror, the prejudices, the surprising revelations, and the moments that will make you hold your breath and hesitate to turn the page. The story will really take you on an emotional roller coaster ride to a surprise ending that leaves you both satisfied and begging for more.

21 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (29)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where book bloggers discuss the books that they are most anxiously waiting for! (And this fabulous button was designed by my dear blogger friend Lindsay at The Violet Hour)

This week I'm waiting on...

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
© 6 March 2012 by HarperTeen

Pre-Order It! Amazon

Goodreads Description:

Lauren Oliver captivated readers with Delirium, the first book in a thrilling dystopian trilogy in which Lena Haloway dared to fall in love with Alex and escape the cure, the government-mandated procedure that renders a person immune to the disease of love. Lena and Alex staked their lives on leaving their oppressive society, but only Lena broke free.

Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.
I'm so excited for this book to come out!! March is such a LONG time away. I know that some people have been receiving ARCs of this, so I'm sure that reviews will begin popping up here and there in the next couple of months. This sequel is one of the primary reasons I decided to host a sequels challenge for 2012--there are just SO many fantastic sequels coming out next year! I cannot want to read this one! I'm thinking maybe I need to pre-order it...

Also, I figured I would combine this post with W.W.W. Wednesdays...so here is some more info about my reading for this week! To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…Grab the logo...and post your link at Should Be Reading!

What are you currently reading?

(Currently listening to...)

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next? 

What are YOU waiting on this week?

20 September 2011

Top Ten Tuesday! (3)

This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where they are particularly fond of lists. This week's topic is in honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

Top Ten Books I Feel As Through Everyone Has Read But Me
  1. Harry Potter (#2-7) - Okay, I finally did read the first one this past April, but I still get "those" looks when people find out that I haven't read Harry Potter beyond book 1. I know--it's apparently a cardinal sin for someone studying to be a youth librarian. But seriously, it's so hard to keep up with the books that I want to read AND schoolwork!
  2. TMI series - Indeed, I haven't read any of these books. I keep looking at City of Bones whenever I'm at B&N, but I can't convince myself that I will actually make the time to read it.
  3. Clockwork Angel - Okay, so I guess this is just me admitting that I haven't read ANYTHING by Cassandra Clare. I did by this one in the London airport with every intention of reading it on my trans-Atlantic flight...but I didn't.
  4. Soul Screamers series - These sound awesome and I WANT to read them. I really, really do. I even bought the first one on my Nook and I'm sure that I will love it...when I get around to it.
  5. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series - I even OWN the first two...SIGNED...and I still haven't read this apparently awesome series.
  6. Hourglass - So, ditto about just about everything else on this list--I WANT to read it and I OWN it...but I don't have the time!
  7. Paranormalcy - I'm beginning to realize just how many apparently fabulous, widely read books I own and haven't read...including this one.
  8. Bloodlines - I LOVED VA. Seriously loved. So I think I'm hesitant to pick this up because I'm always scared to read more by an author that I already adore. However, Penguin sent me a finished copy and I am seriously dying to read it.
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird - Don't ask me how I got out of high school and college without reading this book because I don't know. My uncle (who's a writer) gave me a beautiful boxed edition of this for my college graduation because he knows I love books and this is one of his absolute favorites. I honestly think if I don't read it before I see him again he'll have a fit!
  10. Sarah Dessen books - Okay, I've actually read one (Along for the Ride) and yes, I enjoyed it enough, but I haven't had a strong desire to read anything else by her.  However, bloggers are always raving about her stuff and there was an entire "Sarah Dessen" week.
There are (sadly) many, many more that I could put on this list (including an obscene number of 'classics'). So, please forgive me, lol! Tell me--if you could convince me to move ONE of these up on my reading list, which would you choose?!?!

(ARC) YA Book Review: Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Release Date: 20 September 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Pre-Order It!

Goodreads description:
When her boyfriend, Danny, is killed in a car accident, Wren can’t imagine living without him. Wild with grief, she uses the untamed powers she’s inherited to bring him back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy she once loved.

Wren has spent four months keeping Danny hidden, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret. Wren finds herself drawn to Gabriel, who is so much more alive than the ghost of the boy she loved. But Wren can’t turn her back on Danny or the choice she made for him—and she realizes she must find a way to make things right, even if it means breaking her own heart.
My Thoughts...

Cold Kiss surprised me, to say the least. I started this book expecting a rather straightforward paranormal romance type of book, complete with the love triangle and teenage angst I've almost come to expect with these "types" of novels.  However, what I got was a refreshing paranormal read that focuses in on emotional growth, specifically the grieving process and the pain of losing someone that you love.

When the book opens, the paranormal event has already taken place. Wren, consumed by her grief, has used the powers that she has to bring her boyfriend, Danny, back from the dead. While he's not the same as he was before the accident, Wren takes all the comfort she can in the fact that at least now he's not dead. But hat is he really? And what will happen if/when Danny begins to remember the past? What happens Wren's grip on Danny begins to slip?

Wren's journey is one that many readers can identify with.  She's reeling in the loss of her first love--the first person that she gave her heart and soul to. She dealing with the death of her boyfriend/best friend. The grieving process and the emotional roller coaster that people deal with when experiencing these things is well-portrayed in Cold Kiss. Wren's coping mechanism is, of course, different than most people, but if it wasn't, this wouldn't be a paranormal zombie book. I think Wren's innocence and naivete make her relateable and connect you with her character, despite the initial strangeness of her decision and resulting situation.

However, Wren's journey isn't just about grieving and dealing with Danny--it's also about the process of moving on. Enter Gabriel--a new "man of mystery" at Wren's school who understands and supports her in surprising ways. While Gabriel brings yet another supernatural element to the story, the focus of this book remains more emotional than paranormal.  Gabriel is, of course, attractive, but it's his surprising understanding of her situation and his ability to guide Wren through this difficult time that really endears you to his character. There's a lot about him that makes him appealing, but overall, I think readers will fall for his loyal personality that helps others even when it's immensely difficult for him. By the end, I felt like I really only had the first tastes of who Gabriel could develop into as a character, and I hope that maybe we'll see some more of him in the future!

This story is really about Wren's emotional development--the plot is very character driven versus action driven, which makes it stand out among many YA paranormal books.  I'd quickly recommend this to fans of both paranormal and contemporary reads because I think it offers something for readers of both "camps." Overall, this is a quick-paced book that many readers will devour in a single sitting. The mysteries that remain at the finish of this book will leave you thinking and hoping that Ms. Garvey will give us more!

19 September 2011

Cover Crazy (5)

"Cover Crazy" is a meme hosted by The Book Worms to gush over talk about cover designs that we love!

by Veronica Roth

This cover was announced on EW last week, so I know that it has pretty much already made the rounds in the blog world. However, how can I NOT feature this gorgeous creation this week?!

First, I love the color scheme on this one. The sky is very eerie. It reminds me of the greenish color that happens right before a really bad storm (actually, where I grew up I associated this with tornadoes for some reason). The scary storm clouds are definitely an indicator of the impending chaos that we were left contemplating at the end of Divergent.

Second, the skyline is still there--but better. Why? Because they added the train! YAY! The train pops up and plays a pivot role so many times  in Divergent that I think it's important that they include it. (Also, it's the last place we saw our characters, so it's PERFECT.)

Finally, the Amity symbol--how gorgeous is that?! I seriously can't get over how simply stunning that image is. The dead tree with both spring's green leaves and autumn's red/yellow/orange leaves swirling around it is simply awesome.

I can't wait to read this one! It's on my list as part of my 2012 sequels challenge. :-)

What do you think? Gorgeous? 
Do you like it more or less than Divergent?

(ARC) YA Book Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Release Date:December 2011
Publisher:Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Pre-Order It! Amazon

Goodreads description:
What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starting position... suddenly she's hoping he'll see her as more than just a teammate.
My Thoughts...

Catching Jordan was everything that I hoped it would be and more! This delightful contemporary read will truly tug at your heartstrings. It's the kind of book that you pick up to read and find that you can't put it down until you've turned the last page! I promise you'll fly through this one and it will leave you begging for more of Ms. Kenneally's engaging writing and storytelling.

Jordan is not your average high school girl.  She traded in her pompoms for cleats, pads, and helmets in Kindergarten and never looked back. Now, as a senior in high school, she is the football team's starting quarterback and team captain--confident in her abilities and driven to achieve her single-minded goal: a full-ride and a spot on the team at Alabama. Everything's looking like it's going her way when a new boy shows up in town--one who makes Jordan rethink her tomboy nature and want something more with a boy for the first time. How it all plays out...well, it's not at all what you expect and Jordan is put on an emotion roller coaster.

I loved Jordan instantly, despite lacking any real knowledge of football. She's tough and driven yet has the vulnerability of someone without much worldly experience. She's very much one of the guys and Kenneally does a great job depicting that relationship by showing her readers the "crude" side of boys--no sugar-coated "good boys" here. As a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed Jordan experience so many firsts throughout the book and I even enjoyed watching her struggles--not because I wanted her to struggle but because it made her that much more realistic. Early on Jordan also starts keeping a journal that I absolutely loved reading. It gave you this deeper perspective on her personality and inner struggles/conflict.

I really enjoyed the minor characters in this book as well. They aren't as well-developed, but they are still integral to the story. I would say that there's not a single character that didn't "belong" in the story. The two boys are, well, boys. They both have a sort of "damaged-goods-nice-guy" vibe to them. There is no easy solution to Jordan's relationship with either boy, and in the end, everything works out perfectly. Trust me when I say this is totally a feel-good happy ending type of book.

This is truly one of the most delightful books that I've read this year. It's a must read for YA contemporary fans--and trust me, you don't even have to LIKE football to get into this story.  The characters will endear themselves to you from page one. You should pre-order this book NOW (or put it on your Christmas list or something!).

15 September 2011

Hop & Follow Friday! (26)

Happy Friday, lovelies!

I hope you had a wonderful week and are looking forward to an awesome, book-filled weekend!

"Follow My Book Blog Friday" is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Allison at Allison Can Read where bloggers make new friends, including this week's featured bloggers--Alaskan Book Cafe & Librarian Mouse!  Pop on over to Parajunkee's blog and join in the follow fun!!

This week's question: 
Q: It's that pesky magic book fairy again! She has another wish: What imaginary book world would you like to make a reality?
 Honestly, maybe I read too many dystopias and post-apolcalyptic novels, but this is a really tough question because so many of those worlds would be so NOT fun to live in! So let's see...what world would I actually want to live in. Okay, so the world that I would like to be a reality is the world of Arribitha in The Book of Wonders--a world full of (repressed) magic and adventure.  Sure, there's danger but not more so than any other world. When I was reading that book, the world just seemed vibrant and magical.  

TGIF is a weekly meme hosted by GReads with a thought-provoking question to prompt some discussion!

Book Disappointments: Have you ever come across a book you were so stoked to read, but it failed miserably in your eyes?
I think I've actually blogged about this before, but my "epic fail" book was Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. After I read (and ADORED) both Lovely Bones and Lucky, I was STOKED that Ms. Sebold was writing another novel.  This was one that I even put in a rare (at that time) pre-order for just based on a vague description and my love of her other novels. To this day I have not been able to finish this book. It sits on my shelf, dust jacket lost in the shuffle of multiple moves, unread and untouched. I think about picking it up again every once in awhile, but I can't bring myself to do it after how HORRIBLE it was the first time I tried.  There is a good chance this book will be on the next pile I donate to the library. 

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today! I love your comments and try my best to return follows! 

(PS ~ See that link at the top of the page? The one for my potential 2012 challenge? Would you be so kind as to take a look and leave some feedback? I'd love to get an idea of if this is something that people would be interested in.  Or just answer the poll in the sidebar. Thanks!!)

(ARC) YA Book Review: Wintertown by Stephen Emond

Release Date: 5 December 2011
Publisher: Little Brown BFYR
Source: Once Upon a Twilight ARC Tours

Pre-Order It! Amazon

Goodreads description:

Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent's divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she's changed. The former "girl next door" now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, "Old Lucy" still exists, and he's determined to find her... even if it means pissing her off. .
My Thoughts...

Wintertown is a charming coming-of-age story about two best friends--complete opposites looking for what they can still share when their lives have taken such different paths.  The uncertainties of both present and future play out in this story of friendship and what happens when best friends grow apart...or maybe just grow up.

Wintertown is an easy book to fall into. The writing flows seamlessly from page to page creating an engaging, easy-to-read story.  Each POV offers the reader a deeper look into the lives of each character, allowing you to get the "bigger picture" of what is going on in the now separate lives of each person. Their individual struggles that they can't seem to articulate to each other become apparent to the reader and you can start to feel a connection with them. However, I felt that this was about as deep of a connection that I felt with the characters. Their friendship and the story of how it has changed and is still changing carries you through the book but doesn't necessarily allow you a deep connection with the characters.

And just who are these characters? Well, from the description, you know that our main characters here are Evan and Lucy.  Evan is your typical slightly-repressed good boy--driven to succeed and have the kind of "successful" life that his parents based on a college education in a "normal" field (like business or law). Evan's "drive" comes from both his upbringing and his father's constant pushing. You get the sense throughout that Evan feels like this is simply the normal path that he is "destined" to take in order to achieve his ideal of a happy life.  Now throw in Lucy, Evan's bff who moved away a number of years ago when her parents divorced and came back different this year. Lucy has been through a lot--none of which you find out until the POV switches to her about 2/3 of the way through the book.  Lucy definitely challenge Evan to stop and actually think about his future and what HE wants--not what his parents want--and I loved her for that.  Evan pushes Lucy a bit as well--forcing her to confront her past and present choices and her future--something which she clearly hasn't considered much before.

As endearing as the story is, the illustrations won me over in the end. At the end of each chapter, we are presented with a comic scene depicting a fictional version of Evan and Lucy in their imagined world of ice and snow. The comic scenes somewhat interpretively depict the inner conflict that the characters are struggling with. In addition, there are little illustration dispersed throughout that add a fun element to the story.  It gives you just a little insight into the characters that you don't get from the words, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

As I said at the beginning, Wintertown is a very easy-to-read novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.  It takes place in a relatively short time-frame and is focused on the characters' development and choices.  Readers looking for an adventure or action won't find it here. However, if you're looking for a light, fun read, I would definitely say to give this one a shot.

Once Upon a Twilight
This book reviewed courtesy of OUaT Tours.


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