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Friday, July 31, 2009

Review: The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter

Title: The Snowball Effect
Author: Holly Nicole Hoxter
Publisher: HarperTeen
Date Published: March 23, 2010
Genre: Young Adult
Main Themes: Death, Family, Love, Emotional Problems
Pages: 356
Plot (from back cover of ARC):
"Lainey Pike can tell you everything you need to now about the people in her lfamily just by letting you know how they died. Her reckless stepfather drove his motorcycle off the highway and caused the biggest traffic jam in years. Her long-suffering grandmother lived through cancer and a heart attack before finally succumbing to a stroke. And Lainey's mother - well, Lainey's mother hanged herself in the basement just days after Lainey's high school graduation.

Now Lainey's five-year-old brother is an orphan, and her estranged older sister is moving back home to be his guardian. Meanwhile, Lainey's boyfriend is thinking about having a family of their own, and her best friends are always asking the wrong sorts of questions and giving advice Lainey doesn't want to hear. As she tries to pull away from everything familiar, Lainey meets an intriguing new guy who, through a series of Slurpees, burgers, and snowballs, helps her make peace with a parent she never understood."

The Snowball Effect was seriously amazing! I don't even know where to start...

When I first started reading I wasn't sure if I was going to love it... it wasn't until I was up to about page 100 that I really started to fall in love with The Snowball Effect.

I really understood and related to the main character, Lainey. She was just such a realistic and believeable character that even though many aspects of her life differed from mine, I could totally put myself in her shoes.

I loved the fact that Lainey was flawed. Sometimes she was a great sister, sometimes she was absolutely horrid. She loves her boyfriend, yet she can't stop thinking about an intriguing stranger.

Don't get me wrong, there were times when I wanted to jump right into the book and shake Lainey because she was being so ridiculous, but then I would stop and think - holy crap - I am Lainey. Holly Nicole Hoxter has gone and created a character that, in my opinion, every girl, and possibly even some guys, can relate to in some way or another. I give her major props for that... it takes some serious talent.

One of the most amazing things about The Snowball Effect was that, despite its seriousness, I was laughing aloud at parts. It has such a perfect combination emotions! There were definitely some really funny quotes in it that I'm sure my sisters and I will refer to and use later!

And The Snowball Effect... you may be wondering what that means exactly. Well, sorry, but I can't tell you. That would be a spoiler after all... but trust me, you want to know...! (And now you must read the book - or you will go crazy!)

The Snowball Effect is full of quirky characters and fun, but it has a depth that I really appreciated. I learned some lessons from Lainey that I won't soon forget!

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10
Total: 50/50 (A!)

If this book is not on your most anticipated novels of 2010, you better add it now! If it already is, you will not be disappointed. I really, really enjoyed this book and cannot wait for Holly Nicole Hoxter's next book! It really is painful to think about how long I'm going to have to wait for that one... Write like the wind Holly! :)

Oh My Gosh!

Okay, so...

I got out of work tonight at 11pm and then had to drive out to my boyfriend's house, which is about 11 miles from my house.
It is dark and rainy.
First, I came close to hitting a deer. Luckily I saw it in time to slow down.
Keep in mind that there are open fields on each side of the highway. So random animals pop out all the time.
Then, as I'm going through some curves, a raccoon runs out. And stops. Directly in front of my car.
Seriously! Why do animals chose to cross the road when a car is coming. There was no one out on the roads tonight except me - and right then the stupid raccoon choses to cross the road. Ahhh!
Luckily my beloved car is fine - not even a scratch (that I could see...)! But I feel bad for the raccoon, even though it wasn't really my fault.
So yeah, that was the first animal I've hit with my car. Not a fun experience!
Well, now that you all know... :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Dial Books
Date Published: October 5th, 2009
Genre: Young Adult
Main Themes: Monsters, Family/Friendship, Powers/Magic, Love
Pages: 461
Plot (from back of ARC): "It is not a peaceful time in the Dells.
Young King Nash clings to the throne, while rebel lords, in he north and south, build armies to unseat him. War is coming. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves.
This is where Fire lives, a girl whose startling appearance is impossibly irrisistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.
Everyone... except Prince Brigan."

Where to even start?! First off, I can tell you that Graceling was not a fluke. Kristin Cashore really is a remarkable writer - I have every confidence that I will enjoy every book she writes, if not love.

Fire was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Fire, the main character, is just as well written and engaging as Graceling's Katsa. Although, I will admit that I may be liked Katsa a bit more... Fire was still an amazing character though - I definitely felt that she was a strong heroine.

I loved that Fire was set in the Dells. It is such a magical and intriguing land and I felt that there was so much left to explore at the end of the novel. I hope that Kristin Cashore takes us back to the Dells in a future novel - perhaps during Katsa's time, as Fire takes place before the events in Graceling.

The romance between Fire and Brigan was well written. I am a fan of love stories that where the two characters overcome some obstacles before falling into one another's arms, and I think that Cashore does a wonderful job at writing this type of romance. I felt like there was bit more sex in Fire than in Graceling, but it was tastefully done and necessary to the plot. Everytime another illegitimate child was discovered it was a bit of a shock though, this novel was full of them!

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10
Total: 50/50 (A)

I'd like to mention that it is not necessary to read Graceling before Fire - in fact, I think it would be interesting to read Fire first.

Now that I've read Fire I'll have to go dream about reading the next novel from Cashore, Bitterblue. I love Kristin Cashore's novels - they're just a bit painful to wait for! At least she doesn't leave us with a gigantic cliff-hanger...!

At the Movies: The Ugly Truth (3)

"A romantically challenged morning show producer (Katherine Heigl) is reluctantly embroiled in a series of outrageous tests by her male chauvinist correspondent (Gerard Butler) to prove his theories on relationships and allow her to find love. His clever ploys, however, lead to the totally unexpected result—she finds love at the same time that he falls in love with her." (From Wikipedia)

I've been waiting for a couple of months for this movie to finally come out!! It wasn't exactly what I expected, but I loved it anyway!

At first I thought it was going to be kind of crude, but, even though there was lots of crude language, it fit in with the plot and tone of the movie. I laughed at many parts and I didn't blush once.

The Ugly Truth will be on my dvd shelf when it is released - Catherine Heigl and Gerard Butler were amazing together! :) Overall it was a really fun movie with a typical romantic comedy ending, but I was okay with that. In fact, I prefer it!!

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

I am so excited about Gail Carriger's upcoming novel, Soulless! It is the first in the Parasol Protectorate series! Changeless, the second book in the series, is due out in April 2010!

Summary from Gail's website:

"Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced!

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible.

Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?"

Isn't it obvious why I am pumped about this book?!? I have daydreams about it... :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review: Black Rabbit Summer by Kevin Brooks

Title: Black Rabbit Summer
Author: Kevin Brooks
Publisher: Chicken House (Scholastic)
Date Published: 2008
Genre: Young Adult
Main Themes: Missing persons, Friendship, Growing up, Drugs and Alcohol
Pages: 488
Plot (from book jacket):
"As kids they were tight. Now they've grown up - and apart. Before going their separate ways for good, they decide to get together one last time.
Just like old times.
Just the five of them.
Saturday night.
Nicole asked. How could Pete say no?
But the past hurts, personal histories, soon surface, and the party's over. The group splinters off into the darkness. Into the noise and heat and chaos of the summer carnival.
Days later, a girl goes missing. And each of them is a suspect in her disappearance. Pete doesn't know what to believe. Could one of their own, one of the old gang, be a killer?"

I want to start out by mentioning that I usually don't read books narrated by guys. I don't really know why, but usually I just don't feel as connected to the novel. That said, Black Rabbit Summer might be one of my favorite books. It was absolutely stunning! There was just something so ridiculously deep about it. It might have been the narrator or Brooks himself, but this book simply shines.

It wasn't what I expected really, it was much more than the jacket description lets on. I related to the characters in this book so well. I could see each and every character as someone from my life - someone I went to school with.

The plot involves a bit of a mystery and I honestly had no clue how it would be resovled. There were clues at first, but I had no clue how it would all end up fitting together.

Here is a quote that I read, then went back and reread because I loved it so much (Page 404):
"As I stepped over to the den and crept through the door, I wondered if that's what it was all about. Friends. People you know. People you used to know. People you think you once knew, but you probably never did. You probably knew just part of them, the part of them that was your friend. And the rest, the parts of them that you didn't know - the twisted parts, the untrue parts, the parts you are seeing now - well, back then you just ignored them. But now you can't. Because now you can see it all, and now you know that "back then" wasn't all wonderful and innocent. It was just a time and a place, just like every other time and place. The only difference now is that the things - the people - that belonged to the old time and place aren't here anymore, and things that aren't here anymore don't hurt anymore. The only things that hurt are the things that hurt right now."

Ratings (out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10
Total: 50/50 (A)

I loved this book - READ IT! It was darkly beautiful. I will definitely be looking into Kevin Brooks' previous books (Lucas, Candy, Being, The Road of the Dead, and more)! I've heard that Lucas is really amazing as well...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

In My Mailbox (3)

IMM is hosted by Kristi, aka The Story Siren!

I'm posting this IMM kind of late in the day since I slept till about 2pm today. Yesterday was my best friend's wedding and it was a loooong day. It took some time to fully recover!

Today was a good week in books though - I received a few and got a few read. So it balanced out nicely. :)

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (October 13th 2009) (won)
I am so, so excited to read this book! I'm waiting until a little closer to October to read and review it though - but I read the first couple paragraphs and almost collapsed in a comfy chair to read it. I think it is going to be AMAZING!

The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley + goodies (won)
I won this and a goodies bag. The goodies bag had a bunch of cool stuff in it (handmade bookmark, some pear flavored jellybeans in a cute pouch, a signed sticker, a promo card). I am really looking forward to reading it - I've heard lots of good things about it!

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler (library)
I got this book because I read Guyaholic and really enjoyed it. Plus, this author has a new book called Tangled coming out at the end of the year and I wanted to read some of her older stuff first.

Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald
This book looked really cute and I'm moving to my new college soon - so I thought it was kind of relevant. Plus I really like the cover.

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell
This is another one that I picked solely based on the cover. I haven't actually heard that great of reviews about this book, but I still wanted to give a it a shot. The plot sounds good, so.... Has anyone read it and liked it???

Betrayed (A House of Night Novel) by P.C. and Kristin Cast
I need to catch up on the series, as I have only read the first one. I didn't really like that one all that much, but I've been told they get better.

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
REALLY excited about this one - I love the cover and the plot sounds great.

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
I loved The Summoning and have been waiting for this one! I didn't want to buy hardcover because I have a softcover of The Summoning and luckily the library finally got this one!

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
I love E. Scott's novels, so I wanted to give her heavier, more serious novel a try.

Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn
I loved this cover and I'm interested in Titanic stuff - so I'm giving this one a try.

Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber
I've never read these, but I saw they were reprinted with new covers. I wasn't sure if I wanted to buy them though, so I got the first one from the library.

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
I heard this one was good, so I snatched it from the library.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Contest: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler!

Now that you've read my review and are adding this book to your to be read pile (for those of us who have woefully neglected reading Twenty Boy Summer until now), here is your chance to win your very own hardcover copy!

All you have to do is leave a comment responding to this prompt:

What was the best trip or vacation you ever took and why?

For extra entries:

+1 comment on my review
+2 become a follower
+3 already are a follower
+1 spread the word about this contest (blog it, tweet it, link it to side bar = one entry for every location (up to 3))

One lucky person will get their very own hardcover copy of Twenty Boy Summer.

Sorry, only open to U.S. residents because of those darn shipping costs! :(

Contest ends on August 10th!

Good Luck!!

Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown
Date Published: 2009
Genre: Young Adult
Main Themes: Love, Friendship, Family, Grief, Secrets
Pages: 290
Plot (from book jacket):
" 'Don't worry Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.'
'Promise me? Promise me you won't say anything?'
'Don't worry.' I laughed. 'It's our little secret, right?'

According to Anna's best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie - she's already had her romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago."

Ahhhh! I devoured this book; it was simply stunning. Seriously! I hadn't heard a bad review about it, but I was hesitant. Was it too good to be true? Nope, apparently not!

The characters were so amazing in this novel - I came to love Frankie, Anna, Matt, and Sam! Anna was an awesome narrator with the perfect balance of truthfulness, wit, and sarcasm. Sam was definitely swoon worthy; I loved that he wasn't just a good looking guy Anna meets on vacation, he was smart and had depth as well.

Frankie and Anna's relationship was one of my favorite parts of the story. I think that it perfectly captured what many best friend relationships are like: there is jealousy, love, protectiveness, and a billion other emotions and feelings all wrapped together - not just happiness and sunshine.

I've been reading a lot of books where an important person in the main characters life has died (Broken Soup, Evermore, Willow,I Heart You, You Haunt Me, etc) and I really thought that those authors did well, but I really liked Sarah Ockler's depiction in particular. Twenty Boy Summer is most closely related to I Heart You, You Haunt Me (in that the boyfriend/love interest is the character that is lost), but I really liked how the author portrayed Anna's feelings and confusion. If you liked I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder, I would definitely recommend Twenty Boy Summer.

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10
Total: 50/50 (A!!)

I think it is quite obvious that I think everyone should read this book! Add this review to the rest of the stack of glowing reviews!! :) Skip the library for this one - you're going to want it on your shelf!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Review: I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

Title: I Heart You, You Haunt Me
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Date Published: January 2008
Genre: Young Adult
Main Themes: Death, Ghosts, Love, Grief
From "Girl meets boy. Girl loses boy. Girl gets boy back... sort of.

Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear hisvoice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds."

This book was not at all what I expected. To be honest, I bought it because of the cover, title, and the little blurb on the back - I had no idea that it was written in verse or what it was really about.

This book really was haunting, just not for the reasons I thought it would be. First off, it wasn't a book about a love that lasts even after death - not really anyway. It was more about first love and moving on - whether that first love is dead or not. I think that that was the really beautiful thing about this book - I could relate to Ava because their is grief and loss in break ups as well as in death, granted it isn't exactly the same, but sometimes it feels like it is.

I really enjoyed that the book was written in verse. It made for a quick read, but it flowed wonderfully.

My one complaint was Jackson - I just didn't really like him all that much. I think that if I would have known the Jackson of before I might have, but I really didn't feel a connection to him. But there were some great flashbacks that made me look at him a bit fondly.

Ratings (out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 8
Writing style: 10
Romance: 9
Originality: 10

Total: 47/50 (A-)

I recommend this book because it really was quite intense and the writing was beautiful, but I can't say it's a favorite of mine. However, I am really excited about Lisa Schroeder's upcoming novel, Chasing Brooklyn! I'll definitely give the new one and her other novel, Far From You, a look!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Review: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Title: Princess of the Midnight Ball
Author: Jessica Day George
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date Published: 2009
Genre: Young Adult
Keywords: Enchantment, Love, Fairy tales
Pages: 280
Description (from book jacket):
 Princess Rose is the eldest of twelve sisters condemned to dance each night for the wicked King Under Stone in his palace deep within the earth. It is a curse that has huanted the girls since their birth - and only death will set them free.
Then Rose meets Galen, a young soldier-turned-gardener with an eye for adventure and a resolve that matches her own, and freedom suddenly begins to seem a little less impossible. To defeat the king and his dark court, theywill need one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all - true love.

This is the first book that I'd ever read by Jessica Day George, and I wasn't disappointed. I'd never heard the tale of the 12 dancing princesses before - and I thought it was a very romantic idea that a soldier-turned-gardener would set out to save these princesses.

This book was predictable in that the reader knows that Galen will prevail by the end of the book, but the author added plenty of little details and twists to keep it interesting.

Galen knits too! I thought that was really interesting. At the end of the book, Jessica Day George explains that knitting was originally a man's task - not a woman's. I never knew that!

Ratings (out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing Style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 9
Total: 49/50 (A)

I recommend this book - it was a feel good read - I'll always be a sucker for fairy tales. Fans of retellings will definitely enjoy this book!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine!

I'm anxiously awaiting Snap by Carol Snow!

Here is a description from HarperCollins:

"Madison Sabatini thought she knew who she was: an almost-sophomore with a bright future. The newest photographer on her school paper. A shopaholic with great hair and a fabulous wardrobe. Then, in a flash, everything changed.

Now she's stuck in Sandyland, a gloomy beach town in the middle of nowhere, living with her parents in a crappy hotel "suite." Instead of spending the summer with her friends at home, she's hanging out with pink-haired Delilah, an artist who works in a shop called Psychic Photo, and a skater boy named Duncan who's totally not her type. Except, maybe he is . . .

Determined to make the best of things, Madison throws herself into her one passion: photography. But when strange figures start appearing in her pictures—people who weren't there when she snapped the shots, people who are later reported dead—she begins to question everything about who she is . . . and who she wishes she could be."

Snap will be released August 25th!

Review: The Debs by Susan McBride

Title: The Debs
Author: Susan McBride
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date Published: 2008
Genre: Young Adult
Main Themes: Debutantes, Love, Friendship, Family, Wealth
Pages: 246
From back cover: "The heat is on down South!
Debutante season in Houston is under way, and four ultraprivileed girls await their invitations from the illustrious Glass Slipper Club.

Laura Delacroix Bell: This trust-rund baby's size-fourteen figure doesn't stop her from attracting hot boys or the admiring eye of the GSC selection committee. But a salacious secret could take her out of the running faster than you can say "Rosebud."

Michelle "Mac" Mackenzie: She'd rather bury her nose in a book than embrace her deb destiny. But Mac's debut is her late mother's dream and her stepmother's obsession. If Mac doesn't bow out now, she may become the crankiest deb in Texas.

Ginger Fore: She hopes to wear her grandmother's vintage ball gown on her big presentation day. But when a mysterious college guy puts Giger's deb eligibility in jeopardy, she may end up wearing an unflattering orange jumpsuit instead.

Jo Lynn Bidwill: A former beauty queen, she makes it her mission in life to take out the debu-trash. For now, Jo Lynn's sights are set on Laura Bell, and what she has in store for her bitter rival is anything but ladylike.

The Debs... high society doesn't get any lower than this."

I was pleasantly surprised by this book! When I first saw it I was expected something pretty shallow and kind of like a southern version of Gossip Girl. While it was still primarily a light read, it had some depth as well and I found the characters easy to relate to, despite the reader's first impressions.

I really liked how Susan McBride started off describing the girls in term of appearances, then delved deeper into who they are - their hopes, fear, and insecurities. I really enjoyed having four main characters and four points of view. I found that I related to each girl in some way or another.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the quotes at the beginning of the chapters. They were really funny and fit perfectly with the chapters!

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Romance: 10
Writing Style: 10
Originality: 10

Total: 50/50 (A)

I recommend this novel! It was fun and humorous, with just the right amount of high society intrigue and gossip.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Moon Trailer

I found this trailer for New Moon on YouTube...

I haven't read New Moon in a few years, but I'm pretty sure this doesn't follow along with the book.

What do you think?

Random News and Today I'm Super Happy

Soooo. For whatever reason, okay, actually I know why, I'm really happy.

I've got some really exciting reviews, interviews and contests in the works for all you readers out there! I'm thinking that all this fun stuff will be happening in August, but perhaps earlier if everything comes together well. That is all I can say about that for now. For the sake of being mysterious. Mysterious is fun except for the fact that I have a big mouth and totally want to tell you all what's happening (!!!).... Okay, moving on.

Also, I have the next two days off from the dreaded Subway! So yay for that!! I can get some reading done and stay up super late and not have to worry about it... All great things!

I'm pretty sure The Ugly Truth is coming out in theaters soon and I can't wait! Gerard Butler anyone? So cute! His accent is THE best! And Katherine Heigl is good too... :)

Saturday is totally my best friends wedding. I am the maid of honor. Do I have my speech written? Hmmm, that would be a no. Any expert speech writers in the audience? Keep your fingers crossed that NE Michigan has beautiful weather Saturday - it's a beach wedding. And WE HAVE NO BACKUP PLAN! :S

Monday, July 20, 2009


I happily accept review copies and arcs from authors and publishers to feature and promote on The Hiding Spot. I also enjoy participating in blog tours, interviewing authors, and hosting contests. If I don't feel the offered novel is a good fit for The Hiding Spot or my personal reading tastes, there is no guarantee that the novel will receive a review. I maintain this policy because a) forcing oneself to read a novel is never a happy or worthwhile experience and b) I hate giving bad reviews, so I'd rather set it aside then finish and write a negative review.


My acceptance of a review copy or arc does not guarantee a positive review. I am generally good at selecting novels that I'll enjoy, but there are exceptions. I am honest in my reviews, but I strive for fairness. If I don't enjoy a book, I'm sure to explain why, as other readers may not take issue with the same aspects.

50 Page Rule
While I try to review every book I'm sent, there is the occasional exception. If I've read 50 pages and my attention is wavering, I'm forced to set the book aside. I may go back and try again, but in some cases I discover that the novel is not for me. 

The Hiding Spot focuses primarily on Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Illustrated Children's titles. That said, if a review copy of a Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction, Adult Romance/Chick Lit title is offered - and I am intrigued by the synopsis or I feel that my blog readers may enjoy it - I may accept. 

I do own an e-reader (a Kindle) and happily accept e-galleys and e-books for review purposes.

Review Format
All reviews begin with a description. I do not write my own descriptions; they are pulled from the GoodReads, the back of arcs, jacket flaps, etc. My rationale behind using source descriptions is that this description influenced my decision to read the novel and are the point from which my expectations stem.

The bulk of the review is my opinion on various aspects of the novel. I usually choose two or three things about the novel that I particularly enjoyed or, in some cases, disliked.  If there was a romantic element, it's guaranteed to be mentioned. I don't discuss every aspect or plot line of a novel, sometimes because I don't have a clearly formed opinion, other times to keep the review at a manageable length. My reviews should only take a matter of minutes to read, while still touching on the characteristics that most influenced my enjoyment and opinion of the novel.

Contact Me
To contact me about reviewing a title at The Hiding Spot, an interview or guest post, hosting a contest, current information regarding site traffic, or any other questions, please email me at:

New Header and Layout!

As of today my new header and layout are up thanks to the amazing Korianne!

Korianne's blog is located here:

It was so easy and wonderful to work with Korianne! When I first contacted her I didn't really know what I wanted, but she directed me to some websites that helping me come up with more concrete ideas. Then I sent her some backgrounds I liked and a couple pictures that I thought would fit well with my blog title, The Hiding Spot.

The rest, honestly, was all Korianne. She found more pictures that worked well in the header and matched the colors to the background.

I never could have done all this without her - I would still be sitting her looking at my same old pink template - and so would all you blog readers out there!

If you have a blog that is in need of some serious spicing up, go take a look at Korianne's site! She's a lifesaver and really talented!

Review: Old Magic by Marianne Curley

Title: Old Magic
Author: Marianne Curley
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date Published: 2002
Genre: Young Adult
Main Themes: Magic, Curses, Love, Time travel
Pages: 317
Plot (from back cover):
"Jarrod Thornton is mesmerizing, but Kate Warren doesn't know why.

The moment the new guy walks into the room, Kate senses something strange and intense about him. Something supernatural. Her instincts are proven correct a few minutes later when, bullied by his classmates, Jarrod unknowingly conjures up a freak thunderstorm inside their classroom.

Jarrod doesn't believe in the paranormal. When Kate tries to convince him that he has extraordinary powers that need to be harnessed, he only puts up with her "hocus pocus" notions because he finds her captivating. However, the dangerous, uncontrolled strengthening of his gift finally convinces Jarrod that he must take Kate's theories seriously. Together, they embark on a remarkable journey - one which will unravel the mystery that has haunted Jarrod's family for generations and pit the teens against immense forces in a battle to undo the past and shape the future."

First off, I have to say that I thought this was a pretty good book for being the author's first published novel. It has a lot of interesting elements, like the time travel and the curse on Jarrod's family. However, I felt like there was a lot of loose ends that didn't really get tied up - and perhaps some things that didn't really fit right for me in the story.

First off, I was a bit bothered by the fact that Jarrod goes from being bullied to suddenly being one of the cool kids. It didn't really make any sense to me. And for someone who desperately wants to be accepted, he sure is quick to shun Kate, who accepted and helped him from the beginning (even if he does think she's a bit crazy).

I also felt like the antagonist wasn't fully developed - he just seemed half-hearted to me. I found more annoying than devious.

Otherwise, I thought that this was a good effort by Marianne Curley. I enjoyed it much more than The Named, which she wrote after Old Magic. I've read lots of reviews raving about all of her books though, so I think its just a preference thing. I read A LOT of epic fantasy, so I think my standards are a bit high and Old Magic just didn't really cut it for me.

But I think its worth a read simply because the romance and Jarrod's transformation and very well written. If you like Old Magic, then you should give the The Named a try... and the next two in that trilogy.

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 7
Characters: 8
Writing Style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 9
Total: 44/50 (B+)

My copy was from the library and I suggest you find it there too... :)

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi, a.k.a. The Story Siren!

This week was a really good week for books, which, of course, makes me a happy little reader. :)

Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian: I've heard so much good stuff about this book and can't wait to read it!

The Debs by Susan McBride: I didn't even know that I was getting this book, so I was really excited when I opened the package and saw it. If you remember, last week I got the sequel in the mail and had to get this one yet.

Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner: I've read reviews saying its hilarious and reviews saying its crude - I don't know what to think, but I'm keeping an open mind.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler: So excited to read this one! I haven't heard a bad thing about it!! :)

I also raided the library:

Chosen by P.C. and Kristin Cast
Betrayed by P.C. and Kristin Cast
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Paper Towns by John Green
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Shroeder

And I bought:
Full Moon by Rachel Hawthorne

So on top of the books I already have - I have tons of reading to do. But honestly, that doesn't bother me all that much... :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

At the Movies: The Proposal (2)

So I just got back from seeing The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds - and it was totally hilarious. I am a sucker for romantic comedies, but this one even had my little brother laughing - which leads me to believe that its better than the typical romantic comedy. Plus I said I wanted to go see it and he totally agreed - which NEVER happens!

I'm usually not a movie-goes simply because it is ridiculously expensive to go to the theater, but this movie was so worth it. I can't wait till it comes out on DVD...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Review: Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy

Title: Looking for JJ
Author: Anne Cassidy
Publisher: Harcourt
Date Published: 2004
Genre: Young Adult/Adult
Main Themes: Murder, Witness Protection, Love, Family
Pages: 319
From book jacket:
"Three children walked away from the cottages on the edge of town toward Berwick Waters. Later that day, only two of them came back...

Alice Tully knows exactly what happened that spring day six years ago - Lothough it's still hard for her to believe. The images, the sounds, and theaftermath are imprinted in her memory. She'll never be able to forget,even though seh's trying to lead a normal life - she has a job, friends, and a boyfriend whom she adores. She's making a go of things, getting a new life started, putting those memories behind her.

But her past is dangerous, violent, and sad - and it's about to rip her new life apart."

Looking for JJ developed slowly, but what it lacked in speed it made up for in intesity. The story begins as the reader is introduced to Alice Tully, a seventeen year old barista. Alice has a secret, a dark past that only a select few know about. The reader knows from the beginning that Alice is not really Alice, she is actually the infamous JJ, known as the ten-year old murderer.

The reader, however, only knows Alice at this point and wonders how Alice, the seemingly calm and together girl, could have performed such a horrible act.

As the story progresses the reader gets to know Alice and then JJ, until the reader is questioning what is right and what is wrong, who is to blame for the murder, and if people like JJ can change.

The one aspect of the book that I really didn't enjoy was Alice's relationship with her boyfriend Frankie. I didn't really believe their relationship. Alice supposedly 'adored' him, but all he did was complain, doubt her, and pressure her - it got kind of old after awhile because he never supported her, only held her down.

I recommend this book, but I wouldn't buy it - its more of a borrow from the library book. I don't think I'd read it again.

Ratings (out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 8
Writing style: 10
Romance: NA
Originality: 10

Total: 38/40 (A)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Review: The Devouring by Simon Holt

Title: The Devouring
Author: Simon Holt
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Date Published: 2008
Genre: Young Adult
Main Themes: Possession, Nightmares, Family, Friendship/Love
Pages: 231
From book jacket: The Vours: Evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of winter solstice.

This isn't how the horror ended for us - this is how it began.

When Reggie reads about the Vours in a mysterious old journal, she assumes they are just the musing of an anonymous lunatic. But when her little brother, Henry, begins to act stragely, it's clear that these creatures exist beyong a madwoman's imagination, and Reggie finds out what happens when fears come to lie.

To save the people she loves, Reggie must learn to survive in a world of nightmares. Can she devour he own fears before they devour her?"

I thought this was a good book, but I didn't really find it all that scary. The concept of Vours was really interesting - and freaky I suppose, but none of the scenes themselves really scared me. So I suppose this is a horror novel in the way that if you think that something like this could happen to you, you have a really good reason to be freaked out!

Otherwise, there really isn't all that much to say - I feel kind of lame, actually. I thought the writing was solid and the world well imagined. I'd recommend it, but I didn't love it. There was just something missing for me. I will read the next book, Soulstice, I'm kind of more interested the sequel just because I think things will really start getting interesting. Now Reggie knows more about the Vours and can focus on kicking their butts by the masses. So basically, read it, but get it from the library if you can.

Ratings (out of 10):
Plot: 9
Characters: 10
Writing style: 10
Romance: 6
Originality: 10
Total: 45/50 (A-)

The Truth About Forever Contest Winner

The results are in!
There ended up being 45 entries for the Truth About Forever giveaway, which is a pretty good amount for my third contest!
I used to determine the winner *drumroll*:


I hope she enjoys this book as much as I did!

Thank you everyone who took the time to answer my questions and enter the contest. Check back soon for a new contest... there will be another one starting up by August at the latest.

I'd also like to thank all of you who became new followers or who have been following me for awhile. It really means a lot to me that you find my blog worth your time to read! :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

First of all, I must say that it is totally unfair that books come out in the UK before they come out in the US. I'm sure there are some books that come out here first, but lets pretend they don't so I can whine about it...!

So, I just read Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine and loved it (read my review to see just why I loved it so much!). So I decided to google Jenny Valentine and I discovered that she has a new book out! In the UK... where she is from... And I WANT it! I'm not sure when it comes out in the US, but here is a picture and a plot summary from FantasticFiction:

"Number 33 Georgiana Street houses many people and yet seems home to none. To runaway Sam it is a place to disappear. To Bohemia, it's just another blip between crises, as her mum ricochets off the latest boyfriend. Old Isobel acts like she owns the place, even though it actually belongs to Steve in the basement, who is always looking to squeeze in yet another tenant. Life there is a kind of ordered chaos. Like ants, they scurry about their business, crossing paths, following their own tracks, no questions asked. But it doesn't take much to upset the balance. Dig deep enough and you'll find that everyone has something to hide!" From AmazonUK

Don't you want it too??

I just got back from HP6...

OMG! Yes, that movie was totally OMG worthy!

Okay, so I liked the other movies. They were fine, I watch them over again occasionally. But Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was flipping amazing. I am kind of in shock right now.

It was funny, intense, romantic.... it was freaking everything. I am so, so excited about the next movie. And it is SOOOOO far away!

It is really amazing after re-watching all the old movies to see how far the actors have come. I really can't even seperate them from their characters at this point.

Go watch this movie as soon as possible.

My head is spinning from lack of sleep and its amazingness!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Review: Blood Roses by Francesca Lia Block

Title: Blood Roses
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Publisher: HarperTeen
Date Published: 2008
Genre: Young Adult (Poetry/Short Story)
Main Themes: Love, Change, Supernatural
Pages: 129
Plot (From inside cover):
"What shall we do, all of us?
All of us passionate girls who fear crushing the boys we love with our mouths
like caverns of teeth,
our mushrooming brains,
our watermelon hearts?

What's real is what's imagined in nine tales of transformation by Francesia Lia Block."

Isn't that the coolest cover jacket quote ever?? I think so! I love, love, love Francesa Lia Block. There is something about her writing that makes me feel weightless and whimsical - it's just so beautifully written and imagined.

Blood Roses is a collection of short stories that was previously written for an anthology, but were republished together. The quote from the jacket is from the one titled Giant. Some of them were funny, some sad, but all of them were lyrical and dark in their own way.

I found that some of the writing was awkward, but in a good, appropriate way. These stories are about teenage girls - I'd be hard pressed to find a teenage girl who isn't awkward at some point or another.

This book deals with some really heavy issues, but it is so amazing. I can't say much more than that. For anyone who has read Francesca Lia Block's books and loved them - read this one too. If you didn't like her other ones, you won't like this one either. If you haven't read her before, give her books a try! I'd probably read I Was a Teenage Fairy or Violet and Clare first because there are actual full stories and her writing is easier to get used to like that first. If you like one of her books, you'll like - and love - them all!

Here is another excerpt that I loved:
"Death lives in my dollhouse, thought Fleurette...

Death could take many forms but in this case Death was a woman, very small, invisible, who lived in Fleurette's dollhouse.

Fleurette begged her mother to throw the dollhouse away but her mother refused. So the dollhouse was moved to the garage where Death continued to live because death must live somewhere, mustn't she?"

Block is seriously amazing!