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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Breast Cancer 3-Day

So, I've recently joined a club where I go to school called The Pink Ladies, where we work to raise awareness about breast cancer, do walks, and volunteer.

Then, I found a post by Jackson Pearce about the Breast Cancer 3-Day, which I had never heard of... Jackson has a nifty contest going on over at her site to help raise awareness about the 3-Day, so go over and check it out!

Info from the website:
The Breast Cancer 3-Day is an amazing 60-mile journey that helps mothers, sisters, spouses, and friends get one step closer to a world without breast cancer. Join us for three inspirational days where together we’ll walk so long, so far, and with so much hope, the world will hear our footsteps.

Everyone who participates in the Breast Cancer 3-Day discovers her (or his!) own personal meaning, regardless of their size, age, athletic ability or lack thereof. For some, it’s the overwhelming pride that comes from completing what they thought was impossible. For others, it’s the joy of doing something so big and bold they know they’ve made a difference. And for many, it’s the opportunity to bond with loved ones or forge new friendships that last a lifetime.

If you have a chance to participate, please do! If you can't participate, you can donate to the cause or, if shopping is your thing, you can buy a t-shirt or other 3-day gear!

Waiting on Wednesday (13)

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine!

My WoW pick this week is:

Sea by Heidi Kling (Penguin Putnam, 6/10/10)
Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother’s disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen-year old California girl Sienna Jones reluctantly travels with her psychiatrist father’s volunteer team to six-months post-tsunami Indonesia where she meets the scarred and soulful orphaned boy, Deni, who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.

She knows they can’t be together, so why can’t she stay away from him? And what about her old best friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why won’t her dad tell her the truth about her mother’s plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to finding answers.
And Sea’s real adventure begins.

SEA is a tenner book and for awhile I was seeing it all over blogs, but mentions have slowed down lately and I wanted to keep it fresh in everyone's mind! It looks like an amazing book. I love books where there is a bit of love triangle or friend-turned-crush, so SEA looks especially interesting to me...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Title: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder
Author: Julie Halpern
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pub. Date: Today! (9/29/09)
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Friendship, Popularity, Love, Peer Pressure
Pages: 224
Plot (from back of ARC):
Life on the Dork Side.
"It's Jessie's sophmore year of high school. A self-professed "mathelete," she isn't sure where she belongs. Her two best friends have transformed themselves into punks and one of them is going after her longtime crush. Her beloved older brother will soon leave for college (and in the meantime has shaved his mohawk and started dating... the Prom Princess!)...
Things are changing fast, Jessie needs new friends. And her quest is a hilarious tour through high school clique-dom, with a surprising stop along the way - the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, who out-nerd everyone. Will hanging out with them make her a nerd, too? And could she really be crushing on a guy with too-short pants and too-white gym shoes?
If you go into the wild nerd yonder, can you ever come back?"

Julie Halpern has written a perfect coming-of-age story told by a quirky heroine that I couldn't help but like!

The plot of Into the Wild Nerd Yonder was adorable, but it wasn't simply a cutesy novel. I was astounded by Julie Halpern's ability to mix heavy social situations and problems with such a seemingly cute coming-of-age story. It makes sense that a coming-of-age story would have messy aspects - after all, there is nothing about growing up that is neat and tidy - but Julie Halpern wove these unsavory aspects into the novel so seamlessy! The author for a way to comment on cliques, sex, STDs, partying, popularity, and more, all while maintaining a story with humorous and witty dialogue and a cute love story!

Jessie's personality and opinion of her surroundings were perfect. In many ways, she reminded me of the main character from the show Freaks and Geeks. Her inner dialogue was extremely easy to relate to, as everyone has experienced losing friends, the unattainable crush, and growing up!

The minor characters in Into the Wild Nerd Yonder were perfectly cast. Barrett was the quintessential older brother, Van was the perfectly villainous older guy and crush, and Henry was the good, adorable guy. Jessie's girl friends were could easily be picked out of the crowd at any high school.

Julie Halpern's writing was witty, humorous and realistic - making Into the Wild Nerd Yonder a novel that hooks you from the first page and doesn't let you go until the last! I think it would be perfect for reluctant readers. It is an predicitable story, but it isn't cliche - just a retelling of every girl's story!

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

I highly recommend Into the Wild Nerd Yonder. It was a quick, cute read, but it made me smile AND think! :)

Trailer Tuesday (6): Into the Wild Nerd Yonder

Trailer Tuesday is hosted by Bri of What Bri Reads!

Today I'm posting the trailer for INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER by JULIE HALPERN, which I will be posting a review for later today... I think that this trailer is adorable and fits the novel perfectly; I couldn't help but smile as I watched it!

I'm sorry that part of the the video is cut off, my blog layout doesn't fit video in very well! Here is a link to the page where you can see the whole image if you can't figure out what is in the covered area! If anyone knows how to fix this for me, feel free to tell me! :)

Did you notice that the music is by the ZOMBIENAUTS? Isn't that a totally sweet band name?? :)

Contest Updates and Misc. News!

Just a couple reminders and tidbits of news!

My contest for SOULLESS by Gail Carriger closes Wednesday, September 30th! Enter here.

My contest for SNAP by Carol Snow closes Thursday, October 1st! Enter here.

Yesterday I mentioned the Summerland Contest which was ending September 30th, but I've just read that the festivities will continue for one more week - so there is still time to participate and win great prizes!! Go here to find out more info!

Thursday I will be going to see author Ellen Hopkins' at a local Barnes and Noble! This will be my first book signing/reading, so I'm really excited - though I haven't read any of Ellen's books! I picked up a copy of her novel Burned today though and might get it read before the signing... I'm considering getting a copy of Tricks at the signing, but I'm not sure at this point...

Tomorrow, I'll be posting my review of INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER by JULIE HALPERN - which I just finished up today and really enjoyed!

Later this week, look forward to a review of HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT and an interview with the author, NATALIE STANDIFORD!

I'll also be reviewing THE TEAR COLLECTOR and interviewing the author, PATRICK JONES, as the first stop on the blog tour hosted by Traveling to Teens! Keep an eye for a chance to win this book as well!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Summerland Contest!

I just wanted to quickly mention the Summerland Contest that will be coming to a close on September 30th! The Summerland Contest was put together by Tirzah of The Compulsive Reader and Harmony of Harmony Book Reviews to celebrate some of their favorite summer book releases!

These books include:
Faketastic by Alexa Young,
Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

There are various ways for readers and bloggers to win big during the Summerland Contest! Check out the contest blog, here, for more information.

Hurry! The last day for entries is Wednesday, September 30th!

In My Mailbox (10)

IMM is hosted by Kristi, aka The Story Siren.
I got some great books this week!

Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman (Putnam, 1/10)
 Looking for a new beginning after a terrible mean girl past, Charlie Healey realizes there’s no escaping high school drama

Charlie Healey thinks Harmony Falls is the beginning of a whole new life. Middle school was brutal. But high school is Charlie’s big chance to start over and stay out of drama, except that on her first day she runs into Will, her ex–best friend, who had moved away. Now a varsity athlete and hotter than Charlie
remembered, Will hangs with the crowd running the school. But Charlie doesn’t understand their power until an innocent delivery guy falls victim to a near-deadly hazing prank.
Torn between doing what’s right and her secret feelings for Will, Charlie must decide whether to turn in her very best friend or live with the guilt of knowing what he did.
Rosalind Wiseman’s first novel for young adults is a fresh, funny, and juicy read about friendship, betrayal, and how far some will go to be accepted.

Thank you to Penguin Putnam for offering me a chance to review this book! I'm so excited that it was given a good review by Tina Fey - it makes me feel like it is definitely going to be a good one!

La Petite Four by Regina Scott (Razorbill, out now)
Lady Emily is determined to be belle of the ball in this irresistible romantic romp.
La Petite Four is the sweet, playful tale of sixteen year old Lady Emily's self-discovery on her way to finding love and having a ball - literally!

Emily and her three best friends can't wait for the year's biggest party: the Coming-Out Ball that will plunge them into the seductions, scandals, and decadence of nineteenth-century London Society. But when dashing Lord Robert puts a wrinkle in their plans, Emily and her crew hatch an investigation to expose his dark side - a move which puts them right in the path of the stubborn, yet curiously attractive James Cropper. Readers will have to fluff up their ball gowns and hang on to their corsets as Emily decides between Robert and James, love and independence, and ultimately discovers just how far she'll go to follow her own heart.
Thanks Cindy for allowing me to mooch this one from you! :)

The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies by Lizabeth Zindel (Viking, out now)
When does truth become gossip? Maggie's parents have just split up, and she's moved from New Jersey to New York City with her mom. Desperate to make new friends and to distract herself from troubles at home, she falls in with a group of social butterflies at the ritzy private school she now attends. These girls keep a top-secret record of their classmates' most intimate details on a wall in one of their apartments. Maggie's friends insist they are collecting the truth, not gossip, about the lives of today's teenagers. But she soon learns that certain information in the wrong hands can do irreparable damage.
Thank you Cindy for letting me mooch this one from you! :)

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater (Flux, 10/1/09)
In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians. James' musical talent attracts Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together unexpectedly leads to mutual admiration and love. Haunted by fiery visions of death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soul-scorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives.
I have to say that Ballad is just as beautiful as it looks in the images on the internet. I jumped up and down a little when I finally had it in my hands! :) Thank you Flux for sending me a copy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

TBR Thursday (4): Derby Girl

This is a new meme hosted by Drea of Book Blather! Play along!
TBR Thursday highlights all those books that you physically own but haven’t had the chance to read yet. Or maybe they’ve already been released and you're dying to grab a copy from the library to read but already have too many books on your table. There can be some old books, some new books, and some that are in between, but they have to be books that you want to read and review!

Check out the main post back at Drea's blog to share your TBR Thursday pick too!
Here is this week's pick:

Derby Girl by Shauna Cross (Henry Holt, September 2007)
Meet Bliss Cavendar, a blue haired, indie-rock loving misfit stuck in the tiny town of Bodeen, Texas.

Her pageant-addicted mother expects her to compete for the coveted Miss Blue Bonnet crown, but Bliss would rather feast on roaches than be subjected to such rhinestone tyranny.
Bliss’ escape? Take up Roller Derby.
When she discovers a league in nearby Austin, Bliss embarks on an epic journey full of hilarious tattooed girls, delicious boys in bands, and a few not-so-awesome realities even the most bad-assed derby chick has to learn.

I have had this book FOREVER and didn't remember it until I started seeing preview for the upcoming movie, Whip It (see trailer for movie below!), which is based on the book. I then found it on my shelf - and I can't believe I haven't read it! It looks amazing, plus I really want to read it before the movie comes out!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Contest: Win a copy of Soulless by Gail Carriger! CLOSED

Gail Carriger has kindly offered a chance to win a signed ARC of her upcoming novel, Soulless to one lucky reader!

Entering this contest is easy:
Simply leave your email in a comment to this post! You must leave an email address or you will be disqualified!

Of course, there are some chances for extra entries for those of you who want every entry you can get to win this amazing new novel!

+2 Comment on my review of Soulless, here.

+2 Comment on my interview with Gail, here.

+1 Tell me something interesting you learned while browsing Gail's website, blog, or Livejoural!(I really mean anything...!)

+2 Every time you link this contest (Sidebars, Twitter, Blog post, etc) (You may not get multiple points for multiple tweets... only +2 once!)

This contest is open until September 30th, the day after Soulless officially hits the shelves!


Good luck and have fun!


Interview: Gail Carriger (Author of Soulless!)

Today we have the amazing Gail Carriger, author of the soon-to-be-released Soulless!

First off, I'd like to share the biography that Gail has on her website. This biography is one of the best I've ever read!

Ms. Carriger began writing in order to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by a harem of Armenian lovers, where she insists on tea imported directly from London and cats that pee into toilets. She is fond of teeny tiny hats and tropical fruit. Soulless is her first book.

The Interview:

First off, tell us a little bit about your new novel, Soulless.
It's an "everything but the kitchen sink" mash up of genres (steampunk, comedy, and urban fantasy) in which a startlingly assertive spinster (who just happens to have no soul) takes on Victorian London's supernatural upper crust one parasol whack at a time.

Are you anything like your main character, personality-wise?
I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I might incriminate myself. Actually, bits of my personality come out more distinctly in three of my minor characters, one of whom doesn't appear until the second book. I'll leave my readers to guess which three.

Alexia’s romantic counterpart is Lord Maccon, a werewolf. Was there a particular reason why you wrote Lord Maccon as a werewolf, as opposed to the currently popular vampire?
In all honesty, I just don't find vampires that sexy. I like the idea of a hero who's kind of scruffy and bumbling and a little lost in his alpha-nature, rather one who is all sleek and urbane. Also the ability to change shape has always appealed to me. I find the rough and tumble of a pack mentality easier to write, probably because it's closer to my own relationships.

What makes your novel different than all the other supernatural novels hitting the shelves right now?
Aside from the steampunk element and the historical setting, it's comic. I love to read comic novels and I enjoy urban fantasy, so I wrote something the combined the two. Also there's no magic. None at all. Instead, Victorian scientists are struggling to understand vampires, werewolves, and ghosts using the scientific standards of the day. This results in steampunk gadgets and crazy theories centered about the existence of the soul.

What prompted your interest in steampunk?
I adore the steampunk movement's visual aesthetic and its maker mentality. In addition, I have always had a passionate interest in the Victorian era (too many BBC costume dramas as a kid).

What type of research did you have to do while writing Soulless?
As much as I love the Victorian era my areas of expertise were limited to things such as fashion, manners, food, and the antiquities market. I had to do a lot of research into the science and technology of the day. I also looked into vampire and werewolf lore. It's remarkable what obscure detail one suddenly needs to know as a writer. Most recently, I had to figure out what kind of small gun a gentleman might sport in 1841, and what the political climate was like in Italy in 1875. Even if it doesn't make it into the book, it will irritate me if unwritten background information is flawed.

What was the most difficult aspect of writing Soulless?
The nookie scenes. I'm not ashamed to admit it: I hate writing nookie, I always embarrass myself.

Did you always want to be a writer?
I always wanted to be an archaeologist or possibly a professional shoe buyer. But I also always wrote, it was like breathing. Who knew you could be paid for breathing?

What jobs did you have on your way to being a writer? Did they help you in any way as a writer?
I've been everything from a bartender to a tour guide, but I've spent most of my life as an academic with brief bouts behind the cubical to fund my archaeology habit. This has given me great research skills, familiarity with a variety of cultures both around the world now and in the past, good self-discipline, and a paranoia over making deadlines. Oh, and the ability to subsist entirely on a diet of Top Ramen and tea.

When and where do you usually write?
I usually write the first draft a home, at my desk, in the afternoons. If I'm really struggling, I find a change of location helps, so I frequent a local coffee shop. I must hide away and do my second draft in private, however, because I read the whole thing out loud. If I did that in public people would think I was bonkers. I usually red pen a hard copy of the third draft on an airplane, things just arrange it so I'm always traveling at that point in the writing process. I go over the copy edits with my best friend and beta on the couch in the living room with many cups of tea and much hilarity.

Is there something that is a must-have for you to be able to write? Tea, wrist braces, my laptop, the companion world-building notebook of relevance, and, all too often, chocolate.

What author or book most influenced you as a writer or in general
Tamora Pierce. When I was 8 the first book in her Song of the Lioness series came out. Up until that point I'd never read a fantasy book where the central character was a chick who kicked ass. Then, when I was 14, it changed my life again by being the means by which I became friends with the ladies who still beta my stories to this day.

What are currently reading?
Tanya Huff's Valor series - I still cannot resist a chick kicking ass.

Can you tell us anything about your next novel in the Parasol Protectorate series, Changeless?
I can tell you it opens with quite the supernatural crisis in London, Scotland proves difficult (it's not just haggis anymore), and werewolf fur is getting ruffled.
Oh, and Ivy engages in a torrid love affaire, which naturally complicates Alexia's life.

Do you have plans to write any other novels at this time, other than the Parasol Protectorate series?
I've one in to my agent right now. It's YA sci-fi with a chick kicking ass in space. As a girl, it took me a long time to make the leap from fantasy to sci-fi because there was no Tamora Pierce writing sci-fi. There still isn't. So I'm giving it a shot.

The Hiding Spot is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Is there a place, activity, or person that is your hiding spot?
Yes, any place where I can have a great cup of tea and be surrounded by a civilized little garden.

Anything else you would like to share with us?
Someday, all will be revealed about the octopuses.

You may be asking yourself: "What octopuses? I don't remember any mention of an octopus during this interview..." Truth be told, I can't tell you what that means... you'll just have to find out yourself! And I know one easy way to do so: Enter here to win a signed ARC of Soulless, compliments of the author!

Many, many thanks to Gail Carriger for taking the time to not only answer these questions for The Hiding Spot, but also provide me and one other lucky reader with ARCs of Soulless! Not only is Gail an amazing writer, she is an amazing person!

Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Title: Soulless (Book 1 of the Parasol Protectorate Series)
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Pub. Date: 9/29/09
Genre: Steampunk/Fantasy/Supernatural/YA-ish
Main Themes: Steampunk, Alternate worlds, Werewolves, Vampires, Spinsters, Love, Murders, Disappearances
Pages: 373
Plot (from back of ARC):

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 was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then 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 is responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening in London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?"

I'll admit that I have no clue where to start when it comes to writing a review for Soulless! I can easily say that it was one of the most fun and imaginative books I've read this year, but there is just so much more to this book in addition to those details.

I loved the plot of Soulless. There was a perfect mix of romance, supernatural creatures, and mystery. Gail Carriger wove the different elements of Soulless together seamlessly. When I started reading Soulless, I was astounded - each element of the book is so unique and seemingly separate, yet this debut author found a way to them all together into a masterpiece!

The world that Gail Carriger has set her debut novel in is amazing. Alexia brushes shoulders with not characters typical of the Victorian era, but werewolves and vampires as well. I really enjoyed Gail's unique take on the origins of werewolves and vampires. The supernatural aspect that really interested me though was Alexia's own affiction: her lack of soul. When I first read the description, my mind immediately jumped to demon, but Soulless offers a whole new take on what it means to lack a soul...

This is also my first foray into reading steampunk, and I must admit, I'm now intrigued. Soulless explores the ideas of traditional steampunk, which is basically a world that people of the Victorian era envisioned the future to be. Gail's steampunk is unique in that many of the advancements that occur are due to the presence of vampires and werewolves. Some popular steampunk books include: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

Alexia Tarabotti is one of the most exciting and dangerous spinsters I have ever encountered between the covers of a book. She was simply so much fun to read! I was always waiting to see what trouble and inappropriate circumstances she would find herself in next. I especially enjoyed her verbal sparring matches with Lord Maccon. Two of my favorite characteristics of Alexia is her acceptance of her flaws and shortcomings and her confidence in her own abilities. Alexia is a smart, witty, and unique character that makes me proud to be unique as well! Alexia may be living in a time (and world) much different than that of those who will read her story, but she can still teach girls and women of a today a valuable lesson about being yourself, despite being told that who you are isn't fashionable or correct.

The romance in Soulless was wonderfully written. Gail perfectly balanced the social norms of the time with steamy, fun romantic scenes. Despite the fact that they were occuring in Victorian times, the scenes seemed natural. The romance in the book all came together perfectly due to the supernatural aspect of Alexia's world, which made the romance scenes more believable and intense!

Ratings (out of 10):
Plot: 10
Charaters: 10
Writing Style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10

Total: 50/50 (A!)

I can't wait to see what trouble Alexia encounters in the next installment of The Parasol Protectorate, Changeless, which is due out next year from Orbit!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trailer Tuesday (5): The Monstrumologist

Trailer Tuesday is hosted by Bri of WhatBriReads!

This week's trailer is for a new YA release from Rick Yancy. The Monstrumologist was released this month from Simon and Schuster!

Check out the trailer, then read the summary below!

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed.

But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets.

The one who saved me...and the one who cursed me.

So begins the journal of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore War throp, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a grueso me find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

Critically acclaimed author Rick Yancey has written a gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does a man become the very thing he hunts?

Review: Candor by Pam Bachorz

Title: Candor
Author: Pam Bachorz
Publisher: Egmont
Pub. Date: Today!! (9/22/09)
Genre: YA
Main themes: Perfection, Love, Family, Subliminal Messages, Conformity
Pages: 249
Plot (from back of ARC):

Everything is perfect in the town of Candor, Florida. Teens respect their elders, do their chores, and enjoy homework... because they're controlled by subliminal messages. Only Oscar, the son of the town's founder, knows how to get kids out - for a price. But when Nia moves into town, Oscar is smitten. He can't stand to see her changed. Now he must decide to help Nia escape Candor and lose her forever, or keep her close and risk exposure..."

Candor was a wonderful debut from author Pam Bachorz! Filled with suspense, secrets, and forbidden romance, Candor grabbed my attention right from the first chapter!

From the first time I heard about Candor, I was intrigued by the plot. Candor is The Stepford Wives taken to a whole new level! I could definitely see Candor being offered a movie deal in the future. It has all the elements of an amazing big screen hit! I also loved the ideas and questions that Candor raises about conformity and family relations. This novel seems to have a healthy balance of popular appeal as well as deeper meaning.

I'm always a little uncertain when I see books that have a main character that is not the same gender as the author. Perhaps it is unfair of me, but I tend to believe that when it comes to characters, a woman writing a male's point of view simply isn't believeable. Perhaps, that goes more for men writing a female's POV or maybe Pam Bachorz has a gift for understanding the minds of men, but I definitely saw Oscar as realistic.

The romance between Oscar and Nia was well written and fit the plot perfectly. Nia and Oscar are both such perfectly flawed characters - their relationship had just the right amount of passion and insecurity.

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

Total: 50/50 (A!)

Candor is quick, but satisfying read - and Pam Bachorz is an author to watch! I can definitely see more great novels in her future...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side... Continued

For all you fans of Beth Fantaskey's debut novel, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Darkside - Jessica and Lucius' story has been continued.

Beth Fantaskey has answered the pleas of fans by organizing a wedding event/story for her two main characters.

The wedding was planned by readers and fans through Beth's blog and website.

Now that most of the details of the wedding have been planned, Beth is beginning to post the final chapters in Jess and Lucius' story. You can read Chapter 1 here!

Be sure to check it out to see the continuation of an wonderful book and a chance to win prizes if you are the lucky fan that catches the bouquet!

Cover Alert: Tell Me a Secret and Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials

Here a couple new covers I found today in blogosphere! :)

Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala (HarperTeen, 6/10)
It’s tough, living in the shadow of a dead girl…
In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.
Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.
In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.

Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman (Putnam Juvenile, 1/10)
Looking for a new beginning after a terrible mean girl past, Charlie Healey realizes there’s no escaping high school drama
Charlie Healey thinks Harmony Falls is the beginning of a whole new life. Middle school was brutal. But high school is Charlie’s big chance to start over and stay out of drama, except that on her first day she runs into Will, her ex–best friend, who had moved away. Now a varsity athlete and hotter than Charlie
remembered, Will hangs with the crowd running the school. But Charlie doesn’t understand their power until an innocent delivery guy falls victim to a near-deadly hazing prank.
Torn between doing what’s right and her secret feelings for Will, Charlie must decide whether to turn in her very best friend or live with the guilt of knowing what he did.
Rosalind Wiseman’s first novel for young adults is a fresh, funny, and juicy read about friendship, betrayal, and how far some will go to be accepted.

Where the Wild Things Are Movie Trailer

Okay, for all of you that haven't seen the trailer for the upcoming release of Where the Wild Things Are, based on the amazing book by the same name - you have to see it!

Here is a link, the embedding feature of the trailer has been disabled on YouTube, but the link takes you directly to it!

Every time I watch this trailer, I cry. I'm not even kidding! I don't know what it is about it - it simply looks amazing. Epic. I'll definitely be going to see this one when it come out in theaters October 16! Anyone else??

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In My Mailbox (9)

IMM is hosted by Kristi, aka The Story Siren!

Unclaimed Heart by Kim Wilkins (Razorbill, out now)
An illicit love—an oppressive father––a quest for truth.
The rules for a young English woman in 1799 are simple: Do what you’re told; stay out of the way; and don’t, under any circumstances, ask questions.
But Constance Blackchurch is insatiable, headstrong,and complex; and the quest to find her missing mother is too much to resist…
…as is Alexandre Sans-Nom, the pearl diver who steals her heart, uproots all of her social expectations,and can either ruin or save the family she loves.

Catching Fire bySuzanne Collins (Scholastic, out now)
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
See my review here!

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev (Feiwel and Friends, out now)
Enter Stage Right
All her world's a stage.
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She is not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but has no lines of her own.
Until now.
Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every place ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

68 Knots: A Novel by Michael Robert Evans (Tanglewood, out now)
After a sailing camp owner's suicide on board, eight young people from diverse backgrounds band together, give the owner an impromptu burial at sea, and ake cammand of the boat. The sixty-eight days of summer remaining are full of incredible experiences: yacht races and pirate raids, crazy encounters with local characters and wildlife, a potentially fatal hunt for treasure, and many onboard parties. But their freedom also leads to stuggles for authority and power, and questions of who they will be ad what consequences will lie darkly at the end of their journey.

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey (NorLightsPress, out now)
Molly gets kicked out of the Naval Academy and loses the only two things that truly matter: flying in space and her training partner, Cole. A dull future awaits, until her father's old starship-missing for a decade-turns up halfway across the galaxy. Its retrieval launches Molly and Cole on the adventure of a lifetime, one that will have lasting consequences for themselves and billions of others. The simple quest to reconnect with her past ends up forging a new future. And the forgotten family she hoped to uncover becomes one she never foresaw: a band of alien misfits and runaways. Together, they form a new family-the crew of the starship Parsona.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Pub. Date: 9/1/2009
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Survival, Love, Family, Futuristic worlds, Reality television
Pages: 391
Plot (from book jacket):


Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

I absolutely devoured this book. In one night. When I had class at 8 am. There is just no preventing it - so make sure that when you read this book, you have a chunk of time to do so. And you want to read this book, trust me!

Katniss absolutely shines in Catching Fire! She is still very much the survivor readers saw in The Hunger Games. I liked that we saw a little bit more of Katniss' softer side come through in this installment. I love Peeta just as much, if not more, than I did in the first book, but I'm still glad that we got to see a bit more of Gale than before. I can understand why he and Katniss are best friends now, whereas previously I couldn't see what was holding her back from Peeta.

I was dreading the twist in Catching Fire. I had a heads up from a review I'd previously read, but I wasn't sure how Suzanne Collins was going to pull it off. I shouldn't doubted though, Collins seems to be able to pull of anything! :) Sorry if that is extremely cryptic, but I don't want to have any spoilers!

There was some talk of District 13 in this novel and I'm hoping that the rumors will be explored in the next book(s). There are so many directions the next book could go - plus Catching Fire ended in a major cliffhanger! I've got to hand it to Collins, she keeps the readers coming back for more with her intense endings - but it hurts!! :)

Now, on to my favorite aspect of Catching Fire: the romance! I will admit to being a huge fan of Peeta (see my button in my sidebar???!). Gale, though a quality character and guy, just doesn't do it for me. In my eyes, Gale is the childhood crush: there is definitely comfort and familiarity there. Peeta is true and real - Katniss NEEDS him, even if she is denying it! I'm really curious to see where the Peeta-Katniss-Gale love triangle goes in the third book. Especially after that darn cliffhanger!

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

Total: 50/50 (A!)

I can't wait for Suzanne Collins' next installment in the Hunger Games books! I've high expectations, but I'm really not worried about being disappointed. I'm not sure Suzanne Collins could write a bad book if she tried!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Finds (5)

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading!

This week, I've got two Friday Finds to share!

68 Knots: A Novel by Michael Robert Evans (Tanglewood, Out Now)
"After a sailing camp owner's suicide on board, eight young people from diverse backgrounds band together, give the owner an impromptu burial at sea, and ake cammand of the boat. The sixty-eight days of summer remaining are full of incredible experiences: yacht races and pirate raids, crazy encounters with local characters and wildlife, a potentially fatal hunt for treasure, and many onboard parties. But their freedom also leads to stuggles for authority and power, and questions of who they will be ad what consequences will lie darkly at the end of their journey."

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard (Razorbill, 08/10)
"Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteenth sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.
Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. And a boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride… but they MUST STOP. Because when she was 15? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her.
And Ben is her best friend's boyfriend."

This one looks really cute and is written by the author of Prada and Prejudice. It is a bit too early for the cover image.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

TBR Thursday (3): North of Beautiful

This is a new meme hosted by Drea of Book Blather! Play along!
TBR Thursday highlights all those books that you physically own but haven’t had the chance to read yet. Or maybe they’ve already been released and you're dying to grab a copy from the library to read but already have too many books on your table. There can be some old books, some new books, and some that are in between, but they have to be books that you want to read and review!
Check out the main post back at Drea's blog to share your TBR Thursday pick too!

Here is this week's pick:

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Born with a port-wine stain birthmark covering her entire right cheek, Terra Rose Cooper is ready to leave her stifling, small Washington town where everyone knows her for her face. With her critical, reproachful father and an obese mother who turns to food to deflect her father's verbal attacks, home life for Terra isn't so great either. Fueled by her artistic desires, she plans to escape to an East Coast college, thinking this is her true path. When her father intercepts her acceptance letter, Terra is pushed off-course, and she is forced to confront her deepest insecurities. After an ironically fortuitous car accident, Terra meets Jacob, a handsome but odd goth Chinese boy who was adopted from China as a toddler. Jacob immediately understands Terra's battle with feeling different. When Terra's older brother invites her and her mother to visit him in Shanghai, Jacob and his mother also join them on their journey, where they all not only confront the truth about themselves, but also realize their own true beauty. North of Beautiful is the engaging third YA novel by Justina Chen Headley. This is a gorgeously-written, compelling book featuring universal themes of defining true beauty, family bonds, personal strength, and love.

I really need to get to this one, but it keeps getting pushed back!

Review: Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis

Title: Never Cry Werewolf
Author: Heather Davis
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: September 2009
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Summer camp, Werewolves, Love, Family
Pages: 216
Plot (from back of ARC):
"When Shelby is packed off to "brat camp" as punishment for one too many broken curfews, things start looking up when she meets fellow camper (and son of rock star!) Austin Bridges III. But soon Shelby realizes there's more to Austin than crush material - he wants her help guarding a dark family secret. Shelby knows that bad boys get her into trouble... but who is she to turn on a guy in need, especially such a good looking one?"

I'm going to come right out and say that I didn't like this book very much. I simply couldn't take it very seriously and I found it a bit slow. Don't stop now though! Read on to find out why - because I've read reviews by readers that liked this book!

I thought the plot sounded cute when I read the back cover, but it did seem a little bit predictable and possibly shallow. I didn't want to be dissuaded by the back cover though, so I tried to keep an open mind.

Throughout the book I didn't really feel that any of the characters really popped. I did like Austin, but Shelby was just a little too flat. I felt that, as the main character, Shelby should have had a little more "sparkle" - for lack of a better word.

I didn't really buy Shelby and Austin's romance. It was just too easy - I would have enjoyed a little more of a chase and a little more mystery. Some type of unexpected twist would have been welcome!

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 6
Characters: 5
Writing Style: 8
Romance: 5
Originality: 6

Total: 30/50 (D)

I hate to write a review that reflects badly on a book, but Never Cry Werewolf fell short for me. It was just a little too immature and predictable. I feel that there are other YA werewolf books that I would recommend before this one. But look around before completely passing on Never Cry Werewolf - not everyone shares my opinion!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (12)

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

*Not final cover image
Forget You by Jennifer Echols (MTVbooks, July 2010)
Zoey’s life in her Florida beach resort town is happy and organized. She’s the captain of her high school swim team, and she works for her dad at his popular water park. Then her dad has an affair with one of his employees, and her mother has a breakdown. But Zoey begins a committed relationship with a hot lifeguard, which makes her feel stable, even if things aren’t perfect at home. Everything is still under control.

Until she has a car accident that she can’t remember. She should have been with her boyfriend that night, but he doesn’t seem to know anything about the accident—and he doesn’t seem to care. The person who does care, and knows more than he’s telling, is Doug, Zoey’s darkly handsome arch-enemy who saved her from the wreckage. As Zoey begins to piece together what happened that night, she finds her sense of control over her life was only an illusion. And she inches closer to discovering the darkest secret of all: why Doug has fallen in love with her.

Jennifer Echols' Going Too Far is one of my favorite books of all time, so you can imagine my excitement at hearing MTVbooks is releasing another of her books! Forget You sounds absolutely amazing - I have a feeling that I'm going to be rushing to the bookstore to get this one the day it comes out! I definitely have high expectations! :)

P.S. Sorry that this is up a day early! I messed up the scheduling a bit... :S