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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Upcoming Event: Kristina McBride and JT Dutton Signing!

Hey Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin Readers and Bloggers:

Kristina McBride, author of THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES, and JT Dutton, author of the newly released STRANDED, are signing in Ann Arbor, MI at the end of July. I'll be there with some other fabulous bloggers and I'd be thrilled to meet YOU too! For more information about the event, see below. If you're thinking of attending, leave me a comment or shoot me an email at I hope you can make it!

Book Signing with J.T. Dutton & Kristina McBride


July 24, 2010 02:00PM

Border's, 3140 Lohr Road, Ann Arbor, MI, The United States
More Info: HERE

You can find my review of THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES here and an interview with Kristina here.

More information about STRANDED and JT Dutton can be found here.

Waiting on Wednesday (31)

WoW is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Description (from GoodReads):
Freak. That’s what they called seventeen year-old Donna Underwood in high school after a horrific fey attack that killed her father when she was just a child. Her injuries and rehabilitation resulted in magically enhanced strength, thanks to the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. As a child of the alchemists, she is both blessed and cursed with a magical heritage that doesn't leave much room for boys, parties and homework.

Now, after ten years of wishing for a normal life, she finally has to accept her role in the centuries-old war against the darkest outcasts of Faerie: the Dark Elves. Aided by a gorgeous half-fey dropout, Donna must race to save her best friend’s life - even if it means betraying one of the world’s greatest secrets and confronting the very thing that destroyed her family.

Top three things that caught my eye as I read this description:
1. "centuries old war against the darkest outcasts of Faerie"
2. "gorgeous half-fey dropout"
3. "both blessed and cursed with a magical heritage"
Yup. Can you blame me for lusting after this one?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Contest: Aimee Friedman's Summer Reads Prize Pack!

Looking for the perfect summer reads? Aimee Friedman knows just the titles... and you have a chance to win all six novels here at The Hiding Spot!

(1) Aimee’s Summer Reads prize pack, including paperback copies of Summer Boys, Rebecca, Something Borrowed, The Great Gatsby, The Princess Diaries and Sea Change!

How to Enter:
Fill out this FORM.

Extra Entries:
Not required. Extra entries are detailed on the entry form as well.
+4 Comment on Aimee's Guest Post.
+3 Tweet this contest. (Leave a link.)
+3 Link this contest on your sidebar, in a post, or on FB. (Leave a link.)

Contest will close July 14th 2010. Open to US and Canadian mailing addresses only. Sorry International readers!

Good luck!

All prizes dispensed by Big Honcho Media.

Guest Post: Aimee Friedman - Author of SEA CHANGE

Please welcome Aimee Friedman, author of SEA CHANGE, to The Hiding Spot. Her novel, which is full of romance, mermaids, and mystery, is perfect for a summer afternoon! Today, Aimee will share some of her favorite summer reads... and offer you a chance to win a prize pack of all 5 of her recommended reads and a copy of SEA CHANGE as well! Be sure to swing by La Femme Readers on Thursday for the next stop of Aimee’s blog tour!


A Brief Bio

Aimee Friedman is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for young adults, including South Beach, French Kiss, Hollywood Hills, A Novel Idea, and, most recently, The Year My Sister Got Lucky. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Aimee attended the Bronx High School of Science, but she always wanted to be a writer, never a scientist. Though she does not know how to swim, she loves living on the island of Manhattan, where she also works as a book editor.

Ice cream trucks on the corner, flip-flops on your feet, a lazy hammock swaying in the breeze… There are many pleasures of summer, but the greatest one may be having the time and leisure to read a really good book. You recline on your beach chair, prop a juicy paperback open on your knees, and sink into another world.

Of course, you don’t want anything too heavy or serious to interfere with the sunshine and mellow mood. It’s hard to choose, but here I present to you my top 5 summer reads:

• Summer Boys by Hailey Abbott
The first of a breezy, addictive YA series, this book should practically come with its own bottle of sunscreen. Three cousins spend a summer on the seashore in Maine, complete with heartache, bikinis, bonfires, and plenty of drama.

• Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
A summer romance that starts on the French Riviera and continues into the English countryside…and carries with it a seriously spine-tingling mystery. Something a little darker, for those thunderstorm days.

• Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
Pure, delicious chick-lit, about two best friends and the betrayal that tears them apart one summer in New York City.

• The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I know, I know. It’s potentially something you have to read in school…but it’s also a gorgeously written story of love, murder, and money set in the glamorous roaring ‘20s. One of my all-time favorites, in any season.

• The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Be prepared to laugh so hard you’ll spit out your iced latte. This modern YA classic about a city girl who discovers she’s actually a princess is total escapist fun.

To see more of what I’ve read/am reading, friend-request me on Goodreads.

What are YOUR top summer reads? I hope Sea Change is on your list…


Sea Change

Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science...and not so great with boys. After major drama with her (now ex) boyfriend, she's happy to be spending the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.

On the lush, beautiful island, Miranda finds new friends and a community with a mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, romance...and reality.

Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?


Interested in spending your summer reading SEA CHANGE and Aimee's favorite lazy day picks?

One lucky winner will receive Aimee’s Summer Reads prize pack, including paperback copies of Summer Boys, Rebecca, Something Borrowed, The Great Gatsby, The Princess Diaries and Sea Change!

Check out the details HERE.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cover of the Week (14)

Where the Truth Lies by Jessica Warman
Walker BFYR,  9.28.10
Description (from GoodReads):
On the surface, Emily Meckler leads the perfect life. She has three best friends, two loving parents, and the ideal setup at the Connecticut prep school where her father is the headmaster. But Emily also suffers from devastating nightmares about fire and water, and nobody knows why. Then the enigmatic Del Sugar enters her life, and Emily is immediately swept away—but her passionate relationship with Del is just the first of many things that aren't quite what they seem in Emily's life. As the lies she's been told start to unravel, Emily must set out to discover the truth regarding her nightmare; on a journey that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about love, family, and her own idyllic past.

This companion novel to Warman's critically acclaimed Breathless proves that sometimes the biggest lies are told to the people you love the most.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. This cover is absolutely amazing and there is no doubt in my mind that if I saw it in a bookstore, I'd pick it up. The layout, the colors, the font: all perfect. Not only does it make me want to read WHERE THE TRUTH LIES, it reminds me that I need to read Warman's first novel, BREATHLESS, as well!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Huge Contest over at Kieran Scott's Blog!

Kieran Scott is hosting a huge contest over at her blog to celebrate the one month birthday of SHE'S SO DEAD TO US! I highly recommend Kieran's books, including those she's written under the pen names Kate Brian and Emma Harrison. Check out my review of SHE'S SO DEAD TO US here!

The prize pack up for grabs includes signed copies of:

She's So Dead to Us
Geek Magnet
I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader


She's So Over Him (!!) - the sequel to She's So Dead to Us!
(This will be sent to the winner when it's released next summer!)

So what are you waiting for? Head over to Kieran's blog, here, for more details. The contest will close July 2nd, so hurry!

Review: Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

Title: Only the Good Spy Young
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Hyperion CH
Pub. Date: 6.29.10
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Spies, Romance, Family, Secrets, Lies, Action
Pages: 240
Description (from GoodReads):
When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.
In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past....

The Gallagher Girls books are my guilty pleasure reads. Ally Carter never ceases to impress and ONLY THE GOOD SPY YOUNG is a wonderful addition to the series!

Sometimes, in series, there will be a book or two that serves as a bridge between more exciting installments, but this isn't the case with Carter's books. Each one is as action-packed as the last, there are more hilarious discussions and one-liners, and the plot is always twistier than ever. OTGSY delivers everything that I've come to expect from a Gallagher Girls novel... and more.

There were definitely some twists that I didn't see coming. And there were some twists that I thought I saw coming, but I was totally wrong. And while some readers might be disappointed after realizing they've jumped to the wrong conclusions, I was thrilled! I'm rarely surprised by novels and Carter's twists had me turned completely around.

For those of you who haven't read these novels, I assure you that there are always plenty of scenes with cute, smart boys. For those of you who have read the books, you know I'm referring to Zach. We learn a lot more about this spy boy in OTGSY, much to my delight! I can never get enough of his and Cammie's poking at one another! The tension and chemistry between the two is always fun and is definitely one of my favorite aspects of the novel.

Carter always ends each Gallagher Girl novels on a note that will torture me in months I spend waiting for the next book. She's always sure to wrap up what's just happened in the current novel and then she introduces something huge and then promptly ends the book. Which leaves me all wound up because I must know what happens next! The ending of OTGSY is no exception and I'm extremely interested to see how the next book will turn out. It's going to be so much different than the previous books... there are so many options for what could happen next!

I highly recommend all of Carter's novels, including the first in her new series, HEIST SOCIETY. They're always fun and filled with strong female characters and cute boys!

Grade: A+

Cover Notes:
I love the covers of Ally Carter's books! The titles are always clever and the ransom-note style is definitely fun. They look so pretty together on my shelf!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A New Writing Blog and Contest from YA Author Zoe Marriott

The fabulous YA author Zoe Marriott is kicking off her new blog with a great contest! Zoe is the author of THE SWAN KINGDOM and DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES. I've read and loved both; my review of DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES can be found here.The contest is open internationally and all you have to do to become eligible to win is  follow her blog Zoe-Trope! There are, of course, opportunities for extra entries as well! Wondering what wonderful prizes you could win? Check out the video from Zoe below, in which she details all the awesome prizes in her super cool accent!

To go directly to the contest post, click HERE. The contest started today and will be open for ONE WEEK, so get your entries in now!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Title: The DUFF
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy
Pub. Date: 9.7.2010
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Friendship, Sex, Relationships, Love, Body Image
Pages: 288
Description (from GoodReads):
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

I'll admit that I didn't want to read The DUFF. Not one little bit. I kept hearing people talk about it and how excited they were and I just wanted to run in the opposite direction. The fact of the matter was, I didn't want to read a book about a "designated ugly fat friend," not when I felt like one myself. I suppose you could say that I was a bit afraid of Kody Keplinger's debut novel. I can now say that I would have been kicking myself forever if I hadn't given this novel a chance. Before I'd even finished reading, I realized that The DUFF is one the best contemporary YA novels I've ever read and that I may never be able to get it out of my head.

There were so many aspects of this novel that touched me emotionally. It feels cheesy to say that The DUFF inspired me, but there really is no other way to put it. As far back as elementary school, I've felt like the DUFF. Of course, I knew that my friends, who I think are gorgeous, intelligent girls, didn't like things about themselves, but, for the most part, I dismissed their complaints and insecurities. In my mind, they had nothing to complain about... at least not compared to me. I knew that my insecurities were magnified by my negative body image and self-esteem issues, but I could never truly bring myself to turn this self-destructive behavior around. Somehow, Keplinger's words and Bianca's story finally allowed me do this. For years, I've been putting myself down by comparing myself to my friends, when, in reality, we have all have flaws and characteristics that make us amazing and unique. Seeing how Bianca puts herself down, when the reader can clearly see that she's an amazing, vibrant person with so much to offer, really drove this truth about myself home. I truly believe that every girl, and many boys. have felt like or will feel like the DUFF at some point in their lives, and I applaud Kody Keplinger for having the guts - and the wisdom - to write Bianca's story because it's a story everyone can relate to.

I was surprised, but unbelievably happy to find that Keplinger tackles teen sex in The DUFF. Her treatment of the controversial topic is honest and, in my opinion, perfectly done. I can sincerely say that I have never read a sex scene in a YA novel that I believed as much as those found in The DUFF. I didn't feel that Keplinger condoned or discouraged teen sex, she merely presented a realistic portrayal, and, for that, I'm extremely grateful. I have no problem with sex in YA, but I firmly believe that if it's going to be incorporated, it must be done with tact. In my mind, Keplinger has written successfully what many seasoned writers cannot.

It was the romantic plot line that finally convinced me to pick up The DUFF. I can never resist a good love story and Keplinger did a phenomenal job. I find that I like my main character and her romantic interest to bicker and fight and sometimes flat our hate one another before they realize that, against all odds, that hate may have transformed into love - with some passion in between. I'm a huge fan of tension and denial and grand gestures and Keplinger's romance left me sighing happily. I'm especially impressed by the author's ability to nearly make me hate Wesley as much as Bianca does (at the beginning of the novel) and still have me completely in love with him by the end. I was terrified that he was just as bad as Bianca thought he was. And, in ways, I suppose he was. He was definitely flawed, he is, after all, a teenage boy, but he has so many wonderful qualities as well. Bianca and Wesley's romance is will and forever be one of my favorites.

I'll definitely be buying myself a copy of The DUFF. And I'll definitely be recommending [forcing] my sisters and friends to read it as well. I'm in awe of this remarkable debut novel and I urge each and every one of you to read it, especially if you can say that you've ever felt like the a DUFF.

Grade: A+

Cover Notes:
I think this cover is perfect for the novel. It's bold and the cover model seems almost defiant, like she's bored and she isn't afraid to show it, which definitely reminds me of Bianca.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (31)

WoW is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Pan McMillan Australia/8.10
Description (from Cath's Website):
Let me make it in time. Let me meet Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers.

It’s the end of Year 12. Lucy’s looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about.
His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere.
Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.
But the one thing Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.

I absolutely adored Cath Crowley's A LITTLE WANTING SONG, so it isn't a surprise that I'm dying to get my hands on a copy of her upcoming novel, GRAFFITI MOON. It sounds completely amazing and if it's even the slightest bit like Crowley's last novel, I know I'll love it! GRAFFITI MOON will be released in Australia in August, and I can only hope a US release won't be far behind!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cover of the Week (13)

Cover of the Week is a weekly feature at The Hiding Spot, in which I share a cover that gives me that swoony feeling.

Rich and Mad by William Nicholson
Description (from GoodReads):
This is a compelling and beautifully written novel about first love, first sex, and everything in between. Maddy Fisher has decided to fall in love. And not just any sort of love: can't-eat can't-sleep crazy in love. Rich Ross is after the same thing. He's set his sights high, and he's going to make it happen. The problem is, in life's messy whirlwind of friends and lies and sex and porn, the real thing can be hard to fine. But there's always a first time for everything...

I have so much love for this cover. First off, they're making out in a phone booth. Making out and phone booth = AWESOME. Secondly, did you read that tagline? Sounds risque. I like it!

The cover combined with the description has me drooling over RICH AND MAD. I need it as soon as possible!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Review: Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev

Title: Perchance to Dream
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pub. Date: 5.25.10
Genre: Fantasy YA
Keywords: Theatre, Shakespeare, Fairies, Love, Family, Adventure, Magic
Pages: 384
Description (from GoodReads):
The stuff that dreams are made on.

Act Two, Scene One
Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn’t know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world.
But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. And her magic cannot help her make a decision between—
Nate: Her suave and swashbuckling pirate, now in mortal peril.
Ariel: A brooding, yet seductive, air spirit whose true motives remain unclear.
When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. She and her fairy sidekicks embark on a journey aboard the Thèâtre’s caravan, using Bertie’s word magic to guide them. Along the way, they collect a sneak-thief, who has in his possession something most valuable, and meet The Mysterious Stranger, Bertie’s father—and the creator of the scrimshaw medallion. Bertie’s dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it’s Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess’s lair?

I love so many things about Lisa Mantchev's novels. The settings and characters are imaginative, colorful, and undeniably fun. Both EYES LIKE STARS and PERCHANCE TO DREAM are gorgeous novels, inside and out.
I am definitely Team Nate, so the parts of the novel where Bertie's relationship and love for Ariel deepens was complete torture. I don't think I've ever been so unsure of a character as I am with Bertie; I really have no clue who she'll choose. And I can't help but hope, that if she doesn't pick Nate, that she'll decide to choose neither. I don't know what it is about Ariel, but I just loathe the thought of her being with him. I think Ariel is a bit too pretty for my tastes. I feel like Nate genuinely loves Bertie, while her relationship with Ariel is based more on lust. I'll never understand you, Team Ariel.
Bertie learns more about her role as Mistress of Revels and Teller of Tales and her magical word-related abilities in PTD. The mishaps that occur due to sloppy word choice were entertaining and redefined the importance of choosing your words wisely.

The fairies provided many hilarious lines and situations... as well as a growling stomach with all their talk of scrumptious treats.

The ending of PTD left me a bit disappointed and anxious for the next installment. I can't say too much without spoiling it for those who haven't read it yet, but it simply didn't satify me. I'm confident that Mantchev will resolve the issues in the next novel, but I'm too impatient to wait!

Grade: B+

Cover Notes:
I always look forward to seeing the cover art for the Theatre Illuminata books because they are always stunning!

What team are YOU? And if you've read PERCHANCE TO DREAM, what did you think of the ending?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Contest: Swoon At Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter!

Sydney Salter has generously offered a copy of SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK to one lucky winner at The Hiding Spot!


(1) Signed copy of SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK

How to Enter:
You MUST comment on my review of SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK or PLAYING FAVORITES featuring Sydney. (Only one comment is required.) Then you MUST fill out this FORM. If you neglect to comment on at least one of the posts or fill out the form, you will not be entered to win.

Extra Entries:
Not required. Extra entries are detailed on the entry form as well.
+5 entries - Comment on my review or the Playing Favorites post (whichever you did not comment on for your original entry)
+5 entries - For each old Playing Favorites feature you comment on. (Each one is linked below. Up to 15 extra entries.)
+4 entries - Old Follower/Subscriber (Thank you!)
+2 entries - New Follower/Subscriber (Welcome! You will gain 4 entries in the next contest you enter at The Hiding Spot as an Old Follower/Subscriber!)
+2 Follow me on Twitter (@thehidingspot)
+2 Follow Sydney Salter on Twitter (@Sydney_Salter)
+3 Tweet this contest. (Leave a link.)
+3 Link this contest on your sidebar, in a post, or on FB. (Leave a link.)

Other Playing Favorites Posts
Courtney Summers
Natalie Standiford
Morgan Matson

Contest will close July 10 th 2010. Contest open Internationally!

Good luck!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Playing Favorites with Sydney Salter

It has been said that playing favorites isn't nice, but sometimes it's impossible not to! Join me weekly at The Hiding Spot as I share a favorite author... and the author shares a few favorite things of their own.

Genre: Contemporary YA

Sydney Salter writes YA novels that masquarade as light beach reads, but are actually amazing coming-of-age stories that both entertain and inspire.


Novel: Swoon at Your Own Risk
I loved this novel for two main reasons: the boys and the message. I was boy crazy through most of high school - okay, so maybe I still am - so Polly's fear of being boyfriendless and unliked was extremely easy to relate to. I appreciated that Salter could write a novel where the girl gets the guy and figures out who she is (without a boy). It's the best of both worlds.

Character: Polly
You know how sometimes you meet someone and you don't really click, but then later they become one of your best friends or favorite people? That basically describes my experience with Polly. She was standoffish at the beginning of the novel, but she quickly grew on me!

Quote: "'He's so into you,' Sonnet said. 'Do you see the way he stares? And he's always writing stuff in that little notebook. Probably odes to his Fair Polly.'

'I'm sure it's just a grocery list or something. I think he uses a lot of hair product.'"

There are so many great quotes in SWOON, but I think they have a more powerful impact when read in the context of the rest of the novel. This quote, however, is both funny and demonstrates Polly's use of sarcasm and humor to hide from truths she doesn't want to acknowledge. It says a lot about the main character, plus her comebacks are generally hilarious!


Food: Hamburger.
I’ve eaten my share of gourmet meals, but it’s always the hamburgers I remember most. Ah, the rosemary aioli on the Five Napkin Burger in New York, that tasty bacon burger at The Galley on Lopez Island, Washington… Nothing beats a great burger.

Quote: “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.” –Anthony Trollope.

Trollope’s words remind me to keep working diligently toward my goals—even if I only manage to write a hundred words, I’m still that much closer to finishing. This quote also reminds me to take the long view of things, and not expect too much of myself too soon.

Animal: Turtles.
Okay, so I’m sensing a theme here. I like turtles because they remind me that slow and steady wins the race. But they also remind me to have a hard shell when it comes to criticism and all the failure that comes along with creative work. (I collect small turtle and tortoise figurines—and have two pet Russian tortoises.)

Holiday: Halloween.
Confession: I trick-or-treated until I was twenty-two, technically for charity (we sang spooky carols)—but I never turned down a Reese’s Cup. Now I host an annual Witches Luncheon; we go all out with our costumes and descend upon a local restaurant. At night, I delight in handing out excessive amounts of chocolate to the neighborhood kids—and teens know to come late when I’m extra generous with my fistfuls of candy!

Number: 17.
I loved being seventeen, I love seventeen year olds, and I especially love writing about seventeen year olds.

For more information about Sydney and her novels
check out the links below:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (30)

WoW is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
Random House BFYR/2.22.11
Description (from GoodReads):

In the dim light of the dark room, I'm alone, but not for long.
As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.
The background of the dance studio blurred, so the focus is all on her
legs extended in a perfect soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle,
my forever-best friend.

Sixteen-year-old Liz Grayson is photogirl—sharp, focused and ready to take the world by storm with her camera. But Liz's entire life is called into question when her brother is accused of a crime—and the accuser is Liz's own best friend. As the aftershocks from that accusation rip through Liz's world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself, shifts out of focus. And for the first time in her life, Liz finds herself unable to trust her own point of view. Told in stunning, searingly raw free verse, Exposed is Kimberly Marcus's gut-wrenching, riveting debut and will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson and Virginia Euwer Wolff.

After reading GLIMPSE by Carol Lynch Williams, I'm intrigued by novels written in verse. Especially novels bursting with raw emotion and tough topics, like the description of EXPOSED implies. The novel also caught my attention due to the main character being a photographer. I love that she uses a darkroom... that was always my favorite part of photography! Looks like another amazing debut novel...

Check out my review of GLIMPSE here!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Review: Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams

Title: Glimpse
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Pub. Date: 6.22.10
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Suicide, Abuse, Sisters, Friendship, Blank Verse
Pages: 496
Description (from Amazon):
In one moment
it is over.
In one moment
it is gone.
The morning grows
thin, grey
and our lives-
how they were-
have vanished.
Our lives have
when I walk in
on Lizzie
my sister
holding a shotgun.

Twelve year old girl Hope's life is turned upside down when her older sister Lizzie becomes an elective mute and is institutionalized after trying to kill herself.
**This is not the full Amazon description. I have had an impossible time finding a good description of GLIMPSE - one told the entire plot and the other told aboslutely nothing. I urge you NOT to read the full Amazon description as it is quite possibly the worst novel spoiler I have ever seen!

It isn't often that I am so emotionally overwhelmed by a novel that I want to simultaneously hug it to my chest and throw it across the room. I was riveted by Hope and Lizzie's heartrending story and, even though it was difficult to read, I found that I was unable to tear my eyes from the pages.

I found it hard to determine if it was the book's content or the age of the narrator that called to my protective side, but it was there in full force. Williams' depiction was so vivid that I found myself completely invested in the characters, which caused many frustrated tears. I wanted to protect Hope and Lizzie from their awful, selfish mother and prevent the tragic events that I felt were sure to unfold.

I haven't read very many books written in verse, but, after GLIMPSE, I may have to. Williams' writing had a much more powerful impact written in blank verse than it would have in any other format. I'm astounded by how the deletion of superfluous words can hone text into a dangerous weapon that cuts straight to the reader's heart.

GLIMPSE is left me swollen-eyed and emotionally drained, but in no way regretting my soggy state. It's often the difficult reads that leave a permanent mark, opening the reader's eyes to an issue or situation that they'd rather avoid. My eyes are officially open. 

Grade: A

Cover Notes:
It fits the novel perfectly. It makes me teary-eyed just looking at it.

Buy It!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cover of the Week (12)

So Shelly by Ty Roth
Delacorte BFYR/2.8.11
Description (from GoodReads):
Until now, high school junior, John Keats, has only tiptoed near the edges of the vortex that is schoolmate and literary prodigy, Gordon Byron. That is, until their mutual friend, Shelly, drowns in a sailing accident.
After stealing Shelly's ashes from her wake at Trinity Catholic High School, the boys set a course for the small Lake Erie island where Shelly's body had washed ashore and to where she wished to be returned. It would be one last "so Shelly" romantic quest. At least that's what they think. As they navigate around the obstacles and resist temptations during their odyssey, Keats and Gordon glue together the shattered pieces of Shelly's and their own pasts while attempting to make sense of her tragic and premature end.

This cover really creeps me out. And, for that reason, I love it.  I'm slightly confused by the book's description, so my interest in the novel is based solely on the cover art... that in itself demonstrates how compelling it is!

(I can't wait to find out what's going on in this novel!)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Review: Freefall by Mindi Scott

Title: Freefall
Author: Mindi Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub. Date: 10.5.10
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Music, Love, Friendship, Loss, Guilt
Pages: 315
Description (from GoodReads):
How do you come back from the point of no return?

Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend Isaac alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time where Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up.
Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.
Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth will soon realize he isn’t the only one who needs saving . . .

When I first read through FREEFALL's description I was torn. The cover seemed to call to me, but the description worried me... To be honest, only one seemingly small detail of the description gave me pause: Seth. I often have a difficult time relating to male narrators. In fact, there have only been two such novels that I enjoyed enough to compare to female narrated novels: PAPER TOWNS by John Green and BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks. I should never have underestimated author Mindi Scott; I found it remarkably easy to emphathize with Seth.

In ways, this novel was horrifying. I'm from a small town where most kids consider a "good time" a weekend of drunken debauchery. I now live in a college town where the weekend starts on Thirsty Thursday ... and there are still people that like to get an early start. So, for this reason, the drinking and subsequent consequences that occur in FREEFALL hit home. Seth's best friend loses his life on one of their many drunken nights. It's terrifying to think how many times the exact same circumstances could have led to the death of someone I actually know... someone real. I must give credit to Scott for portraying underage drinking and partying in such a realistic way. There's no sugar coating, no shiny veneer - and anyone who says that the situations in FREEFALL aren't realistic is terribly naive. I think it takes an honest portrayal for a message like Scott's to have any real impact on teen readers and authors do a disservice to teens if they try to soften those sharp edges.

As an onlooker, Seth's journey towards the acceptance of Isaac's death and the role his actions played invoked various emotions. I was grateful for the minor characters throughout the novel, who not only facilitated Seth's journey, but provided a much needed reprieve from his darker thoughts. Mrs. Dalloway, who teaches Seth's interpersonal communications class, was definitely one of my favorite characters and reminded me of some of the quirky teachers I've had. She provided humorous situations throughout the novel and the tools and guidance Seth needs to reach out to other characters, like Rosetta.

I found Seth's relationship with Rosetta to be completely believable. Scott's representation of many of the firsts Rosetta and Seth share is, at times, painfully realistic. I closely identified with their first real fight; it was so easy to draw parallels between reality and fiction. The accuracy of the depiction renewed the emotions I had felt when I was in the same situation, causing my bond to the characters to strengthen that much more.

FREEFALL is a tremendous debut from an extremely talented author. Not only did Scott write a male narrator that I could easily identify with, her novel imparts an important message about the choices we make and the consequences that follow... and how, afterward, we must pick up the pieces and move on.

Grade: A

Cover Notes:
I love the simplicity of the cover! Sometimes a cover clearly appeals to one gender over another, but, thankfully, FREEFALL's is neutral.

Friday, June 11, 2010

650 Followers Contest!

It's official. I've reached 650 followers (and only a week after reaching 600)... and I feel like I need to stand up and make a speech or some other grand gesture to show my thanks. So I suppose that means it's time for a CONTEST. But first, I want to tell all you followers out there that I am sincerely grateful that you all take the time to read or browse my blog. I'd still be blogging if I didn't have all you wonderful people reading my recommendations, interviews, and random ramblings - but it wouldn't be nearly as fun! So THANK YOU!


There will be 1 winner who will have their choice of one of the arcs below.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (arc)
The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller (arc)

Plus a packet of swag!

How to Enter:
Since this a contest in celebration of my followers, you must be a follower/subscriber.  Then you must fill out this FORM.

Extra Entries:
Not required. Extra entries are detailed on the entry form as well.

+1 entries - Old Follower/Subscriber (Thank you!)
+3 entries - Subscribe to The Hiding Spot by email. (on sidebar)
+2 entries - Follow me on Twitter (@thehidingspot)
+5 entries - Add me to your blogroll/sidebar/etc. (Leave a link). 
+3 entries - Tweet this contest. (Leave a link.)
+3 entries - Link this contest on your sidebar, in a post, or on FB. (Leave a link.)
+4 entries - Comment on this post with a suggestion of a book you'd like to see me review!

Contest will close July 9th, 2010. Open INTERNATIONALLY!

Good luck!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (30)

WoW is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

I have two WoW picks today, since one will be released in July and the other is a 2011 release. I'm broken hearted about having to wait for OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE, so I've consoled myself with THE GRIMM LEGACY!

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Description (from author website):
Ari Mitchell feels invisible at her Brooklyn high school. Her hair is too flat, her style too preppy, and her personality too quiet. And outside school, Ari feels outshined by her beautiful, confident best friend, Summer. Their friendship is as complex and confusing as Ari’s relationship with her troubled older sister, Evelyn, a former teenage mom whose handsome firefighter husband fills Ari’s head with guilty fantasies.

When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York—and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari’s family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future. Meanwhile, Summer warns her that what she feels for Blake is just an infatuation. Not real love. But Ari’s world is awash with new colors, filled with a freshness and an excitement she hasn’t felt in years.
When misfortune befalls Blake’s family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?

I'm on a bit of a contemporary YA kick right now, so OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE hold definite appeal.

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
Putnam Juvenile/7.8.10
Description (from GoodReads)
Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library— a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That’s where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales: seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White’s stepmother’s sinister mirror that talks in riddles.
When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime—or captured by the thief.
Polly Shulman has created a contemporary fantasy with a fascinating setting and premise, starring an ordinary girl whose after-school job is far from ordinary— and leads to a world of excitement, romance and magical intrigue.

I'm not sure I have to explain why I'm excited about THE GRIMM LEGACY. I adored Shulman's ENTHUSIASM and I have no doubt that I'll enjoy this one!