Friday, July 31, 2009

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

[description from Amazon]

From the author of Saving Juliet comes a romantic comedy that is good to the last drop.

When Katrina spots a homeless guy sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother’s coffee shop, she decides to leave him a cup of coffee, a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, and some pastries to tide him over. Little does she know that this random act of kindness is about to turn her life upside down. Because this adorable vagrant, Malcolm, is really a guardian angel on a break between missions. And he won’t leave until he can reward Katrina’s selflessness by fulfilling her deepest desire. Now if only she could decide what that might be . . .

Review:

I had no idea that this book would be as good as it was. It sounded good when I requested it, sure, but for some reason I thought it would be more of a "oh, that was good. Now onto another book." kind of read. But imagine my surprise when I finished it and thought "Oh my gosh CUTE and FABULOUS. Must go fangirl."

The summary on the ARC, the one that I read, was misleading in that it made it seem like Katrina was so in love with Malcolm and wanted nothing but him, but when I read the book, that was not the case. Katrina is refreshingly not completely love with Malcolm- I often read books where the main character and their love interest fall in love extremely quickly and deeply, and it makes me upset because it's so unrealistic. But Katrina's and Malcom's romance starts off more slowly and grows chapter by chapter, until at the end their romance is adorable (but kind of corny at the same time), and not rushed.

Coffeehouse Angel is a bit predictable in terms of the wishes being made and the very end, but still unexpected at times. Katrina has a guy best friend, but they aren't in love. Her guy best friend is not faultless. Katrina is a smart heroine who can think of her own ideas, but still knows that she needs help. The characters' depth brings a whole new twist to the story- with characters so deep, you hardly ever know what they'll do next.

And I have to mention the book's setting- it has the BEST setting. It's set in this Scandinavian town, complete with stubborn grandmothers, crazy old guys, and big rats. The coffeehouse Katrina works in is a Scandinavian one. I loved reading about the setting so much that, in the end, I didn't know whether the town or Katrina and Malcolm were more adorable.

I read this one in ARC form, but I enjoyed it so much that I'll definitely get myself a finished copy sooner or later. It's a bit predictable, but still amusing, light, cute, and surprisingly deep.

8.5/10

Links: Suzanne's website

Walker/Hardcover/$16.99/Amazon/B&N/Borders/IndieBound

*Thanks to the lovely person at Bloomsbury for sending me this book!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart

Slightish spoilers for the other books in the series: The Boyfriend List and the The Boy Book. But you can read my review of The Boyfriend List, which I wrote an insanely long time ago, on June 21, 2008. I'm warning you: that review sucks. That was one of my early reviews. Though it might make you laugh. I know I laughed at it. Be warned: it is very fangirly.

And now, here's what Amazon says the third Ruby Oliver book is about:

Ruby is back at Tate Prep, and it’s her thirty-seventh week in the state of Noboyfriend. Her panic attacks are bad, her love life is even worse, and what’s more:

Noel is writing her notes, Jackson is giving her frogs, Gideon is helping her cook, and Finn is making her brownies. Rumors are flying, and Ruby’s already-sucky reputation is heading downhill.

Not only that, she’s also: running a bake sale, learning the secrets of heavymetal therapy, encountering some seriously smelly feet, defending the rights of pygmy goats, and bodyguarding Noel from unwanted advances.

In this companion novel to The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book, Ruby struggles to secure some sort of mental health, to understand what constitutes a real friendship, and to find true love—if such a thing exists.

Review:

I didn't realize how much I missed Ruby Oliver until I started reading this third book in the series. I haven't read The Boyfriend List or The Boy Book in nearly a year, but as soon as I picked this one up, I was instantly sucked back into Ruby's crazy, "Ag" filled world.

Ruby's strong voice and writing style are once again present in this book. Her footnotes, her notes at the beginning of the chapters, and uncommonly used words are all back and make Roo as entertaining as ever. The best part about Roo in this book is that she finally learns to grow. She still has her panic attacks, and freaks out over boys, but by the end, she really learns some lessons she needed to learn in order to make herself a better person. It got a little preachy when she went over all the things she had learned throughout the book, but it still showed that she is finally growing up.

There was a bunch of little things happening in the book along the way, so there was a lot of build up to the events of the end, which was kind of annoying, but it's worth it. The ending events show Roo's development extremely well, and I was actually proud of Roo for a certain event. But I can't tell you what that is. ;)

Fans of the first two books shouldn't be disappointed in the third installment, because The Treasure Map of Boys is absolutely spankin'.

8.5/10

Links: E. Lockhart's site/blog/twitter

Delacorte/Hardcover/$15.99/Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Borders/IndieBound

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A tad more about my day at Comic-Con...

....can be found over at Lee Verday's blog.

Waiting on Wednesday (30)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. :D

Today's pick: Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly. (No cover yet boooo.)

description from the Tenners site:

Doctors have pinned 16-year-old Drea Horvath with everything from ADHD to Asperger’s Syndrome. She has an obsession with sound design, a tendency to blurt out whatever she’s thinking, and a problem making friends, but likes to think of this as following her own rhythm in a confusing world.

Drea is hesitant to befriend purple-haired Naomi Quinn, her teenage neighbor with a kamikaze personality. But Naomi is the first person to treat her like she isn’t a world class dork. Then there’s Justin Rocca, the persistent boy in her film class who has a comeback for every snide remark she makes. If she has learned anything from her mom, it’s that boys are trouble.

Still, Drea bonds with both of them when she discovers Naomi's love for drums and Justin's piano prodigy status, and the three form a trip-hop band. Fearing that her new friends will find out about her disabilities, Drea makes up stories about boyfriends she never had--all in an effort to seem 'normal'. Then Justin reveals a disturbing secret about his past, and Naomi runs away with her drug dealer ex-boyfriend--a guy she swore she'd cut out of her life. When Drea finds Naomi unconscious in an abandoned house, she questions what 'normal' really means.

---

Why I want it:
  • Tenner book!
  • I like books with music in them.
  • Sounds intense.
  • Books about characters with ADHD/Asperger's/whatever else you can think of like those are few, so this one sounds unique!
Released sometime in (spring, I think) 2010!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My brother reviews a book.

In vlog form!



I was going to wait until Thursday to post this, but then I decided to reschedule the review that was going to go up today.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Question!

I have a question for all you out there- what's your opinion of the paranormal/supernatural genre lately?

Because the more upcoming book lists I see, and the more times I walk around the YA section in the bookstore, the more I notice that there are TONS of paranormal books out there. And the more books like that I see and read, the more I get less enthusiastic about reading them.

Don't get me wrong- there are loads of paranormal books coming out that I'm really excited for. But those are also the ones I'm most wary of reading, because half the paranormal stuff out there now isn't very original.

I know a lot of contemporary books aren't as original as well, but I often find myself more tired of the cliche paranormal stuff. Reading about a girl falling in love with a vampire/zombie/werewolf/faery/something else or reading about a person who finds out they're some sort of supernatural being is becoming really tiresome.

I mean, I can barely stand to read a vampire book because I am so sick of them.

I'm still excited to read some of the "falls in love with a ___" or "finds out she's ___" books, I really want something original for once- I'm super excited to read Other by Karen Kincy because it's about a pooka, which I've never read about. (I don't even really know what a pooka IS, but I will educate myself.) I'm excited to read My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent because it's about a banshee, and I've never read about a banshee. I'm excited to read Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey because I have no idea what Maori mythology is. Those are only three examples, but still.

So, thoughts on paranormal in general?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Liar


So you've probably already heard about the Liar cover and how it's controversial and such. (If you haven't, check out this post.)

I'm not going to post about how the cover debacle is terrible, because everyone already knows it is and everyone has already said pretty much everything that needs to be said. I don't think we need another post about how much this situation sucks.

But I have seen some people say that they won't be buying Liar because of the cover, which I think is stupid. After reading about this whole controversy, I read my copy of Liar and I must say that it is great. It's so original and bizarre. The events are unexpected, but they are so obvious, but you don't realize that until they happen.

I don't think anyone should miss out on this fantastic book just because of the cover. Buy the Australian edition if you have to. (Adele has a post about where you can get Aussie books online- here.) Seriously, you'll need a copy of this one because it's great.

(Side note: Am I the only one who thinks the girl on the cover looks kind of Asian?)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Comic-Con Video!

I was SO TIRED when I filmed this.



Things I forgot to mention!

1) I met Amy from My Friend Amy and she is lovely. :D
2) THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE. O_O
3) Alyson Noel is still lovely too. (:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Stephanie Kuehnert Interview

Stephanie Kuehnert, author of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, and the newly released Ballads of Suburbia has been lovely to allow me to interview her as part of her Traveling to Teens tour. Thanks, Stephanie!

1) Why did you start the book with the epilogue?

Well, it just came out that way actually. That was the first thing I wrote and I realized quickly that it was an important way to frame the story. It does give some information away right away. The reader knows that Kara had a heroin problem, they know she survives but at a cost, they know Stacey has a kid, they know Adrian is important to Kara but bad for her. But these were things I wanted the reader to know right away and this framework let me reveal those things. I also thought (and hope) that it was a compelling hook. That immediately people would want to know how Kara came to be in the position she was in. It also sets the tone for the book way better than chapter one. Chapter one sounds so much more innocent than the rest of the book is. It's necessary to have the info in the first few chapters, but starting with the epilogue shows readers where the book is really going to go.


2) Each character in Ballads has a long, hard past and many of them are detailed in their ballads. How did you keep everyone's past straight and not too similar to one another?

I honestly don't know how to answer that because the characters sort of told me about their past. I don't know how to explain how that happens. As I get to know a character-- any character, not just in Ballads-- I eventually just see the turning point that made them who they are. I know this about all my characters, but in Ballads I got to actually write those events out and include them in the story whereas normally they would just be in a separate file on my computer that would likely never see the light of day. So I really knew what everyone's backstory was before I really started writing, so that's how I was able to keep them straight. And there are so many ways that families can be screwed up-- and that's really want each character's ballad is about if you think about-- that it was pretty easy to find different situations for the characters. At the same time some of them do mirror each other and that was intentional. Like the brother/sister relationships in the book.

The main thing was keeping character details straight with such a big cast of people and I did that by giving each character their own index card where I wrote down their physical traits and personality quirks!


3) There are a few different points of view in Ballads, even though Kara narrates the majority of the book. Were there any characters' views in particular who were more fun/more difficult to write?

I had a lot of fun writing both Stacey and Adrian. Christian and Maya were more difficult because as people they are more guarded and it's hard to get into their heads and get them to speak honestly. Liam and Cass were kind of in the middle.

4) Both I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone and Ballads of Suburbia are raw, emotional novels full of drugs and real issues. Do you think you'll ever stop writing stories like them?

No, probably not. Drugs may not always be part of theme and I may not always write books with a completely realistic setting. (I'm toying with an Urban Fantasy idea and a sci-fi/post-apocalyptic idea right now) But I will always hone in on real issues that teens (and adults) face. I think that is the real power of fiction. To start a dialogue about the hard issues and sometimes give guidance in facing problems. I started writing so that I could talk about the difficult stuff in life and encourage others to talk about it.

5) I know you're really into music- what band (or singer) can you not stop listening to right now?

I have three: Civet, an amazing all-girl punk band. The Gaslight Anthem, who totally remind of The Replacements. And Rise Against, who are local Chicago punks who have recently made it big. I've loved them for a long time but am on a big kick lately!

---

The 59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem is my JAM. Thought you should know.

Thanks again, Stephanie!

Here is the description of Stephanie's latest, Ballads of Suburbia, straight from Amazon:

Kara hasn't been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad-boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park....

Amid the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

---

It's an amazing book, so I hope you all check it out!

Links: Stephanie's website/blog/twitter /Ballads of Suburbia Taffy

MTV Books/Paperback/$13.00/Amazon/B&N/Borders/
IndieBound

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

[description from Amazon]

Kara hasn't been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad-boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park....

Amid the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

Review:

I can count on one hand the number of books that have "wow"ed me this year. I've read some meh, average, better than average, and the occasional awesome book, but only 4 or 5 that have made me go "wow." This book is one of that wowed me.

This book is definitely not an easy read- it's full of hard-hitting issues: drugs, cutting, all sorts of others. With heavy books like this, I usually need to stop every so often and think about what I'm reading, but I could not put this one down. I found myself going "one more chapter, just one more" and then I'd go from page 100 to 250 without even realizing it. Reading about Kara is heartbreaking- I almost cried at one point- but I was compelled to keep reading about the many ups and downs in her life. There's never a dull moment- even in the beginning, when older Kara is speaking, not teenage Kara.

The ballads- stories of the characters' lives and why they act like they do, basically- give each character unexpected depth. Many of the characters make awful, questionable, or even bizarre choices, and although the other characters only spoke for about a chapter, their motives are explained and their personalities make so much more sense. Kara is given more depth as well from the epilogue in the beginning of the book- seeing how Kara ends up makes reading about her journey more interesting, and also makes it easier to see how her decisions effect her.

All that really needs to be said about Ballads of Suburbia is that it's spectacular, and that I can't recommend it enough.


*Thanks to Yan and Carol for setting this Traveling to Teens tour up and letting me be a part of it! :D And thanks to Stephanie and the people at MTV Books for the book.

Links: Stephanie's website/blog/twitter /Ballads of Suburbia Taffy

MTV Books/Paperback/$13.00/Amazon/B&N/Borders/
IndieBound

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bookcases!

There are very few things I am willing to shop for. I will do school supply shopping (don't look at me like that), book shopping (duh), and bookcase shopping.

But school supply shopping is only fun when I need to get things for school, book shopping makes all my money disappear, and I never get to bookcase shop because those are expensive.

But then, the other day, I got an email from CSN Office Furniture offering me a bookcase for review.

Of course, I was like "WTH. Um, YESSSSS."

I mean, have you seen my room? And the stacks of books on the floor? I kind of need a new bookcase.

So I looked around the CSN Office Furniture website and found all sorts of lovely things.

Some of the bookcases are very "ooh shiny " worthy:


Some are funky-cool looking:


I have to admit that I was very tempted by this lovely:

But it's a little over my budget, and it wouldn't really match my room.

These are only a few of their bookcases. You can check out the rest of them, and even use their festive search feature on the side to look at only children's or only eco friendly bookcases. (~go green!~), or search by price if you want a really good deal (And there's free shipping so even better deal. Yay money saving!).

Keep check back for my review of one of CSN's bookcases. I might even VLOG my review. You never know.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (29)

Waiting on Wednesday = started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Today's pick: A Most Improper Magick by Stephanie Burgis. (No cover boooo.)

description from her Tenner bio:

Her mother was a scandalous witch, her brother has gambled the whole family into debt, and her Step-Mama is determined to sell her oldest sister into a positively Gothic marriage to pay it off--so what can fourteen-year-old Kat Stephenson do but take matters directly into her own hands? If only her older sisters hadn’t thwarted her plan to run away to London dressed as a boy and earn a fortune! When Kat makes a midnight foray into her mother’s cabinet of secrets, though, she finds out something she never expected. Her mother wasn’t just a witch, she was a Guardian, a member of a secret Order with staggering magical powers--and Kat is her heir.

Of course, there’s no chance of Kat choosing to join the Order that forbade her parents’ marriage...but Mama’s magical mirror doesn’t seem to understand that. It keeps following her wherever she goes, even when the family travels to Grantham Abbey to meet the sinister Sir Neville, her oldest sister’s chosen fiancé. And what with Sir Neville showing a dangerous interest in Kat’s untapped powers, her mother’s old tutor insisting that she take up her mother’s position as a Guardian, and her sister Angeline refusing to listen to her about anything, as usual...well, it’s a good thing Kat kept her boy’s clothing, because she may well have to use it--especially if the rumors of a highwayman are true.

---

It sounds a lot like the Gemma Doyle trilogy, but I love that series so whatever. I <3 style="font-style: italic;">Released sometime in 2010.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer

[description from Amazon]

And the first runner up is...

When Dara Cohen was little, she was a bright, shiny star. She was the cutest seven-year-old who ever sang Ella Fitzgerald, and it was no wonder she was crowned Little Miss Maine.

That was then. Now Dara's seventeen and she's not so little anymore. So not little, that when her classmates find out about her illustrious resume, their jaws drop. That's just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won't get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives.

When a disastrously misinterpreted English project lands her in the counselor's office--and her parents pull her out of school to save face--Dara realizes she has a decision to make. She can keep following the rules and being misunderstood, or she can finally reach out to the sister she's never met--a sister who lives on a collective goat farm in Massachusetts. Dara chooses B. What follows is a summer of revelations, some heartbreaking, some joyous; of friendship, romance, a local beauty pageant; and choices. And as autumn approaches, Dara finds she may have to let go of everything she's taken for granted in order to figure out who she really is, and what family really means.

Review:

Finally, a good contemporary novel. No ghosts, vampires, werewolves, zombies- just some goats and gay people. If you, like me, are sick of the countless supernatural/fantasy books out there now, this is the book for you. But don't read it if you're sick of cheese because dang it sure makes you want cheese.

All the cheese cravings are a good thing though, because it shows how much Megan brings the setting alive. With all the goat milking and cheese making adventures Dara went on, it actually felt like Dara was on a farm, not just somewhere random and unnecessary to move the plot along.

The cast of characters were fun to read about as most of them were unique and realistic. Although Dara is a "fat girl", she doesn't really care. She just cares about all the comments she gets about it from others, and because she gets so annoyed by other's false opinions of her, she's easy to relate to. Owen, Dara's new friend on the farm, is also unique. He's gay, but he's not flamboyant and it doesn't define him at all.

Though this is more of a "coming of age", character-driven novel, there is still a decent plot. There are tidbits from one of the characters about the farm's past, and there is a lot of mystery surrounding Rachel, Dara's sister. The romance between Dara and Owen's little brother doesn't add much to the book, and the ending was kind of cheesy, but the plot was still interesting to read about overall.

A fantastic debut! I cannot wait for another book by Megan- I just hope her next makes me crave cheese a little less. xD

8/10

Links: Megan's site/blog

Hyperion/Hardcover/$15.99/Amazon/B&N/Borders/
IndieBound

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ack!

This video only makes me want Blood Promise to come out faster:



HOW MUCH LONGER MUST I WAIT? D:

In Case You Missed It (2)

Another one of these today. (:

In Case You Missed It is when I post about older books that I still wantwantwant.

[descriptions from Amazon]

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before by David Yoo

If Albert Kim has learned one thing in his tragic adolescence, it's that God (probably a sadistic teenaged alien) does not want him to succeed at Bern High. By the end of sophomore year, Al is so tired of humiliation that he's chosen to just forget girls and high school society in general, and enjoy the Zen-like detachment that comes from being an intentional loser.

Then he meets Mia Stone, and all the repressed hormones come flooding back. Mia, his co-worker at the Bern Inn, is adorable, popular, and most intimidatingly, the ex- long-term girlfriend of Ivy-bound, muscle-bound king of BHS and world class jerk, Ryan Stackhouse. But -- chalk it up to the magic of Al's inner beauty -- by the end of a summer vacuuming hotel rooms and goofing off together, he and Mia are officially "something."

Albert barely has time to ponder this miracle before the bomb drops: Ryan has been diagnosed with cancer, and he needs Mia's support, i.e. constant companionship. True, he's lost weight and he's getting radiation, but that doesn't make him any less of a jerk. And to Albert, it couldn't be more apparent that Ryan is using his cancer to steal Mia back. With the whole town rallying behind Ryan like he's a fallen hero, and Mia emotionally confused and worried for Ryan, Al's bid for love is not a popular campaign. In fact, it's exactly like driving the wrong way on a five-lane highway.

In this desperately funny novel, David Yoo tells an authentic story of first love, and therein captures the agony, the mania, the kicking and screaming that define teenage existence.

---The title of this one is GLORIOUS. I <3>

Good Enough by Paula Yoo

How to make your Korean parents happy:

1. Get a perfect score on the SATs.
2. Get into HarvardYalePrinceton.
3. Don't talk to boys.*

Patti's parents expect nothing less than the best from their Korean-American daughter. Everything she does affects her chances of getting into an Ivy League school. So winning assistant concertmaster in her All-State violin competition and earning less than 2300 on her SATs is simply not good enough.

But Patti's discovering that there's more to life than the Ivy League. To start with, there's Cute Trumpet Guy. He's funny, he's talented, and he looks exactly like the lead singer of Patti's favorite band. Then, of course, there's her love of the violin. Not to mention cool rock concerts. And anyway, what if Patti doesn't want to go to HarvardYalePrinceton after all?

Paula Yoo scores big in her hilarious debut novel about an overachiever who longs to fit in and strives to stand out. The pressure is on!

*Boys will distract you from your studies.

---This one sounds funny too. I like funny.

Beastly by Alex Flinn

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

---Mostly I want this one because I want to read it before they release the movie version of it, but Adele gave it a good review the other day as well.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Titles

Last week I judged books by their colors, and this week I am judging them by their titles.

Titles influence me to buy a book almost as much as the cover. If a book has an awesome title, I'm sure to remember it and be like "ooh I want that," even if I have no idea what the book is about. But the titles give insight to what the book is about, so they are importante.

Allow me to share awesome titles with you:

You Suck by Christopher Moore- This book isn't YA, but the title is amazing! I have been waiting for the day when someone asks what I'm reading and I can say "You Suck" but they'll think I'm insulting them. This title pretty much automatically shows that this book could be about vampires (which it is).


What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson- This title makes me go "What? What are they telling us? Who are 'they'? I must know!"

Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby- This title makes me go "ZOMBIES?!" and then "Why is she a zombie queen? I want to know. o.o"

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr- This one is just good. It sounds...pretty.

This is What I Want to Tell You by Heather Duffy Stone- "WHAT? What do you want to tell me?!"

Serendipity Market by Penny Blubaugh- ...I like the word serendipity.

Right Behind You by Gail Giles- "What's behind me?! O_O"

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink- "Oooh, prophecy? I wonder what it could BE."

My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter- Funny!

Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (also put in every other Georgia Nicolson book title here)- Also funny!

Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey by Margaret Peterson Haddix- "Why can't Mrs. Dunphrey read it?"

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers- This is just one of those good titles that make you wonder what the book is about.

Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner- *gigglesnort*

The Blonde of the Joke by Bennett Madison- Blonde jokes are familiar to practically everyone, so "what could this one be about? *ponders*"

---

And then I asked the twitter folks what some of their favorite titles were. Here are some and what I think of them:

From Mitali: The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler - Much like My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters, this title is super funny and vair amusing.

Also from Mitali: I'd Tell You I'd Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter- This title is really long, but it's fun and has that ~spy~ feel to it.

From Rachel Hawkins and Rachel: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray- This another one of those "it's just GOOD." ones, I think. As Rachel Hawkins says, it sounds ~dramatic.~

From Zoe: The Realm of Possiblity by David Levithan- My love for David Levithan has nothing to do with the fact that this is a good title. It ties in with the book well and is ~intriguing.~

Also from Zoe: Geektastic by many people- GEEKS ARE WIN. (But nerds are better.)

---

What have we learned today?
  • That titles should be good!
  • That titles should make us wonder what the book is about.
  • Funny titles are awesome.
  • That I enjoy book titles.
What are some of YOUR favorite titles? *stares*

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Blue Moon by Alyson Noël

**SPOILERS for Evermore. You can read my review of Evermore here though. At least, I think this would count as a spoilery post if you haven't read Evermore... Blue Moon is second in a series, so you can choose if you want to read this or not. xD

[description from amazon]

Alyson Noël's bestselling Immortals series has been hailed as "addictive" "beautiful" "haunting" "mesmerizing." In the second installment, Ever can bring her family back from the dead. but only if she's willing to sacrifice the guy she loves more than life itself.


Just as Ever is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever's powers are increasing, Damen's are fading, stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his memory, his identity, his life.

Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland, uncovering not only the secrets of Damen's past- the brutal, tortured history he hoped to keep hidden- but also an ancient text revealing the workings of time. With the approaching blue moon heralding her only window for travel, Ever is forced to decide between turning back the clock and saving her family from the accident that claimed them, or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows weaker each day...


Review:


I was so worried that I wouldn't enjoy this one. I loved Evermore and was afraid that Blue Moon might be one of those pointless, all-over-the-place sequels that are somewhat common. And it seemed like the book was heading in that direction for the first 75ish pages, despite the promising summary.


For those first 75 pages, I kept thinking "Where is this book going?" All it seemed to be was Ever talking about how much she loves Damen and how tan is gorgeous he is, and Damen acting like a...not nice boy. But once The Big Thing on about page 76 happened (Yes, I checked), I was sucked back into Ever's world and didn't want to leave.


After The Big Thing happened, there was nonstop mystery until the end. As Ever searched answers, more was revealed about Summerland and those who inhabit it, raising more questions and suspicions about the people in the book and what is happening to them. I loved reading about Ever's search for answers, because more was constantly revealed about Damen's past and all of that brought a whole lot more to his character.


Though the book is focused more on the plot and mystery, the characters still shone. Ever learns to accept her change more and is quite determined to get what she wants. She did some surprising things that showed how good she is. (One thing near the end totally surprised me, but I can't exactly tell you what it was.) Roman was also an interesting villian, as it's hard to figure out exactly what he's up to.

Though a little slow to start, Blue Moon is a fantastic sequel to Evermore. It's full of surprises and mystery that keep you reading.

Can't wait for the third book in the series!

8.5/10

Links: Alyson's site/blog/twitter/The Immortals Series website

St. Martin's Griffin/Paperback/$9.99/Amazon/B&N/Borders/IndieBound

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Serendipity Market by Penny Blubaugh

[description from Amazon]

When Toby breathes on Mama Inez's bird-shaped invitations, giving them the power to fly, plans for the Serendipity Market begin. Soon, eleven honored guests travel from afar and make their way to the storytellers' tent to share their stories. Each tale proves what Mama Inez knows—that magic is everywhere. Sometimes it shows itself subtly—a ray of sun glinting on a gold coin, or a girl picking a rose without getting pricked by the thorn—and sometimes it makes itself known with trumpets and fireworks. But when real magic is combined with the magic of storytelling, it can change the world.

This is a breathtaking debut novel written with elegance and grace.

Review:

This is a hard book to review, as it is not a "traditional" book. It's mostly made up of individual stories, but it's not an anthology. There is one plot line that brings all the storytellers together in the first place, but that plot line cannot stand on its own; it needs the stories. There are characters in each individual story, and in the bigger plot that encompasses the stories. Because of that, I really cannot review this book by talking about the character development or the plot.

The main story- the one that brings all the others together- is one that is interesting and deep. Mama Inez brings all the tellers together in order to show how powerful the magic of storytelling is, and how it can affect the world. Although the book could have gone deeper, Serendipity Market definitely achieved showing how powerful stories are- each tale has a bit of magic in it, and it's easy to see how each story has effected its teller.

The individual stories are mostly retellings, and each puts a unique twist on familiar and unfamiliar tales. Even familiar characters- Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk , for example, are given more life through the various stories. Despite the very little show time each character in the story is given, their personalities shine through and make them believable.

The constant shift from the first frame of the book to the second made the book a little...awkward, but that's easily overlooked because of how entertaining everything is.

Serendipity Market is a wonderfully written, unique book that I definitely recommend.

8/10

Links: Penny's site,blog/twitter

HarperTeen/Hardcover/$16.99/Amazon/B&N/Borders


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Winners of things

One of the Suite Scarlett winners (The Book Pixie) already won another copy, so she is being lovely and letting me pick a new winner. The new winner is: Cindy! Cindy, if you see this before I get around to emailing you, shoot me an email with your address please. (:

And the winner of My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters is Amy from Addicted to Books! Congrats Amy! If you see this before I email you, please send me your address so I can pass it along to Sydney. :D

Waiting on Wednesday (28)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. :D

Today's pick (it's a non-Tenner one. GASP!):


Never Slow Dance With a Zombie by E. Van Lowe

description from amazon:

Romy and Michelle's Hight School Reunion
meets Night of the Living Dead in this laugh-out-loud debut YA novel by Emmy Award-nominated TV writer E. Van Lowe

Principal Taft's 3 Simple Rules for Surviving a Zombie Uprising:

Rule #1: While in the halls, walk slowly and wear a vacant expression on your face. Zombies won't attack other zombies.

Rule #2: Never travel alone. Move in packs. Follow the crowd. Zombies detest blatant displays of individuality.

Rule #3: If a zombie should attack, do not run. Instead, throw raw steak at to him. Zombies love raw meat. This display of kindness will go a long way.

On the night of her middle school graduation, Margot Jean Johnson wrote a high school manifesto detailing her goals for what she was sure would be a most excellent high school career. She and her best friend, Sybil, would be popular and, most important, have boyfriends. Three years later, they haven't accomplished a thing!

Then Margot and Sybil arrive at school one day to find that most of the student body has been turned into flesh-eating zombies. When kooky Principal Taft asks the girls to coexist with the zombies until the end of the semester, they realize that this is the perfect opportunity to live out their high school dreams. All they have to do is stay alive....

---

OH. MY. GOSH.

Doesn't this sound like the most ridiculously amazing book EVER? I have no idea how on earth anyone at the school got turned into zombies, but I MUST KNOW!

Also: ZOMBIES!

Zombies are the best.

TEAM ZOMBIE FOREVER!

And this book is a PAPERBACK! Gooooo paperbacks!

AND it comes out NEXT MONTH! August 18th!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous


[description from B&N]

Alice COULD BE ANYONE. Alice COULD BE SOMEONE YOU KNOW. Alice USES DRUGS. With over a million copies in print, Go Ask Alice has become a classic of our time.

---

A fifteen-year-old drug user chronicles her daily struggle to escape the pull of the drug world.

Review:

This book is a "modern classic"? Really? Seriously? Because I think this book is bad. I don't often read books I think are bad- I read average, slightly below average, above average, and the occasional amazing one, but never really ones I find bad. But this book is just ugh.

The thing that bothered me most is that the narrator sounds like a 10 year old, even before she's on drugs. She sounds so immature and obnoxious. She kept saying things like "I really want to stop! I do! I do!" and all I could think of was "I do believe in fairies! I do! I do!"

Here are some more quotes to show how annoying she is:

"It's still holiday time and I'm elated all the livelong day and night!" (89).


"This is a really great place! It really is!" (104).


"My dear precious friend,
I am so grateful that they would let Mom bring you to me in your battered, padlocked little case" (163).

I wanted to throw the book at the wall after a while, I was so annoyed.

Another thing that I hated was that on one page the narrator would be like "I love drugs! I am as high as a kite! La la la la la," on the next she'd be like "I have to get out of here! AND I NEED DRUGS!", on the next she'd be like "I miss my family! I feel awful! I LOVE GOD!" and I would be like "MAKE UP YOUR MIND, WOMAN!" She was just so frustrating, and her constant change made the plot change as well, and not in a good way. First she'd be at home, all boring and fine, and then she'd be on drugs, all boring and not fine. Not very fun to read about.

The narrator also described all the drugs she was taking and how they made her feel a lot. She went on and on about the effects and later the dangers. It's way too preachy and it made the narrator even more flat of a character than she already was. All the drug talk time could have been spent developing her character, but of course that didn't happen.

Honestly, I do not see why Go Ask Alice is so loved by so many. Anyone care to explain?

4/10

Simon Pulse/Paperback/$9.99/Amazon/B&N/Borders/IndieBound

Monday, July 13, 2009

In Case You Missed It (1)

So a long time ago I posted about books that were older but that I still wanted. A few people commented saying they'd like another post like that, but I haven't done it since. But now I am! Whoo.

This feature will be tentatively titled In Case You Missed It, but if you have a better name, please tell me. xD

[descriptions from amazon]

Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher

With her mother ill, it’s up to fifteen-year-old Ruby Jacinski to support her family. But in the 1940s, the only opportunities open to a Polish-American girl from Chicago’s poor Yards is a job in one of the meat packing plants. Through a chance meeting with a local tough, Ruby lands a job as a taxi dancer and soon becomes an expert in the art of “fishing”: working her patrons for meals, cash, clothes, even jewelry. Drawn ever deeper into the world of dance halls, jazz, and the mob, Ruby gradually realizes that the only one who can save her is herself. A mesmerizing look into a little known world and era.

---I am a huge historical fiction fan, so why have I never read this? Everyone has been RAVING about it. I really need to pick it up.



Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles

Leah Greene is dead. For Laine, knowing what really happened and the awful feeling that she is, in some way, responsible set her on a journey of painful self-discovery. Yes, she wished for this. She hated Leah that much. Hated her for all the times in the closet, when Leah made her do those things. They were just practicing, Leah said. But why did Leah choose her? Was she special, or just easy to control? And why didn’t Laine make it stop sooner? In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laine is left to explore the devastating lessons Leah taught her, find some meaning in them, and decide whether she can forgive Leah and, ultimately, herself.

---I've never heard much about this one, but WOW it sounds good. wantwantwant. The best part? It will be out in paperback very soon- on August 11!

Viking Warrior by Judson Roberts

He's the son of a chieftain and a princess—yet Halfdan was born a slave.

Now he is becoming a man and it is time for him to meet his destiny.

Though raised a slave who could only dream of freedom, young Halfdan's fate may be about to change. If freed, he may train as a Viking warrior, and come to know the glories of true brotherhood and the horrors of unspeakable evil. In the world of Vikings, a warrior's destiny is forged in the heat of battle. If the fates decree it, Hafdan may emerge as a new hero . . . a new myth . . . and perhaps a new legend.

---Vikings? Vikings? VIKINGS? How are these books not insanely popular? Who doesn't want to read about VIKINGS?


Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley

Mina Hamilton's parents want her dead. (Or undead to be precise.) They're vampires, and like it or not, Mina must decide whether to become a vampire herself. But Mina's more interested in hanging out with best friend Serena and trying to catch the eye of the too-hot-for-high-school Nathan Able than in the vampire training classes she's being forced to take. How's a girl supposed to find the perfect prom date and pass third-year French when her mom and dad are breathing down her neck--literally?

---I'm so over vampires, but I've been wanting to read this one ever since it came out. It comes out in paperback soon (August 11) so maybe I will FINALLY get it.

---

This feature will not be a regular one, so I dunno when the next will be posted.

Until next time!

Moar randomosity, or, I don't have an interview for today.

I need to email authors about interviews. Any who are already published and read this blog want to email me? xD

OTHER STUFF:

Leigh Brescia, author of One Wish, is having a contest over at her blog. You should enter. I know *I* will once I am less lazy.

And teenreads.com is having a giant contest where you can win a ton of awesome books. (Like Hush, Hush!!!!!! Zomg I WANT.) All you have to do is fill out this survey, which will take like 15 minutes to finish.

Look at this awesome trailer:




SHINY and AWESOME.

Pam Bachorz is having a contest too. You should enter.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I just...

...realized I need to post the Suite Scarlett winners. Here they are:

Ninja Fanpire

The Book Pixie

Emily Harris

Esther

Melanie

I'll email all of you later (unless you email me first. Which you should so I don't forget.) Congrats!

Randomosity

Look at how blue my hair is in this picture:

(Also, WTH BLOGGER. It won't let me upload pictures to the center! *cries*)

The Immortals website is fun.

IN OTHER NEWS.

I can't choose a picture for Vania's contest. There are too many pretty ones! I cannot be expected to choose just one, but alas, I must.

Adele posted about where to get Australian YA books online. Adele, I'm trying to resist adding more books to my TBR pile. You are not helping me. It doesn't help that this OZYA book I want is on sale.

I need help choosing what to read next. CHOOSE:





























Or you can look through my goodreads to read shelf and pick something else.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cover Colors

Does anyone else have weird associations with colors on book covers?

For example, I see a purple cover and most of the time automatically go "OOOOOH what a pretty/nice/cute cover to hold a great book."

To prove my point:








































Then again, there are purple covers like this:


Not hideous, but a DOLL? Really? If there's one thing I don't like about the Pretty Little Liars series it's the covers.

If I see a pink cover, I usually think "That's either a girly, cute, or light book."



























Then again, there's books like this:

A Bad Boy Can Be Good For a Girl is definitely not a girly, light, or cute book. It's quite good though.

I see a mostly black cover and think "That's an interesting/pretty/nice cover. There's a really good chance that book is either really intense, great, or both."































But then again:

What have we learned today, children? 1) Laziness results in bad posts. 2) Khy likes looking at covers too much. 3) Khy should not judge books by their colors.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Author Websites

After the insanity in the Tenner chat the other day died down, Karen Kincy, Tenner and author of Other (Flux, July 2010) asked the the remaining bloggers in the chat about author websites- what is good, what is bad, etc. I promised her a post about it, so here it is!


-I don't like it when the whole site is like one boring color and has the same boring font all over the place. I don't want black text on a white background with a couple pictures. That's boring. Find a fun layout! Make it ~interactive.~ Have some animations! Make it look pretty! But don't clutter it up. Pretty sites: Kristin Walker's, Jessica Verday's, Jenny Han's, Maureen Johnson's. Simple can work too- Courtney Summers's site is cool and has an interesting layout. Edit: I don't mean your site has to be all fancy with a million colors. I just don't like sites with only 2 colors- a background and font. Put a picture a design or SOMETHING fun.

-I don't like it when the website isn't updated. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a thing under a book cover that says things like "Coming in April 2009!" when it's July 2009.

-I don't like it when the summary of the book is either two sentences or five paragraphs. One or two paragraphs, please?

- I don't like boring bios! Those "___ is the author of ___, ____, and ___, which was a ___bestseller/made ___ list. Author got their MFA/Bachelor's degree/other college stuff in ___ at ___ college." are no fun. I know there have to be "official" ones to go on the book, but put a funner one on your site. Show some ~*PERSONALITY!*~ A short bio and a long (but not too long) one on the same page are awesome, even if you have the official one as the short one. But if you have a bio about your school stuff/writing awards, at least put some fun stuff on the same page, like Jenny Han. Or do a separate fun one. Bios I enjoy: Karen Healey's, Lara Zielin's, Maureen Johnson's, Courtney Summer's

-I love when the website ties in with the book. Jessica Verday's site has darker colors and a spookier mood to it to fit with The Hollow. Maureen Johnson's homepage has New York City stuff that fits with Suite Scarlett. Or even a page that ties in with the author's book- John Green has a page explaining anagrams, which play a huge role in An Abundance of Katherines, for example. Basically, if you're book is about vampires who perform sacrifices to the Greek gods, I don't really think you to have a bright yellow site with daisies on it.

-FAQ pages- good. But don't make them with all boring questions. I've seen many a boring FAQ. Again, show ~*personality*~ while still making it informative. Courtney Summer's FAQ has common questions, but she makes it FUN! If the FAQ is really long, separate it into sections so I don't need to ctrl+f. Maureen Johnson has a fabulous FAQ page. (As you can probably guess, Maureen Johnson has a spankin' site that I love.)

-Author blogs- I'll point you to Adele's post on the subject, because I agree with pretty much all of it.

-"Books" Page- Have one! Cover, summary, release date, are all awesome. If something really weird happened that inspired your book, that's cool too. Apparently people like playlists, but I don't really care about them. I don't often read excerpts unless I'm extremely excited for a book, but post one if you can. I'm sure other people read them more than me. xD

-Contact page- have one PLEASE. I like when the author has a thing to people saying whether or not they like interviews, or if they say who to contact for a review copy.

-Events page- If you have book events or are going to a conference or something, WE WANT TO KNOW. And geez, update this page too. Some people have events from like last year listed.

-Extras- Extras are awesome! Short stories, quizzes, sneak peeks, and contests are all awesome to have. Tera Lynn Childs, for example, has a bunch of great extras.

I also like the whole "send a SASE to ___ and get ___ from me!" thing. I've never done it, but it's a cool concept. People like swag. Heather Brewer and Elizabeth Scott do the swag thing.

-Other stuff- Please have a good picture of your cover on your site. xD One without any lines or anything around it. I don't want to go to google image search to find a picture. I'm lazy.

In short- I like pretty, informative sites that don't bore me. Boring is bad. I like when authors show some personality.

Awesome author sites and why they're awesome:
  • Maureen Johnson- Fun, pretty, entertaining (read her blog, people!), informative, and easy to navigate. All authors should aspire to have a website as great as MJ's.
  • Kay Cassidy- Simple, cute, easy to navigate. Extra things. It's just good.
  • Jessica Verday- Fits with the book, has tons of info, interesting background, fun stuff in the sidebars. And it's pretty!
  • Kristin Walker- cute, fun (look at those pictures of Kristin on the bio), definitely looks like a site for a YA author. It's got stuff that screams "teen!"
  • Heather Brewer- It's purple! Cute. And she's got great extra stuff- the bling and forum.
Obviously I am no website expert, so don't listen to me if you don't want to.

Anyone else want to chime in on what sites they like or what they like/don't like in an author website? Comment pleeeease. :D

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Today I want to Barnes and Noble.

Let's have a picture/video post, shall we?

First, here is me stalking Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev:




After I filmed that, I played Spot the Debs, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Here is TMI by Sarah Quigley, face out and wonderful:



Here is Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer. I bought this one- so excited to read it!


Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler on the shelves (there were more in the front display):


Here is The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan among MANY AWESOME BOOKS.


Here is an extremely blurry picture where you can see Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev and Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard.



Here is Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, Wings by Aprilynne Pike, The Forests of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.


Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog had PRIME placement. It was near books by a bunch of awesome people (and some bestselling authors :o), and this little display is right next to the beginning of the Teen section and on the archway to the kids/middle grade section. PRIME PLACEMENT, I tell you.


I also played the game "Before and After" with a couple Debs books.

Here is Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard before:


And here it is after:


Here is Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog before:


And here it is after:




After I played Before and After, I played "Spot the Other Awesome People!"


Here is a bad picture of Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker:


Here are Nothing but Ghosts by Beth Kephart AND The Dust of 100 Dogs by AS King. Oh, and DAVID LEVITHAN books on the bottom shelf.



Here's the Canterwood Crest books by Jessica Burkhart.


And here is a fabulous Geek shelf containing Geek High, Band Geek Love, Geektasic, The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading (DEB BOOK!), Art Geeks and Prom Queens, The Queen Geek Social Club, and Geek Magnet.


As you can tell from the above picture, my B&N is very cool, despite its huge Twilight displays.

And here is a picture of Flowers in the Attic on the "What's Hot" display near the register.

I like to think that Taren and Steph had a small role in making VC Andrews hot again.

Today at the bookstore I bought:
  • Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
  • Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
  • Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer
  • Blue Moon by Alyson Noel (I am QUOTED in this one!!!! ZOMG EXCITING.)
  • Behind the Bit by Jessica Burkhart
  • Killer by Sara Shepard
  • Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
I was supposed to talk about author websites today (HEY KAREN KINCY!) but I will tomorrow instead. xD I was too lazy to do that today, but I'm working on that post now.