Saturday, July 31, 2010

let's play a game!

Inspired by Steph Su of Steph Su Reads latest post and Ari over at Reading in Color, let's examine the last 18 books I've reviewed to see how many people of color are in them. (I was going to do twenty but then I got lazy.)

~disclaimer: I have a bad memory so feel free to correct me if I get any of this wrong and include anyone I may have missed.

1. Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey - not that I recall, except for the blue vampires.

2. Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev - not that I recall. edit, from the author: " Re: Perchance to Dream... Sedna and the Scrimshander's backstory comes from Native American (Inuit) legend. The word "Caravanserai" is Persian/Turkish, with most of the people in the marketplace POC. And I pictured Ariel, from the very beginning, as Asian (something that got rendered on the second cover.)" Yeah I don't know my Native American legends or Persian words so I didn't pick up on that. xD

3. The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride - not that I recall.

4. The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell - not that I recall.

5. The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade - not that I recall.

6. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine - not that I recall. #emergingpatterns

7. Paisley Hanover Kisses and Tells by Cameron Tuttle - I know there's at least one African-American (am I allowed to say she's black? I always feel a bit odd about using that term but today I am using it because it does not take as long to type) minor character. If I remember correctly. I just don't know her name (note: I am worse with character names.)

8. Wolves, Boys, and Other Things that Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler - not that I recall but for some reason I want to say that there is?

9. Lifted by Wendy Toliver - one of the three main characters is black.

10. Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee - not that I recall but then again this book didn't stick in my mind very well.

11. Sea by Heidi R Kling - the book mostly takes place in Indonesia so obviously there are many Indonesian people. DENI!

12. Possessions by Nancy Holder - there's some minor characters. One girl is Asian and I think there's a Hispanic/Latina girl too.

13. Invisible Girl by Mary Hanlon Stone - the summary says the main girl is dark-skinned but I think she's Italian.

14. So Many Boys by Suzanne Young - don't really remember but I think there's at least one?

15. Mistwood by Leah Cypess - not that I recall.

16. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce - not that I recall, but there's only like 3 characters in this book that are mentioned enough for me to remember.

17. Wanted by Sara Shepard - all of the main girls are white but there's a bunch of minor characters in the series who aren't. (The most prominent POC minor character is Maya, who is black. But isn't Wren half Asian? I know he isn't on the show.)

18. Alison Dare series by J. Torres - one of Alison's best friends is black.

Possible morals of this post:

1. I pay even less attention to character descriptions than I thought, hence all the "not that I recall"s. (note: I tend to completely skip character descriptions because I am not interested in what color hair people have or what kind of indie band t-shirts they wear.)

2. Not many books I have read include POC. I should fix that.

3. The books do not clearly mention if any of the characters are POC.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

[description from goodreads, but I edited it and added in the italics part]

On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.

Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or dealing with people who want to kill her.
*

Oh and there's some romance too, but more on that in the review.

Review:

I was pleasantly surprised by Hearts at Stake-- it is by no means amazing, but it's a fun read. I wish there was a bit more development on some things, especially the romance, but I liked it!

Even though the summary on the back of the book gives everything away, I still enjoyed reading the beginning, before the "spoiled" bits came up. I thought the vampire myth was fascinating, as there are more politics involved than most of the other paranormal novels I've read. I loved the inclusion of the royal families and the different types of vampires; at times, I had some difficulty remembering which types did what, but I think I got it sorted out at the end. (And for those of you thinking "this sounds like Vampire Academy: eh, I guess there are a few similarities, but this world stands on its own.)

Let's get a few of the things I didn't like out of the way: Lucy and Solange each have their own romantic storyline, and I was not a huge fan of either. I was never sure if either storyline was supposed to develop beyond the "I know we like each other, now what?" stage, and only one of the two arcs had much tension. I also felt that the characterization wasn't spectacular- the characters are all given different traits and quirks, but they weren't explored enough for my liking. Though, I did like that the main girls were both kick-butt and humorous-- it made them fun to read about.

I loved the action involved most of all. It takes a while for all the excitement to start happening, but once it does, it's great. Plenty of blood, fighting, and twists. Fun times.

Hearts at Stake is quick, light read. Not the deepest book in the world, but it's fun and action-packed. I can't wait to read book two, because if it's even half as enjoyable as this one, I'll adore it.

*And that half a sentence, my friends, is why I do not write my own summaries.

Book details: Walker/Paperback/$9.99

Source: BEA

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev

Spoilers for book one in the series, Eyes Like Stars, ahead! You can read my review of ELS here, if you wish.

Long review ahead (what else is new), but the last paragraph kind of sums it up.

[description from goodreads]

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.

Enter BERTIE AND COMPANY

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?

Once again, LISA MANTCHEV has spun a tale like no other—full of romance, magic, adventure, and fairies, too—that readers won’t want to put down, even after the curtain has closed
.

Review:

I adored Eyes Like Stars, so I was obviously ecstatic when I got my hands on a copy of Perchance to Dream. I liked this book, but I definitely love the first installment in the series more. I wish I had the time to reread Eyes Like Stars before I read this book because I had a bit of difficulty remembering the details of how some things developed. Accordingly, I was a bit confused and often glazed over some of the things I didn't understand. And then I didn't understand more things that occurred, and eventually I was a little O_O

Also, this is definitely the type of book you want to pay full attention to. There's a lot of bizarre stuff going on and many new developments are made. I love the world/setting in this series-- it's original, fun, and has a lovely magical feel to it. I was SUCH a huge fan of the Theatre in the first book that I missed it in this installment-- while reading this book, I often wondered where the group was traveling and what exactly was there. But, on the other hand, the new setting allowed for a bit more action. Each time the group encountered someone or something new, excitement, action, mystery, and often humor, abounded. The times when no new developments were being made were not as exciting to read, though the fairies would often provide some of their hilarity to keep things at least a bit interesting.

As far as characters go, Bertie stayed her awesome self. I love reading about her developing abilities and how they work, as her powers are different than any others I've read about. I still do not see the appeal of Ariel, because in this book he just annoyed me. I never seem to care about what he's doing, especially when Nate is around. (TEAM NATE!) I did like the introduction of some of the new characters, even though they were only really introduced-- I'm sure they will play a bigger role in the third installment of the series.

I probably would have enjoyed Perchance to Dream more if I had remembered more of Eyes Like Stars-- sadly I am short on time to reread nowadays and am not blessed with a good memory. Still, Perchance to Dream acted more as a "funtimes, new info and mystery, get ready for an epic book three" kind of book. It was amusing and fun to read (when I wasn't confused), but for me it lacked the magic of Eyes Like Stars. However, I know that book three will be fantastic.

Book details: Feiwel and Friends/Hardcover/$16.99

Source: Sent by publisher for review

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Graphic Novelizations

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

I dunno what else to call them besides "graphic novelizations." Here are two graphic novels based on book series I love that I'm interested in reading:


City of Bones adaptation (more about them here)

Vampire Academy adaptation (more here)

I'm thinking that these will either stink or be really cool. I don't know if I'll follow them religiously since I've already read the books, but I'll at least read the first in the two series. I think the fight scenes especially would be cool when drawn.

Though, if I'm correct in assuming that's Dimitri on the VA one...ew. I don't think I want to have my image of Dimitri ~tainted with that ugly-looking drawing.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride


[description from goodreads]

It’s been two years since Noelle disappeared. Two years since her bike was discovered, sprawled on a sidewalk. Two years of silence, of worry, of fear.

For those two long years, her best friend Tessa has waited, living her own life in a state of suspended animation. Because how can she allow herself to enjoy a normal high school life if Noelle can’t? How dare she have other friends, go to dances, date boys, without knowing what happened to the girl she thought she would share everything with?

And then one day, someone calls Noelle’s house. She’s alive.

A haunting psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines, The Tension of Opposites is a striking debut that explores the emotional aftermath of a kidnapping on the victim, and on the people she left behind.


Review:

I'd been waiting to read The Tension of Opposites for a while before it was even released, because I thought it would be a bit more original because it was not from the point of view of the kidnapped victim. It was, but I didn't like it as much as I hoped. Not because it's bad--it's not-- but it is much too character-driven for my taste.

It's not like I was expecting anything to blow up or people to start having swordfights or anything like that, but I was hoping for a bit more plot or excitement. The most dramatic and emotional parts are given hardly any time at all compared to the not-as-interesting things, like Tessa's relationship with Potential Boy Max. Though half of me thinks that was the point-- to show Tessa in a more normal environment, since her interaction with Noelle when she returns is limited. The other half of me thinks there should have been a bigger focus on Noelle since, at least in my theory, her return would cause everything to change more dramatically than it did. I don't know.

I do have to say, though, that the amount of "normal" was also a bit refreshing. While I didn't really know why Tessa liked Max other than that's he cute and takes pictures, I liked that their relationship wasn't one of OMGUTMOSTIMPORTANCE like in half of the other YA books on the shelves at the moment. I felt that Tessa's awkward feelings and uncertainty about how to deal with Noelle and the other kids at school were believable. I'm also glad that those feelings weren't Tessa's only feelings or defining characteristics-- she has a hobby (photography), a family, and other issues to deal with and overcome. Yay for YA protagonists with other things than boys on their mind.

I'm sure that people who don't mind their stories more character-driven will enjoy this book much more than I did. Good, but not my thing.

Book details: EgmontUSA/Hardcover/$16.99

Source: sent by publisher for review

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Turns out our laundry service was laundering more than napkins."

Welcome to part of the new edition of our so-called "Pretty Little Roundtable," in which Carol (Book Lover Carol), Alea (Pop Culture Junkie), and I discuss the new show Pretty Little Liars, based on the book series.

Spoilers for the latest episode ahead!



Best/Worst Scenes

Khy: What did you think of Mike's outburst? Seemed a bit random, and they didn't really explain it later on.

Alea: Yeah agreed, but i think he's just taking out his anger at his family situation at odd times, it makes sense i think. I'm glad to see more of him though!

Khy: Me too!

Carol: I thought maybe he heard some rumor about Aria and didn't want to tell her...?

Alea: I think my favorite character is now Lucas! I loved the snowboarding turkey, LOVE turkeys!

Khy: I love him too! You can so tell he has a hidden agenda though, when he was taking pictures of Sean and Hanna. xD He's better than Sean though.

Alea: Yes, when Hanna is with Lucas she really comes alive, love it! He better not turn out to be evil in anyway.

Khy: Or stupid. Or creepy.

Carol: Lucas is just trying to show Sean in bad light so that Hannah could dump him, methinks.

Alea: He adds much needed comic relief to the show.

Alea: I thought the girls had some great expressions this week, Emily smelling Jenna's cookies, Aria looking at Sean's flowers.

Khy: Speaking of Jenna! When she was like "you do have milk, right?" I laughed. I think she was going for creepy but it was not.

Alea: Yeah that was just, weird.

Carol: weird funny.

Khy: What did you think of the whole ~dance sequence~ with Alex and Spencer?

Alea: Cheesy.

Khy: Same. It was a little random. They should have broken out into song instead, it would have been more fun.

Carol: High School Musical

Khy: No, Spectacular!

Alea: Haha! I'm starting to think of this show as one with extremely great endings, I loved the ending scene this week. Toby's file floating down the river and A fishing the papers out!

Khy: I cannot believe the girls were so stupid. The river?! REALLY?! They didn't even rip it up first! I thought Spencer was supposed to be like a genius!

Alea: Yes that was extremely stupid, but made for a great scene when they fly up in the air and the ending as well. Apparently the river washes away all secrets, except it doesn't!

Carol: Yes that was such a dumb idea. I get that they wanted it be creepy A fishing the file out of the river, but couldn't it be done better?

Khy: What did you think of the author of the books, Sara Shepard's, cameo? In the English class?

Alea: You read my mind, that was my next question, I liked it! I think she did a great job!

Khy: Me too!

Carol: She did a good job! She looks different from the back flap picture on her books.

Alea: It must be so trippy for her to be in this world, from her imagination to actually being inside of it!

Khy: That would be weird

Alea: So weird.

---

For our more thoughts on how the show compares to the books (including news that A will most likely not be who it is in the books), head on over to Pop Culture Junkie. For thoughts on best lines and overall opinion, check out Book Lover Carol.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Comic-Con!

On Friday, thanks to the lovely Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (authors of Beautiful Creatures and the upcoming sequel Beautiful Darkness), I got to attend Comic-Con. Here is the story of my day, with pictures:

After sitting in traffic for an ungodly amount of time, I got to the convention center. Vania (Reverie Book Reviews, VLC Photos) came and picked me up and we went to say hello to the people at the Simon and Schuster booth, and then we head over to the Little, Brown booth where Kami and Margaret were going to sign later.

The cool people were already hanging out at the LB booth, because as soon as we got there I saw Senfaye (A Maze of Books), Yvette, Chloe, and the fabulously dressed Cindy Pon (author of Silver Phoenix):

We got to chat a bit before the signing began. Soon there was a long line for the Beautiful Darkness ARCs, and because I already got one at BEA, I got to stand and watch Kami and Margie be author-y. I also got to speak to the aforementioned people, along with Jordyn (Ten Cent Notes) who showed up. Yay!

Other pictures from the signing/LB booth:



Kami and Margie signing


Karen Healey (author of the fabulous Guardian of the Dead) and I! So happy that Senfaye spotted her when she came up to the booth, since I'd wanted to meet her when I saw that she was there.


Sue Sylvester was staring at us the whole time.

After the signing was over, Chloe, Yvette, Vania, Kami, her husband, and I walked around the booths. We ran into Lego Harry Potter:

I couldn't not get a picture.

We also saw a bunch of awesome steampunk people, but I didn't get any pictures. Just imagine people dressed in steampunk clothes. Now add a mallet to that person's hand.

Kami, her husband, Vania, and Yvette soon had to go, so Chloe and I decided to go to the "What's up with Penguin?" panel, where we met up with Jordyn. We also saw Amy of My Friend Amy in line. :D

The panel was about some of Penguin publishing's upcoming fantasy/sci-fi books, both adult and YA. This panel was very educational. You know how some people who insult YA say that it's nothing but vampires? I knew that this was a stupid reason to begin with, but now I know that it's REALLY stupid! 90% of the adult titles had a vampire in them. So those people that say YA is nothing but vampires can shut their mouth.

I didn't pay as much attention to the adult books part of the panel since I didn't know most of the books or authors who wrote them. But I did realize that I like YA covers a whole lot better-- the adult ones all look SO similar. (I know many YA covers are similar, but at least they use more colors than black and white. They also don't just have girls with knives in alleys on the front.)

The YA part of the panel was much more fun, because the slides on the slideshow were much prettier. They had backgrounds and more than just the cover. They talked about Vampire Academy, the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Pegasus by Robin McKinley, and the Breathless Books (The Eternal Ones, The Replacement, Nightshade, Matched, and Sapphique), among other things.

I took pictures of a couple of the Breathless Books slides even though I don't think I was supposed to. *shifty eyes* Whatever, other people were taking them too.


The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff slide.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

A fun, but short, day!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. (:

I was going to post my Comic-Con recap today but I'm too tired, so I shall post tomorrow! (Probably.)

Instead, here's my IMM for the week:

Review:

Rae by Chelsea Rae Swiggett - already read it! SO GOOD!
Alexis by Alexis Singer - also already read! Also so good!
Hannah by Hannah Westberg - sounds super intense. Can't wait to start reading it!

I also got another copy of Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin, which has an awesome cover.

Bought for Nerds Heart YA:

Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann
Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee

Heard good things about both of those, so I can't wait to see which I like better. (:


Friday, July 23, 2010

HARRY FREAKIN' POTTER

Who else has already watched A Very Potter Sequel? (If you haven't even watched A Very Potter Musical, what are you waiting for?)




I just finished watching and need to discuss with people! What did you think?

I thought it was not as awesome as AVPM, but I still really enjoyed it.

Random spoilerish thoughts:

  • LOVED the inclusion of Dean, Seamus, and especially Firenze. Lucius was the best though.
  • Lucius's dance moves! AMAZING.
  • Needs more Luna.
  • Toilet jokes are not funny to me.
  • This one felt so much longer than AVPM! Anyone else feel that way?
  • Although I definitely prefer Voldemort to Umbridge, "You Were Never My Lover" is my new jam. Umbridge was kind of awkward the rest of the time, though I may be biased since I loved Voldemort in the first one. The guy playing playing Umbridge sure can work a dress though.
  • Zefron > Sharkboy.
  • I love the Scarf of Sexual Preference. A lot.
  • The choreography in AVPS was much more epic than in AVPM. Love.
  • I've had "Harry Freakin' Potter" stuck in my head since I watched the scene where it is in. *dances*

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Clockwork Angel Winner!


Thank you to all the people who entered my Clockwork Angel giveaway! I had a great time reading all the interesting things you told me so you could be entered. Let me share some of those things with you before I tell you who won:

- Zoe told me about Gregory Peck Mondays, aka the best Mondays ever! On TCM (which is slowly becoming my favorite channel) Mondays in July are dedicated to Gregory Peck. Mondays are fun now!

- Some of the books people said they were excited to reading: Clockwork Angel, Beautiful Darkness, Guardian of the Gate, Mockingjay, Behemoth and Linger. I am also looking forward to all of these! (Though I've already read and adored Beautiful Darkness and Guardian of the Gate.)

- It seems that many people who commented preferred zombies to unicorns. Those people have excellent taste.

- Priya commented about how Lord Voldemort is on twitter. I'm not a Death Eater but I follow his tweets- do you?

- An anonymous person (who might be named Megan, based on their email address) also shared something Harry Potter related:
Today, this guy at work came up to me because he knows I love Harry Potter. He asked if I thought that since Gryffindors are good and Slytherins are bad, whether I agreed that Hufflepuffs would be stoners and Ravenclaws would be assassins. I'm not quite sure where he came up with that, but I had to disagree. I definitely don't get 'stoner' from qualities such as just, loyal, true, hard workers, and particularly good finders. I could maybe see Ravenclaws being assassins, since it would certainly take brains to be an assassin, but that's a pretty big stretch.
YAY A VERY POTTER MUSICAL REFERENCE! (A Very Potter Sequel premieres on youtube today! I AM VERY EXCITED!) Also, Ravenclaws as assassins? I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you. ;)

Ok, I'm done sharing, since I know most of you have only read this far to see who won.

The winner is: Max! Congrats! Max, if you see this, please email your mailing address to khyrinthia@gmail.com and I'll mail it to you ASAP. :D

Today, I happened to get another copy in the mail. Which means the second winner is Koreen! Koreen, please email me where to send the book. :D

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

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

Today's pick:

Wither by Lauren DeStafano

description (from author site)

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

WITHER, the first book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy, is due to be out in 2011 by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.

---

Pretty cover AND a unique premise! This sounds awesooome.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell


[description from the jacket flap-- yes I typed it up because all the online ones are HORRID don't read them]

Damien Locke knows his destiny-- attending the university for supervillains and becoming Golden City's next professional evil genius. But when Damien discovers he's the product of his supervillain mother's one-night-stand with-- of all people-- a superhero, his best-laid plans are ruined.

Now forced to live with his superhero family, Damien must prove that he's truly evil. Only he wasn't counting on a villainous plot that threatens his new relatives' safety and will make Damien choose who he really wants to be.

Going to extreme lengths (and heights), The Rise of Renegade X chronicles one boy's struggles with the villainous and heroic pitfalls of growing up.

Review:

Fun fact: I've been waiting for this book since the author's website had a dark background and entirely different flowers on it (a looong time ago), and she's the first and only author I've ever emailed about being excited for their book. Thankfully, The Rise of Renegade X did not disappoint me.

I've said on this blog many, many times that I hate when books don't have a plot-- however, I haven't really talked about exceptions to the rule. I don't mind as much when the character development is mind-blowing, when David Levithan is involved, or when there is a whole lot of humor involved. The last is the case with The Rise of Renegade X. Though Damien goes to stay with his dad early on, not much of a plot develops until half the book is over. It's a fun and exciting, if a bit classic-superhero, plot, but the first half are just Damien's daily wanderings. But I didn't really mind because Damien is hilario. His snark and sarcasm are absolutely perfect-- he makes even the descriptions of classmates entertaining.

The characters are the best part of the novel, though. Damien's journey of figuring out whether he's meant to be a hero or villain was just as entertaining as his sarcasm-- it was different than the few other superhero books I've read, even though there were some familiar details (like the other characters' superpowers- flight, for example). The supporting characters were wonderful as well. Though Sarah and a few other characters' weird-ness developed so quickly that at times it didn't make much sense, they were still realistic. The relationships were fabulous as well-- I love that the love triangle wasn't all about "love" so much as it was about "like." The romantic relationships did not develop too quickly or unrealistically, which is so rare to read about in YA nowadays.

The Rise of Renegade X uses some familiar superhero elements but freshens them up with sarcasm and fabulous characters.

Book details: Egmont USA/Hardcover/$17.99

Source: ARC from the author, hardcover from BEA

Monday, July 19, 2010

"I'm not really gaga for Gaga."

Welcome to part of the new edition of our so-called "Pretty Little Roundtable," in which Carol (Book Lover Carol), Alea (Pop Culture Junkie), and I discuss the new show Pretty Little Liars, based on the book series.


Slight spoilers for episode 6 ahead!


Best lines:

Alea: I got a few this week!

Khy: Worst was Sean's virginity club speech thing

Carol: My faves were the Hanna/Lucas act at the virginity club.

Alea: "I'm not really gaga for Gaga." -Maya to Emily and my favorite "Do you need me to tweet it to you?" - Melissa to Spencer They are always so hilariously horrible! And yes the Virginity Club was a hoot!

Khy: I always thought it was funny that the books included twitter too.

Alea: And I think Sean said during the dance "Is there a heat wave going on in here I don't know about?" It was like a joke but serious, it was weird!

Final Thoughts:

Carol: they amped it up this week after last week's boring episode.

Alea: Yay!

Alea: I love that the show is finally getting dramatic instead of like sort of dramatic!

Carol: Improvement over last episodes. A is getting creepier, and I like the new changes.

Khy: Me too! I hope they stay with the creepy, creative messages and avoid virginity club.

Alea: Virginity Club was a moment of humor though, that was needed for the rest of the episode. I liked Lucas in it!

Khy: Well, Lucas in virginity club was good but Sean noooo

Carol: It was awkwardly funny.

Alea: Yes, Carol!

---

For our more detailed thoughts on the best and worst scenes, head on over to Pop Culture Junkie. For thoughts on how the show compares to the books, check out Book Lover Carol.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Questions!

Since I didn't get anything in the mail this week (other than school books, gag) I cannot do an In My Mailbox. I thought I'd ask you some things instead, about things that are everywhere but that I pay little attention to.

1. Do you read excerpts of books online? Like on an author blog or website? I don't, even for books I'm really excited for. It may just be that I hate reading long stuff on the computer, but I really don't care about online excerpts. I feel that if I read them, I will only be more mad that the book isn't out yet, since usually excerpts are posted before the book's release.

2. Do you listen to book playlists? I care even less about these than excerpts. Usually I'll skim them to see if I've heard any of the songs on them (I never have), but that's it. I don't listen to playlists, even for books I love. I really don't care.

3. Do you watch book trailers? I only watch Vania's and ones I see popping up in the blogosphere a lot. I don't like the style of most of the ones I watch - text with music over it and the same picture over and over is not very exciting to me - so that probably influences my not watching, but eh.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

~*positive thinking*~

Since my blog posts are usually filled with many complaints and negativity, I'd thought I'd make today a ~happy blog day.~ Here are some happy bookish thoughts:

1. I know I said it on Wednesday, but I seriously love how involved the Vampire Academy movie folks are over on the facebook page! I stalk it daily. I seriously hope the series gets made into films, because I think, if done right, they could be truly fantastic. (Also I would like to see Adrian and Dimitri on the big screen.)

2. Have any of you read Flipped by Wendelin Vaan Draanen? I saw the trailer for the movie recently and it looks cute!




Is the book any good? Wondering if I should read it and then hunt down someone to see the movie with me.

Also, for some I reason I picture Peeta from The Hunger Games as the boy in the trailer.

3. A bunch of new people followed my blog this week (thanks to my Clockwork Angel contest, I'm positive). HELLO NEW PEOPLE. I like you already.

4. Jessica over at Chick Lit Teens has inspired me to make this week my rereading week. Some review books I read so long ago that I've now forgotten much of what I wanted to say about them *cough* Also I want to reread a few favorites I haven't got to reread in a while (other than my ongoing rereadings of The Outsiders) so I am looking forward to it!

5. Speaking of The Outsiders, I must say that I lovelovelove that book. It's probably because of that book that you're reading this now.

Do you have anything positive to share with me, cool people?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reason #1412 Why I Need to Move to NYC

Nothing this amazing happens here:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade


[description from goodreads]

After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck here in spirit form with no sign of the big, bright light coming to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser/outcast type who hates the social elite. He alone can see and hear her, but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Can they get over their mutual distrust—and this weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?

Review:

I didn't think I would really like The Ghost and the Goth. It had an interesting (but familiar) premise but I've been so tired of supernatural for so long that I didn't think I'd enjoy it very much. But I actually really liked it. Much of my early enjoyment stemmed from the fact that I imagined Alona is what Regina George would be like if she actually got killed by that bus* and had a slight attitude adjustment, but by the end I was thoroughly amused by the story.

Unlike some others, I'm not really annoyed when reading about mean people, even when they're narrating. Sure, Alona is shallow and obnoxious at times, especially when she comments on how Will looks, but for the most part I liked her narration. Sarcasm and snark are my favorites. Even when Alona was being helpful or sharing a deeper part of her past, she kept the sarcasm, which prevented much potential cheesy-ness. I hate cheesy. I also enjoyed Will's chapters, as his encounters with the other ghosts were amusing and well-done.

I do wish there was more of a plot, though. Even though there's a central goal- Will needs to help Alona- it never really felt like there was a plot. More like many subplots, so many that it was hard to know where to focus (if that makes any sense). Still, I liked what is included, though I wished for more development for some parts. There is a nice mystery surrounding Will's friends and why Alona has not ~passed on.~ I also liked Will's interaction with the school principal and his doctor/therapist/whatever he's called, even though they were smaller story lines. I anticipated that there would be more about the popular people in the book since they are mentioned quite often, but they never did much, sadly.

I also wish there was a bit more about Will's ability- I know neither he or Alona knew what was going on, but I'm nosy and wanted to know exactly how the whole ghost/passing on thing worked.

The Ghost and the Goth was much more amusing and funny than I had anticipated, though it's not omgspectacular. Still a good read, if you don't mind shallow Alona.


Book details: Hyperion/Hardcover/$16.99

Source: sent for review by publisher

*You know, from Mean Girls.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hey, you!

I have two questions for you:

1) Do you like Vampire Academy? I do! The film rights were recently sold, and I just wanted to share that I think it's awesome that the film company people are so involved already. They have a facebook and twitter already set up and seem to be at least reading fan comments. Wouldn't it be cool if more companies adapting books did that?

2) Do you live in Pennsylvania? If so, I have a message from the awesome Harmony of Harmony Book Reviews for you:

PAYA: Bringing YA to PA is an organization started by blogger Harmony of Harmony Book Reviews. It's dedicated to raising money and collecting books for libraries across the state of Pennsylvania. Since its beginning in October of 2009, PAYA has raised over $1,000 and collected hundreds of books for libraries across the state of Pennsylvania.
PAYA's main fundraiser is an annual one-day festival. This year it will be held in West Chester, Pennsylvania on August 21st. It will feature over 15 authors, including Amy Brecount White, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jeri Smith-Ready, Josh Berk, Jon Skovron, Jennifer Hubbard, Shannon Delany, and more. The signing will run from 1pm-3pm. Books will be sold by Children's Book World from Haverford, PA. The festival will also feature two writing workshops, one aimed directly at teens and another at any aspiring writer. Fundraisers such as a basket raffle and used book sale will be held during the signing as well. More information about the festival can be found here (http://www.bringya2pa.com/2010/07/paya-2010-festival-all-details.html).
PAYA is currently accepting monetary and book donations, both of which will be used to support Pennsylvania libraries. Librarians interested in receiving funds or books from PAYA and authors interested in attending the festival should email bringya2pa[at]yahoo[dot]com.
PAYA website - bringya2pa.com

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I think that if you live anywhere near West Chester, PA you should go to this event and then tell me how it is so I can be jealous of you. You should also go and document Chelsea of The Page Flipper being author-y by taking lots of photos.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cassandra Clare Interview + Giveaway!


I'm sure you've heard of Cassandra Clare, but in case not, here's a short intro: Cassandra is the author of the wildly popular The Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, and the upcoming City of Fallen Angels.) The first in her new TMI prequel series, Clockwork Angel, comes out August 31.

Since I'm bad at summaries, here is how goodreads describes Clockwork Angel:

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: Jem, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

---

Sounds awesome, yes?

This interview is mostly full of funtimes questions, since 1) I like them better 2) I am bad at questions and 3) Cassandra seems to have been asked every question in the world already. (To see some of the most popular questions and answers, check out her website.)


1) I'm sure that once most people finish tell the Mortal Instruments series they tell you how much they love Jace (even though everyone knows that Simon is FAR SUPERIOR). Just out of curiosity- what is the second most popular thing people say to you about the series? (Assuming that I am correct in guessing that most often people tell you they love Jace.)

Yes, it is usually that they love Jace. If Jace were real, he'd be very stuck-up by now. The second most common question is always about whether there will be a movie made from the books. People think I have a lot more control over that than I do, and they send me headshots, and playlists of songs they want included on the soundtrack, or scenes they think need to be in the as-yet-totally-imaginary film. It's nice that they're invested but I have to keep saying "None of that is up to me ..."

2) If you had to be a supernatural creature from TMI, which would you want to be?

I'd be a warlock, because they have the immortality thing going for them, but without having to drink blood, which is gross.


<--Hey, look! It's a really old picture of Cassandra and I. Festive.

3) People- including me- RAN to the S&S booth to get a copy of Clockwork Angel at BEA. A long line filled with crazy fans formed. Are there any upcoming books/movies/whatever that you're willing to run and get in a super long line for? Or, alternatively, are there any books/etc that you think people should run and get in line for? (For example, I think everyone better get ready for Beautiful Darkness.)

I have already read Beautiful Darkness! Perks of being an author. It was excellent. I'm anticipating a madtastic rush for Mockingjay when it comes out. I loved the first two books and expect to be trampled in the aisles trying to get the third.

4) What is your favorite aspect of Victorian life/culture? (Or the thing you found most interesting while doing research for Clockwork Angel?)

Well, one of the things I started off researching into was tattoos during the Victorian period. I assumed they were associated solely with sailors (who picked up the habit in the South Seas) and criminals (who would get tattooed with letters like 'D' for "deserter" and T for "thief" so everyone would know what they had done. I thought that Tessa would be shocked by the tattoos on the Shadowhunters and that they'd very much set them apart, socially (although they could be hidden with glamours.) What I did find out though was that in fact during the Victorian era the Prince of Wales went out and got himself tattooed — a cross on his shoulder — leading to a positive fad for tattooing among the gentry. Later his sons both got tattoos of dragons - on their faces! (Will, who is Welsh, mentions having a tattoo of a dragon on his body, but it's not on his face. We'll just leave where it actually is for later.)

5) For the Zombies vs. Unicorns anthology, you wrote for Team Zombie. Clearly you have good taste. One thing I can never figure out is why people prefer unicorns- do you have any idea why? Can you find any redeeming unicorn qualities? (Though I admit that Diana Peterfreund's killer unicorns are far cooler than the fluffy happy kind.)

I really don't know. I could get behind a pegasus - they can fly. But unicorns just seem like very judgmental horses.

6) You always have awesome shoes and boots. Have you acquired any more awesome pairs of shoes lately? Or are there any you have your eye on?

http://www.bluefly.com/Nanette-Lepore-white-script-printed-Naughty-Knot-wedges/cat20022/212966700/detail.fly
Shoes with words on them! My two favorite things together.

---

Thanks so much for the interview, Cassandra! Those are awesome shoes.

And now, THE GIVEAWAY. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Clockwork Angel at Book Expo America. I also got one in the mail soon after. I will give my extra to one of you!

Please read the rules:

1. Open internationally because I am feeling nice.

2. Ends 7/21

3. Please leave an email address or way to contact you in case you win!

4. To be entered, you must comment with something interesting and/or amusing. You can tell me about some new shoes you've recently acquired, your stance on the zombies vs. unicorns debate, what book/movie/etc you're waiting to come out, what TMI supernatural creature you would want to be, or something completely unrelated to this interview.

5. You can gain one extra entry for blogging/tweeting/etc the link to this giveaway- leave a link to where you posted about it or else it won't count!

6. If you follow my blog, you can also gain one extra entry, but it's not necessary. (: Please tell me if you are!

GO FORTH AND ENTER!

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Have a buttercream."

Welcome to part of the third edition of our so-called "Pretty Little Roundtable," in which Carol (Book Lover Carol), Alea (Pop Culture Junkie), and I discuss the new show Pretty Little Liars, based on the book series.

Spoilers for episode five and slight book spoilers ahead!

Pretty Little Liars: "Reality Bites"Summary: Aria forgets her cellphone in Ezra's apartment, and after he reads a message from A, he decides to break up with her rather than risk being fired. Hanna has to work in a dentist office to pay for the damage she did to Sean's car and gets some damaging information from A about one of her friends. Emily hides her budding friendship with Toby due to the girls' suspicion about him, hurting his feelings. Spencer's father tells her to throw a tennis match against a possible client and his daughter, and Ella deals with her husband's cheating. (source: wikipedia)

Show vs. Books:

Khy: Needs more Mona. Also, they're making the girls so nice on the show. It's kind of weird.

Carol: Totally.
Alea: And they are so buddy buddy!

Carol: More 'A' creepyness.

Khy: More A! Definitely. And less Jenna.

Alea:
I liked that we got to see more of Mike!

Khy: Me too! He's better than creepy Byron.

Carol:
I can't wait when Emily's family find about her feelings for Maya.

Khy:
Where has Emily's family been?

Alea: She only has a mom.

Khy:
Still, did A like kill her mom?

Carol: Probably kidnapped her. And where are her siblings?

Alea:
I thought it was interesting that Aria's family thing is so different, it doesn't seem like he's currently cheating, and he wasn't kicked out, yet. She seems to be working out a lot. Or something.

Khy: Yeah and Aria's mom is being so...nice

Alea: That seems like it will play out totally different too than in the books.


Khy: Do you guys think Tennis Boy is replacing Andrew? (That was his name right? The smart guy in the books?) Like, completely replacing him?

Carol:
Maybe so.

Alea:
He might be, cause we haven't seen Andrew.

Khy:
I think I'd prefer a smart boy on the show since most of them are creepy or stupid.

Alea:
Yes that's true. Spencer's Golden Orchid stuff happened so fast! You are nominated and a few days later YOU WON!

Carol: Yes!

Khy: I knooow! and then she told her dad already!

Carol: At least she beat 'A' at that

Alea: Yeah, very different from the books.

Carol: 'A' is looking more like there's a group of people (all the people they dissed a year ago) banded together for payback.

Alea: Why do you say that?

Carol: Because it seems 'A' is at many places at once.

Khy: I think the show is losing A, really. A is being used less and less.

Alea: Agreed we need more A more often

Khy: They're spending so much time creeping everyone else up that they seem to have forgotten A.

Alea: A seemed super human in the books though too I thought.

Khy:
She did.

Carol: I like that they're keeping the core of the show the same and adding some new stuff.

---

Any opinions on what we discussed, cool blog readers?

For our thoughts on the best and worst scenes, head on over to Book Lover Carol and for our thoughts on the best lines and overall opinions, head on over to Pop Culture Junkie.

pictures via abcfamily

Sunday, July 11, 2010

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. (:

Got one book from the lovely Alyson over at Kid Lit Frenzy this week. :D

description from goodreads:

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

---I've been waiting to read this for forever! It sounds fabulous.

In other news, this song has been stuck in my head since the movie was on the other day:



*boogies*

Saturday, July 10, 2010

5 Books I Think Could Be Decent Movies

Even though most tend to suck, I like watching movies based on books. (Specifically YA books.) I like all the excitement surrounding them and seeing how things change. (Usually I end up mad at the things that change, but still.) I can never choose actors that I think would fit certain roles, but I like imagining books as movies. Here are five I think could be good if they were ever made into film:

1. The Paisley Hanover series by Cameron Tuttle. Funny teen movies are my favorite. (I love Mean Girls and Heathers and I'm DYING to see Easy A.) Paisley is funny. She's a teen. Therefore I think this could be good. (Also she reminds me of Georgia Nicolson and I adored the Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging movie.)

2. The Scarlett series by Maureen Johnson. Again, funny teen. Also, if this series was ever made into a film, I would have a Spencer to stare at. (That's really the only reason I put the series on the list.)

3. The Explosionist by Jenny Davidson. Ok, so I think it would be really hard to explain a steampunk, alternate history universe to the general public, but still. Things blowing up always make for an exciting movie. There would have to be a ton cut from the book because there's so much going on, but I still think it could be good. It would at least be pretty.

4. The Naughty List series by Suzanne Young. Spying makes for an exciting read, but perhaps a more exciting film. A movie based on this series could be super funny and quotable. (Quotability is a very important quality in a movie, I think.)

5. The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez. I finished reading this the other day (it was very good!) and I totally think it would work as a movie. A movie that I would probably have to end up watching in Spanish class, but still. It would be way better than any of the other movies I watched in Spanish class last year.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine


[description from goodreads]

An unforgettable story in the tradition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.

In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful.

Kathryn Erskine has written a must-read gem, one of the most moving novels of the year.

Review:

Long time readers of this blog know that I am really hard to please. I've been in somewhat of a reading slump for months, but this book brought me out of it. But even though I loved it, I'm not sure that everyone else will.

I think many will find Caitlin's voice too different/bizarre and will have trouble relating to or fully getting in to the story. But her voice is what charmed me-- seeing a familiar story from a new perspective was completely fascinating. Even though I know absolutely nothing about Asperger's or people with it, I completely understood where Caitlin was coming from. I understood her confusion as to why people act certain ways, and her annoyance when she had trouble figuring people out. Her thoughts and actions were much more easy to relate to than some by other YA/middle grade protagonists I've read about lately.

I do wish there was a bit more of a plot though-- I knew this wouldn't be a book with mindblowing action, but I'm generally not big on books that are so character driven. I also wish some of the characters were a bit more developed; I understand that Caitlin didn't really understand them enough, but I like my minor characters with a bit more personality. Still, most of them were at least written believably and developed as Caitlin learned more.

The best part about this book, though, is how emotional it is. I may have almost cried (ALMOST). Seeing Caitlin develop and learn is just...gah. Lovely.

A lovely, touching story. One of my favorites of the year so far.

Book details: Philomel/Hardcover/$15.99

Source: sent by author for review. Thanks Kathryn! (:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Paisley Hanover Kisses and Tells by Cameron Tuttle


[description from goodreads. There are spaces because I made parts that give too much away white. You can highlight to read, if you wish. BUT if you have not read book one, I don't think I'd read this review at all. You can instead read my review of book one in the series, Paisley Hanover Acts Out, here. I wrote that review a long time ago though, so it's not very good. x) But I lovelove book one, so you should read it. It's hilarious.]

The election results are in—and totally UnExpected. Now the UnPops are picketing, the Pops are preening, and Paisley’s sophomore year is a bust—again. But when best frienemy Jen’s reputation takes a beating by viral text, Paisley’s pity party is over. She rolls out a new undercover plan to save Jen’s rep, and in the process, follows her heart into a crazy complicated love triangle. Then as if things weren’t confusing enough, Paisley’s archrival—super cute, super nice, super popular Candy Esposito—steals Paisley’s UnPop popularity! First Paisley gets mad; then she gets smart. Can she use Candy’s newfound UnPopularity to save Jen’s reputationand pull off the biggest coup since Miss UnPleasant turned the Pleasant Hill High social hierarchy on its big fat head? Hello double-crossers, good-bye double standards! Paisley Hanover is back—pucker up!

Review:

I feel like I've been waiting for years to read the sequel to the hilariously amazing Paisley Hanover Acts Out, but I suppose it's only been a little over a year. But what a slow year it was. When I finally got to pick up Paisley Hanover Kisses and Tells, I was terrified I wouldn't like it. Luckily, though, this sequel was just as unbelievably awesome as book one.

Even though some of the events in this book are way over-the-top, I loved them anyway. I really can't imagine so many people engaging in such a large, elaborate protest (but then again, I suppose I may be underestimating drama kids.) but their crazy sure made for an amusing read. Likewise, Paisley's awkward moments and snarky comments added a whole new layer of fun to the occasionally uneventful plot. Not that there isn't plenty of action- there is. Between the Jen and boy drama, there's always something OMG happening, but sometimes it took a while for the subplots to go anywhere.

I enjoy reading this series so much that I really don't care about some of the character and plot issues. I don't care that some of the characters are a bit flat and unbelievable, because for every underdeveloped character, there's one insanely realistic one. I loved that in this installment, so much more is learned about certain characters (Carreyn and Charlie, for example). Hutch especially has been given a new layer of depth- he makes so much SENSE now. I love when that happens! I even like the guy now. I like him a lot more than Eric, who is still too dull for my taste. (But Clint still wins.)

If you like your books rich with symbolism and hard-hitting issues, Paisley Hanover Kisses and Tells may not be for you. Some big issues and topics are mentioned, but it's still mainly a hilario, fun, light read. However, if you like Georgia Nicolson, I'm sure you'll like Paisley too. I'm pretty sure that if Paisley and Georgia ever met, Paisley would be immediately admitted to the Ace Gang.

I'm crossing my fingers for another installment in the series! I need moooore.

Also I must mention the totally amazing website because it is amazing.

Book details: Dial/Hardcover/$16.99

Source: sent by publisher for review

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: New Series

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

Today I'm waiting for two books that are sure to be the start of two awesome new series.


The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

description (from goodreads): New York Times bestselling author Sara Shepard’s new series weaves a mystery of long-lost twins, mistaken identities, a duplicitous circle of friends, and cold-blooded murder. Combining juicy plot lines, to-die-for lifestyles, a tangled web of friendship and romance, magnetic characters, and sharp-witted narration from the afterlife, The Lying Game is an alluring cross between Pretty Little Liars and The Lovely Bones.

Foster kid Emma Paxton has only just discovered Sutton Mercer, the wealthy twin sister she never knew she had, when Sutton drops off the face of the earth, asking Emma to cover for her at home, school, and with her friends—just for a few days. At first Emma enjoys trying on her sister’s fabulous life: her fiercely loyal friends, her adoring boyfriend, her close-knit family. But as Emma is drawn deeper into Sutton’s world she finds the friends are not so fabulous, the boyfriend is not who she wants to be with, and the family is clinging to long-buried secrets and a veneer of functionality. And worst of all, Sutton may not be coming back. In fact, someone may have made sure she never could…and that someone knows Emma is not who she claims to be. Emma will need all her wits to survive The Lying Game.
---

Now that the Pretty Little Liars book series is over, I need a new addicting series to read. And I think this one might be it! I love mystery. Also, I thought I'd share this article for anyone who likes covers. It's about the making of the cover for The Lying Game. Fascinating to read.


Released January 18, 2011.

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The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

description (from goodreads): A series set in a Lovecraftian industrial city in an alternate 1950s that centers on a mechanically gifted young girl approaching her 16th birthday, the age at which everyone in her family goes insane, leaving it up to her to unravel the mystery of their madness--and save the world.

It is 1955...but not the 1955 you know. The Witchcraft Scare polarizes America. Magic is outlawed and practitioners are burned. And one girls has discovered that magic is neither fiction nor fairy tale, but very much alive...

Aoife Grayson is a month shy of sixteen, the age when everyone in her family goes mad. An orphan in the steam-powered city of Lovecraft, Massachusetts, Aoife escapes the confines of her repressive boarding school and along with her best friend Sam and outlaw guide Dean, sets out to discover the secret of her family's madness. What she discovers is a world of forbidden magic and faerie curses, and a dark secret that has shadowed the Grayson family for generations. Aoife must choose between keeping the secret or keeping her sanity, and unravel the dark machinations of the Winter Court of the Fae before it's too late to save her city...or herself.

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Steampunk! The past! Crazy people! Boarding school! Magic! This summary has everything I need.

Released February 22, 2011.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler


[description from goodreads. Parts that give too much away are in white- highlight to read, if you wish.]

When KJ Carson is assigned to write a column for her school newspaper about the wolves in nearby Yellowstone National Park, she’s more interested in impressing Virgil Whitman, the new kid in school and the photographer assigned as her partner, than in investigative journalism. But before long, KJ has a face-to-face encounter with a wolf that changes her and the way she thinks about wolves. With her new found passion for protecting these controversial animals, KJ inadvertently ignites the fuse of the anti-wolf sentiment in the community. First Virgil is injured during a town parade, and then her father’s store is set on fire in retribution. To stop the escalating violence, KJ follows Virgil to the cattle ranch of the most outspoken anti-wolf activists in town, against her father’s will. What she discovers there threatens everything and everyone she cares about.

In KJ’s fierce and funny attempt to make peace between the wolves and the people that despise them, she must first face her own long-held fears. It’s terrifying, but then, finding yourself always is.

Review:

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me is not a spectacular read, but it's not bad either. Even though it's not terribly exciting or amazing, I liked it. I'm not sure why, but I liked it. But only liked.

There's a lot going on in this book-- the wolf debate and romance, among other things-- and yet I always wanted more. Many of the subplots seem to take turns being discussed, especially in the beginning, and there's never fully developed. The romance could have had a lot more tension, the father/daughter relationship more development, and even the wolves could have had a little more time. There was a certain pack of wolves that was focused on, and it appeared so infrequently that when it came up again, it took me a minute to remember what they were talking about.

Still, I liked what was included. The wolves were my favorite part (it was so nice to read about real wolves instead of werewolves for once.) I loved seeing how they affected the whole town; it was fascinating to read about how far their influence spread and how they resulted in some unexpected twists. Both sides of the debate were included, which I thought was a nice touch-- seeing how the wolves brought people together and tore them apart was also one of my favorite parts.

I think most of my liking of this book, though, is because of KJ. Her voice isn't the most distinctive, but she has her humorous, entertaining moments. Because she starts off so normal, it was cool to see the change she went to as a result of doing not-normal things. I wish I liked some of the minor characters, though, like Virgil. I don't dislike him, but for a love interest I was expecting a little more razzle dazzle.

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me charmed me, for some reason. Not one of my favorites, but I enjoyed reading it. It was amusing and more original than many things I've read lately, but it still could have used a bit more oomph.

Book details: Viking/Hardcover/$17.99

Source: sent by publisher for review