Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin


Avery Hood was found covered in blood, lying next to the dead bodies of her parents. All she remembers about that night is the color silver-- deadly silver.

As the police try to solve the murder, Avery tries to adjust to life outside the forest where she grew up-- she moves in with her estranged grandmother and tries to survive high school, which isn't the easiest thing to do when you've been home-schooled your whole life and your only friend won't talk to you.

Avery's basically all alone, until Ben shows up at school. Hot, mysterious, new-boy-in-school, Ben. His presence causes many questions to appear: who killed Avery's parents? What secrets is the forest hiding? Where was Ben the night of the murder? And why do his eyes sometimes flash...silver?

Please listen to the first seven seconds of this video before continuing:



Low Red Moon has basically the same summary as every other teen paranormal book out there, but with a little more blood. And it basically follows a similar plot-- normal girl meets mysterious boy, they like each other, but he has a giant secret that prevents their love from fully ~blooming. Despite that, however, Low Red Moon is pretty good. Better than many other of the similar paranormal novels, actually, because of the fantastic writing. It also does not focus much on the paranormal aspect, which was both good and bad. Good because I'm kind of tired of paranormal, but bad because it's discussed so little that I didn't even understand how or why it all worked.

I thought I had this novel pegged once I read the summary, and I'm sure you think you do too. There are some predictable elements, especially the romance, but there were a whole bunch of unexpected twists too. Throughout the novel, hints about Ben's past, the murder, and other things are dropped, and each of them caused me to question my predictions. I loved that! And I loved the big twist at the end even more.

What I didn't love, though, was the romance. Actually, it was more Ben that I didn't like. All he really does is stand around and brood. His only real traits are that he is beautiful and mysterious. That's nice and all but I would prefer him to have, you know, a personality so that I could understand why Avery liked him. Their relationship happened much too quickly, even though they claimed to have a ~special connection. Avery was much more developed than he was, and I liked that she still managed to keep (most of) her sense and smarts during the whole book.

When you boil it down, Low Red Moon is a much better version of every popular paranormal YA novel. Better writing, better mystery, better heroine-- everything but a better love interest and romance, really. It's not the most exciting book ever, and it's definitely not the most unique, but I liked it.

And really, this book got MAJOR points because of a certain quote that is so amazing I will not spoil it. Fans (or people who like to make fun) of the Twilight movie will love it.

Book details: Bloomsbury/Hardcover/$16.99

Source: BEA

Monday, August 30, 2010

Where She Went - Teaser #8


If you haven't read If I Stay by Gayle Forman, I don't know if we can be friends (well, we can be friends, but we can't be best friends). You need to read it! If you want to WHY, you can read my review or my mom's review.

But if you have read it, you can read the following teaser from author Gayle Forman about the sequel, Where She Went! (If you haven't read it, I think it's okay to read the teaser, unless you are CRAZY about spoilers.)

---

Attention If I Stay fans: The events of If I Stay took place in a single day, following Mia in the aftermath of a horrible accident as she weighed the most important decision she’d ever make. Ever wondered what happened in Hour 25? Well the wait is almost over—New York Times bestselling author Gayle Forman has written a sequel to If I Stay. It’s called Where She Went, and it comes out April 2011, but right now she’s doing a teaser tour to give If I Stay fans the scoop on what they can expect from Mia and Adam’s new chapter.


8. Where She Went takes place almost entirely in one night.

You might remember that I enjoy the use of the flashback in If I Stay. Same holds true for this book, though I’d say the flashbacks are a little more specific to Mia and Adam. And during the present tense, instead of them wandering around a hospital, they wander around New York City.

---

I can't wait to see how the sequel turns out! I'm sure that it will be as fabulous as If I Stay.

If you missed the other teasers, here are links to them:

#1 - Persnickety Snark
#2 - Hope's Bookshelf
#3 - Bookworming in the 21st Century
#4 - The Story Siren
#5 - Sarah's Random Musings
#6 - The Compulsive Reader
#7 - The Book Scout

Teasers 9 and 10 will be up at Book Chic and Presenting Lenore this week!

While you wait for Where She Went to come out, you can preorder the book or watch the If I Stay paperback trailer:



And thanks to the totally awesome organizer of this tour, I have a signed paperback of If I Stay to giveaway!

Rules and such are on the form. Fill it out to enter (ends 9/6!):


Sunday, August 29, 2010

In My Mailbox

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

Descriptions and such from goodreads!

I got one book for review this week! Even though I love getting review books, I'm kind of glad by TBR pile is growing very slowly, as I have had no time to read since school started. I only read like three chapters of non-school books during the week. Sucks.

ANYWAY.

This week I got the Kiss Me Deadly anthology.

If you can possibly thirst for more mysterious metaphysical accounts of love, Trisha Telep has organized some of the greatest and most thrilling tales of paranormal paramours since The Eternal Kiss. She presents the acclaimed literary talent of thirteen unique authors, creating a collection of stories that will undoubtedly capture the imagination of every soul who dares to read them. Werewolves, ghosts, zombies, vampires, and fallen angels drive the plot of these riveting romances. Kiss Me Deadly includes the exceptional writings of several authors, including:
  • Sarah Rees Brennan (faeries)
  • Becca Fitzpatrick (angels)
  • Caitlin Kittredge (witches)
  • Karen Mahoney (vampires: sequel to story from The Eternal Kiss)
  • Daniel Marks (ghost kids)
  • Justine Musk (sorcerers)
  • Diana Peterfreund (unicorns)
  • Michelle Rowen (demons)
  • Carrie Ryan (zombies)
  • Maggie Stiefvater (werewolves)
  • Rachel Vincent (banshees)
  • Daniel Waters (zombies)
  • Michelle Zink (gothic ghosts)
--- I am SUPER excited to read this book, because it contains many fabulous people. I especially adore Sarah Rees Brennan, Diana Peterfruend, and Michelle Zink. Karen Mahoney is also pretty darn awesome, but I haven't read any of her stuff, so I am excited to! But now that I know her story in this book is a sequel story, I think I need to go get The Eternal Kiss anthology.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Top Ten Contemporary YA Novels


Inspired by the new Contemps author group, and Jordyn's post of the same name (go follow her blog!), here are my top ten contemporary novels/series/authors.

In no particular order, except for #1:

1. anything written by David Levithan. Everything he touches turns to GOLD. Boy Meets Boy and The Realm of Possibility are my top two from him-- I can't choose my favorite though. I love all his books for different reasons, but they are all SO GOOD OMG

2.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is one of the most classic YA novels, and I lovelovelove it. BASICALLY, it centers around a gang of greasers and the difficulties of their life, especially the drama between them and the rich kids of their neighborhood. I do not know why I am bothering to summarize since EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK NO MATTER WHAT. This book gets the prize for the book I've read the most times-- I think I'm up to 9 rereads? Plus bits and pieces of rereading.

3. Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert. Stephanie writes books that PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE and MAKE YOU CRY. I totally cried when I read this book, and I always feel the urge to reread it (even though I never get to because I have NO TIME.) I don't even know how to summarize this book, it is so complex and awesome.

4. The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockart. The first book is The Boyfriend List and the series is about a girl named Ruby Oliver (duh) and her major boyfriend and friend drama. Roo is one of my favorite characters ever, even when she is being frustrating. She's hilarious and witty and quirky and just plain WIN. The relationships in these books are perfect.

5. The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty is a book I haven't read in a very, very long time but I often find myself thinking about it. Every time I think about it, I get all happy and smiley. It's an insanely fun book that involves pranks, letters, and revenge. What's not to love?

6. The Scarlett series by Maureen Johnson, starting with Suite Scarlett. I love all of Maureen's books, but I think Scarlett would have to be my favorite. There are hotels! And crazy people! And funny! And SPENCER!

7. Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers. I had a hard time picking my favorite between this one and Some Girls Are, Courtney's other book, but I think I like this one just a bit better. However, I love both books. Like Ballads of Suburbia, CUTB punches you in the face with its ~emotion and general amazingness. I love Parker's snarky attitude.

8. The Georgia Nicolson series (starting with Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging) by Louise Rennison never fails to make me laugh like a loon on loon tablets. I STILL haven't read book 10, but I need to ASAP because I must find out who Georgia ends up with. I have been dying to know for like 8 books! As long as it's not Masimo I will be a happy girl.

9. Sarah Ockler, author of Twenty Boy Summer and the upcoming Fixing Delilah, is also simply amazing. I can't choose a favorite between her two books, because they are both sad, hopeful, beautiful, realistic, and worthy of my tears.

10. Let's be honest: no contemporary YA list is complete without a Sarah Dessen novel. This Lullaby is my favorite of hers (it's so much better than The Truth About Forever JUST SAYING). I mainly love this book for Dexter, as he is the best Dessen boy and one of the best YA boys in general. Also: HATE SPINNERBAIT.

What are your favorites? Any on my list?

Friday, August 27, 2010

school and books

How I was reminded of books during my school week:

- In English we were discussing two articles, one of which was actually a blog post. We discussed that the blog post was informal because the writer only signed his first name at the end, didn't indent his paragraphs, etc. I had to resist using my ~blog knowledge~ and being like "well it's the internet, why would he include his last name?" and "blogger doesn't let you indent paragraphs, duh."

- My morality book used the phrase "beautiful creatures" so for the rest of class I thought about the book with the same name. My thoughts were much more exciting than class.

- Also in morality class, we were talking about what we wanted to do when we grow up (I have no idea how we got on that topic, as I was too busy thinking of beautiful creatures instead of work) and my acquaintance-friend said he wants to be an author. Someone (my teacher? Again, I wasn't paying attention) than said "of actual books?" I thought it was funny.

- And in English, we were talking about smelling books. This reminded me that one excellent reason as to why physical books are way better than e-books: you can't smell an e-book.

And those are my stories. I felt the need to share with you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What is this haberdashery?

I actually don't think the title of this post makes much sense but I'm tired and crazy at the moment (thank you, AP US History) so I thought I would include a title that gives me much joy to say.

Today I have an interview with lovely Violet Haberdasher, who is actually Robyn Schneider in disguise. People with pseudonyms are the best kinds of people. I would know.

Violet writes the Knightley Academy series, which sounds totally awesome. Here's the goodreads description for you:


Henry Grim has never been in trouble for borrowing a sword from the headmaster's private stores. He has never discovered a forbidden room in a foreign castle, or received a death threat over breakfast.

All Henry knows is life as an orphaned servant boy at the Midsummer School, bullied by the privileged sons of aristocracy. But all that changes when Henry is the first commoner to pass the entrance exam for the prestigious Knightley Academy, where he will be trained as a modern-day knight alongside the cleverest and bravest fourteen-year-olds in the country.

Henry and his roommates, two other students from decidedly un-Knightley backgrounds, are not exactly greeted with open arms by their classmates. In fact, it soon becomes apparent that someone is going to great lengths to sabotage the trio's chances at becoming knights. But Henry soon learns that there is more at stake than his future at Knightley, and only he can sound the alarm. Is anyone going to believe a former servant on the brink of expulsion?

Brimming with wry humor, page-turning suspense, and surprising twists, this first adventure in a memorable new series is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

---

1) Why knights? Why not gladiators or, like, vikings?

I've always loved knights. I suppose it has to do with the concept of chivalry--of swearing an oath to act heroically. And I grew up on legends of King Arthur and Camelot, watched the film A Knight's Tale about a dozen times too many, and love conspiracy theories about modern orders of ancient knights who live on in secret societies, quietly controlling the world.

You mentioned both conspiracies and secrets. You are my new favorite person.

2) What do you think the appeal of boarding schools is?

To me, boarding schools represent tradition. There are very few places in the world that are as remarkably unchanged as Eton or even Oxford. And boarding schools are so rigid and full of rules to be followed. Doing something as insignificant as leaving your light on too late can be a serious offense. I like the idea of a place where the only way to have adventures is to challenge authority and break the rules. And I love the camaraderie of boarding schools, the inspiring grandeur of the architecture and eccentricities of the professors--who often live at the school--and the way everyone knows far too much about everyone else, because they're stuck living together.

That below picture has nothing to do with the book other than that it's a knight. I just thought it was cool looking.

3) I quite enjoy saying "Haberdasher." How did you come up with such a fun pseudonym?

When my agent told me I should use a pseudonym, I told him I was going to come up with the most ridiculous name I could imagine. Violet Haberdasher fit, mostly because I had a friend who was obsessed with the word 'haberdashery,' and also because it's an English version of the meaning of my real last name. Oh, and because Medieval haberdashers used to sell swords, which they no longer do, sort of how medieval knights are very different than the knights in my re-imagined Victorian era.

I like how I have both learned and gotten much enjoyment from this answer.

4) I heard from you on The Twitter that you narrated the Knightley Academy audiobook. How crazy was that? How much Red bull was required to keep you sane as you read 120 pages a day aloud?

I did narrate the audiobook. What a nightmare! Imagine sitting in a chair for 7 hours a day, unable to move or swallow loudly or have the chair creak, and being expected to narrate 120 pages before you could go home. I wasn't supposed to have caffeine or sugar, since they screw with your voice. It sucked epically, except everyone in the recording studio was so nice that I almost forgot I was going through Red Bull withdrawal! I think the audiobook did come out entertaining, although I haven't listened--I'm too scared. I had to do voices for all of the characters, most of whom are men with foreign accents. Ugh!

I will definitely have to listen to it. I'm sure that it is epic.

5) I've recently been catching up on Doctor Who- just finished series 3! I know you're a fan, so I was wondering: what should I be looking forward to in series 4 and 5? Any favorite episodes I should pay special attention to?

Series 3 is my favorite, but the Eleventh Hour episode--the first episode of Series 5--is incredible. It's strangely reminiscent of Peter Pan, and completely hilarious. You'll love it! And Amy Pond..I think series 5 is the first time a companion outshines the Doctor.

---

I do like Peter Pan so I will have to hurry up and watch the rest of series 4 so I can see it!

Speaking of Amy Pond, have you seen Violet/Robyn's new Amy Pond-esque hair?





picture via her twitter

I love it!

For more on Robyn or the series, you can check out her website, twitter, the Knightley series website, or her super cool youtube videos. Or you can read the book. Your choice.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Events

A little bit different Waiting on Wednesday today-- today I'm waiting for a few author tours to begin!

#1: The Kiersten White/Sophie Jordan tour! Details on the HarperTeen facebook. The event I'm going to (the one on the 31st!) will only have Kiersten, but she's pretty darn awesome so I am SUPER EXCITED. Paranormalcy is also a fabbity fab book so I can't wait to get a shiny hardcover signed.

#2: The Smart Chicks Kick It Tour! (Dates, etc. on the bottom of the post.) So many amazing author are involved and I bet the events are going to be insane. Insane both in terms of number of people attending, and insane in terms of insane AWESOME. I'll be going on the 20th, so if you are as well, say HELLO!

Or if you are going to other stops on either of these tours, squeal about your excitement with me!

---

September 13th, 2010, 7 PM @ BOOKPEOPLE, Austin, TX
Appearing: Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Holly Black, Rachel Caine, & Cassandra Clare

---

September 14th, 2010, 7 PM @ B&N THE WOODLANDS, Houston, TX
Appearing: Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Kami Garcia & Rachel Vincent.

---

September 15th, 2010, 7 PM @ The Refuge, hosted by BLUE WILLOW, Houston, TX
Appearing: Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan, Margaret Stohl & Cassandra Clare

---

September 16th, 2010, 6 PM @ Plantation Commons, hosted by LEMURIA BOOKS, Jackson, MS

Appearing: Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Jessica Verday & Sarah Rees Brennan

---

September 17th, 2010, 7 PM @ Scottsdale Civic Library Auditorium, hosted by POISONED PEN Phoenix, AZ

Appearing: Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan & Kimberly Derting.

---

September 18th, 2010, 6 PM, Menlo Park Library, hosted by KEPLERS, San Francisco, CA

Appearing: Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Melissa de la Cruz, & Kimberly Derting

---


September 20th, 2010, 6 PM @ VROMAN'S, Pasadena, CA
Appearing: Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, Melissa de la Cruz, Rachel Vincent, Margie Stohl, Kami Garcia & Mary Pearson

---

September 21st, 2010, 7 PM @ Encinitas County Library, hosted by MYSTERIOUS GALAXY, San Diego, CA

Appearing: Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Mary Pearson, Rachel Caine, Rachel Vincent, Margie Stohl, Kami Garcia & Carrie Ryan

---

September 22nd, 2010, 7 PM @ Ventz Concert Hall at North Central College, hosted by ANDERSON'S Chicago, IL

Appearing: Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Jackson Pearce, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, & Carrie Ryan

---

September 23rd, 2010, 7 PM @ BOOKS & CO AT THE GREENE, Dayton, OH

Appearing: Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Jackson Pearce, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, & Kami Garcia

---

September 24th, 2010, 7 PM @ JOSEPH BETH Cincinnati, OH

Appearing: Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Jeri Smith-Ready, Jennifer Lynn Barnes & Margie Stohl

---

September 25th, 2010, 2 PM @ CHAPTERS BRAMPTON (Toronto) ON

Appearing: Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr, Melissa de la Cruz, Jeri Smith-Ready, Kami Garcia, Margie Stohl & Jennifer Barnes

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick


[description from goodreads]

Claire is a #hopelessromantic.

Lottie is determined to set up her BFF with Mr. Perfect.

Will wants his #secretcrush to finally notice him.

Bennett is a man with a plan.

Claire can’t believe it when her dream guy starts following her on Twitter. She never thought he noticed her, and suddenly he seems to understand her better than almost anyone.

But the Twitterverse can be a confusing place, especially when friends act differently online than they do in person. Things get even more complicated when Claire realizes she’s falling for someone else, the last person she ever would have expected….

Told in an innovative format combining tweets, emails, and blogs, Tweet Heart is a contemporary romantic comedy that will set your heart atwitter.

Review:

I love books written in letters, blog posts, and all that jazz, and I'm a bit of a twitter addict, so I was super excited to read Tweet Heart. I found it to be a super fun book, if a bit cliche, and I enjoyed reading the twitter format since it was a nice change from the norm. However, people who do not have or use twitter will probably not be as interested in the book, because twitter seems a bit odd if you don't use it.

The story was a bit predictable in the end (especially based on the summary) but I loved the way the story played out. Though it sometimes feels like things take forever to happen because they are talked about after they occur, the storyline was developed extremely well. The book mainly focuses on Claire's romance, and her relationships with her peers (especially her Potential Boy) were developed gradually and realistically. Seeing the romantic situation from everyone's perspective was also a plus, as it allowed for more character development.

However, some character development was lost through the tweets, blogs, and emails format especially for the characters who don't tweet. Can't say much about those non-tweeters because of ~spoilers, but I'll just say I never understood why the main characters felt the way they did about the off-screen characters. Claire and Will were the only one who seemed completely realistic to me, as the book revolves around them, and Lottie and Will mainly move the plot along. However, I did like all the characters quite a lot, as they all had their own brand of humor. I love funny!

Though Tweet Heart was a bit predictable and not very unique in terms of plot, it was a fun, humorous, realistic, and quite cute book. Twitter lovers will especially enjoy this book.

Book details: Hyperion/Paperback/$7.99

Source: bought

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hannah by Hannah Westberg


[descriptions from goodreads]

Hannah Westberg has gone through more trauma in her eighteen years than many people will experience in a lifetime. Stemming from her depression and recently diagnosed borderline personality disorder, Hannah has engaged in dangerous behavior and has paid a high price. By the time she was in eighth grade, Hannah was cutting, popping pills, skipping class, and drinking. The following summer, she tried to commit suicide for the first time. Since then, she has had stints in the psych ward, worked with numerous therapists, gone on anti-depressants, and gotten better, only to slip up and relapse, repeating the whole cycle again.

As told through powerfully written vignettes, Hannah is a personal account of the author's life with mental illness and the plethora of related problems that continue to arise through her day-to-day struggle to cope with her demons.

Review:

Hannah is another emotional, sad, but great read from the Louder Than Words series.

I wish the memoir wasn't grouped up by events instead of being linear because I am obsessive like that, but I really liked Hannah's memoir. Well, not liked because it totally sucks that she went through all this horrible stuff, but you know what I mean.

It's crazy to think that most of the things that happened in the memoir happened in such a short amount of time-- something bad is constantly occurring, which makes for an interesting read, but it's also a bit emotionally draining. Hannah's feelings about all these occurrences are described well, and it's difficult not to be moved by her story.

Hannah is the kind of book that does not really exist in fiction, because no book describes mental illness, cutting, and other various sad things as believably and emotionally as this one.


Book details: HCI Teens/Paperback/$7.95

Source: sent for review by publisher through TLC Book Tours


(Can you tell I am not good at reviewing memoirs?)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. (: Descriptions and such from goodreads!

Only one thing for review this week!

Minder by Kate Kaynak

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place. Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey--especially once she meets the man of her dreams...

---I read this description and saw the word secret and was like "YES!" I like secrets.

(In other news what is up with this kind of cover? I don't know what the thing is called but a similar kind of image is on The Twin's Daughter and I've seen it a few other places too.)

(Oh and if I owe you an email I will answer ASAP! School started this week so I'm a bit crazay at the moment.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More off topic, kind of sort of maybe.

~Inspired by Katie of Sophistikatied Reviews post from a last week about movies that should be books.

I watched this movie not long ago:


Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Wikipedia summarizes it as "a story of sexual repression, love, heartbreak and manic-depression, which the character Deanie suffers from."

All I could think of while I watched was "HOW IS THIS NOT A YA NOVEL?" Seriously, it could totally be one. It is about two teenagers, there's romance, and there is CRAZY in it. There are also TWISTS and DRAMA and EMOTIONS. It was sad but most excellent. (And it has a much more realistic ending than some YA novels.) It could totally work as a book.

Mostly I just wanted to share because I liked the movie (if you have Netflix, it's streaming!) and was distracted by the above thoughts the whole time.

And I wanted to see if anyone else has seen it and what you thought and if you can think of any YA novels that could be similar to it. Or if you have any other movies that could be YA novels to share. (Especially if you have others to share, because I've been noticing more summaries comparing books to movies like Juno and Heathers and Mean Girls.)

(And thanks for all the comments and TV on Monday's post! Though I do not understand why you all love Gilmore Girls so much. I dislike that show immensely, because Alexis Bledel's lack of emotion irritates me TO NO END.)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flappers, Ouroboros, and Tim Gunn

Today I have an interview with the lovely Kirsten Miller, author of the Kiki Strike series, as well as the recently released The Eternal Ones.

The book mainly deals with past lives and loves, but here is the full description, from goodreads:

What if love refused to die?

Haven Moore can’t control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother’s house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She v
isits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves before all is lost and the cycle begins again.

---

And the interview!

1) I both hated and loved Haven's crazy grandma Imogene-- she is so infuriating, and yet, I was also amused by her. Where did the inspiration for her come from?

Oh dear, I could get myself into a lot of trouble with this answer. Ha. I’ll just say this . . . Imogene is a nasty, spiteful old lady, but (as you learn toward the end of the book) she wasn’t born that way. Her youth was every bit as tough as her granddaughter’s. But while Haven draws strength from her troubles, the challenges Imogene was forced to face left her bitter and cold.
I didn’t want Imogene to be a two-dimensional villainess. Is isn’t evil, she’s just damaged. We will all face adversity in our lives, and it’s how we choose to respond to it that ends up making us who we are.

(But yes, I do know someone who shares certain traits with Imogene.)

2) Constance, the girl whose life Haven has visions of, lives in the 1920s. Any reason you chose that decade? (I'm glad you chose it-- imagining characters in pretty clothes is always fun.)

I chose the 1920s for a number of reasons, and fashion was certainly one of them. (Quick story to follow . . .)

Once when I was staying with my grandmother, one of my aunts dragged a huge trunk into the living room. Inside were clothes that had belonged to my great grandmother in her youth. She had been quite the party girl, and the trunk was filled with stunning flapper dresses. I remember one in particular that was composed of thousands of strands of emerald beads. I was about twelve at the time, and the clothes fit me perfectly. (My great grandmother was quite petite.) My aunt had me model each of the dresses. It was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life.

When I needed to choose an era for Haven’s past life, I recalled that perfect day. (Although I haven’t seen the dresses since then and I have no idea what happened to them.)

That is awesome! I hope the dresses turn up!



Obligatory fun flapper photo:


3) I REALLY enjoy saying "ouroboros." (Even though I'm probably not pronouncing it correctly.) And wikipedia tells the snake swallowing its tail on the cover is an ouroboros! Yay learning! How did you find this word/symbol in the first place and was it always the name of the society?

Ha! I like saying it, too. There are a couple of accepted pronunciations, so just choose one and stick with it!

I think you might be just a little bit psychic. The Eternal Ones features a strange organization devoted to the scientific study of reincarnation, and I knew it needed a very “special” name. I rejected quite a few before I finally landed on the Ouroboros Society. (Naming characters, towns, and organizations is one of the most challenging aspects of writing fiction, in my opinion.) Then one day, I was reading an essay on alchemy (‘cause that’s the sort of thing I do) when I happened upon an old illustration of a snake swallowing its own tail. I knew it was a symbol of eternity, and I thought it fit the book perfectly! Plus the image is creepy and beautiful at the same time. Exactly what I wanted!

4) On The Eternal Ones blog, you tell people who send in pictures who they were in a past life. How do you manage to keep coming up with such awesome past lives for people? Do you have a giant store of historical information in your brain that you pull ideas from? Do you just automatically get an idea when you look at a picture? Or do you have some sort of magical power that allows you to really know who people were in a past life?

I love history, and I read a great deal of it. Plus, I grew up with a father who made me watch PBS ALL THE TIME. (Typical comment: “Cartoons are for babies. Here, watch this show about human sacrifice in the ancient world.”) Back then, it drove me nuts, but now I can honestly say, “Thanks, Dad.”

Thanks to PBS, the Discovery Channel, and some very weird genes, my brain holds an amazing store of trivial information. I’m thrilled I’ve finally found a way to put it to use.

As for my magical powers, I really don’t know if my past life readings have any truth to them or not. When I look at a person’s picture, ideas often just spring into my head. I have no idea where they come from.

5) I read on your fellow Penguin-Fiver Brenna Yovanoff's blog that you love Project Runway- SO DO I, LET'S DISCUSS. How fabulous is Tim Gunn? Did you watch the season eight premiere? Any favorites so far? That Mondo guy is fierce, and the guy with the bowler hat creeps me out. And Casanova may have a fierce name but I don't like him either.

Yes, let’s discuss. I did watch the premier! And I thought the dress that won was totally boring. But I don’t have a favorite designer yet. (Maybe I will soon, episode #2 is waiting for me on the TIVO.) I do agree with you about Mondo, Casanova, and Jason (who’s only around so they have one straight guy on the show). The show’s big revelation? Selma Blair is hilarious. Who’d have guessed?

Okay, onto the subject of Tim Gunn. I know he’s a little overexposed these days, but I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. (Hence the caps.) He’s so poised and polite. He’s the perfect gentleman—the sort that doesn’t really exist anymore. I would love to be just like him. (But female, naturally.)

Tim Gunn is the nicest person ever! I love him!

Obligatory Tim Gunn photo:

---

Thanks, Kirsten!

For more about the book, you can check out The Eternal Ones website, blog, or the awesome Ouroboros Society website. Or you can, you know, read the book.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

[description from goodreads]

What if love refused to die?

Haven Moore can’t control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother’s house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves¸ before all is lost and the cycle begins again.


Review:

I've noticed that the idea of "two characters share a super strong love connection because of something in the past" is becoming a bit more popular nowadays, but The Eternal Ones approaches the idea much better and more originally than some other books I've read.

The first third of The Eternal Ones is definitely not the most exciting thing ever. While the beginning did have plenty of fascinating mysterious elements, I was always anxious for Haven to go seek out information about her past lives instead of her lounging around and just wondering what was up. However, these mysterious elements were enough to keep me going-- each time Haven found out something from her personal past or past life, I was more and more intrigued as to how everything fit together. Once I got to the middle, I was completely attentive, as all sorts of new twists and mysteries began to appear. I was enraptured until the very end and was never sure who was good, who was bad, and what really happened in the past. So good.

I was never too sure what I thought of the characters. Haven could be extremely moronic at times, which was obviously frustrating. Often, I never really understood why she and Iain were so ~in love~ or why she trusted him after only knowing him a few days. I'm not sure about the other characters because I never knew what they were really up to-- that's good because it kept me guessing, bad because I had a hard time getting a sense of their personality.

The Eternal Ones is either something people will really like or not like much at all. If you can get past sometimes ditzy Haven and the slow beginning, I think you'll like it. I did, but I'm hoping for more exploration of the fascinating Ouroboros society in the sequel, because there is definitely much more to be shared.

Book details: Razorbill/Hardcover/$17.99

Source: sent by publisher for review

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: The Contemps

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

The Contemps is a shiny new site run by a group of awesome authors who all write contemporary fiction (aka fiction with no vampires, angels, magic or similar things).

For today's WoW, I thought I'd pick a couple of the upcoming Contemps books, even though every single one of them sounds pretty awesome.

All descriptions from their books page!

Sharks and Boys by Kristen Tracy (no cover yet boo)

Part adventure and part romance, SHARKS & BOYS follows eight teenagers who wind up adrift at sea in a life raft and struggle to survive while enduring storms, sharks, dehydration, and each other. (and did I mention the sharks...)

---This summary kind of reminds me of the Island series by Gordon Korman, which I loved as a Little Khy, but with more sharks. Shaaaarks! I think I am obligated to like anything with sharks in it so I'm betting I'll enjoy this one.

Released summer 2011.

---


Girl Stolen
by April Henry

S
ixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is asleep in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen—with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he wanted to do was steal a car to impress his low-life dad. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is also blind. Can Cheyenne survive this nightmare—and at what price?

---This one sounds like it will be wonderfully complex and original. Can't wait to read it!

Released September 28.

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Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

We all long for what could have been." Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition. Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

---I've actually already read (and looooved!) this one but I'm waiting for it to come out so that I can fangirl to the max. It is seriously awesome and beautiful and sad and lovely and amazing and I love it so much I cannot put my love into words. IT'S SO GOOD, THAT'S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.

Released December 15.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Alexis by Alexis Singer

[description from series website]

A six-word instant message changed Alexis forever.

After a rocky junior year of high school, Alexis Singer was lonely, stressed out, and vulnerable—the ideal target for an older man with bad intentions. When a message popped up on her computer screen one night from a message board acquaintance, she could never have known that by responding she was making a choice that would change her forever.

By posing as a friend and confidant, the man gave Alexis the attention she desperately craved and weaseled his way into her life in an unimaginable way. Within weeks, Alexis was sucked into an emotionally dependent relationship, engaging in cybersex and sending him explicit photos of herself. Somewhere along the way, she lost who she was, and put her dreams for the future, relationships with friends and family, and psychological well-being on the line.

Review:

Reading that summary, you have to be thinking "ahh no whyyy!" or something similar. I know I thought that when I read the description, and I thought the same thing while reading the book. While reading, I kept hoping that Chris Hansen from To Catch a Predator would show up and tell Creeper to have a seat over there so they could have a chat, but no such luck.

But even though I was frustrated while reading, I understood why Alexis was making all her bad choices. She describes her lonely feelings well-- so well that even though I thought Creeper should have gone and died in a fire*, I understood why she kept interacting with him. Even better than the descriptions of her lonely feelings were the descriptions of the feelings that she had when she was or was not talking to him-- it was easy to see the effect he had on her. There may not be as many pages of her with her family, at least during the time she was also talking to him, but when she talked to her family and friends, it was heartbreaking to see how differently she was interacting with them.

Alexis is the type of book that you wish didn't exist because it's horrifyingly real and shows that things like online solicitation are still constantly occurring. But I'm glad it does exist, since I'm sure everyone knows someone who has gone through something similar to Alexis or has simply gotten a creepy message on formspring.

*Sometimes I exaggerate for dramatic effect. This is one of those times.

---

Author info: Alexis Singer is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At 19, she is about to begin her junior year at Chatham University where she studies political science and women’s studies. She attended the Pittsburgh High School for Creative and Performing Arts as a writer. She is a writer, a read, an activist, a feminist, and an avid home cook. Her heroes include AlicePaul, Conan O’Brian, and her mother.

More book info at the series website! For more reviews of Alexis or the other new books in the series, Rae and Hannah, you can check out the TLC Book Tours website.

Book details: HCI Teens/Paperback/$7.95

Copy of book provided from the publisher, through the TLC tour group.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tra la la

Sometimes I run out of bookish posts I feel like writing, so I thought today I would talk about other stuff. Like TV! And movies! Which I also like. I suppose you could consider this an about me/get to know me kind of post?

1.

I need this movie in my life like yesterday. When's the last time a (good) contemporary teen movie came out?

I will be singing Pocketful of Sunshine for the next three days now.

2. My new favorite channel is TCM, aka Turner Classic Movies. I don't know why I like it so much. I just do. Which I think makes me one of those "Old Hollywood!!!1111!" people.

3. Speaking of old movies, you know how most girls usually have one ~classic actress they obsess over, and said actress is usually Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe? (For some reason that someone should explain.) Well, I do not obsess over either of those ladies. Norma Shearer is my favorite:


Fierce.

Like my love for David Levithan, my love for her is inexplicable.

4. Moving on to TV: Boy Meets World is the greatest show ever (besides Friday Night Lights). Because it has Mr. Feeny and, as this image I found on tumblr points out:

Not a lot of ~drama was needed to make it an awesome show, but some bigger themes and ~messages were incorporated in without being IN YOUR FACE. My love for that may explain my love and desire for funny and realistic YA novels.

5. The season 4 Friday Night Lights finale was amazing, OH MY GOSH. Only one more season of the show left. I am sad.

6. Here is a list of some of the things on my giant list of shows and movies to watch: give me your opinions on how they are?
  • Veronica Mars
  • Buffy (I've watched season one, it was eh, does it get better?)
  • Freaks and Geeks
  • Get Smart (I've watched the first eight episodes and it is WIN!)
  • Torchwood
  • Dead Like Me (seen the first few episodes, love it, though not as awesome as Pushing Daisies so far)
Also suggest other things for me to watch because now I have Netflix yay! I will need things to watch now that school is starting up and I watch TV while I do homework.

And now I go finish summer reading work and prepare for the first day of school on Wednesday.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In My Mailbox

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

I mostly got books I bought this week, which I find almost as exciting as getting books for review.


However, I also won One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt.

Eliza is in a full-blown panic. Her notebook has been stolen—the one that lists everything she wants but is afraid to go after. And the absolute worst person in the world has it: her ex-boyfriend, Cooper.

Like it’s not en
ough Cooper was lying to Eliza for their entire relationship, now he and his friends are blackmailing her. They’re giving her just one night to complete the most humiliating tasks on her list or they’ll post her secrets online—including the ones that aren’t just about her.

Eliza’s sure of only one thing: she isn’t going down without a fight. Cooper may have what’s left of her dignity, but she’s not the only one with something to hide …

A hilarious and sweet teen novel by Lauren Barnholdt, the author of two-way street.


---I've heard nothing but good things about this one, so I'm excited to read it!

Bought:


The Murder of Bindy McKenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty

Bindy Mackenzie believes herself to be the smartest, kindest girl at Ashbury High. Unfortunately, she is alone in that belief.

To prove her likeability, Bindy decides to document her life in transcripts, essays, and e-mails. What this reveals is a girl who's funny, passionate, hilariously self-righteous...and in danger.


Someone wants to kill Bindy Mackenzie. The clues are in the documents. The detectives are the very students who hate her most. And time is running out.

Enjoy this wickedly funny follow-up to The Year of Secret Assignments. It's a killer!

---I loved The Year of Secret Assignments and expect this one to be just as awesome.


A Spy in the House
by Y.S. Lee

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

---This series has been all over the blogosphere, and I'm always up for a historical novel, so I am eager to read it.



Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick

Claire is a #hopelessromantic. Lottie is determined to set up her BFF with Mr. Perfect. Will wants his #secretcrush to finally notice him. Bennett is a man with a plan.

Claire can’t believe it when her dream guy starts following her on Twitter. She never thought he noticed her, and suddenly he seems to understand her better than almost anyone.

But the Twitterverse can be a confusing place, especially when friends act differently online than they do in person. Things get even more complicated when Claire realizes she’s falling for someone else, the last person she ever would have expected….

Told in an innovative format combining tweets, emails, and blogs, Tweet Heart is a contemporary romantic comedy that will set your heart atwitter.

---I am a self-professed twitter addict so I'm thinking that I'll like this one.

I also bought You Wish by Mandy Hubbard and Fifth Avenue, 5 AM by Sam Wasson for my friend. I love buying books for people.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

I've got issues...

...with some books.

Lately, I've been noticing that I've been having the same problem with many books. Here are four examples (I couldn't think of a fifth but we're pretending I did so I can label this post correctly):

1. One-dimensional male love interests. (I say male because I can't remember the last time I read a book with a female love interest.) I've noticed that many of these boys the female MCs are "in love" with have no personality whatsoever, or they have like one defining characteristic. For example, many love interests are ~mysterious, or they have a ~secret. But those aren't personality traits.

2. Characters saying that they are in LOVE when they've only known each other for like a month, and have spent half that month trying to overcome whatever obstacle is in the way of their ~love. I just really do not believe them

3. No plot until half way through the book. Does this bother anyone else? I don't want to read 150 pages of set-up! It's boring. Get to the point, please.

4. Not really related to the actual content of a book, but I hate when books that are only like 200 pages come out in hardcover. I don't want to pay $20 for 200 pages, or even 250 pages, really.

Anyone else have any?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rae by Chelsea Rae Swiggett


[description from goodreads]

When you're fourteen and trying to deal with the highs, lows, traumas, and humiliations that go along with being a high school freshman, having severe anxiety can become all consuming. Chelsea Rae Swiggett's anxiety has affected every area of her life—school, family, friendships, and romance—ultimately pushing her to lose her voice, withdrawal from everyday life and school, and develop an eating disorder.

The sounds of planes flying overhead could spark a panic attack and something as simple as being called on in class could push her over the edge, convinced that everyone was judging her, mocking her. Faking sickness so she could stay home became her only solution, since she'd rather do anything than face the reality of what happened behind the school's double doors. Rae tells a story all-too-many teens today relate to—what it feels like to see the world through a lens of constant debilitating fear, anxiety, and stress
.

Review:

It's extremely bizarre to read a book by someone who has edited half of your history reports, and someone for whom you have made a collage, playlist, and cake. It's even more bizarre when said book is a true story. Few things are more terrifying than thinking you will not like a book written by someone you like-- it was even more terrifying in this case, because if I didn't like it, it would be like me saying, "sorry, I don't like your life." But, thankfully, I really liked Chelsea's book. Whew!

It is also bizarre to review someone's life, so this review will be short.* While I was reading Chelsea's book, it struck me that her feelings were more extreme versions of many I have felt. Her story is written in a very approachable way, and because of this, it is easy to see why she felt so awkward/anxious/icky/other adjectives. I texted Chelsea a few times while I was reading, and one of the things I said, after she said something like "I hope you like it!", was "how could I hate it if it's my life story?" I think that's a testament to how easy it is to relate to her story, and how her problems comes alive in the book.

Short, bad review is short and bad! Reviewing a memoir is weird since I can't really complain about plot or characters because you can't really fix those by adding new stuff in. There is not much left for me to say after that. But if I did have something negative to say, I'd say that I had a little trouble following the timeline. I really like knowing the order in which things occur, and sometimes I had trouble figuring out how events overlapped and such. Still, Rae is totally easy to relate to and well-written and full of fabulosity.

Oh and Chelsea blogs at The Page Flipper (as if you didn't know).

*Me? Write a short review? Miracle, I know. (And I know you're saying, "THIS is short?")

Book details: HCI Teens/Paperback/$7.95

Source: sent for blog tour hosted by TLC Book Tours

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway

[description from goodreads]

Three sisters, three extraordinary, life-changing powers!

Three sisters share a magical, unshakable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?

April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.

Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.

Review:

I read and loved Robin Benway's first novel, Audrey, Wait!, last year and had been dying to read her second novel ever since. And while I think I like Audrey better, I still think The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June is super fun and fabulous.

The girls do not have the most original powers ever, but they each bring something fresh to the use of their abilities. I loved that they were constantly using their powers, whether it was intentional or not. I was constantly laughing at the drama their powers caused, and even though I hope for more from some of the subplots, I didn't really notice because I was too busy being amused.

There were some aspects of the plot that I adored, and some I was not as fond of. Both the romances were fabulous-- I loved that neither of them were about "love," but rather "like." Both romances were entirely believable and I had fun seeing how April and May interacted with their Potential Boys. Most of the things I didn't like are spoiler-y, but one thing I will say is that I wish Avery was involved in the book a little more (but I think the point is that she wasn't heavily involved, soo?). But many of the larger plot elements, especially that twist at the end? So good!

April, May, and June were definitely the highlights of the book for me. The book alternates between their points of view, and I was SO glad that I could tell them apart without having to read the name at the beginning of the chapter. They were all distinct and each had their own wonderfully developed personality, and I liked them all for different reasons. What I liked most of all, though, was their relationship. They totally acted like sisters-- they were constantly fighting but still supported and looked out for each other in the end. Their fighting was a bit much at times, but it was so hilarious and I could relate to it so much that I didn't really mind.

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June lacked the "!!!!!" feeling that Audrey, Wait! instilled in me, mainly because of some of the disappointing subplots, but I still thought it was a realistic, funny, and magical novel.

Book details: Razorbill/Hardcover/$16.99

Source: sent by publisher for review

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Ouch!

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

The theme for today: two completely different books with summaries that make me think "yikes, ouch, that sucks" at one point or another.

Descriptions and such from goodreads!
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen


Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run? As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her. With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her

---

I've never read any Wendelin Van Draanen, and I feel kind of bad about it since she wrote Flipped, among other books, which everyone seems to have read and adored. This book sounds totally original and like it could be both emotional and uplifting.

Released January 11.

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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author’s family, includes a historical note.

---

That cover looks different from many that have been released lately! I like it.

Another original-sounding book! This one seems like it will be quite sad and emotional-- can't wait to read it.

Released March 22.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard


[description from goodreads]

What if all your wishes really came true?

Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.

Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend.


Review:

You Wish was such a refreshing read for me, as I'm always in the mood for a more contemporary novel but never seem to ready many. I especially love books with humor, and this book definitely had plenty of it. Each of Kayla's wishes brought something crazy and hilarious to the table, and because new wishes constantly appeared, the book was consistently funny. The book was also, for the most part, consistently enjoyable to read; while there is not much of a concrete plot (more on that in a second), the book was pretty amusing.

Some of the subplots in this book took a while to turn into anything-- Kayla tries to figure out why her wishes are coming true, but it takes her forever to make any progress. Similarly, the potential romance drama subplot with Ben was not as big a deal as Kayla makes of it until the end. There were also a few elements that were never developed as much as they could have been, like Kayla's relationship with her father. The plot mainly came together near the end; there was some conflict and tension in the beginning, particularly with Kayla's best friend Nicole, but there wasn't an actual plot for a while. Mainly it was just Kayla running around, trying to hide her often over-the-top crazy, but still amusing, wishes.

Character-wise, I loved Kayla. Snarky characters are always my favorite, even if they do get annoying at times. Her relationship with Nicole was well-done-- I definitely believed all the the issues and drama they were going through and loved seeing how both of them were affected by the events going on. I never really understood what the big deal with Ben was, though. Maybe I'm so annoyed by his lack of personality because I've been having this problem a lot with books recently, but I did not understand his appeal-- he rides dirt bikes and that's about it.

You Wish was a fun, light read, but probably could have benefited from a little less crazy and a bit more plot. Still, it was immensely enjoyable for me to read and I cannot wait it to share and discuss it with my Mandy Hubbard loving IRL friend.

Book details: Razorbill/Paperback/$8.99

Source: sent by publisher for review

Monday, August 9, 2010

"See if the Wizard can find you a heart."

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 last two episodes ahead!

Books vs TV:

Carol: I want to know who A is on the show! Stop dragging it out!

Alea: The whole memorial thing was interesting, totally not in the books.

Khy: The memorial was interesting. In the books I don't think the girls would be caught dead wanting to be part of a memorial. xD

Alea: They almost wouldn't be caught dead talking to each other!

Khy: Yeah, I think making them friends on the show works better though, it would be so hard to follow 4 separate people!

Alea: I definitely agree.

Carol: The storm thing never happened in the books.

Alea: Yes the storm was another good addition!

Carol: Noel seems nicer in the show.

Khy: He does! He had brothers in the books right? Maybe without the brother influence he is nice. xD

Alea: He's almost too nice..... maybe, nah!

Carol: Mr.Fitz is still in the show. I was hoping that when he left he'd stay away.

Alea: Yeah I'm not really sure what he's going to be doing now, seems kind of pointless.

Khy: Haha. Maybe they just want to create some sort of tension between him and Aria? I dunno

Carol: There's not really any tension though :/

Alea: He's good eye candy though, I think.

Khy: Noel > Ezra.

Carol: Agree with you, Khy!

Alea: Disagree!

Khy: Alea is just odd.

Carol: It was nice that Hannah was selling her stuff to help her mom.

Alea: Yeah that was nice! I'm liking her more and more every episode!

Khy: Hanna is so nice on the show! I think she's my favorite on the show, definitely not in the books though.

Carol: Yup! I like how she stood up for Lucas, something she'd never do in the books.

Khy: Lucaaaas. Also I hate Byron/Ashley Marin. Like, ew.

Alea: Yeah that's just odd city.

---

For our final thoughts and thoughts on best lines, check out Pop Culture Junkie. For thoughts on best and worst scenes, check out Book Lover Carol.

Season finale tomorrow night! Yay!

photo via abcfamily.com