Monday, October 31, 2011

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

[description from author website]

Kendall loves her life in small town Cryer's Cross, Montana, but she also longs for something more. She knows the chances of going to school in New York are small, but she's not the type to give up easily. Even though it will mean leaving Nico, the world's sweetest boyfriend, behind. 

But when Cryer's Cross is rocked by unspeakable tragedy, Kendall shoves her dreams aside and focuses on just one goal: help find her missing friends. Even if it means spending time with the one boy she shouldn't get close to... the one boy who makes her question everything she feels for Nico. 

Determined to help and to stay true to the boy she's always loved, Kendall keeps up the search--and stumbles upon some frightening local history. She knows she can't stop digging, but Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried....

Review:

Although I found the last installment sorely lacking, I really liked Lisa McMann's first series, Wake. I was excited to see how her standalone work would turn out, hence my interest in Cryer's Cross. Luckily, I did end up liking this one, but I by no means loved it.

The things I liked about this book also ended up being the things I didn't like, which makes my feelings overall so conflicted. For example, I liked the writing in this book. It's written in third person but almost exclusively follows Kendall, with random pages from something, or someone, paranormal interspersed. The third person worked for this book in that it made everything a bit more sinister; the sentences are short and fast, making everything seem all the more intense. However, there is definitely a down side to this style. Every so often there was a line so ridiculous that I had to stop and laugh because they stuck out so prominently among all the other choppy parts. Even worse was that I never felt any connection to the characters, especially Kendall. It always seemed like I was being told instead of shown everything about the characters-- that Kendal felt a certain way about new boy Jacian, that she had OCD, that she missed her friends, etc. It never felt true, and therefore I never really cared about how things would turn out.

Another thing I liked and didn't was the creepy factor of this book. The random interspersed pages did provide for a consistently intriguing mystery, but much of the rest of the creepy in this book lacked. It takes forever for Kendall to make any progress in figuring out what happened to her friends, but even when she discovers hints and clues, the supernatural aspect of this book was revealed to be more strange and puzzling than cool and scary. Points for originality, but I could have done with more development of the sinister side to make the book as a whole better.

Cryer's Cross is creepy and well-written, but with a bit more development of the characters and spooky side, it could have been so much better.


Book details: Simon Pulse/Hardcover/$16.99


Source: gift

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mailboxes

Today is usually the day I participate in "In My Mailbox," where I discuss the books I got this week. However, I didn't get any new books this week, which makes my participation in the meme difficult.

I'm not too concerned with "no new books" this week, though, because I'm more concerned with other mailboxes. Specifically, those of colleges, since I submitted my first college application today. I'll be obsessively checking the internet the next two days to make sure my counselor sends in my school forms and that other information arrived to the school, so I have no time to read anyway.

And that is just a life update for you; thanks for indulging me. Here is a fun hipster-y song to thank you:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

5 Best School Books

No, not books I've read for school (I don't think I could come up with a list of five for that topic) but some of the best books I've read where school plays a large and realistic role. (List inspired by my mound of homework this weekend.)

1. Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales - This book is pretty much my junior year. Almost none of the events in the book are ones that happened to me, but the feelings and insanity are all the same.

2. Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian - Main character Natalie is the classic overachiever but even though she's a bit much, I loved reading her story anyway because of the realistic manner with which she tried to balance everything.

3. The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty - This book always stands out in my mind for being so funny and adorable. All of the characters are hilarious, even though there are so many of them, and I loved seeing them get in to all sorts of shenanigans together.

4. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart - I totally wish I went to Frankie's school so we could investigate secret societies together. There's not much else you need when there are secret societies to expose.

5.  She's So Money by Cherry Cheva - This book centers around a girl and the cheating ring she creates. It doesn't get much more exciting than that.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Excitement!

Today,  John Green (author of the wonderful Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, among others) posted a video of him reading the first chapter of his next book, The Fault in Our Stars. I am so excited, ahh!



It sounds like it will be delightfully (hopefully) different from his other books but still have the same humor, emotional intensity, and intelligence. I am excited to see how it turns out! (So excited that I feel the need to post chapter one.)

The cover is also growing on me. 

 It's almost alarmingly simple, and for that I wasn't too fond of it at first, but I've come to like it more. I appreciate a YA cover that doesn't have a girl in a dress.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith

[description from goodreads]

What's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan - the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah - unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.

Original and insightful, quirky and crushing, Joy's story is told in surprising and artfully shifting flashbacks between her life then and now. Exquisite craft and wry, relatable humor signal the arrival of Emily Wing Smith as a breakout talent.


Review:

I thought I had this book pegged from the beginning; it sounded so unassuming, so predictable, so focused on a uninteresting romance. Harsh, I know, but I gladly admit that I was utterly wrong. There were a few things I would have liked discussed more in depth, but I still definitely found Back When You Were Easier to Love to be a sweet, quirky, and surprisingly emotional read. 


I always prefer to start with the bad, so let's just get the negatives out of the way: what is up with Zan? I understand the appeal of the ~arsty, smart guy~ but Zan never seemed mysterious in a good way; he just seemed like an utter jerk. I never saw his appeal so it was rather difficult for me to understand Joy's desire to see him again and why she was so sad he was gone. The only other noteworthy thing I was not so big a fan of is that some of the quirky! things in this book seem a bit gimmicky. I like weird stuff, but some of the characters' likes and hobbies turned up slightly too late for me to buy them as much more than cute attention-grabbers. 


However, the things I liked about this book far outweigh my negative views. There's something about Joy's voice that automatically caught my attention; despite some of the more gimmicky things in this book, she almost always managed to seem completely genuine. She tended to write down her thoughts as they appeared in her head, making her writing seem so much more personal and emotional. Because this book isn't so plot intense, though Joy does embark on plenty of fun adventures, this added emotional intensity made everything so much more compelling to read. I especially liked this "write it as it happens" style in regards to Joy's relationships with others; it allowed the growth between her and her peers to happen more organically and believably, in turn helping the supporting cast seem just as lovely as the heroine. 


It could have used a bit more depth in some regards, but Back When You Were Easier to Love impressed me with its candid narrator, offbeat style, and emotional intensity.

Book details: Dutton/Hardcover/$16.99

Source: ALA

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Descriptions and such from goodreads.


Long Lankin  by Lindsey Barraclough

A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss ...When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years. A haunting voice in an empty room ...A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard ...A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church ...Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.
 
---
 
I didn't need to read past the first sentence of this summary to know I need this book in my life, but I read on nonetheless and my desire has only intensified. Creepy books are some of the best.

Released July 10, 2012.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

5 Books for Halloween

The "Top Ten Tuesday" meme topic from The Broke and the Bookish today is "Top Ten Books to Read During Halloween," but because I posted about five awesome spooky books last year, I thought I'd just post an additional five today.

Without further ado:

1. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey - This book is straight-up horror and has the best creepy atmosphere. It's also got some pretty disturbing monsters, which is rather awesome.

2. Peeps by Scott Westerfeld - Nothing says "Halloween" quite like vampires, and this book (and its companion, The Last Days) is by far my favorite vampire book for its unique spin on the myth.

3. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh - I automatically associate anything relating to Edgar Allan Poe with "creepy," but even though this book isn't insanely Poe-heavy, it's still rather spooky. Also, I need the sequel, like, yesterday.

4. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab - This book reads almost like a more traditional fairy tale, but the presence of a witch and the gorgeous, atmospheric writing make it perfect for Halloween.

5. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson - Ghosts, murder, and Jack the Ripper. What else could you want to read about at this time of year?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Love, Inc. by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout

[description from goodreads]

Zahra, Kali, and Syd would never have met if their parents' marriages hadn't fallen apart. But when the three girls collide in group counseling, they discover they have something else in common: they've each been triple-timed by the same nefarious charmer, Eric, aka Rico, aka Rick. Talk about eye-opening therapy.

Cheerful, diplomatic Zahra is devastated. Rico had been her rock and sole confidant. How could she have missed the signs? Folksy, flirtatious Kali feels almost as bad. She and Rick had only been on a few dates, but they'd felt so promising. Hardened vintage-vixen Syd is beyond tears. She and Eric had real history... Or so she'd thought. Now all three girls have one mission: to show that cheater the folly of his ways.

Project Payback is such a success, the girls soon have clients lining up for their consulting services. Is your boyfriend acting shady? Dying to know if your crush is into you? Need match-making expertise? Look no further than Love, Inc.

Review:

The premise and much of the beginning of this novel is definitely reminiscent of the movie John Tucker Must Die, but even though I kept thinking of the movie while reading, Love, Inc. definitely managed to stand on its own as a delightfully fun read.

There is a whole lot going on in this book, which is simultaneously great and a bit insane. I appreciated the time spent on developing each "section" of the book-- when Zahra is still dating "Rico," when the girls enact their revenge, and when they begin their business. Because each part is given a substantial amount of time, it was easier for me to see why the girls were so annoyed that Eric was cheating on them and why they became such good friends. I loved seeing their friendship begin in the first half, and seeing them become even closer as their business grew and they spent more time spying and plotting was even better. Despite their differences, the girls complemented each other spectacularly well and there were plenty of opportunities for laughs and emotional moments when they were together.

However, this book is really long. Contemporary YA novels don't tend to be more than 400 pages, but this one is, and it often felt that long because of the sheer number of things going on. There are just so many people in this book that it was difficult for me to differentiate between them; I had to remember which characters were from group therapy, which were family members, which were Love, Inc. clients, which people were being spied on, who was dating who, and so much more. There was just too much happening for me to feel like I was fully aware of what was going on in each relationship. It did keep the novel constantly exciting and fun to read, but I could have done away with a couple clients in order to keep things a little more calm.

Despite the overwhelming number of characters and story lines, I found Love, Inc. to be a wonderfully and consistently amusing and exciting read.

Book details:  Hyperion/Hardcover/$16.99


Source: ALA

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In My Mailbox

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

Happily, I only got one book this week. "Happily" because I have had zero time to read anything lately, and I lost my catch-up time this weekend because of homecoming festivities.

However, the one book I received for review is rather exciting:

A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Its title doesn't make me want to sing like that of its predecessor Across the Universe, but I still can't wait to see where this series is going.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Books That Should Appear on More of My Lists

I make a whole lot of lists on this blog, but no matter what they are about, the same books tend to appear on them (Anna and the French Kiss, The Boyfriend List, etc.). However, there are so many more books that should show up more often. These are some of them:


1. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr - I read this book not long ago, which is why it has not showed up everywhere on my blog. However, it totally ripped out my heart and stepped on it, and I loved every minute of it. Therefore, I feel the need to shout my love for it more often.

2. Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian - I have to say, this is one of the smartest but still intensely emotional books I've read. I wish it didn't have such an awful cover, because I feel like it scares people away.

3. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler - I love each of Ockler's books, but I have a certain fondness for her first, for it introduced her fantastic writing to me.

4. A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker - This book is absolutely hilarious and ridiculous, and even though I read it ages ago, I remember most of it, a true feat considering my poor memory.

5. Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick - This book is a bit insane in the best possible way. Amber, its narrator, is so unbelievably quirky and positive that it's first a bit off-putting, but as she reveals that she isn't all rainbows and sunshine, the book becomes truly awesome.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

[description from goodreads]

It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

Review:

Like Mandarin has so many things I love, and so many things I don't, but despite the fact that my feelings on it are mixed in that regard, I really did enjoy it. 


But, let's start with the negatives so we can end on a high note. I inherently dislike stories about girls who constantly idolize their friends, mainly because I never see what is so fabulous about the friend in question. Sadly, that was often the case with Mandarin. I could see why the town loves to gossip about her and why people are fascinated by her life, but once she and Grace started spending time together, I couldn't see why Grace wanted to stay with her so badly. Sure, Mandarin brought something different to Grace's life, but she really is not good at friendship, and I would think Grace would be smart enough to want someone better than that. I was also a bit annoyed that Mandarin took the attention away from everyone else; there are plenty of quirky and intriguing characters Grace and Mandarin are forced to encounter, but they really only show up to gossip and then leave, when I would have liked to see more of their effect on the girls.



However, there's so much about this book that I truly like. Despite the fact that Mandarin's appeal was often lost on me, I really was fascinated by her and Grace's relationship. It develops so slowly that at any moment it can, and did, change from being twisted to being beautiful and back again. It was so complex and only grew more complicated as time went by, which was rather nice considering there are not too many exciting plot events that occur to keep the novel exciting. There's also something about the writing that always demanded my attention; it's so descriptive and so wonderfully evokes the Wyoming setting that I was always compelled to keep reading. 


Some of the characterization was off for me, particularly of the supposedly super Mandarin, but the relationship between the girls, writing, and just an unidentifiable something made me enjoy Like Mandarin a whole lot.


Book details: Delacorte/Hardcover/$17.99


Source: won

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quote Post!

Just because I like to ponder people's words every once in a while. 


"You know one me. Just like I know one you. But you can’t know every me. And I can’t know every you."
- Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
---
“Sometimes you read a book so special that you want to carry it around with you for months after you've finished just to stay near it.”
 - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (I definitely want to carry around Every You, Every Me and be angsty with it.)

---
“Life was mostly made up of things you couldn’t control, full of surprises, and they weren’t always good. Life wasn’t what you made it. You were what life made you.”

- Sweethearts by Sara Zarr (I want to carry this book around too.)

---
“Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness.” 

- The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Descriptions and such from goodreads.

Today I'm waiting on:

The Jade Notebook by Laura Resau

Down-to-earth Zeeta and her flighty mom, Layla, have spent years traveling the globe and soaking up everything each new culture has to offer. Now they've settled in the beachside town of Mazunte, Mexico, where Zeeta's true love, Wendell, has an internship photographing rare sea turtles. At first glance, Zeeta feels sure that Mazunte is paradise—she envisions dips in jade waters, sunsets over sea cliffs, moonlit walks in the surf. And she is determined to make Mazunte her home . . . for good. But as she and Wendell dig deeper to unearth her elusive father's past, Zeeta finds that paradise has its dark side.

---

TURTLES! And a pretty setting and deception and secrets and other fun-sounding things. But mostly turtles.

Released February 2012.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sharks and Boys by Kristen Tracy

[description from goodreads]

When 15-year-old Enid Calhoun follows her boyfriend Wick to Maryland for a party, fearful that he might be intending to cheat on her, she finds herself sneaking on board a houseboat where Wick and his friends plan to have a wild night. But before the boys discover their stowaway, a hurricane strikes, and the teenagers are carried miles from the shore and shipwrecked. What follows is a harrowing, yet heartwarming, story of survival, as the teens battle hypothermia, dehydration, man-eating sharks--and along the way, confront their own deepest secrets, including their catalytic roles in the disaster.

Review:

Although I've always been more of a dolphin kind of girl, anything with sharks gets my attention.  Thus, I was drawn to this book as soon as I saw the title. I found it, like most things, could have used more sharks, but even though the sharks lacked, the book was still a delight.

Or, maybe "delight' isn't the best word to use, since a bunch of people stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean is not the most positive thing in the world. In fact, despite this books' somewhat humorous title and cheery beginning, it isn't a happy book. There is plenty of humor, but ultimately, it really is a story of survival. The group literally has nothing on the raft, and as the story progresses and they spend more time at sea, the novel becomes increasingly more uncomfortable to read. Although Enid can't know everyone's thoughts, she seems to describe everyone's feelings of dismay well, and their situation seems all the more intense because of it. It was sad to read something so distraught, even more sad because as time went on, each character revealed more about themselves in group heart-to-hearts. Because not much action happens (since, you know, they are stuck on a raft), it was these moments of truth that kept my interest for how much new perspective they brought to the characters.

Still, despite my appreciation for the development of the tension and characters, there were a few things that prevented me from loving this book immensely. Each of the people on the raft are in a set of twins, and although the psychological twin tests they partake in are often referenced, the twin thing really wasn't more than a fun little gimmick. Another issue I had is that problems involving people not on the raft, especially of the familial variety, tried to be worked in to the story, but because they involved absent people, there was really no way for those problems to be very developed or even interesting because the problems on board were far more important. 

A few minor development issues aside, I found Sharks and Boys to be a surprisingly emotional and intense read, with just enough humor and heart to make the reading experience a little easier.

Book details:  Hyperion/Hardcover/$16.99


Source: ALA

Monday, October 17, 2011

Four Seasons by Jane Breskin Zalben

[description from goodreads]

Allegra Katz has been playing piano since she was four. But these aren't just any piano lessons. She studies at the Julliard School in New York, where careers are being formed—or not.

Between strict practice schedules, music classes, and regular school, Ally doesn't have time for much else. Sometimes she wishes she could break free, but she's never known any other way. Her parents—a professional violinist and a singer—would kill her if they knew she was thinking about quitting piano, especially her mother.

So she keeps on going, but as the months go by, she begins to ask herself, does she even love the piano? Why does she play? And how much longer can she stand the pressure before she breaks?


Review:

Four Seasons initially drew my attention because of the strangely color-coordinated cover, but luckily the inside was much better than the packaging. 

I feel like most of the books involving music I've read deal with teens passionate about their art and their determination to lead a rock and roll lifestyle, so Ally's intensity but desire to quit was a refreshing deviation from the norm. Hers is also a story that was much more easy to relate to, because as she was forced to spend more time playing piano and as she faced more pressure, Ally became more able to describe how conflicted she was feeling. She's only 13 and so mature for her age, and it's easy to see how the dedication to piano ages her and separates her from her peers, because all the other people her age in this story act so differently. It was tragic to read about her increasingly unstable mental state and feelings, but despite the sadness it brought, I loved seeing her on her journey, especially as it got more intense and unexpected near the end.


However, despite my enjoyment of Ally's story, there were some parts that were a bit more questionable for me. The structure of the novel-- four large parts divided by season, and chapters divided by month-- sometimes made time pass awkwardly. Throwing everything in a month into one chapter is tricky, and things often seemed too abrupt or too overlooked. Because Ally also spends different parts of the books in different places, some story lines suffer from lack of presence in those parts of her life. For example, it seemed like there was supposed to be some romantic element, but the boys involved appeared so sporadically-- only at school or at music practice-- that I never really saw why Ally was drawn to them. 

Although it's a bit awkwardly paced and underdeveloped in parts, Four Seasons is a wonderfully intense and heart-wrenching novel.



Book details: Knopf/Hardcover/$15.99


Source: ALA

Sunday, October 16, 2011

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 two books this week, both gifts! I'm actually pretty happy not to have gotten any review books this week since school is making it impossible for me to catch up on the ones I already have.

Anyway, the things I received:

The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler
Flannery Culp wants you to know the whole story of her spectacularly awful senior year. Tyrants, perverts, tragic crushes, gossip, cruel jokes, and the hallucinatory effects of absinthe -- Flannery and the seven other friends in the Basic Eight have suffered through it all. But now, on tabloid television, they're calling Flannery a murderer, which is a total lie. It's true that high school can be so stressful sometimes. And it's true that sometimes a girl just has to kill someone. But Flannery wants you to know that she's not a murderer at all -- she's a murderess.
This book is by the prince of my heart, Daniel Handler, also known as Lemony Snicket. A Series of Unfortunate Events was my favorite as a child so I cannot wait to read more of his work now.

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose - between her "true love" and herself.
 Hate List, Jennifer Brown's first novel, blew me away and I have no doubt this book will too. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Love Triangles That Don't Suck

Author Malinda Lo wrote a post all about love triangles the other day, and it got me thinking: how many books have love triangles that don't suck?

Let's find out how many I can come up with.

1. The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart - It is no surprise to find Ruby on this list because she appears on practically every list that I make. But this inclusion is totally valid! (As are all the others.) She isn't involved in a love triangle so much as a, like, a love pentagon because of all the boys that make their way in to and out of her life throughout the four book series. However, despite the many different boys and the fact that some of them are really lame, I loved seeing her try to find the best one.

2. The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison -Was the love square in this book way too drawn out? Yes. Does Masimo, one of the boys involved, totally suck? Yes. Do I like it anyway? Yes, mainly because Dave the Laugh and Robbie are both lovely in their own ways.

3. The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead - The testament to my like of this love triangle is that I am still bitter about the outcome.

4. The Theatre Illuminata series by Lisa Mantchev - Maybe I shouldn't include this series because I haven't read book three yet and don't know how the romantic storyline concludes, but no matter! I quite like the tension between Bertie, Nate, and Ariel in this series, because I could see Bertie ending up with either guy (or neither).


...and look at that, I can only think of four. I can think of plenty of love "triangles"-- ones where their is a second love interest involved but it's painfully obvious from the beginning who the conflicted one will end up with. (You could probably argue that the one in Vampire Academy was obvious but SHH I AM STILL BITTER.) I tend to find the painfully predictable ones rather lame, especially because people often over-dramatize them (The Hunger Games, ahem).

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

[description from goodreads]

At Penford High School, Brittany Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone’s life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her.

For April Bowers, Brittany is the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don’t know she exists. One lunch spent at Brittany’s table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity.

But Brittany’s friendship comes with a high price tag, and April decides it’s not worth the cost. Inspiring and empowering, this is the story of one girl who decides to push back.

Review:

It's easy to tell from the description and cover that The Lipstick Laws is not the deepest or most profound read ever; nor is it the most original or developed. Still, it's a sweet and fast read if you can get past all the insanity.

What bothers me most about this novel is that it always felt slightly off, in that it's a bit unrealistic; no one in the real world seems like they would ask like the people in this book did. Sure, people act mean and have messed-up friendships and all that jazz, but in this book, everyone spoke so strangely and was just so generally immature that I was a bit baffled. If this book was about seventh graders, maybe I would have bought in to their actions, but because they're older, I had trouble believing they would be so silly. Their ridiculous actions were occasionally amusing, but mostly they just were a bit too melodramatic for my liking; however, even though they were melodramatic, they were also not the best developed because of the many different things occurring at any one time. 



However, even though the plot was often too much for my liking, I did like most of the characters. Many, like April's geeky pal Delvin, appeared too little for my liking, but even though they were hardly there, they always added plenty of humor and adorable awkward-ness to the story. April herself is also a rather funny and snarky narrator; I enjoyed that she moved beyond Brittany's cruelty and began to take matters into her own hands, for it was then that she became even more humorous and entertaining. 


Although it's too melodramatic and brought about too much side-eying, I still found The Lipstick Laws to be a cute and fun read. 


Book details: Graphia/Paperback/$8.99


Source: ALA

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Between by Jessica Warman

[description from goodreads]

Elizabeth Valchar --- pretty, popular and rich --- wakes up the morning after her 18th birthday on the yacht where she’d been celebrating with her closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, she finds her own drowned body is hitting the side of the boat. Liz is dead. She has no memory of what happened to her, and can only observe in horror the fallout of her death.

She’s also soon joined by Alex Berg, a quiet boy from her high school who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The two keep each other company, floating in and out of memories and trying to piece together the details of what happened to each of them.

In her regular life, Liz was a runner. It wasn’t abnormal for her to run 8-10 miles per day. But as memories from closer to her death begin to surface, Liz finds that she’d been running much more than normal, and that she’d all but stopped eating. Liz’s mother, who died when Liz was nine, had battled with anorexia as well, and those around her worried that Liz was following in her mother’s footsteps. But something more sinister was consuming Liz from the inside out...


Review:

Despite my almost total aversion to paranormal novels, I gave Between a try because it really didn't sound too paranormal. And it isn't; Liz's reasons for being stuck in between the real world and the afterlife are never really acknowledged, let alone explained, and the novel is mostly just concerned with her watching what is happening on Earth anyway. However, just because it is less paranormal than I thought did not make me enjoy it that much more, though I wish it had.


I think what prevented me from liking Between more than I did is that I'm not really sure what it was supposed to be. It was trying to do so many things-- be a mystery about Liz's mysterious death, build a close relationship between  Liz and Alex, and accurately portray Liz's battles with her self-image, her friends' numerous struggles, and Liz's complex family relationships, all the while inserting flashback after flashback into the narrative. Although the book is rather long, over 400 pages, it still never felt like all these things got enough attention to make them as believable as they could have been. It took too long for the so-called mystery about Liz's death to surface, which was supposed to be one of the driving forces of the story; although it was well-handled using flashbacks to build plenty of tension, it took so long to get to and the novel was muddled with so many other story lines that it never was that creepy.

However, despite my frustration with the often oddly paced and underdeveloped plot, I appreciated the attempt to develop all the characters into three-dimensional individuals. Although most of the characters are from an obscenely wealthy background, they managed to move beyond any "rich people" stereotypes that could have been applied to them. They all had their own dark secrets, which helped to enhance the tension and suspense in the plot, and also to make the story a little more unexpected. Many of their secrets came as no surprise even though they were supposed, but even when they were not a shock, they still managed to make the characters involved more intriguing and realistic people.

Should Between have had a more balanced pace or developed plot I would have liked it more, but nonetheless, I still found it to be a suspenseful story with well-developed characters. 

Book details: Walker Books/Hardcover/$17.99


Source: sent by publisher for review

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Descriptions and such from goodreads.

Today I'm waiting on:
 
Getting Somewhere by Beth Neff
Four girls: dealer, junkie, recluse, thief.

Sarah, Jenna, Lauren, and Cassie may look like ordinary girls, but they’re not. They’re delinquents whose lives collide when they’re sent to an experimental juvenile detention program on a farm in the middle of nowhere. As the girls face up to the crimes they committed, three of them will heal the wounds of their pasts and discover strengths they never dreamed they had. And one, driven by a deep secret of her own, will seek to destroy everything they’ve all worked so hard for.


---

Oh how I love stories about delinquents; they entertain me to no end. This one sounds like it will be delightfully twisted because of the one girl who won't fix things, and I can't wait to see how her crazy affects every one. 


Also, I quite like this cover despite its melodramatic tagline. ("Four girls. A million secrets." in case you couldn't read it.)


Released January 19.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish I Could Read Again For The First Time

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a totally awesome feature hosted by The Broke and Bookish!

Today's topic is "Books I Wish I Could Read Again For The First Time," which is quite a fun topic and one I think about often.

1. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - It is only fitting to put my favorite author on this list first; I remember reading and just completely falling in love with this book the first time I read it, and I wish I could feel that total adoration again.

2. Harry Potter by JK Rowling - I mean, duh. I read book one in this series when I was 7? 8? Too young to remember reading it, which makes me sad since the series is one of my favorites.

3. Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert - This book totally blew me away and I've been dying to reread it, let alone read it again for the first time.

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - I'm not sure if I've ever been as obsessed with a book as I have been with this one. Just thinking about it makes me happy.

5. Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers - Courtney is one of my favorite authors and I remember being so excited that this book surpassed my giant expectations. I wish I could read it for the first time again just to be once again dazzled by it.

6. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen - This is the best Sarah Dessen book (deal with it) and always makes me smile. I don't even remember when I first read it, so reading it again for the first time would be grand.

7. A Great and Tetrrible Beauty by Libba Bray - This series is so gorgeous and lovely that I wish I could totally rediscover its brilliance. I might have to settle for rereading it soon. 

8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Every time I reread this book I discover something new I love about it, but I have trouble remembering the first things I loved, which makes me want to read it again for the first time.

9. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - Ah, this book and I have quite the love affair. I wish I could remember all the initial feelings of our love, but I'm more than happy with the ones I have now.

10. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket - This was my absolute favorite series when I was little and I still love it, but I read them so long ago that I've forgotten to much about what it was like to read them.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave

[description from goodreads]

Andy is the janitor's son, an outcast, a nobody. Then the rumor starts-that Blake has a gun in his locker. In a moment of misguided hopefulness, Andy steals the keys from his dad and opens up Blake's locker, hoping that finding the gun will change his own status. But the gun isn't there and Andy remains an outcast. When an unlikely friendship develops between the two loners, Blake shares most of his secrets with Andy, including the gun. But there's one secret that worries Andy more than anything-the date circled on Blake's calendar. Does Blake have something planned? Something that Andy can prevent? In a fascinating look at how teens deal with the now constant threat of school violence, debut author Ryan G. Van Cleave provides a unique, emotional perspective on how it feels to be the one who can prevent a tragedy.

Review:

I had heard absolutely nothing about Unlocked prior to reading, which, since I read so many blogs and peruse the internet so often, is a bit of a rarity. However, it's an exciting rarity, and I think made me enjoy this book a bit more than I otherwise would have.

Unlocked is a bit strange in that it is so short-- under 200 pages-- and written in free verse, making the entire novel seem just so bare, especially when compared to novels with similar heavy premises. The sparsity of the writing both helped and hurt the story; it definitely emphasized Andy's feelings of despair, angst, isolation, or anything else, but it also prevented these feelings from being explored more in depth. It also often seemed as if the verse style did not really add to the novel because many portions would have read better in normal paragraph form.

However, despite the often awkward writing style and lack of time spent on topics other than Blake, the potential shooter, because of the short length, I did quite like this book. I thought it was a fresh take on a not exactly overdone story line, but a story line that still is a bit familiar. It was fascinating to see the complexity of Blake and Andy's friendship develop, because as they began to understand each other more, it was rather easy to see why Andy was in such a dilemma over what to do about his friend's gun. I wish that more people besides those two were discussed in depth to get more perspective of the feelings of disdain for the world both boys felt, but their relationship was strong enough to carry the book well.

A bit more length or a slightly different style may have added to the depth of Unlocked, but even as is, it's a delightfully complex and fresh story.


Book details: Walker/Hardcover/$15.99


Source: ALA

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In My Mailbox

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

This week for review I got enough things that including descriptions would just make this post unnecessarily long:  
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer - I've read plenty of Cinderella retellings in my life, but this one sounds miles better than most I've read. (Granted, most I've read were written by my fellow classmates in the fifth grade, but still.)
  • Lexapros and Cons by Aaron Karo - I've heard this one is humorous and funny is my favorite, so I'm excited for it!
  • Life is But a Dream by Brian James - I have a feeling this one will either be crazy awesome or just plain crazy, but I'm betting it will be the former.
  • Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez - I've heard this book is great, so I'm rather anxious to see if I agree.
And from non-review sources I got:

  • Duplikate by Cherry Cheva - I saw Cherry at the West Hollywood Book Fair last week and FINALLY got a chance to buy this book and get it signed. I loved her first, She's So Money, so I am sure I will love this one too.
  • John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles - I got this for my birthday from Zoe of Zoe's Book Reviews, which makes me quite happy because I've been dying to read this book for ages and can never find it anywhere. 
Also, thanks for the birthday wishes yesterday, guys! 

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Just for Me

    I'm giving myself the day off since it's my birthday (turning 17, so now please do feel free to ask me how long I have been 17 so that I can say "a while" like Edward Cullen) but I didn't want to go completely postless, so I thought I would post my currents jams because for some reason I have had so many jams lately.


    1. "Judy in Disguise With Glasses" - John Fred and His Playboy Band



    I watched The Boat That Rocked (Pirate Radio in the US) last week and despite all the inconsistencies in the plot, I absolutely loved it and have been listening to the soundtrack ever since. This is my favorite off the soundtrack (besides "Let's Dance" by David Bowie, because, you know, DAVID BOWIE). I dare you not to dance jovially as it plays.

    2. "I Saw You Blink" - Stornoway



    I found this band on Spotify the other day and, oh man, their whole album has been on repeat since. I can't help laughing at this music video though.

    3. "Madame Van Damme" - Lightspeed Champion



    This guy's album "Life is Sweet! Nice to Meet You" album has been on repeat for a few days as well but I think this is my favorite track off the CD. I love them all, however, even though there is a big difference in sound every so often.

    Anyway, thank you for indulging me, and you should totally share your jams with me since I am always in desperate need for music; I tend to overplay everything until I'm sick of it.

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Books That Remind Me of Arrested Development

    Arrested Development is one of my favorite shows ever, so I was (and still am!) insanely excited when I found out that there is a mini-series and movie in the works. I am so excited that I needed to find an excuse, even a poor one, to blog about my joy, because oh my gosh, STEVE HOLT! I've made a huge mistake! And that's why you always leave a note! I have been aching to quote the show all week but no one I know watches it, so I must turn to you because if you like the show, you are my friend and we should talk about how amazing it is. 

    For those of you who haven't watched it, the show is, in the words of its opening theme, "the story of a wealthy family who lost everything- and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together." It's also insanely funny and witty and bizarre and quirky and simply awesome at all times. You should see it.

    There's a few books I love that kind of remind me of it, and because I love them and Arrested Development, I made this post. (Anything to give me a chance to quote Arrested Development.)
     
    1. Likely Story by David Van Etten - Of all the books on the list, this one is the least similar to AD, but the crazy family relationships and ridiculous drama still remind me of all the wild antics and complex family issues in which the Bluth family is involved. 

    2. The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart - Two of AD's most familiar aspects are the running gags and humorous sayings, and Ruby, the narrator of this series, has so many of her own that I think she would fit in to the Bluth family just fine. Also, she lives on a house boat! The Bluths love their boats.

    3. Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford - This is a smart and quirky tale of a family, just like AD portrays the lives of the Bluth so intelligently despite all the chaos that ensues.

    4. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson - I think only the Martins could rival the Bluths in terms of crazy. Both families have similar dwindling funds, insanity, and inter-family drama that would make an encounter between them be something I would pay to see.

    5. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford - Yep, another Standiford book! Maybe this one only reminds me of AD because I think that Michael Cera would be cast in a film version despite the fact that he fits no roles in it, but this book also has the quirkiness and depth of AD.  Plus, I still think about it even though it's been well over a year since I've read it. Such is its power!

    Also, just for fun, some of my favorite AD quotes: "Her?", "There's always money in the banana stand," "Babysit me!", "There are dozens of us!", and oh so many more.

    Thank you for indulging me with this post.

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

    [description from goodreads]

    What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

    Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

    Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

    But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.


    Review:

    Before I began reading Glow, I noticed that it has some of the best blurbs from other authors and also a fair amount of great reviews from readers. Thus, I was rather excited to give it a shot; now, having read it, I must say that if I want a book set on a space ship, I'll just go back to Across the Universe.

    Glow starts with bang, but almost as quickly as the action starts going, it seems to stop. It's hard to discuss without spoiling, but once part one of five is over, the novel takes more of a turn for the mysterious side. Which is fine, perfectly wonderful, even, as the events that occur are shady and always have a feeling of uneasiness associated with them, but the problem is that each part of the novel switches point of view from Waverly to Kieran. One of the main issues I had with the switch is that Kieran's problems just aren't as menacing or intriguing, and another problem is that the switch prevented a balanced time line. Sometimes weeks would go by in paragraphs, and because of the speedy time line and the small amount of pages dedicated to each part, it never seemed like anything was well-developed or received the attention it warranted.

    However, despite my disdain for much of the plot, I must give this book props for its premise. Space ships are inherently cool, but dangerous space ships are even better, and this book does succeed in portraying the setting as a tense one. I also really liked what happened when the New Horizon and the Empyrean, the two traveling space crafts, were revealed to be enemies, even if what happened after was too lackluster for my liking. I also liked Waverly, who really does get more of the novel to herself, for her strength and determination, even if some aspects of her life, like her love interests, were flat and uninteresting.

    Glow has a fantastic premise and opening; I wish I could say I found the rest of the book as great, but it was just too lifeless for my liking.


    Book details: St. Martin's Griffin/Hardcover/$17.99


    Source: sent by publisher for review

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday

    Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Descriptions and such from goodreads.

    Today I'm waiting on:

    The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

    Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev’s band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she’s abandoning their plans—and Colby—to start college in the fall.

    But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie-Colby struggles to deal with Bev’s already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what’s next?

    Morris Award–finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives.

    ---
    As I draw closer to finishing my college applications (and by "finishing" I really mean "starting and doing hurriedly") I am becoming more intrigued with novels that take place beyond the walls of high school. This one sounds like it will be one of the best, as I'll read anything involving music and anything written by Nina LaCour, whose first novel, Hold Still, I adored.

    Released February 16, 2012.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher

    [description from goodreads]

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

    Review:
     
    Once I got over how the title Ten Cents a Dance makes it seem like a novel about prostitutes, I found this book to be wonderfully enjoyable despite a few of its underdeveloped story lines, mainly because of the utterly fantastic setting.

    I am a huge history nerd, so historical novels never bore me like they sometimes seem to do to others, but even if I wasn't a history fan, I would have liked this book solely for its setting. More than any other book I've read, Ten Cents a Dance has an atmosphere that truly makes it feel like 1940s Chicago. Ruby's accent, however small it is, manages to slip through along with everyone else's speech pattern to give the book a consistently authentic feel. Similarly, the adventures Ruby has as she taxi dances and tries to deal with mobsters, among other issues, all managed to make the novel an authentic-seeming read, but without ever seeming like a history textbook. It's hard to balance the dull parts of history with the exciting, but this book managed to do it so well that I was never bored by what was happening.

    What I was less enamored with was the often underdeveloped story lines. The premise of each of Ruby's problems is interesting, whether it's about the taxi dancing or mobsters or lying to her mother or anything in between, but there was so much going on that it never seemed like anything received the attention it deserved. The taxi dancing gets the most time by far, but it often seemed a bit repetitive, especially when the other problems in Ruby's life seemed to stand still. There would be such a long time in between the appearances of resident Potential Boy Paulie, for example, that I never understood why that plot was so important or what Ruby's obsession with him was. Granted, I didn't really like when Paulie was around, but there were similar issues with some other aspects of the novel that annoyed me.

    Ten Cents a Dance has one of the best developed settings around, but I only wish I could say the same for its many story lines, for while they are all intriguing exciting, the time spent on each is too little for my liking.

    Book details: Bloomsbury/Paperback/$8.99


    Source: bought

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Losing Faith by Denise Jaden

    [description from goodreads]

    A terrible secret. A terrible fate.

    When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.

    As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.

    Review:
      

    Losing Faith sat on my shelves unread for ages, and now that I've read it, I'm a bit disappointed in myself for letting it wait so long.

    However, despite my enjoyment, there was one thing that prevented me from liking this book more than I already did: I knew too much about it before reading. I didn't realize it until after I finished, but the book's official summary does a good job of hiding Faith's secrets. I just happened to find out prior what was up, which made Brie's hunt for the truth just a bit more lackluster and a bit less mysterious. I did still very much enjoy seeing her on her quest for answers, especially because of the many different and sometimes crazy people involved in her search, but I really wish the quest was faster so that more time could have been spent on the most exciting and intense parts.

    Although it felt like the book was a little too slow, whether that was my prior knowledge's fault or not, I still did enjoy most of the rest. Brie is a delightfully realistic narrator, with her frustration with her sister in life and death as well as with her concern over Faith's fate; her mixed feelings on the subject of her sister and her quest to find truth definitely added to the emotional intensity of the story, especially when she lets some of her feelings known to the rest of the world. Similarly, I enjoyed how the supporting characters added to the novel, for no matter how inqfrequently they appear, they always seem to bring a new perspective to Faith's death that alters the entire atmosphere of the book.

    I wish it was a bit faster paced, but I still found Losing Faith is a fast but meaningful read that provides a great new take on the often overused "dead family member" premise.

    Book details: Simon Pulse/Paperback/$9.99


    Source: sent by publisher for review

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    In My Mailbox

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

    A few surprise review books this week! Funtimes.

    Without Tess by Marcella Pixley

    Tess and Lizzie are sisters, sisters as close as can be, who share a secret world filled with selkies, flying horses, and a girl who can transform into a wolf  in the middle of the night. But when Lizzie is ready to grow up, Tess clings to their fantasies. As Tess sinks deeper and deeper into her delusions, she decides that she can’t live in the real world any longer and leaves Lizzie and her family forever. Now, years later, Lizzie is in high school and struggling to understand what happened to her sister. With the help of a school psychologist and Tess’s battered journal, Lizzie searches for a way to finally let Tess go.
    This premise is reminiscent of plenty of others, but I'm sure the book will bring a new perspective to the "absent sibling" story thing.


     Stick by Andrew Smith

    Fourteen-year-old Stark McClellan (nicknamed Stick because he’s tall and thin) is bullied for being “deformed” – he was born with only one ear. His older brother Bosten is always there to defend Stick. But the boys can’t defend one another from their abusive parents.

    When Stick realizes Bosten is gay, he knows that to survive his father's anger, Bosten must leave home. Stick has to find his brother, or he will never feel whole again. In his search, he will encounter good people, bad people, and people who are simply indifferent to kids from the wrong side of the tracks. But he never loses hope of finding love – and his brother.
    How festive that Without Tess focuses on sisters, but this book on brothers. This one sounds like it shall be wonderfully intense.

    Also for review: 
    Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

    No summary included in this post because it's a sequel, but whoo, exciting! Its predecessor, Clockwork Angel, was rather good so I'm excited to see how this one compares. 

    But, the most important book I acquired this week:

    Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

    I've already read and loved this book, but I had to buy a copy so I can reread it and love it forever.

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Cybils!

    Cybils (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards) nominations have begun today, which is fun for me because I always like to figure out what to nominate from the pile of books that I love.

    After much deliberation, for the young adult category I nominated:

    I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    I figured that the other books I would have nominated would have already been sent in by someone else, so I picked this one because I still have a huge desire to reread it, even though I read it for the first time months ago. 

    And in the teen fantasy and science fiction category, I nominated:


    Dead Rules by Randy Russell

    This book is delightfully dark and funny, and I wish more people would give it a shot so I can see who is as morbid as I am.