Sunday, September 27, 2009

In My Mailbox (8)

IMM is a weekly meme that explores the contents of one's mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi at The Story Siren.

For Review:

Bree McCready and the Half-Heart Locket by Hazel Allan
(PB/August 2009/Strident Publishing)

Twelve-year-old Bree McCready has a mission: she has just one night to save the world!

It starts when a clue inscribed on a Half-Heart Locket leads Bree and her best friends Sandy and Honey to an ancient magical book. With it they can freeze time, fly and shrink to the size of ants.

But they soon discover the book has a long history of destruction and death. And it's being sought by the monstrous Thalofedril, who will stop at nothing to get it.

Using its incredible powers, he could turn the world into a wasteland.

Bree, Sand and Honey go on the run - hurtling off city rooftops, down neck-breaking ravines, and through night-black underground tunnels - to keep the book out of his lethal hands. Little do they know that the greatest danger of all lies ahead, in the heart of his deadly lair...

Can Bree find the courage to face this terrifying evil, and to confront the secrets of her tragic past?

This sounds good! Bree will always have a special place in my heart because this is the first book ever offered to me for review by the author! Hazel is super sweet, and she sent me a copy of her book all the way from Scotland! The book is actually being published over there, and hasn't been released yet in the US, but I'm helping to spread the word. Thanks Hazel! :)

Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
(ARC/October 2009/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Furnace Penitentiary: the world's most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth's surface. Alex Sawyer is the "new fish." Convicted of a murder he didn't commit, sentenced to life without parole, he knows he has two choices: resign himself to death in the darkness at the bottom of the world or find a way to break out of this escape-proof nightmare. Full of twists and terror, Lockdown is the incredible first book in Alexander Gordon Smith's Escape from Furnace series.

Oh, sounds scary! I think I might read this next, because I'm in the mood for something more dark. I received this from the Henry Holt InGroup review program.

Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
(PB/February 2009/Square Fish)

Laura comes from a world similar to our own except for one difference: It is next to the Place, an unfathomable land that fosters dreams of every kind and is inaccessible to all but a select few, the dreamhunters. These are individuals with the ability to catch larger-than-life dreams and relay them to audiences in the magnificent dream palace. People travel from all around to experience the benefits of the hunters' unique visions.

Now, fifteen-year-old Laura and her cousin Rose, daughters of dreamhunters, are old enough to find out if they qualify to enter the Place. But nothing can prepare them for what they are about to discover. In the midst of a fascinating landscape, :aura's dreamy childhood is ending, and a nightmare is beginning.

This sounds very interesting! I received this in the same package as Lockdown, but I have no idea why. Oh well, I'm glad I got it. :)

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
(PB/March 2007/MIRA)

A quick death...
Or slow poison...

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace - and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust - and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear...

I received some really interesting books this week, if I do say so myself! I've been wanted to read this for awhile after I read a great review about it. I received this from the Harlequin Teen Panel.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
(ARC/February 2010/Amy Einhorn Books)

Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war.

On the eve of the United States's entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn't deliver a letter. In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape.

The residents of Franklin think the war can't touch them- but as Frankie's radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen. The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during wartime, when those we cherish leave. And how every story-of love or war-is about looking left when we should have been looking right.

I received this from the Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club. It's actually an adult novel. but I love historical fiction, and it sounded like a a very touching read. I couldn't pass it up. Plus, the cover is absolutely gorgeous.

I also received these from Paperback Swap:
Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner
Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Overall, it was a great week of books for me!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Publication Date/Version: September 2005/Hardcover
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 277
Age Group: Young Adult

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is usually warm with a breeze, the sun and the stars shine brightly, and the beaches are marvelous. It's quiet and peaceful here. And you can't get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere's museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe's psychiatric practice.


It's where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different from it. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth.

But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen (again). She wants to get her driver's license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. She wants to fall in love. And now that she's dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn't want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well.

How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

Jeez, what a long description. I picked this up at the library because I've always heard great things about it. Elsewhere, however, didn't stick with me like it did with other readers. I finished this only a week ago, and I can't remember a single character's name. That's bad.

First off, the premise. Based on the book description, I was very excited to read it. It sounded like a cool, new take on the afterlife. It took me about 100 pages to get into the book, however. I found the beginning much to slow, and the rest of the book wasn't much better for me. The premise was a good one, but it wasn't executed very well.

Next are the characters. I didn't connect with any of them. A couple had me chuckling, but I never felt much emotion towards them. There were only a couple of times when I did. I rooted for Liz during her bumpy, heartbreak-filled search for love. When Liz meets her killer, I was very emotional. After reading the whole book, I almost cried at some of the things she said - good, not bad. There was also a great quote from Liz that I wanted to share: "A life isn't measured in hours and minutes. It's the quality, not the length" (Page 266). That really touched me after all of the tumultuous events in the book. That was definitely a wonderful section Elsewhere and it is one of the most moving parts of a book I've read in a long time.

Overall: I could never really get into Elsewhere, and the concept wasn't executed very well.

My Advice: I would recommend picking this up from your local library, simply because the end is so touching.

Cover: I like the cover, because both the snow globe and the ship fit the story. I don't find it to be incredibly striking, however.

Contest Winner!

I know, I know. I'm posting this so late, but I've had an incredibly busy week! I'm now the volleyball team manager, and on the day I was supposed to post the winner I didn't get home until after 12a.m. because of an away game. And there's been a ton of homework.

Anyways, the winner of The Black Sheep by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout is:

Paradox of Paradox Revealed!

Congrats! I've emailed you about your win. Please contact me within a week, or I will have to choose another winner. Thanks for participating in my first contest everyone who entered!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

In My Mailbox (7)

IMM is a weekly meme that explores the contents of one's mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi at The Story Siren.

This week one of the coolest things happened. Michelle Moran held
a treasure hunt for the the release of her new book, Cleopatra's Daughter. She posted a literary clue and a book store, and you were supposed to go to the bookstore and find the book that a special ribbon was located in, based on the clue given. Well, I was in school, so I had my mom go to the bookstore, because she works right by it. She found the ribbon and took it to the front desk, and we got a signed copy of Cleopatra's Daughter, gold Cleopatra earrings, and a 1600+ year-old Roman coin! That made my month. It was super exciting. Thanks Michelle for hosting such a great contest!

I also received Nancy Drew Girl Detective Boxed Sets 1 & 2 from Paperback Swap. Each has 8 books, so I got 16 books. Wahoo!

This week was also a great week for goodies! I got bookmarks and a signed bookplate from Michelle Moran, Hollow stickers and a postcard from Jessica Verday, and lots of stickers and bookmarks, as well as a signed bookplate from Kimberly Pauley, author of Sucks to Be Me. I sense a mini contest coming up soon. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Firsts (1)

I've noticed a new meme (does anyone know what meme means or stands for?!) that's been going around the blogosphere. It sounds fun, and offers an interesting glimpse into books.

The first line can make or break a reader’s interest. Just how well did the author pull you in to the story with their first sentence? To participate in this weekly book meme is extremely easy.

Grab the book you are currently reading and open to the first page.
Write down the first sentence in the first paragraph.
Create a blog post with this information.
Did this first sentence help draw you into the story? Why or why not?

I am currently reading Ash by Malinda Lo and here is the first sentence:

"Aisling's mother died at midsummer."

This first sentence creates some intrigue, but I don't believe it's great. It's not enough alone to draw me in. I really like the main characters name however, Aisling, shortened to Ash. The next sentence is really great though, and really grabs the readers attention:

"She had fallen sick so suddenly that some of the villagers wondered if the fairies had come and taken her, for she was still young and beautiful."

Very interesting, don't you think? Those two sentences combined were definitely enough to get me reading.

This meme is hosted by Well-Read Reviews.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Forest Born by Shannon Hale

Forest Born by Shannon Hale
Publication Date/Version: September 2009/Hardcover
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 389
Age Group: Young Adult

Growing up in the Forest, Rin always turned to the trees when she needed peace or reassurance, even direction, until the day they seem to reject her. Rin is sure something is wrong with her, something that is keeping her from feeling at home in the Forest, keeping her from trusting herself with anyone at all.

When her brother Razo returns to the city after a visit home, Rin accompanies him to the palace in hopes of finding a new sense of herself. But a mysterious threat haunts Bayern, and Rin joins the magical girls she thinks of as the Fire Sisters - Isi, Enna, and Dasha - as they venture into the woods towards the kingdom of Kel...where someone wants them all dead.

In this fourth tale in the Books of Bayern series, Newberry Honor-winning author Shannon Hale once again proves herself an irresistible storyteller, bringing readers back to a world rich with friendships, unexpected plot twists, and a little dose of magic.

I received this book from a contest at BookDivas. On the 24th, I'm supposed to participate in a discussion with Shannon herself. Sounds fun.

When I first started this book, I thought I wasn't going to be able to make it through. The writing style seemed choppy, but it grew on me. This book wasn't a slow read at all, but it seemed to take me forever. It was probably because school's starting up and all that. Anyways, I really enjoyed this book. Although it's part of a series, each book can be read as a stand alone, which I really enjoy. Based on Forest Born, I plan on reading the other Books of Bayern.

Forest Born was magical. The inside jacket says "a little dose of magic" but seriously, the entire book pretty much revolves around magic and its consequences. The form of magic in this book was so unique and creative that I was yearning to know more. The magic described was so interesting and it seemed to be incredibly useful. I wish I had some of the powers described, and I know most readers will fall in love with the new style as well. The story progressed quickly; the pace was just right. There was a ton of action, a hint of romance, and lots of family values.

The characters in Forest Born were amazing. You could connect with each and every one of them. The majority seemed like such good, honest people that you would love to know in real life. Connecting with them was easy, and there was such a wide variety of personalities that I believe most people will be able to see a bit of themselves in at least one character. I personally connected with Enna.

Overall: Forest Born featured captivating magic, a bit of adorable romance, and plenty of good messages about family.

My Advice: Pick up a copy at the library. The writing style may not be for everyone, and hardcovers aren't exactly cheap.

Cover: I love the cover! The script is great and the image as a whole is gorgeous. I don't know if the girl on the cover is an actual photo or a drawing, but either way, she's beautiful. If it really is a drawing I commend the artist, because she looks incredibly life like. The cover represents the story very well, and the trees and the castle tie in nicely.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (5)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading in which one grabs her current read, opens to a random page, and gives two "teaser" sentences from that page.

"This moment would be fixed in her memory forever: the moment she saw with her own eyes the creatures she had heard about all her life. They were grand and beautiful and frightening - the horses' heads shining white, their eyes burning like a blacksmith's forge. The riders, too, were like nothing she had ever seen before: ethereal men and women with pale visages, their cheekbones so sharply sculpted that she could see their skulls through translucent skin."

Page 33, Ash by Malinda Lo

Just to let you know, this book is amazing. The prose is beautiful. I'm completely enthralled.

A couple quick, important notices. First off, I'm extending the contest date to the 22nd of September. Also, keep your eyes out for a mini contest coming up soon!

One more thing. See that little "Help Me Support..." feature to the right? Please, please use that! You simply click on it, fill in a couple words or two, and you help me save the wildlife. How awesome is that? I plan on changing the cause I support every month, and at the end of the year, I'll let everyone know how much we've done to support charities that are important to me. Using the feature will only take about a minute, but you'll be helping a worthy cause. I figured that while I'm blogging, I should use my blog to do something good. Have you noticed how I'm practically begging you? :) I just want to make a difference, even if it's something small. Thanks!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Award Time!

Ok, so I received a couple of awards about a week or two back, and I've never posted about it. Well, now I am.

I received the Super Scribbler Award from Adele at Persnickety Snark. Thanks so much!

1. Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives this Prestigious Honor!
5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Thanks so much to La Coccinelle at The Ladybug Reads for the One Lovely Blog Award!

I know I'm supposed to nominate people for each separate award, but I thought I'd combine my nominations. Therefore, if I nominate you, feel free to take either award, or both!

My nominees are:
Kelsey at The Book Scout
Steph Su at Steph Su Reads
The wonderful women at Living Your Five

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Publication Date/Version: August 2009/Hardcover
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 343
Age Group: 12 and up

Sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe has just recently lost her father, leaving her parentless. But when a strange mark appears on her wrist, she realizes she is being branded with much more than her newfound title of orphan. Lia and her twin sister, Alice, are part of an ancient prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other.

Lia hides this discovery from Alice and even her beloved, James, but to escape from the burden this secret bestows she must end the prophecy - before her sister. Only then will she understand the mysterious circumstances of her parents' deaths, the true meaning of the mark on her wrist, the lengths to which her sister will go to defeat her, and the downfall the prophecy could bring.

With haunting, lyrical prose, this multilayered debut novel by Michelle Zink takes readers on an unforgettable journey where one sister's decision could have an impact of Biblical proportions.

I received this book for review from ReaderViews. I was excited to see that I received the original cover. I think it's very interesting and corresponds well with the story.

The prose in this book is wonderful. I love books that have an almost poetic quality to them, and Prophecy of the Sisters had just that. The language suited the time period, and the setting was gorgeous. I could easily imagine the scenes and the people in vivid detail. Many times, I wished I could take Lia's place, just to experience the richness of the world she lived in.

The characters really drew me into the story. I liked Lia, and knew from the beginning that there was something wrong with Alice. I especially came to like Sonia and Luisa, and I look forward to seeing them in future books and learning more about their stories. The plot was enthralling as well. It featured mystery, darkness, and magic - the perfect plot. I loved the quest for answers, but I felt that it was a little drawn out. As soon as one question was answered, three more popped up. Looking back, not too many events actually happened. The first book was mainly a search for knowledge, but that knowledge wasn't really acted upon quite yet. That would have to be my only complaint - the lack of action.

The whole premise of the story was very interesting. I've never read anything similar to this, so I was happy to flip page after page to learn more about this odd and complex prophecy. You couldn't help but root for Lia and her efforts to to end the prophecy before her sister.

Overall: The prose and setting of this book were gorgeous, and allowed the reader to feel as though she were in the story. The plot may have been slow, but its complexities made up for that fact.

My Advice: I recommend picking up a copy of this at your local library. For me personally, it's a keeper, but I can see why others may not enjoy it.

Cover: I really enjoy the cover that I received. The lettering is so pretty, and the snake brooch makes sense in relation to the story. I also like how a snake's tongue is added to the shadow of the brooch.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In My Mailbox (6)

IMM is a weekly meme that explores the contents of one's mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi at The Story Siren.

From the Library:
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
(HC/September 2005/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Is it possible to grow up while getting younger?

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward? This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
(PB/August 2008/Speak)

19 Katherines and counting...

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun — but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
(PB/December 2007/Harper Trophy)

She wished something would happen.

Something good. To her. Checking her wish for loopholes, she found one. Hoping it wasn't too late, she thought the word soon.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, he felt as if the world was opening. Life was rearranging itself; bulging in places, fraying in spots. He felt himself changing, too, but into what?

So much can happen in a summer.

Books I won:

Going Bovine by Libbra Bray
(ARC/Releases September 22, 2009 in HB/Delacorte Press)

All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

I won this from RandomBuzzers! They hold a contest every Friday and you have a chance to win a book if you enter. I've actually won two Fridays in a row. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (4)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading in which one grabs her current read, opens to a random page, and gives two "teaser" sentences from that page.

" 'We've the best chance out of anyone to find the fire-speakers and...and subdue them before they hurt any more people. A little whoosh-whoosh with the wind, a few well-placed fires, and we could wrap it up and send everyone home.' "

Page 67, Forest Born by Shannon Hale


Monday, September 7, 2009

In My Mailbox (5)

IMM is a weekly meme that explores the contents of one's mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi at The Story Siren.

For Review:

Ash by Malinda Lo
(ARC/Releases September 2009 in HB/Little, Brown and Company)

Pushed into indentured servitude for her stepmother in the City to pay off her father's debts, Ash is consumed with grief. She misses her family and her happy life at the edge of the Wood where old magic used to linger in the air like fairy breath. Her only joy comes from the brief, stolen walks in the woods with the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean. Ash's single, unspoken hope is that someday he might steal her away, as faeries are said to do.

But on the day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing faeries, from Kaisa she learns the art of the hunt, how to ride and track. Their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, but it grows and changes, and with it, Ash reawakens her capacity for love - and her desire to live.

Entrancing and romantic, Ash is an empowering retelling of Cinderella about choosing life and love over solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

I'm so excited to read this! I received it from ReaderViews. It will be the first fairy tale retelling I've read. Plus the cover is so pretty.

From Paperback Swap:

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
(PB/May 2009/Speak)

Ruby can take care of herself

She's used to counting on no one and answering to nobody. But all of that changes when her mother vanishes and Ruby is sent to live with her older sister, Cora. Now Ruby's got her own room in a fabulous new house, she's going to private school, and -for the first time- feeling as if she has a future. Plus, there's the adorable and sweet boy next door, Nate. Everything should be perfect. So why is Ruby so wary? And why is Nate keeping her at a distance? Ruby soon comes to realize that sometimes, in order to save yourself, you've got to reach out to someone else.

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
(PB/June 2002/Firebird)

Young Countess Meliara swears to her dying father that she and her brother will defend their people from the growing greed of the king. That promise leads them into a war for which they are ill-prepared, which threatens the very people they are trying to protect. But war is simple compared to what follows, in peacetime. Meliara is summoned to live at the royal palace, where friends and enemies look alike, and intrigue fills the dance halls and the drawing rooms. If she is to survive, Meliara must learn a whole new way of fighting-with wits and words and secret alliances.

In war, at least, she knew in whom she could trust. Now she can trust no one.

I'm very happy about what I got this week. Sorry about the lack of posts. Basically, I've been school shopping and writing my AP European History essay. Wahoo. And spending time with friends before school. School starts on Wednesday, so posts might not be frequent, but I'll try! Oh, I also received some very nice signed bookplates from Becca Fitzpatrick, the author of Hush, Hush. I've taken pictures of the bookplates and the postcard, but my computer is being stupid and won't upload them. I'll post the pictures as soon as I can figure out what's wrong.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Black Sheep by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout and Contest Time!

The Black Sheep by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout
Publication Date/Version: June 2008/Paperback
Publisher: Hyperion Paperbacks
Pages: 348
Age Group: Young Adult

Fed up with her parents and all their ridiculous rules (they keep a binder full of them), fifteen-year-old Kendra Bishop writes away to The Black Sheep, a reality TV show that offers the chance to swap families with another teen. But when the camera crew shows up at her Manhattan apartment, Kendra starts to have second thoughts.

Too late. Kendra is whisked away to Monterey, California, to live with the Mulligan family in a household that couldn't be more different from her own. Of course, when Kendra falls for Mitch, the Mulligans' seventeen-year-old son, it only complicates things further, especially since Mitch despises the reality TV show and everything it stands for. But given the chance, Kendra might just be able to juggle first love, her new stardom, and a pushy TV producer who will stop at nothing for higher ratings.

I got this from Paperback Swap. I've seen it here and there, but I've just now picked it up. And I'm glad I did.

The Black Sheep was a fun and cute book about a girl realizing who she really is, all while dealing with a nosy producer who doesn't know the meaning of privacy and a messy love life. There was always something going on, whether it was her switch to a new family or dealing with the otters. I found the pacing to be perfect. Kendra starts out as a somewhat snooty Manhattan girl, but throughout the course of the book she develops into a smart girl who isn't afraid to fight for what she believes in.

The plot itself was fun. It was definitely a book you'd read when you wanted a cute romance and plenty of drama. The characters only added to the story. I especially loved Mona and Max, Kendra's new parents, who tended to share just a little too much personal information. Those two always had me laughing. I could definitely emphasize with Kendra as she dealt with Meadow and Mitch (noticing a pattern here?), as they frustrated even me. I absolutely could not stand Judy and Maya, but that was the whole point. Ms. Collins and Ms. Rideout did a good job of creating characters you could connect with, as well as characters who could drive you crazy.

It was nice to see a girl who could stand up for herself -unless she was facing Judy, but then, who could? Although what Kendra did wasn't always right, she was generally trying to help out a cause she believed in. The Black Sheep would be a great book for tweens and teens of all ages.

Overall: The Black Sheep involved lots of family issues, drama, and crushes, making it the perfect summer read.

My Advice: Pick up a copy at your library over the summer. Maybe even pick up a copy at your local book store so you can read it again next summer.

Cover: I think the cover is very cute. It portrays the story pretty well, and I enjoy the cartoon-like feel. I also love the lettering of the title.

Okay, I've decided to host my first ever contest! The prize will be a copy of this lovely book, The Black Sheep. In order to be entered in the drawing, simply answer this question: If you could swap with any family in the world, where would you want to swap to? For me, it'd definitely be Greece. :)

Here's a few ways to earn extra entries:
+2 for being a follower
+1 for becoming a follower
+2 for posting about this on your blog
+1 for putting this on your sidebar

This contest is open to US residents and will run until September 22nd. Please leave comments along with extra entries on this blog post. A winner will be chosen on September 23rd. Please leave an email address so I can contact you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Publication Date/Version: October 2009/Hardcover
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 391
Age Group: 14 and up

Nora Grey is responsible and smart and not inclined to be reckless. Her first mistake was falling for Patch. Patch has a past that could be called anything but harmless. The best thing he ever did was fall for Nora.

After getting paired with Patch in biology, all Nora wants to do is stay away from him, but he always seems to be two steps ahead of her. She can feel his eyes on her even when he is nowhere around. She feels him nearby even when she is alone in her bedroom. And when her attraction can be denied no longer, she learns the secret about who Patch is and what led him to her. Despite all the questions she has about his past, in the end, there may be only one question they can ask each other: How far are you willing to fall?

I received this book from the First Look program at Barnes and Noble. I've been lusting over Hush, Hush ever since I first saw the cover about a month ago. It's been a terrible time waiting to read it, but now that I have, let me tell you, the wait is completely worth it.

First off, the storyline. Many people have said this is too similar to Twilight. But c'mon people, this is about fallen angels, not vampires. Stop complaining and realize that the majority of paranormal YA fiction out there is incredibly similar. The plot of Hush, Hush was gorgeous. It seemed to be very well thought out and the pacing was perfect. Ms. Fitzpatrick kept feeding you tidbits of information at just the right time in order to keep the plot moving, but still suspenseful. The idea itself is little known to me; I haven't read any other books about fallen angels, so I was instantly intrigued. I found everything to be exactly as I would have wanted it. A dark, mysterious plot with plenty of wonderful characters.

Let me just say, the characters were divine. I'm so happy to have a strong female character instead of a spineless girl who can't do anything for herself *cough*Bella*cough*. Nora, although she falls for Patch, still has a sense of who she is and doesn't give up her entire life for him. Now let's talk about Patch. There's so much to say. At first I couldn't stand him and his arrogance, but I warmed up to him quickly. His attitude and charm grew on me. Plus, his innuendos in Biology had me smirking the entire time. I know, he's a bad boy, but how could you not be attracted to him? I mean seriously, I even got little flutters in my stomach at some of the things he said, and he's a fictional character. That says a lot about Becca Fitzpatrick's characterisation skills. Oh, and the chemistry between Nora and Patch is hotter than the sun. I could put an ice cube on Hush, Hush and it would melt.

Finally, the ending. This is the first in an incredibly long time...The ending was absolutely perfect! I literally swooned at the final line. I don't know how much will change from the ARC to the hardcover, but I hope not too much! I felt satisfied with what I had learned by the end of the book, but I was left with just enough of a cliffhanger that I can't wait to devour more of Becca's work. Her debut novel is by far my favorite book of 2009. Well done Becca on a perfectly devised novel that exudes darkness and sexual tension.

Overall: Ok, if you've read any of the above review you should know what I'm going to say. I found this book to be absolutely perfect. It had a great mix of characterisation, chemistry, and plenty of darkness. I cannot wait for what Ms. Fitzpatrick has in store for us next.

My Advice: Buy a copy of this the day it comes out! You will not regret it. And then write a raving review, as well as join your local Becca Fitzpatrick fan club. :D

Cover: This was what initially drew me to the book. It's wonderful for the story. The man on the cover represents Patch well and the falling feathers are great. Every aspect of the cover reflects the novel perfectly.

Teaser Tuesday (3)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading in which one grabs her current read, opens to a random page, and gives two "teaser" sentences from that page.

He leans in, brushing my shoulder as he looks at the page. "It
says 'Librum Maleficii et Disordinae.' " He looks into my eyes. "Approximately? The Book of Chaos."

Page 29, Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

I know, I know. It's five sentences, but I thought it was a nice little passage so I decided to cheat this time. ;) Enjoy.
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