Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Wishlist (20)

This post is inspired by Stargirlreads at Books Make Great Lovers. In Wishlist Wednesday, I'll showcase a book that may or may not be out yet that I would love to review and cannot wait to read! Links and descriptions are from Goodreads. Here's what's on my wishlist this week:

Heart of a Samurai
by Margi Preus

In 1841, a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.

Manjiro, a fourteen-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives for some time in New England, and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

Reasons I want to read this:
1. I really enjoy historical fiction
2. I'm interested in learning about Japanese culture
3. The cover is wonderful
4. I read a really good review from another blogger

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm Back!

Hey everyone. I'm back from San Francisco, and I had a wonderful time! I will be posting later with pictures and a general sum up. I look forward to being back with all of you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pretty on the Outside by Kate Kingsley

Pretty on the Outside by Kate Kingsley
Publication Date/Version: April 2010/Paperback
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Publicist/Publisher (Thanks!)

Alice and Tally have ruled St. Cecilia's, their private boarding school just outside of London, for years. As everyone comes back for their junior year, the girls can't wait to start partying in London and jetting off to Paris and Rome. As Alice begins to realize that she has more than friendly feelings for Tristan, her long time best friend, she thinks the excitement of a new crush will make this year the best yet. But when Dylan, the American girl Tristan summered with in the Hamptons transfers to St. Cecilia's, the girls' perfect lives spiral into broken hearts, jealousies, and revenge plots that will change everything.

At St. Cecilia's, an all-girls private school, Alice and Tally have always ruled. As best friends, they know the ins and outs of Cecilia's. They sneak out, board jets to Paris, and hang out with Hasted House boys. The new girl, Dylan, stirs up trouble among the girls. Dylan had a fling with Tristan and she still wants to be with him. Alice, however, wants Tristan as well. A battle begins, and no one is safe.

Joining the ranks of The It Girl and Private, Pretty on the Outside is the feisty start to a juicy series. With loads of drama, it's sure to please to guilty side in all of us.

Admit it. You've got a guilty pleasure for all things wild, girly, and crazy. We all do. For those times when you need to escape from the seriousness of life, this new series will take you away. It's all that you expect, plus a few surprises. Be warned: this book is not for young readers, as it is filled with drugs, drinking, and hooking up.

Alice and Tally are your typical, teenage fiction boarding school queens. They're intimidating, and they know it. The two best friends get what they want, and they're used to being on top. When Dylan, the new girl, threatens this balance, St. Cecilia's turns a bit cutthroat. Dylan wants to get with Tristan, but so does Alice. As you can imagine, this doesn't go over too well. In a whirlwind of bad ideas, boys, and booze, St. Cecilia's and Hasted House, their male counterpart, are headlong into a battle of love.

As you may expect, I had a lot of fun with Pretty on the Outside, but I didn't find a lot of depth. I knew that I wouldn't though, so I took the book as what it was supposed to be, and I enjoyed it the whole time. It was perfect for a very rare guilty read. Alice and Tally are those girls. The ones everyone wants to be, but hates at the same time. It was fun to step into their lives, as well as get an occasional glimpse of Tristan's point of view. The book was told mainly by Alice and Tally, but we got a different character's outlook every once in a while, which made the story fresh.

One of the things that irks me most about these kinds of books is the constant name and label dropping that goes on. The name dropping happened in the first couple of chapters of Pretty on the Outside, but I never once read a brand name. I was pleasantly surprised! There was no Gucci this, Prada that. Sure they talked about clothes a bit, but more about what they actually looked like than how much they cost.

I enjoyed the wild antics, as I lived vicariously through their experiences. A girl like me would never even think of doing half the things they did, and I believe almost all readers can relate with me on that point. Because of that, I enjoyed the escape into no rules and total freedom, even if it wasn't my own.

Overall: Feisty and fresh. Perfect for that rare guilty pleasure read.

My Advice: Borrow it or buy it. I'm actually looking forward to collecting the series, as long as it isn't 12 freakin' books long.

Cover: Really like it! It's actually much more symbolic than I expected. The clothes are pretty, but the black figures represent the girls' tainted hearts.. Plus, it's just simple and nice to look at.

*This was read as a part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge and the 100+ Reading Challenge

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Contest: Wayfarer

Thanks to the wonderful R.J. Anderson, I have 1 signed and personalized hardcover copy of Wayfarer by R.J. Anderson! I've yet to review Wayfarer, but let me tell you, it was an amazing book!

The faeries of the Oak are dying, and it’s up to a lone faery named Linden to find a way to restore their magic. Linden travels bravely into dangerous new territory, where she enlists the help of an unlikely friend—a human named Timothy. Soon they discover something much worse than the Oakenfolk’s loss of magic: a potent evil that threatens the fate of all faeries. In a fevered, desperate chase across the country, Timothy and Linden risk their lives to seek an ancient power before it’s too late to save everyone they love. R. J. Anderson has artfully crafted a world of stunning magic, thrilling adventure, and delicate beauty, where a girl far from home must defeat the pervasive evil befalling her beloved faery realm.

Contest Closed

Interview: R.J. Anderson, author of Wayfarer

Please welcome R.J. Anderson, author of Spell Hunter and Wayfarer. You can read my review of Spell Hunter here. R. J. Anderson (known to her friends as Rebecca) was born in Uganda, raised in Ontario, went to school in New Jersey, and has spent much of her life dreaming of other worlds entirely.

1. Please describe Wayfarer in 50 words or less.
A faery named Linden ventures into the modern human world to save her dying people, enlisting the help of Timothy, a human boy, along the way. But their quest earns them some dangerous enemies, and soon their lives, and the fate of both their worlds, is at stake.

2. What inspired you to write about faeries? How did you come up with the lore behind Spell Hunter and Wayfarer?
I was always interested in the idea of small faeries, but I disliked their reputation -- in North America at least -- for being cute and sparkly and generally childish. So I decided to turn that idea on its head and write about a small faery who was not in the least cute, and whose problems and challenges were very big and serious (and even grown-up) indeed.

Some of the lore in the books is invented, but in most cases it's my own personal spin on ideas that are part of faery folklore anyway. The particular group of Welsh faeries that Linden and Timothy encounter in Wayfarer, for instance, are very much based on a genuine Pembrokeshire legend. But I tried to avoid legends and traditions that have been overused by other authors -- or at least, if I did have to draw from those very familiar sources, to put a fresh spin on them.

3. If you could choose one of the faery jobs, which one would you want?
I'd want to be the Oak's librarian, for certain. I love books and I'm good at keeping things organized, and it would be just about the only task in the Oak that I could be sure of doing well!

4. Everyone reads classics in high school English. Which ones did you love? Which ones should students never be forced to read?
People are going to think me horribly warped for saying this, but I loved Lord of the Flies. Not because it was a pleasant read by any means (in fact I was enraged nearly to the point of tears over the fate of Simon, who was my favourite character by far) but because it rang true to my own experience as a bullied and ostracized child. I could easily believe that a group of "angelic" children could degenerate into barbarism and murder if all restraints were taken away, because I'd experienced the cruelty of unsupervised children myself. I had a similar "Yes, this" reaction to Animal Farm.

On the other hand, I nearly tore my hair out in despair over the very dull works of "classic Canadian literature" we were forced to read, most of which involved housewives going through midlife crises or old men reminiscing about the war. On the Prairies. With the wind blowing the grain. And nothing much else.

5. The one book everyone should read?
The Bible. Even if you don't believe a word of it, it's exerted a huge and undeniable influence on literature in general, and even on the fantasy genre in particular. And it's tremendously honest and perceptive about human nature, at its best and worst.

6. Are you working on anything at the moment? If so, please tell us a little about it.
I'm just about to plunge into revisions on Arrow, the third book in the faery series, which is scheduled for publication in the UK this coming January. It wraps up the loose threads from Wayfarer and brings the war between the rebels and the Empress to a resolution. After that I'll be polishing up a very different project, a paranormal thriller for older teens called Touching Indigo, which will be out Fall 2011... and then it'll be time to write a fourth faery book, Swift, which is either a standalone or the start of a new trilogy -- I'm not sure yet.

7. Any last words?
If you're reading this and you're a teacher, librarian and/or book club leader who is interested in me and my books, I'm available to do virtual visits and interviews on Skype. You can find out more details on my Skype an Author page ( and contact me through my website,

Thanks so much for joining us Rebecca!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In My Mailbox (42)

IMM is a weekly meme that explores the contents of one's mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi at The Story Siren. Descriptions are from Goodreads. This IMM includes books from Monday through Wednesday, as I'm not here at the moment and have no idea what I received Thursday through Sunday. Thursday through Sunday's book will be included in next week's IMM.

For Review:

Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner
(HC/April 2010/Random House)

After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley meets gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints himself her protector.

When Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, she discovers that Hallgerd's spell and her mother's disappearance are connected to a chain of events that could unleash terrifying powers and consume the world. Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell—and her growing attraction to Ari.

Iceland - how cool! I love the cover. I received this for review from Teens Read Too.

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
(HC/April 2010/Knopf)

Sixteen-year-old Celestia is a wealthy member of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, where she meets and falls in love with Peter, a hired hand who lives in the valley below, and by the time of the torrential rains that lead to the disastrous Johnstown flood of 1889, she has been disowned by her family and is staying with him in Johnstown.

Romance and historical fiction? I'm going to love it. I received this for review from Teens Read Too.

Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw
(ARC/May 2010 in UK/Headline)

Ten years ago Kate Winters' parents were taken by the High Council's wardens to help with the country's war effort. Now the wardens are back...and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane -- the High Council's most feared man -- recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council's experiments into the veil, and he's convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft -- a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft. To help Artemis, Edgar and herself, Kate must honour her pact with a murderer and come face to face with the true nature of death.

I'm not sure when this releases in the U.S. I'm very excited for this one! I received this for review from Teens Read Too.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
(PB/May 2010 in UK/Definitions)

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed.

He is seventeen, gorgeous, and on the brink of a bright future.

And now they have fallen in love. But...

They are brother and sister.

Um, wow? You know how each year there's that one book you have to read because you know it's going to change your outlooks and beliefs? Well, this is that book for me. I received this for review from Teens Read Too.

Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham
(PB/March 2010/Authorhouse)

Fourteen year old Georgie Harris feels as if the summer holidays are over before they have even begun. Banned from going to the local drama workshop by her bully of a step-dad and her increasingly fragile mum she is consigned to six long weeks of babysitting her kid sister. Sick of feeling like the outsider at home and at school, she starts emailing the one person she thinks might understand; Dylan Curtlan, star of the popular soap opera Jessop Close.

And when Dylan starts emailing back Georgie finally feels a spark of hope. At last she has someone who really gets her, someone who really wants to help. But in the faceless world of email all is not as it seems...

Sounds intriguing! Thanks to Siobhan for sending me a copy!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland (ARC)

Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch (From Goodreads First Reads program)

I had an awesome week. Well, three days actually. How about you?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony

Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
Publication Date/Version: May 2010/Hardcover
Publisher: Putnam
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Editor (Thanks!)

The year is 2041, and sixteen-year-old Molly McClure has lived a relatively quiet life on an isolated farming island in Canada, but when her family fears the worst may have happened to her grandparents in the US, Molly must brave the dangerous, chaotic world left after global economic collapse—one of massive oil shortages, rampant crime, and abandoned cities.

Molly is relieved to find her grandparents alive in their Portland suburb, but they’re financially ruined and practically starving. What should’ve been a quick trip turns into a full-fledged rescue mission. And when Molly witnesses something the local crime bosses wishes she hadn’t, Molly’s only way home may be to beat them at their own game. Luckily, there’s a handsome stranger who’s willing to help.

Molly is heading off on her own, trying to find her grandparents. It's 2041, and the world is desolate. After huge oil shortages, people must depend on the wits to survive as crime runs wild. Molly lived safely on a small island in Canada, but now she must head to Oregon to find her aging grandparents and bring them back. The trip there isn't easy, nor is convincing her grandparents to come back. Molly has to tough it out and learn to fend for herself. With the help of a in-the-know young man, however, she'll get an extra boost.

I love dystopian novels, simple as that. They're exciting, they're always full of adventure, and they amaze me. I always try to put myself into the character's situation, and I ask myself what I would do. Would I be brave enough? Would I do anything it took to survive? These questions, along with the characters' situations fascinate me. Restoring Harmony was another great addition to my endless wondering.

Molly is a headstrong young woman, though somewhat worrisome in the beginning. She travels to Oregon hoping to rescue her grandparents, making it all the way there to discover they don't want to go to Canada. So begins the long process of surviving and convincing. The cast of characters Molly meets is diverse, ranging from nice old women to mean and tough mobsters. One young man, eventually nicknamed Spill, is especially enticing. He always has help for Molly, but she's wary of just how he gets it. Spill seems to be working for the wrong people, and Molly isn't sure if she should risk getting involved.

The story progresses quickly with new turns around every corner. I thoroughly enjoyed the overall plot, especially the end. Lately I've been on a really good reading streak. I haven't read a bad book lately. Restoring Harmony hasn't broken it for sure. Molly serves as a proper role model. She's willing to fight for herself and her family, and she's strong in the face of danger. One can see her mature through the course of the novel, as you can expect from a good novel.

I recommend Restoring Harmony to lovers of dystopian fiction, especially ones with a knack for strong heroines.

Overall: Strong female character. Exciting story. Another great addition to dystopian fiction.

My Advice: Buy it if you love dystopian. Borrow it if you're not sure. I recommend this to all readers. I'm excited to own a copy.

Cover: Gorgeous. It looks more like art than a book cover. I love the way the white arches fade. The cover is very representative of the novel as a whole.

*This was read as a part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge and the 100+ Reading Challenge

Thursday, June 24, 2010


That's right, it's vacation time! From today, June 24th, until June 29th, next Tuesday, I'll be traveling down to San Francisco with my family and best friend for a family friend's wedding. We plan on hitting up Six Flags, staying at the Wharf, and taking a look at an awesome science museum down there.

I will be unable to answer emails at this time, but I'll see to all of them when I get back. I will also turn comment moderation off, but put up word verification for the time being. Posts will continue during my vacation, as I've scheduled them ahead of time.

Look for a trip recap when I get back!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday Wishlist (19)

This post is inspired by Stargirlreads at Books Make Great Lovers. In Wishlist Wednesday, I'll showcase a book that may or may not be out yet that I would love to review and cannot wait to read! Links and descriptions are from Goodreads. Here's what's on my wishlist this week:

by Jackie Morse Kessler

“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

Reasons I want to read this:
1. Did you read the description? That sounds like the most amazing and original concept I've heard this year.
2. Awesome cover. It reminds me of the Mortal Instruments covers.
3. "Wow" is really all I have to say.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CSN Upcoming Product Review

You may have seen CSN Furniture around the blogosphere. They're known for having awesome giveaways, as well as quality furniture. I was lucky enough to be contacted to review one of their products! I've been browsing, and believe me, there's a lot to look at with over 200+ stores. They have everything from wall sconces to magazine racks. Or maybe I should try out a bookcase, or a bean bag, or maybe a nice blanket to cuddle up with? It seems as though the possibilities are endless. What would you get? This chair is pretty snazzy.

Who knows what I'll buy with so many choices? Look forward to a product review when I manage to choose something!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Contest: A Little Wanting Song

Thanks to the wonderful Cath Crowley and her publisher, I have 3 copies of A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley to give away! You can read my review and interview.

CHARLIE DUSKIN loves music, and she knows she's good at it. But she only sings when she's alone, on the moonlit porch or in the back room at Old Gus's Secondhand Record and CD Store. Charlie's mom and grandmother have both died, and this summer she's visiting her grandpa in the country, surrounded by ghosts and grieving family, and serving burgers to the local kids at the milk bar. She's got her iPod, her guitar, and all her recording equipment, but she wants more: A friend. A dad who notices her. The chance to show Dave Robbie that she's not entirely unspectacular.

ROSE BUTLER lives next door to Charlie's grandfather and spends her days watching cars pass on the freeway and hanging out with her troublemaker boyfriend. She loves Luke but can't wait to leave their small country town. And she's figured out a way: she's won a scholarship to a science school in the city, and now she has to convince her parents to let her go. This is where Charlie comes in. Charlie, who lives in the city, and whom Rose has ignored for years. Charlie, who just might be Rose's ticket out.

Told in alternating voices and filled with music, friendship, and romance, Charlie and Rose's "little wanting song" is about the kind of longing that begins as a heavy ache but ultimately makes us feel hopeful and wonderfully alive.

Contest Closed

Interview: Cath Crowley, author of A Little Wanting Song

Please welcome Cath Crowley, author of A Little Wanting Song. You can read my review here. Cath spends her time young adult fiction and fiction for younger children. She likes reading, TV marathons, the planetarium, politics and hanging out with her friends.

1. Please describe your novel in 50 words or less.
A Little Wanting Song is about longing. Charlie is desperate to belong, to be noticed by a boy, to have her mother alive again. Rosie is desperate to be different, to get away from her boyfriend and from her mother. It’s about what happens when their different wanting songs collide.

2. Where did you draw inspiration for A Little Wanting Song? Was it challenging to write Charlie's songs?
I was on a train once and I saw a girl carrying a guitar. She had long hair and the saddest eyes and she gave me the initial idea for the character, Charlie Duskin.

Charlie is an outsider, so I wanted her to have another language, another way to enter the world. To get her voice I spent ages listening to bands and singers that I thought she might like – Fiona Apple, Natalie Merchant, Spiderbait, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix. Eventually a sort of rolling, lyrical voice emerged.

I found it really difficult to translate her prose voice into poetry. I kept sitting in front of a blank screen waiting for something to happen but nothing did.

In the end I played the music I thought she’d like – played it really loud so I could barely think - and I wrote at the same time. I put down whatever came into my head. Usually I can’t write unless it’s quiet but somehow that time the noise worked for me.

I took the interesting lines or words from that writing session and worked them into a song/poem. My American editor, Allison Wortche, did a beautiful job of editing them for me. It’s amazing how one word can change a sentence.

Rose’s voice is much harsher. She’s desperate to get away. I grew up in a small country town so I know what it’s like to be restless. Rose was much easier to write than Charlie.

3. Everyone reads classics in high school English. Which ones did you love? Which ones should students never be forced to read?
I loved classics like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird and Ivanhoe but we didn’t study those at school.

I remember reading Beowulf in Year 12 Literature and loving it. Other ones that stand out are George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion and all the Shakespeare we studied, especially Othello.

As for which ones students should never be forced to read, that’s difficult.
Even books that I haven’t loved have given me something to think about. A mix of literature is important though - classic, contemporary, prose, poetry, lyrics. Maybe for every classic there should be one text that students choose.

4. One book you recommend to everyone?
Definitely The Princess Bride by William Goldman. True love and high adventure.

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If I had to choose this second it would be the Amalfi Coast. It looks so incredibly beautiful. But maybe from there I could head across to Paris. And on the way home I could stop off in New York. I’d love to visit The Museum of Modern Art.

6. Are you working on anything at the moment? If so, please tell us a bit about it.
I’m finishing off Graffiti Moon, to be published by Pan Macmillan in August this year.

Lucy Dervish is the main character and she’s on this all-night adventure to find Shadow, a graffiti artist everyone talks about. Lucy’s sure that if they could actually meet, the two of them would really hit it off.

Shadow paints these amazing pictures all over the city - birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. He paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers. That’s all Lucy knows of him, and from this she’s decided what he must be like.

During the night Lucy runs into Ed, who’s pretty much the last guy she wants to have anything to do with. He knows where to find Shadow, though; so the two of them start searching for him together.

It’s about art - how it gives people another language, another way to enter the world. It’s about love too. I like the line on the cover: an artist, a dreamer, a long mean night.

7. Any last words?
If anyone has any other questions they can find me at or on the Cath Crowley Author facebook page.

And thanks to everyone who has read A Little Wanting Song. It’s exciting to have the book out in another country.

Thanks so much for joining us Cath!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Contest Winner: Lifted

I'm happy to announce the winner of 1 signed copy of Lifted by Wendy Toliver, a book I loved. Without further ado, according to a random number generator, the winner is:


Congratulations! I've emailed you about your win.

Look forward to say...four more contests? How's that sound?

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Publication Date/Version: April 2010/Hardcover
Publisher: Philomel
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Around The World Tours (Thanks!)

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

Eleven-year-old Caitlin has recently lost her brother, Devon, to a school shooting. Under any circumstances, that would be hard to cope with, but for Caitlin it's even harder. Caitlin has Asperger's. She has trouble deciphering others' emotions, therefore making it hard for her to connect with others. As she searches for closure, she comes closer to understanding others and realizes that things aren't always neat and tidy.

Mockingbird reminded me of House on Mango Street with its short, vignette-like chapters. I'm a sucker for short chapters actually. The book went by quickly, as it was short and small. I finished it under a day, but it left an impression in that short period of time.

Caitlin is both easy and hard to connect with at the same time. She's going through a lot of pain because of her brother's death and her father's somewhat helpless attitude. Because of this, you feel for her. At the same time, she makes situations awkward and doesn't know when not to speak. It made me cringe a bit, but then I had to realize she didn't have much control. It was one of those situations you wanted to watch but felt bad doing so.

Throughout the story, Caitlin, as well as her father, progress from a state of disbelief to a state of closure. She is still wary of others, but she begins to feel and recognize people's emotions, allowing her to grow closer. She makes a friend who happens to be related to the shooting in some way. The most important lessons she learns, one that all of us could learn, is not to judge people based on how they act. People act that way out of hardship and Caitlin learns this difficult lessons by the end of the story. That's what stuck with me the most: we should give other people chances before we judge them.

While this book is difficult to sum up, it was simple and important. It retaught me lessons that everyone should put into practice. I recommend picking this up so that you can revisit what it really means to be kind and understanding of others, even in hard times.

Overall: Simple and important. Teaches life lessons that we shouldn't forget. Good take on mental illness.

My Advice: Buy it or borrow it. Whichever you're more inclined towards.

Cover: This is why I initially picked up the book. I love it. It's plain, yet striking. The title and presentation have so much meaning after reading the book.

*This was read as a part of the 100+ Reading Challenge

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In My Mailbox (41)

IMM is a weekly meme that explores the contents of one's mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi at The Story Siren. Descriptions are from Goodreads. This IMM is from the last two weeks, not just one.

For Review:

Split by Swati Avasthi
(ARC/Released March 2010/Knopf)

Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret.

He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret. At least so far.

Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split — how do you begin to live again? Readers won’t be able to put this intense page-turner down.

I just finished reading this, and I loved it. Stunning book. I received this from Around The World Tours. Review to come.

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
(ARC/Released April 2010/Philomel)

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

I've finished this one as well, and it was great. It reminded me of House on Mango Street with its vignette-like short chapters. I received this from Around The World Tours. Review to come.

The Exile of Gigi Lane by Adrienne Maria Vrettos
(ARC/Released April 2010/McElderry Books)

Heathers meets Bring It On in The Exile of Gigi Lane, where a high school queen bee's rise to glory is nothing compared to her fall from it.

I received this for review from Around The World Tours.

My Double Life by Janette Rallison
(ARC/Released May 2010/Putnam)

Her whole life, Alexia Garcia has been told that she looks just like pop star Kari Kingsley, and one day when Alexia’s photo filters through the Internet, she’s offered a job to be Kari’s double. This would seem like the opportunity of a lifetime, but Alexia’s mother has always warned her against celebrities.

Rebelliously, Alexia flies off to L.A. and gets immersed in a celebrity life. Not only does she have to get used to getting anything she wants, she romances the hottest lead singer on the charts, and finds out that her own father is a singing legend. Through it all, Alexia must stay true to herself, which is hard to do when you are pretending to be somebody else!

I received this for review from Around The World Tours. This is what I'll be reading next. Hope I like it.

Manifest by Artist Arthur
(ARC/Releases August 2010/Kimani Press)

Krystal Bentley is an outsider at her new high school, having just moved to a small Connecticut town. Lately she's been hearing the voice of a teenage boy in her head, and he has become her friend and confidant. The only problem is, he's dead...

Ricky Watson was killed a year ago in the alley behind Krystal's new school. The rumor mill is filled with stories of Ricky and his untimely death. Unfortunately, as a ghost, Ricky is unable to investigate his own murder, so Ricky needs Krystal to find the truth and she needs someone to listen. When Krystal befriends Sasha and Jake, both outcasts at her high school, the threesome soon discover that they have more in common than their outsider status. Each has a unique paranormal ability and an unusual birthmark in the shape of an "M." Jake announces that the M must stand for misfits, and so the three form an unusual clique. They soon realize that solving Ricky's murder can help them understand the mystery behind their powers and may reveal whether there are others like them.

This sounds really good! I can't wait to read it. Thanks to Lisa for sending this to me!

The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace (What a beautiful cover in person!)
Freshwater Boys by Adam Schuitema
The Homecoming by Dan Walsh

All are from the Goodreads First Reads program.

Tension of Opposites swag from Kelsey (Thanks!)
The Red Priest's Annina swag from Sarah, the author (Thanks!)

The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer (ARC)
Dying to read this! No pun intended.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (Signed! Pretty new paperback cover)
Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
Soulless by Christopher Golden
Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Troy by Adele Geras

Powell's is awesome! I got all of those, including a signed edition, for just over 25 dollars. Plus, free shipping.

Needless to say, I had an amazing last couple of weeks!! How about you?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer time!

It's official. It's summer! Finals are over, tests are done, goodbyes have been said. I'm out and I'm so ready for it. Be on the lookout for frequent posts. There are tons of reviews, interviews, giveaways, and random posts coming up soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Wishlist (18)

This post is inspired by Stargirlreads at Books Make Great Lovers. In Wishlist Wednesday, I'll showcase a book that may or may not be out yet that I would love to review and cannot wait to read! Links and descriptions are from Goodreads. Here's what's on my wishlist this week:

Crossing Over
by Anna Kendall

Whether it's a curse, or a blessing, or an ability, the fact remains: whenever Roger is injured or in enough pain he crosses over to the land of the dead. Once there, there are rules: only the newly dead will talk, for example, and nothing will raise the longer dead from their tranquillity.

There are rules in the land of the living as well; rules which would have Roger hanged for witchcraft if he was ever caught. But refusing to cross over isn't an option. His uncle depends on Roger to hide under the table in their fairground act, listen to the recently bereaved asking questions of their dear departed, and then cross over to find the answers. It's a hard way of life, made all the harder as his uncle's fists usually provide the trigger for Roger to cross over.

It's not the only way of life, though, and when Roger sees a chance to escape he fights for it - little knowing that love, loss, shocking revelations and, ultimately, war lie ahead of him.

Just because Roger can cross over into the land of the dead doesn't mean he wants to.

Reasons I want to read this:
1. As with all of my picks, again, look at that cover. Gorgeous.
2. What an amazing concept.
3. I have a feeling it will be a bit historical and a lot paranormal, a great combination.
4. It's one of those books I simply feel I have to read.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Life Be Like...

Oi. Sorry for the cheesy song reference. I'm here to tell you that I've almost survived and to apologize for my lack of posts. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. Saturday was my older brother (Okay, not technically. He's my best friend's older brother, but he might as well be related to me) graduated from high school so I went of course. Maybe I'll post pictures later.(Should I?) I spent all day Sunday studying for finals.

Want to see my schedule? Here it is:
Last Wednesday: Health
Last Thursday: Spanish 2
Monday: Religion and Geometry
Tuesday: Honors Literature and Honors Biology
Wednesday: AP European History

After tomorrow, I'll be all done and out for the summer! I'll be a junior. And Wednesday my good friend's little sister is graduating from 8th grade, so I'm going to that. I love graduation season - it's an excuse to look nice.

Question: Would you, my readers, care to see pictures of myself so you can get a visual? Would you like me to do a short post about my life in general? A couple people have asked about me. If any of this interests you, leave a comment!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm back?

Hiatus, schmiauts. I found that I actually have more time than I thought. So I believe my self-declared hiatus is out the window. Look forward to reviews, author interviews, and contests!

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw
Publication Date/Version: May 2010/Hardcover
Publisher: Amulet Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Around The World Tours (Thanks!)

“Evangeline,” he repeated, calling at a whisper. “Evangeline.” He was not calling that she may hear, he was calling that somehow her soul might know that he was devoted entirely to her, only to her. “Evangeline, I will find you.”

Eva and Gabe explore the golden forest of their seaside Maine town, unknowingly tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who once lived in the idyllic wooded village of Acadia more than one hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were be wed, their village was attacked and the two were separated. And now in the present, Gabe has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.

A dreamlike, loose retelling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous love poem “Evangeline,” Anxious Hearts tells an epic tale of unrequited love and the hope that true love can be reunited.

Eva and Gabe, Evangeline and Gabriel. Two pairs whose fates are unknowingly intertwined through a tiny seaside town. Eva and Gabe, the modern pair, aren't a couple, but things are leaning that way. Both have lost their mothers, and only they can truly understand each other. Evangeline and Gabriel, the classic couple, are destined to be married after a picturesque courting. On the day of their wedding, however, the two are separated. The present reflects the past as Gab disappears from Eva. Will either pair reunite, or will love be lost?

Anxious Hearts switches not only perspective, but time periods as well. The book changes from present to past, Eva to Gabriel. Both offer similar but unique stories. And each is equally enthralling.

Both tales were comforting and alluring. The love described was aching, painful, and hopeful. Gabriel was a true gentleman, and Evangeline was feisty and independent. Their story was one of an ideal courtship in a more simple time. Gabriel had an intense love for Evangeline, and it really came off of the pages. In the modern setting, Gabe and Eva simply understood each other. That was what made their connection so real and strong. Both had lost their mothers, and only the other could fully understand. No one else knew the pain they were going through, and they were able to find solstice in each other.

Each perspective offered something different, both aspects being enjoyable. Within Eva's story I found excitement and spontaneity, while in Gabriel's I found wonderful prose and a heart-wrenching story. I loved how each storyteller had a different font and design to go along with their story.

I anxiously flipped pages, finishing this quickly. Both stories left me satisfied, if not more than a bit sad. They weren't perfect endings, and that's what made them all the better. They were real and whole. I have not read the poem Evangeline, but I intend to after this beautiful book.

Overall: Gorgeous stories of love, hope, and understanding. Great alternative perspectives.

My Advice: Buy a copy. I look forward to owning it. I can't wait to read much more by Tucker Shaw.

The Cover: This is what originally drew me to the book. I love the model, but the background feels a bit fake to me. I also don't like the title font, but the model is so lovely that she makes up for the rest.

*This was read as a part of the 100+ Reading Challenge

Monday, June 7, 2010


Hola! Yes, one more hiatus this year. But a short one! Finals will be over next Wednesday, and I'll be out of school for the summer. Lots of time for blogging. Hang in with me until then. Right now is supposed to be dead week. Funny how I have five tests this week. Yeah, it's not actually. ;]

Thanks for sticking around! I'll see you next Wednesday.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

In My Mailbox (40)

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

For Review:

Middleworld by J&P Voelkel
(PB/April 2010/EgmontUSA)

Fourteen-year-old Max Murphy is looking forward to a family vacation. But his parents, both archaeologists and Maya experts, announce a change in plan. They must leave immediately for a dig in the tiny Central American country of San Xavier. Max will go to summer camp. Max is furious. When he's mysteriously summoned to San Xavier, he thinks they've had a change of heart.

Upon his arrival, Max's wild adventure in the tropical rainforests of San Xavier begins. During his journey, he will unlock ancient secrets and meet strangers who are connected to him in ways he could never have imagined. For fate has delivered a challenge of epic proportions to this pampered teenager. Can Max rescue his parents from the Maya Underworld and save the world from the Lords of Death, who now control the power of the Jaguar Stones in their villainous hands? The scene is set for a roller-coaster ride of suspense and terror, as the good guys and the bad guys face off against a background of haunted temples, zombie armies, and even human sacrifice!

I love historical fiction and adventure, so I can't wait to read this. Plus, I've heard great things about it. I received this from Goodman Media.

Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson
(ARC/Releases July 2010/Scholastic)

When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, of whom she has heard terrible stories all her life, she is convinced the mermaid means to take her younger sister. Adrianne, fierce-willed and courageous, is determined to protect her sister from the mermaid, and her family from starvation. However, the mermaid continues to haunt Adrianne in her dreams and with her song.

Yet, when the islanders find out about Adrianne's encounters with the mermaid she is scorned, for this small and superstitious community believes the mermaid will bring devastation to the island if Adrianne does not give herself to the sea.

A powerful and lyrical story of one girl who must choose between having everything and having those she loves.

Interesting premise. Can't wait to get started. I received this from Around The World Tours.

Gentlemen by Michael Northrop
Michael sent me a wonderful signed and personalized copy, along with a couple of cute toys from a local toy store. Thanks!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mini Reviews (2)

Mini Reviews is composed of, well, small reviews. These will likely be books I read forever ago or didn't enjoy a whole lot, but did finish. These reviews will be short and sweet.

Surprisingly good story. I expected a lot of fluff, but it turned out to be deeper than I was prepared for. Charlie and Will were both good characters.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

All I can say is that I honestly hated this book. I've never disliked a book as strongly as this one. It guess it's good that Summers can make me feel such strong emotion, but the story was depressing. It was like a black hole. Regina was a beyotch, as were her ex-friends. Honestly, were do things like this happen? Because I have never, ever in my life experienced or seen someone experience anything like this. While reading this book, I felt so depressed. I honestly felt that I had no friends and that there was no hope left in my life. It sucked every single positive feeling out of me. I had to put it down often because I didn't like who I was when I read this. I've never been that depressed or lonely before. It was unbelievably scary that I experienced these kind of emotions from a book.

Never Bite A Boy on the First Date by Tamara Summers

Fluff. Another vapid addition to the vampire bandwagon. Read it if you must. I don't think my brain can honestly take more of this mush.

Time You Let Me In by Naomi Shihab Nye

Poems from 26 poets all under 25. I enjoyed a lot of these, though I was lost as to what a lot of them were about. That's probably just because I'm terribly with poetry. Many were creative, while others focused on intense subjects. I recommend it to mature audiences, as I think they'll be best understood by older ages.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday Wishlist (17)

This post is inspired by Stargirlreads at Books Make Great Lovers. In Wishlist Wednesday, I'll showcase a book that may or may not be out yet that I would love to review and cannot wait to read! Links and descriptions are from Goodreads. Here's what's on my wishlist this week:

by Jennifer Donnelly

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Reasons I want to read this:
1. I absolutely love Jennifer Donnelly! Her first Young Adult novel, A Northern Light, is one of my top 5 favorite books of all time.
2. I love historical fiction!
3. I think it's incredibly interesting when two time periods intersect (finding an old diary, etc.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (16)

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.

"Urban chaos was intense simulation for a mind that didn't have an off switch - jarring sirens, drunk people fighting with their lovers on cell phones, six-inch robo-heels chasing the bus, and the scent of piss on newspaper. Watching humans on any downtown street corner was no different than watching a group of sea lions fight over that perfect spot at Sea World."

Page 6, Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

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