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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Karma For Beginners

Karma for Beginners by Jessica Blank (August 18th 2009—Hyperion)

Grade: 2.7 stars out of 5

Summary: “Fourteen-year-old Tessa has never had a normal life. Her mother, a frustrated hippie with awful taste in men, has seen to that. But when her mom pulls her out of school to live at an ashram in the Catskills, Tessa goes from being a freak among normal people to being an outcast among freaks. Freaks who worship an orange robe-wearing guru. And while her mom is buzzing with spiritual energy, and finding a little too much favor with the guru, all Tessa feels are weird vibes.

Unless she's with Colin, the gorgeous boy who fixes trucks for the ashram. The connection they share is the most spiritual thing Tessa has ever felt. But he's older-like illegally older-and Tessa's taking dangerous risks to spend time with him. Soon her life is blooming into a psychedelic web of secrets and lies and it's clear that something's about to give way. When it does, will she have anyone to hold on to? Will she even know herself?”

Review: There is an abundance of drugs (pot, LSD) and sex in this book so while it involves a 14 turned 15 girl, I would suggest being careful of who’s picking this up.

In the beginning I was quite reluctant and a bit turned off by the ways the characters explored sexuality (spoiler: your 20 some year old boyfriend’s creepy, really creepy, friends and an orange) but someone mentioned that it wasn’t set in the modern time so I let it slide to some extent. I never really delved into those times so I wasn’t exactly sure what is acceptable and what isn’t. Yeah it was odd but it would have been all the rage back then. Anyway moving on….

I thought Tessa was a fairly relatable character. Here she is in this crazy cult like home and the only thing remotely sane is Colin, not to mention he’s not too bad to look at. I understand her way of thinking, her decisions (well not all) and the feeling to just escape.

Colin was someone I found pleasing…at first. He was emphatic with Tessa—understanding her—and quick to give a hug when needed, and doesn’t try to force something. But he increasingly became this “I am man” attitude and developed this jealous presence that was neither sweet nor protective. He practically threw her away. But again we come back to the drugs. They were high, maybe disoriented. I’m not quite sure. I would have liked to see more of the aftermath. The beginning was great, good build-up, transactions from friends to something more but after the incident I just wonder what next.

The relationship between the mother and Tessa was a fragile give and take. It seemed that the mother was the one that needed more caring, more reassurance, more time and patience. We explore the affects of a young pregnancy when the mother has had barely any time to grow up herself. I think that was this relationship showed us.

One other thing that I liked to point out that Karma For Beginners had this sense similar to Candor. Where everyone just listens to this one main leader. Your expression to think, to explore, is an invalid now. Your opinion is condemned. Your self-judgment is considered acting out. This is where you walk along the lines of being a cult. But aside from Candor, this leader is really, really creepy

The ending however was very disappointing—very abrupt. It was a quick “what do you want” question from the mother with Tessa responding and acting on command. The climax of the ending lasted for a about a paragraph to which we turn to the next page—blank. It ended. I love the concept of the idea—the final letter, the speak and I will listen attitude—but it was too fast, too quick for me to truly appreciate it. Even so it was upsetting how quickly Tessa’s mother just accepted what she had to say. It really was way too short. This is when the ending just breaks the greatest of a novel.

Overall: Started out rocky, turn into something I enjoyed a lot, but ended so abrupt that I was left frustrated.

Cover B

Waiting on Wednesday! (31)

Fierce Style: How to Be Your Most Fabulous Self by Christian Siriano (October 5th 2009)

"In 2008, Christian Siriano made headlines as the youngest designer to win the hit reality series Project Runway. But the now twenty-three-year-old is bigger than a TV celebrity. From his prodigious fashion talent to his one-of-a-kind personality, Christian is the embodiment of fierce style.

Now in his first book, he helps readers discover how to look, feel, and act fierce in everyday life. With tips from some of fashion and Hollywood's biggest names -including Victoria Beckham, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Vanessa Williams -- along with gorgeous original sketches by Christian, never-before-heard stories, and behind-the-scenes photos, he tells his journey of developing his own fashion sense and overcoming obstacles to success.

Giving advice on creating personal style, sharing tips on building self-confidence, and revealing his own list of fashion dos and don'ts, Christian shows how to use one's unique strengths to get ahead - and go from tickity-tack to totally flawless."

Eeeeeeeeeeee!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's back up!

My review for Darklight is back up :D

Darklight

Darklight by Lesley Livingston (December 22nd 2009—Harper Teen)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was Faerie royalty, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved New York City from a rampaging Faerie war band. When a terrifying encounter in Central Park sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful—but cut short. For they’ve been plunged into a game of Faerie deception and wavering allegiances in which the next move could topple a kingdom...or part them forever.”

Review: Fans of Wondrous Strange rejoice! Lesley Livingston is back and she’s better than ever. Darklight evokes the same light fluidity with the heavy faerie battles and somehow still managing to find time to make the crowd swoon over Kelley and Sonny. She incorporates Shakespeare, theater, and faerie history in this action packed novel.

If you have yet to read Wondrous Strange, do not attempt to pick this book up. If you have read Wondrous Strange, brush up with it again. There’s a lot of dialogue and plots that require good memory.

One of the few doubts I had about Wondrous Strange was the unoriginal plotline. It seemed as though all fae books are the same. There was like this “How to Write a YA Book with Faeries for Dummies” manual that have been seemingly read by many. Step by step process, plotlines all going down the same pathway. But I’m happy to say that Darklight managed to surprise by throwing me off that loop. Seven words: Sonny plus giant surge of greenness equals awesomeness. Fabulous twist.

Sonny and Kelsey are still sweeter than ever. Especially the part where Sonny threatens to burn down an entire theater filled with raging leprechauns. That is what I called revenge. Nothing speaks love like green ooze.

With a few surprise up her sleeve, Livingston captivated me by the detailed descriptions; sometimes throwing me off by the overly detailed descriptions. It engulfed plotlines at times. It does, however, make an expressive battle scene.

There were times where we could have gotten more details on though. For instance Fenn—AWOL, poof, What’s the dealio? The summer court? Questions, questions, questions. Then of course Aberon but that I’m leaving up to the 3rd installment of Wondrous Strange.

Overall: An impressive sequel. It’s hard for a book to be better than it’s processor but by golly I think she’s got it.

Cover B+

Monday, September 28, 2009

Craptastic

!@#@$#%$ Dammit. Google reader uploaded my review for Darklight. It's gonna go back tomorrow at 11 so can you guys leave the comment until then? I would really appreciate it.

Monday Mystery: Lara Zielin

1. Which flavor of a donut do you like best? Which donut shop to you get your donuts from? What is one flavor that must be made possible!

It’s a little lame of me, but I’m a powdered-sugar donut kind of girl. I just never met one I didn’t love. But, don’t get me wrong. I’ll chow down on a cruller, a chocolate glazed, a crème-filled … just about any donut, anywhere, anytime.

Recently, I have started buying my donuts at Dunkin’ Donuts, but I like to buy local so I think I’ll start sniffing around for the best mom and pop donut shop in my hood. If a donut shop near where I lived could make a chocolate and peanut butter donut, I would crumple to the floor in a happy faint. I might never stop eating them. Om nom nom.

2. Can you squeeze yourself into a cabinet when playing hide-and-seek? Name your best hiding spot? Behind your hands?

Please. I just wrote a book about donuts. I’m not squeezing myself into much of anything these days.

My best hiding spot as a kid was in a bathroom closet at the end of a long hall. The closet was huge and I could ball up in the bottom of it with some towels in front of me. No one ever knew I was there. Lara: 1; Searchers: 0.

3. When playing jump rope with someone else, have you ever considered "accidentally" tripping them with the rope during a mid-jump?

Uh, yeah. Totally. Because grade school? Can be brutal. Brutal, I tell you. Sometimes the only way you get back at someone for blabbing to Justin Bernacke that you have a crush on him is to trip them with the jump rope at recess. Also, it makes it look like an accident, which saves you from having to go to the principal’s office. This is all hypothetical off course. *coughs*

4. Ever had taco flavored Doritos? Would you like some?

Okay, I’m gaining weight just reading these questions. First donuts, now Doritos. But yeah, I want some. Is the Pope Catholic? Much like the powdered-sugar donuts, I never met a chip I didn’t love. Except maybe salt and vinegar chips. There’s something about the vinegar that doesn’t sit with me. Maybe I just haven’t spent enough time in England eating them with some fish.

5. If an acquaintance hands you a questionable brown piece of candy and calls it chocolate, would you do any of the following:
a) sniff it
b)bring it to your mouth, pretend to put in your mouth with your entire palm covering said mouth, then pretend to chew very loudly while the "candy" is still in your hand
c) say thank you and that you'll eat it later so it won't ruin your appetite
d) accidentally throwing it at her/his face saying that there was a bee near him/her and had reacted so swiftly that the candy flew out of your hand
e) claim that you're allergic to anything with sugar
f) no response then fake faint/dizziness

Okay, this interview is officially making me fat. But I would do C. Because I’m a Midwesterner and we’re very polite. We don’t like to tell someone that their questionable candy looks disgusting and we’d rather lick the bottom of our mousepad. No, we simply accept the candy, smile graciously, and say that we can’t wait to eat it later. And then we throw it in the trash. But no feelings were hurt! This is important. (Also, I’d like to say for the record that I love option D, but I’m not that quick on my feet.)

6. If you had to live in a room with dolls, which doll would you pick? Barbie? My Little Pony? G.I. Joe?

Do I really have to live in a room with dolls? Is this my only option? Because a room full of dolls does not a good night’s sleep make. I’m just saying.

But okay, I would pick all the above. In the interests of giving them all more diverse life experiences, I’d make G.I. Joe ride My Little Pony to the Dream House. Barbie wouldn’t be there because she’d be with Snake Eyes fighting some epic military battle (turns out she’s really good at languages and she’s serving as a critical interpreter). Then, maybe just for kicks, I’d get Rainbow Bright in there and make Barbie give her a makeover because those rainbow tights and that stringy yarn hair are SO not flattering.

7. Little blue truck. Assess this.

It’s owned by the reclusive and not-oft-mentioned Garbage Smurf, who is always trying to get Smurfette to go out with him, but she consistently refuses because he smells like damp pretzels.

8. Type all the emoticons you know of.

Rather, if I may, I’d like to type the best icon in the whole world. My husband and I created it when we were dating. Are you ready? World, I give you …. PIRATE KITTY!

P-{

Yar. Mew.

9. :D :) :/ :l :( D: >:( o_o o_O O_O x.x
This is a sneak preview of a review I'm planning to do, can you describe my though process?

Clearly you had great hopes for this book. As you delved deeper into it, it began to disappoint. It only got worse. It shocked you with its high, high level of crapitude. Eventually, you died a little inside – a small corner of your heart actually began to decompose and rot – because it was so terrible. To this, I say I’m sorry.

10. Boxers or briefs?

Uuuuh. Um. Well, I’m not … I mean, I don’t. Er. Hey look over there! It’s my new website!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Me Plus School

I've been writing too many essays lately (with one due this Monday, one on Tuesday, another on Friday, and another 6 page essay due in 2 some weeks with a sprinkle of quizzes and tests) so when my art teacher assigned us a homework to collage whatever we wanted I took my chance.

The bottom one was a first attempt where each I wanted to do something fun. The grass was "the Hulk" (I got really tired mid-way as you can see) and the desert sands was the insides of a Snickers bar. So when I asked for my friend's opinion of how it was so far she mentioned that it was a bit empty (from what I managed to do). I had to agree with her but once I got home I realized I loved the orange too much to cover it thus I made the second collage (top one).


This one I'm not that fond of....I don't know, it just seems so blah to me. It took a good 3 solid hours to finish. I'm hoping to love it by the time I turn it in but so far it's just an okay to me.

Anyway I would just like to mention to never ever ask me for directions ever. I managed to get myself semi-lost getting out of the subway station. Then I lost my way to Borders for their 3-for-2 sale where I made a right turn, a right turn, and a right turn. You know what you get when you make 3 right turns? A left turn. Yeah. Yan+directions=stupid. This reminds me of Zoolander where Derek could only make left turns lol

Anyway off to do more writing! (This is why I dislike writing reviews now)

P.S. I'm not a huge fan of music by the way xP

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

My comment contest ended last night and this morning I spent about 1-2 hours passing around the extra entries but anyhow, the winner is...


So Isa I'll probably contact you within a week but if you see this you can just email me your mailing address and which ARC you wanted: Candor OR Give up the Ghost.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Help!

"SAVE SHRINKING VIOLET!

Help Tere keep her voice!
Shrinking Violet is about an extremely shy high school senior trying to find her voice and reach her dream of becoming a DJ, despite the obstacles that stand in her way.

The book is about to go on back order and in order for more copies to be printed, more people have to place orders for the book.

Read more about Shrinking Violet:
High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces asongwriting contest, and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize, Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare. . . .

Praise for Shrinking Violet:
  • "Bella, eat your heart out. Tere is the girl every young woman truly wants to be. . . . Brilliant work, Danielle Joseph." -Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of Identical
  • "Danielle Joseph takes readers into the glamorous world of Top 40 radio, with a character who is both funny and relatable. Readers will cheer when Tere finds her voice!" -Alex Flinn, author of BreathingUnderwater and A Kiss in Time
  • "A funny, romantic, and truly inspirational Cinderella tale for any teen who's ever been shy, loved music, or dreamed of going to the ball. Wait, that's pretty much everybody." -Gaby Triana, author of The Temptress Four
So here's how you can help:
Please tell anyone that you think might be interested to place an order now before it's too late. Guys, girls, grandmas. grandpas, you're never too old to read humorous teen fiction!

I'm also running a contest for those that want to have some fun! There will be four winners, each receiving a $25 gift certificate to iTunes or the bookstore of their choice.

So how can you win?
1. Post a review of Shrinking Violet on Amazon.com or B &N.com 2 points
2 Blog, Tweet or Facebook about the Save Shrinking Violet Campaign 1 point for each mention
3. Take a picture of yourself wearing a sweater and mimicking the book's cover (you must have the book in the photo too). 2 points

Contest begins at 11pm on Thursday, September 24, 2009 and ends at 11pm on Thurday, October 15, 2009.

After you enter, you can either email me at danielle@daniellejo seph.com or leave me a comment on my blog at http://daniellejose ph.livejournal. com/ under the entry, Save Shrinking Violet!

Much love,
Danielle Joseph"

Last Chance

Today is the last Saturday for the month! So it's all or nothing now for my contest!

Snag your extra 10 if you comment on Megan Crewe's guest post! If you commented before the 26th then you can get an extra 15!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Blue Moon

Blue Moon by Alyson Noel (July 7th 2009—St. Martin’s Griffin)

Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Just as Ever is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever’s powers are increasing, Damen’s are fading—stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his memory, his identity, his life.

Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland, uncovering not only the secrets of Damen’s past—the brutal, tortured history he hoped to keep hidden—but also an ancient text revealing the workings of time. With the approaching blue moon heralding her only window for travel, Ever is forced to decide between turning back the clock and saving her family from the accident that claimed them—or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows weaker each day...”

Review: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!

There was something grating about Blue Moon that left me wanting to shove it back into the depths of my bookcase—out of sight, out of mind.

Blue Moon took on something that ever bad Twilight fanfiction attributes—making the lead male character human. I mean I can overlook that fact since it’s not one of those moments where it makes everything good. In fact, it makes a whole lot of bad, no-nos and a lot of trouble. No, what made me dislike this book was because of Ever Bloom.

Ever had this semi-whiny attitude that grated on my nerves. I can’t explain it in so many words but the fact of the matter is she takes so much crap from other people, her common sense is somehow obliterated, her overly emotionally dependence on Damen (like she just can’t survive one millisecond if he’s upset with her) is just a ticking time bomb for me.

There were some lingering questions in my mind after I finished Blue Moon. Although Ever was able to sense that Roman was bad, did she not sense that Ava knew him? Was there a passing thought in her mind that might have let Ever know this little fact. And could she not sense this? So despite the fact that Ava had a clean aura that allowed her to see the temples in Summerland (I’m assuming that she could see it) does this imply that her thoughts were good. Maybe I’m just over complicating things or something.

And there was this whole thing with the ending. Ever’s common sense flew out the window. So basically there’s this guy who completely ruined your life, almost killed your soul mate, turned the school’s hierarchy no more (which is just plain bizarre in the pyramid disappears) and in the last minute you take his word over these two twins who have only helped you!? Even though they can pretty much give you evidence as to why you should you trust them, you turn your back to them because they spoke in this mystery codes when you wanted direct answers. And here’s the thing that really just grated me, Ever trusted the evil guy! I’m just like—what the hell!? Are you f***ing stupid!? So yeah I do think you deserve what you got.

So now that’s off my chest let’s talk things that made sense and things that made me happy. I love the idea of Summerland, the concept, the execution. It’s the ability to think and create, to loose yourself in people or in mother nature. Summerland gives you a choice.

I enjoyed Damen’s character. He wasn’t the perfect person, that’s what made him so much better—depth, dimension, and drive was all there. What I found the most comforting was the fact that he can screw up, move on, and not pretend that the past didn’t happen—as much as what Ever hopes for.

I love the combination of alchemy, astrology, magic, fantasy all rolled into one novel. It fused together so many elements that made it work.

Overall: I can’t believe it but I’m probably end up reading the 3rd installment in this series. I mean I think my friend might love it should I ever want to toss it away.

Cover B-
Somehow I think the covers for Blue Moon and Summerland should switch.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Pearl Among Princes

A Pearl Among Princes by Coleen Paratore (September 17th 2009—Dial)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “Welcome to the island where princes learn to be charming.

Gracepearl Coal is the cook’s daughter on Miramore, the island all princes visit for their summer program in the Charming Arts. Each year, the princes-in-training arrive on gallant seacraft, guided by captains trained to navigate the island’s treacherous waters. Passage on one of these boats is the only method to leave the island—thus betrothal to a royal is the only way for Pearl to find her far-off destiny, the one that’s started haunting her dreams. Luckily, this year’s crop of princes include some promising prospects, but how will Pearl leave behind her ailing father or—hardest of all—marry a boy other than her long-time beloved, Mackree . . . who now finds it too painful to even speak to her?”

Review: At first I was going to mention how it really didn’t seem to be a teen book but then I saw the age group for the book—8-12—and it made sense. It seemed more tween than teen.

This is all Disney. With the adorable rhymes, childhood lullabies, and a room full of dashing princes, this is pretty much a dream come true. There is no real villain in this book but one with many heroes.

There are two main princes to pick from, Sir Richard and Sir Peter. Richard is the blond and kind, and Peter is the charming pirate with his silver hoop and long hair. We follow Gracepearl (I really do not like that name) as she decides which one will take her away from Miramore and to her potential. But then there’s Mackree who she has fallen in love with for many years. In an ongoing struggle between her future and her love, we follow Grace accomplishes her daily chores while primping for the ball.

I say again that this is for an audience that loves Disney. It’s melodramatic, cute humor, and I expect the turtles/fishes to sing while Grace goes by the ocean shore. Everything falls into place just like a movie from the beginning to the happily ever after. There isn’t much to say about this story. It was short, sweet, and child-like.

Overall: Disney.

Cover B+

Q&A With Malinda Lo

Welcome to the last stop for Malinda Lo's ASH Tour!

I've reviewed ASH here. The playlist for ASH. FAQ about ASH. An article about why she wrote about LGBT characters in YA fiction. Her column about my own coming-out story. I was also sent a 3 chapter excerpt of ASH but wasn't sure if I could post it or even how so I bring you a link to the first chapter only. Sorry!
There is a section in your book where we follow Ash as she rides a horse. Have you have even ridden a horse? Do you own one? Would you like to? Which method of riding do you think is easiest (side saddle, uh the other saddle etc.). Were you ever one of those little girls who always wished for a pony?
I have ridden a horse, but not since I was a child. I do not own one, although I absolutely have had fantasies of living on a ranch and having lots of horses and wearing cowboy boots. OK, I have western fantasies, so obviously I would ride western, but I do not deny the allure of English riding, particularly the fashion. Yes, I really like boots.

I was a little girl I did not want a pony — I wanted one of the grand big horses in The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. But even I knew there was no way one of those could live in my back yard. Bummer!

Why were you inspired by Cinderella and not the various other fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty or Snow White?
I guess I just identified with the fact that Cinderella worked really hard and was ultimately rewarded for it. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White both involve girls who fall asleep and are rescued by a prince. I did not want to fall asleep and wait for anyone to rescue me. That seemed kind of boring.

Do you have any future involving Ash or Sidhean? (I phrased the question wrong x.x)
If you mean is there a future for Ash and Sidhean together, the answer is, I’m afraid, no. Ash has her own future, and Sidhean has his, but their lives are meant to go in different directions.
and as a special gift for being the last stop of Malinda Lo's blog tour I bring you:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Everafter

The Everafter by Amy Huntley (September 29th 2009—Balzer & Bay)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this--she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can re-experience--and sometimes even change--moments from her life: Her first kiss. A trip to Disney World. Her sister's wedding. A disastrous sleepover.”

Review: The Everafter was a pleasant surprise. I seem to gravitate towards the book even after I finished.

The Everafter talks of the afterlife (hence the title) and what to expect. Despite the philosophical upbringings the book still manages to have the hidden sparkle of sweet, sad, and sultry. We follow Madison as journeys back to her life from age 4 to the infantile stage of goo-goo ga-ga to her last moments on earth.

We watch the progression of the relationship with her older sister. This is something all too knowing for me. At the age of 7 I was already threatening to chop my brother to pieces with me glaring at him at the couch, butcher knife in hand (no comment). But just like Madison whom at her later teens the relationship with her sister becomes gentler, I admit that my brother watches out for me. We argue less, fight (I really do mean like with pouches) less, and become better siblings.

Then we follow Maddy and Gabe as they fall in love. There seems to be more scenes of these two than most. Tender, sweet, and still managing to never overstep the boundary of being just too much.

The ending was weird for me though. I mean yes, I thought it was shocking, but it was this overly dramatic death that left me doubting if something like this can truly happen. The epilogue was a very nice touch though. One that answered a very important question: Boy or girl?

Like many others, the first person point of view is very unreliable as many questions are left unanswered. For example, who was the one that mangled Maddy’s cat? And who ratted Tammy out?

Overall: The Everafter was packed full of humor, anguish, and surprise.

Cover B-
Well I do love the idea I really don’t see the relation from the novel to it.

EDIT: Really? That's an orchid? Wow that totally flew over my head.

Waiting on Wednesday! (30)

Split by Swati Avasthi (March 9th 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."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Once A Witch

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (September 14th 2009—Clarion)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “Seventeen-year-old Tamsin Greene is the only non-magical member in a large coven of witches. Her mother can move at lightning speed. Her father can control the weather, and her sister can spin words into phrases so powerfully persuasive people are compelled to do as she wishes. As outcast in her own family, Tamsin spends most of her time at boarding school in New York City, as far from the world of witches as she can get.

But it isn’t far enough. When she agrees to help a handsome strange find a lost heirloom, the search quickly turns ominous—magically so. Soon, Tamsin is caught up in a centuries-old-conflict between her family and another, much sinister clan.

Can an ordinary teenage girl with no magical talent save her family of witches from powerful forces allied against them?”

Review: I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when Once a Witch landed in my hands. Did I think of bubbling cauldrons? Giant nose warts? Maybe….

Once a Witch was a magically delicious blend of romance, suspense, and fantasy. I practically gobbled this entire up in less than one sitting. That’s right, less than one. The book had to pried from my hands (with of course me leaving them a few bitemarks).

I’m a sucker for a love story, I admit it. So when you shove me a book about childhood love and cults I’m game. I love the relationship between Tasmin and Gabriel. More of a deep friendship than kissy kissy face, I found their bantering cute, their ease they have together charming, and the way they lean on one another without a pissy contest sweet.

The action was exhilarating as we raced through New York City to defeat a Knight from taking over the world! Okay this review sucks. I have no words. I can pretty much continue on with very vague details about how good this book was or I shall cut to the point and say: Read it. It’s very, very, very good. It’s fast, short, and you will demand more. A perfect set up to a sequel.

Overall: Read the bold print. Pick this book up!

Cover A-
I believe that this is a drawing (don’t quote me on this). Anyway I love the vibrancy of the colors and the details.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual

Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual by is it Pennsylvania? (’07-’08 edition)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: In this manual readers will unlock the secrets to being a skilled driver. From road signs to what not to dos, young teens will follow their passion and travel wherever they wish. Only of course if they pass the test… (ha! I crack myself up being so bored).

Review: Let me just say that I’ve read the ’04 edition and the ’08 edition is so much freaking better! It’s a lot more in-depth with better explanations, more information, and the format much smoother.

Anyway the reason behind this review was from this little twitter chat with Erica and Kristi. Erica (The Book Cellar) asked why I was reading the driver’s manual and Kristi (The Story Siren) said that so I can review it. She of course didn’t know that I don’t have classes for these things like she does. So the only way to prepare myself for the permit test was to read the darn thing. So here I am…reviewing my driver’s manual. It’s more of a joke than anything really.

I want to mention the pros and cons of IRL manual and e-manual. For future teens getting ready to take the permit test, I suggest you get both. But definitely get the online version if you can only pick one.

The IRL manual is a lot easier for your eye rather than staring at the computer screen for 4-5 hours. They have shiny pictures, bright colors, and neat little tables/charts should you drink while driving. They like to mention how much money you’ll be fined with, years in year, and blah blah blah. A lot of it is of course common sense. If you’ve been in a car or on the road, it’s basic information. Some of the information you’ll probably never see in real life. Their descriptions are off at times, confusing me more than helping. It took me about 3 chapters to figure out what was “passing other cars” meant. It seemed fairly simple but they way they explained it was like brain surgery.

The online manual you get from PennDot. Trust me, get this. It’s the same as the IRL manual but after each chapter they have this set of review questions. The IRL manual does not. It helps…a lot. Mostly because the permit tests likes to use very similar questions like those coughcoughthesame!cough I zoomed by the test because I’ve seen them before. I’ve answered them before—twice. Go over the question, try your best, go back to see what you got wrong, and after a few days do the entire set all over again. It’s a $38 test, don’t screw up. Better to waste an extra 30 doing all the questions over again than failing the test.

As for the online test, try them. It can’t hurt. There’s also this road sign online test.

Anyway that’s all! Good luck!

P.S. If anyone wants to know, I did pass my knowledge test the first time around. It took less than 10 minutes but the waiting was freaking long! Line for this, line for that, mom forgot her ID.

Monday Mystery: Megan Crewe

Megan's Top 5 Ghost Movies

I already have a list of my favorite ghost books on my website so I figured it'd be fun to talk about ghosts in another medium: movies! These are my five favorite portrayals of ghosts on the big screen, in chronological order. If you haven't already seen them, give 'em a watch. If you have, why not watch them again?

The Watcher In The Woods (1980) -- I'll admit, I haven't seen this one since I was a kid, so I don't know how well it holds up. But it's one of the first movies I think of when remembering movies that creeped me out. Very suspenseful and spooky. Plus it has Bette Davis in it, which raises the awesome level by like ten points right there.

Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983) -- The only movie version of A Christmas Carol I've been able to get through. Does a great job of capturing the original story while making it somewhat kid-friendly--though, whoa, it does have some pretty dark moments. The bit with the Ghost of Christmas Future in the graveyard still freaks me out!

Ghostbusters (1984) -- How can anyone not adore this movie? I do not know. Bill Murray makes such a charming scoundrel, the idea of capturing ghosts with scientific methods is genius, and really: Slimy spirits. Realms of evil in a refrigerator. Giant marshmallow man. I shouldn't have to say more. Hilarious and spooky at the same time.

Ghost (1990) -- I've always loved the idea of a character having to solve the mystery behind his own death. Add a fake medium who suddenly becomes not-so-fake (much to her dismay), a believable romance, and intense emotional moments like the floating penny, and you've got a keeper.

The Frighteners (1996) -- It's possible some of my inspiration for GIVE UP THE GHOST came from this movie--after all, it is about a guy whose only friends are ghosts. But Frank uses his ghost friends in a very different way (scamming folks) and for a very different reason (death of his wife). Another movie that balances laughs with scares to great effect, and the romance is so sweet.

Thanks for hosting me!

Megan

---
Megan Crewe
http://www.megancrewe.com

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Contest Reminder

The contest is back open for comments!

Also you can earn an extra 10 entries for commenting on my review for CANDOR! +15 if you were one of the lucky few to comment before the 19th!

Friday, September 18, 2009

MAXIMUM RIDE Book Promotion

So that long title might throw you off a bit but hopefully you'll read this.
Read “MAX” - the newest book in the bestselling Maximum Ride series.

On sale in paperback 09/01/09!
"Still reeling from their most recent adventure, Maximum Ride and the rest of the flock must head out to sea to uncover the secret behind a brand new series of disasters—fish are dying off the coast of Hawaii, hundreds of ships are being destroyed. As if that weren’t enough, they’re also being tracked by a criminal mastermind with, oh yeah, an army of mercenaries. Can the flock save themselves and the ocean, and the world, from utter destruction?"
This is what one lucky fellow can win:
  1. Maximum Ride: Max (paperback)
  2. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (paperback)
  3. Maximum Ride: School’s Out – Forever (paperback)
  4. Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (paperback)
  5. Maximum Ride: The Final Warning (paperback)
  6. Maximum Ride: Manga (paperback)
  7. The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (paperback)
  8. Daniel X: Watch the Skies (hardcover)

Rules:
It's going to be fairly simple with this promotion so the only rule is to comment with your email address.

+1 to you if someone enters saying that they were referred by you
+1 to the person that states your name

This will end on October 2nd--exactly 2 weeks from now

The Fine Print:
The Maximum Ride: Max Promotion is open to legal US residents who are at least 13 years of age as of August 31, 2009. There will be two prizes for each Promotion. Each prize consists of the following eight (8) books: Maximum Ride: Max (paperback); Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (paperback); Maximum Ride: School’s Out – Forever (paperback); Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (paperback); Maximum Ride: The Final Warning (paperback); Maximum Ride: Manga (paperback); The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (paperback); and Daniel X: Watch the Skies (hardcover). The approximate retail value of each prize is $72.00. Winners will be confirmed on or about September 28, 2009 by email. Prizes will only be shipped to confirmed winners with addresses in the US. Prizes will be shipped within 30 days after a selected entrant is confirmed as a winner.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Random Post About Everything to Nothing

Hey guys, Julie Kraut emailed me letting me know that she'll be coming to Philadelphia (she remembered that I'm from Philly) for a reading of Slept Away! I'm already trying to convince some fellow PA bloggers to go (Steph Su and Harmony) and hopefully will find more to come! I'm not exactly sure if I can make it but since it's only an hour's worth of a commute via bus and train it isn't that far. One of my friends might come with me since she's awesome like that!

So here's the details:
October 3rd, 2009, 1:00 pm
Reading and signing of Slept Away
Penn Bookstore (hey if you want to tour UPenn, now will be a great time!)
3601 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Let me know if you can make it! It'll be fun (hopefully!).

I also wanted to let you know of a contest Cat is having! She has some amazing books up for grabs, some of which I loved! Seriously she's such a great person so I want this contest to be big for her! Plus it's international~~

Donut Days

Donut Says by Lara Zielin (August 6th 2009—Putnam)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Emma has a lot going on. Her best friend’s not speaking to her, a boy she’s known all her life is suddenly smokin’ hot and in love with her, and oh yes, her evangelical minister parents may lose their church, especially if her mother keeps giving sermons saying Adam was a hermaphrodite.

But this weekend Emma’s only focused on Crispy Dream, a hot new donut franchise opening in town, where Harley bikers and Frodo wannabes camp out waiting to be the first ones served. Writing the best feature story on the camp for the local paper might just win Emma a scholarship to attend a non- Christian college. But soon enough Emma finds the donut camp isn’t quite the perfect escape from all her troubles at Living Word Redeemer.”

Review: While I’m not a super religious person Donut Days managed to stay within my comfort zone. That is to say, despite the numerous sermons, and talks of God, I got the impression that there was something more. Something beyond. This, to me, was a coming of age story with a sweet twist.

I found it delectable that Lara Zielin managed to bring that whole church and God issue to a rather calmer and simpler environment—the opening of a donut shop.

Through the various takes of how people found God—a group of bikers (!)—and why-are-you-here-at-donut-camp questionnaires, Zielin delivers a wonderful voice. From growing up in Detroit to winning a RV (for camping more than 13 days), she aptly moves from harsh realities to why-the-heck-not curious amusements.

One of my biggest concerns regards Jake (Emma’s childhood best friend). While Zielin creates building blocks for Emma and Jake, it seemed as though Emma only started to like Jake when he became hot. I mean, there are moments where she reflects back to the younger days and how Jake’s personality never changed, but she mentions him being ‘hot’ a lot. It puzzles me.

I also wanted more of the bikers’ stories. Why did they join? Where did they stay? And possible more insight of whatever happened to the church and Emma’s parents.

Overall: Donut Days is similar to that of Eileen Cook’s What Would Emma Do? (they both have the same name!) but with a more girlish touch. More emphasis between Emma and Jake.

Cover C+
I love the donuts. I’m just not as charmed by the unflatteringly shot of the girl.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

8 Reviews Each Under 8 Sentences

During one of my periods where I grew increasingly frustrated of how I've spent weeks for review books but not on my own personal books, I decided to take several days off to tackle it.I read these books from August 9th-August 11th along with this other book: TwiLite. I plan to do a full review for that one

You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith [3 stars]

"Emma Healy has never fit in with the rest of her family.

She's grown used to being the only ordinary one among her rather extraordinary parents and siblings. But when she finds a birth certificate for a twin brother she never knew she had, along with a death certificate dated just two days later, she feels like a part of her has been justified in never feeling quite whole. Suddenly it seems important to visit his grave, to set off in search of her missing half. When her next-door neighbor Peter Finnegan -- who has a quiet affinity for maps and a desperate wish to escape their small town -- ends up coming along for the ride, Emma thinks they can't possibly have anything in common.

But as they head from upstate New York toward North Carolina, driving a beat-up and technically stolen car and picking up a stray dog along the way, they find themselves learning more and more about each other. Neither is exactly sure what they're looking for, but with each passing mile, each new day of this journey, they seem to be getting much closer to finding it."

It was clean and nice but the romance sparkled from out of nowhere. The author tries to connect these two teens together but it seemed more like "I've seen the light and now I see that I love him". Coming of age story that deals with past grief. Enjoyed some scenes and found the book to be decent.


Girl V. Boy by Yvette Collins and Sandy Rideout [3 stars]

"When offered a chance to write an anonymous column for the school paper chronicling Dunfield High's efforts in Chicago's citywide literacy challenge, 16-year-old Luisa Perez jumps at the chance. She hopes to distance herself from her family's legacy of academic underachievement as well as to differentiate herself from the ten other Luisa Perezes in the school. The competition between the girls and boys heats up, as each group tries to outdo the other in fundraising. Luisa offers the girls' perspective for the paper, while another writer provides the male point of view. As if juggling her writing, a part-time job, school and a sudden rush of possible F.B.s (future boyfriends) were not hard enough, Luisa has to contend with her sister, Grace, who moves back home with her young daughter. Readers will dope out the identity of the boy writer long before he is revealed in the narrative, but a strong voice and quirky characters keep the plot moving despite the absence of dramatic tension. Smart dialogue and realistic scenes add to the story's appeal."

*shrugs* okay. Nothing much really.


Feels Like Home by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo [3 stars]

"Growing up in a dead-end South Texas town, Mickey had two things she could count on: her big brother, Danny—the football hero everyone loved—and a beat-up copy of The Outsiders. But after the accident—after Danny abandoned her to a town full of rumors and a drunken father—all Mickey had left was a smoky memory, her anger, and the resolution to get out of town for good.

But Danny is back—and he's not the golden boy who left six years ago. He's altogether a different person, and the life Mickey has worked so hard to rebuild seems to be falling apart. Danny's anger is something Mickey just can't forgive, and his best friend's mysterious death six years ago keeps coming back to haunt the edges of her mind. No matter how hard she tries, she can't remember what happened that night—and she's starting to realize that remembering is the only way she can move on. She'll have to face the brother who broke her heart, and that beat-up book that will never again feel like home."

Ended up teary eyed at some parts. Found this one very similar to You Are Here but enjoyed this a bit more. The ending, however, would have liked to be more developed. Some answers are never answered and I wish the author would delve deeper in the death.


Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles [4.5 stars]

"A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart."

Sensual. Hot. Sexy. Deep. Strong. Brittany was annoying sometimes though. Really impressed with the entire book. Ending was superb! Epilogue was pure fan service that I loved! LOVED!


How To Take The Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend by Janette Rallison [4 stars]

"Sixteen-year-old Giovanna Petrizzo finds it hard enough to fit in. Three years since her family moved to Texas, she's still the newcomer compared to everyone around her. It doesn't help matters when her twin brother, Dante, takes on the mayor's son by running for class president. The least she could expect, though, would be for her boyfriend, Jesse, to support their cause. But Jesse's apparent defection triggers Giovanna's rash emotional side, and before she knows it, she's turned Jesse from the boy of her dreams to the exboyfriend she dreams of winning back."

A perfect book if you want something funny and wholesome. Great love story.


Two-way Street by Lauren Barnholdt [3.5 stars]

"There are two sides to every breakup. This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation. Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet. It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care. But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot. Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other."

No comment. Was good, but I have no words as to express really why. Love the format of the novel. Two POV, flashback, present, cause and effect.


How To Hook A Hottie by Tina Ferraro [3 stars]

"At 17, Kate Delvecchio has one goal in life: to become a millionaire before the age of 20. And as far as she’s concerned, college will only slow her down. Unfortunately for Kate, the one thing her parents do agree on is that they totally disagree with her strategy. And so the deal is born. If Kate can raise five thousand big ones by graduation day, her parents will hand over the balance of her college account to invest as she pleases. No college, no degree, and no way she’ll ever be able to pull it off. But when Kate accidentally agrees to go to the sports banquet with the hottest guy at school, she stumbles upon a possible cash cow. The rest of the junior class is amazed that no-nonsense Kate could hook such a hottie, and one by one they approach her for help hooking their own. She doesn’t know anything about getting guys, but for $100 a pop, she’s more than willing to invent a six-step plan for How to Hook a Hottie. And how could that possibly backfire?"

Cute. Main character annoyed me at times.


Top Ten Uses For An Unworn Dress by Tina Ferraro [3 stars]

"Sophomore year, Nicolette Antonovich was dumped two days before prom by the hottest guy at school. As a result, she became the proud owner of one unworn, perfectly magical pink vintage dress. But Nic is determined to put that night behind her for good. She's a junior now— older, wiser, and completely overwhelmed by a new set of problems: (1) The bank's ready to foreclose on her childhood home. (2) Her father's too busy with his "replacement" daughter to care. (3) Her best friend's brother is an eternal thorn in her side. (4) Her best friend isn't exactly the rose attached to that thorn. (5) Rumors are flying around school that could get her kicked off the volleyball team, which would (6) ruin all chances of a college scholarship. (7) She still likes the boy who dumped her in the first place. (8) And what in the world do you do with an unworn prom dress, anyway? Strangely, it's getting to the bottom of this last dilemma that just might hold the answer to all Nic's problems."

Starting to sense a pattern to my reviews for Tina Ferraro's books. Once again, cute. As was How To Hook A Hottie and ABC's of Kissing Boys.

Waiting on Wednesday! (29)

Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly (April 27th 2010--Simon Pulse)

"Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly is the timeless tale of first love."

About the Author
Maureen Daly, still in college when she wrote Seventeenth Summer, recaptured with extraordinary freshness and sensitivity an experience that because of its very nature no older author can touch. Seventeenth Summer was chosen unanimously as the first winner of the Intercollegiate Literacy Fellowship.

This is actually a reprint from 1985 (??):

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Viola in Reel Life

Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani (September 1st 2009—Harper Teen)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “I'm marooned.

Abandoned.

Left to rot in boarding school . . .

Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world.

Ick.

There's no way Viola's going to survive the year—especially since she has to replace her best friend Andrew with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to like it there. She resorts to viewing the world (and hiding) behind the lens of her video camera.

Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she thought they would be, and soon Viola realizes she may be in for the most incredible year of her life.

But first she has to put the camera down and let the world in.”

Review: Viola in Reel Life surprised me by how much I enjoyed this book. By the first page I was hooked by the narration and detailed description by Trigiani. I honestly don’t know what sold me to the book. I mean the characters were good but not the oh my god version, the plotline was clean but not the oh my god version, so I’m thinking that hot damn, Adriana Trigiani can really sell it. Her voice was amazing; I was addicted to it like a bar of chocolate.

Humor, sass, and love are the combination to this book. It reminded a bit of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. We have the Latina, the artsy video girl, a combination of tall, blond, and beautiful with family troubles, and the athlete. It’s basically a sisterhood for these girls. Living together for a solid year can make that happen. I loved the girls separately and collectively. They each bring a sparkle out.

As for the video making I was pleasantly interested in the process and the special effects. I was more interested in the BFFAA (best friends forever and always) Andrew. Dare I say, they have some chemistry? Sadly the novel ended before anything happened. Jared on the other hand, the one that Viola actually dated for some time, is a prick. You just don’t know it yet, but he is. First he wraps you around his finger but being so amazing then poof.

I'm so excited about this new series!

Overall: Compelled by the presence of the voice.

Cover A
I must say I do like this cover. Love the pop of the yellow patent leather flats (quoted from book). Sense of fashion, check. Associated with the plotline, check.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Author's Tour

Hi guys I just got an email several days but JUST found the time to post it.
Celebrated author Adriana Trigiani is adored by millions of fans around the world for her adult novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Very Valentine, Lucia, Lucia, The Queen of the Big Time, Rococo and the Big Stone Gap series. Teens finally have a chance to experience Adriana's humor, insight and beloved storytelling for themselves with the publication of her highly anticipated YA debut, VIOLA IN REEL LIFE (September 1, 2009; HarperTeen), the first in a new teen series.

Trigiani’s entrée into the teen world centers on fourteen year-old aspiring filmmaker Viola Chesterton. When Viola’s parents leave for Afghanistan to make a documentary, they send her to boarding school in South Bend , Indiana. Homesick for Brooklyn , her BFF Andrew Bozelli, her confidante mystical Caitlin Pullapilly, and cold sesame noodles from her favorite local place, Viola does her best to fit in. With her trusty camera in hand, her three dynamic roommates (Romy, Marisol and Suzanne) by her side, a new crush, and the challenge to write and direct her first movie, the year Viola was dreading becomes one filled with wonder, surprise, heartbreak and joy.

Adriana will be going on a 6 city VIOLA IN REEL LIFE tour:
  • Tuesday, September 1 - LAKE GROVE, NY - Barnes & Noble – 600 Smith Haven Mall – 7pm
  • Thursday, September 3 - LOS ANGELES , CA - Barnes & Noble – 189 Grove Drive – 7pm
  • Wednesday, September 16 - ATLANTA, GA - Barnes & Noble – 7660 North Point Parkway ( Alpharetta , GA ) – 7pm
  • Thursday, September 17 - DALLAS, TX - Borders – 10720 Preston Road, Suite 1018 – 7pm
  • Friday, September 18 - RALEIGH, NC - Quail Ridge Books & Music – 3522 Wade Ave. – 7:30pm
  • Tuesday, September 22 - CHICAGO, IL - Off-site event hosted by Anderson ’s Bookshop – Pfeiffer Hall at North Central College , 310 E. Benton Ave. ( Naperville IL ) – 7pm
  • Thursday, September 24 - WASHINGTON , DC - Borders – 5871 Crossroads Center Way (Baileys Crossroads, VA) – 7:30pm
Definitely go see her if you have the chance! I read the book and it is amazing!! Watch out for tomorrow for a review!

Monday Mystery: Jess C. Scott

Jess is an indie writer whose novel EyeLeash is already releases. You can find her here.
1. I saw tofu meat at the store for around $5, what's your opinion on that? Is it worth it? How do you suppose companies make tofu meat anyway?
I'd prefer calling a rose, a rose (which means if it's *actually* tofu, I'd appreciate it BEING called "tofu"!). It'd be worth it if it tasted very good -- tofu has loads of natural goodness + nutritional value too, so I don't mind paying for that.

I've heard about cloned tomatoes and cloned beef/meat. Perhaps companies combine "meat essence", with tofu, and market it as tofu meat. As for how the whole production process goes -- I think I'd rather not know. Maybe they clone mad cows -- so people wouldn't know what they're consuming anyways...

2. If you can roll around in anything from a product of Mother Nature what would it be?
A bed of roses (petals only, no thorns)...think of the softness, the decadence, the romanticism. For extra pleasure, I'd have dark chocolate on the side, and play Bon Jovi's "Bed of Roses" in the background as well.

3. Tell me a story of how Father Time and Mother Nature hooked up.
FT was bored -- time was infinite. It needed to be of essence.
MN was exhausted -- her energy was scattered, in trying to keep her minions together. There was no order, no sense of organization.
FT noticed MN, and complimented her on her beauty and charm.
MN reciprocated in kind. She complimented FT on his "renowned prowess".
He smiled. She smiled.
FT & MN wanted to make things work out for the both of them, forever.
They wanted something eternal, renewable, and lasting.
They conspired to form: the 4 seasons.
So it all began, on a fantabulous Spring day, with a gorgeous blooming of fresh flowers.

4. Do you prefer Baby New Year or Cupid?
Neither -- I'd go more along the lines of Thor, with his might hammer, or Robin Hood and his bow and arrow (he'd PWN Cupid any day!)...guess I'm more of a warrior sort?

Both Baby New Year and Cupid are too cutesy-wootsy for me. Exception to the depictions of Cupid in classical paintings, such as Bronzino's The Allegory of Lust (1540-50) [featuring Venus & Cupid].

5. You're stuck on an island. What you bring to best rescue yourself?
One of those gryphons or zeppelins from the Warcraft universe. One of Gandalf's eagle-friends from LotR would do too. Then again, I'm someone who enjoys solitude from time to time, so I might not need to have to call upon their kind assistance in the first place.

6. A serial killer bunny is after you. Do you A) Chase it back, remove its hide then make gumbo out of it? B)Run for dear life then throw a giant rock at it once it's below you C) Nothing D) All of the above

A) Too gruesome
B) I've no strength to hurl a giant rock
C) No way!
D) N/A

Therefore, my answer is:

E) None of the above -- I'd get the help of The Energizer Bunny (is this serial killer bunny its nemesis, The Duracell Bunny?).

7. Ask yourself a question than answer it.
Qn: Could you describe yourself 10 years ago, and now, both in 5 words only?

Ans: (In)sane, drive, introspective, complex, intense. No changes in a decade.

8. Why is 7 scared of 9?
Conventional answer: Bcoz 7-ate-9 *insert LOL's*
My answer: 7 may have luck on its side. But according to Dante's Inferno, there are 9 levels of Hell -- by that token, 9 may be the more powerful and formidable force than 7.

But I wouldn't be fearful or worried, if I were 7. Because 7 owns the deadly sins -- "Lust", "Gluttony", "Greed", "Sloth", "Wrath", "Envy", and "Pride".

P.S. I have been banished to the Fifth Level of Hell, according to the Dante's Inferno Test.
Jess has kindly offered an e-book of her book Eyeleash. I think it's international? (I lost the email! *sobs*). Let's make this last for 1 week so it'll end on the 21st.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spam Attack!

Just a little place holder and to let you guys know that the contest is re-opened again!~ So comment/spam away!

Also I am now offering the chance to snag an extra 10 entries if you comment on my GIVE UP THE GHOST review! If you've commented before September 12th then you get an extra 15 entries instead of 10!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Love is the Higher Law

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan (August 25th 2009—Knopf)
[thanks Lauren for pointing out my mistake!]

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . .

The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.

Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.”

Review: Khy is perhaps one of the most avid fans of David Levithan. I, however, never read any of his books. I had many other books to read, to tackle, so I wasn’t planning to read any of Levithan’s work for quite some time. But wow I really read more of his works.

David Levithan threw together a novel of growth—of a city, of yourself, of an entire nation. We follow these 3 teens from the during to the after and fragments of the before.

In just 24 hours the city of New York, known for its constant traffic is abruptly put on hold. The entire city changes, many New Yorkers change, and we live with it. We watch as the city come together and aid those with whatever they can—lighting candles, donating blood, sheltering people.

The 3 teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are all very different. Claire is someone who has to help, who wants to move forward, who pretends to be the strong one even if she doubts herself in every wink. Jasper—the gay Korean—is the one who just can’t feel, he wants to but he can’t, he doesn’t know how. And then Peter—who falls in love with Jasper—lives life through music. They all have one thing in common though, a party right before the twin towers fell.

I really do think that this novel was spectacular. It was heartbreaking, it was emotional, it was moving. I love all three main characters differently but at the same time similar. They each spoke a volume worth of words even if it’s just 5.

Overall: I bow down to David Levithan.

Cover B+

Thursday, September 10, 2009

TwiLite: A Parody


TwiLite: A Parody by Stephen Jenner (April 27th 2009—Virtualbookworm.org)

Grade: 2.83 stars out of 5

Summary: “Love between a teenage girl and a vampire can be a beautiful thing. Then again, it can get a little ugly. Just ask Stella Crow. Stella is a clumsy but otherwise ordinary girl whose life takes a radical turn the moment she meets Edweird. Though perfect on the outside, Edweird Sullen is remarkably unrefined on the inside. He also happens to be a one hundred year old vampire, trapped in the body of a teenage boy, who has yet to finish high school. Nonetheless, Stella is unconditionally smitten with him. But not everything is rosy in this gloomiest of towns. Edweird's enemies have sworn to put a tragic end to their romance. Against all odds, the bond between Stella and Edweird is *nearly* strong enough for their love to survive. Most love stories between an impossibly handsome vampire and an ungainly young woman have a magical ending. This one—not so much.”

Review: Die hard fans of Twilight, you might want to cover your eyes should you ever pass this book. This parody is such—a parody “humorous or satirical mimicry”.

Haters of Twilight will laugh until their pants fall off. Stephen Jenner holds nothing back when “gently poking” fun this New York Times Bestseller. Hell it even pokes fun of the parody.

Fans of Twilights but not the crazy ones, you will still laugh your pants off.
‘“So it’s true, isn’t it? The whole lot of you—vampires? …You crave me; you yearn for me, and you can barely contain yourself from killing me—that’s why you love me and hate me all at the same time…. No human can compete with you. That’s why girls and women of all ages swoon all over you. Hell, if someone wrote a book about you, well, it’d sell a million copies the day it was released. And if someone else was clever enough to write a parody—you know, to provide some comic relief during these extremely difficult economic times—that would probably be an even bigger seller, or at least it should be.”—Stella when she figures out that the Sullens are vampires

“I hope to see you soon, certainly no later than when book number two comes out, published by the fine people at Little, Brown and Company, and read to you on audio books by Ilyana Kadushin.”—Stella’s letter to Mom aka Gargantuan Sideshow Lady
And let’s not forgot the many, many, many luscious descriptions of how hot Edward it as Stephen Jenner liked to point out:
“His buns were forged from Bethlehem steel. A hunk of coal would be transformed into a perfect diamond should they find their way between those luscious cheeks. Oh, and he has perfect hair too. Really nice-like.”

“His blueberry eyes were gleaming down at me; his French vanilla teeth peeking behind those cherry red lips; his pectorals tenderly danced like ripe mangoes under his form-fitting shirt. I had this sudden urge for a fruit shake.”
More fun:
“Dang, you are one smart girl. And pretty, too. Scientifically speaking, I can safely say that you are pretty smart.”—Edweird, scene in biology examining cells
The down side to this book would be the fact that it gets stupid at the end. It started out hilarious in the beginning but then died a bit then just sucked. I think it may be the fact that I didn’t relish the book and instead plowed through it. If you by any chance read the book, stop every now and then to maintain the novelty of this book.

This book also needs more editing. At one point the author calls Casper his actual name—Jasper. That’s a big no-no.

Overall: He knows where to hit it where it hurts. Better editing would make this a lot better though.

Cover B+
Ha! Even the cover is chuckle worthy!