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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Books By Its Cover (13)

I feed from you
Not your blood
Not your love
Not your life
But your tears

Email me what you think is the correct answer! Correct entries will be an added +5 to the Huggles contest!

P.S. If you don't get a reply back to me then that means your answer was correct.

Friday, October 30, 2009

So...

Um there was a post right, and now there isn't. Which is a good thing 'cause I deleted it. So yeah don't look!

A Match Made in High School

This is a repost
A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker (February 9th 2010--Razorbill)

Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can’t get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona’s long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer.”

Review: This book was hi-freaking-larious! The traded insults, the clever pranks, the laugh out loud rants! I spent the majority of the time actually laughing rather than reading, but of course I did love the words, plotlines, as well.

I love the way the characters were done. In the very beginning you just couldn’t help but hate Todd and fall over heals for Gabe, the perfect guy. The transition from hate, to tolerable, to almost, dare I say, liked of Todd was impeccably done. A smooth ride, without a single awkward phase. The other characters were also quite dimensional, the bad side and the good side. It never was this single label you could place on someone, a dumb blond cheerleader, a forever by your side best friend, and even a big awkward music loving, just, guy friend.

This book was so unpredictable! One minute I think I have everything figured out and who ends up with whom then WHAM! “Why didn’t I see this coming!?” Despite the subtle albeit huge hints dropped along the way, my one-tracked though I had it all figured out. I’m actually so happy I was wrong.

I also the ending was extremely well done! Everything pulled in together, a pleasing ending

Overall: An amazing, spectacular read!

Cover B-

P.S. I read January so my "voice" may sound different.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fire

Fire by Kristin Cashore (October 6th 2009--Dial)

Grade: 3.7 stars out of 5

Summary: “Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel? Fire takes place 30-some years before Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling”

Review: I read this book back in April, wrote a bit for the review then promptly lost interest in said review. So please bare with me as I have no recollection of the finer details.

While Graceling overpowered me with its elegance and interest, Fire did not have the same oomph factor. Fire shows a very much similar style to Graceling, but what made me love Graceling so much was because of Katsa. Here she was, a high powered woman who can defeat anyone she wishes. Fire was weaker, both mentally and physically. She depended quite a bit on others more so than I liked in some ways.

First off the prologue. Originally I thought that it had no place whatsoever in Fire, it deemed more appropriate in Graceling. But as the story progressed I realized the truth. To say I was astounded, pleased, and giddy with how clever the author was can be the gist of it. It was just beyond perfect of how the pieces laid out, a compact little cube to me.

I must say that Cashore’s attempt with romance isn’t her forte. Some might disagree but after reading many other books that excelled in that area I have to reassess how I feel. It’s that jumping off point that’s awkward to me.

Okay my mind just went blank. I think that is its way of saying that this review is done.

Overall: I may be one of the oddballs who liked Graceling more than Fire....

Cover B-
I like the UK cover more…just saying. No offence US cover.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ripley's Believe It or Not

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Seeing Is Believing! by Ripley Entertainment, Geoff Tibballs (August 4th 2009—Ripley Publishing)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Following hot on the heels of last year's best-selling edition, "Ripley's Believe it or Not 2009" offers a whole new feast of bizarre facts, fiends and freaks -all guaranteed to fascinate, surprise and amaze. Stare in wonder at the man who swallowed a solid steel sword underwater; gasp at the pelican who ate a pigeon; and, marvel at the man who swam down the Amazon, dodging piranhas, pirates and whirlpools. Illustrated throughout with extraordinary colour photographs, this fascinating book is a must-have for anyone intrigued by the stranger aspects of our planet and its inhabitants.”

Review: Everyone has heard of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not correct? I mean it’s a pretty awesome show if I do say so myself. I’ve spent hours glued to the screen while eating some form of snack/breakfast/lunch then questioning why I decided to put food in my mouth. It’s gruesome at times, it’s abnormal many times, and very, very addictive to watch.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Seeing is Believing follows this ideal process of amazing the audience with unusual facts—though at times not very strange at all, but that’s 1 out of every 15. This book is a perfect gift to be shared by everyone. It’s an odd fascination that can only be more fun with more readers. So grab a copy, grab some friends and be dazzled!

Cover B+/A-

Waiting on Wednesday (33)

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (April 1st 2010--Little Brown)

"In less than a day I had been harassed, enchanted, shouted at, cried on, and clawed. I’d been cold, scared, dirty, exhausted, hungry, and miserable. And up until now, I’d been mildly impressed with my ability to cope.

At her boarding school in New Zealand, Ellie Spencer is like any ordinary teen: she hangs out with her best friend, Kevin; obsesses over her crush on a mysterious boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. Then everything changes: In the foggy woods near the school, something ancient and deadly is waiting.

Karen Healey introduces a savvy and spirited heroine with a strong, fresh voice. Full of deliciously creepy details, this adventure is a deftly crafted story of Māori mythology, romance, betrayal, and war."

I think this cover is so dramatic. I happen to really like it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Defining Twilight

Defining Twilight: Vocabulary Workbook for Unlocking the SAT, ACT, GED, and SSAT by Brian Leaf (July 14, 2009--Cliffs Notes)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Can you resist the allure of Edward’s myriad charms—his ocher eyes and tousled hair, the cadence of his speech, his chiseled alabaster skin, and his gratuitous charm? Will you hunt surreptitiously and tolerate the ceaseless deluge in Forks to evade the sun and uphold the facade? Join Edward and Bella as you learn more than 600 vocabulary words to improve your score on the *SAT, ACT®, GED®, and SSAT® exams!

Use this workbook side-by-side with your own copy of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight!

Each chapter of the workbook gives you eight words taken from Twilight, with page references for you to read the words in the context of your favorite novel
  • Define the words on your own before turning back to the workbook for their actual definitions
  • At the end of each section you’ll take SAT, ACT, GED, and SSAT drills and quizzes to review and integrate what you’ve learned
  • Plus, you’ll learn synonyms, Latin word parts, and memorization tools throughout the workbook”

Review: For those of you who poo-poos Twilight all I have to say is now what!? Just like with #beatcancer on twitter, Twilight has found its usefulness. You may think that ‘oh there’s nothing you can learn from Twilight’ well I’ll have you know I’ve tested this book out. It does work. Granted one of my friends flew by this book without any help, another one found this book useful and challenging. Shocker isn’t it.

This book is innovative, clever, and fun at times. Pick up your copy of Twilight and correspond the word to the sentence and there is your context clue. It makes the person read and help them learn at the same time. Don’t be too judgmental that it had the words “TWILIGHT” on it.

Here’s a way to look at this. My friend made a comment that she would definitely something like this if it was Harry Potter based. (She didn’t really like Twilight but loves Harry Potter). So I thank you Brian for letting me and my friends have a little giggle but surprising us by how effective it was.

Overall: Resourceful. Try this book with a group of friends who enjoyed. You’ll find yourself having fun learning.

Cover C+
Love the play with the hands and key. Very similar to the hands and apple. However I wish that the skin tone wasn’t so zombified.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kin and Kith

Kin by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh (October 1st 2008—Graphix)

Summary: “Rue Silver's mother has disappeared . . . and her father has been arrested, suspected of killing her. But it's not as straightforward as that. Because Rue is a faerie, like her mother was. And her father didn't kill her mother -- instead, he broke a promise to Rue's faerie king grandfather, which caused Rue's mother to be flung back to the faerie world. Now Rue must go to save her -- and must also defeat a dark faerie that threatens our very mortal world.”

Kith by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh (October 1st 2009—Graphix)

Summary: “Rue Silver's life is not what it appears to be. Her mother is a faerie, and has been taken back to the faerie realm. As Rue goes to bring her back, she must travel deep into an inhuman world. At the same time, the faerie realm is venturing into our world too, and taking its toll on those Rue loves. When her grandfather's plans threaten Rue's city, she realizes that she's the only one who can stop him. But is Rue a human or a faerie? Where does she fit? How does she know the difference between love and enchantment?”

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Review: Hmmmm what is there to say about these two comics. I do feel like I should prepare myself for the heartache that is to come with these types of books/comics. I never do seem to love them.

Anyway Black’s storytelling translates well into this format. I think Naifeh’s skills as an artist compliments well with the story as it’s much more of gritty, thick outline, gothic feel. As for the story itself I question how much do I enjoy her work. For me, it’s much too fast and much too slow at the same time.

The plot moves very fast for me. Snap of the finger and there’s something new. Another snap of the finger and there goes a secret. Scene after scene you’re bombarded. Then you step back and question why was that even included. I’m debating about if this scene is important or not, then questioning why am I debating about it because obviously it must be important if the author included it. So wait, huh? Then there are scenes where I’m going O_O what the freak?
I always, always, feel like Black’s work has so much potential! SO MUCH! But then she has to be odd and the entire book falls off balance and I’m just frustrated. There’s so much emotion, so much drama, so much plot that I expect more!

Overall: Every book is a stepping stone to something greater. Will it disappoint in the end I’m crossing my fingers.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Books By Its Cover (12)

Did you have
A nice fall?
With your tea cup ways

This one is amusing to me. Anyway remember to email me what you think is the correct title and if you're right then that's +5 to the Huggles contest (see right sidebar)!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Lonely Hearts Club

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg (January 1st 2010—Point)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It's a personal choice…and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways…which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like….”

Review: I think I have solved the mystery of small and cute YA literature. I cannot believe how long it has taken me to realize this but I finally figured it out. When the author describes a male character to the T of his gorgeous blue/green eyes and is tall, dark, handsome and athletic in some way then he and the girl are going to hook up.* When that happens I can guarantee that this book is going to be predictable to an extent. And The Lonely Hearts Club was…to some extent...of almost the entire book....

Fans of the Beetles rejoice there’s a lot of Beatles references here. Okay so there are not that many references mainly just saying how awesome they were. Anyway aside from that The Lonely Hearts Club will be a guilty read to some but with a good motif behind it. Women empowerment—we are women, hear us roar. For a good heartfelt, sisterly [not in the literal sense] bonding this book will sure to please. If you enjoy clichés with a very small twist then try with this book. If you’re looking for a whole new sensation with more action [not in the literal sense] then I suggest finding a new book.

Overall: Small and cute that doesn’t pack much a pow or wow.

Cover B-
Heh. I just got the iPod reference to music to Beatles. Wow I’m slow. Oh the real life cover is much more smoother in detail than it shows.

*There are however many novels that does not follow this pattern.

Read-a-Thon Contest

Cindy, you know that girl who always have the best contests, is having, you guessed it, another contest. Wait! Get this, it's plural so it's contests. Some international, some domestic, but holy effing shit there's a lot and it's all very very good titles.

Disclaimer: Cindy is a bully who made me post this. LOL. (I'm kidding if anyone thinks otherwise, about the bully part)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner by James Dasher (October 6th 2009—Random House)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is black. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.

The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl springs up—the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might be able to find their way home . . . wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.

And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers—if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.”

Review: If you’ve read The Demon’s Lexicon before then you would understand when I say that the first entire half is just buildup to the second half awesomeness.

I was rather bored and disappointed when I began reading The Maze Runner after hearing these tales of how wonderful this book was. I mean, yes it was an interesting concept, but I was bored out of mind with the first few chapters. It held so much background information that I was practically seething and screaming where the heck was the action? But then behold when Thomas ran into that maze I literally poured over the rest of the book.

Every few chapters were punctured by omigosh or holy f*** but always, always the thought of must keep reading. Dasher kept the interest of the reader piqued with his many twist and turns, bounds and leaps. Along with the ever so needed funny scenes placed just at the right moment.

Dasher is a mastermind with the concept of foreshadowing. I do, however, have a few questions about the book such as [highlight to see semi-spoiler] why doesn’t Thomas get chocked up when he tells of his Changing? Since this is a trilogy (I believe so) I hope to see some questions answered later on.

And the epilogue is OH MY FLIPPING GOD! I need the next book like NOW!

Overall: Action, slight romance, and mystery. What more can a reader ask for? As for comparing this to The Hunger Games…I don’t know. They’re two completely different plots with similar themes of survival and fighting against “The Man”.

Cover B-
There’s a full cover of this online but I can’t find it…I combed through the artist’s site with no luck.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Little Black Lies

Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen (September 13th 2009—Egmont)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Sara and her father are moving to Boston from small-town Lundun, Massachusetts. She is going to attend the very elite Anton High School-- crowned "North America's Most Elite and Most Bizarre" by Time magazine, harder to get into than Harvard. As the new girl, Sara doesn't know anyone--better yet, no one knows her. And that means she can escape her family's checkered past and her father can be a surgeon instead of "Crazy Charlie" the school janitor.

What's the harm of a few little black lies? Especially if it transforms Sara into Anton's newest popular girl. But then one of the It girls at school starts looking into Sara's past, and her father's obsessive compulsive disorder takes a turn for the worse. Soon, the whole charade just might come crashing down...”

Review: Little Black Lies start out a bit dull for me but developed into something interesting towards the end. In the end this was a good book with a few twists and adorable scenes. We can say this entire book does a great job on the word “karma”. Karma is a bitch isn’t it?

A few white lies, turning to black, and bam, all hell goes loose. This is what Sara goes through. One thing that I really found refreshing is that the main character (Sara) didn’t get away scot free. There are consequences for every action and Tish Cohen did an excellent example of that through this book.

I also loved how the author incorporated random facts here and there.

“In South America, army ants are actually used as sutures. Doctors squeeze the gaping wound shut and deposit ants long the gash. In defense, each ant grabs hold of the edges of skin with its mandibles, or jaws, and locks it in place. Doctors then slice off the head, leaving the mandibles in place to secure the cut until healed. I’m not saying I’d lop off this guy’s head, but if his squared-off jaw were to clamp down on my flesh, I’m pretty sure I’d heal in half the time.”

Overall: A nice debut book. Would have liked something more.

Cover A-
I happen to really like this cover. Something just sparkles for me.

Waiting on Wednesday (32)

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (June 3rd 2010--Little Brown)

"Scarlett never believed in the Fenris—werewolves drawn to the delectable charms of young girls. That all changed when in one swift attack, a Fenris murdered her grandmother and left Scarlett half-blind and horrifically scarred. Only her younger sister, Rosie, escaped unharmed as Scarlett shielded her from the Fenris’s jaws.

Now eighteen, Scarlett’s life’s mission is to destroy the Fenris and save other girls from her fate—a mission she’s grown to love, despite herself. Armed with red cloaks and hatchets, Scarlett, Rosie, and a young woodsman, Silas, move to the city in search of answers—and vengeance. If they can find a Potential Fenris, tainted by the pack but not yet consumed by it, they can unlock the mystery that transforms them- but better yet, use him as bait.

But unlike Scarlett, Rosie doesn't feel the thrill of the hunt in her blood. Longing for a life away from heavy responsibility and something sweeter than steel determination, Rosie finds herself drawn to Silas. More and more often, they find themselves abandoning the search for the Potential, stealing kisses, sharing secrets.

When Scarlett discovers the romance blossoming in her midst, she abandons her sister to the woodsman, certain that her own heart has no room for love, not when it's filled with her mission, her purpose. Still, the bond between Scarlett and Rosie is too deep to truly sever, and when Scarlett discovers a way to bring her sister back to her side for good- even if it means destroying Rosie’s happiness—she is forced to make a decision that will change the course of both their lives.

A modernization of Little Red Riding Hood, SISTERS RED is told in alternating viewpoints of Scarlett and Rosie as the sisters struggle to find the Potential, destroy the Fenris, and unwind their own tangle of romantic complexities and the deeply rooted bond between them. SISTERS RED is approximately 80k words in length, aimed at a mid to upper teenage audience."

Really enjoyed AS YOU WISH so here's to hoping!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Do You Wanna?

You've heard of Elizabeth Scott right? You love her books right? Do you know what's more awesome than having a copy of her book? A marked up copy of her book.

She's auctioning off a signed--full of notes--copy of Something, Maybe along with a bonus book or two! So check it out here and win a one of kind prize! Including a crocheted doll of your choice! And because exclamation points are awesome and the auction is awesome--!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shooting Star Mag and Chelsea from the Page Flipper are also doing some similar. Check it out here.

Bad Apple

Bad Apple by Laura Ruby (October 1st 2009—Harper Teen)

Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Junior Tola Riley doesn’t care what people say about her. She knows her ever-changing hair color and goth clothes make her an easy target. Whatever. But the latest rumor is different.... The entire school believes she had an affair with her art teacher. The rumors may be a lie, but the fallout is all too real. Will Tola finally stand up for the truth?”

Review: See this book can go either way with the readers, either you think it’s genius or you hate it—point blank. If you expect something really deep and emotional you probably won’t find it here. I mean you may be get it but the weirdness of this novel might overcome that emotion.
“Why do you smell like vanilla?”
“I like to rub Twinkies under my arms.”
“Isn’t that sticky?”
“A little. I’m going to try fudge next.”
“That could work.”
See my point? You have to wonder if that entire dialogue was meant to be funny and a joke or if the author really did mean it. I really hope she was kidding. That’s the main reason why I kind of liked this book—it was weird. Other than that nada.

We follow Tola as she faces the world from the gossiping lies. How different everyone treats her. How far her father became after her parents divorced and remarried. How her sister is pretty much a nut-case. How the only ones who really understand her is Mr. Meyer—the alleged teacher—and her grandfather—who’s stuck in a hospital most of the book.

It seemed like Tola was too childish—constantly trying to draw attention to herself—and never fighting her battles. I mean this whole thing involves you and yet you waste your time kidnapping pigs from the classroom? The least she could do was tell the whole story instead of just saying “nothing happened, nothing happened”. In the end it just makes you seem like a liar.

Then there was this whole thing with the ending. So someone gets a book deal. That’s it!? What about punishment, charges? So the main culprit of spreading the scandal gets away almost scot-free? What the hell!?

Overall: Would you call this humor necessary? Or was the author trying to divert your attention elsewhere. I think it would have been better if the story was less weirdness and more focused of the actual crime.

Cover B-

Monday, October 19, 2009

After the Moment

After the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr (May 18th 2009—Houghton Mifflin)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “Maia Morland is pretty, only not pretty-pretty. She's smart. She's brave. She's also a self-proclaimed train wreck.

Leigh Hunter is smart, popular, and extremely polite. He's also completely and forever in love with Maia Morland.

Their young love starts off like a romance novel—full of hope, strength, and passion. But life is not a romance novel and theirs will never become a true romance. For when Maia needs him the most, Leigh betrays both her trust and her love.”

Review: After the Moment felt to me like I was looking in a private affair through a glass window. Captivated but knowing that it was bad to be watching. Because of this I felt a disconnection between all the characters. Like I know of them, but I don’t know them.

I would agree with some that After the Moment was slow and a tad on the boring side. It felt that I was fluttering along the novel waiting for something, anything, to happen. It would touch on many subjects, never breaking free of that one barrier to make it astounding. There was a lot of buildup, a lot, to reach the climax. I felt that the climax could have been dragged a bit longer for a better impact but it still manages to shake the reader (especially with the gruesome fist to fist fighting).

There was a lot of potential behind this book. Some came through others needed to be expanded more. The ending for me was bittersweet.

Cover B-
Thank you Trish for allowing me to be the first stop of Garret Freymann-Weyr’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS. Check out the other stops:
Tuesday, October 20th – Eclectic Book Lover
Thursday, October 22nd – Cindy’s Love of Books
Tuesday, October 27th – The Brain Lair
Wednesday, October 28th – Luxury Reading
Thursday, October 29th – Pop Culture Junkie
Monday, November 2nd – Steph Su Reads
Wednesday, November 4th – Bart’s Bookshelf
Thursday, November 5th – A Striped Armchair
Tuesday, November 10th – The Bluestocking Society
Thursday, November 12th – As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves
Monday, November 16th – Starting Fresh
Tuesday, November 17th – Beth Fish Reads
Thursday, November 19th – Book Addiction
Monday, November 23rd – The Novel Bookworm
Tuesday, November 24th – All About {n}

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Books By Its Cover (11)

Mused hair
Freckled Skin
Copper
Droopy flowers
Of Misery

Remember to email me your answer of what the title of the book I am referring to is. All correct entries will go into the Huggles Part 2 contest. Each correct entry will be +5. If you have questions or concerns just email me.

I am also now adding this into the pot:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Traveling to Teens: Sarah Beth Durst

1. how much research did you put into ICE?

Tons! I love research. Really, it's the best way to travel. You can immerse yourself in another place without ever having to pack. For ICE, I read every polar bear book, Arctic field guide, survival handbook, and explorer memoir that I could get my hands on. I got to the point where I could name every type of lichen that Cassie hiked past.

2. why did you choose polar bears instead of say penguins?

I wanted to write about the Arctic. And penguins live as far from the Arctic as one could possibly live and still be on the same planet.

Actually, that brings up a little known fact about me: cute depictions of polar bears frolicking with penguins drive me nuts. Polar bears DO NOT hang out with penguins. Seriously. It would be like walking into your backyard and seeing an elephant frolicking with a chipmuck. They don't live in the same place. Massive oceans separate them. Huge continents.

Anyway, I wanted to do the Arctic so... no penguins. Besides, a guy that shapeshifts into Chilly Willy just isn't the same as a guy who shapeshifts into a thirteen-foot predator.

3. do you think it's unfair that they don't have polar bears in the animal crackers?

I only buy animal crackers with polar bears. All other cracker shapes are clearly inferior.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Ice


Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (October 6th 2009—Margaret K. McElderry)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairytale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth to become a prisoner of the trolls. Now that Cassie is older, she knows that this was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, she is determined to become a scientist, and she has no time for make believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face to face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned in the troll castle. And that he can bring her back--if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairytale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knew will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her--until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.”

Review: Ice was…odd. Coming from me well that’s odd by itself. One reason why I found it so weird was because [highlight to see text]:

Of the fact that she mates with the polar bear. Granted I understand that he’s a shape-shifter who isn’t really a polar bear but, still, most of the time we see him he’s a polar bear. Thus I’m used to identifying him as a polar bear and not a shape shifter.

Then there were times where I felt that the pacing was off. In retrospect the beginning and middle were fine but compared to the ending, the middle then felt sluggish. The ending seemed too fast for me. It all makes sense when you step back and recap the entire book but while I was reading it, it came to my attention that climax and resolution was really short. And during that time I also had this slight peeve:

She gave birth. I mean it was so quick; squat, push, and pop goes the baby. I understand that Ice is a fantasy book but this was just so unrealistic. Again it might just be a pet peeve to me and I’m probably dumbing this down.

At any rate Ice was filled with detailed description, wonderful imagery, and a concept that’s sure to surprise many. I think the author took quite a big gamble with this book as it’s not the norm of vampires, werewolves, or magicians so I give kudos to that. That and the fact that she’s incorporated such a huge crisis the world is facing—the melting of the polar ice caps and the extinction of the polar bears.

Overall: Durst created a world like no other: Magic versus reality.

Cover B+
You can't tell how gorgeous this cover is online. It's shimmery, shiny, and silvery.

This has been brought to you by Traveling to Teens.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cowinky Dink!

I'm normally not one to post awards (mostly because I have a tendency to forget who gave them to me and another reason...) but Yvonne just awarded me this "lovely award"

The reason why I'm posting this is because I used to read Yvonne's blog. Before moving to YA I used to scurry around the adult blogs like Trish, J. Kaye, Jenn (darn it, can't find link), Alyce, Julie, Firefly, Bermudaonion (names escape me :sigh:), S. Krinsha, Natasha, Stone Soup, Confuzzled Reads, and tons more. It was several months into discovering book blogs that I came across YA book blogs. And there you have it. Now I'm at a point where I'm trying to reconnect to some of these blogs again and Yvonne's award just brought me so excited.

P.S. I also happened to have won a book from her once ;P teehee

P.P.S. Another reason why I hardly post these things is because I'm really bias when it comes to passing these things on :sigh:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tempted

Just got an email about this new addition to the House of Night series.

The House of Night is a thrillingly engaging book series from St. Martin's Press. The series follows 16-year-old Zoey Redbird, who gets “Marked” by a vampyre tracker and begins to undergo the Change into an actual vampyre.

The New York Times best selling mother-daughter writing team of P.C. and Kristin Cast again prove why they have become a major force in teen fiction. With over 3 million copies of their books in print, a well-publicized film option, an updated interactive website, daily-growing fanbase, and now a first national book tour, the Cast duo will command your attention with every page turn.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-j_rshg5lM

To read the first chapter of TEMPTED and listen to the first two chapters on audio, please visit the House of Night website by clicking here

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I have mid-terms. Ummm so uhhh yeah...*gestures to the emptiness* It'll be empty for the next several days since I do not have any reviews. If you look to your left you'll notice that I need to review a bajillion books. So ummm go here to Sharon's blog where you'll find a picture of me. A very bad picture of me may I just say :P (of course I think every picture I take is really bad unless you count the ones where I'm really tiny you can barely see me).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Mystery: Lindsay Eland

My sister and I used to play the ever-popular “would you rather” game, where the two choices are both equally awful, but you have to—you just have to—choose which one you would rather have or do or be. So I thought, huh? Why not play it right now for Yan’s Monday Mystery?

Soooooo….

Would I rather:

Get face-clawed by a cheetah

Or

Be kicked in the chest by a wild mustang

For this one, I think I’d have to go with choice number two: the kick to the chest. My main reasons being that:

1. I do not like the sight of my own blood…but then again who really does?
2. I think it would be terrifying to be that “up-close” to a cheetah
3. I’d always have the scar running down my face where he’d clawed me, and my face would be plastered all over AOL News and I’d be known as “Lindsay the Cheetah Girl” and really that doesn’t have a nice ring to it.

The mustang kick is equally awful though, because surviving a blow to the chest, is most likely very slim. Still, I’d take my chances. For one thing, I like the idea of myself trying to get close to a wild mustang because that is just a wildly romantic picture in my head, and then there is the obvious “no scar on the face so therefore no “Lindsay the cheetah girl” pictures on AOL News. And then maybe, with all the publicity surrounding me, I’d be able to buy the wild mustang, tame it, and ride it…which is also lives up to the wildly romantic picture in my head.

How about another one?

Would I rather:

Kiss a jellyfish

Or

Step on a crab

Definitely the “step on a crab.” Kissing a jellyfish would be very painful and besides they look very slimy, very squishy, and very squashy and I don’t want to touch something, let alone kiss something that is very slimy, very squishy, or very squashy. And really, do they have lips? And for that matter…do they even have eyes? A little too weird.

Okay, now my debut middle grade novel, Scones and Sensibiliy (December 22, 2009 Egmont-USA) is about matchmaking going miserably and hilariously wrong. So, in that vein, my question to you is…okay, so it doesn’t have anything to do with that, other than I think this question is hilarious.

Would you rather:

Be born with a giraffe’s neck

or

Be born with an elephant trunk?
So readers! If you can kindly answer Lindsay's question to you you'll be in the drawing for some swag! Bookmarks, book plates, little duckies, whatever I can find! This will be in one and a half weeks!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More Books!


I got too impatient so I'm throwing all these ARCs into Huggles Part 2. There are more on the way as I'm debating between 5 more book choices into the pile. (GO OVER TO THE HUGGLES POST TO ENTER!)

I am also getting back into the hang of BOOKS BY ITS COVER which I will post up next week! Those entries will get thrown in to the Huggles contest (how much it'll be worth will be announced later).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Scones and Sensibility

Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland (December 22nd 2009—Egmont)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Polly Madassa is convinced she was born for a more romantic time. A time when Elizabeth Bennet and Anne of Green Gables walked along the moors and beaches of the beautiful land, a time where a distinguished gentleman called upon a lady of quality and true love was born in the locked eyes of two young lovers.

But alas, she was not.

This, however, does not stop our young heroine from finding romance wherever she can conjure it up. So while Polly is burdened with a summer job of delivering baked goods from her parents bakery (how quaint!) to the people in her small beach town, she finds a way to force…um…encourage romance to blossom. She is determined to bring lovers, young and old, together…whether they want to be or not.”

Review: Scones and Sensibility when first revealed is a charming book with an equally charming main character. The novelty soon dies in the middle of the book where I suggest that the reader set the book down for a few hours.

Polly Madassa is someone who believes in true love but her idea of finding love comes from a novel. This is where things go downhill. Love cannot be dictated by an outside source just as Polly finds out at the end of the book when every blind date she’s prepared turns out disastrous. From kites running amok, to getting your best friend’s dad’s date handcuffed, to making your sister hate your guts, Polly risks it all to find the “perfect” match for her love ones—even at the cost of their own love interest. Her heart’s in the right place but she sometimes takes things just too far as Polly’s bosom friend lets her know.

Polly’s interference at love starts out charming even adorable but takes on an annoying tone later on. That was where the book lost some of its novelty. I thought the little slip ups with Polly’s speech from Jane Austen to modern day 12 year old gave the reader insight how Polly is just a regular girl. And Polly’s own little love trouble makes the book more squealish. I enjoy the terms of affection that she used, I mean “boson friend” how cute is that? (My friend uses the term butt buddy (which makes me think of bubble buddy from Spongebob Squarepants) so I like to squish the two terms together to make bosom buddy.) The antics of Polly were sweet but grew frustrating when Polly would not listen to sound advice. The ending, of course, was a bit to be expected with Polly finally deciding that love cannot be messed with but ending with at least one good match that Polly had made. It was a happy ending for all as everyone found some kindling of love even if Polly did not help set up.

Overall: Cute as a Danish. But sometimes too many Danishes can have its faults.

Cover B-

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hello?

Hi guys I just wanted to direct your attention to PAYA. As you may or may not have heard the the budget for Pennsylvania's librarians are being reduced--by a lot. The libraries in Philadelphia were at one point almost entirely closed--that's about 3 main libraries and 20+ smaller branches. Thousands of books unread, hundreds of librarian laid off.

About PAYA:
PAYA is a coalition of Pennsylvania’s young adult authors, bloggers, librarians, readers, and other book-lovers. Our mission is two-fold:
  1. To share the love we have for young adult literature with others in our state
  2. To raise money to support Pennsylvania’s libraries, with a focus on helping build Young Adult library collections and Young Adult services.
We are planning our first annual event to be held Philadelphia in the summer of 2010. There will be tons of authors and readers coming together. It’s going to be huge!

For this project to work and to help bring more books to libraries across the state we need funds. This is where this idea comes in. Right now there are auctions that include writing critiques from authors and 2 signed books by Janette Rallison for a stating price of $10. Ten freaking dollars for TWO HARDBACK books! So please just check those two sites out and spread the word!

The Splendor Falls

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore (September 8th 2009—Delacorte)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Can love last beyond the grave?

Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.

Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.

Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well?”

Review: If you’ve read Beautiful Creatures and enjoyed yourself then you may also want to pick up The Splendor Falls. They both delve into a mysterious background with a touch of romance and a heavy sprinkle of magic. I found the book interesting enough to try to finish it in one day—that didn’t happen because it’s huge. There were times when things started to slow that pow something ignited my attention and forced me to carry on. And then there were chapters where I just didn’t want it to end.

There’s a lot of background information that while served its purpose of filling gaps, found it enthralling. I loved how all the pieces came together at one point or another. I found the characters also equally good. While they were the one-dimensional characters Sylvie came alive. The Reverend and Clara popped out to me much more than I expected so while Shawn and Rhys I had hoped delivered more.

My biggest complaint would have to be the length. I love a good hardy book worth my money but when most of it is fluff that serves no substantial purpose it becomes dragging. I love Gigi’s (Sylvie’s dog) antics but sometimes I just want to say enough is enough, can we please get on with it. There were the really slow scenes then the super fast ones. The pacing was hard for me as the author set a nice speed in the beginning, dragged it in the middle, and did a marathon towards the end. More of this (magic, explanations, character appearances), less of that (dog walking, dog petting, dog snuggling). But I do have to point out that at times where I was reading scenes from the book I was thinking to myself why did the author include this when it comes back full circle later on in an ohhhhhhhh that’s smart and nicely done.

I also have a teensy weensy issue with the epilogue. It was just too happy happy for me. Like everything was too perfect with the bad guy working in a diner.

Overall: I definitely think fans of Beautiful Creature should try this book out. It isn’t completely same there are some similar characteristics.

Cover C+
*shrugs* I'm trying to figure out what the rose and blood symbolize.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Being Sick Sucks

Apparently my brain is not functioning correctly and I posted my review for BAD APPLE too early! argh. What is this? The 5th time that this has happened? Anyway the review will be back tomorrow *grumbles*

Lovestruck Summer

Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker (May 16th 2009—Harper Teen)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary:
“Austin music fest
Yay, summer in Austin!
Good food, good times. Fun for everyone!
Okay, living with my sorority-brainwashed cousin, who willingly goes by "Party Penny," is not exactly what I had in mind.
All your favorite bands
But the cute musicians I've met totally make up for it . . . like Sebastian. Swoon.
All ages welcome
So why can't I stop thinking about Penny's friend All-American Russ and his Texas twang??
Saturday & Sunday, from noon to midnight
Don't wait up!”

Review: Lovestruck Summer is a perfect spring/summer read. Readers will find this book to be a guilty pleasure because it’s a mind-numbing fun story with no real hardy plotline. That is not to say that’s bad, oh no. Let’s say you’ve just read like 5 books one after the other where the main character is a drug addict, a cutter, has a lot of emotional baggage, or just really, really depressing, that’s where this book comes it. It’s the sun amongst the clouds.

Quirky, humorous, whimsical, fun, sweet, sad, predictable though, and an overall blast to read. I felt like I was with Quinn through her highs and lows, sweet nothings to the not so sweet good-byes.

You can’t really reassess a novel like this but this is meant to be enjoyed not overanalyzed. I mean sure you can point out all the faults but then you’re taking away all the fun Lovestruck Summer has to offer. So I’m leaving it like it is.

And pssttt for $5.99 this book can be a steal

Overall: Nope you’re not getting thing anymore out of me!

Cover C+

Bad Apple

Bad Apple by Laura Ruby (October 1st 2009—Harper Teen)

Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Junior Tola Riley doesn’t care what people say about her. She knows her ever-changing hair color and goth clothes make her an easy target. Whatever. But the latest rumor is different.... The entire school believes she had an affair with her art teacher. The rumors may be a lie, but the fallout is all too real. Will Tola finally stand up for the truth?”

Review: See this book can go either way with the readers, either you think it’s genius or you hate it—point blank. If you expect something really deep and emotional you probably won’t find it here. I mean you may be get it but the weirdness of this novel might overcome that emotion.
“Why do you smell like vanilla?”
“I like to rub Twinkies under my arms.”
“Isn’t that sticky?”
“A little. I’m going to try fudge next.”
“That could work.”
See my point? You have to wonder if that entire dialogue was meant to be funny and a joke or if the author really did mean it. I really hope she was kidding. That’s the main reason why I kind of liked this book—it was weird. Other than that nada.

We follow Tola as she faces the world from the gossiping lies. How different everyone treats her. How far her father became after her parents divorced and remarried. How her sister is pretty much a nut-case. How the only ones who really understand her is Mr. Meyer—the alleged teacher—and her grandfather—who’s stuck in a hospital most of the book.

It seemed like Tola was too childish—constantly trying to draw attention to herself—and never fighting her battles. I mean this whole thing involves you and yet you waste your time kidnapping pigs from the classroom? The least she could do was tell the whole story instead of just saying “nothing happened, nothing happened”. In the end it just makes you seem like a liar.

Then there was this whole thing with the ending. So someone gets a book deal. That’s it!? What about punishment, charges? So the main culprit of spreading the scandal gets away almost scot-free? What the hell!?

Overall: Would you call this humor necessary? Or was the author trying to divert your attention elsewhere. I think it would have been better if the story was less weirdness and more focused of the actual crime.

Cover B-

Waiting on Wednesday! (32)

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead (May 18th 2010--Razorbill)
"Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong…

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s—and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true— Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. Only this time, he won’t rest until Rose joins him…forever."

This requires no explanation...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Tear Collector

The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones (September 1st 2009—Walker Books)

Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Between hookups, makeups, and breakups, there isn’t a day at Lapeer High School without drama turning to trauma turning to tears.

And tears are just essential as air for Cassandra Grey. She and her family are vampires who thirst for human sorrow, and the energy that they soak in from a good crying jag can keep them fueled for days.

Anytime a friend needs a shoulder to cry on, Cass is there. Anytime a boyfriend gets too secure, she breaks his heart. Cass’s work as a school peer counselor and hospital volunteer also provides the perfect cover and access to her family’s energy source. But she is getting tired of all the lies and manipulation—especially now that she’s actually fallen in love with a human. Can she bear to betry her family for a chance at happiness and a life lived with joy?”

Review: I think there is a misconception for the Tear Collector. So far I’ve seen many call this book a new twist to an old vampire lore. “…she’s just like me now—not human, but not a classic horror movie vampire either. I’m more of a succubus that maintains a human form to get along in the world but is void of so much of what makes a person human—such as the ability to love.” This is where things throw me off track. I’m not sure if I can call this a vampire novel or not. There are certain attributes that make a vampire just as being able to transform into a wolf makes a werewolf. I’m grasping at thin straws right now; I guess it’s up to the reader to decide. Anyway that’s the least of my worries.

While I do think that The Tear Collector is unique within its idea and premise, the execution faltered. There seemed to be a lot of high school drama, redundant scenes, and many missing details.

I found the whole scenario of high school a bore actually. Jones starts a great idea then stops short from anything really excited. We have the generic mean girls, the popular but still nice cheerleader, the why-do-you-keep-mentioning-that-Cassandra-gives-blow-jobs-often-to jocks, the weird but deep Goth/Emo girl, and finally the not-the-best-looking-but-so-sweet guy. It’s a battle between which environment is dominate—high school or Cassandra’s family. There are times when they both intermingle but other times it’s more of a Monopoly game—pass Go and collect $200.

Cassandra hangs out in high school, comforts people, collects their tears, gives them to her great godmother, goes back to high school and collects tears again. This is where the redundancy comes into play. You can throw in random hissy cat fights but that doesn’t make it any better. I did, however, like the friendship with Samantha and Cassandra. We follow them when they were enemies to being something special. I thought her story was touching but had missing details to make it even more of a pow.

I couldn’t fully connect with many of the characters. I wasn’t as empathic to Cassandra as I would have liked, I didn’t like Scott as much as I hoped, and I couldn’t get the full intimate details of why they like each so darn much. I mean there were scenes that I thought “wow” but the conversations they had were very similar to other conversations she had.

Then there’s Alexei, her cousin whom she was promised to. A third of the novel was a build-up to this point and even then it fell short and anticlimactic. Again it showed promise, the chapter articles of children kidnappings, the suspense, and the anticipation but in the end all I could say was “that’s it”?

And the ending! Oh goodness. *no comment* I just wish we can get the inside scoop who her cousin killed….

Overall: It’s frustrating because it had so much potential not because it was horrid! I craved for something more.

Cover C+
Ehhhhhhhh

Monday, October 5, 2009

Winner Winner

The winner for my Maximum Ride prize pack promotion was #23...Lena! Lena I sent you an email so get back to me soon.

The Waking Blog Tour

Christopher Golden aka Thomas Randall has a story to tell all....

THE COLD OPEN

It was a dark and stormy night. The ultimate cliche but I must confess, I'm fond of it. Who doesn't love a story that begins on a dark and stormy night? Both as a reader and as a writer, I have a great deal of respect for an opening sentence or paragraph that can really grab hold and pull the reader in. So many things can be accomplished in just a few words, including the creation of mystery and suspense. The tone of an entire novel or story can be effectively communicated in a single sentence. Sometimes a writer can win me over for life with just that one sentence. Two-fisted thriller writer Greg Rucka began his first novel, KEEPER, with this little gem: "Much as I wanted to, I didn't break the guy's nose." There's a certain tired whimsy in there to go along with the toughness. Hard-boiled fiction writers can almost always be relied on for such openings, and I love them for it. Dennis Lehane, whose Kenzie & Gennaro novels are my favorite
modern hard-boiled detective novels, began his first, A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR, with this: "My earliest memories involve fire." Simple, yes, but the lines that follow weave together various images of riot and war as a the narrator--a firefighter's son--leads up to an ugly revelation. There's elegance there, and enough mystery to be intriguing.

In A TALE OF TWO CITIES, Charles Dickens begins with the famous "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," but many forget that this is not the entirety of the first sentence. There's much more to the opening and while most of it is equally intriguing, it finishes rather flatly, with this: "the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." Yeah. Snooze, right? But Dickens has already caught the reader with the opening and that is more than enough to propel us forward with interest and curiosity. We're off and running. Or reading. You know what I mean.

My all-time favorite opening, and one of the greatest in the history of literature, comes from Shirley Jackson's THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE.

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

I could come up with thousands of intriguing first lines from classic novels and stories, from modern bestsellers, and from little-known favorites of mine. Even if you've never paid much attention to the cold open, you have probably been influenced by it frequently and may have favorites of your own. If you're the sort who picks up a book in the store and reads the first few lines in order to determine whether or not you're interested in buying, then the cold open has been hugely influential in determining what you read.

Truth be told, I'm not sure how much other writers think about this. I don't remember ever having the conversation with any of my writer friends. All I can say is that I think about it, sometimes too much. I can't really begin a novel until I feel like I've got an opening that propels ME forward. That doesn't necessarily mean that each novel's first line is a home run, but it's got to feel right to me and at least meet the number one criterion...it's got to propel you forward to the next line. If it's also mysterious or intriguing or unsettling, all the better. My first novel, OF SAINTS AND SHADOWS, began this way: "Manny Soares was getting just a little sick of pushing the damn broom." Not bad, I think. A little passive, but it sets the tone and the scene right off the bat, so I'm happy with it.

My first line from THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN is one of my favorites. "The world was still solid and reliable that chilly October morning, but it would not stay that way forever. Or even for long." Better yet, from WILDWOOD ROAD: "The night of the masquerade was a kind of mad, risque waltz, the voices louder and the laughter giddier than anyone would have expected. That was the nature of masks." Tim Lebbon and I co-wrote a novel called THE MAP OF MOMENTS. I love the cold open from that one. "In Max's dream, Gabrielle still loves him. And she is still alive."

Sometimes the simplest openings are the best, though. Abrupt and direct. Many of my teen novels start with lines meant to snap the reader to attention. BODY BAGS began with: "Amanda Green died for a cigarette." PROWLERS starts with "The taste of a child's blood." From THIEF OF HEARTS: "Murder itself held no pleasure for him. It was what came after--that was what he lived for." From POISON INK: "Pieces of her are broken."

They're not all so abrupt. Honestly, looking through the shelf of my books here in my office, some of them are not very good or very interesting. Sometimes I've begun with dialogue or setting, whatever felt right at the time. But other times I've managed, I think, to set up scene and character and give a good, intriguing cold open all at once. I'm fond of the longer opening to HEAD GAMES: "Not long after dawn, two days before Christmas, Jenna Blake stood over the shattered, nearly unrecognizable corpse of the mayor of Somerset, Massachusetts, and took deep breaths to keep from throwing up." Actually, that one's maybe a little funny, too, which is good. It's not Dickens or Shirley Jackson, but it makes me smile.

My latest novel is the first in a trilogy that I've written under the pseudonym Thomas Randall. [Thomas Randall is the name of the writer who is the protagonist in my novel STRANGEWOOD...the opening line of which is thoroughly unremarkable]. For the cold open of THE WAKING: DREAMS OF THE DEAD, I sat for a long time, as I often do, just waiting for the right line to occur to me. Often that's exactly what happens, the words just popping into my head. Perhaps echoes of BODY BAGS were drifting around my head, because the line follows a model set up there. DREAMS OF THE DEAD begins with....

"Akane Murakami died for a boy she did not love."

Whether that one works or not...I'll leave up to you. If it helps, though, the scene does take place on a dark and stormy night.
Except of his book

Monday, September 28th: Little Willow at Bildungsroman
http://slayground.livejournal.com/538197.html
http://slayground.livejournal.com

Tuesday, September 29th: Courtney Summers
http://courtneysummers.ca/2009/09/an-interview-with-thomas-randall/
http://www.courtneysummers.ca

Wednesday, September 30th: readergirlz
http://readergirlz.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 1st: lecitans
http://lectitans.livejournal.com/

Friday, October 2nd: Sarah's Random Musings
http://www.sarahbear9789.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 2nd: Steph Su Reads
http://stephsureads.blogspot.com

Monday, October 5th: Books By Their Cover
http://booksbytheircover.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 6th: Kim Baccellia
http://kbaccellia.livejournal.com/

Tuesday, October 6th: Book Chic
http://bookchicclub.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 7th: Presenting Lenore
http://presentinglenore.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 8th: GalleySmith
http://www.galleysmith.com

Friday, October 9th: Just Blinded Book Reviews
http://justblindedbookreviews.blogspot.com

The full HTML code for the schedule with additional descriptions:
http://slayground.livejournal.com/538497.html

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Huggles Part 2

If you guys remember my first HUGGLES giveaway then you would remember my promise of a second or part 2 version of it. Well here it is! This contest is not for my 400th 398th follower but rather my 1 (one!) year blogoversary! So up for grabs are...


The entire Mortal Instrument series!
  1. City of Bones (paperback)
  2. City of Ashes (paperback) [special thanks goes to Casey for kindly donating this book for the contest!]
  3. City of Glass (arc)
Or if you happen to be into adult books...


The first 5 books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series! Please note that my books aren't "new":
  1. DARK LOVER
  2. LOVER ETERNAL
  3. LOVER AWAKENED
  4. LOVER REVEALED
  5. LOVER UNBOUND
This may come as a surprise to you but from now on I will be reviewing adult, classics, general fiction books. I am, however, still mainly focused on YA books.

So this contest is all about me branching out into another genre while still celebrating my first lovely [aside from all that stupid drama] year blogging.
To win:
To enter you must answer this question: If I were a ____ then I would ____.
i.e. If I were a tangerine then I would spend the entire day rolling around.

Leave me a way to contact you. Grrr. If not then you'll have 7 days to contact me once I announce the winners.

Extra entries:
+2 if you were a follower
+1 if you start following me
+2 if you blog about this contest (sidebars will only get you 1 extra entry)
+1 if you tweet about this contest
+1 if you managed to refer someone
+1 to the person whom you referred (they must state your alias or name)
if you do not have a blog then you may email 5 friends, CC me a copy, for 1 extra entry

PLEASE KEEP THIS IN ONE COMMENT. If you were to enter now and do an extra entry later on, then delete your first comment and recomment.

Other important facts:
I will throw in another book choice for every 25 unique entries. Note that the JR Ward books counts as one item. Same thing applies with the Mortal Instrument series.

The amount of winners will be determined by how much is in my wallet and the amount of entries I will get. As of right now there will be one winner. This winner can choose between either the Mortal Instrument books or the Black Dagger Brotherhood books. This may change. I hope to give both sets away and have another winner whom will choose from a book pile (that will be added for every 25 unique entries [see above]). Making this a 3 winners contest *crosses fingers for money*.

US only contest. HOWEVER I am willing to ship internationally if the winner helps pay for the S&H.

This contest will end on December 20th (marking my 1 year blogoversary) aka 78 days (see below on my little button).

Oh and bookmarks will come with the books! :D

More choices!

Pooped

Just got back from hanging out with Sharon and Steph Su. Was going to post this contest but as you can see by the title, I am utterly pooped. More on the adventures of today...later.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hush, Hush


Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (October 13th 2009—Simon and Schuster)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.”

Review: So let’s talk about Twilight and Hush, Hush and how Fitzpatrick is glaringly obvious that she’s stealing Meyer’s work of art despite the fact Twilight has many similar traits in a majority of YA novels and vampire novels. [hint hint sarcasm] Key word is ‘vampire’ where Hush, Hush is obviously ‘fallen angel’. If that doesn’t clue you in then you obviously need to back away from the Twilight books and the sparkling vampires because in no way will you ever be Edward’s lover. Face it. It’s true.

So let’s talk about Edward and Patch. Patch is the dark, edgy, sexy version of Edward. I guess you can say he’s wilder. That being said the entire novel is a darker theme. The term fallen angel can be accounted for this. Like Adam and Eve, Patch took the forbidden fruit. Whether he succeeded or failed it doesn’t matter, in this one act his wings were ripped. In order to finally get what he has always wished for, Nora is the one person who can help him.

Hush, Hush was addicting. It was a novel that demanded to be inhaled in one sitting alone. The characters come off the pages like a black and white movie and a splash red lipstick or blood for dramatic effect. The rippling cause and effect with a dastardly villain in a pair of killer pumps shoots fire throughout the novel—both literally and figuratively. Sometimes it just too much though. Like a one noted melody.

Together [Nora and Patch]we can only hope that the sequel will bring us more giggles, swooning, and the constant ‘omg omg omg squeal!’

Overall: In order to possess a copy of this book I had willingly sold my kidney, liver, and spleen. Do I regret this decision? Absolutely not.

Cover A-
I love the concept behind this cover. I love the color scheme. The darkness. I just wish the model shaved his armpits (my personal preference) though.

P.S. The name was hard to get into for a while. All I could think about was Patches from Powerpuff Girls

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Last Chance!

Tomorrow or was it tonight is your last shot to win all the books in the Max Ride series!

Cashing In

Cashing In by Susan Colebank (November 12th 2009—Dutton)

Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “There are some problems even winning the lottery can’t fix.

With as many hours as Reggie Shaw puts in at the Cashmart, it’s no wonder that her grades and her friendships are slipping. Worst of all, Reggie’s mother’s inability to keep a job means that Reggie is pulling the weight of two people. Then, Reggie’s mom wins big in the lottery. Suddenly the money—and the popularity—comes pouring in. But when Reggie finds out that her mother has been borrowing more money than she actually won, she must face up to the fact that happiness can’t be bought—it only comes with hard work.”

Review:

WARNING: THIS REVIEW IS LONG. I've decided to make a short review followed by the longer review if you want details.

SHORT REVIEW:
Okay so recap: Some parts were good, others weren’t. I needed less chit-chat, droning, and more character building, further details with Gabe, and some much needed karma. I did love: The friends, the step-dad, the climax—confrontations, the tears, the “‘You’ve screwed up, Mom. Don’t screw us up, too’”—and finally I loved Simon the rat*.

LONG REVIEW:
Cashing In’s synopsis sounded promising—intriguing, fun, and a dream come true. But when you combine a main character that I didn’t care much for, a cousin who I wished I had a shotgun for, and a relationship (with flannel mind you…attached to a guy though) that sort of never jump started I can understand where that excitement of the book drained away.

Regina Shaw had the perfect background for me to be sympathetic with—a father who just recently passed away, a mother who’s addicted to gambling and eBay, a brother who’s hardly ever there anymore—but her personality stole some it. I wished she would have just stepped up for herself. When your younger-than-you cousin blackmails you to do her bidding I can kind of let that slide. But when you let her “borrow” the necklace that your dad gave you—your one of only memento—I’m slightly peeved. That and when you’re practically spending more money than the actual blackmailing money she has on you, it’s odd. Besides what happens if she told? What proof does she have? A photo of the money that you stole? You can easily say that you took it from the ATM. Or was there something more to it that the author didn’t mention? Maybe it was just the main character’s personality—never lie. But then she’s been “lying” all this time when she stole the money. It’s just so frustrating to me when you’re constantly looking over your shoulder and in fear of your cousin. I also didn’t get much of grieving part of the father. It seemed to me that the entire family was more concerned with the money than the death.

Let’s talk about the cousin now. She doesn’t play a large role in the book but I really just wanted to take a shotgun and blow her brain. Okay maybe not that extreme, a slap or two perhaps? Her entire family just ARGH me. Aunt Barb is a cross between a cousin you’ve never heard of but pops up when you win the lottery and a sister who only talks to you when you have something she wants, something to gloat she wants to gloat to with, or just to degrade you. When you have the $$ then we can talk.

I would like to mention, though, that Reggie’s friends are pretty much awesome. Pete is a Star Wars fanatic, the other is a pie queen. And the best part is? They hooked up. We read about them for only a few pages but they were great pages. After the “incident” with Sarah (pie queen) and she broke her arm and received a concussion, Pete was there as soon as she woke up. Despite the fact that they were in the “off-stage” on their on-and-off relationship, Pete became a man and took care of Sarah. I pretty much went awhhhhhhh.

Speaking of relationships the thing with Gabe and Reggie was almost there but not quite. The building part was hardly there. I mean some secret glances, a few talks, a bump in the donut shop hardly constitutes as a “get to know the person before you date them” experience. For all she knew, he could have been a serial killer out shopping for little girls while working at the Say Cheese! Photo department (highly unlikely but it can happen). The hookups after that were more of the side effects from Reggie’s mom and the taunts from school. The “I love you”s I deemed as awkward on my end. The author lets us know that they’ve been going out for several months—6 or more—but as the reader, it’s been only like 2 chapters altogether. It wasn’t enough for me to be convinced of this relationship.

Okay so enough about the things that made me sad about the book, onto happy thoughts. We need happy thoughts. So while Reggie takes a whole lot of crap for the first 2/3 of the book, she ends up being strong at the end. The last couple chapters for me, I found myself loving it. I was just waiting for the emotional outbreak that made me feel something! And boy did I get it. We had several confrontations in regards with Sarah’s family, Reggie’s mom, Bridget (that little evil cousin) all ending with an epilogue that made sense. The majority of the pieces came together and we finished it with a pretty red bow.

Overall: I think this is hit or miss book depending on the reader. If you can get past the characters you will perhaps love the book. Sadly, I could only tolerate Reggie.

Cover A-
Um I seem to have this thing where I love covers but didn’t like the book. I adore the dress, handbag, and shoes. I think the pigeon-toed look works because it shows a sense of a missing emotional clarity. Reggie perpetually struggles with herself and the body language shows this. The shoes are so cute (I would never wear it though) and the handbag of course has to match the shoes. I think having the title sideways and toward the edge was a risky move that surprisingly looks good. Orange? Wow but it pops out to you.

*Simon the rat was client at the Say Cheese! Photo department.