Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Title: Exposed
Author: Kimberly Marcus
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
ARC, 255 pages
Date Published: February 22, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
In the dim light of the darkroom, I'm alone, but not for long.
As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.
The background of the dance studio blurred, so the focus is all on her
legs extended in a perfect soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle,
my forever-best friend.


Sixteen-year-old Liz Grayson is photogirl—sharp, focused and ready to take the world by storm with her camera. But Liz's entire life is called into question when her brother is accused of a crime—and the accuser is Liz's own best friend. As the aftershocks from that accusation rip through Liz's world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself, shifts out of focus. And for the first time in her life, Liz finds herself unable to trust her own point of view. Told in stunning, searingly raw free verse,  Exposed is Kimberly Marcus's gut-wrenching, riveting debut and will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson and Virginia Euwer Wolff.

Exposed is a quick reading, taking me just over an hour to finish, but it’s also hard-hitting and emotional. Kimberly Marcus’ use of verse wondrously illustrates how quickly 16 year old Liz’s life falls apart. How her best friend, her brother, and her photography come crashing down around her.

The thing I love about verse novels is that they’re a fast read, but on top of that, they tend to be so well-written that the characters come to life vividly and with startling clarity. Exposed has that. Liz is a complete person in the novel, with a best friend, a family, and a future. She seems to have everything going for her, until she doesn’t. I don’t want to say exactly what happens, but it’s something that tears her in two. The reader will feel how split Liz is about the situation, not knowing who to support and defend and who she should be angry with.

The writing not only tells a good story, but it evokes a great deal of emotion. Liz’s disintegrating world will pull the reader along, not sure who to believe or what to feel. Liz’s photography within the story strengthens her character even as she’s losing it. I love how Liz sees the world through a lens at the beginning, but as the story moves on, her lens becomes clouded, until she can’t see anything anymore. The photography aspects allow for some great lines, as well as some great metaphorical musings.

The other characters involved may not be completely fleshed out, but they each add to the story. I couldn’t help but find myself angry at Kate, at Liz’s brother Mike, at her parents, and her boyfriend, but then I was angry for them to; angry that they had to go through this, that they each have to suffer. Much like Liz, I was constantly torn between two states, not sure which side I was going to land on, or if I could straddle that line forever.

Exposed is a deftly-written, emotional, and somehow hopeful verse novel about losing everything, but still making it. It tackles a hard subject realistically and from an almost outsider's perspective. Liz is outsider in the situation, but beyond close at the same time. The writing is phenomenal and had me near tears at times because this could happen, this does happen, and this is how most people probably handle it. If you’re a fan of verse novels or contemporary young adult fiction, then this one is for you.

Opening line: I am the first one here. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages:
I used to take time to look,
to see.

But now time is something to get through,
so I aim and shoot at everything
crossing my line of vision. ~ pg. 100
And my favorite chapter/poem:
What Do I Know?

It’s amazing how you think
you know someone so well,
then one day you come to see
that you really don’t know
that person at all.

And you wonder
what that says
about you. ~ pg. 212

*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
4.5
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Kimberly Marcus online:

Buy it online:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Recreate the Cover: Shatter Me

Princess Bookie's Contest Craze is going on right now and as part of it, she's hosting a recreate the cover mini challenge.

I haven't been participating as much as I had hoped (or been blogging/commenting as much as I'd like) lately, but I couldn't pass this up. I love recreate the cover challenges and for this one, I decided to tackle Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. 

I'm pretty sure everyone knows that I loved this book hardcore, but the cover is nothing like what I would have expected, so I figured I'd recreate it to look a little more like what I thought it'd be.

The original:

My take on it:

Let me know what you think in the comments! I'm actually very happy with my end result and if you've read the book, you'll appreciate the subtle birds too. I'd appreciate it if, when voting rolls around, you support Princess Bookie's contest craze and vote - even if it's not for me...though I'd love that too :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

The Rules:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) or so “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

I'm only about 30 pages in, but I can tell this one is going to be very different from other books. Here's a snippet where we learn a little bit about how Charlie views her world, when she listens to the Pledge:
But today, maybe for the first time ever, I heard them. I noted the words we emphasized: worship, obey, respect, contribute, report. I listed the order of importance in my head: queen, then country, then class. The Pledge was a command as much as it was a promise, yet another way that the queen demanded that we protect her and our way of life. ~ pgs. 21-22
This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy


Words are the most dangerous weapon of all.

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

*Description taken from Goodreads

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mara Madness Blog Tour - Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ARC, 450 pages
Date Published: September 27, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads): Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is inventive, pervasive, and completely mind-boggling. Each and every answer leads to more questions and to more mystery. Michelle Hodkin’s storytelling is spot-on, with pitch-perfect flow and unbelievable revelations. I was glued to the page, frantic for more information, but dwelling on each scene at the same time.

Mara is one of the most perfect characters because she is funny and flippant, but a good person at her core. She has a very messed up past and unraveling it with her is like digging for treasure, revealing another piece of the puzzle one excruciatingly minute after another. Mara’s relationship with her family grounds her though and keeps her sane. It also makes her feel that much more realistic to the reader. Some of my favorite scenes involve her and her two brothers.

And all the scenes with Noah are fantastic. Their banter may be petty, but I couldn’t help but want more because sexy British boy is sexy. He’s also got quite the alluring mystery to him. We already know Mara is swathed in confusion, but Noah has a few skeletons in his closet as well and I enjoyed digging them out. Also, there is hotness and it is swoony and I want my own Noah.

On top of everything are Mara’s nightmares and hallucinations, which create a dark tone that lingers even throughout the lighter scenes – side note: Jamie, Mara’s first (and only, really) friend at school is freaking awesome. Loved him! – Something big is going on and finding out involves death, creepiness, and a lot of strange things.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is, by far, one of the most crazy awesome, WTF-filled, mystery-laden books I’ve ever read. Everything about it pulls the reader in and refuses to let go. Michelle Hodkin’s writing is enthralling and tantalizingly good. The mystery and intrigue are done in a way that the very first chapter will have you hooked and by then, you’re a goner. You’ll have to sit and read. And read and read and read; until you reach the end and just stare at the page in awe. That’s what this book will do to you.

Opening line: The ornate script on the board twisted in the candlelight, making the letters and numbers dance in my head. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages:
“Thanks. Seriously, you must have better things to do with your life than waste it on the hopeless?”
“I’ve already learned Parseltongue. What else is there?”
“Elvish.”
“You’re like a gen-u-wine nerd. Love it.”~ pg. 123”

*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Michelle Hodkin online:
Buy it online:

This is today's Mara Madness Blog Tour stop, but make sure you check out the lovely hosts at Books Complete Me to see a full list of tour stops. Visit all 21 tour stops and collect the letters for your chance to win 1 of 2 signed copies of the book. Today's letter:
Once you've collected all the letters, work your magic and unscramble them to spell out the words (you don't need to have read the book to get this one - check Michelle's blog for inspiration) then FILL OUT THE FORM to enter. There is one form linked on all the blogs, so please fill it out only once. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

These Are Things You Need To See!

No IMM this week because I've been very successful with my book buying ban. I do have some pre-orders on the way though, but they won't be coming until October 11th - stupid B&N is shipping them all together, so I have to wait for the last one to release :(

Anyway, like the post title says, here are some things that you NEED to see:

The trailer for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - it's freaking hot! And all kinds of awesome:

The cover for Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham - to be released June 2012

And the freaking awesome Sourcebooks ARC of Embrace by Jessica Shirvington:



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book Review: The Serpent's Coil (Prophecy of Days, #2) by Christy Raedeke

Title: The Serpent's Coil (Prophecy of Days, #2)
Author: Christy Raedeke
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Flux
ARC, 299 pages
Date Published: July 8, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads): After discovering that Uncle Li betrayed her and the Fraternitas Regni Occulti burned down her family’s house, Caity Mac Fireland retreats to a boarding school that allows her to travel around the globe. With the murderous Fraternitas hot on her heels, Caity continues to mobilize the planet’s young people as she attempts to fulfill the Mayan prophecy. Helping—and sometimes hindering— Caity in her quest are her best friend Justine, boyfriend Alex, and new classmate Jules D’Aubigne, an intriguing French boy.

Can Caity end the devastating global reign of the Fraternitas and save the world?
Picking up directly where The Daykeeper’s Grimoire left off, The Serpent’s Coil finds Caity in even deeper water and the stakes are even higher. As with its predecessor, this second book in the Prophecy of Days series is chock full of some of the most intelligent storytelling I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. There were moments that I had to reread sections, just so I could completely comprehend what was happening. This isn’t a bad thing though.

With information about the Mayan calendar, ancient cultures, philosophy, religion, and even astronomy, The Serpent’s Coil is vast in its subject matter, but entirely plausible. I’m truly astonished with the amount research Christy Raedeke must have put into this series; not only that, but Raedeke breaks it down for the reader to understand and really get.

In the short span between books, Caity has grown so much. Learning about the Mayan calendar and the prophecy that comes with her heritage has made Caity a much more mature character, but she still has that zeal of innocence to her that makes her quite endearing. Mr. Papers is back too, which will forever be a great thing because cute, super smart monkeys that communicate with origami are always made of win.

Getting to know Caity’s friend Justine is like walking in on the epitome of best friendom. And, of course the possibility of a romance with Scottish lad Alex still lingers in the air, but the best thing about it, is that it never controls the story. Caity’s tale isn’t about her relationship with a boy or even her relationship with her best friend; it’s about so much more and I hope many more people give this series a shot.

Christy Raedeke has another winner with The Serpent’s Coil. The mythology/history that she described in The Daykeeper’s Grimoire is expanded upon and she delves much deeper into her characters. I have a feeling that readers will be pleasantly surprised by how stimulating the Prophecy of Days series can be. It’s a little bit mystery, a little bit conspiracy, and a lot of story. Readers who love a well-told, complex story, will adore this series.

Opening line: Here’s what I’ve got: a monkey who communicates with origami, a prophetic poem with my name in it, and a mission. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages: We are wondrous beings in a wondrous land. ~ pg. 215

*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.


Find Christy Raedeke online:
Buy it online:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: Alice in Verse by J.T. Holden, Illus. by Andrew Johnson

Title: Alice in Verse: The Lost Rhymes of Wonderland
Author: J.T. Holden
Illustrator: Andrew Johnson
Reading Level: Young Adult - Good for all ages
Publisher: Candleshoe Books
Hardcover, 83 pages
Date Published: February 11, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads): 
Who really stole the Queen's tarts? Whatever did become of the Walrus & the Carpenter after their nefarious jot down the briny beach with the little Oysters? Is there truly any sense to be found in nonsense at all?

Come follow Alice down the rabbit-hole once again as Lewis Carroll's timeless classic is reimagined through the lyrical language of Wonderland...where a Caterpillar dispenses an indelible lesson, a Cat offers safe haven and (fairly) sound advice, and a Hatter and Hare throw a mad tea party before matching wits at the trial of the century!
Alice in Verse is a whimsical, slightly dark look into Lewis Carroll’s classic world that perfectly captures the wonderment of Wonderland. Fans of the original will be thrilled by author J.T. Holden’s expansion of some of their favorite happenings in Wonderland, while new readers will thoroughly enjoy the clever rhyming storytelling.

Those who have never read the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass may be a little confused at first about what exactly is going on, but it’s easy to get sucked into the story and fall into its pages. Holden’s verse is pitch-perfect and meant to be read aloud. The Cheshire cat, the Mad Hatter, and the Hare have some of the best moments in this book filled with great moments.

The illustrations work magic in giving readers a new visual for a world we’ve become so accustomed too. Seeing the Cheshire cat as more of a mischievous Siamese just fits.

Alice in Verse is a short, quick read, but well worth it. The book is a keeper for sure and something to be shared. Do not miss it.

Opening line: 
How doth the morning sunlight breach
The shade beneath the thickets,
Along the bank, across the reach,
To sill the song of crickets. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages:
If you really must go, then it’s best you should know
That to find you need only to seek
But in seeking and finding, you may need reminding:
Once found, is what’s sought worth a peek? ~ pg. 22

‘If a story is sad at the end, is it bad
To conclude with a happy beginning?
If apart from the start, it will tug at the heart,
Should one start at the part that’s most winning?’ ~ pg. 26
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Buy it online:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Want To Be in a Book Trailer? Now's Your Chance!

Daniel Cohen has this amazing opportunity going on RIGHT NOW to be in the book trailer for the upcoming Masters of the Veil. All he's asking is for is short clips of people acting like they're being interviewed by the local news and are devastated by their football team's loss. 

Easy, right? 

So head on over to the Spencer Hill - MOTV Trailer - website for more info and to submit your entry.

There are goodies involved too! So not only do you have the chance to be in a book trailer, but you can win stuff too. It's win/win.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review: Reasons To Be Happy by Katrina Kittle

Title: Reasons To Be Happy
Author: Katrina Kittle
Reading Level: Middle Grad
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwokcy
ARC, 265 pages
Date Published: October 1, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Hannah's parents are glamorous Hollywood royalty, and sometimes she feels like the ugly duckling in a family of swans. After her mother's tragic death, Hannah's grief is compounded by her desperate need to live up to her mother's image. She tries to control her weight through Bulimia, and her devastated father is too distracted to notice. The secret of her eating disorder weighs heavily on Hannah, but the new eighth grade Beverly Hills clique she's befriended only reinforces her desire to be beautiful. The only one who seems to notice, or care, that something is wrong is Jasper, the quirky mistfit.
We all have our reasons to be happy, things that make us smile or brighten our days, but Hannah Carlisle has a notebook full of them. A notebook that is supposed to help her when times get rough. Only her reasons aren’t enough. Her pain is deep, her loss monumental, her emotions raw. Hannah Carlisle will wander into the hearts of readers, burrow herself there, and force us to confront every unsettling, upsetting, and beautiful thing about this eighth grader and her journey to find herself again.

Katrina Kittle implicitly understands the young adult mind. Hannah is an insecure eight grader who questions everything about herself. She doesn’t want to be scared, she doesn’t want to be bulimic, but she doesn’t know how to change it. Kittle’s take on bulimia, the way she calls it a disgusting monster and handles Hannah’s situation more than realistically, is the perfect way to express such a prevalent issue with teens, with anyone.

Hannah is superbly fleshed out, with a family, hopes, dreams, and upsets. Each of her ‘reasons to be happy’ help to see just a little more into the girl that she was and the girl that she’s trying to find again. Not only can any young girl relate to Hannah, but anyone will like her, care about her, and hope with every fiber of their being that she’s strong enough, that she has the right support system, to get through everything.

Reasons To Be Happy isn’t lighthearted and bubbly. It isn’t a glimpse into the picture perfect life of a child born of two actors. It’s a devastating portrayal of a delightful girl who loses herself, but is strong enough and stubborn enough to not stay lost. It’s heartbreaking and will affect its middle grade audience, but also any person who has ever felt lost, alone, or confused.

My most favorite thing about the book isn’t even Hannah’s reasons – though they are superb – or her family – who I couldn’t help but love – it’s that her struggle is just that, a struggle. One doesn’t just get rid of an eating disorder, just as one doesn’t simply kick a bad habit or get over an addiction. You have to fight for it. And Katrina Kittle made me feel like I fought for it with Hannah. We fought, we cried, we hurt, but we’re still here. And that’s what matters most.

Opening line:
I used to be brave. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages: I’m such coward I kept sitting with those girls I know are horrible. I feel trapped. I don’t know how to break free, and each day I don’t speak up, it gets harder to figure out how. I’m paralyzed. ~ pg. 23

*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy  

 4.5 - Should be in every middle school library
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Katrina Kittle online:
  Pre-order it online:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble| The Book Depository | Indiebound

And in case you weren't sold on the book already, here are five (7 really, but two aren't numbered) of my favorite Reasons to Be Happy, all courtesy of Hannah's list:

2. Outrunning a forest fire
16. Fang-like icicles that make whole houses look like monster mouths
97. Remembering dreams
154. Cute videos of kittens when you're having a stressful day
177. Hot cocoa with little marshmallows
Making a difference
Kissing

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Dutton
ARC, 338 pages
Date Published: September 29, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

“You’re going to fall in love with Lola and the Boy Next Door. Madly in love! Every page sparkles.”
— Sarah Mlynowski, author of Bras & Brookmsticks and Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) 
Lola, oh Lola, you astound me with your ability to turn me into a puddle of emotion. Lola and the Boy Next Door is the most perfectly executed and excruciatingly anticipatory love story I’ve ever read. Lola Nolan is – as I’ve dubbed her – badass chic. She loves to wear a frilly dress, but rocks it with combat boots. She dresses in costumes, not to disguise anything, but to be herself. And boy is Lola one hot mess of a girl. She has a sexy, rocker boyfriend named Max, but a strange and torrid history with her old neighbors, the Bell twins, who just happen to move back in next door. Unwanted feelings, ‘traumatic’ memories, and the best romantic tension ensue.

Lola is one of those characters that are impossible not to love. Everything about her made me love her more. Her outfits, wigs, the way she thinks out loud – literally, she says it all out loud without realizing it – and the way she loves so completely. Her parents mean the world to her and she’s not afraid to show it. Both of her dads are the kind of parents that YA is severely lacking and I loved their involvement in Lola’s life. In fact, every single character is fleshed out and has purpose in the story.

Andy and Nathan – Lola’s dads – a pie bakery owner (via the kitchen) and a lawyer, respectively, are like any other dads. They enforce called check-ins when Lola is out, make the 22 year old Max come over for Sunday brunch, and freak when boys are in Lola’s room. Norah, Lola’s birth mom, even plays a role, by forcing Lola to open her eyes to things she maybe isn’t willing to see. Lola’s best friend Lindsey is not nearly as sparkly and colorful as Lola, but she’s her best friend and is there for her whenever she needs her. Anna and Etienne St. Clair make an appearance or two as well, so if you loved Anna and the French Kiss, be prepared for some more fun from them.

Then there are the Bell twins. Calliope comes off as very cold-shoulderish, but her years of being cut off from normal teen life as a world-class figure skater plays into that a great deal. Getting to know her and  seeing her reasoning softens her a bit though. Now for Cricket. Yes, Cricket. Oh how I did not want to like him. Lola has a boyfriend and he’s sexy and a budding rock star, who suffers through double dad interrogation, and I really liked him. But then I LOVED Cricket.

How do you love a boy named Cricket? Read Lola and try not to. It’s impossible, what with his tight pants, enthusiastic nature, and constant smiles. He’s insecure, but somehow confident; a little geeky, but completely sexy at the same time; intense and funny and intelligent and selfless. He has this pureness and innocence about him that makes him perfect. But he’s perfect because he’s imperfect. His flaws – like Lola’s flaws – make him a great character.

There’s this part, towards the end, where Cricket tells a story and it killed me. KILLED ME DEAD. I loved it. I love him. I want to steal him away and keep him all to myself forever.

The romance in Lola and the Boy Next Door is absolutely, stunningly, delectable. Never before have I read something that creates so much tension and anticipation and that ‘pleasepleaseplease kiss’ sensation so well. That’s what Lola will do to you. You’ll fall in love with these characters, with their lives, and their hopes and dreams. I know I did. The contrast in relationships between Lola and Max and Lola and Cricket is done so well. The two boys are polar opposites and have such different effects on Lola. The story unfolds with so much tension and so much longing that I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time. The journey that Lola takes to find ‘the one’ isn’t easy, but the hardest things give us the biggest rewards, right?

Stephanie Perkins has more than done it again with Lola. She has outdone herself, improved upon her previous writing, and given us a story that will resonate with every single person who reads it. If you don’t love this story, then there’s something wrong with you because there is nothing not to love about it.

Lola and the Boy Next Door is a wondrously written book that will cause butterflies, squeals of excitement, sighs of delight/contentment/I’m in love, a heavy dose of pins and needles anticipation, then massive explosions of yesyesyesyesyesyesyes . . . with a little tearing up and anger thrown in for good measure. It’s easily one of my favorite books. Ever.

Opening line: I have three simple wishes. ~ pg. 3

Favorite lines/passages: Pages 326-327 has my absolute favorite passage, but it’s long and spoilery, so not posting it here. When you read it though, you’ll see why it’s my FAVORITE!


There’s something about blue eyes.
The kind of blue that startles you every time they’re lifted in your direction. The kind of blue that makes you ache for them to look at you again. Not blue green or blue gray, the blue that’s just blue.
Cricket has those eyes. ~ pg. 136

I had to share another one too:
Sadness. Desire. An ache inside of me so strong that I don’t know how I believed it had ever left. I stare at the back of his head, and it’s like the oxygen has disappeared from my room. My heart has turned to water. I’m drowning. ~ pg. 244

*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy 

 
5 is not nearly enough! 5 billion is more like it
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.


Find Stephanie Perkins online:

  Pre-order it online:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Think About It Thursday (17): Book Extras


Image used under Creative Commons - Original belongs to Salady

By book extras, I mean book-specific websites, book trailers, games, and anything that's supplemental to the book.

Now, my question is: Do you like all these bookish extras? Do you see them as cool goodies or more like a tedious aside to the story?

If you like them, do you utilize them?


To me, the bookish extras that publishers or authors come up with are really cool. I like book trailers and I do like book websites, but I can't say that I utilize them all that often. I do watch book trailers and I have bought books based on a trailer, but aside from that, I haven't found myself particularly drawn to the other extras that publishers put out.

Book websites can be cool, but I've never taken the time to really explore some of them. I do check out lost scenes from some books - most notably the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I've recently checked out the Night Circus game, but I haven't sat down and done much yet.

I'm also in Pottermore and think it's really cool (I'm a Ravenclaw!) but I don't think anything Harry Potter related can be looked at like other bookish extras because HP is sort of in a league all its own.

Here are some links to bookish extras for The Night Circus and The Daughter of Smoke & Bone:

The Night Circus - game

The Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Website
The Daughter of Smoke & Bone - NetGalley link to download first 14 chapters on Sept. 27th

Let me know what you think about bookish extras in the comments! I'm curious to see how many people actually take advantage of the extra stuff publishers put off to help market their books.

Winner of the Indie Takeover Giveaway!!



The winner of the Half-Blood ARC and swag below is....

Jenna!!


*The winner has been emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or an alternate winner may be chosen

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel (Blog Tour)

Title: After Obsession
Author: Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ARC, 307 pages
Date Published: September 13, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads): 
Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her.

Filled with heart-pounding romance, paranormal activity, and rich teen characters to love-and introducing an exciting new YA voice, Steven Wedel-this novel is exactly what Carrie Jones fans have been waiting for. Meet your next obsession.
Possession. Creepy word, creepy meaning, even creepier playing out on screen. After Obsession makes possession just as creepy in a book. There are scenes that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up; and one particular scene, involving a knife, made me slam my book closed and glance around my room, searching for the source of the creepy-crawlies. Jones and Wedel make a great team and their writing, while eerie at times, is also filled with humor and a good dose of burgeoning romance.

Aimee and Alan are two teens that are perfect for one another. A little too perfect at times and their romantic longings kick off quickly, but they’re both very easy to like. Aimee’s relationship with her younger brother Benji is adorable. For all the older sisters out there, you’ll appreciate their playful banter and obvious love for one another.

Alan’s Native American heritage plays a large role in the book and his uncertainty about it moves the plot along and pulls the reader in. We don’t know where everything is going because Alan and Aimee aren’t sure either. Courtney, Alan’s cousin, is maybe possessed and the disturbing things surrounding her are very much a freaky thing. Reading about Ouija board experiences, River Men, phantom footsteps, and shadow people in the window all gave me a horror move vibe. And I loved it.

Carrie Jones is back again, and teaming up with YA newcomer Steven E. Wedel, in this fast-paced, plot-driven, creepfest of a novel. Some things about Aimee and Alan could have been explained more,but reading After Obsession still makes the reader rethink every bump in the night, every creak of the floorboards, and every single out-of-the-ordinary occurrence. Jones and Wedel have delivered a hauntingly good book that mixes movie style possession with Native American lore, and it does it flawlessly. Make sure you check this one out.

Opening line:
You are mine.
You all will be mine.
~ pg. 2

Favorite lines/passages: (The wicked freaky knife scene is my favorite, but I don’t want to give that away) Walking like a man in the face of fear. Sometimes it’s the best we can do. ~ pg. 71

*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 
 
Find Carrie Jones online:
Website | Blog | Twitter

Find Steven E. Wedel online:
Website | Twitter

Buy it online:

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

Giveaway info:
Open to US only
Normal Contest Policy applies
One entry per person
Closes September 18th

To enter, leave a comment (with some way to contact you) answering the following:
What's your favorite creepy book or movie?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review: And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky

Title: And Then Things Fall Apart
Author: Arlaina Tibensky
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse
ARC, 227 pages
Date Published: July 26, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Keek is not having a good summer. She and her boyfriend have just had their Worst Fight Ever (on the subject of her virginity, nonetheless), she’s been betrayed by a best friend, her parents are splitting up, and her mother is on the other side of the country tending to Keek’s newborn cousin, who may or may not make it home from the hospital. Oh, and Keek’s holed up at her grandmother’s technology-barren house with an abysmal case of the chicken pox. In Keek’s words, “Sofa king annoying.”

With her world collapsing around her, Keek’s only solace comes from rereading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and typing on an old electric typewriter. Keek—whose snappy narrative voice is darkly humorous and hysterically blunt—must ultimately decide for herself which relationships to salvage, which to set free, and what it means to fall in love.

And Then Things Fall Apart is so far from what I thought it was going to be, but fantastic all the same. As depressing as it may sound for Keek to be stranded at her Gram’s house, with chicken pox –
like the flu, but with infectious and hideous wounds that itch like fire-breathing ants all over your body and could scar you for life if treated improperly. ~ pg. 8
– alone with her thoughts, her Gram’s old typewriter, and her cheating father living in the basement, it’s not. Keek’s life is in the process of a very fast disintegration and all she can do is watch, write, and relate to Sylvia Plath’s, The Bell Jar, but somehow, And Then Things Fall Apart is anything but depressing.

Keek ‘s brain is befuddled with fever, she’s angry at her parents, at her truth-withholding, now ignoring her boyfriend, but has enough wits about her to be hilariously cynical. She relates almost everything back to Plath and The Bell Jar and depression, but does so with a flair of humor. She’s lonely and disregarded and itchy and everything a 15 year old, only child of soon-to-be divorced parents should be.

But then she’s so much more. Keek is one of most well-developed and intelligent teen characters I’ve ever read. Not only is she all the things I said before, but she’s reasonable even when no one would expect her to be. Keek’s life isn’t easy, at least not at the moment, but she works through it. Can she be a bit melodramatic? Absolutely. But she knows that. She sees her own flaws and is upset about them, but doesn’t allow it to hold her down. She doesn’t even allow the broken trust and the broken family she now has to put her into a depression.

In typing her chicken pox filled summer days away, Keek deals with her issues. And the reader will get to meet a realistic, albeit very snarky and sassy, girl with actual issues that are easy to relate to. She loves her parents, loves her Gran, loves her boyfriend, loves her best friend, but also loves herself. Arlaina Tibensky infuses Keek with personality and makes her, not only her own, but the readers as well. We meet and know her family, experience her anger, her losses, her betrayals, and her joys almost firsthand.

And Then Things Fall Apart is a touching and comedic debut. Tibensky’s writing has a certain quirk to it that makes it compulsively readable and impossible to put down. The blunt humor had me reeling with laughter, while Keek’s internal turmoil and emotional conflicts add heart. Being in Keek’s mind is an unrestrained combination of parental shame, lusty thoughts, bouts of depression, and a whirlwind of every other emotion. Tibensky has instantly become an author to watch for and I’ll be picking up anything and everything she puts out there.

Opening line: I once watched a collector kill a monarch butterfly on a nature show by putting it under a glass dome with a piece of cotton soaked in gasoline. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages (There's this passage where Keek talks about virginity and mentions CNN and concerned parents, then relates the big v-card to Zeus and damsels and King Arthur. It's amazing and you should pick the book up to read it, because it is too long to include here): You know the saying, “It’s darkest before the dawn,” right? Well, for me it was as bright as the freaking sun before the meteor hit.
     I was ablaze with happiness.
     And then things fall apart. ~ pg. 75
And another one:
You can only go so long saying to yourself, “This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening,” before you just have to stop saying it, hold still, and let it sink in. ~ pg. 174

*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy  
 *This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Arlaina Tibensky online:

Buy it online:
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