Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (5)

WOW is brought to us by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Release date: March 23, 2010

Summary from Alexandra's website:

Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires--and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn't enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it's not long before she realizes there's something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren't as random as she had believed--that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

"Wow" says it all. This sounds like it's going to be one interesting novel...and that cover is gorgeous! I can't wait!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Check out this awesome contest!

Seriously, go right now to Princess Bookie's blog!

She's having an awesome contest to win a bunch of books, so do not miss out!

Good luck!


Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta Review

Book: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Source: Bought
"What do you want from me?" he asks.

What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.
"Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future."
I'll admit it, I amost gave up on this novel. I put it off for weeks, after reading only 30 pages, because it just wasn't grabbing me. Yet, I continued to hear how incredible it was, so after a few weeks I promised myself I'd just jump in and finish it before I moved onto another book.

I'm so glad I did continue and gave Jellicoe Road another chance. I've read so many YA books, and I've never been one for having favorite anythings, but this novel is seriously close to topping the charts of all books I've read. The beginning is slow moving and it does not make much sense, but as the book continues, the magic happens. I learned more about Taylor Markham's life, and the mysteries wrapped around her and the "wars" she participated in. I don't want to say much about the plot because I'd hate to ruin the magic of the story, but this book is extraordinary and so much more than I expected it to be. 

Highlights: Weaving the stories from the past into Hannah's manuscript, I loved learning everything with Taylor. There was always more to keep me curious, keep me turning the pages. I also loved the "wars", because they were so entertaining at times. Jonah's backstory was a blow to me, and I wasn't expecting what he says to Taylor about the day at the train station. It was an interesting shock, and I'm rarely surprised when reading.

Lowlights: It was incredibly hard to get into at first, but as I got to chapter 3, or 4, I was was hooked. I didn't want it to end.


Monday, September 28, 2009

The Hollow by Jessica Verday Review

Book: The Hollow
Author: Jessica Verday
Source: online at PulseIt
When Abbey's best friend, Kristin, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead...and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shoes up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her--one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.
Review: This is a difficult book for me to review. First, I do not know if I can be entirely fair to the novel, just based off the fact that I read it online (courtesy of the fantastic Pulse It Program--which everyone should check out if they don't mind reading books online), and I spent a majority of the book being frustrated whenever the pages wouldn't load. (Darn my internet connection!)

That aside, The Hollow was...interesting. The beginning was a little blah for me, but as the book went on, I became more interested. This book was great at grasping my attention at points. Caspian's appearance in the book gets things moving, as well as when Abbey finds a secret(s) that Kristen hid from her. There were great points of intrigue, interest, but there were also spots where I didn't understand why it was in the book.

Abbey was, despite her sadness from losing her best friend, a great protagonist. I could relate to her, and I wanted to go make perfume after reading this (but then I remembered I'm horrible with things like that, I'd probably spill everything!).

Highlights: As sad as this sounds (and I don't mean it in a bad way), the end. We finally, finally, learn what's up with Caspian, and few more more secrets that made me go "Really? How awesome!". I wish it had all been thrown out there earlier, but I guess I'll be looking forward to the next book to see how it all plays out. I also loved how in the beginning of each chapter (or almost every chapter), there were little quotes from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Also, that cover is absolutely awesome.

Oh! And I love Caspian's talents. He's a pretty talented guy, and I enjoyed the descriptions of his gifts to Abbey.

Lowlights: Pointless descriptions of Abbey doing this and that. It wasn't relevant to the story. And sadly, I could not read the entire epilogue, so I have no clue what happens there. Does anyone know? Email me if you do! (Seriously, email me, because still as of June 2010, I don't know!!)

In the end, I think I was overly observant of flaws, just because of my annoyance with the page-loading issue. I think this is one book I should just go buy, and read again (because then I can turn the page instantly!).


Sunday, September 27, 2009

In My Mailbox (2)

I.M.M. is brought to us by Kristi of The Story Siren.

From Library:

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

That's it! I was surprised to see that my library actually got some better (and more!) YA novels. I remember a few years back, when it was just one bookshelf (how sad!).


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Interview: The Hollow by Jessica Verday

1. What happens to start off The Hollow? What makes this novel interesting?

THE HOLLOW starts off with the presumed death and viewing/memorial of Abbey's best friend, Kristin Maxwell. I think it's interesting because it shows the sudden struggle and questions that Abbey has to deal with when her best friend vanishes and leaves nothing behind but secrets.

2. What is Abbey like?
Abbey is a girl who really loves her hometown. She loves living in Sleepy Hollow, and above all, she loves her best friend. She's a perfumer in her spare time, and dreams of one day opening up her own perfume shop downtown on Main Street.

3. So dish, who is Caspian, and what is he like?
Caspian is an artist. He loves to draw and uses charcoal. It's a habit he picked up from working at a tattoo shop. He's quiet and mysterious, creative, and has the greenest eyes you've ever seen.

4. This novel takes place in Sleepy Hollow. Why did this town appeal to you?
I love the legend. I love the fall and leaves and pumpkins and Halloween. I love the atmosphere - that instant spooky feeling you get when you think of the Headless Horseman. After I visited the real town of Sleepy Hollow, I knew it was the perfect setting.

5. The Hollow took (according to your website) eighteen months, thirteen spiral bound notebooks and fifteen pens to write. Was this an easy novel to keep yourself invested in, or was it difficult to keep it going?
I'm not someone who likes to write every single day. Often, I would let weeks go by without writing a single thing. But the flip side of that, is if you let too much time pass, you run the risk of completely losing the story. There were times when I had to force myself to get back into it, and other times when I couldn't wait to write the next chapter. It varied from day to day.

6. Are you currently working on the next book in the trilogy? Anything you can share?
I just finished book two, and it was a blast to write. Everything changed on me about halfway through the book, and it really stepped up a notch. I can't wait for next year to share it with everyone.

7. Is the necklace on the cover in the novel? What do you think of the cover?
The necklace on the cover is based on a necklace in the novel. Although not identical, I think the whole mood of the cover fits really well with the scene they were basing it on. I think the cover is gorgeous. (And I am always very flattered whenever people think that it's me on the cover!)

8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for having me! It was lovely to stop by.

Thanks Jessica! I just finished with The Hollow a few days ago, and can't wait to post my review!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Contest Updates and News

Heya everyone!

I hope all of your weeks are going well so far. :)

All right, so my Comments=Love Contest is sucking pretty badly, but I'll give it another week to get going and if it still looks like it's going downhill, I'll postpone it for another time.

BUT I did notice that I keep getting followers! Once we hit 100, I'll be having a 100 followers contest!

I'm already super excited, and trying to figure out what the prize(s) should be! So stay tuned for that! I know I can't wait...


Waiting On Wednesday (4)

WOW Is brought to us by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

Release date: January 12th, 2010

Summary from Anna's website:

All Unquiet Things centers around the murder of teen heiress Carly Ribelli, who was found shot to death a mile from her house in a wealthy Northern California suburb. Carly's uncle, a dissolute alcoholic, was convicted of the crime, but a year later his daughter still doesn't believe her father is guilty. Determined to prove his innocence, Audrey Ribelli contacts Carly's ex-boyfriend, Neily Monroe, the boy who found Carly's body. She is convinced that he knows more than he thinks about the events that led up to Carly's death. Despite Neily's initial reluctance, he and Audrey begin their investigation at the post private school they attend, identifying prime suspects from among their spoiled classmates and digging up secrets about Carly's past to get to the truth behind her murder.

I can't help it. Murder, mystery, intrigue....I'm totally excited for this.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)
by Richelle Mead
Pages: 443 (paperback)
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: bought
What if following her heart means Rose could lose her best friend forever? 

Rose knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa--the last Dragomir princess--must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken... 

Then a strange darkness begins to grow in Rose's mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy's iron gates. The immortal undead are closing in, and they want vengeance for the lives Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most...but will her choice mean that only one can survive?
Review: Let me quote myself: "Does 'Oh, my, gosh' cover it?"

Shadow Kiss was truly fantastic, it went above and beyond my expectations. The plot was so much better in this novel than the last, and we really got some more insight on what it truly means to be shadow kissed. I thought Rose really grew up in the last book, and I was so wrong. She grew in this one. First, she doesn't get Lissa as a part of her field experience, then she starts seeing ghosts. Can life suck any worse (answer...yes)? The end fight scene was entertaining, and kept me on my toes. This series is a definite must read.

Highlights: Dimitri + Rose = Awesomeness. Seriously, how long was I waiting for that? I also loved how Mead wrapped together all of these events, and had me going "it makes sense..."

Without a doubt, my favorite part was the very end, with Rose and Lissa. Weird, I know, but it was. I was thrilled that Rose finally thought of herself, and not everyone else.

Lowlights: The part that bugged me the most? Towards the end, one of the *possible* but also probable casualties in the fight. If you read it, then you know what I'm talking about. WHY, RICHELLE MEAD?!? Now I'm dying to read Blood Promise...

Rating: 5 out of 5

My reviews in this series:
Vampire Academy
Frostbite (#2)
Blood Promise (#4)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)
by Richelle Mead
Pages: 327 (paperback)
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Bought
When love and jealousy collide on the slopes, winter break turns deadly... 

Rose Hathaway's got serious guy trouble. Her gorgeous tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason has a huge crush on her, and she keeps getting stuck in her best friend Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian. 

Then a massive Strigoi attack puts St. Vladmir's on high alert, and the Academy crawls with Guardians--including the legendary Janine Hathaway...Rose's formidable, long-absent mother. The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks. This year, St. Vlad's holiday ski trip is mandatory. 

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only provide the illusion of safety. When three students run away to strike back against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. Only this time, Rose--and her heart--are in more danger than she ever could have imagined...
Review: Does "Oh, my, gosh" cover it? Frostbite is a fantastic follow up to VA, and I can't wait to start Shadow Kiss now that I'm done with Frostbite. Rose is dealing with so much more in this novel: Dimitri liking another woman, her mom coming back, not seeing Lissa enough, Mason's feelings, and so much more.

This novel really dove into everything so gracefully, and I loved watching Rose's character develop and grow. Bringing in some new characters definitely added to the mix, Janine Hathaway and Adrian Ivashkov (who has an interesting secret...). While, admittedly, Frostbite wasn't quite as great as the first novel, it still rocked and managed to surprise me by the end.

Highlights: Rose's growth throughout the novel. She's a strong girl, and she has to grow up fast. Sometimes she still acts like a kid, but she grew immensely with everything she dealt with in this novel.

Lowlights: Possible foreshadowing? Lissa's medication not working as well...makes me a little nervous. I can't wait to see what happens with that...there are also a few slow moments, but the pace picks up.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

My other reviews in this series:
Vampire Academy
Shadow Kiss (#3)
Blood Promise (#4)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Interview: Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe

1. So what happens in Give Up the Ghost?

Well, to begin with, Cass learns a secret from her ghostly friends that she thinks will let her turn the tables on the girl who stabbed her in the back years ago. And then she gets a mysterious note in her locker from someone who wants her help. If you want to know the rest, you'll need to read the book! :)

2. What was the inspiration behind writing Give Up the Ghost?
I loved the idea of writing about a character who saw ghosts as something normal, just part of her life, instead of something scary. Figuring out why she felt that way, and how that might change, gave me the rest of the story.

3. How long did it take you to write it?
About two years, including one false start and several months where I wasn't sure what to do with the story, plus revisions after I finally figured it out.

4. Have any authors inspired you to write?
Pretty much every author I've enjoyed! When I was a kid, a couple of my favorites who helped inspire my love of stories were Roald Dahl and Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

5. What was the hardest part to write in Give Up the Ghost? The easiest?
The hardest part was finding the balance between Cass's prickly side and her vulnerabilities. She's out for revenge, sure, but she's also been deeply hurt, and hates seeing others suffer the same. It was a challenge making sure I showed enough of both sides.

The easiest were the scenes where Cass and Tim interacted. They just played off each other really naturally and their conversations were always a pleasure to write.

6. Did you have any say in the cover? What do you think of it?
I offered a few cover ideas to my publisher early on in the process, and they ended up using one of them! So I was very excited and pleased when I saw the final cover. I love the concept, and the color scheme, and the font--pretty much everything!

7. Have any favorite characters in Give up the Ghost?
Well, I love Cass, of course. I admire her sense of justice and fairness, and her courage in standing up for what she believes in, even if sometimes she goes a little overboard. I'm also very fond of Norris, one of the ghosts--you only see glimpses of who he was and what his life was like, but there's a lot to him.

8. What is your main character Cass like?
She hates the way people manipulate others to get what they want and make themselves look better, having been a victim of that herself. So she tries to expose other kids' lies and cheating and to get them to face up to the truth of their behavior. But she isn't entirely satisfied by that, and feels lonely even with her ghost friends. She's gone through a lot of hard stuff in the last few years and hasn't had anyone she can talk to about all of it.

9. Did you learn anything interesting while writing this novel?
I learned to listen to my gut. There was a subplot in the book through the first few drafts that I always suspected didn't quite fit, but I wasn't sure what to put in its place, so I convinced myself it was all right. Then my editor mentioned that she didn't think it fit, either, so I ended up taking it out anyway!

10. What's next for you?
More YA books, and probably more ghosts. I can't say any more at present!

11. Anything else you'd like to share?
If you want to get a sense of what the book's about, I recommend checking out the trailer I made for it:

And I've often got giveaways happening over at my blog--watch it ( ) or check out my giveaways page ( ) for the latest!

Thanks Megan!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is brought to us by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Release date: October 6th, 2009

Amazon description: When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and 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 at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back--if Cassie will agee to be his bride.

That is the begging of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, 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 knows 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.

Umm, awesome? Yes. It is. The cover is gorgeous too...I can't wait for this book!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

In My Mailbox (1)

IMM is brought to us by Kristi oThe Story Siren.


Frostbite by Richelle Mead
Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Paper Towns by John Green

Now, I can catch up on the VA series!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Looks by Madeleine George Review

Book: Looks
Author: Madeleine George
Source: Author
Have you ever felt invisible?

Meghan Ball has. Despite her massive size, she's the most unseen person at Valley Regional High. People say things in front of her--all sorts of things--as if she doesn't exist. And most of the time she feels as if she doesn't.

Until Meghan sees Aimee Zorn. Aimee is as skinny as Meghan is large and as outwardly angry as Meghan is inwardly sad. Meghan instantly recognizes a kindred spirit in Aimee, another person using her body to say what she cannot.

Alone, they are powerless; but together, Meghan and Aimee have the strength to get sweet revenge against the one girl in school who hurt them both.
Review: Wow. I don't even know where to begin, but this novel was fantastic. 

Meghan is an outcast, and I really felt her pain. I thought this novel was so true to the horrors of high school, because let's face it, people can be harsh. Whenever J-Bar bullied her, I could see it happening. This novel dives deeply into a lot of issues like anorexia, obesity, betrayal, bullying, isolation, invisibility, I could go on. It felt so real to me. 

This novel really changed the way I look at some people, and I'm so glad I read this.

Highlights: When Cara showed her true colors. Okay, that should so not be a good thing, but I was just glad to see it. Sometimes, it's people like Cara who hurt you the most. Also, when Meghan and Aimee joined forces to bring down the one person that hurt them both, and they do not disappoint (I wish I had guts like these girls, but I have a conscience, which is horrible for revenge). I also really loved the character Mr. Handsley, I wish I had a teacher like him. Ms. Champoux was hilarious as well, especially with the morning announcements.

Also, how awesome is this cover? It's brilliant, as is the hardcover (check out the my interview with Madeleine to see the hardcover).

Lowlights: The action came a little later than I thought it would, and Meghan's constant following Aimee seemed a bit odd at times. I could understand where she was coming from, and in the end, they were kindred spirits. I also really, really wanted to punch J-Bar in the face. But I think he got what was coming to him. The ending was a little disturbing, because it just made me wonder about a lot of things...


Comments = Love Contest #1

Comments = Love Contest

So what is it?

As a way to reward followers, I've decided to start a year-round contest. Don't worry! I'll have multiple chances for commenter's to win a book throughout the year.

Who can enter?

Right now, only US residents. I'll let you know if there is any change, though.

How do you enter?

It's simple.

1. Leave a comment on this post with your email, if you plan on committing to this first contest.

2. Comment away on all other posts I make! Every legitimate comment you make counts as an entry. At the end of the cutoff date, I will take every follower who commented on 80% or more of my posts (For example, I have 30 posts, and you comment on 27 of them. You will be one of the people in the running to win) and have a random drawing for the winner.

note: For those of you who are shy to putting your email on this post, you may email me at with Comment=Love in the subject box, and tell me that you would like to enter.

What is a legitimate comment?

Anything that is a sentence, at least. If you comment only the word"Awesome" and nothing else, then that comment will not count. And please note, do not comment hundreds of times on a single post. I will only take five extra comments (so if I have 30 posts, and you comment on all 30, and have 7 more comments, I'll take 5 of those extra seven).

These comments can be positive about the review/interview, or negative. But remember to be respectful.

When does this contest end?

For the first part of this contest, the cutoff date is October 23rd. After that date, the contest is still open for the next cutoff date to win. And the next, and the next. I'll let you know each time when the cutoff date for winning is.

When can I enter?

Anytime. All you need to do is backtrack a little, and make sure you leave your email on this post so I know you're entering.

The first post I'm counting as a part of this first contest will be my Looks Interview with Madeleine George (below this post). Start there, and keep checking in for more posts!

What do I win?

If you win this first contest, you'll get your choice of any YA book you want, as long as it's under $20 (which I doubt will be a problem, since the most expensive one's seem to be 17.99).

So why am I doing this contest? I wanted to do something where I could reward followers, people who do show up and comment. This way, by commenting on my posts, you might actually receive something in return. This contest is about spreading some comment love, hopefully on other blogs you run across as well.

Any questions, comments, concerns? Email me at . I would be happy to elaborate on anything for you.

If you don't have any questions, then get commenting and make me regret having to sift through all of the comments next month!


***As a side note, I would like to say that my heart goes out to all of you who lost someone on 9/11.***