Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

Book: Cleopatra's Moon
Author: Vicky Alvear Shecter
Release: August 1st, 2011
"The Luxe" meets the ancient world in the extraordinary story of Cleopatra's daughter.

Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra and Mark Antony—the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, and when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she's ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavianus's household in Rome, she finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies—until she reaches out to claim her own.

This stunning novel brings to life the personalities and passions of one of the greatest dramas in history, and offers a wonderful new heroine in Selene.

I'm a sucker when it comes to Egyptian culture, so I'm really looking forward to this one. =)

What are you waiting on this week? 


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Book of Spells by Kate Brian

Book: The Book of Spells (A Private Prequel)
Author: Kate Brian
Release: December 21st, 2010
Pages: 336
Source: Bought
YA Book Queen's Summary:
In 1915, Eliza Williams is sent off to the Billings School for Girls by her mother with hopes that the school will change Eliza as it has changed May, Eliza's perfect older sister. But Eliza is not like her sister. She craves adventure, loves to read tragic novels, and would rather die than become a demure clone of her sister.

Upon arrival, Eliza quickly bonds with Catherine White and Alice Ainsworth, which also unfortunately means she has to spend time with Theresa Billings, Catherine's annoyingly superior best friend. Theresa makes her disdain for Eliza readily known, because a Williams is always a Williams...and she does not like any of the Williams girls.

Together, these four girls discover a buried secret that leads to mysterious books about witchcraft. Unable to resist the temptation, they grow more attached to the magic, capable of more spells than they could ever dream of. But the more they use, the more troubling events come to pass until finally the worst possible outcome happens. And Eliza is about to learn that some secrets are better off buried. 
Review: With an eerie, foreboding feel to the magic lying within the pages, The Book of Spells is intriguing and definitely ends with quite a surprise.

In this prequel to the Private series, a surprising direction is taken: Magic. Eliza Williams, our protagonist, is the focus of the story (third person narrative) and she has what our heroine of the Private series does not: a backbone. She isn't afraid to take charge and does not let people walk over her, but she still remains a bit likable. I was disappointed when the only character I truly adored died (why do they always do that???), but it did make for a very interesting few chapters.

The scenery is fresh, and despite being set in 1915, it's easy enough to relate with everything. I would have loved a bit more of the historical aspect, because sometimes it did seem just a bit too much like life now. Between boy drama, sneaking around after dark, casting spells on boys who get too fresh, and dark consequences, The Book of Spells was a much needed boost to the Private series.

Highlights: I got that spark from this novel that the Private series is starting to lose, that thing that just makes Brian's books so addictive. The story was different from what I was expecting, and the last few chapters before the end were very exciting to read, not to mention surprising.

Lowlights: The story seems to end very abruptly. Yes, things are tied up enough, but I've still got plenty of questions that need answers - and I hate it when novels aren't tied up (which leaves me with a bit of hope that a sequel will be in the works). Some of the characters seemed like different and slightly altered versions of ones in Private, but I enjoyed these "prequel" characters a bit more.

Do you need to read any of the other books in the Private series? No. This one stands alone, and can be easily read/understood without reading Brian's Private series.



Saturday, January 15, 2011

In My Mailbox 43

IMM is hosted by The Story Siren, inspired by Pop Culture Junkie

Last few weeks of books

For Review: 
The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laired (netgalley)
The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Bought (Printed books):
The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard (my review)
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (my review)
Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

Bought and Freebies (Kindle eBooks - not pictured): 
Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
Insatiable by Meg Cabot
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Retro Demonology by Jana Oliver (freebie)
Wish by Alexandra Bullen (freebie)
Remedial Magic by Jenna Black (freebie)
Beasts and BFFs by Shannon Delany (freebie)
The Wild's Call by Jeri Smith-Ready (freebie)

From Pretty Little Liar's "A" 

Thanks to Amy Holder, Lisa/Laura Roecker & Paul , Arianna, Leah & HarperCollins, Netgalley, and the wonderful publicity people at ABC Family. 

What's in your mailbox?


Friday, January 14, 2011

Video: Dark Days of Supernatural Tour

Cynthia Hand and Ellen Schreiber went on a tour stop for The Dark Days of Supernatural Tour at Copperfields Books last evening! I was (sadly) not able to attend, but I did watch the Livestream and managed to sneak in my usual random/fun question just before the Q & A ended.

In the video: Ellen Schreiber discusses Once in a Full Moon, and reads an excerpt. Cynthia Hand discusses her debut Unearthly and reads from a chapter. Both authors then participate in a Q & A session, question topics ranging from their novels, the covers, writing, e-readers, et cetera.

Note: The sound is really low, but plugging in headphones and turning the volume all the way up on your computer helps a lot. 

Enjoy! :)

Watch live streaming video from epicreads at

I'm still kind of bummed I was unable to attend (I was really looking forward to buying a signed Unearthly copy, checking out Ellen's book, and meeting both authors -- but hopefully I'll get to do so in the future). But thanks to this Livestream that Copperfields was kind enough to do, I still got to pretend I was there (and ask a question)!

Check out Pitch Dark on Facebook for more info, to find out if anyone's coming near you, and to see the contests they have going on!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

$60 CSN Stores Giveaway

CSN Stores is being kind enough to sponsor a $60 
giveaway for one of you lucky readers! 

CSN Stores has over 200+ stores ranging from stores for modern duvet covers, clocks, bookcases, cookware, and so much more! The possibilities of what to buy are endless! 

I've reviewed a book tower (the lovely one pictured above) from CSN Stores before, so I definitely know how great their products are. 

The Details:
1.) This giveaway is only open to US and Canada (international shipping may apply in the case of Canadian addresses)
2.) One winner receives a $60 certificate via email to CSN Stores
3.) Fill out the form at the end of this post to enter

Leave a comment on this post answering the following question: 
What you would buy from CSN Stores if you could buy anything? 

Thanks to Caitlin for sponsoring the giveaway! =)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

Release: September 27th, 2011 (Nooooo! That's too far away! Perhaps if I beg enough they'll move the date up?)
Goodreads Summary: 
Mara Dyer believes life can’t 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 strangely unharmed. There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong.
Do I even have to say anything? Okay, I will: This one sounds like it is going to be amazing. And after reading this on Michelle's website, I'm very intrigued to find out more about this book. Too bad the release is ridiculously far away,

What are you waiting on? 


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Read 111 pages of Across the Universe!!!

The first 111 pages of Across the Universe by Beth Revis (happy book birthday!) are up on fro11:11 AM to 11:11 PM eastern time

Need I say more? I loved this book, and this gives you a quick chance to see if you'll like it too! 

Click this link to go read the first 111 pages!

Plus don't forget to head on over to Penguin Teen on Facebook for a chance to win a copy! 

And as a side note, anyone check out the official website for Across the Universe? So cool! It definitely didn't look like that a week ago!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Pros and Cons: The Kindle

  • Lighter than all of my paperback novels. Even in a case. Very slim too, so it fits easily into my purse, book bag, backpack, et cetera.
  • Can fit up to 3,500 books. YAY!
  • Easily adjustable font 
  • The screen perfectly mimics a page from a novel, so it's easy on the eyes (unlike the Nook Color's backlighting, which is like reading a computer screen). It's just like reading a novel. Literally.  
  • Quickly changes pages
  • Long battery life 
  • Shop on right from the Kindle
  • Built-in dictionary (fantastic and extremely helpful for lazy people like me) 
  • Collections can be created for you to put the books in: like ParanormalContemporaryUniqueFavoritesTotally Wicked AwesomeWant to Slap Main Character ;)
  • When turned off, it displays a picture of some sort (like of an old author or something else unique). Very cool, in my opinion. It's like having it's own changing cover ;)
  • Netgalley books are usable on the Kindle (sweet!)
  • Freebie eBooks on Amazon 
  • Lending program
  • No Young Adult section in Kindle ebooks - only Children (which means I have to waste time looking through childrens books mixed with YA - highly inconvenient). 
  • Cover with the book light drains the Kindle's battery, as does the wifi (if you leave it on)
  • I had one technical difficulty, but it corrected itself after I left it alone for five minutes.
  • You need to be a decently lit room, or have a book light. Since the screen looks like a normal page, it also means you need to treat it like a normal book and read in a lit room. 
  • It doesn't always display a cover for every eBook you buy. And if it does, it's obviously in black in white. I can deal with the black and white, but it would be nice to see a cover for every novel. 
  • Lending program: not all books are able to lend and other annoyances. 
I seriously love the new Kindle, and this is coming from someone who has always said "eBooks and eReader's are stupid, a waste of money, and nothing in comparison to the real thing."

I still prefer printed novels (I can't imagine not having a real book in my hands - there's no comparison), but I like that I can buy books I really enjoy or just like for the Kindle, and that saves me shelf space for the books I absolutely adore enough to buy in a printed version. Now I don't have to decide "well, do I really want to buy this one" when my shelf space is low, and instead I can get a cheap Kindle ebook version.

What are your thoughts on e-readers vs. printed books? 


*images from

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Release: December 2nd, 2010
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher
My Summary:
Sent away to a Parisian boarding school for the year might sound amazing to some teens, but for Anna, it most definitely is not. Leaving her best friend behind, as well as an almost-boyfriend, Anna's stuck on a whole other continent with no one she knows.

But when she meets a group friends, she slips into their clique easily. But out of them all, it's Etienne St. Clair that she bonds with the most. The totally hot, hilarious Etienne St. Clair...who happens to have a girlfriend.

But as time passes, Anna's life grows more hectic, her friendships more troubled and she can't deny the truth of her relationships any longer...A fun, flirty and unforgettable debut, Anna and the  French Kiss is wonderful from start to finish. 
Review: Narrated by the ever-amusing Anna, Anna and the French Kiss does not cease to entertain and inspire. Perkins manages to write fully dimensional characters, not just with her protagonist Anna but with them all. Even with the City of Lights, Perkins paints a picture with her words that almost makes you feel as if you're standing right with Anna in the middle of Paris (oh, how I wish I could go to Paris now...darn you, Stephanie Perkins!).

Filled with a sweet romance that isn't overdone or dramatized, Anna and the French Kiss is truly fabulous. I know some people who immediately set this one aside just for the unusual name, but if you do that you are missing out. This book has substance, it has realism to the characters and the relationships. For contemporary lovers, its an easy book to jump in and relate with because life isn't perfect for Anna. There are ups and downs, and Anna is such a wonderful protagonist to follow through the story.

So it all boils down to this: Do you enjoy contemporary novels? What about a bit of realistic romance? Paris? Witty and hilarious main characters? Really cute boy BFF's? If you answered "YES!" to any of those, then Anna and the French Kiss is perfect for you.

Highlights: Perkins has the right amount of of amusement in her writing, but she can pull off the serious moments just as easily. While there are some more serious moments, this is a fairly light story (emotionally, I mean), so it will definitely be a fun read for anyone who loves YA, boys, France, accents, and so much more.

Lowlights: Hmm, I did want to shake some sense into a few certain characters, but it's not that big of a deal.



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (times two)

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

Book: Possession
Author: Elana Johnson
Release: June 2011
Goodreads Summary:
Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even thinkabout kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself. 

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn. 

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Book: The Betrayal of Maggie Blair
Author: Elizabeth Laird
Release: April 18th, 2011
Goodreads summary: 

In seventeenth-century Scotland, saying the wrong thing can lead to banishment—or worse. Accused of being a witch, sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is sentenced to be hanged. She escapes, but instead of finding shelter with her principled, patriotic uncle, she brings disaster to his door. 

Betrayed by one of her own accusers, Maggie must try to save her uncle and his family from the king’s men, even if she has to risk her own life in the process.

So cannot wait for these two! I love the sound of Elana's debut, and I love the historical aspect of TBoMB. 

What are you waiting on?


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

January 11th, 2011
416 pages (hardcover)
Source - Publisher/Purchased
YA Book Queen's Summary: 
When Amy decides to join her parents to embark on a 300 year journey to a new planet, she has no idea just what she's gotten herself into.

After forcibly waking up from her frozen state fifty years too early, Amy finds herself in a society unlike the one she's grown up knowing on Earth. Here on Godspeed, Eldest is in charge, and his protégé, Elder, is learning what it takes to lead the ship. Here on Godspeed, Amy is different...and different is not always a good thing.

There's a killer on the loose, murdering slumbering people who are vital for when the ship lands on the new planet. Fearing for her parent's safety, Amy teams up with Elder and his friend Harley to figure who is behind these murderous deeds, delve into the secrets the Godspeed is hiding, and try to find out just who is going to be the next target. But some secrets may be too much for any of them to handle.... 
This book is so incredible that I would walk across the universe just to get a copy. But thankfully, that's what bookstores are for (whew!).

In Across the Universe, the narrative switches from Amy to Elder, alternating every chapter and giving a full view of two different types of lives. Amy's the girl from Earth. She's a free spirit, loves to run, misses her boyfriend, and desperately misses her parents - who are still in a frozen state. Elder is young as well, trying to learn how to be the next leader (or Eldest) of the ship, and struggling since the current Eldest refuses to tell him everything he needs to know. Both characters are fresh, fully developed, and easy to differentiate from one another when reading the separate POV's. I didn't have a character I preferred, although Amy's perspective is the one reader's will easily relate with since she's experiencing the unusualness of Godspeed for the first time.

Godspeed is without a doubt easily visualized (thanks to the writing and also a very neat map). But more importantly, this book keeps you thinking about the issues taking place. There is some romance, but mysteries lie at the core of this novel. There will be questions, guesses, and finally, there will be answers. The first novel of what will likely be a captivating trilogy, Across the Universe is already on my best of 2011 list.

Highlights: Relationships are built and delved into slowly, realistically. The entire story is very well fleshed-out. The technology and social differences were fascinating and intriguing. Honestly, I think I could praise this book all day. Across the Universe is incredible and an exciting mystery to watch unfold.

Lowlights: This book was everything I wanted, hoped for, and expected it to be. No complaints.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Best of 2010

My 10 Best Books of 2010 (in no particular order):

  1. Matched by Ally Condie
  2. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver 
  3. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
  4. Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
  5. Siren by Tricia Rayburn
  6. Split by Swati Avasthi
  7. When I Was Joe by Keren David
  8. Stork by Wendy Delsol
  9. Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen*
  10. Molly Fyde and the Blood of Billions by Hugh Howey*
Realistic Main Character
Brie from Losing Faith* (by Denise Jaden)

Funniest Main Character
Katla from Stork (by Wendy Delsol)

Best Male Main Character
Jace from Split (by Swati Avasthi)
Ty from When I Was Joe (by Keren David)

Best Overall Main Character
Sam from Before I Fall (by Lauren Oliver)

Best BFF
St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss* (By Stephanie Perkins)

Best Villain 
(I'm going to keep the villain names unknown, or else I'll ruin the books for people who haven't read them!)
Siren by Tricia Rayburn
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Best Mean Girl
Lindsay and Sam from Before I Fall (by Lauren Oliver)

Best Mystery
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

Best Suspense
The Evil Within by Nancy Holder

Best Fantasy
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Best Sci-fi
Molly Fyde and the Blood of Billions by Hugh Howey*

Best Dystopian
Matched by Ally Condie

Best Contemporary
Exit Strategy by Ryan Potter
Split by Swati Avasthi

Best Romance
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins*

Best Historical
Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Best Sequel
The Golden Spiral by Lisa Mangum*

Best Writing
Matched by Ally Condie

Best Memoir
Rae by Chelsea Rae Swiggett

Best Modern Retelling
Jane by April Lindner*

Best Overall Series and Best Ending to a Series
The Vampire Academy novels by Richelle Mead
Last Sacrifice (#6)

Most Unique
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Best Cover
Matched by Ally Condie

Most Amusing
Stork by Wendy Delsol

The Must-Read Book of 2010
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney*

What was one of the best books you read in 2010?


*Reviews have vanished from my Drafts, so I'll be re-reviewing them.