Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (Times Two!)

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
Release: May 3rd, 2011
"I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both."  

Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.  

While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.
I am so glad this comes out next week, because I have been dying to read this one! The review's I've seen have been amazing - and I love the cover :)

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Release: October 1st, 2011
We meet Liesl the night after the day her young father has died. That same day she is visited by a ghost, Po, an eight year old boy who lives on the other side, the territory between life and death that runs parallel to the living world. Po has come to tell her that her father is stuck on the other side, and that she is the only one who can help him cross over. A couple of wooden boxes. Some ashes. Some magic dust. A ghost, its pet, and a boy who forgot to wear a hat in the cold. From these seemingly odd, random characters Oliver weaves the enchanting story of how, with the aid of Liesl, these elements come together over the course of one week to restore love and luster to a world gone grey and heartless.

I am absolutely and positively waiting on this book because (A) It's written by Lauren Oliver and (B) Lauren Oliver can do no wrong when it comes to writing books (in my opinion - I adore her writing style). It's bound to be fantastically amazing (and how cute is that cover?).

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (1)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading

Here are the rules: Grab your current read. Open to a random page. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page, and 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 Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser is from Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.
"Defending her came naturally. Usually no one asked such questions about Ruby, but I guess I had some answers lying in wait in case they did."*


*Kindle advanced copy version location 360 of 2991 

Monday, April 25, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Release: May 10, 2011
Pages: 416
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Source: Publisher / Bought
Since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move - four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, Mclean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself - whoever that is. Perhaps her neighbor Dave, an academic superstar trying to be just a regular guy, can help her find more of this summary.
"Your past is always your past. 
Even if you forget it, it remembers you." (368)

Mclean Sweet is a girl with many pasts - perky Eliza, dramatic Lizbet, all-around-joiner Beth. But in Lakeview, she gets a chance to a be Mclean Sweet for once. The only problem is that Mclean isn't quite sure who that girl is anymore. In this new town, her old tricks for claiming a new identity fail miserably, her disconnected relationship with her mother is starting to get more persistent, and even the rules she and her father have been living by start to change...But with new friends - from surprisingly unique Deb, to brainy, quirky Dave, and laid-back Riley - Mclean will have to come to terms with the girl she really is...whoever that may be.

As with Dessen's other novels, What Happened to Goodbye captures what it's like to be a teen dealing with whatever issues you've got going on. From Mclean's complicated feelings towards her mother and her new step-family, to her experiences in a new town with new people - it's all realistic and Dessen makes Mclean an easy character to enjoy and relate with. It's easy to be lost at Mclean's age, and I think we can all understand the appeal of being someone else to escape our problems. The plot is a bit different from Dessen's other books, while still maintaining her usual charm and knack for forming complicated and endearing relationships between characters.

With flawed characters, heartfelt moments, and one girl's discovery of what it means to be yourself, What Happened to Goodbye is sure to be an enjoyable story for any bookworm.

Highlights: Dessen is truly the queen of realistic YA fiction (*cue bowing*). She writes that genre perfectly, and her writing is like home to me - a place of comfort and familiarity since I grew up reading her books. She always infuses each story with a likable heroine, a meaningful plot, and an overall endearing effect. The biggest surprise was Jason (Yes, the same Jason I hated in AFTR and TTAF). Shockingly, I liked Jason in this book. And Deb - can I say that I love Deb? She came across as very clichéd in the beginning, but then the more you get to know her throughout the story, the more surprises you'll find. This story is heartwarming and worthwhile - I'd definitely recommend you check it out.

Lowlights: Dave. I liked his quirkiness but I didn't really know too much about him by the end. More about him (as well as Riley) would have been nice. Also, it can obvious to any Dessen fan that her novels tend to be a bit formulaic.

Allusions: Jason and Lakeview from The Truth About Forever; The summer town of Colby, Last Chance Cafe, and I think Isabel (but I could be wrong) from Keeping the Moon; Heidi and Thisbe from Along for the Ride; and possibly more characters/places that I'm forgetting.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

My reviews of other novels by Sarah Dessen:
Keeping the Moon
Along for the Ride

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Giveaway: A Discovery of Witches + Buttons

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together. 

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell. 

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.
I have one copy of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness plus a set of buttons to give away to one lucky reader! 

  • Please read my contest policy
  • Entrants 13 yrs or older
  • Open to US + Canada 
  • Ends April 30th, 2011 at Midnight 
  • Extra entries for linking this giveaway on your website/Twitter/et cetera and providing a link
  • To enter, fill out the form here or below. 

A huge thanks to Lindsay from Viking/Penguin for sponsoring this wonderful giveaway! 


Friday, April 22, 2011

Pretty Little Liars: Happy Earth Day

Last year, I participated in a game hosted by ABC Family for the TV series Pretty Little Liars (my full recap of the experience can be found here). In OctoberNovember, December, JanuaryFebruary, and March, the ever-so devious "A" sent some surprising gifts with teasers for the show. 

I got something from "A" once again, and she made sure I'd have to dig for the truth....

Click here or watch in the embedded video below to get the dirt for Season 2 from Pretty Little Liars Executive Producer Marlene King!

I cannot wait for season 2 - I need my PLL fix! I've had nothing interesting to watch since the finale...thankfully, the premiere of Season 2 (and the release of Season 1's DVD) is only a few months away :)

What do you think "A" will do this next season? It sounds like she'll be stirring up trouble...but that's why we love her ;)


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Character Interview + Giveaway: Henry from Through Her Eyes

Henry, one of the characters from Through Her Eyes, is here today to answer some of my pesky questions! 

Henry, quick! Describe yourself in seven words or less!

1.      Misunderstood
2.      Secretive
3.      Lonely
4.      Tormented
5.      Smart

What’s the best memory you have from your life?
By far, my best memory is the moment at the bridge when Bell agreed to run away with me. I knew then that she loved me more than her family, her friends . . . and Daniel. I knew that when I showed her the world, she would finally realize that the two of us were meant for so much more than Cedar Canyon had to offer, with its small minded people, none of whom had ever experienced an original thought.  

I know that you're a bit of a musician! What other kind of talents did you have?
I was an artist – a musician, a painter and a poet – but an academic, as well. When it became apparent that I knew more than my teachers at Cedar Canyon High, I stopped attending school and proceeded to educate myself through self-assigned reading and study. I was also able to “read” people – to see past the facades they presented to the world to their true feelings and motivations. This ability made me aware of Daniel’s hidden feelings for Isabel, which in turn, changed the course of our friendship. I knew then that I had no choice but to separate them, even though they both denied having any romantic feelings for each other.

So Henry, how did you meet Isabel and Daniel?
The three of us were born in Cedar Canyon. My father was a very successful rancher and when I was four years old, he built a new house for our family on land located across a field from Isabel’s father’s farm. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know Isabel. We grew up playing together every day, because we lived so close. We had no other neighbors nearby, and as a consequence, we were each other’s only playmates. Except for when Daniel visited her house, that is. Daniel’s folks and Isabel’s were best friends, so he was often around. I met him for the first time when I was only five years old – so young, I barely remember the encounter. Later, the three of us attended school together. And when Daniel was eight-years-old and I was nine, I saved his life.

And now for the very random yet slightly thoughtful question: If you were a color, what color would you be and why?
I would be gray. The color conjures images of brooding storm clouds and turbulence – the way I often felt inside, although I would deny it if you were to tell anyone. However, gray also denotes intellect – brains or gray matter, and while people, living and dead, have described me in less than flattering terms, they could never deny my intelligence. Also, gray seems incredibly unsure – hovering between darkness and light. I never admitted it to anyone other than Isabel, but I also suffered uncertainties and self-doubts. And that is why I needed her so much.

Thank you so much to The Teen Book Scene and Jennifer Archer for the fun interview, and for providing the prize for the fabulous giveaway (see below for rules/entry form)!

One winner will receive a signed ARC of 
  • To enter, please fill out the form linked below
  • US entrants only (PO boxes okay)
  • Entrants 13 yrs and older
  • Ends April 29th at Midnight
  • Check out my contest policy
  • Extra points for commenting on this interview post

****ENTER HERE****
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (Times Two!)

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

Variant by Robison Wells
Release: October 2011
Benson Fisher thought a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life. 

He was wrong. 

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive. 

Where breaking the rules equals death. 

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.
This is pretty much every teenager's worst nightmare (oh, to be stuck in school...with no way out!). I'm very curious about this one. 

Crossed by Ally Condie
Release: November 2011
In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.
I so cannot wait for this book! The cover is a tad bit awkward in some spots, but intriguing nevertheless. 

What are you waiting on this week? 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

Release: April 5, 2011
Pages: 384 (hardcover)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: The Teen {Book} Scene
Every ghost has a story to tell.

The last place Tansy Piper wants to be is stuck in Cedar Canyon, Texas, in the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of small-town kids. But when her mother decides to move to the desolate West Texas town, Tansy has no choice but to go along. Once there, Tansy is immediately drawn to the turret of their rickety old house, a place she soon learns has a disturbing history. But it's the strange artifacts she finds in the cellar—a pocket watch, a journal of poetry, and a tiny crystal—that have the most chilling impact on her.

Tansy soon finds that through the lens of her camera, she can become part of a surreal black-and-white world where her life is intertwined with that of mysterious, troubled Henry, who lived in the same house and died decades earlier. It seems their lives are linked by fate and the artifacts she found, but as Tansy begins spending more and more time in the past, her present world starts to fade away. Tansy must untangle herself from Henry's dangerous reality—before she loses touch with her own life forever.
Review: Through Her Eyes is a successful  mysterious and realistic novel - with a supernatural twist!

Tansy Piper is once again the new girl, thanks to her authoress mother's need to live wherever she's setting her latest novel. Tansy's a bit (understandably) moody in the beginning, but her determination to be who she is amazed me. She sees the world through a lens, and in this new town, she's seeing a whole lot more than usual - and the more she looks into the past, the more real it becomes to her. Secondary characters like Bethyl Ann almost stole the show, especially with her quirky and Shakespearean personality. Henry himself flirts with madness and sanity, making him by far the most intriguing character. 

Lyrical and compelling poetry flits it's way into the plot, as well as a focus on other types of art. The setting is vibrant and the writing easily got my imagination working. By the time you reach the end, you genuinely feel like you got to know this town and a majority of the people in it. Glimpses of the past also weave their way into the story, and it's easy to get caught up in the mystery of Henry's chaotic life and death - and just what he wants from Tansy. The story twists and turns, leading up to a surprising ending that I enjoyed very much. 

A beautiful and haunting tale of friendship, love and mistakes from the past, Through Her Eyes is a unique and wonderful YA debut. 
Highlights: This story was shockingly realistic, despite the ghostly undertones to the plot. It's very different than I expected. Archer does something different than other ghost stories do, and it was intriguing. Archer also provides a slightly fractured yet loving family base for our heroine, with a caring mom and a sweet grandfather who broke my heart - I connected so easily with these characters and their struggles. The romance angle is sweet and budding for Tansy, a definite plus considering how much YA stories feature instant-love romances. 

Lowlights: I wish some of the "past" characters had been delved into a bit more. There were also a few plot points that felt like a bit too much considering everything that was happening. The ending seemed a bit too quick, so it would have been nice to see it fleshed out and explained just a bit more.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Release: March 1st, 2011
Pages: 256 (hardcover)
Publisher: Point
Source: Amazon Vine 
When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case - but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother - who has supernatural gifts of his own - becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?
Original and captivating, Clarity succeeds in capturing a successful murder-mystery with a twist. 

Clarity "Clare" Fern isn't like all the other 16-year-old girls. While other girls are gossiping and hanging out, she's catching glimpses of past memories from objects she touches while working in the family tourist trap where they do readings for a living. The whole Fern family is gifted, but outcasts. Clare doesn't mind, so long as she's got her brother and BFF, Perry, around. She's got a tough shell and isn't afraid to stand up for herself. Clare's a wonderfully amusing narrator with an intriguing talent. Even better, her unique gift isn't overdone in the story.

The main focus remains solely on the murder that takes place in an Eastport motel. One thing leads to another, Clare gets roped into helping, and the dynamic mystery-solver trio is born: Clare, her scumbag cheating ex-boyfriend Justin, and the mysteriously sexy newcomer Gabriel. While the romance (tri)angle may attract some readers, I personally enjoyed the familial aspect. Clare's relationship with her brother and mother was so positive and strong - it's wonderful to see a YA novel with a parental figure who isn't dead/clueless and is alternatively present and in the know of what's happening with her children.

Highlights: Harrington successfully makes Clare's (and the members of her family) uniqueness seem plausible. Her gift could have easily veered off and become over-dramatized, but instead Harrington kept the focus on the mystery at hand (and not solely on her gift). Speaking of the mystery, that aspect of the story was incredible, from the sleuthing to the shocking reveal - it was an amazing ending, that's for sure! 

Lowlights: The whole new boy in town and instant attraction thing is clichéd, not to mention love triangles. And this story is so short that it only took me a few hours to read. While almost everything is wrapped up, it would've been nice if the story was a bit more fleshed out (especially regarding some of the characters - I wanted more depth from many of them).

Notes: Fans of The Body Finder will easily enjoy Clarity (and vice versa). Both feature girls with unusual talents, strong family ties, as well as a great murder mystery that will really make you think.