Friday, December 31, 2010

Review: The Lost Saint - Bree Despain

WherI got it: Library
Rating:  4.5 stars 

Cover Rating: 5 stars (Perfect.)
Genre: Young Adult  
Publication Date: December 28, 2010
Publisher: Egmont USA
Page Count: 404 p.
Sequel to The Dark Divine 

Grace has taken into herself the werewolf curse, so that Daniel may live free. She has not turned into a wolf yet, but can feel the power tingling under her skin. Her and Daniel are training, trying to make sure Grace can use her powers for good and not have to succumb to the wolf inside. But when Grace gets a weird phone call from her brother, Jude, he warns her that someone is trying to hurt her and that they can not be trusted. The phone call comes from inside Daniel's house. Her longing to be reunited with her brother causes Grace to look for him on her own, especially in light of the fact that Daniel has been ignoring her lately. She teams up with her old best friend, April, and together they set out on some leads...and nearly get themselves killed. They are saved by a stranger named Talbot, who Grace feels oddly comfortable with. He agrees to help her find her brother, but is he the one her brother warns her about, or is it Daniel?

This was a most excellent sequel to the first novel. I'm glad it did not disappoint. The only slightly maddening thing was the love triangle. Why do so many trilogies introduce a love triangle in the second book? Especially when the main characters are supposed to be madly-in-love-soulmates. It's a little outrageous, but I guess teens will be teens, and it's sort of hard to settle for the first guy you've ever really  been attracted to. Besides that, this is everything you would want in a sequel. Jude is still missing as the novel begins and Pastor Divine is busy looking for him and Mrs. Divine is busy alternating between stoic silence and Marta Stewart hostess energy. It was a sad but interesting atmosphere for Grace's escapades. I enjoyed the character of Talbot, though he seemed a little too friendly at times. I could definitely see how Grace could find comfort with him, he had a sort of older brother feel to him, and seeing as how Grace's older brother was MIA, she probably was attracted to him for that comfort. Grace's struggle with keeping the wolf inside her, inside, added a lot to the novel. I liked the whole idea of this inner struggle that Grace had to figure out on her own, because an inner struggle should be something you fix yourself. I think her battle was very well written and you could almost relate to what Grace was going through, even though, hopefully you aren't actually having inner-wolf issues. I'm also glad we got April back for this novel. I love her silly ideas and her energy. The ending was crazy and nerve-wracking and a cliff hanger. GAH! I really want to read the next book now. So if you can stand being left on edge make sure you read this one right away.

First Line:
"'Do what he wants, and you might survive,' a harsh voice said into the boy's ear before he felt a sharp blow to the kidneys."

Favorite Lines: 
"The wolf arched his head back and let out the most mournful howl I'd ever heard. It sounded almost like a scream."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: Rosebush - Michelle Jaffe

WherI got it: Library
Rating:  3 stars 

Cover Rating: 5 stars (Very pretty and I love how dead the model on the cover looks.)
Genre: Young Adult  
Publication Date: December 7, 2010
Publisher: Razorbill
Page Count: 326 p.

Jane was popular. She made herself over and moved to a new town and was on top of the world. When Jane wakes up in a rosebush however, her world is turned upside down. The police are trying to tell her that she was either on drugs or trying to kill herself, others are convinced it was an accidental hit and run but there is something inside Jane that won't let her think this is an accident. If only she could remember that night. If only her friends could fill her in on what had happened before she left. Jane gets message from her killer saying that they are coming for her but no one will believe her because of the medication she's on. Jane starts to question whether anything she is experiencing or partially remembering is real. What Jane discovers shocks her.

The mystery part of this novel was pretty great. I loved that there were so many gaps that Jane had to fill in that her friends couldn't. The thing that bugged me though was Jane. I did not feel sorry for her at all. I could not empathize with this girl at all. She picked the wrong crowd to hang out with, she wanted to be popular. I know that that's not fair, but there was something about Jane's personality that rubbed me the wrong way. Which I guess is to say she was well-written, otherwise she wouldn't be able to bother me so much. However, the weird background story seemed unresolved and splotchy. It wasn't a very cohesive background and I don't know that it added much to the story itself. Plus Jane was kind of all over the place with her affections, a little too boy crazy for nearly-dead. This was a great mystery though, so I would recommend you check it out. Though I will forewarn you that you may not feel bad for Jane at all, even if her circumstance is pretty crappy. 

First Line:
"The image is stark yet beautiful." 

Favorite Line: 
"The kiss hurt a little on my bruised lip, but I didn't want him to stop."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday #50

This week's Teaser Tuesday is from Trickster's Girl - Hilari Bell
(page 63)

"She wasn't going all the way to Alaska. Kelsa made that clear to Raven again when they parted that night--after she had found a narrow bathroom window that wasn't linked to the alarm system and bruised every inch of her body squirming through it."

Teaser Tuesday is brought to us by Should be Reading.
1) Grab your current read
2) Open to a random page
3) Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
4) 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!)
5) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

In My Mailbox #69

In My Mailbox brought to you by The Story Siren
Tagged - Mara Purnhagen
Kate Morgan is just as confused as the rest of her classmates when she arrives at Cleary High to find six life-size gorillas spray painted on the side of a building. Could the culprit be one of her friends or classmates? And is the kind-of-amazing creation really vandalism, or a work of art? She's tempted to stay out of it, mostly because, as the police chief’s daughter, she's always accused of being a snitch. But when gorillas start appearing throughout the state, her investigative instincts kick in.
Now Eli, Kate’s favorite co-worker at the local coffee shop, is MIA. With her best friend, Lan, preoccupied with her own boy troubles, Kate needs to figure out some things on her own. Like why she can’t stop thinking about Eli. And what she will do when all clues about the graffiti point to someone she knows...

Glass - Ellen Hopkins
The sequel to Crank, this is the continuing story of Kristina and her descent back to hell. Told in verse, it's a harrowing and disturbing look at addiction and the damage that it inflicts.

Identical - Ellen Hopkins
Kaeleigh and Raeanne are 16-year-old identical twins, the daughters of a district court judge father and politician mother running for US Congress. Everything on the surface seems fine, but underneath run very deep and damaging secrets. What really happened when the girls were 7 years old in that car accident that Daddy caused? And why is Mom never home, always running far away to pursue some new dream? Raeanne goes after painkillers, drugs, alcohol, and sex to dull her pain and anger. Kaeleigh always tries so hard to be the good girl — her father's perfect little flower. But when the girls were 9, Daddy started to turn to his beloved Kaeleigh in ways a father never should and has been sexually abusing her for years. For Raeanne, she needs to numb the pain of not being Daddy's favorite; for Kaeleigh, she wants to do everything she can to feel something normal, even if it means cutting herself and vomiting after every binge.
How Kaeleigh and Raeanne figure out just what it means to be whole again when their entire world has been torn to shreads is the guts and heart of this powerful, disturbing, and utterly remarkable book.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future places the professor and his trusted apprentice Luke at the center of a spellbinding adventure after they receive a strange letter – sent by Luke 10 years in the future. According to this message something is askew in the days to come. The London of the future is in chaos and disarray, and according to Luke, the only person who can help set things right is Professor Layton. 
New Sheets!

That's what I got this week. What did you all get?

Friday, December 24, 2010

FIVE Most Anticipated Titles for 2011

So today Persnickety Snark's five challenge is most anticipated 2011 novels. So without further ado I give you my picks... it was pretty hard to narrow it down.

Lola and the Boy Next Door - Stephanie Perkins (if you're not anticipating this one clearly you haven't read Anna and the French Kiss, in which case you suck ;)
even John Green Loved it!)
Lola and the Boy Next Door will be published by Dutton in September 2011. It's a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss 

"My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something. A pseudonym. A nom de plume, for all of us studying for the SATs. I know that having a fake name is strange but trust me, it's the most normal thing about my life right now. Even telling you this much probably isn't smart. But without my big mouth, no one would know that a seventeen-year-old who likes Death Cab for Cutie was responsible for the murders. No one would know that somewhere out there is a B student with a body count.  And it's important that you know, so you're not next."

Beauty Queens - Libba Bray (Definitely anticipating this one. I did a Waiting on Wednesday for this one a little bit ago.) 
 Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

(look at that cover too!)
When sixteen-year-old Consuela discovers she can remove her skin, revealing a lustrous mother-of-pearl skeleton, she slips into a parallel world known as the Flow, a place inhabited by archetypal teens with extraordinary abilities. Crafting skins out of anything – air, water, feathers, fire – she is compelled to save ordinary people from dying before their time. Yet now someone is murdering them, one by one, and Consuela finds herself the focus of an intricate plot to end the Flow forever when all she really wants is to get back home, alive.

Miles from Ordinary - Carol Lynch Williams (Glimpse was so intense and I am excited to see where she takes us in this novel)
Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother's ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control....

So what are you guys anticipating in 2011?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some YA Holiday novels

I figured since tis the season... I would post a few book recommendations of Holiday books to help get you in the mood and through all your many family gatherings ;) Now, I haven't read all of these, but they sound pretty great. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments. ENJOY!

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today's bestselling teen authors John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

Glittering white snowflakes. The handsome blond ski instructor. The sparkle on a cashmere skirt. Hot cocoa and kisses in front of a crackling fire. The holiday season is the ESSENCE of magic...and romance. Four of today's bestselling teen authors -- Melissa de la Cruz ), Aimee Friedman, Hailey Abbott, and Nina Malkin  -- bring us delectable tales of love and lust and holiday cheers (and tears) in this one-of-a-kind collection that teens will devour faster than a plate of Christmas cookies.

The picturesque mountain ski lodge is the perfect place to spend winter break... if you have a boyfriend! Otherwise, that cozy leather couch in front of the crackling fire looks a lot less inviting. Good thing that there are lots of cute, blond, sweater-wearing ski instructors around to choose from...
This fun, sweet tale of holiday romance on the slopes is the perfect wintertime read!

Two Exes. One holiday adventure.
Merry Ex-Mas?
Seventeen-year-old Lila Beckwith's parents just left for vacation, and Lila's all set to throw the holiday party of the season. But when her Christmas-obsessed little brother, Cooper, discovers that global warming is melting the North Pole, he and his best friend, Tyler, take off on a runaway mission to save Santa.
Lila has to get Cooper safely home before her parents get back on Christmas Eve. But the only person who can help her is Tyler's older brother, Beau — a.k.a. Lila's musician, anti-everything ex-boyfriend.
It'll take more than a Christmas miracle for Lila and Beau to overcome their differences and find their fugitive brothers. But could a journey destined for disaster help these polar opposites fall in love...all over again?

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Five Challenge: 5 best 2010 covers

If you would like to know more about the FIVE challenge click here.

So those are the five covers I picked. It was hard to narrow in down to only five, but these ones were spectacular. Which covers did you love this year?

Waiting on Wednesday #33

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

This week I'm waiting on Bad Taste in Boys - Carrie Harris. I mean, look at that doesn't even matter what the book is about ;) Luckily the book itself sounds pretty fantastic too!

Someone's been a very bad zombie. Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town  . . . and stay hormonally human.

Doesn't that just sound completely, hilariously fantastic?!
Unfortunately this does not come out until July 12th :( I hope it will be worth the wait.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review: Fall for Anything - Courtney Summers

WherI got it: Finished copy for review from publisher
Rating: 5 stars 

Cover Rating: 5 stars (These colors are completely perfect for the story's mood. I also love the photos in the background and how they relate to the book.)
Genre: Young Adult  
Publication Date: December 21, 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Count: 230 p.

Eddie's father was once a famous photographer, but took himself out of the limelight. Now he has taken himself out completely and Eddie is left questioning for what reasons he would do this. Eddie frequently visits the abandoned warehouse where her father took his life. She hopes that by going there she might solve the mystery of his suicide. Her best friend Milo thinks it's morbid, her fascination in trying to figure out why her father killed himself but there's a boy she meets who shares her curiosity. Culler Evans was Eddie's father's only student and he too hopes to find some pieces of Seth Reeves left behind.

This was a novel about the journey of figuring out someone you thought you knew, a novel about suicide and the people it leaves behind and about how there are some places inside a person they can never share. This was a piercing tale of one girl struggling to cope with the mystery of her father's suicide and the people that she leaves behind with her depression. Her best friend eagerly wants to forget the night that it happened, because the memories are too painful and won't help Eddie get over the death any quicker. Unfortunately Eddie is stubborn and can't see that he is trying to help her, she only sees him withholding information from her. Then you have Culler Evans, who is just as intrigued by Seth Reeves' suicide as Eddie. He is also a photographer and Eddie aligns herself with him, since he feeds into her late-night excursions to the warehouse where her father jumped. This was a very interesting dynamic between the two of them, it reminded me of Lennie and Toby from The Sky Is Everywhere. In both books the characters come together under mutual sorrow for a person that they both knew differently. Their grief is so much that they cling to each other because they don't want to suffer alone. I loved the photography aspects of this novel, it made things a little more interesting. The best photographs were the ones her father left behind, and how they only add to the mystery of his death and allow themselves to be used for the characters' personal discoveries. I was fascinated by Eddie's obsession with her hands, even though it made since it was very weird. I loved how fully her mind was committed to believing that they really was something wrong with her hands now, after her father's death. I also really enjoyed the repetition in the novel. At a couple points Eddie goes through the same motions and emotions as she did earlier in the book and Courtney writes them the same way. It did a lot to show how stuck in her own pattern Eddie was, but also how she had to repeat herself so that she could do it right the second time. I thought this novel was just fantastic, even though it was gut-wrenching at times. Courtney Summers again created a realistic novel that highlights the parts of people that they try to hide.

First Line:
"My hands are dying."

Favorite Line:

"I don't understand why anyone would build it just to abandon it."

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Favorites of 2010

So I know that there are other books that I thoroughly enjoyed this year, but I thought I would narrow it down to 20 that I recommend to all my teens and even the adult YA readers. 
(You can click on the picture to go to my review of the book)

 Why I loved this book:
This book was chock full of all the things that are great in a book. Friendship, sibling rivalries and superpowers. I just loved the energy of this book and how all the characters interacted. I also loved how Robin Benway presented the story. She had each girl tell their side, but whenever they switched, it was almost as if they were all in the same room trying to talk over each other. It was just absolutely fantastic.

Why I loved this book:
The dialog. Brenna Yovanoff crafted a dialog that was so spot on and fantastic I can't help but completely rave about it. I can't really pinpoint an exact reason why the dialog is so fantastic, I just know that when I read this I couldn't even believe how easy all the chatter flowed from the characters mouths. I also loved that haunting tale of it all. There aren't that many dark tales in YA literature, I guess because teens don't need scary stories to keep them up at night and warn them about the dangers of the world. I really and truly enjoyed listening to each of the characters in this novel speak.

 Why I loved this book:
Frankie was just a fantastic character. She had loads of self-confidence and charisma, and I loved her feminist attitude and how it was whelming ;). She really was just a fun and great character. I also love the idea of secret society and prep schools. I love reading about the bizarre elite. Not the rich snobs who think they are so privileged that they aren't even going to try to be personable or good at life. I like reading about the rich kids who are different from their parents and want to prove something to them.
 Why I loved this book:
The music. The music in this novel was touching. I really loved how Charlie expressed herself. My favorite line really just illuminates how well-written this novel was and how emotionally driven the characters were.

"She's yelling at forever
That's been breathing down her neck"

Why I loved this book:
Bianca. I loved how sassy Bianca was. Some people might call her a bitch, but I thought she was fantastic. Also the characters in this novel were just so brilliantly written, I felt like I had known them for ages. Reading this I looked around my living room and saw each and every one of them acting out bits and pieces of this novel. The eye rolls and furtive, flirty glances. It was just all completely marvelous.

Why I loved this book:
Steph Bowe created characters that were wholly relate-able. I loved the lists that Sacha made, of all the things he loved. I really love lists. It was also just a great story about people going on even though their lives are shrouded in death.

Why I loved this book:
I really enjoy supernatural novels, but they were flooded as of late and all seemed to be saying the same things. Nightshade offered a new story in the mist of all things similar. This was a much more realistic and aggressive werewolf story and that is very appreciated. I also loved a strong heroine leading her troops, even though she had moments of weakness she still could hold herself up. 

Why I loved this book:
It was hilarious. I loved the idea of a gangly teen boy pretending to be a Vampire. This was just a fun, funny and fantastic debut.

Why I loved this book:
It was so magical. There was no teen angst(not that there isn't a time and place for that). There was no drama or strange issue with BFFs or frenemies. It was a wholly enjoyable tale about a girl thrown into the world by herself, with no one to really care for her. I also loved her cat Taggle, I wish he was one of my cats. I also love the gypsies, there are not nearly enough books about Roamers. This was just a really well-written novel and I think everyone should read it.

Why I loved this book:
This book was so lyrically written, I fell in love within the first page. As if the writing was grand enough, the illustrations were breath-taking. I thought this was just a delectable fantasy read, with goblins and devils and what not.

Why I loved this book:
The passion. Soledad is so passionate about her dancing that it just gets inside of you and fills you with a longing. I thought it was utterly fabulous. Caridad did a fantastic job portraying the edge of fierce frenzy of Soledad when she was dancing. That alone is enough to make me love this novel, not to mention the dreamer Spanish Taz. ;) 

Why I loved this book:
I loved how unique this was. I loved the idea of sharing each other through a late night radio station. Ghost Boy and Robot Girl (Jonah and Bea) were just fabulous, quirky characters that I felt a strong connection to. It was a great read that had a lot of elements that you never tend to read about in YA lit but that I'm sure happen all the time.

Why I loved this book:
It was so lovely and romantic and hilarious. I loved that it was sent in Paris and that it was a boarding school. It was great learning little tidbits about Paris from their late night excursions. Étienne was delish. 

Why I loved this book:
Her friends. Alex is completely enveloped in a blanket of care and concern from her friends. They never force her to do anything, but at the same time they nudge her in the right direction. I loved imagining they were my friends they were just so great. I also really enjoyed that this was more of a survivor fighting back story, rather than a victim story. It was really empowering to see that even though Alex doubted things, she was able to come through this strong.

Why I loved this book:
The lessons learned were realistic and hard. I loved that Samantha had to keep doing the end of her life over until she got it right. To go through all that just to learn a lesson is fantastic. I also loved how realistic all the supporting characters are. Sometime in a novel setup with so much focus on the main character, supporting players are often thrown to the wayside. I'm glad that this was not the case in Lauren's fantastic debut.

Why I loved this book:
The romance and the pain of grief. This novel portrayed passion-filled lustful sorrow like nobody's business. Lennie was such a character that really had no idea what she should be doing, or how she can move on. I liked the coming together of her and Toby. It's so hard for them to move on and they try to move on together. This was just a fantastic debut about grief and how there are different ways of coping, though not all of them may be kosher.

Why I loved this book:
It was chock full of Māori mythology. I loved reading about the different legends as well as the general New Zealand culture. It was a realistic supernatural novel with many twists and turns. There were plenty of creepy, stomach churning moments that just made this book completely fantastic.

Why I loved this book:
It was a magical little novel about a magical little wood. I loved how curious the kids were and all the little snippets of folklore throughout the novel. I'm a sucker for Fey novels and this one did not disappoint. I am scolding myself for not yet having picked up the sequel, so I shall have to do that soon.

Why I loved this book:
The whole idea of people who were murdered having Echos that Violet can hear, see, feel. Also a steamy romance that nicely offset the tragedy of the unsolved murders and on the run murderers. All in all a fantastic debut that had a fairly satisfying ending. I am certainly looking forward to a fresh start in the next novel, but I hope we can pick up where we left off in the fantastic romance.

Why I loved this book:
I'm not even sure why I loved this novel so much, but it was fantastic. It was just the perfect length with the perfect amount of drama, and mystery and misery. I loved the twins and wow completely off the wall Adina was. This was just a fantastic little novel and I have recommended it happily to many people who were not disappointed.

So those are at 20 of my favorites 2010 reads. 
What were some of your favorites of 2010?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox #68

In My Mailbox brought to you by The Story Siren
For Review:
(This was a surprise from St. Martin's Thanks! I've only read the first book in this series so far though. They did include a little cheat sheet though, which gives you a brief summary of what happened in each of the books. I may just read through the whole series though...  
Tell me what you think I should to in the comments!)

Won: From Kody Keplinger THANKS!

Bought/Swapped: (I bought way too many book this week)

So that's the loads of stuff I got this week. I bought waaaaay too many books, but they all sounded so fantastic I couldn't resist! What did you all get this week? Also if you don't mind, don't forget to weigh in with a comment about whether you think I should speed read-through book 2-7 of House of Night or just read the summaries then read and review book 8. Thanks!


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