Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: Killer - Sara Shepard

WherI got it: my collection
Rating: 5 stars 
Cover Rating: 4 stars 
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: June 30, 2009 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 321 p.

** Series/book Spoilers and Rant**

So in this book Spencer finds out who her real mother is, which was really just a carrier mother. This mother seems fabulous, but then ends of ripping Spencer off, which isn't too nice but is sort of Spencer's fault for being hasty and young. Hanna and Kate both go after Mike Montgomery, Kate says she likes him, but when Hanna starts to go after him she realizes she might actually like him. Emily starts dating a guy she likes (a guy? you ask, yes yes a guy) but after they have sex his mom goes pretty psycho. Aria starts going after Jason DiLaurentes because she doesn't think he's wicked scary and a possible murderer. Though when A tricks Aria into going over to Jason apartment, he comes back and finds her there and pretty much freaks out and Aria tries to invite him to this grand reopening of a mental hospital turned hotel and he gets quite upset and asks her if it's a sick joke. So of course the girls each think they have their own sets of clues to share, and Aria spills that she's been keeping Ali's time capsule flag (which Jason gave to her back in the day) and the make her get it and then they meet in the barn. Before Aria can get there though, the woods get set on fire and the girls escape with their lives and Aria saves someone from the woods. Someone who looks a lot like Ali. Which really was insanely frustrating, having that be how the book ended, I'm just glad I started reading them after they had all been published so I didn't have to wait FOREVER for the next book to come out, I probably would have cried. It's not too surprising that Emily likes a boy she young and battling feelings and I think people love people and gender sometimes gets in the way of what a person really wants. Spencer's mother seemed a little too good too be true so it was a little weird finding out that she really did birth Spencer. And of course Hanna starting to like like Mike is a little weird but bound to happen, there aren't  that many guys at Rosewood.

First Line:
"What if, all of a sudden, you could remember every single second of your entire life?"

Favorite Line:
"When she got to the silverware she paused, puzzled."  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday #41

This week's Teaser Tuesday is from Revolution - Jennifer Donnelly

(page: 42)

"I play until my fingers are blue and stiff from the cold, and then I keep on playing. Until I'm lost in the music. Until I am the music--the notes and chords, the melody and harmony. It hurts, but it's okay because when I'm the music, I'm not me. Not sad. Not afraid. Not desperate. Not guilty."
(I cheated this week and did a whole paragraph ;P )
Teaser Tuesday is brought to us by Should be Reading.
Rules:
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, September 26, 2010

In My Mailbox #56

In My Mailbox brought to you by The Story Siren
For Review:
The Magnificent 12: the Call - Michael Grant
Twelve-year-old Mack MacAvoy suffers from a serious case of mediumness. Medium looks. Medium grades. Medium parents who barely notice him. With a list of phobias that could make anyone crazy, Mack never would have guessed that he is destined for a more-than-medium life. 
And then, one day, something incredibly strange happens to Mack. A three-thousand-year-old man named Grimluk appears in the boys' bathroom to deliver some startling news: Mack is one of the Magnificent Twelve, called the Magnifica in ancient times, whatever that means. An evil force is on its way, and it's up to Mack to track down eleven other twelve-year-olds in order to stop it. He must travel across the world to battle the wicked Pale Queen's dangerous daughter, Ereskigal—also known as Risky. But Risky sounds a little scary, and Mack doesn't want to be a hero. Will he answer the call?


Bought/Swapped:
The Visibles - Sara Shepard
In her tightly constructed and captivating first adult novel, bestselling YA author Shepard (the Pretty Little Liars series) explores a family’s biological and emotional interconnectedness—for better or for worse. When 15-year-old Summer Davis is told by a substitute biology teacher that “DNA makes up everything inside you,” and that “nothing else matters... you can’t escape your parents and they can’t escape you,” the silken threads that she imagines link her to her vanished mother become something more like shackles and chains as her mentally ill father’s slow decay continues and eventually lands him in an institution. Summer clings to the hope that her father will get better while simultaneously experimenting with ways to escape the gloomy life she’s inherited; her path eventually leads to the genetics lab at NYU, but the opportunity to pursue her own dreams is undermined by her father, whose deeply hidden secrets begin to trickle out and eat away at the family’s foundation. It’s complicated, rewarding and full of heart, and Shepard creates a rich reading experience in shying from simple answers and happy endings. 

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by: Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths--for good and evil--of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn? 

The Poison Eaters - Holly Black
In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match. These stories have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and have been reprinted in many “Best of” anthologies. The Poison Eaters is Holly Black’s much-anticipated first collection of stories, and her ability to stare into the void—and to find humanity and humor there—will speak to young adult and adult readers alike.

Stupid Cupid - Rhonda Stapleton
Felicity's no ordinary teen matchmaker...she's a cupid!Felicity Walker believes in true love. That's why she applies for a gig at the matchmaking company Cupid's Hollow. But when Felicity gets the job, she learns that she isn't just a matchmaker...she's a cupid! (There's more than one of them, you know.)
Armed with a hot pink, tricked-out PDA infused with the latest in cupid magic (love arrows shot through email), Felicity works to meet her quota of successful matches. But when she bends the rules of cupidity by matching her best friend Maya with three different boys at once, disaster strikes. Felicity needs to come up with a plan to set it all right, pronto, before she gets fired...and before Maya ends up with her heart split in three.

Flirting With Disaster - Rhonda Stapleton
Pucker Up - Rhonda Stapleton

Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins (my review)
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Friday, September 24, 2010

#SPEAKloudly: Bloggers Speak Out + Contest

So if you haven't already read the article that has all book lovers up in arms here is the link to it. Three books named as ban-able(new word); Speak, Slaughterhouse Five and Twenty Boy Summer. Now unfortunately I have yet to read Twenty Boy Summer, but I have read and loved the other two, especially Speak, especially when I was a teen outcast. Apparently it is loved by many and helped them through some rough patches, as you can tell by Laurie's video below


Banning books is unacceptable. Who are they to decide for us what is "acceptable" and "not acceptable" to read. Who is Scroggins to say that Speak is "pornographic". A lot of the times people don't even read the books they want to ban. Banned book week is coming up, and if you haven't already, do yourself a favor and read or buy a banned book. They are many times the building blocks of literature.




Bloggers Speak Out is a movement sparked by the recent article, "Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education" by Dr. Wesley Scroggins that was published in the Springfield, MO News-Leader on September 18th. In this article, Scroggins vehemently advocates the censorship of books in schools, and specifically requests that the following books be removed from the Republic school system: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. To show our support of these authors and to fight against book banning and censorship, we have decided to take action and speak out.Make sure you check out Natalie's blog, Mindful Musings for up to date info on this.







Below is a list of links of bloggers speaking out against book banning and censorship--in the form of giveaways, posts, and reviews. Some are "officially" participating in what we're calling Bloggers Speak Out, and others are posts that we've found around the blogosphere. If you get time, you should definitely check them out!

Giveaways of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
**All giveaways will end on 10/3, unless otherwise noted**
Other Giveaways
**All giveaways will end on 10/3, unless otherwise noted**

Other Posts Against Book Banning and Censorship
Important Articles on the Subject
"Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education" (the article that started it all)
"Republic School Book Choices under Fire" (Springfield News-Leader)
Essay: Kurt Vonnegut's Thoughts on the First Amendment

So in light of this movement, I will be giving away a copy of Speak to two lucky winners. Contest will end October 30th. International entrants are welcome. All you have to do is leave a comment below.
Extra 5 points if you make/made a #Speakloudly or Bloggers Speak out post.   Thanks!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: Dirty Little Secrets - C.J. Omololu

WherI got it: Library
Rating: 4 stars 
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Very story fitting and the title draws you in) 
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: February 2, 2010
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 210 p.

Lucy's mom has a problem, she can't stand to throw anything away. Lucy's sister and brother have long since moved out of the house and the junk has piled up into their rooms. Lucy can't have people over and can barely even walk through her house in order to get in or out. Everybody has dirty little secrets, and this is Lucy's. After she transferred to public school, Lucy got a friend named Kaylie. Kaylie didn't seem to pry too much and was a great friend. When Lucy comes home after at a night at Kaylie's to find something she never expected her life is turned upside down. Panic grows as it gets harder and harder to keep her mom's hoarding a secret. What Lucy needs is a miracle, she needs that right idea that will save her from drowning in the mess her mom has made.

This was a very interesting novel about a subject I have never read about. Maybe you've seen the TV show Hoarders? That's exactly what this book talks about. Lucy has to put up with her mom's obsessive collecting and her mom's rages when she excuses Lucy or others of stealing her "treasures". Lucy's mom is completely normal, as is their house, from the outside. Her mom works as a nurse and is a really nice friendly woman, who just happens to be hiding a disgusting secret. Lucy doesn't feel at home in her house. The bathroom and kitchen are pretty much unusable and the furnace is impossible to get to so she has no heat. This is a very eyeopening book into the minds of the children of hoarders. I'm sure quite a few kids have to go through this, maybe it's not as extreme in some cases but it's still sad. It's very upsetting when a young children is embarrassed of their home for a reason like this. C.J. Omololu brilliantly executed Lucy and all of her emotions and how she handled things. It's hard being the much younger sibling stuck with a mentally unstable parent. I think this was an excellent book to help kids learn about parents with mental disorders like hoarding and compulsive shopping. This was an excellent debut, very well written and I look forward to seeing what topic C.J. will tackle next.

First Line:
"Everyone has secrets."

Favorite Line:
"If only the house would disappear--vaporize into the night until there was nothing left but Teddy B. in my jacket and my memories locked safely away where nobody would ever see."  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review: Blindsided - Priscilla Cummings

WherI got it: Inter-library Loan
Rating: 3.5 stars 
Cover Rating: 4 stars (I really like how the eyes are covered in braille.) 
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: July 8, 2010
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Page Count: 226 p.

Natalie was born without irises, this condition causes her eyesight to slowly decline. She has to wear a brimmed hat all the time because the sun is too bright for her and she has to use eye drops. When her sight starts to get worse her mother thinks it's time for her to go to Baltimore's School for the Blind, so that Natalie can learn the skills she would need if she went blind. Natalie however does not want to face the fact that the if is more like a when. Natalie is frustrated that she is losing her vision and refuses to learn braille or how to walk with the cane. After taking a nasty fall however, Natalie thinks that maybe it's time she realize she might need to prepare herself for the inevitable future that awaits. She gets a new roommate and together they agree to work hard together, that is until something happens and Natalie again is left by herself.

It is a little weird reading a book that seems like it would be very helpful for someone going through losing their sight. Just the very act of reading each tiny word, I feel like I lose the true meaning of this novel. Regardless of this, it was a really great read. I didn't like it that much in the beginning, I feel like it jumped a lot, from Natalie being able to see to it being really bad. There just wasn't enough progression, but then again the novel would have been much longer had the beginning been drawn out. Natalie was a genuinely scared and frustrated young girl who doesn't want to except that something this terrible could be happening to her. You could really get inside Natalie's head and all the ups and downs of having to learn all these new techniques and having to make new friends and trying to still keep her old friends. It's a lot to ask of somebody and though Natalie falters at the beginning it was very nice to see her grow and learn that she has to accept her fate. I think this is a great book that addresses a topic that many of us don't deal with on a day to day basis. I personally don't know any blind people and so it was interesting to see the many different aspects of sight impaired individuals. Some of the kids in this story were not completely blind, but it was nice how they banded together. This was a great book about disabilities and how you don't have to be the victim if you don't want to be. I say definitely pick this one up.

First Line:
"Like so many of Natalie's early memories, this one is full of color: the fresh yellow straw, the red blood that was pooling way too fast, the silver bucket kicked aside, the damp, quivering brown fur." 

Favorite Line:
"Natalie stopped, mesmerized, and took several slow steps inside the door of Serena's room."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

HAPPY RELEASE DAY!

To Brenna Yovanoff and her debut novel the Replacement! Buy your copy today! It's very shiny and if the fantastic cover doesn't catch your eye you can check out my review here. If you don't believe me check out what they are saying at The Bibliographic Book Blog, Musings of a Reader Happy, Beyond Books, Bookworming in the 21st Century and The Nerd's Wife. You can go here and listen to Brenna's playlist of songs she listened to whilst writing The Replacement.


















Also... A BIG FAT RELEASE DAY SCREAM FOR
Order your copy here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: The DUFF - Kody Keplinger

WherI got it: Library
Rating: 5 stars 
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Pretty freakin' fantastic) 
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Poppy
Page Count: 277 p.

After Wesley Rush, Womanizer extraordinaire, calls Bianca a DUFF she realizes how fitting it is to her. The word starts to haunt her and she starts looking at other people a little differently, spotting the DUFF in other groups of friends. Although Wesley is the boy who labeled her as the "designated ugly fat friend" he is exactly who she turns to for distraction when her home life starts going downhill. After sleeping with him for awhile Bianca starts to realize that they have quite a few problems in common. Maybe Wesley isn't such a bad guy after all, he's just looking for a distraction too.

This book was fantastic. I can't even tell you how much I loved this book. Bianca was sassy and fierce. Everything about Bianca was just fantastic. I loved how easily the characters flowed and you could completely picture them rolling their eyes and cocking their heads to the side. Kody Keplinger shines with this debut abut how everyone sometimes feels like the ugly friend. Bianca and Wesley's relationship was hilarious. Watching how rude they were to each other and how flirty they were without entirely realizing it made me chuckle. They were very realistic characters. There was a lot of sex in this book, but I think a lot of people in high school have a lot of sex. Heck, a lot of people in middle school have a lot of sex. I think the use of sex as a distraction was portrayed nicely in this novel and the consequences of characters' actions were reflected on in a realistic and teenaged way. I think this is another one of my favorite books for the year. I just loved how bold Bianca was and how her and her friends fit together. I'm glad Kody touched on some really big issues but never once did the book feel overwhelmingly depressing. Issues were brought up, the characters handled them the only way they could think of, but they learned from it all. I checked out Kody's website and saw that she would cast Ellen Page as Bianca, and I totally have to agree. Ellen's fierce nonchalance is exactly Bianca's voice. Kody Keplinger is an author to look out for and I look forward to reading her next novel A Midsummer's Nightmare. I would recommend this book to everyone who loves YA realistic fiction, it was just too fabulous for you to pass up.

First Line:
"This was getting old."

Favorite Lines:
"I realized I'd been biting my lip a little too hard as the metallic taste of blood touched the tip of my tongue."

"I could look like a gorilla, and he still wouldn't hesitate to fuck me, but dating is a totally different situation."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review: The Best and Hardest Thing - Pat Brisson

WherI got it: Arc from my collection
Rating: 4.5 stars 
Cover Rating: 4 stars (Certainly eye-catching, but also tells you how the story is bound to go.) 
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: May 13, 2010
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Page Count: 231 p.
Molly Biden at fifteen is a saint. At least that's what everyone calls her. She always follows the rules, does what she is told and is in general a good girl. Molly decides that she wants to kick her saintly image and decides to try on a more rebellious side. She starts to flirt with the (extremely attractive) new guy. When one thing leads to another Molly at sixteen winds up pregnant and facing a very difficult decision.

Hooray for novels in verse, they really are just fantastic. This novel was a bit different from others I have read in verse because this novel explored many different types of poetry instead of just one to tell the whole story. Molly is a scared and alone teen. Molly's voice rings clear and true with the heaviness of the world bearing down on her. Sure there are people who have to suffer worse but, each person has their trials and Molly's are some that many would not want to have to endure. Having lost her mom at a young age and being raised by her grandmother, definitely had an effect on her actions and emotions. Molly looks at the challenges she has to face and honestly I think she succeeded admirably. There are hard decisions and life and some people have to face them really early on. I think this is a great novel about accidental teen pregnancy and girls should definitely read it. Not only does this novel make you feel better about having to make those hard decisions, but it tells you that every decision you make can lead to something bigger. This book wasn't super preachy saying that teen sex is wrong. Molly is rueful, but isn't overly depressed and wishing she did something different. Molly gracefully accepts the consequences of her actions and I think that is an excellent and important message. Although teen pregnancy is not necessarily a light subject, this novel approaches it with a more jovial feel. Molly cracks jokes, writes poetry to her virginity and in general is a pretty positive person. If you love novels in verse make sure you make time for this debut from Pat Brisson, it was a truly fantastic read.

First Line:
"She was a Golden Rule kind of girl--
doing-unto-others-as-she-would-have-them-
etcetera."

Favorite Line:
"Molly, 
this is your virginity speaking."  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review: Paranormalcy - Kiersten White

WherI got it: Library
Rating: 3.5 stars 
Cover Rating: 5 stars (OOOOOOOHHHH AAHHHHHH) 
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Publisher: Harperteen
Page Count: 335 p.

Evie always thought of herself as normal. Despite the fact that she was an orphan, saved from certain death by the International Paranormal Containment Agency. Also despite the fact that she can see who people really are, she can see through paranormals' glamours. Inside she knows that she is just a typical teen. She watches Easton Heights and longs to roam the halls of a high school and have drama filled  relationships, instead she gets to bag and tag monsters. When an unidentified paranormal sneaks into the Agency headquarters, Evie's whole perspective starts to change. She finds that maybe being paranormal isn't necessarily a bad thing...that is until something starts killing the paranormals and no one knows who or what is doing it. Evie has to make some tough decisions to save herself and possibly the ones she cares about.

Evie was in turns annoying and charismatically funny. It's hard knowing how Evie should be acting since I have never been locked up underground with no one my own age for more than a decade. Still Evie seemed relatively normal. This novel managed to incorporate all sorts of oddities into one interesting story. You get to read about mermaids, hags, faeries, werewolves, vampires and more all in one convenient story of a teenage angst. It seemed like Evie had too much freedom to roam about and do whatever she wanted, she rarely got in any actual trouble and seemed to have little self-restraint despite how she grew up. The action scenes were at times very lackluster. The climax seemed to fall short of extraordinary, lots of build up and then it just sort of tapered off slowly. At times parts of this novel moved a bit too fast while other things seemed ridiculously drawn out. I can't say too much on this without ruining the novel but people just seemed to go with the flow and a lot of characters seemed severely undeveloped despite the major parts they would play. Granted, underdevelopment of some characters is necessary because they are elusive beings, but still other characters could have had a little more meat to them, Evie included. Even though this debut had it's faults, I still think it was worth the read, it was quirky and fun. I can see that Kiersten White has a lot of potential and look forward to reading her next novel. This will certainly appeal to YAs who are looking for a paranormal read with maybe a little romance but also some action.

First Line:
"'Wait--did you-- You just yawned!' The vampire's arms, raised over his head in the classic Dracula pose, dropped to his sides."

Favorite Line:
"'It ranks right up there with lockers. In fact, sometimes I put my license in my locker, and it's so cool I worry that the whole thing might explode with the sheer coolness of it all.'"  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart

WherI got it: Library
Rating: 5 stars 
Cover Rating: 3 stars (It's okay. That is not exactly how I pictured Frankie though. I do appreciate the Basset stamp on the letter thingy though.) 
Genre: Young Adult 
Publication Date: August 25, 2009
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Page Count: 342 p.

I present you Frankie Landau-Banks, named Frankie because her father wanted a son. Although, regardless of the name, her father does not think much of her. Neither does anyone else for that matter. Over the summer she blossoms into a young woman, but still no one thinks of her as more than "bunny rabbit". When she learns of a secret society, and just perhaps stumbles on some society secrets, she thinks she could run the society much better than "Alpha". When her pranks go too far though, Frankie knows she has to own up and admit it was her at the front of the pack, even if it means losing the boy of her dreams.

This was a ridiculously entertaining read. You will instantly either love or hate Frankie, there is no in-between. I loved her, I loved her word obsession where she decided that some words (those which aren't really words, but should be) are neglected, mostly neglected positives (I guess you'll have to read to find out). While Frankie's sister and mother claim to be feminist, Frankie takes it to a new level and completely dominates the secret society(all male) at her school. This is a fantastic girl power book akin to Fried Green Tomatoes (girl power wise, no crying and murder here). TOWANDA!!!! So, yes read this book. It has girl power, romance, secret societies, secrets, pranks and basset hounds. E. Lockhart is a really great funny, fun writer and this book is certainly no disappointment. So throw this on top of your TBR pile because you deserve it.

First Line:
"I, Frankie Landau-Banks, hereby confess that I was the sole mastermind between the mal-doings of the Loyal order of the Basset Hounds."

Favorite Line:
"Of course, anything named after a floppy-eared dog with short legs isn't deadly serious."  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Teaser Tuesday #40


This week's Teaser Tuesday is from The DUFF - Kody Keplinger
(page: 46)

"When the Friday of our Girls' Night In finally rolled around, I was more than ready for a nice, relaxing evening with my best friends--and the wonderfully Scottish James McAvoy, of course. I'd shoved the copy of Becoming Jane that Jessica had given me for Christmas, a pair of barely used pajamas (yeah, I sleep naked at home--so what?), and my toothbrush into my backpack."

Teaser Tuesday is brought to us by Should be Reading.
Rules:
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!

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