Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review: I'll Be There - Holly Goldberg Sloan

Where I got it: ARC for review from publisher
Rating: 4.5 stars
Cover Rating: 3.5 stars (It's interesting, but definitely would not make me want to pick it up.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 17, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 393 p.

When Sam meets Emily, nothing in his past seems to matter. Except keeping his past away from her. Sam hasn't been in school for many years. His dad is unhinged and Sam and his brother, Riddle, have been dragged across many states while his father follows the instructions from the voices in his head. Riddle barely talks and has never set foot inside a classroom. Neither boys have had much contact with people their own age, so when Sam meets Emily he is scared but also excited. Maybe his dad won't move them again. Maybe Emily's family can help Sam and Riddle find a place to call home at last. 

This book had so much going on in it, but all the stories were very nicely entwined. Again this was a third person perspective novel, but the story was so touching, fast-paced and just left you rushing through the pages to follow Sam and Riddle through their trials. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to all readers of realistic fiction. This was a story about family and trying to find one. Sam and Riddle's father ripped them from their home and took them out onto the open road. Ever since then, perhaps without knowing it, they have been trying to piece together some semblance of a family with the two of them. Their dad is not at all a good father figure. He doesn't bother to feed the kids or do much more than uproot them every couple of months to move on to his next crimes. I guess you couldn't call it uprooting really, since the kids weren't really allowed to settle in and talk to people. When Sam meets Emily though things start to slowly change. Even Riddle can see that something is different about Sam, something is changing for the better. I loved how dynamic each of the characters were. Their interactions left each one of them changed, some for the better. 

This book had a lot of karma in it. You could really tell that each person was affected by how they acted in their lives. Sam and his brother, who have never done anything against anyone, clearly were smiled on by the fates. Their father presented an interesting contrast to the boys. It's always fascinating to see a case of nature versus nurture as is present in this case. Sam and Riddle clearly did not become a product of their father's insanity and criminality. Sam and Riddle were excellent kids, if not a little misguided by their father. I was so happy the way things turned out for everyone.

At times this story was a little odd, because the third person encompassed all the characters, including the animals. It was confusing sometimes trying to figure out who's perspective we were seeing the situation from. Regardless this story was well written and just a fascinating and really good story. I was sad to have it end, even though I was tearing through the pages trying to figure out what would happen next. There are just so many aspects to this novel that are hard to talk about without spoiling it too much. This was one of those stories that puts tears in your eyes while you read the hardships that everyone must endure. I was certainly tearing up by the end of this novel, with grief and relief. Just do yourself a favor and make sure when you get the opportunity, pick up this book.

First Line:
"The days of the week meant nothing to him."

Favorite Line:
"But was it possible to grit your teeth and still sing?"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: Bitter End - Jennifer Brown

Where I got it: ARC for review from publisher
Rating: 5 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars (It's very emotive which I appreciate. I also love the poem etched over and over at the bottom.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 354 p.

There's a charming and handsome new boy, Cole,  at school and Alex is instantly crushing on him. Cool thing is, he seems to like her too. Alex and her two friends, Zack and Beth have been super close since forever. They have been planning a road-trip to Colorado to help Alex feel closer to her dead mother. With Cole in the picture though, Alex's friendships fall to the wayside. When he first starts hurting her, Alex pushes her friends away, reasoning that they set him off. After a while of playing it safe all the time though, Alex can't keep ignoring the put-downs and pinches. She knows she has to make a decision but she's not sure what choice she can actually make.

Whoa. I have not yet read Hate List, but now I know I have to. Absolutely have to. This novel was wonderfully written and completely devastating. Each character played their role perfectly and completely. Alex was such a genuine character. I'm sure some people will roll their eyes when they read about her staying in an abusive relationship. I didn't. She acknowledged the fact that something was wrong, eventually. It's hard to take a step back and really look at someone when you are that close to them. Even if you do know that they aren't the greatest, there are so many things that make people stay. I think Jennifer Brown did an incredible job highlighting a lot of the reasons that Alex found it so hard to break away.

I really wish this book was published when I was still in high school. I mean there was Dreamland, but this one is so much more accessible. I was in an abusive relationship, and had moved in with him when I was a Senior. It was really hard to get out, because I was scared and I couldn't really support myself alone(or so I thought). I think this book has the potential to help a lot of girls or even guys in similar situations. Guys are often abused in relationship too, and people sometimes forget that. This book dealt with so many of the emotions and thoughts that can go through an abused persons' head. The feeling of not wanting to be "that girl whose boyfriend beat her" or the "victim" or "that girl who stayed with the guy who hit her". There are so many negative reactions to people who stay in abusive relationships, but everyone has a reason. A lot of people just need someone there to help them. In abusive relationships however, these people can be hard to come by since often times the abused is driven to isolation.

I really appreciated Alex's friends, even if it was really hard to keep being her friend after Cole. Zack at least was still 100% there for her even if Alex didn't like it. Friends like Zack are the reason that Alex could get out of the relationship. Alex's boss, Georgia, was a great support to Alex too. I liked that she had the motherly/friend feel to her. Those are always great people to have around and be around. I will certainly be bumping Hate List up on my list as well as eagerly anticipating a new novel by this fantastic author. This book was wholly accurate and incredibly well-written. Though it may be hard for many people to read in all its realism, I think this book is a must read.

First Line:
"If I had to describe my best friend, Bethany, in one word, it would be persistent."

Favorite Line:
"'I love you,' I whispered into the fabric of his shirt."   

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #55

This week's Teaser Tuesday is from I'll Be There - Holly Goldberg Sloan

(page 111)
"So Sam did what he was actually dying to do. He took a seat on the arm of the small sofa behind him, positioned the guitar in his lap, and he started to play."

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!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Giveaway: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Some of you may have heard of this book called Wither, which is the 1st book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy. Well, it just so happens I bought two copies recently and today is your chance to win one of them. Contest is open internationally and ends April 11th. All you have to do is fill out the form below. Good Luck! 

Review: Kat, Incorrigible - Stephanie Burgis

Where I got it: ARC for review from publisher
Rating: 3.5 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars (Very fun indeed.)
Genre: Middle Grade
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Atheneum
Page Count: 295 p.

Kat is the youngest of three sisters. Her oldest sister is to marry a very wealthy—albeit older—Sir Neville. Kat thinks this is absolutely no good, and when her middle sister Angeline tells her about Sir Neville's last wife, she knows that this engagement can not be allowed to happen. On top of all this, Kat is slowly finding out more about her mother, who was a witch. Kat also finds out that she herself might have some magic in her too. When she finds a golden compact mirror that transports her to a golden hall when she opens it, Kat is met by two strangers. Mr. Gregson and Mrs. Fotherington are not the most genial of company especially the latter of the pair. Gregson wishes to tutor Kat to help her develop her magical talent, but Kat has too much to worry about in real life to deal with him right now. Kat knows that Sir Neville is not a proper suitor for her sister, she just needs to find a way to stop him.

I was so excited to receive this books for review. I have been wanting to read it for more than a year. I was a little disappointed though. The biggest disappointment for me was the climax; there was a lot of build up but then everything was just explained instead of slowly revealed. I didn't like it one bit, I felt like it was done in a rush so that the author could hurry up and finish the book in under 300 pages. Besides that huge deal though, this book was very wonderful. Kat was an incredibly playful and fun character that I wish could be my little sister. I loved how her older sisters treated her like a younger sister, it seemed very realistic to me. The older sisters had this elite sort of relationship, due in large part to the fact that they both knew their biological mother whereas Kat did not. The stepmother was absolutely dreadful, but not too wicked. She wanted to be very proper, but was on the verge of being a spinster and therefore had to marry the girls' father. Not her first choice, but a choice nonetheless. I think this will be a completely delightful read for younger kids and the splash of magic makes the book very wonderful. It was still a delight to read and I look forward to see what Kat gets herself into in the next novel.

First Line:
"I was twelve years of age when I chopped off my hair, dressed as a boy, and set off to save me family from impending ruin."

Favorite Line:
"Perhaps she would even explode."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review: Zombies Calling - Faith Erin Hicks

Where I got it: From publisher for review
Rating: 4 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars (I really like that she is killing them with a spork. Her freckles are a little weird though.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: November 7, 2007
Publisher: SLG Publishing
Page Count: 104 p.

Joss is stressed over exams and her debt from student loans. She wishes she could just move to England and watch zombie movies all day. The stress of exams is no match for what she finds in the hall one day though. ZOMBIES! In the flesh, rotting flesh that is. Now Joss has to take her knowledge (from movies) of the walking dead and put it to the test. Can Joss's rules save her and her friends? Or will they all be zombie food?

This comic was ridiculous. Really it was pure entertainment. There was hardly any sort of plot line or anything. If you love Zombies, add this to your collection right away. If you want to check out another, older version of this comic you can. In the older version Joss kicks even more ass than in Zombies Calling printed edition. I do have to mention that I hate her hair. Why would you barrette it in the front like that? It seems like it would be super annoying and in the way all the time. Anyways, there is no a whole lot to say about this comic. It's pretty much like watching the middle of a Zombie movie. No drawn out character development and nothing seems to get resolved, only contained. It is in your best interests to get your hands on this and read it though, it was quite brilliant. ;)

To read more about this comic you can check out the website here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Review: Debbie Harry Sings in French - Meagan Brothers

Where I got it: Inter-library Loan
Rating: 4.5 stars
Cover Rating: 3.5 stars (Interesting. I like that it's sorta plain, and the text is "Debbie's" hair)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 27, 2008
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Page Count: 232 p.

Johnny has been drinking for a long time now. Ever since his father died in a car accident. Since then his mother has shut down leaving Johnny to run the household by himself. He hangs out with his goth friends and they drink and he drinks and everyone is happy. That is until Johnny nearly dies of an overdose and wakes up in the hospital. His mother decides she can't deal with him sends him to rehab first—where he falls in love with Debbie Harry—then ships him off to live with his uncle. Some bullies at his new school think that he's gay, however, and take to beating the crap out of him whenever it strikes their fancy. Luckily his Uncle is very supportive and Johnny's girlfriends Maria is always on his side too. Slowly Johnny discovers that it's more than just the singer he's obsessed with, it's the everything she represents. Johnny wants to be beautiful and strong and amazing, and Maria, for one is determined to let him discover who he really wants to be.

This was a well-written and fascinating novel that explores a boy who is just constantly trying to figure out what's inside of him. He's knows he is different, but he can't quite figure out what exactly makes him different.  I had been meaning to read this book since I saw it on the 2009 Rainbow List. I finally just sat down and said alright, you got to catch up. I'm glad I did. I think some teens might find the subject matter a little disconcerting. Some kids just aren't comfortable reading about someone so real and similar to them being a transvestite. Regardless, I think this is a wonderful book that helps explore a topic that most kids don't have a lot of information about. Most kids easily past judgement on someone like Johnny (much like the bullies in the book). It's hard to look at someone who is different, when we do not understand what exactly is different about them, or what that difference really means. In the perfect world everyone could just except that everyone is different from everyone else and just get on with living their own lives instead of bothering other people. I'm glad Meagan Brothers wrote this book. Teen need to know that there are people out there like this and they are not alone if they are going through something similar.

I appreciated that each of the chapter titles were Blondie songs, it was a great touch. Also I loved that Maria was Johnny's girlfriend, I mean "Maria you've gotta see her go insane and out of your mind...". It was just so great. I absolutely adored Bug, Johnny's cousin, she was just very cute and funny. Bug was obsessed with space, astronauts, rockets all of that. I also like it when characters interact with their younger relatives, I think you can tell a lot about a person based on how they are with kids. It was fantastic that Johnny had a really good support system. He had a counselor, his uncle and his girlfriend, who were all telling him that he was okay. This is just a really fantastic book and if you read GLBTQ lit make sure you pick this one up.

First Line:
"Tessa was cool because she bought records."

Favorite Lines:
"That light was like the fucking sun."

"Without walking it seemed, we were in her bed, our fingers nipping at each other's buttons and zippers."

And for those of you who would like to hear Debbie Harry sing in French click here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #37

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm waiting on Going Underground - Susan Vaught

Del is a good kid who’s been caught in horrible circumstances. At 17, he’s trying to put his life together after an incident in his past that made him a social outcast—and a felon. As a result, he can’t get into college; the only job he can find is digging graves; and when he finally meets a girl he might fall in love with, there’s a whole sea of complications that threaten to bring the world crashing down around him again. But what has Del done? In flashbacks to Del’s 14th year, we slowly learn the truth: his girlfriend texted him a revealing photo of herself, a teacher confiscated his phone, and soon the police were involved.

This one sounds really interesting, especially because there have been lots of "sexting" cases lately. I like the idea of a teen being a gravedigger for an occupation. This comes out September 13th from Bloomsbury.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Miles From Ordinary - Carol Lynch Williams

Where I got it: For review from publisher
Rating: 4.5 stars
Cover Rating: 5 stars (very provocative, I love the style of this cover)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 15, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Count: 197 p.

 Lacey is only thirteen-years-old but she is the head of her household. Since her mama's daddy died and mam kicked Lacey's aunt out of the house, it's just been the two of them. They had been living off grandaddy's inheritance, but Lacey's mama says that he's been telling her to buy stuff. Lacey sets up a job for her mama so that they can have some money coming in, since soon it will be all gone. Lacey got herself a volunteer job at the library, so that she can have some time to herself. When she leaves work to pick up her mama though, she discovers she hadn't stayed at her own job very long. With the help of an unlikely companion Lacey goes searching for her mom. With a friend by her side Lacey ends up facing many difficult discoveries and revelations.

This is a highly relate-able novel for probably quite a few teens. A parent suffering from a mental condition that all but renders them completely useless to run a household. Lacey's mother has lost her mind since her father passed and when she got a restraining order against her own sister, they had no family left to help. Carol Lynch Williams does an impeccable job getting inside the mind of a thirteen-year-old girl who has had to grow up to take care of her mama. This was entirely heartbreaking all the way to the final words. Lacey's life is not one that you could envy. She is only thirteen and so not able to get a real paying job that would solve more of their problems. Lacey has no friends and no one to talk to at all besides her mom, if her mom is having a good day. I really think this is a great novel for young adults and talks about so very touchy subject matter that probably happens more than we can imagine. Kids often are left taking care of their disabled parents, for fear of going into foster care, or betraying their parent. It's a sad story, but devastatingly realistic and honest. I was a little disappointed by how brief this novel was. There were some issue I wish had been expanded on, like the particulars of her mother's neuroses. We had small glimpses at how bad it was, but until the end nothing seemed too amiss. You certainly got the feeling that she was off her rocker, but there wasn't tons of indications that she was completely gone. Maybe the reason we were left without this is because the narrator is only thirteen and therefore didn't really realize how bad it had gotten. Regardless, I'm dying to read CLW's next novel, even though they make me so sad afterwards.

First Line:
"There are mice." 

Favorite Line:
"The whole room looked fake in the flashlight beam."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: The Lonely Hearts Club - Elizabeth Eulberg

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 5 stars
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Perfect)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: January 1, 2011
Publisher: Point
Page Count: 285 p.

Penny Lane's parents are obsessed with the Beatles, in case you couldn't tell by her name. Penny has been burned by love for the last time, when her summer crush cheats on her. Penny decides what she needs is to declare herself the sole member of her own Lonely Hearts Club. Penny will not date any boys for the remainder of her high school career. Some other students end up being mistreated by guys too and decide they want to join up. Soon enough there are over 40 girls meeting at Penny's house and cementing their females relationships. The school principal and many of the high school boys aren't too keen on the club. Penny holds her ground, these girls really need a support system and they all want to stick together. The club starts to become more about friendship and improving yourself and grades instead of an actual Lonely Hearts Club.

This novel was completely fab. I could not stop laughing out loud throughout it. Penny Lane is a fantastic character and a great leader to the girls. She is just such a real person, shy about taking control, but does what needs to be done. I would have loved something like this when I was in high school, a huge support system of friends who have your back no matter what. It was nice to see all these girls for-going cliques and class years to band together to better themselves. Penny had mentioned at one point that they should all study together, since the older girls had already had a lot of the classes the younger ones were taking and therefore could help them out. Now, this book was definitely not all about grades and bettering oneself. There was plenty of boy drama. I could see why Penny would have to give up boys, they were all up in her stuff this whole book. All the characters were really great, even though Penny was really the primary focus of the book. Her two best friends made a good team and evened each other out. Really though this book was just a great, funny read about a club that ends up being more than it was supposed to be. This is up there in funny-ness with the Georgia Nicolson series, so seriously check this book out!

First Line:
"When I was five years old, I walked down the aisle with the man of my dreams."

Favorite Line:
"'Right! I remember that you had to be John and I was Paul and we had stuffed animals be Ringo and George.'"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In My Mailbox #81

In My Mailbox brought to you by The Story Siren
For Review: From Penguin
Ask Elizabeth - Elizabeth Berkley
Ask Elizabeth is the complete guide to teen life; the last and only self-help book they'll ever need. Inspired by the many workshops Elizabeth Berkley has conducted with over 30,000 teen girls across the country, Ask Elizabeth brings the spirit of these conversations to life on the page.
Much like a private diary, the book will be a personal resource that girls can turn to when they seek answers to teen life's toughest questions.
The content contains real and practical advice, anecdotes and wisdom in answer to the most asked questions from girls who participate in Elizabeth's workshops such as: what do you do when you look in the mirror and don't like what you see? or How do you get over a broken heart? Elizabeth, along with a panel of experts, and teen girls themselves advise readers in matters of body image, personal relationships, dating, and much more.

Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the old Order and a Keeper of relics, and his sixteen-year-old apprentice, Raffi. They know of a secret relic with great power that has been hidden for centuries. As they search for it, they will be tested beyond their limits. For there are monsters, some human, some not, that also want the relic's power and will stop at nothing to get it.

Swapped: With Erica from The Book Cellar
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.
Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett's only friend--but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?

Sixteen-year-old Lana Morris wishes her life were different, that she were somewhere else, someone else. Her foster mother wants her gone, she's stuck taking care of the other kids in the house, she longs to become closer to her foster father, and the only cool people around refuse to acknowledge her. Then Lana stumbles into Miss Hekkity's mysterious shop, and she begins to realize that she might actually have the power to change things—to make some of her wishes come true. But wishing isn't always as harmless as it seems. . . .

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives.Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

That's what I got this week. What did you all get? case you haven't seen it playing on practically every Goodreads page here's the trailer for the upcoming Jane Eyre movie. It looks fantastic.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 4.5 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars (So fun!)
Genre: Adult
Publication Date: January 20, 2011
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books / G.P. Putnam's Sons
Page Count: 318 p.

Rosalind, Bianca and Cordelia's father love Shakespeare. He loves Shakespeare so much that most of what comes out of his mouth was previous written by good ole' Billy himself. Word of their mother's cancer lends them all a reason to make their way back home. Rosalind is running from having to make decisions and move forward in her life. Bianca is running from the embezzling she did at her former job. Cordelia is running away from running away, and thinking about what to do with the life growing inside her. Once they are all under the same roof again, they battle with the ability to hold on to their secrets, even though the burden of them sits heavy.

So this is the first adult novel I've read in awhile. It was a bit slow going at times but I ultimately adores it. All the characters were so really and angsty. Honestly, I think a lot of older YAs could easily connect with these characters, because they are going through things that young girls can go through too. Rose is trying to decide where her life might take her and if she's ready to go. This is just like going to college, or moving out of your parents house, it's a tough decision to make and Rose tries to hold on to her home instead of having to face it. Hopefully lots of girls aren't embezellers, but lots of people make mistakes. It's easy to see that Bianca got in over her head and sort of lost control,  almost like she got completely wasted at a party.  Good ole' Cordy is facing the oldest one in the book, unexpected pregnancy. That's many YA stories right there. I really enjoyed the third person plural narrative that this story was written in. It gave you a very sisterly connection, even though the sisters tended to loathe each other a bit. It was great that this wasn't just a story about three sisters who share everything and are really close. These sisters are hardly close at all except for the fact that they are all dealing with things even heavier than their mothers cancer.

Their father was the best. He was constantly lending them advice from the great Bard and expressed his feelings in much the same way. It was very interesting seeing the sisters not turn out quite so weird, despite their father's quirk. Their mother wasn't too much better. She was constantly off and living in her head. It's really no surprise that the girls haven't grown up yet. Though their parents seem like they took good care of them, it doesn't seem like they are all that into growing up themselves. This was really just a fabulous book about growing up, even if you already are a grown up.

First Line:
"We came home because we were failures."

Favorite Line:
"Cordy had been up before us all making pancake batter with blueberries purloined from the neighbor's bushes, their delicate bodies splitting against the wooden spoon, staining the batter with violent violet."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review: Clarity - Kim Harrington

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 5 stars
Cover Rating: 5 stars (I really like the colors and the cleanness of the cover. Very eye-catching.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: Point
Page Count: 242 p.

Clare has an ability, so does everyone else in her family. She was the ability of clairvoyance, her brother can commune with ghosts, and her mother can read people's minds. Clare is taunted by her peers for her power, especially since that is how her family makes their money. They live in Cape Cod, a tourist town if there ever was one, it's a nice town though, safe. That is until a girl turns up dead in a motel. Clare's ex-boyfriend, son of the mayor, asks for her help in solving the homicide. She's still a little bitter about him cheating on her, but agrees to help. She decides it is her duty to use her power to help people. She gets little to go on, glimpses and flashes, meanwhile the hard evidence is adding up fast. The evidence points to someone Clare knows didn't do it, but she has to figure out who did and fast. More deaths are cropping up, and it's clear that the killer doesn't want anyone to find them out.

Seriously, put this book at the top of your TBR pile. I can't pinpoint one thing that I loved about this book, the whole thing was just fantastic. I could not put it down, and kept reading until I was done. Clare was a wonderfully realistic and mature character, and I loved that she had a special ability. It was really neat that her whole family was special. Kim Harrington, certainly knows how to put a story together. She adds just the right of amount of romance, murder, and intrigue, to keep you guessing until the end. This was a fun take on your typical murder mystery, clairvoyance is always a fun twist to a tale. The storyline was ace, the characters were well developed and the writing was excellent. I liked that Kim started the story post break-up of the two main characters. I liked that their past was in the past, so you got to glean little bits of information from their brief encounters. The sessions that her family held at their home with customers, was an interesting way to get a feel of their abilities. It was great that Clare's mom had the ability to know what you are thinking at any given moment, it is a very good mom power. All of the characters, have a history and a past that matter in this novel, each character is developed to the extent of which they are needed. This is a truly thrilling and fantastic debut, and I'm glad I picked it up sooner rather than later.

First Line:
"'You don't want to kill me,' I said."

Favorite Line:
"My voice had a panicked screech to it that I didn't bother trying to hold back."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #54

This week's Teaser Tuesday is from The Lonely Hearts Club - Elizabeth Eulberg

(page 111)
"'Oh, oh, Penny Lane, that's so, so wonderful!' Mom put her hand up to her chest, thrilled that I'd named something after the Beatles, although she had no idea what the Club stood for. I could've started a club called the Yellow Submariners that went out in the ocean and clubbed baby seals and they still would've been proud."

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!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Review: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery - Maryrose Wood

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 5 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars (So fun!)
Genre: Middle Grade
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Count: 313 p.
Sequel to The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Muysterious Howling

The Incorrigible children and their governess are at it again, this time in London. When Penelope Lumley gets a letter from her old headmaster asking to meet her for lunch in London, Penelope thinks it will be splendid fun. She decides she and the Incorrigible can make an educational trip of it. When she tells Mrs. Ashton her plan however, Mrs. Ashton decides she too shall go to London. Penelope and the children arrive first, and soon realize that they have lost there way. The guidebook the Penelope has, is not very much help at all. There is something rather strange about the guidebook, it's illustrations and poetic directions are not very helpful to one actually trying to find something in the city. Luckily a young fellow comes to their rescue and guides them to home. If the Incorrigibles were trouble at the Ashton Place, London only affords them more opportunity and new sites to see.

Again, I truly loved this book. Possibly this one even more so than the first. The kids are just fabulous and I love that touch of wolf in them. There is a shocking discovery made in this book, and I can't believe the next one is out and at hand. This was certainly a fun read that takes you through the old streets of London. The palace, museums, plays, everything you could wish for in an educational big city trip. I appreciated the love interest that pops up in this second novel, Penelope definitely needs a companion, even as a friend. There are even pirates in the novel, so really you know that it must be fantastic. Make sure you pick this one up, especially if you have already read the first one.

First Line:
"'But the workmen swore the repairs to the house would be finished by now!'"

Favorite Line:
"'A word to the wise: Only the actors wear costumes, dear!'"

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox #80

In My Mailbox brought to you by The Story Siren

So I may have broken my book buying ban a little...but used books don't count right? Right?
Won: from Shelf Awareness
The Long Goodbye - Meaghan O'Rourke
Not quite sure why I entered for this one? Maybe I didn't it sounds ummm...wicked depressing.
What does it mean to mourn today, in a culture that has largely set aside rituals that acknowledge grief? After her mother died of cancer at the age of fifty-five, Meghan O'Rourke found that nothing had prepared her for the intensity of her sorrow. In the first anguished days, she began to create a record of her interior life as a mourner, trying to capture the paradox of grief-its monumental agony and microscopic intimacies-an endeavor that ultimately bloomed into a profound look at how caring for her mother during her illness changed and strengthened their bond.

"My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly." An edgy first line, and it provides the perfect opening for this gritty debut novel by journalist Flynn. Her protagonist, Camille Preaker, is a reporter for a second-rate Chicago newspaper. A solitary woman with a cynical bent, she appears to have carved out a workable life for herself despite a painful past and an estranged family. But when a second young girl turns up missing in Camille's hometown -- shortly after another local girl was found murdered -- Camille's editor sends her home to Missouri to cover the story. The question is, can Camille get to the bottom of the story before her demons get the best of her?

Megan’s twin sister Remy died in an accident nine years ago, and she’s been haunting her ever since. Knowing how crazy that sounds, Megan keeps this secret to herself and tries to lead a normal life. But when she takes a summer job at Land of Enchantment to keep an eye on her new boyfriend and his lovesick best friend, Samantha, she meets fellow employee Luke who can see Remy, too. Things get even twistier because Megan’s new friend Ari is sporting a massive crush on Luke, who seems to be developing a massive crush on Megan…making for a love triangle that’s positively possessed.

Megan wants to keep her distance from Luke, but when Remy’s visions get crazy violent; she knows she needs his help. Because someone’s definitely in danger...the only question is who?

When "Wacko Watkins" assigns the class a writing project about themselves, Lucy Lovering is not optimistic. Her parents are health food–loving hippies, her best friend, Izzie, has become buds with the knockout Nesta, and she just doesn't match up to either of them (especially in the chest region). What's a girl to do when her two friends can pass for older and she's stuck looking like a 12-year-old? But when Lucy spots the boy of her dreams and goes on a serious hunk hunt, she soon discovers that Mr. Right is closer than she thinks -- and not necessarily so dreamy!

So let me know what you all got this week. I will leave you with this video.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lots to post about.

First let's talk about the disaster in Japan. One of my best friends is from Japan and her family is still over there. They are okay, but there are a lot who aren't.  Maureen Johnson has put together another Shelterbox drive to help people who have been displaced by the tragedy. There are prizes if you donate too. You can donate right through Maureen's blog and make sure you follow the directions. You don't have to donate a lot, just whatever you can spare if you can spare it. Also you can follow Maureen on Twitter to get up to date info on how the fundraising is going.
Okay so other things to announce...brought to you by a very cute kitten.

First off, some of you may have heard of The Dark Days of Supernatural books. Well, their tour has been announced and here is the info.

The acclaimed authors will be traveling to Minneapolis, Chicago and Miami, doing readings, conducting Q & A's and signing copies of the brand new series!

The series of paranormal thrillers, supernatural romance and otherworldly adventures, features the five new titles:

- Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber
- Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
- Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
- Desire of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
- Afterlife by Claudia Gray

Please find the tour details below:

Thursday, March 17, 7:00 PM
Dark Days of Winter event w/ Claudia Gray, Kimberly Derting, Leah Clifford and Courtney Allison Moulton
Barnes & Noble, 2100 North Snelling Avenue, Roseville, MN, 55113

Friday, March 18, 7:00 PM
Dark Days of Winter event w/ Kimberly Derting, Claudia Gray, Ellen Schreiber and Courtney Allison Moulton
Anderson's Bookshop, 123 West Jefferson Ave, Naperville, IL

Saturday March 19, 7:00 PM
Dark Days of Winter event w/ Clauida Gray, Kimberly Derting and Courtney Allison Moulton
Books & Books, 265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, FL

Above is the book trailer for The Hourglass Door Trilogy by Lisa Magnum. Book three comes out this June. Now I have not read any of these books yet, but after that trailer I think I pretty much have to.
His past. Her future. Can love bring them together in time? A romance with a mystery twist that dates back to Leonardo da Vinci. In The Hourglass Door, Abby's picture perfect life is turned upside down when a mysterious foreign exchange student from Italy moves to town.

Last, but not least is some eye candy for you. New book covers that have made their way to the blogosphere and you may or may not have seen them.

Click on any cover to go to it's Goodreads page. I am super excited about the new Laini Taylor book! So that's all I have to share today, for now.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review: The Chosen One - Carol Lynch Williams

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 5 stars
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Plain but fitting)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Count: 213 p.

Kyra's family is part of the Chosen Ones, a polygamist cult. Kyra and her family except the way life is with their new leader. Maybe they can't leave the compound freely anymore, maybe some people have been killed and they had to burn all the books they own. Life is still good though, they are still happy to be going to God's kingdom. That is until The Prophet converses with God and decides the Kyra is to marry her uncle, who is quite a few decades older than her. Kyra's father goes to the Prophet to dispute this, but it is done. Kyra fears this is due to her sins. She has been sneaking out and seeing and kissing a boy, she has been hiding books to read, and she has been saying terrible things about killing the Prophet. Kyra knows there is no way she can go through with the marriage, no way she can face becoming her uncle's seventh wife. She knows she has to run away, or do something, but how? Who is willing to help her escape?

Well, one thing is for sure, Carol Lynch Williams does not know how to write a happy story. ;) This was beautifully written though and completely heartbreaking. This is her first novel, but the second one I've read. Like Glimpse, this details the struggle of a girl growing up in an unwanted situation. The isolation that Kyra and her family face living on the compound makes this book all the more intense. I personally have ver been in a polygamist cult, or a much similar situation, but I could feel every heartache as Kyra's as I hung on her every move, every word. This was a fascinating and gut-wrenching read that you would do yourself a favor by reading. If you cannot handle being depressed and horrified however, please pass this book by. I appreciate Carol Lynch William's knack for writing just the right endings. They are hopeful, but not overly positive. They are happy without being unrealistic. It's sad that there are no super happy endings, but it's how life often happens.

First Line:
"'If I was going to kill the Prophet,' I say, not even keeping my voice low, 'I'd do it in Africa.'"

Favorite Line:
"Outside the sky has gone all dark except for the half-moon."


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