Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Giveaway: Miles form Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

St. Martin's Griffin sent me a paperback copy of Miles from Ordinary, so I can pass it on to all of you.  Last year I read and enjoyed this novel, you can check out my review here. It was an intense read, if you've read any book by Carol you know.

Must be at least 13 to enter
Spreading the word gets you +2 for every link
Giveaway ends March 13th

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In My Mailbox #123

In My Mailbox brought to you by The Story Siren
For Review: from AmazonVine
Gabby lived under the radar until her makeover. Way under. But when she started her senior year as a blonder, better-dressed version of herself, she struck gold: Billy Nash believed she was a the flawless girl she was pretending to be. The next eight months with Billy were bliss...Until the night Gabby woke up on the ground next to the remains of his BMW without a single memory of how she got there. And Billy's nowhere to be found. All Gabby wants is to make everything perfect again. But getting her life back isn't difficult, it's impossible. Because nothing is the same, and Gabby's beginning to realize she's missed more than a few danger signs along the way. It's time for Gabby to face the truth, even if it means everything changes. Especially if it means everything changes.

Girl Meets Boy - Various Authors
What do guys and girls really think? Twelve of the most dynamic and engaging YA authors writing today team up for this one-of-a-kind collection of "he said/she said" stories-he tells it from the guy's point of view, she tells it from the girl's. These are stories of love and heartbreak. There's the good-looking jock who falls for a dangerous girl, and the flipside, the toxic girl who never learned to be loved; the basketball star and the artistic (and shorter) boy she never knew she wanted; the gay boy looking for love online and the girl who could help make it happen. Each story in this unforgettable collection teaches us that relationships are complicated-because there are two sides to every story.

James pens a haunting, unforgettable memoir of her experience as a teen model in New York City--the true story of escaping abuse in a small-town to encounter more in the big city and the way one girl overcame them both.
(These were on sale at Books-a-Million for $5 a piece)
(Not super impressed with this. You can only hold 20 pages tops at a time. Maybe I'm using it wrong, but it just doesn't seem to work as well as I imagined I guess.)

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Blood Wounds - Susan Beth Pfeffer

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 4.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (That girl is pretty terrifying.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Page Count: 248 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon

Happy families are not all the same, they're just better at faking it. Happy families hide the anger and resentment right below the surface, waiting for it to boil over.
Willa has a happy family. She has a stepfather and sisters, but they are all happy and love each other. Everything seems fine, until Willa's real father murders his family and comes for her. She doesn't really remember him and didn't know he had little girls, didn't know she had half sisters. Willa decides that she has to go to where her parents came from and mourn those little girls. She has to find her roots, what she's made of. Even her happy family isn't enough for Willa until she can go dig in the past and find out the truth about her life that she's forgotten.

This book took me in so many directions. I thought the manhunt would last a lot longer than a few pages. Susan Beth Pfeffer did an excellent job with the pacing of this novel though. I was hooked from the very first sentence, and didn't stop reading until the story was over. Each character was so perfectly crafted. I could picture each one of them clear as day and even overheard their voices while they conversed. Willa was an odd character in this novel. Not really belonging any where she went. That's mostly the reason she went back to where she was born, to figure out who she was and where she might fit in. She knows so little about her and her mother's lives before the stepfamily. Her mother keeps so many secrets under the guise of protecting Willa, but she really is just protecting herself. Willa is a very strong girl though, and it was a pleasure to watch her on her journey to finding out what she wants and how she feels. At times she did show some weakness(cutting) but I still feel like she was so solid, and this was a logical way for her to feel some relief.  Sometimes people can become content with their lives so they never really notice when they don't have all the things they want. Cracks started showing in Willa's contentment though, before her father even came into the picture. Little things, like voice lessons and plane tickets, started wearing away at Willa's supposed happiness. Every family has flaws. Even if everyone is actually happy, there are always moments when things aren't perfect. This novel explores those flaws and what it means to be a family. Willa is faced with a lot, she has blood relatives that seem like bad eggs and step relatives that seem sweet as a peach. Both sides have flaws though, and Willa is a combination of all the good in the bad of both sides. Blood is one thing, but family is another.

First Line:
"I think even if nothing had happened the next day, even if my life had stayed just as it was the night at supper, I'd still remember what Jack said."

Favorite Line:
"It was a damp gray day, but there was a gentle spring breeze that spoke of better times."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Swallow Me Whole - Nate Powell

Where I got it: Inter-library Loan
Rating: 3.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (It's weird seeing an image that was previously black & white in color.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 29, 2008
Publisher: Top Shelf Production
Page Count: 212 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon

Ruth sees things, hears things, that aren't there. Her brother has a talking wizard that tells him what to draw. They both have a sick, dying grandmother sleeping on their coach. Ruth is obsessed with insects and has them in jars in her room. She also has OCD and is constantly rearranging the jars to find just the right combination. Ruth and her brother are just trying to survive high school, and life. They find love, the find friends and they find each other all while trying to find ways to cope.

This was an odd little graphic novel. Made me think a bit of Gene Yuen Lang novels. Nate Powell dives very deep into the characters, portraying how they tick, making you see past their mental flaws. It was interesting being enveloped in Ruth's world. It was a bit frightening too at times. The illustrations were great and at times terrifying. Some of the images just creeped me out in the worst way. If you are in the mood to get inside someone else's head, make sure you grab this one. It's odd, it's sweet and it's inspirational.

First Line:
"Mom? We're here with the kids."

Favorite Line:
"That frog is my keeper."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance - Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin

Where I got it: My collection
Rating: 2.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 4.5 stars (Super fun and cute!)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Page Count: 229 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon

Jenna & Jonah are really Charlie and Fielding, but there contract states otherwise. Not only do they have to pretend to be in love on set, but off set too. They don't really get any choice in who they hang out with, what they eat or do. They are trapped by their contract until the show is over. Things are manageable until someone starts a rumor that Fielding is gay. They both have to escape for awhile and let this rumor runs it's course while they are out of the public eye. Fielding owns a ramshackle cabin in the middle of nowhere, so that's where they hide out. Away from all the paparazzi and cameras they can both relax and be themselves, but they aren't sure who they are anymore without their Jenna & Jonah personas. They can't even tell what they are feeling, because they are so use to having to pretend. Without someone telling them what to do and how to feel at all times, things might just fall into place. Charlie is still too worried about her career though and Fielding is ready to escape the business entirely. They may have to stick each other out for a while longer though, but now it might not seem like so much work.

This was a cute story and I'm sure if you like High School Musical, you definitely would watch Jenna & Jonah. You may even love this novel more than I did too. It was a fun, cute read, but the characters were just to shallow. Even when they were being deep, it was like ditzy girls saying profound things. I could never fall in love with the characters. I was interested enough in how they would end up in the end, but it was sort of obvious what conclusion we'd be met with. If you like cutesy stories than this one is right up your alley, plenty of teeny-bopping for all. I liked it well enough, it was something light to read. There's great revelations about how to be yourself, all versions of yourself, so a good message is always welcome in a teen novel. Like I said though, I just couldn't picture the characters as being deep, which is probably because of their Jenna & Jonah characters. It happens all the time. I know each of you have an actor that starred in a role and you will always think of them as that character, instead of anything else. I mean, how hard is it to watch Water for Elephants, without expecting Robert Pattinson to start running superfast, or scowl at Reese Witherspoon in a love/hate way. (Water for Elephants was a fantastic movie by the way ;)) Anyways, that's just how it works. If you need a light and fun read, check this one out.

First Line:
"I will never like a boy like Fielding Withers (and, yes, I know I used the word "like" twice in one sentence, but meaning different things)."

Favorite Line:
"I grab a spreading knife as though I can butter an intruder to death."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: After the Kiss - Terra Elan McVoy

Where I got it: My collection
Rating: 3.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (Flirty and fun. A little borrowing up around that top area though.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: January 4, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count: 382 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon

This isn't Camille's first move to a new town, and it won't be her last. Her parents move her whenever a new job calls. She has to just pick up her life and leave—her best friend in Cali, her heart in Chicago—and Camille has no say. She's shattered after this move from Chicago, but she figures it's only a matter of time before they move again. She'll just blend in and make no attachments, that is until the kiss.
Becca and Alec seem to be a match made in heaven. She can't believe she has a jock boyfriend who writes haikus. He's so sweet and smart and she just doesn't know what she'd do without him. But he's the one who kissed Camille, and she doesn't know what to do from here.
Camille doesn't know who Becca is, but Becca recognizes her. They're both just trying to figure out their lives and they need to take it one step at a time.

I really liked the format of this novel. It switched between Camille with her no capital letter paragraphs and Becca with her poems. Then interspersed are Alec's Haiku/dialogue. It was a great setup, and help set the two girls apart on paper, more than just their personalities. It was interesting seeing these two girls that contrast each other in so many ways, end up in each others paths. Camille gets kissed by Becca's boyfriend, but she doesn't know he's taken. Becca quickly finds out Camille's identity and forms a plan. Meanwhile, Camille's way too caught up in her real life to really give her life in this town too much thought. Her minds still in San Francisco and Chicago. Those are places she wants to be, even if she can't admit it. I hated Becca's sort-of friend, Freya, she is such a blabbermouth drama queen. I'm glad she didn't come up that often, because she was truly obnoxious. Terra Elan McVoy made an interesting love triangle here, two girls and one boy, too confused and dealing with other things to really know what they want. Becca is trying to figure out how to become and adult, while Camille is trying to figure out what she wants in life. Becca does seem a lot more childish than Camille in some ways, her thoughts and dialogue reveal that she is not as hardened. Camille seems to have done a lot of growing up as a byproduct of moving so often. When you close yourself of from getting attached, you have more time to look at the world. When you close off your emotions though, it may be hard to see what you want and need. This was a quick read and definitely one that will make you think a bit, I'd recommend you check it out, even though it's not one I'd re-read.

First Line:
"pulling in the driveway all you can think is that this is the kind of house they were trying to duplicate back in charlotte: the real southern living deal—a big beautiful old (but newly renovated) house in an area they are calling the virginia highlands, with no hills to be seen and two states separated from virginia."

Favorite Line:
"Her elbows are pointy
and find rib cages easily."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: Born Wicked - Jessica Spotswood

Where I got it: ARC from publisher for review
Rating: 5 stars  
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Gorgeous. )
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Page Count: 326 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon

Cate and her sisters are witches. Their mother was a witch too. Now that she's dead though, Cate is tasked with looking after her sisters and keeping their eccentricities a secret. You see, people don't like witches, they are considered wicked and are sent away...or worse. Cate's mother did not leave her very much advice on how to go on, she said no one could be trusted not even their father. Cate also has to worry about coming of age. If she doesn't pick a husband or choose to go into the Sisterhood, the Council will choose for her. With all this on Cate's shoulders it would be nice for her to have an ally. Someone who could know her secret and help her and her sisters stay safe.

I love historical fiction about witches, so this book had caught my eye right away. Look at that cover too, so I had high hopes going into this one. Luckily I was not disappointed. Jessica Spotswood crafted wonderful characters and an interesting town for them all to live in. Cate is an interesting character. I would have loved her if it wasn't for her appalling disregard for books. She talks about being in a bookstore as a horrid thing. Besides her lack of books in her life though, Cate was a good strong character. I really appreciated that she wasn't the perfect heroine. She was bossy, a bit clumsy and very much in love. Love does make strange things happen. Paul does seem like the perfect choice, he seems quite dashing. Love does not always take one where they intend to be taken though. Cate's sisters were also swell. They interacted and bickered just like siblings. Trying to keep magic a secret can be no easy task. This book was a bit slow going at times, but the content kept me constantly craving more. There were surprises and new information around every corner, and Cate was trying to figure it all out, while handling the entire household. I can understand how she can be so upset with her mother. She really didn't do a good job preparing the girls to be on their own. She left them with no allies and no one they could count on at all. She kept so many secrets from them, that seem more harmful than beneficial. There are people out to get them and Cate and her sisters had no idea. There were a few people who surprised me quite a bit. I would recommend that anyone who likes a good old-fashioned witch novel should pick this up. It is one of the best ones I've read.

First Line:
"Our mother was a witch, too, but she hid it better."

Favorite Lines:
"'...I just don't have the time to read anymore.'
'That's the saddest thing I've heard all day,' Finn says, swiping his hands through his messy hair. 'Reading is the perfect escape for whatever ails you.'"

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In My Mailbox #122

In My Mailbox brought to you by The Story Siren


(Nate Powell did an interview saying that this book changed his life, so I thought I'd check it out.)

Review: thanks Henry Holt & Co.
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near-impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one unlikely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life– a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha… and the secrets of her heart.

So that's what I got this week, what did you all get?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #47

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. 

This week I'm waiting on The Diviners - Libba Bray. Really it's Libba Bray, so I don't feel like I have to explain why I'm waiting on this one. I don't know if that's the final cover, but I do like it quite a bit. It's very different and seems fitting.

A supernatural series set in Manhattan during the 1920s that follows a teen heroine reminiscent of two of the era's most famous literary women—Zelda Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker. The story will be a wild new ride full of dames and dapper dons, jazz babies and Prohibition-defying parties, conspiracy and prophecy—and all manner of things that go bump in the neon-drenched night.

So, yeah...amazing. If you're a Libba Bray fan, or if you have a pulse, make sure you mark November 6th on your calendars for this release from Little, Brown and Company.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review: Mad Love - Suzanne Selfors

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 3.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 4.5 stars (Cutesy, quite similar to the cover of Rhonda Stapleton's bind up, Struck.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Page Count: 329 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon

Alice's mom is on a bit of a mental vacation, "researching her next book", overseas...really she's in a mental hospital. The famous Belinda Amorous had bipolar disorder but she doesn't want anyone to find out, especially her publisher. So Alice is tasked with taking care of the house and finances and keeping her mothers treatment hush-hush. Soon Alice is forging her mom's signature on checks, letters and copies of her novels. Then Alice meets Errol. He is convinced that he is Cupid and that it is Alice's destiny to write his story. He claims that the story of Cupid and Psyche has been mistold and he wants the real, true story written down. Alice feels she has enough on her plate already, without this weird boy trying to get her to write some strange love story but she might be convinced otherwise. Somehow she has to juggle all these things plus a crush and try not to go crazy herself.

This was an interesting story. It wasn't a cute love story like one might expect from the paperback cover, it was a whirlwind of emotion. The love part comes in to play mostly from Cupid. I's Cupid, love and what not. Anyways, there is a budding crush in Alice's life but her life is a car wreck, so it's hard for her to stay focused on the task at hand. Alice was really all over the place. She clearly has taken on way more than she, personally, can handle. Some kids are in Alice's situation and can handle things okay, but it does really seem like too much all at once for Alice. Errol/Cupid was such a creep. He just seems like the sketchiest person alive. Even though I feel a little bad for him, I still would cross the street if I saw him. This was a really interesting story though. I liked the premise that maybe Cupid's love story wasn't happily ever after and that was just an ending that the gods liked better.  I wish there was more to do with the mythology, and maybe less story plots altogether. There was so much going on in this book Suzanne Selfors handle it well and it was never confusing, but so much just seemed to be happening in just a few days, that it was a little bit hard to picture the story taking place in less than a week. I think the memories made it feel longer too, because it broke up the timeline. I did love the characters though, I could picture them all in their funky little apartment building. Some parts of this book were hilarious and then others were somber, which made the balance of emotion work out quite nicely. I think Archibald was my favorite character. He wasn't really involved with the drama of everything and just was very down to earth. Plus he was a bit sassy and gave fantastic advice. This is not a great read to put you in a lovey mood, but it was a pretty great read for itself.

First Line:
"When you're sixteen, summer is supposed to spread before you like a magic carpet, waiting to carry you to new, exciting places."

Favorite Line:
"We followed her from the church, a rumble of distant thunder accompanying our exit."


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...