Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stuff I Got This Week

(I bought this at a YALS conference this week. I got to meet and talk with Sarah. She's super nice! So glad I could pick up a copy of this and have it signed.)
Since losing both of her parents, fifteen-year-old Katie can see and talk to ghosts, which makes her a loner until fellow student Law sees her drawing of a historic house and together they seek a treasure rumored to be hidden there by illegal slave-traders. Law Walker knew Katie Mullens before she was crazy. Before her mother died. Law knows Katie’s crazy now, but she’s always been talented. And she keeps filling sketch pads even though her drawings have gone a little crazy as well—dark, bloody. What Law doesn’t know is that these drawings are real. Or were real. Katie draws what she sees—and Katie sees dead people. People who have died—recently, and not so recently—in accidents, from suicide, even a boy who was trapped in a house that burned down more than 100 years ago. And it’s this boy who makes Law want to get to know Katie all over again. So what if his dad doesn’t want him dating a white girl? So what if people think Katie is dangerous? The ghost boy is hiding a secret that Law needs to know—and it’s much bigger, much more shocking than anyone ever expected.

For Review: Thanks to Feiwel & Friends
Pearl Littlefield’s first assignment in fifth grade is complicated: She has to write an essay about her summer. Where does she begin? Her dad lost his job, she had to go to a different camp—one where her older sister Lexie was a counselor-in-training (ugh!)—and she and her good friend James Brubaker III had a huge fight, which made them both wonder if the other kids were right that girls and boys can’t be good friends and which landed one of them in the hospital.

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: The Boy Recession - Flynn Meaney

Where I got it: ARC from publisher for review
Rating: 3 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (Cute and fitting!)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Poppy
Page Count: 246 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

When all the jocks transfer to a different school. Julius P. Heil High finds itself in a bit of a boy recessions. The poor teen girls, aren't really sure what to do. They end up finding the misfits a not so bad replacement for their absent sex gods. Hunter can't believe that this is actually working in Eugene's favor. How can these girls really be interested in him, when before they wouldn't have spoken two words? Kelly is mostly upset that not only is it a boy recession but budget cuts that plague the school. That means no more band. Then Hunter suggests that they do peer band and teach third graders how to play instruments. Kelly jumps at the chance to have band back. She also doesn't mind spending some time with Hunter. She's not the only one who wants some face time with him. A boy has become a hot commodity at Julius P. Heil, and Hunter is in high demand in lots of places. Kelly doesn't want to lose him to the heard, but some girls play for keeps and will stop at nothing to sink their teeth into the boys that are left. Hunter is just going with the flow, even when the flow takes him places he doesn't particularly enjoy.

This was a cute book. There were quite a few funny moments in the book. I love how blown out of proportion the boy recession is. Everything is extra dramatic, but not quite over the top. Kelly and Hunter were sort of outside looking in at all the madness. They each had a friend who was ensnared in the hysteria. Luckily, both Kelly and Hunter managed to keep a cool head while things around them were chaos.

This was a fun concept, and a great setting. A small town losing most of it's football team, including it's coach would definitely be a big deal in a small town like this one. People also would notice when a handful of attractive guys left. In a city, there would hardly be a wrinkle.

Hunter had a lot of surprising qualities about him which were nice to see as the story progresses. When we first meet him, he is the very definition of slacker. Not that he is not a slacker at the end, but maybe less of one. He ends up with a lot on his plate. Kelly was an agreeable character. She won't stand out in my mind at all, but she fit into the story nicely and I didn't feel irritated by her, so that was good.  Diva though, I couldn't stand. She was psychotic. Completely in her own world that could not be interrupted by logical thought or other people's wants and needs. I'm glad I didn't have to put up with her for too long.

This was another fun read by Flynn Meaney. I think I still enjoyed Bloodthirsty more, but this one had me laughing too. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next.

First Line:
"'When are you gonna get off your lazy ass and get a job?' Eugene asks me."

Favorite Lines:
"The kid went down so hard, I'm telling you. According to Chung, who was right there next to them, there was this crunch sound, like what you hear when you sit on a bag of pretzels. That was Eugene's collarbone."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #70

This week's Teaser Tuesday is from The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney. I really enjoyed Bloodthirsty (my review) so I'm quite excited to read this one. The premise is: It's all about supply and demand when a high school deals with the sudden exodus of male students.
(page 111)
"I'm not sure what other people expect from Hunter. I mean, no one's ever heard him sing before.'"

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, September 24, 2012

Review: The Bad Apple - T.R. Burns

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 4 stars  
Cover Rating: 3 stars (I do like the illustration, the picture just doesn't quite fit though.)
Genre: Middle Grade
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Aladdin
Page Count: 352 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

When Seamus becomes accidentally responsible for his substitute teacher's death his parents aren't sure what to do with him. Then they hear about Kilter Academy, a reform school. They ship him off right away. At first Seamus is miserable, he didn't mean to kill that teacher, but soon he realizes Kilter Academy isn't quite what his parents signed him up for. It's a school for miscreants all right, but it's more of a training school than a reform school. Trouble-making is rewarded at Kilter and Seamus isn't sure what to do. He can't face his parents, but he's not really much of a trouble-maker. When he teams up with some other kids though, he starts to fall into something a little more comfortable. If Seamus has to make mischief, he might as well do his best.

I love the concept of a school filled with mischief makers, so this story was fantastic. T.R. Burns does a great job a constructing a school where kids are encouraged to make trouble. I loved how vivid the school became as Seamus and his friends walked around and got up to no good. Lemon, Seamus' roommate was an interesting kid too. Seamus was tough enough to handle Lemon's fire starting habit and that's something that made them a great pair.

There were lots of interesting character's in this novel, especially some of the teachers. Mr. History was particularly peculiar. Each of the teachers had to be quirky though, to work at that school. No rules and mischief encouraged doesn't make for an easy working environment. They did get to harass the students too, so that is a plus.

This was a really fun novel that girls and boys can bother enjoy. I really liked the fun parts and the serious parts. There was a really nice balance. Make sure, if you're a fan of middle grave novel, that you check this one out!

First Line:
"At exactly 11:17 every Fish Stick Tuesday, I raise my hand in algebra class and make a very important announcement."

Favorite Line:
"'Wow,' she says. ' When you're sorry, you're really sorry.'"

This is a Middle Grade Monday Post feel free to link your middle grade reviews/news below :) 
(doesn't have to be posted on a Monday)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stuff I Got This Week

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. Fiction is based on real black and white photographs. The death of grandfather Abe sends sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and explores abandoned bedrooms and hallways. The children may still live.

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

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review: Adaptation - Malinda Lo

Where I got it: ARC from publisher for review
Rating: 4.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 4.5 stars (Haunting and pretty.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 385 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

When Reese, her debate partner David and their teacher are in the airport trying to head back to California, things start getting weird. Reese sees birds fall to the ground outside and then the news starts to light up. Planes are crashing, all over North America, after running through flocks of birds. The government grounds all planes until they can figure out what is going on. This doesn't leave  Reese's party much choice, but to rent a car and drive home. When a carjacking goes wrong though, Reese and David find themselves alone and traveling on the Extraterrestrial Highway. When a bird flies at the car, Reese swerves to avoid it and ends up getting into a terrible accident. The next few days are fuzzy put she wakes up in a government medical facility. They have her sign a confidentiality form and then send her home. Reese feels like something isn't right though. Somehow she's not getting the full story. The only person she can talk to about it is David, but he doesn't know any more than she does. They are going to have to dig deep to find out what is going on. Everything they thought they knew is wrong and the government can't always be trusted.

I went into this novel not knowing anything about it, besides the fact that it was written by Malinda Lo. This was way more weird than I had expected. Weird in a good way though. I really liked trying to figure out what had happened and what was going on with Reese and David.

Reese was a very confused character. She just wasn't sure what she was feeling or what was going on. As soon as she met Amber, it was like BOOM chaos-brain. Amber was an odd character, and I'm still not sure how I feel about her. I wish we got to know David a little bit better. He was nearly a main character, but I feel like I don't know him at all. I know Julian much better. He was fantastic. Julian was my favorite character, even if at times he sounded crazy. He just had such a level-head about him. Even when the words he was saying sounded crazy, the way he said it made me think that it was the completely logical explanation.

I was so creeped out in the beginning of this novel. The birds! Malinda Lo just nailed the beginning. She made it eerily realistic and every time I heard birds outside I felt creeped out. This novel takes place in 2014, so a not too distant future and a totally believable one...mostly. I think it's a believable one, but the more skeptical might disagree.

Definitely check this book out if you're looking for something a little creepy and very different. I was satisfied with how this book ended. It was a great first novel. I can't wait to see what happens in the sequel.

First Line:
"The birds plummeted to the tarmac, wings loose and limp."

Favorite Line:
"Amber smelled like cupcakes, and long after she had waved and headed off in the opposite direction, the scent lingered in Reese's memory: buttercream, and the sweetness of sugar."

Friday, September 21, 2012

This or That with Author Malinda Lo

*   Hardcover or paperback  *

Hardcover for books I want to keep. Paperback for books while traveling.
(Although I finally got an iPad so that might cut out paperbacks entirely.)

*   Dogs or cats  *

I used to love the mysterious detachment of cats, but since I got a dog… 
okay my dog will kill me if I don't say:
Look at how cute! Obviously she wins.

*   Handwriting or typing  *

Both have their uses, but I never handwrite my ransom notes.

*   Series or standalone (writing)  *

Series if you want to hit a bestseller list. Standalone if you want to hit an awards list. :)

*   Series or standalone (reading)  *

It depends on the characters. If I love the characters, I want them in a series. Always.

*   Faeries or Fairytales  *

Fairy tales because (1) I argue that "fairy" is the correct spelling (others disagree!); 
(2) fairy tales do not need to include fairies at all, only a preferably vicious twist.

*   Piercings or tattoos  *

Tattoos — but only good ones. 

*   Vegetables or fruits  *

The tomato: the fruit that is often mistaken for a vegetable.

*   Paintings or photographs  *

Art. (The question is: What is art?)

*   Summer or winter  *

September in San Francisco: the warmth of summer with none of the heat waves.

*   eBooks or real books  *

I believe that ebooks are real books. They're just more difficult to pet.

*   Editing or writing  *

No writing succeeds without editing.

*   China or East Coast (U.S.) or England or West Coast (U.S.)  *

My favorite city in the world is San Francisco, which is an incomparable jewel.

Malinda Lo’s first novel, Ash, a retelling of Cinderella with a lesbian twist, was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award for YA Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the Lambda Literary Award. Her second novel, Huntress, a companion novel to Ash, is an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Her young adult science fiction duology, beginning with Adaptation, was recently published. She lives in Northern California with her partner and their dog.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Seconds Away - Harlan Coben

Where I got it: Finished copy from publisher for review
Rating: 3 stars  
Cover Rating: 3.5 stars (Again, an interesting and relevant cover, but I'm just not in love with it. These are good boy covers though.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Page Count: 338 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads
Sequel to: Shelter

Spoon, Ema and Mickey are back and caught in the middle of a terrible mystery. Their new friend Rachel has been shot, and something about it seems fishy. Mickey is also still trying to figure out exactly what Bat Lady meant when she said his father was still alive. Also, what is up with the picture of the Butcher of Lodz, could it really be the same person that Mickey thinks it is? Mickey gets into even more trouble and finds himself in plenty of dangerous situations, all to help his friend Rachel figure out what happened when she got shot.

I'll start with something that bugged me, because I noticed it a few pages in. In Seconds Away Harlan Coben repeats a lot of things. Not only doesn't he do mini recaps for people who apparently decided to skip the first book and go right into the second, but he repeated many phrases that he used in the first book. An example:
From Shelter "I love the way you can be exhausted and sweaty and running with nine other guys, and yet, at the risk of sounding overly Zen, you are still so wonderfully alone."
From Seconds Away "I picked up the basketball, lost in the—and, yes, I know how this will sound—Zen-like quality of shooting."
In both of these sentence Mickey talks about being Zen with basketball and about it sounding corny. Maybe this won't bug other people, and maybe if I had waited awhile in between reading the two books I wouldn't have even noticed but I did notice and it did bug me. There were a few more instances like this, and each one made me cringe a little.

Beside that, I really enjoyed this book. The mysteries keep getting deeper and more twisty. On top of all the mysteries left over from the first book, Mickey finds more mysteries including Rachel's shooter. I  did not for one second guess who it was. Until I was reading it on the pages I was in the dark about who could've been the shooter.

Spoon and Ema are still great in this book too. We learn a lot more about Ema, some of them surprising some, expected. Spoon is still his fun self, I would love to learn more about him too, hopefully in the next book!

As soon as I finished this book I wanted more. There are still so many mysteries that need to be solved and I am dying to know what happens next. I don't know when the next book will come out, but hopefully soon. I'll be picking it up right away, I just hope I don't have to hear about the Zen of basketball again ;)

First Line:
"There are moments in your life that change everything."

Favorite Line:
"I texted Spoon first and got the following auto-answer. Spoon: I cannot reply at this time. Due to recent events I am grounded until the age of 34. And then, because he was Spoon, he added: Abraham Lincoln's mother died of milk poisoning at age 34."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: Shelter - Harlan Coben

Where I got it: Finished copy from publisher for review
Rating: 4 stars  
Cover Rating: 3.5 stars (It's very interesting and relevant, but I just don't love it for some reason.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Speak
Page Count: 304 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

Mickey Bolitar's life is a bit complicated right now. He lives with his Uncle (he doesn't really like him though) because his father is dead and his mother is in rehab. On top of this, Mickey's sort-of girlfriend has gone missing. No one knows where she's gone to, she has just vanished. Mickey isn't willing to let that be the end of it. He figures he can easily get to the bottom of it. What he doesn't expect are all the things that happen on the way. He befriends a girl named Ema and a boy named Spoon. This unlikely trio then launches an in-depth investigation to find out who Ashley really was and what has happened to her. They will meet more unexpected people and Mickey will make some discoveries that don't quite add up.

I didn't want to put this book down. I just wanted to know what was going on. There were so many different paths to take and I wasn't sure until nearly the end what was going on. Then, there was that last line! Wow! I was so glad I could dive right into the next book. I think this will be a big hit for boys and girls who are into a mystery novel that packs a punch. Mickey gets the tar beaten out of him in this novel and there is plenty of other action and espionage too.

I loved Spoon. He was such an odd and hilarious character. He spouted random facts instead of making small-talk. This is brilliant, though a little weird.  He was just always in high spirits. Opposite of Ema. She was always dressed in black and had tattoos covering her body...even though she was fifteen. She was not the light of the trio, though she was fairly witty. Mickey was a very realistic and relate-able character. Harlen Coben put these teens in some weird and extreme circumstances, but I felt that they were still realistic in their actions and thoughts.

This was just an exciting book with enough mysteries to keep you guessing. I recommend this for anyone looking for a great read that they can not put down. It definitely leaves you needing to read the sequel though, since this one doesn't wrap up all the loose ends. It actually ends on a cliffhanger. So pick this one up and make sure you grab the sequel, Seconds Away too.

First Line:
"I was walking to school, lost in feeling sorry for myself—my dad was dead, my mom in rehab, my girlfriend missing—when I saw the Bat Lady for the first time."

Favorite Lines:
"Have you ever seen someone who gave you the chills just by entering a room? This guy had that."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mickey Bolitar Giveaway

So thanks to the lovely people at Penguin and Big Honcho Media, I have a great giveaway for you all today. By commenting on this post you get a chance to win the items listed below. Here's the summary for Shelter (which I just read and really enjoyed):
Mickey Bolitar's year can't get much worse. After witnessing his father's death and sending his mom to rehab, he's forced to live with his estranged uncle Myron and switch high schools. A new school comes with new friends and new enemies, and lucky for Mickey, it also comes with a great new girlfriend, Ashley. For a while, it seems like Mickey's train-wreck of a life is finally improving - until Ashley vanishes without a trace. Unwilling to let another person walk out of his life, Mickey follows Ashley's trail into a seedy underworld that reveals that this seemingly sweet, shy girl isn't who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey's father. Soon, Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it makes high school drama seem like a luxury - and leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.

 More about the series can be found here and on the facebook page.

1 winner will receive:
·         Mickey Bolitar tote bag
·         Copy of Seconds Away
·         Copy of Shelter

All prizing provided by Penguin.
Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of numerous adult novels, and the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award, and Anthony Award – the first author to receive all three. His books are published in forty languages with over 47 million copies in print worldwide – and have been #1 Bestsellers in over a dozen countries. He lives in New Jersey.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy - Nikki Loftin

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 4 stars  
Cover Rating: 3.5 stars (The illustration is great, I just wished the kids looked a little different...more spooky maybe.)
Genre: Middle Grade
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Page Count: 304 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

When Lorelei and her brother first see the playground for Splendid Academy they are immediately drawn to the school. Luck for them, their school burns down so they get to transfer to Splendid Academy. At this school there aren't really any rules, you just do whatever you feel like doing. There are also snacks...never-ending snacks. Lorelei becomes friends with Andrew, the only other person who thinks all the food is weird. Together they try and get to the bottom of Splendid Academy because it just seem too good to be true. What they find out is more sinister than they would have believed.

This was a lovely book. Almost a re-telling of Hansel and Gretel. Candy + Kids = good times. One part of the story is about the kids and the school and the deep, dark secrets it hides behind closed doors. The other part is Lorelei and the circumstances revolving around her mother's death. Lorelei says she responsible, but how can this young girl be the cause of her mother's death.

The guilt of Lorelei weighs heavy in this book. Just when she starts to feel good about something, it seems like the weight of her mother's death just pulls her back down. On top of this awful guilt, Lorelei also has to struggle not tho be lured into the school's captivating spell that seems to have everyone else in a trance. I appreciated this aspect of the book, it added a bit more meat to it beyond the fun storyline.

Andrew was a good guy, I really liked that he was Lorelei friend. They made a pretty good team. Together they find out a lot of sinister stuff about the school. Nikki Loftin did a good job with foreshadowing bits and dropping as small clues throughout the story. There were lots of little details that really made the story, but went beyond the regular storyline.

Another fun middle grade novel that you should add to your list. I think boys and girls will both love this story about school being a bit more menacing than it first appears.

First Line:
"When my mom was alive, she read me stories every night."

Favorite Lines:
"'I think you're a witch.' Only I didn't say witch. I used, as my kindergarten teacher would have said, a rhyming word."

This is a Middle Grade Monday Post feel free to link your middle grade reviews/news below :) 
(doesn't have to be posted on a Monday)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Stuff I Got This Week

Seraphina has been alive since the 1300's, made immortal when the boy she was beginning to love back then, Cyrus, saved her from death with a strange liquid - a method of alchemy that lets them swap bodies with any human being. But now, in modern day America, Sera has decided that she can no longer bear the weight of stealing people's lives so she can keep living on. So she decides to run away from Cyrus and end her stolen existence once and for all. Her plan goes awry when she accidentally takes the body of a dying teenager and feels forced to take over her life. When the lines between Sera and Kailey's identity begin to blur, Sera finds a reason to desire to live once more. But she can't shake the guilt of having taken Kailey's life, even if she was dying. And what if Cyrus finds her?

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret...  
Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed. Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse. But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

from Victoria Schwab for help promoting The Ash-Born Boy 
The Archived sticker and a signed bookplate :) Thanks!

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

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Review: Enthusiasm - Polly Shulman

Where I got it: Inter-library Loan
Rating: 3 stars  
Cover Rating: 3.5 stars (Interesting. Fun colors and relevant.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 16, 2006
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Page Count: 198 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

Julie's best friend Ashleigh, is an Entusiast. She gets really into something and it consumes not only her life, but any life in her proximity too. Julie, being the good friend that she is, tries to talk her out of some of the crazier schemes, but mostly to no avail. Everything is just as it should be though, until Ashleigh locks on to Julie's obsession—Pride and Prejudice. Now Ashleigh has it in her mind to find them true crashing a party at an all boys school. Julie now has to try to stop her friend from not only embarrassing herself, but her too. It might not be all bad though, maybe they can find true love...or at least some cute boys.

Right of the bat, one thing that bugged me was them using crisp all the time. What does that mean?! I have never heard it in my life. There's already a word that means's COOL! Anyways now that I'm done with that rant, this book was actually pretty fun. It was a bit on the short side, which sometimes works but I felt this one could have used a few more chapters. It ends just as it's getting really good. It takes place mostly in the fall/winter time period, so it's a good read for the current season.

The handsome stranger seemed both handsome and charming. He was super swoon-worthy and I would totally date him if I found him in real life. Some of the things he does are just TOO amazingly charming. His friend sounds nice, but sort of dorky. He's like a dorky miscreant though, because he's always trying to get into trouble. Not on purpose necessarily, but he does things that would get him into trouble and make it easy to get caught. Ashleigh was pretty intense. I would feel exhausted all the time if I was friends with her. She seems lovely and smart and nice and loyal, but she has way too much energy for her own good. This is probably why she gets so obsessed with things.

There weren't too many reference to Pride and Prejudice that I noticed, but I haven't read it recently. If you've been watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries you'll catch on to the references they do make. This was a fun little read about boys and enthusiasm. If you're looking for something fairly light and quick, I'd definitely recommend you try this one.

First Line:
"There is little more likely to exasperate a person of sense than finding herself tied by affection and habit to an Enthusiast."

Favorite Line:
"Asleep in my bed, awake in my bed, in that limbo between waking and sleeping that's known as tenth-grade European history, I dreamed about it."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: At the Palace of Marie Antoinette - Bianca Turetsky

Where I got it: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Gorgeous!)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Poppy
Page Count: 256 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads
Sequel to: Time-Traveling Fashionista

Louise is back again, and invited to another Fashionista sale. This time she has to find something for her friend, Brooke's birthday party. When Louise spots this beautiful blue dress, she can't help but try it on. Once again she finds herself transported back in time. This trip takes her to France into the world of Marie Antoinette. Louise knows the terrible fate that awaits Marie and those close to her. How can she convince this young girl that she needs to care about more than clothes and cake? Also...what happens to Louise if she can't find her magic gown? Louise starts to get nervous, but luckily she meets someone who is willing to help her out.

Louise felt younger in this second novel. In the first one she mostly seemed mature, but in this one she's struggling with growing up and ends up sounding childish a lot. It was a bit annoying, but she is young.  Other than that though, this story was pretty fun. I felt like less happened while she was time-traveling though. It seemed there was a lot more about Louise's real life and less about Marie Antoinette. This had me a bit bummed, because I am really fascinated by Marie's story.

You don't necessarily have to read the first book before reading this one. There is really only a few mentions that refer to the first book, besides finding out that dresses make Louise time travel. Not all dresses do, but some do.

Again, since I read an ARC there weren't color illustrations, but I know I'll buy it soon. If you enjoyed the first Time-Traveling Fashionista novel, definitely check this one out. If you like historical fiction or time-traveling novels, you could check this out too. This is a great story for girls of any age.

First Line:
"Louise is alone in the forest, and it is dark. She knows that she has never been to these woods before; she is in new territory."

Favorite Line:
"A lone baby goat wandered up to the clearing and the princess fed him a small cake from the table, which he greedily devoured, licking the remnants from her bare hand as she giggled." 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: Every Day - David Levithan

Where I got it: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (I like it except for the fact that the people are repeated. I would have liked every person to be different.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 324 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

Each day is a new body for A. Each day A is someplace new, waiting to be someone new. A has made guidelines so as not disrupt the body's life too much. Then A meets Rhiannon. A woke up in her boyfriend's body and ended up spending one wonderful day with her. The next day A can't stop thinking about her though—same with the next day and the next. How can a relationship work though when you never know who or where one of the people might wake up. Maybe someone has answers for A, but they not be the answers A wants.

In case you though he might, David Levithan does not disappoint with this fantastic new novel. I was drawn in from the first line—the first page. The idea of waking up every day in a different body is just an amazing thing to think about. I can't even imagine the outlook on life that A has. Of course I got to see a small glimpse into his psyche, but it's nowhere near enough. A was a good person through and through though. That's one thing that inhabiting multiple bodies can do. You have been every race and gender and sexual orientation, so you are pretty much without prejudice. Rhiannon on the other hand, was not a great person.

Rhiannon wasn't a terrible person, she was just honestly prejudice. I don't think there's any way that she loved A nearly half as much as A loved her. If she loved him, it wouldn't matter what body he was in, she would just want to be with him. I realize that this is an impossible situation. It would take a lot of understanding, and I can see the issues with it. Love is love though. I just think it would be hard to love someone you can't be with. I just didn't like that she seemed put out by him being in a girl's body or an unattractive body. I really wished she could have just always seen into A.

This is a great novel about love knowing no bounds, but knowing plenty of struggle. I wish everyone could have the same outlook on love as A, but I think that's what everyone would like. I think people are all people and should be treated the same...respectfully. If you are a fan of David then I'm sure you already grabbed this, if not make sure you do. If you aren't a fan yet you should check this one out. It was beautifully written and an interesting concept with a great lead character.

First Line:
"I wake up."

Favorite Lines:
"He's a hardcore design geek, and his room is an orchard of Apple products."

"I wanted love to conquer all. But love can't conquer anything. It can't do anything on its own. It relies on us to do the conquering on its behalf."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's topic is 
Top Ten Books That Make You Think (About the World, Life, People, etc): 

Wonder - R.J. Palacio & Autobiography of a Face - Lucy Grealy
Made me think about how hard it would be to grow up with a face that wasn't normal. It can be especially hard as a kid, but I don't know that it's really any easier as an adult, or if you just get used to it. 

Battle Royale - Koushun Takami
Made me think about how horrible some governments can me. This was scary realistic. It also made me think about how everything comes down to publicity. If you put a positive spin on something, most people won't think it's wrong. 

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone - Kat Rosenfeld
This one just had me guessing and enthralled the whole way through. I loved the idea of someone telling the story of a murder girl, when they have no connection except for proximity to the victim. It was just fantastic. 

First Day on Earth - Cecil Castellucci
We all feel alien sometime. This novel proves it. You don't have to be an actual alien to feel like an outsider at some point and time.

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness
This was a darkly moving read. It made me realizes what a dark place some people can go to when they are struggling with something difficult. Amazing though.

Going Underground - Susan Vaught
Made me buy a lot of non-fiction for my teen section about sexting and bullying. I don't think kids realizes that sexting is against the law and that there can be serious repercussions for things even if you didn't know any better. This novel also confirmed that some people are jerks.

It's Kind Of a Funny Story - Ned Vizzini
I read this in high school and it has just stayed with me. Craig opened my eyes to the spiral downwards into having a breakdown. People don't really talk about it too much, but when they do it's always the person's fault. This novel took something kind of taboo and shed light on it in a great way. It was just a very real read.

The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
This novel made me realize that not everyone grieves the same way and sometimes it's easier to grieve together. It also made me think about how close grief can bring two people together, while tearing apart others.

Madapple - Christina Meldrum
This was just a crazy story from start to finish. It really shows how much children can take in from their parents. Whether it's a purposeful manipulation or the parent actually believes what they are teaching their children, being cut of like that drops your chance of being different. It makes me wonder how many other people grow up in this weird way. 

The Broke and the Bookish is a group of college aged and twenty somethings that have an unhealthy obsession with reading and would spend every last penny on books even if it meant skipping a few meals. We are the people who lurk in the library, buy handbags based on how many books can be stashed in them, and who refer to characters in books as if they are personal friends.
We sought after other bookish college students to share in our love for reading and were brought together by the College Students group on Goodreads that was created in September 2008. Our desire to share great books with each other in and our tendency to be opinionated and passionate about all things book related naturally led to the birth of The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: The Templeton Twins Have an Idea - Ellis Weiner

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 4 stars  
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Really love this and all the illustrations inside too!)
Genre: Middle Grade
Publication Date: August 15, 2012
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Page Count: 232 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

The Templeton Twins, Abigail and John, are inventors just like their father. They are clever kids, so when they get kidnapped by Dean D. Dean they know just what to do. Dean D. Dean has accused their father of stealing his idea, so he figures that kidnapping the Templeton Twins will be a way to get the credit for the invention. What he doesn't count on is the cleverness of the Templeton family (and their ridiculous dog).

This was such a fun story. I loved the narration. Check out the first line below for a little hint of what you will find inside. This will be a great novel for boys and girls of all ages. There's adventure, kidnapping and lots of fun. At the end of each chapter there's some review questions (they aren't very serious though). The narrator is just really fun and makes the book quirky inside of just a regular story.

Abigail and John were great kids too. I liked that we got to see how clever they were and some invention that they came up with. Their dog was great too, even if it was ridiculous.

The story had some twists and turns to keep things a bit unpredictable. If you're a fan of middle grade novels like The Willoughbys or The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, this will be a book for you to check out immediately. This was a silly, wonderful book and I can't wait for more of The Templeton Twins!

First Line:
"The Templeton twins, Abigail and John, were blah blah blah, et cetera, and so forth."

Favorite line:
"The Ridiculous Dog was a fox terrier of the 'smooth-haired' variety."

This is a Middle Grade Monday Post feel free to link your middle grade reviews/news below :) 
(doesn't have to be posted on a Monday)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Stuff I Got This Week

For Review: 
Thanks to Atria, Feiwel & Friends and Simon & Schuster!

Written in Hopkins’s stunning poetic verse style, Collateral centers on Ashley, an MFA student at San Diego State University. She grew up reading books and never dreamed she would become a military wife. One night she meets a handsome soldier named Cole. He doesn’t match the stereotype of the aggressive military man. He’s passionate and romantic. He even writes poetry. Their relationship evolves into a sexually charged love affair that goes on for five years and survives four deployments. Cole wants Ashley to marry him, but when she meets another man, a professor with similar pursuits and values, she begins to see what life might be like outside the shadow of war. Collateral captures the hearts of the soldiers on the battlefield and the minds of the friends, family, and lovers they leave behind. Those who remain at home may be far away from the relentless, sand-choked skies of the Middle East and the crosshairs of a sniper rifle, but just the same, all of them will sacrifice a part of themselves for their country and all will eventually ask themselves if the collateral damage caused by war is worth the fight.

September returns to Fairyland to reunite with A-Through-L, Saturday, and Gleam, and to confront her shadow-self, who has become the queen of Fairyland-Below, the upside-down world beneath the Fairyland of the first novel, filled with creatures of water and shadow, tales of ancient Fairyland before the human world was born, and not a few hungry buffins, blind birds of ice and moonlight. The yearly revels of Fairyland-Below climax in a mysterious rite September must avert or else lose her shadow forever.

Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible. While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything... until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.

So, shamefully I have still not read this one. But if you saw this post you will see that I already have a nice copy of book one. So I think at the beginning of October there will be a giveaway for this hardcover copy and the ARC of the sequel. So, you might want to keep an eye out. 

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past. She can’t. She used to think her problems were all in her head. They aren’t. She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets. She’s wrong. In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?


(now I can finally see what Melissa is raving about!)
Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week. And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?

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

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reivew: The Diviners - Libba Bray

Where I got it: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5 (billion) stars  
Cover Rating: 5 stars (I really like this cover. Relevant and interesting and unlike other YA covers!)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 578 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

Evie O'Neill is simply too big for her small Ohio town, so when her parents ship her off to New York to live with her uncle she doesn't put up much of a fight. Evie images that New York will be a fabulous place for her to really shine. Doesn't hurt that she already has a friend there, Mabel. She is pos-i-tute-ly thrilled to meet up with her old friend and do some shopping and hit light up the town. She doesn't even mind having to work a little in her uncle's Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult (The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies to the folks who have heard of it). Then the murders start happening. Evie's uncle is consulted and she thinks it might be swell to tag along, what she doesn't expect is to be drawn into this investigation so deep. Evie has secrets that may help, but she doesn't know who she can trust with them. She's not the only one with secrets though. Across town there's Memphis Campbell who has been living in the back room at his aunt's with his younger brother. Their father was supposed to find work and send for them, but as the years go by that seems less and less likely. The murder's don't rate high on his radar, until something horrible happens that hits close to home. Then things start to really pick up for Memphis. Meanwhile Evie and her uncle and the rest of their crew are on a hunt to find and/or stop the killer. The information they have just doesn't seem to add up right though. They don't have much time to figure it all out though.

I don't even know where to start with this book. just still in shock with how fabulous it was. I love Libba Bray's other novels, but this one is just startlingly amazing. This may be my favorite read of 2012. The beginning few pages were a little rough, trying to get my hand into the 1920s slang, but once I got through the first chapter I never wanted to stop. It's a six hundred page book, but I just devoured it.

I loved that it was told from multiple perspectives. Sometimes it wasn't even people that we followed through this eerie tale. Each character and each story just fit together wonderfully. I really liked all the characters throughout this novel, even smarmy Sam Lloyd. Jericho was the cat's pajamas. He was such a sweet guy and I can totally see why Mabel was head over heels for him. Sam Lloyd was a liar and a cheat, but it seemed like deep down he wasn't too bad a guy. I do wish there was more from his perspective in the second half of the book. There isn't hardly anything from him after he starts working. Mabel was a bit naive but a good friend. Theta was a very interesting character with a hard life behind her and glory in her future (I hope). Her "brother" Henry was a great fella and I like how the two of them are together. Uncle Will is totally in his own world. There's a lot behind the scenes that he's aware of but he doesn't tell anyone else about. Memphis was a good kid just trying to get by and I loved getting to hear about his story while everything was going on.

Now on to the story. I didn't really know a ton about this novel going in. I knew it took place in the 1920s and that there was some supernatural aspect to it and that it was going to be a series. There is a super creepy element to it that I was not expecting. I feel like the character could have had creepier intentions, but the killer was still uber creepy. There were certain chapters you just can't end on if your reading this book before trying to go to sleep. There were chapters that were exciting and mysterious, or typical, and then there were the murder chapters. I could feel chills whenever one of them came up. And that house! Boy o' boy is that one sinister sounding house. So if you're going to read this (which you should) be prepared to not be able to sleep after certain chapters.

The setting of this book was fabulous. I have a very special place in my heart for the 1920s, so I knew this book would be up my alley. I just didn't know I'd want to go home with it. The 20s are just an exciting time filled with a inovation. I especially loved that it took place somewhere exciting like New York. If the whole book took place in Ohio, it probably wouldn't have been nearly half as exciting. New York and all it's bustling really helped set the tone for the novel.

Libba Bray tidied this book up nicely. There's a major story arc that will span the next books, but this book is done and I felt satisfied with the way everything ended. I am eagerly (read: desperately) waiting for the next installment, but this novel will stay with me for some time on its own. So make sure you pre-order this book or line up outside your local bookstore on the 18th, just make sure you get your hands on this AMAZING book! It's the bee's knees!

First Line:
"In the town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan's Upper East Side, every lamp blazes."

Favorite Lines:
"That night, she head strange sounds coming from inside the house, the most terrible bestial noises and whispers."

"There was no scream as the candle sputtered an the whispers began. And just as Ida found the scream she'd held at bay, her candle gave out, and she was plunged into darkness."

"And as the walls began to whisper, he lost his footing on the precipice of reason and began the terrible fall into a hell beyond imagining."


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