Monday, December 14, 2009

Sadly . . . I've Decided.

Hey everyone. Long time no post, right?

I'm sorry about it. I feel like I've left everyone down.

I've written this post to announce something. And that is that, after much thought, I have decided to take a break from blogging indefinitely. I definitely did not want it to come to this, but it has. I wish I could keep posting, but I've tried, and it just hasn't worked out. I feel this is my only option right now if I want to someday (soon hopefully) to start Reading Keeps You Sane up again.

I wish I could tell you why, but the internet is too big of a place to put something private up, so I can't. If you want a better reason, and you know who you are, just email me. I'll be happy to let you know why.

I hate to do this weeks before the two year anniversary of my blog, but it's what it's come to.

So hopefully I can get back to how it was, and become a part of this wonderful community again.

Thanks to my faithful readers, I'm sorry I've let you down.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter

Title: The Snowball Effect
Author: Holly Nicole Hoxter
Publisher: HarperTeen
Reading Level: YA, 12+
Publication Date: March 23, 2010
Pages: 368
My Edition: ARC

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: C+
Book Rating: B-

Plot - 16/20
Characters - 17/20
Writing - 17/20
Originality - 15/20
Entertainment - 8/10
Recommendation - 7/10
Total: 80/100

Summary:
Lainey Pike can tell you everything you need to know about the people in her family just by letting you know how they died. Her reckless stepfather drove his motorcycle off the highway and caused the biggest traffic jam in years. Her long-suffering grandmother lived through cancer and a heart attack before finally succumbing to a stroke. And Lainey's mother--well, Lainey's mother hanged herself in the basement just days after Lainey's high school graduation.

Now Lainey's five-year-old brother is an orphan, and her estranged older sister is moving back home to be his guardian. Meanwhile, Lainey's boyfriend is thinking about having a family of their own, and her best friends are always asking the wrong sorts of questions and giving advice Lainey doesn't want to hear. As she tries to pull away from everything familiar, Lainey meets an intriguing new guy who, through a series of Slurpees, burgers, and snowballs, helps her to make peace with a parent she never understood.

Review:
The Snowball Effect was something I definitely did not expect. But I think the fault for that is the terrible summary to go with the book that is very misleading. I kept on waiting for something that never happened and it was a bit disappointed by that fact. Though it isn't the authors fault it's whoever wrote the summary.

Other then that fact I enjoyed The Snowball Effect. It was somewhat depressing though. Three people in Lainey's family died in less then a year, then right after she graduates she has to become a parent with the sister she never knew to care for her five year old adopted brother who has problems, and it was just all depressing. But there was something about it that I liked. It felt somewhat real, not just realistic, but real. The characters made the book feel like that I think. The characters and the writer were thanks for making the book good.

The plot was a bit of a mess for me. I just don't think the plot was strong enough because it felt like there was barely a plot there to build a story on besides the fact that her mom dies, her sister comes back to take care of her brother, and some guy trouble (Which is really where the summary is very misleading) and a 'field trip' towards of the end of the novel, about a hundred or so pages were really strewn out for the novel. It was very original, I was hoping for something to really 'wow' me about the novel but that never happened.

Overall I think with a bit more plot developement this novel could be a bunch more enjoyable, but otherwise I did enjoy this novel.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa Cover!

I love the colors and that girl reminds me of someone somewhere.....

Other by Karen Kincy Cover!

It's a little late, but here it is!

So....

....I feel terrible. Not like I'm sick or anything. I feel terrible that it's the middle of November (my birthday actually) and I haven't posted one thing yet.

I don't have much of an excuse but school and hanging out with friends (and if you knew me in real life you would understand this better), I joined this club thing at school that's been fun and I've learned a lot and has also kept me busy. But otherwise, I really have no reason other then that I just have been in a different mood that I haven't been in in a long time.

But anyway, I just made a goal that I am going to start posting again, starting with a few cover posts from the Tenners that I missed.

I know some of you probably don't like "Sorry I haven't been posting, I'll do it more, I promise" posts, but I did feel like I needed to explain where I've been. So, that's where this is coming from.

So keep a look out for a few posts soon, I'm going to go finish enjoying my birthday. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (43)

Heist Society by Ally Carter
February 9, 2010
Hyperion

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre...to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria...to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just
on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help.

For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history-or at least her family's (very crooked) history.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cover Remake Contest

I did these cover remakes for Cindy's contest . . . Enjoy. I had fun making them. I suggest entering it!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson Cover!

I really like this cover, I love that the background has texture to it and the smiley face on the envelope! I really like it!

PS: I know Karen Healey's cover has been about, but I don't think it's *final* yet, so I'm waiting to post it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

On The Outside: Lauren Strasnick

Lauren Strasnick is the debut author of the soon-to-be-release novel, Nothing Like You, tomorrow! She's also part of the class of 2k9! You can visit her at her website here.

~~~

I'm terrible with titles! Just terrible. But the funny thing about this book is that the title came to me quite quickly - half way through the first draft. I had originally called the book "Holly Holy", which is the title of a Neil Diamond song that follows my narrator, Holly, throughout the book, consoling her in times of crisis. My publisher, though, thought "Holly Holy" might mislead potential readers - that it had the ring of religious satire (it does, doesn't it?!). It's also nearly impossible to say! Try saying it now, out loud, ten times and quick! Total mouthful!

My lovely editor, Anica Rissi, then suggested NOTHING LIKE YOU. It's a line pulled straight from the novel, and does a much better job of conveying the overall tone of the book, I think. It's also much easier to say! Nothing Like You... rolls off the tongue, does it not? ;)

The cover is the creation of three talented folks at Simon Pulse: Editor Anica, cover designer Cara Petrus, and photographer Matteo Trisolini. They chose to go model-free, and instead shot a series of still-life scenes from a small toolshed/clubhouse in the book called The Shack. In the full wrap around image you see much more: an open futon with rumpled sheets, a pair of sneakers kicked off, a pair of underwear tossed onto the futon. Then designer Cara pulled together all the images, and added that gorgeous cursive lettering, and there you have it - a cover, born! What I especially love is how vibrant the colors are - it almost looks like an illustration! AND Cara Petrus's perfect penmanship! *Sigh*

~~~

Thanks Lauren!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy

Title: The Cinderella Society
Author: Kay Cassidy
Publisher: Egmont USA
Reading Level: YA, 12+
Publication Date: April 13, 2010
Pages: 320
My Edition: ARC

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: C-
Book Rating: A

Plot - 19/20
Characters - 16/20
Writing - 17/20
Originality - 20/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 92/100

Summary:
When the Prom Queen becomes your fairy godmother…

Sixteen year old Jess Parker gets the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to join a secret society of popular girls where makeover fantasies become reality. But there’s more to membership in The Cinderella Society than meets the eye. Being a Cindy means reinventing yourself from the inside out, a concept lost on Jess as she dives tiara-first into creating a hot new look.

Be careful what you wish for.

Jess’s transformation wins her the heart of the Varsity quarterback and a shot at uber-popularity. Until the Wickeds–led by Jess’s arch enemy–begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers the real force behind her exclusive society. It’s a centuries-old battle of good vs. evil, and the Cindys in power need Jess on special assignment. When the mission threatens to destroy her dream life come true, Jess is forced to choose between living a fairy tale and honoring the Sisterhood… and herself. What’s a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn’t want to wear it anymore?

Review:
The Cinderella Society was unlike anything I have ever read before. It was unique and deeply inspirational like Kay Cassidy herself. The Cinderella Society might be a novel about the mean girls taking avantage of the weak kids. But it was also a novel about a girl finding herself and living to the potential of herself and helping take the mean girls down. It was simply extroadinary!

The beginning was a very nice start to a series. It began excellent and was a nice start up for the rest of the novel; showing what a bit of what it was like for Jess at school and dealing with her arch-enemy Lexy, but it wasn't strung along. It was the perfect amount to see what it was like and then we were blown into the world of the Cindy's (the good girls). The Cindy's are pretty much a group of high school girls who are saints. But the Cindy's aren't just in this town the book takes place in. The Cindy's are worldwide. The Cindy's help the kids who aren't the apart of anything from the Wickeds (the mean girls). It's completely original and highly enjoyably.

The one little problem with The Cinderella Society is that I don't think we got to see Jess in her homelife enough. I think if we had we would of been able to really relate to Jess more and view her as more realistic and deep. So other then seeing a bit more in Jess's life and maybe some of the other characters, I really had no problem with the novel.

The writing was great, the plot was fantastic, it was original, entertaining, and deeply inspirational. A wonderful debut novel with encouragement to be the best you can possibly be, a very true novel that will be loved.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Notice:

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to say something really quick. I'm completely behind on my email, and I know pretty much everyone who emails me reads my blog, so I just wanted to do a blog post to everyone awaiting email replies from me. I've been pretty busy, extremely tired (like bedtime at nine o'clock tired!), and I'm a bit sick now too.

And while I'm somewhat on the subject, and yes I know some of you hate those posts of why I haven't been posting and all, and I'm pretty sure you've noticed the emptiness of my blog for the last week or so, but the truth is that ever since school started I haven't been able to finish a book, that might be a reason, but the reason also might be that ever since I finished reading FIRE by Kristin Cashore, which just blew me away, no book has really come to my attention and I haven't been able to keep reading it. Yes, FIRE was that good. So anybody want to suggest anything to me? Like a book that would make it so I don't want to stop reading? My goodreads page is in the linkbar above my header. And thanks in advance. Like really, I know if I just read a book that can excite me again like FIRE did, I'd be back in my reading habit again.

Thanks, my faithful readers. I can't wait to get back in the groove of things again.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I'll Just Stop in Here to Say . . .

. . . HAPPY BIRTHDAY KHY!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
You are made of AWESOME!

Have a fantastic birthday!!!!

Love ya!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Winner of FIRE by Kristin Cashore!

I had a total of 41 entrants and 77 entries! I total success I think!

I used random.org to determine the winner, sadly the winner didn't leave an email address I could reach her at, and I specifically said to leave an email address in the post or else they would be deleted from the contest, I'm sorry to say it. So I had to pick a new winner, and they happened to be:
Shawna Lewis!

Congratulations Shawna you have won a signed finished copy of FIRE by Kristin Cashore! I will be emailing you before tomorrow and you have before the end of the weekend to email me back with an address so the publisher can get the book out to you!

Now, I asked what you could do if you were named Fire, I had a blast reading the fantastic answers and they made me laugh, which is what I was going for!

Shawna answered:
If my name was fire it would suit me because I have such a enter fire burning bright all the time so Fire fit me Perfect that or Sunshine!!

And a few others I enjoyed.

Chelsie said:
If my name were fire, I could go to your school and burn all your homework. Or torch some crabby teacher's butts... whichever would make you less stressed =P

Sara said:
If my name was Fire, I'd cause a lot of accidental fire alarms when my friends come running after me (trying to catch up because I'm a fast walker) yelling my name. People would see them running and yelling "Fire!" and think there was a real fire... :)

Thao said:
If my name was Fire... if someone ever accidently sit on me, my friends can tell that person, "you're on Fire"

Julie Ke said:
If my name was Fire, I would dye my hair three different colors of fiery red, and learn how to fire dance.

Of course they were all great, you can click here to read them all.

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus Cover!

I really love this cover! It's great! I love the colors, the flame, and the font, I would pick it up in an instant!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Prophecy of Days by Christy Raedeke Cover!

I LOVE IT! There is just something about this cover. I think it's the colors and the text, but I happen to AB-SO-LUTE-LY love this cover!

ETA: Okay, blogger is being stupid. I uploaded the image and for some reason it wasn't the right hue, instead it was this weird olive green color. So, instead, click HERE, so you can see the cover! I'll try again later to see if it works.

ETA Again: ARGH! Apparently LIVEJOURNAL is being stupid along with BLOGGER! GAH! So I cannot link to the cover, unless you want the one with the olive hue? stupidstupidstupid What you can do, I guess, is go to The Tenners and scroll down until you get to the Christy's cover. Sorry!

Eeek!

Hey everyone!

This summer the ever-so-lovely Kay Cassidy invited me to be apart of her Booklover of the Week feature on her amazing-fantastical-most-awesomeist blog, You 2.0, and I'm finally up! I'm excited and nervous at the same time!

So go on over and try to guess my lie on the three truths and lie part at the end of the post, and even for commenting you get entered into some fabulous contests!

Go-Go-Go! Here: Booklover of the Week

"Waiting On" Wednesday (42)

Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn
January 12th, 2010
Knopf Books for Yound Readers

Very LeFreak has a problem: she’s a crazed technology addict. Very can’t get enough of her iPhone, laptop, IMs, text messages, whatever. If there’s any chance the incoming message, call, text, or photo might be from her supersecret online crush, she’s going to answer, no matter what. Nothing is too important: sleep, friends in mid-conversation, class, a meeting with the dean about academic probation. Soon enough, though, this obsession costs Very everything and everyone. Can she learn to block out the noise so she can finally hear her heart?

Rachel Cohn makes her Knopf solo debut with this funny, touching, and surely recognizable story about a girl and the technology habit that threatens everything.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell Cover! Plus: Calling All Tenners!

It's here! It's here! And to quote Khy, It's EFFING FIERCE! Love it!
Also, I just wanted to do a shout out to any soon-to-be authors who have their debut books coming out in 2010 who read this blog. I just wanted to let you know, if you haven't heard of this awesome community, or you have an is too nervous to join, about this INCREDIBLE YA livejournal community for the debut authors of 2010 called the, if it's not obvious enough, Tenners. Anyway, there last day to join in this Thursday, so hurryhurryhurry! You do not want to miss out on the stalking/fangirling/drooling that us bloggers do over your debut books. I don't know about the rest of you bloggers, but I *heart* debut* books.

Here's the post where the awesome tenner, Lindsey Leavitt, tells you a bit of details and gives you the link to join!

Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick

Title: Nothing Like You
Author: Lauren Strasnick
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: October 20, 2009
Pages: 224
My Edition: ARC

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: B+
Book Rating: B+

Plot - 17/20
Characters - 19/20
Writing - 19/20
Originality - 16/20
Entertainment - 9/10
Recommendation - 9/10
Total: 89/100

Summary:
"You think he’s yours but he’s not, I thought. You think he’s yours but really he’s mine.”

When Holly loses her virginity to Paul, a guy she barely knows, she assumes their encounter is a one-night stand. After all, Paul is too popular to even be speaking to Holly, and he happens to have a long-term girlfriend, Saskia. But ever since Holly’s mom died six months ago, Holly has been numb to the world, and she’s getting desperate to feel something, anything—so when Paul keeps pursuing her, Holly relents. Paul’s kisses are a welcome diversion, and it’s nice to feel like the kind of girl that a guy like Paul would choose.

But things aren’t so simple with Saskia around. Paul’s real girlfriend is willowy and perfect… and nothing like Holly. To make matters worse, she and Holly are becoming friends. Suddenly the consequences of Holly’s choices are all too real, and Holly stands to lose more than she ever realized she had.
Review:
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a quick read, but it was also a very enjoyable book. A very easy book to get into and like. It started right after the deed was done and you got a feel of the awkwardness to it all. There was enough time to really know what Holly is really like and why she was doing it.

Lauren Strasnick's writing style is incredibly refreshing it easy going. I loved going back to her writing and will definitely look for it in the future. Strasnick's characters were developed perfectly with flaws and emotions you can relate to. Everything about Strasnick's characters appeared completely realistic and laid-back.

The plot had a little twist to it, with the fact that Holly becomes friends with Paul's girlfriend Saskia and that just makes what she is doing with Paul a bigger mess. The ending was a bit predictable, but it fit with the story.

I was really entertained by this novel and with Strasnick's easy-going and refreshing writing style and impeccably made characters, Nothing Like You hits a home-run. I enjoyed it very much and look forward to Strasnick's future work very much.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Excellent Banned Book Week Post

I'll go ahead now and direct you over to fellow book blogger, The Book Munchers, blog where she bravely takes on a post about the controversy for the book Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner, which was released in May from Random House.

I read this book over the summer after I bought it. I haven't reviewed it yet because it was on my personal bookshelf instead of review but I have to say that I did enjoy this book and I completely agree with what Rachael says in her post.

I haven't posted about Banned Books Week, but I'm sure it's safe to say that I like everybody else in the book blogging community am strongly against banning books.

I enjoyed reading Rachael's post and congratulate her for sharing it with it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien Cover!

Formally known as The Baby Code and The Orion Tattoo, this is the cover of Birthmarked by tenner Caragh O'Brien. I think it's really neat.

IMM Update

I thought I should update on this because I haven't posted one in three weeks. The thing is because I've only gotten three books, one of them being BALLAD by Maggie Stiefvater, I haven't read Lament, but I read Shiver and I loved it! Then I got this kind of graphic novel from scholastic that's like a how to book about dating vampires or something? I don't remember the title. Then I got a package from my grandma with a writing book in it that I'm very excited about along with some pictures that she developed that we took over my summer in California! That made me happy. But otherwise, that's it, I didn't feel the need to post a post for only one book. Sorry! Hopefully next week I'll get something!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

Title: Love is the Higher Law
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: August 25, 2009
Pages: 176
My Edition: Hardcover

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: B
Book Rating: C

Plot - 17/20
Characters - 15/20
Writing - 15/20
Originality - 17/20
Entertainment - 7/10
Recommendation - 7/10
Total: 78/100

Summary:
First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . .

The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.

Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.

David Levithan has written a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption as his characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever.

Review:
This was my first book by David Levithan and I had some problems with it. I don't know if it was his writing, or just the characters he created but they just didn't fly by me greatly. I was definitely not impressed by this novel.

Reading about September 11th, 2001 usually makes me cry. I went into this novel expecting to cry, but I didn't. I was far from crying actually. Levithan's writing did not make me feel like I was there, the characters felt unreal to me. Levithan's writing just didn't have the right feel I think this novel should have had; it was realistic. That left me disappointed.

I did like how this novel was spread over a few years after 9/11. We got a look at how people who were there deal with it years after. When 9/11 happened, I lived in Germany where my dad was stationed in the military. I was in the first grade. I don't remember but a minutes of that day. So I really appreciated a fiction book about people affected by it in a much bigger way then I was.

Overall, the only thing I really cared for about this novel was what it was about, the fact that it centered around 9/11 and the look in several peoples lives from it. Otherwise I was disappointed by the feel of the novel and the two dimensional characters.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Hush, Hush
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Reading Level: YA, 12+
Publication Date: October 13, 2009
Pages: 400
My Edition: ARC

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: A+
Book Rating: B+

Plot - 17/20
Characters - 16/20
Writing - 18/20
Originality - 19/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 9/10
Total: 89/100

Summary:
Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those who have fallen -- and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

Review:
I was so incredibly excited to read this book. I mean, just look at that cover, that summary! Everything sounded amazing (besides Patch's name, is it just me or does someone else agree with me that this name is just, bad?). So when I started Hush, Hush I had some expectations. And . . . my expectations fell short.

Hush, Hush was definitely not what I expected. Which disappointed me a little bit. I expected something entirely different from what Hush, Hush is. Maybe it's my fault for not reading the summary carfully or maybe it's whomever wrote the summary's fault. But Hush, Hush didn't meet the expectations I had set for it. Besides that, Hush, Hush was a really good novel.

It got to the plot point a little bit slow, not too slow because I obviously kept reading. But it did save up enough suspense for the big reveal for Nora (since we all know what Patch is from the summary). The characters didn't seem as realistic (the human characters) as they could have been and some (the fallen angel characters) were a little awkward. Though there was a really interesting twist with Patch that I would like to say, but I don't want to spoil it so I won't.

The book was very original. I have yet (before reading this novel) read a book about fallen angels, so that was very interesting concept. It was very entertaining. I recommend this novel if you would like a unique book about something that hasn't been done yet (or very little, at least).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (41)

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Harcourt Childrens Books
April 1, 2010

It's been over a month since Miranda Evans has written in her diary, a month of relative calm for her and her family. It's springtime, and with warmer weather comes rain, and the melting of the winter's snow. The shad are running in a nearby river, and Miranda's brothers Matt and Jon leave home for a few days to see if they can catch some to supplement their food supply.

When they return, Matt brings with him a girl named Syl, who he introduces as his bride. But that's not the only shock Miranda and her family have to deal with. A few weeks later, Miranda's father, stepmother, and baby brother show up at her door. Accompanying them are three strangers, a man named Charlie Rutherford, and two teenagers, Alex and Julie Morales. These five people have crossed America together, becoming, in their own way, a family.

Miranda's complicated feelings about Alex, curiosity, resentment, longing, and passion turn into love. Alex's feelings are equally complex. His plans to escort Julie to a convent where she can be taken care of, so that he will be free to enter a monastery, are destined for failure. He wants desperately to live up to his moral code, but his desire for Miranda is too strong. He proposes to Miranda that they take Julie and go to a safe town.

But before Miranda and Alex can go off together, a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and in its aftermath, Miranda makes a decision that will change forever her life and Alex's, and the world that they live in will never be the same.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

Title: How to Say Goodbye In Robot
Author: Natalie Standiford
Publisher: Scholastic
Reading Level: YA, 12+
Publication Date: October 1, 2009
Pages: 288
My Edition: ARC

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: B
Book Rating: A

Plot - 18/20
Characters - 18/20
Writing - 19/20
Originality - 17/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 92/100

Summary:
New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn't made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It's not romance, exactly - but it's definitely love. Still, Bea can't quite dispel Jonah's gloom and doom - and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish?
Review:
Let me first say: I absolutely loved this book. It was just such a nice, refreshing novel that made me extremely happy to read. Natalie Standiford is a brilliant writer. She drew me into Bea's word incredibly quickly and I didn't want to stop reading!

I really adored the simple plot of this novel. It was cute and nice and I absolutely loved the radio show and the people, it was just extroadinary, the characters they are. Standiford was able to craft so many different and bizarre personalities in these characters that just made her a master-mind.

The writing was genuine, believable, and soft. It was natural and it was just gorgoues writing overall. I was happy how the end came about it, was happy, yet, it was sad. But it felt like it was the right ending.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot was a genuine, cute, and natural novel that I fell hard in love with. I can pretty much guarantee that you will too. I deeply recommend it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala Cover!

I don't think she's in the official tenner community, but she is a technically a tenner (I think). Her debut book premieres in 2010 so I'm think I'm good to post this. Plus the cover is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS so I had to. Holly is also one of the readergirlz!

On The Outside: Lucienne Diver

Lucienne Diver is the author of the novel, Vamped (May 1, 2009). You can visit Lucienne at her website here.

~~~

Kelsey, thanks so much for asking me to guest blog! I first want to say that I love your blog title! Reading certainly has kept me sane. (Well, I think so anyway. Others may beg to differ.) I don’t know how I would have survived childhood without the chance to escape into a good book and have daring adventures through the eyes of others. It’s not that my childhood was so terrible, mind you! My family was wonderful, but I grew up a very severe asthmatic, in and out of the hospital all the time. Well, let me tell you, hospitals are not terribly happening places. The nurses are nice, but they can’t exactly spend the day entertaining you and the television only gets four lousy channels, half of them news. So books were truly a godsend.

I don’t know when I first started creating stories of my own. It might have been one of the many times I was punished for fighting with my sister, forced to sit staring at the wall until I apologized. I’m remarkably stubborn and, of course, in my mind she’d started it. My punishments tended to go on for hours. (My father was equally stubborn.) With nothing else to do, my mind wandered, naturally down the paths of fiction and daring do.

I didn’t exactly sit down to write Vamped, though I’m certainly glad I did! One day my heroine, Gina Covello, began talking in my head and nothing I could do would banish her. I tried giving her a short story. She wanted more. So I gave her a novel. Nope, not enough. A series? Well, she’ll be satisfied with that…for now. Funny that I write characters who out-stubborn me. Anyway, that was how Vamped came to be. For my sanity I had to give myself over to the whims of my character. If I hadn’t, she’d have haunted me until the end of my days.

When Gina was just a glimmer in my eye, her story was called “Unlife Stye,” since she’s a teen fashionista on whom I visit true horror in the form of eternity without tanning options or any reflection with which to fix her hair and make-up. But my agent didn’t love it, and I didn’t blame her. I played around with all kinds of awful puns (Stake Your Life, Biter Babe, etc.) and finally settled on Vamped. Though, looking back, I kinda like Biter Babe. Hmm, maybe for Book 3? (Book 2, Revamped, will be out in 2010).

My agent actually came up with the great tagline used on the cover, “Eternity needs an entourage.” Oh, and that cover! Gina would be so proud. It’s fabulous! It’s funny, people compliment it all the time and I say, “Thank you!” of course, but I actually had nothing at all to do with it. My wonderful publisher, Flux, [Link:
http://www.fluxnow.com/] did ask me for ideas, and I threw a bunch their way, send sample covers I would love mine to look at, like Rachel Vincent’s Rogue or Rosemary Clement-Moore’s wonderful Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil books, but in the end the cover they came up with was truly unique. I absolutely adore it! (My only thought on seeing it was that Gina would never go out in public with those nails – too stubby! Then I realized that she’d just clawed her own way out of the grave, so she’d probably cut herself some slack.)

Anyway, I hope all those reading it have as much fun as I did writing it! If so, I’d love for you to give me a shout out via my website:
www.luciennediver.com. Thanks!

~~~

Thanks Lucienne!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thank YOU!

Sometime from yesterday, Friday, at 6 pm to today, Saturday, at 4:32 pm I went from being at 299 followers to being at 305 followers! Imagine how shocked and pleased I was!

I don't know how much to thank all of you, my fabulous wonderful followers! It means so much to me that people other then me read this blog, haha. My blog means the world to me and to have all of you amazing, intelligent people following my every word, it means more then you will every know.

I wish I could thank each and every one of you separately but, alas, I can't. I wish I could have this huge extravangant giveaway, but I don't have money for shipping or anything exciting to give away. So I guess I'll have to stick with a just a stong THANK YOU! I'm sorry there isn't anything else I could do to thank you for reading my blog, but just know that it means the world and more to me.

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Dial
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: October 5, 2009
Pages: 480
My Edition: ARC

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: A-
Book Rating: A(+)

Plot - 19/20
Characters - 19.5/20
Writing - 20/20
Originality - 20/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 98.5/100

Summary:
Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.
***MINOR GRACELING SPOILER***
Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel?
Fire takes place 30-some years before Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling readers will find familiar and disturbing...
***END MINOR GRACELING SPOILER***

Review:
How can a book be so outstanding? Kristin Cashore has done it again. I swear, I would do anything to get inside her mind, Graceling was phenomenal, Fire was outstanding, what else can we expect from her? Kristin Cashore is a writing goddess!

If you remember from my Graceling review, you might recognize that they have the same 98.5/100 rating, but for different reasons. In Graceling, the plot was .5 ahead of the characters. But for Fire, the characters got the .5 this time. If asked which one I love the most, I could not decide. Graceling had the fantastic plot that I favored over the characters, but Fire I favor the characters slightly more then the plot.

Fire was one of the most extroadinary characters I have ever seen. Her internal fight with herself about several things, was incredible. Her mind controling the humans, everything about her was incredible. It wasn't just her. I loved every single character in the book. I though Archer brought something great to the story. And Brigan was just fantastic too. Every character was just sensational.

The plot for Fire took a slower pace with not so much exciting scenes as Graceling had. It was a fine pace to it, and the characters really brightened the book up, but Fire was much more a character driven novel, with several suspense scenes that really made the novel. It was great, I loved the ending entirely too much.

Several things that were the same as Graceling were the astounding writing that of Kristin Cashore. The incredible originality of it all, the entertainment and my recommendation for it, were all the same. Fantastic, everything, it is definitely tied with Graceling for my favorite book read this year. Not one bad thing to say about Fire, it was amazing.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Getting To Know The Characters of FIRE: Contest!

Did you see the post before this? Do you want a chance to win Fire by Kristin Cashore? Keep reading to learn how!

How to enter:

To win the signed hardcover of Fire leave a comment sharing what you could do because your name is Fire. Be creative! I've had a very stressful second week of school, I could use a pick-me-up. :)


For 1 extra entry blog about this post.
For 1 extra entry tweet about this post with the hashtag #firetour and @reply me @kelseybee17.
For 2 extra entries comment on my reviews of Graceling from yesterday and come back tomorrow to comment on my review for Fire.

The giveaway is open to addresses within the United States only. Sorry International readers!

ATTENTION:
All commenters must only have one comment on this post with an added up total of how many extra entries you recieved with the appropriate links and information along with your name and a email address. If it is not in this format the comment will be deleted.

The giveaway will end October 1st at 11:59 pm Central Time.

Getting To Know The Characters of FIRE: Tour!

Today marks the fifth stop on the tour for Fire. Kristin Cashore is visting a blog every weekday for three weeks from September 14 through October 2 for the release of her second novel, the prequel to Graceling (my review here), Fire. I'm only stop five, so be sure to check out the four others and the ten other blogs featuring Fire in the coming two weeks by clicking the icon below. (If the link doesn't work, click here.)
If you haven't heard of Fire yet (How deep is that hole you've been living in?) then let me give you a little refresher. Fire is the companion novel to Graceling, which I absolutely loved. Fire has recieved 5 star reviews and is pretty much brilliant. You can check out my review for Fire tomorrow. Here's the summary:

Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

This tour is all about getting to know the characters of Fire, and I if I might say so myself, if I didn't get Fire or Brigan, I sure as heck am glad that I got Lord Cansrel and King Nax. Two in one. So here's what Kristin had to say about those two:

Lord Cansrel, Fire’s father, is dead, and so is his best friend, King Nax; and the world is better off for it. A monster in form and in feeling, Cansrel used his beauty and his mental power to get whatever he wanted; and all he ever wanted was pleasure. He and Nax sure made a mess of the Dells. Don’t believe me? Just look at the way things are today!

How great is that? If that doesn't make you want to read Fire, then I don't know what will . . . Oh. Wait! How about this?:

Fire by Kristin Cashore height="500" width="100%" > value="http://d.scribd.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=18299444&access_key=key-rtqj35ynmiqa1prkcr2&page=1&version=1&viewMode=">

And here's also the countdown widget for Fire:


So how's that? I'm sure you probably really really want Fire now right? Well, stay tuned for a chance to win a signed finished copy of Fire . . .

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Harcourt Childrens Books
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Pages: 480
My Edition: Hardcover

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: B+
Book Rating: A(+ even though my ratings don't agree :))

Plot - 19.5/20
Characters - 19/20
Writing - 20/20
Originality - 20/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 98.5/100

Summary:
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight; she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace--or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away. . .a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Review:
This is quite possibly one of the best books I've ever read. It has recieved the highest rating on my blog yet (not counting Marley and Me because that was a memoir). Graceling was just phenomenal! From start to finish it was just an incredible book that I just didn't want to stop. I wished I could just keep reading it forever!

Kristin Cashore has possibly written the best debut book I have ever read before. And even better because she created almost everything from scratched. She created a kingdom, a new world, a new lifestyle. A way of speaking, crazy names! It was created brilliantly and put out even better. I can't possibly say one bad thing about Kristin Cashore's writing or the world she created, it was all excellent.

The plot was exciting. It took just a chapter or two to get me into it and get to know what was going on and how everything worked in that world, but after that, you couldn't pry me away from it. My hands were glued! I've always loved adventure/survival type stories and this one was just so marvelous. It had the perfect pace. It was exciting, sad, happy, suspenseful, and I could just keep going and going. It was amazing, period.

The characters were fabulous. I loved Katsa, and then Po, my gosh. Every character was so unique and interesting in their own way. I loved the point of view Cashore approached this book with . . .

Quite honestly, I loved pretty much everything about this book. It was fantastic, it is at the very top of my favorite books list, and I think everything by Cashore will be up there. Graceling was one exceptional, astounding, sensational book, one of the best I've ever read.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (40)

Forget You by Jennifer Echols
July 2010
MTV Books

Zoey’s life in her Florida beach resort town is happy and organized. She’s the captain of her high school swim team, and she works for her dad at his popular water park. Then her dad has an affair with one of his employees, and her mother has a breakdown. But Zoey begins a committed relationship with a hot lifeguard, which makes her feel stable, even if things aren’t perfect at home. Everything is still under control.

Until she has a car accident that she can’t remember. She should have been with her boyfriend that night, but he doesn’t seem to know anything about the accident—and he doesn’t seem to care. The person who does care, and knows more than he’s telling, is Doug, Zoey’s darkly handsome arch-enemy who saved her from the wreckage. As Zoey begins to piece together what happened that night, she finds her sense of control over her life was only an illusion. And she inches closer to discovering the darkest secret of all: why Doug has fallen in love with her.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Positively by Courtney Sheinmel

Title: Positively
Author: Courtney Sheinmel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Reading Level: MG, 10+
Publication Date: September 15, 2009
Pages: 224
My Edition: Hardcover

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: A+
Book Rating: B

Plot - 18/20
Characters - 16/20
Writing - 18/20
Originality - 19/20
Entertainment - 8/10
Recommendation - 9/10
Total: 88/100

Summary:

Emerson Price cannot remember a time when life was ordinary. She was four-years-old when she and her mom were diagnosed as HIV-positive – infected with the virus that causes AIDS, and eight when her parents divorced. Now she is thirteen and her mother is dead. Emmy moves in with her father and stepmother, but she feels completely alone. Even though everyone has always accepted her, no one – not her father, or stepmother, or even her best friend – understands what it’s like to have to take medicine every single day, to be so afraid of getting sick, and to miss her mom more than she ever thought she would.

When Emmy’s dad and stepmother send her to Camp Positive, a camp for HIV-positive girls, Emmy is certain she is going to hate it. But soon she realizes that she is not so alone after all – and that sometimes letting other people in can make all the difference in the world.

The author is donating a portion of her proceeds from this book to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Review:
Positively was a remarkable book about a girl who is HIV-positive dealing with the death of her mother from the AIDS disease. This book detailed what someone goes through when they are HIV-positive with-out making it seem like a book listing information. It was a girl learing to see herself without the HIV effecting every though and desicion of her life. It was a wonderful book that was heartbreaking but also enlightening and true.

This book was MG, and I normally don't read MG books because of the fact that I always think that authors don't protray the age of twelve or thirteen as twelve and thirteen year olds really are. In Positively I had that problem. I was thirteen not too long ago (Shh...) and I felt that Emmy was protrayed younger then she really is. That bothered me.

Other then that, this book was great. It was a nice slow start before transition right after her mom died, going to the funeral and moving into her dad and stepmothers house and starting school again, we got to see Emmy in her worst state. Then she went to Camp Positive and we saw the steps it took Emmy to see herself without the HIV taking over her every though about every little thing from talking about cute celebrity guys to wondering if life is even worth it. It was a great change and to see Emmy make it was wonderful.

The characters were very realistic (besides Emmy and her classmates seeming younger then they are) and the writing was very good. It was original and the plot was very developed and flowed nicely throughout.

If that's not a reason to buy this book when it comes out on September 15th then how about the fact that some of the proceeds that Courtney Sheinmel makes of this book will go into the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. It for a great cause!

And may I also say that the Author's Note in the back of the book was just heartbreaking. It was a short and sweet look at the authors reasons of writing this book and I think it was more agonizingly sad then the novel was because it was real. That always gets me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

On The Outside: Sydney Salter

Sydney Salter is the debut author of the hilarious My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters
~~~

The title just popped into my head right before I started writing. What else could I call a book about a girl who hates her nose and experiences one disastrous event after another? I loved my title, yet, I found myself blushing every time I told someone. I don’t exactly have the smallest nose… I felt like saying my book title drew attention to my own nose. And sometimes it does. “So you think you have a big nose?” more than one person has asked. I mutter something like, “well, yes, but the book is fictional.” Some people feel compelled to tell me that I don’t have a big nose. I don’t know what to say to that either. Um, thank you?

There was a brief moment when my publisher’s marketing team considered shortening the title to My Big Nose (so it wouldn’t be confused as a book of short stories). I freaked out! I could just imagine people asking my book’s title, me blurting out, “My Big Nose!” The person’s forehead would crinkle with confusion. “No, I asked about your book not your face.” I also thought the humor in the title came from the And Other Natural Disasters part. So they added the words “A Novel” at the top of the cover. Phew!

The funny thing is that my title has forced me to really deal with my feelings about my own nose (my inner 17-year-old is still absolutely horrified). I do sometimes laugh out loud when I get emails with BIG NOSE in the subject line. I hear a sitcom-style mafia guy saying, “Hey, you, you with the big nose. You’ve got an email.”

I love my cover! The brilliant, amazing, beautiful, talented, charming, and artistic Carol Chu of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt designed it. I love the way the Barbie serves as a metaphor for the perfection my main character seeks. I also think the spine is so cute! (My name covers the Barbie’s nose.) I like the colors used too. I did not have input on the cover, which is a good thing since I have trouble figuring out what color to paint my walls and I need a lot of saleslady help when I buy clothes.

I also love having my own Barbie at last! My feminist mother refused to purchase Barbie dolls. I played with the dorky Sunshine Family who had big feet, flat chests, and drove a hippie van so they could sell macramé owls at craft fairs or something. I haven’t bought my book any outfits yet, but I am thinking I might get it that cool pink convertible...

~~~

Thanks Sydney!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard Tweaked Cover!

Here's the cover that the publisher tweaked a bit. You can see more of the faces now, the title has a different font and is bigger and there is now a tagline. I personally like the other one a bit better because I think the fonts that they now use don't fit as well with the book (which is BRILLIANT, FYI). I also think now that you can see the faces more, it's a bit awkward.

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken Cover!

I've seen this several times but i couldn't find a complete jpeg of it online, but it's here now and I personally love it!

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly Cover!

Here's the cover! I don't think it's completely final, Tara said they are still working on the title font, but it's pretty final I think. What do you think?

The Mark by Jen Nadol New Cover!

The Mark had an cover, but there was a close lookalike to it so it got a new cover and here it is. Do you like it? I love it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Title: Hate List
Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Pages: 416
My Edition: ARC

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: B
Book Rating: A-

Plot - 18/20
Characters - 19/20
Writing - 20/20
Originality - 17/20
Entertainment - 7/10
Recommendation - 9/10
Total: 90/100

Summary:

it was just a list. nobody was supposed to die...

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saves the life of a classmate, but is implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things they hated. The list her boyfriend used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

Review:
Before I started Hate List I had heard fantastic things of it, so my expectations were very high for it. Though it was a heartbreaking, amazing, incredible, etc. book, my expectations weren't met, though they were extremely close.

Let me first say that this is a very character-driven novel. The characters were impeccable and incredibly realistic. The writing was wonderful, Jennifer Brown is a fantastic debut author that definitely can write emotional books with great depth. Brown had an amazing voice to this novel.

The one problem I had in this novel is, that, I guess, it didn't really 'wow' me as I had expected. I don't really know what brought this to me, but I just didn't feel so amazed as other reviewers were.

Knowing that, though, doesn't change the fact that this novel is a marvellous novel that was just pitch perfect.