Saturday, February 28, 2009

In My Mailbox (8)

So, I'm doing the IMM post this week today because it's what works best for me. Oh, and by the way: Kristi/The Story Siren is awesome for coming up with this.

I got a ton of good books this week!

The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro
---Courtesy of Tina and Linda Gerber! I won this personalized signed copy at Linda Gerber's Love Fest, it looks so cute and I can't wait to dig in!

Teach Me by R.A. Nelson
---Courtesy of Bookmooch! I'm reading this now and can't wait for it!
Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman
Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne
---Courtesy of Penguin. I knew Breathing was coming for me, but I had no idea Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies was coming, but it looks really cute, so I'm excited to read that! I also already read Breathing, and, my gosh, it was completely fantastic!

Waiting For You by Susane Colasanti
A Match Made In High School by Kristin Walker
Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley
---Courtesy of J. at Penguin! Thank you so much! All these books look fabulous and I can't wait to dig in. All of them look amazing.


Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison
---Courtesy of BookDivas! I got this one for review from BD's and it look good as well. :)


So that's my week! I thought it was excellent compared to last week, where I got nothing. Anything would've been better then last week though.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title: Wintergirls
Laurie Halse Anderson
Reading Level:
Young Adult
Publication Date:
March 19, 2009

Plot - 16/20
Characters - 19/20
Writing - 20/20
Originality - 18/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 93/100

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, best-selling author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

Okay, just . . . Wow. This book is so freakin' amazing. It blew me away with such power. Lia's story is such a heart wrenching story. This one is so amazing, for me it surpasses Speak, which is hard because Speak is a favorite of mine.

In total, now, I've read four of Anderson's books. Two of which were very unsuccessful in impressing me, and now, two of which impressed with such force, they automatically became top books in my list. Anderson has done it again, right on time for the tenth anniversary for Speak also.

Lia is the moving main character. Being inside her head is torture. The energy and weakness she feels, I felt. Her thoughts about her weight, and her need to be smaller, smaller, smaller. Her feelings about her feeling huge, huge, huge. At being at the 90 lbs area, just imagine it.

Anderson's writing style is such a peculiar one that stands out. Her cryptic and suspenseful ways are defining. Anderson is one of a kind, her books plots and serious issues are unforgettable. She writes with force and power, there is no other writer out there that will compare to her.

This review was really hard to write, and I just feel like it did no justice to the novel, just know that this novel is up to standards with Speak, so that might give you an idea of how phenomenal this novel really is.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (12)

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
May 14, 2009

Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.) Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?

This one sounds really good, and looks really good. But it reminds me of one of my favorite television show, Supernatural. But I love that show, so hopefully this one is awesome!

ETA 7:00 am:
I made this a month ago, and I found out last week that I am actually getting this one for review. So there isn't much waiting for me!

ETA, again, 3:45 pm:
So I don't have to wait at all, because I got it from FedEx this afternoon! Yay! Along with more books. :) I'm happy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor

Title: The September Sisters
Author: Jillian Cantor
Publisher: Laura Geringer Books / HarperCollins
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 24, 2009
Pages: 361
Amazon Page

Rating: A
Plot - 19/20
Characters - 20/20
Writing - 20/20
Originality - 18/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 97/100

Abigail Reed and her younger sister, Becky, are always at each other's throats. Their mother calls them the September Sisters, because their birthdays are only a day apart, and pretends that they're best friends. But really, they delight in making each other miserable. Then Becky disappears in the middle of the night, and a torn gold chain with a sapphire heart charm is the only clue to the mystery of her kidnapping. Abby struggles to cope with her own feelings of guilt and loss as she tries to keep her family together. When her world is at its bleakest, Abby meets a new neighbor, Tommy, who is dealing with his own loss, and the two of them discover that love can bloom, even when it's surrounded by thorns.

This exquisitely written first novel illustrates life as it truly is—filled with fear and danger, hope and love, comfort and uncertainty.

Okay, I really don't know how to express myself with this one. But if you want the gist of it, I'll give you one word. Phenomenal. The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor was phenomenal. Phenomenal.

A head's up. I can't do this book justice. I am just not mentally capable of it.

But before I go on, just go buy this right now. Stop reading my review and go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or even better, get get your car keys, ask your parents for a ride, or demand if you have to and get to Borders, Barnes and Noble, even go to K-Mart, as long as they have it. But BUY IT! Trust me.

The moment I read the book, the first page. I was hooked. The way the book started out caught me off guard, but was an excellent idea. We got to get a hint of what happened to Becky, not knowing everything, and then it jumped to the night before it happened. We got a hint of what Becky was like, what Abigail was like, and then we were able to see the growth of Abby, her parents even, through the two and a half years this book takes place. It was magical, horrifying the way it happened, but it was thrilling.

Jillian Cantor's first novel was truly memorable. Exhilarating. I couldn't get away from Cantor's awe-inspiring, gripping words. It caught me and wouldn't let me up. Nor did I want it to. The realism and the unpredictability of it was infectious. It had the perfect combination of realness, plot, and fantastic character advancement.

Abby was a character that I truly admired. I didn't know how she just didn't break down from everything. Her mom having a meltdown, her dad in denial, both of them practically oblivious of her. No friends. I think I would've just about died from the isolation she received. Until Tommy came along. Oh, did I love Tommy. I don't think this novel wouldn't of been as good as it really was if Abigail didn't have Tommy. Abby was such a strong, beautiful character. Her character was striking and she is what made this novel. She and Cantor's inconceivable, impressive, and scintillating writing will make this novel a hit.

This novel is so much more then a sister disappearing, it may not be in the headlines, but it's there. The coming-of-age story of a girl learning to cope with what she has after a tragedy tears her family apart.

The only bad thing I have to say about this novel isn't actually bad. I kind of wished the sapphire heart charm necklace played a more important part in the novel then it did. Yes, it showed huge symbolism, but I just wished it played into what had happened to Becky more is all.

I really just can't say how much this novel is phenomenal. All I can is say my thoughts and hope, hope, that you trust me on it and go buy it now.

The September Sisters is out today in booksellers across America.

Thanks Jillian for sending me your book! I hope you have a fantastic release day! You really deserve it! Also, check back in March for an OTO post with Jillian and a little something special!

Monday, February 23, 2009

On The Outside: Amanda Ashby

Amanda Ashby is the author of two novels, YOU HAD ME AT HALO is a chick-lit novel that I enjoyed. (find my review here.) And her newest novel is in the YA genre and is called ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH, which sounds fantastic.


Okay, so it’s slightly embarrassing to talk about where my title came from because it’s pretty lame! I knew I wanted to write a young adult zombie book but I had no plot, no characters and most definitely no title, so I sat down with my husband one night (and he stayed – normally he hates brainstorming with me but the minute I mentioned zombies he was like putty in my hands!!).

Anyway we were trying to think of some sort of song or saying that had zombie in the title so that I could then shamelessly pillage it!!!! Unfortunately we weren’t getting very far and I was starting to think the zombie idea wasn’t such a good one after all, when suddenly the song ‘Witch Queen of New Orleans’ got stuck in my head and without even really thinking about it, I said ‘Zombie Queen of Newbury High’.

I immediately loved it but of course I still had no plot so then we just started to come out with all sorts of ways a person could become a zombie queen and in my second light bulb moment of the night I wrote down, ‘Mia Everett accidentally turned her entire senior year into zombies. Whoops.’ And from there the story just flowed!

As for the cover, my agent and editor had mentioned that even though the tone of the book was light, they wanted something that was a bit darker. I was in complete agreement with them but had no idea what it was going to look like. Then when my editor sent me an early look at it, I was so thrilled that I even wrote the dress into the story (Mia’s original prom dress was midnight blue). I love everything about the cover, from the B grade Zombie font on the sash through to the wilted corsage and the lace gloves (but then again I’m an eighties child so lace gloves are like second nature to me!!!!).

Anyway, thanks for inviting me along to talk about Zombie Queen of Newbury High – books are often so long in the making that it’s nice to take some time and think about what happened over two years ago!!!!!


Thanks Amanda!

If any author wants more details on how you can do an On The Outside post with me, please email me at with On The Outside in the subject line and I'll get to you immediately with the details!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

This Makes Me Happy.

I was seriously tearing up when I saw that Heath Ledger won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role as The Joker in The Dark Knight. I was tearing up watching his mom, dad and sister giving the acceptance speech, and then seeing the other actors tearing up too for respect of him. It broke my heart that he wasn't there to accept it himself.

Heath Ledger was amazing in this role. It make me happy he won.

The Bookshelf Meme

So I saw this in the blogosphere lately and since I didn't have a IMM post today, so I went in search of this and decided to do it!

Tell me about the book that has been on your shelves the longest...

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares I got in . . . I think I'll say March 2005. I heard about the movie, which looked amazing, and I found out it was a book. I lived in California then and my dad and I were going to Minnesota to be apart of my aunts wedding on April 2, 2005. So, I think it was a few nights before my family and I stopped at a bookshelf and I wanted to get this book for the plane ride.

Keep in mind that I wasn't into reading that much like I am now. I was in fourth grade actually. I actually didn't finish this book on the trip. After fourth grade ended, I went on a trip with my best friend to Palo Alto and San Francisco for a little friendship roadtrip before she moved up there for fifth grade. I was staying in her grandparents house and they required and hour of silence to read, nap, whatever a day, so I read it then too because I forgot about it after the trip to Minnesota. I didn't finish it then either though. I finished it in, I would guess October of that year, after I saw the movie, even though my mom said I couldn't see the movie until I read the book. Anyway, at the end of September, I moved to Minnesota and started fifth grade again there. We had to read a book in that class, and I finally finished it then. But by this time, half of the back cover was chewed of by my dog, and the binding was creased and the covers bent.

I've had it every since, and it's still really beat up.

Tell me about a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (i.e. a person, a place, a time, etc.)...

Oh, I don't know. I'd have to say Avalon High by Meg Cabot. It was the summer of 2007. My dad was working, my brother back in California with my grandparents, and it was just my mom and I. We were supposed to be packing up to move up from central Minnesota to northern Minnesota in July. I was really bored. We lived about fifteen minutes from any town, I couldn't drive, I didn't have a very good computer and I wasn't obsesses with the internet as I am now. So one day we went into a Wal-Mart and my mom bought be Avalon High by Meg Cabot, The Clique by Lisi Harrison and The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I didn't have much books then, and I was interested in reading, but I still didn't know much about books and authors, but I read a lot that year. I read Avalon High and I remember thinking that it was the best book I have ever read. I didn't have much books so I pretty much reread all my books and I remember that that first month of the summer, I think I reread this book at least five times. I loved it so much.

Tell me about a book you acquired in some interesting way (gift, serendipity in a used book store, prize, etc.)...

Well, I haven't recieved books in a very interesting way, ever. But for this I guess I'll have to say The Elite by Jennifer Banash. It was my first ever review copy from an author, or publisher, whatever. It was my first book I recieved from the blog in June this past summer. I was so excited. I don't think I'd ever give it away.

Tell me about the most recent addition to your shelves...

I got Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee from Suzanne herself. It looks really good. I already said the story about it in last weeks IMM post and I'm too lazy to repeat myself.

Tell me about a book that has been with you to the most places...

Truly? It's the same thing as in question one. I got it in a Clovis, CA bookstore, It went to a ton of places in central Minnesota with me, including Minneapolis. It went on a roadtrip from central Cali to Palo Alto California and back, then back to central Minnesota where it stayed for awhile and up here to the Minnesota and Canadian border. Lot's of places.

Tell me about a bonus book that doesn't fit any of the above questions...

I don't really know what book to use, so I guess I'll tell you how I aquired my first signed book. It's How To Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle. I won it the 'Dream Team' Contest Em at Em's Bookshelf was holding during this past summer. I was shocked to see that it was actually signed by Sarah Mlynowski! It says 'Sarah M' with a little heart. I was ecstatic to get my first signed book. That one is followed by many others. Though I have never met an author in real life.

The Rules

1. Tag 3-5 people, so the fun keeps going!
2. Leave a comment at the original post at A Striped Armchair, so that Eva can collect everyone’s answers.
3. If you leave a comment and link back to Eva as the meme’s creator, she will enter you in a book giveaway contest! She has a whole shelf devoted to giveaway books that you’ll be able to choose from, or a bookmooch point if you prefer.
4. Remember that this is all about enjoying books as physical objects, so feel free to describe the exact book you’re talking about, down to that warping from being dropped in the bath water…
5. Make the meme more fun with visuals! Covers of the specific edition you’re talking about, photos of your bookshelves, etc.

I'm not going to tag anyone but Carol! :)

In My Mailbox (7)

Created by The Story Siren.

No books this week. But I'm expecting a ton next week, hopefully. :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

Title: Flowers in the Attic
Author: VC Andrews
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Reading Level: Adult, 16+
Publication Date: April 1993
Pages: 400
Amazon Page

Rating: B
Plot - 15/20
Characters - 15/20
Writing - 15/20
Originality - 19/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 8/10
Total: 82/100

Way upstairs there are four secrets hidden.

Blond, beautiful, innocent little secrets, struggling to stay alive.

Flowers In the Attic

The four Dollanganger children had such perfect lives -- a beautiful mother, a doting father, a lovely home. Then Daddy was killed in a car accident, and Momma could no longer support the family. So she began writing letters to her parents, her millionaire parents, whom the children had never heard of before.

Momma tells the children all about their rich grandparents, and how Chris and Cathy and the twins will live like princes and princesses in their grandparents' fancy mansion. The children are only too delighted by the prospect. But there are a few things that Momma hasn't told them.

She hasn't told them that their grandmother considers them "devil's spawn" who should never have been born. She hasn't told them that she has to hide them from their grandfather if she wants to inherit his fortune. She hasn't told them that they are to be locked away in an abandoned wing of the house with only the dark, airless attic to play in. But, Momma promises, it's only for a few days....

Then the days stretch into months, and the months into years. Desperately isolated, terrified of their grandmother, and increasingly convinced that their mother no longer cares about them, Chris and Cathy become all things to the twins and to each other. They cling to their love as their only hope, their only strength -- a love that is almost stronger than death.

I don't really know . . . This book was so . . . out there. How can I possible give it a review?

I won't. I think I'll just list a few things.
  1. The writing was average, not good, not bad. I don't really know. It was interesting. I can't really describe my feelings on it.
  2. The characters really weren't that well developed. I thought they were really, just . . . ugh. I just, I just don't know about this novel.
  3. I like it, I really did. It's just, weird.
  4. I sometimes felt uncomfortable reading this novel, especially reading it during school if you get my gist. Some of it was disgusting, some demented, and some gross.
  5. It was completely unrealistic. Well, I'd like to believe that there aren't people with these sick psychotic minds out there. (Yeah, you Carol.)
  6. But, oddly, there's just this sense of . . . I don't know. I can't think of the right word. I'll let you finish that sentence.
  7. With all that said, I also read the plot summaries, and you will never, never, see me reading the rest of the series. Ugh.
So there you have it. Not much, but it was hard. I read this almost a month ago to let me think about it and I still am unsure about it as I was the night I finished it. Oh, and sorry for the millions of 'I don't know' in the list.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shelter Me by Alex McAulay

Title: Shelter Me
Author: Alex McAulay
Publisher: MTV Books/Simon and Schuster
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: January 6, 2009
Pages: 274

Rating: C+
Plot - 14/20
Characters - 17/20
Writing - 16/20
Originality - 18/20
Entertainment - 7/10
Recommendation - 6/10
Total: 78/100

Maggie Leigh just wants to be a normal teenager, but when German bombs tear apart London during World War II, her ultra-religious mother sees the destruction as divine punishment. She sends Maggie to a remote boarding school in coastal Wales, supposedly to keep her safe, but also to keep her in line. The school is creepy, the headmistress is a lunatic, and the students range from spoiled rich girls to speechless trauma victims. But when a tragic accident happens on the beach, Maggie and three friends are forced to flee the school, plunging into the nightmarish world of Europe during wartime. Now every decision Maggie makes is fraught with danger, and living to see another day depends on how quickly she can think and act...and how far she's willing to go.

I've read one of McAulay's previous books, Bad Girls, and I absolutely loved it. I've heard nothing but great things about this novel, so I had high expectations. But this novel completely disappointed me.

This novel started out exciting with hope and like I was expecting. McAulay's British was spot-on, which is expected when McAulay holds a Ph.D in British Literature. But soon enough I was disgusted and disturbed. This novel was completely absurd, psychotic, and demented. I don't really want to ruin this for you so I want explain why, just that a whole lot of it was so inane and not realistic or astute at all. The ending was seriously messed up, it wasn't happy and it felt rushed and vapid.

The reason it even got a C+ was because the writing was actually pungent and ample. I loved Maggie as a character and I thought her actions were genuine. The whole originality is a plus, even if I didn't care for it. I also liked the bit about the fact that it was taken place in Britain in World War II, so that was really neat.

I wouldn't recommend this really, I mean there were a few high points to it, but a whole lot of it was just absurd, but I think if you really want to read it, go for it, but I wouldn't recommend buying it.

ETA 2/19 7:21 AM: I just wanted to tell you guys that this review I wrote seconds after I finished the book in January. I was still really mad about it then, so I'm kind of harsh in this review.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (11)

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
July 21, 2009

(Again, like last week, I have no cover image, but I have seen the cover.)

Ballads are the kind of songs that Kara McNaughton likes best. Not the clichéd ones where a diva hits her dramatic high note or a rock band tones it down a couple of notches for the ladies, but the true ballads: the punk rocker or the country crooner reminding their listeners of the numerous ways to screw things up. In high school, Kara helped maintain the “Stories of Suburbia” notebook, which contained newspaper articles about bizarre, tragic events from suburbs all over America, and personal vignettes that Kara dubbed “ballads” written by her friends in Oak Park, just outside of Chicago. But Kara never wrote her own ballad. Before she could figure out what her song was about, she left town suddenly at the end of her junior year. Now, four years later, Kara returns to her hometown to face the music, needing to revisit the disastrous events that led to her leaving, in order to move on with her life.

Intensely powerful and utterly engaging, Ballads of Suburbia explores the heartbreaking moments when life changes unexpectedly, and reveals the consequences of being forced to grow up too soon.

I LOVED I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, so I CANNOT wait for this!

ETA: Stephanie emailed me and gave me another summary that her publisher gave her that gives you more incite on the novel:

There are so many ballads. Achy breaky country songs. Mournful pop songs. Then there's the rare punk ballad, the ballad of suburbia: louder, faster, angrier . . . till it drowns out the silence.

Kara hasn't been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park. . . .

Amidst the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

Does that not sound fantastic? I can't wait. Stephanie writing
's is just so addictive! Ugh, July is so long from now!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Read Carpet: My First Episode!

Hey everybody! Adele was having trouble with podbean so the podcast is late this fortnight, but it's finally here, and it's my first time on there, so check it out!

I think everybody did a fantastic job, so stop by and share your comments on it also!

You can find everything about it here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

On The Outside: Tara Altebrando

Tara Altebrando is the author of two Young Adult novels, The Pursuit of Happyness, which I read a long time ago and loved!, and her newest novel, What Happens Here. Tara also writes under the name Tara McCarthy, who writes more general fiction for adults.


How did you come up with the title for What Happens Here? I swear I had as much trouble naming this book and I did naming my daughter. If it had been up to me and only me, I think the book might have ended up with one of its two working titles, but there are, of course, editors and marketing managers and publishers (or, in the case of my daughter, her father!) who have a say.

The first working title for the book was Eye in the Sky. The two main characters, Chloe and Lindsay, are fascinated with the surveillance cameras on the Las Vegas Strip—and also with the sort of satellite images you can find on the web of pretty much any street corner—so I thought it made sense and I also just liked the sound of it and thought it could inspire some ethereal and creepy cover art. Since surveillance tapes play a part in the plot, I thought it was a done deal. But it didn't fly with my publisher. I don't know whether bad associations with the song by that name by the Alan Parsons project was a factor.

I moved on.

Next up: Exploding Hearts. It's the name of a real-life band that is mentioned in the book, and I also just love those words together. Three members of the band died in a car crash and I felt like the book was also grappling with the issue of how to cope with random tragedy, so I thought it was an apt cultural reference. But I was told from on high that the title absolutely needed to convey the Vegas setting of the book. I'm still not entirely sure why, but there you have it.

So, everyone kept talking about calling the book "What Happens in Vegas"—because of the ad campaign—but I was adamantly against that. It seemed too glib, maybe. Or just clichéd. [And I should note that this was before anyone knew there was an Ashton Kutcher movie by that name coming down the pike.]

After much hemming and hawing and whining, I suggested WHAT HAPPENS HERE—since it's at least a little less "on the nose"—and when that was paired with imagery that conveyed Vegas, everyone was pleased. I hadn't realized until after it was chosen as the final title that there are a lot of important moments in the book that begin with lines like "This is how it was supposed to happen…" "This is what really happened…" So the title echoes the text in some ways, which is nice. So thanks for asking, Kelsey! This was fun.

Thanks go much Tara!

If any author wants more details on how you can do an On The Outside post with me, please email me at with On The Outside in the subject line and I'll get to you immediately with the details!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

In My Mailbox (6)

So, I only received 1 books this week! One! I was kind of shocked about it, but nonetheless, I still received a book that I was very excited about!

Artichokes Heart by Suzanne Supplee (ARC)

Rosemary Goode is smart and funny and loyal and the best eyebrow waxer in Spring Hill, Tennessee. But only one thing seems to matter to anyone, including Rosemary: her weight. And when your mom runs the most successful (and gossipy) beauty shop in town, it can be hard to keep a low profile. Rosemary resolves to lose the weight, but her journey turns out to be about everything but the scale. Her life-changing, waist-shrinking year is captured with brutal honesty and humor, topped with an extra large helping of Southern charm. A truly uncommon novel about an increasingly common problem.

This one looks really good. I did a OTO post with Suzanne last week and she was a pleasure to work with. Anyway, Suzanne had said that she had a few ARCs leftover, so I offered to review her novel for her. It looks really good and I love the cover a ton, it makes me hungry! Oh, and by the way, I saw this when I was linking it that Artichokes Heart on Amazon is a bargain price right now! A hardcover for $6.30! How can you not take that deal?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Death By Bikini by Linda Gerber

Title: Death By Bikini
Author: Linda Gerber
Publisher: Penguin
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 2008
Pages: 240

Rating: A-
Plot - 20/20
Characters - 16/20
Writing - 17/20
Originality - 19/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 9/10
Total: 91/100

Aphra Behn Connolly has the type of life most teenage girls envy. She lives on a remote tropical island and spends most of her time eavesdropping on the rich and famous. The problem is that her family's resort allows few opportunities for her to make friends-much less to meet cute boys. So when a smoldering Seth Mulo arrives with his parents, she's immediately drawn to him. Sure, he's a little bit guarded, and sure his parents are rather cold, and okay he won't say a word about his past, but their chemistry is undeniable. Then a famous rock star's girlfriend turns up dead on the beach-strangled by her own bikini top-and alarm bells sound. Is it too great a coincidence that Seth's family turned up just one day before a murder? As the plot thickens, Aphra finds that danger lurks behind even the most unexpected of faces. . . .

What more could you ask for when you get mystery, action, adventure, and romance all in one?

I loved this novel. I really did. It started off divinely and kept you on the edge of your seat the entire time. The start of the novel was calm, we learned more about Aphra's (Gosh, I love that name! Weird, I know.) surroundings and we got to know Aphra herself and a few of the supporting characters. I was just as curiously as Aphra and I loved her instinct to find out the truth, I wouldn't of done that, but it was really neat.

It started off curiously, nothing big, but the more Aphra dug, the more and more she found out and I could barely contain myself to flip to the last chapter and find out the truth to everything. But I'm glad I held out. The adventurous and action side of this novel was a little unrealistic, but I suppose it could happen, under strange circumstances, like Aphra's. The novel, the characters, and most importantly, the mystery or plot kept me on the tip and I just went through this novel in a short matter of time to figure out the truth.

Gerber's writing was good. Not fantastic and meaningful, but I'm glad, because that type of writing wouldn't of fit for this type of novel. So I'm glad Gerber's writing was more action and mystery and a bit cryptic then having Aphra's emotions and feelings out there. It's what fit the novel and I highly enjoyed it.

So, this probably sounds fan-girly, and I guess it is. I tried my best to give a review, but if it appears...not like a review, well, I tried. But, like I say, just go get it if you haven't. (Because I know there were like a ton of reviews for this book last summer and I'm just now getting on the wagon.) But still.

*Much thanks to Carol for letting me read her copy! Thanks!

P.S. Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mad at Myself . . .

You want to know why? Because I left my book, Swoon, in the Woods Room first hour yesterday, and since my teacher goes to the elementary school after second hour, I couldn't get it. I was going to get it this morning, but I'm sick and am staying home. So I can't. The worst part is there was less then 100 pages in it and I won't see it until Tuesday because of President's Day. So, I'm not done with Swoon, but I am reading Death By Latte as you can see in the right sidebar.

Anyhow, sorry for the rant. Just felt I had to get it out there.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

Title: Cracked Up To Be
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: December 2008
Pages: 224
Amazon Page

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

Perfect Parker Fadley isn’t so perfect anymore. She’s quit the cheer leading squad, she’s dumped her perfect boyfriend, and she’s failing school. Her parents are on a constant suicide watch and her counselors think she’s playing games…but what they don’t know, the real reason for this whole mess, isn’t something she can say out loud. It isn’t even something she can say to herself. A horrible thing has happened and it just might be her fault. If she can just remove herself from everybody--be totally alone--then everything will be okay...The problem is, nobody will let her.

Months ago, like September/October, I heard about this book. I went in search of it, and found an excerpt of it. I read it. I was not impressed. I felt it was rushed and Parked didn't impress me and, well, yeah. To say the least: Not a very good first impression.

But, then, around December. Reviewers started reading it. And there were reviews of it! And, my gosh, they were fantastic reviews! A reviews! A+ reviews! I HAD to get a copy of it! (And everybody, give a round of applause to Carol for lending me it!)

So, to begin with. I was shocked. I mean, not completely mouth-dropped-to-the-floor shocked, but shocked. I had no idea, and let me tell you, I thought of everything. Everything it could've been, and I never thought of what it was. Kudos Ms. Summers.

Summers writing was fantastic. Very much the high point of the novel. Summers wrote with intense and creepy, but definitely interesting, emotions. Fantastic imagery, real ideas, and strong, deeply strong, feelings. Unpredictable. Heart wrenching. Nothing is sugar-coated. This novel is one ride this is far from joy. This novel is a story that attacks you and makes you read and finish it because of it's intensity and the deep mind-set. This is a story you will not forget. It's mind-blowing good.

Characters. The characters were great. Parker was mean, rude, cruel, and unusual. She was a fantastic character. The supporting characters were great, but not as great as Parker. Scintillating, extraordinary, atypical, but remarkable. Truly.

Read this, you won't regret it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (10)

How It Ends by Laura Wiess
August 4, 2009

(I've seen the cover, but I couldn't find it anywhere online that I would be able to get it and show it here. Sorry! But I can tell you that it is a simple white background [I think, it was in black and white the image I saw] with a leaf on it.)

Seventeen-year-old Hanna has been in love with Seth for as long as she can remember, but now that she and Seth are in an actual relationship, love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seth is controlling and all they seem to do anymore is fight. If that’s what love is, Hanna doesn’t want any part of it. Besides, she has something else on her mind: graduation. But she’s been ignoring the school’s community service requirement, and now she needs to rack up some hours in a hurry.

Hanna volunteers as a caretaker for her neighbor Mrs. Schoenmaker—an elderly woman with advanced Parkinson’s whose husband can’t always be there to watch over her. While caring for Mrs. S., Hanna becomes mesmerized by an audiobook that the older woman is listening to, a love story of passion, sacrifice, and complete devotion. She’s fascinated by the idea that love like that really exists, and slowly, the story begins to change her. But what Hanna doesn’t know is that the story she’s listening to is not fiction—and that Mrs. Schoenmaker and her husband’s devotion to each other is about to reach its shattering, irrevocable conclusion....

Spellbinding, timeless, and achingly poignant, How It Ends is a story of how love ends, how it begins, and how people and events have the ability to change who we are without our even realizing it.

This book sounds fantastic. I loved Laura Wiess, Such a Pretty Girl, and I'm really looking forward to this!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New Email!

Hey everybody!

I just wanted to tell you guys that I made a new email for my blog, finally. I should've done this a long time ago. But I finally got it!

But don't worry. It's corresponded with my old one so I'll get the same in one place and I wont have to redo all my contacts and everything. But for this blog, on the left sidebar, it'll be the new one.

Fade by Lisa McMann

Title: Fade
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
Pages: 256

Rating: A
Plot - 19/20
Characters - 18/20
Writing - 20/20
Originality - 19/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 96/100

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open — but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability — and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared....

I read WAKE last March, so when I realized this would becoming out really soon, I had to read it. I got it in the mail one night, and finished it early the next morning at school! I could NOT stop thinking about it. It was completely amazing.

FADE picked up where I imagined it would of, and it came on full force. Janie and Cabel were more intense then ever and it was deep. In the first novel, we didn't really know much about Janie, or Cabel, and, now, in Fade, we learn so much more about them. Janie's personality comes out more, and the characters in this book are a lot more shown then the first. Depending on the characterization, this book was much better then the first.

FADE is even more action packed then WAKE. Janie and Cabel are now narc's against the school, and Janie is put into a dangerous position for her new role as trying to get into peoples dreams to bring down an alleged rapists.

McMann writes cryptically. Mysteriously, and deeply. Her writing style is so different and unique, it leaves you wanting more with her way of words and she has such a writing style that is unforgettable.

We also learn more about Janie's dream-catching abilities, she continues to work her ability to the highest and we learn what will happen to her if she continues on the road she is on, and it is heart breaking. I started bawling.

May it be impossible that FADE be better then WAKE? Yes, heck yes. This novel rocked, and I can't wait for more of McMann's enigmatic writing and obscure story-telling.

FADE is released today.

Monday, February 9, 2009

On The Outside: Suzanne Supplee

Suzanne Supplee is the author of Artichoke Hearts, She has also written a book for the Students Across the Seven Seas series called When Irish Guys Are Smiling. You can visit her at

A great big ole thank you to Kelsey for inviting me here. Reading really does keep me sane! And another big ole thank you to Natalie C. Sousa for her brilliant cover design for Artichoke’s Heart! If Natalie has a fan club, could someone please let me know? I definitely want to sign up. I know I’m biased, but I think Artichoke’s Heart has one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve ever seen. It’s like Natalie Sousa climbed into the heart of my story and then translated it onto the cover. I vividly remember the day that Julie Strauss-Gabel, my wonderful editor at Dutton, emailed the cover. I think my reply must’ve been something really profound, like, “Oh my God!!!! Oh, my God!!!! I just love it!!! Oh, my God!!” And I did love it. I loved the chocolates and the icons on each one—the little hair dryer and the bluebird and the hearts and the artichokes, of course. I loved the frosty pink and chocolate brown colors and the swirly font, and I especially loved the empty candy wrapper with “A novel” written inside it. Honestly, I sat at my computer that day and cried. Silly as it sounds, I’m getting a little misty-eyed writing this. The cover means your book is really happening, and when you love the design the way I do…let’s just say it’s icing on the cake. As for the quirky title, I came up with Artichoke’s Heart even before I had a main character. You could say the entire story started with the title. I love extended metaphors, and I love artichoke hearts, and I started thinking about what a beautiful metaphor the artichoke is—so prickly on the outside, yet tender inside, like a lot of people. Rosemary, the protagonist, came later, and the artichoke was fitting for her because she was peeling away those layers physically, but she was also peeling away the emotional layers, too. It takes a whole team of people to make a book, and the writer is only a part of that team, which is why you so often see acknowledgement pages that go on forever. Rosemary’s story isn’t just for girls who are struggling with the whole weight thing; it’s for girls who have let insecurity and self-doubt stand in the way of happiness. I will be forever grateful to Natalie for creating a cover that makes readers want to dig in. Artichoke’s Heart will be released in paperback this May. And, yippeee! The cover will stay the same.


Thanks Suzanne!

If any author wants more details on how you can do an On The Outside post with me, please email me at with On The Outside in the subject line and I'll get to you immediately with the details!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

All I Can Say Is . . .

. . . Wow. Wow-wow-wow. Forever Princess was fantastic! I finished it a few hours ago and I just felt the need to say this, especially since you won't be seeing the review for awhile as I have a ton of reviews ahead of it.

But, the question is: What to read next?

I could read The Dust of 100 Dogs, that Carol told me to read, and have actually read a little of?

Or I could read, Swoon, which everyone is gushing over that I got it as I can tell in my In My Mailbox comments?

Or I could read In Too Deep, which is in my review pile and is first up because It was released in January?

Or you could look at the picture above of me TBReviewed pile (top) or my TBRead pile (bottom) and recommend one that I haven't mentioned here yet?

What say you?

I'm kind of leaning towards Swoon because you guys have made me very curious about it.

But put your opinions forward and I might listen! Also, look for another OTO post tomorrow with a very awesome author!

In My Mailbox (5)

This was made possible by The Story Siren!

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles (Paperback)

Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.

After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.

Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.

Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews (Paperback)

The four Dollanganger children had such perfect lives -- a beautiful mother, a doting father, a lovely home. Then Daddy was killed in a car accident, and Momma could no longer support the family. So she began writing letters to her parents, her millionaire parents, whom the children had never heard of before.

Momma tells the children all about their rich grandparents, and how Chris and Cathy and the twins will live like princes and princesses in their grandparents' fancy mansion. The children are only too delighted by the prospect. But there are a few things that Momma hasn't told them.

She hasn't told them that their grandmother considers them "devil's spawn" who should never have been born. She hasn't told them that she has to hide them from their grandfather if she wants to inherit his fortune. She hasn't told them that they are to be locked away in an abandoned wing of the house with only the dark, airless attic to play in. But, Momma promises, it's only for a few days....

Then the days stretch into months, and the months into years. Desperately isolated, terrified of their grandmother, and increasingly convinced that their mother no longer cares about them, Chris and Cathy become all things to the twins and to each other. They cling to their love as their only hope, their only strength -- a love that is almost stronger than death.

I got these from the library on Monday. I've already read Flowers in the Attic, so hopefully you can expect a review for that soon enough.

Swoon by Nina Malkin (ARC)

Sin is Coming...Prepare to Swoon!

Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut...until Dice's perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree, and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She's intensely drawn to him—but not at all crazy about the havoc he's wreaking. Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent—and irresistible—adversary, before the whole town succumbs to Sin's will. Only trouble is, she's in love with him.

This one came for review from Simon Pulse. It looks extremely good. It comes out this May.

Oblivion Road by Alex McAulay (Paperback)

Courtney Stanton thinks she's on just another ski trip with her friends -- until a horrific car accident strands them all on an isolated Colorado road during a blizzard. Frightened but alive, Courtney and her companions discover an abandoned vehicle nearby, and seek help. But the vehicle turns out to be a prison van, with the inmates missing, and the guard's dead body in the front seat.

Soon after, a stumbling figure emerges from the snow, a handcuffed refugee from the van. He says he's been in prison for selling meth, but that he once served in the army. Dare they trust him? He pleads innocence about the guard's murder, warns them about the other fugitives, and promises he will help guide them out of the wilderness. But as the group begins a nightmare trek across the frozen landscape, they start to get the feeling he hasn't told them the entire truth, and someone -- or something -- is secretly watching their every move.

Undone by Brooke Taylor (Hardcover)

When Kori Kitlzer, the “dark angel” of the 8th grade, tells Serena Moore that they are more alike than she thinks, Serena is instantly intrigued. As their friendship solidifies and their lives entwine, Serena tries to become more like the fearless, outspoken, and ambitious Kori. Soon Serena doesn’t know where she begins and Kori ends. But when a twist of fate yanks Kori away from Serena, she will need to find a way to complete her best friend’s life left undone.

Undone is a striking debut novel about friendship, family, and the secrets we keep from the people to whom we are closest.

Forever Princess by Meg Cabot (Hardcover)

It's Mia's senior year, and things seem great. She aced her senior project, got accepted to her dream college(s), and has her birthday gala coming up . . . not to mention prom, graduation, and Genovia's first-ever elections.

What's not to love about her life? Well . . .

• Her senior project? It's a romance novel she secretly wrote, and no one wants to publish it.
• Prince Phillipe's campaign in the Genovian elections isn't going well, thanks to her totally loathsome cousin René, who decided to run against him.
• Her boyfriend, J.P., is so sweet and seemingly perfect. But is he the one?
• And her first love, Michael, is back from Japan . . . and back in her life.

With Genovia's and her own future hanging in the balance, Mia's got some decisions to make: Which college? Which guy? How can she choose? Especially when what she decides might determine not just the next four years, but . . . forever!

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (Paperback)

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Braless in Wonderland by Debbie Reed Fischer (Hardcover)

Allee Rosen is a lot of things: high school senior, overachiever, brain. The one thing Allee is not is supermodel material-at least that's what she thinks until modeling scouts spot her and she moves to Miami to work with an elite modeling agency. Suddenly Allee is swept up?p in a whirlwind of designer labels, photo shoots, go-sees and some seriously backstabbing models. Will this fabulous new life go to her head? New author Debbie Reed Fischer offers readers a fresh, fun, and honest peek into the crazy and glamorous world of professional modeling.

Lost Summer by Alex McAulay (Paperback)

When Caitlin Ross's mother takes her and her brother to an island in the remote Outer Banks for the summer, Caitlin is furious. She was planning on spending the summer hanging out by the pool, partying, shopping, and singing backup in her boyfriend's band, Box of Flowers. North Carolina isn't anything like California, and Caitlin doesn't fit in. But her troubled mother is too busy popping pills and trying to win back her creepy ex-boyfriend to care.

At first, the only friend Caitlin makes on the desolate island is a local misfit named Danielle. but things start to improve when she meets a bunch of visiting prep school boys and gets swept up in their exciting world. Then, one dark night, she witnesses a murder and begins to suspect that her new friends aren't really her friends at all. With a powerful hurricane approaching, and the island cut off from the outside world, Caitlin has no one to turn to but herself...and whether she'll live to see another summer is the biggest mystery of all.

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King (Paperback)

In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with "the dust of 100 dogs," dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body—with her memories intact. Now she's a contemporary American teenager named Saffron and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.

I recieved the above 7 books from Amazon on Wednesday. I've been waiting forever for most of these books, so I'm glad I finally have them Also, the pictures next to them are pictures I took when I was taking them out of the box. Thanks Carol for making me take the pictures.

Go Figure by Jo Edwards (Paperback)

Ryan is not obsessing....But she does want to lose weight. Ever since she was outted as a "fat girl" at chearleading camp in fifth grade, Ryan's been on a mission to shed more than a few pounds. Lately she's also on the hunt for a new relationship. Now that her ex-boyfriend is a rock star - currently posing on the cover of Rolling Stone - Ryan seriously needs to move on. They haven't spoken in months, but in the magazine Noah's wearing the bracelet Ryan gave him. She can't wondering what that means...Not that she wants him back or anything. No, Ryan's plan is to make the most of senior year. After all, she's popular, funny, a talented photographer...she's got a lot going for her. So it's not all about losing weight or gaining a boyfriend. It's about getting what she wants. And it's about time.

I got this one from Bookmooch on Thursday.

Purge by Sarah Darer Littman (ARC)

Janie Ryman hates throwing up. So why does she binge eat and then stick her fingers down her throat several times a day? That’s what the doctors and psychiatrists at Golden Slopes hope to help her discover.But first Janie must survive everyday conflicts between the Barfers and the Starvers, attempts by the head psychiatrist to fish painful memories out of her emotional waters, and shifting friendships and alliances among the kids in the ward.

I got this one from Yan on Friday! Thanks Yan! It looks great!


In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash (Paperback)

The Bramford building’s newest resident and small-town transplant Casey McCloy is adapting to life in the Big Apple and loving it. She’s got the look, the attitude, and a delish new boyfriend, Drew Van Allen. But she’s starting to have second thoughts as to whether the “New York” Casey is the real Casey. And she’s not so sure she likes herself much anymore. She’s not the only one. Madison Macallister has always had her Manolo Blahniks firmly planted on the top rung of the social ladder—until that corn-fed cow Casey stole Drew away from her and made her look the fool. So what if Madison wasn’t exactly dating Drew at the time? She wanted him. And everyone knows that Madison gets what she wants, like Drew—and a little revenge.

So, apparently, FedEx dropped this book off at the beginning of the week, and I didn't find it until now. See what happens when you let your parents handle the mail? (J/K Mom and Dad! <3) But, anyhow, I'm happy, I've been waiting for this book to get here from Berkley since the beginning of January, and it looks great, so I'll have to add it to my pile!