Sunday, October 31, 2010

In My Mailbox {40}

Happy Halloween and welcome to this weeks IMM post!! In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

So here we always, for a closer pic, just click on the photo and it will pull up nice and big.
My bookshelves are all dressed up for Halloween, too :)

For review:
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Really excited to read this one! I didn't get to read Nick and Nora but I did see the movie and loved it (well, except for all the barfing LOL)

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
I need to finish this series! I loved the first book and recently picked up a copy of the second..not I have the full series so I can plow through it all at once!

Triskellion by Will Peterson
Anything that involves a "sinister, unsettling English village" is my kind of book! (quoted from the goodreads description)

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
Cyn Balog's first book---loved Sleepless so I can't wait to see how this one is!

So that's what I got! What did you get in your mailbox??
Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Waiting on...Thursday :)

Wednesday was a crazy busy day for me, so I missed posting my WoW!! "Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

by Holly Thompson

releasing February 22, 2011 from Delacorte Books for Young Readers

After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother’s ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family’s mikan orange groves.

Kana’s mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana’s father. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.

This novel in verse gives voice to the complex emotions of a girl whose anger, confusion, and regret transform into newfound compassion and a sense of purpose.

My thoughts: This one sounds fascinating and heartfelt and I absolutely love books where I get to be immersed in cultures other than my own. All perfect reasons to be counting the days to this release!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We have a Winner!!

We have a winner for an ARC copy of Jane by April Lindner!! Congratulations to....

Erin from Bookish in a Box!!!

Thanks to everyone who entered! Keep an eye out for more giveaways soon!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review: Hex Hall

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

publisher: Hyperion Books CH

release date: March 2, 2010

hardcover, 323 pages

intended audience: Young adult


Description from goodreads:
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Review: What a fun book! Hex Hall has it all: excellent writing, a great main character, interesting supporting characters, and a intriguing storyline, and some heart-stoppingly spooky moments! Hawkins' writing style was comedic and casual at times, but brought in the intensity where it was needed. The witty way she wrote the main character gave a perfect sense of who Sophie Mercer was---a strong willed teenager with a quirky sense of humor and desire to find her way in a world that she feels completely lost in.

Sophie is a witch, but she was raised by her non-magical mother. The magic comes from her dad, who has been out of the picture since before Sophie was born, so this leaves Sophie completely lost in the magical world. She has gotten into trouble time and time again by using her magic, but the last straw is when she tries to help a girl at school with a love spell that goes completely awry. This scores her a one-way ticket to Hex Hall, a sort of reform school for prodigium (witches, werewolves, rogue fairies, etc.) who need a little help learning to control their powers. Here she meets her roommate, Jenna, the only vampire in the school, Archer, the cute warlock who Sophie can't decide if she loves or hates, and three dark witches who are trying to get Sophie to join their coven. She also finds out more about her Dad and his place in the witch world.

I loved Sophie! She was a strong character who didn't take crap from anyone. She is trying so hard to figure this whole witch thing out and it keeps backfiring on her, yet she has such a sharp wit and humor through it all, and her comebacks were always hilarious. Example:

Favorite Sophie quote (When being told about Dark and White Witches) : "Dark and White? What, are we like chicken meat?"

I really like Jenna, she was a great friend to Sophie and I worried about her through the whole story that things would turn out okay for her!! Loved Archer,too, and I can't wait to see where the next book takes this character, because by his actions at the end, I think there is a lot more to him than meets the eye! Bit of a steep cliffhanger at the end, but as long as the next book is in sight, I'm okay with that!

Pick this one up soon if you haven't, its a great Halloween read! The next book in the series, Demonglass, comes out in March of 2011!!
Visit Rachel Hawkins website here.

Order Hex Hall at: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In My Mailbox {39}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Oh, we've had our first few wonderful rainy days here, and I've immediately broken out the hot chocolate and blankies to snug up on the couch and read with. I've got some good stuff here for just that purpose! Take a look:

For review:
Solid by Sherry Workinger (signed + bookmark!)
This one really sounds interesting---a genetic experiment on pregnant women gone awry has left some teens with extraordinary powers! Thanks, Sherry, for asking me to review it!

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
So terribly excited to dig into this one! I read the preview on amazon and when it came to the end of it I was like,"Nooooo! I need more!" Was at Barnes the next day with this one in hand.

Eon by Allison Goodman
The description very much makes this sound like a retelling of Mulan with dragons...which basically meant I had. to. have. it!!

Library check-outs:
The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Recently saw a cool recommendation of this on YA Addict as a book that seriously freaked her out! Sounded like the perfect Halloween read!!

Lastly, I got the cutest little bookmark at Barnes---holographic cupcakes!! I couldn't pass it up! :D

Can't wait to see what everyone got this week!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cover Story and New Trailer!

There were some awesome cover reveals in the YA book world the last two weeks---two especially for books that I am really excited about!!

Huntress by Malinda Lo

releasing April 2011 by Little Brown & Company

Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn’t shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people’s survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Taninli, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls’ destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.

The exciting adventure prequel to Malinda Lo’s highly acclaimed novel Ash is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.

Ash was one of my favorite books of last year (you can see my review here) and I can't wait fall into this wonderful world again through Malinda Lo's stunning writing. The Huntress was such a fascinating, original character, I can't wait to find out she came to be!

Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins

releasing March 1, 2011 from Hyperion Books

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.
That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth. Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.
But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

I just finished Hex Hall and my review will be up soon...such a fun book, but what a heck of a cliffhanger!! So needless to say, this has made it onto my most anticipated books of 2011.

And last but not least, the trailer for Matched by Ally Condie (Dutton Juvenile) recently came out! You can check out my review here.

That's all for now!! Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2 Mini Reviews & 2 Fabulous Giveaways! Beautiful Darkness & Crescendo!

I decided to do mini-reviews of both these sequels, because there is just too much of a chance that I might give something away if I ramble on too long about them! And that would be a shame! I also skipped the publisher descriptions on these, but the title links to Goodreads where you can read the full info! Also, at the end of this post, you'll find a fabulous duo giveaway for a finished copy of each of these! Open internationally, and you can enter once for each one!! So here we go!!

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

publisher: Little, Brown & Company

release date: October 12, 2010

hardcover, 512 pages

intended audience: Young adult

sequel to
Beautiful Creatures (links to my review)


My review: Could I love this series any more than I do? I don't think so. The writing here is so beautiful. I said this about the first book as well, but these books makes you feel like you are in the south. You can feel the stickiness of the humidity on your skin, smell the lemon trees, and the timing is somehow both exciting and slow and lush like a hot day in Gatlin. The story continues just weeks after where BC left off, and Lena is in such a state of despair over what happened on her 16th birthday, that she's drawing away from everyone, including Ethan. She has started hanging around with the infamous Ridley and the mysterious Jon Breed, and Ethan must find a way to reach her before it's too late. So we are thrown even further into the Caster world this time: Ethan, Link, and Marian the Librarian's new keeper-in-training, Liv must brave the dark tunnels beneath Gatlin. Many surprises along the way, some involving Ethan's mother, the aunts, Macon, and even Ethan himself. I will say that almost no one is what they seem, not even the aunt's cat, Lucille Ball!! Definitely do not pass this one up, its every bit as wonderful as the first---in fact, I think I liked the second even more!

Get your copy at AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

release date: October 19, 2010

hardcover, 427 pages

intended audience: Young adult

Sequel to Hush, Hush (no review, this was before my blogging days, but I loved it!)


My Review:
You know you're emotionally invested in a fictional couple when reading their story makes you as angry as I was while reading most of Crescendo!! :D There was a lot going on in this installment, it was incredibly fast paced and I loved every second of it, BUT my emotional reaction to almost everything Patch and Nora did was 'NOOO,....STOP!!! WHY??" Much like in the first book, the intrigue begins in the very first pages, where we get a glimpse of some mysterious past events and a little clue that maybe Nora's father might not have just run off from his family. Patch and Nora's blissful love quickly unravels when, in the heat of the moment, Nora tells him she loves him and he doesn't say it back, then goes further off the deep end when Patch starts showing up around town with Nora's arch-enemy Marcie Millar. The whole story twisted and turned, fueled by Nora's determination to piss off Patch and find out what really happened to her father. She is without a doubt, a much stronger character this time around (she even shuns her own guardian angel to stand on her own two feet, not the best idea with her danger-magnet track record, but it made her point that she was not having the Marcie situation.), but her jealously and anger land her in one hot spot after the next. It was irresistable to keep reading to solve all the mysteries: will they work it out?? What the heck does Patch see in Marcie?? And who the heck is this creepy Scott character, really?? Yet another fabulous case of "Nothing is as it seems!!"

Get your copy at AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

So, there are my thoughts on both these fabulous books! Now it's your turn to get your hands on a copy!! I am sending out one copy of Beautiful Darkness and one copy of Crescendo to some lucky winners!! You can enter once for each book! The copies will be sent new from Book Depository, so this contest is International! Extra entries for my lovely followers and for promoting! Thanks everyone, and good luck!!


Enter HERE to win CRESCENDO!

Both contests run until midnight, November 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

Lost Voices
by Sarah Porter

release date: July 4th 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Books

description:What happens to the girls nobody sees—the ones who are ignored, mistreated, hidden away? The girls nobody hears when they cry for help?
Fourteen-year-old Luce is one of those lost girls. After her father vanishes in a storm at sea, she is stuck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she tumbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid.
A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. The mermaids are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks.
Luce’s own talent at singing captures the attention of the tribe’s queen, the fierce and elegant Catarina, and Luce soon finds herself pressured to join in committing mass murder. Luce’s struggle to retain her inner humanity puts her at odds with her friends; even worse, Catarina seems to regard Luce as a potential rival. But the appearance of a devious new mermaid brings a real threat to Catarina’s leadership and endangers the very existence of the tribe. Can Luce find the courage to challenge the newcomer, even at the risk of becoming rejected and alone once again?
Lost Voices is a captivating and wildly original tale about finding a voice, the healing power of friendship, and the strength it takes to forgive.

My thoughts: That is quite a synopsis. But seriously, I would pick this book up if the description was two words long...because that cover is gorgeous!! This does sound amazing though, I love how the synopsis refers to the "lost girls" which immediately puts the lost boys of Neverland in my head---kind of like, this is the tale of girls who were allowed to fall out of their prams. Ha, not sure if that is what it's meant to do by referring to them as such, but either way, I am terribly excited about this book! :) This will definitely be on my Debut Authors Challenge list for next year!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

In My Mailbox {38}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Fun stuff this week! Got some review books I'm excited about, some cool purchases, and I happened upon a library book sale this morning when I was turning in some books! I love library book sales with all my little ♥. :)

For Review:
Taurus Eyes and Gemini Night by Bonnie Hill Hearn
I picked up the first in this series a few weeks ago at a used book store, so I was excited to get these, so I can review the series as a whole! Thanks, Nicole!

Haunted (Dreaming Anastasia #2) by Joy Preble
I recently read the first in this series and was incredible excited to get this for review! Thank you, Sourcebooks Fire!

Scorch Trials by James Dashner
This one was more for hubby since he's a big fan of the first book---but I definitely will be reading this series as soon as I can!

Dark Life by Kat Falls
I've always been curious about this one! It really looks like an amazing dystopian story about an underwater society!

Gone by Michael Grant
I never gave this one a second look because the cover did not grab me at all. But I finally read the synopsis and it sounds pretty amazing! Plus, I got it for a buck at the library sale! :)

Library check-outs:
Candle Man: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilence by Glenn Dakin
This one looks fun---a steampunk adventure about a young boy who can melt people with one touch!!

Keeper by Kathi Appelt
I've always wanted to read this one... a girl sets out to find her mermaid mother! I haven't heard much about it sounds like an interesting story.

Dormia by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski
This one caught my eye at work when someone turned it in---its about a boy who does some pretty amazing things while he sleepwalking and soon finds out its a special skill from an ancient kingdom!

So, that's what I got this week! Hope everyone had a wonderful book week!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Interview with April Lindner & Giveaway!!

I recently read April Lindner's new take on Jane Eyre, called Jane, and was completely blown away. Loved this book---so romantic, so mysterious. You can see my full review here. I was so excited to interview this author and find out a little more about her and her brilliant twist on a beloved classic!

Thank you, April!

When did you first read Jane Eyre and what was your first reaction to it?
I must have been in high school, in ninth grade or so. I read it because it was my mother's favorite book, and it hooked me right away. I'm sure I thought it was the most romantic book I'd ever read.

Making your version of Jane about a rock star and his nanny was a brilliant twist! What was your inspiration for this?
I love to read adaptations of Jane Austen, and one night after dinner, my husband and I were musing about why there hasn't been a hug rush to update Jane Eyre. We agreed that the sticking point must be the difficulty of finding a contemporary equivalent for the class difference that stands between Jane and Mr. Rochester. It came to me in a flash that if Mr. Rochester were a celebrity, he might seem untouchable to an ordinary young woman. From there it was a tiny little leap to making him a rock star. After books, rock music is my great passion and obsession. I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, I've seen him in concert 21 times, and have gone on ten-hour road trips to get to a show. As soon as I realized there could be a way to mash up Jane Eyre and rock music, I knew nothing was going to keep me from writing it.

Can you tell a little about how you got interested in writing?
I've always loved books and I've always written poems, stories, even novels and a rock opera. I can't really remember a time before I was writing, but I also drew and painted. When I went off to college, I wanted to be an art major, but it became quickly apparent that I was a better at writing than painting. I took a poetry class and loved it. After that, I started to define myself as a poet, but I've always loved fiction and wished I could write something publishable.

Tell us about your ideal writing space.
I love to write in coffee shops, especially in the city where interesting-looking people come and go all day long and there's music but it isn't too loud. At home, I write on my laptop and on a nice day I'll sit out on the front porch with the windows open and the breeze blowing through. But my dogs have to sit out there with me and then they bark at anyone who passes by. So really, I'm better off at Starbucks.

What is up next for you, can you let us in on any secret future writing projects?
This summer I finished drafting a modernization of Wuthering Heights. I'm revising it now, and it's too soon to say much about it, except the setting is a nightclub on the lower east side of New York City and the Heathcliff character is a punk rocker.

How would you describe your writing style?
That's a tough one. I try to write crisply and clearly, and to capture the rhythms of speech in my dialogue and first person narration. I work had at being concise and musical.

Who are your favorite authors? What are you reading right now?
My favorite novelists are the Brontes, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Ann Pachett, Meg Wolitzer, Tom PerrottaÉ and probably many more I'm not thinking of at the moment. Right now I've got several books going at once. I'm reading and loving Richard Russo's That Old Cape Magic, Justina Chen Headley's North of Beautiful and Anne Osterland's Aurelia.

What kind of books did you love to read as a teenager?
I read everything I could get my hands on, especially novels and how to books--how to write, how to act, how to be a ballet dancer. After Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, some of my favorites were A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Marjorie Morningstar and Rebecca.

Which of the characters that you've written is your favorite?
I have an irrational love for the characters I didn't know much about until I started writing their voices, especially ones who are kind to Jane when she's in need. I love them for lending her a hand and for speaking up and letting me know what they were all about. Yvonne and Dennis are examples, but I'm especially thinking of Diana. She's somebody I'd just love to spend an afternoon with.

Fun questions:

Favorite snack while writing?
Almond butter on fresh baked whole grain toast.

Favorite movie?
So many to choose from! If I have to pick one, probably Merchant and Ivory's A Room With a View.

Favorite color?
Electric blue

Favorite band and song?
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, without doubt. It's harder to settle on a favorite song, but I have a special love for Thunder Road, the first Springsteen song I stumbled across. I was thirteen, taking records (yes, records) out of the public library to acquaint myself with some new music, and it was love at first listen.

Favorite teacher from your school years?
Nancy Kenworthy, my high school creative writing teacher, was unbelievably supportive and taught me skills I still use today. She took me to Boston (from my hometown in Southern New Hampshire), to an art museum and to a restaurant on Newbury Street for lunch, to open up my horizons. I look back and am blown away by that; it was so giving, and it really nourished my soul.
Honorary mention goes to Kenneth Dugal, the music teacher at Merrimack High School. He's still there--I checked. He figured out a way to let those of us who loved music and didn't fit in so well spend our homerooms in the band room. That was my whole high school social world--the band room. Come to think of it, my high school experience was a lot like Glee, except Mr. Dugal looked and acted more like Steve Martin than Mr. Shue. He gave his band of student followers a refuge, and something to look forward to every day.

Like cupcakes? More frosting or more cake? :)
I'm crazy about cupcakes, and there's no such thing as too much frosting. Any cupcake is great but red velvet ones are best.

(Photo of April credited to Melissa Kelly/Saint Joseph's University Press)

Jane ARC Giveaway!!
I was lucky enough to receive an early review copy of this amazing book. I loved it and will definitely be buying a finished copy for my collection, so I am passing on my ARC to one lucky winner!
I have to keep this one US only (sorry international blog friends!) because of a tight budget, but look for an international contest coming later this week!!

Here's how to enter:
You must be a follower.
One entry per person, just comment below with your contact email and tell me what your favorite classic story is---even if it's just a classic to you!! (Mine are Little Women and Three Musketeers :D)

Contest ends on October 25th, winner chosen by Good luck, everyone!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

release date: January 4, 2010 by HarperTeen

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees. . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deciet, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

My Thoughts: At first glance...oooh, pretty purple cover, oooh, angels...I want!! And now the first glowing reviews of this are starting to surface and hearing how wonderful it is makes me want to read it right now!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

release date: October 12, 2010

hardcover, 336 pages

intended audience: Young adult

(my recommendation: 16+)

source: from publisher for review


18-year-old Vera's spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie. And over the years she's kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone. Will she emerge and clear his name? Does she even want to?

Review: This story is such an original work of art. Despite a few reviews that I have seen that described this as "funny", I don't think I would call it that at all. I did laugh a few times, Vera is, after all, incredibly witty and sharp tongued, but reading this tale was a harrowing experience. I read it in spurts because the emotional toll some parts took on me. Vera is living some very harsh realities in her life: her best friend, Charlie, who she was secretly in love with has died after a heinous betrayal of their friendship that at a serious low point involved him throwing dog feces at her; her mother abandoned her and her father and she later finds out that her mother spent some time as a stripper; her father is emotional closed off and has always insisted that she avoid putting her nose where it didn't belong---which meant their whole family ignored the fact that Charlie's father used his mother as a punching bag on a daily basis. She gets so many mixed messages from everyone in her life that she is just constantly confused, swigging from her secret bottle of vodka to take the edge off and not even knowing better than to report it when some pervert she is delivering pizza to answers the door naked from the waist down. She figured she was just suppose to ignore that, too, right? Meanwhile, Charlie is haunting her by showing up as hundreds of nagging Charlie ghosts, pushing her to clear his name in the terrible circumstances that surrounded his death. The poor girl, I just felt so bad for her! It seemed more than any human being could handle, let alone a teenage girl who had recently been through some pretty rough times. Still, all this made her character's journey and emotional growth all the more fascinating to read.

Amy King is such an ingenious storyteller, its hard to imagine any other author pulling off a story like this without it being just too depressing. It masterfully flipped between several voices, including "Vera past" and "Vera present", with little interjected input from her dad, Charlie, and even the much referred-to landmark, the Pagoda. See..witty stuff. Who else would even imagine adding in comments from the make-out site/city landmark?? Brilliant move that added much needed lightness to a very heavy story.

Highly recommended, but steel yourself...this one is a bit of a bumpy emotional ride.


I was tagged by Romy at Lost is Stories and Marie at marie LOVES books! Thanks for the fun, ladies! :)

So here we go!!

4 Things In My Purse
  • Burts Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm
  • Wet Ones antibacterial wipes and a mini can of lysol (bit of a germaphobe:D)
  • about 10 Target receipts
  • Stella roll-on perfume

4 Things On My Desk
  • Haunted by Joy Preble (just opened it up!! yay!)
  • empty can of mandarin oranges (answering questions about myself makes me hungry)
  • lots of sticky notes
  • bills (boooo!)

4 Favorite Things In My Bedroom
  • a VERY comfy adjustable pillow-top bed
  • my clothes, of course
  • my vintage hat collection
  • my secret stash of mini reeses cups and milano cookies (good thing my kids don't read my blog LOL)

4 Things I Always Wanted To Do (but haven't done yet)
  • learn to play the cello
  • live outside the US (Scotland, maybe!!)
  • go to BEA! (ok, I haven't always wanted this, but since finding out about it this past year, YES!)
  • hire a maid ;D

4 Things I Enjoy Very Much At The Moment
  • blogging
  • reading YA books
  • walking my kindergartner to school, he's always so excited to go!
  • a nice Starbucks venti soy chai frapp

4 Songs I Can't Get Out Of My Head
  • "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast (we just watched the new blu-ray)
  • hm...can't think of any others so I guess there's no other songs stuck in my head :)

4 Things You Don't Know About Me
  • I used to dance hula & tahitian
  • I've been married 17 years
  • Spent the last year and half kicking leukemia's ass!
  • love Audrey Hepburn movies and books about her.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In My Mailbox {37}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Here we go!
For review:
Spray by Harry Edge
It will be interesting to see where this story goes---its a little hard to imagine a full story about water gun fights! :)

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
This was a total surprise and I was SUPER excited to get this in my mailbox!! Really loved Before I Fall and I can't wait to see what else Lauren Oliver has up her sleeve!!

Knight Angels 2: Book of Revenge
I loved the first book in this series and I can't wait to read the second!

Many thanks to Macmillan, HarperTeen, and Abra Ebner!

I need your help!!! I have decided to get an e-reader (obviously spurred on by the fantastic books that were released on Netgalley this past week! I neeeed Angelfire & Always a Witch!!), and I'm completely torn on whether to get a Nook or a Kindle!! Have you compared them? Know of anything that can 100% sway me toward one or the other?? Please, any input is welcome! :D

Friday, October 8, 2010

Review: Revolution

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

release date: October 12, 2010

hardcover, 496 pages

intended audience: Young adult

source: ARC from Star Book Tours


description from goodreads:
Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break. PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape. Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

While I was reading the first part of this book, I was a little unsure of my opinion of it. It was a lot to take in: a lot of sadness, a lot of rich kids and irresponsible drug use, a lot of historical and political detail. It was all interesting enough, but it wasn't until about a third of the way through this tale that it really grabbed me and then it was an amazingly touching and thrilling story that didn't leave me, even when the last page was turned. As a matter of fact, I plan to buy it and read it again soon!

When we meet Andi, she is completely broken. Her entire family is broken by the death of her little brother. She is suicidal and popping anti-depressants like candy. She is just about flunking out of her prestigious private school,and she couldn't care less. Her only solace is her music. Her angst and sorrow make her a hard character to connect with, but you definitely feel her loss and pain. Her father takes her to Paris where he works so he can supervise her schoolwork. She soon discovers that her father is there to prove that a mysterious container that is said to hold the heart of the dauphin of the french revolution (Marie Antoinette's son) is, without a doubt, the real thing. This hits close to home for Andi because it involves the awful death of boy the same age as her brother. She continues to spiral down and down, leaning more and more on her anti depressants. Then one day, she finds a mysterious artifact that causes her to be completely wrapped up in the history of the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette, the dauphin and the amazing story of a young actress her own age who was the dauphin's companion.

The amount of research put into this novel was so impressive. It put you right into the French Revolution, and all the people, places, smells, and terrors just come alive. Music, both modern and classical, is almost a character of it's own in this story. Andi's connection to a young performer from 200 years ago becomes more and more entwined until...!! You must read this and find out! It's definitely surprising!

Favorite quote: That whole window to the soul thing? That was him. When you looked into his eyes, you could see everything he thought and felt and loved. You could see Lyra and Pan. The Temple of Dendur. Bottle Rockets. Gary Kasparov. Beck. Kyuma. Chili cheese dogs. Derek Jeter. And us.

Visit Jennifer Donnelly's website here!


Hoppin' Around! Blog Hop & Follow Friday

It's Friday again and you know what that means!! It's time to hop around and make some new blog friends!! If it's your first visit to Stories & Sweeties, WELCOME!!! Please feel free to link in the comments so I can visit you, too! :)

First off, we have Follow Friday hosted by Parakjunkee's View! (click the logo to get there!)Here's the featured question of the week:
How many book reviews do you like to do in a week?

Well, I would like to do four or five, but it really ends up to be more like two or three. There's just not enough hours in day in my household!! :)

Next up is the Book Blog Hop hosted by Crazy-for-Books! (click the logo to get there!)This week, she asks: What's your favorite beverage while reading or blogging, if any?

Hot chocolate!! So excited that the weather is getting colder so I can cozy up with my blanket and hot mug of cocoa and read away the hours! A close second is tea is Ginger Peach tea.

Thanks for hopping by!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

The Iron Witch
by Karen Mahoney

release date: February 1st, 2011 by Flux

Description from goodreads:
Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

My thoughts: I've been drooling over this one for months since the cover was released. And what a gorgeous cover it is, with all it's graceful swirls and bizarre tattoos on her arm. Fairies, magic, a centuries old war---this one is sounds like an amazing, epic fantasy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Review: Jane

Jane by April Lindner

publisher: Poppy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

release date: October 10, 2010

hardcover, 384 pages

intended audience: Young Adult

source: ARC received from publisher for review


Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, an iconic rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer, and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is tested by a torturous secret from his past. Part irresistible romance and part darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.

Review: I've never read Jane Eyre. It's been one of those books that I always meant to pick up, but never have. April Lindner's new spin on this story had me so enthralled that as soon as I closed the last page, (I was at work) I walked straight out to the shelf and grabbed a copy of Jane Eyre.

Jane Moore has just had to drop out of Sarah Lawrence college due to lack of funds---her parents have just been in a fatal car accident and left everything of value to her two older siblings. With a solid promise to herself to work her way back to school, she lands in the office of Discriminating Nannies, Inc. to find a job to get her back on her feet. Little does she know, this will be her ticket to something amazing. Discriminating Nannies, Inc. is looking for the exact right person to fill a very special nanny position. They need someone who is trustworthy, doesn't pay attention to tabloid stories, and can be absolutely discreet---they think Jane fits the bill perfectly.

Jane has been given the job of nanny to the 5-year-old daughter of rock star, Nico Rathburn. Now Jane us not into music, but even she knows this name. Known for some serious bad-boy antics in his earlier days, Jane has no idea what to expect in her new position. When she arrives, he is away and she quickly bonds with
his daughter,Maddy, and the head of the household staff, Lucia. When she finally meets Nico, they get off to a rocky, awkward start but then slowly grow to be friends.

Both Jane and Nico are fascinating complex characters. Through little flashbacks we get to see a bit of Jane's family history. Her family life was pretty harsh, with a mother who always made it clear that having Jane was an "unwelcome surprise", a vain, selfish sister who ignored her, and a brother who abused her, her only love and protection came from her father, but he was seldom around. It's easy to see where Jane's lack of self-confidence come from. Still, she shows some strength and spark when it comes to sticking up for herself, even against the big intimidating rock star. She is very goal driven, determined to get her life back in order. She speaks her mind when it's important. It's also interesting how she handles her own feelings,...for anyone, I think, it would take a lot to walk away from something they care so much about, to save herself. It was beautiful to see her grow throughout the story into someone with the strength to stand up to her own past.

Nico is an interesting mess, and you can see how his long time stardom has affected his actions and the way he interacts with Jane. He is a bit bossy at times and tends to handle his feelings all wrong. But overall, he is this amazing, loving person who has just gotten a little sidetracked along the way. I can't say much more without given too much away!

I think Lindner's decision to make him a rock icon was the perfect way to translate a classic story from the 1800s into something that can catch the interest and fascination of readers today. After all, can you imagine yourself as the nanny to a famous person's child---the strange goings on that you would have to deal with in the household of a star?

I, for one, loved this book, but as I said, I haven't read Jane Eyre. I think many lovers of Jane Eyre were wary about seeing this story retold, worried it wouldn't hold up the integrity of the original. So for those of your who are worried, I'm directing your to an awesome YA book reviews blog who has read Jane Eyre and Jane, and loved it! Check it out here:
Carol's Prints: Jane Eyre Gets a Makeover.

Definitely give this one shot---you won't be disappointed in this great love story!

Visit the author's site here!


Monday, October 4, 2010

A Really Cool Video from Jackson Pearce on Book Piracy!

Jackson Pearce, author of As You Wish and Sisters Red, put together this awesome video in reply to all the stupid excuses people come up with to justify illegal downloading of books. Take a look...its brilliant!!

I was a fan of hers before I saw this, even bigger fan after. :) Awesome stuff, Jackson!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In My Mailbox {36}

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Thanks to everyone who commented last week on my new photo setup :) To those who were wondering, I actually don't have whole shelf completely free that I can take these photos on---this one is usually a partially full shelf and a knick-knack, so it's easy to take down for the IMM photos. My lovely wall o' shelves is very nearly full with my books, hubby's books ( he reads historical books and lots of MG adventure stuff), and also houses my collection of vintage cameras. :) Yup, I like photography, too :) I'll have to do a shelf tour sometime soon.

So, no review books this week, which on one hand is sad, but on another is kinda of "phew!" so I can get a little caught up. I did get a finished copy of Halo, which was a fun surprise (thanks, Feiwel & Friends!!) I also got in a trip to my used book store and got some great stuff!! Oh, and one library check-out. :)

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
I was given the first two of this series, and haven't had a chance to get to them yet. I saw this one and figured I would complete the set (so far!) 4 bucks, how could I pass it up?

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
I recently read and LOVED this authors upcoming release, Revolution. I can't wait to read more of her work!

Starlighter by Bryan Davis
Couldn't resist this cover, and after reading Firelight recently, I wanted more dragons stories!

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
I read a great review of this by Amelia at Imagination in Focus this past week, so when I found it at the used book store in perfect condition, I happily grabbed it!

Library check-out:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I've never read this before, but I read "Jane" this week by April Lindner and was so in love with the story, I decided I had to go back and read the amazing classic that it's based on.

So I hope everyone has a happy reading week!! Show me those mailboxes so I can add to my need-to-read list!! :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Review: When Rose Wakes

When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden

publisher: MTV Books (Simon & Schuster)

release date: September 28. 2010

paperback, 320 pages

intended audience: Young adult

source: From publisher for review


description from author's site:

Ever since sixteen-year-old Rose DuBois woke up from months in a coma with absolutely no memories, she's had to start from scratch. She knows she loves her two aunts who take care of her, and that they all used to live in France, but everything else from her life before is a blank.

Rose tries to push through the memory gaps and start her new life, attending high school and living in Boston with her aunts, who have seriously old world ideas. Especially when it comes to boys.

But then Rose starts to have eerie dreams, vivid nightmares that she comes to realize are strangely like the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. The evil witch, the friendly fairies, a curse that puts an entire town to sleep - Rose relives the frightening story every night. And when a mysterious raven-haired woman starts following her, Rose begins to wonder if she is the dormant princess. And now that she's awake, she's in terrible, terrible danger. . . .

Review: I've said it a billion times. I love fairy tale retellings. Just love them. When I saw this announcement for this one, I just could not wait to read it. Especially after seeing this gorgeous cover and reading the most recent synopsis. I had built it up so much in mind that I'd started to worry about being disappointed, that it wouldn't live up to my high expectations. So gratefully, I was wrong to worry----SO wrong!! This book did not disappoint. It was such a perfect mix of adventure, in both the mundane and fantasy worlds!!

It opens with Rose, who has just woken up from a very persistent coma. All she remembers is her aunts, who tell her she has been in a coma for two years. They fill in little details of her life, how they lived in France and moved her to America in hopes of finding a specialist doctor who could help bring her out of the coma. From the very beginning, you can tell the aunts are hiding something big from her past. Rose begins having vivid dreams about a different time where she lives in a castle and her father is king, and she her closest friend is a fairy. The aunts tell her that she used to imagine this world in her playtime when she was small and that is where the dreams are coming from.

Rose was an amazing character. She basically has to find the strength to reinvent herself from scratch because any memory of who she used to be is gone. Soon after waking, she starts back to school, aside from what she has seen on TV while recovering, she has to figure out how to navigate the craziness of high school. She immediately finds an enemy in the popular cheerleading (which I thought a little cliche, but what are you gonna do? It's a plot dilemma that often works) but absolutely loved Rose's gut instinct to fend for herself and her no-backing-down attitude.

Her aunts are sweet and funny, but fiercely protective of Rose. They are insanely adamant that Rose stay away from boys. Rose tries to respect this although she doesn't understand why, but finds herself falling for a boy at her school. He was a great character, too, but I did have a tiny problem with him. I'm a big advocate for a "no means no" mentality, so when she tells him she can't kiss him and he does it anyway, he lost a few points in my book. Still, for the most part, he is a good guy and the development of their relationship is sweet. She makes some other good friends as well, but really I was just impressed with Rose's ability to stand on her own two feet.

The twist on the "spindle" aspect of the story is quite interesting!! You'll have to read it to find out what I mean! Definitely more of a risk in this day and age than finding a spinning wheel to prick her finger on! :)

The story gets really exciting (and sometimes surprisingly violent) toward the end! There is just a little gore, so be prepared! But When Rose Wakes was excellently written and had some really great twists and turns, a perfect update of the Sleeping Beauty story!

Visit Christopher Golden's site here!