Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's Netgalley Month!!

Emily at Red House Books has declared April to be NETGALLEY MONTH!!

She put together a great challenge to help all of us Netgalley users catch up on all the ebooks we've got waiting to be read! Check out this post for all the details---there's going to be prizes!
The idea is to read as many Netgalley books as you can throughout the month of April. Here's what currently on my Nook from Netgalley (um..sadly, I'll probably realistically only get to a few of these but here's hoping! lol)

Always a Witch by Carolyn McCollough
Die For Me by Amy Plum
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter



Huge thanks to Emily for the inspirational kick in the pants to get these read! :D

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

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.

Bloodspell
by Amalie Howard

release date: June 1st, 2011 by Langdon Street Press

description:
The spell was simple …


Cruentus Protectum. Defend the Blood.

But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?

Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds—much less one that reveals she’s a witch with unimaginable power.

What’s more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own …

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood’s deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?

My thoughts: Witches, desires, sinister secrets, and mysterious journals?? OH this one sounds so good to me! Lots of story elements that catch my eye...and that cover?? Gorgeous, seriously.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Exposed

Exposed by Kimberley Marcus

publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

release date: February 22, 2011

hardcover, 288 pages

intended audience: Young adult

rating:



source: from publisher for honest review

description:In the dim light of the darkroom, I'm alone, but not for long.
As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.
The background of the dance studio blurred, so the focus is all on her
legs extended in a perfect soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle,
my forever-best friend.


Sixteen-year-old Liz Grayson is photogirl—sharp, focused and ready to take the world by storm with her camera. But Liz's entire life is called into question when her brother is accused of a crime—and the accuser is Liz's own best friend. As the aftershocks from that accusation rip through Liz's world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself, shifts out of focus. And for the first time in her life, Liz finds herself unable to trust her own point of view. Told in stunning, searingly raw free verse, Exposed is Kimberly Marcus's gut-wrenching, riveting debut and will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson and Virginia Euwer Wolff.


Review: This amazing debut, written in free form verse, is a poignant look at how everything a person holds dear---their family foundation, their closest friendships, their own sense of self---can be shaken to it's core by one moment. It's beautifully written. One thing I've noticed about books written in verse (this is only the second that I've read) is that with so few words, and especially for this one, since its only 288 pages, each and every word packs this amazing emotional wallop. Each and every line has impact and perfectly conveys what the character is feeling and experiencing.

Liz and Kate have been friends forever, and planned to keep it that way. No matter what else is going on, they drop everything once a month and have a sleepover. During one of these sleepovers, they have a fight, Liz goes upstairs to her room, and from that night on, everything changes. Kate won't talk to her, won't return her calls, avoids her the school hallways. Liz is dumbfounded---the fight they had wasn't that bad. The mystery is solved a few days later when she finds out through word of mouth what happened when she left Kate alone that night and Liz's older brother came home.

I really felt for Liz being thrown into the middle of this, being left to try to decipher what really happened and which of these people that she loves is lying to her. Both sides have completely different stories. Her best friend in the world says she can't even look at her because when she does she sees her brother. Her brother says he did nothing wrong and is hurt that Liz doubts his innocence. Her parents are just barely holding it together, but also placing a lot on Liz's shoulders. Even Liz's one saving grace, her ability to lose herself to her photography and the future she had in it, seems to be slipping away. It was heartbreaking to read, brought me close to tears more than once. Everyone involved loses so much in these sorts of situations, everyone gets dragged through the mud. It's the kind of story that artfully and honestly presents both sides and gets you thinking. Definitely give this one a try.

Visit Kimberly Marcus's site here.

Purchase Exposed at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository Indiebound

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Once Upon A Time Challenge 2011!!

The annual Once Upon A Time challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings is starting up again, and this year I've decided to join up and go on the quest! :D I am really excited to participate in this. Anyone whose been around my little blog for awhile knows how much I love books that are fairy-tale retellings, fantasies, or based on any kind of myth or folklore, so this event will be right up my alley! If you love them as well, definitely stop by the challenge site and get all the details!

So, for my first time participating, I have decided to jump straight in with both feet and take on "Quest the Third". To fulfill my goal, I will be reading at least FIVE books that fall into the categories of fairytale, folklore, fantasy, or mythology between now and June 20th, AND in June I'll be finishing off with a viewing of Midsummer Night's Dream (the one with Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci, Anna Friel, and company. I loved that one and haven't watched it in so long!)

Here's a quick list of a few of the titles that I'll be choosing from, because I haven't made a solid decision which books I'll be reading for sure:
  • Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
  • Pegasus by Robin McKinlay
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
  • Huntress by Malinda Lo (I've actually just started this one today!)
  • Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
  • Eon & Eona by Alison Goodman
  • The Hollow by Jessica Verday
  • The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
  • Siren by Trisha Rayburn
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland on a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente
  • Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
  • Plain Kate by Erin Bow
  • So Silver Bright by Lisa Matchev
  • Wings by Aprilynne Pike
  • What the Dickens by George Maguire
  • Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
  • Wildefire by Karsten Knight (IF I can somehow get my hands on a copy of this before June!)
So there's my candidates---what do you think? Any that I should definitely add to the list? Any from the list that you'd excitedly recommend?

Anyone else participating in this challenge? Link me up so I can see your book picks!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In My Mailbox {59}

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

Got some great stuff for review this week, and scored some fun books at bargain prices!! All in all, an awesome book week!
For Review:
Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes by Amber Kizer
I really enjoyed Meridian by this author, so I'm curious if I'll enjoy her contemporary work as well.

The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
I haven't read this series, so I'll have to seek out the read the first two! I tend to avoid Zombie stories, so I may pass this one on to another reviewer---any volunteers? :)

The Fitzosbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper
This one looks amazing!! It's a second in a series, so I'll be ordering A Brief History of Montmarary this week!

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland on a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
I posted about this one a few weeks ago...the trailer is so perfect and I can't wait to crack this one open!

Shimmer by Alyson Noel
I loved the first book in this MG series, I can't wait to see what is in store for Riley and Bodie!

Many thanks to Random House & Macmillan for these!

Bought:
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
I've wanted to read this for a year now...finally just grabbed my own copy. Sooo pretty.

Ash by Malinda Lo
Love this book---catch my review here.

All You Get is Me by Yvonne Prinz
This has been on my wishlist forever. I lucked out finding it at half-price!

Jane by April Lindner
Another of my favorites---here's my review.

Fool's Girl by Celia Rees
This one's gotten mixed reviews, but I couldn't resist the pretty cover and a story involving Shakespeare for just a couple bucks. :)

So this week, expect reviews of Exposed and hopefully Huntress. AND...guys! Wow! I went away today and came back to 800 followers! I may just have to do a little giveaway to say thanks to each and every one of my lovely blog readers! :D Thanks so much, everyone!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: Haunting Violet

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers

release date: June 21st, 2011

hardcover, 352 pages

intended audience: Young adult

rating:


source: Around the World ARC Tours

description: Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

Review: I tend to love stories set in the Victorian era,... the propriety, the gowns and corsets (though I am grateful the world of women's fashion has long since left corsets behind!), the birth of the seance and a craze over mediums. This one was no exception, I really enjoyed it.

I loved the characters in this book. Violet was a great protagonist, a proper young lady in spite of her position in society but with a great sense of wit, mostly heard through her inner dialogue. Possibly a little on the shy side outwardly, having constantly lived in the shadow of a very demanding, showy mother. It was easy to relate to her and to feel compassion for her and cheer her on. I adored her best friend, Elizabeth. They're closeness and sense of fun was just the perfect touch to lighten the darkness of this ghostly story. Colin was easily my favorite character: humble but brave, funny but passionate...and could sneak a kiss on a girl like nobody's business! Loved him. Oh, and Mr. Rochester...loved him, too, but you'll have to read the book to find out who he is! :)

I loved reading about all the tricks and wool-pulling tactics Violet's mother used to perform her fake seances. You could easily see how much research the author put in to make it as accurate as possible. Funny thing was, Violet begins to actually see real ghosts. The ghost of a drowned girl comes to Violet, insistent that she solve her murder. That's where the story takes quite a creepy turn! It did get off to kind of slow start for me, took about 50 or 60 pages to really pick up. Then there were some moments of brilliance, but also a few moments that left me scratching my head. There were a few times when I was left wondering, "Why did that person react that way? Was it just to make him look like a suspect?" But despite the slow start and a few confusing quirks, this turned into a great, entertaining murder mystery with a nice mix of spookiness, romance, and few good laughs.

Visit Alyxandra Harvey's site here.

Get a sneak peek of Haunting Violet here!

Pre-order Haunting Violet at: AmazonBN.com

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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.


Supernaturally
by Kiersten White

NEW RELEASE DATE!!! July 26, 2011
from HarperTeen

description:A lot has changed in the six months since Evie escaped from the International Paranormal Containment Agency with her shape-shifter boyfriend, Lend. She finally has the blissfully normal life she’s always dreamed of, including:
1) A real live high school
2) A perfectly ordinary after-school job
3) Her very own locker (and by the way, rusted metal is every bit as awesome as she imagined)

But Evie’s not-so-normal past keeps creeping up on her...and things get pretty complicated when you factor in:
1) A centuries-old, seriously decaying vampire stalker
2) A crazy faerie ex-boyfriend who is the perpetual bearer of really bad news
3) A major battle brewing between the faerie courts where the prize in question happens to be...Evie herself.

So much for normal.

My thoughts: Really, this one needs no explanation. Paranormalcy was awesome. And I can't wait to see Evie take on the everyday high school experience. SO happy that the release date has been moved up on this one...a whole month less to wait! Yay! :D

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wither Review & Giveaway!!

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

publisher: Simon & Schuster

release date: March 22, 2011

hardcover, 356 pages

intended audience: Young adult

rating:



source: from publisher for honest review

description: What if you knew exactly when you would die? Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home. But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Review: Mesmerizing. That is the best way to describe this one. Simply mesmerizing from beginning to end. DeStefano gives us a frightening glimpse into a horrifying, twisted future of mankind, where all disease and human health problems have been rectified, but at the hefty cost of about 70-80 years of our lifespan. What would it be like if everyone lived perfectly healthy lives, but only until their early twenties when they succumb to a vicious virus much like tuberculosis. Society has pretty much crumbled, most children are raised in orphanages, and all females, even as young as 13, live in danger of being kidnapped and sold into prostitution or forced into marriage. This was a dark and gritty tale, definitely hard to stomach at times.

Rhine, our protagonist, was brave and determined in a horrible situation. She's been kidnapped and forced into a polygamist marriage, living in a huge mansion with a grieving husband, his mysterious father who will do anything to find a cure, two other wives and several servants. All three wives are given anything they wish, but their freedom, of course. They are even confined to a single floor of the mansion, unless escorted. As the story goes along, the lines begin to blur between right and wrong, and it becomes obvious that no one is who they first seem to be.

I loved the development of the relationships between the three "sister wives". Its shift back and forth between a protective sisterly bond to a struggle for power. Each girl has a very different relationship with their husband defined by who they are, what they've been through, and what they want to achieve. For Rhine, almost immediately after she arrives, begins to devise a plan of escape, and despite everything that happens while she is there, she never looses sight of that goal---to get back to her twin brother and a life of freedom. I think the thing that disturbed me most was the youngest wife, Cicely. She was so young, so deluded and naive in her attitude toward being kidnapped and forced to marry at 13, it was painful to read.

A fascinating, heart-wrenching read that starts, literally, in pitch darkness and ends with the smallest glimmer of hope...I can't wait to see what the future holds for this series!

Visit Lauren DeStefano's site here.

Purchase Wither at: Amazon BN.comBookDepository

Trailer:


I'm giving away one finished copy of Wither!!
This contest is international and ends on 4/12/11.
See further rules on entry form.
Fill out Entry Form Here!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In My Mailbox {58}

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

I think I did the happy dance so many time this week that I'm lucky I didn't pull a muscle. I was so very excited and extremely grateful to get all these wonderful books!

For Review:
Kindred by Tammar Stein
This one looks interesting! Involves angels and actually deals with the religious side of them. So we'll see.

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
Enticed by Jessica Shirvington
So excited!! This series looks amazing and I've heard such great things about them.

Huntress by Malinda Lo
Squeeee!! Ok, so this is one of my most anticipated reads this year. Loved Ash, and this one takes place in the same world, 200 years before. Plus the wonderful people at Little, Brown sent me a gorgeous finished copy!!

Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Sequel to Raised by Wolves, which I really enjoyed. I need more Devon!!

My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff
This one looks great---I had a lot of theater friends in school so this might be a bit of nostalgia for me! :)

From Bad to Cursed by Katie Alender
Sequel to Bad Girls Don't Cry---this one unique and spooky, I loved it so I'm looking forward to the sequel.

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade
Loved Ghost and the Goth, I can't wait to get more Alona & Will!

Never Sit Down in a Hoop Skirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell by Crickett Rumley
This cover is to die for...so cute. The premise for this sounds so funny, I can't wait to dig in.

For ARC Tour:
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Reading this one now, off to a great start. Set in Victorian times!

Huge thanks to Random House, Hatchette AU, Little Brown Books, EgmontUSA, Disney Hyperion, and Around the World Tours!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Trailer: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

I just have to share this trailer. I've been completely charmed by it! It's for Catherynne M. Valente's upcoming MG fantasy, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland on a Ship of Her Own Making. I've had my eye on this one for months, the cover is so beautiful, the story sounds fun, and its getting praise upon praise from the likes of Neil Gaiman, Peter S. Beagle, and Holly Black! The thing that really makes the trailer is the funny little song---it was written by artist S. J. Tucker especially for this book! The illustrations are so fantastic, I'm not sure if they come straight from the book but I can't wait to find out! This book hits stores in May!Synopsis: Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

Trailer:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: The Iron Witch

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

publisher: Flux

release date: February 8th, 2011

paperback, 290 pages

intended audience: Young adult

rating:



source: from publisher for honest review

description: 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.

Review: For whatever reason, I had a hard time really connecting with this story. It started out a bit slow and didn't really have anything that made it stand out from other stories out there. The premise was interesting: you have a girl with iron hands that give her extraordinary strength. She is connected to the mysterious world of alchemy and magic, where the four alchemical sects are working to discover the elixir of life and at war with the secret world of elves and fairies. All of this was interesting, but you never got indepth enough about any of this to fully draw you into the story. I kept waiting to hear more about the alchemists and Donna's part in their world, or more about the elves and what was happening to their world. You get hints and small details here and there, on the surface, and I kept expecting to be let in on the secrets as the book went on, but in the end, it felt a little hollow.

I did really enjoy the friendship between Donna and Navin. They had a good, easy-going, loyal camaraderie. Lots of witty banter between the two. The meat of the story is about the elves kidnapping Navin and Donna's plight to rescue him. While this part was suspenseful and exciting, Navin's disappearance doesn't happen until well into the second half of the book. There is, of course, the mysterious love interest with a cool name, Xan. I love the way they meet up on the roof, both hiding from the wild party below. And although I thought the "so-into-you" factor happens a little too instantly, I did like the dynamic of their relationship. It was kind of give and take, and I was glad to see Donna find someone she could share her secrets with. I did not, however, like the fact that, Donna flares up in jealousy at the mere mention of another girls name. They barely know each other, he's just opening up to her, and he can't even say another girls name without Donna getting jealous? And then there is the token mean girl and her posse who mercilessly harass our protagonist and call her "freak"--- it was fun watching Donna put her in her place once or twice. :)

I also liked the interjected journal entries from Donna. With the rest of the story being told in third person, I felt those were needed to really get some insight on her feeling toward everything that was going on around her. However, the quick switches from first to third person perspective made the story feel a little choppy to me.

While this book wasn't my favorite, it was good, and I'll be interested to see if we get a little more detail into the mysterious world as the series continues.

Visit Karen Mahoney's site here.

Read the first two chapters here.

Purchase The Iron Witch at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

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.

Texas Gothic
by Rosemary Clement-Moore

releasing July 12th, 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

description:
Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.


My thoughts: I've had my eye on this one for a long time. Love the cover, love witchy stories. Wacky aunt? Ghosties? Bodies turning up mysteriously? AND Cowboys?? Seriously...what's not to want about this one?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Clarity Review & Giveaway!

Clarity by Kim Harrington

publisher: Scholastic Point

release date: March 1st, 2011


hardcover, 242 pages


intended audience: Young Adult

rating:




source: from publisher for honest review

description: When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?

This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Review: This was a fun read. Lots of really good memorable moments and great characters. Some YA cliches, like the girl with special powers being shunned by her classmates and called "freak", and every boy she comes in contact with being stunningly handsome, but despite all that, Harrington's fresh twist on things and great writing style make it a solidly entertaining and very quick read.

I loved Clarity. She is funny and sharp, with a good head on her shoulders when it comes to boys. None of this 'he's gorgeous, I must have him" without a thought or solid reason. Face with a cheating ex, she holds on pretty tightly to her convictions. Faced with a swoon-worthy new guy in town who at first seems to connect with her and then shuns her because of her gifts, she stands up and shows that she's got a spine. I also loved her relationship with her mother and her brother. They were loyal and supportive of each other. It was a great dynamic. This plot had a lot of that theme woven throughout each thread...family, how each is different, and how far someone will go to protect theirs. It really made this story stand apart.

Even more than being a paranormal story, this was a fantastic murder mystery. A tourist has died in a small beach town and the suspicions start flying. With the whole incident centering around a popular town hangout, the finger could point at anyone. The investigation twists and turns and my prediction for who the killer was must have changed a dozen times. Even in the very end, I was pretty surprised! Always a good thing---there is nothing worse than a predictable mystery! Well, this one was far from that.

Definitely check this one out for a fun, twisty paranormal mystery! I think fans of The Body Finder and even those who enjoy a good Agatha Christie "who-done-it" story will really enjoy this one!

Visit Kim Harrington's website here.

Purchase Clarity at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository

Trailer:


Clarity Giveaway!!
Two lucky winners will receive a beautiful finished copy of Clarity!
Just fill out the form below!
(Giveaway is sponsored by Scholastic and open to US only. )

Enter here!
Contest closes 3/28/11

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In My Mailbox {57}



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

Got some lovelies for review this week! For review:
So Shelly by Ty Roth
I've had my eye on this one forever! Classical poets written as modern day teenagers---sound so amazing!

The Queen of Water by Laura Resau & Maria Virginia Farinango
I haven't heard much about this one, but I am really intrigued! It's a story of self-discovery about a young Equadorian girl, based on a true story.

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
I've been curious about this one, so I'm glad to get to try it out!

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
Another book in verse and after my first experience with this format, I'm looking forward to diving into it again. It's about a girl who has a passion for photography whose family is turned upside down when her brother is accused of rape. Sounds very intense.

The Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian
This looks like a sweet story, about two best friends who will do anything for each other.

Somber Island by T. Lynne Tolles
Signed by author and included some lovely bookmarks! This one looks eerie---looking forward to it!

Huge thanks to Random House & T. Lynne Tolles for sending these for review!

So, that's all for me this week! Let's see those mailboxes!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cover Story: My Top Five Indie Covers!

I love book covers. I admit it...as much as people say "don't just a book, yadda, yadda"...I'm a total cover fanatic. Like for instance today, a friend of mine was telling me about a book, a major 800 page, apocalyptic vampire story which I might not have even given a second look to---too long, too gory, too not YA (haha), but then I saw the cover: "Ooo, pretty cover!" and for one second, I considered picking it up. So, yeah, I'm a cover hound. Definitely.

So, the one thing I DO believe in is this: don't judge a book by its publisher! I've found some great, nay, ...fantastic indie books in my reading adventures. So, let's talk about Indie covers. The fun thing about Indie covers is the fact that, in most cases, the authors choose their own covers. What's so cool about that is you get to see a cover that really depicts how the author sees their own character and the world that they've written.

Here are just a few of the amazing covers that I've discovered in my wanderings around Goodreads, all Indie or small publishing houses. Enjoy the eye candy!!

Somber Island
by T. Lynne Tolles

This one sounds amazing, about a servant girl and a mysterious master of the house, ghostly dreams and strange creatures!
Click here to read the synopsis!












by Sharde Richardson

I'll definitely be checking this one out...a young girl who suddenly starts seeing dark auras around everyone, in a town where everyone seems to be acting a little strangely. Oh yea, she also has a ...q-tip habit?? That alone has me so curious about this one! :D
Read the synopsis here!








Jenny Pox

by JL Bryan

A girl whose touch spreads a supernatural plague finally finds love. This one sounds completely unique---hoping to get my hands on this soon!

Read the info here!








Spiderwork
by LK Rigel

I love this tagline:
"Her fate was to hold the world together. His destiny was to tear it apart. "

Read more about this one here!







Betrayal

by Mayandree Michel

So curious about this one! Greek gods, creepy dreams, and a girl who must leave her own time and venture into the past to assume the role she's meant for: saving an ancient empire from evil forces! This sounds so cool!

Read more about it here!


That's all for now. Do you have any Indie covers that have caught your eye??

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

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.

On The Fringe
by Courtney King Walker

release date: October 19, 2011 by Lands Atlantic Publishing

description:
Claire is struggling to overcome the murder of her childhood friend and secret crush, Daniel. Everyone else seems to be moving on with their lives, but she's still trying to cope. The fact that she finds herself alone and drowning on her 16th birthday isn't helping.
Neither is thinking she sees Daniel's face in murky water as she mysteriously resurfaces. But something happened during those four and a half minutes that will make her realize it was not just her imagination.
As Claire and Daniel try to grasp a possible reconnection, other grudge-holding beings have plans of their own. Now, the two of them have to decide if their fleeting relationship is worth the possibility of Claire being trapped on the fringe forever.
Beautifully told, On the Fringe intertwines fresh ideas about devotion, revenge, and the consequences that come with life and death.

My Thoughts: This sounds to me like one of those eerie, heart-wrenching tales that is impossible to put aside. I'm curious to see just how the relationship with Claire and Daniel works, and what spin the author puts on a ghostly love story.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cover Story: In the Forest of the Night (Tyger, Tyger #2)

I was so excited to just discover this on Goodreads!! Tyger, Tyger was one of my favorites last year, and I cannot wait for the second book. Take a look at this cover of gorgeousness!
Bring on more Teagan and Finn!! And Aidan, too! :D

In the Forest of the Night by Kersten Hamilton

Teagan, Finn, and Aiden have made it out of Mag Mell alive, but the Dark Man's forces are hot on their heels. Back in Chicago, Tea’s goblin cousins show up at her school, sure she will come back to Mag Mell, as goblin blood is never passive once awoken. Soon she will belong to Fear Doirich and join them. In the meantime, they are happy to entertain themselves by trying to seduce, kidnap, or kill Tea’s family and friends.
Teagan knows she doesn’t have much time left, and she refuses to leave Finn or her family to be tortured and killed. A wild Stormrider, born to rule and reign, is growing stronger inside her. But as long as she can hold on, she’s still Teagan Wylltson, who plans to be a veterinarian and who heals the sick and hurting. The disease that’s destroying her—that’s destroying them all—has a name: Fear Doirich.
And Teagan Wylltson is not going to let him win.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Orchards

Orchards by Holly Thompson

publisher:
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers

release date: February 22, 2011


hardcover, 336 pages


intended audience: Young Adult


rating:




source: from publisher for honest review

description: 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.

Review: This is my first foray into the world of books written in verse. I admit, I was a little hesitant at first. But as far as Orchards is concerned, it was amazing. The rhythm of the words fit the subject and tone this story was trying to get across just perfectly. This book is described as being written in spare yet evocative verse, and they weren't kidding. There was, on average, about twenty lines of verse on each page. With this writing method, you seem to get more of a "feel" for what is going on, rather than the full behind-the-scenes details that you would in a regular novel. It's not a bad thing, but there were times during reading when I felt like I wanted to know more---more about Kana, more about her parent's story, more about what led to Ruth's suicide. Then, strangely enough, when I turned the last page, the story felt complete and satisfying, like any detail that I had wanted to know before was somehow insignificant now.

You get to know Kana, the main character, slowly and intimately, through her words to Ruth, her classmate who committed suicide after being bullied by the, more or less, leader of Kana's group of friends. This is how the story is told, through Kana's voice as she addresses Ruth, telling her about being sent to stay with her grandmother in Japan to "reflect in the presence of her ancestors", and talking to Ruth about what they all could have done differently as she works through her grief and her anger and her guilt. The story itself is haunting and heart-wrenching, the descriptions of the Japanese culture and surroundings are enchanting and lush, and the subject is so incredibly poignant at this day and age when bullying and teen suicide are unfortunately such timely issues.

I have to say a little about the physical book. It was just as amazing and gorgeous as the story inside. The cover is so pretty, the colors, the font, and the bottom of Kana's face. The inside is no less stunning! I have to share this with you...there are all these swirls and drawings throughout that just added to the beauty of the story:
I really enjoyed this book, and have a feeling it will be one that stays with me for a long time to come.

Visit Holly Thompson's website here.

Purchase Orchards at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In My Mailbox {56} & New on My Nook

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

REALLY excited about every single book I got this week!!

For Review:
Orchards by Holly Thompson
This is the prettiest book to look at, the colors are just so gorgeous. I've never read a book in verse before...already half way through this one and I'm loving it!

Illusions by Aprilynne Pike
Despite having not read this series yet, still excited to get this one. My best friend raves about it, so I'll be starting it soon and reviewing all three together.

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Loved the Darkest Powers series...really looking forward to stepping back into this world again!

Bought:
Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
Been waiting for this release for a long time. So excited to finally have in, and its even more gorgeous in person!

Many thanks to HarperTeen and Random House!

New on My Nook


From Netgalley:
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Die For Me by Amy Plum
Already hearing amazing things about both of these, so I can't wait to start them!

Happy reading, everyone!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

R.A.K.ing out this month!!

I'm RAKing this month! Isalys and Vanessa over at Book ♥ Soulmates have put together a fantastic feature called Random Acts of Kindness. I think its a brilliant idea and I'll be joining as often as I can! I've always been floored by the amazing generosity of the book blogging community and I think this is the perfect way to give a little of that back!

You can find out all the details at their site, but here are the basics:
• Sign up for each month you want to participate. Sign ups are open all month.
• Grab a button and spread the word!
• Make a wishlist and link it in your sign up form.
If you want to RAK someone, check out their wishlist (linked in the sign up post), contact them for their address, and RAK away! :)
Open to one and all!

Happy R.A.K.ing, everyone! :D

Friday, March 4, 2011

Review: Demonglass

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

publisher: Hyperion Books CH

release date: March 1st, 2011


hardcover, 368 pages


intended audience: Young adult


sequel to: Hex Hall (see
my review)

rating:




source: from publisher for honest review

Spoiler alert!! The following synopsis and review may contain spoilers for Hex Hall! If you haven't started this series, stop reading here!

description: 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?

Review: I love this series. Even more so now that I've devoured book two. Any book that can drop my jaw within the first twenty pages is amazing in my book. Sophie is back with just as much wit and as many brilliant comebacks as the first time around. Jenna is still the lovable vampire that I adored the first time, and their friendship only strengthens as they take on London and the council together. We get to know Cal a bit more---his surprise role in all of this actually played a big part in the jaw-dropping moment I mentioned before!

As Sophie and her friends head to London, where Archer Cross is rumored to have been spotted, I knew we would see him again. Before starting this book, I wondered what side we'd find him on, and I was not completely surprised but really enjoyed how it played out.

Sophie is training to control her powers, getting to know her long lost dad, learning the ins and outs of Prodigium politics, and getting herself into even more trouble than at Hex Hall trying to solve the mystery surrounding some newly created demons.
The story flies by at a fast pace, expertly alternating between light-hearted humor, mystery, and thrills.

Be prepared for a cliffhanger, as can generally be expected in any second of a series. It's still an amazing ending, and it has me absolutely dying for book three! It's going to be a long wait, but I have no doubt Rachel Hawkins will make it well worth every second!

Visit Rachel Hawkins website here.

Purchase Demonglass at: Amazon ~ BN.com ~ BookDepository

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Winners! Eyes Like Stars and Dark Mirror


Congrats to the winners of my February contests!!!

Winner of the February "What's New" giveaway: Jenna

Winner of a signed copy of Eyes Like Stars: Ephrielle

Winner of a copy of Dark Mirror: Samantha


All winners have been emailed. Thanks to everyone who entered!! Be sure to enter the March "What's New" Giveaway !

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

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 Pledge
by Kimberly Derting

releasing: November 15th, 2011 from Margaret K. Elderberry

description:
A romantic fantasy novel set in a dystopic, war-torn world, in which a teenage girl realizes that she may be the key to saving her country.

My thoughts: Ok, so I know this one is ages away and the synopsis is not all that yet. But come on...it's Kimberly Derting writing a dystopian with her amazing writing skills and her wild imagination...it's gonna be awesome. In the immortal words of Veruca Salt: Don't care how, I want it NOW. ;)