Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Secrets by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur

Source: Publisher
Reputation, Reputation, Reputation.
You're a student at the most prestigious university in the country, and you've been tapped for the most elite social club. You've made it!
Now Don't Blow It!
Callie Andrews triumphed during her first semester at Harvard: she made incomparable friends, found the perfect boyfriend, and received invitations to the most exclusive secret societies. But she may have ruined every-thing with one ill-fated night. Now she's keeping secrets from everyone, including—
Clint the upperclassman who's too good to be true
Vanessa the best friend turned backstabber
Gregory the guy who's a total(ly hot) mistake
and Lexi the social queen who wants to bring Callie down.
But Callie didn't get into Harvard by giving up, and she isn't about to now. Besides, she's not the only one with something to hide. . . .

I really enjoyed The Ivy and was so excited to read Secrets. I love guilty reads like Gossip Girl and this series definitely falls under that. It is a fairly light read that is fun and realistic, with just a bit of depth.
I love each of the characters even though a few are evil. the Callie is a very sweet character that you can't help rooting for, even though she doesn't do the the best thing most of the time, but seriously who doesn't make mistakes at times. Clint seems too perfect for a college boy and that makes me not want him at all. I love Gregory so much and find him sweet most of the time. I love her roommates so much and their unique personalities. I feel that the plot was better developed than The Ivy. There are so many secrets and scandals in this book that you will make you be wrapped up into every single plot line. I think that this story is very original, not many other Young Adult Series are about characters in college, which is exciting and realistic. I loved that the book faced issues that a lot of teens and even adults are facing it. The book addressed it at the end in a realistic, but amazing way. I think that this book is quick and addicting. I would recommend this book to fans of Pretty Little Liars, Privates, and Gossip Girl. Kunze and Onur make a great duo and I can't wait to read more from them in the future.

Monday, May 30, 2011

What Harry Potter means to me...

I saw this on Tumblr and loved it. It made me happy and so sad at the same time
The Harry Potter Series has and probably will also have a special part in my heart. I have read these books over and over for thirteen years, and while I am excited for the end of the movies series. I also know that it is kind of an end of my childhood in a way. After part two, there sadly won't be anymore new books or movies, which is completely depressing and with only 46 more days till the last one, it seems to finally be so close that I am both excited and mournful. I want to see the end, but at the same time, I don't want an ending. I am worried that it won't be as good as the books.
Harry Potter ignited my love for reading. I will always treasure getting the books for the first time and cracking them open over and over. I fall into Rowling's world every time and I never want it to end. At the same time I know that it won't Every book is still as magical for me as the first time that I read it. Even though I know the ending and the fate for everyone. I plan to re-read all of them by July 15th, which is definitely doable. My record is reading all seven books in 10 days. Anyways, what is your favorite part of Harry Potter? If you haven't read them, I challenge you to read them now...
Now for some Dumbledore wisdom... "You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be." From the Goblet of Fire, if you were wondering.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Currently, I am...

Stealing this list from Jordyn of Ten Cent Notes and Khy from Frenetic Reader. I like list... so here it is.
Current Book:
Tempest Rising by Tracey Deebs. Not that far into it, but liking it.
Current Playlist: Disney channel on Pandora. Trust me, it is lovely.
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Checking to see where my laptop is. It should be here before noon on June 1st. My other one is the amount of sparkling water that I drink.
Current Favorite Show: Doctor Who. If you have a working TARDIS... contact me. =) Buffy is my second favorite. I would love to be a slayer.
Current Wishlist: For my laptop to be here and my book Sisters to be written.
Current Needs: A unicorn. In all seriousness, winning the lotto would solve a lot of my issues. Also for my mom to get better. It being July 15th would be epic.
Current Bane of My Existence: The cost of college. I don't think that this needs explanation. Also the suckage of my blood work and that I haven't lost any weight in almost three weeks.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (Week of May 29th)

For Review:
Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess
Lauded by critics and authors for her heartbreakingly real heroines, Laura Wiess brings readers another devastating tale of betrayal and redemption rich with the raw emotion that made Such a Pretty Girl a classic.
How can you make someone love you when they won’t?
And what if that person happens to be your mother?
Sayre Bellavia grew up knowing she was a mistake: unplanned and unwanted. At five months shy of eighteen, she’s become an expert in loneliness, heartache, and neglect. Her whole life she’s been cursed, used, and left behind. Swallowed a thousand tears and ignored a thousand deliberate cruelties. Sayre’s stuck by her mother through hell, tried to help her, be near her, be important to her even as her mother slipped away into a violent haze of addiction, destroying the only chance Sayre ever had for a real family.
Now her mother is lying in a hospital bed, near death, ravaged by her own destructive behavior. And as Sayre fights her way to her mother’s bedside, she is terrified but determined to get the answer to a question no one should ever have to ask: Did my mother ever really love me? And what will Sayre do if the answer is yes?

I adored her other books. So excited to read this one.

Luna by Julie Anne Peters
For years, Regan's brother Liam has been nursing a secret. By day, he is Liam, a passably typical boy of his age; at night, he transforms himself into Luna, his true, female self. Regan loves and supports her brother and she keeps his Liam/Luna secret. Things change, though, when Luna decides to emerge from her cocoon. She begins dressing like a girl in public; first at the mall; then at school; then at home. Regan worries that her brother's transgender identity is threatening her own slippery hold on normalcy. This serious, powerful teen novel was a National Book Award finalist for Young People's Literature.
This book sound really interesting.

Keeping you a Secret by Julie Anne Peters
As she begins a very tough last semester of high school, Holland finds herself puzzled about her future and intrigued by a transfer student who wants to start a lesbigay club at school.
Peters is coming to Seattle next week. I really liked this book when I read it.

But I Love Him by Amanda Grace
Tonight was so much worse than anything before it. Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap.
At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved — and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything — and everyone — in its path.
This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.

I have already read this book and it was epic.

My Not-So-Still Life by Liz Gallagher
Vanessa is wise beyond her years. She's never really fit in at school, where all the kids act and dress the same. She's an artist who expresses her talent in the wacky colors she dyes her hair, her makeup and clothes. She's working on her biggest art project, and counting the days until she's grown up and can really start living. That adult world seems closer when Vanessa gets her dream job at the art supply store, Palette, where she worships the couple who runs it, Oscar and Maye. And she's drawn to a mysterious guy named James, who leads her into new, sometimes risky situations. Is she ready for this world, or not
Really excited for this book. I loved her last books.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Source: Bought
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?

Demonglass starts right after Hex Hall ended. There was just as much action and humor as Hex Hall had. Seriously I loved every moment of this book. Sophie seems a bit different in this book, but not in a bad way. It is like she has grown up a bit and gained some confidence in what has happened in the last book. I love Cal. He is so smart and selfless and he would do anything for love. While Archer's character seemed somewhat arrogant and over the top at times. It seemed overly dramatic, whenever he appeared. I definitely preferred Cal, over Archer. Hawkins' characters are complex and not exactly as they seem, which makes them even more believable. Hawkins' writing is exciting and enjoyable. Demonglass is a quick read, as is the prequel Hex Hall. If you want a book with a hint of romance, mystery, humor and paranormal combined in one book with lovable characters and a gripping plot. This is the perfect series for you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Source: Gift
New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Abandon was all about setting up a series perfectly for the next few books. As result, Abandon dragged a few times and the story wasn't that confusing, even though it was constantly going back and forth between the past and the present. I didn't like that most of the story was hinted too and then later explained. It made it hard to understand Pierce at times and I didn't feel liked I connected to her. I also never felt like the climax completely developed. John was really fascinating, dark, confusing, and secretive, even with all of this, I found him to be confusing, but rather intriguing. I think that there is a lot of originality in Abandon and I am excited to see what Cabot will write next. I definitely enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to Underworld.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (102)

Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset
Author: Kady Cross
Publisher: Harlquin Teen
Release Date: May 24th, 2011

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.
When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.

This book came out yesterday, but it sounds amazing. I love the cover too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Trailer Tuesday (33)

Hereafer by Tara Hudson sounds amazing and I have only heard great things about it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander

Source: Author
Almost-15-year-old Austin Gray is tired of standing at the curb and watching the parade pass her by. Literally. She decides this is the year she’ll ride on the hood of a shiny pickup truck in the annual parade, waving to the crowd and finally showing the town bully that she’s got what it takes to be the Sweetheart of Prosper County.
But far from simply being a beauty contest, becoming Sweetheart involves participation in the Future Farmers of America (FFA), raising an animal, and hunting or fishing. Austin will do almost anything to become Sweetheart, and has the support of her oldest friend, Maribel, her new FFA friends (including the reigning Sweetheart, and a quiet, cute cowboy), an evangelical Elvis impersonator, a mysterious Cajun outcast, and a rooster named Charles Dickens. If only her momma would stop overprotecting her, and start letting Austin live her own life. But Austin can’t move on until Momma moves on, too—and lets the grief of losing Austin’s daddy several years before out into the open.
Here is a bighearted story that will leave readers agreeing with Austin that sometimes, it’s not what you ride, it’s how you roll.

This book was absolutely adorable. Alexander captured the charm of Prosper County perfectly and had outstanding characters shine with such personality and spirit. Austin wants to fit in and thinks that FFA will help her find her place. Charles Dickens the Rooster had so much personality and jumped right off the page. Maribel is Austin's best friend and she is so hardworking and sweet. Sundi and Josh were great new friends to Austin and I liked their adoration for FFA and that they had more to their life then school and friends. Lewis was so funny and I loved the humor from being an Elvis Performance Artist. The plot of this book was adorable and I was engaged as I was reading this book. I read this book rather quickly. Alexander's writing was quirky fun and not like other contemporary books. I recommend this book to fans of Dairy Queen series by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. It was a fun, sweet, and overall adorable book.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

Source: Borrowed
Every ghost has a story to tell.
The last place Tansy Piper wants to be is stuck in Cedar Canyon, Texas, in the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of small-town kids. But when her mother decides to move to the desolate West Texas town, Tansy has no choice but to go along. Once there, Tansy is immediately drawn to the turret of their rickety old house, a place she soon learns has a disturbing history. But it's the strange artifacts she finds in the cellar—a pocket watch, a journal of poetry, and a tiny crystal—that have the most chilling impact on her.
Tansy soon finds that through the lens of her camera, she can become part of a surreal black-and-white world where her life is intertwined with that of mysterious, troubled Henry, who lived in the same house and died decades earlier. It seems their lives are linked by fate and the artifacts she found, but as Tansy begins spending more and more time in the past, her present world starts to fade away. Tansy must untangle herself from Henry's dangerous reality—before she loses touch with her own life forever.
I admired Tansy's dedication to her grandfather and I liked that she was spirited. I just felt that she isolated herself from anyone and made herself the outsider. Even though she had a fear of being hurt, I felt that it wasn't very realistic at times. I really liked Bethyl Anne, she was very sure of herself. Even though she was younger, I felt that she was more mature then Tansy. Tate was a really sweet boy, but I don't feel that he was developed enough for me to have a good impression of him. This book was an original ghost story. I really enjoyed the insight to the past and that there was such rich detail in each scene. The pacing of the story was extremely slow and I wish that it didn't drag as much as it did. I liked that there was a hint of mystery and paranormal, but not to over powering. Archer's writing was beautiful, but I wish that the pacing was better and that I could relate to the character more, but the originality made it worth a read.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In My Mailbox (Week of May 22nd)

For Review:
Who What Wear by Olivia Bennet
Populazzi by Elise Allen
Luminous by by Dawn Metcalf
The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Deadly Cool by Gemma Holiday
Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala
My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Possess by Gretchen McNeil
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Frost by Marianna Baer

The Last Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Spells and Illusions by Aprillynne Pike
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Bumped by Megan McCaffery
Die For Me by April Plum

Friday, May 20, 2011

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz

Source: Publisher
Annaleah and Brian shared something special - Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn't need anyone else. It didn't matter that their relationship was secret. All that mattered was what they had with each other.
And then, out of nowhere, Brian dies. And while everyone else has their role in the grieving process, Annaleah finds herself living outside of it, unacknowledged and lonely. How can you recover from a loss that no one will let you have?
Annaleah is stuck in her grief and she isn't sure how to express it. No one knows about her and Brian, which is making her life impossible. She disconnects from everyone. I have experienced grief before and Schutz writes it so accurately and yet there is some beauty to her writing. I really enjoyed every moment of this book, even though it was sad and made me cry like crazy. I could feel every emotion that Annaleah had. You will love this book, if you love verse. I recommend this book to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The A Circuit by Catherine Hapka and Georgina Bloomberg

Source: Publisher
The A Circuit is the top of the top when it comes to horse shows. It's a world with its own rules and superprivileged lifestyles. Teens travel the circuit all year, showing horses that cost as much as some homes.
Tommi, Kate, and Zara are all elite competitors on the circuit, but they come from totally different backgrounds. Tommi is a billionaire heiress trying to prove she has real talent (not just deep bank accounts). Kate puts the working in working student—every win has been paid for with hours of cleaning stalls. She's used to the grueling schedule, but Fitz, the barn's resident hot guy, is about to become a major distraction. And then there's Zara. She's the wild child of a famous rockstar, but she's ready to take riding seriously. Can a party girl really change her ways?
Readers who enjoy peeking into the elite world of Gossip Girl or The A-List will feel right at home in this new series with its friendships, drama, and privilege set against the backdrop of competitive horseback riding.
The characters were all very different. Some were well developed and others seemed to stop halfway through the book. I really liked Kate, because she worked hard for what she wanted and didn't seem spoiled at all. Zara annoyed me till the end, because she didn't really think about anyone and was so selfish. She also didn't have any self discipline. Tommi, while being spoiled, at least wanted to make a plan for her future and wanted it to be in horses. The plot was interesting, even though I have never rode horses. I do know that the training and horse facts was accurate, because one of my friends showed them growing up. This is a fun series that I enjoyed and think that it will be prefect for teen fans of horses.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (101)

Title: All These Things I've Done
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: September 27th 2011

From the author of the critically acclaimed Elsewhere comes this brilliant novel about an impossible romance, a family living outside of the law, and the ties that forever bind us.
Chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is increasingly scarce, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city’s most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine—going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until someone in her inner circle ends up poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she’s to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight—at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafiya family.
Engrossing and suspenseful, All These Things I’ve Done is an utterly unique, unputdownable read that blends both the familiar and fantastic.
What kind of society is it, where chocolate and coffee are illegal? A really evil one. This dystopia novel sounds insane and amazing at the same time. I also loved Elsewhere. I am excited to see what Zevin has written next.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Flawless by Lara Chapman

Source Publisher
Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes, gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny—all right, enormous—flaw: her nose. But even that's not so bad. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame.
On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do—she agrees.
For someone so smart, what was she thinking? This hip retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is filled with hilariously misguided matchmaking, sweet romance, and a gentle reminder that we should all embrace our flaws.

Sarah was a really strong and smart character, but I felt that she was overly defensive about the fact that she had a big nose. I don't feel that I am pretty every single day, but I wouldn't let that control my life like it was for Sarah. Kristen was an amazing friend to Sarah, but I hated how oblivious she was to other people's feelings at time. Rock was a very sweet guy, but he seemed so stupid at times. How could he not notice how Kristin was so different from the notes that Sarah wrote? I liked that he still cared about Sarah even though they weren't dating and that he was generally a good guy. The plot of the story flowed really well with one expectation. There was a subplot about Sarah's mom that is mentioned, but never fully developed or explained. I found that part to be very interesting and was sad to not know what happened. Chapman made an amazing debut. I devoured this book in one sitting and highly suggest that you read it, if you like a fairy tale retelling or enjoy a story on self image.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Source: Publisher
In the past two years, Mclean Sweet has moved four times. At each stop, she assumes a new persona, but it never quite works. Whether she's an effervescent cheerleader or an intense drama queen, nothing can permanently dispel the turmoil and rage at her mother since her parents' divorce. Sarah Dessen's novel about a teenager and her restaurant manager father captures the vulnerability that young people often experience after the dissolution of their family. A compelling story; strong characterization; and with a touch of romance.
Sarah Dessen writes amazing contemporary novels with awesome characters and an enjoyable plot. What Happen to Goodbye was just as amazing of her previous books and is my second favorite of her books. Mclean isn't sure exactly who she is and she has no clue what her place is in the world. Seriously who hasn't felt this way before? The truth is that everyone has at one time or another. Mclean also hasn't gotten close to anyone, since her parent's divorce, which is really sad. Dave was such a sweet guy and I seriously loved him. I liked that he had the boy next door feel and how sweet he was. The other cast in What Happened to Goodbye were cute and interesting and I couldn't help loving them. Dessen's writing style is remarkable. I know that her books will always cheer me up and captivate me into wanting to read more. This is definitely one of her best novels. I definitely recommend this book to fans of Sarah Dessen's previous novels and fans of contemporary fiction.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yay! This is my 1,000th Post...

I have been posting on Sarah's Random Musing for almost three years and I am excited to post my 1000th post. I started this blog when I was really sick and now I am going to college at Seattle University in September. I have changed so much in this time and made some of best friends because of this blog, which is well awesome. I also want to thank my followers, so I am having a contest for all of my awesome followers.
Anyways, I am going to have a giveaway from now to May 31st. The winner will get a finish copy of Rosebush by Michele Jaffe, a signed copy of Shadow Walkers by Brent Hartinger, and a mystery ARC that I have read and I promise that it is amazing. Just fill out the form below to enter.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In My Mailbox (Week of May 15th)

Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
Meet Ophelia: a blonde, beautiful high-school senior and long-time girlfriend of Prince Hamlet of Denmark. Her life is dominated not only by her boyfriend's fame and his overbearing family, but also by the paparazzi who hound them wherever they go. As the devastatingly handsome Hamlet spirals into madness after the mysterious death of his father, the King, Ophelia rides out his crazy roller coaster life, and lives to tell about it. In live television interviews, of course.
Passion, romance, drama, humor, and tragedy intertwine in this compulsively readable debut novel, told by a strong-willed, modern-day Ophelia.

I love the play of Hamlet and Ophelia is one of my favorite characters, So, I am really excited to read this one.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Source: Publisher
From Jessi Kirby, a debut novel about confronting the past in order to move ahead.
I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both.
Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.
While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.

I love the beach and beach reads seem to capture the sun on your skin, the sand between your toes, and the scent of the ocean. Moonglass had all of these feelings and more. The setting of Crystal Cove was a perfect setting. Anna was an awesome girl. She was very down to Earth and innocent. Unlike most young adult novels, she was still haunted by her mother's death and still hung out with her dad a lot, which meant that her parents were a huge part of the story. Tyler was so sweet and I adored him. He was unpredictable, which kept me guessing. I loved the mermaid mythology that was part of the plot. This plot was very intense, and I found myself to be engrossed through out the book. Kirby's writing was amazing. I loved the rich setting, intricate character, and a thrilling plot. It was definitely an amazing debut. This book is a must read for fans of Sarah Dessen, Sarah Ockler, and Melissa Walker. It is a perfect beach read!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy

Source: Publisher
Jewish girl. Christian camp. Holy moly.
Ellie Taylor loves nothing better than a good argument. So when she gets accepted to the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp, she's sure that if she wins the final tournament, it'll be her ticket to a scholarship to the best speech school in the country. Unfortunately, the competition at CSSPA is hot-literally. His name is Devon and, whether she likes it or not, being near him makes her sizzle. Luckily she's confident enough to take on the challenge-until she begins to suspect that the private scholarship's benefactor has negative feelings toward Jews. Will hiding her true identity and heritage be worth a shot at her dream?
Debut author Amy Fellner Dominy mixes sweet romance, surprising secrets, and even some matzo ball soup to cook up a funny yet heartfelt story about an outspoken girl who must learn to speak out for herself.
OyMG was such a funny book. Every single page made me crack up and laugh so much. The characters were so realistic and well developed that I couldn't help loving the story. Ellie was full of so much energy and spirit. I loved the determination that she had to get what she wanted. Devon was so sweet and I adore him. I loved the attraction between Devon and Ellie. Zeydeh made me laugh a lot and I loved the strength and optimism that he had. The plot of this book is more complex then just a Jewish girl going to a Christian camp. It has a lot of depth about religion and choosing between what is right and what isn't. It also deals with expectation and finding what you believe in. The concept of the story isn't the most detailed or exactly fresh, but Dominy's approach was unique and very inspiring. Dominy's debut was stunning and I can't wait to see what she will write next. OyMG is a coming of age story that I am sure everyone will be able to relate to. I highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (100)

Title: Frost
Author: Marianna Baer
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Date: September 13th, 2011
Leena Thomas's senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost House, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate -- confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena's anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena's own mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself. Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste's brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. FROST is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological...well, which answer would let you sleep at night?
This book sounds amazing. Plus I adore the cover.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Character Interview With Penry from Unnatural

Penry from Unnatural was kind enough to stop by for an interview. I hope that you enjoy his insight and check out the book.
1. What are your favorite and least favorite things about Archangel Academy?

My favorite thing is that I get to live on my own, but that’s also the worst thing because that means I’m away from my family. I don’t talk about it too much, but there are times when I really do miss my family crazy bad and my twin sister Ruby. She’s at a boarding school in Switzerland, it’s a right fine place, not as good as Double A though! I don’t see her a lot during the school year, but we email and text a lot. She’s quite cool for a sister. It’s also great because I now have so many mates from all over the world – I never expected to know someone who grew up in Nebraska.
The work can get intense sometimes and the professors can come down hard on you, but that’s just because they care and want us to get into university. There’s lots of competition and stuff, but I’m not really the competitive sort so I just do the best I can. Can’t really do any more than that. I also love the countryside, it’s beautiful here, so’s Eden. Honestly, if I could live here for the rest of my life I’d probably be very happy.

2. As someone that grew up in England, what are your favorite places to visit? Where else in the world would you like to go?
I love going into London during the summer and at Christmastime. My grandparents used to take me and Ruby there every year when we were little and would take us to St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey, a pantomime, and of course Harrods, that’s Grandmum’s favourite! She wouldn’t miss a trip to Harrod’s for the world.
And of course she would always buy us something from there, just something small so we’d have a memory as she’d like to say. Dad’s always taking us on trips too. He teaches history so he has most of the summer’s off so we’d always take the train to Ireland or Scotland for a few days just me and him. Now that they built the chunnel mum loves to take us to Paris. Someday I’d like to take Imogene there, just me and her, so I can show her the city and have a picnic underneath the Eiffel Tower, I think that would be quite romantic actually.
Other than that I’d love to visit America some day! Maybe Michael and I can go on a road trip one summer, that would be bloody fantastic. I’d like to see New York and Hollywood, they would both be fun. I can’t imagine living in places like that, but visiting them would be smashing.

3. What initially attracted you to Imogene?
The first thing was that she didn’t look like any other girl I’d ever seen before, she was like right out of a movie or something. She’s beautiful, but you know, not fake in any way. She’s got her own style and I really like that. She’s not flashy or trumped up, she’s just who she is.
She’s also the smartest person I know, aces all her exams, she’s in choir, an editor at the St. Ann’s paper – whatever she does she does it brilliantly! Plus, she’s got a great sense of humour. She jokes and pokes fun at me, but she always makes me laugh.

4. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I’m really looking forward on taking Imogene to the Archangel Festival! It’ll be the first time we can go out and get all dressed up, polished up and all, that should be a lot of fun. Plus, Michael will be there with Ronan, which I think is great, I’m so glad Ronan’s not with Nakano any more. Don’t get me wrong, Nakano’s great, but Michael’s a much better boyfriend, brings the best out of Ronan. All around, I have to say that I think this year is going to be brilliant!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready

Source: Publisher
Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to.
Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift.
As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.

I wasn't a huge fan of Shade, but I loved the concept of the book and was excited for what would come up next in the sequel. Luckily, it surprised me and I really liked this book.
Aura is very strong willed and I loved the determination that she has at times. I hate how she constantly wavers at what she wants and is extremely indecisive. The fact that she would randomly angst out at times was annoying, but I still enjoyed this book. Other then Logan and Zachary, there was a third love interest, which kind of came out of nowhere. I love Zachary. He is sweet most of the time and completely cares about Aura. I loved how strong their relationship was. Logan was so selfish and I still didn't like him. The backstory to Aura's mom was really fascinating and I loved that was included.
The plot of Shift was really exciting. There were a lot of twist in the book that kept me on edge. The concept is really unique and Smith kept on developing the plot into a breathtaking story. Smith is a stunning writer. I recommend this book to fans of Shade. If you like Shade, you will love Shift. There are so many complexities in this book that will keep you entertained with complex characters and a thrilling plot.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In My Mailbox (Week of May 8th)

For review:
Secrets by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev
The Apothecary by Malie Meloy
Gift from Bailey at IB Book Blogging:
Lots of Swag
Abandon by Meg Cabot
Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Contest Winners

Between Shades of Gray Contest: Lexie@BookBug
Discovery of Witches: Stephalicious

Congrats to both!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Guest Post: Top Ten Fantasy Realms

Today, I have Brent Hartinger. He is the author of Geography Club, The Last Chance, Texaco, The Order of the Poison Oak, Grand & Humble, Split Screen: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies, Dreamquest, Project Sweet Life, and his newest book Shadow Walker has just been released. He is also a fellow Washingtonian, so I hope you enjoy his post and check out his books.
10. Fantastica. It’s the world of the imagination where much of The Neverending Story takes place. (I loved the idea of the “Nothing”!)
9. The World of Indiana Jones. The real 1930s and the real Nazis? Not so much. But I’ll take the Lucas/Spielberg fantasy recreation of a world where magic is real and everything is really, really fast-paced and exciting.
8. Westeros (and Essos): Have you read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice? If not, you’re missing one of the most interesting, and most realistic, fantasy realms ever created.
7. Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Okay, maybe this isn’t a fantasy “realm” per se, but I’m still so there! What I’m interested in are all the candy rooms they didn’t visit, and all the Great Glass Elevator buttons they didn’t push.
6. The Realms in The Gemma Doyle Trilogy. I don’t particularly want to visit the effectively creepy fairy world in this gothic homage series, but it sure was well done.
5. Earthsea. One of the most perfectly realized fictional worlds of all time. I totally believe it exists!
4. Sunnydale. I really only want to visit to get to know Tara and Willow, who would totally be my BFFs.
3. Ancient Greece (in the world of Xena: Warrior Princess): I like my fantasy realms with a dash a camp and strong sense of humor, which Xena definitely had. Plus, it looks a lot like New Zealand.
2. Middle Earth. Most people want to go to heaven when they die. Me, I want to go to the House of Elrond.
1. Narnia. Yes, it was between this and Middle Earth, but asked himself: which would I rather visit? And the answer is obvious. Less grit in Narnia, with fewer orcs and more Father Christmas and giant owls.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

Source: Publisher
Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.
Until the accident.
Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.
She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen.
Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could...
I love Elizabeth Scott. Her books are always fantastic and surprise me in someway. Between Here and Forever was definitely amazing. Abby feels that she can't measure up to her sister, but I think that everyone feels that way about someone that they won't ever be as pretty or smart enough. She would do anything in order to wake up her sister and I adored her dedication to her sister. It was similar to what I would do for my sisters. She thinks that no one can see past Tess, but the whole time she was wrong. Tess had secrets that were uncovered and I found it sad that the person that Abby knew was not the person that she was. Eli was so sweet and he liked Abby so much. The character were so believable and relatable that I couldn't help loving it. The plot of this story was spectacular. Every moment of the story was beautifully written. Elizabeth Scott has such a raw and intense prose that makes a story so intense and realistic every moment. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of contemporary fiction and Elizabeth Scott's previous books. It comes out on May 24th.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin

Source: Publisher
As if transferring senior year weren't hard enough, Charlotte Locke has been bumped to lower level classes at her new school. With no friends, a terrible math SAT score, and looming college application deadlines, the future is starting to seem like an oncoming train for which she has no ticket.
Then Amanda enters her orbit like a hot-pink meteor, offering Charlotte a ticket to something else: popularity. Amanda is fearless, beautiful, brilliant, and rich. As her new side kick, Charlotte is brought into the elite clique of the debate team—and closer to Neal, Amanda's equally brilliant friend and the most perfect boy Charlotte has ever seen.
But just when senior year is looking up, Charlotte’s life starts to crumble. The more things heat up between Charlotte and Neal, the more Neal wants to hide their relationship. Is he ashamed? Meanwhile, Amanda is starting to act strangely competitive, and she's keeping a secret Charlotte doesn't want to know.
Talented newcomer Alexa Martin delivers a poignant story of first love, jealousy and friendship, where the ups and downs of senior year have never been so complicated. What else can Charlotte do but throw her hands up and ride?
Charlotte is a normal girl that is full of principles. She isn't super smart and kind of feels out of place at her new high school. I liked that she didn't give into peer pressure really easily and had plenty of flaws. Amanda was kind or everything that Charlotte wanted to be and they quickly became friends. I didn't feel that she was great to Charlotte at times. I never really trusted Neal, because of the fact that he wanted to keep the relationship a secret, but I still swooned along with Charlotte. I really love her family. Her father was a famous author, her mom was really caring and a professor, and her little brother was really smart.
The plot of Girl Wonder kept me guessing the whole time. There were so many twist and turns that kept me guessing. I loved that it was all centered near or in Seattle. It was a fast read that kept me wanting to read more. Girl Wonder was full of so many surprises that made me love this book so much. I love Realistic fiction, and Alexa Martin's debut captured high school so well in in Girl Wonder.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Source: Publisher
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

There are books that everyone needs to read in their lifetime and I think that Divergent is definitely one of them. I had heard so much hype about Divergent that I was really excited when I got it for review, but at the same time, I was not sure if I would love it, but I do. It has such a stunning premise. There are five factions, which are: Candor which embodies honesty, Abnegation who are selfless, Dauntless who are brave, Amity who are Peaceful, and Erudite who want intelligence. When you are 16, you are given a test that helps you decide which faction you should be in. I think that is a really unique and amazing concept that I loved.
Tris is very easy to like and connect with. She was intelligent, spunky, and really nice. I loved Al and Christina. They were such great friends to Tris and really cared about what happened to her. Four was so amazing and I totally love him. He is such a sweet and strong character. All of the characters were well developed and lovely. I couldn't help caring about each character a lot and I felt so invested that some parts were hard to read.
There was so much action in Divergent. Every part of the book was intense and surprising. I could not put this book down and finished it in one or two sittings. Roth reinvents Chicago and takes us into a gripping and unforgettable world that is full of surprises, betrayal, and just plain awesomeness. Divergent is an amazing debut that will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games, Delirium, and many other dystopian novels. I can't wait for more from Roth in the future. Seriously buy this book now!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Unnatural by Michael Griffo

Source: Publisher
In the town of Eden in northwestern England stands the exclusive boarding school known as Archangel Academy. Ancient and imposing, it’s a place filled with secrets. Just like its students…
For Michael Howard, being plucked from his Nebraska hometown and sent thousands of miles away is as close as he’s ever come to a miracle. In Weeping Water, he felt trapped, alone. At Archangel Academy, Michael belongs. And in Ciaran, Penry, and especially Ciaran’s enigmatic half-brother Ronan, Michael finds friendship deeper than he’s ever known.
But Michael’s only beginning to understand what makes the Academy so special. Ronan is a vampire—part of a hybrid clan who are outcasts even among other vampires. Within the Academy’s confines exists a ruthless world of deadly rivalries and shifting alliances, of clandestine love and forbidden temptations. And soon Michael will confront the destiny that brought him here—and a danger more powerful than he can imagine…
I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't. I didn't feel that I could connect to any of the characters. Micheal was written as a professional victim that never stood up for himself or had any responsibility for what happened. It just annoyed the hell out of me. Ciaran was pissed off, if he didn't get his way, which was a lot. The villain of this book was way over the top and more made me laugh then anything else. The plot seemed to be over complicated and the style that it was written didn't work for me. The POV switched within a paragraph and I would have to reread something two to three times to get the point. The head jump was too much for me to handle. I will give this book, some points for originality in the premise... mermaid vampires, anyone? The mythology in this world was interesting, but wasn't enough to redeem this book for me. Other reviewers have liked this book, so I recommend checking out their reviews before making a decision.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

In My Mailbox (Week of May 1st)

Books for Review:
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Afterlife by Claudia Gray
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter


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