Monday, August 8, 2011

Cover Crazy- Blood Wounds

This week I am CRAZY About....

Blood Wounds
Susan Beth Pfeffer
Harcourt Children's Books
Pub Date-  September 12, 2011

I think this cover is incredibly striking.  The expression of the girl is so intriguing, it makes me wonder who she is and what story she has to tell.  Is she angry? disturbed?  frightened?  I can't wait to find out.

 From Goodreads:
Willa is lucky: She has a loving blended family that gets along. Not all families are so fortunate. But when a bloody crime takes place hundreds of miles away, it has an explosive effect on Willa’s peaceful life. The estranged father she hardly remembers has murdered his new wife and children, and is headed east toward Willa and her mother.
Under police protection, Willa discovers that her mother has harbored secrets that are threatening to boil over. Has everything Willa believed about herself been a lie? As Willa sets out to untangle the mysteries of her past, she keeps her own secret—one that has the potential to tear her family apart.

Cover Crazy is hosted by Tawni at The Book Worms.  Check it out!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday- The Probability of Miracles

For this week's edition of WOW, I am featuring:
The Probability of Miracles
Wendy Wunder
Pub Date- Dec 8, 2011

From Goodreads: 

  Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The    last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine - a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it's undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingoes in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe - in love, in herself, and even in miracles.

A debut novel from an immensely talented new writer, The Probability of Miracles crackles with wit, romance and humor and will leave readers laughing and crying with each turn of the page.

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers post about pre-publication titles they are eagerly anticipating.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cover Crazy: FROST

This week, I am CRAZY about...

Marianna Baer
Balzer & Bray
Pub Date- Sept 13, 2011

I love a good ghost story and for me, this cover screams scary.  I love the gray fog, the dead trees and the spooky old house, as well as the creepy image of the girl- it is so striking!   Even better, the story sounds frighteningly amazing:

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?

Cover Crazy is hosted by Tawni at The Book Worms.  Check it out!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review: Linger

Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Audio
Pub Date- July 13, 2010

Moving right along with the wolves of Mercy Falls, I took a brief 3-day break after finishing Shiver before diving in to Linger.  If you’ve read my review of Shiver, you’d know that I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the first book and would have abandoned the series altogether if it weren’t for the last few chapters and a bizarre cliffhanger.   Well, I’m certainly glad I didn’t.   By the middle of Linger, I had decided that I liked it and by the end, I was almost convinced that I loved it….ALMOST.

From Goodreads:
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.
At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

First off, I have to commend Maggie Stiefvater on her enchanting writing.    Her descriptions are in such vivid detail that I am able to visualize the story playing out in my head with ease.   I often found myself getting lost in the writing, daydreaming about the scene she was describing.  Okay, now on with the plot…
The story is told in 4 different perspectives as compared to 2 in Shiver:  Sam, Grace, Isabelle & Cole.  I really loved how all 4 narratives were incorporated into the story line because to be honest,  I looked most forward to the chapters told from Cole and Isabelle’s point of view.   For me, Cole was a much more interesting and appealing male character than Sam-  every girl deep down loves a bad boy, right?  Cole is a cocky, egotistical basket case, which was a nice change from Sam’s poetry reading, paper bird-making, bread-baking character.    And if you happen to listen to the audiobook version, Cole’s narrator is a million times sexier than Sam’s.   Moving on… As for Isabelle, she is definitely my favorite character in the book.  She is bossy and practical and says exactly what she thinks- sometimes, she is the only character who is thinking clearly.
So I can’t say that I LOVED Linger, because I still had issues with certain elements of the plot.   As expressed in my review of Shiver,  Grace’s parents continue to be a source of frustration for me.  In Shiver, they were completely absent from Grace’s life, unrealistically so.  Now all of the sudden, they  decide to be “normal” parents and try to control every aspect of their daughter's life.  They didn’t even seem like the same characters, and they appeared to be written as a way to add conflict or an element of “forbidden love” to the plot.  Perhaps this will be better explained in Forever?  Also, it drove me crazy how both Sam and Grace knew that Grace was turning into a wolf but were in complete denial and ignored the situation.  I thought this was completely uncharacteristic of Grace’s headstrong & blunt character.  Sam and Grace discussed everything, so why not discuss that they could potentially be torn apart again?  Despite my frustrations, I was actually sad to see the book end- I really enjoyed it.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.  


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Trailer Thursday: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs
Quirk Books
Pub Date-  June 7, 2011

I could watch this over and over's completely mystifying.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Fracture

I am SO excited about this week's WOW post:

Megan Miranda
Walker Books for Young Readers
Pub Date- Jan 3, 2012

From Goodreads:

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine—despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she’s reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy’s motives aren’t quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature—or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

I think this sounds amazing and can't wait to read it!  What do you guys think?

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers post about pre-publication titles they are eagerly anticipating.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Clockwork Angel

 My Teaser this week comes from...

 Clockwork Angel
Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry (Simon & Schuster)
Pub Date- Aug 31, 2010

"Tessa bit her lip- and winced at the unexpected sharp pain.  Camille's vampire teeth- her teeth were ruled by an instinct she couldn't understand."

"Your impatience," said Will, "is most unladylike," He grinned at her around the apple.

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should Be Reading.
  • Grab Your Current Read
  • Open to a Random Page
  • Share 2 Teaser Sentences from Somewhere on that Page
  • Share the Title & Author

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cover Crazy: Texas Gothic

THIS week I am CRAZY about...

Texas Gothic
Rosemary Clement-Moore
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pub Date-  July 12, 2011

  The girl on the cover looks like an eerie porcelain doll and her bright green eyes are entrancing.   I love everything about this:  from the lowercase letters and the font,  to the tossed red hair covering her face.  It's mysterious and creepy and I can't wait to see what is inside!  Here is a little sneak peek:

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.

Cover Crazy is hosted by Tawni at The Book Worms.  Check it out!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review: Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens
Libba Bray
Scholastic Press
Pub Date- May 24, 2011

Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens is not my typical read but I absolutely loved the cover and thought it would make a nice summer escape…and that it did.   If you are looking for a book that is silly and fun, this one hits the nail on the head.

From Goodreads:

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program--or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan--or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

The over the top social satire caused me to laugh to loud on several occasions and I loved the pop culture references.  I do have to say that the footnotes were fun at first, but after a few chapters I found them to be slightly irritating.   While the plot is insane and sometimes strange, the outrageous elements certainly made the story entertaining.  The characters are wildly stereotypical which adds to the overall charm of the book, however at times I felt overwhelmed with the multiple character story lines and never really fell in love with any of them.   While I appreciated the strong underlying tones questioning society and the important messages of female empowerment, I did think that the criticisms were at times too repetitive and the message felt forced.   Overall, I thought it was a delightful and charming read but not amazing.  I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trailer Thursday: Matched

Allie Condie
Dutton Juvenile
Pub Date- Nov 30, 2010

I think the trailer for Allie Condie's Matched is very cool and intriguing- check it out!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday- #2

For this week's edition of Waiting on Wednesday, I am featuring:

Small Town Sinners
Melissa Walker
Bloomsbury USA Children's
Pub Date- July 19, 2011

Luckily I don't have to wait too long for this one because it comes out next Tuesday!  I love the story line because I think it  is relatable to SO many young girls who struggle between what is "right and wrong" in society's eyes, as well as their own.   The subject matter is controversial- It seems thought provoking and honest with a little bit of naughty romance (who doesn't love that?).

From Amazon:

Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion.

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers post about pre-publication titles they are looking forward to reading.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Imaginary Girls

My Teaser this Week Comes From...      
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma    
"Time would have to stop for Ruby not to come meet my bus.  So where was she?"      
"I would have thought time had stopped completely, leaving the town untouched since I'd left it."     
Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should Be Reading.
  • Grab Your Current Read
  • Open to a Random Page
  • Share 2 Teaser Sentences from Somewhere on that Page
  • Share the Title & Author

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cover Crazy: Entwined

THIS week I am crazy about....

Heather Dixon
GreenWillow Books
Pub Date- March 29, 2011

I think this cover is absolutely beautiful.  It really encompasses what this book is all about: royalty, romance, and magic.  I love the girly font and the shiny accents are a nice touch.  It definitely appeals to the inner princess in all of us. 

Cover Crazy is hosted by Tawni at The Book Worms.  Check it out!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Review: Forgotten

Cat Patrick
Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub Date-  June 7th 2011

Wow.  What a strong debut novel for Cat Patrick.   After reading reviews of Forgotten, I had high hopes of loving it and it certainly did not disappoint.  I devoured it in one weekend but could have easily done so in one sitting- it was that addictive.  For those of you unfamiliar with the plot…

From Goodreads:

Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future. 

Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the characters themselves and their relationships with one another.   London is such a lovely character and you can’t help but admire her strong-willed personality to be just like every other 17 year old, despite her unique condition.   Luke, London’s boyfriend, is without a doubt one of my favorite fictional male characters- the all around perfect guy.  He is kind, supportive, & thoughtful and I found myself feeling just like London:  excited at every new daily introduction of him.  London and Luke’s romance was very sweet and I love how their relationship blossomed throughout the story.  I also couldn’t help but like London’s best friend, Jamie.   Even though she was promiscuous and lacked a certain moral compass, I thought she was a real and emotional character that was certainly relatable.  I think most of us have had friend like Jamie at one point or another.

I thought the plot itself was a fresh approach to the idea of memory loss.   I really enjoyed the mystery element throughout the novel which had a slightly dark twist- I found it mind boggling.  The writing was seemingly effortless and there was never a point where the details were overbearing.  My only negative comment is that the story ended too quickly following the climax.   I felt there were too many unanswered questions and would have been happier with a few additional chapters.   Would love to see a sequel for this one.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Awesome Cover of the Week

Bad Taste in Boys
Carrie Harris
Delacourte Press
Pub Date-  July 12, 2011

With a cover this amazing, how can you resist?   This one hits the shelves in 5 days and I can't wait to take it home!

From Amazon:

Someone's been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay hormonally human.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

I can't WAIT to read...

A Temptation of Angels
Michelle Zink
Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin)
Pub Date-  March 2012

From the catalog:

When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendents charged with protecting the world’s past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

I am fascinated by angels and love settings in London so this one is perfect for me.  I also think the cover is stunning!   

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers post about pre-publication titles they are looking forward to reading.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Review: Shiver

Author-  Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Audio

When Shiver was published in August of 2009, I was spending every free second of time writing my Masters dissertation on radical contributions in children’s literature.   Needless to say, my “reading for fun” time became nonexistent and I never joined the Shiver bandwagon.   With the third book of the series Forever coming out July 12, I figured it was time to see what all of the fuss is about…

Shiver is told from the point of view of the two main characters:  Grace, an independent 17 year old with an unusual fascination with wolves, and Sam, a part  heartthrob- part werewolf who saves Grace’s life and consequently falls in love with her.  I really thought Maggie Stiefvater did a wonderful job of shifting between narrators and the writing itself was beautiful.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t overly excited about the story…

Grace discovers that the yellow-eyed wolf who saved her life 6 years prior, is really an artsy, intelligent, HOT guy.  The first two thirds of the book is essentially about their growing love affair (which at times was cute and mildly steamy), but over all I found the story to be slow and somewhat uneventful.   I know that realism doesn’t really go along with paranormal romance, but I had issues with the fact that Sam slept in Grace’s room every night for weeks without her parents knowing.  He showered, brushed his teeth, and would even make breakfast after her parents had left.   I didn’t think this was explained well enough- basically, the reader is supposed to accept that Grace’s parents are so wrapped up in their own selfish lives, that they don’t notice their daughter has a live in boyfriend?  I didn’t buy it.  

The story did eventually pick up the pace and I was literally on the edge of my seat for the last 15 or so chapters- just enough mystery to drive me crazy and force me to purchase Linger.  All in all, I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: The Giver

Author-  Lois Lowry
Bantam Doubleday Audio

 "They were satisfied with their lives which had none of the vibrance his own was taking on.  And he was angry at himself, that he could not change that for them."

I have to admit, when I was searching for a new audiobook and came across The Giver, it seemed like the perfect choice.  I hadn't read the book since high school and thought it would make a great addition to my newly created YA blog.    The problem do I begin to review a Newberry Medal winner that has been analyzed, criticized and reviewed by the most elite of industry professionals? The answer is...I'm not.   Instead of a review, I'm calling this an appreciation of work.   Books speak to each of us in different ways, especially pieces of work like The Giver-  this is my interpretation, my truth.

From the cover: 

Jonas's world is perfect.  Everything is under control.  There is no war or fear or pain.  There are no choices.  Every person is assigned a role in the Community.
When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver.  The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life.  Now it's time for Jonas to receive the truth.  There is no turning back.
Without a doubt, The Giver is one of the most thought provoking novels I've ever read (or heard in this case).  The novel is set in a seemingly perfect community in a futuristic society.   Everyone looks similar in appearance and dress, there is little crime, and being different is considered shameful.  Farfetched you say? not really.   For me, this world where individualism is discouraged is a very real place-  I saw it everyday growing up in southern Alabama and was able to visualize it perfectly.   In this world where no one makes choices, there are no consequences for making wrong decisions.  There is also no happiness when the right choice is made.   I'm sure we've all heard the saying "you've got to take the bad with the good".   While there are several messages and lessons we can learn from The Giver, this is the one that spoke the loudest to me.   The only way we can experience love and joy is to understand loneliness and pain.   There was one period for which I refer to as the most difficult in all my life-  if you ask if I would change it, I would say "not in a million years".  Why?  because like Jonas (the protagonist) I am better for it and wiser.   The Giver is one of my favorites, and if you haven't read it in 12 or so years like me, I recommend the audiobook version.   The storytelling is perfect.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Review: Do You Know the Monkey Man?

Author:  Dori Hillstead Butler
Peachtree Publishers 

Throughout my various publishing internships, I managed to collect quite a number of books. Some were received as payment for my services, others I found particularly intriguing and actually purchased, and a few I selected strictly based on a striking jacket. Two summers ago, I interned with an independent children’s publisher in Atlanta called Peachtree. It was here I came across Do You Know the Monkey Man?. The title immediately caught my eye and I knew it would make a fine addition to my collection.

I DO have a confession to make…I acquire books at a rate faster than I can actually read them. I have wonderful intentions, but many find their way on my bookshelves only to move farther and farther down my “to read” list. Falling behind the new paranormal teen romance, crime thriller, and even trashy beach read (aka Playground) “Do You Know the Monkey Man” waited patiently on my shelf until this past week. Little did I know, I had a quiet gem all along…

Thirteen year old Sam Wright wants answers and she is going to do anything to find them. She lost her twin sister Sarah when she was three years old in a horrible canoeing accident, and her father mysteriously disappeared shortly thereafter. Sam’s mother is now getting remarried and she must deal with idea of having a new Stepfather. In addition, Sam has been having strange dreams about her dead twin and an eerie feeling that she is somehow still alive. “Do You Know the Monkey Man” takes readers on Sam’s physical and emotional journey of finding her biological father and discovering the truth about her family’s past.

I needed an additional cup of coffee this morning because after getting halfway through the book last night, I quickly realized I would not be able to put it down until I was finished. It was fast paced and suspenseful and my interest forced me to each following chapter. The author, Dori Hillstead Butler, does a wonderful job of relaying the complex emotions of an early teen who is trying to find her place in a broken family.

Teens and adults alike can learn a valuable lesson from this book. We live in a world where we are constantly in search of the unknown, the better, the “greener grass” of life. While at times we do find what we are looking for, sometimes along the way we learn to appreciate the life we have and the people who are in it. The message of the story is a beautiful one: there is no single definition of family. Family is a feeling, an emotion. It is comfort, dependability and trust. Family is love.

The sequel is entitled Yes, I Know the Monkey Man and I assure you, this one won’t sit on the shelf.