Saturday, July 31, 2010

jechols Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Language: English
ISBN:
9781439178232
Source of my copy: from the publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon. But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.


Leslie's Review:
Zoey feels like her life is messed up. In addition to her fear that the whole town will find out that her mom is in a mental hospital and with her dad getting his much younger girlfriend pregnant, she also has to deal with hot but irritating Doug's teasing in school. The only way she can deal is by being perfect--being the perfect daughter, student and girlfriend to Brandon, a popular star football player. But when Zoey finally feels that she has things under control, she gets into a car accident and can't remember what happened the whole night before the crash. Suddenly everything is different as she unexpectedly finds her life full of Doug and empty of Brandon. What happened to her that night? Zoey is anxious to find out.

Once in a while, it's really nice to read a book that deals with plain old 21st century teenagers with all the drama but without the magic, mayhem and paranormal creatures. I thought this book was a satisfying read with its well-developed characters and plot. I liked Zoey and yes, she's going through a lot of stuff but she kinda irritated me a little with the whole Brandon/Doug situation. She's always throwing Brandon (who is not her boyfriend despite what she thinks) to Doug's face. I really liked Doug though, and he really stood out above all the other characters. He is the bad-boy-on-the-outside-but-a-sweet-guy-once-you-get-to-know-him type. He really cared for Zoey and I thought they were great together. As for the plot, it's your typical cliche, teenage drama but, overall, I enjoyed this book and I thought it a good story. 3.75 out of 5 stars

Friday, July 30, 2010

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop

Friday, July 30, 2010 with
Follow Friday Time! Rachel of Parajunkee's View is hosting "Follow My Book Blog Friday." Here are the rules: (taken from Rachel's blog)

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow the Featured Bloggers - http://theauthoress-amelia.blogspot.com/
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!

Doesn't that sound fun? Click on the image to join in on the fun. Thanks for hosting Rachel!

A little bit about our blog:
Hi y'all!! My name is Michelle and I co-author this blog with my younger sister Leslie. We both review YA and middle grade fiction but I also review romance novels. Other genres are sometimes reviewed on our blog too.

Thanks for stopping by our blog! Don't forget to leave a comment so we can visit your blog too and if you decided to follow us, thank you and we'll be sure to return the favor, just leave your link below so we can find you. Happy Friday! :)


This week's question: Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?
This is a hard question to answer as I have many new-to-me authors whose books I am really enjoyed. I'll list a few:
1. Jackson Pearce [YA] (I highly recommend both of her books As You Wish and Sisters Red)
2. Julie Kagawa [YA] (The Iron King)
3. Julie James [romance] (Practice Makes Perfect and Something About You)
4. Jennifer Ashley [romance] (Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

First of all, thanks to everyone who participated and shared their favorite Greek god or goddess. I enjoyed reading your answers. Now, for the winners (as chosen by random.org)...

enaughton enaughton
The winner of Marked is Mary Brebner!



The winner of Entwined is MissKallie2000!





Congratulations to you both! Please email me with your shipping address in the next 72 hours. If you didn't win this time around, don't despair. See our left sidebar for more giveaway opportunities here on the blog and around the blogosphere.
**Don't forget to enter the giveaway for your chance to win this Deadly Fear HERE.**

ceden Paperback: 461 pages
Publisher: Forever
Language: English
ISBN13:
978-0446559249
Source of my copy: from the publisher for review
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
TWO BRILLIANT AGENTS
FBI Special Agent Monica Davenport has made a career out of profiling serial killers. But getting inside the twisted minds of the cruel and the sadistic has taken its toll: She's walled herself off from the world. Yet Monica can't ignore fellow agent Luke Dante, the only man who ever broke through her defenses.
ONE DREAM TEAM
Luke has the unique ability to put victims at ease . . . professionally, he and Monica made a perfect team. Now they're reunited to catch a murderer who uses his victims' deepest, darkest fears for sport - but their investigative skills aren't enough. Luke and Monica will have to face the secrets from their past, the ones that terrify them the most, if they are to have a future together.
But can they catch a killer whose weapon is . . .


Michelle's Review:
Cynthia Eden is an author I've been wanting to read for a long time (I have her entire Night Watch series on my shelf but I have yet to read any) and when I saw that Hachette was offering the first book in her new romantic suspense series for review, I jumped at the chance. Romantic suspense is one of my favorite romance sub-genres and the fact that Deadly Fear is also a reunion story (my favorite plot line!) made me more than excited to read it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it's one of those where I wasn't able to guess who the killer until the last few chapters in the book--in most mystery suspense I can guess who the killer is a few chapters in and I am usually right. I really liked the heroine in the story--Monica is smart, tough and a take-charge/in-control type but she also has a vulnerable side and a horrific past that makes you feel for her. We really get to know Monica as Deadly Fear is her story more than anyone else's. Hence, I feel like I didn't get to know the hero, Luke, as much as I did Monica. He was supposed to be a victims expert but I never really got to see that. Monica and Luke are great together though and the connection and chemistry is there. I thought it refreshing that while they each have secret pasts, they are talking about their shared past out loud with each other early on (the second chapter in fact). There is none of that pretending it never happened for so many chapters.

However, my biggest complaint is the use of the "f" word in this book. I'm all for characters using that word and any other cuss words when appropriate and when their character calls for it. In this book, most of the "f" usage was through Luke and when we are reading in his perspective and the cussing thing is just how his character is. I get that. But I thought Luke would've been his cold, rough-talking character just the same without at least a third of those f-words peppered in his speech and thoughts. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The mystery aspect of it is spot on, it has a fantastic heroine and it's a pulse-pounding, suspenseful read. I'm excited to read the next installment of this series. 4.25 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

shale Paperback: 306 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Language: English
ISBN:
9781599900513
Source of my copy: borrowed from the library
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
After being imprisoned in a tower, a princess and her serving maid at last escape to find a changed world and danger at every turn.






Leslie's Review
:
Dashti (a lady's maid) is stuck in a tower for seven years when her lady, Lady Saren, refused to accept an arranged marriage. While Lady Saren distresses over their situation, Dashti can only hope to keep herself sane and both of them fed during their imprisonment. When Lady Saren receive two suitors--one very welcomed and the other not so much--Dashti must take many risks to protect her lady from any harm and she may even be risking her own life.

Book of a Thousand Days is one of the books listed on my required reading list and I decided to read this book for that reason. This book was very heartwarming with Shannon's great writing but I can't help but compare it to her other book The Goose Girl (which I loved very much; see my review). I found the plot a bit similar to The Goose Girl and Dashti was as likable as the main character in it. Dashti was one of the best heroines that I've ever read about because she is strong, brave, loyal and intelligent. However, I almost lost my patience with her Lady Saren because she was a little annoying. I didn't like how she was weak and unhappy for most of the book but towards the end, I did grow to like her when she finally started to compose herself. Overall, I thought Book of a Thousand Days was a great retelling of a Grimm Brothers fairytale, though it's one I'm not familiar with. I really liked that it was in a diary format (written by Dashti) so if you like books written this way you should definitely check this book out. I'm very glad I choose it from my reading list to read this summer! 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, July 26, 2010

GIVEAWAY: Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden

Monday, July 26, 2010 with
Labels:
On the spotlight today is...


The Author: Cynthia Eden

5 Fun Facts (taken from the Hachette website)

1. Cynthia incorporated many of her own fears in Deadly Fear. Was it therapeutic for her? No, now she has more fears!

2. Cynthia has tried to face her ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) by visiting zoos and petting snakes. No, that hasn’t worked so well for her, either. Though, oddly, one of her favorite movies is Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid. She thinks snakes are best from a very nice distance.

3. If you ask her, Cynthia can instantly tell you at least five ways to get rid of a body — without leaving evidence behind. It makes for fun dinner conversation.

4. Cynthia has several shelves full of books that tell you how to commit the perfect crime. These books make her husband very nervous.

5. More information about Cynthia may be found at her website: www.cynthiaeden.com

To learn more about Cynthia's books, follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

The Book: Deadly Fear

Blurb
(taken from the Hachette website)
FBI Special Agent Monica Davenport has made a career out of profiling serial killers. But getting inside the twisted minds of the cruel and the sadistic has taken its toll: She's walled herself off from the world. Yet Monica can't ignore fellow agent Luke Dante, the only man who ever broke through her defenses.

Luke has the unique ability to put victims at ease . . . professionally, he and Monica made a perfect team. Now they're reunited to catch a murderer who uses his victims' deepest, darkest fears for sport - but their investigative skills aren't enough. Luke and Monica will have to face the secrets from their past, the ones that terrify them the most, if they are to have a future together.
But can they catch a killer whose weapon is . . .DEADLY FEAR
Do you want to win your very own copy of Deadly Fear?
Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away.

For a chance to win fill out the form:


Rules & Disclaimers:VERY IMPORTANT! Please read before entering!
1. Only residents of the U.S. or Canada are eligible to win. No P.O. Boxes.
2. This giveaway will end on August 14 and the winners will be selected using random.org.
3. The winners are responsible for emailing me with their shipping address within 72 hours of the winner announcement post. I will select new winners if they fail to do so. NO EXCEPTIONS.
4. This giveaway is being sponsored by Hachette Book Group and NOT Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks. If you win, you'll receive your book directly from Hachette. We are in NO way for responsible for prizes that are not honored by the sponsor, dispersed in a timely manner, stolen, lost and/or damaged during transit.
5. See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers.

Thanks for entering and good luck!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"In My Mailbox" was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren. Click on the link to check out what other book bloggers got in their mailbox this week and join in on the fun! Here are the books my sister and I got last week:

Books I bought
Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Won
Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala (two-chapter preview)

Books for review
Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt
Captured by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon
Black Magic by Cherry Adair
Masked edited by Lou Anders
Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman
Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson
The Death (and further adventures) of Silas Winterbottom by Stephen M. Giles
Passing Strange by Daniel Waters
Forget You by Jennifer Echols
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
(A big thank you goes out to Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Doubleday, Sourcebooks, Leanee Briggs, MacMillan and Harper Teen)


"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is hosted by the awesome Sheila of Book Journey. It is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week as well as books completed the previous week. Click on the image above to join in on the fun this week!

Last week I read:
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley

This week I plan to read:
Black Magic by Cherry Adair
All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins
The Agency A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee (if I have time)

Next week I want to read:
I start work this week so I'm not sure I'll have much time to read but I'm going to try knock off a couple of review books.

Your turn to share...
What books did you get in your mailbox? What books are you reading this week?

lkate ARC: 452 pages
Publisher: Random House
Language: English
ISBN:
9780385738934
Source of my copy: My sister won it
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.


Leslie's Review:
I was really excited to read this book (mostly because I love the cover) and had high hopes for it. But when I'd finally read it I was disappointed.
Lucinda Price, or Luce, had been sent to reform school, Sword & Cross, after being accused for her crush's death. There, she gets caught between two boys, the safe and charming Cam and the distant Daniel. Though Cam is obviously into Luce, she can't help but feel an irresistible pull to Daniel who also seems strangely familiar. Luce can't understand why but she is determined to find out more about the mysterious Daniel.

The beginning of this book was really slow, but as I continued reading, the action did pick up
. I don't know... maybe it's the plot? It just wasn't exciting to me. I love the whole star-crossed lovers/reincarnation plot idea but this book just didn't deliver. There is no rising action and it just fell flat. I don't know what else to say about this book except I'm giving it 1.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop

Friday, July 23, 2010 with
Follow Friday Time! Rachel of Parajunkee's View is hosting "Follow My Book Blog Friday." Here are the rules: (taken from Rachel's blog)

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow the Featured Bloggers - toreadornottoread-vampangel.blogspot.com
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!

Doesn't that sound fun? Click on the image to join in on the fun. Thanks for hosting Rachel!

A little bit about our blog:
Hi y'all!! My name is Michelle and I co-author this blog with my younger sister Leslie. We both review YA and middle grade fiction but I also review romance novels. Other genres are sometimes reviewed on our blog too.

Thanks for stopping by our blog! Don't forget to leave a comment so we can visit your blog too and if you decided to follow us, thank you and we'll be sure to return the favor, just leave your link below so we can find you. Happy Friday! :)


Also, we have a GIVEAWAY going on now: Win either Marked (the first book in the Eternal Guardian series) or if you read it already Entwined (the 2nd book to be released on 7/27) by Elisabeth Naughton (check out our Q&A with her too). Anyone can enter (it's international!) so just leave a comment on THIS post.

This week's question: Tell us about that you are currently reading?
Right now I am reading Black Magic by Cherry Adair, a paranormal romance. It's about Sara and Jack, both wizards, who were engaged but for some reason they broke it off. They are brought together again when Sara unintentionally sent a distress signal to Jack and he came to her rescue. They must then work together to get the bad guy.

I know, very vague. But
I just started so I don't know whys, whats and whos yet.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I haven't posted any "book trailer of the week" here on the blog for a while but I'm really excited to read these two books (both out in the next couple of months). You all have probably seen these two around last week but I'm sharing it here again because they are fantastic!

The first trailer Halo by Alexandra Adornetto:

Blurb: Three angels are sent down to bring good to the world: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. But she is the most human, and when she is romantically drawn to a mortal boy, the angels fear she will not be strong enough to save anyone—especially herself—from the Dark Forces. Is love a great enough power against evil? This is the first entry in this trilogy, written by eighteen-year-old Australian author Alexandra Adornetto.

Next is Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (which I have on pre-order!). This book is my Book I Covet/Waiting on Wednesday book (hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine):

Blurb: Evie's always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours. But Evie's about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. So much for normal.

Now, for the hard question: If you can only have one of these two books, which one would you pick? (Leslie asked me this question and I couldn't answer. Can you?)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today, we have the pleasure of welcoming back author Elisabeth Naughton here on M&LBP! Her latest release is ENTWINED, a paranormal romance and the second book in her new Eternal Guardians series. It comes out this coming Tuesday, July 27th! Please join us in welcoming her...

Hi Elisabeth! Please tell us a little about yourself... say in 160 characters?
Elisabeth Naughton pens sexy romantic adventures and dark, hot paranormals from her home in Western Oregon where she’s currently trying to survive the summer with her three gremlins. The three gremlins, however, are working very hard to make sure she gets nothing done.

Since you write paranormals, who are your top 3 paranormal character crushes?
Oh, this is hard. Okay:
1) Aragorn – The Lord of the Rings. Great in the book. Better in the movie.
2) Butch – Lover Revealed – I don’t know why, but I just really liked his character. Zsadist and Rhage were great, but there was something endearing about the oddball trying to fit in.
3) Teague Creek – Maximum Exposure – my critique partner Joan Swan’s upcoming paranormal romantic suspense from Kensington. I know this is sorta cheating since very few people (besides me!) have read this book yet, but it’s an awesome story, and Teague is a fantastic hero. (Be sure to buy the book when it releases!)

There are a lot of Greek gods in your Eternal Guardian series but do you have a favorite Greek god or a Greek myth?
One of my favorite Greek myths is the turning of Medusa. It’s a twisted tale, but I understand why Medusa ended up the way she did. She was a virgin, beautiful and sought after by gods and men alike. Poseidon, allegedly overcome with lust, raped her in Athena’s temple and Athena, both jealous of Medusa and angered by the fact Poseidon had taken the maiden, transformed Medusa into a hideous creature with snakes in her hair, so horrible to look at one would be turned to stone if they did. Medusa, abandoned and hated, became the monster Athena created, and she spent the rest of her life turning anyone who ventured near her to stone. Until, of course Perseus succeeded in beheading her.
Poseidon is really the one who should have been punished in this tale, but it goes a long way to explain how monsters can be created through excruciating, outside circumstances. Medusa was a horrible creature at the height of her terror, but part of me can’t help but feel sorry for her.

Hmm... that's interesting. I never knew that about Medusa. Okay, with your new book ENTWINED coming out in exactly a week, is there something you always do (a ritual of some sort) on the day a new book of yours is released out into the world?
Stress. Oh, wait, you mean something FUN. Hm…my hubby takes me out to dinner and we toast the new book. And I continue to stress.

Aww... that's sweet. Please give us a one sentence blurb about ENTWINED.
ZANDER — The most feared of all the Eternal Guardians - it’s rumored he can’t be killed, and he always fights like he has nothing to lose, but as a descendant of the famed hero Achilles, he’s got to have a vulnerability… somewhere.

Three songs that would be in the Entwined soundtrack?
My Immortal by Evanescence
New Divide by Linkin Park
Love Story by Taylor Swift

I'm happy to see "Love Story" in that list--it's one of my favorite songs. So, which of the characters in ENTWINED are you most like? The most different?
Oooh, another hard one. Okay, let me see. I think I’m most like Callia. I see a lot of myself in her. The most different would be Zander. The guy has a serious death wish. I understand it, but I can’t ever see myself wanting nothing more than to die. That’s pretty extreme.

What was the hardest part to write in Entwined? Easiest?
ENTWINED is a reunion story, so the hardest part for me was when Callia and Zander had that deep talk about what happened in the past and each realized why the other did the things they did. Seeing events through someone else’s eyes – those are always tough to write. Their past relationship is mired in betrayal, pain and conflict, and bringing all that out—having them talk about it—was hard for me to write. Love scenes are also hard for me. I don’t know why – I toil over those a lot more than anything else.
The easiest part of ENTWINED? The fight scenes. I love writing the action/fight scenes. The reviewer from RT BookReviews called it “bloody and violent” and I laughed out loud when I read that. Obviously, my enthusiasm for the fight scenes came through loud and clear.

A reunion story with "bloody and violent" fight scenes--I love it already! What is next after ENTWINED?
The third Eternal Guardians book is TEMPTED, which hits store shelves in February 2011. I won’t tell you whose book this is just yet… you have to read ENTWINED to figure that out. I WILL tell you it’s smokin’ hot and that I cried writing the end. That’s never happened to me before.

Not even a little hint? Okay, I guess I'll have to wait until I read ENTWINED--good thing I have it on pre-order--but I'm crossing my fingers it'll be about Nick (he is my favorite from Marked). Thank you so much for stopping by and answering my questions Elisabeth!

Readers, to learn more about Elisabeth and her books, visit her website
or follow her on Twitter. You all should definitely check out Marked (the 1st book in Elisabeth's Eternal Guardian series) if you haven't already and while you're at it, make sure you pick up ENTWINED as well--it's out on July 27th--exactly a week from now! Or you can try your luck here...

GIVEAWAY
Elisabeth is giving away a copy of MARKED and ENTWINED today! If you want to be entered to win, leave a comment on this post telling us Who is your favorite Greek god or goddess? Also, be sure to tell us what book you're interested in reading. You can put your name in the hat for either MARKED or ENTWINED.

**You must answer the question to enter and the title of the book you want to win with your email address (no email no entry). Ends July 27th and open INTERNATIONALLY. Good luck!**
jpetersen Paperback: 321 pages
Publisher: Love Spell
Language: English
ISBN13:
978-0505528223
Source of my copy: I bought it
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
THERON – Dark haired, duty bound and deceptively deadly. He’s the leader of the Argonauts, an elite group of guardians that defends the immortal realm from threats of the Underworld.
From the moment he walked into the club, Casey knew this guy was different. Men like that just didn’t exist in real life—silky shoulder-length hair, chest impossibly broad, and a predatory manner that just screamed dark and dangerous. He was looking for something. Her.
She was the one. She had the mark. Casey had to die so his kind could live, and it was Theron’s duty to bring her in. But even as a 200-year-old descendent of Hercules, he wasn’t strong enough to resist the pull in her fathomless eyes, to tear himself away from the heat of her body.
As war with the Underworld nears, someone will have to make the ultimate sacrifice.


Michelle's Review:
Marked is the first book in Ms. Naughton's new paranormal series called Eternal Guardians which follows seven immortal warriors descended from the greatest heroes of Ancient Greece. This book is Theron's story and he is a descendant of Hercules and the leader of the Argonauts. The Argonauts guard Argolea (a realm outside the human world where descendants of heroes live) but with their king dying and continued threats from the Underworld, it is slowly deteriorating. Theron was prepared to wed the dying king's only daughter and heir in order to bring new strength to the monarchy--that is, until he meets Casey and learns that she is his soul-mate. Casey never felt she belonged anywhere and often travelled, never staying at one place too long. She has been living in Silver Hills, Oregon since her grandmother died, working as a waitress in a strip club by night and managing her grandmother's bookstore by day. She rescued a mysterious yet very sexy stranger one night and she soon finds herself running from daemons and putting her life in Theron's hands. She finds herself caught between two worlds and learns about her past as well as her part in a prophecy where she has to die to order to save the Argolean people--all the while both she and Theron are fighting their crazy attraction to each other.

I admit I was a little iffy about this book because while I really enjoyed the author's romantic suspense series I'm not really into Greek mythology. However, you don't have to be a fan of it to enjoy Marked. No unnecessary Ancient Greek facts here but those that were integrated in the story were interesting. This is a very fast-paced book, action-packed with plenty of drama and lots of world building. I felt it got a little busy in the beginning and it took me a few chapters to catch on because there was a lot of information to take in but I thought the author did a good job in pacing the book. As with most first books in a series, the romance between the hero and heroine often take a backseat to all the world-building and it was it's the same in this book but there is enough spark and chemistry between Casey and Theron to satisfy me. Both the hero and heroine are likable and we are definitely going to see more of them in future books as I think they both have important roles in the series. There were also many interesting secondary characters whose story I'm eager to read as well as vain, calculating Greek gods to cause more drama.

I enjoyed this book and I'm eager to read what will happen next in the continuing storyline involving Casey's sister that ended in a bit of a cliffhanger. This book is definitely different from the author's previous romantic suspense series but if you're tired of the usual vampire and werewolf paranormal fare, give this book a try. It has interesting characters, numerous fighting scenes and if you're a fan of Greek mythology I think you'll like how she integrates the myths into the story and the world the author has built. 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, July 19, 2010

rsimon Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Publisher: Zeta Comics
Language: English
ISBN:
978-0986539206
Source of my copy: from the author
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
When the Zeta sisters decided to keep their super powers a secret from the world, they had no idea that a sinister menace would appear and threaten to drive Century City into ruin. Now it’s time for the sisters to team up, crack up and battle the evil Dr. Impossible and some giant robots.But the Zeta sisters aren’t the only ones with a powerful secret and what they discover in their first adventure together, may make it their last.Zoey Zeta and the Sister of Power, Family Secrets, is the hilarious new all-ages series from author Robert Simon and illustrator Tomomi Sarafov. Get ready for an action-packed adventure starring three powerful little girls with big powers, big attitudes and big adventures.


Michelle, Leslie and Aubrey's Video Review
:


We included Aubrey in this review because Zoey Zeta and the Sisters of Power is aimed at young readers ages 6-9 years old. We also decided to a video review for this book (and any future graphic novels we may review) because we are able to show the content and art better than just writing about it here on the blog. For more info on Zoey Zeta, visit the Zeta Comics website, Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
First of all, I want to thank everyone for entering. Random.org has spoken and...

deedavis the three Dangerous Desires by Dee Davis winners are:

Katia (kr_moreau@)

Anita Yancey

Amanda Robbins





jlondon the three winners for Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer are:

pixie13 (gevin13@)

Cecile (alliwantandmorebooks@)

Brenda (kittycrochettwo@)





...and last but not the least, the winner for the BookExtravaganza giveaway who will receive both Alison Dare Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare The Heart of the Maiden is:

Vidisha Singh





Congratulations! Winners, please get back to me with your shipping address in the next 72 hours (or else I will pick new winners) so that I can pass it on to Hachette Book Group (the first six winners) or so that I can mail you your prize ASAP. For those who didn't win this time around, don't despair as there will be more giveaways to come! Thank you all again for entering! :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"In My Mailbox" is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren. Click on the link to check out what other book bloggers got in their mailbox this week and join in on the fun! Here are the books my sister and I got last week:


Books for Review:
Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden
All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins
The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink
Girl Parts by John M. Cusick
The Agency: Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee
(A big thank you to FSB Media, Little Brown, Hachette, Candlewick and The InGroup )

Books Won:
My Reckless Surrender by Anna Campbell
Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott
The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott
(with swag and first chapter of Shadows of the Moon by Zoe Marriott)

Books Bought:
The Fire Lord's Lover by Kathryne Kennedy
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus



"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is hosted by the awesome Sheila of Book Journey. It is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week as well as books completed the previous week. Click on the image above to join in on the fun this week!

Last week I read:
Faithful Place by Tana French (review here)
Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden (review coming soon)

This week I plan to read:
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley

Next week I want to read:
Not sure yet but I have a bunch of awesome ones waiting for me! :)

Your turn to share...
What books did you get in your mailbox? What books are you reading this week?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Extravaganza Giveaway: Win Alison Dare Books

Thursday, July 15, 2010 with
Labels:


Hello, welcome to Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks! This is your stop in the BookExtravaganza to win the awesomely fun, not-just-for-kids Alison Dare graphic novels:


That's right! Both the Alison Dare Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare The Heart of the Maiden could be yours! If you've never read a graphic novel, here's your chance... you won't regret picking up and reading Alison Dare.

There will be one winner. Fill out this form to enter:


**A big thanks goes to Kristen of Bookworming in the 21st Century and Kate of The Neverending Bookshelf for organizing this event.**

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

tfench Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult
Language: English
ISBN13:
978-0670021871
Source of my copy: from the publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
The course of Frank Mackey's life was set by one defining moment when he was nineteen. The moment his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, failed to turn up for their rendezvous in Faithful Place, failed to run away with him to London as they had planned. Frank never heard from her again. Twenty years on, Frank is still in Dublin, working as an undercover cop. He's cut all ties with his dysfunctional family. Until his sister calls to say that Rosie's suitcase has been found. Frank embarks on a journey into his past that demands he reevaluate everything he believes to be true.

Michelle's Review:
Faithful Place is told in Frank Mackey's (Cassie's boss from The Likeness) perspective through first person narration. This book takes us back to when Frank was nineteen years old and was meeting his girlfriend Rosie so they can run away to England together and leave their respective dysfunctional families behind. Rosie never showed up that night and after Frank found a note from her, he figured she'd ditched him and went off on her own. He never heard from her again. Fast forward twenty years later and Frank is now an undercover squad detective in Dublin. He got a call that someone found Rosie's suitcase in a old, decrepit house on Faithful Place that used to be the old hang-out of teenagers in the neighborhood where Frank and Rosie grew up. Soon, someone's remains is also found and Frank finds himself back on Faithful Place revisiting his past. He is back with the family he swore he'll never see again and getting sucked in to all their drama again, all the while investigating the possible murder of his old girlfriend.

I am a big fan of Tana French's In the Woods and The Likeness so I was really looking forward to reading Faithful Place (these three books are more companion books than series so they can be read as standalone). I had fully intended to purchase this book myself but the publisher was nice enough to send me a copy. I had high expectations going into this book and almost all my expectations were met. I guessed early on who the murder was and I was proved right but that hardly mattered because the author's writing is addictive and compelling and I just kept on reading as events in Frank's past were revealed and secrets were unraveled. This book is more than a mystery novel though as it's in a big way also about family. Frank is an interesting character--he's not entirely likable but you know where he is coming--I enjoyed getting into his head and seeing him interact with his daughter because he was a bit of a mystery to me in the previous books. The secondary characters were well-developed and the dialogue, in Dublin vernacular, brisk and refreshing.

While this book isn't as eerie and disturbing as the author's first two novels, it is creepy in its own way. One of the reasons I was looking forward to this book so much is that I am hoping the author will show us a little peek on how Rob Ryan or Cassie Maddox is doing but there is no mention of them at all which disappointed me a little. But other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book (it may be my new favorite of the three books!) and I am looking forward to reading more from the author. 4.75 out of 5 stars

Other books by the author:
tfench tfench
Faithful Place came out July 13 and is available in stores and online.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hi everyone! Leslie here. I'm doing an "FYI" post to talk about four book programs I am a part of. These programs are great because if you act fast, you can get finished books or ARCs in exchange for feedback on the books. They also contact you to take part of surveys, quizzes and you can take part in special giveaways and authors forum.

The InGroup
InGroup is run by Henry Holt and is only open to teens ages 13 to 19 years old who live in the United States. There is a release form your parent or guardian needs to sign that needs to be snail mailed before you can join. But once you're in, you get an email once a month with three or four book titles. You pick one you are most interested in reading and if you're one of the first 25 to get your email in for that title, they will mail you a copy (I received two book from them already). You read it and fill out an easy feedback form with seven questions. They might even quote you on InGroup website.

Harlequin Teen Panel
I joined the Harlequin Teen Panel in May and I'm still learning how this program works. The only emails I received from them are surveys about book titles and covers, but they are really fun and quick. There were also discussions and author forums I took part in. According to their website, you're to receive free Harlequin Teen books by joining but I haven't gotten any since I've joined so I'm not sure about that. The program is fairly new though so I guess they are still working out a few kinks. Like InGroup, a parent has to fill out a release form but it's done entirely online through emails and it's only open to teens ages 13 to 17.

Random Buzzers
My sister and I have been part of Random Buzzers the longest. It's a great reader community where you can take part in fun quizzes, author forums, fantastic weekly giveaways, post reviews, interact with other readers and authors and other fun things. Just about everything you do on the site earns you "buzz bucks" and when you accumulate a certain amount, you can exchange it for books. There's no age restrictions but I'm not sure if it's open worldwide.

NetGalley
My sister signed up for NetGalley a while ago and she doesn't use it because we don't have an e-reader and it sucks reading on the computer for many hours. However, we did browse their catalog and there were a whole lot of fantastic e-ARC titles on there in all genres with many different publishers offering their books. You can request a title and download it directly to your computer or e-reader. There is a time limit to the e-ARCs though--about 2 months I believe but it's open internationally.

These programs are all awesome in different ways and if you are interested in alternative ways of getting free books to review or feature on your blog, they all are worth checking out. I know there are other book programs for teens (and adults) out there but these four are the ones I am most familiar with and I wanted to let you all know about them. If you are part of other book programs or know others, please share in the comments below.

Monday, July 12, 2010

aflinn Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Language: English
ISBN:
9780060874186
Source of my copy: My sister bought it
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
I am a beast.
A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.


Leslie's Review
:
I was really excited to read this book and it was a really great and easy read. The book is a contemporary version of the classic fairytale, Beauty and the Beast and it was written in the hero's (aka the beast) perspective. The beast is
Kyle Kingsbury and in the beginning, he was an arrogant, stuck-up jerk. After tricking the witch, Kendra, into thinking that she is Kyle's date to the spring dance (when he already has a date) she casts a spell on him that turned him into an ugly beast. Now Kyle only has two years to find someone he can fall in love with and who will fall in love with him back in return despite his beastly looks. He and this girl must kiss in order to break the spell.

I really liked this book because it was sweet (like how fairy tales should be) and written well. Although Kyle was a rude person in the beginning, overtime he became likable as he understood the lesson the witch wanted him to understand--that it's what's in the inside that really counts. But my favorite character was Linda, a classmate that Kyle comes to know more about and falls in love with. But will she love him back?

If you're planning on watching the movie that'll be out sometime in the future, I recommend you read this book first. I don't think the movie will do it justice and I don't really want to see the movie now because I'm afraid it will ruin this book's charm for me. Although Beauty and the Beast wasn't my favorite fairytale when I was younger, I really enjoyed this book anyway and a book I'll most likely re-read in the future. 4.5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, July 11, 2010

**There is still time to win a copy of this book HERE but hurry! The giveaway ends 7/13.**

jlondon Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Forever
Language: English
ISBN13:
9780446542081
Source of my copy: from the publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Olivia Grace has secrets that could destroy her. One of the greatest of these is the Earl of Gracechurch, who married and divorced her five years earlier. Abandoned and disgraced, Grace has survived those years at the edge of respectability. Then she stumbles over Jack on the battlefield of Waterloo, and he becomes an even more dangerous secret. For not only is he unconscious, he is clad in an enemy uniform.
But worse, when Jack finally wakes in Olivia's care, he can't remember how he came to be on a battlefield in Belgium. In fact, he can remember nothing of the last five years. He thinks he and Olivia are still blissfully together. To keep him from being hanged for a traitor, Olivia must pretend she and Jack are still married.
To unearth the real traitors, Olivia and Jack must unravel the truth hidden within his faulty memory. To save themselves and the friends who have given them sanctuary, they must stand against their enemies, even as they both keep their secrets.
In the end, can they risk everything to help Jack recover his lost memories, even though the truth may destroy them both?

Michelle's Review: (possible spoilers)
The premise of Barely a Lady, the first book in the Drake's Rakes series, was interesting: the hero Jack is an earl and he marries Olivia, a vicar's daughter. They had eleven months of a passionate wedded bliss but his family was against the match and did all they can, with a lot of help from Jack's manipulative evil cousin Gervaise, to separate them. They finally succeeded when Jack found Olivia in the arms of her "lover"--Jack promptly divorced her and tossed her out without a backward glance. Her own family disowned her and Olivia was left with nothing and had to survive on her own as a ruined woman. For five years, Olivia took a different name and hid from society because Gervaise was still after her and she being divorced left her a social pariah. Olivia was in Brussels helping to nurse soldiers when she found a wounded Jack (wearing the uniform of the enemy) close to death in the battlefield. Olivia takes him in but soon found that Jack lost his memory and thinks they are still married. Now, Olivia, who finds herself still attracted to her husband, must help Jack recover his memory before Jack is found and hanged a traitor.

I was really looking forward to reading this book because the hero and heroine were already married and are getting a second chance (one of my favorite romance themes), it is the author's first foray into historical romance (prior she wrote romantic suspense) and I saw it recommended on Publisher's Weekly. I ended up really liking it but I did have issues with the two leads. First, Olivia--she was too perfect and too nice--a long-suffering martyr! After all Jack and his family did to her and the hardship she endured because he didn't trust her, she just took him in. Even at the risk of not only her being charged of aiding a possible traitor but also of her new friends. When Jack recovered his memory and started accusing her of cheating on him again, I wanted her to hurt him or scream at him but all she did was clench her fist and took it. As for Jack, it seems like he will believe everyone else before he believes his wife. He did do a lot of grovelling in the end and that made me feel better but before that I wanted to shake him and knock some sense into him! These two frustrated me at times but they did have a lot of touching scenes together that made me go "awww..." In the end, I believed in their love (even though I haven't entirely forgiven Jack and I thought Gervaise got off easy) and I rooted for them to work things out.

Overall, it was a good read and I really liked it. It's a fast-paced historical and it has interesting secondary characters whose own book I'm itching to read. The intimate scenes were surprisingly spicy, though most were flashbacks from the time Olivia and Jack were married. I thought the novel well-written and I like the author's voice. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. 4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I decided to do a video this week for our In My Mailbox post (hosted by Kristi of Story Siren) and It's Monday! What are you reading? (hosted by Sheila of Book Journey). This is one of my first attempts at making a video so I hope you all don't mind the awkwardness.



IMMB books mentioned:
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar (won from Randombuzzers)
The Lighter Side of Life and Death by C.K. Kelly Martin (won from Randombuzzers)
Nomansland by Lesley Hauge (from InGroup)
Think of a Number by John Verdon (from Crown Publishing)
Zoey Zeta and the Sisters of Power by Robert Simon (for review)
Haint Misbehavin by Maureen Hardegree (for review)
Try Me by Parker Blue (from Bell Bridge Books)
Moonstone by Marilee Brothers (from Bell Bridge Books)
Moon Rise by Marilee Brothers (from Bell Bridge Books)
Wild Card by Lora Leigh (bought)
The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee (bought)
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (bought)
**I said "Immortal Instruments" in the video but the series is called "Mortal Instruments."**

It's Monday! What are you reading? books mentioned:

This week I'm reading:
Faithful Place by Tana French (for review)
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink (bought)

Next week I plan to read:
Probably a review book but I'm not sure what yet.

Friday, July 9, 2010

jlondon Paperback: 392 pages
Publisher: Pocket
Language: English
ISBN13:
9781416547099
Source of my copy: from the publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Should some questions be left unanswered? Adopted as an infant, Jane Aaron longs to know the identity of her birth mother and why she gave her up. Her only clue is the name of the small Texas town where she was born, so she’s come to Cedar Springs for answers. Handsome ad executive Asher Price lost his wife, the beautiful, mysterious Susanna, in a terrible car crash eighteen months ago. When he hires Jane as the nanny for his two children, sparks fly. Jane finds herself falling in love with both Asher and his children, but begins to suspect that Susanna was not the perfect mother and wife the family portrays her to have been. As Jane gets closer and closer to finding out the truth about both her own and Susanna’s past, devastating secrets begin to emerge that may be more than anyone can bear. Will the truth bring Jane and Asher closer together or tear them apart forever?


Michelle's Review:
I've read the author's historical romances before but this is my first contemporary by her and I was curious. To me One Season of Sunshine is more women's fiction than romance but I liked it nonetheless. It tells the story of Jane Aaron who was adopted when she was only a few days old. She has a great life: a loving family, great friends, a nice boyfriend and a job as a second grade teacher. But she had always felt that she's missing something in her life and yearns to meet her birth mother. So, she goes to Cedar Springs where she was born to search for answers and there, she ends up working for single dad Asher Price as a nanny to his two children--prickly teenager Riley and energetic 5-year-old Levi. Asher's wife, Susanna, died in a terrible car accident over a year ago but the family is still not over her death and their house is very Manderley-esque shrine to Susanna Price. As Jane gets to know the family, she begins to suspect that Susanna might not be the perfect wife and mother everyone says she was. A growing attraction between Jane and Asher develops but as Jane gets closer to finding out the identity of her birth mother, secrets are exposed that may ruin any future Jane and Asher might have.

Throughout the whole book, I wasn't sure how I feel about Jane. I thought she was a bit selfish and insensitive in how she just packs up and leaves, first with her family and then later with Asher and the children. It's like she doesn't think about the impact of her decisions and what her leaving has on them. I also didn't like how she just kept stringing along her boyfriend for most of the book when she couldn't make a decision as to what to do with him. She describes herself as being a flake and she is that but her character does grow. On the other hand, I really liked how she was firm but sweet to Asher's difficult children and wasn't intimidated by them, especially Riley. I liked Asher right away though--he's trying his hardest to juggle a demanding career and still be a father his children who just lost their mother. As we learn more about Susanna, I really felt for him and was happy when he got his second chance with Jane--I thought the romance between them was sweet.

As the story went on, it became less about finding Jane's birth mother and more about Jane becoming a vital part of the Price family. That's fine with me as I was more interested in Jane, Asher and the children and I thought the scenes where Jane was looking for her birth mom slowed the story down a bit. I liked that the issues weren't all tied up in a nice happily ever after bow but the ending is satisfying. Overall, this book is an easy read and, like in her historical novels, I like the author's voice. I enjoyed this book--I recommend it as a nice beach or a book club read. 4 out of 5 stars

Random.org has spoken and the winner of the One Season of Sunshine giveaway:
Kritter who said: "My favorite author of the moment is jennifer crusie. I am in the middle of reading her for the first time and I am absolutely loving it."

Congratulations Kritter! Please email back with your shipping address in the next 72 hours or I'll choose a new winner. Thank you everyone for entering and sharing who your favorite authors are! :)
Follow Friday Time! Rachel of Parajunkee's View is hosting "Follow My Book Blog Friday." Here are the rules: (taken from Rachel's blog)

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - www.theunreadreader.com
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!

Doesn't that sound fun? Click on the image to join in on the fun. Thanks for hosting Rachel!

A little bit about our blog:
My name is Michelle and I co-author this blog with my younger sister Leslie. We both review YA and middle grade fiction but I also review romance novels. Other genres are sometimes reviewed on our blog too.

Thanks for stopping by our blog! Don't forget to leave a comment so we can visit your blog too and if you decided to follow us, thank you and we'll be sure to return the favor, just leave your link below so we can find you. Happy Friday! :)


This week's question: Tell us about some of your favorite authors and why they are your favorites!
In no particular order:
1. J.K. Rowling: She wrote one of the most amazing series ever.
2. Suzanne Collins: She wrote the other most amazing series ever.
3. Jane Austen: Mr. Knightley and Mr. Darcy. Need I say more?
4. Larissa Ione: Hot. Demon. Doctors.
5. Nora Roberts: 'Nuff said.


I received an email from Anna of Hachette Book Group about a new reader feedback they are doing every first Friday of the month. I know a lot of you read romance and have opinions about what you read--who better to tell your opinions to than the editor, right? I'll quote her email to better explain Feedback Friday:
Hello, folks
The editor for BARELY A LADY would really like to talk to readers, one on one, about what works and doesn’t work for them in romance. We set up a FEEDBACK FRIDAY system of sorts and we’re planning to do one every first Friday of the month. It will be a different type every time, from book covers to character examination, etc. This month, it was for BARELY A LADY. We’re hoping to get as many people involved in this as we could, so if you would be so kind please encourage your readers to participate.

Here’s what we put up on facebook.com/ForeverRomance:
Feedback Friday gives you a chance to tell us what you think about romance! Every first Friday of the month, you can give feedback to the editor. This month’s Feedback Friday is for the book BARELY A LADY by Eileen Dreyer. Sign up: Feedback Friday Form
If you're interested in having a one-on-one email conversation with the editor of Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer or for more information about Feedback Friday, click on the link above.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

This post is not book-related but it's one of the things that's been weighing on my mind. Writing about things usually de-stresses me so this post is more like a journal than anything else. Here we go...

The upcoming school year is going to be a big one for Leslie and me. First of all, Leslie is starting high school in the fall! She's very excited yet nervous. As for me, I'm going back to elementary school. As some of you may know (because I mentioned it here a few times before), I graduated in 2009 with a degree in elementary education. Last school year, I didn't get a teaching position because the schools that were hiring were all from Oahu and I'm back to living on Maui after graduation. Instead, I took an educational assistant position at a local high school. I wasn't sure I'd like it at first because I had no experience in a high school setting, but after some shuffling around I ended up in a special ed classroom and got to work with a group of great kids. I also gained experience in a low-function SPED setting, which I was sorely lacking.

But this summer, I started to get phone calls for teaching position interviews again and from local elementary schools this time. I completely bungled my first interview which was over the phone but I was better prepared on my next interview. This time it was face-to-face with the principal and two teachers and, man, did they grill me! I thought I messed that one up too but a few days later the principal called me for a second interview and the next day I got "the call." I got the job! I'm going to be teaching second grade this coming school year! My first thought after hanging up the phone was: "what have I gotten myself into."

Here's the deal about my whole teaching thing. On my final semester of college (which was the student teaching semester), I realized too late that while I like teaching I'm not passionate about it like my classmates in the college. I felt like I was going through the motions just to graduate. But I went through with my degree because I was so close--just one semester off from graduating and my parents were pressuring me to graduate as well. When it came time to find a job and I ended up as an educational assistant, I was actually relieved because I wasn't a teacher. It was like a reprieve--I was in a classroom setting so I was essentially using my degree but I wasn't a teacher. With this new job, I am. This coming school year will be THE year I really experience having my own 20-plus students and classroom. I'll really see if I'm cut out to be a teacher and can do it for so many more years. If not, then it's time to stop living in limbo and I have to figure out what I really want to do with my life--whether I want to go back to school and pursue something else... like publishing.

Ever since I started blogging books and being expose to the world of publishing, I realize this is something I'm quite passionate about. It's almost a year since I began and I'm still learning and still enjoying it. I see myself keeping up the blog for years to come, which is weird because I'm one of those people who never stick to a hobby for more than a month. It's been in the back of my mind to maybe go back to school and pursue a degree in publishing and marketing and make it a career instead of a hobby. Unfortunately, I'm a bit broke and with having to pay back student loans, I may have to wait another year or two.

Anyway, I am going to be a second grade teacher and despite my conflicting thoughts about it, but I'm actually pretty psyched. Yes, I'm nervous and scared I'll mess up but excited nonetheless. I know I'm going to have an interesting and challenging year ahead of me because it's my first year teaching (and I've heard stories about this "magical" year). We'll see how it goes...

Yikes, I'll shut up now. I wanted to share my news and my whole teaching conflict with you all but this post became very long-winded. Sorry! If you're still reading, thank you!

Umm... any advice for a first year teacher? Any advice will be much appreciated (as well as ideas for first day of school activities)! :)

**The pictures are from last summer, taken when my friend and I were touring an Amish village in Pennsylvania. We found the school house and I played teacher.**