Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Our Mailbox (Oct. 25-30)

Sunday, October 31, 2010 with
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance to show off their book haul for the week. It 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!

My order from Amazon finally came this week and I'm so excited! Here's what I got:


Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
Holly begins a secret relationship with Paul who already has a girlfriend. Then, Holly finds herself becoming friends with his girlfriend.
Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
Jordan and Courtney broke up but they still have to travel cross-country together.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
After an accident, Mia finds herself caught between life an death and must make a very hard decision.
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
First book in the "Dairy Queen" series about tomboy D.J. Schwenk.
Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Second book in the "Dairy Queen" series.

Leslie and I also received two review books this week:

Heart With Joy
by Steve Cushman
A coming of age novel about a boy who must live with his father who he barely knows.
Fixing Delilah Hannaford by Sarah Ockler
Delilah Hannaford's life is falling apart. Can she piece her life and her relationships together again?
(A big THANK YOU to Steve and Little Brown)


What did you get this week?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This book trailer is a bit random in my opinion--it starts at a random spot and it doesn't really say much about the book. I'm not sure what I think of this trailer but I am very much looking forward to reading the book. I've heard great things about it and I heard it's banned in some places too, which makes me all the more eager to read it.

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney:

Blurb (from Goodreads):
Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.


Have you heard of The Mockingbirds? What do you think of the trailer?


Just a quick FYI that you may be interested in:

Leslie and I received an email from Serendipity Literary Agency about a contest they have going on right now called YA Novel Discovery Contest. Neither Leslie nor I are writers but we thought this contest might be of interest for some you. The grand prize winner "will have the opportunity to submit an entire manuscript to YA literary agent Regina Brooks and receive a free, 10-week writing course, courtesy of Gotham Writers' Workshop." Sounds cool, yeah? All you have to do to enter is to send in the first 250 words of your novel. Click HERE or on the image above for more info.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

YASpooktacular Story One: Darkness Part 9

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 with
Leslie and I are so excited to be part of the first ever Tales from Under the Grave put together by Danielle and Khelsea.

Here's how it works: There are 2 spooky YA stories being told in 13 parts. Each part is written by a different author and posted on a different blog. At the end of each story, you will have a chance to enter to win a prize pack (there is prize pack for each story and one that is open international readers). To be eligible to win that story's prize pack, you must comment on each part of the story. There will also be Trick or Treats along the way for more chances to win! For all the rules, the full rundown of all the goodness as well as a list of all the story stops, click HERE.

Leslie and I have for part 9 of the story "Darkness" written by Christina Ferko for you. Enjoy!


All around him, Jeremy could hear his brethren hidden in the shadows of the cemetery. The acrid smell of the zombie must have drawn in any that had been wandering close by. Their restless stirring kicked up soft whispers of fallen leaves. Jeremy strained his ears, listening for what they might do and for the demon’s answer. Was it possible

Anna was still alive somehow?

The demon’s fingernails dug into Jeremy’s neck, cutting deep and drawing new blood. The scent of it drifted to Jeremy’s nose in a fresh wave, all salty and metallic. Rivulets of crimson snaked down his throat, burning with the heat of borrowed life against his cold dead skin.

He strained against the demon’s grip, struggling uselessly as the demon tightened his hold. A harsh odor of bitter smoke drifted off the wicked beast, choking Jeremy as much as the fingers clutched around his neck.

Barely audible hisses surrounded Jeremy. The stench of the demon mingled with the blood of a vampire didn’t sit well with his brethren. Jeremy looked past the demon, watching as the other vampires crept silently closer. Jeremy might not be feral or evil as them, but he was still a part of their coven. They wouldn’t leave him to face this evil alone.

“Tell me where she is? Where’s Anna?” Jeremy yelled, hoping to distract the demon from the vampires’ approach. The demon’s laugh was piercing, cutting into Jeremy’s ears like ice picks.

“You really think I’d tell you?” the demon cackled. His scorching breath licked Jeremy’s face like flames.

“You have my blood, now let me go!” Jeremy shouted, covering the sounds of his coven as they stepped past headstones and statues. They drew closer and closer behind the demon, hands curled into claws and fangs bared.

“Enough. It luck that you defeated me once. Now it’s your turn.”

He threw Jeremy to the ground with disgust. Jeremy tumbled, rolling over and over until he hit a granite headstone. His head cracked against the hard rock and he crumpled in a pile. Cries of fury sliced through the night as the vampires attacked.

The demon whipped around, fire blossoming in his hands. He hurled it at Jeremy’s coven as they swooped down on him. Hisses shrieked through the air as vampires dove out of the path of soaring fireballs.

A chorus of moans burst into life all around Jeremy. Zombies clawed their way out of graves and staggered toward his brethren. Their rotted flesh filled the air with a putrid scent, punctuated only by the smell of burnt skin as the demon’s fire found purchase on a few vampires. Decaying corpses filled the graveyard, lurching toward the vampires, controlled by the demon like puppets.

Jeremy’s coven fanned out, looking for their chance to strike as the zombies surrounded them and the demon flung more fire into their midst.

Jeremy stood up, coughing on the rancid air. He gripped his stomach where the knife had plunged into him. Blood seeped out between his fingers, staining the ground as he stumbled forward. He saw the glint of a knife, shining like a silver beacon in the moonlight. It laid a yard away in the grass where it dropped after the vampires attacked. He’d beaten this demon once; he could do it again. He would do it again—for his brethren. For Anna.

Don't forget to leave a thoughtful comment on this post to be entered in the drawing to win a fabulous prize pack! Click HERE to read Part 10 of "Darkness."


WAIT!! We have a for you at this stop!

Guess what's that book cover? and be entered in a drawing to win a surprise book! You also gain +3 entries for the grand prize pack just for trying!


Rules:
  • Above is a collage of parts from different books. See how many you can get right.
  • +3 extra entries for the "Darkness" prize pack just for trying.
  • Those who has the most correct will be entered in a drawing to win a surprise book!
  • Fill out this FORM or click on the "trick" icon above to enter.

Don't forget to check out the other story!

Click on the button below to read Part 1 of "A Soul Laid Bare."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Welcome to the Edge of Sight blog tour...


Today we have New York Times bestselling author Roxanne St. Claire guest blogging today to promote her newest romantic suspense release, Edge of Sight. There's also a giveaway to win a copy of the book, so read on...

Welcome to our blog Rocki! Take it away...

Thank you, Michelle and Leslie, for inviting me to make a Blog Tour stop at this great cyber-hangout. I love that you guys do so much for Young Adult novels – my reading genre of choice – and I’m really excited to have a debut YA book hitting stores in 2012. But until then, I’m all about romantic suspense and my new series, launching with EDGE OF SIGHT – out this week!

You’ve invited me to talk about “Five Heroes I Love” and that makes me wonder…how did you know heroes are my favorite subject? I might have a hard time stopping at five! I openly admit I read for heroes, and the rollercoaster thrill of discovering one that is like no other. I have a few favorites from other authors, and, yes, some of my very own, because I give a lot of thought to the hero of a book. And by thought, I do mean combing the internet for pictures of the perfect guy!

But, in truth, if he’s perfect, I don’t want him. The flaws are what make a hero fabulous…and the hope that the right woman can fix those flaws. What’s important to me is that the guy is fearless, smart, funny, cool under pressure, decisive, ethical, and, yeah, it doesn’t hurt if he has great hair and some drool-inducing abs. Hey, it’s fiction, right?

My favorites are right over there on my keeper shelf…starting with a YA trilogy I recently finished and simply cannot forget, THE HUNGER GAMES. Peeta or Gale? I won’t give away the ending, just in case there’s anyone who hasn’t lost a week of non-stop reading (this trilogy, in my opinion, was fantastic!) but right there are two guys that, would make a girl wonder which one she should pick, as the heroine did for three books. I loved Peeta’s heart, and Gale’s soul. I loved Peeta’s understated ability to solve a problem, and Gale’s overpowering need to Fix. What’s. Wrong. I loved Peeta’s certainty about his feelings for Katniss, and loved the way Gale held back. These were two amazing and unforgettable young men, and both of them qualify as high quality heroes in my book.

In adult fiction, I’m a romance girl all the way, and I like my heroes large and in charge, always with a tough, alpha exterior and a mushy, tender, vulnerable heart that can only belong to the heroine. In my own genre of romantic suspense, I will tell you that just about any hero created by Linda Howard will steal my heart. She does that alpha dude with a deft touch, creating a man few women could resist. They always make me laugh, and often make me cry. John Medina from ALL THE QUEEN’S MEN and Sam Donovan in MR. PERFECT happen to be standouts for me – ranking high in the “cool under pressure” and “hot in the most unexpected places” quotient for me. I love a hero with a dry sense of humor and keen intelligence…and just a little unsteady when it comes to the heroine. Linda Howard nailed all of that and more with these two.

And that leaves one hero to highlight, so I’m going to go with Zach Angelino as my last choice for a great guy, because he’s the center of attention in the book I’m out blogging about this week. I hope readers find the flawed, scarred, wounded, and tortured former Army Ranger as attractive as I did. In EDGE OF SIGHT, Zach reluctantly accepts the first assignment in his family’s fledgling security firm…protecting a woman he left high and dry after a heated, but brief, romance. Injured in Iraq, Zach’s not the same man he was when he first met Samantha Fairchild, and he’s deeply aware of that. But he has a job to do, and he does it well…claiming her heart (and the hearts of my readers, I hope!) in the process.

So, what makes a perfect (or imperfect!) hero for you? Who are your favorites? I’ll be popping in all day today to comment and answer any questions, and there is A GIVEAWAY, so drop a note.

And speaking of giveaways, I’d like readers to know that they can read a “FREEQUEL” called Taken To The Edge on my web site – a free short story that is the prequel to EDGE OF SIGHT. It tells the story of how Sam and Zach first met, their crazy hot but sadly brief affair, and their heartbreaking goodbye. I hope it gives readers a glimpse of what to expect in the book, and some insight into the backstory of these characters. Just go to www.roxannestclaire.com and click on the Free Reads page for a downloadable file. Enjoy!

We completely agree with you that flawed heroes--whether in young adult or in romance--are the best. Thank you for this wonderful post! For more on Rocki, you can like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and visit her website.

Do you want to win your very own copy of Edge of Sight?
Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away. Here's the blurb...

The killer she can't escape . . .
The heartbreak she can't forget . . .
The one man who can stop them both.

When Samantha Fairchild witnesses a murder in the wine cellar of the restaurant where she works, the Harvard-bound law student becomes the next target of a professional assassin. Desperate for protection the authorities won't provide, Sam seeks help from Vivi Angelino, an investigative reporter who recruits her brother, Zach, to protect Samantha. A Special Forces vet with the scars to prove he's equally fearless and flawed, Zach takes the job, despite the fact that he and Sam once shared a lusty interlude that ended when he left for war and disappeared from her life. Now, as they crack a conspiracy that leads to Boston's darkest corners, Sam and Zach must face their fears, desires, and doubts, before a hired killer gets a second shot...
(Blurb taken from the Hachette website)

To enter, leave a comment below answering Rocki's question in her guest post.

**Open to U.S. or Canada addresses only (no P.O. boxes). This giveaway will end on November 13. See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

yslee ARC Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Philomel

Language: English
ISBN:
9780399254826
Source of my copy: Won from giveaway
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?


Leslie's Review:
The plot of this book was interesting for me--I've never read a book that was solely focused on werewolves with no other paranormal creatures. It was well-paced and easy to keep up with, but I wish there was more action and excitement because the plot was mainly about the love triangle between Ren, Calla and Shay (aka lots of boy drama). I don't mind a good love triangle but I had some problems with the heroine, Calla, and the two guys fighting over her, Ren and Shay.

At first, Calla seemed like she's always angry and has this tough-girl attitude that I didn't find so likable. But as the story went on and I got to know her character more I started liking her and thought her strong, brave and a worthy heroine. But one thing that annoyed me about her was how she kept overreacting whenever either Ren or Shay tried to put their arm around her or kiss her. It was hard to tell how she felt about either guy.

Shay really annoyed me in the beginning too. He was always being unfair to Calla and arguing with her about her traditions despite how much she tried to explain to him, even putting herself in danger for him--like her life wasn't complicated enough without Shay over-complicating it some more. Only near the end did Shay finally realize how much risk he put her in and began to back off. And when he did, he finally began acting like a decent hero I can root for. I am definitely looking forward to his character in the sequel.

As for Ren, he was a bit of a player in the beginning but as I read more and got to know him, he was very protective and caring towards Calla, which I really liked. The ways he showed his love for her was really sweet. He was basically a very sweet guy and it really annoyed me whenever Calla overreacted when he tried to touch her. I really want her to get with Ren for most of the book. However, since Shay cleaned up his act, I'm not so sure which guy to root for anymore... Nah, I'm still Team Ren.

Overall, Nightshade was a pretty good, easy read. Fans of paranormal young adult fiction who loves a good love triangle and lots of boy drama are going to eat this book up and ask for seconds! Seconds please... I am looking forward to the sequel. 4 out 5 stars
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance to show off their book haul for the week. It 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!

Leslie and I received a lovely package of books from Random Buzzers and an early copy of one of my most anticipated releases of 2011, both of which totally made our week!


Books Mentioned
I was Jane Austen's Best Friend A Secret Diary by Cora Harrison
The Ruby Notebook by Laura Resau
My First Love by Callie West
Three Black Swans by Caroline B. Cooney
Sphinx's Queen by Esther Friesner
A Good Horse by Jane Smiley
The Dark Deeps by Arthur Slade
Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde (won from Random Buzzers)
The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle (Leslie's InGroup book)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (for review)
(Thank you to Random Buzzers/Random House and HarperTeen!)


What did you get this week?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Penguin has been coming out with very well-made and totally awesome book trailers lately. The one for Matched (a book I've been contemplating on purchasing) is no exception:

Matched by Ally Condie:

Blurb (from Goodreads):
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.



The reviews I've read a pretty mixed. Did you already read this book? Should I get it?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Book We Covet: Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 with
Why we covet this book: We've been wanting to read a Dia Reeves book for a while and we love the blurb of this dark-humor read-- Slice of Cherry doesn't sound like any book we've ever read before!

Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
(Blurb taken from Goodreads)
Happiness is a bloody knife.

Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.

It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities....

This book comes out on January 4, 2011. For more info visit the author's website.


"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!


Hello Book Spookers! As part of WORD for Teens's Book Spooks event, we have author Sherri Browning-Erwin here today with a quote about Halloween...

ldesrochers "On Halloween, I love to be scared! Normally, I like to be strong and would prefer to consider myself invincible, like my demon-slaying character Jane Slayre. But on that one day a year, Halloween, I relish the opportunity to cower in fear. When I was a kid, I loved dressing up as something innocent and vulnerable, like a bunny, and pretending I was in mortal danger as I dashed out of the way of the bigger kids who dressed as demons or vampires or devils. As an adult, I love it when the doorbell rings, that moment of anticipation before I open the door. Who is it? Is it something scary? Am I going to scream? Please!"

If you are looking for a perfect book to read this Halloween, look no further than Sherri's Jane Slayre.
chloerhodes
Check out Leslie's review of Jane Slayre HERE. For more about Sherri and her books, check out her website.


Hello Book Spookers! As part of WORD for Teens's Book Spooks event, we have author Lisa Desrochers here today talking about her love of Halloween and haunted houses...

ldesrochers "I’ve always been fascinated with the macabre. As a teen, I grew up reading Stephen King. I also loved JRR Tolkien because Middle Earth is so dark. All Hallows Eve has always been a favorite holiday of mine.

One of the best parts about Halloween (aside from all the candy :p) is the haunted houses. I love it when people go all out. I’m a bit of a haunted house aficionado. I know all the tricks, so when someone can really scare me, they’ve done a great job. Putting together a good haunted house is kind of like writing a book. You need to utilize all the senses. It has to be more than just fake blood spattered on a coffin that someone is screaming inside of. Most haunted houses rely too heavily on images and sounds (blood and screams) and neglect smell and touch, but that’s how you scare the snot out of someone. It has to be something that takes them totally by surprise, like air compressors that blow on their back when they lest expect it, or a sprinkle of water at the same time as the spurt of blood. The participant needs to feel involved in order to truly feel scared—just like in a book.

So, plan your totally wicked haunted houses, and then tell me where you are so I can come check them out!"

Lisa is the author of Personal Demons, a book Leslie and I have been wanting to read since it came out. For the look and sound of this book, it sounds like a perfect Halloween read!
personaldemons

For more about Lisa, also check out her website and her blog.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Book Spooks: Clue #4

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 with

Hello Book Spookers! Leslie and I are hosting Clue #4 of the Book Spooks treasure hunt! This starts today (Tuesday, October 19) and ends in ONE WEEK (Tuesday, October 26) at six p.m. EST. There is a super amazing prize pack to the winners who get the most correct, which you can see by visiting our lovely host's blog, WORD for Teens.

Are you ready for Clue #4? Here it is:
White, round, and sometimes around.
Been by for millions of years,
but no more than a month old.


Click here to fill out the form or see the other clues.

Monday, October 18, 2010

nevermorecover Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Language: English
ISBN:
9781442402003
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.
Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.
As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.
His life depends on it.


Michelle's Review:
Let me start by saying how much I enjoyed reading Nevermore. While it does have the cliché young adult premise of the two leads, who were polar opposites in the social spectrum, being partnered up for a class project which forced them to hang-out together, it doesn't have that instantaneous "love at first sight" stuff so prevalent in young adult today. The author made it work, creating a compelling read that I had a hard time putting down because I wanted to keep going to see what will happen next. After a while I forgot about the cliché beginning and was immersed into the story and characters.

In Nevermore we have Isobel, a popular cheerleader with a football player boyfriend, partnered up with Varen, a mysterious and aloof Goth. I have to admit I wasn't sure what to make of Isobel in the beginning but I liked how she went from a shallow cheerleader to a better person but without losing her entire self and without giving up cheerleading. Now Varen was something else because I've never read a male lead like him before. He was definitely not your typical young adult "bad boy" or "nice guy," instead he's the perfect blend of cool aloofness without the arrogance or despondency. He was Goth and labeled as a "freak" in school, he didn't have an easy home life and was plagued by an unknown, nightmarish alternate world but he wasn't defined by all that. As Isobel and the reader gets to know him more, you begin feel and fall for him as she does. I wanted Isobel to get with him just so he wouldn't feel so lonely and alone anymore. In Isobel and Varen, the author has penned two main characters that you grow to care for. I enjoyed reading their scenes together and I rooted for them the whole way through because you know these two are meant to be together.

As for the alternate dream universe aspect of the book, I don't quite know what to make of it. I understand that it's sort of an homage to Edgar Allan Poe but oftentimes while I was reading, I almost wished that the author left out the paranormal element. What was happening with Isobel and Varen, and how their growing relationship was affecting their friends and family--there's enough there for this book to work as a contemporary novel. But maybe that's just me and the contemporary young adult craze I am currently on. I flew through the book just the same until I got to the last few chapters (which I thought dragged a little) and then the book ended. Okay, so this book being the first in a series, I wasn't really expecting a neat, happily-ever-after ending but I wanted more than what we are given. It was just so unsatisfying and frustrating after everything Isobel and Varen went through. I hope the sequel is coming soon is all I gotta say.

I do have mixed feelings about some part of Nevermore but I thought it an entertaining read nonetheless. I like the author voice and the way she told the story, which was filled with subtleties and an underlying sense that more was happening beneath the surface. A familiarity to Edgar Allan Poe's work is a plus when reading this book but unnecessary. I recommend this wonderful debut from author Kelly Creagh to everyone. 4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In Our Mailbox (Sept. 4-16)

Sunday, October 17, 2010 with
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance to show off their book haul for the week. It 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!

These are young adult books Leslie and I received in the last two weeks.

Annexed by Sharon Dogar
A fictional take of Peter van Pels's (from The Diary of Anne Frank) side of the story
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
A book we won off of Random Buzzers. It's the companion book to The Maze Runner which we still need to get and read.
Girl, Stolen by April Henry
Leslie's InGroup book. A contemporary YA about a blind girl who was unintentionally kidnapped when her mom's car got stolen... with her in it!
Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
A YA fantasy set in an alternate world of Princeton University. I've been waiting for this book in what seems like forever! I am very excited to read it--I loved the author's other novel Ice.
Inconvenient by Margie Gelbwasser
A more serious contemporary YA novel. The main character is a Russian-Jewish girl and she has to deal with not only everyday teenage stuff but also with her dysfunctional family, alcoholism and cultural pride. It doesn't come out until November, so I'll be reviewing next month.
(A big THANK YOU goes to FSB Media, Random House/Random Buzzers, InGroup/Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Flux)

I also received two romances last week.

Kiss At Your Own Risk
by Stephanie Rowe
A romantic-comedy type of paranormal
Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire
This book is a romantic suspense and it will be my first Roxanne St. Claire read. There will be a giveaway for this book at the end of this month.
(A big THANK YOU to Sourcebook Casablanca and Forever/Hachette)


What did you get this week?
dpeterfreund Hardcover: 402 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

Language: English
ISBN:
9780061490002
Source of my copy: I bought it
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns...
Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.
Or not.
Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.
However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student ... an attraction that could jeopardize everything.


Michelle's Review:
Astrid, having grown up with a mother who believed that unicorns were real and that their ancestor was a unicorn hunter who single-handedly caused the unicorn's extinction, wished for normalcy. She was making out with a boy and was contemplating whether to sleep with him to take their relationship to the next level and thereby a possibility of having a normal prom date, when he was attacked--by a unicorn! After the incident, her mother shipped her to Italy to train to become a unicorn hunter (yes, killer unicorns were real and not extinct as previously thought!) much to Astrid's reluctance.

I really liked Rampant. Our main character and first-person narrator is Astrid and I liked her character a lot. I thought her strong, smart and resilient and I liked how her character changed from reluctant heroine to kick-ass unicorn hunter. I also liked the other secondary characters like Astrid's cousin Phil and the love interest, Giovanni, who was definitely swoon-worthy. But Astrid's mom, Lilith, I didn't like so much. I thought she was really annoying and unsympathetic in the beginning and she did not endear herself towards the end when she went all militant on the girls.

The unique story line drew me in as I haven't read any books with Ms. Peterfreund's take on unicorns before--that they are monsters that harm mankind. I liked that most of the book was set in Italy, which was something different. The author also did a good job describing the cloister where Astrid trained to be a unicorn hunter--I could picture the unicorn skeletons and weapons gracing the walls while I was reading the book. I thought that the first half was evenly paced as the author took the time to explain the unicorn history and lore, which I thought was very interesting and one of my favorite aspect of Rampant. However, the second half of the book wasn't as evenly paced as the first half. There were too many things happening at once. It felt rushed and a bit confusing.

All in all, though, the book was pretty good and I enjoyed it. I thought it a good start to the series. It has a likable female lead (it was great watching Astrid change to become a better, stronger person and hunter), great world-building and a nice romance Astrid and Giovanni. It ended on a good note with no crazy cliffhanger but there were enough unanswered questions to keep you interested in the series. I am definitely looking forward to the sequel. Fans of young adult fantasy should check Rampant out. 3.75 out of 5 stars

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bookshelf Tour (Vlog)

Friday, October 15, 2010 with
Labels:
I've been watching a lot of bookshelf tours on Youtube lately. I find them really fun and fascinating to watch--I really like seeing what books other readers have on their shelves. So, I decided to do a bookshelf tour of my young adult shelves [as of October 3]. Check it out:


Sorry, it was rushed but I didn't want it too long. Let me know what you all think. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

yslee ARC: 234 pages
Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Language: English
ISBN:
978-0316102148
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls. Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before--he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part. With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it's surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected. This hilarious debut novel is for anyone who believes that sometimes even nice guys-without sharp teeth or sparkly skin--can get the girl.


Michelle's Review:
I don't know how many times I laughed out loud when I was reading Bloodthirsty. It is definitely one of the funniest book I've read this year.

The novel centered around Finbar, a tall, skinny guy that everyone at his old school liked to pick on. When his dad got a new job that had his whole family moving from Indiana to New York, Finbar saw it as a chance to start over. He noticed that the girls at his new school were gaga for vampires, so he decided to remake himself into an ultra-cool and confident vampire chick magnet--which wasn't hard appearance-wise because he was unusually pale and allergic to the sun. However, he found that he needed to exude a "vampire attitude," which took some figuring out for a meek pushover like Finbar. Soon, through his new persona, Finbar found a new self-confidence to do things he'd never done before like speaking up in class, scaring off a bully and having girls all over him--some even thought he was a real vampire which caused some hilarious situations. But he also found that maybe being a pseudo-vampire wasn't all it's cracked up to be, especially after he found that the girl he truly liked might just like him for who he was, just plain old Finbar plus his new-found self-confidence and assertiveness but minus the whole vampire thing.

I really enjoyed this book! Aside from it being totally hilarious, it's a really great story about finding your self. This story was told in first-person point of view through Finbar. He was a great character and very likable. I enjoyed reading his thoughts, though they do sometimes run towards... well, you know... he's a typical teenage boy. There wasn't anything too explicit but I wouldn't recommend this book to middle grade readers. There were also references to underage drinking and drugs. The light romance between Finbar and Kate was cute and made me smile. His school friends, his ADHD football-playing jock twin brother (he's a complete opposite of Finbar) and his parents were great secondary characters and they added to the humor.

Whether you're a vampire lover or diss-er, I think you will enjoy this book as there is something in this book for both sides. Pop-culture references about vampires abound which made all that much more fun to read, at least for me. If you're looking for a different take on vampires or a fast, humorous read, Bloodthirsty is your book. 4 out 5 stars


The winners (chosen through random.org) of our Bloodthirsty giveaway are:
#4 J. L. Jackson
#44 Kat
#2 Jessi E.

Congratulations winners! I already emailed you so please reply back with your shipping address in the next 48 hours. Thank you all for entering! If you didn't win this time around, don't despair. There will be more giveaways in the future... or if you'd like to try your luck now, see our left sidebar for our current giveaways.

Monday, October 11, 2010

GIVEAWAY: A Season of Seduction by Jennifer Haymore

Monday, October 11, 2010 with
Labels:
On the spotlight today is...




The Author: Jennifer Haymore

I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pencil….

Wait, no…that’s what every other writer says! I started writing just before my eighth birthday, and it wasn’t on my own volition. I was sailing with my family in a 42-foot sailboat across the Pacific, and since there were no local schools (except those pertaining to fish) nearby, my mother homeschooled me. She was a strict taskmaster! A veritable slave driver! She demanded a new story every day.

So I’d sit in the boat’s galley and write. And stare out the porthole, and write some more. And doodle, and write some more. By the time we arrived in Hawaii the following year, I had a portfolio of stories, and I was hooked. Since then I haven’t stopped. (Well, much. I did take breaks now and then, for things like college, young kids, and a master’s degree.)

I love to read just as much as I love to write, and actually the reading bug hit me at about the same time my mom was cracking the whip over my head and commanding me to write. What else to occupy your time with when there are no other kids to play with and nothing to do but stare at the endless sea? Some of my most recent favorites: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, River God by Wilbur Smith, and anything by Laura Kinsale and Loretta Chase.

For more on Jennifer Haymore follow her on Twitter, Facebook and her website.


The Book: A Season of Seduction

(Blurb taken from the Hachette website)

Although the widowed Lady Rebecca has sworn off marriage, men are another matter. London's cold winter nights have her dreaming of warmer pursuits-like finding a lover to satisfy her hungry heart. Someone handsome, discreet, and most importantly as uninterested in marriage as she is. Someone like Jack Fulton.

A known adventurer and playboy, Jack seems like the perfect choice. There's just one problem: Jack isn't interested in an affair. He needs the beautiful, mysterious Lady Rebecca to be his wife. And he doesn't have much time to persuade her. A secret from Jack's past is about to surface, and by Christmas Day he'll be either married to Rebecca or dead.





Do you want to win your very own copy of A Season of Seduction?
Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away.

To enter 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 October 31 and the winners will be selected using random.org.
3. Winners will be subject to the one copy per household rule: if they win the same title on a different blog, they will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail.
4. This giveaway is being sponsored by Hachette Book Group. 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!
"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is hosted by 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!

Leslie and I haven't done this meme in forever because in the past couple of months we haven't been reading as much. More often than not, we read just one book a week, sometimes even one book in two weeks (yikes!) because work and school consumes most of our time these days. But last week was fall break and we finally were able to read to our hearts' content, which feels really nice after our reading drought in the past two months.

Last week Michelle read:
yslee ahopcus yslee nevermorecover








I've been on a young adult reading binge since last month. Sigh. Too bad fall break is only a week. I already reviewed The Ivy but I'll be slowly reviewing the other books in the next few days.

Giveaway Alert: Enter to WIN a copy of Bloodthirsty--one of the funniest young adult books I've read this year!

Michelle is currently reading
:
alindner









Last week Leslie read
:
yslee









This week Leslie plans to read
:
alindner









Next week
we want to read
:
More young adult books! :D

What about you? What books did you read last week?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

juliaquinn This is a quick post to announce the two winners (chosen through random.org) of Julia Quinn's Ten Things I Love About You. They are...


Congratulations winners! I already emailed you both. Please reply back with your shipping address in the next 48 hours.

Thank you all for entering! If you didn't win this time around, don't despair. See our left sidebar for our current giveaways. You can try your luck to win a copy of Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney (YA novel) or Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis. Also, look out for our giveaway post for A Season of Seduction by Jennifer Haymore coming soon!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's been a while since I posted any "book trailer of the week" here on the blog but that's because I haven't run across any that made me go "WOW!" Well, that all changed after I saw these:

The first trailer is Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala:

Blurb (from Goodreads):Tell me a secret, and I'll tell you one…

In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.

Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.

In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.


Next is You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin. It's not a book I'd normally pick up but I've been trying to step out of my reading comfort zone lately and I think I just might give this one a try. It has a really cool trailer too:

Blurb (from Goodreads): He's come to do a job.
A job that involves a body.
A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.

You Killed Wesley Payne is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him.

What do you think of these book trailers?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

ahopcus Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Language: English
ISBN:
9780061960451
Source of my copy: the publisher through Traveling to Teens
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Freshman year at Harvard--glamorous parties, blossoming friendships, steamy romances, and scandalous secrets. Skip the campus tour and get right to the good stuff: classes are for scoping guys (and their Facebook profiles), not taking notes. The library is for study dates (the medieval history stacks get a lot of action), not studying. And success is a 4.0 GPA... plus getting into the most exclusive parties. How will Callie--a California girl with brains, beauty, and big dreams--and her three roommates survive?
Get admitted to The Ivy, the first book in a provocative new series about the world of the Ivy League.


Michelle's Review:
The Ivy is a very unexpected read for me. I'm not usually into the Gossip Girl-esque novels that are very popular today because I can't take all the fashion talk and designer name-dropping, boy dramas and all the frenemies and BFF entanglements. Those books just all become one dizzying ball of confusion to me. But for some reason I cannot fully explain, I ended up liking this book and am even looking forward to the next book in the series.

Our main character is Callie, a California blonde, starting her freshman year at Harvard. The whole book was how she survived her first year amidst all the roommate dramas, boy problems, a pain-in-the-neck evil upperclassman set on ruining her, drinking, drugs, partying, sex and very, very little studying. Okay, this is for the not-yet-in-college crowd thinking this book will give you an accurate portrayal of college life: there is not enough time in the day (and night) to do all that club socializing, partying, drinking, sex-ing and drama-making the characters did in the book as well as fit in all the studying and writing [papers] they (and you) will need to do to pass a semester, especially in a prestigious school like Harvard. It bothers me that college is often portrayed as "party central 24/7" in books when it's very far from the true reality of college life.

No, it's not the questionable plot line or the cliché characters or the more than questionable, choppy writing that had me giving this book more stars than it probably deserves for the most part. Okay, let me talk about the writing for a second: it's all over the place. For the most part it's limited third person through Callie's perspective but there were parts when suddenly it becomes limited third person through another character's perspective (one of the roommates or one of the boys vying for Callie's heart) for two paragraphs and then it goes back to Callie again. Other times Callie is even talking to the reader in second person. It made the book disjointed.

Maybe what wormed it's way into my reading heart was the flashes of myself I saw in Callie in the first eighth of the book. There were some instances that brought me back to my freshman year in college. The way Callie was in the beginning, just trying to fit and make friends but clueless at where to begin. Callie being intimidated by her more worldly roommates and upperclassmen. Callie trying to figure out where to sit in the dining hall and deciding which classes to sign up for... all me. Or maybe, in the end, I was sucked in by all the drama after all. This book, it's as addicting as potato chips. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop reading and I couldn't hate it. It's a guilty-pleasure book with a capital G-U-I-L-T-Y.

If you're looking for your next guilty-pleasure book in the same vein as the Gossip Girl series, check The Ivy out. 3 out of 5 stars

Monday, October 4, 2010

rgreen ARC: 316 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Language: English
ISBN:
9781402241062
Source of my copy: Publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
When Erin Channing's favorite aunt dies, Erin is bequeathed a pink crystal ball and a set of weird instructions. Granted, Aunt Kiki (aka Aunt Kooky) always lived "outside the box." But now Erin and her two best friends are convinced that the pink crystal ball holds the key to their future-or at least the key to getting dates...





Leslie's Review
:
Erin is a rational, ordinary girl who wishes to be more interesting--and her Aunt Kiki just might know how. When Erin's aunt passes away, she leaves her with a pink crystal ball with mystical powers and five cryptic instructions. Erin thinks it's a total joke but with the help of her two best friends, Samantha and Lindsay, the girls become convinced that the ball might have the key to their destiny. Along the way, Erin learns that not everything in life is laid out in neat little boxes--sometimes you need to look beyond.

The plot of this book was sort of cliche, making it an easy read. It's your typical heroine with a boring life, asking for some excitement. Then one day, she finds something mythical, in this case a magic crystal ball, that messes up her ordinary lifestyle but at the same time making her life exciting. Despite the plot, the writing was pretty good as I liked the sarcastic teenage-girl narration that brought some humor into the book. However, I was hoping for something a little bit more and a bit different from the book. I'm not really sure but there's something missing from it that I can't explain. Hmm...

The cliche heroine had some significance over me--Erin
is me. So, as cliche as this book may be, I have to say, I related well with Erin. Sometimes I, too, wish that my life was interesting. Reading this book brightened me up and made me laugh a couple of times as a envisioned myself in the book as Erin. Even Erin's friends reminded me of some of my friends which made it all the better.

Overall, The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball is an easy yet predictable middle-grade read with good writing.
3 out of 5 stars
On the spotlight today is...




The Author: Jill Shalvis

USA Today bestselling author JILL SHALVIS lives in a small town in the Sierras also run by quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books are, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website at jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountain adventures.

For about her and her books visit her website and join her on Twitter.





The Book: Simply Irresistable

(Blurb taken from the Hachette website)

Maddie Moore's whole life needs a makeover.

In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington.

Starting over won't be easy. Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too.

The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes-and mouth-are making it hard for her to remember that she's sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie's struggles to overcome the past, though she's about to discover that there's no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor.



Do you want to win your very own copy of Simply Irresistable?
Thanks to Anna and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away.

To enter fill out the form:
If you cannot see the form, click HERE.

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 October 22 and the winners will be selected using random.org.
3. Winners will be subject to the one copy per household rule: if they win the same title on a different blog, they will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail.
4. This giveaway is being sponsored by Hachette Book Group. 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, October 2, 2010

In Our Mailbox (Sept. 30)

Saturday, October 2, 2010 with
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance to show off their book haul for the week. It 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!

Leslie and I didn't think we were going to get any books this week but a mailbox miracle occurred on Friday and we found these on our doorstep. Happy sigh. Nowadays, the week feels incomplete without new books.

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Ivy by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
(A big THANK YOU goes to Little Brown, HarperTeen and Random House)

What did you get this week?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney GIVEAWAY - CLOSED

Friday, October 1, 2010 with
Labels:
Some vampires are good.
Some are evil.
Some are faking it to get girls.

With a tag line like that how can anyone resist Bloodthirsty?

You might've seen this book featured in our September "In Our Mailbox" post but thanks to Little Brown, three lucky readers can also expect Bloodthirsty in their mailbox...

fmeaney
Here's a little more about it...
Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before--he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part. With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it's surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected. This hilarious debut novel is for anyone who believes that sometimes even nice guys-without sharp teeth or sparkly skin--can get the girl. (Blurb from Goodreads)
Doesn't that sound like a fun and funny read? Look for my review in the next few days but right now comment below with your email address for your chance to win a copy! This giveaway will end on October 12 (US and Canada residents only and no P.O. boxes). Three (3) winners will be randomly chosen and announced here on the soon after. Good luck!