Tuesday, January 31, 2012

book cover ARC: 264 pages
Publisher: Walker
Release Date: January 17, 2011
ISBN: 9780802723093

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine--despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?
Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?
For fans of best-sellers like
Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.


Michelle's Review:
With phrases like "far from normal" and "strange sensations she can't control or explain" and "drawn to the dying" I thought I was in for a paranormal read when I first began Fracture. What I got instead was a gripping, unpredictable and dark novel that was hard to put down.

I didn't find Delaney's character particularly likable but I understood where she was coming from and why she acted and did what she did. She had a near death experience, there was an awkwardness with her best friend Decker (who saved her from the icy waters and she has romantic feelings for) and she couldn't really talk to him about what happened to her, her mother did not know how to deal with her, she has a strange new ability, and now Troy, a strange (and potentially dangerous) older boy with a similar ability, was the only one who seem to really understand her. I wouldn't be likable too if I had to deal with all of that.

Troy was a curious character. Throughout the novel, I was not sure what to make of him. Was her there to guide Delaney with her new strange ability or will he ultimately be her downfall? He wasn't good (he's borderline psychopathic in some scenes) but I did not find him all bad either. Besides Troy, all of the characters had many different sides to all them. Everyone of them were flawed, imperfect and interesting. Yes, there was a sort of love triangle between Decker, Delaney and Troy but it was the kind of love triangle that I do not mind reading (aka, it's not the Twilight kind of love triangle, you know what I mean?).

The pacing was fast-paced and you do not quite know where the plot will go, which I really like. I really enjoyed the psychological mystery and creepiness of it. Fracture was an unexpected, gripping read with plenty of dark twists and turns. At less than three hundred pages in length, Fracture was a fast read but it pack quite a punch. It was a superb debut by Megan Miranda--I am very eager to read more by her. If you're looking for a different kind of young adult read, Fracture is for you. Read it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In My Mailbox (54)

Sunday, January 29, 2012 with
Leslie got a bunch of awesome expected and surprise review books in the last two weeks.

Leslie's Review Books
Dreaming Awake by Gwen Hayes
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler & Maira Kalman
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter (ARC; Harlequin Teen Panel)
(Thank you to Berkley/Penguin, LBYR and Harlequin Teen!)

Leslie's Surprises
Trafficked by Kim Purcell (ARC)
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison
(Thank you to Penguin and Egmont!)

Leslie was so excited about the illustrations in Why We Broke Up that she snapped a couple of her favorites.


I didn't think I was going to get any books this week but I did. Yay for surprise books! :D
Michelle's Surprises
Vesper by Jeff Sampson
Havoc by Jeff Sampson
The Seduction of Lady X by Julia London
(Thank you to HarperTeen and Pocket!)


What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Book Deals (E-Book Edition)

Friday, January 27, 2012 with
Labels:
Before y'all go off to enjoy the weekend, I have some book deals to share with you. I don't usually post about book deals but I am really excited about these romance releases myself. It's just in time for Valentine's Day too to get into that romantic mood... ^_^

Kensington is having several book promotions. Clicking on the book covers will take you to that book's Goodread page.

If you're in a contemporary romance mood, check out:
book coverbook cover
Sugar Rush by Donna Kauffman will be available for $3.99 as a Valentine’s Day Promotion from February 12-18 at all major e-book retailers in celebration of the release of Sweet Stuff (which comes out January 31st).

If you are more into historical romances...
book coverbook cover
The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander will be available for $3.99 from February 12-18 at all major e-book retailers in celebration of the release of My Wicked Little Lies, which also comes out January 31st.

I, for one, am really, REALLY for My Wicked Little Lies! It has the Mr. & Mrs. Smith plot line--you know, the husband and wife are both spies but they don't know about the other.

But if you're more into Scottish historical romances...
book coverbook cover
Highland Protector by Hannah Howell will be available for $2.99 on Nook as the Daily Find on February 13 only. But it'll be $3.99 from February 12-18 at all major e-book retailers in celebration of the release of Highland Avenger (out January 31st).

If you're more into young adult books, HarperTeen is still having their Epic Reads Epic Deal promotion. Each of the book featured below is only $0.99 each--so you can get 10 books for less than the price of 1 hardcover! But hurry because it ends next week Tuesday, the 31st.
Click on the image above to go to the Facebook page with all the links to your favorite e-book retailer to purchase the books. Have a wonderful weekend and happy reading everyone !! :D

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Michelle Covets: Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 with
Why Michelle covets this book: I love Sarah Beth Durst's books. I will read anything she writes. Vessel sounds like an epic read and the cover is just gorgeous.


book coverVessel by Sarah Beth Durst
(released September 11, 2012)
In a desert land where serpents made of unbreakable glass fly through the sky and wolves made of only sand hunt within storms, Liyana is destined to be a vessel, to sacrifice herself so her clan's goddess can inhabit her body... but her goddess never comes.

For more info about Sarah Beth Durst and her books, visit her website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

Also, check out my reviews of Sarah's other books:
Ice
Enchanted Ivy
Drink, Slay, Love


What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.


"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!

Monday, January 23, 2012

book cover ARC: 354 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: September 6, 2011
ISBN: 9780374302103

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: 1st book of Birthright series
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family. Engrossing and suspenseful, All These Things I've Done is an utterly unique, unputdownable read that blends both the familiar and the fantastic.


Leslie's Review:
I was really excited to read this book when I first read its synopsis and saw that awesome cover. Also, I heard from my friends who had read Gabrielle Zevin's book Elsewhere that she's a great writer. So when I finally got to reading this book, I had really high hopes and expectations for it--and now I am happy to say that I absolutely LOVED it and I can't wait to read the sequel to come out.

The plot of this book had everything--excitement, suspense, action--and the world-building was fantastic and well-developed. I also loved the narration of this book, which was a first-person narration by Anya, the main character. It was narrated as if she were recalling back and telling the story to me in person. The way it was written, with Anya's vivid voice, made the story realistic enough that I would always feel like I was being transported forward in time and then put in Anya's shoes.

Speaking of Anya, I loved her character. She was a really likable character and I somehow got to relate and connect with her, despite how different our lives and personalities are. I liked how she was a determined, strong, intelligent and brave heroine. Although she had her share of flaws, I thought it made Anya's character all the more vivid and like a real person. In fact, all the characters of this book were all well-developed and full of depth. Every time I had picked up this book to continue to read where I had left off, I would feel like I was catching up with old friends.

Another aspect I liked about this book was the relationship between Anya and Wish, the love interest. I liked how it wasn't a big part of the book but it was still mentioned and was even involved in the events of the actual conflict of the book. I thought Wish was a great kind of companion for Anya's character and reading about the parts when they were together was nice and sweet. I rooted for them all throughout the book.

This truly was a fantastic read and was one of my top-favorites from 2011. On the day that I finished it, which was during history class at school, I let my friend borrow it and she ended up liking it too. So I really do mean it when I say that I recommend anyone and everyone to read this book for I think it could spark anyone's attention and interest.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (53)

Sunday, January 22, 2012 with
It was a good week for books! I received a couple of books I have been coveting and one surprise book that looks really good. I made a vlog:

Books Mentioned
Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
At Your Pleasure by Meredith Duran
An Affair with Mr. Kennedy by Jillian Stone
(A big thank you to Pocket/Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Little Brown)

What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Friday, January 20, 2012

After seeing this book trailer, I pretty much fell in love with the novel Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters.

The synopsis:

book cover
Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.

Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.

Kelsey’s hilarious commentary throughout her disastrous freshman year will have you laughing out loud—while being thankful that you’re not in her shoes, of course…
Fun, right?? For more info about Kelsey Finkelstein, Meredith Zeitlin and other fun FY&OUD-related things, check out http://www.kelseyfinkelstein.com/.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

book cover ARC: 293 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 20, 2011
ISBN: 9780061996221

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: yes
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.
Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants—what she must do—is to bring Danny back.
But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.
Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her—and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.
But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought—even if it means breaking her heart all over again.


Cherry's Review:
I just finished this book just a minute ago and I felt unsatisfied with how it ended. No spoiler alert but I thought that we would finally find out what happened to Wren's parents, but we don't. It was the only thing that really irked me about the book especially because the connection between Wren's dad leaving and her mom refusing to acknowledge their powers was there in every chapter. Now that I think about it, I want to know what happened to Gabriel's family as well!

I thought this book was an interesting take on the supernatural and love. It was quite a refreshing take although it did have a bittersweet ending. If someone close to me died so suddenly, I would definitely do what I can to bring them back like Wren, but I wouldn't be as strong as Wren to make it right again. It's like losing them twice! Also, who can predict who or what you're bringing back to life? It may not be the same person you loved. What Garvey does in this book is to realize our deepest wish when someone we love dies and the consequences that could happen with our rash decision.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

book cover ARC: 400 pages
Publisher: Harpercollins
Release Date: January 17, 2012
ISBN: 9780062010070

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: yes
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Magic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings, long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying usurper who, even with his eyes closed, can see all.
When her own beloved sister is captured by the evil ruler, Zardi knows that she must go to any lengths to rescue her. Along with her best friend, Ridhan—a silver-haired, violet-eyed boy of mysterious origins—and an unlikely crew of sailors led by the infamous Captain Sinbad, Zardi ventures forth into strange and wondrous territory with a seemingly impossible mission: to bring magic back to Arribitha and defeat the sultan once and for all.


Michelle's Review:
I don't read a lot of middle grade books because more often that not the characters and the plot do not grab me and I loose interest very quickly. Not so with The Book of Wonders.

I like that the story was based on Middle Eastern fairy and folk tales. It adds a different and unique flavor to the story. As soon as I started reading, I couldn't stop. A lot of things happened very quickly, one after the other, and the story's fast pacing doesn't let up until the very end. The world building was well-done. I really enjoyed all the different exotic places the author took the reader to where we met strange creatures and magical beings. I especially enjoyed the rocs--massive and deadly birds that Zardi befriended.

Zardi was a wonderful main character. She was clever, determined and likable. Readers will root for her to succeed in her quest and save her sister from the evil sultan. Ridhan was very likable too. He was abandoned as a baby and was taken in by Zardi's family but no one knows where he came from. The whole time I was reading, I wanted to know of Rhidan's mysterious origins. I also enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Sinbad and his crew.

I did have a couple of issues with the novel. One was that it felt like the obstacles Zardi came across were resolved too easily, no matter how complicated they were. And this also goes with my other issue in that I felt that the rescue of Zubeyda (Zardi's sister) and the final fight with the evil sultan was over too quickly. I thought, with the whole book mostly about finding a way to rescue Zub and defeat the sultan, it would be more exciting but it felt more like an afterthought after the epic fight with the Queen of the serpents and her snakes before the rescue.

However, I realize I am not the target reader for this novel and a middle grade reader won't be thinking about the issues I mentioned. They would be too busy flipping the pages. The story was like a roller coaster ride: fast-paced, action-packed and very imaginative. I think even the most reluctant young reader will enjoy The Book of Wonders.

Monday, January 16, 2012

We are happy to welcome author Gwen Hayes today. Her newest release is Dreaming Awake--the sequel to the totally awesome Falling Under. Read my review of Falling Under.

book cover
She fell for him in a nighttime world. But the time for dreaming is past—and the here-and-now can be just as fragile their love…

When Theia Alderson first encountered a mysterious, handsome boy in her dreams, she never imagined how finding Haden Black—and falling in love—could change her life. To save Haden, Theia sacrificed everything. And the dangerous bargain she made could have lasting repercussions.

Now Theia has returned to Serendipity Falls, and she finds herself struggling with the same deadly hungers that have tortured Haden. When students at their high school fall prey to a mysterious illness, Theia can’t help but wonder if Haden’s control is slipping—and how much longer she’ll have a grip on her own.

And still the nightmare realm of Under won’t let them go. Someone from Haden’s past is determined to destroy Theia from the inside out, starting with those closest to her, forcing Theia to choose between family and friends and a love that may have been doomed from the start…
Hi Gwen! What gave you the idea to write the Falling Under series?
Hello and thanks for having me!

Falling Under began from the very first scene for me too. I had no idea what the story was about.... just the burning man falling from the sky. It was a fun and frustrating process to unearth the story from that scene.

Can you tell us a little about your upcoming release Dreaming Awake? Will there be any new characters introduced or different settings taking place in this sequel?
Dreaming Awake begins where Falling Under left off. It's my "What happens after happily ever after isn't?" book. Theia and Haden have a lot of challenges ahead of them. Relationships are more than just falling in love. Plus, Theia needs to come to terms with the changes from Falling Under.

Did you find it more challenging or easier to write Dreaming Awake than Falling Under? Why?
It was much harder! Mostly self-induced trauma, though. The weight of the world's expectations seemed really heavy. I'd read reviews for book one and worry that book two would fall flat or my editor would hate it.... I really stressed myself out. I think because book one I wrote to please myself (as unpublished author) and book two I wrote to please others.

If you could spend one whole day within the world of the Falling Under series, what would you do and who would you spend time with?
I'd drink coffee with the girls and gossip about the sneetches! But I'd stay away from Under.

As another year ends and a new one approaches, do you have any New Year resolutions for 2012?
I'm working really hard to live a greener and more mindful life. I've been learning how to make my own soaps, lotions, and cleaning supplies to remove toxins and chemicals from our home, some adventures have been more successful than others. I'm pretty in love with my all-purpose cleaner though. I posted my recipe here: http://trickinlife.blogspot.com/2011/12/non-toxic-all-purpose-cleaner-recipe.html

We're also applying ourselves to eat local foods, supporting our local farmers and food artisans. I'm less than impressed with the factory farms and big agribusinesses that control so much of our food supply.

Oh.... and write another book or two, of course....

*******
Thank you for stopping by our blog and answering our questions, Gwen! You can chat with her through Facebook, Twitter and her blog, where you can also learn more about her books.

Fellow fantasy readers, if you like paranormal YA do pick up the Falling Under series. You can easily find both books in the series in your favorite books stores.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In Our Mailbox (52)

Sunday, January 15, 2012 with
Leslie got four awesome review books in the last two weeks.

Leslie's Review Books
Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (can't wait to read this one when I got back home!)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (ARC)
Immortal Beloved (Immortal Beloved #1) by Cate Tiernan
Darkness Falls (Immortal Beloved #2) by Cate Tiernan
(Thank you to LBYR and Macmillan!)

I also got four review books this week, all of which are romances. I am definitely ready for February. ;)
Michelle's Review Books
Last Man Standing by Cindy Gerard
A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries
Fever by Joan Swan
(Thank you to Pocket and Kensington!)

I also received Bridge of Scarlet Leaves for review from the lovely Kristina McMorris. I've been hearing how fantastic her novels are so when she contacted me through Goodreads, I jumped at the chance to read and review her newest title.
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris (signed!) + chapter samplers for BoSL and Letters from Home and BoSL cover flat
(Thank you to Kristina and Kensington!)

What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Interview with author Jasmine Richards

Saturday, January 14, 2012 with
We are happy to welcome author Jasmine Richards today. Her debut novel is The Book of Wonders--a middle grade fantasy novel.

book cover
Magic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings, long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying usurper who, even with his eyes closed, can see all.

When her own beloved sister is captured by the evil ruler, Zardi knows that she must go to any lengths to rescue her. Along with her best friend, Ridhan—a silver-haired, violet-eyed boy of mysterious origins—and an unlikely crew of sailors led by the infamous Captain Sinbad, Zardi ventures forth into strange and wondrous territory with a seemingly impossible mission: to bring magic back to Arribitha and defeat the sultan once and for all.

Hi, and thank you for having me on your blog to talk about my debut novel The Book of Wonders!

You’ve sent me through some questions so here we go.

Top 5 places in Zardi's world you'd like to travel to.
This is quite difficult to answer as a lot of places that my main characters, Zardi and Rhidan, end up visiting in the Book of Wonders aren’t that welcoming mainly because of the person ruling that place! They say writers should be mean to their characters – I have done my best.

Here are the top 5 places I would visit in Zardi’s world but I’d only go if it was guaranteed I could come back. I don’t think I’d last very long – I’m not as brave or resilient as Zardi!

Taraket and Sabra: These cities are a part of the Kingdom of Arribitha and are ruled by an evil tyrant who has banned magic throughout the land. I would love to visit the markets, and see the River Tigress that flows through Arribitha and all the way out to the sea. I think the colours and smells of the land would be amazing.

Desolation Island: This place is filled with strange creatures and dangers [don’t want to give away spoilers] but the island itself is rather beautiful. I liked the idea of having a place that looks beautiful but has a dark underbelly and secrets.

Postremo: A dimension ruled by an egotistical djinni. It is also a dimension that is very much influenced by the future and so I think it would be a really cool place to visit – you’d never know what you’d find.

Mandar: A distant, mysterious kingdom and one that we will hopefully learn more about in future books.

A map, which features some of the places mentioned above.

6 favorite Arabian Night tales you've come across in your research.
1 The Fisherman and the Djinni
2 Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp
3 The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor
4 The Adventures of Bulukiya
5 The City of Brass
6 The Ebony Horse


1 favorite scene from The Book of Wonders.
One of my favourite scenes from The Book of Wonders involves Zardi and Rhidan trying to catch up with Sinbad after the famous captain gives them some vital information but then abruptly leaves.

Their chase takes them to the top of a massive structure called The Widow Reaper. It is an arch that stretches over the River Tigress and Sinbad’s ship, The Falcon, is fleeing from Taraket and will pass through the arch at any moment...

Here is an audio snippet of the scene:
One of my fave scenes from The Book of Wonders

Thanks for inviting me onto your blog and please do come over and say hello on www.jasminerichards.com. Here, you’ll find out more about The Book of Wonders and lots of giveaways to celebrate the book’s launch!

******
Thank you for stopping by our blog and answering our questions and providing the wonderful pictures, Jasmine! Congrats on your debut book! Fellow fantasy readers, if you like your fantasy novels fast-paced and action-packed do pick up The Book of Wonders. It comes out on this coming Tuesday, January 17th.

And before you leave, check out the book trailer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Christie Craig Guest Post and GIVEAWAY

Thursday, January 12, 2012 with
Please welcome back author Christie Craig here on the blog. She has a special blog post in celebration for her new e-release, exclusive to Barnes and Noble, Murder, Mayhem and Mama. Take it away, Christie!

Thirteen things you’ll learn from reading Murder, Mayhem and Mama:
1. Grief sucks. Love heals.
2. Believe it or not, sometimes mama does know best. Even when she’s dead.
3. Painting your toenails is equivalent to a happy pill.
4. Sometimes there’s a hell of lot more to our dreams than we think.
5. When a tough guy resorts to sniffing a girl’s sweater that she left behind, he might as well give up the bachelor pad, he’s on the road to falling in love.
6. A guy who offers you a shoulder during a meltdown and doesn’t try to cop a feel, just may be a keeper.
7. When a guy says all he wants to do is sleep with you, he might not be talking sex, you might just be his answer to insomnia. Then again, he’ll probably want sex when he’s had some sleep.
8. When all else fells, try saying the magic words: please and thank you. It’s a manner thing.
9. Be leery of opening your boyfriends medicine cabinet, it’s not just what you might find, but what might fall out and bounce right into the toilet. Explaining how his 36 pack of condoms got wet could be embarrassing.
10. While being a better bitch isn’t something we should aspire to, learning to stand up for oneself is definitely goal worthy.
11. Sharing food off each other’s plate could lead to sharing a toothbrush. And after that, all bets, and possibly the clothes, are coming off.
12. Bad habits die hard. Then again, the sergeant general doesn’t say anything about smoking after you’re dead. Just ask Mama.
13. Take a man’s favorite leather jacket, and he might offer you his heart to get it back.

*******
Intrigued? Here's the synopsis of Murder, Mayhem and Mama:
don't mess with texas
BEING A MAMA IS HARD. BUT THE JOB’S EVEN TOUGHER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD…
Cali McKay’s mama isn’t ready to pass over to the “other side” yet. Her unlucky-in-love daughter needs her now more than ever. Before Mama can chain-smoke her way to heaven, she’s gotta make sure Cali’s ex deadbeat boyfriend doesn’t get her daughter killed.

GRIEF SUCKS. LOVE HEALS…
Cali lost her mom to cancer. Detective Brit Lowell, lost his partner to murder. Now he’s in the mood to take down some dirtbags and Cali’s ex just happens to be a dirtbag leaving a trail of dead bodies behind him. Can Brit trust this beautiful woman to help take down her ex? Can Cali look past this sexy cop’s hard exterior to trust him with her heart? Can life get any crazier when Mama starts meddling from the grave? Only one thing is for sure–none of it will matter, unless they catch a killer before the killer catches them.
Also, check out the book trailer:

Thanks to Christie and her assistant, Kathleen, I have a e-copy of Murder, Mayhem and Mama to giveaway. And since it's an e-book, it's open to everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why Michelle covets this book: I LOVED Kristin's hilarious debut novel A Match Made in High School. See my review here.

I have been eagerly awaiting more by her. Seven Clues to Winning You looks and sounds like a fun contemporary read. Just my kind of read.


book coverSeven Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker
(released April 26, 2012)
When a humiliating picture of Blythe goes viral, she's instantly the target of ridicule at her new school. To salvage her reputation, Blythe teams up with Luke to win the Senior Scramble scavenger hunt. But Luke is an unlikely ally and potentially can't be trusted.

Perhaps it's his Shakespearean witticisms that reel Blythe in despite her better judgment . . . or maybe she just craves the thrill of the game. But as the hunt progresses, their relationship heats up. Soon their madcap mischief spirals out of control. Blythe is faced with arrest and expulsion, among other catastrophes - until Luke shows her what the Scramble (and love) is really about.

For more info about Kristin Walker and her books, visit her website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.


"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!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

As part of the Catching Jordan blog tour, Leslie and I are delighted to welcome author Miranda Kenneally today. We asked her to blog about "Breaking through the Ranks: Jordan is symbolic for the many girls/women who choose to fight the status quo. What have some of your own experiences been like?" Her debut novel is the fun, feel-good romantic contemporary young adult Catching Jordan.

book cover
What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though—she leads them as the captain and quarterback on her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there’s a new guy in town who threatens her starring position on the team… and has her suddenly wishing to be seen as more than just a teammate.

Check out my review here. You can also click on the Catching Jordan cover on the right (or HERE) to read an excerpt.

Take it away, Miranda...

When I was in elementary school, I wasn’t popular to say the least. Kids teased me because I liked Star Trek and science and animals and wanted to know how hurricanes worked. I didn’t know what the popular radio stations were and I barely knew which bands were cool. Some people at my school couldn’t believe I loved reading at night. Books and Discover magazine and National Geographic. I was a dorky, unattractive nerd who boys did not like.

But I was damned good at certain sports, like softball and volleyball.

For a long time in elementary school, when captains chose teams in gym class, it was all based on popularity. I was usually picked somewhere toward the end, even though I knew I could help the captain win games. I had proven myself. But no one ever seemed to notice because my lack of popularity hid my talent.

Then in sixth grade, I made it onto the school’s volleyball team. We were going to play the teachers in a game right before holiday break! Only eight kids were on the team: four boys and four girls. One of the boys was named Josh, and he was extremely popular, but had always been kind to me.

So one night our team went to Open Gym night, to practice so we could beat the teachers. I was practicing my serve – I was the only girl on the team who could do an overhand serve, and it was awesome. A fifth grade boy called out to Josh, “Wow, she’s good!” And Josh replied, “I know she’s good.”

And that was the first time in my life I really felt worth something when it came to sports. I smiled and smiled, and when we played softball in the spring, Josh picked me first when he was captain. When anyone questioned him, he replied, “Have you seen Miranda bat? Or seen her play third base?”

He was a truly good person and a good friend, because he saw my strengths and focused only on them, disregarding any pretense he may have had toward my popularity. I remember in junior high, he wrote in my yearbook, “Stay cool until the Next Generation.” That was incredibly corny but I loved it, because he knew I loved Star Trek: The Next Generation and accepted that about me, that I could like something other kids at my school didn’t like.

In my book CATCHING JORDAN, seventeen-year-old Jordan Woods loves football. She’s been playing the game for a long time and the guys all accept that she loves the game. Her friends don’t question it. She’s the captain and quarterback of her school’s team because she’s proven herself to be a great player and a capable leader.

Early on, when test readers were reading the book, they wanted to know, “Why does Jordan like football so much?”

I couldn’t really answer that. Jordan loves it, so she plays. Isn’t that enough? She likes running and the strategy involved. She likes leading a team. She likes running in for a touchdown.
If I say I love Mexican food, people don’t say, “Tell me why you like Mexican.” If I say I love figure skating, people don’t ask me why. It’s okay that I like those things because it’s normal for a white woman in American to like chips and dip and sparkly leotards.

But people do ask why Jordan’s into football, just because she’s a girl. I know that’s the sole reason.

My view is that people should do what they are good at. And even if they aren’t amazing at something, they should do it if they want to. If they dream of doing something, then they should work toward that dream, tackling obstacle after obstacle.

People will respect that. Maybe not all people, but a good portion will. Besides, you should do what you want to do.

That’s what Jordan Woods does, and that’s what I try to do every day. You should too. And if it ever gets hard, just remember those special people in your life who believe in you and your skills, regardless of sex or race or social status.

*******
A big thanks to Miranda for the insightful guest post. To learn more about Miranda and her books, check out her website, follow her on Twitter and friend her on Facebook. Also, check out the Catching Jordan book trailer:

And if you haven't heard, the cover of Stealing Parker (companion novel to Catching Jordan) has recently been revealed.
book cover
There's also an excerpt available for Stealing Parker HERE. Having really enjoyed Catching Jordan, I cannot wait to read SP--October 2012 cannot come soon enough!

Monday, January 9, 2012

book cover Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: December 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781402262272

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though - she leads them as the captain and quarterback on her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starring position on the team... and has her suddenly wishing to be seen as more than just a teammate.


Michelle's Review:
I knew I was going to like Catching Jordan after reading the synopsis because I love reading fun, contemporary romantic young adult reads and I was right. I did very much enjoy this delightful debut by author Miranda Kenneally.

From page one, I liked Jordan's character and cheered for her throughout the novel as she dealt with a father who disapproves of her playing football, worked to earn a football scholarship to her dream school and navigate through a romantic entanglement she suddenly found herself in. Jordan was tough on the outside, being the quarterback and captain of her football team, she has the respect of her teammates. But inside she's emotional and has her insecurities just like everyone and many girls can relate to her.

Romance was a big part of Catching Jordan and, yes, there was a love triangle though the synopsis does not hint it at all. Usually I dislike love triangles but here I didn't mind it because I genuinely liked both Ty and Sam Henry, Jordan's best friend. Both were good guys and swoon-worthy--although I did like one more than the other and from the beginning rooted for him to be the one to end up with Jordan. And I appreciated the fact that the guy Jordan did not "choose" wasn't just tossed to the side in the end.

I did have some minor issues with this novel though. One was the whole home ec class scene where the students had to pair up to be "husband and wife" to take care of a fake baby to learn about marriage. It's been done a lot in teen romance and it's certainly a fun fantasy to be able to play husband and wife with a guy you have romantic feelings for, but do they still really do that in high school as a real assignment? It was too much of a cliché and it threw me off a little. Some of characters also played too much on the stereotype of ditzy cheerleaders and man whore football players.

And, yes, the plot of the novel has been done before and you can predict what will happen once you start reading but one of the reasons why I liked it so much, why I found it so entertaining was in its predictability. Catching Jordan was sweet, it had some funny moments and was, basically, a feel-good, romantic comedy kind of read. It is teenage escapism at its best. Read it if you're looking for a light romantic contemporary YA read.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

In Our Mailbox (51)

Sunday, January 8, 2012 with
Yay for the first "In Our Mailbox" for 2012!! It's just going to be my [Michelle's] books this week. Leslie got a few books too but she didn't get a chance to snap a picture so she'll share her books next week.

I made a vlog... in which it looks like I'm in jail (blame the white walls & my unfortunate orange t-shirt):

Books Mentioned
The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards
Fracture by Megan Miranda
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Awkward by Marni Bates
The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
Midnight Reckoning by Kendra Leigh Castle
Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Warrior's Redemption by Melissa Mayhue
Susanna's Choice by Sara Luck
Sweet Revenge by Christy Reece + bookmark and B&N giftcard
postcard from author Michelle Zink
(A big thank you to Jasmine/Harperteen, Bloomsbury, MacMillan, Penguin, Kensington, Forever/Grand Central and Pocket/Simon & Schuster)

What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

book cover Paperback: 385 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: September 13, 2011
ISBN: 9781442423732

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none (standalone)
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.
Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.
The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?


Michelle's Review:
I'll start by saying that Drink Slay Love is freaking AWESOME. It's a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek paranormal mash up of vampires and unicorns. That's right, I said vampires and unicorns.

I loved Pearl from the beginning. She's not your typical YA heroine in that she's a sexy goth chick that can kick ass and she knows it and revels in it. She's deliciously an evil vampire and even when she started developing a conscience after being stabbed by a unicorn, she doesn't lose her initial self. She stays Pearl but with a conscience. I also really enjoyed her snarky, sarcastic voice. Besides Pearl, this novel was chock full of great characters, from Pearl's mafia-esque vampire family to the students at the high school that Pearl befriends. Evan and Bethany were especially great--Bethany, who was the complete opposite of Pearl, was the kind of friend you want to have and Evan was a sweet love interest for Pearl.

The plot was fast and fun with a lot of clever twists that culminated to the biggest high school event: prom. Somehow Pearl had to save the entire junior class from becoming the Vampire King of New England's feast and I was at the edge of my seat wondering how she will pull it off.

Drink Slay Love was very different from the two novels I've read by the author. It's a departure from the epic fantasy that was Ice (one of my favorite fantasy/fairy tale retelling books of all time) and Enchanted Ivy but the writing was just as spot-on. I love the author's non-flowery, clean writing style. This novel was fast-paced, humorous and clever. If you like Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall series, you're going to enjoy this one too. I absolutely loved it and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book We Covet: Revived by Cat Patrick

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 with
Why we covet this book: How creepy is that cover? The model is like an evil Barbie zombie. The disturbing cover aside, it sounds like a fantastic, edge-of-your-seat kind of thriller.

Leslie also read (and reviewed) Cat Patrick's debut Forgotten and LOVED it. She is eagerly awaiting to read more by her.


book coverRevived by Cat Patrick
(released May 8, 2012)
As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency's true goals, she realizes she's at the center of something much larger -- and more sinister -- than she ever imagined.

For more info about Cat Patrick and her books, visit her website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.


"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!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cinder Book Trailer

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 with
Cinder, one of our most anticipated reads of 2012 came out today! We love YA fairytale retelling and we love how how Cinder has a sci-fi twist to it. We think the book trailer is FANTASTIC--it gives just enough that you want to know MORE and the actors they used seem to match the characters.

And in case you haven't seen the beautiful cover or read the synopsis:
book cover
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.
And the best thing is that Cinder is out already and there's no more waiting to get your hands on it. It's next on our reading pile but if you guys already read Cinder let us know what you thought of it. Is it as awesome as the trailer make it seem?
Right before Christmas we posted about the Trylle series book trailer and it looked really awesome. Today, thanks to Zeitghost Media and St. Martin's Press, we can giveaway a copy of Switched, the first book in the Trylle series by Amanda Hocking, to one lucky blog reader.

The series have been popping up all over the blogosphere but if you haven't read the synopsis of Switched, here it is:
book cover
When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - a world both beautiful and frightening, and Wendy's not sure she wants to be a part of it.




If you're a paranormal YA fan, we think you might enjoy Switched. To enter, please read the rules carefully and just fill out the form below:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See our "Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Thank you for entering and good luck!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

debutauthorchallenge2012This blog post is our declaration to once again participate in the Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Last year (it's funny to say "last year" when last year was just yesterday), Leslie and I read 14 debut novels each which means we went over our goal of reading 12 debuts each. This year, 2012, our goal to read 12 YA debuts but we are going to challenge ourselves and aim for 15 each by the end of this year.

We will once again list the 2012 debuts we read on our left sidebar and we will be linking our reviews if/when we post.

Besides the Debut Author Challenge, I am also participating in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge. I love the Goodreads challenge because it's a good way to keep track of the books I read and because it lets you know if you're behind your goal, it helps you pace yourself.
At the beginning of last year, I challenged myself to read 50 books but I ended up increasing my goal mid-year to 85 and I reached my goal. This year I am going to challenge myself to read 75 books and hopefully I'll end up reading more than 75. I'll also be listing the books I read here on the blog and linking my review for the book if/when I post.

Fellow bookaholics, if you love YA/MG books you might want more info and sign up (if you haven't already) for one or both of the challenges, go here for all the rules, list of debut books and other Debut Author Challenge 2012 info and for the Goodreads challenge go here.