Sunday, May 29, 2011

In My Mailbox (54) - NYC and BEA Edition Part 1

After a week of bliss, I have found that I have forgotten just how horrible dial-up internet is. But, thankfully, Blogger is working as it should and I’m able to bring you this (albeit late) In My Mailbox.

BEA and my week in New York City were amazing. I am still overwhelmed by it all and I am so happy that I still have books coming to me in the mail over the next few weeks. It’s like extending my vacation just a little bit more.

But let me tell you, lugging all these books home was no treat. Luckily, my cousin had the most amazing idea to check my backpack – which meant that I didn’t have to carry around 23lbs of books all day. And yes, that was 23lbs. I looked at the scale when it was being weighed. That’s not counting the Strand tote I had full which acted as my carry on and the few books I stuffed into my suitcase.

Sadly, it was back to the real world today and even though I cut out of work way early (sleeping on a plane is a pain... literally) I still would rather be back in the city. But at least I get to share some of my amazing treasures with everyone!

So, this week in my mailbox (more like from my luggage) I received;

Teen Author Carnival

After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel – signed
I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger – signed
Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz – signed
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
Skyship Academy by Nick James – signed

Signed at BEA

Popular by Alissa Grosso
The Poison Diaries: Nightshade by Maryrose Wood
Brooklyn Burning by Steve Brezenoff
Deadline by Mira Grant
Bunheads by Sophie Flack
Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
The Daughters Take the Stage by Joanna Philbin
Blood Rights by Kristen Painter

From BEA
Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman
Undercurrent by Tricia Rayburn x 2
WinterTown by Stephen Emond
Bunheads by Sophie Flack x 2
After Midnight by Lynn Viehl x 2
Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen

Sample Chapters

The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney
The Death Cure by James Dashner
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

From The Strand

Ash by Malinda Lo (bought as a gift for my friend Amy... but I plan to read it too!)
Like Mandarin ARC by Kirsten Hubbard
He’s So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Siren by Tricia Rayburn
Leverage ARC by Joshua C. Cohen
Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
The Trust by Tom Dolby
The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook
Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler (in hardcover to match my other books of hers)
Wildthorn by Jane England
The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch
Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

So this ends part 1 of my BEA haul. Stay tuned for the upcoming weeks when my parcels come in the mail (I can’t wait) and I’m able to share what all was shipped in them.

And before anyone makes a big stink on my double copies, just know that before I even contemplated taking an extra (or two) I always asked someone from the booth. And some were obtained from two different sources. The only reason I grabbed more than one, too, was for giveaways - which I explained whoever I spoke to at the booth before taking them.

For more information on IMM, check out Kristi’s website The Story Siren.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cover Reveals

Well, BEA is over and I fly home tomorrow afternoon. Since I don't have anything planned to post for the next few days, I decided to share the cover reveals I found out about while at the Expo.

First up is the new one from Hilary Duff. It's set for a fall release this year and I personally can't wait to find out what happens.

 It's nothing like the first one, Elixir, and I'm not sure if I like it or not. It seems kind of cheesy and the stereotypical YA novel cover. I do like the colour though.

Next up is a 2011 Debut Author novel. I was lucky enough to get a signed copy at BEA (and maybe one for giveaway...) and I've started to read it. It's pretty good. I love the movie Centre Stage, so this novel really intrigued me.

I like the repetition of the dancers and the kaleidoscope effect that it has going on. I also really like how from far away it looks like a flower. The author is so sweet, too, and she danced professionally for quite a while, I do believe, so that really shows through in her writing.

So those are a few of the cover reveals I was able to find out about this week. At least these two are the ones I really remember.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

NYC and BEA - Days Four and Five

Wow, the last two days are one big blur. I was so exhausted last night that I fell asleep watching The Nanny and was too tired to write anything. But since today ended at 3 I’ve had enough time to collect my thoughts and not worry about getting up super early.

Day Four

This was the earliest day by far. I was up by 5:13... ok, 5:25 and out the door shortly before 6am. Luckily, my cousin was heading out the door at that time to head to the gym, so I was able to catch a ride to the station and not walk. Actually, in that respect I’ve been lucky all week. And it has saved my feet so much. The reason that I wanted to get to Javits before 7 was that I NEEDED to get a ticket for Rick Riordan’s signing of The Throne of Fire. Since I was there so early, I got in line for Starbucks as soon as I got my ticket and waited for them to open for breakfast. I then met some amazing people when I sat at their table to eat and proceeded to wait in the line for the entrance where I met some more amazing people.

The rest of the day was one big haze or excitement, pushing through the crowd, waiting in line, and meeting more and more people with who I had great conversations and exchanged business cards. At the end of the week I’ll have to post links to all their sites because they really were fantastic people.

I was able to grab all the books I wanted for the day – I went in completely prepared and with a plan of attack – and after a (not so) quick stop at the post office across from Penn Station before heading home my back was considerable lighter. I was also able to grab several bits of swag and books for giveaways. And before anyone starts to get negative ideas, any time I took more than one book I always made sure to ask someone working at the booth AND it was never one that was with a signing at the time.

Plus, I didn’t bite anyone to get at copies. Yeah. That happened. I couldn’t believe it, but I spoke with the girl is actually happened to. Imagine, biting someone just to get a book. It’s unreal.

Day Five

I slept in and took the train in instead of the subway so that I was still able to make it for 9am. I was so exhausted and my feet still hurt from the day before, but I was so excited. I had another day all planned and since the crowds seemed to be much less today, I was able to actually make everything that I wanted to plus some more that I found out about today. And I had time enough to eat a leisurely lunch in the cafeteria downstairs. Today also gave me the time to just wander through the aisles and see all that there was to offer. I stuck a sticker on the wall at the NetGalley booth, I stumbled across piles of books for the taking, and I got some amazing buttons.

When I got back to where I’m staying, I played board games with my cousins and just relaxed. I also made tentative plans for tomorrow. I know that I want to go back to The Strand and I want to see Central Park and the Zoo plus the main branch of the New York Public Library with the original Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals. And I want to just shop. With the Canadian dollar being what it is, and the amazing prices of the U.S., I want to take full advantage if I can. I also want to see about buying movies and things like that that I can’t find at home. My top of the list is a copy of The 10th Kingdom on DVD... but it’s a total white whale to find.

Anyway, I really need to sleep and I’m starting to drift off as I write this.

I hope that everyone who went to BEA had an incredible time like I did. I can’t wait to come back next year.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NYC and BEA - Day Three

I am so incredibly, totally, happily exhausted. Today was the first day on the exhibit floor and even though I ache all over, it was the best day. I met incredible people, got wish list books signed (plus, I just got amazing books).

I attended signings for Rachel Vincent, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Jeff Hirsch, Sarah Dessen, and Ally Carter – to name a few – and I was able to snag a couple of books to give away here so be sure to stay tuned!

But, really, I am so beyond tired and I’m getting up super early in the morning so that I can get to Javits before the ticket booth opens – I NEED a ticket for Rick Riordan! – so I’m going to make this an incredibly short post, go wash my face, and then I’m going to watch 16 and Pregnant while I fall asleep.

Hopefully (if you’re there) I’ll see you tomorrow!

Monday, May 23, 2011

NYC and BEA Day Two

Day Two you broke me. Well, my back and legs anyway. But it was worth every amazing minute and I had the most amazing day!

I found my train, and I got to the convention center in one piece all the while having a great conversation with some lovely women. Once at the convention centre, I was able to find the right booth, get my press pass, and take in the atmosphere of Javits. Let me tell you, it was chaotic and the expo hasn’t even fully started. I was so lost and I had no clue what was going on... so I walked up to the metro station and took the train to the Broadway stop.

I then spent an hour (or more) at The Strand and bought way too many amazing books – which I will share later on in the week. Luckily, there was a post office close by, so I was able to send off the majority of them in one of the flat-rate boxes. I officially am in absolute love with The Strand. I found books in hardcover that I’ve wanted for a while and so many other amazing books for great prices. I do believe that I’m going to have to go back later in the week.

This left just enough time for a manicure, a walk down Broadway, popping into Best Buy, and a stop for a hotdog before I had to turn and find the Mulberry St. Public Library for the Teen Author Carnival.

Oh my god I had an amazing time at TAC. I got a bag of amazing books, got to meet the most phenomenal authors, and met some great people. But by the end of it all, my feet ached, my legs hurt, and all I wanted to do was shower and sleep.

I cannot wait until tomorrow when the expo opens and I get to meet more people (and get some more amazing books)!

On a side note, blogger draft isn't letting me write any posts. I hope it's just this internet connection and not blogger itself. Is anyone else having this problem?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

NYC and BEA - Day One

Well, Day One consisted of me waiting in the airport for almost 3 hours (I was incredibly early and customs/security took, like, 20 minutes total). There were very few people on the U.S. side of the terminal (you go through American customs in Canada... I don’t know why) and I spent my time there reading The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab and watching YouTube videos.

The flight to Detroit was very productive since I finished reading The Near Witch (it was excellent) but I hit a wall during the flight to New York and slept since I got little sleep last night. I also almost had a panic attack when my e-reader froze. Luckily I was able to amend the situation before I burst into tears, so all was good.

Then my night consisted of finding my ride at the airport, getting to my cousin’s home in the city, and relaxing. Oh, and being cajoled into playing Twister with a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old, and being read Franklin books to.

Next up is sleep and getting ready for registration tomorrow and the Teen Author Carnival at the Mulberry St. Library. I’m exhausted!

Oh, and I am soooo happy that I have wifi where I’m staying. It’s going to make updating so much easier this week and I’ll be able to (hopefully) remember more details this way! I swear I have to memory of a goldfish most of the time.

ps: is anyone else's Blogger not working properly? Mine's all screwy right now.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

BEA Week Begins!

Well, I am almost packed to leave tomorrow morning, all my info is printed off, and I’m going over and over my checklist just to make sure I don’t forget something – which I will. I always do.

I am so beyond excited for NYC and BEA. My schedule is vaguely planned out and I have my New York Book Week events that I want to go to, so all I need to do is get there!

If you’re going to BEA and happen to be in line with me, here’s a picture so that you can say ‘hi’. I may look zoned out (my mind has a habit of wandering away) at the time, but I really can’t wait to meet new people!

And if you’re staying at home this year doing Armchair BEA, have a great week! I can’t wait to catch up on all things blogger next week and read about how it went for everyone.

As for this blog, there isn’t anything planned to be posted, but if I’m able to get some Internet access at any point, I’ll try to post some BEA updates!

My Sister, My Albatross

Between Here and Forever

Written by: Elizabeth Scott

Released: May 24, 2011 by Simon Pulse

Summary: Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.

Until the accident.

Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.

She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen.

Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could...

Ugh I just wanted to slap Abby throughout this entire novel. I hate these self-pitying characters who are really showing their faces lately in YA novels. They remind me of the cheesy teen make-over movies like She’s All That where the girl is all ‘no, I’m so plain, not hot’ and then they get the popular guy becomes interested in them and BAM they’re suddenly the hottest thing ever. Abby reminded me of the before images of those girls; you could tell that she was pretty, but her self-image makes her unattractive.

However, I can also see where this whole image would come from since she idolized her sister so much and was so focused on the surface of things rather than digging deeper. She was very shallow when it comes right down to it. Even with Eli, the only thing that she noticed was how attractive he was. And even then she was so down on herself that he was only thought of as ‘for Tess’. Tess was a bitch. But she also had a lot of problems she was unable to fully face and deal with, which is a problem I think a lot of people have. She was unable to be true to herself, and that made me pity her.

Which brings me to Eli. I loved his character and he was so vividly written that he came across as completely realistic. Sure, at first he was just a piece of man-candy, but as the story evolves you get to really see the different sides of his life, and the fact that he was OCD is just icing on a great character. I would completely want an Eli of my very own.

After I got over the whole anti-Abby top story, and was able to get into the real story, I really enjoyed this novel. Sure, it was predictable, but I still was sucked in (after the first 150 pages of self-pity). I just wish that the story had taken off faster than it did. There were a few times where I was wondering exactly when something would happen since it was focused solely on how Abby would never amount to the type of person her sister was. It started to play like a broken record. But I stuck with it and enjoyed the ending.

The twist at the end, the big revelation, was (though predictable) well done but incredibly rushed since it was left until the last few chapters of the book. I did think that it brought together small details from throughout the entire novel and tied up all the ends rather nicely, though. I really enjoyed how something previously thought as inconsequential from previously in the book was brought back at the end and was a final piece I the end puzzle.

I enjoyed Scott’s writing style and I will definitely be on the lookout for more by her. I just hope that her other main characters aren’t as off-putting as Abby was. However I’m giving this novel a 5.5/10.

Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for allowing me to read an eARC copy of this novel.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Stassed Beauty (A Mini Review)

A Long, Long Sleep

Written by: Anna Sheehan

Released: August 9, 2011 by Candlewick Press

Summary: Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for 62 years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically-induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew.

Now, her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose - hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire - is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes - or be left without any future at all.

I tried to explain this novel to a friend just after I finished reading it and I did the story absolutely no justice. So I’ll try to better capture it in my review.

As far as debut novels go, this one is top notch and I don’t think that I could have asked for more in a novel. In fact, I almost hope that there’s a sequel because there were a few questions left unanswered which are eating at me a little. But I would be able to live if there wasn’t an accompanying novel... though it would be nice.

Overall, this isn’t a debut to be overlooked. I really enjoyed it and I’m giving it an 8.5/10. And stay tuned closer to the actual release date for a full-length review.

My eARC copy of this novel was graciously provided by Candlewick Press and netGalley.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Deep Water Survival Guide

Sharks & Boys

Written by: Kristen Tracy

Released: June 28, 2011 by Hyperion

Summary: When 15-year-old Enid Calhoun follows her boyfriend Wick to Maryland for a party, fearful that he might be intending to cheat on her, she finds herself sneaking on board a houseboat where Wick and his friends plan to have a wild night. But before the boys discover their stowaway, a hurricane strikes, and the teenagers are carried miles from the shore and shipwrecked. What follows is a harrowing, yet heartwarming, story of survival, as the teens battle hypothermia, dehydration, man-eating sharks--and along the way, confront their own deepest secrets, including their catalytic roles in the disaster.

This novel was by far not what I was expecting to read. Granted, I am also guilty of judging the book by the cover, so that’s the reasoning I can give for why I was so surprised by it. I also seemed to miss the whole “hypothermia, dehydration, survival” bit of the summary.

This started off fluffy enough – which is the path I thought it would continue to take – and I even found myself bored by Enid and I really wanted to just slap the sense into her. But then she bites off the Groom and Bride’s feet (this makes sense once you read the novel) and stows away on a boat.

From there it takes a turn for the very worst.

Instead of the fluffy little read I was anticipating, I get this gut-wrenching tale about literally surviving in shark-infested water. When it was being described about how the sharks could be felt through the thin material of the life raft chills went up my spine. From there it all goes downhill for the characters.

One thing that I learned from this novel – and I learned a lot actually – was how to survive for days in a life boat with little to no supplies. Basically, shiny hair clips are key, you can drink your own pee (if you can get over the fact that you’re drinking pee), and once dehydration really sets in stay away from all sides of the life boat. Oh, and salt water is bad no matter what.

The characters in this novel are hard to put down in words for a review. For the most part they all fell into one stereotype or another. You have the token female who’s needy, the brother who is the classic brother, the jerk-off boyfriend, his meat-head brother, and four other characters who sadly blend indistinguishably together for a lot of the novel. However, stereotypical though they may be, they all worked really well together. By about 2/3 of the way through the novel I couldn’t read fast enough to see what happened next.

The faint of heart should consider not reading this novel. I’m a pretty unflappable person and there were parts where I was shocked at what I was reading. At times, this reads more like one of those horrific true stories that you watch on TLC or the Discovery Channel. So if you do decide to read it – and it is quite good – just make sure that you know what you’re getting into. I’m giving this a 6.5/10 and I would like to see what else this author has to offer.

I was given the opportunity to read this eARC by Hyperion and netGalley.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Fifty-Two

I can’t remember how I stumbled across this novel, but I’m happy that I did. It sounds so intriguing and I’m not sure what I would expect from it.

Circle Nine

Written by: Anne Heltzel

Released: September 13, 2011 by Candlewick Press

Summary: She knows only Sam, a mysterious teenage boy. He is her sole companion; her whole life. She was born, already a teenager, lying outside a burning building in soot-stained clothes, remembering nothing, not even her name. He showed her the necklace she had on, the one that named her: Abby. Sam brought her to live in his cave-palace, where he gives her everything she needs. He loves her. He protects her from the world outside, from everyone who wants to hurt them, like the denizens of Circle Nine, Dante’s deepest circle of hell. But even in a charmed, brand-new life like Abby’s, change will come. Sam falls ill. A new girl comes to stay, and Abby begins to question Sam’s devotion. With doubt comes emotional turmoil, changes in perception, and glimpses of her past identity. In this courageous psychological thriller, Abby tells the story of living her new life and discovering her old one, while grappling with an ever-changing reality.

I’m imagining some sort of Stockholm Syndrome set in a dystopian future. I’m very interested to see how it plays out.

As an added bonus, it's a 2011 YA Debut!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not Another Ghost Story


Written by: Tara Hudson

Released: June 7, 2011 by HarperTeen

Summary: Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.

Maybe it was because I had just watched Just Like Heaven starring Reese Witherspoon, but I thought that the big twist in this novel was that Amelia wasn’t really dead. But I was terribly wrong and then completely surprised at how events unfolded.

According to Goodreads, this is number one of... well I’m not too sure how many, but it will at least have a sequel. I can’t see, really, where else this could go. Having recently finished reading Queen of the Dead (The Ghost and the Goth sequel) the way that it wrapped up the story seems like it would be the only way that this one could go, too, with a second novel. I mean, how else can a story continue when the main character is dead and her love interest is alive and one of the only people who can see her? I can’t see this going past two novels total.

The characters in this novel were pretty well done. I liked how Amelia was introduced and how she evolved. It was interesting to see her grow as a character and how her entire love story emerged. Joshua was interesting too, but the real character who caught my eye was Eli. I hope that he’s in the second novel. He was so damaged and mean, but I want a happy ending for him anyway.

The story was interesting. It took me a little while to really get into it since the first chapter left me a little puzzled. But it also captured and kept my attention; I really enjoyed reading it. Plus, how can a person not enjoy a romantic ghost story with a little danger and action thrown in?

In all, this is a great debut and I can’t wait to read what Hudson comes out with next, especially if it’s a sequel to this novel. I’m giving this novel a 8/10 and a recommendation to not overlook this one for the 2011 YA debuts.

Thank you to netGalley and HarperTeen for allowing me to have a copy of this eARC for an honest review.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In My Mailbox (53)

Another week, another book bought. I admit, I’m weak and it called out to me from the shelf... so I caved and bought it.

But, I’m going to be super good this week and have nothing to show next Sunday. At least, that’s the plan. Plus, next Sunday marks the day I leave for New York City for BEA! So I won’t be posting anyway.

This week my weakness was;

Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me by Various Authors

From reading Chelsea Handler’s previous novels, I know that this one is going to be amazing. Plus, I’ve already read a few pages and was laughing out loud.

Disclaimer: IMM is not mine and I only participate. For more information, check out The Story Siren and her amazing website.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Death is Art

Putting Makeup on Dead People

Written by: Jen Violi

Released: May 24, 2011 by Hyperion

Summary: It's been four years since Donna Parisi's father passed away, but it might as well have been four days. Donna makes conversation and goes through the motion, but she hasn't really gotten on with life. She's not close with anyone, she doesn't have a boyfriend and she's going to college at the local university with a major that her mother picked. But one day Donna has an epiphany. She wants to work with dead people. She wants to help people say goodbye and she wants to learn to love a whole person--body and soul. She wants to live her life and be loving, at grieving and at embalming and cremating, too. Even as she makes the decision, things start to change. Donna makes friends with the charismatic new student, Liz. She notices the boy, Charlie, at her table and realizes that maybe he's been noticing her, too. And she begins to forgive the rest of her family for living their lives while she's been busy moping.

Jennifer Violi's gentle, moving story of a girl who finds a life in the midst of death will appeal to any reader who's felt stuck and found inspiration in an unexpected place.

This wasn’t exactly what I expected as I read it. After the first few pages I was a little worried that the focus would be largely on death and the after-effects, but what I found instead was a novel about coming into yourself and being true to what you want in life. Sure, death was a large part, but the way that it was used created a much larger picture than one would believe.

Donna was a character who made it very hard to like her in the beginning. I think it’s because she was so reserved and pulled within herself that, as a reader, you’re not able to get a feel for her until you’re fairly deep into the novel. Up until that point you find yourself wondering why she keeps complaining and not taking control of her own life like she wants to. But that’s what makes her a great character and shows how well written she is. While not dealing well with the grief over her father passing away you can see how it has affected everything from her personal relationships to how she thinks. She starts off strangely fragile despite her hard exterior and as the novel progresses you see the cracks starting to form until she becomes independent and sure of herself. By the end of the book I wanted nothing more than to find out what happens next.

The content in this book is something, which, I can honestly say, I have never seen the likes of. The closest that I’ve come to something even remotely similar is with the first My Girl movie and that’s only because the main character lives in a funeral home. That’s pretty much where the resemblance stops aside from a few very minor details. The concept of death isn’t new to YA books and having a character whose parent has died isn’t either, but add in the funeral home and the study of working in a mortuary and you have something special. While I can see this not being for everyone since it is so blasé when speaking about the dead (not in a negative way) and juxtaposing it to religion and spiritual beliefs, I believe that this will reach a large audience with its originality.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a ‘normal’ YA read free of vampires, were-animals, or anything remotely supernatural. If you’re looking for a book that’s firmly rooted in real life sans over-privileged rich kids scrambling to topple someone on the social ladder – this isn’t for you. But if you want something incredibly realistic with real problems and a wonderful plot, try this. Chances are you won’t be disappointed. I’m giving this an 8.5/10.

On a side note; isn't that cover gorgeous?
Thank you to everyone at netGalley and Hyperion who made it possible for me to read this before it's released in stores.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Who You Gonna Call?

Queen of the Dead

Written by: Stacey Kade

Released: June 7, 2011 by Hyperion

Summary: After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

Packed with romance, lovable characters, and a killer cliff-hanger, Queen of the Dead is the out-of-this-world sequel to The Ghost and the Goth.

Yeah, not what I would have expected to happen in this sequel. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it. Maybe it was the direction that the ending took – and all subsequent scenes leading up the big action sequence – and how it was left more open-ended with a few unanswered questions than the previous.

I enjoyed the first novel, and with this one I think that I liked it a little better. You really get to see the softer side of Alona and her vulnerability more so than the first novel. Sure, she’s still a pain in the ass and snarky as ever, but that’s what I also like about her. I wish that I could say half the stuff she does to people who annoy me at any given time.

I didn’t care for Will as much in this novel. I wanted to shake sense into him. I mean, come on. Some totally random Rambo chick comes in through your bedroom window and you just go off with her to do some ghostbusting. But at the same time I couldn’t help but feel sad over his lack of knowledge about his own abilities and his dad’s abilities.

More seemed to happen in this book. Of course, it’s been almost a year since I read the first, so it’s quite possible that I’m not remembering details like I should, but I’m pretty sure that there’s more going on in this second novel. For sure there’s more romance between Will and Alona and there are more supernatural happenings – though strangely less ghosts – and of course the action sequences. But there’s also an added layer of ghost technology and understanding. Basically it does a fantastic job of expanding on the world created with the first novel.

If you enjoyed reading The Ghost and the Goth, I’m sure that this novel won’t disappoint. Once I started to really get into the story, it was really hard to put it down. I’m giving it a 7/10 and I can’t wait to see what else Stacey Kade comes out with in the future.

My thanks to Hyperion and netGalley for allowing me to read this novel before its publication date. I greatly appreciate the opportunity.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Decisions Part 2

Where She Went

Written by: Gayle Forman

Released: April 5, 2011 by Dutton Juvenile

Summary: It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

Before I read the summary, I had assumed that Mia would be the narrator of this novel like she was for the first. I was then a little disappointed to find out that it was her boyfriend from the first novel, Adam, who was narrating this time but I wasn’t disappointed once I started to read. In fact, I think that I enjoyed reading this novel more than I did the first.

It was incredibly consuming to read about the after effects of the fatal crash from If I Stay. In that novel, you see the distress that Adam is under – while seeing everything from Mia’s point of view – but with this book you really get to see just how deep those feelings went. It also fills in the gaps between that book and the events of this one. Like If I Stay, a lot of it is told through flashbacks.

Adam is such a broken character. Like Mia in the first novel, he’s suffering from life-altering decisions and is unable to fully move on until a decision is made. However, unlike Mia, his decisions aren’t necessarily life or death. But he’s also under a lot of pressure from all sides of his life and as a result is almost not as recognizable as the same character from If I Stay.

I was immediately sucked into this novel and the result was staying up way too late to finish reading it on my e-reader. The night before I had just finished reading If I Stay, so the events and characters were fresh in my mind – which I thought was a good thing but not necessary in order to follow what was happening – and I needed to know what the next step in life was for both Adam and Mia. So I warn you, with this story there isn’t going to be a “good part” to stop reading; it’s a non-stop rollercoaster of emotions and reunions.

I loved Adam and all I wanted to do was hug him. He’s so unlike the character the reader was introduced to in the first novel that the change is almost shocking. And once you read about everything that he had gone through up until the current time in the novel, you can see how easily it was for him to become a completely different person. Then there’s Mia. I am still in awe of how strong a character she is and how seemingly easy she was able to move on with life. I say seemingly because as the story unfolds you also find out her side of what happened after she made her decision from the first novel.

This is the type of novel that I will definitely buy (once it comes out in paperback – it has to match the format I have If I Stay in) and read again. It’s also the type of novel that I will praise to everyone and recommend to all. I’m giving it a 9/10.

My thanks to netGalley and everyone who made it possible for me to read this e-book.

BEA Mobile = Amazing

Oh my goodness, I’ve just discovered the most amazing thing ever (at least I think so)!

First of all, I’m freaking out about BEA in less than two weeks; even more so because I’m going all by myself. I’m staying with family (thankfully) but the thought of being alone in the city (and transferring flights in Detroit) is stressing me out.

But then I checked out BEA Mobile (on my phone since that's where it works... took me a few minutes to catch onto that. I blame the late hour.). Along with all the amazingness of BEA, it has a Frommer’s City Guide! Pairing that with BEA Mobile and my Google Map download application I think I’m going to be ready to conquer NYC... or at least attempt to.

I’m slowly but surely getting everything ready to pack, I have lists galore to refer to, and I have a vague schedule for my week in the city. Now all I have to worry about is where I’m going to eat my meals and how to best spend my time loose in the Big Apple!

Let me know if you're going to be there too. I can't wait to meet everyone that I can!

On a side note, can someone from the States tell me if it’s true that you can’t buy Smarties chocolate candies there?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Fifty-One

I can’t believe that I haven’t featured this novel yet since I’ve been waiting for it ever since I first found out about it.

Beauty Queens

Written by: Libba Bray

Released: May 24, 2011 by Scholastic Press

Summary: From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

It sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it. I imagine that I’m going to be laughing so hard that I will cause a disturbance if in public.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In My Mailbox (52)

Well... it was a good week but I was bad and bought a couple of books. But, I got them at really good deals, so they were begging to be bought. I was helpless to their call. But it's only TWO WEEKS until BEA... so I really need to stop spending my vacation money.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The Poisoned House by Michael Ford

I fell prey to the call of the first two and the third I received for review from netGalley.

Let me know what you got in your mailbox this week; leave a line and let me know if you're going to BEA also!

Disclaimer: IMM is the brainchild of The Story Siren. Check out her amazing site for more information.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Summer Lovin' III

We’ll Always Have Summer

Written by: Jenny Han

Released: April 26, 2011 by Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Summary: It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.

I really dislike Jeremiah and since it happens within the first few chapters I’m going to go ahead and tell you why. He’s a cheating jerk, that’s why. Oh Belly, why are you so dumb that you give him the second chance and everything else that happens after? He’s a meat-head stereotypical frat boy who doesn’t think with his brain. And kudos to you for Belly for not giving in to the pressure of sexual tension and sticking to your beliefs.

And Conrad, I wanted to slap you from the moment you came back on the scene. Grow some and sweep Belly off her feet like you know you want to.

But I digress.

This novel was a perfect ending to this entire Summer trilogy. It had the writing that I’ve come to expect from Jenny Han, the pure emotions associated with the characters, and the drama, drama, drama that makes these novels to great. Throw in the love triangle which is finally resolved (I’m not telling who’s with who, though) and a wedding and you get this amazing novel. I almost wish that there would be a fourth book... but this ended so perfectly that another book might ruin that.

Once again, this is a trilogy to read and if you haven’t already and with the last novel finally released (now I just have to wait for it in paperback) you won’t have to deal with the year-long wait between books. I give this novel an 8.5/10 and I can’t wait to see what Jenny Han comes out with next.

My ever thanks to Simon and Schuster for allowing me an eARC of this novel – especially since once I started to read the previous two novel I knew that I would need to know the ending.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Summer Lovin' II

It’s Not Summer Without You

Written by: Jenny Han

Released: April 27, 2010 by Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Summary: Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?

It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.

But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started--at Cousins Beach.

Yeah, so best thing that I could have done was write this review BEFORE reading the next in the trilogy... but I didn’t so I’ll just have to do my best.

I love Jenny Han’s writing and from her Summer novels she’s made a life-time fan of me. She’s so easily able to capture the raw human emotions and take the reader on a rollercoaster with her writing. I fell so easily into the drama of Belly and her relationships and I completely felt what she was feeling throughout the novel.

But, oh Belly, you need to take a step back from your relationship woes and try something different. Of course, since you’re completely unable to do that, the next best thing would be to make a final decision. Or just grow a backbone and stop being so pathetic over Conrad. Live a little and let him fully realize what he’s missing!

I loved how the reader was able to see just how deep Conrad was with this novel. Of course, it wasn’t right out there in full sight, but at the end of the novel I wanted to shake him as well and tell him to get a grip; that Belly was slipping away. If anything, his performance in this novel made it very clear that I’m team Conrad and not a fan of Jeremiah.

I absolutely adore this series and it will be one that I recommend to everyone who wants a great trilogy that’s already completed (don’t you just hate the wait between books?). So I’m giving this novel an 8/10. Go read it (but read the first before this one). And as an added bonus, it’s already in paperback!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Summer Lovin' I

The Summer I Turned Pretty

Written by: Jenny Han

Released: May 5, 2009 by Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Summary: Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

So I have a slight problem with writing this review. See, I’ve had this particular novel sitting on my shelf for over a year (whenever it came out in paperback) and once seeing the second novel in the series in paperback in the store (for 30% off!) I snatched that up. Then the third became available through Simon and Schuster’s e-galley... so within a few days I had all three sitting and begging to be read. To be honest, this is how I like to read my trilogies – completed. I hate having to wait a year between novels.

But the only problem is that I read all three books in just under three days. So by then (because it would have been smart to write the reviews before reading the next novel) I hadn’t done any reviewing and thus I’m in the know for everything that happens. So I’m going to try my hardest to stick to one book at a time and not bring in any knowledge from the next in the series.

At first I was so confused by this novel. Apparently I lack a bit of common sense and it wasn’t until I was several chapters in that I noticed the flashback chapters were noted by age underneath the chapter number. After I did make not of that, my confusion ceased and I was really able to get into the story. Then I just had to get over the fact that the main character went by Belly as a name... but whatever.

With Belly, it took me a while to get into her character. The flashback chapters didn’t help because it really made her seem more petulant than she was. If anything they magnified her childish moments while the story was in its current time. But, being the youngest of my cousins (on both sides pretty much) and having witnessed my older family members being forced to have me tag along, I could identify with Belly. I know that I was an annoying tyrant when I was younger and that I got away with a lot of things because of my age. Still, there were times when I wanted to slap Belly and tell her to grow up. I did have to remember, too, that she was only 15 at the beginning of this novel and celebrated her 16th birthday near the end.

Belly’s love for Conrad was one that I thought was sweet and pure and I really felt as though he were battling himself to not feel the same way. No guy is as protective as he was and not have feelings other than “familial” love. It’s just not possible. I was really hoping for something to develop between the two of them and I was so happy once it did no matter how small and fragile it was.

Then there was Jeremiah. As much as I could have seen him with Belly it just felt as though he wasn’t the one for her in that way. Sure, he was able to not be a pansy and let her know that he had feelings for her and he was there for her when she needed it, but he was too extravagant for Belly. Does that make sense? He was just too out there, too friendly, too extroverted where Belly was quiet and introverted. Still, he was a good second best for her, but would always be second best in my mind.

This book was so concreted in reality that I had a hard time believing that these characters weren’t real. This is proof of how amazing Jenny Han’s writing is. She was able to evoke this huge range of emotions as I was reading. I was laughing and crying and so annoyed at times. But most important was that nothing happened (in my mind) that didn’t fit with how a story like this would play out in real life. I will definitely read it again and pass my copy along to friends and family to read so long as they were going to return it. I’m giving this an 8/10. If you haven’t had a chance to read Han’s Summer series yet, you really should.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Fifty

Squeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! Oh My Giddy Aunt. Not only is there a COVER RELEASE but a SUMMARY!!!!!


Written by: Gail Carriger

Released: March 1, 2012

Summary: Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a dampener on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

I love this series and the next novel comes out this summer. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to wait until next spring for this one. So sad.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Hush, Hush series Cover

I really need to get around to reading this series. Books 1 and 2 have been sitting on my shelf forever!

This cover is gorgeous, though, and really makes me want to know what is going to happen.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Movie Monday – Redbull is for Pussies

I Am Number Four

Written by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Marti Noxon (screenplay) based upon the novel by Pittacus Lore

Directed by: D.J. Caruso

Released: February 18, 2011 by Touchstone Pictures

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Extraordinary teen John Smith is a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemies sent to destroy him. Changing his identity, moving from town to town with his guardian Henri, John is always the new kid with no ties to his past. In the small Ohio town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events-his first love, powerful new abilities and a connection to the others who share his incredible destiny.

I like the fact that I read the book before seeing the film; it really helped fill in the gaps that I thought were very present. Though, to be fair, I think that I only really noticed them because I had read the book. Still, I liked having that extra knowledge and not being at all lost.

From book to movie, the major scenes were there but a lot was changed. But let’s set aside the whole book aspect and focus solely on the movie.

I’m not a huge Alex Pettyfer fan and while I think that he did alright in this film, I think that there could have been a better choice. I do think that he nailed his scripted character with a fierce protectiveness and set tiredness of running. He did his character justice in both the romantic scenes and action sequences. He seemed to have a real grip on the character.

However, the real star of this movie was Number Six. She really kicked ass and the way that she was introduced made the viewer think one thing though never had them certain in anything until her big introduction. She was perfectly cast.

I thought that the entire movie was rather well done. There were the great moments where your breath was caught in your throat and there were the moments where you wanted to either cry or shout out loud. For me, a movie that makes me want to do that while in a theatre is a pretty good one. Sure it also had its really corny parts, but we can overlook them and chalk them up to book-to-movie transcribing.

In all, I really want to see where they go with the sequel (of course I also want to read the second novel as well) and with Pettyfer, Agron, and Palmer (John, Sarah, and Number Six) all contracted for any sequels it’s just an added bonus. While I don’t think that this will blow up like Twilight and Harry Potter have, I think that it will be able to hold its own with its audience so long as it’s given a chance. I’m giving it a 7/10 and a recommendation to watch. But go cheap movie day, just in case you’re not too sure about it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I am so excited! But it doesn't come out until next March.

Isn't it amazing? Of course, there is Heartless coming out this summer to look forward to.

In My Mailbox (51)

Ugh my external dial-up modem suddenly decided to up and die on me, so not only am I without internet, but I'm forced to now write all new posts (for now) either on my blackberry like I am right now, or try my patience on the dinosaur my mother calls her own - complete with Windows 95. **

It's official, I repel all forms of technology.

But, for the sake of my love of my blog, I'm writing this while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (tv show, not movie) and slowly typing with my thumbs. But the fact that Wentworth Miller (the Prison Break guy) and Shane West are both inthis episode make it easier to bear.

So, without further ado, this weeks IMM!

I was a little bad this week. We had a Maple Festival in my town and all the shops had street sales and the whole main street was closed down for vendors. So I was unable to pass up going into the used book store and snatching up copies of;

Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof by Emily Giffin
The Unicorn Club #3,4,15 by Francine Pascal - I collect the SV Twins novels and since the Unicorn Club is an off-shot, I couldn't pass these up!

Then for review from Simon and Schuster's Galley Grab I got;

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott

When I got my April newsletter in my inbox I was at work and completely did a little dance of happiness much to the amusement of my co-workers who were present. I was sooooooo excited over the titles!

So this is what I got in my mailbox this week. Leave a comment and let me know what you got!

Disclaimer: For any and all IMM information and list goodness, check out The Story Siren!

** I was able to get my modem fixed which means I have Internet again! Oh happy day.