Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In My Mailbox #9

A special thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for creating a meme designed for everyone to brag about their books!

This week I didn't receive anything in the mail but I did receive some great books from the library!
The Season by Sarah MacLean

Seventeen year old Lady Alexandra is strong-willed and sharp-tongued -- in a house full of older brothers and their friends, she had to learn to hold her own. Not the best makings for an aristocratic lady in Regency London. Yet her mother still dreams of marrying Alex off to someone safe, respectable, and wealthy. But between ball gown fittings, dances, and dinner parties, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get herself into what may be her biggest scrape yet.
When the Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. But will Alex's heart be stolen in the process? In an adventure brimming with espionage, murder, and other clandestine affairs, who could possibly have time to worry about finding a husband? Romance abounds as this year's season begins!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
It was a slow week but I think the two books I did receive were great so I'm happy about them!!
What did you get?

Busy Busy Busy!

Hey Everyone,

In case you haven't noticed, I've really been lacking posts lately. I got hired as a temporary employee at Rue 21 this week. I really wanted to get a permanent position so I've been working extra hours and weird shifts, which explains my absence. The good news is, I GOT THE JOB!!! YAYY! So now I will have a real schedule and hopefully my posting will go back to normal.

I actually have to go into work right now, but plan on posting a new contest and my In My Mailbox today, so keep checking back!!

Thanks for understanding,

Tay

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March Giveway WInners!

So after much delay, here are this month's winners!

145 - Genevieve

&

181 -
The Voter


I have decided that the first number will receive two books of their choice and the second person will receive the remaining book!

Thanks to everyone who entered! I will have a new contest soon!

I e-mailed both winners about their books! Congrats!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Published: May 2004
Pages: 384
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin

Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She’s stuck with a dull-asdishwater job at the library. And she’ll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father’s recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother’s open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it….

Just like all of Sarah Dessen's novels, The Truth About Forever was exceptional. She always finds a way to use the same plot idea but yet leave me completely surprised by the outcome. All of her books have such similar time lines and ideas yet I never correctly predict the ending.

Damn, Wes sounds like such a catch. From his perfect looks to his beautiful soul I found myself a little fangirly. I love his patience with everyone around him and how truly happy he makes people. I also have a HUGE crush on any guy who knows he is attractive but finds people staring at them to awkward instead of acting rude and cocky.

I found many similarities between Macy and Auden from Along For The Ride. They both struggle with similar issues, but I was happy to see they both solved them in different ways.

This book is old and many of you have read it so I don't feel this needs to be a super in depth review. Overall I loved the book and can't wait to continue reading Sarah Dessen's novels.

4/5

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Contest Extention

Because I'm busy (or lazy depending how you look at it) I am extending the deadline of my contest until March 28th at Midnight!! Hurry!!! If you haven't already entered click here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday #9

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Talia fell under a spell . . . . Jack broke the curse.
I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic. . . .
I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.
I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger's soft kiss.
I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.
Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!
Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak!
Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?



Sounds cute and has lots of romance. Basically, it sounds like my type of book. And not to mention it has a beautiful cover!! Yay, can't wait. It comes out April 28, 2009.

New Moon Movie Update

Okay so I'm pretty sure I'm behind on all of this but I just wanted to share with those of you who are as big of slackers as I am. The date for the New Moon movie is November 20!!! I'm so excited its coming out this year yay!!!

Also if you click here there is a press release including information about the "wolf pack" from the Twilight Saga. I'm so excited to see these animated wolves. I hope it isn't super unrealistic.

Just thought you would want to know,

Taylor

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Awards I Have Won - Much Overdue!

Okay so I deeply apologize if I miss someone who has given me an award over the past two weeks. I haven't posted much lately because I have been super busy with my writing class, but now I am going to acknowledge all of the awards I have won, FINALLY!

First is the Premio Dardos Award which has been given to me by Kristi at Books and Needle Point, and Donna from Bites.

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.

The rules to follow are:
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I also won the Sisterhood Award from Insert Book Title Here.

Here are the rules to spread the sisterhood spirit:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

And finally I was given the I Heart Your Blog Award from Robin_Titan at T.V. and Book Addict and Iryna at Garden of Books :D.

Here are the rules to keep the award moving:
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

Since this would be 32 blogs to nominate, which is TONS I am nominating everyone who hasn't yet recieved any of these awards!

If you gave me one of these awards and I missed you, comment me and I will add you!!

Thanks so much to everyone who nominated me!!

Taylor

Why I Read

This was an essay I wrote a couple weeks ago for my college writing class. I thought I would share since I'm sure plenty of you can relate.

Nerdom

Only nerds read books. What an original statement. It’s the same thing I hear every time my siblings and friends catch me cuddled up on the couch flipping to the next page. Labeling readers as nerds naturally gives reading a negative image. Though truthfully, only positives can come from between the covers. The amount of available knowledge as well as entertainment through reading is endless.

This nerdy stereotype is construed by a series of false assumptions. Many think bookworms are formed due to a lack of friends. Or, they assume all readers hole themselves up in some lonely corner to cram as much knowledge into their brains as possible. However, I read for neither of these reasons.

Novels are a passageway into a different life. The pages of a book can come alive into scenarios I couldn’t normally experience. One day I can be a vampire princess ruling the European monarchy, and the next I can see the world through the eyes of a famous serial killer. Books allow me to temporarily live in worlds so foreign to my own. There’s simply nothing dorky about living.

Books also serve as an escape. Instead of failing at an attempt to sleep through a boring eight hour car ride, I can simply flip open a book. Time quickly changes from a standstill to race pace. An exciting novel can also quickly transform my surroundings. Just as I get bored of all things Bend Oregon, I can crack the cover of a world light-years away, erasing all my worries.

Though I don’t sit in an attic all night and cram unwilling information into my skull, I do enjoy the knowledge I gain through reading. Instead of learning through the medium of a dry textbook I can expand my knowledge through a gripping fictional story based in Elizabethan England. I almost consider reading a secondary education. There are many times I find myself bored in school because I have already learned through books what the teacher is lecturing about.

I don’t read for nerdy reasons. I read because it’s an adventure. It gives me a chance to experience the far corners of imagination and beyond. Reading is a highway to happiness, not nerdom. So the next time someone picks on you for reading just remember, the jokes on them.

Monday, March 23, 2009

In My Mailbox #8

We can all thank Kristi from The Story Siren for giving such a wonderful reason to brag about the books we received throughout the week!

This week I only got one book but it was special!


The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor

Abigail Reed and her younger sister, Becky, are always at each other's throats. Their mother calls them the September Sisters, because their birthdays are only a day apart, and pretends that they're best friends. But really, they delight in making each other miserable. Then Becky disappears in the middle of the night, and a torn gold chain with a sapphire heart charm is the only clue to the mystery of her kidnapping. Abby struggles to cope with her own feelings of guilt and loss as she tries to keep her family together. When her world is at its bleakest, Abby meets a new neighbor, Tommy, who is dealing with his own loss, and the two of them discover that love can bloom, even when it's surrounded by thorns.

Yes I know I already reviewed The September Sisters but I won a signed copy from Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf. I'm sooooo excited it's my first signed book!!!! Well, actually I had a few signed when I was like five but I don't remember that so it doesn't count.

What did you get?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Vampire Academy Revamped!

Yay! The cover for Blood Promise has officially been released!!!! And even better, the new covers for the first three in the series (Vampire Academy, Frostbite and Shadow Kiss)! I absolutely LOVE the cover for Blood Promise!

What do you think about them?

Taylor

Friday, March 20, 2009

The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor

The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor

Publish Date: February 2009
Pages: 364
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: HarperCollins

Abigail Reed and her younger sister, Becky, are always at each other's throats. Their mother calls them the September Sisters, because their birthdays are only a day apart, and pretends that they're best friends. But really, they delight in making each other miserable. Then Becky disappears in the middle of the night, and a torn gold chain with a sapphire heart charm is the only clue to the mystery of her kidnapping. Abby struggles to cope with her own feelings of guilt and loss as she tries to keep her family together. When her world is at its bleakest, Abby meets a new neighbor, Tommy, who is dealing with his own loss, and the two of them discover that love can bloom, even when it's surrounded by thorns.

The plot of The September Sisters is unique and cleverly scripted. I loved the slightly hopeful edge the story had despite the overall gloomy mood. The setting of the book was beautifully crafted for a debut novel.

The character development in this novel was beautiful. Cantor's whole idea was to explain characters in as few words as possible and it actually worked. Abby's mother was a complete mess throughout the whole book, even before Becky disappeared. Abby's father was a stronger person than their mother, but he had quite a few struggles of his own. The way he dealt with his problems was so stereotypical for a man! I also felt that I knew Becky very well, even though she was gone for the vast majority of the story. Abby's ability to relate every event in her life to an action by Becky made the story much more personal.

Tommy and Abby's relationship was a beautiful idea but I felt it was slightly unrealistic. The beauty of their relationship was certainly apparent, as was how they helped each other heal. However, toward the end when Tommy started ditching Abby for other people only to then feel her up and hell her she is beautiful wasn't very realistic. I felt as though he received too much credit from Abby after he ditched her when she needed him most.

My biggest problem with this novel was the ending. I felt it was rushed and too unrealistic. It was a cliche happily ever after ending. The beginning of the story was long and descriptive so I was expecting there to be more to the ending.

Overall The September Sisters was a cute story and an easy read. Ms. Cantor did a great job with her debut novel. 3.5/5

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fade by Lisa Mcmann

Fade by Lisa McMann

Publish Date: February 2009
Pages: 256
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

SOME NIGHTMARES NEVER END.

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open — but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability — and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared....

Lisa McMann, you deserve your kitten! Just like Wake, Fade was fantastic. McMann's ability to mesh together love, supernatural, high school, and real life drama into a fast paced well-written novel blows my mind.

I was slightly afraid to read Fade because of how powerful Wake was. It was one of the best books I had ever read, and I hate to see books ruined by their sequel. However, Fade was equally as powerful as Wake.

The reason I am so drawn to McMann's novels is because I feel as though they were written for me. I have an extremely black and white personality, and do not enjoy extra fluff. I like anything that get's straight to the point. McMann's writing style is all of these things.

On top of her brilliant writing, Lisa has portrayed two broken, yet interesting and badass characters in a limited amount of words.

One of my favorite elements of this book was the issues it deals with. I love that although this book is based off of real life issues. Sex offenders have become a larger and larger problem in our nation and I think writing about it in a fictional book is a great way to explain the dangers to teens.

When Janie was drugged at the party I felt like I was there with her. The scene was so surreal I was amazed. It seemed extremely realistic and horrifying at the same time. Janie's slow loss of abilities kept me powering through the pages. I was so glad she didn't sleep with her teachers!

The relationship between Cabel and Janie is becoming slightly strange. At first I was drawn toward their sudden and intense relationship, however I feel as though now it is becoming under developed. This book should have been where the two characters begin to learn about each other rather than stay strangers in love. However all the two did was admit their lack of knowledge about each other and keep things that way. I was also disappointed it took each of them so long to begin talking after their fight.

Overall though, Fade was brilliant and I cannot wait for Gone, which will be released in 2010. 5/5

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday #8

This week I am waiting for It's Not You, It's Me by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann. Here is the description:

Funny and touching—this is a heartfelt breakup story.

Zoe loves Henry.

Henry dumps Zoe.

Zoe wants Henry back—at any cost.

Zoe’s two best friends come up with a plan to help Zoe get what she thinks she wants. The plan: make Henry jealous.

But the plan takes a surprising turn. . . .

Spanning thirty-one days in the cycle of a breakup, Kerry Cohen Hoffmann’s humorous and poignant novel depicts a girl whose single-minded focus on her ex-boyfriend has pulled her far from the person she most needs to win back—herself.


Now onto the reasons why I want to read this book:
1. I love anything romance.
2. I love books about desire -hence her wanting him back at any cost.
3. It has a cute cover.
4. I love books that can mix humor in with seriousness.

What are you waiting for?

Taylor

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Publish Date: February 2009
Pages: 384
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown

As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face? It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper. She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

Yay! I finally got a chance to read NOB! I'm so excited! I've been trying to get my hands on a copy for a month and I finally did.

The stories plot is based around the horrifying home life of Terra's family. Her father is verbally abusive, and treats his entire family like slaves. He spends his day manipulating his family members like puppets, leaving them voiceless and terrified.

As if Terra doesn't already have enough trouble at home, she spends her spare time trying to make up for having a port wine stain across her cheek. She spends two hours a day before school working out in hopes that her perfect body will keep eyes off of her stain.

The story reminded me very much of a Sarah Dessen novel. It started out with a girl who was broken. Then, she meets a boy who she comes to find out is broken as well. Just when she thinks she can't do it, the boy starts changing which gives her hope and they live happily ever after. That probably sounds cliche, but I love these type of books!

Right as I started to feel slightly bored, Jacob came along. I loved his character and everything he stood for. His carefree attitude is enviable and his ability to control his emotions is perfected. I love how his nationality has no affect on his fashion sense of attitude. His character breaks the mold of your typical adopted Chinese child.

The description of their trip to China was beautiful and realistic. I want to go!!! I love how the girls (Terra and her mother) finally came out of their shells. However I almost felt more captivated by the recovery of Jacob and his mother, even if their's was more subtle. Headley did an amazing job at expressing both duo's struggles and their recoveries together, even though their hardships were so opposite.

Though I felt the beginning of the story was a bit slow, the second half was beautiful. I wasn't bored for a minute. If you have a chance to read NOB, do it! 4/5

Monday, March 16, 2009

In My Mailbox #7

This amazing meme for everyone to brag about the fabulous new books they received over the week was started by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Yay, I got some great books this week that I am sooo excited about!

For review:
Paisley Hanover Acts Out by Cameron Tuttle (ARC)(March 2009)
Always one of the popular kids, sophomore Paisley Hanover gets a rude awakening when she's booted out of yearbook and into the badlands of drama class. Out of her element but only momentarily out of ideas, Paisley takes action-and an unexpected liking to her drama buddies. The result? An undercover crusade that could bring down the popularity pecking order, and Paisley along with it.
This is the story of how Paisley Hanover gets wise, gets bold, and gets into a hilarious mess of trouble. With a package as fresh and clever as Paisley herself- including a cool slipcase, a fabulous novel, and Paisley's notebook of embarrassingly funny ideas and doodles-it's the start of a series that embraces the "Un" in UnUsual.

Purge: Rehab Diaries by Nicole Johns
(April 2009)
Purge is a beautifully crafted memoir that has a Girl, Interrupted feel. In this raw and engaging account of her months in rehab, Nicole Johns documents her stay in a residential treatment facility for eating disorders. Her prose is lucid and vivid, as she seamlessly switches verb tenses and moves through time. She unearths several important themes: body image and sexuality, sexual assault and relationships, and the struggle to piece together one's path in life. While other books about eating disorders and treatment may sugarcoat the harsh realities of living with and recovering from an eating disorder, Purge does not hold back. The author presents an honest, detailed account of her experience with treatment, avoiding the clichéd happily-ever-after ending while still offering hope to those who struggle with eating disorders, as well as anyone who has watched a loved one fight to recover from an eating disorder. Purge sends a message: though the road may be rough, ultimately there is hope.

From the Library:
The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor
(February 2009)

Abigail Reed and her younger sister, Becky, are always at each other's throats. Their mother calls them the September Sisters, because their birthdays are only a day apart, and pretends that they're best friends. But really, they delight in making each other miserable. Then Becky disappears in the middle of the night, and a torn gold chain with a sapphire heart charm is the only clue to the mystery of her kidnapping. Abby struggles to cope with her own feelings of guilt and loss as she tries to keep her family together. When her world is at its bleakest, Abby meets a new neighbor, Tommy, who is dealing with his own loss, and the two of them discover that love can bloom, even when it's surrounded by thorns.

The School for Danergous Girls by Eliot Schrefer
(January 2009)

Angela's parents think she's on the road to ruin because she's dating a "bad boy." After her behavior gets too much for them, they ship her off to Hidden Oak. Isolated and isolating, Hidden Oak promises to rehabilitate "dangerous girls." But as Angela gets drawn in further and further, she discovers that recovery is only on the agenda for the "better" girls. The other girls -- designated as "the purple thread" -- will instead be manipulated to become more and more dangerous . . . and more and more reliant on Hidden Oak's care.

Bought:
Fade by Lisa McMann
(February 2009)

SOME NIGHTMARES NEVER END.
For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.
Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open — but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.
Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability — and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared....
I was SUPER excited I finally got Fade!!!! Actually, I'm excited about every book from this week! What did you get?
Taylor

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Snowboarding Update/Weekend Update

I'm sorry for being MIA this weekend. I had three snowboard competitions and now I have a huge essay to write.

This weekend I won my series overall in both halfpipe and slopestyle (jumps and rails) which means I qualified for national championships in both! I've never qualified for both by winning my series. I usually win slopestyle overall then get a wild card spot for halfpipe so I'm super excited.

I promise I have a bunch of reviews coming up this week for everyone to look forward to!!

I'm also thinking about blogging about my trip to nationals as it happens, so let me know if you're interested in that. If no one is, I don't want to bore you!

Anyways, I hope everyone had a great weekend!!!

Taylor

Friday, March 13, 2009

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

Publish Date: April 16, 2009
Pages: 368
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin

Anke's father is abusive. But not to her. He attacks her brother and sister, but she's just an invisible witness in a house of horrors, on the brink of disappearing altogether. Until she makes the volleyball team at school. At first just being exhausted after practice feels good, but as Anke becomes part of the team, her confidence builds. When she learns to yell "Mine!" to call a ball, she finds a voice she didn't know existed. For the first time, Anke is seen and heard. Soon, she's imagining a day that her voice will be loud enough to rescue everyone at home-including herself.

I' had this book for a couple months, and had been dying to read it! The title is a little different which made me curious, and of course the cover is beautiful. It also has this really cool texture, though I'm not sure if the actual edition will have it or just the ARC.

When I first opened up the book I realized it was written in verse, similar to Ellen Hopkins books. For some reason this immediately made me skeptical, but I continued anyways. I'm very glad I decided to.

Because I Am Furniture went much deeper than I expected. It was hard to continue reading, yet I couldn't stop. The abuse the family suffers through is so sad!

I thought the transformation Anke went through was surprisingly realistic. The relationships she had at the beginning of the book reflected the place she was in and the change in friendships reflected her recovery. I thought the idea of showing recovery through relationships was unique and interesting.

The book took turns when I least expected them, which always kept me glued. I actually stayed up until 2 am to finish because I couldn't put it down!

The ending of the book was beautifully written and I loved the happy ending. Although I was a bit curious about how her boy troubles ended.

Because I am Furniture is a quick and addicting read in which I recommend to everyone! 3.5/5

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wintergirls Trailer!

Hey everyone! I got an e-mail today linking me to the new trailer of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson and I thought I would share. If you haven't already read Wintergirls, as it will be released on March 19th, I highly recommend it. Wintergirls is one of those books everyone should add to their read before I die lists. You can see my review HERE.



Have fun watching!

Waiting on Wednesday #7

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

He smiles. "Hello."

It's a deep voice. I can feel it reverberate in my chest and echo all the way down to my toes.

I know I should leave, but I don't want to. I want to keep my senses like this forever. I'm all eye, all ear, all skin.

Persephone lives in the most gorgeous place in the world. But her mother's a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there's no chance of escaping the life that's been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more—something dangerous and exciting—something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she's come to love, even the earth itself.

In a land where a singing river can make you forget your very name, Persephone is forced to discover who—and what—she really is.

I like books with sexy mystery guys. The description of this book seems mysterious and centered around a guy. Perfect. Radiant Darkness is released in July. What are you waiting for?


Taylor

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Discussion/Book Review Undercover by Beth Kephart


Undercover by Beth Kephart

Publish Date: September 2007
Pages:288
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: HarperCollins



Like a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac, Elisa ghostwrites love notes for the boys in her school. But when Elisa falls for Theo Moses, things change fast. Theo asks for verses to court the lovely Lila—a girl known for her beauty, her popularity, and a cutting ability to remind Elisa that she has none of these. At home, Elisa's father, the one person she feels understands her, has left on an extended business trip. As the days grow shorter, Elisa worries that the increasingly urgent letters she sends her father won't bring him home. Like the undercover agent she feels she has become, Elisa retreats to a pond in the woods, where her talent for ice-skating gives her the confidence to come out from under cover and take center stage. But when Lila becomes jealous of Theo's friendship with Elisa, her revenge nearly destroys Elisa's ice-skating dreams and her plan to reunite her family.

Right here is where I would normally place my review. However I feel as though I can't fairly review this book. This might be slightly hard to explain so bear with me.



Undercover is an extremely poetic book. The writing style is symbolic, full of adjectives, and flows elegantly. To put it simply, Kephart's writing sings. The best way I can explain it is by using a Twilight analogy. When Bella explains the way Alice runs and walks as so graceful that she dances, that is what I think of when I read Kephart's writing. So naturally that means I loved the book right?

Wrong. This is where it gets dicey for me. Even though I think Kephart's writing style is beautiful and can understand why so many people love this book, its just not my style. Symbols and poetic verse just aren't my cup of tea. I'm an extremely black and white person. Although I see her writing style as brilliant and beautiful, it still bores me. I know that sounds weird. My personality type just wasn't designed to enjoy this type of writing. I have always found this writing style as beating around the bush. I think that's why I read so many Vampire books, cause there is always someone who is totally badass.

So here's the problem. The plot is unique, the writing is beautiful but I still didn't enjoy the book. Most people have review policies stating that they give tough love and if they hate it than so be it, and I am one of those people. But I feel that this is different. I don't hate it. I just feel like this isn't my place to rate the book. I would give the plot a four out of five and the writing style a five but overall interest for me was a one. I believe it would be wrong of me to give this book a rating. I am not the right person to drive off readers because it is a beautiful book, just not my style.

Sorry if that was all in Jibberish, it's hard to explain that clearly. This is where the discussion comes in. I'm curious if any of you have come across this problem and what you did to solve it.

Has anyone ever read a book that you knew was great, yet you just couldn't enjoy it? How did you go about rating something like that? Do any of you steer clear of certain types of writing?

Taylor

Monday, March 9, 2009

In My Mailbox #6

This great reason for everyone to brag about all the books they received was started by Kristi at The Story Siren.

This week I received a pretty good amount of books, though some that I was expecting didn't show.

Bought:

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

I bought these two books because I received an ARC of Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover in the series and I haven't read the first two yet! They look pretty cute although I have a feeling their a little tweeny. Has anyone else read them?
I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter





Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
Phoebe Kendall is just your typical Goth girl with a crush. He's strong and silent.and dead.

All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren't staying dead. But when they come back to life, they are no longer the same. Feared and misunderstood, they are doing their best to blend into a society that doesn't want them.
The administration at Oakvale High attempts to be more welcoming of the "differently biotic." But the students don't want to take classes or eat in the cafeteria next to someone who isn't breathing. And there are no laws that exist to protect the "living impaired" from the people who want them to disappear-for good.
When Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids, no one can believe it; not her best friend, Margi, and especially not her neighbor, Adam, the star of the football team. Adam has feelings for Phoebe that run much deeper than just friendship; he would do anything for her. But what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy?

From the Library:

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them

Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until theireighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She’s stuck with a dull-asdishwater job at the library. And she’ll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father’s recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother’s open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it….

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

when Annabel, the youngest of three beautiful sisters, has a bitter falling out with her best friend-the popular and exciting Sophie-she suddenly finds herself isolated and friendless. but then she meets owen-a loner, passionate about music and his weekly radio show, and always determined to tell the truth. And when they develop a friendship, Annabel is not only introduced to new music but is encouraged to listen to her own inner voice. with Owen's help, can Annabel find the courage to speak out about what exactly happened the night her friendship with Sophie came to a screeching halt?

Evernight by Claudia Gray

Bianca wants to escape.

At the eerily Gothic Evernight Academy, the other students are sleek, smart, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

When she meets handsome, brooding Lucas, he warns her to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him. But the connection between them can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Terra is tall and blonde, with an unbelievably gorgeous body, but what most people in her stifling Washington town notice is the port-wine birthmark covering half her face. Terra secretly plans to leave her small town by escaping to an East Coast college, but is pushed off-course by her controlling father. When she meets handsome, goth Jacob who immediately understands her battle with feeling different, Terra is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

I'm expecting a few ARCs this week, can't wait!!! What books did you receive?

Taylor

Sunday, March 8, 2009

YA Blog Newsletter


As many of you know, a group of YA bloggers have worked to put together a YA Blog Newsletter. If you don't know, you should really check it out!

The newsletter is a composition of information about the YA blogosphere. It includes lists of blogs that are holding different features. Some of these lists are contests, author interviews, reviews and others.

Us newsletter folk have worked hard to compile this bi-weekly newsletter.

The newest issue is out so be sure to check it out here!

Also, we are always looking for more contributors so if you are interested just drop me a comment!!

Taylor

Since everyone seems to be doing it...

I figured it was time for me to fill this out as well. Wow, how clone-like does that sound!

The following list of books teens love, books teens should read, and books adults who serve teens should know about was compiled IN ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENTIFIC MANNER and should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

Instructions:
Put an "X" next to the books you've read
Put a "+" next to the books you LOVE
Put a "#" next to the books you plan on reading
Tally your "X"s at the bottom
Share with your friends!

1. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams
2. Kit's Wilderness / David Almond
3. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian / Sherman Alexie
4. Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson
5. Feed / M.T. Anderson
6. Flowers in the Attic / V.C. Andrews
7. 13 Reasons Why / Jay Asher X
8. Am I Blue? / Marion Dane Bauer (editor)
9. Audrey Wait! / Robin Benway
10. Weetzie Bat / Francesca Lia Block
11. Tangerine / Edward Bloor #
12. Forever / Judy Blume
13. What I Saw and How I Lied / Judy Blundell
14. Tyrell / Coe Booth
15. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants / Ann Brashares
16. A Great and Terrible Beauty / Libba Bray
17. The Princess Diaries / Meg Cabot
18. The Stranger / Albert Camus
19. Ender's Game / Orson Scott Card
20. Postcards from No Man's Land / Aidan Chambers
21. Perks of Being a Wallflower / Stephen Chbosky X
22. And Then There Were None / Agatha Christie
23. Gingerbread / Rachel Cohn
24. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist / Rachel Cohn and David Levithan#
25. Artemis Fowl (series) / Eoin Colfer
26. The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins X+
27. The Midwife's Apprentice / Karen Cushman
28. The Truth About Forever / Sarah Dessen #
29. Little Brother / Cory Doctorow
30. A Northern Light / Jennifer Donnelly
31. Tears of a Tiger / Sharon Draper
32. The House of the Scorpion / Nancy Farmer
33. Breathing Underwater / Alex Flinn
34. Stardust / Neil Gaiman
35. Annie on My Mind / Nancy Garden
36. What Happened to Cass McBride / Gail Giles
37. Fat Kid Rules the World / K.L. Going
38. Lord of the Flies / William Golding X
39. Looking for Alaska / John Green
40. Bronx Masquerade / Nikki Grimes
41. Out of the Dust / Karen Hesse
42. Hoot / Carl Hiaasen
43. The Outsiders / S.E. Hinton
44. Crank / Ellen Hopkins X
45 The First Part Last / Angela Johnson
46. Blood and Chocolate / Annette Curtis Klause
47. Arrow's Flight / Mercedes Lackey
48. Hattie Big Sky / Kirby Larson
49. To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee X+
50. Boy Meets Boy / David Levithan
51. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks / E. Lockhart
52. The Giver / Lois Lowry
53. Number the Stars / Lois Lowry
54. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie / David Lubar
55. Inexcusable / Chris Lynch
56. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things / Carolyn Mackler
57. Dragonsong / Anne McCaffrey
58. White Darkness / Geraldine McCaughrean
59. Sold / Patricia McCormick
60. Jellicoe Road / Melina Marchetta
61. Wicked Lovely / Melissa Marr X
62. Twilight / Stephenie Meyer X+
63. Dairy Queen / Catherine Murdock
64. Fallen Angels / Walter Dean Myers
65. Monster / Walter Dean Myers
66. Step From Heaven / An Na
67. Mama Day / Gloria Naylor
68. The Keys to the Kingdom (series) / Garth Nix
69. Sabriel / Garth Nix
70. Airborn / Kenneth Oppel
71. Eragon / Christopher Paolini
72. Hatchet / Gary Paulsen X
73. Life As We Knew It / Susan Beth Pfeffer
74. The Golden Compass / Phillip Pullman
75. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging / Louise Rennison X
76. The Lightning Thief / Rick Riordan
77. Always Running: La Vida Loca / Luis Rodriguez
78. how i live now / Meg Rosoff
79. Harry Potter (series) / J.K. Rowling X+
80. Holes / Louis Sachar X+
81. Catcher in the Rye / J. D. Salinger X
82. Push / Sapphire
83. Persepolis / Marjane Satrapi
84. Unwind / Neil Shusterman #
85. Coldest Winter Ever / Sister Souljah
86. Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli X
87. Chanda's Secrets / Allan Stratton
88. Tale of One Bad Rat / Brian Talbot
89. Rats Saw God / Rob Thomas
90. Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien X
91. Stuck in Neutral / Terry Trueman
92. Gossip Girl / Cecily Von Ziegesar X
93. Uglies / Scott Westerfeld X+
94. Every Time a Rainbow Dies / Rita Williams-Garcia
95. Pedro and Me / Judd Winick
96. Hard Love / Ellen Wittlinger
97. American Born Chinese / Gene Luen Yang
98. Elsewhere / Gabrielle Zevin
99. I am the Messenger / Markus Zusak
100. The Book Thief / Markus Zusak

Wow. Apparently I have only read 15 of these books. I really suck. What the heck have I been reading all these years?


On another note, due to travel plans I have today my Summary Sunday will be composed and posted later tonight. I apologize for the inconvenience. Hope everyone has had a great weekend!!

Taylor


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Book Reviewing Policy

Over the past couple of weeks I have been both contacted by publishers and authors as well as contacting them. After a small amount of success I figure it is time to explain what my exact reviewing policy is.

As of right now, I am open for books to reviews.

I do not accept anything religious.
I do not accept childrens books (under age 12).
I do not accept manga/anime.
I do not accept poetry books.
I do not accept non-fiction, unless it sounds more fictional than true.

I apologize if all of those make me sound like a negative Nancy. The odds are I would love to review your book. I haven't turned down a single request. How can a book lover turn down a book? Its hard.

Another thing I am highly interested is an advanced review followed up by an interview or guest blog. I try to ask every publisher or author who contacts me to follow up with one. It makes everything so much happier and I love getting to know new people!

I haven't yet had the opportunity for an excessively negative review, let alone one for an ARC book. However, I will tell my exact opinion on the book. This is not to say that I am an aggressive reviewer. I like to think of all critiquing as helpful advice. I also believe that my view about a book is certainly different than every other reader. Therefore, if I was to post a negative review I'm sure it would include a long explanation as to why as well as what type of reader would most likely enjoy it.

Authors, the odds are I am too shy to contact you. If you would like me to read your book please contact me ASAP.

My email is fortheloveofbooksreviews@gmail.com and I check it many times a day. You can expect a very timely response!

Taylor

March Giveaway!

Hey everyone and welcome to my most recent contest! In honor of the month of March and all of it's great book releases I am going to be giving out three of this month's releases!

The books are:

Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne

Thirteen-year-old Celeste Harris is no string bean, but comfy sweatpants and a daily chocolate cookie suit her just fine. Her under-the-radar lifestyle could have continued too, if her aunt hadn't entered her in the HuskyPeach Modeling Challenge. To get out of it, she's forced to launch Operation Skinny Celeste-because, after all, a thin girl can't be a fat model! What Celeste never imagined was that losing weight would help her gain a backbone . . . or that all she needed to shine was a spotlight.

A hilarious debut featuring friendship, family, mean girls and even celebrity crushes, Celeste's story is a delicious treat that doesn't add a pound.

Check out a review of it by Lenore here.

Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison

Leesie Hunt has many rules: No kissing. No sex. No dating outside the Mormon faith.

When Michael Walden-a deep-sea diver who lost his parents in a violent hurricane-arrives in town, Leesie sees someone who needs her. They fall for one another, even though his dreams are tied to the depths of the ocean and hers to salvation above.

Will their intense chemistry be too strong to resist?

Leesie and Michael must make the hardest choice of their lives: whether to follow their beliefs or their hearts.

Readers will be swept away by this tale of forbidden romance told in online chats, Leesie's chapbook poems, and Michael's dive log. It's as steamy as Twilight and just as clean.

Check out a review by Kristi from The Story Siren here, and one from The Compulsive Reader here.

Speak 10th Anniversary Edition by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

Be sure to check out Speak Out About Speak which was hosted hosted by Steph from Reviewer X and Lenore from Presenting Lenore.


I haven't yet decided if this contest will be won by three people receiving one book each or one person receiving all three books. I guess that will be a surprise!

Contest Rules:

You must post a comment below to enter. If for some reason this doesn't work then you can e-mail me your entry.

Second, I am not yet sure if this contest is international or not, this will be updated on Monday.

Third, have fun!!

Entries:

+1 for commenting below

+1 for adding me to your blogroll

+1 for following me

+2 for already following me

+1 for each post you make about this contest (I want to see the links unless it is a sidebar!)

+1 if someone says you referred them

This contest will run until March 21st at midnight! Good Luck!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wake by Lisa McMann

Wake by Lisa McMann

Publish Date: March 2008
Pages: 210
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Not all dreams are sweet.

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does — they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....

Wake is the epitome of quick and to the point, and I mean that in a very positive way. McMann has done a great job on the editing process of this book. There isn't a single wasted word. Unlike most books, there are no fifty pages of fluff crammed in to fill more pages. I usually don't find myself a fan of quick reads, however Wake was quite the exception.

I'm puzzled as to how McMann has the ability to build such strong and deep characters and emotions in so few words. I found myself actually tearing up a few times. I know, I know, don't make fun of me!! Although the book may be short I can promise that there is no shortage in any other aspect. The plot line is perfect, the characters are quite developed and all of the relationships are very clear.

So as most of you know I am a huge fan of YA romance. Yeah, yeah I'm corny. Wow! There is something about the relationship between Cabel and Janie that blows my mind. I just couldn't get enough of them. They have a beautifully written relationship. Although they haven't spent very much time together the depth of their romance is wonderful. I found myself pining for more.

Wake is an absolute must read. It posesses everything necessary for a great book and then some. Don't be wary by the lack of pages, Wake says all it needs to and more. I'm waiting for my copy of Fade from the library and I can't freaking wait!!

5/5

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Evermore by Alyson Noel

Evermore by Alyson Noel

Publish Date: February 2009
Pages: 320
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste…

Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

As usual, I was drawn toward this book after my first glance at its cover. It's beautiful. It also features the same picture as the cover of North of Beautiful, if you haven't yet noticed.

Evermore is the type of book I am usually drawn toward, consisting of romance, self-realization, mystery and friendship. Because all of these were explained on the back cover, I had high expectations. Alyson Noel did not fail to impress.

The symbolism of Ever's name is cute. I myself would never be so creative as to successfully use symbolism in a story but still keep it interesting. (We all know how sick we get of symbolism in those required school books.)

Lets talk about Damen. WOW. He is definitely no Edward Cullen, yet he is still presented in a way that quickly made me fall in love with him. I usually don't care much for the guys who act suspicious and cover it up with cockiness, but Damen had this special quality to him that changed that feeling for me. Imagine dating a guy who takes you to a horse race and wins half a million, while also being the sexiest guy to ever lay eyes on! Sounds good to me! :D

Although this book followed similar lines as many other vampire stories, (although technically Damen is an 'immortal' not vampire) it still stayed original enough to keep me guessing. I never expected it to end the way it did! I figured Damen and Drina had some type of past, but I definitely wasn't excepting it to be so important in the end.

I think my favorite twist of this book was Summerland. What a neat concept, a place where everything is peaceful and you can create anything with your mind. I definitely am interested in taking my next trip there instead of Colorado. Ha!

I really have no complaints about Evermore. The book answered all necessary questions and was written in a way that forced me to read it from cover to cover nonstop. I'm really looking forward to Blue Moon!

5/5

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith Contest Winners!!

Thank you to everyone who entered! I had over 50 entrants totaling up to 181 entries.

And now your winners according to RANDOM.ORG.

28 - Steph Su

111- Okie

152- Michelle Kuo

107- Deltay

15- Katie


I will be contacting winners very shortly!

Another thanks to everyone who entered and if you didn't win be sure to pick up your own copy of Flygirl!

Taylor

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday #6

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
Book II in the Darkest Powers trilogy takes us deeper into a world where the supernatural intrudes on the everyday with riveting effect.

If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl – someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment – not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a group of people who call themselves The Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I’m a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control: I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends – a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch – and we have to find someone who can help us gain our freedom back before The Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

As you may remember, The Summoning was the book that brought me out of my reading funk. It had such a cliffhanger ending which has left me dying to read The Awakening! It comes out on April 28, 2009 so thankfully I don't have too much time to wait.


What are you waiting for this week?

Taylor