Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

pub date: September 1, 2010
publisher: Scholastic
pgs: 320
source: library
content: swearing (including a few f-bombs), sex (undetailed), underage drinking

blurb from goodreads:
The Sullivan sisters have a big problem. On Christmas Day their rich and imperious grandmother gathers the family and announces that she will soon die . . .and has cut the entire family out of her will. Since she is the source of almost all their income, this means they will soon be penniless.

Someone in the family has offended her deeply. If that person comes forward with a confession of her (or his) crime, submitted in writing to her lawyer by New Year's Day, she will reinstate the family in her will. Or at least consider it.

And so the confessions begin....
What a fun book. Three sisters, Norrie, Jane, and Sassy, each take a chunk of the book in their confession to their grandmother, Almighty. Each sister is unique and has her own view of what happened in the months leading up to Christmas. It was fun to read about Norrie's months and have small snippets of Jane and Sassy. Then to read Jane and Sassy's confessions and see Norrie through different eyes. While reading Norrie and Jane's confession, Sassy was a mystery. I could hardly wait to read her confession and figure out what was going on in that girls head. 

I also loved the family. Almight is quite the character, especially after finishing the book and discovering what she was upset about. The three sisters have two older brothers and one younger who make short appearances throughout and are a riot. Their parents are likable, though distant.

Very entertaining, enjoyable book.

This book actually reminded me a lot of Robin Benway's The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June, which I also enjoyed quite a bit. In both books the oldest sister is the responsible one; the middle is snarky and semi-rebellious and the most fun (in my opinion); the youngest is a wildcard.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bree Despain signing Nov 15

Hey all, Bree Despain, author of The Dark Divine, is going to speaking at the Bingham Creek Library in West Jordan, UT next month.

Here's the info:

West Jordan Library 4834 W 9000 S, West Jordan, UT
Monday November 15 at 7:00 pm
There will be two copies of The Dark Divine given out as door prizes.
You can buy a copy of The Dark Divine that night and Bree Despain will be autographing afterward.

Should be pretty cool.

And don't forget this Saturday is the Provo Library's Teen Book Fest. Scott Westerfeld will be there, as well as tons of local Utah authors.

waiting on wednesday (5)

Today I am waiting for December 21. The day when Alyxandra Harvey's third installment of the Drake Chronicles is released. Eeek! I loved the first two in the series, Hearts at Stake and Blood Feud. Though Hearts at Stake is my favorite. Humorous, and such nice kissing scenes.

Anyway, Out for Blood is about:
Hunter Wild is the youngest in a long line of elite vampire hunters, a legacy that is both a blessing and a curse at the secret Helios-Ra Academy, where she excels at just about everything. Thanks to her friendship with Kieran Black, Hunter receives a special invitation to attend the coronation of Helena Drake, and for the first time, she sees the difference between vampires that must be hunted and vampires that can become friends—or even more. When students at the academy fall victim to a mysterious illness, Hunter suspects they are under attack from within. She will need someone she can trust to help her save the future of Helios-Ra . . . help that shockingly comes in the form of Quinn Drake, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire. Who said senior year would be easy?

I like the cover, but I'm actually a fan of the UK covers more than the US. Especially the UK cover for Blood Feud. What do you think?
US       UK

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

pub date: September 7, 2010
publisher: HarperCollins
pgs: 336
source: library
content: a little swearing, lots of kissing

blurb from goodreads:
With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.

I really liked how Jordan created the Draki, their skills and talents, and transformation into humans from dragons. It was a realistic supernatural element to this contemporary novel. The dynamic between Jacinda and her sister and mother was very cool plot element. I could understand see both sides of the argument, Jacinda vs sister/mother. And the answer to their situation isn't obvious. I'm very curious where this is going in the next book, since this one ended rather abruptly and right over a cliff.

And the cover is so freakin cool.

I had a problem with Jacinda. She annoyed me. Matt is drawn to her. Jacinda is drawn to him. She likes kissing him, but it's dangerous. So she will ignore him. But then this attraction cannot be ignored and they are kissing. Again. It's dangerous, so Jacinda tries to ignore him. Again. Back and forth, kissing to ignoring, ignoring to kissing. Aaah! It got really annoying. I felt for Jacinda, but the wishy-washy-ness got to me within the first 150 pgs and it went on until the end. 

I'm getting tired of love triangles, but I didn't mind the one in Firelight because Jacinda clearly makes her choice (at least in this book). She at least isn't wishy-washy in her selection of boy. Same with Kiersten White's Paranormalcy. There may be two boys pursuing the protag, but the protag knows who she wants. I like that. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SPOOKTACULAR Book Blog Giveaway Hop

Monsters and Vampires and Werewolves

Yay! It's time for another giveaway, this one just for Halloween! Closes Midnight October 31. Open US and Canada. All you need to do if fill out the form below.

The prize for one lucky participant:
  • Hardcover copy of Monster High by Lisi Harrison
  • Beautiful Creatures/Beautiful Darkness bookmark
  • Beautiful Darkness badge
  • Glow in the dark vampire teeth

WOW! All of that, and you don't even need to be a follower. Just fill out the form below!

There are many other blogs participating in the Spooktacular Hop, so go check em out!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

in my mailbox (8)

 Welcome to In My Mailbox! this is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Over the past few weeks I've gotten a few books and here they are.

For review at (a review blog for school librarians)
 Strings Attached by Judy Blundell
Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt
Hush by Eishes Chayil
Not that Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian 

From the library book sale:
 Platinum by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen 

I also got two books from netgalley which I am excited about
The Lying Game by Sara Shepard. I really enjoyed this one. And Deliruim by Lauren Oliver

And then I bought the Lost Hero from when I went to the Rich Riordan signing this past week.

And that's it for me. What's in your mailbox?

Friday, October 22, 2010

review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

pub date: December 7, 2010
publisher: HarperTeen
pgs: 320
content: some swearing,
source: NetGalley

Sutton's dead, which rather sucks. Even more so since she can't remember her life before she died. Now she finds herself as a ghost, connected to Emma, the twin sister she never knew she had. Able to understand Emma's thoughts and feelings, but unable to make her presence known, Sutton watches as Emma is lured into taking over Sutton's life, unaware that Sutton is already dead. Which leaves Sutton struggling to remember the night she died and who it was who murdered her.

I loved this book. I loved having Emma's story told by Sutton as she watched her muddling along, trying to understand what the hell was going on. Rather sad, but an awesome point of veiw I loved reading. I also really liked all of the characters introduced. All Sutton's friends, her enemies, her family.

The Lying Game has a bit of everything. Mystery--the murderer is setting Emma up as Sutton. Who is it? And why? So many suspects! Romance--one for Sutton and one for Emma. Suspense--Sutton's flashbacks and Emma's bouts of anxiety about who to trust and what to do. A great cover--Love it!

A great beginning to a new series. I am so excited for the rest. The next one, Never Have I Ever, comes out in April! (or so says goodreads). Which is  a title I love since it harks back to the Lying Game.

Now I need to read Pretty Little Liars.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

events: Ally Condie in Orem TOMORROW

Hey all, Ally Condie, author of the upcoming Matched, is going to be at the Orem Utah Library tomorrow night. Info is HERE 

events: upcoming author sighting--SLC area

There are so many great author events this month! Why? Because it's The Utah Humanities Book Festival this week and events are happening all over Utah. Click HERE for the main Festival page. You can click on cities all over Utah that are hosting events. I pretty much only care about YA books and authors, but there is a lot going on all week, mostly on Saturday, at the Main SL City Library.

So Saturday at the SL City Library at 11 there is a panel called "Debut YA authors speak on the differences and similarities of their new books." with Dan Wells, Lisa Mangum, and Kristen Chandler. Ann Cannon is speaking from 12:20-1:30 about her new book for young readers, The Chihuahua Chase. I think Ann Cannon is hilarious on her blog, which I love reading, so it would be fun to hear her speak though I probably wont be reading her new book--too young for my tastes. I've read her YA books and have enjoyed them.

Provo City Library is having their very first Teen Book Fest on Saturday October 30. It sounds so awesome! Eeek! Click HERE for details. HERE is a list of local authors attending. Scott Westerfeld is the keynote speaker, and though the tickets are all out, there will be a signing you can still attend. I think.

There are a lot of author sightings scheduled for The King's English over the next week. Here are a few that I'm interested in.
  • Julie Berry, author of The Amaranth Enchantment and Secondhand Charm, with Jessica Day George, Princess of the Midnight Ball and Dragon Slippers, tomorrow, Wednesday October 20 at 7pm
  •  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, authors of Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darknessthis Thursday, October 21 at 7pm. Info is HERE
  • Kaleb Nation, author of the Bran Hambric series, will be next Tuesday, October 26 at 7pm. Info is HERE.  

review: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

release date: May 1, 2010
publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
pgs: 323
content: very gritty world, violence
source: ARC at PLA

blurb from goodreads:
Set initially in a future shanty town in America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being dissembled for parts by a rag tag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father, to his hand to mouth existence, echo the worst poverty in the present day third world. When an accident leads Nailer to discover an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, and the lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl, Nailer finds himself at a crossroads. Should he strip the ship and live a life of relative wealth, or rescue the girl, Nita, at great risk to himself and hope she'll lead him to a better life. This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.

Wow. Such an amazing book! The future world that Bacigalupi creates is brutal and harsh and all about survival. Nailer's journey as a character is great. At the beginning he's all about himself and his committment to his crew, or "family." And yet through his experiences it becomes not all about himself. His world view changes and it's awesome to watch that happen.

I love dystopic/horrific future novels. I'm not so sure why they appeal to me so much except that there is such world building involved. It's cool to see a world that I know and am familiar with tweeked in such a way that I don't know it anymore. And this one is totally awesome, in a sort of disheartening way. As Nailer travels to the New Orleans area, seeing how things have changed and people have adapted to the change is sad. It's a harsh world that Nailer knows, but he does good. He overcomes. And that is awesome.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

teaser tuesday (7) -- platinum

Time for another teaser on Tuesday! hosted by MizB at should be reading

This one comes from Platinum by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

blurb: When beautiful and popular high school student Lilah realizes she has "the Sight," a mystical ability to see things others cannot, she resolves to use her special powers to prevent a tragedy.

"The easiest way to keep one secret was to let another piece of information slip, and the last thing either of us needed was for Fuchsia, whose mouth was roughly the size of Montana, to figure out that it had taken more than boob, nose, and dye jobs for Tracy to land her ex-boyfriend (the second-hottest guy in our school) in the first place. If secrets were currency in the high school world, boys were more or less Gold cards." pg 14

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rick Riordan author signing

Tonight the King's English bookshop in Salt Lake City hosted Rick Riordan, fabulous author of the Lightning Thief series, and the Red Pyramid series, and the brand new Heroes of Olympus series. The thing I enjoy so much about his books, besides the killer plots with action that never stops, and wonderful characters, is the humor. It's so subtle but so funny. I found myself laughing so many times while reading his books. And that's one of the reasons why it was so great to go tonight. He's funny in person, too. Everyone was laughing at his jokes. He's also a very charismatic speaker, very interesting to listen to.

I tried to take some pictures. Except that I didn't have my camera because I let a friend borrow it so I just had my phone. The lighting wasn't the best.
And then the spotlight finally found Rick and it was even worse.

I really need to get a kid to go to these things with me. I'm going to have to borrow one. There were so many children and younger teens there with their parents. And then there was 30-year-old me with my 60-year-old mom. I felt a little silly. But the two girls sitting next to us were hilarious. They were probably about ten or eleven. Before hand they were talking about who their Olympian parent was and one of the girls was the daughter of Poseidon, Zeus, and Athena. Wow. Then while Rick was talking their giggles were so cute. When Rick said, in response to a question, that he hadn't watched The Lightning Thief movie, a couple of people hollered out that it wasn't very good and those two girls were very vocal about it, too. One yelled something like, "It's a good thing. It was bad." Seriously loud.

I get a kick out of going to hear authors speak. At the end of last month I went to The King's English to see Kiersten White and get Paranormalcy signed. She'd just had her book reach the New York Times bestseller list and she was ecstatic, to say the least. She read a part of her book and it was fun to hear Evie's voice with her inflections. Great time. Another phone pic since I forgot my camera. (I probably should've cropped it before posting--nice framing with an arm and an ear, eh?)

And then at the beginning of the month I saw James Dashner at a Youth Services Librarian conference. He talked about how libraries have influenced his life, which is awesome for librarians to hear about. Really. Also about the surreal experience of meeting Judy Bloom (who isn't dead), his book maybe becoming a movie and about his new book that was coming out, and now is out, The Scorch Trials. I think my favorite was when he told us he goes to a movie practically every afternoon because it keeps his creative juices flowing. Wow. I want to do that...I also got his signature in my book of The Maze Runner, which was FREE.
As much as I enjoy hearing authors speak and meeting them, I always act like such an dork whenever I'm standing right there. I never know what to say! So I either say nothing or say really silly things to the effect of, "I really like your book." Which I'm sure everyone tells them as they're signing books.

review: Dark Song by Gail Giles

pub date: 2010
publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
pgs: 292
content: sex, language, underage drinking, some violence

Ames has it all—great friends, wealthy parents, nice house and pretty much anything she wants. Her parents are supportive of her and her younger sister, Chrissy. Ames' friends think her family is odd since they have meals together and talk with each other often. Then Ames’ father loses his job. She realizes that the parents she thought were perfect have secrets that are tearing her family apart. When they are forced to move to Texas, Ames meets an older man and begins a dangerous relationship with him.

This is a really well written book. It had a nice pace and flow, it's also quick. I thought Ames development as a character was realistic and the decisions she makes make sense given the context. What I didn't buy was the behavior of her parents. At the beginning of the story they are such a good family. They are close and rely on one another. Then when things get bad the mom just gets mean and the dad gets (more) stupid. I didn't buy that kind of transformation. If her parent's had been distant to begin with, I would've understood their total disregard for their daughter later on. It's not necessarily a happy ending, either. Realistic though.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

teaser tuesday (6)--living hell

teaser tuesday is a meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

my teaser today is from Living Hell by Catherine Jinks

"Mum applied more pressure to my hand. Dad's arm tightened around my shoulders...
Prepare for impact in E minus ten seconds.
I saw Dad reach across me with his free hand.
Mum's free hand met his.
There was dead silence."
             pg 59

info from goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Cheney has been enjoying a perfectly planned life aboard the ark ship Plexus with his friends and family. But when the ship passes through a mysterious energy stream, his peaceful world is changed forever. Suddenly, he's in the middle of an all-out war.

Monday, October 11, 2010

review: Three Black Swans by Caroline B. Cooney

pub date: 2010
publisher: Delacorte Press
pgs: 276
content: NO swearing, drugs, sex, underage drinking

While picking up the dry cleaning one day Missy overhears a news program on the radio discussing babies. She begins thinking about her own family and a niggling suspicion she’s had about herself and her cousin, Claire. She’s afraid to talk to her parents so instead she decides to do a little experiment for a science project. It doesn’t take to long for the project to get out of hand and for Missy and Claire to get a lot more than they thought possible.

The very first book I read by Caroline B. Cooney was The Face on the Milk Carton way back in middle school. (which is way back for me). I loved that book. I read the rest in the series and loved them, too. (Except for The Voice on the Radio. That one I found a little disappointing). I even taped, on my VCR, the 1995 made-for-television movie of The Face on the Milk Carton with Kellie Martin. I watched it many times through high school. (I wonder if I still have it? Mmmm..I should look). The point of this reminiscing being that I haven't read any other Cooney novel since. I hadn't realized this until I picked up Three Black Swans

Three Black Swans actually reminded me a lot of The Face on the Milk Carton. The theme of family and what makes a family and how to bring different families together to make one family. I was expecting some suspense, maybe because of the cover and premise, but there wasn't any. A few surprises, which really were surprises to me, but mostly just a story about two cousins figuring out who they are. I finished the book in one day. I still found myself really wrapped up in the Claire and Missy's story and I wanted to know how it was going to end before I went to bed. 

Cooney's writing style is interesting. Sometimes when I read a book I feel right there in the action and really connect with the characters. I didn't feel that way with this book. I felt like I was watching Missy and Claire's story as if I was outside on their porch, looking through the window. There was a distance for me as the audience to the characters. But that wasn't bad. I still enjoyed the book.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

review: Girl Parts by John M. Cusick

pub date: 2010
pgs: 218
publisher: Candlewick Press
content: swearing including 2 f-bombs, sex, underage drinking, drugs

David and Charlie live across a lake from each other. David is wealthy and popular, Charlie is not. Both are lonely. At the suggestion of the school councilor David is given Rose, a female robot who is designed to help him with his “dissociative disorder.” He wants a more physical relationship than Rose is capable of giving and when David leaves her behind, Charlie’s the one who saves her.

To like a book, I need to love at least one character. I didn't even like the two main characters in Girl Parts. I thought David was scum. Charlie was sweet, but that was about all I can say for him. I did actually like Rebecca, but she just wasn't enough to pull me into the book.

I had issues with this book. I guess I should've known by the title that this wasn't an innocent story. But I'm naive like that, or maybe a better word would be stupid. The plot was about connecting with people face-to-face, especially in a world that is connected so much online. But what that translated to was a lot of teenage boys wanting to mess around with a girl, even if that girl is a robot. It seemed to me that this story was all about sex. Okay, so that maybe isn't fair. David does get to know Rose (so he can get some action from her)before he dumps her (because she can't give him sex), but afterward he does miss her. So maybe he learns it's not all about sex? I can't really tell.

And I also felt like there were a lot of things left unanswered about Sakora and the school councilor. David and Charlie's stories have a completion, but the bigger picture didn't and that bugged me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I feel as if I'm being followed...


Okay, so through some fun contests I've had, I've managed to acquired a few followers. And, well, um...

Truth be told, I'm not sure what to do with you all.

This is all new to me--writing reviews, blogging regularly, having something to say that someone else might want to read, being social active online, and figuring out how to overcome my technological ignorance. I keep telling myself that it's not that hard and I'll get it eventually and I can only get better, I just need to practice. I have a lot more to learn! And yet, for some reason over 100 fellow bloggers have decided to follow my incompetent ramblings.

Yay! Don't get me wrong, I'm super excited to be a part of this wonderful book blogging network. I'm just not sure how to make my blog worth your time. Because I know that there are A LOT of blogs out there. I follow many of them. I just don't have time to read and comment on all of them like I want to. I'm assuming you're the same.

Anyway, I just wanted to say Thanks! And I'll try to be worth your time!

Monday, October 4, 2010

teaser tuesday (6) -- the eternal ones

This weeks teaser is from The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

blurb: Seventeen-year-old Haven Moore leaves East Tennessee to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where she meets playboy Iain Morrow, whose fate may be tied to hers through a series of past lives.

"I've been seeing the same thing off and on for a few weeks now. I can't seem to stop the visions anymore. And to be perfectly honest, I'm not even sure that I want to." pg 12

teaser tuesday is a meme hosted by MizB at Should by Reading

Saturday, October 2, 2010

in my mailbox (7)

This week I bought a few books from our library sale shelves.

Amazing Grace by Megan Shull (which I have not read)
Golden by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (which I have read and really enjoyed)

Then this past Friday I went to a librarian conference in Park City, UT. James Dashner spoke to us and all attendees got a paperback copy of The Maze Runner for FREE (I think of Adam Sandler saying that).

I also bought two books while at the conference

Annexed by Sharon Dogar (which I am so EXCITED about)
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (which I read for the first time about eleven years ago and haven't read since)

And that is my week in books. What's in your mailbox?

meme from the story siren