Thursday, June 30, 2011

review: The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin

pub date: originally 1998 (republished 2009?)
publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
pages: 240
appeals: mystery, suspense, realistic fiction, contemporary
content: there is violence off page and some references to sex

Wow. I loved this book.

I began by listening to the audio in my car. By the middle of the fourth disc (it was only five discs long) I couldn't deal with the suspense any longer. Each time I turned on my car (which is where I was listening to it) my heart rate would speed up, my stress levels would rise, and I'm sure my blood pressure did, too. So I got the book from the library and read it during my lunch break on Friday. The suspense was killing me.

What I loved about this book:

1) the characters. They were so well drawn! David, his cousin, his parents, his aunt and uncle. They all frustrated me at different times and for different reasons, but I totally understood why they behaved they way they did. I felt empathy for them, even when I really didn't want to. And I really, really, liked David.

2) the story. I don't do horror, but wow do I love suspense. Especially when it's so well done. Like I wrote above, I was freaking out while listening. I was so worried for David--the possibilities of what would happen with him kept running through my mind and they just got worse and worse. Which is why I finally just read it.

3) the end. That is all I will say on that.

4) it's retro! Okay, so it was only written in the later 90s and I don't think that really qualifies as retro, but I loved the mention of CDs (no digital!) and his VCR and only being able to call on land lines.

After being accused and acquitted in the death of his girlfriend, seventeen-year-old David is sent to live with his aunt, uncle, and young cousin to avoid the media frenzy. But all is not well at his relatives' house. His aunt and uncle are not speaking, and twelve-year-old Lily seems intent on making David's life a torment. And then there's the issue of his older cousin Kathy's mysterious death some years back. As things grow more and more tense, David starts to wonder - is there something else that his family is trying to hide from?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

review: I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

pub date: May 3, 2011
publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
pages: 400
appeals: contemporary, realistic fiction, romance, family
content: clean (I think. I don't remember anything that would make it otherwise)

I enjoyed this story. It was not what I expected, and I love to be surprised. I thought it was interesting and well written with great descriptions and characters.

However, I felt Sloan's writing style was more of a summary. I felt too much of the story was skimmed over. Emily and Sam supposedly have a deep relationship, but as a reader I wasn't ever privy to the building of the relationship. I just was told by the narrator that they talked and spent time together. I wanted to read about it, not just be told about it. So the fact that this relationship was so important to the story kind of put a kink in my love for the book because I didn't buy into it. 

This novel was written from multiple perspectives, and I really enjoyed that. I thought it opened up a lot of the characters by seeing them through anothers eyes.

Though I did like the multiple perspectives, at times it got annoying. Mostly I wanted the story to focus on Sam and Riddle and Emily, but a few characters went off on tangents that took away from the main story. And that bothered me because I didn't care about the tangents, I cared about the main three characters. Bobby was the worst offender. I didn't like him and though he was important to certain plot points, he got old really fast. I wanted out of his head, especially when it came to the prom. Too many pages were wasted on him.

So I did like the book, I thought the story and characters were compelling. I just didn't love it like I wanted to.   

Raised by an unstable father who keeps the family constantly on the move, Sam Border hasn't been in a classroom since the second grade. He's always been the rock for his younger brother Riddle, who stopped speaking long ago and instead makes sense of the world through his strange and intricate drawings. It's said that the two boys speak with one voice--and that voice is Sam's.

Then, Sam meets Emily Bell, and everything changes. The two share an immediate and intense attraction, and soon Sam and Riddle find themselves welcomed into the Bell's home. Faced with normalcy for the first time, they know it's too good to last.

Told from multiple perspectives, Holly Goldberg Sloan's debut novel offers readers fresh voices and a gripping story, with vivid glimpses into the lives of many unique characters. Beautifully written and emotionally profound, I'll Be There is a story about connections both big and small, and deftly explores the many ways that our lives are woven together.

Monday, June 27, 2011

review: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

pub date: June 14, 2011
publisher: Random House
pages: 349
source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer
appeals: sisterhood of the traveling pants
content: a little swearing including f-word, off-page sex

I was a huge fan of the first three Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books. I loved Tibby and Bee and Lena and Carmen's friendship and their growth as characters. I loved the arc of their individual and shared stories through those first three books.

I pretend the fourth Sisterhood book never happened. It was unwrapping the perfect package that the third book left for me and throwing the contents all around and leaving the Sisters in utter upheaval. Worse, it was as if the lessons learned in the first three books had never been learned. All four girls were back to where they were at fifteen, dealing with their college problems as if they hadn't grown at all. As if they hadn't learned anything. All of them took five huge steps backward and it was irksome. Maybe that's realistic, but then heck, I wanted fantasy.

Fourth book? There never was any fourth Sisterhood book...

So I approached this fifth book in the series with some trepidation. Though I loved high school Bee and Lena and Carmen and Tibby, did I really want to read what Brashares had in store for them as adults?

This is definitely an adult book, and not because of content. It was the way it was written. There is very little outside action. So much of this book is introspection. And though introspection is great (in small doses), I am a plot person and I wanted more action to keep the story moving, not more thoughts and feelings and internal sorrows. I thought the middle was slow and dull because of it.

The following might be considered slightly spoilery...I don't think so, but I'm giving you warning...

Near the beginning of the book there was a catastrophe. I cried. The Sisters felt guilt and grief and a little bit of blame towards each other. And they allowed the catastrophe to isolate them from each other. I found that hard to believe. After being through so much and helping each other through so much in 30 years of friendship, I was utterly shocked at their behavior. And I didn't believe that they would really respond that way. I expected them to rally together, not pull apart. So that was irritating. And to me, unbelievable. But maybe that's just me in denial. And wanting the fantasy, not the reality.

Part of the reason I thought it was a little slow was because I understood the catastrophe in a way that the Sisters didn't, and I'm not sure why. Was it written so the reader would understand? Or was it supposed to be a surprise to the reader and I am just uncommonly brilliant? Not sure, but I knew what really happened right when it did and it took the Sisterhood until the end to discover the truth. And since I knew most of the truth for most of the book, it felt like a long time for the Sisters to figure it out.

But, for my complaining above, in the end I did enjoy the book. I closed it on the last page, then opened it and reread the ending again. The ending I believed (though it's probably the most improbably aspect of the whole book). And it stuck with me. I thought about it the whole next day. I liked the Sisterhood grown up and responsible (for the most part) and succeeding. It left me with a feeling of hope. And let's face it, I love these girls. How can I not love their story? (with the exception of the fourth book that never was).

So yes, a good book that I recommend for Sisterhood fans.

Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

review: My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

pub date: June 7, 2011
publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux
pages: 320
appeals: humor, romance, friendship, queen bees, contemporary, realistic fiction
content: Sex was mentioned briefly a few times, there were also a few swear words, not many.

I really enjoyed Brody's sense of humor, in this book as well as in her first YA, The Karma Club. I love books that make me laugh, and this one definitely did that.

What I liked the most was Brooks voice. It was intelligent, self-deprecating, humorous (as stated earlier), and likable. I liked her and was rooting for her success the whole book.

The progression of the plot was great. Brooks is horrible at making wise decisions and has gotten into much trouble because of it. So she starts a blog where she will post every decision she needs to make and let her readers decide what she should do. Her readers don't see things the way she does and Brooks ends up doing a lot of things she doesn't want to do, but does them because she promised she would. It was great. I loved how her reader's responses affected her life.

This story has a love triangle, which has become a turn off for me of late, but it was wonderful in this book. This love-triangle was done right. There was no lightning bolt of love. There was no overboard passion. There were two boys that liked the same girl. The relationships developed naturally and over time. It was a fun romance without the characters needing to kiss each other every page or long expositions on why Brooks needed the boy(s). Good stuff.

At one point Brooks was asked how many boys she'd had sex with. Everyone was surprised that she hadn't slept with anyone. She's only fifteen. I'm was surprised they thought she'd slept with one person, the fact they thought she'd slept with multiple boys kind of horrified me.

If you like realistic romance then pick up this book!


Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.

Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.

But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else be the one to decide which book I read for English. Or whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: Chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!

Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.

But don’t take my word for it, read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

review: Everfound by Neal Shusterman

pub date: May 3, 2011
publisher: Simon and Schuster
pages: 512
format: audio from library
appeals: awesome and exciting and mind blowing and suspenseful and completely rocked my world
appeals (for real): friendship, adventure, death, adventure,
content: violence--a lot of kids die in this book. so sad

I love Neal Shusterman! 

Let me say that again: I LOVE NEAL SHUSTERMAN!

Passionately. I've read seven of his books and I've loved every one. There are very few authors I can say that about. If you haven't read his books, you're missing out. I'm just sayin.

Everfound is the third in the Skinjacker trilogy, following Everlost and Everwild. The ending of Everwild was seriously wild. It was disturbing (in a good way...sorta) and I could not wait until Everfound. It was worth the wait. Everfound is complete awesomeness.

The limbo between life and death that is the world of Everlost is SOOO very original. There are rules that govern the world and they are so cool and twisted and surprising. I never knew what was going to happen next. It was exciting to listen to with all the surprises and twists and turns in the plot.

One thing I really respect about Shusterman's villains is that they don't know they're villains. They think they are doing the right thing, and that is how it is with this series. The fact that Evil Hightower in Everfound is so convinced that she is right and all the horrible things she does is for the benefit of all mankind, makes her beyond wicked. Much more than if she knew she was wrong. She gave me the shivers. I listened to this book while driving and I screamed so much at Evil Hightower I went hoarse.

The ending was perfect. Perfect. But that didn't make it any less sad when it ended. Though I impatiently listened until I discovered how it would all resolve, once I'd reached the end I wanted more.

I loved all the original characters (even if they were evil, I loved how evil they were!). But I especially loved Allie and Nick and Mickey. My favorite new character was Clarence. He was awesome. Saying goodbye was hard.

Okay, so after all that rambling, I don't think I actually wrote much of the particulars, just gushed about how much I loved this book. It was just that good.

And if you like listening to books, you should get this series on audio. Nick Podehl is an awesome reader. He gave me the shivers, too.

I'm not pasting in the summary. Unless you've read the first two, it gives spoilers. And spoilers should not be allowed where this series in concerned.

big box of books. surprise!

Hey! It's the first day of summer! YAY!

To celebrate, I'm having a giveaway.

I went through my bookshelves the other day and picked out 9 books I want to pass along to someone new. I packed them into a box with some bookish bookmarks, postcards, and tattoos. I will mail them to one lucky winner with a US mailing address after the contest ends on June 30. I'm keeping the books secret so that when they arrive on the doorstep of this one lucky winner, they will be surprised (and possibly because I'm lazy and don't want to list them all). 3 are paperback, one is signed, 6 are ARCs.

To enter, simply add a comment with your favorite summer activity or book and your email address.

Good luck!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

thoughts on blogging (and writing)

This past week I participated in the Writing and Illustrating For Young Readers event. 40 hours of small group critiques and afternoon classes.

The lead up was terrifying (other people are going to read my writing and tell me what's wrong?!?!) The actual experience was exciting, fun, intense, extremely helpful, and exhausting. I read hundreds of pages to critique for writers in my group and my group offered a lot of insight into my novel that is sure to improve my writing and my story. Afternoon classes with Holly Black and Katheen Duey and Martine Leavitt completely blew my mind. They are brilliant.

I am still exhausted (and rather cranky) (especially since I had to work today) but very excited to dig back into my novel and make it better.

In that context, I've been thinking about this blog. I've actually been thinking about this blog a lot since I first started it (one year ago July 1!). (When did that happen?).

Part of me really wants to get involved in the blogging community. I want to participate in book memes, readreadreadread, write amazing book reviews and insightful blog posts, sponsor contests, do author interviews, comment on other bloggers posts, participate in readathons, be active on twitter, (get free books). The list goes on (and on).

But ultimately, I don't. I might for a week or two, but then I let other things take precedence, and I stop. I have quite a few followers (actual readers, not so many) and I feel this guilt when I'm not blogging regularly, or when I'm not visiting or commenting on other blogs (or commenting on comments from my own blog), or reading like I want to, or ignoring my twitter account (for months at a time).

I sorta feel like I'm not holding up my promise as a book blogger. Seriously, it stresses me out.

I started a book blog because I love reading, I love book blogs (not necessarily commenting on them) and because I wanted to be a part of the conversation. I wanted my book opinions out there on the web (and people to care what my opinion was).

After this week I admit to myself and the world (which is rather scary) that I want to finish a complete book, one that someone else could (and would choose to) read. And giving my all to the blogger world just isn't going to happen. Even if I didn't want to focus on writing a readable novel, it wouldn't happen (at least not well).

I have decided I am okay with that. This is me giving permission to myself to:
  • Take weeks off from blogging if I choose (WITHOUT GUILT).
  • Not comment on other book blogs or even read them if I don't want to or don't have time. 
  • Post reviews, and only reviews, even if it does make my blog boring.
  • Not be upset or embarrassed or disappointed when no one reads (or comments) on my posts. 
I've thought seriously about deleting this blog. Erasing this endeavor since I'm obviously not doing such a good job at it. But that would just be stupid. Even if no one cares but me, that's still one person.

I love books. I love talking books. I love writing book reviews.  I love book blogging (even if I don't do it well). So the blog stays. Just without the stress.

the end

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ruby Red Winner

Thanks to, the winner of the awesome book Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier is:

Tiffany Drew


thanks to everyone who stopped by and participated

Monday, June 13, 2011

review: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

pub date: July 12, 2011
publisher: Philomel
pages: 400
source: ALA Midwinter
appeals: werewolves, romance, magic, love triangle
Wow, I loved this book. It was wonderful. It was great. It was exciting. I loved it.

I love the lore of the Searchers and Gaurdians and Keepers. It is one of my favorite things in Nightshade. In Wolfbane we learn more about all the groups, especially now that Calla is with the Searchers. It's a whole other side of the story. There was a lot of explanation of the history of the Searchers, especially at the beginning. Though it was a little long at times, it didn't slow down the action of the story too much, mostly because I found it so interesting. And of course their was some catch-up from Nightshade, but I  really appreciated it. It got me back into the world and reminded me about what had happened before.

I'm still not much of a Shay fan. I don't dislike him like I did in Nightshade, but I still just dont like him and Calla together. There is just something about him. From the very beginning of Nightshade their relationship was too physical, too fast. After reading Wolfsbane, I still feel the same. Ren has his issues, but I still like him with Calla better. They had a past. They have a future. Though either way Calla chooses in the next book, there is going to be a broken heart and whoever it is, it'll make me sad.

Calla made some decisions in this book that I am not happy with. AT ALL. But I'm hoping with Bloodrose everything will be explained and tied up in a (hopefully neat) bow so that her decisions dont bother me so much. I hope.

Anyway, exciting and fun and great book!

blurb from goodreads:

This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended.Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer,one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack and the man she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

Friday, June 10, 2011

review: Party by Tom Leveen

pub date: April 27, 2010
publisher: Random House
pages: 240
appeals: I'm not sure...
content: drugs, underage drinking, lots of swearing (including f-word), sex, some violence

I thought this book sounded interesting. The idea of eleven different stories/characters and one night where they all intersect--rather cool.

But once I read the book, it wasn't so cool. I disliked seven out of the eleven characters because of their attitudes towards sex, alcohol, drugs, and God. I found them pathetic, and at times offensive.

Okay, so that was rather strong.

I did like 4 of the characters. It was well written. I did finish the book, mostly because I wanted some good to happen and hoped it would by the end. It did. The ending was hopeful.

It just wasn't my kind of book. And I figured I wrote reviews for the books I loved, why not for those I didn't.

It's saturday night in Santa Barbara and school is done for the year. Everyone is headed to the same party. Or at least it seems that way. The place is packed. The beer is flowing. Simple, right? But for 11 different people the motives are way more complicated. As each character takes a turn and tells his or her story, the eleven individuals intersect, and reconnect, collide, and combine in ways that none of them ever saw coming.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

pub date: April 19, 2011
publisher: Harlequin Teen
pages: 293
format: ebook
source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer ebook
appeals: mythology, romance, family, contemporary
content: there is an off-page sex scene. nothing is described, you just know that it happened.

I enjoyed the beginning. It really pulled me in. New girl, new town, new friends. And then the mysterious boy makes her a deal she can't refuse and the adventure begins!


Kate has agreed to live on an estate with Henry for the next six months. Because she's on the estate, she doesn't go anywhere, and it seemed as if we were just treading time until the six months were up. Things happened, of course, but it wasn't as much adventurous as interpersonal. I didn't feel that it was slow, I just didn't get where the story was going. I kept expecting these obvious tests to happen, but they never did. Instead, they were more subtle tests that were hinted to near the end, and explained eventually.

I found it odd/interesting that the estate is full of dead people, there to garden and cook and clean, but they live like they're alive. They can eat, sleep, have sex. So they weren't really dead. Right? The ending does explain why--sorta. But while I was reading, I though it odd.

Anyway, I did enjoy the book. I thought the mythology was interesting. I loved how Carter updated the ancient mythology for today. I also really liked the characters, especially Kate. I liked Henry, but he was a little standoffish and I didn't get to know him well.

I will read the next in the series when it comes out. I'm intrigued about where this story is going. Though I'll be really annoyed if it turns into a love triangle. There are hints it might, but I really, really, hope not.

It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

pub date: March 29, 2011
publisher: Greenwillow Books
pages: 480
source: audiobook from library
appeals: fairy tale retelling, princess,
content: clean

I went on a road trip to southern Utah a few weekends ago with my friend Jaye, and we listened to this book on the drive. I'm not sure if we would've kept listening after the first disk if we'd had a backup audiobook, but we didn't. So we stuck it out with this one.

It wasn't that we didn't enjoy the book, because we did. It was just a slower novel and would've been a great one to read, not so great to listen to (for my tastes). If I'd read it at my own pace and not the audio reader's pace, I would've enjoyed it a lot more.

I loved the world building. Azalea's world and the history of her castle and kingdom were very well described and created and developed. It was a well developed plot. Dixon's language was absolutely beautiful. I have no complaints with the writing of the story.  It really is gorgeous story telling. I enjoy fairy tale retellings. I love when an author builds on the original, but infuses it with originality, and that is exactly what Dixon did.

With so many sisters I found it extremely helpful how the princesses were named: after flowers, in alphabetical order. So very helpful. They each had their own personality and habits and were definitly individuals.

The 12 princesses did, at times, really get on my nerves. They made dumb decisions that were irritating and that I didn't understand. Especially at the end. And they were mean to their dad. Poor man. I got that they were disappointed in him after the death of their mother, but he was mourning in his own way and the daughters were just plain mean. Urg. I felt bad for the king and angry at the princesses.

Probably more a 3.5 star book, I'll round up to 4. Solid world building, interesting and original plot.

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ruby Red Giveaway

Have you read the new book, Ruby Red, by Kerstin Geir? If not, I'm here to suggest you do. I really enjoyed the book. It's fun and adventurous and romantic and funny. I laughed quite a bit while reading it.

And now is your chance to win a copy! yay!
  • contest ends Wednesday June 15, 2011 at midnight, MST
  • US or Canada mailing addresses only
  • spread the word on twitter or blog and earn an extra entry
Fill out the entry form below for your chance to win!

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon, the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Click HERE to download chapter 1
Check out my review HERE

what I'm loving right now

Everfound by Neal Shusterman
I love the Everwild series by Shusterman. Right now I am about half through listening to the last book in the trilogy, Everfound. I adore it! I have to respect Shusterman because he doesn't shy away from bad things happening to good characters. He can be brutal. And his villians are truly villainous! So many times I start screaming at the sheer frustration of what is going on inside everwild. I love how Shusterman can just suck me in to his world.

I am listening to the book, even though I'd read it much faster (and find out what will happen!), because Nick Podehl is an amazing reader. I love all of his voices for the characters. He is probably my favorite reader, ever. I listened to Everwild and Everlost and now I have to finish the series with Nick as the character's voices. I love, love, love this series.

Doctor Who
I've recently finished watching Doctor Who, season 5, for the second time. I really like the story line for season 5, and last few episodes totally rock. I don't have cable and am impatiently waiting for the first half of season 6 to become available. I love the Doctor! Especially as played by Matt Smith, though I do miss David Tennant.

I have already preordered this awesome TARDIS and cannot wait until August for it to arrive.

Spring Weather
It's been so rainy here, now that the sun has come out it feels like May has finally arrived. Except that it's June. I'm really enjoying the sun!

Chocolate Pudding
What else can I say? It's smooth, cool, chocolatey, and delicious. The perfect spring treat.

What are you loving right now?

review: Wild Child by Mike Wells

pub date: Kindle edition March 12, 2011
publisher: author
format: ebook
appeals: short, fast pace, supernatural,
source: ebook from author
content: underage drinking and talking about drugs

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It was interesting, enjoyable, well-written, and really short.

It's more of a novella than an actual novel. I thought Wells told the whole story, I didn't feel like there was anything left out or underdeveloped, but it did seem short. It was an ending I was not expecting, at all, and it was rather abrupt. Not only on what happened, but a lot is left unknown. Which I kinda liked.   

In such a short novel, the characters were well developed. I understood Briana's character (though I didn't like her much), as well as Kyle and his father and the official peoples that get involved. Unlike Briana, I did like Kyle and respected (and was somewhat relieved by) how he handled the situation.

I must say, the cover is rather a turnoff for me. Not a big fan. But the actual story is a good one.

Briana Fox is the wildest girl in school. She and Kyle have been close for a long time...almost lovers. Kyle is afraid that if he pushes her, he'll have his heart broken and lose his best friend. When Briana discovers a mysterious "power drug" in a cave, two government agents are desperate to find the source and turn Briana into a human experiment. Will Kyle risk everything to protect his love?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Utah Festival of Books

Last Saturday was the Festival of Books at Brigham Young University. Such fun times.

I was really impressed with all that they had going on. They had kid activities, teen activities, crafts, music, and of course, books. I learned how to make an easy homemade book, how to crochet a flower clip, and how my name calligraphied onto a bookmark.  So much fun!

But, this is a book blog so lets talk books! I went to a panel called, "The Business of Writing and Publishing." The authors on the panel were (left to right): Rich Walton, Lisa Mangum, Brandon Mull, Kristen Randle, Tracy Hickman, and Laura Hickman.
The question was asked, "what is your advice so to writers." I was interested in their answers, so I took note. Here it is now, for you:

Laura: write every day and don't give up. Read the books you want to sound like.
Lisa: Don't equate success with getting published. Find your voice. Never stop writing.
Brandon: Write what your passionate about.
Kristen: Read (but stay away from the covers with ladies legs on them). Rewrite. Keep a journal because you can't create a character if you don't know yourself.
Tracy: Write when you least want to write. It takes ten years of work to become an overnight success. Remember that you have not yet written your best work.
Rick: Give up. Unless you can't, then do the work. If you really want to be published and do the work, it will happen. Writing is a lot of hard work, it's a lot of fun, and it's very rewarding. You can do it.

They said a lot more, but that was all I wrote down. Laura did say that once she had some art on display and told her friend she was mortified to have people see it. Her friend answered, "Art is mortification. Let it go." I thought that was pretty cool. It was very interesting panel and extremely motivating.

I went to another panel in the afternoon called, "Women's Author's Panel." Nice name that described what it was: a panel with women authors. They were (from left to right): Ann Cannon, Ann Dee Ellis, Kiersten White, Jessica Day George, and Aprilynne Pike.

It was a great panel. Really funny ladies. I enjoyed it. One of the questions was, "what was the worst advice you have been given.
Aprilynne: Why not send your manuscripts to editors? That's what a slush pile is for."
Jessica: Can't read other books while writing one of your own. If so, your words will sound like another author and that is plagerism.
Kristen: Write to the market or the next hot thing
Kiersten: more generally, using another's writing process or any specific advice about how to write or what to write.
Dee Ann: also more generally, letting someone tell you what to write, because you have to find it.

The last thing we did was listen to Elana Johnson, author of Possession, speak for ten minutes.
Have you ever listened to an author and really liked what they had to say and that made you want to read their book when before you hadn't really thought about it? That was the effect of Elana's (very short) presentation. She talked about the 3 P's: having Patience with the artistic process and discovering your own talents. Perservering, especially when a bunch of people tell you, 'no.' And creating a Product others will want. Then the lone L, when these things come together, there is Luck.

They had this wall where everyone could write their favorite book. I loved it.

And here is the end. I love books and bookish people.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

review: The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

pub date: June 28, 2011
publisher: Simon Pulse
pages: 307
source: Simon and Schuster galley grab
appeals: contemporary, romance, family, verse
content: a little swearing

I enjoy Schroeder's books a lot so I was really excited to read this through Simon and Schuster's galley grab. I liked this one. I liked how the summary didn't give away the plot. It was nice to discover what The Day After will hold for Amber and Cade

I did feel like there wasn't much story. Amber and Cade share a day together, 24 hours. It's all told through Amber, who tells of their day and their individual back stories and what is going to happen to them next, but it didn't seem enough. It didn't feel like a flushed out story. And it wasn't because it was in verse, because I didn't feel this way with Schroeder's other books. Just this one.

I liked the characters. I did like their stories. I did like Amber and Cade's day together. I just wanted there to be more.  

I am a little disappointed in the cover. I think it's a nice cover, just a tad too dramatic for the story inside. She spends the day at the beach, what is she doing hiding in weeds?

Sometimes there's no turning back.

Amber's life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of her family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell that he's also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she's drawn to him. And the more she's troubled by his darkness. Because Cade's not just living in the now--he's living each moment like it's his last.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Splash into Summer winners

Thanks to everyone who participated in my giveaway as part of the Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop.

The signed ARC of What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen goes to:
Holly Wright

and the ARC of Withering Tights by Louise Rennison goes to:
Ricki @Reading Challenged

Congrats! I sent emails, please respond by Friday.

review: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

pub date: June 21, 2011
publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
pages: 352
source: ALA Midwinter Conference
appeals: ghost, historical fiction, supernatural,
content: clean

I am a huge fan of Harvey's Drake Chronicles. I love the humor and the romance. So I was super excited about Haunting Violet because I expected more of the same, just ghosts instead of vampires. Sadly, I didn't get it. There was a little romance and a little humor, just not what I had expected. I wanted more!

Because it wasn't what I expected it to be, I was disappointed in Violet's story. Which is really unfair to Violet, because honestly, who can compare to seven vampire brothers? No one.

The bones of the plot were fun...Violet's relationship with her mother, her own budding talent, her relationship with Colin (though I would've liked more of it), and the ghosts in general. But the particulars I wasn't a big fan of...the secondary characters I didn't like so much. Especially the very persistent ghost who's behavior I didn't understand. Did she want her murder solved, or not? I wasn't sure if she was helping or hindering. It wasn't even much of a mystery and I thought the book too long for what little story there was.

So, chalk it up to unfulfilled hopes, but this wasn't my kind of book.

Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?