Thursday, March 31, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday ~ Sweetly

My Waiting On Wednesday post is late because I was without access to my computer for most of yesterday . . . but since I'm very much 'Waiting on' this book, I decided it was definitely worth posting today :)


Sweetly (Sisters Red #2) by Jackson Pearce
(Goodreads/Amazon/Book Depository)

SWEETLY is a modernization of Hansel and Gretel and a companion book to SISTERS RED.

Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful. (via Goodreads)


I loved Sisters Red (I'll try to get a review up soon--I listened to the audio and for whatever reason I'm not as good with reviewing those) and just the idea of Jackson Pearce doing another fairy tale rewrite is enough to make someone want to . . . well, I don't know what exactly, but it would be amazing!splending!awesome. Then, you read Sweetly's synopsis and it's a book anyone would be interested in reading without having read Sisters Red or knowing about Jackson Pearce's superness.

Sweetly is out August 23 in the U.S. from Little Brown

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Entwined ~ Heather Dixon review

Entwined
Greenwillow Books
March 29, 2011
480 pages
Amazon/Goodreads/Book Depository


Just when Azalea is of age to fully enjoy the beautiful gowns, the dancing slippers, the balls, charming young suitors and everything else that comes with being a crown princess it's taken away.

With the entire palace in mourning and the girls not allowed to dance, Azalea is trapped. Not allowed to leave or even go outside, she's also charged with looking after her sisters. Sisters who wish to dance.

Keeper has somewhere the girls will be able to dance and not be seen. Locked away in an enchanted passage that's long since been forgotten about, Keeper hosts dances for the 12 young princesses every night.

But Keeper likes to keep things and the girls might not find out just how high the price of admittance to his silver forest is until it's too late.


Heather Dixon's Entwined is a true fairy tale--not a faery tale which there have been quite a lot of lately, but a fairy tale of which, after reading this, you might just decide there need to be more. There are princesses (a whole lot of them! but thanks to a brilliant naming scheming on the author's part, they're easy to keep straight), a King, the royal household, suitors, etc.

Anyone who grew up on Disney movies (the true ones with princesses and balls and talking mice or teacups) should love Entwined. It is a re-telling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale and seems to follow the tale pretty closely but is greatly expanded and so, so much more enjoyable because of that.

Heather Dixon's Entwined is like a Disney version of one of Grimm's fairy tales meets a little bit of Lewis Carroll.

Entwined is full of dancing, humor, intrigue, suspense, some maybe love triangles, and even danger. (Of all of the books I've read this year--and it's somehow become quite a lot--this is one of the few that's actually made me laugh even while I was admiring it's awesomeness or worrying what would happen next.) And of course it makes you wish you took a formal dancing class (or paid more attention in the one you did take!) so you could go to a ball and know what you were doing!

Very much looking forward to more from Heather Dixon.

9/10


Huge thank you to Harper for sending me a copy of this book :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Memento Nora ~ Angie Smibert ARC review

Memento Nora
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
April 1, 2011
192 pages
Amazon/Goodreads/Book Depository


Nora Jones lives in a world where consumerism has completely taken over and bombings happen nearly every day, in the same place that consumerism has taken over.

Now that Nora has witnessed one of these bombings first hand, she's taking her first trip to the TFC, Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, where they'll give her a pill that will erase all of her bad memories and allow her to g on with her 'glossy' life.

That's what the whole society is designed around, forgetting . . . and shopping (where Nora was, actually, when the bombing happened) But what happens when someone wants to keep their memories?

In Memento Nora three teens work together to create a comic and show the world--or at least a few people--that maybe forgetting all the bad things isn't best.


Memento Nora presents a really interesting idea: what if you just forgot anything bad that happened to you. The big things and the little things. What if there was a pill you could take that would make it go away and you could go on about your (now) happy life?

Told in chapter that alternate between Nora, Winter, and Micah's perspectives, readers are able to see how the government in this society isn't all sunshine and roses despite that TFC and how forgetting has ultimately affected people.

It leads to wondering what would happen if you forgot certain traumatic or even just inconvenient events in your life. Would you be the better for it . . . or worse?

Some of the elements in Memento Nora remind me a little of XVI by Julia Karr (the screens everywhere marketing something) or, more so, Delirium by Lauren Oliver with the procedure that everyone should undergo and wants to but the main character begins to question.

Memento Nora is absolutely original and worth its own read, I only mention the other books because of how much I think readers who enjoyed those books will enjoy Memento (and they seem to have gotten more publicity). I don't think you had to love--or even like--either of those books to like Angie Smibert's debut, however--it has a very different feel.

I'm very glad to see that there's a #1 after the title (at least on Goodreads) because I definitely would like to see more of these characters (hopefully!) and the world Angie Smibert created where bad memories can be gone simply by swallowing a pill.

9/10


Thank you to the author and the publisher for my advance copy of this book!!

Contest Winners

Here are the winners of my giveaway of Rachel Ward's Numbers: The Chaos sponsored by Scholastic (they were selected using random.org's random number generator):

Sylvia
and

Thank you both for entering and following my blog! I hope you have fun reading The Chaos.

And for everyone that didn't win--if you entered, thank you and whether you entered or not, I hope to have more giveaways soon :)


I've emailed both of the winners with how to claim their prize.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Giveaway Link!!

A group of blogs (Squeaky Books, The Elliot Review, That Hapa Chick, Bibliognome, Pensive Bookeaters, The Mod Podge Bookshelf, Lisa's World of Books, Fade Into Fantasy, See Scoot Read, and Awesomesauce Bookclub) have joined together for a giveaway of amazing-ness . . .

What it boils down to is that you have a chance to win a $100 giftcard to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Borders! (It's explained on the hosting blogs--how it works, how you enter, how winner(s) are selected, etc.)

Contest ends April 1 and you can enter at any or all of the above linked blogs :)



(And the giveaway of my Numbers: The Chaos giveaway is coming very, very soon!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Video Veneris

I really loved Sherrilyn Kenyon’s first YA novel, Infinity the first Chronicles of Nick story. It’s definitely a YA novel (I was kind of worried about how adult a young adult novel of hers would be but it’s very teen appropriate), but does have some Dark Hunter world crossover.

The second novel in the series, Invincible came out March 22 (this past Tuesday) and I’ve had my libraries ‘on order’ copy on hold for a while now. I can’t wait to read it so I’m really excited to share the trailer with you, too!

Invincible: Chronicles of Nick Trailer

Chronicles of Nick website HERE & Invincible’s website HERE with an excerpt and everything Smile

at Amazon/Book Depository/Goodreads

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Aftertime ~ Sophie Littlefield ARC review

Aftertime
Luna
February 15, 2011
384 pages
Goodreads/Amazon/Book Depository


The world is no longer the world we all know now. Beings known as Beaters wander the world
and threaten all of us who are still human. Cass witnessed it all change slowly until almost nothing normal was left.

Now Cass has awakened, dirty, beat up, and with no exact memory of how she got that way. She knows she was taken by Beaters (zombies) and believes she ate some of the plant that turns people into Beaters. But Cass is still in full control of her capacities.

Now, Cass's main goal is to make it back to the town she was taking shelter in and back to her daughter, Ruthie. In the weeks since she's been gone Cass has made it many miles away and the journey back will be perilous. Through a string of events she meets a man called Smoke who agrees to accompany her back.

A four mile trip through a zombie infested war zone like area soon becomes much more--both in distance and significance.


The beginning of Aftertime is what you would get if you took the best, scariest zombie book and turned it into a book--without losing anything.

It's not just a 'scare-you' horror book, however. Or just a zombie book. There's plot and depth to it. It's also about Cass's quest to overcome alcoholism and to learn how to become a good mother.

Aftertime is definitely an adult book. Banished by Sophie Littlefield was a YA book and the Bad Day series was more YA acceptable, but this is much more adult content-y.

The middle reads a little slower--probably because the beginning introduces what's happened to society and creeps readers out with the zombies while the middle deals with the more day to day (or as much as it can be) with Cass and Smoke on their journey.

I did very much like that it was a whole society that was thought out--and so many different aspects and locations in/of that society. Aftertime wasn't focused just on one event or one person, but showed everything that can happen in this new society--and what hope people in it just might have. Or not.


8/10

Read thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Contest Winner

And the winner of a copy of Lindsey Leavitt's Sean Griswold's Head (shipped to you by the publisher) is . . .

(anyone doing a drum roll for me?)

Nerissa from BookFanatic

Congratulations!! Once I get your info I'll forward it to the publisher and they'll get the book to you. I really hope you read it and enjoy it even half as much as I did :)

Remember the giveaway of Numbers: The Chaos ends tomorrow night so enter that one if you haven't already :) (Entry post here)

Waiting On Wednesday

This week I’m actually waiting on about fifty books’ releases it feels like but I’ve managed to select two I’m uber excited about for my post:

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

forgotten

Here’s one of the summaries from Goodreads:
With the intrigue of "Memento" and the romance of "The Time-Traveller's Wife", "Forgotten" is the perfect YA novel.

Here's the thing about me: I can see my future, but my past is a blank. I remember what I'll wear tomorrow, but not what I ate for dinner last night. I get by with the help of notes, my mom and my best friend Jamie, and the system works...Until now. Everything's falling apart. Jamie's going of the rails. My mom is lying to me. And I can't see the boy I love in my future...

"Forgotten" is the story of a girl for whom yesterday is lost, today is an adventure, and tomorrow is a memory. This is an unforgettable read


With this book you really only need to read the synopsis to know why I think it’s so amazing sounding and why I’m anxiously, anxiously awaiting it’s release . . . if you’re not awaiting it now, too then go back and reread the synopsis and then look at that cover some more.

Waiting on it yet? I thought so. The premise is just so intriguing (in a way that makes that word sound much too terribly generic) in all the best ways.

Can’t wait for this one.

(The movie rights have already been bought, too!!)

Side note: I’m pretty sure that’s the Australian cover and the little one if you click on the ‘paper'back’ version on Goodreads is the US one but I love it so much I’m putting it with the post (: (See the covers here, too)

June 7, 2011 from Little Brown Books for Young Readers (with slightly different dates for AUS & UK versions)

Goodreads/Amazon/Book Depository


Beauty Queens
by Libba Bray

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

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


It’s Miss Teen USA (or Miss Congeniality minus the FBI) meets Lord of the Flies – how could I not have to read this?! (And yes, that’s a short why, but it’s all I need.)

May 24, 2011 from Scholastic

Goodreads/Amazon/Book Depository


________

(Also, figuring out contest winner now--posting later!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Last Day to Enter (& Facebook)

Book Sp(l)ot Reviews has a new Facebook page: HERE 

I would love if you would ‘Like’ it (:

 

Also: today is the last day to enter to win a copy of Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt! Enter HERE

(Penny for your) Thoughts Tuesday

I want to start doing some more memes on this blog . . . and that’s where your thoughts come in!

Bloggers: What are some memes you’ve started on your blog and/or what are some memes that you do and really love doing—and your followers/readers really love?

Readers: What are some memes that bloggers do that you’d like to see on this blog?

Or do you all hate memes and wish they’d go away and so I shouldn’t do anymore?

Share thoughts and links in the comments section—Please?

(Really hoping someone does comment on this (: )

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wither ~ Lauren Destefano (ARC) review

Wither (Chemical Gardens Trilogy #1)
Simon & Schuster
March 22, 2011
368 pages
Amazon/Goodreads/Book Depository

Rhine lives in a world where women live to the age of twenty and men live to the age of twenty-five. It's not a perfect world by any means, young girls are kidnapped and sold into polygamous
marriages to keep the population going and orphans roam the streets.

Rhine and her brother, Rowan, are barely getting by in their home in Manhattan when she's taken by the Gathers and sold into such a marriage. Finding herself in a luxury, a young husband, Linden, and with sister wives, sixteen-year-old Rhine refuses to accept her fate and instead is determined to escape and find her way home.

But there's more at stake than just Rhine's freedom. Linden's father is researching the antidote, the cure he knows exists for the young deaths. And he needs bodies for his research...Then there's Gabriel, an attendant she's too attracted to for it to be safe.


Wither is a timeless and yet time...full book. We know it's in the future but certain aspects are reminiscent of the past and the present while others can only be the future. Rhine and Linden's marriage is more king (or prince?) and concubine/consort than Big Love in its inception. It's not begun out of love or even ideology on both their parts. That's not to say some of the relationship between Linden and his wives isn't Big Love-esque, but there are big differences.

The house (and its grounds) where Rhine lives exist seemingly in its own seemingly suspended time period where nothing seems quite real. In fact, it's even said how 'real' is 'dirty word' there. Due to this, you, as a reader almost forget that the characters' deaths are, in fact, quickly approaching until you're rather abruptly reminded of it.

This is an excellent achievement of the novel (and really Lauren Destefano) because the goal of the mansion for the characters was for for them to enjoy their lives and not dwell on the shortness. As a reader I love being so transported that I'm able to do the same.

You never quite stop feeling the tension that Rhine feels, either. The characters are not one dimensional by any means so none of her decisions are cut and dry or easy. Things are complicated emotionally and as a reader you can easily see why. With the exception of maybe one or two there aren't any always/only good or always/only bad characters in Wither which makes for a lot of back and forth for Rhine, the story, and as a reader. I loved it!

I was worried the story was going to end on a cliffhanger or terribly open ended, but it didn't quite do that. The way it did end left me wanting more from about everything but only because I loved everything so much, it was a satisfying ending and wrapped things up well.


9/10


Thank you very, very much to Simon & Schuster for making this a part of GalleyGrab

Friday, March 18, 2011

Harper's Dark Days Tour


If you're not one of those lucky ducks who gets to go to the Dark Days of Winter tour in person, never fear: you can watch it the Livestream on Facebook right from the comfort of your own sofa

(You won't be able to touch/physically poke the authors, sure, but that last part would likely be frowned upon, anyway. And if you're missing the Chicago/Anderson's in Naperville one you won't get to see the Chicago River be green for St Patrick's Day--but I didn't either, so we'll mourn that together.)

Here are the authors (and the books they wrote)

Friday, March 18 (tonight)
7:00 PM (central) with
Claudia Gray (Afterlife-most recent in the Evernight series)
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder & Desires of the Dead)
Courtney Allison Moulton (Angelfire)
Ellen Schreiber (Once in a Full Moon)

if you can't make the one tonight, there's one tomorrow at Books & Books in Miami Beach, Florida--see, there's a lot of geography covered! (and still on Facebook if you can't physically make it)

Saturday, March 19
7:00 PM (eastern) with
Claudia Gray (Afterlife-most recent in the Evernight series)
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder & Desires of the Dead)
Courtney Allison Moulton (Angelfire)

More info on both tour stops is available either on the Facebook page or @PitchDarkBooks on Twitter.

Dark Days Events page on Facebook


I have it in the links, etc: but the Livestream will be here: http://www.facebook.com/PitchDarkBooks

Video Veneris

I haven't posted a book trailer on Friday in forever and ever---which is very, very bad of me--but I now have the perfect opportunity:

The trailer for Shimmer, the second book in Alyson Noel's Radiance series is out now. The Radiance series is an off shoot from the immortals series (Evermore, Blue Moon, Shadowland, Dark Flame, Night Star, & Everlasting--Alyson Noel page on Amazon with all of her books including the series) and it's about Riley, Ever's dead little sister.



I still have Radiance on hold at the library so I can't give you my synopsis of either of the books but here's one I was provided:

Alyson Noël, author of the Immortals series, continues her new series about Ever's younger sister, Riley.

Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a vicious black dog, against Bodhi's advice, she decides to cross him over. While following the dog, she runs into a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca's sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she's not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is lashing out by keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive and forget without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?

Find out more about Shimmer here, including audio excerpts and Riley's diary: HERE


And here is the direct link to the trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZqW7rJyvDU


*for anyone that doesn't know (I haven't said it in a while) Veneris is Friday for Latin so I use it because it's an alliteration and I like it--I suppose I'm a dork that way

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Numbers: The Chaos ~ Rachel Ward review & giveaway

The Chaos (Numbers #2)
The Chicken House
March 1, 2011
352 pages
Amazon

(Both the book and this post contain spoilers for Numbers -review- the first book in this trilogy.)

Jem's son Adam has definitely inherited his mother's ability to look into people's eyes and see their death date, their number.

It is now 2026 and Adam's mother has been dead for several years, but Adam and Nan have continued to live by the coast in the same house. Now, however, rising tides are flooding the coast and forcing them to evacuate. Against Adam's protests, Nan returns them to London, a place both vastly different from what Adam's used to and the London of today.

Already troubled by being in London, Adam becomes more troubled when he sees an increasing number of people with the same numbers, who are going to die on the same day: January 1, 2027.


While The Chaos is like Numbers in that it has one main characters who can see when people are going to die, another main character of the opposite sex who cannot, and one main date where a lot of people die, that's close to all it has in common.

In Numbers the big, one day event took place closer to the beginning with the suspense happening afterwards whereas here the whole book leads up to the big event and you don't even get to know what it is. The Chaos is a much more suspense filled, nail biting book.

I loved that The Chaos stayed true to Numbers while still becoming a sort of dystopian novel and being its own unique story that was very different. Being sixteen-ish years in the future it makes sense that things will have changed and I loved the way Rachel Ward did that.

I really appreciate that Rachel Ward's characters aren't all upper class or those with an easy life. Her characters have an edge, a toughness to them that no only helps them in dealing with things that come up in the story but also makes their reactions and the plot line itself more believable. That, and she introduces situations that I think should be used in YA fiction more often when they're not the main plot of the book but are the character's stories only.

I will admit that I did keep expecting The Doctor and Rose (what? I like her best and the beauty of DW is that anything/anytime can happen anytime) to pop in and help out. But maybe that's just because I watch that too much and it was London. . . Still, I wouldn't have complained.

The Chaos is a book that almost immediately grabs hold of you and refuses to let go. I know I'll be ordering Infinity the conclusion to this trilogy (the UK version at least comes out in June!).

9/10




(Thank you Chelsy and Scholastic for my review copy)


Giveaway

I also have a fantastic giveaway for you all! Scholastic will mail out two copies to winners with a US mailing address.

2 winners will each receive 1 copy of Numbers: The Chaos from Scholastic!!

Starts: today March 15 - Ends March 24 at 11:59 pm Eastern

to enter: fill out the form below (here if it doesn't show up)

want more about the book? Book website and YouTube trailer (also embeded with synopsis and links here)


Monday, March 14, 2011

Coming Tomorrow!!

I'm doing this one tomorrow since I had the Miles from Ordinary review for today . . .

Numbers: The Chaos Review & Giveaway

(my review of the first book)
Then, here's the book trailer for Book 2 on YouTube






the publisher's synopsis:
When he was a little boy, Adam learned about the numbers. The first ones he saw were Jem’s. That was how he knew she was going to die. Adam has more than inherited his mother's curse: When he looks in someone's eyes, he not only sees the date of their death...he feels the searing, shocking pain of it. Since Jem died, Adam has lived by the sea with his great-grandmother, Val. But when rising tides flood the coast, they return to London. The city is an alien, exciting, frightening place. Most disturbing of all, Adam can't help but clock how many people's numbers are in January 2027; how many are on New Year's Day. What chaos awaits the world? Can he and Sarah stop a catastrophe? Or are they, too, counted among the "twenty-sevens"?

and the Amazon & Goodreads pages and the Book's website

Miles from Ordinary ~ Carol Lynch Williams

Miles from Ordinary
St Martin's Griffin
March 15, 2011
208 pages
buy/more info at: Amazon

This summer day is going to be a fresh start both for fourteen-year-old Lacey and her mother. Lacey has a job at the library and her mother has one at Winn-Dixe, both of them have their first days today.

It's also going to be a day where Lacey gets to follow in her Aunt Linda's foot steps and work by working the library-something she knows she'll love. And, most of all, it's s a day where she won't have to look after her Momma, something she's been having to do more and more, lately.

But when, due to her Momma, Lacey's day doesn't go as planned, readers get to see just what Lacey's been dealing with at home and her hope of being normal for a day flies out the window.


Miles from Ordinary is a novel to pick up when you are going to have several hours to read it start to finish, not if you only have twenty minutes to see if you'll like it. It's one that gets you right from the beginning and because it's about a single day in the main character's life and there aren't gaps in time, it feels even more like something you need to read through right to the end.

Though it is just one day in Lacey's life, through memories she has, we learn a lot about her, her mother, her aunt and their lives and how Lacey's mother has affected her life, especially, at school.

Like The Chosen One it's the story of a young teenage girl who's held captive by something physically and/or emotionally and feels incredibly alone. But who's also trying to, maybe find a way out.

There are more things that happen (that are in other summaries) but because they happen a quarter or so of the way through the book and it is only 197 pages, I'm wary of including them. I will say that I love them and they add a lot to both Lacey's day and the story.

I think Carol Lynch Williams is quickly becoming (or has already quickly become) someone that readers can easily look to for powerful young adult literary fiction. (And stories that I think adults will also enjoy.)


10/10


Humongous thank you to Paul from @StMartinsPress for sending me this book (and absolutely making my day)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sean Griswold's Head ~ Lindsey Leavitt ARC review

Sean Griswold's Head
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
March 1, 2011
288 pages
Amazon

Fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas isn't talking to her family. Her dad has MS, multiple sclerosis, and while her parents felt it appropriate to tell her years older brothers, they all kept it from her. Until she found out by accident.

Hence her not talking to them.

Now she's been sent to the school guidance counselor, Ms Callahan, so that she will talk to someone and find
a way to deal with things.

Ms Callahan has an idea that Payton's parents probably never thought of when they called, though: a Focus Object. Payton's supposed to find something to focus her emotions on that will help her cope with her family's secret and her father's MS.

Thing is, it's supposed to be an inanimate object and Payton's picked Sean Griswold's head.

Griswold-Gritas. Alphabetically they're been seated together since elementary school so Payton's had a lot of time to stare at Sean Griswold's head.

Except, once she starts focusing on--or stalking Sean---and his head, she realizes she doesn't actually know very much about Sean, at all.

Soon, Sean's working his way into Payton's closely guarded life. And she's going to have to look at herself, to really deal with her feeling on her father's MS.



Sean Griswold's Head is what you should want every book you pick up to be. It's that amazingly perfect.

On one page, it has you grinning, a few pages later it squeezes your heart, and then, then it somehow does both at the same time. Very, very few books--if any, really--are able to do the touching sweet moments as well as the funny ones.

Sean Griswold's Head is somehow, also, a pitch-perfect story of first love while also telling of a story coping with a member who has multiple sclerosis. While each element is separate, they're also not. The love story is stronger because Payton's dealing with her family situation is part of it and her family and friends either directly or indirectly help her romance along.
I don't care if you for whatever reason don't like the summary of this book (either mine or the publishers) or are some reason unsure of it, please do read it!! I adore it.


10/10

(review copy sent thanks to Kate at Bloomsbury)


Lindsey Leavitt Author Interview:

Which of your characters do you think you would have been friends with in high school?
Jac. I had some Jac-ish friends growing up. Bless their hearts.

What about now?

Probably Grady, because I wouldn’t have gotten to know him in high school and now really like getting to know people beyond my social sphere.

Of the YA authors you know, which of you would be most likely
to substitute for a Princess? Would it be you? 
Me? Ha. I have three little girls. There are enough tiaras in my life, thanks.

The answer would be Rachel Hawkins, because she is southern, wears pearls without irony and is an admitted anglophile. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s stepping in for Kate Middleton right now.

You have been an elementary school teacher, now that you've written YA books, do you think you would enjoy teaching teens if you went back to teaching?
I like being around teens and teaching writing workshops, but I’m not down with the high school curriculum or paper grading or even being back in middle school or high school every day for work. Teaching elementary school was very time consuming, but it was a JOY. I loved those kids to pieces, and loved watching them grow. So I’d probably stick with the youngins.

Is there a 2011 (already released or upcoming) YA novel that you've read and really enjoyed?

Surely you don’t want me to pick one!

On the contemporary front, I loved THE DAY BEFORE by Lisa Schroeder. I read it on a long airplane ride and cried and the guy next to me offered his napkin with the blue and red southwest map. It amazes me how much emotion is packed in so few of words. And I just started RIVAL by Sarah Bennett-Wheeler and I’m really loving it—great details and authentic characters. I’ve heard it compared to Glee, and please. It rocks Glee’s jazz hands right off.
(I loved Rival,--my review)

Any book/writing news you can share?
Yep! The next book in the Princess for Hire series, THE ROYAL TREATMENT, will be out May 3.

And I just sold another YA contemporary called AUTHENTICALLY VINTAGE. I think it’ll be out early 2013

Thank you for the interview!!



Ends March 22 - Open to those with US mailing addresses, ages 13 and over
Enter using the form below (also here). One entry per person.
Winner will have 24 hours to reply to my email with their name and mailing address
EDIT: US, non-PO Box mailing addresses.

Made possible by Kate and Bloomsbury

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Red Riding Hood ~ Sarah Blakely-Cartwright review

Red Riding Hood
Poppy
January 25, 2011
352 pages
Buy/info at Amazon

Valerie, Red Riding Hood's main character, has grown up in the village of Daggerhorn alogn with Lucy, her sister, the pretty one, the kind one, the elegant one.

But Daggerhorn, a place where everyone knows everyone else, is also a town haunted by one fact: every month they're forced to make a sacrifice. THe wolf the puts the town in danger has been kept at bay for generations with animal sacrifices from the villagers.

Until now.

Now the village--and the girls, especially--are in mortal danger.


The last/bonus chapter of the book is going to be posted here to coincide with the movie's release-well, actually, on the 14th to avoid spoilers. It's to avoid movie spoilers. (If you bought the ebook, it will be delivered then, too.) Sounds fun!

There's a version coming out on the 16th, so that one might have the last/bonus chapter included :) (This is the one I linked to)

(and the book, Amazon, etc summaries have a lot more spoilers than my summary, once again!)

This Red Riding Hood is definitely very, very different from the fairy tale we all know. To both and not so good ends.

Sarah Blakely Cartwright's novel is probably one of the most beautifully laid out books I've read recently. There are drawings and big, old looking 'once upon a time' text pages that start the story and circular designs on the chapter number pages.

The design elements, though, also mean that the 329 page book (the last page of the story says '329') is probably closer to 300 pages. And while I have nothing agaainst shorter books (I read much shorter and much longer books all the time), I felt like this book had a lot packed into those 300/329 pages.

I haven't seen the movie yet so I don't know how closely the book does follow the movie, but what it seemed like was that there were a lot of events in the book that took more to show in words than they would have on screen and so we didn't get quite enough of them for them to really make an impact.

I never quite had the chance to make an emotional connection with the characters. The overall story was still an enjoyable one that is an interesting twist on the Red Riding Hood tale we are all familiar with.

I do intend to see the movie (and find it interesting that the two movie adaptation novels I've read are movies with Amanda Seyfried). I also am interested in seeing what author Sarah Blakely-Cartwright does with her own sotry if she ever publishes an original novel.


6/10


(received from the publisher)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Update ~ Jodi Picoult Chat

I don't know what happened with my post for the Jodi Picoult LiveStream...I had it scheduled to post on Monday night (as of at least last Friday) since I knew I wouldn't be around Monday night do do it.

I don't know what happened but I hope I didn't mess anyone up!


*goes back to investigating*

Waiting On Wednesday ~ Bad Taste in Boys

How, how I ask you has this not been my Waiting On Wednesday book?! (I even searched twice to be sure, it really hasn't!)

Not only do I really, really, really want to read a YA zombie book right now, not only has Twitter made me love Carrie Harris, not only am I probably going to have to make pink frosted cupcakes with huge sugar crystals on them when I make my bacon cupcakes later this month (trust me, that does make sense!), not only does Bad Taste in Boys have one of the bestestestest covers ever, BUT have you read the super fun synopsis?

It's like it puts together all the fantastic elements of the zombie-ness, the cover's awesomeness and the 'I-Want-to-Read-It-Now'ness and actually justifies it! Behold:
Someone's been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town . . . and stay hormonally human.

Due out July 12, 2011 from Delacorte Press
(how do they have so many amazing books coming out this summer and yet I get zero books from them? It's a travesty, a travesty I tell you! Well, not really-but right now it seems like it.)

On Goodreads and on Amazon for adding to you shelves either literally or figuratively--or both!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sing You Home ~ Jodi Picoult ARC review

Sing You Home
Atria Books
March 1, 2011
480 pages
Amazon


Music is more than an important part of Zoe Baxter's life, it's a marker for her memories (the fun of her childhood and the stressors of adulthood), but it's also her job. Zoe Baxter is a music
therapist.

Zoe and her husband, Max, have spent more than a decade trying to have a baby. Plagued by fertility issues on both sides, their have been miscarriages and other troubles. When one final tragedy pulls them and their marriage apart for good Zoe and Max go in very different directions.

Max finds himself more receptive to his brother's evangelical Christian church while Zoe takes a musical therapy job at the local high school job. The friendship she develops with the school counselor soon looks like it might become something more--even though the counselor is a woman.

All the while there's Zoe's want to become a mother and the frozen embryos at the IVF clinic from Zoe and Max's last attempt at a baby.


Sing You Home is a book that takes on so many heavy issues: religion (mostly the evangelical side of it), conception trouble, suicide, but mostly gay rights and what it really means to be a family.

It takes on all of these weighty issues but without ever feeling like you're reading a heavy book or one that's preaching to you. It finds the right balance between feeling light by not giving things the weight they deserve and feeling like it's about the issues and not the characters. Something, I believe, hard to achieve.

The amount of struggles in this book make us feel more for the characters and their problems and feel closer to them rather feeling like we're watching a PSA or 7th Heaven episode.

While I'll admit that Evangelical Christians might not love this book, I think that Christians still could because it was not a book that just said 'Christianity is bad because it does not all accept homosexuality.' Bible verses were quoted for both sides of the argument. More than anything it seemed an invitation to realize you might not know all of what it said on the subject.

I really appreciated actual facts/quotes being used and it not just being passionate, from the gut arguments because I think it really made the story (and the overall message) stronger. I'm also really happy it was worked in the way it was because it stopped it from being (pardon the pun) preachy.

I'm happy to say that I really loved the ending of this book. There were times when I was sure I knew what should happen, that it seemed nearly cut and dry but then one character or another (or both) would do something or reveal something that would make it less obvious.

10/10 (and thank you to Jodi Picoult for writing a book that addresses these topics!)


received this book from the publisher & as part one of Atria's Salon partners, my blog is one of those hosting a LiveStream with Jodi Picoult tonight at 7pm!!


*I am tagging this 'adult' because it is & 'young adult' because I think it's appropriate for YA readers-maybe not the youngest ones, but most of them



And for whenever I catch this feature back up ;)
I don't even need to figure out a soundtrack for this book--it comes with it's own!!

"INCLUDES A COMPACT DISC OF ORIGINAL SONGS
Music by Ellen Wilber
Lyrics by Jodi Picoult
All songs performed by Ellen Wilber"

There are breaks in the book that tell you when each song applies/starts :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Contests to Enter

I'm having a problem with dizziness so no big posts for today, but here are some contests you should definitely check out:

Signed Hereafter ARC giveaway on Hereafter author Tara Hudson's blog HERE (ends March 7)

Revealing of Sophie Jordan's Vanish cover (Firelight #2) & Firelight giveaway! All info HERE (ends today)


If there are any YA/book related contests I (or anyone else)should enter, please do link them in the comments section!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Human.4 ~ Mike Lancaster ARC review

Human.4
EgmontUSA
March 8, 2011
240 pages

Kyle Straker's small British town has a talent show every year. It's not really a big deal: it's an interesting way to spend the day and the winner might get their picture in the paper.

But when his friend Daniel decides hypnotism is the talent he's going to showcase this year, somehow Kyle gets stuck being one of his 'volunteers'. Kyle can only imagine what will happen while he's one of the four on stage being hypnotized in front of the town (that is if Daniel can even do it) . . .

Only, he definitely never imagined this.

Kyle and the other three awaken to find everyone else acting strangely--like something is wrong with the four of them. Add to that radios, TVs and computers no longer work except to display an odd new language--or what looks like one.

Is this all a part of the hypnosis? Is Kyle going to wake up from a snap of Daniel's fingers to see the crowd in hysterics and find out this was all a joke? Or has everything somehow changed in those moments he under hypnosis?


HUMAN.4 is the best of THE TWILIGHT ZONE (the 60s version, not the newer one) meets DOCTOR WHO (also the newer series/seasons).

It's told, at some unknown point in the future, through a transcription of Kyle's found audio tapes. The editor from that future point (ie the author) also breaks in with explanations--almost footnotes but in little boxes within the text--explaining something or another Kyle has mentioned. Even though readers never really see experience this future, the explanations of (current) everyday places, customs, and phrases gives us a perfect glimpse into it.

While HUMAN.4 is driven a lot by the what's-going-on-ness, it's told by one of the main characters so we also learn about the other characters through him which helps readers relate to them. I very much liked that it gave us enough to care about them and/or understand where they were coming from but not so much that it made the story drag.

What you really need to know about Mike Lancaster's first YA novel, though, is this: it's creepy and one you can't put down.

Yes, the characters are good, yes I adored the little anecdotes, but what kept me reading way past when I should have been asleep was needing to know how it would end! Think of the best B alien movie from the 60s and the way it was outrageous but the characters were really scared, but you also had to see it all. Now make it not cheesy and campy but amazing (while remembering I said it was TWILIGHT ZONE meets DOCTOR WHO).

The idea of being alone is probably what makes this one so troubling. Any dystopian can create a scary world for us all, but Mike Lancaster's shown us what it would be like if maybe (along with a few others), that world was just for us.


10/10


Thank you, thank you to Jennifer at Egmont USA/Goodman Media for sending me this for review

*I'm trying something with the capslock titles...sorry.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jodi Picoult Live Chat ~ Sing You Home

On Monday, March 7, as part of Atria's Salon Series, I am going to be one of the blog's hosting a LiveStream of a live chat with author Jodi Picoult as she discusses her latest novel Sing You Home!

Questions can be tweeted to Jodi Picoult on Twitter by including '#singyouhome' in the tweet @AtriaBooks or asked on Atria Book's Facebook page here (where you can also RSVP). Jodi will answer select questions live during the chat!

I will also have my review of Sing You Home posted on Monday!

Then come back Monday to watch the chat (my post will go live at 6:50 to give you time before everything actually starts).


I'm also going to do a reminder Tweet on so if you're following me, there will be that, as well.

(Thank you Atria Books!)


A question for you though that can be answered here in comments or on Twitter (@thebookspot): Have you read any of Jodi Picoult's books?

If you have, what did you think? If not, are any on your TBR list? (I'll answer soon!)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday ~ The Pledge

So, you remember in my review for Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder #2) when I said "and when oh when can I find out about more either from Kimberly Derting and/or in this series!!!"?

Because I really just cannot wait for another book (be it Body Finder related or not) from Kimberly Derting. Well, now there's at least a cover for her next book so how could it not be my
Waiting On Wednesday?! How, I ask you?!

Never mind that there's not exactly that little thing known as a synopsis ;) I think the fact that Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead wrote it and this fantabulously awesome cover should be enough for you to want to read it . . . I know it is for me!!!

Here's the little bit of synopsis there is . . . (from Goodreads)
A romantic fantasy novel set in a dystopic, war-torn world, in which a teenage girl realizes that she may be the key to saving her country.

Coming November 15, 2011 from Margaret K McElderry an imprint of Simon & Schuster


The Pledge on Amazon (you can't pre-order yet but you can sign up to know when you can!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Vespertine ~ Saundra Mitchell review

The Vespertine
Harcourt Children's Books
March 7, 2011
304 pages
Amazon


Over the summer of 1889, Amelia van der Broek, a slightly rebellious teenager from Maine is sent to Baltimore. New to the city, she's eager to take in the sights, sounds, people--and the education she'll now be getting along with her Baltimore companion and cousin Zora Steward.

The girls enjoy typical lives of whispered gossip, dress fittings and afternoons in the park until it's discovered that at sunset, Amelia is able to experience visions. These visions, seemingly of the future, are never focused on something she can control, only, usually, someone. But soon they make her all the rage of their social circle in a society enthralled by mysticism and those claiming to call upon the spirits.

Zora and Amelia have more than their fair share of callers for the prophecies, but also someone, each, for love. Amelia's interest is quickly and intensely drawn to Nathaniel, an artist so far below her own social standing, to even notice him is forbidden.

With her interest and attention in Nathaniel only growing and a particularly dark vision just waiting to come to fruition, Amelia's place in Baltimore is in jeopardy.


I loved Saundra Mitchell's Shadowed Summer so I was really, really looking forward to reading this, her second book. I don't know if I enjoyed it quite as much but I do know that The Vespertine makes it quite obvious that she is a very talented writer. Not only was The Vespertine set in 1899 but there was a lot of the society from that time brought in to the story and used to enrich it and make it a more enthralling read.

I loved the relationship between Zora and Amelia (it reminded me a bit of the relationship in Prada and Prejudice between Callie and Emily, actually, their obvious closeness and friendship but with one of the girls being more reserved and the other wanting to push the rules more).

It was really great to see the girls' friendships (with the other girls, too) included and the different times Amelia had her 'readings' included because it really built up Amelia and how everyone in Baltimore saw her.

I think that I missed some of the developments between Nathaniel and Amelia, or they just didn't click for me because that was really the only part of the story that I would say was a 'negative' for me.

The Vespertine is a case of a novel being set at a specific time, involving specific characters, and following a specific plot that are all there because they go together. Nothing about this novel seemed to have been 'just because' it's a historical fiction novel that feels incredibly real because of just how well all of the different elements work together.


8/10


(read via NetGalley)
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