Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday

Given that the two authors are friends (so says this review on Goodreads) and the books are about alternate worlds and time travel, respectively, I think it's alright to feature Through To You and Time Between Us together as my Waiting On Wednesday books, don't you?

Waiting On Wednesday Picks:

Through To You by Emily Hainsworth

A romantic sci-fi thriller about love and second chances.

Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the pain meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become, and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.
(synopsis from book's Goodreads page)

I'm in love with the synopsis for this book. It's like Doctor Who's "Doomsday" (Rose. . .) meets Another Earth except it's this awesome original sounding novel and I really, really want to read it like right now!

Also, is that cover not glorious or what? Really it's rather fantabulously pretty.

Know what I'm asking for on my birthday wishlist if I don't somehow get it before (which I will try very much to do, btw) and maybe even if I do? Yeah, this book!

(Out October 2 from Balzer + Bray)

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett’s unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna’s life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, they face the reality that time might knock Bennett back where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate—and what consequences they can bear in order to stay together.

Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, TIME BETWEEN US is a stunning and spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new talent in YA fiction.
(synopsis from book's Goodreads page)

I already said this on Goodreads but it bears repeating here as this is my WOW post for the book - I have been wanting to read a time travel YA book for so, so long. I'm sure there have been some that I missed but I've really been looking for one and now I've found one! Not only that but one of the settings of this book is a place where I've lived (I'm odd and like to read books set places I know even a little bit).

AND its release month is my birthday month so it is made of some extra win right there :-)

(out October 9th from Hyperion)

Did you miss my Black City  Cover Reveal/excerpt/giveaway post earlier this morning? If you did it's H.E.R.E

Cover Reveal: BLACK CITY (+giveaway)

I'm super excited to be one of the bloggers taking part in the cover reveal for Elizabeth Richards' Black City today!!

It's a bit of a long post, but you'll want to check out all of it because there's a synopsis, THE COVER, an excerpt and last but, very not least, a giveaway!!

First a bit about the author:

Elizabeth Richards lives in Buckinghamshire, England and can be found online at

Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist and debut author, who spent her early career writing for videogame publications such as CUBE, P2 and GamesTM,and now works as a website editor. Previously, she ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls. She won the Jane Hayward Young Journalist of the Year award for her feature on girls in the games industry, and was named 'Editor's Choice' in the industry trade magazine, MCV.

A dark and tender postapocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection, that causes Ash’s long dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

Now, aren't you ready to see the cover? (I LOVE it!)

. . . you are? That's good because it's right here, just click 'read more' :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Favorite Mistake ~ Georgina Bloomberg & Catherine Hapka review

My Favorite Mistake: An A Circuit Novel (#2)
Bloomsbury USA Children's
February 28, 2012
256 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon/or Book Depository

My Favorite Mistake co-authored by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka, is the sequel to last year's The A Circuit.

Kate, Tommi and Zara are still very much involved in the horse world as riders on the A Circuit. Tommi has bought Legs, the horse she hopes to train and sell for a profit to prove to her billionaire father that she can make horses a true career, not just a hobby. Kate is working harder than ever at the barn to be able to ride without a rich father (or mother) to pay her way. Zara, the wild daughter of a music celebrity, seems to finally be taking her riding seriously.

What will happen when Tommi meets a new guy who convinces her to skip a horse show to come to his house party in the Hamptons instead? Is Kate working a little too hard? Can she keep up a relationship with Fritz, her riding and all that she thinks she needs to do around the barn? And what of Zara? Can she continue to be dedicated to riding when her dad goes out of town and she gets a "nanny" who may be even more of a party girl than Zara?

You'll have to read My Favorite Mistake to find out!

I really enjoyed My Favorite Mistake. The few things about The A Circuit that kept me from really loving it - the fact that so many characters were touched on but readers never really got to know them and there seemed (at least in memory) to be a lot of drinking - were different in this second book. This one really focused on Kate, Tommi and Zara with Kate and Tommi seeming to be the main focus.

We were able to really get to know the characters much better than in the first book and it helped both the story and my enjoyment of it. The horses and the shows are definitely still there and a very big aspect of the novel (though I felt as if some of the terminology may have been cut back just a bit) so readers looking for that need not worry. We do get to see the more personal side of the shows, though. How Kate works to get things together for the different riders, what clothes are needed, how it affects their personal lives (being committed to the shows for x number of days that week) those sorts of things.

While this book was a bit more tame (in terms of some of their extracurricular activities and their legality), it does still have a bit of a Gossip Girl meets the horse world feel to it - which I suppose is only natural given the characters ages, locale and wealth.

This time, however, the book is much stronger than The A Circuit and I urge you to give it a try even if you were unsure after reading the first in this series.

Rating: 8/10

review part of Bloomsbury's Blog Tours - book received from publisher, thank you :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Why We Broke Up ~ Daniel Handler & Maira Kalman review

Why We Broke Up
Daniel Handler (author), Maira Kalman (illustrator)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
December 27, 2011
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon/or Book Depository

Min, short for Minerva the Roman goddess of wisdom, is the girl everyone calls "arty," the one obsessed with old Hollywood films and their stars. Ed is the popular one, the co-captain of their high school's basketball team. They're not two people who you would think would be a couple, but for a time they were.

Now they're not.

And Min is telling Ed through a letter and a box of mementos why they broke up.

The whole Why We Broke Up novel is a long, long letter (the book is 350+ pages) explaining to him why they broke up. Putting aside the fact that I"m not sure many - if any - teenage boys would read something that long about what they did wrong in a relationship, the book also doesn't feel like the letter is something cathartic for Min. It's a recap of their relationship.

Even knowing that the two of them are ultimately broken up, I couldn't understand why they were together in the first place. Ed's not a terribly nice guy. This is Min saying why they broke up so it's possible all the parts of their relationship that would have made me 'get' them as a couple were left out, but I'm not so sure.

Not liking Ed and not particularly caring for Min, either, I never really connected with the story. Min is definitely a unique character who seems to be well developed. She truly loves classic films and there are a lot of fictional movies talked about, explained and used in the story. In another story I think I would have really liked Min but because I didn't really understand why she and Ed were together in the first place (or stayed together), I couldn't care that much about her epic breakup letter.

The illustrations in the book were great, though. Maira Kalman illustrates the different objects that Min is putting in the box (along with the letter) that she will ultimately deliver to Ed. The colors are great and I love Kalman's style. It's also interesting to actually be able to see the items that Min is referencing.

This novel really relied on Min and Ed, their relationship and ultimately their breakup, as Min and Ed together just did not click for me, the novel in general did not. I did like some of the characters themselves, though - particularly Ed's sister and some of Min's friends.

Rating: 5/10

received, for review, from the publisher - thank you

In My Mailbox Monday

Books received this week:
Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington  (arc - thanks Sourcebooks)

Rock On by Denise Vega (earc thanks NetGalley &; LBYR)

Balthazar by Claudia Gray (Evernight series)

Those are my books . . .what did you get? Maybe you're waiting to get one of the books releasing this week - I have reviews of a couple of them coming in the next few days!!

(Meme info on my 'Schedule/Memes' page)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cinema Saturday

In Time
20th Century Fox
January 31, 2012
PG-13; 109 minutes
IMDb; buy on Amazon; Amazon Instant Video

Time is money. We've all heard the phrase, imagine if it were true. In 2011's In Time starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, each citizen has a life expectancy of 25 years, after that they are given one year - only that year probably won't be a year. Once you turn twenty-five, a clock on your arm starts to count down.

If you're like most of the populations, you're forced to use that year as currency. To pay your rent, to take the bus, to buy groceries, to get a cup of coffee. You'll get paid in time, too, but never quite enough. You'll be literally living day to day. Or hour to hour. Maybe minute to minute.

If you're among the wealthy, if you live outside of the 'ghetto' you're more likely to see your clock go up from the second you turn twenty-five. You'll have more time on your hands than you know what to do with. You can live forever - barring an act of violence.

An ultimate example of income inequality and after Will Salas (Timberlake) finds himself wrongfully accused of murder just after his mother dies - or times out - he's not going to let it stand anymore. Now, on the run and with a hostage (Seyfriend), too - Will searches for a way to make things more equal, more fair.

I love when a movie is smart. I've been saying that I wished this film was based on a novel but after seeing it, I"m almost happy that it isn't. Not because I wouldn't love to see the story novelized, but because it's so rare that an original screenplay is this unique and intelligent.

All of the different 'time' phrases that we use day in and day out without a second thought - time zones, time share, etc - are given completely new meaning in In Time. Losing an hour when switching time zones means almost nothing, but In Time makes you wonder what if it actually meant, literally, losing an hour of your life.

This Robin Hood-esque tale is really much more thoughtful than I expected. We get just enough insight into the characters to care about them and connect with them, enough that it adds to not detracts from the thriller, sci-fi story line.

Any film that can take common every day things - especially one so absolutely every day as time - and put a new spin on how you think about it, is absolutely worth seeing.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pandemonium ~ Lauren Oliver (arc) review

Pandemonium (Delirium #2)
Harper Teen
February 28, 2012
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon/or Book Depository

It's pretty much impossible to keep this spoiler free for Delirium so if you have not yet read that (Pandemonium is the sequel), check out my review here or on Amazon - it is one my favorites.

Now, only keep reading if you enjoy spoileryness for Delirium!

Lena doesn't know where she is. Lena has escaped. At least that's what she remembers. But when she wakes up in a room with a woman or a girl hovering over her with no memory of how she got there, Lena isn't completely sure what's happened. All she knows is that Alex isn't with her.

Soon, Lena learns that she has made it to a new life, in what she used to call the Wilds. It's not going to be an easy life, but then, Lena never expected it to be. Here she is a new person, the old Lena is gone, is dead. Her old life is dead. Just like Alex. She has to push thoughts of him, of her old life away to go on.

Pandemonium is told from alternating points in time: 'Now' (which is the present for Lena) and 'Then' (which picks up at the end of Delirium). We get thrown into the middle of the 'Now,' not knowing exactly why Lena is there or doing what she is doing. It's a bit confusing - not really in a bad way - and learn more and more about what she's doing and why as both the 'Now' and 'Then' timelines progress. Which is why putting really any of it in the synopsis would be spoilery and no fun.

In Delirium we got to hear from the outside, mostly, what Invalids were like but in Pandemonium we get to really see people who are uncured and how they have to live. We get to see the other side of Delirium's society. All that they have to do just to get supplies and food, to survive the cold weather, readers and Lena finally see.

We also get to see who Lena really is. In the 'Now' that can't really be explained because it would spoil it for you, we get to learn a lot about how Lena has changed and see who she is, no matter what side of the fence she is on. And whether being cured or not, 'Invalid' or not really affects how you care about someone.

You don't always see it right away, but Pandemonium, does a brilliant job carrying over - and expanding - a lot of the same themes that Delirium had.

The ending was a bit predictable but character wise I thought what led up to it made a lot of sense and it also left me itching to read book three!

(Pandemonium is so much harder to review than Delirium because so much of the great stuff is later on in the book/would be spoilery to mention!)

Rating: 10/10

huge thank you to Harper for my arc for review

Video Veneris

Today's book trailer is Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey . . . and it's in recognition of the Harper Teen book being offered, in ebook format, for only $1.99 (for a limited time). Here's the trailer:

Cold Kiss links: my review, on, GoodreadsAmazon

Review of Pandemonium coming up!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Dressmaker ~ Kate Alcott (arc) review

The Dressmaker
February 21, 2012
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon/or Book Depository

We all know of the Titanic, the Unsinkable Ship that struck and iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912. The ship, touted as the greatest ship ever built has had numerous novels written about it - and the eponymous film we've seen so many times made about it. What most of us don't know is what after the sinking of the RMS Titanic. That's where The Dressmaker comes in.

Tess Collins' is looking for a way to escaping working for the family that employs her when she runs to the docks the day the Titanic is disembarking from Cherbourg. She manages to finagle her way into working for the famous Lady Lucile Doff Gordon as a maid - for now. Tess knows how to sew, not be a maid, but will do whatever it takes to start a new life.

The firs part of the book is filled with Tess and Lady Duff Gordon, "Madame's" life onboard the Titanic. Readers are introduced to many of the same characters they may already be familiar with from some other semi-fictional Titanic themed works: Isidor Straus, Margaret Brown, the Astors, and of course, Cosmo Duff Gordon as well as characters unique to The Dressmaker. The first class workings of the ship are also (minimally) introduced.

The sinking of the ship occurs rather quickly. Yet, not at all, without emotion. While there is so much of the novel left that you know that at least some of these main characters are going to survive the sinking, it still puts a hitch in your throat to read.

Where Titanic left viewers with Rose arriving safely in New York, in The Dressmaker that is really just where Tess' journey begins. This novel delves into the hearings that were held, investigating what happened on the Titanic - who, if anyone, was to be held accountable and really shows the different ways different survivors reacted. Both to simply surviving as well as to how and/or why they did survive.

It's is definitely a side of the RMS Titanic tragedy that is rarely examined in fiction and I greatly enjoyed it being a part here. Especially as it ran parallel (yet also a great part of) to Tess attempting to begin that new life she was so bound and determined to start that day on the docks.

What is truly fantastic about The Dressmaker - aside from the fictional aspects that are a part of it - is that very, very few if any of the characters are identifiable as good or bad. The characters are so many shades of gray that it's hard to really decide which to side with. Some of it, sure, is the situation. After such a traumatic event it's hard to dislike even those that appear to have made questionable decisions but it also makes it easier to forgive the seeming 'good' guys who do some odd things or believe in the 'bad' guys who do a good thing.

The characters were incredibly human in that regard. There was no set good guy with a halo over their halo or an identifiable devil (at least not among the main characters). It was nice that the morality and decisions of most of the characters seemed murkier than dishwater most of the time.

Kate Alcott's novel not only gives us a marvelous glimpse into what happened after the Carpathia docked, but also what 1914 New York was like - for women, in fashion, as a city. It's a remarkable novel, that I really enjoyed.

Rating: 10/10

(thank you to the publisher for my arc)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or "glitch"), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.
This reminds me - in the ittiest, bittiest, but also best way - of Angie Smibert's Memento Nora. Only in Glitch instead of having their bad/painful memories erased and the main character(s) being different for remembering its destructive emotions that have been erased from society yet they retain . . . and why Zoe, the main character here has them is also different (see why I said 'ittiest bittiest' now?).

Can't wait for August to roll around and this to come out!

Glitch will be published August 7 by St Martin's Press - on Goodreads, on Amazon, on Book Depository

Don't You Wish by Roxanne St Claire

When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad's whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she's Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she's the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school.

In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilirating . . . and illegal. Here she's got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she's ever seen.

But on the inside, Ayla is still Annie.

So when she's offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?

The choice isn't as simple as you think.
Definitely an interesting premise - it starts out a little silly sounding but sounds like it really has some heart. I love the questions it sounds like it presents, too. Plus, fun contemporaries are always a joy to read - when they're well conceived, executed and written, of course! :)

Don't You Wish is out July 10th and published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers - on Goodreads, on Amazon and on Book Depository

Monday, February 20, 2012

Midnight in Austenland ~ (eARC) Shannon Hale review

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2/companion to Austenland)
Bloomsbury USA
January 31, 2012
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon/or on Book Depository

It's time for another trip to Austenland - this time for a different character .

Charlotte Kinder hasn't taken a vacation since her divorce and, after a discovering a love of all things Austen, she decides on Austenland for her two week trip. The manor house at Pembrook Park provides an immersion experience in all things Austen - from hair to clothing to food to speech to pastimes, everything guests do, say, hear, eat and touch is expected to replicate the regency period. Actors are even hired to play gentlemen from that period and help the guests play out their Austen dreams.

But after some time Charlotte worries their parlor games of Bloody Murder and their ghost stories are becoming too real. Did she really find a dead body in that hidden room upstairs? What really has Miss Greenside ill? And is someone there an actual murderer or just a very good actor? Or both?

If you read Austenland but haven't decided whether or not to read Midnight in Austenland, yet, here is your answer: Do it! While Austenland was definitely a fun, quick read, Midnight in Austenland is so much more. I liked Austenland okay, but I really, really liked Midnight in Austenland. I don't know if it the little bit of added length (it's hard to compare paperback and hardcover length) or the difference in the main characters or what, but Midnight in Austenland just clicked more.

Lovers of Austenland need not fret, though. Everything fantatbulous about Austenland is back - and in spades. There's still the regency traditions that no one - at least those that aren't Austenland actors or regulars - can grasp at first and the Austen-era dress and formality. And, of course, the gorgeous actors hired to play love interests.

The beginning has quite a bit of Austen sounding narration. I don't know if it falls off as the book progresses, there's less need for it or I just got used to it - but it's definitely noticeable and well done in the beginning.

This time, however, there's a bit of a mystery - possibly a murder and maybe some ghosts - thrown in, too.  It doesn't make the book hokey at all and everyone keeping things Austen while also playing games of 'find the murderer' or 'is there a ghost?' makes for unbelievable fun. It also helps make it incredibly hard to tell whether everything is fake - part of Austenland - or if there's really something nefarious happening.

Charlotte's also a great main character. She has a background - and a 'why' she came to Austenland - that propel the story forward well. The parts of her 'before' that we get interspersed with the Austenland parts really help to make her a likable and sympathetic character.

Overall, this book focuses less on romance than Austenland did - there's a whole extra intrigue angle thrown in - but the relationships that are built are strong and well written.

Rating: 8/10

Friday, February 17, 2012

Video Veneris

The book trailer I'm posting today is for Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson - it's short and simple but sometimes those are the best and most powerful.

came out February 2 - published by Nancy Paulsen Books (a Penguin imprint)
find on Goodreads, Amazon, or Book Depository

A Grown Up Kind of Pretty ~ Joshilyn Jackson (eARC) review

A Grown Up Kind of Pretty
Grand Central Publishing
January 25, 2012
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon/or Book Depository

A Grown Up Kind of Pretty was not quite as outrageous as the other two Joshilyn Jackson books (Between, Georgia and Gods in Alabama) that I've read, but it certainly wasn't about your quiet unassuming, average everyday folk, either.

Mosey Slocumb is fifteen, an age that would be hard enough on its own without the whole town watching you, just waiting for you to get pregnant. After all, it's what the Slocumb girls do when they're fifteen, they have babies. Mosey's mama did, Liza did and her mama, Big, did, too.

With Liza recovering from the stroke she suffered several months ago and Mosey still flat as a board and not interested i boys, there's really no worry of her getting pregnant but soon that's just about the last thing on their minds . . .

A tiny grave is unearthed when a tree is taken being taken out in their backyard. Finding out just how it got there - especially with Liza unable to talk to them about her more than checkered past - will push all three past where they thought they could go.

Mosey, Liza and Big (her name is Ginny but Mosey calls her big - and Liza did when she could speak so she's refereed to as Big in the chapter titles and most of the book) are certainly not a conventional family but they are a strong one. Big, especially, has gone through a lot in her, really, rather short life. We learn of the hardships she had after having a baby at fifteen and then later on when Liza was older and now after Liza had her stroke, but she does an excellent job keeping the three of them together. She is the one working, hard as she can, to keep them all together and safe after the grave is found in the backyard and stirs up all kinds of potential trouble for them.

I loved that chapters were told from each of their points of view so we got to see a bits of their past as well as how each of them viewed the current goings on. Not having it be told by one, first person narrator also allows the reader to see things about each character that they would not have allowed the other characters to bear witness to and third person would not have worked as well with Liza being one of the main characters - or working the memories, past events in.

The multiples first person narration was a great way to tell A Grown Up Kind of Pretty.

The ending was fantastic in terms of the familial relationships and each characters story getting wrapped up. We got to see how they each grew and  developed because of the different things that happened and how their relationships with each other were different. I was a little disappointed about how the legal part of things wrapped up, though.  I was curious for the whole book how that was going to go - and at the end kept wondering how it was going to conclude with such a little bit left - and I'm not sure it really did get resolved.

Part of it obviously did and the characters seemed happy with it and maybe I'm wrong but it just seemed like legally there would have been more required. (Maybe not, though.)

This book was just about as great as Joshilyn Jackson's first two!

Rating: 8/10

Thanks to GrandCentral and NetGalley for my egalley of this title

Other books you might like: Fancy White Trash by Marjetta Geerling and Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Thirteen

In honor of Valentine's Day being this week, here are 13 book couples (not necessarily romantic) that I find fantastic:

Great Book Couples

  1. Ember and Chase (Article 5 by Kristen Simmons)
  2. Luke and London (Forgotten by Cat Patrick)
  3. Lola and Cricket (Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins)
  4. Violet and Colin (Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey)
  5. Quinn and someone that if I remember stating here might be spoilery (Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker)
  6. Jo and Devin (Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey)
  7. Bryn and Devon (Raised by Wolves - series, actually - by Jennifer Lynn Barnes)
  8. Cody and Abby (Fancy White Trash by Marjetta Geerling)
  9. April and Hudson (Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski)
  10. Cass and Gideon (Time After Time by Sue Haasler)
  11. Jordan and Courtney (Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt)
  12. Kat and Hale (Heist Society by Ally Carter)
  13. Sylvie and Rhys (The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore)

Like my new layout??

New Layout

Book Sp(l)ot Reviews has a new layout!!! - isn't it shiny (sadly, not really) and pretty?

(and some buttons, too - one's on the left sidebar, others are here)

*needs a good ta-da!! image*

The Disenchantments ~ Nina LaCour (ARC) review

The Disenchanments
Dutton Children's Books
February 16, 2012
307 pages
add on Goodreads/buy on Amazon/or Book Depository

While everyone else has been deciding scouring college brochures, taking college tours, filling out applications and finally deciding where to attend, Colby has been planning a much different post-high school experience. After high school he has long planned to spend a week touring Northern California with his best friend Bev and her all-girl band before the two jet off to Europe for a year. He's spent his high school life looking over European public transport maps, planning their adventures deciding where they need to go.

It's all set.

Until Bev announces, just after they start the tour, that she plans to start college right after the tour.

What does this mean for Colby? For his future?

As a huge fan of LaCour's first novel Hold Still I was absolutely thrilled to see this book up for offer on Early Reviewers - even more so to win it. While it is so incredibly different from Hold Still, it also has a friendship that is strained - albeit for a different reason - and features LaCour's great writing.

The tour that The Disenchantments (and really, Th Disenchantments themselves) take is so far from ordinary or boring that it's absolutely fantastic. They each have their own little quirks and unique traits - the obvious Bev's awesome art; Colby's gifted drawing; Meg's pink hair or Alexa's feathers - to the one's that we discover along the way, all things that make them not only more interesting, but also characters we really care about.

Even The Disenchanments being horrible (as in they are not a good band, not all that musically gifted) makes them incredibly endearing.

I love the places that they go to on their tour. It says not only something about their tour planner, but also about why they are in this band - and why they've really gone on this tour in the first place. This isn't a tour for the glitz, glamour and fame, it's for them and that's beautiful.

Oh, and the people they encounter, especially Jasper! Each of them could have their own story; they are such strong side characters. They aren't throw-away, extra characters that are just there to be there. All of the characters, no matter how minor really add something to the story.

I was thrilled with the ending - I had been hoping for it, it was a bit different than I expected but I think it's even better than I hoped.

Probably my only issue with The Disenchantments at all, and it's a minor one, is, a few times, Colby seemed more feminine. Possibly an effect of being around as many girls or LaCour writing a male character in with so many female ones . . . or just my interpretation of things. But that's about it.

Rating: 9/10

(review copy provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers' and Penguin)

Waiting On Wednesday

I wasn't able to post yesterday - migraines are so not fun - so I'm doing yesterday and today's posts today . . .

Blind Spot by Laura Ellen

Sixteen year old Roswell Hart is used to missing things. With macular degeneration, an eye disease that robs her of central vision (and it seems, best friends too), Roz is constantly piecing together bits and pieces to make sense of her life. But she has always managed without help. When she finds she’s been placed in a special needs class, Roz begins a desperate attempt to prove she is ‘normal’. Her attempts cause her to make some very wrong choices and be blind to everything going on around her. When her classmate Tricia Farni is found dead and Roz was the last person to see her alive, Roz must find what she missed that awful night. Problem is, she doesn’t remember..

Hopefully using the synopsis from the author's website is okay - I like it much, much better than the one on Goodreads! (It's good too, but this one does more with the main character and makes her a lot more interesting.)

I have known a few people with macular degeneration - all older - there was a TV documentary about younger people that have it and Tanya Huff's Blood Books series featured a main characters with it . . . This book being by an author who, herself, has the disease and features a younger character should offer a great perspective - both on what it's like to have that kind of eye condition, but also just how it is to be young and have there be something 'different' about you. Or at least, something that makes you different to some others.

I love that it has both Roz's personal struggle but also the murder mystery, as well.

I'm really interested - and excited - to read this.

(Also, is that cover not gorgeous?)

out October 23, 2012 from Harcourt Children's (and just like I said on Goodreads, that's perfect timing for me to either get it for my birthday or review it then ;))

find it on Goodreads, Amazon or Book Depository and find the author on her website or Twitter

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Various Positions ~ Martha Schabas (eARC) review

Various Positions
Farrar Straus Giroux
February 14, 2012
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon/or on Book Depository 

*review may contain some spoilers*

Georgia's whole life revolves around ballet. She dreams of being a professional ballerina - despite her father not supporting her ambition - and is thrilled when she receives an audition for the Royal Ballet Academy. Attending will mean no more awkward parties with the kids from her local school, no more games of spin the bottle she doesn't want to play, she'll be able to truly focus on ballet.

But when Georgia does get in, she finds herself surrounded by girls she does like, who can be her friends but who seem obsessed with boys and sex. Something she doesn't like to think about.

Dancing is her escape. A reprieve from her boy-crazy friends and her dysfunctional family - a father who's always at work and a mother who is 'emotional.'

At the Academy she becomes focused on being her instructor Roderick's perfect - and sexless - student. She will practice all of the time, show him how dedicated she is, and how she's not always thinking about sex like the other girls. Then he will see her as professional dancer material.

Things in Various Positions are not entirely as they are presented - or maybe just not as I perceived them to be presented. There is a lot in the novel about the female body and how it is sexualized and seen as a negative thing - both by women themselves and by others. I think that's a noble point to have, especially in a YA novel and one about ballet, too, but for me it didn't quite come across.

Georgia went from not being almost scared of anything sexual and her body in general - liking that it was so immature still and not womanly yet to being rather overly aware of both things. Almost constantly thinking about both her body and others' bodies. She was looking at a porn site on the internet, thinking about how people compared to the women there, etc.

I do think that this all tied in with her parents' relationship - both the basis of it and its current state - as well as how she was currently fairing at the ballet Academy, but I couldn't get into the story enough to connect it all. The change in Georgia as well as some of her actions were a little too extreme for me - as well as the (seeming) almost constant talk by her friends about sex - to really get into and enjoy Various Postions.

There is a great plot under the sexual stuff that was just too much for me. On the surface its just Georgia figuring out how to fit in at her new ballet school and get away from her screwy family, but it really looks at how girls' face a lot of pressure to be thin or sexy (or not sexy) in so many different ways - and the ballet world's a perfect place to set that.

My rating: 5/10 stars

read thanks to NetGalley and the publisher

Other reviews of Various Positions: at Lives to Read (4/5 stars) and at My 5 Monkeys (gave it a D)

Other Books You Might Like: Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Monday, February 13, 2012

In My Mailbox Monday

This week I received . . .

from LBYR for review:

The Rivals (sequel to The Mockingbirds) by Daisy Whitney (yay)!

from Bloomsbury for blog tour:

My Favorite Mistake (sequel to The A Circuit) by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka

and from Penguin:

Vampires's Kiss: The Watchers (sequel to Isle of Night) by Veronica Wolff - I really need to get Isle of Night now . . .it was one I meant to read this past fall but never did!

(In My Mailbox & Mailbox Monday meme info on 'Schedule page')

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cinema Sunday

Cinema Saturday Sunday: Abduction and The Whistleblower

this week's Cinema Saturday is bumped back a day to, well, today but it does feature two movies so hopefully you can forgive the delay . . .

Lions Gate
January 17, 2012
106 minutes
IMDb/Amazon/Amazon Instant Video

Nathan (Taylor Lautner) is working on a sociology project with his class partner Karen (Lily Collins) when they discover what appears to be a photo of him as a young child on a missing kid's website. A quest to discover who he - and his parents - really are sets of a chain of events that he never could have anticipated.

Abduction is sort of an action movie mixed with a teen movie. It's not quite a full out action movie, but it's not quite not an action movie, either. Nathan's decision to investigate why his photo is on the missing children's website brings violence and a lot of dangerous people into his life and put him - and Karen - on the run.  He's forced to question who's really there to help him and who's trying to kill him.

While Jason Statham are probably still the best go-to action movies, Abduction strikes a very good balance for anyone who doesn't love the really violent movies but wants some more action in their flicks while keeping a full story. Taylor Lautner is also pretty promising as more of an action movie actor and not just a drama, soapy teen movie star.

It's not a thinking movie, but it's fun, there are pretty people in it, and it's a nice way to spend a few hours.

The Whistleblower
20th Century Fox
January 24, 2012
112 minutes
IMDb/Amazon/Amazon Instant Video

About a much different topic, this film is based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovacm a police officer fro Lincoln, Nebraska who took a job as a UN peacekeeper in Bosnia. The job is presented as an almost cushy one to Bolkovacm who is having a hard time getting a job transfer to follower her ex-husband who is moving with their daughter across the country - $100,000 for six months in post-war Bosnia.

When she gets their, however, she finds a corrupt police force and a human trafficking scandal that may make its way all the way into the very organization for which she works.

Based on fact The Whistleblower is a hard, hard movie to watch. With an R rating for " disturbing violent content" among other things, The Whistleblower does not brush over what happens to the girls who are trafficked or the people who try to bring what is happening to them to light. What happens after a war is not something we always think about - just like Bolkovacm didn't - and this really gave me, at least, more than a minute of pause. The independent contractors and the way countries struggle to rebuild themselves when it's easy to simply celebrate the end of a war is definitely something to think about.

On top, of course, of great performances from some fantastic women: Rachel Weisz, Vanessa Redgrave and Monica Bellucci all did great acting jobs here.  As did some other actors - most of whom I have not ever seen in other films (Roxana Condurache (Raya), especially).

Reading Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo first drew my attention to to the Bosnian war and was part of my interest in this film. While it's incredibly sad to see how the girls, in particular, suffered during and after this war, I really appreciate the film - and Ms Bolkovacm for making sure things didn't stay hidden. As hard as it can be to watch - and know - this is really a movie worth watching.

Thank you to ThinkJam for The Whistleblower for this review - Abduction obtained otherwise

Friday, February 10, 2012

Video Veneris [Slide]

I am trying, trying, trying to hold off on reading my arc of this until I read two more books (they come out soon and i need to finish them) but it's oh so very hard . . .  maybe it will help if I post the trailer today so you all can be just as anxious to read it as I am??

The trailer for this weeks Video Veneris (Friday) is the trailer for Jill Hathaway's Slide:

Slide, a 2012 debut novel by Jill Hathaway comes out March 27 and is published by Balzer + Bray
(Slide on Goodreads, Amazon, Jill's blog, website, & Twitter)

Giveaway of Pure by Julianna Baggott ~ enter HERE
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