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Monday, May 31, 2010

May in Review

Books Read and Reviewed (Click links):
1. A Golden Web by Barbara Quick
2. Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
3. The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
4. Claire De Lune by Christine Johnson
5. A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
6. The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
7. The Ghost & the Goth by Stacey Kade
8. A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner

Read, but not reviewed: (updated with review links now)
9. Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy*
10. Wake by Lisa McMann*
11. Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland
12. The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox
13. The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi
14. The Day Keeper's Grimoire (Prophecy of Days, book 1) by Christy Raedeke*
15. Knife by R.J. Anderson
16. Wayfarer by R.J. Anderson*
17. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey*
18. Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony*

(*still not reviewed)

Challenge updates:
Clear Away the Clutter Mini-Challenge: Read 12 books (29 total) - This one is now OVER! :) I met my goal of 20 books or more!
Graphic Novels Challenge: Read 0 books (46 total)
CYBILS Award Challenge: Read 0 books (29 total for MG GNs, 8 total for YA GNs, and 25 total for YA Fantasy)
Debut Author Challenge: Read 11 books (32 total)
Reading From My Shelf Project: Read 3 book (19 total)
Books Won Reading Challenge: 0 book read (3 total)

Did AWESOME on the Debut Author challenge.. but lacking in a bunch of others. I need to start really concentrating on the CYBILS this summer. :)

Well, that's what I did this month. Still way behind review wise, which is killing me, but with all my new free time I can hopefully catch up!
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It's Monday, What are you Reading?




This fantastic meme is now hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.

I'm hoping to catch up with reviews once school is out. I'll knock a few out tonight with Blogoversary posts hopefully. :-D I know, I'm a bad blogger!

Read this past week: (reviews coming soon)
Knife by R.J. Anderson
Wayfarer by R.J. Anderson
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony

Currently Reading:
The Lost Children by Carolyn Cohagan
What Happened on Fox Street by Trisha Springstubb
Evermore by Alyson Noel (audiobook)

Upcoming:
Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
This is Me From Now On by Barbara Dee
Read more...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Spotlight - The Library Lurker

Today I have with me a teen blogger who is really passionate about books and libraries - my kind of person! Check her and her blog out below.

Name:
Taylor
Nickname and/or blog name: The Library Lurker
Blog URL: www.librarylurker.blogspot.com

Tell me a bit about yourself.
Hi everyone, I'm Taylor! I'm a sixteen year old who's loved reading for as long as I can remember. Reading is my passion, but I also play alto sax in the marching band and my iPod is usually glued to my ears. I have an addiction to People Magazine and Diet Coke. I really love being a part of the blogging community!


When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog about four months ago. I'd been reading YA book blogs for about half a year before that, and then one day I decided that I was tired of being left out of all the fun and started my own! I'm so glad that I did, it's a lot of fun and everyone is so nice!


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
My blog is a place where I review almost all of the books that I read, most of them YA. The Library is my book resource of choice, so I don't review many new releases, but I'm fine with that. A good book is a good book, right? It doesn't matter what year it was released. I do In My Mailbox and Waiting on Wednesday, but no other regular memes. I recently introduced a feature on my blog called Top Shelf, where I spotlight some of my favorite books.


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
I love all genres in YA, but I have a soft spot for Historical Fiction. I love Harry Potter and anything by Meg Cabot and Sarah Dessen. Those are my comfort reads; what I know that I'll enjoy reading, whether it's the first time or the fifth.


How do you find out about the books you read?
Before my blogging days I would just walk into a bookstore/the library, and browse, picking out what I thought looked good. Sometimes that ended up badly. Now almost all of the books that I read I've seen on a blog somewhere. That's not to say that I don't just randomly pick library books off the shelves, because I do that too. =D


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
If you're thinking about it, do it. If you don't, every time you read someone else's blog you're going to be going "I could do that." If you just do it, you'll be happy that you put yourself out there.

If you're just starting out, comment comment comment! Not only is it a really nice thing to do, but it will get your blog out there and recognizable. Also, enjoy what you're doing. If you don't like doing it, no one is going to want to read it.


Thank you Taylor for that great advice and sharing all about you and your blog!

If you're interested in being a spotlighted blogger, please fill out this form.


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A Spotlight Review - Going Too Far

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Review by: Storywings
Rating: 5/5


HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO?

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn’t make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge – and over....

My Thoughts:



I absolutely LOVE this book!!!

This is by far the best book I have read in a long time. It is so unbelievably powerful.

We view the story from Meg’s point of view, she’s rebellious, she hates the rules and she does everything she can to break them. I can connect to Meg on so many levels that it’s almost scary because I have been there, and in some ways probably still am. Meg has issues yes and they are very real, explain a lot and create a powerful yet vulnerable character.

John doesn’t see it that way, he sees it as kids being reckless and breaking the rules for the sake of breaking the rules, and because of their own stupidity.

And so they are thrown together for a week’s ride doing Johns grave yard shift. John orchestrates it to teach Meg a lesson because he has his own lesson to teach from pain he has felt in the past. The banter that ensues is absolutely hilarious, Meg constantly questioning and John trying to be an intimidating cop.

We start to see changes in the way Meg thinks, and I love the occasional loathing of her blue hair. What once seemed a good idea, now just seems silly.

Meg grows so much during this book that it’s inspiring. John grows as well but as we are seeing his growth through Megs POV we don’t see it as dominantly as Meg’s.

The romance that buds between our main characters is beautiful. It isn’t rushed, and there is a lot of doubt and going out on limbs. I loved how Meg was attempting to convince herself that she was developing Stockholm syndrome instead of admitting that she was starting to crush on a police officer.

I also loved the fact that to get around Meg’s fear of commitment John would plan things without telling her and let her think that it was her idea. Of course she caught on after the fact, but it was still so beautiful to watch.

There aren’t enough words I can use to explain how much I love this book, how much I can connect with it. I still get butterflies when I think about Going Too Far, hell I’ve even got butterflies right now as I’m writing this, I will probably get them again when I post it and a million times after that when I see it on various pages it ends up on.

As soon as I finished it I had the urge to read it again, I still do now and I think it’s attempting to take up permanent residence on my bedside table just tempting me to pick it up and revisit the story of Meg and Johnafter.

I love this book so much and even if the idea of teen angst doesn’t appeal to you, I still implore you to pick it up because it is a story so touching, so moving and so unbelievably powerful that even a person who doesn’t cry often was brought to tears over.
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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Spotlight - Storywings

Today I have another international blogger with me - one from Australia! StoryWings is a great blog and I love reading Amanda's reviews. Check her out below!

Name:
Amanda-Lee
Nickname and/or blog name: StoryWings
Blog URL: storywings.blogspot.com




Tell me a bit about yourself.
Basically, I am and 18 year old Aussie Chick who absolutely adores reading. I am three years into a four year accounting diploma and by day work in a hardware shop as an accounts person.

I read whenever I get the chance, and am writing when I'm not reading. In the car are my favourite places to read and write.


When and why did you start your blog?
I started Storywings, back when it was The Storyteller in August 2009, it was originally a writing blog that flopped severely after only 2 weeks of existence. In January 2010 Storywings was revamped and turned into a Book review blog after my love of obsessive reading returned in October 2009. Not just one book every now and then, but a book a day and a constant inflow of new material.


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
My blog is about providing as much interesting information about the books I love as possible. I am eclectic in the way I read, and I will also pick up a book purely because of its cover. I have three of my own reading challenges that I'm running, the Paranormal Reading Challenge, The Impossible Reading Challenge and the Stand Alone Book (SAB) reading challenge.

For the last couple of months it has been a constant flow of contests, all of my contests are international because I hate reading about a good contest only to realize I can't enter it.


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
Currently my blog has been featuring a lot of PNR, YA, UF and Thriller. Just because that is what I'm currently into.

I don't really stalk authors (except Jeaniene Frost - I LOVE YOU), and I really couldn't name many off the top of my head purely because I read what catches my eye.

I read a lot of series so I will list my favourite series so far:
Night Huntress Series (Cat&Bones)
Vampire Academy
Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries
Liveship Trader Series
Twilight << I hate admitting it to people, but I do love the books

And then there are three of my all time favourite books:
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles


How do you find out about the books you read?
Mainly through other book bloggers, I keep track of the books I read through my own blog and through Shelfari where I have also found a lot of the books I want to read.

Also when I'm out and about, shopping, I actually hate walking into book stores, because I can never ever find what I want.


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
For any kind of blog, make sure you have the time, to post and keep up with what you're starting.
Also make sure that you always have a stockpile of material. If I'm posting a lot of reviews, I don't post meme's because it's too much clutter, but if i haven't had time to write reviews then i will fall back on the meme's. This isn't always the best or most professional strategy but it works for me.
Start a blog for the right reasons as well. When I started reviewing books in January I just did it because I loved reading and I wanted to share my thoughts, but I have heard of people who start blogging just to get free books, if that is why you want to blog, I suggest you stop before you even start.


Thank you Amanda-Lee for stopping by today, what great advice! I totally agree that you should blog because you love blogging/reading/etc. Make sure to check out her blog today and leave her some comment love!

If you're interested in being a spotlighted blogger, please fill out this form.


Read more...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Link a Contest Thursday!



Rules (or at least STRONG suggestions):
1. Name the item being given away (instead of the blog name)
2. Give the end date in () after the name
3. Make sure to link DIRECTLY to that contest post - if you don't know how to do this - just click on the title of the contest blog and it will give a direct URL you can use.
4. If you want to post a contest you've found, make sure it isn't already posted.



Read more...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Upcoming Blogoversary

So, I'm pretty sure I'm settled on what I want to do for my Blogoversary in about 10ish days. . . Do you remember my birthday bash back in December? Was that too long ago...

Here's a refresher - I did a comment contest with a few winners and then gave a book away each day in the month of December.. that's right. It was insane.

So, I'm scaling back slightly... a book giveaway - every OTHER day. How does that sound? I also love my comment contests so I will be doing a box of books for US and then internationally a book of choice from the Book Depository. Sound good?

So, I'm also putting it out there again - if you want to donate a book to contest off one of the days or write me up some sort of guest post/guest review - I would love you forever. Just shoot me an email at dragonzgoil at gmail dot com.

And, would it be more fun if the box of books was a mystery - or listed out? What do you guys think?

Other than that, I'm just excited to start giving away books. I have a stack I've been building up - some signed ARCs, etc... :) I just love contests, don't you?
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Meeting Authors (4)

So, this past week was FANTASTIC in terms of meeting authors.

Last Tuesday, I headed off to Barnes and Noble to see Holly Black (White Cat) and Sarah Rees Brennan (The Demon's Lexicon). Little did we know that there was a secret room, right behind where they were signing... I had to take a picture...





So, Sarah and Holly were HILARIOUS. I've met Holly before, but Sarah really just blew me away with her hilarity. The pictures below are them showing us an old con called Dog in a Bar - only their using an Octopus, that's right.. It was a classic con and since Holly's book is about a con artist, it fit perfectly.



My husband Chris was in charge of the camera and he got some great shots. Holly thought I looked familiar and was glad when I told her we'd met before and she wasn't really going crazy.





They both brought a bunch of cool swag and I snagged the White Cat gloves by asking the first question of the night - go me!




The three of us together - Sarah Rees Brennan, me, and Holly Black.


Funny enough, the next night, I saw Tony DiTerlizzi, who cowrote the Spiderwick Chronicles with Holly. He was doing a prepub with Andersons for his latest book called The Search For Wondla. We were really late so I missed the table chat with him, but he had a fantastic slideshow with some other drawings in the book.

And... his book is going to have three pages that you can interact with on the computer (if you have a webcam). It's called Augmented reality and it's really really cool. Basically you hold up the image to your computer when you get to his website and you can interact with a virtual map of the world the book is set in and follow along with where the characters have been thus far. Really, really cool!

So, it was fantastic to finally meet Tony - absolutely love his artwork and books.





Then, on Friday (I shared some of this story on my IMM vlog), I got an email from my Penguin contact Sheila - who I met at Robin Benway's signing. She had some last minute cancellations for a dinner in Chicago with Andrea Cremer (author of Nightshade) and a bunch of booksellers, so she invited me to come along. So, knowing it was a nice joint, I ran home, showered, pulled on something nice and headed out to Chicago.

Okay, first of all - the food blew me away - Lobster Ravioli??? YUM! We had a private room and I got to talk to Sheila a lot and Becky from Andersons for the first part of the dinner. Then, Andrea switched sides and I got to chat her up about her book and what she's currently working on. It was fantastic - I couldn't believe how great it was. I was sad Erica from The Book Cellar couldn't make it, but she was working. Sara from The Hiding Spot was also invited, but she lives too far to have made it that last minute. I was nervous going by myself, but it was so much fun.

I hope Andrea comes back to Chicago soon! :)




Andrea Cremer and me :-D

Coming up this week: None.. which makes sense with BEA - all the authors tend to be there, along with booksellers. Next week I will post about authors I would LOVE to meet next. :-D

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Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Monday, What are you Reading?




This fantastic meme is now hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.


Read this past week: (reviews coming soon)
The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox
The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi
The Day Keeper's Grimoire (Prophecy of Days, book 1) by Christy Raedeke

Currently Reading:
Knife by R.J. Anderson
The Lost Children by Carolyn Cohagan

Upcoming:
Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
Wayfarer by R.J. Anderson
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
Winter Longing by Trisha Mills

So, only three last week, but I'm hoping to read about 7 this coming week - we'll see how well I do! :)
Read more...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Spotlight Review - The Looking Glass Wars


(*cough* One of my favorite books *cough*)

Title: The Looking Glass Wars
Author: Frank Beddor
Review by: The Golden Eagle
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5

It starts out with Alyss Heart, Princess of Wonderland, on her birthday. On that day, her aunt Redd, who was originally the heir to the throne, decides to take over Wonderland and dispose of her sister Genevieve. Ordered by his queen to protect Alyss, Hatter Madigan and the princess escape through the Pool of Tears. They are, unfortunately, separated in the Pool, and Alyss seems forever lost to Wonderland. Hatter, of course, being the head--or, more precisely, the former head of the Millinery--searches for Alyss all over time and the world, but to no avail.

I really enjoyed this book (it is a trilogy) and it has a good balance of different aspects. There is vengeance, (you really cannot have a good book without it) power-driven plots, (Redd in particular) scheming denizens, amazing fighters and war strategy, manipulation, emotion, and, of course, romance.

The really interesting thing about this book, is how the people in it manage to outwit their opponents, with Imagination. Imagination is simply the ability to, well, imagine things. It is used for war and anything else, but only some have it. It is either Imagination, or brute strength or some special skill. Hatter Madigan is such a person, since he is one with Millinery abilities; i. e. extremely formidable fighting techniques, including a top hat that turns into a flying blade.

One thing that I really appreciate, is that Frank Beddor did not overplay the romance in the least. You will not find the much and gush of Twilight in this trilogy, and that is an excellent attribute. Dodge and Alyss are in love, every book has some romance it seems, but it is quieter, and they are able to balance their priorities. And it is not as easy as Meyer's characters or a more love-oriented book; Dodge and Alyss are more complex and much, much more interesting.

So my summary is: Read this book, and probably everyone can find something in it that appeals to them.
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In My Mailbox - May 23rd

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.




Won:
Signed Sneak Peek booklet of The Karma Club
From Kate @ The Neverending Shelf:
Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Deception by Lee Nichols
From Alyssa @ The Shady Glade:
Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

Swapped:
Zorro by Isabel Allende
Snap by Carol Snow
Banana Ninja by Robert Piotrowski

For Review:
What Happened on Fox Street by Trisha Springstuff
Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev (from Traveling ARC Tours)
Wayfarer by R.J. Anderson (from Traveling ARC Tours)
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (from Traveling ARC Tours)
Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthonly (from Around the World Tours)
Winter Longing by Trisha Mills (from Around the World Tours)
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
The Evil Within by Nancy Holder
Battle Dress by Amy Efaw
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin
Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Something Like Fate by Susanne Colasatti
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Grace by Elizabeth Scott
Somebody Everyone Listens To by Suzanne Supplee
Trance by Linda Gerber
The Ten Mile River by Paul Griffin
The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin


Seriously.. watch the video if you want the cool story on how I got all these amazing books.

Have a great reading week!

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Sunday Spotlight - The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

I love meeting new bloggers, and I really am loving this next blogger's blog. Nothing like a different perspective to inspire you to read something. Check her out below!

Name:
The Golden Eagle
Nickname and/or blog name: The Eagle's Aerial Perspective
Blog URL: http://thegoldeneaglesblog.blogspot.com

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

Tell me a bit about yourself.
I am an Chinese teenager living in the US who was adopted in 1998. I enjoy reading, writing, learning, being independent, and love animals of any kind.


When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog at the end of February 2010, for various reasons, but mainly to show my views on things that happen around me in my world.


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
My blog is about varied topics, ranging from current news to book reviews to parts of my life and other things. I often post about issues that tickle my brain and say "Hey! Pay attention, I'm important!" so you'll also find topics like oil drilling and world events.


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
Fantasy/adventure and Sci-Fi are my current favorite, but as long as the plot and the characters are interesting, any genre's fine with me.


How do you find out about the books you read?
Through sites like Bookworming in the 21st Century and The Neverending Shelf and by walking into a library and picking up a book with a nice cover and summary on the inside.


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
Post about anything. You, your cat, what you write, your random thoughts, ect. Anything will do, and once you get into a habit of posting, things will get easier.


Thank you Golden Eagle for stopping by and sharing more about your blog! Check out her blog!


If you're interested in being a spotlighted blogger, please fill out this form.


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Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Spotlight Review - The Night Runner

Night Runner by Max Turner
Reviewed by: Girls in the Stacks

Err, I thought I was on a diet. (If you read my reviews you will know what I mean!)

In Night Runner we are introduced to Daniel Zachariah Thomson. Both parents dead, no relations and has lived the past 8 years in a mental ward because of his strange allergies. The only people that seemed to care for him was Nurse Ophelia and his childhood best friend Charlie who visited once a week. Doesn’t it just break your heart?

Then one fateful night, his whole world comes crashing down. From that night on he is on a whirlwind of self-discovery and survival. Several firsts happen to Zack in the few short days after his escape from Nicholls Ward. He experiences driving, swimming, being chased by the police (and other things), betrayal and something that is on the verge of being in love.

This book was pretty good, though I thought it strange that Daniel seemed content living his semi-solitary life at the ward. He had no friends (besides Charlie), never been to school, was allergic to the sun and almost all foods and was given twice a day “brain cocktails.” What kind of life is that? Then when he did escape he was on the run constantly, not sure where he was going next and no one to look after him. Honestly, my heart bled for Zack most of the book. In the end, the book is about choices, forgiveness and redemption.

Random thought: Turner does a fantastic job naming his characters in relation to their character traits. Look up their meanings and you will know what I mean, of course after you read the book.

Yes, there will be a sequel and will be available September 2010.

The girls gave it: 3.5 stacks!
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Saturday Spotlight - Girls in the Stacks

Today I have with me a duo of awesome bloggers from Girls in the Stacks. Their blog is super cool, so you should definitely check their site out and learn more about them below!

Name: Stacy & Shannan
Nickname and/or blog name: Girls in the Stacks
Blog URL: http://girlsinthestacks.com

Tell me a bit about yourselves.
You know how there is love at first sight? Well, for us it was friends at first sight. It happened in the hallway at our kid’s school. There was no corny music playing at the time like in a movie, but when our eyes locked we knew we had found kindred spirits. True story. As for who we are, Stacy (that is me) is the organized one. She likes graphs, charts, timelines and lists and Shannan is the fun, free spirit. We balance each other.


When and why did you start your blog?
We both fell in love with the Twilight Saga and mourned heavily after we read them all. Seriously, we didn’t eat for two days. We needed a book fix. So, we started reading like crazy, and one thing lead to another and a few months later here we are with our blog.


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
We are just thirty something girls we love to read and have turned our obsession for books into book reviews that are passionate, opinionated and often quite humorous. In addition to traditional book reviews of adult and YA fiction, we also have lively book discussions via podcasts (which can be listened to on our site or on iTunes) and fun, fresh and juicy author interviews, be they written, podcast or video.


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
We both *heart* YA fantasy. Though we love good adult reads too! We are big fans of Becca Fitzpatrick, Suzanne Collins and Charlaine Harris. We typically frown on depressing books, but will occasionally read them if prodded. We are busy wives/moms, and when we read in our free time we want to be uplifted not feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders. Stacy (me again) read The Kite Runner last year and it still haunts her.


How do you find out about the books you read?
Hmmmm, lets see...we buys lots from our local Borders and Target and there is this great Half-Price Books about 30 minutes from us that is awesome and recently we have gotten a few free review copies from publishers.


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
Our advice would be:
·realize there is a learning curve, things don’t happen overnight
·read and blog with your heart, people want honesty not perfection
·don’t be afraid to try new things, it was Shannan who wanted to do the video interviews much to my chagrin
·visit, read and comment on other blogs!


Thank you Stacy & Shannon for stopping by and sharing more about your blog! I will have a sample review by them up in a bit so you can see what kind of books they're reading.


If you're interested in being a spotlighted blogger, please fill out this form.


Read more...

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Ghost and the Goth


Author: Stacey Kade
Publication Date: July 6, 2010
Genre: YA Paranormal
Copy provided by: Around the World Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck here in spirit form with no sign of the big, bright light coming to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser/outcast type who hates the social elite. He alone can see and hear her, but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Can they get over their mutual distrust—and this weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?

Why I read this: The cover really peaked my interest and it seemed a bit like ghostgirl and Give Up The Ghost - which I both enjoyed. It's also a debut novel! :)

Plot: The usual girl dies, is a ghost and has to figure out how to move onto Heaven. Throw in one goth boy who can actually see ghosts and you have a fun tale - especially since the girl who died was one of those mean, popular girls.

Characters: Alona cracks me up as a character. She is almost a comical stereotype of the popular mean girl. No one really cares when she dies - even her boyfriend moves on within a week. She's outraged and is pissed that the only person that can see her is some loser goth boy.

Will is that teen who doesn't want anyone to notice him. Or rather - any ghosts. They're bothersome enough without them knowing that he can see them. When Alona catches him laughing at her though, she changes that and all the ghosts know he can see them. Will actually has a reason for being so mopey and out of touch with people - he can see things that they can't and doesn't want to let on to it. Who would? You'd be locked up in a psych ward for a good part of your life. I like the way Alona effects him and how they interact. It's comical, definitely.

Relatability: I can understand Will's need to block out the world and Alona's need to be heard. I feel like every one runs into these needs at one point or another. I like the comical aspects of the book and it was just an overall fun read.

Cover commentary: Cute - definitely a book I would pick up if I saw it at the bookstore.

Rating: 5/5 Roses

Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads

*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Love Story, Starring my Dead Best Friend


Author: Emily Horner
Publication Date: June 10, 2010
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction/GLTB
Copy provided by: Around the World Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

For months, Cass Meyer has heard her best friend Julia, a wannabe Broadway composer, whispering about a top-secret project. Then Julia is killed in a sudden car accident, and while Cass is still reeling from her death, Julia’s boyfriend and her other drama friends make it their mission to bring to fruition the nearly-completed secret project: a musical about an orphaned ninja princess entitled Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad.

Cass isn’t one of the drama people. She doesn’t feel at home with Julia’s drama friends, and she doesn’t see a place for her in the play. Things only get worse when she finds out that Heather Galloway, the girl who made her miserable all through middle school, has been cast as the ninja princess.

Cass can’t take a summer of swallowing her pride and painting sets, so she decides to follow her original plan for a cross-country road trip with Julia. Even if she has a touring bicycle instead of a driver’s license, and even if Julia’s ashes are coming along in Tupperware.

Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad is a story about friendship. About love. About traveling a thousand miles just to find yourself. About making peace with the past, and making sense of it. And it’s a story about the bloodiest high school musical one quiet suburb has ever seen.


Why I read this: It's a debut, it deals with musicals and it sounded great.

Plot: Definitely a great one. Cass didn't feel connected to her other friends once Julia died. She was the connection to her and the group of drama geeks they hung out with. The book alternates back and forth between when she is back, helping put on the musical and dealing with the presence of Heather - a girl who was mean to her ever since middle school, and then her road trip over the summer where she traveled by bike, trying to get to California on her own.

I really liked the plot, with the romance between two friends and then two strangers. Definitely a book I'd recommend to those looking for GLBT books.

Characters: I really liked Cass. I know what's it's like to be the friend who is unlike the rest of the friends. She felt so real - she was full of emotions and confusion and yet she still stubbornly did what she felt right. Cass was both weak and strong and just proves how human, how real an author can make a character.

Heather - well she's a different story. Like Cass, it took me a while to warm up to her. I felt like I was living through Cass in the book and I have to attribute that to the outstanding writing behind this novel. Heather was the unexpected character - trying to stop her old ways and struggling, but in the end - ending up a good person for Cass to be around.

And all the other characters - were hilarious and great. I love how they gave Cass the space she needed while still making her know they wanted her around. Everything about this book just felt so right.

Relatability: Like I said earlier, I really felt like I was Cass while reading this book. I felt like the author just drew her out so well with her words that you could even gauge what she would react to and how and I really related to her character.

Cover Commentary: It works for the book. Can't say I *love* it, but I can see where it really shows what the book is about.

Rating: 5/5 Roses


Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads


*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
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Link a Contest Thursday



Rules (or at least STRONG suggestions):
1. Name the item being given away (instead of the blog name)
2. Give the end date in () after the name
3. Make sure to link DIRECTLY to that contest post - if you don't know how to do this - just click on the title of the contest blog and it will give a direct URL you can use.
4. If you want to post a contest you've found, make sure it isn't already posted.



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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another great day!

This week has been filled with awesome author events and that end of school feeling is really resonating deep within me. Just two weeks after this one and I'm free to read, read and read some more! :)

So, another fantastic surprise came this week from CSN Stores - who have over 200 stores online. They offered me a chance to review an item from any of their stores. I'm not sure what to choose quite yet, maybe a bookshelf, new bathroom vanities, or maybe something completely off the wall.

I will be conferring with the husband on this one. :-D
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Waiting on Wednesday


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



The Frenzy
by Francesca Lia Block
Release Date: October 1, 2010


When she was thirteen, something terrifying and mysterious happened to Liv that she still does not understand, and now, four years later, her dark secret threatens to tear her apart from her family and her true love.

*Summary from Goodreads



Oooooo I hear this is about werewolves, but the plot summary does not reveal that. Hrm. Anyway, definitely excited about this latest novel from Francesca Lia Block!
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mini Readathon Final Hours.


So, I knew going into this that I couldn't make it to 2 am. It's almost midnight and I'm going to attempt to read in bed for another 30 minutes - but most of you know how well that works - lol.

So, bit thanks to 25 Hour Books for hosting this awesome mini-challenge and having cool prizes. Onto how much I read!

Well, I finished The Search for WondLa, which I had already been about 200 pages into. I also listened to a full disc of Evermore by Alyson Noel and am off to hopefully read some of The Day Keeper's Grimoire (Prophecy of Days, book 1) by Christy Raedeke.

Total hours read: 4 hrs (possible another 30 minutes if I can stand to read in bed that long without falling asleep).

It was fun! I'll talk about the author signing I went to tonight next Tues. G'night all!
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Mini Readathon!

So, I saw this last night and decided to participate!


25 Hour Books is hosting a mini readathon that started about an hour ago and lasts until 2 am tonight. I figured it would be a good idea to devote at least 3 hours of reading today. I will be attending a signing later, but I'm sure I can get at least 3 hours of reading in.

My books:
The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi
The Day Keeper's Grimoire (Prophecy of Days, book 1) by Christy Raedeke

You can join too! Head over to 25 Hour Books - there are prizes!!
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The Eternal Ones


Author: Kirsten Miller
Publication Date: August 24, 2010
Genre: YA Paranormal
Copy provided by: Traveling ARC Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

What if love refused to die?

Haven Moore can’t control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother’s house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves, before all is lost and the cycle begins again.


Why I read this: It looks awesome!!! That's why... who doesn't love a little paranormal in their book?

Plot: I've only read a few books dealing with reincarnation, but I like the background of her visions building up to her actual trip to New York to find the man she has loved over and over again for centuries. There were a few twists that I thought could have been hashed out more and some a little bit less. It wasn't perfect, but I was totally and utterly engaged and finished this rather large book (400 some pages) in a day.

Characters: Haven is naive and you see that quite a bit in this novel. She starts to distrust a little too late, so much so that it's a little unbelievable when she trusts some strangers blindly and others with more caution.

I loved the best friend character - Beau. He's a gay beautiful boy who just really is a great friend to Haven. He supports her insane need to go to New York, although I felt like he should've gone along with her. Although, that would have changed the story drastically most likely.

The love interest - definitely a little suspicious of him and how easily Haven fell into his arms. He was the teen idol type figure and you never see those types settling down completely.

The bad guy - definitely evil and I don't think he/she is seen enough. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say much more than that.

Relatability: It was easy to like Haven and Beau, which I think really made the story move along. I didn't relate specifically to any of the characters, but I know a few guys like Beau and I have to say I would've liked to see more of him in the latter parts of the book.

Cover commentary: I like it. It doesn't totally pop your eyes to it, but I like it.

Rating: 4/5 Roses

Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads

*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
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Meeting Authors (3)

So last week was filled with awesome author signings. I was sad that I forgot my camera for the first one - Rick Riordan - for his new book The Red Pyramid. I snapped some with my phone cam, but the quality stinks so sorry! There were over 800 people there to see him! I'm sure he had serious hand cramps...


Next up, I went to a prepublication event at Andersons for Robin Benway's new book The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June. I met up with Sara from The Hiding Spot and Erica from The Book Cellar and we had a great time. We went to half-priced books afterwards and even out to eat. I got home at midnight, but Erica drove about 2 hours and Sara around 3! We had crazy fun though and Robin was so cool - she introduced herself and knew all of our twitter names because she had been stalking us online lol.




And last, but not least, Erica (The Book Cellar) and I went and saw Anna Jarzab, author of All Unquiet Things. She seemed a bit nervous, but did a great reading and was a lot of fun to talk to.


This week: Sarah Rees Brennan and Holly Black, and Tony DiTerlizzi
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Monday, May 17, 2010

A Blue So Dark


Author: Holly Schindler
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Copy provided by: Traveling ARC Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.

As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.

Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.


Why I read this: The cover looked cool and it's a debut novel. I made the mistake of wanting a book because it was pretty.

Plot: Aura's mother is schizophrenic and she decides to take it upon herself to deal with it. Her father is hands off, never broaching the topic because he is busy having his own new family. Aura doesn't go to anyone, afraid of losing her mother completely. In other words, she ends up having to deal with her mother as if she was the child - not vice versa.

Characters: I feel like we never get to know who Aura is because of her focus on her mother. She throws all of her energy into keeping the appearance of normalcy up. Like her mother, she is artistic, but she worries that it is art that has driven her mother insane and so she stays away from it like the plague. Her best friend already has a kid and is only in high school, her father has started a new life with a new family, and she's pretty much alone in the world - her mother being mentally incapacitated sometimes. I feel like what she deals with defines her instead of what is inside her.

Relatability: I couldn't quite relate to this. To be honest, I was a bit bored. There was only hints of could-be side plots, without any real delivery. I wanted to smack Aura for not calling someone and helping her mother sooner so that they wouldn't be in any danger of losing everything they had. I've really never had this situation and while it was slightly intriguing, I felt like it was dragged out.

Cover commentary: Gorgeous - one of the reasons I picked up this book.

Rating: 3/5 Roses

Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads

*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
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It's Monday, What are you Reading?




This fantastic meme is now hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.


Read this past week: (reviews coming soon)
The Ghost & the Goth by Stacey Kade
A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner
Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland

Currently Reading:
The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox
The Glass Maker's Daughter by V. Briceland
The Day Keeper's Grimoire (Prophecy of Days, book 1) by Christy Raedeke

Upcoming:
Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

In My Mailbox - May 16th

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

video



For Review:
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway
The Search for WondLa by Tony Diterlizzi
The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson

For Giveaway:
A Golden Web by Barbara Quick

Won:
Cute necklace and earrings set from Blogmania - grrritsdianner (Etsy site) and hosted by Star Shadow Blog

From the Library:
The Secret of the Dread Forest (The Faire Folk Trilogy, #3) by Gillian Summers
Nightschool: The Weirn Books, Bk 1 by
Svetlana Chmakova

Bought:
The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
The Body Finder by Kimberly Dertling
White Cat by Holly Black
Tithe by Holly Black
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Shadowland by Alyson Noel
Beyond the Western Sea by Avi
Art Geeks and Prom Queens by Alyson Noel
Kenny & the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi

(All of these are for upcoming signings, except for Beyond the Western Sea - which was $1 and is one of my favorite books of all time).

Bought from Yan:
Never After by Dan Elconin
Knife by R.J. Anderson
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
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Sunday Spotlight - Reading Through Life

Today we have a great blogger who just recently got her own domain name! Yay! It's also great to see another young teacher blogging about books. Give a warm welcome to Carina and learn more about her and her blog below!


Name: Carina
Nickname and/or blog name: Reading Through Life
Blog URL: http://readingthroughlife.ca/


Tell me a bit about yourself.
I'm a 20-something teacher living and working in downtown Toronto. I have a variety of non-reading interests (part and parcel of being an ADDult), including figure skating, latin dancing, biking, running, sewing, knitting, and cooking.


When and why did you start your blog?
Through my university years, I learned a lot about myself and about books, including that I hated being told what to read. I spent 5 years reading next to nothing that I had chosen myself, and my personal intake of literature fell to a life-long low.

Over the past two years, since leaving university, I've finally returned to reading. I've been going at it rather haphazardly up until recently, something that I really sat down and thought about in December of 2009. At that point, I realized that I generally don't think very deeply about what I read, and that reading has taken a backseat in my life - something which I never could have envisioned in my childhood, or even in university when reading for pleasure stopped altogether.

So ... I decided to start book blogging, so that I would think more deeply about what I'm reading, keep a record of what I thought about things, and challenge myself to a higher level of immersion in the literary world. I also wanted to start writing more often again, now that my livejournal ramblings have come to a screeching, grinding halt.


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
I post a mix of reviews, weekly memes (certain specific ones that I think are actually relevant), and sometimes general thoughts on reading, literacy, and books in general.


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
I read pretty much anything, but tend to go through shorter periods of obsession with certain genres. Right now, I'm reading a lot of fiction, but the choices are from all over the board. I'm trying to keep myself to reading more contemporary fiction, but that's not always the case.


How do you find out about the books you read?
A mix of spotting them on book blogs and while wandering aimlessly through bookstores.


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
Don't obsess over whether people read your posts or agree with your opinion. Write first and foremost for yourself, so that you can look back on what you've done and see an honest and thoughtful reflection of your opinions.


Thank you Carina for stopping by today! Her blog looks like a lot of fun and she has a giveaway coming up in June, so make sure to check out the details on her blog!

If you're interested in being a spotlighted blogger, please fill out this form.


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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Claire De Lune

Author: Christine Johnson
Publication Date: May 18, 2010
Genre: YA Paranormal
Copy provided by: Around the World Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

Torn between two destinies?

Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: she's a werewolf.

As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger. Claire's new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin. With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, she will make a choice that will change her forever?
Why I read this: The cover was eye catching and it was about werewolves.. need I say more? :)

Plot: Claire starts to have some weird changes on her 16th birthday. She's getting rashes and having all sorts of weird cravings... and her mom drops the bomb - they're both werewolves. Unfortunately, her new crush has a father who is trying to find the cure for werewolves and will stop at nothing to try and capture the lone werewolf who has been murdering humans near where Claire lives.

I like the idea of only women being werewolves - as we often see the opposite. The plot moved forward and there's a bit of mystery as to which werewolf is the one who is going around murdering these people. There's glimpses into the werewolf as she goes to slaughter the next person and that really set the mood of the book into a darker tone - which I really liked.

Characters: Claire doesn't really react well to being a werewolf. She hates the thought that people would think badly of her if they found out her secret. Claire starts to experiment behind her mother's back and also refuses to stop seeing Matthew. She consistently sneaks out when her mother is not around and tries to hone her changing to and from werewolf form. I really liked Claire - she seemed very much the modern teenager who wasn't used to her mother being around and from that she really showed some independent thought and action.

Matthew is not drool worthy, but he's a nice guy - cute and fun for Claire to be with. He can almost distract her from all of her problems when she's with him.

Claire's mother is very aloof, as are a lot of the werewolves - but they survive on instinct and are not reliant on human relationships. Thus the lack of a father figure in Claire's life.

Relatability: I definitely cannot see much of me in Claire, but I do know a lot of teenagers like her. She's very realistic and I appreciated that.

Cover commentary: Love it. It's so pretty. Definitely one I want on my shelf.

Rating: 5/5 Roses

Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads

*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
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Saturday Spotlight - The Book Vixen

Today I have with me an awesome older blogger whose blog I adore. She's fun and loves reading and you should get to know her more!

Name:
The Book Vixen
Nickname and/or blog name: The Book Vixen
Blog URL: http://www.thebookvixen.com/

The Book Vixen

Tell me a bit about yourself.
I'm a 30-year old wife and mom. I work full-time so I don't get in as much reading time as I'd like but I read at every opportunity I get. I'm addicted to chocolate. Seriously, if I don't get my daily dose, watch out!

When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in August 2009. I didn't realize that there was a book blogging community until last year. Some of my friends read but they either don't read the genres I read or they read so freaking slow! One friend of mine takes a month to read a single book

What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
My blog is about books that interest me. I do book reviews, post book trailers (and movie trailers for book-to-movie adaptations). I participate in a couple of memes: Teaser Tuesdays and On My Wishlist. And I host giveaways from time to time.

I don't have any features of my own yet. I do have a idea for a feature brewing about in my head. It's great in theory, I just need to put into action. And this particular feature will strive only if I commit to it and I have commitment issues :/ I want to make sure I can keep up with it before I launch it.

What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
I mainly read young adult and romance (contemporary and paranormal). I am a major YA junkie! I may be 30 but I'm 17 at heart ;)

I have been known to dabble in mystery, suspense and true crime from time to time. Very rarely, and I mean VERY RARELY, I'll read non-fiction but for the most part I stay away from it.

How do you find out about the books you read?
I mostly find books that I want to read on book blogs, either from reviews, WoW, On My Wishlist or new release posts.

Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
Post. Comment. Tweet. You have to be on Twitter. Lots of good book talk goes on on Twitter!


Big thanks to The Book Vixen for stopping by! If you haven't seen her blog, you MUST check it out - it's awesome.

If you're interested in being a spotlighted blogger, please fill out this form.


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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Link a Contest Thursday



Rules (or at least STRONG suggestions):
1. Name the item being given away (instead of the blog name)
2. Give the end date in () after the name
3. Make sure to link DIRECTLY to that contest post - if you don't know how to do this - just click on the title of the contest blog and it will give a direct URL you can use.
4. If you want to post a contest you've found, make sure it isn't already posted.



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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Beautiful Between

Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publication Date: May 11, 2010
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Copy provided by: Traveling ARC Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

If high school were a fairy-tale kingdom, Connelly Sternin would be Rapunzel, locked not in a tower by a wicked witch but in a high-rise apartment building by the SATs and college applications—and by the secrets she keeps. Connelly's few friends think that her parents are divorced—but they're not. Connelly's father died when she was two, and she doesn't know how.

If Connelly is the Rapunzel of her school, Jeremy Cole is the crown prince, son of a great and rich New York City family. So when he sits down next to her at lunch one day, Connelly couldn't be more surprised. But Jeremy has a tragic secret of his own, and Connelly is the only one he can turn to for help. Together they form a council of two, helping each other with their homework and sharing secrets. As the pair's friendship grows, Connelly learns that it's the truth, not the secrets, that one must guard and protect. And that between friends, the truth, however harsh, is also beautiful.


Why I read this: The reference to Rapunzel stuck out to me and it's a debut novel.

Plot: The usual fairy tale of a popular young man starting to pay attention to a girl who thinks herself not unusual - not worth the attention. Connelly knows there's a reason he has been driven to approach her about helping her with her homework. It's quite an interesting plot because of the way Connelly grew up - knowing nothing about her father's death. Her mother completely shuts off whenever it is brought up and Connelly would like to keep her mother happy. The connection between Connelly and Jeremy is wrought with pain and sorrow, but they make the best of it.

I think it followed the normal arc of two people finding themselves on common ground, neither of them sure if their intentions are completely innocent in the way of their friendship, but enjoying each other's company nonetheless. Definitely a great story.

Characters: Both Jeremy and Connelly are flawed and different. You could tell they were real people as you read the story. They both had their own intricate workings of how the world worked for them and the realizations that you go through during life of having those worlds change - for better or worse. It's nice to see inside of a head that is so different from your normal whiney teenage female character. She's philosophical and wondrous and the author does a fantastic job of reflecting how Connelly grew up on her psyche.

Relatability: There's this great feeling of disconnection from parents in the novel and I know you say "why is it great to be disconnected...". It's not, but it's what happens. Teenagers drift, find their own world, and start to sever that child to parent link that has so strongly held them in childhood. Connelly's has been cut fairly early, she notices the change when she broaches the subject of her father as a child and that's when the drifting starts. I love how real everything felt in the book.

Cover commentary: It's okay - not love at first sight, but not hard on the eyes.

Rating: 5/5 Roses

Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads

*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
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