Laney by Joann I. Martin Sowles


Title: Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires
Author: Joann I. Martin Sowles
Published: October 2010 by Brookehaven

My Rating: 4.5 stars
Tags: YA | Romance | Paranormal | Series (Book 1)
Includes: Brief profanity, Sexuality, Violence

First Lines: "Laney, wake up." My eyes snapped open with a start.



Laney Alexander, a typical sophomore college student
, is finally free from her overprotective aunt and is ready to experience life with her best friend Kiera. On her first day back to college, she encounters the handsome, charming, and mysterious Oliver Knight that's in all of her classes, not to mention shares the same apartment building as her. As they begin spending every minute of the day together, they immediately fall for one another. But Laney soon learns that life with Oliver is anything but normal. As they must fight for their lives and love, against Oliver's evil brother, Laney really does experience the thrills of life like she wanted.

From page 222
There was a snarl behind us. We all spun around and through the craze of the crowd we saw a vampire coming at us with his fangs bared. He looked feral and insane. His eyes bore down on us with a demonic leer and I scrambled to get closer to Oliver. He was getting closer faster than should've been possible.

This book has a mixture of just about everything: paranormal creatures, nail-biting suspense, sexy romance, sarcastic humor, and kick-butt action scenes. I've read so many vampire books lately that all seem alike, so I started this one expecting the same thing over again. During the first half, I wasn't too thrilled because it felt like I was simply re-reading Twilight. Oliver's personality was pretty much identical to Edward's and a few of the scenes were similar to Twilight, too. His unnatural beauty was mentioned on like every page near the beginning, but thankfully he didn't sparkle! However, once their undying love for each other was fully developed and some problems started to arise, the novel became its own. I really liked the author's unique spin off of vampires and their lifestyles, it was different than any other vampire book I've read - I especially liked the 'bonding' idea she created. I surprisingly didn't have a single question either! Usually with paranormal books I have many unanswered questions, but I was delighted to easily understand exactly how the vampire life worked.

Oh man, the steamy chemistry between Oliver and Laney was ridiculous, in a good way; they were made for each other! Even if you're not a vampire lover, but enjoy romance books, then I insist that you read this book. The hardcore kissing scenes and cute flirting between the couple were so romantic and sweet. Since the two of them are mature and in college, I could easily believe their love rather than in some young adult books where they are 'in love' by the third chapter. The author did a fantastic job at creating and developing this love at a nice pace.

I could definitely see this book/series becoming a movie in due time. The adventure and action scenes were brilliant and I couldn't put the novel down. Characterization was spot-on and I really stepped into Laney's mind and seemed to become her and experience the novel through her eyes. One thing that was a big issue for me though was all of the many grammatical errors. I'm not sure why, since I was reading the actual book and not an ARC, but it seemed like I found an error on every other page! However, that's about the only complaint I can think of about this wonderful book. I urge everyone to read it - well that is, older teenagers because of the romance. I can't wait to read the next installment in the series! Joann Sowles is an author to watch.

Cover Thoughts: It's just alright to me - the colors and picture were chosen well, but it doesn't scream originality or anything.

Book Supplied by: Author for review.

A Little Halloween Contest


CONTEST CLOSED!

To wrap up October, thank my awesome 757 followers, and be a little festive for Halloween, I'm having a contest! :) What can you win?...

A finished copy of A Discovery of Witches by
Deborah Harkness (coming January) and a set of swag buttons!

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together. Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell. Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense.

Open to USA and Canada!
Contest ends on November 10.
The winner will be randomly selected and emailed the next day.
*Winner will receive the book in early January, but will get the button swag in November.

If you want to enter, click here and fill out the form.

P.S. You don't have to, but comments are loved even though they won't get you an entry. Good luck! (: Happy halloween!

Waiting On Wednesday: The Fortune of Carmen Navarro


This week's WoW book is The Fortune of Carmen Navarro by Jen Bryant! It will be released on November 9, 2010.

Book Description:


Carmen Navarro rings up customers at the Quikmart, bored to tears. It’s a job, and she needs it. But Carmen’s true love is music: she dropped out of high school to sing with the Gypsy Lovers and land a recording contract, someday. Just a few miles away, Ryan Sweeney hunches over his books, a studious cadet with his eye on West Point. There’s not a single girl at the Valley Forge Military Academy, and that’s fine by him. But when Ryan, on a day pass from campus, spots Carmen, with her shining black hair and snake tattoo, his pulse quickens. Carmen, who normally rolls her eyes at the stiff Academy soldados, can tell this one is different. She slips him a note: “Come hear my band.” A romance begins, unlikely, passionate . . . and quickly imbalanced. In an enthralling narrative of obsessive love, the novel builds to a stunning close. Inspired by the novella and opera Carmen, Jen Bryant creates a strong-minded and alluring heroine in this contemporary tale of tragic love.


Wow, this cover is so pretty and I desperately want to know about this "obsessive and tragic love". Can't wait to get my hands on this book! PUBLISHED ON NOVEMBER 9, 2010!

Bookshelf of the Week (5)



I think this is a nice little bookshelf; not too big or small, and still looks interesting. I'm not sure though how easy it would be to find books that could fit in those weird spaces..

For the Future (12)


This is a monthly meme of mine that I made up! :) It's similar to my "Waiting on Wednesday" posts, but highlights many books, not just one. And doesn't include summaries. Here's a list of young adult books that are still in-the-making or will be published in the future. This can range from being released tomorrow, to two years from now! These covers and release dates might not be permanent, it's just what I saw on Amazon, Goodreads, or the author's website. Hope this will be efficient to expand your reading pile!



Amelia O'Donohue Is So Not A Virgin by Helen FitzGerald (November 1, 2010): One favor leads to a secret so big it just might change everything...
Teenage Waistland by Lynn Biederman and Lisa Pazer (November 9, 2010): A story of betrayal, intervention, a life-altering operation, and how a long-buried truth can prove far more devastating than the layers of fat that protect it.
A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux (November 9, 2010): Blaise and Gloria's flee from the Soviet Union to France. A heartbreaking tale of exile, sacrifice, hope, and survival.



The Sweetness of Salt by Cecilia Galante (November 9, 2010): Instead of the summer she had painstakingly laid out, Julia follows her sister Sophie back to Vermont, where Sophie is opening a bakery—and struggling with some secrets of her own.
Blank Confession by Pete Hautman (November 16, 2010): Shayne is not afraid of anything. He seems too smart. And his background doesn't add up. But when he walks into the police department to confess to a murder, it quickly becomes apparent that nothing is as it seems.
Tutored by Allison Whittenberg (December 14, 2010): This edgy story about a star-crossed couple features strong African American characters and sparkles with smart, quirky dialogue and fresh observations on social pressures and black-on-black prejudice.



Smile For The Camera by Kelle James (November 2, 2010): A true story of escaping abuse in a small-town to encounter more in the big city and the way one girl overcame them both.
Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner (November 24, 2010): One hundred years after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, this moving young adult novel gives life to the tragedy and hope of this transformative event in American history.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (December 2, 2010): "No one captures the exhilarating and exhausting `but-does-he-like-me?!' question better than Stephanie Perkins. A scrumptious read." - Justina Chen

Am I the last to find out?


There's gonna be a third book in the series by Maggie Stiefvater?! Since when? Haha well...I still haven't read the second one, Linger, but I do plan on reading this one, too. I'll add it onto the neverending pile of books to read. Anyways, I like this cover and here's a little synopsis:

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stiefvater. In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

What do you all think? Better yet, who was already aware of this book because I just now saw it while searching Amazon!

Waiting On Wednesday: Three Quarters Dead


This week's WoW book is Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck! It will be released on October 28, 2010.

Book Description:


Kerry is chosen by the coolest clique in school and so she thinks life has finally begun. But then it seems all over when her three friends are killed in a shocking car accident. Or are they? Only weeks after the accident, Kerry receives a text from one of the girls: We're all 3 here at my aunt's in the city. Take the 3:50 train. B there. Exhilarating, terrifying suspense is crossed with a thought-provoking examination of peer pressure in Richard Peck's return to his contemporary teen-and ghost-story roots.


I haven't heard any talk about this book yet, but I think it sounds kind of creepy yet good. PUBLISHED ON OCTOBER 28, 2010!

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli


Title: Stargirl
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Published: May 2004 by Laurel Leaf

My Rating: 4 stars
Tags: YA | Nonconformity | Realistic-ish


First Lines: When I was little, my uncle Pete had a necktie with a porcupine painted on it. I thought that necktie was just about the neatest thing in the world.



Leo Borlock and every other student at his high school
are exactly the same - the way they dress, talk, act, even think. Then a new student shows up: Stargirl. The optimistic, ukulele-playing, strange girl that carries a rat in her bookbag. She's immediately liked by almost everyone and becomes the most popular girl at school because she's so different. But all of that changes one day at a basketball game. Now, no one will even look her in the eye. And as Stargirl's boyfriend, Leo begins getting shunned, too. He asks her to do the one thing that isn't her: be normal.

First of all, this is a middle school grade reading level book, not what I'm used to. But we're learning about Transcendentalism and nonconformity in my English class, and our teacher said this was a perfect contemporary example of it. After I got used to the simple sentence structure and lack of details/better vocab, since this isn't quite young-adult material, I grew really fond of the book. Jerry Spinelli did an amazing job of creating a world where everyone is pretty much clones of each other, and Stargirl is a huge outcast because she's so different. I fell in love with Stargirl from the very beginning: she's never pessimistic, always smiling and finding happiness from the littlest things in life. Saying that she's generous and humble would be an understatement because caring for others is literally all she does. It makes me wish there were more Stargirls in real life, because it would make the world such a better and beautiful place. The characterization was spot-on and I really got to know Stargirl and Leo throughout the book. It hurt me to watch Leo's battle with himself of who's opinion he cared about more: Stargirl's or the kids' at school? I could understand why he felt embarrassed when he was with her, but at the same time, he fell in love with her because she was so different.

There was so much deep meaning in such a simple book. The author touched on the topic of popularity and caring what others think, and I liked the way he portrayed it at the end. Even though Stargirl's character wasn't that realistic, the rest of the book was. I could feel Stargirl's emotions through certain chapters, where she strained to keep a smile on her face even when the whole school was against her. Archie, the wise old man whom all the students visit for advice, is probably one of my favorite fictional characters. He spoke in clever riddles sometimes, not exactly telling Leo the answer, but pushing him in the right direction.

I really, really approved of the ending. It was like the cherry on top, not cheesy and predictable, but just felt right. I'm very interested to read the sequel now and find out what happens next. This was such a creative and different book that will have a lasting impression on me for a long time. I'm so glad I read it and encourage everyone else to. You may just learn something about yourself and society if you read between the lines, and listen carefully to what Archie has to say.

Cover Thoughts: It's cute, and I like the colors. I'm always a fan of simple covers - and I like how the title is portrayed using drawings.

Book Supplied by: Read for English Honors 11.

Bookshelf of the Week (4)



I think this bookshelf is so adorable; I probably wouldn't put it in my house though - I'm one of those people who freaks out when you turn the lights on and think you see a person. :P

Waiting On Wednesday: Trance


This week's WoW book is Trance by Linda Gerber! It will be released on October 14, 2010.

Book Description:


Ashlyn Greenfield has always known when bad things are going to happen. Each time that familiar tingling at the back of her neck begins, she knows what's to come: a trance. She's pulled in, blindsided, an unwilling witness to a horrible upcoming event. But she's never been able to stop it, not even when the vision was of her mother's fatal car accident. When soulful Jake enters Ashlyn's life, she begins having trances about another car accident. And as her trances escalate, one thing becomes clear: it's up to her to save Jake from near-certain death.


Sounds like an interesting, cool read; plus this is an eye-catching cover. PUBLISHED ON OCTOBER 14, 2010! That's tomorrow!

Other by Karen Kincy


Title: Other
Author: Karen Kincy
Published: July 2010 by Flux

My Rating: 4 stars
Tags: YA | Romance | Paranormal | Shapeshifters
Includes: Profanity, Sexuality, Violence

First Lines: I can't last much longer. It's been one week, three days, and I forget how many hours.



Gwen
Williams lives in a paranormal world of Others consisting of werewolves, water spirits, centaurs, vampires, etc. She's actually a shape shifter herself - half pooka - but keeps it a secret. Even though daily life for humans living with Others is normal in Washington, there are a few people who are against them. Some even as far as hating them and wanting them dead. A new werewolf pack shows up, and suddenly Others are turning up dead. The police want to blame it on the werewolves, but Gwen has a hunch that there's more to it. With the help of new friend Tavian, a Japanese fox spirit, she's determined to catch the murderer, even if that means putting her life in danger.

From page 139
With clumsy fingers, I tug off my clothes and toss them aside. My skin prickles as glossy black feathers unfurl. Now a crow, I pump my wings, glide through my bedroom window, and ride the wind toward the Boulder River Wilderness. A chilly breeze fingers my feathers. I can feel it in my hollow bones - a storm soon.

I started this book expecting just another romantic paranormal story, but came back with something totally new and refreshing to this genre. Karen Kincy set up the world of Others wonderfully; it was so interesting seeing the interaction between humans and Others, and I learned about a wide new range of paranormal creatures that I didn't know that much about originally. It was a story mixed with creativity and mystery, a splash of romance, and a drop of suspense - a very good recipe to a book.

Gwen had a lot of layers; some that I liked and others that I despised. Her snarky personality, confidence, and sarcastic comments were believable for someone her age and fit her persona. I felt her struggle at accepting her otherness and trying to keep it a secret from the world. However, I think that at times throughout the book she made some very stupid decisions. I know that there has to be problems to create substance in a book, but c'mon Gwen is smarter than that! Sometimes I just wondered what the heck she was thinking. I also didn't like her corny, Medieval-loving, judgmental boyfriend Zack at all. When together, all they would basically talk about was when to have sex for the first time - which is a big turn off in a book for me. I don't like how he and his family were portrayed in the story as Christians either, since they weren't a good example of ones, and made them all look bad instead.

Tavian was such an interesting and dynamic character. I loved that finally a new type of guy was introduced in the paranormal genre; instead of the typical tall, dark, and mysterious man that's goal is to protect the main character from the enemies that surround her. Ugh, I'm so tired of that archetype. Tavian is a cute Japanese fox spirit that works in a bookstore and is actually short! He made the book fun and brought out the best in Gwen..I'm really glad he was included and hope that he'll play a big role in the sequel, too.

The actual mystery of who is killing off Others was developed well. Near the end when I was positive I knew who it was, I ended up being wrong! It's not as predictable as it seems, and the ending leaves room for more - perfect for the opening of the next book. The book makes you think and even though I wasn't swept away by it, I'm definitely glad I spent the time to read it.

Cover Thoughts: I think it's really interesting and mysterious. I'm glad the cover model actually fits the description of Gwen, and the effects of her transforming into an owl are well done. Plus the little blurred wolf is a nice touch!

Book Supplied by: Publisher for review.

Waiting On Wednesday: Please Ignore Vera Dietz


This week's WoW book is Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King! It will be released on October 12, 2010.

Book Description:


Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to? Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.


I really, really like this cover and its simplicity. The interesting title caught my attention too, and after reading the summary? I'm hooked. PUBLISHED ON OCTOBER 12, 2010!

On My Bookshelf (23)


(Originally by The Story Siren, as "In My Mailbox.") On My Bookshelf is used to share what books I bought, won, traded, received for review, or got from the library this week. It's to let you know what to expect for me to read/review next. (:



BOUGHT FROM BOOKSTORES/ONLINE:

The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell: As an idealistic twenty-three-year-old English teacher at Wilson High School in Long beach, California, Erin Gruwell confronted a room of “unteachable, at-risk” students. One day she intercepted a note with an ugly racial caricature, and angrily declared that this was precisely the sort of thing that led to the Holocaust—only to be met by uncomprehending looks. So she and her students, using the treasured books Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo as their guides, undertook a life-changing, eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance and misunderstanding. They learned to see the parallels in these books to their own lives, recording their thoughts and feelings in diaries and dubbing themselves the “Freedom Writers” in homage to the civil rights activists “The Freedom Riders.”

WON FROM CONTESTS:

Split by Swati Avasthi: Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret. He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret. At least so far. Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare: When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

RECEIVED FOR REVIEW:

Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst: What Lily Carter wants most in the world is to attend Princeton University just like her grandfather. When she finally visits the campus, Grandpa surprises her: She has been selected to take the top-secret Legacy Test. Passing means automatic acceptance to Princeton. Sweet! Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons—the ordinary one and a magical one—and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.

John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles: Pink-haired Hilda and oddball loner Benji are not your typical teenagers. Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban culs-de-sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide. Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social lives in favor of prowling the most notorious crime scenes in Hollywood history and collecting odd mementos of celebrity death. Hilda and Benji’s morbid pastime takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank, the elderly, reclusive tenant of a dilapidated Echo Park apartment where a silent movie star once stabbed himself to death with a pair of scissors. Hilda feels a strange connection with Hank and comes to care deeply for her paranoid new friend as they watch old movies together and chat the sweltering afternoons away. But when Hank’s downstairs neighbor Jake, a handsome screenwriter, inserts himself into the equation and begins to hint at Hank’s terrible secrets, Hilda must decide what it is she’s come to Echo Park searching for . . . and whether her fascination with death is worth missing out on life.

RECEIVED FROM TRADING:

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen: Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone—from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud—threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future. In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.

Bookshelf of the Week (3)



Haha this pacman bookshelf is so cute and creative!

Is it really possible?!


That I haven't read a book since the beginning of AUGUST?! Oh my goodness, I knew that junior year in high school would be hard - but this is ridiculous! I barely ever even have time to breathe anymore... I am so sorry for those of you who might actually still read and follow my blog because I know I've been slacking at posting. I really have been trying but I can't explain how busy I am!! I don't even remember the last book I read/reviewed because it's been so long.


So just wanted to apologize for barely contributing to my blog since school started; I really will try to start writing more book reviews but right now, I think I just really need to put school/college searching as my top priority. Bear with me everyone and please don't stop following me! I promise I'll be back in action as soon as I get my feet on the ground.