Tomorrow is the kick-off for my WINTER EXTRAVAGANZA with tons of things in store and posts every single day! So I decided to make my WoW post today so it won't get in the way tomorrow. (:
This week's WoW book is XVI by Julia Karr! It will be released on January 6, 2010.
Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world - even the most predatory of men - that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past - one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.
Title: The Fortune of Carmen Navarro
Author: Jen Bryant
Published: November 2010 by Knopf Books
My Rating: 3 stars
Tags: YA | Realistic | Romance
Includes: Brief profanity, Sexuality
First Lines: We have the whole afternoon off - no drills, no guard duty, no practice, no parades. Free.
Carmen works as a cashier at the Quikmart with her best friend Maggie, who's earning cash to pay her way to college. Nothing is more important to Carmen than her music and band, The Gypsy Lovers, who may be getting a recording label soon. At the Valley Forge Military Academy across town are best friends Ryan, the serious and studious one, and Will, the jokester. One day when the two guys are buying sub sandwiches at the Quikmart, Ryan spots Carmen - and is instantly in love. The next few days, she's all he can think about it, and he knows they're meant for one another. But for Carmen, he's just another cute boy to have fun with, nothing more. A romance sparks between the two, but it quickly becomes very unbalanced.
Carmen was a different kind of protagonist than you would normally find in a romantic young adult novel. She was very independent and knew what she wanted, not a love-struck, giggly and flirty girl that we usually read about. I was instantly drawn to her character however I wanted more! I felt like she was still a little out of reach even after the story ended. Also, the novel is written in four characters' perspectives. A lot of times I felt like Maggie and Carmen, the two best friends who are practically sisters, were almost the same person. They had identical personalities and talked exactly the same. The only thing different was their passions: music and school/studying. And then there was the two cadets, Will and Ryan. They, two, seemed to mix into one person. I wasn't quite sure where Ryan and Maggie came into the big picture: they were just minor characters and never really contributed to the storyline but instead acted as fillers for space I thought.
I did think that the main storyline was creative and grabbed my attention. It started out a little slow, but eventually the unbalanced love was perfectly portrayed. All Ryan seemed to think about was Carmen's voice, Carmen's hair, holding Carmen, kissing Carmen, etc. Whereas Carmen couldn't care less about Ryan, more focused on her music. I liked how the feminine took charge this time and wasn't the one chained down by a love interest. It was a nice change for once.
From page 157 (Ryan's POV)
Now, as I lie here, I can feel my palms sweat, my heart pound, my throat close up. It's as if without Carmen (at the mere thought of being without Carmen), I become panicky and half crazed. I hate how I feel. But I can't help it.
The story was very black and white, down to the point. There was a half-expected-half-surprise climax to the book (though I assume those that are fans of the play Carmen, which the book was inspired by, would have seen it coming). Unfortunately, I think it was a let down. I was expecting a huge, dramatic scene and was bracing myself to get ready to run to the tissue box, but actually it ended as quickly as it began. I think if the climax had been better, the story would have been much better, too. It didn't seem that fair that the author changed it around. But each character had their own ending and I thought it fit them perfectly.
Overall, this was just a so-so book that didn't live up to its potential. All of the minor flaws added up, and the novel as a whole just wasn't for me. The lyrical writing was enjoyable though, I just think that it needed more plot substance and better character development.
Cover Thoughts: I think it's really pretty and I like how it represents a brief scene in the book. Not a huge fan of the text, but overall I really like the cover.
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!
Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston (December 21, 2010): The breathtaking conclusion to the ravishing urban Faerie trilogy.
Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen (December 23, 2010): Desperate for something to do in London while her mother's off researching boring historical things, Cat starts reading the 1815 diary of Katherine Percival her mom gives her - and finds the similarities between their lives to be oddly close.
Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves (January 4, 2010): Kit and Fancy, sisters, start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree.
Throat by R. A. Nelson (January 25, 2010): A supernatural thrill ride, a modern-day vampire story set on a NASA base and filled with space-and-science intrigue.
Entice by Carrie Jones (December 14, 2010): Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out. For starters, well, Nick is dead.
Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz (December 28, 2010): This bestselling author offers readers a new story about the love lives of their favorite vamps - the passion and heartache, the hope and devastation, the lust and longing.
XVI by Julia Karr (January 6, 2010): Right before her birthday, Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past: one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew.
The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal (January 25, 2010): A dazzling first novel and engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance.
Vixen (The Flappers) by Jillian Larkin (December 14, 2010): The first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties...when anything goes.
This week's WoW book is Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers! It will be released on December 21, 2010.
When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?
Title: Five Flavors of Dumb
Author: Antony John
Published: November 2010 by Dial
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Tags: YA | Realistic | Deafness | Rock Music
Includes: Profanity, Sensuality
First Lines: For the record, I wasn't around the day they decided to become Dumb. If I'd been their manager back then I'd have pointed out that the name, while accurate, was not exactly smart.
When Piper learns that her parents have spent her college savings in order to pay for her baby sister's cochlear implant (since she's deaf), Piper is desperate to make some money. She winds up making a deal with the lead singer of Dumb, an aspiring rock band at her high school; she has one month to get them a paying gig, and in return she can be the manager. The only problem? Piper is deaf.
This book has so many great layers and the perfect balance of storyline and subplots. Piper experiences what being a band manager is all about, while coping with her deafness at the same time. Lately she's been having some family issues - with a baby sister that is getting all the attention, a freshman brother trying to fit in, and a father who barely even talks to her. I really liked the original story idea; even though she wasn't completely deaf, since she had a hearing aid and could have one-on-one conversations with people, it was interesting reading a book from a practically deaf person's perspective. Piper is such a determined and tough chick, and I really got into her character. Antony John's writing was very vivid and real. I felt like I was there with Piper, as she visited dead Seattle rock stars' memorials and houses. There were definitely some funny moments in the book, others that made me on the verge of tears, and a couple that made me fume out of anger. It was just a big rollercoaster ride of emotions!
From page 98
He erupted into laughter, which was kind of annoying, so I pretended that my hearing aids had been turned off. By the time I signaled they were on again, he didn't bother to repeat the joke.
I loved the diverse characters in the book. Even though I could have gotten to know some of them a little bit better, overall characterization was very well-written. Each character had their own identity and I especially liked the nerdy drummer, Ed, and the angry guitarist, Tash. I grew to really love them by the end of the novel.
The author definitely did his research, and got everything spot on. I learned new things about classic rock bands that I never knew before, and I bookmarked half of the novel with little tabs of things that I wanted to look up later. Even during the scene where Kallie was watching a home video of Nirvana on YouTube - I was able to find it, too, and watched it just as it was described in the book! I really appreciate a book where the author actually gets their facts straight. There weren't that many twists or anything in the book, overall it was very straightforward, yet I felt that it was appropriate. It wasn't some sort of sappy romance, even though there is a blossoming romance!, and it definitely wasn't cheesy. Instead, the author crafted together a beautiful novel about a girl discovering herself and what she's capable of, and left the ending open, yet at the same time tying together all the loose ends. I'll definitely have to read more by this author because I was very impressed.
Cover Thoughts: LOVE this cover - it really captures the essence of the book! It's grungy and tough, represents what the book is all about, and is overall just very creative and memorable.
This week's WoW book is Rosebush by Michele Jaffe! It will be released on December 7, 2010.
Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit-and-run. Everyone believes it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane's boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface: not just from the party, but from deeper in her past . . . including the night her best friend Bonnie died. With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again. Along the way, she's forced to examine the consequences of her life choices in this compulsively readable thriller.
BOUGHT FROM BOOKSTORES/ONLINE:
WON FROM CONTESTS:
RECEIVED FOR REVIEW:
Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love by Trisha Telep: If you can possibly thirst for more mysterious metaphysical accounts of love, Trisha Telep has organized some of the greatest and most thrilling tales of paranormal paramours. She presents the acclaimed literary talent of thirteen unique authors, creating a collection of stories that will undoubtedly capture the imagination of every soul who dares to read them. Werewolves, ghosts, zombies, vampires, and fallen angels drive the plot of these riveting romances.
Injane by Douglas Pearson: Most people think I'm crazy because I see things they cannot. But if they saw the blood and the torture, or felt an ounce of the pain I feel, they would know I'm not insane. No one believes me and that makes me more alone than I feel. To those who meet me for the first time, I'm Jane; once they hear my one-sided conversations and terrified screams, they refer to me as Injane.
My Halloween contest for a copy of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and swag has ended and we have a winner!!
Yay congrats! I've already sent you an email and you have 4 days to reply before a new winner will be chosen. Thanks for entering everyone and hope you all had a great Halloween! :)
Now, on the entry form there was a spot for extra entries by sharing: family Halloween traditions, your best or worst costume, scariest thing that ever happened to you, most memorable Halloween party, etc. Like I said on the form, I've compiled all of these short little stories everyone has shared. Most of them are really interesting or funny!
For a couple of years now we had the tradition of watching Ghost Hunters live with the best all out homemade sub sandwiches. Trick or treating has actually took a backburner to this tradition. -Melissa
I've had a handmade costume ever since I was a little kid. My mom always made them, and when I got old enough I took over the torch and started making my own :). I love how it saves money, I love that it makes you have an original costume, and I LOVE being complimented! I can't wait to pass the torch on to my kids when I have them! -Jessica
My favorite Halloween tradition that my family does is letting each member be responsible for another person's costume. It's kind of like secret santa, only for halloween. It's really fun but you can't be too sadistic with your costume choice because there's Costume Karma. Last year I made my brother wear tights. I'm terrified to find out what costume he's cooked up in revenge...I drew my mom's name this year and I'm having a blast planning her costume. It's definitely a tradition I want to pass on to future generations. -Tina
Every year I watch Pumpkinhead with my daughter. The past two years I've gone over to her house in PA. She gets hoards of trick or treaters. -Indigo
We used to always order pizza before we went trick or treating. Now that we're too old for that, we go to my aunt's party and eat all the finger foods and candy we can. Halloween is all about the food. -Leslie
We live in a real haunted house so I do not have to go out to be scared for Halloween. We throw the best and scariest Halloween parties. Our ghosts have never let us down, they always do something to make themselves known. We always have people wanting to come to our house just to see if the place is really haunted. -April
I went as a One Eyed One Horned Flying Purple People in high school. -Kathy
My most memorable Halloween was as a kid I dressed as a gypsy in a dress my great aunt let me borrow and my brother was a ninja turtle and my sister was a vampire. My mom has a picture of that Halloween framed that she always keeps out. -Cathie
Halloween has always been the day before my birthday, so it's always been my favorite holiday! Who doesn't want to dress up and run around the neighborhood and get candy? Then the next day, I can eat it all day long on my birthday! I went trick or treating every year until I was 13, then I went again when I was 16 just for the fun of it. :) I love Halloween! -Ava
My best costume - Sally from A Nightmare Before Christmas! I forked over the money to get the real Disney costume, complete with dress/wig/leggings. I paint my face to be pale blue with stitches, and then I'm all ready to go! I've worn this costume several years in a row, and sometimes I change it up to be an evil rag doll or a cute rag doll. -Amy
When I was two my parents decided that since I had a fear of clowns that if I were to go trick or treating dressed as one it would cure my fear. Well it didn't work. They had to keep me away from all reflective surfaces because whenever I saw my reflection I would start crying. Way to go parents :) -Jenni
My son, his wife and my grandson put on costumes and, as a family, we go Trick or Treating. We take the car and my son and I wait in it as my daughter-in-law takes my grandson to the doors. We all have a very good time. -Patsy
One of our favorite mini-Halloween traditions is to sneak over in the middle of the night, and tee-pee my grown daughter & her husband's house! They have the perfect *huge* tree on their front lawn that just begs for the *mummy* treatment ;D -Mary
Well every Halloween when I was little I used to go trick or treating with my older brother because at the time it was only us two. Of course our mom used to take us. I remember for one Halloween I dressed up as Batgirl! And the one other thing I perfectly remember was when me and my brothers were younger our grandmother used to scare us by telling us that there were ghosts at our window. Back then we didn't know that it was actually just the wind and the tree branches and leaves. She would scare us to get us to behave. -Monica
I just had a Halloween party last night, my friends sang karaoke, went on a hay ride, ate gobs of candy, did 2 scavenger hunts and just had a great time! -Rachelle
My birthday is Halloween so I always had a party.....sometimes everyone dressed funny other times scary was the dress code.....one time everyone had to come as an animal. That one was a gas.....I was a cat. We had a pig, cow, dog and even a chicken! -Aurora
My most memorable Halloween party was the year I went to Salem Mass. with a bunch of girlfriends. We went to a party at one of the hotels there and there was a back room where people were actually drinking blood. -Joyce (the winner!)
I live on a really busy street so we have never had trick or treating in my neighborhood, so when I was younger, we always used to go over to my cousin's house to trick or treat together. The street was so into Halloween and they even had a "Jason" running around with a chainsaw. I have some great memories of Halloween with my cousins. Now, I watch movies and make lots of food with my two best friends on Halloween. -Steph
Best costume was my friends... she went as Darth Vader. Her dad made an authentic looking helmet and got tons of attention for it. :) -Melissa
When the kids were small, every Halloween I would hang a skeleton or a witch for each boy in one of the sheds. At sunset, they had to go out with a flashlight to find one of the decorations. Taped to the had of each figure was a car trunk key. Find the figure, take the key, open the trunk, and there was a bag of candy. As the kids became older and braver, the hiding was more complex. After the candy, there were monster movies, hot pizza, cold drinks and popcorn. -Victoria
I remember one Halloween when I told my mother I was too old to go trick or treating but at the last minute changed my mind. The only costume we came up with was a trash bag. We cut two holes for the legs and two for my arms and tied it around my neck and stuffed it with newspaper. It was pretty cool. -Debbie
I would always get dressed up and go to a party with my parents at one of their friends' house and all us kids would go trick-or-treating. But I haven't had as much fun on Halloween as now that I'm an adult and can have my own awesome costume parties. -Julie
My grandchildren and daughters all take a day to go to a local Harvest where we play games, paint pumpkins and build a scarecrow. The children all choose a pumpkin to take home for carving. We set aside an afternoon and everyone carves their pumpkin and we roast the pumpkin seeds. -Nedra
My mom is a seemstress so I have never worn a store bought costume, she always hand makes whatever I want. Now that I'm at university and dressing up is "cool again" she helped me make a really cute little apron and dress so that I could go as a Tim Burton-esque doll. Although, my all time favorite costume was the one she made in in second grade when I was Meg from the Disney movie Hercules. -Kathleen
Every year my Grandparents threw a large halloween party for the family. Everyone, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. would dress up in their scariest costumes for a fun evening. My Grandfather would call square dances and food would be pot luck with the aunts all competing to make the scariest, yet delicious, looking food. My Grandparents and some of the aunts and uncles are gone now but the wonderful memories will last forever. -Sherrie
We use to have a haunted house that we created at church each year. We looked forward to the bonfire and the hay ride that went along with it each year! -Selinda
One tradition that I have every year is to watch Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween night. I love to have the movie playing when trick-or-treaters ring my bell. It's the best Halloween movie ever. -Stacy
We go trick or treating in a quaint halloweeny town 20 miles from home. A few days later the Great Pumpkin drops candy and toys in our pumpkin patch for the kids. -Linda
Every year my youngest child and I go around decorating our house. For some reason this youngest child of mine who is afraid of many things enjoys Halloween and decorating for it! -Shauna
This year I was Super Mario, and I am an adult, but the best costume was when I was nine and we were so broke, my mom stitched my costume from some old sheer curtains. I was the coolest genie around! Also the coldest, but hey. -Kristie
I like to make my own costumes for Halloween, this year I was Danny Fenton from the cartoon Danny Phantom. -Sierra
My favorite costume was my Scarlett O'Hara dress. It was a long dress with hoopskirts. I really enjoyed being dressed like a southern belle. -Cheryl
My favorite Halloween memory took place when I was something like 10 years old. I dressed up as a pumpkin. A simple innocent costume. Well, my little sister was 4 and did not seem to think so. She was terrified of my costume. She hid under a blanket and just started bawling the first time I tried it on. It got so bad that I agreed to take off my costume and make a new one really fast so that I could get her to go trick-or-treating with me. I went as a "Got Milk?" sign instead. But to this day we do not let my sister forget it. -Jade
Halloween was always a block party at my house. I have two twin brothers that were born on Halloween, and then two years later my sister who was also born on Halloween. The big joke was that I got tricked instead of treated! :) -Bobbye
We always go trick or treating and I go with my friends and we always have a HUGE party. -Emily
It's so interesting hearing about all of the many different ways people spend their Halloween nights! :) Thanks again everyone, and get ready for my HHHUUUUUGGEEE winter extravaganza I have planned in December - more on that later..
This week's WoW book is Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler! It will be released on December 1, 2010.
Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition. Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again? Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.
P.S. Remember that today is the last day to enter my contest for A Discovery of Witches and swag!
**THIS POST CONTAINS MANY SPOILERS. DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE ALREADY READ HER BOOK!!**
Waaaay back in August 2009, I read an AMAZING book called Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, that I reviewed and gave 5 stars. There was just one part of the book that I was confused with - when Anna ended up sleeping with Sam. Feel free to read the last paragraph of my review for a further explanation on my thoughts about this issue. Sarah and I had emailed back and forth a lot last year, so I asked her one time about why she included this scene in the book. I came across the email today and wanted to share it with you all. Here is what she had to say:
Thanks for reading Twenty Boy Summer! I *really* appreciate your review, especially since you mentioned that you are a strong believer in abstinence. I know that the "albatross" treatment in the book and the way Anna loses her virginity has been an issue for some readers with similar beliefs who wanted to see more consequences, guilt, sad feelings, or moral lessons from Anna's decision. But in writing the story, I didn't want to convey any messages, lessons, or judgments either way. I just wanted to tell the story of Anna and Frankie and what they go through after losing Matt. In this case, they happened to treat virginity more casually.
As you learned in the book, for Frankie, it was more of a pretend mask to hide behind so no one would know how heartbroken and lost she was after Matt's death. It was an act. For Anna, it was something that she struggled with, looking for anything to hold on to after losing Matt, hiding the secret from Frankie, and then feeling guilty as she started to fall in love with Sam. Anna went along with Frankie's "albatross" thing, but deep down, she did feel her virginity was special, which is why it was so hard for her to move on from Matt (she always assumed it would be him, and that they'd get married one day). Meeting Sam was tough for her b/c she realized she was falling in love with him, and despite all the "albatross ditching" talk with Frankie and her thoughts on how awkward and stressful it all was, she really did want it to be special, and she believed it *was* special with Sam. Ultimately, loving Sam helps her realize that she can move on with her life while still keeping Matt's memory in her heart. It's why at the end, when Frankie gives Anna Matt's blue necklace, she doesn't put it on. She just puts it in her pocket to keep like a special memory rather than something to rule her life. And then she thinks of Sam. :-) Besides, she *might* see Sam again one day. She did have his sweatshirt and his email address. You never know. ;-)
I just thought this was a very insightful perspective about it, especially since it's from the author's point of view! By the way - Sarah is publishing another book soon called Fixing Delilah, which I am so excited about.
This week's WoW book is When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer! It will be released on November 23, 2010.
Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before. But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.