Saturday, May 30, 2009

On My Bookshelf (3)

(Originally by The Story Siren, as "In My Mailbox.") On My Bookshelf is a meme used to share what books I bought from the store, won, or got from the library this week. These will most likely be my next reads so keep your eyes open for their reviews!

Evermore by Alyson Noel! I won this book from Katie, and it's near the very top of my TBR pile. My best friend is reading it right now and she really likes it so far. A little bit about my copy: It's a paperback; published in February 2009; it's young adult; and is the first in the new series The Immortals. You can read what it's about here. Blue Moon is the next in the series, which comes out in July 2009. You can read about that one here.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa! ...Hope I spelled all that right :) I got this book in the mail from Little Brown Publishers and I have no idea why. I didn't email them asking for it, I didn't enter a contest for it; it just randomly showed up on my doorstep, so oh well! I don't know that much about this book except that: It was originally a Japanese manga comic book I think? And now it's being made into American novels. This is the first one, I don't know if there will be more.

Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts! I won this book and it looks good. A little bit about my copy: it's a brand new paperback; published in June 2008; has an average rating of 4 stars. You can read about the book here.

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan! I got this ARC from my Barnes & Nobel book club. A little bit about my copy: It's a huge paperback; will be released in August 2009; has an average rating of 5 stars. Click here to read more about the book.

So these are the new books I got this week that are now sitting on my bookshelf. Check back next week for some new titles!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Features (3)

Things I found around the blogosphere this week!... (:

Alley of Books is a new blogger, and you should check out her site! She's been blogging since the end of April...same time that I started, too. [:

Random Buzzers is a pretty snazzy site with a variety of things to do. You earn points by submitting book reviews, completing challenges, quizzes, surveys, and more. With your points you can earn books! It seems like an interesting site, just involves a lot of time and work.

Teen Ink is an AWESOME site that I've known for awhile, but decided to share with those of you who haven't heard of it! There is a ginormous list of short stories of any genre written by teens for teens. You can also submit artwork and poetry.

Traveling to Teens is holding a contest for the book Dull Boy by Sarah Cross. Deadline to enter is June 20th.

I recently heard about the book Hunger: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant. It looks pretty interesting! You can read the first few chapters here.

There is a contest over at Katie's Bookshelf to win the book Five Minutes More. Deadline to enter is May 31st.

Check back next week for some more Friday Features! [:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Twenty Boy Summer

This week's WOW book is...Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. It will be released on June 1, 2009.

Description from Amazon: “What is the statute of limitations on feeling guilty for cheating on a ghost?” Anna writes in her journal, or rather, writes to Matt, her first true love and her best friend Frankie’s brother. More than a year has passed since Matt’s sudden death, and all that time Anna has kept her brief relationship with Matt a secret from Frankie. Matt had planned to tell his sister but died before he had the opportunity. Now, while on a beach vacation with Frankie’s family, Anna finds herself falling for cute, sensitive Sam against her will—if she can love someone else, does that mean she no longer loves Matt? Anna approaches this issue and other big questions with the insight and maturity that come when a young person loses someone he or she cares deeply about. Anna’s authentic voice and some lyrical writing will satisfy fans of Sarah Dessen, while the mix of romance, drama, and tragedy will be a draw for teen readers of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult. Grades 9-11.

I've read awesome reviews about this book. I'm actually not sure if it's already come out yet, because I think I saw it on the shelf at Borders...but I could be wrong :) Either way, I think this looks like a great summer read!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Goblins! by Royce Buckingham

Goblins!: An UnderEarth Adventure
Author: Royce Buckingham
Published: September 2008 by Putnam Juvenile

My Rating:
2 stars
YA/MG | Boys | Fantasy
Includes: Violence, Gore

First Lines: One hundred feet directly above the fortress wall, on the surface of the earth, Sam Hill loitered on the curb outside the Stop-n-Sip contemplating the most potentially exciting thing to happen in his tiny home town of Sumas, Washington, in the entire month of June.

Description from Amazon:
Sneaking out into the woods near the Canadian border, Sam and PJ come across what looks like a mutant gorilla with a bad attitude. But it’s no ape— it’s a goblin, and thousands more of them live under the earth, kept in check only by a small corps of human Guardians. Sam finds a tunnel below the surface, and in no time he’s in the goblins’ clutches. With goblin leaders Eww-Yuk and Slurp at odds, it will take all of PJ’s strength and ingenuity to get Sam back—but then again, how hard could it be to outsmart a goblin? Featuring high adventure and slapstick humor,
Goblins! is a subterranean romp that will keep readers laughing as they race through the pages to see what happens next.

This book was unlike anything I have ever read before. Just looking at the cover, I was interested to read the summary on the book jacket to see what it was about. It was a quick read, and very easy to understand - due to the fact that it's written for kids in middle school.

I didn't find any deep meaning or "life lesson" by the end of the novel, but I have to give kudos to Buckingham for his originality. There were many small adventures that Sam and PJ lived through, that all added up to the climax, which was well-portrayed. I found it hard to visualize what was going on (which I always try to do while reading) because there weren't that many details and descriptions of the characters and setting.

Each chapter brought along a new problem that the teens had to face, however I just didn't like how short the chapters were. They were only about two to four pages long, and I just think that's too short. Whenever something really exciting was about to happen, a new chapter began, talking about something else. So even though it was sometimes a little annoying to have to wait and anticipate for that particular part of the story to pick back up again, the cliff hangers were great.

I wouldn't read this book again, just because it seems targeted for kids in middle school, and it wasn't
that great. Even though I like satisfying and convincing endings of books, I feel like this one was a little too over the top. It was ultra-cheesy, and ended too soon. Overall, a pretty good book for male tweens who would like a quick-read adventure and gross book about kids vs. goblins.

Book Supplied by: Publisher for Review.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Musing Monday: Weather You're Reading Or Not...

Today's Topic: Rain or Shine?

When you're reading, do you prefer it raining or sunny? Does a particular type of weather not make you want to read, and vice versa?

I just LOVE reading during thunderstorms. It's so cozy to get in bed and read while it's dark and stormy outside. I don't know why I like it so much, but it's my favorite type of weather to read when I'm inside. But, I also enjoy reading outside in my screened-in porch when it's not too hot or cold. I prefer it to be sunny since I obviously don't want to get wet :)

What about you?

This Memorial Day...

Take a moment to remember those that have lost their life for fighting for our country. God bless you all.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Stolarz

Deadly Little Secret
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Published: December 2008 by Hyperion Books

My Rating: 4.5 stars
YA | Suspense
Profanity, Brief Violence, Sexual Content

First Lines: I could have died three months ago. Ever since, things haven't quite been the same for me.

Summary from Amazon:
Some secrets shouldn't be kept... Up until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary. Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe the rumors, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. She's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help--but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret.

From Pages 183 and 186
I grab a razor from the shelf and look over my shoulder. At the same moment a shadow moves across the wall. I let out a gasp and peer down the hallway in both directions. There's nothing there. Meanwhile the phone continues to ring. It's like someone keeps calling back because they know I'm home. Alone. I move into the kitchen and check the answering machine, but no one's left a message. I pick up the receiver and it's quiet on the other end, like someone's listening in. I can hear breathing on the other end, followed by a weird scratching sound.

Awesome book! I'll tell you now, I really enjoyed it and it kept my attention throughout the entire story. I was able to understand the characters well and be able to get an idea of what sort of a person they were. I liked the diverse personalities of them: Camelia, the control-freak who doesn't quite know what she wants; Wes, your typical pervertive and immature teenage boy; Kimmie, the unique and ditzy bestfriend; I could go on and on.

The novel had a great storyline and I liked how even though it was overall suspenseful, there was romance put in as well. Some side plots in the book (such as the issue with Camelia's aunt) were never explained at the end though. However, this is just book one in the Touch series, so maybe it will be further explained in the next book.

A lot of other reviews about this book that I've read talk about how much of a Twilight copy this is. While reading, I have to admit that I kind of agreed at first. Ben, mysterious and handsome, was very similar to Edward's character. And there are little things - such as they are lab partners in chemistry; they want to be together but he doesn't want to hurt her with his powers, etc. - were a lot like Twilight. HOWEVER, halfway through the book, it becomes it's own story and has twists and turns that were unexpected. In a way, it seems like a handful of books could seem like Twilight copy-cats but in reality aren't. Well, I'm getting off track so let me just say it bluntly. This book was great, and kept me attentive and anxious. I actually bit off most of my fingernails during particular chapters (see quote above), so I blame Laurie for that, haha!

I just think that it ended a little too suddenly; like right after the climax, there wasn't much "falling action" like my English teacher would say. I can't wait to read the next in the series, though!

Book Supplied by: Bought it at Borders! :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

On My Bookshelf (2)

(Originally by The Story Siren, as "In My Mailbox.") On My Bookshelf is a new meme that I'm starting, to share what books I bought from the store, won, or got from the library this week. These will most likely be my next reads so keep your eyes open for their reviews!

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles! (I won this from Book Divas and haven't started reading it yet. It's near the top of my TBR pile and I think it looks pretty good.)

Summary from Amazon: Tough guy Alex is primarily known by his classmates as a dangerous member of the Latino Bloods gang. He’s not exactly thrilled when Brittany Ellis, the school’s seemingly perfect beauty queen, is assigned as his lab partner—and the feeling is more than mutual. But Alex’s bravado works against him when he impulsively accepts a bet that he can get Brittany in the sack. The romance that follows will not surprise any reader, yet Elkeles gives it heart by constantly switching point of view from Alex to Brittany to provide dual running commentaries on their minute-by-minute insecurities and urges. Brittany’s controlling parents and sister with cerebral palsy are well drawn, but it is Elkeles’ rendition of Alex and his life that is particularly vivid. Sprinkling his speech with Spanish, his gruff but tender interactions with his family and friends feel completely genuine. An idealized epilogue drains away some of the book’s realism, but if the “romance” angle isn’t pushed too hard, this is a novel that could be embraced by male and female readers in equal measure. Grades 9-12.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan! (I actually just made a special trip to Borders to buy this book because I want my own copy of it. I haven't read it yet but the trailer of it is awesome and the novel sounds/looks great. I am so excited to start reading it.)

Amazon Summary: Mary lives in a small village in the middle of the forest governed by the religious Sisterhood and bordered with a fence to keep out the Unconsecrated—a horde of the undead unleashed many generations ago by a mysterious and cataclysmic event. Life is simple but preordained; Mary fears her betrothal to a man she doesn’t love almost as much as the hungry jaws slavering at the fence links. Under the colonial trappings, this is a full-blooded zombie thriller, reminiscent of the paragon of the genre, George Romero’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead. Soon Mary and a small band of desperate survivors are thrown together to outwit the undead and work through their own weaknesses, suspicions, and jealousies. Ryan’s vision is bleak but not overly gory; her entry in the zombie canon stands out for how well she integrates romance with flesh-eating. The plot loses a little wind near the conclusion, but Ryan’s ability to write a nail-biting escape scene will keep most readers riveted. Grades 9-12

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard! (I also bought this one at the bookstore because two of my friends keep pestering me about how much of a great series it is. So, I finally gave in to their pursuasion and decided to buy it and try it out. It's near the top of my TBR pile.)

Summary from Amazon: Grade 9 Up–Rosewood, PA, is filled with mansions, Mercedes, and fortunate girls like Alison, Spencer, Emily, Aria, and Hanna. These five friends are bound together by a horrible secret–never fully revealed in the book–until the summer after seventh grade, when Alison goes missing. Now high school juniors, each of the remaining girls is going through a trying time and has a new secret. Spencer is falling for her sister's boyfriend, Aria is involved in a relationship with her teacher, Emily has issues with her sexual identity, and Hanna has an eating disorder. They think that no one knows about these things, until all four of them begin to get mysterious notes, e-mails, and text messages from someone by the name of A. They are afraid that Alison is back, and the mocking tone of the messages makes them worry that she could be ready to divulge their hidden past. In the end, her body is found, but they still receive the messages, leaving readers to wonder what happens next. Shepard writes a suspenseful page-turner that will have teens thirsting for more. The plot is quick-moving and encapsulates the feelings of many teens.

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson! (I won this one in a giveaway and haven't started reading it yet. I just love the cover though, and the storyline sounds pretty good.)

Amazon Summary: Jackson matches effortless Southern storytelling with a keen eye for character and heart-stopping circumstances. Laurel, a high-end quilt maker, sees the ghost of a little girl in her bedroom one night. When it leads her to the backyard and a dead girl in the swimming pool, the life Laurel had hoped to build in her gated Florida neighborhood with her video-game designer husband, David, and their tween daughter, Shelby, starts to fall apart. Though the police clear the drowning as accidental, it soon appears that Shelby and her friend Bet may have been involved. Bet, who lives in DeLop, Laurel's impoverished hometown, was staying over the night of the drowning and plays an increasingly important role as the truth behind the drowning comes to light. Meanwhile, Laurel's sister, Thalia, whose unconventional ways are anathema to Laurel's staid existence, comes to stay with the family and helps sort things out. Subplots abound: Laurel thinks David is having an affair, and Thalia reveals some ugly family secrets involving the death of their uncle. What makes this novel shine are its revelations about the dark side of Southern society and Thalia and Laurel's finely honed relationship, which shows just how much thicker blood is than water.

So these are the new four books this week that are now sitting on my bookshelf. Check back next week for some new titles! :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Features (2)

Things I found around the blogosphere this week! :) . . .

Michael Scott's series, The Secrets of the Immortal (which you can read about here) has its own game! Click here to play the Alchemyst Game. I was able to pass the first 2 levels with a high score, the third level was a little tricky.. but I'll tell you: That last challenge was just too hard for me. :P I did horribly. However, I enjoyed the graphics!

I also heard about a new TV series (based on the Vampire Diaries books) that will be coming out this fall! I had never heard about the books before but after watching the trailer and reading about the series on Amazon, I really want to start reading them! You can see a trailer of the upcoming series.

The Book Cellar is having a contest for an ARC of Kisses and Lies. Deadline to enter is June 4th.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Giveaway! Hoot by Carl Hiaasen


My first giveaway!

Summer is almost here, and I can't wait! So, to welcome summer (plus I am in a great mood today) I decided to have a giveaway. As some of you may have read in my previous post, I am cleaning out my bookshelves and passing on books to new homes :) So the book that you will win is...HOOT by Carl Hiaasen! I read this book a few years ago and I just loved it. (They've also made it into a movie recently, but you should read the book if you haven't already!) You can read about the book here. My copy of the book is a hardcover, with 292 pages. It is very gently used and looks almost brand new.

Giveaway Rules:
1.) This contest is only open to residents of the U.S. (Sorry, but my wallet is practically empty!)
2.) You must include your email in your comment(s), so that if you win I can notify you and let you know. I'll also post the winners on my blog.
3.) The contest ends June 30 June 15.

How to Enter:
Comment on this blog post leaving your email address and saying you want to be entered.

Multiple Entries:
+1 Becoming a follower/Already a follower.
+1 Posting this contest on your sidebar (leave a link or url).
+1 Blog about this contest (leave a link or url.)
+1 Answer this question: Why do you like summer? can have a total of 5 entries! (The 4 above are optional, but give you a higher chance of winning.) Oh and you can either put all of your entries in one comment or in separate ones, it doesn't matter. I'll be using to find the winner. Please no PO Boxes.

Good luck! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Paper Back Swap!

So ever since I came across this little website called Paper Back Swap (which is awesome!) my room has become a complete MESS. Wanna know why? I'll tell you. :) I'll try to make this short.

First of all let me introduce you to it:
Paperbackswap is a site where you can give your own books to others and get new ones back. You can either keep them or pass them along to another person once you're done. Kind of like an online library except more fun (: There is a HUGE variety of books that others have posted, which you can choose from. And it's so easy! I really advise you to try it out. Right after you join, if you post 10 books that you're willing to mail to other people who ask for them, you get to choose 2 books for yourself. The site explains everything, and it's such a great bargain. Now, instead of going to the bookstore and paying ten dollars for a book, I can get it (and keep it!) from Paper Back Swap.

Now, for why my room and bookshelves are a complete mess...
Once I started cleaning out my bookshelves, I started out just picking my 10 books that I'd be willing to giveaway. Yeah...didn't work out so well. After about two hours later, I had 3 stacks of books up to my waist of books that I didn't want or need anymore. I was so surprised! My bookshelves now look practically empty but hopefully I'll fill them back up soon. So basically it just comes down to this: Once you start cleaning out your bookshelf, you'll end up ransacking the whole thing :P least I did.

Why cling on to books that you know you aren't going to read anymore? Why not give them a new home to someone who actually wants the book? The answer: PaperBackSwap! Go sign up! (And check out my books! They are under the name: booksobsession or Ashley S.)

Hah so much for my "short" post. :)

Oh and p.s. be on the lookout for a giveaway soon! ;] I'm really hoping to start one this week.

Waiting on Wednesday: One Lonely Degree

Today's book is One Lonely Degree, by C.K. Kelly Martin. It will be released on May 26, 2009!

Here is the summary from The Portable Artist: Fifteen-year-old Finn has always felt out of place, but suddenly her world is unraveling. It all started with The Party. And Adam Porter. And the night in September that changed everything. The only person who knows about that night is Audrey—Finn's best friend, her witness to everything and the only person (under thirty) Finn trusts implicitly. So when Finn's childhood friend Jersy moves back into town—reckless, beautiful boy Jersy, all lips and eyes and hair so soft you'd want to dip your fingers into it if you weren't careful—Finn gives her blessing for Audrey to date him. After all, how could she possibly say no to Audrey? With Audrey gone for the summer, though, Finn finds herself spending more and more time with Jersy, and for the first time since September, for the first time in her life maybe, something feels right—absolutely, stunningly right. But Finn can't be the girl who does this to her best friend...can she?

I think this looks like a great YA novel to welcome summer. RELEASED ON MAY 26, 2009.

Oh and here is the book trailer for it: (I just don't really understand the creepy breathing in the background..anyone care to explain? [: )

Monday, May 18, 2009

Musing Monday: Library Visits

Today's Topic: Going to the Library.

How often do you visit the library? Do you have a usual/scheduled library time or day? Do you go alone, or with people?

I go to the library A LOT. Since I prefer hardcover books over paperbacks, I go to the library to get those since they are kind of expensive to buy at book stores. (Remember, I'm just a high school freshman who doesn't have much spare change [: ) I don't usually go with friends because once I'm at the library, I get down to business - checking out/renewing books, using the computer book search, etc. But, since I don't have my own driver's license yet, one of my parents usually drops me off, or I'll just ride my bike over since I live about twenty minutes away.

What about you?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Lion Called Christian by Anthony Bourke & John Rendall

Title: A Lion Called Christian
Authors: Anthony Bourke and John Rendall
Published: (republished) March 2009 by Broadway

My Rating: 3.5 stars
Nonfiction | Boys
Includes: Very brief violence, complicated vocabulary
(The actual story could be read by kids, but the formal writing and harder vocabulary makes it targeted for older ages.)

First Lines: No zoo is complete without lions. The small zoo at Ilfracombe in Devon on the south coast of England was no exception, and the lion and lioness were a particularly handsome pair.

Anthony "Ace" Bourke and John Rendall, two friends visiting London, decide to purchase their very own lion cub at Harrods in 1969, and name him Christian. He lives in their basement below their friend's furniture store. Christian soon becomes popular in town, attracting new customers by sitting in the store window, being published in the newspaper, and interviewed by a radio host. But, the playful cub is growing up fast, and soon is too big for the store. Ace and John, after long discussion, decide to send Christian to live in the wild in Kenya. After reuniting with the grown lion a year later, Ace and John receive an affectionate, loving welcome back.

From Page 21
After months in a cage, Christian's world must have suddenly assumed the most enormous proportions. Frightened and confused in the car, he scrambled all over us, and we had to stop frequently, having no idea how we could begin to control him. We tried to placate him with a huge teddy bear that we had bought him as a welcoming present, but his total lack of interest in it left us helpless.

This fascinating true story was such a remarkable journey of a lion and his two owners. The story starts out very strong and interesting, and there are parts in each chapter that made me smile or even laugh out loud. However, around the middle of the book I found myself daydreaming a lot, thinking about other things and not about what I was reading.

By the end, though, the story caught my attention again, and ended in a great tone. I really enjoyed the photographs of Christian, included throughout the book, letting me visualize the story in my head easier.

There is also a video on YouTube from Ace and John's touching reunion with their lion. Since this was a nonfiction book, I was surprised that I liked it so much. I have already recommended it to a friend, and would maybe read it again.

Book Supplied by: My Library.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

On My Bookshelf (1)

(Originally by The Story Siren, as "In My Mailbox.") On My Bookshelf is a new meme that I'm starting to share what books I bought from the store, won, or rented at the library. These will most likely be my next reads so keep your eyes open for their reviews!

Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Ever since seeing the book trailer for this, I've been excited to get my hands on a copy! I bought it at my nearest bookstore yesterday. Can't wait to read/review it.)

Amazon summary: Up until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary. Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe the rumors, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. She's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help--but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret.

Every Time A Rainbow Dies by Rita Williams-garcia (I had never heard of this book/author until I entered Black Eyed Susan's LLM giveaway! I chose this book from her prize list, and just recently got it in the mail. Can't wait to read and review it soon!)

Amazon summary: Both Thulani and his girlfriend Ysa have an isolating spiritual wound. Ever since his mother suddenly returned to their Jamaican home to die four years ago, Thulani, 16, has withdrawn from the brother and sister-in-law who have raised him and who want to "man him up." Thulani spends long hours on the roof of their brownstone alone with his beloved doves, and school is to him "simply the sitting place." One day he hears a scream and looks over the parapet to see a young woman being raped in the alley below. He rescues her, covers her nakedness, and takes her home, although she fights him every step of the way. Later, fascinated by her proud rejection and grace, he begins to seek her out and follow her in her colorful clothes. "Every time you step out," he tells her, "a rainbow must die." At first she rejects him angrily because he has seen her shamed, but then she shares her name, Ysa, and her fierce ambition to become a textile designer. Little by little they begin to reach out (and then pull back again), to comfort and strengthen each other, and, finally, in a bittersweet ending, "to let go when it was time to let go."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Waiting For You & Swoon

I know that usually I just pick one book for my WOW post, but these two books both look awesome AND both are coming out this week!

Today's first book is Waiting for You, by Susane Colasanti! It will be released tommorow on May 13. Here is the summary from Amazon: At the beginning of her sophomore year, Marisa is ready for a fresh start and, more importantly, a boyfriend. So when the handsome and popular Derek asks her out, Marisa thinks her long wait for happiness is over. But several bumps in the road—including her parents’ unexpected separation, a fight with her best friend, and a shocking disappointment in her relationship with Derek—test Marisa’s ability to maintain her new outlook. Only the anonymous DJ, whose underground podcasts have the school’s ear, seems to understand what Marisa is going through. But she has no idea who he is—or does she? In this third romantic novel from Susane Colasanti, Marisa learns how to “be in the Now” and realizes that the love she’s been waiting for has been right in front of her all along.

This looks like a fun, cute read. Perfect to start out the summer! Mark your calendars, it will be released on May 14, 2009.

The second book is Swoon, by Nina Malkin! It's release date is May 16, which is on Saturday. Here is the summary from Amazon: Sin is coming...prepare to swoon. Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut...until Dice's perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She's intensely drawn to him -- but not at all crazy about the havoc he's wreaking. Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent -- and irresistible -- adversary before the whole town succumbs to Sin's will. Only trouble is, she's in love with him.What do you do when the boy of your dreams is too bad to be true?

This plot sounds so creative, plus it's romance, fantasy, and suspense all mashed up together! I'm definitely getting my hands on a copy of this soon. Released on May 16, 2009.

Here is the SWOON book trailer:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Musing Mondays: Sick Reading

Today's Topic: Reading While Sick.

How does your being sick (or injured) affect your reading? Do you read more? Less? Do you pick out a different book than you had already planned? Do you have a “comfort book” that makes you feel better?

I seem to read more than usual when I'm sick. Since I'm missing 7 hours at school, and usually spend my time on the couch relaxing, I'll either watch a movie and/or read! I don't change books though, I just grab one off of my TBR pile.
I guess some of my "comfort books" would be the Chicken Soup For the ___ Soul series, Twilight, and my Christian devotion books. The first and last mentioned are just inspiring and quick reads (since they are in small chapters). I'm not one of those obsessed, crazed Twilight lovers, but I do love the book, and usually find myself re-reading it when I have extra free time.

What about you?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Author Interview: Laurie Stolarz

I am so excited to introduce author: Laurie Faria Stolarz! A quick intro: Laurie has written many YA books including: Project 17 (which I reviewed here), Bleed, Deadly Little Secret, and the Blue is for Nightmares series. She grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Laurie has graciously agreed for me to interview her about her book, Project 17.

What inspired you to write Project 17?

I wanted to do a companion book to Bleed, using one of my Bleed characters. Around the time I was thinking up ideas for a new project, the newspapers in my area were flooded with stories surrounding the controversial tear down of Danvers State Hospital, an abandoned mental hospital 30 minutes north of Boston.

Many people were against tearing it down because it's considered an historical landmark, built in 1878. Developers wanted to use the land to build luxury apartments and condos. In the end, it's the developers who won, and two-thirds of the hospital was torn down. People are now living in the new developments.

Growing up, the hospital, which has a very dark history, was finally shut down in 1992 due to budget cuts and overcrowding. Rumored to be haunted, it became a notorious hot spot for break-ins and dares.

Coincidentally, in Bleed, one of my characters, Derik LaPointe, breaks in to the hospital to go exploring. This is how the initial idea for Project 17 sparked. I thought, why not have Derik break in with a group of teens, on the eve of the demolition, to spend the night and film a movie? There are six teens that break in--all with their own motivations and agendas, and what they end up finding is far beyond anything they could ever imagine.

Was the novel based on a true story?

No, it's fiction. But obviously the place is real and I tried to be as true to the setting as possible as I was writing the novel.

Were there any challenges while writing the book?

Once the story idea and sample pages were accepted by the publisher, I started to delve into the research--visiting the hospital, talking to former patients and staff, and reading and viewing everything I could get my hands on concerning the hospital. I got completely haunted by the research, so much so that I started keeping myself awake at night.

I couldn't get it out of my mind, particularly after I visited the place from a writer's perspective--how was I going to write an entire novel that takes place here?

The hospital itself had always been a source of scares growing up, with its Gothic spires and castle-like architecture, but nowhere near as scary as when I started to really get into the individual stories of those connected to the place.

After a while, though, for better or for worse, I started to numb up a bit to everything I was researching, including hours of audio and visual footage. That numbness enabled me to take a step back and write the book.

What did you want readers to discover from your novel?

I like playing with stereotypes, i.e. the popular kids, the jock, the brainiac, etc., etc. I wanted to show people of different stereotypes coming together at this haunted place, all with their own agendas, but in the end we learn how similar they really are - how we all share so many of the same fears. I also wanted to cast light on the level of treatment people endured at some of the former state hospital.

Were the characters based on any real-life people in your life?

No, they were fictitious.

Any advice for future horror writers?

Think about what you find scary and chances are others will find it scary too.

What can your fans be expecting from you next?

Black is for Beginnings, the fifth book in the Blue is for Nightmares series (a graphic novel), will be out in September. Deadly Little Lies, the second book in my new Touch Series (and the sequel to Deadly Little Secret) will be out in November.

Thank you so much Laurie for this awesome interview. I enjoyed reading your answers! Readers: Be sure to check out Laurie's books, you won't be disappointed! :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Black Eyed Susan awarded me with the "Kreativ Blogger" Award. I really appreciate it because I've only been blogging for two weeks; so it's an honor to be recognized by other bloggers out there.

I've been charged with identifying seven things I love, and then passing the award on to seven other bloggers.
Seven things I love are: Summertime, sweet tea, otters, blue eyes, classical music, mini marshmallows, and thunderstorms. (Yes, very random things [: )

Now, seven bloggers that really impress me with their creative blog are:
Steph at Step Su Reads
Kalea at Enroute To Life
Beth at Writing It Out
Amanda at Review A Book 123
Bridget at Readaholic
Amy at Chic Book Reviews
Dar at Peeking Between The Pages

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Features (1)

I have decided to start another weekly meme! I made this one up myself, but if someone else does it already, please forgive me, because I didn't know! It's called Friday Features, and basically I just share things that I find around the blogosphere. (:

Cindy Pon, author of Silver Pheonix, is holding a great contest! You can either win a $100 gift card or an original framed Chinese brushpainting! The deadline is June 8, so you have plenty of time to enter. Click here to view/enter the contest.

I found an awesome site called In Nikki's Head, that promotes Meg Cabot's books: Airhead and Being Nikki. There are interviews, contests, and reviews. Go check it out!

Chaotic Compendiums is hosting a giveaway of Testimony, by Anita Shreve. The deadline is May 10, so hurry and enter! Click here to view the contest!

Boy with Books is also having a giveaway. The book is Rampant, by Diana Peterfreund, and the deadline is on May 15. You have a week to enter. Click here for more info.

The Book Cellar is having a contest for an ARC of Kisses & Lies. Deadline to enter is June 4th.

Check back next week for some more Friday Features! (:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Free PDF Version of The Alchemyst!

I just wanted to let everyone know that today is the last day to get your free copy of The Alchemyst, the first book in Michael Scott's bestselling Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.

You can either print out all 370 pages (which I did) by clicking here. Just try to save paper, by printing in black and white and on both sides of the paper. :)

Or, you can click here to go to Amazon, and download it for your Kindle.

This offer ends on May 8th, so hurry if you want a free copy of it!

Random Browsing (1)

Note: I saw this idea from Au Courant's site.

What is
Random Browsing?

Random Browsing is when I go to and type one word in the search bar. A completely Random word like... chocolate, pencil, or guitar.

Then I'll
Browse the Teen search results and hopefully find new books to read that I haven't heard of.

This week's Random Word is:

The Browsed Teen Books:

The Secret Circle: The Initiation and the Captive
By L.J. Smith
Published: July 2008

The circle's power has lured her home.

Forced to move from sunny California to gloomy New England, Cassie longs for her old life. Even so, she feels a strange kinship to a terrifying group of teens who seem to rule her school. Initiated into the coven of witches that's controlled New Salem for hundreds of years, she's drawn into the Secret Circle, a thrill that's both intoxicating and deadly. But when she falls for the mysterious and intriguing Adam, Cassie must choose whether to resist temptation or risk dark forces to get what she wants—even if it means that one wrong move could ultimately destroy her.

Circle of Blood
By Alane Ferguson
Published: January 2009
BN: 0142412678

Cameryn Mahoney works as the assistant to her father, the county coroner of Silverton, Colorado. But if that’s not hard enough, her long-lost mother has made a surprise return to Cameryn’s life. When her mother picks up a mysterious young hitchhiker, Cameryn senses that the girl is running from something. But before she can find out more, the girl is found dead—with a gun in her hand. Is it suicide? Or something even more sinister?

The Magic Circle
By Donna Jo Napoli
Published: June 1995

A midwife-cum-sorceress known simply as the Ugly One narrates this riveting tale of how, tricked by the devil's minions, she lost her gifts for healing and was forced to become a witch. Escaping from the stake, where she is about to be burned, she ekes out a solitary existence in an enchanted forest--until she takes in two wandering children named Hansel and Gretel. As she did in The Prince of the Pond , Napoli gives a classic fairy tale an entirely new twist, at the same time incorporating absorbing details about medieval religious beliefs. The witch's "true" history as a devoted mother and pious servant of God renders her a compelling and entirely sympathetic figure, a heroine courageously fighting the evil spirits that have invaded her once-pure life. The Hansel and Gretel motif, carefully woven into the story, emerges as a surprise for the reader, albeit a surprise that has been fully prepared. The author's extraordinary craftsmanship and originality never flag, and even the archetypically fiery ending for the witch acquires a new dimension. A YA novel of genuine magic and suspense, this will captivate adults as well.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Breathless

Today's pick is
Breathless, by Lurlene McDaniel! It will be released on May 12, 2009. Here is the summary of the book from Amazon: What is the toughest request anyone can be asked to fulfill?
Travis Morrison is a champion diver and one of the most popular kids at school. On the first day of summer vacation, while boating on the lake with his friends, Travis attempts a silly stunt dive that goes wrong. He fears he has broken his leg. Instead, his trip to the hospital reveals he has a rare form of cancer, and to save him, the doctors tell his parents they must amputate. In an instant, Travis’s life and the lives of everyone around him are forever changed.
Travis is determined that he and only he should decide the course of his life. He has a plan, but he can’t carry it out alone. Will he convince one of his friends to fulfill his most important request?
Lurlene McDaniel tackles a controversial subject, probing the issues of personal choice and quality of life.

This looks like a great book, and the summary got me interested! I'm so excited for this book to come out, mark your calendars! RELEASED ON MAY 12, 2009.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Musing Mondays: To bookmark, or not to bookmark?

Today's Topic: Bookmarks!

While reading a book, do you use a bookmark to hold your spot? Do you use homemade ones, or buy them at the store? you (gasp!) dog-ear the page?

Unlike some readers who can read an entire book in one sitting, it takes me a few days to finish it. So...yes, I use a bookmark. I have all sorts of ones! Some are homemade that I made a few years back, and others are ones that I got from church with Bible verses on them. Sometimes when I lose my bookmark, I'll just tear off a piece of paper or use a post-it note/note card to mark my place for the time being. I do admit, I dog-ear the pages but only when in desperate times! :P

What about you?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Let's Talk! by Danae Dobson

Title: Let's Talk! Good Stuff for Girlfriends About God, Guys, and Growing Up
Author: Danae Dobson
Published: March 2003 by Tyndale House Publishers

My Rating: 5 stars
Tags: Nonfiction | Christian | Devotional
Even though this is a genuine Christian devotional, the author's topics are those that young readers aren't old enough to understand or relate to yet. (Dating, Body Image, Gossip, Sex, etc.)

This devotional for teenage girls is packed full with personal stories from the author, related Scripture verses, and insightful questions for the reader. Some topics covered include: Peer pressure, Sex, Dating, Siblings, Jealousy, Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Growing in Your Faith. There are forty-one devotions, under six different categories.

From the devotion Pardon My "French"

If you aren't talking to God or talking about Him, you shouldn't be using His name. The same goes for Jesus Christ, the "name that is above every name" (Philippians 2:9). He is the Creator of the universe; the almighty King of kings and Lord of lords. Can we really justify throwing His name around as though it meant nothing?

If you're like me, I prefer to read devotionals for teens during my quiet time. I especially liked this one because it was for girls my age, and I could relate to almost each topic covered. My friend recommended this book, and loaned me her copy for a week or two. I actually didn't give it back to her until a month later because I re-read it after I was done.

Even though I was already aware of most of the issues that Danae wrote about, this book really opened my eyes and brought up questions that I had never thought about before. The Scripture passages that were weaved into each topic fit perfectly, and I'll remember them for years to come. I really recommend this book for teenage girls who want to grow in their faith and learn more about themselves and God.

Book Supplied by: Borrowed from a Friend!