Friday, February 26, 2010

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Published: In 2002 by Little Brown and Company

My Rating: 4.5 stars
Tags: Adult | Murder | Romance | Family
Includes: Profanity, Rape, Sexuality

First Lines: My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

Susie Salmon is an innocent fourteen year old girl, who just so happens to live next door to a serial killer. On her way home from school one day, her neighbor Mr. Harvey persuades her to follow him. As she enters his underground hideout that he claims he built for the neighborhood kids, he brutally rapes and murders her. And thus begins the story of Susie's family trying to cope with their loss. The book is from Susie's point of view, looking down at her grieving family members, from heaven.

This was a different kind of novel; not your regular whiny-teenager in a lot of YA books, or dull storyline. This one was a mix of heartache and sorrow, with a little bit of happiness and smiles sprinkled on top. The chapters alternate with each family member's personal story, and how they are trying to cope with Susie's death. There were definitely beautiful moments in the book that I distinctly remembered, and that I'll take away with me.

The author did a fantastic job with character development. I grew so fond of Susie and her thoughts seemed so realistic, especially for a girl her age. While her younger sister grows up and experiences her first kiss, Susie feels a pang of jealousy but also happiness. The emotions are greatly stirred from this book, and it hits almost each of the emotions throughout the story. It was really interesting seeing how each of Susie's family members dealt with her death completely differently.

From page 47
My father turned but was unable to stop his tears. He was about to smash the mirror over my dresser, rip the wallpaper down with his nails, but instead he fell against my bed, sobbing, and balled the lavender sheets up in his hands.

But one thing to point out is how long this book seemed to be. Sometimes I just wanted to hurry up and finish the book already when the story line would drag. I definitely think some parts could be cut out, they seemed irrelevant - but that's just my opinion.

Mr. Harvey... *shudders*. The quiet, friendly neighbor that no one would expect to be a crazed rapist. He's such an awful character, yet somehow so believable! I think the author did an amazing job with him and his personality, it fit into the story perfectly. And the ending? Wow...if I hadn't seen the movie beforehand, I would never have expected that to happen!

From page 8
I was aware that Mr. Harvey was looking at me strangely. I'd had older men look at me that way since I'd lost my baby fat, but they usually didn't lose their marbles over me when I was wearing my royal blue parka and yellow elephant bell-bottoms. His glasses were small and round with gold frames, and his eyes looked out over them and at me.

This is a horrifying book yet filled with beauty and sad, but sweet sorrow. If you start it, you most definitely have to finish it.

Book Supplied by: Won from a blogger's contest.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Night by Elie Wiesel

Title: Night
Author: Elie Wiesel
Published: Originally in 1960 by MacGibbon and Kee

My Rating: 4 stars
Tags: Nonfiction | Memoir | Holocaust | Concentration Camps
Includes: Violence, Profanity, Murder/Death

First Lines: They called him Moche the Deadle, as though he had never had a surname in his life. He was a man of all work at a Hasidic synagogue.

The reason I read this book was for my English class, since practically every year we seem to only read depressing war and Holocaust books - a trend I've noticed. I'll have to grade and review this book differently than all the others since it's a nonfiction memoir and not YA, unlike all of the other books I read and review.

This haunting memoir is written from Elie's point of view as a teenager who survived life in the concentration camps during the Holocaust. His story is a powerful one that I'll remember for years to come. In previous years, I've had to read many other Holocaust books, so I was already aware of what life was like back then for the Jews. However in this memoir, Elie mentions things that we never learned in school and it was a big eye-opener for just how deranged the Nazis treated the Jews. It was almost unbelievable of how cruel and harsh they acted.

From page 3
Without passion, without haste, they slaughtered their prisoners. Each one had to go up to the hole and present his neck. Babies were thrown into the air and the machine gunners used them as targets.

The actual story didn't provide many details, and even though it would have made the book more clear and easy to understand, I think it would've made it too depressing to read. So even though the memoir is vague, it's a good insight overall of what life was like for Elie. There are some touchy subjects mentioned, and the reader gets inside the writer's head, which I liked. There are moments in the story where Elie would get selfish thoughts in his head, like maybe if his father died it would let himself be able to eat twice the amount of food...and then he would quickly feel guilty for even thinking that. I think these thoughts were very significant because it showed how messed up the prisoners minds would become, living in these horrible concentration camps. They weren't even the same people anymore. Another point to mention is how quickly these religious groups of people would turn from their faith in God. Even the Rabbi admits to Elie that he believes that there is no God anymore.

From page 51
"It's the end. God is no longer with us. I know. Man is too small, too humble and inconsiderable to seek to understand the mysterious ways of God. But what can I do? I'm just an ordinary creature of flesh and blood. I've got eyes, and I can see what they're doing here. Where is the divine Mercy? Where is God?"

Elie changes throughout the story and matures rapidly. It was really interesting reading about the sorts of work that the SS would put them through, and how easily they could get killed from the littlest things. Many discussions could be brought up from this book, which I think is why it's included in English at school. Unlike many of the other books we read in class, I honestly enjoyed this one and would recommend it.

Book Supplied by: Read in my 10th grade English class.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Princess For Hire

This week's WoW book is Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt! It will be released on March 16, 2010.

Book Description:

When an immaculately dressed woman steps out of an iridescent bubble and asks you if you'd like to become a substitute princess, do you:
a) run
b) faint
c) say Yes!
For Desi Bascomb, who's been longing for a bit of glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C--that is, once she can stop pinching herself. As her new agent Meredith explains, Desi has a rare magical ability: when she applies the ancient Egyptian formula "Royal Rouge," she can transform temporarily into the exact lookalike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right? Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a heinous crash diet? Or when the tribal villagers gather to watch you perform a ceremonial dance you don't know? Or when a princess's conflicted sweetheart shows up to break things off--and you know she would want you to change his mind? In this hilarious, winning debut, one girl's dream of glamour transforms into something bigger: the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.

Awh this one sounds like a cute, funny read! PUBLISHED ON MARCH 16, 2010!

Friday, February 19, 2010

For the Future (4)

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. If you'd like to do it too, you can! But could you link the idea credit to me? Thanks!

Here's a list of some 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!

My So-Called Death by Stacey Jay (March 2010)
Hard to Get by Emma Berne (February 2010)
Flirting with Disaster by Rhonda Stapleton (March 2010)

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer (April 2010)
Last Dance by Melody Carlson (April 2010)
Hourglass by Claudia Gray (March 2010)

Exit Strategy by Ryan Potter (March 2010)
Invisible Girl by Mary Stone (May 2010)
The Clearing by Heather Davis (April 2010)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Shadow Mirror

This week's WoW book is Shadow Mirror by Richie Cusick! It will be released on March 18, 2010.

Book Description:

Unsettling. There’s no better word to describe Miranda Barnes’s ability to hear the cries of the dead, feel the wind move her hair when they run by, and—dare she look into a mirror—see the reflection of a ghostly woman behind her. There’s only one person to turn to for support: Etienne. As sexy as he is mysterious, Miranda can’t help but be drawn to him. He believes her; he wants to help her. But there’s a secret in Etienne’s past, something Miranda’s on the verge of discovering. As paranormal activity escalates, passion grows, and soon Miranda is caught up in both love . . . and tragedy.

Whoa, this one sounds intense! Hah, I haven't heard any talk at all about this one; but I really want to check it out. The cover is really pretty, too. PUBLISHED ON MARCH 18, 2010!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

On My Bookshelf (13)

(Originally by The Story Siren, as "In My Mailbox.") On My Bookshelf is used to share what books I bought, won, 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. (:


"The Book of Luke" by Jenny O'Connell: Emily Abbott has always been considered the Girl Most Likely to Be Nice -- but lately being nice hasn't done her any good. Her parents have decided to move the family from Chicago back to their hometown of Boston in the middle of Emily's senior year. Only Emily's first real boyfriend, Sean, is in Chicago, and so is her shot at class valedictorian and early admission to the Ivy League. What's a nice girl to do? Then Sean dumps Emily on moving day and her father announces he's staying behind in Chicago "to tie up loose ends," and Emily decides that what a nice girl needs to do is to stop being nice.


"Suite Scarlett" by Maureen Johnson: Scarlett Martin has grown up in a most unusual way. Her family owns the Hopewell, a small hotel in the heart of New York City, and Scarlett lives there with her four siblings - Spencer, Lola, and Marlene. When each of the Martins turns fifteen, they are expected to take over the care of a suite in the once elegant, now shabby Art Deco hotel. For Scarlett's fifteenth birthday, she gets both a room called the Empire Suite, and a permanent guest called Mrs. Amberson. Scarlett doesn't quite know what to make of this C-list starlet, world traveler, and aspiring autobiographer who wants to take over her life. And when she meets Eric, an astonishingly gorgeous actor who has just moved to the city, her summer takes a second unexpected turn. Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery, Broadway glamour, romantic missteps, and theatrical deceptions. But in the city where anything can happen, she just might be able to pull it off.

"Lipstick Apology" by Jennifer Jabaley: When Emily Carson’s parents die in a plane crash, she’s left with nothing but her mother’s last words scrawled in lipstick on a tray table: “Emily, please forgive me.” Now it’s fall and Emily moves to New York City— where she attracts the attention of two very different boys: the cute, popular Owen, and her quirky chemistry partner, Anthony. With the help of some surprising new friends, Emily must choose between the boy who helps her forget and the one who encourages her to remember, and ultimately heal.

"A Circle of Souls" by Preetham Grandhi: The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. With the murderer on the loose, the police desperately look for any clues to lead to his identy. Meanwhile, a psychiatrist in a nearby hospital is also in a desperate search to find the cause of seven-year-old Naya Hastings's devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode, Naya's parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope. When these two situations converge, they set off an alarming chain of events. In this stunning psychological thriller, innocence gives way to evil, and trust lies forgotten in a web of deceit, fear, and murder.


"Take Me There" by Susane Colasanti: Rhiannon is devastated after the breakup with her boyfriend and wants him back. Nicole’s ex is still pining for her, but she can’t help having a new crush. And then there is James, hopelessly in love with Rhiannon, who can’t see that their friendship can be so much more. Just when things couldn’t get more complicated, the school’s resident mean girl decides she is intent on ruining everyone’s life. James, Nicole, and Rhiannon are not going to let this slide, but will their desire to take down the mean girl bring these three friends exactly what they want?

"Wings" by Aprilynne Pike: Fifteen-year-old Laurel has led a sheltered, homeschooled life in a very small town, so when her parents decide to move and enroll her in high school, she has trouble getting used to her new life. A life, as it turns out, that’s not at all like those of other kids. One clear sign is a winglike blossom that blooms on her back. Oh, and her new best friend, the scientifically minded David, reveals under a microscope that her cells are more plant than animal. But it takes an encounter at her old home with the handsome but decidedly different Tamani to convince her that she is a faerie. She also learns it’s up to her to save her land from the evil influences that are trying to take it away from her and her family.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Third Book of The Hunger Games Series, Revealed!

I've been anticipating hearing what the third book of the amazing/fantastic/addictive series "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, would be called. I've also been dying to see what the cover will look like. Well, the time has come --- it's been decided! :)

The third and final book of the series will be called "Mockingjay" and will be published on August 24, 2010 unless changed otherwise. And here is the cover....

Ahhhhh I'm so excited for its release, I definitely cannot wait until August, though! :/
What do you all think about it?!

Friday, February 12, 2010

I was interviewed!

Check it out by clicking this handy-dandy link! :)
Starry Night has a weekly post where she interviews fellow book bloggers and this week was mine! It's called 'Introducing...YOU' and I advise you to check it out and ask her to be interviewed, too.

I love being asked questions, and I'm thinking I might start making my site more personal for you all to get to know me better. What do you think?? I know a few other sites have a post dedicated just to themselves, like an "about me" with a question-and-answer sort of thing. But should I make one too, for you guys to leave comments/email me with questions regarding myself? Let me know please! Thanks.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: The Sky Is Everywhere

This week's WoW book is The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson! It will be released on March 9, 2010.

Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.

I've heard a lot of talk about this one, and the summary kind of reminded me of Twenty Boy Summer by Sara Ockler..? Anywho, this one looks like a fantastic book and I love the cover! PUBLISHED ON MARCH 9, 2010!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Years Contest Winners - Part Two!

Yesterday I posted the first half of the winners to my huge New Years Extravaganza Contest, and today I'm finishing posting up the remaining 8 winners.
I'll email all of you after posting this, and please reply ASAP so I can get your prize to you. If you don't reply within four days to the e-mail, your prize will go to someone else. Thank you all SO much for entering, following, and spreading the word! Love you guys! :]

Valerie (I Should Be Writing) won "One Lonely Degree" by C.K. Kelly Martin, a mousepad, magnets, and button-set based off of the books

Amanda B won an e-book of "Birthday Girl" by Diane Wright

Nicole (Nicole in Chicago) won a Mortal Instruments Poster

Kate (The Neverending Shelf) won "Fairy Tale" signed by Cyn Balog

Cristina (Kiki's Bookcation) won "Snowed In" by Rachel Hawthorne

Jennifer (The Movieholic & Bibliophile's Blog) won a boxed set of the 3 Mortal Instruments Books and a Mortal Instruments Poster

Jill (The O.W.L.) won "Going Too Far" by Jennifer Echols

Paige (Pages of Paige's Book Reviews) won a Mortal Instruments Poster

Mrs. Magoo Reads Contest

Mrs. Magoo Reads is having a pretty awesome contest where one lucky person can win 10 used books!
Enter quickly though, it ends February 14th. :)

-Hardcover of Ice
-Hardcover of Year of the Horse
-Hardcover of Melonhead
-Paperback of Curse of the Shamra
-ARC of Geektastic
-ARC of Captivate
-ARC of Fat Cat
-ARC of Going Bovine
-ARC of Savvy Girl
-ARC of Give Up the Ghost

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Years Contest Winners - Part One!

First of all, so sorry that I'm a week late posting the winners of my New Years Extravaganza Contest! I've had a busy week and
a lot of people entered this one; I had over 300 entries from 106 people! :) There are 17 winners, and each will get a different prize. I'll email all of you after posting this, and please reply ASAP so I can get your prize to you. If you don't reply within four days to the e-mail, your prize will go to someone else. Thank you all SO much for entering, following, and spreading the word! Love you guys! :]

Since there are 17 winners, and I still haven't gotten them all, I'm posting the first NINE winners today. Check back tomorrow for the remaining eight winners! :)

Orchid (The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia) won "Bones of Faerie" by Janni Simner

Sherry (Flipping Pages for All Ages) won a Mortal Instruments Poster

Emily (Red House Books) won "Explorer X-Alpha" by LM Preston

Melissa (Coffee Books and Laundry) won "Snowed In" by Rachel Hawthorne

Jessica (Shut Up! I'm Reading) won a Mortal Instruments Poster

Debbie (Debbie's Book Bag) won an e-book of "Birthday Girl" by Diane Wright

Reggie (The Undercover Book Lover) won "Swoon" by Nina Malkin

Aik (Friends and Family) won "Sea Change" by Amy Friedman

Amber (Reading Addict) won a Mortal Instruments Poster

Friday, February 5, 2010

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Bones (Mortal Instruments Book 1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Published: February 2008 by McElderry

My Rating: 5 stars (I wish I could give it more!)
Tags: YA | Fantasy | Suspense | Vampires | Werewolves | Warlocks | Paranormal Romance
Includes: Violence, Witchcraft

First Lines: "You've got to be kidding me," the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest. He stared down at the boy in the red zip-up jacket and shook his shaved head.

Clary Fray, an overall normal teenager living in New York, witnesses a murder one night at a club. Except that no else can seem to see the things and people that she sees. From there, Clary's world takes off on an adventure full of shadow hunters (descendants of angels that kill demons), warlocks, vampires, werewolves, and many other paranormal creatures. Along the way, she'll have the help from the charming Jace, and learn about all of the dark secrets of her past that her mother never told her about.

I don't want to say much about the plot, because I really don't want to give anything away! This book is full of surprises and there are many twists and turns along the way that were very unpredictable. The story kicks off strong, and has so many intense scenes along the way, you almost never have time to wind down and breathe.

From page 280
The windows exploded inward in a shower of broken glass. She heard herself cry out, saw the vampires - barely an arm's length from her and Jace - whirl in astonishment, shock mingling with terror on their faces. Through the shattered windows came dozens of sleek shapes, four-footed and low to the ground, their coats scattering moonlight and broken bits of glass. Wolves.

I fell in love with Clary and Jace's characters; they're the protagonists in the book, and their more-than-just-friends relationship was really believable and interesting. Sure, Clary sometimes made stupid decisions, or craved comfort and protection, but that's what made it so much more real! Jace's witty and sarcastic personality drew me in right away, yet somewhere deep within him there's a sensitive and caring boy.

From page 449
At last Jace looked at her. She saw the disbelief plain in his eyes. She could see the fragile construct of his faith in his father that he wore like a transparent armor, protecting him from the truth.

Now for the Even though the main plot in the book was for Clary and the other Shadow Hunters to retrieve the Mortal Cup from the villain, Valentine; there are some side plots to the story too, that will keep up the reader's attention. It was a thrilling read, and there were nights that I would stay up reading for hours simply because I couldn't put the book down! It's a really unique and creative story, and I hadn't read anything like it before. The author's writing was so believable and understandable, and I could easily visualize everything that was happening. She didn't hesitate to include many details in her writing.

This is one of the longest books I've ever read though. It's almost 500 pages, and for me being a slow reader, it took me what felt like forever to finally finish it. But it was definitely worth it. This ending will have you shocked like never before. My fingers are itching to hold the next book and begin reading it. Why did I wait so long to start reading this fantastic series?!

Book Supplied by: Publisher for review.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Years Winners...

....are still being picked! This has been my biggest contest ever, and 107 people entered...not to mention the hundreds of entries that go along with it. So I hope you all could be patient with me over the week/weekend while I still get all the winners. Keep checking back, hopefully they'll be posted up soon. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: The Naughty List

This week's WoW book is The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
! It will be released on February 4, 2010.

Book Description:

As if being a purrfect cheerleader isn’t enough responsibility! Tessa Crimson’s the sweet and spunky leader of the SOS (Society of Smitten Kittens), a cheer squad–turned–spy society dedicated to bringing dastardly boyfriends to justice, one cheater at a time. Boyfriend-busting wouldn’t be so bad . . . except that so far, every suspect on the Naughty List has been proven 100% guilty! When Tessa’s own boyfriend shows up on the List, she turns her sleuthing skills on him. Is Aiden just as naughty as all the rest, or will Tessa’s sneaky ways end in catastrophe? The Naughty List. Is your boyfriend on it?

I actually just got an ARC of this one the other day, and can't wait to start reading it! I've heard a lot of talk about this one and am hoping for a great read. PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 4, 2010!