Saturday, July 31, 2010

Interview with author Estevan Vega

I interviewed the awesome Estevan Vega, author of the book Arson that came out this year!

Describe Arson in one sentence: A boy who can create fire and a girl who only feels normal behind a mask explore the darkness and dysfunction of humanity while coming to grips with who they are.

Did you plan the outcome of your book or did it change while writing the story?
No. I find that I'm not all that good at planning. I can hear Heath Ledger's Joker snickering...."Do I look like a man with a plan?" But seriously, I find it easier to just write the book. The other stuff comes and the story gets complicated all on its own. Sometimes I'll know where I'm headed, but usually I'm just a backseat driver to the unfolding story.

What aspect of Arson was the hardest to write?
The beginning and the end are always complicated for me, probably because they are both equally important. You gotta hook the reader from the start, and then you gotta shock the reader as it ends, giving them something they didn't necessarily expect. I love that. It's hard, though, choosing the right way to start and end a story. I think while writing ARSON, I changed the opening scene, like, 5 times. The end I altered too from what originally I had intended. I'm stoked how it all came together, though. That's the best part...when the war of deciding is over and you can see the finished product...only to begin the headaches all over again when you start a part two or another book.

Do you have any writing rituals?
Well, apart of dancing around a campfire doing a weird chant while puffing out smoke, no. I just write whenever I can, whenever something hits me, or when a story's been gnawing at me for a while.

If you could travel to any place in the world where would it be and why?
I'd like to take a road trip, really see the country, because I've just always wanted to do that. And it sounds like an awesome nightmare I've gotta experience before I die...or get old.

What's the most outrageous/fearless thing you've ever done?
Roll out of bed in the morning and commit to doing another day.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
To be transported to a different time, so I could see what life was like in another time. To have a conversation with God. To wish for more wishes, because there's tons more I could ask for. But I think I might settle for having a genie to chill long as he sounds like Robin Williams.

Anything else you'd like to say?
Stay in school. Don't do drugs. Talk back only when it's worth getting hit upside the head. Avoid first dates or awkward goodbyes. Buy ARSON immediately. And, um...burn something.

P.S. I am throwing an ARSON rock show on September 10 in Hamden, CT at The Space. Tickets are 12 bucks in advance, 14 bucks at the door. The headliner is The Letter Black, and other bands opening are Abel, The Best Week Ever, and Sleeping Lessons. We're all gonna be rockin out and talking about ARSON. Come hang. And bring posse!

Thanks so much for answering my questions Estevan! Readers, be sure to check out his book Arson. Also, try stalking him on facebook or on twitter.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Accomplice

This week's WoW book is Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan! It will be released on August 1, 2010.

Book Description:

Finn and Chloe have it all figured out. Their school guidance counselor has told everyone that it's not enough to get good grades or do community service anymore - kids like that are everywhere, and colleges are bored of them. So what do you do? Chloe decides they should get attention another way. She and Finn will stage her own disappearance - and then Finn will be the only who finds and saves her. What college wouldn't want them after that kind of attention? It seems like a good plan -- until things start going very wrong.

I love a good thriller, and this one looks great! PUBLISHED ON AUGUST 1, 2010!

Monday, July 26, 2010

For the Future (9)

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!

The Haunted by Jessica Verday (August 31, 2010): The sequel to The Hollow, about Abbey and Caspian's love.
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan (September 7, 2010): An engaging story of a timeless struggle and inescapable romance; the first book in a stunning new fantasy trilogy.
Grace by Elizabeth Scott (September 16, 2010): Told in spare, powerful prose by acclaimed author Elizabeth Scott, this tale of a dystopian near future will haunt readers long after they've reached the final page.

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales (October 5, 2010): When best friend Katie starts making choices that Violet can’t even begin to fathom, Violet has no idea how to set things right between them. How can she keep her junior year from being one huge epic failure?
Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin (September 14, 2010): Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, this is a must-read for teen paranormal fans.
Girl Parts by John Cusick (August 10, 2010): What happens when a robot designed to be a boy’s ideal “companion” develops a will of her own?

Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart (August 24, 2010): Filled with vivid detail that artfully brings the past to life, this is a timeless and finely crafted novel about betrayal and guilt, hope and despair, love, loss, and new beginnings.

Stork by Wendy Delsol (October 12, 2010): A hip heroine discovers that she has the ability to decide who gets pregnant in this witty YA blend of romance and the supernatural.
The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (August 31, 2010): Filled with shocking twists and turns, this is an engrossing gothic novel of betrayal, jealousy, and treacherous secrets that will keep you guessing to the very end.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Growing Up with Author Kiersten White

I started a brand spankin' new type of author interview for Books Obsession! I wanted something original, that other sites didn't do, but still fun - since I've just grown tired of asking authors the same interview questions over and over. So I'm beginning "Growing Up with Authors!" It will be a type of interview that focuses only on the author's life from childhood, teen, adult, and future. Hopefully it will let us get to know some awesome authors better and let us see what it was like for them growing up.

For this Growing Up post, I was lucky to interview debut author Kiersten White. She wrote the YA book Paranormalcy that is due to come out on August 31 this year!

Did you play or want to play any instruments as a kid?
I played the piano from age eight to about fourteen. I can still play a little. I also sang in choirs from fifth grade through graduation. Oddly enough I hate singing in choirs now...

Do you remember one of your first dates?
How about my worst date? There was a very nice boy I was friends with. He had already asked me to prom and we went out (as friends, or so I thought) to a movie. He held my hand and I didn't have the heart to pull it away. I felt so terrible that he thought we were more than friends (and we still had prom to go to together!) that I got a massive migraine from stress. I ended up emailing him to tell him that I couldn't be more than friends. Prom was a little bit awkward after that.

What was one of the highlights during your high school years?
I was on the Mock Trial team, and I totally cleaned up as an imaginary lawyer in imaginary trials in front of non-imaginary judges and attorneys. One time one of the judges (a forty-something attorney) even told the other student-attorneys that they needed more sex appeal in their delivery, like I had. Okay, that part was creepy.

What was your first car?
The Champagne Super Nova, a champagne-colored Chevy Nova. I think all cars should come with their own theme song standard.

Most outrageous thing you did as a teenager?
Get married two weeks after I turned nineteen? It didn't feel outrageous at the time (and still doesn't), but I suppose I was rather young...

When/why did you decide to be an author?
I had been writing for a while, but it wasn't until I was nearly finished with my first YA novel (June of 2008, I believe) and went to a bookstore that it hit me just how badly I wanted to be on those shelves. It really became a driving passion more than a hobby for me at that point.

Do you have a song or band that you've listened to through life?
Other than The Beatles, no. I listened to a lot of Counting Crows in high school, but they just don't "speak" to me like they used to. It's funny how now I can listen to those songs that teenage me completely identified with and feel almost nothing.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I hate this question, because it makes me picture my kids as teenagers, and I'd much rather not imagine that. Regardless, I hope to be writing and publishing more books that teenagers want to read, and I fully anticipate still having a hard time finding the energy to do everything I want to as a mother, wife, and author!

Anything else you'd like to say?
Fustigate! Fishmonger! Blast! Frankenstein!
I just like saying those words aloud sometimes.
Oh, also, thanks for hosting this interview, Ashley! Those are good words, too.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Kiersten!

Friday, July 23, 2010

We've got a winner...

Thanks to the 35 awesome followers who entered my contest for "Summer In Paris" by Michele Ashman Bell. The lucky winner who gets a brand spankin' new copy of this wonderful book is...


Congrats! I'm emailing you right now and you'll have a week to get back to me before I pick another winner.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Title: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Published: October 2010 by Philomel

My Rating: 5 stars
Tags: YA | Paranormal | Werewolves | Romance | Series (Book One)
Includes: Profanity, Sexuality, Violence

First Lines: I'd always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden. The bear's roar filled my ears. Its hot breath assaulted my nostrils, fueling my bloodlust.

Calla is a Guardian for the Keepers - her job as a werewolf is to protect and do whatever the Keepers, beings with magical powers, say. Calla is an alpha female who leads her pack called Nightshade. After graduating from highschool, she is destined to unite and mate with Ren, the alpha male of a pack called Bane. Then, their two packs will combine as one. Their mission is to protect a sacred site for the Keepers because their enemies, the Searchers, are looking for it.

One day while Calla is on patrol on the mountain, she comes across a human boy being brutally attacked by a bear. Even though it's against the Keepers rules, she saves him and the boy watches her transform from a wolf to a human. The next day at school, a new student arrives named Shay...the boy who Calla saved. The two of them immediately feel a connection, but Calla is already planned to unite with Ren. As Calla and Shay begin to spend more and more time together, Calla must face a decision that could destroy everything she lives for.

I read this 450 page book in four days...which is a new record because it usually takes me at least a week to read a book half this size. This is just one of the many ways that shows how awesome it was. It was unlike anything I have ever read before and I can't believe this is Andrea Cremer's debut novel because it was simply astounding. Her writing was beautiful and structured so well. Stepping into Calla's world was thrilling, adventurous, and sexy. Creativity poured out from every page and the plot never dragged.

From Page 5
The scent of fear covered him, taunting my predatory instincts, but beneath it lay something else - the smell of spring, of nascent leaves and thawing earth. A scent full of hope. Possibility. Subtle and tempting.

Calla was such a believable and lovable protagonist. Her character was developed beautifully and I grew to really understand her and her pack of four others. Each character in the book, no matter how much spotlight they got, was deeply developed. I got to know and understand each one of them, forming different opinions/feelings about them all. Calla's love triangle with Ren and Shay was scandalous yet so addicting. I'm definitely on Team Shay, I loved him from the very beginning over the dominant and overprotective Ren. Even after finishing the last page, I'm still not sure where I stand with Ren; he's likable and sexy, so caring for Calla, but I think just a little too aggressive for me. Shay was headstrong and determined. When he knew what he wanted, he wouldn't let anything get in his way. I also loved how much he influenced Calla; being rebellious, he started planting questions about the Keepers in her mind. Until finally, they decided to break the Keepers rules and dig deep into Calla's history to find out the truth. I lost count how many times Calla and Shay broke the rules because their curiosity kicked in. Also, even in the worst life-or-death situations, Shay was still able to lighten the mood and make Calla laugh. I want my own Shay in real life!

Do not even get me started on how fantastic, suspenseful, and nail-biting the last few chapters were. Oh my goodness, I have never read a better cliffhanger ending in my life before. I am dying to read the sequel already, Wolfsbane, but I still have to wait over a year! This book just consumed me and refused to let me put it down. Even from the first page I was absorbed in this dark urban fantasy. I would stay up reading until two in the morning, while my eyes would burn for sleep but I'd just ignore it because I had to know what was going to happen in Calla's world. Full of passion and lust, twists and turns that I didn't see coming, this unpredictable book left me out of breath and craving for more.

Cover Thoughts: Wow, this cover is gorgeous; the colors, bloody flowers, and strange girl are perfect for this book. Even little things like the odd cross for the "t" in Nightshade make sense after reading the book. I love it!

ARC Supplied by: Publisher for review.

Last day to enter contest!

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter my contest to win Summer In Paris by Michele Ashman Bell! It's a wonderful book and the giveaway is open internationally. So hurry up and enter, enter, enter if you haven't already. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Lost Saint Cover Revealed

Bree Despain's sequel to The Dark Divine, The Lost Saint will be published on December 28, 2010. The beautiful cover has been revealed on her site and I love it! It matches the first cover, too. I have yet to read the first book in the series; an ARC of it is sitting on my bookshelf but I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet...sigh, I wish there was more time in the day.

But anyway, isn't this cover just gorgeous?

Waiting On Wednesday: Wildthorn

This week's WoW book is Wildthorn by Jane Eagland! It will be released on September 6, 2010.

Book Description:

They strip her naked, of everything—undo her whalebone corset, hook by hook. Locked away in Wildthorn Hall—a madhouse—they take her identity. She is now called Lucy Childs. She has no one; she has nothing. But, she is still seventeen—still Louisa Cosgrove, isn't she? Who has done this unthinkable deed? Louisa must free herself, in more ways than one, and muster up the courage to be her true self, all the while solving her own twisted mystery and falling into an unconventional love . . .
Originally published in the UK, this well-paced, provocative romance pushes on boundaries—both literal and figurative—and, do beware: it will bind you, too.

Wow a romance set in a Victorian insane asylum? I have got to read this one. The cover is beautiful! PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2010!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Growing Up with Author Jennifer Hubbard

I started a brand spankin' new type of author interview for Books Obsession! I wanted something original, that other sites didn't do, but still fun - since I've just grown tired of asking authors the same interview questions over and over. So I'm beginning "Growing Up with Authors!" It will be a type of interview that focuses only on the author's life from childhood, teen, adult, and future. Hopefully it will let us get to know some awesome authors better and let us see what it was like for them growing up.

For my first-ever Growing Up post, I have Jennifer Hubbard here to answer some questions. She wrote the YA book The Secret Year that came out this year.

Do you remember one of your first dates?
I think the first boy to ever ask me out did so on a day I had just had my wisdom teeth out, so needless to say, I was not in date-ready shape just then. Then he ended up going to live in another country shortly after that; we never did have our date!
On my actual first date, we didn't do much, just drove around. I do remember that my dad insisted on meeting the boy first, and my date actually wore a tie, which unfortunately my father failed to notice.

What was one of the highlights during your high school years?
The summer after sophomore year, I went to a creative-arts camp where I majored in creative writing. Definitely one of the best summers of my life. Even though, to tell the truth, I didn't write much during the summer, it was my first experience being around so many other kids who were into the arts, so it was the most socially accepting experience I had as a teenager. And I made huge leaps in my writing progress as soon as I got home; I started experimenting with traditional forms such as sonnets, I tried my hand at novels, and I started submitting work. I actually had a short story published right around the time I graduated from high school.
That program still exists; it's called CCY, the Center for Creative Youth:

Most outrageous thing you did in college?
I know that a lot of people think college is like Animal House, and maybe for some people it is. But generally, college--especially the course of study I chose--is a very hard academic slog. We studied all the time and ate a lot of pizza and watched TV at two in the morning; we played volleyball or danced in a frat-house basement to let off steam; we had our romances and heartbreaks. Mostly, we did an unbelievable amount of work. So I can't think of anything really outrageous--just little things. Like, people went sledding in the park using the plastic cafeteria trays. And my friend and I went to Atlantic City one April day when it was eighty-something degrees in Philadelphia, but (as we discovered) much, much colder at the Jersey shore. And I played on a volleyball team called "Nausous"--yes, my teammates spelled it wrong and we decided to keep it that way!
Scariest experience: the day in organic chem lab when our experiments were all catching fire because of bad instructions. The TA just went around the room putting out one fire after another--literally.

What's the best or worst job you've ever had?
As a teenager, I worked in a restaurant, and sometimes I had to clean the bathroom. Cleaning a public toilet is definitely one of my least favorite jobs ever. It's exactly as disgusting as you imagine.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I imagine I will still be writing, and I hope people will still be reading my work.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Jennifer!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

On My Bookshelf (19)

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


Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund: With a past too terrible to speak of, and a bleak, lonely future ahead of her, Aerin Renning is shocked to find she has earned a place at the most exclusive school in the universe. Aerin excels at Academy 7 in all but debate, where Dane Madousin—son of one of the most powerful men in the Alliance— consistently outtalks her. Fortunately Aerin consistently outwits him at sparring. They are at the top of their class until Dane jeopardizes everything and Aerin is unintentionally dragged down with him. When the pair is given a joint punishment, an unexpected friendship—and romance—begins to form. But Dane and Aerin both harbor dangerous secrets, and the two are linked in ways neither of them could ever have imagined...

The Shining by Stephen King: This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son slowly but steadily unfolds as secrets from the Overlook Hotel's past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to laim the very souls of the Torrence family.

You Are So Undead To Me by Stacey Jay: Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she's part-time shrink to a whole bunch of semi-dead people with killer issues. All Megan really wants is to go to homecoming, but when you're trailed by a bunch of slobbering corpses whenever you leave the house, it's kinda hard to score a date. Let's just say Megan's love life could use some major resuscitation. Megan's convinced her life can't get any worse - until someone in school starts using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into scary, hardcore flesh-eating Zombies. Now it's up to Megan to stop the Zombie apocalypse. Her life - and more importantly, the homecoming dance - depends on it.

Girls In Trucks by Katie Crouch: Sarah Walters is a reluctant Camellia Society debutante. She has always felt ill-fitted to the rococo ways of Southern womanhood and family, and is anxious to shake the bonds of her youth. Still, she follows the traditional path laid out for her. This is Charleston, and in this beautiful, dark, segregated town, established rules and manners mean everything. But as Sarah grows older, she finds that her Camellia lessons fail her, particularly as she goes to college, moves North, and navigates love and life in New York. There, Sarah and her group of displaced deb sisters try to define themselves within the realities of modern life. Heartbreak, addiction, disappointing jobs and death fail to live up to the hazy, happy future promised to them by their Camellia mothers and sisters.


We Hear the Dead by Dianne Salerni: It starts as a harmless prank...then one lie quickly grows into another. Soon Kate and Maggie Fox are swept into a dizzying flurry of national attention for their abilities to communicate with the dead. But living a lie is sometimes too much to handle, even if you have the best intentions. Based on a true story, We Hear the Dead reveals how secrets and lies can sometimes lead you to what's real and what's right. And how sometimes talking with the dead is easier than talking with the people around you.


Manifest by Artist Arthur: Krystal Bentley is an outsider at her new high school, having just moved to a small Connecticut town. Lately she's been hearing the voice of a teenage boy in her head, and he has become her friend and confidant. The only problem is, he's dead...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Secret Keeper - I was a winner!

Back on June 21, I got an email from the ABC Family people responsible for putting together the "Pretty Little Liars Secret Keeper Game" that I played throughout May and the beginning of June. If you didn't see my posts regarding the fun game, click here and read more about that.

It turns out I completed at least 8 out of 10 of the missions I had to do, so I was one of the winners! :) So, like I said, last month I got an email saying:

Hi! Thanks so much for playing our Secret Keepers game! Now comes the fun part - please send me a question for the cast member who has also been playing Spencer, and we will film her answering it. Timing is tight since the schedule for the show is very busy, so if you could send me your question today that would be great. Thanks again!

I was so ecstatic that Troian, the actress who plays Spencer on the show, would be answering a question of mine! I asked her: How did you capture Spencer's character? What did you add or bring to her personality for the show?

Today I finally got an email back from the ABC Family people, with a link to Troian's answer on a video on YouTube. She also answered four other questions from other book bloggers who were winners. I put the video below for you guys to watch! Ahhh so exciting, even though she doesn't say my name directly, it just makes me smile every time I hear her say "Hi Books Obsession" at the beginning...hah I know, I'm totally lame - but hey, it's exciting to have someone on TV refer to me!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Naughty List by Suzanne Young

Title: The Naughty List
Author: Suzanne Young
Published: February 2010 by Razorbill

My Rating: 3.5 stars
Tags: YA | Girls | Romance | Series (Book One)
Includes: Profanity, Sexual Content

First Lines: Sigh. A padlock? Who padlocked their gates in this neighborhood? This was Brinkerhoff Point - one of the nicest areas in the entire state of Washington!

Tessa Crimson is a perky head cheerleader
by day, and a spy by night. She's the leader of the SOS (Society of Smitten Kittens) who spy on guys who are thought to be cheating on their girlfriends. No one at school knows who's in the SOS, it's very secretive. So the cheerleaders can't tell anyone they're in charge of it. Tessa's been happily dating the star basketball player, Aiden, for two years. But lately, with all of her mysterious absences (going on SOS missions), they're relationship has been strained. Especially when Chloe, the new girl, arrives and is determined to get Aiden for herself. Suddenly, when Aiden's name turns up on the naughty list, Tessa doesn't know how to react or what to do. Could her boyfriend of two years really be cheating on her, too?

This was a unique and creative book; I mean, a secretive cheerleading group designed for catching cheaters? You don't read about that every day! However, even though the book was fun and comical, it lacked a lot of substance. It was light on the surface, and didn't dig any deeper than that. I craved more character development, and to get to know the cheerleader spies better. Tessa's character was a little strange to me. Even though it was great that she looked down on profanity, and corrected her friends' language whenever they cussed, she used the weirdest expressions throughout the book. Such as "Franks and beans!", "Good gravy!", and "Jolly green giant!". These odd sayings were so distracting, being included on almost every page, and made Tessa sound like a ridiculous drama queen about everything. Also, the author sometimes used strange vocabulary or puns to make the book funny - but it ended up just sounding out of place.

From Page 35
I swirled to face him. I was pretty sure my bloomers flashed because his grin became a full-on smile. Was he trying to ruffle my pom-poms?

I liked Aiden, but found myself getting frustrated with his relationship with Tessa. They never talked through their arguments, but instead just depended on sex to be close to each other. Their relationship was mostly physical, which isn't healthy. However, Aiden was really good to her and treated Tessa sweetly. Chloe, and her brother, Christian, were developed wonderfully. The author did a great job at making me despise them. Christian was icky, practically stalking Tessa and showing up everywhere, and gave me the creeps. Every time he was alone with Tessa and tried to make a move on her, I'd start yelling at the book for him to go away.

I really liked reading about the SOS's missions, they were so determined to catch those lying cheaters! Between chapters are "Cheater Incident Reports" which were fun to read. I also liked how serious the girls were at their job, they had heavy-duty surveillance equipment to get physical evidence of the guys cheating.

From Page 141
I found the night scope for my camera and snapped it on. It didn't take me long to find the figures in the dark room. Through the slats in the blinds I aimed my camera at the bed. I swallowed down the metallic taste in my mouth. My stomach turned with anxiety.

This was a good chick-lit book, I enjoyed it for the most part. It's a light read and doesn't go too in depth unfortunately, but it was still fun and flirty. The second half of the book was much better than the first part; and the climax was great. I was satisfied with the ending, and am ready to read the sequel. Hopefully there will be more character development and I'll grow to love Tessa and Aiden as a couple.

Cover Thoughts: It's cute and girly; fits the book nicely. It sets up the mood of the book.

Book Supplied by: ARC won from a blogger's contest.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Echoes

This week's WoW book is Echoes by Melinda Metz! It will be released on July 27, 2010.

Book Description:

Can't believe she did that . . .

. . . at four-thirty I have to . . .

. . . I hate this place . . .

Rae Voight is losing her mind. When she walks down the halls of Sanderson Prep, she hears voices . . . even when no one is talking. Other people's thoughts crowd her head, a confusing tangle of insecurities and dark secrets. Just when Rae reaches her breaking point, one voice comes screaming through the din, loud and clear:

. . . Rae must die . . .

If Rae doesn't figure out who the thought belongs to soon, she could lose more than just her sanity.

Ooh this one looks like a keeper! I love the pretty cover of this one, and the great summary has definitely caught my attention. PUBLISHED ON JULY 27, 2010!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Paranormal Pre-Order Contest!


Today's a good day for a contest, don't you think? :) But this time - I wanted to do something a little different. So how about...a pre-order contest! From the lovely Book Depository, that way it can be international, yay! There are so many awesome books coming out this summer, especially in the paranormal/fantasy genre, am I right? Yep.

So I want this contest to be big. Huge. Off the charts. Ohhhkay maybe I shouldn't get too ahead of myself. First, I'll start out with three (3) books as the prize: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, and Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers.

or every 25 new followers I get, I'll add another book to the pre-order list. Right now I'm thinking: Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink, Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick, or Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Do those seem like some good add-on ideas? Possibly? :) Well I'm leaving the choice up to YOU GUYS - you're the ones who will be controlling this contest and the prizes. The more people who enter and follow, the greater the prizes and winners.

First winner gets their pick of three books from the pre-order list.
Second winner gets their pick of two books from the pre-order list. (Added 7/18)
Third winner gets their pick of one book from the pre-order list. (Added 8/1)

The Pre-Order Book List (so far):
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Added 7/14)
Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (Added 7/18)
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto (Added 7/22)
Torment by Lauren Kate (Added 8/1)
Firelight by Sophie Jordan (Added 8/1)
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Added 8/3)
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (Added 8/6)
Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink (Added 8/13)

The contest will end on August 18, you must be at least 13 years old to enter (read my contest policy), and remember that it's international (as long as your country is on the list for where the Book Depository ships for free)! I bet you're now wondering, how the heck do I enter?! Well...


There will be many ways to get loads of extra entries, for those of you that really want to win. So spread the word please; remember, for every 25 new followers I get, another book will be added to the pre-order list. For every 50 new followers I get, another winner will be added. Good luck!

Here are some links you may need for the extra entries:

You can also leave a comment on this post with a paranormal, young adult book that you want added to the pre-order list. It shouldn't be published yet - hence the word "pre-order". This will get you one extra entry. Maybe next time you check, that book will be added!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Perfect by Sara Shepard

Title: Perfect (Pretty Little Liars #3)
Author: Sara Shepard
Published: May 2008 by HarperTeen

My Rating: 5 stars
Tags: YA | Girls | Romance | Mystery | Series (Book Three)
Includes: Profanity, Sexual Content, Brief Alcohol Abuse, Homosexuality

First Lines: Spencer Hastings should have been sleeping at six-thirty on Monday morning. Instead, she was sitting in a therapist's blue-and-green waiting room, feeling like she was trapped inside an aquarium.

*This review contains spoilers for those of you that haven't read the first or second book in the Pretty Little Liars series.*

It's been a month since the mysterious A contacted the four girls, and since Toby killed himself. But soon, A is back to her usual dirty work; and this time she's done with playing games and is determined to tell everyone about the girls' secrets.
Hanna and Mona, the queen bees of the school, are fighting - thanks to A. And soon, Hanna's being replaced by other girls, right before Mona's huge sweet seventeen party. Word got out that Emily and Maya kissed and now the school and her whole family knows. Her parents force her to go to a program called Tree Tops, hoping to make her straight again. It's that, or be sent to live with her crazy aunt and uncle on a farm. Spencer's essay, which she stole from her sister, has been nominated in the Golden Orchid awards - which her family and the press is extremely proud of. Aria's dad has left their family to be with Meredith, and Aria's mom knows because of a letter she received from A. She kicked her daughter out of the house and doesn't want to see her again, for keeping the secret from her. And this is just the beginning of the third book in the series...

Once again, Sara Shepard has left me speechless at her wonderful series. This book had so much drama, secrets, and gossip gushing out of the pages that I was constantly craving more. I grew to know and better understand the four main girls even more than I did before. And even when it felt like the world was against them, I still felt for them. Although they did some horrible things, I think their families were way too hard on them. The author did a great job with characterization. I got to know even the minor characters who barely played a part in the story. I also like how Sara Shepard doesn't pick and choose favorites out of the four main girls in the book. She gives each of them just enough chapters and spotlight so that it's equal.

I don't want to give too much away of everything that went down between these chapters in this gripping book! It was full of mystery, scandal, and secrets. There were many twists and turns like always, but it seems like each book in the series just keeps getting better and better. As the girls dig themselves into even deeper holes, and the drama escalates, it makes me rip through the pages wanting - no, needing - to know who the heck A is! Every time I get a theory as to who this mysterious creeper might be, it gets shot down and someone else comes to mind instead.
Oh my goodness - the last few chapters?! Insane! I'm telling you, something so unexpected happens and leaves the reader on a cliffhanger ending, biting their nails, yelling "What just happened?!" I want to stand up and give the author a standing ovation at how awesome she is at keeping up suspense.

I will insist though that you have to read these books in order, to experience the story from beginning to end. I'm ecstatic to start reading the fourth book in the series, and hopefully I'll be able to finish the series as quickly as I can. I don't want the TV show to give anything away before I read it!

Cover Thoughts: Love it! The whole series has an ongoing theme with their covers; each one represents one of the girls as a barbie doll. On the back, it shows them as a human, but they look exactly the same. I think this is such an original idea!

Book Supplied by: E-book on my Kindle.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lauren Barnholdt Books Sneak Peeks

Want to read some sneak peeks of Lauren Barnholdt's newest three books? Click here and at the bottom right corner, click "sneak"! :) It's free, no viruses, and simple. Lauren put it up on her site just for us! The books are: Watch Me, One Night That Changes Everything, and Aces Up. The first two came out this month, and Aces Up is being published on August 10. I've never read anything by her but I've heard great things!

For the Future (8)

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 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!

The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees (July 20, 2010): An engrossing journey full of political intrigue, danger, and romance.
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (August 31, 2010): "The chemistry between Varen and Isobel is positively simmering and as necessary as breathing." -
Winter Longing by Tricia Mills (August 12, 2010): When Winter’s boyfriend is killed in a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness, she’s robbed of the future she’d only just allowed herself to believe might be hers.

Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex (July 27, 2010): Wonderful dry humor and calculated silliness with a thoughtful, poignant, ambiguous ending that is bound to inspire discussion.
Love Drugged by James Klise (September 1, 2010): A star-crossed romance with humor and heart, Love Drugged explores the consequences of a life constructed almost entirely of lies.
The Julian Game by Adele Griffin (August 26, 2010): This riveting novel explores the issues of Facebook: the desire to be someone else, real versus online friends, and the pitfalls and fallouts of posting your personal life online for all the world to judge.

The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike (September 13, 2010): Sara can save mankind, herself, or the boy she cares for. Who will she be forced to sacrifice?
Stalker Girl by Rosemary Graham (August 5, 2010): Carly never meant to become a stalker. She just wanted to find out who Brian started dating after he dumped her...
Siren by Tricia Rayburn (July 13, 2010): As Vanessa and Simon probe further into the connections between Justine's death and the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance, and that will change her life forever.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pretty Little Devils by Nancy Holder

Title: Pretty Little Devils
Author: Nancy Holder
Published: September 2009 by Razorbill

My Rating: 2.5 stars
Tags: YA | Girls | Mystery
Includes: Profanity, Sexuality, Alcohol and Drug Abuse

First Lines: By the end of the first week of school, everyone had their designated seats in the cafeteria.

It's junior year for Hazel and she wishes more than anything to be in a popular clique - more specifically, the Pretty Little Devils (PLD's). They're the queen bees of the school, whom everyone adores. So after Sylvia, their "leader" invites Hazel to one of their parties, she quickly agrees. Soon, Hazel is one of them and feels on top of the world. But trouble is brewing for this group of babysitters...they begin getting creepy phone calls, anonymous text messages, and emails from someone out to get them. As people around them start turning up dead, Hazel's not sure she wants to be a PLD anymore. Is her life worth the popularity?

From Page 70
Then she looked toward the wall of glass and caught her breath. A tall, hooded figure stood outside the house. Hazel stared at the silent figure. Slowly, slowly, it lifted its head. It raised its hand and pointed at Hazel.

This book immediately made me think of the "Pretty Little Liars" series by Sara Shepard; with an anonymous person sending threatening texts to the most popular girls in school. Not to mention the title of the book...heh. I was pretty disappointed with the book. After reading the summary that immediately got me hooked, and all of the 5 star reviews about it online, I was surprised that I didn't really like the book. I think that the writing was weak and not very descriptive. Most of the time, the character's dialogue seemed artificial - either forced, or not how teenagers their age would normally talk. Also, the texting lingo was annoying; not all teenagers type like "C U L8R" like the author made it seem. In fact, I don't know
anyone who types like that - it just takes longer to decipher the message. The book was written through normal chapters, the PLD's chat room - when they would type very annoyingly - and through short blog posts written by the killer.

I'll admit though that the author did a great job keeping up suspense throughout the book! I was never quite certain who the killer could be, and it kept me on the edge of my toes - not knowing what would happen next. The ending was...interesting. Very unexpected. It's not until the last page that you find out who the real murderer was throughout the whole book; and even though it was a twist, it didn't make any sense. The author didn't include a motive for the character or anything so I'm still left pretty confused.

Unfortunately, none of the characters in the book were likable. It was sad seeing how the PLD's defined friendship, because it wasn't accurate. Throughout the whole book, all Hazel was concerned with was fitting in, being liked, and what others thought about her. She had no problem turning her back on her old friends to join the PLD's instead. That shows a lot about her character, and she didn't change, either but instead just got worse as the book continued. The PLD's did a whole lot of underage drinking, not just at their parties, and the author didn't make it seem like a bad thing. Usually authors are trying to persuade their teen readers to not fall into peer pressure and drink, by having some type of bad consequence follow up. Nope, not here. Instead, it just made the PLD's look even more "cool". From the way the PLD's were portrayed - as unreachable and perfect from the eyes of the other highschool students - I found it strange how they randomly asked Hazel to join their group. She was a nobody beforehand, sort of like in the movie
Mean Girls. What made them choose her to join the group that all of the other girls at school were dying to join? No pun intended.

I really tried my best to enjoy this book and get into it, but I simply couldn't. Maybe it just wasn't for me. From what I saw on, it has an average 5 star rating! Give it a shot if you want; it's a good suspense novel but nothing more.

Cover Thoughts: Yeah, I like it. I'm not falling head-over-heels in love with it, but the cover model is pretty and I like all the red color on it.

Book Supplied by: Author for review.

One Night That Changes Everything - Book Trailer

I'm dying to read Lauren Barnholdt's new book, One Night That Changes Everything. Click here to read more about it! It actually just released a few days ago - July 6. Anyone else interested in reading it? :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Desires of the Dead Cover Revealed

Ahhh it's beautiful! I have yet to read "The Body Finder", but here's the cover of the sequel, "Desires of the Dead" by Kimberly Derting. It won't be published until March 15 - think you guys can wait that long? :)

The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found. When Violet Ambrose's morbid ability to sense the echoes of those who've been murdered leads her to the body of a young boy, she draws the attention of the FBI. She is reluctantly pulled into an investigation that will endanger more than just her secret...but her relationship and possibly her life as well.

The best news EVER.

:D I am very, very happy right now! Want to know why? BECAUSE I JUST PRE-ORDERED THE BOOK MOCKINGJAY BY SUZANNE COLLINS! :) I had to get the ugly paperback - but it's only 5 DOLLARS RIGHT NOW! I got it from the Book Depository; if you're dying for the book as much as I am but you don't have enough money for the beautiful hardcover, just get the paperback! It's exactly $5.24 and there's free shipping. That is such an amazing deal; once it comes out in bookstores it will be sold out the next day, I just know it. Go go go!

Ahhh the book is coming out late August so I still have over a month's wait until it comes. Who else can not wait for this awesome third book of a series to come out?!? :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: The Education of Bet

This week's WoW book is The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted! It will be released on July 12, 2010.

Book Description:

When Will and Bet were four, tragic circumstances brought them to the same house, to be raised by a wealthy gentleman as brother and sister. Now sixteen, they’ve both enjoyed a privileged upbringing thus far. But not all is well in their household. Because she’s a girl, Bet’s world is contained within the walls of their grand home, her education limited to the rudiments of reading, writing, arithmetic, and sewing. Will’s world is much larger. He is allowed—forced, in his case—to go to school. Neither is happy. So Bet comes up with a plan and persuades Will to give it a try: They’ll switch places. She’ll go to school as Will. Will can live as he chooses. But once Bet gets to school, she soon realizes living as a boy is going to be much more difficult than she imagined.

Ahhh this one sounds great! I usually don't go for historical fiction, but this one is a must. It kind of reminded me of that movie The Parent Trap.

I want to apologize

Yesterday I wrote a post with a little snip-it of the cover of a book, from a Cover Contest. I simply asked if anyone knew what book it was from. To be honest, it didn't even occur to me that I may have been cheating.

I had searched and searched so hard for what that book was. I literally spent hours just trying to find that last cover; I had figured out all the rest! So it seemed like a waste to just give up after spending my entire afternoon on the Cover Contest. That's why I made that post yesterday asking for help. It was like my last chance. And to tell you guys the truth, I didn't even think anyone would see it or comment on it. I barely ever get comments when I really want them, so I was surprised at the number of people that did! The majority of the comments said how I was a cheater, shame on me, tsk tsk, etc. And it made me feel really bad! I definitely don't want everyone thinking that I have to cheat in order to win - because I wasn't even aware that I was cheating. Some of you may still look down on me or something, but I just wanted to say I'm sorry. Sorry I did that. Sorry I "shamed" some of you. Sorry I'm not perfect. It won't happen again.

I already feel judged enough at school, and I don't want it to travel to here, on the blogosphere, too. Sometimes when I come home, I feel like this blog is all I have left. Because on here, no one is mean or hurtful - especially to my face. I don't want to lose that safe feeling I get while I'm on here, where I feel like I can just speak my mind even though barely anyone is even listening. It may seem very small to you guys, but it means so much to me. Thanks! :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Contest for "Summer In Paris" by Michele Bell

Michele Ashman Bell is the author of the awesome book I just reviewed: Summer In Paris. It came out in March this year. I honestly LOVED this book, and want someone else to have the opportunity to enjoy it, too. Michele has offered a copy to anyone - that's right, it's an international giveaway! :)

Kenzie Williams feels like she has it all; wealth, friends, popularity and talent. But when her father tells her that he has declared bankruptcy, her whole world in New York City turns upside down. Her parents' solution while they sort through their financial and marital problems is to send Kenzie to live with her relatives in Paris...Idaho! Leaving everything she loves behind, Kenzie is forced to get up at the crack of dawn, do chores, and hang out with her cousin's loser friends. She feels like she's about to die until she meets Adam White, the town outcast, who's been accused of killing his best friend and is being blamed for some trouble that's been happening around town. Not only is Adam the best-looking guy she's ever seen, but he's also the most fascinating guy she's ever met and Kenzie is determined to get to know him and find out his secret. But, the longer she stays in Paris, the more she realizes, Adam isn't the only one keeping secrets.

Again, the contest is open internationally. It will end on July 22. A winner will be randomly selected and emailed the next day. I urge everyone to enter this, you don't want to miss the chance to read this wonderful book! You don't have to, but comments are loved even though they won't get you an entry. Good luck! (:

To enter, click here and fill out the form.

Click here to go to Michele's blog. +2 entries for being a follower!
Click here to read my review of the book. +2 entries if you comment!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer In Paris by Michele Ashman Bell

Title: Summer In Paris
Author: Michele Ashman Bell
Published: March 2010 by Valor Publishing Group

My Rating: 4.5 stars
Tags: YA | Realistic | Romance | Mystery

First Lines: Kenzie Williams didn't want to die. She had the perfect life, everything a girl could ever want.

Kenzie is a spoiled, rich, and popular girl that has lived in New York her whole life. So when her parents break the news to her that they have declared bankruptcy, she feels like her world is crashing down on her. Especially when she hears that they're sending her over the summer to live in Paris, Idaho, until they get things back in order. She's planned to stay with her aunt, uncle, and cousins. Kenzie must wake up at dawn, make new friends, do chores - basically she feels like she's doomed for life. Until she meets Adam White, the loner and outcast in town who everyone blames for the mysterious fires that have occurred in town, and the death of his best friend. Kenzie is instantly drawn to him and wants to find out the truth.

From Page 45
At that moment, Kenzie's whole summer changed. She had never felt such an immediate connection to a person, especially one she hadn't even met. But something about Adam got to her - his looks, his persona, or his story. Kenzie was determined to find out more about this "killer".

I was extremely impressed with this book. There are very few complaints I can think of to say about it - the pros definitely outweigh the cons, and I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it. In the beginning, I couldn't stand Kenzie; she was lazy, selfish, and self-centered. However, living in Paris for just the summer totally changed her. I loved watching her transform into a completely new person. And it felt very realistic, not like the author had to force it to happen - it just gradually did before my very eyes! Even though Kenzie isn't a goody two-shoes, she does have morals and doesn't give in to peer pressure. I really adored her wonderful, smart character. Each character in the book I got to know very well. They seemed so real, and some reminded me of people I personally know. They each had their own persona and played a different role in Kenzie's summer. The book would have been so different if the author had chosen other characters instead. Hallelujah she didn't! I extremely liked Aunt Frankie, who was an amazing role model for her family and never stopped loving Kenzie and her sons after they'd get in trouble.

From Page 24
Her aunt hugged her while she cried. The tears kept coming from somewhere, and Kenzie was too weak to fight them. How could her parents have done this to her? Frankie's warmth and concern were appreciated, but didn't get rid of the empty space she felt inside.

The setting played a big part in the book. Even the little details added to it made it that much better. I did some research, and all of the places are real - even how Bear Lake is famous for their raspberry milkshakes, like in the book. I prefer when authors research for their book, it shows devotion to their writing. I also liked how wholesome and clean the book was! There weren't any bad words and even Kenzie and Adam's romance didn't get risque like many of those other romance books can get.

The book has a little bit of everything in it - romance, self-discovery, and mystery! There's a little twist at the end that I didn't see coming, and the ending wrapped everything up perfectly. I found myself smiling after I finished reading the last page. Now I'm dying to visit Paris, Idaho!

Cover Thoughts: I think it would be more appealing if it didn't have a cartoon girl on it - it makes the book look juvenile, when it really isn't. They should have used a photograph instead.

Book Supplied by: Author for review.