January 31, 2010

Less Than One Hour Left In "The Secret Year" Contest

The contest for "The Secret Year" ends tonight, so less than an hour to enter! Click here to learn more about the contest and enter. Good luck to everyone!

January 30, 2010

Review of "Bleeding Violet"

"Bleeding Violet"
By Dia Reeves

Pub. Date: January 05, 2010
Pages: 454


Love can be a dangerous thing....

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

Reeves has create a first book to be truly proud of. Hanna is a complex character that maybe truly crazy, but her quirks are what make you love her. Even though this book was a paranormal book about a town where monsters and magic are a reality, Reeves was able to weave more important topics such as family, love, responsibility, honor, and the search to find ones place in the world. When I first heard about this novel I didn't expect to find the depth that this book was able to achieve. I really enjoyed the world that Reeves created where things that would be considered crazy become a reality; and I'm not just talking about the monsters.

With that said, there were a couple of things that rubbed me the wrong way. I don't know why this bothered me, but there was a lot of sexual encounters in this book. I understand that this is just part of Hanna's character, but for some reason it just didn't work for me. It's not that I thought they weren't believable and I understand why Reeves put them in there, but it is just something that I could have done without. I also didn't quite feel the chemistry between Hanna and Wyatt. I understood why Hanna had a thing for Wyatt, but Wyatt kind of fell flat for me. I think what it comes down to is that I could have done with more of the paranormal monster stuff and less with the Wyatt relationship and sexual content.

I definitely recommend this book for mature teens. Even though there were things that bothered me about the book, I found it to be a fast read. I have a feeling that most readers won't care about the things I mentioned. The first chapter of the book is available on Dia Reeve's website, check it out by clicking here.

January 27, 2010

Sneak Peeks and Free Online Book

HarperTeen has "Wonderous Strange" available online to read for free. Click the widget bellow to get started!

They also posted more content online from Lauren Conrad's latest book "Sweet Little Lies". I posted the link for "L.A. Candy" as well incase you haven't checked that book out yet.

January 26, 2010

Happy Blogoversary!

It has been 1 year since my first post on this blog! Even though it is tons of work keeping up with it, I am so glad I started. I love sharing all the great books I read and connecting with other book lovers. Thanks for all my followers for sticking with me through this last crazy year.
This year I am going to try to post more reviews, have more contests, and become a bigger part in the blogging community. I am not sure how I will meet this last goal, but I can't make things too easy. ;)

Teaser Tuesdays

"Bleeding Violet"
Dia Reeves

Excerpt from page 79:
Before Wyatt's face could smack into the window, he got his booted foot up between him and the wall and used the leverage to push himself and the lure he'd captured away from the glass.

My head felt stufed with cotton, not because of the earplugs I had taken to wearing in school like everyone else, but because I couldn't take it all in, couldn't focus on the existence of lure and a boy who could flow in and out of window glass at will.

I just finished the book and really enjoyed it. It looks like a long book, but it is actually a quick read.

Teaser Tuesdays was started by MizB on her blog. On Teaser Tuesdays participants are asked to grab the book they are currently reading and open it to a random page. Then fist two "teaser" sentences on that page between lines 7 and 12. The key is to entice readers to pick up the book without giving away any spoilers.

January 25, 2010

Review of "Ice"

Sarah Beth Durst


Pub. Date: October 2009
Pages: 320

Summary: When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her — until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.

I thought this was a fantastic adaptation of the Norwegian fairytale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon". She successfully brought the story into a modern setting while creating a world full of beauty and magic. Durst was able to add more to the story by creating a subplot about the Polar Bear King's duties to polar bears. The Polar Bear King is given a personality and responsibilities that make him a sympathetic character to readers, making him more than just a beast who captures a beautiful girl. Cassie is a strong female character who fights for what she believes in no matter how dangerous. Even though there were points where I wanted to slap her, by the end of the book she had developed from a girl to a young woman. I know this all sounds very vague, but I don't want to give away the plot. Her actions at the beginning of the book are those of a girl, but through her experiences she becomes a women who is able to achieve the unthinkable. This book was fast paced and I had trouble putting it down. Cassie's journey took me through incredible places that Durst was able to bring to life through her writing.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, romance, and adaptations of fairy tales. Durst is author of "Into the Wild" and "Out of the Wild" which are supposed to be fantastic books. They are for a younger audience, but I know many teens enjoy these books as well. If you want to hear more about the author or see excerpts from her books then go to her website here. I was lucky enough to meet Sarah at a signing she did at my store when "Out of the Wild" came out. She is really sweet and I enjoyed learning about her books. I can't wait to see what she writes next! I also recommend checking out the fairy tale that the book is based off of. I hear there are also beautiful picture books of this fairy tale.

January 21, 2010

Review: "The Secret Year"

"The Secret Year"
Jennifer Hubbard
Pub. Date: January 2010
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Pages: 208
Synopsis: Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly.
Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one—not even Julia's boyfriend— knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can't mourn Julia openly, and he's tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia's journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he's desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?
I was so excited when this book came in the mail because I was dying to read it and I forgot that I had preordered it during Christmas. It was a really quick read and I enjoyed it a lot. I especially liked the fact that it was a love story told from the male perspective. I honestly can't tell you why I didn't love this book. The plot had a lot of great depth. There was the initial plot about the Colt trying to get over the death of Julia, but there were also conflicts between Colt and his friends; as well as the conflict between the Black Mountain and flats kids. I really liked the characters in this book. Colt interested me a lot because he reminded me of some of the guys I know. I also was fascinated by Julia’s notes and was dying to know more about her. Even though she wasn’t the easiest character to like, I still felt myself drawn to her.

Jennifer Hubbard wrote a great first novel. I’m not sure why this book didn’t quite make it into the love category, but I have to say I hope to read more by her. I am glad that I have the book in hardcover and I’ve already passed it onto one of my friends. She was going through the pile of ARCs I got at the ALA conference and HAD to read “The Secret Year”. I would recommend this book to people who are fans of Sarah Dessen, John Green, and other realistic fiction authors. I am so sure that you guys will enjoy this book as much as I did that I am going to be giving away the ARC I have! If you want to enter to win the book, please click here for more information.

January 20, 2010

Contest for "The Secret Year"

Contest for an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of "The Secret Year"
by Jennifer Hubbard

The contest runs from now until Sunday January 31st at 11:59PM (EST) 2010. That means that if it is 12:00 AM on February 1st, you are too late.

Here are the rules:
To enter just fill out the entry form bellow. You will get 1 entry for filling out your name and e-mail, 2 entries for following my blog previous to this post, 1 entry for becoming a follower, and 2 entries for posting this contest on your blog or other social networking site. That means in grand total you could have up to 5 entries into the contest if you were already a follower of my blog and up to 4 entries if you were to add my blog after this post. This contest is limited to US residents (sorry to everyone this excludes). The winner will be selected totally randomly and I will contact them by e-mail. In case you aren't aware of my new blog policies, you must be 13 or older to be eligible.

Contest Policies

Contest Policies:

I am hoping to have more contests on this blog and thought it would be helpful to have contest policies.
  • You must be 13 or older to enter any contests on this blog.
  • I will be e-mailing you for contact information so be sure you type in your e-mail correctly.
  • I am not responsible for items lost in the mail.
Helpful Hints:
  • Check, double check, and maybe even triple check deadlines!
  • Most contests are only open to US residents, but check to see who the contest is open to so you don't miss out.
  • Follow the instructions so I don't have to disqualify you.
  • Make sure you type in your contact information correctly.
These policies can be changed whenever I feel it is necessary. I'll try to give clear instructions for all contests.

Paranormal Reading Challenge 2010

An exciting new challenge for all those paranormal fans! I am so glad Storywings is hosting this challenge because I love paranormal books. Here are the rules from her blog:

1. The Paranormal Reading Challenge is for anyone who loves reading ANYTHING paranormal!!!
- Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Ghosts, Angels etc...so the scope is pretty big!!!
- The books can be any sub genre under Paranormal - romance, YA, mystery, etc.

2. The book has to be a book. No free short stories, or writing sites.

3. If you are a blogger please post a link back to this challenge on your page to let others join in the fun. -Non-bloggers - it's ok, you can join to and you can keep track of your progress by yourself, and post a comment on the wrap-up page, or you can send comments to this page to keep track of your progress.

4. Cross-overs from other challenges are accepted. As are re-reads. Books that were started in 2009 don't count.

5. Challenge starts from 1st January 2010 and ends on 31st December 2010

6. Levels:
1. Human - 5 books
2. Witch - 10 books
3. Oracle - 20 books
4. Were - 30 books
5. Vampire - 40 books
6. Angel - 50 books

7. To officially enter sign up with Mr. Linky and link to the post on your blog about this contest.

I am going to try to reach the Angel level because I read so many paranormal books as it is. I might as well make it challenging... considering it is a challenge and all.

January 15, 2010

ALA Conference

I'm attending the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston this weekend! I have been meaning to post this for over a month, but life kind of got a little hectic. I'll be getting there around 10 tomorrow morning and kind of feeling my way through the day. I haven't ever been so this is all new to me. Hopefully I'll see some familiar faces!

"Fallen" is Fantastic!

Lauren Kate


Pub. Date: December 2009
Pages: 464

Synopsis: There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic,
Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

I don't usually buy books in Hardcover because I don't have a lot of money and I can borrow them for free at work, but "Fallen" is a book that is worth the money. I could not get enough of this book, it was painful when I was reading during my lunch break and I had to put it down. I just wanted to know what was going to happen next. There are so many mysteries in this book and I just HAD to know all of them. I wanted to know the truth about Cam and Daniel. Even though Daniel was really rude to Luce, there were hints that he had other feelings. Cam was constantly infatuated with her, but there was just something about him that put me off. I also needed to know more about the librarian at Sword and Cross, she just seemed to know more than she was telling Luce.

I thought it was really interesting how the setting of the book was in a reform school filled with teen criminals. The grounds of the school were very creepy, especially since there was a graveyard there. It just added an extra creep factor. The fact that all the students had pasts made them interesting to get to know. It was hard to tell who was genuine and whom Luce had to watch out for. If the dangers of the student body weren't enough, the strange shadows that Luce has seen her whole life seem to becoming more aggressive. These shadows were what got Luce sent to Sword and Cross and she worries about their power.

After reading this book I just wanted more. I wanted for more of the mysteries to be revealed, especially about the characters in the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who liked the book "Hush, Hush" or other paranormal romance books. If you haven't checked out the website yet, it is really cool. There is an archive that shows the school's files about the students at Sword and Cross. It does give some things away about the characters, but nothing too important. There is a trailer for the book as well as an excerpt. Click here to go to the website.

January 13, 2010

"The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey" is a Brilliant Encore

"The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey"
Trenton Lee Stewart


Pub. Date: May 2008
Pages: 448

Synopsis: The fabulous foursome readers embraced as The Mysterious Benedict Society is back with a new mission, significantly closer to home. After reuniting for a celebratory scavenger hunt, Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are forced to go on an unexpected search—a search to find Mr. Benedict. It seems that while he was preparing the kids' adventure, he stepped right into a trap orchestrated by his evil twin Mr. Curtain.

With only one week to find a captured Mr. Benedict, the gifted foursome faces their greatest challenge of all—a challenge that will reinforce the reasons they were brought together in the first place and will require them to fight for the very namesake that united them.

I didn't think that the series could get any better, but this book proved me wrong. The characters were more flushed out and Constance became a bigger part of the team. At first Constance was a character I could have done without at the beginning of the first book, but now I can't wait to read about the development of her gifts in the next book. I think that Stewart could do some really interesting things with her character specifically. I am also curious to see where he takes Sticky and PJ. Besides having memorable characters, the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. Mr. Curtain's henchmen the Ten Men were frightening and added an extra sense of danger throughout the book.

Another aspect of the book that I really enjoyed is how Stewart continues to allow deeper emotional and psychological issues that the children have enter into the plot. Reynie's habit of assuming the worst of people and Constance's concerns with the slow process of Mr. Benedict adopting her add depth to the plot. I feel like Stewart has a chance to really build upon these in future books if he chooses to do so.

I am so tempted to read the third book right away, but I want to finish at least one book by a debut author before doing so. I don't want to get too far behind on my challenges! If you want to learn more about the series then check out the website here. There are excerpts from the books, games, and descriptions of the characters. I just thought it was really cute and wanted to share it with you guys.

January 12, 2010

"Aqua" Got Me Hooked On Manga

"Aqua Vol. 1"
Kozue Amano


Pub. Date: October 2007
Pages: 184

Synopsis: After 150 years of terraforming, Aqua, the planet formerly known as Mars, Now has more than 90 percent of its surface covered in water. A young girl named Akari Mizunashi arrives at the city of Neo-Venezia, an exact replica of the old Italian city of Venice, hoping to become an Undine, the most coveted job on Aqua. Hold on tight and follow Akari's adventures as she discovers the wonders of Aria in this Prequel to the Aria Anime and Manga Series.

"Aqua Vol. 2"
Kozue Amano


Pub. Date: Feb 2008
Pages: 192

Synopsis: On the Beautiful planet of Aqua, Akari Mizunashi has the perfect job: showing tourists the wonders of the city of Neo Venezia by gondola!

Akari has finished the first part of her training, and she is ready to start taking on passengers of her own, but her first customer is going to be a real challenge. Can Akari prove that she's up to the task? And what will happen when the president of Aria sets out on his own to prove the company that he's useful? It's summer in Neo Venezia, and it's going to be a season full of lovely surprises!

I am starting this review with the warning that I have never reviewed manga before and honestly haven't read very much of it. That is my little disclaimer! My brother was amazing enough to buy me some manga for Christmas because I haven't read any for over a year and I missed it! I am really glad he bought me these two prequel books to the series "Aria" because I thought they were fantastic. I found the illustrations to be beautiful, but also a lot of fun. Even though the storyline didn't have a lot of action, I still found it to be fast paced. I love the character Akari and the President of Aria, who is a cat! I wasn't sure how a cat company president would work in the story line, but it was very amusing and adorable.

I immediately ordered the 5 books in the "Aria" series because I enjoyed these books so much. I was able to read both books in less than two hours while watching TV, so they are the perfect quick read. I haven't watched the anime of the series because my brother said that it would give away the rest of the books, but it is something I will look into once I finish "Aria". This series is great for anyone ages 12 and up. There is no sexual content, so you don't have to worry about it if it isn't your thing.

January 10, 2010

"The Mysterious Benedict Society" is a Must Read

"The Mysterious Benedict Society"
Trenton Lee Stewart


Pub. Date: March 2007
Pages: 512


ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD Looking for special opportunities?

When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear listener, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.

As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all?

Welcome to the mysterious benedict society.

I have been waiting so long to read this book because of all the fantastic reviews and it was worth the wait. Usually I need at least some kind of romantic interest to keep me interested in a book, but I found that I did not care that this book was written for a younger audience. It had me at the edge of my seat and I had trouble putting it down. I was listening to it on audio and reading it so that I could get through it faster. I was just dying to know how it would all end! The characters in the book are really unique. They have these kind of semi-super abilities that allows them to solve problems in different ways. It was really neat to see how their gifts got them through sticky situations. I also thought that the characters had a lot of depth. They were not perfect and Constance wasn't a very likable character, but they all played their part.

Stewart was able to write a book that was clever, funny, and suspenseful. He has a unique voice that captivated me from start to finish. There were a lot of layers to the book and I think Stewart did a wonderful job at balancing them all. Even though the book was primarily an adventure, it still managed to touch on deeper topics like friendship and family. I am definitely going to be finishing up this series soon because I can't wait to see what the characters do next. I think this book is perfect for people who like mysteries and series like "Harry Potter".

January 8, 2010

2010 Book Challenges

Here is the list of books that I am planning to read in 2010. I am doing the 2010 100+ Book Challenge, so the goal is to at least read 100! If the book has a release date next to it then it is for the 2010 Debut Author Challenge. If it is in bold then I have finished it. If it has a star next to it then it is pat of the 2010 Paranormal Reading Challenge.
  1. Bleeding Violet- Dia Reeves (January 5th)*
  2. The Secret Year- Jennifer Hubbard (January 7th)
  3. The Iron King- Julie Kagawa (February 1st)*
  4. Dirty Little Secrets- C.J. Omololu (February 2nd)
  5. Forget-Her-Nots- Amy Brecount White (March 2nd)
  6. Hex Hall- Rachel Hawkinds (March 3d)*
  7. The Body Finder- Kimberly Derting (March 16th)
  8. Three Rivers Rising- James Richards (April 13th)
  9. The Red Umbrella- Christina Gonzalez (May 11th)
  10. Sea- Heidi R. Kling (June 10th)
  11. A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend- Emily Horner (June 10th)
  12. Tell Me a Secret- Holly Cupala (June 22nd)
  13. Other- Karen Kincy (July 1st)
  14. Paranormalcy- Kiersten White (Fall)
  15. Freefall- Mindi Scott (Fall)
  16. Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey- Trenton Lee Stewart
  17. Ivy- Julia Hearn
  18. Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma- Trenton Lee Stewart
  19. The Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold
  20. A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame- Brenda Woods
  21. Maid Sama! Volume 1- Fujiwara Hiro
  22. Incarceron- Catherine Fisher*
  23. Cheat to Lose Diet- Joel Marion
  24. NG Life Volume 1- Mizuho Kusanagi
  25. NG Life Volume 2- Mizuho Kusanagi
  26. NG Life Volume 3- Mizuho Kusanagi
  27. My Sister's Keeper- Jodi Picoult
  28. The Host Club- Bisco Hatori
  29. Shutter Island- Dennis Lehane
  30. The Tenth Circle- Jodi Picoult
  31. Leviathan- Scott Westerfeld*
  32. My Soul to Save- Rachel Vincent*
  33. Fallen- Lauren Kate*
  34. Secret Vampire (Night World book 1)- L.J. Smith*
  35. Daughters of Darkness (Night World book 2)- L.J. Smith*
  36. Spellbinder (Night World book 3)- L.J. Smith*
  37. Dark Angel (Night World book 4)- L.J. Smith*
  38. The Chosen (Night World book 5)- L.J. Smith*
  39. Soulmates (Night World book 6)- L.J. Smith*
  40. Huntress (Night World book 7)- L.J. Smith*
  41. Black Dawn (Night World book 8)- L.J. Smith*
  42. Witchlight (Night World book 9)- L.J. Smith*
  43. Leviathan- Scott Westerfeld
  44. The Looking Glass Wars- Frank Beddor*
  45. My Soul to Save- Rachel Vincent*
  46. The Summoning- Kelley Armstrong*
  47. Ballads of Suburbia- Stephanie Kuehnert
  48. The Black Tattoo- Sam Enthoven
  49. Blue Bloods- Melissa de la Cruz*
  50. Looking for Alaska- John Green
  51. Bedeviled: Daddy's Little Angel- Shani Petroff*