30 January 2012

A Night with John and Hank Green

On the evening of January 26th, twas a Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend the Tour de Nerdfighters in Los Angeles. Not only was I in attendance, but I was in charge of it. I had been planning this event for the store I work for since November when I had heard that the publisher, Penguin, had accepted my proposal. This is probably what I looked like when I got that phone call:
This is an expression of both joy and shock.
After I literally jumped for joy in the middle of the store in front of customers, I got down to work. The months proceeding consisted of working and stressing which produced what will be known as the best night I have ever known. Screw you future wedding (if I ever have one) and possible children. John Green FTW!

29 January 2012

In My Mailbox (11)

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren to share books we got in the mail or the library or the bookstore, etc. that week!

I had a pretty awesome week this week! Not in quantity, but in quality:

-I attended the Tour de Nerdfighting event that I planned for my store (so I guess I had to be there, haha!) and got a copy of The Fault in Our Stars signed. 
-Purchased my own copy of Cinder because the book deserves a spot on my shelf. 
-Penguin sent my store a final copy of Jess Rothenberg's The Catastrophic History of You and Me which I took upon myself to take home and own (the package had my name on it!). You can read my earlier review here. And I just realized I had typo-d her last name in the review, so that has been fixed. EMBARRASSMENT! And they DID keep the shimmery cover! Good on you, Penguin.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

So that's my week. What did you get??
Oh! And before you leave, don't forget to enter to win a $25 gift card to Amazon! This contest is international! You can thank the government for this giveaway (yay tax refunds!). ENTER HERE.

28 January 2012

Big Hits Giveaway

A few days ago my blog received 10,000 hits! This is a big deal to me because I didn't expect to get this many for a very long time or even have anybody read my blog anyway. To say thank you to all of my readers, I'm having a giveaway!

Please read my contest policy before entering! 
This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!

PRIZE: $25 gift card to Amazon.com

The winner will be announced on this post once the contest ends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

25 January 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine which asks what book we're most looking forward to.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Publication date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Random House

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

A book to add to the Fantasy genre!! This sounds like it can only be amazing. There shall be no suckage in this book. Right? Right. *please*

What book are you waiting for??

23 January 2012

Review: Obsidian (Lux #1)

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Starting over sucks. When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. And then he opened his mouth. Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens. The hot alien living next door marks me. You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Obsidian is my first book by Jennifer Armentrout and I have to say, I'm pleased. I think she definitely lives up to the hype I've read from other reviewers. The best description I can come up with for this book is FUN. It's a perfect example of a fun read. You don't learn any life lessons from it and it doesn't really add anything new to the genre, but it sure is a blast to read. And quite a steamy read. There was a moment in the book where I was quite surprised at how far it went. I felt my eyes grow big in shock and thought to myself how is this categorized as YA?? But then it suddenly cut off and I admit I may have been a little disappointed. Ha! So like I said, FUN!

I love the narrator Katy: strong, snarky, a book blogger. She is a great example of a girl who can stick up for herself and she shows that she can hold her own against mega-douche Daemon (cafeteria scene anyone? I internally cheered when that happened). Speaking of Daemon, yes, I called him a mega-douche. "Sensitive" on the inside or not, he's a jerk-face and this stays pretty much constant throughout the book. Personally, I would have stopped talking to him after my first few confrontations with him but I'm not Katy and then there would have been no story, so I'm glad I wasn't the main character.

The pace of the book is great and I appreciated the natural dialogue. I loved every scene that Katy and Daemon share. Honestly, I probably could have read the whole book without the other characters and just enjoyed Katy and Daemon in a room talking and making-out. Those two are the highlight of the book. Oh, and the story ain't bad either. ;)

All in all, I found this to be a great introduction to Armentrout's work and I look forward to reading her other books. Can't wait foe Onyx (Lux #2)!

19 January 2012

Review: Switched (Trylle #1)

Switched (Trylle #1) by Amanda Hocking
Publication date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - a world both beautiful and frightening, and Wendy's not sure she wants to be a part of it.

This review consists of SPOILERS, just so you know.

Like a lot of other reviewers before me have said, I really like that Hocking chose to use trolls as her choice of mythical being as opposed to vampires, werewolves (though, gosh, I love werewolves), fairies, or witches (though, gosh, I love fairies and witches too). They are described as gorgeous trolls, but they are trolls nonetheless, so thank you Amanda Hocking. You have a place in my warm and never cold heart. I also like the idea of Trylle, a nice little secluded, gated community of trolls in the mid-west. The character Finn is the usual sensitive bad boy fare and I am intrigued by Tove . While there are definitely moments that I enjoyed, Switched has some situations that I had trouble overlooking:

1. I feel that Wendy is too quick to accept her new situation. She finds Trylle and discovers that she's not only a troll, but also a princess and then seems to just go with the flow with no argument. There's a moment later in the book when Wendy is told how she is strong-willed like her mother, but since entering Trylle, I had not seen her do anything that would show this. For a main protagonist she seems a bit too passive.

2. No one ever explains to Wendy what is going on or gives her details on her new life. Then when she makes a mistake, they look at her like she's dumb for not knowing anything or what she's supposed to do. I can understand if this was chosen as a character trait, particularly for her mother, but almost every single Trylle character does this and Wendy, once again, just seems to accept it. Fight it Wendy! Get them to answer your questions! An example is when Elora and Finn find her after she's fallen asleep with Rhys. When Finn apologizes to her for overreacting, Wendy tells him that actually he and her mother were right to be angry. It made me upset that she gave into them because it wasn't right that they were angry because they never gave her a reason why. Sleeping in Rhys's room was only an accident.

3. Contradictions. I noticed a lot of these. Finn is very protective of Wendy and flips his lid (like he should have) when she is attacked outside of her home. Now, there's a moment later in the story when Wendy finds a painting showing her hurt that was done by her mother Elora. Supposedly this picture is from a moment in Wendy's future and Finn doesn't even react. In fact, he brushes it aside. This felt off to me and very unlike Finn. I feel like Finn would have at least reacted in some way. Also, Finn is always telling Wendy to ask her mother when Wendy asks a question. Then later, there's a moment when he tells Wendy that it's his fault she doesn't know anything and how Elora designated him to teach her about Trylle. If this is the case, then why was Finn always telling Wendy that he couldn't answer her questions and to ask Elora? There are more, but this is getting long.

4. The ending. A hole in the fence? Escaping took, like, two pages. This seemed too easy to me. I craved so much more from the ending, especially after all the action that had happened before it. BUT it did leave me intrigued as to where the story will go, so...

I want to make my readers aware that I never had a problem with the actual story and am hoping the second in the series will be more fleshed-out. If not, well...then there will be no third for me, but for now, I'm still interested in reading about Wendy outside of Trylle with her new knowledge. It's not on the top of my TBR pile, but it's in there.

16 January 2012

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Publication date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Poppy

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A. Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

Let me preface this review by saying how much I love This Book. Let me also preface that I will be referring to The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight as "This Book" because the actual title is too darn difficult to type more than once.

I'm automatically drawn to anything related to the UK and I enjoy the thought of love, so I had to read the book. I specifically j'adore London and always have. I want to live there and work there and marry there and have English babies there with my English husband named Oliver (after reading This Book, his name has to be Oliver). Before delving into it, I assumed that the book was going to follow Hadley and Oliver's relationship, but I was surprised to see how little there is of Hadley and Oliver and how much there is of Hadley and her father. This is not a complaint, merely an observation. See, Hadley is on her way to London to attend her father's wedding as a bridesmaid to the woman who Hadley's father left her and her mother for. How AWKWARD is that?? That's a rhetorical question because obviously the situation is completely awkward. Anyway, the relationship that Hadley has with her dad really hit home with me and I may have gotten more emotional than some other readers, but that's probably because of my daddy issues. Moving on...how cute are Hadley and Oliver?? If your answer is SO FREAKING CUTE I WANT TO SQUEEZE THEM UNTIL THEY DIE then you are correct. From the moment those two get together, I knew that they were meant for each other and not just because the book told me that they were, though I'm sure that helped a lot. I think it shows great writing talent when an author can introduce love interests and have them fall for each other in a 24 hour period (or a 250 or so page book) and make it read naturally, not forced. The dialogue feels natural, the settings are brought to life with Smith's descriptions, the characters are three-dimensional.

I'm pretty positive that this is just a one-off book, but I know I wouldn't mind reading many many more books following Hadley and Oliver. In future adventures, they could be eating breakfast or could go to a baseball game or something like that. I don't even like baseball, but if Hadley and Oliver were doing it, I'd find it very interesting.

This Book can make you feel every emotion. It can make you laugh, it can make you uncomfortable, it could make you cry...it WILL most definitely make you want to jump on an airplane to somewhere in hopes that you'll sit next to your own Oliver, but honestly, in all probability, you'll end up sitting next to an inappropriate space hog like I did on my last flight.

15 January 2012

In My Mailbox (10)

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren to share books we got in the mail or the library or the bookstore, etc. that week!

This was a great book week for me! I got to meet the fantastic Robin LaFevers and got two signed ARCs of her upcoming book Grave Mercy. While at this author dinner, I met some wonderful people from another children's bookstore in Southern California and while talking to Lauren (one of them) I mentioned that my store hadn't received an ARC of Revived. The next day she contacted me and said she had an extra copy she could send me and I accepted. Well to my excited surprise, Lauren also sent me some ARCs that she enjoyed! What a sweetheart!

Watch my blog because I'll be giving away the extra copy of Grave Mercy signed by Robin!!
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer
Bewitching by Alex Flinn
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Messy by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Dead to You by Lisa McMann
Revived by Cat Patrick
Belles by Jen Calonita
Wicked Jealous by Robin Palmer
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

What goodies did you get this week??

14 January 2012

Review: Unraveling Isobel

Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook
Publication date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother. But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

First, I don't think that the cover matches the feel of the book. The cover, to me, says "Hi! I'm a happy and quirky book!" No, Unraveling Isobel, you are not a happy, quirky book. You are a psychological thriller (of sorts) meets contemporary meets mystery meets horror with a slightly depressing story line. I mean, Isobel, the main character is pretty darn snarky and pretty darn hilarious, but I don't think this should encompass the whole book. Anyway...

From the first page, I was immediately drawn into Isobel's world. I felt her pain when she experienced a huge life change: her mom marries a man she met online and has only known for three months. Isobel is forced to leave behind her old school and friends and move to a small island with an even smaller population. Plus, she has to deal with her new creepy step-father "Dick" and a step-brother who apparently doesn't want Isobel there either. I didn't have a problem with the romance of Nate and Isobel even though they are step-siblings. This is probably because they didn't grow up together, so it's not like their love is too taboo. If they had grown up together and then started to fall in love that is when I would have probably thrown up in my mouth a bit, but since they didn't, I found them to be adorable together. Unraveling Isobel can bring the  creepy and there were a couple of times I got goosebumps while reading certain scenes. I also enjoyed the book's view on mental illness. Mental illness isn't something discussed much in YA fiction (though a lot of this year's book releases look to change that, I've noticed) and I think the book sheds some light on a topic not normally dealt with in teen literature.

Now onto what I didn't like. There's a point in the book where Isobel's mom and Dick believe that they need to send Isobel away for treatment of schizophrenia. 1) She has yet to be diagnosed with it and 2) I don't think Isobel ever does anything bad enough to warrant this. It actually takes a lot to be put into 24 hour psychiatric care. This decision (and a supposed doctor's agreement with never having met her) seems too easy for me. The pacing is a bit here and there and I feel like there is a lot of build up to a so-so ending. Actually, it ended exactly how I thought it was going to, BUT there's a nice little bow that wraps it all up if you've been reading too many books with open/cliffhanger endings, like me.

All in all, it was an okay read for me. It's not a story that will stay with me, but I enjoyed it while I was reading it. Ultimately, I think Unraveling Isobel is more of a paperback buy.

12 January 2012

Review: Dark Seeker (Seeker #1)

Dark Seeker (Seeker #1) by Taryn Browning
Publication date: October 4th, 2011

For 17-year-old Seeker, Janie Grey, ridding the Baltimore streets of the undead is an inherited duty passed down from her Cherokee ancestors. Seeker Training Lesson #1: Never trust the undead. After her father’s tragic death, Janie creates her own life lesson: Love isn’t worth the risk. Both lessons are easy to follow until she encounters the flawed Kai Sterdam. At first, she believes he is the hybrid she is trained to hunt. But, when he has human traits, she determines she doesn’t know what he is. As Janie’s intrigue over who Kai is pushes her deeper into his mysterious past, she discovers a shocking truth that is even more harrowing than the evil they are up against. It’s a secret Kai wants to keep hidden, especially from Janie.

So, I thought I was over vampires but I saw a review of this book at Giselle's blog Xpresso Reads (shout out, yo!) and knew I had to have it. Sooo...it turns out apparently I'm not over vampires.

One of the things I like about Dark Seeker is that it has vampires that will not love you, but will actually kill you on sight. Browning has, of course, introduced her own breed of vampires and they're pretty dangerous. Now, if you've been following my blog, you'll have noticed that I love girls who kick-ass, literally. If you're just joining me, I love girls that kick-ass (literally) and Janie does just that (literally). The action scenes were a lot of fun to read. Janie is something fierce, but is still a kid. I noticed when she's out on the streets or with her friends, Janie acts all cool, but when she's in the presence of her mom, Janie reverts back to a teenager. Just like real-life! Or was that just me in my teen years (minus the "out on the streets")?

For those supernatural romance fans, Dark Seeker has the usual recipe:

1 supernatural bad boy with a sensitive soul, make sure he's sexy
A pinch of instant connection and wait 5 minutes to grow
1 other boy, the complete opposite of the first one, to form a love triangle

I poke fun, but Kai and Janie have great chemistry and I liked "watching" their romance develop. Their connection didn't feel contrived to me, it just works with the story. Now onto the problem I have: Kai has a big secret. His secret is HUGE (notice the caps), but I feel like it is handled kind of nonchalantly. It's there and then it's gone. The way it "resolves" (I found myself not truly convinced by the way that it is) feels like an easy way out and I wish the secret had added more tension to the story than just a few pages of drama. That aside, it's an enjoyable read and I had fun! The ending leaves you with a feeling of closure, but enough to leave you awaiting the next book. I look forward to where the story will go!

This post has been brought to you by "quotation marks" and (parentheses).

10 January 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile / Penguin

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Books that make me the most emotional tend to be the hardest for me to review, so I don't know how I'm going to put my thoughts on The Fault in Our Stars in to words, but I will try. Maybe I'll start with adjectives: beautiful, heart-wrenching, heartwarming, hilarious, meaningful...there, that's a good start...

John does a fantastic job of balancing the humor and the dramatic and nothing ever becomes overdone. There is no melodrama which is an easy trap to fall into when writing on this topic. It's all too real of a novel. I immediately fell in love with Hazel and when Augustus entered the scene...GUH. LOVE. BOTH OF THEM. LOVE. I think that's all that I can express on that. The whole cast of characters are well thought out and create a great ensemble. This is definitely a novel that when it ends, you want to know what happens to every single person in the story: Who's dead? Who's happy? Who's dead and happy?

I laughed and cried and laughed and cried and cried and cried and laughed and finished the book sobbing. It is a novel that stays with you long after you read it. Gorgeous.

You know, I wish there was such thing as a John Green theme park. A theme park where I could meet all the characters in his books and have my picture taken with them and put their autographs in a little autograph book. Someone should get on this.

08 January 2012

Giveaway: The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

The Calling (Darkness Rising #2) by Kelley Armstrong
Publication date: April 10, 2012
Publisher: Harper
Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they're kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves lost in the Vancouver Island wilderness. But Maya has a secret. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. It's part of who she really is - and it has something to do with the mysterious paw-print birthmark on her hip. Yet as Maya and her friends face unforeseen dangers, it becomes clear that she's not the only one in their close-knit group with something to hide. If they're going to survive, they'll need all their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home.

Please read my contest policy before entering!

This giveaway is only open to the US and Canada!

PRIZE: 1 ARC copy of The Calling

The winner will be announced on this post once the contest ends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

07 January 2012

In My Mailbox (9)

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren to share books we got in the mail or the library or the bookstore, etc. that week!

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

So if you've been a regular visitor to my blog you'll have noticed that For Darkness Shows the Stars has appeared on it a few times, well...our Harper rep finally got a copy and sent it to ME!!! I mean US. Yes. Sent it to us...AND I need to get started on Grave Mercy before Tuesday evening for an author dinner with LaFever. Very exciting week though I "only" got two books. 

What did you get this week in your mailbox??

06 January 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues

I am participating in Small Review's Busting the Newbie Blues event going on during the month of January. She started it last year to help new bloggers (like me) get started and to give them the confidence and courage that they need to continue. I did not have my blog last time she did this, so I am excited to be a part of it this year! You can participate as well and/or find out more about it here.

I answered the newbie questions:

1. When did you start your blog?
-I started my blog in August of 2011.

2. Why did you start your blog?
-Well, I work at a children's bookstore and a large part of my job is getting to know every book in the store so I can be able to match the perfect book to the child. I'm a big fan of young adult literature and, unfortunately for me, our biggest clientele are picture book and middle reader age (I'm currently working to fix this). I read so much YA I feel the need to share it with others who are as much of a fan as I am. Hence, the blog!

3. What has been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
-Hmm hmm hmm. I guess I'd have to say posting reviews of books I didn't like. I have yet to actually do this because I don't want to upset anyone, particularly the author if they end up reading it. Plus, I feel more reluctant to do it if I'm in the minority that didn't like it. I'm worried maybe I read it wrong? It's silly, I know.

4. What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
-I didn't realize how intensive and time consuming writing a blog is. It feels like it's become a job that I don't get paid for and it has been forever since I've read an "adult" book for pleasure. I currently just don't have the time to read a book that's not for review, but maybe soon, if I can begin to schedule blog posts in advance. Don't get me wrong, I love writing the blog but sometimes it can be exhausting.

5. What do you find most encouraging?
-There are so many YA blogs out there that sometimes it can feel competitive, but I've gotten a lot of help and support from other bloggers, experienced and new.

6. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
-I love that most of the blogs I read are able to post every day. I'm currently working on how to do this, but I don't want to post something for the sake of posting, especially if I have nothing to say. Most of them are also up-to-date on cover releases which I like as well. I've thought about doing this too, but A) I have no idea where they get this info and B) so many blogs already do this, I feel like my post would be redundant. I also notice other bloggers' layouts. I love a clean and "easy" look and have tried to replicate it. I also admit I copied other blogs that box their book synopsis. It's pretty and professional looking.

7. What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?
-Um, maybe a limited use of paragraphs? I find a post hard to read if it's all one long thing. I tend to not read it then. Other than that, I can't say I've actually read any blogs that I've had issues with. I hear things from other bloggers complaining about people who are mean in their reviews and other things, but I have yet to come across these blogs.

8. Any advice for other new bloggers?
Reach out to other bloggers if you have questions or need help. I have yet to come across one who wasn't willing to help and be supportive. I know it can be intimidating approaching a blogger, especially one who is "popular" and established, but they're not scary and were where you are right now.

9. Any questions you'd like to ask newbie or established bloggers?
HA! A lot:
    1. How exactly does a "blog hop" work?
    2. How do you best utilize Twitter and other social networks to your advantage? For example, gaining readers.
    4. How does a blog tour work? Do you ask or are you invited to be a part of one?
    5. How do you handle books you didn't finish? Review or no review?
    6. On the same note, how do you handle reviewing books that you are asked to review but did not like?
See? As you can tell, I've been holding a lot of them in. I probably have more, but this is all I can think of right now.

10. Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog? Feel free to link a few of your favorite posts or posts you wish had more comments.
-I always try to put myself and my humor in my blog posts. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it's not there at all. My main goal is to be nothing like the NY Times or anything so "formal." I prefer to stay casual and be myself. I may start doing "If you liked this book then you'll like these" posts. It's what I do at my job so why not online too? Or I could do them at the end of my reviews. What do you think?
My blog post about the cover for Such Wicked Intent: I wanted to create a discussion on this one, but it didn't quite work out.


05 January 2012

Review: The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation #1)

The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation #1) by Avery Williams
Publication date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

After spending six hundred years on Earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world's riches but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago, her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to take the bodies of other humans from jumping from one vessel to the next, ending the human's life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she's done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.

Then sixteen-year old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body while trying to save her. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she's inhabiting--and falling in love with the boy who lives next door. But Cyrus will stop at nothing until she's his again, and every moment she stays, she's putting herself and the people she's grown to care about in danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that's eluded her for centuries: true love?

The Alchemy of Forever is one of those rare books that is the perfect length. I didn't think any scene was unnecessary and I felt like there was no point in the story where it dragged. Is it the most fast-paced, action-packed book ever? No. In fact, there's very little action, but I don't think that was supposed to be the purpose of the book (I don't speak of the series as a whole, but the first one).

Cyrus is one of the most frightening antagonists I've experienced in YA fiction recently.  He scared the crap out of me and I fully understand why Sera is so scared of him. Cyrus's controlling and abusive personality seems all too real. On the other hand, Sera is a character I loved. For a girl who has lived 600 years, she has an innocence and naivety about her that I found endearing. For all of those years, Sera has always been under Cyrus's control and after her escape, I'm excited to watch her mature as the series progresses. She's a girl who has a lot of growing up to do and I think she has a great strength within her (this sentence is cheesy, yet true, so I kept it. Please forgive me Goddess of Originality).

If there's one complaint I have about this book, it's that it is too short. I know, I know! In my first paragraph I said it was the perfect length, but as I was coming up to the end, I just wasn't ready to let Sera or the story go quite yet. So I tried to read...really...slowly...but it didn't work and the book ended with a cliffhanger to die for! When can I get the next one??

I can't wait to start recommending it to my customers!

04 January 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine which asks what book we're most looking forward to.

The Fear (The Enemy #3) by Charlie Higson
Publication date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
HE DOESN’T KNOW IT BUT DOG NUT IS ABOUT TO SET OFF A CHAIN OF EVENTS THAT WILL AFFECT EVERY KID IN THE CITY. The sickness struck everyone over the age of *sixteen. Mothers and fathers, older brothers, sisters and best friends. No one escaped its touch. And now children across London are being hunted by ferocious grown-ups . . .They’re hungry. They’re bloodthirsty. And they aren’t giving up. DogNut and the rest of his crew want to find their lost friends, and set off on a deadly mission from the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace and beyond, as the sickos lie in wait. But who are their friends and who is the enemy in this changed world?

I love zombie books and I adore this series. It's full of action, suspense, and it's terrifying. SO EXCITING!! Check out the first two if you can before this one is released. And yes, a character's name is really DogNut. I'll be reviewing the second one soon. Here's my review of the first one: The Enemy. It's one of my early reviews when I was beginning to get the hang of blogging (and I still am, actually).

*The Goodreads synopsis says "fourteen" but it's actually sixteen so I changed it here.

03 January 2012

Review: Catching Jordan

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Publication date: December 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Thanks to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for the eGalley!
What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though - she leads them as the captain and quarterback on her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starring position on the team... and has her suddenly wishing to be seen as more than just a teammate.

I dislike sports, which means I dislike football. This book is full of American football. Football references are all over the place. And guess what?

I had so much fun reading it!!

I hated high school and this book made me want to actually go back to it, but only if I could live in the world of Catching Jordan and only if the characters could be my best friends. I've never been a huge fan of contemporary fiction but it's been authors like Stephanie Perkins and now Miranda Kenneally that are showing me how much fun it can be. I think this is the first time I've read a book and have loved each and every character (or at least the ones we are supposed to). Kenneally is great at writing natural dialogue and I love that she is so unapologetic about the football references. There's no explanation as to any terms or names used and I like this because it stays true to the narrator, Jordan. Jordan already knows what all of this is, so why would she explain it?

Even though I love the book, there is a problem I have with it. I feel like sex is treated too casually in Catching Jordan, almost like the act itself is not a big deal. I even have this problem in adult fiction, but those are just my personal views so I didn't let it affect my feelings towards it. My name is Angie and apparently I'm a prude.

This book is all about romance so if that's not your thing, then pass this one up. BUT if it's just something you're not looking for right now, go back to this. Remember my first sentence where I said I didn't like football? Well, I want to admit that this book got me interested and maybe, just maybe, it's not as boring as I once thought it was.

Content: language and sexual references

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm Excited to Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week focuses on a different topic and you make a top ten list from it! This week: Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2012

1. Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe
-It's got a ghost.

2. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
-This book sounds right up my alley.

3. Revived by Cat Patrick
-I had one issue with Forgotten, but not enough to keep me away from this book. Cat Patrick's writing is fantabulous.

4. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
-Love her Rampant series and am very excited to see Diana go in a different direction.

5. Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
-Being familiar with her picture books, I am very excited to see Ann delve into YA fiction.

6. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
-I want this book. I need this book. I love dark twisted stories. It sounds different from any other YA book I've read.

7. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
-Yes, please.

8. Rebel Heart by Moira Young
-LOVED Blood Red Road and can't wait for the second one.

9. The untitled Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2 by Laini Taylor
-Hopefully it comes out this year. It's set to, though there's no news of it yet. PLEASE!!

10. 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody
-It just sounds cute and I'll probably need a break from all of the dystopian/dark stuff coming out this year.

What are you looking forward to??

01 January 2012

Review: The Near Witch

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Publication date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: Hyperion

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him. As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

I don't know why it took me so long to read this book. I would pick up the ARC at work, then put it down, then pick it up to look at it again, and then proceed to put it down. Not because it didn't sound appealing but because apparently I am dumb.

The Near Witch has a lot going for it. It has a narrator you can't not love, magic, creepy bits, suspense, and a cute boy I want for myself. Despite the tense moments of the book, it's a very calm read as a whole. This is a good thing. Schwab writes beautiful prose and the reader can tell how much thought and time went into creating the folklore of the Near Witch within the book. The story takes a bit to get going and the mystery of the book is predictable, but I didn't mind it because I was too busy enjoying the writing.

For a novel in which I didn't know what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a good read.