Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (17) [Julie]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Breaking the Spine.

The decisions seem to get harder and harder every week on what book(s) to use! At least I can do it every week!

You Wish
Mandy Hubbard
[August 5, 2010]

Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteenth sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.

Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. And a boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride… but they MUST STOP. Because when she was 15? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her.

And Ben is her best friend's boyfriend.

I loved Prada and Prejudice and this just sounds really cute! Plus, the reviews that have popped up have all been awesome.

The Iron Daughter
Julie Kagawa
[August 1, 2010]

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart. (This is the only picture I can find to show you. This is one very lucky blogger's ARC she got today. I told her of my jealousy.)

I got the chance to read an egalley of this book (Thanks Harlequin!) and ADORED IT LIKE WOAH. But I don't like ebooks. I can't even download it to my computer, so it's not mine. I want my copy.

The one thing these books have in common? They both come out the week I will be away. (*sobsnifflesobsniffsniffsobcry*) I'm tempted to call the bookstore that'll be near the hotel and ask them to order copies for me. I am THAT DESPERATE. I'm even willing to beg someone to grab me a copy of The Iron Daughter at BEA or ALA ('cause I know it'll be there) and find a way to pay them back. (Do you SEE how serious this is?)

Anyway, what are you begging for this week?

--Julie

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

New Twilight Book?

Consider this my waiting on Wednesday post... on a Tuesday.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer


Release date: June 5th 2010

Summary (sort of, from the Bree Tanner site): Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the newborn vampire world she inhabits. In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

It will be available for free (I think?) in e-book form but people will be able to buy hard copies of it too and some money from each hardcover sold will be donated to the red cross. You can read more about it on the Bree Tanner website or Stephenie's site.

It's no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with the Twilight series (as in I love to hate them but at the same time I kind of really like the first three books while still being painfully aware of their flaws... confusing, I know. And I loathe the last book and well, the movies... they had potential but I'm not going to get into how I think they screwed that up).

But, in spite of that, I do really want to read this. I think Brees story will be interesting. I'll definitely be buying a hardcover copy of it (and the fact that one dollar of each book sold being donated to the red cross helps).

Thoughts? Will you be reading/buying it?

Later.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Super Awesome Cool New Contest

The lovely Heidi Kling is giving away a mystery book every week until the release of her novel, Sea, in June.

To enter, you just have to do three things on her list (posted here with all contest rules) and then post them there.

So you should ALL ENTER, but you should just make sure I win. Sound good? Good.

THE LINK ONCE MORE: http://seaheidi.livejournal.com/175715.html

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall
Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

I think by now you all know my reluctance with wizarding books. If you aren't, let me inform you: They. Scare. Me. I know they're all going to be hugely different, but the brilliance of Harry Potter cannot be touched in my mind. I don't want to end up not liking a book just because it can't live up to the amazingness of Harry Potter.

But Rachel has this amazing presence on twitter and she's such a sweet person, I had to get the book. The glowing reviews this book was getting certainly helped me with that as well. So, a week and a half after it came out, I requested it to be waiting for me at one of my local Barnes and Nobles and picked it up after seeing Alice in Wonderland.

Oh. My. Archer.

This book was just so insanely different. There was a twist at every turn that I didn't see coming. And the mean girls were genuine and the regular girls were genuine. Everything in the book felt *real*, which is quite the feat for a book at a school full of witches, faeries, werewolves, ghosts, and a vampire or two.

Rachel's voice shines through Sophie's narration. While far from being a Mary Sue, I can feel Rachel in every word, can feel the effort she put into it and I can see the similarities between author and character. I can see the author as the actual person writing this book instead of some faceless drone.

And Archer. Oh, dear, sweet Archer. WHY? *coughs* Erm...right. The love interest is very interesting and kind, though he does seem a bit Darcy-ish and brooding at first...*drools*. Where was I?

Pretty much, everyone needs to read this book. Needs to. Even if you will have to wait like a year for the sequel. More people need to wait with me, anyway.

--Julie

Sunday, 28 March 2010

In My Mailbox (13) -Julie

In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

Not the greatest week ever, but definitely not bad! And I know I've got some swag coming next week too.


The Swag

The Anastasia's Secret bookmark was a nice surprise from Susanne. I already have one, but I guess she got them laminated and decided to send a laminated one too! This one is also signed and will be going to the swag contest that will someday be. I thought about keeping this one, but I think it will probably mail better than the non laminated one. The hour from Susanne's house to mine is one thing, acr
oss country is a whole different one!

The Body Finder signed bookmark and two stickers I won from Hope at Hope's Bookshelf.
She does a giveaway every week and has been blogging for over two years. So go follow her blog!


The Books

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman:

He smiles. "Hello." It's a deep voice. I can feel it reverberate in my chest and echo all the way down to my toes. I know I should leave, but I don't want to. I want to keep my senses like this forever. I'm all eye, all ear, all skin. Persephone lives in the most gorgeous place in the world. But her mother's a goddess, as overprotective as she is powerful. Paradise has become a trap. Just when Persephone feels there's no chance of escaping the life that's been planned for her, a mysterious stranger arrives. A stranger who promises something more—something dangerous and exciting—something that spurs Persephone to make a daring choice. A choice that could destroy all she's come to love, even the earth itself. In a land where a singing river can make you forget your very name, Persephone is forced to discover who—and what—she really is.


Just One Wish by Janette Rallison:
Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it’s all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.

But Annika’s plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly finds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?

Janette Rallison’s proven talent for laugh-out-loud humor, teen romance, and deep-hearted storytelling shines in a novel that will have readers laughing and crying at the same time.

Radiant Darkness has been on my list for a while because, although I'm not into Greek mythology, some myths interest me. Persephone and Hades is one of them. Just One Wish was one of those books I found spontaneously and I had enough money on Amazon for it. I ordered both of these after getting enough swagbucks to afford two $5 Amazon Gift Cards. I'm hoping that later this week I'll be able to order another book or two.

So, what did you guys get this week?

--Julie

Saturday, 27 March 2010

In My Mailbox (13) - Lanna

In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.


Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Summary: Beatrice Shakespeare Smith makes use of her creative skills to remain in her adoptive home, the magical Théâtre Illuminata. The characters from every play ever written are eternally bound to this particular stage by “The Book,” which contains all the scripts; Bertie's companions include Ariel from The Tempest, Hamlet's Ophelia and a smattering of fairies, among others.

After a destructive incident involving a cannon, Bertie must prove that her contributions as an ordinary 17-year-old girl are “unique and valuable” or be cast out. But the theater is thrown into disarray when Ariel steals “The Book,” while Bertie's desire intensifies to uncover the truth about how she came to the theater.

Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison

Summary: THE TRANSFORMATION

Beth has always been “The Beast”—that’s what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Beth’s only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she’s selected to be her choir’s soprano soloist, and receives the makeover that will change her life forever.

THE LOVE AFFAIR

When Beth’s choir travels to Switzerland, she meets Derek: pale, brooding, totally dreamy. Derek’s untethered passion—for music, and for Beth—leaves her breathless. Because in Derek’s eyes? She’s not The Beast, she’s The Beauty.

THE IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE

When Beth comes home, Scott, her best friend in the world, makes a confession that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, intense new feelings she has for Derek?

THE HEARTBREAK

The closer Beth gets to Derek, the further away he seems. Then Beth discovers that Derek’s been hiding a dark secret from her …one that could shatter everything.

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

Summary:
When reality got "too dense" for 18-year-old Susanna Kaysen, she was hospitalized. It was 1967, and reality was too dense for many people. But few who are labeled mad and locked up for refusing to stick to an agreed-upon reality possess Kaysen's lucidity in sorting out a maelstrom of contrary perceptions. Her observations about hospital life are deftly rendered; often darkly funny. Her clarity about the complex province of brain and mind, of neuro-chemical activity and something more, make this book of brief essays an exquisite challenge to conventional thinking about what is normal and what is deviant.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

Summary (I can't find a decent summary for this): The story, which is set in Grosse Pointe, Michigan during the 1970s, centers around the suicides of five sisters. The Lisbon girls' suicides fascinate their community as their neighbors struggle to find an explanation for the acts.

Lips Touch by Laini Taylor

Summary:
Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers' souls:

Goblin Fruit: In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today's savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses: A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Hatchling: Six days before Esme's fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

And I'll also be reading these, although technically they're not "in my mailbox" because they're egalleys (thanks to Julie for telling me about them). I've been in an ebook mood recently.

Shadow of the Vampire by Meagan Hatfield (I'm halfway through this one and I love it)
The Iron Daughter by Julie Jagawa
Out of Eden by Beth Ciotta
Manifest by Artist Arthur
Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman

Oh, and! Susanne Dunlap sent me a signed Anastasia's Secret bookmark. It arrived today and I literally woke up with the envelope on my face... I suspect that someone told my brother to bring it up to me because unlike a normal person who would leave things on my desk, he has a tendency to throw them on my head - and I have a tendency to sleep through it and wake up with things on my face. *facepalm*

Later.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (16) Julie

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Breaking the Spine.

Not many side comments because I'm reading something I'm VERY excited about and don't want to lose too much reading time.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green and David Levithan
[April 6, 2010]

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.

I'm sure you've all heard of this book because you don't live under rocks. And you're all awesome, therefore you should know about the person increasing world awesome. But if you don't, you should be excited. I've already pre-ordered mine at Barnes and Noble, my first pre-order ever (well...it'll be the first one I receive. My actual first one won't be here until May)

And that's the quickie WoW. This is my only April release to read! My wallet rejoices. May, June? My wallet will cry again. It enjoys this little break.

So what are you waiting on this indecisive Wednesday (no really, have you guys watched the weather this month? Insane).

--Julie

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Remake A Book Cover Contest

So, Princessbookie is having a contest where you have to remake book covers and it looked like fun so I thought I'd try. I chose Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs.

Original cover:


Remake:

(Picture credit in the description on my deviantart)

Vote for me?... Actually, just vote for the one you think is best. =]

Later.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner

Nobody's Princess
Esther Friesner

She is beautiful, she is a princess, and Aphrodite is her favorite goddess, but something in Helen of Sparta just itches for more out of life. Not one to count on the gods—or her looks—to take care of her, Helen sets out to get what she wants with steely determination and a sassy attitude. That same attitude makes Helen a few enemies—such as the self-proclaimed "son of Zeus" Theseus—but it also intrigues, charms, and amuses those who become her friends, from the famed huntress Atalanta to the young priestess who is the Oracle of Delphi.

In
Nobody's Princess, author Esther Friesner deftly weaves together history and myth as she takes a new look at the girl who will become Helen of Troy. The resulting story offers up adventure, humor, and a fresh and engaging heroine you cannot help but root for.

I don't enjoy Greek Mythology. At All. Blame my required summer reading before ninth grade of the most boring book in the world, Mythology. I wanted to shoot myself. But I've heard good things and it sounded interesting. A fun way to learn about an intriguing subject that just bored me.

Helen's story was certainly full of action and adventure and I really enjoyed it, but I was hoping to see more for when she was older and her marriages, being whisked off to Troy, and the romances. While Helen did have chemistry with characters and I would start rooting for them to get together, most of the time the characters disappeared or they had someone else. You guys know me, I like me the romance.

Beyond that, the novels are fun, quick reads. Helen is an above and beyond strong, independent character and many of the side characters really add to the development. The two novels (Nobody's Princess and the sequel, Nobody's Prize) flowed together very well, in a way that made them seem almost like one novel. I read one book in between the two but remembered everything fine and didn't have any issues with forgetting.

Milo is truly adorable. He doesn't come in until about half way through Nobody's Prize, but my heart was always with him. Helen's brothers were the typical big brothers and reminded me of my own brother, though he didn't hesitate to practice his fighting/wrestling skills on me. Her parents reminded me of my own as well. And her sister was someone who you both liked and loathed at the same time.

There was some intense adventure in the novel, but the way it read wasn't so crazy. At the same time, it wasn't as fun because obviously Helen can't die if she has to be Helen of Troy. And, you know, it was told in first person. To make up for that, Esther played with other characters and talked about how they might be dead or disappeared. There were battles and sword fights and all sorts of fun things.

Honestly, it's a fun book. Just don't hope for any real romance!

--Julie

Sunday, 21 March 2010

In My Mailbox (12) - Julie

In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

I had an interesting week. I got my first book from using swagbucks (to fill in some gaps, I earned the bucks to get a $5 gift card for Amazon then ordered from there) and I won two books on twitter that got here really quick!

Clementine by Sophie Masson:
In 1771 two christenings take place. Both babies receive gifts which have dramatic repercussions some years later, when they stumble upon a castle they have never seen before. Lord Arthur and Raphael Brown, 100 years later, are determined to discover if the legend of the castle is true.

I was kind of disappointed because this was supposed to be a new book and it definitely isn't (you guys can't smell this thing), but it shipped from the UK, so I can't be bothered to try and get a new one. Plus, it was insanely cheap.

Likely Story by David Von Etten:
Mallory's mother is a big-name soap-opera star. When Mallory comes up with an idea for a daytime soap aimed at teens that would deal with real-life situations, this pedigree helps her get a shot at creating and writing it. In the process, she learns to stand up for herself and to do what is right—even if it means facing tough consequences. A collaboration among three authors—soap-opera writer Chris Van Etten, David Ozanich, and David Levithan, who is known for sensitive portrayals of teens—Likely Story occasionally has an uneven tone, as tender moments are blended with a realistic look at the soap-opera business. Still, Mallory comes across as a likable, regular teen despite growing up on television sets and having a mother as selfish and manipulative as any daytime-drama villain. Her snappy narrative is filled with a believable mix of self-doubt, scathing humor, and real emotion. The book never indulges in the glamour of the television lifestyle, but focuses on the story and characters.

I won this from @randomhousekids asking us to tweet our favorite David Levithan novel and then get a copy. So I went for it. It got her really fast too!

Stray by Rachel Vincent: There are only eight breeding female werecats left . . .
And I'm one of them.

I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I'd been warned about Strays -- werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever -- and whoever -- I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays -- 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them . . .

Melissa Marr announced on twitter she had 6 books remaining from her 60 book giveaway and needed music suggestions. So the first 6 people to tweet some, got a book. I did so and got a SIGNED copy of Stray yesterday. My mom asked "Are you shopping used now?" Then I explained and she's like "You should so hold onto that!" Thanks mom. Thanks a lot for the advice.

(And in the background is the pile of books I need to giveaway. It's been there for a while)

That's it! But I know next week I should probably get one or two other books (I ordered them this week using my swagbucks giftcards) and maybe some swag that I'm super excited to see. Can't wait to show them to you guys!

--Julie

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Epic Author Appreciation Week

Heidi Kling, author of the upcoming Sea, has declared this week Author Appreciation Week. I wanted to do this, but there was so many authors, and not enough days. Then I didn't start on Monday and if I don't start in the beginning, it just won't work. So instead, I am going to do some short features of TWENTY of my favorite/most important authors.

Jane Austen: What reason is there to not love Miss Jane? Indepent, self sufficient, and strong, Jane broke everything expected of her and was still very successful in life. Not to mention that she created one of the most epic love stories.

Most romances today are love at first sight/can't be together (Romeo and Juliet) or the protagonists hate each other then slowly fall in love (Pride and Prejudice). Where would we be without Pride and Prejudice today? Not to mention, it's my favorite book. One of the most epic romances of all time.

Stephenie Meyer: WHAT?!? SAY IT ISN'T SO, JULIE! But yes, I cannot lie here. If it wasn't for Twilight, I may have never decided what kind of book I really love. I never would've seen how much I truly love reading. Who knows if I'd even be blogging right now?

Reading Twilight also introduced me to the world of vampires. Which brings me to my next two authors.

Richelle Mead and Melissa de la Cruz: These ladies created some FABULOUS vampire novels. Right after finishing Twilight, I needed more vampires and these were the perfect books to fill that gap. They both proved that good vampires can still be kick ass...without sparkling!

Richelle's vampires come in three different types, the good, the protectors, and the bad. Then she made things complicated and twisted and through yet another epic romance in here, following the Romeo and Juliet example in a very different way.

Melissa is all about the good vampires, but a few of them aren't so good. Her books always remind me of a better Gossip Girl...but with vampires. The history and the world in this book always astounds me. Although, I won't lie, some of the relationships can be kind of weird.

Meg Cabot: What could I possibly have to say about Meg Cabot? She's brought us dreams, given them to thousands, probably millions, of young girls. Unlikely though they may be. She brought in magic, she brought in history, and she brings laughter. Now she's teaching young girls how to come into their own and giving adults a good love story and soon she'll even venture into vampires. Meg is one of the kindest authors and I can't help but admire her!

John Green: One of two male authors on this list (sadness), I could probably write an essay on the awesomeness of John Green. He writes books that make you think and don't follow a predictable plot at all. Yet I'm not sure if I've ever laughed more while reading than when I read Paper Towns (perhaps when reading Going Bovine?).

He vlogs every other day during the week, alternating with his awesome brother Hank and never fails to make me laugh, marvel, or feel the urge to share it. I can never watch these videos with others for fear they will give me weird looks for laughing at the computer.

And in general, he fights world suck. He wants to increase world awesomeness, hence the nerdfighter community. Nerds fight world suck, pure and simple. John and Hank were just the geniuses to connect them all.

Maureen Johnson: Maureen is easier to write than John. While she also works to decrease world suck, she always makes me smile with her tweets. Some of them make me want stuff too (like her tweet about the immortal jellyfish). All of this, and I haven't even read her books. Someday when I'm a millionaire and can buy all the books I want.

Eva Ibbotson: A historical fiction and children's author, Eva's books astound me. She's written several YA books in different periods of history (well decades) and while they all have a same general plot, I love seeing how she'll mix it up every time! And sometimes, it just works. Eva's one of those people where it just works.

David Levithan: David is definitely a YA super star. He's edited God knows how many anthologies and written several books solo and with friends. His books are powerful and serious, while still being on a YA level. Love is the Higher Law was absolutely astounding. Will Grayson, Will Grayson sounds kick ass. What's not to like?

Libba Bray: Must I say anything here? Why yes I must. Libba Bray is my freaking HERO.

Libba introduced me to historical fiction, which most of you should know. I needed magic and by God those covers are gorgeous. So I gave in and picked it up. And then I never looked back. Then she had the nerve to write a book capable of having a cow holding a garden gnome on the cover. A COW. Not to mention it's one of the most amazing books. Then there's the fact that this woman is absolutely hilarious. I CRAVE her blog posts. Finally: Viva la Shebams!

Rachel Hawkins: Rachel not only wrote a simply amazing book with an uber swoon worthy male character (review coming soon, no worries guys!), but she's awesome. Rachel is another author I somehow found on twitter and she's just so sweet and funny and just plain awesome! Rachel is the epitome of Southern hospitality and her unique voice shines through in her novel.

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: I've stayed away from strict magic since Harry Potter, but this was a nice reintroduction before Hex Hall, when I REALLY jumped in. Beautiful Creatures was a fabulous novel that I adored. They also managed to make the south 20 times cooler. Because they really did! I wanna move to the south and have some of the experiences Ethan and Lena had. I want to BE Lena!

Julie Kagawa
: I'd always loved faeries, but didn't want to touch a book about it. But everyone seemed to love The Iron King and the cover was gorgeous and it's one of my favorites. It definitely brought back my faerie love! She's totally nice and sweet and loves talking to us little people. She's even gotten Grimalkin to come talk to us on a few occasions! And she reaffirmed the fact that Julies are kick ass.

Bree Despain: I'm not a werewolf fan (Errrm...blame Stephenie Meyer?) but I had to take a chance. The cover is so beautiful and I bought it on a whim. I'm so glad I did. I'm now willing to open up for several other authors I know writing werewolf books. I'm super excited for The Lost Saint and uber glad to have taken this chance to open up new doors.

Jaclyn Dolamore: Jackie was not only willing to write a historical fiction with a person of color (that term kind of annoys me. What, are they purple? A person (who was "of color") once pointed it out to me years ago and it stuck with me. Anyway), but then on her debut novel faced controversy in a classy way. I can't help but applaud her for this.

Mandy Hubbard: Mandy is just one fabulous lady. Not only did she write a kick ass YA novel that is an excellent way to introduce teens to Pride and Prejudice, but now she's an agent that happily shares her information. She makes it clear what she likes and what she doesn't and gives good help about writing queries for new writers. I'm super excited for her next novel, You Wish!

Jackson Pearce: Jackson is like Maureen. She's seriously funny and I found this out before even reading her book. Then I read As You Wish and loved it(as you can see in the review a few posts down). Besides being an awesome writer who's currently working on FAIRYTALE RETELLINGS (Can you hear my squees? I bet you can.), she also does a livestream show every week. She usually talks about writing and editing and sometimes it's just random fodder. AND she's currently giving out prizes every month leading up the release of the first fairytale retelling, Sisters Red.

Ellen Hopkins: Ellen is just one amazing lady. She's one of few YA authors that writes in verse style, but pulls it off beautifully. Every word, nearly every placement of the words, is deliberate and part of the story. Then you bring in the fact that anything having to do with drugs in her novels is true (which means at least one of her books was based off things that actually happened). Can you imagine the bravery that takes?

Heidi Kling: Heidi is just...made of awesome. Her upcoming novel, Sea, sounds astounding and even the subject matter of it has already struck a cord for me. I can still remember sitting on the couch, waiting for family members to be ready to go and watching specials on the tsunami. I watch it whenever I find it.

Then Heidi always wants to talk to people on twitter, help out, make suggestions, and wants all of us to have ARCs! She's held a couple contests with another one coming up to get us one. She's another one of those uber sweet people on twitter that I love chatting with.

Heidi also helps run the Tenners blog, which I can imagine is no easy feat! I can't even fathom how many members there are for that blog. AND she is the genius behind Author Appreciation Week. Plus she likes to send out Sea swag (you all know my swag love) and she's an awesome cheerleader! Add in the fact that her husband is a super hero and Heidi could quite easily take over the world. Or...maybe I exaggerate a bit. She might have to compete with Ash from The Iron King.

And that's just a FRACTION of the authors I appreciate. Special mentions go to Joy Preble, J.K. Rowling, Judy Blume, and Cassandra Clare. Then there's even more that I can't even name off the top of my head.

Authors far and wide: You are superheros and inspirations to us a little people every day. Keep being awesome!

--Julie

Friday, 19 March 2010

Captivate by Carrie Jones

[Spoiler warning: This book is the sequel to Need, so don't read if you don't want spoilers for the first book]

Captivate by Carrie Jones

Summary: Zara and her friends knew they hadn’t solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king’s needs grow deeper every day he’s stuck in captivity, while his control over his people becomes weaker. It’s made him vulnerable. And now there’s a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent. The new pixie king is moving in quickly. He swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he’s one of the good guys. Zara isn’t so sure. Despite herself, she wants to trust the new king, but there’s a lot more than her relationship with boyfriend Nick at stake. It’s her life – and his.

It's no secret that I adored the first book but if possible, Captivate was even better.

All of the charm of Need was there - the suspense, the wittiness and romance but somehow Carrie managed to make me love this one even more than the first.

Zara is still a the brilliant strong heroine from the first time who manages to get herself into dangerous situations but not come across as a damsel in distress even when she needs rescued and she still has a strong heart and conscience, which I loved, after the drama in the first book and her being sucked into this supernatural world she didn't know existed, it would've been understandable for her to stick to just fighting supernatural battles but she continues to make time for her Amnesty International work and all that.

I liked the balance the book had, sometimes characters will lose aspects of their original personality when the supernatural stuff is introduced but Carrie kept her characters as awesome as ever having them juggle pixie drama and other things while still appearing to be normal teenagers.

I loved the fact that there was sort of a gray area as far as the bad guys go in this one, it was present in the first one too but it was clearer in Captivate - there isn't just good and bad, this book kind of shows that what someone is doesn't matter, each person -- or pixie -- has the potential to be good or bad. It's very easy to write bad guys who are just all bad, evil, but to write the bad guys that leaves the reader torn and feeling almost sorry for them, that takes talent (and not just the reader, the main character feels it too).

The minor characters are great, the relationship between Devyn and Issie is so sweet and it's something a lot of girls can relate to
, the little moments between them were so adorable and managed to affect me almost as much as the main characters do.

I really loved new plot twists (I was not expecting the introduction of a certain mythological creature) and the new guy, Astley, which surprised me. Normally in love triangles I strongly favour one guy and almost dislike the other, but Captivate had me as torn as the Gale VS. Peeta dilemma from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins which does not happen often.

To sum up, it was brilliant, it is definitely right up there with my other all time favourite book series' and I cannot wait for the next book to be out to find out what happens next.

Later.


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (15) -Julie

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Breaking the Spine.

As it is GORGEOUS here (as in I've spent the past 2 days reading outside for at least an hour and will for the next week), I'm going to feature some books(not just books, Tenners!) that come out in May. Simply because this is what May feels like.


Shade
Jeri Smith-Ready
[May 4, 2010]

Love ties them together.
Death can't tear them apart.

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan’s violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn't help that Aura’s new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart…and clues to the secret of the Shift. [From Jeri's website, not goodreads like usual]


I'm SUPER excited about this book. The concept reminds me of I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder, but at the same time very different? I don't know.

And isn't that cover gorgeous? That cover is the main reason I wanted my bookmarks. SO pretty!

We Hear the Dead
Dianne Salerni
[May 1, 2010]

It started out as a harmless prank. But soon enough, spiritualism was the fastest growing movement of the nineteenth century, and Maggie Fox was trapped in a life of deceit.

Meticulously researched by the author, We Hear the Dead reveals the secret of how the Fox sisters faked their rapping sounds and their motives for inventing the séance and founding spiritualism.


Maggie
: I began the deception when I was too young to know right from wrong. No one suspected us of any trick, because we were such young children. We were led on by my sister purposely and by my mother unintentionally. Only with the passing of time did I come to understand the consequences of my actions. As Doctor wrote to me: "Weary, weary is the life by cold deceit oppressed."

Kate
: My sister has used the word "deception." I object to her use of that word, for I do not believe that I have ever intentionally deceived anyone. Maggie has a different understanding of all the events that have happened since that night in Hydesville forty years ago. To her the spirits were always a game. For my sister Leah, they were a means to an end. For my mother, a miracle. And for me, they were my life's calling. I have no regrets.


Umm...win? Between the awesome cover, the time period, and the fact that it's based off reality, what's not to love?

Anyway, I'm going to try to get up a review late tonight and another tomorrow so Friday and/or Saturday can be used for Author Appreciation Week. One GINORMOUS post for all authors I appreciate. But if I don't post, it's because I need all that time for Appreciating Authors.

--Julie

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce

As You Wish
Jackson Pearce

Ever since Viola's boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing—to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again—until one day she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes.

Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can't deny that he's falling for Viola. But it's only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she's in love with Jinn as well . . . and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life—and her world—forever.

Jackson Pearce spins a magical tale about star-crossed lovers, what it means to belong . . . and how important it is to be careful what you wish for.

I never really heard about this novel until I somehow ended up following Jackson Pearce on twitter. How exactly that happened, I'm not sure. But after reading her tweets and watching her on Blog TV every week, I knew I had to read her novel.

The more I heard about As You Wish, they more excited I got. A genie...well jinn? How awesome is that? I built up high expectations for this novel and was not disappointed.

I can't even describe how awesome this book was (maybe because it's been over a week since I read it). There were twists and turns and yeah, some of it was predictable, but at the same time it wasn't. And even when things are hopeless, there's still a ray of light.

I wish I could go more in depth about why I loved this book, but it's hard to remember so much. I've been taking advantage of the weather and taking time to read outside this week. Tons of extra reading time there, so I get through more books. I can say this:

Earlier this week I cleaned out my shelves. I put some away in the special book drawer I have, and the others moved down stairs to the big shelf. But all of my favorites stayed upstairs on my little shelves. As You Wish is staying on this special, little shelves.

--Julie

Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White


Forget-Her-Nots
Amy Brecount White
[buy it here]

When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door, Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn't so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don't always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she's soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom.

This was one of those novels I had a feeling I would read, even if it wasn't my type. So when the chance to get a free copy came, I snapped it up. This way, I knew I would be able to read it and I would still be afford all the books I REALLY wanted.

This novel surprised me. At first, the pacing was slow and kind of boring for me, but quickly the plot picked up and more was going on. Then from there on out there was always something to keep my interested in reading.

The characters were very much true to high school kids. Even the mean girls were accurate - because really who can be evil ALL THE TIME? While the love interest wasn't really featured enough for us to know him well, I couldn't help but root for Laurel to get him, all while thinking that the other possible love interest should've gotten more time with her.

The entire novel was far more interesting than I would've imagined and I loved the way she made all of this into a novel. It definitely takes some creativity to take flower language and make it a main feature in a novel!

Overall, this was an excellent debut novel and Amy is an author to keep an eye on!

--Julie

Sunday, 14 March 2010

In My Mailbox (11) - Julie

In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.
This was a really good week for me. I got some bookmarks and a bunch of books, including my first ARC (!!!!!!!). I also won a contest and I think I'm now waiting on 5 things? Amazon order, gift from super kind blogger, two contest wins. So, four. But I also have a preorder of something so almost 5. I also went to the mall on Friday and dropped some cash in Barnes and Noble and saw Alice in Wonderland. So, huzzah for good weeks!


The Swag:All signed!
(There's actually four Shade book marks and one of them will end up in a giveaway. I'm probably going to gather up swag and then one day hold a massive giveaway for it. Could take a while though.)


The Books(and other books...and my hamper):


A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff (for review/contest win)
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (bought at Barnes and Noble)
Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap (bought at Barnes and Noble)
The Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap (bought at Barnes and Noble)

And LOOK:


That is my copy of Hex Hall (with a Shade bookmark in it. Tenner Power there) next to my copy of this months J-14 magazine. It's the very back page and was an awesome surprise after I finished flipping through the mindless gossip!




I also bought a gift card so I have to pick out some books for that. If there's any you want me to order, leave it in the comments!

--Julie

In My Mailbox (11) - Lanna

In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

I'm just going to link to the summaries on Amazon or shelfari or something, instead of pasting them here.

For Review:


The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees


I cannot wait to read that one, seriously. And the cover for it is so gorgeous - it looks awesome online, but it's even better on the actual book.

Inside my Head
by Jim Carrington

Not one I would've been likely to choose to read myself, but it sounds interesting so we'll see.

Captivate by Carrie Jones

Loved Need, I was so happy when this one arrived. I've already started reading it, it's awesome so far, I should have a review up for it in a few days.

Bought (do I even need to mention my lack of self control again?):


Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Love Sarah Dessen, plus, I'm a total insomniac so I like the sound of this story.

Look for me by Moonlight
by Mary Downing Hahn

Just sounded interesting, I read some good reviews for it. I think it's a vampire romance.


Old Souls by Tom Shroder

This one is non-fiction, I have a warped fascination with stuff like past lives and all that - dunno if I believe in it, but I'm Agnostic so I'm pretty open minded about stuff like that.

Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy by Ally Carter

This series = new addiction, I think. It's the second book in the Gallagher Girls series.



After the Quake
by Haruki Murakami

I've read a short story by Murakami and loved the writing and I've heard brilliant things about his books, I chose this one at random.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Pretty cover. Awesome reviews. Normally, I don't think I'd buy a book like this but I'll give it a try.



Titanic: The Long Night by Diane Hoh

I think I've read some of Diane's other books when I was younger and liked them, plus, I adore stories about the Titanic and this one has great reviews... and there's a sequel that I'll have to get too now.

Cathy's Book by Sean Stewart

I totally just bought that one because I saw it on someones IMM vlog and the book itself is really cool - I don't know about the story (like, the book has little drawings and this pouch bit with pictures and stuff).

I so need new bookshelves.

Later.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Historic Saturday (8)

Historic Saturday is a meme I use to expose the world to more historic YA. Too many people seem to be afraid of this wonderful subgenre.

Song of the Sparrow
Lisa Ann Sandell

Since the days of King Arthur, there have been poems and paintings created in her name. She is Elaine of Ascolat, the Lady of Shalott, and now there is a book all her own. The year is 490 A.D. and 16-year-old Elaine has a temperament to match her fiery red hair. Living on a military base with her father, brothers, and the rest of Arthur's army, Elaine pines for the handsome Lancelot, and longs for a female friend. But when the cruel, beautiful Gwynivere arrives, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry. Can Elaine find the strength to survive the birth of a kingdom?

To say I don't know much about Arthurian legend would be an understatement. I know there was an Arthur, a Merlin, a Lancelot, a Round Table, and some girls running around. and a couple of battles. Whoopee. But for some reason, this is a book that called me and I finally answered that call a little while ago.

I opened this book and was immediately shocked to find it's all told in verse, similar to Ellen Hopkins' style, but without all the little extras. This kind of put me off because I'm not a huge fan of verse and I really wasn't looking for it here.

The story didn't interest me as much as I had hoped. It was an interesting story, but it seemed to drag on with useless detail. I felt like I just skimmed through pages because there was nothing really going on besides Elaine mending something or observing the world around her. But her world rarely changes and she does this a few times. You really only need it once.

This is a nitpicky thing, but all the dialogue was in italics. It was kind of confusing who was talking sometimes.

There was plenty of drama and suspense to keep a person interested, especially since I think this book was supposed to be a variation of the typical Arthurian legend and the romance and character developments were very well done.

Overall it was a good book, but a bit confusing and with a lot of fluff.

--Julie

P.S.: I do still have to write reviews for Forget-Her-Nots, As You Wish, and Nobody's Princess. I will get on those next week, but I want to spread out my reviews more so I have time to read sequels and classics that I don't review.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Summary: Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies.

Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

I wish I hadn't read this book... because now I desperately want to read the sequels but won't be able to for a while. Damn! But anyway, the book was brilliant - it was sweet and funny and never boring and amongst all that it still managed to show some real raw emotions in there too like love, friendship, loss and heartbreak. I loved the characters, especially Cammie and her best friends.

My favourite part of the book was probably the fact that even though the main character is this super spy in training, when she's out of her comfort zone -- like around a certain cute boy, for example -- we're totally reminded that she's just a girl and she has insecurities like the rest of us and the fact that she can speak loads of different languages and take out an attacker twice her size doesn't stop her from feeling those insecurities.

I like the way Ally Carter writes too, it's not poetic or the kind of beautiful that sticks with you, but it's fast paced and interesting and I love when writers write like that and it doesn't feel like they're just adding in filler stuff to increase the word count or adding flowery adjectives that can distract from the story. She keeps it to the point.

Basically, I loved the book and I can't wait to read the rest of the series and her new book, Heist Society (which I ordered off Amazon a while ago and should be here soon). If you haven't read it, go read it now!

Later.

Waiting on Wednesday (14) Julie

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Breaking the Spine.

As I skipped last week, I'm gonna do more than one today.

Shadow Hills
Anastasia Hopcus
[July 13, 2010]

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and
gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the
deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

This book's cover has always drawn me in, but this was another one I tried to avoid reading the summary for. Now that I have, I'm desperate for it!


The False Princess
Eilis O'Neal
[May 11, 2010]

Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia knows her role in life. But everything changes when she learns, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess–a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city, her best friend, Kiernan, and the only life she’s ever known.

While struggling with her new peasant life, Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins–long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control. Returning to the city to seek answers, she instead uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor’s history forever.

I don't know what it is about this book that draws me in, but it just sounds so insanely good. (I also must mention both Shadow Hills and The False Princess are from Egmont. Go Egmont!)


Folly
Marthe Jocelyn
[May 11, 2010]

Three fates intertwine in this moving and passionate love story set in Victorian London.

Mary Finn: country girl, maid to a lord in London

Caden Tucker: liar, scoundrel, and heart's delight

James Nelligan: age six, tossed into a herd of boys

When Mary Finn falls into the arms of handsome Caden Tucker, their frolic changes the course of her life. What possesses her? She's been a girl of common sense until now. Mary's tale alt
ernates with that of young James Nelligan, a new boy in an enormous foundling home.

Um...this just kind of wins. No explanation needed.


So, there ya go! And this will help narrow down the list for the future too!

--Julie

Waiting on Wednesday (14) - Lanna

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Breaking the Spine.

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Release date: April 13th 2010

Summary: Carlos Fuentes doesn't want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him in Boulder, Colorado. He wants to keep living on the edge, and carve his own path?just like Alex did. Unfortunately, his ties to a Mexican gang aren't easy to break, and he soon finds himself being set up by a drug lord.

When Alex arranges for Carlos to live with his former professor and his family to keep him from being sent to jail, Carlos feels completely out of place. He's even more thrown by his strong feelings for the professor's daughter, Kiara, who is nothing like the girls he's usually drawn to. But Carlos and Kiara soon discover that in matters of the heart, the rules of attraction overpower the social differences that conspire to keep them apart.

As the danger grows for Carlos, he's shocked to discover that it's this seemingly All-American family who can save him. But is he willing to endanger their safety for a chance at the kind of life he's never even dreamed possible?


Awesome book trailer:


Okay, I read and loved Perfect Chemistry so I wanted to read this as soon as I heard about it... and then I saw the book trailer on The Story Siren's blog and now it's going to be such a pain waiting for the release date cause I desperately want to read it even more. Damn!

Also, just throwing this out there: expect a review up for the first book in the Gallagher Girl's series soon and then Captivate by Carrie Jones (which just arrived today and I'm dying to read it).

Later.

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