Thursday, 31 December 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

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

Go me! It's on time(ish) and everything! I didn't get around to finishing Keeping the Moon and probably won't for a while because I bought Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side and Paper Towns today, both of which I'm more excited to read. So, you'll have reviews for those instead.

Jekel Loves Hyde
Beth Fantaskey
[Releases 5/3/10]

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules – especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad.

Yes, this is the same author that wrote Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. I actually found Jekel Loves Hyde first then saw she wrote the other book, recognized it from seeing it in stores all the time, actually read the summary, and fell in love. I even reserved the paperback so it'd be there when I got to the mall today. But anyway.

I've been trying to back away from historical fiction more. I've had my fill of it and while I'm always looking for more, I can't really review much historical fiction can I? It's pretty hard to do when not many people in the YA world are also into Historical Fiction because I don't want to bore you.

Honestly, this book just sounds cool. And the cover? Come on now, that's pretty in it's simplicity. I've always tried to avoid the habit, but I'm starting to fall into the 'Ooh pretty cover! I want!' trap. But, it's kind of fun. I actually have two books (kind of) in the mail like that.

I'd also like to point out that I have yet to see a bad Tristen, no matter what way it's spelled.

I have not read the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, to be quite honest. I only have a vague idea of what the book's even about! But I've found in the past current books make me want to read the original classics their based on, heavily themed on, or mentioned (does this make any sense?). I found my favorite novel that way. Maybe this book will bring me the same luck?

I do worry that this book will become predictable, but based on what I've read of Beth's other book so far, I don't think that'll be the case. And even if it is, I still think I'll enjoy it.

Now my only problem is finding the patience to wait until May.

So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?


Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce

I've now read this book twice, the second time because I could barely remember what happened before reading the sequel. I'm not gonna review the sequel, to avoid spoilers.

The Darkangel
Meredith Ann Pierce

The Darkangel, a vampire of astounding beauty and youth, can only summon his full power when he finds his 14th and final bride. But for Aeriel, whom he kidnaps to serve his brides, there is something about him--something beyond his obvious evil--that makes her want to save him rather than destroy him.

This book starts off with Aeriel and her 'mistress'/best friend, Eoduin climbing a mountain to pick special flowers. These flowers are to be used in the wedding occurring in the town later in the day, the nectar in the flowers for the bridal cup. Then the vampyre, or dark angel, appears. He swoops down and takes Eoduin, before flying away.

A few days later, Aeriel goes back up the mountain to get revenge. But what happens instead? The dark angel takes her too, except to be a servant.

We learn that the dark angel has thirteen wives, one for every year he's been a dark angel. In another year, he will take another wife and become a full icari. Then he and his other six "brothers" will take over the world. Until then, Aeriel is supposed to stay and care for his soulless wives. Once beauties, now they are horrors, nearly skeletons that will never die.

This book was odd. It wasn't historical fiction, though some things had a parallel to our history. It was definitely a fantasy book, with lots of different magical elements.

Some things I had a hard time picturing. It mostly came up in the sequel, but some people had different color skins. I'm not talking white/black/tan either. That was just random for me.

I started this series for the romance. I won't lie, my JulNoWriMo novel was very similar to this story line. But so far it just seems so much more about the action. That's not me. Action and me = bad, with a few exceptions (Mortal Instruments series anyone?)

I wouldn't stay with this series because it's not giving me the romance I want, but there's only one book left in the series and, let's be honest, the romance *has* to come out in this book right?

I wish I could tell you guys more, but I don't want to spoil because I know I don't like spoilers.

I've got Keeping the Moon and That Summer waiting to be read in my room and I should be buying Magic Under Glass and Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side tomorrow. I'll definitely be reviewing all of those. Probably Keeping the Moon tomorrow *fingers crossed*, Magic Under Glass on Saturday for Historic Saturday and then something else as soon as I can.

And for anyone unaware, we are on twitter. I play on there *ahem* often, so if you wanna chat feel free to!


In My Mailbox (2)

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

I got a ton of gift cards for Christmas to use. I decided to use them all online. Overall, I've ordered 14 far. I have another 3 to order if I can't get to Borders (where there's a ton of stuff 75% off, ONLY in stores though). In theory, I will have 17 books arriving before this weekend. Not counting the possible shopping trip this week. Do you know what a pain that would be to do?

So, I'm gonna do some today and make next weekend slightly less painful for me.

Briar Rose

Ever since she was a child, Rebecca has been enchanted by her grandmother Gemma’s stories about Briar Rose. But a promise Rebecca makes to her dying grandmother will lead her on a remarkable journey to uncover the truth of Gemma’s astonishing claim: I am Briar Rose. A journey that will lead her to unspeakable brutality and horror. But also to redemption and hope. A Tor Teen edition of the modern classic by critically-acclaimed author Jane Yolen.

The Devil's Arithmetic

Hannah thinks tonight's Passover Seder will be the same as always. Little does she know that this year she will be mysteriously transported into the past where only she knows the horrors that await.
The Holocaust was so monstrous a crime that the mind resists belief and the story must be made new for each individual. Yolen's book is about remembering. During a Passover Seder, 12-year-old Hannah finds herself transported from America in 1988 to Poland in 1942, where she assumes the life of young Chaya. Within days the Nazis take Chaya and her neighbors off to a concentration camp, mere components in the death factory. As days pass, Hannah's own memory of her past, and the prisoners' future, fades until she is Chaya completely. Chaya/Hannah's final sacrifice, and the return of memory, is her victory over the horror. The book's simplicity is its strength; no comment is needed because the facts speak for themselves. This brave
and powerful book has much it can teach a young audience.

Hush, Hush

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

Mona Lisa Awakening

From the time she was a child, Mona Lisa knew she was different—but she never knew how different until a man of otherworldly beauty entered her life.
[Also ordered the sequel]

That covers 5 of the books, which will have to do for now since I've been working on this post for half an hour.

What did you get this weekend? Or, what did you order?

Friday, 25 December 2009

Not book related, but...

Merry Christmas! (well, it's 4 hours til midnight for me.) I hope everyone has a safe holiday and gets what they want for Christmas! :)


Leah xx

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Just a Quick Round Up Post

For the Waiting on Wednesday this week (which I wasn't sure I'd do since I need to spend more time looking for books coming out next year), I'll just do a quick rec of Sea by Heidi Kling. It's her first book, coming out June 10th, 2010 and it sounds different and wonderful. But then again, I also have a strange fascination with horrible events in our history. For more information on this book, just go here. And if there's any books you guys want that I haven't covered, just let me know. I'm hoping to make a big dent in my wish list after Christmas.

Second: There hasn't been an IMM in the past two weeks because I know Lanna and I haven't gotten any books. I'm still making my way through my birthday haul and we've both been saving for Christmas and such. If I get any books for Christmas, I'll post but this weekend probably won't have one from me either. I do intend to make my order for my Christmas haul around New Years Eve (if I can wait that long) though, so we'll see what happens.

Third: I know there's been another lack of actual reviews lately. But that happens with the holidays. I just finished The Darkangel (rereading) and it's sequel, A Gathering of Gargoyles so I'll try to have a review up for that as soon as possible, which I'm thinking won't be until Saturday. Fortunately, I'm now finally on vacation, so hopefully I'll be able to pump out others. I can't really speak for everyone though.

Four: Lanna posted a list of updates for next year. Feedback and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Five: We had what I think is our first guest blog by author LM Preston on dreaming big. So, go check that out too!

Six (God I'm annoying): Happy Holidays to everyone and I hope you guys are safe and healthy
and enjoy it. :)


Monday, 21 December 2009

Page Turner Mini-Contest - Lanna

So, Julie and Melody entered this contest at the Page Turners blog and it looked like fun, so I thought I'd try too.

Click on the link for details - but the basic idea is that you use 2 different generator sites, one to get your author name, one for the book title then you use the title to find a picture for the cover.

I'm not sure if I did this right but I just did this for fun anyway, so it doesn't matter (the first word I actually got was "realize", so that should've been my title but there were no image results for that so I went with the second one I got) and my firefox seems to hate flickrcc today and some of the pictures weren't loading, I couldn't get one of a person, but anyway...

Heres the cover:

And a random summary I made up (it will suck, I fail with flying colours at writing summaries at the best of times but I'm much worse at making them up on the spot when it's not based on an actual story/story idea):
It started with a lie, it's that simple.

Cursed by an old gypsy as punishment for her dishonesty, Erica Davis is no longer able to tell the truth... whether she wants to or not. But what happens when her lies threaten to destroy everything that matters to her and the truth is the only thing that will save the life of a person she loves?

Tangled in her web of lies, Erica must find a way to break the curse before it's too late.

I guess that's all.


P.s. Oh, I forgot to mention - the author name that the generator gave me made me laugh. My real first name is Alanna and I use two pennames; Lanna Williams and Alanna James... so the whole Amalia J. Williams thing - yeah, probably not interesting to anyone but me, but I liked how similar it was to my actual pennames. :]

Sunday, 20 December 2009

PageTurner's Contest

The ladies over at the Page Turners blog are having a contest. They want people to go to a couple randomizer sites and get the information to create a book cover. One of the possible prizes is an ARC of Fallen. As I want Fallen, I must enter. Simple, right?

So, that's my crappy cover. Anyone who wants to enter just click on the link above for rules and prizes.


Historic Saturday (2)

Though for many of you it's Sunday. My mom high jacked my laptop for three hours to connect it to our pretty, new printer. So, I'll have to make this one quick and easy.

A Great and Terrible Beauty
Libba Bray

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is ship
ped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?--[from Shelfari]

I'm sure everyone knows about this trilogy by now, but like I said, I needed something quick and easy.

This story incorporates complicated, unique magical elements into historical fiction.

Libba Bray weaves a complex story in all her works, this series and her recent book Going Bovine.

With beautiful writing and a backdrop anyone can piece together, A Great and Terrible Beauty is now a story to be missed.

I don't have a picture for it because...I just don't. Mostly because it's not out yet.

But The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal. ETA: I can't promise it's historical fiction, but it definitely seems like it could be considered historic. Either way, it sounds amazing:

Sinda has grown up thinking that she's the princess of Thorvaldor. But on her sixteenth birthday, she's told that she's not the princess at all. Instead, the real princess was sent into hiding because of a prophecy of death shortly before her birth, and a common girl--Sinda--raised in her place. Now it's safe for the real princess to return, and Sinda must leave behind everything she knows, from her home to her best friend, a Duke's son named Kiernan, as she is sent out into the world to fend for herself.

As Sinda tries to make a place for herself in the world outside the palace, even more difficulties lie ahead of her. Her only living relative doesn't like her, and magic that she didn't know she possessed threatens to make her a danger to herself. But those problems look simple compared to the troubles in front of her when she learns a secret that could shake Thorvaldor to its core.

The downside? It doesn't come out until summer 2010. Who can wait that long?

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (on Thursday) (3)

I really wanted to post yesterday, honest I did. But...I took a two-three hour nap. Cut into my productivity quite a bit to say the least.

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

Princess of Glass
Jessica Day George

The engrossing companion novel to Princesses of the Midnight Ball, with a wicked twist on Cinderella.

Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each
other’s countries in the name of better political alliances—and potential marriages. It’s got the makings of a fairy tale—until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince. Ballgowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way.

I read Princesses of the Midnight Ball forever and a day ago and really liked it. So the idea of a companion piece with Cinderella twists sounds super exciting!

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Author Guest Blog: LM Preston

LM Preston, author of the upcoming February 2010 release Explorer X - Alpha, has kindly offered to do a guest blog. You can read a bit more about LM's books here and I'll put the trailer for Explorer X - Alpha at the bottom of the post for you to check out. :] Now, onto the guest post:


Dreaming big, is something we do most when we are children. Yet, when we hit the teenaged years, our dreams have gotten so beat up that we start to ‘Dream Safely’ or not at all.

For me, growing up in the inner city with teenaged parents, I was counted out before I even started. In order to persevere, I had to have a spirit for survival in order to catapult me to the person I am today. Most people, who knew me, would meet me and never grasp the struggles I had growing up. Truly, I didn’t grasp them because I always saw the glass as half full, yet it could get empty if I didn’t hustle to make something happen.

Dreaming big, is taking your dreams, and mapping them into reality then talking yourself out of moments of depression to push through no matter what. No matter how many times people tell you that you can’t, you smile then say ‘I will’ and make up another roadway to your success.

Here are my steps for Dreaming Big:


Dreaming big starts with taking time to get to know the person you are turning into, and the person you want to become.

I loved myself at an early age, and knew myself relatively well. Part of the reason why was because I imagined myself as what I wanted to be. I would create versions of myself in my minds eye when I was a kid, while I talked to imaginary friends. I believed that I would be a warrior that killed dragons while I rode in on my unicorn. I even wrote little stories about my imaginary adventures.

When I look closely at my created worlds when I was young, I realized that I created a place in my imagination where I could win. In that world, I never took ‘no’ for an answer. In that world I had revealed a lot about myself.


First of all, you have to DREAM it in order to ACHIEVE it. That was a motto I learned at a summer camp, and it stuck.

As I got older, and started to listen to the many people in my life that told me that I couldn’t do this or that, I staggered in my dreaming. I started to dream safe dreams. I didn’t allow myself to wish for something beyond what I could see.

Don’t ever do that! You don’t want anyone else to have control over your dreams or aspirations. You own them, and you can make them happen.


All dreams can come true. However, you want to think about how you can do it. You have to have a plan A, B and C. If none of those work, figure out another way.


Never let a ‘NO!’ stop you.

Brush it off and move onto plan B. If plan b, c, d, e, f is not working then you need to take a step back and re-evaluate if you are ready to pursue the next plan.

As a writer, our first draft is not complete. I have had to revise, edit, and rewrite my books up to ten times. In the end, it was a better, cleaner, shined up piece of work.

After I received over fifty rejections on one manuscript, revised and edited my work, then I finally reached my Big Dream.


Sometimes you set forth on a dream and find that you are no longer willing to pay the price for that dream.

Redirect – Take what you have learned from that dream and build your next dream.

Unlike most writers, I never dreamed of becoming a writer. I just wrote because I loved it. Some friends told me that I mentioned to them that I wanted to become a writer, but I truly didn’t remember that dream. My original dream was to be a CFO (Chief Financial Officer). I know that’s not exciting, but I really wanted to do that. Okay, to be honest my first dream was to be a teacher, and then it was CFO.

Well like most people, I had unrealized talents.. I went to college and become a Financial Analyst. I hated it. I worked as a Financial Analyst for one year, and then I went back to school for my Masters in Information Technology. I loved working in the Information Technology field, and took to it like a fish in water. My recreational writing came to a stand still and I started writing technical documentation and designing large computer systems.

After sixteen years in IT, I decided to apply for a job teaching at the University. I loved teaching. It allowed me to create all of these really cool science fiction type devices for my students to design.

While working as an Engineer, I ran across a published author who I revealed that I wanted to write a book but I didn’t have the time. He encouraged me to write a page a day. After our conversation I put that thought away and did not start writing. Later that same year, my husband suggested that I should write a book, and once I started I couldn’t stop.

I’ve had many Big Dreams, and some of them I have reached, others I have not. The pleasure of pursuing those dreams, and the lessons I’ve learned in doing so has given me a fulfilled life. I don’t ever have to look back over my life and say “I wish I would have tried to do that.”

You only ever get one life, so don’t be afraid to Dream Big and pursue your dream.

by LM Preston, author of EXPLORER X - Alpha,

Here is the trailer for her book:
You can also find an audio dramatization of the book on her website. Later.

Sunday, 13 December 2009


[Please read this post, I know it's not a review or anything, but we will be asking for your opinions/input on what is mentioned]

In case it hasn't been obvious, we're trying to be a little more active on the blog - with NaNoWriMo and school and other things, we kind of let it become a ghost town around here. Me and Julie are working on changing that.

The blog now has it's own email:

If you're a publisher or author interested in contacting us about reviewing books or hosting contests or anything at all, just send us an email.

Julie has made us a Twitter:

Feel free to contact us or follow us on there.

Upcoming changes/new features for 2010:

+More reviews. The reason I've not been reviewing much lately is just because I've not been reading much, but I'm hoping to change that very soon and when I do, expect more reviews. Also there should be some from the other blog authors too.

+On Saturdays, Julie is going to be doing a post recommending Historical Fiction books (she's already posted her first HF rec, so go check it out).

+Old Skool Favourites - I started this a while ago and then kind of forgot about it, but it might be making a comeback. If you missed it when it first showed up on the blog, the basic idea is that one of us will review a book that we used to love when we were younger, one of the ones that made us fall in love with reading.

+Book to Movie Fridays - I'm sure other blogs probably have posts like this too, but I planned on starting this one a while ago. It's pretty self explanitory: on Fridays I (or one of the other bloggers) will review a book that has been made into a movie or will be made into a movie (and if we've seen the movie, we'll throw in a review of that too).

+In My Mailbox - Again, we've already started this but we'll be joining in with this meme (started by The Story Siren).

+Waiting on Wednesday - Another meme we've already started joining (started by Jill at Breaking the Spine?).

+Theme Thursdays - This is a new one we may be starting. Basically it will work by us choosing a theme at the start of the week, then on Thursday one of us will either review a book that fits the theme, or find one that fits the theme that we would like to read - just posting about a book that fits the theme basically. As for how the theme is chosen, just contact us on Twitter or email us with suggestions for themes and we'll choose from them (or come up with our own).

+Music Mondays - This one is still just a maybe... it would just be a music themed post on Mondays (obviously), whether it be a music recommendation, band/artist/album review, making a playlist for a book, posting about a book where music is a major theme. Does that sound appealing to anyone at all?

+Contests - I will definitely be hosting more contests at some point. I plan to hold one when we reach 200 followers, so... follow/get people to follow! :]

+Author Interviews - We would love to post interviews with authors, of course it all depends on whether we can find authors willing to do it or authors contacting us about it but it's one thing we'd like to have on the blog.

There will be weeks where we'll have to miss out certain memes (like In My Mailbox, if we haven't gotten any books that week), but we'll try and make them weekly, or at the very least monthly/fortnightly posts.

Now, for YOUR input - seeing as you're the readers, what would you like to see us post on here? What do you think of the things I've mentioned in this post, is it a yay or a nay? Are there any other book blog memes that you know of that you'd like to see us join? Would you like us to sometimes review/recommend other things (like once a month TV show/movie reviews or recs)?

Let us know (in the comments/on Twitter/in an email).

When I have another contest, how would you like it to be done? The past two contests I've done, I just did my usual "Pick Your Poison" contests where I give a list of books that the winner gets to choose from, would you like me to stick to that? Or do you have any other ideas (about the prizes or how the winner should be chosen)? Again, just let us know.


Saturday, 12 December 2009

Historic Saturday (1)

A lot of people seem to...fear(?) historical fiction. They think its boring. Or, as my friend pointed out, 'I don't really know anything about history.'

The magic of historical fiction?

It's not always boring. Many of the books are written in a way we can understand. The plots and happenings can be similar to what we face today. And you don't need to know a thing about historical fiction.

Because so many people tend to stay away from historical fiction, I try not to review it. Because historical fiction is my main reading material, I have few things to review. But from now on, every week, I'll be posting one review/recommendation of a historical book I've read. Hopefully, this will open your eyes to the magic of historical fiction, or at least one historical fiction novel.

The Queen's Soprano
Carol Dines

Seventeen-year-old Angelica Voglia has the voice of an angel. But in seventeenth-century Rome, the pope has forbidden women to sing in public. To make matters worse, her controlling mother is determined to marry her off to a wealthy nobleman, even though. Angelica is in love with a poor French artist. Angelica's only hope to sing before an audience—and escape a forced marriage—is to flee to Queen Christina's court, where she will become the queen's soprano. But she soon discovers that the palace walls are not completely secure . . . and her freedom will require even greater sacrifice than she imagined.--[From Shelfari]

In The Queen's Soprano, Angelica tells us about her tragic story. All Angelica wants to do is sing while her mother is forcing her into one courtship after another, making her chances of a good marriage worse in the process.

I really felt for Angelica the entire time. Her mother was trying to make her a duchess when she just wanted to be allowed to sing. Her sister was no help at all, wanting to dedicate her life to prayer and being in a convent.

On top of all this, her love interest is as sweet as can be, perfect for her, yet she can't have him. My heart ached for her.

This novel is fairly short, it's not too complex to read, and it gives a good idea of what the Catholic Church was capable of doing years ago. I finished this book just a few days ago and adored it! I hope at least one of you will read it.

And, just for fun, I'm going to rec a book on my wishlist:

The Storyteller's Daughter
Cameron Dokey

In a faraway kingdom, a king has been betrayed. Deeply hurt and bitterly angry, he vows never to be deceived again. Unfortunately, the king's plan to protect himself will endanger all of the realm's young women, unless one of them will volunteer to marry the king -- and surrender her life. To everyone's relief and horror, one young woman steps forward. The daughter of a legendary storyteller, Shahrazad believes it is her destiny to accept this risk and sacrifice herself. On the night of her wedding to the king, Shahrazad begins to weave a tale. Fascinated, the king lets her live night after night. Just when Shahrazad dares to believe that she has found a way to keep her life -- and an unexpected love -- a treacherous plot will disrupt her plan. Now she can only hope that love is strong enough to save her.

I hope you guys found something new to read, or at least are willing to open up to these!


P.S. Don't forget, we're on Twitter now!

My Top 12 Reads of 2009

What the title says really, I saw this on Maggie Stiefvaters blog and decided I'd make my own list, so these are my 12 favourite books that I've read in 2009. They won't be in order of preferences, because I'm one of those people that fails with flying colours at doing that and end up with like 5-way-ties for the number one spot.

Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Summary: Naomi and Ely are best friends. Naomi loves and is in love with Ely, and Ely loves Naomi, but prefers to be in love with boys. So they create their "No Kiss List" of people neither of them is allowed to kiss. And this works fine - until Bruce. Bruce is Naomi's boyfriend, so there's no reason to put him on the List. But Ely kissed Bruce even though he is boring. The result: a rift of universal proportions and the potential end of "Naomi and Ely: the institution." Can these best friends come back together again?

My comments: I am a big fan of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by the same authors and this book, while I still prefer Nick and Norah, is really awesome too. I love the music aspect of it, I love the characters and I love the alternating character view points. Also, I adore the setting of it, it made me want to drop everything and jump on a plane to New York - it doesn't make it seem more glamourous than it is or anything, it just gives an awesome city feel to it while reading (maybe that's just a me-thing).

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Summary: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

My comments: I'm actually not finished this one yet (nearly), but so far it definitely deserves to make the list, it's the first book I've read in quite a while because I've been busy with other things - I really like the characters and it's one of those fantasy novels that manages to have that realistic charm to them, the fantasy aspect of it doesn't seem so far fetched. I'll leave it at that and I'll post up a full review of it once I've finished and have time.

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Summary: All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge -- and over....

My comments: I've loved all of Jennifer's books that I've read so far but this one had a more serious feel to it and I loved it - the plot, the characters... just all of it. The characters had their flaws and issues and you really feel for them and relate to them, I just really liked it.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Summary: "What do you want from me?" he asks.

What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him.


Taylor Markham is not a popular choice. She is erratic, has no people skills and never turns up to meetings. Not to mention the incident when she ran off in search of her mother and only got halfway there. But she's lived at Jellicoe School most of her life and as leader of the boarders that's her greatest asset. Especially now the cadets, led by the infamous Jonah Griggs, have arrived. The territory wars between the boarders, townies and cadets are about to recommence.

But Taylor has other things on her mind: a prayer tree, the hermit who whispered in her ear, and a vaguely familiar drawing in the local police station. Taylor wants to understand the mystery of her own past. But Hannah, the woman who found her, has suddenly disappeared, leaving nothing but an unfinished manuscript about five kids whose lives entwined twenty years ago on the Jellicoe Road.

My comments: This is one of my all time favourite books and it has put Melina straight onto my favourite authors list. Anything I try to say about the story or the characters will not do it justice, if you want to see me try then go find the review of it I posted earlier in the year. I'll just say it's awesome and leave it at that.

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Summary: When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

My comments: This book - it's hard to explain just what it is I like about it, but I adore it. If you're into romance novels then you should check this one out, it has a slight Romeo and Juliet aspect to it... the rich good girl and the poor bad boy from the other side of the tracks and you're totally rooting for them the whole time, neither character is perfect but they're perfect for each other and it's just fun to read about them.

Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph
Summary: High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out — doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T — and to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest — and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize — Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare....

My comments: Being a mega-shy person, I could relate to the main character so much - some of the things she has to deal with are things I've had to as well and it was just great reading about a character that realistically portrays that... often an author will say a character is shy or will have the character say it but they don't really show it, they don't explain it well but it's explained perfectly in this. Also, aside from that, I loved the plot, I loved that music was a big part of it and it did make me really want to be a DJ on the radio.

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
Summary: When a huge blizzard (that doesn't show signs of stopping) hits, Gracetown is completely snowed in. But even though it's cold outside, things are heating up inside, proving that the holiday season is magical when it comes to love. In three wonderfully (and hilariously!) interconnected tales, YA stars John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson create a must-have collection that captures all the spirit of the holiday season.

My comments: All three of the stories in the book are amazing, they're sweet, they're funny and absolutely perfect to read if you want to get that Christmassy feeling (which for me is really all year round, I'm an Autumn/Winter girl at heart).

A Season of Eden by JM Warwick
Summary: He's my teacher. I shouldn't be alone with him. But I can't help that he's irresistible. I let the door silently close at my back. He stared at me, and a taut quiet stretched between us.
"I like hearing you play," I said, moving toward him.
He turned, in sync with my slow approach. He looked up at me but didn't say anything. I rested my clammy hand on the cold, slick body of the baby grand. "May I?" The muscles in his throat shifted, then he swallowed.
"Eden." My knees weakened, like a soft tickling kiss had just been blown against the backs of them.
"Is it okay?" I asked. His gaze held mine like two hands joined. He understood what I was really asking. "Let me stay," I said. "Please."
"You're going to get me in trouble," he said.

My comments: Okay, I admit, one of my guilty pleasures is forbidden romances and teacher/student ones are really forbidden... but the thing I liked about this book is that it manages to tell the story of it without it going too far - it isn't one of the ones that has a really old teacher with a barely legal teen, the romance in it is more realistic and healthy and I like that it's not all smooth sailing in their relationship and the problems they have don't come across as something the author just threw in to add drama. It's hard to explain, so I'll stop trying, bottom line is that I like the book and it makes my list.

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
Summary: I'm not going to post a summary of this one because it's the fourth book in a series so the summary of it will be full of spoilers. The first in the series is called Vampire Academy and you should check it out.

My comments: I just adore these books. The main character is awesome, funny, realistically flawed and all of the minor characters are great too and there's just something about these books... like, sometimes when reading a book series the author will write something that disappoints the readers (good example: Breaking Dawn), but with this series even if something happens in the books that we don't want to, it's still impossible to hate the book as a whole because the characters are so good, the plot is well thought out and it's just written well and it's just overall brilliant really.

The Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare
Summary: [Note: This is the summary for the first book in the trilogy, City of Bones]
When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother?And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...

My comments: I'm including the trilogy as a whole because they would all make the list of the best books I've read this year and if I included all three instead of just making the trilogy count for one then there'd be little room for anything else. But, to why it makes the list - I love the whole world that Cassandra Clare created, it had the same kind of feel that Harry Potter did and the characters in this one are really brilliant, they can make you laugh out loud or make you cry. Plus, Cassandra gets major kudos for dealing with issues that a lot of people might have a problem with (you'll know what I mean if you've read the series).

The Hunger Games (& the sequel, Catching Fire) by Suzanne Collins
Summary: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

My comments: These books are just fantastic, there's not much else I could say about them without going into full on gushing mode - but seriously, it's one of the best book series' I've ever read, right up there with Harry Potter (the Mortal Instruments and Vampire Academy books make that list too).

The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
Summary: [Note: again, this is just the first book summary]
Suze is a mediator — a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won't leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn't seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it's not that easy. There's a ghost with revenge on her mind ... and Suze happens to be in the way.

My comments: I owned this series for quite a while but only got round to reading it at the beginning of this year - the books aren't really long so it doesn't take long to get through them all but they're just really cute and funny and I loved the supernatural aspect of it and the way the whole series ended as well as the story arcs of the individual books.

I guess that's it, you should tell me your 12 favourite books you read this year (in the comments or in a post).


Thursday, 10 December 2009

What's Up In 2010?

So, I've been really into finding books coming out in 2010, mostly for my own reasons/torture. This means I've decided to, ya know, do something useful with this. Using Amazon (which sucked) and Borders, I managed to find a ton of books, most of them coming out just this January. Seeing as it's hard to find these books with my limited knowledge of Amazon, I'm just going to do a post a week for each month of 2010. Obviously, I'll be starting in January. It's organized by release date then in alphabetical order.

Anything But Normal by Melody Carlson (1/1/10)

Leads Me On by Victoria Dahl (1/1/10)

Out with the In Crowd by Stephanie Morrill (1/1/10)

Remote Control by Jack Heath (1/1/10)

Runaway Girl by Laurie Depp (1/1/10)

Runaway Storm by D.E. Knobbbe (1/1/10)

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg (1/1/10)

The Scribes from Alexandria by Caroline Lawrence (1/1/10)

Tomorrow All Will Be Beautiful by Brigid Lowry (1/1/10)

Wish by Alexandra Bullen (1/1/10)

Zen and the Art of Faking it by Jordan Sonnenblick (1/1/10)

Phantom, Evil Thirst, Creatures of Forever by Christopher Pike (1/5/10)

Some girls are by Courtney Summers

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir (1/5/10)

By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julia Anne Peters (1/5/10)

Bad Blood by Mari Mancusi (1/5/10)

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves (1/5/10)

Captivate by Carrie Jones (1/5/10)

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder (1/5/10)

Fade by Lisa McMann (1/5/10)

Far From You by Lisa Schroeder (1/5/10)

Firespell: A Novel of the Dark Elite by Chloe Neill (1/5/10)

Good Fortune by Noni Carter (1/5/10)

Heaven by Angela Johnson (1/5/10)

Sweet Hereafter by Angela Johnson (1/5/10)

The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov (1/5/10)

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (1/5/10)

The Girl with the Mermaid Hair by Delia Ephron (1/5/10)

The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman (1/5/10)

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson (1/7/10)

Emmy’s Question by Jeannine Auth (1/7/10)

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson (1/7/10)

Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler (1/7/10)

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson (1/7/10)

The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Kidnapped by Yxta Maya Murray (1/7/10)

The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard (1/7/10)

Torchwood: Consequences by David Llewellyn (1/8/10 UK)

They Never Came Back by Caroline B. Cooney (1/12/10)

The Mark by Jen Nadol (1/19/10)

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (1/26/10)

At this point, I'm starving myself because it's 6:40 at night and I can't keep doing this. For more books coming out in this month and beyond, Princess Bookie has made a fabulous list, and I started to use hers to double check my own list until I couldn't stand it anymore. Not all of the books are young adult, several of the ones I looked at were actually 18+, but there's still plenty of books up there. And if there's any books not on my post, or Princess Bookie's, just let me know.

Side Note: We now have a twitter! So you can follow that and know when we post and contests and stuff like that. We'll be following authors and other book bloggers if you want to keep track of that. You can find us here!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

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

So, I've spent tons of time exploring the web and other blogs in the past week since I've had tons of free time (next week will suck. Just watch.) This means I've found tons of new books, especially ones that haven't been released yet. I'm so excited and have found tons of books yet to be released, so I'm excited to share them with you guys over the next few weeks!

Magic Under Glass
Jaclyn Dolamore

[Released 12/22/09]

Nimira is a foreign music-hall girl forced to dance for mere pennies. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing with a piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new and better life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets are beginning to stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumors swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry's involvement with a league of sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. Then Nimira discovers the spirit of a fairy gentleman named Erris is trapped inside the clockwork automaton, waiting for someone to break his curse. The two fall into a love that seems hopeless, and breaking the curse becomes a race against time, as not just their love, but the fate of the entire magical world may be in peril.

This book just sounds all kinds of cool, doesn't it? I want to eat this book. I really wanted to win the prize pack the author had, but didn't. I went to my emo corner for five minutes after seeing I wasn't the winner. I consider this a justified response because I WANT THIS BOOK.

So, what books do you want that aren't out yet?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A Season of Eden by JM Warwick

A Season of Eden
JM Warwick

He's my teacher. I shouldn't be alone with him. But I can't help that he's irresistible. I let the door silently close at my back. He stared at me, and a taut quiet stretched between us.
"I like hearing you play," I said, moving toward him.
He turned, in sync with my slow approach. He looked up at me but didn't say anything. I
rested my clammy hand on the cold, slick body of the baby grand. "May I?" The muscles in his throat shifted, then he swallowed.
"Eden." My knees weakened, like a soft tickling kiss had just been blown against the backs of them.
"Is it okay?" I asked. His gaze held mine like two hands joined. He understood what I was
really asking. "Let me stay," I said. "Please."
"You're going to get me in trouble," he said. --[Shelfari]

Eden's life is perfect. She has her perfect friends and hair and house and life, besides her dysfunctional family. She even has the perfect boyfriend of *gasp* six whole months. I know right? Who doesn't want to be her?

She's a senior just looking for easy classes for her last half of the year and decides on Concert Choir for the easy grade, like everyone else in the class. She expects her old, decrepit teacher but instead meets Mr. James Christian.

Not only is Mr. Christian, according to Eden, hot, he also has this whole dorky, I-don't-know-girls-drool-over-me thing going for him. And he's some kind of musical genius at the piano and singing. He's had limited experience in the dating department and doesn't see his appeal, or that half the girls are drooling over him. He lives with his protege pianist of a mother.

As you can probably tell, Eden falls hard for him, he falls for her, so on and so forth. But I won't spoil the ending except to say I WANT A SEQUEL NOW.

Otherwise, Eden has her stalkerish moments, but she's also a character you can easily sympathize with. She's, when you really look at it, just a regular girl. That's probably one of the best things about the book, this is the kind of thing that can happen. She's not perfect. She knows it, everyone knows it. She feels negative emotions, her family life can be rough, and she doesn't get everything she wants. These are normal things.

My only dislikes were the semi-stalkerish scenes (but that's mostly because I was discussing a DIFFERENT Student/Teacher romance book with a friend and that main character had MAJOR stalking issues) and, as I stated, the ending. I'll be poking around the internet a ton lately to find a sequel, or just SOMETHING else from JM Warwick.

If you don't get all squicky about Teacher/Student books (there is NOTHING more than kissing, no worries), then read the book. Because it's just really, really good.

Monday, 7 December 2009

In My Mailbox (1)

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

I've been DYING to make this post since Wednesday, when I got the first four books of the week, but made myself restrain until I knew I wouldn't be getting anymore books. This week, I've gotten SIX books and I'm ecstatic over it.

A Season of Eden by JM Warwick I already finished this book and I'll try to put up a review by Tuesday, since tomorrow I'll be really busy.

The Queen's Soprano by Carol Dines I'm about half way through this book. I'll try to review this one too.

Loving Will Shakespeare by Carolyn Meter

The Rules of Gentility by Janet Mullany

A Gathering of Gargoyles (Sequel to The Darkangel) by Meredith Ann Pierce

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessem

Insane right? I had to physically restrain myself from buying more books THREE times this weekend. Sadly, I'm starting to think I'll finish all the books I have by Wednesday.

What'd you guys get this week?


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