Monday, 28 February 2011

Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance
by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Source: review copy from publisher

Summary: Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers—known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country.

The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on. . . . Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile.
I liked the book a lot, I stayed up all night reading it after I finished Nevermore and it’s been quite a while since I’ve read a book in one sitting so that’s a good sign.

It was cute and the fact that it didn’t annoy me even though it was set in the whole Hollywood scene thing (which I have a low tolerance for) was quite impressive.

There really isn’t much I can think to say about the book. I liked it, it was a great fast paced, quick read but it wasn’t exactly memorable. It kind of reminded me of those Disney Channel Original Movies where it’s pretty predictable and cliché and you know how it’s going to end before you’re even five minutes into it… but it’s entertaining and it’s the perfect thing to read after finishing a more serious/emotionally draining story.

Al was my favourite character; an old guy who doesn’t show up until later in the book and he doesn’t have many scenes, but his ones were the memorable ones.

I liked Charlie… she was far from perfect and she didn’t really drastically change during the story, her character was consistent and she showed real personality (although it wasn’t all good), but she did develop as a character. I wish there was more to her story, we don’t hear too much about her parents or anything but that aspect of the story could’ve been interesting if it was explored more but I suppose dwelling too much on that would’ve ruined the fluffy romance feel the book had.

Aaron/Jonah/Fielding/Mr IHaveTooManyNames irritated me. I could understand how him and Charlie worked as a pairing, but he was kind of an ass really (which was odd seeing as it seemed like Charlie was supposed to be the stuck up Hollywood type while he was the down to earth guy who had a normal upbringing) and he didn’t have many scenes that really redeemed his moments of being completely awful. But while he did irritate me, I didn’t hate him… he was an interesting change from those love interests who are portrayed as perfect and he did have his typical teenage guy moments which made him more believable.

The way the book ended, like I said already, was predictable but I wish there had been more… an extra chapter, an epilogue, just something to make it better -- it was sweet, the ending I was rooting for but the way it played out was rushed and anti-climactic.

Basically, the book was fun and pretty addictive and I would recommend it if you just want something light to read or if you’re in need of a cliché romance fix. My rating would probably be about 3.5 stars out of 5.


Sunday, 27 February 2011

In My Mailbox (58)


Just two books this week. Both are finished copies and so, so gorgeous. Miles from Ordinary showed up at some point while I was away and Darkness Becomes Her showed up on Friday.

For Review:



For Review:

West of the Moon by Katherine Langrish
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting


Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakly-Cartwright


Saturday, 26 February 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay
Gayle Forman
Dutton Juvenile
[April 5, 2009]

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

This was a beautiful, beautiful book and Gayle Forman is clearly a genius.

Let me point out for you: I read the first 100-ish pages at home. I read the rest on a 3 and a half hour car ride. My little brother's next to me, my mom is driving, my dad is in front of me. So already, reading the last two thirds of this book is ridiculously haunting. Add the fact that yes, it HAD snowed just hours before we left, and I'm pretty sensitive. Especially since I read the most heartbreaking bits, for me, while in the car.

This book was Heartbreaking. Thought provoking, for sure. I desperately wished I had my obnoxious-colored tabs so I can mark some of my favorite quotes. I'm sure I can find them on goodreads at least.

I don't know what there is to say about this book. The writing was practically poetic, the plot heartbreaking and deep and the characters were so well developed in such a short book. I loved each and every character in this book, truly. I don't think the choice would've been remotely possible for me to decide on my own.

I have to leave it here because anything else would spoil it. Just know this book is beautiful and you will cry and you will value your family more. And also know that I'm incredibly grateful I can just read the sequel now, without the enormous wait many others suffered through.

(And now I'm going to go down to the swimming pool where my family is waiting. Because I wrote this review immediately after the car trip, while on vacation. That's how much I loved this book.)


Friday, 25 February 2011

Badd Blog Tour

 Today, we have Tim Tharp, author of Badd, on the blog talking about his writing process!

Seventy-five degrees. That was the high here  in Oklahoma City this week. But that wasn’t the case last week or the week before when a blizzard hit, and the temperature, at one point, fell to -30 in some parts of the state (rumor had it that was colder than anywhere in Alaska). We aren’t used to that here. Road crews aren’t equipped to handle it and neither are drivers. Which means we were blessed with a sometimes frustrating but mostly wonderful phenomenon: snow days.

Probably no one loves snow days more than students, but writers just might come in a close second. Since I teach at a college, it’s sometimes hard to find time to write during the school year, but this winter has been different. As the fluffy white powder covered everything—or at least everything I could see from my window—I finally had a chance to get back to my writing.

My novel BADD was just released a month before the blizzard. While writing it, I became deeply  immersed in the story of Ceejay McDermott, a sixteen-year-old girl whose brother has just returned from military duty in Iraq. Now the book was out, the early reviews were good, and I could relax, right? Not even nearly—new characters and plots were calling me. The trouble was finding time to answer the call. Until the snow days came.

Morning is a great time for writing, so I doubled up on my coffee, got my notebook out, and browsed over the ideas I’d jotted down in my spare time. That’s how I always start a new book—I just write down ideas in no certain order until finally they come together in my mind, and I can hunker down in front of the computer. Now I could write until noon, take my lunch break, then get back at it again. Well, okay, maybe I took more than a lunch break. Sometimes, when the inspiration bogged down, I’d get away from the keyboard, do some laundry, vacuum the carpet, or wash the dishes. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t working on the novel. Sometimes I get my best ideas when I turn to other things for a moment. That only works, though, if I’ve been really working hard.

People often ask what my writing process is like. I usually tell them that I’ll sit at the computer for thirty minutes after dinner. If the ideas come, I’ll work as long as I’m fresh. If they don’t come, I don’t beat myself up. I know I’ve tried. But sometimes those thirty-minute sessions just won’t fit into the day, so I have to take what I can get, at least until summer. Yes, summer is the best. I can work all day if I want. But this winter, I was lucky—a little extra time came to me with the snow. 

Thanks so much for sharing, Tim!

And be sure to check out the conclusion of the blog tour at YA Fresh


Thursday, 24 February 2011

A Note About L.K. Madigan

I'm sure most of you know that yesterday, YA author L.K. Madigan died. Or maybe you didn't, but now you do.

I won't tell you that I was a huge fan of hers or I talked to her often. I've never read one of her books, though I hope to change that soon, and I've never said a word to her. I don't even follow her twitter. But I AM still sad and shocked about her death. I remember reading her post where she announced her cancer was terminal and said her goodbyes to the online world. It was a beautifully done post and I'm glad she wrote it, but sad it had to be written.

But I did want to make sure you all see this post. It's a message from her husband and an address to donate to their son's college fund. I'm currently in the college-hunting process and I can tell you, if you've never done it, it's stressful. One of the biggest stresses is figuring out how to pay for it and if you can afford to go to your dream school. My parents insist I apply to at least one state school because it's cheaper.

So why am I posting this? It's not something I normally post, no. But I want to help a fellow teenager and make sure he has a college fund. I personally can't donate. So the best I can do is post this for my followers and hope one of you can and will.

Thank you for those that read this and double thanks to those that donate.


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver
[December 1, 2011]

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

 I really, really liked this book.

The romance was really amazing. The way it built steadily and then exploded. I really felt like they were in love and they were meant to be together. They had a perfect Romeo and Juliet-esque love story going on and it was truly beautiful to read.

Alex was an amazing character and Lena was too. Both were independent and intelligent and generous and sometimes I still wanted to slap them. Lena had a lot of amazing development as it got closer to the end and we got to know Alex more, seeing the effect he has on her. And lemme tell you, the two of these together? MAGIC.

I'm not obsessed with the romance in this book. Of course not.

The world this story took place in was so scary because it was realistic. It was very well developed and it's definitely one of the more likely dystopians. Something about all of the love-based dystopians always seems more likely. I could see it in my head and understood how society got to that point. 

I really, really liked this book over all. It's not quite a favorite (thought in my post-reading-haze, I thought it was) but I highly recommend it for anyone who loves a good romance.


So, Basically These Characters Need to Become Non-Fictional

Lately, I've been thinking about boys.

Not just any boys, but fictional boys. Those oh-so-swoon-worthy fictional boys. The boys I read and then think "Why don't you climb out of this book and we'll run off and find some state that will let me get married at 16?"

Well...maybe not exactly that...

And I also have to add the giant disclaimer here that I DO know these guys aren't real and that no matter what I wish, they never will be. But I'm ALLOWED to wish until I can find a guy in real life that doesn't make me want to bang my head into a wall repeatedly.

But ANYWAY. I was reading a certain book that pops up on this list and thought "Oh, he TOTALLY makes my list of fictional characters I wish I could marry." Then I thought "Well...maybe I should make an official list. That way when I review books, I can say that and people will UNDERSTAND why this list is so awesome." So, without further ado, the list:

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy a.k.a Darcy (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

What kind of girl would I be if I didn't find Darcy attractive? Well...what kind of Austen-addict would I be if I didn't find Darcy attractive? I can re-read this book over and over and over again for the Lizzie/Darcy love story and I have. Darcy isn't necessarily romantic and he's not slick and frankly, he's kind of awkward, but that's just one of his many charms. He is, however, honest, intelligent, sarcastic, and can fess up and apologize for mistakes, though grudgingly. But I think the way he loves Lizzie is his main appeal. It kind of makes me feel bad for wanting to take Darcy from Lizzie, but not bad enough to remove him from the list.

Archer Cross who we can just call Archer (Hex Hall and Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins)

Archer's kind of a douche. Yeah, I said it.
But, he's the BEST KIND OF DOUCHE EVER. He's the hot, sweet douche...I mean until the end of the book. But we're not talking about that.
He cares about Sophie and he's sarcastic and funny and just so wonderful. If I remember right, in my Hex Hall review I had no words for him. And I still don't think I do. But lots of stuff happens in Demonglass that I can't tell you about but TRUST ME, I love Archer like 5000x more because of Demonglass. For realz.

Four who is mysterious so this one will be short too (Divergent by Veronica Roth)

Four was...well...not a bad boy. But most definitely badass. Possibly the most sensitive badass ever, though. He has moments of total badassery and then he goes and he's super sweet.

I REALLY WISH I could talk more about Four, but since Divergent isn't out and it's all hush-hush, I won't. But seriously, go pre-order this book. Stop reading this post for a minute and GO PRE-ORDER. And once you have read it, you are free to email me and squee about the greatness of Four and Divergent.

Michael Weaver the Time Traveler (Hourglass by Myra McEntire)
Here's another one I can't talk too much about. But, I'mma try.

First of all, his title is a reference The Time Traveler's Wife. Because I adore that book and combined with the topic of this post...we're seeing where this goes, right?

Michael's also the sweet, quiet-er type. He's intelligent and a reader (references to his bookshelves made me want to know what was on them) but he was also stubborn and he made stupid mistakes. He was very human.

He's also ridiculously romantic when he wants to be. I swooned a few times. I've tabbed some of his quotes. I think I actually tabbed one entire page. And then other times he's just as sarcastic and snarky and funny as I am. And yet I almost cried a couple times while reading.

I wish I could be all "OH HEY AND THIS HAPPENED" and then you'd understand my love. But...I can't.

And no matter what ANYONE TELLS YOU, Michael lives in my room. I make sure he gets love and attention while Myra writes.

At this point in time, I have no other major, ridiculous boy crushes. Obviously there are others I like, but none I semi-love like these guys. If that ever changes, I'll update this post and probably reference it in my review.

So, any boys on your list? Any boys on this list you'd fight me for? Let me know below!


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

Strings Attached
Judy Blundell
Scholastic Press
[March 1, 2011]

From National Book Award winner Judy Blundell, the tale of a sixteen-year-old girl caught in a mix of love, mystery, Broadway glamour, and Mob retribution in 1950 New York.

When Kit Corrigan arrives in New York City, she doesn't have much. She's fled from her family in Providence, Rhode Island, and she's broken off her tempestuous relationship with a boy named Billy, who's enlisted in the army.

The city doesn't exactly welcome her with open arms. She gets a bit part as a chorus girl in a Broadway show, but she knows that's not going to last very long. She needs help--and then it comes, from an unexpected source.

Nate Benedict is Billy's father. He's also a lawyer involved in the mob. He makes Kit a deal--he'll give her an apartment and introduce her to a new crowd. All she has to do is keep him informed about Billy . . . and maybe do him a favor every now and then.

As she did in her National Book Award-winning What I Saw and How I Lied, Judy Blundell traps readers in a web of love, deceit, intrigue, and murder. The result? One stunner of a novel.

This was...somewhat confusing but still enjoyable.
I liked Kit as a character. While reading, she didn't grow as a character the way one would expect, but she did grow a lot. I think the problem was that she was a great narrator, but I never really connected. The story is told in alternating flashbacks from various times in her life to "present" day (November/December 1950) and Kit told the story really well and I understood who she was, but there was this...disconnect with her in the present.

Beyond that, it was a very good story. Very interesting. I've never read anything having to do with gangs (unless Al Capone Does My Shirts counts?), so this was very refreshing. It was semi-predictable at times, but other things were a TOTAL shock and I almost cried a couple times.

I loved Kit's siblings and her dad, pretty much her whole family and the stories around them. It's a story I would love to read more about. I also loved her as a dancer/actress and wish there was more about that too. I had mixed feelings for the Benedicts. I didn't really like Nate (which, we probably weren't supposed to) and my feelings on Billy changed frequently.

And the only real confusion was because of all the time switches. There wasn't a real pattern and the flashbacks switched around. Once I got really into the story, it wasn't as bad, but I got thrown a bit at the beginning.

Overall, this was a good read and I'm glad I read it. Definitely an enjoyable book. If you're looking for something different or just something historical, this is definitely a book to try!


Monday, 21 February 2011

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

by Kelly Creagh

Summary: Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game.

Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind.

Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

So I don't think my words would be able to fully convey my thoughts on this book, so before I get to even attempting that, here is a little visual interpretation of my reactions:

I started the book:

Then cute boy was there:

And the bad guys made me like:

And with all of the other characters I was just:

And when creepy stuff happened:

Then the ending had me all:

And if I could say one thing to the book, it would be this:

...Yeah, I think that about sums it up. This book was amazing and my words are already failing me, as predicted.

I loved the plot so much, it was crazy original (although, I bet I would've enjoyed it more had I read my complete works of Poe first to understand all the references). Normally I'm good at guessing the course that stories are going to take, but this one kept surprising me.

The characters? Can I just like, keep them all?

Well, maybe not them all - I'd only like the bad ones to be real so I could have the pleasure of punching them in the face. But the rest? I can haz?

Gwen was so quirky and brilliant, she was a great side character and I really liked Nikki and Stevie and Danny too. As for the main two, Isobel and Varen, they were just awesome. Especially Varen. But hey, isn't that almost always the case for the cute, mysterious, brooding boys? At times, I literally wished he was real just so I could hug him.

Isobel... I just really liked her. She was the kind of protagonist that could have annoyed me but the way Kelly wrote her, giving her actual personality instead of making her a stereotype, made me adore her. She wasn't perfect, she did have moments where she annoyed me (like expecting her dad to understand things when she didn't tell him anything... or the end when - well, I can't say without spoiling), but those things weren't flaws in Kelly's writing, they just made the character more realistic.

I have a love/hate relationship with the way the book ended. On one hand, it was pretty awesome... but I don't want to have to wait for a sequel for certain thing's to be explained or resolved. I'm gonna be pining for another Varen and Isobel fix until the next book is out.

I guess that's all I can say about the book. I really loved it (and considering I've been in a total reading funk recently, that makes it even more awesome, I think this book might've snapped me out of it).

Oh, one last thing... I made crappy Nevermore fan art/a fan cast (true sign of me loving a book):


Sunday, 20 February 2011

In My Mailbox (57) & Why We Do IMM...

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

Quick note on recent drama before we get to the IMM part of this post:

Just wanted to mention something quickly. There’s been a little drama recently with the IMM meme, some people accusing bloggers of doing the meme to brag about what they got (I heard that Kristi/The Story Siren was specifically accused by someone? I dunno, I don’t pay much attention to twitter… but really, that’s ridiculous - whoever said that, are they even watching the same vlogs that I do? She’s so sweet and nice and it doesn’t even remotely come across as braggy when she does her videos).

I just wanted to make something clear: I love the IMM meme. But I hate making posts for it.

Writing up IMM posts feels like a chore. Have you noticed that over the past year I’ve gotten increasingly more lazy with the posts? I used to put the summaries and covers… now it’s titles with goodreads links and on a good day, a crappy print screen from Shelfari to show the covers.

The majority of books that I buy or get added to my wish list? It's because I saw them in someone’s IMM posts (usually Kristi’s, more often than not). I find out about books I probably wouldn’t have heard of before or decide I want to read books I had maybe overlooked before.

That’s why I love the IMM meme and so that’s why I do the posts even though it feels like a chore. Not to brag, but because the meme puts books on my radar that wouldn’t have been on there otherwise, so I figure maybe it might do the same for some of our readers too.

And Jessica over at Chapter Chicks made a good point in her IMM vlog last week - when you have a lot of books to read, sometimes it’ll take a while to get to them. And in cases of ARC’s, sometimes we get sent stuff we didn’t even request because we’re on a publishers mailing list and so we might not read everything we get… in those cases, mentioning books in an IMM post, it’s making sure those books do get some attention even if they won’t get a review up anytime soon.

So yeah, just wanted to clarify that… IMM = not done for bragging purposes. And for anyone that says Kristi is bragging just because she gets a lot of ARC's and is kind enough to take the time to show us the books she got, well, this is all I have to say to you:

...Sorry, couldn't resist the oppertunity to put the Tenth Doctor/David Tennant in the post. I spend way too much time on Tumblr. =P


[And I would like to note that because of some committee passing some rule that we have to say where we get our books from or get giant fines, this is INFINITELY EASIER than putting it in every post. Just saying.


Now onto the actual In My Mailbox part of this post...


So, Monday night I was lamenting how crap this week would be and I wasn't supposed to be getting books. I said that if some surprise books showed up that would be GREAT for a crap week, but if not, I'd be more depressed. So, of course Tuesday I come home to a surprise package. And half an hour later two more show up. And then I found out I won a book on Random Buzzers.

Hello, Jesus/God/Whatever Higher Power's Up There? I would also like all the stupid people in the world to disappear. Can we work on that? No? *sigh* Alright, worth a try.

For Review:
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Badd by Tim Tharp

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

Massive, massive thanks to EgmontUSA, PenguinTeen, and Random House/Random Buzzers!


Just a quick one though. I'm going to be away from Monday until Thursday to see a couple colleges. I'm going to explore University of Delaware and Towson University. I should have internet access, but I can't guarantee how much time I'll have to be online and check emails/twitter. But, I will try!

Now, what's in YOUR mailbox?


Saturday, 19 February 2011

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

*There are some minor spoilers in this review. It's technically revealed in the summary but still. Be warned*

Alexandra Monir
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
[January 11, 2011]

When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.

Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.

Timeless was an enjoyable read, but not special.

This was a really, really good story idea. I love all the history and the situations Michele found herself in. Whenever she traveled, the story was interesting and the story in present day was interesting as well. I'm a huge history buff and Michele managed to hit on the aspects of American history I DO like.

But I had problems with this book that kept me from loving it. The story was kind of predictable. There were a few times I wanted to smack Michele for not seeing it when I felt like there was blinking red lights screaming "THIS IS IT. YES THIS." But it would take her another half of the book to find the answer.

There was also the love story. In theory, it was a great story. I mean, a love a century a part? Come on, sounds awesome! was an insta-love story. I think they met three separate times before declaring their love. I know it was a short book and the ideas of romance in HIS time were different, it kind of annoyed me.

But otherwise, I enjoyed the book. Lots of fun characters and fun side stories. I think if it was a little longer (giving the romance more development)  and less predictable, I could've loved this. It also could be because I read another time-related novel in the middle of this one and it totally blew me away and this book was probably hurt by that.

I am looking forward to the sequel and if you're looking for a quick, fun, light read, this is a very good choice! Thanks Erin Lynn Jeffreys Hodges for sending a copy!


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Why Bloggers Rock

So, I don't know how many of you know, but there's been a lot of negativity about bloggers recently. I'm not gonna go into it, not going to link it, not saying anything else. This is about the positive.

Bloggers do a lot of crazy awesome good and just amazing things. Can I say every blog is great and helpful and totally honest and worth following, no. But the vast majority of bloggers make up this powerful, largely positive community of readers. Granted, you piss off the community and that's a force to be reckoned with, but that's not the point.

Most bloggers DO help. They sell books, they pimp, they gush to their friends and force books on them. They share their ARCs and swag. They buy more books than they get for review. They buy finished copies of books they get for review. So yes, that publisher spent money sending the ARC, but make a good deal of it back just from the blogger buying it, plus anyone they've convinced to buy it.

And we aren't limited to other bloggers. You, the readers of our blog who DON'T blog, get influenced. Our twitter followers. Our real life friends and family. Our tumblr followers. Our facebook friends. Our librarything/shelfari/goodreads friends. Authors, yes OTHER AUTHORS, will look into books based on a blogger's recommendations. and you know what, we do convince other bloggers to read books. I can't tell you how many books I NEVER would have picked up without blogging. Or books I never would have heard of.

I could keep going, but instead, I'm going to let some OTHER people tell you why bloggers are important and amazing people.

Imagine this. You just turned the last page of a book. Your mind is blown. You want to gush about it with everyone around you--your friends, your family, a total stranger you meet a grocery store. But you can't. They don't understand you. They just nod their head and smile. They don't care about this lovely book that should be read by millions. They don't care about books in general. So you turn to the internet--to Twitter, to Blogger, etc. You get one response, two more in the next hour. Finally, people who understand! Who are those people? They are bloggers.

That's just it. Bloggers open a whole new world, and there are millions of things you can do with them that you can't do in real life. I've realized that while you can feel shame talking about a book to a stranger in real life, you can do that with bloggers. It seems to me that most people in my life only read well-known books. They generally don't read books that are not placed cover-out on a shelf at a bookstore. With Bloggers, they read a bit of everything. So those lesser known books that you want to promote to your friends to no effect? Bloggers make it possible. Without them, there wouldn't be as much hype or buzz about any certain book.

Sometimes through reading Google Reader, I would come across a book I've never heard before (either it's a few years old and I haven't read it or it's so obscure) and decide to read it. People don't realize that blogging does make a difference. I'm sure that I am not the only one who has experienced this. And that's just it. What if that one post was not put up? Bloggers don't only review books. They sell out their souls into them. Their enthusiasm for the books illuminate from the computer screen.

And to be honest, they make me excited for certain books too. If not for bloggers, I wouldn't be dying to read a specific book. The wait wouldn't turn into such a excruciating torture. The moment I see someone talking about a book on Twitter or on Blogger, I immediately search that book up. If that one post was not put up, that means the amount of people who read the post would have never picked that book up. They would have never read the review and thought to think twice about the book. The internet is such a powerful tool, and bloggers are one of the few who know how to use it in the right way.

I love book entire community of people with a passion for books--reading them, thinking--even critically--about them, and sharing their thoughts with others. For books! They promote authors and reach out to readers, and even if the impact of what they do can't always be quantified outside of the book blogging community, that doesn't diminish the fact that they are a group of avid readers. And I love readers. :)

--Elissa Janine Hoole, Kiss the Morning Star (2012)

There are many reasons to love bloggers, but first and foremost is that they are my friends. And many of them, have grown to be my family. I spend more time chatting with other bloggers online than people that are around me at home and at work. We support one another and when something is wrong, there is always someone on the other end of twitter, or skype or an email account that will listen or offer a helping hand. We all share this one thing in common, the love of reading, and for most of us, its a huge part of our lives, so it makes since that we can meet and instantly form such a strong bond. I met my best friend through blogging and the relationship we have formed is something I could never have imagined possible, just from starting a review blog! Book bloggers are the best!

--Sherry, Flipping Pages for All Ages (she totally helped me with this project. Which further proves her point. Just saying.)

Because they value books+ support new authors. I owe much of my book and name recognition to generous bloggers. Love book bloggers

--Joy Preble, Dreaming Anastasia (2009) and Haunted (2011)

I follows lots of blogs and I find new and interesting posts everyday. As an author, it's important for me to keep up with what's happening in the publishing world from the readers point of view. Genre trends, reviews, what readers like and don't like... I get all that from book bloggers who ask nothing in return. I'm very grateful for their time and effort.
--Carol Oates, Shades of Atlantis

We're just a couple of average authors. Our book didn't sell in a million dollar, multibook deal. Our publisher isn't hiring skywriters to write messages about The Liar Society in the sky. We aren't related to Oprah or Al Roker (although, damn, we sure came close on that last one!). We're just a couple of sisters from Cleveland who love to read and decided we wanted to be writers when we grew up.

The very first thing we did when we started writing together was start a blog. This was our first post. As you can see, we were a couple of idiots who were about to find out the hard way that we were definitely NOT literary geniuses after getting rejected by over 100 literary agents with our first doomed novel. But that's a whole different blog post. The point is, as we racked up rejection after rejection something strange started happening. We found friends in the blogosphere. Friends who were aspiring writers like us and friends who were readers blogging about the books they love.

Eventually we wrote another book and this time we managed to land an agent and eventually a publisher. We continued blogging, tweeting and meeting people as we revised our book and slowly made our way through the publication process. Time after time, some of the friendliest and most engaging people we met were book bloggers. They read our blog, they followed us on twitter, they friended us on Facebook. When our book was posted on Goodreads, book bloggers added The Liar Society to their TBR list. When we cried over our cover, it was the supportive blog posts from book bloggers who convinced us that maybe it wasn't so bad after all.

And now, as we're a couple weeks away from our publication date, it's book bloggers who have rallied around The Liar Society. Every Waiting On Wednesday, every review, every tweet and every comment is helping us build buzz about our tiny book. We have no idea how The Liar Society will do when it hits shelves on March 1st, but we'll say this, if this book is a success, it will be due in large part to the support of the book blogging community. So, thank you all for your passion, your time and your incredible support over the past few years. We can't tell you how much we appreciate it.

--Lisa and Laura Roecker, The Liar Society (2011)

I personally love book bloggers. Even the ones who don't like my books! They don't get paid for what they do; they do it because they want to bring books they love to the attention of other people. They speak out against piracy and on behalf of authors and libraries. I remember getting together with a group of book bloggers after an event in Chicago. I had signed 3,000 books that day (most at a warehouse!) I was exhausted but their obvious love of books totally bouyed me up. One of them even gave me a ride back to my hotel in the boonies when my media escort conked out.

--Cassie Clare, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices (yeah, see, Sherry is demonstrating her own awesome here)

The blogging community is something I am in awe of since I have joined. Everyone helps each other out no matter what the issue from sickness to the 'What do I read next?' times. This is all very amazing since most of us have never met each other in person. We inspire others to read through reviews and posts that sometimes focus on things like Ren's (Nightshade) abs and Luc's hotness (Personal Demons). The best part of being a part of this is that we get the chance to talk to authors and help promote books. Bloggers love what they do and are passionate about it which is ultimately what makes them the best media marketing tool of the 21st century.

--Erika, Moonlight Book Reviews

So, you see, we are useful people. We are...well not THAT important, but we do help.
Some authors we help more than others, but the point is we're doing what we can for books we love.

The book blogging community is an amazing, astounding community that never fails to surprise me. And for any bloggers that may forget that:

(I'd use the unedited version, but I get that some may be reading this at school/work or are younger. But unedited version FTW)


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Flyaway by Lucy Christopher

by Lucy Christopher

Summary: While visiting her father in hospital, thirteen-year-old Isla meets Harry, the first boy to understand her and her love of the outdoors. But Harry is ill, and as his health fails, Isla is determined to help him in the only way she knows how.

Together they watch a lone swan struggling to fly on the lake outside Harry's window. Isla believes that if she can help the damaged swan, somehow she can help Harry. And in doing so, she embarks upon a breathtakingly magical journey of her own.

This isn’t the kind of book I would normally go for, really the summary didn’t do much for me at all. But Lucy Christopher made it onto my Instant Read list by writing the awesomeness that is Stolen.

But even though it’s not the type of book I’d normally read, I’m glad I read it. It wasn’t as amazing as Stolen was but it was really good… the fact that I’m saying that is surprising, because I’m in kind of a reading funk right now and it feels like I’m kind of burned out on the contemporary YA books. For this book to get my approval when I’m in this sort of reading mood = a good sign.

I honestly can’t think of what to say about the book.

I really liked the main character, Isla. She was kind of odd but kind of normal at the same time and I'm not quite sure how that worked, but it did. She loves birds and bird watching, swans in particular and she has that typical crush on her big brothers hot friend. She kind of did her own thing… there aren’t many teenagers who would get all nerdy about bird watching or run around like a dork flapping a set of wings that are strapped to their backs in front of a guy they like but she somehow pulls it off.

Her relationships with her family and Harry were really well written. With her and Harry, it was sweet… it wasn’t this great big epic romance that has the reader swooning and their heart pounding, it was just subtle and cute and more realistic because of that.

Her relationship with her brother was my favourite, the way it was obvious she looked up to him even without it being written but they would still bicker like normal siblings.

The plot was really original, especially the swan aspect (at least, I’ve never read/heard of any books like it). I loved the swans in the book… which is funny, because swans kind of freak me out in real life (they just look very sneaky, like they're secretly plotting to peck my eyes out or something... plus, this one time, a duck bit me so I kind of have an aversion to… birds that live on lakes), there’s a particular swan in the book and I found myself wishing I could meet a swan just like that, she was so awesome.

There were things in the book that were kind of difficult for me to read and had me bawling like a baby while I was reading because it brought up bad memories for me, but I won’t get into that but expect sadness if you read this book (although the book does have it's happy moments too that make up for it).

Basically, the book made me like swans and it made me wish I could fly (not that I didn’t wish that before, but even more so now) and it was just awesome really. I would’ve probably enjoyed it more if I had read it before Stolen, because my expectations wouldn’t have been so high… and probably if I had read it while I wasn’t in a reading funk (this review would probably be better written under those circumstances too).


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Sweet Venom Cover Reveal!

Coming October 2011 from Katherine Tegan Books...

Three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in a world where monsters lurk in plain sight.

Isn't this gorgeous? It reminds me of The Nineteenth Wife's cover (I think that's the book anyway) and I love the subtle curves at the end of the hair, as a throw back to Medusa.

You can add the book on goodreads here.
You can learn more about it on Tera Lynn Childs' website here.
Want to get to know the characters? Just click here!
And you can add it on facebook!

I'm super excited for this series and I hope you all are too!


Sunday, 13 February 2011

In My Mailbox (56)

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


So this week was pretty awesome.

For review:

The Opposite of Amber by Gillian Philip
Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley
Tales of Terror from the Black Ship by Chris Priestley
Tales of Terror from the Tunnels Mouth by Chris Priestley
Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

None of these books are really my kind of thing (except Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance), but I want to try some books out of my usual reading zone, The Opposite of Amber sounds pretty interesting. I already have two of the Chris Priestley books but these three all have new covers (note: the new covers are the ones shown in the goodreads links, not the versions shown in my shelfari print screen, I love the new covers).


Delirium by Lauren Oliver (already read an e-galley and gushed about in a review, but I needed to own it)
The Girl Who Became a Beatle by Greg Taylor
It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (never really had any desire to read this until I saw stuff posted/quoted from it on Tumblr)
Wake by Lisa McMann
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk



So, I didn't get much this week. As in, I really shouldn't bother vlogging about it, but I wanted to show the pretty. Because telling you about it isn't enough.

[Vlog IS coming. My laptop needed to do updates and restart, so it made uploading a vlog while I slept impossible. It will uploaded while I go do some family stuff and posted when I get back/it finishes.]

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Breathless Reads pins

Awesome stuff, right? I already read and LOVED Delirium because I couldn't get through anything else. And I'd been planning to get another copy of Across the Universe, but now I get a SIGNED one. I might have squeed a bit.

What did YOU get this week?


Thursday, 10 February 2011

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

 *WARNING* If you haven't read Hex Hall, the synopsis will PROBABLY be a spoiler. Just sayin'. But you CAN go pick up the paperback, which came out last Tuesday. And you SHOULD.

Rachel Hawkins
Hyperion Books CH
[March 1, 2011]

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Whenever I write a review, you guys know I often open with a line or two about the book. While reading this, I had a couple one-liners pop in my head, so bear with me while I use them all.

If John Green is the King of One-Liners, Rachel Hawkins is most definitely the Queen.
It's been a LONG time since a book kept me up until 4 in the morning.
After a crap day, I needed something to make me laugh and restore my faith in humanity. This book SUCCEEDED. (Kind of weird since most of the characters aren't really human, but you get the point.)

*sighs* Thank you for your patience.

This book cracked. Me. Up. I've made many references to how Paper Towns is a rainbow book with all its tabs. If I had used rainbow tabs, Demonglass may have out done it (but instead I used bright pink, for Jenna). I laughed a lot and sometimes I just had to close the book and have a giggle fit. At one of those moments, I told Rachel that we should bottle her genius and sell it. Anyone who follows me on twitter probably saw at least one of several tumblr posts with quotes that made me giggle. That was a FRACTION of the ones I marked.

At the same time, by the end I wanted to cry. Not just cry, no. I wanted to scream "OMG NO *sob* NO NO NO *sniffle* *cry* NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO." I'm so emotionally attached to these characters, that the fact that anything bad could happen made me want to stop reading or throw the book or go "LALALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALALALALA." I wanted them all to have these happy, rainbow-colored lives. Because I love them oh-so much.

Related: Archer <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

I finished this book and was like "Wha? Where...isn't there more?" There was lots of disbelief. So then I did the most rational thing I could think of at 3:45 in the morning and hugged the book. I cuddled it and stroked the back and wished the next book would appear or another chapter would show up or SOMETHING that meant it wasn't over. But no.

So yeah...maybe this book was kind of epic and I'm not sure how I'll ever read a book again (I'm writing this at the end of January. I'm sure by now I've gotten over it...maybe.).

If, for some reason, you're reading this and haven't read Hex Hall, GO DO IT NOW. I don't care if it's midnight or the bookstore's three miles away and you don't have a car. GO GO GO GO GO. If you've read Hex Hall, which I hope you have if you're reading this, GO PRE-ORDER. NOW. Seriously. Do it. YOU NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIFE.


Discussion: Honesty in Blogging

This discussion post is going to be a little different to our usual style.

Julie and I talk a lot on MSN. We often talk about blog related things. Today we ended up discussing a discussion post Julie wanted to do and then we decided to just post our discussion that we had on MSN*, instead of Julie rehashing it all in a post.  

Before we get to that.

Discussion questions:

1. How much honesty is too much honesty?
2. Is there a huge difference between too honest in general and too honest for you?
3. Would you like more discussion posts formatted like this (this being Julie/Lanna MSN discussion)? Or do you prefer the usual discussion style?

Julie & Lanna: Honesty Discussion

Julie says:
I'm tempted to do a post about how much honesty is too much honesty.

Lanna says:
What do you mean? Like... in reviews?

Julie says:
Reviews, discussions, just things we say on twitter/the blog. There's all kinds of unspoken rules in the community about things we can and can't talk, but lately that line seems to become thinner and thinner.

Lanna says:
Like what? =/

Julie says:
Like, when I first began blogging, asking about requesting ARCs or writing about it was kind of not something you did. You got the book or you didn't, you didn't talk about how. But lately, I see it more and more and I'm comfortable talking about it too.

We're more willing to talk about the negative aspects of the community, pulling them up because other people are and it's hurting as a whole so we want it to stop.

But sometimes people are just...harsh. You make a certain comment, someone reads it the wrong way, and they'll kind of...scold you.

Lanna says:
I don't think that's so much about the community changing, I think it's more to do with becoming more comfortable within the community. Like, in the beginning, you don't want to talk about/ask about ARC's because you don't want people to think you're just blogging for the free books or whatever... and the negative things, it's like, it's easier to be more open about that stuff once your comfortable because you don't need to worry so much about how it'll be received.

Julie says:
Well, it's not just me. It's other bloggers that started before us, some that started after us. It may not be a HUGE difference, but a few months can be a huge difference in the beginning.

Lanna says:
Mhmm, I tend to put that down to the fact that there's more bloggers... more people willing to help new bloggers. Like, Kristi has her Dear Story Siren post where people can ask about ARC's and things anonymously. There's more bloggers so there's more bloggers that talk about ARC's and so newer bloggers feel more comfortable talking about them (especially since they seem to be getting them faster).

And things like Speak Loudly have happened and other blogger dramas where everyone has been posting and speaking out about stuff... once you speak about big things like that, speaking about other negative things isn't such a big deal.

Julie says:
True.  But are we ever being too honest? Like our Speak Loudly post, was that too honest for us? Is me talking about my insecurities as a blogger too honest? Or is the line so far now that the only things people don't want to read at all are bathroom habits and when I'm on my period? (This conversation? Can go in totally ridiculous directions)

Lanna says:
The too honest vs. too honest for us are two completely different things - like, the for us one is basically just what we feel comfortable sharing with whoever happens to click on our blog. But the too honest in general thing... I think it just depends - like, is it offensive/mean and what effects will it have (like, take your blogger insecurities post, that wasn't hurting anyone and it was just basically a "does anyone else feel this way too?" type thing... but say someone put up a discussion post that was just flaming new bloggers or something - what good does that do? There's nothing positive about it, it's just mean).

The honesty thing should be judged like that - what someone is comfortable talking about, which varies from blogger to blogger (like some are fine talking about sex, others are more conservative). And whether or not it's being honest or crossing the line into being hurtful (and whether the impact the post has will be negative or positive).

Julie says:
...Maybe YOU should do this post :P

Lanna says:
I thought this was just one of our rambly discussions, forgot you were going to do a post on it…

Julie says:
Well, I suck at wording things. And you're doing infinitely better :P

Lanna says:
We should save time with discussion posts and just post our MSN conversations. ...Actually, we should do something like that sometime - don't think any other bloggers have done that.

Julie says:
We could that with this post.



*The conversation above is pretty much the exact conversation we had on MSN, it's just been edited a little to fix typos/wrong wording to save confusion (although, there wasn't much to fix in this conversation). While editing, we kind of realized that we kind of have our own language and really just made it easier for you.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (35)

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Blood Magic
Tessa Gratton
Random House Books for Young Readers
[May 24, 2011]

For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.

Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.

Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

Creeeeeeeepy. In the best possible way.

Franny Billingsley
[March 17, 2011]

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

This one just sounds really good and cover LOVE.

Wake Unto Me
Lisa Cach

[March 21, 2011]

A haunted castle, a handsome young man dead for four hundred years, one heck of a scary portrait of a witch, and a treasure hunt -- not to mention a princess for a roommate! -- all await 15 year old American girl Caitlyn Monahan when she earns a scholarship to a French boarding school.

There are secrets behind the stone walls of Chateau de la Fortune, buried for centuries along with the mystery of who killed Raphael, the charming ghost who visits Caitlyn at night. But as Caitlyn unearths the history of the castle, nothing scares her as badly as the secret she learns about herself, and the reason she was chosen to come to the Fortune School.

And nothing breaks her heart as badly as falling in love with a dead guy.

France? Boarding school? Ghost Guy love? WIN. 
I'm actually on a blog tour for this in early April, so YAY.

10 Miles Past Normal
Frances O'Roark Dowell
[March 22, 2011]

Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation—and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much. 

It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in "like" with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment. 

Frances O’Roark Dowell’s fierce humor and keen eye make her YA debut literary and wise. In the spirit of John Green and E. Lockhart, Dowell’s relatable, quirky characters and clever, fluid writing prove that growing up gets complicated…and normal is WAY overrated.

We all must EMBRACE the non-normal. So, this book probably wins. 

I'll leave it there this week! What are you waiting on this Wednesday?



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