Monday, 31 May 2010

Smart Girls and Fast Boys by Stephie Davis

Smart Girls & Fast Boys
by Stephie Davis
Summary: ON YOUR MARK. Natalie Page is overlooked and unappreciated. Yeah, sure, she can run fast. Yeah, sure, all the boys love her...as a buddy. Yeah, she has plans every weekend night...with her friends and their boyfriends.

GET SET. It's time for the world to sit up and take notice. When Natalie makes the varsity cross country team, it seems like the fast track to being cool. The popular girls notice her, the hunky captain of the boys team is giving her rides home. Natalie Page is off and running. Then she starts to fail geometry. She has to get a tutor: a very annoying boy who thinks sports is for idiots. A very smart boy who thinks she's stupid. A very cute boy who already has a girlfriend and has no interest in her. A boy she told her parents she was dating.

GO! Natalie Page can run. Now she has to decide how to finish.

-Summary from the back of the book.
I'm not sure what to say about this book really. I kind of went into it expecting it to be one of those chick-lit high school romance stories that I'm shamefully addicted to... and it was kind of, but it didn't have that unknown something that makes me love those books so much.

I did like the book, it was a quick read (the book is only 178 pages) and it was definitely entertaining. I guess the thing that lowered my opinion of it though was the characters.

There was only one character that I particularly liked and that was Matt, but even he had his moments where I just couldn't see the appeal of him. The minor characters were just kind of... there. Their personalities didn't jump off the page, I didn't find myself wishing they were real or getting particularly attached to them (usually there is at least one minor character that will stand out for me and I'll adore them) and at times they just really irritated me.

And then the biggest problem: Natalie.

She is a really annoying narrator. For the first half of the book I hated her 90% of the time, she just seemed so whiny and immature and way too shallow and caught up in her desire to be popular... now, I did warm up to her in the second half of the book, she did grow as a character but even by the end I didn't particularly like her, I just didn't hate her anymore.

This book has definitely made me realise that it's the characters that are the driving force behind my chick lit (not so) guilty pleasure because the story itself had potential.

Yeah, it followed one of the chick lit cliches of the whole fake dating someone only to end up with real feelings for that person, but that is cliche for a reason, it's really fun to read about.

One thing I did really like about the book though was that the usual jock seeing the error of his/her ways and falling for the nerd was kind of subverted and it was the nerdy guy who was the one who had to reevaluate how he views people.

So yeah, I have mixed opinions of this book but overall I'm glad I read it and I did enjoy it... I don't normally do the whole rating thing, but I'd give this one 3/5 stars, just to give you an indication of how much I liked it.

If you're into this kind of story then you should check it out, my opinions of the characters may just be something that annoys me about the book and other people might not agree.

Later.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

In My Mailbox (22) Julie

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


Shade
How Not to Be Popular
Princess of Glass
Perfect Chemistry
Rules of Attraction
Incarceron

On Monday I got Shade and How Not to Be Popular. I won Shade from Fantastic Book Reviews and I "bought" How Not to Be Popular with my buzz bucks on Random Buzzers. I'm loving their makeover!

Yesterday, my parents decided we would spend this weekend mindlessly driving around and stopping anywhere if we thought of something that needed to be done. Barnes and Noble ended up being one of our stops, just 'cause. Barnes and Noble was supposed to be having a 50% off sale this weeked on all YA/kids because. They lied. But, I got all 4 anyway because I didn't know this until after we got the total. I'm a bit bummed because the good books meant I couldn't get a gift card to pre-order some upcoming, awesomesauce books, but oh well. There's a chance will get to Borders on Monday so I'll hunt for them...and try to control myself.

And that's all for me this week. How about you guys?

--Julie

In My Mailbox (22) - Lanna

I took pictures of the covers this week, just because I think the ARC cover of My Name is Memory is really pretty (weirdly, I think I like it more than the actual finished cover).

For review:

Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey

I got all fangirl-y when this one arrived and started reading it right away. It's good so far. (It's the sequel to My Love Lies Bleeding/Hearts at Stake if you're in the US.) :)

The Other Girl by Sarah Miller

Never heard of this series before but I think this is the second book? I could be wrong. It sounds interesting though.


My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

More fangirling, not only does the book sound all kinds of awesome but the ARC cover is just so... <3 style="font-weight: bold;">Bought (and I don't have pictures of these because they're technically not "in my mailbox" but they will be when they get here from Amazon, I just add them the week I bought them instead of when they arrive because I'd forget otherwise):



Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Cannot wait to read this one, Boys Next Door is pretty much my favourite romcom.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

This one has been on my wish list for a stupid amount of time and I was buying books so I figured I'd throw this one in too.

Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn
by Sarah Miller

I want to read the sequel that I got for review, so I bought this one just so I'll have it there.

"Other":


If you do NaNoWriMo, then you'll probably know that the "winners" (anyone who writes 50K in the month) get a free proof copy of their book from createspace. Well, the book I wrote was unfinished and unedited so instead of wasting the proof copy thing, I put together a short story anthology and that's it (I called it "Whisper" and I think the cover was a stock photo from dA). It's nothing special, but still kind of cool having some of my stories bound together.

Later.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Rules of Attraction
by Simone Elkeles

Summary: When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado.

Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did.

Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

Okay, I absolutely loved the first book, Perfect Chemistry, seriously adored it. Well, I think I actually love Rules of Attraction even more and I didn't think that would be possible but the book was fantastic.

I honestly don't know how Simone does it, she seems to have a talent for writing stories that have the freakish ability to make my heart melt, I'm truly impressed.

The characters were brilliant, with Alex and Brittany as minor characters this time (it was funny seeing their relationship through other peoples eyes in this book).

And then there's Carlos. Carlos was... wow - major fictional boy crush. Really, he was the perfect bad boy with a good heart and I loved that Kiara didn't have to change for him and even though he changed, it didn't seem like he did, it was like that's the person he was all along and he was just fighting against it.

And Kiara, she's now one of my favourite female protagonists. For some reason girls in stories like this can seem annoying, but she wasn't, she was content with just being herself and she was awesome without turning into a complete Mary Sue. Her family were great, they were really nerdy and cheesey and that was weirdly a part of their charm.

Oh, and Tuck, I have to mention him. He was just brilliant, the awesome gay best friend who was sweet and funny and irritating in a good way.

Basically, I loved all of the characters, even the bad guys were perfectly bad.

The book was surprisingly funny, it managed to make me laugh out loud quite a few times even though comedy is one of the last labels I'd give this book, I loved that aspect of it though, Simone managed to perfectly weave humour in a relatively serious story without it being out of place.

Another talent that Simone has: writing perfect endings. Not many authors can pull off those kind of endings (example of failed attempt: Breaking Dawn), but somehow Simone pulls it off and it doesn't seem cheesey and it leaves me with just the right amount of closure when I finish the last page that I don't find myself pouting because the author didn't tie up enough loose ends for me. (Sorry, it's difficult to fully explain why I think her story endings are so awesome without, you know, spoiling the ending.)

There isn't much I can really say about the book that wouldn't get spoiler-y and this review seems kind of scattered so I'll just leave it at that. Go read it and Perfect Chemistry.

Oh, one last thing and yes I've posted this on the blog before but here is the trailer for Rules of Attraction (and also an interview with Simone on the blog):



Later.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Clearing by Heather Davis

*some spoilers ahead!*


The Clearing
Heather Davis


Amy, a sixteen-year-old recovering from an abusive relationship, moves to the country to start a new life with her aunt–all she wants is for everything to be different. In the clearing at the back of Aunt Mae’s property, she makes an amazing discovery—Henry, a boy stuck in the endless summer of 1944. Henry and his world become Amy’s refuge and she begins to learn that some moments are worth savoring. But when the past and present come crashing together, both of them must find the courage to face what is meant to be, even if it means losing each other forever.


The Clearing was certainly an interesting story.

This novel was touching and sweet and seemed to show a fairly accurate view of a relationship. Yet, I was disappointed by the ending. Amy and Henry seemed so perfect together and I just loved them together and then the ending came.

I enjoyed it while I read it, but I was still kind of disappointed. I was looking for a genuine love story, something almost like The Time Traveler's Wife. And instead I got...this.

But on a better note, Henry was a fabulous character and I loved his care and compassion for his family. And Amy was sweet, though sometimes she bugged me.

I don't really have much more to say about this. It seemed like an okay kind of book to me and it's definitely something to try.

--Julie

P.S. I got this from netgalley, hence why it's not in any of my IMM!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (25) Julie

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

What AM I waiting on today? I'm not even sure.

Things are getting crazy here. Two weeks left until finals begin! I'll try to keep up with my reviews now that I only have two to write. But things might slow down a bit June 10-16. After 16, none of my finals are really hard. And...there's only two of them.

Sea
Heidi R. Kling

[June 10, 2010]

Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother’s disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen-year old California girl Sienna Jones reluctantly travels with her psychiatrist father’s volunteer team to six-months post-tsunami Indonesia where she meets the scarred and soulful orphaned boy, Deni, who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.

She knows they can’t be together, so why can’t she stay away from him? And what about her old best friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why won’t her dad tell her the truth about her mother’s plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to finding answers.

And Sea’s real adventure begins.


I featured this when we first started doing WoW posts, but it was a very short little post and I didn't give this the love it needs. The cover is so gorgeous, the lucky ones with ARCs love it, and Heidi is one of the nicest people! WANTWANTWANT. I will be trying like hell to get to a bookstore that Saturday.


Wildwing
Emily Whitman
[September 21, 2010]
Addy knows there's so much more to life than what she has. She must be destined for more than being a maid to an eccentric elderly man. And so when she finds a mysterious contraption in the gentleman's study, of course she steps inside. Of course she bumps into the wrong button. Suddenly Addy is in medieval England, mistaken for the young woman betrothed to the lord of the nearby manor. It's destiny. But is it home? And will she ever find her way back to her own time? Will she want to, once she's met the shy, handsome falconer's apprentice?

I LOVED Radiant Darkness and this just sounds fabulous. And, of course, another gorgeous color!

I think that's enough awesome for this week. ;) What are you guys waiting on?

--Julie

Waiting on Wednesday (25) - Lanna

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

My Name is Memory
by Ann Brashares

Release date: 24th of June 2010 (UK)

Summary (from Amazon):
Not everyone believes in the existence of 'the one', the love of our life that we are destined to find, but Daniel knows it’s real. How could he not? He has spent centuries meeting and falling in love with the same girl over and over and over again.

Life after reincarnated life, generation after generation, spanning continents and dynasties, he and Lucy have been drawn together – and though he can never tell her, he remembers it all. He has the gift, or the curse, of 'the memory', the ability to recall past lives and recognize the reincarnated souls he has known. The problem is, the force that draws Lucy and Daniel together also always tears them painfully, fatally apart, to the point that he has started trying to protect her from falling in love with him and the heartbreak he knows it will bring.

[Note: I think that is the UK cover, the US one may be different?]

I loved the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series and The Last Summer of Me and You is buried somewhere in Mount TBR, so I'm really looking forward to reading this one. <3

You can read an excerpt here.

And here is the book trailer:




Later.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

CONTEST: Paper Towns by John Green - CLOSED!

Paper Towns
by John Green


Summary: Who is the real Margo? Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life – dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge – he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. She has disappeared. Q soon learns that there are clues in her disappearance . . . and they are for him. Trailing Margo’s disconnected path across the USA, the closer Q gets, the less sure he is of who he is looking for.

It's no secret that John Green is one of my favourite authors or that Julie and I both adored his book Paper Towns. So, enter awesome:

Bloomsbury UK has kindly offered us 5 copies of Paper Towns by John Green to giveaway.

The contest is open to UK only and will end on the 7th of June. Just fill out the form below:


Later.

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson


Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Morgan Matson


Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

So, I guess it's unofficial YA road trips week? Because I have another road trip book I plan to review later this week too.

Anyway, I fell in love with this as soon as I saw it. Between the adorable cover and the...well the road trip, I was hooked.

I just loved this. I really did. I can't even pinpoint why. But I read the ARC version, which doesn't have all the fun pictures and postcards included and while reading, I kept thinking how I was going to have to get a hardcover version so I COULD have all of that. That's how I knew this book was love.

Amy and Roger are one of the cutest couples ever. I could feel their Chemistry from the beginning, even though they were both closed off and dealing with their own problems on their own.

Honestly, I loved this. Very cute, fairly light chick lit perfect for this time of year!

--Julie

Monday, 24 May 2010

Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt


Two-Way Street
Lauren Barnholdt


There are two sides to every breakup. This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation. Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet. It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care. But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot. Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

Lately, I've been in a chick lit mood. Since reading Just One Wish, I've also been craving road trips. A bunch of other bloggers love this book so when I couldn't find anything else in Barnes and Noble, I went for it.

Two-Way Street was cute, though predictable. Courtney was the typical over prepared teenager. Jordan, however, was a very pleasant surprise. I was expecting him to be different but he was just...woah.

I also loved the best friends. B.J. is kind of the best best friend character ever. The best friend subplot was just so funny! I had a hard time not laughing every time.

The novel was also cute though somethings were kind of...messed up, I guess. There was nothing really wrong with it, so much as it was weird and awkward and if I were in the situation, I definitely wouldn't have done that.

While this isn't going to be one of my Top 20 books, I still recommend it for a quick, easy, light read!

--Julie

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Inside My Head by Jim Carrington

Inside My Head
by Jim Carrington

Summary: Paul Knaggs looks forward to school. Because at school he can rip Gary Wood to shreds.

And Gary just takes it - usually.

David is Knaggs's friend. He does what Knaggs says - usually.

Zoë has moved from London to the middle of nowhere. As far as she's concerned, life is over. And then she meets the school loner, Gary.

Gary - Knaggs - David - Zoë. When their stories collide, things get messy.

-Summary from the back of the book.

I loved this book and honestly, that surprised me, it isn't the kind of book I'd choose to read normally.

Heres the thing: I'm really weird about books set in Britain. Usually, they tend to bore me or annoy me and only fantasy stories like Harry Potter have managed to keep it interesting enough for me to finish the stories (perhaps it's the lack of novelty of the setting and culture, seeing as I'm from the UK) but this book was an exception - I was never bored while reading it and I read it in one sitting.

It isn't some epic romance or adventure, it's just... real.

With movies, you get the Hollywood Blockbuster types and then you have indie movies. Inside My Head felt kind of like the book equivelant of an indie movie, it had that same realistic feel to it and it was very character driven.

I love that it didn't sugarcoat anything and it was very... raw. And British. The Britishness of the book was kind of a shock to the system because I'm not used to reading books set here (something I may have to change now, thanks to this book).

A lot of people will relate to the characters (whether you're a teenager or not). There's David, torn between doing the right thing and loyalty his best friend and Zoe, the girl who wants to help Gary and be his friend, even if that gets in the way of her desire to fit in. And then there is Gary, who is being bullied and just wants it all to stop and for his life to be how it used to be when things were still good.

Really, I think everyone has been in one of the characters shoes in some way before.

The emotions of the characters, their lives, they're all so realistic and I found myself really caring what happened to them. I wanted David to do the right thing, I wanted to be Gary's friend so I could help him, I wanted to whack Knaggs upside the head and tell him to stop being so awful and that he would regret being such a bully when he grows up and then there's Zoë... her heart was in the right place but she wasn't perfect and I've known girls just like her, I've been that girl before too, to an extent.

Weirdly, there is literally only one thing I hated about the book and it was the repetition of the insult "pebblehead" - maybe it's because I'm from Scotland and this was set in a certain part of England, but that just seemed like such an odd thing for them to call each other. And that just proves how much I loved the book, that is the only negative I can think of.

It's a really well written story and it has a good lesson, it shows how not saying anything and standing by watching bad things happen can be just as bad as being the one throwing the insults or punches. It shows the consequences bullying can have and what it can do to a person and the ripple effect it can have - Jim Carrington actually managed to show a whole bunch of possible outcomes without making them all happen, just by showing the thoughts running through Gary's head.

Basically, I loved it and you should go read it.

Later.

In My Mailbox (21) Julie

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

I've had such a week of awesome! I got stuff Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday!



On Monday, I got the Forgive My Fins bookmarks, tattoos, and button. There were 20 bookmarks and tattoos for me to use! It's all part of her Splash Team. I'm keeping two tattoos&bookmarks, gave two sets to my friends, and I'm keeping one set for the swag giveaway I will someday have! The other 15 are going to be donated to my library or be used in my local bookstores.

On Tuesday, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour arrived! This is an ARC version that I traded with Katie to get. (Thanks Katie!) I've already read it and loved it. My review will be up later this week.

On Thursday, the rest of the swag came from Susan at Wastepaper Prose arrived. I won most of it in a twitter give away, but I won the Tensions of Opposites stuff from her blog. The So Many Boys post card and The Snowball Effect bookmark are both signed too! EEP! I've already thanked Susan, but now I am again! (Thank you! Hope you're enjoying BEA!)

On Friday, Spirit Bound and Scones and Sensibility arrived. Spirit Bound was only $9 for a preorder on Amazon. So on Monday when I got my Swag Bucks Amazon Gift Cards, I put in my order. OMG that book is good. I'm not reviewing it because I don't like reviewing sequels for the sake of spoilers, but if you're not reading this series, you should be. Like now.
I won Scones and Sensibility from Sandy at Pirate Penguin's Reads. Thanks again, Sandy!

And that's everything. Pretty awesome, huh? And I'm still waiting on more things! So, how about you guys? What's in your mailbox?

--Julie

In My Mailbox (21) - Lanna

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

I'm kind of not in the mood to find pictures of covers and links to summaries or anything for all of these (it's annoyingly hot here, I really hate summer - I pity the people that live in hotter countries, I mean I can barely handle the UK heat), so anyway, I'll just print screen part of my shelfari shelf (and you can also click that link for the summaries).


Bought:

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Insert fangirl squee-ing here?

The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan

I've been meaning to read this one for ages, but somehow the title was always off putting to me and the cover didn't wow me... and I know I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover or title but with so many books on my wish list, the covers and titles grabbing my attention are enough to make me choose one book over another. But I really like the paperback cover, so I finally got it.

Shadowing Hannah by Sara Berkeley

This is an odd one. I read a story a while ago that had step siblings in love with each other and it made me want to read more books about that kind of thing (not because I'm into the whole step siblings getting together or incest or anything, it's just interesting to read about, it's kind of like the ultimate doomed love and it's a major taboo subject).

Faithful by Janet Fox

I've wanted to read this one since I first saw it. *shrugs* :)

For Review:

Girl, 16: Five Star Fiasco by Sue Limb

I think this one is part of a series, so I'll have to get the other books in the series first.

Other:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Holes by Louis Sachar

My brother had to buy these books for English this year and he doesn't really like to read so now that his exam is over, he gave me the books. *shrugs* Not technically "in my mailbox", but whatever. :]

Later.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Historic Saturday (12)

So, today is my little brother's SIXTH birthday. Which means six months from today will be my 16th birthday(Yes, we're 6 months a part, almost to the hour. He was 12:14 in the afternoon, I was 1:01). And I'll be a junior I feel so old. X| But, he's getting Max and Ruby books from me. I had to sneak into Barnes and Noble last week and he was begging to go to the bookstore when we left, not realizing I'd just been there. I'm creating a monster, and I feel no guilt.

ANYWAY, the actual review. It's been a long time since I've done this since I haven't read any historical lately. I'm not sure when my next historic fiction will be either. BUT ANYWAY.

**This review does contain minor spoilers. Nothing direct is said and if you know the Rumpelstiltskin story, you'll know 90% of what is said anyway**




A Curse Dark as Gold

Elizabeth C. Bunce

Upon the death of her father, seventeen-year-old Charlotte struggles to keep the family's woolen mill running in the face of an overwhelming mortgage and what the local villagers believe is a curse, but when a man capable of spinning straw into gold appears on the scene she must decide if his help is worth the price.





WOO. MORE FAIRY TALE RETELLINGS.

Except, this one is clearly more related to it's fairy tale, which is Rumpelstiltskin for those who live under a rock.

This book was good, but not what I wanted. I was expecting a romance because, when you strip away all the fluff, most fairy tales are romance stories (I mean, obviously not the original Grimm versions, but the ones everybody knows). There was some, but it seemed to focus more on finances and the desperate measures Charlotte will go to to keep her family mill. Not so romantic, is it?

I LOVED the main guy in this story. He was so ridiculously sweet and he was kind of like the dream guy in my head that I will someday marry (*snort*). I felt bad for him and the way he was treated a lot. Definitely one of my favorite characters.

I also loved Charlotte's sister. She was very strong and independent, but also had a guy that was perfect with her.

Charlotte herself was very strong and brave and fairly kick ass for a nonviolent person. Pretty crappy as a spouse, but otherwise very kickass.

This story was definitely a unique twist on the Rumpelstiltskin tale. Much different from the usual, but still retaining the essence of the story and keeping things similar. I just wish there'd been more romance.

I'm gonna go read the original, Grimm Brother's version now, for more comparisons. ;)

--Julie

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey


Jekel Loves Hyde
Beth Fantaskey


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.

As I LOVED Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, this was a must read. The premise and cover also really drew me in, so I went for it. But I was kind of let down.

I'd been hearing it wasn't as good as Jessica's, and it definitely wasn't. I still really liked it, it may even go on a favorite shelf, but it just didn't have that special WOW factor Jessica had.

Tristen was pretty damn dreamy, I won't deny it. I kind of loved him. But he lacked the snark of Lucius. And he has some...well he has a past that kind of makes me go "Erm...."

Jill was very back and forth on things. Sometimes I wasn't sure if I was coming or going with her.

But, I have to give credit where credit is due. Ms. Fantaskey once again wove a tale that shocked me. Even when I was sure I had it figured it out, I still wasn't fully right. You readers that have been reading my reviews for a while know that's one of the top things I look for in a book. And I certainly got what I was looking for here.

If you're looking for another Jessica's Guide, this isn't it. But this is still a pretty fabulous book! I'm excited to see what's next from this author!

--Julie

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

World, meet Mount TBR...

You know you buy too many books, too quickly, when your to be read pile reaches this size:

...But wait, there's more (it's blurry so it's kinda difficult to make out what all the books are - I have read two of the books in this pile though, Paper Towns and Shade):



...Um *hangs head in shame* there's still more (first one is blurry so the three pictures below are the invididual stacks):



Now... I'm 5ft2. If I stack the piles as tall as I can get them, they kind of add up to more than double my height. O.o

Please, someone tell me their to be read pile is bigger than mine so I can feel less failsome? =P

Later.

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

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

This Gorgeous Game
Donna Freitas
[May 25, 2010]

I know I know I know I should be grateful. I should be grateful to have his attention. To have him take such an interest in me.

I should. I know I should.
I will. No, you are grateful, Olivia, I tell myself as if I am my self's imaginary friend, sitting across the table, giving advice. Start acting grateful then, she begs.

I have a gift. I have a gift from God, he says. So rare he hasn't seen it in all his many years. I'm the real thing, he says. I'm a once in a lifetime, he says. I'm special and it's his responsibility to take me under his wing, to make sure I don't waste my talent. It would be a sin not to help me, he says. It would be a sin for me not to take his offer of help.


But I swear to God . . . no . . . scratch that . . . I'll not be swearing to God . . . I swear to Who Knows What that his latest demand, this pile of typewritten pages he hands me with a face that
says, Please, Olivia, oh please don't be difficult and just do this for me, is staring, no it's glaring at me from the coffee table like a monster that might eat me. I feel like if I touch it I will go up in flames or the pages might bite.

Am I making too much of this? Isn't it just a matter of grabbing hold of the stack and moving it in front of my eyes so my eyes will begin to scan those black marks on the page which will magically arrange themselves into words that my brain will recognize and understand and volia, I'm finished before I know it.


Then, when he asks, because he will ask, I'll be able to answer truthfully, "Yes, I read it. I did," and he will smile and I'll be Good Olivia again.


I wish I'd never won that stupid prize which is what got me noticed by him . . . no . . . what got my writing noticed by him which is what led to the initial introduction which somehow turned into communications and invitations and coffees and attending office hours and going to High Profile Events together--his words--even before the summer started.


This just sounds fabulous and so far it has a lot of really good reviews. I'm intrigued.

Beautiful Darkness Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
[October 26, 2010]

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.


Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side
of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

As you all know, I LOVED Beautiful Creatures. So, yeah, WANTWANTWANT.

The Queen's Daughter
Susan Coventry
[June 8, 2010]

Joan’s mother is Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, the most beautiful woman in the world. Her father is Henry II, the king of England. She loves them both—so what can she do when she’s forced to choose between them? As her parents’ arguments grow ever more vicious, Joan begins to feel like a political pawn.

When her parents marry her off to the king of Sicily, Joan finds herself with a man ten years her senior. She doesn’t love him, and she can’t quite forget her childhood crush, the handsome Lord Raymond.

As Joan grows up, she begins to understand that her parents’ worldview is warped by their political ambitions, and hers, in turn, has been warped by theirs. Is it too late to figure out whom to trust? And, more important, whom to love?


It's historical fiction, what more must be said? This book just sounds fabulous!

What are you all waiting on today?

--Julie

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society
by Ally Carter
Summary (from Amazon): When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre...to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria...to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help. For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history--or at least her family's (very crooked) history.
This book was really... fun. And I loved it.

It's not one of those books that you read and it feels like something inside of you has changed because of it, it's just entertaining.

It's well written and fast paced with all the charm that Ally's Gallagher Girls books have and, like the Gallagher Girls series, it also has a whole cast of great characters that have you wishing they were real and that you were a part of their group, a part of their family (and I'm not just talking about family by blood, Ally has a talent for creating the families you get to choose - groups of people who aren't related but with the kind of friendships that are right up there next to family on the importance scale and that just spills from the pages).

I honestly wouldn't know where to begin when choosing a favourite character because they were all pretty great; the bad guys were perfectly evil, the cute boys were awesomely swoon-worthy, the minor characters were delightfully funny and adorable, the parental figures managed to be the kind of awesome I wish existed outside of fiction and the female characters totally brought the girl power without being annoying.

Really, I think the characters made the story. The plot was interesting and enjoyable to read about but it was the characters, all of them, that kept me turning the pages and it was the characters that left me dying to read more once I had turned the last page and now I can't wait for the sequel.

Books like this are difficult for me to review because, like I said, I loved it but it didn't move me in the same way books like Jellicoe Road or Looking for Alaska or Some Girls Are did and so when I'm listing my reasons for loving the book it always sounds incredibly generic.

Basically, I really recommend the book, it was awesome (especially if you were like me when you were younger and instead of dreaming of being a princess or something equally cliche for girls, you wanted to be a pirate or a ninja or a spy or something along those lines).

Later.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Spoiler warning: they're just mild spoilers but I know some people don't like *any* spoilers at all so I figured I'd throw this in here. - Lanna (review by Leah)

Sorry, I know it's been a while. I have *just* come out of my reading funk and right when I do I start getting stressed out over school again.

But, this book was so good I just had to review it for y'all.

Title: Beastly
Author: Alex Flinn

Summary: I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way.

The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.


Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

Sound sort of familiar?

If you thought of Beauty & the Beast, you are correct.

This is a modern-day B&tB, in the Beast's point of view. I had seen the book before, in the library, at school, but I had never paid attention to it at all. Then Lanna tells me about it, I check it out of the library... and end up finishing it in just a few hours.

Yeah, that's how great it was. I loved the beast - Kyle. He was a typical rich boy: good-looking, ladies man, and extremely mean to anyone he deemed "ugly". And he picks on this large goth girl (who turns out to be the witch.) Then the next thing he knows, he's furry all over.

There are differences from this book and the movie (the Disney version!!). In the book, he has two rose petals, which means he has 2 years to find someone to love him and to love her in return, whereas in the movie it's an enchanted rose. And he doesn't live in a castle - just a really large house. But, he does have an enchanted mirror.

I thought that how he finds love in the book is sort of ironic. You'll see what I mean if you read it.

Overall, I'm telling you guys to either borrow this book or buy it. You will not be disappointed. Trust me.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

In My Mailbox (20) Julie

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

So, this week I'm combining last week's and this week's stuff.

Last Week:



A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
My Little Pony Stickers and a You Wish post card.

I pre-ordered A Curse Dark as Gold a few months ago because I could only afford a paperback with what was left on my Borders gift card. I won The Beautiful Between ARC from Random Buzzers and posted my review on Monday. And I won My Little Pony stickers and the post card from Mandy Hubbard a few weeks ago.

This week:



Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday to see what new reads from the past few weeks were in and get my brother's birthday present. I was really disappointed in my store and the people weren't very nice yesterday. Shade and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour were there and prominently displayed, but of course I'm already getting those and had to leave them there! Then everything else wasn't out. But these two were, so that's okay. Jekel Loves Hyde I read yesterday and it was REALLY good. I'll probably review it next week.

So, that's it for me. How about you guys?

--Julie

In My Mailbox (20) - Lanna

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

There seems to be a ridiculous amount of books being released this month/next month that I desperately want to buy... but I kind of bought a new bed and a bunch of new things for my puppy so I can't get too many books, pfft. But, before the bed buying and all that happened I got these:

Bought:



Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

I've already read this book -- and loved it -- but it's part of a blog tour so I don't get to keep it and I wanted my own copy. :]

Troy High by Shana Norris

It just sounded interesting...

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Heard good things about this one and I've wanted it since I first saw it on IMM posts and Waiting on Wednesday's back before it was released. (I think it's the UK/paperback cover I've got? I kind of prefer the other version but it's still nice.)

For Review:

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
Release date: June 2010

Not the kind of book I'd be likely to pick up on my own -- although, I adore the cover -- but I reserve judgement until I've actually read the book, maybe it'll surprise me and it does sound interesting even if it's maybe not my usual kind of thing.

...Unrelated to the IMM: I kind of want to take pictures of Mount To Be Read and do a post showing them... mostly to shame myself into making a huge dent in it. Yay or nay?

Later.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Vampire Academy Trailer

Note: Vampire Academy isn't being made into a movie or TV show, this is a trailer for the books.



I saw this when Richelle first posted the link on her Livejournal but couldn't figure out to embed it but Penguin uploaded it to their youtube. :] It's not exactly how I pictured the characters (we all have our own versions and "dream casts") but still awesome. I can't wait to read Spirit Bound. <3

If you haven't read the Vampire Academy series then you should check it out (even if you're sick to death of vampire books right now, they're really good and not the Twilight-y type at all).

On another note, I'm nearly done with Heist Society (finally! I hate not having much time to read) and then I have a bunch of books that I *have* to read... I think I need a reading weekend or something, where I shut off the internet and just read.

Later.

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder


Inside Out
Maria V. Snyder
Keep Your Head Down.

Don't Get Noticed.

Or Else.


I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.






This is, sadly, the first dystopian I've read since the Uglies. And I read Uglies before Extras was even a thought. And I'm glad I read it.

This was very interesting. I had no clue exactly what was going until the end, a key part to any good mystery. Until then, the characters were interesting and you could feel the bond they had. The budding romance was very sweet too.

Reading about Trella's adventures in the pipes was fun, but it did get kind of old sometimes. She seemed to be in those pipes for a quarter of the book!

But the book was cute and quirky and fun, though it always had the underlying seriousness. It wasn't too long either, so you'll get through it quick. And I can't wait to read Outside In and see what happens to Trella and the gang!

--Julie

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

I had to hand in a research paper Tuesday and as that's no longer hanging over my head, internet time is once more guilt free time. So, I won't start thinking "I need to write a review...wait, crap, paper! Can't review so much without working on my paper!" YAY! (Though, found out I may have another one to do starting tomorrow. Rawr)

Crazy Beautiful
Lauren Baratz-Logsted

In an explosion of his own making, Lucius blew his arms off. Now he has hooks. He chose hooks because they were cheaper. He chose hooks because he wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly. He chose hooks so that everyone would know he was different, so he would scare even himself.

Then he meets Aurora. The hooks don’t scare her. They don’t keep her away. In fact, they don’t make any difference at all to her. But to Lucius, they mean everything. They remind him of the beast he is inside.

Perhaps Aurora is his Beauty, destined to set his soul free from its suffering.
Or maybe she’s just a girl who needs love just like he does.


I'm sure it doesn't need repeating that I love my fairy tale retellings.

Add to the fact that Lauren is super sweet, the cover is amazing, and it's fairly short, what reason did I have not to order it?

This book was ridiculously beautiful. It was told in alternating views between Aurora (God I love that name) and Lucius (Malfoy!).

It wasn't a basic story. Lucius and Aurora didn't just fall in love. It was slow and full of set backs and took genuine forgiveness and love to overcome.

And it wasn't just about their romance either. They both, obviously, have their own struggles to overcome and that's the main focus for most of the book. It's a lot of them putting their lives together again.

I'll be honest, I read this a month go (yes, that is how far behind I am on reviews *blogger fail*) so I can't really say much more. But I can say that this book makes my prestigious favorite shelf.

GO READ IT!

--Julie

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (23)

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

Look at me, using numbers!

Anyway, today's WoW is the 2011 edition! Two 2011 releases I am ABSOPOSITIVELYFREAKINGLUTELY excited for.

Haunted
Joy Preble
[1/1/11]

Joy Preble's Haunted, the sequel to Dreaming Anastasia, in which a girl is being haunted by a mysterious and malevolent mermaid, to Daniel Ehrenhaft at Sourcebooks, for publication in Winter 2011, by Jennifer Rofe at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (from Joy Preble's website)

So, I love, love, LOVED Dreaming Anastasia
and as you guys can see, Joy dropped the hint about the sequel on my review months ago. Within the past few weeks, the news has become official and this most gorgeous cover has been posted. I will do anything possible to get a copy of this ASAP.

I also found out last night that this will be at BEA. So if anyone going to BEA wants their own copy or to become a saint...


Falling Under
Gwen Hayes
[March 2011]


In her dreams he’s irresistible—seductive, charming, and undoubtedly dangerous. But when he appears to her when she’s awake—and captivates her just the same—she’s not sure which way is up and which is down.


Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life, not allowed the same freedoms as the rest of the teenagers in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, she feels every urge she’s ever denied burning through her at the slightest glance from Haden Black. Theia knows she’s seen Haden before—not around town, but in her dreams.

Theia doesn’t understand how she dreamed of Haden before they ever met, but every night has them joined in a haunting world of eerie fantasy. And as the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her forward one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear. And as she slowly discovers what Haden truly is, Theia’s not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul. (from Gwen Hayes' website)

I first saw this on La Femme Readers and was instantly in love! The cover is perfection, the summary really draws me in, and Gwen is super sweet. This is another one I'll do everything possible for. (Yes, I am that shameless for some books.)

So, what are you guys waiting on this Wednesday?

--Julie

Monday, 10 May 2010

The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

This review may be a bit spoilery. You've been warned.

The Beautiful Between
Alyssa B. Sheinmel
[May 11, 2010]

If high school were a fairy-tale kingdom, Connelly Sternin would be Rapunzel, locked not in a tower by a wicked witch but in a high-rise apartment building by the SATs and college applications—and by the secrets she keeps. Connelly's few friends think that her parents are divorced—but they're not. Connelly's father died when she was two, and she doesn't know how.

If Connelly is the Rapunzel of her school, Jeremy Cole is the crown prince, son of a great and rich New York City family. So when he sits down next to her at lunch one day, Connelly couldn't be more surprised. But Jeremy has a tragic secret of his own, and Connelly is the only one he can turn to for help. Together they form a council of two, helping each other with their
homework and sharing secrets. As the pair's friendship grows, Connelly learns that it's the truth, not the secrets, that one must guard and protect. And that between friends, the truth, however harsh, is also beautiful.

This lovely and memorable debut by Alyssa B. Sheinmel contains many of the hallmark themes found in young adult literature—friendship, coming of age, finding a place to belong, and overcoming the death of a loved one. Emotionally moving from start to finish, The Beautiful Between introduces a strong new voice to the genre, a voice with a long future ahead of it.


I won this book from Random Buzzers and I entered because, you guys should know by now, fairytales make Julie happy. And my brain went "OOH! Pretty!"

Saturday night, I was almost done with A Curse as Dark as Gold (review later) and decided to bring this with me. It's pretty short so it wasn't a big deal. A finish ACDG and start this. Then I don't stop.

This story is so ridiculously beautifully written. The beauty of this made me want to cry. By the end of the novel, I actually did cry.

And you know the biggest selling point here? I love this book and there is no romance. NONE. And I'm the person always complaining about lack of romance in a book! But there is none here.

Jeremy and Connelly and Kate. I just loved them. Even the side characters that are really just driving forces in the plot, while not fully developed, I feel an attachment too. There is no wicked witch in this book.

The very beginning also makes me think a lot. About life. About high school. About fairy tales. It's something you have to read to understand. :P

But, yeah, you guys need to go read this book. It's a quick read, kind of heavy, but 200% awesome. I'll be reading this one over and over again.

--Julie

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan


Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green and David Levithan

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

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

I had very high expectations for this book. I LOVED with a passion David's Love is the Higher Law. John is just brilliant and hilarious and awesometastic.

Sadly, I was a bit let down.

I'd expected a lot of humor in this book and while the first half definitely delivered, the second half wasn't nearly as entertaining. It was very complex and dramatic and when I think John Green, that's not what I'm looking for.

Then, while David's parts were good, there was a lot less humor, even in the first half. To be honest, David's part also annoyed me. While it was in character for his Will Grayson, it followed no proper grammar and I felt like I was reading a 10 year old's myspace at times. On top of this, he seemed like a typical "emo" teenager a bit too often for my taste.

Will Grayson was a very good book and an awesome story about growing up, but it didn't live up to what I had hoped for it.

--Julie

Saturday, 8 May 2010

In My Mailbox (19) - Lanna

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


I got Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready from International Book Tours.

You can read the summary and my review of it HERE.

Now, onto the books I bought. :)

Pretty Little Liars books 1-4
by Sara Shephard

Summary of first book: Among the mega mansions and perfectly manicured hedges of Rosewood, Pennsylvania, everyone has something to hide—especially four very pretty little liars.

High school juniors Spencer, Hanna, Aria, and Emily have been keeping secrets ever since their best friend, Alison DiLaurentis, disappeared three years ago. But when the girls begin receiving threatening notes from someone named “A,” their secrets—the big ones, the little ones, even the long-buried ones—no longer seem so safe.

Unravel the Pretty Little Liars’ wildest mysteries in this special box set. But remember, nothing is as it seems in Rosewood...

-Summary from Harper Collins.

I've been aware of these books for a while, I just didn't have any desire to read them - they reminded me too much of Gossip Girl (didn't like the book, love the show) meets Private by Kate Brian (which I did like but lost interest in)... I'm not into reading books that seem very shallow/clique-y. BUT! Then I saw the trailer for the TV show and while the show might turn out to be different from the books, it did convince me to give the books a shot.

Here is the trailer:

I've been in this weird mood for poetry lately too so I got these:

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (the 1855 edition)
As I Walked Out One Evening by W. H. Auden

If you've read John Green's books, Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, then you'll probably know what made me want to read these specific ones.

Later.

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