Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Firelight Blog Tour: An Interview with Will and a GIVEAWAY

You've read my review and now today we have an interview with Will, the main male character from Firelight!

For those that don't know, Will and his family hunt drakis like Jacinda.

How did your family get in the draki hunting business?

My family has always hunted draki. At least on my dad’s side. It’s been the family business forever. My mom didn’t quite know what she was getting into when she married my dad…
What kind of training goes into killing draki?
In this modern age, draki hunting involves training in certain technologies. We use high-frequency radar and all-terrain vehicles, as well as helicopters, net launchers, etc. This is all equipment we need to be familiar with. We also need skill with firearms, particularly tranq guns and the bow and arrow. If you injure a draki in the wing, they’re can’t fly and are as good as caught. I’ve spent a lot of time at the archery and shooting range.

And, of course we need a certain level of physical fitness. As I said, hunting is a family business, so my dad had me in the gym ever since I could walk.

At what point did you realize draki hunting wasn't something you wanted to be a part of?
I guess around the time I figured out why my mom had become so unhappy. I used to hear her and dad fight late into the night. She didn’t want him training me so hard. She wanted me to do all the stuff normal kids did. Dad didn’t care. Not about what she wanted. Not about what I might want. And that’s when I knew that I never wanted to be a part of something that made you disregard the people you’re supposed to love. The real test came the first time I saw Jacinda. I knew then that anything that destroyed something so beautiful was evil.

What is one thing the world would be shocked to know about you?

I guess that would pretty much be the fact that the real reason I miss school so much is to hunt and capture draki. And there are other things … dangerous secrets I can’t reveal in this interview.

If it was possible and there was no other way, would you become a draki to be with Jacinda?

I can imagine doing or becoming anything if it meant being with Jacinda. She’s everything good and sweet. Nothing she is can be described as bad or wrong, so why would I be afraid of becoming like her?

Now, for something TOTALLY awesome! Sophie is offering up a SIGNED finished copy of Firelight!
  • ONE winner
  • US/CA only. Sorry international followers!
  • Ends September 14
  • You can get ONE extra entry for following Sophie on twitter (@SoVerySophie)





Good luck to everyone and I hope you all enjoyed Will!

--Julie

Monday, 30 August 2010

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Firelight
Sophie Jordan
[September 7, 2010]

With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.

Dragons. Interesting concept. My brain automatically goes to DragonLand. But the gorgeous cover and very intriguing summary meant I had to give it a shot.

Jacinda was phenomenal. I found her so interesting, her complete dedication to the pride and to life as a draki, and all she's willing to do for it. At the same time she also had Will and she was willing to do anything for him. I was fascinated watching her try to balance the two halves.

Will was kind of up and down for me. He was an arrogant jerk at first, then he was so sweet and he really, truly loved Jacinda. I mean, he cries at one point. Teenage guys crying over a girl? In this case, it was definitely because of love.

The writing sucked me in for hours. I don't think I did more than two sittings for this and yes, I cried again. I'm a wimp, I know. But I swear I wasn't until I started reading so much!

I don't think I can say anything else without spoiling or sounding like a broken record. Bottom Line: You want this book.

--Julie

Sunday, 29 August 2010

In My Mailbox (35)

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

Weee! This week was also awesome. I'm gonna need to host a self read-a-thon before school starts...


For Review:
Kiss Me Deadly edited by Tricia Telep

Won:
Dark Water by Laura McNeal


Bought:
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
The Duff by Kody Keplinger

I just finished reading Mockingjay. My heart hurts. How 'bout you guys?

--Julie

Lanna jumping in (saves putting up two posts *adjusts halo*:

I haven't done an IMM for a few weeks, so I'm going to include all the books I got in that time.

For review:

Single in the City by Michele Gorman (already reviewed)

Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett (almost done reading)

Bought:


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (finished - epic. I'm not going to review it but there *may* be HG/Mockingjay themed posts up instead once Julie has read the last two books in the series)

The Declaration & The Resistence by Gemma Malley (I got sent the third book in the series for review, so I wanted to get the rest)

Lady Jane by A. C. H. Smith (I watched the movie and wanted the book *shrugs* it's awesome cause it's one of those 0ld published in the 80's-ish hardcovers)

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (I've heard this one is hilarious)

Sleepless by Thomas Fahy

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Okay, so technically it's not out yet but I ordered it from Amazon so it *will* be in my mailbox. Soon.)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott. Fitzgerald (I want to see what all the fuss was about, why it's such a classic - they don't really make us read it here in school in the UK... at least not my school, maybe it's an American thing?)

Later.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

Personal Demons
Lisa Desrochers
[September 14, 2010]


Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance—even her closest friends—and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions—for Hell—and she possesses a unique skill set that has the King of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he’s as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn’t get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay…for all of them.
I've been itching for this book for months and it did NOT disappoint at all!


I loved this book SO much, I couldn't think of words for it for nearly a week! That is love!

So, let's start with Frannie. Frannie was a simple, non-flashy person. She just had a complicated set of emotions and a kick ass power. I felt kind of bad for her, because she didn't want this much attention...yet at the same time I envied she got that kind of attention. But she was strong and courageous and brave, all while holding Heaven and Hell in the palms of  her hands, literally!

Then there was Luc. Delicious, disturbed, demon that he is. Despite his hard exterior, he was such a softie and he loved Frannie so much. It was pure and good and genuine and SWOON WORTHY. I sigh just thinking of him.

There were a few minor faults to the book. The first 20 pages or so, the tone of the book was just...odd. I can't describe why or anything and the writing didn't change drastically out of the sky. Maybe it had to do with the books I was reading before and getting into the groove of things? I think it's more likely this was a me thing than the book itself.

My only other problem was that it was kind of impossible to be Team Gabe because we don't get to see his side of the story. But, I believe that he'll get his turn in future books, so that balances out too. Though, now I just have to worry I'll be going back and forth until the series ends! xD

The action in this story was genuine, making it more than just a love story. And it also raises some genuine points about Heaven vs. Hell, made me think of how I see it, even if that wasn't the point. That was probably just 8 years of religion classes trying to make itself worth something...don't think it worked.

This is a must read for everyone, I think. EVERYONE. Maybe it's not your kind of story, but it's good to stretch your wings and try new things! Doooooo it.

--Julie

Friday, 27 August 2010

Single in the City by Michele Gorman

Single in the City
by Michele Gorman

Summary: It’s official. Hannah has left her friends and family in the US behind and is following her dream. To live in London. Unfortunately she's completely unprepared for what's in store.

She’s going to find:

1. Her dream guy. A prince or Hugh Grant would be nice. Or does she have to settle for her half-naked Australian housemate or an "English gentleman" with terrible hygiene habits?

2. Her dream job. Something fantastic in fashion. So how has she ended up being the mini-me for an evil party planner who doesn’t even trust her to arrange the paperclips?

3. Her dream friends. But everyone in London seems to have known each other for years and Hannah’s having trouble getting to know nice people. Who’s she going to have fun with?

Dream life? Should Hannah just dream on? Maybe it would have been simpler and cheaper to just get a new haircut. Was she mad to move 3,000 miles away from everyone she knows? Will she ever find love and her perfect life in England?

Let me just start out by saying that I don't read a lot of adult books, because to be honest, they usually have the ability to bore me to tears (they have a tendency to tell stories about aspects of life I have no desire at all to read about).

I can happily say that this book was one of the rare exceptions. It was light and funny, it had me laughing out loud a bunch of times. Even when there wasn't much happening plot wise, just being inside Hannah's head and seeing the world through her eyes kept me amused.

It's funny, when reading books set in Britain I don't expect to find out new things about my culture because I've lived here my whole life and nearly everyone I know is British too... and yet seeing my country from Hannah's perspective made me aware of a lot of things about this place and being British that I never even noticed before.

For example, our tendency to apologize a lot when we actually don't have anything to be sorry for. While reading, I kept having "oh my god, I really do that!" moments. When I started reading the book, in the first chapter, I even had to stop reading to go on MSN and ask my co-blogger if Americans really didn't put butter on their sandwiches because the idea of that just baffled me - psh, mayo as a butter substitute indeed!

To be honest, a big part of the reason I liked the book so much was Hannah. She's the kind of person I wish I could be - the kind of person who will spontaneously make a life altering decision, like moving to another continent, and it doesn't matter if she fails because at least she tried and when embarrassing things happen to her, she doesn't let them cripple her (some of the cringe-y things that happen to her would have me running off, blushing like a tomato to hide in my bedroom but she faces up to things).

I really wish I could be like that -- she's not fearless and she has her doubts but she's brave enough to try and that makes her quite an inspirational character and the best part is, the story is really realistic. She is inspirational in a realistic way that makes you think "well, if she can do it then why can't I?" and I don't need to remind myself that it's fiction because it could happen.

While we're on the subject of realistic aspects of the book: Sam. He was lovely and he's not one of those fictional guys that leaves you feeling sad because they're not real and wishing he was real... because guys like him do exist.

I really adored Hannah's friends too and the little footnotes that explain the Americanisms throughout the book.

Michele did a really awesome job writing this book because she managed to keep the story real without making it dull. She didn't sugarcoat life to make it seem all excitement and drama and she didn't sugarcoat romance to make it seem like it's all rainbows and butterflies and every relationship will end in happily ever after -- she showed the normal things, the boredom and embarrassing moments, the imperfections in life... but she did it in such a way that I never found myself losing interest or wanting to skim through those bits to get to the good stuff because it was all good stuff.

Basically, I really liked the book and I'm glad I was sent a copy for review because like I said, it's not one I would've picked up on my own and I would've missed out on a really good book. It had a real Bridget Jones' Diary-ish charm to it, I really recommend it.

You can follow Michele on Twitter (@expatdiaries) or contact her through www.michelegorman.co.uk. Single in the City is available through most bookshops and online, including Amazon (UK, US, Canada, Germany, France, Japan)


Later.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Plain Kate
Erin Bow
[September 1, 2010]

The drizzle had broken into patches as they walked. As Drina scooped up the pale sand, Kate found herself standing in the smudge of shadow cast by the deadfall. She had never before noticed the way shadows gave things weight, made them look heavy and real and connected to the ground. Without hers...

She edged into the light.

Her shadow looked strange and thinned. It seemed not cast against the ground, but floating above it, like a fog. What Linay had said was true: No one would notice this, at first. It was just an uneasy little change, like the half-felt movement of a boat that slowly induces a great sickness.


Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden talismans are so fine that some even call her “witch-blade”: a dangerous nickname in a country where witches are hunted and burned in the square.
For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate’s father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.

Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he’ll give Kate the means to escape the angry town, and what’s more, he’ll grant her heart’s wish. It’s a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.

Plain Kate is magical, enchanting, and a fairy tale all of it's own.

The novel has a very unique voice that took me a while to get into, but after a two week break to read books already published, I was able to slip back in with ease. When I restarted, I was worried I'd have an adjusting period again and was pleasantly surprised how quickly the voice became familiar to me.

Taggle was my favorite character. He was amusing and arrogant, reminding me of Grimalkin from The Iron King and the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. He sounded like you'd imagine a cat to sound, with lines like



"Look, I'm still damp. Fuss over me."

The ending was full of action and had me teary-eyed at the same time. Fast paced and intense, I was hooked on it.

The only thing I dislike was how the beginning was kind of slow and it did take time to adjust to the voice.

But overall, this was a fabulous debut that met my expectations and I'll be looking for more from Erin Bow, for sure!

--Julie

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Shadow Hills in E-Book Form!

You guys have probably read my review of Shadow Hills, but if not you just need to know that I LOVED it!

Now all of you ebook lovers out there can get it too. Shadow Hills has been released as an ebook for the Nook and for the Kindle.

You want this book. Get this book and read it EVERYWHERE. That's what ereaders are for, right? (Though, maybe don't read it in the pool. That would be bad...)

--Julie

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Note: This was a review I wrote way back when we first started this blog in 2008 and I moved some to drafts to edit them and remove spoilers (because when this blog first started, it was just me and a bunch of friends writing reviews for each other and the reviews were more personal because of that and we had spoilers in our reviews).

This Lullaby
by Sarah Dessen

Summary from Amazon: The narrator, a cynical girl called Remy, tells of her time after she finishes school and before she starts college.

In this time she meets a boy, Dexter, who's everything she hates- messy, disorganised, impulsive and worst of all a musician, like her absent father.

Remy swore she'd never have anything to do with a musician, after her father wrote her a song, 'This Lullaby', on the day she was born, before dying. She even hates love itself, thanks to her mother's four marriages. But she's finding it difficult to keep on thinking like this with Dexter around...

Hmm... well, I did like the book, but it was over rated. Everyone that I had spoken to said it was brilliant and I did think it was good... just not as good as everyone says it is.

I think that may have something to do with the fact I spent half of the book wanting to bitch slap some sense into Remy and the other half realising that I'm actually a lot like her (which may actually have had something to do with aforementioned desire to bitch slap her).

I mean, the whole divorced parents, dead dad, mum married multiple times, commitnent phobia and cynical about relationships things are all true for me too. Basically, I relate too much to Remy, so that made the book less enjoyable because she drove me nuts.

I loved Dexter (and his dog Monkey). He was lovely, which was another reason I thought the book was over rated... not because he was lovely, but because we didn't get to see enough of him, or enough of him and Remy together. I wish it focussed a little more on their relationship because that was the most enjoyable thing about the book.

I did like the ending, but it was kind of predictable, I pretty much figured out how it would end about halfway through the book.

The book did have that charm that all of Sarah Dessen books have and it is really realistic and the characters and their problems are easy to relate to and the writing is great, just like with Sarah's other books... there was just something lacking. It had the potential to be fantastic but it didn't quite work for me. Good book, not great. I think it's one of those stories I would probably absolutely adore if it were a movie and we didn't have to be stuck in Remy's head the entire time.

To give you more of an idea of what I think of the book overall, it'd probably get about 3/3.5 stars out of 5. I do recommend the book still and other people seem to love it, it just wasn't one of those books that I adore.

Later.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Re-create a cover: Personal Demons

In case it wasn't obvious by now, I'm shamefully addicted to entering these contests (even though most of them can only have US winners and I'm in the UK - gotta love having US e-friends and a US co-blogger).

Anyway, YA Addict is hosting a recreate a cover contest for Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers.

Original cover:



My craptastic attempt (click it for full size):


It's not my best and I used actors this time because I don't know enough about the book to pick good stock photos.

Credit:

Girl - Elisabeth Harnois
Demon guy - Ben Barnes (doesn't he just bring the pretty?!)
Angel dude - This stock guy
Stock textures - fire and sky

Later.

Double Date by Marsha Werner

Double Date
Marsha Werner

Two dates—same night!
 Major oops. When Casey Cartwright's brother begs her to be nerdy Dale Kettlewell's date to the sure-to-be-boring Honors Engineering Awards, Casey says yes. Even though Dale is totally not her type… and might have a crush on her. Ugh. But it's a nice thing to do, and Casey's always been the "nice" girl.

But now, that night conflicts with the biggest event of the semester, the All-Greek formal. Casey already has a date lined up: hot transfer student Rob Howell. He's her plan to get over her sexy-slacker ex, Cappie. And even nice girls get to be bad sometimes, right?

What to do? With a little help from BFF Ashleigh, unwanted advice from frenemy Rebecca Logan and even a push from Cappie, what Casey does may surprise even herself….

This was exactly what I expected. It was cute and quick and simple. It kept true to the spirit of the show as well.

While reading this, it felt like I was watching an episode, but I also wasn't confused. I haven't watched the show since the second season or so and obviously don't know all the relationships going on now, but the book anticipated that not everyone watches the show and filled in many of the blanks.

It was a cute read. Watching as things slowly fell into place for all the book's characters, especially Casey, was kind of fun. The romances and the escorts and the friendships are always kind of heart warming.

I wasn't wowed by this book though. I found myself kind of bored. When I say this played out like an episode, it was exactly like an episode. In Greek, many of the episodes are predictable and similar and tend to end pretty much in exactly the place they began. This means I knew what would happen and that's just not fun. It made for a boring read.

But it was also light and quick, simple. It only took me a few hours when I decided to sit and read it. And it was a nice break between the last book I read, the book for my English class I'm still working on, and the book I'm reading now.

This is light and quick and perfect for those still in love with Greek. It's exactly how it seems it would be.

--Julie

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Wait for Mockingjay

You guys know I posted my review for The Hunger Games the other day. The series has captivated me, as well as millions of other people.

Today is the Day before Mockingjay's release. Some VERY lucky people have already read it because their stores failed at embargoes. Sadly, I'm not one of those people. Partly because I haven't read Catching Fire and partly because my pre-order of Mockingjay won't even be sent until tomorrow because the Borders.com HQ DOES follow the embargo.

Jerks.

But anyway. There's really no point to this post. But it felt wrong to not post SOMETHING today. 

I think I'll make the main goal for this post this: Don't. Spoil. Anything. In public.

Some people are doing what I attempted to do. Not even READING the series until Mockingjay was out. Other people are like me and don't even know the summary for Mockingjay. So, it would be SO TOTALLY AWESOME if we all agreed not to spoil ANY part of the series in public. 

If a friend (like Lanna) LOVES spoilers, give it to the in an email. If you wanna discuss Mockingjay, do it somewhere where not everyone can see you.

There have already been spoilers put on the web by people who got Mockingjay early. It ticked people off. Don't be one of those people.

I'm in the boat where I don't even know what's on the jacket for Catching Fire, much less Mockingjay. And I probably won't know until this weekend. So Mockingjay silence shouldn't JUST be kept until tomorrow when the book is out. The world needs time because not everyone can get the book right away.

So, the point of this post that I've pulled from nowhere is to be cool, and not spoil any part of the series in a public place. If you do and someone chases after you with a pitchfork, don't be surprised.

Happy Almost Mockingjay Day, everyone. Happy reading.

--Julie aka The Girl Who Hates Spoilers

Sunday, 22 August 2010

In My Mailbox (34) AKA the one where Julie does many happy dances

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

I mentioned last week that I was expecting some stuff this week. What I DIDN'T expect was the awesomeness that was Monday. There was happy dancing (that I almost recorded, but I'd just gotten up and hadn't showered yet) and gasping and jumping and mad tweeting and making Lanna jealous and protecting the shinyness from Boy. If every Monday was like this for everyone, people wouldn't dread them so much.

Honestly? This whole week was just full of the epic.



For Review:
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Matched by Ally Condie
The Jumbee byPatricia Keyes

Bought (ish):
The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty

Won:
Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston

How 'bout you guys?

--Julie

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

"Julie, are you REALLY writing a review for this? A honest-to-God coherent review? A honest-to-God review of a book with mad fans similar to Harry Potter?"


Yes. Yes I am. Mostly because you never know when you'll have a day without a planned post and this is a good review to have in stock.


This book is like nothing I've ever read. It's jam-packed with thrills and adventure and so much more! (Yes, I'm aware I sound like I'm advertising a theme park.)


I knew vaguely how the book would end. I didn't know if the games would be over when the book ended, but I knew who had to survive. Despite this, my heart was pounding and I had to keep turning the page until I KNEW they were safe and in the clear.


My heart broke on several occasions. I cried. I stayed up until 4, only going to bed then because I knew my dad was getting up for work. I didn't sleep until 4:30.  I woke up at 9 for church. I started reading again after church until I finished. Then I started subtly hinting at my mom to go out so I could get Catching Fire. Mission failed. But then got her to pre-order Mockingjay. Will be scavenging CVS and grocery store for Catching Fire this week.


MAD WOMAN ON A MISSION.


NEED BOOK TWO.


RAWR.


Now, the incoherent part:


SLGKDFJNKXJM.;D,MGKLGJDHMS.MNGPEETAAAAAAAAKSLGSNVKJCNF,MNDPEETAAAAA
SLGFNJNCVBLJKNBLDGGRUERUERUESLGKSGFXNMRUEKSJFB,SNVSOBSOBSKJFDV


And...yeah...I'll stop now. 

Read it. After you have all three books in your possession.


--Julie

Friday, 20 August 2010

Censor This

Censorship is something that pisses us off.

Not just me. Not just Lanna. Not just authors that get banned. It's something that pisses off authors and bloggers of all types. Because an ignorant minority that thinks their opinions are more important than the majorities and somebody has to say something.

And bloggers and authors combining? We can get very loud. And we WILL get loud because this isn't acceptable.

Teenagers get pregnant. Teenagers get addicted to drugs. Teenagers drink and become alcoholics. Teenagers can be gay. Teenagers have issues with their friends. Teenagers become prostitutes. Teenagers commit suicide. Teenagers curse. 

So, why aren't we allowed to read about what real teenagers do?

We're not stupid. We learn in middle school that life sucks, it's not all happiness and puppies and rainbows and not everyone is an angel. We know that happy endings are not the truth because every life has problems and is hard and there's nothing easy or perfect about life.

But according to a small group of people, we aren't allowed to read...the truth? What sense does that make?

According to these people, we can't read books like Crank by Ellen Hopkins because it has bad words and shows the honesty of what happens when somebody gets addicted to drugs. We can't read books like The Bermudez Triangle because being a lesbian and having friend problems is apparently wrong. We can't read John Green books because...because they have a lot of perverted or inappropriate jokes? That's the only reason I can think of as to why we can't read a John Green book. Even though I think half of my friends are more inappropriate and perverted.

The worst part is that most of the time these people have never even read the books they want to censor. But they think that because their precious little angels aren't allowed to read the books, NOBODY should be allowed to read the books. To me this is kind of like saying "I'm sorry, I don't like chocolate. NOBODY IS EVER ALLOWED TO EAT CHOCOLATE AGAIN."

I'm sorry, but what? No, you can't take my chocolate away and no you can't tell me what not to read. That doesn't work with me. And it shouldn't have to work with anyone.

And that's the truth. That's what the banners don't want you to know. They can go ahead and censor their kids to death, making them know that the world is puppies and rainbows and happy happy, joy joy forever and ever. But they aren't going to censor me.

--Julie

P.S. To read the events that inspired this post and some authors talk about why censorship is wrong:


Ellen Hopkins Explains
Melissa de la Cruz Withdraws
Tera Lynn Childs Withdraws
Pete Hautman Withdraws
Ellen Hopkins Explains More

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson


The Bermudez Triangle
Maureen Johnson



When Nina learns the shocking truth that her best friends Mel and Avery have fallen in love with each other, their friendship is rocked by what feels like the ultimate challenge. But it's only the beginning of a painful, funny, and gripping journey as three girls discover who they are and what they really want.

Maureen Johnson is hilarious on twitter, so when I saw her book, I knew I HAD to grab it.

The beginning of the book made it obvious who was writing. The jokes and the characters sense of humor was similar to Maureen's and I loved it. It was funny and I kept smiling at all the little jokes and the sarcasm.

Then the book got serious. At times it felt like they were just going in circles, especially Avery and Mel. Nora was always the beacon, the person I looked forward to reading. She always had something new going on, something interesting.

Parker was another bright spot with his awkward humor. He was downright adorable, kind of reminding me of Daniel Gale from The Bad Mother's Handbook (for those who have seen it, if not I recommend it!). He was always there to lighten the mood.

Despite the occasional feeling that nothing was happening, something always was happening. It was slow moving and paced well so by the end of the book you realized that a LOT had happened.

This was a good book about friendships, friendships becoming more than that, long distance relationships, and coming out to yourself and the world.

--Julie

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

On Our Wishlist (2)

On Our Wishlist is inspired by Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday.

The formatting for WoWs is EXTREMELY annoying to do once a week. So instead, Lanna and I are both going to post 5-10 books from our wish list once a month. One of us will post on the first Wednesday of every month, and the other will post on the third Wednesday of every month.



Crescendo
Becca Fitzpatrick
[October 19, 2010]



The Lost Saint
Bree Despain
[December 28, 2010]


Tempestuous
Lesley Livingston
[December 21, 2010]




Last Sacrifice
Richelle Mead
[December 7, 2010]


Bloody Valentine
Melissa de la Cruz
[December 28, 2010]



Rich and Mad
William Nicholson
[September 14, 2010]



Cate of the Lost Colony
Lisa Klein
[October 12, 2010]



Secondhand Charm
Julie Berry
[October 12, 2010]



Intrinsical
Lani Woodland
[August 20, 2010]



Fallen Angel
Heather Terrell
[December 28, 2010]


Yeah, that was a lot easier.

What do you guys think?

--Julie

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Dear Book Banners

Dear Book Banners,

Book banning: It’s a bogey on the tissue of literature/life. Seriously.

Here’s the thing… if you don’t want your kids reading certain books because of the subject matter then fair enough -- I’m not into the whole wrapping your kids up in cotton wool and sheltering them from reality thing, making them live in a little censored bubble, but whatever, you’re the parent and you can raise your kids however you want to.

Key word there: Your.

That only applies to YOUR kids.

You shouldn’t try to get books banned from libraries because other peoples kids have nothing to do with you. You don’t have the right to try and censor other people or decide how their kids should be raised or which books other peoples kids should be allowed to read - focus on your own children and stop trying to control other peoples lives.

Sometimes I wonder if some parents forget what it’s like to be young, if they forget what it’s like being a teenager, especially the ones who try to get books banned.

Sex happens. Swearing happens. People taking drugs and drinking alcohol happens.

Maybe your kid isn’t experiencing these things first hand, but unless they’ve led and incredibly sheltered life then they will be aware of these things to an extent and have/will probably talk about them with their friends at some point. Reading about it in a book is not going to corrupt their innocence or turn them into a rebellious teen who is covered in piercing and tattoos and has underage sex while getting trashed at parties you forbid them from attenting.

As surprising as this may be, teen books with sex or homosexuality or bad language or drugs are NOT trying to encourage your kids to go out and have sex/be gay/cuss like the Devil/take drugs/drink. They’re not. And really, if you honestly think your kid isn’t mature enough to handle the subject matter then I feel bad for your child, because you are really underestimating them (and lets face it, if your kid wants to spend their time reading then the chances are you’ve got one of the good ones anyway, don’t treat them like they’re not by thinking they would be so easily influenced).

When I think of people trying to ban books, I’m always reminded of those people who try to get sex ed cut out of schools and replaced with abstinence only education -- guess which kids are more likely to go out and get pregnant or an STD? It’s not going to be the ones who have been educated about sex and the risks, it’s the ones who are left clueless about contraception and the possible consequences of having sex.

When people are told not to do something or that they can’t have something then 9 times out of 10 it will only make them want it more -- when something is unattainable or off limits, wanting it more is human nature.

When I was younger, I drank alcohol. I tried smoking a few times. I attended parties with people older than me, where people were drinking alcohol and getting high and my mum had no clue I was at them. Me and my best friend climbed out of her living room window sometimes in the middle of the night to sneak over to our guy friends house to play strip dares. First time I saw real porn I was 15 at a party I shouldn’t have been at and really, I’m not even mentioning some of the worst things and actually, I was one of the “good girls” -- I know people who have got up to much worse stuff in their teens. A girl I knew died when she was 16/17 because she took some bad drugs (please note: she did not like to read, in case you're delusional enough to think that fiction somehow put her on that track).

I haven’t been drunk or really drank any alcohol since I was 17 years old. I don’t and never will smoke (although, I do have a tendency to cuss like the devil but I'm 21, whatever). And really, I turned out okay… those things didn’t corrupt me or make me into this awful person. They happened, I learned from them and I regret none of it.

My point in telling you all of this is not to say I encourage any of this stuff, I honestly don’t -- my point is simply that it happens. In real life, it happens. These books you’re trying to ban aren’t these horrific stories created in the minds of disturbed people -- they’re just authors telling realistic stories and they’re not encouraging the stuff in their books either, the books aren’t a How To Guide in engaging in underage sex or drinking or taking drugs or anything like that… if anything, they show the reasons not to do that stuff.

Some people tried to ban one of my favourite books: Looking for Alaska by John Green. Now that book is bloody fantastic, it’s well written and the characters could very easily be people I know, they’re intelligent and realistic. The things that happen in the book that had wannabe-book-banners throwing a hissy fit were a big part of what made the book realistic and they chose to ignore the fact that it was true to real life and teens reading the book could very easily experience that stuff in their own lives anyway and they chose to ignore the amazing message that the book had. All they saw was, LE GASP!, mention of underage drinking and mild references to sex.

I’m not going to tell you how to raise your kids, because I don’t have any. I’m not a parent, but as someone who still kind of feels like I’m stuck between growing up and being grown up, I assure you banning books is not the right thing to do. You can’t shelter your kids from everything, you should make sure they’re educated about that stuff -- talk to them instead of just trying to isolate them from all the bad things in the world.

My co-blogger is a teen and she's more mature than a lot of adults I know, same applies to some other people I've met through a love of reading, and they've read books like Looking for Alaska and they read it a lot more maturely than you did.

They read it and saw the way it was written and the brilliant characters and when they finished the last page, they were inspired by the message in the book and that message had nothing at all to do with sex and alcohol -- they were reading the book the way it was supposed to be read, if you missed all the good things and only saw the things you think are "inappropriate" for people their age to read then clearly you're missing the point and reading the book all wrong.

Would you stop teenagers from watching the news too? Because honestly, the stuff you see and read in the news makes the stuff you’re trying to ban from libraries look as innocent as rainbows and butterflies and My Little Pony.

There’s so much more I want to say but the very idea of book banning makes me so angry that I literally can’t discuss it properly or particularly coherently so I'll leave it at that.

Later.

P.s. It's funny, Julie and I wrote our posts completely seperately without discussion what we would be - discussing, beyond the general subject and weirdly they compliment each other. Although Julie makes her point so much better than I make mine.

P.p.s. The following post script is totally stolen from Julie's post. *snatches links from co-blogger, is lazy*


P.p.p.s. To read the events that inspired this post and some authors talk about why censorship is wrong:

Ellen Hopkins Explains
Melissa de la Cruz Withdraws
Tera Lynn Childs Withdraws
Pete Hautman Withdraws
Ellen Hopkins Explains More

Sleepless by Cyn Balog


Sleepless
Cyn Balog


Eron De Marchelle isn't supposed to feel a connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce human charges to sleep. While he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to--after all, getting too involved in one human's life would prevent him helping his other charges get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia. Julia, with her fiery red hair and her sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. Eron has always felt protective of Julia . . . but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't seem to reach her . . .


Sandmen are forbidden from communicating with humans outside their dreams. But will Eron be willing to risk everything for a chance to be with the person he loves?
I liked this book. It was a quick, easy read and fairly light. Until the end when it became very dark and twisted, which I loved! A completely new turn to make it a bit more complex and nerve wracking. As much as I enjoy my light novels, I still like substance.

But for some reason, I didn't love it. It took me a while to figure out why, and then I realized...I didn't really see the connection between Eron and Julia. I know Eron is from a very different time period, but I just didn't feel the emotion from him. And Julia seemed very much still in love with her boyfriend for a while.

This is one of those books that I would have loved more if it was longer and more fleshed out. Since that can't be changed, a sequel would be awesome! Especially with how the novel ended. It wasn't a cliffhanger and everything was closed up, but it has potential for more.

Julia is a very different kind of character. I liked reading it, though it took time to adjust. She didn't seem to really grieve about her boyfriend, but she also wasn't really that kind of girl. It's very different because no matter how bad ass our female characters are, they're always gonna have a weak spot for their boyfriend.

This book was just different as a whole. Cute and fun with a dark twist at the end and, overall, very enjoyable.

--Julie

Monday, 16 August 2010

Everlasting by Angie Frazier

Everlasting
Angie Frazier

Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty.

On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous—and alluring—magic.

The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who—and what—matters most.

Beautifully written and feverishly paced, Everlasting is an unforgettable journey of passion, secrecy, and adventure.


I've been looking forward to this book for MONTHS, and I DID really enjoy it, but I didn't love it like I thought I would. Maybe because it wasn't the story I expected?

I loved Camille's strength and Oscar as he subtly made it more and more obvious how he felt. Oscar in general was awesome. And I LOVED Ira. So funny. I love me some sarcasm (have I mentioned that? ;]).

Most of the book was fast paced and captivating and hard to put down. But I had a hard time with the beginning. The first 100 pages or so were kind of...eh. I had a hard time sitting and reading. I also felt like Camille wasn't mourning the way most would. She had horrible things happen to her and didn't seem tremendously sad. Maybe that was just me?

I really enjoyed Everlasting, but I just wasn't wow-d. I don't have really strong feelings toward it, it's just a book that I enjoyed while reading and then moved on. There's not much else I can say about it (partly because I put off this review for 2 weeks, unsure what to say).

--Julie

Sunday, 15 August 2010

In My Mailbox (33)

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

This wasn't a busy week, but I did get some epic news about more books coming. Although, to be honest, I'm not even sure what's IN one of my packages. Random Buzzers sent me an email confirmation for an order of "Top Members" and I DON'T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS.
Nobody seems to know. Hopefully I'll find out next week!








For Review:
Greek: Double Date by Marsha Werner

From the Library/For School:
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

...Misc?:
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent


Thoughts on these books? What did you guys get?

--Julie

Saturday, 14 August 2010

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

Summary: Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is a perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective, But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

--From the back of the book.

This book is difficult to explain (I seem to be saying that a lot lately, sorry).

It was fantastic -- and I guess the best way to put it, is that the book is like nostalgia.

The entire book just gave me that nostalgic feeling; sometimes it made me want to laugh, sometimes it made me want to cry, and I felt sad and happy and inspired and human with every page I turned.

I guess I should explain the human thing... there are books that make us realise our own mortality because they deal with death, but this book wasn't like that, it was about life -- it was about living. There was that sense of time passing and life changing in the book and it just made me feel really human; where I realise that life is short and we're temporary and we all have to live and one day it's going to be over and nothing is forever.

Someday, everything becomes a memory because at the end of the day, that's what life is about; filling our lives with memories, as many happy ones as we possibly can.

I knew that, of course, but the book makes you stop and re-realise it.

This wasn't a book that you read for the plot, you don't read it to get to the end -- it's like you read it for the journey, not the destination -- because it didn't feel like it was a story, it felt like life not a plot.

I could say how brilliant I think the characters are, how awesome Charlie was with his weird almost innocent and incredibly honest way of viewing the world or how I love all of the music and other things referenced in the book or how I found myself putting loads of little scraps of paper in pages of the book that I loved so I could go back to them or how I really loved the prose... but really, as awesome as those things were, they weren't what made the book so excellent.

It's funny, there was an exact page where I had this moment and realised, "Okay, I love this book." and that almost never happens, it's usually this gradual thing or something, but page 38 was when I realised I loved it.

I am not explaining this book well at all, it's one of those books that you have to read to really understand what I'm trying to put into words in this review.

You should read it. It was honestly one of the best books I've read, but it's strange, it's not my favourite in the same way as John Green books or Melina Marchetta books are my favourite, it's just as brilliant but it's like the Perks of Being a Wallflower is it's own kind of brilliant, it's unique and I can't really compare it to anything I've read before.

Anyway, sorry this review was kind of awful, just... read the book.

Later.

p.s. There is a few covers of the book, this one is my favourite and the others are the reason it took me so long to read the book. Another case of allowing a title/cover I dislike put me off reading an awesome book (happened with Jellicoe Road), I really should stop doing that.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Fragment Friday (1)

So, this week I'm trying something new. If you guys like it, I'll do it again next week. Once school starts, I might not have as much time, but we'll see.

This meme is called Fragment Friday (duh) and hosted by James at Book Chic. This week I'm reading from my current read, and a favorite, Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan.




So, what do you guys think? Want me to keep doing this? Let me know!

--Julie

An Interview with Mandy Hubbard

You guys read my review yesterday, so today we have an INTERVIEW with Mandy Hubbard, author of You Wish and Prada and Prejudice!

What is your definition of love?


Oh, I don't think its defineable. That's what makes it so fun to write about-- there are a million kinds of love, just begging to be written about.

What are five books you would recommend?

Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
Sleepless by Cyn Balog
A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker


Is there any book that you wish you wrote?

Uh, Twilight? Harry Potter?
Mega-Seller books aside, how about... Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry. :-)

What would you do if you found yourself in the year 1815?

Probably long for Mcdonalds. ha. If possibilities are endless, I'd go to a ball and dance with a duke!


If you were put in Kayla's place during You Wish, what wishes would come true for you?

Oh geez! The Backstreet Boys would serenede me. My crush would kiss me. I'd have a zillion dollars. Silly things, mostly.

Out of all the novels you've written, do you have a favorite character?

I really do like Kayla. She was fun and sarcastic. :-)

What is your favorite part of being an author?

Walking into a store and seeing my book, and realizing this thing in my head that I typed upon my computer somehow made it into print, and its sitting right next to all those amazing books I have read and loved. Mind-Boggling!

Thanks SO much for the interview Mandy!

You can read my review of Prada and Prejudice here and my review of You Wish here.

To learn more about Mandy Hubbard, visit her website here.

--Julie

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