Sunday, August 29, 2010

In My Bag (18)

In My Bag is my version of the weekly meme, In My Mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren, and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis.

For review:
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
*copy provided by We Love YA Tours*

One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt
*Thanks ZoeAlea for hosting such a great contest!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

So I'm obviously most excited about Mockingjay, but I'm holding off on reading it because I'm not through with my reread of HG and CF, so I let Josh read it first... ::gasps::  I know, I know, I'm the best fiance ever. What'd you guys get this week?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It features upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

This week's pick is...

Fixing Delilah
Coming December 15, 2010 - Preorder it below

From Goodreads:
Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

My thoughts:

Sarah Ockler is the author of Twenty Boy Summer. If you've read Twenty Boy Summer, then I don't really need to say anything else. This is the exact reason I put it on my to-read list, back before there was a cover or even a description and the title was Fixing Delilah Hannaford. Now that it has a snazzy cover and an official blurb, I'm even more excited about its upcoming release. Oh, December, can't you get here any faster?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It features upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

This is my first week participating, and I'm super excited to be talking about...

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Coming October 26, 2010 - Preorder it below

From Goodreads:
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

My thoughts:

I cannot freaking wait for this book. For me, Cohn and Levithan are my favorite writing duo. They are amazing enough on their own, but when they get together it's magic. I just loved their previous collaborations Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List. (In fact, you should totally keep an eye out during this year's BlogFest because I have it on good authority that someone will be giving away paperback copies of both.) Dash & Lily sounds like another great adventure brought to us by the brillantly sharp and funny Rachel and David. Theirs are two of my favorite voices in YA, and I'm so glad they have another story to tell.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: May 12, 2009
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 224
Source: Library

Thirteen-year-old Kyra is one of the chosen ones - a polygamist cult located in arid isolation. All her life she has never questioned her father's three wives or her twenty-plus brothers and sisters, but when the Prophet orders her to become the seventh wife of her sixty-year-old uncle, Kyra begins to have doubts. What Kyra really wants is to remain with her family, continue to sneak books from the Library-on-Wheels, and some day marry her true love Joshua. Kyra soon learns what she wants doesn't matter, and she must then choose between staying or leaving, her family or no one, marriage or freedom. But when Kyra does find the courage, she realizes the Prophet may not allow her the choice.

I've had The Chosen One from the library for a while now, and I must say I've been putting it off. Despite the gleaming reviews, I was a little turned off from the subject after reading The 19th Wife (which left me greatly disappointed). I am so glad that I didn't put it off any longer. The Chosen One was an amazing story I could not put down. So often when we hear of religious extremists, the media depicts them as completely alien and we don't see them as worthy of our compassion. Williams's novel depicts Kyra's family as loving and faithful. Throughout the story there was no doubt in my mind that Kyra's father loved her and each of her siblings, that Kyra's mothers loved her equally, and that they truly believed the Prophet's words were the key to salvation.

The Chosen One is a haunting look at a world within our own. Although a fictitious story, groups like the one in this novel do exist in America today (I know, totally scary). But as scary as it is, stories like these need to be heard, and I'm glad Carol Lynch Williams told this one so beautifully.

Monday, August 16, 2010

God Is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein

God Is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein
Publisher: Dial
Released: May 13, 2010
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 272
Source: 1 ARC Tours

Grace works at the local nursing home, which may be surprising, but what's an even bigger surprise is the fact that she actually likes it. This is mostly due to Mr. Sands, an ex-marine with Lou Gehrig's disease whom she befriends. He and Grace constantly try to out-wit one another with their playful and often hilarious banter. Despite Grace's family and best-friend-who-is-a-boy issues, she spends her time at Hanover House learning about life and how to play cards until one day when Mr. Sands asks her to help him die.

I wish I could convey to you my love for this book. Every. single. word. resonated with me. Obviously an author's goal is for readers to relate to the main character(s), but the way I saw myself in Grace was almost scary. Not that I've had someone ask me to help him die, but she kept saying and thinking things that I could totally see myself saying and thinking. This book was an amazing tribute to an honorable man and his fight against a debilitating and fatal disease. But it was also a tribute to that man's loved ones and just how far they'll go to stand by him. This book was bittersweet in the best possible way and vies for a spot on my list of best endings.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In My Bag (17)

In My Bag is my version of the weekly meme, In My Mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren, and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis.

For review:
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah
*copies provided by 1 ARC Tours*

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
*copy provided by Traveling ARC Tours*

From the library:

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

The Line by Teri Hall
My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

I literally did my happy dance when I opened up Clockwork Angel on Friday. I thought I was further along on the tour and did not expect it at all. I also hit the jackpot at the library. I stalk my library's order list, and I've had some of these titles on hold for months. I was shocked when they all came in at once. What'd you guys get this week?

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Publisher: Clarion Books
Released: September 14, 2009
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: Library
Series: Book 1 of Witch

While most teens struggle to be normal, Tamsin seems to be cursed by it. In a family full of Talent, Tamsin is the only one without a magical gift, even though it was prophesied that she would be the most powerful of them all. At seventeen she goes off to boarding school in an attempt to distance herself from her family and the constant reminder of being different. One day she is approached by a young professor in search of a family heirloom and is mistaken for her gifted sister. Instead of correcting the professor, Tamsin plays along determined to succeed and rub it in her family's faces. Tamsin enlists the help of Gabriel, an old family friend, and begins a journey through time in search of the missing object and her family's fate.

You know the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover?" Well, sometimes you can. Once a Witch was featured on a display shelf at my local library and caught my eye. I mean, have you seen that cover? It's gorgeous. Knowing nothing except that it was apparently about witches and had great cover art, I started reading without any real expectations. Yay for good surprises! Tamsin was a very likable character; she was easy to relate to, and her voice definitely kept me entertained. There was also an element of mystery held throughout the novel. Although the "who" was revealed early on, the "whys" kept the reader guessing up until the very end.

Overall I was captivated from the first few chapters. Tamsin and Gabriel's constant banter and the details about Tamsin's extended family made for some light hearted moments amidst the dark, looming threats. I really enjoyed Tamsin's journey into the past and the discoveries she made. While the ending was a bit of a cliff-hanger, it was still a satisfying end to the first book in a series. Book two, Always a Witch, is scheduled for release early next year. I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I've been interviewed!

Karen at For What It's Worth is currently hosting the Ultimate Reviewers Challenge* which you should totally sign up for if you haven't already. The goal is to post as many reviews throughout the month of August for a chance at prizes. Coinciding with this challenge are several mini challenges and a feature called "Better Know a Blogger."

I was thrilled when Karen asked me to be a part of this feature, and I had a lot of fun answering the list of questions she sent. For What It's Worth reviews books, music, movies, and anything else Karen feels worth sharing her opinion. I love her content, and I was truly honored to be a part of her feature. My interview is up today and can be found HERE. Please stop by, not only for my feature, but because For What It's Worth is definitely worth the trip.

*The Ultimate Reviewers Challenge is also being hosted by Karen's Addictions, All Consuming Book Reviews, and Addicted 2 Novels.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

In My Bag (16)

In My Bag is my version of the weekly meme, In My Mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren, and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis.

For review:
The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
*copy provided by 1 ARC Tours*

That's it for me this week. I refrained from making a library stop this week because my pile is a little overwhelming and my reviews-to-write list is much too long for my liking. What'd you guys get this week?

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Released: April 2, 2009
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 208
Source: Library

Mia doesn't have a whole lot in common with the rest of her family. Both of her parents are rockers and even her little brother plays the drums. Mia's love is her cello and the classical music she plays. Despite their differences, however, they're still a family and often spend weekends visiting friends and family together. On one such trip spontaneously planned, Mia finds herself staring out of the car window one minute and being out in the snow the next. She soon realizes that they've crashed and she's been ejected from the vehicle. Mia comes across the bodies of her parents and finally stumbles upon her own as she's looking for her younger brother. Mia watches as the paramedics arrive and take her and her brother's broken bodies to the hospital.

After arriving at the hospital, Mia continues her out-of-body experience as she watches the hospital staff fight to save her life. She also watches as her friends and family pray for her recovery. Ultimately, though, it is Mia's choice to stay or leave. She must decide to join her family on the other side or wake up and meet the struggle of the physical and emotional recovery she faces.

I'd heard amazing things and read some great reviews before beginning If I Stay. Yet, I was shocked and a little confused when the accident happened within the first few pages. I wondered where the author would take me and how she'd get me there. I was worried I hadn't been given enough information to be invested in Mia. I'm so glad I was wrong. Gayle Forman allowed me to see things as they were happening through Mia's eyes, and I was also allowed into Mia's memories. It was through these flashbacks that I was introduced to Mia's family, boyfriend, and best friend. I was given a look into her life before the accident, and I better understood Mia's struggle with her choice.

Although the premise was admittedly somber, If I Stay was inspiring, hopeful, and beautifully written. Of course, there were tears shed, and by the time I finished I was a blubbering mess, but don't let that stop you from picking up this book. Because amidst all the sadness, If I Stay is also a love story. Mia's grandparents, Kim, and Adam all love her and want her to stay, and the things they say and do while Mia is unconscious is heartachingly beautiful. So get out the Kleenex because this story is worth every sniffle.

You can visit Gayle's website for exciting news about her upcoming sequel titled Where She Went and progress on the filming (YES, THEY'RE MAKING A MOVIE!) of If I Stay.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In My Bag (15)

In My Bag is my version of the weekly meme, In My Mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren, and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis.

For review:
Salvaged by Stefne Miller
*copy provided by We Love YA Tours*

God is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein
*copy provided by 1 ARC Tours*

What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader by Adrianne Ambrose
*copy provided by 1 ARC Tours*

From the library:
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Weeping Underwater Looks a Lot Like Laughter by Michael J. Smith

I'm super excited about my library books this week. I've already read the three for review, and God Is in the Pancakes may be a new favorite of mine. Reviews will be posted soon. What are you guys most excited about getting this week?
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