Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reviews Masterlist


A Field Guide for Heartbreakers by Kristen Tracey
A Good Boy is Hard to Find by Suzanne Young
A Note From an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker
Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund
Addicted To Her by Janet Nichols Lynch
Adios Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft
After The Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy
Afterlife by Claudia Gray
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman
And Then I Found Out the Truth by Jennifer Sturman
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri
After by Amy Efaw
Arson by Estevan Vega
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness


Beautiful Americas by Lucy Silag
The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B. Scheinmel
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate
Betrays (Strange Angels Book 2) by Lili St Crow
Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
The Body Finder: Kimberly Derting
Break by Hannah Moskowitz
Breathless by Jessica Warman
Bullet Point: Peter Abrahams
By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Ann Peters


Caleb + Kate: Cindy Martinusen-Coloma
Captivate by Carrie Jones
Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Compromised by Heidi Ayarbe
Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers
Crash Into Me by Albert Borris
Crash Test Love by Ted Michaels
Crazy by Han Nolan
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Crossing by Andrew Fukuda
Crossing The Bridge by Michael Baron
Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber


The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Dark Flame by Alyson Noel
Deadly Codes by James O'Donnell
Diary of a Witness by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Dirty Little Secrets by CJ Omololu
Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen


The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos
The Everafter by Amy Huntley
Everlasting by Angie Frazier
Exit Strategy by Ryan Potter
Explorer X- Alpha by LM Preston


Fallen by Lauren Kate
Fatal Gamble by James O'Donnell
Fearscape by Simon Holt
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Firespell by Chloe Neill
First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Flash by Michael Cadnum
Forget You by Jennifer Echols
Freefall by Mindi Scott


Gifted- Here Today, Gone Tomorrow by Marilyn Kaye

The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla
The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols


Hannah by Hannah Westberg
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Hearts At Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
His Eyes by Renee Carter
Hold Still by Nina Lacour
Hourglas by Claudia Gray
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
How It Ends by Laura Wiess
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick


I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth
Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph


Jealousy (Strange Angels 3) by Lili St. Crow
Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles
The Journey Home by Michael Baron
The Jumbee by Pamela Keyes
Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde


Kiss It by Erin Downing
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Knife That Killed Me by Anthony McGowan
Knight Angels: Book of Love by Abra Ebner
Knight Angels: Book of Revenge by Abra Ebner


Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Leftovers by Laura Wiess
Lessons From A Deadgirl by Jo Knowles
The Lighter Side of Life and Death: CK Kelly Martin
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Little Wanting Song: Cath Crowley


The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Meridian by Amber Kizer
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey


The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
Ni'il: The Awakening by James Boyle
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer


Of All The Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz
One Lonely Degree by CK Kelly Martin
The Owl Keeper: Christine Brodien-Jones


The Panic Zone by Rick Mofina
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Party by Tom Leveen
The Pace by Shelena Shorts
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Poor Little Bitch Girl by Jackie Collins
Possessions by Nancy Holder
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Prey by Lurlene McDaniel



The Reckoning: Kelley Armstrong
Right Behind You by Gail Giles
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles


The Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos
Scars by Cheryl Rainfield
The Second Base Club by Greg Trine
She Thief by Daniel Finn
Shadowland (The Immortals 3) by Alyson Noel
The Secret To Lying by Todd Mitchell
The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
Snap by Carol Snow
So Many Boys by Suzanne Young
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
Split by Swati Avathi
The Stone Child by Dan Poblocki
Stranded by J.T. Dutton
Such A Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess
Swoon by Nina Malkin


Take Me There by Carolee Dean
The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones
Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala
The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner
Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner
Trance by Linda Gerber
Tweet Heart by Liz Rudnick
Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton


Uninvited by Amanda Marrone



Wanderlust by Lucy Silag
Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
Willow by Julia Hoban
Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser



You by Charles Benoit


Getting To Know The Little Guys (2)

Getting To Know The Little Guys is a feature I do weekly to spotlight small blogs with less than 100 followers. There is a huge crop of new blogs out there- mine being one of them but I have been lucky enough to gain a pretty quick following- but small doesn't mean bad. My goal is for my readers to read these weekly posts, get to know the bloggers a little more, and start finding some awesome new blogs that they might not have otherwise known about. And face it- there is a huge competitive edge to book blogging these days, especially for ARCs. Yes, the ARCs are nice when they come but I think a lot of us really are here to just express our views on books and book related things- this feature also is intended to bring that focus back.

This week, I have Laura from The Bookie Bunch here.

Hey there! My name is Laura and I am a self-professed bookworm and am proud of it! I currently have a blog about YA books (and some not but for the most part they are YA) and I also do book reviews on my Youtube channel which is In my spare time besides reading, I really enjoy singing, photography, and writing stories as well as fanfiction. I'm hoping to begin a novel in the Summer of 2010. I am a very outgoing person who loves to laugh and make people laugh! I'm also a kid a heart, I love all the Disney movies and know the words to most of the songs ;) I hope you drop by my blog to say hello!

I have to admit- video reviews are something I just wouldn't have the guts to do so major props to you Laura for that. What a great way to review books without it just being the usual sit down and read kind of thing. Thanks for stopping by Laura and letting us know more about you!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

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

This week's pick is also not really on the 2010 debut author list since the first book just hit shelves December 22, but I am still excited for it. My pick is Blood Fued by Alyxandra Harvey, the next in the Drake Chronicles series. The first one, Hearts at Stake, was a total riot with a strong story developing already.
I'm not sure if this is the final cover or not for the US version, but it is really intriguing but beautiful at the same time.

Summary (from amazon):

It’s been centuries since Isabeau St. Croix barely survived the French Revolution. Now she’s made her way back to the living and she must face the ultimate test by confronting the evil British lord who left her for dead the day she turned into a vampire. That’s if she can control her affection for Logan Drake, a vampire whose bite is as sweet as the revenge she seeks.

The clans are gathering for Helena’s royal coronation as the next vampire queen, and new alliances are beginning to form now that the old rifts of Lady Natasha’s reign have started to heal. But with a new common enemy, Leander Montmarte—a vicious leader who hopes to force Solange to marry him and usurp the power of the throne for himself—the clans must stand together to preserve the peace he threatens to destroy.

This second adventure in the Drake Chronicles—told from both Logan’s and Isabeau’s perspectives—has all the same butt-kicking action, heart-pounding romances and snarky humor that readers loved in
Hearts at Stake, as well as exciting new revelations about the vampire dynasties to keep readers coming back for more.

Specs (also from amazon)

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers (June 22, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802720978
ISBN-13: 978-0802720979

Okay the first book switched between Lucy and Solange's perspectives and I actually think I really like this book is going to use different characters to tell it- as a reader, it just makes me fall in love with the characters even more when you can see in their heads so much.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Dark Divine: Bree Despain

SUMMARY (From Despain's Site) :

A prodigal son

A dangerous love

A deadly secret . . .

I stood back and watched his movements. Daniel had that way about him that could shut me down in an instant. . . . I kicked the gravel a couple of times and worked up my courage again. “Tell me . . . I mean . . . why did you come back? Why now, after all this time?”

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel's dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.


This is a fantastic debut novel for Despain full of suspense, mystery and intrigue with lots of twists and turns throughout the book. Reading the description, I had no idea what was really going to be involved in this novel but that only helped pull it all together. How much thought Despain put into the plot as a whole is clear, right down to the little events that seem so innocent at first but show up as something important later. This is a review that is hard to write without giving too much away- I didn't know what all this novel would entail and that helped add to how the book effected me and I don't want to take that from anyone. Things didn't even come out fully in the book until about half way through and again, that only added to how fantastical I felt this book to be.

Grace is the narrator in the story, trying to play both sides in something she doesn't even understand fully. For the most part, her reasons for why she makes the decisions she does are obvious and she rarely even made me shout at her that she was an idiot- even when she would break promises. Despain's take on promises is incredibly true but worded in a great way to pull that out and show just how inevitable broken promises actually are. Little things like that which crop up a few times in the story at the right moments to emphasize the point help pull novels together more in my mind, and Despain hit it right on with this tiny but great element. Grace is a strong, smart character but she is still a teenager- it is inevitable for those kind of mistakes and decisions to be made and I would expect nothing else.

Daniel is the mysterious boy of the book, hiding his own sordid past and stealing Grace's affection even if others didn't approve of it. It wasn't until the very end that the full truth about him came out, shifting the reader's thoughts on him multiple times throughout the book. The way in which his truths come out is fantastic and again, the thought Despain put into most everything about this story was clear. I couldn't help but fall in love with Daniel many times and my heart broke repeatedly for him.

Jude is an incredibly interesting character and one that after a certain point, the reader was able to figure out far faster than he was. The reasons for his actions seem simple and clear until more history is told- then things start falling into place even more. His many sides pulled together to show he was more than just the preacher's son- the good son.

The ending is where things really pick up with a big crescendo and climax before it tapers down to tie things together with the last few pages, leaving few loose ends. There is one lingering, burning question in my mind but I also feel this particular question is one better left unanswered to help give the ending a bittersweet note. Should there be a sequel to this book, I will most definitely pick it up but as it stands, it is complete and fantastic.

There is a big Christian element in this book although that is hinted at by the summary alone. The story of the Prodigal Son comes up in the story in unique ways, reiterating the moral of that Biblical story while tying in other elements I wouldn't have expected. I think Despain did a very poignant job of twining everything together without the Christian aspect being overbearing- readers of any cultural or religious background should be able to read this book and enjoy it. The religious aspect shouldn't ruin this for anyone unless they are simply closed minded and not comfortable in their own faith to read things such as this.

Overall, I give this one 5 stars. The plot was fantastic and well thought out and the characters pulled in a little bit of everything. There were certain references to real world things that helped make this book more real and something the reader could relate to- even if it was set in a priest's family. The mystery and intrigue is there throughout, much of it coming in through surprising ways that I wouldn't have expected.

Links to other reviews:

Wondrous Reads

Bookworming in the 21st Century
The Hiding Spot
Chick Lit Teens
The Book Cellar

Note: This ARC was received courtesy of Egmont. I have received no personal or monetary gain.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Explorer-X: Alpha Winner

The winner of my giveaway for a copy of Explorer-X: Alpha has been chosen as deemed by

ReaganStar of Star Shadow Creative Mishaps!

Congrats and I have sent you an email!

Update to Review Style

I've decided to make an addition to the reviews done here at A Good Addiction. What one reviewer thinks makes a book great might make another reviewer hate it. I think just how subjective and personal reviewing actually is often gets forgotten and ignored- especially when a book receives a low star review. In truth, it breaks my heart to read a review that gave a book just 1 or 2 stars and then to go read the comments where people say oh, I don't think I will read this one now. Granted, they could have read several negative reviews to come to that decision but to base it on ONE review? Maybe you will end up feeling the same, but why just totally ignore the book because you saw a bad review? It might just be me, but if anything those kind of reviews make me want to read the book even more to see if it really is like that or if maybe it was just that person. Yes, we read reviews to get ideas of books- but why base it on a single review that a book is clearly bad?

Take Hush, Hush for example- most reviews I read loved the book, ranted and raved about it but I just didn't really like it. There were many different things that didn't meld for me. So if that was the first review someone read, should they not read the book? Of course not! These are my thoughts- my views and my reasons- but that doesn't automatically make the book bad. Yes, a series of negative reviews could mean something but the first you read? No!

Therefore, in addition to my own reviews, I am going to start finding links to other bloggers' reviews about the same book. If there are negative ones that I come across, yes I will throw those in. Keep in mind I am not going to spend hours searching just to find negative reviews but I will look for a few different ones. I want to provide a small set of reviews in addition to mine to give a better picture rather than just my 1 good, neutral or bad review. If I link you and you have a problem with it, then by all means let me know and I will delete it but I also think this is just another way to help link all of the bloggers together as well as give my readers the option to read several reviews at once for the same book rather than finding them at different times and trying to remember the features that are the same within them.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

For Review from The Story Plant Publishers:
Crossing the Bridge by Michael Barron (An adult fiction book but it looks really good)

Bought from Borders (Finally used my $15 gift card won from Miss Cindy:) - Thanks!) :
The Seven Rays: Jessica Bendinger
Perfect Chemistry: Simone Elkeles
Leaving Paradise: Simone Elkeles

Christmas Gifts:
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Maximum Ride- The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Contests Around the Blogosphere

Here is this week's set of contests around the blog world- again to be updated as I find more and can get them done.

Sherry at Flipping Pages for All Ages is hosting her first contest with multiple winners and the books will focus on her top picks from 2009. I've already posted my list of 15 favorites but I think this is a really snazzy themed idea for a contest. This one is going to run through January 8 in the afternoon sometime.

Here are the other 3 days of the 12 blogs of Christmas that didn't make it into last week's post:
Day 10: vvb32 reads is giving away books and bookish prizes to two winners.
Day 11: The Shady Glade is giving away 11 prizes to 11 winners. First place gets 3 books, 2nd gets 2 and third gets 1 and several others will receive swag packs.
Day 12: The Page Flipper is giving away Vampire Diaries books 1-4 in two bound volumes.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Top Picks of 2009

First- Merry Christmas to everyone. I am heading down today to my brother's house for the weekend but should have internet access. If that doesn't pan out, then sorry in advance for the lack of posts. I should be back on Monday so I will play catch up with my weekend contest post as well as my in my mailbox- the former of which might end up having to wait anyhow since I don't know that I will have the time to compile everything over the weekend. We will see how cooperative Toby beagle wants to be this weekend for the IMM pictures- he might be less willing to be posed when there are a bunch of people around rather than just me but yes, he is definitely going with me. =D

I saw this on The Story Siren and decided to jack the idea and give my top 15 picks of books published in 2009. There are plenty of books that I read- several that spring quicly to mind but weren't all books that actually hit the shelves this year- but these are the ones that stuck with me the most for one reason or another, whether it was the overall idea and the plot, the characters or something else all together. I recommend all the books on this list and though some of them were read before I started this blog, those of you that do regularly follow should know the things that stand out to me in a book. These are books that I have on my personal shelf and will most definitely reread for one reason or another- and when I reread them, the ones that haven't yet been reviewed wills how up on here although the initial captivation that comes with a first time read will of course be gone. There isn't necessarily any order to this although I suppose the ones at the time could likely be the ones I thought really were the best since they came to mind instantly.

1. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead: The overall plot and the characters
2. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey: The writing and plot
3. After by Amy Efaw: The emotions
4. The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness: The plot, the world, and the characters
5. Fallen by Lauren Kate: The fact that at the end of the book, Daniel's story hasn't been laid on the table like what happens with most books of this nature
6. How It Ends by Laura Wiess: The gut wrenching, heartrending emotional nature and writing
7. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan: Face it, there aren't a lot of zombie books out there and this one is great
8. City of Glass by Cassandra Claire: Simon is pretty much adorable and Jace is the perfect amount of cocky but broken and has a little bit of everything
9. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: The very new take on werewolves
10. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey: While I think this could have and should have been a series and this book was rushed in places, the plot and the characters and the humor
11. Soulstice by Simon Holt: Actually gave me the creeps
12. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong: How many books are there about necromancers- especially ones that aren't evil?
13. Blood Brothers by S.A. Harazin: I fell in love with the main character- especially how dumb yet brilliant he often came off as
14. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink: The writing was strongest here and dragged me back in time in a very easy way
15. Hold Still by Nina LaCour: Both sides of the suicide issue without making one side look better or worse than the other

So those are my picks and why each one stood out for me. I would love to hear what everyone else's picks are.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Getting To Know The Little Guys (1)

Getting To Know The Little Guys is a new feature I am going to be doing weekly to spotlight small blogs with less than 100 followers. There is a huge crop of new blogs out there- mine being one of them but I have been lucky enough to gain a pretty quick following- but small doesn't mean bad. My goal is for my readers to read these weekly posts, get to know the bloggers a little more, and start finding some awesome new blogs that they might not have otherwise known about.

This week I have Sherry from Flipping Pages for All Ages here to do a guest post. There is much of Sherry's personality that comes out in her posts which is the main reason I really like her blog. So without any more blabbing from me... here is Sherry's guest post to kick off the beginning of what I hope continues to be a weekly thing.
Christmas Eve Guest Post 12/24/09

So Christmas is right around the corner, and i mean literally the little ones are counting down the hours until Christmas morning is upon us! I know of a certain few items that I wanted this x-mas and a few that I already know I got. My mother was kind enough to get me books 1-5 in the Maximum Ride Series by James Patterson. I've heard nothing but amazing things about this and I'm stoked to actually have most of the books in the series so I can read them one right after the other. I also got some giftcards to Borders, which happens to be my favorite bookstore. I think it's just the atmosphere but I could spend hours in there. Heck I could spend hours in ANY bookstore, or any store with books for that matter. Other than that I had a few books picked out that I wanted and I still have my fingers crossed that they will end up under my tree this Christmas. Fallen by Lauren Kate and The Maze Runner by James Dashner are just a few recent releases that I haven't picked up for myself yet but are ones that i'm still very eager to read. So what are you hoping to get this Christmas/holiday season? Is there anything you already know you'll get but you can't wait to actually get your hands on? Did you make sure you got something wonderful for everyone on your list? I hope everyone has a great holiday and an awesome New Year's. Speaking of the New Year, I will be hosting my first ever contest over at my page starting tomorrow. Read below for more details!

My End of Year Contest/First Contest!!!

So here's how it's going to play out. I will officially open up the contest during some point tomorrow(12/25/09). It will be linked to my navigation page so if you send anyone over you'll be able to link right to the contest rules and all that good stuff. It will be open until January 8th, so two weeks total. Their will be extra entries but you'll have to wait to see what exactly must be done to earn those extra entries. This is how the prizes will work. Starting on the 25th I will post a book a day with it's review, until the end of the year, and those 7 books will be my favorites from 2009. At the end of the contest, the winner will be able to choose 1 of those 7 books that I posted about during the last week of December. That is the prize for now, when the time comes, and it may, I might possibly have more followers. Every time I reach a new goal for followers the prizes will get better. If you want more prizes, spread the word!

*Here's what could possibly be up for grabs:

75 Followers- The winner of the contest will get to choose two books from the 7 on the list.

100 Followers- The first place winner will get to choose two books and a second place winner will get to choose one book from the list. It will be first come first serve as far as picking out of the 7 books goes.

125 Followers- Same as the 100 followers, but a third place winner will win a random book of my bookshelf, I will tell them the book ahead of time and if they don't like it can choose to receive a bag of swag instead.

If the time comes where I need to up the prizes, I will!

Starting tomorrow if you go to my page, Flipping Pages for All Ages, and click on the contest link in my naivigation bar you will find all of this exact information. But now you know ahead of time so make sure you stop back by tomorrow to enter!

I just want to say a big thanks to Kari for allowing me to guest post on her blog!

Sherry <3

I will definitely be stopping by for your contest and I encourage all my readers to do so too. This timing worked out great since she was already planning this contest. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday, whether Christmas is your holiday or not.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

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

My pick this week is Sleepless by Cyn Balog, author of Fairy Tale- set to come out July 13, 2010. Though this isn't a 2010 debut author, this is still one that I really want- the premise is interesting because really, how many books are there about Sandmen?

Summary (From

Eron DeMarchelle isn't supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and 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. In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't reach her. Eron's time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn't seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn't recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her. . . .

Even once they've become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won't be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves?

Product Specs:

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (July 13, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 038573848X
ISBN-13: 978-0385738484

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

Currently, I am reading The Dark Divine by Bree Despain.

"Every nerve seared under my skin. I shifted and heard the rattling again." Page 39 (ARC edition- subject to change)
I just started this book but was hooked within the first 7 pages- it has a strong beginning and I am eager to read more.

Monday, December 21, 2009

How It Ends: Laura Wiess

SUMMARY (courtesy of

All Hanna's wanted since sophomore year is Seth. She's gone out with other guys, even gained a rep for being a flirt, all the while hoping cool, guitar-playing Seth will choose her. Then she gets him -- but their relationship is hurtful, stormy and critical, not at all what Hanna thinks a perfect love should be. Bewildered by Seth's treatment of her and in need of understanding, Hanna decides to fulfill her school's community service requirement by spending time with Helen, her terminally ill neighbor, who she's turned to for comfort and wisdom throughout her life. But illness has changed Helen into someone Hanna hardly knows, and her home is not the refuge it once was. Feeling more alone than ever, Hanna gets drawn into an audiobook the older woman is listening to, a fierce, unsettling love story of passion, sacrifice, and devotion. Hanna's fascinated by the idea that such all-encompassing love can truly exist, and without her even realizing it, the story begins to change her.

Until the day when the story becomes all too real...and Hanna's world is spun off its axis by its shattering, irrevocable conclusion.


Heartrending, catastrophically beautiful. I am once again completely in awe of Wiess' writing. She pulls in so many different elements in this book and entwines them faultlessly. This story not only tells a modern tale of a high school girl in love but the tragic history of a young couple, brought together by horrific circumstances yet still finding an endless love. There is a story within the story- the audiobook that captivates Hanna and in so many ways, that tale is even better than Hanna's. The reason it exists in this book is ingenious and I found myself just as eager to hear more of it as Hanna became.

The writing is astounding and the plot heartfelt. The effort and thought Wiess put into this story is very clear and as with her debut novel Such A Pretty Girl, my emotions were strung along on a twisting, turning extensive roller coaster. Shock coursed through me more than once but towards the end with the most impact. In many ways, I should have seen that end coming but I became so lost in the story- so engrossed in what was happening right then- I put no thought in what was going to happen in the coming 30, 20, 10 pages.

There are a multitude of questions about a range of topics that are brought up in this book- questions and subjects that are timeless, repeating with each new generation no matter how much progress we may have made. There are absolutes- and there are thousands of gray areas. How It Ends delves headlong into plenty of those gray areas, spinning similar problems in different ways with different outcomes.

Character development is strong in this book and though there are many places where I want to smack Hanna for being an idiot, she is being a 16 year old girl, desperate and crazy in love with just enough hope to find reason to keep going despite how obvious it is she should stop. We all do this- we read books or look at our friends, see the pathetic situation they are in and beat our heads against a wall trying to make them listen to us and see it like we do. But we don't see it like THEY do- and when it's us in the middle of it, we have the prophetic rose colored glasses on and choose to not see things like everyone else does. That scenario played out with Hanna and I think it added a great, naive element to the story in light of all the other events. In some ways, this is a coming of age story but in a way that not many people go through it.

Hanna's character is one I felt for and the glimpses into her past only deepened my affection for her. The alternating perspectives between Hanna and Helen really helped this story- putting the reader into both of their minds, getting to know them intimately. Her growth is the most profound but Helen's additions did help build her in many ways. Jesse was probably my favorite character because he was so sweet but so wrong in several ways- he had the perfect amount of turn off and appeal.

The ending- I don't even know what to say. It stunned me, took my breath away, left me in thought, and cloaked me in contentment. This ending was bittersweet in many ways but tied the entire work together- without ever just taking an easy way out. There were no loose ends in this book.

I give this one 5 stars for many reasons, from the overall plot to the characters to the writing and raw emotion. This one was hard for me to read- the debilitating disease that Helen endures is the same one that took my aunt and while she didn't have it to the extent Helen does, there were plenty of features the same- plenty of things I remember. It took me longer than it should have to read this one because of that but the story was still completely breathtaking and gut wrenching. Though much of the material is hard to read and highlights some of the darker times in American history, I recommend this one to pretty much anyone who can stomach some of it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is hosted by the lovely Kristi over at The Story Siren.

Smaller reading pile for this week and some of my books have been conquered by Toby. I love the picture above- he actually sat there with his feet on the books for me but yes, food may have been involved this time.... I am shameless, I know.
For Review as part of Lisa Schroeder's ARC tour: Chasing Brooklyn

Bought from Half Price Books:
How It Ends: Laura Wiess (one of my new favorite authors- LOVE her writing style)
The Sorceress- The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel 3: Michael Scott

From the library:
What The Dickens: Gregory Magquire
Breath, A Ghost Story: Cliff McNish

When asked what I should read for next, Toby picked Breathe... but I ignored him for How It Ends, at least this time. That, or this gives a whole new meaning to 'the book was so good I just wanted to eat it up' because yes, he started licking Breathe. Sometimes I wonder about him....
So that was my week- what did everyone else get this week?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Contests Around The Blog World

Alright guys, I have been saving up my contest links again to just do one big post rather than a bunch of little ones. One, I obviously want the extra entries but two, I love contests because they are a great way to see new blogs that you might otherwise not discover. How many of us link to other blogs for reasons that aren't for a contest? Not many apart from memes. So, here are some contests I have found in my wanderings this week, most of which I have entered- some I didn't but thought I would still tell you guys about it. This list will again be updated as the weekend goes so check back often- it is easier for me to do a few and get it posted so I can enter the contests and then come back and add more to this, enter, repeat. =) Otherwise, I get too many tabs open and get confused, I admit it.

This week, I am going to start with the 12 Blogs of Christmas. All these contests are going to run through December 31 no matter what order they came in. These are all great contests and I have respect for each blogger who is taking part on this.

Day 1: The Never Ending Bookshelf, with a total of 9 winners for various gifts and swag.
Day 2: Literary Escapism is giving away 6 paranormal romance type books to 1 winner.
Day 3: The Library Lounge Lizard with a total of 3 winners that each get 4 books off her list.
Day 4: Bites is giving away the first 3 books in Mari Mancusi's Blood Coven series.
Day 5: Ellz Reads who will have a total of 5 winners, each with a different prize pack option- one of which IS international.
Day 6: The Book Rat will have 5 winners who get to pick 1 book out of her list of 50- yes FIFTY- books and since they will all be sent out new, there is no worry of another winner picking the book you wanted.
Day 7: Luxury Reading is offering up an invisible bookshelf along with 4 books and 1 audiobook to 1 winner.
Day 8: Princess Bookie is going all out once again (anyone else notice how she does this a lot? She is pretty much awesome in my book for it, every time, whether I enter or not). She is giving away 2 prize packs to 1 winner and a mystery ARC to another.
Day 9: Shooting Stars Mag is giving away a $10 Borders gift card to one lucky winner- what a perfect gift for everyone to choose their own book!

Princess Bookie also has another Pre-Kick Off Contest going on that is going to also run through December 31 with one winner getting 1 out of 3 books- they choose a number and whichever book has that matching post it on the back of it will be their winner. The choices are 3 ARCS- all great ones.

The Bloody Bookaholic is having a huge Holiday Blowout over on her blog with 3 winners along with some other possible smaller gifts for other participants. Titles up for grabs include ARCS of 2010 release The Mark, Eyes Like Stars, Hush Hush, Ash, The Demon's Lexicon and Betraying Season along with Candle Man book 1, Deadtown, Lenore Noogies, The Nanny Returns, The Ever After (by Dan Elconsin, to clear that up), and Secret Society. This one ends Dec 25. Enter here.

Bookworming in the 21st Century is holding 25 separate contests in honor of her 25th Birthday. Head over to her site and start entering the ones that look good to you. Today's book is Firespell- which I definitely want. Other titles include Espressologist, Dark Divine, Beautiful Creatures and more.

Sophistikatied Reviews is having a 200 followers contest and giving away signed ARCs of The Dark Divine and Brightly Woven, ending Jan 11.

Sharon Loves Books and Cats is having a giveaway to help promote one of her local bookstores called Strand. Winner gets 2 books of their choice from the store and some swag. This ends Jan 2.

Books at Midnight
is also having a 200 followers contest (Congrats Jenn!) with a total of 4 winners. This one is going to end Jan 15.

Explorer X- Alpha: LM Preston

Summary (Courtesy of

For most kids, a trip to space camp is the trip of a lifetime for Aadi it was life altering. After receiving a camp immunization needed for travel to Mars, Aadi finds that the immunization is the catalyst of an insidious experiment. He realizes what is happening too late for a change of fate. The full experiment is set in motion when he and his co-pilot, Eirena, crash in a distant galaxy called Shrenas, where they change and realize the full extent of their power. This turn of events forces him to grow up quickly, accept his change, and to decide to save a world, or to do what he was trained to do dominate it. His power is coveted by the warring leaders of Shrenas, and he is forced to choose sides a decision that may prove just how much humanity he has left.


This is a middle grade novel, geared towards 10 and up, and that is very evident in the writing. The idea is strong, the plot is pretty unique and had me intrigued, but the writing fell through for me. Several times, I found myself very distracted by the story itself because of the writing and I never seemed to be able to just read it for long periods at a time. It is rare that writing detracts that much for me, but it did on this one. Even intended for a younger group of kids, I still had a hard time with this one. It is a lot of simple sentences and some of them even start with "So," and that just makes me cringe- maybe its different now, but if even when I was ten, if I turned a paper in to my English teacher and my sentences started with So, blah blah blah I would have been losing points. Much of the sentences are step by step- I did this then that then this, and there wasn't a lot of variation in how things were worded- everyone pretty much said this or replied with that without any of the other wonderful synonyms for those same words.

But as I said before- it is an interesting plot idea. Yes, there elements that have reminded me of other books but Preston ropes them together in her own way and many times, it did work for me. This is a very futuristic book even though I believe it is only set in about 2080- and a lot of the progress that has been made seems like it will never happen in just 70 more years but then again, look at where we are now compared to 70 years ago. In that sense, this book did make me think- writers, engineers, etc have all these ideas of things to do and ways we can advance and with as rapidly as our science is progressing, I can actually see us being this, well, progressed, in 70 years. I admire Preston for basically not holding back on her imagination- she has taken concepts seen in other sci-fi books/movies and things we only dream about and makes them her own while providing them with her characters.

Aadi and Eirena are the two major characters although there are several other prominent characters for most of the story. Both did have strong personalities but I felt they had little actual development- yes, they had changed at the end but it came off more as they were changed because of what happened and they had to be changed rather than having had any real strong epiphany. Their turning point wasn't really seeable- Aadi would start to get towards an epiphany and turn around and negate it. This is the first in a series so there is plenty of time for more development but I felt it lacked in this book. Eirena just bothered me, right from the start. Any changes that happened to her didn't really shock me or even seem that different because of how she came off right from the start. I do like Aadi and I was definitely rooting for him- particularly when he was fighting a battle for both himself and Eirena. Where she lacked, he stepped up but it didn't seem to really go the other way- he was the stronger of the two in my mind.

Overall, I give this one 3 stars. The idea is there, the plot is great and definitely interesting but the writing really detracted for me and I could have used a little more actual development in the characters that didn't involve a 'they changed because they had to because they were in this situation and this happened to them' kind of thing. I think middle grade kids would really like it- there is a lot of action, the descriptions are pretty okay especially for that level, with both a male and female lead for both sexes to root for and side with.

I also am having a giveaway for a copy of this book, courtesy of LM Preston, that is slated to end 12/27/09. Check the top of my blog page for the link to the actual post with the entry form.

Note: This ARC was received courtesy of LM Preston.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chasing Brooklyn: Lisa Schroeder (ARC received as a part of Lisa's ARC/blog tour)

SUMMARY (Courtesy of

Restless souls and empty hearts.

Brooklyn can’t sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca died a year ago, and now their friend Gabe has died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there, waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca chasing her through her dreams.

Nico can’t stop. He’s always running, trying so hard not to feel the pain of missing Lucca. But when he begins receiving messages from his dead brother, telling him to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.


Reverberating- that's the main word that comes to mind after reading this book because many parts of it continue to stay in my head. This story and the characters have nestled their way into a niche all their own within my heart, right alongside some of the other angsty/tragic greats (Greats in my mind). This is a story of life and death, sorrow and happiness, good and bad all rolled into a ghost story. Whether you believe in ghosts or not doesn't matter- whether you agree with the way Schroeder has posed those we love coming back after their deaths doesn't matter. What does matter is the way she integrated it into the story and the way those ghosts played just as big a roll as any living character.

Brooklyn is your high school student struggling with the death of her boyfriend- even one year later when this book opens. What makes it more tragic is his death is just a short 6 months after the accidental death of a classmate- but for Brooklyn, losing Lucca is unimaginable. While the school moves on, she stays locked in her sorrow and loss. The only person who seems to really understand is Lucca's brother Nico- a senior and just one year older. While their paths have crossed in the past because of their mutual association with Lucca, these two aren't particularly close. Neither are there for each other until certain things pushes Nico towards her.

Nico is the older son but the one who takes all the fault- where Lucca could do no wrong, Nico can do no right. Or so it feels for him, made more clear after his brother dies. Though he never states it flat out, as a reader I couldn't help but wonder how many times in the past year his parents wished that just maybe it had been him that passed rather than Lucca. Would his parents be in the same distant, broken state if they had lost their eldest son or was it Lucca himself that did this to him? Of course, Nico's side is biased- we see what he sees, we think what he sees, but things that are hard to imagine like that still crossed my mind because of the way Nico was played out. My heart broke more for Nico than for Brooklyn and though her name is in the title, it is as much about Nico as it is Brooklyn.

Although the total word count of this book is low because of the style in which its written, the whole thing still slipped into my mind. Even reading in my downtime at work, I would forget about everything but this book and would become instantly engrossed each time I picked it up. At one point I even startled when the phone rang, staring at it like it was something offensive before it clicked that oh hey, I need to answer that. I wanted more, more and more as I read this book because Nico and Brooklyn were both painted so beautifully. They each have their own personalities and interests but much of that has vanished in the past year- made worse by the death of Lucca's best friend Gabe when he couldn't handle things anymore.

His suicide is never verbally called that but it is clear that's what happened. This is where I fell in love with this story even more- often times in our society, anyone who commits suicide is a coward and taking the easy way out. As Schroeder said in the book, there's a hundred places to go. But what if you are so lost and alone- where can you go? The way she explains this mind set is so simple but completely poignant. Schroeder has covered a few rough topics in one novel and she weaved it together in a magnificent way.

When I first flipped through the book, I thought it was written in verse- it is typed as though poems but it isn't poems. It is the same story but written in a different format and I actually think it did add to it on this one. It rapidly shifts between Brooklyn and Nico's perspectives but that never slipped me up, causing me to stop and reread to catch up. They each have a short time that is there own and then pass the microphone to the other- they are telling the same story and Schroeder twined it expertly.

Overall, I give this one 5 stars. I couldn't get enough of it as I read it and though it was a very fast read for me, it stuck with me and stood out so profoundly in my mind that I actually sat in silence thinking about this story after I had finished. There are a handful of books that really stick with me for a long time after I am done with them- there is an even smaller amount that makes me stop everything and just think about it.

As part of this ARC Tour, I needed to take a photo of one word to describe the book, something important in the book, etc. The word I chose is Fortitude- both Brooklyn and Nico had to show intense courage, strength and resilience and I think this word sums it up perfectly. I used my kids 100 piece Shrek and Madagascar puzzles to make most of the letters and used the ARC itself as the I in the center (It worked out great with 4 letters on each side).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

24 Hour Contest: Chasing Brooklyn ARC Tour


Okay guys- it took awhile but I have finally gotten the touring ARC of Chasing Brooklyn. I will finish it this week- Thurs or Fri- but wanted to go ahead and get the contest posted and choose my winner so I can get it in the mail on Saturday since that is really the only day I can get to the post office.

Here are the full details about this contest and what you have to do should you win:

This book will be released January 5, 2010. Due to publishers cutting back, ARCs are not as plentiful these days. BUT, Lisa has one ARC that she's sending out on a multi-state tour, and she will be trying to chase it down as it goes from reader to reader.

If you would like to read CHASING BROOKLYN, add your name to the comments below. One name will be randomly drawn 24 hours from the date and time of this blog post, and the winner will be contacted via e-mail (please leave your e-mail address in your comment). Not only will the winner get to read CHASING BROOKLYN before it hits the shelves, but each winner will receive a $10.00 gift card from the bookstore of his/her choice from Lisa. If Lisa guesses what state the winner lives in before the state is revealed to her, that amount doubles to $20.00!

Participants in the Chase Around the USA have 5 responsibilities. If you don’t think you can meet these responsibilities, please, PLEASE do NOT volunteer to be a part of the chase.

1) READ - CHASING BROOKLYN within 7 days of receiving it. If you can read it sooner, even better!

2) Take a photo of ONE word - about the book, to describe the book, something in the book that’s important, etc. How do you show us your word? Be creative! Write on paper, on a t-shirt, in the sand, on the wall, in cereal – the possibilities are endless! Please TRY TO INCLUDE THE ARC IN THE PHOTO SOMEHOW. The only requirement is that it cannot be something negative. Of course some people may not like the book. But Lisa plans to use these pictures in a special way when the chase is over, so positive is best. If you don’t like the book, simply pick a word that shares the tone of the book, describes a character, etc. (By participating in this contest, you agree to e-mail the photo to Lisa for her to use as she chooses.)

3) Post the ONE WORD photo on your blog - along with a picture of the CHASING BROOKLYN cover and these rules, and hold another contest just like this one, drawing a name within 24 hours of the blog post. Do what you can (tweet, facebook, etc) to point people to your blog about the contest.

4) Post a comment on Lisa Schroeder's blog - that you've held the contest and drawn the next blogger's name (without revealing the name) to receive the ARC. Lisa will then try to CHASE the ARC down by posting a guess on her blog of what state the ARC will go to next. Once Lisa's blog post goes up with the guess, the current holder of the ARC will post the new winner's name and the state he/she lives in on his/her blog. If Lisa guesses the correct state, the next recipient of the ARC receives a $20.00 gift card to the bookstore of his/her choice!!

5) Mail the ARC - to the winner IMMEDIATELY after receiving the winner's address, so the book can get into as many hands as possible. Lisa is hoping for at least 7-8 stops on the chase, but that will only happen if people get the book read and sent off quickly. Use the flat shipping rate envelopes at the post office for a low price and speedy delivery! Whoever has the book on the release date of 1/5 will mail the book back to Lisa. Please feel free to write notes in the ARC for Lisa to read when the book is returned to her.

At the end of chase across the USA, Lisa will draw three names from the bloggers who participated in the chase to receive FREE signed copies of one of her books - I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, FAR FROM YOU or CHASING BROOKLYN.

Finally, the blogger who has the most creative one word photo (judged by three teens in Lisa's neighborhood) gets a signed copy of FLASH BURNOUT by L.K. Madigan, a signed copy of LIPS TOUCH by Laini Taylor, and a copy of CRASH INTO ME by Albert Borris.

So if you want to participate, then fill out this registration form. All I need is your name and email- I HAVE to be able to contact you and you HAVE to get back to me ASAP so I can get this in the mail by Saturday and you can hopefully get the book before Christmas as it will go out priority mail. I am not going to do extra entries in this contest but please help spread the word.

This contest will end at 8:00 PM Thursday, December 17, CST. Any entries posted after that cut off will not be included.

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

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

I know this one has been done a few times by others but it is a book that I am really eager for. This is the ARC cover- the real cover is subject to change but my understanding is this is pretty close. This cover alone inspires several emotions in me and I hope it is a good peak at what the book will actually hold.

Summary (Courtesy of

It’s been two years since Noelle disappeared. Two years since her bike was discovered, sprawled on a sidewalk. Two years of silence, of worry, of fear.

For those two long years, her best friend Tessa has waited, living her own life in a state of suspended animation. Because how can she allow herself to enjoy a normal high school life if Noelle can’t? How dare she have other friends, go to dances, date boys, without knowing what happened to the girl she thought she would share everything with?

And then one day, someone calls Noelle’s house. She’s alive.

A haunting psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines, The Tension of Opposites is a striking debut that explores the emotional aftermath of a kidnapping on the victim, and on the people she left behind.

This is a rough area to read, write and explore but I have high hopes that this one will pull it off and if so, what an amazing way to debut! This one is set for release May 25, 2010.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Random Rant

Okay so in my meanderings around the blogosphere, I have come across some topics which seem to crop up often- ones in which I cannot just ignore anymore. We've already learned I am opinionated so here is my opinion: I read a blog rant kind of recently (and I cannot for the life of me remember which one it was or I would link to it so I am really sorry and if it's yours, tell me and I will link....) about how people are saying Twilight is ruining literature and extending that, how every book now is compared to Twilight. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Twilight books but face it- those books hit it big because the characters were strong, they had the kind of innate, binding love that many of us only dream of, and because it was an entirely new take on vampires and not because it was some profoundly well written piece of work. And yes, they may be updating the covers on classics like Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet but if that gets people to read them as Edward and Bella’s favorite books, then so what? At least people are reading them and face it- if they REALLY didn’t want to read it, then an endorsement like that wouldn’t get them to pick it up. This is just a newer way to highlight the classics and honestly, I think that is amazing.

Now, anytime a vampire book hits the shelves people say the same thing: that author is just riding the Twilight wave. I disagree in so many ways with this. First off- an author doesn't write a book in one day, find a publisher the next, and have it hit shelves the next. Authors who are being published now have been working on their books for some time- then they had to find an agent, and THEN a publisher. Once the publisher picks it up, it doesn't immediately hit shelves either. It often takes at least a year-or at least that is the trend I seem to notice. Therefore things hitting shelves right now have been in the works for a few years- how can you ride a wave that you didn’t know really existed? So why everyone thinks that these authors who have worked really hard on a novel- developed an idea that was screaming in their mind and took the chance to actually go public with it- are just riding the Twilight wave I am not sure but to be honest, it really makes me mad. Vampires have been around well before Twilight- Queen of the Dammed, Lestat, Buffy- so why is Twilight the one thing that stands out so much? In truth, I think it is because it is the first YA book to hit it so astoundingly big since the Harry Potter series but also, I think THAT only happened because it got a movie deal. The same thing happened with Harry Potter- while it gained momentum with each book, it was the first movie that really sent everyone into a wizard frenzy and that was just as big if not bigger than the Twilight response. So for the people who keep saying that all these YA authors are just riding the Twilight wave- stop. That's disrespectful and rude. Maybe I only think that because I am an aspiring writer but it is my view. Actually, if I do ever get published, I will thank Stephenie Meyer because Twilight got so in my head after Eclipse that I wanted more and wrote fanfics to get the ideas out. I figured out pretty quickly that I was actually good at it and started getting a lot of reviewers telling me I should get published. That's when I really started thinking about it- and if Stephenie Meyer and JKR, two basically stay at home mom kinds, can make such popular works, then so can I. That is the effect they have had- something that they took the chance and did and has given many others the courage to take the same chance. They didn't write those books to get the movie deals- they just had these ideas and wanted to write them.

So the next part of my rant- how most everything seems to be compared to Twilight. WHY? Why does every book that is set in a high school science class suddenly become just another version of Twilight? Why is an immortal falling for a human a Twilight knock off? If it was true then these books would be about a vampire naked Edmund who could see people’s thoughts in a little thought bubble over their head who lived with a bunch of other vampires with different powers who fell in love with a smelly good human named Annabella. Are there books like that? No. So are these books knock offs? No so STOP saying that!

The immortal falling for a human is part of the intrigue with Twilight- that an ORDINARY, average human can be so wanted and loved rather than the beautiful, popular, skinnyass cheerleader that already has the attention of every boy in the world. Face it- the way it is now, if it is the average girl that the guy is after, then they are just knocking off Twilight but if its the popular girl, we don't like that either- we complain that that always happens, why can't for once it be the unwanted girl? So which is it because in a lot of reviews I read, we aren't happy with either. I say in some ways, it at least is a testament to how well Twilight got into our heads for that to be the benchmark for many other books but I really didn't think the writing was great in that series. There are books that are far more astounding and well written so when I read reviews of them where Twilight is mentioned somewhere, it irks me like crazy. My point of this: Stop comparing everything to Twilight. Stop making that the benchmark and stop being so sure that everyone who publishes a YA book- especially about vampires- is just riding the Twilight wave. Yes, early Twilight could have been an influence but I think that's why you see so many clumps of books with similar topics- writers are influenced by the same things in general but an author starting a book two years ago wasn’t doing it with intention of a riding a wave that barely existed. When the vampire books hitting shelves now were being picked up by publishers, Twilight was only just gaining so much momentum because of the first movie. That isn’t riding a wave- that’s being creative and taking a chance. And now look at how many vampire books there are and how many different takes there are now on vampires- these authors are making them unique so why are we focusing just on the fact that its vampires?

As for all the YA books that are getting movie deals now- I also don’t think that is riding a wave of any kind either. If that’s true, then couldn’t it be said that Twilight was just riding the Harry Potter wave? Harry Potter was still big until the first Twilight movie- then it was split. But guess what- when the next movie comes out, it will be wizard mania once again. Books will be selling once again, chocolates will be wrapped in Harry’s face, and notebooks geared towards teens will be plastered with all things Harry Potter. A whole lot more goes into optioning off rights to a movie than just a company or a screenwriter going I want to make that into a movie. Not any screenwriter can just pick up a book and write an adaptation- and yes, it is an ADAPTATION and NOT the book itself which is why movies are never the same as books.

And yes, some books do get optioned for movies before they even hit shelves but the screenwriters and movie agencies are getting access to these books. They aren’t taking the summary and basing it solely on that- believe it or not, they have indeed read the books, as have the screenwriters being optioned for it. Plus, just because a book is optioned or a deal is started doesn’t mean it actually happens. Some of these are straight to tv, some never happen at all. But a lot of books have always been made into movies- look through your DVD collection and really think about how many of them came from books. This isn’t something new- this isn’t some sudden wave. Yes, a lot of YA books are being looked at now for movies but so are adult titles- and those have been picked up longer. But I think that YA books hit a much wider range of people than adult fiction does. How many of you regularly read adult fiction novels, especially the teens? Not a lot. But how many adults read YA books? A lot. They are looking at their audiences and what they want- they are reacting to what we, as consumers, are after. So when the readers are falling in love with these titles, the movie companies take notice. If we love it, then so will the masses. That’s their theory because a lot more people are going to see the movies rather than read the books- or they will see the movie and THEN read the book. They aren’t riding off Twilight- they are riding off US.

Okay I will stop myself there but those are my thoughts on all this. If anyone disagrees- you’re allowed to. Feel free to leave comments but keep it nice. If you disagree- you can tell me- but if you attack me then I will delete your comment. This is my blog, my views, my outlet and safety ground so please don’t abuse that but I do want to know what everyone else thinks on this.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hearts at Stake: Alyxandra Harvey (ARC Courtesy of Bloomsbury)


On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family. Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart. Even fans of the genre who’ve seen it all will find a fresh read with kick-butt characters and family dynamics that ring true for all brothers and sisters—vampire or otherwise.


Amusing, fast paced, and original. Those are some of the biggest adjectives that popped into my head throughout this book. It is a pretty unique take on vampires and the world that surrounds them and I think Harvey pulled it off quite well. Some of the 'typical' vampire traits still apply but she has very much made this world all her own.

The characters are all strong- Lucy and Solange especially. The story switches between their perspectives so I was able to get a good view of both girls. I could see why they were friends and where one lacked the other made up for it. Lucy is a hilarious character- her banter with other characters kept me alert and laughing, even in tense situations in the book.

Solange has 7 older brothers and I give Harvey points for this. She didn't just name them and call them brothers- she showed at least some interests and traits of each of the bothers. I find it very hard to keep that many characters different and still important but Harvey did a smooth job of it. Nicholas gets the most attention out of the brothers and he is a perfect blend of adorable, seductive and arrogant.

There is very little introduction for this book- it simply starts and almost immediately delves into the action and bigger points of the story. I was interested from the start with questions already forming and curiosity burning just a few pages in. What starts out to seem like it will be boring and repetitive compared to other books in this genre rapidly changes into something unique and enticing.

Harvey's writing is filled with humor and her analogies and the way she words things are original and many of them are witty. Several times I stopped reading for a few moments because the way she said something took me off guard, forcing me to pause and reflect on how there are many overly used ways to say the same thing or make the same comparison but Harvey used something very different. I admire it and for that reason, the writing stands out in many places for me with this book.

There will be more in this series, dubbed The Drake Chronicles, and I will certainly be reading. This book ends with a million burning questions sprouting immediately yet most things relative to this book's plot are answered, tied up and closed out. I feel satisfied though I do want more of the series as a whole and am curious about how things will play out from here. Harvey did not drag things out unnecessarily- she went straight to the point often.

Overall, I give this 4 stars. The analogies and many phrases stood in my mind but the writing was otherwise smooth and only some above average. The plot moves quickly and is strong with 2 well developed lead characters and I recommend this one.

This book is set to hit shelves December 22- just in time to add to holiday gift lists. For more information, check out the site devoted to the series and learn more about the Drake Chronicles.

Note: This book was provided courtesy of Bloomsbury publishing.