Sunday, January 31, 2010

Firespell: Chloe Neill

SUMMARY (From Amazon):

New Girl.
New School.
Old Evil.

From the author of the Chicagoland Vampires novels.

A new series about a boarding school filled with something worse than homework.

Lily's parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn't bad enough, she's hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie's creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens.

They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It's too bad Lily doesn't have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she's discovered yet...


The plot is interested, the characters are endearing and the story is well put together. But the humor is amazing. Even in tense moments, at least one character would shine through with some comment that cut right through the thickness- comedic relief was rampant and perfect in this book. The pop culture references throughout the book were also great, from Man vs. Wild to X-Files to Buffy. I wholeheartedly appreciated the humor in this book.

Things moved at a decent pace in this book, putting Lily in boarding school almost immediately with more of a summarizing of how she came to be there. Of course there is the usual cliques and popular versus freaks incidents but I actually really enjoyed the fact that while Lily did dabble with the populars, there was never really any choice to be made for her. Scout offered friendship and she took it without needing to question it. That is actually really rare in books even though it is such a natural thing to happen and I applaud Neill for making it so simple in this book.

Lily's character was very likable for me. She was strong willed and had some brains, plus a very snarky, sarcastic attitude that I most definitely could identify with. She didn't just accept things at face value, take no for an answer, or ignore someone's safety. She fought for what she wanted and wasn't easily deterred. I didn't really find myself yelling at her for being a total idiot which is always nice. She was, of course, different than her classmates and even from Scout's group, but it wasn't a cliche way of being different just for the sake of it- the reasoning behind it was explained and actually done in a very interested, brilliant way.

Scout was just as snarky and big on the sarcasm- the banter between Scout and Lily kept me reading as much as the plot did. I love when banter is in a book and this particular set was well written. Scout has her own sordid past but she doesn't really dwell on it or play the victim- she accepts it as just being and goes on with what she has to do and even expects other to do the same. In that sense, I feel she actually made Lily an even stronger character and it was great to see the way these two girls effected each other.

The plot is a nice take on the good verse evil scenario, pulling several commonly used elements together in a new way. Neill has definitely made this book unique and all her own and apart from being paranormal, there isn't any singular book that stands out as similar. I look forward to more in this series- the ending certainly closed off the events of this book but by no means left me placated- and things are set up for almost endless possibilities which is the best for a book to end.

Overall, this one gets 4 stars from me. The characters were strong and the plot was great although I admit, I wasn't just all out wowed like other 5 star books have made me. However, this is just the first in a series and with Neill's strong writing abilities, I could easily see future Dark Elite novels earning 5 stars.

Source: Purchased purely for my own enjoyment from
Reading level: Young Adult
Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Signet (January 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451228863
ISBN-13: 978-0451228864

Author's Website

Other Reviews:
Opinionated? Me?
The Book Spot
Peace, Love & Pat
Bookworming in the 21st Century

Blog With Bite

This review has been entered onto Blog With Bite reviews

Book Forum Sunday

Today is the the second week of my book club forum! I have to admit, I am still excited about it even if the participation isn't what I hoped.

Next weeks books are Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl and Firespell by Chloe Neill. Stayed tuned here on my blog for an interview with Chloe and look for details about a chat on my forum with her as well during the week. I'm already getting other author interviews and forum sessions set up for future weeks- most details will be on my forum but the interviews will always be on here.

This week's book is Breathless by Jessica Warman.

SUMMARY: When Katie Kitrell is shipped off to boarding school by her distant father and overbearing mother, it doesn’t take her long to become part of the It Crowd. She’s smart, she’s cute, and she’s an Olympic-bound swimmer who has a first class ticket to any Ivy League school of her choice. But what her new friends, roommate, and boyfriend don’t know is that Katie is swimming away from her past, and from her schizophrenic older brother, Will, who won’t let her go. And when he does the unthinkable, it’s all Katie can do to keep her head above water.

For my review of this book, go here.

If you've read this book, feel free to link your review below. For anyone reading this in the future, the boards on my forum will always remain open once a book has been posted so feel free to show up later. =)

Thanks everyone!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

In My Mailbox (And Update)

My latest novel idea is still blazing along- I finished chapters 7-14 this week and am loving where it's going so far. One of the characters has thrown 2 curveballs at me that I never considered in my planning and it's changed some things but I think it's going to be worth it. And yes, I'm still totally in love with my main guy... Flaws and all.

I haven't been reading as fast as normal, mostly because the time that I often spend reading at work is now being used with this book. Plus I started rereading one of my older fanfics this week and might start updating that one again, if addict boy will ever let me have my brain enough to focus on something other than him. Persistent little bugger he is. However, I am just over half way done with Firespell right now, then its on to Beautiful Creatures- both of which are being featured on my forum starting Feb 7. Tomorrow's title is Breathless by Jessica Warman if you're interested. However, I admit, despite the great responses I got when I first pitched this idea both on here and in emails so several bloggers, it hasn't taken off like I've hoped with only a few very active members. I am still hopeful that more will join and I've already booked several authors to hop on the boards during the week of their book.

Other than those things... I don't guess I have much else to report. Today's agenda is some cleaning and then a friend is coming over so we can practice our baking skills. We've both talked seriously several times about opening our own bakery around here at some point although the start up money would be an issue. She and her husband are certainly more well off than I am but it would drive me crazy to not be able to foot any of the start up costs... but since I'm still paying back my student loans and I don't make a huge paycheck, it just isn't really there for me. But, that's down the line and we need to practice first so.... commence the baking!

Now that that's out of the week... on to my IMM, which is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. A few weeks ago, I went to a Borders Express that was going out of business... most everything was 60% off so of course I went a little crazy. I haven't posted them on here yet because really, I just never dragged the bag out of my car... =) Plus I figured, I may as well hold off until a slow week and this week was slowish so, there you have it.

Bought at Borders:
Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult (Got this from the library when it came out but finally got the paperback for my collection of, yes, all her books)
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
Rx by Tracy Lynn
Warrior Princess by Frewin Jones
Winter's End by Jean-Claude Mourlevat
Before I Die by Jenny Downham
One Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
The Demon Kind by Cinda Williams Chima
The Hollow by Jessica Verday

For Review:
Cat The Vamp by Christine Martine

Won (From Yay! Reads)
Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Friday, January 29, 2010

Barkings From A Beagle (5)

Barkings From A Beagle is a weekly feature to recommend/spotlight a book, new or old. Since I already spotlight Toby in my IMM posts, I figured I could incorporate him into this as well. Basically, Toby and I just tell you guys about a book and why I loved it, as well as provide links to buy it from the main booksellers.

Toby Barks: Read Revealers by Amanda Marrone!

Summary (From

Witchin' ain't easy.

Jules has a rebellious streak, a massive crush on Connor, and the abilities of a Revealer witch. By day, she and her coven friends seem like typical high school seniors. By night, they have the power to make werewolves, vampires, and ghosts reveal themselves, so they can destroy them. It's not exactly cheerleading, but at least the girls know they're doing the world some good.

One by one, Jules's friends turn eighteen and are initiated into the coven's inner circle. And one by one, they are getting completely freaked out. Jules is the youngest, and though her friends are too scared tell her what's going on, something's clearly not right. As her birthday approaches, Jules realizes she's got to find out what's behind the shadows of her coven before it's too late to save her friends...and herself. But what she discovers may be too powerful for even the toughest witches to defeat.

My Thoughts:

This was a quick read but I really enjoyed it. The story has a few interesting twists in it and a certain element of wtf that's messed up which just made it even better. It's been awhile since I've read this one, but I thought it was very well done. The characters each had their own personalities and things progressed at a pretty decent rate.

Paperback, 288 pages
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
September 30, 2008
ISBN13: 9781416958741
ISBN: 1416958746
BINC: 9511409
Age: 14 and up

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Maze Runner: James Dashner


When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade---a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they've closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up---the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.


Phenomenal. That pretty much sums up this book because it is one that is just an all around hit from the characters to the writing to the plot. I completely enjoyed this book, falling into it easily. Though it is written it in third person perspective, it focuses on Thomas and if he doesn't know it, we don't know it. We even get inside his head without it actually being in his point of view which is a unique way to write the book.

Thomas’ character was an enjoyable one- he starts out confused but quickly pushes past it to try to make things work, find answers, and find his memories. The almost immediate assaults on him only add to his frustration and I think Dashner did a perfect job showing how Thomas fielded all that. He easily could have given up but didn’t, even when he was terrified and scared klunkless. Even when he was being completely idiotic, there was still a clear rationale behind his decisions and I was rooting for this character from the start.

The rest of the characters are diverse and entertaining. From sweet, kind hearted, talkative Chuck to irrational, hateful Gally and back to temperamental and egotistical Alby, many of the various personalities show through. Despite there being a fairly large number of important players, Dashner wrote each one with enough detail that I never had to try to figure out who was who. It was all clear and easily to take in, even with several being introduced from the start.

The plot itself was brilliant and astounding. There was hardly anything that I was able to see coming in this book and even when I had some ideas, they were easily wrong. Things were revealed at a great pace, keeping me interested without ever dragging things out or taking away the mystery appeal. I wanted to find out the truth and some answers as much as Thomas did. The world created is original but I could picture much of it easily since it is so based on the world we know now. Even the Grievers themselves were something that I could envision thanks to Dashner’s writing and great use of imagery.

If all that wasn’t enough, the ending was a perfect cliff hanger to leave me salivating for the next book in this trilogy, coming out this fall. I can’t even imagine where things are going to go from here- this book has left innumerable possibilities for where things are going to go. Other than knowing there’s more to come, I simply cannot think of what Dashner has in store for his readers and his characters.

This one gets 5 stars easily and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes action type books. It is intriguing, extremely well written, with some strong characters. Even at the end of this book, there is still a large amount we don’t know even about the characters which is something I think is fantastic in books- it just isn’t the same when you learn everything in the first book of a set. This is a book that would make for a great movie with plenty of action to keep it paced.

After reading this book, I have a new appreciation for the cover. It isn’t immediately grabbing, but it shows the Doors that close every night to lock the Gladers in with the Maze extending behind it. This isn’t just some hedge maze- it is massive in size with extremely high walls and the cover helps reinforce its size. The title is also very perfect for this and if I am correct, the next book is called The Scorch which seems just as simplistically fitting.

Source: Purchased from

Hardcover, 384 pages
Random House Children's Books
October 06, 2009
ISBN13: 9780385737944

ISBN: 0385737947

The Maze Runner Website
James Dashner's Blog

Other Reviews:
Steph Su Reads
The Book Smugglers
Pure Imagination
Reverie Book Reviews

Getting To Know The Little Guys (6)

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.

Today I've got the lovely Corrine from Lost for Words here with me. She is a new blogger but a very awesome person and an even more awesome member of my book forum. =D

Hello everyone!

First off I'd like to say thank you to Kari for featuring me on her blog! I was really excited when Kari contacted me and asked if I would be interested in being featured. I immediately said yes, and was then panic-stricken when I realized I have no idea what to say to grab everyone's attention. So, I'll just start with who I am and go from there! :)

My name is Corrine, and I'm a 26-year-old from Southern Ontario, Canada. If you triangulate Toronto, Niagara Falls, and London, you'll find me smack-dab in the middle. I'm happily engaged, and I also have 4 cats. (We're a package deal and Duane is okay with that, so we're off to a good start!) :) I have 3 younger siblings (1 sister, and 2 brothers). I use exclamation marks way too often. The phrase "lol" needs to be dropped from my vocabulary as I overuse it as well. Anyway, enough about me! Onto the blog...

I started my blog (a little over a month ago) because I am an avid reader, and I have always been asked for my book recommendations. I used to work in the school library when I was in high school, and for several years after school, I worked in the local public library. I guess you could say, books and I go together. But I digress, anyway, I had been mulling over the idea of starting a blog because I read a lot, and I wanted to write down my thoughts on the books that I read. My sister is always asking me for books to read, so I figured hey, why not start a blog? It'd help me keep track of what I've read, and it'd help others out in the process. With that said, the blog was born. Currently I cater to YAs, but I do read adult fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, mystery, suspense, thriller, chick-lit, time travel... you name it, I probably read it. Except Stephen King. I have read some of his books, and disliked them all. (Lucky me, I joined a challenge where I have to read a book from a genre or author that I absolutely detest and I'll be reading another Stephen King book. Hopefully it won't be that bad). :) Anyway, anything that I read, I'll review and put up on the blog.

Right now I am running a Contest for the book "Break" by Hannah Moskowitz. It will end February 12, 2010, and I'll announce the winner on the following day. To enter you must comment on the post and leave your email address. You need to be a follower, and you must be a resident of either the U.S. or Canada. (Sorry to those who are international, I hope to have a contest for you once I hit 100 followers. I know I'm aiming high! But why not dream big?) :) I'll use to choose the winner. Only 1 entry per person. The link is: I hope you all will enter. This is a really good book. (I think it was absolutely brilliant). I can't believe how young this author is!

I think I'll let Kari have her blog back now. Thank you again for letting me hi-jack it today. I hope you all are having a great day. Please feel free to stop by my blog and say hi, look around, and enter the contest.
Thank you! :)

Thanks Corrine for stopping by and I agree- Break was completely brilliant. If you haven't read it, look into it because it's just great. But before you do that, stop by Corrine's blog, have a look around, give her comment love and follow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

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

This week's pick is by no means a new one to hit the WoW posts but gosh darnit I want this book NOW and not May 18. The Vampire Academy series is most definitely my favorite right now- the plot is phenomenal and though speculation on what is going to happen runs rampant and everyone has all these ideas, I really think Meade is such an amazing writer that whatever she has planned will not even cross our minds and pretty much just be brilliant. Despite that, I am still most definitely Team Adrian... he's just too dang sardonic for me to not love him.

I am very eagerly waiting on Spirit Bound to be released and I doubt a summary is needed on this one... although I keep wondering who is on the cover of this one. Even though her skin is too pale and the hair too blond, I am assuming that's Rose because hey, it was her on book 2 and she was totally blond then... and I guess Dimitri... but I am holding out hope its Adrian. =D

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Diary of a Witness: Catherine Ryan Hide


One day, something’s going to snap. . . .

Ernie doesn't have a lot of friends at school. Just Will. They have stuff in common—like fishing. But more important, they have common enemies: the school jocks, who seem to find bullying just another sport.

For the most part, Ernie and Will take life at high school in stride. Until Will has one very bad day. Now nothing is remotely funny. Ernie finds himself a witness—to loss, to humiliation, and to Will’s anger—an anger that’s building each and every moment.

Ernie doesn’t want to believe his best friend is changing, but he can’t deny the truth. Soon he has a choice: join or die. Or can he find another way?


This is book is absolutely gripping, gut wrenching, and horrific. I've read bully stories, but this one is heartrending. It's different in the way its written, in that it isn't just Ernie, the character telling the story, who is being bullied and it isn't just him having to deal with it. Ernie is watching his best friend- his only friend and ally- slowly waste away with every torment thrown on them. Coupled with a horrible home life, Will deteriorates. Not only does Ernie have to deal with everything thrown at him, he has Will's issues as well.

There have been worse cases of bullying in books, but this one got to me because even when things in Will's home life became public knowledge, it didn't stop. If anything, those events seemed to spark his tormentors and neither boy could really stand up for themselves or the other without bigger consequences. That particular aspect is one I found a little unique to the bully story- their decisions to stand up for the other, knowing it would be worse them but because it meant the friend didn't have to suffer, it was better, right?

Ernie was caught between a rock and a hard place more than once in this book and it was rough to watch him go through this. His home life wasn't great but compared to Will's it was kind of like paradise- and he recognized that. This was another aspect I really enjoyed because despite everything, in the right circumstances, Ernie could see the good things. But that means Will still didn't have it and that was even harder to read.

As the book progressed, I had the same growing sense of trepidation Ernie did but because I got to know Will so well also, I didn't want to see what was clear. Hyde did a magnificent job showing that- showing how Ernie could not see what was right there, and vouch for his friend. It happens- and as an outsider, it is so easy to point fingers and place blame but Hyde shows the impossibility of it when it's your best friend.

Anyone who has ever been bullied will relate to this book- and should read it. Because everyone has a breaking point- and consequences they might not be able to see because they are too blinded by hurt and hate. This book doesn't shy away from that- Hyde went in with tormented characters and she carried it all the way through until the spark hit the powder. And anyone who is doing the bullying also needs to read this because it doesn't hold back on just how much even the smallest things can tear a person apart.

High school, in many ways, can make or break a person for their future. You either gain interpersonal skills and confidence or you don't- and more often than not, what pushes it one way or another, ultimately, is genetics and family status. What makes a person popular? It isn't who they are, it's how they look, how well they can play sports or jump up and down with pom poms, and how well off their parents are. The rest of the students? Ignored, pushed away, and sometimes even ridiculed. And everyone knows it happens- even saying kids are cruel and that's high school for you- but it never stops. As parents and educators, it isn't seen- the tormented ones don't want to admit it and the parents of the tormentors never want to recognize their child is making the life of someone else hell. Books like this one really thrust that into light because there always will be students like Ernie- overweight, no matter what the reason and already embarrassed and unsure of them, only to have it preyed on and spotlighted. There will still be kids like Will with severe acne problems and ears that stick out with parents who aren't the greatest. And they are an easy and constant target- and it is a scenario that plays out over and over, happening in our high schools everywhere right now. I applaud Hyde for broaching this subject and not holding back on it because I firmly believe it needs far more attention.

This book easily deserves 5 stars. It is a very real, very rough subject from all sides, tackled strategically. This book left me with plenty of things to think about and I know it will stick with me for a long time. The characters are in depth and their growth and decisions are very realistic, even if hard to read. I most definitely recommend this book to everyone because it is eye opening, maybe even more so than some other bully books I have read because of the way it is presented and the way the plot plays out. In some ways, the ending was satisfying and perfect and beautiful- the kind that I love. Read it, because even though it is a fiction, it mirrors real events entirely too well and could easily become a biography or the next breaking news story.

Source: Purchased through
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 25, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375856846
ISBN-13: 978-0375856846

Author's Website

Other Reviews- Clearly not enough people have read this book because I could only find one review to link: The Compulsive Reader

Teaser Tuesday

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

Currently, I'm reading James Dashner's The Maze Runner and it is absolutely amazing so far.

""Banished? What does that mean?" Thomas asked, though he knew it couldn't be good if Chuck though it was worse than being dead. And then Thomas saw perhaps the most disturbing thing he'd seen since he'd arrived at the Glade. Chuck didn't answer; he only smiled. Smiled, despite it all, despite the sinister sound of what he'd just announced." -- page 89

Monday, January 25, 2010

Things That Fly Giveaway Winners

I had 99 total entrants and 625 total entries which is really amazing! has spoken and the winners are:

First place and therefore first pick: Amanda at That Teen Can Blog -- claimed Captivate
Second place: Sherry at Flippin Pages For All Ages
Third place-- since Sherry has acquired Fallen since the contest opened: Amy Jacobs at My Overstuff Bookshelf

Congrats to you both and I will be sending emails soon. =) You both have 48 hours to get back to me or I will choose another winner.

Thanks to everyone who participated and I hope you check out my latest contest to give away the first 3 books in the Percy Jackson series.

I also hit 300 followers today which is AMAZING! So thank you to all of you!

His Eyes: Renee Carter


Amy Turner's about to graduate from high school and all she wants is a job. Actually, all she wants is to find a way to pay for college. Amy certainly isn't looking for love when she answers an ad to baby-sit a boy-she just needs the cash. But the job has a catch: The boy is blind...and he's her age.

Tristan Edmund may be hot, but he doesn't want Amy's help. Or so he thinks. After being blinded in a horse show-jumping competition, Tristan spends his days in the dark, refusing to accept his disability. Much to his annoyance, Amy bursts into his life and drags him into the light. But just as the two begin to see something in each other, Tristan's beautiful ex-girlfriend shows up. Will the temptation be too much, or will Tristan choose the girl who really sees him?


This is a fast, cute and fluffy read. A lot of it was pretty cliche and stereotypical and it moves quickly, but it still made me curse, laugh and grin. At under 200 pages, this is a one sitting book but it is a good way to pass the time.

Amy's family is interesting and I did enjoy how often they were involved in this book. Her hippie mom and business dad made an amusing couple and the way they handled things was different. That part of the book was refreshing, as was how well Amy got along with them. Things just worked, even the bad parts. I liked Amy's character as well- she was a humorous girl with a bit of a spark who wasn't one to give up easily. She was strong but still had her vulnerable side and I enjoyed seeing her various aspects.

Tristan starts out as what you would expect from a rich brat but he changes almost instantly. Given his situation, it's pretty understandable the way he feels and except for right at the start, I just felt bad for him throughout the story. Not only is it awful to become suddenly blind but he has to basically have a babysitter at 18. He never expected someone like Amy to be paired with him.

When Lexus, Tristan's snotty model ex shows up, things get interesting but here is where I thought things were pretty cliche. Ex is every kind of mean, boy goes along with it, new girl is hurt and angry... but I still enjoyed reading it and I really did just love Tristan. He was adorable in so many ways- blind or not.

I thought the ending was really cute and the epilogue was awesome- I was definitely grinning when I finished this one. This one gets 3 stars because it was cute and fast but I wish there had been more substance to some parts of it and it was often predictable. I also like the cover on this one- it's actually really fitting with her legs but nothing else because Tristan of course never gets to physically see her, and his sunglasses lying on the ground by her.

Source: Purchased through
Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (August 28, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432742132
ISBN-13: 978-1432742133

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Percy Jackson Giveaway

In honor of The Lightning Thief Movie coming out next month, I am hosting a contest to give away the first 3 books in the series. They are going to ship from The Book Depository, therefore this contest IS international so long as they ship to where you live.

I really enjoyed these books, from the humor to the story line. It is a great series for independent readers while still holding plenty of excitement and entertainment for adults.

To enter, fill out this form. Comments are welcome but I will not accept any entries left in the comments section. One entry per person but please help spread the word anyhow.

Contest ends Wed, Feb 17 at midnight CST.

In A Heartbeat: Loretta Ellsworth


When a small mistake costs sixteen-year-old Eagan her life during a figure-skating competition, she leaves many things unreconciled, including her troubled relationship with her mother. From her vantage point in the afterlife, Eagan reflects back on her memories, and what she could have done differently, through her still-beating heart.When fourteen-year-old Amelia learns she will be getting a heart transplant, her fear and guilt battle with her joy at this new chance at life. And afterwards when she starts to feel different--dreaming about figure skating, craving grape candy--her need to learn about her donor leads her to discover and explore Eagan's life, meeting her grieving loved ones and trying to bring the closure they all need to move on.Told in alternating viewpoints, "In a Heartbeat "tells the emotional and compelling story of two girls sharing one heart.


I've heard the stories about organ recipients- especially heart ones- picking up traits from their donor Despite having a research background, I've never looked at the research articles on this subject but it certainly made an interesting element for this novel. Amelia doesn't just pick up a new favorite food or an affinity for something- she almost undergoes an entire personality change. Breaking up the chapters of Amelia's story are those from Eagen, trying to figure out the afterlife and the constant back and forth between life and death was a very unique way to pitch this story.

There is minimal action in this story- it is more of a character development kind of book but I still enjoyed it. Parts of it were predictable and some sections lagged but overall, it was a bit of a feel good book. These two girls who never would have had anything in common are now forever joined by a single heart and this book most certainly made me really think about the organ donor process. I have my license checked that I want to be a donor but how many people really consider what that means- and what it would mean for our family should we die and our organs are harvested? This book also thrusts into light the hardest part about donating- for someone else to live, a person has to die and that is a hard thing to swallow I am sure for the person who is getting the organ. Ellsworth did a phenomenal job with that in this book- Amelia didn't just think about it once, it was constant and often.

I enjoyed the characters although I have to admit, Eagen for the most part got on my nerves. She practically hated her mom and apart from they just fought a lot, it seemed like there was never actual a reason but teen angst which kind of bothered me. Granted, she ended up dying young and her mother has to now forever live knowing her daughter felt like that- which could make all the teen girls who have this same relationship question it- but this particular element bothered me. It seemed almost unnecessarily harsh for me. But at the same time, it created a nice contrast to Amelia who was close to her parents. Where Amelia was grateful for everything because she probably wouldn't live past 14 or 15, Eagan was kind of a brat who everyone thought had all this potential and her whole life planned out.

The ending of this book was a really nice one- both story lines ended up tying together and things took a few surprising turns. This book, overall, did make me stop and think and I do recommend it to anyone who likes these kind of books.

Source: I received this hardbound finished book for review from Bloomsbury/Walker Books in exchange for my honest review.
Hardcover, 208 pages
Walker & Company
February 02, 2010
ISBN13: 9780802720689
ISBN: 0802720684

Other Reviews:
Lost In Ink
The Book Scout
Good Golly Miss Holly Books
Pirate Penguin's Reads

Loretta Ellsworth will be participating in a blog tour to promote this book in February. For the full schedule, check out her website here.

Book Forum Sundays

Today is the first official day of my book club forum! I have to admit, I am so excited! =D

Starting out, I am only doing one book but we are building up to three a week from these categories:

1. 2010 Debut Author Title
2. Recent Release Title- anything 2009 or 2010 that isn't debut author
3. Miscellaneous Title- this will focus mostly on titles prior to 2009 but some 2009 ones can worm their way in there as well

This week's book is Break by Hannah Moskowitz.

Summary: Jonah is on a mission to break every bone in his body. Everyone knows that broken bones grow back stronger than they were before. And Jonah wants to be stronger--needs to be stronger--because everything around him is falling apart. Breaking, and then healing, is Jonah's only way to cope with the stresses of home, girls, and the world on his shoulders.
When Jonah's self-destructive spiral accelerates and he hits rock bottom, will he find true strength or surrender to his breaking point?

For my review of this 5 star book, go here.

Have you read Break? Link your review here even if you aren't a forum member! I will host a Mr. Linky for the featured books every Sunday so check back.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In My Mailbox & Weekly Wrap Up

First off, I am going to do a quick weekly wrap up post and just combine it with IMM.

I started a new novel a few weeks ago- it is flying along. I finished chapters 5 and 6 at work yesterday in my down time and have a good 4 pages of chapter 7 done today. I've gotten a ton plotted and planned on it as well- I am so excited for this one! I am totally in love my main guy.... sigh....

My book forum officially opens tomorrow, featuring Break by Hannah Moskowitz. The boards will open at or around noon CST, mostly whenever I can drag my butt out of bed to be honest. Hannah herself just might be stalking the boards to see what we have to say which gives me warm and fuzzies. I am also working on contacting authors of the books scheduled for Feb and March to see if they can do an interview here at my blog and/or pop on the forum during their book's week. I am going to start doing my IMM post on Saturday's now so I can devote Sundays to the correlation between my blog and my forum. I will be hosting a Mr. Linky every Sunday for my forum members as well as any other blogger who wants to link their review of whatever book(s) are being featured that particular week. If you want to get in on the fun, go here and get registered and start looking at the schedules.

Otherwise, I had a decent week. My newest novel, like I said, is flying along and I read 5 books this week (2 reviews yet to come). Now... onto IMM. =D

IMM is a snazzy meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

For Review:
In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth (From Bloomsbury)
Dirty Little Secrets by CJ Omololu (From Bloomsbury)
Now & Then by Jacqueline Sheehan (From a close friend of the author)

Bought from Amazon:
When It Happens by Suzanne Colasanti
Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt (To appear on my book forum)
Lost It by Kristen Tracy
Firespell by Chloe Neill (To appear on my book forum)
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
His Eyes by Renee Carter
Unwind by Neil Shusterman
Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott (To appear on my book forum)
The Pace by Shelena Shorts (To appear on my book forum)

That was my week. =) Yep, I'm feeling pretty darn good about it and am eager to get started on many of these. I keep telling myself I am going to stop buying so many books but... so far... I fail. Ah well. There's still a roof of my head and food in my stomach. And Toby is still spoiled. He just has to work for his keep by posing- I think he's getting sick of it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Some Girls Are: Courtney Summers


Frozen out of her clique after vicious rumors circulate, Regina Afton takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit whom she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be "more" than just a friend.


Powerful, intense, harsh and unbelievable. This book isn't just bullying, it is most definitely much more than that. Summers has an amazing writing style that completely draws me in, making characters that I should and normally would hate ones that I feel for and want the best for. As with Cracked Up To Be, there were several defining characters in this book, even in places unexpected places.

What I loved the most about this book was how Regina had been a part of the Fearsome Fivesome- the top girls at the school who run everything, at least until rumors spread she slept with her best friend- and the top girl's- boyfriend. The clique's usual habit of picking a victim and basically making their life hell turns onto Regina- tricks she knows well and has been on the giving end of. Regina gets a very vivid understanding of what she's been doing to others in high school- only instead of taking it like everyone before her, she fights back. Many times, I kept picturing her as the beaten puppy that eventually snaps and attacks the hand that hits. But what happens to that puppy? It's only beaten worse. Whenever things seemed like they couldn't get worse, of course they did and often in very surprising ways.

There are several layers to this book, pulling together in amazing methods. Michael is a phenomenally written character, fighting his own demons to be the good person he is and wants to be, no matter how much Regina tests it. I felt for him completely, falling in love with him faster than Regina did. He couldn't stay mad and it was perfect for his character, for the story, and for Regina. A strong message came from his character alone.

Many times, I was honestly surprised at just how far the main clique would go to torment Regina- much of it downright criminal. Even though the sane part me constantly screamed tell someone, we all know it isn't that easy in high school. Despite the No Tolerance policy, there is just too much that goes on under the radar and telling opens up for things to get worse. It was hard to watch Regina try to navigate everything but this is certainly a book that will stick with me.

This one easily earns 5 stars, from the powerful writing to the amazing and in depth characters to the plot and the events, this one is an all around hit. Summers is most definitely an author staying on my radar and has earned a spot on my favorites list between this book and Cracked Up To Be.

Source: Purchased at Barnes and Noble
Paperback, 256 pages
St. Martin's Press
January 05, 2010

Author's Website

Barkings From A Beagle (4)

Barkings From A Beagle is a weekly feature to recommend/spotlight a book, new or old. Since I already spotlight Toby in my IMM posts, I figured I could incorporate him into this as well. Basically, Toby and I just tell you guys about a book and why I loved it, as well as provide links to buy it from the main booksellers.

This week's pick was published in 2006 but I read it last summer. I really enjoyed it- a very quick read but pretty unique and hard to read at times.

Toby Barks: Read The Secret Hour (The Midnighters Book 1) by Scott Westerfeld.

(This week, we ignore how annoyed Toby looks since he is supposed to be excited....)

Summary: A few nights after Jessica Day arrives in Bixby, Oklahoma, she wakes up at midnight to find the entire world frozen, except for her and a few others who call themselves 'midnighters'. Dark things haunt this midnight hour -- dark things with a mysterious interest in Jessica. The question is … why? The Secret Hour is a compelling tale of dark secrets, midnight romance, eerie creatures, courage, destiny, and unexpected peril.

My Thoughts: I found this idea to be really unique- I haven't really read anything similar to it. The series as a whole we great, with the last book actually being my favorite. I adored how it ended- I thought it was phenomenal. Though the writing isn't amazing, that ending just sky rocketed the series for me. There is plenty of elements involved in this book and the time put into creating it is clear- and well done. This book leads into the story really nicely, setting up not only the Secret Hour itself but also some of the lore and the characters.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting To Know The Little Guys (5)

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.

Today I've got Melissa from I Swim For Oceans here and I have to say- she has a really interesting story to share with everyone. No way could I do the swimming she does but I find it fantastic!

Hello all!

I'm so excited to drop in and kidnap Kari's post for the day because I may have truly squealed with glee when she asked whether I would be interested in being featured here. Ok, "may" isn't right. I did squeal. A lot, actually.

Well, let's see...I'm a 23-year-old currently living in the pretty valley of Salt Lake City, UT. It's a far cry from where I grew up in New Jersey, but it's fun for now. Oh, and for those wondering why I spew words like "brilliant" and phrases like "bloody hell," you'll have to forgive me (please!) I was born in South Africa, and it's the only thing I've got left of that part of my heritage. I like to think it makes me interesting...perhaps even edgy!

I decided to start book blogging after months of blogging about nothing.
Truly...nothing at all. I didn't know what I wanted to blog about. I simply wanted to use the name "i swim for oceans" before anyone else did. See, I grew up competitively swimming. It's how I ended up in Utah in the first place. I got a full scholarship to swim for the U, and I thought "Hey! No debt from college?! Excellent!" So, long story short - I took the scholarship and swam with it. (Get it?! I made a funny.) The oceans part of the name came from my insane desire to swim in hazardous open waters...namely Alcatraz. It's true. I escaped. Want proof? Here you go:

And yes, that's how chapped my skin was from the cold water. It hurt, but I have officially escaped Alcatraz. If you should ever need to know how, feel free to ask. I'm full of helpful hints.

But really now, back to why I chose book blogging. I eat words. I breathe them, and live them, and love them. I remember the first night my mother let me stay up past my bedtime to read a Boxcar Children book. I hid under my covers with a flashlight and read four in one night just because I couldn't stop reading. It's a bit of an addiction, but a healthy one, I suppose. At least it's not crack, right? Anyway, I found so many great book blogs, and I figured I'd give it a go, and it's been more fun than I could ever have imagined. I love it!

When I'm not reading incessantly, I'm writing. I have lofty dreams of being a published author, I've finished a full YA novel that's currently being read by my top agent (fingers crossed!), and I have another in the works. It's fun, and it's cathartic, as well. It helps me release all my excess energy into a healthy outlet.

Well, I feel I've sufficiently covered everything you ever needed/wanted to know about me in a verrrrryyyyy lengthy post, so thanks for reading this! I really hope you'll visit my blog and direct me to yours because reading other's posts really makes my day! Oh, and to everyone that already visits my blog...thank you! It's truly a pleasure to read your comments! :)

Thanks for stopping by, Melissa! I hope everyone goes and visits her blog- and should you ever get published, I will definitely buy your book!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cracked Up To Be: Courtney Summers


Perfect Parker Fadley isn't so perfect anymore. She's quit the cheerleading squad, she's dumped her perfect boyfriend, and she's failing school. Her parents are on a constant suicide watch and her counselors think she's playing games.

But what they don't know, the real reason for this whole mess, isn't something she can say out loud. It isn't even something she can say to herself. A horrible thing has happened and it just might be her fault.

If she can just remove herself from everybody-be totally alone-then everything will be okay...The problem is, nobody will let her.


This one is raw and doesn't hold back- it burns as hard as some liquors going down. There is no slow build up- the novel starts right in the middle of the train wreck Parker has become. Between her sarcastic remarks, her perverse humor and her obviously underlying hurt, I fell into this book right from the start.

The fact that Parker used to be at the top- the most popular girl dating the most popular boy, captain of the cheerleaders and prom queen for 3 years straight- only to fall, by her own hand and choices, makes this book unique. She knows what it's like to be at the top and she knows how to lose it. Maybe in some ways she still wants it, but she also manages to keep a distance from all of it.

Reading this, I've realized the way this is told- with the flashbacks and the real reason for her moods and popularity fall being told in bits and pieces- is a popular and somewhat common way but it is completely fitting in books like this. If I knew from the start, I wouldn't have been as interested- I wouldn't have been trying to figure out Parker's reasoning for pretty much ruining her own life. It isn't supposed to make sense or be obvious- it's something that is hers, and something that she is trying to protect. I kept turning the pages because I wanted to know what happened to her- understand her mindset. That doesn't happen until the end and it's what makes everything tie together beautifully, even if in an utterly tragic method. Though the singular flashback which everything focused around was told in a beautiful way, sometimes repeating what has already happened in the way Parker sees it in her mind before its cut off, only to start from the beginning again. By the end, the reader didn't just experience that night once- they revisited it, from start to finish, multiple times where everything is burned into memory rather than just the hard to face end part of it.

Parker's character is a model of self destruction- well aware of what each action is going to cause, carefully calculating the results for the maximum effect she wants. Even if she wasn't quite as bitingly sarcastic before everything, the way she has become is something imporant because she has changed- and her personality alone makes that clear. Traits where there before but its even clearer now.

Chris was actually a surprising charcter, not at all fitting into the stereotypical popular jock mold set up for him. He still loved Parker, and he still cared for her. He wanted her to be okay and safe, even if it wasn't okay and safe with him by her side. No matter what she did, he was there- she came first in many things and his character showed a lot of depth and true personality.

Jake was even more lovable, quirky and awkward but sweet and caring at the same time. He's the guy that is your best friend and self destructive in his own way because for whatever reason, he really likes the girl. It's hard and sad watching him pine for Parker but he never falters from who he is, even if he likes her.

I loved the writing, particularly the stream of consciousness that was constant present with this one. Parker's education and her brains were often clear, but then she'd slip into moments of anxiety and hysteria where things ran together and her internal madness was very evident with nothing held back. The writing most certainly stands out for me with this book across the board.

The ending was surprising, providing some closure while still leaving many things open and out there. I give this one 5 stars because it had several strong, definable characters and the story line also played out beautifully. Though this one came out over a year ago, it definitely was a stunning debut and I look forward to Summers' latest book, Some Girls Are.

Source: Bought at Borders
Paperback, 224 pages
St. Martin's Press
December 23, 2008

Authors Website

Other Reviews:
The Hiding Spot
The Compulsive Reader
The Infinite Shelf

Waiting on Wednesday (8)

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

This week's pick is another 2010 Debut author and this one looks great. The premise is an interesting take on a madness and following in the path of your parents kind of thing. I also think the cover is beautiful, hinting at the drowning of the mother in her own madness and the art aspect of the book as well. I really look forward to this book, coming in May from Flux.

Summary (From Holly's Website):
Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay. As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations. Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.

Paperback, 288 pages
Llewellyn Publications
May 01, 2010
ISBN13: 9780738719269
ISBN: 0738719269

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Breathless: Jessica Warman


When Katie Kitrell is shipped off to boarding school by her distant father and overbearing mother, it doesn’t take her long to become part of the It Crowd. She’s smart, she’s cute, and she’s an Olympic-bound swimmer who has a first class ticket to any Ivy League school of her choice. But what her new friends, roommate, and boyfriend don’t know is that Katie is swimming away from her past, and from her schizophrenic older brother, Will, who won’t let her go. And when he does the unthinkable, it’s all Katie can do to keep her head above water.


Throughout much of this book, I found myself to have mixed feelings about it. At times, I was bored and other times I was interested and other times I just wanted to smack several of the characters- but the last little bit of the book pulled everything together pretty nicely.

Will's part in this story was certainly the most emotional- the toll on his family because of his mental illness was hard to read, especially because of how young it all started for him. Watching how innocent he was despite it all made it even worse because he truly though he was protecting people and he honestly thought he was doing the right thing. This is a book that shows that while society would want to write him off- and Katie even tried to pretend he was dead while she was at boarding school for that reason- it is much harder for the family to do so, nor should they. I really felt bad for Will, particularly at the very end and everything that happened to him but I think his part of the storyline was beautifully done although Katie kept mentioning how she blamed the town for what became of her brother but apart from one incident, those reasons and events are never told which did bother me- she makes such a profound case but the evidence is never provided.

Katie was hot and cold for me- sometimes I sympathized with her and could understand her motives and other times I felt blindsided and confused. She jumped back and forth, particularly about Will- one thing happens and she still fights for him, then something else happens and she totally cuts him off. Enter another incident, and suddenly he's the only thing that matters to her. It drove me crazy and for awhile, I thought it was such a stereotypical, weak character but it isn't. Not really, at least, because I have plenty of friends who flip flop like that so much and so rapidly they could probably win an Olympic Gold. Katie is in high school, struggling to stay afloat in many areas of her life, with little support coming from home for it. By the end of the novel, I could see the profound change and development in her- the things she learned from all this and the ways she grew from it. Though some of the events seemed repetitive, cliche for these books, and even irritating, the effect it had on Katie was still clear.

Drew was a character that made me mad more than anything. Even at the end, I still thought he was really just a hypocrite, despite the good things he did. He devoted his life to God but still went overboard on trying to save everyone, having no qualms about condemning someone to Hell. It seemed like the part of the Bible about being humble missed him and I kind of feel like that particular facet of Drew was simply not done that well- his faith showed up at random times and disappeared at others.

The writing was good for the most part, though it seemed like every character licked their lips when they were either total horndogs or on the verge of telling some great piece of gossip to ruin their lives. It became very noticeable everytime a sentence was only 'He licked his lips.' It most definitely started to get to me and I would stop and just gawk at it towards the end when it kept happening, wondering why everyone seemed to have that habit but things like that always bother me in books. Warman had a few very great moments of explaining things that just made perfect sense, phrasing it on a way that was simplistic but fulfilling.

Overall, I give this one 4 stars because even though I did have some gripes about it, the ending was completely bittersweet and those always shine for me. Parts of the book did seem to drag but I do like that it covered 3 years and not just a semester or two. The changes and events that took place were not instant and rapid- they were spread out, fueled by the experience Katie earned just finishing out high school. That aspect most definitely made this story unique because she was definitely an immature idiot at the beginning of the book, starting her sophomore year, and became almost a new person by the time she graduated.

Teaser Tuesday

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

This week, I'm working on Breathless by Jessica Warman which is scheduled for week 2 of my book club forum.

When Katie Kitrell is shipped off to boarding school by her distant father and overbearing mother, it doesn’t take her long to become part of the It Crowd. She’s smart, she’s cute, and she’s an Olympic-bound swimmer who has a first class ticket to any Ivy League school of her choice. But what her new friends, roommate, and boyfriend don’t know is that Katie is swimming away from her past, and from her schizophrenic older brother, Will, who won’t let her go. And when he does the unthinkable, it’s all Katie can do to keep her head above water.

"Again, I scream, "Will," and this eyelids flutter, his gaze takes its time focusing on me, and before I say anything, he says, to me and my parents, "I had to do it. You wanted me to. Everyone wanted me to." " -- page 32

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In My Mailbox

Before I get to my IMM post.... just a reminder there is one week left in my contest to give away my ARCs of Captivate and Fallen. Use the link at the top of the page to enter.

My book club forum also will go live in one week on Jan 24 at noon CST (or close to that time, honestly it depends on when I can drag my butt out of bed haha). The first book scheduled is Break by Hannah Moskowitz and the schedules through Feb are posted as well so head over there to sign up and get involved with it- this is somewhere you can actually talk about the books rather than just reviewing them. It isn't a talk about any book forum, however, since some people get ARCs, some people just get them faster, etc. This way, we all are on the same page with the same books.

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

Bought from Borders:
By The Time You Read This I'll Be Dead: Julie Anne Peters
Cracked Up To Be: Courtney Summers
Things Not Seen: Andrew Clements
The Outsiders: SE Hinton
My Soul To Save: Rachel Vincent
Bad Blood: Mari Mancusi

Bought from Walmart:
Thirst No. 2: Christopher Pike

Bought from Half Price Books:
This Lullaby: Sarah Dessen
The Truth About Forever: Sarah Dessen
Looking For Alaska: John Green

What was in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Of All The Stupid Things: Alexandra Diaz

SUMMARY (From Amazon, which is where I purchased this book:

When a rumor starts circulating that Tara's boyfriend Brent has been sleeping with one of the guy cheerleaders, the innuendo doesn't just hurt Tara. It marks the beginning of the end for an inseparable trio of friends. Tara's training for a marathon, but also running from her fear of abandonment after being deserted by her father. Whitney Blaire seems to have everything, but an empty mansion and absentee parents leave this beauty to look for meaning in all the wrong places. And Pinkie has a compulsive need to mother everyone to make up for the mom she's never stopped missing. This friendship that promised to last forever is starting to break under the pressure of the girls' differences.

And then new-girl Riley arrives in school with her long black hair, athletic body, and her blasé attitude, and suddenly Tara starts to feel things she's never felt before for a girl--and to reassess her feelings about Brent and what he may/may not have done. Is Tara gay--or does she just love Riley? And can her deepest friendships survive when all of the rules have changed?


This was an interesting read- in all truth, there wasn't much real substance behind the plot and yet I enjoyed it and wanted to keep reading. This book is basically about 3 friends in high school, their drama and their relationships. Each have their own thing going on while trying to stick around with the others. If I had to give a summary of my own, all I could come up with would be drama.

Whitney Blaire is the self absorbed, bratty rich girl that is the character designed to be hated- and yeah, at times I didn't like her, but Diaz did write her and her home life in a way that I didn't really hate her. Having a first person perspective on her most certainly helped. Maybe a lot of what she did was catty and stupid but her reasons for it were obvious.

Tara bothered me a lot of times in this one- particularly for why she got so upset with Brent and not just for him cheating on her, only to turn around and basically be the same. That never did seem to be really resolved- she was with someone but still felt weird, and that's just how it kind of seems to stay. However, her beliefs and feelings were very real and true and I did like watching the way she tried to handle everything.

Pinkie is the best friend you love but forget about- the one who tries to keep everyone together but is usually left out. I really felt for her and I really liked reading things in her perspective. She was a very nice addition to the book and I think she is the character who changed the most.

One downfall to this book was how the chapters switched in POV between the 3 girls. Many times, it was separate story lines being told haphazardly. There were moments were they overlapped and tied together but for the most part, things were completely separate which is part of why I felt the book as a whole didn't really have much plot. It was just them, trying to make it through high school.

I know absent parents are prevalent in YA novels but I find it kind of interesting that all 3 of these girls had some sort of broken home life. Whitney Blaire with her too busy for her but still married parents, Tara with her single mom because dad bolted and Pinkie with her dad and stepmom because she lost her birth mom at an early age. In some ways, I would have expected at least one of the three to have the standard, nice home life but their backgrounds also helped build all 3 of these girls and it just isn't the same for some big revelation to be made in light of having a very steady home life.

Overall, I give this one 3 stars. I did find myself liking the characters and it was an entertaining read but there wasn't anything particularly profound in the end. Even the ending was just that- an ending. It wasn't really memorable and this book isn't one that will stick with me for a long time though the overall subject is a good one, and one that is played out pretty well.

Other Reviews:
The Crooked Shelf
La Femme Readers
Pop Culture Junkie
Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf

Awards =)

I've won a few awards over the past several days so thank you to everyone. =) Much appreciated!

First off, Simple Life and Reading as well as Extreme Reader Book Reviews have passed on the Happy 101 award- I make you guys happy? *blushes and gets all awkward like a 12 year old being complimented by a guy* Okay now that that's over.... thank you- I really like the idea behind this particular award.

The rules for this award are as follows:
  • List 10 things that make you happy.
  • Try and do at least one of them today.
  • Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.
  • Link back to the person that tagged you!
So 10 things that make me happy:
  1. Finishing a chapter on one of the now two novels I am working on- such an amazing feeling to actually be DONE with a chappie.
  2. Getting ideas in my head for scenes or parts of a book and just spending time planning it- I tend to see them as movie clips in my head and I love letting it play out
  3. My dog, as I am sure you can imagine (most of the time, sometimes he's a brat but shh)
  4. Fuzzy, warm socks on a cold, rainy day
  5. Spending time with friends
  6. Buying books, even if I already have over 100 sitting on my shelves at home needing to be read
  7. Bubble baths
  8. Seeing new people sign up for my book club forum
  9. When author's take the time to comment on my blog- a happy dance ensues every time
  10. RPing, though the person I RPed with the most has pulled out of the online world but that just means more time to write
10 Bloggers I am passing this on to that make my day:

Jenn at Book Crazy

Lori at Pure Imagination
Jenn at Books at Midnight
Lucy at Delightful Reviews
Sherry at Flippin Pages for All Ages
Eleni at La Femme Readers
Natalie at Mindful Musings
Michelle at Michelle's Bookshelf
Kelsey at The Book Scout
Steph at Steph The Bookworm

Next up.... Willing To See Less has passed on the Honest Scrap award to me. I am supposed to list 10 honest things about myself (on top of the 30 I did awhile ago, this might get boring and if I repeat some, just know its obviously REALLY honest haha) and pass it on to 10 bloggers.

  1. I have recently discovered the Andes Creme De Menthe cookies- they put the Girl Scouts to shame with these ones. They are *amazing*.
  2. I really hate cleaning, especially by myself. Even now, I am staring at my apartment going 'Dang, I really need to clean' but instead, I am talking to people online and working on this.
  3. I am awesome at card games, and usually win the ones that take speed, strategy and skill.
  4. Even though I don't particularly like kids and plan to never have my own (9 months of a parasite living in you and then having to push said parasite- something the size of a melon- out something the size of a keyhold? Or the not so great alternative of being flayed to get it out? No thank you.), if I ever have the money, the house set up, and a supportive hubby, I want to adopt an older kid- around 8 or 9. If I really have the money, I want to do adopt a teen despite the emotional problems that come with them because I hate the fact that they are stuck in the system and no one wants them.
  5. I realized the other night working on call with one of the radiologists how good I've gotten at reading CTs. That was a snazzy feeling, to tell him before he looked at it that all the patient had was a tiny, nonobstructing right renal stone. Though then he made fun of me because I didn't even try and find the chick's appendix- but that thing moves, and it's hard to find, it just happened to be obvious on this one. He killed the high. But gosh darnit, I was right on the other stuff! Then again, renal stones are kind of easy to see- though this one was really small, so it was harder... but I see stuff on other CTs too. Woot. But would you want me doing the actual reading on your CT? Probably not.
  6. I suck at ironing. My mom never taught me how and I just can't seem to master it. I don't know why. But I am sure I do it in a really long, roundabout way that takes longer than it should. And yeah, I suck at it.
  7. I've recently discovered country singer Matt Stillwell and am now obsessed with two of his songs on his Shine CD- Damn This Rain and Moment of Weakness. Love them....
  8. My friends don't let me mix their drinks at parties. I always do it way too strong and they can't even get it down. If I don't put too much liquor in though, they love it- I mix some pretty snazzy and awesome concoctions. Alcoholic smoothies are a particular specialty of mine.
  9. I've never bought a lottery ticket. The few times I thought about it was too late at night and they wouldn't sell it to me. Though I have done scratch offs. But the actual Texas lotto? Can't say I have.
  10. I'm a total night owl and deprive myself of sleep all week. I stay up till 1 or 2 then get up at 630 and try not to fall asleep at work....

Now to pass this on to 10 other bloggers:

Reversing the Monotony
Yay! Reads
Princess Bookie
Wicked Awesome Books
The Book Butterfly
Teens Read and Write
Sophistikatied Reviews
Shut Up! I'm Reading
My Reading Addiction
Monster of Books