Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paranormalcy: In the Wild.... and Taking Over My Apartment!

It's FINALLY here! Release day for Kiersten White's stunning debut Paranormalcy! To celebrate, Kiersten is hosting a contest on her blog for some fantastic prizes! All you have to do is take a picture of how you and Paranormalcy hang out.

I used my lunch break today to go to the bookstore... Borders didn't have it stocked, but I knew B&N was slated to have a pretty awesome pink display. So... I high tailed it over there... only for the display not to be out! Well. We can't have that! I asked the poor, innocent worker trying to shelf books in a nearby area if they had it. After repeating the book name three times, spelling it twice, and stressing the author's name is Kiersten and not Kristen... he asks if I looked in the teen section (umm... yes...). So.. he looks. Looks some more. Checks his system again (they ordered 6), and finally... comes back... with the display!

The picture isn't as awesome as I wanted.... but I was already ten mins late getting back to work, and I still had to, you know, drive back... so I snapped my pic, bought the book, and fought traffic back to work. With Paranormalcy in hand! Things were great. We chatted about how nice it was to not be stuck in a box anymore... but then I had to go back to work. And left Paranormalcy in my car, for 4 1/2 hours. I know, I know. Cars heat up fast. And it was 98 out today. BUT. I park in a garage area so it wasn't as hot. And I left another book for company. But I guess Paranormalcy was upset. Because when I got home, I went to change and make dinner... and came back to find this:

Paranormalcy bagged and tagged some of the other paranormals in my books! Also... I always knew there was something fishy about Toby, but this proves it. She bagged and tagged him too.

And that... is my entry into Kiersten's contest... and a little more promotion for this awesome book. Now... what are you waiting on? Go buy it! It's out NOW!

(Note: No paranormal books, well paid and Beggin Strip bribed Toby dogs, or duffel bags were harmed in the making of this contest entry and photo.)

Author Interview + Giveaway: Chelsea Campbell (Blog Tour Stop)

She's created the hilarious, cocky little half villain Damien. She's brought us a great book that puts heroes and villains in a new light. And now she's taking over my blog to answer some questions, and you have a chance to win a copy of this book! Welcome, Chelsea Campbell, author of The Rise of Renegade X.

If you were a mix of super villain and superhero, which side do you think would win out?

Probably superhero, because, like Damien, as much as I'd like to picture myself as some bad-ass villain... my good side pretty much always wins out.

What kind of superpower or specialty would you have if you were a superhero/villain?

I would LOVE to be able to teleport! I could go to all sorts of places without having to pay for airfare or worry about layovers and all that. Plus I wouldn't have to pay for hotels either because I could just pop back home at the end of the day.

If you could pair Damien with any character from any book, who would you pick for him?

I think he and Puck from Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series would make an awesome (read: dangerous) team. But, uh, you probably meant a romantic pairing...

What is the most private thing you're willing to admit here?

I have a horrible fear of static electricity! For a while I had trouble leaving the house because of it and I was reluctant to tell anyone, because as soon as they knew, they wanted to shock me. :/ It made it really hard to use the car or go into stores.

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

Walnut chocolate chip, hot out of the oven, with whole grain flour. NOM. Oh, wait, you asked what kind I was, not what kind I wanted... That's the kind of cookie I aspire to be, because it is so delicious!

Thank you, Chelsea, for that great interview! I have to admit, I probably would want to shock you too. But if it's any consolation, one of my random, embarrassing fears is opening biscuit cans. The way they basically explode in your hands without you even having any idea of when exactly it will happen.... yeah... don't care for it. And yes, my brother once exploded one in my face. It wasn't funny. To me, at least.

Now that confession time is over... I am giving away one copy of The Rise of Renegade X. To enter, fill out this form! Contest is US/Canada only (Sorry, my awesome international followers, but I'm footing the shipping on this one), and ends Wed, Sept 15 at 6 pm CST.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Book Review: The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

SUMMARY (From amazon):

Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she's been hiding all these years, that the one-night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father's too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he has only six weeks to prove he's not a hero in any way, or else he's stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first.

To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad's "flying lessons" that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city--despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights--thwarting the eccentric teen scientist who insists she's his sidekick, and keeping his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero.


Entertaining, comical and plenty villainous, The Rise of Renegade X is a great mix of superheroes/villains, the elements that readers have loved in comics for years, and plenty of ties in and connections to the YA genre in general. Campbell has created a great world where superheroes and villains exist openly, even if their specific identities are kept a secret, while also making it believable.

Damien has been raised by only his mom, a supervillain who has taught him plenty of the tricks of her trade. He is arrogant and cocky, while still holding some sensitive, deeper aspects as well. The general view, both in the book and for readers, tends to be that villains have no shred of good in them. Damien, however, is a perfect example of the fallacies of this, and is very relatable, apart from the whole aspires to be a supervillain and might have a slightly skewed since of right and wrong thing. Damien is amusing, comes up with some great trips, and has a fantastic stream of consciousness with a flat, straight forward sense of humor that comes with the world he lives in and what he aspires to be. The changes in his mindset and self as the book progresses are great, some of them obvious to the reader but still blind to him, and others coming as a great surprise.

Kat is kind, despite a few mistakes in the past, and a great friend to Damien. Together, they are very realistic and relatable and their interactions are both endearing and amusing. Sarah, too, adds a very sensible aspect to both Damien and the story, coming off as a nutjob but still having plenty of great qualities that make her character worthwhile.

The plot itself holds at an overall steady pace. While some areas did drag, the back stories and overall development of not only the world but the characters—both main and side—help make up for this and shadow it. From the way Damien finds out about the identity of his father, to his reactions to it and where things continue to progress from there, The Rise of Renegade X is filled with twists, both funny and shocking. The writing is bold, giving a strong voice to Damien and filled with surprising amounts of both detail and Damien’s mentality.

Overall, The Rise of Renegade X is a great read for anyone who likes actions. While some parts are mildly campy, this isn’t a typical superhero kind of book and will appeal to more than the comic book addicts. Damien is a strong central character with a big decision to make, even if he thinks the answer is clear. Both the plot and the final outcome of that decision will keep the reader interested, as will the well developed cast of characters.

Source: Review copy received from author/publisher as part of a promotional blog tour with
The Teen Book Scene
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (May 11, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606840606
ISBN-13: 978-1606840603

Saturday, August 28, 2010

In My Mailbox

I got some awesome books this week.... but I have to admit, what I am most excited about is having both Addict Boy and Lover Boy printed and bound. It's like they are close to being real books... even if this is for revisions to come... I also learned that while he tolerates books, Toby doesn't care for having two big manuscripts put on him.

Addict Boy is on the left, Lover Boy on the right... aren't they awesome and pretty?

For Review:
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford
Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft
Crazy by Han Nolan
Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
Kiss Me Deadly by Trish Telep
Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
Hunger by Jackie Kessler
Split by Swati Avasthi
(Special thanks to Amazon Review program, Natalie Standiford + Scholastic, Houghton/Grafia, Booksparks + Scholastic, and Swati Avasthi + Knopf)

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin
The Rising (The New Kid Book 2) by Temple Mathews
Gym Candy by Carl Deuker
Daemon Hall by Andrew Nance

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Review: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

SUMMARY (From amazon):

After her sister Athena's tragic death, it's obvious that grief-stricken Persephone "Phe" Archer no longer belongs in Los Angeles. Hoping to make sense of her sister's sudden demise and the cryptic dreams following it, Phe abandons her bubbly LA life to attend an uptight East Coast preparatory school in Shadow Hills, MA -- a school which her sister mysteriously mentioned in her last diary entry before she died.

Once there, Phe quickly realizes that something is deeply amiss in her new town. Not only does Shadow Hills' history boast an unexplained epidemic that decimated hundreds of its citizens in the 1700s, but its modern townies also seem eerily psychic, with the bizarre ability to bend metal. Even Zach -- the gorgeous stranger Phe meets and immediately begins to lust after -- seems as if he is hiding something serious. Phe is determined to get to the bottom of it. The longer she stays there, the more she suspects that her sister's untimely death and her own destiny are intricately linked to those who reside in Shadow Hills.


Mysterious and twisty, Shadow Hills blends romance, science, the supernatural and prep schools in an intriguing, well plotted way. With a striking cast of characters and detailed, fluid writing, Hopcus has pitched a book that will appeal to both the romantics and the supernatural addicts.

Phe is a new student at Devenish prep, though not because of punishment or some delinquent status. Instead, she is in search of answers after her sister's death. Having watched her family unravel in the aftermath, it wasn't particularly upsetting for her to suddenly want to go across the country to a boarding school. Phe is an easy character to like and while some of her reactions seemed awkward to me, considering the build up to why she even went to Devenish, they can be explained off. She has an innate burning curiosity and a great ability to piece things together. With a few other abilities that have a great explanation, Phe's character is inserted into this plot very smoothly.

Zach is awkward and amusing, sexy yet not cocky or arrogant. Taken with Phe instantly, he risks far more than what is made evident at first. While the romance between the two seemed a little off to me, the final productive was spot on and beautiful. They fell, and fell hard with no turning back, and the manifestations of it added some great elements to the story.

Adriana is full of herself and stuck up, but her friendship with Phe added plenty of things for both girls, as well as some comedic relief. Brody plays a surprisingly large role in the plot as well, and his character is probably my favorite. He's quiet but watchful, a horrible but adorable flirt, and also helps drive the plot in surprising ways.

The plot itself is well thought out, pulling in several different elements and twisting them to create something new and fantastic. Hopcus lays the groundwork for what is to come early, and slips in several clues along the way that could allow the reader to predict the overall conspiracy, while still retaining enough of the big clues until close enough to the final reveal. The underlying mystery being solved is well constructed, played out, and tied up. At the close of the book, this story is wrapped up and leaves the reader in a great place, and the overall set up and creation makes it easy for Hopcus to slip back into this world for future installments set in the small, closed off, mysterious town of Shadow Hills.

Hopcus' writing is easy to read while still being detailed, and gives a good voice to Phe. From the light to the intense, action to emotional, Hopcus has a great handle on writing a wide spread. With a mix of dialogue and action, strong build up to the overall picture and scenes of the teens just being students and teens, the entire world and spread paints a great layout. Shadow Hill is a great debut and shows high promise for future works from Hopcus.

Source: ARC received for review from publisher
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (July 13, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606840835
ISBN-13: 978-1606840832

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Top Five Reasons to Buy Paranormalcy

We already know that Thursday's is my random post day on the blog... but instead of recommending a bunch of books, or comparing characters, or talking about hot boys... I'm going to give you more reasons (as if you probably don't already have a ton) to buy Kiersten White's debut Paranormalcy which just so happens to come out next Tuesday.

5. Money. Kiersten needs the money. I don't know if you've heard, but she's this freakishly tall mutant and wants an operation to... wait. That's a lie. She might be a little vertically challenged... but there's no stretching operation slated. If you buy the book though, maybe it will happen. Okay, fine, I'll give you a more valid reason. But for this one, you have to actually follow her on twitter (@KierstenWhite for you goobers that don't already follow), because she gives great reasons on her own, all centering around the hashtagh #everytimeyoupreorderparanormalcy. They are kinda rockin.

4. Cleanliness. I, personally, have no problem with language or with sex and steam in books, though you probably know that since I make entire posts debating the hotness factor of boys in books. But some people prefer to stay away from it, and sadly for them, in general, supernatural and sex seem to go hand in hand. Add in the fact that its YA so hormones are rampant (even for those of you that insist teens don't think about sex all the time, they're still raging little balls of hormones) and the lust, love and stolen kisses are rampant. Then comes Kiersten, with her cute little book filled with awesome, centering around Evie who is such a typical girl yet not, who likes pink in a way that makes it endearing (She has a hot pink taser. Seriously.), and who is awkward when it comes to a boy she likes. There's a little steam, but nothing like you might be used to. There's also no swearing, unless you considering self-bleeping the same thing. But for this post's purposes, we'll just leave it at Oh, bleep, this book is clean in a great way.

3. Hot dudes. Reth maybe is hot, but he's creepy. Seriously, he's that ex that you think is so great till you actually, uh, get to know him then you realize he's a creeper. But he just keeps coming back. He's hot but, creepy. Now Lend.... oh, yes. Lend is a boy to date. To give a few reasons, he's cocky and arrogant and treats her like... wait, that would be most other boys in YA. Not Lend. He's, well, nice? Does that work even exist? Guess so, because that's Lend. Sure, he's got his sarcastic, cocky moments but what person, male or female, doesn't? He's also hot, but not really aware of his hotness and maybe cheats on it. So let's go back to... he's nice. And smart. And funny. Yep, he truly is a creature of fantasy....

2. There's hags. No, really. That's something I am calling a valid reason because frankly, the fact that someone, somewhere, even before Kiersten, decided to dream up a fantasy creature that lives in lakes and eats kids and calls it a hag... that's something kind of awesome. How many little kids know the word, and call creepy, mean old ladies hags? Frankly, that's asking to be eaten but I guess since it isn't by a lake, it's okay. But, Kiersten actually uses the, uh, kid eating variety of hag. And I think it's great. But if you want more than hags... there's a range of creatures in this one. There's even mention of a doppleganger. Yeah, you read that right. Can't name a lot of books that even reference those, huh?

1. Uniqueness. Fantasy/paranormal/supernatural is rampant. There's some people who are sick of it, and some who still don't read much out of the genre. But with Paranormalcy... it's going to appeal to a lot of people. Kiersten's made some great new paranormals, she's set it in a very interesting way, and she plays it out pretty darn awesomely. So if you're one of those people who whines and gripes about all the cliches of YA paranormal and have all these things that you think would make a great book, you should give this one a try.

So... those are the reasons you should go buy Paranormalcy next week. Plus, for all of you who are in that post-Mockingjay wtf, confused, shell shocked state... this is a nice way to get back into reading without being totally twisted and tormented and left feeling like your entrails are being eaten by hags. I could come up with more but... I have to go to work so I can make money and buy it... But if you need more incentive, Kiersten is also having a contest on her blog with some pretty awesome giveaways, with one thing that is even pink, for those who do buy it and take a picture. Plus, her presentation for it is just rocking and should give you even more reason to realize that Kiersten's book is one to get. You can check that out here, but do it soon, because her contest ends Sept 7.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book Review: The Julian Game by Adele Griffin

SUMMARY (From amazon):

All new girl Raye Archer wants is a way into the in crowd, so when ice-queen Ella Parker picks her to get back at her ex, the gorgeous Julian Kilgarry, Raye is more than game. Even if it means creating a fake Facebook identity so she can learn enough about Julian to sabotage him. It's a fun and dangerous thrill at first, but Raye hadn't counted on falling for Julian herself and igniting Ella's rage.

As Raye works to reconcile the temptress Elizabeth with her real-life self, Ella serves up her own revenge, creating an online smear campaign of nasty rumors and trashy photographs. Suddenly notorious, Raye has to find a way out of the web of deceit that she's helped to build, and back to the relationships that matter.

Adele Griffin's riveting novel explores the issues of generation Facebook: the desire to be someone else, real versus online friends, and the pitfalls and fallouts of posting your personal life online for all the world to judge.


Entertaining and realistic, The Julian Game has some intense characters, lip quirking events, and a certain stunning depth. While perhaps not every high school would go through things like in The Julian Game, some would. The Julian Game is a striking portrayal of how swept up in the online world we can become lately, and how much damage something innocent can wreak.

Raye is a great character, someone who flies pretty under the radar at first with hints of social leperness but isn't all out tormented and targeted. She's intelligent and friendly, content for the most part with things until the prospect of something more comes into the picture. At the first chance, she jumps to spend time with Ella in hopes of getting into the popular group's parties. There is a clear shift in her personality and motivations at this point but it remains believable and understandable, and Raye's overall growth and change is well written.

Ella is intense and eclectic. With plenty of ticks and quirks of her own, a clear hints of OCD, there are numerous ways people could go after her and bully her. Instead, she manhandles much of the school and runs things her own way, using her quirks to her advantage. Hints of an lurking craziness go unnoticed by the vast majority of people, even a Raye starts spending more time with her. I particularly liked this aspect, since it was clear as a reader on the outside but those things are easy to miss at the time. Ella is vindictive and calculating, sure in what she does and well aware of where things will go as a result. Despite the extremes of her character, Ella is very believable and a realistic bully. While Griffin does include a few scenes that cast sympathy on Ella and even give reason to some of her behavior, she doesn't make excuses or condone it.

The plot is intricate in several ways but pitched seamlessly and in an easy to follow manner. Despite some of the intensity in this book, it is an overall light and airy read with humor, drama and entertainment. Much of the events are easy to imagine happening and sends a great underlying message. Griffin's writing is interesting in style, giving a new voice to Raye despite sometimes coming off as choppy.

Overall, The Julian Game is a great read with some interesting twists and plot points, centering around everyone's honest desire to be noticed, get the cute boy, and be part of the popular group. With raw truths coming out about several characters, and a few even being pitched in a different light at the end as when we first met them, Griffin has written a fantastic work.

Source: ARC received for review from author
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (August 26, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399254609
ISBN-13: 978-0399254604

Waiting on Wednesday

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

This week's pick is Kim Harrington's upcoming 2011 release Clarity, slated for a March 1 release.

When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?

This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

My Thoughts: Stunning, gorgeous cover aside, the premise sounds fantastic. Supernatural murder mysteries are pretty much a combination of my favorite things. Given that it is going to be set in a contemporary type setting as well, it adds even more enticement for me. With the hopes of a little steamy romance mixed in, Clarity sounds like an action packed, intricate, intense book for which I can't wait.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shadow Hills..... now an ebook!

Remember that great teaser I did earlier? The one that made you wish you had the book? Well... now you can! No, you don't need to go the store. You can order it from the comfort of your couch with instant gratification... because it is now available as an ebook! *insert cheering*

You even have a choice, between the B&N version and the Amazon Kindle one.

So... I'm not entirely sure why you're still here reading this, but click those links and go order. Besides, there's some hot boys in this book. And mystery. And some awesome writing. So go on. Click click.

Contemporary Authors Twitter Chat

I'm working with several contemporary YA authors to set up a Twitter chat for September 2 at 7 pm CST. Use the hashtag #ContempChat to join in!

Authors slated so far include Mindi Scott, Suzanne Young, Hannah Moskowitz, Heidi Ayarbe, Holly Cupala, and Sarah Ockler. Other YA Contemp authors are definitely welcome to join in, as are all of you, my awesometastical followers!

Don't miss what is going to be a fantastic chat! I'm even working on maybe having a few prizes... so be sure to check it out!

Teaser Tuesday

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

This week's teaser comes from Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus.

"As we walked down the sidewalk, I felt the little hairs on the back of my neck raise up and goose bumps travel across my arms. I wanted to turn and look behind me, but I was afraid if I did Graham would think I was a crazy person." --page 33

After her sister Athena's tragic death, it's obvious that grief-stricken Persephone "Phe" Archer no longer belongs in Los Angeles. Hoping to make sense of her sister's sudden demise and the cryptic dreams following it, Phe abandons her bubbly LA life to attend an uptight East Coast preparatory school in Shadow Hills, MA -- a school which her sister mysteriously mentioned in her last diary entry before she died.

Once there, Phe quickly realizes that something is deeply amiss in her new town. Not only does Shadow Hills' history boast an unexplained epidemic that decimated hundreds of its citizens in the 1700s, but its modern townies also seem eerily psychic, with the bizarre ability to bend metal. Even Zach -- the gorgeous stranger Phe meets and immediately begins to lust after -- seems as if he is hiding something serious. Phe is determined to get to the bottom of it. The longer she stays there, the more she suspects that her sister's untimely death and her own destiny are intricately linked to those who reside in Shadow Hills.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Giveaway: Signed Clockwork Angel ARC

Alright, with just eight days left till the release of the much awaited Clockwork Angel, and since I have a copy preordered already, I've decided to give my ARC away. I won it from Reading Teen, and think it's only right to pass it along.

I am planning to go to the Smart Chicks tour in The Woodlands in September... which also means, if things go right, I can get the ARC signed and maybe even personalized for the winner, if they so choose.

US/Canada only (sorry international followers...). Contest ends Monday, September 6 at 6 pm CST.

To enter, Fill out this form!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Author Interview + Contest: Stacey Kade

Dropping in today is Stacey Kade, the fantastic woman behind The Ghost and the Goth, a book which just so happens to have one of my favorite YA boys. Remember Will, that tormented ball of adorable I've mentioned a few times? Yes... he is thanks to Stacey. If you haven't had the chance to meet Will (And Alona, of course), stay tuned after the interview for your chance to win a copy!

If you found out you were stuck in Alona's position, what would be the first thing you did as a ghost?

Oh, I think, unfortunately, I'd probably do the exact same thing she did. Spy on friends and family to see what they were saying! :)

Will uses a variety of methods to ignore the ghosts constantly around him. If you were in his position, do you think you'd do anything different to keep your ability hidden from them?

That's tough. It all depends on who you are, you know? Now, as an adult, after I had time to adjust to having the ability, I might not hide it at all. Back in high school, I probably would have asked for home-schooling to avoid the situation!

What process did you use to develop and create the confines of the ghost world?

That was a bit tricky. I wanted to build off ideas that already existed in popular culture, but I knew because I was writing a romance, certain things had to be possible. Will couldn't just see and hear the ghosts. He needed to be able to make contact. I also wanted to thread in the idea of an afterlife that wasn't tied to a particular religion but still had a basic good/bad theory behind it. So, it was a bit of trial and error. :)

If you could pair Alona and Will with any character from any book, what would be your picks for them?

Hmm. I think the two of them suit each other--when they're not driving each other crazy--so I'd leave them together. :) But on a hypothetical basis, I do think it would be fun to see Alona go toe-to-toe with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice because I'm not sure who would be the bigger snob. And for Will, it might be nice for him to hang out with someone else like him--another person who can see ghosts!

What color crayon would you be?

Purple. :)

What is the most private thing you're willing to share here?

Oh, so many things I could say here--most of them intended as humor--that would probably get me in trouble! :) So for once in my life, I'm going to stay quiet.

What kind of cake would you describe yourself as?

German chocolate. Don't ask. I have no idea. Just the first answer that popped into my head!

Thanks so much, Stacey!

For your chance to win my ARC of The Ghost and the Goth, fill out this form. US/Canada only. Ends Sunday, September 12 at 6 pm CST.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

In My Mailbox

Before I get to this week's addition of IMM.... I want to say.... Lover Boy's (WIP2) first draft is officially DONE! I've even written the first chapter of what will be WIP3. I am still reeling on happiness..... But now, onto my books! I am so happy with several of these titles!

For Review:
So Shelly by Ty Roth
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers (Signed! Eep!)
Matched by Ally Condie
The Jumbee by Pamela Keyes
Empty by Suzanne Weyn
Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram
In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan
(Very special thanks to Ty Roth, Lisa Desrochers, Media Muscle, Scholastic, Kelly Oram, and Books at Midnight for these titles!)

And because I think it's cute... and he's a huge dork... here's Toby asleep. Passed out snoring, didn't even react when the camera flashed. And no, his chin is NOT resting on anything. Not even against his chest. I found it impressive he slept for like an hour this way.

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Contest Winners

The winner of the Tweet Heart Prize Pack is: Lislaine Oliveria

The winners for the Louder Than Words giveaway are, in order of place:
Jessica @ Total Bookaholic
Beverly @ The Wormhole

You've all been emailed. Get your addresses back in 48 hours! Thanks to all who entered and make sure you check out my contests still happening and check back for more coming up!

Book Review: Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

SUMMARY (From Amazon):

If you had to choose between Heaven and Hell, which would it be?

Are you sure about that...?

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

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

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay...for all of them.


Immersing and endearing, Personal Demons is a striking take on the battle for human souls. With an endearing cast of characters, an ingenious story line, and dual perspective, this one grabs pretty early on with enough continued interest and mystery to keep the reader guessing.

Frannie is the black sheep of her family, raised Catholic but kicked out of her Catholic school and struggling with her faith. A tragedy early in her life has shaped much of her future mindsets and beliefs and this is one area Desrochers carries throughout the book and uses it perfectly to build present day Frannie. The guilt and grief she continues to hold onto shows a new side of her character which is built on fluidly. Frannie is a good friend and a good student, though her world is twisted around from the moment she meets Luc. Though she's had at least one serious boyfriend, her views on love are different than most, which adds to the amusement when Luc starts showing her attention. Her character grows and develops in fantastic ways, making her a strong character despite her flaws which are splashed across the pages are strongly as the great things.

Luc is truly a creature of pride, borne of it and made of it. His mindset is vastly different from Frannie's and this comes through strongly in the sections from his perspective. He isn't simply a cocky, arrogant jerk to be one. He isn't hiding things (apart from being a demon...) or staying closed off emotionally. He simply... is. He sees things as a Pride borne demon and Desrochers does a fantastic job setting that apart from the typical arrogant male character. Luc is admittedly sexy and alluring, knowing the right things to say and the moves to make. As the plot progresses, Luc's character goes through tremendous growth, development and change, rendering him a truly enjoyable character.

Taylor and Riley, Frannie's two closest friends, provide plenty of comedic relief and entertainment. Their clear lusting for both Luc and Gabe are understandable and amusing, particularly when Frannie wants both boys as well. Their quips and small debates add a soft element to the book and also help build Frannie's character. Gabe is endearing, an obviously sexy angel that is bound by his own rules and laws. His small word and staring battles against Luc are laughable and not only keep the Heaven vs. Hell debate in light, but also simply the desires of both boys to not only tag Frannie's soul but maybe win her for themselves.

The book shifts between Frannie and Luc's perspectives, giving the reader fantastic insight into both. Getting the demon's perspective, rather than the angel's, was refreshing and new and also made Luc a sympathetic and enjoyable character. Because his mindset wasn't given first hand, Gabe remained somewhat on the fringes for me, despite his large and often presence in the book. There is a clear divide between the way Frannie's mind works and how Luc's runs, and the switches between them were easy and smooth without losing development for either.

The plot is brilliant, adding an interesting perspective into the Heaven vs Hell scenario. Though it does get redundant for Frannie to switch in her thoughts between wanting Gabe and Luc, and even makes obvious efforts to go after both, things come full circle and the truth and explanations smooth things over. Desrochers does a fantastic job keeping things cloaked until the perfect reveal, maintaining several unexpected twists that are only clear in hindsight. Frannie's confusion and lust for both boys is both a result of what the boys can do and her own teenage lust, and watching her muddle through also adds another great element to the plot. By the close of this first installment in a trilogy, this plot is primarily tied up with only a few lingering questions to carry over.

Not only does Desrochers introduce Gabe and Luc, she also brings in other angels and demons to keep things interesting and balanced. With strong writing, two great view points, a striking plot, and great, enjoyable characters, Personal Demons is a fantastic read that is a mixture of light and dark. Across the board, Personal Demons has many great elements and is a fantastic addition to the fantasy/supernatural genre as well as a must read.

Source: ARC received for review from author
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (September 14, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765328089
ISBN-13: 978-0765328083

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Top Ten List: Favorite Contemporary Titles

It's probably no secret to my regular followers that if I had to pick only one genre of YA to read for the rest of my life, it would without question be contemporary. Yes, I really do like fantasy and books like Angelfire, Paranormalcy and Firelight have renewed that, but my heart lies with contemporary. It's what I write, and it's the books I gravitate towards.

Given that, and to celebrate this week's launch of The Contemps, I bring you my top ten favorite Contemporary fiction books.

10. Kiss It by Erin Downing: This one is flirty and fun, on the surface, but delves deeper into plenty of things and shows quite a bit of spunk and insight.

9. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers: This is a bullying novel, centered around one of the top bullies that suddenly is on the receiving end. With strong characters and bold writing, it’s a gutting hit.

8. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles: If this was a romance only list, this one would take slot 1 easily. It is intense and passionate but it deals with more than sex and romance. The issues at hand are also just as gritty but fantastically well done.

7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman: This one is unique in premise and perspective, but just as emotional and intense. Not only is there the mystery of whether or not she really will stay or go… there is the story of why she would choose her path.

6. Take Me There by Carolee Dean: One of the few on this list with a male POV, this one adds in some elements I haven’t read much of. From a father in prison to his own struggle to try to do things right, Dylan’s story is an emotional one.

5. Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala: This is a teenage pregnancy one, and something that shouldn’t be ignored. It effects more than the pregnant girls and Holly has done a beautiful job portraying that.

4. Hate List by Jennifer Brown: This is another bullying one, shown from the side of the kid being bullied. As the girlfriend of the bullied kid who snapped and brought a gun to school, it adds a new perspective. Add in the family trouble on top of everything else, and this is an astounding book that should be read by everyone.

3. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams: This one is almost grotesque as its basic premise is something that goes against instinct for the majority of people. It is hard to wrap your head around the lifestyle, and the events are horrible and heartbreaking.

2. Compromised by Heidi Ayarbe: There are children that go hungry. Teenagers on the street. An untold number of kids in the foster system. Heidi uses these concepts and more in Compromised and has weaved something wrenching but beautiful.

1. Leftovers by Laura Weiss: There are so many elements to this book and even the final outcome… it will make you think. It’s gutting. It’s intense. Laura’s writing is astounding, and the messages are phenomenal.

You probably noticed... pretty much all of those deal with some of the harder hitting issues. These are my favorite kind of books. I like the fluffy romances in doses, and I enjoy the ones that hit a little lighter on the issues, but the ones that really make me feel something, twist my emotions, and force me to question things are my personal favorites.

Which contemporaries are your favorite?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Review: Don't Judge A Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter


When Cammie “The Chameleon” Morgan visits her roommate Macey in Boston, she thinks she’s in for an exciting end to her summer break. After all, she’s there to watch Macey’s father accept the nomination for vice president of the United States. But when you go to the world’s best school (for spies), “exciting” and “deadly” are never far apart. Cammie and Macey soon find themselves trapped in a kidnappers’ plot, with only their espionage skills to save them.

As her junior year begins, Cammie can’t shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn’t feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion’s corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions, Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe?

Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey’s private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer and closer to the shocking truth….


While still keeping with the overall light and fun air of the previous two books, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover adds a new intensity and danger to the Gallagher Girls. Jumping into the action and plot quickly, there is a noticeable shift in atmosphere throughout this book as a result of the foiled kidnapping attempt.

Cammie goes through a striking amount of growth and change as this installment progresses, getting a gutting first hand look at the dangers of the spy life. Her worry over Macey's safety and mental health strengthen her character, also solidifying the fact that despite her rough introduction, Macey is now as good a friend to Cammie as Bex and Liz have been. Cammie continues to break the rules in this book, finding continual justifications for it that tend to center around ensuring Macey is protected as she travels with her parents for her father's political campaign in his pursuit of vice president.

Macey takes a stronger role in this book and much of the events center around her. She shows several different sides, each one well developed and understandable. She loses some of her sass as a result of the events, softening her character and making her more sympathetic with the reader.

The plot adds some new levels to the series as a whole, providing great strides for the characters in personal growth. A bold, new character is introduced and a character from the first books is brought back to add to the mystery. Even at the close of this installment, one character in particular continues to remain illusive and mysterious. The plot, as a whole, is enjoyable with some suspense and generally engaging.

Carter's writing still gives Cammie a strong voice and distinct mindset, and her spy world still continues to surprise the reader with new additions and more background. The setting and world is built as strongly as the characters, and both aspects are blended smoothly. Overall, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover is a great addition to the Gallagher Girls set and while it ties most things up, there are still a few lingering questions to push the reader to the next book.

Source: Purchased
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; Reprint edition (May 18, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1423116607
ISBN-13: 978-1423116608

Waiting on Wednesday

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

This week's pick is Michael Northrop's upcoming Trapped, from Scholastic January 1, 2011.

Scotty and his friends Pete and Tommy are among the last kids waiting to get picked up at their high school. The snow has been coming down for hours, and it's starting to look like no one is coming for them. As the snow piles higher, their teacher Mr. Gossell leaves them behind to seek help--and disappears into the drifts outside. Now the seven remaining students are on their own, with no food and no electricity, facing a night of sleeping on classroom floors. Will their friendships survive the night . . . and will THEY?

My Thoughts: Getting stuck at school would suck. Stuck during a blizzard-- that would be horrible. The one advantage to this group is at least they are friends, but it's well known situations like this can bring out the worst in people between the close quarters, hunger and fear. Trapped looks like a great thriller with plenty of intrigue to go along with it, not to mention just how bad things can get when several teenagers are stuck inside.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

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

This week's teaser comes from Lisa Desrochers' Personal Demons.

"The last two demons we sent couldn't find her and now are burning at the bottom of the Fiery pit. But they were lesser demons--Third Level. So now we've sent in the best, which, of course, would be me." -- pg 28 (This is from the ARC which is very subject to change)

Summary (From amazon):

If you had to choose between Heaven and Hell, which would it be?

Are you sure about that...?

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

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

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay...for all of them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review: Jealousy by Lili St. Crow

SUMMARY (From Amazon):

It’s a good thing Dru Anderson is fast. Because the sucker chasing her isn’t slowing down—and he won’t rest until he has tasted her blood and silenced her heart . . .

Dru’s best friend, Graves, and her strange and handsome savior, Christophe, are ready to help her take on the ultimate evil. But will their battle for Dru’s heart get in the way of her survival?


Bold, action-packed, and engaging, Jealousy continues the Strange Angels series smoothly and with all new twists and reveals. The plot keeps at the same steady pace as the first two books and several of the characters return to continue Dru's story.

Dru's character continues to grow while still keeping the same overall effect of the badass girl who understands much of the world she's both apart of and grown up around, but also has her moments of fear and weakness. There are times she is simply tired of everything but she pushes through, understanding she has few other options. Though she does things others don't completely understand, whether its the way she treats Ash and sits with him in the middle of the night or her preference for cheap but sturdy rather than expensive clothes, she comes off as a mystery to many but it builds her character with the reader.

Graves is the same gentle-hearted, kind boy he has been since book one despite his own problems and inner turmoil. His feelings towards Dru continue to show prevalent even if she doesn't completely understand them, and his protective nature towards her adds to the intensity and connection between the two. He is a steady friend for Dru and there are several tender moments between the two, adding a gentle element in the midst of the danger and action.

Christophe continues to be a mystery though much of his story is finally revealed in this book. There are many questions answered both about him and in general, and Christophe pushes the plot to a new level more than once. Even when he is physically absent, he holds a strong presence and also finds his way into Dru's thoughts often. The relationship between the two is interesting, particularly at the close of this book.

The plot continues to build the world as a whole while Dru is at the Schola, showing further aspects of the Real World. The wulfen stay with Dru, having their own part in this book. Dibs, especially, gets quite a bit of page time and is one of my personal favorite characters across the board. His reactions are great and the different aspects of him are fantastic to see more of.

Things continue to build until a blow out climax filled with drama and action before winding down and ending on a shocking, gripping ending to leave the reader very eager for the next installment. With a character's entire situation hanging in the balance and whether they are alive or dead not for sure known, St. Crow has guaranteed a continued readership with her already great series.

The writing is still strong with fantastic, unique descriptions and a very distinct voice that is easily pinned as Dru's. From Dru's snark and sass to her own way of saying things, this series has a brilliant verse which adds to the overall nature. Everything ties together beautifully and the majority of events are unpredictable and shocking.

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 316 pages
Publisher: Razorbill (July 29, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595142908
ISBN-13: 978-1595142900

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Contest Winners

The winners for the Fall Release Contest are:

1. Marg K.
2. Pam Kinsey
3. Lana Scholtz
4. Ashley @ Ashley's Bookshelf
5. Amanda Baird
6. Bethie

Swag Winners:
Rachelle Hayes
Cynthia A

Signed Copy of Crossing The Tracks: Taffy

Thanks to everyone who entered and check out the contests still happening and I've got more coming up!

Guest Post: Hannah Westberg

Dropping in today is Louder Than Words author Hannah Westberg, a girl who's experienced a life of drugs, cutting and mental illness.


Many people try to stifle us, call us 'bitch' or 'Hilary' for stating an opinion, but mainly, we tell ourselves that we don't have the right to speak up. I wrote my story from the perspective of someone whose wisdom extends just nineteen years. I wrote a book about real issues because I experienced them, not because I studied them. People seem surprised that I have any story to tell at such a young age. I wasn't sure I had any right to speak with authority. However, the freshness of these memories might make this point of view more valuable. Even as a teenager, my voice is valid.

If you don't stand up for your values, no one else will. I don't claim to know everything, but I stick to what I believe in. I go to raves and shock people with my sobriety. They say, "What are you doing at a rave if you're not on drugs?" I reply, "Having a great time!" I fight against racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks no matter how mixed the company is. Recently, a coworker told me, "Congratulations on getting hired. Good to have another white person around here." After I reported it, I felt pressure to divulge their identity and get them fired. Instead, I held my ground and asked that my company give sensitivity training. I volunteer. I protest. I'm a vegetarian who will talk your ear off about politics. I get labeled a straight-edge hippie feminazi. People are annoyed by my convictions. But if I didn't have them, I wouldn't be me.

What are your beliefs? What are your values? How can you better stand up and fight for them?

Use art. Join a cause. Start a movement. Speak up. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

In My Mailbox

The good news this week- I am officially out of the boot! Yay! Take that, torn ankle ligament! Sure, I have to do home rehab and stretch it out since I can't really bend it but... no more boot!

*Ahem* Anyhow. It was a great week in books and we got some awesome new tours sent out for the blog tour site I run with Kelsey. Super. Excited!

For Review:
The Nightmarys by Dan Poblocki
The Candidates: Delcrioux Academy 1 by Inara Scott
Greek: Double Date by Marsha Warner
You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudion (For Tour Site)
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler (For Tour Site)
(Special thanks to Dan Poblocki/Random House, Inara Soctt/Hyperion, Tricia/Meryl L. Moss Media, Sean Beaudion/Little Brown, and Sarah Ockler)

From Lauren Kate, Signed

Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt

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