Friday, September 30, 2011

Character This or That + Contest: Rieker from The Fearie Ring

Out this week is a seriously awesome book by the lovely and nice Kiki Hamilton. Yep. You guessed it. The Fearie Ring. I am not huge in historical, or on faeries, and yet this book blew me away. And I have to admit, I seriously loved Rieker. So let's get to know him a little better, shall we?

Summer or Winter Summer: Who doesn’t love sunshine?

Bread or Rice: Bread

Glasses or Monacle Neither: My eyes are good!

Horse or Carriage: Horse

Have 1 wish now or 3 wishes in five years: 1 wish now

Meat or Cheese: Meat

Grapes or Apples: Apples

Pick pocket on your own or with a group: I prefer to work alone

Bath but dirty clothes or clean clothes but no bath: Bath but dirty clothes.

Find a home but lose the others or stay on the streets but have the others: Stay on the streets but have the others.

Thank you, Rieker, for stopping in and congrats Kiki on the awesome debut!

So if you want a chance to win not only a signed copy of this book but some fun swag too, then just fill out THIS form.

Contest is US only and ends October 7.

No entries will be accepted through the comments but you should leave one anyway.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

SUMMARY: Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a onenight stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn't raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she's never fit in hasn't been easy. But she's been surviving. Until she sees her mom's new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?


The Short Version:
Freeing but emotional, If I Tell nagivates not only new love but the internal battle waged when knowing you're forced to keep a secret with no good outcome no matter what. Jasmine's turmoil comes through strongly, and the all consuming feeling of knowing someone has done something wrong is splashed across the pages in an almost painful way. Though lagging at some parts, there is a beautiful overall flow to this one that will keep the reader invested in Jasmine and her story.

The Extended Version:
Jasmine is the kind of girl who holds things close to her heart, who is closed off by means of protection even while every new thing thrown at her eats away at her. While this can come across at times as potentially whiny, the overall level of things she is enduring outshines this, keeping her sympathetic and realistic. She doesn't always face things head on, adding as well to the realism note, and making her seem even stronger in the end when she finally is able to face things she's avoided. Her overall character arc has a great build and is intricate throughout.

Jackson is charming and sweet, but far from a doormat in a really great way. He is open and honest, and while he lets Jasmine have her share of being confused and unsure, he also doesn't let it linger too long. His interactions with her are endearing and give readers soft breaks from the turmoil that otherwise drives this book.

The rest of the cast is relatively small but well defined, with each one playing a different role not only in the book but Jasmine's life. Her disappointment in her mother's boyfriend is palpable, and the true slap in the face that his betrayal actually is helps drive both of their stories. Gurtler has a knack for strong characters, giving depth even to those who have small parts.

The plot has an overall steady pace, and while it does lag in a few places, there is a constant emotional air that will keep readers engaged. With some hard truths to face, and vivid character arcs and changes, If I Tell most definitely hits some rough waters that readers of all ages will resonate towards. From the gray areas that come with cheating, to learning to forgive and look past faults, there is a strong coming of age element in this book.

Gurtler's writing is beautiful, vivid in description and voice and pulling readers in early. Smoothly weaving description throughout, the settings ease in without kicking the reader out of the book. With heavy emotion and clear motivations, Gurtler's talents shine.

Source: ARC received from author/publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (October 1, 2011)

Cover Reveal Scavenger Hunt: Last Rite by Lisa Desrochers

It's here! Finally! The cover reveal for Last Rite, the final book in Lisa Desrocher's hot Personal Demons trilogy! So without further ado...

Oh. You wanted the FULL cover? Okay. Well. Alright. Here it is, but make sure you check out the info underneath this gorgeous piece of eye candy so you can find out how to enter to win not only a galley of Last Rite but an iPod shuffle from Lisa!

Hot boys about to duke it yet? Heck. Yes. What more could you possibly ask for in a cover?

So there you have it. Now, want a chance to win a galley of this book? Of course you do.

Just fill out THIS form, and you're entered.

The contest is US only, and the galleys will ship probably in November, just as soon as Lisa has them. This contest also ends October 7.

And in case you need something to tide you over until you can actually read the book, then just hit up the 7 other awesome blogs helping out with the reveal today and  collect highlighted/colored the words. Once you have them all, unscramble them and enter them on Lisa's blog for the chance to win not only a set of Personal Demons books but an iPod!

You CAN enter on each blog for a galley, but you can only enter once on Lisa's blog no matter what link gets you there.

So head on over to these other awesome blogs, and get to it for entering!

Mundie Moms
The Naughty Book Kitties
Books Over Boys
Call Me Crazy
Book Chic Club
Harmony's Radiant Reads
Bloggers [Heart] Books

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review: Reasons to be Happy by Katrina Kittle


21. Cat purr vibrating through your skin
22. Jumping on a trampoline in the rain
23. Raw cookie dough
24. Getting yourself all freaked out after a scary movie
25. Dancing like an idiot when no one is watching

What happened to the girl who wrote those things? I miss that girl. She used to be bold and fun. Now she's a big chicken loser.
How could so much change so fast?
Let's see, you could be the plain Jane daughter of two gorgeous famous people, move to a new school, have no real friends, and your mom could get sick, and, oh yeah, you could have the most embarrassing secret in the world.
Yep, that about does it.
So, the real question is, how do I get that girl back?

OPINION: 3 Stars

The Short Version:
Though rushed at times, Reasons to by Happy doesn't skate around the full depth of bulimia and what's related to it even with a younger audience in mind. Hitting hard on body issues, while giving it more depth than just a basic desire to be skinny, this one carries a lonely air throughout it with an overall sympathetic protagonist. With some great points made, and some well done and emotional scenes along the way, Reasons to be Happy is a likable and important read.

The Extended Version:
Hannah is an easy character to like, one who's personality comes through at the start of the book before she starts to change. It wasn't so much that she simply found a crowd at her new school she was yearning to be with, but that there were enough small things about the group that made her not stand up for herself from the start. Her body issues are grounded in far more than just wanting to be as skinny as her so called friends, and aren't even simply about impressing a boy. The true depth of not only how she fell into the bulimia, but the way she viewed it as helping her and then the changes thereafter not only help to flesh out her character, but give a vivid view to readers about the full nature of the illness. Her character goes through some immense change, not only due to the bulimia, and she is definitely one to root for.

Though there is a relatively large supporting cast, Kittle handles it well, giving each character enough time for readers to know them, without taking away from the focus on Hannah. Though Hannah finds herself immersed in the classic mean girl clique, and head over heels for a hot guy who is a jerk, these somewhat cliche elements play well into the book without being the only driving factor. Jasper is sweet and gentle, the kind of boy that is very often overlooked in middle school but who is truly a great guy. His role in the book is poignant, and Hannah's interactions with him add a softer and more empathetic note to the book.

The plot did, in truth, feel rushed in several places, with too much being dumped into a short span of pages. Despite this, though, there is a good overall sequence to the plot, and the reader will truly see Hannah hit rock bottom in some very rough ways when things were allowed to really progress and be shown. The biggest issue for this reader was how narrated much of the book was, with far more simple telling rather than really weaving the story. This also added to the rushed feeling, keeping the overall book at a more shallow level than the depth that it could have had.

While the writing was simplistic overall, and the tone makes it clear this book is meant for a younger crowd, there is still a good voice and a vividness to Hannah's personality that comes through the pages. The lists throughout the book, centered around reasons to be happy, are fresh and original and will make the reader think of the simplicity and truth in many of them. These are incoporated throughout the book in a very great way, not only showing the constant and true pain Hannah finds herself in, but also reflect the changes in her while giving her something from her "former self" to grasp on to.

Though rushed at times, and a few elements were admittedly a little too convenient seeming, there is a ruggedness that drives this book. Giving depth to bulimia, and showing a range of outside reactions to it, Kittle is definitely bringing an important topic to an age group often forgotten about in regards to the subject matter. With some emotional scenes pulling the reader in, this one definitely is a quick but effective read.

Source: ALA
Reading level: Young Adult

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication Date:  October 1, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

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

This week's pick is Dead to You by Lisa McMann, coming February 7, 2012 from Simon Pulse.

Summary: Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...

My Thoughts: Okay first, it's Lisa McMann, so this is pretty much an autobuy for me. Second, this concept just sounds epic and amazing and painful and emotional and awesome. Third, it's a boy focused book and we all know how much I love those. And then there's the fact that his memory is blocked, and man if that does not make my curiosity go crazy I don't know what will. I want to know what happened in the time he was gone both with him and his family, why things aren't going smoothly now, and what is messing him up with the memories. Also, I love this cover. It's simple, and soft yet intense. Too bad February is so far away.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Character Interview + Contest: Breckon from My Beating Teenage Heart

So, another book by one of my favorite authors is out today which is just all kinds of exciting! So to celebrate CK Kelly Martin's newest, My Beating Teenage Heart, I not only am bringing you guys an interview with one of the main characters, Breckon, but also a chance to win a very awesome prize pack with this book and more!

If you had one more day with Skylar, what would you do with her?

Whatever she wanted. All day long. First we’d probably take Moose for a walk because she loves the hell out of that dog. If it was summer she’d want to go swimming and we’d stay in the water for so long that our fingers would get pruney. Then we’d go to the playground and climb until our arms were ready to fall off. Sometime during the day we’d squeeze in a visit to the zoo – Skylar’s crazy about all animals. When we were too tired to do anything else we’d watch some of her favourite TV shows and I’d sit down and draw aliens with her. We’d eat Lucky Charms for breakfast and for both lunch and dinner it’d be spaghetti and meatballs from a can (her favourite food) with marshmallows and ice cream for dessert. There’d have to be fireworks at night. Skylar loves fireworks.

Though you admittedly pushed her away, how much harder do you think everything would have been for you if you didn't have Jules?

Jules kept me afloat for longer than I would’ve been otherwise. I owe her alot. She always tried to understand. She’s the absolute best. I’ve known that for awhile but I know it even better now.

What's it like kissing Jules for you?

Kissing Jules is entirely different than kissing any other girl. For one thing she’s an amazing kisser but it’s not just that. It’s the difference between a kiss just being a physical thing and having your emotions in it. When Jules and I kiss it’s both.

If you could say one thing to your parents, what would it be?

I don’t want them to think any of the things I did after Skylar’s death were their fault. Fault isn’t even the right word. But there was nothing they could have done at the time and I hate that I made things harder for them. I’d give anything to take it all back, rewind time and go back to how life used to be for all four of us. Since I can’t I just want them to know that I’m sorry, I love them and I’m really going to try to get through this.

What kind of dinosaur would you describe yourself as?

One of those with a solid looking rhino type body and horns probably. Something that looks fierce but just eats plants, except that I happen to like meat too. So I’d be the one and only omnivore Triceratops, I guess. It’s cool to have a built-in defensive weapon against predators and I wouldn’t want to have to spend too much time fighting carnivorous dinosaurs to stay alive.

Thank you, Breckon and CK, and congrats on the release!

So now for your chance to win! The prize pack includes:
*Signed copy of My Beating Teenage Heart
*Winners choice of 2 of CK's other books

To enter, just fill out THIS form!

Contest is US/Canada and ends October 7.

No entries will be accepted through the comments, but you know you want to leave one anyhow.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Character Interview + Contest: Chase from Deadly Cool

It's hot boy interview time again, featuring Chase from Gemma Halliday's awesome murder mystery Deadly Cool!

If you hadn't run into Hartley under the circumstances you did, do you think you ever would have befriended her?

Just between you and me, I kinda knew who Hartley was before we started investigating the murder together. I'd seen her around school, and, well, let's face it, she's pretty cute. I took notice. But I knew she had a boyfriend. Plus, we never really hung in the same social circles. So, would I have ever been friends with her? Maybe not. But I certainly noticed her.

What would you do if you found a dead body in your closet?

I wouldn't run screaming like a girl, like Hartley did, that's for sure. Okay, not that I blame her. I mean, after she found the body she was a little incoherent. So I went in to have a look myself, and it was pretty creepy. But it's not like a dead body can hurt you. It wasn't a zombie or anything, just dead. Really, really dead.

What was the most interesting part of this whole case for you?

The whole thing was pretty wild. But what really threw me was when Hartley thought that I could have possibly had anything to do with the murder. Seriously? Not cool, Hart. Though, in her defense, I found out later that it was my ex-girlfriend, Shiloh, who put the idea into her head. Never trust an ex.

What's it like to kiss Hartley?

Niiiiiice. Really nice. Nice enough that I'd like to do it again. But that's as far as I'm gonna go with that one. I'm not the kind of guy that kisses and tells, you know?

So... do you always go commando, or did Hartley catch you on an awkward day?

Dude, does the whole world know about my underwear situation now? It was Hartley's best friend Sam, right? Did she tweet about it? Facebook it? A guy is slow doing his laundry one day and look what happens. I'm never gonna live this down, am I?

What kind of dinosaur would you describe yourself as?

Totally a T-Rex. When I'm on the trail of a hot story for the school newspaper, nothing stands in my way until I sink my teeth into the truth. 

You know, there really is nothing quite like stealing a hot boy for awhile to interview... especially when you get to ask about awkward moments that involve going commando. Curious about that one now, aren't ya? Then check out the book, because there is such a related scene in there. Not to mention, it's just an awesome book, coming in just a few short weeks on October 11!

But if you just can't wait to get a copy of the book, then you're in luck! Chase and Gemma are bringing you guys a chance to win a signed ARC of the book or a pack of trading cards!

To enter, just fill out THIS form.

There will be one winner for each item. Contest is US Only and ends October 3.

No entries will be accepted through comments, but now that the whole knows about Chase's poor underwear situation... well, you should comment.

Author Interview: Rae Carson

Woohoo! Hitting up the blog today is Rae Carson, author of the much talked about Girl of Fire and Thorns which is, conveniently, out tomorrow. So check out this interview, then check out the book, because you know you don't want to miss out!

What would be the hardest part for you to be a secret wife, even to a king?

I couldn't do it! It would make me feel small and used, and I deserve better. Anyone who wanted a relationship with me to remain secret would get his you-know-what kicked to the curb--even a king.

Which character was your favorite to develop and explore?

Cosmé was delightful to write. I wanted a "mean girl" to be Elisa's nemesis, but the more I wrote about her, the more I liked her. Her scenes seemed to sparkle, like she was breathing life onto the page without my help! So I knew I had to make her more important. Pretty soon, she was revealing things to me, like the fact that she is secretly very ambitious, or that her hardness comes from a broken heart.

So, let's talk hot boys. Tell me about the ones in your book.

There are three! King Alejandro, Elisa's arranged husband, is the kind of guy for whom girls would stand in line at the red carpet twenty-four hours in advance--and then weep if they brushed his clothing. He's beautiful and charming, and he knows how to work that smile. Humberto is a boy Elisa's age, a desert nomad. He can kill a rabbit with a sling at twenty paces and find water in the desert. He's kind and soft-hearted, if a bit uncivilized. Hector is the commander of the king's elite Royal Guard and Elisa's first true friend in her new home. He's quiet and confident, preferring to keep his own counsel, but he occasionally surprises himself by expressing his true thoughts to Elisa.

What god/goddess would be your nemesis?

Is there a Goddess of Fashion Sense? Because if so, she hates me. If she cared for me at all, she would free me from my addiction to scrunchies, fanny packs, and crazy socks.

What kind of pen would you describe yourself as?

I'd love to say I'm a fountain pen--elegant, beautiful, coveted. Alas, the sad truth is I'm totally a ball point--cheap, reliable, blunt. 

Thank you, Rae, for letting me pepper you with questions and congrats on the release! Make sure you guys check this book out. I mean, come on, there are THREE hot boys. Win.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Character Tweets: The Mephisto Covenant

I have to admit, finding out what the feed would look like if characters had twitter accounts is one of my favorite things to ask authors. Luckily, Trinity Faegen, author of The Mephisto Covenant, was up for the challenge!

ThisSasha: Finally finished my app to NYU. Now just have to write the essay. OMG I have no idea what to write. Wish I could just say, Pick Me.

SmithHard: @ThisSasha Essays suck. Are you coming to Kyle’s tonight?

ThisSasha: @SmithHard Word. And no, not going. I told my mom I’d help her go through my dad’s stuff.

SmithHard: @ThisSasha Bummer you have to do that. I know how much you miss him. Somebody said you were going to a Ravens meeting. I called BS.

ThisSasha: @SmithHard Who said? WTH? No way!

JaxD: Incredible. When I least expected it, there she was, in the middle of a flock of ravens.

ThisSasha: Just when you think life can’t get any more dicey, this happens. Looks like I’m going to live in Colorado.

MegaBrett: @East Wanna catch a few runs today? For lift tix, my dad’s making me take my cousin, who’s never skied. Sucks.

East: @MegaBrett What cousin? And dude, no way I wanna ski with a beginner. Unless she’s hot. Is she hot?

MegaBrett: She’s my mom’s dead brother’s kid. Makes her my cousin, so don’t be twisted. You in or not?

ThisSasha: Skiing is hard. I met a guy tho, after my cousin and his creeper friend ditched me. Strange day. Not sure how I feel about it yet.

JaxD: Anybody know what’s a good thing to buy a girl? Flowers are lame.

Flowers4Her: @JaxD Actually, women love to receive flowers. Let us take care of your gift needs. Visit our website at

JaxD: Damn spammers.

ThisSasha: My aunt is psycho.

MegaBrett: @ThisSasha Your mom’s a criminal. Back off of mine.

ThisSasha: Twitter is psycho. It unblocked somebody. *block block block* Go. Away.

JaxD: Went shopping today and missed the Lakers game. Anybody know if Kobe played?

ZeeNote: @JaxD He’s still on the injured list. Lakers lost. Shopping, bro?

JaxD: @ZeeNote I took Sasha to get some clothes after all of hers were ruined. Not a fan of shopping. Except lingerie.

ThisSasha: I’m blown away. Seriously.

JaxD: @ThisSasha Better than flowers?

ThisSasha: @JaxD Way better! Flowers are lame.

Flowers4Her: @ThisSasha @JaxD Flowers are an expression of love. Let us take care of your gift needs. Visit our website at

JaxD: @Flowers4Her If I buy her the damned flowers, will you stop tweeting me?

Flowers4Her: @JaxD Probably not.

Curious about these characters now? Then make sure you check out The Mephisto Covenant, out this week!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In My Mailbox + Some Notes

I got a few books this week I've been incredibly eager for, so let's just get right to it!

For Review:
Cracked by KM Walton (Check out my mini review!)
Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith
The Vision by Jen Nadol
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Every You Every Me by David Levithan (Already read- great book!)
Dearly Departed by Lia Habel
(Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster, HarperTeen, Jen Nadol, A.C. Gaughen + Walker, and Amazon Vine)

Won from Kody Keplinger:
Shut Out audiobook

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

So that was what I got this week! I read Cracked straight through the day I got it, and then gushed on the blog about it. Yep. Anyhow, a few other notes!

First, I did an interview last Sunday with the lovely and awesome Trish Doller, author of the 2012 release Something Like Normal. But this isn't just any interview... we are donating $1/comment (up to a grand total of $100) to the Wounded Warrior Project. So if you haven't yet, please go check out the interview and leave us a comment. And one lucky commenter will win a set of Travis quote cards, which you want.

And while we all know the first release of books is awesome and exciting because, well, we can all finally get it.... the paperback release can be just as awesome, especially if it's a book you haven't picked up yet. Lucky for you guys, Antony John's Five Flavors of Dumb is hitting paperback next week on the 29th! To celebrate, Antony is offering up a signed bookplate to anyone who preorders or buys the day of, and you're then automatically entered into an awesome contest for 1 of 3 ARCs of his upcoming Thou Shalt Not Road Trip or a megaprize pack of awesomeness with 7 books and a critique. Yeah. Its seriously awesome. So check out the details here, and make sure you get the book. You know you want to.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mara Madness: Noah Character Interview

And today, I bring you guys the hottie that is Noah Shaw from Michelle Hodkins' The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

1. What is the hardest part about being you?

I’m not about to whine about how difficult I’ve got it. I’ve never been starving. I’ve never been seriously ill. It would be nice if my father wasn’t a complete and utter tool, but that’s life. It could be worse.

2. What's the worst lie you ever told?

There are so many it’s nearly impossible to keep track.

3. So, without giving spoilers, when that whole thing in the swamp happened, what was your mental reaction?

That wasn’t by far the strangest situation I’ve ever found myself in. Honestly, at the time I was mostly just surprised by Mara’s reaction—though I understood it later, obviously.

4. What was your first kiss ever like? And what's it like to kiss Mara?

A gentleman would never kiss and tell. That said, I’m not a gentleman. But I’m still not telling you.

5. Boxers or briefs (Or commando)?

Boxer briefs, I suppose. Or boxers. But I can’t say I have passionate feelings about this.

6. What kind of dinosaur would you describe yourself as?

What in the hell?

To celebrate next Tuesday's release of this awesome book, and as part of the Mara Madness, you guys have a chance to win 1 of 2 copies of the book. All you need to do is check out the different (fun and amusing) stops along the 21-stop tour and collect the letters. What's my letter?

Yep. T. If you've missed any stops, or are just checking in, you can find the full list of blog stops here.

Once you've collected all the letters, unscramble them and fill in your answer on THIS form. This IS the same form for ALL the stops, so please only enter once, no matter what blog you link through.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mini Reviews: Breaking Beautiful and Cracked

Woohoo! It's mini review time again, this time coming in with two really great 2012s. I devoured each of these books straight through the day I got them, so let's get to it!

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf: Emotional. Completely and utterly emotional, yet still with an uplifting note. This one is phenomenal, and such an amazingly built murder mystery blended with a coming of age. Plenty of back story is given through perfectly time flashbacks, each one holding a very relevant point to the story in real time as well. I loved Allie's character, the kind of girl who is most definitely effected by everything that's happened to her, but with this fantastic internal strength that lets her keep going. She doesn't hide her fear, but she still finds a way. Her brother, Andrew, was just as awesome of a character, with a great depth and purpose to him. Then there's Blake, the bad boy who isn't really a bad boy, and the guy who has more sweetness to him than anything. Yep, he's swoonworthy, and just as memorable as Allie. Basically, this book is emotional and gutting, but it's still one you need to read. Seriously, I loved this book, and all the depth and intricacies in it. It's fantastic.

Cracked by KM Walton: Boy book! Two boys, actually, and that just makes it even better. Yep, this one is dual POV between the bullied and the bullier, but it's also more than just a bullying book, which KM navigates so well. There is definitely more to both boys than what's on the surface, and neither is the stereotypical bully or target. Bull has a mess of a home life, horrific in some ways, yet even though Victor's family has money, in the end, his home life isn't really good either. The way their stories unfold and connect kept me reading nonstop, rooting for both boys. Even though the premise is something rough and emotional, and KM definitely doesn't hold back on the grit, there is still a lot of humor in this one. Even when the boys were in the psych ward, Walton still gave them at least some freedom to interact with other characters and figure things out on their own. There's just enough romance elements to satisfy readers in that regard without being this sudden and changed focus. Basically, if you love contemp or boy books, or even better, both, then be sure to watch out for this book.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Character Interview: Jesse from The Predicteds

Oh  yes, I've stolen another hot boy for an interview. So let's get right to it: Meet Jesse from Christine Seifert's The Predicteds!

Describe yourself in three words.

Oh, man. I hate questions like this. I sound like a conceited jerk if I say three positive things. And I sound like a loser if I say three dumb things. I’m going to let Daphne answer this one. She says sensitive, brave, and kind. See? Now I sound like a total wimp. Let’s change kind to manly and sensitive to burly. Doesn’t that sound better?

If it had been anyone else in the closet on the day of the shooting, would you have still tried to protect them, or was it specifically Daphne?

There’s no way I could stand by and do nothing in a situation like that, no matter who was in the closet. I’m just glad I was there to help.

When you first found out your school was going to be tested for PROFILE, what was your reaction? What about when you were predicted?

I knew it was a bad idea. I was just surprised that more people didn’t speak up. People just accepted it without even questioning the implications. Even my dad didn’t really react. Until he found out I was predicted. When I found out, I didn’t care what anybody else thought, except Daphne. What she thinks matters a lot to me. Her opinion is most important.

Boxers or briefs?

I’m far too modest to answer that. Nah, not really. Boxers.

What's it like to kiss Daphne?

Sorry, I don’t kiss and tell.

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

Probably peanut butter, but if I was a peanut butter cookie, I couldn’t be answering this question, could I? It’s quite a dilemma.

Thank you, Jesse, and congrats Christine!

Waiting on Wednesday

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

This week's pick is Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith, coming December 27 from Greenwillow.

Summary: Leah has the life most high school girls would kill for—popularity, glowing grades, a rich, athletic boyfriend. So why does she feel like she can’t breathe? And why can’t she stop thinking about the boy from the country club? The one who isn’t her boyfriend, the one that her mother would never, ever approve of, the one that her perfect older sisters would never, ever look at twice. The one who is always looking back at her. Irresistible attraction, smoldering glances, the bad boy and the good girl—Kiss Crush Collide has everything that a steamy forbidden romance should, and then some. 

My Thoughts: I really love the rich/poor relationship scenario, and the bad boy/good girl one... so this book is totally right up my ally. Steamy and smoldering? Yes. Please. And while I suppose Leah could just be a spoiled rich brat, I am not getting that vibe from this summary, and honestly love it when someone that's privileged wants something different than what's expected. And then there's the cover, which makes me grin, and want this book even more.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Character Interview + Contest: Gabriel from Cold Kiss

It's hot boy interview time again! Today, I've got Gabriel from Amy Garvey's Cold Kiss here to answer a few questions, and give you guys a chance to win a copy of the book!

What was it about Wren that really captivated you from the start?

She was just so cute. With her hair sticking out in all these directions, and her boots and this look on her face, like she knew she was tiny but she’d peck you to death if you said the wrong thing. Which sounds really weird, but it’s true.

When you found out about Danny, what was your first thought?

Shock, really. I mean, doing that takes a kind of power I didn’t even know existed. But my second thought was mostly, wow, she really loved him.

What's it like to kiss Wren?

It’s everything that’s awesome about being alive. … Is that too corny? It’s true.

Boxers or briefs?

Dude, even Wren doesn’t know that yet.

What kind of dinosaur would you describe yourself as?

Dinosaur? Um. Wow. Probably a brontosaurus? Sort of slower moving and a little more patient, and not so into eating its fellow dinosaurs. 

Thank you, Gabriel, and congrats, Amy, on the release!

Dying to read Cold Kiss? Then now's your chance to win a copy of the book, along with some temporary tattoos, magnets, and an icy blue lipstick.

To enter, just fill out THIS form!

Contest is US Only and ends September 30.

No entries will be accepted through the comments, but come on, you know you want to leave one anyhow.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Author Interview: Jen Nadol

I've got Jen Nadol here today to answer a few questions, but instead of the normal Q&A, I've challenged her to answer using only lines from her book, The Vision.

You make the front page! What does the headline say? 

Since front page news is usually either grim or scandalous, I’d much rather be like one of the characters Cassie describes: she had all this history, this normal life. A job at a bank, a family – daughters, grandkids. “Normal” and “ordinary” are highly underrated.

Would you love or hate having the power that Cassie has? 

I think my feelings would shift with the circumstances, but mostly I’d feel like Cassie does when she confronts someone with the mark early in the story: I went to the man and started talking, words tumbling out, telling him he was in danger, I had a gift, could sometimes see when someone might die. He just stared at me. I heard my voice wavering, but kept on, hating every awful, nervous, guilty instant of telling this terrible secret, second-guessing myself the whole time, fearful of what I might change. Or not.

If you were in a fight, which character would you want by your side? 

At one point, Cassie’s roommate Petra tells her: “I might not be your mom or dad or grandma, but I am your friend. And a shrink to boot. I’m good at keeping secrets and pretty decent at helping people. If you don’t want to tell me, that’s totally cool, but if you need an ear—or a hand, a lift, a few bucks, anything—I’m here.” That’s the kind of person I’d want by my side in pretty much any situation.

What is your favorite thing about Zander? 

He wasn’t the bad boy with a heart of gold, but he also wasn’t just the bad boy. He was, as Liv said, smokin’ hot, kind of a jerk, and definitely high on himself. But there was more to him.

If you could choose a way to go, which way would you hope to go? 

Well, quick and painless would be best, but no matter the way, I hope I feel like I’ve lived fully enough to approach it like the man who says: “I’m eighty-six years old. My wife died seventeen years ago…my body aches most mornings and it’s a good day if I can go to the bathroom without a problem. If today’s my day, so be it. I’m ready.”

How challenging did you find it to write a sequel? 

I was doing it because I needed to. Okay, that’s an overstatement, but its the only book quote I could find that was close enough! The Mark was originally written as a stand-alone, but the ending changed during edits and I felt like there was still more story to tell. The sequel came pretty naturally and I really loved writing it. 

Thank you, Jen, for not only answering my questions but giving the extra push to find book quotes that work! Congrats on another release!

So what do you guys think? Fitting quotes? Leave a comment for Jen, and make sure you guys check out The Vision, the follow up to The Mark!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Author Interview + Comment for Donations: Trish Doller

So, there's this book that comes out next year (yeah, I know, so far away) that I am all kinds of crazy excited for, called Something Like Normal. In my excitement, I asked the author, the lovely Trish Doller, for an interview... and then we got to thinking.

She's donated to our troops in the past, and this book is about a nineteen year old Marine coming back after deployment in Afghanistan. So what better way to celebrate her upcoming release than to raise a little more money?

  Yep. You got it. Trish and I are going to donate $1 per comment, up to a grand total of $100, to the Wounded Warrior Project. So let's get on with the interview, so you guys can get to commenting!

Describe yourself and Travis in 5 words each.

Me: smart, slacker, bookworm, dreamer, lead-foot.

Travis: athletic, strong, freckled, hot, Marine

What is one thing you can tell us about Travis now?

Travis’s birthday is June 10, which makes him a Gemini. He, however, doesn’t care about astrology. He’s also very messed up.

If The New Normal was made into a movie, what would its tagline be?

How do you find normal, when everything has changed?

You meet Travis in person for a day. What do you two do?

We’d go to the gun range, then maybe have a few beers on Fort Myers Beach.

In the research for Something Like Normal, what has been the most shocking thing you've learned? What about what warmed you the most?

I learned that in some places in Afghanistan a dog has more value than a woman, which is pretty horrifying.

What warmed me the most is how generous and friendly Marines can be. The guys I’ve met while writing SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL are some of the best people I know.

You're locked in horror movie with your characters! What do you do, and does anyone die?

Dude, Travis is a Marine. No one is dying but the bad guy. As for me? I’m standing behind Travis.

If you were a demigod, what god/goddess would be your parent?

Athena. She’s the goddess of all the best things, like wisdom and justice and the arts.

You're stranded on an island by yourself. What one piece of sports equipment would you want to have with you?

A kayak. (Of course, then I wouldn’t be stranded anymore, huh?) But if that doesn’t count, I’d want a fishing pole.

What are your top three YA book recommendations at this time? What would Travis recommend?

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Things A Brother Knows by Dana Reinhard

What kind of cake/confection would you describe yourself as?

Carrot cake, because it’s filled with all kinds of tasty bits.

Thank you, Trish, for answering my random questions and agreeing to donate with me! If you guys want more from Trish, or to find out more about Something Like Normal, you can check out her website! Also be sure you add this book to Goodreads, because you know you want it!

So you guys heard it! For every (meaningful) comment we get, Trish and I are going to donate $1 (up to a grand total of $100). This is a seriously awesome place our money is going to over at Wounded Warrior Project, so get to comment and spread the word. We want to hit that 100!

But that isn't all, because we want to say thanks to you guys for helping us with our goal... so with that, one lucky commenter will win a set of Travis quote cards, courtesy of Trish!

Commenting for both donations and to be entered to win the quotes cards ends next Sunday, September 25.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (And some other stuff)

This is again two week's worth of stuff... I actually started it last week but my camera battery died after the first picture so naturally, I gave up.

Also, I didn't do anything for it, in part because I tend to forget and also because I'm lazy... but my blog turned two this past week, on the 13th. So, wee, here's to another awesome year or so I hope!

For Review:
In Too Deep by Amanda Grace (Already read- so good!)
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

For Review:
Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf (Already read- AMAZING)
Thou Shalt Not Road Trip by Antony John
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
Always a Witch by Carolyn McCullough
The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker
Dark Souls by Paula Morris
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
This Thing Called the Future by J.L. Powers
(Huge thanks to Flux, Kristen Simmons, Jennifer Shaw Wolf + Bloomsbury, Antony John, Sourcebooks Fire, Carolyn McCullough, Susanne Winnacker, Paula Morris + Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and J.L. Powers)

Vanish by Sophie Jordan (We all know I am Team Will)
Lie by Caroline Bock
Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

I hit up a different Borders when I was over in that area two weeks ago, and last weekend I hit up the one by me one last time, when everything was 90% off... so, yes, awesome haul there. And I am entirely too lazy to list every book, so click the picture to make it big if you want to see them all. 

I also bought two of these at B&N:
Roadside Assistance by Amy Clipston
Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culberston

Annnd this is Toby officially turning 13. Yep, the kid turned 13 this week.  And believe it or not, this, below, is Toby at just 14 weeks when I got him: 
So that was my week, in books, blogoversaries, and beagle birthdays. 

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review: Frost by Marianna Baer

SUMMARY: Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school begins with a shock: Frost House, her cozy dorm of close friends, has been assigned an unexpected roommate: confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar. But while Leena’s anxiety about a threat to her sanctuary proves valid, it becomes less and less clear whether the threat lies with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind, or within the very nature of Frost House itself. Mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and Celeste’s brother, and the reawakening of childhood fears, all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. Frost is the story of a haunting. As to whether the demons are supernatural or psychological . . . well, which answer would let you sleep at night?


The Short Version:
Creepy and luring, Frost masterfully blends mystery with a haunting element, while still keeping the overall feeling realistic and relatable. Leena is a well done central character, making some less than stellar decisions on the way and enduring, for her, some huge struggles, in a way that will engage readers. With strong writing, a well paced story, and a focused cast of characters, Frost most definitely straddles the line between supernatural and contemporary in a bold way.

The Extended Version:
Leena is intelligent and personable, comfortable in going to boarding school despite the few areas of baggage she carries with her. With huge hopes for a fantastic senior year, Leena falters only a little when Celeste is thrown her way and suddenly not only her new housemate, but roommate. Though the personality clash is clear from the start, Leena does try to welcome Celeste, even if the girl continually tests her and throws her off-kilter. As things really get going, Leena goes through a fantastic overall course of development. Though she is frustrating at times, and some of the things she does are a little hard to understand, she has a strong motivation and mentality to her that overshadows and still keeps the reader rooting for her.

Celeste is, in a lot of ways, off her rocker. Manipulative, harboring a rather weird view of some things, and seeming paranoid even outside of the Frost House, it’s easy to see why Leena and her two other housemates and friends would find it hard to welcome this girl. Despite this, Celeste’s spitfire ways, ability to almost always hold her chin up, and take care of herself even stuck in crutches, will make her stand out to readers and soften them towards her. Her relationship with her brother is an interesting one, and the differences in how they act with each other and everyone else is another strong element of this book.

The rest of the cast is well built, and though some of the characters are frustrating in their reactions, Leena holds enough of an ability to put herself into their shoes to understand and in turn, pass that to the reader. With a strong sense of camaraderie at the start that fizzles as the plot goes on for a few different people, the relationships and interactions Leena experiences are a great part of the book that goes far to drive the overall plot.

Despite the boarding school setting, this book is one that most readers should be able to relate to. From the well described school and class settings to the characters and interactions, Baer has pulled in a very realistic and well grounded background to this book that shines. The plot is, at its core, simple and centered around how Leena reacts to and deals with everything that is starting to be dumped on her. Baer, however, takes things much deeper and expands that, having plenty of internal and external elements that help keep things moving, grab the reader, and keep the pages turning. The pacing is well done, having bold moments of character development in the lulls of the overall plot and haunting aspect of the book.

The writing is fantastic, strong in voice and fluid. With some great descriptions, a lonely and creepy air that lingers on every page, and never staying stuck in Leena’s head too long, Bear’s writing talents are showcased and amplified. Building both the setting and the characters, the writing pulls the reader in and never falters or knocks them out of the book or Leena’s head.

The ending of this one is, overall, very well done, and definitely the kind that will make readers take pause and sit for several moments in thought. Though a few of the character reactions were a little too over the top, and one specific one came off as a little more story convenience than anything, Baer overall has built some fantastic, relatable, and realistic characters that make her story shine. Playing heavily into the haunted house concept, without being gaudy in any way, Frost is most definitely a stellar book that will leave readers with a chill.

Source: ARC received from author/publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date:  September 13, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Author Interview: Nick James

So, as much as I love interviewing characters, throwing my random questions at authors can be just as awesome... especially when that author gives answers like today's. With that, I bring you guys Nick James, author of Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars! Seriously, you want to be sure to check this out.

Skyship Academy’s written from the perspectives of two male protagonists. What are your thoughts on “boy books”?

I love boy books! As a former boy, I grew up reading them. When I set out to write this book, I wanted to create something that appealed to everyone but really homed in on the kind of thing that I would have liked when I was a teenager. So many boy books have the action, but I wanted to meld that with the underdog characterization that’s more prominent in coming-of-age novels.

The current trend in YA is definitely toward more romantic stuff. While there is a little romance in the book, I wanted to write something that was more plot and character driven. I think that’s what boys respond to. At least, it’s what I responded to at that age. Big, dramatic plot lines with plenty of twists and turns.

To that end, there are explosions, chases, cool powers and a lot of action. But there are also those quieter moments and characters that (I hope) you care about in more than just a “will they survive?” way. It’s the blend that I always strive for in my writing. Comic booky in the sense that it’s action and dialogue driven, but not to the point that would alienate other readers.

What would be the hardest part for you of living in the world you created?

In real life, I don’t deal well with conflict. I’m one of those “can’t we all just get along?” people. With all of the factions in the book constantly at each other’s throats, I think I’d just want to ignore all of the war stuff and go some place where people are devoted to having fun and chilling out. I’d probably have to live on one of the more entertainment-oriented Skyships. Maybe I could be a lounge singer or something?

Which character came easier to you, Jesse or Cassius?

Jesse came easier to me because his portions of the book are much more immediate. I really enjoy writing in a first person, present voice. It feels more like a journal entry to me. That being said, I found Cassius infinitely fascinating. Even with all of the crazy stuff that happens to Jesse, Cassius probably has the more dramatic character arc. One of the reasons I enjoyed writing this book as much as I did was that the two protagonists are so different from one another. Shifting between them gave me a lot of freedom to explore the world through multiple viewpoints and philosophies.

If you could pair Jesse and Cassius with any character from any book, who would you pick for each?

This is a great question! I’m assuming you mean romantically. I think Jesse would benefit from someone more driven and confident. Someone who would bring those qualities out in him. I think I’d pair him with Hermione Granger. The thing is, he’d probably find her annoying, but she’d be good for him. Cassius needs someone who knows how to have fun. He can get too serious for his own good, and could do with a sense of humor. Of course, he’d still need someone who could keep up with him physically. I’d say a character like Max from the Maximum Ride books would be ideal.

What form of transportation would be your nemesis?

Sea turtle? I can’t swim, and I’m thinking those shells are pretty slippery when you try to hold onto them, so that would be my nemesis. And the cause of my untimely death.

You're dropped into a room full of Death Eaters with Jesse! What happens?

Well, Jesse would probably cower in the corner, hoping that they wouldn’t find him, which would leave me standing there going “gee, thanks.” But if put in a sticky situation, I’ve got no problem sucking up. I could get down with the whole Voldemort thing while the Death Eaters are standing there. Doesn’t mean that I’m being truthful. Just throw a bunch of “dark lord” this and “dark lord” that at them and I’m sure they’d happily move on. Or kill me.

If you were a demigod, what god/goddess would be your parent?

Apollo and Aphrodite. In addition to the good looks, you’ve got all that wonderful stuff like love, music, art and healing. Sure, you kinda get jipped in the powers department, but everyone would love you! And plus, powers can be more trouble than they’re worth.

What kind of dinosaur would you describe yourself as? What about Jesse and Cassius?

Ooh, this is right up my alley! I went through a ridiculous dinosaur phase from about 5th-6th grade. In fact, one of my first books series (by “series,“ I mean a couple 13-page scribblings) was written about dinosaurs in 5th grade. As for me, I think I’d be a pterodactyl. I just like the idea of soaring above all the craziness and swooping down when I needed to.

Jesse’s not very aggressive, so he’d be a herbivore. Maybe an ankylosaurus, which just happened to be my favorite (random) dinosaur when I was a kid. Cassius would be a velociraptor, all cunning and smart and sneaky. Those were always the scariest ones in Jurassic Park

Thank you, Nick, for those hilarious answers and you officially have the best answer ever for my transportation question.

Now make sure you guys all check out Skyship Academy, already out. I mean, the cover rocks, and obviously the author is hilarious. So, go on. No excuses.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Character Interview: Celeste from Frost by Marianna Baer

I have to admit, today's character interview is one of my favorites that I've done. So without further intro, I bring you guys Celeste Lazar from Marianna Baer's Frost!

Hi Kari! Not sure who you are or why you sent me these questions. That stalker ex-boyfriend of mine didn’t put you up to it, did he? Or someone in the Dean’s office? Anyway, here you go – Celeste Lazar in her own words.

Have you always been close with your brother? What's your best memory with him?

What are you, my shrink? That’s what they always ask about – me and David. Like there’s something deviant about our relationship. (Or like they want there to be something deviant…) Anyway, I guess we’ve always been close, if you count periods of intense hatred as being close in a certain way. It drives me crazy when he channels his worry about our father into worrying about me. Sometimes it seems totally sexist. No way would he be this protective if I were a guy.

My best memory of him is one time when our father was having a really bad episode, and our mother was freaking out, and David knew that I was trying to finish this dress I was sewing that I wanted to wear to this thing, and he biked – he was 15, I think – he biked something like 100 miles (maybe not quite) to get me this special fabric I couldn’t find nearby. That was pretty damn sweet.

What is the hardest part about rooming with Leena?

God, I just hate having someone watching me. I see it in her eyes: I concern her. I know she means well – Leena’s definitely not an asshole, like some of the people at Barcroft. But I don’t need her asking if I ate dinner (I know she thinks I’m too thin) or whatever. She’s just like David!

Also, I have to say, it’s pretty annoying that she won’t admit the house we’re living in is oozing with bad juju. Aside from the fact it’s probably a deathtrap – hasn’t Barcroft ever heard of safety codes? – it’s just freaky. And all Leena can talk about is how pretty the windows are and how cool the bathtub is. Hello? Wake up and smell the dead animal in the walls!

So... what exactly is the story behind the cockroach picture?

Another thing a shrink would ask! You know, sometimes a cockroach is just a cockroach… ;) No, but seriously, it’s part of a series that’s trying to make the viewer reconsider beauty. Like, most people would say my face is beautiful, right? But have you ever looked, really looked, at how delicate and beautifully constructed an insect is? They’re amazing. In the photo hanging in our room, the beetle (it’s actually an elephant stag beetle, not a cockroach) emerges from my mouth and does a dance with the ribbon. I was thinking that it was representative of a true beauty that had been incubated inside me, that finally emerged once I died. Something far more refined and elegant than my human form. (Although, as far as human forms go, I will admit that mine is pretty refined and elegant.)

What's it like to kiss Whip?

He’s got those thin-ass lips, so I didn’t have high hopes, but the boy is surprisingly facile with what he was given! And he takes direction well. I like that. I need to be with a guy who’ll do what I tell him.

Boxers or Briefs?

Thong. (Kidding! God, you really do think I’m weird, don’t you?)

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

A spicy gingersnap covered in a layer of the deepest, darkest chocolate.

So, have I given you enough juicy stuff to analyze?

Thank you, Celeste, for answering my questions... however annoying they may have been.

Congrats, Marianna, on the release!

Make sure you guys all check out Frost! It's creepy and awesome, and admit it, you want to know more about Celeste now!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Author Interview: Dan Elish

We're going to hit into MG territory today, and with that, I bring you guys an awesome interview with Dan Elish, author of The School for the Insanely Gifted!

You make the front page! What does the headline say?

My dream headline: One Billionth Copy of The School for the Insanely Gifted Sold

My second dream headline: Dan Elish Negotiates World Peace

My nightmare headline: Dan Elish to be Test Subject in Effects of Continuous Month Long Asparagus Consumption

You and Daphna spend a day together. What do you do?

First, I would drop by Daphna’s studio on the Upper West Side of New York. Daphna would press the “music room” button on her control panel and the stove and fridge would magically disappear and the piano would slide out. Then Daphna would play me her latest composition. After that, I believe that her friend Harkin – otherwise known as “the Thunk” - would drop over. Actually, he’d fly by in his Thunkmobile. Daphna and I would climb aboard and take a quick spin to Paris for a croissant, then head back to Vermont to check out the foliage. After lunch, we’d stop in at the Ben & Jerry’s factory where we’d sample their new flavor, The Insanity Cup, coffee and mint chip ice creams, blended with Oreo cookies and more chocolate chips (this is my dream flavor). After that, we’d fly back to New York and see Cynthia Trustwell in a Broadway musical. At the curtain call, I would jump onto the stage to do my famous belly dance while simultaneously reciting the opening chapter of Harry Potter in Polish. Afterwards, Daphna, the Thunk, Cynthia and I would meet the mayor for dinner at Gracie Mansion. Then we’d go to Central Park (with the mayor) and spend the night in a tree fort.

Which Death Eater, besides Voldemort, would you want to fight?

I know he isn’t from Harry Potter, but I’d really like to fight Darth Vadar. My kids love Star Wars and each own a light saber. As a result, I like to believe that I’ve become quite expert in the jedi war arts. I think I could take Darth Vadar down.

Which god/goddess would be your nemesis?

Probably Hades, God of the Underworld. Aside from being the ruler of the underworld, he had a three headed dog and a screech owl. I like dogs, but with one head a piece. I also like owls, but only when they are quiet.

What kind of dinosaur would you describe yourself as?

The Brachylophosarus because his unusual head crest cause scientists to call him “the Elvis of Dinosaurs.” I don’t look a thing like Elvis Presley, but I do love music. I like to think that Brachylophosarus would have enjoyed listening to old Beatles’ records with me. I also like to think that he would happily serve as a bodyguard to my children when they get old enough to stay out late at parties. Finally, the Brachylophosarus ate only plants, which means that I would never have to be in fear of its eating me.

Thank you, Dan, for those awesome answers!

Make sure you guys all check out The School for the Insanely Gifted, already out. You can even read the first chapter here, so get on that!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mini Reviews: Under the Never Sky, In Too Deep and The Pledge

Oh yes, it is indeed mini review time again! This time, I've got two dystopians and a contemp for you guys, and yes, I loved them all. So... let's get to it!

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: Honestly, I don't think brilliant is even a good enough word for this book. It is so amazing in so many ways, many of which I honestly cannot put into words. This is one of those books that any given moment, there isn't necessarily a lot going on, and yet, there is so much overall, such a fantastic arc and build, that while I made myself put it down to get some other stuff done, my mind kept going back to it. Two separate worlds, blended together when Aria and Perry meet, is one of the most compelling aspects of this book for me because in a lot of ways, it felt like it was our world advanced, and our world decaying. I had absolutely no problem imaging Aria or Perry's world, and though so much of this is very clearly not what I know, Veronica builds everything so smoothly, so seamlessly, that I just pictured myself right there. Then there is the overall story, the plot, the mystery, the characters... wow. Just wow, all around, in a million ways, wow. There is so much deeper meaning, such subtle intricacy, that this book delves into so many levels and elements. And not to mention, one of my all time favorite book lines now comes from this book, and is honestly one of the sweetest lines ever. All I will say is that it has to do with rocks, and you will know it when you read it. Also, the writing is fantastic, and just, everything, perfection. I'm in total fangirl love.

In Too Deep by Amanda Grace: This one is intense and emotional, and it jumps right into it. A simple misunderstanding, spiraled into something huge, and Amanda nails that hopeless, loss of control feeling so perfectly. Picked apart, sure, any specific motivation in this book might not seem good enough but mounted on top of each other, and it's easy to see why Sam found herself in such a firestorm. Sam has a fantastic overall story arc and development, testing herself and having just the right amount of introspection without being repetitive or overbearing, and she will absolutely make readers understand her. This is a book that will make you feel, and make you think, and with powerful writing, it definitely grabs from page one. There was really only one part of this book that didn't mesh with me towards the end, but everything else that was so great about this book by far overshadows that. With great characters, a vivid realism, and a well built story arc, this is a book that you do not want to miss.

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting: I am in love with the concept and playout of this one, and add in the gorgeous and stellar writing that we all know Kimberly has, and this book is fabulous. Emotionally tactile, and realistically built despite being a dystopian set up, it is so easy to imagine not only the world, but the sense of oppression that comes with it. When words truly have power, and when classes are separated by language, it spins the mind in so many directions trying to get all the ramifications, and Kim doesn't disappoint in bringing many of them forth. With some great twists, stunning characters, and a fantastic overall premise and story line, this is definitely a book for fans of dystopian. Not to mention, the romance is sweetly done, built on mystery and intrigue than immediate attraction, with a charming love interest to round it out.

So that's it! Look for the full reviews for these books closer to their releases, and see you next time!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Meet the Characters: Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Why yes, it is character interview time again. Only, once again, I haven't stolen just one but three characters, giving you a better glimpse at their different personalities! So with that, I bring you Bridget Duke, Liam Ward (Who took a little forcing to answer my girly questions...) and Meredith, from Paige Harbison's Here Lies Bridget!

Describe your perfect kiss.

Bridget Duke: I’ve had some reallllly bad ones—seriously, what is with those guys, it’s not that hard to kiss—but I’ve had a few good ones too. I don’t know…with one guy it was all of them. What would be the perfect kiss now, I guess, would be if he would just kiss me again. Just take it all back and do it.

Liam Ward:  Bridget used to wear this red stuff that smelled and tasted really good. It wasn’t sticky either. Some girls wear really sticky stuff, but Bridget never did. 

Meredith:The kind that you don’t regret!

What three words would your mother use to describe you?

Bridget Duke: I’d rather not answer.

Liam Ward: Probably hard-working, smart, and dedicated. I don’t know, those are just the things she always says she’s proud of about me. 

Meredith: Sensitive, Emotional, and Too Loyal She would say those things in the most loving way possible…

What god/goddess would be your nemesis?

Bridget Duke: Hera. Bitch gotta be toppled from that throne, and I’ll take over. Zeus better be hot.

Liam Ward:  Hera. She’s always in people’s business. 

Meredith: Aphrodite—she’s making it impossible for the rest of us!

You find Narnia in your closet! What do you do?

Bridget Duke: Send it back to IKEA. Either that or go in and look for James McAvoy.

Liam Ward: That’d be awesome. I loved those books when I was a kid. 

Meredith: Ooh…go in and find some of those Turkish Delights—they always sounded delicious!

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

Bridget Duke: Whatever everyone’s favorite is.

Liam Ward: An Oreo I guess? I don’t know, I just really like those.

Meredith: The kind with shortbread with jam in the middle. My heart tends to get stuck in situations even though the outside of me crumbles a little bit.

Thank you, Paige, for sharing your characters!

Make sure you guys pick up Here Lies Bridget, because you know you want more of these characters!