Friday, July 30, 2010

Sea Twitter Chat with Heidi R Kling

The Page Turners blog is hosting a Twitter chat with one of my favorite authors, Heidi R Kling. As the banner says, the chat will take place on Twitter on August 10th and 9pm EST. The chat will last around an hour. Make sure you follow both @HeidiRKling and @PageTurnersBlog and use the hashtag #sealove to follow the chat. Ohh...and there will be contests!! So be sure to check out the chat, and if you haven't read Sea, I highly recommend it. I hope people check the chat out!!

To learn more about the chat as well, I recommend go viewing the Page Turners blog post to learn the full details of the chat and more about the contests during the chat.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Pages: 344

Ratings: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour is a perfect book for summer. It has all the elements for a great summer read: a cross country road trip, romance, and it takes place in the summer. While most summer books are quick, fun reads, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour offer much more.

What drew me into the story were the characters. Amy felt like she could be any girl dealing with the loss of her father and guilt over his death. Her emotions were so raw and true at points in the story that I was crying along with her. While reading, I often wanted to just reach out an give Amy a huge hug to help her with all the emotional baggage she was carrying. Luckily Roger was there to help me do that. Which brings me to Roger. While the story is told from Amy’s point of view, the reader still gets to learn and understand Roger. Like Amy, Roger is dealing with issues of his own, stemming from his recent break up. While Amy and Roger do not know one another well before the trip, they find out they are a lot more similar than they think and they form a friendship that helps both of them heal.

While the story takes places over a course of a couple of days, the relationship formed between Amy and Roger feels genuine. Morgan Matson did a good job creating Amy and Roger’s relationship and taking it from friends to something a little bit more. The romance did not suddenly pop up out of no where going “Hey look we love each other all of a sudden!” but instead played out very naturally, building a relationship that blooms to romance in the end.

This book is a must read for summer. It is a beautifully written book, truly capturing the emotions of grieve, guilt, love, and loss. Everything feels truly real and relatable, therefore pulling you into the story, taking you on this cross country road trip, filled with detours, along with the characters. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (6) - Return to Paradise

Return to Paradise
Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Flux
To be released: September 1, 2010

Summary (from Goodreads):

Maggie and Caleb just went through the worst year of their lives. Hit by a car and starting life over with a limp, Maggie never thought she would forgive Caleb. But she did-and fell in love. What they shared was real. But Caleb wanted to be free from the past-and a terrible secret: he wasn't the one who hit Maggie. So he left Paradise-and Maggie-forever.

When Maggie and Caleb run into each other in a different town, they can't deny their true feelings. Will Maggie let Caleb get away again? Or will Caleb face the truth and return to Paradise?

When I read Leaving Paradise, I fell in love with Caleb and Maggie. Leaving Paradise was such a good book and the ending left me wanting more. How could Caleb just leave?!? Thankful, the wonderful Simone Elkeles has written a sequel and I cannot wait to read it and see what happens next to these poor characters.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: A Matter of Magic

A Matter of Magic
Patricia C. Wrede
Publisher: Orb Books
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Pages: 448

Ratings: 3 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

When a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into a traveling magician’s wagon, Kim doesn’t hesitate. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London, Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. A hard life and lean times have schooled her in one lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But when the magician catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for. Until he suggests she become his apprentice; then the real trouble begins.

Kim soon finds herself entangled with murderers, thieves, and cloak-and-dagger politics, all while trying to learn how to become both a proper lady and a magician in her own right. Magic and intrigue go hand in hand in Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward, two fast-paced novels filled with mystery and romance, set against the intricate backdrop of Regency England.

A Matter of Magic was a nice, quick read that fulfilled my desire for both fantasy and historical fiction. Originally published as two separate books, Mairelon the Magician (published in 1991) and The Magician’s Ward (published in 1997), A Matter of Magic gives you both for the price of one.

The stories in both books are not directly related, but it makes sense to offer the reader’s the full tale of Kim and Mairelon in one book. The first part of the book, originally Mairelon the Magician, I found entertaining, but at times confusing. There were a lot of secondary characters and everyone was after the same thing, some set of magic trinkets, that I kept easily getting confused and could not keep straight what character was what and who was good in bad. As the book progressed it got clearer but I was still confused until after the climax, where what everyone has been searching for is found. Then everything became clearer.

I enjoyed the second installment, originally The Magician’s Ward, a lot more then the first part. I was able to read through the second half much faster and make a lot more sense of the story. I loved seeing Kim progress from a street rat living as a thief into a respectable lady. The plot was not as complicated as the first half of the book making it a lot easier to understand. My only issue with this story line was the romance seemed to jump a little to quickly off the page. I saw it coming but would have liked to see it developed a bit more before the “bam! I’m in love.”

Overall, this book was a nice, quick read that I brought on a whim for Nook. I enjoyed it and did fulfill my desire to read historical and fantasy fiction at the same time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fragment Friday - 13 to Life by Shannon Delany

So I did my first vlog, even though I felt like I looked like a spaz! YAY!! It is for a new meme called Fragment Friday. Fragment Friday is hosted by James of Book Chic and it is where you read excerpts of your favorite books or what you are reading now. I chose an excerpt from a favorite this week: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany. 

*Due to technical difficulties, this ended up being posted and uploaded on Saturday.

If you would like to get Pietr yourself check out my post here. And check out my review of 13 to Life too!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (5) - The Lost Saint

By: Bree Despain
Publisher: EgmontUSA
To be released: December 28, 2010

Summary (from Goodreads):

A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven.

Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot—a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel is put in danger—in more ways than one.

Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her—not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

Bree revealed the cover to the sequel to the Dark Divine yesterday and it is making me want to read the book even more. I love the Dark Divine and cannot wait for it’s sequel. It looks so good. December cannot come fast enough. Luckily, on Bree’s blog, she will be doing a contest on the 28th of each month to win books. Hopefully that will hold my excited over until December.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: Only the Good Spy Young

Only the Good Spy Young
Ally Carter
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Release date: June 29, 2010
Pages: 240

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her. 

Now the danger follows her everywhere and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart. 

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past....

I am going to go all fan girly on this review because I absolutely loved this book. Ally Carter exceeded all expectations with this fourth installment in the Gallagher Girls series. I brought this book and could not stop reading it once I started it was that good. 

I am going to try to keep this as spoiler free as possible because, believe me, there are tons of spoilers. This book was so jammed packed with mysteries, adventure, betrayals, action, and romance. I loved every minute of reading it. 

Starting from the first chapter, literally, Ally Carter takes you on an amazing read. The story starts right away and does not let you go until the last page, leaving you dying for more. So much happen in this installment of the Gallagher Girls series, answering many questions I was left with from prior books. It's really hard to try to keep this review non-spoilery because much of the awesomeness of this book is from many of the secrets that were revealed. 

This series has grown so much from its first book, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You. I love now that the plots are less frivolous, and more real. Your truly seeing the dangerous of being a spy and the difficult decisions that Cammie must make. This book, by far, is currently my favorite in the series. It had everything I have come to expect in the Gallagher Girls series and so much more. I was literally yelling at the characters and points and gasping at others, it was so good. 

The fifth book in the Gallagher Girls series better come out soon because the ending of the book had me dying. I cannot wait to see what happens next with Cammie after what she decided to do in the ending. The fifth book cannot be written soon enough. I will definitely be picking that book up as soon as possible.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A little rant....

Okay, I am gonna rant a little bit on something that bothers me every time I go into the bookstore: the Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet redesigned covers. This little rant is from when I just discovered the covers, but the issue still bothers me greatly.

So here's the rant:

Redesigned covers of classic works of literature are supposed to make books more appealing to a modern audience. BUt when a cover is a virtual copy of a modern bestseller, has the marketing team gone too far to make a buck?

While on HarperCollins Publishers' website, the new covers for Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet drew my attention, not because their covers were unique, but because of the stunning similarities to the covers of the Twilight saga.

The covers for these classic novels looked as if they could be interchanged with any of the covers in the popular book series. They all have black backgrounds with a huge red flower, or in the case of the Pride and Prejudice cover, a white flower, following the color scheme of black, red and white of the Twilight books. The flowers are reminiscent of the New Moon cover.

The font of the covers are eerily similar to the font used on the Twilight covers, maybe because they are the same font, called Zephyr.

If you could not tell the direction the marketing team was going with these covers, maybe the giant circle on the Wuthering Heights cover endorsing the book as a "Bella and Edward's Favorite Book" will help clarify.

The direction of the marketing team is shameful. Trying to sell classical works of literature off a current fad of anything Twilight is sad. The amount of Twilight merchandise out there, everything from clothing to jewelry to candy, is excessive. The hype and marketing of Twilight has made the book become annoying; people only focus on the popularity of the book and movie, and they do not look at the literary value of the work.

The works of Emily Bronte, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare should not be grouped with the works of Stephenie Meyer. Twilight is a poorly written, cliche love story that has little literary merit, while the works of Bronte, Austen and Shakespeare are works that have been studied by many and have proved their literary merit. By marketing a book based off Twilight, that book is deemed to be at a lower literary value and mislead the reader into believing that the story lines in all three of these novels are similar to that of Twilight.

The stories of Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, and Romeo and Juliet have little to do with vampires, which is the main point of Twilight. In fact, all the books, besides a brief ghost mention in Wuthering Heights, have nothing do with anything supernatural.

Having blurbs on the top of the books reading "Love Never Dies," "The Love That Started It All," and "The Original Forbidden Love" on Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet, respectively, designates that these three books are in all some way connected and similar to Twilight.

In the case of Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet, they are mentioned in Twilight, and Stephenie Meyer actually based two out of the four books on the stories of those books, but Pride and Prejudice is not mentioned anywhere in the series. To have the cover of Pride and Prejudice say it is "The Love That Started It All" is just wrong because it in no way influenced or is similar to Twilight.

Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, a literary genius in her own right, is one of the most famous romance of all time. The circle on Wuthering Heights endorsing the book as a "Bella and Edward's Favorite Book" goes too far. Using the endorsement of fictional characters to sell a book shames me. Sure, they mention they enjoy that book in Twilight, but fictional characters should not endorse a book; a legitimate source such as ALA, the American Library Association, would be more appropriate.

Bring Shakespeare down to this level is just wrong. Shakespeare is the literary genius who wrote multiple masterpieces and changed the way we look at literature. Romeo and Juliet is the original forbidden love that almost all other romances, not just Twilight, are based off of. Austen, Bronte and Shakespeare's works should be read because of their genius, not because they are supposed to be similar to Twilight.

There must be a silver lining to these covers that ruin the work of classics. That lining would be that Twilight fans will now be willing to pick up these books and become exposed to the classics which do not get read enough as it is. People should not judge and book by its cover, but that is going to happen anyway, and these covers will appeal to people who are willing to read anything concerning Twilight. People who pick up these books based on their supposed relationship to Twilight will be able to be exposed to literature of merit and read novels that should be just as popular as Twilight.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review: My Soul to Keep

My Soul To Keep
Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: June 1, 2010
Pages: 304

Rating: 3 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):


Kaylee has one addiction: her very hot, very popular boyfriend, Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understands her like no one else. Nothing can come between them.

Until something does.

Demon’s breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind. The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow, the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends—one of whom is already hooked.

And when the epidemic hits too close to home, Kaylee will have to risk everything to save those she loves.

Rachel Vincent has truly created a unique series in a genre dominated by vampires and werewolves. In my Soul to Keep, the series continues to explore a world filled with bean sidhes, reapers, and hellions, adding rich new details to Kaylee’s world. 

This Soul Screamer novel started out the slowest for me. I felt the first hundred pages were a bit repetitive with the plot and were dragged out, but when the plot picked up, boy, did it pick up. After Kaylee almost gets killed and learns Nash's secret, I was eagerly turning pages to see what would happen next. The last two hundred pages were jam packed with everything I expect from this series. My Soul to Keep expanded greatly on the mythology of the Soul Screamer series, introducing the reader along with Kaylee to more of the mysteries of the Netherworld and of the bean sidhes. The Netherworld is such an interesting place, I am glad we got to learn more about it in this novel.

Since My Soul to Keep is the third book in the series, it may be confusing to readers who have not picked up the previous two books in the series. Much of the story line in this book revolves around characters and actions that have taken place in the previous two books in the series.

The end of this book left me waiting for the next book in the series. I cannot wait to see what happens with Nash and Kaylee's relationship after the ending and after what Nash did. While the ending was not a cliffhanger, it did leave me wanting more. I hope in the next books to learn more about the Netherworld and the creatures of the Netherworld, such as the hellions. I will be eagerly awaiting the fourth book in Soul Screamers series.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (4) - The DUFF

By: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Little Brown/ Poppy
To be released: September 7, 2010

Summary (from Goodreads):

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face. 

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley. 

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

I am anxiously awaiting this release from debut author Kody Keplinger (who is only 18!). Everyone has been raving about this book and seems like a book I will be interested in. I cannot wait to read it when it is released in September.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Review: Shadow Hills

Shadow Hills
Anastasia Hopcus
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: July 13, 2010
Pages: 400

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her. 

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry. 

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all. 

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

Shadow Hills is a stunning debut from author Anastasia Hopcus. Do not be fooled into thinking that this is some ordinary paranormal romance. For one thing there are no vampires or werewolves in sight. Instead, Hopcus has create her own new world in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts, where the townies have a dark secret. 

Filled with mystery, romance, mythology and suspense, Shadow Hills is a captivating book that will drag you into the plot and not let you go until the last page. Phe comes to Shadow Hill to see why her sister, who died, was interested in Devenish. Phe ends up learning a lot more then she bargained for when coming to Shadow Hills. While there are overlapping story lines, Hopcus writing is so clear that all the story lines fit and easily blend together without leaving the reader confused. 

Shadow Hills was such a page turner. The plot was so rich in mystery and suspense I just had to keep reading to figure out all the mysteries of Shadow Hills as Phe was figuring them out. The ending of the book nicely tied up many of my questions, but still left me wanting more. I want to learn more about these characters introduced to us by Hopcus. I want to know more about Phe and the powers she has and  I would love to see more of Zach and learn about the Brevis Vita more. When I reached the last page, I wanted more because I was intrigued by the story and the world Hopcus had created. Shadow Hills is a fantastic and unique debut. I am looking forward to reading whatever she writes next. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (3) - Firelight

By: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: Harper Teen
To be released: September 7, 2010

Summary (from Amazon):

A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.
Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

I learned about this book through twitter and every time I hear about it, the more I want to read it. I love the idea of this book and it seems like a great start to a new series. The concept is interesting and I love that Jacinda can shift into a dragon instead of the typical animal people tend to shift into. I cannot wait to read this!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Books Of Wonder Signing

On Wednesday, June 30, I was fortunately able to head into New York City to attend the Books of Wonder event "Coming Of Age: Romantic Adventure Abroad" with Angie Frazier author of Everlasting, Heidi R. Kling author of Sea, and Christina Diaz Gonzalez author of the Red Umbrella.

After eating some lovely and delicious cupcakes

It was time to head to the signing. I had such a great time at the signing and it was great to finally meet Heidi, Angie and Christina. It was great hearing them all discuss their books and answer the audience questions.
After the discussion, Angie, Heidi and Christina signed copies of their books for everyone there and even signed extras for people to pre-order. I had such a great time at the signing. I was decked out in my Sea shirt and made an extra for Heidi.

Heidi even signed my Orange Converses and my Nook and the signing:

Heidi and Me:

Angie and Me:

It was a great event and I had a great time. Thanks to Heidi, Angie, Christina and Books of Wonder.