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Showing posts from August, 2011

My Not-So-Still Life

My Not-So-Still Life is a YA contemporary novel by Liz Gallagher.

Vanessa is colorful. Her hair, her makeup, her clothes, her very being is bursting with all the colors of the rainbow. She's an artist - and she wants to be art. Being art and being a sophomore in high school don't go together too well. You can imagine that she's not the most popular girl. Her first day there she was branded a freak. Not much has changed since.

But she has her Mom - young, single, and super hardworking. Plus, her Grampie, who also lives with them and helps out, and her two best friends: Nick and Holly. They understand her. They're colorful too, in their own way. And now she's gotten hired at her dream job: a local art supply store named Palette. It just so happens that her dream job also puts her in the periphery of a tasty slightly older guy that she hopes will help her get over her mushed heart.

Yet all of it takes to the sidelines for Vanessa's main focus: taking risks and living…

Want to Go Private?

Want to Go Private? is a new YA contemporary novel from Life, After author Sarah Darer Littman. If you didn't get a chance to read my review of Life, After yet, read it here.

Fourteen-year-old Abby doesn't like change. It's a first year of high school and already she's getting persuaded to try a little make-up and "make an effort", when all that just makes her feel uncomfortable and weird. Plus, her best friend Faith is only in one of her classes - PE! Her parents encourage her to try and make some new friends, but it just isn't working. Even the cute guy in her math class can't ever remember her name, instead calling her an endless slew of different "A" names.

Faith doesn't have the same problem. She is making new friends and getting involved in new activities, and though she invites Abby along, Abby feels unbearably lonely. That's why when she meets Luke online, she's so relieved to have someone to talk to every night. Someone wh…

Dark Souls

Dark Souls is a YA contemporary ghost story by Paula Morris.

Her brother was driving and Miranda was in the back-seat when one night they were involved in a deadly car accident in which Miranda's best friend died in the passenger seat. Her brother is scarred by the incident - not physically, but emotionally. He hasn't driven a car since and hates enclosed spaces. For sixteen-year-old Miranda it's a different problem all together. A secret she is keeping hidden...

Their parents are eager to help jolt the family out of the sadness that has overcome them since the accident six months ago. They decide to take a little vacation to historical York, England where her father will be giving a lecture and her Mom was invited to be involved in a production. Miranda is ready to be swept away by the larger than life pasts of the landmark buildings and culture - and hopes to avoid the ghosts that apparently roam the city.

But then she meets a dark, brooding guy named Nick that knows the ar…

Contest Alert!

This Saturday morning I have a special post to let all you lovely bibliophiles know about a new CONTEST you can enter!!!

To celebrate the release of TWISTED, the third book in her Intertwined series, Gena Showalter is throwing a mega contest and several young adult authors are joining her for the ride, including: Julie Kagawa, PC Cast, Rachel Caine, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Tina Ferraro, Jonathan Friesen, Marley Gibson, Linda Gerber and Chloe Neill, as well as The Knight Agency blog.

The Grand Prize is being hailed as "The Best Night Ever," and with concert tix to your fave music act, an American Eagle gift card for new duds, a glam Urban Decay makeup set for a "new" face AND cash (in the form of a Visa gift card) for dinner, how can it not turn into the best night you ever had?

The TWISTEDTour spans almost two weeks and 11 websites from August 22nd through September 2nd. The Grand Prize winner will be awarded all the essentials for a perfect night out, including:

-…

My Life Undecided

My Life Undecided is a YA contemporary novel by Jessica Brody.

Fifteen-year-old Brooklyn Pierce is convinced that when faced with decisions, she always makes the worst one. She doesn't realize it at the time, of course - but eventually it becomes clear. In fact, she began life making stupid choices. It was nationally televised. Her name is still recognized for it. Obviously, her hopelessness has been imbedded in her since the toddler years.

But when she has a big party at her mom's model home, at the urging of her uber-popular bestie Shayne, and then proceeds to nearly burn the whole place down - while "under the influence" - well, she decides that she needs to take action. Brooklyn sets up an anonymous blog and poses every choice she is confronted with as a question to the readers and asks them to make her choices, because clearly it would be dangerous for her to continue to make her own...

My Life Undecided is awesome! The writing is full of life and bursting with hum…

Shadow Grail #2: Conspiracies

Conspiracies is the second book in the YA supernatural series Shadow Grail co-written by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill.

The first book in the series is called Legacies and I would strongly recommend you read that first! If you haven't, check out my review of it here, and avoid this review for inevitable spoilers of Legacies. Otherwise, read on -

When Spirit White arrived at Oakhurst Academy, still deep in mourning over the sudden death of her parents and sister, she knew the place was weird. Super-duper fancy, obviously soaked in wealth, highly competitive, and classes on how to use your magical abilities.

That's right! Magical abilities! But Spirit had none she could find. Yet despite that and the school's seemingly anti-friends policy, Spirit managed to make friends with some fellow students - Burke, Loch, Muirin, and Addie. And Spirit was the first to notice that students going missing overnight wasn't really normal - that the school's explanation for these…

Guest Post by author Glenn Dakin!

Today I have a special treat for you, book addicts!

Please welcome author Glenn Dakin! He is the brilliant mind behind the fantasy/steampunk/YA-middlegrade novels Candle Man #1: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance and Candle Man #2: The Society of Dread. Click on each title to refresh your memory on what my thoughts were on each book (hint: I loved them!).

Glenn was kind enough to give us a piece of his creative mind through a guest post. This is what he wanted to say:

Candle Man – and the Approaching Revelation
by Glenn Dakin

I have always loved mysteries. Even minor ones like if nothing existed before the universe, then where did they make it?

One of my favourite puzzles is the enigma of STENDEC. In 1947 a passenger plane vanished over the Andes Mountains.

Before it disappeared it sent out one baffling radio message: the word STENDEC.

This word was sent, very clearly, by an experienced crew. What did it mean? Why was it so important? Why send out a word that does not exist… and th…

Tortall and Other Lands

Tortall and Other Lands is a collection of short stories from the fantasy Queen herself: Tamora Pierce.

There are thousands of reader's out there that recognize this name as being their favorite author. She has written the Alanna series as well as many more books that have continued to exist in the magical kingdom of Tortall. People can't get enough - and for good reason!

We get an even more intimate peek into this intricately woven medieval land and its smaller, but no less fascinating, stories with six tales taking place in Tortall, some of which feature cameos of well-known characters. We also get four stories not set in Tamora's beloved Tortall - two are in historical periods but take plan in unknown towns, one in an anonymous desert, and one even takes place in modern-day New York. Plus, we get a bonus story that isn't even a fantasy at all!

That means Tortall and Other Lands provides us with ten short stories to sweep you away and tickle your imaginations!

Now, I pe…

Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes

Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes is a comedic YA novel by Amber Kizer.

Gert Garibaldi is entering her second semester of her Sophomore year of high school with a boyfriend - that's a first. And it seems that this year is going be full of firsts.

For one, her friends have decided that they should try out for the new girls' soccer team - and despite Gert having a boyfriend, she can't deny the appeal of being around luscious Lucas (assistant student coach) and goes for it. But, oh, she didn't realize there'd be so much running.

Also, she's having to deal with the dreaded "Who Are You?" essay that is worth, like, her entire grade that no one ever seems to get an A on. Joy.

Another first? Kissing. But she didn't realize it would feel like suffocating or be quite so uncomfortable, wet, and entirely without fun. Is it the boy kissing her? Is it her? All she knows is that she feels like running in the other direction when his lips start closing in!

Gert&#…

Liar, Liar

Liar, Liar is a humorous middle-grade novel by Gary Paulsen.

Eighth grader Kevin is an excellent liar. He finds lies to be polite, and believes telling people what they want to hear is better for everybody. It's only to help everyone else. It's like a public service.

And sure, maybe some of his lies are to promote himself as boyfriend material for Tina - but those are harmless and shouldn't even count as lies.

But this time Kevin's lies may be spiraling out of control and for once Kevin may have to do something that he definitely doesn't want to do: tell the truth.

Liar, Liar is a skinny little book. I mean, it is literally only 120 pages in length! Yet somehow Gary Paulsen manages to pack quite a tale in there.

Kevin's story is lightening fast, humorous, and light hearted - but there is some surprisingly grounded family realism as well, seen through the eyes of a rather oblivious eighth grade boy.

When our main character becomes lovesick in a moment of sudden onset …

Rotters

Rotters is a YA contemporary novel with a twist of horror written by author Daniel Kraus.

Sixteen-year-old Joey loves his Mom. It's just been the two of them in Chicago since forever, and he doesn't mind. Joey's life is low-key. He gets straight A's, plays the trumpet, and hangs out with the one friend he's had since he was young.

But when Joey's mother dies in a sudden, tragic accident Joey is sent to live with his father in rural Iowa - a father that he has never met - but a father that Joey's Mom specifically willed him to go to should she die. Joey tries to honor her wishes, but when he arrives at his new home he finds a man that is short on words and leaves for long periods of time without warning.

Nothing is going well for Joey. There's no food at home, no guardian to rely on, and he finds himself being the brunt of cruelty by both students and teachers - each day is a struggle.

Yet once he gets his Dad to speak to him, Joey starts to put the strange …

Flip

Flip is a YA psychological thriller by Martyn Bedford.

When fourteen-year-old Alex wakes up in the morning he doesn't recognize his bedroom. In fact, he can't remember getting home last night, he only remembers being on his way. His body feels weird, like he doesn't know how to move it, and a strange woman's voice is yelling for Philip to get up.

Alex doesn't know a Philip.

Disoriented and confused, Alex pulls himself out of the strange bed and tries to place the completely unfamiliar surroundings. He catches a glimpse of his forearm - hairy. Hairier than normal. And by the time he gets to a mirror, well, his head is spinning.

The body, the face, the person staring back at him looks to be a guy about his age - but one puberty has blessed a bit more. Fact is: it's not him. The family in the house, the sister bickering at him? Not his. The area of England he's apparently living in? Never been there before.

And when he looks at the newspaper the date tells him tha…

Star Time

Star Time is a new release from YA sci-fi author Henry Melton, and the first in a series called The Project Saga.

Sharon Dae lives deep in a Texas forest, hidden away from ordinary humans since birth. For a long time now she has lived alone, and at only twenty-two-years-old she knows very little about how people really act in the "real" world. Her best guess is from all the books that she reads. She's a telepath, and works to keep the thoughts of the entire world at bay as she works peacefully at the garden she tends and spends time with animals, whose thoughts are simple and loving. But then she begins to sense something dark and dangerous. Something has crashed in the woods near her, and died. It didn't die before she knew it was not anything from Earth though.

Sharon doesn't know it yet, but it was a scout for the bloodthirsty Cerik. They are a race of predatory aliens that have found themselves on top of the universe's food chain and are now nearing Earth t…

The Carrier of the Mark

The Carrier of the Mark is a YA paranormal novel by debut author Leigh Fallon. She first published this novel on inkpop.com, and after gaining one of the top-five spots was viewed by an editor of HarperCollins and offered a deal! It will come out on October 4th of this year - here's a little synopsis and what I thought when I got the opportunity to read it early...

Megan is used to starting each school year in a different place. Ever since her Mom's death in the car accident Megan was also in when she was very young, her Dad just doesn't seem able to stay in one place for too long. Megan doesn't mind so much - her Dad is kind and loving, just trying to do his best for the two of them.

Their latest move takes Megan to Ireland - a beautiful green landscape where Megan feels at ease quicker than any other previous residence. She finds herself making friends easier too - plus her Dad seems happy and might even be starting to date for the first time.

And then there is the ex…

The Hunt of the Unicorn

The Hunt of the Unicorn is a YA fantasy by C. C. Humphreys.

Teenager Elayne doesn't think much of the old family story her dad likes to tell her - though the fact that he's too sick and weary from his cancer to read it any longer, and has to ask her to read it to him, makes it more significant. But really, it's just a fantastical take on their ancestry, full of unicorns and other crazy beasts - and has absolutely no bearing on reality.

Or does it?

When she's at the Cloisters museum in New York City she is startled to find unicorn tapestries, just like those described in her father's beloved stories. Her initials are even woven into the fabric, just like in the legend. Before she gets the chance to get too freaked out, she slips and falls right through one of the tapestries and into another world - the world, apparently, from the stories: Goloth.

Quickly she finds herself introduced to the star of her dad's musty old book: the unicorn Moonspill. Moonspill wants her …

Bad Taste in Boys

Bad Taste in Boys is a YA horror-comedy debut by Carrie Harris.

Kate Grable helps out her high school's horribly inept football team, using her aspiring doctor skills to treat injuries. Getting a chance to diagnose and fix up a broken bone is almost as exciting as being near hottie quarterback Aaron. Almost.

But as she's putting stuff away and locking up cabinets after the game, Kate sees a bunch of unlabeled vials and even a used needle. All she can think it can be is steroids and she is very disappointed and concerned that the coach seems to be the one initiating such dangerous activities.

Poor Kate doesn't get a chance to do anything about it, though, before one of the football players starts to vomit up horrible smelling black gunk and dies right in front of her.

But then he gets up. Not dead? Well, that's what everybody else thinks. But Kate isn't so sure. She may be a good doctor-in-training, but even she hasn't mastered the whole "bring back the dead&qu…

Accomplice

Accomplice is a YA novel by Eireann Corrigan.

Best friends Finn and Chloe have been working hard, since they were young, to get into a great college. They've done well in school and spent a bunch of time doing stuff that looks good on applications but isn't so much fun in real life. But then a college advisor came in and told everybody that what used to be good enough, isn't good enough anymore.

More and more applicants make the likelihood of getting into the college of your choice harder than ever - and you need to stand out and be truly unique to be noticed and accepted.

That's when Chloe starts to come up with something - something that will for sure capture attention. They will stage Chloe's disappearance, get CNN's interest, and then when the time is right Finn will "find" her - and they'll both be famous and be able to pick and choose the college of their choice.

It's a victimless crime that just takes resolve to complete - right? But with C…

Forever

Forever is the third and final book in Maggie Stiefvater's YA paranormal trilogy Wolves of Mercy Falls.

To any reader who has yet to read Shiver and/or Linger: Please don't read this synopsis. It'll only spoil, inevitably, great moments from the first two books. Instead, read my review of Shiverhere - or if you've read Shiver, read my review of Lingerhere. In the meantime, get reading! Don't spoil yourself!

Now to everybody who has read Shiver and Linger: We shall proceed. ;)

Grace is in the woods. She used to be the human in love with a wolf. Now she is the wolf and Sam is the human. Apparently Grace and Sam's story was never meant to be easy. Especially now that there is a strong demand for a wolf hunt in Mercy Falls. People are paranoid over the amount of attacks - and ready to rid themselves of all the wolves. But Grace, as a wolf, doesn't know this. She doesn't remember anything about herself when she is a wolf. She doesn't know to be careful.

Sam…

Jasper Jones

Jasper Jones is a YA novel by Craig Silvey.

In a small mining town in Vietnam War-era Australia, it's a sweltering summer. And it's on one of these hot nights that Jasper Jones, the town's teenage outcast, appears at the window of thirteen-year-old aspiring writer Charlie Bucktin.

Jasper Jones needs Charlie's help but refuses to say with what - instead he wants to show him. Both scared and excited to be sneaking out of the house for the first time, Charlie can't imagine what Jasper could need him for, but he's rather honored - and determined to not let him down.

But Jasper leads Charlie to a secret spot in the woods that Jasper likes to stay - and gives him no warning for what he is about to see.

It's horrifying - and what Jasper wants... it's wrong. Charlie knows it's wrong. Yet there's an odd sort of sense to it, and before Charlie can really think straight decisions have been made and secrets have been locked - because there's no turning ba…

Tomorrow Girls #2: Run for Cover

Run for Cover is the second book in Eva Gray's futuristic middle-grade thriller series Tomorrow Girls.

In order to prevent spoilers, I suggest all book addicts to read Behind the Gates, the first Tomorrow Girls book, before even glancing at this review. For all of you that have read Behind the Gates and are ready for where the girls' are going next, I won't be giving any plot details away, but more of a recap of the conclusion and my thoughts on the book itself.

So, again - below are going to be spoilers for anyone who HAS NOT read Behind the Gates, but NOT spoilers about Run for Cover itself. Ready? Okay! :)

Rosie still can't believe it. She was sure that CMS was truly just an awesome boarding school that taught survival skills and kept her safe from the Alliance, America's enemy in the War. Louisa was totally on the same page, and the two of them had been enjoying all the nature that the school offered - nature that had become so scarce in this ragged world.

But Eve…

Bearing Northeast

Bearing Northeast is a new Henry Melton YA sci-fi novel.

Sixteen-year-old Seth is parented by his older sister Biz, as she gained guardianship after they became orphaned. Sometimes it's hard to have that dynamic, but they've set down rules to make it work.

One thing that doesn't always work? Finances. And that is how Seth finds himself and his sister clearing out their parents' old vacation home to get it sold as soon as possible, even as much as losing the memories attached to it hurts.

While there, an odd metal cylinder crashes through the sky with such speed that it takes the bark right off a tree and embeds itself a few feet into the ground. Always curious, Seth is determined to figure out what the thing is - but the mystery only deepens when his sister helps him open it and they find a GPS tracking signal that leads them far northeast.

Seth takes the opportunity to convince his sister that they need a spontaneous roadtrip - that following the signal will make a great…

Titanic: Collision Course

Collision Course is the second book in Gordon Korman's middle-grade Titanic trilogy.

I encourage all of you to read the first book in the Titanic trilogy, Unsinkable, before reading my review of Collision Course. This is because despite me not having any spoilers in my review for this book, it is inevitable that there will be details here that will spoil Unsinkable! And, this is an excellent trilogy that you do not want to spoil - so please avert your eyes and go read Unsinkable!!!

Now - all of you bibliophiles that HAVE read Unsinkable may proceed...

Paddy, Juliana, Sophie, and Alfie have formed an unorthodox friendship on the luxurious Titanic. Paddy is a stowaway on the run from the very people who killed his best friend Daniel, Juliana is a first-class young lady with a father that has a scandalous obsession with gambling, Sophie is also a first-class young lady but an American with a suffragette for a mother, and Alfie is trying his hardest to not give away that he doesn't m…

Falling for Hamlet

Falling for Hamlet is a YA modern retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet, written by Michelle Ray.

Ophelia has grown up with Prince Hamlet and Horatio. She's now entering her senior year of high school, and finds herself the continued center of attention when it comes of magazine covers and TV shows. After all, she is Prince Hamlet's longtime girlfriend.

It's not like she ever sought the fame - she and Hamlet just sort of had a magnetic pull - one neither of them could deny. And with that attraction came paparazzi and a royal family that insisted on everything in public being scripted. Yet it always seemed worth it to be with the handsome, charismatic Hamlet with whom she had a lifetime of memories.

But then the King of Denmark, Hamlet's father, dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances. And this ends up being a catalyst to changing everything about Ophelia's life. She wants to be there for Hamlet, but he seems to be turning more and more paranoid and strange. And t…

Hereafter

Hereafter is a recent supernatural YA release by author Tara Hudson.

Amelia knows only three things - her first name, her age (eighteen), and the fact that no one can see her. She knows the last one to be excruciatingly true after many desperate pleas and screams at passersby who didn't even blink. Most of the time she just aimlessly floats along the river, unaware of time or really anything else. She smells nothing, feels nothing. She is nothing.

Then she has her recurring nightmare. Drowning. Struggling. Panicking. Until she wakes up, terrified, in a graveyard. Every time it is the same. Every time she runs out of the graveyard without looking at the tombstones. Because she already thinks she knows why her existence is so vague and without memory...

She must be dead.

But then one day when she thinks her nightmare is beginning again, Amelia realizes that this time it is different. It's never different. This time its real. A boy, around her age, is in the water with her. His eyes …