Saturday, February 27, 2010

In My Mailbox Feb. 22-27

This past week has been hectic, so I was not able to post much. Luckily, next week shouldn't be hectic, so I will definitely post more. Anyway, In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren. :D These books came from two separate contests.

Kissed by an Angel Trilogy - Elizabeth Chandler
A love beyond life...a danger beyond doubt.

In a romantic and suspenseful collection of the New York Times bestselling trilogy, love's unbreakable bonds are put to the test.

When her boyfriend, Tristan, died, Ivy thought she'd lost everything, even her faith in angels. But now she's discovered that he's her guardian angel — his presence so strong that she can feel the touch of his hand, the beat of his heart. Ivy needs Tristan now more than ever because he knows she's in terrible danger. Only Ivy's guardian angel can save her now that his killer is after her.

But if Tristan rescues Ivy, his mission on earth will be finished, and he must leave her behind forever. Will saving Ivy mean losing her just when he's finally reached her again?

Perfect You - Elizabeth Scott
Kate Brown's life has gone downhill fast. Her father has quit his job to sell vitamins at the mall, and Kate is forced to work with him. Her best friend has become popular, and now she acts like Kate's invisible.

And then there's Will. Gorgeous, unattainable Will, whom Kate acts like she can't stand even though she can't stop thinking about him. When Will starts acting interested, Kate hates herself for wanting him when she's sure she's just his latest conquest.

Kate figures that the only way things will ever stop hurting so much is if she keeps to herself and stops caring about anyone or anything. What she doesn't realize is that while life may not always be perfect, good things can happen — but only if she lets them....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Winter Olympics

This is the first Winter Olympics I have seen, and I have become a HUGE fan. If you're wondering, my favorite events have been short track, ice dancing, figure skating, snowboard cross, and ski cross. AND USA beat Canada in Hockey today! My favorite athletes have been J.R. Celski, Apolo Ohno, Alexandre Bilodeau, Johnny Weir, Shen/Zhao, Shaun White, and Bode Miller. I'm sure I would have less American favorites if it wasn't for NBC. Right now, I am thinking of ways to somehow incorporate my favorite athletes into book-related posts. Maybe a contest in the works? Do you have any other ideas?

Anyway, I was wondering if you knew of any books, preferably YA, that features any winter sport! I would greatly appreciate it. :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In My Mailbox Feb. 15-19

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren.

The Iron King - Julie Kagawa
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ask an Author - Pat Hughes

Pat Hughes is the writer of several children's books and the YA novel, Open Ice.

In Open Ice, hockey is Nick's life. As a teen, were there any sports that you really enjoyed?
When I was a kid, I loved to play baseball and football with my brother and his friends. I never played on organized teams because in those benighted times, girls weren’t allowed to play on boys’ teams such as Little League, school teams, etc. Maybe there were some girls’ teams; if so I was unaware of them, and uninterested in playing with only girls anyway. When I was about 13, my mother took me aside one day and said it was time I stopped playing football with the boys. There ended my athletic career.

If you were in Nick's parents' shoes, would you have made the same decisions they did?
I think it’s impossible to say what we would do in any situation we’ve never been in. Of course, we all want to believe we would make the “right” decision, but I feel that until you are actually IN the situation, you just don’t know how you would react. That’s why, in Open Ice, I had the “donut scene,” where Nick’s mom vacillates over her decision, indicating to Nick that his dad and the neurologist overruled her. I think that’s a scene most parents can identify with. You can never underestimate the power of a nagging teenager to make you change your mind! And faced with a child’s intense attachment to a sport, I could see a well-intentioned parent wavering in his/her resolve. There are always similar pressures in life - whether from a child, a friend, a spouse, or the culture at large.

How long did it take you to write Open Ice?
The story itself didn’t take very long - maybe a couple of months. It’s always the rewriting, the research & the editing that get you.

What research did you do for Open Ice?
I did a great deal of hockey research, because it’s not a sport I knew a whole lot about before I started the book. I would go to high school hockey games and stand behind the goals to watch the players - they’d skate so close to where I was standing, I could see their intense expressions, and feel them slam into the boards right in front of me. That gave me a much better sense of the feel of being a player than I would have had by just observing from the bleachers. I also researched concussion and head injuries. What’s ironic is that, after my first two historical novels - “Guerrilla Season” and “The Breaker Boys” - I thought it would be so much easier to write about the era in which I’m living. That turned out to be not so true. Another problem with writing in the present day is that there’s a lot more people alive who are going to catch you if you get something wrong.

Do you have another YA novel in the works? If so, what can you tell us?
Yes, it’s another historical novel, set in Connecticut and New York during the American Revolution. The working title is “The First Five Fourths,” the publisher is Viking/Penguin, and it’s due to come out next year. To my mind, it’s a “contemporary historical novel.” One mistake that I think is often made in historical novels for kids - especially true the farther back in history the novel takes place - is that authors tend to present the kids of the past as being perfectly well behaved and noble. I call it the Johnny Tremain Syndrome, and I think it’s, understandably, a turnoff to young readers. In “The First Five Fourths” I start with the premise - born out by my research - that kids back then were, fundamentally, not much different from kids today. My main character, Jake, actually has similarities to Nick in “Open Ice”: at heart a good kid, but he has his issues and his flaws. Throw into the mix the Revolution literally at his doorstep, and some very intense things coming out of that, and I think it’s a book young people will really enjoy.

What do you love about writing?
I love the part where an idea springs up in my head, and then I get to water and grow it in my imagination over days, weeks, months - building the plot, the characters, the themes, the dialogue. I love when I finally get to bring that vision to life, sitting in my breakfast room with a spiral-bound notebook, writing in longhand.

Do you have any advice for teens?
Here’s what I tell my own two teenage sons: Always live your life as though there’s a camera on you. I think it’s both spiritual and practical advice. The camera can be the eye of God, or kharma, or whatever higher power you believe in - or it can be an actual camera, catching you in the act of something you might not want to see on youtube – or in a courtroom.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I want to thank you for having me on your blog. Those of us who are working writers – not J.K. Rowling or the “Twilight” woman, not on the radar screen of award-bestowing organizations such as the ALA – rely on being “found” by people who are just looking for a good book. I have an enormous amount of respect for readers who do just that: seek and find the books that you would enjoy, instead of reading only the mega-sellers that are mega-marketed to you. I’m even more grateful to the people who not only find me, but also email me, leave nice Amazon reviews, and put me on their Web sites and/or blogs.

For more information on Pat Hughes or her works, visit her website. I definitely recommend checking out her books, especially since she is relatively unknown.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Youtube Connection 5

Youtube Connection is a Thursday feature where I will post a video (or more) that is somehow related to a book I've read.

This week's book is Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen. The video I chose is a fanmade trailer for the book. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Soul to Save WINNERS

Congratulations to...

Megan, Cats on the Shelf (Jennifer), and Carol!

Each will receive a copy of My Soul to Save. :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Carter Finally Gets It - Brent Crawford

Fourteen-year-old Will Carter (known as Carter) is about to start high school. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong does. Carter stutters whenever he tries to talk to a girl, he's constantly pummeled during football practice, and he's ruining his older sister's reputation. Okay, so maybe only his sister, Lynn, cares about that last one. Will Carter ever be able to do anything right? For a while, Carter continues to make mistakes, from asking a girl that is not his girlfriend to the Homecoming Dance to disqualifying the entire swim team because of a false start. However, as the year progresses, things change, and Carter finally gets it.

One word to describe Carter Finally Gets It is fun. Carter's amusing mistakes (and the few things he does right) create a funny read. Crawford did a wonderful job of lacing humor into the novel. The humor was not too over the top like other novels I've read (Sophomore Undercover, I'm looking at you), but likewise, the humor was apparent. The best thing about Carter Finally Gets It was that Carter was a very relatable character. Everyone has dealt with the desire to fit in like Carter. I also liked that Carter did not fit into a particular clique. He was not a jock, a nerd, a drama nerd, or even a "loser." He is kind of a in-between of all these, and I found this to be rather refreshing.

The minor characters were just as strong as Carter. Out of the bunch, Nick, Lynn's boyfriend was my favorite. In the novel, he's somewhat of an older brother to Carter. He is also what I imagine Carter would be like in a few years. I also loved the play scenes toward the latter part of the novel. Carter's high school puts on the production Guys and Dolls. After reading this novel, I had to find the movie, and I really enjoyed it. You know a book is good when you watch a movie related to the book (that's not based on the book) after reading it. Also, I just learned that the sequel to going to be released in April. Yay!

I recommend Carter Finally Gets It to anyone looking for a unique YA book. That is, a book without female narrators, anything paranormal, or dead parents/siblings.

Related Links
A Fun Article about the Book
Boob Speak (It's a Carter Finally Gets It site)
Brent Crawford's Site
Hyperion Books for Children

I won this book from Free Book Friday.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My History with Twilight

I have a confession to make: I am really behind the whole Twilight craze. When I first heard about Twilight, it did not seem like something I wanted to read. I have always been more of a fan realistic YA fiction, so a book about a girl that falls in love with a vampire seemed blaaah. Then the Twilight craze erupted, and after the first movie, I figured I should give the series a shot. Being a girl that likes reading but has not read the Twilight series was getting old. Also, I knew I would not watch the movies until I read the books. I became a Robert Pattinson fan after seeing The Goblet of Fire, so trust me, I wanted to see it. Anyway, last summer, I read Twilight. Overall, the book was okay. I felt that a majority of the novel was boring and dragged, but I could see some of the appeal.

In January, I decided to read New Moon. All the Jacob fans were getting to me. Overall, I enjoyed New Moon a lot more than I liked Twilight, mainly because the second book had more action. Jacob was my favorite part of the novel, and needless to say, I am a Jacob fan, even though Robert Pattinson > Taylor Lautner.

I have no idea when I will read Eclipse or Breaking Dawn, but I do intend to finish the series. Still, I doubt I will ever be a Twilight fanatic. The romance just is not for me, and besides I love Harry Potter too much.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In My Mailbox Feb. 8-13

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Birthmarked - Caragh M. O'Briend (ARC)
IN THE ENCLAVE, YOUR SCARS SET YOU APART, and the newly born will change the future.
Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia’s mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish.

Moving Day (Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls)
When nine-year-old Allie Finkle's parents announce that they are moving her and her brothers from their suburban split-level into an ancient Victorian in town, Allie's sure her life is over. She's not at all happy about having to give up her pretty pink wall-to-wall carpeting for creaky floorboards and creepy secret passageways-not to mention leaving her modern, state-of-the-art suburban school for a rundown, old-fashioned school just two blocks from her new house.

With a room she's half-scared to go into, the burden of being "the new girl," and her old friends all a half-hour car ride away, how will Allie ever learn to fit in?

Token of Darkness - Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Cooper Blake has everything going for him—until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.

No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers’ most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Salinger's Esquire Letter

I meant to post this yesterday, but the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics distracted me. :P Anyway, this is a letter that a then 26-old J.D. Salinger wrote to Esquire Magazine.

"I am twenty-six and in my fourth year in the Army. I've been overseas seventeen months so far. Landed on Utah Beach on D-Day with the Fourth Division and was with the 12th Infantry of the Fourth until the end of the war here. The Air Corps background for This Sandwich Has No Mayonnaise comes naturally because I used to be in the Air Corps. Have also been in the Signal Corps. Am also a graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy. After the war I plan to enlist in a good, established chorus line. This is the life. I've been writing short stories since I was fifteen. I have trouble writing simply and naturally. My mind is stocked with some black neckties, and though I'm throwing them out as fast as I find them, there will always be a few left over. I am a dash man and not a miler, and it is probable that I will never write a novel. So far the novels of this war have had too much of the strength, maturity and craftsmanship critics are looking for, and too little of the glorious imperfections which teeter and fall off the best minds. The men who have been in this war deserve some sort of trembling melody rendered without embarrassment or regret. I'll watch for that book."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Youtube Connection 5

Youtube Connection is a Thursday feature where I will post a video (or more) that is somehow related to a book I've read.

This week's book is The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg. Today's videos feature two songs from Sgt. Pepper's The Lonely Hearts Club Band album. To shake things up a bit, however, I chose not to show the songs sung by The Beatles.

The first video shows Jimi Hendrix playing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

The next video is the song "From a Little Help from my Friends." I particularly chose this song because it goes along with the whole friendship theme of The Lonely Hearts Club. The version below is from the Across the Universe movie, and you will probably have to turn your volume up.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wishlust 3

Wishlust is where I will post a few books that are on my infinitely long wishlist. By infinitely long, I mean almost 600 books! Hopefully, you will find a book or two that seem interesting to you. =)

Same Difference - Siobhan Vivian
Emily is ready for a change. She's been in the same town with the same friends for a long time...and none of them really understand her art. But when she goes to Philadelphia for a summer art institute, she suddenly finds like-minded people. One in particular, Fiona, intrigues and challenges her. But there are some things Emily is going to have to find out for herself -- like what the balance is between life and art, and which is more important when push comes to shove.

Dunk - David Lubar
HE'S GOT A VOICE LIKE A CHAINSAW, and he uses it to get people so mad they'll pay two dollars for the chance to drop him in a tank of slimy water. He's the Bozo, and Chad wants his job—wants a chance to sit in a cage where he can shout at the world in safety, with no consequences worse than an occasional dunking.

But there's an art to being the Bozo, and humor can do more than just slice and dice, as Chad slowly begins to learn when he meets the man behind the clown makeup. Being the Bozo—it's all about show business. Which means it's all about life. Sometimes you laugh. Sometimes you cry. And sometimes you just don't know what hit you.

Then We Came to the End - Joshua Ferris
No one knows us quite the same way as the men and women who sit beside us in department meetings and crowd the office refrigerator with their labeled yogurts. Every office is a family of sorts, and the ad agency Joshua Ferris brilliantly depicts in his debut novel is family at its strangest and best, coping with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks.

With a demon's eye for the details that make life worth noticing, Joshua Ferris tells a true and funny story about survival in life's strangest environment—the one we pretend is normal five days a week.

Also, if you have some time, I would love to hear some feedback on this feature. It would be greatly appreciated. :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Isabelle's Boyfriend - Caroline Hickey

While walking her mother's dog, Taryn Greenleaf meets John Epplin, known as Epp. Epp is handsome, athletic, and anything a girl could ask for. The only problem, however, is that Epp already has a girlfriend, Isabelle. Taryn and Isabelle have known each other since kindergarten, but they are not exactly friends. Taryn and her best friend, Lila, decide that Taryn should do whatever it takes to become close to Epp. Suddenly, Taryn is hanging out Isabelle, Epp, and a completely different crowd, and Lila is not quite sure this is what she wanted. One thing, although, has not changed: Epp is still Isabelle's boyfriend...

Before I began reading Isabelle's Boyfriend, I pretty much knew the novel would be sugary fluff. Sugary fluff is not necessarily a bad thing, and in correct dosage, fluff can actually be quite good. Looking back, Isabelle's Boyfriend did not have the perfect amount of fluff, but it came pretty darn close. In the novel, Taryn tries to get something nearly every girl has wanted: someone else's boyfriend. While obviously this is a big disaster waiting to happen, Taryn's actions did not leave me cringing the way I thought they would. Instead, Caroline Hickey writes them in an endearing way, and readers will feel for Taryn. I also liked that Hickey focused on the pet dog. On the top of my head, I can not even think of another YA novel that plays so much focus on a pet. This will be a pleasant surprise for YA readers sick of the "normal" YA family.

Overall, however, I thought the characters were underdeveloped. I wish that Hickey would have focused more on the changing friendship between Taryn and Lila. That whole situation seemed not only underdeveloped, but also slightly rushed. I also would have liked to see more depth to Isabelle and Epp. Isabelle is the jealous girlfriend, and Epp is the flirty boyfriend. They seemed too typical.

Isabelle's Boyfriend is perfect for anyone looking for something sweet in their YA diet.

Related Links
Caroline Hickey's Site
Square Fish

I received this as a part of Holt's In Group program.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Well, I was planning on writing a review today because it's been two weeks, but honestly, I can't bring myself up to write one. I'll have one tomorrow. I have about 6 books I need to review. :X

Right now, I am reading 3 books, including my first Sarah Dessen book, Along for a Ride. I don't know why I didn't read a Dessen book soon. Along for a Ride is pretty good so far. =) For class, I have to read Death of a Salesman, but I kind of misplaced my book, so I should *probably* find it ASAP. *sigh*

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Snippet 2

A Snippet is a feature where I will post a particularly striking passage or quote from a novel I've read.

"Good. For a moment I thought you were going rational on me. Always remember: In an infinity of worlds, anything is not only possible, it's mandatory."

This quote is from Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves. I mostly like it because it is funny, and thinking rationally is overrated. :P

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Youtube Connection 4

Youtube Connection is a Thursday feature where I will post a video (or more) that is somehow related to a book I've read.

This week's book is Othello by William Shakespeare (I mean who else?). This week's video is Gavin DeGraw's song "Cheated on Me." The song reflects Othello's feelings toward Desdemona. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Upcoming Releases - February

These are the February releases that I am looking forward to. Each book cover is linked to the novel's amazon page. :)

What releases are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Forest of Hands and Teeth Covers

So I knew that The Dead-Tossed Waves got a cover update a while ago, but I did not know that the paperback of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which will be released later this month, would also get a cover update. My question is, which do you like better: The Forest of Hands and Teeth hardcover and The Dead-Tossed Waves original cover -OR- The Forest of Hands and Teeth paperback and The Dead-Tossed Waves hardcover?


I like the original covers better. They seem more post-apocalyptic. Also, the massive eyeliner on the FOTH paperback just kills me!

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Soul to Save Giveaway

Book 1 of The Soul Screamers series -- My Soul to Take -- was released this past summer, and readers found out why Kaylee Cavanaugh screams bloody murder when someone’s about to die.

In Book 2 – My Soul to Save – when teen pop star Eden croaks on stage and Kaylee doesn’t wail, she knows something is dead wrong. She can’t cry for someone who has no soul.

The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad’s ironclad curfew and putting her too-hot-to-be-real boyfriend’s loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls for a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld—a consequence they can’t possibly understand.

Kaylee can’t let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk.

Soul Screamers: The last thing you hear before you die.

For more information on the Soul Screamers series, go here.

For a chance to win My Soul to Save, just fill out the form. I will be choosing 3 winners, courtesy of Big Honcho Media. :) The deadline to enter is February 15.