It's Sunday & My Mailbox is Full

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I've finally decided to go ahead and do it...I'm not sure I'll regularly do it, but I think it will be fun to participate (at least every now and again). So, today I'm participating in "In My Mailbox" hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren.

So, this week, I purchased three books...even though I told myself that I wasn't allowed to buy anymore books until I finished my TBR pile. That's never going to happen, and I needed retail therapy, so I went to Barnes & Noble. Oops.

Intertwined by Gena Showalter

Need by Carrie Jones

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Oh, and I finally won something for the first time ever! I won my very own copy of The Lonely Hearts Club from Carrie at Carrie's YA Bookshelf. Thank you!!! What did you all get this week, or what are you reading...and which of these gems should I indulge in first?!

Ink Exchange Review

Saturday, January 30, 2010

First of all..eeeeep!!! I have over 100 followers?! Wow! If I wasn't already hosting a contest, I would totally host another right now. Perhaps when/if I reach 150, I'll host another! Either way, thank you, thank you, thank you so much! Ok, deep breaths, and on to the book review for Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr.

Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.

Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.

The tattoo does bring changes; not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils. . .
Taken from GoodReads.

Ink Exchange follows the story of Leslie, a teenage girl struggling with a dark and difficult life with her single, alcohol-addicted father and her druggie brother, Ren. Numerous times, we're told that Ren was perfectly willing to sell Leslie to his friends, if only to score more drugs. Leslie is a close friend of Aislinn, the main character from Wicked Lovely, so she's constantly watched over and protected by the new Summer Queen's guards. While they can protect her for the most part though, they can't save her from the hell she calls home. Desperate for some semblance of control in her tumultuous life, Leslie decides the wants a tattoo, and the one tattoo that speaks to her is Irial, the King of the Dark Court's, mark. This tattoo binds Leslie to him, and it leads her down a path darker and more terrible than she could ever have imagined.

My first thoughts were about the cover, naturally, so I guess you're not too shallow after all, Jenn! I've got to be honest though...I think I liked the cover for Wicked Lovely better. That said, the cover for
Ink Exchange suits the dark nature of this story, and it's still stunning to look at.

I held off reading this for a long time because I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the main characters from book one becoming minor characters in book two. It's important to note that Ink Exchange is not a sequel to Wicked Lovely. While following the general premise and noting what's happened previously, this book has an entirely new story line, one which I actually ended up loving.

It's definitely not for the faint of heart because this book is really dark, and it delves deep into issues that would affect anyone, especially when you see what Leslie's home life is like. It's a captivating, well-thought-out, and extremely well-told story. Melissa Marr has definite talent, and if you like faeries of the non-Disney variety, you'll really enjoy this dark-twisty tale. I give this a definitive 4 out of 5...nearly perfect, I just wish some of the events at the start of the book were a bit more clear...namely Irial's hold over his fey.

Oh, and the next book in the series, Fragile Eternity is out now.

It's more of direct sequel to Wicked Lovely, and it follows closely the story of Seth and Aislinn as she learns that life as an immortal faerie queen is harder and more difficult than they could have imagined.

Friday Fix #3 - It's Jenn!

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Friday Fix is a takeover of my Friday blog post by other bloggers who have volunteered their time and energy to "star" in their very own guest post on Friday. Only one mandatory thing - you must answer five of the most random questions I throw your way. The rest is up to you. Remember, if you'd like to be featured on the Friday Fix, shoot me your email, and let me know! So, without further ado, here is Jenn from Books at Midnight!

First...the five most random questions.

1. What three exotic countries would you visit if you could go all-expenses paid?

Err, Italy, France, and Japan. All of the three have delicious food... or at least I assume it's delicious; that's why I need to go there! And culture-wise, they're each unique in their own way.

2. Do cemetery workers prefer the graveyard shift?

What else do they prefer? The living dead shift? -- (Get it? We won't need graveyards anymore?) I fail to crack myself up.

3. What do you think is the secret of life?

I think the purpose of life is the greatest secret, and I doubt I'll ever really discover it. But I can be pretty cynical and stupid-sounding, so on a brighter note: live, love, and laugh.

4. Do Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks?

YES. I am a firm believer that every person deserves that cup of coffee, especially Starbucks lattes. However, I do have a friend who refuses to drink coffee and somehow she manages the whole day on tea. I applaud her for her determination to stay awake.

5. What hair colour is put on a bald man's driver's license?

Invisible. Bald men have very long hair, we just can't see it. Or at least that's what I tell my dad.

Hi, my name is Jennifer, but Jenn is so much more unique so let's stick with that. Melissa has been super awesome in letting me take over her blog and coaching me through my uncertainties, so I'm going to take this chance and corrupt your minds as much as I can. :D

I’m feeling extremely superficial today, so I’ll reveal a vital piece of my wisdom – the top 10 things I look for in a book cover. I’m not afraid to admit I judge books by their covers, though I’ve read some amazing books with amazingly horrid cover art. So while this list is supposed to be fun and maybe give you some ideas, don’t be afraid to try out other books! Or if you are afraid, get past that fear... maybe.

Anyways, here we go:

The Top 10 Traits of Gorgeous YA Covers (not in any particular order)

1. Half-Naked Guys – Have you seen City of Bones from The Mortal Instrument series? Wow, those designers really knew what they were doing. My hands were reaching out for the book as soon as I saw Jace with Holly Black’s word “sexy” written on him.

2. Stars and Swirls – It sounds immature, but I fall for them every time. Think House of Night for swirls and Captivate and Wish for stars. Example used here is the gorgeous The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.

3. Riveting Poses – When that arch or the neck or curve of the back is just right and conveys a million feelings through that one posture. Vulnerability, remorse, bravery, etc.

4. Simplicity – Simple cover, loud statement. Often the lack of features on the cover. Shiver’s cover is so clean and pure; it made me want to read it.

5. Color Scheme – I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for books that use varying tones of blue. Think Fallen and here, Wintergirls. The shade of blue (not even sure what to call it) is gorgeous, and the subtle hints of green and pink stand out against the background.

6. Shiny – One word: SHINY. It can come off looking childish at times, but it definitely draws my eye. Again, Wintergirls.

7. Vivid Colors – Rich, vibrant covers never fail to catch my eye. This is especially prevalent in many historical fiction novels I’m seen.

8. Soft, Beautiful Backdrops – Case in point: Radiance by Alyson Noel. The cover just makes me feel so relaxed and makes me want to float away.... *happy sigh*

9. Texture – I like feeling ridges in books. Or extremely soft covers. Light Beneath Ferns and Fallen are both examples of books that have very smooth, soft covers, and it feels so wonderful. I sound a bit obsessed, but I love running my hands along them.

10. Artistic Skill/OriginalityLips Touch Three Times has such an unique and gorgeous cover. Jim De Bartolo’s beautifully dark art caught me from the very beginning and I knew I just had to get it. Another example is Leviathan by Scott Westerfield.

I haven’t covered everything, but those are all the basic things I look for and determine in a quick glance at a book. Am I shallow? YES! Now comes the self-promotion time where I tell all of you guys to head on over to my supremely shallow blog to read my OMG-AWESOME posts. I currently have two contests going on right now: 1) Explorer X-Alpha by LM Preston, 2) Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers, so check those out if you’d like. It goes without saying I read YA books, and in case you still can’t tell, I love me some beautiful covers. That concludes my fail guest post, and thank you, Melissa, for having me! I hope to be seeing you on the other side. :)


So, there you have it! I highly recommend you check out Jenn's blog soon because tomorrow, she's hosting the Saturday Network, and it's such a great way to meet new bloggers! Finally, a few quick closing notes:

The Lateiner Gang Book Review Spot has a few more days to enter to win a Nook! Click here for more details!

Smart Girls Read is hosting a flash giveaway of Dear John by Nicholas Sparks (it's amazing) here to enter!

Author Interview - Lisa & Laura Roecker

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I promised you an amazing (on the author's part - not mine) interview today, so here it is. My friends, meet Lisa and Laura Roecker authors of the upcoming novel, A Kate Lowry Mystery: The Haunting of Pemberly Brown, set to debut in 2011!

Oh, and yes girls, I stole your picture from your facebake...oops! :)

1. How did the two of you come to the conclusion that you wanted to write a novel?

We always had separate dreams to write a book one day. It wasn’t until a ridiculously long phone call in which we were trying to figure out ways to work from home that we figured it out. That night we came up with an idea and the next day we were outlining. While the big idea didn’t necessarily pan out, another one did and the rest, I guess, is history!

2. Is it fun writing a book with your sister? I'll be honest, I doubt my sisters and I would accomplish much at do you make it work?

So. Much. Fun. We love to read and writing together allows you to be a reader every other chapter. You never know what direction the story will take. It’s kind of like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books.

3. What can you tell us about A Kate Lowry Mystery: The Haunting of Pemberly Brown, for those who don't know much about it yet?

First of all, the title is going to change. Yeah, we suck at titles. But the book involves a character named Kate who receives an email from her dead best friend on the anniversary of her death. This forces her to launch an investigation to discover what really happened the night her friend died. She uncovers ancient secrets about her school and classmates that she never could have imagined.

4. What was the road to publication like for you?

It was a very exciting (and sometimes exhausting—constantly refreshing your email burns calories, right?) process. Catherine was extremely supportive and communicative. She kept us in the loop and offered many, many encouraging words along the way. We knew the book would end up with a passionate publisher and that’s exactly what happened. Dan and the team at Sourcebooks have high hopes for Kate and we’re thrilled to be working with them!

5. Are you influenced by any authors, or are there authors who inspired you to become so yourselves?

We appreciate the work of so many different authors. We love Pat Conroy (and write nothing like him), Sarah Dessen, Sophie Kinsella and Marisa De los Santos. They are all so different but definitely inspire us as writers.

6. If you could describe Kate Lowry in just one word, what would it be?


7. A Kate Lowry Mystery: The Haunting of Pemberly Brown debuts in 2011...what do you plan to do in the meanwhile?

We plan on writing as many Kate Lowry books as we can think of and going to a conference.

8. What is a fun fact that you can each tell us about yourselves?

Laura wishes she were a Broadway star. She can’t sing or dance. Lisa sleeps with her BlackBerry every night which drives her husband, but more importantly, Laura crazy. Lisa ALWAYS reads important emails first.

So, there you have it! These amazing writers have a hilarious blog that I stalk daily, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Not in the least bit. Where else would you find engaging, modern haikus? Where else would you find a D-Bag-O-Meter? That's what I thought. So, head on over to Lisa and Laura Write. Trust won't regret it.

Lisa and Laura - Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I look forward to reading your book, and I wish you all the best of luck!

Leaving Paradise Review

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wow, my blogging schedule is totally off this week...I promise I'll be back to normal next week! I'm skipping my Waiting on Wednesday this week to put up my review of my most recent read, Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles.

Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad-her chance to escape everyone and their pitystares-has been canceled. After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb's free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.

Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It's a bleak and torjourney for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.
Taken from GoodReads.

I'd never read a review of this book when I found it at the bookstore, but I enjoyed the simplicity and poignancy of the cover. Sometimes it isn't the colour, or the detail that intrigues me, but rather the lack thereof. Either way, when I read the back of the book, I was hooked, and I had to read it!

Leaving Paradise follows the story of both Maggie and Caleb, beginning on the day before Caleb's release from Juvenile Detention. He's been in prison for one year for hitting Maggie with his car while driving drunk. The accident crushed her leg, her morale, her dreams, and all ambitions she had of being a tennis star. These days, she's content to be a self-deprecating loner with only one dream - leave her hometown of Paradise forever. When Caleb returns though, her world is turned upside down. To fund her escape to Spain, Maggie begins working with an elderly woman who turns out to be employing Caleb, as well. Through this chance meeting, Maggie and Caleb discover that feeling pain can be worth feeling love later, and not everything is as simple, cut, and dried as it may seem.

I absolutely loved this book. Written from Maggie and Caleb's POVs by chapter, it allows us to see into both of their minds. I usually don't like wimpy, self-loathing characters, but Simone Elkeles uses such traits beautifully, allowing us to actually feel Maggie's pain. Caleb, angry and volatile after a year in prison, seems deeply unhappy, and the reasons why (when revealed) will stun you. This book is artfully crafted, and it's one of the best I've read in a while. That said, I was soooo disappointed with the ending. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't what I'd hoped at all. I give this a 4.5 out of 5 only because the ending let me down!

In other news...please stay tuned...I have an amazing author interview tomorrow, and I think you're going to love it! :)

i swim for oceans Awards Show!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I decided to forgo my Tuesday Teaser in favour of bestowing upon others all the awards I've received lately. You're all so generous! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Deep breath...ready? Here goes:

I received the Over The Top award from Shy at the Bibliophile's Journal and IanIan at Bookworm on a white cloud. The rules are as follows - All you have to do is answer the following questions with single word answer and then pass this along to 5 bloggers. Ok...

(1) Your Cell Phone? Addiction
(2) Your Hair? Blonde
(3) Your Mother? Love
(4) Your Father? Giggles
(5) Your Favorite Food? Sushi
(6) Your Dream Last Night? Zero
(7) Your Favorite Drink? Red Bull
(8) Your Dream/Goal? Extraordinary
(9) What Room Are You In? Office
(10) Your Hobby? Reading
(11) Your Fear? Dark
(12) Where Do You Want To Be In Six Years? Home
(13) Where Were You Last Night? Bed
(14) Something That You Aren't? Nosy
(15) Muffins? Fattening
(16) Wish List Item? Books!
(17) Where Did You Grow Up? Jerey
(18) Last thing you did? Shower
(19) What Are You Wearing? Pants
(20) Your TV? Big
(21) Your Pets? Cats
(22) Friends? Awesome!
(23) Your Life? Great
(24) Your Mood? Sleepy
(25) Missing Someone? Always
(26) Vehicle? Honda
(27) Something You Aren't Wearing? Socks
(28) Your Favorite Store? Library
(29) Your Favorite Color? Orange
(30) When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Morning
(31) Last Time You Cried? Saturday
(32) Your Best Friend? Perfection
(33) One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Church
(34) Facebook? Addicted
(35) Favorite Place To Eat? Home

I would like to give this award to five glorious bloggers whose blogs I routinely stalk on a daily basis! Lisa and Laura Write, Sasha at the Sweet Bonjour, JuJu at Tales of Whimsy, Elle at Elle Strauss, annnnddd Kara at Moomurs.

This award was given to me by the lovely Sasha at the Sweet Bonjour. If you are one of the ten bloggers below who have received this award, you must list 10 more blogs that post lovely comments on your blog regularly and generally make your day brighter. So, I’d like to present this to…

Justine & Steff
Maire K
In The Hammock Blog
Amber Skye

I received this lovely award from Lucy (I had to give it back!) and Sasha. I pass the Who Loves You, Baby Award on to the bloggers who have awarded me recently, or supported me unfailingly…thank you so much guys!!! So, this award goes to Lucy, Cindy, and Sherry.

Annnnndddd finally, I'd like to present the Blogger Buddie award to three people that have great up-and-coming blogs, are really supportive, and you should really check out soon! This award was given to me by Lucy and Cindy. I'd like to give this award to Amelia, Nina, and Darlyn.

So, that's that! Thank you all for supporting my blog. I'm having so much fun with it, and it's lovely reading all your comments and visiting your sites. If you didn't receive an award, that doesn't mean I don't love your blog! And finally, stay tuned for my review of Leaving Paradise tomorrow!

Monday Movie Review #2 - Legion

Monday, January 25, 2010

This past weekend, I got to see Legion...finally! It seems like I've been waiting for this movie forever. Below is a brief synopsis.

An out-of-the-way diner becomes the unlikely battleground for the survival of the human race. When God loses faith in humankind, he sends his legion of angels to bring on the Apocalypse. Humanity's only hope lies in a group of strangers trapped in a desert diner with the Archangel, Michael.
Taken from imdb

Ok, first of all, can I just say how awesome the visual effects were?! Creepy, but definitely awesome. That said, I have to warn you that if you go in clueless as to the context of this movie, you may just be clueless until the very end. Basically, Legion follows a group of people in a small diner that becomes the central point of hope for what's left of humanity. God has given up on the human race, and he's sent his angels to bring about Judgment Day. Led by Gabriel, played by Kevin Durand, the angels are pitted against the Archangel Michael, played by Paul Bettany, who seeks to save mankind's only hope - the baby that Charlie, the waitress at the diner carries. This baby is said to be the one who will lead humanity back out of the darkness of the Apocalypse.

This film is full of rock and roll, crazy visuals, and lots of confusion if you don't know much about the concept of Judgment Day. I guess the easiest way to summarize it would be 2012...only the biblical version. If you go in simply looking for sheer entertainment and nothing more, you won't be disappointed. The story line is jumbled though, so if you expect to go in knowing exactly what's happening and leave with a clear message, you will be disappointed. Based on sheer entertainment value, I give this movie a 3 out of 5. Below is the trailer, if you've not yet seen it.

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre Review

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A quick aside first...Cindy from Simple Life and Reading has featured me in her Meet a Blogger post. If you get a chance, please stop by her amazing site and if you don't already, you should follow it! A big thank you, Cindy! I love your blog!

My hand is trembling as I write this letter. My nerves are in tatters and I am so altered that I believe you would not recognize me. The past two months have been a nightmarish whirl of strange and disturbing circumstances, and the future... I am afraid. If anything happens to me, remember that I love you and that my spirit will always be with you, though we may never see each other again. The world is a cold and frightening place where nothing is as it seems.
Taken from the back of the book.

Now, I know I've told plenty of you that I'm over vampires, but when I saw the name Darcy on the cover, I simply couldn't resist. I might just have a thing for Jane Austen. Ok, so Mr. Darcy, Vampyre picks up the classic tale of Pride and Prejudice on Elizabeth and Darcy's wedding day. Elizabeth and Jane, her sister, are to be married on the same day to Darcy and Bingley, respectively. From the moment Elizabeth steps into the church though, she feels a sense of foreboding, and soon notices that Darcy never wants to spend time alone. Diverting their wedding tour to ask "advice" of his distant uncle, the Count Polidori, Elizabeth learns her husband is not who she thought and must decided what she truly wants from her life - can she still love Darcy?

First off - the cover is simple, but sweet. I like the clever positioning of the necklace with two little puncture wounds. I enjoy how clean it is, I guess, though it isn't necessarily my favourite cover in the world. As for the story, I have to say that I generally like seeing classics reworked, but this definitely wasn't my favourite. I think Amanda Grange has a very fluid and smooth writing style, but I feel like this re-imagining of their story just didn't work for me.

If I had to be nitpicky and decided what, specifically, didn't work for me, I'd have to say 1) Elizabeth's keen sense of foreboding...I loathe heavy foreshadowing; I think it ruins the flow of the story 2) Elizabeth's sudden desire to be completely fashionable...wasn't half the point of Pride & Prejudice that Elizabeth didn't deviate from her true self? 3) There are a lot, and I mean A LOT of descriptions of's great in moderation, but not when it's 2 pages long.

All in all, it's not a bad story, and it's a decent read. I would recommend it mostly to those who specifically enjoy historical fiction though. I give it a 3 out of 5.

Saturday Scribbles #3 & Awards!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I received the Kreativ Blogger award this week from Elle at Elle Strauss. She's got an amazing blog with great thoughts on writing, as well as some amazing writing skills, herself! I highly suggest you check her out!

So, with this award, I'm supposed to tell you seven interesting things about myself and pass it on to 7 other creative! How can I possibly pick just seven other bloggers?! Anyhoo, here goes:

1. I'm a cat-lady in training. I have two cats and a bad habit of adopting homeless animals (cats) when I see them.
2. I could swim before I could walk.
3. My greatest fear in life is being ordinary.
4. I'm terrified of the bottom of boats.
5. I have always wanted to be a rebel, but I find it's too difficult, so I give up.
6. My older sister and I are often mistaken for twins, though we're two years apart.
7. I have a tendency to cry when I'm really angry.

Ok, so the seven blogs I'd like to give this to are:

1. Alyssa, Jake, and Gregory from Teens Read and Write
2. Lucy from Delightful Reviews
3. Justine & Steff from A Bookful of Thoughts
4. Kari from A Good Addiction
5. SB from Not Too Serious I Hope
6. Juju from Tales of Whimsy
7. Caitlin from All Things Print

Ok, onto other things...for my Saturday Scribbles this week, I'd like to pose a question to all of you. How important do you find back story to be in the novels you read? As a writer, it's difficult to find the balance between too much and too little...I am fast-discovering this.

If you had a choice, would you leave out the back story except for minute details simply to lend to the reason why the story is taking place, or do you enjoy reading the backstory? Does it depend on the voice to you?

And one final closing note - Lucy from Delightful Reviews is featuring a guest post of yours truly today on her blog! Please check it out, and if you don't already follow should! She's awesome!

Friday Fix #2 - Meet Alyssa, Jake & Gregory!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Friday Fix is a takeover of my Friday blog post by other bloggers who have volunteered their time and energy to "star" in their very own guest post on Friday. Only one mandatory thing - you must answer five of the most random questions I throw your way. The rest is up to you. Remember, if you'd like to be featured on the Friday Fix, shoot me your email, and let me know! So, without further ado, here are Alyssa, Jake, and Gregory from Teens Read and Write!

Hello All!

This is Alyssa, Jake, and Gregory Kirk. Together we make up Teens Read and Write. Melissa has kindly let us take over her fan-tabulous blog for the day. Mwahaha!

Of course, we'll be narcissistic and tell you all about ourselves... but later. First we thought we'd discuss something that we've been seeing a lot in the YA genre.

Absolutely terrible friends with no redeeming qualities whatsoever and still the protagonist wants to be friends with them.

We'll will start with Nora and Vee from Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, a book I (Alyssa) adore and even have a signed copy of on my bookshelf. I love the story but when in came Vee, not so in love.

Their friendship starts out great. Vee's a little ditzy but fun. Then boys are introduced and Vee loses all friend-like capabilities. The only thing she wants from Nora is help getting a boyfriend. The most glaring moment for us was when a guy physically assaults and threatens Nora. What does 'best friend' Vee do? Makes excuses for the attacker!

And that's not all, folks. Vee goes on to try to convince Nora to go on a camping trip with the psycho. You see, it's this guy's friend that Vee has the hots for and he wants the four of them to go camping. Without Nora it's a no go. Vee is so desperate for this guy she's willing to put her friend in harm's way. It really irritated us because for nearly the whole book Vee has been warning Nora to steer clear of Patch (the bad boy hotty love interest) because he might be dangerous.

And before anyone comments that Vee was supposed to be under some 'magical' influence that rendered her a complete idiot and totally disloyal to Nora, that isn't the case. We went back over the story with the proverbial fine tooth comb. No where. Absolutely no where in Hush Hush does the author ever say or hint, or in any way imply that Vee's mind was being messed with.

Next, let's look at Grace and April from The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. Another book we absolutely enjoyed except for the girls' friendship. April starts out a loyal friend. Then April realizes she has a shot with Grace's hunk of a big brother and all out abandons Grace...until she needs her again, of course. Like for instance, when April's mom won't let her go to the Christmas dance unless Grace is going too.

And we wouldn't mind the protagonist having terrible friends as long as he/she didn't want to continue to be friends with them and even risk their lives for these morons.

Or here's an idea. How about the friend screws up but it gets acknowledged, talked about and resolved in some way. Just a thought, but putting up with friends who are disloyal users is a lousy message to send to young adults.

The guys and I agree that we'd drop friends like Vee and April faster than we'd drop an irate spitting cobra. So we can't figure out why we're seeing it in books. And we can't figure out why no one is saying anything about it.

On a positive note, we do know that there are great friendships in books these days. In fact, here are our favorites:

- Detective Pleasant and Stephanie from Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
- Harry, Thomas and Murphy from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
- Ethan and Link from Beautiful Creatures byKami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

So what about you? Do you have your own fictional faves and flops? Any moronic best friend characters you want to diss? We want to know!

At Teens Read and Write we mostly review YA books, the majority of which are in the urban fantasy genre. We also review the occasional movie or TV show, have interviews. We also just signed up to host a Reading Challenge called the 12x12.

Oh, and contests, of course. Our two current contests include a chance to win a 2010 New Moon Calendar and a Glee TV show CD soundtrack. Our next MegaBook Giveaway will be announced soon. In our last MegaBook Giveaway we had 37 winners and gave away 41 books. And it's international. Be sure to look for it and enter!

We're Teens Read and Write - teens who love blogging, our blogging buddies (like the lovely Melissa), books, movies, TV, and a multitude of opinions and perspectives. We'd love to hear yours!

We'll check in over the next few days and if you comment with any questions for us, we'll be happy to answer them!

A huge Thank You to Melissa for allowing us to hijack her great blog (don't you love the header!). We're hoping she'll return the favor, but we have to come up with some ingenious questions so please help us out. What do you want to know about Melissa? What would you like us to ask her?

Here are the questions and answers!

1. Would you believe in a liar who admits he/she is one?

Alyssa~ No way. Now I know I can't trust them.

Jake~ No, they could be lying about being liars.

Gregory~ Of course...but I could be lying.

2. Can a short person "talk down" to a taller person?

Alyssa~ Yes, they just need a ladder.

Jake~ Haven't you seen a circus midget reduce the strong man to tears?

Gregory~ Only if they're UP-ity.

3. At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?

Alyssa~ All of them or I eat your arm.

Jake~ The one to the left of the person sitting to the left of me.

Gregory~ Arm rest? The whole theatre is mine.

4. Since bread is square, then why is sandwich meat round?

Alyssa~ Because it has been scientifically proven that processed meat in a circular form tastes better.

Jake~ Processed meat is non-conformist to the Man.

Gregory~ The meat industry is racist against squares.

5. What was the funniest thing you did as a kid?

Alyssa~ When I was four, I went with my parents to my great-grandmother's funeral. Her coffin was in then front of the chapel and everyone was in back waiting for the service to start. All of a sudden there's this clanging noise. Everyone looks to the coffin to find me using the coffin handle as a knocker and yelling, "Grandma! Are you in there?"

Jake~ When I was ten, my teacher asked the class to write stories in our journals every week. Everyone else wrote tales of bunnies and princesses, but I went above and beyond. I wanted to give my teacher something interesting to read, like monsters that ripped off limbs and gladiator battles. Oh, I peaked my teachers interest. So much that she called my parents in to talk about my anger issues and her fear that I was a serial killer in the making.

Gregory~ We were on vacation in Las Vegas when I was 11 and I decided I wanted to be a rock star. I stole Alyssa's leather coat that had curly white fur on the collar and cuffs. I also put on my mom's big pink sunglasses and spiked my hair straight up. When we went through the lobby I started talking in my best British rock star accent, put on my best British rock star strut and started greeting strangers with "Hey, luv, 'ow you doing? Do ya like my new album?" and other stupid stuff like that. I don't know why, can't explain it to this day but the best part was that all these strangers played right along. Some people even asked for my autograph. My family thought we'd get kicked out by security but it ended up being a blast!

Sea Change Review

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Before anything else today, I'd like to say a couple of really big thank-yous...

1) Kari at A Good Addiction has featured me today on her weekly post, Getting to Know the Little Guys. Thank you, Kari!

2) To everyone who sent me well-wishes and kind words after my home was broken into and robbed yesterday, I sincerely, sincerely thank you!

Ok, onto the good stuff now. I recently finished Sea Change, by Aimee Friedman so here's my review!

16-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science...and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.

There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship...and reality.

Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?
Taken from GoodReads.

So, Sea Change follows the story of Miranda Merchant, spending the summer with her mother in her late grandmother, Isadora's, mansion on Selkie Island. There's tons of lore around the island about mermaids and mermen that live as ordinary people on land, but transform into mermaids when they touch the water. Miranda logically processes everything. She's newly single, spending time on an island with mysteries surrounding it, and feels completely out of place. Did I mention she was born with webbed toes? Having had it surgically removed, it definitely lends to her character being self-conscious. Without giving anything away, this story is one of friendship, love, trust, and opening your mind to infinite possibilities.

I was sent this book by an anonymous stranger, which after the events of yesterday is exceptionally creepy, but I was in love with the cover from the first second I saw it. Seriously...those blues? So pretty. It turns out that the writing was just as good as the book. While I've never read any of Aimee Friedman's work before, she has a clear and refreshing voice. She didn't make Miranda self-deprecating. She made her strong, and opinionated, and obstinate. I really enjoyed that. The only qualms I had with Sea Change is how suddenly characters changed. While it worked with the story, I enjoy reading backstory...but that's just me. I give this a 4.5 out of 5, and I would recommend it to anyone!

Waiting on Wednesday 1/20

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, and spotlights upcoming novels we just can't wait for! This week, I'm really looking forward to:

Title: The Secret To Lying
Author: Todd Mitchell
Release Date: June 8, 2010

James was the guy no one noticed — just another fifteen-year-old in a small town. So when he gets into an academy for gifted students, he decides to leave his boring past behind. In a boarding school full of nerds and geeks, being cool is easy. All it takes is a few harmless pranks to invent a new James: fighter, rebel, punk. Everyone’s impressed, except for the beautiful "Ice Queen" Ellie Frost and the mysterious ghost44, an IM presence who sees through his new identity. But James is riding high, playing pranks and hooking up with luscious Jessica Keen. There’s just one thing awry: he’s starting to have vivid dreams of being a demon-hunting warrior, a thrill that is spilling over into dangerous and self-destructive acts while he’s awake. As he’s drawn deeper into his real-life lies and his dream-world conquests, James begins to wonder: What’s the price for being the coolest guy around?

While I'm not the biggest fan of the cover, I think this story sounds great. I like that it blends an ordinary rebellious teen with a potentially supernatural calling. I guess it just sounds intriguing to me!

In other news, the lovely masterminds from Teens Read and Write are hosting an awesome Glee music giveaway! Please tell them Melissa from iswimforoceans referred you - we'll both get extra points!

Tuesday Teaser #4

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

For those of you who don't know, I do my Tuesday Teaser's differently (and yes, I add this disclaimer every time). Each week, I feature a teensy snippet of something I've written, leave it up all day, then remove it around 11 PM. You're welcome to comment on it, love it, hate it, or simply read it at your leisure...if you'd like, of course.

If you're a writer and you'd like to participate in this, please feel free to grab the image and do so, as well. So, without further we go!

And that's that, my friends! The Tuesday Teaser is down. Check back next week for an all-new teaser. :)

Oh, and as a quick aside...for those of you that love YA books, both Elle and Kara made really interesting points about the similarities between many YA novels today. I highly suggest you check them out!

Monday Movie Review #1 - The Lovely Bones

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ok, I'm still in the process of setting a blogging schedule for myself, so you'll have to forgive me if it seems to keep switching around...please. Anyway, I decided I'll do something every Monday called Movie Review Mondays. I generally allow myself to see one movie a week, and this week, I decided to indulge in The Lovely Bones.

For those who don't know, this is the summary/premise of The Lovely Bones taken from GoodReads.

When we first meet 14-year-old Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. This was before milk carton photos and public service announcements, she tells us; back in 1973, when Susie mysteriously disappeared, people still believed these things didn't happen. In the sweet, untroubled voice of a precocious teenage girl, Susie relates the awful events of her death and her own adjustment to the strange new place she finds herself. It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets. With love, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie watches her family as they cope with their grief, her father embarks on a search for the killer, her sister undertakes a feat of amazing daring, her little brother builds a fort in her honor and begin the difficult process of healing. In the hands of a brilliant novelist, this story of seemingly unbearable tragedy is transformed into a suspenseful and touching story about family, memory, love, heaven, and living.

Now, I generally don't see films based on books because they rarely (if ever) live up to the genius of the book. This, however, was so excellent. Peter Jackson is a master at making films, obviously, but he outdid himself with this. It had the perfect cast, and Saorise Ronan was picture-perfect for Susie. It truly lived up to the amazing work of Alice Sebold. Here is the trailer (one of them), and it's my favourite one.

If you haven't read the book, I'd suggest you read it first because this is one movie where you won't be disappointed when you leave the theatre. I give this film a definite 5 out of 5, especially because I went in with zero expectations and simply hoped not to be disappointed.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me - Review

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl gets boy back...
...sort of.
Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear hisvoice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she'scrazy, but she knows he's here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.Taken from GoodReads.

Ok, so I Heart You, You Haunt Me follows the story of Ava and and Jackson, a young couple very much in love when a freak accident on a dare ends Jackson's life. Absolutely devastated, Ava discovers she can still see him in her dreams, in mirrors, and she can feel his touch. He's gone, but not gone. Most people think she's crazy, but Ava knows it's Jackson and he's come back to her. The only problem is that she's not sure if it's possible to stay with him this way, or if it's fair to either of them.

First off, I love this book. The cover is simple, haunting, and subtle. What you should know when you read this book is that it's a Verse Novel...

Verse Novel: A type of narrative poetry in which a full length novel is written in a poetic form, rather than ordinary prose.

This makes it a quick and simple read, but it is done so well. I haven't really read any verse novels out of school before, and Lisa Schroeder does so with exceptional skill. I think it must be very difficult to write a full and descriptive novel in this form, but she masters the skill and the story is excellent.

It's a story of love, loss, grief, and the ability to cope and move on. If you enjoy reading deep and meaningful novels, you'll really enjoy this. It's more of a love story than a ghost story, but the ghost element is great for those who enjoy the sci-fi element. That said, it's definitely not the key element of the story. I give this a strong 4.5 out 5, simply because I love real novels, and though this verse novel was really, really good, I think it would have been stunning as a normal novel, as well.

Contest Time...My Birthday Bash Giveaway!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's true, my friends. My fourth 21st birthday (aka turning 24) is coming up, and in celebration of my birth on February 24th, I'm giving gifts to others! I'll admit, this is an excellent contest, and I'd love to win it myself...but, I'll send it your way instead!

One lucky winner will receive a $25 gift card to Amazon, as well as their very own copies of two of my favourite books:

In My Father's House by Ann Rinaldi

Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

Here's how to enter:

+1 Comment on this post with your email address
+2 Old followers
+3 Refer a new follower and have them tell me your referred them
+5 Link my contest in your sidebar (not the button)
+10 Actual posts about my contest are highly rewarded...can't you tell?!

This is an international contest, so anyone can enter. The contest will close February 23, 2010 at 6 PM Mountain Time, so you have plenty of time to enter! Oh, and because I'm oldschool, I'm going to pick the winner out of a hat...excellent, eh? Enjoy!

Friday Fix #1 - Say hello to Lucy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

My friends, it's time for the Friday Fix. The Friday Fix is a takeover of my Friday blog post by other bloggers who have volunteered their time and energy to "star" in their very own guest post on Friday. Only one mandatory thing - you must answer five of the most random questions I throw your way. The rest is up to you. Remember, if you'd like to be featured on the Friday Fix, shoot me your email, and let me know! First up is Lucy from Delightful Reviews!

1. If you were a geometric shape, what would you be?

"Oh dang. Geometry is my weakness.. Is a square a geo. shape? If so, then I want to be square LOL"

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

"Well, if morality comes from morons, I must be a moron too! *puts on hat that reads 'moron'*"

What is the most embarrassing moment you’ve ever experienced?

"Most embarrassing? Can't recall. Though I do remember that in a dream I was doing public speaking and all of a sudden, my voice left me and I started talking like a chicken... "

Do they have the word "dictionary" in the dictionary?

"Do they have the word "thesaurus" in the thesaurus? I'll answer your question if you answer mine! >:)"

Why do we put suits in a garment bag and put garments in a suitcase?

"No clue. Go ask on PeterAnswers or something ;)"

Hi everyone! Lucy has arrived. I'm just here to tell you that I am having a giveaway right now for Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood! I'll also be posting something today (Friday) that's something super cool (a interview AND giveaway perhaps?). Always check out my blog for memes and interviews and giveaways and of course, endless babbling. And before I begin talking again, I want to thank Melissa! She's an awesome person (who has a pretty blog! I love the title!!) who always gives me feedback on my posts which makes me happy! Well, I'll be leaving now. No need to cry. You can always check out my blog :)

Ballad Review

Thursday, January 14, 2010

First of all...51 followers?! Thank you so much, everyone! It seems like just yesterday I had two followers on a good day. Book bloggers are simply excellent, if I do say so myself, and I do!

Ok, onto my review of Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater.

In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians. James' musical talent attracts Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together unexpectedly leads to mutual admiration and love. Haunted by fiery visions of death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soul-scorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives. Taken from GoodReads.

Set at a prestigious music academy, Ballad follows James, his best friend and love interest, Dee, and Nuala. James is in love with Dee, though she's plagued with thoughts of Luke and can't seem to to shake them. Nuala is attracted to James, but when he shoots her down, it only intensifies her desire to inspire and have him as her own. She takes risks to get to know him more, which is something she isn't used to feeling. Part human and part faerie, Nuala is stuck in an impossible situation when the war between the faeries and the humans becomes all too real. She is forced to decide her place and how it will impact everyone around her, especially James.

This! Maggie Stiefvater has outdone herself! The writing in this book is absolutely brilliant. It's written perfectly - a delicious blend of humour, sarcasm, wit, intense energy, and tons of action. Absolutely brilliant! I'm not one to give out tons of perfect reviews because I am so picky, but I have to give this a definite 5 out of 5. Here's to hoping for yet another sequel!

Favourite Quote: "M'Dear," I said cordially, "Your butt's blocking my bumper. Do you think you could move your loitering five feet to the south and let me leave?"

Oh...a quick closing note...I have my first contest coming up, so get ready. I promise it will be a good one!

Waiting on Wednesday 1/13

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, and spotlights upcoming novels we just can't wait for! This week, I'm looking forward to:

Title: Invisible Girl
Author: Mary Hanlon Stone
Release Date: May 13, 2010

When poor Boston girl Stephanie is abandoned by
her abusive mother and taken in by Annie’s Beverly Hills family, she feels anything but home. Her dark complexion and accent stick out like a sore thumb in the golden-hued world of blondes and extravagance.These are girls who seem to live life in fastforward,
while Stephanie is stuck on pause. Yet when a new rival moves to town, threatening Annie’s
queen-bee status, Stephanie finds herself taking
sides in a battle she never even knew existed,
and that feeling invisible is a wound that can only be by standing up for who she is.

I just think this looks excellent. It's a bit like a coming of age story, but I think it might have just the right depth that such novels need. Can't wait!

In other news - An open letter to whomever sent me two books via Amazon anonymously: THANK YOU!!! You are officially my hero! I received Sea Change by Aimee Friedman and I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder. No return address was given, and no note...just "Enjoy!" So, whoever sent me these lovely gems...thank you (a tad creepy you know my address), but thank you!

Generation Dead Review & Awards + Failteaser

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'd originally planned to do my normal Tuesday Teaser, but you'll have to forgive me for deviating from my so-called "schedule" this week. Let's just say my writing simply isn't up to par with all the other work I have! Next week...or maybe later this week...we shall see!

First off, I have yet another award to give away!!! The adorable Kirthi gave this to me over at Pages, so now it's my turn to pass it along.

The Humane Award is the award that goes to the amazing bloggers that comment and continue following my blog. You make my day with your lovely comments, and I truly appreciate it! I'm going to cap the number at 10 blogs (though I'm thankful for ALL of you!)

1. Justine & Steff at A Bookful of Thoughts
2. Nikki at Wicked Awesome Books
3. Lisa & Laura at Lisa and Laura Write
4. Jenn at Books At Midnight
5. Sasha at The Sweet Bonjour
6. Adriana at Loves to Read
7. Lucy at Delightful Reviews
8. Maire at Monster of Books
9. Book Snob at Elegantly Bound Books
10. Juju at Tales of Whimsy

Ok, now for the review! I recently finished Generation Dead by Daniel Waters.

"All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occuring. Some teenagers who die aren't staying dead. Termed "Living impaired" or "differently biotic", they are doing their best to fit into a society that doesn't want them.
Fitting in is hard enough when you don't have the look or attitude, but when almost everyone else is alive and you're not, it's close to impossible. The kids at Oakvale High don't want to take classes or eat in the cafeteria next to someone who isn't breathing. And there are no laws to protect the differently biotic from the people who want them to disappear- for good.
With her pale skin and goth wardrobe, Phoebe has never run with the popular crowd. But no one can believe it when she falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids. Not her best friend, Margi, whose fear of the differently biotic is deeply rooted in guilt over the past. And especially not her neighbor, Adam, the star of the football team. Recently, Adam has realized that his feelings for Phoebe run much deeper than friendship. He would do anything for her, but what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy?"

Hmmmmm...where to begin with this one? Well, Generation Dead follows Phoebe, a stereotypical goth student, her best friend Margi, and her friend Adam, as they explore high school with the living dead, or should I say "differently biotic." Phoebe and Margi's best friend, Colette, died about a year ago, then suddenly came back to "life," now roaming the halls with other DB kids like Tommy and Karen. The story follows the prejudice of the student body against the DB/zombies/living dead, and explores the relationship that Phoebe develops with Tommy, the attractive dead guy, even though Adam has clearly been pining for Phoebe forever.

That's basically the gist of the entire story if I don't want to give anything away. To be honest, I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about this book. I love the cover, Daniel Waters is amazingly talented, and the voice of this book is really great. And truly, he brings his characters to life (no pun intended) within the story. That said, I think maybe it's the material of the book that kind of throws me off.

Generation Dead almost romanticizes the concept of the dead. And yet, I find it hard to consider a living dead guy really hot...especially when he's stumbling around and has difficulty forming a coherent sentence. I don't know. I think it's that undercurrent of necrophilia that gets me. Mehhhh, I just don't think this book is for me. I'll give it a 3 out of 5.

The sequel, Kiss of Life is available now. I'm not sure whether I'm into this series enough to read it.

Author Interview - Bree Despain

Monday, January 11, 2010

Most of you know that I had the great fortune to attend The Dark Divine launch party last weekend here in Salt Lake City, Utah at The King's English Bookshop. Well, the lovely and talented Bree Despain took the time out of her busy busy schedule to answer a few questions!

How does it feel to be a published author of such a well-received book?

"Oh wow, I am blown away by the positive response to TDD. I loved writing this book so much—it really is a piece of myself—so it is extremely gratifying to know that other people are connecting with it, too. I know not everyone will love the book, but I feel very blessed that so many people are enjoying reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it."

Do you have any plans for a sequel to The Dark Divine? From the ending, it seemed that you might.

"Yes, I am working on the sequel right now. Well, not at this very moment (of course). Well, actually, I guess I am since Grace and April are having their own conversation in the back of my head at the moment."

Of all the characters in The Dark Divine, do you have a favorite? If so, what makes this character your favorite?

"It is very hard to pick my favorite character. I loved writing Grace because I feel like she is the stronger version of me as a teenager. Whenever I needed to figure out how Grace would respond to a certain situation, I think, “What would I have done?” and then I make Grace do the opposite. It’s kind of a cathartic experience. But I think I actually love writing Daniel the most. He has such an interesting past, and I love getting inside his head. Writing a tortured character is difficult, but surprisingly a lot of fun. Plus, he’s hot!"

Are there any particular authors or books that inspired you to become a writer?

"I’ve always loved reading for the fun of it. I really got into these books as a teen that were called the Sunspire Romance series. They were basically books for teenagers about historical events with a love triangle thrown in to spice things up. I devoured these books—and, believe it or not, they helped me get an A in my A.P. American History class. They were totally cheesy, but the love stories in the books really sparked my creativity and I started writing my own little romance/adventure stories in my notebooks. As an adult, I still eat up teen novels. I love Meg Cabot, Sara Zarr, Laurie Halse Anderson, Michelle Jaffe and many, many other authors."

What is one random fact that you can tell all your readers and fans about yourself?

"The only thing in my life that I am organized about is my revisions process. I have this really intricate color coding system for different aspects of the story that I need to work on. If you saw it in person, you would think I am an organization freak—that is until you walk into my house! Nothing else in my life even comes close to being organized."

I'd say she's pretty organized...wouldn't you?!

Thank you so much, Bree, for taking the time to speak with me, and I loved having the opportunity to pick your brain! For all of you, please check out her awesome blog here, and if you are on facebook, join The Dark Divine fan page!


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