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Monday, December 20, 2010

Bad Blogger Award...

...goes to me.

I am SO sorry I've been absent for the past two months, but those two months have possibly been the craziest of my life. I increased my course load at school, I started crew and didn't get back home til 7:45 each night, so my blog had to take a backseat.
But I'm baack!
With the holiday break, I'm starting to catch up on my reading and the ARCs that lovely authors and publishers have continued to send me, even though I haven't been very consistent in my posts recently.
These books include:













So. Reviews will becoming for those soon, as well as a review for DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver in January.
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Most Popular Posts in the Existence of this Blog

Top 9 of my posts that have received a combo of the most page views, comments, blah blah you get the point. (Why 9 posts, not 10 may you ask? I was just in the mood.)

In not really an exact order:

1. Review of the DUFF by Kody Keplinger









Sunday, October 10, 2010

In My Mailbox (10)


In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren












Release Date: February 11th, 2011
(Thanks Harper Teen!)


Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


What did you get this week?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Review: Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen

Title: Past Midnight
Author: Mara Purnhagen
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Publisher:
Harlequin Teen
Length: 216
Source: Author (ARC)

Summary:

Let me set the record straight. My name is Charlotte Silver and I'm not one of those paranormal-obsessed freaks you see on TV…no, those would be my parents, who have their own ghost-hunting reality show. And while I'm usually roped into the behind-the-scenes work, it turns out that I haven't gone unnoticed. Something happened on my parents' research trip in Charleston—and now I'm being stalked by some truly frightening other beings. Trying to fit into a new school and keeping my parents' creepy occupation a secret from my friends—and potential boyfriends—is hard enough without having angry spirits whispering in my ear. All I ever wanted was to be normal, but with ghosts of my past and present colliding, now I just want to make it out of high school alive….

Review:

That summary makes the book sound SO STUPID, and it in no way embodies the MC Charlotte.
But don't let the summary stop you form buying a copy of this, because it is a very intriguing read.

Mara Purnhagen has an envy-worthy gift for story telling, as is obvious from Past Midnight, the first title in the series. She created an interesting plot and effortlessly weaved paranormal into a contemporary setting. The science and, dare I say, logic behind the energies in this story almost made me believe in ghosts! (i'm still undecided ;) ).

However.
The mysteries in this book were not complex enough for my taste and I figured them out on my own. But that's probably because this is geared for the younger side of YA, maybe upper middle grade? Also, Charlotte didn't have much of a personality. I kept searching for a character flaw or something that made her unique apart from her parents' occupation, but couldn't find one. I would have like a little more personality infused into her, but I have a feeling that will pop up more in the later books.

If you love a quick, eerie read, Past Midnight is for you. I will be eagerly awaiting the next in the series, One Hundred Candles, which is to be released in March 2011.


1. Characters 17/20
2. Writing 19/20
3. Plot 19/20
4. Accurate YA voice 19/20
5. Cover 10/10
6. Title 7/10 (the title itself was fine, but i'm not sure how it pertains to the story. i think i might have missed that explanation.)


Total: 91 0r B+

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Review: Take Me There by Carolee Dean

Title: Take Me There
Author: Carolee Dean
Release Date: July 2010
Publisher:
Simon and Schuster
Length: 327
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC

Dylan has a bad-boy past and a criminal record. He knows that rich, beautiful Jess is way too good for him—but she has always been the one person who sees through his tough exterior and straight to his heart, and he has been hopelessly in love with her from the first time they met. He would change his life for a chance with her.

But trouble follows Dylan wherever he goes, and a deadly mistake soon forces him to hit the road and leave his dreams behind. He’s on the run and in search of answers—answers to questions he wishes he’d never asked.



Ok, so I admit I thought this was going to be a fluffy, verging on dull/predictable/ordinary story.


Wrong.


Wrong wrong wrong.


This book was deep, powerful, emotional, and tugged on my heartstrings like so few books have. The narrator, Dylan, had a strong and believable voice, and even though he has made some stupid choices, I couldn't help but find some way to identify with him and his struggles. And who doesn't love a bad boy who writes poetry?


Part mystery, part love story, part self discovery, this book is unlike any other book I've read. It made me appreciate the things my parents sacrifice for me, and what they sacrifice for each other. Carolee wrote with determination and that shone through her characters and her plot.


Please do yourself a favor and read this book. It has the power to change you in a way you don't quite understand.



1. Characters 20/20
2. Writing 20/20
3. Plot 21/20
4. Accurate YA voice 20/20
5. Cover 9/10
6. Title 9/10


Overall score: 99 or A


Sunday, August 8, 2010

In My Mailbox (9)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren










The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
September 1, 2010
(i've already started reading this one and so far i love the prose!)

The absolute value of any number, positive or negative, is its distance from zero: |-1| = 1

Noah, Lily, and Simon have been a trio forever. But as they enter high school, their relationships shift and their world starts to fall apart. Privately, each is dealing with a family crisis—divorce, abuse, and a parent's illness. Yet as they try to escape the pain and reach out for the connections they once counted on, they slip—like soap in a shower. Noah’s got it bad for Lily, but he knows too well Lily sees only Simon. Simon is indifferent, suddenly inscrutable to his friends. All stand alone in their heartache and grief.

In his luminous YA novel, Steve Brezenoff explores the changing value of relationships as the characters realize that the distances between them are far greater than they knew.




Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
September 1, 2010
(this was a surprise in my mailbox-- i didn't know it was coming! but i'm super excited for it because i loved Tagged!)

Let me set the record straight. My name is Charlotte Silver and I'm not one of those paranormal-obsessed freaks you see on TV…no, those would be my parents, who have their own ghost-hunting reality show. And while I'm usually roped into the behind-the-scenes work, it turns out that I haven't gone unnoticed. Something happened on my parents' research trip in Charleston—and now I'm being stalked by some truly frightening other beings. Trying to fit into a new school and keeping my parents' creepy occupation a secret from my friends—and potential boyfriends—is hard enough without having angry spirits whispering in my ear. All I ever wanted was to be normal, but with ghosts of my past and present colliding, now I just want to make it out of high school alive…


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cover Comparison Thursday: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Cover Comparison Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by me to showcase international covers of a certain book, and share opinions on each.

Thai

French

Italian

Polish

Spanish


Personally, I think all these covers are stunning. Kami and Margaret definitely lucked out. I would pick up each and every one of these off a book shelf, but I think my favorite would have to be the French, partially because it's the most simple, and I LOVE simple, dramatic covers.

What's your favorite?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In My Mailbox (8)


In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren










(ARC) Release Date: November 2010

One family, two sisters, and a secret that will forever change the way they think of each other.

Julia just graduated as her high school valedictorian, has a full ride to college in the fall and a coveted summer internship clerking for a federal judge. But when her older sister, Sophie, shows up at the graduation determined to reveal some long buried secrets, Julia's carefully constructed plans come to a halt. Instead of the summer she had painstakingly laid out, Julia follows Sophie back to Vermont, where Sophie is opening a bakery—and struggling with some secrets of her own. What follows is a summer of revelations—some heartwarming, some heartbreaking, and all slowly pointing Julia toward a new understanding of both herself and of the sister she never really knew.





(ARC) Release Date: October 2010

The story of a dramatic love triangle, inspired by a historical mystery

Lady Catherine is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite court maidens—until her forbidden romance with Sir Walter Ralegh is discovered. In a bitter twist of irony, the jealous queen banishes Cate to Ralegh's colony of Roanoke, in the New World. Ralegh pledges to come for Cate, but as the months stretch out, Cate begins to doubt his promise and his love. Instead it is Manteo, a Croatoan Indian, whom the colonists—and Cate—increasingly turn to. Yet just as Cate's longings for England and Ralegh fade and she discovers a new love in Manteo, Ralegh will finally set sail for the New World.

Seamlessly weaving together fact with fiction, Lisa Klein's newest historical drama is an engrossing tale of adventure and forbidden love—kindled by one of the most famous mysteries in American history: the fate of the settlers at Roanoke, who disappeared without a trace forty years before the Pilgrims would set foot in Plymouth.


(ARC) Release Date: October 2010

**i've already received a copy of this, so maybe a giveaway is in the near future???


A riveting exploration of how love can lead to lies.


On the surface, Emily Meckler leads the perfect life. She has three best friends, two loving parents, and the ideal setup at the Connecticut prep school where her father is the headmaster. But Emily also suffers from devastating nightmares about fire and water, and nobody knows why. Then the enigmatic Del Sugar enters her life, and Emily is immediately swept away—but her passionate relationship with Del is just the first of many things that aren't quite what they seem in Emily's life. As the lies she's been told start to unravel, Emily must set out to discover the truth regarding her nightmare; on a journey that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about love, family, and her own idyllic past.

This companion novel to Warman's critically acclaimed Breathless proves that sometimes the biggest lies are told to the people you love the most.



(ARC) Release Date: September 2010

A lyrically written, powerful exploration of a girl's struggle within a hidden society.


Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands of years before down to the last detail—and abuse has never been a part of it. But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe.

A richly detailed and nuanced book, one of both humor and depth, understanding and horror, this story explains a complex world that remains an echo of its past, and illuminates the conflict between yesterday's traditions and today's reality.



Release Date: August 2010

** i already have a copy of this as well so I'll probably have a giveaway.

What if love refused to die?

Haven Moore can’t control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother’s house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves¸ before all is lost and the cycle begins again.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: The Duff by Kody Keplinger


Dear Kody Keplinger,

The Duff is unlike any other YA book I've ever read.
The snark,
The spunk,
The attitude,
The romance,
The whole package,
Was perfect.

You created a character that other YA authors should be required to study, because you nailed Bianca. You nailed the teenage voice. You nailed this book.

You carved Bianca with a dagger in your right fist, and a heart in the other. She was brutal and tough as nails, but fragile and confused.
You wrote like you had nothing and everything to lose.
You wrote with raw humor. You wrote with raw emotion. You wrote with misunderstanding, and confusion, and infused your work of art with the life and the passion of an adolescent.

Forever a fan,
Bailey


Dear Kody Keplinger,

You are brave.
You tackled issues that adults are to afraid to. Issues that adults are afraid to admit exist in teenage lives.

They will disagree with you.
They will oppose you.
Some will probably not like you.

But then there will be the others.
Like me.
Who will love you.
And your work.
Because you were honest. And that is a quality only true writers possess.

But you probably know this already.
Why?
Because you're Kody Freakin Keplinger.
And you are AWESOME.
Keep writing. I'll keep reading. And I'm sure millions of others will as well.

Forever a fan,
Bailey



1. Characters 21/20
2. Writing 20/20
3. Plot 20/20
4. Accurate YA voice 21/20
5. Cover 9/10
6. Title 10/10

Overall score: 101 or A++


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Linger Blog Tour Part 2 and 3: Review//Interview//WINNER


And the WINNER of the LINGER giveaway is......


Please email me (blackdiamond508 AT aol DOT com) with your mailing address within the next 48 hours.
Thanks to everyone who participate in my first contest!


Part 2 and 3 of the Maggie Stiefvater's book, Linger, is an interview and review.



And here is my interview with Maggie about Linger:

1. Why did you decide to have 4 alternating narrators in Linger?

Because two just wasn’t hard enough! No, actually, it was because I really wanted to have two characters to play off Sam and Grace and their relationship. In order to really dig into the angst back story, I had to get inside their heads.

2. Who is your favorite character from Linger, and why?

You can’t really pick favorite characters for the same reason you can’t pick favorite children: they’ll come and kill you in the night. But I have to say I really enjoyed writing Cole’s narrative arc. He changes really dramatically and that is fun and challenging for a writer.

3. What element(s) of Linger do you wish could be part of your own life?

The chicken parmesan Grace and Rachel made. Everything else would send me to therapy. Oh, well, I guess I’d like to hear Sam’s music from this book. I have a couple of tunes I’ve written for his songs, but I think they’d sound better if he sang them.


4. Do you ever dream about your characters/stories? If so, do those dreams ever become part of the actual book?

I dream about my characters and stories all the time. Dreams are often the genesis of my short stories and while I usually can’t use them exactly as they happen, they often have kernels of great stuff that I couldn’t think of while awake. I can always tell when I’m really deep into a rough draft because I’ll start dreaming scenes from the book. Yay, subconscious. I think a lot of authors take inspiration from their dreams.

5. When you were writing the Shiver, did you have an idea of what was to come in Linger?

Not at first, but as I dug deeper into Grace’s backstory, little pieces began to fall into place. I’m afraid I’m a rather loosy-goosy plotter -- I come up with final scenes and a few key scenes along the way and then I just go from there.

6. Can you share anything at all about the third and final book in the series, Forever?

No. But nice try :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In My Mailbox (7)


IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren.










FOR REVIEW (thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending it):

Take Me There by Carolee Dean
July 2010 by Simon and Schuster

Dylan has a bad-boy past and a criminal record. He knows that rich, beautiful Jess is way too good for him—but she has always been the one person who sees through his tough exterior and straight to his heart, and he has been hopelessly in love with her from the first time they met. He would change his life for a chance with her.

But trouble follows Dylan wherever he goes, and a deadly mistake soon forces him to hit the road and leave his dreams behind. He’s on the run and in search of answers—answers to questions he wishes he’d never asked.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Linger Blog Tour Part 1: GIVEAWAY!

Okay, so time-out on that vacation thingy, because I am holding my first GIVEAWAY! Yup, that's right. I was asked by Scholastic to participate in Maggie Stiefvater's blog tour for Linger, and they are giving away ONE copy to a lucky winner.








Rules:

* US only
* Must be over 13
* Must become a blog follower

Extra Points- Max of 28 extra points! (don't forget to leave links or it will not count):
+5 for a blog post
+5 for a tweet
+5 for facebook status
+3 for posting this on your sidebar
+3 for referring someone (mention each others names, and you will both get +3)
+1 for posting each of these links:

Maggie's website:

SHIVER series site:

Maggie Stiefvater’s blog:

Author Twitter:

Author Facebook:

Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger Book Trailer:

Scholastic.com official Shiver page


The winner will be announced JULY 21



Thank you for participating and helping me promote both my blog and Linger!

*leave points and links in the comments if you want to enter*


for other people hosting giveaways, here's a website that might help: http://www.giveawayscout.com/
From their website:

Giveaway Scout is a giveaway search engine. Our users subscribe to receive updates on the latest giveaways on the web. Add your blog and your giveaways will be exposed to our large network or users.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cover Comparison Thursday: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak /// plus a brief blogging vacation



Cover Comparison Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by me to showcase international covers of a certain book, and share opinions on each.



<-- US Version

This cover is both simple and intriguing at the same time. I love the dominoes, and the eerie font. I would definitely pick this book up.

Score: 8/10






UK version 1 -->

This cover is pretty boring. I'm all for simplicity, but not for simple covers looking like they're geared towards 90 year olds

Score: 4/10





<-- UK version 2

In my opinion, this cover isn't really eye-catching. It's a little dull and not the least bit interesting. At least it has more color than the other UK version

Score: 5/10





Japanese version -->

While I'm happy not to see this cover looking as though it belongs on a comic book, I do not like the color scheme. The browns against the orange background remind me of a rotting pumpkin, or dog barf.

Score: 3/10




For me, the US version is an overwhelming favorite. If you participate this week, leave the link in the comments and I'll be sure to stop by your blog.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, for part 2 of this post. I'm going to take a blogging vacation. My summer is getting hectic with babysitting, friends, golf, rowing, vacations, etc, and I'm afraid to say I'm going to have to put the blog in the backseat for a bit. Cover Comparison Thursdays will continue, even if I'm not able to post one of the weeks, and I will still comment on others comparisons.

A note to publishers/authors: I will continue reading and reviewing the ARCs you have sent, and the reviews WILL be posted. It just might take a bit longer than usual.




Sunday, July 4, 2010

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren









The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
September 2010

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

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

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



I was INSANE excited when I found this in my mailbox this week. Actually, my mom did, as I've been at a Nike golf thingy majingy all week. But it was a fantastic surprise for when I arrived home. I've only just started it, but let me tell you: IT IS CRAZY AWESOME GOODLY AMAZ-A-ZING!

Happy 4th of July!!

***by the way, there are many many many familiar AW names in the acknowledgments***
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