Thursday, December 31, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (19)

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway
Publisher: Razorbill
Pub. Date: August 3, 2010
Three sisters, three extraordinary, life-changing powers!

I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself.

Three sisters share a magical, unshakable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?

April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.

Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.
Having recently read Audrey, Wait! and LOVED it, I'm so excited to read Robin Benway's latest. The synopsis looks super-interesting anyway. Bring it on!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I was interviewed!

Check out my interview at Sarah Ockler's blog's Flip It Friday Feature here!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Completed Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge

Last night I finished reading my 100th book of 2009! I have to admit, I'm pretty proud of myself. I never thought I could have read this many books.

Check out the list! It's in opposite order; # 100 I read in January and #1 I read in December.

    * 1. Violet in Private by Melissa Walker
    * 2. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
    * 3. The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson
    * 4. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
    * 5. Chosen by P.C. and Kristin Cast
    * 6. Violet by Design by Melissa Walker
    * 7. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
    * 8. The Final Warning (Maximum Ride, Book 4) by James Patterson
    * 9. Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (Maximum Ride, Book 3) by James Patterson
    * 10. Sophomore Undercover by Ben Esch
    * 11. Beige by Cecil Castellucci
    * 12. Duplikate by Cherry Cheva
    * 13. Beautiful World by Anastasia Hollings
    * 14. The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand
    * 15. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
    * 16. Glass by Ellen Hopkins
    * 17. Miss Match by Wendy Toliver
    * 18. Derby Girl by Shauna Cross
    * 19. Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen
    * 20. I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
    * 21. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
    * 22. Witch & Wizard by James Patterson
    * 23. Demon Princess: Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen
    * 24. Ash by Malinda Lo
    * 25. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T Anderson
    * 26. Up All Night by Various Authors
    * 27. Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
    * 28. Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
    * 29. Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex & Brett Harris
    * 30. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do by Lynda Sandoval, Niki Burnham, Ellen Hopkins, and Terri Clark
    * 31. The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
    * 32. Adored by Cecily von Ziegesar
    * 33. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
    * 34. Meridian by Amber Kizer
    * 35. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
    * 36. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
    * 37. Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis
    * 38. Willow by Julia Hoban
    * 39. Troy High by Shana Norris
    * 40. How It Ends by Laura Wiess
    * 41. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
    * 42. Far From You by Lisa Shroeder
    * 43. Donut Days by Lara Zielin
    * 44. I Know It's Over by C.K Kelly Martin
    * 45. Secrets of Truth & Beauty by Megan Frazer
    * 46. Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black & Cecil Castellucci
    * 47. Being Nikki by Meg Cabot
    * 48. And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman
    * 49. School's Out - Forever (Maximum Ride, Book 2) by James Patterson
    * 50. The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Book 1) by James Patterson
    * 51. The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones
    * 52. Switch by Carol Snow
    * 53. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
    * 54. Hidden Voices by Pat Lowery Collins
    * 55. The Elite by Jennifer Banash
    * 56. This Is What I Want to Tell You by Heather Duffy Stone
    * 57. I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
    * 58. Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker
    * 59. Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers
    * 60. Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson
    * 61. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
    * 62. One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin
    * 63. The Devouring #2: Soulstice by Simon Holt
    * 64. The Devouring by Simon Holt
    * 65. Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
    * 66. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
    * 67. Band Geek Love by Josie Bloss
    * 68. A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn
    * 69. Violet on the Runway by Melissa Walker
    * 70. Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph
    * 71. A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell
    * 72. Airhead by Meg Cabot
    * 73. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
    * 74. True Believer by Nicholas Sparks
    * 75. Mackenzie, Lost and Found by Deborah Kerbel
    * 76. The Shape of Water by Anne Spollen
    * 77. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do by Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt
    * 78. The Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt
    * 79. Fairest of Them All by Jan Blazanin
    * 80. Bras & Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski
    * 81. TMI by Sarah Quigley
    * 82. The Fall of Candy Corn by Debbie Viguié
    * 83. Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee
    * 84. Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
    * 85. The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro
    * 86. Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald
    * 87. Daugter of the Flames by Zoë Marriott
    * 88. Nights In Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks
    * 89. Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby
    * 90. Kisses and Lies by Lauren Henderson
    * 91. Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson
    * 92. Boy Minus Girl by Richard Uhlig
    * 93. The Summer of Cotton Candy by Debbie Viguié
    * 94. It's All About Us by Shelley Adina
    * 95. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
    * 96. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    * 97. Go Long! by Ronde Barber & Tiki Barber with Paul Mantell
    * 98. Handcuffs by Bethany Griffin
    * 99. Betrayed by P.C. & Kristin Cast
    * 100. How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justin Larbalestier

One Year Anniversary!

I just realized that Friday was my blog's one year anniversary! I just wanted to thank everyone who reads my blog and keeps me going. I may decide to run a contest in the next week to celebrate. Check back and see!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Top 10 Most Rereadable List

I love a good book more than anything, as you can tell from this blog. But when I look back at all the books I read this year, the ones that stand out most are the ones I'd like to reread again. Now, if you read books very often you know that some books are just more satisfying than others. For me, the mark of a superior novel is how much I can see myself rereading the book in the future. After finishing some books my thought process sounds like "hmm..that was good. But not amazing. It didn't knock my socks off. On to the next one." However, in contrast, when finishing up others my thoughts are more like "Holy crap! That was amazing. This author is a rock star!" You know, lots of capital letters and exclamation points.

So now I will share my top 10 most rereadable list. This list consists of the most memorable books I've read in 2009. They might not have been released this year, although many of them are debuts. I'm on my 99th book of this year so I feel that I have a fairly large frame of reference and can speak with some authority on this. Some I've reviewed and others I haven't gotten to yet. Check it out:

1. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
2. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
3. Meridian by Amber Kizer
4. Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
5. Derby Girl (Whip It) by Shauna Cross
6. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
7. Violet by Design by Melissa Walker
8. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
9. Beige by Cecil Castellucci
10. Willow by Julia Hoban

I hope that this list was helpful to you! Please be aware that this list is purely my personal opinion so please don't be offended if your favorite book is not listed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2010 Reading Challenges

I've already announced that I'll be taking part in the 2010 YA debut author challenge but since then I've decided to do a few more.

YA Reading Challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog:
I'll be doing the "stepping it up" section that requires 50 YA novels be read. I usually average more than 50 but with the other challenges I didn't want to be too ambitious.

Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge also hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog:
I'm at the library all the time so why not join a challenge for it?

100+ Reading Challenge, again, hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog:
I participated in this one in 2009 and it was so much fun I wanted to continue it in 2010!

There are probably official ones but I'm doing these just for myself even though I didn't sign up anywhere:
-Nonfiction challenge (at least 5)
-Classics challenge (at least 5)

What challenges are you participating in?

Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

In an explosion of his own making, Lucius blew his arms off. Now he has hooks. He chose hooks because they were cheaper. He chose hooks because he wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly. He chose hooks so that everyone would know he was different, so he would scare even himself.
Then he meets Aurora. The hooks don’t scare her. They don’t keep her away. In fact, they don’t make any difference at all to her. But to Lucius, they mean everything. They remind him of the beast he is inside. Perhaps Aurora is his Beauty, destined to set his soul free from its suffering. Or maybe she’s just a girl who needs love just like he does. 
Crazy Beautiful was a more serious read. The synopsis had me very intrigued from the start and I was very excited to find out more.

I just had to keep reading because I wanted to know so badly just what it was that made Aurora and Lucius gravitate towards each other. Their relationship was of the "against all odds" variety.

The whole hooks for hands aspect makes for an interesting story in itself. The characters, however, seemed very real. I could relate to all of them in some way. His hooks were also a sobering thing to think about. We do take out ahnds for granted every day - I am right now as I type this!

It was refreshing to see a character like Aurora that was so genuinely nice. She was a character that I wish I could bring to life and be friends with.

The ending was great and very satisfying.

Overall, Crazy Beautiful was poignant, well-written, and a read well worth your time. And on top of everything else, the cover was adorable.

4 stars!

Waiting On Wednesday (18)

The Lighter Side of Life and Death by C.K. Kelly Martin
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: May 25, 2010

Sixteen-year-old Mason Rice is having the night of his life. He's just delivered an incredible performance in the school play, basked in celebratory afterglow vibes at the party of the year, and lost his virginity to one of his best friends—the gorgeous but previously unobtainable Kat Medina. His dreams are coming true, and the future looks golden.

Unfortunately, Kat sees things very differently. Crossing the friendship line was a big mistake, and all she wants is to forget it and move on, even if that means forgetting Mason altogether. What's a guy to do? Well, if you're Mason, you hang your hopes on the first attractive twenty-three-year-old you cross paths with. At first Mason wonders if he's imagining the chemistry . . . until Colette invites him over to her apartment. Suddenly Mason's living in a whole new world.

I was initially attracted to this book because I've loved all the author's previous novels. The cover is gorgeous as well. Then I read the synopsis and immediately thought "I HAVE TO HAVE THIS!" I can't wait for its' release!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

 Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents' marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude. 

When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger.  Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.

Alexis wants to think that it's all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening—to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president.  Alexis knows she's the only person who can stop Kasey — but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore? 

Bad Girls Don't Die was a delightfully creepy read. I liked that the spook-factor happens gradually instead of jumping in right from the beginning. I think that made the story more believable and real to me.

Fans of scary stories will love BGDD. There's lots of unexpected plot twists to keep things interesting. You're always guessing what's going to happen next. Help comes from places that I never could have predicted. And, of course, there's an unlikely romance developing to balance out the creepiness.

I adored Alender's writing style. The ending was satisfying and tied things up well.

Overall, I was very satisfied with Bad Girls Don't Die. I can't wait to read more from Katie Alender!

5 stars!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

CSN Bookshelf Review

Awhile back I received a bookshelf from CSN to review. I've been so busy with school that I haven't had time lately to write down my thoughts. Now finals are over and I have a free minute. Unfortunately, my camera isn't working right now so I can't show you what the shelf looks like in my house but you can see the stock photo from the website here.

I was really impressed with how fast the shelf was shipped to my house. It only took a few days from the time I accepted the offer for it to arrive at my door. So if you're in a hurry and need your order fast, CSN has got you covered. This would come in handy especially around the winter holidays.

Setting it up was fairly simple as well. It came with detailed, easy-to-understand instructions. It took me less than an hour to get it put together. Although I'm sure someone who is more inclined to that sort of thing could do it much faster than I did.

It was quite sturdy and fit lots of books. It went with the furniture in my room well.

Overall, I was very satisfied with my bookshelf. Anything from CSN would be well worth the money. I would love to order more products from CSN in the future.

5 stars!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Prize Pack Contest Winner

The winner of my Darlene Ryan Prize Pack has been emailed.
Thanks to everyone who entered! Check back for more contests soon!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The No Kill Book Shelter

Just because one person didn't appreciate a book doesn't mean that someone else won't absolutely love it. The books you'll find here in the shelter have been badly neglected and unloved. In some instances they've even been verbally abused. Book violence is a very serious issue, one that we should all do our part to remedy. Support your local No Kill Book Shelter and give a bad book a second chance.

Two responsible, caring, screened families will be chosen and eligible to adopt the unloved book of their choice. First winner picks first....duh...and so on. Deadline for application is December 8th and I will announce winners on the 9th so not much time!

Go visit Life After Jane for more information and to enter!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Debut Author Challenge '10

I'm going to be participating in the 2010 Debut Author Challenge. My goal is to read at least 12 debuts but hopefully I'll get to many more.

What is the 2010 Debut Author Challenge?
The objective is to read a set number of YA (Young Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels from debut authors published this year.* I’m going to challenge everyone to read at least 12 debut novels! I’m hoping to read at least 30! You don’t have to list your choices right away, but if you do feel free to change them throughout the year. I will also be focusing on mostly Young Adult novels.
Anyone can join, you don’t need a blog to participate. If you don’t have a blog you can always share your views by posting a review on, or any other bookish site.
The challenge will run from January 1, 2010- December 31, 2010. You can join at anytime! 

For more info visit The Story Siren.

Here are just a few of the ones I hope to read for the challenge:
-I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer
-The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
-The Duff by Kody Keplinger
-Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
-Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

I only have one of these at the moment so I'll have to buy or get from the library the others as they're released.

I'll list the ones I've finished for this challenge on this post.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Demon Princess: Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen

Synopsis from

As if trying to fit in at a new school isn't stressful enough, sixteen-year-old Nikki Donovan just found out that her long-lost father is, in fact, the demon king of the Shadowlands—the world that separates and protects us from the Underworld. When she is brought there by the mysterious—and surprisingly cute—messenger Michael, she learns that her father is dying, and he wants her to assume the throne. To complicate matters, a war is brewing between the Shadowlands and the Underworld, her half-demon qualities are manifesting, and her gowing feelings for Michael are completely forbidden. Ruling a kingdom, navigating a secret crush, and still making it home by curfew—what's a teenage demon princess to do?

Demon Princess: Reign or Shine was interesting and original. It managed to be cute but still serious. There was even a dash of romance and cute boys thrown in to the story to add just the right about of spiciness.

The plot was went at a medium pace. The whole book took place over a span of just a few days. So a lot goes on in just a short amount of time even though it doesn't seem like it.

The characters were quite well-developed. You see more than one side to every character. For instance, you are shown Nikki's evil aunt's vulnerable side. This gives you more insight into the motivation for her actions. Characters that start out as friends become enemies and vice versa. Some relationships end up in ways you wouldn't expect.

When Nikki's dad randomly sends a messenger for her, she doesn't know what to think. All her life she thought he was dead. The fact that she doesn't immediately believe what she's being told and just go along with it makes the story more realistic and believable.

There are even some action-filled scenes so things never get too boring. Nikki isn't a damsel in distress in these situations, either. She can definitely handle the bad guys on her own. Of course, a little help from adorable Michael never hurts.

Overall, this was a fun novel. I'd love to read the next books in the series.

4 out fo 5 stars

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Contest: Darlene Ryan Prize Pack

To Enter: Fill out this form.

Open to:
US or Canada only.

You win: Rules for Life, Saving Grace, Responsible and Five Minutes More -all by Darlene Ryan, plus a chocolate surprise

For Extra Entries:
+1 Follow this blog
+1 Follow me on Twitter (@katiesbookshelf)
+2 Link to this contest (sidebars are fine)

Ends: December 1, 2009

Please fill out the above form to be entered. Any entries left in the comments will not be counted!

A special thanks goes to Darlene Ryan for donating the prizes!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Guest Blog: LM Preston


Trusting your own gut feelings is one of the best gifts we possess.  We all get that little ‘twinge’ when something just isn’t right.  When that happens…LISTEN TO IT!  Trust yourself or your ‘gut’ some call it.  Trust it at all times, it will never steer you wrong.

When I was young I lived in the inner-city.  The neighborhood I called home, had gangs, drugs, muggers, killers, and lots of kids and family nearby.  However, with all of these things present, I didn’t realize that my gut instincts were strengthening with each day I played outside, walked to school, to the bus, or traveled the city alone.

I never understood why my grandmother, affectionately named NaNa, didn’t want me to leave my block to go to the store alone.  Or why, I wasn’t allowed to cut through the alleys to get to my cousin’s house, and the numerous lists of things I was told to watch out for.

My main character in EXPLORER X – Alpha realizes that something isn’t quite right with the immunization he is given.  Aadi takes the initiative as asks the Doctor why it is being given to him.  In addition to this finding, Aadi confirms his concerns with others. 

Here are some steps to take in trusting yourself in all things;


When you are in a situation with a friend or an adult, and you get that feeling that something isn’t quite right, then you are most likely correct.  Learn yourself, and test this ability. 

Take this example for instance.  Your friend tells you that you should sneak out to go to that great party that so-and-so is going to, but you feel this tickle in your tummy before you hesitate.  This is your gut talking to you.  It’s telling you … hold on … don’t jump into this.

Listen to it.  Find out how your gut talks to you.  Think of all those times you got into major trouble, and ponder over what you felt just before you did the deed that got you into that mess.  That’s how you learn how your psyche talks to you.


Never, ever, feel like you don’t have the right to ask a question.  Asking a question only gets you in trouble when it hasn’t been asked, or the person of whom you are asking the question doesn’t want to give you an answer.

Don’t think I’m right on this?  Test it, and think back to times when the person of whom you asked a question reacted negatively.  In most cases, it is because they don’t want to give you an answer.

Asking the question is never, ever wrong.  You have the right.  So use it when you are in those situations where your gut is telling you that something is just not adding up.


When something doesn’t make sense, or the story just sounds down right disjointed, and your gut is telling you that something is off.  Then trust your gut, something is off.

This is a saying my Nana used to tell me when I would give her a scenario of what a friend told me, or did to me.

“Honey, if it doesn’t add up, it won’t add up.  Something is definitely not right with that story.”

Do you know in each instance she said this, she was absolutely correct. 


If you get that feeling something isn’t right take action. 

In EXPLORER X – Alpha Aadi and Eirena, his co-pilot investigated their gut feeling that something is off about their camp with their team.  They find that terrible things have been done to them.

There are several ways to take action.  Here are some;
-         Just tuck the knowledge away, and wait for the truth to reveal itself.  Believe it or not this happens a lot in life.  The truth has a way of coming out.  Sometimes it happens quickly, and sometimes it takes a long, long time. 
-         Ask questions.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions in order to get the answers you want.  You can ask anyone questions, and that may solve the mystery.
-         Run away or stay away.  If you are in a situation where an adult or a peer appears to be leading you in a direction that you feel is not safe.  Run.  There is no harm in running away from or staying away from someone.


Realize that you have control of your destiny.  No matter what happens to you in your life, you can learn from it all and become a better person.  Making the same mistakes will become harder the more you learn to trust your gut instincts, and yourself.
by: LM Preston, author of EXPLORER X - Alpha

Also, check out her book trailer for Explorer X -Alpha:

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

She doesn't see dead people, but…
She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.
Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…
My Soul to Take was a great read. It was the type of book I just couldn't put down; I wanted, no, needed to continue reading because I was so engrossed in the story.

It was very original. I'd never read, come across, or even heard of a story similar to this one. The concept of "bean sidhes" was one that I was unfamiliar with. But I was very interested in learning about these wailing, banshee creatures.

The storyline was filled with action and mystery. It was thrilling to be there when Kaylee slowly discovers who she really is. I wish I could tell you more about that but I don't want to spoil anything for you.

Kaylee was a very well-fleshed-out character. Vincent vividly describes her every thought, emotion, and feeling. You get to know her so well you feel like you've known her forever.

There are also romantic elements interwoven into the story. Kaylee's love interests do not overwhelm the story so if the romance aspect doesn't appeal to you, you needn't worry. It's definitely a nice part of the subplot but it's not a major part of the big picture. I, however, enjoyed reading about how Kaylee's predicament brought her closer to someone who knew what she was going through. Again, I wish I could tell you more about that person but I want to avoid spoilers at all costs.

Overall, I thoroughly liked My Soul to Take. Fans of paranormal lit will devour it. I do recommend it. Also, you can read the prequel, My Soul to Lose, for free here. The sequel, My Soul to Save, will be released on December 29, 2009.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Secret Society Teen Ambassadors

Check out this cool promotion Tom Dolby, author of Secret Society, is hosting over at his site. Here's the info, pasted directly from Tom's blog:

Want to be a Secret Society Teen Ambassador? Submit your name and US/Canada mailing address to Tom between October 7, 2009 and October 19, 2009 and the Bradford Trust will pick fifteen winners at random. Each one of the fifteen winners will receive an Ambassador Initiation Kit in the mail!

What’s in the Initiation Kit?
“The Initiates were given what looked like tattoos at the nape of their necks.” A set of 15 temporary ankh tattoos for you and 14 Initiates. Give them out wisely!
stainiac.jpg “Anastasia took a sip of her martini, leaving a dark red lipstick print on her glass.” Your ticket to gorgeous lips and cheeks, TheBalm’s Stainiac Beauty Queen tinted gel blush (”a hint of tint for the lips and cheeks”)! A $15 value!

“A card was included with the package that simply read, ‘With compliments.’” A one-of-a-kind vintage New York postcard signed by Tom — use it as a bookmark!

fieldnotes.jpg “Patch and Nick used to play this game in class, where they would pass notes.” One beautiful, retro-styled Field Notes mini-notebook, perfect for writing down secrets! At the Bradford Trust, we’re crazy about these little notebooks. Normally, three are $10!

“Lauren started to open it, but Emily stopped her.” Last, but not least: a secret initiation tool — here’s a hint: it’s sealed with an ankh!

After I Get My Kit, What Do I Have to Do?

Once you get your kit, go initiate your friends into the world of Secret Society! Loan them your copy, or better yet, tell them to pick up one of their own. For a chance to win more, see the instructions below about the tattoos!

My Friends Love the Tattoos! What Do I Do Now?
In the future, we will be launching a contest in which to enter, you will need to submit a photo of four people wearing the ankh tattoos (yes, one of them can be you!). If you want to get a head start on that contest (hint: the prize is fabulous and involves music), snap some pics of your friends wearing those tattoos; remember, you have to show all four tattoos somewhere in the pic (think hands, wrists, ankles — or if you’re really adventurous, you can go for the back of the neck!). You can start submitting those pics via email to Tom, but we won’t be officially announcing the prize until later (some things have to stay secret!). A selection of the best photos will be published on; if you don’t want your photo published, please note that in your entry, and we will honor that request.

Are You Really Only Giving Away Fifteen Kits?
The Bradford Trust’s giveaway of 15 Secret Society Ambassador Initiation Kits will start today. The second giveaway of 15 will be announced later in the fall (if you read the book, you’ll understand why…), so stay tuned!

And Remember…
“There is power in being one of the first."

Mad Libs Love

I participated in the Haunted Blog Tour at Books Obsession. Check out my Mad Libs here!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Michelle Moran Guest Post & Contest

Why Cleopatra’s daughter?
It all began with a dive. Not the kind of dive you take into a swimming pool, but the kind where you squeeze yourself into a wetsuit and wonder just how tasty your rump must appear to passing sharks now that it looks like an elephant seal. My husband and I had taken a trip to Egypt, and at the suggestion of a friend, we decided to go to Alexandria to see the remains of Cleopatra’s underwater city. Let it be known that I had never gone scuba diving before, but after four days with an instructor (and countless questions like, “Will there be sharks? How about jellyfish? If there is an earthquake, what happens underwater?”) we were ready for the real thing.

We drove one morning to the Eastern Harbor in Alexandria. Dozens of other divers were already there, waiting to see what sort of magic lay beneath the waves. I wondered if the real thing could possibly live up to all of the guides and brochures selling this underwater city, lost for thousands of years until now.. Then we did the dive, and it was every bit as magical as everyone had promised. We saw the blocks that once formed Marc Antony’s summer palace, came face to face with Cleopatra’s enigmatic sphinx, and floated above ten thousand ancient artifacts, including obelisks, statues, and countless amphorae. By the time we surfaced, I was Cleopatra-obsessed. I wanted to know what had happened to her city once she and Marc Antony had committed suicide. Where did all of its people go? Were they allowed to remain or were they killed by the Romans? And what about her four children?

It was this last question that surprised me the most. I had always assumed that Cleopatra’s children had all been murdered. But the Roman conqueror, Octavian, actually spared the three she bore to Marc Antony:  her six-year-old son, Ptolemy, and her ten-year-old twins, Alexander and Selene. As soon as I learned that Octavian had taken the three of them to Rome for his Triumph, I knew at once I had my next book. And when I discovered what Cleopatra’s daughter lived through while in exile – rebellion, loss, triumph, love -  I absolutely couldn’t wait to start writing. I can only hope that the novel is as exciting and intriguing as the research proved to be. It may be two thousand years in the past, but a great love story, as they say, is timeless.

The death of Cleopatra was only the beginning...

Check out Michelle's blog at
Now for the contest:

Prize: A hardback copy of Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran & an ancient Roman coin complete with certificate of authenticity

To enter: Leave a comment with a valid email address

Extra entries:
+2 if you're already a follower
+1 if you become a follower
+3 make a POST about this
+2 link to this somewhere (must leave link in comment)

Open to: International! Anyone, anywhere can enter!

Ends: October 23, 2009 at midnight

Cybils awards info

I recently got this email from Alyssa at The Shady Glade:

Most of you have probably heard about the Cybils awards. If not, here’s a quick intro:

The Cybils are a group of awards given out every year by a group of over 90 book bloggers to reward books of the year based on literary merit (like the Newbery awards) AND popularity (like People's Choice Awards) for nine different categories. If you have a favorite book published this year by October 15th:

And here’s the reason for my email. This is my fourth year working on the Cybils, and it seems every year there are a bunch of lists along the lines of “why haven’t these books been nominated yet?” that pop up on blogs. So I’m trying to streamline the process by creating one giant What’s Missing post: If you’d be interested in sharing this link, I would be very grateful. I’d like to share this list with as many people as possible. And if not, that’s cool too. But I figured it didn’t hurt to ask. Thanks!

Please go nominate your favorite book of '09! I did!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Guest Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins reviewed by Tricia Mills

Catching Fire Keeps the Tension High in the Second Book of the Hunger Games Trilogy

Review by Tricia Mills

I think one of the biggest compliments an author’s book can receive if she’s writing a series is if someone finishes a book in the series and then immediately wants to start the next. That’s how I felt after reading the last page of The Hunger Games earlier this year, and once again when I finished reading the second in the series, Catching Fire, just a few days ago. I can’t believe I have to wait another year to find out what happens!

For those who are unfamiliar with the books by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games is the first in the trilogy about 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a sort of dystopian world where people live in 12 poor districts around a rich Capitol that rules with an iron fist. Each year, one boy and one girl from each district are chosen by lottery to go to the Capitol and participate in the televised Hunger Games – mandatory viewing by all citizens. It’s a fight-to-the-death competition that means wealth and a life of ease for the winner and his/her family, but death for the other 23 participants. Joining Katniss from District 12, the coal-producing poorest of the districts, is Peeta Mellark, a boy she knows and who once gave her bread when her family was starving. Initially, they agree to work together even though they know they’ll eventually have to face off against each other. Complicating things is Peeta’s admission that he loves her – on air. Katniss believes it’s a ploy but plays along to get audience support and thus gifts to help her during the game. The public falls in love with this star-crossed couple, and the end result is a rule change that allows them both to win.

Catching Fire starts out several months after the conclusion of the Hunger Games depicted in the first book, and we see the aftermath of the first Hunger Games ever to have two victors and how the all-powerful Capitol is reacting to that and the actions of our heroine, Katniss Everdeen. She’s glad to be alive, but she’s suffering from nightmares caused by the brutality of the Games; guilt about those who lost their lives and how her life is now one of plenty while those around her still suffer; fear for those she loves; and confusion about her feelings for Peeta and for her long-time best friend Gale, who has been forced to go to work in the mines to support his family. On top of all that is the knowledge that what she did in the Games might very well have been the spark that ignites the districts into rebellion against a Capitol that forces them to send their children off to die in the Games each year. But of all the retribution the Capitol could have taken against her, she’s not prepared for what they dish out. Once again, she and Peeta are thrust into even more danger. I won’t go into specifics because I want you all to be as surprised and shocked as I was, to get the full effect of the situations and Katniss’s emotions.

These books are wonderful, truly the kind that keep you up reading way past when you should turn off the light and let your burning eyes have a rest.

Tricia Mills writes young adult fiction for Razorbill. Her first YA novel, Heartbreak River, was released in April 2009. Her second, Winter Longing, is set to release in the summer of 2010. Visit her at

Monday, October 5, 2009

Save Shrinking Violet!

Help Tere keep her voice!

Shrinking Violet is about an extremely shy high school senior trying to find her voice and reach her dream of becoming a DJ, despite the obstacles that stand in her way.

The book is about to go on back order and in order for more copies to be printed, more people have to place orders for the book.

Read more about Shrinking Violet:
High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest, and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize, Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare. . . .

Praise for Shrinking Violet:

"Bella, eat your heart out. Tere is the girl every young woman truly wants to be. . . . Brilliant work, Danielle Joseph." -Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of Identical

"Danielle Joseph takes readers into the glamorous world of Top 40 radio, with a character who is both funny and relatable. Readers will cheer when Tere finds her voice!" -Alex Flinn, author of Breathing Underwater and A Kiss in Time

"A funny, romantic, and truly inspirational Cinderella tale for any teen who's ever been shy, loved music, or dreamed of going to the ball. Wait, that's pretty much everybody." -Gaby Triana, author of The Temptress Four

So here's how you can help:
Please tell anyone that you think might be interested to place an order now before it's too late. Guys, girls, grandmas. grandpas, you're never too old to read humorous teen fiction!

Danielle is also running a contest for those that want to have some fun! There will be four winners, each receiving a $25 gift certificate to iTunes or the bookstore of their choice.

So how can you win?
1. Post a review of Shrinking Violet on or B & 2 points
2 Blog, Tweet or Facebook about the Save Shrinking Violet Campaign 1 point for each mention
3. Take a picture of yourself wearing a sweater and mimicking the book's cover (you must have the book in the photo too). 2 points

Contest begins at 11pm on Thursday, September 24, 2009 and ends at 11pm on Thurday, October 15, 2009.
After you enter, you can either email Danielle at or leave her a comment on her blog at
http://daniellejoseph.livejournal. com/ under the entry, Save Shrinking Violet!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back to School Week Contest Winners!

Here are the winners of the Back to School Week Contests!

Give Up the Ghost Swag Pack: Titania86

Never Cry Werewolf: Jessica Secret

Prize Pack donated by Becca Fitzpatrick: Kate

Susan McBride's Books: Wanda

The Elite series: Addicted Book Reader

Congrats! Please email me with your mailing info within 3 days!

Thanks to everyone who entered! For those of you who didn't win, I'll be posting a new contest very soon so be sure to check back.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What do you think?

What do you think of the new layout? The old one was kinda boring and I felt like the blog needed a change. Please vote on the poll in the sidebar or leave a comment here with your thoughts!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Paperback Cover

I was randomly browsing around when I came across the cover for the paperback version (right) of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. And let me say, I'm loving it. I think it beats the heck out of the hardback one. What's your opinion? Let me know in the comments!

You can read my review of FHT here and watch the book trailer here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

YA Radio Dates

I thought this might interest some of you:

Following the realy entertaining show chatting with The Story Siren... Julia Hoban author of WILLOW was so impressed with the comments about her and her book from the YA bloggers and readers that dialed in or asked questions that she has agreed to be a guest on "A Book and a Chat" also Cindy from Cindys Love of Books is going to be a guest on Thursdays show.

So two dates:


SEPTEMBER 17th 6:30pm (EST) "Book and a Chat with Cindy" when YA Blogger Cindy from “Cindys Love of Books” (30min show)

OCTOBER 9th - 7pm (EST) a "Book and a Chat with JULIA HOBAN" when Julia auhtor of WILLOW is my guest (45min show)

DIal in to chat Number is 347- 237-5398 or just visit and join in the question and chat

I am now taking booking for guests to appear on my show in December and January while some dates have already been taken, I'd love to have a couple of YA bloggers/writers amongst the show guests so please contact me if interested.

Thank you

Barry Eva (Storyheart)
Author of "Across the Pond"
Book Site:http://across-
Follow my daily blog at: http://acrossthepon d-storyheart. blogspot. com
Follow my Blog Talk Radio Show at :
Amazon Reviews:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (17)

I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pub. Date: January 26, 2010

Algonquin “Ali” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy—goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly. . . .”

When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn’t notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper’s fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn’t just a really sincere goth. He’s a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of—at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don’t think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews. . . .
Zombies? Yes, please. This looks fun and original. I can't wait to read it in January!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Far From You by Lisa Schroeder

Lost and alone...down the rabbit hole.

Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn't quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can by writing her music, losing herself in her love for her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.

But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half sister, she'll face issues she's been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful.

Perhaps she's not so alone after all....
I wasn't sure if I'd like reading a novel in verse (I thought it'd be like poetry, which I can't seem to understand at all) but I discovered that it's fun and easy to read. It gets all the points across that regular novels do, but in a shorter and more lyrical form. It is perhaps a type of writing you'd have to be in the mood to read, but once you get into it it's hard to stop.

I was very impressed by Far From You. After all, it's hard enough to get words down on paper or computer screen and get them to make sense and create a story but to get them into a certain pattern and still do all that? Doesn't sound like an easy task to me..

Do not be deceived by the size or number of pages of this book. It is an insanely quick read.

The story itself was very touching. I enjoyed seeing the characters and their relationships grow and develop. It was nice to see Alice get closer to her stepmother and realize that she isn't such a bad person after all. I found it easy to relate to her.

There was minimal physical description of the characters. This lets you choose exactly how you want to picture them in your minds eye.

Overall, this was a great read. I count it among my favorites. I highly recommend it.

5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Last Day to Enter All BTWS Contests!

Today is the last day to enter all my Back to School Week contests. You can find the links to the right in the sidebar. Remember - you can earn extra entries by commenting on any (+1 for each comment) BTSW interview or guest blog.

I'll be picking winners sometime in the next week using
Good luck!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
Shiver was the type of novel that you just can't put down. Once I started reading I was sucked into the story and simply had to keep reading to find out how the story played out.

The chapters alternated between Sam and Grace's points of view. I think that let you get to know the characters better and made them more real. What can I say about Sam? He was just adorable. YA lit needs more characters like him.

Even if the characters had sucked (which they most definitely did not) the plot would have been enough to keep me reading. I was very interested in how Grace was going to pursue any kind of relationship with a werewolf. There was enough mystery to keep the intrigue factor high.

Paranormal as well as romance fans will be satisfied by Shiver. Maggie Stiefvater's beautiful writing will appeal to readers of all ages.

Overall, I was very impressed by Shiver. It far exceeded all my expectations. I will most certainly be picking up the sequel, Linger, when it is released in fall 2010.

5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coming Soon: CSN Office Furniture Review

In the near future I will be reviewing a bookshelf from CSN Office Furniture. The one bookshelf I have now is crammed full and the shelves are starting to bow so I'm looking forward to transferring some of my books over to the new shelf.

I'm planning to review the Ameriwood - SystemBuild 36" H Three Shelf Bookcase in white. However, this is subject to change. I think this one will fit in with my bedroom furniture nicely.

Be sure to check out CSN's other division that sells office chairs. They have a huge range of products - from quality affordable price to high end chairs. CSN has something for everyone!

Captivating Covers (3)

For Keeps by Natasha Friend
Pub. Date: April 6, 2010
Publisher: Viking Juvenile

I love how the background is blurry so the only thing that's really clear is their hands.

Tempted by P.C Cast & Kristin Cast
Pub. Date: October 27, 2009
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

I really like the intricate patterns on this series' covers. The green stands out against the darker blacks and blues with an eye-catching effect.

For readers: Do you like the darker, eerier Tempted or the cute, bright For Keeps? Tell us which one you like better and why. Purely based on the covers, which one are you more likely to pick up in a store?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Willow by Julia Hoban

Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow's parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy —one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow's secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the "safe" world Willow has created for herself upside down.

Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl's struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy's refusal to give up on her.


This was one of the saddest books I've ever read. Willow was permanently in a foul mood (which is understandable, considering) which made me in a sad mood just reading it. You really feel Willow's emotions.

It's such a tragedy that Willow turned to cutting to help her deal with the loss of her parents. However, it does help you understand the cutters' reasoning for doing what they do. It also educates you on signs and things to look for in someone you suspect of cutting.

I grew to care about Willow so much that I wanted to scream at her "Hey! It wasn't your fault! It could've happened to anyone!" She was a very memorable character.

Willow was very well-written and I can see myself rereading this again later. I recommend this if you are a cutter, know someone who is, want to read about characters who cut themselves, or just want to read a highly emotional novel. I think it was a very intense debut for Julia Hoban. I'll make sure to pick up her future works.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to School for Real

I know I had Back to School Week last week but today is my first official day of school. I'm only sixteen (seventeen next month!) but I'm starting college which is both scary and exciting. Studying will take priority over reading and reviewing so there will be a marked difference in the volume of posts here. I do have some scheduled posts for this week, though. Well, I'm off to class! Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Justine Larbalestier LIAR Tour Schedule

I've read quite a few good reviews of LIAR around the blogosphere lately, so I thought the tour schedule might be of interest to you. Check it out:

US Liar Tour

Thursday, 8 October, 7:00 pm:
Joseph Beth Bookstore
387 Perkins Ext

Memphis, TN

Saturday, 10 October, 2:00-3:00 pm
Southern Festival of Books
Talk in Room 16
Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN
Followed by signing
3-4 pm
War Memorial Plaza
Between 6th & 7th Avenues.
Nashville, TN

Friday, 16 October, 7:00 pm:
Voracious Reader
1997 Palmer Ave

Larchmont, NY

Monday, 19 October, 4:00 pm
Seattle Public Library
4675 Harbour Pointe Blvd.
Mukilteo, WA

7:00 pm
UWash Bookstore
4326 University Way N.E.
Seattle, Washington

Tuesday, 20 October, 7:00 pm
Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA

Wednesday, 21 October, 7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble
19401 Alderwood Mall Parkway

Lynnwood, WA

Thursday, 22 October, 4:00 pm
A Children’s Place
4807 NE Fremont St

Portland, OR

7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble
12000 SE 82nd Avenue

Portland, OR 97266

Saturday, 24 October, 10:00 am -5:00 pm
Austin Teen Book Festival
Westlake High School
4100 Westbank Drive
Austin, TX

Thursday, 29 October, TBD
Children’s Book World
17 Haverford Station Rd
Haverford, PA

7:00 pm
Blue Marble
551 Carpenter Ln

Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday, 4 November, TBD
Anderson’s Bookshop
123 W Jefferson Ave
Naperville, IL

Thursday, 5 November, 7:00 pm
B&N Skokie
55 Old Orchard Center

Skokie, IL

Tuesday, 10 November, 5:00-7:00 pm
Books of Wonder
18 W. 18th St.

New York, NY

Once again, there are, sadly, no tour stops near me. Somebody please come to Ohio!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Book Trailer: So Punk Rock (And Other Ways To Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol & David Ostow

I've read and enjoyed a few of Micol's other novels so I definitely want to pick up her latest. I think it's cool that she collaborated with her brother on this one. I haven't read many graphic novels, but it's never to late to start, right? Plus, I really like books that have to do with music. Until you get your copy, check out the trailer:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adriana Trigiani Viola in Reel Life Tour Schedule

Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani is going on a 6 city VIOLA IN REEL LIFE tour. If any of you life near any of these locations, I suggest checking it out!

Tuesday, September 1 - LAKE GROVE, NY - Barnes & Noble – 600 Smith Haven Mall – 7pm

Thursday, September 3 - LOS ANGELES , CA - Barnes & Noble – 189 Grove Drive – 7pm

Wednesday, September 16 - ATLANTA, GA - Barnes & Noble – 7660 North Point Parkway ( Alpharetta , GA ) – 7pm

Thursday, September 17 - DALLAS, TX - Borders – 10720 Preston Road, Suite 1018 – 7pm

Friday, September 18 - RALEIGH, NC - Quail Ridge Books & Music – 3522 Wade Ave. – 7:30pm

Tuesday, September 22 - CHICAGO, IL - Off-site event hosted by Anderson ’s Bookshop – Pfeiffer Hall at North Central College , 310 E. Benton Ave. ( Naperville IL ) – 7pm

Thursday, September 24 - WASHINGTON , DC - Borders 5871 Crossroads Center Way (Baileys Crossroads, VA) – 7:30pm

I so wish I could go! None of the tour stops are anywhere near where I live. =[