Sunday, May 31, 2009

Contest Reminder

My contest for Five Minutes More by Darlene Ryan will end tonight at midnight!

Check out this post and leave a comment for one entry.

For extra entries:

+1 already follow or start following this blog
+2 get a friend to start following (no limits on how many you can do, but they all have to comment and tell me that you got them to follow me)
+2 link to this contest (sidebars are fine, just tell me what/where you did.)
+1 add me to your blogroll
+2 make a POST about this contest
+2 if someone tells me you referred them (no limits)
+1 Tweet about this with an @katiesbookshelf
+1 follow me on twitter

In My Mailbox (18)

I finished about a book a day this week so I am making a dent in my tbr pile, but it doesn't seem to be helping because I just keep getting more! Take a look...

From the library:
The Elite by Jennifer Banash (I read this one already so my review will be up soon!)
Switch by Carol Snow
Lucky by Rachel Vail
Unraveling by Michelle Baldini and Lynn Biederman

For review:
Demon Princess: Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
Just Another Girl by Melody Carlson
Unsigned Hype by Booker T. Mattison

From YA Book Swap (Thanks Lizzie!):
How It Ends by Laura Weiss
Getting to Third Date by Kelly McClymer

Credit for creating the In My Mailbox feature goes to The Story Siren. You can find out more about it here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gallagher Girls Chapter 24 Discussion!

Welcome to the discussion for chapter 24 of I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter! The discussion is open to everyone. There are no right or wrong answers so feel free to tell us what you really think!

1. Do you think Liz overreacted? What would you have done or said if you were her?
2. Why did Cammie feel the need to "surveil" Josh's house?
3. Do you think Cammie just wants to be a normal girl? Are the pressures of Gallagher Academy getting to be too much for her?
4. Everyone was surprised that Anna had a boyfriend. Do you think this makes Cammie and Josh's thing any less special, interesting, or out of the ordinary?
5. Do you think Liz will get over it quickly? Or do you think she'll need some time for Cammie to prove herself again?
6. Do you agree that it's every girl's right to cry?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Book Trailer: Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

Strange Angels looks like nothing I've ever read before. Check out this synopsis:

Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called "the touch." (Comes in handy when you're traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.)

Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she's next. Even worse, she's got two guys hungry for her affections, and they're not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?

Hooked yet? Watch the trailer!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

I was actually pretty surprised by this book. I'd never read anything set in a post-apocalyptic world so I didn't quite know what to expect. I'd also never read anything with zombies (in this case they're called the Unconsecrated) so I was double blind going in. I soon found out that I enjoyed reading about both these elements.

I was very intrigued by the society that Mary lived in. I was just as eager as Mary to learn the secrets of the Sisterhood. It seemed like there were always more secrets to be uncovered and more Unconsecrated just lurking around the corner. The mysterious and action-packed plot kept me interested from the beginning.

Mary was an interesting character to read about. She didn't just accept everything she was told unconditionally. She questioned her society and its leaders. I think this was what made her appealing to me.

Aside from all the mystery, suspense, and the constant fear of the Unconsecrated, there was even some romance mixed in. Mary is supposed to marry Harry but she's really in love with his brother Travis. This makes for lots of complications, confusion, and ultimately heartbreak.

The ending was just perfect. I can't think of a better way to tie things up than what happened in the story.

Overall, The Forest of Hands and Teeth was an interesting, thought-provoking read. It was an impressive debut for Carrie Ryan. I am eagerly awaiting the release of its companion novel, The Dead-Tossed Waves.

5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (9)

Splendor: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen
Pub. Date: October 27, 2009
Publisher: HarperCollins

I wasn't able to find a synopsis but, you know, I don't even need one to know that I'm definitely going to like this book. I loved the rest of the series - they were simply amazing. Anna Godbersen has some serious talent on her hands.

And that cover. I love all the dresses on these books. The lavender is so pretty.

Alright, well, now I've had my fan-girly moment for the day!
If you couldn't tell, I'm a huge fan of this series. I'm counting the days until October 27th. Does anyone know of a widget or something for it? I'd love to post it in my sidebar...

Check Out This Contest!

To celebrate their book’s launch and their internet BFF-ship, Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance are offering you the chance to honor your own BFF (internet or otherwise).
Check out this post for more info!

The contest: Send them an email at geekgirlx2 @ (remove spaces) telling them the story of how you met and why your BFF deserves to win the prize. (And yes, you both can enter to double your chances!)

And what is that prize? Two bags, one for you, one for your BFF which include:

  • An autographed copy of The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading
  • The new iPod Shuffle
  • A mix tape (CD) of songs about friendship
  • DeBrand’s Chocolates
  • Matching T-shirts
  • And a few geeky surprises
There are also lots of ways to gain extra entries! Go here for your chance to win!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

3 days...

...left to enter to win a copy of Five Minutes More by Darlene Ryan!

Check out this post and leave a comment for one entry.

For extra entries:

+1 already follow or start following this blog
+2 get a friend to start following (no limits on how many you can do, but they all have to comment and tell me that you got them to follow me)
+2 link to this contest (sidebars are fine, just tell me what/where you did.)
+1 add me to your blogroll
+2 make a POST about this contest
+2 if someone tells me you referred them (no limits)
+1 Tweet about this with an @katiesbookshelf
+1 follow me on twitter

One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin

Anything is possible. . . .

Finn has always felt out of place, but suddenly her world is unraveling. It started with The Party. And Adam Porter. And the night in September that changed everything. The only person who knows about that night is Audrey—Finn’s best friend, her witness to everything, and the one person Finn trusts implicitly. So when Finn’s childhood friend Jersy moves back to town—reckless, beautiful Jersy, all lips and eyes and hair so soft you’d want to dip your fingers into it if you weren’t careful—Finn gives her blessing for Audrey to date him. How could she possibly say no to Audrey? With Audrey gone for the summer, though, Finn finds herself spending more and more time with Jersy, and for the first time in her life, something feels right. But Finn can’t be the girl who does this to her best friend . . . can she?

I wasn't very impressed by this book. Having never read Martin's other novel I Know It's Over, I didn't really know what to expect from One Lonely Degree. I had a hard time getting into it. I didn't get very interested in the story until about halfway through.

Things didn't pick up until Finn's best friend Audrey goes away for the summer and she is left to deal with her parent's relationship problems, her new job, and sorting out her feelings for Jersy, the boy who's supposed to be Audrey's boyfriend, all by herself. The depth of Finn and Audrey's friendship was clear and that made Finn's feelings for Jersy that much more forbidden. I didn't like how the second Audrey went away, the other two started getting together. Granted, things between Jersy and Audrey were pretty much over and done with. But she and Audrey were best friends! You just don't do something like that to your best friend.

Finn wasn't one of those characters you'd like to have as your best friend because, hello, she stole her best friend's boyfriend!

The ending didn't quite satisfy me. It was close, almost; but it didn't get there for me. I did, however, like how now she has to stand on her own without always leaning on Audrey or running to Jersy. I liked the direction she was headed in as a person.

The plot itself has been done but Martin's take on it wasn't bad. Instead of one big event that changed Finn's life, there was a series of medium and small ones that led to big differences. I really liked her writing style. The way she portrays emotion makes you feel them yourself. Very realistic.

Overall, One Lonely Degree was a decent novel. Not groundbreaking or entirely unique, but sufficiently entertaining nonetheless.

I loved the cover! It's adorable! And very fitting to the story.

3.5 out of 5 stars

The Devouring by Simon Holt

When Reggie finds an old journal and reads about the Vours, supernatural creatures who feast on fear and attack on the eve of the winter solstice, she assumes they are just the musings of some lunatic author. But soon, they become a terrifying reality when she begins to suspect that her timid younger brother might be one of their victims. Risking her life and her sanity, Reggie enters a living nightmare to save the people she loves. Can she devour own her fears before they devour her? Bone-chilling, terrifying, thrilling...what are you waiting for?

The Devouring was a truly creepy novel. Simon Holt did a great job of spinning a terrifying story that will fascinate readers and keep them interested from the first page on.

I'm not one for scary stories or even horror movies so I admit I was rather reluctant to pick this one up. But now I'm glad I did! I was very intrigued by the idea of Vours, monstrous creatures that inhabit humans and feed off of their fears. It was very entertaining to watch Reggie slowly learn about them and begin to combat them in order to get her brother back.

The plot was fast-paced and devoid of anything too gross or gore-y (which I was very happy/thankful about).

If you're a scaredy-cat like me, I suggest reading it during the daytime and not right before bed. Yes, I know how pathetic and wussy-ish that sounds. =P

Overall, I was very impressed with Simon Holt's debut novel. It was wholly satisfying and a great read. And just look at that cover! The smudged makeup + the purple smoke = pretty and creepy at the same time!

Be on the lookout for my review of the sequel, Soulstice, closer to its pub date: September 1, 2009.

4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In My Mailbox (17)

I had a pretty sparse haul this week, but that's okay, because I'm starting to run out of places to put books. Seriously, you should see my bookshelf. It's overflowing. Speaking of which, would you like to see some pics of it? I know some other bloggers have done this in the past but do you want to see mine? Tell me in the comments please!
On to the books..

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers - from the library
Ash by Malinda Lo - for review
Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker - for review

Credit for creating the In My Mailbox feature goes to The Story Siren. You can find out more about it here.

Gallagher Girls Chapter 20 Discussion!

Welcome to the discussion for chapter 20 of I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter! The discussion is open to everyone. There are no right or wrong answers so feel free to tell us what you really think!

1. What would've happened if Cammie's mom and Mr. Solomon had caught her?
2. How do you think Cammie's mom's and Mr. Solomon's relationship will end up?
3. Did Cammie make the right choice in staying at the party?
4. Why did Josh choose Cammie over DeeDee?
5. What's the story behind DeeDee? Any ideas of what is going on in her head?
6. Were you impressed that Josh remembered her (fake) birthday? What does this say about him and his feelings for Cammie?
7. What was your reaction to learning that Cammie forgot her father's birthday?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (8)

Rage: A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters
Pub. Date: September 8, 2009
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Johanna is steadfast, patient, reliable; the go-to girl, the one everyone can count on. But always being there for others can’t give Johanna everything she needs—it can’t give her Reeve Hartt.

Reeve is fierce, beautiful, wounded, elusive; a flame that draws Johanna’s fluttering moth. Johanna is determined to get her, against all advice, and to help her, against all reason. But love isn’t always reasonable, right?

In the precarious place where attraction and need collide, a teenager experiences the dark side of a first love, and struggles to find her way into a new light.


Hmm..I've never read any books with homosexual characters so this one would definitely be a different read for me. I think it's important to be accepting and tolerant of those who prefer same-sex relationships, though, so this novel could be enlightening. The cover is pretty - I love her eye shadow!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

In My Mailbox (16)

I only got a few books this week, which I'm very happy about because a) they were good ones and b) I need more books like I need a hole in the head. Seriously, my tbr pile is huge and I need to catch up. Luckily, I only have one more week of school left! Heck yeah! =]

Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
- for review. I think I def. let out a squeal when I opened this one. Soo excited to read it.

Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson - from BookDivas. I haven't heard much of anything about this one but the synopsis looks interesting and original.

Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle - from a contest. This looks really cute!

Credit for creating the In My Mailbox feature goes to The Story Siren. You can find out more about it here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This layout.. probably temporary until I find one that I fall in love with. I just needed something with 3 columns plus I was sick of the old one. So what do you think? Can't wait for a different one or think I should stick with this one for awhile? Let me know in the comments please!

Gallagher Girls Chapter 16 Discussion!

Welcome to the discussion for chapter 16 of I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter! The discussion is open to everyone. There are no right or wrong answers so feel free to tell us what you really think!

1. Cammie and Josh's note leaving arrangement - romantic or corny?

2. Have you ever been in a situation where two major events that you needed to attend were going on at the same time? (like Cammie and the career fair and her date)

3. What do you think Max Edwards meant by his "advice" to Cammie?

4. When Edwards said that "not everyone can live this life," was he implying something about Cammie, her father, or both?

5. Any guesses about how the big date will go?

6. How do they play rock, paper, scissors?

7. When Cammie got caught by a teacher with a note, she hid it in her mouth. Have you ever been caught with something that would be weird/embarrassing/otherwise not good for a teacher or authority figure to see? What did you do?

Thanks for participating with us!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Book Trailer: Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

I'm so excited to read Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon. It looks actiony, unputdownable, and possibly even culturally enlightening. I will definitely be looking for this one at the library or bookstore. Want to win a signed copy, giftcard, and/or one of Cindy's original paintings? Check out this contest over at Cindy Pon's blog for your chance!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

A modern girl's comedic odyssey in a school filled with the descendants of Greek gods.

When Phoebe's mom returns from Greece with a new husband and moves them to an island in the Aegean, Phoebe's plans for her senior year and track season are ancient history. Now she must attend the uberexclusive academy, where admission depends on pedigree, namely, ancestry from Zeus, Hera, and other Greek gods. That's right, they're real, not myth, and their teen descendants are like the classical heroes—supersmart and superbeautiful with a few superpowers. And now they're on her track team! Armed only with her Nikes and the will to win, Phoebe races to find her place among the gods.


Thoughts in a nutshell:
I'm definitely a fan of Greek Mythology and I love YA fiction that plays on the subject. This novel was no exception. Phoebe and her mythological situation were very entertaining to read about.

Phoebe was an average teenage girl. Whose mother just happens to be marrying a guy who is a descendant of a Greek god. No biggie. Considering the situation, Phoebe dealt with everything exceptionally well. The other kids hate her because she's not like them, especially her new stepsister. She does have a few new friends to help her through. She even has a budding romance in the works. Most of all, she has her running to help her relax.

When Phoebe's mom annouces that she's getting married, it didn't look like things could get worse. She comes to find out that they're moving to a Greek island where all the inhabitants have supernatural powers because they're related to Greek gods. Seems like a lot to deal with, right? Then she makes a deal with the her not-so-nice stepsister that forces her to spend time with uber-hot Griffin (who she may or may not be falling in love with.)

I absolutely loved this novel! I can't wait to read the sequel!
With a funny, fast-paced plot and great characters, Oh. My. Gods. is sure to entertain any reader.

I got some weird looks at school, what with the 99% naked statue (yay for that pink bar!)
The sand and running shoes are very fitting.

5 out of 5 stars

Recommended if you:
-like fiction books dealing with Greek mythology
-liked Cupidity by Caroline Goode
-liked the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series
-are a dedicated runner

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (7)

Beautiful by Amy Reed
Pub. Date: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Simon Pulse

When thirteen-year-old Cassie moves to a suburb of Seattle, she is determined to leave her boring, good-girl existence behind. She chooses some dangerous new friends and is quickly caught up in their fast-paced world of drugs, sex, secrets, and cruelty.

Cassie's new existence both thrills and terrifies her. She embraces the numbness she feels from the drugs, starts sleeping with an older boy, and gets pulled into a twisted friendship triangle that is tinged with violence and abuse. Cassie is trapped in a swift downward spiral, and there's no turning back.


This looks like a must-read issue book. I believe that this is Amy Reed's first novel so I'm excited to see how it turns out. Plus, the cover is...eye-catching. Raw. Gorgeous.

The Waiting On Wednesday feature was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club. Her father's "bunny rabbit." A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Landau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take "no" for an answer. Especially when "no" means she's excluded from her boyfriend's all-male secret society. Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she's smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew's lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.


Thoughts in a nutshell:
This was such a great girl power book! Definitely a must-read.

Frankie was a very strong girl. She certainly grew stronger as the story went on, though. She held on to her opinions even when others doubted or underestimated her. She was sneaky yet well-intentioned. She tried to infiltrate an all-boys society yet kept her feministic attitude. I completely agreed with her view that girls are complete equals to boys. I think, in the end, she learned a lot about herself, what she's capable of, and what she wants out of life.

Fast-paced. Interesting. Even educational.
It was an original take on a boarding school girl. I don't know what else to say other than that I loved the whole story and can't wait to read more from E. Lockhart!

An intriguing, thought-provoking read. I highly recommend it!

I love the envelope. It's actually very fitting to the story. The seal provides a nice splash of color.

5 out of 5 stars

Recommended if you:
-consider yourself a feminist
-liked E. Lockhart's other novels
-like books dealing with secret societies

Monday, May 11, 2009

Interview with Darlene Ryan + CONTEST!

Darlene Ryan is the author of the YA novel Five Minutes More which was released April 1, 2009.
Keep reading if you want to win a copy of her book!


Are experiences in your novel based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

There’s a little bit of my own life experience in this book. A guy I went to school with committed suicide when we were teenagers. I still remember how shocked and sad and hurt we all were. He had moved away, but we all still considered him a friend. It didn’t make any sense. No one knew there was anything wrong in his life.

What sets Five Minutes More apart from other YA novels?

That’s a hard question. I think the fact that it’s written in the present tense will be different for some readers and intriguing for others. The book deals with some sad and serious things, but in the end it’s not a sad book—at least not to me.

What would you like readers to take away from reading FMM?

Most of all, I hope readers feel they got a good story. I don’t want a reader to finish the book and say, “Well, that was boring.”

In FMM, D'Arcy's father committed suicide. What would you say to someone in this situation in real life?

Please, please don’t do it. There are people who care about you and who will help you. Ask for help and keep asking for it until you get what you need.

D'Arcy's father chose to drive his car into a river. Why did you choose this form of suicide?

I read a news story somewhere, I don’t remember where now, about someone who committed suicide by driving into the water and it stayed with me. I’d never heard of someone doing that.

Why did you choose to write books geared toward young adults?

Even as an adult I like to read books written for teens. I think writing about teens is fascinating. There’s so much happening at that time in your life.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

One? There’s no way I can pick just one. I’m a huge fan of children’s writer, Robert Munsch. As far as young adult authors go, I like Kevin Major and Graham Mcnamee. Mcnamee’s Hate You is a terrific book. My list of favorite adult writers is long—LynnViehl’s Darkyn series is a favorite. I like Kim Harrison, Robert Crais, Tim Cockey, Harlan Coben, Kelley Armstrong and Kurt Vonnegut. If I could only pick one writer as a favorite it would be Vonnegut. He makes me think. He makes me laugh. I’ve been reading his books since high school. (And I’m not telling you how long ago that was!)

Are you working on any new YA novels? If so, can you tell us a little about them?

I’m working on a book about a bunch of street kids. The idea for that started when I read a newspaper article about a group of homeless people setting up a tent city on the riverbank. (You’ll notice things I read in the newspaper seem to stick with me.)

What are you currently reading?

I always have more than one book on the go at a time. I’m reading Amber Benson’s Death’s Daughter. It’s terrific. She’s very funny. (She was Tara, on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.) I’m also reading Collage Unleashed because I’ve been doing a lot more collage work recently. And I’m re-reading The Right to Write, by Julia Cameron.

What's the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome to get to where you are today as a published author?

Aside from my friends thinking I was nuts? : ) The biggest obstacle was learning to be a better writer—working on spelling and grammar and story-telling. I know several people who had the first book they wrote published but I’m not one of them.


And now for the contest!

The prize: a copy of Five Minutes More

To be entered: Leave a legitimate comment on this post including your email address.

For extra entries:
+1 already follow or start following this blog
+2 get a friend to start following (no limits on how many you can do, but they all have to comment and tell me that you got them to follow me)
+2 link to this contest (sidebars are fine, just tell me what/where you did.)
+1 add me to your blogroll
+2 make a POST about this contest
+2 if someone tells me you referred them (no limits)
+1 Tweet about this with an @katiesbookshelf
+1 follow me on twitter

If you do something creative to get the word out about this contest that I haven't thought of already there could be some extra entries in store for you! Just tell me what you did!


Contest ends: May 31, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In My Mailbox (15)

I got some great books this week and I can't wait to see what everyone else got!

From Contests:
Wish You Were Here by Catherine Clark
Doing It by Melvin Burgess
Always Watching by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins

Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart

PaperBack Swap:
Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

To Review:
All About Us #4: Who Made You a Princess by Shelley Adina
Donut Days by Lara Zielin (& a $5 Dunkin Donuts gift card!)
Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender (At least, I think this was for review. I don't remember asking for it, but I also don't remember entering any contests for it. Hmm..) + a CD (I haven't checked to see what's on it yet)
The Lucky Place by Zu Vincent

Credit for creating the In My Mailbox feature goes to The Story Siren. You can find out more about it here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gallagher Girls Chapter 12 Discussion!

Welcome to the discussion for chapter 12 of I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter! The discussion is open to everyone. There are no right or wrong answers so feel free to tell us what you really think!

1. Do you think what Cammie said about lies (that a part of you has to mean it) is true? What's the best/biggest/most believable lie you've ever told?

2. Do you think the girls' have been underestimating Macey?

3. Why do you think Macey has been putting up a front?

4. What was your reaction to learning that Macey really has been making an effort in school and tries to set up a study date with Cammie?

5. Cammie and her friends have an unspoken alliance with Macey. They don't neccessarily like each other but they need each other's help to meet their goals. Have you ever had a similar relationship with someone? How did it work out?

6. What do you think their next mission will be?

7. The girls are spies-in-training yet they just can't figure out boys. Why do you think they have such a hard time with that? Have you ever had any similar experiences?

Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4
Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7 | Ch 8
Ch 9 | Ch 10 | Ch 11 |

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Band Geek Love by Josie Bloss

All band, all the time. That's how trumpet goddess Ellie Snow has made it to senior year. No drama, no dating. Just keeping lock-step within the safe precision of the Winslow Marching Band. She's a fierce section leader now, and so over the heart-crushing social disaster of her freshman year. No boy is going to ruin Ellie's shining moment-her senior solo performance at the homecoming game.

And then Connor Higgins shows up. Not even Ellie can resist the trumpet player who could be a model for Abercrombie & Fitch. It's a hook-up made in band-geek heaven! But Ellie's not ready to publicize their romance, not even to her best friends. After all, Connor's just a sophomore. What would everyone say? Breaking formation and revealing her true self would be like . . . marching on the field completely naked!

Then Ellie discovers the flipside of secrets and how it feels to be shut out by the ones she loves.


Thoughts in a nutshell:
I was slightly disappointed by this novel. I don't play any instruments myself so it was something new and interesting for me to read about a girl who is so immersed in the band. But that's pretty much where my feelings for it started to go downhill. Ellie was unneccessarily dramatic and that got on my nerves because I'm not a dramatic person and I don't like to be around/read about people that make a huge deal out of every little thing.

Like I said before, Ellie got on my nerves. She overreacted, overanalyzed, and basically every over_____________(you fill in the blank) you can think of. That didn't appeal to me but if that description sounds like you, someone you know, or someone you'd like to read about, you may be able to put up with her better than I did.

Ellie had two best friends, Kristen and Jake, who were the polar opposite of her. Where she was serious, they were relaxed. Where she was uptight, they were outgoing and comfortable. They were nice dramatic foils. (Yes, I paid attention in Advanced English 9 last year.)

Connor, Ellie's semi-boyfriend, was one of my favorite characters in the whole book. He was calm and generally a nice guy. He kind of reminded me of Tristan in The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro because they were both younger yet more mature and comfortable with themselves. Which is definitely not a bad thing.

The story starts off when Ellie finds out that a new band member will be joining her section a week before the season is due to start, leaving her angry and exasperated. But then she starts having feelings for this hot, young someone which she just can't handle because a) she's his section leader and b) he's two years younger than her! Lots of drama and confusion ensue.

The writing was good but the subject matter and plot weren't my style. I'll probably still read the sequel, Band Geeked Out, just to find out if it gets any better.

Cute. The trumpet is very fitting. The bar over her eyes makes it different.

3 out of 5 stars Recommended if you:
-consider yourself a band geek
-like reading books in which the main character is very engrossed in marching band
-like musical books

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (6)

Impossible by Nancy Werlin (paperback)
Pub. Date: August 11, 2009
Publisher: Penguin Group

Lucy Scarborough is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child's birth. How can Lucy succeed when all of her ancestors have tried and failed? But Lucy is the first girl who won't be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents beside her. And she has Zach, whose strength amazes her more each day. Do they have enough love and resolve to overcome an age-old evil?

Inspired by the ballad "Scarborough Fair," this spellbinding novel combines suspense, fantasy, and romance for an intense and masterfully original tale.


The paperback cover is soo much prettier than the hardback version, don't you think? The synopsis looks intriguing and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

The Waiting On Wednesday feature was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn

Talia fell under a spell . . . . Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic. . . .

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger's soft kiss.

I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.

Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!

Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?


Thoughts in a nutshell:
This novel was cute and fun. I loved that it was a modern version of Sleeping Beauty. Flinn took the classic fairy tale and tweaked it, made it her own, and added lots of great plot twists. It was different enough to engage the reader yet retained some of its familiarity.

Talia was an interesting character to read about. She was a high class girl thrown into a completely foreign world where people weren't nice to her just because of her ancestry. Her parts of the story were written in a language expected from someone who lived in the 1700s but still very understandable. It was fun to see how she reacted to everyday things like iPods and cell phones.

Jack was also a great character. He was pretty much your average 17-year-old guy. Except, you know, the part where he stumbles into a country thats been asleep for 300 years and wakes up the princess. I liked that he was a decent, genuinely nice guy. His emotions were one of the most entertaining things - they ranged from bewildered and disbelieving to loving.

Yes, this was most definitely a love story. By that, I mean it was predominately about Jack and Talia slowly falling in love. But it touched on family love as well. Both Jack and Talia have problems with their parents that they need to work out. They both come to realize that, contrary to their previous beliefs, their parents love them unconditionally.

Cute, fun, and satisfying. Good writing and fast-paced plot.

Gorgeous! I love the green dress. It actually makes a few appearances in the story. The girl is exactly how I pictured Talia to look.

4 out of 5 stars

Recommended if you:
-liked Alex Flinn's other novels
-like reading fairy tale remakes
-enjoy reading novels where a character is from another time and place

Like the new review format? Or do you prefer the old way better? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Interview with Cindy Pon + Bookmark GIVEAWAY!

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia which was released April 28, 2009. The sequel and a picture book with her Chinese brush art will follow.


Is there a story behind the title of your novel?

originally, my title for my novel was SPIRIT BOUND. but i think
it was too vague and wasn't as evocative. my editor and i had
many brain storming sessions to come up with a better title.
and SILVER PHOENIX was one of the last that i offered.
i really like it, and i think it's fitting.

Why did you pick young adults to write for as opposed to other age groups?

it sort of picked me! my first genre love will always be fantasy.
and when i wrote SILVER PHOENIX, i wrote it as a straight adult
fantasy. it wasn't until i began querying that i got some comments,
isn't this YA? i wasn't opposed to my book being young adult at all.
my crit group friend, amber, had told me all along, but i wasn't familiar
with the genre that it is today.

so when i began querying YA agents and no one said, this isn't YA--
i found my novel a new home. in retrospect, the themes of finding
yourself, first love--they are all intrinsic to many young adult books.

What is the best book you've ever read and what was it that made it so great?

wow. that's a hard question. i can't tell you what is the BEST
book i've ever read--but two of my favorite books of all time
are island of the blue dolphins by scott o'dell and a little princess
by frances h burnett. both feature young heroine's who presevere
despite the difficulties they face in life. with dignity and a quiet
determintion. writing this, i think that they have definitely influenced
my own heroine in some ways.

How long did it take you to write Silver Phoenix?

to write the rough draft, maybe 4 or 5 months. to revise
it, one year.

If your novel was made into a movie, who would play the characters?

ooh. very tough one. and a game all authors love to play.
since mine would require asian-american actors, i'm a bit
more limited. but i always thought that golden sparrow from the
forbidden kingdom reminded me a lot of my own heroine!

If you could have any other career besides being an author, what would you choose?

food critic!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

i love to travel--tho that's limited now that we have two little ones.
i love to eat! i'm not an adventurous eater, per se, but i love trying
new restaurants and new foods from diff cultures. i love to read,
of course. and i also enjoy chinese brush painting.

Is there anything else you want your readers to know about you?

i'm basically a big old goof and stubborn to boot. =)
i'm very cynical but also quite optimistic. if that's possible.
you can nearly always find me online. i don't carry a cell phone
but i'd die if i didn't have my wifi connection. i use a macbook pro--
it's one of the first things i bought with my advance, and i LOVE it.

Any advice for aspiring writers and/or the YA blogging community?

to keep writing and believe and chase the dream.
for what are we without our dreams? it's a tough tough
business to get into, takes loads of determination and
a thick skin--but it's worth it.


Now for the giveaway part!
Some commenters will be lucky winners of a lotus bookmark! The more people that comment, the more bookmarks will be given away.
So what are you waiting for? Get commenting! And don't forget to spread the word!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

In My Mailbox (14)

This IMM post is for all the books I've gotten in the past two weeks, not just this week.
I can't wait for school to be out so I'll more time to devote to reading books. I feel like I'm neglecting my tbr pile..
From the library:
The Devouring by Simon Holt
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

From Hip Scouts:
Soulstice by Simon Holt

From Contests:
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
Take Me There by Susane Colasanti
GoldenGirl notebook

PaperBack Swap:
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Evermore by Alyson Noel
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
Princess, In the Spotlight by Meg Cabot
Snow by Tracy Lynn
Shades of Simon Gray by Joyce McDonald
The Two Towers by J.R.R Tolkien

Credit for creating the In My Mailbox feature goes to The Story Siren. You can find out more about it here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Gallagher Girls Chapter 8 Discussion!

Welcome to the discussion for chapter 8 of I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter! The discussion is open to everyone. There are no right or wrong answers so feel free to tell us what you really think!

Check out past discussions here:
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven

Here are today's questions. Tell us what you think in the comments!

1. Do you think Mr. Solomon handled the situation well or was he too harsh?

2. Did you think something bad really had happened to Bex & Liz?

3. Why do you think Cammie didn't tell even her best friends about Josh?

4. If you were Cammie, what would you have done in her situation?

5. How do you thin this experience will effect the girls' and Mr. Solomon's relationship? What about Mr. Smith?

6. Do you think the girls will be a little ginshy or more eager to prove themselves in future CoveOps classes?

7. What do you think it says about Josh that he noticed Cammie when even paranoid Mr. Smith overlooked her?

8. What was Mr. Solomon's motivation in scaring the girls like that?

Don't be shy - come share your opinions with us in the comments!

Friday, May 1, 2009


The winners of bookmarks signed by Deborah Kerbel are:


I've emailed you all so please get back to me ASAP! Thanks to everyone who entered!

Keep your eye out for a new contest soon!

Book Trailer: Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

I was already pining for this book, but after watching this video I just wanted it even more. Seriously, check it out. It's good.
Visit Katie Alender's website here.

Anyone know how to make a book trailer? What program(s) do you use? Wanna give me a tutorial? I would love to make my own but need some help getting started. Please?