Monday, August 31, 2009

Giveaway: The Elite Series by Jennifer Banash

Jennifer Banash has generously donated the full Elite series for giveaway!

To Enter: Leave a comment on this post including your email address. If you fail to leave a way to reach you, your entry will not count.

Open to:
US or Canada only.

You win: The Elite, In Too Deep, and Simply Irresistible by Jennifer Banash

For Extra Entries:

+1 Follow this blog
+1 Comment on my review of The Elite
+2 Visit Jennifer's site and tell me one thing you liked. (Bonus +2 if you comment on her blog!)
+2 Link to this contest (sidebars are fine, just tell me what/where you did.)
+3 If you POST about Back to School Week

Ends: September 12, 2009

"Back to School" Week!

I hereby declare this week (Aug. 31-Sept. 5) "Back to School" Week on my blog! Why should you be excited, you ask? Well, because there will be tons of author interviews, guest blogs, contests, and even some guest blogs from fellow YA book bloggers! This is the biggest event held on my blog so far and I hope, with some help from you, to make it a huge success! Please stop by throughout the week for lots of great posts.

If any of you know how to make a banner and would like to lend your services, please email me!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Create Your Own Cover

I've been seeing a lot of these posts lately, so I thought it would be fun to make my own. It's easy to do so try your own!


1 – Go to “Fake Name Generator” or click
The name that appears is your author name.

2 – Go to “Random Word Generator” or click
The word listed under “Random Verb” is your title.

3 – Go to “FlickrCC” or click
Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.

4 – Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in.

5 – Post it to your site along with this text.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Words Memoirs by Teens Famous and Obscure edited by Smith Magazine

True tales of love, loss, good friends, and bad hair days filled Not Quite What I Was Planning, the New York Times bestselling first book in the Six-Word Memoir series—an international phenomenon. Some of the very best were by teens, so the editors decided to create a book written entirely by those bold, brash truth-tellers. From cancer to creativity, prom dates to promiscuity, and breaking hearts to breaking laws, the memoirs in this collection reveal that often the youngest writers have the most fascinating stories to tell.
This was a interesting book to read. It took hardly any time at all to read through but it was very eye-opening. Sometimes you forget that there are people out there who are worse off than you are. This book served to remind me just how lucky I am.

For example:

"Teen victim of shooting: lost leg."

"Falling apart because Dad's behind bars."

However, others are uplifting and inspiring:

"Cheer captain and valedictorian: stereotype annihilator."

"Never been drunk. Never been happier."

"Asperger's does not define my life."

"I'm poor. I'm going to Harvard."

Every teen will be able to relate to something from this book. There are memoirs written in every tone you can imagine. This is what I'd call a "rainy day" book. I'd have to be in a certain kind of mood to read it, but sometimes it's just what you need.

I recommend this to teens who are interested in looking at some insight into other peoples lives.

4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin

Pure. Unplanned. Perfect. Those were Nick’s summer plans before Sasha stepped into the picture. With the collateral damage from his parents’ divorce still settling and Dani (his girl of the moment) up for nearly anything, complications are the last thing he needs. All that changes, though, when Nick runs into Sasha at the beach in July. Suddenly he’s neck-deep in a relationship and surprised to find he doesn’t mind in the least. But Nick’s world shifts again when Sasha breaks up with him. Then weeks later, while Nick’s still reeling from the breakup, she turns up at his doorstep and tells him she’s pregnant, and Nick finds himself struggling once more to understand the girl he can’t stop caring for, the girl who insists that it’s still over.
This novel was beautifully written. It was one of those books you simply can't bare to put down.

I liked that it was written from Nick's point of view. It was interesting to see how a guy would deal with his (ex)girlfriend getting pregnant. Being a girl myself, it was just nice to see that he was as torn up about it as I know a girl in this kind of situation would be.

Dani's character was especially interesting to me because she served the purpose of showing that Nick really was in love with Sasha - he wasn't just in it for the sexual stuff because he could've gotten that from Dani.

I thought it was interesting that Sasha's pregnancy drove them apart instead of making them closer since neither one was over the other yet. Unless you've been in a similar situation or know someone who has, you'll probably find it hard to relate to. I know that most teens my age don't even want to think about something like this happening to them.

The reality, though, is that things like this happen every day. I think teens should read more books like this, if not for enjoyment than to further convince them to be careful and safe if they choose not to abstain from sex. I know that I'll think twice about becoming sexually active because I certainly do not want to have to make the tough decisions that Sasha did. No teenager should have to.

I believe that this novel will appeal to both genders. It was an amazing debut from C.K Kelly Martin and I look forward to reading lots and lots more from her in the future!

5 out of 5 stars!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Secrets of Truth & Beauty by Megan Frazer

When Dara Cohen was little, she was a bright, shiny star. She was the cutest seven-year-old who ever sang Ella Fitzgerald, and it was no wonder she was crowned Little Miss Maine. That was then. Now Dara's seventeen and she's not so little anymore. So not little, that when her classmates find out about her illustrious resume, their jaws drop. That's just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won't get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives. When a disastrously misinterpreted English project lands her in the counselor's office--and her parents pull her out of school to save face--Dara realizes she has a decision to make. She can keep following the rules and being misunderstood, or she can finally reach out to the sister she's never met--a sister who lives on a collective goat farm in Massachusetts. Dara chooses B. What follows is a summer of revelations, some heartbreaking, some joyous; of friendship, romance, a local beauty pageant; and choices. And as autumn approaches, Dara finds she may have to let go of everything she's taken for granted in order to figure out who she really is, and what family really means.
This novel was touching. It dealt with hard issues like body image and obesity. Since obesity and being overweight are growing issues today, it was interesting to see how this really made Dara feel and affected her life. Lots of times society judges people with weight issues without considering the person's feelings so to see the other side of the story was refreshing.

It challenged the widely accepted definition of beauty - skinny, tall, pretty. Dara, who wasn't super skinny, was beautiful on the inside and she learned to recognize and be proud of that. I liked that fact that this novel didn't imply that Dara should lose weight in order to be beautiful. It wasn't on the pro-anorexic-level-skinny side at all. It helped the reader see that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, you just have to look past stereotypes and the way other people see things to find it. It was sad to see that Dara wasn't necessarily uncomfortable with herself, just with how everyone else perceived her.

I was troubled by Dara's relationship with her parents, however. Her mom was always trying to control her life, especially her weight. They dwelled on her pagaent-winning past instead of seeing the person Dara was in the present. But when she went to meet her sister, she finally figured out that family are people that love and accept you and would never try to change you, no matter what.

Overall, this was a poignant story that was easy to relate to. An impressive debut from Megan Frazer!

4 out of 5 stars

Friday, August 21, 2009

Book Trailer: Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

Melissa Walker is one of my favorite authors. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Violet series by her. So I know I'll enjoy her most recent novel, Lovestruck Summer. Check out this trailer, made by YABOOKNERD:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman

Delia Truesdale has no idea her life's about to change forever. She's too busy enjoying the California summer. Her internet tycoon mother, T.K. Truesdale, is out of town, and that means Delia can spend all her time at the beach, surfing. That is, until everything unravels.

Her mother suddenly goes missing, and everyone thinks she's dead - excpet Delia, who knows T.K.'s way too organized to simply disappear. But Delia's still sent to New York to live with her two aunts - a downtown bohemian and an uptown ice queen.

And in case that's not bad enough, she also has to deal with a snooty new school and trying not to fall for the wrong guy. Oh, and finding her mother.

As she delves deeper into the tangle of conspiracies and lies surrounding T.K.'s disappearance, Delia begins to suspect that the wrong guy may be the right guy...and that some secrets - especially the dangerous ones - were never meant to be unraveled.


In all honesty, this book was good. Not great. Nothing spectacular, but still enjoyable.

I liked Delia from the beginning. She was strong and didn't let others influence her opinions, even over her mother's whereabouts. I was intrigued by her background and how she lived growing up.

The big mystery of what happened to her mother was the center of the whole book. Delia is constantly thinking and plotting how to find her mom. She is so consumed with it that you just have to keep reading because it makes you want to know the real story as well.

The ending, however, left something to be desired. There were way too many questions left unanswered. I still wanted a lot more explanations. It just wasn't tied up enough for my taste.

Overall, it was a decent read but nothing too remarkable.

I LOVED the cover, though. It sort of reminds me of the opening sequence in the movie Juno. In any case, very cute.

3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Being Nikki by Meg Cabot

Things aren't pretty for Emerson Watts.

Em was sure there couldn't be anything worse than being a brainiac the body of a teenaged supermodel.

But it turned out she was wrong. Because that supermodel could turn out to have a mother who's gone mysteriously missing, a brother who's shown up on her doorstep demanding answers, a former best friend who's intent on destroying Stark Enterprises to avenge the death of his lost love, and a British heartthrob who's written a song about her that's topping the charts.

How can Em balance all that with school, runway shows, and weekend jaunts to St. Johns - especially when she's got ex-boyfriends crawling out of the woodwork who want more than just a photo op; a sister who is headed to the high school cheerleading championships; a company she represents that seems to be turning to the dark side...

Not to mention trying to convince the love of her life that models aren't really airheads after all...especially one model in particular.

But then, nobody said it was going to be easy being Nikki.


Being Nikki was a satisfying sequel to Airhead. There was no shortage of new twists. Things even start to take a dark turn.

Em Watts has now accepted and gotten used to the fact that she's now in supermodel Nikki Howard's body. She is just trying to go about Nikki's daily life while still trying to unravel the mysteries of Stark Co. And she can't forget about her feelings for Christopher, her former best friend.

New plot developments and discoveries cause everything to change and to put Em and her friends in a dangerous situation.

Overall, this was an exciting installment in the Airhead series. I look forward to reading the next installment, Runaway.

4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Book Trailer: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I've read this one, so I can tell you that it's awesome. It just came out recently so I highly recommend you go out and get your copy. Seriously, if you're into werewolf books this one is definitely for you. I'll have my review up soon! For now, though, check out the trailer:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (15)

Kiss in the Dark by Lauren Henderson
Pub. Date: April 13, 2010
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

With Dan McAndrews's murder finally behind her, Scarlett has high hopes for a fresh start at Wakefield Hall Collegiate, the elite English boarding school her grandmother runs. Unfortunately, those hopes are dashed when her nemesis, the infamous Plum Saybourne, is transferred to the school. Plum wastes no time turning Scarlett’s impressionable classmates against her.

Scarlett has dealt with Plum’s nasty schemes before, and she can handle her archenemy very nicely, thank you—until Plum sets her sights on Scarlett’s best friend, Taylor, and new boyfriend, Jase. Then Scarlett is more than willing to fight for what’s rightfully hers.

Things only get worse after Scarlett becomes entangled in a mysterious death on campus. Scarlett is compelled to investigate because she wants to protect someone close to her. She never imagines that she’ll uncover secrets related to her parents’ fatal accident so many years ago. . . .
I absolutely loved Kiss Me Kill Me and Kisses and Lies so I can't wait to read the next installment. Mystery, drama, AND British accents? Sounds like my kind of book. Does anyone know whether this is a trilogy or a series? In any case, I'm dying to get my hands on this one!

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

Check Out This HUGE Contest!

Go here to enter a great contest with an insanely large amount of books up for grabs. Please sat that I referred you! Here's what you can win:

Prizes you can win:
1. Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick ARC
2. Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen ARC
3. Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters ARC
4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater ARC
5. Troy High by Shana Norris ARC
6. Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott ARC
7. Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn ARC
8. Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker
9. Death by Series by Linda Gerber (3 books total)
10. a 5 dollar giftcard from Walmart (you can buy yourself half of a book with it, lol)
11. 3 Sarah Dessen books ( Just Listen, This Lullaby, Someone Like You)
12. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
13. Fire By Kristin Cashmore ARC
14. Last but not least, I have some extra amazon cards, so I will also include a preorder for CATCHING FIRE BY SUZANNE COLLINS. It will be shipped to on or around Sept 1st (whenever they ship it)
AND a book of your choice (under $15.00 please and it can be a preorder as long as it comes out in September-so many good books get released)

Sounds awesome, right? To enter, go here and please say that I referred you!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Donut Days by Lara Zielin

Emma has a lot going on. Her best friend’s not speaking to her, a boy she’s known all her life is suddenly smokin’ hot and in love with her, and oh yes, her evangelical minister parents may lose their church, especially if her mother keeps giving sermons saying Adam was a hermaphrodite.

But this weekend Emma’s only focused on Crispy Dream, a hot new donut franchise opening in town, where Harley bikers and Frodo wannabes camp out waiting to be the first ones served. Writing the best feature story on the camp for the local paper might just win Emma a scholarship to attend a non- Christian college. But soon enough Emma finds the donut camp isn’t quite the perfect escape from all her troubles at Living Word Redeemer.


When I first read the summary and then began reading the book itself, I wasn't really crazy about the premise. It was very original but for some reason I just tend to shy away from books that have anything to do with religion. Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against religion. I just don't find it as fun to read about as other topics.

Besides that, I found Donut Days to be a funny, accessible story. The author's messages outshine the religious context and could still be applied to everyday life outside the church. In other words, even if you're not an evangelical Christian or religious at all you could still relate the the characters and enjoy reading the story.

I thought it was a well-written novel and a fantastic debut for Lara Zielin. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Boy Toy Contest Winner

And the winner is:

Jess of Lost in a Book

Congratulations! I've already emailed you so please get back to me in the next 48 hours!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Contest Alert!

Check out this awesome contest at Mrs. Magoo Reads for a chance to win 9 books including:

-ARC of Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner
-ARC of La Petite Four by Regina Scott (used)
-ARC of The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro
-Slept Away by Julie Kraut
-The Diamonds by Ted Michael
-ARC of (Re)Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin (gently used)
-ARC of Work What You Got by Stephanie Perry Moore
-ARC of Hancock Park by Isabel Kaplan
-ARC of 30 Days to Finding and Keeping Sassy Sidekicks and BFFs by Clea Hantman

Be sure to follow her blog for more cool contests and reviews!

The Devouring #2: Soulstice by Simon Holt

The terrifying, nail-biting, and grossly intriguing sequel to The Devouring. It's been six months since Reggie first discovered and fought against the Vours, malicious and demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on the eve of the Winter Solstice. The Vours still haunt Reggie, but only in her dreams-until one night, when an unexpected visitor turns her nightmares into reality. The battle against evil continues in Soulstice, the second book in the thrilling The Devouring series, which School Library Journal called, "Comparable to books by R. L. Stine and Stephen King....A must-have for horror fans."

I loved The Devouring so I was very eager to read the second book in the series, Soulstice. I was not disappointed. It was everything I expected and more.

It was just as fast-paced, thrilling, and intriguing as The Devouring. There were even more unexpected plot twists that made the story that much more readable and unputdownable.

It was interesting to see how having been occupied by a Vour previously affected Henry. Reggie's interactions with Quinn made me want to keep reading to find out just what she was thinking talking to him and *slight spoiler* teaming up with him. *end of spoiler*

The ending was so good! I am eagerly anticipating the release of the next book in the series so that I can find out what happens next!

Overall, Soulstice was a delightfully creepy read that I highly recommend if you enjoyed The Devouring. As I said before, I will definitely be picking up the next book when it comes out.

I love the cover! Hats off to all these creative cover designers. I've been seeing some awesome ones lately.

Anyone have any info about the next one in the series? Because seriously, there has to be more!

4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Interview with Lisa Ann Sandell

Today I have an interview with Lisa Ann Sandell, author of A Map of the Known World.


Cora is a very creative girl. Do you consider yourself creative? In what ways besides writing do you express your creativity?

I do consider myself creative—art and music have always been interests of mine. I played several instruments when I was in school. Now, living in an apartment in New York City, it’s hard to practice without disturbing all my neighbors. I have studied flamenco dance, drawing, and sculpting in the last few years. Sculpting is definitely a passion of mine.

Did the inspiration to write A Map of the Known World come from something that actually happened to you or someone you know?

My grandmother, Bessie Sandell, passed away about half a year before I decided to write this book. Losing her affected me very deeply, and while the loss of a grandmother isn’t the same as losing a sibling, and my family didn’t undergo the same sort of grieving process as Cora’s, I did want to find a productive and creative way of dealing with and trying to understand my own remorse and grief. Writing and art have always been an outlet for me. So I decided to use my writing to explore my own feelings and in doing so, create a character who uses art to deal with her own emotions.

Cora dreamed of traveling all over the world. Where have you traveled? Where else do you plan to or want to travel to in the future?

I love to travel. I’ve been super lucky and had the opportunity to see lots of amazing places. Some of the countries I’ve spent time in: Spain, France, Portugal, England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Canada, Mexico, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, China, Mongolia, Russia, and this winter, my husband and I are planning a trip to India and Bhutan. I can’t wait! Next, I’d love to visit Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia someday. Plus, I’d love to go back to some of these countries and spend more time…oh, there are so many places to go!

A Map of the Known World was set in a small town. Did you grow up or live in a small town? If so, did it have the same effect on you that it did on Cora?

I grew up in a smallish or medium-sized town in a very small state. And while I don’t think I felt quite as suffocated as Cora does, I certainly longed to get out and to see and explore more of the world. Now that I’ve been out and about and seen some of the rest of the world, I love my hometown very much.

Cora fell for the "bad boy" Damian. Do you have a soft spot for guys of this nature? Why do you think so many girls are attracted to this type of person?

I definitely have a soft spot for bad boys, especially in movies! I think their appeal is threefold. First, there’s the challenge of breaking through the tough exterior and getting them to reveal their mushy side, and second, there’s the idea of being able to help them reform. Who doesn’t love a good challenge, and who doesn’t love the idea of getting a boy to love you so much, he wants to be a better man, right? And finally, there’s the excitement of the danger the bad boy poses. Oooh…danger is always a draw!

The character Helena became friends with Cora after her so-called best friend ditched her. Have you ever had a similar experience? Why did you feel the need to include someone like Helena in Cora's life?

I didn’t have a similar experience, and my best friend from high school is still one of my best and dearest friends in the world, even though we live on opposite sides of the country now. But, Cora made such a huge transition in her life after losing her brother, and sometimes people grow out of their friends. It can happen at any stage of life, and it seemed natural for Cora to undergo this kind of change, given the monumental change that has happened in her life. Helena seems to me almost like a guide for Cora as she begins to navigate her passions and her new life as a young adult, figuring out what is important to her, who she wants to be, what she wants to do. Helena embodies the strength that Cora needs to find within herself to be the person she is meant to be.

Where did you get the ideas for Cora, Damian, and Nate's artwork?

While I don’t use found objects in my own sculptures (I sculpt in clay and cast in a bronze resin), when found object sculpture is done well, I think it is just about the coolest, most interesting art form. The notion of taking a totally ordinary object that one sees every day and turning its function completely on its head is almost rebellious, and I thought this is something that Damian and Nate, being rebels, would find thoroughly compelling. I also love maps, and I knew I wanted Cora to use maps to express herself and her desire to see the world, so combining the two forms seemed like such an intriguing—and challenging—idea, I couldn’t resist.

Name 3 songs you listened to while writing A Map of the Known World.

I listen to a lot of music while I write, but here are three:

“Busby Berkeley Dreams” by The Magnetic Fields

“River” by Joni Mitchell

“Chinese Translation” by M. Ward

What is your favorite kind of pie? (Yes, I know this is random.)

Key lime. Tart and sweet. Perfection.

What YA book are you most looking forward to reading?

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I LOVED Hunger Games.

What is the best movie you've seen lately?

Up. It’s fabulous.

Anything you'd like to say to the YA blogging community?

I would like to say THANK YOU, to the YA blogging community. You guys are doing something so amazing, and I just feel lucky to be a part of it and to be so supported by it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Thanks for the interview, Lisa!