Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Teen Book Scene: Character Interview: Lily from Lies Beneath

I am honored to host Lily, a character in Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown, on my blog today as part of a Teen Book Scene Blog Tour.
I got to ask Lily some questions!

1) What did you first think of Calder when you met him? Oh my gosh, don't tell him I said this--I mean, he probably knows, but I wouldn't want to hurt his feelings--but, honestly he kinda creeped me out. I mean, yeah, he's gorgeous, which I guess can be intimidating in its own right, but he was just so in my face. You know what I mean? Pushy. I guess that's the word for it. I thought he was pushy.

2) What about his sisters? The first time, like the very first time I met them, I was in a bit of a fog, and I don't remember thinking much of anything about them. The second time I met them was at the coffee shop, and my first thought was, I wish Jules was here to see these three. (Jules is my best friend from Minneapolis.) My second thought was: I wish my hair looked better today.

3) Would you ever really want to become a mermaid? No. I mean, yes. I mean, I don't know. It might be cool, except for the whole dying first thing.

4) Your taste in clothing is unique..what is your taste in music like? I used to listen to a lot of classical music, but then I found a box of vintage band tees in the attic last week (I think they were my grandpa's when he lived here), and now I'm totally into the Mamas and the Papas, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, and Jimi Hendrix.

5) What is your favorite food? Oh boy. Pizza? Or maybe peanut butter waffles? I don't know. I'll eat anything.

6) What is a secret about yourself that we don't already know? Well . . . there's a boy back in Minneapolis who's been texting me every night since I moved up here to the lake. He's just a friend and that's all he'll ever be. Ever. Besides, I think my best friend, Jules, kinda likes him.
Thanks Lily!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Review- Fairest of All

I just finished reading Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino.

From Goodreads:

The tale of the young princess and her evil stepmother, the Wicked Queen, is widely known. Despite a few variations from telling to telling, the story remains the same--the Queen was jealous of the girl's beauty, and this jealousy culminated in the Queen's attempt on the sweet, naive girl's life.

Another tale far less often spoken of is the one that explains what caused the Queen to become so contemptuously vile. Still, some have attempted to guess at the reason. Perhaps the Queen's true nature was that of a wicked hag and her beautiful, regal appearance a disguise used to fool the King. Others claim that the Queen might have hated the girl for her resemblance to the King's first wife. Mostly, the Queen is painted as a morally abhorrent woman who never loved another being during the course of her miserable life.

In fact, the theories about exactly what cause the Queen's obsessive vanity and jealous rage are too numerous to catalog. This book recounts a version of the story that has remained untold until now. It is a tragic tale of love and loss, and it contains a bit of magic. It is a tale of the Wicked Queen...

It's no secret that I love anything that has to do with Disney or with a fairy tale.  So when I saw this book, I knew I had to have it.  Unfortunately it sat on my shelf for a while until my Disbrides Book Club decided to read it.

I enjoyed this telling of the Snow White story from the Queen's point of view.  I know the Disney version backwards and forwards.  And my husband and I have been watching Once Upon a Time on tv so we know that version of the Queen too.  But this was unlike any version I have heard of yet.

I loved reading that the Queen was a good person to start with (and really to end with).  I loved realizing that she loved Snow as if she were her own daughter, not just a step daughter.  And unfortunately, things happened that made the Queen turn into the character that we know from the fairy tale. 

I don't want to give too much away, but I loved the little things that were new in this version--the three sisters, who the face in the magic mirror was, the Queen's first handmaid, and other things. 

I thought the Queen's choice at the end was interesting, but I think it might go over younger readers heads.  And the verrrrry end...as I was reading it, I thought it was going to go one way and I was thinking "Oh no!" but it pleasantly surprised me.

This was a fun retelling of Snow White and if you are interested in retellings of fairy tales, then I think you should definitely pick this one up!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 44

2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 41
2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 2

*FTC Disclosure: I bought this book.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Sunday Salon- May 27, 2012

The Sunday Salon

I can't believe we only have 2 weeks of school left!  I can't wait!  This weekend I met up with a couple of other DisBrides.  We had never met before but it was like we had been friends for years!  I can't wait to hang out with them again!

I finished and reviewed the following books in the past week:
Team Human by Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan

I fulfilled items in the following challenges in the past week:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 43
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 38
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 40
2012 Standalone Reading Challenge: 11

I am currently reading Fairest of All by Serena Valentino and up next is Fated by Alyson Noel.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Review- Team Human

I finished Team Human by Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan yesterday for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn’t mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It’s up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity!

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

While I really liked the premise of this book, unfortunately it was just okay for me.  The idea of vampires being out in normal society, with the option of humans applying for a license to transition to a vampire, was an interesting one.  And then add on the fact that if the transition didn't go right, the person either died or became a zombie.  Definitely interesting.

But it was the characters that didn't do it for me.  I didn't like Mel.  At all.  I thought that she was rude and seriously lacked in manners.  And for vampires to be such a common thing, Mel seemed kinda racist (not sure if that would be the right term, but seriously judgemental and in the wrong).  Cathy just seemed weak to me.  I get that she found the guy that she thought was the one but she just suddenly seemed to be all about Francis.  Francis was just ehh for me.  No personality really.  Ty was funny and I figured him out early on.  I find it hard that the other characters didn't.  Anna was okay.  I felt bad for her.  But now Kit on the other hand.  I really liked him!  He was funny and I loved his lines about things humans find normal (or what he thinks is normal). 

So overall, not one of my top books, but not horrible either.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

Team Human will be released on July 3, 2012.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 43
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 38
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 40
2012 Standalone Reading Challenge: 11

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In My Mailbox- May 21, 2012

In My Mailbox: Here's what came in my mailbox this week (I didn't do an IMM last week since I didn't get any books that week)

Team Human- Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Small Damages- Beth Kephart--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Iron Crowned (Dark Swan #3)- Richelle Mead--PaperbackSwap

The Sunday Salon- May 20, 2012

The Sunday Salon

Not too much going on this week.  We're wrapping up the school year.  I just found out that I get to stay in Kindergarten instead of having to move to Pre-K so I'm happy about that!

I finished and reviewed the following books in the past week:
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

I fulfilled items in the following challenges in the past week:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 41, 42
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 36, 37
2012 Debut Author Challenge: 12, 13
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 38, 39
Completely Contemp Challenge 2012: 2012-8
2012 Standalone Reading Challenge: 10

I am currently reading Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan and up next is Fairest of All by Serena Valentino.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Book Review- Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe

I finished reading Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell for a Teen Book Scene Blog Tour.

From Goodreads:

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and lNowoner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

My undergrad was in broadcast journalism and we had to work in the radio station before moving to the television station.  So radio will always have a special place in my heart.  And I loved this little radio station.  I loved the members that made it a little family.  Each member had his or her own quirk or problem that just made you love them even more.

And I really liked Chloe.  She had such a good heart and not a mean bone in her body.  She grew throughout the story and matured.  And I loved her quirky sense of humor and fun side.  And she definitely got it from her Grams.  What a great older character!  I want to be like her when I get old!  Duncan was an interesting character, but honestly, I found him a little boring.  I loved how he took such great care of his drug-addicted mother and I get how he had to spend his time working several jobs just to live but his character just seemed a little flat to me.  But maybe that's why he balanced out outgoing Chloe so well.

I rarely have a favorite part of a book.  I usually just absorb it all.  But I have a favorite part, without a doubt, of this book.
As our hands melted together, I realized the perfect gift to give Duncan, something to show how I cared.  The first day of kindergarten Grams had given it to me, and this past August, I'd given it to my brother Zach when he left for med school.
I raised Duncan's hands to my lips.  First I kissed one palm, then the other.  "When you feel lonely, I'll be there."

 Now, anyone who doesn't have child or doesn't teacher a younger grade level  might not get this reference, but it's from A Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.  It's about a young raccoon going to school for the first time and is scared so his mom gives him kisses in his palms to always remember her love for him.  I teach Kindergarten and always read this the second day of school to my kiddos.  So I love this book and LOVE this reference!

Anyways, this was a light read and something right up my alley.  Great book by a new debut author!

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 42
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 37
2012 Debut Author Challenge: 13
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 39
Completely Contemp Challenge 2012: 2012-8
2012 Standalone Reading Challenge: 10

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Teen Book Scene.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Review- Sweet Evil

I just finished reading Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

What if there were teens whose lives depended on being bad influences?
This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

What a great story about good and evil! 

First off--loved the characters!  I loved Anna.  I loved that she was so good, mostly.  But still had to fight with the temptations of evils.  I loved that she was so loving.  And Kaidan! (I think I've found a new boys name I love!)  I think I mostly really liked him.  There were still some times where he frustrated me but overall I liked him.  His relationship with Anna was pretty fast, which usually annoys me, but for some reason, it didn't in this book.  Maybe its because Anna knew it was wrong.  I liked the secondary characters too of Anna's friends.  Jay was an awesome guy best friend.  This relationship just went to show that guys and girls can be strictly friends.  And Veronica turned out to be pretty great too.  The other Neph made for a fun group of characters.  And Anna's dad--just a big old teddy bear!

Second, I don't think there was too  much action in this book.  It's more of a character story.  But I like it that way.  I liked getting all the back story of the Angels and the Neph and the Dukes.  It was interesting to read and I just got really into it.

This is the first book in a trilogy, and I can't wait til the next one comes out!

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 41
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 36
2012 Debut Author Challenge: 12
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 38

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Teen Book Scene: Guest Blog: Shelley Coriell

I am honored to host Shelly Coriell, author of Wecome, Caller, This is Chloe, on my blog today as part of a Teen Book Scene Blog Tour.
I got to ask Shelley some "this or that" questions!

1 Coffee or Tea? Tea. Green tea in the morning. Chai in the afternoon. For those of you who like chai with a kick, check out this chai concentrate recipe.

2 Hard copy of a book or e-book? I swear I never thought I’d say this, but…e-book. Great for travel and easy to read in bed.

3 Dog or Cat? Dog. I’m owned by a needy rescue weimaraner.

4 Girly Girl or Tomboy? Both. I pine for cute shoes, especially sexy sandals, but I also have a serious crush on my dusty hiking boots.

5 Cake or Ice Cream? Ice cream with toffee and double fudge brownie bites.

6 Color pictures or black and white pictures? Black and white. There’s so much story in shades of gray.

7 Travel the word or homebody? Travel the world. Just spent some time in Venice, Italy, and will be heading off next month to Alaska’s inside passage. Plus one of my best friends is a luxury travel writer, and I keep begging her to tuck me in one of her suitcases.

8 Beach or mountains? Beach. One of my favorite lines in WELCOME, CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE, is when Grams picks up a seashell and holds it to young Chloe’s ear and says, “Listen. It’s the heartbeat of the ocean.”

9 Watch movies at home or in a theater? I bow to the almighty Netflix. Current addiction: Downton Abbey.

10 Cook at home or go out to eat? Cook. I’m a former food magazine editor and love hanging out in my kitchen. I’ve been on a pasta kick lately. Tonight’s menu: orecchiette with broccoli, asiago breadsticks, and spring mix salad with orange wedges.

11 Early riser or night owl? Early riser. It’s amazing how productive I can be between five and seven every morning when everyone but the weim is asleep.

12 Popcorn or peanuts? Popcorn. Even better when made on the stove and drizzled with real butter. Never popped it yourself? Here’s an easy tutorial.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Andrea. May your world be filled with good books and great people!

To learn more about Chloe’s high school radio world and win a $50 electronic/radio store gift certificate or one of ten CHLOE swag packs, go to Shelley Coriell’s website, www.shelleycoriell.com/blog/. Good luck to all!

Popcorn is my all time favorite food--I'm not joking when I say I have it almost every day!  But I've never tried it made on the stove--I'm so doing it!  Thanks for the tip, Shelley, and for stopping by!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Sunday Salon- May 13, 2011

The Sunday Salon

Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there!  I feel like a mom sometimes with my furbaby--she sure is spoiled!  She's an inside dog--litter box trained in all--so she hardly ever goes outside.  But today we met up with another couple who has 2 puppies and we took them on a walk at a small town that is really dog-friendly.  We ate lunch at an outdoor cafe and just walked around.  Bella loved it!  She did so well--she didn't bark at other dogs and was friendly with everyone.  But now she is so tired!  She's not used to all that walking and has been napping the rest of the day!

I finished and reviewed the following books in the past week:
Belles by Jen Calonita
So Close to You by Rachel Carter

I fulfilled items in the following challenges in the past week:2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 39, 40
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 34, 35
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 36, 37
Completely Contemp Challenge 2012: 2012-7

2012 Debut Author Challenge: 11

I am currently reading Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins and up next is Welcome Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Book Review- So Close To You

Early this morning, I finished reading So Close to You by Rachel Carter for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the experiments that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and the people who’ve disappeared over the years. When she stumbles into a vessel that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, Lydia realizes that all the stories she’s ever heard about the Montauk Project are true—and that she’s in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.

Alongside Wes, a darkly mysterious boy whom she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to question all her choices. And if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them... and herself.

This is another one of those books that is completely out of the realm that I normally read.  I had no clue this was a book about time travel (I thought it was paranormal for some reason...obviously I didn't read the summary that closely).  If I had, then I never would have read it.  But I'm so glad that I did!

Lydia was okay for me.  I do think that its weird that she was so okay with the whole travel thing right off the bat--I would think that she would have been pretty freaked out. And I didn't like her relationship with Wes.  She fell in love with him so quickly and there was nothing really redeeming about him.  That being said, I LOVED Mary.  Such a bubbly, warm girl!  It sounds weird, but if she were a real person, I would totally be friends with her in real life.

The whole premise of the story was pretty interesting.  The whole time machine was intriguing as was the way the recruiting worked (although horrifying!)  There were some pretty good twists and turns.  And the one at the very end, the last sentence, makes me want to be able to pick up the second book in the trilogy now!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

So Close to You will be released on July 10, 2012.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 40

2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 35
2012 Debut Author Challenge: 11
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 37

 *FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review- Belles

I just finished reading Belles by Jen Calonita for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she’s ever known, and, unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn’t go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn’t thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, in addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates’ Southern charm, a secret is unfolding that will change both girls’ lives forever.

Okay, so I have to admit that the first thing that drew me into the book was the title.  I am a huge Beauty and the Beast fan.  So right away I wanted to read the summary.  And while it turned out that the story had nothing to do with that Belle, it did have a take on the classic Cinderella-rags-to-riches story.  So I jumped at the chance to read it!

And I really enjoyed it!  Izzie comes from a completely different lifestyle than I'm used to (athough I'm far away from the Emerald Cove lifestyle too) and I loved reading about how her two worlds merged.  There were the bad girls you loved to hate--mostly Savannah.  And then the cousin who started off evil but tried to be good--Mira.  And Brayden--loved him!  Loved that he was from the Emerald Cove world yet was completely down to earth and real

This was just a light, fun book that had me completely into it and looking forward to the next book in the series, Winter White!

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 39

2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 34
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 36
Completely Contemp Challenge 2012: 2012-7

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In My Mailbox- May 7, 2012

In My Mailbox: Here's what came in my mailbox this week (well, really for 2 weeks since my computer was broken)

Sisterhood Everlasting- Ann Brashares--Bookmooch

Tiger Lily- Jodi Lynn Anderson--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Fated (Soul Seekers #1)- Alyson Noel--for blog tour

So Close to You- Rachel Carter--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Sweet Evil- Wendy Higgins--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Belles- Jen Calonita--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Green-Eyed Demon (Sabina Kane #3)- Jaye Wells--PaperbackSwap

Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1)- Melissa de la Cruz--PaperbackSwap

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Sunday Salon- May 6, 2012

The Sunday Salon

So the week before last I got a bunch of viruses.  I tried to remove them myself but then all of a sudden I couldn't even boot up the computer.  I took it to our IT lady at work and she said that my hard drive was dead and while I could buy a new hard drive, she recommended getting a new computer since if the hard drive was dead, other things could be on their way out too.  She said that it was nothing I did that cause the hard drive to die, but I still think its something I did when I was trying to get rid of the viruses.  So I had to  buy a brand new computer.  I was without a computer for a week and a half...it was torture!  So this is for the past 2 weeks.

I finished and reviewed the following books in the past 2 weeks:
7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I fulfilled items in the following challenges in the past 2 weeks:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 36, 37, 38
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 31, 32, 33
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 33, 34, 35
Completely Contemp Challenge 2012: 2012-5, 2012-6
2012 Standalone Reading Challenge: 7, 8, 9
2012 Sophomore Reading Challenge: 4

I am currently reading Belles by Jen Calonita and up next is So Close to You by Rachel Carter.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Book Review- Tiger Lily

I finished Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson for an Around the World ARC Tour on Thursday.

From Goodreads:

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

I am Disney girl and so any story that is being retold that has anything to do with Disney is something that I jump on.  So when I read that Tiger Lily was the retelling of Peter Pan but from Tiger Lily's perspective, I jumped on board!

Unfortunately, it's not what I expected.  The whole book seemed to have an underlying sadness to it.  Even the love story was sad.  I was expecting there to be this great love story that we never got to hear about in the Disney version.  And while there was a love story, I don't really think it was all that great.

Tiger Lily never really drew me in--I never really liked her.  I wanted her to have some redeeming qualities, but she didn't really to me.  Peter Pan was okay.  But I really liked reading about the Lost Boys.  I think we got to know them much better in this book than we do in the movie.  Some of them were so cute!

And while I knew what the ending was going to be, it made me sad (theme for the whole book).  Maybe I'd like a book told from Wendy's point of view better. Oh well, I'm still glad that I read it!

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

Tiger Lily will be released on July 3, 2012.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 38

2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 33
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 35
2012 Standalone Reading Challenge: 9

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Book Review- Such a Rush

I finished reading Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols for an Around the World ARC Tour last Sunday night.

From Goodreads:

A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.

I really liked the main topic of this story--flying.  My dad had a pilot's license when I was very little.  In fact, one of my first memories is climbing from the back seat of a Cessna my dad was fliying into the front seat because I was getting air sick.  And I've always loved flying--its my favorite way to travel (although ask me after my 15 hour plane trip to Asia this summer and I might have changed my mind).  So reading all about the airplanes and flying fascinated me.

But I didn't like any of the characters--at all.  Maybe its just because I couldn't identify with them, but I don't think so.  Yes, Leah came from a hard life and background but she did not have to portray herself like a "whore" (this word was thrown around so many times in the book) even if she wasn't one.  If you want to be taken seriously, then you have to act like it and not dress they way that you don't want to perceived as.  That's just the way it is.  Not that that gave the students any right to be cruel to her.  Bullying is not acceptable at all.  And Leah claimed that Molly was her best friend but she seemed so self-centered and used Leah.  It made me sad that Leah knew it but didn't care since she wanted a friend so badly.  As for the boys, Alec was okay.  Nothing bad, nothing great about him.  But Grayson--why would Leah have a crush on someone who insulted her and treated her so poorly??  I don't care what he went through--that didn't give him the right to say the things he did to Leah.  Alec went through it too and he never became cruel.  It just infuriated me that Leah could get so mad at how he treated her but then forgave him 5 seconds later.

So I was really undecided about my overall feelings for this book.  Love for the topic and dislike for the characters.  I guess you should read it to make your own decision.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

Such a Rush will be released on July 10, 2012.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 37
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 32
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 34
Completely Contemp Challenge 2012: 2012-6
2012 Standalone Reading Challenge: 8

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Book Review- 7 Clues to Winning You

I finished reading 7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker for an Around the World ARC Tour the Thursday before last (my hard drive died so just now updating reviews).

From Goodreads:

When a humiliating picture of Blythe goes viral, she's instantly the target of ridicule at her new school. To salvage her reputation, Blythe teams up with Luke to win the Senior Scramble scavenger hunt. But Luke is an unlikely ally and potentially can't be trusted.

 Perhaps it's his Shakespearean witticisms that reel Blythe in despite her better judgment . . . or maybe she just craves the thrill of the game. But as the hunt progresses, their relationship heats up. Soon their madcap mischief spirals out of control. Blythe is faced with arrest and expulsion, among other catastrophes - until Luke shows her what the Scramble (and love) is really about.

This was a fun book.  I really liked Blythe.  She had a good heart.  I loved that she volunteered because she enjoyed it and worked hard to get into a good college.  And I loved her fashion sense.  That being said, I loved reading her journey into semi-bad-girlness (Yes, I made that word up).  She seemed to become a very real teenager.

And I liked Luke too (although how he is described doesn't match the guy on the cover to me).  I thought for sure that he was a jerk at first but I was glad to be proven wrong.

I loved the idea of the school scavenger hunt--how fun!  And the special scavenger hunt at the end-- I want one of those! (with the very end altered slightly).

Overall, a fun, light read that is easy to get engaged in.

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 36
2012 ARC Reading Challenge: 31
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 33
Completely Contemp Challenge 2012: 2012-5
2012 Standalone Reading Challenge: 7
2012 Sophomore Reading Challenge: 4

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Fated Promotion!

All of you excited about Fated by Alyson Noel, I have some promotion news for you!  If you pre-order Fated in any format and submit your receipt, you will receive a pair of soul seeker inspired earrings for free!  Read more about the rules HERE

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2012 Mammoth Book Challenge- May Update

Here are the challenge details:
1. This challenge will run from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012.
2. You can join the challenge at any time. All books read in 2012 count for the challenge, regardless of when you sign up.
3. This challenge can cross-over to your other reading challenges.
4. You do not need a blog to participate! If you are not a blogger, you can post your reviews at Goodreads, Shelfari, or LibraryThing and link them up here.
5. All formats of books are acceptable: Bound copies, e-books, and audiobooks as long as they meet the guidelines of Point #6 below!
6. IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT E-BOOKS AND AUDIOBOOKS: If you are using an e-book or audiobook for the challenge, the bound format equivalent must be a minimum of 450 pages. Only unabridged audiobooks will count!
7. Both adult and children's literature are allowed: As long as it meets the minimum page count of 450 pages.
8. About LARGE-PRINT BOOKS: Same rules apply as noted in Point #6. As long as the regular-bound format equivalent is a minimum of 450 pages, this format will count.
9. No anthologies, short story collections, or poetry: Just novels.
10. There are four levels for the challenge:
a. Level 1: Read 2 mammoth-sized books.
b. Level 2: Read 4 mammoth-sized books.
c. Level 3: Read 6 mammoth-sized books.
d. Level 4: Read 8 or more mammoth-sized books.
11. When you write your sign-up post, you must choose your level. You can go up, but you cannot go down!
12. There will be link-ups for your reviews on a quarterly basis, which will be posted on THIS page.
13. There will be a link for your wrap-up post at the end of the year.
14. Create a sign-up post and link back to this post. Sign up with Mister Linky below! Be sure to use the direct url to your sign-up post and not the url to your blog.

*Bumping this up to a level 2
  1.  Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire #2) by Courtney Allison Moulton
  2.  Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
  3.  The Savage Grace by Bree Despain

2012 Sophomore Reading Challenge- May Update

What books count towards the SRC?
Any second YA or MG book published by an author in 2012 counts – it can be the second in a series, a new series, or a standalone. The only requirement is that it is the SECOND book the author has published in the YA or MG realm (and it must publish in 2012 in your home country)! I have started a Goodreads list HERE – as you can see, there are probably many many books on that list you are planning on reading already

When does the challenge run?

Books read before January 2013 count for this challenge.

Why should I join this challenge?
Reading debut novels is AWESOME. It is by far my favorite challenge – it allows me to find many new authors that I love. What better way to support these authors than to read their next published book?

What are the guidelines of the challenge?
Your challenge is to read 10 sophomore YA/MG novels in 2012. To officially participate, you need a Goodreads account or blog where you post reviews in English.

What should I do if I’m an author coming out with a sophomore novel?
I would love to feature you on my blog! Please contact me via THIS FORM or by e-mail (shanynlee at gmail.com).

How do I join?
Link your blog or Goodreads account below, and make a list of the sophomore novels you’re looking forward to

There will be prize packs given away to challenge participants throughout next year. You will receive an automatic entry for signing up to participate – options for additional entries will be announced at the time of the giveway.

  1.  Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire #2) by Courtney Allison Moulton
  2.  Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
  3.  Perception by Kim Harrington

2012 Standalone Reading Challenge- May Update

Why a Standalone Reading Challenge?
There's a challenge for Debuts, there's a challenge for Sophomores, why not a challenge for Standalones?

So what's the challenge?
To read 15 standalone YA books in 2012!

What books count towards the 2012 Standalone Reading Challenge?
Any Young Adult standalone book that is released between December 27, 2011 and December 31, 2012. Any format (paperback, hardcover, e-book, ARC) counts, but they must be read during the year 2012.

Where can I find out which books can be read for the SARC?
We have started a list for you HERE. Please note, this list is public and won't be 100% accurate. We will try to keep it updated as best as we can. If you know of any standalones we may have missed, please feel free to add to this list.

I'm an author with a standalone novel coming out in 2012!
If you're an author with a standalone novel releasing in 2012, whether its a debut or not, you can participate too. It would be super spectacular if you would like to either donate a book/swag or sign up for an interview/promotional post! Please fill out the form HERE.

Who can participate?
Anyone with a blog or a Goodreads account where they are able to post reviews (in English) can participate.

Why should I sign up?
One, there will be a lot of fun. Two, there will be periodic prize packs (more info to come) given out to participators, as well as fun posts from and interviews with authors who have standalone YA novels releasing in 2012. And three, its a fun way to promote those novels that aren't part of a series/trilogy!

  1.  Fracture by Megan Miranda
  2.  Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
  3.  Miracle by Elizabeth Scott
  4.  Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis
  5.  Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale 
  6.  Dangerous Boy by Mandy Hubbard

2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge- May Update

Welcome to 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge!!!

We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they're gifted to us.. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we'll finally decide to pick them up..

Join us on a quest to dust off your TBR Pile and read all the books you've been telling yourself you'll read next time you'll get a chance.. This is your chance! And we've got PRIZES!!! :D

Challenge guidelines:

This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.

As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!

Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!

You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)

You can move up levels, but no moving down.

Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.

At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.

If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)

December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL.

You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Evie from Bookish - http://www.evie-bookish.blogspot.com/ @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - http://www.nicoleabouttown.com/ @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - http://www.handsandhome.ca/ @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.com/ @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - http://whatchyareading.net/ @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - http://missiontoread.com/ @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea -http://booksbiscuitsandtea.blogspot.com/ @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com/ @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - http://fansoffiction.blogspot.com/ @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - http://mermaidvision.wordpress.com/ @mermaidvisions

Wrap-up POST Schedule:
January - Donna (Theme: Let It Snow + Book Cover Challenge)
February - Nicole (Theme: Un-requited Love/Love Gone Wrong + Advice Column Challenge)March - Rie (Theme: Green or Pinched + Green Cover Challenge)
April - Bonnie (Theme: Easter + Mini Challenge)
May - Christa (Theme: MayDay - Disaster Books! + Cover Disaster Challenge)
June - Jenna ( Theme: Camping + Sentence Challenge)
July - Rie (Theme: International Day + Cover Comparison Challenge)
August - Angel (Theme: Summer Memories + Send Your Fav Character On Vacation Challenge)
September - Nicole (Theme: Life Changing Books + Mini Challenge)
October - Caitlin (Theme: Thanksgiving Theme + Share-A-Book Challenge)
November - Vicky (Theme: Spooky Halloween + Book Puzzle Challenge)
December - Evie (Theme: Xmas Bliss + Book Bachelor Challenge)

*I am signing up for the Firm Handshake level

  1.  Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

Completely Contemp Challenge 2012- May Update

What books qualify?
Any YA contemporary published in 2010, 2011, or 2012. I have lists on Goodreads that show a selection of possible books for each year but this list is NOT exclusive! As long as it was published in one of those years you may count it towards your challenge list! (And note: anyone can “vote” for a book on Goodreads, so it’s best to check the publication date yourself before officially counting it towards your challenge just in case someone added it in error.)

Contemps published in 2010
Contemps published in 2011
Contemps to be published in 2012

When does the challenge run?
Books read in 2012 count towards this challenge.

Can I count books read here for other challenges?
Sure! The goal here is to get everyone to read a few extra contemporary books, so whatever works for you works for me (Make sure your other challenges allow this before counting for both, though!)

Are there places to participate besides on my blog?
Yes! There is a Goodreads group where you can post reviews and talk about the contemporary books you’re reading

*I am choosing the number 5

  1.  A Closer Look by Karen DelleCava 
  1.  Fracture by Megan Miranda
  2.  Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
  3.  Miracle by Elizabeth Scott
  4.  Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale