Monday, October 31, 2011

Mailbox Monday- October 31, 2011

Mailbox Monday: Here's what came in my mailbox this week

Stolen Away- Alyxandra Harvey--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe- Edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner--PaperbackSwap

Sexiest Vampire Alive (Love at Stake #11)- Kerrelyn Sparks--PaperbackSwap

Kitty’s Big Trouble (Kitty Norville #9)- Carrie Vaughn--PaperbackSwap

Between the Sea & Sky- Jaclyn Dolamore--from publisher for review

The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf #2)- Molly Harper--PaperbackSwap

The Probability of Miracles- Wendy Wunder--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bookish News--Jennifer Weiner

#1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner is treating readers with her latest work, a ghostly tale entitled Recalculating (Atria Books, ebook; $0.99), available for pre-order now on Apple iBooks and Barnes & Noble Nook, and Amazon Kindle.

On the surface, Maureen’s life appears no different from any other stereotypical 54-year-old housewife's: a suburban home in a small Pennsylvania town, two loving kids, grandchildren, and a husband to dote on at the end of the day with a home-cooked meal and a crisp martini. Fat bitch. Dumb bunny. Slut, tramp, fat-ass whore – these are just a few of the cruel words that echo in Maureen’s ears every day and define the harsh reality she actually lives in. For years, Maureen has harbored a dark secret known by only one other person: her husband, Tommy.

After Tommy dies, Maureen imagines that the years of physical and mental abuse are over. But just six months later, while looking for the Halloween decorations in the attic, Maureen finds a gift-wrapped GPS with her name on the box: an early birthday present from her late husband. When the voice from the machine starts giving her sinister directions, she learns that sometimes the dead are restless...and she's locked in a battle not just for her life but for her soul.

In Recalculating, Jennifer Weiner launches us into the haunting journey of a woman struggling to conquer the demons of her past and pave the road to a brighter future.

Jennifer Weiner was voted #14 on Time magazine’s list of “140 Best Twitter Feeds.” A graduate of Princeton University, she has appeared on Today, Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, Nate Berkus, and the Early Show, and has been published in Seventeen, Redbook, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, and Elle. Her novel In Her Shoes was made into a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, and Shirley MacLaine. Jen is currently working on her latest novel, The Next Best Thing, coming in July 2012.

If you would like to read about how this story went from just an idea to a published story in less than a week, visit Jennifer Weiner's blog!

Here's an excerpt from the story!

Tommy had been dead for six months when Maureen found the box he’d left for her in the attic.

She’d gone up there to retrieve the Halloween decorations, the glow-in-the-dark eyeballs and fake spiders that she’d twine around the front gate, the witch’s hat she’d perch on her head when she stood in the doorway, handing out candy to kids who looked less and less familiar each year, and the candy bowl itself, with a plastic claw perched on the edge (the claw would open and shut dramatically, grasping for a trick-or-treater’s hand when Maureen pressed a button underneath).

The Halloween stuff was where she expected to find it, in a lidded plastic storage bin with the word Halloween written in Tom’s clear, firm handwriting on a sticker on top. The box was next to it, wrapped in silvery paper, tied with a gold bow. A small white envelope was slipped underneath the bow, and her name, again in Tommy’s handwriting, was on it. For Maureen, it read.

Suddenly breathless, as if her husband’s ghost had popped up out of nowhere to stand before her, glaring, Maureen staggered backward and tripped over the Halloween stuff. The bin tipped onto its side, spilling its contents—tea light candles and spray-can spiderwebs, tubes of black and silver glitter, a squirt bottle of fake blood, a grinning, glow-in-the-dark skull—onto the attic floor. “Jesus God, Tom, you scared me!” she said, one hand over her heart and her whole body trembling. It took her a few minutes to remind herself that Tommy wasn’t here, that Tommy was gone, dead and gone, that Tommy would never scare her again.

“Silly goose,” she told herself. That hadn’t been one of Tommy’s pet names for her—dumb bitch had sufficed as an endearment during the long dark night of their marriage. “Silly goose” was what she called Tom Junior and Liza when they were up to some small bit of childish mischief. Then, knees creaking, Maureen hunkered down in an awkward crouch and began to pick up the mess. When order was restored, and the bin neatly re-lidded, she picked up the gift box in the corner. For Maureen, she read again, this time without squealing or gasping or stumbling around like some girl. She was fifty-four years old, too old to act like a child. With one ragged thumbnail she slit the envelope open. The card contained just three words: Love always, Tommy.

Maureen bent her head. A dull red flush had risen to her cheeks. One hand wandered almost reflexively to her hair, gathered up a hank and started pulling. Not gently. “Oh, Tommy,” she whispered, sick with shame, dizzy with guilt. She and her husband had had their secret life, it was true, but that didn’t mean he was without kindness. At his funeral, their daughter had said that her dad was a man who never forgot a birthday, never forgot an anniversary, and would take time to write letters as the Tooth Fairy when each of Liza’s teeth had fallen out.

Love always, Tommy. Had he loved her after all? She sent her mind back along the thirty years of their union and decided that the answer was no . . . or maybe that what Tommy had named love was some mutant variation on the real thing, a toxic and night-blooming flower that he called a rose.

She lifted the box, feeling its weight. Not heavy, not light. She shook it experimentally. It didn’t make a sound. She would wait, she decided. “Always safe, never sorry,” she whispered—that had been one of Tommy’s sayings, he had a million of them—and carried both the bin and the box down the stairs.

The Sunday Salon- October 30, 2011

The Sunday Salon

Not too much happened over the past week.  I went to a friend's wedding on Friday.  I hadn't seen her in a while so it was nice to meet up again.  She looked beautiful!  I am dreading tomorrow.  We have our character parade at school in the morning and the kids are always hyper all day.  And since Halloween is on a  Monday, they're going to be hyper all week!  Here's hoping the week goes by fast!

I finished and reviewed the following book in the past week:
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey

I fulfilled items in the following challenges in the past week:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 100, 101
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 80, 81
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 80, 81

I am currently reading The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder and up next (if I don't get any more blog tour books) is Between the Sea & Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review- Stolen Away

I just finished reading Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he won't comply, and now chaos threatens both worlds.

The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife. . . Eloise's aunt Antonia. Using Eloise to lure Antonia, Strahan captures his wife, desperate to end the only threat to his reign. Now Eloise must become the rescuer. Together with her best friends Jo and Devin, she must forge alliances with other Fae, including a gorgeous protector named Lucas, and Strahan's mysterious son, Eldric-who may or may not betray them.

First a little side note.  I really really really like this cover.  There's something so striking about the colors.  So pretty!  Okay, done :)
Stolen Away started off pretty slow for me.  The beginning didn't really hold my interest.  There were even a couple of parts I had to go back and re-read.  I remember thinking that I was disappointed because I love Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles series so much.  I didn't really care about any of the characters at first either.  But it did pick up.  And by the end, I was invested in the story.
I never really cared about Eloise.  Yeah, she was the main character but there was nothing about her that I liked (or disliked for that matter).  But I really liked Jo.  She was clumsy and sweet and flirty and had a love of all things British.  Yeah, she was my favorite.  And she had spunk to her! 
As for the plot, once the teens decided that they were going to try to save Eloise's aunt from the Fae, that's when everything picked up for me.  And there was a little bit of romance.  But it was enough for me to enjoy and it was a sweet and happy one!
I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

Stolen Away will be released on January 17, 2012.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 101
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 81
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 81 
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Contest Winner- Lost in Time

According to

Martha Lawson

has won a copy of Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz! Please email your address to me at belle2211(at)yahoo(dot)com by Mondayat 4pm and I'll have your book mailed out to you!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Teen Book Scene: Guest Blog: Heather Davis

I am honored to host Heather Davis, author of Wherever You Go, on my blog today as part of a Teen Book Scene Blog Tour.

I got to ask Jason, a character in Wherever You Go, some of his preferences!

1) Dog or Cat? I don’t have a pet but I like both.

2) Air or water? Water. I like to sail.

3) Day or night? Day.

4) Ocean or mountain? Ocean.

5) Hot or cold? Hot.

6) Cake or ice cream? Cake.

7) Bookworm or TV couch potato? Bookworm.

8) Disney or Universal? Neither. These places don’t interest me.

9) Junk food or healthy food? Healthy food.

10) Shop in stores or online? Store.

11) Desktop computer or laptop? Laptop - Mac

12) Email or snail mail? Snail mail.

Thank you so much for joining us Jason, and Heather!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review- Glow

I just finished reading Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.
So for the first half of the book, I couldn't put it down.  I could easily see how it could be made in a dystopian or sci-fi movie.  So much action and I couldn't wait to read more.  And just got kinda weird.
I don't want to give away too much.  But there are something that happen that I find too disturbing and creepy.  And then towards the end it gets a little too religious and fanatical for me.  Luckily, one of the main characters has a problem with the religousness, but I still had to read it.  And roll my eyes.
I like Waverly.  I like that she is stong and stands up for what she believes in.  But Kieran never really grew on me.  And the world that these kids grew up in.  Or I guess I should say the space ship they grew up in.  It was neat to read about how it was almost like a whole world in the ship, even with orchards in them!
I dunno.  I wish I could have liked the whole book as much as I liked the first half.  Oh well.
I gave the book a rating of 3.5/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 100
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 80
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 80

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

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mailbox Monday- October 24, 2011

Mailbox Monday: Here's what came in my mailbox this week

Glow- Amy Kathleen Ryan--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Sunday Salon- October 23, 2011

The Sunday Salon

Yesterday the hubby and I went to Food and Wine at Epcot with a couple of friends.  I love going to this every year!  There's always such yummy food!

I finished and reviewed the following book in the past week:
Reasons to be Happy by Katrina Kittle
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Prized by Caragh O'Brien

I fulfilled items in the following challenges in the past week:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 97, 98, 99
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 77, 78, 99
2011 Debut Author Challenge: 26
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 77, 78, 99 
2011 YA Contemporary Challenge: 17
2011 A to Z Challenge: O

I am currently reading Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan and up next, if I don't get any more tour books, is Dear Bully by a bunch of different authors.

Book Review- Prized

I just finished Prized by Caragh O'Brien for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

It is very rare that I like the sequel more than I like the first book.  But that's what happened with this book.  I liked it so much more than the first book, Birthmarked.  I didn't want to put it down!
Prized made me really think.  About what was right and what was wrong and about the society that we live in today.  The society that Gaia stumbled into is so different.  And while I could see how it worked, it just wasn't RIGHT.  And I loved how Gaia stood up for what was right.
I really like Gaia.  I loved how she (mostly) stood up for what she believed in, or at least tried to.  I loved how she was so independent but not in an off-putting way.  The only thing I didn't get was her attraction to Leon.  I don't remember much about their relationship from the first book, so maybe that's why.  But he was just so horrible to her in this one. 
It's hard for me to write a review.  I don't want to give anything away so I can't write about just what was so wrong with the society or how Leon was horrible.  Just know that you won't want to stop reading!
I gave this book a rating of 4/5.
Prized will be released on November 8, 2011.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 A to Z Challenge: O
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 99
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 79
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 79
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Review- Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Late last night, I finished reading Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
I have heard/read so many rave reviews about this book.  And I was sooo excited to read it.  So why do I always find myself in the minority with books that are raved about??  Sigh.  I'm not saying this book was bad.  Not at all.  But I didn't fall in love with it like I thought I would.  It was just too...dark for me, I guess.
The book is set in such a different world.  Even in the world that is human, it was so foreign, in every sense.  It just seemed slow to me.  It took me a while to read it.  And I never really could get into Karou.  I never got close to her and felt like I really cared about her.
The premise of the story was a good idea.  A unique one.  The world Karou lived in sure was weird.  Maybe it was just too weird for me.  I did like the ending though.  The last 100 pages or so seemed to really fly by.  I think I was more interested in that part of the story than Karous.  Not really sure why. This book will have a sequel and I think I'll need to read the summary of that book to see if I'll pick it up.
I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 98
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 78
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 78
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Teen Book Scene: Guest Blog & Giveaway!: Wendy Delsol

I am honored to host Wendy Delsol, author of Frost (Stork #2), on my blog today as part of a Teen Book Scene Blog Tour.

Thank you to Andrea at So Many Books, So Little Time for having me. To be clear, the answers below are my own and NOT from the POV of my main character, Katla Leblanc. We’re so very different that probably not a single answer would be the same. And she’d probably have a snarky comment, or two, about some of my responses.

Sweet or salty?
If it’s what I like to eat, then sweet. I’m a sucker for anything lemon/lime: lemon bars, key lime pie, lemon meringue pie (which, as a girl, I used to request instead of cake for my birthday treat), etc.
If you’re asking about my personality, a little of both

Dogs or cats?
Cats. I’ve never owned a dog. Growing up, I had a cat named Tinkerbell. Our family now has a cat named Valentine. She kind of has the personality of a dog, however. She’s affectionate to the point of needy.

Coke or Pepsi?
Neither. I rarely drink soda of any kind. My parents only let us have pop on weekends so it wasn’t something I had often as a child. In my teens and twenties the diet drinks were so perfectly awful (anyone remember Tab?) that I never acquired the habit.

Hard copy of books or electronic copy of books?
I’ve yet to read a book on any type of e-reader, thus definitely hard copy. I spend so much time on my computer writing during the day that this has more to do with eye fatigue than an aversion to new technology.

Color pictures or black and white pictures?
Hmmm. Probably black and white. Next to the bed in our master bedroom is a wall of family pictures, all in black and white. There are four generations of photos, many date back to when black and white was the only option.

Cake or ice cream?
Ice cream. Baskin-Robbins’ chocolate peanut butter is my favorite flavor.

Hot dog or hamburger?
Burger. If it’s an option, patty melt.

Fab 5 Disney characters (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Pluto) or Disney Princesses (Cinderella, Bella, Snow White, Ariel, etc.)?
Princess, all the way. Girl Power!

Watching movies in movie theatre or at home?
I watch more movies at home these days. Having said that, there’s nothing like seeing a “big” movie on the screen. The last movie I saw at the theatre was The Help. Loved it. Loved the book, too.

Country music or Hip hop music?
Country. My two teen sons will give me major eye rolls for this confession, however.

McDonalds or Burger King?
Neither willingly. If we’re on the road and fast food is the only option, then I’m more likely to suggest Subway or Quiznos’.

Stay up late or get up early?
Stay up late, definitely. The alarm clock is evil incarnate.

Left-handed or right-handed?
I’m right-handed. Here’s an interesting fact. While writing Stork, I injured my right arm and was forced to type (and even write long-handed) with my left. Since then I’ve stumbled across brain studies that suggest using your non-dominant hand can lead to increased creativity. By exercising the other side of your brain, you force the two hemispheres to create new synapses or connections.

Thanks Wendy!  And I agree about girl power and that the alarm clock is evil!!!

Also, thanks to Wendy, I have one copy of Frost to giveaway!
To enter, fill out the form HERE!

~U.S. or Canada only
~contest ends on October 27th at 11:59pm EST
~ extra entries
+1 blog follower
+1 leave link to contest on twitter
+2 leave link to contest on Facebook
+3 leave link to contest on blog

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday- October 19, 2011

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Pledge
by Kimberly Derting
Publication Release Date: November 15, 2011

From Kimberly Derting's website:

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Review- Reasons to Be Happy

i just finished reading Reasons to be Happy by Katrina Kittle for a Sourcebooks blog tour.

From Goodreads:

Hannah's parents are glamorous Hollywood royalty, and sometimes she feels like the ugly duckling in a family of swans. After her mother's tragic death, Hannah's grief is compounded by her desperate need to live up to her mother's image. She tries to control her weight through Bulimia, and her devastated father is too distracted to notice. The secret of her eating disorder weighs heavily on Hannah, but the new eighth grade Beverly Hills clique she's befriended only reinforces her desire to be beautiful. The only one who seems to notice, or care, that something is wrong is Jasper, the quirky mistfit.

Okay, a little random side note.  I read this whole book thinking about how this was a new-to-me author.  And when I was done, I was thinking what an amazing book this was.  Then I was reading the author part of the book and realized that Katrina Kittle also wrote The Kindness of Strangers.  I was thinking that I remembered enjoying the book and so I tried to find my review on the blog, but I read it before I started this blog, so I went to goodreads and realized that I gave that book 5 stars!  That is a high, high compliment from me.  I almost never give 5 stars!  So just realize how amazing Katrina Kittle is!

Okay, on to the review.  First off, this book should mandatory for every single junior high student (or girl at least) to read in some health class.  Bulimia is such an important topic and this book covers it in a way that is so very detailed yet not preachy at all.  I feel like on one hand, it shows the pros (no, not pros, there are no pros, but I can't think of another word) of an eating doesn't just gloss over it like teens will never have a problem and bulimia is so gross..yadda yadda.  I think that if a teen already has an eating disorder, he/she would be able to identify with Hannah and this book would help a teen overcome the disorder.  Yet at the same time, I think that it shows how horrific bulimia is and that hopefully teens who don't already have an eating disorder would realize that beauty is deeper than the outside of a person and that there are other ways to overcome stressful/upsetting times.

That being said, I loved Hannah.  She was just such a real teenager.  You could feel her pain and her want to be happy.  And the journey she took was such an important one.  Both in the literal sense, of going to Ghana, and of the metaphorical sense, of trying to overcome her eating disorder.  And Aunt Izzy.  Everyone needs an adult in their life like her.  Someone who's not critical, is there for you and wants to help. 

And I loved reading the lists on things to be happy about.  I found  myself saying "yup" or "that makes me happy too" too most of them!  So here's a brief look at my happy list:

1) Cuddling up on the couch with my hubby and puppy
2) Looking at my wedding photos
3)Going out with the girls
4)Cheering on the Gators at the Swamp
5) Getting a compliment from a stranger

I just can't express how much I enjoyed this book.  It was such a tough topic but the author did such a great job with it!

I gave this book a rating of 4.5/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 97
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 77
2011 Debut Author Challenge: 26
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 77
2011 YA Contemporary Challenge: 17

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free from Sourcebooks for an honest review.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mailbox Monday- October 17, 2011

Mailbox Monday: Here's what came in my mailbox this week

Daughter of Smoke and Bone- Laini Taylor---review for an Around the World ARC Tour

You Are My Only- Beth Kephart--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Prized- Caragh O’Brien--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Briana’s Gift- Lurlene McDaniel--won from Random Buzzers

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Sunday Salon- October 16, 2011

The Sunday Salon

Last night hubby and I went to Party for the Senses at Epcot.  It's an expensive ticket but the hubby got 2 free ones.  And then inside you get all the food and drink you want.  Yummy!

I finished and reviewed the following book in the past week:
You Are My Only by Beth Kephart
The Vision by Jen Nadol

I fulfilled items in the following challenges in the past week:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 88, 96
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 70, 76
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 69, 76
2011 YA Contemporary Challenge: 15

I am currently reading Reasons to be Happy by Katrina Kittle and up next is Daughter of Smoke and Bones by Laini Taylor.

Book Review- The Vision

I finshed reading The Vision by Jen Nadol for a Teen Book Scene blog tour.

From Goodreads:

Cassie Renfield knows the mark tells her when someone is going to die and that she can intervene and attempt to change fate. But she still doesn't understand the consequences, especially whether saving one life dooms another. With no family left to offer guidance, Cassie goes in search of others like her. But when she meets Demetria, a troubled girl who seems to have the power of the Fates, Cassie finds the truth isn't at all what she expected. And then there's her heady new romance with bad boy Zander. Dating him has much graver repercussions than she could ever have imagined, forcing Cassie to make choices that cut to the essence of who she is and what she believes.

Jen Nadol offers readers a romance with big stakes and an ethical dilemma with no easy answers in this riveting sequel to The Mark. Paranormal fans who love the psychological thrill of Lisa McMann's bestselling Wake trilogy will flock to these books.

I'm glad that I read The Vision right after reading The Mark, but at first there seemed to be some jumping around (Jack, the move to a diferent city..although it is explained later on in the book).  Once again, I really liked Cassie's character.  I loved how she was trying to figure out what the right thing to do really was, not just going off of the history of what she was told to do. 

And there were some great secondary characters.  I really liked Liv, her new best friend.  I loved her personality and how she was sarcastic with Cassie, but completely there for her.  And then you have the two new guys: Zander and Ryan.  At first, I didn't get what Cassie's attractiong to him was, but that's explained too.  I liked Ryan.  He seemed so sweet and eager to please Cassie.

I do feel that its kind of weird that Petra would divulge patient info to Cassie but it did make it an interesting side story but I wish there was more of a conclusion with that patient.

This book had a teeny tiny cliffhanger, and I'm eager to see what's going to happen next in the third book in the series, The Touch.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 88
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 70
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 69

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

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Friday Finds- October 14, 2011

Friday Finds

Overbite- Meg Cabot
Meena Harper has a special gift, but it's only now that anyone's ever appreciated it. The Palatine Guard - a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican - has hired her to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan. With Meena's ability to predict how everyone she meets will die, the Palatine finally has a chance against the undead.

Sure, her ex-boyfriend was Lucien Antonescu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness. But that was before he (and their relationship) went up in flames. Now Meena's sworn off vampires for good . . . at least until she can prove her theory that just because they've lost their souls doesn't mean demons have lost the ability to love.

Meena knows convincing her co-workers - including her partner, ├╝ber-demon-hunter Alaric Wulf - that vampires can be redeemed won't be easy. . . especially when a deadly new threat seems to be endangering not just lives of the Palatine, but Meena's friends and family as well.

But Meena isn't the Palatine's only hope. Father Henrique-aka Padre Caliente- New York City's youngest, most charming priest, has also been assigned to the case.

So why doesn't Meena - or Alaric - trust him?

As she begins unraveling the truth, Meena finds her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare . . . and temptations she never even imagined existed, but finds impossible to resist.

This time, Meena may finally have bitten off more than she can chew. (From Meg Cabot's website)

I Love the 80s- Megan Crane
Jenna Jenkins was getting married to her long-term boyfriend, Adam, and she was sure her life was all coming together. Until Adam left her for a twenty-three-year-old yoga instructor. To ease the pain, Jenna threw herself into her teenage memories of the late, great Tommy Seer, killed when his car crashed off a bridge in 1987, when she was just twelve, and focusing on the man who has been -- and always will be -- the true love of her life, however worrying that may seem to her best friend, Aimee.

One day, working late, or thinking about Tommy at her office after dark, a freak accident sends Jenna back to 1987. It's a few short months before Tommy will die and Jenna's job is apparently working as his assistant. But Tommy is not the guy she imagined. He's mean and rude and obnoxious. But heis still deliciously good-looking. When Tommy takes her into his confidence, she starts to see the real him beneath the image and finds herself more in love than ever. He suspects someone is trying to kill him -- and she knows it won't be long before they succeed. Why is she here? Is she meant to save his life? But how can she without revealing the bizarre, unbelievable truth? (From Megan Crane's website)

Book Review- You Are My Only

I just finished reading You Are My Only by Beth Kephart for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Emmy Rane is married at nineteen, a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock.

Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the "No Good." One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that gives Sophie the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever. . . .

The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie—alternating narratives of loss, imprisonment, and freedom regained—escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax.

This book was a book that I had read several great reviews of and after reading the summary, I thought it would emotional.  But nope, not for me.  I honestly don't get the raves about the book.  Maybe its the fact that the story is full of poor grammar (which fit the characters but made for an awful slow read).  Or the fact that for some things there was waaaay too much detail (I could care less about shapes and who discovered them). 

I was hoping that a story about a kidnapped baby would be emotional and pull at my heart strings, but I found myself not really caring about the story or the characters.  I couldn't relate to any of them and they kind of got on my nerves.

As for the ending, it was predictable but wrapped up way too quickly.  I think that this part didn't have enough details (as compared to other parts that were way too detailed).  But I do have to say that if anything, the last paragraph did get me just a little.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

You Are My Only will be released on October 25, 2011.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 96
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 76
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 76
2011 YA Contemporary Challenge: 15

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

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Giveaway- Lost in Time

On September 27th Hyperion published LOST IN TIME, the latest Blue Bloods novel!

 Having been forced to separate, Schuyler travels to Alexandria to search for Catherine of Siena and the Gate of Promise. But Schuyler quickly discovers that everything she believed about the Gate to be wrong. Meanwhile, Jack makes the difficult decision to return to New York to face his twin and former bondmate, Mimi. But instead of a bitter reunion, he is faced with a choice for which there is no good option. Mimi, with a most unexpected travel companion in Oliver Hazard-Perry, jets off to Egypt, too, to search for Kingsley Martin, her long lost love. With all roads leading to Hell, Mimi learns that not all love stories have happy endings. But she'll have to put her own feelings aside if she's going to save her crumbling Coven.

And thanks to Authors on the Web, I have one copy of Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz to give away!

To enter, fill out the form HERE!
~U.S. or Canada only
~contest ends on October 20th at 11:59pm EST
~ extra entries
+1 blog follower
+1 leave link to contest on twitter
+2 leave link to contest on Facebook
+3 leave link to contest on blog
Want to know more about the Blue Bloods series??
~The Lost in Time trailer
~Here is a “Behind the Scenes” Video for the LOST IN TIME cover shoot
~Excerpts from LOST IN TIME
~The Blue Bloods “Vamp Yourself” App: Blue Bloods website  or Facebook
~A list of movie theaters scheduled to show the LOST IN TIME trailer (9/30-10/13 and 11/18-12/1)
~Visit Melissa de la Cruz's website
~Melissa de la Cruz on Twitter
~Melissa de la Cruz on Tumbler
~The Blue Bloods Facebook Page

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Contest Winner- After Obsession

I know it took me a while to post this, but according to

Jessica @ Book Sake

has won a copy of After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel! Please email your address to me at belle2211(at)yahoo(dot)com by Friday at 10pm and I'll have your book mailed out to you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Teen Book Scene: Guest Blog: Catherine Ryan Hyde

I am honored to host Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Second Hand Heart, on my blog today as part of a Teen Book Scene Blog Tour.

I asked Catherine to list her top ten vacation spots that she's been to.  And she was even nice enough to put links to her photo galleries from each location (I'll include one picture for each too!)

#1 Machu Picchu

I backpacked from a trailhead outside Cusco to the monument, meeting my mother there (she came up on the train). It had been a dream trip for both of us. I’m not usually a history buff, but this place is amazing. An ancient city in the clouds. With llamas. What’s not to like?

#2 Back-to-back cruises in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas

I had a chance to take these cruises as a speaker (just for the cost of airfare and extras). Otherwise I doubt I could have afforded a trip like this. Some of the highlights were Rome, Venice, Tunisia, the Greek Island of Santorini, Athens. I’d never been on a big cruise ship (not so much my thing, it turns out) and I’d never been to Europe. Memorable trip!

#3 The Grand Canyon

One of my absolute favorites. I’ve hiked the Canyon three times now to really breathe it in, and I’m going back in early December. Staying a couple of nights at Phantom Ranch (at the bottom). It’s a real trial climbing out, but so worth it! There’s just nothing else quite like it.

#4 Bryce Canyon

Just got back from my second time there. Otherworldly. Not sure what else to say about the colors, the shapes. If you haven’t seen a hoodoo, it’s a tricky thing to describe. That’s why I always bring back plenty of photos. The first time I was there, I hiked the Peekaboo Loop. This time, the Fairyland Loop. Both amazing!

#5 The Columbia River Gorge, and the Oregon Coast

About a year ago I took a long motor home trip up through Central Oregon, along the Columbia River Gorge, and then down the coast all the way to home. The waterfalls along the gorge were amazing, and Highway 1 from Northern Oregon was scenic beyond belief. I love Big Sur, and my local Highway 1, and I’m not saying it was better up there… but it was different, and the views just went on and on. Love waterfalls, love rugged coastlines. Good for the soul.

#6 India

I traveled to Rishikesh in 2005 to meet with a Swami who was a big Pay It Forward fan. Stayed at an ashram for about two weeks. The trip was life-changing and unforgettable, but I have to say that India is an acquired taste. There are wild monkeys everywhere, the poverty is horrifying, the sanitation all but non-existent. It took me awhile to adjust. But then I could definitely feel the way the area had gotten under my skin (in a good way). It pushed me over the edge into a Yoga and meditation practice, and I still have those to this day. That, the photos, and some very adventurous memories.

#7 Yosemite

I feel fortunate to live so close. I can drive there comfortably in a morning or afternoon. As a result, I’d guess I’ve been there maybe ten times or more. I’ve hiked Half Dome (though I chose not to go all the way up the cables), I’ve done Cloud’s Rest from the Valley (the longest and highest day hike I ever did). I got “lightning-ed out” of a hike over the Panorama Trail last fall, and hope to make that up next month, weather permitting. The first link to the photos below is Yosemite in Winter, because I think it’s at its most beautiful then. I’m also including a May trip.

#8 Zion National Park

Great hiking. A shuttle system that drives you through the valley and drops you off at all the best sights and trailheads. There’s an epic hike you can do through the Narrows, but the wading aspect and the specter of flash floods have caused me not to try it. So far. But I’ve hiked all but the last horrifying cap of Angel’s Landing, the Overlook Trail, the Watchman Trail, Emerald Pools. It’s just a spectacular park.

#9 The Wave

This is a little-known spot. I found it by searching online for world-class hikes. It’s an acre or so of red rock sandstone in the most amazing wave-like pattern. You have to see pictures of it to really get why it’s so special. It’s located in Coyote Buttes North, the Vermillion Cliffs area of BLM land. Right on the state line separating Arizona and Utah. To get to the trailhead, I had to drive my motorhome about 5 mph down a 20-mile dirt road with ruts deep enough to take out my exhaust or sewer pipe. But it was worth it. It was a hike unlike any other.

#10 Cambria, CA

Okay, this is not so much a place I’ve visited. It’s more a place I live. But it is a really nice vacation spot. Just a quick drive north from Morro Bay, where the estuary makes for great kayaking. Just a bit south of the southern gate of the Big Sur Coastline. Doesn’t get much better than that. I just happen to be very fortunate to live in a town that many people consider a vacation spot. Every day I take a walk by the ocean on Moonstone Beach Drive. It’s like being on vacation all the time. (Except I still have to get my work done.)

Wow!  These places are GORGEOUS!  (I especially liked The Wave!) I'm so jealous you've been to all of them!  Thanks for sharing!