Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Derby Girl/Whip It by Shauna Cross



Available Now!!!

Synopsis:

Meet Bliss Cavendar, a blue haired, indie-rock loving misfit stuck in the tiny town of Bodeen, Texas.

Her pageant-addicted mother expects her to compete for the coveted Miss Blue Bonnet crown, but Bliss would rather feast on roaches than be subjected to such rhinestone tyranny.

Bliss’ escape? Take up Roller Derby.

When she discovers a league in nearby Austin, Bliss embarks on an epic journey full of hilarious tattooed girls, delicious boys in bands, and a few not-so-awesome realities even the most bad-assed derby chick has to learn.


I love this book!! The only thing I might love more than this book, is the movie. Well, actually I always love the book more, but it's a close race. Bliss Cavendar is my hero. She is everything I wish I had been in high school, but so totally wasn't.

I've been a roller derby fan for quite awhile now, so it's great to see a YA book about the sport from someone who actually knows how the game is played. You can tell that Shauna Cross isn't afraid to strap on some skates and get fightin'. One of the things I love most about the derby is that it is so empowering, not just for the women in the skates, but for all those ladies in the stands, too. It's amazing to see smart, tough girls play hard and, sometimes literally, fight to win.

The relationship between Bliss and Pash is so real and was written with complete honesty. This book is all about heart and about having the drive and the courage to follow your own path, or as the movie says, "Be Your Own Hero." It's an incredible message and one that girls everywhere need to hear on a daily basis.

Read the book!! See the movie!! You will love it!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (35)--Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith


Release Date: October 27, 2009 from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux

Synopsis:

Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.


Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world.


This sounds AWESOME!!! I can't wait. It sounds like Holes, only a really disturbing and creepy version. YAY!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

James Patterson Prize Pack Winners!!!



The winners of the James Patterson promotion who will each receive an 8 book prize pack are:


Sandra Stiles

Sara
I'll be sending you both e-mails momentarily, so get back to me as soon as possible with your address and I will pass them onto the publicist.
Thank you all for entering and I'll be announcing another promotion at the end of next week, so stay tuned.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In My Mailbox (31)

As always, In My Mailbox, is brought to you by Kristi, AKA The Story Siren.

For review:

Medina Hill by Trilby Kent


Release Date: October 13, 2009 from Tundra Books

Synopsis:

In the grimy London of 1935, eleven-year-old Dominic Walker has lost his voice. His mother is sick and his father’s unemployed. Rescue comes in the form of his Uncle Roo, who arrives to take him and his young sister, Marlo, to Cornwall. There, in a boarding house populated by eccentric residents, Marlo, who keeps a death grip on her copy of The New Art of Cooking, and Dominic, armed with Incredible Adventures for Boys: Colonel Lawrence and the Revolt in the Desert, find a way of life unlike any they have known. Dominic’s passion for Lawrence of Arabia is tested when he finds himself embroiled in a village uprising against a band of travelers who face expulsion. In defending the vulnerable, Dominic learns what it truly means to have a voice.

Trilby Kent brilliantly handles a far-off time and place to present a story of up-to-the-minute relevance.



This one is for an upcoming book tour and it looks fantastic!!

Blue Plate Special by Michelle Kwansey


Release Date: September 23, 2009 from Chronicle Books

Synopsis:

Doomed loves, failed families, nixed dreams—someone else's leftovers are heaped on our plates the day we come into this world.

Big Macs and pop tunes mask the emptiness as Madeline watches her mom drink away their welfare checks. Until the day Tad, a quirky McDonald's counter boy, asks Madeline out for a date, and she gets her first taste of normal. But with a life that's anything but, how long can normal really last?

Hanging with Jeremy, avoiding Mam, sticking Do Not Disturb Post-its on her heart, Desiree's mission is simple: party hard, graduate (well, maybe), get out of town. But after Desiree accepts half a meatball grinder, a cold drink, and a ride from her mother's boyfriend one rainy afternoon, nothing is ever simple again.

Too many AP classes. Workaholic mom. Dad in prison. Still, Ariel's sultry new boyfriend, Shane, manages to make even the worst days delicious. But when an unexpected phone call forces a trip to visit a sick grandmother she's never met, revealing her family's dark past, Ariel struggles to find the courage to make the right choice for her own future.

Three girls from three different decades find out it's what they do with their leftovers that matters—because, after all, life is your own blue plate special.


This look amazing and I'm so glad I have a chance to read it. I'm also giving a copy of this book away here.

When the Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton


Release Date: Available Now from Philomel

Synopsis:

Jimmy lives in Rowlesburg, West Virginia, during the 1940s. He does all the things boys do in the small mountain town: plays a mean game of football, pulls the unforgettable Halloween prank with his friends in “the Platoon,” and promises to head off into the woods on the first day of hunting season— no matter what. He also knows his father belongs to a secret society, and is determined to uncover the mysteries behind it! But it is a midnight encounter with a train that shows Jimmy the man his father really is.
Newcomer Fran Cannon Slayton’s powerful first novel captures the serendipity of boyhood by shining a spotlight on the peak adventures of Jimmy’s life. But at its heart, this is a story about a boy and his father in a time when trains reigned supreme.

“When the Whistle Blows is reminiscent of classic tales by Jack London, William Golding and Robert Louis Stevenson, yet carries the remarkable, fresh voice of its author. Fran Cannon Slayton should be extremely proud of this, her debut novel.”—Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank and Identical.


I'm starting this one today. You have to love a glowing review from Ellen Hopkins. It certainly grabbed my attention.

Purchased:

Damn you Borders and your Buy 2, Get 1 free YA sale!! I can't resist!

Candor by Pam Bachorz
Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman
Rage by Julie Anne Peters

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shark & Lobster's Amazing Undersea Adventure by Vivianne Schwarz


Release Date: Available Now from Amazon at a special bargain price!!

Synopsis:

A silly shark and lobster are in a panic to ward off a land-bound menace in this comical ode to the power of suggestion, the joys of teamwork, and the fun to be found in a narrow escape.

Out in the sea, Shark told his friend Lobster one day: "Lobster, I'm scared!"

What could Shark possibly be afraid of? It seems somebody's told him
about a thing that's full of teeth and stripes, and now he's scared of . . .
tigers! Rumor has it these horrible creatures walk on their teeth, glow in the dark, and eat you up. Of course, there's nothing to be done but to build an undersea fortress that will shield Shark and Lobster from this terrible threat, and as word gets around, ocean friends from cuttlefish to spiky crabs get busy piling seven hundred rocks and an old piano to keep tigers away. But is their wall high enough to do the trick? Wouldn't a huge sea monster, big enough to swallow them all, do an even better job of protecting them?


I'll probably start reviewing at least one picture book a week, because I've been reading them to the kids and school. Some of them just really jump out at me as things I'd like to share and this most certainly falls into that category.

It came out back in 2006 and has apparently just been sitting on our library shelf gathering dust since then. I'm so glad I picked it up and decided to give it a read. It's an adorable story with incredibly fun dialogue and vivid pictures. A lot of the interaction between Shark and Lobster made me think of the Pigeon's voice from Mo Willems' awesome series.

It's a great story to read to any age and as proof, my kindergartners and first graders actually clapped after I finished the story and gave it the rave review of, "can you read it again?" Basically it was a hit and will now be a go-to book for years to come. Check it out!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Can't Wait For Whip It!!!!


I just saw on TV (during Glee) that there's a sneak preview Saturday night of Whip It, which is probably one of my most highly anticipated movies. First of all, it's about Roller Derby, which I love. Our local derby league are the Kansas City Roller Warriors and they are some badass ladies.

Secondly, the movie stars Drew Barrymore, who I adore. It always amazes me that we are the same age, because it seems like she's been around forever (oh wait, she has). She's so awesome!!

Thirdly, this spectacular-looking movie is based on a YA novel originally titled Derby Girl, now renamed Whip It. The book is written by Shauna Cross and I'm reading it right now and can tell you that it is fantabulous.

So, I guess we all know what I'll be doing Saturday night.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (34)--Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves


Release Date: January 5, 2010 from Simon Pulse

Synopsis:

Love can be a dangerous thing....

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.


This looks fantastic!!! I can't wait....and yet I will.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Win a copy of Blue Plate Special by Michelle Kwansey


I've been offered a copy of Blue Plate Special by Michelle Kwansey to give away to one lucky reader. I have a copy on the way for myself and I have to say, it looks really good. Here's the info:

Synopsis:

This emotional and evocative novel explores the lives of three young women. Madeline, Desiree, and Ariel - who narrate alternating chapters - may live in separate decades, but they struggle with issues that transcend time and place. Madeline is worn down by caring for her alcoholic mother and has been teased since childhood for being overweight. Angry, foul-mouthed Desiree will do anything to avoid her neglectful mother and the unwanted advances of her mother's boyfriend. And sensitive Ariel struggles with the pressures of taking AP classes and coping with a domineering boyfriend. As the girls' individual stories progress, the truth unfolds that they are actually three generations of one family. And when the tales ultimately intersect, present-day Ariel's breakthrough is also a triumph for her mother and grandmother. Beautifully written and impossible to put down, "Blue Plate Special" offers teen readers a fresh look at familiar topics, while also imparting a powerful message about self-respect, empathy, and forgiveness.

Here's how to enter:

+1 for commenting with your e-mail address
+1 for becoming a follower
+2 if you are already a follower
+1 for blogging about my contest, please include a link
+1 for adding me to your blogroll
+1 for following me on Twitter

This contest will end on October 11th.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau


Synopsis:

The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! This stunning debut novel offers refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.

I watched this movie a couple of weeks ago and it made me think, "I know the book has to be better than this." It's not that it was a bad movie, it just felt disjointed and rushed. So, I checked the book out of my school library and gave it a read. I loved it!!

This book was soooo much better than the movie. It's full of adventure and completely kept me on the edge of my seat (and I already knew how it ended). I love the characters of Lina and Doon and just kept rooting for them through each chapter and twist and turn the plot took.

I kept trying to imagine spending my life living underground totally dependent on a failing generator to keep me in the light. It's a pretty terrifying image, which only made me more anxious to see Lina and Doon succeed.

If you haven't read this, which I may be the last person in the world who hasn't, you should definitely pick it up. Borders has a new edition that has the first three books in one volume for like $13.99. I, of course, bought it and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. So, see the movie, if you want to, but most certainly read the book. It's fantastic!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

In My Mailbox (30)--The Big Three-Oh


Hmm, I can't believe I've been IMMing for 30 weeks. Crazy how time flies when well....time is flying. I've been so busy lately I am completely falling behind on my reading. I think I just need to find that balance between classes, new job, reading, and that oh-so-important new season of Supernatural (what are they doing to my boys?!)

Anyway, first things first, In My Mailbox is brought to you by Kristi, AKA The Story Siren.

I'm going to be lazy this week, because I have a family reunion tomorrow and I want to read more of Karma for Beginners, which I am LOVING!! So, no pics or descriptions, just the basics today.

For Review:

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines---I'm very excited for this one and it's a shiny new finished copy. Adding it the the ever-growing TBR pile.

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey--Thanks to Hugh for sending this one my way. It looks great!

Out of the Nursery by Elizabeth Gauthier--This one is a picture book which I reviewed in my last post.

Purchased:

Went a little crazy at Borders and Half-Price Books:

Simon Bloom: The Gravity Keeper by Michael Reisman
Simon Bloom: The Octopus Effect by Michael Reisman
Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffin
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
The Amanda Project: invisible i by Stella Lennon (Melissa Kantor)
Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner


I'm trying to curb my buying for the next week or so, because Borders has an Educator Appreciation Week coming up where I can save 30% on all my purchases. Yay!! So, these may be the only books for a couple weeks. Luckily, I have about a million books already on my shelves that I need to read.

Oh well, it's a sickness. I guess there are worse things than books and Winchester brothers to be addicted to.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Out of the Nursery by Elizabeth Gauthier


Release Date: Available Now from Frog Legs Ink

Synopsis:

An egg on a wall....a family in a shoe, sure it sounds familiar but haven t you ever wondered what happened next? Out of the Nursery is a fun twist on some old favorites whose endings may just surprise you yet. Paired with quick rhymes and whimsical drawings this fun collection is bound to become a story-time staple.

Since I'm working in an elementary library now, I'm always looking for interesting new picture books to share with my students. Even the 5th graders prefer picture books in my school, so I was thrilled when I was contacted to review Out of the Nursery.

This is a really delightful book with a great premise. It takes classic nursery rhymes and twists them around putting a completely new spin on them. The black and white illustrations are fun and whimsical and capture the magic of the verses.

I can't wait to take this one to school and share it with my students. It's a great way to get them thinking about fractured fairy tales and how to create their own spins on classic stories and rhymes.

I look forward to the author's next book which comes out in 2010.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ghost Huntress Book 2: The Guidance by Marley Gibson


Release Date: Available Now from Graphia

Synopsis:

Kendall and her ghost hunting team is the talk of Radisson, Georgia, but one person isn’t so pleased. Courtney Langdon doesn’t appreciate Kendall’s new popularity or her relationship with Jason, Courtney’s ex.


So Courtney begins dabbling in the paranormal world. At first it’s all a game to draw attention away from Kendall. But Courtney doesn’t know what she’s getting into—or what wants in her. This is one game that’s about to turn deadly serious.


And for more about Kendall and the ghost huntresses, check out www.ghosthuntress.com!


I am definitely a fan of this series. You can read my review of the first book, The Awakening, here. I love shows like Ghost Hunters, or the Supernatural version, Ghostfacers, so this series about ghost hunting teens is right up my alley.

Kendall is a great character who is struggling with her new found psychic gift. Her religious mom is skeptical and makes Kendall seek professional help. In this outing we get to see Kendall's interaction with the doctor and her feelings as she goes through different tests and starts to doubt herself a little.

We also get to learn more about Kendall's friends, especially goth girl Becca who has a very different hidden past. The main storyline revolves around Kendall's arch nemesis Courtney, who is trying to make her life a living hell. When Courtney gets into trouble, Kendall has to find a way to help her even if it means making herself a target.

I love reading about all of the ghost hunting gear and the southern setting is perfect for this kind of tale. The interactions between Kendall and her friends are great. The only complaint I have, and it has nothing to do with the writing, is that I really don't like Kendall's boyfriend Jason. He just seems sort of whiny and never really gives her a break.

I am really looking forward to the next book in this series, especially since this one totally cliffhangered (completely not a word) us in the end. Keep 'em coming Marley and I'll keep reading them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (33)--The Amanda Project Book One: Invisible I by Stella Lennon (Melissa Kantor)


Release Date: September 22, 2009 from HarperTeen

Synopsis:

Amanda Valentino changed everything.

Callie Leary has exactly one thing, and one thing only, in common with Nia Rivera and Hal Bennett: They were each chosen by Amanda to be her guide. When Amanda arrived at Endeavor High, she told Callie she moves around a lot and always picks one person to help her navigate the choppy waters of a new school. Why did Amanda lie?

Following a course that they suspect Amanda deliberately plotted, Callie, Nia, and Hal piece together some cryptic clues. But they find more questions than answers and quickly realize that before they can figure out what happened to Amanda—the girl who changed their lives—they'll need to solve the most important mystery of all: Who is Amanda Valentino?


I think this series sounds amazing!! First of all, it's interactive and you can find clues on the website here. Secondly, each book is written by a different YA author, like the 39 Clues, which I love so much. Thirdly, I just think reallllly want to read this one. Looks great and I always love a mystery.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough


Release Date: Available Now from Clarion Books!!

Synopsis:

Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

This was such a great book!! Tamsin is a completely believable and likable character. Everyone has at one time or another felt life they didn't belong anywhere. Everyone has felt like they don't fit in with their family at some point in their lives, which makes Tamsin so relatable. I could feel how alone she was, because MacCullough's writing captured it perfectly.

This was a fantastic quick read, which was one part supernatural, one part romance, and one part good ol'fashioned mystery. I loved it. And Gabriel is my new literary fangirl crush. Plus, I loved the whole time travel element. I can't wait to read more about the Greene family and I do believe there is a sequel planned, so I am excited.

I completely recommend this book. I was starting to get a little tired of the supernatural stuff, but Once a Witch pulled me back in. Thanks Carolyn for catching my attention and keeping me reading.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Changes In Store For Disneyworld


So, this is completely not book-related, but as most of you probably know by now, I love Disney theme parks. In fact, my sister and I are already planning our Spring Break trip to Disneyworld. I saw this little news article online today and felt the need to share. I'm very excited about the happenings in one of my favorite parks. I just hope they don't get rid of any of my favorite rides in the process.

Florida's Disney World to get Fantasyland facelift

ORLANDO, Fla. – Disney executives are planning the largest expansion in the history of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in central Florida.

The development will nearly double the size of Fantasyland and include a new, lavish ride based on the Little Mermaid. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo made the announcement Saturday.

Analysts predict it will re-ignite travel to Orlando, which has lagged in the global recession.

Disney also plans to update Star Tours, the Star Wars-themed ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios. It will debut in 2011. The Fantasyland overhaul will be complete by 2013. Disney declined to say how much it will spend on the projects.

Disney's parks contribute about a third of the giant entertainment company's revenue.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In My Mailbox (29)------Woo Hoo!!!

First things first, In My Mailbox is brought to you by Kristi, AKA The Story Siren.

So, I was having the slowest week of all time, but that's okay, because I'm super busy with work and school. Then I came home on Friday all tired and ready for the weekend and I walked into the house to two lovely packages sitting in my living room.
Two packages....three books I am incredibly pumped to read.

Viola In Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani


Release Date: Available Now from HarperTeen

Synopsis:

I'm marooned.

Abandoned.

Left to rot in boarding school . . .

Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world.

Ick.

There's no way Viola's going to survive the year—especially since she has to replace her best friend Andrew with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to like it there. She resorts to viewing the world (and hiding) behind the lens of her video camera.

Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she thought they would be, and soon Viola realizes she may be in for the most incredible year of her life.

But first she has to put the camera down and let the world in.


I'm very excited to read this one. It looks fantastic.

These next two books....well, I'll admit, I begged for them from Penguin, but that was ages ago, so I assumed I wasn't getting them. I literally squealed when I opened the package and saw finished copies of both.

ArchEnemy by Frank Beddor


Release Date: October 15, 2009 from Dial

Synopsis:

Discover the fate of Wonderland- and imagination itself- in this riveting conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy.
The Heart CrystalĂ‚’s power has been depleted, and Imagination along with it. The people of Wonderland have all lost their creative drive, and most alarmingly, even Queen Alyss is without her powers. There is some comfort in the fact that the vicious Redd Heart seems to be similarly disabled. Amazingly, she is attempting to team up with her enemy, Alyss, in order to reclaim Wonderland from King Arch. Alyss might have no choice but to accept ReddĂ‚’s overtures, especially when she begins to receive alarming advice from the caterpillar oracles.

Page-turning and complex, this culmination of the Wonderland saga is intensely satisfying.


This is one of my fave series of all time, so I am thrilled to have this in my hot little hands. YAY!!!!

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Release Date: October 5, 2009 from Dial

Synopsis:

She is the last of her kind...

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don't need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven't, you'll be dying to read it next.


Graceling is one of the best things I've read in a very long time, so imagine my happiness when this book appeared. And it's gorgeous. I think the cover is even more beautiful than the Graceling cover.

So there you have it. Maybe not the best week quantity wise, but as far as quality....pretty unbeatable.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Blonde of the Joke by Bennett Madison


Release Date: August 25, 2009, in fact I saw it at B&N tonight, which reminded me I still had a review to write.

Synopsis:

"There are three and only three rules for shoplifting," Francie instructed me.

From the very first day Val meets the outrageously blond Francie, she realizes that Francie has the gutsy courage and determination Val has always envied. But Francie sees something in Val too-something that Val's never noticed. "You've got that sneaky thing about you," she says. "I bet you have a dark past."

And just like that, the blonde and the brunette become partners in crime.

Thanks to Francie, Val is suddenly taking risks, taking charge, and taking what she deserves. But as the stakes get higher, Francie and Val find themselves more and more tangled in a thrilling web of love, lies, and shoplifting. Soon it becomes clear that the darkest secrets have yet to be discovered. . . .


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's a dark and twisty look at the lives of two more-average-than-you'd-like-to-think teenage girls. Val is invisible. She walks the halls of her school unnoticed by all, that is, until Francie walks through the door of her classroom. Francie is everything that Val is not and Val is drawn to her like a moth to a flame.

Francie introduces Val to her life of shoplifting and her don't care attitude. By following Francie, Val is able to escape from not only her anonymity, but also from the pressures and pain of her family life. Soon though, Val starts to see through Francie's bravado to the surprisingly lost girl inside.

Madison beautifully depicts the pieces of Francie's life slowly crumbling, while Val's life really starts to take off. This is a wonderful book about the excitement of new friendships and the heartbreak that often occurs when that first glow wears off.

It's a little bit Ghost World and a little bit Heathers, but at the same time, it's a completely original voice in the world of YA lit that I can't wait to hear more from. Most definitely recommended!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Waiting on Wesnesday (32)--This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer


Release Date: April 1, 2010 from Harcourt Children's Books

Synopsis:

It's been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.


I love this series!!! And I am so glad that we are getting back to Miranda's story, while including Alex at the same time. It's about time these two incredible characters meet. These books are two of the most heartbreakingly beautiful books I've ever read. Pfeffer has a gift and I cannot wait to see that gift at work once again. Can't wait!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins


Release Date: Available Now from McElderry Books

Synopsis:

When all choice is taken from you, life becomes a game of survival."

Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching...for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don't expect, though, is all that can happen when those powerful little words "I love you" are said for all the wrong reasons.

Five moving stories remain separate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story -- a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up. A story about kids figuring out what sex and love are all about, at all costs, while asking themselves, "Can I ever feel okay about myself?"

A brilliant achievement from New York Times best-selling author Ellen Hopkins -- who has been called "the bestselling living poet in the country" by mediabistro.com -- Tricks is a book that turns you on and repels you at the same time. Just like so much of life.


Ellen Hopkins has done it again. As a rule, I try to avoid really depressing books. After losing two family members who I was very close to in two years, I just can't handle the super sad stuff like I used to. So for me to pick up a book about a topic this serious, it has to be by someone I totally respect. I totally respect Ellen Hopkins. I think her books are incredibly powerful and each one uses such strong voices to expose a very important topic.

This book deals with, as the title suggests, teen prostitution. It's told from five different points of view. Five different teens who come from vastly different backgrounds, but all end up, in one way or another, selling themselves to survive.

As I said before, it's incredibly powerful and at times truly disturbing, but I think it really gets to the heart of how many teens fall onto this path before they even know what's happened. It can be brutally honest, and is way more graphic than any of her previous books, but I think you have to include those "hard to handle" scenes to get across the seriousness of her topic.

I will continue to read everything Hopkins throws at us and if you haven't checked her out yet, I highly suggest that you do. I would start with Crank and work from there. If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away and scrambling for her next book.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

In My Mailbox (28)--Better Late Than Never

I spent the day with my grandparents, so I totally forgot to post my IMM. Well, here it is.

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi, AKA The Story Siren.

For Review:

Murder at the Lake by Bren Gaudet


Release Date: August 1, 2009 from Synergy Books

Synopsis:

When 17-year-old Amanda Christie is invited to a cousins-only weekend retreat at her aunt's Austin, Texas, estate, she doesn't know what to expect. She soon finds though, that the weekend will be anything but boring. One of the guests is responsible for the death of Amanda's uncle and when a dangerous storm traps the teens inside the secluded mansion, Amanda becomes determined to uncover the killer. But when their cell phones go missing and guests begin to disappear, Amanda realizes that the killer isn't finished. With time running out and no way of knowing who to trust, she must either uncover the murderer or risk being the next victim.

A Golden Web by Barbara Quick


Release Date: April 6, 2010 from HarperTeen

Synopsis:

Alessandra is desperate to escape—from her stepmother, who’s locked her away for a year; from the cloister that awaits her if she refuses the marriage plans that have been made for her; from the expectations that limit her and every other girl in fourteenth-century Italy. There’s no tolerance in her village for her keen intelligence and her unconventional ideas. In defiant pursuit of her dreams, Alessandra undertakes an audacious quest, her bravery equaled only by the dangers she faces. Disguised and alone in a city of spies and scholars, Alessandra will find a love she could not foresee—and an enduring fame. In this exquisite imagining of the centuries-old story of Alessandra Giliani, the world’s first female anatomist, distinguished novelist Barbara Quick gives readers the drama, romance, and rich historical detail for which she is known as she shines a light on an unforgotten—and unforgettable—heroine.

Pastworld by Ian Beck


Release Date: September 29, 2009 from Bloombury USA

Synopsis:

What if all of London were really an amusement park—a whole city returned to Victorian times to entertain visitors from the twenty-first century? That's the wildly original premise of Ian Beck's Pastworld, a high-stakes mystery set in a simulated past.

Eve is a lifelong resident of Pastworld who doesn’t know she’s living in a theme park until a mysterious threat forces her to leave home. Caleb is a visiting tourist who finds the lawlessness of the past thrilling—until he suddenly becomes a fugitive from an antiquated justice system. And in the midst of it all, in the thick London fog a dark and deadly figure prowls, claiming victim after victim. He’s the Fantom, a creature both of the past and of the present, in whose dark purpose Caleb and Eve will find their destinies combined.

Page-turning, complex, and haunting, Pastworld masterfully exposes the human experience of the past, of violence, of technology, and of entertainment.


Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein


Release Date: October 13, 2009 from Bloomsbury USA

Synopsis:

The daughter Macbeth might have had, if Shakespeare had thought to create her…

Albia has grown up with no knowledge of her mother of her father, the powerful Macbeth. Instead she knows the dark lure of the Wychelm Wood and the moors, where she’s been raised by three strange sisters. It’s only when the ambitious Macbeth seeks out the sisters to foretell his fate that Albia’s life becomes tangled with the man who leaves nothing but bloodshed in his wake. She even falls in love with Fleance, Macbeth’s rival for the throne. Yet when Albia learns that she has the second sight, she must decide whether to ignore the terrible future she foresees—or to change it. Will she be able to save the man she loves from her murderous father? And can she forgive her parents their wrongs, or must she destroy them to save Scotland from tyranny?

In her highly anticipated follow-up to Ophelia, Lisa Klein delivers a powerful reimagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, featuring a young woman so seamlessly drawn it seems impossible she was not part of the Bard’s original play.


The Waking: Dreams of the Dead by Thomas Randall

Release Date: September 29, 2009 from Bloomsbury USA

Synopsis:

Kara’s afraid to go to sleep—until the nightmares come when she’s awake . . . .

Sixteen-year-old Kara Foster is an outsider in Japan, but is doing her best to fit at the private school where her father is teaching English for the year. Fortunately she’s befriended by Sakura, a fellow outsider struggling to make sense of her sister’s unsolved murder some months ago. No one seems to care about the beautiful girl who was so brutally murdered, and the other students go on as if nothing has happened. Unfortunately, the calm doesn’t last for long. Kara begins to have nightmares, and soon other students in the school turn up dead, viciously attacked by someone . . . or something. Is Sakura getting back at those she thinks are responsible for her sister’s death? Or has her dead sister come back to take revenge for herself?

This first book in a frightening new trilogy will have teens glued the page and scared to go to sleep.


Also, the AMAZING Suzanne Crowley, author of The Stolen One, which I loved and reviewed here, sent me two boxes of books which she donated to my school library. It's such an amazing gift and one that will not go unnoticed by the students and staff of my school. My district struggles constantly with budgets and student poverty, so it's wonderful to know that there are caring people out there who are willing to help.

Thank you Suzanne, so, so much!!

Purchased:

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
The Hollow by Jessica Verday



So basically, I had an amazing week!!!

Leviathan Trailer!!!

Oooooo....it's so shiny and pretty and Steampunk awesome. I can't wait!!!! This is one of my most highly anticipated books of the year. I covet Leviathan.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

August Contest Winner!!


Sorry folks, I meant to do this sooner, but time has gotten away from me this week.

The winner of my August contest for a copy of Intertwined and Wings is:


Liz

I'll be sending you an e-mail shortly, so get back to me as soon as possible and I'll get your winnings out to you.

Thanks everyone for entering and be sure to check out the James Patterson promotion I have going on right now.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Shaun of the Dead

In honor of Zombie Appreciation week, I present to you the most incredible awesome zombie movie of all time. Feast your eyes upon.....

Oh yes....Shaun of the Dead. I looooooove this movie oh so much.

Don't believe me when I say it's awesome?! Here's what Amazon had to say:

British horror/comedy Shaun of the Dead is a scream in all senses of the word. Brain-hungry zombies shamble through the streets of London, but all unambitious electronics salesman Shaun (Simon Pegg) cares about is his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), who just dumped him. With the help of his slacker roommate Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun fights his way across town to rescue Liz, but the petty concerns of life keep getting in the way: When they're trying to use vinyl records to decapitate a pair of zombies, Shaun and Ed bicker about which bands deserve preservation--New Order they keep, but Sade becomes a lethal frisbee. Many zombie movies are comedies by accident, but Shaun of the Dead is deliberately and brilliantly funny, while still delivering a few delicious jolts of fear. Also featuring the stealthy comic presence of Bill Nighy (Love Actually) and some familar faces from The Office. --Bret Fetzer

I couldn't agree with you more Bret Fetzer. This movie is hilarious and it has just the right touch of gore to make this an authentic zombiefest. I can't reccommend it enough, if just for the adorable Simon Pegg, who is at his absolute best here.

Check it out, you won't be sorry.


"We're coming to get you Barbara!!"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (31)--Undead Edition!!

So in honor of Zombie Appreciation Week, here are two zombie books I am completely and totally dying to read. Ha-Ha!! Get it?! Dying to read?! Okay, I'll stop now.


I Kissed A Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer

Release Date: January 26, 2010

Synopsis:

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

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


The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan


Release Date: March 9, 2010

Synopsis:

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

Yay zombie awesomeness. Can't wait!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How long until I'm a zombie?

Apparently 1 hour 30 minutes. Not bad. At least I won't have to suffer long before I start craving brains. Mmmmm......brains.

The Zombie Bite Calculator

Created by The Oatmeal

Win A Set Of 8 James Patterson Books!!!!


ENTER TO WIN A SET OF JAMES PATTERSON PAGETURNERS!
MAXIMUM RIDE – IF SHE LIVES, THE WORLD LIVES, IT’S THAT SIMPLE.


2 lucky winners will receive copies of 8 books including:

Maximum Ride: Max
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Maximum Ride: School’s Out – Forever
Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
Maximum Ride: The Final Warning
Maximum Ride: Manga
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X
Daniel X: Watch the Skies



Read “MAX” - the newest book in the bestselling Maximum Ride series. On sale in paperback 09/01/09!

Still reeling from their most recent adventure, Maximum Ride and the rest of the flock must head out to sea to uncover the secret behind a brand new series of disasters—fish are dying off the coast of Hawaii, hundreds of ships are being destroyed. As if that weren’t enough, they’re also being tracked by a criminal mastermind with, oh yeah, an army of mercenaries. Can the flock save themselves and the ocean, and the world, from utter destruction?

The Fine Print:
The Maximum Ride: Max Promotion is open to legal US residents who are at least 13 years of age as of August 24, 2009. There will be two prizes for each Promotion. Each prize consists of the following eight (8) books: Maximum Ride: Max (paperback); Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (paperback); Maximum Ride: School’s Out – Forever (paperback); Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (paperback); Maximum Ride: The Final Warning (paperback); Maximum Ride: Manga (paperback); The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (paperback); and Daniel X: Watch the Skies (hardcover). The approximate retail value of each prize is $72.00. Winners will be confirmed on or about September 28, 2009 by email. Prizes will only be shipped to confirmed winners with addresses in the US. Prizes will be shipped within 30 days after a selected entrant is confirmed as a winner.

To enter, leave a comment below with your e-mail address. Good luck to you all!!!