Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (10)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Another pretty quiet week, but great books make it worth it!

Bought:
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

That's it for me! There hasn't been much happening here on my blog still, and I am sorry for that. I find myself still in a bit of a review writing slump, but I'm working on it! Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Win an ARC of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin



Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer hits stores everywhere 9.27.11. Pre-order your copy here. Download the widget here. Enter to win an Advanced Reader’s Copy here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Hunger Games Movie News: First Look at Peeta and Gale

Holy wow, guys, have you seen this? WOW!

EW revealed the first look at Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Liam Hemsworth as Gale in The Hunger Games!


I am so impressed! I knew they'd look great, but again, WOW!

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

This week's want to read now title is...

Destined by Jessie Harrell!

When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she's come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

Destined is a fresh and heartachingly romantic retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth from debut novelist, Jessie Harrell. (summary from Goodreads)


I've been on a Greek mythology kick lately, and so I'm really loving the sounds of this one! I'm fascinated by the Psyche & Cupid myth, especially as it is believed to have inspired The Beauty and the Beast stories - and I do love those!

Jessie Harrell's Destined is due for release on 17 November 2011!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday! (9)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

"Time to go. I reached out to leave my glass on the edge of the piano, then watched, shocked, as it went right through and crashed to the ground, a thousand little glistening diamonds on the ceramic tile." p. 18

I'm not too far into Hourglass yet, but I'm very much intrigued!

Please share your teaser for this week!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer Book Exchange: Thanks to Tipsy Reader!

Through June/July I took part in Ruby of Ruby's Reads Summer Book Exchange! Each participant created a Wishlist of books they'd love and then much like a Secret Santa exchange, each person had someone to buy them a book and someone to buy a book for!

My 'Santa' was Tipsy Reader!



Tipsy was kind enough to gift me with a book I've been very desperate to read - Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma!


When it arrived last week, I was confused as I couldn't remember ordering a book, and then when I opened it - WAH LA! I was very surprised and excited! So thanks so much, Tipsy, for being my amazing Santa! And many thanks to Ruby for hosting such a great event!

If you think this looks like all sorts of fun - which it was - then be sure to keep an eye on Ruby's Reads for her Fall Book Exchange sign up! I'll definitely be joining in again!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Not a lot, even though this is 3 weeks worth. Been quiet on the book front!

Bought:

Life's That Way by Jim Beaver (signed)
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (signed)
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Summer Book Exchange:

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Review:

Between the Land and the Sea by Derrolyn Anderson
The Moon and the Tide by Derrolyn Anderson

Won:

The Near Witch swag, with many thanks to Lisa of Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me and Victoria Schwab! Includes:

2 The Near Witch bookmarks (signed)
Signed bookplate
3 The Near Witch buttons (signed)
Witch Eyes bookmark (signed)
A Touch Mortal bookmark (signed)
Rivals bookmark (signed)
Blood Magic bookmark (signed)
The Revenant bookmark
Between Shades of Gray bookmark
Bigfoot Reads bookmark
Vanished bookmark
Aliens on Vacation bookmark
HyperionTeens UnRequired Reading playing cards

That's my second win, and I love it!

What did you get this week?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hiatus Apologies

I just wanted to apologise for the inactivity here for the last 2 weeks. I didn't mean to disappear, but life, you know? Best laid plans and such!

My father had a kidney transplant, and my Uncle was his donor, so it's been a huge moment for my family, and a long time coming. I'm happy to report that both of them are doing amazingly well! It's just been a whirlwind of waiting and lack of sleep.

I have had a fair amount of time on my hands, and so I've read lots! Anytime I should have written a review however, I just couldn't seem to. But I've pushed past that now, and life feels calmer. So expect reviews over the next few days! I'm looking forward to getting back into it!

Waiting on Wednesday (11)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

While this is a tad late, this week I'm waiting on...

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab!

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget. (Summary from Goodreads)

Doesn't it sound fantastic? I've been reading a lot of praise for this one, and I recently won a The Near Witch swag pack, so I'm all kinds of desperate for it! Thankfully my wait is almost over!

Victoria Schwab's The Near Witch is due to be released 2 August 2011!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (10)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

This week I can't wait to read...

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith!

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18B. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.
(summary from Goodreads)

*sigh* This one has been around for a bit, and it's just what I'm in the mood for...too bad I have to wait until next year! But it sounds like it'll be totally worth it!

Jennifer E. Smith's The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is expected to be released 2 January 2012.

Review: This Girl is Different by J.J. Johnson

Evie is different. Not just her upbringing - though that's certainly been unusual - but also her mindset. She's smart, independent, confident, opinionated, and ready to take on a new challenge: The Institution of School.

It doesn't take this homeschooled kid long to discover that high school is a whole new world, and not in the way she expected. It's also a social minefield, and Evie finds herself confronting new problems at every turn, failing to follow or even understand the rules, and proposing solutions that aren't welcome or accepted.


Not one to sit idly by, Evie sets out to make changes. Big changes. The movement she starts takes off, but before she realizes what's happening, her plan spirals out of control, forcing her to come to terms with a world she is only just beginning to comprehend.


JJ Johnson's powerful debut novel will enthrall readers as it challenges assumptions about friendship, rules, boundaries, and power. (Summary from Goodreads)


This Girl is Different is a light but thought-provoking read with a unique main character you can't help but fall in love with!

Evie has been homeschooled all her life, raised by her free-spirited, idealistic mother. When she decides to enrol in high school - or as Martha calls it, The Institute of School - for her final year, Evie is hopeful and excited. Especially with the idea of spending time with her new friends, bubbly cheerleader Jacinda and gorgeous Rajas. From day one however, Evie is shocked by the accepted norms of school life, especially the seemingly unfair power that teachers wield over students. When her petitions for change are dismissed - by teachers and students alike - and after witnessing the bullying of a student by a teacher, Evie and Jacinda decide to incite change by starting a blog, the People's Lightning to Undermine the True Oppression (PLUTOs), where such transgressions are publicly and anonymously posted. What may have began with good intentions soon explodes out of Evie's control, testing her beliefs and friendships, and possibly costing her more than she could have ever expected.

Without a doubt, the best thing about This Girl is Different is Evie - this girl IS different! I LOVED her! From page one she had me laughing and thinking. I'm inspired by her confidence and wish I had known someone like her in high school. Heck, I wish I knew someone like her now! I really enjoyed however that despite her maturity and knowledge, Evie still had a lot to learn. Her upbringing and learning - travelling the world, extensive wider reading, living in a sustainable geodesic dome - separates her from the average teenager, but she's so sure of and in herself that at times she has trouble realising real world - especially high school - situations are not as perfect as theory. There were a few situations where I was literally cringing on Evie's behalf, knowing as I did what the outcome could be. Still I kept hoping that Evie wouldn't be seriously changed by her experiences, that she'd be successful. I always wanted her to remain different and embrace it!

A strength of Johnson's book is her characters, the majority of whom I really liked. While they were a tad stereotypical, it worked. I definitely recognised a few of them from my high school days! Despite being entirely annoyed with Jacinda at times, I felt for her. My heart broke along with her and Evie's and all I wanted was for them to understand each other. Rajas was a little different in that I just could not bring myself to trust him. I have no idea where it came from. I liked him and I truly adored the connection he had with Evie, the way he just understood her. But I could not get over my mistrust of him, even as I was cheering his and Evie's relationship...or trying to use my Kindle as a fan to cool off after some of their more steamy interactions! Whoo, baby!

Of the adults, Evie's principal, Dr. Folger, was my favourite. I appreciated his trusting of Evie, and indeed his treating her like an equal. Many times I found myself nodding along to his dialogue, willing Evie to listen. I felt like I was in his position - I understood what Evie wanted to achieve and I wanted her to do so, but I could also see how she could lose control of it all. Evie's mother, Martha, was exactly what I expected - free-spirited, a little quirky, a lot of fun. I was slightly disappointed with her relationship with Evie, as it didn't feel as close knit as I think Johnson may have intended. While Martha pushed Evie to make her own decisions and go for it, which is great, she never actually accomplished being supportive or sympathetic. Certainly it didn't effect Evie, but I would've liked to see more feeling in their relationship.

Another strength of This Girl is Different is the layout of the book. Each chapter began with a quote from a notable person in history, and they really set the tone of the story. I also enjoyed the inclusion of letters, student council minutes, and blog posts. These were much more interesting and effective than paragraphs simply outlining what was happening. They provided an insight, and even humour, that really helped to move the plot. Johnson gains points for nailing high school and it's students to a T, ensuring many laugh out loud moments, snorts, and rolled eyes. For what is in a lot of ways a light and fun read, Johnson hits upon quite a few deep subjects, including bullying by both students and teachers, and inappropriate teacher/student relationships. I do feel they were only just touched upon however, as the consequences of these situations were never really looked at in depth. At the least though they make one think about it. In the end, This Girl is Different is entirely Evie's story - and what a story it is. I could not put it down and finished it in one sitting!

J.J. Johnson has created a truly unique and wonderful character in Evie, and you will fall in love with her and her story. This girl is different.

Rating:

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Published date: 1 April 2011
Format: e-Galley from NetGalley

Many thanks to Peachtree Publishers and NetGalley.

Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challenge; 2011 YA Contemporary Challenge

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Teaser Tuesday! (8)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

This Girl is Different by J.J. Johnson

"'The cow is Hannah Bramble,' I call out to Jacinda. 'She's friendly, but beware the chickens. They're deadly. Like piranhas with feathers.'
Jacinda flies past the chicken coop, lifting her knees high as she runs to us. 'Get out! Are you serious?' She turns to make sure there are no chickens in pursuit.

Rajas cracks up. I can't help but join him."
p. 23-4.

I am really enjoying This Girl is Different so far. I love Evie, she makes me laugh! What teaser are you sharing this week?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

On time this week, yay! Just a few, but great one's I'm really looking forward to reading!

Bought:

Hereafter by Tara Hudson
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

NetGalley:

Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Review: Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

When you're sixteen and no one understands who you are, sometimes the only choice left is to run. If you're lucky, you'll find a place that accepts you, no questions asked. And if you're really lucky, that place has a drum set, a place to practice, and a place to sleep. For Kid, the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are that place. Over the course of two scorching summers, Kid falls hopelessly in love and then loses nearly everything and everyone worth caring about. But as summer draws to a close, Kid finally finds someone who can last beyond the sunset. (summary from Goodreads)

Brooklyn, Burning is different to everything I've read before, and it's lyrical writing makes for an enjoyable and memorable read.

Right off, the most obvious point of interest about this book is that the gender (and consequently, their sexuality) of Kid and Scout, Brezenoff's main characters, are never revealed. Told from Kid's point of view, 'you' and 'I' is used throughout and descriptions of their looks and clothes are androgynous. Having only read the summary above, I was initially caught off guard by this - though it did take me a few pages to actually realise! I didn't find it overly confusing however, though I did try and guess for a bit what their genders may be. It was of interest to me that I automatically assumed Kid was male - even before reading the book. But then as I read I changed my mind...and then again. It wasn't long before I got so into the actual story that their gender pretty much became a non-issue. Kid and Scout could be either male or female and it wouldn't have made a difference to the story. Not such a non-issue though that it doesn't make me think even now - do gender and/or sexuality have a part in defining a person? Here, for me, it's clearly a no. But then Brezenoff's other characters, like Fish, Konny, Jonny, for example, seem to embody certain gender and sexuality stereotypes that stand out against Kid and Scout. All of it works together to make you wonder, and I for one enjoyed the wondering. I was especially impressed that despite such an obvious and interesting technique, by the end I didn't care to find out.

More so, I really liked that Kid and Scout's undefined gender and sexuality weren't the focus of the story. It plays a part - especially in terms of the tension between Kid and Kid's father - but it isn't about trying to figure it out. Instead, the mystery is what happened to Felix, the boy Kid fell for the previous summer, and who burnt down the warehouse where Kid and him were living - was it Kid or someone else? The warehouse was a historical landmark, and the police are determined to pin it on someone, and all roads point to Kid. I really liked Kid, who I think is a character every reader can relate to as someone who is just trying to find their place in the world, figure out who they are. I also truly enjoyed Kid's relationship with Scout - the way they had an immediate connection and it slowly built into something more over the summer, it was smouldering. I wanted to know the truth about Felix and the warehouse, but I needed to know what would happen between Kid and Scout. I admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed with the ending, mostly because I wanted more. Scout was a little elusive throughout the story and I had hoped I'd get some answers that would allow me a better connection to the character. However, I do appreciate the hopefulness of the ending too - it fit.

Brezenoff's writing definitely scores points too. A major theme of the book is music and in it's way the story itself is music - his writing is lyrical and flows beautifully, and his descriptions sing. For Kid, music comes alive, and in much the same way, Brezenoff's words did for me. I was drawn in from page one. I do not know Brooklyn at all, but I truly believe that if I read this book again and had pen and paper on me, I could draw a map of the place. I've read praise for Brooklyn, Burning that describes it is a love letter to music and Brooklyn - I couldn't say it any better than that.

Overall, Brooklyn, Burning was original and unexpected. It seems such a simple story, but it packs a lot of punch, both beautiful and thought-provoking - it'll stay with readers even after the last page.

Rating:

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Published Date: 28 September 2011
Format: e-Galley received from NetGalley

Many thanks to Lerner Publishing and NetGalley.

Challenges: 2011 YA Contemporary Challenge