Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Review DULL BOY by Sarah Cross

by Sarah Cross

May 14th 2009 by Dutton Juvenile

Hardcover, 308 pages

Placement in Pile:
Reaching New Heights

What do you do if you can deadlift a car, and you spend your nights flying to get away from it all? If you’re fifteen-year-old Avery Pirzwick, you keep that information to yourself. When you’re a former jock turned freak, you can’t afford to let the secret slip.

But then Avery makes some friends who are as extraordinary as he is. He realizes they’re more than just freaks—together, maybe they have a chance to be heroes. First, though, they have to decide whether to trust the mysterious Cherchette, a powerful wouldbe mentor whose remarkable generosity may come at a terrible price.

The funny thing is I decided to return this book to the library without reading it. Why? Well, (this may sound lame) but the cover did nothing for me. No interest there. But at the last minute I cracked open the book and surprisingly, I read till the end.

What hooked me? The character's voice. It's teenage boy, with humor and angst and jerky friends. And in the midst of all of that, Avery (the protagonist) deals with 'personal problems' of having too much strength and being able to fly. The book progresses when he finds out he's not alone in his 'abilities'. The story is engaging and the mystery shrouding certain characters in the novel will have you reading to the end. It's a clever 'kids with powers' premise.
There were a few details that were lacking, and frankly the climax cleaned up a little too easy. It was almost as if Cross got to the end of the novel and thought, I'm so done with writing this. So she ended it early. Besides those minor issues, it's a good read, though peppered with some minor foul language.
Enjoy reading!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Breaking Stephenie Meyer Book News!

Today Stephenie Meyer announced the release of a new book in the Twilight world called The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, about the young vampire Bree from Eclipse!

Not only will this "novella" be for sale in stores, but it will also be available for FREE to read online. It will be available 12:01 am June 5th! But a dollar from each book sold will be given to the Red Cross, so I encourage you to buy a copy when it comes out!

Check out the link here for more information!

I am really excited about this. I was just thinking...where is Stephenie Meyer? It has been a long time since we have heard from her other than movie news. I for one am really excited for this!

Monday, March 29, 2010

In My Mailbox (10)

I am a day late with this, but yesterday was just a busy day for me! As always In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren!

From Publishers:

by Carolyn Macker
Published December 29th 2009 by HarperTeen
Hardcover, 320 pages

Summary: Jena, Dakota, Skye, and Owen are all at Paradise—the resort in the Caribbean, that is—for different reasons, but in Paradise their lives become tangled together in ways none of them can predict. Over the course of four months, through four voices and four stories, what happened in Paradise will change them all.

In this extraordinary novel, the Printz Honor–winning author brings us her most accomplished work yet. Tangled is a story of the secrets we keep, the risks we take, and the things we do for love.

by Francesca Lia Block
Published March 1st 2010 in Paperback by HarperTeen (first published September 1st 2008 in Hardcover)
Paperback, 144 pages

The pain of wanting to fit in

The joy of being consumed by love

The shame of not feeling at home in your body

The strength in learning you're beautiful

These are moments that every girl knows . . . for they are part of growing up, of uncaging yourself, from your childhood, your environment, your view of yourself. Francesca Lia Block follows the journey from girlhood to womanhood in this three-part poetry collection that channels girls' innermost feelings and experiences and celebrates women everywhere. It is a call to embrace the girl within, to heal her and set her free.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review A KISS IN TIME by Alex Flinn

A Kiss in Time
by Alex Flinn

May 1st 2009 by HarperTeen

Hardcover, 371 pages

Placement in Pile:
Middle of the Stack

Talia fell under a spell . . . . Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic. . . .
I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.
I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger's soft kiss.
I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.
Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!
Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak!
Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?


Alex Flinn's Beastly is one of my favorite modern day fairy tale retellings. I hoped this one would be as touching or even thought-provoking. Honestly, it fell short. Though the plot was intriguing and the characters were unique and full of voice, I wasn't impressed with the development of each character. And frankly, the 'love' story (because that's what we're reading it for, right?) fell flat.

Talia has to make Jack fall in love with her, or else she may fall peril to an evil fairy that's been holding a 300 year grudge. But Jack acts like a complete dork half the time. If there's one thing I've learned about creating a compelling love story, it's that the male character needs to have redeeming, if not 'rough around the edges but totally endearing' type qualities. Jack, unfortunately, came across as a whiney boy . . . most of the time.

Over all, it was a quick easy read. But for me, it lacked the substance that makes a great book.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Author Interview: Susanne Dunlap

First I'd like to thank Susanne for taking the time to answer my questions. I read and reviewed Susanne's first YA novel The Musician's Daughter, back when I was blogging over at My Favorite Author.

I was thrilled to get a copy of ANASTASIA'S SECRET which I wanted to read ever since she first mentioned she was working on a book about the Grand Duchess in our last interview! I hope that this little Q&A will get you even more excited about reading this book, for I truly did enjoy it!

My Pile Of Books: You obviously put a lot of research into your work. Which do you prefer more, the research or writing fiction?

Susanne Dunlap: Definitely the writing, but the research inspires me. When I'm researching, I'm itching to start putting the story together, to bring the characters to life.

MPB: ANASTASIA'S SECRET is more than just a fantasy version of what might have been. What do you hope your teenage readers take from a more true to life story of what happened to the Romanovs?

SD: I know some people will wish that I had done it differently, but what inspired me about her story is that she wasn't a little girl while all those awful things were happening to her family, she was a teenager. I wanted to explore what it must have been like to come of age in the midst of all that, through the contrast between unimaginable luxury and the horrifying prospect of a terrible end.

MPB: Why were you drawn to Anastasia as a narrator?

SD: She's a shadowy character in history, described as the "clown" of the family, and as the youngest (and unwanted) fourth daughter of an imperial couple who yearned for a son. I felt she must have had some pain in her life, some feeling for her second-class status, and that the conflicts in her heart—between being a loving sister and perhaps envying the position her two older sisters and younger brother had in her parents' affections—deserved to have a voice. I also wanted to give her more of an independent life than she is portrayed as having in history.

MPB: Besides Anastasia who in this novel was your favorite character to research and write about?

SD: Hmmm. I think possibly there isn't an individual one, but discovering the roles of the members of the household and the servants, and what they sacrificed to stay with the family, was quite a revelation.

MPB: Can you tell us about what you are working on now?

SD: My next novel is about a young parlor maid from the East End of London who stows away to go with Florence Nightingale's nurses to the Crimea.

MPB: What have you read in the last few months that has blown you away?

SD: I've read an unpublished manuscript by a dear friend that has really blown me away, and the soon-to-be published novel Claude and Camille, by Stephanie Cowell. It's the story of Claude Monet and his lover Camille, set in that incredible time for the art world in Paris. It's a very tender love story, and an evocative setting. As for teen books, the novel I Am Rembrandt's Daughter by Lynn Cullen was fabulous.

*Thank you again Susanne for being part of our blog!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Review ANASTASIA'S SECRET by Susanne Dunlap

by Susanne Dunlap
March 2nd 2010 by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
Hardcover, 320 pages

Placement in the Pile: Reaching New Heights

“Will I never see you again either?” I asked, feeling as though I was about to jump off a high mountain peak and hope to land without hurting myself. That’s how impossible everything seemed at that moment, no matter what I did.

“Perhaps we will meet again,” Sasha said, softening his voice. “But you must see that it does not matter. You have so much ahead of you. It’s your choice now. Choose the future! Choose life!”

For Anastasia Romanov, life as the privileged daughter of Russia’s last tsar is about to be torn apart by the bloodshed of revolution. Ousted from the imperial palace when the Bolsheviks seize control of the government, Anastasia and her family are exiled to Siberia. But even while the rebels debate the family’s future with agonizing slowness and the threat to their lives grows more menacing, romance quietly blooms between Anastasia and Sasha, a sympathetic young guard she has known since childhood. But will the strength of their love be enough to save Anastasia from a violent death?

Inspired by the mysteries that have long surrounded the last days of the Romanov family, Susanne Dunlap’s new novel is a haunting vision of the life—and love story—of Russia’s last princess.

Unlike fantasy versions of what may have happened to Anastasia and her family the Romanovs, this story takes you deep withing their world in a "what might have been" story.

Dunlap writes expertly, capturing the voice of this once Grand Duchess in her childhood through teenage years.
Her sweet innocent voice juxtaposed with the intense realizations of a Russia that is falling apart, a world full of poverty, hate and a Europe-wide war, Anastasia's voice comes through in this novel more than anything. I was captured by the voice from the beginning and I literally could not put it down.

This inside peek as to what it would be like to grow up sheltered from the world, befriend a soldier and be shown why the people are so angry with her family was a great way to imagine the young Anastasia's life. Shasha, the young soldier becomes Anastasia's love interest in the book in a powerful setting of what might have been for this princess.

I liked this novel more than Dunlap's first young adult novel. It is long, but I was so captured by the story that it didn't matter. I wanted to keep reading, to experience this time in the life of you youngest Romanov daughter. I have always loved the story of Anastasia, but most of the stories I know involve magic and mystical powers. This is a much more historically accurate story of what happened to the family, and for that I am grateful it is out there.

I do have to say that I would rate this PG-13 as there is some sexual content and blantant talk about Anastasia's physical development into womanhood. It is never base or disgusting, but it is there.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for my interview with Susanne Dunlap!

*Book source disclosure: I was sent an ARC of this book by the publisher.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (9)

This meme is hosted by the fabulous StorySiren! I love clicking on the links on her page to see what others are getting! Be sure to check it out!

From Publishers:

by Carrie Ryan
Published March 9th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 404 pages

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.

LITTLE VAMPIRE WOMEN (cover art not final)
By Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina
Published May 1st 2010 by HarperCollins
Paperback, 320 pages

The March sisters are back, sweeter and more loving than ever. But they’ve grown up since you last read their tale. That’s right—they live on as vampires. Readers will be agog and aghast at the hilarity of the sisters’ transformation—especially now that they have (much) longer lives and (much) more ravenous appetites.

This uproarious retelling of a timeless American classic will leave teens craving the bloodthirsty drama on each and every page.

by Claudia Gray
First Published March 24th 2009 by HarperTeen,
To be Published in paperback April 29th 2010
Paperback, 256 pages

The vampire in me was closer to the surface ...

Evernight Academy: an exclusive boarding school for the most beautiful, dangerous students of all—vampires. Bianca, born to two vampires, has always been told her destiny is to become one of them.

But Bianca fell in love with Lucas—a vampire hunter sworn to destroy her kind. They were torn apart when his true identity was revealed, forcing him to flee the school.

Although they may be separated, Bianca and Lucas will not give each other up. She will risk anything for the chance to see him again, even if it means coming face-to-face with the vampire hunters of Black Cross—or deceiving the powerful vampires of Evernight. Bianca's secrets will force her to live a life of lies.

Yet Bianca isn't the only one keeping secrets. When Evernight is attacked by an evil force that seems to target her, she discovers the truth she thought she knew is only the beginning. . . .


THE HUNT FOR DARK INFINITY (The 13th Reality, #2)
By James Dashner
First Published in Hardcover March 30th 2009 by Shadow Mountain
Published in Paperback February 23rd 2010 by Aladdin
Paperback, 432 pages

After their life-changing adventures through the Realities, it's been a quiet summer for Tick, Paul, and Sofia, but the latest message from Master George Changes everything.

The Realities are in danger from something more terrible than Mistress Jane and the mutated Chi'karda of the Thirteenth Reality. People from all Realities are inexplicably going insane. Worse some Realities are fragmenting, disintegrating into nothingness. Mr. Chu from the Fourth Reality is working on a mysterious new weapon called Dark Infinity, but no one has any idea how to stop the weapon -- or even if it can be stopped at all.

Mistress Jane and Tick find themselves in a race to reach the weapon first, but who will destroy it and who will become its master?

Friday, March 19, 2010


We have our winners from our two ARC giveaway! has spoken!

Our first place winner is:

Lindsay F!
She has won her first choice book: BEFORE I FALL!

Our second place winner is:
She has won a copy of A GOLDEN WEB!
Congratulations ladies! I will be e-mailing you to get your mailing addresses. Thank you to everyone who participated and don't forget to enter our most current contest! Link on the sidebar!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

If you haven't noticed by now I'm a BIG holiday gal! I LOVE holidays. So to all of our readers, we hope you find your luck today and get your pot of gold!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review BRO-JITSU : The Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown by Daniel H. Wilson (And CONTEST!)

By Daniel H. Wilson
To Be Published April 13, 2010
Paperback, 160 Pages

Placement in the Pile: A Bit Buried

The world's most (okay only) comprehensive guide to sibling torment.

Kung Fu. Tae Kwon Do. Karate. All ancient martial arts that have been around for thousands of years. But there's only on martial art that's existed since the dawn of man. Only one that's been studied by billions of brothers and sisters the world over. We're talking about Bro-Jitsu.

From the author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising comes a hilarious, highly informative and completely original guide to tormenting your brothers or sisters. Separated into Offensive, Defensive, and Psychological moves, Bro-Jitsu is a tongue in cheek encyclopedia of sibling smackdown, from how to most effectively include pro-wrestling moves in a standard bout to executing a full-body defensive fish wiggle, which will get you out of just about any choke hold or tackle. Throughout the book, diagrams and illustrations of the moves help you in your quest toward Bro-Master status.

I do admit this book was amusing. As someone who grew up in a big family I thought it would be downright hillarious. In the end it read more like an encyclopedia of classic sibling torture than anything else. The jokes and moves were clever though, and the illustrations were fun. I also like that they listed the parents as the natural referees. That made me smile.

In the end I think my husband would enjoy this book better than me. Part of that could be the placement of age amongst our siblings, he's a middle kid and I'm the baby of the family. Part of it could also be that boys are more often than not the torturers of the family.

One thing for sure is this book should NOT be put in the hands of any child still immature enough to put this book in practice. The back of my ARC says that it is being marketed to the college market, and I think that's where it belongs.

In the end it was fun, and amusing, but definitely not something I would go out and buy.


For this contest to win my ARC of BRO-JITSU just leave a comment with a sibling torture story of your own (whether you were the torturer or the victim!). Open until 11:59 PM EST, Friday, March 19th.

I'll start:

Being the youngest of a large family with lots of older brothers meant I got teased a lot. The most frightening was my third oldest brother used to hold me over the top of the stairs, over the banister, then pretend like he was going to drop me. To this day I am terrified of heights!

Now get commenting people!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Back Again!

Hi all! We had a great trip last week and I want to thank all of you who came by and supported Erin and Guinevere with their posts and reviews. And, thanks ladies for posting!

I have decided that when I am on vacation I don't read. I always take books with me but never seem to read much if any. Especially when traveling with a child that needs entertaining.

So my question for this Monday (just to get some conversation going on here again!) is: Do you read on vacation? If so how and when do you find the time?

Oh and be sure to come back for our contest winners announcement later this week!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Review GOING BOVINE by Libba Bray

by, Libba Bray
published September 22nd 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 480 pages
Placement in Pile:
Somewhat buried
Cameron Smith, 16, is slumming through high school, overshadowed by a sister “pre-majoring in perfection,” while working (ineptly) at the Buddha Burger. Then something happens to make him the focus of his family's attention: he contracts mad cow disease. What takes place after he is hospitalized is either that a gorgeous angel persuades him to search for a cure that will also save the world, or that he has a vivid hallucination brought on by the disease. Either way, what readers have is an absurdist comedy in which Cameron, Gonzo (a neurotic dwarf) and Balder (a Norse god cursed to appear as a yard gnome) go on a quixotic road trip during which they learn about string theory, wormholes and true love en route to Disney World. Bray's surreal humor may surprise fans of her historical fantasies about Gemma Doyle, as she trains her satirical eye on modern education, American materialism and religious cults (the smoothie-drinking members of the Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack 'N' Bowl). Offer this to fans of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy seeking more inspired lunacy.



That's about how I felt reading this book. Uh, what in the world is going on? Uh, why are there so many stinkin' "f-bombs"? Uh, why does he keep talking about his... male anatomy and its "reactions" in many crude and varied ways? Uh...

The reason I didn't post last week is because I was trying to force myself to finish this book. I would have just put it down, but it's an award winning book that received a glowing review from someone I know and respect on goodreads. So I pressed on, hoping that I just wasn't there yet. It had moments---moments of humor, of sadness, of some of the beautiful writing I'm used to from Ms. Bray. However, for me, most of it was a neurotic mess. I understand it was most likely intended to be that way, since he is losing his mind. But still... it was just such a mess. It was also supposed to be a satyr, but sometimes I felt like I wasn't getting what she meant. Or maybe she didn't mean anything by some of it, except to be neurotic, and I was looking for too much deeper meaning. There were some very obvious things (like her names for school tests, the teacher's way of describing the tests "you're not supposed to think, just memorize these answers", the names of all the food items and stores and everything, etc.) But some of just made me think "uh...."

For me, it was hard going from the lush, gorgeous writing in the Gemma Doyle series to this crass, in your face writing of GOING BOVINE. And all of the language and crudeness and drug use (etc.) was just distracting for me. I would have enjoyed it much more without all of that.

So, I don't really know what to say, because it won an award, and some people seemed to really love it. Maybe I just didn't get it. What did you guys think of this book?

Be warned, it has tons of language (especially the "f-word" in many forms and usages: verb, adjective, etc.); drug use, and sex.

Ultimately, this book just wasn't for me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall

by Rachel Hawkins

Published: March 2nd 2010 by Hyperion Book CH
Hardcover, 336 pages

Placement in Pile:
Reaching New Heights
When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her.

Sophie Mercer's personality is what sealed the deal for me. I can't say that I was particularly impressed with the plot and driving events of the first couple chapters, but what pulled me along was the protagonist's quick wit and snarky teen voice. If there's one thing that kills a YA book is an adult voice in a teen body . . . like, when I read certain YA romances and walk away feeling as though the book was the author's wish fulfillment. Not in Rachel Hawkin's Hex Hall. This book has teen all over it.

From the trials the protagonist faces to the reactions she has when faced with the truth about who she really is, Hawkins writing is clever, and in the YA world, masterful.

Hex Hall is a delightful quick read. There is moderate language and (slightly weird) sexual scene references, though very mild. For the most part, I loved it. And I can't wait for the next Hex Hall installment!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In My Mailbox (8)

I may be posting this a day late, but I assure you it's not because I'm Not excited. No way. I'm so so so excited to read both of these . . . are you?

Hex Hall
by Rachel Hawkins

Published: March 2nd 2010 by Hyperion Book CH

Hardcover, 336 pages

When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her.

The Golden Spiral

by Lisa Mangum

To be Published: May 10th 2010 by Shadow Mountain

Hardcover, 416 pages

His eyes. His touch. His kiss. Dante was unlike anyone Abby had ever met. Now he’s gone, and Abby will do anything to get him back…

The hourglass door has closed behind Dante, sending him back in time to hunt down Zo, Tony, and V. Abby knows that Dante, as a Master of Time, is the only one who can stop them from destroying time itself. She also knows that he will need her help. But almost immediately, things start to change and Abby’s worst fears are realized when Zo begins targeting her past specifically.
With each new change that ripples into her present, Abby’s life continues to spiral out of control. Her relationships with Jason, Natalie, and even her family, are threatened to the breaking point – and beyond. Zo’s power is greater than Abby ever imagined, and as she struggles to free Dante, she receives help from an unexpected – and unlikely – ally.
As Abby’s world fractures around her, she must face a terrible truth: either Dante didn’t make it through the door, or he is lost forever. So with Dante’s blueprints in hand, she begins construction on a new door, a new time machine that will either save Dante – or doom him.
The river of time is running wild, churning up secrets and betrayals, revelations and promises. With each new turn of the river, Abby faces a new challenge. Who can she trust? And how many more changes can she survive?
The bank is eroding, the barriers are thinning. And time is running out.

Monday, March 8, 2010

In Case You're Wondering...

I'm in CA helping my mom after a surgery (nothing major, but she still needs some assistance) So I am handing the reigns to my very worthy co-bloggers this week, with instructions that they don't HAVE to post if they don't want to. But I'm pretty sure they have some great reviews in store for you!

Have a great week everyone! Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Review PERFECT CHEMISTRY by Simone Ekeles


by Simone Ekeles

January 1st 2008 by Walker Books for Young Readers
Paperback, 357 pages

Placement in Pile:

I cannot say. . .


A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

So Wednesday is my day to post. It should say something about this book that I've waited to the very last minute of Wednesday before I decided to go ahead and submit my review. Needless to say, I'm left feeling conflicted.


Never before have I had such a love/hate relationship with a book. It sucked me in, the characters felt real, the emotions had depth, the plot line was practically nail-biting intense, and in the end, I actually LOVED it! There were real-world issues in this novel that were dealt with and pulled together with such plot depth that I felt (as an aspiring writer) utterly flabbergasted. Whether the content was for me or not, I can't deny that Simone Ekeles is a gifted author.

Problem: I could never, ever, EVER, suggest this book to anyone I know. (Well, besides you guys, but that's pretty much because I post here anonymously…or somewhat anonymously.) See, the thing is, the book shouldn't be YA. If it were a movie, hands down it would be rated R. Besides the drugs, alcohol, and sex, the book was packed full of so many f-bombs I had to re-train my eyes to blur the word when I came to it. And believe me, there was a lot of eye-blurring. So, sad to say, I would never recommend this to a teen. Heck, I wouldn't even recommend it to my best friends.

I guess in the end, no matter how great a character is written, how strong a plot line is, or how poetic the prose, if you can't stomach the rest of the novel, then it's not for you. (Would you eat a brownie if it had a worm in it?)

If your answer is yes to that, then by all means, go read this book.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Hi all! Here is our new giveaway. Win an ARC of either BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver or an ARC of A GOLDEN WEB by Barbara Quick.

Just fill out the form below. If you want to go back and read our reviews, simply click on the book's cover.

The contest is open until 11:59 PM EST, Friday, March 12, 2010! USA and Canada addresses only.

If we get up to 95 followers there will be a surprise third place prize! So the more people you tell to come over and follow, the better your chances are of winning something!