Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review PERCHANCE TO DREAM by Lisa Mantchev

by Lisa Mantchev
Details: Published: May 25th 2010 by Feiwel & Friends (first published 2010)
Hardcover, 384 pages
Placement in Pile: Reaching New Heights

The stuff that dreams are made on.

Act Two, Scene One

Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn’t know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world.


But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. And her magic cannot help her make a decision between—

Nate: Her suave and swashbuckling pirate, now in mortal peril.

Ariel: A brooding, yet seductive, air spirit whose true motives remain unclear.

When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. She and her fairy sidekicks embark on a journey aboard the Thèâtre’s caravan, using Bertie’s word magic to guide them. Along the way, they collect a sneak-thief, who has in his possession something most valuable, and meet The Mysterious Stranger, Bertie’s father—and the creator of the scrimshaw medallion. Bertie’s dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it’s Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess’s lair?

Once again, LISA MANTCHEV has spun a tale like no other—full of romance, magic, adventure, and fairies, too—that readers won’t want to put down, even after the curtain has closed.


It took me a little while to get back into the world Lisa has created (which, in my opinion, is somewhat confusing at times with the combination of modern and historical elements and magic and everything else). I remembered that EYES LIKE STARS was different, but I didn't seem to remember just HOW different her writing/world building was. Once I got back into it though and remembered more of the details from the first book, I was sucked right in to the craziness, romance, and suspense of the Theater Illuminata books. A unique story, wonderful characters of all sorts (aren't the faeries hysterical?), and a complicated love triangle. (I know who I'm rooting for!) The way this one ends I have no idea who she's going to pick or how, but I can't wait for more. And I really am craving some cupcakes. Or just cake. Or anything with sugar.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On Vacation!

Sorry for the time lapse folks. I am on vacation again, I know...poor me. And I know one of my co-bloggers is too so things are going to be slow for the next few weeks (much like the internet where I am!).


Starting about the second week in August, watch out! You will want to be here, and send your friends here cause it's celebration and crazy giveaway time!

Trust me!

Hugs to you all from sunny California!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Author Interview: Carol Lynch Williams

Carol Lynch Williams is an absolute delight. I have loved e-mailing with her and seeing her at writer's conferences. She is honestly one of the most inspiring people I know.

For more about her, and writing advice check out her awesome blog with Ann Dee Ellis

Now on to the interview!

1) GLIMPSE is your first book in verse (which I believe you called "not really verse, but broken up sentences"). Why did you choose this format?

CLW: Good question. The truth is, I worked on this book for a long, long, LONG time. Years. I had many editors interested, but they thought the book was too dark. Well, it IS pretty dark. Anyway. One day it just came to me to try the book in the short, choppy line. The main character, Hope, is looking at her world that way--in just glimpses. So maybe if the word on the page looked the way she felt . . . Then i happened to find a publisher who has had success in publishing these kinds of books! I was so lucky!

2) You have mentioned to me how much this book means to you. Can you explain a little bit why this was such an important book for you to write?

CLW: I just read a local review about my book, The Chosen One, where the reviewer said she was so disturbed about the dunking of the baby in ice water that she couldn't appreciate the rest of the book. Then she said something like, "I know kids have it rough. But I don't think they see this kind of stuff." Here's what I think: Kids DO see awful stuff. And they experience it, too. I know of a boy (he knows one of my daughters) who's father came into a fast food restaurant, shot and killed the boy's mother, then kicked her teeth in. I know of another boy who's mother and sisters went missing--and they finally found the car--with their bodies in it--submerged in a river. Foul play was suspected. Already I am getting emails from people saying things like, "I understand what Hope and Lizzie went through." Girls (and women) are already telling me this. Life is hard. And when we hand a book to a kid who may need what you have written (travel the country and meet with kids, you'll see them everywhere), you can feel some relief that you didn't shy away from something. There are tough books out there and there are happy books out there. Kids can pick and choose what they want. I want all the Lizzie's of the world to know they can get free. They can fight and make it. And BTW, that dunking of the baby IS the way some people discipline their kids. The scene ALWAYS gets the mothers. (It doesn't bother younger readers as much, believe it or not!)

3) What is the reason you chose to write YA novels in the first place?

CLW: My books have always been edgy. I have always written upper middle grade, lower YA, with a couple of exceptions. That's the place my real voice is. Right now, I have some dark stories going on in my head, so I'm getting them out. And the books I have ALWAYS liked the best are young adult novels.
4) I have an idea in my head, but I am wondering if there was an era/date for the setting of the book? (Is that even a question? I need an editor.)

CLW: Glimpse is contemporary.
*Note: This is what I thought, I just wondered because some of the reviews I read thought that it might be a bit earlier in time period.

5) The mother in this novel is a hard character to understand. She just seems so, broken. But as a mother myself, I can't imagine behaving the way she did in many instances. What are the mother's feelings/motivations that we don't get to see from Hope's perspective?

CLW: I know you love that baby girl of yours. Aren't you so glad you can't imagine treating anyone the way Hope's mom does? She is a broken, sad, sick woman. As far as her feelings and motivations--she knows what she does is wrong, but I think she feels justified. Really, I don't know why anyone acts the way s/he does. I'm always surprised to hear of horrible people doing horrible things. Are they all sick? Are they evil? What I know is, this kinda stuff happens. A lot. Once is too much, but this happens a LOT.
6) Your book does not shirk from hard topics that can be hard and sad to read about, yet it is empowering at the same time. What do you hope people take from these themes?

CLW: I do hope people 'enjoy' the read as much as they can. I hope they love the language and the unwinding of the story. I hope good moms show their daughters the book and say, "See, we are okay." I hope teachers see kids who are struggling and let them see characters survive. I hope mostly I have told the story in an honest way. And I think I have.

7) What is your favorite book of all time?

CLW: The one you are going to publish.

*Note: Oh Carol! I laughed so hard at this and am completely flattered. Can you see why she is such a great teacher for young authors? Seriously people check her blog!

8) What are you reading right now?

CLW: I just started LIPS TOUCH THREE TIMES by Laini Taylor (A wow! so far!) and I just finished our own Matthew Kirby's novel THE CLOCKWORK THREE (he has some amazing word choices in this book). And I have a pile of books to be read!

9) What are you working on currently?

CLW: I am working on three books. One is my Damned Dystopian. I am making some real progress on it. Something funny has happened as I have wrestled with this novel. I have noticed that if I want to get anything written I need to sit down and write. I'm also working on another book in the short, choppy line. It's the story of a girl who has had something awful happen and now the seams of her life are starting to come undone and she can't hold it together any more. And I am doing a rewrite of a true middle grade novel.

Thank you so much Carol! You know I love you tons, and loved GLIMPSE!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Review TANGLED by Carolyn Mackler

Carolyn Mackler

DETAILS: published December 29th 2009 by HarperTeen

Hardcover, 308 pages

PLACEMENT IN PILE: Somewhat Buried

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. (goodreads)

Review: Well... I didn't love this book. In the end the message was a good one, but getting there was kind of a mess for me. I did feel for the characters, but it was frustrating to get used to one POV and then have it change (and never go back). The book is told from 4 POVs and you only get each person once. I also didn't like that in the boys' POV chapters, she obviously tries to make them think "like a boy" (or how she thinks they think anyway) and it was just plain disgusting, crude - even vile at times. I'm sorry, but does she really believe any boys are going to be picking up this book? I'm thinking not. Or very few. And the ones who do probably aren't as crude in their thoughts as she made her characters. (One in particular) It is interesting to find out what everyone's "secrets" are (although I did guess most of them), and how their lives all become "tangled." I also liked the resolve, which is what kept it from being bottom of the pile.

Overall, if you think it sounds interesting, and aren't easily upset by content, you should give it a try. Otherwise, this might not be the book for you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review 13 TO LIFE by Shannon Delaney

13 to Life
by Shannon Delaney

June 22nd 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin

308 pages

Placement in Pile:
Reaching New Heights

Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…

When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.
The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.

13 to Life. That's catchy, right? As soon as I glimpsed the title on Goodreads, I knew I wanted to read this one…despite that it's a werewolf book. Before I read 13 to Life, I was so over the werewolf thing. (You know I love you Jacob) But baby, now the love for werewolves has been rekindled in me like I've been caught their doggy disease.

Shannon Delaney's, 13 to Life has all the makings of a strong, angsty teen novel. From friend drama to hottie high school boys, Delaney created a balance of drama and character development that'll hook any YA lit lover. And that's before the rumored rabid-massive-mauling dog attacks. Um, werewolves? Maybe. Possibly. Probably.
To be honest, it was a quick read that hooked me line and sinker. But, I zipped through the developing plot and mystery, to find myself unsatisfied with the end. Why? Well, once I figured out the great mystery, I kept wondering why the character didn't. She's supposedly a smarty-pants student. Um…obviously not. So that's flaw number one.
Flaw number two is the fact that the novel could probably shed 100 pages. I felt a lot of the scenes were unnecessary rehash of what had just happened. I understand nailing in a point, but hammering it to death? Come on now, Delaney.

Overall, it's a good read. I probably wouldn't ever re-read it, but that's because I've only ever re-read a handful of books in my life. But, you better believe that I'll be reading the sequel.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review GLIMPSE by Carol Lynch Williams

by Carol Lynch Williams
Published June 22nd 2010 by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Hardcover, 496 pages

Placement in the Pile: Top Picks

Summary: (From the jacket-flap)
Just a year apart,
the Chapman girls
were as close as
sisters could be.
Hope could always
count on Lizzie,
and Lizzie could
always count on Hope -

But even sisters have
secrets. Big secrets.
And if Lizzie has her
way, she'll take the
biggest secret of all
to her grave.

GLIMPSE will catch your attention and stop your heart on the very first page. Following the story of these two sisters is no easy feat. Hope and Lizzie's story is haunting, but it is an important story to tell. It touched my heart. Carol Lynch William's use of verse was very fitting for this subject, and title. Through this format we get to see glimpses of these girl's world that in the end combine into a very powerful whole. I loved the story of hardships, childhood lost, and finding strength in sisterhood, even when the bad guy is someone you love.

I have had the incredible opportunity to meet Carol in person on several occasions and I can tell you that she is one amazing person. This book is very important to her. And I can see why. I love my paranormal romance books, but sometimes you just need something more real. This book certainly fulfilled that for me. It made me so grateful for the life I lived, and my own daughter. So it is highly recommended for the adult crowd. Yet, I also highly recommend it for the teen crowd.

Don't be daunted by the page count. The verse writing makes it a very fast read. When I started GLIMPSE, life got in the way for a while and I picked it back up a few days later. That night I read more than half of it in a few hours, I simply could not put it down.

So all in all, I found GLIMPSE to be an important message for women everywhere. This one will make you think.

Monday, July 12, 2010

In My Mailbox (17)

by Francesca Lia Block
To Be Published September 28th 2010 by HarperTeen
Hardcover, 272 pages

Summary: When she was thirteen, something terrifying and mysterious happened to Liv that she still does not understand, and now, four years later, her dark secret threatens to tear her apart from her family and her true love.

WICKED GIRLS: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials
by Stephanie Hemphill
Published July 1, 2010 by HarperCollins
Hardcover, 402 pages

Summary:Wicked Girls is a fictionalized account of the Salem witch trials based on the real historical characters, told from the perspective of three young women living in Salem in 1692—Mercy Lewis, Margaret Walcott, and Ann Putnam Jr.

by Diana Peterfreund
To Be Published September 28th 2010 by HarperTeen
Hardcover, 400 pages

Summary: (If you haven't read Rampant I think this is a bit spoilery) Now a fully trained unicorn hunter, Astrid Llewelyn is learning that she can’t solve all her problems with a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend has left Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend’s powers are mysteriously disintegrating, and her hope of becoming a scientist seems to be nothing but an impossible dream.

So when she’s given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and use her skills as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she wants—or can she? At Gordian headquarters deep in France, Astrid begins to question everything she had believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and—most of all—her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns or saving unicorns from the world?

How Did I Miss This?

Wow, I really am out of it guys! I had my BLOGIVERSARY! And I didn't even awknowledge it! Man I am slow! Okay, here is a promise:

I am going to be really busy until August (since I am leaving for 3 weeks!) but sometime in August I am going to have amazing Blogiversary and 100 followers giveaways! No joke!

The more followers we get before then the better your chances for a better giveaway, just sayin, spread the love. ;)

But really, I LOVE my readers. I know you put up with my maniac schedule and random postings, but I love being able to share my stuff with you. Thanks for caring!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Review for NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer

By, Andrea Cremer

Details: published October 19th 2010 by Philomel
Hardcover, 464 pages

Placement In Pile: Reaching New Heights

Summary: While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies’ throats. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth-birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves. But Calla’s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy’s secret will turn the young pack's world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches' War that surrounds them all.


This was an easy, quick, engaging read. The world Andrea builds is interesting and left me excited to continue to discover what lies ahead. I do wish she'd explained even more; hopefully in the next book. (One question I had is how does the rest of the world outside of Colorado function - just normally as we all know it? or differently like this unique school and town Calla lives in? Based on the ending of this book, I'm assuming we'll find out more in the book to come!) Speaking of the end... be prepared for a major cliffhanger. That's all I'm going to say.

The love triangle was also interesting, as well as the dynamics of the two different "packs," and Calla's reactions to things since she is an "alpha." I wasn't too surprised by some of the twists (but then again, I'm usually not - it takes a pretty sneaky author to take me totally by surprise). There was a lot of kissing, which is always yummy. Ha ha. With two different boys, which can be aggravating (or also yummy, depending on how you feel about triangles). ;-) I'm definitely curious to see how this series turns out, and if the boy I'm leaning towards will win out.

After I finished, I was frustrated to realize it would be well over a year before I got to read the second book, since this won't be published until October (and I assumed book #2 WOLFSBANE would be published one year later). I was pleasantly surprised to find out it actually comes out next summer. Yay! So keep your eyes out for this one. YA paranormal romance is still going strong.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

For those of you who don't know, this is a big deal! The blog I used to blog for (My Favorite Author) was nominated for a BBAW award last year, so I thought, hey why not try? This post is to comply with their new rules for posting links and announcing my intent to run in these categories listed below (with sample links for consideration).

Thanks to my co-bloggers and all of our readers! Our first year of blogging is almost upon us and this would be a great way to celebrate!

Best Young Adult Book Blog—This blog offers the best consistently excellent reviews, recommendations, analyses, and other content for books written for a young adult audience.
Review Captivate by Carrie Jones
Review Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Review Unwind by Neil Shusterman
Review The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
Review White Cat by Holly Black

Best Written Book Blog—This blog is consistently well-written, clear, and engaging, no matter what the subject. [Note that nominated bloggers for this award are required to submit 3 reviews, recommendations, or analyses of a specific title; 2 are up to the nominated blogger.]
Review Perfect Chemistry by Simone Ekeles
Review Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
Review Swoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter
My Moods of Reading
Young Adult Authors Against Bullying

*I wanted to enter the new blog contest but we technically launched before Sept. 1, 2009. Sadness. No one was reading it until around Sept. But hey, thems the rules!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

In My Mailbox (16)

As you know, I have not been doing a lot of reading, BUT I did get a few books this week that I wanted to share with you. This is my way of disclosing what the publishers are sending me, as well as a way for you to see some books you might not have heard of, and that I might not get to! These, however are ones I most likely will get to! So thanks again Story Siren for hosting this meme!

From Publishers:

by Kiersten White
To Be Published August 31st 2010 by HarperTeen
Hardcover, 352 pages

Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal.

Normal is so overrated.

by Anna Godbersen
To Be Published October 26th 2010 by HarperCollins (according to GoodReads, on the sample I was sent it says November)
Hardcover, 416 pages

*Interesting Note:
I was sent a teaser sampler that is 84 pages long rather than a full ARC. I wonder with the cost of sending full ARCs if this will become more popular? Perhaps something to discuss when I read and review what I was sent!

Bright Young Things is the first in an epic four-book series about three teenage girls finding their way in the glittering metropolis of New York City and the glamorous mansions of Long Island. It’s 1929 and Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey have escaped their small Midwestern town to chase big dreams and even bigger secrets. In New York, they meet Astrid Donal, a flapper who has everything she could ever want, except for the one thing Letty and Cordelia have to offer—true friendship. Set in the dizzying summer before the market crash, against the vast lawns of the East End and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls will find romance, intrigue, and adventure.

Just as The Luxe books brought the Gilded Age to readers of Gossip Girl, Bright Young Things will bring the Jazz Age to bestselling author Anna Godbersen’s devoted fans and to new readers alike.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Week!?

Has it really been a week since I've posted? Wow. Appologies guys! Summer is the hardest time for me to post because I usually do less reading, but an very very busy.

Here is what I have been up to:

  1. Writer's Conference for a week - it was fabulous!
  2. Swim Lessons with my 2 yr old
  3. Eclipse - what more can I say there? I will be posting a review soon, if there is anyone on the planet who hasn't seen it yet!
  4. Getting lots of books from awesome authors
  5. Writer's groups and book clubs, birthday parties and BBQs galore!
Literally in June I had 3 days that I didn't have something going on! My house is a mess, my book pile is getting BIGGER and BIGGER! So bear with me guys! I will hopefully be reading more soon and I know my co-bloggers have been reading lots lately so there WILL be more coming soon! We love our readers and hope you all have a fabulous 4th of July weekend!