Friday, January 29, 2010

Review FAIRY TALE by Cyn Balog

Cyn Balog

Published June 23rd 2009 by Delacorte
Hardcover, 256 pages

Placement in Pile:

Middle of the Stack


Morgan Sparks and Cam Browne are a match made in heaven. They've been best friends since birth, they tell each other everything, and oh yeah- they're totally hot for each other.

But a week before their joint Sweet Sixteen bash, everything changes. Cam's awkward cousin Pip comes to stay, and Morgan is stunned when her formerly perfect boyfriend seems to be drifting away.

When Morgan demands answers, she's shocked to discover the source of Cam's distance isn't another girl- it's another world. Pip claims that Cam is a fairy. No, seriously. A fairy. And now his people want Cam to return to their world and take his rightful place as Fairy King.

Determined to keep Cam with her, Morgan plots to fool the fairies. But as Cam continues to change, she has to decide once and for all if he really is her destiny, and if their “perfect” love can weather an uncertain future.

Witty, original and unexpectedly touching, FAIRY TALE will captivate fans of TWILIGHT and WICKED LOVELY.


I know this one came out a while ago, but it's been on my list for a long time and I finally got a copy from the library to read it.

This was an entertaining read, but one that didn't really stand out to me. Morgan's voice is fun and engaging, and the plotline is interesting, but it didn't grab my attention in a way that I "just couldn't put it down." I kept reading to find out what happened, but I felt like skimming parts to get to the end.

If you love the whole fairy-craze, and want some more fairy books, this one is worth reading, but not one of my faves.

It does have some language and bit of mature content, but nothing too horrible. Probably a PG13 rating.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Meme?

Does anyone know of, or have a Thursday Meme we could participate in?

If not, any suggestions of one we could start?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Review Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen by Lauren Kate

December 8th 2009 by Delacorte Press

Hardcover, 452 pages 

Placement in Pile:
Reaching New Heights

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story

At 452 pages, I was skeptical I'd make it through the entire book in one sitting.  Surprisingly, I did.  It's a page-turner to say the least.  Every chapter is mystery packed on mystery.  When you think you have one angle figured out, there's another thrown at you. 
Luce, the protagonist, is adorable, sympathetic, and most importantly a little crazy.  The girl is enrolled in a reform school for possibly having killed her last boyfriend--to me that screams of lunacy.  Oddly enough though, you find yourself drawn to her and her chaotic decisions.  Then when she meets Daniel, who's outright rude and wants to have nothing to do with her, I was suprised, as a reader that her reasoning concerning him is utterly believable.  I was sucked in to the end. 

So, you ask, why did I just rate it as "Reaching New Heights"?  Because, (and I did think twice on this), the ending is a shameless hook for book two!  In fact, when I thought I had everthing figured out, I read the last two pages and nearly peed my pants.  Really.  I know, gross right?  Well I was that bothered. 

My suggestion:  Read it and see for yourself.   

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blog Awards

We have received a few blog awards this past week, so I thought I would take today to do them and nominate some of my other favorite blogs!


Thanks to ExtremeReader at Extreme Reader Book Reviews for giving us the Happy 101 Award. The rules for this award are as follows:

* List 10 things that make you happy.
* Try and do at least one of them today.
* Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.
* Link back to the person that tagged you!

10 Things That Make Me Happy:

  1. My daughter - especially watching her learn new things
  2. My generous husband
  3. My friends - Girl's Night Out is my emotional savior sometimes!
  4. Author Signings - Love all these amazing people!
  5. Having a home and warmth in winter
  6. Getting Books in the mail
  7. Being able to promote wonderful books and authors that I adore
  8. My cat -- especially when she cuddles with me
  9. My health
  10. All of our readers! - especially when they comment!

I am passing this award on to:

  1. Persnickety Snark at Persnickity Snark
  2. Becky of Becky's Book Reviews
  3. Elie of Ellz Readz
  4. Lizzy at Cornucopia of Reviews
  5. Carol at Book Luver Carol
  6. James Dashner at The Dashner Dude
  7. Julie Berry at The Book Gargoyle
  8. Janette Rallison at Janette Rallison's Blog
  9. Allyson Condie at Allyson
  10. SB at the Not Too Serious I Hope Blog

Then I received this awesome award as well!

I was given this by SB of the Not Too Serious I Hope blog. She has been so great about reading, commenting and promoting this site since she found it! We are very grateful to her!

With this award, I'm supposed to tell you seven interesting things about myself and pass it on to 7 other creative bloggers...

  1. My daughter was born at 12:01 am after 14 hours of labor, and a c-section. She really just did not want to come out.
  2. If I had the money, I would have a HUGE shoe and purse collection. My husband thinks I already do.
  3. I dream of being an author.
  4. I have lots of metal in me. I have three screws in my femur, a plate and five screws in my tibia and a t-plate and 7 screws in my foot. All on the right side.
  5. If I could, I would move back to CA in a heart beat.
  6. I am the youngest of 8. Yes, I said 8!
  7. I am addicted to Facebook.

I would like to pass this award on to:
  1. Briana at The Book Pixie
  2. Speed Reader at My Favorite Author (My old blogging haunt! Check it out!)
  3. Jenn at Books at Midnight
  4. All the Reviewers at Teen Lit Review
  5. Robert at Boy With Books
  6. Kate at the Neverending Shelf
  7. Laura at the Bookie Bunch
PHEW! Is that enough blogs for you to check out and admire? Now I am off to try and go tell all of these fabulous bloggers that I have awarded them!

Happy Reading!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Review UNWIND by Neil Shusterman

By Neil Shusterman
Published November 6th 2007 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Hardcover, 335 pages

Placement in the Pile: Top Picks!

In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them.

Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.
In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers' ideas about life -- not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive.

Sound like a heavy book? Well it is. And that is why I gave it a top placement. This book was not one I would have picked up on my own, but we read it for one of my book clubs and I thought it was so incredibly powerful and thought provoking that I was very very glad I read it.

The only way I can describe this book is: Lord of the Flies, meets, The Maze Runner, meets the Hunger Games, meets The Host, meets Holes. Throw in modern politics (bi-partisan fighting), the abortion issue, stem cell research, the donor system, religion, government run orphanages, teenage pregnancy, the origin of life/the soul, racism, gay marriage, terrorist radical groups, redemption, and what it means to be human -- and there you have it folks. UNWIND.

It will make you really re-evaluate your beliefs, no matter where you stand on the issues, and in a good way.

I highly, highly recommend this book. I now have Neil Shusterman and his other books on my TBR list.

Be warned of some emotionally intense scenes, and one graphic scene that is written in the least graphic way possible.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (5)

As always IMM is hosted by the fabulous TheStorySiren!

From The Publisher

By Michelle Rowen
To be Published June 2010
Sequel to DEMON PRINCESS: REIGN OR SHINE, which I really enjoyed. I am very excited to get a Michael fix!

Books I Bought
By Bree Despain
Published December 22, 2009
This book has been on my list and I am VERY excited to get to it!

By Elizabeth Kostova
Published January 21, 2010
This one is one that I know little about. I saw it at the bookstore and thought I'd give it a try because I really enjoyed her first novel THE HISTORIAN. It isn't YA, but hey. ;)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Review LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES by Laini Taylor


Laini Taylor

October 1st 2009 by Arthur A. Levine Books

Hardcover, 272 pages

Placement in Pile:

Hmmm, tough, but I'm going to go with Reaching New Heights (see review for details)


Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers' souls:

Goblin Fruit: In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today's savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses: A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Hatchling: Six days before Esme's fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?


This is a difficult one for me to place, but I ended up erring on the side of higher for one reason: the writing was absolutely gorgeous. Lush, beautiful, stirring, you name it. The content... not so much. I really hate it when authors have teenage characters smoke, and the girl in Goblin Fruit does, so that was a big put-off for me. But I guess since the point of the story is basically letting Goblins steal your soul for their nectar (and in this case, a kiss); what's a little smoking?

The ideas were all incredibly original, the writing was gorgeous, the illustrations stunning (and sometimes grotesque), and the content quite mature, unless your teenager is obsessed with death, Hell, demons and the like. Also, as a disclaimer, I was really, violently ill with gastroenteritis when I read this, so maybe I just wasn't in a good place to be reading about things like that. Maybe if I'd been totally healthy, the content wouldn't have bothered me at all. But reading about scabby, rotting dead creatures eating cats as a tithe to cross a bridge and stuff like that was a little difficult with my queasy stomach. Especially since she is so good at description--including the gross ones. Also, all three endings just kind of leave you guessing what happens.

Overall, this is worth the read as long as you know what you're getting.

Rating: at least PG13, if not R for content, language, mature themes, etc.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Review The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson

The Miles Between
by Mary E. Pearson

September 1st 2009 by Henry Holt & Company
Hardcover, 288 pages

Placement in the Pile:
Top Picks

Destiny Faraday makes a point of keeping her distance from her classmates at Hedgebrook Academy. Her number-one rule: Don’t get attached. But one day, unexpectedly finding a car at their disposal, Destiny and three of her classmates embark on an unauthorized road trip.

They’re searching for one fair day—a day where the good guy wins and everything adds up to something just and right. Their destination: Langdon, a town that Destiny’s unsuspecting companions hope will hold simply a day of fun. But, as Destiny says, “Things are not always what they seem.” Only she knows that Langdon holds far more than that—a deep secret she has never shared with anyone.

The Miles Between explores the wonder andmagic of a very real world where chance, mystery, and secrets abound.

I passed this book to a friend of mine and she said, "What's it like?"  I said, "Weird.  Good, but weird." 
This one was a page turner.  At only 288 pages, you could read it in one sitting, and that's exactly what I did.  Each page delivers twists and turns that uncovers more and more of who the main character is.  It's definitely a character driven book, but that's something I didn't mind.  The story takes place in one day and changes the life of four main characters.  They're thrown together in the most bizarre situation.  And everything that happens in the single day that the novel takes place is equally bizarre. 
I fell in love with the protagonist and (don't tell anyone) I actually cried at one point.  It had me laughing out loud, rolling in my seat, and then brought down to tears.  It's definitely worth the read and it WILL make it to my 'Do Not Touch' shelf.  This book is an all around, thought-provoking, page-tuner, clean YA read.
Go out and read this one!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Review WILDWOOD DANICING by Juliet Marillier

by Juliet Marillier
Published January 23rd 2007 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 407 pages

Placement in the Pile: Reaching New Heights

There are many mysteries within the wildwood. Jena and her sisters share the biggest of all, a fantastic secret that enables them to escape the confines of their everyday life in rural Transylvania. They have kept it hidden for nine long years.

When their father falls ill and must leave their forest home over the winter, Jena and her oldest sister Tati are left in charge. All goes well until a tragic accident allows their over bearing cousin Cezar to take control. The appearance of a mysterious young man in a black coat divides sister from sister, and suddenly Jena finds herself fighting to save all she holds dear. With her constant companion Gogu by her side, she must venture to realms dark and perilous in her quest to preserve, not just those she loves, but her own independence as well.

This book was a delight to read. It was a book club pick because it combined the tales of the twelve dancing princesses and the princess and the frog -- all favorite fairy tales of mine. Throw in the Transylvanian setting and Romanian folklore about the fey of the Transylvanian forest, even some "Night People" and you have the intricate world that is Wildwood!

Juliet Marillier has a way with descriptions and words that make it feel as if you are there. I felt like sometimes the description was too much, and by being a bit more minimalistic the long page count could have been whittled down, but in the end the story and characters were so enchanting it didn't seem to matter.

The chaos of the cover is pretty much the story. So enjoy trying to figure that one out.

Also, there is a sequel involving one of the younger sister's Paula, called CYBELE'S SECRET. But since the summary gives away something in this book, I will just say that it is definitely on my TBR list.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes fairy tale re-tellings.

Blog Mechanics

I think a lot of our technical difficulties have been ironed out. Comments are now working, links are working, etc.

We're still going to try to make the blog prettier and a bit more unique, but we'd love to hear from you about how it's looking, and about any of the posts we made since the comments were down.

Thanks to you all for your patience!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Hi all. I am really frustrated with trying to make the code work on blogger to make three columns, and I have no clue how to make the comments work again. I will be working on this throughout the day so if you see lots of changes and things are working off and on then that's why.

If anyone has any tips e-mail me!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Comments Still Down

Hey all, we are having a hard time figuring out what went wrong with the comments on the blog. If you have something to say we'd still love to hear from you at We love hearing comments from our readers!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Review HEARTS AT STAKE by Alyxandra Harvey


December 2009 by Walker Books
Paperback 256 pages

Placement in Pile:
Reaching New Heights

On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.

Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.


This was a really fun, easy read. I liked the new twists on the traditional vampire lore. (At least I think it's new, I am admittedly not a vampire expert) The whole idea of a blood change at 16 that could kill you, and still aging after the change, were new ideas to me. I really enjoyed Lucy's "kick butt-ness" and Solange's sweet personality. And Nicholas and Kieran are pretty attractive boys. ha ha ha... It is told from both POVs (Solange and Lucy) which I wasn't expecting. I love the brothers, and the romantic plots were fun and engaging. It wasn't life changing, or a favorite book EVER, but it was definitely an entertaining, good read with a couple interesting twists.



Hey all. I wanted you to be aware that I know there is a glitch in the coding on the blog at the moment and comments are not working!

This make us very sad as we LOVE hearing your comments and discussions on our reviews! We will try to get that up and running later today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Changes are Coming!

Okay, so with the addition of the fabulous Erin Writes! We are also going to be tweaking the look and layout of the blog. So bear with us while we work on that today!

Review BREAK by Hannah Moskowitz

by Hannah Moskowitz

Published August 25th, 2009 by Simon Pulse
Paperback, 256 pages

Placement in the Pile
Middle of the Stack

Jonah is on a mission to break every bone in his body. Everyone knows that broken bones grow back stronger than they were before. And Jonah wants to be stronger--needs to be stronger--because everything around him is falling apart. Breaking, and then healing, is Jonah's only way to cope with the stresses of home, girls, and the world on his shoulders.
This is the story of his self-destructive spiral, his rock-bottom movement, and how he finally learns to accept help and find true strength through recovery.

First off, know what comes next, right? That's the best way to describe this book. If you can get past the numerous F-bombs and swear words all packed into the first chapter, you might get hooked on the bizarre, yet oddly intriguing, storyline. I'm not going to lie, Break is a page turner.

It's like watching a train wreck happen in slow motion right before your eyes. Jonah's actions are frightening, gut wrenching and down-right disturbing. And at 256 pages, Break is a quick, easy read.

Moskowitz nailed character voice for each of her main characters and supporting characters. But I'm not convinced by her overall story arch. Frankly, it lacked an overall story arch that tied everything together. The end fell flat and many of the subplot questions were left unanswered in the end.

Would I read Break again? No . . . so I guess that means there's no way this book would make it to my "Do Not Touch" shelf.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Hmm . . . only if that friend uses the F-bomb as a staple in every day dialogue.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Biggest Announcement EVER!

Okay, so I am extremely melodramatic, BUT...since my dear friend Allyson Condie got the go ahead to blog about this I HAD to finally post about it!

One of the fantabulous ladies in my writer's group sold her book this winter and it is now a-okay for me to tell you about it!

Her name is Allyson Condie, the book is MATCHED.

It is least the version I had the privilege to read before she got her AMAZING agent Jodi Reamer (as in Stephenie Meyer's agent). When I read her first chapter for a writer's conference critique that I attended last summer I KNEW with every fiber of my being that this book would be published. If you are a fan of THE HUNGER GAMES, you will love MATCHED. I am sure it is just better since the last time I saw it!

Here is the LINK to Ally's blog and official announcement from yesterday.

It could not have happened to a better person. I ADORE this girl and her book!

Until I get the okay, I am not posting any pictures or other reviews. Obviously I read a manuscript and I am sure the novel will be changed, so for now know that this is the NUMBER ONE book of 2010 that I am looking forward to!

Monday, January 11, 2010

To Book Club, or Not to Book Club?

I have been thinking a lot about my reading schedule lately. With books I buy, books on my back list that I have been meaning to read for a long time, writer's group manuscript edits, and books from publishers, I am very busy. On top of that I have now added myself to TWO book clubs!

I was wondering what you, my readers and friends think of book clubs. Do you enjoy them? Do you like them at first and then quit them later down the line?

Here is your chance to add to my list of pros and cons about book clubs:

  • you are exposed to books you otherwise might not have picked up -- and sometimes they are great books!
  • it gives you a chance to listen to many different opinions about a book
  • as a mom, it can give me a night out with great friends
  • you are exposed to books you otherwise might not have picked up -- and sometimes there is a reason you didn't pick up that book...
  • if your friends are not really open minded then discussions about differing opinions about a book can cause sore spots (I don't let it cause sore spots, but I know I am VERY opinionated about my books...I like them or I don't, I like characters or I don't and no one can change my point of view 99.99% of the time. Regardless of their arguments, I always have a counter for my opinion. I worry it can cause sore spots with my friends on the other side of said discussion! I got it from my dad.)
  • It can create an obligation that is sometimes hard to fulfill. If someone picks a long book and I don't get to it until a few days before the book club, I feel out of place trying to discuss a book that I don't know the ending.
What do you think?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

In My Mailbox (4)

Received from Publishers:

by Jen Nadol
To be Published January 19, 2010
*Counts for 2010 Debut Author Challenge!

From the Library:

by Neal Shusterman
Published November 6, 2007

by Juliet Marillier
Published January 23, 2007


Hush, Hush
by Becca Fitzpatrick
Published October 13, 2009

by Harvard Lampoon
Published November 3, 2009

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Welcome ErinWrites!

Hey all! As readers of this blog know I am a mom of a young girl and I am also trying to finish a novel. Reading is something I love and I love to promote good books. But "My Pile of Books" is just too big for me to get through on my own and bring you as many reviews as I want to.

Guinevere has been helping me out, and now we are pleased to announce the newest member of our MPB team! ErinWrites!

Take it away Erin!

In college I took a class in Young Adult lit and fell in love with YA books. Authors like Graham Salisbury and Lois Lowry had me on the edge of my seat.

After graduating, I took that passion for YA lit and pushed reading in my classroom. Instead of the normal written book report, I had the kids hand me their chosen book. Then I'd pick a page and read a half of a paragraph. My students were challenged to explain to me what was going on in the scene, the conflict, the movement in the plot, how the characters were changing a that point, and more. Reading became a dialogue between me and the students and a place where I found we connected best.

I took to reading 3-4 YA novels a week, to keep up with my students and be able to give the best recommendations. I haven't stopped since then. And now I'm a full fledged book addict.

What can I bring to the blog? I can read any book and tell you two or three more that you'll love if you liked that one.


Thanks so much Erin! With how much you are able to do and read I know you will be a valuable asset to MPB!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Out Today...

CAPTIVATE by Carrie Jones!

If you didn't win my Pesky Pisky Pixie giveaway then today is the day to run out and get CAPTIVATE, and if you haven't read NEED yet either, pick them both up! I seriously love this paranormal romance series and cannot wait for the next one.

Monday, January 4, 2010


The winner for the Pesky Pisky Pixie Giveaway is...


E-mail me at with your mailing address so I can get these two great books in the mail for you!

Thanks so much for all of your entries! I have a PILE of great books to read right now. I am looking forward to reading them and reviewing them for you. Attending more author events and bringing you fun interviews!

Happy New Year!