Friday, May 27, 2011

Review CRYER'S CROSS by Lisa McMann

CRYER'S CROSS by Lisa McMann

Hardcover, 233 pages

Published February 8th 2011 by Simon Pulse

Placement in Pile:
Reaching new Heights

The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

Lisa McMann captures a unique and compelling story of Kendall, a motivated teen girl that suffers from OCD. One thing Kendall resists most is change. So when her best friend/boyfriend go missing, Kendall must figure out if the voices in her head are a manifestation that her OCD has run rampant, or if they're clues to the disappearances. In short, this novel is compelling and disturbing. McMann crafts a clear teen voice, with internal struggles that are easy to identify with. The mystery of the story will leave you breathless, if not completely and utterly shocked. But I think you'll enjoy the ride. Should you read this? I think so. But you would most likely love it if you're into a good thriller.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Hardcover, 487 pages

Published May 3rd 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books

Placement in Pile:
Top of the Stack!
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

I hate when I hear awesome and amazing things about a book, only to read it and find it lacking somehow. Usually in character development, the character's internal struggles, plot development, or consistency in world building. So when I picked up Divergent by Veronica Roth, I was, to say the very least, skeptical. But if you devoured The Hunger Games then you'll love Divergent. Call me bold, but for me Divergent hit the dystopic crave that The Hunger Games awakened in me. It was a maze of complex plot development with action, romance, and memorable characters. The emotional struggles in the book had me turning page after page, unable to stop reading. Frankly, I loved it! Should you go out and read this? YES!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Thanks to all who entered to win an ARC copy of TEMPEST RISING by Tracy Deebs!

And the winner is...


I have your address and will send your information to the publisher today! Congrats and enjoy the book!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Great Conversation

Hey all!

Many of you are aware of my good friend and fellow blogger Speed Reader over at My Favorite Author.

Well she just posted a very thought provoking post sparked be a twitter discussion with Barry Goldblatt.

I encourage all of my readers to go check it out and really think about this. What do you think about it? I think it is something worth discussing and understanding from both sides!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review: SO SILVER BRIGHT by Lisa Mantchev

So Silver Bright

by Lisa Mantchev
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: September 13th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends

Placement in the Pile: Reaching New Heights

All Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has ever wanted is a true family of her own. And she’s close to reuniting her parents when her father disappears. Now Bertie must deal with a vengeful sea goddess and a mysterious queen as she tries to keep her family – and the Theatre Illuminata – from crumbling. To complicate it all, Bertie is torn between her two loves, Ariel and Nate.

The whole cast of The Theater Illuminata is back for their final curtain call.

It always takes me a bit to get back into her style of writing, and the thick of the story, but once I'm used to it again, I can't put it down. I particularly loved the faeries in this one, their comic relief was perfect and so well written.

Bertie's journey to try to reunite her family, and decide where her heart truly lies doesn't run smooth, that's for sure. I don't want to be spoilery, so let's just say this book ups the ante again, and finally answers all of the questions raised in the last two.

A fast-paced, satisfying conclusion to the series. I won't comment on my feelings about which love interest she ends up with, since anything I said either positive or negative would reveal the outcome to anyone who remembers which team I was rooting for. You'll just have to find out when the book is released!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Hey everyone! Walker Books for Young Readers offered up my readers a chance to win an ARC copy of TEMPEST RISING! How cool is that? Just fill out the form below!

Contest runs from today to 11:59 pm EST Saturday, May 21st. Contest winner will be announced Monday.

All entries must be USA addresses only. No P.O. Boxes please.

Good luck!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Blog Tour Review: TEMPEST RISING by Tracy Deebs

by Tracy Deebs
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Walker Books for Young Readers

Placement in the Pile: Reaching New Heights

Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.

I was really excited about this one. I have never read a mermaid book even though there have been several in the YA world in the last few years. I have to say TEMPEST RISING whet my appetite for more of them. It is a fun change of pace from your everyday paranormals, something a bit more unique with an underwater world foreign yet compelling.

Tempest's character lives up to her name in many ways. She is fairly emotional, but for me it worked with the situation. Tempest deals with abandonment and anger issues, fear of becoming a mermaid, and normal teenage hormones and problems at school. I felt her to be genuine.

One of the things I loved the most about this book was how it took me back to high school. I grew up in Southern California and her descriptions of the High School, the neighborhood and the beach and ocean were things I could draw from my memory. The surf team from my high school did just as Tempest and her friends did, they went surfing very early in the morning before school every day. I could picture it clearly, and it was nice to have that personal connection to the story.

My biggest complaint, why it didn't get 5 stars it the story did feel a little slow at times and then the climax went very quickly. I would have liked to have seen more of the underwater world, and to have more face time with her mother in the book.

What I loved? Kai. Tempest has truly found her other half in Kai, and yet she already has someone she deeply cares for Mark. Normally I am not a fan of both guys in the love triangle thing, but this time, although I definitely was rooting for Kai, I could see why she felt so attracted to Mark as well.

This is the first of a series -- I assume from the ending of the book, that finishes well, but leaves open a LOT -- but this is one series I will definitely look to find out more.

Be sure to check in tomorrow for your change to win a copy of TEMPEST RISING so you can read it for yourself!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


by Leah Clifford
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Greenwillow Books

Placement in the Pile: Middle of the stack

Eden didn't expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.


So long, happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else's game. Her heart is her own.

And that's only the beginning of the end.

This book had such an interesting premise. Unfortunately for me, the strong language and content detracted from the excitement and intrigue of the plot. The characters were interesting and complex, but quite dark--suicide, murder, and death are major themes throughout. Her mythology and world building were unique, and definitely made me want to know more.

Overall, it was an interesting read, and I'm curious to see what happens. I just wish the language hadn't been so strong, but that's obviously a personal preference.

Monday, May 2, 2011


by Emily Wing Smith
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 28th 2011 by Dutton Childrens Books

Placement in the Pile: Middle of the Stack reaching to New Heights

What's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan—the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah—unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.

Original and insightful, quirky and crushing, Joy's story is told in surprising and artfully shifting flashbacks between her life then and now. Exquisite craft and wry, relatable humor signal the arrival of Emily Wing Smith as a breakout talent.

Going into this book I wanted to be so in love with it. I had read amazing reviews from others who have read it, and I ADORE Emily. I cannot say that enough. Emily is one of the sweetest most genuine people I know and I love her to death. But my job is to review how I felt about a book, not how I feel about an author. And that dichotomy with this novel makes my job very, very hard.

Honestly, at the beginning of this book I had a very hard time because I really, really disliked the main character. Joy was whinny. And since we are jumping straight into her Bella-like obsession with her boyfriend who out of the blue left, without having any feeling for who he is and why he did it, we don't sympathize with her feelings, at least I didn't.

And on top of that I honestly have to admit I was a bit offended by the main character and completely disagreed with the image she portrayed of California Mormons verses Utah Mormons (which I will admit that I am a California Mormon who moved to Utah in my later teen years, and I have to say most of the "differences" portrayed were pretty wrong for me and my life experiences, and I couldn't get over the negative view it was portraying.)

That being said, all of those issues were in the beginning of the book. But I kept plugging along dealing with Joy because of my love of Emily.

And I'm glad I did.

In the end, the plotline was a little predictable but very enjoyable. Joy realizes that Zan is not who she thought he was, that she isn't even who she used to be with Zan. That it's okay to be herself. And that in the end, that is what makes her happy. There were some really funny moments, some really sweet moments and I have to admit, I liked Joy in the end. All in all, this story was worth reading. And it is worth giving it a try. Just remember, plug through the beginning, the end is enjoyable.