Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reading Road-trip - Hawaii!

Reading Road-trip time!  In this giveaway hop hosted by I Like These Books and Icey Books, each stop visits another state in the great US of A to feature a book either written by an author from that state or that takes place in that state.

I'm the last stop on the Reading Road-trip tour and interestingly enough, my state is the only you can't actually reach by road... HAWAII!

I will be giving away a copy of The Raft by S.A. Bodeen, or rather I will be preordering a copy for you since it doesn't come out until the middle of August.  The book tells the story of a teenage girl who's in plane crash in Hawaii and ends up in a raft in the middle of the ocean with just a bag of Skittles and the plane's copilot.  Sounds awesome right?  Enter with the Rafflecopter below and be sure to check out the previous forty-nine states by clicking here for the schedule.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Sound Among the Trees

A Sound Among the Trees
Susan Meissner
324 pages
Released: October 2011
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Source: Blogging for Books

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

I was in the mood for some historical fiction earlier this week, so I picked up A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner.  Taking place at an old plantation named Holly Oak in Fredericksburg, Virginia, A Sound Among the Trees traces the life of the house and the lives of the women who have inhabited it for generations.  Adelaide, the current matriarch of the house at ninety-years-old, has just witnessed her grand-daughters husband remarry after her untimely death.  Marielle, the new wife and mother, is trying to fit in at Holly Oak, but rumors about the house being haunted and/or not actually haunted are preventing her from settling in completely.

A Sound Among the Trees reminded me a bit of the novel Cane River, but from the slave-owners perspective rather than the slave's.  Both books follow the female line of the family for generations and in A Sound Among the Trees, it was interesting to see how those generations of females related to each other, even decades after death.  The book focuses mostly on Marielle, though she felt a little out of place to me because she was not blood related to the women before her.  At times she came off rather dense about history and her surroundings, but I think ultimately her heart was in the right place and I can't help but admire her for that.

A note on the writing: Susan Meissner is a great writer and I feel like she was easily able to capture the different voices of the generations.  In particular, I enjoyed the roughly one-hundred pages of the novel that were old letters Susannah (the supposed ghost haunting Holly Oak) had written to her cousin.  They were extremely well written and were the highlight of the novel, particularly as they highlighted the historical aspects of the Civil War from a female perspective.

In the end, we learn what really was plaguing the women of Holly Oak.  While it wasn't necessarily paranormal as I was expecting it to be, it made sense as all the pieces fell together and I wish the concept had been explored more by the author.

Overall, A Sound Among the Trees gets three stars from me.  I enjoyed reading about the family line and the mysteries of the house, but at times the book felt a little slow and the ending felt a little hasty.  Nevertheless, A Sound Among the Trees is a must-read for Civil War fiction fans and I think readers who also enjoy Jodi Picoult and the like will enjoy this one.  If you would like to read Chapter One, you can do so here.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book compliments of WaterBrook in exchange for a review.  This did not affect my rating.

In My Mailbox (44)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Covet by Melissa Darnell

A Bad Day for Voodoo by Jeff Strand

Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler (A HUGE thanks to Little Shop of Stories for this one!)

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

Ten Girls to Watch by Charity Shumway

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Rapture by Lauren Kate

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

A huge thank-you goes out Atria Books, Sourcebooks Fire, HarlequinTeen, and, of course, Little Shop of Stories for being so awesome to me this week.  <3 <3

Friday, July 27, 2012

Illuminate (Gilded Wings, #1)

Aimee Agresti
511 pages
Released: March 6th
Publisher: Harcourt
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Haven has just been awarded a prestigious internship at a fancy new Chicago hotel with two of her fellow classmates, but when they arrive at the hotel things start getting a little mysterious.  First of all, everyone who works there is unbelievably gorgeous looking, including Haven's boss Aurelia and her coworker, Lucian.  Lucian and Haven seem to be drawn to each other, but there's something about Lucian Haven finds a little dangerous... maybe the fact that he's in the soul buying business and he wants her's next.  Meanwhile a mysterious book has come into her possession, new words showing up every night trying to explain to her what's going on.

I LOVED THIS BOOK!  Illuminate drew me in right away from page one and carried me through to the ending.  I didn't want to put it down to go to bed, but at over five hundred pages I just couldn't keep going.  Agresti is a great writer, she really knows how to paint a scene and her descriptions are very vivid.  I had a clear picture in my mind of the hotel Haven is working at and it was gorgeous!  Aside from the beautiful writing, I was drawn in by the character of Haven.  She's a bit of a mystery during the whole book, having been found at the age of five beaten and then adopted by a nurse at the hospital where her woulds, two slashes on her back and some on her chest, were treated.  Haven is a great character, not willing to take things as they are.  She's pretty adventurous and overcomes her fears many times.  There's one line in the book that really got me, "To know her is to know she can take care of herself." (p.489)  I love that!  I love a strong female lead who can take care of herself, but also is caring and helpful to those around her.

Then there's this whole business of soul stealing.  Very dramatic indeed, the way those working at the hotel were constantly looking for new recruits for their cult-like group to serve the devil.  Crazy!  It would have been so easy for Haven to fall into that, but like I mentioned before she never took anything at face value and that really worked to her advantage throughout the novel.  The whole thing culminates in such a battle between Haven and hell, I was almost literally at the edge of my seat for that!  I'll also mention that Haven's photography was a great plot thread that I really enjoyed.  She has such a talent beyond the obvious.

Five stars!  Illuminate is a simply delightful read, filled with mystery, intrigue, and beautiful people with ugly insides.  Illuminate is the first in a series and even though it wrapped up fairly well (i.e.: no major cliffhangers you cliffhanger haters!) I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  I can't wait to see what happens Haven and Lance next.  Long story short, read this book!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop!

I'm participating in another giveaway hop, this one celebrating those lazy days of summer where you just want to sit down with a good book. And I've got a good book for you... The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa.  I absolutely loved this book (you can read my review here) so now I'm giving away a hardcover copy.  Just enter with the Rafflecopter form below and be sure to visit the other blogs participating to for more chances to win more books!

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What's Next (6)

What's Next? is a weekly meme hosted by IceyBooks.  It's a chance for you to choose what I read/review next!  Here are this week's options (all images are linked to Goodreads):

I think this week I have a craving for historical fiction...

So leave me a comment and tell me which you'd like me to read next!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Six Degrees of Lost

Six Degrees of Lost
Linda Benson
228 pages
Released: June 1st
Publisher: Musa
Source: the author

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

After Olive's mother is sent to jail for credit card fraud, Olive is sent to live with her aunt in Washington state while her brother is off for basic training.  It's there that she must come to terms with her mother's imprisonment and the fact that she will be living with Aunt Trudy longer than she first anticipated.  Meanwhile she meets David, a wealthy local boy who's dealing with coming-of-age problems of his own, including his father's determined plan to get him into the Air Force.

Six Degrees of Lost is a short novel, but I appreciated the alternating points of view because I feel like that really kept the plot and the pace of the book moving.  On the one hand we have Olive, a thirteen year old girl who is a bit delusional about who her mother really is.  Olive's mother isn't the greatest person and it's clear that she is much better off with her aunt, but she has a hard time believing that.  Aside from that, Olive loves animals and really enjoys helping her aunt out around the farm and at the animal shelter.  I love characters who love animals.

On the other hand, we have David, who grew up with a wealthier background than Olive but that hasn't made him full of himself at all.  He loves animals just as much as Olive and seeing them work together with the animals was great.  I really admired the way David thought for himself and didn't just blindly follow his father's advice.  Sure David's only fourteen in this novel, but he came across much more mature.  He's a boy any parent would be fine with to date their daughter.

Speaking of dating, the romance in Six Degrees of Lost is very sweet and innocent and entirely appropriate for the ages of the characters involved and for the book's middle grade/young adult readers.  The highlight of their relationship isn't sex and making out, but rather hand holding.  I'm no prude, but I'm not going to lie... I found that refreshing.

Like I said, I was glad for the alternating points of view because I felt like it kept the novel moving.  The book probably would have been pretty boring if it had only been one point of view because both David and Olive came across a little flat.  Their two halves made a whole, even if that whole got a little repetitive.  It wasn't until chapter forty or so (I'm estimating) that I really started to turn the pages because I wanted to know what happened next.  I think a younger reader would appreciate Six Degrees of Lost more, particularly readers in middle school.

Three stars - At times I felt the plot was slow and a little repetitive, but I really enjoyed the animal aspect of the book.  Ultimately I liked this coming of age novel, though I think it would be more appropriate for middle grade readers; I think they'll relate well to the storyline.

Bewitching (Kendra Chronicles, #2)

Alex Flinn
332 pages
Released: February 14th
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Goodreads win

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Why did I wait so long to read this!?  I absolutely loved this novel.  "Unputdownable" comes to mind... I really didn't want to put it down when I went to bed last night and I eagerly picked it up again today.   This is the first book I've ever read by Alex Flinn and it won't be the last.  I have Beastly sitting on my shelf somewhere, and I can't wait to read it and see how the story began.

Bewitching focuses on Kendra, a witch who claims to try to do good in the world by helping others, though her plans frequently backfire in ways she doesn't anticipate.  Her main focus in Bewitching is Emma and her step-sister Lisette, while at first they get along they end up battling for their father's affections and continue competing after his death.  Classic Cinderella story.  When Lisette steals Emma's boyfriend, Kendra decides to step in and help Emma, but will her plan go smoothly?  Her plans certainly have backfired in the past, as she demonstrates in a few side stories throughout the novel.

I love a good fairy-tale retelling but what I didn't realize when I picked up Bewitching was that I was going to get four fairy-tales in one!  From Kendra's personal experience with the "Hansel and Gretel" story (a delicious treat to read, har har) to her unfortunate interventions with "The Princess and the Pea" and "The Little Mermaid," this book isn't lacking in the fairy-tale magic.  Kendra was such an intriguing character to me.  I haven't read Beastly, so I don't know how she came off in that book, but I kind of felt for her in Bewitching.  It seemed to me like she really does want to help people, even if her plans backfire in the end sometimes.  And I think she really did want to help Emma.  I won't tell you if her plan worked or not (that would be giving away the ending!) but I will tell you the ending to the book was pretty great and it left the door open for Kendra to show up in future novels... which I will definitely be reading!

Five stars!  This novel was entertaining on so many levels.  From the modern day retelling of "Cinderella" from a different prospective, to the three mini-retellings of "Hansel and Gretel," "The Princess and the Pea," and "The Little Mermaid," the whole book was enthralling and entertaining.  Though it's technically a sequel (I think) it can definitely be read as a standalone with no problem.  Of course, I'm looking forward to reading the book that stated it all, Beastly, and catching up.  If you haven't read either of these books yet, I highly recommend that you give them a look, especially if you're a big fan of fairy-tale retellings like I am.

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1)

Something Strange and Deadly
Susan Dennard
388 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Southern ARC Tours

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

This is my first review for Southern ARC Tours and I have to say, what a great way to start!  Something Strange and Deadly was an absolute delight to read and I'm really happy to be sharing this with you today.  Right off the bat, I'm going to tell you if you like YA paranormal fiction or YA historical fiction, this is a book for you.  So go get it.

Something's brewing in post-Civil War Philadephia.  Eleanor's brother has gone missing and meanwhile the dead are rising.  Fearing for her brother's safety after a zombie delivers a note from him, Eleanor sets outs with the help of The Spirit-Hunters to find him and to solve this pesky living dead problem once and for all.

The thing that drew me in right away to Something Strange and Deadly was the author's voice.  The writing in this novel is simply gorgeous and I kept turning the pages to find charming little phrases like "merciful heavens."  In addition, Susan Dennard drew a world that I wanted to experience - well, maybe not the living dead aspect, but certainly a world of fancy gowns, corsets, parasols, and parties with seances.  Who wouldn't want to get dressed to the nines and attend a seance?  I know I would.  How come no one dons gloves to attend the opera anymore?  Why don't we have different gowns for riding in carriages, walking, or playing croquet?  But I digress...

I loved Eleanor's character a lot, too.  First of all, how great is the name Eleanor?  Second, I loved her feminist attitude.  Even though Eleanor does have to be saved by a male lead a couple times (and even gets a schmancy new parasol out of it) she still is chomping at the bit for some independence by eschewing corsets and by calling people by their first names when she shouldn't be.  When Eleanor knows something needs to be done, she may call for the help of others but she's also going to jump in there and get to work herself.  She's no delicate flower and that's why we love her.

Five stars!  I absolutely adored every bit of this novel, from the historical fiction aspects to the paranormal aspects, which bordered a little on steampunk.  This was a fantastic novel, well-written and enchanting; I highly recommend it.

Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tours

11/12 complete!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (43)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Sultry with a Twist by Macy Beckett

Belles by Jen Calonita

Illuminate by Aimee Agersti

Then by Morris Gleitzman

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey (had to return this unread before my trip, but now I have it back!)

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall

Total TBR: 194

A special thanks to Macmillan for sending me Outpost!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bras, Boys, and Blunders

Bras, Boys, and Blunders
Vidya Samson
132 pages
Publisher: the author
Source: the author

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

A short review for a short book!  When the author contacted me to review her novella, I was pretty intrigued.  I don't know much about what it's like to grow up in Bahrain, but the plot sounded interesting and I thought maybe I would learn something, so I gave it a go.

Don't let the plain cover fool you; Bras, Boys, and Blunders is an entertaining coming of age novel set in Bahrain.  This short novella follows Veena, a young girl growing up in Bahrain who is trying to navigate school, home life, and her bra size.  Between landing the role of Juliet in the school play and praying for bigger boobs, Veena's got a pretty busy and interesting life.

As it turns out, teenage girls in Bahrain go through the same things teenage girls go through in America - insecurities about their looks, worries about dating and their first kiss, and dealing with embarrassing parents and family members.  Because of this, even though I have never stepped foot in the Middle East, I found Veena's character to be very relatable.

There are all sorts of things Veena does in this book, but the one that got me the most was her haircut.  She tried so hard to find someone to cut it for her and for it to end up the way it did - well, it was hoot. Check it out for yourself.

Three stars!  This is a short, cute novella, give it a look!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Jen Calonita
352 pages
Released: April 10th
Publisher: Poppy
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Izzie hasn't always had an easy life, but she was happy with it.  Her mother died when she was ten, leaving her to care for her aging grandmother.  But when the social worker deems it time to put Grams in a nursing home, Izzie is off to live with her only surviving relatives and her whole life is turned upside down.  Leaving her favorite boardwalk life behind, she now lives in a mansion, attends a fancy private school, and is surrounded by more money and what it can buy than she ever thought possible.

I thought the concept from Belles was great - take girl from supposedly the wrong side of the tracks and implant her in the lifestyles of the rich and the famous and see what happens.  As predicted, it didn't exactly go well.  Her cousin is less than welcoming and all the popular girls at school soon freeze her out.  Turns out being rich is harder than being poor, but I was proud of Izzie for staying strong.

Izzie was definitely an admirable character and while we can all learn a little something from her, I found her cousin Mira to be much more interesting.  Mira ran hot and cold; at times I felt like she wanted to help her cousin and at times I felt she'd rather freeze her out like everyone else.  The journey Mira takes in this novel is pretty significant and makes it worth reading.

The only thing that struck me as odd during the novel was Izzie's treatment of Grams.  It's obvious she really loved her grandmother by the way she put up a fight about putting her in the home, but after she must leave Grams, there is no scene where she goes back to visit, she only thinks about visiting.  I thought that was a little strange and hopefully there will be a visit in the next novel.

Belles is like a Southern-style Gossip Girl, and everyone knows those Southern girls can bite.  If you love YA contemporaries about Mean Girls gone meaner, this is a book for you!  Definitely give it a look before the sequel, Winter White, comes out in October.

What's Next? (5)

What's Next? is a weekly meme hosted by IceyBooks.  It's a chance for you to choose what I read/review next!  Here are this week's options:

Leave me a comment and tell me which you'd like me to read next!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Starring Me

Starring Me
Krista McGee
330 pages
Released: July 10th
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: BookSneeze

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

When a new teen network casts Chad Beacon to be the star of its new variety show (think "Saturday Night Live" for teens) he needs a costar.  The network execs are happy to find a great girl to work along side him, but Chad's parents acting as agents are insistent that the girl is Christian.  Instead of scrapping the whole idea, the network sets up a reality type show for ten girls to try out.  Meanwhile, Kara, fresh off her previous reality show "The Book of Love," joins the cast and she's eager for a chance to be on television.

One thing I really loved about Starring Me were the characters.  While Starring Me stands alone, some of the characters were also featured in McGee's first novel, First Date, which came out this past January.  It's exactly like how you can read Lola and The Boy Next Door as a standalone, but characters from Anna and the French Kiss show up... I love that!  I'm hoping we get the same thing in McGee's next book, Right Where I Belong, due out this coming December.

The story in Starring Me makes for a very fun read.  I really enjoyed reading about the girl's "try-outs" for the variety show and learning about the girls who were involved.  Anna Grace sticks out the most, since she's such a know-it-all who thinks she's the best thing since sliced bread.  I would have loved to have seen her face when she found out who won the competition!  On the one hand, I'd love the see Anna Grace have a change in heart in the future, but on the other hands, she's a character we can all love to hate and I think that's a great role for her.  If Anna Grace is a character to dislike, then Kara is a character to adore.  She was so sweet and helpful throughout the whole book, I really liked her as a person.

The only thing I didn't like about Starring Me were Chad's parents.  I understand they wanted what was best for him and that's admirable, but I feel like they took it to the extreme when it came to choosing his costar.  They were very insistent that the girl chosen was Christian.  When the producers of the show offered a morally upstanding, good-girl that simply wasn't good enough for them.  It made Chad's parents come off as a little judgmental against non-Christians, which I did not care for.  Thankfully, that didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel and I will definitely be reading Krista McGee's future YA fiction.  Who knows, maybe Anna Grace will show up in future novels and finally find God?  Er, maybe not...

Four stars!  This lighthearted YA novel about reality television is great fun to read, whether you're a believer or not.  Definitely check out this book and McGee's first novel, First Date, which I also really enjoyed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Secret Sense of Wildflower

The Secret Sense of Wildflower
Susan Gabriel
212 pages
Released: April 2012
Publisher: Wild Lily Arts
Source: the author

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

The Secret Sense of Wildflower follows the life of Wildflower, a young girl growing up in 1940s Appalachia.  Her father, the glue of her family, has passed away in a work related accident and Wildflower is taking hard.  While she must cope with missing her father, her relationship with her mother is struggling.  In addition, Johnny, a disgusting young man in town, seems to have it out for her and her loved ones.

The Secret Sense of Wildflower had me hooked from almost the beginning.  Louisa May, aka Wildflower, is such a compelling character.  From the start of the novel, it was clear that she was more mature than her age, which I think is a blessing considering all the grown-up issues she has to deal with as the novel continues on.  Wildflower was a strong young-woman and I couldn't help but be on her side no matter what issue arose next.

The fast paced plot really had me turning the pages, though.  The Secret Sense of Wildflower is a definite coming-of-age novel.  Wildflower has to do a lot of growing up the year after her father dies in a tragic accident, but as that one year anniversary of his death arrives she has to deal with even more serious issues.  I don't want to spoil the plot, when when the town ruffian sets his sights on her, it's obvious something terrible is going to happen.  I can't remember the last time I met such a vile character in a book - I loved to hate him.  At the same time, I had such protective feelings for Wildflower.  I cried right along with her, I genuinely felt for her and that's why this novel gets four out of five stars from me. It was a very powerful read.  This short novel really packs a punch.

If you liked Little Women or if you love historical fiction and coming-of-age novels, this is the book for you.  Definitely add The Secret Sense of Wildflower to your TBR pile; you won't regret it.

In My Mailbox (42)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  

I was gone for two weeks and when I came back, here's what was waiting for me!

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Blood Fever by Veronica Wolff

Six Degrees of Lost by Linda Benson

Who Do, Voodoo? by Rochelle Staab

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James (Don't judge, I've heard such horrid things about it I thought it might be good for a laugh!)

Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (I've been hearing good things about The Golden Lily, soooo...)

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness - signed!

I purchased this box from Me, My Shelf and I's charity project, which you can read about here.  Rather than list out all the contents, here's a picture of the whole thing.  There were books (some of which were signed!), swag, and a True Blood backpack.

Total TBR: 190

Thanks so much to Scholastic and NAL for sending along some good looking reads for me!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1)

Shadow and Bone
Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt
358 pages
Released: July 5, 2012
Source: purchased

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Shadow and Bone was the July selection for my YA book club.  It's probably not something I would have picked up on my own, so I was a little concerned about whether or not I would like it, but I ended up loving it.  The book drew me in right away and if I'd had the time to read it all in one sitting, I probably would have.

Alina and her best friend Mal grew up as orphans and now as young adults they've become mapmakers.  During a dangerous exposition into "the Fold," they are attacked by Volcra and under the pressure, a secret talent that Alina has had all along is revealed.  Suddenly Alina is swept away from Mal to the royal court, where she is trained in her power and becomes the favorite of Darkling.  But everything is not as it seems...

There were a couple things about Shadow and Bone that I particularly enjoyed.  First, Bardugo is a gifted writer.  She writes beautiful prose and true-to-life dialogue.  The whole thing was gorgeously written, which only made me want to keep turning the pages.  The second thing was the setting, which felt very Russian.  I can't recall ever reading a book that has such a setting before, but I really enjoyed the different perspective.  The setting really added to the intense nature of the plot and made the whole book feel very alive and enjoyable.

A happy note for those who hate massive cliffhangers - this book doesn't end with one even though it is part of a trilogy.  I will happily continue on with the series knowing where it can go, but not left practically mid-sentence in the middle of action.  Amen.

Four stars!  Shadow and Bone is pretty popular these days and if you haven't picked up a copy yet, I highly recommend that you do - I think you'll really like it!  If you're a fan of Graceling I think you'll love Shadow and Bone.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I missed you! +GIVEAWAY

The Mendenhall Glacier - I was there and took this picture as proof!

Ah, we just got home last night from our two week vacation, which included a trip to Juneau, Alaska for a friend's wedding.  We have a lovely time, but after all that time in airplanes and cars, I'm really glad to be home.  I'm surprised how much I missed my blog.  I feel like things got a little dusty over here, but I did manage to do a little reading while I was away.  I finished A Long, Long Sleep and The Possession of Cassie Quinn, both of which I really liked.  Today I have to finish reading Shadow and Bone for my book club tomorrow night and I have to finish Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood because the library wants it back; it's probably the best piece of non-fiction I've read in years.

Anyway, two weeks ago while I was gone I posted a giveaway to celebrate my followers.  As promised, I'm giving away books to celebrate my 300th and 400th followers.  There will be two winners and anyone in the whole world can enter and the prize is any book you want from The Book Depository.*  Sounds awesome right?  Here's the OP in case you missed it and I'll repost the Rafflecopter entry form below, as well.  I'm a little puzzled by the lack on entires, so spread the word and enter yourself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Giveaway for followers of my blog via GFC.  Must be 13+ and live somewhere where The Book Depository ships.  If you win, the book you choose must be under $15.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Possession of Cassie Quinn

The Possession of Cassie Quinn
Kathryn Knutson
200 pages
Publisher: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.
Source: eBook from author

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Cassie Quinn's mother has just remarried and so the inevitable move comes - two families joined together in a locally infamous old farmhouse surrounded by a very suspicious looking woods.  When Cassie and her new stepsister start experiencing strange happenings... seeing people in the woods, shadows in the house, they know something is up, but how serious is it?  Turns out... pretty serious.

I'll admit, I haven't been accepting many author review requests recently because I'm so backed up with other books I want to read and review, but something about the plot description of The Possession of Cassie Quinn really, really appealed to me, as did the creepy cover.  The cover looks like something out of a horror movie and the book fell right in line with that - as the strange happenings around Cassie's new home got more and more serious, I could easily picture this book being made into a terrifying horror movie.

The book drew me in and after the first fifty or so pages.  I really didn't want to put it down so I finished reading it on the plane home from Juneau today and immediately began thinking about how I was going to review it.  Like I said, the book is filled with creepy happenings that gave me goosebumps, but don't be afraid of it if horror isn't really your thing.  The plot also focuses on family dynamics and a little hint of a romance, so I think there's something in it for most YA fans.

A note about the ending: I LOVED IT.  I thought it ended perfectly and it really got me hooked to the point where I'm really looking forward to next June when I can read the sequel. 

Four stars!  The Possession of Cassie Quinn gave me goosebumps... it was absolutely enthralling!  Kathryn Knutson really knows how to write a book that makes you want to check under your bed before you get in it.  If you love creepy YA fiction, you need to put The Possession of Cassie Quinn on your TBR list immediately.  I highly recommend it and I'll be looking forard to the sequel next summer.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Long, Long Sleep

A Long, Long Sleep
Anna Sheehan
342 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Sixteen-year-old Rose has been asleep in her stasis tube, long forgotten until sixty-two years later when her tube is found by Bren, who awakens her and starts her on the difficult journey of discovering herself, why she was in the tube for so long, and what happened on her planet for all those years she slept - a lot has changed since the Dark Times have come and gone.

In case you couldn't already tell, A Long, Long Sleep is a Sleeping Beauty fairy tale retelling, but Anna Sheehan takes it one step farther.  Instead of simply retelling the story of Sleeping Beauty in a post-apocaltypic future, she also shows what happens to Sleeping Beauty, or in this case Rose, after she wakes up.  Sheehan explores the issue of what happens with the prince that wakes you up isn't exactly your prince.  I thought the whole retelling was very well done and was full of imagination.  It certainly kept me turning the pages whenever I had a chance!

The character of Rose is special and I really loved her.  She's so innocent and passive, but she doesn't come across as ignorant or stupid.  Far from it.  In fact, Rose has some real talent and not just in the arts for which she's won awards, but also when it comes to escaping the killer drone who is sent after her.  As the novel goes on, her innocence and passiveness fade away, allowing the real Rose to shine through, the Rose whose parents abused all those years ago.  Her personal journey throughout the novel kept me reading just as much, if not more, than the journey she must face when a killer drone repeatedly comes after her.  A Long, Long Sleep is filled with growth and action.  I daresay, it's got a little something for everyone.

Five stars!  I absolutely adored every aspect of this novel.  I highly recommend it to YA fans, particularly those who love fairy tale retellings, post-apocalypses, and romances.  Loved it!  I will be looking for more from this author in the future.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

In My Mailbox (41)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Bras, Boys, and Blunders by Vidya Samson

Total TBR: 183

Celebrating my followers with a GIVEAWAY!

As promised, here's my 300/400 follower giveaway!  In the past month I have amassed so many new followers... thank you all so much!  To celebrate I'm giving away a book of your choice from The Book Depository to two lucky winners.  Yes, two winners!  Enter via the Rafflecopter below.  Don't forget, it's a followers celebration, so you have to be a follower to win!
Open to all followers who live where The Book Depository Ships, ages 13+.
Thanks again!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

June Recap

Well, folks, by the time this posts I'll be one day into my two week vacation.  Hopefully I'm doing some great reading as we speak, but I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post reviews while I'm gone since I'm not taking a computer.  BUT you will want to stay tuned because one minute after this posts, my epic "celebrating my followers" giveaway will start.  Be sure to enter - you have all of July to do so.  And I'll see you back here sometime during the third week in July.

But, back to our regularly scheduled programming - the following is the list of everything I read in June.  I read nineteen books this month and they were:

Partials by Dan Wells
Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins
Betty and Friends by Betty White
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Once by Morris Gleitzman
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
The List by Siobhan Vivian
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
This One Time with Julia by David Lampson
Spirits of Glory by Emily Devenport
Plain Fear: Forbidden by Leanna Ellis
Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Butter by Erin Jade Lange
Body & Soul by Stacey Kade

Total books read in 2012: 123
Total pages read in 2012: 36,163