Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013 Giveaway Hop!

Happy New Year, everyone!  Before we get to my awesome giveaway, can I take a minute to vent?  Can we all agree to say "twenty-thirteen" instead of "two-thousand-thriteen?"  It's time to get over this "two-thousand" hang up for the sake of consistency.  And it's one syllable less.  It drives me nuts.

Ok, vent over.  On to the giveaway!  Winner gets a book of their choice up to ten dollars USD from either Book Depository or the Books-a-Million website!  Must be 13+ to enter and live somewhere those websites ship to.  No pre-orders please, book must be released January 8th or earlier.  Winners have 48 hours to respond to my email before I pick a new winner.  Enter with the Rafflecopter below then check out the other blogs participating in the hop.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

Just One Day
Gayle Forman
368 pages
Release: January 8, 2012
Publisher: Dutton
Source: the publisher

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Oh my gosh you have to read this book!  Read it!

Let me start off by saying that I got the synopsis of this book confused with a different one before I started reading so throughout the whole novel I was waiting for Willem to turn out to be the William Shakespeare reincarnate.  Turns out that's a different novel all together and Just One Day is strictly contemporary.  A delicious contemporary filled with all those feelings new adults have about everything in life.

So here's what really happens... After Allyson graduates high school, her parents send her on a teen tour of Europe.  While there, she's convinced by her best friend to ditch one evening's organized activity and see a ragtag group of actors perform one of Shakespeare's plays.  It's there that she meets actor Willem and is whisked away on an adventure with him for just one day.  But when she wakes up in the morning and Willem is mysteriously gone with no way to contact him, she must return to the United States and move on with her life.  But college isn't what she was expecting and she finds her thoughts consumed to the point where she must act.

So, Just One Day really is a coming of age story that crosses the line between young adult and new adult.  But no matter how you want to classify it, one thing is ultimately true: it was unputdownable.  I was immediately drawn in by Allyson's character.  She starts off pretty tightly-laced; she doesn't drink or fall out of line, or get in trouble... ever.  But it was great to see her grow as the novel continued out and she really got out of her shell, as evidenced by her actions at the end of the novel.  I was really proud of her growth, despite the fact that it was a bumpy road filled with bad grades, thusly grouchy parents, and lots of unanswered questions about the future.

But back to that one day.  Allyson's chemistry with Willem seemed so genuine even though they had just met.  That's why I was genuinely confused and disappointed when he disappeared from the scene and Allyson had to go back to the states alone to start college.  I knew there had to be more to it, or at least I was hoping there was! Well, naturally we find out at the end of the novel what really happened and can I just say, the ending of this book... oh my goodness, the last page!  I couldn't believe that was it.

Here's something really great about Just One Day, though.... it's not really over!  This fall the sequel will be released.  Called Just One Year, the followup will focus on Willem's story.  I for one cannot wait to get my hands on that book and see what he was up to for that whole year Allyson was in the states.

Five stars!  Fans of Anna and the French Kiss and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight will eagerly devour this new romantic contemporary.  This is definitely one to get with some of your holiday gift cards!

In My Mailbox (65)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.
Catching up for two weeks here!  Here's what I got last week:

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill - score!  I was so excited to get this!
Alchemystic by Anton Stout
Stitch by Samantha Durante - I've heard so many good things, I jumped at the chance to review.

WON/PURCHASED:  I was a winner in one of Harlequin's recent contests on their Facebook page sponsoring their new line of books, Kiss.  I won a $25 credit, so I threw in a little of my own money and picked up these lovelies, which I've been wanting to read for awhile, and one little guilty pleasure.  Can you guess which one that is?

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees

And here's what I acquired this week:

The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell - this is quite a hefty looking ARC!

Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman

Touched by Corrine Jackson
Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless by Gail Carriger

I also received three Barnes & Noble gift cards and one Amazon gift card for Christmas.  I'm going to try very hard to spread out purchases throughout the year with these... but... they're already burning a hole in my pocket!  I'm hoping to pick up some a few new releases this January - it looks like there will be several good ones!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt, Day 25

Merry Christmas!  Looking for this, hunters?  I have today's trivia questions from Fiction Fervor's 2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt here for you.  2012YASSH challenges you with your knowledge of young adult books published this year, and if you enter, you might win a prize!  Check out it here for more info. And be sure to read the rules!

Without further ado, today's questions come from Perception by Kim Harrington.

Easy: Who was Clare’s stalker?
Medium: Who are the three most popular girls in Clare’s class?
Hard: On what street did Sierra Waldman live?

Enter your answers in the form below!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt, Day 22

Looking for this, hunters?  I have today's trivia questions from Fiction Fervor's 2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt here for you.  2012YASSH challenges you with your knowledge of young adult books published this year, and if you enter, you might win a prize!  Check out it here for more info. And be sure to read the rules!

Without further ado, today's questions come from Incarnate by Jodi Meadows.

Easy: Which soul disappeared when Ana was born?
Medium: Who gives Ana her dance lessons?
Hard: What consistently killed Sam in his former lives?

Enter your answers in the form below!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries, #1)

Michele Vail
249 pages
Released: November 20, 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Source: NetGalley

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

When Molly turns sixteen she has a dream about Anubis in which she agrees to serve him as a reaper.  When she wakes up, she discovers her world has been turned upside down.  Turns out that dream agreement in binding and now Molly must attend Nekyia Acadamey - a special boarding school where she will learn to hone her skills and serve Anubis as he wishes.

Undeadly was totally not what I expected, but I loved it!  Michele Vail creates a vivid world filled with reapers and zombies and souls that reminded me of balloons... I loved immersing myself in this world from page one.  But Undeadly took it a step farther for me and included something I'm a sucker for in YA novels... boarding school.  Give me a paranormal boarding school with a main character who doesn't feel like they belong and I'm all over that.

The boarding school in Undeadly reminded me a little bit of Hogwarts, but smaller.  It just sounded very old and stately.  The legacy families in Undeadly reminded me a bit of the founders of Hogwarts - okay okay, I know you can't really compare any book to Harry Potter, but there was something about Undeadly that reminded me of those hallowed halls.  It also reminded me a bit of Hex Hall, but a little more intense and a lot more zombified.  In addition, I liked the format Michele Vail used when writing Undeadly.  The book is told from Molly's point of view, but also includes Molly's diary entries and quotes at the beginnings of chapters.  The format really tied the whole book together and made the world feel cohesive.

A note about the boys.  Molly's boyfriend Rick randomly shows up at her new school and I thought that was kind of odd - although there was something odd about their relationship to begin with.  Enter Rath - an angsty, dark kind of a guy who Molly keeps running into, and who then turns out to be her independent study instructor!  Hello!  Of course, the plot is complicated by the mysterious deaths (is there any other kind?) of some of Molly's fellow students.

I'm totally loving this new world that Michele Vail created and I can't wait to see how the series and Molly's story fleshes out in future novels.  It's obvious when reading Undeadly that this is just the beginning of something huge.

Four stars!  Undeadly was a great start to what's sure to be a wonderful series.  I'm looking forward to reading the next book already!  If you enjoyed the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins, you'll probably also enjoy this one.  Give it a look!

Monday, December 17, 2012


A.E. Rought
366 pages
Releases: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Source: the publisher

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Emma's in mourning for her boyfriend, Daniel, who died in a mysterious fall at a party.  She's devastated and a shell of her former self... that is until new boy to town Alex Franks makes an appearance.  But Alex and Daniel seem to have a freakish amount in common and Emma knows deep down there's something very wrong here.

Sounds good, right?  Broken is supposed to be a retelling of Frankenstein and I did see some similarities between the two books the farther I got into the plot, but the first thing that struck me in the first forty pages were some similarities to another book.... Twilight.  Emma isn't the strongest female character and Alex swoops in to save her.  When there's an accident and Emma must see a doctor, turns out it's Alex's dad.  Plusalso there's some insta-love.  I wasn't read to give up on Broken, persay, but I didn't have high hopes.

Broken redeemed itself for me the more I read, however.  The similarities to Twilight dropped off and the similarities to Frankenstein picked up.  What I was left with was a truly terrifying YA tale.  I don't want to give anything horrifying (in a fun way) away, but Daniel's death was one in a string of mysterious deaths of local teenage boys.  When we learn what happened to them and ultimately Daniel, it's very freaky.  And it begs the question - does Emma love Alex, or Daniel's memory?  Can Emma love Alex for Alex at all?  That was the part of the plot I was most interested.

The whole book climaxes in a dramatic scene that seems straight out of a horror movie.  I was enthralled in the end and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish Broken.

So you can see I have mixed feelings about Broken.  I waffled between three or four stars, but after a few days it's had time to settle and I think this is a three star novel.  The ending was fantastic, but the insta-love and Twilight similarities were a little much for me.  If you're a huge fan of Twilight and the like, I think you'll really enjoy Broken so give it a look!  Strange Chemistry is a great publisher and they've put out a lot of great titles, so check those out, too.  If you're looking for a strong female lead, The Assassin's Curse (Strange Chemistry) is a great way to go.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

In My Mailbox (64)

IMM is a weekly meme by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Ashfall by Mike Mullin
Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

Lullaby by Amanda Hocking - I found it at the grocery store, signed!  
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman 

Plus also, 
A Shot Sultry by Macy Beckett

Losing It by Cora Carmack

PS: Don't forget, I have four giveaways going on.  Check out my Giveaways page to find the links to all of them!  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tempestuous - Guest Post + GIVEAWAY!

Hi, everyone!  Today I have a guest post from the authors of Tempestuous, Kim Askew and Amy Helmes.  After reading about their advice to themselves, be sure the use the Rafflecopter below to enter to win your own copy of Tempestuous!  To be eligible, you must be ages 13+ and living in the United States or Canada.  

Dear Me: Advice to Our Teenage Selves
By Kim Askew and Amy Helmes,
Authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit, featuring Tempestuous and Exposure (Merit Press)

As teenage girls go, the heroines in our Twisted Lit novels couldn't be more different. In Tempestuous (our take on Shakespeare's "The Tempest"), Miranda Prospero is powerful, assertive, and confident, perhaps too much so at times. In Exposure (our retelling of "Macbeth"), Skye Kingston is an insecure wallflower whose default mode is hiding her head in the sand whenever possible. While both characters have their inner demons to battle, it's fair to say that as teenagers we were each more like "Skye" than "Miranda." If we could go back in time and offer up some advice to our younger selves, here are a few of the things we'd say:

Your "peeps" are out there . . . you just haven't met them yet.
At age seventeen, I looked like I was twelve, but felt like I was forty. Needless to say, I never really fit in. Growing up before the dawn of the Internet age, it was tough to find peers who were into Merchant-Ivory flicks or who shared my opinion that Mick Jagger was more swoon-worthy than the cheesy boy-bands of my era. (NKOTB, for anyone curious). I eventually broke free of my insular surroundings and found plenty of kindred spirits who shared my sensibilities. Trust that you won't always feel like the proverbial odd man out.

There's no point in finding "Mr. Right" too soon.
No one ends up with their high school sweetheart. Okay, sure, it occasionally happens, but it's not likely. Besides, the type of guy you're going to be attracted to when you're ready to settle down won't be anything like the so-called "hottie" you're swooning over at the high school dance. (In fact, you'll probably look back at your yearbook in 15 years and wonder, "Eww -- what was I thinking?") It's okay to fall in love, but maybe hold off on naming your future children. And if you're desperate and dateless like I was, all the more reason not to sweat it.

You'll thank your parents later.
My parents didn't pony up money to fund my adolescent lifestyle. Any "luxuries" I deemed necessary came from babysitting money. I even paid my own way through college. Their tight purse-strings (which I deemed stingy at the time) taught me how to manage my money wisely and live within my means, a lesson that proved priceless. When your parents say, "We're doing this for your own good," it might actually be true.

Back away from the hairspray!
Photo albums in unspecified locations bear sad witness to my younger self's ill-advised stylistic leanings. I won't beat myself up over fashion choices that now make me cringe, but I wish I would have embraced the "natural" look instead of experimenting (badly) with beauty products. For god's sake -- you're 16, young, and wrinkle-free! Lay off the heavy foundation, bad eyeliner and shellacked bangs that defy gravity...and know that you're beautiful without it!

Hiding your nose in a book isn't the worst thing in the world.
Like most book lovers, I sometimes retreated into literature to escape awkward social interactions or uncomfortable situations. However, with hindsight, it's pretty clear that, as far as methods of escapism go, reading is probably one of the best (and safest) around. It taught me a lot about life, people, and worlds far from my doorstep. Now I wouldn't give that knowledge up for ANYTHING.

You are way cooler than you think.
You might not feel like it, but if you're reading this, I can pretty much guarantee that you are.  Think of this as a message from your future self: the more you develop your own interests and learn to trust your instincts, the cooler you become. Sure, you might not see it when you look in the mirror, but from someone who's been there: it's happening. Feeling lame is just a waste of time.

Everyone else is as insecure as you are . . . more so, maybe!
Down deep, we're all pretty insecure. So give yourself a break, and give your classmates the benefit of the doubt. High school is tough. You're kind of all in it together, whether anyone realizes it or not. True story: I finally pulled my nose out of a book long enough to go to a party the last week of my senior year. Someone I thought was particularly cool actually said to me: "Wow, you're really nice. I thought you were a snob." A lightbulb moment if there ever was one.

Don't sweat the trigonometry class. Seriously.
School was always easy-peasy for me until trigonometry came along and ruined it for me. It wasn't fun to suddenly just not "get it." According to my own standards of perfection, I had to be great at everything. Of course, I realize now that I set myself up for disappointment because I don't know anyone who is perfect. How come I expected myself to be? So definitely give it your all, but if you've done your best, that's good enough. Nobody's perfect.
© 2012 Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, authors of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel

Authors Bios
Kim Askew, co-author of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel, whose work has appeared in Elle and other magazines, is a content manager for the Webby-winning teen site, for which she has covered the Teen Choice and MTV awards. Follow Kim on Twitter @kaskew. 
Amy Helmes, co-author of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel, is co-author of Boys of a Feather: A Field Guide to American Males and is also a weekly contributor to The Rundown, a free daily e-mail service that keeps subscribers informed on what's new and cool in LA. Follow Amy on Twitter @amyhelmes.
Both Kim and Amy think Shakespeare understood the young's true love and pain like no other, from Hamlet's sorry stepdad to Juliet's trauma drama, hence this literate farce, based on "The Tempest."

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Friday, December 14, 2012

2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt, Day 14

Looking for this, hunters?  I have today's trivia questions from Fiction Fervor's 2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt here for you.  2012YASSH challenges you with your knowledge of young adult books published this year, and if you enter, you might win a prize!  Check out it here for more info. And be sure to read the rules!

Without further ado, today's questions come from The Diviners by Libba Bray.

Easy: What is the name of the villain in the novel?
Medium: Why is Evie sent to New York to stay with her uncle?
Hard: Which Diviner has the power to heal?

Enter your answers in the form below!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Louder Than Words - Guest Post + GIVEAWAY!

Hi folks!  Today I have a guest post from the author of Louder Than Words, Laurie Plissner.  I really enjoyed this book and you can check my review here.  Be sure the enter the giveaway below with the Rafflecopter form for a chance to win your own copy of the book!  (Giveaway is open to those residing in the US or Canada.)

3 Things I Wish the Teen Me Knew
by Laurie Plissner, 
Author of Louder Than Words (Merit Press)

1. Nobody is looking at you half as much as you think they are.
All the hours I wasted staring into the mirror, cataloguing my many faults, real or imagined, I now realize I should have spent doing something, pretty much anything, else. People weren't looking at me, or if they were, they weren't seeing the hideous creature I saw when I glared at my reflection. That tiny zit on your forehead is not the volcanic crater that you see when you look in the mirror, and no one is staring at you and judging you . . . except of course, you. Think about it. You're so busy looking at yourself that you're probably not spending much time scrutinizing anyone else. And even the kids who look like they've got it all together are freaking out right below the surface. They just hide it better.

I understand that it's worse today than it was when I was young. Back in the Stone Age, you only had to stress out about being judged by the people standing next to you. Now, thanks to the Internet, kids are posting pictures twenty-four-seven, so you worry that the whole world might be looking at you, all the time. Facebook is overflowing with photos of kids laughing and mugging for the camera, looking as if they're having the time of their life. But are they really? It kind of feels like it's not about the party, but the story you get to tell afterwards -- evidence to prove to everyone else how much fun you're having, how popular you are. In a world where some people measure success by how many Facebook friends you have, it's hard not to get caught up in life as performance art. But your life shouldn't be a reality show acted out for the benefit of an audience. You should dance and go to parties because you want to dance and hang out with your friends, not because you want to have something to post on your Facebook page.

2. Stop wishing your life away in your rush to get to the "good" part.
There are good things about getting older: you get to make your own decisions and you don't have to go to school anymore. There are bad things about getting older: you have to make your own decisions and you don't get to go to school anymore.

Being a teenager is tough. No one will argue with that. Your body and your brain are in flux; you go to bed one person and wake up feeling, and maybe looking, like a different one. Teenagers can be cruel to each other. Many of those who are blessed with clear skin and shiny hair think they're special, when in fact they're just lucky. It's not fair, but it just is, and while it's tempting to wish you could skip the rough patches, please don't. It won't work, and while you're wishing, you'll probably miss out on some really good stuff.

When I was in high school, I couldn't wait to get to college. When I was in college, I couldn't wait to get to real life. But when my grownup life finally started, I realized that it was way different than what I'd seen on TV. On television, twenty-somethings spend all their time drinking, flirting and looking fabulous in their oversized, professionally decorated Manhattan apartments. They might spend a few minutes at their glamorous jobs (running the company even though they're only twenty-five), chatting on the phone with their feet up on enormous desks in corner offices with floor-to-ceiling windows. That's not how it is. I spent my first few years of "the good part" working fifteen-hour days at a law firm in a windowless office I shared with another associate and kicking myself for not reveling in those days when the bills were addressed to someone else and my worst fear was a low grade, not a layoff.
Think about it this way. You only get to be a teenager for seven years; you're going to be a grownup for the rest of your life. Make the most of those seven years. Try to make those seven years the good part. You won't regret it.

3. What you do now really can make a difference ten years from now, so don't do something stupid (like driving drunk), and don't blow stuff off (like the SAT) because all your friends are going to the movies.
I know. I've just finished telling you to live in the moment, not to get tangled up in the next chapter before it even starts. And I meant it. You should have fun . . . just not too much fun. Even though you should enjoy being young, you have to remember that life isn't a video game; you don't get to press the restart button when you drive off a cliff. So be young, but be smart about it. Try to get the best grades you can. Study for the SATs -- they matter. Don't do anything illegal, even if everybody else is doing it. (Yes, I know I'm sounding like your mother right about now, but even your mother used to be a teenager. Maybe she messed up a hundred years ago, and she's just trying to help. It's possible.) Use your common sense -- it's not rocket science.

To sum it up, just in case you're too busy texting to read the whole essay: Enjoy this very brief, sometimes great, sometimes not so great, moment in your life, but not to the extent that you screw up your future . . . and don't spend so much time in front of the mirror.
© 2012 Laurie Plissner, author of Louder Than Words

Author Bio
Laurie Plissner, author of Louder Than Words, is a Princeton- and UCLA-educated litigator. She gave up the courtroom for life as a full-time mom, although she could not overrule her love of literature. She lives with her husband and two teenagers. This is her first novel.
For more information please visit and

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Louder Than Words

Louder Than Words
Laurie Plissner
247 pages
Release: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Merit Press
Source: the publisher

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Since Sasha survived the car accident that killed the rest of her family, she has been unable to speak.  After four years of seeing a therapist and even trying hypnosis, Sasha is still unable to speak, her electronic speaking box and hysterical mutism limiting her everyday life.  Then one day she meets a boy at the library who can read minds and Sasha begins to feel almost normal again.  When Ben pulls away Sasha is devastated, but even more determined than every to cure herself and figure out what really happened the night of the accident.

Louder than Words was such an interesting novel to me.  When I was in elementary school there was a girl in my class who had mutism.  I don't know what caused her to be that way, but it always bothered me how some of the girls would essentially harass her to try and get her to speak.  Louder Than Words really made me wonder what happened to her.  Because of that, I felt a real connection to Sasha - I truly wanted her to get better.  She was harassed by her classmates, too, in several different ways, and there was nothing she could do about it.

Louder Than Words is truly about a journey of healing.  Not only does Sasha want to heal herself of her mutism so she can lead a normal life, but Sasha also discovers that what caused the car crash might not have been merely an accident.  Sasha discovers whoever caused her family's car to run off the road has been leaving notes at the scene of the crime and Sasha and her best friend embark on a mission to find out who killed her family.  Their amateur sleuthing was pretty good, but when I discovered who caused the accident... I was shocked as all the pieces came together.  I never saw it coming.  Up until the last couple chapters I thought, "Surely, this can't be right!"

The only thing I didn't care for in Louder Than Words was Ben's character.  Don't get me wrong, I was glad Sasha found a person with whom she could feel normal and in that aspect, I was glad for Ben's presence in the novel.  But something about him rubbed me the wrong way - perhaps it was is solution to cure Sasha's mutism.  I'm not sure.  Their relationship was so strange to me overall.

Four stars!  Louder Than Words was a great novel about overcoming a tragic past, though I would recommend this one for those sixteen and older due to the sexual nature of the book.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Farm, Review + GIVEAWAY!

The Farm
Emily McKay
420 pages
Released: December 4, 2012
Publisher: Berkley
Source: the publisher

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Lily and her autistic twin sister, Mel, live on the Farm.  An old school campus that was quarantined for teenagers after the Ticks, a dangerous breed of vampire, started devouring humans across the country.  Told they were being placed there for their own good, the Farm is full of teenagers, some of whom must breed.  But Lily knows the truth.  Instead of protecting them from the Ticks, it seem the Farm is being used to produce food for the Ticks...

The Farm is a whole new breed of dystopian novel.  Why?  There's a whole new breed of paranormal being - the Ticks.  Seemingly made of pure bloodlust, Ticks are undead and out for one thing and one thing only - human blood.  They don't just bite their prey and suck them dry like a vampire, they rip them open and gorge themselves.  Disturbed yet?

The Farm was an intense novel that, despite the fact I couldn't sit down and devour (har har) it like I wanted to, held my attention throughout.  From the beginning I was truly distressed for Lily and Mel.  Mel made the story feel so human.  I often read dystopian novels, dozens over the past few years, but I cannot recall one instance where there was a main character with a disability.  Mel's autism, and the chapters from her point of view in particular, really set The Farm apart and made it a unique story.

I really enjoyed the world building Emily McKay did in this novel.  Imagine a world in which the government tells you you'll be safer if you're quarantined, but ultimately it's not in your favor.  Internment, but with flesh-eating monsters on the other side of the fence.  McKay did a great job describing the grounds and the conditions on the Farm to the point where I really felt like I understood what was going on.  As a result, I felt Lily's plan to escape very brave.  It just goes to show how a sister's love can overcome even the worst hardships.

Of course, the action in the subsequent parts of the novel, particularly the very end, was literally a nail-biter for me.  What happened to Mel was a shocker and I cannot wait to see how that plays out in the next novel, The Liar, which is due out sometime in 2013.  I'll be waiting for it!

Four stars!  In a dystopian rut?  The Farm will pull you out of that.  It's a beautiful new breed of YA vampire fiction that will leave you at the edge of your seat.  Enter with the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win your own copy.  US only, 13+.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

In My Mailbox (63)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Caught in a Moment by Martin Dukes
Mommy Midwife by Cassie Miles

Thanks so much to Penguin, Harlequin, and Martin Dukes for sending me some great reading!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Girl in the Wall - Guest Post + GIVEAWAY!

Hi folks!  Today I have a guest post from the author of The Girl in the Wall, Daphne Benedis-Grab.  I really enjoyed this book and you can check my review here.  Be sure the enter the giveaway below with the Rafflecopter form for a chance to win your own copy of the book!  (Giveaway is open to those residing in the US or Canada.)

Three Life Lessons from THE GIRL IN THE WALL that I Wish my Teenage Self had Learned
By Daphne Benedis-Grab, 
Author of The Girl in the Wall (Merit Press) 

1. Good Friends are to be Cherished
My new novel, The Girl in the Wall, is about a posh party taken hostage and it's narrated by two former BFFs who had a falling out exactly nine months and eleven days earlier (they both keep track). Ariel is the one who feels she was wronged so she responded by wronging Sera, making her a social outcast, despite years of slumber parties, shared secrets and the priceless experience of that friend who really and truly gets you. Over the course of the story hostage stuff happens but along with that Ariel learns that there are some pretty golden reasons why lesson number one is 'good friends are to be cherished'. I won't give away particulars but I will say that Teen-me sure could have used this wisdom back in high school.

Teen-me cared deeply about her friends but she cared even more about something else: being cool. Teen-me was not cool and so she strove for coolness with the singular passion only a teenage girl can have. And that kind of passion gets results. Teen-me managed to claw her way into the cool kids crowd, where she met some nice enough people and enjoyed the experience of feeling cool. But it was work, real work, to maintain the cool status and the friendships in that group did not run deep. But the some of the friends, the real, truly got-me friends, that Teen-me shed along the way? I miss them still.

2. The Mean Girls Don't Matter in the End
When Ariel designated Sera as the class pariah in their small private school, mean girls came out of the woodwork. All of a sudden Sera, who had known only popularity and worship from her peers, was getting snide remarks and hearing her name connected to the words 'backstabbing bitch', not exactly a self esteem booster. For nine months and eleven days Sera let this treatment batter her down, so that she was eventually walking the halls of school like a beaten dog, terrified of the cruelty that could come her way at any moment. Things change over the course of the story, of course, but I won't give any of that away here, I'll just say that Teen-me definitely understood where Sera was coming from.

Teen-me lived in terror of mean girls. I think in my case my deepest fear was that someone would decide that I was a fraud who did not belong in the cool group, that my coolness was a fake, and as a result so was I. For Teen-me being cool meant having to care desperately about how other people judged me, and a negative judgment could crush my self esteem for weeks. Teen-me handed over the power of self esteem to others, a terrible and costly mistake that made high school a lot harder than it needed to be.

3. Have Some Backbone, Girl!
When masked people carrying guns take over the party you are attending, when the hostage situation goes wrong and suddenly everyone's lives are at stake, you face a choice: cooperate and hope for the best, or get a backbone and fight. There are a lot of ways to fight and over the course of the book both Sera and Ariel discover which ways work for them. You'll have to read the book to see what they choose and how it all goes down in the end, but I will say that Teen-me could have used an introduction to the concept of backbone.

For Teen-me, this would actually have been the single most important thing to learn, the thing that would make lessons number 1 and 2 obvious and unnecessary. Fighting does not always mean direct confrontation, it means having backbone and sticking to what you know is right. Mean girl calls you a fraud? Whatever. Friends aren't cool? If they are true friends who cares? Wait, who cares, that mean girl over there? No worries, you have backbone so you don't care what she thinks. In the end it all comes down to the backbone, believing in yourself enough to stick up for yourself no matter what.
Sera and Ariel had a night where their lives were at risk, where everything that mattered was on the line. In the face of that crisis they leaned things that it took Teen-me most of my twenties to figure out. But I think given the choice, I'd rather have taken in these lessons more slowly rather than faced my mortality at seventeen. And in the end what matters is that I did finally learn all three of these lessons and each has served me well!
© 2012 Daphne Benedis-Grab, author of The Girl in the Wall

Author Bio
Daphne Benedis-Grab, author of The Girl in the Wall, earned her MFA in creative writing from The New School, where she began the thesis that became her first book, Alive and Well in Prague, New York. She has worked a number of jobs including buildings houses for Habitat for Humanity and teaching adult literacy classes. She lives with her husband and their two children in New York City.
For more information please visit and, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Girl in the Wall

The Girl in the Wall
Daphne Benedis-Grab
186 pages
Release: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Merit Press
Source: the publisher

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

When I was first contacted by Merit Press about their new titles, this was the one that jumped out at me the most.  I knew I had to read it!  Sera and Ariel were best friends until something happened in Mexico that left Ariel feeling so betrayed that she turned their whole school against Sera.  When Ariel's birthday rolls around, Sera's father convinces her to attend the party despite her protests.  Then, while there, an armed group of vigilantes takes over, killing guests and demanding to know where Ariel is.  Only Sera knows where Ariel is and the question is - does their friendship still matter?

Woo boy, if you think this book sounds action packed, you would be right!  My life always gets busier in December and I hate that I couldn't sit down and read this book through, it was so great!  First, Ariel and her friends are extremely rich, so in the beginning of the book it was fun to read about the opulence of her birthday party and the famous rock star her father got for entertainment.  The tension between Sera, Ariel, and their friends is palpable.  I couldn't help but feel bad for Sera, being so ostracized from the group when she honestly felt like she never did anything wrong.  Immediately Sera became the girl that I was going to root for.  Then, when the party quickly becomes a hostage situation, the bigger question arose - when best friends have such a huge falling out, can they still trust each other?

This book was a little terrifying to me because I couldn't even begin to image what I would do if I ever found myself in a situation like that.  But I have to give all the party-goers in this novel props.  When they come up with their plan to escape, I was shocked they were able to come up with a plan at all, but I was also a little skeptical.  I won't tell you how that turns out, but wow baby, what climax to this book!

On a side note, I adored the small romances in this book, particularly that of Sera and Hudson, the rockstar.  They were so cute together and even though they had just met, they worked together extremely well in a time of crisis.  I would love to read more about these two characters in the future.

Four stars!  The Girl in the Wall was everything I hoped it would be and it sounds like Merit Press has a hit on their hands!  You're definitely going to want to check out this action-packed thriller this Christmas.  It has a December 18th release date, but it's already available on Amazon.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Lover's Holiday Hop!

Hey, folks!  I've got another giveaway hop today to share with you - The Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop.  This one's going to be US only because my prize is... a box of books!  I love putting together boxes of books together - the mystery is exciting!  This one will be mostly YA books, but who knows what other kinds of holiday treats might end up in there... Cocoa?  Candy?  Smell good stuff?  You'll have to win below to find out!  US only, 13+, enter below with the Rafflecopter and the check out the other blogs participating. a Rafflecopter giveaway

In My Mailbox (62)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

A day late and a dollar short... here's what I acquired last week.

A signed copy of Skinny by Donna Cooner!  It was signed by her and chewed on by her dog, Roxanne.  Hence the Facebook giveaway.  Thanks Donna!  I've been dying to read this one for some time now.

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Infinity by Rachel Ward

November Recap!

Oh man, I'm a little behind on my blog.  I completely missed the fact that November ended and December began so this post is three days late.  And my IMM post is a day late and a dollar short because I went to a wedding Saturday night.  What a party!  But without further ado, here's the list of what I read in November, and now all the titles link to my reviews.  Hooray!

Until I Die by Amy Plum
Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine
The Pineville Heist by Lee Chambers (review + author interview)
The Lies That Bind by Lisa Roecker
Renegade by J.A. Souders
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Princess of Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart by Leanna Renee Hieber
Thanksgiving Prayer by Debbie Macomber
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Total books read in 2012: 194
Total pages read in 2012: 58,393