Monday, January 28, 2013

Young Adult Giveaway Hop!

I'm so happy be to participating in this year's Young Adult Giveaway Hop, since Young Adult is my go-to genre.  The winner can pick any YA book of their choice to up $10 USD from The Book Depository (INTL) or Books-A-Million (US).  Enter with the Rafflecopter below, then check out the other blogs participating in the hop.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 27, 2013

In My Mailbox (68)

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

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Poison by Bridget Zinn

Angelfall by Susan Ee
Winter White by Jen Calonita 
Now by Morris Gleitzman 
Ten by Gretchen McNeil 
Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Gretchen McNeil
294 pages
Released: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

An epic party is going to be thrown on Henry Island, and Meg and Minnie are invited.  However, when they get there, their hostess hasn't arrived and the motley group of teens is left to their own devices.  But things start getting creepy as a storm rages outside and the group discovers a DVD that proclaims, "Vengeance is mine."  Soon they start dying, one by one, and it's up to Meg to find the killer before more people die.

So this is what I looked like while reading this book...

Why does Photo Booth take backwards pics?

I was seriously freaked out while reading this.  I understood the premise before going it and that it was a retelling of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, so I knew what was coming, but somehow Gretchen McNeil managed to make this book an edge-of-your-seat creep-fest.  In just the first thirty or forty pages I was hit with several revelations including, This book should be a movie that I would ultimately be too chicken to see, and, Why am I hearing ominous music in the back of my head?

Because I knew what was going to happen... people were going to die.  I was not expecting the deaths to be so varied in their execution (pun intended) or so gruesome.  And here's the mark of a really great mystery that McNeil got right - I had no idea who the killer was.  I thought I knew, and then something would happen and I would think it was someone else.  This happened all the way up until the end until I was so positive I knew who it was I would bet money or my first-born or something and naturally I was wrong.  (Note: no babies were bet during the reading of this novel.)

Four and a half stars!  You'd be the perfect reader for this book if (a) you're a fan of classic mysteries (b) you're a fan of those classic teenage horror films or (c) you like a creepy YA novel every now and again.  Seriously, odds are you're one of those people, so go pick up a copy of Ten and freak yourself out.*

*Please, do not read this book while watching a Ghost Hunters marathon in the dark like I did.  You'll ruin your eyes and scare yourself silly.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

One Moment

One Moment
Kristina McBride
261 pages
Released: June 26, 2012
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Source: library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Maggie and her five best friends have grown up together since they were in kindergarten.  Life doesn't seem like it can get much better now that it's the summer before senior year; the world is their oyster.  But their worlds are soon turned upside down when one of them, Maggie's boyfriend Joey, dies tragically in a cliff-diving accident.  Maggie was with him when it happened, but she can't remember anything about the accident.  As her memories slowly come back, she's confused by Joey's behavior.  What was he hiding?

Right up front, I have to give Kristina McBride props as author.  When Maggie's boyfriend dies within the first two chapters of the novel, we obviously don't have much time to get to know to the characters, yet I already felt such a connection to Maggie that I was utterly distraught when he died.  I felt like I could see her, hear her cries, and my heart broke a little for her.  That, right there, is the mark of a good author.  Eliciting emotion reaction for characters the reader barely knows.  PS: This is reason enough for you to pick up this book.  Of course, there are more reasons as well...

The most interesting part of One Moment is Maggie's memory loss.  It seems to happen almost immediately and it's very intense.  I couldn't help but feel for her, because even though she wanted to remember, it's understandable why her mind wouldn't want her to.  And the fact that some people seemed to try and use her memory loss against her, well that was just despicable to me.  I don't want to spoil it for you, but I didn't have warm, fluffy feelings for that character.

Speaking of not ruining it for you - there's a "secret" that permeates throughout the novel (why was Joey acting so strangely before his death?), and that's the third reason to pick up this novel.  I knew right away what it was, so I was just waiting for Maggie to realize it, but I still don't want to ruin it for you.  It just goes to show, some people are never who you thought they were.  That happens a couple times in this book.  I will say this - the ending left me satisfied and I really, really enjoyed One Moment!  I'm glad I spontaneously picked this up at the library.

Four stars!  One Moment shows us how our lives can change unexpectedly in one moment.  The only reason One Moment isn't getting five stars is because I knew right away what the big "secret" was.  Still, it was great to watch Maggie go on this journey of self-discovery to regain her memory and learn the truth behind her boyfriend.  I highly recommend this one to any YA contemporary fan.  Read it!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

In My Mailbox (67)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren
Soo... this is my IMM from last week and this week as well, since I was being lazy last Saturday night.

Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Pena
Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer (can't wait to read this one!)
The Poison Diaries by Mayrose Wood

Beta by Rachel Cohn

Cracked by K.M. Walton (Empty intrigued me so much, I had to pick this one up!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Revolution 19

Revolution 19
Gregg Rosenblum
265 pages
Released: January 8, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: purchased

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Robots.  I can't recall the last book I read about robots, so this is was a fairly fresh read for me.  Think about it, though, what would happen if humans developed robots to fight their wars?  It's an interesting concept, although the traditional battlefield is becoming less and less.  And, what if our war-fighting robots suddenly turned on us?  And enslaved us?

That's pretty much what happens before the start of Revolution 19.  Some humans have escaped and have been living in outposts in the twenty years since, but when the bots discover their abode, siblings Nick, Kevin, and Cass escape and head for the City (where the humans have been enslaved by the bots) to find and rescue their captured parents.

There was so much the enjoy about Revolution 19, starting with the plot.  I think this is a legitimate fear people have about robots: what if they get so smart they turn on us?  So naturally that part of the novel really drew me in, especially when the group's woodland homestead was attacked.  It was very dramatic and I have to give the kids props for going into the City to try and find their parents.

The City was a whole other aspect of the novel that I really enjoyed.  It seemed so normal from the outside, the group ends up in a seemingly normal cafe when they arrive for example, yet I knew the robots behind it made it an unpleasant place to live.  If you don't leave a good enough tip at lunch, a bot could be after you and incinerate you in the street!  The re-education center and high school had the same creepy vibe - seemingly normal, but also frighteningly in control by robots.

I only had one problem with Revolution 19, and that was the characters.  There wasn't much backstory given on them and we never learn much about them since the book is so action driven.  Sometimes it was difficult to grasp their emotions and since I didn't know anything about their personal histories, I didn't develop much of an attachment to any of the characters.  And the one very small love interest lacked chemistry.  But my problems with the characters didn't negatively effect my reading experience all that much.

Four stars!  I don't really understand why people have been giving this book such bad reviews on Goodreads; I thought it was a great post-apocalyptic robot read.  The only place Revolution 19 loses points from me is my lack of connection with the characters; they could have been more developed.  Still, I will definitely be continuing on with this series as it continues and based on the epilogue of this novel, I think we're in for even more action packed adventure.

PS: Here's a look at the book trailer.  I don't normally watch or post trailers, but this one was so well done, I couldn't help but include it:

Get on Entangled's blogging list!

I keep seeing this all over the blogosphere, so I thought I would share.  Entangled is setting up a list of bloggers to review their titles and they want you to be on it!  Here's the info from Kate Evangelista's blog.  Head over there to get started.

Here are the requirements:

Do you have a blog?

Do you love to review books?

Do you want access to books before they release?

If your answers to these questions is a resounding "YES" then you're the right blogger for the job.

If you want to be a part of The List, here's what you have to do:

1. Add Til Death to your Goodreads TBR pile:


2. Leave the following in the comments section on Kate's blog:

     a. Your Name

     b. Your Blog URL

     c. Your Goodreads Name

     d. Your Email Address

     Additional Option: URL to your blog post about this call for bloggers.

Priority will be given to those who help spread the word by creating a post on this call for bloggers on their blog.

Go check it out!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Megan Miranda
336 pages
Release: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Walker Children's
Source: NetGalley

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Mallory killed her boyfriend Brian, but she's not entirely clear on the why or how, but everyone knows it was self-defense so she isn't charged in his death.  Instead, her parents send her away to a private school for a fresh start.  Her classmates are suspicious, however.  She's ostracized by practically everyone except for Reid, a childhood friend.  But her dreams haunt her in a disturbing way and when a student turns up dead... Mallory is once again the spotlight.

That cover.  Look!  It's what drew me to this novel from the beginning and I couldn't wait to read it.  The description made Hysteria sound like a great psychological thriller, and while there was some definite psychology, the thriller aspect was lacking a bit.  I wasn't at the edge of my seat, but I was very interested to learn what happened with Mallory when her boyfriend died, and then of course what would happen to Mallory after that fellow student turned up dead.

Mallory can't quite remember what happened that evening with Brian.  As the novel goes on, we catch bits of pieces of memories that we as the reader must piece together along with Mallory.  I've seen this plot device used before and it's never bothered me, but I found the execution in Hysteria to be a bit disjointed and confusing.  I have to admit, I'm still a little puzzled over both murders.

What I did find extremely interesting was the psychological drama Mallory put herself through.  Every night she could hear whispers and footsteps.  She couldn't help but think Brian's mother was there to get her.  Handprints showed up on her skin after she took her sleeping pills, and she never could remember what happened overnight.  This part of Hysteria was so engrossing to me!  I really wanted Mallory to feel better, because let's face it, she was pretty much a good kid who had to deal with some unfortunate circumstances.

Three stars.  Three and a half if I was into half stars.  I wanted to love and adore this novel, but the disjointed plot, particularly at the end, left me a little confused and uninterested.  However, if you're a fan of psychological YA novels, you really should give this one a try.  I wouldn't hesitate to read anything else by Megan Miranda; in fact, Fracture has been on my wish list for quite some time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


K.M. Walton
241 pages
Released: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: purchased

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Dell is fat and depressed.  Her father abandoned her family leaving them practically destitute in exchange for a young, dumb, newer-model wife.  Dell's best friend Cara is attempting to break into the popular crowd and that leaves Dell feeling abandoned and unloved.  Dell's mother is addicted to pills and a bitch.  The only positive thing in Dell's life is her baby sister, whom she loves dearly.

The first thing that struck me about Empty was Dell's character.  Dell does not let us forget that she's overweight.  In the beginning of the novel, it seemed like every other sentence Dell narrated involved her feeling fat.  I understand what it's like to be fat and how overwhelming and depressed that can make you feel, but in Dell's case, it seemed so over the top.  I wanted to have genuine feelings of sympathy for her, but she made that a little difficult in the beginning.

But in Dell's defense, her life does kind of suck.  Her family is falling about and when her best friend Cara starts abandoning her, things go from bad to worse, especially when they attend a party together with the popular crowd.  It was after that that I really began to have sympathy for Dell.  I just wanted her to find some happiness... and maybe a psychologist.    Dell's love for her sister also made her a much more likable character.  They way she described how sweet her baby sister was, new baby smell at all, it was very touching.  I would love to see a sequel to Empty which focuses on Dell's sister when she becomes a teenager.  Give Empty a read and I think you'll agree that would be very interesting.

The ending.  I'm not going to give it away even though I'm probably the only person in the world who will read this book and totally not see it coming.  I did not see it coming at all.  Dell completely surprised me and even though I felt little emotion about her from the beginning, I did have a good cry at the end of this novel.  That surprised me... maybe I felt a little for Dell after all.

Three stars.  Empty started out a little off to me, but got better as I kept reading.  This book is far from horrible and for the most part I did enjoy it.  If you're a fan of depressing contemporaries (I know you are, who didn't love TFIOS?) I recommend you give this one a read.  It's a very fast, easy read that might just surprise you.

Bad Boy Rehab Hop!

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?  Read about them!  I'm thrilled to be participating in this giveaway hop because, let's face it, who doesn't love to read about a bad boy once in a while?  I'm giving away a copy of Easy by Tammara Webber because I read it last year and love, love, loved it!  I want to you to experience this five star book, so enter via the Rafflecopter below and then use the linky to enter the other giveaways in the hop.  Open to wherever the Book Depository ships, or winner can choose an e-copy instead.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 7, 2013

Earthseed (The Seed Trilogy, #1)

Pamela Sargent
271 pages
Released: 1983, February 12, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Goodreads First Reads win

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Earth has been all but abandoned, so Zoheret and her peers have been raised by Ship, a spacecraft trying to find an uninhabited planet for them.  Ship trains them the best it can for the future wilderness they face by making the youth go through a test.  Wall-E meets Hunger Games, Earthseed shows what really could happen when/if humans are forced to find and settle a new home.

I have no idea how to pronounce Zoheret.  Can anyone tell me?  But regardless of how you pronounce her name, the heroine in this story was very level-headed and compassionate.  Once the teens were in the dog-eat-dog world of the Hollow, Zoheret was one of the very few who were willing to put the group above self and help those who were struggling.  She was a very admirable character.  Even as the book wore on and things got real tough, she always held out hope they could work together as a group.

Earthseed was extremely fast paced, although not quite as action-packed as more modern YA.  I was able to read the book in a mere two hours and I was interested enough to turn the pages, though I wouldn't exactly say I was at the edge of my seat.  Not much time is wasted on useless details, though in some place more detail would have been beneficial.

The hardest part of Earthseed for me was getting a grip on "Ship's" character.  Ship is literally a spaceship, but it has a personality.  In my head, its voice was very calm and bland.  One minute it seemed pretty non-partisan and liked to stay out of things, but at other times it got really involved in Zoheret's time management.  I kept waiting for it to become one of those futuristic artificial intellegences that got power hungry.  Sometimes Ship seemed to have emotions and sometimes it didn't.  Even now, after having finished the book, I can't really get a grip on it.  OK, but I will admit every time the ship referred to its "seed," I giggled a little in my head.

Three stars!  Fans of sci-fi will love this book much more than I did and I would recommend it to any sci-fi fan, young or old.  Earthseed is the first book in a trilogy, though I haven't decided if I'll continue on or not.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

In My Mailbox (66)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.
Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker - I won this from Ali at Magnet4Books.  If you haven't checked out her blog, you should!

Keeper of the Night & The Keepers by Heather Graham - this sounds like a great start to a new mini-series!

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - read the first one, now I have the 3rd... oops.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Miss Fortune Cookie

Miss Fortune Cookie
Lauren Bjorkman
288 pages
Released: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Source: swapped for ARC

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Somewhat based on a true story, Miss Fortune Cookie follows the lives of Erin and her two best friends as they navigate their final year of high school and await their college acceptance letters.  Erin has a secret though, she runs the blog "Miss Fortune Cookie," where she doles out advice to her peers anonymously.  Then, when a hate group comes to protest the girl's high school (here's the true story part), they organize a counter protest.

Oh man, this book didn't do it for me and that makes me sad because I really wanted to like it.  I had two main issues with this book - first, I found Erin's relationships with her friends confusing.  I don't understand why they couldn't have just been a trio of friends and why there was all this grudge-holding from fourth grade.  But despite their strange friendship, I did like Erin's character.  She only wanted to do what was right for her friends and for her blog followers.  Most of the time I found her advice pretty sound.

The second issue I had with Miss Fortune Cookie was the protest part of the plot.  Erin and her friends seemed to put a lot of thought in their protest and I admire their values (and for that I would recommend this book to high schoolers) but I felt like not enough time was spend with the protest, particularly after they arrived and what might have happened after.  The protest ended and that was pretty much it for that plot line.  It was almost like an afterthought and I think if more time had been spent on it, some great life lessons could have been learned.

There is a side of romance in this novel, which was a little compelling.  It was pretty adorable the way Erin met her love interest and I rooted for them.   On another positive note, there were several random and diverse tertiary characters who were pretty awesome.

Two stars.  I didn't hate Miss Fortune Cookie and it held my attention, but after all was said and done (and read) it was only okay.  This might be a great read for younger YA fans, though I hesitate to say middle grade because of all the mentions of sex.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop!

Here's my messy corner of the apartment I share with my husband... this is just one of my two TBR bookshelves and as you can see, it's literally overflowing.  There's even a pile of books in the background waiting to be read.  The other bookshelf is in the same state.  I've got to face the facts, I will never read all these books.  I want to, but it's just not possible.  So I'm going to pass on the wealth to you.  One lucky winner will receive a box of books from my overflowing shelves!  They might be new, used, or ex-library books, but they're all in good condition.  There will be both YA and adult novels in the box.  A little something for everyone, I think.  Enter via the Rafflecopter below and then check out the other giveaways in the hop.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

December/2012 Recap

Ummm... I read practically nothing in December.  What happened?  Retail happened.  I work a retail job and obvious December means holiday shopping.  That coupled with my own Christmas shopping and our trip back home = only six books read.  Anyway, here's what they were (links to go my reviews):

The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab
The Farm by Emily McKay
Louder than Words by Laurie Plissner
Broken by A.E. Rought
Undeadly by Michele Vail
Just One Day by Gayle Forman

And now for my annual recap...

I read less than I wanted to in 2012.  I read 255 books in 2011 and I thought I would do about the same this past year.  I set my goal of 200 books on Goodreads fully anticipating to up that goal once I reached 200 in about October or so.  But that didn't happen.  I finished by 200th book, Just One Day, on New Year's Eve and just barely made my goal.  The main reason - I was promoted at the end of 2011 and that meant more hours at work during 2012.  I fully anticipate to be working even more in 2013 than 2012, but I'm still optimistic that I can squeeze those 200 books in.

Total books read in 2012:  200
Total pages read in 2012:  60,356

In addition to my reading, my blog changed a little, too.  I decided to switch to mostly YA reviews so my blog would have somewhat of a theme.  I re-did my header and blog layout to try and make it more professional and personalized.  I participated in more blog tours and more giveaways.  As a result, my blog grew from just over 200 followers to over 1000 this year, and I'm thrilled!  Thanks to each and every one of you for participating in my blog this year, whether you were a silent follower or a frequent commenter.  I appreciate you all!

Happy 2013!  I hope is a great year filled with great reading.


Donna Cooner
272 pages
Released: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Point
Source: won from the author

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

I'd been wanting to read Skinny since I first heard of it, but for some reason it never made it into my hands.  So I was happy to see Donna announce a giveaway on her Facebook page because she had an extra copy that her dog had also "signed" (aka, tried to eat.)  I had a strange gut feeling I would win... and I did!  Thanks so much, Donna!

And Skinny was everything I hoped and knew it would be.  I absolutely loved this timely, poignant, realistic novel.  "Skinny" is the invisible voice that accompanies Ever wherever she goes, constantly reminding her of how fat she is and how others see her.  Ever is 302 pounds and horribly depressed over her weight and inability to control it.  Skinny's invisible taunting doesn't help matters at all so Ever finally makes the important decision to have gastric bypass surgery.  But when the surgery's done, things don't get immediately better as Ever hoped.

Gastric bypass surgery - now there's an important topic that I don't think the YA genre had tackled until this moment.  Donna Cooner did a fabulous job, probably because she herself has gone through the surgery.  On the one hand it was interesting to learn to about the science behind the surgery and what can happen medically-speaking afterwards.  But what made Skinny so realistic is the internal struggle Ever had before and after her surgery.

Ever's was really a journey of self-discovery.  Before the surgery she thought everyone refused to talk to her because of her weight, but as the pounds drop off she learns it's not nearly that simple.  Suddenly some of the most popular girls (and boys!) in school want to talk to her, but her new friendships aren't what she dreamed they would be.  On the other hand, her relationship with her step-sister also evolves, and I felt like that was a very touching part of the story.

Five stars!  Whether you've been 302 pounds or not, I think there's a part of Ever that every female reader will identify with.  This was an extremely realistic novel, significant to today's obesity crisis.  It's a must read for contemporary fans!  Pick up a copy soon, you won't regret it.