Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Milestones by Samira Armin Hodges

One day. That's how long it took for fourteen year-old Faye Martin's ordinary life to take a dramatic and completely unexpected turn. First, she gets struck by lightning. Second; Benjamin Parker, the object of her obsession, witnesses her near-death experience. Finally, her parents are forcing her to leave her friends and hometown of Seattle to attend a summer camp, aptly named Camp Milestone. Only, Camp Milestone is no ordinary camp. There are no phones allowed, shabby cabins and only a handful of campers. The only good turn of events is Benji her longtime crush is among the sparsely populated camp. Before she knows it, Faye finds herself caught in a whirlwind of uncertainty, torture, calamine lotion and romance....All in the name of summer camp. But as the summer unfolds, she realizes there is much more to Camp Milestone than meets the eye. Will she be able to unravel the mystery that surrounds this unusual camp? And more importantly, will she be able to survive the madness long enough to put the pieces together?

I’ve got to admit, I started this book with low expectations. Right away, I found things to nitpick at: the writing seemed amateurish, the characters and story a bit stereotypical. But, those problems soon rectified themselves. Within a few chapters, I found myself constantly picking up the book to read. The mystery surrounding Camp Milestone was just too intriguing to pass up. The characters began to take shape as they worked together to discover what they were doing at such a strange camp. And when that mystery was revealed—BAM! I never would have guessed it in a million years. This is what made Milestones shine: its unique storyline and shocker of an ending that leaves readers desperate for the next installment of this intended trilogy. A great book for pre-teens and teens, Milestones is a fresh, interesting debut.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol—a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create. Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. In Catching Fire, the second novel of The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.

Wow!! Suzanne Collins has once again written an incredible, ground-breaking novel. Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games is just as riveting, just as action-filled, and just as utterly incredible as its predecessor. Suzanne Collins’ keeps up her intense, flawless writing, blend of action, horror, and romance, and well-developed characters. The only problem I found was that the first half of the book covered a lot of time, not allowing for deep detail found in the first book, but eventually, the narration slows down and Collins is back to her old detail-thriving self. The School Library Journal stated that “though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment”. The third and final book, to be released in 2010, cannot come soon enough!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (20)

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.
Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.

Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.

As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.

All Unquiet Things looks like a great mystery! I am very excited for it. This is Anna Jarzab's debut novel and I am sure it will be a hit. It will be published on January 12th.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

Somewhere out there Ellie and her friends are hiding. They’re shocked, they’re frightened, they’re alone. Their world has changed, with the speed of a slamming door. They’ve got no weapons—except courage. They’ve got no help—except themselves. They’ve got nothing—except friendship. How strong can you be, when the world is full of people trying to kill you? Tomorrow, When the War Began is the first in an enormously popular series that became a legend.

This is my second time reading Tomorrow, When the War Began, a book about 7 friends who return from a camping trip to discover that their country has been invaded by foreigners. I loved it the first time, but it was even better the second time around. This book is filled with unique characters, great action and suspense, and flawless writing that keep you turning the pages. What I loved about the characters was that they were incredibly dynamic and all added something to the plot. Tomorrow, When the War Began is a book that should be read by all, young and old. I am greatly looking forward to reading the second in the series, The Dead of Night!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In My Mailbox (14)

Here are the books I got this week:


Catching Fire-Suzanne Collins
By winning the annual Hunger Games, District 12 tributes Katniss and Peeta have secured a life of safety and plenty for themselves and their families, but because they won by defying the rules, they unwittingly become the faces of an impending rebellion.

Living Dead Girl-Elizabeth Scott
This is Alice. She was taken by Ray five years ago. She thought she knew how her story would end. She was wrong


To Catch a Pirate-Jade Parker

Once caught, it’s harder still to let a pirate go. When Annalisa Townsend’s ship is set upon by pirates in search of her father’s treasure, one of the crew, James Sterling, discovers her in the hold. When he moves to take her necklace, she begs him not to, as it is all she has left of her mother. He accepts a kiss in exchange for the necklace. “A fair trade, m’lady,” he tells her afterward, before disappearing. A year later, with a forged letter of marque, Annalisa is intent on hunting down the wretched James Sterling and reclaiming her father’s treasure from him. But now she’s in danger of him stealing something far more vulnerable this time: her heart.

The China Garden-Liz Berry
When Clare moves with her mother from London to Ravensmere, an historic English estate, she can’t shake the feeling that the residents already know her, especially Mark, a maddeningly attractive biker. Clare also feels compelled to take midnight walks in Ravensmere’s abandoned China Garden. Then her mother reveals that their own past is tragically linked to the estate. But when Clare discovers that Ravensmere is in grave danger, will she risk her future—and Mark’s—to save it?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (19)

An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line.

Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.

Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right?

This book looks absolutely amazing! I love dystopian fiction and am sure that this will be a great addition to my collection. The Line will be released on March 4th.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Witch Child by Celia Rees

Enter the world of Mary Newbury, where being different can cost a person her life. Hidden until now in the pages of her secret diary, fourteen-year-old Mary’s story begins as she flees the English witch-hunts to settle in an American colony. How long can she hide her true nature from the Puritans? How long can she keep running?

Witch Child is an entertaining read that chronicles the witch trials that plagued the nation years ago. The first line of the novel reveals that Mary Newbury is in fact a witch, who, after her grandmother is executed for being a witch, travels to a colony near Salem, MA to avoid persecution. Mary and the other characters are well-drawn and the historical facts accurate. Although some parts lagged a bit, Celia Rees writes beautifully and with great story-telling ability. The end is very abrupt, but thankfully Witch Child’s sequel, The Sorceress was released earlier this year and follows up on Mary’s life. I will hopefully be reading it soon.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

In My Mailbox (13)

Here are the books I received in the past two weeks:

Tomorrow When The War Began-John Marsden

Australian teenager Ellie and six of her friends return from a winter break camping trip to find their homes burned or deserted, their families imprisoned, and their country occupied by a foreign military force in league with a band of disaffected Australians.

Witch Child-Celia Rees

Enter the world of Mary Newbury, where being different can cost a person her life. Hidden until now in the pages of her secret diary, fourteen-year-old Mary’s story begins as she flees the English witch-hunts to settle in an American colony. How long can she hide her true nature from the Puritans? How long can she keep running?

Karma For Beginners-Jessica Blank

Fourteen-year-old Tessa has never had a normal life. Her mother, a frustrated hippie with awful taste in men, has seen to that. But when her mom pulls her out of school to live at an ashram in the Catskills, Tessa goes from being a freak among normal people to being an outcast among freaks. Freaks who worship an orange robe-wearing guru. And while her mom is buzzing with spiritual energy, and finding a little too much favor with the guru, all Tessa feels are weird vibes. Unless she's with Colin, the gorgeous boy who fixes trucks for the ashram. The connection they share is the most spiritual thing Tessa has ever felt. But he's older-like illegally older-and Tessa's taking dangerous risks to spend time with him. Soon her life is blooming into a psychedelic web of secrets and lies and it's clear that something's about to give way. When it does, will she have anyone to hold on to? Will she even know herself?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (18)

Bad Apple by Laura Ruby

Junior Tola Riley doesn’t care what people say about her. She knows her ever-changing hair color and goth clothes make her an easy target. Whatever. But the latest rumor is different.... The entire school believes she had an affair with her art teacher. The rumors may be a lie, but the fallout is all too real. Will Tola finally stand up for the truth?

I am very excited for this book! I've seen the beautiful around the web for a while and just found a summary of it--it looks great! Laura Ruby's third book for teens will be released on October 6th.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Prism by Faye Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman

Kaida Hutchenson isn't exactly psyched for the class trip to Carlsbad Caverns. Fourteen hours in a van with preppy jock Zeke Anderson and high school loner Joy Tallon? No, thank you. But when a tragic and explosive accident turns the journey into a nightmare, Kaida would give anything to be back on the road. Stumbling at midnight through the unforgiving desert, Kaida, Zeke, and Joy take refuge in an abandoned cave . . . until the world goes from pitch black to blinding. The next thing Kaida knows, she's back home in California and everything is just as it was. Or is it? Increasingly unnerved by the distorted world around her, Kaida starts receiving unexpected help from mysterious people. Soon she must band together with Zeke and Joy in hopes of making it back to the reality she remembers . . . and surviving the one she's fallen into.

Prism is a truly captivating read. The mother/daughter team of Faye and Aliza Kellerman take us to a “slightly alternate universe in which medicine and health care do not exist, and in which sick people are allowed to die without any care.” This aspect of the book was very imaginative and thought-provoking, leading the reader to ponder “what if?” Prism has the perfect blend of action, suspense, chills, and thrills, combined with great characterization and writing. This was a great start for first-timer Aliza Kellerman; I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from her soon.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

In My Mailbox (12)

I only got 2 books this week, but they both look fantastic!!

Meridian-Amber Kizer
On her sixteenth birthday, Meridian is whisked off to her great-aunt’s home in Revelation, Colorado, where she learns that she is a Fenestra, the half-human, half-angel link between the living and the dead, and must learn to help human souls to the afterlife before the dark forces reach them.

The Weight of Silence-Heather Gudenkauf
It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler. Petra Gregory is Calli's best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi at The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Feathered by Laura Kasischke

First off, a huge apology to my readers!! I have had a whirlwind of events going on in my life the past few weeks, resulting in my pathetic posting as of late. I promise I am out of my funk and more reviews should be pouring in soon. :)

“Afterward, Terri will tell everyone that, from the beginning, she knew something terrible was going to happen on spring break.” So begins the story of two best friends spending spring break in Cancun, far away from home, with no parental supervision.

Filled with twists, turns, and tension from beginning to end, Feathered is the perfect quick read for a day at the beach. The book is told through alternating chapters by the two main characters, Michelle in third-person present tense, and Anne in first-person past tense. What may be seen as uneven writing blends easily to bring forth two unique voices. Michelle’s chapters show the true emotion of what is going on with her and her friends, while Anne’s chapter’s transport you into a magical realm as she discovers the Mayan world. From the very beginning to the very end, Kasischke delivers a mysterious and eerie tale that will stay with you long after you’ve put down the book.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In My Mailbox (11)

I got some absolutely amazing books this week and cannot wait to read them!!!


Scribbler of Dreams-Mary E. Pearson
Despite her family’s long feud with the Crutchfields, seventeen-year-old Kaitlin falls in love with Bram Crutchfield and weaves a tangled web of deception to conceal her identity from him.

My Soul To Take- Rachel Vincent
She doesn't see dead people, but… She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally. Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…

Eyes Like Stars-Lisa Mantchev
Where real fairies fly on wires and pirates sail the painted seas, welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Shiver-Maggie Stiefvater
In all the years she has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house, Grace has been particularly drawn to an unusual yellow-eyed wolf who, in his turn, has been watching her with increasing intensity.

Prism (autographed copy)-Faye Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman
Prism takes us to a slightly alternate universe in which medicine and health care do not exist, and in which sick people are allowed to die without any care. Set in New Mexico and California, the novel features three teens who fall through a cave at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico while on a field trip. They are plunged into a frightening parallel universe—seven weeks in the past, in which their "normal" worlds of family and high school remain the same…except for the fact that no medicine exists and when people die in the street they are picked up and disposed of.

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi at The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (17)

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Dreaming Anastasia-Joy Preble

What really happened to Anastasia Romanov?

Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn't know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good college—until the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams…

This looks really good! I used to be obsessed with the events of the Romanov family and read many books about them. This will make a great addition to the collection! Dreaming Anastasia will be released September 1st.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much---if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her. But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

As most of us know, the issue of polygamist communities is big in the news right now, and this book effectively shows the dangers these cults pose to the children involved. Kyra’s story is complex and filled with emotion. Her interaction with her father, mothers, and siblings is surprisingly heartfelt and functional, with the Prophet causing all the tension. The one aspect of the book that felt forced was Kyra’s relationship with Joshua, a boy she was able to sneak off with each night and spend time with, although the fact that the community members were constantly watched was enforced throughout the book. It all just seemed a little too convenient. Otherwise, everything fell into place perfectly, with the ending leaving me thinking about the characters and hoping that everything would turn out alright.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

In My Mailbox (10)

Here are the three books I got this week:


Watertales-Alice Hoffman
If you haven't encountered Alice Hoffman's watery fairy tales of modern magic, dive in! Aquamarine The tide brings in something unexpected that will change best friends Claire and Haley's last summer together. Indigo Martha and her friends discover that running to follow a dream is the only way they'll find the true meaning of 'home'.

School Reading:

Their Eyes Were Watching God-Zora Neale Hurst
A drama set in the 1920s, where free-spirited Janie Crawford's search for happiness leads her through several different marriages, challenging the morals of her small town.

Hardball-Chris Matthews
How Politics Is Played Told By One Who Knows The Game

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi at The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie

Monday, July 20, 2009

Suite Scarlett Winners

The winners of a paperback copy of Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson are:


Congratulations!! I have sent each of you an email so I can get your mailing information. Please respond ASAP so I can get your books to you! Enjoy the read!

And a big thanks to everyone who entered! It was my first contest and was a lot of fun. I hope to be hosting more in the future. :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In My Mailbox (9)

Here are the books I received this week:
Saving Francesca-Melina Marchetta
Francesca is at the beginning of her second term in Year Eleven at an all boys’ school that has just started accepting girls. She still misses her old friends, and, to make things worse, her mother has had a breakdown and can barely move from her bed. But Francesca had not counted on the fierce loyalty of her new friends, or falling in love, or finding that it’s within her power to bring her family back together.

Iodine-Haven Kimmel
Trace Pennington is a senior at the University of the Midwest in Indiana. Living with her dog, Weeds, in an abandoned farmhouse that lacks such basic comforts as heat and a shower, Trace is in her final semester. But once she enters Professor Jacob Matthias’ Archetypal Interpretation of Literature class, she turns her intense focus solely on him, dropping her classes and even abandoning her dog to move in to his place. But as she digs into Jacob’s past to discover why his first marriage ended and what became of his wife, her own past bubbles to the surface, forcing her to face painful memories and truths.

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi at The Story Siren, who was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie
P.S. I also want to remind everyone that this is the last day to enter to win a copy of Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crash Into Me by Albert Borris

Owen, Frank, Audrey, and Jin-Ae have one thing in common: they all want to die. When they meet online after each attempts suicide and fails, the four teens make a deadly pact: they will escape together on a summer road trip to visit the sites of celebrity suicides...and at their final destination-Death Valley California-they will all end their lives. As they drive cross-country, bonding over their dark impulses, sharing their deepest secrets and desires, living it up, hooking up, and becoming true friends, each must decide whether life is worth living--or if there's no turning back.

Crash Into Me is a heart wrenching look into the minds of four suicidal teens and the road trip that changes their lives. I was never quite sure if the characters would go all the way or not, and didn’t know until the very last page. The novel is told through the eyes of Owen, but the reader gets to know all four characters through series of online chats, top ten lists, and flashbacks, creating a deep connection between reader and character. Albert Borris delivered an excellent debut novel and I am looking forward to more of his great writing.