Friday, June 26, 2009

You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith

Emma Healy has never fit in with the rest of her family. She's grown used to being the only ordinary one among her rather extraordinary parents and siblings. But when she finds a birth certificate for a twin brother she never knew she had, along with a death certificate dated just two days later, she feels like a part of her has been justified in never feeling quite whole. Suddenly it seems important to visit his grave, to set off in search of her missing half. When her next-door neighbor Peter Finnegan -- who has a quiet affinity for maps and a desperate wish to escape their small town -- ends up coming along for the ride, Emma thinks they can't possibly have anything in common. But as they head from upstate New York toward North Carolina, driving a beat-up and technically stolen car and picking up a stray dog along the way, they find themselves learning more and more about each other. Neither is exactly sure what they're looking for, but with each passing mile, each new day of this journey, they seem to be getting much closer to finding it.

You Are Here was a compelling, adventurous read filled with interesting characters that spear-headed an otherwise basic storyline. If it weren’t for Peter and Emma’s unique personalities and the interactions between them, the road trip storyline would have fallen flat. Thanks to that, I was intrigued to keep reading and experience the development of Emma and Peter. Jennifer E. Smith also filled her book with interesting facts, most often brought to light by the map-loving protagonist Peter. All in all, You Are Here is a nice summer read that leaves you with the desire to hop in a car and hit the road.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (14)

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

The Mark by Jen Nadol

Sixteen-year old Cassie Renfield has seen the mark since forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back. The one time she pointed it out taught her not to do it again, so Cassie has kept quiet, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until the day she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today. Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, always careful to hide her secret. How does the mark work? Why her? Most importantly, if you know today is someone's last, should you tell?

Aaaahhh! This looks absolutely amazing! This is exactly my kind of book, and I love the simplicity of the cover. The Mark does not yet have a definitive publishing date, but the author's website says early 2010. Can't wait!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Suite Scarlett Giveaway!

Hello everyone! I was recently asked to host a Suite Scarlett giveaway. I've got five paperback copies of Maureen Johnson's book that the ALA Booklist praised as "an utterly winning, madcap Manhattan farce, crafted with a winking, urbane narrative and tight, wry dialogue."


When Scarlett Martin turns fifteen she is put in charge of the Empire Suite, one of the rooms in her family’s hotel. Enter Mrs. Amberson, an aging C-list starlet who decides to employ Scarlett. Soon, she is taking dictation, running around New York City , and getting caught up in Mrs. Amberson’s crazy adventures. In the midst of it all, Scarlett falls in love–or so she thinks–and it takes Mrs. Amberson to help her see the light.



All you've got to do is leave a comment on my blog to enter! The contest will run from today until July 20th. Good luck!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In My Mailbox (7)

Hey everyone, sorry I didn't have this post in earlier, I was at the Cubs Game (which they won, 6-2 against the Indians. Go Cubbies!!). Anyway, here's what I got this week:


Rape: A Love Story-Joyce Carol Oates

Teena Maguire should not have tried to shortcut her way home that Fourth of July. Not after midnight, not through Rocky Point Park. Not the way she was dressed in a tank top, denim cutoffs, and high-heeled sandals. Not with her twelve-year-old daughter Bethie. Not with packs of local guys running loose on hormones, rage, and alcohol. A victim of gang rape, left for dead in the park boathouse, the once vivacious Teena can now only regret that she has survived.

Heart-shaped Box-Joe Hill

Middle-aged rock star Judas Coyne collects morbid curios for fun, so doesn't think twice about buying a suit advertised at an online auction site as haunted by its dead owner's ghost. Only after it arrives does Judas discover that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of one of Coyne's discarded groupies, and that the old man's ghost is a malignant spirit determined to kill Judas in revenge for his stepdaughter's suicide.

Bloodline-Kate Cary

In this story told through journal entries, letters, and other primary sources, a British soldier during WWI makes the horrifying discovery that his regiment commander is descended from Count Dracula.

You Are Here-Jennifer E. Smith
Sixteen-year old Emma Healy has never fit in with the rest of her family, so when she discovers that she had a twin brother who died shortly after they were born, she takes off on an impulsive road trip to discover who she really is.

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

Friday, June 19, 2009

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

Left on her own when her family is lost in a terrible disaster, fifteen-year-old Green is haunted by loss and by the past. Struggling to survive physically and emotionally in a place where nothing seems to grow and ashes are everywhere, Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. But in destroying her feelings, she also begins to destroy herself, erasing the girl she’d once been as she inks darkness into her skin. It is only through a series of mysterious encounters that Green can relearn the lessons of love and begin to heal enough to tell her story.

From the moment I laid eyes on the cover of this book, I knew I would love it. I read and loved another of Hoffman’s books, The Foretelling, a few years ago and Green Angel was just as good. I have always been a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction and this book was filled with just the right amount of haunting and stark images of loss and beautiful glimpses of hope. I love books that can hold their own with little to no dialogue; Green Angel is a perfect example of a book like that. Short and achingly sweet, Alice Hoffman’s little 116 page book is extremely fulfilling and a joy to read.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (13)

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

The Weight of Silence by 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 a 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 or 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.

Oohhh this looks extremely good! I am so excited for this book! I will definitely pick it up the moment it is released on July 28th.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In My Mailbox (6)

First off, I want to apologize for my lack of posts. I have had a very event-filled, time-consuming, distracting (in a good way) week! But I did get a bunch of great books.
Won from The Story Siren's contest:
20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman
Left on her own when her family is lost in a terrible disaster, fifteen-year-old Green is haunted by her present and her past. Struggling to survive in a place where nothing seems to grow and ashes are everywhere, Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. When she destroys her feelings, she also destroys herself, erasing the girl she’d once been as she inks ravens and bats onto her skin. It is only through a series of mysterious encounters with a white dog and a mute boy that Green relearns the lessons of love and begins to heal as she tells her story.


The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated polygamous community without questioning her father’s three wives and her twenty brothers and sisters. Or at least 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 the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her. But when the Prophet decrees that Kyra must marry her 60-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.

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
16-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science...and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate. There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship...and reality. Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (12)

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

Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block

Charlotte Emerson seems to have the perfect existence. She is enviably beautiful and lives alone in a mansion full of reasures and beautiful clothes, perched atop the cliffs of the Pacific Palisades. But Charlotte has been lonely and dead for almost a century. Now she might get a second chance at life.

I am so excited for this book! Francesca Lia Block always delivers intriguing, incredibly descriptive books. Yay! Pretty Dead will be released on September 22nd.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

In My Mailbox (5)

The past two weeks have been really slow for me. I do have a lot of BookMooch books on the way, but none from this week. I am also currently low on cash and trying not to spend it all at Borders! So, here are the two books I got this week:

From the Author:
The Dark Planet (Atherton, book 3)-Patrick Carman

In the dazzling conclusion to the epic story of Atherton, Patrick Carman takes readers on the most rewarding journey of all, to the perilous realm of The Dark Planet: Earth.When Edgar discovers a way to leave the mysterious satellite world of Atherton, he couldn't have imagined the gloom that awaited him on the dark planet, where the oceans are toxic, the forests are full of mutant monsters, and children toil in darkness, controlled by ruthless maniacs. Max Harding, an orphan of the Silo, the maker of Atherton, and the last hope of a dying world, left this place behind, and now Edgar is determined to complete the mad scientist's spectacular plan, revealing Atherton's true purpose.Edgar's quest to discover Earth's dark secret leads to an out of this world adventure in the final book of the Atherton trilogy.
Pre-ordered, signed copy from author's website:

Behind Every Illusion-Christina Harner

"All creatures born of human parents must be human and therefore must be ordinary." Even the soft-spoken eighteen-year-old Tatiana Lewis wholeheartedly accepts this logic. So when she begins to experience unusual changes, she has no clue where to turn and instead keeps her new abilities a secret. But her best friend and brother, Isaac, sees past her illusions and together they explore the significance of her differences and search out the meaning behind them. Amidst tragedy, unimaginable transformations and an unexpected friendship, Tatiana has to learn to reveal the girl hidden behind her illusions and what it means to face the world in order to preserve not only the forest but her very existence. Behind Every Illusion is the first book in an exciting series about the extraordinary ways the earth has evolved in a desperate attempt to save itself from the destruction caused by humankind.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hit and Run Lurlene McDaniel

It was an accident. But when the people involved don’t come forward, doesn’t it become a crime? Four young people whose lives intersect, who never dreamed of hurting each other. Each makes choices that cannot be changed. Each needs to take the consequences of those choices, to find love, to face reality, and to go on.

Lurlene McDaniel’s hard-hitting, heart-wrenching novel tells the story of the events surrounding the hit and run accident of high school student Analise, including how her boyfriend Jeremy copes as well as Laurie and Quin who wonder if what they hit was a deer…or a person. Hit and Run was extremely well-written and engaging, propelling the reader to keep turning the pages and see if the truth is discovered. My favorite parts where when Analise was narrating as she was caught between life and death. This was a moving, beautiful novel that has compelled me to seek out more of McDaniel’s work.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (11)

mY Generation: A Real Journey of Change and Hope by Josh Riebock

Y is the generation of tattoos, cell phones, social networking, and iPods. It is the generation of authenticity, social justice, racial diversity, and community. But it is also the generation of broken homes, school shootings, immense performance pressure, loneliness, self-indulgence, and insecurity. Christians have largely failed to bring restoration to this 70 million member group of young people. What are we missing? And what are the consequences if it doesn't change? Foregoing formulas, models, and snappy acronyms (which don't work), Josh James Riebock offers readers a journey deep into the soul of a generation that is slowly being transformed from within. Whether pastors, volunteers, church leaders, friends, or members of generation Y themselves, readers will value this honest and hopeful look at restoring a broken generation with the life-changing power of the Gospel.

I am so excited for this book-Josh Riebock is absolutely amazing! He is an alum of my High School whose mother was the amazing woman who used to run the Bible Department. His sister is a dance instructor at school and his brother-in-law is my History teacher! He has given many sermons at chapel and is always my favorite speaker. He relates to teenagers so well with his very raw and often hilarious stories. Everyone should read this book! It comes out on October 1st.

Here's the link to his website where you can see a book trailer:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Aprilynne Pike's best-selling debut, Wings, is the first of four books about a seemingly ordinary girl named Laurel who discovers she is a faerie sent among humans to guard the gateway to Avalon. When Laurel is thrust into the midst of a centuries-old battle between faeries and trolls, she's torn between a human and a faerie love, as well as her loyalties to each world. In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

I had really high hopes for this book, as I love all things fairy-like, but was left with mixed feelings. Pike’s take on faerie mythology is interesting, but sadly the reader only gets a peek of the world she has created as the majority of the book is filled with bland character interactions, a stereotypical love triangle, and a very slow pace. Thankfully, halfway through the book, things started to get more interesting: the characters developed more, the action picked up, and my favorite character, Tamani, entered the scene. I was disappointed when the end came just as Laurel started to get some answers regarding her life as a faerie. I the reason I didn’t fall in love with this book was because it was a little young for me. I’ve recently discovered that I need a more mature read to keep my attention. However, since the second half was good, I’ll probably read the next book in the series. Give it a try, it might be up your alley.