Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Author: Walter Dean Meyers

Release Date: April 26th 2011

Summary: (goodreads) A retelling of the Bizet opera set in Spanish Harlem in which a teen with a fiery temper wants the one boy she can't have, with deadly consequences.

Review: I must confess that I haven't actually seen the original opera, but I still think even if you aren't a Carmen person, you may still enjoy this book. It is written as a play which is really awesome!

With plays though it is harder to judge them from the script because they are meant to be acted out and that would bring so much more emotion and characterization to the story. Some of that was lost in this adaptation. The characters seemed so far away while their love seemed so rushed and the story was filled with swirling images and details.

I've read plays before, so I understand that a lot is made through hearing the actual music and seeing the characters. Accounting for that, this story was great. The way that Myers brings it to the present in Harlem is realistic enough while keeping the drama high to make this a sharp read. Although the reader is very likely to know what is going to happen every step of the way, I was still compelled to read it and finished it in one sitting.

It is a short read. Excellent I think for slightly older teens even though it is an easy read because attention should be paid to everything so that the reader may build up the story from simply words. It helps if you like plays! If you guys decide to pick it up, I hope you can enjoy it much more than even I did.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5 I really don't think I can rate this as accurately as I could a regular novel because it is written in play form which has quite a varied set of rules, I think. And I don't think I've ever read a YA one. This is definitely unique! :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

after the kiss

Author: Terra Elan McVoy

Summary: (back cover) This moment changes everything.

Becca has been head over heels for Alec from the instant they met. He's a brainy jock with a poet's heart--in other words, perfect for her.

Camille is careful with her words and protective of her heart, especially since Chicago. Then a new boy in her new town catches her off guard with a surprise kiss.

Too bad that new boy is Becca's boyfriend, Alec.

Camille and Becca have never met, but their lives will unravel and interwine in surprising ways as they deal with what happens after the kiss.

Review: This book is told from two different points of view and that made it a bit hard to get into it at first. One of the girls, "speaks" in free verse with lines and stanzas while the other's is in more paragraphs. At the start, it was difficult to find their voices and differentiate the characters, but I'm really glad I got to read it.

The aftermath of a break-up can be very hard to go through depending on how serious the relationship was. But what I liked about this book was that even the cheater was hurt and it wasn't exactly because he was a player that things happened.

Becca was kind of annoying at first with her clingy personality and isolation of her mother. She grew up though and it was in a realistic whole way that I could see truly happening. Camille learned to take risks instead of pushing everyone away and feeling superior to the people around her.

This was definitely a good growing-up kind of book and although the premise may seem superficial, I still took something from it that was very real.

Rating: 1 2 3 3.5 4 5

I can't give it a four because four means I loved it and although I really liked it, the beginning was difficult and it was pretty predictable in some ways. This is the kind of book that keeps you mesmerized while you are actually reading it, but as soon as you put it down, you may not be dying to go back to it immediately. I still enjoyed it very much in the second half where things started falling into place and the characters felt more alive. Verse is hard to write and read because it can be a wall to being one with the characters, but the author did a good job overall.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jellicoe Road

Author: Melina Marchetta

Summary: "What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

Review: The beginning of the book was really confusing. I wasn't sure who was who or why the characters did what they did because it felt all jumbled and twisty. What kept me going though was the writing and a promise that it would get better.

The author's writing flowed very well and although I was confused by the plot, the writing was wonderful enough to make me keep reading and it definitely paid off. The descriptions provided specific details important to configuring an image in the reader's mind making the setting spectacular.

The farther into the book I got, the more the pieces started coming together and making sense. I don't think it could have been better because the initial events reflected Taylor Markham's inner turmoil and really established her character. I just didn't see that until I looked back on it after I figured out what the heck was going on.

This is probably one of my favorites now because of the strength of the characters even though there were quite a few of them. The tale was bittersweet making me cry, laugh out loud and "Aww, how cute" the characters.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 4.5 5

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blog Tour: In The Storm

Hello! Today's blog tour post is for an e-book published by Vagabondage Press! We shall start with an interview with In The Storm's author, Karen Metcalf:


1. How long did it take you to write "In The Storm"?

I wrote the first half over a period of a few days. I thought I was crazy to think I could suddenly write a book, so I freaked out and stopped. My family convinced me to finish it a few weeks later.

2. Do you listen to music or watch TV when you write? Or do you need complete silence?

I think writing is similar to reading. There are days when nothing bothers me, and I completely lost in a book. Other days, I need silence to focus. With my writing, I find that it takes a quiet environment to get started, but once I’m in, the house could fall down and I would never notice. I do like to have music playing to help me focus, as well as setting the tone. I find The Nine Inch Nails very inspirational.

3. Do you sit and write for long periods of time and have a set schedule or do you take lots of breaks?

I work best when I have several hours to myself, so I don’t feel pressured. I usually break only for coffee. I also do a lot of my thinking in the car, so I rush to the computer to get it all down as soon as I get home. I’m a big note taker.

4. What was the latest book you read? What about a recent favorite book?

The last book I read was a digital short, Outspoken, by James Vachowski, which was great. The last favorite I re-read was The Long Walk, by Stephen King. It is very reminiscent of YA, though dark, and is one of my top three by far.


Now for a bit about the book!

Summary: (publisher) Abandoned by the world around her, Carly believes she is fated to a life of torment at the hands of her stepfather and is desperate for an escape. When she can bear the abuse no longer and gives in to a thunderous rage, she suddenly finds herself in an unfamiliar, yet beautiful, storm world. This limbo between dimensions appears to be her private sanctuary, but it may just be her purgatory.

No one escapes fate without sacrifice, but is the price more than Carly is willing to pay?

Karen has offered up this e-book for giveaway today! Thanks, Karen! To enter fill out the form below. Contest ends April 8th.

If you win, I'll send you an e-mail with a code that allows you to download the book off the publisher's site free. :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Contest Alert!

Hey guys! This contest is only for US contestants and ends March 21st. The five books below are signed and up for grabs. The contest is being held by Beth Revis and you can enter here.

I'm at a loss as to how to make the banner smaller so the books are as follows:

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Matched by Ally Condie
Across The Universe by Beth Revis

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blog Tour: Sean Griswold's Head (Review and Interview)

Released MARCH 1st, 2011

Thanks to Bloomsbury for allowing me to participate in the tour for Sean Griswold's Head and hope you enjoy it! This book is realistic, funny, but also more than fluff as it takes on the skill of coping. I have an interview lined up as well!

Author: Lindsey Leavitt

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Summary: (back cover) According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object—something to focus her emotions on after discovering that her entire family has been hiding from her the fact that her father has Multiple Sclerosis. It’s supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold’s head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas, it’s an alphabetical order thing) but she’s never really known Sean at all.

With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking—er, focusing on—Sean’s big blond head, and her research quickly grows into something a little less scientific and a lot more crush-like. He’s cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own. As Payton gets inside Sean’s head, Sean finds a way into her guarded heart. But obsessing over Sean won’t fix Payton’s fear of her dad’s illness. For that, she’ll have to focus on herself.

Review: I read this book in one sitting because it was that much fun. The characters are informal and the storyline, although somewhat predictable, utilizes humor to ease the reader into the idea of coping with a family member's illness.

Even with the really funny parts that made me laugh out loud, there were a few very deep moments that managed to squeeze a few tears out of me. Coping is a vital skill that we will all need to learn and use in some point of our lives.

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5



1. In Sean Griswold's Head, which of your characters do you like the most?

Seriously? I have to choose a character? But someone will feel left out then. The rest of them are already pretty bitter that Sean got the title and cover.

2. When writing, do you have a favorite inspiring spot or can you write practically anywhere?

The funny thing is, I just got an office for the first time since I started writing, but I only have a desk with this annoying swivel chair, so I have yet to write in there. I’ve been test driving chairs and recliners at furniture stores across the valley, in pursuit of The Perfect Writing Chair. Although, I had that chair before we moved and my husband “accidentally” left my grandpa’s 1970’s recliner behind. So to answer? No. Not yet. But I will have my special spot soon, and how glorious it shall be!

3. How long did it take to write Sean Griswold's Head?

I started SGH in June of ’06. I worked on it for a couple of months, then had a baby and put it away for a year. I worked on it for another couple of months, queried, signed with an agent, then shelved the story for another year. My agent and I did some more revisions, submitted and sold. From there, my editor and I worked on SGH for a few more months. So short answer? I have no idea.

4. What part of the book was the most difficult for you to write about?

Despite her reasons, Payton wasn’t always nice to her father, who is a really great guy and trying to do what is right. I kept wanting her to react in different ways, but I had to stay true to her story and voice., even though I didn't always agree with her. So the scenes where there’s that father-daughter conflict were tough for me. I just wanted to leap into my computer and give that man a hug.

Thanks to the publisher for the opportunity to participate in this tour and also thanks to Lindsey Leavitt for the interview! Give SGH a shot, and I'm sure you'll end up liking it :)