Waiting on Wednesday (12) : The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

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The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Release on: March 9, 2010


Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

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This is the sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which was one of my favorite books this year. I can’t wait to get back into the world Carrie Ryan has created.


Additional Links:

 Carrie Ryan’s Website & Twitter

"Waiting on Wednesday" was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

BBAW : Blogger Interview

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In celebration of BBAW, I am interviewing Age 30+ … A Lifetime of Books! Having never known about this blog, it was great to get to know a little information and find another bookblog. Now, for the interview:

1. How did you find out about book blogging and why did you start a book blog?

I started a blog for my book club to help remember what we’ve read together. When I turned 30, I decided to keep track of everything I’d read for a year. I decided to keep that list on a blog since I already knew how to do that. It was intended to be just for my reference, but it has turned into a very public place and I love it.

2. You seem to review all sorts of books. Any favorite titles off the top of your head?

Oh yes. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver – The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan – The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley … and I could go on and on.

3. What’s one book you would recommend to anyone? (tween, teen, adult, etc.)

That would be The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. It follows the story of 5 women, a mother and her four daughters, over a 40 year period. It deals with cultural expectations and clashes, relationships, authority, and so much more, plus it is beautifully written.

4. What is your favorite thing about the book blog community?

The people! I’ve met – both online and in person – some of the most wonderful people through blogging. I love that blogging breaks down cultural and economic barriers, allowing us to “meet” people we otherwise would never be in contact with.

5. As a teen, were you a reader or did your love for reading come as you got older?

I’ve been a reader since I was 4 years old. I was the kid reading by flashlight under the covers, or with a book in my desk during class. As a teen I was mostly into Fantasy but I read just about anything.

6. What was your favorite assigned reading book in high school or college?

I really enjoyed Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I recently revisited both of those and I love them just as much today as I did back then.

7. When you buy books, do you buy from retail, indie, or used bookstores?

I don’t usually buy books (I’m more of a swapper or a borrower) but when I do, I go for whatever is most convenient at the time. I’d love to patronize indies more, but the closest one is 30 miles from my house.

8. Who is your all-time favorite book character?

That is REALLY hard! After giving it some thought, I’m going to say the sorceress Polgara. She’s in The Belgariad series by David Eddings. I first read that Fantasy series in elementary school and her character has stayed with me ever since. Even now I can still remember what she looked like and a few of her characteristics.

9. If you could meet one author—alive or dead—who would you want to meet?

Jules Verne. He had a brilliant imagination and was way ahead of his time. I read a few of his books last year and completely loved them.

10. Anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to invite any of your readers who are in the Maryland area to come out to the Baltimore Book Festival on 9/26 where I’m hosting a panel called The Book Club Toolkit. It is the perfect opportunity to meet bloggers in real life! Details are on my blog at this link: http://age30books.blogspot.com/2009/09/bbf-book-club-toolkit-part-2.html

Thanks so much for partnering with me for this interview – I had lots of fun answering your questions. :)

Thank you as well for the great answers! And I definitely recommend all of you heading over and checking out this blog!

PS. My interview can be found here.

Hyperventilates.

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So. I haven’t been around much. At all. Yeeeaaah. I’m sorry. Just feeling pretty unmotivated. But, I’d love it if you join the Fanboy and Gothgirl contest.

Anyway. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m here because.

CATCHING FIRE COMES OUT TOMORROW!

catching-fire I AM SO EXCITED. Going to the bookstore tomorrow morning with a few friends to buy it. :D :D :D And for those of you who don’t know, Catching Fire is written by Suzanne Collins and is the sequel to The Hunger Games. Which is an amazing book. So go read it.

In other news, hopefully I’ll get some reviews up soon. 

Contest: A signed copy of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl

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My first contest! This one is for a signed copy of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga (paperback).

Summary:
Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell. The bullies have made him their favorite target, his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and popularity), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form known as Fanboy’s new little brother or sister.
But Fanboy has a secret: a graphic novel he’s been working on without telling anyone about it, a graphic novel that he is convinced will lead to publication, fame, and — most important of all — a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and the bullies that make it all hell for him.
Just when he thinks he’s doomed to be alone, Fanboy meets Kyra, a.k.a. Goth Girl, an outrageous, cynical girl who shares Fanboy’s love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies. Fanboy can’t resist someone who actually seems to understand him, and soon he finds himself willing to heed her advice — to ignore or crush anyone who stands in his way.
But Kyra has secrets, too. And they could lead Fanboy to his dreams…or down a path into his own darkness.

To Enter:
  • Answer the question: If you were in a comic book, what would your superhero/supervillian name be and why? (+1)
  • Bookmark, Stumble, Twitter Favorite, etc. this post (+1 e. / 3 per person)
  • Link to this post in your sidebar (+2)
  • Become a follower (+2)
  • Subscribe via RSS or Email (+2)
  • Add me to your blogroll and provide a link (+2)
  • Already a follower (+3)
  • Already subscribed (+3)
  • Post about this contest on your blog (+5)
  • Comment on any of my book reviews – must be a thoughtful comment, not just “Nic job!” (+5 e. / 3 per person)
Deadline is September 3rd, 2009.
US ONLY. (unless you can get someone in the US to mail you the book)

This is a wonderful, funny book so I hope you all enter!

Waiting on Wednesday (7) : Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

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Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

Release on: August 25, 2009


First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . .
The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.
Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.
David Levithan has written a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption as his characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever.
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I love David Levithan and I’ve heard great things about this book! Crazy excited!


Additional Links:

David Levithan’s Website

"Waiting on Wednesday" was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Review: The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

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The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
Hardback, First Edition
Release Date: March 22nd 2005 from Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 240
Best enjoyed by: Females, Ages 13+
Rating: B

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Life’s definitely not easy for Ruby Oliver. In ten days time, she’s been shunned by her friends, lost her boyfriend, and has become a social pariah. To make matters worse, Ruby has to see a shrink to talk about her problems. But Doctor Z doesn’t seem of much help when she asks Ruby to compose a list of all the boys in her life and said list gets copied and distributed throughout the school. Armed only with her talent for making lists, Ruby has to get through her sophomore year, prove her new reputation as a slut false, and maybe win everyone back.

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Two months ago I reviewed The Boyfriend List, but two things happened. The first was that I received the third Ruby Oliver book in the mail (more on that later) and the second was that I was dissatisfied with my original review. So now I’m redoing it.

The Boyfriend List is basically a collection of short stories about different boys Ruby has known, but most chapters also have what is going on in the present. At times it was hard for me to switch back and forth so quickly, but other times it was interesting to read about the version Ruby knew of the boy and compare him to the boy he is now.

Ruby’s narration was very realistic, as was the dialogue, and she felt like a real teenage girl. The one thing I couldn’t understand about Ruby was her obsession with Jackson. He’s obviously a major jerk. He dumps her for her best friend! Ag.

As I said before, one of the reasons I wanted to redo this review was because of the third Ruby Oliver book, The Treasure Map of Boys. I got an ARC of this book in July and loved it. I was so amazed by how much more developed the book was than its predecessors. Ruby became an even better character and the plot was great. Wondering what had changed, I reread the other two books and found them to be much better than my initial reaction.

The Boyfriend List is a fun read with a very realistic narrator and rings true to most high school girls. Recommended to teen girls, especially if you liked the Georgia Nicolson books.

Additional Links:

In My Mailbox (3)

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In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie.

collage
Received:
Bought:
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (reading now, quite cute)
  • Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink (Writing reminds me of Libba Bray.)
  • My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (felt the need to buy it. I love this book)
  • The Devouring by Simon Holt
  • The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Other:
  • The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Gothgirl by Barry Lyga (for a contest)



So what did you get in the mail this week?

Debrief : Week of August 2

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Debrief is a new blog feature I will do every Saturday to talk about all the things I did on the blog in the past week and my goals for next week.

Sunday (8/2/09) Away.

Monday (8/3/09) Away.

Tuesday (8/4/09) Posted about the Nonfiction Challenge (which you all should join).

Wednesday (8/5/09) I posted my Waiting on Wednesday with Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation.

Thursday (8/6/09) I posted my review of Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens.

Friday (8/7/09) I posted my review of How Not to be Popular.

Saturday (8/8/09) Nothing.

My goal for next week is to post three reviews.

Review: How Not To Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler

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How Not to be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler
Hardback, First U.S. Edition
Release Date: January 8, 2008 from Random House, Inc.
Pages: 352
Best Enjoyed by: Female, Ages 13 +
Rating: B

Maggie Dempsey has made a promise with herself not to be popular. Moving around all her life has meant her leaving behind all the new friends she’s made. But it’s the move from Portland to Austin that really makes her miserable, as she has to leave her beloved boyfriend, Trevor. No longer wanting to deal with the pain of loss, she decides that by dressing weirdly and becoming a total loser, she won’t have to worry about making friends and therefore the unhappiness when she moves again.
But what happens when her plan backfires?

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I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed How Not to be Popular, having thought the whole thing would be too predictable. But while the plot wasn’t anything amazing, Ziegler made up for that by making the book really funny. It was hilarious to read about Maggie’s outfits and other mortifying situations. I also liked that her thinking was the reverse of most new girls, who are so worried about fitting in at a new school. Not that Maggie was exactly true to herself by acting like a complete loser, but she was able be herself eventually.

I liked the supporting characters too. They were actually important to the story and were done quite well. It was nice to see that they weren’t completely scared of the popular kids and didn’t turn into superficial barbies just to fit in. I liked that a lot.

All in all, How Not to be Popular was a quick, fun read. There’s romance, comedy, and a great cast of characters. Recommended to those who enjoy humorous contemporary reads.

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Additional Links:

Review: Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens

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Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens
Paperback, First U.S. Edition
Release Date: August 15, 2009 from Grove Creek Publishing
Pages: 296
Best Enjoyed by: Females, Ages 14 +
Rating: B

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Zoe’s life is spinning out of control. Her parents are more concerned with her younger sister, Abria, who suffers from autism. Her brother Luke is smoking weed with little concern of the consequences. And Zoe is relying on drinking, hooking up, and partying to escape her hectic home life.
But then Matthias comes along. Good, sweet, attractive Matthias. Abria’s guardian angel. Untouchable. But when Zoe finds herself falling for the angel, she breaks the rules and creates her own destiny with him. But can it break the gap of Heaven and Earth?

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I think one of the reasons this book was so well done was because Jennifer Laurens has firsthand experience with dealing with autism. It really added a lot of emotion when Zoe would talk about Abria and her contradicting feelings toward her sister.
The family issues in this book were really intense and again, extremely well done. Unlike some stories, there were many layers of problems and nothing was easily fixed, even when the characters had accepted their problems.
The romance was also sweet and somewhat predictable, but honestly, there are only a handful of books I could name where I couldn’t figure out who the main character would end up with—if there was anyone at all. The writing was also good, though nothing spectacular.
I think my only dislike was the dialogue, which sometimes seemed to cheesy. Also, a minor thing, but it irked me a bit when Matthias would constantly tell Zoe to look in her heart for the answers. Just seemed overdone.

Heavenly was a heartwarming read and the ending really surprised me. There’s a sequel coming out, which surprised me because I thought it was a fine ending, but upon reading the excerpt from it, obviously some twist is going to happen. Recommended to those who like a little bit of fantasy, romance, and family issues.

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Additional Links:

Waiting on Wednesday (6) : Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation

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Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse

Release on: September 9, 2009

Bran Hambric was found locked in a bank vault at six years old, with no memory of his past. For years, he has lived with one of the bankers, wondering why he was left behind -- until one night, when he is fourteen, he is suddenly confronted by a maddened creature, speaking of Bran’s true past and trying to kidnap him.
Bran finds that he is at the center of a plot which started years before he was even born: the plot of a deadly curse his mother created…and one that her former masters are hunting for him to complete.
Haunted by the spirit of his mother’s master and living in a city where magic is illegal, Bran must undo the crimes of his past...before it is too late.

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I heard about Kaleb through Maureen Johnson and was immediately excited for this book. For one thing, there are gnomes. Also, Kaleb is still in college and he has a whole series of books! That really inspired me. Can’t wait to get a copy of this one!


Also, check out the trailer for this one. I don’t really watch book trailers, but I love this one. And the music in the background? Kaleb composed it!


Additional Links:
Read An Excerpt | Kaleb Nation’s Website & Twitter

"Waiting on Wednesday" was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

The Nonfiction Challenge

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chllngenonfiction
While my blog is called I Am Nonfiction, it can be said that I do not read much nonfiction, unless assigned for school. Most of what I have found is dull and uninteresting. However, many people I know love nonfiction and I’m wondering if I’m looking in all the wrong places. So this is my quest for good nonfiction, preferably books that teens can enjoy too.

I’m not sure if people will be interested, but I thought that I would post about this and see if other would like to join. My rules are below, but you can add more if you’d like.

The rules:
  1. Read ten nonfiction titles and review them. No audiobooks. You must read them.
  2. Sign up with the Mr. Linky at the bottom with a link to your post about this challenge. If you don’t have a blog, no worries. Just say you’re interested in the comments form.
  3. With each review I post for one of my nonfiction books, there will be a Mr. Linky for you to post yours.
  4. Reviews do not have to be on a blog. You can use Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
  5. This challenge will end August 4th, 2010. You can join anytime before then.

My plan is to read one book a month. I haven’t found any interesting titles yet, so if you have suggestions, I would love to hear them. As I said before, I’d like to find ones that teens can enjoy too, since this is a YA blog and all.

I wish you the best of luck if you’re participating.

Blog Update : I’m Back!

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So the last three posts were all scheduled from while I was away. Not many, I know. But here’s to say I’m back and will be having a contest coming up sometime this month and quite a few book reviews including Eyes Like Stars, The Demon’s Lexicon, Going Too Far, Swoon, all three Ruby Oliver books, Silver Phoenix, The Awakening, How Not to be Popular, Evermore, and more. (The whole list can be seen here, though some of the reviews will be published when the paperback edition of the book comes out.)

Anyway, I’ll try and post a review tonight. Have one that’s almost finished. Stay tuned kiddos, and sorry for the huge break.

Waiting on Wednesday (5) : Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

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Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zine

Release on: August 1, 2009

An ancient prophecy divides two sisters-
One good...
One evil...
Who will prevail?
Twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe have just become orphans. They have also become enemies. As they discover their roles in a prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other, the girls find themselves entangled in a mystery that involves a tattoo-like mark, their parents' deaths, a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets.
Lia and Alice don't know whom they can trust.
They just know they can't trust each other.

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I’ve heard so many great things about this book, and the best part is it comes out this Saturday!

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Additional Links:
Read An Excerpt | Michelle Zink’s Website & Twitter

"Waiting on Wednesday" was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

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Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Hardback, First U.S. Edition
Release Date: August 26, 2008 from HarperTeens
Pages: 432
Best Enjoyed By: Females (though some Males as well), Ages 14 and up
Rating: A


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This review is going to be a bit different. I really don’t have a summary, and the one on the book doesn’t seem to fit either. There are too many elements. You just need to go in head-first, not knowing anything, and read it. But if you’re feeling totally stranded, know this: it’s a story-within-a-story; it’s about a girl who was abandoned; it’s part mystery, part action, part coming-of-age, and part romance. And it is 100% amazing.


Don’t believe me? Read these two quotes. On both I nearly cried, and one is on the second page!


Someone asked us later, “Didn’t you wonder why no one came across you sooner?”
Did I wonder?
When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they’re some kind of garbage, don’t you know?
Wonder dies. (Page 2 from the US Edition, HB)


and


Tate had lost her younger sister as well as her parents in the accident. “We were playing Rock, Paper, Scissors,” she told him once. “I was paper and she was rock so I lived and she died.” (Page 30 from the US Edition, HB)


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Reviewer’s Note:
I should admit that at first I wasn’t impressed by Jellicoe Road (which is called On the Jellicoe Road in the original Australian version). I got to page 122 and just wasn’t feeling it. So I put it away and read some other books. But it bothered me. I hate giving up on a book. Plus I was seeing all these amazing reviews and I thought maybe it got better. So I reread those first 122 pages and then some. And could not put it down. Maybe my brain was in the clouds while I had read it before. Because the book was good. No, the book was incredible.


Actual Review:
The first chapter (not the prologue) of Jellicoe Road is, in fact, not a real beginning. The beginning is in the past, and to understand that you’ll need to read the book. Instead, you begin in the midst of Taylor’s (the protagonist) teenage life and left in complete turmoil. There are little to no explanations provided, no introductions to characters. The plot seems to everywhere and nowhere, as Melina Marchetta doesn’t explain anything until later on. Want more bad news? This is only part of the story, the part going on right now.


The rest is in the past―seventeen years ago―and is, perhaps, even more confusing. This part centers around five teenagers all pushed together on Jellicoe Road after a terrible accident. I believe it documents over a few years, while different types of relationships form and deteriorate. The characters here are just as important as Taylor and her friends.


This is one of those books where you eyes will be glued to the page―and they need to be. Even if you feel compelled to, by skipping paragraphs or pages, it will make much less sense. Because it does start to clear up when you get closer to the end of the book. And I think it’s meant to be confusing, as if to echo Taylor’s thoughts. You just have to stick it out. My suggestion is to just read carefully and when you’re done, maybe even read it again, because you’ll understand certain parts better.


Hopefully I haven’t discouraged you to read Jellicoe, because it is a brilliant piece of literature. One that goes beyond the Young Adult limits and more than just one genre. There’s romance, adventure, action, tragedy, mystery, and some sort of magic, though it’s never called such.


This book is definitely a new favorite and having stupidly never read any of Marchetta’s other books, I am going to ASAP. I can’t guarantee everyone will feel like I did about this book. But you should still give it a try because it’s brilliant, though you probably won’t think so until the end. Jellioce Road is heartbreaking and sad, but there’s always hope fluttering through the pages. I recommend this to anyone.


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Additional Links:

Review: The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

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The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

Hardback, First U.S. Edition

Release Date: March 3, 2009 from Bloomsbury

Pages: 308

Best Enjoyed by: Females, 10 - 14

Rating: B

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In this Cinderella-like story, Lucinda Chapdelaine, once rich and surrounded with happiness, is living with her Uncle and [evil] Aunt in a jewelry shop, now an orphan. Everything changes dramatically when the Amaranth Witch and her precious gem enter Lucinda's life. Her Aunt believes it is cursed, although Lucinda plans on keeping the gem for her Uncle to fix so they get money. But another twist leads to Lucinda alone and making a dangerous deal with the Witch. If she succeeds, she gets her house and wealth. If she doesn't, she will live her life on the streets. Along the way Lucinda will encounter a master at thieving, a handsome prince, and the terrible truth of what happened to her parents.

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While the Cinderella roots are noticeable, what I really liked about The Amaranth Enchantment was that it had its own spin on the story and added quite a few twists.

For the most part, the characters were well developed, Lucinda more so than the others. The only character I thought who was done poorly was Gregor. To me, he had no personality or appeal whatsoever. I had no idea why he did what he did. His motives were thoroughly blocked from Lucinda's perspective.

Lucinda, however, I liked. I will be honest. I couldn't stand Cinderella ― or most of the Disney princesses for that matter ― as a child. They were all so two-dimensional (I'm not talking literally here). But Lucinda wasn't. She had personality and voice and emotions. She was adventurous and daring, emanating girl power. (Which is why I think she shouldn't have ended up with Mr. No Personality.) Julie Berry's writing – another thing I really, really liked – was perfect for her.

Overall I enjoyed The Amaranth Enchantment. It had its own spin on the Cinderella tale, which was nice. Lucinda is definitely a well developed character and you'll be surprised by the various twists the story takes. Anyone who likes fairy-tale retellings should pick up this book and, while this was categorized under Young Adult, I think it will also appear to "tween" girls as well.

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Additional Links:

Blog Update: Hiatus

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I AM NONFICTION : ON HIATUS
basically until August.
I have scheduled a few posts, but I'm going to be away and won't have time to write any new posts really. Just a heads up and an explanation for the lack of posts this week and those to come.
I also won't be able to get on Twitter, Goodreads, or go through my Reader and comment on other blogs.

In My Mailbox (2)

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In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie.






Recieved:
None. :[




Bought:


  • Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
  • The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong (already read this and all I can say is wow.
  • The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
  • Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev


Library:



  • Swoon by Nina Malin (read it, but unsure how I felt about it.)
  • Killing Britney by Sean Olin
  • Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
  • Gentleman by Michael Northrop
  • Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
  • Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
  • Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
  • Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle (Read the John Green part only)


So what did you get in the mail this week?

Debrief : Week of July 5

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Debrief is a new blog feature I will do every Saturday to talk about all the things I did on the blog in the past week and my goals for next week.

Sunday (7/5/09) I did my first In My Mailbox post.

Monday (7/6/09) I posted my review of Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.

Tuesday (7/7/09) Wrote reviews, but nothing posted.

Wednesday (7/8/09) I posted my Waiting on Wednesday with All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab.

Thursday (7/9/09) I posted my review of Skin Deep by E.M. Crane.

Friday (7/10/09) I posted my review of The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong.

Saturday/Today (7/11/09) I posted this and am working on a post about author websites.

My goal for next week is to try and have something other than a meme posted Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

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The Summoning (Darkest Power #1) by Kelley Armstrong
Hardback, First U.S. Edition
Release Date: July 1, 2008 from HarperTeens
Pages: 390
Best Enjoyed by: Females, Ages 14 and Up
Rating: B

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Chloe Saunders just wants to be a normal teenage girl, having friends and maybe even a boyfriend. But when you start seeing ghosts and are locked up at a home for mentally ill teenagers, things like “ordinary” and “normal” are hard to come by.

But Lyle House does seem almost normal. The patients carry out life as ordinarily as possible and Chloe tries to do the same. However, that changes when her roommate is sent to the hospital and Chloe begins to wonder if all is what it seems at the house. Determined to find out what is going on, Chloe unearths a deadly secret that may seal her—and her housemates’—fates.

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When the first sentence to a book is, “Mommy forgot to warn the new babysitter about the basement,” you know you’re in for a dark, twisted journey. I was reminded of those creepy horror movies with little girls. And The Summoning definitely has some horror aspects going on.

Chloe is a great main character. First off, she’s short and feisty, so she’s a lot like me (without the whole I-see-dead-people talent though). She also wants to be a film director, so she often explains scenes as if she was shooting them, which really adds to the scenery Kelley Armstrong “paints” with her words. Chloe is a very convincing teenager and stays true to her age, which was refreshing.

I am also 98% Team Derek (the other 2% is for Simon, who can sometimes be cute). But really, the whole cast of characters were done so well, evil or not aside. The similarities between the mental ward and high school were rather ironic, or so I thought. I also really loved Kelley Armstrong’s writing. It just seemed to echo Chloe really well and brought the story to life. She added a lot of surprising things as well, which really compelled me to keep reading.

As said before, The Summoning is a bit creepy. While there’s nothing that really got me hiding under my covers, those who are very easily scared might find this frightening, so I’m just going to caution you. A few scenes will definitely make your heart race a bit and there’s a lot of action. I should also note that if you’re looking for a fantasy where romance plays a major role, you’ll be disappointed (at least for the first book).

There were two things I disliked about The Summoning. First, the ending was too abrupt for me. It was like I was riding a train and suddenly it just stopped and I was lurched into nowhere. However, cliff hangers do build more anticipation for the next book (The Awakening, which is out now) so I can see why authors do it. The minor thing I disliked was the description in the sidejacket of the hardback edition. I thought it could have been so much better, especially since it started out with, “My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.” Very unoriginal and I think some might be turned off by it and not read such a good book.

Overall, this will appeal mostly to fans of YA fantasy, and especially those who like Holly Black, Melissa Marr, and Cassandra Clare. The Summoning is a dark, creepy book that requires the sequel, The Awakening, to be near because you won’t want to slip away from the world Armstrong has created. I definitely recommend this.

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Additional Links:

Review: Skin Deep by E.M. Crane

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Skin Deep by E.M. Crane
Hardback, First U.S. Edition
Release Date: March 11, 2008 from Delacorte Press
Pages: 288
Best Enjoyed by: Females, Ages 13 and Up
Rating: B

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Andrea Anderson is an observer amongst her chaotic high school peers. She watches, not participates, uninterested in the predictable schoolyard drama. Her house isn’t much of a comfort either, with an overbearing single mother and frozen meals as dinner, so she finds relief by walking through the woods and longing for a dog.

Her life alters when a neighbor Andrea doesn’t know goes to the hospital, leaving behind one of the few things Andrea loves, a dog. She slowly forms a bond with the dog, Zena, and her neighbor, Honora, who has cancer. Through these relationships, Andrea learns many things about life, death, love, and happiness.

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I thought this was a brilliant coming-of-age tale, with great characters and a simple plot that was delivered with as close to perfection as one can get.

Andrea was a great character, full of depth, as she struggled through her high school life. It was easy to relate to her look on life and question those around us. She changes tremendously throughout the book and I even felt a bit proud for her at the end.

There are so many different topics in this book, but one of my favorites was the different types of death and how people respond to them. E.M. Crane wrote beautifully and was able to clearly capture all her characters and bring them to life. This book was heartwarming, occasionally sad, meaningful, definitely a short but well deserved read.

I think most will enjoy Skin Deep, but I will say that if you’re looking for a romance novel, look elsewhere. Impossibly, E.M. Crane has steered away from hormonal teenagers and their first loves.

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Additional Links:

Waiting on Wednesday (4) : All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

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All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

Release on: January 12, 2010

(from Anna Jarzab’s website):

All Unquiet Things centers around the murder of teen heiress Carly Ribelli, who was found shot to death a mile from her house in a wealthy Northern California suburb. Carly’s uncle, a dissolute alcoholic, was convicted of the crime, but a year later his daughter still doesn’t believe her father is guilty. Determined to prove his innocence, Audrey Ribelli contacts Carly’s ex-boyfriend, Neily Monroe, the boy who found Carly’s body. She is convinced that he knows more than he thinks about the events that led up to Carly’s death. Despite Neily’s initial reluctance, he and Audrey begin their investigation at the posh private school they attend, identifying prime suspects from among their spoiled classmates and digging up secrets about Carly’s past to get to the truth behind her murder.
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Yay! Tenners! This is a pretty early Tenner book (and for those who don’t know, that’s a super special awesome writer whose debut novel comes out in 2010) so I’m reaaalllyyy excited. Also. The cover. It’s beautiful. And Anna’s next book is apparently called Murder Burger. Which just adds to her awesomeness. So be on the lookout for this in January!

Now I ask you: what books are you waiting for?
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Additional Links:
Read An Excerpt | Anna Jarzab’s Website & Twitter

"Waiting on Wednesday" was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Review: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

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AlongForRide_FINAL.indd Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Hardback, First U.S. Edition
Release Date: June 11, 2009 from Viking
Pages: 383
Best Enjoyed by: Females, Ages 14 and Up
Rating: B
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Auden is your typical high flier: she’s got amazing grades that have landed her in an equally amazing and prestigious college, a high maturity level, is entirely too serious, and has a too-smart-to-care attitude that has alienated her from all her high school peers. Now high school is over and the summer stretches out before her, long and carefree for most. But with a feminist-intellect of a mother who has a cluster of grad students eager to impress, Auden is soon in need of an escape in the form of a quaint beach town where her father, her stepmother Heidi, and their newborn, Thisbe, live.

But once she arrives, the summer Auden planned to use to get ahead on college reading seems to disappear. There’s her father, who is too busy writing his novel to notice his wife’s impending breakdown and to take care of his cranky baby. Then there’s the job she literally cannot say no to, with three giggly girls at Heidi’s boutique who are the exact type Auden typically avoids, and yet she finds herself befriending them nonetheless.

But it’s the sleepless nights that change her the most. Nights with Eli, a brooding loner with a tragic past. He takes her on a “quest”, as he would call it, so Auden will experience the life she denied herself and Eli will be able to move on from the past. Slowly their relationship starts to develop, while another unravels, and Auden will need to confront herself, her family, and what she truly wants.

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(I’m going to apologize ahead of time for all those who have yet to read any Sarah Dessen books, since I will be referring to quite a few in this review. Also, I have a question for those who have read Sarah’s other books: is Jason a cross over character in Along for the Ride from The Truth About Forever? I think so, but didn’t get that until the very end.)

When I heard about the book, I was both excited and wary. Excited because Sarah Dessen has written some amazing books and is a fabulous writer. But wary because Lock and Key was somewhat of a disappoint to me, and I wasn’t sure if Along for the Ride would be the same.

It’s safe to say it wasn’t though.

Sarah Dessen is a phenomenal writer and she knows what she’s doing. Her characters are all well developed and realistic, the voicing perfect. The dialogues replicated a typical teen conversation really well, varying on vocabulary from each character. The one thing I disliked was the pacing in the beginning, which seemed to jump around a lot until Auden actually got to her father’s, but then it was good for the rest of the book.

The family issues in Along for the Ride were one of the best in any of Sarah Dessen’s books so far. You have a mother who doesn’t believe people can change and is somewhat controlling Auden. She is also completely unabashed about showing her dislike for her ex-husband and his new wife and the person Auden becomes by the end of the book. Then there’s the father who is too selfish to help with the new baby and too blind to see the Auden’s observations are true about Heidi needing rest. I think family played a larger role than the romance, which was a change since normally they’re about even in other Sarah Dessen books.

I also love the world used in all Dessen novels. It’s neat to see repeating characters (though there weren’t as many as previous books)and such a realistic landscape. The setting really came alive because of the details in the writing. I can totally visualize the bike park and Laundromat/coffee shop (I thought that was genius).

As I said before, Sarah’s characters are always well developed, but to be honest, I am so-so with Eli. He is a many layered, realistic character, yes, but as for the matter of if I liked him, I’m not so sure. I definitely loved the idea of him, but he didn’t always live up to it. I thought his changes after meeting Auden would be more prominent, but it was only at the very end that you really saw it. I also wished there were more scenes with him and Auden and more dialogue with him. But it was amazing how he was able to change Auden and grow himself.

Speaking of Auden, I think it’s safe to say that she was one of my favorite Dessen leads, because it was really her smartness that was her fault, something I think many can relate to, including me. And when she finally got off of her high-horse and learned to really see people, like Heidi or the girls who worked at Heidi’s store, she was able to actually become friends with them. Auden really grew and changed throughout the novel, maturing in a different way than at the beginning of the book as she came into adulthood.

My biggest problem with Along for the Ride really didn't have much to do with the actual book, but with the plotline that is so similar to all of Sarah Dessen’s books. It’s just too predictable now: Girl has family issue; Girl meets Boy and they gradually grow closer; Girl and Boy have fight or something gets in their way; Girl fixes issues with family; Girl and Boy make up and begin dating. The end. Sure, she adds different twists every time to her characters, but the plot is a constant. The only books that really strayed away from this were Sarah’s first books and Dreamland. I understand that Sarah likes writing contemporary fiction, I really do, I just wish she could mix it up a little. Maybe write from a guy’s perspective or have a gay main character. Sarah is a fantastic writer, but I think if she would “expand her horizons” she’d be even better.

Despite the things I disliked, Along for the Ride is highly enjoyable, and more so if you don’t compare it to any other Sarah Dessen books. Sarah’s world is completely realistic and believable, as are her characters―whether I like them or not aside.

In short, returning readers will either be happy or disappointed by the familiar territory of Along for the Ride. Newer readers will love the writing and voicing, though I would suggest This Lullaby or Just Listen as your first Dessen novel, as I think those were the highlights of her career so far (but I think Along is a close third). Along for the Ride is well written with a nice blend of family and romance. An excellent summer read.

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Additional Links:

In My Mailbox (1)

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In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie.


Recieved:


The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart


treasuremap


ARC

Release date: July 28, 2009

Ruby is back at Tate Prep, and it’s her thirty-seventh week in the state of Noboyfriend. Her panic attacks are bad, her love life is even worse, and what’s more:
Noel is writing her notes, Jackson is giving her frogs, Gideon is helping her cook, and Finn is making her brownies. Rumors are flying, and Ruby’s already-sucky reputation is heading downhill.
Not only that, she’s also: running a bake sale, learning the secrets of heavymetal therapy, encountering some seriously smelly feet, defending the rights of pygmy goats, and bodyguarding Noel from unwanted advances.
In this companion novel to The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book, Ruby struggles to secure some sort of mental health, to understand what constitutes a real friendship, and to find true love—if such a thing exists.


My very first ARC! And the first book I’ve received in the mail. I was super excited.

I also got a Hush, Hush T-Shirt that I won.

Library:
  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  • Skin Deep by E.M. Crane
  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa MArr
  • Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
  • The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
  • A Map of the Known World by Lise Ann Sandel
  • Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day Georgel
So what did you get in the mail this week?

Author Interview: A.S. King

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as_kingThe other day I read and reviewed an excellent, The Dust of 100 Dogs by author A.S. King. And today I bring you an interview with her on the book, her personally, and writing. Enjoy!


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Author’s Bio: A.S. King has recently returned from Ireland, where she spent a decade dividing herself between self-sufficiency, teaching adult literacy, and writing novels. Her short fiction has been published in a bunch of cool journals and has been nominated for Best New American Voices 2010.
She now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children and is a huge fan of corn on the cob, nice weather, and fleece socks.
She is not (and has never been) a pirate. (Taken from The Dust of 100 Dogs website)
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1. In haiku form, tell us about The Dust of 100 Dogs.

It’s the kind of book
That’s really hard to explain
Some people dig that.

2. Did you listen to any particular songs while writing The Dust of 100 Dogs?
The epigraph in the book is from a Bob Marley and the Wailers song, “Crisis” which is on the album Kaya, which was in my tape deck around the time I was writing the book. “Running Away” on the same album, is also particularly fitting. (I recently wrote a short playlist for the book here: http://angelyoungreviews.blogspot.com/2009/06/interview-as-king.html)
thedustof100dogs

3. You use three different POVs for the story ― Emer’s, Fred’s, and Saffron’s. Did you choose this many before you started writing or along the way?
Pretty much everything in my work is an along-the-way thing. The more books I write, the more I realize they write me, and not the other way around. D100D was a particularly tough book, because it didn’t want to have much order to it, so it took me a while to beat it into shape.

4. What made you pick dogs as the reincarnation critters, and pirates as the previous lifestyle?
I dreamed up the idea for the book while walking my dogs. So the dogs-being-cooler-than-humans-because-they’re-natural-and-honest idea came before the book did. The pirates were a weird turn for me, because I have no particular affection for pirate stories or sailing. But I happened to be hooked on a few pirate video games at the time, and they presented the perfect transition into the next segment of the story. I knew Emer had to land on a beach in Jamaica . Why not take the more daring path to that beach? But again, I don’t plan my books—they take the course they need to take, so these weren’t really my decisions. They just happened organically.

5. Who are your favorite fictional pirates? (Captain Hook, etc.)?
I haven’t read a lot of pirate fiction. Just Treasure Island, which is a favorite of mine, in general. My favorite movie-fictional pirate is Tim Curry’s Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island. No kidding. He’s awesome.

6. If you were a dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
Pterodactyl. Because my name would start with a Pt, end in ctyl, and have eroda in the middle. Also, the whole flying thing.

7. What’s the best book you ever read?
My favorite book is Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions.
The worst? I have no idea. I think reading is a very personal thing. Without the reader, a book is only a series of thought dots with no one to connect them. How we connect those dots is a deeply individual thing. I’ve hated books that people loved and loved books that people hated. This is the beauty of art.

8. Can you tell us a secret that you haven't told before?
I emptied the ice cube tray about 25 minutes ago, and totally didn’t refill it. Busted.

9. Boxers or briefs?
Boxers under miniskirts. Briefs never.

10. Could you tell us a little (or a lot) about your journey to becoming a published author?
It was really, really, really, really long. I always wanted to write, but didn’t have the means/guts/time to do so until I moved to Ireland. I started by writing novels—which weren’t great—on a typewriter. I tried short stories, then, too, all fifteen of which sucked so badly, I swore off ever writing short fiction again. My first published pieces were in an Irish interiors magazine, thanks to a brilliant woman/editor named Muriel Bolger. (The first article was about patios.) I wrote four novels before I realized the work still wasn’t good enough. (Somewhere in there, I bought my first computer! YAY! What a difference!) I turned to poetry. (I’m a big poetry reader.) I published a few poems in some nice journals, but I knew I wasn’t a poet. So I went back to novels. Then, years later, after writing a few more novels, moving back to the US, and landing an agent for my adult fiction, I took up writing short fiction again and published about a dozen stories—a few of which got nominated for really cool things. Then, while I was totally concentrating on selling my adult fiction my agent sold The Dust of 100 Dogs.

11. Finish the thought: I like being a YA author because:
I like being an author because when I write fiction, I’m allowed to tell the truth. I like being a YA author because most readers of YA fiction get my voice and can think outside of the box, which is where I like to go.

12. And finally: What new books can we plan to see from you?
You’ll see Ignore Vera Dietz in Fall 2010 from Knopf. (14+) I just finished another YA book, too, about Lucky Linderman and his grandfather—and I really hope you see that in Fall 2011.

Thanks again for the interview!
Thanks so much for having me!
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Thank you to A.S. King and all those who sent in questions to ask her. I’ll be doing another interview soon if you wanted to ask a question to an author but didn’t get a chance this time. Also, if you haven’t read The Dust of 100 Dogs yet, what are you waiting for?! Go, go, go!

July Contests

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Well my sidebar is getting crammed with all the contests that are going on, so I decided to just post an entry each month for the contests that end in said month.


If you have a contest and would like it to be added, tell me what you’re giving away, a link to the post, and the contest’s deadline in the comment form.


Contests In July 2009:
Also, check out the Goodreads Giveaway page, which has tons of books to win.