Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Michelle Hodkin
Published September 27, 2011 by Simon and Schuster
ARC Borrowed from Heidi @ YA Bibliophile
Purchased a Copy


Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong. - Goodreads

Michelle Hodkin's debut novel is a dark tale filled with mystery, death, and romance that will have the reader turning the pages faster than they can read them. From the very beginning of the story the reader is sucked into the story and the mysterious circumstances surrounding Mara. I think the tshirts say it perfectly - "Who is Mara Dyer?" What is going on with this mysterious girl? Just the outside of the book is enough to grab your attention - the synopsis is intriguing and the cover is beautiful.

One of my favorite thing about this book is the characters. Hodkin does a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life and making them real. Mara is a girl with some serious issues but who can blame her when she has been through such a traumatic accident and lived when others died. Mara's story is dark and not for the faint of heart - there are some spine tingling scenes in this book, for sure. She is one messed up chick but still manages to have a quick wit about her. I love how she gives it back to Noah. Speaking of Noah - can we say SA-WOON!  I know a lot of people were kind of disgusted with his attitude but I loved it. Then again, I always liked the bad boy when I was younger. I love the relationship between Mara and Noah too. There is no insta-love happening here and thank GOD there is no love triangles. The relationship between Noah and Mara develops at a reasonable pace - at least for high school kids.


The story is written brilliantly. There are so many twists and turns and crazyness going on that it keeps you wondering what the crap is really going on. I know a lot of people got to the last 100 pages and the thing with the alligators and just didn't like it - but I kinda did. I know it was crazy but, really, the whole book is crazy! There is definitely a different paranormal twist going on and I think Hodkin knows where she is taking it. There is something going on with Mara and the alligators just show how crazy it is. I will say that it was confusing and maybe not explained clearly - but there is a lot of stuff that still needs explained. I have faith that Hodkin has a reason for how things happened and they will be explained in later books.



Overall, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a fantastic read. It is a very intriguing and so different from anything I've read - and, regardless of the crazyness, I love it for it. I highly recommend this book and wish I could buy it for my library but I have middle grade kids and it's definitely not age appropriate. If you are looking for something that you haven't read before with a swoon-worthy romance, paranormal elements, and spine-tingling mystery, this is the book for you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guest Post: Mike Mullin on Surviving a Supervolcano

Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Supervolcano

My debut novel, ASHFALL, will be released on October 11. It’s about a teen struggling to survive and find his family in the wake of a supervolcano eruption at Yellowstone. In order to write ASHFALL, I spent more than a year researching volcanoes and survival situations. If you’d like to know more about the science behind ASHFALL, check out my guest post at Our Time in Juvie. Here are ten tips I learned on how to survive a real disaster like the one in ASHFALL:
  1. Be a woman – if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, most of the resulting deaths will be from starvation, not ash. The most productive grain-producing states in the U.S. will be buried in ash. The U.S. alone produces about 20% of the world’s grain supply, and there is less than a 60 day supply of stored grain. In a famine, women have an evolutionary advantage over men. Their lower muscle mass means they can survive on less food and their higher percentage of body fat gives them more reserves when food is scarce. Muscle-bound men—the Rambo types—are among the first to die.
  2. Be the right age. If you’re under 6 or over 35, your chances of surviving are slim. Children from age 6 to 14 will probably fare well if they’re with their families. Women between the ages of 14 and 35 have the best odds of all.
  3. Keep your family close – having family around roughly doubles your odds in a survival situation. The will to live is just as important as the means.
  4. Don’t fall victim to the ash. Protect your lungs with an N95 or better mask and your eyes with goggles. The ashfall will also kill people by collapsing their houses and kill people who fall off their roofs while removing ash. A long-handled roof rake could be a life saver.
  5. Stay indoors as much as possible until the ash has settled. Seal windows and doors with plastic and tape. Shut off furnaces, air conditioners and ventilations systems (if they’re still operable) to keep ash out of the house.
  6. Drill a well if you don’t have one and shell out the extra money for the manual pump option, so you can still get clean water when the power goes down.
  7. Have enough food stockpiled to last until you can find another source.
  8. Learn how to grow food in the winter. Cold frames or greenhouses could save your life. Remember that any high-tech greenhouse heating system is likely not to function after an ashfall. A heat source that’s totally in your control, like a methane digester, may be a better option.
  9. If you’re going to have to move to survive, do it before your food runs out, while you’re still strong. Air and automobile travel will be impossible after an ashfall, so you’ll likely be walking. Snowshoes or skis will be very helpful, particularly once the volcanic winter sets in.
  10. Practice low technology living now. Learn how to skin and butcher an animal, what you can and can’t eat, how to make fire, and how to purify water.
The protagonist of ASHFALL, Alex, doesn’t have many of these things. So how does he survive? You’ll have to read ASHFALL to find out!

****
Thanks for stopping by, Mike, and sharing those tips!
You can find out more about Ashfall and Mike Mullins by following these links.

The first two chapter are available on his website: www.mikemullinauthor.com


Also, Mike will be giving away four hardback ASHFALL first editions during the blog tour, one to a random commenter from each week of the tour. The giveaway will be US/Canada only.  There will also be a 5th copy of the book available for those who are international. Just make sure that the Book Depository ships to your country as Mike will purchase a copy of the book through the Book Depository to send out to the international winner.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In My Mailbox #42

In My Mailbox is Hosted by The Story Siren.
 
My mailbox this week is all thanks to Little, Brown! 
Being the school librarian at my middle school, I've decided to start a book club with the students. I've contacted a few publishers about getting books for my students and doing reviews and vlogs for them. Little, Brown is the first publisher that has sent me stuff - and these books are awesome!


The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker
The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

They also sent 3 more copies of all these titles (except How to Save a Life which I am doing a blog tour for) so more than one student can read them at the same time.
I am so excited to get this started and SO thankful to Little, Brown for the awesome books!!

They also sent me a Beautiful Creatures shirt that totally rocks. I love to wear shirts to school to promote different books and this one is great! :)
 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Audio Review: Red Glove

Red Glove (Curse Workers, Book 2)
Holly Black
Read by Jesse Eisenberg
Published April 5, 2011
Audiobook from Library

Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.

When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?

Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.
-Goodreads


When I first heard of the Curseworker series I was not drawn to it - at all. It didn't seem like something I would like. BUT. I kept reading raving reviews about this series and I'm all, well, gotta follow the crowd - so I downloaded the audio of White Cat on audio from the library. And I got sucked in. So, I should probably say a big SORRY to Holly Black! This series is amazing and I think Red Glove is even better than White Cat - if that's possible.


We pick up a few months after White Cat - Cassel is still pining for Lila, who he is totally in love with but his mom worked her so he doesn't want to be with her because of it. He's trying to keep his mom from going back to prison and also trying to start the last year of high school when a murder takes place within his family and he is contacted by the FBI to find out what happened.


I've never been one for murder mystery type stories, but Black does a great job of keeping the reader guessing throughout the book about what is really going on. Who did it? How will Cassel get away from the FBI? What's gonna happen with Lila? It is just a completely entrancing story.


All of the characters in Red Glove are written fantastically. The are witty, entertaining, and all bring something to the story. I even enjoyed the scene's with Cassel's mom surprisingly since I think she is a horrible mom in general. 


The audio book for these books are amazingly good. Jesse Eisenberg is fantastic and I could listen to him read forever. He brings Cassel and the rest of the family to life in a way that I don't think anyone else could. To me, he is Cassel and I have to listen to the third book on audio just to finish the series with him.


Love these books. If you haven't read them I suggest you do that - now! And if you like audio, I highly highly recommend the audio version of, both, White Cat and Red Glove.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey!
It's a great way to share what you read the past week, what you are currently reading, and what you plan to read next! 
Finished Reading:
44. Fracture by Megan Miranda
45. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
46. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Currently Reading:
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (audio)
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Up Next:
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (audio)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In My Mailbox #41

In My Mailbox is Hosted by The Story Siren.
Check out my giveaway for a pair of glasses!
And my signed Cold Kiss giveaway!



Swap:
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Review:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Thanks Little Brown!)

Everneath by Brodi Ashton (Thanks Harper!)

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
Losers in Space by John Barnes
Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey
Truth by Julia Karr
(Thanks to Penguin!!)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review by Megan: The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star
Maureen Johnson
Published September 29, 2011
ARC Received from Penguin
Reviewed by Megan

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.
-Goodreads


When I first heard that Maureen Johnson was writing about Jack the Ripper, I was incredibly excited.  One, I love her contemporary books and was anxious to see what she’d do with a mystery, and, two, my family is somewhat morbid and serial killers are kind of a thing that we all agree are awesome (assuming I’m not sleeping alone in my house).  I’ll admit that I was a little bit disappointed to discover that it was not a historical, but that someone was terrorizing modern-day London by recreating the very same murders.  My disappointment quickly abated as I got into the story, though, and as usual, I figured out the writer had it right and I had it wrong.

Johnson seamlessly weaves the past with the present in this story so that the reader never feels inundated with history.  The writing is quick, the mystery is revealed immediately, and the tension is tight throughout.  She never holds back, giving the reader all the gory details (literally).  I read the book in less than a day and never felt like I had to force myself to keep going.  Rory is a great character and I loved going on this journey with her.  Not only did she arrive in London in time to witness the murders by the biggest serial killer in over one hundred years, she did so without her family.  She must start a new school, make new friends, kiss a cute boy, all while not being murdered by a man who, apparently, only she can see.  Quite the feat, if you ask me. 

The look at how the media uses the Ripper murders says a lot about our current 24/7 news channels.  When the students don’t have access to a television, they can watch footage on the computer.  They can sit on the roof of the school and watch the action take place.  Once it has caught on that the murders are occurring exactly as they did in the actual Ripper murders, the police and media camp out where they expect the next murder to happen.  They have countdowns to the time they expect the murder to occur.  It’s not hard to imagine this happening in the real world, with t-shirts and posters and event-related snacks served at viewing parties.  It’s disturbing, but very real. 

As the only witness, Rory must team up with the Shades of London, the secret ghost police, to help them solve the case. In a genre swarming with vampires and werewolves and fairies, it’s a nice palette-cleanser to come across a book that is a pure, unadulterated ghost story.   Though it takes place in modern day, this is a book that feels like a drizzly Victorian night. The mystery and suspense are at the forefront of this story, with the paranormal element working in the background.  It’s a little bit ghost busters, a little bit Nancy Drew, and a whole lotta awesome. 

The only thing I can say about the ending without revealing too much is that it kind of shocked me when I’m not completely sure it should have.  It was an incredible development and I honestly can’t wait to see what Johnson does with it in the next book and what it means for Rory and the Shades in general.  I suspect that Rory will take hold of her ability and continue to grow as a character and a Shade.  If I have only one complaint about the book, it is that I would like to see more development of relationships.  While Rory makes new friends, and even a special new male friend, I felt like the connection between all of them was a little bit lacking.  But even that was not enough to keep me from loving this book and anxiously awaiting the next one, and I think it is definitely something that will be addressed as the series goes on and the characters continue to interact.  The beauty of this book is that I kind of didn’t care about anyone but Rory, and I don’t mean that in a negative way.  I think she is a strong character on her own and the people in her life will only help to make her stronger.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Top 100 YA List

 
I've seen this list floating around the blogosphere and thought it would be fun to do. I know I haven't read a lot of them but it gives me an idea of what might be good to read at some point. (So many books!) Let me know if you posted this so I can check it out! :)
Green/Bold - Read
Blue/Italics - Own

1. Alex Finn – Beastly
2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
3. Ally Carter – Callagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
4. Ally Condie – Matched
5. Alyson Noel – The Immortals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
11. Aprilynne Pike – Wings (1, 2, 3)
12. Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush, Hush (1, 2)
13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
14. Brian Selznick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
15. Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)
17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3)
18. Christopher Paolini - Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
19. Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3)
26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2)
31. James Patterson – Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (1, 2, 3, 4)
34. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
37. John Green – Looking for Alaska
38. John Green – Paper Towns
39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – Caster Chronicles (1, 2)
41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3)
42. Kristin Cashore – The Seven Kingdoms (1, 2)
43. Lauren Kate – Fallen (1, 2, 3)
44. Lemony Snicket - Series of Unfortunate Events (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)
46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
49. Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
50. Margaret Peterson Haddix – Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
52. Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
56. Maureen Johnson – Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
60. Meg Rosoff – How I live now
61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road
64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
65. Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
66. Michael Grant – Gone (1, 2, 3, 4)
67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
69. Neil Gaiman – Coraline
70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast – House of Night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 )
73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
77. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
85. Scott Westerfeld - Leviathan (1, 2)
86. Scott Westerfeld - Uglies (1, 2, 3)
87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
88. Shannon Hale – Princess Academy
89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)
90. Sherman Alexie & Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
91. Simone Elkeles – Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
93. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)
94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees
95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
96. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (1, 2, 3)
97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
100. Wendelin Van Draanen – Flipped

Not too bad! I read more than I thought I had but there are tons of great books that I need to go back and read!

Cover and Blurb Reveal for Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

I'm so excited to be part of the cover and blurb reveal for Jennifer Armentrout! Jennifer is from my home state of West Virginia and that makes it even more exciting!

And now, for the cover!
Release Date: December 6, 2011

Blurb:
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, outhouses, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring. Until I spotted my hot neighbor with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marked me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and the mark he left on me has me lit up like Las Vegas strip to the bad guys. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don't kill him first, that is.

And then things got really bad…

Gorgeous cover, right? And the story sounds great! I'm definitely looking forward to reading this one!




Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12578077-obsidian

Entangled Publishing Page: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/

Amazon Pre-order:  Should be up shortly.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Guest Post: Amy Garvey author of Cold Kiss Tells Us 10 Things She Can't Live Without (with Giveaway!)



Today I'm kicking off the Cold Kiss Blog Tour for Teen Book Scene!
I'm excited to have author Amy Garvey on the blog telling us 10 things she can't live without! Amy is the author of Cold Kiss which comes out September 20!

Also, we have a great giveaway going on! One lucky reader will receive:
A Signed copy of Cold Kiss
Temporary Tattoos (little blue lip prints for a "cold kiss"!)
Magnets 
Pale blue nail polish
Make sure to fill out the form below for your chance to win!
So, here's Amy! Thanks for stopping by!! :)

***
I’m leaving out family and friends, because that’s a given, right? Right.
  • Tea. No question. I’m not a coffee person, and I’ve cut way back on soda. I drink tea around the clock, the stronger and more caffeinated the better.
     
  • The internet. Another no-brainer. I have friends all over the country, and keeping up with them on the web is the easiest and best thing ever. Plus, research! Shopping! I probably don’t need to sing the internet’s praises, but I will at the drop of a hat.
     
  • Books. Do you even need to ask? I take something to read everywhere I go, and I’m always reading more than one book at a time.
     
  • Paper/pencil. It’s still the medium I like best for jotting notes and brainstorming. Real, in-the-scene pages are done on the computer, but I have to have paper and pencil around all the time for lists and ideas and doodles.
     
  • Music. This is one of those things that makes the “blind or deaf?” question a little easier. I could listen to a book on tape if I were blind, but if I were deaf, no more music. I grew up with music in the house – literally, my dad had a baby grand piano in our living room, and played it – and both of my parents love music, so it’s always been a part of my life.
     
  • The beach. I’m an ocean girl. I grew up on the East Coast, and I need the beach a couple times a year, even if it’s not swimming weather. The sound of the waves, the smell, the cool, wet sand are some of my favorite things on earth.
     
  • Art. I’m not a visual artist, but I love pictures and photographs. A lot of the people I follow on Tumblr are artists, or feature illustration, and it’s a treat just to scroll through and look. Art speaks to me in a way books don’t, and gives me that immediate hit of color and shape and emotion.
     
  • Burt’s Bees lip balm. Sounds silly, but I mean it. And my lips thank me.
     
  • Earrings. I have five holes in my ears, and I’m not sure I’m stopping there. Earrings are just plain fun. I have roughly a zillion, all different shapes and colors and sizes. I will never ever have enough earrings.
     
  • Halloween. I’d miss Christmas, sure, but Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday for so many reasons. No gifts! No big fancy meals! Just spookiness and dressing up and CANDY and being out after dark and horror movie marathons. I’d be okay if every day was Halloween, honestly. 


    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Audio Review: Graceling

    Graceling
    Kristin Cashore
    Published October 1, 2008
    Audiobook from Library

    Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
    When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
    -Goodreads


    I kept hearing how awesome this book is and after checking it out from the library on audio five different times I finally got through the first couple chapters and was completed sucked into the story.  For a debut author, Cashore does an amazing job of  story telling. With a full cast for the audio, this was one of the best audiobooks I've listened to.

    I love the world that Cashore has created in Graceling - set in a medieval time with fantasy elements woven into the story - makes the story different from anything I've read lately and so interesting. In a seven kingdom realm that is ruled by different kings, there are Gracelings - people who have been blessed with special abilities. The kings in these kingdoms all via to have the best Graceling in their "possession" since they will make their kingdoms stronger. We get a little bit of explanation about the kingdoms at the beginning of the book and this is what made me stop listening the first few times. I think if I had been reading as opposed to listening it wouldn't have been so bad but all the names just kinda ran together and I could've skipped it. Even though we get a little bit of an explanation about the kingdoms, we are really just thrown into Katsa's world and learn everything we know about the world from her.

    In Graceling, Katsa, our main character who is graced, is under her uncles rule and is pretty much his hitman. What unfolds is a story of strength and courage as we follow Katsa through a completely enthralling adventure. Katsa is the strongest Graceling in the kingdoms but can she break the hold her uncle has over her and do what she knows is right? I just really loved Katsa - she is a great female lead and I loved that so many of the girls in the book looked up to her for her strength. When Katsa meets Prince Po, you know there is gonna be something there even though Katsa is 100% against marriage and having kids.  I freakin' loved Po. He is so swoon-worthy. His character is so understanding and tough and just everything you want in a guy. Po is definitely one of my favorite male characters. 


    The audio for Graceling is amazingly well done. I know several reviews have complained about the music between chapters and at different times in the story, but that didn't really bother me. The readers were great. I loved that they had a full cast of readers - it made it so much easier to keep up with everyone! The readers were awesome - with a full cast you would think that some of them would be annoying but there wasn't one reader that I wished would shut up. If you haven't read this book and are thinking about it I HIGHLY recommend the audio. Check your library! 


    I seriously loved Graceling and wish I hadn't put off reading it for so long. It was truly an amazing book full of adventure, love, and courage. For this to be a debut book, it is so amazingly well written. This is the type of book that needs to be made a movie - it would be amazingly good!







    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Review: Enthralled

    Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions
    Various Authors
    Published September 20, 2011
    ARC From Around the World ARC Tours


    A journey may take hundreds of miles, or it may cover the distance between duty and desire.
    Sixteen of today’s hottest writers of paranormal tales weave stories on a common theme of journeying. Authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, and Melissa Marr return to the beloved worlds of their bestselling series, while others, like Claudia Gray, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, create new land-scapes and characters. But whether they’re writing about vampires, faeries, angels, or other magical beings, each author explores the strength and resilience of the human heart.
    Suspenseful, funny, or romantic, the stories in
    Enthralled will leave you moved. -Goodreads

    This collection of short stories is from the of the best writers in YA. All of the stories deal with some kind of journey - whether it is going somewhere or following the path set out before you. Some of the stories I loved, others I skipped since I hadn't read the series they go with - but that doesn't take away from how much I enjoyed this book.

    One of my favorite stories was "Bridge" but Jeri Smith-Ready which focused on Logan and his relationship with his brother. I loved the way Smith-Ready wrote the story - in verse and very touching and sad. I've only read the first in this series but I loved it and need to read the 2nd asap.

    Another one of my favorite stories was "Scenic Route" by Carrie Ryan. This story was set in a zombie filled world but you never see the zombies - it's the humans in the story that are creepy and need to be feared. I love Carrie Ryan so anything she writes I will read and this did not disappoint.

    "Leaving" by Ally Condie was a very interesting story set in a dystopian world. I really devoured this story and wished there was more to it. I needed to know what happened! Condie should definitely write a series based on this story.

    A few other stories that were my favorites was "I.V. League" by Margaret Stohl, about vampires trying to get into ivy league schools, "The Third Kind" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, an action packed story that left me wanting to know more about that world, and "
    At the Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show" by Jessica Verday, which was very creepy and had cannibal Girl Scouts in it!


    Overall, this was a great anthology and made me want to pick up a few of the authors' books that I haven't read because the stories were so good. Make sure to pick it up when it comes out!


    Nerd Alert! Need a New Pair of Glasses? Come on in!

    Alright, y'all, something you don't know about me - I can't see crap without the help of eye-wear. I wear contacts and glasses 100% of the time (when I'm awake) because if I didn't I wouldn't be able to see 2 feet in front of me.
    Yes, it sucks but I'm use to it.

    So, when EyeBuyDirect.com asked me to review a their site and glasses in exchange for a new pair of glasses, I jumped at the chance. I like to keep extra glasses in my car, at work, etc. just in case I lose a contact. (This goes back to not being able to see two feet in front of me.) I had never bought eyeglasses online before and wasn't sure what to expect and how it would work.

    This site is pretty awesome. The prices of their eyeglasses are insanely low and you can get designer brands from them for next to nothing as well. One of my favorite things about the site was that it let you upload a picture and "try on" the glasses before you buy them. Very helpful since most people want to try on the glasses before they buy them. And look at all the different eyeglasses they have to choose from!


    So, after spending hours (seriously, there are so many to go through!) on the site I finally decided on a pair and went to order. Once you add them to your cart it is fairly simple to put in your prescription. Make sure you have a copy from your eye doctor (I had to call and have mine faxed to me) and then enter the information. The only problem I had was my doctor didn't write down my pupillary distance but that was easy to get with a ruler - and I was done! If you have any problems figuring out your prescription there are little help boxes beside each. 
    So, I ordered them on August 25 and on August 31 I received an email saying they were being shipped and they would be here in 2 or 3 days. Nope! Got them the next day. Super fast shipping. 

    After I received them I decided to wear them for a few days before I did my review. (Don't want to lie to y'all.) They are now my favorite pair of glasses and have replaced my other pair. They look how I thought they would based on the picture I used and they fit great - I see out of them better than my other pair. 

    So, enough with the rambling. I just want to say though that I'm planning on ordering a pair of prescription sunglasses from EyeBuyDirect.com as well.

    Now it's time for one of you to win a voucher towards a new pair of glasses.

    Giveaway
    Prize: $30 Gift Voucher (Exclusion of designer eyewear and sunglasses.)
    Giveaways open to: USA, Canada










    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Top Ten Sequels I'm Dying For

    This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I haven't participated before but this weeks topic caught my eye. I'm gonna try to make this a regular post here on Hooked to Books.

    This week's topic is Top Ten Sequels I'm Dying to Read!

    1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth - Have you read Divergent? It was so freaking good! I can't wait to find out what happens next!

    2. Hourglass #2 by Myra McEntire - I really loved this story. A little bit of time travel mixed in with a good love story is right up my alley.

    3. Shatter Me #2 by Tahereh Mafi - This is one of my favorite books of the year and it's not even out yet! I've got so long to wait for the next one!

    4. Fever by Lauren DeStefano - A great debut! Can't wait to find out what happens with Rhine, Gabriel, and Linden!

    5. Vanish by Sophie Jordan - I love that these books are about dragons. I actually have a copy of this that I just need to find time to get to!

    6. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare - City of Fallen Angels left off with a HUGE cliffhanger and with all the teasers Clare has given us I can't wait for this one!

    7. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare - Another Clare book because she's awesome and knows how to keep her readers wanting more.

    8. A Million Suns by Beth Revis - I LOVED Across the Universe and can't wait to find out what happens with Elder and Amy. I have an ARC already (yay!) and even though it doesn't come out until January I think it's going to be my next read.

    9. Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer - I know this has been out since July but I've been putting off reading it because I don't want to wait for Bloodrose! I know it's gonna be a cliffhanger of an ending and I just hate waiting! I will be diving into this soon though.

    10. Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready - Holy crap I love this series! I had so many people on my Twitter going on and on about it that I had to pick it up. I listened to the audio for the first two and they were great. And Zachary - swoon! Can't wait for the next one!

    Teaser Tuesday

    Teaser Tuesday is weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should be Reading 
    Grab your current read 
    Open to a random page 
    Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
    This Week's Teaser is From:
    Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendra Blake

    I think of her again. Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. I wonder what tricks she'll try. I wonder if she'll be clever. Will she float? Will she laugh or scream?

    How will she try to kill me?

    Page 32 of ARC 
    Subject to Change

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Review: Hourglass

    Hourglass
    Myra McEntire
    Published June 24, 2011
    ARC Received from Publisher


    For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
    So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
    Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

    Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.
    -Goodreads

    When I first saw the cover of this book I thought, "No freakin' way! Looks insanely creepy and I hate creepy." That's why you should never judge a book by it's cover, y'all. It does have some creepiness to it, our main character, Emerson, can see ghosts and talk to them, but this book is more than that. It is time travel and love story and ghost story and all kinds of awesomeness rolled into one book. I absolutely loved it.

    There are some things about Hourglass that were kinda annoying, the start of a love triangle mostly, but I can forgive McEntire for that because the rest of the story is so good. I love a book that has a new concept we don't see in every book and Hourglass definitely has it - time travel. Time traveling is so fun and interesting and there are so many different ways it can be explained. That was my favorite part of this book and I think McEntire does a great job of developing the story and explaining how the time traveling works within the story she has created.

    That's not to say that I didn't love the characters, I definitely did - especially Emerson. Emerson has been through so much - how she is still function is beyond me - so for her to still be as funny and tough as she is is great. I know some reviewers didn't seem to like her brother but I thought he did a good job of taking care of Emerson with all the crap she's gone through. I like that she actually has a authority figure in her life - a lot of YA paranormal books are lacking that. Michael was also a very interesting character. I'm interested to see how their relationship plays out after everything that has happened in Hourglass. It also looks like McEntire has set it up for a love triangle (one that I hope doesn't get developed) with Kaleb, Michael's friend and colleague at Hourglass. I do like Kaleb though. He is an interesting character and brings a lot to the story - I just hate me some love triangles.

    If you are looking for something away from vampires and werewolves and want something a little more on the sci-fi side - Hourglass is definitely for you. I'm looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    In My Mailbox #39



    In My Mailbox is Hosted by The Story Siren.
    Check out my giveaway for an ARC of Bloodlines! 
    For Review:
     Hades (Halo (Cloth - Feiwel & Friends)) by Alexandra Adornetto
    Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendra Blake
    After Obsession  by Carrie Jones and Steven Wedel
    Thanks to Feiwel and Friends, I Read Banned Books, and Bloomsbury Children's.
    The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking: Book One, The Ask and the Answer: Chaos Walking: Book Two, Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three by Patrick Ness
    Thanks to Brilliance Audio!



    Swag:

    Signed Witch Eyes bookmarks from Scott Tracey!


    What did you get in your mailbox? :)
    The Ask and the Answer: Chaos Walking: Book TwoMonsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three
     
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