Sunday, October 30, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is Hosted by The Story Siren.

by Carrie Ryan

Underdogs by Markus Zusak - This will be going to my kids in the library. I think my boys will love it.
Between by Jessica Warman

And a Who is Mara Dyer? Tshirt! So excited for it!
Thanks to Reading Teen for the awesome giveaway!

When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen.
After the Snow by S.D. Crockett (Giveaway soon for the 2nd copy!)
Beautiful Chaos (Beautiful Creatures, Book 3) by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
Unison Spark by Andy Marino

Thanks to Around the World ARC Tours, MacMillian, Henry Holt, and Little, Brown!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blog Tour: Author Interview with Mary Lindsey

I have Mary Lindsey on the blog today promoting her book - Shattered Souls! Mary has answered all the interview questions using book line answers - this should be fun!

Thanks for stopping by, Mary!


1. What is Shattered Souls about?
“It’s not about holding hands, feeling good, and singing ‘Kumbaya.’ It’s about staying alive!” Chapter 12, Page 103.

2. What is your favorite thing about writing?
“…totally making this stuff up.” Chapter 4, page 35.

3. If you could live any place in the world, where would it be and why?
“The modern glass and chrome city of Houston.” Chapter 11, page 89.

4. Will there be any more books about Lenzi and Alden?
“Um, it’s hard to say.”  Chapter 30, page 320.

5. Can you give us an idea of what a "Speaker" is? 
“We work for the IC—the Intercessor Council—an entity designed to intercede on behalf of the dead. Your job as a Speaker is to help hindered spirits resolve the problems that are keeping them Earth-bound.” Chapter 4, page 35.

About the Author

Mary Lindsey's debut young adult novel, SHATTERED SOULS, is scheduled for release December 8, 2011 from Philomel/Penguin.

Having received a B.A. in English literature with a minor in drama from the University of Houston, she currently teaches acting to children and teens at a private studio in Houston, Texas.

Mary lives with her husband, three kids, two dogs, her daughter's pet rats, an Australian Bearded Dragon, and dozens of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.

She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

You can check out Mary on her website and Shattered Souls on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads.


About Shattered Souls

A thrilling debut story of death, love, destiny and danger

Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

YA Spooktacular - Party Time Including a TRICK

Welcome to another stop for the second annual YASpooktacular, hosted by Frenzy of Noise and Wicked Awesome Books.

This year, there are three stories written by some of your favorite authors that will be posted throughout the week. Each story is a choose your adventure, where you get to decide what path to send the character down. Sometimes you live, sometimes you die, and sometimes you fall into a pit of no return.

There are also some TRICKS or TREATS scattered throughout the story, where you can enter to win prizes and get bonus points toward the prize packs. The prize pack for (enter your story # here) will be up tomorrow! On Halloween day, the grand prize pack will be posted. You can click the banner above to see a full list of the YASpooktacular prize packs! (the link to Frenzy of Noise Spooktacular page will be included in the email and updated daily.)

Author bio:  
Among other things, I was an English major in college and so I know that I’m supposed to write things like,”Ilsa J. Bick is<fill in the blank>.” Except I hate writing about myself like I’m not in the room. 

Helloooo, I’m right here … So let’s just say that I’m a child psychiatrist (yeah, you read that right) and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, ebooks and novels. 
Believe me, no one is more shocked about this than I … unless you talk to my mother.

You can find Ilsa on Twitter, on her blog, and on Goodreads:

You can pick it up at the beginning by clicking on the banner!  


Before we go any further, I’ve got something to say to you.

Yes, you, outside the page, on the other side of this screen, I’m talking to you, so listen up. This is important.

You think you’re so special. You think that because you hear my voice and see what’s happening in your head that everything you imagine somehow belongs to you. It’s natural, I guess. What
becomes in your mind must seem as if it can’t have been born from anyone or anywhere else.

But I got news for you. This is my story. Those last four words are mine. So are all the sentences and paragraphs and what’s in these pages.

Which means that
she’s mine. So are Michael and Des and Stace—and you, too.

And here’s why.

Take me out of the equation and all that’s left is a blank page. No story. Nothing to imagine. No voices in your head.

I own you. I am your beginning and your end. Everything you are is because of me.

I can end this—and you—anywhere I want, at any time.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


“Wait, wait, hold on,” you said. We hunkered on the cold concrete slab that was the Crazy Mexican’s excuse of a basement. We always met down there because it was the only place in that wreck where you didn’t have to worry about going through rotted floorboards.

For another, well . . . because that’s how I wrote it, where my story had to happen. So there we were: you huddled in a parka because your skimpy French maid’s costume wasn’t worth beans in the cold; me in my standard uniform of jeans and a sweatshirt, gloves in my left hip pocket and another, more uncomfortable bulge in the right; a flashlight; and the Stoli, already half-gone, that I’d liberated from the parental units.

And my story, of course, the one I wrote expressly for you.

I watched you press the paper to your forehead like a psychic taking a reading. “Don’t tell me,” you said. “Let me guess. I hit . .
Michael. No, no . . . wait . . . how about Des? Or . . . I know, I know . . . how about I spike my dad?”

“That doesn’t make sense.” I tipped the bottle to my mouth but kept my lips shut tight while doing the whole Adam’s apple, fake swallow thing. It was a trick I’d picked up watching CSI and NCIS. Besides, I always was good at pretend. “Why would I write your dad into a burning garage? What would he be doing there in the first place?”

Duh.” You backhanded the pages. They scattered over the concrete like the crap cards of the worst round of Texas hold’em you’d ever played. “That’s just the problem, right? Like the story makes any sense at all? I mean, I’m going to fire up a weed-whacker and use the handle to knock out glass? Without turning it off first?”

“I thought it read pretty well.”

“It’s crap. I can’t turn that in. Get real. Grayson’ll give me an F. He’ll say we copied
Harry Potter or something stupid.”

“J.K. Rowling doesn’t use a weed-whacker.”

“Oh, my
God, would you stop being so literal? You know what I’m saying. And vaulting over broken glass? With my bare hands? Not even Jason Bourne could do that.”

“Oh. Okay. I see.” I paused. I probably looked a little hurt, but I was really going for dismay with a dash of chagrin. Like, I was
such an idiot and just couldn’t bear to let you down. To be honest, I had worked hard on that damn thing, shaping the story, striving for the right effect. Casting you as this kick-ass heroine was . . . I don’t know . . . a memorial, I guess: some cool fantasy to replace the reality that was you.

Just as I had chosen us to end in the derelict set way back in the woods off 38th: the one with a million
No Trespassing signs that always looked streaky with what everyone said was blood when you shone your high beams just right.

The house we all called The Crazy Mexican.


Crazy Mexican House and Sheboygan. Go on. I’ll wait.

See? Told you.

Now, the story about just what happened at the Crazy Mexican changed depending on who did the telling. Some said drugs. Others said bad blood. More than a couple believed it all came down to betrayal: to cheating boyfriends and jilted lovers. (I could relate.) A few even claimed it was the
house what done it.

Whatsamatter? You have doubts? Tell you what: you go and look. By yourself. At night. Go on. What, you scared? Go on, you big baby. Yeah, that’s it. Good. Now, stand right there and shine a flashlight at those busted-out windows. Yeah . . . like that.


Tell me those aren’t eyes there. I dare you.

So maybe it was the house. I don’t know. But that house was me: the place I ran the movies in my head of all the ways I would make all of you—every last miserable one of you—pay.

And the house was ours, hers and mine, because we were buds, cross-our-hearts-and-hope-to-die best friends even though I knew, first-hand, that she was never as good as the stories she told with a perfectly straight face to adults, to teachers, to the other kids at school. To me.

That girl was a master. She had everyone fooled.

Well . . .

Almost everyone.


“So if the story’s no good,” I asked, “what do I do?”

“What do you think?” You made a grab for the bottle. “Do it again.”

“Again? Now? The whole thing?”

“Well, hello, it’s due tomorrow,” you said, coming up for air. Your voice had gone all strangled, as if your throat just couldn’t let go of the words. Tottering to your feet, you stood, swaying a little, your fingers still locked round the neck of that vodka in a stranglehold. Honestly, you should’ve dressed up as Jack Sparrow. “Maybe not
all over again. Just, you know,” and then you gestured grandly, like Johnny Depp, “give me a fitting end.”

“And what’s that?” I asked.

“For me?” You had to think about that one, but your brain wasn’t working all that well by then. I could practically hear the gears grind. “I say I pass out then wake up, just, you know . . . before.” You hiccupped. A second later the air fumed with the stink of overripe fruit. “Write it from my perspire . . .
pershspeh . . .”


“Yeah.” Your eyes were beginning to slew, ticking back and forth. I thought you had, maybe, another minute, possibly two. One Klonopin and my mom passed out in a half hour and I’d ground up, what, ten? Fifteen? Not enough to kill you. Not that way, at least. “That. Only it’s all things
I feel.”

“You mean, “ I said, slowly, as if sounding it all out for the first instead of the thousandth time, “like the rope slipping around your neck.”

“Rope.” You wagged your head. “Yeah. Rope. I like that.”

“A rope . . . it’s rough,” I said. “It cuts into your skin, and as it tightens, saws through. There’s blood, and you can hear your heart banging in your ears . . .”

“Yeah,” you said, your lips slipping in and out of a grin, “

“And then, all of a sudden, your air’s just
gone. You feel this big bolt of panic right in your chest, all the way into your stomach, white and cold, and then you go wild, you panic, you claw at the rope . . .”

“My chesh,” you slurred, “my
chesh . . .”

“Burning,” I said. “The worst fire you’ve ever felt. Your fingers are scrabbling, tugging, tearing. You feel this hot pain as your nails break, and now you’re kicking, your legs are starting to jitter because you can’t get any air, you can’t, and there’s nothing you can do and you know, you know, you
know you’re going to die—”

“Yeah.” You were staring, mouth slack, eyes wide, just the way little kids do when you tell them a particularly good story; I remember that. You listed, first right then left then right again because you were stumble-down drunk and about to land on your ass. “Thash . . . thash good, thash
good . . .”

“I know.” I pushed to my feet. No sense you falling and knocking yourself out. “But there has to be a why.”

“A . . .” Your face creased with a dull kind of confusion. “A

“Sure. What do you think would be reason enough to kill you?”

“Uh . . .” You let out a little bubbly giggle as your knees hinged and you began to sag. “
Beeshidoudame. You’re the writer.” A second later: “Gawd, I am shhhoo wasted . . .”

“Yes, I am and yes, you are.” I moved, fast, hooking my hands under your arms. This close, I could smell you: not just the sharp fruit of booze and the salt of your sweat but the scent that only you—being you—wore. No one else at school would dare. You had that kind of power.

“And here’s the why. Are you listening?” I whispered into your ear. “It’s because of my sin

“Wuh . . . wuh?”
Your eyes rolled. “Wash you say? Your shin?”

“No, not mine. Wake up. Listen to what I’m telling you.” I gave you a little shake. I needed you conscious just a little while longer. “Michael didn’t stop to change. After he saw you, after you and he were together . . . he never went home.” I waited a beat, watching you try to process this then said, almost gently, “You bitch. It was your perfume:
My Sin.”

I saw the moment you finally understood, the way your eyes went a little buggy. “N-no,” you gulped. You even tried to pull away. “
N-n-no . . .

“But yes,” I said, reaching around and drawing out the rope from my right hip pocket. “Oh, yes.”


Aw, what’s the matter? You need me to draw you a map? I already wrote it down once. Just flip back a page if you weren’t paying attention. Besides, going over it all again is a little bit of a bore, to tell the truth. Not only have I already written her end once before, I imagined it long before you read it. I knew every twist, every turn, and just how much pressure I would use for how long and how wonderfully my arms would ache because strangling someone who’s fighting so hard to stay alive—killing your treacherous best friend—takes some real elbow grease.

Anyway, I’ve got to go now. I’m done with this page and my story. You’ve served your purpose, and I’m done messing around with you. So this is the end.

Well, the end
so far.

Because Michael . . .


Wouldn’t you like to kn

You’ve reached the end to this branch of the story. Go back to the beginning at Reading Teen (

Or back up a few steps by going to Overflowing Shelf and taking a different path (

Make sure you visit Lisa M. Potts ( tomorrow and enter to win the prize pack for story 2!

And visit or on October 31st to enter the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY for a ton of books and a ton of swag!!

You can order Ilsa J. Bick's books at the following places:
And now - I have a TRICK for you!
TRICK: Monster Match-Up 
After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel and Jones' NEED series-themed shirts (one Team Nick and one Team Astley)
Just click on the Trick or Treat button above and it will take you to the form to fill out!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bout of Books Readathon

I have decided to sign up for the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon over at On a Book Bender.
I need to get through a LOT of books so this seems like a good way to do it! 
I'm going to use the same stack I used for the Dewey Read-a-Thon that I totally failed out.

The only book that I've read from this stack is Wolfsbane. I started Bloodrose yesterday so that will totally work for this read-a-thon. Yay! :)
I'll be updating to this post with all updates! 

Finished CD 1 of 8 of All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin (About 60 pages of 354)

Number of books I’ve read today:0
Total number of books I’ve read: 0
Today #insixwords: Bloodrose is rocking my face off.
Books: Bloodrose (80 pages)

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Teaser Tuesday: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

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 
This Week's Teaser is From:
Andrea Cremer
Seduction was new ground for me. I'd been worried about (him) feeling rejected, but now I was the one whose nerves spiked at the thought that (he) might still be too angry to welcome me into his arms. What if he threw me out of his room? The restrictions put on alphas females hadn't allowed me to the be pursuer; I could only be pursued. The mysterious workings of romantic relationships were still unfamiliar territory for me. It didn't help that my pulse was racing at a pace I thought might break the sound barrier.

From page 85 of ARC
Subject to Change
Release Date: January 3, 2012
From Philomel Books (an imprint of Penguin)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In My Mailbox #45

In My Mailbox is Hosted by The Story Siren.

Audio for Review:

 Leviathan, Behemoth, and Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
From Simon Audio

Books for Review:
Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry
Triangles by Ellen Hopkins
Desert Angel by  Charlie Price
Amplified by Tara Kelly

A Million Suns by Beth Revis 

Since this is my 2nd copy of A Million Suns - I'm gonna give it away to one of you!
Just fill out the form below.
US only.
Must be 13+ to enter. 
Don't leave any entries in the comments. Everything needs to be put into the Rafflecopter form. If you have any questions - shoot me a email.
(You can leave comments just to be nice though. ;) )
Ends 11/6/11.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

I have decided at the last minute (and kinda late to the game) to participate in the Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon! I had plans on going to the WV Book Festival today but the husband and I are both sick - so I'm home on the couch.

Here's the books I plan on reading:

1)Where are you reading from today?
-Logan, WV
2)Three random facts about me…
-I'm a twin
-I'm a tv addict
-I'm a school librarian
3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
-7 books and 1 audio
4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
-Not really. This is my first time so I'm just seeing how it goes.
5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?
 -I'm a newbie!

10:30 am - Getting a late start since I just decided to join. Will be starting with Wolfsbane!
1:00 pm - On page 133 of Wolfsbane. Got a phone call from my best friend and spent an hour on the phone. Oops! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me
Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: November 15, 2011
ARC Provided by Once Upon a Twilight Blog Tours

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old-girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel. -Goodreads

This is one of those books that I don't know how to adequately express how amazing this book is and how much I loved it. Because OMG, y'all, this book is all kinds of amazingness. There is so much to this book. The writing is beautiful, the characters amazing, and the romance hot, hot, hot. I was lucky enough to get this from OUaT blog tour and I was doing a happy dance all over my house when it came. And believe me - if I didn't have to send it out I would totally be reading it again - even with all the other books I have lining my shelves. And passing it around to all my friends and being all annoying and making them read it NOW. Not later but now. 

At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to Juliette. Juliette - who is thought to be a monster by society. Juliette - who has been locked up for 264 days with no type of human contact whatsoever. Juliette - who is trying not to go insane. As Juliette sits in her cell the world outside is disintegrating. There are food shortages, the environment has gone to crap, people are forced to live in compounds, and the Reestablishment has a iron fist hold on all of it. And then - Juliette gets a cellmate and her world is changed forever. When Adam walks into the cell Juliette's world is thrown into such a chaotic mess and she has to decide if she will continue to be a victim or become a fighter.

One of the things that drew me into this book right away was the writing. It really was amazing. Mafi's writing style is different and fresh and poetic and pulls you in and doesn't let go. There are some amazing passages in this book. The kind you want to read again and again. And she also uses a strike out style of writing that is done brilliantly. 

I love Juliette. Mafi makes her character come to life and the reader feels what she is feeling. She is so close to being broken but she doesn't crack. She is tough and after everything that has happened to her she still cares about people. It takes a lot to come out of solitary confinement and still be able to stand up for yourself and this girl does it and rocks at it.

And then we have Adam - totally swoon-worthy male lead who will steal your heart. I think he has replaced my love of Jace - and that's saying something. I totally fell for Adam in this book. He was the kind of lead male I like to see - tough and real and just.. I dunno.. amazing. I loved him and everything that he brings to the story is just swoon-worthy. 

The other male lead is the bad guy - Warren. There is also something about Warren that draws the reader in. In some scenes, you feel sorry for him and you want to know what made him as cruel and heartless as he is. I think there is so much more to his character and I can't wait to see what it is and how it develops. And then there is also Kenji, Adam's army friend, who brings some humor into the story. Even though he only shows up the last part of the book I really loved his character and I know we will be seeing so much more of him.

There is so much to this story - it is sexy and full of action and beautiful writing and unique and just all kinds of amazingness rolled into one book. The dystopian world that Mafi creates is so haunted but the writing makes it beautiful. Everything about this book is beautiful. Books like Shatter Me are why I love to read. I can not wait for the second book - and this one isn't even out yet!

I'm putting it out there - as of right now this is my favorite book this year. And I've read some amazing books but this blew me away and left me wanting so much more than any book this year has done so far. If there is one book that you buy this year - this should be it.

Blog Tour: Sara Zarr on How to Save a Life

How to Save a Life
Sara Zarr
Published October 18, 2011
Little, Brown

Jill MacSweeney just wants everything to go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. You can't lose one family member and simply replace him with a new one, and when her mom decides to adopt a baby, that's exactly what it feels like she's trying to do. And that's decidedly not normal. With her world crumbling around her, can Jill come to embrace a new member of the family?

Mandy Kalinowski knows what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, she knows she wants a better life for her baby. But can giving up a child be as easy as it seems? And will she ever be able to find someone to care for her, too?

Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about what it means to be a family and the many roads we can take to become one. -
I'm excited to have Sara Zarr on the blog today for a tour thanks to Little, Brown! Sara's newest book, How to Save a Life, hit shelves on October 18. She is also the author of three other YA books - Story of a Girl (National Book Award Finalist), Sweethearts (Cybil Award Finalist), and Once Was Lost (a Kirkus Best Book of 2009). 
Thanks for stopping by, Sara!
 1) What inspired you to write for the YA genre?
I've loved YA since first discovering it in the form of Robert Cormier, Judy Blume, Norma Fox Mazer, M.E. Kerr, Madeleine L'Engle, and the other writers who were prolific during my adolescence. When I started writing my own stories, they always involved teen characters, so I guess it just sort of happened. What inspires me to stay in it, fifteen years after I started writing, is that realization that the work of growing up is never truly done. YA fiction is a great place to explore the issues that circle back to us again in our thirties, forties, and beyond.

2) Who is your favorite character in How to Save a Life and why?
Oh, how can I pick a favorite of my creations! Okay. I must say that though Ravi is tall, dark, and handsome, and a good guy, I have a fondness for Dylan, Jill's on-again, off-again first love. He's that steady sort of best friend boyfriend you get so comfortable with that you wind up either marrying, or initiating a breakup with so that you don't settle into something before you know who you are.

3) Out of all your books, is there one book that you relate to the most? Which and why?
Each of my books contains a part of my emotional autobiography. The events of the books don't necessarily mirror anything in my life, but the issues the characters struggle with are mine. So I relate to all of my books that way. If I didn't, I probably wouldn't have written them, because every story I go into involves something I'm trying to figure out.

4) With all the criticism directed at YA lately, there was a big movement on Twitter about how "YA Saves." Do you have any feelings about this and the criticism that has been directed at the YA genre lately?

I think the criticism is misguided. I think it's based on an idea of young adult fiction that is past its time--that young adult readers are children, and the books for them should teach a lesson. To me, the "YA Saves" movement is just the other side of the coin of that viewpoint...that books should "do something." When I write a book, I don't think about it teaching or saving. I'm a writer, trying to tell a story that for whatever reason I've been given to write, and do it to the best of my ability. Certainly, stories can be powerful and influential, and I agree that ultimately the best books do "do something," and possibly even save. But that's something that happens outside of the creative process. And hey, you know, people are welcome to criticize YA for any reason they want. But it seems like YA authors are expected to have some sort of defense for themselves and their work that those who write about adults are not.

5) Anything you want readers to know about How to Save a Life?
I've noticed a lot of the blog reviewers talking about the heartbreak in the story, and reporting tears as they read. There are some pretty emotional moments. Let me say, though: It's also funny! It has energy! And caffeine and romance.

6) Is there anything else you would like to add? Anything we should know about you and your books?
I'm grateful to readers, and everyone who has supported my books. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Tour Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullins

Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.
Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget. -Goodreads

I love survival stories. Movies, books, tv shows - anything that has a survivor feel to it I will read or watch. Armageddon, Twister, Jurassic Park, Terra Nova, Survivor, The Last Survivors series - love 'em. And they all have some element of survival to them. In Ashfall, Mike Mullin's makes it all about survival.

In Ashfall, a super volcano erupts and puts the world into a tailspin. Grey ash everywhere, sucking air quality, no food - only the strong survive. Our protagonist is Alex, a sixteen year old, who decided to stay home by himself for the weekend. He's home all of 3 hours and - BAM! - volcano erupts. When Alex realizes it's not stopping anytime soon he leaves to go find his parents and sister.  What comes next is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There is so much going on in Ashfall and it makes for one action packed read.

Our main character, Alex, is your typical nerdy teenage boy - fights with his mom and sister and would rather do anything besides go to his uncle's goat farm. Throughout the story, the reader sees Alex grow more mature and realize that maybe his family wasn't as pesky as he once thought. When Alex finds Darla, he has met his match. Darla is far from your typical girl. She is hard working - she knows how to fix stuff and to get stuff done. No sissy girls in this book. I love to see a strong female lead in books.  And the relationship Mullins creates between Alex and Darla is refreshing. No insta-love. Their relationship starts out slow and bumping and revolves into a genuinely believable relationship.

There are some things about Ashfall that might throw the reader off. At times, the book can be violent but for it to be believable it almost has to you. It kinda reminds you of The Road in a way. Very heartbreaking and dark and beautiful. Definitely one you don't want to miss - especially if you love world destruction/survival stories.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One Year Blogiversary!

When I first started this blog, I post kinda sporadically. I was finishing up my Grad school classes to become a Library Media Specialist and things were a little crazy. With only three posts in September, October is when I really started blogging consistently (well, November was rough but December was good). So, I have declared October my blogiversary month! 
My first year of blogging has been incredible fun and I'm so happy to be part of this community!
As a huge thanks to all my readers and followers, I'm doing a giveaway! 

Up for grabs:

$20 eGift Card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Book Depository
 A preorder of Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi (My favorite book this year.)
Book of your choice (Up to $10.)

I'm going to run this contest until October 31, 2011.
International People: If Book Depository ships to you - you can enter.
Any questions - shoot me an email/tweet.
Must be 13+ to enter.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda

Megan Miranda
Publish Date: January 3, 2011
Walker Books for Young Readers
ARC from Around the World ARC Tours 

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine
-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?
Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?
For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death. -Goodreads

When Delaney falls through the ice and is submerged under water for eleven minutes. She should be dead - but she's not. After being in a coma for almost a week, Delaney wakes up to a whole new life. Everyone is changed by her fall - herself, her parents, her best friend, Decker, and her friends.

Megan Miranda's debut novel is suspenseful, engaging, and brilliant. Part love story and part psychological thriller, Fracture will have you from the moment you start reading. The first ten pages takes you into the drowning of Delaney - and from there things just become more intense. Every move Delaney makes she is being watched - by her mother, her father, her friends. She went from being almost valedictorian to having to be tutored - and there is something a little off that draws her out in the middle of the night to the dying. When Delaney meets Troy, a person with similar abilities, what she is looking for is answers but what she gets is so much scarier.

The characters in Fracture are written so well. Decker, Delaney's BFF, is caring and loyal and oh-so-in-love with Delaney - even if he won't admit it. He has to deal with the fact that he left Delaney on the ice and she fell in - and deal with it he does. There is so much tension between Delaney and Decker - a fine line that they both walk because of the hurtles in their friendship. And sometimes they are just too hard to deal with. When Delaney meet Troy - things get a whole lot more interesting. Troy is definitely a bad boy but not in a good way. He is sketchy and there is a lot more to him than what you think. It made me nervous the way Troy was with Delaney - like you're holding your breath waiting for something to happen.

Fracture should definitely be on your to be read piles if it isn't already. No ghosts, witches, vampires, or werewolves here. Just a amazingly well written thriller that you won't be able to put down.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
October 18, 2011
Little, Brown

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.
Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending. -Goodreads

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again For The First Time

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Hunger Games series - These books are edge of your seat reads that leave you breathless. Really. I read each of them in a day and as many times as I've reread I still love them.

Harry Potter series - These books are magical. The first time you read them you are transported to a whole other world. 

Mortal Instruments series - This was another series that I flew through and loved. There was definitely a shock value to the books that you don't experience the second time around.

That's all the books I can think of that I wish I could reread for the first time. Sad right? But they are series books so that's actually like 13 books.

Quick Review: Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls #3)

Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 3)
Maggie Stiefvater
Published July 12, 2011
ARC Received from Scholastic Press

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in. -Goodreads

I read this book back in JULY when it came out. I don't know why it has taken me so long to review it. I enjoyed it. Even though I did have a few issues with the book as a whole.

This review might contain spoilers for the first two books in the series, so if you haven't read those proceed with caution!

I love Maggie Stiefvater's writing style. There is just something beautiful and lyrical about the way she writes. She manages to draw the reader into the story not with breathtaking action and adventure but with heartbreakingly beautiful characters that are struggling to find themselves. Grace, Sam, Isabel, and Cole are such dramatically different people with dramatically different problems. One problem I did have was that the book was written from so many POVs which took away from the flow of the story.

Even though the books started off with Sam and Grace as the main characters, in Forever the focus shifts a little more and now Isabel and Cole are just as important to the storyline. I, for one, love Isabel and Cole's stories. They are both completely different and heartbreaking. Cole is struggling to find a reason why he is still alive and Isabel is struggling to just find herself. They are both hard and jaded - and begin to realize they need each other more than they thought. I really love their story and think that Stiefvater could have written a completely new series based off these two characters instead of compressing it into Forever and Linger. As much as I love Cole and Isabel, I missed the story being more about Sam and Grace - these are the characters we fell in love with in Shiver and I would have liked to see Forever focus more on them and the end of their story.

Overall, I enjoyed the ending of the Shiver trilogy. It was not my favorite book in the series but Stiefvater wraps up the story in a way that is overall satisfying for the reader.

Monday, October 10, 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!

47. Delirium by Lauren Oliver (audio)
48. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (audio)

Currently Reading:
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann (audio)

Up Next:
Ashfall by Mike Mullins
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin (audio)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In My Mailbox #44

n My Mailbox is Hosted by The Story Siren.
I'm giving away an ARC of Glow since I already have a copy!
Ends 10/15. US Only. 

 The Poison Eaters and other Stories by Holly Black
From Brilliance Audio

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
From Macmillian Audio

Books for Review:
Gossip Girl: Psycho Killer by Cecily von Ziegesar
In the Crook of the Oak Tree by D.S. Foster

What did you get in your mailbox this week? :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Audio Review: Shade

Shade (Shade, Book 1)
Jeri Smith-Ready
Read by Khristine Hvam
Published May 4, 2010
Audiobook from Library

Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.
Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.
Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.
Well, sort of.
Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.
It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.
As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift. -Goodreads

I kept hearing amazing things about this book from several bloggers on Twitter so when I saw the audio book on my library's download page I thought "what the heck?' and got it. Let me tell y'all - I was kicking myself for not reading/listening to this book soon. There is so much goodness packed into this book and it's not the same old song and dance. 

First, let's talk about the characters. Jeri Smith-Ready does an excellent job of making the character unique and stand out and have a voice of their own. I've also gotta hand it to Khristine Hvam who really brought the characters alive. The emotion and voices that she puts into each different character is phenomenal. When I would rather listen to a book then read it you know the reader is doing something right. Anyways - back to the characters. Aura is a great lead character. I love that Ready kept her real - even if it meant taking the story of a ghost boyfriend to the next level. I love the boys in this book and I've gotta say that for once I didn't really mind the love triangle. It's definitely a different triangle since Logan is dead and a ghost but still - you could really see why Aura had such a hard time pulling away from Logan and also why she was being pulled toward Zachary. Speaking of Logan and Zachary - can we say SA-WOON!? I love those boys so much - especially Zachary. And Hvam does an amazing job with his accent in the audio. Loved it.

Another thing I loved about this book was the storyline - I loved that it wasn't just a teenage love story but that there was way more to it. Aura is trying to figure out what happened with her mom and how she is the first - the first one that was born that could see the ghosts. I love how it slowly comes together but leaves you with more questions. I didn't feel like I was cheated out of answers until the next book - I just felt like we got as much information that we could at the time. I also loved the story line with Logan - trying to help him pass on as well as the trouble his siblings have with letting go. This is honestly just a great story. There is so much depth and storytelling going on that it draws you into the world and makes it incredible hard to leave. I could be listening to this book for hours and not even realize it. 

If you haven't read Shade yet you should definitely get to it. Don't be like me and keep putting it off. This is one of my favorite series and I could kick myself for waiting so long to read them. The characters are great, the storyline is superb, and the audio is addicting. This is one that you don't want to miss. 
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