September 30, 2010

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday (8).

Book Blogger Hop


I came across the Hop and Follow Friday while I was blog hopping - how appropriate! - and decided to join in on the fun.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly thing going on over at Crazy-for-Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. If you're a new blogger, like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!


Weekly question: How do you spread the word about your blog? (e.g. Social Networking sites, Book Blog Directories, comments on other blogs...)

Honestly, I don't feel that I spread the word about my blog, other than by participating in weekly events such as this. Sure, I would love for my blog to be promoted to others, but I'm not in any race to gain a certain amount of followers, so I don't quite feel the need to throw my blog in anyone's face.


September 29, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (3).

Waiting On Wednesday is from Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

So what am I waiting on?
Real Live Boyfriends : Yes. Boyfriends, plural. If my life weren't complicated, I wouldn't be Ruby Oliver
by E. Lockhart
Release: 12/28/2010.

From Amazon:

Ruby Oliver is in love. Or it would be love, if Noel, her real live boyfriend, would call her back. But Noel seems to have turned into a pod-robot lobotomy patient, and Ruby can’t figure out why.
Not only is her romantic life a shambles:

Her dad is eating nothing but Cheetos,

Her mother’s got a piglet head in the refrigerator,

Hutch has gone to Paris to play baguette air guitar,

Gideon shows up shirtless,

And the pygmy goat Robespierre is no help whatsoever.

Will Ruby ever control her panic attacks?

Will she ever understand boys?

Will she ever stop making lists?

(No to that last one.)
Roo has lost most of her friends. She’s lost her true love, more than once. She’s lost her grandmother, her job, her reputation, and possibly her mind. But she’s never lost her sense of humor. The Ruby Oliver books are the record of her survival.

I've never read anything by Lockhart, but this book stands out to me more than the others.

September 27, 2010

REVIEW! Hairstyles of the Damned.

Hairstyles of the Damned
Joe Meno


[...] 17-year-old Chicagoan Brian Oswald tries to land his first girlfriend and make it through high school. Brian loves video games, metal music and his best friend, Gretchen, an overweight, foul-mouthed, pink-haired badass famous for beating up other girls. Gretchen, meanwhile, loves the Ramones and the Clash and 26-year-old "white power thug" Tony Degan. Gretchen keeps Brian at bay even as their friendship starts to bloom into a romance, forcing him to find comfort with the fetching but slatternly Dorie. Typical adolescent drama reigns: Brian's parents are having marital problems, he needs money to buy wheels ("I needed a van because, like Mike always said, guys with vans always got the most trim, after the guys who could grow mustaches"), he experiments with sex and vandalism.

My rating: 4 stars.


Brutally honest and real. Meno wastes no time in skirting around life issues like sex and violence.  Readers are in Brian's mind, which is not always a happy place: it's full of babble and rambling, swearing, and lusting.  His voice is real, even though at times you'll wish it was fake. 

The book is jampacked with emotion, and Meno's writing style is what enables this.  Sentences have no pauses, often stringing down the page with Brian's thoughts.  It's rushed and seemingly random.  But it characterizes Brian and stays true to him.  It gives the book its edge.  And in a way, it poses a challenge: at times the swearing is used nearly every other word, and while it becomes a pain to read, it stresses the importance of Brian's messages and helps put readers in his place, to see how he sees.

Painfully and wonderfully raw, Hairstyles of the Damned is unique and offers a new outlook on character voice.

September 25, 2010

Grammar Bit #6.

Trouble with apostrophes?

Use an apostrophe to make a noun possessive.

EX. That is Jill's book.
Meaning, the book belongs to Jill.

If the noun is plural and ends in s, just add an apostrophe.

EX. The writers' books were fun to read.
Meaning, there is more than one writer.

If a name ends in s, add an apostrophe and s.
* This rule varies. Some argue it's perfectly fine to add just an apostrophe, without the s.

EX. That is James's tie.

September 23, 2010

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday (7).

Book Blogger Hop

I came across the Hop and Follow Friday while I was blog hopping - how appropriate! - and decided to join in on the fun.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly thing going on over at Crazy-for-Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. If you're a new blogger, like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!


Weekly topic: When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?

I wait until I have read the entire book.


The Half-Life of Planets aftermath craze.

A month ago, I posted a review for The Half-Life of Planets, here.  Much to my surprise as I was perusing Facebook the other day, I found Brendan Halpin's page (co-author of The Half-Life of Planets) and noticed a shout out to my review! From there, I discovered his website and the extensive list of his previous novels.

Let's just say I'm hooked.

I absolutely loved The Half-Life of Planets, and am eager to read more by Halpin; one of his other novels that caught my eye is Dear Catastrophe Waitress. 

The description from Amazon --
Philippa Strange, a fresh-out-of-high-school punk rock girl, divides her time between an alcoholic mother in Cincinnati and a rocker boyfriend in London and becomes unfortunately notorious after her boyfriend immortalizes her cheating ways—and her name—in a popular song. Meanwhile, shortly after Mark Norris finishes college in Philadelphia, he finds himself the victim of "premature ejaculation libel" when his ex-girlfriend cracks the Top 40 with her hit song, "Two Minute Man." Mark stumbles his way through toxic relationships as a pregnant Philippa, back in the States for good, fakes her death and assumes a new identity to escape from a violent boyfriend.
No idea when I'll get around to actually buying the book, since where I'm staying is devoid of any book stores, but I'm looking forward to reading it. It's a must.

Halpin also has another new book out, titled Shutout.
The description from Amazon --
Best friends Amanda and Lena have always been an unstoppable pair on the soccer field. Although ninth graders rarely make the varsity team, they are hopeful. But a recent growth spurt has caused Amanda to develop Sever's disease, a temporary disorder that causes significant heel pain and that has affected her game. It's still an unexpected blow, though, when Lena makes the cut and she has been relegated to JV. As much as the two girls try to pretend that their friendship won't be affected, it is; in addition to the different practices and games, Lena is socializing more with the juniors and seniors. Things come to a head when she asks Amanda to accompany her to a party so that she can meet up with a guy she likes. Unable to deceive her dad and stepmom, Amanda comes clean about the evening's activities, and Lena's parents find out where she really was.
Seems as if it borders along the lines of Middle Grade and Teens, but I think I might still give it a shot.


Of course, after finding so much about Halpin, I had to search for Emily Franklin (the other co-author of The Half-Life of Planets). I found her website and a list of her novels as well. I'll definitely be checking out At Face Value; it's another must.

The description from her site--
In this modern love story, Cyrano de Bergerac is reinvented as a brilliant and funny seventeen-year-old . . . girl. A tennis champion, straight-A student, and editor of the school paper, Cyrie Bergerac has learned to live with her (ahem) peculiar proboscis. And she's got an armory of witty retorts for every schnoz joke that comes her way. But despite her talents and charm, Cyrie is convinced that no guy—hot or otherwise—would deem her crush-worthy. Certainly not Eddie "Rox" Roxanninoff, who's gorgeous, smart, and genuinely nice to boot!
There's someone else smitten with Rox, too. It's Leyla, Cyrie's pretty yet tongue-tied best friend. Helping Leyla seduce Rox through email provides a wonderful way for Cyrie to express her true feelings. But watching her crush hook up with Leyla may be more than she can take. Will Cyrie find the strength to risk it all—nose be damned—and confess her love?

Point is, if you still haven't looked at or read The Half-Life of Planets, you're missing out! And if it doesn't seem like your cup of tea, I hope you'll take the time to look at both Brendan Halpin's and Emily Franklin's other novels.

September 22, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (2).

Waiting On Wednesday is from Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

So what am I waiting on?

The Painted Boy
by Charles de Lint
Release: 11/11/2010.

From Amazon:

Jay Li should be in Chicago, finishing high school and working at his family's restaurant. Instead, as a born member of the Yellow Dragon Clan, part human, part dragon, like his grandmother, he is on a quest even he does not understand. His journey takes him to Santo del Vado Viejo in the Arizona desert, a town overrun by gangs, haunted by members of other animal clans, perfumed by delicious food, and set to the beat of Malo Malo, a barrio rock band whose female lead guitarist captures Jay's heart. He must face a series of dangerous, otherworldly, and very human challenges to become the man, and dragon, he is meant to be.

I absolutely love Charles de Lint's novels. From The Blue Girl, to Dingo, I'm a fan. I can't wait for this one. If only I could have it sooner!

September 20, 2010

REVIEW! The Book of Luke.

The Book of Luke
Jenny O'Connell


Emily Abbott has always been considered the Girl Most Likely to Be Nice -- but lately being nice hasn't done her any good. Her parents have decided to move the family from Chicago back to their hometown of Boston in the middle of Emily's senior year. Only Emily's first real boyfriend, Sean, is in Chicago, and so is her shot at class valedictorian and early admission to the Ivy League.

What's a nice girl to do? Then Sean dumps Emily on moving day and her father announces he's staying behind in Chicago "to tie up loose ends," and Emily decides that what a nice girl needs to do is to stop being nice.

She reconnects with her best friends in Boston, Josie and Lucy, only to discover that they too have been on the receiving end of some glaring Guy Don'ts. So when the girls have to come up with something to put in the senior class time capsule, they know exactly what to do. They'll create a not-so-nice reference guide for future generations of guys -- an instruction book that teaches them the right way to treat girls.

But when her friends draft Emily to test out their tips on Luke Preston -- the hottest, most popular guy in school, who just broke up with Josie by email -- Emily soon finds that Luke is the trickiest of test subjects . . . and that even a nice girl like Emily has a few things to learn about love.

My rating: 3 stars.


Generic, but not too generic.

O’Connell keeps the characters pretty real, without overdoing it on the stereotypical front. Emily’s voice is, for the most part, kept real – save for her dialogue, which is at times border lining cliché. The one annoyance is that the other characters really have no importance, especially Josie and Lucy. I assumed it would be about more than Emily and Luke.

Luke is both a likeable and unlikeable character; he’s the main heartthrob, but sometimes I couldn’t figure out why. O’Connell didn’t seem to develop much of his character, so he seems a bit lackluster. He has his bright moments, but soon thereafter O’Connell strips him of them.

Emily’s parents are great. Their quirks and attitudes and appearances add another dimension to the book that keeps it all from falling flat.

The writing itself is nothing special, but The Book of Luke is still entertaining and fun.

September 19, 2010

REVIEW! The Words of Every Song.

The Words of Every Song
Liz Moore


[…] in the form of fourteen linked episodes, each centered on a character involved with the music industry in some fashion. There’s the arrogantly hip, twenty-six-year-old A&R man; the rising young singer-songwriter; the established, arena-filling rock star on the verge of a midlife crisis; the type-A female executive with the heavy social calendar; and other recognizable figures.

Set in the sleek offices, high-tech recording studios, and grungy downtown clubs of New York […] brings an insider’s touch to its depiction of the music industry and its denizens.

My rating: 4 stars.


Wonderfully insightful in a gritty, truthful manner. Moore’s novel is broken down into chapters that each focus on a different character; while this seems impersonal and more of a collection of short stories, this is not the case. Every story/chapter is linked to another and by the end there is a feeling of whole – that is, that everything fits together.

The voices of the characters are real. Their emotion is raw, which is a nice change from the fluff that sometimes accompanies other novels. But with this straightforward emotion is beautiful, rough, and sometimes lyrical tragedy – not tragedy as it is typically defined, but tragedy as the things we overlook and don’t realize have such an impact on our lives.

The writing is crisp and strong. Moore’s descriptions are not elaborate, but they’re purposeful and evoke more emotion from each part of the story. Little dialogue is used, and when it is, it’s very simple; this didn’t detract from the book. Rather, what dialogue is used helps convey the harshness of every character.

The Words of Every Song is hardly a light, fun read, but it’s thoughtful in its sadness.

September 18, 2010

News and a Giveaway.

Well, school has pretty much taken up most of my blogging time, if you hadn't already noticed. But thankfully I've got things sorted out and will have a few reviews up in the next few days.

I hope everyone is having a lovely time with school. Of course, if you're not in school, I still hope you're having a lovely time!

Also, in case anyone is interested, check this out.
"Are E-Books Worth the Money?"

I found this article particularly amusing because I'm partial to actual, paper books, rather than e-books. I previously discussed this topic here. I don't believe I support this newer article entirely, though. I think that true readers can make the purchase of an e-reader worth their while. However, it was interesting to be informed of the hidden costs typical buyers overlook.


Last, but not least, a giveaway! A great giveaway, at that. Amber from Down the Rabbit Hole is hosting a 100+ followers giveaway. First and foremost, I wish her many congrats for getting so many followers; it's quite an achievement. And the good news is the giveaway is open both internationally and to the U.S. So stop by and check it out.

Two people in the U.S. could win the following:

Signed City of Glass (HB) by Cassandra Clare
Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi
Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison

One international person will win a novel of their choice from The Book Depository, worth a maximum of $15.

So be sure to enter, enter, enter!

September 14, 2010

Grammar Bit #5.

Common spelling mistakes.

It's a lot, not alot.

It's all right, not alright.

It's definitely, not definately.

It's separate, not seperate.

It's weird, not wierd.

It's lose (to express you have lost something), not loose.

It's its (to express possession), not it's (which means it is).

Don't worry, we're all guilty of using one of these at one time or another.

September 12, 2010

REVIEW! Wuthering High: A Bard Academy Novel.

Wuthering High: A Bard Academy Novel
Cara Lockwood


Welcome to Bard Academy, where a group of supposedly troubled teens are about to get scared straight.

When Miranda, a slightly spoiled but spirited fifteen-year-old from Chicago, smashes up her father’s car and goes to town with her stepmother’s credit cards, she’s shipped off to Bard Academy, a boarding school where she’s supposed to learn to behave. Gothic and boring and strict, it’s everything you’d expect of a reform school. But all is not what it seems at Bard…

For starters, Miranda’s having horrific nightmares and the nearby woods are eerily impossible to navigate. The students’ lives also start to mirror the classics they’re reading – tragic novels like Dracula, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre. So Miranda begins to suspect that Bard is haunted – by famous writers who took their own lives – and she senses that not all of them are happy. Complicating things even more is the fact that Ryan Kent – a cute, smart, funny basketball player who went to Miranda’s old high school – landed himself in Bard, too. And the attention he’s showing Miranda is making some of the other girls white as ghosts. Something ghoulish is definitely brewing at Bard, and Miranda seems to be at the center of ominous events, but whether it’s typical high school b.s. or otherworldly danger remains to be seen.

My rating: 4 stars.


I love that this book (and the rest of the series) includes references to classic literature; it gives Lockwood’s story an edge that the plot needs. The interaction between the character classics and the implementation of them works well with the modern aspects. They meld into the story, rather than appear awkwardly separate.

Miranda’s a spunky, relatable character. Her voice is real, both in dialogue and narration. Some of the other characters are bit one-dimensional, weak and stereotypical, but Lockwood tweaks them here and there to keep them just interesting enough. And surprisingly enough, the relationships formed are neither shallow nor happen quickly; they have reason behind them, and thought.

Wuthering High is good in that it’s different from other teen mysteries. It has the right level of depth and suspense, without weighing down the story's teen appeal.

EXTRA: The sequels are The Scarlet Letterman and Moby Clique. Both are just as good as the first.


On a quick side note, I'd like to thank Jessi, from The Elliott Review, for passing along the One Lovely Blog Award to me! You can check out my original post about the award here.

September 9, 2010

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday (6).

Book Blogger Hop

I came across the Hop and Follow Friday while I was blog hopping - how appropriate! - and decided to join in on the fun.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly thing going on over at Crazy-for-Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. If you're a new blogger, like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!


Weekly topic: Post a link to a favorite post or book review that you have written in the past three months.

My review for Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty.


September 8, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (1).

Since I'm busy with school and reviews are taking longer than usual to write, I decided to busy you all (and myself) with the Waiting On Wednesday meme from Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

So what am I waiting on?

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Release: 10/26/2010.

From Amazon:
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

I've never read Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, or Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, but Dash and Lily's Book of Dares sounds more appealing to me; seems more adventurous and - possibly - more realistic? I have high hopes for it.

September 5, 2010

Grammar Bit #4.

Who or Whom?

Use Who if it can be replaced with he, she, they, or we.

EX. Who is reading?
[He] is reading?
[She] is reading?
[They] are reading?
[We] are reading?

Use Whom if it can replaced with him, her, them, or us.

EX. The patient whom I diagnosed was shy.
I diagnosed [him].
I diagnosed [her].
I diagnosed [them].
I diagnosed [us].

September 4, 2010

REVIEW! The Year of Secret Assignments.

The Year of Secret Assignments
Jaclyn Moriarty


Three girls. Three boys.
Two rival schools.
This could get messy.

The Ashbury-Brookfield pen pal program is designed to bring together the two rival schools in a spirit of harmony and “the Joy of the Envelope.” But when Cassie, Lydia, and Emily send their first letters to Matthew, Charlie, and Sebastian, things don’t go quite as planned. What starts out as a simple letter exchange soon leads to secret missions, false alarms, lock picking, mistaken identities, and an all-out war between the schools – not to mention some really excellent kissing.

My rating: 4 stars.


Letters, diary entries, intermingling narration - they make for a unique, albeit strange, novel structure. But the book, like its characters, is quirky. The plot is nothing special, but I wouldn’t say it’s entirely predictable. Moriarty does throw in a few twists to keep readers in check.

The characters are real and unreal, likable and not likable; it’s a bit of a toss-up. They all have distinct personalities that are conveyed well through whichever device (letter, diary, etc.) is used, but sometimes the situations they find themselves in seem a bit far-fetched. But for having to read six different viewpoints, Moriarty manages to keep the reader tuned into how each acts.

The book is less about descriptions, and more about dialogue and how that dialogue is expressed. It works. Instead of an information overload, you get to briefly be in someone’s mind for a chapter, then switch.

The writing itself is simple and appropriate for the age level of the characters. However, at times, it seems a bit typical and expected – boring. Still, The Year of Secret Assignments is catchy in a weird/humorous/fun way.

September 3, 2010


I think I'm ready to hop aboard the Giveaway Train; so many of my fellow, wonderful bloggers are hosting amazing giveaways, but until now I've always felt it pointless to throw in an entry. It's hard to feel like you have a fair shot when you don't have a Twitter account, or feel like spamming your blog with posts about such contests, to gain extra entries.

But now I think, Why not?

So although I will not spam my blog with multiple posts about each giveaway I come across, I will make a collective list of them here, on this very post - because we all could use some free books now and again, right?



Amber, from Down the Rabbit Hole, is giving away a free copy of Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe. Check it out! Amber's an awesome blogger that has weekly interactive, discussion-based posts.

Bree, at Bree's Books, is giving away Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.

At Books, Boys, Buzz... you can win one of five copies of Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis.

At Little Squeed, you can win a copy of Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce.

Shut Up! I'm Reading is giving away a ton of books.

The YA Bookshelf is giving away 3 books! The Duff, Mockingjay, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

The Undercover Book Lover has an awesome giveaway going on, where you can win one of 4 prize packs, each with 3 books. Check it!

September 2, 2010

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday (5).

Book Blogger Hop

I came across the Hop and Follow Friday while I was blog hopping - how appropriate! - and decided to join in on the fun.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly thing going on over at Crazy-for-Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. If you're a new blogger, like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!


Weekly question: Do you judge a book by its cover?

Yes and no. If I've read about the book, or know about the book in advance, then the cover does not matter. However, if I'm just perusing in a store, then the cover will determine if I pick up a book, purely because if it's a nice cover, it's going to catch my eye.


REVIEW! Leap Day.

Leap Day
Wendy Mass


Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
Though February’s underdone
With twenty-eight – hold the line! –
Leap Day makes it twenty-nine.

What if you could step into everyone else’s shoes for just one day? Soon-to-be-sixteen Josie Taylor was born on Leap Day, February 29, and now it’s her “fourth” birthday. Like every teenager, sometimes she wonders what other people are thinking, but in this unusual novel, YOU get to find out – by leaping into the minds and viewpoints of Josie and everyone around her. Birthday festivities, school play auditions, her driver’s test, a scavenger hunt, and the all-important sweet-sixteen initiation at the lake – these are the things that define Josie Taylor today. But what will define her tomorrow and in the days to come are the people who touch her life at every moment. Full of everyday imaginations and truths, Leap Day will surprise you in more ways than one.

Leap on!

My rating: 4 stars.


Surprisingly innovative. Josie’s world and story are explored through merely a day. Ingenious! It turns out there’s much you can learn about characters just by spending time with them over such a short period. And instead of it dragging along, Mass plucks her characters into ridiculously fun, creative situations.

The writing stays true to the character. Josie’s sixteen. She sounds sixteen: flighty and apprehensive and contemplative. It fits. Descriptions are somewhat vague, but this works to not take away from the fun spirit of the novel. The downside is that the dialogue is, at times, dry. And although some of the events seem a bit unrealistic – in that they wouldn’t happen to most sixteen year olds – they’re whacky enough to keep readers involved.

Leap Day is pure entertainment in such an innocent, coming-of-age form.
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