March 25, 2011


TGIF is brought to us by Ginger at GReads!

It's a way for bloggers to celebrate the end of the week with a nice re-cap of their weekly posts and to answer a random question.

Writing negative reviews: Are you guilty of it? 

Of course. As a book reviewer/blogger, I feel that I owe other readers, and the author, an honest review. "Negative," I think, is a harsh term. Most times I don't feel clear-cut negatively or positively about a book; I typically see some good and some bad - pros and cons, which I do my best to point out in my reviews. My main struggle is using a five-star rating system, which gives the appearance that I either really like or dislike a book. I know other bloggers use different styles of rating systems (such as letter grades for every element, including the cover art), and I know others that entirely did away with ratings. I personally use the rating system as a quick-glance judgement for readers; I understand that sometimes people aren't interested in fully reading a review.

Any way I look at it, I will not shy from writing the "negative" review. Of course, I won't bash the author or anything else to that extreme. Never. I think that's when "negative" reviews gain the unpopular views from outsiders, which blurs the lines for us bloggers. But so long as you can keep level-headed and keep the review pertained to the story itself, a "negative" review is perfectly fine.

(My apologies for the rambling!)


Waiting On Wednesday
REVIEW! Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Coming up this week:

REVIEW for The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter!

March 23, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (7).

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

Die for Me
Amy Plum
SUMMARY (from Amazon):

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

I'm not by any means a paranormal romance lover. But this cover is gorgeous and catchy, and the description plays the story off as some weird retelling of Romeo & Juliet.

March 22, 2011

REVIEW! Bumped.

Megan McCafferty


When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.
My rating: 4 stars.



Sound familiar? Well, it will. Because it's the one word main character Melody insists on repeating.

Aside from that minor annoyance, Bumped is well-constructed. Twins Melody and Harmony are so fleshed out, so detailed in their personalities, that you don't automatically assume they're weird, freakish futuristic people. They may be set in a world very different from ours, but they could easily be your friends.

Melody is the independent thinker in a conformist society that's essentially forcing teenage girls to get pregnant. Harmony is the typical long-lost sister, coming from a different part of society that focuses on religion (Religious references are used often. They do not at all make the story feel preachy). Melody grows as a character, but I can't say the same for Harmony. It really feels as though Melody tackles each of her problems and looks to resolve them, while Harmony's just.. there. She's a bit too fickle as a character, her thoughts and motives inconsistently changing; I didn't know when to believe her, and that left me a bit estranged from her character.

As for their world, it's very thought-out, with a clash of old and new. Girls are encouraged to become pregnant multiple times before they're eighteen, guys act as nothing more than sex toys, and parents basically market their children to reproduce. The estrangement from the parents plays a weird role in Bumped. Melody's parents appear to be over-protective and have her entire life planned. But midway through the novel, they drop off the radar and are never really mentioned again; this made some situations more unbelievable.

The writing is catchy and descriptive. The romance is a bit forced and somewhat unnatural in their setting. The ending doesn't feel like an ending. But all in all Bumped is a fresh idea with a really good execution.

March 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (8).

This meme originates over at The Story Siren.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty.
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson.
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter.
Hereafter by Tara Hudson.
My Misadventures as a Teenage Rock Star by Joyce Raskin.

Thanks, netGalley!

March 18, 2011


TGIF is brought to us by Ginger at GReads!

It's a way for bloggers to celebrate the end of the week with a nice re-cap of their weekly posts and to answer a random question.

Cover Lust: Which book covers are you lusting after right now?
Extraordinary by Nany Werlin - C'mon. Look at all those colors! The greens and yellows and white. It's bright, beautiful, and I wish I could go run through those trees, too. Minus the heels. And that font? Love it.

At Face Value by Emily Franklin - I have a feeling this book is just going to keep popping up for me until I actually read it. I love the striking contrast between the deep purple and the bright white. Also, I'm a sucker for fonts and I love the hint of script about the text.

Crossed by Ally Condie - I have not read Matched. I keep picking it up and setting it back on the shelf. However, I love this cover for the upcoming sequel. The blue, the backward R, the shatter. All of it. Very simple and very clean.

That Summer by Sarah Dessen - What's not to like about this cover? It screams summertime. The font combo is fabulous, and the white foam of the ocean is gorgeous. Again, very clean looking.

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday
DISCUSSION! Drawing the line between MG & YA
Waiting On Wednesday
REVIEW! The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
In My Mailbox

March 17, 2011

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday.

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 read one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?

I prefer to read only one book at a time. I used to start several at once, but that never worked out because I'd end up neglecting and forgetting the others I wasn't currently reading.


Drawing the line between MG & YA.

Remember when I was fortunate enough to attend the AWP Conference in DC? Well, while I was there I attended a very interesting panel discussing the differences between MG and YA fiction.  The panelists tried to break it down very simply because the lines tend to blur between the two. Best example? Harry Potter. Technically Rowling's series is categorized under MG literature, despite its dark and mature themes, and teenage characters.  So why? Where do people draw the line?

The big numero uno.

Romance seems to be key for reeling in new readers. If you can develop a believable or swoon worthy relationship between one, two, even three characters, people go crazy and crave more. Granted, this is so long as the romance isn't haphazardly slapped into the story. (We don't like that!)

But can there be romance in MG literature? Technically, yes. But to what degree? In Harry Potter, there's nothing more than hugging and kissing. Not only is sex off limits, but it seems that making out is, too. And even a kiss can make some people wary of the MG/YA distinction.

Is it just one kiss? What kind of kiss? A peck? A first kiss?

There are variables that alter the meaning of the kiss, and they can plunge the story into either category. Of course, others think that romance should stay far away from MG literature altogether.

But what about in YA literature? These days romance is almost always the focus - but to what degree? Speak, Twenty Boy Summer, The Duff, etc. introduce mature, sexual relations. Others merely skim the surface of romance, never going beyond the memorable make-out sessions or hinting at the fact that sex occurred at some point in time. So what's the difference? The meaning behind the actions or the details of the actions?

Numero dos.

For some people - myself included - the age of the characters matters. I relate best to people in my age group, or at least in the general range.  I'm not in high school, but I can still enjoy reading YA literature set in the 9th-12th grades. But middle school? Kids below the age of sixteen, fifteen, fourteen? Not so much. There's a distance there.

But what set of ages can be labeled purely MG or YA? Again, with Harry Potter, the journey begins at eleven years old. You think, Yeah, definitely MG because no eleven-year-old is considered a young adult. But then you follow those characters for seven years, up until they're roughly eighteen years of age.

If you set out to write a MG novel, should your character then not start out as a teenager? But how young should they be? What about for a YA novel? Is there a cut-off? What's considered too young or too old?

Numero tres.

Middle school or high school? Pretty self-explanatory. Where do the characters go to school? Of which do they belong? It seems the difference is that there is less likely to be rebellious or mature themes in a middle school setting. The drinking, partying and drugs are kept for the YA/high school crowd. The MG readers get bullies, dying pets and sibling rivalry instead.

In this way, the setting influences what happens within the story, which can then define it as MG or YA.

But what about college? Is it an acceptable setting for a YA novel? Most stories are set right on the cuff - the in between period of Senior year at high school and Freshman year at college.  Is setting the story in college pushing the boundary? College kids are teenagers too, you know.

Romance, Age, and Setting are the big three, confusing factors.
Can you think of any others?

What do you think about any of the three, and do you have problems distinguishing your own writing as MG or YA?

March 16, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (6).

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


Tara Hudson

SUMMARY (from Amazon):

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.


This summary reminds me so much of Meg Cabot's Mediator series, which I absolutely loved. I'm all for the idea of the living communicating with the dead! Also, the cover is gorgeous. Cannot wait to read this one. Must must must must MUST have!

March 15, 2011

REVIEW! The Secret Year.

The Secret Year
Jennifer Hubbard


How do you get over someone who was never really yours to begin with?

Julia and Colt were together for a year, but nobody knew of their secret love. Then Julia dies, and Colt's life spirals out of control. He is haunted by her memory, and things only intensify when her journal falls into his hands. Can Colt bring himself  to read Julia's diary? Or will he live without answers to his burning questions about a romance that changed him forever?

My rating: 4 stars.


Blown away by Colt's insight. 

When I'm introduced to a male main character and point of view, I expect wry humor and blunt sexual encounters.  But this is not the case in The Secret Year.  Colt isn't a dark, brooding teenager.  He's not a nerd or a freak.  He is simply a boy, and I love that about him - that there's nothing special, that he's typical. It makes him all the more real.

The plot focuses less on Julia's letters and more on Colt coming to terms with her passing, which is both unexpected yet all right.  I don't feel like I missed much by not hearing about each and every note she wrote. Again, it made her all the more real.  She isn't the token dead girl or wispy, alluring ghost.  She's simply Julia, a girl caught in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with many faults and imperfections. It's not that she or Colt possesses any magnificent powers or quirks.  It's that they share a connection with one another that abruptly ends forever.

After her passing, Colt tries to get involved with other girls. This is the one inconsistency for me. Neither Syd nor Kirby (the two girls he attempts to date) are characterized much, save for a handful of personality traits. I feel like I don't know them enough, so his relationships with the two of them seem too spontaneous and developing from nothing. I would rather have gotten to know them better so that they didn't just seem like two girls Colt dates.

The writing is nicely descriptive, creating perfect balance between dialogue and description. It's not that the descriptions are mind-numbingly beautiful, but that they make you, as the reader, think. Hubbard phrases simple gestures and sights in the loveliest ways. If I'd gotten to know the characters better, this would be a solid five-star.

March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (7).

This meme originates over at The Story Siren.

Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin.
Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen.
Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr.

So excited! I'm a huge, huge fan of Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin, ever since reading The Half-Life of Planets. So I just had to get Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance

Sarah recommended Falling in Love with English Boys, and it seems right up my alley. Can't wait to give it a shot! How can you go wrong with England? I'm a London fanatic.

I'm a bit hesitant for Darkest Mercy, but I really want to see how the series comes to a close. Otherwise it would just feel forever unfinished.

March 11, 2011


TGIF is brought to us by Ginger at GReads!

It's a way for bloggers to celebrate the end of the week with a nice re-cap of their weekly posts and to answer a random question.

Book Mourning: does this happen to you?

When you finish an amazing book, do you find yourself at a loss to pick up another one? What was the last book that left you feeling so bewildered? & what did you do to overcome it?

Of course it happens to me! I've experienced many, many reading blocks.  Usually after reading any of Sarah Dessen's novels, which are some of the most perfect contemporary YA novels for my reading tastes, I have a difficult time getting into other contemporaries.  They never seem as insightful or real as Dessen's works. 


Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday
Waiting on Wednesday
REVIEW: Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney

IN THE STORM winner!

My giveaway for Karen Metcalf's In the Storm has ended, and the lucky winner is IvaliceAlliance!
*Chosen by
*You have 48 hours to respond to my e-mail before a new winner is chosen.

Thanks to everyone that entered!

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday.

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: If I gave you $80 and sent you into a book shop right now, what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till?

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr, Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance by Brendan Halpin and Emily Franklin, At Face Value by Emily Franklin, Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen, Like Mandarin by Kristen Hubbard and plenty of others!

Aren't these covers all gorgeous?! I'm dying to get these books! Want, want, want!


March 10, 2011

Giveaway reminder!

This is just a quick reminder that my giveaway to win an e-copy of Karen Metcalf's In the Storm ends in a few short hours! So if you still want to enter, you have time! No requirements - all you have to do is fill out the form.



Fill out the form HERE!

March 9, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (5).

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

Back When You Were Easier to Love
Emily Wing Smith

SUMMARY (from Amazon):

What's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan-the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah-unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.


So excited for this! Seems like a cross between Amy and Roger's Epic Detour and Two-way Street. Gotta love a good roadtrip - and the names Zan and Noah. Awesome.

March 5, 2011

REVIEW! Bloodthirsty.

Flynn Meaney


Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl.  But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldy go where no sane guy has gone before - he becomes a vampire, minus the whole bloodsucking part.

With his brooding nature and unusually pale skin, it's surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be supernatural. But when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected.
My rating: 3 stars.


A funny, nerdy start that quickly falls very flat.

Finbar is the typical nerd - pasty white, immerses himself in reading, doesn't enjoy partying, isn't cool. He has to deal with his twin brother, Luke, being the typical, all-around liked jock.  His dad is clueless, and his mom wishes he was a girl.  They're all zany characters with their own matching zany moments, but they're never more than that.  What you see on the surface is what you get. 

While Finbar's voice is fitting for a sixteen-year-old, it's also cliche.  Most of the descriptions are cliches, too.  The only fitting thing is the dialogue.  None of the other characters stand out; they're incredibly predictable, but in a boring way.

The writing itself is catchy and appropriate; it's evident that you're in the mind of a sixteen-year-old.  Unfortunately the writing does nothing to help the faltering plot (which doesn't focus nearly enough on the whole faking-being-a-vampire issue). For most of the story I was confused as to how the plot somehow strayed from what is initially set up. I longed for the humor again. 

Bloodthirsty's really not bad, but not so good.
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