Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stay Review

Title: Stay
Author: Deb Caletti
Release Date: March 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 311

Sample Passage:
“First off, I've never told this story to anyone. Not the entire thing anyway, and not entirely truthfully. I'm only telling it now for one reason, and that's because an untold story has a weight that can submerge you, sure as a sunken ship at the bottom of the ocean. I learned that. This kind of story, those kind of things kept secret- they have the power to keep you hidden forever, and most of all from yourself. The ghosts from that drowned ship, they keep haunting."  (p.1)

“I thought it was a complement. I was sitting there, soaking in the great ego feed of new love, where your wonderfulness merges with his wonderfulness, magic dust that creates some sky-high shiny Christmas tree sparkling with admiration and flattery and tinsel and lights and a billion, hopeful, unopened presents underneath. I just saw it as praise, falling down now like glittering snowflakes. But it was something else. A drop of poison on that gathering snow. That moment in the fairy tale when we know what just happened but the princess doesn’t.” (p.49)

Mini Review:
Pros: Beautiful prose, Deb Caletti, powerful
Cons: none that really stood out
Overall: Favorite book of the last two years.
Grade: A++

Summary from Amazon:
Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is--and what he’s willing to do to make her stay.
Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....

Written Review:
Absolutely breathtaking. Caletti has always had a way with words that draw you into a story completely but Stay was so powerful, and so honest, and so beautiful, it took her talent to a whole new level of brilliance.

My favorite thing about all of Caletti’s works but Stay in particular was the way one aspect of the story, one emotion or event that not all can really relate to because most haven’t had the same experience, is expanded and explained in a way that every single person can feel for. There were so many parts of this novel that I had to stop and go find somebody to read it to because of the wisdom of a passage or the emotion portrayed was so close to myself.

With such raw emotions portrayed so vividly, the characters developed just as brightly. Clara has become one of the most realistic characters I’ve read and her story is so powerful and depicted so well that it’s sure to hit home with many. This is more than realistic fiction. It’s just plain real.

This novel is not one that comes close to a light read. It’s deep and full of thought and heart and love and forgiveness and moving on. It’s a story that will resonate with many and will not leave your head for a while after you’ve finished.

Breathtaking, heartbreaking, raw, real, beautiful, Stay is contemporary fiction at its very best. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Secret Year Giveaway

Hey everybody!
It's time for another contest!

The always lovely Jennifer Hubbard has offered to donate one copy of her book The Secret Year to one lucky person!

If you are a resident of the U.S., thirteen or older, and want to win a copy of this book, enter below now

The contest closes on April 20th so hurry and spread the word.

If you would like to know more about The Secret Year, now available in paperback, it is reviewed HERE

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Exposed Review

Title: Exposed
Author: Kimberly Marcus
Release Date: Feb. 2011
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 272

Sample Passage:
"The Best Trick

When we were small
Mike and I thought
Dad's friend from college
was better than Houdini
the way he could make coins
vanish into thin air.

But now Uncle Nate's traded his pouch of change
for a law degree and a Brooks Brothers suit,
and it's my dad who's on his cell phone
heading out the door, hoping Uncle Nate can make this
nightmare disappear."
(ARC, p.109)

Mini Review:
Pros: perspective, emotion, word choice
Cons: ending, too short
Overall: I strongly recommend it
Grade: A

Summary from Amazon:
Sixteen-year-old Liz is Photogirl—sharp, focused and confident in what she sees through her camera lens. Confident that she and Kate will be best friends forever.
But everything changes in one blurry night. Suddenly, Kate is avoiding her, and people are looking the other way when she passes in the halls. As the aftershocks from a startling accusation rip through Liz's world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself shifts out of focus. What happens when the picture you see no longer makes sense? What do you do when you may lose everything you love most?
Written Review:
I don't know when it happened, but some time recently I've begun to like verse novels more and more. My latest one to fall in love was EXPOSED by Kimberly Marcus.
EXPOSED gets to the heart of the story quick and the pace only picks up as the story progresses. But this speedy read is in no way a light novel. It's full of an intensity that evokes strong, raw emotions throughout the novel.

Without giving too much away, this book covers so much loss; the loss of trust, the loss of a lifetime friendship, the loss of innocence, the loss of privacy, the loss of any sense of normal. And even towards the end of the novel I wouldn't say it was all gained back.

The prose itself make the novel. Not a word seems out of place and each one carries so much weight that it adds another level of depth and reality to the story.

The ending is real. It is not a happily-ever-after, it does leave questions and suspicions unanswered, and though I can see how some would see this as a definite problem, I feel that this story wouldn't be as true as it could be with anything else.

I greatly recommend this novel. A quick read full of depth, originality, and a different perspective on a touchy subject, EXPOSED is a strong debut that will definitely leave a mark on all who read it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Delirium Review

By: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: February 2011


Summary from Goodreads:
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Outlined Review:
Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 9/10
Ending: 8/10
Voice: 8/10
Recommendation: 9/10
Total Score: 44

Grade: A

Age Appropriate Rating:

Cussing: 3/10
Drugs, alcohol, etc.: 1/10
Sexual Content: 3/10
Violence/Disturbing Images: 8/10

Written Review:
With Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver made us question everything we know about life, and with Delirium she questions everything we know about love.
Though it is starting to be a very new trend in Dystopian YA from the looks of things, the premise of Delirium alone is wonderful. When love is seen as a disease, as something to be feared and protected from, you learn all the things love really affects. Love is the basis of all feelings. Because it controls too much. Or rather, it makes one lose too much control. It makes one lose their emotional balance and actually feel, not feel obliged, but really feel, absolutely everything. Lauren Oliver uses that to her advantage with the building of the relationship between Lena and Alex, making it confusing and raw and beautiful and heart-wrenching.
And with that premise, Delirium leaves you with questions about what love means but also with awe about what we already know it is and the wonder that one could live without a feeling that is so large to encompass and connect to almost every other feeling out there. Oliver leads us into a world that is so exhilarating and unsettling and full of so much despair all at the same time. And though the idea of that is so sad and hard to imagine, Oliver’s strong imagery and convincing prose made it is easy to escape into that tragic world.
The story within was just as intriguing with characters to relate to and a love story to root for amid all the controversy and secrets. Lena was very relatable to everyone with her fears and doubts but also her want for something more. And with her broken past traveling alongside her every decision, you really get a feel for every risk and feeling she’s facing. The purposely detached feeling of some characters only better highlighted the importance of the relationships between Lena and Alex, and Lena and Hanna, again making you feel the importance of love itself.
About the ending: Yes, it was shocking and powerful and full of questions, but all the same, I still found the ending satisfying and leaving me much anticipated for the sequel releasing in 2012.
Overall, with engaging characters, eloquent prose, and a premise unlike most, DELIRIUM is a story that provokes thoughts, questions meanings, and gives the power of love a whole new importance.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You Are Not Here Review

Title: You Are Not Here
Samantha Schutz
Release Date:  
October 2010

Summary from Goodreads:Annaleah and Brian shared something special - Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn't need anyone else. It didn't matter that their relationship was secret. All that mattered was what they had with each other.
And then, out of nowhere, Brian dies. And while everyone else has their role in the grieving process, Annaleah finds herself living outside of it, unacknowledged and lonely. How can you recover from a loss that no one will let you have?

Outlined Review:
Character Development:  10/10pts
Originality: 6/10pts
Hookability: 10/10pts
Voice: 9/10pts
Recommendation: 10/10pts
Total Score: 45/50

Age Appropriate Rating:

Cussing:  3/10
Drugs, alcohol, etc.: 1/10
Sexual Content: 5/10
Violence/Disturbing Images: 2/10

Written Review:Verse novels aren’t my favorite. I want them to be. I really, really do. But for some reason I can never been able to get attached to a novel written in verse. Knowing this, when I saw the premise for YOU ARE NOT HERE, I knew immediately I wanted to read it, and I am so glad I did.
It was a novel written in verse, yet I still could not help myself from falling in love with it.  I cannot see it successfully written any other way. The raw emotions conveyed through the lines gave me such an insight into the grief AnnaLeah was feeling, the questions that were left unanswered, the need she felt to be wanted, to be loved, and the pain so large she couldn’t hide it as much as she tried.
As with anyone who has ever lost someone, I could easily sympathize with the shock of the death and AnnaLeah’s overwhelming sense of grief as she struggled to move on. Losing anyone is hard. Losing someone so young is ten times harder. YOU ARE NOT HERE captures perfectly the wide range of emotions that come with such a loss and weaves them effortlessly into a story of heartache, a story of struggle, and a story of moving on from the past when that’s all you seem to have left.
With beautiful prose, powerful imagery, and such strong, real feelings, YOU ARE NOT HERE is a quick read that will easily capture anyone who has ever experienced something as personal and tragic as death.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Giveaway for.....Low Red Moon

Low Red Moon
By: Ivy Devlin
Look for it in stores now!

About the Book:
The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash silver. She also learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died.

My Short and Sweet Thoughts:
Though this is a very quick and fast paced read, that did not take away from the sense of grief felt with each heavy word, the strong chemistry between Avery and Ben that can rival any other for best instant connection (and Ben by himself is pretty great too), and the mystery of the wolves, the woods, and the vicious murder of Avery’s parents.
Low Red Moon makes for an excellent paranormal debut.
A sequel is scheduled for early 2012


5 things readers would be surprised to know about you
1. I don't read much YA paranormal. In fact, I've never even read Twilight (I know, I'm awful!), though I did see the movie.
2. I talk to myself when I'm writing
3. I could eat potato chips all day!
4. I can wink my right eye, but not my left.
5. I love to watch TV, and I don't get it when other writers say it's bad. It's TV! I'm all for reading, but sometimes, you just have to kick back with your favorite show. Or try a new one...

4 things you wish you knew in high school
1. Your jerky boyfriend? Not going to change.
2. The guy you like? Go for it, and don't care what your friends say about how uncool/unpopular/etc. he is. He gets you, and that's what counts.
3. Your mother is wrong, and you do need to take typing so you can learn to type (Yep, I'm THAT old--I remember typewriters!)
4. Try to NOT party before the SATs.

3 things you are embarrassed to own/love/have done
1. I once talked my brother into riding his bike off our front porch (which was very high off the ground!) Luckily, he didn't get hurt, but to this day, he still teases me about it!
2. My habit of singing constantly. And badly.
3. Learn from me and please, *please* don't make out with the hot but total issue-filled guy you meet at a party when you're a freshman in college. When he's following you around six months later and putting cigarettes out in his hand so you'll talk to him, you'll wish you had a restraining order. And had thought things through before the making out.

2 careers you might have chosen if you weren't an author
1. Rich layabout
2. See 1.

1 thing you can't live without
1. My husband


5 words to describe your book
Steamy, intense, surprising, and pretty!

4 reasons you love writing YA

1. Because it's AWESOME!
2-4. See 1. :-)

3 reasons everyone should read your book

1. So I can write more about Ben and Avery!
2. It's really pretty!
3. I really want to write more about Ben and Avery!

2 YA books you adore
Two? Just two? Sorry, can't narrow it down like that!

1 tip for aspiring YA writers
Read everything you can get your hands on.


Enter Below to win your own copy of Ivy's debut!

Friday, September 17, 2010

An Interview with....Lauren Baratz-Logsted

The Twin's Daughter
By: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Look for it in stores now!

About the book:
Lucy Sexton is stunned when a disheveled woman appears at the door one day…a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Lucy's own beautiful mother. It turns out the two women are identical twins, separated at birth, and raised in dramatically different circumstances. Lucy's mother quickly resolves to give her less fortunate sister the kind of life she has never known. And the transformation in Aunt Helen is indeed remarkable. But when Helen begins to imitate her sister in every way, even Lucy isn't sure at times which twin is which. Can Helen really be trusted, or does her sweet face mask a chilling agenda? Filled with shocking twists and turns, this is an engrossing gothic novel of betrayal, jealousy, and treacherous secrets that will keep you guessing to the very end.

My short and sweet thoughts:
Though slow at first, when this book does pick up it captures you fully. The mystery, the twists and turns, the Gothic-style, and the final, shocking and just a tad unsettling, conclusion, all make for one very suspenseful and very addicting novel that is very much worth checking out!

5 things readers would be surprised to know about you:
my lack of height,
my current hair color,
my recent sports obsession,
my indifferent housekeeping skills,
what I have on right this minute.

4 things you wish you knew in high school:
not to hurry time because once you’re a grownup you’re a grownup for good,
that two doughnuts as a mid-morning snack is not a good idea,
that my Sociology teacher was wrong and I would make it in the world,
that it’s not wise to wear a puffy ski jacket on a date in June no matter how good the reasoning for it.

3 things you are embarrassed to own/love/have done:
checking my Amazon rankings every day
and that thing above about the puffy ski jacket.
Sorry, I can only come up with two but as you can see, I don’t embarrass easy. That’s not to say I haven’t done plenty of embarrassing things.

2 careers you might have chosen if you weren't an author:
singer – HA! – or Mayor of Danbury.

1 thing you can't live without:
5 words to describe your book:

4 reasons you love writing YA:
the enthusiastic audience,
the fact that ideas can still be fresh,
the amazing bloggers,
feeling a part of the writing YA community.

3 reasons everyone should read your book:
because it’s different,
because it’s big (you’ll really get your money’s worth!),
because of Kit.

2 YA books you adore:
Freeze Frame, by Heidi Ayarbe:
King of the Screwups, by K.L. Going.

1 tip for aspiring YA writers:
read everything you can get your hands on.

be sure to check out THE TWIN'S DAUGHTER in stores now.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

Title: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June
Author: Robin Benway
Release Date: August 2010

Summary (from ):
I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself. 
Three sisters share a magical, unshakable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose? 
April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other. 
Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.

Character Development: 15/10pts
Plot: 10/10pts
Ending: 10/10pts
Writing: 15/10pts
Recommendation: 20/10pts
Total Score: 100/50
Grade: A++++

Age Appropriate Rating:
Cussing: 6/10
Drugs, alcohol, etc.: 2/10
Sexual Content: 5/10
Violence/Disturbing Images: 3/10

Written Review:
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June is just that: Extraordinary.  I can’t get these characters out of my head and I can’t seem to properly formulate a review so bear with me as I try my best to not sound fan-girly. 
I had such high expectations for this book after falling in love with Benway’s first title, Audrey, Wait!, and this book surpassed every single one of them. Just like with Audrey, Wait!, this book has the characters I want as my best friends, the snappy dialogue that I only wish I could come up with, and to top it off, it was all so relatable and real even without the main storyline seeming relatable or real at all.  
Character development through dialogue is my absolute favorite. Character development through great, smart, witty, completely real and thought through without sounding staged dialogue is even better. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June would fall into the “even better” category.
Not all authors can accomplish multiple POVs that stay fully separate to where the reader can easily visualize who’s talking without having to flip back to the first page of the new chapter. Yet in The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June, the alternating POVs seem to blend three absolutely individual voices together almost effortlessly. I loved all three of their unique personalities and still can’t figure out who I connected to more (April’s inner control freak and constantly stressed self? May’s sarcastic personality filled with all these things she couldn’t imagine expressing out loud? June’s want for so much but naivety about it all too? Maybe a huge mix of it all?), yet they all still came together to form the strong bond of sisterhood that anyone with a sister should be able to relate too.
Overall, whether it’s the guys and their awkward hotness or the story (because really could it get better than sisters with superpowers?? I strongly don’t think so) or the sister’s themselves, I found nothing less than extraordinary in The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June. The witty dialogue, authentic characters, and tons of heart, make for another win for Robin Benway. I can’t stress enough how much I’m looking forward to her future titles and I strongly suggest you pick up this one fast.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Contemps

The day you've been waiting for is finally here!!
Because today is the launch day of

Be sure to check out this fabulous group of 21 authors who are focused on keeping it real.

Those 21 authors include....
  • April Henry
  • Brent Crawford
  • Courtney Summers
  • Daisy Whitney
  • Denise Jaden
  • Elizabeth Scott
  • Emily Wing Smith
  • Hannah Harrington
  • Jo Knowles
  • Kirsten Hubbard
  • Kody Keplinger
  • Kristen Tracy
  • Lindsey Leavitt
  • Lisa Schroeder
  • Melissa Walker
  • Michael Northrop
  • Micol Ostow
  • Mindi Scott
  • Sara Bennett Wealer
  • Sarah Darer Littman
  • Sarah Ockler
Doesn't that sound like a super group!!

So now that you know why today is the day you've been waiting for, be sure to check out thier site at and also follow them on Twitter at

O and one last thing, while you're at their site make sure to check out their "Get Involved" Page to find out how you can win all of their amazing books in the coming year!!!

I know I'm excited for all of this and can't wait to see what these awesome authors have in store!!



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Plus Review

I wrote this a while ago and just found it again and realized I never posted it. So that's why there's no outlined review. I can't remember well enough to judge it fairly now. Anyways, enjoy the review and your last bits of summer. I do remember that this would make a great last book of summer read :)
Title: Plus
Author: Veronica Chamber
Release Date: August 2010

Summary (from ):
Beatrice Wilson is our lovable Cinderella, who just got dumped by her very first boyfriend and put on twenty-five pounds. But then she’s discovered as a plus model. In the eyes of pop culture, Bee is Jessica Alba and then some! Now she must vanquish skinny rivals, fend off sleazy photogs, and banish jealous frenemies in her rise to superstardom. All the while, she’s torn between her first love and the surprisingly sincere up-and-coming rapper she tutors in calculus. But what’s better than finding your prince charming? Finally learning to love yourself!

Written Review:
Plus is a quick, light read with lots of character.
Bee’s voice was very fun and easy to get in to but at times she seemed a little too whiny and immature for a seventeen year old pre med at Columbia.  Her “perfect” boyfriend Brian made me want to punch him from the very first time he was introduced. He was a jerk of a guy and I really didn’t like Bee sometimes for not having the common sense to see that. I also didn’t like how she seemed to ditch her friends and alter her personality to be with him.  I really wanted to knock some sense into her and tell Brian to stop being such an awful jerk because every time she talked about him I immediately started to get annoyed with her too. And being annoyed at the main character isn’t a good way to connect with the book.
But even though Brian was such a jerk, their breakup could have been one of the best things to happen to Bee.  The funk he knocked her into inadvertently led to her superstardom as a plus size model. He is what led her to gain the 25 pounds that made her plus size and he is what led Bee to finding a best friend in Chela, another one of his exes. And Chela was the one to push her into her modeling career.
Even though I didn’t like Bee at all times, I really did like this book though.  It was very light and had a great summer feel to it. It also had a great self-image boosting message that not everyone that’s beautiful is paper thin. It had rivalries and friendships, jerky boys and a sweetheart ending, drama, scandal, self-doubt, self-confidence, and a great Cinderella story message. 
The one thing that really took away enjoyment while reading this book was constant repetition. Things we already knew were being introduced repeatedly as if we had no clue of who the character was or what the situation happened to be. But I will in no way hold that against this book because I have a very strong feeling that that will be corrected in time for the final copy which publishes this August.