Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hold Still Review

Title: Hold Still
Author: Nina LaCour
Release Date: October 20, 2009
Summary from Amazon:
dear caitlin, there are so many things that i want so badly to tell you but i just can’t.

Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin. Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend’s suicide. With the help of family and newfound friends, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn’t die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed only to chronicle Ingrid’s descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who loved Ingrid—and Caitlin herself

Outlined Review:
Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 6/10
Hookability: 8/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 9/10
Recommendation: 10/10
Total Score: 53
Grade: A

Age Appropriate Rating:
Cussing: 5/10
Drugs, alcohol, etc.: 1/10
Sexual Content: 5/10
Violence/Disturbing Images: 4/10

Written Review:

I can’t begin to describe how much I loved this poignant novel. From the very first page each word seems heavy with so much pent up emotion. The whole book is very touching without being depressing. On the very first page I got that feeling of oncoming tears and by the end of the novel I had cried way more than once.

Caitlin’s voice held such raw feelings that only made you sympathize and really love her all that much more. All of Caitlin’s anger at Ingrid for not telling her of her pain; her anger at herself for not being the friend she should have been; all of her guilt. Her sadness; were portrayed as honestly as ever. She was a character with so much depth and that made her story so real.

Caitlin developed amazingly as a character. She reacted very realistically to the shocking death of her best friend; Going into seclusion almost and trying to get all images of her out of her head while also trying to keep her alive for as long as possible. The pacing was very well done also. Caitlin’s growth throughout the book developed during real time which was nice to see.

You also get a clear feel for the character of Ingrid and how her suicide not only affected Caitlin but also her sibling and parents and each of her classmates and teachers. Each of her journal entries really let you see how much she was hurting and how much she desperately tried to change for the better.

The ending was perfect. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It was bitter sweet to see the growth of the characters as they learned to moved on but not forget.

Overall, HOLD STILL is a touching debut story with great characterization, voice, and emotion. In a heartfelt novel of overcoming such a shocking loss, Nina LaCour blends effortlessly a story of hope, love, and forgiveness. HOLD STILL is a sad book that portrays the beauty of friendship and leaves you smiling through your tears.


And check out this awesome trailer Nina LaCour put together for her book!

Ahhh! I can’t get it to show up on blogger right but check out the link below. It’s worth it if you haven’t seen it yet.


thanks so much


Saturday, October 24, 2009


hosted by Kristi at

The last 2-3 weeks I've gotten the following:

1. The Naughty List By(I totally screamed forever when this showed up)
2. Nothing Like You
3. Vinyl Princess
4. Cashing In
5. Little Miss Red
6. Ex-Mas
7. By the Time you Read This I'll be Dead
8. Wish you were Dead
9. Of All the Stupid Things

So overall I've had a great last couple of weeks.

Sorry for the lack of pictures by the way. I'll update this later today with them. My computer is just running slow and I wanted to get this up before it froze again.

Thanks so much.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nothing Like You Review

Nothing Like You
By: Lauren Strasnick
Release Date: Oct. 20, 2009

Summary (by GoodReads):

“You think he’s yours but he’s not, I thought. You think he’s yours but really he’s mine.” When Holly loses her virginity to Paul, a guy she barely knows, she assumes their encounter is a one-night stand. After all, Paul is too popular to even be speaking to Holly, and he happens to have a long-term girlfriend, Saskia. But ever since Holly’s mom died six months ago, Holly has been numb to the world, and she’s getting desperate to feel something, anything—so when Paul keeps pursuing her, Holly relents. Paul’s kisses are a welcome diversion, and it’s nice to feel like the kind of girl that a guy like Paul would choose. But things aren’t so simple with Saskia around. Paul’s real girlfriend is willowy and perfect… and nothing like Holly. To make matters worse, she and Holly are becoming friends. Suddenly the consequences of Holly’s choices are all too real, and Holly stands to lose more than she ever realized she had.

Outlined Review:
Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 7/10
Hookability: 9/10
Ending: 7/10
Voice: 9/10
Recommendation: 9/10
Total Score: 51
Grade: A

Age Appropriate Rating:
Cussing: 5/10
Drugs, alcohol, etc.: 4/10
Sexual Content: 8/10
Violence/Disturbing Images: 1/10

Written Review:

Nothing Like You is refreshing novel of loss and love. One of the best aspects of this novel was its great characterization. Holly was someone who had to learn to deal with the loss of a parent long before anyone should and who, because of her tragic loss, found comfort in all the wrong people. She made one huge, obvious lapse of judgment that spiraled other problems later on. Through all that she was still very relatable as a teen girl trying to figure out who to trust, who to love, and who she really is. Her thoughts were bluntly specific to every feeling and every opinion that went through her mind making it easy to see the reason she chose the path she did, no matter how unthinkable, every time. Besides Holly, the minor characters shined just as bright. Nils was so sweet. Holly’s narration of him tracked how the relationship had changed over the years as they both matured. Every scene between the two of them made me smile and then I’d want to tear the pages out because their chemistry seemed to be obvious to everyone but the two of them! Saskia was very different then you’d think the gorgeous, popular girlfriend would be but her characterization never faltered through it all. She always obtained composure and kindness that made you realize why Holly was so easily drawn to her. Paul on the other hand was the very charming, very popular guy who took advantage of a grieving Holly for his own pleasure. At the beginning I disliked him. By the end I couldn’t stand him! At all! I just wanted the best for poor Holly and Paul was kept sucking her into his jerkiness! Besides the great characterization, the book was paced perfectly for this story. It was a very quick read that left me wanting more of these awesome characters. The ending was satisfying enough but I would have liked a better resolution with a few people or at least one big dramatic blowup or confrontation. Even without my desired conclusion this is a very original story that I fell in love with. It’s very sweet and very cute but definitely not innocent.

Overall, Nothing Like You is a story of finding comfort in all the wrong places and of learning to love by first learning to lose. Holly is a character that finds a way into your heart from the very beginning. Through all of her mistakes and misfortune you can only wish the best for her in everything she does.



Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Tear Collector Review

The Tear Collector
By Patrick Jones
Released on Sept. 1, 2009

Summary from Amazon:
Descended from an ancient line of creatures that gain their energy from human tears, Cassandra Gray depends on human sorrow to live. Only Cass has grown tired of living this life and wants to live like a human, especially now that she's met someone worth fighting for.

Outlined Review:
Character Development: 9/10
Originality: 10/10
Hookability: 7/10
Ending: 6/10
Voice: 7/10
Recommendation: 8/10
Total Score: 47
Grade: B+

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

Written Review:

If The Tear Collector could be summed up in one word that word would be drama. Not to say that this book didn’t have romance, and family issues, and a journey to self discovery but the force behind all that was definitely drama. This book overflowed with rumors, and death, and scandal. But for a book with lots of drama there wasn’t a lot of true emotion that followed. But that was the concept of this book basically. About a very unique character who thrived off the drama and suffering of others without the ability to truly feel any of the hurt, pain, or love herself.

From the first page of this book I was hooked. Then towards the middle I began to pull away. But by the end the strong plotline, filled with action and deceit, pulled me in again. The Tear Collector was very unique. Never before had I heard or even thought about this concept of a tear collecting creature who desperately wants to feel human emotion. Patrick Jones created a whole new aspect to this vampire phase of YA books. Cassandra’s voice was very well written. Behind her words were hidden emotions that clearly detailed her conflicting thoughts of choosing loyalty or choosing love.

I really loved the romance part of this book. I think it was paced a little too fast (who says “I Love You” within the first week of dating?) to be realistic but the actual development of it in general was nice. Instead of Scott and Cass’s love being about fate and their destiny it was truly about their growing feelings for each other (even if it was paced a little too fast).

Unrelated to the actual plot and writing of this book, I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the stereotyped Catholic references. I know this is my personal judgment and I’m totally biased because I’m Catholic, but all of the references to how guilty us Catholics feel all the time and such is totally not true and that just bugged me. Okay back to the review....

I think the main problem I had with The Tear Collector was it’s abrupt ending. I was very disappointed in it. It seems that the story should have gone on because to me a few f the major plot lines were left unconcluded. Patrick Jones left the ending in a way where we as the reader could take three steps and figure it out ourselves but I think it would have been nice if he took those extra steps for us and showed us how it played out. But oddly enough, I don’t feel like the very poor ending ruined this book at all. I still recommend it one hundred and ten percent.

Overall, The Tear Collector is a very original novel filled with drama, trauma, and one decision that could change two lives. Putting romance, friendship, and the “family” aside, this is a novel about finding yourself in a mixed up world where what you’ve always known isn’t what you always want.

thanks.(and sorry for the super long review)

Become a Secret Society Teen Ambassador

Hey everybody! Tom Dolby is hosting a contest over on his site to celebrate the release of his new book, Secret Society. All of the details are below (taken directly from his site). Check it out!

thanks so much.



Become a Secret Society Teen Ambassador!Want to be a Secret Society Teen Ambassador?
Submit your name and US/Canada mailing address to Tom between October 7, 2009 and October 19, 2009 and the Bradford Trust will pick fifteen winners at random. Each one of the fifteen winners will receive an Ambassador Initiation Kit in the mail!

What’s in the Initiation Kit?

“The Initiates were given what looked like tattoos at the nape of their necks.” A set of 15 temporary ankh tattoos for you and 14 Initiates. Give them out wisely!

stainiac.jpg align=left src="">• “Anastasia took a sip of her martini, leaving a dark red lipstick print on her glass.” Your ticket to gorgeous lips and cheeks, TheBalm’s Stainiac Beauty Queen tinted gel blush (”a hint of tint for the lips and cheeks”)! A $15 value!

“A card was included with the package that simply read, ‘With compliments.’” A one-of-a-kind vintage New York postcard signed by Tom — use it as a bookmark!

fieldnotes.jpg align=left src="">• “Patch and Nick used to play this game in class, where they would pass notes.” One beautiful, retro-styled Field Notes mini-notebook, perfect for writing down secrets! At the Bradford Trust, we’re crazy about these little notebooks. Normally, three are $10!

“Lauren started to open it, but Emily stopped her.” Last, but not least: a secret initiation tool — here’s a hint: it’s sealed with an ankh!

After I Get My Kit, What Do I Have to Do?

Once you get your kit, go initiate your friends into the world of Secret Society! Loan them your copy, or better yet, tell them to pick up one of their own. For a chance to win more, see the instructions below about the tattoos!

My Friends Love the Tattoos! What Do I Do Now?

In the future, we will be launching a contest in which to enter, you will need to submit a photo of four people wearing the ankh tattoos (yes, one of them can be you!). If you want to get a head start on that contest (hint: the prize is fabulous and involves music), snap some pics of your friends wearing those tattoos; remember, you have to show all four tattoos somewhere in the pic (think hands, wrists, ankles — or if you’re really adventurous, you can go for the back of the neck!). You can start submitting those pics via email to Tom, but we won’t be officially announcing the prize until later (some things have to stay secret!). A selection of the best photos will be published on; if you don’t want your photo published, please note that in your entry, and we will honor that request.

Are You Really Only Giving Away Fifteen Kits?

The Bradford Trust’s giveaway of 15 Secret Society Ambassador Initiation Kits will start today. The second giveaway of 15 will be announced later in the fall (if you read the book, you’ll understand why…), so stay tuned!

And Remember…

“There is power in being one of the first.”

Saturday, October 3, 2009

In My Mailbox

memefied by Kristi, inspired by Alea

This week was a slow week but I'm super excited about the book I got and truthfully I welcome this slow week. I' ve been pretty overwhelmed (in a good way!) by books lately.

Anyway I got...

My Boyfriend's Dogs by Dandi Mackall
Release Date: Feb. 2010

O and I got TONS of bookmarks. And I do mean tons. Like over 100. But they are for a presentation I'm giving at a local middle school EXPO class (I know the teacher and she asked me to help out) about my blog and my love of reading. If you have something you think I should say in my presentation to represent book blogging or a cool trailer I should show them just let me know in the comments or email me at

Thanks so much.


An Interview with Tom Dolby

Hey Everybody! Today we have an interview with Tom Dolby, the author of Secret Society which released on Tuesday, September 29.

This is a picture of Tom

And this is his book

And these are his cool links

His site:
His HarperCollins Author Site is at:
Secret Society Twitter:
His Twitter:
HarperTeen feature:

And this is his very amazing interview

The Basics

1. When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I knew when I was in high school, when I was about seventeen.

2. What’s the best part of being an author?

You get to work at home (if you wish), you make your own hours, and you have an excuse to be curious about just about anything!

3. What’s the hardest part of being an author?

You have to be almost entirely self-motivated.

4. What’s the most surprising part of being an author?

There's a lot of business type stuff that authors have to learn about -- contracts, publicity, stuff like that -- beyond simply writing.

5. What is your typical day like?

I write three pages in the morning and then I try to get to work on my novel-of-the-moment as early in the day as possible. Usually there is some exercise thrown in, and a walk, and ideally a little trip into town or into my NYC neighborhood later in the afternoon.

6.*anything else you want to say about being and/or becoming an author*

We love hearing from fans! It means so much to an author when you hear from readers.

About the Book

1. What inspired you to write Secret Society?

I had always wanted to write an adventure series set in NYC.

2. What is your all time favorite part of Secret Society?

I love the initiation scene!

3. What was the hardest part to write?

Sometimes the more action-oriented scenes can be challenging -- there's one scene where a character gets kidnapped, and it was hard to write, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

4. How long did it take you to write and publish this book?

This one was very fast -- one year.

5. What is your latest project that you’re working on (if you can tell us anything)?

I'm working on the sequel to SECRET SOCIETY, which is really fun.

6.*anything else you want to say about any of your books*

I'm so excited to be writing for teens in addition to adults. I had always written ABOUT teens and twentysomethings, but now that I'm writing specifically for teens, it's exciting to connect with that audience!

Extra Stuff

1. What is your favorite part of writing?

I love completely losing myself in a chapter, and I find that an hour has flown by, the words are on the page, and I don't even know how it happened.

2. What’s your favorite piece of advice?

I love the bit about success being mostly about showing up. I think Woody Allen said it.

3. Why did you choose to write YA novels?

I wanted to try a little departure from writing for adults, and this story seemed to work well for teens.

4. What’s your most favorite part of high school?

I had some wonderful friends, and going to boarding school, I was so much closer with them than I might have been if I had gone to a day school.

5. What’s your least favorite?

The social pressure! It could be horrible. At the time, it seems like it all matters so much, and looking back, it really doesn't.

6.*Anything else you want us to know about your life in general*

Being a writer is a lot more fun if you have a dog. They remind you not to take yourself too seriously.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…..

5 of your favorite books

Catcher in the Rye

The Great Gatsby


The Year of Magical Thinking

The Bell Jar

4 things you can’t live without

Moleskin notebook, my iPhone, a good book, a great pair of sunglasses

3 things readers probably don’t know about you

I mostly drink iced tea, I always work on a Mac, and I carry a pen everywhere.

2 of your favorite YA authors

Melissa de la Cruz and Scott Westerfeld

1 other career you probably would have chose if you weren’t an author

Private detective


thanks so much for stopping by Tom!