Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Murder, mayhem and magic...

Locked in a coffin-like darkness, there is nothing to distract me from my memories of killing Reyad. He deserved to die—but according to the law, so do I. Here in Ixia, the punishment for murder is death. And now I wait for the hangman's noose.

But the same law that condemns me may also save me. Ixia's food taster—chosen to ensure that the Commander's food is not poisoned—has died. And by law, the next prisoner who is scheduled to be executed—me—must be offered the position.

Yelena is an amazing main character. As she talked about her past, she showed me that she was willing to do whatever it took to save others and herself, a trait which I greatly admire. She has guts, for lack of a better word, and she'll only take so much ill treatment before she takes action herself.

The characters that surround Yelena were awesome as well. I couldn't get enough of Ari and Janco. Talk about perfect older brother material! In the beginning, I really liked Rand as well. A guy who can cook is total win! Valek was another intriguing character. I wasn't quite sure what to think of him at first, but I warmed up to him after a bit. My attitude towards him mirrored Yelena's almost exactly.

The plot in this book is always jumping. Poison Study is one of those books that I absolutely could not put down. It kept me riveted the entire time.

The ending! The ending of this book resolved enough to leave me satisfied, but it also had me rushing out to the bookstore at the very next available opportunity to get a copy of the next book in the series, Magic Study*. A review of it will be coming soon.

Borrow Poison Study* from a friend, from the library, grab your own copy from a bookstore. Read it and then tell me what you think. I think it's absolutely amazing.

*Amazon affiliate link

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Bailey was the star. She dazzled everyone, but now she's dead. Lennie, Bailey's sister and best friend, suddenly finds herself smack in the middle of a drama that rivals even the most dramatic stories Bailey shared with her.

Two boys. One who makes Lennie forget of her grief, the other who seems to be the only one who understands.

I found myself rooting for Lennie again and again, even when she did some pretty stupid things. The poetry she wrote was absolutely fabulous and probably my favorite part of the novel. She's so talented. A great poet and an incredibly gifted clarinetest, although she doesn't see herself that way.

And Joe. Joe was so awesome. I love one of Lennie's observations of him when she first meets him.

The guy looks unabashedly jack-o'-lantern happy which couldn't be more foreign to the sullen demeanor most of us strove to perfect. (From an ARC. May differ from final version.)

To me, that's very easy to picture in my mind. It's like a moth to a light. You can't help but be attracted.

Not to say that Toby and Lennie together wasn't absolutely intriguing. While Joe and Lennie's relationship makes Lennie seemingly forget about the grief that haunts her, allowing her to be happy, at least for a little while, Toby really does understand, and their relationship often comes across as darker and more seductive. Still, I definitely knew who I was rooting for!

The supporting cast of characters were great, as well. I think Uncle Big was my favorite character, after the three mentioned above. So odd and different. Sarah, "the most enthusiastic cynical person on the planet," was a pretty great friend to Lennie, and I loved her.

The Sky Is Everywhere* is a great debut novel, and I can't wait for more books by Jandy Nelson!

*amazon affiliate link

Saturday, March 27, 2010

2010 Debut Author Challenge

Here's a challenge that I've seen quite a few of you join, and I thought it would be fun to jump in as well:

The Story Siren

Hosted by The Story Siren, the purpose of this challenge is to read YA and MG books released in 2010 written by, you guessed it, debut authors!

Here's a few books I'm planning on reading for the challenge:

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
I've been excited for this book since I first found out about it! In fact, it was my very first WoW post. It comes out on May 25th.

Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
I just recently came upon this novel while browsing goodreads, and it sounds like a great story! What would you do if you were not sure if you would get a heart you desperately needed to survive? It comes out in April.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
You should all go check out this author's blog: Natural/Artificial. I think it's great. Sandy introduced me to it. Here's what the book's about:

It's about a girl. It's about a boy. It's about Parisian boarding school, almond-scented macaroons, famous cemeteries, and cinemaphiles. It's about heartache. And it's about true love.

How am I supposed to wait until December? December??

Everlasting by Angie Frazier
I think this is one of the prettiest covers I've seen to date. And it's a historical! Love it. Comes out on June 1st.

Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
The premise behind this book is very intriguing to me. Death. And cults. Sounds compelling! It's out on September 7th.

Sea by Heidi R. Kling
The setting of this book, post-tsunami Indonesia, is definitely one of the first things that drew me to this book. I found out about Sea after following the author on twitter, @HeidiRKling. You should go follow her too! Bunches of fun. Coming in June!
I've also had the opportunity to read the following debut books. Reviews coming soon!

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter
The Mark by Jen Nadol
Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

This challenge is going to be a lot of fun!

Post contains Amazon affililate links.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby

At the young age of 15, Catherine Howard has become engaged to the king. She will marry him. That is what she's been told by her family. That's what she does.

But it's not quite that simple. In her marriage to King Henry, she must appear pure and virginal, which means she must leave behind her past, which isn't pure. She must also produce a male heir, quickly.

As time passes and Catherine is still not with child, she takes desperate measures, at the insistence of her family and in fear for her own life. But soon danger heightens, and producing an heir becomes the least of Catherine's worries.

A long time ago in fifth grade (which was actually not that long ago) I came across a book called Elizabeth I: Red Rose of The House Of Tudor, England 1544 which was a part of The Royal Diaries series by Kathryn Lasky. In the back of that book, there were a couple pages showing all of King Henry's wives. I was fascinated. He had six wives! Six! I remember wanting to know more about his wives, but I never looked into it. Within a couple months I had forgotten.

Then, a few months ago, I heard about The King's Rose, a historical fiction account about his fourth wive, Catherine Howard. I knew that I definitely wanted to read it, and when the chance came to review it as part of a Traveling to Teens tour, I was very excited.

At first, I had a bit of trouble getting into this novel. There are a lot of characters introduced quite quickly, and it took me a couple chapters before I could get everyone straight in my head.

Once I had that figured out, I absolutely loved it!

Catherine is aquite captivating. She has the classic case of wanting that one thing that you can't have, despite the fact you have everything else. Yet I couldn't quite fault her for it. What she wanted was such a common thing for a girl her age to want, an all consuming love.

Which brings me to another fact that intrigued me about Catherine; her age. She was only fifteen when she married the king. I'M fifteen, and I can't even imagine getting married, let alone to a king. I know that in that time period, it wasn't such an odd thing to get married young, but it still amazed me. To be put in such a position at such a young age, that had to be such a heady experience.

All the other characters in this book were intriguing to read about as well, especially Catherine's family. By the end of the book, I really wanted to have at the duchess.

The ending of this book was fabulous. Although I obviously wasn't a fan of what happened, the writing was amazing. It's one of those endings that you spend the next few days thinking about. I loved it.

The King's Rose is a book I heartily recommend for historical fiction lovers.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Author Interview with Alisa M. Libby

As part of a Traveling to Teens tour, I had the opportunity to interview Alisa Libby, author of The Blood Confession and The King's Rose. Hope you enjoy!

You listen to David Bowie a lot. What's your favorite song of his?
The answer completely depends on my mood. If I need a shot of adrenaline, perhaps before a signing or book talk, I'll listen to “Blackout” or “Putting out Fire”. Or “Suffragette City” or “Rebel Rebel”. If I'm getting ready to write I'll listen to his Heathen album. I also love “Life on Mars”. So yes, it's a difficult question to answer! His Bowie at the Beeb album is among my absolute favorites.

What are you working on now?
I have a few works-in-progress at the moment. I'm taking a break from historical fiction to write some contemporary, magical-real fiction. I love historical fiction, but I just couldn't imagine starting all of that research again! If I'm truly in love with a character, then the research is fun...otherwise, it's drudgery. So I'm having fun writing about characters who wear jeans and sweaters and live in a world pretty much like places I've visited. It's liberating to be able to focus on the character and the plot and not have to worry about researching what she would be eating and what her clothes would look like.

What's your favorite type of ice cream?
Like Bowie songs, it's difficult for me to pick a favorite. Mint chocolate chip. And anything with chocolate and peanut butter. Yum.

I'm definitely with you on chocolate and peanut butter!

You like sheep. What is there to love about sheep?
What's not to love about sheep? They're round and have funny faces and walk around wearing wool sweaters all the time. I don't know if you've ever heard sheep “talk” to one another, but it is hilarious. My husband and I witnessed this while traveling in Scotland, years ago: we heard two sheep baaa-ing at each other, really loudly, clearly having a conversation. They sounded like an irritated elderly couple lost in a parking lot.

Awww, that sounds cute.

What do you love most about writing historicals?
Well, I did just complain a little bit about research earlier...but I loved visiting a time period like Tudor England, that is just so rich with amazing details, things that I never would created on my own. The food they ate, the elaborate clothes, their celebrations and banquets, the music they danced to, their customs and beliefs that seem so strange to us today. Not to mention the people who populated King Henry's court – each one more brilliant and conniving and crazy than the last. And imagine, if someone wrote a novel about a king who had a total of six wives, divorced two and executed another two, wouldn't it seem a bit far-fetched? History is filled with these over-the-top personalities. And for all of his tyrannical tendencies, King Henry really did know how to throw a great party.

Thank you, Ms. Libby! Be sure to check out her website,, especially this page on Catherine Howard, which I found really fascinating.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Thanks to everyone who has entered my past two giveaways!

The winner of Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner is:


And the winner of the Beauty and the Beast giveaway is:


The winners have been emailed and have one week to claim their prize.

Thanks again, everyone. I'm happy to say that I can foresee more giveaways on the blog in the near future!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oblivion Road by Alex McAulay

On their way home from a ski trip, Courtney and her friends get in a bad wreck on an isolated road just as a blizzard descends. Though hurt, they're all alive... For now.

Dun. Dun. Dun.

It probably took about fifty pages for me to really get into the book, but once I got invested in the lives of the characters, I was insanely curious as to how it would end.

As a pretty squeamish person (I'm not the one you want beside you if you're bleeding), some of the descriptions of blood and whatnot had me squirming. For example, on page 92:

Without looking down, Courtney probed deeper. It was spongy and warm inside. She tried to tell herself she wasn't feeling the insides of a human body, but it didn't work.

That, and the next few lines following, put a grimace on my face.

Knowing that things could change at any second and that these people are in a literal life and death situation kept me on the edge of my seat. Would they all survive? All die? Why can't I read faster??

The tag line of this book is right on: Sometimes the will to survive is the scariest thing of all.

This book was reviewed as part of an Other Shelf Tour.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris

From the back of the book:

Do Hard Things inspired thousands of young people around the world to make the most of the teen years. Now Alex and Brett Harris are back and ready to tackle the questions that Do Hard Things inspired: How do I get started? What do I do when I get discouraged? What’s the best way to inspire others? Filled with stories and insights from Alex, Brett, and other real-life rebelutionaries, Start Here is a powerful and practical guide to doing hard things, right where you are.

At 176 pages, Start Here is a very quick read, but within those pages, there is a lot to digest. It's quite easy to fly through, but you'll get more out of it if you take your time.

It's a greatly inspirational book and answers practically every question one could have about how to start on a quest to do hard things, big or small, as well as the ramifications such actions can have.

There lots of stories thrown in which breaks the book up nicely, making it quite easy to read. Start Here is a good book with a great message, and it's one that I definitely recommend.

You can follow Alex and Brett Harris on twitter: @therebelution

And visit their website at

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Swoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter

Polly's summer is sure to be dramatic. She's sworn off boys since her junior was horrible when it came to romance.

It'll be bad enough working with ex #3, Sawyer, at a water park for kids. It seemed like a good idea at the time, just like learning all about cars for Kurt, going hiking over spring break with Gareth, or running for student council for Hayden. However, the near constant presence of her suddenly hot neighbor at the water park makes it hard for her to keep up her resolve.

Swoon at Your Own Risk is a quick, amusing read. Watching Polly weave in and out of a number of problems was quite entertaining.

She has boys on her mind a rather large majority of the time, even though she's sworn off romance. It's hard to get a guy off your mind if you he keeps showing up everywhere! It's obvious that all of her romances thus far have ended badly, and I definitely couldn't blame her for wanting to throw in the towel.

My favorite character in this book was Xander. He was a guy that Polly had known for forever, yet seemingly overnight he’d grown hot. She remembers him from when he used to lick desks. I can relate to this! There are a few guys I can think of that have gone through a seemingly instant metamorphis and had me wondering what happened to the awkward kid I knew in elementary school.

Polly spends a large amount of time trying to be perfect for everyone else, and dealing with the important issue of being your true self lends this book a bit of seriousness that made me like it even more. Sometimes I wanted to shake Polly, and tell her to just be herself, but that's a lot easier said than done.

Swoon at Your Own Risk is definitely worth a read.

This book was reviewed as part of the One ARC Tours. Post contains amazon affiliate links.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Moon Movie Review

I wrote this review right after the movie came out, stuck it in my review folder, then managed to promptly forget it existed. I found it a few days ago and thought now would be a good time to post it with the upcoming DVD release. Spoilers if you haven't read/watched Twilight.

The trailer:

I'm a fan of the Twilight Saga. Not a raving mad fan, but a fan, nonetheless. And I'm happy to say that I liked this movie. A lot.

New Moon made me laugh often, in a good way. There were plenty of moments stuck here and there that kept the movie from being all doom and despair and angst. It surprised me with how close it stuck to the novel. Of course, not everything was the same, but it was very close to the book.

This movie wasn't completely perfect for me, though. There was a couple times during the movie where the cinematography made me dizzy, and there were also a few moments when I was rolling my eyes. Thankfully those didn't occur too often.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. Getting to know the pack on screen was awesome, as was seeing everyone else again. And since it's probably my favorite book in the saga, it was great to see it translated so well onto screen.

The New Moon DVD is available for pre-order on Amazon.

This post contains amazon affiliate links.

Monday, March 8, 2010

500 Days of Summer

This past weekend, I went to the local Movie Gallery and picked up
(500) Days of Summer after hearing how much Meg and Alea
loved it on Twitter. And I just wanted to say....

It is brilliant.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Sarah has liked Ryan for a long time. Years, in fact. But that doesn't matter anymore. He's now her best friend's boyfriend. And it's torture. Then, one night, things happen between Ryan and Sarah. It's bliss, but it might not be worth the damage that follows. Will it?

Elizabeth Scott has delivered another awesome book. The Unwritten Rule is smart, heartbreaking, and greatly realistic. While I, quite thankfully, have never been caught in Sarah's predicament, it is certainly one I've seen acted out to one degree or another within the relationships of teenagers around me. It's not pretty.

Before I read the book, I have to admit that I was predisposed to Brianna's (Sarah's best friend) side of things. After all, she did get him first, and no matter what Sarah's feelings may be, rules must be followed. Especially ones like keeping away from people's boyfriends. However, within a couple chapters, I was on Sarah's side almost one hundred percent. By the end of the book, I don't think anything could have gotten me off of her side.

With the suspense tied into this book, I couldn't put it down. And all too soon, within just a few hours, I had finished the book. I couldn't get enough and soon found myself flipping through my favorite passages a couple more times. This is one of those books that is a complete blast to read! I heartily recommend.

This book was reviewed as part of One ARC Tours.

The Unwritten Rule release date isn't until March 16, but it's available for pre-order on Amazon now.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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