Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is where I share with you a book that I am looking forward to reading when it is released.

(idea by Jill from Breaking the Spine)

Just Another Girl
by Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell
Release date: January 1st, 2009

Aster Flynn is stuck. She has to spend all of her "free" time with her younger sister, Lily, who, though fifteen, is mentally handicapped. At age seventeen, Aster should be hanging out with friends, dating boys, and working at a fun job. But her dad's MIA, her mom is always at work, and her older sister Rose is too self-centered to give her any help. It's not that Aster doesn't love Lily--it's just that for once she'd like to be able to be a normal teenager. So when a cute popular guy seems to take an interest in her, Aster hatches a plan. Somehow she has to get her workaholic mom and deadbeat dad to be the parents Lily needs so that Aster can have a life of her own. But can she ever get her parents to start acting like adults? Is this new guy worth the trouble? And, most importantly, will Lily get hurt in the process? With its real-life characters and struggles, Just Another Girl will immediately draw teen girls in. Author Melody Carlson knows how to write to girls just where they are.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


by Anna Levine
5 out of 5 stars

Eighteen-year-old Abigail Jacobs is faced with two years in compulsory military service in the Israeli Defense Force. She has to gain weight, leave her childhood friends, and abandon fear to get what she wants. What’s worse is that her family doesn’t believe that she could do it. Her friends are dumb-founded. Why would she do something like this? Can’t she just work in an office?

When things start to play in the right direction: she is in love, her military unit goes a step higher…. She finds herself in the midst of war. Now it is real.
This book was a wonderful read. I like how Author Anna Levine explained the feelings of a girl who is scared to be in love and war. Aggie is such a likeable character that I couldn’t stop reading.

The Israeli Defense Force is an interesting topic and I was fascinated how well this book played out. This book takes place during the 2006 Lebanon War in Israel.

The way the people’s emotions are described makes everything feel real, that their emotions are real. I like that Anna Levine picked a topic worth reading about. I enjoyed every minute while reading this book.

*book copy provided by HarperTeen's "old" FirstLook Program

Monday, December 29, 2008

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is where I share with you the books I've gotten in the mail, the library, et cetera. Maybe you'll find a book you want to read along the way!

(idea by TheStorySiren)

Waiting For Normal, by Leslie Connor
published by HarperCollin's Children's in 2008

Addie is waiting for normal.
But Addie's mom has an all-or-nothing approach to life: a food fiesta or an empty pantry, jubilation or gloom, her way or no way.
All or nothing never adds up to normal.
All or nothing can't bring you all to home, which is exactly where Addie longs to be, with her half sisters, every day.
In spite of life's twists and turns, Addie remains optimistic. Someday, maybe, she'll find normal.
Leslie Connor has created an inspiring novel about one girl's giant spirit. waiting for normal is a heartwarming gem.

(borrowed from the local library)

New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer

published by Little, Brown and Company in 2006

For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning. . . .

(got for Christmas from my loving sister)

Ratha's Creature, by Clare Bell
(originally published in 1983)
published by Firebird Fantasy in 2007

Ratha and her clan are the Named, a band of intelligent wild cats whose society is based on herding deer. the Named have laws, language, traditions, and leaders. they also have enemies. the predatory raiders of the unNamed are driving them close to the edge of survival. then ratha, a mere yearling, discovers what she calls the "red tongue"-Fire. Her new weapon gives the Named a new defense, but it also rouses the ire of Meoran, the tyrannical clan leader. soon ratha finds herself in exile among the un- Named, but determined to survive.

(received in the mail by BookDivas at CollectiveX)

If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?, by Melissa Kantor
published by Hyperion in 2005

When high school sophomore Lucy Norton's father remarries, Lucy's life is turned upside down. She and her father move from their West Coast home to a suburb on Long Island. With a small bedroom in the unfinished basement, unlimited shores, a blank social calender, and a huge crush on the dashing prince of the varsity basketball team, Lucy's life has the markings of a Cinderella story- completer with the two bratty stepsisters and the wicked stepmother. So isn't she supposed to get the prince? And go to the senior prom?

I have to share the back cover, also:

Connor Pearson knows who I am, I found myself thinking. He knows my name. Of course, my name was just about the only thing he did know about me, but it was something.

After all, what did Prince Charming know about Cinderella besides her shoe size?

(bought at Barnes and Noble)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Delicious: The Life and Art of Wayne Thiebaud

The Life and Art of Wayne Thiebaud: Delicious
By Susan Goldman Rubin
4 out of 5 stars

Wayne Thiebaud, the highly known painter and cartoonist, shares his life’s work with Author Susan Goldman Rubin so that she may put it in book form. From his childhood to his adulthood to his sons and daughter’s childhood, Wayne discusses how painting changed his life… in more ways than one. His passion for desserts and snack food inspired him to paint his first pictures. As he slowly go into it, he started to draw landscapes and then cityscapes. Wayne shares all the ways he grew as a painter and how different drawing techniques illustrate every picture in it’s own way.

The reason why I first picked this up at the library is because it looks awesome. Really, the cover and the how the pages are done really stands out. Once I got into, though, it wasn’t just about the pictures and the format, I wanted to see what happened in Wayne’s life. It’s told simply but thoroughly. It’s long but put in short. The paintings that are shown in this book are wonderful and each as it’s own taste, even though they were drawn by the same person. Wayne’s paintings are unique and “delicious”.

*book copy borrowed from the library

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wish you had a merry Christmas

... and have a happy new year!

Enjoy reading to yourself.

Poll Winner

Ending it a little early (since Christmas is over), here are the poll results:

What are you doing for Christmas?
spending time my family
reading a good book
just relaxing

And the winner is...
Spending time with your families!
Thanks to all who participated.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas... Eve!

(They start singing after one minute.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deep Down Popular

Deep Down Popular
By Phoebe Stone
4 out of 5 stars

Conrad Parker Smith was the all star of not only his sixth grade class, but his whole small Southern town (even the older kids looked up to him). Then one day, he came to school with a leg brace. His popularity started to fade. Jessie Lou, a straight A student and looked down upon by her mother and older sister, is assigned to help Conrad home every day from school. They soon become friends. Jessie realizes that Conrad is not only popular, but deep down popular. Then, in the middle of it all, Conrad is offered an experimental surgery to fix his leg. He accepts, but can Conrad and Jessie stay friends if Conrad becomes popular again?

Deep Down Popular had brilliant references about nature and little sayings throughout the book that made me think before reading on. The characters were so realistic and I could relate to their thoughts and feelings toward the world around them. The middle may have lacked certain information that made it hard for me to continue the book after several days gone without reading it, but the ending answered all of my questions and pulled everything together! I have to say, I have never read a book that matches this. I haven’t read any of Phoebe Stone’s books before, but I will be on the look out for them now. All I can say about this book is: brilliant.

*book copy borrowed from the library

Monday, December 22, 2008

Charlie Small: Gorilla City

Charlie Small: Gorilla City
by Nick Ward and "Charlie Small"
3.5 out of 5 stars

Charlie Small is a computer-game-playing, not-cleaning-his-room, has-fun-exploring-outside eight-year-old boy living by Lancashire, England. One day, he decides to pick up his backpack and explore once more. When he paddles down the river on his raft, he encounters a crocodile. After the fight, he realizes he doesn’t know where he is! He meets a friendly, mechanical rhino, almost gets eaten by hungry hyenas, attacked by a giant, poisonous snake, and becomes the king of a gorilla city. All the while, collecting evidence to prove his story when he arrives home and recording his many adventures in his journal, which washes up later on the banks of river Wyre.

The First Amazing, Astonishing, Incredible, and True Adventures of Me, Charlie Small: Gorilla City (long name, isn't it) was a fun quick read that gave me a brake from all of those long, slow-moving novels. The whole time I was reading it, I had a cartoon playing in my head, which made me realize that it actually would be a fun cartoon to watch on television! You can tell that it was written for younger children, but I think some may have trouble following the storyline. I recommend it to all young, adventurous boys who love the outdoors, for they might enjoy it the most. Charlie has a wonderful sense of humor any young boy would recognize.

*book copy provided by BookDivas

Places to Review Free Books Part Two

(ages 13-up)

What it is:

A place to review new ARCs from Hachette!

How it works:

I don't exactly know yet. I sent them an email recently and they wrote back with an attached form and I sent it out in the mail.

What you do:

"Would you like to read and review advance copies of books before they’re available anywhere else? Then you could be a Hip Scout, one of our teen readers who get free advance copies of our best YA books in exchange for writing a review. To join Hip Scouts, send an email to" -from the site

(age 13-up)

What it is:

Hundreds of members request books from Early Reviewers every month, but only few are picked. I have yet to be chosen but I am not giving up yet. (Being picked to review a book is based on eligibility and if you have a site or reviewed a lot of books.)

How it works:

Many of you that have clicked the link above, can't see what I'm talking about. You need an account first. It's really easy. Where it says log in, click the button that says 'Join Now' and complete the registration.

Then my link will work and you can see all the books that are posted.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Places to Review Free Books

Places where you can get free books:

What it is:

HarperCollin's publishers want people to review their books before they come out in stores. So, if you are up to the challenge, you could get free books to review.

How it works:

1. Make an account with all the programs selected.
2. You will get an email asking you to confirm your account, so... confirm it.
3. In your account, under the 'First Look' column, click 'click here' to view the current books you can review.
4. If you find a book (all of them are ARCs) in the list that you would like to read, tell them why you want to read it in the box below the book.
5. The first day of each month, they pick out people to get the books.

If you get one...

6. When you get it in the mail, read it and write a review for it (20 words or less) by the end of the month.
7. Log on and click the program offerings again. At the top (if you got a book) it will say the title of the book that you read. Click it. Submit your review in the box below and answer the few questions.

(It's a lot easier than I make it out to be.)

What it is:

BookDivas at CollectiveX are basically the employees of BookDivas, a place where people (mostly teens) can share and tell each other about books, but there are also contests constantly going on AND a review section. That review section is where the BookDivas at CollectiveX have their reviews posted by the big guns. How do the reviewing BookDivas get paid? With free books! (You get to keep the books that you review.)

How it works:

1. Go to BookDivas at CollectiveX and make an account.
2. There is a 'Books to Review' section in the Discussions area. That is where BookDiva Melyssa posts the new books.
3. Be fast, because it's first come first serve. Check it out daily. You never know when new books are going to be posted. It's always a surprise
4. Send a private message to Melyssa with your top 5 book choices and your mailing address (only send your mailing address with your first PM, because Melyssa will have the record of your address from then on).
5. They are really quick about sending books. For me, it only took a week or so, but be patient.
When you get the book...
6. When you get the book in the mail, try to read and review it during the next three weeks.
7. Private Message your (two paragraph) review to Melyssa and she will send it to the people at real BookDivas website.
8. They will post it whenever they get the chance.

Stay tuned for Part Two of Places to Review Free Books!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Beyond the Shadows of Summer

Beyond the Shadows of Summer
By Jonathan Zemsky
5 out of 5 stars

James was thirteen when he witnessed his little brother, Brand’s, death in 1954. Everyone knew Brandon wouldn’t live forever, due to his rare blood disease, but nobody expected it on that bright summer morning. One year later, James is still stuck with the feeling of being alone and guilty for his brother’s death. While working at the ten-day fair in his hometown, Springfield, Illinois, James slowly lets out the feelings that he had hid inside of him and regains his ability to live his life. Along the way, he meets his true love and receives his first kiss, discovers the way he truly feels about his friends, and realizes that the clock is always ticking.

Beyond the Shadows of Summer, at times, almost made me cry. James was the older brother that everyone dreams of having. His emotions were real and he truly cared about Brand. There was not one confusing part in the book. It was simply told in a realistic form. The friendships were tightly woven into the story and made a difference in each characters’ life. I repeated lines from the book throughout the week and every time I said them, I smiled. As for recommendations: no one should miss out.

(NOTE: A great opportunity for publishers! This book is self-published and the author is looking for a publisher. To contact him, visit his website.)

*book copy provided by the author

Poll Winner

This week's poll was...

What kind of world do you like reading about?

an exotic one
a new one
a realistic one
one that makes you happy

And the winner is:
One that makes you happy!

Thank you to everyone who voted.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


By Stephenie Meyer
5 out of 5 stars

17-year-old Isabella Swan left her home where she lived with her mother in Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Washington. She didn’t know when she could get used to the change in her surroundings, but she soon makes friends. What Bella is stuck on and confused about, though, is that family of five beautiful people that sit by themselves during lunch, especially the handsome bronze-haired boy, Edward Cullen. She becomes friends with Edward, though there is still too much about him that she doesn’t know. While they are falling in love, Bella soon finds out that Edward and his family are… vampires.

After hearing all the talk about the new Twilight movie I decided to read the book and I wasn’t disappointed! The love Edward and Bella shared was indescribable and real. Bella’s perspective on everything was fun to read about and the way Edward did things left me tongue-tied. I stayed up to two in the morning thinking, “Just finish this chapter.” As you can imagine, I read more than just that one chapter. Everything pulled together so nicely that I didn’t even have any questions at the end. I don’t want to the read the next book because “I want to know what happens”. I need to know.

*book copy borrowed from the library

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

HUGE contest at TheStorySiren

TheStorySiren is having a one year birthday party for her blog by, of course, celebrating with books! Check it out: here. It's going to be huge!

Sarah's Key

Sarah’s Key
By Tatiana De Rosnay
5 out of 5 stars

On July 16th 1942, Sarah’s life changed forever. French policemen were going door-to-door through Paris arresting Jewish families to bring to the Vel’ d’ Hiv and then taken to camps where their lives would be put to an end. Frightened, ten-year-old Sarah locks her little brother in their secret hiding place, while she holds the key and thinks that she will come back that night. What she doesn’t know is that she will be gone for months…
60 years later, Julia, an American journalist, is assigned to research and then write an article about the Vel d’ Hiv. Along the way, she finds a trail of family secrets that might indeed connect her to Sarah.

Sarah’s Key is one the most touching stories that I’ve read. While emotional and heart-breaking, it was adventurous and made me read on. Sarah’s story was so touching, I almost cried for her. It was difficult to keep all the names and places straight in my mind, but that is information I couldn’t miss out on. Julia’s life was weaved perfectly into the story of Sarah and her family. All of my questions were answered and my crave for knowledge fulfilled. One sentence I had stuck in my head the whole time I was reading: Remember. Never forget.

*book copy provided by St.Martin's Reading Group Gold

Monday, December 15, 2008

The answers... *drumroll, please*

Congratulations to TheBookworm of Au Courant! She was the first to get all of the answers right.

So, without further ado, here are the titles to the covers:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K. Rowling
(Priya and BookBegger got this right.)

Ever, by Gail Carson Levine

Gone, by Michael Grant
*You can also read TheBookworm's review of Gone here.*

Living Dead Girl, by Elizabeth Scott

Thanks to all how participated! It was fun while it lasted.

Far From You Contest

Lisa Schroeder, author of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, is celebrating the release of her upcoming YA novel, FAR FROM YOU, and hosting a contest with LOTS of great prizes!
For three days leading up to the book’s release date of December 23rd, you can watch VLOGs and hear some excerpts read from the book. The VLOG schedule is as follows:

Sunday, December 21st – Liv’s Book Reviews -
Monday, December 22nd – What Vanessa Reads -
Tuesday, December 23rd – Lisa Schroeder, author - AND

Help spread the word, and you might win a fabulous prize!

Copy and paste THIS entire blog entry into your blog between now and December 21st, then come back to Lisa’s blog at either Livejournal OR Myspace and leave a comment with the link to your blog and you will get TWO enteries to win a number of prizes.

Wondering what you might win? Here is the list (there will be multiple winners):

~ An Advanced Review Copy of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, by Carrie Ryan
~ An Advanced Review Copy of SOMETHING, MAYBE, by Elizabeth Scott
~ Young adult novel GIRL, HERO by Carrie Jones
~ Young adult novel, THE POSSIBILITIES OF SAINTHOOD by Donna Freitas
~ Young adult novel, UGLIES by Scott Westerfield
~ Pair of YA fairy tale retellings by Cameron Dokey (BELLE and BEFORE MIDNIGHT)
~ TWILIGHT movie soundtrack
~ $15.00 Barnes and Noble gift card along with some Harry & David’s chocolate moose munch
~ And of course, a signed copy of
For more chances to win, watch one or all of the VLOGs and leave a comment on that vlogger’s page, and you get another entry. That means if you post the schedule on your blog AND comment on all three VLOGs, you can have FIVE entries for the contest!

(A live drawing with winners announced will be done by Lisa Thursday morning, December 24th, in a special holiday VLOG.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What are the books?

Can you guess these newly released books?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Diamond of Darkhold (Book of Ember #4)

Diamond of Darkhold (Book of Ember #4)
by Jeanne DuPrau
5 out of 5 stars

Lina Mayfleet, Doon Harrow, and the other Emberites that escaped their dying city only months ago, are still living in Sparks, but in harmony with the villagers. One day, a roamer came to town with some unusual things, including a eight-page book. Trading for it with a match, Lina and Doon buy it, in hope that they can read and understand it. They discover that it is yet another set of guidelines for the people of Ember, which states about a special “jewel” and “diamond”. Lina and Doon decide to go back to Ember to find what the book describes. When they arrive to their dead city, they discover one thing more: someone is living there.

This book was even more delightful than the previous two in the Book of Ember series. It was full of action and emotion, which kept my fingers crossed for the characters. Whenever something new came out of the blue, my nose was practically glued to the book. I am still amazed that this was one of Jeanne DuPrau’s first works as an author. The ending wrapped everything up perfectly: what happened to the characters, how they changed the future… but the last two pages baffled me. It did not go along with the story and completely threw me off course, but I still highly recommend the book to everyone. 5 stars!

*book copy provided by BookDivas

Reading to Myself

The clock is always ticking which means there is a limited amount of time to read those books you've always wanted to. I will try to provide bits n' peices that will help you imagine that made-up world living in each book and maybe, along the way, you will find a book that fits your definition as "good".