Sunday, August 16, 2009

In My Mailbox (IX)

Thanks to the Story Siren for the creation of this fun meme and Alea for the inspiration.

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

Kara hasn't been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad-boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park....
Amid the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff

What’s worse than being fat your freshman year?
Being fat your sophomore year.
Life used to be so simple for Andrew Zansky–hang with the Model UN guys, avoid gym class, and eat and eat and eat. He’s used to not fitting in: into his family, his sports-crazed school, or his size 48 pants. But not anymore. Andrew just met April, the new girl at school and the instant love of his life! He wants to find a way to win her over, but how? When O. Douglas, the heartthrob quarterback and high-school legend, saves him from getting beaten up by the school bully, Andrew sees his chance to get in with the football squad. Is it possible to reinvent yourself in the middle of high school? Andrew is willing to try. But he’s going to have to make some changes. Fast. Can a funny fat kid be friends with a football superstar? Can he win over the Girl of his Dreams? Can he find a way to get his mom and dad back together? How far should you go to be the person you really want to be? Andrew is about to find out. 

I also got a big box from Harper, but I'm not sure what is in it as I am at school and the box is at home! 

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King

Emer Morrisey was one of the most feared pirates in the seventeenth century. She went about scooping eyeballs out of her victims and building up quite a large stack of loot over her years. When she is finally given the chance to be with her one true love and escape the pirate life for good with unfathomable riches, her past catches up with her and she is slain and cursed with the dust of one hundred dogs. What does this curse entail you might ask? Well Ms. Emer will have to live out 100 lives out as a dog before she can return to her human body, the catch being, her memory stays intact.

Emer has now finally returned to a human body, in the form of Saffron, a contemporary American teenager. Getting to live without being bossed around is a huge plus for the Emer-persona who lives inside of Saffron, but she doesn’t expect the dysfunctional family that she finds herself in. Saffron though is unlike many teenagers, as she is incredibly smart and all she cares about it getting down to Jamaica with a shovel.

Well, this book was interesting to say the least. There was quite a bit going on and it definitely took time to adjust to the switch between past and present story telling, but once the reader got into the swing of things (after about 100 pages), it was definitely worth it.

The plot was intriguing and very unique. The whole idea of a pirate living as 100 different types of dogs and then going to live life as human, with all those memories in tact is absolutely crazy and fun and just plain delightful. A. S. King’s writing also had a big impact on how I received the plot. She had all these fun dog facts interspersed throughout the story that were quite intriguing and her sense of detail really made me understand what was going on, as I have to say there were many parts were I just kind of sat there with a dazed look on my face trying to figure out what just happened/was going on. What I did love about this book though was the ending. It was cute and a tad bit unexpected and just all around great.

The characters in THE DUST OF 100 DOGS were average. The Emer persona was witty and could be vulgar at times, but was a decent character. Saffron I found was quite interesting as well. It frustrated me at times that she didn’t respect her parents, but hey she was soon out of that environment and that thought quickly left my mind.
Overall I found that I preferred this book more after I sat down and thought about it, as the story kept running through my brain even after I was finished with it. I think that A. S. King has definitely made a prominent step into the world of YA fiction, creating a modern-esque pirate tale that will thrill many readers. 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

We are all guilty of having embarrassing parents, or at least have our share of embarrassing moments, but Hannah has each and everyone of us topped. Her dad is Jackson James, founder of a playboy-esque website and show. Her mom, well, she is famous for the Superbowl commercial where the only thing covering her was a pizza box. After a lifetime of receiving the wrong type of attention, Hannah finds that she much prefers walking invisibly through life.

The only thing wrong with being invisible though is that the hottest guy Josh, who Hannah believes is her soul mate can’t see her. Then of course there is Finn, the guy in the neighboring cubby at Hannah’s job. He’s funny, cute, and Hannah just can’t seem to stop thinking about him, but then she can’t just forget about Josh either.  Now Hannah must decide what she really wants and what she really needs.

Oh Elizabeth Scott how I love you! I really enjoyed SOMETHING, MAYBE and will never ever think that my parents are that embarrassing again. Scott created very real characters that were very relatable. While we all might not have a porn star for a mom, many know what it feels like not to fit in for various reasons. Hannah was also a very witty character who made you want to cheer for her in all of her triumphs and console her in her failures. Finn was absolutely adorable, as in I want him to sit beside me at work. He also added quite a bit of humor to the book, which had me in fits of laughter.

The plot of the book was very original and quite real. With the mom and dad combination and then the grief that Hannah had with the loss of her step dad, the whole thing just made me laugh and sympathize. I truly felt like I was transported into Hannah’s life and didn’t come back to my own until the very last word of her tale.

I absolutely cannot wait for more from Elizabeth Scott, who is definitely a dynamite author in the YA field. I highly recommend this book and urge you all to pick it up and have some laughs. 

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas

Antonia Labella is fifteen years old and has yet to be kissed and it is her deepest desire to become the first official living saint. Don’t think she’s serious? Well every month Antonia sends a letter to the Pope with a new saint idea, whether it be the Patron Saint of Figs, or the Patron Saint of First Kisses, she always has a new idea. She also makes sure that she is in all the good graces of all the current saints, she prays to a different one each night and even keeps a saint journal where she keeps all of her prayers.

Then there is the whole kissing business. There is this boy, Andy Rotellini who Antonia has been lusting after since well, forever basically. She truly believes that he will be the one, but she just may be mistaken in that area. While becoming a saint and experiencing her first kiss seem unlikely, it certainly isn’t from lacking of trying on Antonia’s part.  On a journey of self-discovery Antonia grows up a bit and learns all there is to first kisses and sainthood.

Well, lets start with the fact that I liked this book. The writing was decent, the plot was original and the characters were pretty good. I loved the Italian authenticity and thoroughly enjoyed the religious views that Antonia brought up and discussed. I also think that this book has quite a broad appeal. It’s a good book for young and older teens and overall is just plain fun.

As for the plot, well it started out really well. For the first fifty pages or so I was continuously laughing and was really enjoying the book, I pretty much figured that this was going to be a great book, but alas I spoke too soon. Soon Antonia became completely infatuated with this jerk guy and completely ignored the nice guy, and then the story just started getting repetitive. Antonia was doing the same things over and over again and it got very frustrating. The plot was definitely the downfall of the book, but the ending and beginning definitely saved it from being a total blow out.

Although the plot was not that great, the characters were fabulous. Antonia was funny and oh so obsessed with becoming a saint. Her saint ideas were absolutely crazy, but I loved each and everyone. She was adorable waiting for her first kiss and I loved the relationship she had with her best friend. My only qualm with her is that she felt considerable older than fifteen, but it was only until the end of the book that I realized this, so it wasn’t that big of an issue.  Antonia’s grandmother was also a trip. She was forgetful and senile which pretty much made her absolutely hilarious.

Overall I liked this book and thought that it was a solid debut for Donna Freitas. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

After the destruction of North America the nation of Panem emerges, in the middle, a shining Capitol with twelve less scintillating nations surrounding it. In order to remind all of the residents of Panem of the brutal war and the power the Capitol holds, the Capitol forces each district to send a boy and a girl, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, each year to the Hunger Games, a fight to the death, survivor style, broadcasted on live TV.

In the devastatingly poor District 12, lives a sixteen-year-old named Katniss Everdeen. She lives alone with her mother and twelve-year old sister Prim, being the sole provider for their family, making sure that they just scrape by. When the day of the reaping comes (the event where names are drawn for the Hunger games) Katniss herself feels that she has a greater chance of being picked, but never would expect Prim to be chosen. When the worst happens though, Katniss immediately volunteers herself to participate in Prim’s place, becoming the girl to represent District 12 in the Hunger Games.

Without even realizing it, Katniss soon becomes one of the top contenders to win the games, as survival is second nature to her. If she is to win though she will have to call upon her keen sense of intelligence and expert survival techniques.

Oh my goodness, this book is jaw droppingly good! Every single sentence left you grasping for more and wanting to turn the page so fast that you have to be careful they don’t rip. Everything about the book worked and fell so easily into place that it was absolutely impossible to put the book down.

The plot itself was extremely unique and was filled with adventure that kept you extremely riveted. Even though Panem was a fictional world it was very easy to see many parallels to our world, which I found extremely interesting. Suzanne Collins also made this imaginary world very lifelike and made the events of the games so real that it felt like I was sitting in my living room watching them on TV along with all the other residents of Panem.

Another aspect that really made the book shine were the characters. Regardless of how big of a role the character played they were well developed. Katniss was an amazing and strong character and had a nurturing side that was completely unexpected, but very welcoming. Peeta, the second main character, was a sweetie. He was funny and genuine and I loved how he added the romance element to the story, which in my opinion made the book that much better.

As for the author’s writing, it was impeccable. She threw you into the arena and made you breathe the same air as Katniss, Peeta and all the other contestants. She created a fascinating world, using fantastic imagery, which made it easy to picture the beauty of the Capitol, all the amazing outfits the contestants wore, and of course the brutality of the arena. She also created one heck of a cliffhanger with the ending of the book, setting up for the next book (CATCHING FIRE) to start right away.

Overall this was one heck of a book. The author combined a ridiculous amount of suspense, a ridiculously cute romance, and so much adventure that this has easily become one of my favorite books. As soon as I had finished it I immediately wanted to read it again and again and again. I strongly recommend it to absolutely everyone and cannot wait for the sequel. 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In My Mailbox (VIII)

Thank you thank you to The Story Siren and Alea for their creation/inspiration of this super fun meme.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment. But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Amazing Summer Blowout Contest!

So as summer is coming to a close for many of us (I go back to school in a mere 2 weeks!!) I decided to throw a contest. There are lots of books that are coming out this fall to win and a couple that have come out over the past year or so, all of them are very good.

As you can hopefully see, there are 7 delightful books to win and they are: 
The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman
Ruined by Paula Morris
Intertwined by Gena Showalter (ARC)
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Bad Apple by Laura Ruby (ARC) 
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors (ARC) 
To enter all you have to do is leave a comment with the name of a song for me to put on my back-to-school playlist as I am in need of some new music. I like just about everything, so let me know what your favorite song, back-to-school song, summer song, etc. is and be entered to win! 
All entries must be received by midnight (EST) on August 31, 2009 to be valid. Also the mailing address to which the books are sent to must be in the U.S. 
To gain some extra entries: 
Blog, twitter, facebook about the contest (make sure to include the link) = +2 entries
Already a follower = +3 entries (thank you thank you to all of you!)
Become a follower = +2 entries 
Good luck to all of you!


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