{In My Mailbox} 13

By: | Jul 31, 2011
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In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by The Story Siren, held usually on Sundays that encourages bloggers to share what they got for review, bought, won, borrowed or even begged for this week.

This IMM covers last week and this week, due to some internet and vacation stuff.

Because Rosmelie is decidedly better then me on all things blog related this week, her photo is way, way better then mine so never mind my “iPhone taken on a cloudy day” shot. Do I say that every week? Ah, well then you are used to it!! LOL.

Here’s Amber’s IMM

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Bought:

  • 2 Copies of Forever (SIGNED!) by Maggie Stievfater
  • 2 Copies of Blood Magic (SIGNED!) by Tessa Gratton

Sent For Review:

  • 2 Copies of Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine (Thank you Acaica!)
  • The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (Thank You HarperCollins!)
  • Don’t Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala (Thank You HarperCollins)
  • Possess by Gretchen McNeil (Thank You HarperCollins)
  • Scars by Cheryl Rainfield (Thank you Teen Book Scene Tours & WestSide Books)
  • Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison (Thank you Teen Book Scene Tours & Harlequin Teen)
  • Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey (Thank you OUaT Book Tours)

Swag:

  • 2 Forever Maggie Keychains from Maggie Steifvater
  • 9 The Scorpio Races post cards
  • 2 Passports for The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
  • Handful of The Pledge Stickers
  • 5 Autographed Book Marks from Kimberly Derting

Gift:

  • Crusade by Holder & Viguie obtained through RAK from April X over at Book Away

Here’s Rosmelies IMM

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Bought: (Borders is going out of business!)

  • The Summer I Turned Pretty - Jenny Han
  • The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove - Lauren Kate
  • Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Imaginary Girls - Nova Ren Suma
  • Faking 19 - Alyson Noel
  • Saving Zoe - Alyson Noel
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows UK Edition - J.K Rowling (signed by Tom Felton)
  • Elixir - Hilary Duff
  • Red Fox - Karina Halle
  • Fallen Angel - Heather Terrell
  • Swoon - Nina Malkin
  • Betwixt - Tara Bray Smith
  • In the Arms of Stone Angels - Jordan Dane
  • The Seven Rays - Jessica Bendinger
  • Claim to Fame - Margaret Peterson

What’s your IMM this week? Be Sure to link us so we can check it out!

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{Author Interview} Shana Norris + Giveaway

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You may remember that little (or not so little) review post that went up yesterday about this book called “The Boyfriend Thief”. You can find that HERE. I got the fortunate opportunity to also do an interview with the amazing author, Shana Norris.
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Well first of all, Shana thank you so much for doing this interview with Me, My Shelf and I.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review The Boyfriend Thief!
Well let’s start right off then. Was the title always “The Boyfriend Thief” or did it start as something different since you’ve been working on it for a while? (Since the age of 16)
The title was always The Boyfriend Thief. Which is rare for me, I usually can't think of a title I like until after the book is done or else the title gets changed at some point. I did consider a few other options right before publishing it, but none of them stuck out as much as The Boyfriend Thief did (and my agent and beta readers agreed, so the title stayed!).
That’s pretty amazing. On your site, you said that when you first worked on this, Avery was a lot different…meaner. How did you manage to tone her down to the character she is now?
In the VERY first version of the story, which is completely different from the story we have now, Avery willingly went into the boyfriend thief deal without a second thought. She was much more self-centered and didn't care who she hurt. She might have even enjoyed hurting people because of how much she had been hurt. But it was hard to connect to her because she never showed any vulnerability. So in later drafts, I worked on breaking through Avery's tough exterior and showing those hurt feelings she carries, and how easily she doubts herself at times. It was hard to find a balance between tough and likable. My critique partners were VERY helpful for this. They weren't afraid to tell me when Avery was acting too much like a brat!
Then there’s Zac…did your inspiration for Zac’s job come from you working at a lock shop when you were younger?
Yes, it did! That actually was never in the first draft of the book, it only was added in within the past year. I had wanted for a while to write about a character working in a locksmith shop just because it was my first job and it was SO slow and boring that I had to find ways to entertain myself, just like Zac does. And I always say that if nothing else ever works out for me, at least I know how to make keys. ;)
It’s always good to be able to fall back on something right? Did you ever have a friend like Molly – or did you have more that were like Hannah growing up?
Molly is probably a good combination of several friends I had growing up. I didn't have any one person who was like her, but I knew people who had different parts of their personalities that were like hers. Hannah is like someone I once knew--not a close friend, but someone I was friendly with--but she's a more exaggerated version of that person! I would say most of my friends were more like Molly than Hannah.
Did you always have in mind while writing this story that Hannah would never truly forgive Avery?
At first, I didn't know exactly how the book would end between Hannah and Avery. I had originally thought about having them end on good terms and maybe even become friends. But as I wrote the story, I knew that there isn't always an easy solution to every problem. Some things can't be fixed and maybe Hannah was a little more hurt by Avery's actions than she ever realized. I'm actually considering writing a sequel from Hannah's point of view because I think she leaves a lot of things unresolved.
Well as quoted from your book “Maybe some things can’t be fixed”. Perhaps such is true for Avery and Hannah. Now I love when authors make playlists for their books, and you have done such for "The Boyfriend Thief" - what is your favorite song from that playlist...or do you have one? (I'm a sucker for That's When I Love You)
I love that song too! It's a great song for the relationship between Avery and Zac, that even though neither one of them is even close to being perfect, they're still worthy of being loved. My favorite song on the playlist is probably "Name" by The Goo Goo Dolls. It's been kind of my theme song for the book. I like the lyrics "But if you could hide beside me maybe for awhile and I won't tell no one your name." I like the idea of that, of having someone who knows what you keep hidden, but is willing to protect that part of you. This was my theme song especially for the scenes where Avery and Zac are alone in her car at night, which are the times she becomes the most open and vulnerable.
Seriously, everyone take a listen to the playlist. It’s kind of epic. What did you aspire to be growing up?
From the time that I was about 11, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Before that, I had never thought that I could make a living out of the stories I liked to write. So my dreams before then were to be a teacher, a ballerina, and an archaeologist. All at the same time. I had it planned out that I could teach during the weekdays, be in ballet performances at night, and then be an archaeologist on weekends and summer vacation. Never mind the fact that I've never taken a ballet lesson in my life!
What is the biggest thing you've taken away from writing?
Writing has helped me to understand people better. As a writer, you have to put yourself into different points of view and your characters don't always believe the same things you do. So it's really helped me to see where other people are coming from and better understand why they make the decisions they do.
Do you think others’ styles of writing have influenced your own?
Meg Cabot definitely reminded me to have fun at a point when I wasn't having fun in my writing, so her writing has been one of my biggest influences. Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott's amazing books have also influenced me a lot lately by making me want to push deeper into my characters.
Speaking of, you mentioned that one of your favorite writers is Meg Cabot - she happens to be my absolute fav and the reason I started reading again - so, what is your favorite book by her?
I'm a huge fan of the whole Princess Diaries series! Her books are what made me want to write YA. I had gone through a period where all I read was high fantasy or literary novels, but after seeing The Princess Diaries movie I decided to check out the books at the library. The books, of course, are very different from the movie, but I loved them so much. I have the whole collection and keep them on my main bookcase in my living room.
Do you think in writing, you’ll always stick to the YA genre?
Most likely, though I'm interested in middle grade as well! I've tried adult literature and I've tried high fantasy, but I've had the most fun with YA and it's where all my ideas seem to lean toward these days. I really, really love writing about this time in your life when you go through so many experiences while trying to bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood. It's a fun time to explore in writing, and I absolutely love the emails I get from teen readers. I think YA fans (of all ages) are some of the most devoted readers and I love talking with YA fans about how they connect to stories.
What is the best piece of advice you can give someone, whether it be an aspiring writer, avid reader, or just someone in general?
Laugh. A lot. The worst rejection I ever got wasn't the worst because it was mean or anything like that, it was the worst because it arrived the same day my cat died. I was already upset over that and then this rejection from an agent came in the mail. I could either cry and give in to the urge to just give up, or else I could laugh, pick myself back up, and keep going. I wrote what became my first published book because I wanted something that would make me laugh after the years of getting nowhere in my agent hunt. Just laugh a lot, because if you let all the little things bring you down you'll never get anywhere.
What is one of the best lessons you’ve learned in life?
Everyone is weird. Funny, but true. :) I really could have used this bit of information during my teens, when I was sure that I didn't fit in anywhere and was the oddball in every group. Everyone else is just as weird in their own ways!
Well I’m weird, so that explains a lot! And a silly sort of question (because everyone seriously needs them) - If you could take three items to a deserted island - what would they be and why?
My 90-year-old copy of Dante's Inferno because it's one of my prized possessions which I found in an antique store on my honeymoon and because I would need something to read. My husband because he would come in handy for gathering food (and okay, it would be nice to have someone to talk to). And a blanket because I am always cold!
Well, that’s all the time we have with awesome author Shana Norris,
Thanks so much for the fun interview!
And as a special treat, Shana has agreed to give out an eBook of her book so some lucky person can read and enjoy “The Boyfriend Thief” just as much as I did!
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contest closed!
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{Book Review} The Boyfriend Thief

By: | Jul 30, 2011
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boyfriendthiefThe Boyfriend Thief
Author:
Shana Norris
Format: eBook
Pages: 196
Published: June 29, 2011

Rating:
5 Birds

Avery James has her life planned out: this summer she'll work with a humanitarian program in Costa Rica, next year she'll graduate at the top of her class, and after that, college and medical school. Perfect, planned, total order.
The only problem: getting the rest of the money she needs for the trip before the deadline. Hannah Cohen, her biggest competition for the valedictorian title, makes an unexpected offer: If Avery can win over Zac Greeley and make him break up with Hannah before the end of the school year, a check for five hundred dollars is all hers. Faced with the prospect of spending yet another summer working as a giant hot dog, it's an offer Avery can't refuse.
Zac is nothing like Avery expected. Within his chaotic world of midnight slushie runs and spontaneous dance parties, her total order is quickly falling apart while Hannah seems poised to get everything she wants. But just how much is Avery willing to give up for the perfect, planned life?

My Take: Call it the high schooler still in me, but when I got the email about reading this book, I took it as an immediate yes. The title and cover alone had me in an instant. Now I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but the cover was cute and I thought after reading the synopsis as well that the story would be cute.

Little did I know what I was truly getting into with reading this book. I’ll be the first to say, I didn’t really expect there to be too much that I could really relate to myself and I’d be able to detach myself from it just being a story in no time. However, that wasn’t the case. Getting more and more into the book just proved that it was very likely the tale of a lot of high school girls out there – maybe minus having a business econ project that was so in depth – or working at a hot dog joint, but a typical high school girl nonetheless.

Avery was sort of this crazy, mixed up girl from the get go. I never felt a moment of true security with her, and I think that’s what drew me to her most. I feel like Shana did a great job in putting her out there as the girl to try and figure out – but it was like I never really could. Throughout the story, Avery’s this lost person, trying to keep a grasp on her own life, to stay in total control, when she knows it’s all coming apart at the seams. At least, that’s how she feels. To an outsider, or even as the reader looking in, it just seemed that she was going through a coping mechanism, and no one would ever understand her.

Cue best friend Molly. Molly is definitely a “character” and I don’t just mean in the sense that she’s a person in the book. Though she’s not a key role all the time, she’s that person that Avery could turn to and rely on…but she never really sees it. Molly’s that person that’s right there in front of you that would do anything for you, but you feel like you could mess it up any second so you just push her away. She kind of just shines with awesome.

Then there’s Hannah, and Elliot. Now, why am I mentioning two people together? Well, they are a big part of the reason that Avery seems to be the way she is. I won’t tell you how exactly, you’ll have to read the book to find out, but they’re very relentless each in their own way. Hannah on the one hand is the girl you love to hate and also love to be jealous of. Elliot is the boy that you just love to hate because you think he’s always up to no good – but it’s all in the eye of the beholder (you’ll see that near the end!)

And then there’s Zac. Now admittedly when he first came into the book, even I just thought of him as the “jokester best guy friend who does nothing but drink slushies and takes life at a pace that isn’t serious enough”…but he proved to be this fully different guy during the story.

Okay okay, enough about the characters and what they’re like – sorry if I bored all of you. True to myself, I didn’t really take this book too seriously, but I took it with enough in me to realize that – Avery’s situation is how I felt when I was in school. Though I was never up for valedictorian, or in every club (okay maybe almost all of them…) I felt like I had to live up to everyone else’s standards and never disappoint. The truth is though, the only person Avery was disappointing by not being perfect at something, was herself. The real truth as to why lies within the story, and if I say it, there will have been no point to you reading it for yourself.

Now typically, I wouldn’t immediately tell everyone to get out there and read something so cutesy and adorable and…where was I going with this…oh right. Go. Read it. Yes, it’s cutesy and adorable, but it also has a great ‘story’ to it. It upholds a lot of different feelings, and a lot of misunderstandings and misapprehensions about being a teenager. It is and isn’t the typical teenager story, and that’s what makes it so great.

Plus the cover is super cute (and I have a thing for Chuck Taylor’s).

Don’t miss our special author interview coming up tomorrow! You won’t want to, Shana is kind of totally awesome!

Find Shana Norris on:

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{Book Review} Cameo the Assassin

By: | Jul 27, 2011
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Cameo the Assassin (Trilogy of Shadows Series #1)
Author:
Dawn McCullough-White
Format: eBook
Pages: 242
Published: July 16, 2009
Publisher: iUniverse
Rating: 3 Birds

The Kingdom of Sieunes is rife with taverns, dirty streets, and clay pipe smoking citizens all toiling to feed their families and keep themselves in something little better than rags. With a foiled revolution just ten years prior still burning in the hearts of many, the royals enlist the aid of assassins to keep things in order. The townsfolk entertain themselves by dreaming of better times to come and regaling in stories of the undead said to walk the graveyards at night... and of Cameo the killer with corpse-like eyes...

Scarred and jaded Cameo is one of the most effective assassins in the employ of the Association, moving from one mission to the next as long as the alcohol keeps flowing. Her acceptance of the murder-for-hire lifestyle is thrown into doubt when she meets a local highwayman with a penchant for fine clothes and women, and then she begins to think about breaking with the company but no one ever breaks with the Association under good terms.

My Take: While not fully sold on the book straight away, I wanted to give this one a chance. I actually got into the book pretty quickly – though I have to admit I had no idea what exactly was happening. There was just something about how Dawn McCullough-White wrote each character that drew me in.

Meeting Cameo at first in the story really put her out there like any other girl…well if you consider a normal girl to be some kind of killer. There is really so little truly known about Cameo until getting further in the story.

I have to say, Opal was truly one of my favorites in this story – as was Kyrian. Now, I know others who’ve read the book would say “really, Opal was one of your favorites?!” but I have to say, he just took the cake with outlandish ways that NO one would expect. And then the reason I liked Kyrian – he was so utterly unknown and unpredictable that it was just like “what’s happening here, who is this guy?”

Truth be told, although I didn’t find a real point to this story, following the characters through their plight was fun. You have The Association, which Cameo is part of – and I felt that there should have been more of a back story to that. However, the explanation of Wick (leader to the Association) was really good.

At times, there were events lacking – or points in the story which made me start wondering why I was reading this. The characters were each well written, but the story itself was lacking. I don’t say that to be mean, but just to be fully honest. So despite my love of the characters individually, I had to give this one a 3 for lacking a real plot.

Find Dawn McCullough-White on:

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And through the end of this month, you can download this book free on Smashwords (sorry I didn’t get this up sooner for y’all that might enjoy it thoroughly) here: Cameo the Assassin

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{Waiting on Wednesday} 17

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Rosmelie reading list

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Twilight The Graphic Novel
Volume 2
Publish Date: October 11, 2011

The second in a the series of Twilight Graphic Novels. When laid next to each other, you will see Edward and Bella laying in the meadow, holding hands. A must have for anime fans and Twilight fans.

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Don’t Breathe A Word
By: Holly Cupala
Publish Date: Sept 20th 2011

Joy Delamere is suffocating...
From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.
Joy can take his words—tender words, cruel words—until the night they go too far.
Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe…if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.
Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength

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{Author Interview} Victoria Schwab + Giveaway

By: | Jul 26, 2011
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Dropping next week, at which time it will be available everywhere, is an amazing book by Victoria Schwab called The Near Witch.
I had the honor of reviewing it a while back (see review here) and compared it to the kind of thriller you might expect from M. Night. Shyamalan and it got a 4.5 Bird rating!
Read at home alone, at night at your own risk. I’m just saying….
MMSAI: Victoria, thank you so much for stopping in and doing an interview with Me, My Shelf and I. I am honored to have you on the blog!
VS: It’s so great to be here!

MMSAI: Your debut novel, The Near With drops soon, how are you feeling about it?
VS: READY. It’s been nearly two years since The Near Witch sold, and I am just so, so ready to be able to share it.

MMSAI: Do you have any pub day plans?
VS: My pub day plans will definitely consist of consuming massive quantities of sugar, and putting the internet as far from my fingertips as possible. Maybe I’ll just spend the day wandering a mall, or reading in a bookstore corner :)

MMSAI: Tell us a little bit about The Near With and where the inspiration for it came.
VS: The Near Witch is a fairy tale, a book of witch and ghosts, a story of wonder and fear and trust, strangers and magic. It came out of two sentences that bubbled up six months apart, “There are no strangers in the town of Near,” and “The wind on the moors is a tricky thing.”
Look, it’s the Near Witch…oh wait…nope that’s Victoria Schwab!
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MMSAI: I know you changed your major a lot in college, 6 times if I am not mistaken, what made you choose to be an author, as a lot of your school choices were not necessarily related to writing in any way.
VS: Well, the thing about writing: I knew I wanted to do it, I’ve known that much for several years, but I didn’t know if I would be able to do it as a *profession*, hence the non-writing majors.

MMSAI: Anyone who follows you on twitter knows of your chocolate obsession and you ability to bake like a champ. What would you say is your favorite non-chocolate item to make?
VS: Oh man, I love chocolate. I can never believe when people say they don’t have any in the house, but that’s because I have a DRAWER in the pantry reserved for chocolate in its myriad glorious forms ;) As for NON-chocolate, I’d say oatmeal raisin florentine cookies :)

MMSAI: A little tradition here on MMSAI is a funny question, and so yours is:
If you were a super hero what would your power be, and why?
VS: If I could be a super hero, my power would definitely be invisibility. I’m an incredibly curious person, and any power that would let go places I’m not supposed to appeals to me. Plus, if I wanted to go the villain route, it would come in handy. Hard to see is hard to catch!

MMSAI: Before we go, do you have any profound life motto that you feel everyone should live by? Or just a dorky jumble of words that picks you up when you’re feeling down, that you’d like to share?
VS: I have a quote: “I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars still makes me dream.” --Van Gogh

MMSAI: Victoria thank you again, so much for doing this with us and letting everyone get to you know you a little better. I hope that the public enjoys the Near Witch as much as I did!
VS: Thank you so much for having me!
I insist you all put The Near Witch on your To Be Read list, and pre-order it now! I promise you that you will enjoy this stand alone novel, and crave things written by Victoria Schwab in the future!
In honor of the book coming out and just because she loves you all so much Victoria has put together a swag pack – and you can win it! YES YOU!
Included are magnets, book marks from several YA authors, The Near With Book Marks (of course!), Victorias autograph on a note card, and a pack of unRequired Reading Playing Cards from Disney/Hyperion…yay!
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Extra entries can be gained by: crocheting me a Near With doll, buying me a brand new car, Getting me into the front row of the play Wicked and……naming your next child after both of us: Victoria Amber sounds AMAZING!!! Unless you have a boy in which case, I am sorry. (this is of course just me being silly…lol – just fill out the form!)
OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!!!
Tweet it and leave me a link to the actual tweet in the comments, with the name you entered with and I’ll toss you 2 extra entries!
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{Top Ten Tuesday} 14

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It was created because of their love of lists, and I myself love lists as well - so you will see it frequently popping up on MMSAI.

Everyone is welcome to join in, and don't worry if you can't think of 10 - just do as many as you can. And of course, be sure to link back to TBATB (and leave me a link here too!) on your post!

as always they are in no particular order

This Weeks Topic Is:

Top Ten Books Tackling Tough Issues

Rosmelie reading list

1) Sister Mischief by Laura Goode - definitely tackles some tough stuff. From being lesbian to being in high school...dealing with relationships and misunderstandings. I think it's fair game in tackling a few tough issues.

2) Flyaway by Helen Landalf - dealing with being fifteen and taking care of yourself, while your mother is a meth addict - pretty much sums up the story and why it would be tough in any realm.

3) Sweep by Cate Tiernan - Although completely fictional, dealing with having grown up believing you're completely a part of one family, only to find out you were adopted and dealing with being an actual witch - it deals with the issues of mind games that people can play with you.

4) 44 by Jools Sinclair - Again, fictional completely, but learning to know that things aren't exactly how they seem and dealing with depression.

5) Enders Game by Orson Scott Card - I haven't personally read this but a few of my coworkers said this covered tough issues.

6) Divergent by Veronica Roth - having to choose where you want to end up in life at a young age can't be easy on anyone.

7) The Hunger Games - Dealing with going into an arena, just to survive life, and having to decide if you'll be the one to kill others can't be easy in any aspect.

and yea that's pretty much all I have on that topic.

amber reading list

I don’t do realistic fiction very often, I prefer to keep my feet firmly planted in the land of make believe where my character's fight zombies and what not. Those of course pose their own “tough issues”. Some of these are on my TBR list, but I have not read them yet and I am trying to veer away from the Fantasy genre on the list as best I can.

1) Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma – absent parents, kids forced to raise their siblings, and incest. Doesn’t get any tougher then this. By far one of my favorite and most unexpected reads of this year!

2) Shine by Lauren Myracle – I know this was on the list last week too – but this book delves into bullying and it’s effects and I think this was a great read!

3) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – I have not yet read this book, but I have seen the movie which I hear is a very good adaptation of it. Dealing with depression and rape.

4) My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult – great illness of your sister and the guilt and physical pain that comes with trying to save her, while trying to save yourself at the same time.

5) Will Grayson Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green – dealing with sexual orientation. I have not yet read it but here wonderful things about this novel.

6) Any and all Sarah Dessen books from what I am told. I own a few but have not yet read them, some deal with teenaged pregnancy, mental illness, relationships. All tough subjects for teens and even adults out there too!

7) On the Jelicoe Road by Melina Marchette – car accident and dealing with loss. Fantastic book, if you’ve not read it add it to your TBR it was an amazing novel.

8) Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler – deals with injureies to a star athlete and the struggle to get back up on that horse called life and make it still count. Also touched on the hardships in relationships and love both with in family and romantically.

9) Bumped by Megan McCafferty – a fictional book set in a dystopian world where a disease prevents anyone over 18 to conceive. The chore falls to young girls 13-18 to take on the role and be “mated”, for lack of a better term with whomever is chosen for them. Teenaged pregnancy is tough enough, add into it that it’s now forced for the sake of the worlds population….This was an intriguing read I was not expecting to enjoy. I was actually rather disgusted when I read the blurb but I am happy I read it!

10) The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder – I wasn’t a fan of how the book was written in little “poems” but the jist of the story is fantastic. Living each moment like it’s their last, this book deals with family dynamics, adoption, health issues. I wish it wasn’t written the form it had been because I think I would have loved it, insteado f just liked it.

What’s your TTT?
Don’t forget to link us here so we can check it out too!

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{Book Review} Watched

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watchedWatched
Author: Sharde Richardson
Format: eBook
Pages: 180
Published: May 30, 2011
Publisher:
Jolt
Rating: 4 Birds

Mikayla doesn’t want much: just to rock out to her favorite band, become the next Kwiki Stop video gaming champion, and keep her Q-tip habit under control. What she does want is the sight of the sudden inexplicable dark auras around everyone to stop. Problem is, those auras are demons and Mikayla is the last trait holder with the power to ban them. Which is a total buzz kill.
To make matters worse, the town folk of Sulphur Springs don’t look the same, and her classmates are a little dark in the eyes. There are murders, suicides, reckless skinny-dipping, gratuitous use of Q-tips, and newfound powers that Mikayla must learn to control.
Her past becomes present when a shape-shifter tells her what her true identity is, and how to keep the demons of Hell from nipping at her Converse. Through him she’ll discover who to trust, who to kiss, and how valuable her abilities are to the right beings. Because the evils of Hell aren’t staying down without a fight.

My take: Okay, I’ll admit when I first got the email even asking “Are you interested” my first though when I saw the words “Demon” and “Converse” were – Yes and Please! Being a huge fan of the supernatural thanks to a little television show a few years back just made this book stand out straight away for me.

I’ll admit, when I first started reading the book, it didn’t even really feel like ‘reading’ if that makes any sense. No? Eh, if only you all could pick my brain! Anyway, it was just this sense of like “alright so here’s the chick who’s sorta normal and something bad happens to her.” And when I say something bad, I don’t just mean – yea she failed a test, or her life just plain blows, but I actually mean bad as in she (Mikayla) ends up in the hospital with no real recollection of everything surrounding her.

So in short, the beginning of the book was kind of strange and off kilter, but not in a bad way! Then, skip to a “couple months later” and you get this new person involved – Lucas. Now even I have to admit, when Lucas is first introduced to the story, he’s kind of this big, scary, weird dude and you can’t help but be sort of creeped out!

In turn though, he comes into play more and more over a few chapters and you just can’t help but like him for some strange reason! Maybe it’s the way Sharde wrote him, or maybe it’s in the way that he’s seen through Mikayla’s eyes. Like, you know he’s sort of dangerous, but that he would never hurt you. It’s very confusing, again though, not in a bad way!

After all this sort of semi-normal stuff happens, we’re introduced to different types of demons, other beings (like witches, vampires, leprachauns even) and it just twists and turns from there.

By the end of the book, I was honestly left very puzzled by Mikayla and Lucas’ relationship. They were partners in crime in a way, but there was also so much more to them together – yet we don’t find out the full fledged details because it’s something Mikayla (and perhaps author Sharde Richardson) really don’t want us to know or reveal.

So all in all, I liked this book. From it’s honest way of writing to the different on-goings throughout, there was always something interesting happening that kept me on the edge of my seat. There was never truly a dull moment!

Find Sharde Richardson on:

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{Book Review} Solid

By: | Jul 25, 2011
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Solid
Solid #1
Author: Shelley Workinger
Pages: 221
Format: eBook
Published: July 9th 2011
Rating: 2.5 - 3 Birds

Teens who discover they were secretly genetically altered before birth are brought together at a classified site where they forge new friendships, find love, develop "super-abilities," and even unearth a conspiracy.

This book had a fantastic concept I was really looking forward to reading. Genetically altered kids with “super abilities” band together to figure out what the Army wants with them. Definitely a new and interesting premise.

The book starts off with the kids at the Army base where they will be monitored for a few weeks so the government can better help them understand what they are. To be honest, it’s very slow paced. It wasn’t until just over half way through the book anything really happens that caught my attention enough to really spark my interest. In the beginning your just following Cleo through day to day life, friends, eating, a boy….nothing huge, nothing noteworthy really and the things that should be noteworthy are grossly underplayed. (i.e: super powers)

Once stuff starts to pick up, it does so in quite an anti-climatic manner. For instance one thing that I felt was missing was when the kids decide to figure out what's going on for themselves, and they have to break into an office to do so, the girls use their powers for the first time out side of “group”. This to me should have been HUGE filled with suspense, would they make it out, they should have even had a few obstacles in their way to do it…, and instead it just skipped completely over any info about them using their power and jumped right to them meeting up with their friends. I felt cheated a bit. It all seemed, too easy? You know?

Also, when talking with and locating the Colonel, instead of him showing any resistance to discussing classified info with kids he just met weeks before, he openly dishes with no cause for worry. Again it all just appeared much too easy, and therefore took the suspense out of it. A book like this needed some more suspense, instead it just felt simple.

I am really bummed that I didn’t get into this more, and that there felt to be a lot missing in it. I have read several good reviews on the book through Good Reads but I just couldn't, as hard as I tried, see the things in it that they did. Possibly book 2 in the Solid series, which is out now, will be better for me? Solid is getting 2.5 Birds because it was alright, the concept is great and I hope that the suspense picks up more through book two.

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{Book Review} Exiled + Giveaway

By: | Jul 24, 2011
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Exiled
Author: MR Merrick
Pages: 234
Published: July 1st 2011
Rating: 4.5 Birds

Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. Failing to develop any elemental magic on his fifteenth birthday left him exiled in a world full of half-demons, and no hunters to protect him.
When Chase discovers the Circle's plan to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world, he vows to stop them. Knowing he can't do it alone however, he accepts help from Rayna, a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret.
As the pair attempt to stop the Circle, Chase realizes working with a demon is only half the battle. When they find themselves in the middle of the Circle's plan, it leaves one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other's life depending on it

Fans of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare will thoroughly enjoy this book!

M.R. Merrick really delivers with his debut, self published novel, Exiled. There is certainly no lack of action – in fact you start off from word one, smack in the middle of it! The fantastic story of Hunters and Demons is held up well with great characters as well as a very well detailed and magical setting.

Chase and Rayna are our leads through out and I have to say just for the record I ADORE Rayna. She’s snappy and sarcastic, has a wonderful wit and able to toss out come backs that would put me and my razor sharp tongue to shame! She’s easily the most quotable from the book and I will include some fun ones near the bottom so you too can see what I am talking about. (don’t worry – spoiler free of course!)

Chase is tough both emotionally and physically, and very easy to like. The kind of protagonist you want to follow along with in a novel. Survival for him isn’t merely an option, it’s a lifestyle. It’s what he does best.

All in all this was a fantastic ride and it’s getting 4.5 Birds. It’s a plot line (demons and hunters) that has been a little over done lately but Merrick makes his mark and shows us that this story is his own in every way.

I’m so glad that it was good, and stood on it’s own because if it had sucked I would have felt really bad telling my pal M.R. Merrick to not quit his day job….lol. And for the record, the fact that I am “buds” with the author had no effect on my review in anyway, nor did the $300 in cash, the hovercraft, or the pony….(KIDDING! I don’t get anything like that for reviews!!!)

Favorite Quotes From The Book:

Rayna: “My, can it be true? One day you’re putting knives to my throat and calling mea filthy demon, and the next you’re having sleepovers with an Underworlder?”

Chase: “What can I say, he was prettier than you” – p78

“No Worries, Tessa. If he gets out of line, it’ll only rake a few smacks to straighten him out.” -Rayna p.157

Want your OWN eBook copy of Exiled?
OF COURSE YOU DO!

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{Book Review} Between the Land and the Sea

By: | Jul 23, 2011
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Between The Land and the Sea
Author: Derrolyn Anderson
Pages: 261
Format: eBook
Rating: 3 Birds

Something extraordinary is lurking in the deep ocean waters off the coast of Aptos, California. Just a few weeks after moving to the beach town, sixteen year old Marina has nearly drowned twice, enchanted the hottest guy in high school, and discovered a supernatural creature. If she can only manage to survive her dangerous encounters with unpredictable mermaids, she might just be able to uncover the mystery of her past and learn how to appease the mysterious forces that seem to want something from her... and maybe even find true love along the way

It’s official. I just can’t get into mermaid books. Don’t worry, it’s not really a spoiler to know there are mermaids in this novel, so call back your mob with their pitch forks and torches.

The story starts off good, it’s well paced and incredibly interesting. Seriously, who doesn’t want to be a well traveled high school senior, who may be upset that she has to co-mingle in a regular high school for the first time in her life and move away from her extravagant “Aunt” next door who lavishly dotes on her? I know I would sign up for that life in a heart beat, even if it meant going back to high school *shudders* (it’s my greatest fear to go back)

However, once we leave the big city and get to the small sea side town of Aptos with Marina, things get a little jumpy. Conversations feel unfinished, and often I felt like maybe I was on the outside looking in when Marina would talked to anyone. Conversations just didn’t feel like the authors strong suite when writing. I felt a little detached and left out when reading them. Like I was missing an inside joke or a major portion of the dialog that was never actually there. Maybe if this was a tv show, facial expressions would have been help in sorting out this one issue? I’m not sure.

Anderson does have a knack with imagery and it’s use through out the book is by far my favorite thing. It flows so smoothly from her and I enjoyed it ach and every time.

Also, for those of you not aware, this Aptos California the story takes place in – is real. Cement ship and all. I assume the following is the pier and ship (even though the ship is explained to be much bigger in the book, for reasons I totally understand) is what the author used as reference when writing. I got curious and looked it up :0)

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Marina, as a protagonist is not my favorite. She seems rather dense for having been so well traveled and academic. I found myself saying to the book “Seriously?” when she would talk to the books heart throb Ethan wondering if the boy was going to have to wear a shirt proclaiming his interest in her before she would finally realize it. Crus is by far my favorite character in the book with his up beat style and witty come backs.

The book is getting 3 Birds, I don’t like mermaid books but it’s not this books fault that I don’t. The writing left things to be desired at times but the story line is strong and is interesting enough to keep me engaged.

Find Derrolyn Anderson:

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{Book Review} Eternity

By: | Jul 22, 2011
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Eternity (Fallen Angel #2)
Author: Heather Terrell
Pages: 294
Format: Paperback/Blog Tour
Published: June 28, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 4 Birds

The end . . . or a new beginning?

As Ellie comes to grips with her destiny as the Elect One, her relationship with Michael grows tense. When she meets a mys­terious boy named Rafe, things get even more complicated.

Yet the time has come for the Elect One to stand against the group of evil fallen angels who are bent on destroying the world. In order to face the immeasurable malevolence heading her way, Ellie tries to put her personal life aside. But she soon learns that whoever holds her heart also holds the key to mankind’s salvation—or destruction. As the end days approach, Ellie is faced with an epic decision. Who does her heart really belong to? And is her love strong enough to save the world?

My take: After soaring through the first book (review to come later on that), I quickly dove into Eternity. I was intrigued by the prospect of another Fallen Angels type novel (low and behold it actually is just that by title too) and I knew I had to jump at the chance.

Ellie – there are truly no words to describe her without being too “teenage angst”y sounding. She truly does hold that persona, but with the weight of the world, literally, on her shoulders. She’s unsure of herself more than she’s unsure of others at times…but then she’s completely unsure if love will stand the test of time as well with Michael.

Facing such a harsh reality of whether or not she can save the world with the help of her boyfriend, and fellow Nephilim, had to take a toll on not only her sanity, but mine as a reader as well. Following her dizzying ways of going from “what should I do” to “I should do this, and do it now” was terrifying at times, and relieving at others.

I really enjoyed the way each of the Fallen Angels played out and how they were to be eradicated. It was unlike any other angel/nephilim/any fallen book I’ve read before.

Michael and Rafe are two very well thought out male characters. You have Rafe who is on the side of good, but in that unknown space of whether or not he can be fully trusted…and then you have Michael who you really can never be sure about! He is close, yet so distant at times. It’s partly mind-boggling until the truth reveals itself at the end.

All in all, I have to say I truly enjoyed the way this all panned out from beginning to end. It was gripping, easy to read, and thoroughly enjoyable in a paranormal way.

Be sure to stop back on Monday, August 1st, for an awesome interview with Heather Terrell on her Book Picks! And don’t forget to check out all the other amazing blogs that are part of the tour!

Find Heather Terrell on:

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{Book Review} Darkhouse

By: | Jul 21, 2011
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Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1)
Author: Karina Halle
Pages: 229
Format: eBook
Published:
May 1, 2011
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Rating: 4 Birds

There’s always been something a bit off about Perry Palomino. Though she’s been dealing with a quarter-life crisis and post-college syndrome like any other twenty-something, she’s still not what you would call “ordinary.” For one thing, there’s her past which she likes to pretend never happened, and then there’s the fact that she sees ghosts. Luckily for her, that all comes in handy when she stumbles across Dex Foray, an eccentric producer for an upcoming webcast on ghost hunters. Even though the show’s budget is non-existent and Dex himself is a maddening enigma, Perry is instantly drawn into a world that both threatens her life and seduces her with a sense of importance. Her uncle’s haunted lighthouse provides the perfect catalyst and backdrop for a mystery that unravels the threads of Perry’s fragile sanity and causes her to fall for a man, who, like the most dangerous of ghosts, may not be all that he seems.

My take: Darkhouse had a strange start, and the weird didn’t stop at the beginning. This is actually what truly led me to liking it so greatly – that and the fact it was set in the Pacific Northwest.

I truly admired Karina’s way of writing so freely throughout the book. Though some may find it to be a little over the top with being free, it suited that “this is naturally how I tell a story” feel for me. There was never a way that she wrote that I didn’t enjoy.

From Perry – which is so typically not a girl name in my eyes, to sister Ada – the characters were developed to a level that wasn’t full, but didn’t keep me guessing too awful much. There are still things that I want and need to know about each one even after finishing.

Normally, the men in stories hold little mystery to me, but in Darkhouse, Dex was an entirely different story. From the way Karina describes him smirking to the way he seems so sinuous at times, it had me intrigued. It also left me wondering when, and if I could ever trust his motives or him in general.

The story being told from Perry’s eyes was good perspective. She freaks out over the normal, and seemingly stays calm during things that are weird and out of the ordinary stories – but then gives that in between during the actual events that are overly strange.

I’ve really learned in this, that if I give too much away, you won’t want to read the book after reading the blog. So I think that sums up my thoughts. And just know, the book cover ties in wonderfully to the story itself.

Find Karina Halle on:

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And The Winner Are:

By: | Jul 20, 2011
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We have winners for two different contests to announce today! Thank you to everyone who entered!

First for the eBook of KA Tuckers Anathema

CHRISTY

 

Now For the eBook of Angelfall by Susan Ee

KATIE

 

Okay, two very common names, yes – but don’t think you can trick me I have already e-mailed the winners! If you didn’t win – be sure to check out the other contests we are having and GOOD LUCK everyone!

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{Waiting on Wednesday} 16

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

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Forgotten Souls
Saving Angels Book 2
Author: Tiffany King
Release Date: Summer 2011

No info is available on this book yet, other then when to expect it. I am really looking forward to the second book in this series because I really loved Meant To Be, her first book.

Tiffany Kings unconventional covers designed and HAND DRAWN by a family member really make these books even more unique.


Find Tiffany King and The Saving Angels Series:

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The Last Echo
The Body Finder Book 3
Author: Kimberly Derting
Release Date: April 17th 2011

Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet’s talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it’s Violet’s job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by “the girlfriend collector” she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new “relationship” and Violet may have caught his eye....

Find Kimberly Derting and The Body Finder Series:

What are you waiting on? Link me to your WoW here or just tell me!

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