November 29, 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Pages: 316
Publisher: Tor Teen

From Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. 

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

I picked up Anna Dressed in Blood right around Halloween.  I was looking for a spooky read and I figured what could be better than a ghosty love story?

Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed this book.  I love male narrators when they're done well and Cas was done very well.  It wasn't as spooky as I wanted it to be, but I enjoyed the ghost aspect nonetheless.  I love how the ghosts were tied to the world, unable to stop themselves from hurting others. The best part of this book was Anna.  I loved that she was this legend - a dark goddess ghost - who was in reality just a girl who was horrifically killed.  I'm not going to spoil how, but OH MY GOD what a story.

I also really loved Cas, who was a ghost hunter kind of by default.  He took up the reins after his dad died.  I loved his wanting to avenge his father's death, his mom's witch business (I love me some witches), and I especially loved Cas' attachment to the people in this town.  Carmel and Thomas started out as minor annoyances when Cas first came to town and it turned out that Cas really needed them in his life.

Best quote:
"You make me want things I can't have."

November 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (27)

Title: Uses For Boys
Author: Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Pub Date: 1.15.13
From Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know.

Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to offer. Real, shocking, uplifting, and stunningly lyrical,  Uses for Boys  is a story of breaking down and growing up.

Top Ten Tuesday (28)

This week's topic is
Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for 2013

My first five are continuations of series that I've been reading that I am dying for.  The other five are authors that I love and can't wait to see what they come out with next.

1. Isla and the Happily Ever After - Stephanie Perkins
Falling in love in the world’s most romantic city is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year at the School of America in Paris, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to deal with the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

2. Requiem - Lauren Oliver
Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.
After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

3. Everbound - Brodi Ashton
Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.
Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.
Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

4. The Retribution of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin
The third and final installment in the very awesome Mara Dyer series.

5. Emblaze - Jessica Shirvington
Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was.
Now Violet has something Phoenix - the exiled angel who betrayed her - will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too. 
Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn't take him long to realise exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.
With the help of surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to...

6. Hysteria - Megan Miranda
After stabbing and killing her boyfriend, sixteen-year-old Mallory, who has no memory of the event, is sent away to a boarding school to escape the gossip and threats, but someone or something is following her.

7. Just One Day - Gayle Forman
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

8. This Is What Happy Looks Like - Jennifer E. Smith
In This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith's new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names.
Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.
When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

9. Shadowlands - Kate Brian
Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived… and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye. 
Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?

10. When You Were Here - Daisy Whitney
June 2013
Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.
Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.
When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harijuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

I can't wait to see what everyone else is excited for!

November 25, 2012

In My Mailbox (25)

Hosted by The Story Siren

From the library:

I went a little library crazy this week.  We're coming upon December and I'm a bit behind on my Good Reads 2012 challenge.  I basically grabbed a bunch of things that looked like quick reads that have either been on my TBR list or looked like they would get me in the wintery spirit.  I think you can see which is which.


I LOVED Falling in Love With English Boys when I read it earlier in the year, so I was really excited when my sister got it for me for my birthday!

November 22, 2012

Debut Author Challenge 2013

12 Debut YA Books in 2013

So while I'm scrambling to complete my 2012 challenges, I've decided to sign up for the Debut Author Challenge for 2013.  I didn't do this one last year because I didn't want to take on too much, but I'm going to try and be better this year.  Wish me luck!

November 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (27)

This week's topic is
Top Ten Books/Authors I'm Thankful For

I found, when I was making this list, that most of my authors/books are contemporary.  I think the reason for that is that there are so many really bad YA contemporaries out there that when I find a good one or, even rarer, a great one I'm so so happy.  They become those books that I'll read over and over or an author that I'll read anything they write without question.

Meg Cabot
Stephanie Perkins
The Westing Game
Holly Black
The Secret Society Girl series
JK Rowling
Kate Brian/Kieran Scott
The Fault in our Stars
Deb Caletti
My Life Next Door

I hope everyone has a really happy, healthy Thanksgiving full of all the delicious food you can stand.  We're having family over to our house for dinner and then I'm looking forward to our annual first viewing of White Christmas!

November 15, 2012

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Title: Embrace
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Pages: 369
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

From the flap:
It starts with a whisper.
"It's time for you to know who you are..."
Strange dreams leave her with very real injuries and there's a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms.  They guy she thought she could fall in love with just told her he's only half-human - oh, and the same goes for her.  And she keeps hearing a distant fluttering of wings.
Violet Eden is having a very bad 17th birthday.
But if angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden...

Embrace was my first angel novel guys!  I'm kinda proud of myself because every time I've seen a book about angels I've automatically been like, "Next!" but something about this one spoke to me.  First off, the cover is gorge.  I would love to have this girls hair.  Other things I love about the cover?  The suggestion of wings done with smoke and the pretty pretty purple background.  I was actually really upset when I saw that the cover of  Entice was totally different.

I have to say, I really enjoyed Embrace.  It is not without its issues, but it was a fun book.  I kind of felt how I did when I first started watching The Vampire Diaries.  Nowadays, TVD is v. serious business (with a side of SQUEE!) but when I first started watching it, it was like, "Well, why wouldn't I take a chance on this show with these two very hot, often half naked boys in it."  Yup, I just compared this book to watching CW actors naked chests.  I hope you're all running to read it right now.

Now, for my main problem.  I really felt that there was no need for Violet to be 17.  The characters all felt much older to me.  They never go to school, Violet's mom is dead and her dad is never around, and they spent a lot of time in clubs.  Violet and Steph could have at least been in college, then we wouldn't have had to spend so much time making up excuses for these things. 

Even with my issues with it, Embrace left me wanting more so I'll definitely be checking out the sequels!

November 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (26)

Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Pub Date: 4.2.13
From In This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith's new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names.

Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.

When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

November 11, 2012

In My Mailbox (24)

Hosted by The Story Siren

On my nook:

It's only $4.99 on nook right now, so I figured why not?  I love a good college story.


Thanks to my sister for letting me borrow this one!  It's been on my TBR list for a while now.

November 8, 2012

Catching Jordan - Miranda Kenneally

Title: Catching Jordan
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Pages: 281
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

From What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Greeen moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?

I had heard good things about Catching Jordan before I read it.  I checked out the summary and it sounded kind of different than the other sporty girl books that I've read in the past.  I have loved Little Giants since I first saw it (in 1996) and it has a similar story but with older teens.  A new boy comes to town and joins Jordan's team, she starts to like him, and her feelings start to mess her game up.  Instead of pee wee football it's high school so there was even more romance potential.  I also played sports from when I was very young all the way through my senior year of high school so I was pretty confident that I was going to like this one.

Lord, was I wrong.  I found the characters - all of them - to be unlikable.  Jordan is supposed to be a strong, tough girl.  She is someone who her team looks to as a pillar of strength and every other chapter she's crying.  Now, I'm not saying strong girls can't cry, but every other chapter?  Too much.  I couldn't root for Ty.  That boy had some serious emotional issues and definitely needed therapy.  His and Jordan's relationship moved way too fast for it to be believable.

Jordan's issues with her father didn't sit right with me either.  He is a football player who doesn't want his daughter to play football.  Even when they were hashing it out at the end of the story - he doesn't want his child hurt playing at a higher level, which would have been a fine explanation of his feelings BUT HER BROTHER PLAYS AT A HIGHER LEVEL.  I think I would've been more okay with it if it had just been that he doesn't think girls should play football.  It would have made more sense within the story.  And Jordan just accepts his reasoning.  Ugh.

I'm sad about this one.  I was so looking forward to reading it after all the good things that I heard, but I was very disappointed.

November 7, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (25)

Title: The S-Word
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Pub Date: 5.7.13
From First it was SLUT scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.

But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie's looping scrawl.

Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she's caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie's own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

Debut author Chelsea Pitcher daringly depicts the harsh reality of modern high schools, where one bad decision can ruin a reputation, and one cruel word can ruin a life. Angie’s quest for the truth behind Lizzie’s suicide is addictive and thrilling, and her razor-sharp wit and fierce sleuthing skills makes her impossible not to root for—even when it becomes clear that both avenging Lizzie and avoiding self-destruction might not be possible.

November 6, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (26)

This week is a freebie week, so I'm going to do one of the topics I missed over the summer.
Bookish Confessions

1. I love bookmarks.  I buy bookmarks, I make bookmarks.  A lot of bookmarks.  Do I use any of these bookmarks?  Not often.  Right now there is a letter to my sister from the bank keeping my spot in Girl of Nightmares.  I'm not even using my own mail.  I'm the worst.

2. I hate audio books.  I can't bring myself to listen to them.  I always think it's because I'd rather be listening to music, but I think it might be because I can't pay attention to long things being read to me.  It happened the last time one of my friends read board game directions out loud.  I played the first round having absolutely no idea how to win.  If I can't even pay attention to less than five minutes of directions, I definitely wouldn't be able to pay attention to a 200+ page book being read out loud.

3. I never read more than one book at a time.  I prefer to let myself get totally immersed in a story, and if I'm reading more than one book how can I do that?

4. I love independent bookstores, but more often than not I buy my books at work because of the discount.

5. Sometimes I read so fast that after getting to the end of a page I realize I've absorbed absolutely nothing.  I then have to go back and reread it, reminding myself to pay attention as I go along.

6. I'm really bad at reading the "big" books.  Like, when we were younger my sister paid me a dollar to read Harry Potter.  Granted, she stole her dollar back, but it remains one of my favorite series ever.  I think I came out the winner there.  When Twilight was raging (I think right after Eclipse came out) one of my coworkers had to really give me the hard sell for weeks for me to pick them up.

7. Whenever I think of my To Be Read list I think of this Paris quote from Gilmore Girls:

"You'll never catch up.  You'll never beat me."

My TBR list grows at an alarming rate.  Being around books all the time, new and old, I'm constantly finding new things to read.  I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of books I'll never get to read.  Blogging doesn't help either.  I'm constantly finding new books through the blogs I read every week.

8. What blogging does help, though, is my ability to recommend books to others.  Being a children's and teen bookseller, I'm constantly asked for recommendations.  Before I started blogging, I had a terrible time remembering what I read.  I would remember whether or not I liked a book, but the details went right out the window.  Writing reviews helps me keep more of the plot in my head and helps me to be a better source for people looking for something new to read.

9. When I eat, I read.  Especially at work.  My friends tell me I go into "isolation" - I put my headphones in, pump up my music, and get lost in my book for 30 minutes.  I love it.  Others do not.

10. I bought a nook so that my books would take up less space in my very small house.  It seems that all I've done since then is accumulate books.  I went to BEA and got a crap ton of books.  I go to book signings where I buy the physical book to be signed.  And not just one book per author.  One of the signings was Holly Black and I came home with the three Curseworkers books, when I already had Black Heart in hardcover.  I have a problem.

Well, I feel a lot better getting all that off my chest.  Don't judge me too harshly!

November 5, 2012

In My Mailbox (23)

Hosted by The Story Siren

From the library: 

I sped through the end of Anna Dressed in Blood on Friday night and was really glad to already have Girl of Nightmares at my house!

November 3, 2012

Wanderlove - Kirsten Hubbard

Hey everyone, I've been wanting to post this review for a couple of days now, but my internet has been spotty at best.  We were having issues because of a tiny power outage we had after Sandy, but they should be rectified now.  We were very lucky and only lost power for a few minutes and all it really did was knock out our internet for a day.  Now I'm just waiting to be able to go back to work.  I hope everyone is doing okay where ever you all are.

Title: Wanderlove
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Pages: 338
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

From It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

This book flat out made me want to be an adventurer.  It made me want to be able to hop on a plane and go to some far off place with nothing but a backpack on my back.  To not mind being hot and dirty and just take in the world around me.  Unfortunately that is so far away from who I actually am.  I love travelling, but it makes me anxious, I am a huge over-packer, and I really dislike bugs.  Especially giant ones.  So for this book to make me want these things was awesome.

I loved Bria and was so curious about how she got to the place we met her in, how she became so far from her art.  Rowan was another mystery I was dying to unravel.  Starling is that new friend that pushes you to do all these things you never even thought were possible.  I also so loved the sketches that were included in the book, like this one...
This book makes you feel like anything is possible.  You can go anywhere and do anything even if it's not the norm - even if everyone in your life thinks that you're nuts.  It was an awesome summer book and will make you wish you were reading it in a tropical locale.  I'm definitely going to be checking out more from Kirsten Hubbard.